Header

Header

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

She Only Looks Absent

Happy Wednesday Everyone,

I promise, even if I don't update this blog every day, I'm not really gone. I'm in the midst of finalizing edits, also I have the demands of my daily life. But, I promise, I'm not completely absent.

I'm doing my best to stick around and keep posting regularly, but if I seem a little silent, those are the reasons.

Meanwhile, what's going on with all of you?

Have A Winning Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spotlight On Author: William Simon

Happy Tuesday All,

Today, it's my honor to introduce to you author William Simon. He generously agreed to do an email interview with me. I hope you'll be sure to check out his story in Suspense Magazine, entitled Perception. It's really excellent, and I honestly didn't know if the character was a good guy or a bad guy until the end of the story.

So be sure to go check it out, but first join me in getting to know a little bit about William Simon:

Me: What was the inspiration behind your story, Perception, which appeared in Suspense Magazine?


WilliamThere was no one real thing that triggered the idea, but it started after a conversation with someone about how the common perception of behavioral analysis is different from the reality. It's not psychic visions, it's not "getting inside" someone's mind, it's slow, patient, methodical work.


Me: Are all your stories supsense/thrillers?


William: Pretty much, yes. Sometimes, I'll try and do a straight out mystery like Agatha Christie or John Dickson Carr used to write, but no one ever sees those because I've yet to make it work successfully!


Me: You mentioned you had a novella published in an anthology once, can you talk more about that?


William: I'd been writing from the age of seven, and back in the 1980's had some extremely minor success in television. After that, I decided I could mount a television series, and spent eight years of my life trying to make it happen. At one time, things looked very very good, but it came apart at the very last moment. That experience was so disheartening that I stopped writing for many years. In 2000, Rosemary Edghill asked me if I wanted to submit anything for a new anthology she was editing, and I politely said "No." A couple of days later, I 'saw' the events in my story like a movie in my head, got it down on paper, and was fortunate enough to have to accepted for the anthology MURDER BY MAGIC. That re-ignited the spark and I started writing again.


Me:  For fun: What's your favorite TV show?


William: No single one. I do have a fondness for British series from the 1960's: THE SAINT, THE AVENGERS, THE BARON, THE PROTECTORS, etc. Current favorite is CASTLE; it's terrific to have a hero who's a hero, instead of the dark characters that became popular in the 80's and 90's.


Me: How does your real life career influence your writing and can you tell this blog's readers more about it?


William:  I am a Licensed Computer Forensics Investigator, and have been since 2000. Doing that kind of work you learn first hand the truth of the adage "Once you see something, you can't un-see it." I've caught myself more than once going far too dark in my writing sometimes thanks to a particular case I've dealt with. That's why we have a DELETE button.... :)


Me:  What advice can you give to aspiring authors?


William: Tell one hell of a story. And keep it YOUR story. Don't get caught up in critiques, comments, or start writing to editorial order unless there's a really good reason. It's your voice, it's your story, tell it your way. And don't ever give up. The stories and legends about novels that were rejected yet went on to become Classics is long and large. Lightening strikes all the time, it may as well strike you.


Me: For fun: What's your dream car and can you tell this blog's readers about it?


William: Mine would be a 1974 Cadillac Convertible in Screaming Red. The kind of road monster that gets 10 miles to the gallon but man, it sure looks awesome going down the highway!


Me:  What has someone told you about writing that you find particularly helpful?


William: Never give up. It's easy to get discouraged, it's easy to quit. If you reach a point where you decide you don't much worry about getting published, that's fine, it's your decision. But don't ever quit writing.


Me: Do you have any favorite characters and why are they are your favorite(s)?


William:  Too many to list...:) From Rhett Butler to Scaramouche to Captain Blood to Tom Sawyer to Simon Templar to Robert DeClercq to Travis McGee to Lucas Davenport to Blaine McCracken to Spenser and Hawk to James Bond to Hercule Poirot to Holmes and Watson to Tarzan, the list would be endless...:)


Me:  Anything else you'd like to add?


William:  Thanks for having me here today!


Thank you, William Simon for coming on here and sharing a bit about yourself.


I hope everyone gets an opportunity to go check out his story in Suspense MagazineYou can find a copy of Murder By Magic on Amazon.   Click here to find it at Barnes & Noble.


Have A Thrilling Tuesday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Conference Recap

Happy Monday Everybody!

I hope you all had a good weekend :-) I had a great weekend.

