Saturday, January 05, 2008

Two Contracts in Two Days

"Motivation will almost always beat mere talent." ~ Norman R. Augustine

So three days ago, I received an email from Literary Cottage Agency, who was taking submissions for the anthology "My Mom is my Hero." I had submitted one and found out it's been selected as a finalist! They take 53 finalists. 50 are published in the book, and 3 are alternates. So the odds are good for me...fingers crossed. It's similar to the "Chicken Soup" books, from what I can gather, with narrative nonfiction pieces all about, well, you know, why your mom is heroic to you. I wrote about the time when I was in elementary school, and I wasn't allowed to take certain books out of the library because they were considered "too advanced" for a 1st grader. My mom straightened that out, and fast! The story is titled "Blue Circle Books," and if all goes well, the anthology will appear in print in Spring 2009, right before Mother's Day.

Then two days ago, I heard back from my editor at Samhain Publishing, offering me a contract for One Night in Memphis!! Very exciting...I had submitted the full to her over two months ago, so it was nice to hear a response. No guarantees, even if you've already published with them! So I am really, really happy about that one as well!

I feel as though I can finally say, yes, I am a writer. It's a nice feeling :)

Friday, January 04, 2008


"I much prefer working with kids whose life could be completely upended by a reading of a book over a weekend. You give them a book to read - they go home and come back a changed person. And that is so much more interesting and exciting. " Russell Banks

I have some more exciting news to share, but since today's Friday's Feast, I'll wait until tomorrow. Make sure you stop back to find out what it is!

Did you see which book I'm giving away in the month of January to one lucky person who comments on my blog? Scroll down to yesterday's post to see...

When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?

Well, I did get a holiday card last week from a friend I hadn't heard from in a couple of years, so that was a nice surprise.

If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?

I'm spoiled and lucky: my husband and I own 5 acres of lakefront property in upstate New York and are hoping to start building that very home in the next 5 years!

Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.

Apple, without a doubt. Loved them as a kid and still eat at least one/day.

Main Course
Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.

My wedding dress. First, it's just beautiful (of course!) and second it reminds me of a happy day!

If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?

I wouldn't. Even the worst days make us tougher for surviving them. And I'm a writer, so those bleak moments also serve as fodder for stories!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Contests and Polls

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." ~Hal Borland

Here's the news about my January book-blog giveaway! Everyone who comments on my blog during the month of January will be entered into a random drawing to win an autographed copy of Cast in Stone, by Kerry A. Jones. Readers, this is a tremendously written paranormal romance. It's been nominated as a Best Romance of 2007 over at LASR, and you can read a review of it here. And it's signed by the author! So go ahead and comment away...


Well, as if having both my novels One Night in Boston and Lost in Paradise nominated for the LASR Best Long Ebook Romance of 2007 wasn't enough, I just found out they were also both nominated for the Preditors and Editors Best Romance of 2007 as well! Truly an honor...and if you're inclined, I'd love it if you would take the time to vote! (P.S. - Marianne's nominated in the short romance category, so vote for her too!)

In other news, I got John Grisham's newest novel, Playing for Pizza, for Christmas. I finished it in a few days (it's an easy read) ~ it was entertaining, nothing terribly brilliant or original, but sweet. It features Rick Dockery, a washed-up, third string NFL quarterback whose only option left is to play for the Parma Panthers of Parma, Italy. He gets paid (a paltry amount), but the Italians who make up the rest of his team play for pizza and beer. It's a pretty predictable story, about how Rick discovers a country and culture he never knew existed, and it has some good sports scenes, so I think male readers will like it too. Actually, one of my students who's a big football player asked to borrow it today, and anytime a teenage boy picks up a book to read, it's a good thing!

What do I give it? Let's say 3 1/2 stars.

I think my next book will be The Red Tent - it's on my list for the Winter Reading Challenge, and I want to get started!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Hazel Statham

Welcome to the first Writers' Wednesday of 2008! I have some terrific authors lined up for interviews in the upcoming months, so be sure to stop by each week to see who's featured!

Today I'm chatting with Hazel Statham, whose Regency romance, My Dearest Friend, just released yesterday!

Welcome, Hazel. Can you tell us a little about your background?

I live in the UK and am now 'officially' retired. When I am not reading or writing, my other ruling passion is animals and until recently I was the treasurer of an organisation that raised funds for animal charities. We currently share our home with a lovely Labrador named Lucy although, over the years, we have owned everying from hamsters to horses.
I have always been fascinated by history and write mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, although I have been known to stray into medieval times. I have written on and off since I was fifteen but only recently plucked up the courage to submit my work to a publisher.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I only know that it was a compulsion. I was inspired by authors such as Charlotte Bronte, Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen and wanted to recreate my own historical world. I wrote three novels between the age of fifteen and eighteen. I only wish I had those novels now so that I could compare them with my current work.

