Thursday, September 27, 2007

On Writing: Is It Just Me?

This week I took three vacation days in addition to my regular off days. No, I'm not away on holiday. I'm holed up in my writing room hauling butt to make a deadline. I shouldn't be blogging, but needed to rest my brain for three seconds.

So, am I the only one in the universe who continually misspells certain words? I'm talking a specific word time and again. Two specific words spring to mind. Necessary and bureau. I don't care how many times I type those words, I never spell them correctly. I know because there's always a squiggly red line beneath them, well, when I'm working in Word anyway. Here in Blogger they were highlighted yellow. Line, highlight, red, yellow... they all scream, "Wrong!"

Thank goodness for spellchecker. I don't know what it is. Why I always misspell the same words. Some weird mental block.

What about you? Are there any words that continually trip you up?

Or is it just me?

Monday, September 24, 2007

On the Fly - Life and Love

It's not that I'm a slacker. It's not that I don't miss you. It's that I'm up to my eyeballs in work. The day job kind. The dream job kind. Life is chaotic. Life is good. Lots going on.

Yesterday was my only day to run errands. I wasn't off, mind you. I worked an emcee gig last night. And though I needed to spend the day writing, I also needed to shop for promo items for an upcoming conference and an anniversary gift for Steve as tomorrow is our wedding anniversary! I am the world's worst gift giver. He is the best. Oy, the stress. Anyhoo, while shopping for neccessities, I spied a couple of clothing items that I just had to have. Guys, you can skim over this. You won't care. Girls, they were designer items, classy yet hip designer items, on mega, mega sale. Enough said.

Had. To. Have.

Let's skip to the skirt. A classic black pencil skirt. I don't have a pencil figure. But I have this really awesome retro swing jacket that begs to be worn with a straight skirt. I want to wear that jacket at the NJRW Conference. So I bought the skirt. Even though it's snug in the thighs. I also stocked up on salad stuff and Slim-Fast shakes. Oh. And I start a Tai-Chi class next Tuesday. I will look good in that skirt. I will.

In other news--teaser alert--this weekend I met an unexpected, but totally awesome deadline for Romantic Times Magazine. Details forthcoming.

So back to my anniversary. We've been together for almost 26 years and, as of September 25, married for 15. I'm here to tell ya... Love at First Sight exists as do Happily Ever Afters.

Happy Anniversary, my love!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spreading the Word!

Almost a week since I learned ALL ABOUT EVIE is a NJRW Golden Leaf finalist and I'm still dancing on air. Thank you for your warm and enthusiastic cheers of support!

I've recently received emails from readers asking if there will be more of Evie and Arch. I'm guessing they don't read this blog since I blab about it quiet a bit. Heh. Yes, indeed, EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE hits stores February 2008. It's already listed on amazon.com for anyone who wants to pre-order! My brain is already spinning on pre-promotion. How do initiate buzzzz. Hmm.

But before tackling that promo project, I need to concentrate on spreading the word about ROMANCING THE WEST. Though it has been in limited distribution for a couple of months, the official release of this humorous and tender tale is October 1. I participated in an interview for Affaire de Coure Magazine and I heard through the grapevine that issue is now out... though I've yet to see it. If you have, please let me know if I sounded brilliant or idiotic. I'll settle for entertaining.

I was also interviewed by Romance Junkies and was just informed that interview is now live. Check it out!

Petticoats and Pistols, a fun and engaging blog hosted by several mega-talented western writers, kindly listed RTW in their Larkspur Library. Visit their site and browse around. Great reads, great fun. The Sunflower Saloon's a hoot.

One thing I needed and wanted was a supply of bookmarks to celebrate ROMANCING THE WEST. Only this time I wanted something to promote the entire western trilogy--even though THE FALL OF ROME won't be out until 2008. I wanted something eye-catching and timeless. More of a collectible. I contacted Adam Mock, Vice President/Creative Director of Medallion Press. The wonderfully talented artist who designed all of my MP book covers. I told Adam what I had in mind and he designed a special series bookmark for me. Here's a sneak peek! Front and back. I just adore the design! I ordered the bookmarks today and hopefully they'll arrive in the next two weeks.

If you'd like one of these colorful bookmarks--hot out of the shipping box--drop me an email at beth@bethciotta.com include your address. I'll send you a signed bookmark plus three additional bookmarks to share with your friends. Your friend will thank you for the cool bookmark and I'll thank you for spreading the word!

This ends the promotional post of the week. Now it's time to hit the trail and make magic. Which sounds a little better than 'back to deadline hell.'

Friday, September 14, 2007

On Writing--Exciting News!


Wow. A post two days running. I'm on a roll. Actually, I'm on a high!

Last night I received news that ALL ABOUT EVIE finaled in New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf contest!

