Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Reads

I think 2010 may have been my slowest reading year ever...either that or I forgot to keep track of them very well ala the eHarlequin Book Challenge! (12 Blaze, 1 Desire, 1 American, 1 Presents, 1 SuperRomance)
  1. Knowing The Score by Marie Donovan (Blaze)
  2. Better Naughty Than Nice by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Jill Shalvis & Rhonda Nelson (Blaze)
  3. Just Fooling Aroung by Julie Kenner & Kathleen O'Rielly (Blaze)
  4. Born on the 4th of July by Jill Shalvis, Rhonda Nelson & Karen Foley (Blaze)
  5. Wanted! by Vicki Lewis Thompson (Blaze)
  6. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
  7. This Is Why You're Fat by Jacki Warner
  8. The IntenSati Method by Patricia Moreno
  9. The Tycoon's Son by Cindy Kirk (Mediterranean Nights)
  10. No Wonder My Parents Drank by Jay Mohr
  11. Love, Lust & Faking It by Jenny McCarthy
  12. A Homemade Christmas: Creative Ideas for an Earth-Friendly, Frugal, Festive Holiday
  13. Cherry Bomb by Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna 
  14. Married By Mistake by Abby Gaines (SuperRomance)
  15. The Greek Tycoon's Blackmailed Mistress by Lynne Graham (Presents) 
  16. The Best Man by George Davidson
  17. The Shift by Wayne Dyer
  18. Indulge Me by Isabel Sharpe (Blaze)
  19. Once A Cowboy by Linda Warren (American)
  20. Innuendo by Crystal Green (Blaze)
  21. Seduction By The Book by Stephanie Bond (Blaze)
  22. Dangerous Curves by Karen Anders (Blaze)
  23. Cody by Kimberly Raye (Blaze)
  24. Touch Me by Jacquie D'Alessandro (Blaze)
  25. More Than a Millionaire by Emilie Rose (Desire)
  26. Yours For The Night by Jasmine Haynes
  27. The Spark by Gaesser & Dougherty
  28. A Broom of One's Own by Nancy Peacock
  29. Sliding Into Home by Joanne Rock (Blaze)
  30. The Law of Attraction, Plain and Simple by Sonia Ricotti
  31. Feng Shui for Romance by Terah Kathryn Collins
  32. Double The Pleasure by Lori Foster, Deirde Martin, Jacqui D'Alessandro, Penny McCall 
  33. Believe It, Be It by Ali Vincent
  34. Made You Look by Jamie Sobrato (Blaze)
  35. Winter's Heat by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Jade Lee & Anna DeStefano

Friday, December 17, 2010

LASIK

Since I loathe wearing glasses, and constant eye issues were preventing me from wearing contacts...I went in for LASIK surgery. There was a bit of worry that the corneal scarring would prevent me from having it, but a corneal specialist came in and fixed me right up.

Kinda. Things are still kinda blurry and eye strain is an issue. But, by next week I'll be seeing better than I have since I was 9. I'm quite excited!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

How Stocked is Your Kitchen?

An article at Organizational Management made me wonder...just how many of the 80 kitchen essential ingredients do I have? Try it...

1. Garlic powder.
2. Sea salt. Nope....Kosher salt & table salt.
3. Whole or ground pepper. Just regular black pepper
4. Sage. It's in the garden...most of the year.
5. Red chili flakes.
6. Chili powder.
7. Bay leaves. At the old house I had a bay leaf bush. I miss it. Haven't been able to find another.
8. Ground coriander.
9. Onion powder. Really? I do have some...but I don't like it.
10. Cumin.
11. Ground mustard. The Hubster hates mustard.
12. Cayenne pepper.
13. Paprika.
14. Basic steak seasoning. Montreal steak seasoning! I also have a basic salt/pepper/garlic powder that I use for chicken.
15. Dried thyme.
16. Potatoes. TONS of Russets. I need to latke
17. Mushrooms. I tend to buy the regular button mushrooms...in the styrofoam package.
18. Onions.
19. Leafy green lettuce.
20. Bell peppers. Red
21. Garlic.
22. Apples.
23. Bananas.
24. Lemons and limes.
25. Oranges.
26. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
27. Chicken thighs.
28. A whole chicken.
29. Steaks.
30. Short ribs. Never gonna happen
31. Salmon.
32. Catfish.
33. De-veined, peeled shrimp.
34. Pork chops.
35. Ground beef or turkey. I need to get some. Always a good idea to have on hand
36. Canned tomatoes.
37. Canned fruits. - pinapple, mandarins...and fruit cups for Grace
38. Peanut butter.
39. Black beans.
40. Lentils.
41. Whole grain bread.
42. Baguette.
43. Salami. Oh...good idea!
44. Ham.
45. Sliced turkey.
46. Cheddar cheese.
47. Swiss cheese.
48. Avocado. Usually...but not right now.
49. Olives.
50. Pickles.
51. Good vanilla. Nope. Store brand. I like the flavor better
52. Cocoa powder. Two kinds :)
53. Half and half. I keep evaporated milk on hand instead.
54. All-purpose flour.
55. Whole wheat flour.
56. Granulated sugar.
57. Confectioner’s sugar.
58. Baking powder.
59. Baking soda.
60. Semi or bittersweet chocolate.
61. Whole grain crackers.
62. Dried lasagna sheets.
63. Spaghetti or fettuccini.
64. Ziti or penne.
65. Egg noodles.
66. Couscous
67. Quinoa.
68. Pancake mix.
69. Whole grain cereal.
70. Oatmeal.
71. Green beans.
72. Corn.
73. Edamame. not for my brood
74. Frozen Potatoes. no thanks
75. Bacon.
76. Strawberries. ew, not frozen!
77. Blueberries.
78. Almonds.
79. Stuffed pasta.
80. Pre-baked pizza crusts.

