Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Name in Lights

Ever dream of seeing your name in lights when you were a kid? You’d be a famous actor/actress in the movies and people would come for miles around to see your flicks. For most of us, that dream never happens. For a few lucky authors, they may still see their name on the big screen.

My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, was contacted by someone in Hollywood. Yes, it’s true. The movie, Red, that comes out this October with Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker and a slew of other great actors and actresses, will feature some Wild Rose titles.

Apparently, Mary-Louise’s character is a huge romance novel reader. Bruce Willis is trying to seduce her so he reads the books so they have something to talk about. Of course, there’s more to the story, but that’s the important part, right? No one knows how many books will show up or whose. The Wild Rose Press sent out around 150 books.

The movie itself looks pretty good. I probably would have gone to see it regardless, but trying to pick out the Wild Rose titles? Fun stuff.

What do you think of the trailer? Looks like a good movie, right? If you go see it, remember to look for The Wild Rose Press.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 1 as a Full-time Writer

Yesterday was my last day at the part time job. Driving home, I felt a huge pressure lift off my chest and shoulders. Today is my first day as a full-time writer. At least for now. We're still not sure if we're staying in Germany or heading back to the States yet. It will probably be another 2 weeks until we hear, but while we're here, I can focus on my writing. I intend to make the most of this time, whether it's only 3 more months or 3 more years.

Last night, as I relaxed on my sofa with Peanut laying beside me, I made my to-do list for today. I've already marked off 5 things as finished, even after sleeping in. Peanut decided to snuggle into the pillows for extra shut-eye too. I thought she looked so cute, I had to get a picture.

One thing that was not on the list today but definitely on the list for tomorrow is catching up on emails. I've let them slide the last two weeks (I know, bad girl). So if you've sent me an email in that time, I promise to respond by tomorrow.

One of the things that did make the list is ordering goodies for my giveaway during Blogmania next month. You probably remember Blogmania from April. I had a pretty good giveaway, if I do say so myself. Well, I'm trying to out-do myself this time. I've got some great gifts coming and as they arrive, I'll take pics so you can see what's up for grabs. I'm centering the theme around my novel, Out of the Shadows. You all have been so supportive of me and my novel, so here's a little give-back. Blogmania is coming soon, just 4 weeks away.

Anyway, time to knock some more items off the to-do list. What's on your plate this week? Any special projects you're hoping to finish up?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Plot or Pants?

I'm going to start today with a check in about my lifestyle change (not calling it a diet). Since I put it out there last week, I figure updating will help keep me accountable. Today is my weigh-in. I joined SparkPeople 2 weeks ago and I'm down 5.4 pounds. I did really well following the guidelines for eating. There was only 1 day that I was over a little. I'm not doing enough exercise but I am doing more than before so I'm satisfied. I do need to step it up but I plan to get more motivated about it once I'm done with the part time job.

Speaking of which, tomorrow is my last day. Then I'm a full time writer. I'm hoping then that I can blast through the revisions of Out of the Shadows and get immersed in a new story. I've started my process for a new project. I always start with the characterization of the two main protagonists. I write down their backstory, some of which never gets into the story but I know it. I write down their goals, motivation and main conflict to reaching that goal. Then I write the conflicts they each have, a list of 20 for each character. Once I have all this info, I can start plotting out my story.

Yes, I'm a plotter. I like to get the major plot points down. Then I figure out how to go from one to the next while I'm writing. After doing the conflict lists, I usually have several scenes already in my head. Doing it this way keeps me on track but the story is still fresh for me. I know a lot of pantsters (those that write by the seat of their pants) say that if they plot it out, they feel it's already written and they usually abandon it. I need some structure, though. I tried pantsing it got stuck. For months.

So this is my process. It's what works for me. I feel lucky that I've found my groove as some writers struggle with that. I've tried different methods, and I'm open to try others, but I know that I can always go back to this if it doesn't work out. Or I may incorporate new aspects into my tried-and-true. It's all a learning process.

So what's your process? Are you a plotter or a pantster? How do you start a new story?

Monday, August 23, 2010

When Blood Calls

I mentioned last week that I had received the ARC (advanced reader copy) of this new book by J.K. Beck. Today, I'm going to share my thoughts on the first of a new trilogy.

Sara Constantine is one of the country’s most tenacious prosecuting attorneys—and she’s just secured a well-earned promotion. At first she’s thrilled. Then she finds out her new job involves prosecuting vampires and werewolves. And nothing prepares Sara for the shock she receives when she meets the first defendant she’ll be trying to put away: Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.

