Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another Contest for All You Authors Out There!

"I'll take any trophy. I don't care what it says on it." ~Mary Louise Parker

First, I'd like to throw out a big THANKS to Diane, who awarded me the "I Love Your Blog" award this past week. I haven't felt too inspiring or interesting lately, so I'm not feeling really worthy of such a kind award, but perhaps that will change soon.


Second, here's an interesting sort of contest for all you writers out there: Miss Snark's Secret Agent Contest. How does it work? Well, when she puts out the call (next one is Monday Nov. 10th), submit the first 250 words of your completed ms. She'll post the first 75 on her blog, where critiquers can fire away with likes and dislikes. The catch? One of the critiquers is actually a literary agent - whose identity is revealed later on.

Want to know more? Click here for all the details.

And now I'm off to give a presentation on promotion and marketing to my local RWA chapter. Have a great Saturday!

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Friday Joke

I'm still feeling rather lousy, so instead of any brilliant blog post today, I'll just share with you this (PG13-rated) joke that an author friend forwarded to me. I'm supposed to forward it to 5 other people, but you know what? I'm pretty sure at least 5 will stop by and visit my blog today, so here you go...

Miss Beatrice
The church organist,
Was in her eighties
And had never been married.
She was admired for her sweetness
And kindness to all.
One afternoon the pastor
Came to call on her and she showed him into her quaint sitting room.
She invited him to have a seat while she prepared tea.
As he sat facing her old Hammond organ,
The young minister
Noticed a
cute glass bowl
Sitting on top of it.
The bowl was filled
With water,
And in the water
Floated, of all things, a condom!
When she returned
With tea and scones,
They began to chat. The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity
About the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him and he could no longer resist.
'Miss Beatrice', he said, 'I wonder if you would tell me about this?'
He pointed to the bowl.
'Oh, yes,' she replied, 'Isn't it wonderful? I was walking through
The park a few months ago
And I found this little package
On the ground.
The directions said
To place it on the organ,
Keep it wet and that it would prevent the spread of disease.
Do you know I haven't had the flu
All winter.'

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A New Romance Writing Site

Just a quick news flash today, as I'm feeling rather under the weather:

A new erotic romance e-publisher is launching on December 1 at You can find out more information at their Press Release too.

Here's some info on their pre-launch contest:

The TwittErotica Contest is online now and we’re looking for as many submissions as possible. Here are the guidelines:

Ravenous Romance™ TwittErotica Contest

Are u the Twitter Master? Can u get ur message out in 140 characters or less? If so, then prove it. We challenge u to put ur fingers to ur twit & send us ur hot, erotic short, but remember, short is the key... it has 2 fit in2 140 chrctrs...or less! Check back on Dec 1 to read all entries + the winning Tweet!

Winner receives a $15 gift certificate to Ravenous Romance = 3 novels or 15 shorts!

Ready, set...tweet!

If that's your thing, give it a try. Remember, contest wins boost name recognition, so especially if you're an unpubbed writer, it might be fun to see how you do.

Finally, it looks as though they're giving away an iPod too. Contest rules are here. Good luck!

And now I'm off to consume lots of tea, zinc, and Vitamin C, in the efforts to stave off this cold that is quickly wearing me down.

Oh, and I'm celebrating the historic election, too: no matter which candidate you voted for, I hope everyone can appreciate the momentous cultural milestone that November 4, 2008 now represents. Pretty amazing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with J.K. Coi

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today's feature d author is a lovely woman I had the pleasure to meet at the NJRW Conference a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy your peek into the writing world of J.K. Coi!

Nice to see you here in virtual world, J.K.! Can you tell readers a little about your background?

Well, I’m a Canadian who’s not that big on hockey, but don’t shoot me for that. I like soccer and I like skiing and snowboarding. I work full time in a busy law firm looking at patent and trademark applications all day. Which is cool. I get the skinny on all the interesting new inventions that are coming into the market, lol.

Wow, sounds cool. So wen did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I’ve been writing seriously for about three years now, but I wrote poetry before that. It wasn’t really until my son was old enough to be sleeping through the night that I felt I had some time on my hands and the ideas started flowing.

