Posts

Showing posts from August, 2006

Planning Ahead -- The Blog

This morning I joined Billie and Cheyenne in the backyard as they went about their morning biz. Actually, I always join them. They get into trouble if left alone. Anyway, there was a breeze, a feeling in the air. Fall. Fall is on its way, I thought. Wow.

Instead of thinking about how much I love the season--the weather, the holidays--I thought about 2007. It's only four months away. I have two books coming out in 2007. ALL ABOUT EVIE (HQN, May) and ROMANCING THE WEST (Medallion Press, July). I need to do some heavy duty promoting. Promoting takes time and planning, oh, and money. I need to be selective. I need to start preparing now because, in addition to promoting those two titles, I also need to write, beginning to end, two more books within that same year. I didn't juggle promoting and writing so well this past year. I need to do better.

I'm considering and weighing, pros and cons, of my promotional options. I'm zeroing in on my blog, my website, online romance read…

Offending the Select Few

Just read a thought-provoking post over at author Tess Gerritson's blog. All of her posts are great, but this one really resonated with me because of a recent concern of my own. Well, it wasn't so much a concern as a musing. She talks about inadvertently offending and losing readers because of something you've written, whether it be in an interview or work of fiction.

A few weeks ago, it crossed my mind that perhaps I'd lost certain readers because of the secondary romance between two gay characters that runs throughout JINXED, CHARMED, and SEDUCED. Reviews from critics on this series were outstanding. Readers who've written to me personally or who posted a review to Amazon or Barnes and Noble have been equally enthusiastic.

All but one.

There's a posted review at Amazon from a woman who read JINXED and liked it, but was totally disappointed in SEDUCED. I'm assuming she didn't read the middle book CHARMED which would have bonded her more with the recurr…

Wild about Wilder

One of my favorite screenwriters/film makers is Billy Wilder. He's responsible for classic movies such as Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment, Sabrina, and one of my all time favorites, Some Like it Hot. This man knew how to tell a story. I tripped upon a list of Mr. Wilder's screenwriting tips over at writer, Billy Mernit's blog Living the Romantic Comedy. Click here and scroll down to his post Wilder Wisdom. Mr. Mernit provides insightful commentary on each tip.

In the meantime, here are Wilder's Ten Tips on Screenwriting compliments of Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe. To me, whether it's a screenplay, novel, or short story, storytelling is storytelling. And Wilder was a master.

1. The audience is fickle.

2. Grab 'em by the throat and never let 'em go.

3. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

4. Know where you're going.

5. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

6. If …

The Best of the Best?

I bailed on the Emmys last night and watched three back to back episodes of what should have been nominated for best drama--LOST. How is it that a show boasting wonderful actors and AMAZING writing was passed over? The ever insightful, always hilarious writer Ken Levine offers a don't miss review of the Emmys. Unlike me, he made it to the bitter end.

Celebrating Evie!

Image
CASTING CALL NOTICE:
Seeking actress for role of ditzy former Vegas showgirl Sugar Dupont. Must possess strong vocals, outgoing personality and great gazongas.


Well, two out of three ain't bad. A showbiz veteran Evie Parish, knows she has the chops to sing and dance with the best. A Wonderbra should take care of the rest.

YOUR FUTURE PARTNER:
Arch, aka Charles Dupont, a doting older husband.


THE GIG:
Eight days of smooching, fawning, and otherwise making a PDA spectacle of yourselves on a Caribbean cruise.


AND... THE CATCH:
Arch is one of a team of former con men staging a sting to catch a grifter--and under his stage makeup, he's the sexiest hunk ever to don a fake moustache.


This will either be the role of her lifetime or the end of her career.

****

Look what I got! The art department at Harlequin (HQN) finished my book cover for my May 2007 release, ALL ABOUT EVIE. I'm over the moon! I think they did a great job of conveying the tone of the story. I'm also hot on the back cov…

Darn!

Well, darn. HQN sent me the cover for ALL ABOUT EVIE. I have the okay to post it. They sent two jpgs. I can't get the smaller file to download at all. I downloaded the larger file, but when I tried to upload to this blog, the colors looked wacky, all metallic-like. I have no clue as to what's wrong or how to fix it. It really stinks to be a techno-goober. Hopefully, I can figure it out later and share my fantastic new cover with you tomorrow.

