Sunday, May 31, 2009

T-Minus One Second and....LAUNCH!!!

    Yes, you guessed it, another Launch Party in the Lair!! Woohoooo! Nothing like a party with the elfreda ica.
    Today, June 1, is the official Launch for Dark and Deadly, my second Romantic Suspense. Whew! A milestone, indeed. I'm now officially multi-published.

    Whaddya know? How the heck did that happen?

    As I wrote this, I was thinking a lot about my debut, Dark and Dangerous. It hit the stands on June 1, 2008. Same Time, Last Year.

    I didn't know then what I know now.

    That sounds trite, doesn't it? However, any of you who have children will be familiar with this feeling. Everyone tells you when you're pregnant that your life is about to change irrevocably. You know it too. You think you understand it. And in some ways you do understand that monumental change that's overtaking you. In every other way?

    Ohhhh, you don't understand anything and you are in for the ride of your life!

    Even if you don't have kids, you get this. You've been there with a job, or a life change like a marriage or a divorce, or a lay-off.

    Same thing with getting that first book published. You know things are about to change. Things HAVE changed the moment you sign the contract. So, analogous to finding out you're pregnant, you get The Call and sign the contract and everything suddenly shifts into high gear. You turn the book in. You make the requested revisions. You make more revisions. You wait. You prepare - like buying for a nursery, you have to choose: what fits in the budget? How much room do you have? Book marks or magnets? Ads in RT or no ads anywhere?

    It's a blur.

    The book comes out, hopefully to notice if not acclaim, and you're on your way. Now you're not just writing for contests, for that hope of publication; NOW you have a deadline and someone is paying you to meet it.

    There are some things I promised myself I would try to never do, when I sold. So far, I'm doing pretty well. Here are a few:

    Never complain about having a deadline, since there are thousands who would love to be in your shoes.

    Okay, I'm doing well with this one because I actually LIKE deadlines. They motivate me - sometimes in a positive way, sometimes with a whip and a chair - but either way, I get-er- done when I have a deadline. The other thing here is, at risk of repetition, someone is paying me to deliver a product by a certain date. Period. That, right there, is motivation enough for me.

    Trust me, I'm a good old American Capitalist. I LIKE to get paid, even if it isn't that much at first, it's that much and I'm there to fulfill my contract.

    Never complain about how "hard" it is to find time to write.

    I'm one of the luckiest people on earth. I know this. I have a great husband who supports what I do, my sons are proud that their mom "writes books," even if they have no idea what the scope of that entails.

    I have a good writing schedule.

    If I don't have time to write, it's no one's fault but my own. I bow down in homage to those who get up at 5 am to write before the kids get up, or take a quick nap when their spouses come home so they can stay up after everyone's asleep to slip in some writing time. They do it on breaks at the day job, in between chemo appointments with their mom, while in the car pool lane, or on the night shift.

    Trust me, I know how lucky I am, and I keep my mouth shut, even when it seems like I have so much non-writing stuff to do that I don't know how I'll find the time to write.

    I'm lucky. I'll find it.

    Never disparage another writer's work, or process, or genre.

    You know, there are still so many who look down on Romance as a genre. Feeling the occasional sting of that, I resolved a while back that I wouldn't "return the favor" to any other genre.

    Are there books I don't like. Yes.
    Are there genres I don't read? Yes, again.
    Are they all valuable? Oh, my, YES!

    It takes a mystery, fantasy, literary, YA or horror writer just as long to write 415 manuscript pages as it does for me to do it. Even Poets have to struggle with word choice and character arcs and the dreaded sagging middle. Just because my genre seems to be especially persecuted (bodice ripper anyone?) after years of proving our worth, doesn't mean we are somehow better. Or Worse.

    Now, I'll be a little proud here and remind all of YOU that Romance is the only reliably selling, powerfully deliverable product in the book world right now, according to the Washington Post and several other articles.

    It's a justifiable pride I think, but I try to do it without accompanying prejudice.

    And process? Oh, my.

    I wrestled so hard with my early work, trying to fit the writing and me into SOME kind of process. Plotting. Nope. Outlining. Nope. I don't use the tools that others use, but if I hadn't tried them I would have missed some incredibly valuable lessons.

    That said, the best lesson was that I'm NOT a plotter nor am I a chapter-by-chapter pantzer. I don't outline. I DO write a synopsis and I follow it pretty well, but otherwise? For me it's a big, fat surprise all the way from "A Dark and Stormy Night" to The End.

    My process is a thing of murk and mire, rather than clean lines and an arrow shooting from a drawn bow.