When Lucius Dragos kisses the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s only hoping to blend into the crowd and avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s following…and planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss to secure his cover ignites into a fierce hunger that leads to an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows Sara will do whatever it takes to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks he is. And that might mean making the greatest sacrifice a vampire can make.

Beck's worldbuilding in this novel is wonderful. She creates a rich, dark world so real that you can envision yourself in it. The characters are fully realized, each with their own dark secrets and tortured pasts. The pace steadily builds along with the tension and the stakes.

You've got political intrigue, dark desires, vendettas. I've mentioned the word dark several times so far. It is a dark paranormal romance, but a romance nonetheless. Beck does not disappoint on the ending, giving us a satisfying resolution.

I really enjoyed this novel and I'm looking forward to the rest of the trilogy. Lucky for me, the wait isn't too long. When Blood Calls is available in bookstores August 31. The other two books in the series will be released in September and October.

Head over to her site today, J.K. Beck. She's got two excerpts from the book, plus links to buy. Also while you're there, check out the next two books coming soon. There's already an excerpt for When Pleasure Rules and I'm sure there will be one coming soon for When Wicked Craves.

Don't forget that J.K. Beck will be here on September 10.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday’s Here

I had hoped to finish When Blood Calls in time to post my review today, but it didn't happen. So Monday for sure, come check out what I have to say. What I will say now is, it's full of high tension and high stakes. JK Beck will be here 3 weeks from today on Sept. 10 to visit with us and I'll be giving away copies of When Blood Calls to 2 lucky commenters.

So what shall we talk about instead? I was all set to post about my trials at work. In fact, I had it all typed out. Then I deleted it. Who wants to hear me whining? Certainly not me. I'm in the final week of my two week notice and though the atmosphere has become decidedly hostile, I've only got 3 more shifts.

I choose to talk about writing today. I'm about ready to send my first three chapters off to my critique partners, probably later today. I'm so glad that I took an extra pass over them before sending them off for the partial request I got at conference. I added a couple more elements that make the story stronger and I think my chapters are a lot tighter. I have two more scenes that I want to rewrite and then they're off.

I've also started the characterization process for something new. I've still got work to do on Out of the Shadows, but I'm going to divide my time between them. I need some creative outlet, some new words to throw down to keep me pushing through my edits. I know, sounds crazy, but there you go.

So this weekend, I'm going to spend my time working, but I will take a break on Sunday for a few hours. I've been invited up to the neighbor's for lunch and I'm sure it will be delicious. And of course, Peanut will get her dumpling.

What have you been working on? What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quick Tease

Guess what was in my mailbox yesterday.

An Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of JK Beck's new book, When Blood Calls.

I will have it read (hopefully) in time to give you all a review on Friday.

Another teaser? She'll be here soon with an interview. You'll love it. I'll have a couple copies to give away to commenters that day.

Gotta head into the part time job early today. Apparently it takes some people 2 hours to learn to use a credit card machine. Next Wednesday is my last day there. After yesterday, I can't wait.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Putting it out there

I'm overweight. I have been for most of my life. Luckily for me, I've been supremely healthy save for the weight problem.

I've tried just about every diet known to man. I've had some success but then I end up putting it all back on plus some more. Chronic yo-yo dieting. Same story as most other overweight people.

The problem for me is that I think of it as temporary. Also, I'm not a big exercise fan. Put those two quirks together and you've got a recipe for failure.

In June, I started watching what I eat. I lost 5 pounds in six weeks. Then I went on vacation.

I tried to be somewhat good, though I wasn't as vigilant as I should have been. The good news is that I didn't gain the whole 5 pounds back. Just a couple.

Last week I made a decision that is a long time coming and I'm hoping that by putting it out here for everyone to see, that I will be motivated to finally make the changes that I need to in order to stay healthy. I know that if I don't make serious changes in my life, I'll end up with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and who knows what all else.

No more diets for me. I'm looking to make lifestyle changes that can carry past a time limit. So I joined SparkPeople.

Perhaps you've heard of this. They help you track your nutrition and fitness while teaching you the tools to make lifestyle changes. So far, so good. I've lost almost 3 pounds. I'm sure that most of that is water as I'm back to drinking my 8+ glasses a day. I've started walking my dog more regularly. We do a 2 mile loop around town when the weather's good. I'm checking out an exercise class on post next week that is a combination of cardio and strength training. Basically, I'm becoming more active.

That's important now that I will soon be spending the majority of my time everyday sitting at the computer. I want to be more active and healthy. If I lose some weight along the way, that's a bonus.

Have you heard of SparkPeople? Tried it? If you're on there, shoot me a note and we can be buddies.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There will be singing

There was a lot of singing going on at National.