Friday night was the Meet & Greet for those attending the NWHRWA's Lone Star Conference. (Click to go to the NWHRWA's Website)

In this relaxed atmosphere, I got to first meet Naomi Hackenberg of Elaine P. English PLLC . Naomi was very personable, and really nice.

I also got acquainted with one of the Finalists of the Lone Star Contest for the YA Category--which I had been the category chair. It was a delight to meet her and soak up her enthusiasm.

Keynote Speaker, Randy Ingermanson, was also at the Meet & Greet, so I got an opportunity to say hello to him. He also seemed very nice and has a good sense of humor :-)

Christine Whitthohn was also in attendance. She also seemed very nice. I sat in with a small group and listened to her talk about the business during the Conference and she gave a wonderful talk during lunch.

The Conference was incredible. We had door prizes, baskets raffled off, and other prizes available. The facility was very nice, and the staff quite helpful. We were in beautiful rooms (both meeting and overnight rooms). The food was good, and they saved many a life by having coffee and tea available (there are several coffee drinkers in the NWHRWA alone--me being one of them).

Christine Whitthohn, Naomi Hackenberg were taking pitch appointments, along with Amy Boggs (of Donald Maass Literary Agency). I didn't get a chance to meet Amy Boggs, but she gave some very good information during the Q&A Agent Panel.

A lot of people got requests for query letters, partials and fulls. So we had some very happy Conference go-ers.

Randy Ingermanson was giving excellent advice on setting up story summaries and marketing oneself. Katy Budget Books was there and had one of his books for sale.

During one of the breaks, there were 4 published authors signing books...among them was Randy Ingermanson, and Christie Craig (who also did a short talk at lunch time about not giving up--she told some very funny stories and I laughed so hard I nearly had tears trickle down my cheeks).

The final placements from the Lone Star Contest was announced at the Conference and that information should be available in the near future.

All in all, I think it was a huge success and everyone I talked to had enjoyed themselves, learned something, and/or gotten something out of it.

For those of you who couldn't make it this year, be sure to check out the Lone Star Conference next year--you never know who you'll meet or what really good information you get, but I went last year and this year and both years I've had a wonderful time and learned a lot. :-)

Have A Merry Monday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

"It's My Party & I'll Cry If I Want To"

Happy Friday Everyone,

I believe Little Lesley Gore (my Dad always called her "Little Lesley Gore") sang that song (the title of this post).

Okay, it's not really my party and I'm not planning on crying, but it is my birthday. :-)

I love my birthday because it comes in the fall (and pretty much always have had fun on my birthday). Also, I really like the cooler weather, the Holidays coming up, that warm and cozy feeling you get when you snuggle down under the blankets, or when you drink hot chocolate or tea. Or, when I was growing up, when my dad would light a fire in the fire place and we'd watch it crackle and sparks fly up the chimney.

My birthday is smack dab in the middle of all those things starting to happen. It's far enough into fall, that I can feel the weather changing down here in the deep South, but it's also early enough that it doesn't collide with the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays.

This weekend is the Lone Star Conference and all of you who are going, we're gonna have a great time--I can sense it. There's so much that's going to be happening: Speakers, agent appointments, raffles, final placement of the Lone Star Contest finalists, mingling and networking. It'll be a  full day, that's for sure.

Tonight is the Meet & Greet and I think it's going to be fun, too. A nice, laid back way of saying hello to everyone (and reconnecting with those we already know).

I hope everyone enjoys their Friday (TGIF for all of you who have been waiting and waiting for Friday to arrive) and have a very pleasant weekend.

Also, find a good book, curl under a blanket with some hot tea or hot chocolate and get that warm, cozy feeling that Fall brings :-)

Question for the day:  What are your plans for today and this weekend?

Have A Fantastic, Fun-Filled Friday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coffee, Directions, & The Alpha Male

Happy Thursday All,

Tomorrow is the eve before the Conference (sounds like a Christmas book title, huh?) Which is pretty exciting...although nothing penetrates the haze of sleepiness until the caffeine breaks through and takes affect.

Okay, I know not all writers are coffee drinkers, but the majority I've met/know are (on some level). Some of us will admit to not being at our best before that first cup of java hits our system.

Sure, we might have 5 ideas jumping around in our heads from some great dream we had or something that's been bugging us (see the Gnat entry from a few days ago for info on that) but things aren't going to fall into place if we're bleary eyed from lack of caffeine.

