Sunday, September 30, 2007

Honey Bucket and Hey You!

    by Jo Robertson

    I’m not particular what name people call me. As my dad was fond of saying, “You can call me anything as long as you call me for supper.”

    By the time I went to college, however, I was pretty fed up with having to spell out my first name to everyone – B-E-N-I-T-A. So I immediately adopted my middle name J-O, just Jo, and have used it ever since. Hey, if Roy Scherer, aka Rock Hudson, could do it, so c
    ould I!


    Remembering that experience got me to thinking about the pet names we give one another, whether friends, lovers, or children (think babies and the gosh-awful, cutesy names we use).


    My children have the strangest names for their offspring. Preston became “Wheezer.” I have so idea why. Annalise was “Annalise the Beast” and later became “Lou-Lou”; where DO they get these strange appellations? Siblings Gabe and Ezra are both called “Bubba,” as are their father and mother. Go figure.


    I had a cousin named Bubba, a result of some in-breeding, I think, but that name was short for brother.


    Some of the names we give our husbands and lovers are the most interesting. When I was a young woman, a man in our church referred to his wife of twenty-five years as My Bride. Now, to some wives this might seem deferential, sweet, perhaps even respectful. To me the reference merely conjured up images of a woman on a pedestal, thrust down into a pit. Not a pretty thing. On the way home from church, with steel in my voice and fire in my eyes, I said to my husband, “If you ever call me Your Bride, I will kill you.”


    As you might suspect, that name lasted about a year.


    So what’s preferable? Sweetheart (which is what I call my husband, but also how I address my daughters, shortening it to Sweetie)? When we were dating, my husband once wrote me a letter in which he called me sweatheart. Uh, not the same thing.


    Honey? Darling? Baby? Remember Dirty Dancing and Patrick Swayze’s line, “No one backs Baby into a corner”? What kind people name their baby . . . well, Baby?


    Hot Pants? Hootchie Mama? Is there a P.C. term that I’ve missed somehow?


    So, gentle reader, the question today is – what terms of endearment do YOU use with your boyfriends, husbands, or lovers? What names used in novels make you cringe? Which ones do you love to hear? Oh, and don’t forget the most interesting part, the WHY.
    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Saturday, September 29, 2007

RESEARCH CAN BE FUN!

    by Suzanne Welsh
    As any of the Banditas or any romance author will tell you, we try to use facts to keep our books authentic. This requires research. Sometimes that is as simple as looking up a word in the dictionary. Sometimes it is as complicated as interpreting a doctor's long-winded explanation of a disease process so that the author, and therefore the reader, can understand this over the course of a scene or a manuscript. Sometimes it's just plain fun!

    Recently another of my critique partners, Jo Davis, asked me to accompany her to a fire station in Irving to meet and take pictures (I was the photographer!) with the team of firefighters she previously interviewed for her series coming from NAL Signet next year about a team of? you guessed it, firefighters.

    What was a girl to do? Say "no" to spending an entire afternoon with real life heroes? My mama did NOT raise a stupid daughter. I of course said, "sure!"

    Here we two mild-mannered romance authors are walking up to the fire station, greeted by Captain Steve Deutsch, when suddenly the guys get a call to an accident out on the highway. They usher us into the station to wait for them while they climb onto the fire engine, (which we learned is not a ladder truck) and off they go.

    Now when you leave two writers alone in a strange place what do they do? Well they behave for all of five minutes. We peeked into the pantry, which was loaded with things like can after can of Campbell's soup, Gatorade, popcorn, a giant box of Oreos and the most massive canister of TUMS we'd ever seen!

    Next we wander out into the engine bay where they have a second vehicle they use for chemical fires and two pontoon boats ready for hauling to the nearby lake if a call should require it. There was a treadmill out there along with a weight lifting station, with more weights than I've ever seen.

    Our curiosity a bit satisfied, we wander back into the meeting room/kitchen and await they guys' return. Luckily it was a minor accident and they were back fairly quickly.

    Let me introduce you to the guys of A shift. Captain Steve, is a handsome, whip-cord lean man with a deep voice and a keen intellect behind wire-rimmed glasses. Wally Harris, the driver, is a good-looking man, tall and broad of shoulder. He not only drives the truck, but mans the controls for the truck's water pumps, a job which requires skill and a knowledge of physics. Nick Franco is a firefighter, cute and happy to tell the lady writers some great stories. Not a beta man among them, ladies!

