Monday, July 31, 2006


Romance Divas
Author of the Month : Gemma Halliday – Contests workshop from the Golden Heart winner
Aug 5-7: Paranormal Event with Carrie Vaughn, LA Banks, CT Adams/Cathy Clamp, Gena Showalter, and Kelley Armstrong.
Aug 11 Jessica Faust: Bookends-inc agent in the Chatroom. 9 Eastern
August 8-18 :: Getting To Know The Voices in Your Head Workshop with Jo Ann Ferguson/Jocelyn Kelley
Aug 18 :: Theresa Meyers: PR/Promo in the Chatroom.
August 25 :: Ann Christopher, Patricia Sargeant, Maureen Smith and Sophia Shaw Multi-cultural Authors Chat

• July 31-Aug 4: "Introducing Hotel Marchand!" with Jean Brashear, Kristi Gold, Kara Lennox, Shirley Jump & Lori Wilde!
• Aug 7-11: Q&A: "Writing an Expert Character -- Even When You're Not an Expert Yourself" with Samantha Hunter
• Aug 14-18: "What Cost Career?" with Michele Dunaway

Sunday, July 30, 2006

RWA recaps

I didn't make it to RWA Nationals in Atlanta this year, but this article sums it up nicely.

Michelle Willingham will have workshop notes from the Harlequin spotlight, as well as other workshops on her blog all week.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

DELICIOUS - Julie Cohen - Modern Extra

When English teacher Elisabeth Read finds celebrity chef Angus MacAllister standing in the middle of a group of students, holding a chicken of all things, she's not sure about anything - except her instant attraction. Terrified of showing her reaction to the man, she retreats, only to learn that she'll be working very closely with him to prepare two students for an upcoming cooking competition.

Angus volunteered to help the kids for the publicity, but the school and Elisabeth aren't interested in allowing the kids to be used as props. He agrees to help anyway because of a commraderie he feels with the two students, and his curiosity about Elisabeth's seeming disdain for him. Unable to settle for someone not liking him, especially someone he's attracted to, Angus does all he can for the kids, knowing it is the only way to get Elisabeth to see his as more than his playboy public personna, carefully crafted by his publicist.

With every cooking lesson she attends as the children's chaperone, Elisabeth feels Angus chip away at the wall she's built up. Though she warms to him, she still refuses to go out with him, until he makes he an offer she can't refuse - taking the kids to the best restaurant in London.

Deciding to enjoy the moment, Elisabeth goes home with Angus and enjoys a magical weekend. Can she let down her guard completely and let him into her heart? Julie Cohen has told another sensual pairing of complicated characters, caught in a heart-tugging set of circumstances. A wonderfully witty, pleasure drenched story.

Friday, July 28, 2006

SuperMom and WriterChick do not happily coexist

There is only so much time in the day, and limited energy thanks to my latest health funk - so I haven't written anything....though I did take the babes to the zoo, out to lunch, and for a playdate. Then today was the science museum that had a great new robot exhibit.

But writing? Um...not so much.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Romance Writers Report : Part Tres


Use embarrassing situations from life to bring levity - toilet paper on the shoe, panty hose runs...
but...but...but...humor is not one liners!?! Ah, man. Come on! I like those. I can do those. Geesh. Back to the drawing board.


She had me from "beware the spellbinding title." I am such a victim of that! If it is OK for Betina King and her 26 book deep backlist to throw in the towel on a book, we all can!


Many writers gave the same underlying concept in all their stories - well, most of them. This core story is what comes naturally to you.

Great. Either I don't have a core story, or it has multiple personalities.
  • JUST ONE SPARK - healing
  • STRIPPED - acceptance
  • THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE - 2nd chance
  • IF YOU SAY SO - acceptance
  • FOR KICKS - healing
  • COME FOR DINNER - rescue

The 'healing' is easiest for me to write, 'acceptance' the most rewarding, 'rescue' the most fun...I don't fit neatly. More of an accepting and healing while saving them from themselves.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More Blog Fun

I found another fun thing in the blogsphere. Alison Kent is having a daily scavenger hunt. What a great idea. Paperbackwriter is planning on havine virtual writing workshops on Cross-genre writing, Extending your writing range, Trend tracking versus jumping, Writing to concept. And there is even a blog for those of us who need a fix of RWA National!

