Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Anyone have the magic key?

I have been dieting since July. I joined the gym in September and go at least three times a week some times four. I got on the scale today and I've only lost 13 pounds in all that time. At one point I got down to losing 18 pounds, but somewhere in there I gained five pounds back again.

It's KILLING me. I just don't get it. I look at food and put on weight. I work so hard with little results. I can't really afford a personal trainer at the gym so I'm coming to you guys. I need to know what you've done to lose weight. Try a diet that worked really well? Know a lot about working out and have any pointers for me on what I should be doing? Only cardio for now? Weights too? I need all the help I can get. It's so frustrating to work so hard at something with such little results. To get to a point where I would be semi happy with myself before summer I need to lose 2.3 pounds a week. It won't be my final goal, but I figured setting short term goals would be good in the beginning. I know you're supposed to lose weight slow, but I don't think two pounds a week is too many to aim for.

So, give it too me! I need all the help I can get!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Remembering the Bunny Suit

The Easter Holiday season kind of took me by surprise this year. Maybe it's because winter has lingered so long. But now the trees are budding and flowering and everyone is getting into the springtime 'feel' of things. Oddly, this time of year always reminds me of one of my very first jobs. When I was in high school (and NO, I won't say when that was) I had a part time job as a florist. I worked holidays and during the summer making deliveries and learning how to make sprays for funerals, corsages for prom, and basically 'arranging things'.

Valentines Day, Easter, and Mother's Day were our very busiest times and during those holidays, we would load up a van deliver flowers all day long. I only worked for them for a short time (because, after all, I was only a teenager) but I'll never forget making Easter deliveries in a big white bunny suit. It was white and furry featuring pink inner ears and belly. Lordy! Talk about HOT.

I've done a lot of interesting things in my life. I've been a newspaper reporter, worked in a clothing store, did some substitute teaching, and I lectured on Native American culture and folklore. Today I write erotic romances, which I must admit is an verrrry interesting occupation and one that makes people kind of blink and go HUH??? No, not your normal kind of job.

Still, to this day, when someone asks about things I've done, it's the bunny suit I remember most. Tell me about your weirdest, goofiest, strangest jobs.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cheering for the...Villain?

I watched a movie this weekend. Law Abiding Citizen. Good movie, action. I found myself cheering for the main character, played by Gerard Butler, even though he was killing people. LOL It got me to thinking about bad guys and why we seemed to love them so much.

One very popular bad guy, Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies. He's not even a little bit good. And yet, something about that white hair and sinister look makes us want to swear our allegiance. Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but you get the drift. LOL

There are plenty of books out there that have delicious bad guys, but for the life of me I can't think of any of them right now. Give me a few titles! Was there a particular baddie that you drooled over? And what is it about these guys that make us sit up and take notice? Maybe it's the James Dean thing. The rebel. He's sexy, he's off limits, he's the guy you're mother warned you about. So, of course we want to get a little closer. Whenever we ladies are told Don't Touch, we touch. We can't help it!

So, give me some of your favorite bad guys. I'm feeling reckless! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reviews that make you HUNGRY

I know how tempting it is to check review sites after the release of a new book, especially when you're a brand new writer. Reviews can either make your day or send you into a HUGE funk, wanting to do nothing but cuss, cry, or bury your head until the feelings of dejection pass.

Sad fact is, we can't please everyone. A book that might just rock a readers world, hits the wall with a loud smack with other readers. It's something, as writers, that we must get used to. I talk with lots of newbie writers who just freak out over them and I always say the same thing...don't put a lot of stock in reviews. Chatting with a reviewer one day not long ago, I mentioned something about 3's being considered by writers as not being all that good. She was shocked. Three means GOOD usually so why would we be upset? she said. I think maybe that's because we hope for the 4 or 5 that tells us the reviewer just "LOVED" the book and we don't really like settling for less than that. No one likes hearing their book is only so-so and though she liked it, didn't necessarily want it on her 'keeper shelf'. Maybe we writers just need to get over ourselves. There isn't a damn thing wrong with GOOD. If we provide a few hours of enjoyment, then we should be happy with that.

This being said, I'll say too that most of my reviews have been great. No complaints but believe me, there have been some that weren't so good too. I've been slammed because my story is too short. I'm been grilled over a 'too whiny heroine' or 'too ansty' hero. One reviewer who prefaced his review by saying he hadn't read the other books in my series, believed I had not advanced the series story line and thought my Texas characters had simplistic dialogue. I think the real kicker was the bad review I got for a menage story because the heroine served lasagne to the two heroes. See, the reviewer just HATES lasagne and couldn't get that damn lasagne off her mind while reading the story. Yuk. Lasagne. Yes, I probably deserved to be slammed over that. I mean, that's fair, right? Basically, we all have review horror stories. Best thing to do is read them, forget them (good or bad) and move on.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday's Vent!

