Posts

Showing posts from April, 2006

Through the Eyes of a Romantic

Image
Tristan & Isolde(the movie) is a retelling of the ancient Celtic tale about two star-crossed lovers. Before viewing the movie, I wasn’t aware of this tale. The promo tag line, however, tipped me off to the outcome. Before there was Romeo and Juliet there was: Tristan & Isolde. Okay. So I knew going in that I wouldn’t be getting my preferred happily-ever-after. If the story is compelling, if I fall in love with the characters and believe that they are meant to be, I can handle a bitter-sweet ending.

Take Cold Mountainfor instance. I know fellow romantics who hated this film because of the ending. Although, I wanted an HEA with all my heart, when I didn’t get it, I wasn’t angry or let down, just sad for Inman and Ada. I believed in their love. I rooted for them, ached for them. I walked away from the theater mourning the love lost, but filled with a sense of hope. Though not a traditional romance, Cold Mountain is a true love story.

Back to Tristan & Isolde. It started off so …

Blogs, Books, and Movies

So.

I couldn't figure out what went wrong with this blog. The sidebar was in the wrong place for two days. Couldn't take it anymore so I wimped out and tried for an easy fix. Changed the 'theme'. Hence the new look. Not quite as cheery as before, but the sidebar is back in place and the font is easier to read. This will do... until I get bored. I swear, I change blog and website looks as often as my hair color. And that's a lot.

Speaking of my website, it's still under the weather. No. Wait. It's horribly sick! Steve spent his entire day trying to bring her back to life. He did find a way to reinsert the navigation links--thank goodness--but we still can't upload. He called our server, but the tech service guy wasn't very helpful. Don't you hate that when that happens? Aren't they supposed to know how to fix glitches associated with the server? Jeez.

In other news, I now know what my performance as a mermaid in Heather Graham's murder myste…

Is There an 'L' on my Forehead?

When I wrote this morning's post (see below: Fun, Sun, and Stress) I did everything like I always do. I didn't try anything fancy. Didn't push any new buttons. Yet when I published the post, I noticed my sidebar content is now alllllll the way down at the bottom of the blog!! What the ?! *sigh* So I'm writing this short rant/explanation, hoping that when I hit 'publish' everything will be back where it should be. Otherwise, I'll have to try to figure it out later. I have to work at the library today where I hope to get my 'zen' on.

Why do the computer gods hate me? Why? Why?

Fun, Sun, and Stress

Update on my website: More glitches. *banging head against wall* Apologies to anyone trying to navigate to excerpts and such. Hard to do when all the link bars have DISAPPEARED! *sigh*
Hope to have the problems corrected by this weekend.

In other news, the Romantic Times Convention is two weeks away. Sunny Daytona Beach, FL here I come! I'm looking forward to hanging out with friends, meeting readers, booksellers, and librarians, and generally having fun. However, it won't be all play. In addition to writer obligations, I've been asked to perform at various events. All of the events require rehearsals. Those will cut into play time, although the people I'm working with are fun, so it's not a drag, believe me. Here's a sneak peak at my performance schedule.

Tuesday: Teaching a "What If" writers workshop with Mary Stella. Mary, bless her heart, is organizing this for us. We'll 'rehearse' in the room the night before. Stress factor: Moderate (Af…

Misalligned Moon

Last night I tried to upload my newly designed website. Something glitched and the side navigation bar is missing. Now my server says I'm timed out and I can't get it to upload at all. Until I (read: Steve) can figure it out, you'll need to navigate by the buttons at the bottom of the pages. Also the 'hit' counter reads 1. Yesterday, I was 48 hits away from 25,000!! Waaah!

Last night I painted my fingernails with a new polish. I thought it was a tropical pink. Today it looks neon orange. Grrr.

Last night I discovered I accidentally deleted an important business email. Darnit!

