Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Performance Anxiety

Is there anything more daunting than the first page of a new manuscript? The blinking cursor, mocking you to be clever enough to keep a readers attention past that first sentence.

While watching The Unit (how good was it last night?!?) for moral support I started my latest story. Maybe. I've been struggling with where to start it, and haven't been able to find just the right spot. So...I found the latest point in the story I possibly could start it, and went with that.

Time to fortify myself with Girl Scout Thin Mints and read over what I wrote last night! Wish me luck!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Breathless by Trish Wylie

From the opening line of Trish’s latest Modern Extra outing, I found myself grinning at the feisty heroine and her plight to join a gym to remake her body – only to be faced with the epitome of male perfection. Every woman who’s ever been intimidated by the hard bodies in a gym can relate to self-help author Cara’s plight to find a personal trainer so she can wear her latest bridesmaid dress with pride instead of dread.

As Cara spars with the gym’s co-owner, bodyguard on the mend Rory Flanaghan, she loses more than just inches. Slowly but surely she loses her inhibitions and her heart to the soulful former soldier. She knows he is leaving and never promised her more than a good time, so instead of laying her cards on the table and risking what time they have left, she takes what he offers and plans an around the world trip so she won’t have to be around when he says goodbye. Cara never counted on Rory being just as effected by his time with her, or his silent decision to follow her lead and change his entire life piece by piece.

The banter between Rory and Cara is laugh out loud funny, but with a dramatic undercurrent signature of Wylie’s novels for the Romance line. This story packs an emotional punch by weaving tenderness and passion into searing love scenes that sizzle on the page. Sensual, fun, and incredibly sexy.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Oscars!

The only movie I saw this year was Little Miss Sunshine, and I must admit, I thought the nachos I was sharing were better. That movie must have a subtext I didn't catch. BUT, I am excited for the Oscars. I love the glamour of it, the romance, the flash!

Just once, I want t0 look as great as the actresses do in a dress. It's the most beutiful night in Hollywood, and I can't wait!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Freaking Friday!

Heard from the editor -- she hasn't had time to look at my synopsi, synopses, you know...yet so I am free! Free as a bird! Yeah, wish I was on deadline, but what can you do?

I'm spending my weekend on another reading binge! Up first, Trish Wylie's Breathless. Yes, I'm actually reading a book in the month it comes out. Why? Because this book has a GREAT first page. No joke ::

"What can I do for you?"

Cara stared up int the darkest eyes she had ever seen while her subconscious mind formed an X-rated list of answers to that particular question.

Why would anyone want to put this book down?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rolling on the River

Finally, I think I get it. At this weekends' retreat I had an opportunity to talk about career planning with Michelle Garjkowski, writing multiple genres with Stephanie Rowe, and plot with Janice Kay Johnson. Michelle helped me see that I need to keep my long term goal (a page of other books by titles) in mind with every decision. Stephanie probably meant to broadn my horizons, but for now I'm sticking to one genre until I feel I have a handle on it. (I can always play in my short stories.) Janice Kay opened my mind to what has been snagging my career.

I told her the basic plot of the heiress/cowboy book, the whole thing in 60 seconds. She immediately saw the same issues my editor did, but explained to me WHY the issues ruined the story. "They aren't steering the ship." She said more, but those words wrapped around my mind and wouldn't let go.

If a story is a river from the cute meat to happily ever after, your couple either floats along with the current (external conflict) or paddles (internal conflict). I get my characters in the boat, I get them down the river, but I haven't been packing oars in the string of rejected boats. That is the difference between what has sold (or garnered agent/editor attention) and what the lovely editor knew at a partail stage wasn't going to float.

Now I know...and need to chat up my editor to see if I have this right, or have been thinking too much. Again.

Monday, February 19, 2007

10 Things About Me

I was at a retreat this weekend and came up with some good ones to make people laugh...but can I remember any of them when Trish decides to tag me? NOooooooo... Ah well.