Amazon. *sigh*

They really need to get a clue. Wake up and smell the coffee. I'm sure by now most of you have either seen or heard about the customers taking a swing at authors the only way the know how, by posting 1 star reviews. Why? Because the book they want to buy isn't available on the Kindle. Yes, so instead of mabye sending an email or letter to the publisher, as they're the ones who actually have control over this--NOT THE AUTHOR--they're hitting the authors where it hurts most. By posting the lowest possible rating they can, on books they've never even read!

Amazon clearly isn't without blame here. Obviously. Nevermind the fact that they're greedy and tend to NOT give publishers a decent percentage, which is why publishers have to take steps to ensure they're print sales don't go to the crapper. Beyond all the greed, the fighting back and forth and all that nonsense, however, there is still one MAJOR issue here that has me grinding my teeth in anger.

Folks posting 1 star reviews on books they've never even bought from Amazon. 1 star reviews on books they've never even read!

I've always had a problem with Amazon's review system. Anyone can set up an account, purchase ONE item off their site and you're cleared to review anything they sell. That bugs me. As an author...I feel the only people who have a right to say whether my book sucked is the person who actually spent their hard earned money on it. If you bought it from Books On Board, review it on Books On Board. Don't go to Amazon and review it just because you feel more people will read your scathing remarks. Let's face it, half of the negative stuff we see online today is there because some Joe Schmoe feels like superman--able to say whatever they want with zero reprisals. So, most of those so-called reviews are people who want to get a rise out of the author, the readers, and anyone who happens across their comments.

I have major problems with the notion that you can go online anonymously and feel you don't have to abide by the same moral code as if you were looking at that author face to face. And, let's not forget I AM a reader. There are times when I don't like the books I purchased. There are times I want to share those thoughts. But there's a such thing as decency. We've talked about it before here at Three Wicked Writers and I'll say it again. Speak online the same way you would speak to your mother, father, daughter. In other words, and like most of our parents told us growing up, 'think before you speak'. In this case, think before you hit the 1 star button. You're quite possibly hurting an author's career, and all because you're pissed at Amazon and the publisher. If you must throw a fit because the book you want isn't yet availble in the format you want, then at the very least throw your punches at the right people!

Okay, end of vent. I feel like total crap today. I need some of that daytime, non-drowsy, congested-stuffy head, sore throat, coughing, aching, fever so you can get through the day medicine. Please!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Double standards

I'm talking about the double standards on what a male character is allowed to get away with that a female character isn't. I think it's automatic sometimes, as writers and readers, to give the hero more leeway than we do the heroine. Is it because we're harder on women because we are a female? I wonder if the opposite is true for a male writer or reader.

Anne, Regina and I were chatting the other day about some of these double standards. A lot of books out there have the hero as/was promiscuous. He's a bachelor and he's enjoying it. Of course that changes when he meets the heroine, but why is it he can have slept with half the town, but the heroine is almost always so virtuous? Why is it okay for him and not her? Granted I KNOW not all books are written this way, but it seems I read more that are than aren't.

I do believe erotic romance has brought us a long way toward evening those double standards out. That's one of the things I love about erotic romance: it shows women it is OKAY to be sexual. To enjoy sex.

Do you tend to let the hero get away with more than the heroine? Doesn't have to be pertaining to sex, but do you feel like your easier on him? I do some times. I think it's automatic and I don't even realize I'm doing it. I'm going to work on changing that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The other day I was working on my manuscript and was like pulling toenails or something. I knew I was only days away (considering the days were good) from finishing my current work in project. Tell you what...I couldn't think. I overevaluated every single word. Very frustrating proposition when you've promised to be finished by so and so date. Out of the blue I got an email from a writer friend who said she was getting a group together for Word Wars?

Word Wars? I'd never done that. Totally new to me.