The good news is the story gnat is finally starting to stick around long enough for me to get a picture of what's been poking around in my imagination (whether a good idea or not, it's still something I want to play with and see what happens and see if it is a workable story idea).

Can you imagine a decaffeinated author?

The heroine might end up walking into a tree and staying in a coma for the rest of her life.

Or the hero might actually stop for directions, which is very un-alpha male of him--if you go with stereotypes anyway. 

But let's imagine the hero asking for directions whether it's alpha male of him or not:

Would we like Duncan MacLeod from Highlander quite so much if he was asking for directions all the time instead of beating the crap out of the bad guy?

Or what about Mr. Darcy? He never asked for directions. He would've been the one giving directions.

I imagine, however, if we female authors are driving around with our alpha males lost for eternity, we will, in fact, push said alpha males to stop for directions. Either that, or demand he stops the car and go in and ask for a map ourselves.

But I can't see any alpha males in our stories stopping for a map or directions. They're too busy kicking butt and winning the girl. Although, emotionally, some of them might need an atlas--except that wouldn't make the story half so engrossing, would it? 

You tell me :-)

Have A Thoughtful Thursday!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gnat Poking The Story

Happy Tuesday Everyone,

Before I get started on today's post, author CC Hunter is running a contest. If you go here, you can get info on the contest--the prize is worth checking it all out! (The contest takes a bit of thinking, but it's not hard).

All right...now onto today's post:

Normally a muse or a character whispers in your ear and suddenly you think, "Aha! Story idea!"

But what about those times when you feel something coming, but it won't materialize?

I've been editing Surreal and taking a look at two of my other stories, but there's something poking at me. Right on the  fringes of my imagination and other than perhaps character's(s') names, nothing is coming. I can feel it prick at my imagination, but I can't get a lock on the idea.

It's like a gnat that flies up at you, you bat at it, then it's gone, then it's back and the whole cycle starts over again. This is not a muse whispering at me, or even a character saying, "Hey, pay attention to me!" This is a gnat that won't stick around in my imagination long enough for me to formulate the idea properly.

I can tell you, that like a real gnat, this story gnat is just as annoying. I want to say, "Either show yourself or go away and let me work on what's actually tangible!"

So, what about you? Have you ever had story gnats fly at you but not stay around long enough for you to say "That's the story, that's the characters, I got it now!"?

(Also, just a few days until the Lone Star Conference! YIPPEE! Check the right hand margin and have a look at the countdown to see how many more days left!)

Have A Thoughtful Tuesday!

Monday, October 11, 2010

What Do You Consider Genius?

Happy Monday All,

JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Dr. Suess, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte (and her sisters)...what do all these names have in common?

They're literary giants.

Their writing is considered genius and in some cases, even innovative. They paid their dues, and whether in life or in death, their names are recognizable by the majority of humanity.

What makes someone a literary genius/giant?

Sometimes it's the writing itself. Sometimes the topic. In other cases, the characters or the plot might just give them that edge.

It may not be everything in their novels/non-fiction (I know CS Lewis wrote some Non Fiction) that shoot them into stardom, but something about their writing makes us quote them, admire them, study them and read them over and over--generation after generation.

None of them are alive to give interviews, to tell us how they did it...we have to rely on other writings, any recorded interviews they did, or any journals they left behind. We can't email them and say "Hey Shakespeare, how did you do that?" We have to rely on history and what's written (or in CS Lewis and Tolkien cases, perhaps, recorded) to dissect their writing.

But something just clicks.

Recently I read a couple of books by Nancy Gideon. (Thanks go to author Anna Kathryn Lanier and her blog, for picking me as  a winner on her blog comment contest--it was a nice surprise and the first 2 Moonlight series books were part of the prize). While perhaps not everything in Nancy Gideon's Moonlight series intrigues me, there was a few things that did.

Her character, Max Savoie, is one. If ever there was a complex hero that didn't fit the usual description of "hero" it would be Savoie. It also means that his loyalties get tested, he's got a big fat, invisible target painted on his back, and he has to balance the fact that he's on the wrong side of the law when it comes to the love of his life, Detective Charlotte Caissie. She's a pretty good character, too, but I get the feeling Savoie has more secrets...more things in his background to discover. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's the feeling I get. I haven't read the third book, but the first two I had trouble putting down.

Like I said, not everything in her novels intrigued me, but she definitely got my attention with what is going on around Savoie and what his character just might be--and also whether or not Savoie and Caissie will be able to stay together. (Although, generally in Romance there is a happily ever after, but it doesn't mean that sometimes you don't wonder if it really will happen!)