  1. I am not a big indoor animal person. Yes, my black lab sleeps at the foot of the bed, but he's ruined me for all other animals. He never uses my house for a toilet, never chews on the kids toys, and doesn't beg at the table. He just lays patiently in wait for BabyBoy to drop him something.
  2. I've never read Nora Roberts or Debbie Macomber or Amanda Quick or Jayne Ann Krentz...want my RWA membership back?
  3. I hate to wear shoes. I am a socks or slippers girl all the way. Yet...I love the way shoes look on.
  4. I may be addicted to books. Really. It's starting to worry me. I horde them like crazy ladies do cats.
  5. I want to have a book with a Christmas tree on the cover. Another with a bare muscled male torso. One with great shoes and little career plan is askew. Eh, at least I have one.
  6. Last year I went to a physician, naturopath, acupuncturist, herbalist, chiropractor, dentist, oral surgeon, endocrinologist, radiologist, and podiatrist.
  7. I take pictures all the time, never seem to get them printed.
  8. Peaches should not be cooked. They get stringy and that is a crime.
  9. I ate a whole box of chocolate this weekend. Blame Maggie.
  10. I am the eldest of four kids and the only girl. It's no wonder I hate to take out the trash, scoop dog poo, mow the lawn...etc. Someone explain this to my husband. He's the middle of three boys and thinks it is odd.
Hmmm...let's see who checks this thing...if you do, you're tagged!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Cata announced their Reviewers Choice Award nominations

Guess who made the list?

What a crowd to be in!! I was excited to see Medicals do so well. We don't have them in store here (like MX) but the reviewers adore them. I got a bit squishy when I saw Fiona got three nods. She deserves them, all that research she puts in. Vacationing is so hard. I wonder where she'll take us best involve the beach and hammocks!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A weekend away

Not a vacation really, but I'm at a mini-conference with my RWA chapter this weekend. The hotel has wi-fi, but my room is so far away from the hub...I have to come to the dining room to log on. You know you are addicted to the internet when that drives you crazy!

I check today and found another great review for Dreams & Desires ::

The Forest For The Trees

Brenda’s mind plays tricks on her when on a camping trip with her partner, Ryan. Thinking he is stalking off away from her after she asked him where he thought their relationship was going, running away from answering her, she is more than mildly surprised when she finds out exactly what he is doing, streaking through the woods to his truck with no shoes on. A very sweet story that brought a smile to my face.

Jenna is the author of JUST ONE SPARK and COOKING UP A STORM both available from Mills & Boon. You can visit her at

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chat with Dreams & Desires authors at Romance Divas, Feb 15, 8-10pm EST/5-7pm PST

The majority of the authors in the book (Jenna Bayley-Burke, Faith Bicknell-Brown, Amanda Brice, Sela Carsen, Gemma Halliday, Candace Havens, Zinnia Hope, Richelle Mead, Debbie Mumford, Rhonda Stapleton, Bebe Thomas, Emily Veinglory, Sasha White) are Divas! That's 13 out of 19 of the authors.

Two weeks ago Gemma Halliday hosted a great chat, with tons of prizes! Come on by for your share of the swag!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Romance Diva's e-book Challenge

What the heck is the Romance Divas E-Book Challenge? The E-book challenge is a network of authors who will link together by writing a story of your heart and sharing it to the world for free.

For more exciting FREE READS go to for a complete listing.

I reccommend ::

All's Fair In Love & Baseball by Jenna Bayley-Burke


Julia Clayton thought Mariners were fishermen. It only made sense. Much to her new husbands’ chagrin, she stated this fact loud, and often. Really, it was ridiculous how seriously James and his brothers devoted themselves to watching grown men play a simple game.

When the Mariners won, the house was filled with joyous laughter, but a loss could put a pall over the entire clan. Julia tried to lighten the mood at every defeat, trying to joke her way into smiles from at least her husband. However, when his brothers left James would assure Julia baseball was not “just a game.”

Julia found it odd something so trivial as professional sports could draw a line in the sand of her new marriage. Yet whenever she tried to joke off a disappointing game, her husband found something pressing to do in the yard, muttering that she’d never understand.

The ultimate irony was that they met at a Mariners game. The accounting firm auditing the publishing house where she worked invited the finance team to a game in their executive box. Julia went to unwind from a long week with her friends from work, but became instantly smitten with the intensity of the handsome auditor who flashed her smiles and asked for her number during the seventh inning stretch.

