Showing posts from July, 2007

On the Fly: The Veggie Snitch

Although I grew up in farm country, I've never had a knack for growing vegetables. Perhaps I should say... the desire. Although I have fond memories of the huge garden my grandpa had and then later my mom. Fresh corn, green beans, snap peas, onions, radishes... tomatoes. Yum. I remember sitting in the backyard shucking corn and snapping peas with my grandma. She was a talker and she was fun. But I digress...

My boss at the library also happens to be my neighbor. She has an amazing garden. This year she gifted Steve and I with tomatoe plants. We planted them in the backyard where we usually plant flowers. Boy, did they grow! I got so excited when I saw actual tomatoes hanging off the stems! There's a mix of little tomatoes (cherry?) and big tomatoes. (By the way, this picture isn't of our plant, but it looks close.)
The big tomatoes are still very green, but some of the smaller ones turned red a few days ago. I was so thrilled. I picked them and brought them inside. I put th…

On the Fly: What's Your Love Stage?

Yes, I'm busy writing, but I just happened to run across an interesting article. Interesting for the heck of it. Especially interesting if you write about love.

Here's an excerpt....
"The Free Agent"
LoveStage: Single and not looking
Your top priority: Are you busy starting a business? Raising a kid? Writing a best seller? Whatever your focus, the majority of you said "obtaining knowledge," not finding Mr. Right, is your goal right now.
Your bottom line: Financially, you think long-term. Fiscally ambitious, you're also the thriftiest of the LoveStages in the here and now. In fact, you're decidedly anti-impulse buy, spending 30 percent less than any other group on clothing, shoes, or La Perla.
Fun fact: Hot wheels, not hot dates? Free Agents are more likely to invest in a new car in the next 12 months than any other LoveStage.

Celeb poster child: George Clooney
The first of several stages. Check it outand tell me... what stage are you in?
P.S. YES! …

On the Fly: Scattered

On Tuesday, I locked my husband and dogs out of the house.

Great set up line for a dramatic story about how they made me screaming mad and I booted them out. But the truth of it is, I'm just an absent-minded spaz.

I'd come home for lunch. They were in the backyard watering the rose bushes and tomato plants. When it was time for me to go back to work, I stepped outside to tell them goodbye. Came back in, went out the front, and drove to work.

About fifteen minutes later, I got a phone call. Steve. "You locked the dogs and I out of the house." He didn't sound amused. Apparently when I'd renentered from the back yard, I locked the sliding glass door. One of those auto-pilot, out-of-habit things. I always lock the door--though not when somebody is still outside. Oops. So the back door and the front door were locked, and Steve and the dogs were stuck in the hot sun with no keys or phone.

Then he remembered he'd hidden away a house key. Thank goodness!

Yesterday, I …

On Writing: THUNK!

That is the sound of my forehead hitting my desk. Revisions on EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE completed and turned in. My eternal thanks to awesome writer and critique partner, Cyndi, for hanging in with me even while she was on vacation! Talk about a giving friend. I'm very pleased with how the story turned out. Thank you, Keyren (my HQN editor), for your amazing guidance and support.

I've been writing and working non-stop for several weeks. I am just a wee bit fried. This morning after turning in the manuscript, I zipped off to work. I'd been at the library for 45-minutes when I glanced at the schedule and realized I wasn't supposed to be there! I work every other Monday. Today was not one of them. Jeez. So I drove home and fired up the computer. I'm trying to catch up on emails and writing business. Still not done, but making progess.

At some point today, I hope to update my website. Medallion Press created a super cool movie banner for ROMANCING THE WEST. It's on their…

On Writing: The Cave

Sorry for my absence, gang. I am in the cave. The Hermit Cave. The place I go when I'm on severe deadline. Barely time to sleep, let alone blog. I just peeked out to let you know I'm alive. Sort of. I'll return to my normal blogging self on Monday, July 23.

In other news: While trying to eat a bowl of soup at my desk, I splashed HOT soup on my wrist and now have a red, swollen welt that hurts. Summer allergies are killing me. Weeks and weeks of itchy, swollen eyes. Yes, I'm taking medication. How well it works changes day to day. Winter is beginning to sound good.
Between my busy scedule and my hairdresser's jammed schedule, I have been unable to get an appointment for color. Thus I have silver hair in my roots... and it will only get worse. I've almost convinced myself that they are lovely highlights. In other, other news: When I let my two crazy dogs (Billie and Cheyenne) outside, I have to stay with them and watch to make sure they don't eat things…

On Reading: The Emotional Bang

Tuesday evening I drove a couple of hours north to attend the monthly meeting of the New Brunswick Border's Readers Group. A special shout out to Elsie, Laurie, Noreen, Diane, Fran, Liz... and the rest of the fabulous gang! I was the featured author and the ladies made me feel like a 'star'. We had a blast discussing my two latest releases, ALL ABOUT EVIEand ROMANCING THE WEST as well as 'reading' in general.

Also attending was a very nice university student who's gathering research for a thesis on romantic fiction. At one point she asked us why we read romantic fiction specifically? Our answers were similar, but I really enjoyed hearing everyone's individual take.

Today I'm asking you. What genre or sub-genre do you read and why? What are you looking for when you dig into page one? How do you feel or how do you want to feel when you close in on the end? What's the desired emotional bang?

On Writing: Speaking of Conferences...

This week multitudes of romantic fiction writers will be flying into Dallas, TX for the Romance Writers of America'a National Conference.

I'm not one of them.

I will be here, at home, feverishly working on two, yup, two, deadline books.

