Thursday, November 29, 2007

Post Deadline Ramble -- Part Two

*I can't believe it. I took the test, but I can't talk about it. My job at the library is a government job. All sorts or rules and regulations. One of them being I can't talk about the contents of the test I took tonight (in hopes of gaining a promotion). Well, shoot. Because the experience was actually interesting. Oh, well.

*I got my hair colored and cut today. It looks nothing like this...

This was one of my blonde phases two years ago. It's much longer and darker now, but I digress. I found this picture last night updating my website. This was a very cool moment for me. Steve and I were in London (yes, ENGLAND) and we walked into a bookstore on Charing Cross road. I wigged out when I saw they had a couple of copies of LASSO THE MOON on the shelf. I introduced myself and asked if they allowed stock signings. The bookseller said, "Your Beth Ciotta?" Like I was somebody famous, which I'm not, but boy, did she make me feel special! She said, "Hold on." The manager then came out and said she'd be delighted if I signed copies for the store. Turned out they had something like fifteen more copies in the storage room waiting to come out. I was stunned! Steve snapped this shot of me signing stock. I have to say, it was a very special moment for me. Oh, and those glasses I'm wearing, which I loved...Cheyenne chewed them up not long after we got her. Puppy phase and all that. Glasses. History.
* A friend of mine, a fellow Medallion author, a woman who rocks as a writer and a person, announced some incredibly good news today. Actually an author friend of hers announced her good news in an entertaining and heartfelt way. Click here for the 'visual' congrats via First Offenders. Lori G. Armstrong, award winning mystery author just contratced for two hardcovers with Touchstone. Congratulations, Lori!
*I'll be guest blogging at Romance Junkies on December 17th. No, I don't know my subject matter yet. But I'll think of something. Mark your calender. Come and join me!
*ROMANCING THE WEST is a contender for "Best 2007 Western Romance" at Love Western Romances. Voting begins December 1st. If you read RTW and enjoyed it, please go and vote for the story. I'd be ever so overjoyed to win. Actually go and visit the site regardless. Great site, plus they're giving away cool stuff!
*
Speaking of ROMANCING THE WEST, I just received a very sweet and enthusastic review commenting on the fact that both, hero and heroine, wore spectacles. Who would have thought such a thing would draw attention? Positive attention? Not me. But, yay!
Wow. Ya know. I can't properly figure all the 'blogger' functions. Whenever I add pictures or quotes everything goes funky. *sigh* Am I still rambling?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Post-Deadline Ramble

* So the book that gave me fits, that consumed my nights and every day off (from the day job) for several months running is done and turned in. Done but not finished. Revisions from my editor forthcoming. Actually looking forward to that moment as I thought of at least four things I neglected to address as I frantically raced to the end. I'm anal. All threads must be tied off! So I noted those four things and posted the note on my inspiration board for very near future reference.

* I'm crunched--super crunched, mega crunched--on the next contracted deadline book. Logically I needed to plunge in, er, yesterday. Creatively, I need a period of transition. I'm going from historical western third person to contemporary first person. This next book differs greatly in voice from the one I just finished, plus it's the third in a series. Continuity, ya know? Instead of pressuring myself to write today, I read, or at least began reading, the first book in the series--ALL ABOUT EVIE. I'm so far away from that tale that I had moments where I thought, did I write that? Weird. I'm making relative notes as I go and when I finish AAE, I''ll read the second book--EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE, which isn't even out yet but will be soon! My hope is that at that point I will be so immersed in Evie and all that's happened to her thus far, I'll just roll right into the book I need to be writing now. Working title: CHASING EVIE. I'll let you know if it wins over the HQN marketing team or not.

*Updating my website. One thing I need to add--pictures. In searching for material I came across a few photos that warmed my heart.


Here I am with one of my beloved doggies--Billie. She's getting up there in years, but she's still full of pep. Plus she's a lover. (Though you wouldn't know it from this pic!)

Current favorite blogs--sitcom/screenwriter Ken Levine and novelist, Neil Gaimon. Ken is consistently clever and funny day after day. My mind boggles. Truly. Neil rambles in the most endearing way. Plus, he's so nice. Check out his 11/26 post. One thing is evident in reading Ken and Neil's blogs daily, both men have heart.

