Friday, February 27, 2009
Blogs are a great way to stay connected. Add a follower, or two, and you have people who are pinged when you post something new! If you have a contest, people can participate by the tens, twenties, and even hundreds! If you keep up with the latest technologies, it's a great place to pool resources, and find out if other folks can rate a product (see e-reader posts), or e-book Applications to see what we're all talking about. We keep up with predators and editors, and congratulate one another on a job well done.
Most of my readers are either small press authors, e-book authors, mothers, friends, family, or all of the above. Perhaps even a co-worker or two. I cherish each and every comment, and do my best to respond to every one. It's how we roll. Blogging is just a natural part of my thought process, much as FaceBook has become part of my social life. (See my husband shake his head, in his inability to understand my need for online interaction).
I'm an odd case. I work remotely, for a company in New Jersey. I keep odd hours, as I'm a full time working mother, so my writing time comes in the late evening and early morning. When asked, I'm sure most don't understand - but my husband can attest to my idiosincracies. He always knows when I'm deep in edits or writing, as the house descends into utter chaos!
So, why add blogging on top of all that? Because of you. So, thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment, and I'll answer. :) Have a wonderful weekend.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I think it must be all of the above. The romance novelist inside is in awe of such a succinct story - with the pitfalls, heartbreak, and ultimate unabashed joy at the h/h finding their true love. The mommy in me sees the girls as budding romantics. The wife in me only has eyes for her own Romeo, turned amazing dad.
If you haven't seen it, you must. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wRkoGKQ8qQ
Have a wonderful Saturday!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Many of you know I'm blogging with www.mamawriters.com -- a site of women, mothers of kids young and grown, who are making a living doing what they are called to do: Write fiction -- romantic, inspirational, and *blush* other sorts.
I'm honored that tomorrow is my day (February 17, 2009) -- so come on over and let's chat about our favorite books, authors, and that elusive, ethereal concept of a Writer's Voice.
What is that, you say? Come on over to mamawriters.com and we'll talk about it!
Look forward to seeing you there!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang. Frazzled, I answered in what Perry calls my "business mode."
I could almost hear him grinning. "What are you doing at 4:00 today?"
"Getting ready to get the kids." I quipped back.
"Let me get the kids today. Why don't you go on over to South Coast Winery, and have an hour-long massage."
(This is where you hear dead silence from my end of the phone.) Was I dreaming? Did those words just come out of MY husband's mouth? Mr. Penny Pincher? Mr. I Don't Even Want To Discuss Buying Anything Right Now? Mr. Rolls His Eyes Every Time I Mention Things I Want To Do To The House?
The answer, dear readers, is yes. He sent me to South Coast Winery for a full body, rose petal massage, to be finished off with -- get this -- toes curl just thinking about it... Sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries!
So, taking a few minutes to throw dinner in the crockpot (sure I'd return home to crying children and a hungry husband), I wrote a quick note not to expect me for dinner), I set off for Temecula Wine Country and an evening of decadence.
South Coast becons like a Disneyland for adults. It's tall spire reaching to a SoCal blue sky, feathered with bright white clouds. Arbors reach their welcoming arms out, dripping with flowering geraniums. The low, stone wall seperates this from the rest of the wineries. Individual villas house lovers, away on private trysts in this wine-lover's paradise.
The spa, set back from a crystal clear pool, waterfall, and bubbling jaccuzi, greets you in its warmth. Classical music wafts from hidden speakers. The staff speaks in low tones, gentle, inviting. And, once you find yourself wrapped in a delightful, ankle length, chennile robe--you have the option of dipping into a private spa, immersing yourself in a steam bath, or retreating to the lounge to await your appointment. I chose the latter, dragging my volume of Twilight along, for the bliss of an uninterrupted half-hour of reading.
Soon, I found a glass of Syrah in my hand, and joined Bella for some quality evaluation time of Edward and her other new classmates. Then, it was my turn for an hour of nothing but breathing. Inhaling rose peta aromatherapy while my masseuse worked out the kinks of five years of parenting from my shoulders, back, arms, legs, hands, and feet. *sigh*
When all was finished, and I lay like a pile of rosy goo, my masseuse informed me that there was a special treat waiting for me in the lounge. After redressing (that robe like silk on my warmed skin), she greeted me with my decadent snack. Thickly dipped strawberries, surrounded by raw sugar, and a lovely brut sparkling wine.