About That Business Plan...

Yeah, well...I've written a business plan before. Loved it each time. But I'm balking at the idea of my writing being a business. I know, I know..your name is your brand. But...I'm just a chick who writes stories. Sure, I idolize VLT, but I don't have the time right now! I mean, BabyBoy refuses to potty train, BigBoy can read (I've caught him) but won't let on, HubbaBubba works so hard I have to push him out the door to play golf for a release, and have you seen my house? No? Well, lemme tell ya, it's filthy. Well, 2 rooms and the garage are clean, but for the rest 'lived in' is being kind.

So...what I want my career to be in 10 years and what I want for it for the next 10 are quite different, which makes this business plan thing rough. but here goes:

Mission Statement (who you are) : I want to write sassy, fun romance novels with a quirky edge.
Vision Statement (who you want to be) : I want to have a few books each year make it on my readers' keeper shelves.
Industry Research (the market & your place in it) : I'm lucky that Mills & Boon decided to create a line for what I like to write and read (it's all about me, not their own industry research, decades of experience, and readers pleading)...this was luck, timing, and perseverence - not industry research. That said, I think I can weave humor and sensuality in a quirky way this is a bit different.
Company Description (your strengths) : My dedication to category romance isn't a passing fancy. I'm addicted. I want to be a longtime category author, with enough titles to fill an 'other books by' page. I'm determined, and undaunted. Well, rejections sting, but don't deter me. I'm also able to brainstorm ideas, revise stories, and write quickly.
Money Tree (fees, dues, computer, internet, postage, supplies, classes) : Oh, this is comical. There is no money. Heck, I'm proud that I had money left over from my last advance (after I paid DH back for the list of things I've spent on in the name of seeing my name on a book) to buy a fridge when ours conked out. But now I'm back to having to ask for everythink I can't squeeze out of my grocery budget. There is no money.
Action (timeline) : 2006 -

  1. Submit every completed romance novel until it sells. (every one is under consideration but If You Say So)
  2. Complete 4 more novels and submit them as well. (only Cooking Up A Storm so far)
  3. Enter 3 contests. (Romance Junkies, Great Beginnings, ...)
  4. Attend 1 RWA conference. (Emerald Valley - October)
  5. Lead 2 workshops (RD's Targeting Category Romance - May, eHQ's NaNoWriMo - November)
  6. Submit short stories for pay if possible, publicity if not. (3 published this year)
So...according to my business plan I'm doing great in most areas - except money and writing new novels this year. Hopefully the money table will turn if I write more :)

Up next... Laughing, Bad Ideas, and Working Your Core

RWA begins today...without me

Alas, thanks to the fridge I didn't make it to RWA in Atlanta. But I'm not alone! Lucy Monroe is throwing a huge blog party with prizes! I'm loving it.

My Romance Writers report came today, so I thought I'd go through it, as a mini-workshop for myself.


Light and smart look at fighting the plague of desk butt. Michele got a wake up call when her cholesterol snuck up on her, and learned to work healthy eating and fitness into her life. She gives some examples from other authors, like Cynthianna Appel who walks every morning like I do.

Writing does mean an awful lot of sitting, of free (ha!) time spent typing when we could be moving. It's nice to see that most writers struggle with it. It's not just me!


I need to have a business plan! Omigawsh! I thought I left those days behind. Not so, says Hagar and the other authors quoted in the article. Most of the points talked about are things I've thought of, but never articulated. I'm off to work on my business'll see it tomorrow. Aren't you lucky?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I am the Mom I wanted to be (a non-writing post)

Getting pregnant with BigBoy was a long battle for us. I used to lay awake at night, praying and schemeing about the kind of mother I would be if only a child would come to us. This weekend, I was that woman.

Usually, I'm her for a few hours every day, but this weekend we took a trip to the coast and I was on, HubbaBubba was on, the boys were on - well, except for trying to get them to sleep in the hotel. But I digress.

We had the kind of vacation I wanted to give them. Oregon Coast Aquarium, Marine Science Center, Ripley's Believe it or Not, Wax Museum, Undersea Gardens, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, tidepools, marina, pier, Devils Punchbowl, Cape Foulweather, and the beach every day. I am exhausted! And excited.