*More found photos! Me in New Orleans at Heather Graham's writing conference with two friends. film maker, Scott Perry, and author, Mary Stella.
*In my other life... Tomorrow night I have to take a test. If I pass, I'll gain a promotion from library assistant to senior library assistant. I can't remember the last time I took a written test, and this isn't even one I can study for. Am I nervous? Um... yeah. I'll feel like such a loser if I fail!
*In my other former life as an entertainer, Friday night I have to record a voiceover. A voiceover of special interst for the published moi. Stay tuned for more on that.
Actually, stay tuned period. More ramble forthcoming!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Done

I have very few words left in me at this point and even less energy. So I'll just say, done. The deadline book that has been the subject of way too many posts, as of this morning... done and turned in.

Yay.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkeys and Frogs

Thanksgiving is a day for giving, well, thanks. I'm grateful for so much. For my family and friends. For my health. I'm grateful for my wonderful, loving husband and for our crazy, adorable family of pets. I'm grateful for all of the life and work experiences that influence my writing, for my creative spirit, for my publishing career, and for the readers who lose themselves in my adventures.

Best wishes and to you and yours and hoping you are equally blessed.

Should you have a moment, enjoy one of my favorite songs by my all time favorite frog. Something for the dreamer in all of us.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On Writing--An Inspiring Thrill

Okay. So yesterday I said I'm no longer obsessive about checking my Amazon ranking. I'm really not. And I know the 'ranking' isn't a good and true indication of how my books are selling overall. It isn't. Still, today when I checked in, I got a unique thrill.

Apparently there are bestseller lists on Amazon. An overall list and genre lists. The list gets updated every hour, so my thrill may only last an hour. Still! I'll take my thrills when and where I can get them, big and small.

As of this day and hour, I hit the Amazon 'romance western' Top 100 bestseller list. Not once, but twice! ROMANCING THE WEST is #37 and its prequel, LASSO THE MOON is #53!! The books ranked higher are by some of my favorite authors, bestselling authors like Linda Lael Miller and Julie Garwood.

Am I floating? Yes, sir! And not because I'm in the zombie-zone. This is especially inspiring as the deadline book I'm crunching on is the last western in the trilogy--THE FALL OF ROME.

Speaking of . . . back to work.

Monday, November 19, 2007

On the Fly: One Zombie's Ramble

Still alive. Well, not really. Still in the zombie-zone which is just beyond the deadline zone. Day by day moving closer to yet another plain. A plain where body and mind feel totally disconnected, but still, somehow the brain continues to send words to the fingers. Not sure what that plain is called. Hoping the words make sense. Feel like the end will never come but I know it's near. All I can say is that I have learned a lot of lessons while writing this particular book.

I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week. And Christmas is next month. And New Year's Eve soon after. I'll turn this book in, start on the next and, blink, it will be 2008. I have declared 2008, by the way, as my 'year of change'. More on that later. Back to the book that won't seem to end.

LATER.... So I wrote two more pages then broke to make a late lunch. Soup was a no-brainer (good thing since mine's mush) although I did mull over whether to go with Chicken and Noodle or Italian Wedding. Crackers were a given, although I couldn't decide if I wanted Triscuits or Wheat Thins.

Italian Wedding Soup and Triscuits won out.

While eating, I checked my Amazon numbers, not that they mean anything really, but it's something I'm compelled to do. When I first published, I think I checked these numbers twenty times a day. Now I'm down to once or twice a day and sometimes I even forget. Today I clicked on and saw this:

All About Evie and over 80,000 other books are available to read on Amazon Kindle.

Buy the Kindle Edition for $5.04 (get it in under a minute) or Buy the Mass Market Paperback for $6.99 (get it by Tuesday, Nov 20)

Learn more about Kindle — Amazon's revolutionary wireless reading device.
Of course,I had to click to see what a Kindle looks like. It looks like yet one more electronic gadget that I wouldn't understand how to use. Sort of like my MP3 player. Although my MP3 player didn't cost $400. The Kindle does. It suspect it will come down in cost, but I'm still not sure it's for me. I like to hold an honest to gosh 'book' in my hands when I read. The up and coming generations though... So, hey, if you prefer digital reads, maybe the Kindle is for you. Then you can down load ALL ABOUT EVIE (in under a minute!) and 80,000 other books.
Speaking of books, the one I'm writing beckons.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Writing: Typos

Um, yes, so. In a last minute, last time read through the overdue deadline book (at least up to the point that's left to write) I found this...

He smoothed his hands over her body, wanting her naked and writing beneath him. Restraint was hard won, his heart pounding with the almighty effort.

*head bonk* So do you see the typo??