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

My new release is called The Trouble With Destiny. Writing Trouble was quite a departure for me. I started it at a time when I needed to take a break from my current series, so I wrote something a little different. My other books are part of an urban fantasy romance series called The Immortals, and compared to Trouble they are darker and edgier, whereas Trouble is a little bit lighter, with a definitely saucy, sarcastic twist of humour. Sarah is just an average university student right up until the moment she discovers that destiny has other plans for her. She’s forced to learn the hard way that keeping the world safe from daemons may mean she won’t ever make it to calculus on time again, and to top it all off there’s Dorian to deal with—a mysterious, stubborn, dictator of a man with a dark past, who’s sexy as hell and impossible to resist.

Here’s the summary:

Mild-mannered Sarah McInnes just wants to be left alone. She’s looking forward to finishing graduate school and then working a nice, normal nine-to-five job as an accountant. But when fate interferes with her carefully laid plans in the form of the mysterious and sexy Dorian, her life takes an unexpected detour.Dorian is a take-no-prisoners kind of guy. For him, duty comes first. So when he intervenes one night to save Sarah from the murderous hands of a daemon and discovers she has the innate ability to fight them, he of course steps in and offers to train her.

Daemons notwithstanding, the job would be much easier and their relationship less complicated if Dorian didn’t also happen to be the hottest thing this side of hell.Now instead of spending her nights in the library Sarah spends them with Dorian, keeping the city safe from monsters and sending them back where they belong. Whether she wants to or not, Sarah has to face the facts: daemons exist, she possesses the power to kill them, and she may never make it to Calculus on time again.That’s the Trouble with Destiny...

What a fun read! OK, what advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

It’s been said often, but I think that the most important thing is to keep writing. A lot. Also, I'd have to say that some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten was to ignore the rules and write what was in my head. Everything can be fixed afterward, but at first, when you're learning, the process of training yourself to get the work out on the page is way more important. As you go along, the other lessons will start to come more naturally, as long as you’re writing!

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

I’ve found that the most difficult part of writing, for me, is staying focused. Besides the writing, there’s so much to do, that you can get lost in all the blogging, interviews, and other promotional stuff—which all needs to get done—and if you’re not careful, the writing ends up suffering. So my advice would be to stick to a schedule, if you can.

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

A brutal schedule. I work full time (although I have Mondays off), so I write on Mondays and in the evenings during the week. Every evening, without fail. If I’m not frantically trying to meet a deadline, then the weekends I will try and set aside for my family, but sometimes even that has to be compromised, although they understand and I always make it up to them.

It sounds as though you've mastered the art of self-discipline. But do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

I hate writer's block because I'm the kind of person who has to write linearly. I can’t jump around from scene to scene until something starts flowing again. When I’m stuck I just have to stop and take a break until something kick starts in my brain again.

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

I use the computer. I used to write longhand and then type it up later, but that was a LONG time ago. I do, however, keep a notebook handy at all times to jot things down as they come to me when my computer isn’t handy. It bugs my husband to no end when I whip it out at the movie theatre waiting for the show to start, or when we’re out to dinner.
Thanks for sharing your journey with us today, J.K. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

I just want to say thank you for the opportunity to be here today!

Please visit me at my website for more information about upcoming books, chats, interviews, reviews, and all things Immortal. I’m also on MySpace and I blog at

Books 1 and 2 of the Immortal Series are also available. Get My Immortal and Immortal Kiss from Linden Bay Romance and other major e-retailers online. You can also buy print copies of the books from your local stores.

J.K. Coi
Immortals to Die For

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Go Forth and Vote

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." ~John Quincy Adams

To all my American citizen friends, have you voted yet today? You're going to, right?


In other exciting news, you can ALSO vote for moi today, if you'd like: turns out I'm nominated in three different categories over in the Romance Erotica Connection Yahoo Group, for Best Sweet Contemporary Author of the Year, Best Sweet Romance of the Year (One Night in Boston) and Best Sweet Cover of the Year (Lost in Paradise).

How cool is that?

So if you'd like to help my cause, you can join the REC group and then click on "Polls" to vote (on the left sidebar). [Warning: it's a little convoluted to join the group, if you're not a Yahoo Group/ Internet savvy person, so no worries if you choose to abstain - in this election, anyway - not the Presidential one!]. But if you make it over there, or if you're already a member, there are a lot of categories, so scan through and see whom else you might like to vote for!

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Special Author Interview with Linda Wisniewski

Today I'm happy to share another featured author interview, with debut author Linda Wisniewski. This is Linda's first stop on her virtual blog tour, sponsored by WOW-Women on Writing.