    I heard NYT Author PC Cast call it the Brew and Spew method of writing.

    Yep. That I can understand.

    So, whether you're plotter to the max - chapter one, scene one, two, three - or a Murk and Mire, Brew and Spew writer like me, I lift my glass in toast. Here's to US, writers all!

    *clinkclinkclinkclink* (Wow, lots of clinking glasses! I LOIKE it!!)

    Last but not least, the thing I said I would try my BEST to not do? Pontificate.

    Yeah, you heard me. Despite the length of this tome of a post, have I said "you should do this!"?

    Nope. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

    I heard a lot of "YouShouldDoThis" when I first joined my chapter and RWA. I think in that adolescent period between being a nascent writer and a seasoned one, you find that your process is "the groove" and you want to share it with everyone as if it were the one-and-only-gospel-of-writing-amen. Then you get past it and see that some people Brew, some Plot, some fly by the seat of their Harem Pants, some slog, some sing, but all writers write to The End. No matter how we get there, we get there.

    I mostly try to just accept that others do it differently.

    So, the only "should" is that we should all get our bums back in our OWN chairs! Hahaha! (Anyone out there wince? No? Good for you!!)

    So, now that I've broken my rule a wee bit and pontificated, what are some things you hope you remember NOT to say?

    What are some things you hope you ALWAYS remember from "The Before THE CALL" time?

    Imagining yourself down the road with your third book on the NYT, what would YOU tell a brand new author?

    And last but not least on the questions, how would you answer the question La Nora seems to ALWAYS get asked.....drum roll please....WHERE do you get your ideas?

    SNORK!!!! AND...As always, grab a glass from a passing cabana boy or Gladiator (Marcus? Lucien? You're ready over there at the bar, right?) Let's stack 'em, rack 'em and pack 'em (books that is) and celebrate Dark and Deadly hitting the shelves! Buy early and often! hahaha!Source URL:
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Indian Chicks Are Liars


    Hot women can be found all over the world, which is great when you're a suave, sexy globetrotter like me. Unfortunately, some of them are kind of insane. Bollywood star Neetu Chandra did a photoshoot with another girl for the Indian magazine, The Man. Now everyone is calling her a lesbian, which she hates so much she became derogatory.
    "If there is even an iota of doubt in anyone's mind, let me make it clear once and for all that I am not a lesbo," she said. "We aren't even touching each other's body." (The Times of India)

    Um, unlike your sexy face, pictures don't lie. You're clearly all over her. Because of this, I'm assuming you haven't ever told the truth. Yep, you're a full on "lesbo" all right, or at least you are right here, *tapping forhead*. Mmmhmm.


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Teri Hatcher in a bikini


    Here's Teri Hatcher swimming in Miami and, Jesus Mother of God, I forgot how awesome those things are. It's sort of like finding your favorite blanket you loved as a kid except it's Terri Hatcher's breasts. Also, you didn't have to kidney punch your nephew who wasn't even using it, mom.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Road Trip!

    by Susan Sey

    I had an epiphany the other day.

    I didn't find an image of the Virgin Mary in my morning oatmeal or anything. It was pretty pedestrian as far as epiphanies go. My sudden blast of insight was more related to the ten-hour road trip I was preparing for.

    When I was a kid, we regularly drove up to our family cottage in Northern Michigan for the weekend. It was a four hour trip, one way. Sometimes my dad would drive back to the city for the work week, leaving my mom & sisters & I alone at the lake until he returned late Friday night.

    Every afternoon while he was away my mom would load up the giant van & take us all to the Dairy Queen in town. I can't remember what we all ate but she had an enormous Peanut Buster Parfait. Every day, rain or shine, without fail. Peanut Buster Parfait.

    When I was a kid, road trips just...happened. Like Christmas & birthday parties & dinner & clean clothes. They just magically occured & I didn't bother to think about where they came from. I got in the van at home, got out several hours later at the cottage & voila. Summer vacation was upon us.

    I thought about this as I stood in my bedroom the other day with suitcases piled up to my knees, a mountain of clean but unfolded laundry mounded on the bed, & an excel spreadsheet in hand listing out everything I needed to do/pack/remember. Getting a family from Point A to Point B is no joke. Succesful military campaigns have been mounted that require less planning.

    When I was a kid, I thought the daily trip to DQ for was us. Now that I'm older (and have survived a few solo, ten-hour road trips sans my husband,) I know better.

    That Peanut Buster Parfait was my mother's sanity. It was nothing less than an oasis of selfishness & indulgence. It was something to look forward to every day while trapped for a weeks in a tiny cottage with one bathroom, balky plumbing & no other kids for miles around. I don't remember if she read romance novels or not, but I hope she did. If ever a woman needed a HEA, it was my mom during those long weeks at the lake.

