Saturday, February 02, 2008

Another Contest, Another Winner!

"Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark." ~Annie Dillard

Drum roll please...the winner of my January Book-Blog Giveaway is...

LaskiGal! She wins an author-signed copy of Cast in Stone, a beautifully written paranormal romance by Kerry A. Jones.

(LaskiGal, email me at so I can get that mailed off to you.)

Congrats, and thanks to everyone who visited my blog and commented all month long. I'll be holding a Valentine's Day contest in a few days, with another fun giveaway, so make sure to stop back and check it out!

Also, I'm a Featured Author over at The Romance Studio for the month of February, and I'd love for you to read my interview when you get a chance. I talk about Lost in Paradise and why I love the main character of that book so much (hint: you'll need some of that trivia to enter the Valentine's Day contest...).

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Happy Friday....and Happy February!

"If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I'll bet they'd live a lot differently." ~Bill Watterson

Just a quick heads-up: if you haven't signed up for my electronic newsletter, and you'd like to, there's a little form right over there on the sidebar. I only send them out every other month, and it's usually a brief "what I've been up to with my writing these days." The February one goes out this weekend!

And here's your Friday Feast...

What is your favorite kind of cereal?
Ooh, I'm eating it right now: Quaker Oat Squares - crunchy and good flavored, with fiber and all that good stuff.

When was the last time you purchased something for your home, what was it, and in which room did it go?
We just bought a new chair for the computer desk in our home is SO much more comfortable than the old one!

What is the funniest commercial you’ve ever seen?
I'm not a big TV watcher, but I do think that cell phone one with the father talking to the guy who wants to date his daughter is pretty funny ("See? We're both in her Fab Five. I'm right next to's like I'm watching you...all the time.")

Main Course
Make up a name for a company by using a spice and an animal (example: Cinnamon Monkey).
Lavender Lemurs

Fill in the blank: I haven’t ______ since ______.
Gone outside without a winter coat since November. I'm already ready for spring!

And here's a funny audio clip, too!


Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Story with a Happy Ending

"A recent government publication on the marketing of cabbage contains, according to one report, 26,941 words. It is noteworthy in this regard that the Gettysburg Address contains a mere 279 words while the Lord's Prayer comprises but 67." ~Anonymous

I thought that quote was sort of interesting...


I'm running late this morning, so just a quick post, because I wanted to show off this AWESOME promotional flyer that Stella Price made for our booksigning in March. It's beautiful, isn't it?

And also, check out this heart-warming story about a dog at our local shelter who found a home. Even if you aren't an animal lover, the pictures themselves are worth a peek...

The Story of Badgee

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Jena Galifany

Welcome to another Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm featuring author Jena Galifany.

Hi Jena! Can you tell us about your latest published title?

ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home was released November 1, 2007 from Whiskey Creek Press. It is the fourth installment in the ShadowsForge series that follows the rock band on tour. The Long Way Home is the story of Brian Cummings, the drummer, his troubled teen years and how it is affecting him now that he is twenty-six and part of a successful band. Two years went into the writing. It is the most emotional of the series so far.

Wow, sounds like a great story! What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

I would tell any new writer to keep learning, keep listening to those who have gone before and follow. We will never know it all and we can avoid the problems and pitfalls by taking advantage of the authors and editors that try to share their experiences with us. Keep improving your craft and listen.

So, what do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

I sometimes have to work at keeping the middle of the story from sagging a bit but have found that if I have two situations going at once, I can switch off when one starts to droop. Exciting is when a plan comes together. When I figure out just the right way for a situation to be handled or written. I love twists and enjoy putting them in at the last minute. If a reader will finish the book and say, "I didn't see that coming!", that's the reward.

Oh, that's definitely true. Next question: when you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?

It starts out in my head, rolling around for a while until I know the ending. (I write backwards.) I then work out several possible things that would have happened to cause the ending to be the way I want it to be. When I get a few ideas, I make an outline. Once I've reached the beginning, I start the writing, making written notes and typing them out when I get time.

Authors often tell me that they're inspired by movies they've seen. What is your favorite movie? Did it inspire your writing in any way?