National kicked off on Wednesday night with the literacy signing. This is a big event where the general public is invited in and everyone buys books from their favorite author and gets them signed right there. Before heading to the literacy signing, we stopped off at the goody room.

The goody room is the room designated for authors to put their bookmarks, samples, books they're giving away, etc. It changes all the time so we usually make several trips during the course of the week.

What a surprise we got when we walked in. It's fairly empty and there is the lovely Maggie Shayne, signing the books she's leaving there in the goody room. That was a bonus in itself. Then the singing started.

While Maggie was signing my book, I noticed her ring. I commented on it and she flashed me a tattoo. We talked for a minute, discovering we had some things in common. She started singing and I knew the song so I sang along. Autumn joined in and it was a lot of fun.

After we left the goody room, I commented to Autumn that we should have gotten our picture taken with Maggie. So, during the literacy signing, we found her again to get pics. Again, we burst out in song and the people standing nearby applauded our efforts.

Later that night, we joined the Romance Divas for karaoke at the Kimonos restaurant. Autumn and I got up there twice, singing I Love Rock 'n Roll and Walk Like an Egyptian. 80's moment, anyone?

We were able to coerce Denise Golinowski up there and she was great!

I met Denise through Roses Colored Glasses and we've become writer pals. She's a regular commenter here. We met face to face for the first time that night and let me tell you, she's great!

It's been so wonderful to be able to put faces to those I've been meeting online.

The literacy signing was packed. There was a good response from the public and I haven't heard yet how much money was raised but I did my part, totally spending more than I'd planned.

Do you like to sing? Like karaoke? Do anything crazy (fun-crazy, not stalker-crazy) when meeting one of your fave authors?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good News

I'm going to start off the conference posts with good news. There was plenty to be had.

I believe I mentioned here that I had an agent appointment at conference. I met with the lovely Emmanuelle Morgen (formerly Alspaugh). I was excited and nervous in turn, but in the end, Ms. Morgen was very good at putting me at ease at the beginning of our meeting.

It was my first time pitching and I had no idea what to expect. I had a whole spiel memorized and turned out, I didn't need it. She asked about me. Seemed interested that I wrote erotic romance. Asked about my novel. Said it sounded interesting and like something she represented but wouldn't know for sure until she'd read some of it. Asked me to send the first three chapters.

That's right, my friends. A partial request.

I'm sure that's par for the course, but it's exciting for me anyway. So, I'm running it through one more spit and polish, one more round through my fabulous critique partners and then I'm going to send it off with REQUESTED MATERIAL big and bold.

That's my personal good news.

I've mentioned on here that 4 of my chapter mates from the Austin chapter were up for Golden Heart/Rita awards. I'm proud to say that 2 of them won!

Sherry Thomas won the RITA for Best Historical Romance with Not Quite a Husband and Laura Griffin won the RITA for Best Romantic Suspense!

Another chapter mate, Jane Sevier, won the Scriptscene contest.

Very exciting.

And my last piece of good news for the day. I'm going to be a full-time author again. At least for a little while. I turned in my resignation letter and my last day will be 2 weeks from today. I've enjoyed the craft shop and it's definitely helped keep my creative juices flowing but with everything on my plate, it was too much.

Do you have any good news to share? I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Look, New Attitude

As you can see, I've got a new look. Isn't it great? Rae Monet did an awesome job for me, designing my website and matching my blog to it. Over to the right is the link to my site. Head over and take a look. Let me know what you think. Personally, I'm thrilled with it.

I spent the past 2 ½ weeks in the States, returning home yesterday. While I was there, I got to see my parents, my brother and sister, their spouses and kids, including meeting the twins for the first time (they're 7 months old). I also got to see my grandparents, one of my aunts and her husband as well as both of her daughters and 2 kids of the oldest. I reconnected with my best friend from high school and her mom, who was like a second mom to me growing up. This really refreshed my spirit. I like it over here in Germany, but I miss being able to see my family and friends more than once a year.

In addition to the lovefest, I attended RWA National conference in Orlando, where I got to spend the week with my friend, Autumn Shelley, as well as soak up new information. I met a ton of other great writers there and even some that didn't write but loved to read. Autumn brought her friend, Rachel, who roomed with us and I'm adding another friend to my list. I've got some stories, and pictures (oh no) and I'm going to post about conference the rest of the week.

Along with my new look, I've got a new attitude. My spirit refreshed, I'm ready to get back to work. I've got 3 chapters to comb through again and polish. I've got a new project that I'm starting while I polish Out of the Shadows. I've got other ideas spiraling through my head and lucky you, you'll probably hear about them at some point. LOL

So, keep checking in. Let me know what you think of my new look. Tell me what you've been up to for the past 3 weeks.