The sun painted Mt. Palomar's snow covered slope with umbers, fuscia, and amethyst. The observatory gleamed brilliant white. I sighed into the sofa, not even with the slightest desire to see if Bella and Edward had exchanged words. Instead, I spoke softly with a lovely couple from Missouri--sharing tidbits about Temecula, the new home of my heart. When the sweet lady smiled and said, "Wow. You get to live here!"
I tilted my head in wonder. Yes. I do. I get to live HERE. With my fantastic husband -- who gives me romance enough to keep wanting to write about it! two rambunctious daughters, and a circle of closely knit friends. I'm grateful. I'm happy. I love my life and thank the good Lord for His many blessings.
I won't go on about the state of the house when I got home. Who cares! Or the strain on my husband's face as he offered to take the girls to go visit friends for a bit. I smiled, kissed him deeply, and put the big kabosh on that idea. The massage was a lovely getaway, but I happily shuttled my girls upstairs and got them ready for bed. We curled up and watched American Idol as a family.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Let me say that again. The advertisement shows a Kindle Reader SITTING ON THE BEACH, reading her Kindle quite happily.
Here's what you don't see. You don't see her kids filling her beach bag with sand. You don't see them pouring a bucket of sea water on her unsuspecting, romance reading head, and running off to merrily gather shells.
What I mean is simply this. The paperback novel is perfect in its design, but perhaps not perfect for our green-thinking. It's highly portable, completely disposable (though I keep my favorite dog-eared, sun-stained, water-warped, sandy copies on my shelf). Okay. Read that again.
- Highly Portable. Pencil thin, light, with an available cover for $30.00. (I'm on my way to buying one with my Amazon One Click right now!)
- Dog eared. Kindle can bookmark pages and favorite passages. (That's a good thing. A pre-order is still looking good.)
- Sun-stained. With the special e-ink or whatever they're calling it now, reading in the sun shouldn't pose a problem and might even be easier on the eyes than the white-hot sun reflecting off pages. Hmm. Can one read at night without an itty bitty booklight? Gotta go back and see.)
- Water-warped. Hmm. That's where I freak out, and leave the poor thing in my shopping cart wish list. I wish I could break down and buy one. This gadget girl is DESPERATE to own an e-book reader. BUT, I don't think I'd bring my Kindle to the pool. How can I swim around our community pool, wondering, worrying if my $300+ device is going to be swiped from my stuff?! But even if I can find the zen state I need to reach to free myself from that worry, what about water damage? Did any of you see the Michael Phelps commercials from ESPN last year? They were hysterical...I'll find one for you to watch. Hang on. Just watch, and you'll see my point.
- Finally, this. Sandy...I know I wouldn't shove it in my sandy beach bag, the bottom littered with broken shells, fistfulls of sand, and last year's unfinished Stephanie Plum novel.
I still feel like Roger Rabbit, trying not to do the "Two Bits" part of "Shave and a haircut..."
The question remains. Is it the right thing to do, right now?! Please, help me out!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
There is a group that many of us writers know about. It's called Predators and Editors - and is a wealth of information (of the "warts & all" variety) for anyone who is looking for an agent, publisher, and/or editor. And this week, it was announced that The Wild Rose Press WON a coveted P&E award as BEST PUBLISHER!!!
Let's face it. Our books are our babies. We spend every waking moment thinking about them, planning for them, figuring out the traits of our characters, naming them (something that was described in detail last week on www.mamawriters.com) - and when it comes time to let them leave the nest & fly, this is one of the first places a new writer should look.
When I was looking for All or Nothing's home - I searched P&E looking for agents. Then I went through (okay, scoured) the Writer's Market, Publisher's Lunch, etc. in search of an agent. I had a few nibbles, but to be quite frank, the story was rough and needed some polish. It then sat on my desk, as I needed to find my hook. I wrote and rewrote the first few chapters again and again. Worked with the Temecula Writer's Group (HUGS) until it sparkled. But the agent route had left me cold. I joined Query Tracker. I put together some lists and almost started searching for an agent, again. Found one close, but I didn't have the proper initials in my name...(her current criteria for finding new authors?!)
But, at my "day job" I kept seeing new listings for titles of the same genre as All or Nothing. From, you guessed it! SO, I researched them on P&E and what did I find? "Predators & Editors is hearing good things about this publisher." Hmm. Go straight to a publisher? So, I read their submissions criteria, wrote a fantastic (writer's group approved) query letter, followed their guidelines to the LETTER, and submitted.