Yesterday, I called my mom on my cell to wish her 'Happy Birthday,' only instead of hearing, "Thank you," I heard, "It's not my birthday." I'd autodialed Mary S instead of Mom S. Dohh! At least I'd simply opened the greeting with a cheery "Happy Birthday" instead of breaking out in song. I'm quite certain my friend, who possesses a wicked sens…

A Small Victory

Image
For those of you keeping tabs on the 'Cheyenne-the-dog-with-issues' thread in my life, last night we had our first training class together. The first class was a lecture, me only. Then we had two weeks to work with our dog on three commands: Heel, sit, and sit/stay. Even though Cheyenne and I trained very hard at home, and even though she did really well, I was certain we'd bomb in class. She has issues, you know. Firstly, she's a creature of habit. Change freaks her out. Secondly, she doesn't like being seperated from our other, older dog, Billie. So going someplace she's never been before without Billie was a double whammy. Then there were her nine other, slightly, out-of-control classmates. Nine dogs with their own set of issues.

There were six dogs that much smaller than Cheyenne, three that were much bigger. She trembled harder with the arrival of each dog, no matter their size, her tail tucked betwen her legs, her head buried against my legs. I felt so bad…

Romancing the West

Image
A few days ago we talked about my latest release LASSO THE MOON and the subject of its sequel, ROMANCING THE WEST (coming 2007), came up. I've been hearing from readers who are hoping to get more of Seth and the Garrett Brothers. And though everyone easily surmised Rome Garrett will be the hero of THE FALL OF ROME (coming 2008), everyone assumed Emily would be his heroine, and nobody seemed to have a clue as to who'd star in RTW, the book I'm writing now. If you haven't read LASSO THE MOON then you're in the dark just now. It's like listening to a discussion between soap opera fans when you don't watch that soap. Can you believe Joe is with Bunny? He should be with Veronica? And what happened to Ricky? Is he ever coming back from Mexico, or what? Huh?!

Anyway, it occured to me that I could put some of you (Elsie!) out of your misery by sharing the blurb Medallion Press is using to market ROMANCING THE WEST. And also for those of you (Stacie!) who want to kno…

When Life Inspires Art

Image
Yesterday I forced myself to break away from writing for a few hours to meet up with three dear girlfriends for breakfast. These are friends from my entertainment life, although we've all moved on and only perform occasionally. We're all so busy that we're lucky if we see each other three times a year. So we had a lot of catching up to do. I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time. I warned 'S' that the hilarious story she shared regarding a recent gig as a magician's assistant may find its way into one of my upcoming adventures for Evie of THE CHAMELEON CHRONICLES. I can't make that kind of stuff up. Well, I can, but I don't need to. 'S' lives it. One of her juggling stories inspired a scene in CHARMED. Actually, several true life experiences wth these colorful girlfriends have influenced scenes or aspects of my novels. Hmm. Maybe I should just journal our daily adventures, change names to protect the innocent, and call it fiction. We…

News Flash!

Image
No, this isn't the book cover for THE CHAMELEON CHRONICLES, but I do like the imagery. Maybe it's the tropical background. Calgon take me away. Working on two books at once has been... interesting. I've suffered insomnia the past two nights because my brain won't shut down. I'm also currently preparing for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention (less than a month away!). In addition to 'author' responsibilities, I'm scheduled for three performances. One as a singer, one as an actress, and another as emcee/host. Call me Sybil. Out of curiosity, this morning I took an on-line stress test. It said I'm only moderately stressed. Jeez. I'd hate to know what high stress feels like. Anyway, over the past two days I've had some exciting email exchanges with my agent (literary, not entertainment) and my HQN editor regarding THE CHAMELEON CHRONICLES. Book one is scheduled for release in 2007 and the marketing department is moving fast. Firstly, Abby…

