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Showing posts from November, 2008

Rituals

By Michele Ann Young

I am definitely a creature of habit. And the holiday season kicks me into ritual mode.

First comes the Christmas pudding ritual. I know lots of people don’t like it, but to me it’s a taste of the past and a wish for the future.

At our house the pud ritual starts in November. I go to the closest bulk food store and buy the freshest of dried fruits—which probably sounds a bit of an oxymoron, but there really is a difference. I use the same recipe every year and have the list in my address book ready to go.

My girls usually help with the weighing and chopping of ingredients. Christmas pudding is all about weighing—and steaming, but that comes later. We always add Guinness to our pudding, makes it lovely and dark. My husband loves to drink the rest of the can. That’s his ritual.

Then we stir. Each person goes up to the bowl alone, takes the wooden spoon, and stirs. While stirring they make a wish for the coming year. No telling your wish or it won’t come true.

After spendi…

Next Stop, Christmas!!

Every year, the day after Christmas is not Black Friday and fighting the multitudes of frenzied shoppers to buy, buy, buy for us, but a day of setting up the Christmas tree and decorations, eating leftover turkey, pumpkin pie, and my daughter's birthday cake, and making up our Christmas lists.

How did it get to be this late in the year already?

Next thing we know, it'll be New Years!

But for now, we'll settle for the Christmas holidays--seeing Christmas shows, attending Christmas parties, and the inevitable Christmas shopping.

And since I'm not working this weekend, I'm off to finishing up teaching two online classes, preparing for three for December and writing Plight of the Wolf.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving who celebrate it, and wishing everyone fun-filled and stressless holidays ahead.

So the question is--Do you have any Christmas traditions you'd like to share?

Late breaking news!!! I just got an email from the Toronto Romance Writers of America ask…

Black Friday for Fluff and Puff

“Why couldn’t we stay home?” Puff whined from his spot in Jazz’s Marc Jacobs pink leather tote, as she wove her way through the hordes of people that pushed around Jazz.

“Because you might come in handy.” Jazz had the grim determination you only saw one day a year. The day after Thanksgiving when serious shoppers came out to do their holiday shopping.

Jazz was there armed with credit cards, ready to do what it took to get all her shopping out of the way.

Fluff’s ears curved over the top of the bag, then his eyes peeped over, widening at the mob around them. “I’m going back to the car.”

Jazz tightened her hold on the bag. “No, you’re not.” She pushed her way into Nordstrom on the quest for the perfect gifts. It wasn’t long before she found a leather jacket for Nick, an even cuter leather jacket for herself, sweaters for Stasi and Blair, a wrap for Thea and she was still going strong.

“I want a pretzel,” Puff demanded.

“Later.” Jazz’s gaze narrowed as she spied a plum silk top across the stor…

We Are Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving from the Casa Gals! Here is a brief round up of what we're most thankful for this year!

Christina Harlin
1. What food do you most look forward to on Thanksgiving? My Aunt Cathy’s mashed potatoes
2. What fun family tradition do you most enjoy? Pizza and trivia games the night before Thanksgiving
3. What are you thankful for this year? My son’s wonderful adjustment to high school.

Linda Wisdom
1. What food do you most look forward to on Thanksgiving? Turkey. I LOVE turkey and enjoy finding new ways to fix it up.
2. What fun family tradition do you most enjoy? Sadly, our family has shrunk over the years, but just being together is grea.
3. What are you thankful for this year? For my friends and the whole hearted support they've given me.

Michele Anne Young
1. What food do you most look forward to on Thanksgiving?
In Canada we had our Thanksgiving in October, and in England we don't do it at all. I guess we were the ones the founding fathers left behind lol. But…

Strange, Non-Waterfowl Day Wishes from Chumley Masticar

Hello, everyone! Chumley Masticar here again! I thought I’d pop back in for a bit since my author is In Over Her Head, heavily at work on Rod’s story edits and Angel’s story creation—not to mention getting that strange, non-waterfowl ready for the big day tomorrow.

Thank the gods you Humans go for the winged type for your celebrates. I’ll tell you, those Italians and their Feast of the Seven Fishes have the Undersea World in an uproar every December. But at least in November we can rest somewhat easily—although I did hear of one instance where someone actually brought salmon to a turkey dinner. Can you imagine? How un-American! (Though the salmon was from Alaska, not somewhere out in the Wild Blue Under, so perhaps that counts? And, no, Sarah Palin was not the culprit!) Sadly, too, the salmon was not the guest...

I don’t know. You all have such strange holidays. Crushed cocoa beans mixed with sugar cane that you pass out in plastic wrappers at night, in the dark, in the cold? I don’t ge…

Books Make Great Gifts

By: Deb Werksman,
Casablanca Acquiring Editor

Books make great gifts!