Considering I REALLY needed a jump start I was game to try. So I signed on to a chat she had set up, met some other really nice authors and we chatted until it was time to start. After READY SET GO, we each pulled up our manuscripts and started typing. Just go. Just write. Just do it. Suddenly, knowing I had to write speedy quick, I loosened up and began to crank out the words. No more overevaluating what I'd written. No more quibbling or procrastinating or self editing. Just writing. I loved it. At the end of thirty minutes, time was called as the little orange light blinked on my computer. I was honestly amazed at how much I accomplished. Was it perfect? No, not hardly but it was there. Had some typos, too. Big deal. The words were there and that was the most important thing. I did this for several hours and at each break we'd share little bits we'd written or just chat. Turned out to be a wonderful afternoon and I finished a chapter.

In the end, it was just what I needed. Sometimes we just overthink things and it can really slow down the process, can't it? A long time ago I did writing challenges with two other writers. We'd meet on-line in the mornings, state our goal for the day and then we'd check in to 'report' to each other at designated times throughout the day. At the end of it all, we'd announce our word count and whoever met their goal or surpassed it got cyber-drinks from the others. That too, was a fun thing to jump start a manuscript.

Actually, I think I liked Word Wars better because writing was done in very short increments and I was amazed at how much I could accomplish in only thirty minutes. It was like a very cool race. This was just what I needed to get me started and to teach me that I just think too damn much. Do you have some writing tricks to share?

Contest: Don't forget our spring contest/giveaway! If you aren't already a 'follower' of Three Wicked Writers, please click the button on the right and be entered for our book giveaway. Anne Rainey, Madison Scott, and I will each give away a book to three winners who are followers of our blog. So sign up today. Winners will be announced April 1.

Monday, March 22, 2010

a cowboy a day?

I'm in a cowboy sorta mood. Soooo....








Ah, would you look at that? An extra!
What should we do with him? *wicked grin*

Friday, March 19, 2010

Frumpy Frocks and Mullets...OHHHH NOOOO

Have you ever started reading something and you think...hey, great book and THEN you read what the heroine is wearing and it takes you back to your youth and the days your mom wore a paisley caftan around the house? And that hero with the mullett...oh boy...blast from the past huh? Funny thing though. You aren't reading a book from the 1970's or 1980's are you? You are reading a new release. I constantly have those WTF moments when reading something and it totally takes me out of the story. It is one of my biggie pet peeves. Nothing ages an author more than not doing her homework when setting the scene in a book.

It doesn't have to be hair styles or fashions either. It can be the way the entire scene is set. Lava lamps and little touches are a-okay if the apartment you are describing belongs to a character who loves quirky little things here and there. Not a biggie. But when his/her 'pad' has Austin Powers place stamped all over it, you know you are reading something by an author who has her head stuck in the past. Imagine this, the hero brings the heroine to his place for a romantic dinner and a little seduction. In his pov he thinks, damn, she is so hot, so sexy, she looks like a rocker chick from an 80's girl power band.
Or better yet, he thinks...I can't want to get her out of smokin' hot dress with the white pilgrim collar and the big cabbage roses all over it. Ummm Hmmmm what a smoldering hot temptress. I'm going to carry her across my shag carpet to my black satin-covered heart-shaped bed and screw the perm right out of her hair. She will run her fingers through that big wad of hair on the back of my head, too. It gets me hot just thinking out it.

This is one of my big writing/reading pet peeves. Everyone has them so it's okay to bitch and whine about it here. I do it all the time. Let's face it, we all have our pet peeves, those little detail things that take us right out of a story. What are some of yours?

Reminder: Sign up as one of our 'followers' and on April 1 we'll name three winners. Each will win a book from Regina Carlysle (me), Anne Rainey, and Madison Scott

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Some Like it Rough--contest winners!

***Quick announcement!***

The 3 winners of my latest print release SOME LIKE IT ROUGH is:

Armenia F

Please contact me at annerainey11 at gmail dot com with your mailing address and I'll ge the book sent to you ASAP!

Thanks to all who entered!!! :)

Thursday's Writing Question!

Before I start with today's writing question I have to say something. I just found a dead spider floating in my coffee. Yes, a spider. I nearly sipped that sucker right down. OMG! What the??!! I love this gorgeous weather. It's sunny, warm, and I've been writing, exercising, cleaning house, leaving windows open, and generally just getting caught up on things. It feels great! But, spiders always come out this time of year. Dang it. My biggest fear in the world and they're ruining my good mood! Guh!

Okay, I feel better. LOL Now, onto the topic.

Today I want to talk about fighting. Specifically your heroes and heroines fighting. One of my biggest problems when writing is conflict. My husband tells me that I need to add more conflict into my stories. He's right. I've been working on this lately too. One of the main reasons is because conflict makes the story more real. The characters have more depth. Let's face it, life and our relationships aren't all roses and sunshine. We argue with our spouses. We have difficulties with our sisters, brothers, parents. Life is a rollercoaster ride. In truth, some of the best books I've read have been filled with conflict.

