Saturday, May 10, 2008

My First "Real" Book Signing!

"Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book." ~Author Unknown

Just a quick post this morning, since I have a million little errands to do before I head off to The Spotty Dog for a book signing later this afternoon. And I actually have both my books in print, in hand, for this one!

It's a "Girl's Night Out" at a pub/bookstore, and I'll be there with Stella Price, Tilly Greene, Cat Johnson, Tara Nina, CH Admirand, and Bianca D'Arc.

Should be interesting ~ I'll give you the full report tomorrow!

Friday, May 09, 2008


"My big stand is this: Every child deserves a home and love. Period." ~Dave Thomas, found of Wendy's

Thanks for all the warm wishes yesterday , everyone!

And this is weird, but if you go to Amazon now and search for Lost in Paradise, only the Kindle edition comes up. You can still get there by clicking a specific link I already established (like this one), so it's in their system somewhere, but...guess I'll have to email them today to find out what's up!


And here's my Friday Feast...

When someone smiles at you, do you smile back?


Describe the flooring in your home. Do you have carpet, hardwood, vinyl, a mix?

A mix of carpet (in the bedrooms), hardwood (in the foyer, kitchen, dining room) and tile (in the great room). It works.

Write a sentence with only 5 words, but all of the words have to start with the first letter of your first name.

Apples always attract amorous ants.

Main Course
Do you know anyone whose life has been touched by adoption?

Of people? Yep: one of my closest friends at school is an aunt to a boy and girl from Kazhakstan; my principal is mom to 2 girls from China; 2 co-workers have grown sons who are adopted; and I once dated a guy who was adopted (his sister too).

Of furry people? Yep again: we have 2 cats, one adopted from a shelter, one from our front porch. Then there's my parents, some friends at school, a writing friend out in CA, my childhood friend in Detroit...

[I would be surprised if anyone *couldn't* answer this question with a "yes."]

Name 2 blue things.

1. The ocean off the Gulf coast of Florida.
2. My cover for One Night in Boston :)

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Allie's Christmas in May - Presents Everywhere!

OK, first off, a hearty Thank You! to Blonde Duck, who nominated me for the "Blogging with Purpose" award. I think that's very cool...I'm not sure I always have a purpose here, but it's nice to know some reader out there thinks I do, anyway!

And now for my very exciting news:

Yesterday I received my author copies of BOTH books that are coming out this month! I'm still a little overwhelmed that both Lost in Paradise and One Night in Boston are releasing within a week of each other, but I'm sure not complaining :)

So I thought I'd share with you a little montage of my "Christmas in May" that occurred last night when I got home and found two boxes on my front porch...

Trying in vain to open the first box, without damaging the valuable contents inside...

Ooh, look what it is! The very sexy cover of Lost in Paradise - Eddie West looks even better in my hands! (OK, pun not intended)

2nd box is a little bigger (The Wild Rose Press sends authors 1 complimentary copy, and I ordered 10 additional. Samhain sends authors 10 complimentary copies, and I ordered 10 additional.)

Here it is! The first book I ever contracted, ever edited, ever marketed, ever published...pause for some happy tears, please...

Beautiful back cover, right? Samhain also puts review clips in the front - and speaking of the front, let's just look at the title page:

Sigh. A dream come true...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Samantha Sommersby

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today I have a fabulous interview with romance author Samantha Sommersby. Sit back and enjoy!

Hi Samantha, and welcome to my blog! Can you tell readers a little about your background?

Sure! I was first published in 2005 and in January of 2007 I left what I used to call my “real life” day job in the psychiatric field to pursue writing and working in the publishing industry full-time. I think that my background as a psychotherapist is apparent in my work and it allows me to bring a unique perspective to my characters and stories. I’m thoroughly enjoying having the opportunity to spend my days writing and strive to create a hero that will literally sweep you off your feet.

I live with my husband of eighteen years, my fourteen year old son, and my cocker spaniel, Buck. My husband is a social worker who works with abused children. He’s an avid sailor who loves to surf, and you’ll find bits of him in every hero that I’ve ever written. My son is wonderfully sensitive, with a sarcastic sense of humor. He plays the piano, composes his own music, is a competitive fencer, and worships video games.