As we go into this holiday season with all the uncertainty in our industry and in the world, what we're saying at Sourcebooks is: BOOKS MAKE GREAT GIFTS!

They have a low price point, a high perceived value, and they're a personal, thoughtful gift. They convey the message, "I think you're intelligent!" and people LOVE books!

So, everyone, enjoy the holidays, and think about how your books, published and future, are a GIFT!!!

Ok, now about getting published...Now more than ever, editors are being careful to acquire what we feel confident will sell, so that "hook" gets more and more important.

What I'm looking for:
Single title romance fiction in all subgenres with:
*a heroine the reader can relate to
*a hero she can fall in love with
*a world gets created
*I can sell it in 2-3 sentences (in other words, it has a great hook!)

Questions? Bring 'em on!

Holiday reading and a title update...

As we enter Thanksgiving week, I'm looking forward to carving a little extra time out of my schedule to treat myself to some holiday reading. Each year I try to wrap up major projects by Thanksgiving, so I will have more free time to enjoy the holiday season and be less stressed. I use some of that free time to catch up on the teetering pile(s) of books in my TBR – to be read– stack. I'm especially looking forward to reading this year, because last year my holiday reading didn't happen. A tremendous writing opportunity was offered to me that I couldn't pass up. But taking advantage of that opportunity meant I was madly writing through Thanksgiving, Christmas and into the New Year to finish a manuscript on a short deadline. Last year the holidays were a blur and a nervous breakdown waiting to happen. Too much to do and no time to do it all.
Never fear. I've learned my lesson. I will be more vigilant in protecting my time in the future. Not that I don't or won'…

In all things give thanks

Thanksgiving appears to be the theme this month, so I figured it was apropos to carry on! So let’s talk a little about thanksgiving – and Thanksgiving – in a general sense.

We all know the story of the Plymouth Pilgrims of 1621. It is drummed into us from kindergarten on with the endless papier-mâché turkeys and feather Indian hats, but as time goes on does it become repetitious and blasé? Has political correctness skewed the true meaning, and our crazy lives interfered with the joy of the holiday beyond eating ourselves senseless? History cannot be denied and the fact is that the early settlers were not a poor, starving community giving their thanks to the native tribes for saving their butts. Rather, they were a thriving collective fulfilling a century’s old tradition of thanking God for His bounty, mercy, and protection. Cultures throughout time have held harvest festivals and other feast-days as a way to make merry while offering tribute to their gods. In the colonies that would be…

Notes From A Book Tour

While da Vinci and I have been touring the world (wide web) together, I just couldn't resist parading my hunky 25-year old Italian hero of Dating da Vinci in real life, too. He may be a figment of my imagination, but it's sure been fun talking to people in person about "my guy" and the young widow, Ramona Elise, who adores him.
In the last two weeks I've made six appearances in Oklahoma, and wanted to share some highlights with you.
At Full Circle Books, a wonderful independent in Oklahoma City where I had my official launch party, an elderly gentleman who is not related to me or my husband, came up and bought my book. My MIL comes up and says - do you think he knows your book is for women? Me: Um, if he couldn't tell from the title and the cover, then, no I wasn't going to point it out to him.At the fab Girls Night Out La Dolce Vita part at Bravo, forty+ women came, listened to a guest life coach, we drank Flirtinis and I kicked out the male waiters …

Unruly Characters

People don't generally believe me when I tell them that my characters have minds of their own. I mean, okay, I know that TECHNICALLY they did come out of my head. I'm not completely nutty. But getting to know a character, particularly just as you're beginning a story, can be an interesting experience. Especially if they don't want to be what you want them to be. Think this is impossible? Oh no. No it is not. And a character can make you utterly miserable until you get him or her right.

An example? In my book Dark Highland Fire, my heroine, Rowan, starts out as a stripper at a sleazy joint in Reno. She and I had no issues about also her also being an otherworldly, blood-drinking demigoddess: apparently, that worked for everyone. But the stripper thing, well...honestly, I was not at all sure about it. I tried to make her a more vulnerable refugee without a job. I tried to compromise and make her a bartender at the sleazy strip joint. I tried to work it so she didn't a…

Leaving Las Vegas

In the struggle for supremacy between me and Vegas, Vegas has won. I am defeated, exhausted, and more footsore than I've been in my life. It is now 1:25 PT, and I'm just getting back from a day that included a run to Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and the old strip downtown.

One of the most fun things we did was a bus tour hosted by this guy, who, interestingly enough has written his autobiography. He gave me his card and told me we should swap books, but I haven't heard back from him yet.







Last night my friend Angela and I went to see the Thunder from Down Under show, (male strippers for those who, like me, had never heard of it) and got my picture taken with six guys who could have posed for any one of our covers. Unfortunately, it isn't digital, so I can't post it.

We've been to all the big casinos, or will have by the time our flight leaves tomorrow night.

