Friday, July 30, 2010

It's a dog eat dog world

I have good news and bad news. The good news is the Wi-Fi is better tonight for some reason. I can access twitter and facebook and all the other social media that's been out of fingers reach the last few days. The bad news is my computer is still taking twenty minutes to load a picture onto blogger. What does that mean? That I can write...and I can post my favorite picture of the trip.

I've met tons of authors, agents, editors and have managed to sneak away with about 20 totally free (and autographed) books! Authors, Agents and Editors, Oh My!

As exciting as that all may seem, my favorite picture is one from the plane ride. Those SkyMall magazines are just too funny.

Take a look at what I mean:

Can you read the fine print? SkyMall is selling a Dog Dazer. You know, for when you're being attacked by a savage beast of a dog and need to scare it away.

The ad reads that all you have to do is push a simple button and this mean, snarling dog will stop at least twenty feet from you. Look at this thing:

(It really does get funnier and funnier the more you look at it.)

I find a few problems with the ad. First, I'm pretty sure I'll forget the Dog Dazer at home the one day I get attacked. Second, I'd probably fumble getting it out of my pocket and get bitten anyway.

Lastly, wouldn't screaming work just as well? Or running away? Or climbing the nearest tree? How about screaming while running away and climbing the nearest tree? If you saw this hideously funny looking dog chasing after you wouldn't you do the same?

And if you aren't laughing at the dog yet, look into its eyes. It feels like the longer you stare at it, the funnier it gets. Try it. I'm seriously busting up right now.

Until tomorrow, when I can report on more adventures that don't include dogs.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

RWA Day 1: Flight

So. My plan was to post a ton of pictures today. I took tons. So not like me. My blog post was going to be funny--a riot!

Instead I'm sitting barefoot on the hotel bed exhausted out of my mind...and blogger won't load the pictures because the hotel Wi-Fi is too slow. Yeah. No good. So until I can mooch off Wi-Fi from another area you'll have to do with this re-cap.

I've been up since 2:30 am pacific time. It's 11:00 pm eastern time now. I've had little to eat today; unless you'd call an airline Wasabe Chicken Sandwich and a mocha lunch. Turbulence due to thunderstorms over the runway was so bad that we had to circle the airport for 20 minutes. I almost had a panic attack each time we hit an air pocket.

And I couldn't stop laughing. Call it an awkward stress release--beats me.

Did I forget to mention I had a kick-ass dinner with Debra Dixon, the owner of Belle books? I did? Let me tell you...she was awesome. Dinner was much-needed. Drinks were fruity and much too strong for my taste.

So that's it. My re-cap sans cool pictures that would've made you laugh. Oh! And I saw Nora Roberts. Twice!

Workshops start tomorrow. I'll fill you in more and hopefully have some photos to share. Night all.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And I'm Leaaavvvin' on a Jet Plane...

Tonight's the night! I'm leaving for Orlando! Woohoo! I can't tell you how excited I am to walk amongst the greats and learn what they have to teach. I can't wait to meet other writers, my agent and hopefully a few editors who'd give a little unpublished gal like myself the time of day.

My plan is to post a little tidbit every night whether it be something I learned, something phenomenal (or funny) that happened or a few pictures of my wanderings. I'm usually the person who forgets to take pictures during something amazing...signing with Nora Roberts? I'll forget my camera for sure. Talking with my agent? I'm likely to bring my camera but be so nervous I forget to take it out of my bag. BUT with the promise to post tons of pictures HERE, maybe that'll force me to whip out my camera more often.

For the sake of all that is blogging, let's hope.

So I'm on my way...wish me luck and good vibes for great impressions and loads of fun with amazing writers! (And if that wasn't the most awkwardly written sentence I don't know what is! But I'm too giddy to care! Orlando here I come!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blog Hop!

So glad to be joining in Cali Cheer Mom's Blog Hop! What a great way to meet other writers, authors, and future friends. I hope I have the details right. Now click away and comment, follow, and connect with other writers! *grin

Here's how it works:

READERS: Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many "new to you" authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment! We'd love to chat with you!


•Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
•You will need to enter your name and blog url into the Linky tool.
•Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don't create a post for the hop, your readers won't have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!
•The purpose of the hop is to meet "new to you" authors and discover great new reads. Follow as many authors as you can. Leave a comment and introduce yourself!
•If you'd like to share the Linky list in a post on your blog ( Please do!) just follow the link and grab the code.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


"Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential and fight for your dreams."--Ashley Smith

Even if you feel small, insignificant or unoriginal at best, you must know there is beauty inside of you. The world can be dull--painful and unforgiving. It's what we do with ourselves that produces the vibrant color of life. On this day, do. And be.

Friday, July 23, 2010

RWA National Conference 2010

I can't tell you how excited I am to be attending this year's conference in Orlando, Florida! My critique partner and I leave on Wednesday at the butt-crack of dawn. (Speaking of, has anyone ever seen the actual butt-crack of dawn? No?)

I wonder if it looks something like this:

Heh. Anyway, we leave at 6:30am which means leaving the house at some God-awful-hour before 4am. Urrrggghhh. (By the by, that's the exact sound I'll be making as I wipe the drool off my pillow come Wednesday.)

As tedious as all the tasks are to get to Orlando, once we land we're heading right to a Literacy Autographing where the best of the bests will be ready to battle illiteracy with their trusty pens. From there on out, I'm going to be a sponge, soaking up as much information on craft and publishing as I can.

Imagine me a little like this:

Only I hope I won't be that boring. Maybe after I recoup from jetlag I'll have a little more personality. I'll probably look like this:

Oh, this is too much fun. Okay, okay, this'll be me as I run into Nora Roberts, J.R. Ward, Christine Feehan, Allison Brennan, and on and on:

Seriously, though, what better way to learn what it takes to become published than from the experts who are? I'm going there to learn...and of course network. I hope to meet a few editors face to face. And I'll be meeting my agent for the first time! Woohoo!

To sum it all up, if you're going to Orlando and want to find me, this is what you should look for:

I really will be floating on air.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Brave New World

Everyone has his or her own opinion about where the publishing industry is headed. Many worry books in print will fade much like cassette tapes and CDs. Bookstores like Barnes and Noble, Borders, and your local Indie store may soon start closing their doors like the many movie distributors in your town. It's not a secret that Blockbusters and Hollywood videos are being shoved out of business by the invisible yet convenient workings of Netflix. I can't see bookstores closing yet, but that doesn't mean it's not right around the corner. Especially when news like this is released and spread across the internet like wildfire:

According to Entertainment Weekly via Amazon, there are more ebooks being sold on than trade paperback or hardcover.

The debate about ereaders and ebooks goes on and on. I understand the benefits of Kindle or iPad, I do. Sometimes I wish I could instantly order a book with the touch of my finger. As my bookshelf grows I understand that I'm going to need to get rid of some of my favorite stories. I'll need to let go of those heroes and heroines that have captured my heart. There simply isn't enough room to keep them all. And, yes, I have to admit when vacations roll around it's a pain to lug around all the books I plan on reading.

But another part of me is sad that someday soon ebooks will become the vast majority. There is nothing more exciting for me than walking through a book store, ogling all the beautiful covers, skimming over backcovers, replacing some contenders, then finally plucking the one special read that captures my interest. When I bend back the binding I'm whisked away to a different place by the crisp smell of new glue and paper. Ebooks, with their convenience and cost-efficiency, have nothing on the experience of reading a new book. It's like the whole reading experience changes when your hands touch the paper and your fingers flick the pages.

I feel like it's just me in this lightning-speed publishing industry.

Change is inevitable--I get it. We're heading into uncharted territory where even the price of ebooks is up for debate right now. But everyone knows where the exploration is headed. We know that the techno-savvy generation behind us isn't going to value the written word like we do. What's uncharted for us will be second-nature for them. And, sadly, this brave new world is going to miss some things. Or maybe I'm going to miss some things.

Am I the only one desperately holding onto the books on my shelf, refusing to buy an ereader?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Pinky and the Brain edition

Top Ten Things I should not be doing on a sweltering summer morning, but find myself doing anyway.

10-Checking facebook, twitter, my email and every blog I can get my grubby little fingers on. Except my fingers aren't grubby because all I've eaten for breakfast is a granola bar and a lukewarm cup of Folgers.

9-I SHOULDN'T BE DRINKING FOLGERS! I should be drinking Starbucks or Seattle's Finest or something iced and fancy yet oh so fattening but I won't be squeezing into a bikini any time soon so the last part should be mute, shouldn't it?