Bonus Essentials
Red and white wine vinegar.
Honey.
Marmalade jelly or preserves.
Tomato paste.
Salsa.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Cardio Jam

Thats the name of a fitness class I let my girlfriends talk me into. According to some of the dancers in the class, it's like Zumba without the rules. Since I have never Zumba'd...I have no idea. It's a crazy fast paced dance blitz that proves just how few peopple actually have any natural rhythm.

And yet...I still show up. It's not for the Michael Jackson song, that's for sure. Or the booty shakes. Or the chest pumps. For some reason I seem to enjoy flailing about a room in all my uncoordinated glory.

But only with my girls. I can Stability Ball or Yoga on my own...but I need moral support to Spin or Cardio Jam!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Working It Out.

That was the original title of Compromising Positions , it's also the name of the club in the book that Sophie co-owns with her sister. And...it's what I've been doing.

Working out.

No kidding. I'm not saying I don't complain the ENTIRE time...but I've managed to drop about 10 pounds since this summer. And I know that I'm physically stronger, since I can complain during the classes instead of gasp for breath and grab for a wall because I'm dizzy.

You see, I used to be a runner. Running is easy. You just...take off. And you go until your head is clear or you're out of water. Trail running was my favorite...but I haven't been able to do it for ages. My body is completely different now than pre-kiddos and pre-fertility meds. Really, I barely recognize me. And I want to start recognizing myself again, and even work my way back to running.

I can't just start running. My body isn't made to be this weight. There are people who can be fluffy and healthy, but my frame can't handle it. All the extra padding has given me feet issues, knee issues, hip issues...not to mention the emotional body-image issues. So, I'm going to fix it. Which means less writing time now, but I think eventually it will even out.

Since I'm not running yet, I've been taking classes at the rec center. I figure, I'll try anything once, and if it doesn't bore me or kill me, I'll try it again. So far, I've made yoga, stability ball, and bootcamp a habit, even though bootcamp has my feet screaming. Water aerobics is fun in the right class, but it hurts my feet since there isn't any support. Pilates is harder than you'd think. Spinning is a pain in the butt, literally!

I'm trying to rework my blog, and I think I'll do a weekly workout post. You know, to give me some place else to complain about working out :D

Monday, November 08, 2010

Crafty!

I've started to get crafty. No kidding. Just last week I channeled my inner Amish girl and MADE a console table for my friend from plans I got at Knock Off Wood. I taught me that I can do more than I think...and that wood is expensive.

Still, I love the idea of making things. It started when I couldn't figure out a way to incorporate a dresser Hubba Bubba's grandfather built into Baby Girl's room...so I decopaged fabric onto the drawers and voila, new dresser that fit with the garden quilt theme of the room.

Sites like Tater Tots & Jello or the Sprik Space Brief Bits give great ideas... I'm not the crafty type, but they have these tutorials that make things seem so easy...

In that same vein I snagged a copy of A Homemade Christmas: Creative Ideas for an Earth-Friendly, Frugal, Festive Holiday. Tons of great ideas, and new ideas at that! Great to go through with the kids to help usher in the holiday season. Some of my favorite ideas ::
  • Hang a cooking mitt in place of a stocking for a baking enthusiast
  • Turning all your mismatched socks into an advent calendar

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Review...

This review was a nice surprise :D

"A fun, sexy, inventive contemporary romance ..." and
"This book kept surprising me, with realistic insight from the characters like the moment Sophie realizes “she could not handle a casual relationship with David”, and when David realizes “How wonderful life would be if he could just trust himself to be who she thought he was.” I enjoyed it, and I’m not the only one..." Read React Review
And my favorite part? It was a very well written review :D I just love that. It usually has me looking around the site for more reccomendations.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Pink Heart Society: Slushing Through : Conferences

The Pink Heart Society: Slushing Through : Conferences: "The Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke put on her big girl golashes and slushed through a regional conference. She's back, shari..."

Friday, October 01, 2010

Thinking

The article in the Slate spurred more articles of the not so flattering nature. I'm trying to laugh it off. You know what's helping?

It sold at least one copy of Compromising Positions to a reader who wrote a review and said "I read an article on Slate about how this novel was porn. lol There isn't very much sex in the book, but the build up to it is great! " It doesn't get better than that. Thank you Terri Sprague :D You made my day.

And thanks to Caleb Hannan who wrote in Seattle Weekly "Slate reports on the "strange" rise of e-reader pornography. A rise that's only strange if you're a Quaker. (And even then not so much.) "

Finally, the voice of reason!

** Come and see me tomorrow night at the Emerald City Writers Conference Book Fair & Author Signing at the Bellevue Hilton 4-6pm **

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Polishing The Slate

I'm polishing a workshop I'm giving at Emerald City Writers Conference this weekend - Mommies Guide to Writing Around Kids. MG Braden & I have 6 kids between us and have written through death, illness, pregnancy, job loss ...we have lots of material beyond the simple tell them to play outside or put the baby down for a nap.

I love giving workshops that are interactive. Takes the pressure off of the whole having people stare at me bit. So, I'm going through my notes, rewriting my bits, and collecting prizes for the brave folks who participate in my games. This is the fun side of being an author.

The not so fun? An article in The Slate that uses the success of Compromising Positions to make a point about porn and self-publishing. Huh? The three tenets of the article don't apply to my book since it's not free ($4.40 from the link provided in the article), porn (the journalist even states no one would consider it such), or self-published (Samhain isn't even all that small of a publishing house anymore!). But, the writer opted to use my book as a stepping off point. Which is...well, I honestly don't know how to feel about it.

I do want to answer the question he posed at the end. "will the presence of e-books like Compromising Positions at the top of Amazon's charts sully the e-reader's reputation?"