    One of the things Jo wanted to learn more about was the thermal imagining camera. A fancy gizmo the firefighters use to help them distinguish different objects or bodies in dark smoky rooms or raging infernos. So once the guys returned, Wally made himself a steaming bowl of Spaghetti-O's. (Yes the lunch of heroes!) Captain Steve pointed the thermal camera at him and showed us how it gives them the temperature of Wally's body vs. the bowl of hot food vs. the cold bottle of water on the table. Way cool!

    Another thing Jo, the ever-curious, wanted to know was what all equipment they'd take into a house fire. So the guys let her try on some of the equipment. The heavy jacket and the air-tank. (We learned it's a tank with room-air equivalent oxygen, or about 21% oxygen, not pure oxygen. Room-air is what you and I usually breathe. As a nurse I already knew what room-air was.) Jo also had to put on the mask, and attached to all this was the thermal imaging camera, a flashlight and the radio mic. Geesh, how do these guys walk, much less crawl into and out of fires or rescue people?

    Then the piece-de-resistance. Wally hooked up one of the large hoses to the engine and Captain Steve had Jo hold onto the hose. They started with 50 lbs of pressure and water came gushing out of the hose. Then the captain had Wally crank the pressure up to 100 lbs of pressure. Jo nearly flew off the concrete drive! (The captain and Nick got a kick out of that when we returned inside for another Q&A session!)

    I got to ask a few questions about Meth labs for my own work in progress (WIP), and the guys gave me some stories that would frighten most of us if we knew what was really out there. Then they explained that an engine pumps water while a ladder truck has one of those big ladders with the buckets on them.



    So a big thank you to the guys and Jo. I haven't had that much fun doing research ever!
    Have any of you had a great day or experience doing new research?Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Friday, September 28, 2007

Have a wonderful weekend.

Pillow

Hooray, Beer!

The Last Bandita

    By Susan Seyfarth and Kirsten Scott

    Ladies and Gentlemen...you may have noticed a new symmetry to the blog lately. Check out that sidebar--TWENTY BANDITAS! That means we're finally complete. Hurrah!

    I get the pleasure of introducing our new Bandita, because she happens to be my critique partner (CP, to the acronym-happy among us) and one of the dearest people I know. If it weren't for Susan, I wouldn't be a member of RWA, I probably wouldn't have finished my first manuscript, and I certainly would never have entered the Golden Heart--which means I wouldn't be a Bandita! (The horror!) Yes, the world has a lot to blame...er, thank Susan for. She's graciously agreed to let me ask her a few questions to introduce her properly to you all.

    What she didn't know was that I was going to dredge up a picture from our first camping trip together to Glacier National Park. Here's Suz, showing off her muscles for the camera. So now that the public humiliation part of this is over, I'll turn to the interview...

    Kirsten: When did you start writing? How/when did you start pursuing publication?

    Susan: I’ve been in love with stories since I learned how to read, and a die-hard romance fan since way earlier than was probably wise. (Judy Blume, V. C. Andrews, and Iris Johanssen really filled in some gaps in my understanding of certain things.) But I’ve always had some pretty strong ideas about what a book should provide and a happy ending is absolutely essential. That’s why I re
    ad romance novels, and it’s why when I found myself with a couple months on my hands between quitting my miserable job and giving birth to my first baby, I decided to write one myself. How hard could it be, right?

    Five years later, I have four unpublished novels languishing under the bed. Oh, all right, five. The first one was an astounding achievement in sheer…awfulness, if that’s a word. I don’t like to count it, but I’ll fess up to it here in the Bandit Lair. I’m among friends.

    Kirsten: I think we've all got one of those under our bed. I wrote mine in high school. It involved pirates and lots of kinky...oh wait, this is suppose to be about Susan. (blush) So, er, Susan, what books/authors influenced you?

    Susan: Well, anything by the ladies mentioned above, of course. Anybody who doesn’t have a copy of Flowers in the Attic that falls open to the good parts wasn’t a teenaged girl, I’m convinced. If my mother had had any idea what I was reading…
    Other than that, anything by Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Suzanne Brockman, or Nora Roberts/JD Robb goes into my shopping cart, no questions asked.

    Kirsten: (Note to self: get Flowers in the Attic asap!) Can you describe your writing process, you naughty thing?

