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Showing posts from May, 2006

Under the Weather, Under the Gun

Under the weather today. Won't be going into work. Won't be snuggled under the covers either. I'm under the deadline gun. Wherever I plant my miserable self--in bed, on the couch--my laptop will be, well, in lap. Even if my pounding brain only cranks out one manuscript page, I'll be one page deeper into my story. Must. Push. Forward.

Here's an unedited snippet of what I'm working on...

Seth considered himself an expert on two things in life: wrangling criminals and seducing women. The trick was getting into their minds, learning what made them tick, and anticipating their actions and reactions.

Emily McBride was a brain buster. Hard to make sense out of a woman who made no sense at all.

Seated in the passenger seat of a ramshackle buggy, he glanced sideways at the young woman in possession of the reins. She didn’t dress, talk, or behave like a preacher’s daughter. Instead of twisting her pale blond hair into a conventional bun, she’d woven the waist-length tr…

Where's my Hershey Bar?

Behind on my WIP (work in progress). Hoping to complete 15 new pages today. I could really use a brain boost and I'm liking the sound of this.

Sizzling Inspiration

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Instead of writing yesterday, I cleaned house. I couldn't take it anymore. The clutter. The dust. I couldn't concentrate on my story, so I looked for inspiration in other people's stories. Specifically by way of DVDs in my movie collection. Fave movies that I've seen before. Movies that I could 'listen' to as I cleaned, stopping only to watch my favorite parts.

I stopped and watched a lot during 'The Last of the Mohicans'. I've probably watched this film a hundred times. The battle scenes are too brutal for me. As with Braveheart, I look away or close my eyes. But the cinematography overall is stunning. The soundtrack beautiful. The relationships between father and sons, brothers, sisters, and ultimately those brothers and sisters (primary and secondary romance) keep me rivited time and again. Every scene between Cora and Hawkeye sizzles. Some favorite lines...

Cora Munro: What are you looking at, sir?
Hawkeye: I'm looking at you, miss.

Cora Munro: …

A Bit of Industry Buzz

I can't imagine that many will check in here today. I don't know about the rest of the country, but in New Jersey we're having a beautiful sunny and warm holiday weekend. In my small island community, people are out and about enjoying the beach, craft shows, yard sales, cookouts, and parades. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people. Yesterday I worked at the library. Today I'm writing. There's a part of me that longs to laze the day away, but the workaholic me, the me that's sweating a deadline won't step away from the computer and into the sunshine. Maybe I'll break away later tonight for a DVD movie-fest. Inspiration via a Rom-Com. Lord knows I own enough of them.

Speaking of romance on DVD (how's that for a segue?), Thursday's (or was it Friday? The days blur.) luncheon at the Romantic Times Convention was sponsored by a movie production company--'Lasting Romance'. Their objective is to turn our favorite romance novels into film…

Weekend Read

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I had planned to blog about the last day of RT today. The bookfair and the Mr. Romance Competition. Due to time restrictions, I’ll do so on Monday. Meanwhile, here is a picture of me at the bookfair. I had a great time, met some terrific people, and sold a lot of books. LASSO THE MOON continues to do well proving that westerns are not dead! Good to know since I’m currently hard at work on my next humorous wild west adventure—ROMANCING THE WEST (coming 2007) Please enjoy an except from LASSO THE MOON and have a great holiday weekend!

“Sure you won’t stay for some vittles, Sheriff Grant? I can rustle you up somethin’ real quick like.”

Thorn Butte’s stationmaster was as well known for his longwinded story-telling as he was for his hospitality. If Josh stayed much longer, he’d be joining the lonely man for a walk down memory lane. “Much obliged, Ben, but I’m in a hurry to be on my way. Only stopped long enough to rest Buckshot and stretch my legs.”

“Where you headin’?”

“Chance.”