A year later they married, though the Mariners were playing that day. His brothers were his groomsmen, and both listened to the game through the ceremony, giving highlights and score updates throughout the reception.

Still wrapped up in the blissful feeling of the day, Julia had only been mildly annoyed when she awoke sometime during her wedding night to find James catching the highlight reel on ESPN.

“I’m sorry you missed the game.” Julia said, the lights of the television dancing over the darkened room. “A true fan would never schedule something as trivial as a wedding the same day as a double header.” She jabbed James in the ribs for good measure.

“Don't be silly.” James leaned down and kissed the top of her head, his eyes never leaving the screen. “The wedding is more important. I just want to see where the manager got thrown out of the game.”

Julia turned her back to him, snickering at his obsession. She’d never understand his passion for the Mariners. He rubbed her shoulder as she tried to fall back asleep.

“Did you see my folks got a season ticket for you too? Right next to mine. They must have jumped through hoops for that.”

Like she’d use it. Still, it was nice to be accepted into the family so deeply they wanted her to sit in the rain with them on wooden seats and scream like idiots.

The first few games after their honeymoon were easy enough to beg off. With moving and work she had plenty of excuses not to bore herself at a ballpark. It gave James time with his friends and family, as well as his beloved Mariners.

Their new apartment, and the big screen television she’d got James as a wedding gift, became the mecca for away games. Julia enjoyed playing hostess, picking up fun party food and learning funny stories about James, albeit on commercial breaks.

She didn’t even mind much when James neglected to realize he’d be spending their two-month anniversary at the game with his brothers. He loved the game and she loved him, and there was no getting around either point. When he called that evening she hoped he’d say he was on his way home to take her to dinner, but instead he regaled the events of his day and the client who received notice they were being audited. With a half-promise to be home before midnight, James asked if she’d tape the game for him.

“Won’t you be listening to it on the radio?” He always listened to games that started before he got off, or were being played on the East coast while he was at work.

“I’ll try, but I know I’ll miss most of it. We’re planning how to best attack this audit. Please?”

Julia agreed, but when she couldn’t figure out how to program his VCR, she decided to wait for the game to start and press record. With some reading from work, she curled up on the couch and paid enough attention to push pause when the commercials came on.

The first two innings were dismal, falling behind 6-1, Julia thought not recording the game and saving James from watching a stinker of a game might be a blessing. But when the first Mariner at bat in the third inning hit a home run, she began to watch the team more closely as they rallied.

By the ninth inning her reading was on the end table and she held her breath when the final Mariner lifted his bat. She’d never noticed the excitement of the game before, the skill of reading a pitcher, the speed of the ball as it hurdled towards the batter, the crack of the bat as it sent the ball careening into the sky. She gasped as the Angel in the outfield stepped under the ball, holding his glove open to catch the last hope of tying the game.

When the ball bobbled from his glove and onto the ground, Julia shrieked in delight, jumping from her seat. The error tied the game, sending it into overtime. The game had just ended when James shuffled through the door, his face tired and weary from work.

“Do you wants something to eat?” she offered, pressing rewind on the tape. “The game should be ready in a minute.”

“No thanks. We brought in dinner and I heard on the way over that we lost the game.”

“In overtime.” Julia said with excitement.

James shrugged. “I’ll miss the game on Thursday too.”

“I’ll tape it for you. And we’ll make the game on Sunday afternoon. You never work Sundays.” She sat back down on the couch, watching the tape rewind on the screen so she could at least show him the error that led to overtime, and that double play from the fifth inning.

“Okay, who are you and what have you done with my bride?” James sank next to her on the couch, a smile on his face.

“Baseball’s not so bad. And with you working so much on this project it will be a good way for us to spend time together.”

“Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more.” James tilted his head towards hers, but she stole his attention by pressing play, the announcer’s description of the near perfect double-play filling the apartment.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Website Watching Weekend

I'm going off the net for the weekend to get some work done, but here's what's been distracting me this week ::

A new blog launched dedicated to HQ's Presents line. This week the executive editor was sharing why she loves the line so much.

Of course I am enamoured by the Pink Heart Society. The week started with Colin Farrell and ended with a first sale by one of our members. What do you expect but devotion?