I don't know if Nancy Gideon's work will be considered genius for future generations, but as far as a contemporary author is concerned, she's pretty good at drawing you into the story and having fascinating characters and plot lines.

So, what makes a literary genius in your eyes? What grabs you and refuses to let go when you're reading a book?

Have A Mysterious (in a good way) Monday!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Frog Princes, Editing & Baseball

Happy Thursday Everyone,

Some people are looking over Surreal and they've got some great suggestions.

I got my hair done yesterday (yes, even authors need a haircut every now and again, as long as our characters are willing to give us a chance to get it done). I'm pretty happy with the outcome of the haircut. I told my hairdresser about Surreal and he was very interested. I also gave him one of my author business cards. (Hey, you never know--he could end up telling one of his customers about my stories one day).

Early this morning I finished reading Jane Heller's The Secret Ingredient a chick-lit mixed with suspense...and a little magic (or was that just herb mixture?) 

The storyline follows Elizabeth Baskin, a lady who works for a hospitality company that rates high end hotels. The highest rating they can give a hotel is 5 key. A 5-key rating is coveted because it means more business. Unfortunately, Elizabeth's married life isn't so great. 6 years and Roger just isn't the man he used to be. Where did the romantic hero from their first meeting go? Why isn't he as tidy and well dressed as he once was? Why isn't he interested in her and what she has to say? He isn't cheating, Elizabeth is sure of that, but something isn't right. After complaining to her sister, Elizabeth gets the name and number of a life enhancement doctor and through a bit of imagination (and lying) ends up with an appointment. She meets the illustrious Dr. Farkus who gives her "stud stimulant"--a powder she's to put into her husband's orange juice. Without telling Roger what's going on, she puts the herb powder into his drink and before long he's acting like a new man. He's singing an old disco tune she hasn't heard in years, calling her "Lizzie" (which hasn't happened since they first married), and wanting her all the time. Life's great for awhile. That is, until Roger becomes too preoccupied with being perfect and with Elizabeth being perfect. To make matters worse, Elizabeth's job is suffering, there's a disgruntled ex-hotel employee sending her threatening letters and her husband's more distant than he was before. Suddenly Elizabeth realizes she wants the real Roger back. But Dr. Farkus has disappeared, taking the antidote with him. Now the cops are involved, Elizabeth has seen the inside of a jail cell, Roger's still clueless and out all hours of the night. What's a wife to do?

I went to Jane Heller's site because I just enjoyed the story so much. I liked her website, but I found out She's a Yankees fan. Okay, let me explain. I have family members who are Yankee fans. I'm just not a fan of the Yankees. Because I'm a fan of a different team:

You see, Texas has 2 teams, the Rangers and the Astros. I follow the Astros, but they didn't have a very good season. I have a sister and brother-in-law who are ardent Yankee fans, and so I'm feeling a bit disloyal saying this, but I was cheering for the Twins last night. My husband, also a disloyal family member (at least when it comes to the Yankees) was also cheering for the Twins. We both agreed that the Yankees have had a lot of wins and that it was someone else's turn to get to the World Series. Since the Twins haven't in awhile we figured they are due. I also thought it might be cool to have the Twins and Phillies play each other in the World Series. (I have friends who are Twins fans and friends who are huge Phillies fans, so either way, it would be a win for me no matter which team won).

I'm disappointed to learn the Yankees won last night, but perhaps the Twins will win the next game. As long as the Twins put up a good fight and don't get swept we can call it an exciting match up.

The one and only time the Astros made it to the World Series they lost. I had a feeling they would (they just barely won the pennant). But we're hoping next season is better. I miss the "Killer B's" but there's not much you can do. Biggio needed to retire (he's now working at a couple of friends' of mine high school alma mater as the head baseball coach), Bagwell's shoulder forced his retirement, and Lance Berkman is on the Yankees (at least, that's what that website that I linked to his name says).

Baseball and Figure Skating are the two sports I'm most into. My mom used to do figure skating and I have a friend who once figure skated professionally. I never figure skated, but I took ballet for a few years and figure skating does have some movements very like ballet.

In any case, it's a pretty exciting time around here. October cold fronts have taken the temperatures down out of the 90's and we've had 80 degree weather with very low humidity (now you understand one of the reasons I LOVE Fall and Winter). In the summer in Texas, you have to be prepared to be hot, hot, hot for several months. In the Fall and Winter there's a chance you might see 20 degree weather. Now that's nothing compared to what my Michigan relatives and Maryland Relatives see, but it's nice when you live down South. The way I look at it is, you can always bundle up, but in the summer there's only so much you can take off!