Your Wish is My Command...Maybe

Image
Yesterday I received two lovely emails from readers who just finished LASSO THE MOON. One was from Stacie, a regular visitor of this blog. She's read all of my books. As always she made me beam with her enthusiastic praise. Thank you, Stacie. The other note was from a new-to-me reader, and I was new-to-her too. She, also, had fantastic things to say about this story and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to write. Once you send a book out into the world, you spend a lot of time hoping people are reading it. And even more, praying they like it. So notes from readers are very much appreciated. Aside from boosting an author's confidence, your letters also give of an idea of what you like and don't like, and what you're hoping for in the future.Stacie and Janet are itching for more of the Garrettt brothers. Writing as fast as I can ladies. Coming soon. Janet asked for confirmation on the release date of THE FALL OF ROME. 2008. But you'l…

Bye-Bye Birdie

This post isn’t about the musical (which I loved), but it is about a bird. Ever hear the phrase ‘Kill Your Darlings’? I don’t know if it originated in the writing world, but that’s where I hear it all the time. It means that, while in editing mode, you cut any sentence, paragraph, scene or chapter that doesn’t move your story forward. No matter how brilliant, insightful, historically rich, or funny you think it is. If it isn’t essential to the story then it’s slowing your pacing. Cut it out. Kill your darling.

Yesterday, I killed a bird.

Two days ago I received the revision letter for the first book in THE CHAMELEON CHRONICLE series. I have quite a bit of work to do, all of it sure to make the story sparkle, but it’s kind of intense. Plus I’m knee-deep in writing my next western. I feel a little skitso, but I’ll survive. If I don’t blog as regularly, you’ll know why. Anyway, one of the comments my editor made was that I spent an awful lot of time introducing the heroine’s friends and he…

What Will They Think of Next?

Be Kind to Mr. B

Image
This is me seven Easters ago. One of the casinos ran a promotion and I hopped around giving out chocolate eggs and . . . Heh-heh. Just kidding. This isn't me. I've been a pumpkin, a bumblebee, a mermaid, a princess, and numerous other characters, but never Mr. B. I donned a festive costume and worked as Mr. B's bodyguard though. And it was a casino promotion. In addition, to the casino floor, we roved an area where children were permitted to hang out. They'd charge Mr. B from all angles wanting to hug him or shake his hand or ... hit him. That's where I came in. Mr. B has extremely limited vision. He can't see a kid running at him from the side and there's a chance the kid (or zealous adult) could startle him, throw him off balance. As for someone hitting him (Awful right? But it happens.), Mr. B has a reputation to think about. He can't 'hit back'. I couldn't hit back either, but I could head off charging kids (or adults) in a friendl…

101 Greatest Screenplays

Image
The Writers Guild of America recently announced the 101 Greatest Screenplays. I am a huge fan of film. Many of my personal favorites are included on the list. Shakespeare In Love came in #28. Some Like it Hot at #9. Writer/Director Billy Wilder (all bow to Mr. Wilder) made the list several times. Woo-hoo! I was thrilled to see that Memento made the list. Came in at 100, but, hey, it's on the list. I remember being riveted in my seat, thinking how did the writer conceive this way of telling the story and how in the world did he figure out how to do it? Brilliant.

That's what I like about this list. It celebrates writers. Screenwriters. I'm beginning to think that writing a compelling screenplay is harder than writing a compelling novel. I say that because I'm blown away by more books than films. Although to be fair, maybe the piece was stronger before the director, and whoever else got their hands on it. At any rate I've noted WGA's top 25 below. Be sure to hop …

Being Me

Image
I worked at the library yesterday. For those who are new here, yes, I'm a writer and performer, but I'm also a part-time library assistant. A fairly new job for me. One I like very much. What's not to like? I'm surrounded by books and people who love to read. Yesterday someone returned the library's copy of JINXED. My local library owns all of my books. I'm shelved right next to Tom Clancy (cheap thrill for me), only none of my books have been on the shelves for weeks. Checked out multiple times from patrons all over the Atlantic County system and even beyond (you can do this through Inter-library loan). Another thrill for me. Anyway, I happened to be the one to check in JINXED and I was surprised at how worn the copy was. I smiled like an idiot as I noted the bent, crinkled cover and dog-eared pages. This book had been handled and read many, many times. A thrill of monumental proportions. People, lots of people are reading my stories.

