Showing posts from 2008

Public Service: Offload Mental Clutter Now

I was folding the socks this weekend and I realized that I have memorized the sock preferences for three people who aren't me. My husband and my sons all wear similar socks, but with key differences. If I don't remember the differences, I can't get the correct socks into the correct drawers. Evidence:My husband is the only one who does not wear his socks outside without shoes. Therefore, his socks are relatively clean and he likes to keep them that way.#2 son wears only AND1 brand socks and only the style that doesn't show above the sneaker and only in his exact size—no bigger socks need apply. #1 son wears all the other permanently dirty, too tall, too big socks. Except if they're scratchy. That's a lot of information, right? Does any of it have anything to do with writing? Absolutely not.Which is my point.I'm carrying all this useless knowledge around in my head which means I can instantly categorize and sort other people's socks and in the meantime I…

Mommy, where do books come from?

"Mommy, where do books come from?"

"Well, dear, if they're Harlequin books, it's likely they come from the warehouse in Buffalo, New York."

"A book warehouse? What's that?"

Glad you asked...

A few weeks ago I had the enormous pleasure of participating in the Harlequin Customer Service Representative Appreciation day. It was a fascinating day, meeting the customer service representatives and touring the Harlequin distribution center.

First thing I saw when I pulled in? Geese. Okay, that wasn't interesting. But the very next thing I saw was an eighteen-wheeler with the Harlequin logo on the side. That was totally cool. Too bad I forgot to take a picture. Next time.

When I met with the customer service representatives I was delighted to bring them gifts. Thanks to the generosity of the other Superromance authors, I had piles of signed books, bookmarks, pens, and other small presents. I'd also collected signed book covers and made them into a co…

Questions No One Ever Asked

I’m a technical writer. That means I write FAQs. Did you know that FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions? I bet you did.

Did you also know that most FAQs are made up by technical writers and have nothing to do with actual questions anyone has ever asked? Yep. It’s like writing fiction, except about bytes and bandwidth and passwords. And also the FAQs are nonfiction. Usually.

Anyway, I’ve decided to do an FAQ for His Secret Past.
The lead character’s name is Mason Star and he’s a rock star. Weren’t you trying too hard with the name?

Excellent question. Yes. Of course, I was trying too hard. My sister told me it was cheap. My editor told me it was cheap. My critique group told me it was cheap. But I am a sucker for a cheap name. So pulling from my bag of tricks, I wrote fictional backstory for the name, blaming it all on the parents. (Because in fiction, as in real life, it’s the parents’ fault.) Mason’s mom was a stripper who changed her name legally to Sierra Star. So he can’t help …

Book Trailer

My friend, Diana Holquist, makes funny book trailers.

A book trailer is like a movie trailer, except with a really, really, really low budget and no actors. The exception to this is the trailer for a book written by Dennis Hopper's daughter. Watching it I learned that industry connections go a long way toward improving the look and feel of the trailer. Where are my movie star relatives when I need them?

Note: Because I'm petty that way I'm not posting the title of that book or the author's name because who wants to advertise the competition? But if you did happen to go to Amazon and search for "celebutantes" you might find it.

Anyway. If you'd like to see MY no budget, cheesy music, cut and paste 'cause we can't afford actors trailer, click here. What we lack in funding, we make up for in wit. Or in hot, hot men. Take your pick.

P.S. Okay. Fine. Whatever. I'm not that petty. Here's the link to the other trailer. It's not that great, righ…

Why I Write

I write because it’s tidy.

No, not the process. The process sucks.

The writing process is a horrendous disaster involving way too many stimulants (all unhealthy although not, in my case, illegal), way too little sleep, and way too much self-doubt and bad temper. (Plus a little euphoria but I’m on a woe-is-me kick here so I won’t be admitting to that.)

The tidiness comes in when I take life--big scrambles of human emotion and chaos--and sort it out on paper. I write romances, so my books have happy endings. The villains get theirs, the hero and heroine get some, and my psyche is at peace knowing that these people, the fictional ones, will do what I tell them when I tell them to do it.

Non-fictional people do not respond to me in this way. They persist in leading their own messy lives, making bad decisions, living with ambiguity, and even, at times, settling for settling instead of striving for their Happily Ever After. Blech. Who wants to spend their time with people like that?