My father was a projectionist (he ran the old carbon-arch projectors that were used to show films back before automation) and I saw movies every week and weekend as a child. (Too many to think about!) If I had to name a favorite it would be difficult. How about "The Lake House", A Walk in the Clouds", and "Swashbuckler". There are probably a lot more but I'll go with those for now. After seeing so many less than great movies in my life, it probably had some effect on my desire to writing but I try not to let any one movie bleed too much into my work, copyright issues being what they are. LOL

Now I would love to write a series like "Firefly." I love to write series and love the way Josh Whedon meshed it all together. Fabulous!

What a neat childhood memory! Thanks for being with us today, Jena. And readers, make sure to leave her a comment so she knows you were here. Any last word for the visitors today?

I love to hear from readers, what they think of my work, as long as it is constructive, even if they didn't like something. It helps me to grow as a writer. Here are some places I can be found around the internet:

Jena's Website

Jena's Blog

Jena's MySpace

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hey! I'm Officially an Author!

"The more you earn, the less you keep,
And now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to take,
If the tax collector hasn't got it before I wake." ~ Ogden Nash

OK, maybe I've been thinking of myself as a true author for a little while now, but the proof came in the mail yesterday: my 1099 form reporting my royalities from Samhain. Yes, that's right, since I've officially made money on my writing, I have to report those earnings to the IRS!

Lucky me.

Still, I won't complain.

I added a little feature to my sidebar, right at the top: Allie's Appearances. I'll keep a list of any places I might be showing up with books or promotional things, in the monthst to come. It feels a little decadent, but hey, if the IRS thinks I'm a professional, I should act like one, right?

Finally, I think I've made a startling discovery about my writing: I'm not sure I write straight romance. {gasp} I think I might write women's fiction, instead.

I didn't even know what "women's fiction" was, to be honest. But I was doing research for an article I'm writing, and I found some interesting differences between the two genres. Primarily, the difference seems to be that in a romance novel, the love story is the central focus. Everything else in the plot works toward and around that.

But in women's fiction, the story centers on the main character, her struggles and triumphs in her world - which might include romance but also deals with her work relationships, her family, etc. And it may or may not have a happy ending. (Mine do, so far anyway) Here are some other interesting definitions I found:

"Women's Fiction can be commercial (and usually is) or literary; it can be here-and-now contemporary or a multigenerational saga, like Rosamund Pilcher's books. The woman is the star of the story and her changes and emotional development are the subject."

"In women's fiction the heroine's relationship with her family or friends may be equally as important as her relationship with the hero."

So honestly, I think that is what I write. Don't get me wrong: I am a sucker for true love. But I also feel as though I need to explore more than just that, in my novels. Some of the critics who didn't like One Night in Boston thought the hero and the heroine should have gotten together much sooner. If it were a true romance, that might be an accurate criticism. But as I've been re-reading the galley, I realize that the story is more about Maggie trying to come to terms with her past and her present, than getting her into bed with her hero. (Lost in Paradise, on the other hand, I would call more of a true romance novel. I was experimenting.)

I hope that doesn't turn people away from my writing. I would hope that readers will care less about the label and more about what's inside the pages, though I do know that marketing counts for a whole lot.

Still, when I update my website in a few weeks, I think I may shift my "brand" just a bit and go with something like "Allie Boniface, Best-Selling Author of Contemporary Romance and Women's Fiction." (I can say "best-selling" 'cause I was, on the TWRP list for a while...right?)

What do you think?

Monday, January 28, 2008

This Post Has Nothing to Do with Writing

"You don't have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone." ~John Ciardi

Yesterday I sat down and opened up the Sunday paper to find this horrific article:

1 Teen Dead, 1 Critical in Fall

One teenager died and another was critically injured when they climbed onto the roof of an elementary school early yesterday morning and fell 33 feet through a domed skylight, police said.

L.B. , 15, and N.M., 18, fell through the skylight around 2:45 a.m. and landed in the gymnasium below at A.S.K.E. School. The fall marked a tragic end to a night of youthful mischief, during which the teens had been drinking alcohol, police said.

Sometime in the early morning hours, [the girl] and three of her girlfriends sneaked out of a sleepover party. They met two boys at the elementary school. Two of the girls, who were not named because of their age, left the group while the others stayed.

The two girls and two boys stacked plastic milk crates, climbed them and then used an air-conditioning unit to hoist themselves onto the roof, police said. L. and M. split from the other two teens. Each group traveled in separate directions on the roof.