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

'My Dearest Friend' just released with Wings ePress on January 1st and will be available both as an e-book and in print. Here's a brief blurb:

Devastated and wracked with guilt by the death of his younger brother, Stafan, in the Peninsular War, Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, readily agrees to aid Jane Chandler to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal.

Much against Jane’s wishes, he decides to accompany her and together they embark on the hazardous mission to retrieve the young soldier. However, the journey holds many revelations, not least of all the abiding friendship and growing love between the two travelers.
That special love is put severley to the test by the treachery that awaits them upon their return to England, when a tenant of Jane's former home invades their lives, maliciously creating jealousy and misunderstandings for his own nefarious reasons.

Can their friendship and love conquer the emotions that threaten to tear them asunder?

Sounds like a winner! So how do you go about developing your characters?

I live with the characters in my mind and get to know them before actually putting pen to paper. I start with the hero first and know exactly the kind of person I want him to be and how he will react in different circumstances. Sometimes they have several layers that are only revealed as the story unfolds although, on the whole, they are strong men.

I know many people are using the new year as an incentive to finally start writing, or finally finish that first work-in-progress. What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Enjoy your writing. Write what you know and feel you have an afinity to. Whether you write for yourself or aspire to become a published author, there is a great satisfaction in completing your work.

OK, the tough questions now: What do you find most challenging about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

For me, writing is like watching a play unfold or listening in on other people's conversations. Quite often, someone will say something I never expected and it will take the plot off at a tangent. However, this just enriches the storyline and adds more depth to the characters.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

Now that I no longer work, my time is more or less my own although I prefer to write when the house is empty and quiet. I have always written for myself alone and it is just an added bonus to have my work accepted by a publisher.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Yes, occasionally I suffer from writer's block but I just find something else to do until it resolves itself. Usually it doesn't take long before it is resolved.

Can you tell us about your writing space?

I wish I was one of the lucky few who had a room they could dedicate to their work, but unfortunately. I am not. I have a desk in the corner of the diningroom where all is organised chaos. I try to keep everything in its place but rarely succeed. Thank goodness I have an understanding husband who rarely complains.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I read or spend time with my lovely grandson, Daniel. Lucy is my constant companion and she adores Daniel too.

When you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?

I write mainly on the computer but sometimes inspiration comes as I'm just dropping off to sleep and if I waited to boot up the computer, I would have lost the thought, so I then write by hand. A few Christmases ago, my daughter bought me a dictaphone, but my messages were so garbled that I gave up the idea and reverted to pen and paper.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

I love to hear from my readers and respond to all my mail. On my website, you will find excerpts and reviews of all my published and upcoming works.

Thanks so much for your time today, Hazel! And may you sell many books in 2008!

Thank you, Allie.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

"Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. " (Bill Vaughan)

Last night arond 11:00 I was definitely agreeing with this quote, even though I'd like to think I'm still pretty far from middle age!

Still, I do always love the start to a new year, and the farewell to the old...something about clean slates and empty pages waiting to be filled...

I have some exciting news to start 2008!

First, both Lost in Paradise and One Night in Boston have been nominated over at The Long and the Short of It Best Romance of 2007 Poll!! So scoot on over there when you get a chance...

...and if you need some help deciding which to vote for, you might want to read this 5-Angel review Lost in Paradise just received from Fallen Angel Reviews! In part, it says

"Lost in Paradise by Allie Boniface is an emotional love story that draws the reader in and keeps the pages turning as the couple overcomes obstacles on their journey to true love...Ms. Boniface develops the characters well, enabling the reader to understand the pain and fear that threaten to keep Eddie and Ashton apart. The author presents a solid conflict, keeping the reader engaged until the satisfying conclusion. Lost in Paradise was a delight to read. I can recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a love story that brings an unlikely couple together..."

Finally, I'm happy to announce the winner of my December Book-Blog Giveaway: WindyCindy will receive a brand new, once-read copy of Scenes from a Holiday! [Cindy, email me at to arrange the mailing details] Thanks to everyone who commented in the month of December - and I'll be giving away a book in January too! Stay tuned...I'll be announcing the details this Thursday.

