Saturday, January 19, 2008

All Sorts of Excitng News for a Saturday!

"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

So I've been really confused the last few days, because Marianne and Judy of LASR kept leaving these really cryptic comments on my posts about books..and reading...and needing I know why. Apparently I won their January giveaway contest and a whole bunch of autographed books! Very, very exciting!! Now I just have to find the time to read them...

Thanks, guys!


So you'll remember that I was stressing about the telephone interview I did with a reporter from my hometown newspaper. I was worried about what I'd said (and forgotten to say)...but I just got a copy of the article/interview yesterday, and it turned out great! Of course, you can't read it online, because it's a small town and the paper's website only features the front page and lead stories (maybe one day I'll be there!), but she did a good job and was pretty much true to everything I said :)

My advice to other authors out there: send out press releases and do as many kinds of contact/promo/interviews as you can, especially when it doesn't cost you very much. Speaking of which...


Tonight I am going to a "private author party" - sort of like a Tupperware party, only we're selling our books rather than food storage containers. It's being organized by Stella Price, the author I met back at the December Book Fair in NYC (who, it turns out, lives about 30 minutes from me), and there will be 4 authors there total, and about 15-20 guests. I'm looking forward to it, even though I'm a little nervous as well. I'm obviously not "selling" my books, since they aren't in print yet, but one of the other authors emailed me tips on making excerpt booklets for both One Night in Boston and Lost in Paradise, and I'm going to give those away. I'm hoping that if people read and enjoy the first chapter, they'll want to buy the whole thing!

Not exactly sure what to expect, but I'm keeping an open mind. Hey, I figure the more people who hear my name, the better, right? So I'll give you the lowdown, tomorrow...make sure to check back!

Friday, January 18, 2008

A 3-Day Weekend AND a Snow Delay!

Wow, nice way to start the 3-day weekend, with a 2-hour weather delay. I guess there's some slick stuff outside (I should probably look before I go careening off to work in a couple of hours)...been a weird sort of winter so far, what with more ice and sleet than rain. Guess we can thank global warming for that.

Anyway, here's the Friday Feast - enjoy!

What is your favorite beverage?
It really depends on the moment:

Morning: Starbucks Nonfat Latte
Evening: A glass of good Chianti if it's been a long day
Water every other time

Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.
1. A calendar with all my deadlines for writing and promotional events
2. A cute little sticky note holder with the acronym "BIC, HOK!!" on it (that's "Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard" for those who don't means no procrastinating)
3. My Zune with all my favorite music!

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?
Maybe a 7? I'm not always completely honest when telling people I love their new haircut or stuff like that. I'd rather preserve their feelings.

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
Not the name, but the slogan: Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the city itself, with all its history, and I've spent many weekends there, but the Philly natives are definitely NOT the nicest I've come across. Especially when they're driving. I'd change it to Philadelphia, we're not our brothers' keepers.

What stresses you out? What calms you down?
Stress? Too many things on my plate at once. And people at work who don't pull their weight or are too dense to understand something even after you've explained it 5 times.
Calm? Reading, writing, playing the piano, working out. Oh, and see "favorite evening beverage" above.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Roar For Powerful Words

"If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." ~ Emily Dickinson

Judy tagged me the other day with the Roar for Powerful Words Award (2 tags in 1 week! What is the blogging world coming to?) I liked the questions, so I'm playing.

Here are the rules:

* Link back to the person who tagged you.
* List three things that you believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful.
* Tag five others and comment on their blog informing them that they've been tagged with this award.

In My Mind, Good & Powerful Writing Has All Of The Following Elements:

1. An Original Way With Words ~ The authors I admire most are those who can manipulate language in a way that takes my breath away (to paraphrase Emily Dickinson, who said it best in today's quote). When a line is so perfectly constructed, with the right words and the right tone, when it makes me stop and read it again, aloud, because the cadence and the image is near-perfect, that's powerful writing.

2. A Plot That Turns Pages ~ Even if the language of a story doesn't have finesse, if it has a plot so intense that I can't put it down, the book will usually capture me. Intense doesn't have to mean suspenseful, by the way. It does have to mean original and captivating. It means that every chapter ends with a hook that makes me want to read more. It means that I try and guess where the plot is going, and then I'm pleasantly surprised when I'm wrong.

3. Characters That Captivate ~ I want characters that are so developed that I think about them when I'm not reading the book. I miss them when the story is over. I feel as though they are somehow real people that I have come to know in real life. That's tough to do, but the talented authors succeed. All the little details, from physical description to inner turmoil to relationships with others in the the best stories, they add up perfectly to a person I want to get to know more.