However, I'm thrilled to announce I'll be attending the Writers for New Orleansweekend workshop August 31-September 2. Sponsored by NYT Bestselling author (and one of my favorite people in the world), Heather Graham, this weekend is packed with workshops and parties, and plenty of networking opportunites. Plus it's in New Orleans!

Heather founded this mini-conference last year, hoping to encourage tourists to return to this beautiful city, a city that, along with residents, suffered mightly because of Hurricane Katrina. I'm very much looking forward to the trip.

Aside from celebrating the wonder that is New Orleans, I'll be speaking on a workshop panel with friend and multi-published author, Mary Stella. Mary and I will also be p…

On Writing: Networking in Your Comfort Zone

For those of you just joining me this week, I’ve been writing a series of posts about Networking. The term sends shivers down many people, especially shy people’s, spines. I think this stems from a misconception of what networking truly is. You don’t have to aggressively pitch yourself and your work to network effectively. Networking is about creating a ‘net’ of business contacts and acquaintances. Offering help as well as receiving help. Mutual give and take.

I believe I network well because I network in my comfort zone. I know, from years of experience and many attended conferences, that I am not going to easily walk up to an editor or agent or favorite author at a welcome reception or any other social situation, introduce myself, and engage them in any sort of conversation that will serve them or me well. I’m too shy.

But I do know if I volunteer to work as a time keeper for the editor/agent appointments, I’ll feel quite comfortable conversing with editors and agents. I have a reason…

On Writing: Networking In Action

Day Four of my series of posts on Networking. I hope some of you’re finding some of these tips useful. For more extensive views on the subject, I highly recommend “Power Networking – 55 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success”, by Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas.

Today I’ll highlight a few active networking tips. I’ll use Fisher and Vilas’s bullet points and elaborate from my own perspective.

Networking in Action:

* Dress to Impress
I attended my first Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in 1994. I attended alone and I didn’t know a soul. I knew that the convention was for booklovers, therefore a lot of readers would be there and probably dressed more casually. But I was there for the writing workshops. My goal: to someday be published. I was there for business so I dressed accordingly.

The very first night, at the welcome reception, a published author and her husband came over to me (I was drinking a soda and doing an incredible impression of a wallflower) and engaged me in co…

On Writing: Positive Networking

This week I'm sharing networking tips from a fabulous book that I tripped upon a few years ago: “Power Networking – 55 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success”, by Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas. I highly recomend this book to anyone looking to move ahead in their career. The advice within applies to many professions, but I'm going to add my spin for the writers out there.

Yesterday I touched on negative networking. Today let's explore positive networking. The kind of networking that really works. According to Fisher and Vilas:

Networking is:
* The process of gathering, collecting, and distributing information for the mutual benefit of you and the people in your network

Beth says: Your network being the people that you interact with on both a regular and limited basis. Most of you do this without even thinking about it.

* The genuine expression of interest in others and the willingness to contribute and support them when possible

Beth says: In other words… It’s not just ab…

On Writing: Negative Networking

This week I’m sharing guidelines on positive Networking. Years ago I discovered a fantastic book “Power Networking – 55 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success”, by Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas. At times I’ll reference and embellish on some of their tips. See the previous post—Networking 101—for the introduction to this series of posts.

Networking is the most cost-effective marketing tool around when it is used wisely and professionally. It’s a valuable tool for the pre-published writer as well as the published writer. It’s never too early to start. Networking is a universal concept that can be applied to any career. Where everyone in your ‘net’ benefits.

That last line is a key motivator for me. Where everyone in your net benefits. In other words it’s not just about what someone can do for me. It’s what I can do to help someone else. At its best, networking is a mutual give and take.

To better understand what positive network is, let’s look at negative networking. According…

On Writing: Networking 101

Awhile back I mentioned I would blog about ‘networking’ the week prior to the National RWA Conference. Today, Jude reminded me that RWA is next week. I’m not attending this year due to work and deadline related conflicts so I didn’t have it marked on my calendar. I can’t believe it’s next week!

For those who are unfamiliar, RWA stands for Romance Writers of America. It’s a national organization, supporting writers of romantic fiction, 9,500 members strong, according to the website.

I’m one of the 9,500.

The conference is huge and fabulous, overwhelming and for many, intimidating. Difficult to sum up a whirlwind week of non-stop, brain-busting, adrenaline-charged, career-slanted activity, so I borrowed this snippet from the RWA website.

Enhance your writing and knowledge of the ins and outs of publishing at more than 100 workshops; get the inside track and let your voice be heard at panels and round-tables featuring publishing professionals; schedule a one-on-one pitch meeting with an acqu…

On Reading: 4 1/2 stars?!

Due to my chaotic schedule, a few things have fallen through the cracks... like renewing my subscription to Romantic Times BOOKreview. So I had no idea that Romancing the Westwas reviewed in the latest issue until someone congratulated me on the Medallion Pressauthor loop. That same person (thank you Dolores) emailed me the review so I wouldn't be in crazy-in-suspense. To say that I was over the moon with the 4 1/2 star review is an understatement. This book gave me fits in the beginning (usually that doesn't happen until mid-way through), but in the end my heart said that it was one of my strongest tales to date. I adore this story. I adore this review. I hope readers will feel the same.

"Ciotta weaves a web of deceit and love in her western novel. First-time readers will applaud her descriptions, intricate plot and the love that develops between Emily and Seth. Even cynical readers will be enthralled with his most delightful tale of love." -- 4 1/2 stars! Romantic …