A few examples.

"Dark Desire" by Christine Feehan. The story starts with conflict. The hero pretty much hates the heroine. Blames her for something she didn't do. He's injuried. She has all this emotional baggage. And from page one I couldn't put it down.

Any story by Nalini Singh, but most esp. her Hunters Guilde series. There is so much conflict, emotion, and just general drama in the first two books that I'm either crying, laughing, or sighing. Singh has a great mix of passion and drama.

This isn't to say that we should cry all the way through a book. Definitely that's NOT what romance is all about. But, getting Dick and Jane from that first meeting to that happily-ever-after should be a bumpy ride. So the big question is how do you realistically add conflict to your stories? Like sex, it shouldn't be thrown in just for fun. It should flow with the plot. One way that I've discovered that seems to be working for me is to either write up a short outline or synopsis before starting the story. Then I print it out and look it over, or have my husband look it over. If he sees I'm falling into that same old trap of happy happy happy, then he lets me know and I alter things a bit. This way, I'm not having to make huge revisions at the end.

For those pantsers--I can see you all cringing--this doesn't mean you have to write up a ten page document or anything. This is more like a few sentences for each chapter or scene. Just a little something to give yourself a guide. Personally I need that guide. Otherwise it's all smiles and that's just NOT what readers want.

That's how I've worked out this problem. How do you ensure there's plenty of conflict in your stories? Do you have a method that works well? If so, share it!

P.S.--Look before you sip! LOL

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stepping into character

I recently took my first stab at writing young adult. I posted some of my novel on Inkpop, a Harpercollins website. It's been up there for a little while and I noticed lately the large number of comment or private messages I've gotten about how well they think I captured the voice of a teenager. Today, I got a message from a reader asking me HOW I do it. After letting out a big sigh of relief because that was one of my biggest fears about trying to write a YA. I didn't want to sound like I was TRYING to sound young if that makes any sense, but after that big sigh I started thinking about how, as writers we do that. How do we completely step into our characters and give them their unique voice?

With all my books, adult and YA I have to do that. We give these characters personality and then have to find a way to make it come out just right on paper. Not only that but, they all have to be different. We don't want all our characters to sound the same, so how is it we switch gears from a 16 year old girl with no friends and a mom who believes in vampires when she doesn't, to a first year lawyer looking to indulge in a wild weekend after all her years of hard work? Or from a museum curator who falls in love with an artist to fun-loving, flower child who owns a coffee shop in San Fran?

I don't know the answer. I guess as writers we just DO it. I think for people who don't write, that's hard to understand, but that's the best answer I have. I completely let my characters take over when I'm writing. Somehow their personality and voice travel from inside my head to my fingertips and they no longer become someone I'm trying to create. While I'm sitting at the computer, they become me. Or better yet, I get to become them.

Happy St. Patricks day. Hope you're wearing your green. Also, if you're interested in checking out my first trip back to my teens, you can read it HERE
If you enjoy it you can add it to your picks. I'm at twenty and if I get into the top five, my story will get read by Harpercollins editors!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Haters-They Are Everywhere

From the Urban Dictionary
Hater: A person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.

Over the past week or so I've noticed the number of 'haters' increasing faster than we can blink. Let's face it, they are everywhere and I'm coming to suspect it's a new national pasttime to hate others and spew vitriole all over the place. Don't know about you guys but I'm fucking sick of it. Last night I was watching a news program about members of the House of Represenatives in Oklahoma moving the Presidents portrait to the back of the room. Don't they get it? We had an election and we have chosen our president. Show some respect. Hate groups hiding under the guise of Christianity are picketting the homes and funeral services of our soldiers carrying signs that say homosexuals who are killed in battle deserved what they got. Spewing hate, carrying signs, picketting, and harrassing the mourning family.

Good grief! Were these people raised in a barn?

Check out any number of the blogs out there and you'll see more evidence of the wave of hate out there. Most of us have been the victim of blog 'review sites' where just about every single book is trashed...just because they CAN trash it. Some seem to take a giggling, wild sort of glee in honing in on particular words and phrases and carrying on and on with their trash talk. Book covers are mocked and sneered at and authors raked over the coals. Are these honest reviews? I don't think so. You have only to look these blogs over and see they make a habit of hating. Naturally, they are hoping to gain a whole lot of hits to their blogs by friends rushing to the defense of the wounded author.