I was almost able to keep up with them. I was a little wary of the ocean, since I have so little energy I was worried I wouldn't be able to help them if they fell. But I don't think they noticed. We distracted them with kites and sandcastles.

Now I'm back, and back to work. Tommorrow.

Monday, July 24, 2006


We took the boys to the coast this weekend (more on that tomorrow) but the big news is I forgot

  • books (all of them - there wasn't even one in my purse!)
  • my notebooks - I had NOTHING to write on at all!
  • my alphasmart - so much for getting some writing done on the beach
  • my MP3 player - my reading alternative is audiobooks
  • my cell phone - no calls
  • my laptop - no email

And speaking of email...I never noticed, but in three days I got 185 messages,126 of them junk.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I'm peeved!

So I'm on this blasted 100-calorie diet, lovely I say. And I gained a pound! WTF! Harumph!

You see, this couldn't happen in a book. A reader would not suspend disbelief. My cousin suggested that like in the episode of Malcom in the Middle, perhaps all my low-fat products are being replaced with full-fat. If only. They'd taste better!

Grouchy girl, signing off!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Erotica - not just for e-pubs anymore...

My friend Amanda brought up some good points on her blog today.

"Other than Steven King's famous foray into exclusive ebook content, the erotic
market really blazed the trail in e-publishing. Why was that? Probably because
NY wasn't publishing really hot romances and the e-realm was the only place to
find it. Also, it's a lot easier to go online, give a credit and anonymously get
your hot sex fix in the privacy of your own bedroom than it is to go into your
local B&N and get it in person."

With traditional publishing houses grabbing hold of the erotica market and it's most marketable e-publishing authors, will e-pubs need to ride the wave of a new trend? What do you think it could be?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Who is the Harlequin/Mills & Boon reader?

I read this article, and it had some fun facts about HQ readers:
  • Nearly half of romance readers are college graduates
  • have sex 74 percent more often than their nonromance-reading counterparts

I like those. When I am writing, I often wonder whom I am writing for? Women like me who like to read, but not have to worry about the characters once the book is over? SAHMs? Retirees? Commuters? Men? Who do you think reads category romance?

Personally I write for me (& my writing friends who all seem to be in a similar boat - young kids, funny hubba-bubba). So, I've got the young mother with too much education and not eough money demographic locked up. Who else should I consider while writing? I'm thinking my sisters - young married with dogs and no babies as of yet.

OH! And did I mention, my grandmother read Just One Spark, and had story critiuques! YES SHE DID! Hey, she's read more HQ than most editors there (unless they are 83 and voracious readers too), so I better listen up!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Blogging With Friends!

Has anyone else noticed the plethora of group blogs put together by romance writers? Some of them are really great, like each writer saves their funniest or most insightful piece for their turn at the group blog. I still love the everyday blog where we learn authors are human, and make lots of mistakes like leaving the water on in the garden and getting stuck in revisions purgartory, but therse grooup blogs are great fun. And it seems most groups have a member who can create a snazzy banner!!

To Be Read, the blog of PASIC
The Lipstick Chronicles, a group blog by four authors
Romancing the Blog, a group blog contributed to by multiple romance novelists
Out of the Blogosphere, a group blog by paranormal authors
Warner Women, a group blog by Warner Books authors
Storytellers Unplugged, a group blog by thirty horror and dark fantasy authors and editors
The Whine Sisters, a group blog by Julia London, Kathleen Givens and Sherri Browning

Sunday, July 16, 2006

CoffeeTime Romance Interview up!

Check out my interview!

I see on your website that "Cooking Up a Storm" has sold and will be out in December. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about this book?

In a nutshell - Mr. Buttoned Uptight needs a caterer and a girlfriend and decides to multi-task.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Best Day

My short story, The Best Day, is available FREE on Wild Child!

THE BEST DAY : When her family leaves for the day without even speaking to her, Gail realized the three people she's lived for don't need her anymore. Gail searches her heart for what she wants, and who she wants to be. Will her trip to the dark side of her soul lead her home?

You have GOT to be kidding me!

