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Showing posts from October, 2006

Happy Halloweeeeeeen!

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Yesterday, I shared a ghostly excerpt from Scandalous Spirits. Since readers, and Cyndi and I, were dying to know how it was going to end for the sibling Van Buren ghosts (and since we'd fallen in love with secondary character--the dreamy, but total horndog--Rufus Sinclair) we wrote the sequel, Kindred Spirits. KS later won a Romantic Times award for Best Paranormal.

Sidenote: In SS, Izzy-the-ghost had the hots for Rufus which really creeped him out. Imagine how he felt when it was up to him to find out what she did wrong, the mega blunder that landed her in limbo instead of heaven or ...hell. Imagine how he felt when he was blown back in time and... Well, read for yourself and enjoy!

*** Excerpt Rufus opened his eyes and stared up into the clouds.
He'd always thought Isadora Van Buren would be the death of him.
He moved his eyes to the right, to the west tower framed against the blue sky.
Another victim of Laguna Vista's infamous roof.
He wiggled his fingers then his toes. Goo…

A Halloween Treat

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In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd share a scene a paranormal romance that I wrote with my good friend Cynthia Valero. Scandalous Spiritswas an RWA Golden Heart Finalist, and was soon after scooped up and published by ImaJinn Books. The story was inspired by a local 'haunted mansion' (I'll blog about that if I can find the pictures to scan!) and though it features a dynamite hero and heorine, I aways felt that the three sibling ghosts--stuck in limbo and, worse, that mansion--were the heart of the story. Enjoy!

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Chapter Ten "You're all wet, Jonas! It's better this way." Isadora paced the upper floor of the west tower, trying to blow off some steam. It was either that or sock her stubborn, opinionated, know-it-all brother in the snout. He'd always been bossy, but this preoccupation with crossing over had stretched her nerves to the breaking point. "We make our presence known and the sell won't go through. We scare them off. Then things…

A Dose of Sunshine

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Blustery, cold and rainy in Jersey today. Excellent day to stay in, read and write. Exactly what I plan to do, for the bulk of the day at least. However, this afternoon I'm going to brave the miserable weather for a dose of sunshine. Years ago, gosh it's been over ten now I think, I worked fulltime at Tropicana Casino as a character actress. There was a rather large troop of strolling performers. We worked together for several years and became good friends. Most all, with the exception of me and a couple of the other gals who were trained dancers, had circus skills. Clowns, mimes, stilt-walkers, jugglers, magicians... A colorful, zany group to be sure. Many of us are still in contact today (Brooks the Magician often commets here at this blog), the larger faction trying to get together at least once a year for a holiday party. An off shoot (the group pictured right) try to get together a little more often. Although it seems to get tougher each passing year. *sigh* We call ourse…

Invasion of the Brain Snatcher

Let me tell you about the day an idiot invaded my body and gobbled up what there is of my brain. It was yesterday, actually. A good friend gave my name, along with several other NJ and NY authors, to a TV Producer who's doing a feature on romance writers. Out of all the amazing authors I assumed she had to choose from, I really didn't think she'd contact me. But she did. Via email. She introduced herself, explained their objective, and invited me to call or email her if I was interested. But, of course, I was interested! This was, my friends, an incredible promo opportunity.

I started to email back. I feel more comfortable with email. However, I thought a phone call would be the wiser choice. Not.

I wasn't nervous. I swear I wasn't nervous. I've been a professional performer for bukoo years. I talk over the microphone all the time. To lots of people. This was one person, over the phone. No big whoop. I thought she'd answer and we'd have a short conversati…

Something In The Air

J.A. Konrath is Treading Water. In his 10/22 post he talks about how he is now receiving 50-100 emails per week pertaining to his writing. At the the start of his career his intention was to answer all emails and in a timely manner. Now because of his career, that's becoming a true difficulty. His question: "Can we, as authors, ever reach a point where we can relax a little bit? Or are we salmon who never get to spawn, no matter how far up the river we get?"