Amazon Free Reads might as well have a bulls-eye on them. FREE READS folks. The author is kind enough to offer a sample of her work and gets trashed for her efforts. What is the purpose in something like this? Haters are flexing their muscles and taking out their every frustration in forums like this. The other night a fellow author pointed to a You Tube video. Her daughter had been honored by the company she works for and was given the job of doing an instructional video. The comments that followed were beyond hateful and despicable in every way. Hundreds showed up to comment on her body and general appearance. I saw the video and she is an attractive young woman but that isn't the point. They poked fun, made snide and nasty comments and all in a public forum. Why? Because they are Haters and because they can.

Personally, I believe there are more of us than THEM. How do we fight them? I wish I knew. I just wish they would go away and get a life. Perhaps if they found something meaningful to do with their lives they would stop harassing those who have.

Sorry about the rant. Just had to get this off my chest.


It’s a Wicked Spring Giveaway!

At Three Wicked Writers we’ve decided to leap into spring with a fun, easy contest. All you have to do is ‘follow us’ on our BLOG and you’re entered to win. Three followers will be picked, each will receive an ebook from Regina Carlysle, Madison Scott and Anne Rainey.

You can follow us by going to our blog and clicking the *follow* button—beneath the about us section on the sidebar.

(NOT the Twitter button!)

The winners will be announced on our blog Thursday, April 1st!!!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Book throwing moment...beware!

So, this weekend I started reading a book. One I've been looking forward to reading forEVER. It's by one of my favorite authors and all her books have been keepers--with the exception of a few. This one, which I feel I've waited my entire life to read, has, thus far, been rather disappointing. In fact, I'm ready to strangle the heroine. Then dig a hole and bury her. Then maybe dig her back up and shoot her.

Yes, she's THAT frustrating. Once again, I get that heroines these days need to be tough, rough, hard as nails, and all that jazz. But do they have to be totally annoying and just downright cruel?? Is that really necessary??

I'm not going to mention the author's name or the book title, not even in a private email so don't ask me. LOL Let's just say that I will buy more of her books. I will finish this one, because I may end up totally surprised and find that the story HAD to be told this way. In fact, I'm sure it had to be told this way. Otherwise the author would've written it differently. Correct?

This is where it comes in handy to be an author who also reads a lot. I can see between the lines. I can understand why the author felt it was necessary to give the hero a woman who has the ability to be a hardass. Like tough love, I suppose.

That being said, this book will not be a favorite of mine. I won't reread it several times until I need to buy another copy because this one is falling apart. And I won't tell all my reader buddies that they have to buy it or miss out on a really great read. So, while I know the author has to write what her heart tells her, I don't necessarily have to like it. The thing is, I sort of wish her heart had been saying something else! LOL

Now that I've vented, I need to ask you all a question. How frustrated do you get when you're reading a book by an author you admire and come to the conclusion that you're having to force yourself to read each damn word? That you are soooo not enjoying her latest release. Does it frustrate you more when it's one of your favorite authors?? Does it make you want to quit reading her books all together?

Personally, I feel like all authors are entitled to a few misses. They can't all be THE BEST BOOK EVER, right? So, while I'm hating on this book, I will also look forward to her next release, because the truth one is perfect.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Hunk Day

Okay, I'll confess to being a tad lazy today. Spring has hit us...which admittedly is nice. Last night I walked out into the yard and saw our trees budding. Many have little flowers on them. Just beautiful. Unfortunately, as I look the sneezes come and the headache soon follows. Struggling with that today as I write this sooooooo. FRIDAY HUNK DAY is born. Hope you like my selection of hotties. Did anyone watch the Oscars? Ryan Reynolds was the hottest tuxedoed guy in the room but, damn, I like him like this. Don't you?

Ooooh. Shower anyone?Now isn't he gorgeous? Love the tatt.

Love this hot latino man. I'm currently writing a latino hero and he looks downright inspirational, doesn't he?

What a nice assortment!

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday's Writing Question!

First I have to start by saying I'm LOVING this weather! It's warmed up, the snow is melting off and my resurrection lilies are sprouting up. How cool is that? I love seeing signs of spring! I'm SOOOOO not a winter person. Ugh! It seems to just drag on forever for me.

Okay, so I have a question for you all. Status updates, instant messages and tweets. For a writer, online promotion is very important. If we want to sell any books at all we have to get our name out there. There are tons of free ways to do this through social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. Twitter and Bebo. You can even connect with readers through places like Shelfari and Goodreads. There are also advantages to having an instant messenger like Yahoo or AIM. Personally, I have family, a few friends, and also people from the publishing world on my YIM. It's a great way to quickly connect with say my editor, my publisher, even reviewers without having to send an email that's going to fill up their inbox--and maybe get lost in the pile!