    Susan: Sure, it goes something like this: deposit four year old in her room for quiet time with CD player, books on CD, snacks, crayons, etc. Promise sure and certain death upon interruption. Arrange ten month old on boppy pillow for marathon nursing session on lap. Belly up to keyboard. Check email. Read elfreda ica. Comment. Check out Perez Hilton’s celebrity gossip site. (Addictive, beware.) Open WIP. Scroll to trouble spots. Spell check. Stare into space. Consider renaming minor characters. Email Kirsten Scott, trusty CP, and beg for help. Cover sleeping baby’s ears while bellowing for four year old to turn down her CD player. Get caught up in “Ramona Quimby, age 8” blasting from four year old’s room. Admire Beverly Cleary. Frown at WIP, which doesn’t compare favorably. Belch out a few paragraphs. Frown some more. Belch out another paragraph or two. Check email again. Wonder what to cook for dinner. Send four year old back to her room for the tenth time. Save and close.

    Kirsten: (Note to self: check diaphragm for holes.) That sounds very challenging! Tell us about your current WIP, and what’s next for you?

    Susan: I just finished up a 100,000 word contemporary single title called the Princess Project. I was inspired by Angelina Jolie naming her daughter Shiloh Nouvel (which translates to New Messiah, but no pressure, right?) and pimping her baby pics for charity. I thought, yikes, how’s that kid going to grow up? And her mom is Angelina Jolie on top of it? Crazy sexy and possibly just plain crazy, but totally into saving the world. Wow. Good luck, Shiloh. Next thing I knew I was writing a book that imagined a possible future for such a kid -- Shiloh Nouvel grows up and gets a life.

    Kirsten: The Princess Project just finaled in two contests, by the way--the Maggies and the Indiana Golden Opportunity contests. Expect to see it on the shelves soon! So as we come to a close, any advice for others or personal comments?

    Susan: Just a big thanks to the banditas for opening the lair to me, late as I am to the party. It’s a wonderfully warm, supportive and informative bunch of women who hang out here. For example, did you know that a Glock (or was it a Sig Sauer?) cannot be effectively concealed in even the most generous of cleavage? You heard it here first, ladies. If you're planning to pack heat, get a holster. Or a big purse.

    So how about you? What's the best fun fact you've picked up since you started writing--or since you started hanging out with the Banditas? We want to know! And just to keep things interesting, we'll randomly select one commentor & reward them with a $15 Border's Gift Card!

    Oh, and just to keep it fair, here's a picture of Kirsten, on the same trip...note the keen sense of fashion I demonstrate, even while camping.



    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stina Persson

GUEST BLOGGER, SANDY BLAIR

    Interviewed by Suzanne Welsh

    My very good friend and critique partner, award winning author Sandy Blair, has slept in castles, knelt in cathedrals where kings and queens have been crowned, dined with peerage, floated along Venetian canals, explored the great pyramids, misplaced her husband in an Egyptian ruin (she continues to deny being the one lost,) and fallen (gracefully) off a cruise ship. Winner of RWA's Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Romance, Sandy’s debut release A MAN IN A KILT also won the 2004 National Readers Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance and was a 2005 RITA finalist.

    Sandy's newest release, A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS is her fourth Scottish Historical Paranormal. It's a great read, full of love and laughter, which takes you from centuries-past Scotland to modern day Boston.

    Suz: Welcome to the Bandit Lair, Sandy! Tell us a little about your newest release, A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS.
    Sandy: I went back to my roots writing A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS. It's my first time-travel since my debut with A Man In A Kilt.

    WELCOME TO MY WORLD
    Not looking forward to Christmas alone, Boston antique dealer Claire MacGregor solves the mystery of an old puzzle box and suddenly a startlingly handsome laird appears. He might be centuries old but he certainly doesn't look it--or act it.

    COME AWAY TO MINE
    The last thing tall, dark and dangerous Sir Cameron MacLeod recalls before finding himself in Claire's 21st century bedroom was readying for war. Determined to return to his own place and time and painfully aware he hasn't had sex in 400 yrs, he decides bonnie Claire can remedy both problems.

    Suz: Can you tell us a little bit more about this time-traveling hero?
    Sandy: Charismatic, virile, extraordinarily handsome, Cam is the kind of man who plays as hard as he works, but above all else he's a clansman, a Highlander. A highly skilled warrior, he's a man of honor, who doesn't take kindly to that honor being questioned by either the heroine or the law. And it's that very honor and love of clan which compels him to find his way back to his own place in time, to go behind Claire's back on another matter, and to willingly break his own heart.

    Suz: Your single title romances have all been Scottish historicals with paranormal twists. What makes you enjoy this sub-genre so much?
    Sandy: I've been in love with all things Scottish for decades and love reading about time periods when men were often seriously alpha and had no idea they even had a feminine side, much less wanted to get in touch with it. Medieval Scotland was also a fertile place for clever and determined women. As for the paranormal elements, I like that they stretch the imagination and give me more latitude with humor.