Romance novels make the world a softer, more tolerable place. Whenever the world darkens - globally from natural disasters, nationally from economy or personally from tragedy - people turn to romance novels for a reminder that people are good, things will get better, and love can heal.

e-readers and romance novels have a similar reputation. They sell like fans during the first heat wave of summer, are read by the smartest and most educated, and yet are looked down on. It doesn't make sense, but it also doesn't matter.

Romance publishers have been at the forefront of the digital revolution and I'm sure e-reader manufacturers have been happy for the support. So, what would the presence of a romance novel mean to Kindle? Probably that they're doing something right.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Love Vegas

I'm just back from a trip to Las Vagas with Hubba Bubba to celebrate his birthday. We had a great time. Lots of highlights - the water show at Bellagio, Sirens of Treasure Island, volcano at Mirage, flamingos at The Flamingo, lions at MGM...and that was just the free stuff!

There was a slot machine called True Romance, so even though I wasn't my cutest, I had to take a picture. And after it ate my dollar, I went back to my favorite machine - Invaders From The Planet Moolah!


We were lucky enough to catch three Cirque du Soliel shows - Mystere, Zumanity, and KA. They were all phenomenal. Zumanity is the funniest, KA the most amazing. The entire theater is the stage. Love, love, loved it!

There were great restaurants like Emeril's, trying an oxygen bar, a comedy magic show...and The Price Is Right. Well, the live edition. Still, it was fun and hosted by Joey Fatone which warmed my 16-year-old *NSYNC lovin' heart.

Now I just need to go back.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer Vacation : Part The 3rd

The icing on our summer cake was a gorgeous wedding. Hubba Bubba's brother & his bride really know how to throw a party! At their 3-day wedding extravaganza a good time was had by all.

After the rehearsal, the guests trekked over to Hamilton Mountain for a hike followed by a BBQ. The hike was...vertical. Not great since my orthotic inserts were in my work-out shoes. (I've been working through platar faciaitis and heel spurs, but there wasn't enough cortizone in the world for that hike). I made it until the trail split with this warning :: Hardy Creek Trail - Difficult. Hamilton Mountain - Even More Difficult.

I headed back down, while the other hikers pushed onward. A few of them may be bionic...I'm not naming names.

Once everyone made it back to the picnic area, we had a great time visiting until Sebastian arrived. Who is Sebastian? The pig roasted for the event. If that doesn't make you go vegan, nothing ever will.


The group made plans to meet for a run the next morning. We opted for a hike to find the lakes and spy on the golf course...and were passed by the runners! They were all so sweet not to laugh...especially the best man who mowed a jogging stroller right past us with only a slight spray of dust.

The sun got brighter with each moment as the evening wedding neared. Hubba Bubba had to arrive early to help seat people or whatever it is that ushers do. I came later...and when he was done he asked where his speech was. Um yeah...instead of watching the bride walk down the aisle I was racing through the lodge, running just as fast as the marathoners of the morning to get the speech and get back to the ampitheater before he had to talk.

I made it...but hadn't quite caught my breath when he was called to speak. His mother and aunt liked his speech and said it was well-written...which made me smile.

Next came a cocktail hour while the family ran through the obligatory photos. Then it was on to the reception. I kind of feel I should mention the crab cakes and bacon wrapped scallops and raspberry lemon drops and huckleberry sours...only to be topped by the Stecato Gelato cart and homemade cookies!

The bride & groom asked for song suggestions on their RSVP cards...and they had a great band who was able to move between Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, country, funk, rock...it was amazing how diverse they were...and how many people stayed on the dance floor! Very few wallflowers in this bunch! We even danced together -- 7 songs! I really think he doubled as much as he's danced in our whole married life in one night!

An amazing couple, loving family, fantastic friends, delicious food, gorgeous setting, and a truly great party! It could not have been more perfect.

And now...school is in and I need to get back to work. I need to get a novel polished and submitted to my editor before I head to the Emerald City Writers conference next month. I need iron out the wrinkles in the workshop I'm giving there. Oh...and I'm taking an overdue vacation with Hubba Bubba. Just me and my mister.

September is a beautiful thing!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hawaii Five-0

I'm at the Pink Heart Society today, using the coveted Male on Monday spot to share shirtless pictures of the men of Hawaii Five-0. Shameless!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Summer Vacation - Part Deux

The boys are fascinated with volcanoes, so we decided to visit two and give them some perspective on the different kinds. First up was Mt. St. Helens were we realized Tall Boy is quite the hiker! Small Boy was another story entirely. Still, I think it is a perfect Portland or Seattle day trip, something everyone should do.


Next we took the kids to Crater Lake. After Diva handles camping so poorly, we braced ourself for sleepless nights. Good thing, too. But the scenery and history made up for it. It was great to hear the boys comparing the two volcanoes to each other - no prompting from us! And the hiking was amazing. Some of it was more difficult than I'm comfortable with, but since Tall Boy raced through it and Hubba Bubba did each hike - no matter how vertical - with Diva on his back, Small Boy & I had to suck it up and hike!

The boys each had Cub Scout Camp, one a day camp, the other an overnight with Dad. It amazes me how boys have enjoyed the same things for generations -- obstacle courses, slingshot, whittling.


The best thing about living where we do, is that we're an hour from the mountains and and hour from the beach. It's the ultimate in summer staycations! We spent a lot of time playing in natures sandbox while the boys played in the waves. It is a recognized fact that native Oregonians are able to find the chilling waters fun, while we imports get frostbite by dipping our toes in.

Since I wasn't in a writing place, I indulged my creativity with art and decorating projects around the house. Diva's room was a major undertaking for me - it's a pink walled garden now. The Tall Boy got a longer bed, I made stacked pots of herbs and did more than a few art projects. :D

It seemed there was always something going on. Birthday parties, Airshow, the county fair, The Lion King, trying every exercise class I could manage at the gym (water aerobics is great fodder for naughty jokes, BTW) a real drive-in, and the afternoon visit from the ice cream truck all wound together to make this the best summer we've ever had.