“Never b…

Friday at RT (Fall from Grace)

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Although these pictures are a tad dark, you can see some of the authors who sponsored the fairy ball dancing around the Maypole. You can see that I was wearing a lovely, long chiffon gown. Friday evening at RT. The Faery Ball. Of all of my performances, this was the most simple. The one I had been able to prepare for ahead of time. After the guests were seated, the DJ cranked up the music tracks I had given him. I sang an Enya tune to set the mood then, over instrumental Enya and Lord of The Dance music, I recited faery chants in an English accent while the eighteen authors who had sponsored the ball, paraded onto the dance floor in their amazing faery costumes and weaved ribbons around a maypole (held by cover model Mark Johnson). The entire sequence took twelve minutes and closed with me leading the audience in a toast and introducing the two lead faires, authors Cheyenne McCray and Eden Robbins. The bit went beautifully. The eighteen faeires looked fantasic. I performed the Enya …

We Interrupt This Program...

....for a few exciting announcements! Awesome ladies, fellow authors and blogsters, are celebrating wonderful news. Please hop over and congratulate Charlene Teglia for her sale to St. Martins, Kate Rothwell (and her alter ego, Summer) for landing a deal at Pocket, and Shannon Stacey for selling a novella to Samhain. Erotic romance is hot, hot, hot!

Historical author (and all around nice guy) Scott Oden received another fabulous review in Publishers Weekly for his second novel, Memnon. Way to go, Scott!

Thursday at RT

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In re-reading my posts, I realized that though I've been filling you in on how my days and nights were spent at RT, I've yet to provide you with any industry info. No doubt that's what many of you are hungry for. As you've gathered, I attended more rehearsals then workshops, but I did glean a wee bit of insight here and there. I'll rack my brain and list what I remember over the weekend.

Meanwhile back to me. *g* Thursday went something like this. Rehearsal for Heather's Vampires in the Caribbean play, a luncheon sponsored by a movie production company gearing up to make romance novel to DVD movies (more on that over the weekend), another rehearsal (tech) for Heather's play... then Mary and I raced over to speak on a panel for booksellers. The topic: Blogging, websites and newsletters. The panel: Webmaster Kelli Salkin, authors Mary Stella, Rowena Cherry, and moi. Kate Ryan of RT Magazine moderated. We spoke about how booksellers can use blogging, newsletter…

Wednesday at RT

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Continuing on with my RT adventures... here I am with just a few of my friends. (top to bottom/click on to enlarge) #1 with Heather Graham--NYT bestselling author, not actress--on Tuesday at the Luau Party. #2 with author Kathy Love on Wednesday at the Ellora's Cave Party. #3 with Heather's son Shayne, a real sweetheart and an excellent ballroom dancer. Love to 'hustle' with that man!

Wednesday morning, Mary and I were up at the crack of dawn. We had to be at an early rehearsal for Heather's play and we wanted to squeeze in breakfast first. We decided to attend RT's morning mixer sponsored by author Bobbi Smith. Bobbi is always a gracious and generous host and she always offers free books. Gotta love that. But a lot of convention attendees attended that mixer and by the time we got there the breakfast pickings were slim to none. So off to Starbucks we went. I can do without food but MUST HAVE COFFEE.

The rehearsal for Heather's show was three hours long. Thi…

Tuesday at RT

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Re-entering the real world after being at RT for a week is tough. A week of fantasy parties and balls, workshops and award luncheons. And for moi, oodles of rehearsals. Here I am with the same authors/friends that I posted a picture of yesterday. Only this is from Friday night at the Faery Ball, and this shot includes mystery writer, Lori Armstrong (far left).

Where was I? Ah, yes. Real world. Braindead. Still, as I'm on a tight deadline now, I had no choice but to dig in and work on my WIP yesterday. Even though I was fog-brained it went pretty well. Fog-brained and/or stressed-out-of-my-mind seems to be a positive creative state for me. Go figure.

This time last week, I was battling workshop presenter jitters. "You're a professional performer," Mary said. "How can you be nervous?" My lame but honest answer: "It's not the same." The primary focus is on 'teaching' not entertaining. Though it's a bonus if you can do both. Mostly, I wa…

The Best of Times

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I'm back. I'm burt. I'm braindead. But I had the best of times. The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention holds a special place in my heart. I attended my first RT con in 1994. I've only missed one since there. So that's what? Eleven? Wow. Many of my longest and strongest publishing relationships have been formed and nurtured at RT. Here I am with some of my best writer buds. Most of us published at just about the same time. Mary Stella, Kathy Love, Julia Templeton, and Arianna Hart. Our cherished party bud, Lori Armstrong, is missing from this shot (as are a couple who couldn't attend--Jordan and Cyndi), but I have a great group shot with her that I'll share later. I can't figure out how to post more than one pick at a time (distributed throughout) in one post. Jeesh. Anyway this pic is from Wednesday night. The Ellora's Cave party. The fantasy party. The cheerleader thing didn't work out for me so I just wore a sheer, sexy black outfit. Julie w…

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

All my bags are packed. I'm ready to go....