The thing is, with all these quick messages going out we tend to use quick words and short sentences. Punctuation is not top priority when updating your status message on Facebook. I don't always dot every i in my IMs either. My question is, does it make an author look unprofessional to use text speak? U instead of you. R and instead of are. YW instead of you're welcome...?How far is TOO far when it comes to text speak for authors?

My own personal thought is that we should sound professional, but human. In other words, posting a message on your friend's page--where everyone can see--that says, "Sup, biatch?" is NOT professional. But leaving a smiley face at the end of a status update shows you're, well, happy. That can't be a bad thing, right? I do feel we should watch how 'teenagerish' we get too. My girls roll their eyes when they see me spell out words in an IM. They figure that's lame. Then again, they aren't 42 years old and trying to make a career out of words!

So, what're your thoughts? How far is too far when it comes to slang and abbreviations?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Problems at school...

As parents we always want what's best for our kids. We want to shield them as much as possible from the hardships in life. Want them happy, healthy, smart, with tons of friends and everything. My little girl is six and she's in kindergarten. We moved a couple weeks ago and she started at a new school. She was nervous as was I but she made friends really easily at her old school so I was confident she would here too. I didn't cry until I got back to the car when I dropped her off the first day and was ecstatic when I picked her up and found out she made a new friend. A little girl we'll call M.

For the past two weeks she and M have been buddies. They hang out at school and my kiddo is always talking about her. She started mentioning this M eating stuff from my daughters lunch. Told her its nice to share, but she needed to eat her food and M her own. There were a couple other little issues, nothing major, but little getting into trouble things that had never happened with my girl before. I started wondering about this M, but what could I do?

Well, on Monday my daughter came home upset because M didn't want to be her friend anymore. I know kids are fickle, especially at this age. Stuff like this happens all the time. I told my kiddo that. She probably said something she didn't mean and things would be better tomorrow. Well Tuesday came and my kiddo had a bad day at school. She came home really upset, grumpy and told me M still didn't want to be her friend and that when she tried to sit by her, M told her no she wanted someone else too.

This broke my heart. I HATE stuff like this. It's so hard for a six year old to understand. I told my daughter to find another friend. That a real friend wouldn't be mean to you like that and tell you they didn't want to be your friend anymore. I don't want her waiting around one someone like that, but its still hard. She's new and these other kids have been going to school together for months. I just want her to be happy and not to have any problems with kids at school. Kids can be HARSH. I know this is a minor problem so far, and it could easily blow over but I've noticed that we're getting those "mean girls" younger and younger. I see it when we go to the park. A group of kids against others, deciding who is cool enough to play on what. It's crazy to me. Things just weren't like that when I was in Elementary school. High school yes, but elementary school? It's nuts.

So keep her in your thoughts that she has a good day today! Lets hope she meets a different friend. Raising kids is hard!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Decisions Decisions

Now I don't want to serious 'date' myself here but back when I first started reading romances there wasn't a huge selection out there. The average romance reader had basically two genre choices. Contemporary and historical. Really. It's true. I know that might be hard to believe considering the selections out there these days. You know, it's kind of like driving around and trying to figure out where you want to eat. Do you want Italian, Tex-Mex, Seafood? Or do you want to hit one of those all you can eat buffet places where there is a ginormous selection all under one roof? That's the way the romance world works these days. Back in the day, I just didn't know what I was missing because there were really only two options if you loved romance. These days we have everything. If you want love and a happily ever after there are plenty of non sex or sex lite books. There is the inspy genre and erotic, two opposite ends of the spectrum. Good. More choice for everyone and that's a good thing.

Whether you are a reader or a writer or both, the choices in material is downright amazing. Paranormal got hotter than hot several years back beginning with vamps and shifters. Now they have evolved into specialized vamps (even some that sparkle) and wolves aren't the only shifters available. These days we read about jaguars, panthers, tigers, lions and bears. Well shoot...just about any animal you can think of. We have demons, dragons and all manner of paranormal creature who is only looking for love and acceptance and the chance to find that perfect mate. We have menage featuring every kind of 'mix', romantic comedy, ghost stories, sci-fi. Hell guys, the list is endless.