***more tomorrow!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer Vacation - Part One

I made a valliant attempt to be a both a full-time mom and full-time writer this summer. Both plans started to derail, so I set the writer thing aside and focused on those who will not be small forever. They are all at fun ages, so I really enjoyed myself.

I kicked off the summer with a girls-only trip to Vegas with my best friend to celebrate the way she kicked cancer in the booty! One more month until reconstruction :D We'll need to have another getaway to celebrate the end of her breast cancer chapter.



Then I became and auntie for the first time! It's amazing when your brother has a baby. It's not like your friends, no matter how you love them. This is his baby and I love her as I do him. It's been such a lovely experience.

We took the kids camping for the 1st time since Diva was born, and promptly remembered why. She kept the entire Cub Scout Pack awake with her antics. But, the boys had a great time hiking, building sandcastles, flying kites, clamming, and making rockets with Mentos (no joke!).



***more tomorrow **

AND Another new review for Compromising Positions ...and this one comes with a tagline!
"Sparks Fly When The Unstoppable Meets The Immovable" and "One of the most entertaining contemporary romances I've read..." One Good Book Deserves Another

Friday, September 17, 2010

Floating Down the Amazon River...

More good news from Amazon today. Cathryn Cade just let me know COMPROMISING POSITIONS made the Amazon bestseller list for paperback romance (not just the freebie). How exciting!

All this Amazonian excitement has me thinking about how we rate book sales. New York Times and USA Today are the gold standard. The New York Times tallies sales from 4,000 bookstores, but not online retailers. USA Today covers 3,00 stores and includes online sales. Online sites tend to run their own bestseller list that updates minute-by minute thanks to a computer program. You can be the #1 seller for and hour, and then off the top ten list the next.

Scanning most bestseller lists an author is bound to wonder...how can I get on Oprah? That woman can boost a book like no other. Right now every site is wild about Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, thanks to the renewal of Oprah's book club. Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth is still on most lists.

I love the O, but I think her power lies in the suggestion. It's not magic what she does. She reccomends a book. I do that daily. But I don't 'know' millions of people the way she does. Afterall, she's spent a decade in people's living rooms. She's doing what all of us readers do, just on a grander scale.

So...in the tradition of Miss Winfrey...I'm really enjoying Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. He's on all the lists, so he doesn't need my help. But I need a good belly laugh and his book has pages of them!

**and I found a new review **

"Jenna Bayley-Burke delivers it all, romance, humor, and great chemistry between her hero and heroine" - Just Really Great Books

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Back & I'm Famous


I had quite the thrill this week. Compromising Positions was featured on Good Morning America's List of the Day, where they highlighted Kindle's top 10 best ebook freebies. Now I can put featured on GMA on my resume, right?


And then...I realized Compromising Positions was #1 bestseller on Amazon. The free books list. For about 90 minutes. So I can put bestselling author on my resume too, right?


It was a nice treat, and as I spread my excitement around I got a lot of - now you're famous. Um, that's sweet, but I'm still only famous at library story time and the weekly baby girl playdate. However, if Lifetime wants to give me a call and make the book into a movie...then, I'll be famous. And have quite the resume!


And for those of us who love freebies...


Compromising Positions is free for Kindle & Nook...I think for 2 weeks. Not certain.


More tomorrow on what I did on my summer vacation...

Friday, September 03, 2010

I'll Be Back...

on September 15. But in the mean time, I got a great review for Compromising Positions!

"I truly enjoyed the way the author looked at how various relationships of the characters made them into the people they are today. I learned a good amount about the Kama Sutra just reading this (had to Google some of the positions to see how they were done – excellent reading material). When the characters come together romantically and then sexually, you can practically feel the steam coming from the story. This is a fun, sexy, touching story that I hope you will enjoy as much as I did." -- I Read Romance

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yes, I'm on vacation...but...

I'm taking a summer hiatus from blogging since I became one of those annoying -- come see my blog post here -- bloggers. I'll be back in the fall when 2/3 of my brood is having their horizons expanded.

BUT

I got a fab review today for Pride & Passion and wanted to share a snippet.

The writing is fantastic, the character development is brilliantly done, and the pace of the story is excellent...don’t miss your chance to read Pride and Passion. - Long & Short Reviews

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Review

I love Google Alerts :) I found a new review for Pride & Passion today - The Romance Studio says..."Lily and Jake's rocky romance is a pleasure to read."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Slushing Through : The hard part

My latest Slushing Through colum is up at The Pink Heart Society. Today I'm talking about...rejection.


In case you've missed my wading through the slush piles, catch up on the journey ::

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Reading = Happiness

It's beena busy year for me, and not on the writing front! So much has been going on, and time has passed quickly. Lucky for me, I am blessed with two friends to managed to get me to focus on myself just a little bit.

One bought me a Nook. Huge gift, right? I know, she's amazing. But the gift has been more than the e-reader. I realized the other day that I had only read 10 books this year. Ten. I hover around a hundred every year. For me, 5 months and 10 books is a serious reading drought! The Nook has really helped remind me of my love of reading and how a great stpry can fill up my soul.

Another friend and I went to Las Vegas. No husbands, no kids. It was so much fun, and I had all that time on the airplane to read!!

The first 4 months of the year, 10 books. The last two weeks of May, 4 books! No wonder I feels so much better!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Today at The Pink Heart Society...

I'm using my Slushing Through column to talk about writing...when I should actually be writing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Samhain's New Newsletter

Samhain publishing will be putting out a monthly newsletter soon that will feature upcoming and new releases - both in eBook and Print -as well as free downloads and contests. There will also be links to social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and soon, YouTube.