(Now, of course, the challenge is to try and do all that in my own writing!)

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically for this one, but if you want to play, let me know!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Paula Calloway

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm pleased to feature author Paula Calloway, who writes sensual and erotic romance in the genres of fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal. She has a lot more fun information about herself and her writing on her website, so make sure to visit there as well.

Note: Paula will be chatting with readers from 11 am to 9 pm at, this-coming Saturday, to celebrate her newest release. If you like what you see here and want to find out more, make sure to mark that date on your calendar!

Hi Paula! Can you tell us a little about your background?
Born in Pennsylvania and grown in Florida, I call Tennessee home. I still cuddle with my husband. My teenage daughter is an angel who interprets "teenageese" when I ask. One of my nephews lives with us and is an A/B honor roll student. I have five nieces and five nephews from four baby sisters. As is typical with siblings, they all have at least me as an older sister and, on occasion, each other, by their own choosing. You ought to see when they quibble...most flee the area. LOL

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

I always wrote poetry. In 1991, I endured a dream that would not leave me alone. Haunted for weeks on end by this dark and devastating vision of future earth, I created a web page titled "Nature's Plea" where the dream is revealed (accessible from my home page). It wasn't enough. Two of the characters from that dream came to life and demanded I tell their story. I lived through those dreams on a nightly basis and the only way to get them to leave me in peace was to write them down. Hence, The Cursed Hit and The Blessed Return. These were based on the Y2K theory and postponed when that date slipped past. Now, with a little rewriting and time shifting, I'll adjust any given dates, years and events to work on the 12/21/2012. I haven't stopped writing since.

Can you tell us about your latest writing project or published title?
A Cry in the Night
. Oh my heart be still! I entwined my father's love of the old Werewolf with my version of the new Vampire. So many Werewolves in today's stories shift when they want because the one thing that is supposed to rule them has been deemed a mere light in the night sky. Nature's power of full moons, lunar cycles and the tide shifts are forces that should never lose their part in a creature created to work with them. I took the Werewolves of days lost, from times long ago and legends faded and brought them back. Now the Were, the Beast and the Wolves need help. Only one legendary creature has ever been able to tangle with a Beast and survive: vampires. Once known as healers in some ancient realms, they walk the earth and care for the Were who cry out in the night, protect the Wolves lost to the feral side and intercept the hunted the Beast in its bloodlust frenzied search for Human flesh.

How do you go about developing your characters?
Odd as it sounds, they come to life on their own. I might hear a phrase or song or see something in a dream or life and they live. The rest is the Hero and Heroine standing close and telling their story. Occasionally I have to heave a sigh to get them to slow down, but it's worth it. There are times where the Heroine-especially the young, inexperienced one-might drive me insane or moments where the Hero-young and dominant-agitates me, but it's part of them, their ways and the path they walked. I don't create them, they are and they live. I do have to look over my shoulder every now and then because I have this supervising, lurking, muse. He has a nice smile but can be unnerving at the worst of times. Sometimes I think he's what keeps the others in line. Or is he waiting to see who tells what and try to better their story? *shiver*

Oh, very well said. So what advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
Actually, I put together a page with the help of reviewers and editors just for this purpose. I hope it helps.

Great resource! Well, what do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?
Difficult? Editing. Making sure all the little glitches are destroyed.

Exciting? When a reader tells me they like my story. Even more so is the comment one reader gave about Dark Hope and how she enjoyed it so much, she read it again!

What a great compliment! Tricky question, now: How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
Carefully. There are times where I shut down writing because my family needs or wants me and there are times where they lead me to my desk and make me sit because the energy thrumming in my veins is a story and they can feel it. It is those moments they send me to my desk so I can de-energize. But no matter what, I am always there for them. With a husband, a daughter, a mother, four sisters, five nieces, five nephews and numerous pets, I am always available.

OK, but do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
I have, but not for some time. (Knock on wood.) When writer's block struck years ago, I spent hours on my porch listening to the cascading brook, babbling stream and plunging waterfall that feeds my 3500 gallon pond. With all the soothing sounds of nature, I soon washed away all the interference and returned to writing in only a few short months.

