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Showing posts from December, 2006

My Wish for the New Year

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Stay Out of Their Kitchen

Terribly interesting post at Romancing the Blogyesterday. Nasty is the New Naughty. It reminded me of an incident a few years ago. A colleague who had a few published books under her belt, books with a major publisher, books that had been well received, came across some scathing comments about her work at a readers' discussion board. A few of these readers considered her latest release a 'wall banger' and bluntly explained why.

The author was crushed. I can understand this. I'd be hurt and disappointed too if I came across people trashing something I'd put my heart and soul into. What I didn't understand was why this author kept going back to that discussion board, time and again, to read additional incoming negative remarks. Why subject yourself to something you know hurts. She obssessed on these few readers opinions and, within a couple of weeks, she was so depressed that she considered never writing another book.

Her reaction may seem overdramatic as you read …

Creatively Speaking

Yesterday I mentioned that I recently created a page at MySpace. I also mentioned that I intend to use the MySpace blog feature for something other than conventional blogging. Why repeat myself, rambling here, rambling there? My intention is to use MySpace as a place to promote my books heavily and to network with readers and writers.

Networking to me means giving as well as benefitting. With that in mind, I've decided to use the blog feature at MySpace as a place to celebrate and shine the light on the creative people in my life. I'm calling the blog: Creatively Speaking... Conversations with Friends and Associates. Bi-weekly I'll post an interview with someone who circulates in one of my two creative worlds, entertainment or publishing. You'll get to learn a little about our personal relationship and a lot about their current or upcoming projects. I hope to feature an interesting mix of musicians and performers (actors, jugglers, magicians...) and writers, agents, and…

Scrooges and Friends

Thanks to all for the holiday wishes. I hope you had a merry time. Me, I'll be spending the next several days trying to cycle off the seasonal yummies that glommed to my hips. *g*

Yesterday, it was back to work full speed. I emceed a ten hour sweepstakes at Trump Taj Mahal. My day started with an angry patron screaming, yes, screaming at me and jabbing her finger in my face. Apparently it was my fault that she couldn't hear the annoucements. My responsibility to 'turn up the house speakers'. My fault that this is an on-going problem at Taj. For the record, my voice was booming and as for adjusting the sound level that's up to the sound technicians. There was no reasoning with this bitter, crazy woman so I just had to ignore her until she stalked away. The day was peppered with several Scrooges who groused at me. "The winners are fictitious." "This sweepstakes is rigged." And so on. The casino was filled with bitter, miserable people. The negati…

A Wish For You

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Wishing you and yours a blissful holiday and a new year brimming with harmony, joy, and inspiration! All best, Beth "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." -- Charles Dickens

The Annual Trip

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This week has been, and continues to be, crazy. In my normal hectic life, I am known by some as 'The Blur'. I'm the person running here, there, and everywhere. This week I'm not even a blur. I am the wind. *g* I try to take off at least one night a week to settle in for a movie night with the family. (That would be Steve and the fur kids.) This is us last week enjoying a holiday classic. Well, Steve, Billie and I enjoyed it. Sadie (the cat) and Cheyenne (the little dog) fell asleep. Aren't they cute?

Today, after work, we're driving up to Long Island to spend two days with my in-laws. Depending on traffic, anywhere from a three to five hour drive. Billie and Cheyenne will come with. Sadie will stay home with a sitter. Billie loves to ride in the car. Cheyenne gets car sick. Not fun. Last time, the vet suggested Benedryl for a long trip to make her drowzy. It works like a dream. Yay!

Back to Billie. She loves car rides. She loves the annual holiday visit with the…

Holiday Crunch Time

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There are some dynamic, well constructed, entertaining holiday blog posts out there. This is not one of them. This is me checking in to say, OH MY GOD! CHRISTMAS IS NEXT WEEKEND?!

You guessed it. I'm not ready. Today I will be cramming in various preparations, including shopping, wrapping gifts to be mailed, washing the dogs so that they smell and feel yummy when we travel North for a brief visit with my in-laws, and cleaning the house, mostly the guest room, so that I'm not totally embarassed when Mary comes for a visit on the 23rd.

These tasks will of course spill over into tomorrow with the addition of preparing for my last Penelope Pageturner Storyhour and making some, any, even a word, of progress on my WIP.