Click here to sign up.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The 3 P's of Manuscript Submission

I'll tell you what they are at The Pink Heart Society today. Don't much care? Oh, well...there is a HOT picture of Aiden Turner involved...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Passionate Plume

I just got word that Compromising Positions finaled in the Passionate Plume. I'm tickled :) Her Cinderella Complex finalled last year, so I'm excited to have another shot at it!!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

This May Only Be Cool To Me...

Pride & Passion is in the top ten at Books On Board for the second week in a row. Go on, look at the top ten list...see what I mean? That's not the romance top sellers (P&P is number 2 there), it's all the Books On Board ebooks. Wowza.

I know it's crazy, but I have always wanted to be on a bestseller list with Danielle Steel! My mom buys every one of her books, in hardback no less.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In Review...

I found the first review for Pride & Passion today. Single Titles says ::

"Pride and Passion is a beautiful read with each character evolving and having
to address their pride as the story progresses. Jenna Bayley-Burke brilliantly
entertains the reader with this romantic love story. Enjoyed immensely."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CJ Redwine's 40 Step-Guide to Query Writing

A writing friend nudged me toward this post the other day and I loved it so much I decided to declare today CJ Redwine Day.

Oh, it's already St. Patrick's Day? Hmmm...OK, substitute whiskey for gin in CJ's How to Write a Query in 40 Simple Steps ::

A query is the one-page letter you send to agents and publishers pitching your novel.

1. Pour yourself a small glass of gin & tonic.
2. Sip slowly, savoring the taste, as you carefully list your novel's main characters and conflicts.
3. Struggle to label your work with the appropriate genre.
4. Pour more gin and tonic to boost brain power.
5. Craft a first sentence that both grabs the reader's attention and conveys the essence of your novel.
6. Re-read first sentence.
7. Acknowledge that first sentence is absolute crap and delete the entire thing.
8. Pour more gin and tonic, minus the tonic.
9. Skip first sentence and dive into character descriptions.
10. Re-read character descriptions.
11. Acknowledge that character descriptions cannot be three paragraphs each and delete all but a few sentences.
12. Drain gin bottle.
13. Toss in a few sentences describing the conflict.
14. Re-read sentences describing conflict.
15. Acknowledge that the conflict sounds rather weak.
16. Toss in a conflict that isn't actually in the novel but could be, if the agent asks for a partial.
17. Wander to the kitchen for more gin.
18. Wonder what idiot put that wall in your way.
19. Return to desk.
20. Re-read query.
21. Drink two swallows of gin straight from the bottle.
22. Decide that "I have a fiction novel that totally kicks Dean Koontz's sorry keister" is an acceptable first sentence.
23. Study the problem of deciding on a genre.
24. Take a few swallows of gin for fortification.
25. Realize you now see two keyboards on your desk instead of one. Choose which one to use.
26. Type madly for thirty seconds before realizing you are simply banging on your desk.
27. Swallow some gin and choose the other keyboard.
28. Decide that literary-paranormal-romantic-suspense-thriller-with-historical-sci-fi-elements is an acceptable genre for your novel.
29. Re-read query.
30. Insert adverbs generously and prolifically throughout to spice up the prose.
31. Print.
32. Spend five minutes cursing the foul beast of a computer for refusing such a simple request.
33. Turn printer on.
34. Print.
35. Sign name.
36. Realize you've misspelled your name.
37. Curse the gin.
38. Apologize to the gin.
39. Re-print, re-sign, seal in an envelope.
40. Send query.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When Chapter One...isn't.

I'm still tinkering with Shattered Expectations. The synopsis helped highlight the big picture issues...and I've realized that I started to story too late. I tend to write my way into a story and I think I overcorrected. But, even though I know exactly what should happen in this new first scene...I can't seem to write it.

This happens to me too often. I have an idea, I work it out, and then...I know what happens so I have no desire to get the words down. Maybe I have to bribe myself. No Farmville until I have the scene down...egad.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tadpoles


When I was a kid, you couldn't get away from tadpoles. Now, maybe this is because my grandpa had a cattle ranch with a creek running through it and there were lots of places where the water pooled in the spring. My brothers never had to search to get a fishbowl full of tadpoles. We'd even find them in the corner of our lot where things didn't drain right. Tadpoles were everywhere.


Now, it seems they are hard to find. Not sure what this means for frogs...though I know the one croaking outside my window is endangered. (HA!) The small boy's 1st grade class needs tadpoles, and the ones you buy from the store haven't hatched for the last two years, so they're not going that route.


At our old house, our neighbor had them in his pond. The boys would keep them in a bucket in the backyard - we even had a raccoon spill the bucket last year! But...we moved. Do you think I could head over to any old pond and scoop some up? Could I call the neighbor and ask if he's cleaned his pond out yet? And how weird is it that I'm hunting tadpoles? VERY weird since they totally gross me out!

Movie Weekend!

It's been a while since I've watched movies, longer still since I've been to a movie theater - I think the last time was pre-PrincessDiva, when I took BabyBoy to see Horton Hears a Who. Finding a chunk of time long enough for a movie is hard, and my kids aren't what people call 'easy', so finding someone willing to watch them for long enough for HubbaBubba and I to escape to see a show...hasn't happened since My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

So this weekend the Cub Scouts moved their air museum trip and the minivan needed some TLC, so we found ourselves with a free weekend at home! That hasn't happened in about a year, so it was strange! But I managed to get in 3 movies.

I watched Bedtime Stories with the kids, which is fantastic and they loved it. We found Star Wars 2 Clone Wars on TV...and I started to get troubled. I watched it with BigBoy who has read the entire middle grade Star Wars series. So he knew everything about the story...and there are some serious themes going on! It gave us lots of opportunities to talk about them, but it also made me want to search for more stories for him with younger themes. He has a lifetime to read the deep stuff, let's let him read about farts and burps for a while longer...