Have a terrific start to a brand new year...may it be the start of something wonderful for you:)

Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflecting on 2007 - Part 2

And here we are, in the final hours of the year. Can you believe it? Here are my reflections on July - December:
July 1, 2007

"Fifteen Things for which I am Truly Grateful (Appearing in no particular order)

1. My family - my parents, my sister, my husband. My niece and nephew. Everyone who shows me what unconditional love is."

The beginning of a cool meme - I was happy I had no problem thinking of 15 things, and probably could have gone on for more! It's always good to stop, take stock and give thanks, I think.

August 1, 2007

"Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today we have another author interview, this time with fantasy writer Jim Melvin. Sit back, relax, and learn about his six-book series premiering in fall 2007, The Death Wizard Chronicles."

This was one of my early author interviews. I've really enjoyed doing them every Wednesday; I've learned so much and met some really cool people. I already have authors lined up through May 2008, so watch out!

September 1, 2007

"First off, a big THANKS to everyone who visited my blog and played along in the One Night in Boston trivia contest this week. I'm hoping you enjoyed getting to know some of the characters in my novel and will read on to find out what unfolds for them next!"

This was one of my first giveaway contests...and the one that Dru on to find out more about Dru!

October 1, 2007

"Last Friday, I was setting up an activity for my students when I overheard a piece of their conversation: "Man, I love this class. It's like - remember when you were in kindergarten, and you loved going to school every day because it was fun? That's what this class is like."

Ah. Always good to remember my day job, the one that pays my bills and keeps me sane when writing makes me crazy (well, okay, teaching makes me crazy too, but in a different way). I still enjoy it, most days, and feel lucky to have my cozy classroom to go in to, every morning.

November 1, 2007

"Ah, the day after Halloween...All Saints' Day. There's actually a Catholic school in town that's closed today, for the holiday. Interesting, huh? Of course, for the most part, November 1 is like the quiet, unassuming little sister, whose bad boy big brother, All Hallows' Eve, gets all the attention."

I love finding out new things, and this fact about Catholic schools being closed on November 1 was one of them.

December 1, 2007

"I'm off to the NYC Independent and Small Press Fair today...and while I'll admit I'm a little intimidated, I'm trying to keep an open mind and just learn from the whole experience."

Considering where I started the year, this was a smashing good place to wind it up, I think. I did survive, and I did meet a lot of other authors. One of the best perks of this day, though, was meeting Dru in person - fantastic!


Man, this was a great 2-day reflection for me. I learned so much about writing and editing and publishing and marketing this year. I can't wait to see what 2008 brings!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reflecting on 2007 - Part 1

Borrowed this one from Marianne: the idea is to pull your opening lines from the first blog post of every month of 2007 and then comment from your current perspective. I'm doing Jan - June today and July - Dec tomorrow. Kind of a nice way to wrap up the year...

January 1, 2007

"A brand new year…exciting! And just to start it off really well, 2 great things happened to me in the final days of 2006: I got to meet, in person, one of my virtual writing friends, Marianne and my manuscript One Night in Boston was accepted by Samhain Publishing!!!!!!"

Wow...that was definitely the way to start off a new year. 2007 turned out to be a great year for me in terms of moving my writing career forward. It's funny to think it all just started one year ago.

February 1, 2007

"Today’s the day! My article about character building is supposed to be up at WOW. "

Ditto the forward progress of my writing. I had a ball writing this article, and I have two articles in the works for WOW (Women-on-Writing), coming up in the next few months.

March 1, 2007

"For a little something different, I thought I’d post an excerpt from my WIP Lost in Paradise, which is in its umpteenth revision since being pulled from Virtual Tales. It’s also being read as a partial right now by The Wild Rose Press, so fingers crossed."

I actually forgot I originally agreed to publish Lost in Paradise with another, small e-press. Deciding to terminate that contract was a huge, nail-biting decision...but it paid off, since TWRP liked it and published it!

April 1, 2007

"Well, I never was a big one for "celebrating" this day - I'm not a prankster by nature, and I can't remember the last time someone really got me. Still, in honor of this day you might be interested in reading the History of April Fool's Day."

Still true (and the link still works, so check it out for some interesting facts)!

May 1, 2007

"First off, a big thanks to Marianne, who nominated me for "The Best of the Best" Blog Entries, and to everyone who voted for "Why I Harbor Hope"...I ended up winning!"

Oh, yeah, the blog post where I shared an email from a former student. Update: I continue to keep in touch with her; we just had lunch the other day and she told me all about her first year at graduate school. She's doing fabulous, of course!

June 1, 2007

(It was a Friday Feast day):
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...)"

All still true!

See you tomorrow for the LAST DAY of 2007...