8-Watching grass grow out my kitchen window. Seriously. Husband and I are lucky enough to have a gardener who pays attention to our huge yard on Tuesday mornings. Only he hasn't been paying nearly enough attention for the money we pay him. Last week he was a no-show. He's about to be one house short of a burrito truck run. Meanwhile the grass blades are reaching boldly for the sky like they're up for re-election.

7-I shouldn't still be in my PJs. It's well past the "acceptable grown-up hour" for lounging around and has now officially skid into the "loser-get-your-ass-in-gear hour." I'd go on and on about how the internet sucked me in, but you all know how that goes...or maybe you have better things to do on a Tuesday morning. Man, I really need to get my ass in gear.

6-Listening to "Pinky and the Brain". Husband has decided there's nothing funnier than a "I'm Going to Take Over the World" Brainiac ringtone. Just in case you were in a coma for the 1990's, here's a snippet from "Pinky and the Brain".

5-Okay, really? I shouldn't get that much enjoyment out of watching a kids cartoon. Makes me think I should go back to watching Sunday morning cartoons with my kids...come to think of it, all I'd watch now is Dora and her square head deny any animalistic attraction to Boots and his boots even though we know what's really going on.

4-Sitting at home. I should be out swimming (or at the very least getting more pool estimates). I should be at the park with the kids before the temperature reaches unbearable levels. I should be visiting aquariums and museums (and sucking off their air conditioning). I should be shopping for more outfits and accessories to wear to RWA National in Orlando. I should be...sleeping.

*Oh, bonus! I hear the lawn mower man! My day just got better.*

3-I shouldn't be stalking this website like it actually means anything. Nobody can predict earthquakes, right? RIGHT? All I know is I've been checking updates for a week wondering when we're gonna feel the big one. For those of you who don't want to click on the link, the site reports "a 6.0-7.0 earthquake is likely to hit the San Francisco Bay Area July 26-28 with possible epicenter locations in San Jose or Fremont." No need to get all frantic (Oakland's had enough of that with the riots), but I've found there's nothing wrong with taking down high-flying china and gathering flashlights and batteries for radios.

2-I shouldn't be worrying about things I can't control. This one happens to me a lot. I shouldn't worry about the manuscript on submission. It's out of my hands. I know editors have a lot on their plate and will give Enemy, Beloved the read and consideration it deserves, but damn mind won't rest. At night I go over the manuscript thinking of ways I could've made it better. Every book I read gives me new, fresh ideas and I'm beginning to think my stalking of the quake-site is just me trying to have monitoring control over other things I can't.

And the number one thing I should not be doing on this sweltering summer Tuesday but find myself doing anyway is...

1-Thinking of ways to make the gardener's life more complicated. He just left, people...with half the lawn mowed! That's like eating half an ice cream cone! Or shaving half of your head! Unless you're Sinead O'Conner on some radical "only eat half of everything" diet, that isn't going to fly. I'm thinking Husband and I should go sit out on the back porch, in our PJs, drink a Tecate, eat some ice cream after a hefty burrito, and plot How We're Going To Take Over the World!!!--thereby making his life a giant headache in the process!
*insert wicked evil laugh here

Monday, July 19, 2010

Japanese Game Shows

You know, I've wanted to post this video for awhile now but haven't been able to find a segway between writing and the madness that is the show. Finally, this morning, I've decided to stop trying to force something that just isn't there and post it.

The Husband and I watch Japanese game shows a lot. On second thought "a lot" doesn't quite describe our addiction. We watch them every single day. Whether it's on our phones while waiting in the doctor's office or while we're stuck in traffic, a hysterical laugh is only a youtube visit away.

It started with MXC on Spike late nights. We'd settle down after a long day by laughing our asses off at fools riding bikes in water and running into brick walls. We'd make fun of their rayon outfits and crazy feathered hats. We'd point at the screen and secretly want to be given our shot at running through the insane course. (My hat would be all kinds of hideous purple and feathers and sequins and it'd be AWESOME.) Then came Wipeout. We were so excited at the possibility of watching a program modeled after MXC...but were sorely disappointed. I'm not sure why it doesn't measure up--perhaps it has something to do with the fact that on Japanese game shows we have no idea what the announcers are actually saying. In our minds they're laughing at the contestants, not with them. Wipeout is just too...too...calm. The announcers are in suits half the time for crying out loud! I think our favoritism also might have something to do with the screaming and gut-wrenching laughter that comes from the Japanese Game Show crowd. The audience is having the time of their lives! Why can't I be there laughing and screaming with them?!? What a party!