I managed to get in Bride Wars too! I love chick flicks and this was much fun. Only a little sad. Great characterisation. It made me want to see more movies...but Spring Break starts on Thursday and wowza, do my boys have plans!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

10th Annual Romance Readers Luncheon sponsored by Rose City Romance Writers

The Rose City Romance Writers are proud to host the 10th Annual Romance Readers Luncheon on Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 9 am to 2 pm. This year's guest speaker is bestselling author of classic romance and modern women's fiction, Jane Porter. Jane's presentation, entitled Be The Hero of Your Own Story, is sure to inspire.

Join Us at the Governor Hotel in Portland for good food, great romance authors, and a gift basket raffle like none other. 2010 Cost: $40.00

Some of the authors attending include :
•Amanda Forester
•Anthea Lawson
•Catherine Cade
•Christina Crooks
•Christine Young
•Courtney Milan
•Delilah Marvelle
•Eilis Flynn
•Elisabeth Naughton
•Erica Ridley
•Genene Valleau
•Gerri Russell
•Gina Robinson
•Hanna Rhys-Barnes
•Jami Davenport
•Jean Johnson
•Jenna Bayley-Burke
•Jessa Slade
•Kimberly Fisk
•Kristina McMorris
•Kaylin McFarren
•Lacy Danes
•Linda Wisdom
•Lisa Hendrix
•Lucy Monroe
•Maisey Yates
•Margaret Mallory
•Marianne Stillings
•Mary Vine
•Meljean Brook
•Minnette Meador
•PJ Alderman
•Paty Jager
•Terri Reed
•Terry MacLaughlin
•Theresa Meyers
•Wendy Warren

Sound like fun? Register Now!

For more information, please check out the Rose City Romance Writers website.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Everything You Need To Know About Storytelling...You Can Learn From Your Kids?

I've been taking some great high-level writing workshops lately. Margie Lawson, Bob Mayer, Michael Hague...I mean, top-notch stuff! And yet today I think I had a major aha moment!!

The boys wanted to watch Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler - a cute movie about what happens when your dreams come true. Listening to the kids in the story talk about happy endings and how stories 'work' was eye opening. It was perfect it its simplicity. And then at the end, the 'hero' is told that the journey is not over simply because it seems all is lost. I mean...it is textbook hero's journey.

And then I was reading to Princess Diva - The Plot Chickens. It is storytelling basics...for kids! Start with a character, give them a problem, make them solve the problem (not their mother hen!)...it was great.

When people learn what I do, they often ask what they should do to get started - after all, 90% of the population wants to write a book. I think it's more like 99% in the mommy set I tend to hang with. I now have a response handy!

Everything you really need to know about storytelling, you can learn by watching movies with and reading to your kiddos!

Friday, March 12, 2010

So...I play Farmville...

I haven't been doing as much fun blogging as I used to. It used to be whenever something popped into my head, I woud blog about it...and I would blogsurf when I was bored. Now...I Farmville.

It's this crazy time-suck game that my kids wouldn't even play. It's simple, it's cutesy...and it's addictive! So much so my neighbor gave it up for Lent! Me...I'm collecting gold and building a Maison. Yep, Farmville's gone French countryside.

I can play it in two minute increments, and it is SO organized. I think that is the real draw for me. It's neat and logical...while life with the man and kids is just not. So, there may be books and magazines and homework and colring books and cookbooks and fruit and science experiements and art projects on my kitchen table...but my Farmville farm is clean!

Any idea how to get off the Farmville sauce? Because I keep checking my chickens...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Synopses Don't ALWAYS Suck

Yes, you read that right. I, um, found a use for a synopsis. I can't talk badly about them anymore.

I've always been a panster, making things up as I go, but I've been stalled out on Shattered Expectations since...December. It's been trickling in, but there's no real momentum.


So, I wrote the synopsis and had a bit of an epiphany...the story is over. I was trying to make the story arc longer than the emotional arc...which wasn't working. Without emotion, the story had no momentum. So...now to revise it so that it can end where the emotional arc ends, without any loose strings to tie up.

Yes, I learned that synopses can be useful. If only I'd figured that out 4 months ago! Here's hoping it actually gets me to write a synopsis before writing the book...well, at least halfway through!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Pride & Passion by Jenna Bayley-Burke

PRIDE & PASSION
Jenna Bayley-Burke
contemporary romance


He’ll let her have control…until he’s ready to make his move.

The only things Lily Harris inherits after her father’s untimely death are debt, scandal and loneliness. She doesn’t protest when her father’s business partner, Jake Tolliver, steps up to help with the mess she finds herself in—until Jake reveals the last promise he made to her father.

Jake may be as compelling to look at as a marble statue—and stir a frighteningly powerful desire within her—but no way will Lily agree to be his socially acceptable bride while he continues to bed his string of beautiful women—not without getting him to agree to a deal of her own first.

With a well-earned reputation as a feral hunter who goes after what he wants, Jake has his sights set on Lily, and her lack of options puts her right where he’s wanted her from the first moment he laid eyes on her.

Jake’s not above making Lily think she’s having it her way if that’s what it’ll take to have his way in the end. But once he grows tired of playing beast to her beauty, he’s not above changing the rules of the game until they’re both playing for the same prize.

Warning : This title contains a hero used to getting what he wants, a heroine determined not to give in to him, some indecent proposals, a fair amount of pride, and enough passion to burn up everyone’s control.


Read an excerpt from Samhain

Read an excerpt from Books on Board

Exclusive Blog excerpt

Monday, March 08, 2010

Pride & Passion available NOW!