Meanwhile it's a day at the library, a night of revisions, and, if I'm lucky, I'll squeeze in another episode of LOST. *Sigh* Totally bummed about this cover thing. Darn!

Discovering Gold

I'm working hard on revisions. I am. But I'm also refilling the creative well by reading and viewing for inspiration.

I recently started Susan Mallery's DELICIOUS, an HQN release. Fresh plot. Snappy writing. A new-to-me author. I hit gold.

Because I often have to write at night, I don't squeeze in too much TV. Aside from SCRUBS, GILMORE GIRLS, and HBOs' ROME, I'm really out of the loop. Yesterday, the complete 1st season of LOST came into the library and I thought, what the heck. I'd heard good things. I planned on watching the first episode last night. I ended up watching THREE episodes back-to-back! Holy wow. I wanted to keep going but I had to get some writing done. It's been a long time since I've discovered a series that hooked me as strongly as LOST. Just like when I discovered FIREFLY, I felt like I struck gold.

As far as reading and viewing goes, what's currently in your treasure chest?

Color My World

I read romantic fiction. I write romantic fiction. I read the blogs of fellow romantic fiction writers. For years (well except the blog part because that's fairly new) that was my world. I lived in a fuzzy, warm, pink bubble. It was really nice. Mostly, it still is. But part of me got an itch. An itch to explore other worlds because, frankly, I was bored with mine.

So I braved the unknown and started reading outside of my genre. Robert B. Parker hooked me the way Johanna Lindsey did way back when. I devoured his Spencer books. Then came Stephen Coonts. And after that Stuart Woods. I also explored western writers, William W. Johnstone and Larry McMutry. Not only did I enjoy these authors stories and writing styles, but I learned how to write tighter. How to take advantage of different POVs. Oh, and how men think.

I started noticing a change in my own writing. It wasn't conscious, but the words poured onto the page in a slightly different way. I'm still writing romantic fict…

We All Make Choices. What's Yours?

Image
The tag line for the upcoming movie THE LAST KISS. I know I'm going to love this movie. I know it from the trailor. I know it because it stars Zach Braff. This Jersey boy has excellent taste and oozes talent.

You may know him from "SCRUBS", one of the few truly clever sitcoms running these days. He also wrote, directed and starred in a gem of a movie, GARDEN STATE. For one so young, he's awfully deep. And did I mention talented? Hard to label Zach as he does it all and does it all well. He's an actor, director, writer, and producer. Oh, and he coordinates mean sound tracks. I'm thinking 'artist' covers it, covers Zach.

Artist, Zach Braff has a killer bloggoing. Novelists aren't the only ones using blogs as a promotional and networking device. Zach's working the Internet with the same imagination and energy as promo whiz, film maker Kevin Smith. I've been popping in on Zach's blog now and then over the past year and a half. He's pr…

Goldberg, Gerritson, and Guyot

This weekend I dove into the revisions for ALL ABOUT EVIE. In addition to killing a lot of my babies, as they say in writer-ville, I'm beefing up the romantic angle and weaving in more details regarding the 'con'. My brain hurts a little, but that's okay. It's all good. Would I have preferred to take a break in between projects? Yes. Like I said, my brain hurts. But these revisions are due at the end of next month. Also due at the same time, a revised synopsis for book two in this series.

My goal is to attack and conquer ahead of time. That way I can take a few days to breathe before diving into the the next contracted book. It all comes down to discipline. Lee Goldberg has a terrific post today. It covers two subjects, discipline and the joys of sceenwriting. Hop over and read. He'll direct you to Tess Gerritson's post on her not-so-joyous screenwriting venture and Paul Guyot's gut-wrenching insight on discipline. Good stuff.

Back to My Roots . . . Sort Of

Typically, Sunday is not a high traffic day for this blog. So I'm going to wade into shallow waters. Let's talk about hair.

