Saturday, November 17, 2007

What I'm Reading this Weekend



It's Marianne's newest release!




Another historical romance by Tori Phillips (I read Halloween Knight back in October)...I'm about halfway through and enjoying it just as much as the first one I read by this author.



I just started this ebook, a paranormal romance, but it's really good so far. Only problem? Whatever Adobe file it's in doesn't allow me (or my computer) to scroll down and move ahead in pages. It's like a Power Point: you click, and it goes to the next page. That means every time I open it again, I have to start from page one. (If anyone knows how to remedy this, please let me know!)

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I'm also tackling 16 contest entries for my local RWA chapter. I scanned them last weekend (not too bad, as a group), but now I have to go through and actually score and comment.

What are you reading this weekend?

Friday, November 16, 2007

TGIF!!

So I just started reading a new book to review for The Long and the Short of It - and I'm impressed. Really. Most of the books I review for them are decent, pretty good, but not great...but I'm incredibly picky. I was an English major in college and graduate school, after all.

But this book? Outstanding. I love the characters, I love the plot (and I desperately want to know more...), and the writing is strong too. No, I'm not telling you the title - yet. Let's hope it continues to be a good read.

By the way, LASR is looking for more reviewers. You get free books, and you get to mouth off about them (well, nicely). If you like to read, why not do a review or two every once in a while? There's a link on their site if you want more info.

And I forgot to mention that I have an article on dealing with rejection, featured on their site this week too. Check it out here.

Without further ado, here's the Friday Feast:

Appetizer
What was your first “real” job?

Oh, this is a good one: I spent one summer inserting the syllable breaks into words for the Smith Corona typewriter that had the auto-dictionary feature. Boring as all get-out, but I worked in the same area as a bunch of their engineers (and I was 16), so it was fun.

Soup
Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?

This is totally bizarre, but when I was growing up, we had an old rural cemetery less than a mile from our house. I loved wandering around, checking out the headstones and thinking of the people and the lives they must have led; plus it was quiet and really beautiful. I spent a lot of time sitting and writing in notebooks there.

Salad
Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…

Actually, since I've grown up I rarely get embarrassed. Maybe I have a tough skin because I teach high school.

Main Course
What values did your parents instill in you?

What values didn't they instill in me?! Hard work and an open mind, those are probably the top two.

Dessert
Name 3 fads from your teenage years .

Oh, boy. Um...big hair, acid washed jeans (rolled up at the bottom in a very cool and precise manner), and those little plastic bracelets strung all the way up girls' forearms ( a la early Madonna). Can you guess the decade? :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Have a Release Date!

Hooray! It's official...Lost in Paradise has its electronic debut on November 23!!

Yes, that is Black Friday, super-shopping day for those crazy people living in the U.S. who want to follow up a day of gorging with a day of emptying their wallets. But hey, if you're going to spend a little money next Friday, why not work Lost into your shopping list?

Now I just have to think of a cool promotional idea. It's a Champagne Rose release, but I'm not sure bottles of bubbly ship so well. Hmm. Must think on this.

Must also work on the trailer I'm making for Lost. TWRP has a spot on their website now for Book Trailers and Podcasts. Those forms of promo are really picking up.

Hey, for anyone out there who's a WRP author, do you think you'd be interested in having someone (like I don't know, me) make a book trailer for you, to go on the website? Ever since that woman emailed me about making her one last week, I've been thinking about the possibilities. I could offer a super-low fee...I just wonder how many people would take me up on it. I think some would, if they want one but don't have time to make one or the energy to figure out how. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy the creative process. There are a bunch of sites out there that charge big bucks to make book trailers. I'm thinking a fellow author asking a teeny tiny fee might have some takers...

Just a thought.

Counting the days 'til my release date...ticker and all!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Kelsy George

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today we're featuring an interview with mystery novelist Kelsy George. Pull up a chair, enjoy the conversation, and be sure to leave Kelsy a comment when you're through!

Hi Kelsy! So tell us, when did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I wrote for a living a lot of years ago – then got sidetracked to breed and show horses and dogs. Once my knees told me to quit (or else!) I went back to work in a ‘real’ job – hated it!. Finally decided I was better off at home and signed up to take a creative writing course at the local college. I lucked out there – my instructor was TOR published author Candas Jane Dorsey. I guess she saw something worth pushing – she took me under her wing, gave me a job in her publishing company (literary fiction) and taught me everything she knew.

Candas pushed me to write something other than romance (I’d signed up for RWA and kept trying to push out a romance novel but it just wasn’t working!) I kept getting sidetracked into mystery plot elements and taking off on those. Add a little paranormal and I was happy as a clam. My first full length mystery with romance elements finaled twice in the Golden Heart – 2004 and 2005 – unfortunately it didn’t make it into the RITAs because my publisher delayed the print version until it was too late to make the contest deadline. I would have loved to see if it could take the hat trick.

When we moved to our island retirement home (think full time living in an RV on Canada’s west coast) I got really serious about writing and was able to spend as much time as I wanted at the computer. My view was the ocean shore which occasionally got me off track but it was also the source of the idea that became my latest WIP – now being sent to NY agents and editors – a few at a time until I see what happens with them – the book crosses three genres and has a heroine WAAAAY outside the box.

Wow, very cool. How do you go about developing your characters?
Something I see, read or hear will make me think “Oh, that would be good!” and off I go. With my current WIP – Limits – it was someone I met who walked with the aid of a prosthesis. A couple of days later I saw a fishing boat off our little stretch of beach and watched what they were doing – found out they were diving for clams. Voila! A story is born.