Happy release day to me! Pride & Passion is out in ebook formats today. Thank you so much to everyone who read along as I crafted this story.


I wrote this book under the deadline of the impending arrival of my little diva. Trish Wylie & I were both writing new stories, so we did some word-wars in the beginning. At the end, I tried not to let the baby brain get the best of me. Luckily, I was being very good about my blogging, so the whole thing is pretty much chronicled in the April 2008 archives. You can even check out my Point & Click Character Charts for Jake Tolliver & Lily Harris.


I finished the story, had the baby...and then came back to it a few months later for the edit. It was quite the experience to set a book aside and come back to it with a new head space. I managed to work in even more Jane Austen asides :) It was a little sad for me to see the title change from the Austenesque First Impressions to Pride & Passion...but I have to admit, the steam level in this story probably needs some kind of warning ;)


Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Well Lookie Here...

Guess who has an excerpt on Tawny Taylor's Sassitude blog to help celebrate ebook week? That would be me...with Pride & Passion. Only a couple more days and it will be released :D

Friday, March 05, 2010

Fast Word Count Fixes

Writers obsess about word count. Many of our publishers have word count limits - both high and low. Being too wordy makes for a hard read, and no one likes that. What follows are a few phrases that can be pared down to make room for better word choices ::

bit down -> bit
lifted up -> lifted
stood up -> stood
in between -> between

go on...search & destroy.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Monday, March 01, 2010

Pride & Passion Blog Exclusive Excerpt

Lily closed her bedroom door behind her and slumped against it, flipping the lock with a flick of her wrist. When she was alone with Jake Tolliver, sometimes she forgot who he was. Lucky for her, he had no problem showing his true colors.

He was a perfect match for the hard edges and biting remarks of Dee Gibson. They deserved each other. So why was she shaking because she’d caught sight of Dee’s arms around Jake in the foyer?

She refused to think about it. She’d done what she had to tonight. She’d held her tongue, buried her pride and let Dee turn the heat up under Jake. Hopefully it was enough to have him rethinking his marriage demand. She couldn’t live in a relationship like this. Not without homicide being an option.

Lily pushed off the door, crossed her room and then pulled back the painting over her wall safe. She worked the combination with ease and slid out her jewelry case.

She had no intention of keeping the beautiful necklace from Jake, but she thought something so lovely should be treasured and protected until she could return it. She set the box on top of her vanity, right next to the colorful bouquet of lilies.

Being near him was the worst kind of emotional torture. Such a dichotomy of what she craved and what she loathed. She flipped open the lid of the box, noticing how the jewels glittered in the light.

A thought skittered across her mind. She could sell everything in the box and probably have enough money to be rid of Jake, to finish school and stay in an apartment until she could secure a teaching position. She could, except how much were her mother’s pearls worth? She fingered the strand, wondering if anyone would care that the pink pearls were one of the few things she could remember her mother wearing. Eventually she could buy herself another diamond tennis bracelet, but it wouldn’t be the one her father had gotten her for her high-school graduation.

She pursed her lips and blinked away the hot tears as she reached behind her and undid the clasp of Jake’s necklace. She dropped it in the box, refusing to look at it as she removed her diamond teardrop earrings. College graduation from Dad.

It was stupid jewelry. Just things. She slammed the lid closed and shoved the box back in the safe, closing it quickly. They might be things, but they were tangible pieces of her memories.

What was it Jake said? Memories live in your heart? What if it was broken? Might all the memories spill out with your tears?

Lily choked on a sob as she walked into her closet and shed her dress, leaving it in a pile on the floor. She didn’t want it anymore, didn’t want anything to remind her of how she’d felt while sitting at a table with Jake and his lover. She slipped on a nightgown and turned off the light. She stood at the window, staring at the dark night. Dee’s car was gone, which gave her some modicum of relief. She wouldn’t have to think about them together in the house. At least if he slept with Dee tonight, he had the decency to do it elsewhere.

She sunk down onto her bed and pressed her palms against her damp eyes, trying to stem the flow. Maybe she was as stupid as everyone thought. She was jealous of a woman she never wanted to be, wanted a man she could never actually have.

“Lily?” Jake’s whisper drifted through the door and straightened her spine.

She listened and waited for him to try the handle, but he didn’t. Instead, she heard his retreating footsteps. The darkness and silence must have been enough to convince him she’d fallen asleep. If only it would be so easy to convince him she still hated him.


Pride and Passion
Copyright © 2010 by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finding Fear

Last weekend my local RWA chapter hosted a weekend of workshops. We had some great speakers - 1st Turning Point came to talk about promotion, Delilah Marvelle showed us plotstorming, Michael Hauge made my head want to explode with his story structure, and Bob Mayer gave his Warrior Writer workshop.

I knew going in that I needed the Warrior Writer workshop. I need to get out of my own way. What this showed me was that I need to get back to writing the way I did when my success was more in line with my expectations. I need for it to be more of a priority, not just for me but for my family.

I had 'the talk' with the mother-in-law and Hubba Bubba. Both are on board with trying to help out more...but neither have any extra time. We'll see what we can do...I wish I could sit Babygirl down and explain that she needs to sleep, for her health and Mommy's sanity.

I've also been looking at my goals. Monthy, yearly, 5 year... I did this once before when things were going better...and they haven't changed. I still want to write stories that entertain, that bring people joy, that are fun and engaging. So what has changed?

I'm not sure. I can point at the whirling dervish that is my surprise baby, the husband's job change that stole my scheduled writing time but gave him job satisfaction he was missing, the move, the health issues of family...but that's not it. I think it's fear.

Fear of what? I'm not sure. Fear is a slippery creature, hard to trap, harder still to pitch back into the murky depths. I've run through the usual suspects...

