Saturday, June 02, 2007

Announcing a Writing Contest

"I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody's head."
~John Updike

Here's some exciting news for all you writers out there:

Samhain Publishing has just announced its Best First Line Contest. Since they are closed to submissions right now until at least Fall 2007, this is a chance to get your manuscript in front of an editor earlier thah that.

Starting on June 4th, writers of any genre can leave the first line of an unpublished manuscript in the comments of the "Best First Line Contest" on Samhain's Blog. The editors will choose a group of winners to move on to the next round, the following week, and post their first and second lines. This will continue in the same way through the first 5 lines of the manuscript, until July 11. Then the editors will choose AT LEAST 3 winners to submit their full manuscript to Samhain for 2008 publication consideration. Exciting, right??!!

In full, here are the rules, posted at Samhain's Blog. Give it a try - what do you have to lose?

P.S. If you aren't a writer, here's another site for you to visit:

The Animal Rescue Site.

This one's pretty simple..

The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "feed an animal in need" for free. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.

Clicking on the link above will help to donate food to animal shelters across the country. All you have to do is visit and click every day!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday's Feast

And now it's time for the Friday Feast!

Appetizer: Name something you think is “the best.”

Hmm...the end of a long day, when I've time to go for a long run in the morning, and I've had a student say "Thanks, I understand now," and I've just enjoyed a favorite dinner, and I'm sitting in the living room with my hubby and my cats and a handful of dark chocolate which contains no calories, and we're watching a favorite TV show together while we chill out from the day (this rarely happens, which is why when it does, it's THE BEST kind of day...)

Soup: On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 highest), how stressed are you today?

Well, since I finished my edits for One Night in Boston, and since it's the first day of June which means less than 1 month until summer vacation, I'm going with about a 2.

Salad: What kind of cleanser do you use to wash your face?

Proactiv. It is the only thing that has ever worked to keep my skin from breaking out even though I passed adolescence almost 2 decades ago!

Main Course: Tonight is a blue moon! What is something that you believe only happens “once in a blue moon.”

The kind of day I described in my appetizer! Oh, and getting more than 7 hours of sleep...

Dessert: When was the last time it rained where you live?

Last weekend, but I wish it would rain again soon. My plants desperately need it!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Thursday Meme

"Do you know how popular I am? I am so popular. Everybody loves me so much at this school."
~from "The Breakfast Club"

I am crazy...I am out of time...I am supposed to be finished with my One Night in Boston edits TODAY and I still have 9 chapters to go (thank goodness my editor doesn't read my blog to know least, I don't think she does...)

Anyway, Rebecca tagged me with this (thankfully) short meme, so this is all I have to offer you today. Then it's back to the editing board. Don't worry, though, I'm still saving up all the good tips I'm learning and will share with you soon. I promise!

1. What makes your blog unique? Oh, boy, probably not much. I know there are much more clever bloggers out there. I'd like to think that there aren't any other Allie B's out there who post writing tips on Wednesdays, though, so maybe that's a little unique.

2. When did you start blogging? I think it was last November.

3. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? My original intent was to simply get my name into cyber-world before my novels came out. To that extent, I hope I've accomplished that goal, even on a very small scale.

4. What are your feelings on the "blog popularity"? Oh this like high school all over again? Are the cool kids the ones with 25 comments on every post? Are the mean girls the one who tear apart other people's blog posts? Are the rich kids the ones with incredible graphics and songs and pictures? (child of the 80s slowly self-destructs...)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Rebecca James

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday!

Today, I'm featuring an interview with newly published Samhain author Rebeccaa James. Her mainstream romance novel Nightswimming was released in mid-May and has already received great reviews. Click here to read an excerpt.

Let's see what this author has to say about her life in the world of writing and publishing...


Welcome, Rebecca! Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born in Sydney Australia in 1970 and then I grew up (well...physically, at least). My first job was as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant, which taught me a LOT about human nature, and most importantly that you should always be reasonably kind to people who are bringing you food!! In my twenties I travelled a bit - to England, Egypt and Greece - and lived for a while in Indonesia and Japan, where I taught English as a second language.

Travelling taught me LOTS of stuff - the most important of which is that you take yourself, your problems and insecurities with you wherever you go. Reinvention of self is hard...probably impossible.

Meeting my partner and having kids has been the best, best, best thing that ever happened to me. Being a parent is possibly the hardest but also the most rewarding thing in the world - and in my case it helped me become a much more settled, happy and less self-destructive person - and ultimately much less self-absorbed.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?
I started writing about four years ago. I can't think of any one thing that triggered my desire to do it, and I have to admit that I wasn't one of those people who knew, from the age of five or so, that I wanted to be a writer. I'm a late blossomer in lots of ways!! In fact, my older sister is a (very successful ) writer and I honestly used to think, 'how boring."

I guess having children and being trapped at home a lot with my own whirling brain and a computer brought out the latent writer in me.

Now I love it - and couldn't think of life without it.

Tell us about Nightswimming.
Um. It's a book about a relationship in crisis. It examines what it's like to have your first child; all those wonderfully new and confusing emotions that first-time parents feel; I enjoyed writing it. I hope you like reading it. :)

How do you go about developing your characters?
I don't know really - I like flawed, realistic characters, though, I can say that much. And I like to write dialogue that reveals these flaws.

What advice would you give to aspiring, unpublished writers?
1. Write.
2. Be prepared to be shocked by the grim reality of the publishing world.
3. Marry somebody rich.