    Suz: When you were writing Claire's character, did you model her after anyone in particular?
    Sandy: There's a lot of my daughter Rachael in Claire. She's a clear thinking, deal with it or cut your loses kind of gal. I needed a heroine with some knowledge of antiquities, so I gave Claire her hard-earned degree only to have her discover curator jobs were few and far between. But being resourceful, she utilized her knowledge to start her own business, an antique shop called The Velvet Pumpkin.

    Suz: Without giving away too much, what do you think is the hardest thing for Cameron to adjust to in the modern world?
    Sandy: The constant noise. It's never truly quiet, even in the dead of night.
    Suz: What is his favorite thing?
    Sandy, with a sly wink: Besides Claire's fine bottom? Cola.

    Suz: Have you ever been to Scotland? If so, what were some of your favorite places to visit?
    Sandy: Yes. I love the old world feel of Edinburgh and the Highlands in general. One of my favorite places to stay is Skibo Castle, a beautifully renovated castle-turned-hotel situated in the middle of 500 glorious acres in Dornock. Readers can find pictures of Skibo on the photo gallery on my web site http://www.sandyblair.net

    Suz: Do you have any more Scottish historicals in the works?
    Sandy: Definitely. I'm half way through A WARRIOR IN A KILT, the next in the Castle Blackstone series. I'm also working on The Tursachan Clan series. Would tell you more but it's yet to be sold.

    And then there's the My Immortal Highlander series, which I'm really excited about, because of its strong paranormal elements.

    Suz: Have you ever considered writing in another romance sub-genre?
    Sandy: Funny you should ask. I'm currently working on book #1 of a contemporary series about three sisters who have no desire to find love but do...under the most peculiar circumstances.

    Suz: If you could cast one actor as a Highlander, who would you choose?
    Sandy: Maybe Last of the Mohicans' hunk Daniel Day Lewis. Just picturing all that animal grace racing up those mountains can make my heart flutter something fierce. Suz: OOoo I believe Daniel is a favorite among many a Bandita!

    Sandy: My turn to ask a few questions:
    Imagine you found your favorite Halloween Candy on sale at a serious discount this week. Would there be any left to give away on Halloween?
    And what are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year?
    A lucky commenter will win a signed copy of A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS from Sandy Blair.
    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happily Ever After

    by Nancy Northcott

    How many fairy tales have you read that end "and they lived happily ever after?" A lot, I'll bet. One feature that sets romance apart from other genres is that the characters will live happily ever after (HEA) at the story's end. A lot of critics and non-romance writers mock the genre for this (and a lot of other things, each of which could be its own blog), but romance outsells all other fiction categories. We must be doing something right!

    As we grow older, I think each of us redefines what HEA means to us. It isn't necessarily moonlight, roses and champagne every night, nor does it require happy, happy harmony every day, as the fairy tales seem to imply. I think HEA means finding someone who'll be there for you, in good times and bad, someone who won't run for the hills when the going gets tough. Someone who'll understand that you aren't being snappy because it's "that time of the month" or because you took a witchiness pill but because there's something wrong. Someone who can't wait to share his successes with you because he knows you'll appreciate what they mean to him and is equally eager to share your triumphs because he understands why they're important to you.

    A lot of romance readers and writers haven't yet found their HEA with their Mr. or Ms. Right, yet they come back to the genre time after time. I occasionally read more mainstream fiction, but I have limited interest in stories that end "they survived, scarred but at peace with themselves," or some variation thereof. I want the heroes and heroines to triumph, no matter what the genre. It makes me feel good, picks me up after a bad day, and reassures me that at least one other person--the author--believes difficult situations can turn out for the best.

    What brings you back to romance? Is it the happy ending? The emotion in the story? The optimistic tone? Let us know!Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Jen Bekman's 20x200

    New York gallerist Jen Bekman is revolutionizing the art world. This month, she launched the online art shop 20x200, where she sells new prints every week in editions of 200 for ONLY $20. That is insanely inexpensive. She's opening up the art world for everyone. Awesome, Jen! (This week's photo, above, is by Karolina Karlic. Isn't it pretty?)Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Travel Fantasy #4: Santorini, Greece

    Hmmm, I think it's a nice morning for a fantasy vacation, don't you? Let's jump on a plane to Santorini, Greece, and stay at the Ikies resort, in the Fisherman's house. Apart from its breathtaking aesthetic and location, the hotel is known for amazing service; one review read, “The staff lives for nothing more than to refill your cocktail." After hiking, swimming and lounging all day, we'll go to dinner dressed in Chris Benz's resort 2007 collection. What do you say, readers? Wanna go?
    (Hotel via The Cool Hunter)Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Vogue Girl Korea!

