Saturday, September 15, 2007

What Color are You?

First things first: if you haven't yet voted for One Night in Boston in the "Best Ebook of the Summer" contest, head on over. I'm currently in 4th place, but the polls are open for another week, so spread the word!


One of the first lessons I do with my students each year is True Colors. They take a little self-evaluation to determine what color they are, and then we spend a lot of time talking about how that affects the way they approach things, the relationships they develop, etc. It's pretty cool and they always love it. (You can take your own quiz here. Go ahead, find out...)

Well, yesterday the class had a quiz, and their bonus question was to tell me what color they think I am, and why.

I gotta tell you, for 16 and 17 year olds, and considering they've known me one week, they're pretty insightful. This was my favorite response: "You are green most of all, because you are passionate about what you teach and you want us to be passionate about it too. You're not a full-fledged gold, but you are organized and always know what you're doing. You're blue too because you care about our futures, and you're orange because you can talk about "Lost" in the middle of class."

Didn't know I was quite so transparent :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

I Need Your Votes!

Hey everyone, a little shameless promotion here: Ciar Cullen, a fellow Samham author, is running a contest on her blog to select The Best Ebook of the Summer...and One Night in Boston is one of the choices.

Would you hop on over there and vote for me? Please? Ciar will buy and review the winning book...and a little more promo for ONIB wouldn't hurt any. Hey, if you feel like pimping the contest on your own blog, I'd love it even more :) Thanks a million.

Without further adieu, here's Friday's Feast:

When was the last time you visited a hospital?

August, when my cat was v.v. sick. He spent 3 days in an animal hospital that rivals most human hospitals I've been to!

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how ambitious are you?

Oh, Lord. I can only go up to 10? 11.

Make a sentence using the letters of a body part. (Example: (mouth) My other ukelele tings healthily.)

Early Action Rocks.

Main Course
If you were to start a club, what would the subject matter be, and what would you name it?

Gotta be a reading club, but as for the name? It's too early for me to be that creative.

What color is the carpet/flooring in your home?

Funny story: We have medium-dark hardwood flooring in the kitchen, dining room, and foyer; the most neutral color beige you can picture for the hallway, bedrooms, and office, and this very interesting mint green tile in the great room. The tile was there when we moved in (as was nasty linoleum and dog-hair filled carpeting in the rest of the house, but that we replaced), and, well, tile is a lot harder and more $$ to replace. So we did a lot of brown in the furniture and throw rugs. And belive it or not, the green really isn't that bad anymore. People who come to our house tell us they actually like it (whether they're being polite or not is a different story, I suppose).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm Blogging Today... Samhain's blog, but only after 3:00 EST. So pop on over there and leave me a comment so I don't feel too lonely, OK?

And in the meantime, I wanted to share with you this trailer that I made for Diane Craver's novel A Fiery Secret. Diane's been so helpful since I contracted with Samhain, letting me in on tips and keeping me up to date, that it was the least I could do for her!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with J.A. Giunta

Welcome to another Writers' Wednesday! Today we have an interview with fantasy author J.A. Giunta.

Welcome, Joe! Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born and raised on the east coast but have lived in Arizona for most of my life. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arizona State but work as a Software Developer for the University of Phoenix. Funny how a career can sometimes stem from a hobby.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?
I began to write adventures shortly after discovering pen and paper role-playing games when I was eleven years old. My first story was roughly fifty pages long, typed out on a commodore 64 and printed on a dot matrix. I can still feel the staples that bound it pricking my fingers.

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.
I’m currently working on the second book of the Ascension trilogy, titled The Mists of Faeron. It’s a self-published work and is actually a rewrite. I spent months improving my writing, by reading numerous books on writing (by writers) and talking with other writers. I learned more in three months at the Absolute Write forums than I did my entire time in college. Well, at least in regards to writing a novel.

How do you go about developing your characters?
I think of them as real people, with belief systems that stem from their upbringing. They have their own quirks, their own way of reasoning, favorite foods and pastimes. I try to have this all reflected in their dialogue and actions, in the way they respond to others and the feelings they go through. The hardest part for me, while calmly writing away, is that people don’t always act rational. They make mistakes, sometimes bad ones, and might not realize it right away.

