Saturday, April 04, 2009

We Can't Keep it on the Shelf...

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." ~Desmond Tutu

So this is cool: my mom went into her local bookstore (our hometown) the other day to pick up My Mom is my Hero and mentioned that I was a contributing author AND that I had other books published under a pen name as well. The girl working at the desk asked for one of my titles and then went over, picked up One Night in Boston, and said, "You know, we can't keep this on the shelf."


Then my mom told her about the upcoming release of One Night in Memphis and that they should have a book signing there. I promptly told my mom she should become my publicist!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Joys of Home Ownership

"There ought to be a room in every house to swear in." ~Mark Twain

You probably think I'm going to rant about the never-ending projects that come with owning a home, right? True, it seems like there are a zillion. And just when you finish one, another pops up and waves a hand saying "Me, me! Time to tackle me next!"

But no, this blog post about home ownership speaks directly to the joys of installing a home alarm system. Oh yes, this is what we did this week.

When we bought our home 3 years ago, it had a system already installed. Not having ever lived in a house with an alarm, and not really having a lot to protect (sorry, kitties), we never got it hooked up. Fast forward three years, and we've since accumulated a few more things and also discovered that the economy has driven up the crime rate, around here anyway. In fact, our neighbors were robbed a few months back. Our house sits up off the road, so we figured it was time to bite the bullet and have the system turned on.

Minor snag: it took 2 days, rather than the promised 1, to fully install and hook up everything. After that, though, things seemed relatively simple: read the book on how to understand the keypad, program in a code, press a few buttons and secure the house for the night.

Major snag: at 2 am that first night, the alarm went off. Nothing like a horrifically loud siren to jar you out of a complete sleep! We both ran around the bedroom like lunatics until we realized we could punch in the code to turn it off. (Meanwhile, the poor cats were almost traumatized)We searched the house and discovered that one of the sensors had gone out. I suppose it was a relief to know that the company called within 30 seconds to make sure we were OK...embarrassed, but OK.

The following morning, we set the alarm (bypassing the one zone that had gone out) and left the house for work. I said to hubby, "You know, let's just wait for the 30-second delay and make sure it doesn't go off again." Sure enough, 31 seconds after we walked out the door, the alarm went off. (I'm sure our neighbors love us by now).

Since then, we've had a repair guy come out and check and test everything...and so far, no further problems. But I figure it's only a matter of time. Sigh. Yeah, gotta love home ownership!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

One Night in Napa Has Release Date!

"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke." ~Arthur Polotnik

I just got the good news from my Samhain editor that One Night in Napa has an e-release date of July 21, 2009! Even better, here's the official blurb, to whet your appetite:

Can anything change in twenty-four hours? Can everything?

Journalist Grant Walker has one chance to salvage his job and his relationship with his domineering father. Terrorists have kidnapped a fading film star’s son, and Grant has scored the first interview with the grieving mother. Even better, a new twist has just arrived on the scene—an illegitimate granddaughter who hasn’t been heard from in seven long years.

It’s the story of a lifetime, and all Grant has to do is deliver.

After discovering a terrible secret about her birth, Kira March left home vowing never to return. With her father kidnapped and her grandmother cracking under media pressure, it’s up to her to find and destroy all evidence of that secret. Trouble is, a reporter has weaseled his way into the house looking for answers—and he isn’t leaving until he gets them.

Yet as the hours pass, Kira finds herself falling for the very man who could destroy her. And when Grant comforts her in the wake of a midnight tragedy, he remembers why it’s a bad idea to get emotionally involved with an interview subject. Especially when the family name is on the line.

Ooh, I love this story. Now I can't wait to see the cover!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Congrats to the Prize Winner!

"April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four." ~Mark Twain

A big congratulations to Mary Ricksen, the winner of the Small Press Month Giveaway!!!

Thanks to everyone who left comments all month long. Stay tuned for the next giveaway (hint: it might just involve one of my two books coming out at the end of April...)

And Mary, email me at allieb@allieboniface so I can get your prize(s) off to you!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why Parents Drink

Yeah, this has nothing to do with writing, but a friend forwarded it to me last night and it made me laugh...

W hy Parents Drink
A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to 'Dad..' With the worst premonition he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.

Dear Dad:

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you.

I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice.

But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercing, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it' s not only the passion...Dad she's pregnant.

Stacy said that we will be very happy.

She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children.

Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy.

In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it...

Don't worry Dad. I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.

Love, Your Son John

PS. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than a Report card that's in my center desk drawer.

I love you.

Call me when it's safe to come home.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Mother's Day Book Signing

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." ~Rajneesh

In case I hadn't mentioned it, My Mom is my Hero is out in print now -- and my short story "Blue Circle Books" is one of the 50 stories included in it (though it's second to last in the whole book...what's THAT about?). And check out this great review on Amazon!!

I'll be signing copies, along with one other author, on Saturday May 9th, from 12:00 - 3:00 at the Waldenbooks in Rye Brook, NY. I sent out a bunch of press releases to bookstores within about 100 miles, and the manager of this one called over the weekend, thrilled to have us. That's neat, right? I don't get any royalties from this book, just a one-time payment for having my story included...but I'm still going to bring my author promo for all my other books, just in case, you know, shoppers might be interested in a love story for Mom too.