Within a week, they'd notified me my query was being sent to the Senior Editor of the Inspirational Romance line. Within a day or two, the Senior Editor requested the full MS. Within another week, I heard from my editor. If I was willing to roll up my sleeves and go to work, they were willing to send me a contract. WHAT!? A contract? Just like that? Suspicious and excited, I checked the circles. Searched message loops. Nothing I heard was negative, only positive. Could it be true?
I took the biggest leap of faith of my writing life, and agreed. I had a contract. All or Nothing had a home. I had an editor. My writer's group cheered me on! And suddenly, I felt like I could do anything. My editor gave me some pointers, and I went back to work. All of her guidance was gentle, leading, and encouraging. My screw ups became our projects. And my words suddenly gleamed with her polish. My fledgling story soon had the beautiful cover you can see, by Kimberlee Mendoza, with my name emblazoned on the cover. All writers know this in itself is a dream come true.
Creative fervor had me entering one of their contests, and thus, By Another Name was born - a winner in The Easter Lilies contest. Now - I'm working on two other submissions requests. Could I seek homes for these titles elsewhere? perhaps. But I tell you what I know about The Wild Rose Press. Rhonda and RJ care. When someone says something negative about them, she rolls up her sleeves to defend her editors, her cover artists, and her authors. They are family - spread out in a virtual office across the globe. Saying I'm glad to be planted in this garden is a given. I've learned more about writing in the past year than I ever have before.
Congragulations, The Wild Rose Press authors, as well as Rhonda & RJ! You deserve this, and all the accolades that go along with it.
Friday, February 6, 2009
He is announcing the winner - Emma Lai!
* I think he saw a bit of himself in your post, with the turning a blind eye to the number of books you buy! LOL
Congratulations! Please e-mail me - Emma, to receive your Preview Copy of By Another Name!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The winner will be announced in the morning! Pacific Coast Time, that is! You have until Midnight Tonight to add your definition of True Love... I look forward to reading them all! and remember - Visit Once again... to "compete" in the Romancing February grand prize - a $75 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press - please join our blog-hop, starting with the wonderful blog-talents of Amber Leigh Williams. Next stop: Nan Jacobs - for her Silver Fox Tales!
Remember to visit http://www.mamawriters.com/ - a new blog by writer mamas, for mama writers. It's all about the love...
As a little girl, I dreamed about who my true love would be. A hopeful romantic, science fiction fan, and want-to-be-author, I remember playing house with Han Solo as my husband at the ripe old age of 7. He was a tough act to follow.
When I was a bit older, my best friend Kymmie and I chased boys in the playground (subtle, huh?), practiced cooking in her mother's kitchen (mine would have died before she let us concoct such fare at my house!) and wondered what it would be like to grow up, get married, and have homes of our own.
Now, the mother of two little girls - I recently had the honor and horror of discovering my 4 - almost 5 year old has her first crush. First Crush? At almost 5?! I fell out of my chair. Specifically, I tipped off my perch on the bathroom counter as DD#1 splashed in the tub and told me she wanted to talk about boys, because SHE had a secret crush on a BOY! This sent her and her little sis into peals of laughter. Either at the concept of boys, or at the look on my face, I'm not sure which.
Boys?! okay. It's not like I didn't know it was coming. I just am not ready for it to come quite this soon. So, briefly closing my eyes and praying for the right words (a new habit of mine - knowing that God knows what the girls need to hear far more than I know what to tell them!)
"Sweetie?" I asked, voice low. "What does it mean to have a crush?"
"It means you whisper a lot." She laughed, continuing to splash around. "Oh! And that you always have someone to play tag with." Then, she began chanting her 'boyfriend's' name over and over again.
Watching my baby, in all of her innocence, my heart warmed. True love--brilliantly defined by a 5 year old--means having someone to whisper with, and always having a partner to play your favorite game.
Late in the night, I shared this with my DH as we lay in the dark, my head in the hollow of his shoulder. He is my true love. My someone who whispers with me. Laughs with me. Knows what I need him to say or do, before I realize I need it. And, as a bonus--he shares the day to day like a champ. He will always be my Valentine. Last year he stood in line last year for over an hour to get me my favorite See's candies -- and the best part is, he could care less what it does to my waist-line.