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Writing: The Zombie Phase

Me, (third one back on the left) along with various fellow writers currently in 'deadline hell'. Actually, the deadline passed, and still we toil. The brain is beyond mush and still we create. I can't feel my fingers and toes anymore. Is that bad? I think Scott Oden's on board, too. The guy in the back with the specs? Here we are being bussed to.... well, you tell me. Make my day. Caption this picture.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

On the Fly: A Special Thank You

A heartfelt thank you to all of the war veterans throughout the years who so generously and bravely sacrificed.

A personal nod to my father-in-law, Angelo Ciotta, a proud marine and survior of Iwo Jima.
Excerpt from an article in the New York Post...

" To say Angelo had a terrifying job on Iwo Jima is like dismissing Babe Ruth as just another guy who played baseball.

The mission was almost suicidal. Angelo's comrades would lay down heavy fire on those fortified pillboxes so the enemy would keep their heads down while he would sprint up a hill armed with a satchel full of explosives.

"Our guys were very careful in their fire, but you could feel their bullets over your head," Angelo said.

He'd slip the satchel through a 4-foot-long, 8-inch-wide slit in the pillbox or leave it at the front door - then run like hell back down the hill.

"It was about eight to 10 seconds before the charge went off. With a little help from Jesus and good legs, you would be surprised how fast you can get 50 yards down a hill before it goes off."

Click here to read the full article. Thank you, Dad.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

On the Fly: Saturdays of My Youth

I woke up this morning, made coffee, conducted some business via email then plunged right into my deadline book. Two hours later I broke for a shower and, while suddsing my hair, reflected on, for whatever reason, how I spent the Saturdays of my youth.

Glued to the television watching cartoons aaaaaaall day. Among some of my must-sees: The Jetsons, Johnny Quest, Mighty Mouse and anything Looney Tunes. Enjoy an episode of my all time favorite cartoon character--The man, or rather bunny--himself BUGS!

When you were a kid, what was your favorite cartoon?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On Writing: Current Location--Deadline Hell

And still I toil.

I lifted that from Scott Oden who, like me, is wrestling with a manuscript that's overdue. Unlike me, Scott reserves at least one night a week to refill his creative well. Smart. I have not been doing that and I'm feeling it. However, I am closing in on the end and when I get there you will hear my joyous shout even if you live half way around the world.

Speaking of other places and people.... Ken Levine blogs about the Writers Guild strike from a front line/picket line perspective. It's so easy to get swept away by an actor's magnificent performance, often forgetting (or in some viewers' instances, I'm sure, never considering) that a writer or team of writers put those hysterical or gut-wrenching or thought-provoking words in thy gifted actor's mouth. Please keep these hard working and mega-talented TV/screen writers in your thoughts and hope that they get terms they deserve. For more on the Writers Guild strike check out The Huffington Post.

My blog-hopping has diminished to a quick, once-in-a-blue-moon fly-by. Although I confess to reading Neil Gaiman's blog every day. I can't help it. The man is fascinating and inspiring. Just now, especially since the creative well is nearly dust dry, I need all the inspiration I can get.

Which brings me to my last blip of sharing. Aware of the previously mentioned 'dry well', yesterday, instead of jotting notes about the deadline book during random downtime at the day-job, I started reading a new book instead. F. Paul Wilson's latest in his Repairman Jack series: Bloodline. Nothing at all like what I'm writing, but exactly the kind of writing that inspires and motivates me! I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel alongside this talented author at Heather Graham's writers' conference this past September. Since I had just read and been blown away by his previous novel Harbingers, I was especially pleased to meet Paul in person. I'm happy to report he's incredibly down-to-earth and a genuine delight. Don't you just hate it when you meet someone you admire and they turn out to be a jerky?

Anyhoo, rambling now. Must go toil.

So what's everyone up to? What are you working on? What are you reading?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beth Goes Manga

Not really. But that's how I felt when I tripped upon the foriegn covers for three of my books. I knew the Friends and Lovers trilogy--JINXED, CHARMED, and SEDUCED had sold to Thailand awhile back, but I never saw the end results. Ah, the wonders of googling. Below is the Amercian version and Thai version of the covers for JINXED and CHARMED. Unfortunately the file/jpg I found of SEDUCED is too small to post.
In the Thai version of JINXED, the hair colors for Afia and Jake are all wrong, but the overall concept is interesesting.








Is it me? Or did the Thai artist lop twenty years off of Murphy and Lulu? And where's her poodle purse? Gak! Still, it was a kick to see another artist's take on my work.
Okay. Back to work....