Psst, The Little Things

    Are you ever irrationally attracted to random things? For some reason, I love when Alex has messy wet hair, like when he gets out of the shower or a pool. It smells nice and feels cold when I kiss him on his head! I also love when he wears nylon windbreakers, smells like laundry detergent, kisses me on the forehead and smiles enough to show his dimples. (Oooh, cute!) What do you find yourself attracted to?
    (Top photo by Mav)Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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What Happens In Henderson ...

    By Kate
    I spent part of last week at Plot Group. And good news – I survived!

    My Plot Group is really amazing. Most of them have been plotting books together twice a year for over ten years, but this time there was something new and different added to the mix.

    Me!

    Yes, I’m a Plot Group virgin! I had no idea what to expect when my fabulous friends, Susan Mallery, Maureen Child, Christine Rimmer and Teresa Southwick, invited me to join their very successful Plot Group.

    There are plenty of plot groups out there and apparently, they all work a little differently. Some meet more often and plot an entire book in sequence, scene by scene, turning point by turning point, fleshing out every single character and their motivations and conflicts and every little detail until the book is done.

    Um, we don’t do that in my group. Turns out, none of us has the patience to micro-tune someone else’s story to that extent.

    So here's how we work: First, before we get together, we email each other the basic plot idea we want to work on – anywhere from one to ten pages (or more, if you dare). Then, when the group gets together, we determine the hero and heroine’s conflicts and goals, work on an opening scene, three turning points and the black moment. If someone needs some specific scene ideas, we work on those. We give each book a total of ninety minutes.

    For three days, we plotted ten books. Two books for each of us. We brainstormed like crazy, threw out tons of ideas, built new worlds. We yelled and laughed and worked really hard not to interrupt. Some of us had a better handle on the big picture. Others were good with the smaller details. There were no bad ideas. The author whose book we were working on had the responsibility to say if it was working for her or not. We plotted single title contemporary romance, light paranormal, category romance, a cozy mystery. We taped everything. And we ran a back-up tape in case of the unthinkable -- tape malfunction.

    And we did it all in a huge casino hotel in Las Vegas – or rather, Henderson, the town right next door. On our breaks, we went downstairs to the casino to play video poker and penny slots. There’s a Starbucks in the lobby. And an ATM. And a Ben & Jerry's. And so much more. I spent way too much money and had an absolutely incredible time with my wonderfully talented friends. And I came home with two amazing, fully plotted stories I can't wait to write.
    Priceless!
    What’s your plotting process? Do you work with a plot group? A critique group or a partner? And the question everyone wants to know the answer to: where do you get your ideas?
    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Monday, September 24, 2007

And the winners are...


    Cristyjan is the winner of a poster of the cover of Lord of the Fading Lands
    Claudia Dain is the winner of a poster of the cover of Lady of Light and Shadows
    Anne is the winner of an autographed copy of Lord of the Fading Lands, C.L. Wilson's wonderful debut book!

    Congratulations, ladies! Please send an email to C.L. at cheryl@clwilson.com with your information and use the subject elfreda ica - I won! And thanks to everyone for participating!Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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STOP, POLICE! James O. Born handcuffs mistakes in fiction

    by KJ Howe



    KJ Howe welcomes talented author and police expert, James O. Born who talks about common mistakes in fiction. If you have any questions for James, please fire away. He'll do his best to answer.


    I am of fan of books and authors. No matter the genre, no matter the subject, I can usually find something I appreciate and enjoy in every area. I happen to write novels in the area of crime. We like to call it “Crime Fiction” as opposed to “Mystery”. No real reason other than I like to explain that my books tell more about how crimes are solved rather than guessing who did it. I’d prefer to write fantasy like the story of a middle-aged, slightly over-weight cop that women find irresistible. Regrettably that would be the genre of science fiction.

    My career before writing, as a U.S. drug agent and state police officer, has given me an insight into realism in crime stories. Let me stress right now that good story-telling and writing are far more important than realistic tactics and situations. That being said, there are some common mistakes that frustrate military and law enforcement people. These are easily correctable story bumps that wouldn’t effect the plot or characters.