Katie MacAlistertalks about The Beast in the Machine in a 10/23 post at Romancing the Blog. She mentions the 2000 emails in her in-box (some there since 2005) that she had/has every intention of answering. Again best intentions have been tripped up by her career. Her post is actually quite humorous. Treat yourself if you can.

Ken Levine riffs on Knowing When to Stop. In his 10/24 post he addresses something that plagues most writers and can potentially lead to burn out. When is enough enough? When is it time to leave o…

A Publishing Low

Since this was reported by the National Enquirer, I can only hope this is not true. Just the thought of it makes me ill.

Author O.J. Simpson Gets $3.5 Mil For Confessional
Read the details at The Book Standard. Nod to Booksquare for the link.

UPDATE: In comments, HelenKay Dimonwrote: Happy to report it's not true. Yesterday's Publishers Lunch said this:O.J. Simpson's lawyer Yale Galanter denies the Enquirer's report about a confessional book. He tells the NYDN Simpson "is not writing a book. We haven't been paid 35 cents, much less $3.5 million."

Thanks for the info, HelenKay. Very glad that it's not true. Really, really glad.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I'm a creative spaz. If you know me or visit this blog regularly then this is not news to you. My wheels are always turning. A million ideas. Half a million goals. I'm not happy if I'm not doing something creative.

At the same time I occasionally suffer from feelings of being overwhelmed. I worry that I'm falling behind in goals. I worry that what I'm working on isn't good enough. I worry that I burned out and the creative well is dry. Worry, worry, worry until all I'm doing is worrying and doubting and not producing. Which takes me back to: I'm not happy if I'm not doing something creative.

A few days ago, when I was convinced I was nearing burn out, I thought the key was to relax. I still think that's true. What I've learned over the past few days, however, is that relaxing is different things to different people. You might be saying, "Well, duh." But for some reason that never occured to me until I tried do what I thought everyone…

Call Me Sheldon

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Still here. Still Kickin! Appreciate everyone who chimed in with similar feelings or advice pertaining to potential burnout. I'm determined to dodge it. Serpentine! Ever see that movie The In-laws? There was a remake (of course) that I never saw. The original starring Alan Arkin and Peter Falk rocked. Hilarious! I keep imagining the scene where Vince (the undercover op) and Shelden (the dentist) come under fire. In order to run and dodge bullets, Vince advises Sheldon to, "Serpentine!" (Run in a squiggly pattern). That's me, Sheldon (the shell-shocked one). And I'm Serpenting. *g*

Burnout

I don't think I'm there yet, but I'm smelling smoke. I'm not myself these days. That is to say I'm not the same bottomless pit of energy and focus that I've been for the past several years running. Twelve years to be exact. I've worked very hard to get to where I am in my writing career and I'm not even halfway to where I want to be. I don't want to admit that I'm tired, because I can't afford to be tired. I'm hoping this current lack of energy and focus is a temporary glitch. My creative side catching its breath. Maybe it's a wake up call. Readjust your mindset or you will burn out.

This morning, while googling my symptons in search of answers, I ran across an article by author, Barbara Bretton. She talks frankly about her own professional burnout and recovery. Like I said, I'm not there yet, but I saw a lot of me in her account.

"By identifying myself solely as a writer, I had effectively cut myself off from new experience…

Behold the New Wonders

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A few days ago while researching a new story idea, I reviewed the ancient seven wonders of the world. Fascinating. Today, I ran across an article saying that, except for the Pyramids of Giza of Cairo, all of the original 'wonders' are gone. The public has been invited to vote for seven new wonders. *Gasp* Really?!

"The vote is organized by a non-profit Swiss foundation called New7Wonders which specializes in the preservation, restoration and promotion of monuments, and the results will be announced on July 7, 2007, in Lisbon.

About 20 million votes have already been lodged, including many from India, for the Taj Mahal; China, for the Great Wall and from Peru for Machu Picchu, the fortress city of the Incas.

The only criteria for the new list is that the landmarks were built or discovered before 2000
."