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in RWA Region One. Winners in eight categories will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference being held on October 5-6, 2007.
I don't typically enter contests, but ALL ABOUT EVIE was so different from everything I'd previously written, I was .... curious, I guess. I decided I'd enter the novel in two contests, one local: NJRWs Golden Leaf, and one national: RWA's Rita Award. Rita finalists won't be announced until next spring, but the Golden Leaf finalists were announced last night and, as I said, WAHOO! Evie finaled! Special thank you to contest coordinators Roni Denholtz (who finaled as well!) and Karen Bryan for their enthusiasm and hard work and to the judges who committed their time. I, for one, certainly know how precious time is.
Happy dancing in New Jersey!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where I've Been and Where I'll Be

My posts, you may have noticed, are becoming more and more scarce. I thought I could at least manage a steady twice a week.

I thought wrong.

For the present and unforeseeable future, I'll just say that I'll blog when I can. Best not to make any commitments. Just now every spare minute, every creative spark, every brain cell is going into a manuscript that's giving me fits. I guess every writer has an unruly child. This one is mine. And we only have so much time to work out our problems given my day job.

So. That's where I'm at.
In promo news: ROMANCING THE WEST officially hits shelves October 1! An excerpt and reviews forthcoming. Also in the pipeline and coming February 1, EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE. Pre-order now!

In the meantime, here are a couple of fun photos from my weekend in New Orleans at Heather Graham's Writing Conference. Forgive the skimpy narrative.

Author and President of Medallion Press, Helen Rosburg hosted an awesome party upstairs at the world famous karaoke bar--The Cat's Meow. Downstairs, the regular bar patrons partied and performed karaoke. We occasionally snuck down and joined in.



R) Me performing on stage at the Cat's Meow. I didn't know a lot of the songs on the provided song list. But I knew 'Me and Bobby McGee', a Janis Joplin standard that I use to sing regularly when I was performing for a living. It proved a good choice for the rowdy crowd. I actually have a poignant story about this moment, but no time to tell it. Later... hopefully sometime this year!



L) Conference coordinator and decor and costume designer, Connie Perry, her son--film maker Scott Perry, and NYT bestselling author Heather Graham treated the audience to several fun performances!








R) Authors Alexandra Sokoloff, me, F. Paul Wilson and Heather Graham. Yes, I know we look freaky! We'd just performed in a 'zombie' musical.











L) Author Mary Stella and I at the booksigning on Sunday.















R) Me in front of my favorite art gallery on Royal Street--totally devoted to 'The Blue Dog'.






Beautiful historic Jackson Square!
Sorry the pictures and captions are out of whack. I can't figure out how to fix them. Ah, well. You get the idea. I had a great time!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

On the Fly--New Orleans, Mary and Richard's POV

This is total cheating on my part, but since I'm cramming on the WIP and since my good friend and CP, Mary Stella just informed me that she posted about Heather's conference on her blog... I'm going to ask you to click here for a great run down. Mary and I were practically joined at the hip over the weekend, so ... what she said.

I still intend to write my own post and, yes, I will share some pictures! Meanwhile, Richard Allan Cooper shared this link where you can see his incredible pictures of New Orleans. Check them out! (Thanks, Richard!) And, yes, Mary, I will share the pictures you took of me on stage at the Cat's Meow. (Mary guilted me into singing a song at the world-famous Karaoke Bar. I have to say, I'm glad I caved.)

Meanwhile, back to my WIP because I am in the zone!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

On Writing--Not Blogging

So how many of you checked back earlier this evening looking for a post about New Orleans and my weekend at Heather Graham's Conference? I'm very late with this and it isn't going to be all I'd hoped it would be as I don't really have much . . . you guessed it . . . TIME!

Gads.

Today was the busiest day EVER at the library. I swear. Even my boss was amazed. There were four of us on staff and we didn't stop, not once in eight hours. After a whirlwind weekend of travel, performing and networking, I wasn't prepared for the chaotic whirlwind that was today. But I survived. And when I got home, Steve surprised me with Chinese take-out. My favorite! Then I came upstairs to write. Had to write. Must write. Deadline looming.

A couple of minutes ago, I realized I was supposed to blog about Heather's conference. The big weekend in New Orleans. Panel workshops. Stage performances. Fabulous parties. Tours of a haunted city! But I've yet to upload the pictures to my computer. Well, that is, I've yet to ask Steve to upload the pictures to my computer as I don't know how. You know me. And I really need to write more on the deadline book instead of blogging. So... posts about New Orleans forthcoming. Stop looking at me that way!

Forthcoming.

Swear.

Check back.

Please.

On the Fly--Checking In

Back from New Orleans. Wow. What a weekend. So much to say. So little time. Seriously. I have no time this morning. Cramming on the WIP before work. Instead of one long post, I'll break the the weekend report into a few short ones. Check back this evening for the first installment. In short, the conference (and New Orleans) was a blast. Although I'm still recovering from the intense humidity. Good lord. You southerners are hearty creatures!