A couple of days ago I r…

Works In Progress

Image
I have two WIPs just now. My next western, ROMANCING THE WEST and our adopted pup, CHEYENNE. If you've been coming here awhile you know the stories. How she ate my two-book contract with Medallion. How she trapped herself in our bathroom and destroyed the door trying to get out. Last week she chewed up my glasses, my expensive progressive bifoculs. Yeah. That was a steller day. And if you even look at her like you're angry she cowers and tinkles. Clearly she has past issues and we've been trying to work through them. Someone here suggested that I pick up the book 'The Dog Whisper' and I did and at least I now understand better how she 'thinks'. But I figured we could use some hands-on help. I signed us up for an eight-week basic obedience course. Last night was the first night, a two hour lecture without the dogs. I learned a lot. Mostly that I'm a soft-hearted sucker. I think this course is going to be tougher on me than her. Regarding ROMANCING THE WE…

When the Story Just Ain't Happening

For me... as I struggle to conquer the fear of beginning a new book. For my friends who are struggling with WIPs. Read screenwriter Philip Morton's March 29 post on 'Breaking Story.' Thank you to Ken Levine (who also has another informative post today!) for the link.

The Power of Blogging

Image
So I was over at Amazon.com yesterday (No, I wasn't obsessing over my sales ranking. I'm over that. Now I only check in one time a day instead of thirty.) and I came across a new reader's review for CHARMED. Spikewriter wrote:

"I picked up this book because I'd been reading the author's blog and found her "voice" in her entries to be one I enjoyed. I was not disappointed by the decision. "Charmed" is a delightful story, not quite romantic comedy, but definitely not your average romantic suspense. Bodyguard Colin Murphy is called in by a friend to watch out for a "princess" who's in danger. He's not expecting a children's storyteller with a princess persona. Ciotta gets things moving from page one and doesn't let up until the end. There's a tremendous amount of humor mixed in with the action that follows, all of which arises naturally from the movement of the plot rather than having the feeling of "insert jo…

You Gotta Meet This Guy

I’m going to introduce you to a really cool person. I am. But first you have to get through my set-up. (Which I tried to keep short, but you know me.)

In 1999 (I think it was 99. I have no head for time) I submitted a resume to Kathryn Falk, CEO of Romantic Times Magazine, saying, should she need a singer for any of her convention events, I was her man, er, woman.

If you’ve attended a Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, you know that there is a party and some sort of production show almost every night. Sometimes these shows feature singers. Offering my entertainment services was a way of networking with the writing community within my comfort zone. To my surprise, Kathryn called me. Only, instead of securing a singing gig, I ended up agreeing to co-write, coordinate, and direct a production show. I don’t recall if I mentioned that I’d never actually written a ‘script’ or directed. I think I was too bowled over by her enthusiasm and vision to say much of anything outside of a shaky,…

The Chaos Begins

Okay. Heard from my agent today (literary, not entertainment). My editor will be sending the revisions on THE CHAMELEON CHRONICLES (book one) next week. That means I have to kick butt and crank out some solid pages on ROMANCING THE WEST over the next few days. I'm emceeing a sweepstakes at Trump Marina Casino this weekend, but I'm back-of-house so I can take my laptop and type in between announcements. No Internet access. That's a good thing. I just hope I don't type in a Brooklyn-based winner's name in place of a wild west character's. Sheriff Carmine Balducci. Er, not.

Heard from my other agent (yes, entertainment) two days ago. Bally's Casino asked for my avails through the summer. Color me surprised. This over-forty performer survives another year in a youth obsessed industry. I'd happy dance if it weren't for the arthritis in my knees. Shh. Don't tell the casino execs. *grin*

So I'll be gigging in the casinos, working at the library…

Something To Think About

I haven’t been commenting on many blogs lately, but I’ve certainly been reading them. I’m not sure why I don’t comment more often. Although, I was always the quiet kid in class (believe it or not), more apt to listen and soak up information like a sponge rather than jump in and participate in lively debate. Yesterday, two particular blog entries snagged my attention.