What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
I like lots of different books. I can't say I have a favourite author - but I buy every Anne Tyler book I can find, I also LOVE Richard Yates, Kate Atkinson, Margaret Atwood, Sue Miller....

What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?
The most difficult bit is waiting -it is never ending and can drive you mad.
The most exciting thing about it is, kind of paradoxically, the unknown. You never know what may happen tomorrow. A three-book deal? A great new review? A kind email from a happy reader?

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
I neglect the housework.

Can you tell us about your next writing project?
um...well....I'd bettter get on with it....


Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca! Questions or comments, anyone? You can find out more about this lovely author at her own blog,

And now that she's whet your appetite, why not take a visit to this link and buy yourself an e-copy of Nightswimming?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Good News

"The coroner will find ink in my veins and blood on my typewriter keys."
~C. Astrid Weber

It's a day for celebration, because in the June issue of Romance Writers Report, I have earned a coveted spot in the First Sales column! In full, it reads

...Allie Boniface announces the sale of her first book to Samhain Publishing. One Night in Boston, a contemporary romance that takes place over a single day and night, will be a summer 2007 release. She has been writing for six years. One Night in Boston was the fourth full-length manuscript she completed before selling...

I always wanted to make sure to put how long it took me to sell, because I don't want novice writers to think it happens overnight.

Actually, this RWR issue is full of good things: an article by Samhain author Jean Marie Ward, about her experience slicing 45000 words from her debut novel; a full-page ad by The Wild Rose Press featuring their latest covers; and a really informative article about writing for multiple publishers, which definitely applies to me.

Update: I've finished my edits for Lost in Paradise and just started the ones for One Night in Boston. I am really enjoying working with both my editors - what an interesting experience! And I plan on sharing some helpful tips I've picked up from both of them, in the next few weeks.

Once I've finished ONIB edits, I am determined to make some headway with my major revision of Summer's Song, another novel I'm hoping to revive for publication later this year or early next.

Never a dull moment!

**Important news: Make sure to stop by tomorrow for Writers' Wednesday. I'm featuring an interview with newly published Samhain author Rebecca James. You won't want to miss it!

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Day For Remembering

"Our country has always lifted up ordinary individuals who acted in extraordinary ways. "

A few weeks ago, I read that the Flight 93 Memorial Project has fallen significantly short of its goal in fundraising.

My hubby’s comment was, “Why do they need 30 million dollars to build a memorial?” and I suppose in some respects he’s right. We could have a whole discussion about why memorials are constructed, what they need to look like (has anyone followed the debate over what should stand on the grounds of the WTC in New York??), what they’re meant to be, who they’re for…

Along those lines, I found a terrific commentary on the current memorial site that stands above the field of Shanksville, PA, where Flight 93 went down. Actually, I was there myself about 18 months after 9/11, and this author is spot-on the way he describes the field: the eerie feeling, the overwhelming emptiness, the palpable emotion that overtakes you when you see the makeshift tributes people have left there.

I do think something permanent should stand on that hallowed ground, though, and maybe I feel strongly about it because I lost a college classmate in that crash. Jeremy Glick is credited with being one of the 4 men on board who tried to take control of the cockpit. To me, he is this funny, normal, nice guy I used to see around campus--in the dining hall, at parties, in classes.

We weren’t close friends, but in a class of 1000 students or so, you get to know faces and voices. You travel in similar circles. You hold the door for each other on days so cold your breath freezes. You smile across a roomful of chairs when the eighty year old English professor cracks a joke. You touch.

Finding out Jeremy was on that plane…it changed me.

I'm in the middle of reading Your Father's Voice: Letters for Emmy About Life With Jeremy--and Without Him After 9/11. It's a memoir by his wife to their daughter, and it's quite well written and moving. I hope, most important, it's one more thing that keeps the memory alive of the fascinating, fun person that Jeremy Glick was.

Today, for Memorial Day, I'd encourage everyone to take a moment and remember and honor those people who've committed incredibly selfless acts even in the face of danger and heartache and probable death.

Despite all the sales at the mall, and the barbeques and family picnics, and the day off from school, I'd hope we could remember what this day is supposed to represent. I think remembering, anyway, is the most important tribute we can pay. Maybe we don't need a formal memorial after all.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Why I Didn't Post Yesterday, and Other Notes from the Home Improvement Front

So there's a very good reason why I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday.

Hubby is doing major work on our property, mostly a new garage that he put up last fall, and this weekend's plan was to run the water and electric from the house to the garage.

So Friday he started digging up the driveway...

And around late afternoon I realized I couldn't get online. Checked the phone and discovered no dial tone either. Asked hubby if perhaps he'd cut the phone line by accident.

Lo and behold, he had.

I suggested maybe he should stop digging with heavy equipment until he (A) called to find out where the electric lines were buried, or (B) waited for my brother-in-law, who's done this sort of thing before, to arrive (he and my sister were on their way down for the weekend).

He decided just to "do a little bit more." This resulted, about 10 minutes later, in him cutting the electric line. So no power, on Friday evening of a holiday weekend.

Wait, there's more...

After we were lucky enough to get an electrician to come out, and the power company to turn off the power so they could fix it, we discovered that not only did he kill the power to our house, he killed the power to our neighbors' homes as well.

Needless to say, we're not too popular on the street right now...

Anyway, thus my absence from cyber-world yesterday. Still, I'm back now, and all is (fairly) well at home.

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend, and just so you know, I did choose my cover for One Night in Boston, and no I'm not telling you which one it is. You'll have to wait 'til the release date (or at least the coming soon attractions) to know for sure!