Got a few romance novel ideas while I was here, along with about a million pictures, including this one of m…

Internetiquette

by Danielle

The internet is a big place—it’s literally endless. There are countless blogs, websites, webzines, etc. that are easily accessible. Book reviews are quickly making more and more headway on the internet for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it is cheap PR (often FREE) and it’s an easy way to reach a lot of people. So it makes sense that as a publicist I would do whatever I can to get the word out about many of your books on the web—quickly and furiously during the first part of your promotional periods, right?
You’ve all heard my spiels about blog tours and q&a’s and personal blogs and group blogs and reviews, and I’m sure some of you find it a little annoying that the focus is on web and not in a newspaper or a magazine. But I truly believe that this is the future of book reviews. With so many newspapers shutting down their book sections and off the page book reviewers few and far between, this is an awesome way to market your book directly to the people who want…

What I'm Thankful For...

By Robin Kaye
In this time of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for my children, my family, and to the Shriners. When one thinks of the Shriners, one might think of men wearing funny hats, the Shriners Circus, or the fundraisers they hold. What one doesn't ordinarily think of is the Children's Hospitals they support or the many trips these men (wearing their funny fezzes) make, ferrying children to and from the Shriners hospitals from neighboring cities or states, sometimes hours away.
Every day the people of Shriners Hospitals make miracles commonplace. Every day they improve the lives of children from all over the world by treating burns, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic problems, and cleft lips and palates. Every day, they give children the chance to live more normal lives and defy the odds.
One of the Shriners kids is my daughter, Isabelle. With the help of the Shriners, Isabelle has defied all the odds. We were told she'd never walk; now she not only walks but she runs. Thanks…

Christmas Present - Part One

This holiday season, my Casablanca sisters and I thought about presenting stories, some of which may be based on the holiday adventures of characters from our books. Since my own romantic suspense entry is not due to arrive until Spring 2009, I hesitated bringing the characters out to play just yet . . . I admit, I don’t want to give anything away. Therefore for my next three blog dates, I’m submitting this little Christmas story in three parts, with my sincere gratitude to Charles Dickens and his holiday standard, "A Christmas Carol". His tale is endlessly borrowed, but there’s a reason for it: it’s a marvelous story. This is a personal spin on the story of Scrooge, and I hope Mr. Dickens’ own ghost will forgive me for the liberties I’ve taken.

Christmas Present - Part One
By Christina Harlin

“I am the ghost of Christmas Present.”

Blake peered with one half-opened eye at the apparition at the foot of his bed, from which this particularly sultry and provocative voice had eme…

Grateful Thanks

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

It's that time of year again, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere. After long months of planting, tending and growing, we're now ready for the harvest. In many ways, this year may not be as bountiful as years past, but there is still much for which I am grateful.

With the recent economic woes, my 401(k) is probably closer to a 200.5 but I still have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my stomach, and thankfully the same can be said for all my friends and family. For too many people in the world this is sadly not the case, and I try to never forget how very fortunate I am in this respect.

In fact, I have even more to be grateful for this year than usual! Just last month I finally saw my long held dream of having a book on store shelves come true! I was in a book store just yesterday, and got tears in my eyes when I walked passed the "M"s and saw three copies of my book sitting there.

Moving from first sale to…

Delayed Gratification

By: Marie Force

Yesterday I had lunch with a new-ish friend who read and loved Line of Scrimmage. The last time we dined together she asked if she could read another of my books. I said sure and sent her my latest, a romantic suspense. Today, she asked if we could talk about the book. She had so many questions about the process and the origins of the story. (She also mentioned that my brain must be a busy place. Personally, I prefer the word chaotic.) Did I want to talk about the book? You betcha!

As writers, we wait FOREVER (or so it seems) for our work to see the light of day. It can take years from when we finish a novel until the day we hold it in our hot little hands as a real, live book. "Same Time Sunday" will be out in the Spring of 2009—only 10 years after I had the idea and three years after I finally wrote it. In many other creative fields, the gratification comes a little sooner. Write a song? Here, let me sing it for you. Complete a painting? Put it up on a wall …

Taking Critique Without Taking It On The Chin

By Mary Margret Daughtridge
I recently finished the copy edits for SEALed With A Promise (coming Spring 2009.) I had to take my own advice more than once. :-)
Criticism—it’s right up there with death and taxes for a writer. Inevitable, and you ignore it at your peril, because the closer you come to being published, the more people there are who tell you exactly what is wrong with your book and expect you to fix it—if you want to be published, that is.

Unfortunately, most of the advice about how to take critique, like don’t take it personally is only useful if you already know how to do that. If you could not take it personally, you wouldn’t have a problem, right? As a Master Practitioner of NLR, for many years I’ve helped people make positive, permanent changes in how they think and react to criticism.