How blissful! Can you describe your writing space for us?
My small desk houses hubby's generous gift of a 3.4 GHz dual processor, 1.5 GHz memory, large non-glare/flat screen, HP Compaq. I don't understand all that, but it does fly. Little yellow stick 'em notes decorate the monitor's left side and bottom. Full page notes stand on the monitor's left and right. A tall left-hand shelf holds a thesaurus, dictionary and various research books, including a Strunk & White Elements of Style. The top desk shelf holds a dragon with a massive sword, a baby dragon, a tiger, a unicorn and a black knight. On the right is a large cage with four parakeets who dance and sing throughout the day. Behind me, the sliding glass door opens and invites in the sound of the backyard waterfalls. A coffee warmer lives a foot from my right hand. Shame I can't find a tea cooler for my right. If I snack while working, I prefer cereal and fruits. The other day, I concentrated on finding an error I knew I saw and reached for a honeycomb. I dipped my fingers in the coffee. :)

I can almost picture that! LOL Thanks for an informative and entertaining interview, Paula!

Readers, remember to check out Paula's website and also join her for an all-day chat and a chance to win one of her books on Saturday, January 19, 2008. (You must be a member of the group to participate, so head on over to join before the 19th and get in on the fun: Click here to join eBookLove)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

7 Things You Might Not Know About Allie

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival." - C. S. Lewis

Emma Sanders tagged me the other day, and since I haven't done one of these in a while, I'll play:
The rules are:
List seven things about yourself

Link to the person who tagged you (see above)

Tag seven new victims, er, friends.

So here's a list of seven things about me:

1. I didn’t get married until I was 30 years old.

2. I can still sing the “50 States” song that I learned in 6th grade. It lists them all in alphabetical order and is quite impressive at cocktail parties LOL (“Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas…”)

3. I studied sign language for 2 years after graduate school and wish I’d continued.

4. I don’t like mustard, mayonnaise, onions, or pickles. As you can imagine, I eat a very naked burger.

5. I have a baby grand piano in my living room that I play daily.

6. I ran a marathon in 1999, in Washington DC, and have no desire to ever physically punish myself like that again.

7. I would go back and live in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a heartbeat, if my hubby would agree to it. I miss Cleveland :)

So who am I tagging? YOU, if you want to play...let me know!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rewriting the Romance

The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender. ~Emil Ludwig

Well, we got a little bit of snow overnight, but definitely not the 6-12" they were predicting! We got a 2-hour delay from school rather than a snow day...

So over the weekend I finished up another article for WOW (their February issue) titled "Romance: It's Not Your Mother's Bodice-Ripper Anymore." (It's a feature article, which means from this one piece I will make just about the same amount of $$ I have made in royalties on One Night in Boston since last August. Oh well.)

My article is, as you would guess, a look at why today's romance is so different from those of 20-30 years ago...and why it should get more respect than it does. In doing some research online, I found this terrific article, that appeared in TIME magazine back in 2003. It's definitely worth a read, though I'll quote a couple of my favorites passages here:

Julia Quinn [author of the Regency romance The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown] isn't who you think she is. For starters, she isn't really Julia Quinn. That's just a pseudonym she chose so her books would be shelved next to those of the best-selling romance writer Amanda Quick. What's more, she's not a little old lady with a dozen cats. Julia Quinn is Julie Pottinger, 33, a smart, ambitious Harvard graduate. Quinn spent two years after college fulfilling her pre-med requirements, then went to Yale medical school. But after two months she dropped out to pursue her true purpose in life: writing romance novels...

Writers like Quinn are reinventing the romance novel for the postfeminist generation. Although she hasn't discarded the conventions of romance, Quinn is more than willing to tweak them...

In her next novel, Quinn plans to explore some darker themes — the hero is a widower whose late wife suffered from clinical depression. It's an interesting direction for a romance writer, one that might bring her perilously close to literary respectability. As she points out, "You always get more respect when you don't have a happy ending." So is she tempted to trade in her soft-focus covers for cultural credibility? To end, just once, with a funeral instead of a wedding? "Oh, no!" Quinn says quickly. "I have a mortgage."

It makes me happy that a Harvard grad can write romances and (maybe, just maybe) not get a bad rap because of it. Maybe there's hope for the rest of us too :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Way Words Work

"A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket." ~Charles Peguy

Today my brain is in a fuzz, because of all the writing-related stuff I have to do before the end of this month, so I thought I'd share these funny, very philosophical questions a friend emailed me. You've probably seen some of them in other places...but they're still worth a laugh. And they do make you wonder about how metaphors and idioms get formed, in this language!

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

Why do you have to "put your two cents in"... but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?

Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binocularsto look at things on the ground?

Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?

Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane ?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Why Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?