So - for the Romancing February prize of the day -Tell me what True Love means to YOU!
We'll review the answers, and my DH will help make the decision (Give him some good ideas, ladies!) The winner will receive a preview edition of my redemption-themed contemporary romance, "By Another Name" - Releasing April 11, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press.
Thanks for playing!
Once again... to "compete" in the Romancing February grand prize - a $75 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press - please join our blog-hop, starting with the wonderful blog-talents of Amber Leigh Williams. Next stop: Nan Jacobs - for her Silver Fox Tales!
Remember to visit http://www.mamawriters.com/ - a new blog by writer mamas, for mama writers. It's all about the love...
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Visit MamaWriters.com - for my latest article, "The Art of Saying No"
I offer some suggestions on how to say NO when you've over-committed yourself in order to regain some quality YOU time -- and how to REALLY mean it.
I'm a firm believer that if you don't take care of yourself, you'll lose more than your sanity. You'll forget who you really are. As a writer, that can be of horrible detriment, and even deadly for your muse.
Today, I had to say NO to many things in order to care for my aching head, AND take care of two sick little girls. (Daddy played Mr. Mom yesterday...he's well, but I caught the flu!)
I'd be interested to hear how YOU say "No"... because at the moment, I have two little girls doing whatever they want so I can finish writing this post before going downstairs to make their snack! To their credit, they are illustrating some lovely cards for their daddy's birthday, spreading blank papers all over the floor of my office for their creations. I've said "NO" to my inner housekeeper, who insists on a tidy house. At least their entertained, but it never ends...
Monday, February 2, 2009
28 romance authors invite you to participate in a month-long event of love and laughter. Each day starting Feb. 1, 2009 an author will throw a romance party at her blog and host a contest with a prize. The link to the next day's blog location will also be provided at each location. Just drop by and enter the contest. And get ready to heat up the cold wintery days of February. You could win a prize a day!
Visit: http://www.amberleighwilliams.blogspot.com to join in!
Out here in sunny SoCal, it's already 70 on the back porch. Our tulips are reaching for the sun as it warms the valley through the morning mist. All is right with the universe.
And yet, Punxatawnee Phil declares 6 more weeks of winter?! How dare that little ground hog!
I refuse to give in. I've cleaned off the back patio and resurrected fountain! I cleaned out the dead leaves from around my budding geraniums. I spent my "me" time yesterday teaching my daughters how to deadhead the marigolds and replant the seeds. We rode bikes, drank beer, and watched my Arizona Cardinals put up a noble fight on Superbowl Sunday. The sun is shining, and yet, a cold front is moving in for the weekend.
So, what are we going to do if 6 more weeks of winter do come? I'll have to invest in frost cloth, because I started gardening too soon. I'll have to bring in the outdoor cushions - AGAIN! We'll have some more fires in the fireplace, hot cocoa and popcorn, and hunker down with some good old 80s/90s princess movies. This weekend, I think we're going for "Ever After" with Drew Barrymore. We might make one last trip to the snow up in Idyllwild and build a snowman, and watch my daughters laugh as they slide down snow-mountains, pink-cheeked, and frozen.
Regardless, it's Spring time for my soul, and spring-cleaning of my priorities is in order! And, rest well...I feel a story coming on...
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Come join the Mama Writers as they blog about writing romance, raising kids and everything in-between. Look for our special pages of mama tips, writing resources, forums, and more!
Meet the Mamas: Renee Knowles, Jeannie Ruesch, Kris Kennedy, Eliza Knight, Melissa Mayhue, Tiffany James, Stacy Dawn, Tina Gerow, Viola Estrella, Ashley Ludwig, Helen Hardt and Allie K. Adams.
Don't forget to leave a comment—with the launch of our new site we've got a fabulous and oh-so-perfect $50 Universal Spa gift card (can be used at over 5000 locations worldwide!!!) along with some Mama Writer's goodies!
In addition to the Mama Writers blogging daily, we have a spectacular line-up of weekly special guest authors—who also happen to be moms! Here's a sneak peek at who will be visiting with us: Roxanne St. Claire, Brenda Novak, Eloisa James, Allison Brennan, Monica McCarty, Jill Sorenson, Carrie Lofty, Delilah Marvelle, Christina Katzs, and many, many more.
Faith Bicknell-Brown kicks off the line-up on February 4th.
Don't miss out!
Raising Kids. Writing Romance.
It's all about the love.