I’m not going to ask you to view a critique of your work unemotionally. That is so not going to happen. However, you can learn to shield yourself from being overwhelmed by hurt and anger.
S…

The Verdicts Are Arriving Thick and Fast.

The Lady Flees Her Lord is hitting bookshelves all over the place and I have had some wonderful messages pop into my inbox, some great reviews and fan mail. Because it is hard to keep up with all of the review sites, I thought I would post a sampling all in one place.

Wendy Hines of Armchair Interviews says:

This is a wonderful book. Beautiful historical background with two characters who just are not perfect. It makes the story so much more real when you can relate to them. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Highly recommended for those who love historical romance.



Bookbinge makes the following comments

I really liked Lucinda. She wasn't a victim. She took her life into her own hands and made a successful go at it.
And Hugo. I really liked him too. Lucinda does draw him out of his shell and gets him interacting with the people around him. And he so dearly wants Lucinda. Of course he doesn't realize at first that he loves her, but oh my was he a sweet bear of a man.
T…

Publisher's Weekly selected Heart of the Wolf by Terry Spear as One of their BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR!!!

When I wrote Heart of the Wolf, it really was a creation from my heart--a story that evolved from my love of Jack London's White Fang and Call of the Wild--the first stories I'd ever read about wolves--of loving mythologies from all over the world, of the love of reading to escape my world while I was growing up.

I wanted to do something different--create a world that was real enough, even though it's an urban fantasy.


So when it won 3rd place out of 7 finalists in the Golden Pen, I was really proud of Heart of the Wolf, my first win ever. Sure, it didn't take 1st place, but I was thrilled. The judge from one of the big publishing houses said she loved the unique twist on a horror story.



Heart of the Wolf is a romantic suspense, a shapeshifter urban fantasy where werewolves live in secret amongst humans who have wolf instincts in their human forms and human sensibilities as wolves.



Publishers Weekly had this to say:

Red werewolf Bella flees her adoptive pack of gray werew…

Happy Veterans Day

My mom was in the Marine Corps during WWII, my dad in the Army and my husband was in the Coast Guard, so this is for them too.

And they do say there’s something about a man in uniform. Or out.

So let’s give them all a smile today, shall we?

Linda, who plans to dig out An Officer and A Gentleman to watch today

What’s In A Name?

What's in a name? A lot. Shakespeare wrote about it and I experienced it. Our wonderful editor, Deb Werksman, let me know that we needed to come up with a new title for Book 2 in the Mer series, formerly Whale of a Tail. So, okay, now what do I do? That name had been around since the book’s inception and it’s kind of stuck with me.

Knowing I was too attached to it to see past the trees, as it were, I sent it out to my online community. Fast and furious, the titles came rolling in. They were great! The Top 10 that went in for final consideration were:

Going Off The Deep End
Going Overboard
Hooked On You
In Too Deep
Off The Hook
Out Of The Blue
Splash And Burn
Swept Away
Tide up in Knots
Wild Blue Under


The winner was……… Wild Blue Under from author, Lisa Brackmann.

I love it and I’m thrilled because it was already in the blurb for this book, so no major changes to that.

Now, for another fun part to this story. Another online friend came to my email too late, but hadn’t realized it. She submitted …

Ch-ch-changes...to titles

I had an email earlier this week from Casablanca Editor Deb Werksman saying the title of my September 2009 release (formerly SECOND CHANCES) needed to be changed. She wanted me to brainstorm a new title.
Now, after several years of publishing books, I'm used to the fact that titles frequently get changed. Most of my titles have been. Unseen Dangers became To Love, Honor and Defend. Always There was changed to Danger at Her Door. Hearts on Fire became Enemy at Her Door and then in a last minute move was changed to Duty To Protect. And so on and so on...
I understand fully why titles are changed. It's all about marketing and capturing the attention of readers. Titles convey more than just the subject of the plot. A good title also reflects the mood, the genre, the takeaway message. A great title can become a catch phrase that pumps more marketing power behind the book. How many variations of Who Moved My Cheese? did we see after that book hit the bestsellers list? The mo…

Unforeseen Consequences

by Sharon Lathan

I am sure that if you lined up a hundred published authors and asked for their testimony, you would receive a hundred different stories. Some began weaving stories in their cradles while others, like me, were bit by the bug later in life. The decision for when to take those secret scribblings and share them with others would be vastly variable. Then there is the search for the elusive agent and publisher. Maybe you got lucky the first time around or it took years and you amassed enough rejection letters to keep a blaze going for a month straight. But in the end, it seems that the one thing all published authors have in common is, well, being published! Where it goes from there – success vs. failure, marketing strategies, further writing, yada yada – will also flow down unpredictable paths, but more than likely you can find someone out there in our world of easy networking who has been through something similar and can commiserate. Thank God for that!

But, I wanted to ta…