The list has been narrowed to 21 historical landmarks. If you have any interest in history whatsoever, you must visit this amazing website. I was captivated. I'm torn a…

So Sad, So Funny

Okay. You have to know me, or at least read this blog regularly, to know why this struck me as so--snort--funny. Yesterday author/blog buddy Jennifer Elbaum forwarded me an email that she received from Amazon. She thought I'd get a kick out of it. I did.

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have expressed interest in Seduced by Beth Ciotta have also ordered Women in Overdrive: Find Balance and Overcome Burnout at Any Age by Nora Isaacs.


Ha! *g* That's so bang on that it's freaking me out a little.

If someone expressed something that you created, what would Amazon suggest as a non-fiction companion read?

The Weekend Update

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Yup. That's me--the kid, not the dog--celebrating my first birthday. I celebrated that day yesterday, too, except instead of a stuffed animal, I got some new clothes, a graphic novel I'd been wanting, and--drum roll--an MP3 player! Yes, techno-wonders and techno-goobers, I have dipped my toe into the modern gadget world. Now I just have to learn how to use it. LOL

I spent that last few days working (day jobs) and zoning (writing). My immediate goal was to have three chapters of my WIP completed by today. I've tackled two and I still have the rest of today to meet my goal. I'm determined. I also managed to hack away at a few of my other goals. Amazing what you can accomplish when you focus. It helped that I resisted blogland, although I must say, I really missed you guys! My reward for completing that third chapter will be to blog-surf and catch up on your lives. I best get cracking!

Oh! The furry guy in the pic is 'Buttons'. He was my first dog. :) And those leg…

Zoning

As much as I love blogging and blog hopping every day, I need to take a short break. This is a jammed packed work week--library today and tomorrow, emcee gigs Saturday and Sunday. I'm behind on answering emails and following up on a couple of promo mailings. I need to kick butt on my WIP. I'm also currently researching for a new series and redesigning my website. In the inspiration area, I am reading 'The Last Templer' by Raymond Khoury and a novelized version of Alan Moore's graphic novel 'V for Vendetta'. Oh, and I just checked out the second season of LOST. Due to library policy I have one week to view the entire season. Yikes!

You see my 'time' dilemma. In order to tackle many projects, I've set some goals.

*Three solid chapters of BEING EVIE (my WIP) completed by Monday.
*Synopsis and first three chapters of the first book in the new series idea completed and submitted to my agent by November 1.
*New website completed and running by November 1…

No One Rains on Her Parade

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After several years of retirement, Barbra is back and, according to this article (and after she warmed up a bit) is sounding as magnificent as ever. I have always loved her voice, her passion, her song selection. When I heard her tour would include Atlantic City, I looked into tickets. Although it would be a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, I couldn't afford or justify the astronomical ticket prices. A friend of mine who idolizes Streisand paid $700 for a 'decent' seat. That's far and above what I would/could pay, but after reading this article and thinking about hearing her sing songs like People, Somewhere, and Don't Rain on My Parade, I'm thinking it would be worth every penny.

As an aside, during a short (or maybe not so short) political sketch at her NYC concert, Ms. Streisand, after first saying, "Come on, be polite," told a persistant heckler to, "Shut the f*** up." Heh. Welcome back, Babs.

So what about you? Is there anyone that you'd b…

Out of Step, Out of Time

Dear Abby, (or anyone else who will listen and comment)

Technology gives me a headache. Don't get me wrong. I'm ultra grateful for my laptop computer and the Internet. I'm also fond of DVD movies and cell phones are convenient. But ask me to comprehend and utilize anything beyond the most basic function of these things and I'm LOST.

Yes, I am one of those people who can't program a clock on the microwave or set the timer for a VCR. I have a new computer with all sorts of nifty programs but all I use it for is Microsoft Word and the Internet. I do fudge around in FrontPage for my website, but again, only with the most basic functions. We just got new cell phones. This one has a camera. Okay. I understand how to snap a shot, but how do I save it? How do I upload a pic to the computer? A friend recently told me it's Blue Tooth compatible and that I can text message too. I only very recently even heard those terms. And there are a gazillion other functions that I c…

Rusty Chops -- The Solution

I'm currently at the very begining of a new story. So far, I've written five so-so pages. I haven't totally connected yet. I'm not in the zone. It's not coming easily so I allowed myself to be distracted by a new story idea and blamed a heavy work (day job) week on my lack of productivity. I have the next three days off. I need to dig in. I need to haul butt. And I will. ("I will," she said, shaking a defiant fist at the doubt gremlins.) I may not be particularly inspired just now, but I am motivated. This is a contracted book. I promised to deliver. Enough said.