Hope all is well on everyone else's end.


Have A Thousand Thrills Thursday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Here, Kitty, Kitty!

Happy Tuesday Everybody,

First of all, reminder:  Laura Childs' new Scrapbooking Mystery, Fiber & Brimstone comes out TODAY. I reviewed this book yesterday. Check here for details.

Now onto the current topic:

Earlier today I finished reading Kerrelyn Sparks' new Love At Stake book (released at the end of September), Eat Prey Love centering around her character, Carlos Panterra.

For those of you who have been reading the series and don't know the truth about Carlos, I will warn you the following is rampant with spoilers regarding what Carlos truly is (if the title of this post didn't give it away).

Carlos is a were-panther in search of a proper female were-panther mate. Since his species is endangered, he feels its his responsibility to find the right woman to help him repopulate and be a mother to his adopted children.

What Carlos didn't bargain for was meeting Shanna Draganesti's sister, Caitlyn Whelan. It's love at first sight (or is that lust at first sight?)

Cait doesn't know what Carlos is at first, but after finding out she's warned to stay away from him. If Carlos should bite her the shift might kill her.

Unfortunately for Carlos, his plans to avoid Caitlyn (and temptation) are completely thwarted when she joins McKay Security & Investigation and he has to train her. You see, Caitlyn has no aim. Anytime Caitlyn's bullet hits the paper target or her knife hits the straw man, it's right smack dab in the man's groin. Fortunately, these men aren't real. But still, she was aiming for the chest. Apparently that doesn't seem to matter. She manages to hit the target there each time she even hits it at all.

Carlos figures the best way to accomplish both his goals (a mate and avoiding Caitlyn) is to take a trip to Thailand to follow a lead concerning the possibility of other were-panthers. What he didn't bet on was Caitlyn using her unique abilities to be able to accompany him on his trip.

How will either of them survive the trip with the passion sizzling between them and the wild beast lurking in the shadows?

Once again, Kerrelyn takes you on an adventure through the unpredictable world of paranormal and love.

To purchase one of Kerrelyn's books you can go to any of the following places (although, I found my copy at a grocery store, so you can try there, as well):

Barnes & Noble

Borders

Amazon

Have A Tantalizing Tuesday!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mystery, Mayhem, and Halloween

Happy Monday Everybody,

It's October, the fall weather is just coming through (at least here in Texas, anyway) and Laura Childs is releasing a new Scrapbooking Mystery Novel.

I just finished reading it today and I think all of you fans of New Orleans, scrapbooking, Halloween, vampires and/or mystery are in for a treat.

Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava Gruiex, not only are neighborly shop keepers, but partners in solving the mystery in Fiber & Brimstone.

Carmela owns a scrapbooking store called Memory Mine, while Ava is into all things spiritual and paranormal with her shop, Juju Voodoo Shop. Both businesses are in the famous French Quarter. 

If you thought New Orleans was a madhouse during Mardis Gras,  then things definitely heat up with the upcoming Halloween Festivities, amid which Carmela and Ava are the unfortunate finders of a dead body--a man named Brett Fowler. 

Fowler was into all things Mardis Gras, but it seems it wasn't the only thing. Upset investors, who lost money in a scheme led by Fowler, are suspects in his murder. Not to mention Carmela and Ava's own friend, Jekyl, and Fowler's wife, Sissy. Or perhaps it was Sissy's main squeeze, Jimmy Toups? Either way, Carmela is determined to find out.

During the week before Halloween, Carmela wades through endless social engagements, her shop, a detective for a boyfriend who won't tell her anything about the investigation, finishing the puppet for the upcoming parade, finding another dead body at the Ballet Dracula, and being hounded by an annoying ex-husband, his sister, and  followed by a slightly-inept investigator.

All in all, just another day at the office for Carmela and Ava...that is until, they're kidnapped, threatened at gun point, all while trying to figure out where the treasure worth $10,000 might be.

Pretty normal day, right?

If you like New Orleans, good food, Halloween, mysteries and scrapbooking tips, as well as a sprinkling of history thrown in for good measure, you'll enjoy Fiber & Brimstone by Laura Childs.

Be sure to look for it at any of the following book carriers (available tomorrow:  Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010):

Barnes & Noble


Borders

Amazon  

Have A Marvelous Monday!