Last week, after learning that I'd lost performance work, I decided that I needed to find ways to cut expenses. The first thing that came to mind was my hair. As a natural brunette, it costs bukoo bucks for me to be blond. It's a two process procedure (to attain those 'natural' multiple shades) and, as my hair grows fast, it means frequent trips to avoid icky roots. Even Hollywood celebs look a little on the trashy side with two-inches of dark growth, doncha think?

At any rate, at this point in time, being blond seemed a little frivolous. I told myself that it was time to give my hair a break anyway. It's starting to look damaged. I told myself that I could could ear-mark the money I'd save for book promotion. I told myself that I change my hair color more often than Madonna, it's not like going dark was a big deal.

So why did it…

Switching Gears

Image
Last night, I finished judging three contest entries for an unpublished writers contest. Immediate outstanding obligations have been met. Today the pictures, post cards, and maps that inspired ROMANCING THE WEST come off of my bulletin board. Inspiration for ALL ABOUT EVIE comes out of the drawer and goes back up. I've cast Meg Ryan as EVIE, Gerard Butler as ARCH, and George Clooney as MILO. My stories play out in my head like movies, always have. The deeper I get into the story, the more my characters take on a life of their own and I'm no longer zoned in on a specific 'actor'. Still, glancing up at those photos helps to kick start my writing day, helps to set mood. Underneath those photos are revision notes from my editor, the key story elements I need to zone in on and modify.

I just cleared my desk of research books on cowboys, outlaws, and all things having to do with the American wild west. Now I'm armed with research on all things having to do with con artis…

The Good, The Bad, and The Realization

Last week was a roller coaster of bad news/good news. One day in particular made my head spin.

My stress level was through the roof due to trying to wrap a story that was already late. I only had a few hours to write that morning as I had to work at the library later that day. I stopped at one moment to check my email. This is the good news part. Abby, my editor at HQN, had sent me a PDF of my cover for ALL ABOUT EVIE. It was so striking, so clever in concept, it moved me to tears. I'm bursting to share it with you, but the art department is tweaking a couple of things and I'm not in possession of the finalized version. But soon, I promise. Soon.

Seeing that cover provided me with a burst of confidence and energy. I plunged back into ROMANCING THE WEST and typed away, thinking, I'm living my dream.

Thirty minutes later, I got a call from my entertainment agent. He started the conversation with, "I have some bad news."

I thought long and hard about how mu…
Image

Nominations and Awards

There are days when I stare at my computer screen thinking, what am I going to blog about? Those are the days when I feel I have nothing interesting to contribute or when I'm overloaded and too drained to put proper thought into a post. This is not one of those days. Or weeks. I have a list of topics to address. News to share, good and disappointing. I have a lot to say!

This morning my list got shoved aside when I opened my business e-mail. I had a lovely note from The Cata Network informing me that LASSO THE MOON is a single title nominee for their 2006 Reviewers Choice Awards! Um. Wow? I clicked over to the list of nominees. Um. Holy wow? I know several of the other authors listed either personally or by reputation. To say that I'm bowled over to have my work nominated along with thiers is an understatement.

You know, I blog-hopped a while back and noticed some bloggers comments on a recent award ceremomy. I could envision them rolling their eyes, when they typed: If I had …

The Victory Dance

I have emerged from deadline hell. The curtain is down on ROMANCING THE WEST. Applause, please.

Things didn't go according to plan, in more ways than one. First of all, I gave myself six months to write this book. I didn't factor in time for promoting LASSO THE MOON, my latest release. Nor did I pad time for sub-genre adjustment. I'd just finished a contemporary women's fiction/romance in first person. RTW is a historical romance in third person. It took more than a month to get my head out of 'now' and into the American West, 1878. Oh, and there's the extra time needed for research when writing a historical piece. Right.

So, now I had four months to write the book. But I was writing in circles. I couldn't get past chapter three. I'd backed myself into a corner. How could I build romantic tension when... well, I don't want to give it away. So rewrites were in order. Figured out how to get around that set up glitch, only something felt wrong with …

Alive in Jersey

Yes, I'm still here. I'm still alive. A litle crispy around the edges, but still kicking. Between the day job, two emcee gigs, and company, I have been going strong since last Wednesday. I'm still speeding away at the keyboard. I am a few pages away from the end. So. Close.