OK, so what advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
Find a mentor. Obey the rules until you know them well before you start breaking them. Know what genre you want to write and research the daylights out of it. Expect rejection. Accept rejection and try and learn from it. (If you’re lucky, they’ll tell you why they rejected it – don’t just assume they’re right but consider that they may be.)

Don’t expect to be an overnight success – one writer I heard about took 20 years to get her first contract!


Don’t let your reviews go to your head. Before I learned to accept what was written – I took sentences like “this is even better than James Patterson” (about Blind Justice – my GH finalist ms) to mean I was so good I’d sell right away in NY. NOT!!! It’s just one person’s opinion (for which I was deeply grateful) but it doesn’t mean anything more than that.

Do balance your writing life with the rest of your time. Have an exercise program and stick to it (diet if you need to lose weight) – sitting in front of the computer vegging out just isn’t healthy. Try not to let your writing life destroy your health.

What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
Mystery – especially if it involves horses or dogs and paranormal – guess that’s why I like writing it too! Favorite authors would be Dick Francis (mystery with horses) and Kelley Armstrong (Otherworld series)

Now the question everyone's trying to figure out: how do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
For a long time I put everything else on hold while I wrote – but a heart attack in 2004 (yeah, I know, bummer for one so young! J - it was 7 weeks before the RWA National to which I was supposed to be going) got me to organize my time. I had to make time to do the necessary exercise to get myself back in shape. I’d gained a lot of weight when I quit smoking (13 years ago) and become sedentary while writing – so I took up biking. Riding my 21 speed mountain bike all over our corner of this somewhat mountainous island and dieting helped me lose 60 pounds (20 to go) and get in such good shape that when I had my second heart attack this past February there was NO damage done to my heart. And they tell me all that exercise has nearly eradicated the damage from the first one. Now, between diet, exercise and the necessary meds, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since I showed dogs and horses.

I got a little carried away at first with the biking – it was such fun I frequently rode to the beach and didn’t bother to write for days on end. Now…I’ve got it better organized and I get some writing done most days.


I also added horseback riding into the exercise mix – hadn’t done that for a long time so had to remember how to do everything – but again, because I was in shape, it didn’t hurt that first time I climbed on board.


I also bought myself a moped to make slightly longer trips than I could bike (I bike 30+ kms/20+ miles at least five times a week – but with the moped I can do my grocery shopping, go the library, travel to my favorite beach spots – without burning up gas and polluting the atmosphere. Unfortunately, a truck pushed me off the bike route I was on back in August and I crashed – that’s made me out of the running for ANYTHING but sitting – I’ve been in somewhat bad shape due to getting a bone infection where the road removed the flesh on my ankle down to the bone. Bad news! Has just about healed and any day now they’ll allow me back on the bike, the horse and the moped.

And finally, what was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book(s)?
It surprised me to find out I was good at what I did. Selling what I wrote was the part I hated, but the writing? How good it feels to create an entire world on paper and know that somebody else will get to read it, and maybe like it.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Kelsy!

Want to know more about this author? Visit her website or her author page!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

An R-Rated Post

Just because I thought it was funny...


Why Mom Fainted at the School Play



video

Monday, November 12, 2007

You Can't Tell a Vet Just By Looking

You Can't Tell a Vet Just By Looking

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carrier didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth whose behavior is outweighed in the cosmic scales by four hours of unparalleled bravery near the 38th Parallel in Korea.

She is the nurse who fought against futility in Da Nang and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years.

He is the POW who left one person and came back another.

He is the drill instructor who has never been in combat, but has saved countless lives by turning no-accounts into Marines.

He is the parade-riding legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the white-haired guy bagging groceries at the supermarket, aggravatingly slow, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp.

A vet is an ordinary and extraordinary human being — someone who offered his life's vital years in the service of his country.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude we owe.


—Author Unknown—

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why We Love our Animals So Much

Well, yesterday's adoption event was interesting. Since it was freezing outside, I was really glad I got to be inside with the cats, rather than outside with the dogs (I don't care that they had a heated tent, there was still snow on the ground!). We adopted out 2 of the 14 cats we brought along...not enough, but at least a couple have new homes. Mostly, people wanted to look at the cats (or open the cages and pet them without really asking to see if it was OK)...and then tell us about the 4 or 5 they already had at home. Or to complain that the $95 adoption fee was too much (yeah, but it includes the spay/neuter costs, all the shots, and microchipping...you know how much that would cost at your regular vet's??).

I got to do a "home check," where I actually drove out to this family's house to fill out a checklist and see if they'd be good parents. They had already pretty much passed, in the store, by filling out the 2-page application and having their vet talk to us as a reference. Plus their 2 kids were over the moon about this cat and really good with interacting with it.

Still, I had to drive out with them just to check and make sure, you know, they weren't running some kind of secret cat-testing facility or feeding small animals to coyotes or anything. We got there, and 1 of their 2 dogs had broken off her run and was dancing in the middle of the road. The mother was HORRIFIED. "Really, we don't ever let them off their runs when they're outside, I don't know how this happened, we take care of our pets..."

They got the cat.

And since this is in keeping with today's blog topic, and I wanted to post this when Marianne shared it back in October, here's a great (and true!) read for you:

Excerpts from a Dog's Daily Diary:
8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary:
Day 683 of my captivity:

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets.

Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the floor.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. The audacity!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow - but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches.

The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded!

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.... for now.

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Have a great Sunday!