During the Romanticon booksigning last year, a reader came up and asked me if I had books without any "funny stuff". It took me a second to realize she wanted straight m/f stories without all the other stuff. Fortunately I had some of those to offer and pointed them out but I also write some menage and paranormal. Since that wasn't on her 'to buy' list, I was simply happy that I write in several different genres. Personally, my tastes veer all over the place depending on my mood. Some days I want dark and intense, sometimes I want to be transported to another time and place, and then, there are those moments when I need to laugh. Lucky for me, there is availability in books to suit my mood.

What are your favorite genres? What would you like to see more of? Are there any genres you find yourself getting tired of?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Hunks...late!

I'm late. Sorry! Life stuff has all but destroyed my writing time!
A few hunks to make up for it. A few might be repeats, but is that really a bad thing?! LOL

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pumping up the Promo

At the Three Wicked Writers chat loop yesterday, a lot of us were talking about promotional items and things we liked to pick up on the cheap for mailers and what have you. It was a pretty interesting conversation. I guess with convention season fast approaching, we're all looking for ideas to spice up our booksigning tables. I believe lots of newbies go crazy with that stuff. That's okay...really. Nothing wrong with letting your excitement swing over into all the little goodies places like Vistaprint has to offer. It's cheap. It's fun. So why not? The thing is...don't break the bank.

Since I veer into the thrifty and practical realm, I took things slow. One of the dumbest things I did was order business cards that featured the title of my first book. Ridiculous. Not a smart thing despite the fact the cards were cheap. Now this first book is no longer with the same publisher and the cards were tossed in the trash. Live and learn. Now my biz cards are generic. They have my name and website. That's it. When my backlist started to expand, I ventured a little further. After the business card stupidity, I knew I wanted to get more mileage from things. I often order oversized postcards featuring my latest cover. On the back I list other titles, website, and contact information. Advertising one single title on a postcard seems a waste of money to me. And we all know that paper goods eventually end up in the trash.

Lots of writers dream of blowing up their bookcovers to decorate their office walls. When I had my first booksigning, I uploaded my cover to a cd, took it to Kinkos and for forty bucks they blew it up on put it on a heavy duty foam board. This was a great idea because I used it during my signing by propping it on an easel. The foam board has a hanger on the back so later you can put it on a wall if you want and no framing is required.

I tend to do things in stages. Now, I work with promotion companies to promote my releases. That's a step I've recently made because promotion is time consuming and I found it stole hours of my day that I could've better spent writing and soon I'll be looking at other forms of advertising. Ads on review sites are often a good option and fairly cost effective, I think. A number of magazines offer ad space but you really need to consider the cost here. In my view, if a magazine reaches a very limited number of subscribers and their rates are astromonical, you'll have to sell a ton of books for it to pay for itself. This can be a losing proposition. I like to make a profit. Don't you?

I think one of the worst mistakes a newbie writer can make is to go ape shit with this stuff right out of the box. I've seen writers spend hundreds for promo junk for one book when they haven't even received their first check yet. This is a quick way straight into the red. Guess what I'm saying is weigh your options, make smart choices. There are cost effective ways to get your name out there. So do a little research and find what works best for you.

In other news I got a couple of five angel reviews from Sonya at Fallen Angel Reviews. YAY. I'm so thrilled with the responses I've gotten for the books in the High Plains Shifters series (Ellora's Cave) so yeah...more are coming! If you'd like to check them out, I'm posting the link. Ringo's Ride Edge of Nowhere

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Those High School Crushes

As a teenager, I always had my head in the clouds. I was a daydreamer. I grew up with three brothers and zero sisters. Plus, I’m the youngest. It’s a little like being an only child, with the exception of getting nuggies and teased on a regular basis. LOL I tended to go off on my own a lot and either dream about my future husband, or just imagine what it’d be like to actually meet Matt Dillon from The Outsiders.

Still, I wasn’t so much a daydreamer that I didn’t notice Rick B. He was so cute and oh so oblivious to my existence. The only time I ever spent with Rick was in my own imagination. And I did a lot of imagining let me tell you! Then one day I talked a friend into asking Rick if he’d go out with me. He said no. My heart was crushed! I had carved his name in the bench outside school. I’d scribbled his name all over my notebooks. I went to bed thinking of him and woke thinking of him. He was always in my head. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I graduated high school, found my real true love and moved on to better things.