This morning, I instantly pegged why I'm dragging my feet. It's because I feel rusty. I've been working on revisions for the last four weeks. Three weeks on a manuscipt One week on a synopsis. Yes, I was writing, but, for me, revising a completed work is not the same as creating a story from scratch. I haven't flexed those particular creative muscles in one month. I'm out of p…

It's No Last Supper

On his blog, actor/writer/director Zach Braff talks about how his new movie, The Last Kiss, didn't do as well at the box office as they'd hoped. Reviews from his blog readers were mixed and it seems Zach had read many of them. Pretty impressive considering one post gets upward of 500 comments. The man is all class, let me tell you. He thanked everyone for their support and welcomed all comments, good and bad. He addressed a few of the concerns of people who were disappointed in the movie. This particular passage really resonated with me.

"There were people who said things like; "It's no Garden State...". Well firstly, I didn't write and direct this movie, and secondly; not every film I set out to be a part of is going to take on as much as Garden State aspired to take on. I am so grateful that movie resonated with so many people, but I hope that you will come along with me as I try many different things. The next film I have coming out in the beginning of…

Mish Mosh of News

Speaking of Abby, my HQN editor, on Monday she gave my synopsis for book two in The Chameleon Chronicles a thumbs up. I have officially started on Being Evie (working title). I am once again writing on a semi-tight deadline. At this point it just sort of feels normal *g*

Yesterday, I learned that the creative wonders at Medallion Press (waving to Adam and Jim) are getting ready to design my cover for Romancing the West. I can't wait to see what they come up with. Somehow, seeing the actual cover, always makes the book seem 'real'. The story itself is in the editing stage. I'll probably receive the revision notes in the next couple of months.

I'm in the process of totally redesigning my website. I've been working on it bit by bit, usually at night when I'm too tired to write. It's getting there. *g* Target launch date: Novemeber 1.

Last night Iggy called me and offered me a last minute singing gig on Saturday night. I haven't worked with him since July…

Adventures of a Very Cool Editor

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I lucked out. I hooked up with an editor who shares similar interests. She has a soft heart for animals and keen interest in exotic locales. She also has an optimistic spirit and a quirky sense of humor. No wonder we click. No wonder she gets Evie, the heroine of my first novel for HQN (All About Evie) coming 5/07!

Say hello to my HQNeditor, Abby Zidle. That's her. The one on the camel. The smiley one, wearing a hat and sitting behind her friend, Shannon. Abby's always wanted to see The Pyramids. Last month that dream came true. She joined her friend for a tour of Eygpt. I viewed her photo album and, trust me, it was a bona fide adventure!

If you had the chance to visit an exotic locale, to have an up close and personal experience with a wonder of the world, where would you be off to?

The Adventures of Goober and Spaz

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Cynthia Valero and I met at an New Jersey Romance Writers meeting in 1994. Or maybe it was '95. My concept of time is horrid. Anyway, we connected right away and became fast friends and critique partners. In 1996 we decided to co-write a book and CB Scott was born. In 2000 we finaled in RWA's Golden Heart, a contest for unpublished authors. Soon after we signed with ImaJinn Books, a small publisher of paranormal romance. To date we have published three paranormal romance novels with ImaJinn and one short story which appears in an anthology (Dream Quest) for LTD Books.

During this period, we had the opportunity to spread our collaborative wings. From 2000-2002 Cyndi and I wrote and directed the Mr. Romance Pageant (a production show in which models compete to win a cover shoot for a romance novel) for the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention. Who will be the next Fabio? It was an amazing experience. As close we've come so far to our dream of being the female versions of…