Rejection...while I don't like it, I've learned to put it in perspective
Public Speaking, Public Scrutiny...OK, it doesn't thrill me, but I can do it...usually by cracking jokes
Failure...maybe. But I can't reach the level of success I'm trying for without, well, trying.
Pain...see, I'm reaching here. I do fear pain. Anyone who was stricken with cluster migraines can understand. But it's not related to writing so...
Change...in some ways we're all creatures of habit. But I hate stagnation. So, even though I will hang on to a pair of 'writing pants' for a decade, I don't think this is my issue.
Success...maybe, maybe not. I want to be in a position where I can give back to my communities, that requires a level of success. Gaining sucess and losing it yet again...that's probably closer.
Commitment...I googled a list of fears and this one came up. We tend to use it in our writing pretty often...but I think that misses the mark too. No, I don't want to be tied down to any one genre, but I haven't seen anyone trying to put a pin in me lately...

I can't find it. Maybe I have a fear of being honest with myself.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Little Things


I love blogs. I have a collection I check far too often. In fact...I really need to update my own blog sidebar. Anywho...when I was blogsurfing today...I saw my own book! I Do Not Want To Wait, I Want The Book Now! is fave of mine because we seem to have similar tastes in books. I see when my favorite authors have a new release from this blog. And then...I'm on it! Made my DAY!


It really is the little things that thrill you :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pride & Passion


It's getting close...Pride & Passion has a cover and an excerpt! Go on, check out what happens when you mix Beauty & the Beast, Emma, and Pride & Prejudice...and then turn up the heat!!


Warning: This title contains a hero used to getting what he wants, a heroine determined not to give in to him, some indecent proposals, a fair amount of pride, and enough passion to burn up everyone’s control.

Read An Excerpt Online

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Re-Examined!

The Seattle Examiner picked up another of my Pink Heart Society articles - this one, A Muse Me, is about where I find inspiration.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Examined...

My Lather, Rinse, Repeat blog from The Pink Heart Society must have touched a chord with people. My local RWA group used it in our newsletter, and now it's been picked up by the Seattle Examiner!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Borders Blog!

I'm on the Borders's Blog! OK, The Pink Heart Society is on the Border's blog and I'm one of the editors. Still, me and Borders, sitting in a tree...

Monday, February 01, 2010

Busy Girl!

I'm at The Pink Heart Society, talking about how all the good ones are taken...

AND...helping to launch the new RomConInc forum. Check it out!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guess Who...

Guess who is at RomConInc today? Oh, that would be me. I sent them the wrong picture of me, so I am trying not to be embarassed. I have a perfectly nice headshot (OK, so I am wearing a shirt the color of Pepto, but whatever) and I send them a shot of me pulling a face on one of my friends who came to the booksigning at the Emerald City Conference! Ah well...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Buy My Mom's Book


My author copies for Compromising Positions came today. Bayley wanted to know if I was going to sell enough copies to go to DisneyWorld or DisneyLand. It cracked me up...and I was quite impressed with his personal spin.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Office Space

One of the things we were looking for in a new house, was an office for me. Hubba Bubba was quite sick of trying to sleep while I typed inches away from his ear. I'm happy to say that I got my office, and nearly have it decorated! Here's a peek at where I should be getting some work done!

We're able to tuck 3 bookshelves into the closet, which keeps the clutter at bay. It also happens to be the diva's favorite place to go...she's also why I haven't written much :)

The artwork was all done by my grandmother when she was in art school and dreaming of becoming a romance novel cover artist!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Compromising Positions


Happy release day to me! Compromising Positions is available in bookstores everywhere :) It might not be on the shelf due to the tight ship booksellers are running right now -- I went to buy a desk calendar today and they only had a few dozen on the clearance tables!! -- but you can always ask them to order it for you. Or, if the Amazon river runs straight to your house the way it flows to mine...just snag it from there.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Pride & Passion has a blurb!

Got to love Google Alerts. I found the blurb for Pride & Passion today. Sometimes I think my favorite thing about writing for Samhain is that the books come with warnings!!


He’ll let her have control…until he’s ready to make his move.

The only things Lily Harris inherits after her father’s untimely death are debt, scandal and loneliness. She doesn’t protest when her father’s business partner, Jake Tolliver, steps up to help with the mess she finds herself in—until Jake reveals the last promise he made to her father.

Jake may be as compelling to look at as a marble statue—and stir a frighteningly powerful desire within her—but no way will Lily agree to be his socially acceptable bride while he continues to bed his string of beautiful women—not without getting him to agree to a deal of her own first.

With a well-earned reputation as a feral hunter who goes after what he wants, Jake has his sights set on Lily, and her lack of options puts her right where he’s wanted her from the first moment he laid eyes on her.

Jake’s not above making Lily think she’s having it her way if that’s what it’ll take to have his way in the end. But once he grows tired of playing beast to her beauty, he’s not above changing the rules of the game until they’re both playing for the same prize.

Warning: This title contains a hero used to getting what he wants, a heroine determined not to give in to him, some indecent proposals, a fair amount of pride, and enough passion to burn up everyone’s control.

Friday, January 01, 2010

One year from today, I hope to have:

Learned - How to focus on things that matter

Changed - my exercise habits (in that I need some!)

Figured out - A way to get Grace to sleep, Hayden to feel confident, and Bayley to relax more

Completed - 2 novels

Stopped - Obsessing about weight

Started - Sleeping 8 hours a night (see Figured Out for a clue as to why I'm sleep deprived)

Acquired - A hot tub. Yep, that's the first thing that came to mind, Not a SUV for Jeff or the piano I claim to want. Saw that and thought - hot tub.

Given up - Fast food, because upon examination, it's disgusting. It doesn't matter if the kids like Happy Meals. I can buy them the toy for $1.

Visited - At least 2 National Parks. (Crater Lake is first on our list.)

Left behind - Weight issues, for good.