Just a quick note to say I'm on my way to Daytona Beach for the RT Convention. I'll try to check in from there with news, gossip, etc.

Have a great week!

The Great 'What If'

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Mary (Stella) and I are emailing back and forth about the workshop we're presenting at the RT Convention on Tuesday. That's us, fun-loving pals that we are, at last year's RT. Um, no this wasn't our attire for a workshop, but for the 20s party thrown by Dorchestor Publishing. Mary the Gangster and Beth the Flapper. Boop-boop-be-doo. Interesting note, we both look quite different today. We've both been exercising and eating right. I'm now a blonde and Mary, last I knew, has funky carmel highlights in her hair.

Where was I? Ah, the workshop. It's called "The Great What If?" A spin off on brainstorming. Our class is mostly made up of writers who are just starting out. We hope to stimulate them, to help them grow by exploring ways of sparking creativity. I 'what if' quite a bit when I write. At almost every phase of the project. What if Afia was born on Friday the 13th? What if her mother was a paraskevidekatriaphobic? (someone who fear Friday …

My Cup Runneth Over

I leave for the Romantic Times Convention on Monday. I'm so not ready. Then again I'm never ready for these things. Ever. I'll be organizing promo items, wardrobe, and notes for workshops, etc, right up until I leave. I work every day between now and then (including Sunday) so, yes, I have officially kicked into manic (er, panic?) mode.

Yesterday, I got a request to participate in another workshop. The workshop is on 'blogging'. Plus it's for booksellers. How could I say, no? Yesterday, I also received the rehearsal schedules for all of the special events. Since I'm performing at three major events, we're talking three rehearsal schedules. Add to that speaking at two workshops, my two scheduled meet and greets, and signing at the four-hour book fair . . . um, when am I supposed to meet with my editor? When am I supposed to catch up with my friends? When am I supposed to attend a workshop so I can learn something?

I know. I'm the one who agreed to …

Talkin' the Talk

I recently received an email from a reader (she knows who she is. *g*) saying she was reading and enjoying LASSO THE MOON. She mentioned how she'd been transported back in time and that I must have done a lot of research. Later she emailed, admitting she doesn't usually go for period pieces, but had finished LASSO THE MOON and loved it. Obviously, I'm thrilled!

Not too long ago, my publisher sent me a few emails from readers who had written to say they don't normally like westerns, but had a blast reading LTM. That made me feel like a million bucks, let me tell you. Converting my contemporary fans wasn't as hard as I'd feared.

The trick, I think, is to weave in enough research to give the reader a feel for the period without overloading them with historical facts or details. In any era, that would be called: info dump. Or TMI. Too much information. Note, I'm talking about historical romance, not historical fiction. Two different animals. A romance reader …

And the Winners Are...

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Thank you for helping me celebrate SEDUCED's first birthday! I'm quite proud of this book and happy to be sharing it with five lucky winners. Chosen at random this morning... ChrysCat, Olga, Bethany, Mark Pettus, and RobynLPlease email me at beth@bethciotta.com and provide me with a mailing address. Congratulations and happy reading!

The Game is On! (still)

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Due to the surpisingly great response to my weekend giveaway, I'm extending the contest throughout today. Also, I'm now giving away five copies of SEDUCED (as opposed to three). I've so enjoyed your questions. Thank you to all who participated! There's still time to play. Don't be shy. Ask away! (See post below)On another note, I'd like to alert all writers out there to a great post over at Mark Pettus's blog 'Writing What You Know' (or don't know). Affirmation that I really need to get out more. *g*

Juggling Projects (plus bonus giveaway!)