My blog is worth $21,452.52.
How much is your blog worth?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Getting My Groove Back

New drugs always seem to make me tired. Zaps the motivation. It's like I'm being pulled backwards by a black hole. So much for finishing Drive Me Crazy before the editor got back from her holiday!

I hate stopping a work in progress. I'm a linear panster, so when I get out of the groove, I have a hard time getting back into it. It's what kept me from completing manuscripts for so long. I hopped out of the groove for fantastic reasons - polishing stories for the editor, line edits of the Cooking Up A Storm...which I now wish I would have suggested Cooking Up A Seduction - but I'm still grooveless.

What do you do to get back into the groove after a break from writing?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Romance Divas

The Diva's have hit the big time. Last year, Romance Divas was peppered by successful authors, most of us falling in the soon-to-be-published category. Thanks to the support there, many of us have found homes for our stories. Here are some great stories by some fantastic Divas:

Cassandra Curtis aka "C.C"

Stacy Dawn aka "Country Diva"
Amanda Brice aka "Chick-Lit Diva"

Rose Middleton aka Wordslinging Diva

Cassidy Kent aka "Boss Diva"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Being Silly & Having Fun

I have way too much on my mind with real life to be productive. But I am thinking...I like to be silly. Professionalism has never been my bag. I like to work hard and the rewards that come with that, but I like to have fun the whole way...well, as much of the way as I can manage.

In Just One Spark there are lots of bits I incorporated to make it fun for me. Kate's penguins, for instance. And in Cooking Up a Storm you'll see those naughty vegetables I was scouring the web for a few months back. Drive Me Crazy - which I will get back to as soon as I have this health stuff worked out - will have that freaky zoo trip I had a while back (amorous animals). Each book has a little piece of fun for me to rediscover each time I read.

Is it silly? Yeah. Do I care? Not so much. I write light, fun romance novels. I'm not changing the course of literature. Besides, I love reading those outrageous bits when other authors have them. We all should enjoy ourselves more and worry less.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

So Many Books, So Little Time

I've been reading instead of writing. Bad girl, I know. But with my health issues I've been reading up on diets - though I decided to go back to Dr. Phil which worked last time - and getting lost in other books. Plus...I found out you can get some real bargains on eBay...

I think I have a book addiction. Really. I have shelves of unread books, yet I am always looking for more...and now I can call reading 'work'.

Think there is a 12-step program for reading addicts?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Second Place

Winners of the 2006 Great Beginnings Writers Contest!

4th Place- Haunting Passion by Robyn Grady aka "Flutter"

4th Place- Holding Fast by Angela Smith aka "Alegna"

1st Place- Discreet Young Gentleman by Marlys Pearson - update - contracted by Seventh Window
2nd Place- Par for the Course by Jenna Bayley-Burke
3rd Place- Virtue and Vice by Phylis Warady
4th Place- White Lady by Pam Champagne

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Marriage Miracle by Liz Fielding HQ ROMANCE - RITA nominee

For July, eHarlequin challenged the 100 Book Challenge bloggers to read and discuss the RITA nominees. I just read the first on my list - Liz Fielding's
The Marriage Miracle

If this is the quality of RITA books, then sign me up. I'm a believer. No wonder Cataromance chose it as the best Tender of the year. I loved the heroine - spunky, snarky, and real. Add in a hero who is actually attracted to a woman for her mind, listening abilities, and sassy mouth? Perfection. As a reader I loved it, and as I writer it is a great lesson on the depth and permeability of characterization. And dialogue! The BEST witty banter!

The Marriage Miracle

Mattie Lang loves to flirt, because she knows she won't have to back up her suggestions to wrestle around in the bushes. As soon as men see her wheelchair, they're tripping over themselves to get away. or at the very least making stilted conversation. She knows Sebastian Wolseley hasn't seen her chair when she begins to play with him, but his reaction when the tablecloth is pulled aside is completely unexpected. He continues to tease, and then asks her to dinner! Thankfully her cousin pulls her away to chat up the book she illustrated to a journalist.

Unaccustomed to taking no for an answer, and neck deep in salvaging his uncles greeting card business, Sebastion is captivated by Matty's unaffected sense of humor. He was so comfortable talking with her, he wants to do it again - but she is too busy. So, he arms himself with sandwiches and business ideas and charms her into listening, and then living without limits again.