What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?
The most difficult thing about writing is writing. Literally, the first draft. I’m not one of those writers who spews out the first copy just to get the story down on paper, who then begins the process of many revisions. I spend a lot of time thinking about the story, about the characters and their motives, and put it all down in notes and an outline. I break the story down into scenes and lay them all out on paper, then flesh them out from my notes. When I begin writing the first draft, I agonize over every word until the flow is just right, until everything I want in it is absolutely perfect. When I finish a scene, I go back and revise it. Once the manuscript is completed, I do a full revision and edits.

For me, the most rewarding part is being done.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
Very poorly, thank you. I try my best to get in two hours of writing a day, but sometimes it just isn’t feasible. I work from 5am to 2pm, get my daughter from school after work and then it’s dinner and family time when the wife gets home around 6. So there is some time in there for me to write, if I can work in my office uninterrupted. The problem is that’s a mighty big if. Still, I manage to produce between 15 and 20 pages in a week, which for me is roughly a chapter. As I mentioned earlier, these are not speedily typed pages but are the product of many painstaking hours.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
I’ve suffered from too many images and words in my head to get them down, but I’ve never run out of material. Even when I reach a scene I’ve left somewhat open and have only a faint idea of what I want to write, as long as I sit in front of the computer the words will come. I spend most of my day thinking about the next scene in my manuscript. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep. I revise and rework in my head. When I actually sit down to the computer, I’m usually ready to go.

What is your favorite movie? Did it inspire your writing in any way?
I almost didn’t answer this but thought I’d point out for anyone just starting to write that creating a novel is not the same as creating a screenplay. I know, it sounds obvious, but when I first began writing, I saw my scenes as part of a movie in my head. I wrote in ways that would translate well to the big screen. I only learned later this is a pitfall of beginning writers.

Apart from that, there are numerous movies that I love, though some seem better in memory than in the watching again. Movies that move me inspire me to move readers. They remind me, when things seems tough and playing a video game would be easier, that I write because I love to stories and share them with others.

Thanks for stopping by today! For more information about this author or his books, visit his website.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six Years

September 11, 2001.

Six years ago.

Today we'll wake up to the first Tuesday since it happened. Ths sky's supposed to be blue here, the weather nice. Same as six years ago. But not the same at all.

Political commentary and blame aside, about who was responsible, or what we've done since then, or whether or not the troops should still be in Iraq, I think it's really important not to forget what happened that day, and how much we lost.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy Monday!

Over the weekend, One Night in Boston was part of The Romance Studio's Book-a-Day Giveaway. That feature at TRS is a nifty little one in which authors donate copies of their books, and then on any given day, readers/viewers/anyone can email their entry to try and win one of them. There are multiple books each day, so you have to indicate which one you want, and you can only enter once from your email/IP address.

There were 3 other books along with mine on Saturday, and to be honest, I was a little worried that no one would want to enter for ONIB, or that I'd have 5 entries from which to choose (not that there's anything wrong with 5, but...)

Well, I opened my email inbox on Sunday to find a list of 120+ people who had entered to win my book! Now, I have no idea how many people typically enter, and I'm sure TRS has a huge following, but I was so pleased with that response :)

The other nice thing that TRS does for its authors is provide the email addresses of everyone who entered *who chooses to divulge their email address for future mailings.* About half of the people on my list did, which is great...but I don't have a newsletter or anything. I know a lot of authors do, but the idea of putting together one more promotional thing right now is a little overwhelming. I'm thinking of just adding those people to my general email list that I use for announcements about releases, etc.

What do you think? Does anyone out there have a newsletter? Do you think it's worth it? I know some of you have participated in the Book-a-Day Giveaway, so what did you do with all the email addresses you got?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Drippy Kind of Sunday...

My goals for today:

1. Write the post that's appearing on Samhain's blog later this week.

2. Work on the book trailer I'm making for a friend.

3. Get through as much as I can of the book I'm reading for LASR.

4. All the other Sunday stuff: laundry, grocery shopping, vacuuming...

Or maybe I'll just climb back into bed for a few hours instead :)


Today's Unconscious Mutterings:

  • Dork :: Everyone when they're in middle school. That's a rough age.

  • Refurbished :: Beautiful Victorian houses...something I could never do.

  • Basket :: Gift.

  • Mousse :: I used to use it religiously, in the '80s era of big hair.

  • Studio :: 54

  • 8 ball :: It used to have all the answers for us, back in middle school :)

  • Masking tape :: Great tool when you run out of lint rollers and your in-laws are coming.

  • Love :: Can never have too much of it.

  • Wilder :: Van ______

  • Lindsey :: Wagner, the original Bionic Woman.