Linda was born and raised during the 1950s and 60s in a Polish Catholic neighborhood in upstate New York, the setting for most of her memoir, Off Kilter. She attended college in Buffalo, NY and grad school in Pennsylvania for library science. She was a librarian and independent information researcher in the pharmaceutical industry before turning to writing full time.

Linda, I'm so glad I can be part of your blog tour! When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

When I was little, I had a blue diary with a lock and key. In elementary school, I won a loaf of bread in an essay contest! That was enough incentive for me to keep writing, but up until about ten years ago, only in my journal. Around 1998, I discovered two wonderful books: "Writing from Life" by Susan Wittig Albert, and "Writing as a Way of Healing" by Louise DeSalvo. Filled with exercises and ideas I could use to understand my past through writing, they set me on the path to memoir, the genre I most love to write (and read!)

Memoirs hold a special fascination for me as well. Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

Off Kilter, which came out this year, is my first book. It started from an essay I wrote called 'My Body, My Self,' which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2003. In it, I compared my scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, to the other 'off kilter' elements of my life. Like most women, my body image is one of the issues I've faced. The second is my relationship with my mother, who was emotionally abused and despite my best efforts throughout the 1970s and '80s, refused to be 'liberated.' Finally, my Polish American heritage, with its embarrassing Polish jokes and anti-Semitic history, is balanced out by a rich musical and literary culture, most notably for me, the Nobel prize winning poet, Wislawa Szymborska. I started out examining these three areas where I felt my life was 'off kilter' and through writing about them, learned what to accept and what to change to create a full, balanced life.

This sounds like a wonderfully complex, rich story. I can't wait to read it! What kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?

Memoir, of course, are my favorites, followed by 'cozy' mysteries and contemporary novels. Some of my favorite memoirists are Patricia Hampl, Louise DeSalvo and Nancy Mairs, and I discover new ones almost every week.In the mystery genre, I read everything by Susan Wittig Albert, Kathy Reichs (okay, not so 'cozy' - her books are the basis for the Bones TV show), Maggie Sefton, Elizabeth George and Julia Spencer Fleming, who writes about the Adirondack Mountains where I was born.

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

Deciding where to start is probably the most difficult for anyone, professional writer or not. Just getting my seat in the chair, my fingers on the keyboard or pencil, is the hardest part by far. Perhaps it's what one of my teachers calls 'fear of the unknown,' that terror that maybe we really have nothing to say. In less than an hour, the words fly from my head to the page, and I wonder why I spent all that time checking emails and news sites instead of writing! As I speak at conferences and in classes, I am thrilled by the people who are every day deciding to put their own stories on paper, whether for themselves, their grandchildren or for publication. It's great to be a part of such a great creative movement. Their questions and comments energize me to keep doing what I love - writing about life.

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

A long walk in the park recharges me every day. I also love to practice yoga; it's great for my scoliosis and my anxiety level! And I'm a new and avid quilter. So far, I've made four baby quilts for my nephews' kids. Oh...and traveling with my retired scientist husband, now that our son is a college freshman.

Well, it sounds as though you definitely have enough to keep you busy! When you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?

I always start a first draft in longhand. Call me superstitious, but I believe there is something mystical and magical about moving that pen across the page that kicks my left brain into gear. Ideas that seem to come 'through' me rather than 'from' me arrive most often in longhand. A day or a week later, when I'm ready to revise, I type that first draft into the computer, often editing as I go.

Linda, thanks so much for being here today. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

I'd like to invite everyone to my website,, and my publisher's site,, for more about me and Off Kilter. And I'd like to add that I'm co-editor of the net's largest book review site by, for and about women, Story Circle Book Reviews, Come give us a look!

Thanks, Allie!

And thanks to both Linda and WOW for arranging this blog tour visit. Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Don't You Love It When...

"i never think at all when i write
nobody can do two things at the same time
and do them both well"
~Don Marquis, Archy's Life of Mehitabel, 1933

OK, so don't you just LOVE it when're writing a scene and you realize you have a fundamental problem with the situation (as in, this character was supposed to be dead two chapters ago, or the last time the characters were in this room there was a chair by the front window, but now there definitely isn't...)? look at your calendar and realize you only have 1 week to accomplish a project when you thought you had 2? get all the way to work before you realize you forgot something you ABSOLUTELY need?

...the reason your husband hasn't slept in 3 nights is because he has something called costochondritis?

Yes, all this and more has happened to me in the last 7 days. Go figure. Glad I have an extra hour today to sort out my life.

How are all you NaNo writers doing?