Saturday, April 05, 2008
So most of my regular readers probably know that I've been participating in the Samhain Spring Showers promotional event over at Coffee Time Romance (if you didn't, you can jump over there right now and take a look at an excerpt of the upcoming One Night in Memphis - I even posted a second excerpt, in the comments section, when readers asked for one...)
Here comes the cool part. I don't usually do a lot of chats or yahoo group excerpt posts, because I really don't have the extra time. It takes a lot to stop in every hour or so, check the comments, respond, etc. Plus I can't access any kind of board or group at work, so Mon-Fri is out anyway.
But I've had fun with the Spring Showers Event, as much as possible, and I've realized how cool is it to chat with actual or potential readers of your book. When I posted excerpts from One Night in Boston, several people commented positively, and said they had to put it on their TBR list. But my favorite comment by far was, "I have this book, and it was great!"
I still get a little heady (and disbelieving) when I hear something like that, that some random person I don't know has bought my book and read it. And liked it!
When I posted my One Night in Memphis excerpt, with the disclaimer that it wouldn't be out in ebook until July, I got actual dismay on the part of some commenters, that they had to wait so long. Definitely a warm fuzzy.
Sorry...I'm blowing my horn too much, maybe. But I just wanted to share. For someone who's spent a lifetime wanting to write and be published, it's pretty cool to have your dreams come true :)
Friday, April 04, 2008
Did you know we're in the middle of Borders Educators' Week? Any current or retired educator (and this includes Sunday School teachers, homeschoolers, etc) gets 25% off every single thing they buy, now through April 8. I wait for this week every year!
And now, the Friday Feast...
Invent a new flower; give it a name and describe it.
How about the New England Beauty? It survives the most wicked winters and blooms a bright red and pink through the snow. Nearly indestructible.
Name someone whom you think has a wonderful voice.
I'm a Josh Groban fan...
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how clean do you keep your car?
I'd say around a 7. I don't wash it as often as I should (especially in the winter - what's the point?), and it tends to collect pieces of my life as the weeks go on...extra gloves, receipts, overdue books, running clothes in case I'm motivated after work...
How do you feel about poetry?
Interestingly enough, though I'm an English teacher and a writer, I'm not a huge poetry fan. I do like to read it occasionally (love ee cummings), but I don't like to teach it, and I'm not very good at writing it. I tend to enjoy it on the surface level, rather than analyzing it for all its hidden meanings.
What was the last person/place/thing you took a picture of?
Lots and lots of new and exotic cars, at the International Auto Show last weekend. Missed that blog post? Here they are!
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Just a quickie today (well, no, not that kind of quickie, though hey, your imagination can go where it wants to...and as a matter of fact, yesterday I wrote the first kiss scene for One Night in Napa and ~ yummy! But I digress...)
Three links for you to visit today:
1. The Wild Rose Press April Newsletter - They did a really nice job, I think. Love the whole layout and design. And a little side news: I just found out that my novel with them, Lost in Paradise, releases in print on May 23! I don't think you can pre-order that one, but I'll definitely let you know when it's available.
2. The Long and the Short of It - This review site is giving away a book every single day this month! All you have to do is comment.
3. Oprah's April 4 Show on Buying Puppies - This one has nothing to do with writing, but it's a good effort to raise awareness about puppy mills and how awful they really are. Her show this Friday is devoted to exposing these mills!
Have a great day - I'm off to heat up the action from that first kiss in One Night in Napa (31K words and counting!)
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Hi, Marty! Thanks for being here today. Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born and raised in Ohio (Go Bucks!), in a house with hundred of books. I went to college in Michigan and Arkansas, and moved to North Carolina a decade ago. I work as a history professor and college administrator. I like to travel--especially to the beach.
Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.
My latest novel is titled "All in Good Time" and is available, like my other titles, from The Wild Rose Press. All of my stories are in the Vintage Rose line, and they're interconnected because they're set in the same town. "All in Good Time" is set in 1948, and tells the story of Elizabeth, a Yankee school teacher, who moves to this small southern town to become a spinster. She doesn't count on falling for Jake, who is struggling to overcome a scandalous divorce (all divorce was scandalous in those days) and raise his young son, Charlie, alone.
Ooh, sounds like a great story. So how do you go about developing your characters?
My characters--at least one of them--usually come to me fairly fully formed. My stories are character driven, so I spend some time developing them. I try to find images and music that represent them, and I develop their voices by writing a first-person biography for each. I use some of the character charts and interviews if I'm still feeling at a loss, and to keep track of the character arc, I use the GMC method, which also helps me develop strong areas of conflict between the H/H.
Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
WRITE! Write anything--every word on paper is a learning experience. Without "doing it", you can't grow and develop. READ! Read for entertainment, but also for education. Read the genre you write, the publisher you're targeting, the authors your love, all with an eye toward what they're doing that works for you. Also read craft books, whether for information or inspiration, and consider meeting other authors (online or in person) to make friends, share information, and encourage one another.
That's terrific advice, for sure. But what do you find most difficult about writing? And what do you find most exciting or rewarding?
For me, the most difficult thing about writing has been handling the "business" side. Writing is a creative process, and business is...stressful. Be careful that you don't let the practicalities of publishing sap creative energy. I'm lucky to be with a great publisher who has helped me keep a good balance.
The most exciting thing is the process of developing and writing a story. Getting what is in hour head onto the page--you can lose yourself in another life, adventure, or love for hours at a time. The rewards of writing come when people let you know they appreciate your work, they connected with your story or characters.
Marty, thanks so much for your insight. Readers, make sure to visit Marty's website and MySpace page.
And thanks for joining us today!
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
"Sir, is everything all right? Can I help you with something?"
"No thanks. I'm just looking around."
...and that's my attempt at a joke on this April Fool's Day...
By the way, The Long and the Short of It is holding a TERRIFIC contest this month: they're giving away a book every single day! All you have to do is leave a comment on a review post - but you only have one day to do so. Check here for more details.
Finally, a big congratulations to Virginia, the winner of my March blog-book giveaway! Virginia, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get Outlaw Bride sent off to you!
Happy April, everyone!
Monday, March 31, 2008
A few months ago, there was an article in my hometown newspaper about a writing group that had formed at one of the local high schools near where I grew up (not my alma mater, but close by). I thought, well, that's cool...I should drop them a line and congratulate them, and tell them about my own success as a writer.
It took me a while, but I finally did. And this is the email I got in response:
Thank you so much for the beautiful card and note that we received this past week. Some of the writers in the...group have seen the card and were so moved. The others will see it on Thursday when we meet next. I heard comments like, "Oh my gosh a famous writer knows about us now" and "Let's get her book and write with her." This was really huge to the kids to be recognized this way.
You, like others in our community, are showing the students...that you value their gift of writing and that our group is important to those outside of the school. Most of these children have not excelled in sports or other areas and have really been somewhat lost in the hustle and bustle of high school life. This group has given them a home to share their thoughts, their losses and their dreams. I can tell by what you wrote that you understand how important having a place like this can be to someone who writes.We are all so excited about your upcoming book. Please let us know where we can get a copy, and if you are in the area, maybe we can meet...
So this is my latest message to anyone looking for different kinds of promotion: consider making contact with the high schools in your area. I don't think it really matters *what* you write (OK, maybe erotica would be out). I do think the fact that you're a writer, and that you've struggled to express yourself on paper, appeals to people of any age. And I believe (being a teacher myself) that giving kids someone to talk to and maybe look up to, is valuable in more ways than one.
Check and see whether or not your local school has any kind of creative writing group - even a newspaper. Writing for any audience requires similar talents. Send an email or a letter. I bet you'll be surprised at their response. And hey - it's one more way to get the word out about your own work (in case you're out of the loop, pre-teens and teens talk to their friends. A lot.)
Sunday, March 30, 2008
At the show, of course, "green" vehicles were a big focus, along with any feature that could make your car/truck easier to use. We also saw some interesting "concept" cars of the future, as well as some overly made-up spokesmodels teetering around in super-high heels and teeny tiny skirts.
Here are a (very few) pictures of what we saw (spokesmodels not included, sorry):
Smart Car - hubby wants one of these in the worst way - seriously! They get around 40 mpg and, of course, can squeeze into any possible parking space. They also have 70 horsepower. You can put your name on a waiting list now to get one in 9 months...
Crazy display of Scions...all I could think was, how did they get them all up there??
60th anniversary edition of the Ford F150 - did you know it's been the #1 selling truck in this country for 31 years?? Talk about figuring out how to brand yourself...
Just a couple of notes before I go:
2. Tomorrow ends the March book-blog giveaway, which means one lucky commenter will receive a copy of Jenna Kernan's historical romance, Outlaw Bride (just released in Feb 2008). I'll announce the winner here on Tuesday!