If you're anywhere near Rye Brook, mark May 9th on your calendars!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Final Author Interview...

Here it is...the final author interview of Small Press Month -- and thanks to everyone, readers and writers alike, for making it such a great one! Please welcome Amber Leigh Williams -- and remember to leave those comments! The winner of the prize pack of books will be announced right here on Wednesday, April 1st (no foolin', I promise!)

Amber, tell us a little about your latest writing project or published title.

Blackest Heart, my western novella for the Wayback, TX series, is now available with The Wild Rose Press. I recently learned that it will be going to print in an anthology called The Way Back Home. I never expected Blackest Heart to go this far so I’m absolutely thrilled! It’s the story of Stella Ridge, an actress who comes home to Wayback to recover from a traumatic car accident. Her arrival uncovers a trail of buried secrets and old wounds within her family and the town. She also finds an unlikely kindred spirit in Wayback’s silent cowboy Judd Black. Still haunted by his black past, he’s drawn by the hurt behind her eyes as well as the spark that kindles between them. When Wayback can’t provide the solace Stella craves, she turns into the arms of its so-called Blackest Heart.

How do you go about developing your characters?

My characters never turn out exactly the way I see them when I start out. I know what motivates them within the story, but sometimes even the back story is a mystery to me. With Judd, I knew something terrible had happened to him as a child to make him mute. But I didn’t decide what until I’d gotten to know him better mid-way through the plot. In the beginning, I usually know appearance, motivation in regard to the twists and turns of the plot, and a few fun quirks to give them individuality. The actual writing of the story fills in the blanks and somehow gives them even more depth than I imagined these already complex beings having. That’s one of my favorite parts of the process: seeing them mysteriously come to life all on their own.

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

I read everything I can get my greedy hands on. The only condition: if it’s fiction, it has to have a HEA. With books and movies, I’m a HEA fanatic. As for authors, I have favorites in every genre. J.R. Ward is hands-down my favorite paranormal author. Larissa Ione comes in close second. For romantic suspense, I turn to Nora Roberts and her J.D. Robb titles if I need to sink my teeth into something grittier. I’m not all that into mainstream contemporaries, surprisingly. It’s got to have something special to really grab me. As for historical romance, give me classic Kathleen E. Woodiwiss any day, Ashes in the Wind in particular. If I need a quick fix, I read a western. It doesn’t matter who the author is, small press or mass market… There’s just something about westerns that make me melt like cheese on pizza, LOL

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

If I’m challenged, I stay interested. When it seems too easy, I tend to stray. The main challenge for me with everyday writing is making the scenes and characters and plot come as alive on the page as they are in the movie reel in my head. Everything comes to me in “movie” form and I try my best to channel that onto the page, make it flow, and give it color. The most rewarding part is seeing my story take others by the heart. I got a message from one reader who said she couldn’t get Blackest Heart out of her head. Hearing that, I knew I’d done my job well and I went to bed with a smile on my face…after a big glass of congratulatory wine, of course!

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Though it can be inevitable, I think writer’s block is blown way out of proportion. People have this mental block when it comes to writer’s block. It terrifies them, freezes them, and I’ve learned the best way for me to get through it. For one, I think of it more as what it really is at the core: burn out. I write the first draft of a manuscript within three months. After that, I go through two to three weeks of nothing. I don’t get anything productive done besides promotions for my published works.

My mistake was thinking that I could wrestle the story from my muse’s hands—just sit down and pull it out, even if it only came an inch at a time. It was so mentally exhausting that I had nothing left for my husband or family for the rest of the day, and I was hurting myself. It felt generally unhealthy. So I’ve learned to give myself those two to three weeks in between manuscripts to lay back, relax, catch up on my TBR pile, spend time with my family, and let my muse and my brain recharge. When I dive into another story at the end of the recharge, it feels so good and I have all this ready energy that drives me through those three months of work!

What is your favorite movie? Did it inspire your writing in any way?

One of my favorite movies is The Italian Job, and it did in fact inspire my debut novel Fox & Hound. A Hallmark movie based on a true World War II love story called In Love and War inspired my first romance manuscript. Good movies give me an adrenaline boost just like any good book. All the movies on my favorites list are pretty high-energy with, of course, that mandatory HEA tossed in.

Amber, thanks for being here today. Anything else you’d like to mention?

I’ve just contracted another story with the Wayback, TX series, the sequel to Blackest Heart. It’s called Bluest Heart and it’s the story of Casey Ridge, Stella’s brother. I’m so happy I get to share Casey’s story with everyone. I know readers enjoyed the part he played in Blackest Heart. I wanted to give them a chance to get to know him better and give him his own journey and HEA. He’s got this good-guy image but it’s bottled in an incredibly sexy package. The combination turns me and his bad-girl heroine Josie to mush! Look for Bluest Heart from The Wild Rose Press soon as well as The Way Back Home print anthology featuring Abbey MacInnis’s Delighting Miss Daisy, Marguerite Arotin’s Return of the Prodigal Daughter, and Blackest Heart which recently earned Five Hearts and a recommendation from The Romance Studio as well as a Fantastic Read seal from Writers & Readers of Distinctive Fiction!