If you don't hear from me for a couple of days, you'll know why. Not that I expect many of you to be bloghopping over the next week. I expect you to be attending parties, watching holiday movies and enjoying, as the song goes, the most wonderful time of the year.

Memories - The Greatest Gift of All

Tis the season and let me tell you, you don't have to spend a lot of money to make someone happy. Sometimes you don't have to spend anything more than time. Last year some of my sisters made and sent me a handmade gift. I treasure them and they are on display year around. (Don't ask me about the gifts I started and have yet to finish for them. I deserve a spot in the Sister Hall of Shame.) Anyhoo...

I received a holiday box from my mom yesterday. In it was a wrapped gift for Steve and I (which we'll open on Christmas) and a beautiful guardian angel snowglobe (now on display and bringing joy). Also inside that box were three unwrapped items. Items my mom had found tucked away in some box in some closet or attic. They only cost her the time it took to root them out and box them up.

The first item was a 'letter' sweater I had had in my senior year of high school, specifically honoring my years in choir and a select vocal/dance group. It made me smile. It used to be …

Reflecting Your Art

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I'd like to thank everyone who chimed in yesterday regarding my photo shoot and the two pictures I'd passed on. Your enthusiastic response to the location shot of me in black convinced me to indeed use that photo... just not now.
When promoting one's self I believe it's important to be true to the product you are hawking. Brand, brand, brand. My published books thus far and those in the contracted future are classified as Romantic Comedy with a Twist of Suspense (my brand). Even my historical westerns fall under this umbrella. Since I want to convey 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get', I opted for 'fun and flirty'. I think this look works well with the HQN cover for All About Evie as well as with any of my release with Medallion Press. Also, while surfing the author photos at the Harlequin site along with several romance readers' websites, I noticed that they generally crop tight, from the shoulders up. That would work fine for both of these photos, where…

I Am Woman

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This past week or so, blogging daily has been tough. I won't bore you with the 'whys'. I do that too often. Too many jobs/projects, not enough time. Enough said.

As you know from my last post, a bit of time was devoted to a photography shoot. One day we did location shots, another day studio shots. I kept asking Greg if he was using the 'young, pretty, skinny lens'. *g* He assured me that I looked fine. "You have great skin," he said. "Whoop-te-do," I thought. Although I suppose I should be thrilled. I credit my lifelong aversion to sunbathing and the loyal use of Ponds Cold Cream.

When Greg showed me the location proofs, he told me not to worry about any blemishes or pronounced wrinkles, flyaway hairs or unflattering shadows. "I can PhotoShop those out." To demonstrate, he maximized my face on the computer and brushed away a few of the deeper crow's feet. Wow. Now I know why celebs always look so flawless in those fashion layouts. T…

Sticks and Stones

It's been so long since someone insulted the romance genre to my face that when it happened yesterday, I'm pretty sure I visibly winced. Then I obsessed on the incident--although it doesn't really qualify as an incident--for the rest of the day. I finally let it go. Until I pondered this morning's blog topic. *g* It will be a short rant. Swear.

So there I was, knocking on the door of the photographer who'd taken my new publicity shots. He'd burned the proofs to a CD so I could take them home and view at my leisure. I needed to choose my top three or four favorites. Those are the ones he'd retouch (read: work magic) and I'd utilize for future promo.

Anyhoo, the photographer invited me in and introduced me to the young couple sitting in his office. I assumed they were there to talk about their wedding pictures as Greg (the photographer) had told me that morning that he was working on fifteen different wedding projects. We traded friendly greetings as Greg…

Hooptedoodle

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I'm always keen on sharpening my writing skills. It's especially exciting when you learn something new, put that knowledge to use, and see a positive a difference. My chaotic schedule keeps me from traveling and attending as many 'live' workshops as I'd like. In this case, the Internet is a blessing.

Yesterday, I tripped upon Elmore Leonard's blog. From what I could tell someone else writes the main posts and he contributes now and then. Probably when his chaotic schedule allows. *g* The post that caught my eye and made my day was Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing

Different techniques work for different people. Often it depends on your overall style and voice. Me, I'm a fan of lean, mean writing... like Leonard's. So I took some of his observations to heart and applied them to my WIP last night and, woah, wow, small changes, big difference.

