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, 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 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 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. 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

I'm Talking Critique Partners...

over at The Pink Heart Society today. Specifically why I like having them. Click on over and share your thoughts.

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