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Wednesday FeyRhi posted this comment: “I'm here at least once a day to take a peek to see what you are up to and more times then not learn something new about the life of a multi-published author.”

I haven’t talked about my actual writing life in awhile so I thought I’d post a brief update for FeyRhi and anyone keeping tabs. The key word is ‘multi-published’. Though a beautiful word, one that fills me with pride and wonder, it also represents multi-obligations. If you’re multi-published, you’re multi-tasking. That’s if you’re contracted for even more books and committed to promoting previous, current, and future works. (Read: Building your career)

Currently I’m…

* Promoting...LASSO THE MOON, my historical western romance released a mere two months ago from Medallion Press. This includes participating in on-line chats and discussion groups, interviews, live group Q&As, booksignings and special appearances (like the upcoming Romantic Times Convention), adding special features to we…

Beautiful People

Good thing I read this post late last night and not this morning. Warning, Will Robinson! Content could cause morning java to spurt out your nose! Writer Ken Levine offers a funny (snarky) take on People's 100 Most Beautiful People.

Regulars of this blog know that I rant now and then about the emphasis on youth and beauty in the entertainment industry. It so often rates over talent and experience, at least that's what I'm experiencing in my neck of the woods. I appreciate my agents candor, I do. But I'm really sick of hearing, "They want younger." Anyway, back to People Magazine and those 100 Beautiful People. I don't buy People, but it comes into the library, so of course I browsed. I'm not saying the featured 100 weren't attractive (hey, Clooney was included!), I'm just wondering who picks these people? I mean, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

My list of 'beautiful' people includes people who aren't necessarily cosmetic…

Rah-Rah-Sis-Boom... HUH?

Okay. So the Romantic Times Booklovers convention is a week and a half away and I've already picked out all of my daywear... including shoes. I tried on a bazillion ensembles before deciding. What? It's a girl thing. It's also an image thing. I'm known for my unique style. I have a reputation to think about. *g* I know what I'm wearing for some of the nightime shows/parties too. More on that later, or better yet, pictures. After.

The one party that I'm not performing at is the Ellora's Cave Fantasy Party. What to wear? What to wear? Hmm. The fantasy aspect is every man's fantasy, I guess, as Ellora's Cave publishes erotic or spicy romance. Last year I went as a Catholic school girl complete with saddle oxfords. One of my fave costumes ever as it was so comfortable to dance in. So this year I toyed with the idea of being a cheerleader. Men fantasize about doing it, uh, being with a cheerleader, right? And hey, bonus, I'd get to wear comfy sa…

The 13 Letter Word

Self-promotion.

PBW would rather write books than self-promote. JA Konrath believes self-promotion is essential. I am a combination of the two. I'd rather write, but force myself to self-promote because I'm still a newbie and bookstores are flooded with new titles from established authors and upcoming authors with major pub 'push' every month. I feel confident that I can count on the readers who have already discovered my books and like them to buy upcoming releases. But there are bukoo readers who have never read me, and won't if they don't know I'm alive.

My publisher promotes prior to my release and the month of, but what about the other nine months of the year? It's up to me to get my name out there and I'd say I do a fair job given my spare time and budget. Except, these days spare time is something I do not have. Because of contracted deadlines, a dayjob, and life, I need to write. Self-promoting drains my energy and sucks up precious creative t…

When I Was A Kid...

I don't watch a lot of television anymore. When I do catch snatches of one or another primetime show, I'm sometimes amazed at the extent of the graphic content. I have friends whose kids are absolutely hooked on anything CSI. Pretty heavy stuff. Especially when I think about what I grew up watching.

This is where I embarrass (and date) myself by sharing a few of my childhood faves. In no particular order...

I Love Lucy
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Andy Griffith Show
The Flinstones
Bewitched
I Dream of Jeannie
Get Smart
The Munsters
Beverly Hillbillies
Petticoat Junction
Green Acres
Gilligans Island
Walt Disney
The Brady Bunch (Stop laughing)
The Carol Burnett Show

Then there were the Saturday Afternoon Matinees and Primetime movies... Every Doris Day movie ever made. Ditto for Elvis movies.

Gee. Is it any wonder I write romantic comedy?

Your turn. Come on. What did you watch in your pre-teen years?