If this is the standard for RITA nominees, I am sold. The rest of the books have a hard act to live up to. I loved the biting wit of the heroine, the romantic charm of the hero, the changes of scenery (London, countryside, ocean), and the playful banter between the two which helped to keep some very serious matters light and realistic. This book broke my stereotype for what could go on in a Romance (skinny dipping, and lovemaking, and X rated thoughts!), but each element was handled with such class it remained sweet.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Get Trapped in a Book Romance Read-A-Thon

Jessica Trapp is holding the funnest contest I've seen. Join the Read-A-Thon, record each time you read a romance novel from July 1 - until 2007, and be entered to win $250 for you and your local library! I love my library!

Friday, July 07, 2006

30 Books to read before I die...maybe...

On Kristi's blog I saw that WordWing compiled a list of books by asking librarians across the country what you should read before you die. How do you stack up?
  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. The Bible (by God!)
  3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  8. All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque
  9. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
  10. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
  11. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  12. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  14. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  15. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
  16. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  17. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
  18. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  19. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  20. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  21. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  22. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
  23. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  24. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  25. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  26. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  27. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  28. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  29. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  30. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

Here's a weird little Jenna high school they used to give us summer reading lists and we had to pick two or three...I'd try and read the whole list. Hence why I've been through most of the classics, and few of the newer releases. How about you?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rejection Vacation

Okay...I'm getting rejected daily (today was Kensington), and I've had about enough! How do I stop getting rejected? Well, there is no way, I mean you submit, you'll get passes. It is the nature of the publishing game. But...I've figured out a way to take a rejection vacation...I'm not touching the internet until the weekend. So...everyone have some great news for me to scramble around for when I get back!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Short Story Pinball

I love to write short stories! I get a high from completing a work...and shorts are a fast fix for a junkie like me. But when you write a lot...and submit a get rejected A LOT! 42 short story submissions this year...3 bites.

I read this book once that said there is a place for everything you write - often more than one place...but sometimes I wonder... eh...I'm just wonky because I got to rejections today. I have 20 submissions out there...maybe I'll get some nibbles soon.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I hate writing a synopsis

And so does Trish Wylie. But she's opened my eyes to a different approach. I always try to write a hooky book report. Next time I'm trying it her way.

Trish Wylie - Irish Romance Writer: Synopsis - Example at your request

Sunday, July 02, 2006

July Workshops

Michele Scott, author of MURDER BY THE GLASS and MURDER UNCORKED, will be doing a workshop for Romance Divas from July 10-14 on writing chick lit mysteries.

What's Layering and How Do I Do It? with Rhonda Nelson -- July 10-14 -- eHarlequin

PITCH AND ROLL WORKSHOP :: July 9-15, 2006
Imagine this: you’re sitting in a conference room across the table from the editor or agent of your dreams. You’ve spent a long time preparingfor this moment – you practiced your pitch with your critique partner, picked out a few choice phrases to describe your hero and heroine, winnowed down your complex and original plot to a two-sentence high concept overview, and written the whole thing down on a handful of index cards in case you freak out and forget what it is that your book about. You’re all ready... aren’t you? Sure, as long as the industrypro 1) still acquires what you write (job descriptions and line needs change at the speed of light in this biz), and doesn’t blindside you with a pet peeve that bears an uncanny resemblance ot your latest project. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned, but if you keep your head and your sense of humor, you can survive and even benefit from pitch scenarios gone wild. Let Diana Peterfreund, author of this summer's SECRET SOCIETY GIRL, show you how.

Barnes & Noble University fun:
Backyard Astronomy: Skywatching Basics
Your Home Spa
Feng Shui for Your Life

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The itch

Uh-oh. I'm itching to get back into Drive Me Crazy...but I CAN'T!! No, I must polish this mss and get it off to the lovely editor first! MUST! They need to make calamine lotion for writers itch!

In other news...this is my babes birthday week! (Yep, week. Their Hebrew birthdays are a week apart, and this year their regular birthdays fall in that week, so they get a birthday week.) My folks are up and my brothers are dropping by...and there is a BIG party tomorrow with more cake than...well, more cake!