    The most obvious mistake to me is when a cop “racks” the slide of his or her automatic pistol before they enter a room. That action, when an officer grasps the top of an automatic pistol and pulls back the slide, means the pistol did not have a bullet in the chamber and was useless. That would indicate the cop is an idiot and should be fired on the spot. It looks good in movies but it is the mark of the clueless.

    Another common mistake is a writer putting a safety on a revolver. “He fumbled with the safety allowing the killer to knock it from his hands.” Some bull like that appears in a number of detective novels and movies. Modern revolvers do not have safety levers on them. Revolvers generally carry six rounds of ammo (the exception being compact five-shot “back-up” revolvers). Revolvers are reliable, usually slightly more bulky than a comparable automatic pistol and quickly fading form the professional law-enforcement ranks. When I graduated from the DEA academy, I was issued a Smith & Wesson model 13 revolver. I doubt if most recruits in the academy today have even seen a Smith & Wesson model 13.



    Guns don’t go off when dropped on the ground. There may be the fluke or freak of physics that causes an accidental discharge (that sounds vaguely sexual) but in the real world the gun going off, causing a distraction, is about as likely as Andy Dick making a funny movie.

    It is very difficult to race the ownership of a handgun if it has been bought and sold a couple of times. Books and movies make it seem like the ATF or FBI can go to a random computer and call up everyone who has ever had contact with a handgun. In real life it would take a determined cop to search forms then conduct any number of interviews, relying on people to tell the truth and hoping that the weapon had never been stolen, to get an idea who had own a gun prior to a crime.

    Now these are just a few of the gun related items that come to mind. K.J. Howe is a nut for research and getting things right in her novels. That was one of the reasons I knew I couldn’t say no when she asked if I could contribute to the blog. Don’t think I’m a gun nut or won’t read a book that’s not 100% accurate in realistic details. I like creativity and good characters. I read for plot and emotion. But one thing I’ve learned; if you put in some tidbit that’s not accurate one of your faithful readers will definitely let you know.


    If you haven't had a chance to read James O. Born, his latest release FIELD OF FIRE is available today and his next novel featuring ATF agent Alex Duarte, BURN ZONE, is coming in Feb 08. Visit James at www.jamesoborn.com or at the Naked Authors blog on Thursdays where Jim reveals all his secrets! Jim is an entertaining speaker who shoots straight from the hip!

    Jim, thanks for joining us today!
    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Vogue India

    Guess what?! Vogue just launched Vogue India, which is slated to be more colorful and vibrant than other Vogue editions. The cover features Indian models and actresses--as well as (randomly) Australian supermodel Gemma Ward.

    I'm excited to get my hands on a copy--especially since I've found Indian style so intriguing since my sister married Paul, whose family is from India. I'm sure the magazine will be stunning--and successful, since the debut issue has a whopping 160+ ad pages!Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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And the Winnah Is...


    Lily is the lucky winner of the pink keychain corset Donna promised in her Rewards post yesterday! Lily, please visit Donna's website at www.DonnaMacMeans.com and leave your contact information. Congratulations, Lily and thanks to everyone who posted!Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rewards

    by Donna MacMeans

    This time last week I was on vacation, walking on a beach in South Carolina, when I found a lightning whelk half-buried in the sand. I picked it up, noticed that a snail still lived inside, and promptly tossed it back into the ocean. The shell would have made a lovely souvenir, but not at the sacrifice of the snail.
    Later in the week we zipped down to Savannah, Georgia where I found the reward for my shell sacrifice. A pottery corset. How perfect is that? Sitting on a cage, waiting for the crinolines, my statuette is light blue with a little filigree design. One shoulder strap is slipped down just like on my book cover. Perfect.

    Now, perhaps you don't see the corset as a reward for returning a snail to its home, but I think this is a necessary game we writers play with ourselves. Good deeds eventually are rewarded.

    Hard work also begets rewards, but sometimes those rewards are a longtime coming. So we improvise. We substitute our own reward system for reaching intermediate goals. Write a chapter, treat yourself to a reward. Submit to an editor, treat yourself to a reward. Receive a rejection, then definitely treat yourself to a reward because this business is all about submitting. You can't sell if you don't submit and (unfortunately) open yourself to the possibility of rejection.