From time to time, I do wonder what Rick might be up to. Did he age well? Did he get married and have kids? Did he go on to be a billionaire rock star or did he maybe end up in jail (he was sort of the bad boy of the school, lol). I’ll probably never know and that’s okay with me. Those girlish crushes are a thing of the past. I guess that’s why I find it so hilarious that my a few of the story ideas running around in my head right now have some variation on secret crushes. I think my heart still wants revenge or something. LOL

I must confess it’s fun to play out those old wishes from my youth. It’s great fun to see the girl with the crush get the bad boy who never noticed her. In my opinion, the best part of being a romance author is giving my characters a very happy ending!

So, confess! Did you have a secret crush and did you marry him? Or did he turn out to be the boy you never kissed?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Third times a charm?

There are certain books I have the hardest time figuring out where to start. It's not this way with every book. Some of the time I just KNOW and its right from the beginning. Then there are times like with my current book where I just can't figure out the right spot. I've started over three times and finally I THINK I have it. But then, I thought I did the other two times too until I kept writing and realized it just wasn't right. lol.

The beginning of the book is so important. I love the feeling of starting something new, but its scary too. If you don't find that right spot, say the right words to get the readers attention than why are they going to keep reading? Not only that, but it's so important to me how I introduce the reader to my characters. I want them to come off just right and if I don't have that...DELETE. LOL.

So, lets keep our fingers crossed that the third time will really be a charm. I'm really excited to actually get this story moving!

Do you struggle trying to figure out where to start a story? If you're a reader, what books have had some of your favorite beginnings?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Let's Chat

I don't think it would surprise anyone to imagine that a writer's life might be somewhat lonely. Even when my kids were still home, I found that hours spent behind the computer left me feeling a little bereft of companionship. I'm not speaking of everyday, incidental human contact but those of other writers and readers.

Lately I've been buried in my cave and writing like crazy to get a story finished. I'm not kiddin', I'm beat. By the end of every day even the joints in my fingers ache but YAY, I'm on target to get this story wrapped up in another few weeks. But the end of each day though I'm finding the need to unwind. I have several places where I go to just PLAY. Might only be for a few hours but I've found it goes a long way to just settling my brain. Does that make sense?

Last night I got on the Three Wicked Writers loop to just mess around. It's kind of a laid back place but there were about five of us on just talking a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We talked about promotion, contests, upcoming conventions and which ones we liked of those. One member had a new release yesterday and we talked about Kelley's move into a new house. Just little stuff but it helped me unwind after a long day of writing. Like many of you, I belong to quite a few loops. Most are set to digest and those I'm more active on, I have set to individual email. I just think it's important to find a place to kick back and relax and I've found a couple of spots where the conversation is fun and everyone feels free to speak their mind and relax after a long day.

So if you're looking for a laid back place to hang out, sign up for the Three Wicked Writers loop. We'd love to see you there. We can chill out together.

Monday, March 1, 2010

drop kicking the muse

So, this morning I was all excited to dig into my latest WIP. Had a fresh cup of coffee, had already eaten my eggs and turkey bacon. All that was left was for me to sit down at the computer and start typing. Instead, I decided to browse the net. I shouldn't have. I really really shouldn't have. I should've taken a note from Shannon McKenna's book and kept my eyes glued to my story. She--I've heard this from other authors too--doesn't read reviews and comments. A lot of authors feel it kills their muse. It's stressful. The good reviews make you feel as if you have a lot to live up to. The bad reviews can simply suck the fun right out of writing. Not reading it seems like it would free the writer up to do whatever their muse is telling them to do. Smart approach.

I'm not very smart it would seem. LOL I browsed and I came across a negative comment about one of my stories. Now, this isn't a cry baby post about how mean people can be and all that jazz. And I'm not going to bitch about the person who wrote the comment. Everyone, and I DO mean everyone, has a right to their own opinion. I'd be such a hypocrite if I expected everyone to talk only when they're in a good mood. To comment or write about ONLY the good books, movies, T.V. shows they've read and watched. I know that I can be just as negative as the next person! Just ask my husband. LOL

So why bring this up now? I'm curious what YOU do when you come across something negative that kills your muse. Maybe it's a rejection letter from an agent or editor. Maybe it's a bad review about one of your books. Maybe it's just your best friend saying your books suck raw eggs! All of it can leave us feeling defeated. Yes, defeated. That's the only word that describes that feeling in our gut that makes us--even for a few seconds--want to hang up our pen and never write another damn word.

In the end, what do we do? We write. Not because we got over our hurt, but because it's what we do. A puppy chews couches. A child giggles when tickled. A teenager texts 24/7. A writer writes. Still, I'm looking for a new approach here. What do you do when you feel as if you've been kicked in the gut? How do you make yourself MOVE ON?