Consider this another blog-by.

A LOT has happened over the past few days in both my publishing and performance careers. Much to report. Stay tuned.

The Blur

Until Monday....

Image
Due to a heavy work week and several obligations, I need to take a blog break. I'll be back Monday, August 14. Please come back and visit! Inspiring and informative posts forthcoming. In the meantime I'll leave you in the company of my three bestest furry friends--Billie, Sadie and Cheyenne. Have a great week!

It's All Good

What day is it? (seriously) What's my name?

The past three days I wrote 14-16 hours a day, breaking only to let my dogs outside. I'd step out with them to breathe in some fresh air, to rejuvinate--such as I could in ten minutes. Unlike other deadline crunches, this time I have been sneaking in showers. But even then I still wrote--in my head. As for meals, I've been eating at my desk. Eating while rereading a section to see if it works. Ah, multi-tasking.

I have been sleeping, but I'm mentally fatigued. I look like I haven't slept in days. I'd include a picture, but I'm too vain. *g* Anyhow, can you believe I'M STILL NOT DONE?!

I am, however, very, very close. *g*

I can see it all. Two short chapters and an epilogue. I rarely do epilogues, but this story demands one. Even though I am bone tired, I have to say that I am floating on air. (Although that could be a symptom of mental fatigue.) I LOVE THIS STORY! It's not the story I envisioned. It's be…

The Blur

This is a blog-by. A whiz-bang note to thank everyone who keeps checking in. I appreciate your shouts of support and I promise I'll be returning for more leisurely (and hopefully inspiring or informative) posts soon. I dealt with Mary Lee. I didn't kill her off as Taylor suggested *g* but she did get her due. I'm speeding toward the end. Sleep? Who needs sleep? Just another cup of java, please. Thank you.

And I'm off.

Have a great day,
The Blur

Loose Threads

Last night I woke up at 3:40am. I know it was 3:40 am. I squinted at the clock. I woke up because a thought popped into my head, or rather a person. Mary Lee Bernbaum.

Arrgh.

Why does she cause me distress, you ask? Because she's a loose thread. Loose threads always haunt my sleeping hours when I'm nearing the end of a story. I lay in the dark, mind churning. I mentally review scenes. Did I fully explain this aspect? Did I ever resolve this dilemma? As a reader, I know I'm disappointed if a writer introduces an aspect into the story and then never goes anywhere with it. Or when they leave something unresolved. I'm not saying I need to have every little detail explained. I have an imagination and sometimes allowing me to draw my own conclusions can be rewarding. But don't set me up for something big and leave me hanging.

Mary Lee Bernbaum is sort of big. This character is a carry over from LASSO THE MOON. She plays an important part in the opening of ROMANCING THE WES…

My All

My publisher allowed me a one week extension on my deadline. I worked like the devil not to have to use it. I have never missed a deadline. I'm stubborn. I'm proud. I have fierce work ethics. It hurt when I realized I needed that extra week.

The reason I'm not kicking myself is because I know I gave it my all. I sacrificed. I obssessed. But this book gave me fits from the start. It's been tough going. The good news is that I think it's really good. I'm happy with how it's turning out, and by the way, it's not turning out like I envisioned. Then again, it rarely does.

The joy of writing: When the characters surprise you.

The bane of writing: When the characters surprise you.

I don't take this extension lightly and I thank my publisher for being so gracious. I think it helps that, as I said, I've never missed a deadline before. Part of the value of having fierce work ethics. Never underestimate the power of professionalism. Strive for perfe…

And the Winners Are...

For all of you who entered Alison Kent's book giveaway by commenting on my Sunday's post, this just in from Alison...

"The winners are Joyce, Cynthia, and Juliett! Please contact me with your mailing info!"

Congratulation to the winners!

Nice People

Lee Goldberg shared the uplifting real life story of the week. Maybe the month. Not the part about rapper man or smelly man, but the part about the 'mentor' and the young girl. Proof that there are still some very nice people in this world. Go to his blog and read it. Scroll down to the post BACK FROM GERMANY.

That's all I'm saying because I'm still writing under deadline. Ish.

So, who's the most interesting person you ever sat next to on a plane?