    So tell me how you reward yourself? Do you have a reward system in place for reaching writing goals? I'll reward one of the comments with a pink corset keychain.
    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Shhh ... What's Your Secret Ingredient?

    by Anna Sugden
    There are more than a hundred ways with ground beef, or minced meat as we call it at home. Every country has their stock recipes which are filling and easy to cook. Over here it’s meatloaf or burgers. At home, it’s cottage pie or spaghetti bolognese (ground meat and tomato sauce). Dishes we learn from our parents, as students or from the first cook book. We all have our own variations on these dishes - that secret ingredient that makes our dish tastier than everyone else’s.

    For spaghetti bolognese, I have three secret ingredients. One, I learned while backpacking in Greece is a pinch or two of ground Allspice. It brings out the flavour of the mince perfectly. The second is a teaspoonful of turmeric, which rounds out the flavour of the tomato.
    The third, I picked up from fabulous Italian chef Antonio Carluccio. His wonderful TV series on Italian cooking was a feast to behold. He makes everything sound easy to cook and his recipes are delicious.

    What was his secret ingredient?

    Believe it or not … milk.

    Figuring he hasn’t led me astray before, I tried Carluccio’s suggestion and added a cup of milk to my spaghetti bolognese recipe. And it worked. It made the whole dish richer and tastier. Who'd have thought?

    As writers, our work often progresses or makes a big leap forward through the addition of a secret ingredient. It could be learning to use GMC to develop stronger, richer characters. Or increasing the amount of dialogue to intensify pace. Or using more deep point of view.

    Those who have sold will often say that there was one thing - one special ingredient - that they had to discover about their writing, which enabled them to make that magical leap from unpublished to published. I know there were several a-ha moments in my writing career, which enabled me to make the leap to finalling in, and then winning contests, and to revisions requests from editors instead of form rejections. I’m still searching for that secret ingredient which will help me make that first sale. But, I know it’s there. I just have to find it.


    So, what is your secret ingredient - either for meatloaf, spaghetti bolognese, another dish or in your writing?
    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Have a great outdoorsy weekend.

Araks

Lord Of The Fading Lands


    interviewed by Beth Andrews


    It is my pleasure to introduce award winning author C.L. Wilson to the elfreda ica! C.L. combines sweeping sword and sorcery fantasy with the simmering passion of romance in her two-book publishing debut, Tairen Soul: Lord of the Fading Lands and Tairen Soul: Lady of Light and Shadows coming October and November 2007, from Leisure Books.


    Welcome to the Bandit Lair, C.L! Congratulations on your debut release, Lord of the Fading Lands. Can you tell us a bit about your road to publication?


    Thanks so much for having me. And thanks for the congratulations. I’m still very excited about the sale – and really looking forward to seeing my books in the stores in a week or so.

    As for my road to publication…well, that’s been an interesting journey. I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was a little kid. I wrote my first story when I was six and started my first novel at age fourteen. Of course, I was one of those “million starts, zero finishes” writers. Ideas I had by the bucketful, but I was coming up skint on endings. Finally, when I was twenty, I typed my very first “THE END”. I thought for sure fame and fortune were right around the corner waiting for me! Er…not quite. My first rejection was, though. I did keep writing. I took a few fairly lengthy detours along the way – for college, career, marriage and kids – but I never gave up on my dream of publication. I studied, learned the craft, wrote – and finished! – another three books, each time getting closer to publication. I got critique partners and started entering lots of contests. My fourth book was a Golden Heart finalist and was the project that got me my agent. My fifth book was the one that sold.

    My “Call” was pretty cool. The manuscript had finalled in the Low Country RWA’s Jasmine award and Alicia Condon at Dorchester was the final judge. She read the entry and emailed me to say she really liked it and if the rest was as good as the opening, she wanted to offer me a contract. I was very excited, but I also knew I’d broken all the rules with the book – it was 1,000 pages long (675 TNR12) – it was the first of a planned trilogy about the same couple, and it was sword & sorcery fantasy romance (nary a vampire or werewolf to be found). Anyways, Michelle and I shipped the thing off…and about eight months later (after Alicia got over the shock of the *size* of it) I received a call from Michelle who said “Well, would you like to sell a book today?” Most writers talk about screaming their heads off in excitement when they get The Call. I cried. LOL.



    Of course, then my Call got even better – two days later, we got a second call, and the next thing I knew we were at auction (which is, really exciting and very nerve wracking, BTW). I sold the book to Dorchester, and I will always be grateful to them and to Alicia for taking such a chance on an unknown author.

    Your books are a wonderful blend of fantasy and romance. What can you tell us about Lord of the Fading Lands and your next release, Lady Of Light and Shadows?