(Note: I’m…

I'm Banning Words Today!

In romance circles there are periodic kerfuffles about offensive language, themes, descriptions, and situations. I have always believed that it’s a big world out there and we should all just find something we do enjoy and ignore the other stuff. Who am I to tell you what words to write or read?

So open-minded, right?

Except…I decided I do care. And I also decided that I’m in charge. There are words that are offensive to me and I want them banned right now.

Except...(another exception already? I suck at fanaticism)...I’m too lazy to figure out how to get things banned through official channels and I don’t really like petitions, besides, would I have to walk to all your houses to gather signatures? I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

So this is a list of words I will forthwith cease and desist from employing in speech or written expression both professional and personal. (That’s a little petition language in case I do decide to come around your neighborhoods with a clipboard.) Pleas…

Excerpt: His Secret Past

One Night Changed His Life Forever
Mason Star spent his teens living the fast life on the road with his band. Tragedy struck one rainy night when his tour bus crashed and a young fan was killed. Fifteen years later, Mason is struggling with his own teenage son who wants to quit high school and with the local zoning board that wants to take his home.
Anna Walsh may be able to save his bacon but she just might ruin his life in the process.

Mason went back toward where he’d parked his black Pontiac Firebird. It was the last thing remaining of his rough living Jersey boy days—he’d never been able to trade it in for a Subaru. He rested the poster display on the hood while he leaned on the car, patting the pockets of the suit jacket he’d worn in the hopes it would make him seem trustworthy. He might as well have worn camo.
Just when he pulled out a pack of Marlboros and his silver lighter, a breeze kicked up and he turned his shoulder as he put a cigarette in his mouth and flicked the lighter…

Meet Cute--What's Your Story?

How'd you meet your honey?

I'm in the mood for some romantic stories. (Or funny ones. Or weird ones. Or sad ones with a happy ending. Or just, you know, whatever you have. Your story.)

Here's mine: New Year's Eve, early 1990s... I'd be more specific but I suck at dates. I honestly can't remember what year I met my husband. I'm sooo not a satisfactory spouse....

My best friend was dating a guy who was friends with a guy on whom I'd had a massive crush in high school. (My hometown is like that.) We'll call my crush FBIL. (This acronym makes sense. I promise.) So my friend told me she'd set me up with FBIL (pronounced Fibill) as my date to this fancy party we were going to.

I got dollied up. I had a new dress I'd bought for my company holiday party. A new hair cut I'd gotten for the same occasion. I was also newly free of my most recent odious boyfriend and ready to celebrate with a no strings New Year's Eve good time.

I went to the part…

2008 Reading Challenge--What's on Your List?

My friend, Diana Holquist, posted a reading challenge on her blog. I decided to take her up on it. The idea is that you post 12 books you're planning to read in 2008. She posted all romance, I'm not doing that because my romance choices tend to be based on my mood--I can't plan ahead!

I'm also joining the 100,000 Book Challenge at eHarlequin. If the participants read 100,000 books in 2008, Harlequin will donate 100,000 books to a charity. Sounds pretty nice! The "rules" say you should try to read 100 books, you have to keep a blog about them, and 50% should be published by Harlequin. I was a perennial participant in the summer read-a-thons at my neighborhood library when I was a kid so I hope I'll be able to keep up with this challenge.

Here are the 12 books I've preselected.

1. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk -- I LOVE his books.

2. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman -- My mom gave it to me and she'll keep asking until I read it. Also, it looks…

Rock Stars and Romance, Why Not?

When I started writing romance, I memorized the "rules."

1. Do write a happy ending.
2. Don't confuse a misunderstanding with dramatic tension.
3. Do make your characters honorable even when they're doing bad things.
4. Don't, under any circumstances, write about a rock star.


[/whiny voice on] I couldn't help myself. [/whiny voice off] This guy showed up in my brain one day and he was a rock star. He just was. And I had to write about him, despite the romance rule that says rock stars don't sell. Because he was hot and funny and really wounded by life. Oh, dear.

So I wrote His Secret Past and I like it and Harlequin said they'll publish it and I'm glad. Because I don't get it, what's not to love about a man with a guitar? Close your eyes for a minute and imagine your favorite rock guy. (If any of you are seeing a member of KISS, please close the blog and back away slowly until you can think of a more appropriate image.) Aren't the rock…