I edit reviews there, and they've kept me busy! That, and they have free reads, and we know how I love a good short story.

The Best Query Letter contest was on, and since I am hosting a round table on queries next weekend, I had to get my fill. Oh, and rant about The Unit.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Fun For Friday :: Review Wrap-Up

Earned another rejection from the lovely editor today, so thought I would scour the web for reviews of my short stories to cheer myself up. (OK, that and looking for a hunky Frenchman to be the hero of my next book. My cousin thinks he should be Italian. I'm still thinking...)

"Jenna Bayley-Burke pens a story that leaves the reader with a sigh and wishing they could find a little bit of Nick in their own true love. This is one enchanting story that leaves a wonderful everlasting feeling." 4 cups from Coffee Time Romance on DREAM RING

"Ms. Bayley-Burke is able to paint a vivid picture of a tough decision and the results of them. She also shows the choices you may make in life affect how you end up conducting yourself with your children. I felt the story was believable since many people elope to escape the stress of planning a wedding. It was a wonderful story and very heart felt." 4 cups from Coffee Time Romance on IF WE LISTENED

"A short, sweet tale about two people locked into societies convention and bored stupid by it. It was simply charming to read." Stacy Dawn, author on IN SILHOUETTE

"A short, sweet tale about two people locked into societies convention and bored stupid by it. It was simply charming to read."3 cups fromCoffee Time Romance on IN SILHOUETTE

"Jenna Bayley-Burke spins a good story with believable characters and events showing that love can happen the second time around with just a bit of persuasion, even if it comes from within the children. She pens a delightful read." 3 cups from Coffee Time Romance on HOW ABOUT TOMORROW

"How About Tomorrow? was extremely poignant. ... For a quick, simply stunning look at someone picking themselves up and dusting themselves off and going for broke, How About Tomorrow? is a cute read." -Joyfully Reviewed

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday Thoughts : To Read or not To Read

On the desk :: A Year in the Merde & Fringe Benifits
On the nightstand :: Secrets & Private Confessions
In the car :: Better Single than Sorry
Downstairs :: Trouble

Reading is my favorite thing. Truly, I don't think I'll ever get enough. I don't have the room for this little habit (my bookshelves runneth over), or the time (two kids, Hubba, dog, trying to be an author), or the money (my book budget is non-existent) and still, I can't stop. Why would I want to!

What's the best thing you've read lately? I must say, A Year in the Merde is lad-lit at it's finest. I reserved the sequel, The Merde in Love, at the library...if I had a book budget, I would have bought it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wednesday Wrap Up

Submitting manuscripts make me nervous, since we all know how well I do with rejection. But I havent found an editor willing to pay me for what I haven't shown them. Someday...

Until then, the agent has a partial and a full out two two pubs, I have two fulls, a partial, a chapter, and a short out to 5 pubs. Yes, it seems I like to spread myself around.

Now that the publishing world is about to break down my door, let's talk about betrayal shall we? As a segway, that sucked, but I can't get THE UNIT off of my mind. Why am I watching a shoot 'em up military show? Amanda told me to, that it would be good for characterisation in case I ever write that soldier story. OK.'s very well done and I've started to watch it. Religously. And then last night one of the guys up and cheated on his wife.

Seriously, I had trouble sleeping. Infidelity bothers me, but especially in those circumstances. And then today I realised how spot on the characterisation had to be to create this deep of a reaction in me. Not sure I'll ever watch the show again - he was my fave, so it's like he cheated on me - but they did their job well.

Thank goodness for the world of romance novels. I can't handle this!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Let's get organized!

Over at the Pink Heart Society we have a schedule for posts. Male on Monday, Temptation Tuesday...etc. I'm going to try the same kind of mojo for a bit and see if it makes me more interesting. (Come on, that's self-depricating humor at it's best!

So...Mondays will be my International Ban-The-Butt Campaign check in, ala PHS Diet Club. I lost 7 pounds last month...actually I lost 9, but that double rejection required chocolate therapy and 2 of those found me again.