On the rare occasion when I manage to set aside some "play" time for myself, you’ll most likely find me reading a book, at the movies, or out wine tasting (we have an 800 bottle cellar and collect mostly California cabernets).

800 bottles?! Wow! (Fans self and wonders if it's 5:00 yet) So, how do you go about developing your characters?
I don’t outline with regards to plot, but I do extensive work before starting a story on characterization. I usually begin with the hero, then I move on to the heroine, and finally I address the important secondary characters. I’m pretty meticulous about it, creating a full background, giving them history, figuring out what motivates them, what it is that they’re afraid of, what they desire most, what they need. I like to get to know my characters inside and out then once I do, I set them loose. What happens after that? Well, they take on a life of their own.

Important question, now: how do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

That’s a constant struggle. I have the advantage of being able to focus on this full-time now, so I keep reminding myself that I can stop and pick things up the following day. I maintain a schedule and although it can be a challenge to stick with it, I do manage to most days. I always stop whatever I’m working on by 2:45 so that I can pick my son up from school, help him with his homework, make dinner, and enjoy the evening with my family. Once upon a time I’d write early in the morning, late at night, and on weekends because that’s the only time I had to write. Now I view writing as my job and I try really hard to balance that out with family, friends…and taking care of myself.
I think that's a terrific attitude to have. But do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Sometimes I find that I’ve taken my character down a path that wouldn’t be true to them and I get stuck. Normally if I go back a few pages I’ll see where I went wrong. Once that’s fixed things flow smoothly again.

Can you describe your writing space for us?
I have a small office on the northeast corner of the house. We live in an old two-story craftsman bungalow in southern California. It was built in the early 1900’s and the office has built-in bookcases and oak wainscoting. The office was my husband’s domain, but now it’s all mine. I redecorated it last spring. I painted over the dark green walls with a light buttery yellow, moved my favorite reading chair and ottoman from my bedroom down there, made new curtains, and completely reorganized the closet. It’s a cozy space, but it has everything that I need. And, there’s a huge window that overlooks the front yard.

Oh, it sounds wonderful! Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

The third book in my Forbidden series, Forbidden: The Revolution, was released in mid-March and I’m working on promoting it now. I’m also in the early stages of writing book four, Forbidden: The Temptation.

The Revolution is set twenty-five years after the second in the series, Forbidden: The Awakening and introduces Byron and Violet’s son, Dell Renfield. Sorcerer. Sexy vampire. Special Agent. Secret weapon. In Forbidden: The Revolution, Dell is sent on a mission to Las Vegas where he encounters an old enemy of Byron’s and finds the two women that had been abducted along with Dell’s mother during Forbidden: The Awakening. The first woman is Rita, Byron’s former consort. The second is Alex Sanchez, who was an infant at the time of the kidnapping. Alex becomes Dell’s love interest. You’ll still see Byron and Violet, Luna will be back. But I’m also introducing some new characters, Byron’s daughter Lily, his assistant Chase, and a young werewolf names Jake who will be featured in book four. Oh – and there’s also a real badass mercenary mage named Basta in the book.

Sounds great! What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

My favorite genres are urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Laurell K. Hamilton, especially the early Anita Blake stuff. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan. I discovered Jeanne Stein’s Anna Strong Series last year and I’m about to start on the third. I’ve got more Kim Harrison in my TBR pile, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Kelley Armstrong. There’s this fabulous bookstore here in San Diego called Mysterious Galaxy. Every time I walk in there I walk out with an arm full of books!

Samantha, thanks so much for being here. Readers, make sure to visit Samantha's website, and check out her books! You might just find yourself a new favorite author today...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Follow-up to Yesterday...

"Strategy and timing are the Himalayas of marketing. Everything else is the Catskills." - Al Ries

Thanks for all your comments on yesterday's "birth of a cover" blog post. In fact, Marianne did one of her own today, with all the covers she went through for One Love for Liv. Go check it out - you'll see that mine was pretty painless compared to hers!

Dru asked me the most daunting part of the whole publishing process, and I have to say, it's the marketing. The editing, the revising, the cover design - all that is still related to the writing aspect, which I'm fairly good at (I think!). But the learning curve as far as marketing and promoting a book has been huge, for me. Learning what kinds of promo to use and when, how much to spend, what audience to target for what's interesting but also overwhelming. After about a year of doing it, I feel marginally more comfortable...but only marginally.