    LORD and LADY are the first and second half of the original manuscript, called Tairen Soul. I had to split my 1000 page monsterscript into two books for publication – but they’re coming out back to back Oct 2 and Oct 30, so readers won’t have to wait too long. The books tell the story about an immortal shapeshifting Fey king, Rain Tairen Soul, who is trying to save his people (the Fey) and his soul-kin (the tairen - think fire-breathing dragon-sized panthers with wings) from extinction. He’s the last Tairen Soul – the only one of his people able to shapeshift into a tairen – and when he consults a magical oracle to find the key to saving the tairen and the Fey, it sends him to the mortal city of Celieria. There he meets Ellysetta Baristani, who is far, far more than the quiet, unassuming daughter of a mortal woodcarver she appears to be. Together, Rain and Ellie embark on a journey of love and self-discovery and perilous, high-stakes adventure in their quest to save the tairen and the Fey and defeat the dark forces of the High Mage of Eld.

    What's next in this fantastic series?

    I’m currently working on books 3 and 4 in the Tairen Soul series, which will conclude the story about Rain and Ellie. And then, well, that’s up to the readers. If they like the world, I’ve got many more stories to tell.

    World building is an important part of this series. How did you go about creating the world of the immortal Fey and the evil Elden Mages? What about the legends, poems and art you use in the story?

    I adore world-building. To me, it’s half the fun of writing the stories – I finally get to put all my years of trivial pursuit-worthy knowledge to use! LOL. I’m doing a series on the basics of world-building on my website blog, but in a nutshell, you find out what your story is about (both the plot AND the theme(s) of the story) and build an entire world or certain aspects of a world (cultures, creatures, magical systems) to explore, mirror, or set into conflict the plot and themes of your book. Successful world-building (Frank Herbert’s Dune series, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Christine Feehan’s Carpathians) completely integrate the world into every aspect of their book – without that special and unique world, the story could not be told.




    I did a lot of world-building for this story. I actually started with a single image – an immortal Fey king, sitting on a throne before a magical oracle, facing the extinction of his peoples and desperate to find a solution. Everything else sprang from that one very vivid image. And it’s an ongoing process for me. I’m on the same journey of discovery as my heroine Ellysetta, and we find out all sorts of things together as the words appear on the page. (Of course, I have to pause to jot down new discoveries in my world building notebook so I don’t forget them!)

    As for legends and poetry…oh, I love them. Like with like fairy tales and music, you can derive such powerful emotion from legends and poetry. Legends are just, to me, little short fantasy stories with full of concentrated emotion and drama. They are a delight to read and write. And the same goes for poetry.

    I know you love to travel - what's your most memorable trip? Any dream trips you'd like to share?

    My most memorable trip was the three and a half months my cousin and I spent backpacking around Europe after we graduated from college. What an amazing experience – one I’d highly recommend to every adventurous soul! Some of our most memorable experiences included a trip was to Berlin, Germany on reunification day – my cousin and I both got a piece of the wall – and to Prague, Czechoslovakia, not long after it emerged from the Soviet block. Both were fascinating, and very eye-opening first-hand experiences of what life was like for most people in the Soviet Union under the communist regime. Oh, and Pompeii. Defies description. Amazing. And Rome – the coliseum was right outside the door of our pension.

    Apart from that, probably my favorite trip has been the honeymoon my husband and I took to Hawaii. We stood about 10-12 feet from red-hot pahoehoe lava as it poured into the ocean from the Mt. Kilauea eruption. Fascinating.


    Thanks, C.L.! To celebrate C.L. Being with us today, we're giving away three prizes; an 11"x13" poster of the cover of Lord of the Fading Lands, an 11"x13" poster of the cover of Lady of Light and Shadows and an autographed copy of Lord of the Fading Lands. So, Dear Readers, we'd love to hear from you. What was your most memorable travel experience? Where is your dream destination? Three lucky commenters will win!!

    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

And The Winnah Is...

    Ms Hellion! SUPER CONGRATS! You are the winner of Debrah Williamson's Paper Hearts. Please send your snail mail info to Aunty Cindy at cindymm18 AT gmail DOT com and we'll get that autographed copy out to you. Aunty is SURE you will love reading it! Thanx again to everyone who commented and even to those who read the post and didn't comment. Just remember, you can't WIN if you don't comment!

    And VERY BIG BANDITA HUZZAH to Deb for being a GREAT GUEST! We hope to entice you back one of these days for more great writing tips.

    Source URL: http://yourrighthandthief.blogspot.com/2007/09/
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Baileys Home and Garden

I can't wait to see this.

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