If you're interested, hop over and read. Out of his ten, surely one will apply to you. Breathe new life i…

A Show Is Born

The ever-entertaining Ken Levineis in NYC freezing his LA butt off. Before leaving for the east coast he enlisted a guest blogger and boy what a treat! Multiple Emmy Award-winner Peter Casey is blogging about the creation and casting of one of my all time favorite comedies, Fraiser! He talks about how he and his partners came up with the concept, the network pitch, and the casting process. Fun and fascinating. Check it out!

In yesterday's post, Mr. Casey wrote: "...like a lot of writers we went to our own lives for material." It made me think of how often I draw from real life experiences for my own writing. Hmmm. That would be ... a lot.

What about you? Have you ever drawn from your own life for material? If you've ever read one of my books, you know I dip into my entertainment experiences here and there (and sometimes everywhere). In kind, all of my heroines possess at least one quality or belief that is wholly 'me'. Do you ever fashion characters after yo…

Living The Dream

For those of you wondering if I've abandoned yet another exercise program... No, I have not. I cycled 6 out of 7 days last week: 5 minute sessions. Yesterday, I did 6 minutes and lived to tell the tale. My heart's getting stronger and I'm noticing a difference in my body. Yay, me!

Yesterday I wrote an upcoming article for Romancing the Blog. That took me all morning. Then I attempted the one-page bio as requested by the PR dpt. at HQN (Harlequin). That took me all day! Trying to wrangle my professional life onto one page and making 'me' seem like this really dynamic person (Hence her book must be really awesome. Go buy it!) is about as fun and daunting as writing an eight-page story synopsis.

Just before 5pm, I received an email from HQN with questions from the copy editor regarding a few points in ALL ABOUT EVIE. I addressed those and then, finally around 6pm, I opened the file of my WIP. I'm really pleased that I actually managed to write two new pages becaus…

Switching Process Midstream

"As I've often said, if this is formula fiction, I sure wish somebody would sip me the formula."

A quote from author Ed Gorman. Amen, Ed.

His December 2 post titled, Livia and James, addresses the writing process. I read thinking, huh, my process is sort of like Gorman's. No wait, it's kind of like McBain's. No, it used to be like McBain's, and, gee, wasn't that a fun and semi-speedy adventure.

That's when I realized that my current process (which seems to differ slightly with each book) stinks. I'm thinking too hard. In the past, some of my most inspired work came from out of the blue. Spontaneity was my best friend and I've kicked him to the curb. Well, dang. Nothing like ignoring one of your strengths.

Special thanks to Mr. Gorman who just lit a fire under my butt. When I open my WIP today, I'm going to try something new. Or should I say old?

I'll leave you as I greeted you, with another quote from the featured Ed Gorman post.…

Tired, but Happy

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Last week was mostly spent gearing up for my first storytime hour as Penelope Pageturner. The preparation time was killer. Even though I was able to research and review stories while working at the library (this storytime is a library sponsored event), I ended up preparing the bulk of the fifty snowman crafts and goody bag giveaways at home. That's right 50! The event took place at a popular department store on a busy shopping day. My boss told me it usually goes like this: You prepare for 10 kids, you get 40. You prepare for 40, you get 10.

I prepared for 50. The winter wonderland area they had beautifully prepared for storytime (and other special holiday events) was a tad off the beaten track and at first I had NO kids. ACK! So the PR director of the store (a good friend of mine from our character actress days) took action. She grabbed a plate of cookies, I, dressed in full Renn costume, grabbed a book and we went out on the floor. Let me tell you, we know how to bark a show! I …

A Gritty, Sexy Read

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Obligations (work) have kept me from blogging for a couple of days. I'm stealing a moment to tell you that I am indeed obligated (working) thoughout the weekend. No time to breathe. Or blog.

So, I'm going to take this opportunity to brag about, rave about, praise to high heavens, urge you to buy anything written by powerhouse mystery author... Lori G. Armstrong.
Specifically, her latest release Hallowed Ground. This sexy, smart private investigative tale is a sequel to Lori's debut novel Blood Ties. A novel that garnered this quote from NY Times Bestselling author, Clive Cussler"...a fascinating tale of intrigue that will sweep you into a world of horror and suspense." A novel that was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First Novel of 2006 by The Private Eye Writers of America. Um, okay. So you might want to buy BOTH of these books. *g*

I've met Lori several times, we've danced the night away at RT Convention parties. She's funny and charming and amaz…