Devon is in the process of having her very first novella published by The Wild Rose Press, and she's outlining her whole journey on her blog, from submission to contract signing to blurb writing to pre-marketing thoughts. I'll be interested to see her cover for Addicted ~ especially since I'm making the trailer for it!

Finally, while we're talking about covers, I should mention that for Lost in Paradise, I only got one version. I loved it, so the artist didn't change anything at all. Let's take a moment and look at that yummy picture of Eddie West again, hmm?...

And guess what I discovered yesterday? It's up on Amazon! Funny thing, though: I think you can buy it (I haven't tried yet) - it says it's in stock. But my "official" release date isn't until May 23. I wonder what's up with that? Hey, if you want it now, give a try and see if you can buy it. Why wait?? :)

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Story of a Book Cover

"Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?" ~Pablo Picasso

I got my cover for One Night in Memphis, from my editor yesterday, and I LOVE IT!! It's so perfect. I can't share it with you yet, though, until it gets the official OK from the head honcho at Samhain.

In the meantime, I thought it might be interesting for my non-writer friends to know what's behind the process of getting a book cover, once you sign that golden publishing contract. I didn't know much about it, before I published my first book (and I have to warn you that, from what I've heard, authors have much less input and control when they publish with the big NY houses. Small presses can work more closely with their authors, I think.)


1. Soon after you sign your contract, your editor and/or the art department sends you a book cover info sheet. This is what Samhain's asks:

 Title of Book
 Series name (do you want this on the cover?)
 Author (name to be on cover)
 Author Email
 Editor name and email
 Genre & Time Period
 Where is story set
 Hero Description (Whatever details will help the art department)
 Heroine Description
 Short Summary of Story
 Author ideas/what would the author like to see (Please include specific examples and/or links, attach drawings or pictures if available, to help give art department as clear an idea of what you’re looking for as possible)
 Is there anything you don’t want on the cover or any comments

2. You fill it out, making sure you're as detailed as you possibly can be. You send it back and hear nothing for weeks or months. Then one day, surprise! You open an email from either your editor or your cover artist with your proposed cover.

Note: It may or may not resemble what you wrote on your info sheet.

3. You, your editor, your cover artist, and the publisher make a final decision. This, of course, is how One Night in Boston ended up, after I agonized whether I wanted the heroine on the front:

When I filled out my book info sheet for One Night in Memphis, I emphasized that I loved the clock-face overlay and hoped it could look similar to the Boston cover. And let me just say again: I LOVE IT.

Fingers crossed that the publisher will too, and I can post it here soon!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Surrounded by Inspiration

"I don't know a lot about politics, but I can recognize a good party when I see one." ~Mae West

Had such a lovely time yesterday at Jenna Kernan's Authors' Tea:

Jen is a member of my local RWA chapter (I gave away 2 of her books on my blog a couple months back), and she is absolutely the funniest and nicest person I've met in a long time. She writes historical romance for Harlequin and belongs to 3 - yes 3 - local RWA groups. And every year she has a tea in her home to bring fellow writers together and raise money for Heifer International (she won't let anyone bring anything, so a few years back instead of hostess gifts she suggested a small $$ to a charity).

It was a small group, just 8 of us, but they included a screenwriter, 2 published paranormal authors, 3 published historical authors, and 2 published contemporary authors. I sat between Jen, who just found out she's a RITA finalist this year (big honor in RWA) and a woman who is an RWA board member and also a professor of Victorian literature at a community college in CT.

The meal was scrumptious - scones and finger sandwiches and fresh fruit and lots and lots of tea - and the conversation never stopped for 3+ hours. It was so nice to be in a group of fellow authors, to talk about the writing and marketing and editing concerns common to us all. We told all kinds of crazy stories and laughed until the tears ran, literally. It was terrific.

Plus, it was just the kick of inspiration I needed, and when I came home I sat down at my laptop and got through another 1000 words or so on One Night in Napa. I'm struggling - it's the darned sagging middle - but at least I got something on the page.

And no, I don't have pictures from yesterday, unfortunately, but Jen took some, so if I get my hands on one, I'll post it. Now I'm off to write some more!