    This little epiphany of mine got me thinking about other transitions I've made, other times life has forced me to rearrange my thinking. Most particularly, I've revisited how I define a good book anymore.

    Before I tried writing, I didn't cut books--or authors--a lot of slack. I loved a good book. I adored a great one. I read them over & over & over again if a book took my fancy. But if a book failed to live up to the promise of the blurb? Or petered out after a promising start? Or finished with an unsatisfying limp? Oooooh. I did not forgive easily.

    But now that I write books--or attempt to write books--I have a great deal more empathy for what the author tried to do rather than what she actually did. I can admire an ambitious plot turn, even if it isn't artfully executed. I can befriend a hero or heroine who isn't quite as sympathetic as I'd have demanded before.

    I especially love books that are set in unusal locations (Ancient Rome, anybody?) and unpopular time periods (Vietnam War era stuff really appeals to me right now for some reason.) I love the fact that the author sank a year or more of her life into swimming upstream with no guarantee it would pay off. I love that somebody listened to her heart & wrote what was in it instead of trying to force her idea into a pre-formed & saleable slot.

    So tell me: When was the last time you changed your mind? Got a fresh perspective? Redefined something? Took a risk? And you're talking to somebody who recently gave both her children homemade summer haircuts, so don't hold back. Nobody's going to judge you here. :-)Source URL:
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Summer Snacks

    by Jo Robertson

    The other day I heard the ice cream man jangling his bell as his truck turned the corner near my house. No one ran after him as they did when I was a child -- lots of little kiddies racing down the street, pennies clutched in their hands.

    But the sound of that bell had an almost Pavlovian effect on me. Suddenly I wanted a treat – preferable the banana popsicles of my youth. Where did all the banana popsicles go, anyway? Can you still find them in your area?

    Summer snacks are the best kind. When the thermometer soars and it’s too hot to do anything outside except lie in the shaded hammock, all I want is a cool snack to ease the pain of sultry summer.

    Here are some of my favorite summer snacks:

    Homemade ice cream. Oh, you knew that was gonna top the list, right? I’ve shared my favorite ice cream recipe before, but I’ll repeat it below. Nothing's
    much better on a summer's day than a delicious, very large bowl of light, homemade ice cream.

    Peppermint patties. The large kind that you nibble on while drinking a tall glass of water and reading your favorite book. My brother and I used to crouch on the floor and draw with our colored pencils, each of us with a glass of ice water and a peppermint patty.

    Ah, the good old days.

    California Cuties. No, not the girls, but the small oranges that are so sweet and so perfectly sized for children's tiny fingers to peel. They're a cross between a sweet orange and a mandarin orange and are delicious! In fact, any fresh fruit is on my list of favorite snacks.

    Right now strawberries are on in California and will continue to produce until October. Yummy. I love strawberries!

    Soda. Your choice. Although I’m just saying that in my not-so-humble opinion, Pepsi outweighs Coke in the on-going Pepsi-Coke controversy. Lots of ice in a tall tumbler and hearing the fizz as the soda pours over the ice. Yum!

    Now I know the experts say soda doesn’t quench thirst nearly as well as water, but in my world, they're just plain wrong.

    Jello. No, no, not the yucky horribly-flavored kind you get in the hospital. I’m talking about the kind you bling up with lots of goodies. Apricot jello with crushed pineapple, bananas, and miniature marshmallows. Strawberry jello with Cool Whip and fresh strawberries.

    And I'm definitely not talking about the lime jello with shredded carrots my mother used to make. Whoever thought that was a good combo?

    Any dessert that doesn’t have to be baked.

    Like my Chocolate Dessert.
    · Break one angel food cake into pieces and spread in a 9x13 pan
    · Melt a 6 ounce package of chocolate chips with 3 tablespoons of water. Cool
    · Add 3 beaten egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of powered sugar.
    · Fold in 3 beaten egg whites and 1 cup of Cool Whip.
    · Pour mixture over cake and chill.
    · Top with chopped nuts.

    Any entrée that doesn’t have to be cooked. My advice – use the grill!

    Jo’s Homemade Ice Cream

    2 quarts of half and half
    1 can evaporated milk
    3 cups sugar
    1 TB lemon extract
    2 TB vanilla extract

    Mix well with wire whip and pour into ice cream maker.

    Okay, sharing time! What's your favorite summer snack? Sweet or salty? Dry or liquid? Got any favorite, non-labor intensive recipes for us?
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