After 20 minutes, they called each other on cell phones and decided to meet on the roof. But L. and M. never showed up. Their two friends found the broken, 4-by-4-foot skylight. M. called his friend to say he had fallen and was injured, police said. Foot patterns left on the roof indicate the pair had been sitting on the skylight when it broke.


And all I could think was, There but for the grace of God go I.

I mean, we all did something stupid like that when we were kids, didn't we? Sneak out, or drink underage, or break curfew, or meet a boy who was older than we were, or be someplace we weren't supposed to be? One of the police officers at the scene said, "Nothing involved in our investigation shows there were any criminal intentions or attempts to break in...It was just kids being kids, and it's tragic.""

We can make a thousand arguments: that the parents should have known she was sneaking out, that they shouldn't have been drinking, that they were trespassing, etc. I still agree with the cop: it was such a typical teenage thing to do. (Though personally, I don't know if I would have been sitting ON TOP OF a skylight, and I don't know that any amount of alcohol could have kept me outside on a rooftop when it was sub-20 degrees.) Still, I think we're remarkably lucky, most of us, that we get to live through our mistakes and learn from them.

I'm so sad for the kids and their families.


In other, unrelated news, did anyone see this article from a couple of weeks ago?

Marriage Annulled After Separated Twins Marry

Twins separated at birth have married each other without realizing they were brother and sister, it has been revealed.

The British couple's marriage has now been annulled by the High Court after judges ruled the marriage had never validly existed.

The identities of the brother and sister and details of how they fell in love and married are being kept secret. Soon after they were born they were separated and adopted by different families.

Neither was told they had a twin and had no idea they were blood relatives until after their wedding.


Good God, can you imagine? Yet I also thought, what a perfect twist for a plotline. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction; you can find fodder for stories just about anywhere you look!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Friends Chain Email

"You can kid the world. But not your sister." ~Charlotte Gray

OK, I know probably everyone out there has gotten one of these "how well do you know your friends" emails. I rarely respond, just because I either (1) don't have time or (2) figure the person who sent it already knows most of the answers.

But today I'm going to post my answers to the latest one right here on my blog, 'cause it was from my sis and she rarely stops this is a reason for her to! (Waving at you, H) Oh, and a happy birthday to my dad, too, since I know he'll read this today!!!

Here you go...

1. What is your occupation? Teacher

2. What color are your socks right now? Navy with light blue flowers - cute, not weird, I promise!
3. What are you listening to right now? "Son of a Preacher Man"

4. What was the last thing that you ate? An English Muffin

5. Can you drive a stick shift? Nope (yeah, I know, if I ever had an emergency and had to drive one, I'd be out of luck...actually I have a story where this happened. Too long to get into here, though, and my parents read this blog, so...)

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Red

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My husband - he was out doing errands yesterday and wanted to know if he could bring me lunch :)

8. Favorite drink? Depends. Usually water. Sometimes red wine if it's been a long day!

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Pro baseball, if the Cleveland Indians are playing

10. Have you ever dyed your hair? Just highlights

11. Pets? 2 cats

12. Favorite food? Dark chocolate

13. Last movie you watched? "Next" (last night - it wasn't very good)

14. What's your Favorite Day of the year? July6 - my anniversary

15. What was your favorite toy as a child? My stuffed Paddington Bear

16. What is your favorite, fall or spring? Spring - rebirth after a cold, dead winter!

17. Hugs or kisses? Hugs

18. Cherry or Blueberry? Blueberry but only if fresh - cooked (warm, mushy) fruit is one of the things I detest most

19. Current living arrangements? A house with my hubby

20. When was the last time you cried? Earlier this week, when I heard Heath Ledger had died.

21. What is on the floor of your closet? Shoes!

22. Favorite smell? Chocolate chip cookies baking

23. What inspires you? My students when they try harder than they realized they could

24. What are you afraid of? Not making a difference in this life

25. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Bleu cheese

26. Favorite car? Red, sporty, and lots of horsepower!

27. Favorite cat breed? My mixed breed sweeties

28. Favorite day of the week? Friday after school is out!

29. How many states have you lived in? 3

30. How many countries have you been to? 6