Did you know that many readers today prefer happy-for-right-now to happily-ever-after? I didn’t. The ‘reason’ saddened me. I actually did comment on this post, but blogger ate my submission. Figures. Check out The Library Diva’s enlightening post.

Remember my post the other day—People Are Listening? Lee Goldberg offers a compelling argument on ‘blogging responsibly’ and links us to another eye-opener on this subject by literary agent Steve Axelrod.

Two hot topics for me, posts that are still on my mind. What blogger recently gave you something to think about?

A Talk With Myself

Positive Self: You are not a slacker.

Yesterday, after working at the library, you did a load of laundry, washed the dishes, and cooked a healthy meal (Yay for you. You're still eating right and exercising--amazing!). Then you returned some emails and updated your website (It's not your fault it wouldn't upload.). After that you organized faery chants from eighteen different authors for a song you're performing as a musical intro for the faery court at the Romantic Times Convention's Faery Ball. Okay. You still need to order the actual music, but at least the project is under way. Next, you started inputting several email addresses of readers who signed up for your newsletter into an Excel program. This is something you should have done long ago (Huge promo no-no. Offering readers a newsletter and never delivering--shame, shame). Yes, you had deadlines, but you'll always have deadlines... hopefully. No more procrasitating. Tackle that newsletter.

Negative Self: Y…

People are Listening

Last night I drove up to Nothern Jersey to attend 'Spring Fling'--a lovely event thrown by the East Brunswick Borders Romance Readers Group. They had invited eight New Jersey romance authors to join them for a Q&A, booksigning, and chocolates. Lots of chocolate. They also decorated the tables lavishly (I can't believe I forgot my camera!) and presented each of us with a cute tote bag containing several gifts celebrating our current release and personal likes.

These devoted romance fans really know their authors. In my bag were oodles of 'cowboy' gifts--wahoo LASSO THE MOON!--as well as cool gifts featuring London. Elsie (who coordinated the event) is well aware of my London addiction. She also loaded up Eloisa James with various 'chick' gifts. Not as in Chick Lit, but as in 'Squawk Radio'. Like I said, this group really knows their authors.

Through Q&A it was obvious that they'd read our books. They knew our stories, our characters, but …

Spring Fever

I don't know about you, but I must have Spring fever. Restless. Unable to focus on work. I spent the better part of last evening daydreaming about England, and surfing the net for real estate in Canterbury. Yes, my dream to live there burns strong.

Although I didn't type a word on my WIP, I did continue reading the westerns I metioned earlier. And I did think about a secondary plot while I showered. So I guess I did squeeze in work of sorts. Tonight I'm driving a couple of hours north to join the East Brunswick Borders reading group and several other authors for 'Spring Fling'. One of the things we'll be discussing is my latest release 'Lasso the Moon'. I currently have three of my stories spinning in my head, and that's not one of them! Hmmm. Might be a good idea to review that book before tonight. Meanwhile the sun is shining and I'm itching to for a long, lazy walk with my dogs. Yup. Spring has flung. Anyone else have the fever?

More Adjusting

Part of my routine is blogging every morning. That routine got thrown off during my trip to London. It just wasn’t possible. Then I came home and was faced with an immediate deadline and heavy ‘day job’ work schedule, including a late-night gig last night. If that wasn’t enough, my laptop caught some sort of virus, a virus that prevented me from using the Internet. The evil invader wouldn’t allow me to go on-line! Torture for me, but even worse for Steve because he’s the one who spent hours over the last four days trying to pinpoint and obliterate that evil, evil virus. This morning I have access once again, but something’s still not quite right. I curse the person who created the pop-up adware what-ever-the-heck-it-is virus that has compromised my computer and daily routine as well as four days of Steve’s life that he’ll never get back. Have these people nothing better to do with their time? If I had that kind of computer knowledge I’d try to do something constructive.

Just had to …