Tuesdays I'll own up to what I am writing. And I best be writing! Right now I am a bit scattered writing-wise. Just turned in a partial to the lovely editor, was working on another story but then got slammed with a new idea. Have two very fun scenes so yes, I am writing 3 books right now.

On Wednesdays I'll wrap up what I have out there in the publishing realm. I have two single-titles submitted at different publishers, a short story under consideration, and the partial with the lovely editor. This month I have the Dreams & Desires anthology out.

Thursday I'll make some comment about what I am reading. Or should be reading. Or am thinking of reading.

I'll think of something to chat up on Friday. There is always something to say!

Website Watching Weekend. And I'll cap off each week with where I keep getting stuck wasting time on the web.

Wonder how long this bout of organization will last!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Learn Something

You know I love workshops and Q&A's. Here are the one's I've found for the month.

• Feb 5th-9th: Q&A: "Creating Your Own Fictional World" with Anne McAllister
• Feb 12th-16th: "Fractured Family" with Liz Fielding
• Feb 19th-23rd: "The Pitch & The Process" with Maxine Sullivan

Romance Divas
Feb 19th - 23rd CHARACTER TORTURE 101 with Linnea Sinclair

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A New Story!

Had a productive chat with the lovely seems I was over complicating things. I need to tell a story I like. What at DOH! moment. Anyway... now I get to start something fresh. I have 3 stories battling...a cross country trip with a Frenchman, the teacher who hasn't learned anything, and a phone sex mishap. Since I'm guessing opening with drunk dialing isn't the best choice right now...the Frenchman gets me on Saturday, and I'll head to the zoo with the teacher on Sunday. That way I can make my decision on Monday...

This is my favorite part. I love to start new stories!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Two releases out today!

If you know something only in your dreams, should you dare try and make it happen? Even if it means starting over and risking the disapproval of your family? Vanessa and Nick are searching for a sign that their dreams might come true. Vanessa only hopes she can find her dream ring…

Rachel and Evan Hansen are getting a taste of their own medicine. As teenagers they ran away and eloped, and now their daughter wants to follow in their footsteps. Looking back, Rachel and Evan wonder what would have been if they'd listened to the warnings instead of trusting their hearts.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Time For Our Virtual Launch Party

It's finally time! Tonight is the Launch Party for the Freya's Bower charity anthology, Dreams & Desires: A Collection of Romance and Erotic Tales by Jenna Bayley-Burke, Faith Bicknell-Brown, Amanda Brice, Sela Carsen, Rachelle Chase, Gemma Halliday, Candace Havens, Zinnia Hope, Jackie Kessler, Susan Lyons, Richelle Mead, Debbie Mumford, Rhonda Stapleton, Bebe Thomas, Emily Veinglory, Sasha White, Lois Winston, Shaunna Wolf, and Kit Wylde.

Join the authors tonight in Gemma Halliday's chat room from 5-7 PM PST (8-10 PM EST).

Um, Jenna? What's Dreams & Desires?

Just look around the web. Everyone is talking about it :

Lots of other authors will be on hand to gab, and we have tons of great free prizes to give away. If you can't make it tonight, we'll be in the Romance Divas chat room Thurday, February 15th during the same times.

Just what kind of prizes are we talking about? Look at this swag!
Sela Carsen Not Quite Dead (ebook, novella) & The Virgin Courtesan (ebook, novella)
Amanda Brice She's Got Legs (ebook, novella)
Debbie Mumford Magic Glass (ebook, two novellas)
Candace HavensCharmed and Dangerous (signed book) & Charmed and Ready (signed book)
Kit Wylde Last Chance (ebook, novella)
Rachelle ChaseSex Lounge (ARC)
Susan Lyons Champagne Rules (signed book)
Richelle Mead Succubus Blues (ARC)
Jackie Kessler Hell's Belles (signed book)
Sasha White Bound (signed book)
Lois Winston Talk Gertie to Me (signed book)
Rhonda Stapleton Stripped (ebook, novella)
Jenna Bayley-BurkeIn Silhouette (ebook, short), How About Tomorrow (ebook, short), Dream Ring (ebook, short) & If We Listened (ebook, short)
Gemma Halliday Spying In High Heels (signed book) & Killer In High Heels (ARC)
Emily VeingloryGrave Heart (ebook)