Then we found the following video. I hardly use OMG but O-M-G! It is so funny and just keeps getting funnier all the way through. If you're looking for a laugh, seriously, this is the way to go. Who volunteers for this? Whose job is it to come up with a stunt like this? And who is the crowd rooting for? Who are you rooting for? What on earth are they screaming? Go, go, get that marshmallow?!?

Have a look. I hope it cheers up your Monday. All Mondays could stand to be a little more cheerful in my opinion. And what better way to do that than with a marshmallow dangling on a string?

Friday, July 16, 2010

I *am* the law!

Good Morning and Happy Friday!

Ready for some answers to my enigmatic Top Ten Tuesday post?

7-Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

6-The Chief by Monica McCarty

2-Suddenly One Summer by Barbara Freethy

They're all great but I have to say The Chief was a pleasant surprise being my first Historical read and all. I didn't know what to expect and was a little hesitant but it had me turning pages like they were on fire. Good stuff.

Also, my mom and I took Tank and Princess to a very cool Children's Museum yesterday. There were all kinds of things for kids to play on: an ambulance, a firetruck, a public transit bus. My personal favorite was the police car. I had to fight kids off right and left for this picture. In fact, I think if you look closely you'll see some hooligans scrambling in the caged back seat. Yeah, that's how I roll. *grin

Hope you have a great weekend! And if you don't, you might just be under arrest! Ha!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday Teasers! Answers!

Tomorrow! Ha!

Seriously folks, I didn't realize the Top Ten would be so difficult. I kinda thought I'd get flooded with comments about knowing one or another or all of them and the Top Ten Challenge would be over. Nope. Instead I got a few emails about how difficult it was and how I should have watered it down.

Maybe I just scared you all off with my No Cheating buzz.

Either way, I'll give you another day just in case. Here's the ones correctly answered with their amazon links in case you wanted to read the complete blurb or buy the book for yourself--these really are great (I wouldn't know about #4 yet because I haven't read it, but it comes highly recommended from a great friend)...

10-Twilight: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

9-Magic in the Wind by Christine Feehan

8-Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

5-Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts

4- Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind

3-Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

1-A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux

The ones left to answer with a hint:

7-"In their youth Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fell passionately in love. When Fermina chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic." --HINT: This is a classic that was made into a 2000-something movie. The book also made an appearance in the movie "Serendipity" as the book Sarah wrote her name and number in then sold to a local bookstore for him to find.

6-"Scouring the darkest corners of the Highlands and Western Isles, Robert the Bruce handpicks ten warriors to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline warfare--to lead his secret Highland Guard, Bruce chooses the greatest warrior of all." --HINT: This is the book I started Saturday and finished yesterday. Yes, it's that good. I'm sure if you're really clever you could find me mention it in a previous post.

2-"In the California coastal town of Angel's Bay, an old legend says that sometimes, when they're needed, angels from an old shipwreck appear and good triumphs over evil." --HINT: The book was released in June of 2009. However, when you put the title into Amazon's search bar, two big hits pop up. One for this book by an author with the initials B.F. and the second for a psychedelic record that shares the same name. The record was released in 1968 by J.K. & Co.

Happy Guessing and hope you're having a great Wednesday!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday Teasers!

Here's how this Top Ten Tueday's gonna work. I'm going to pick ten books from my bookshelf. (Hint: I'm an eclectic reader and collect classics as well as modern romances.) I'm going to turn to the back cover and write a little snippet--two sentences should cut it. And you are going to tell me which book it's from. I'll try to post the painstakingly obvious blurbs first and move to harder ones. Ohhh, this should be fun! I need to have an award or something don't I? Other than just the fantabulous knowledge that you're a gung-ho reader and super good at guessing books from their blurbs.

A blurb award! That's it! The person who wins is, like, the Blurb Queen! Ha! What a title!

Oh, and absolutely, positively, NO CHEATING. Whatever that means to you to keep you honestly guessing.

And awwwaaaaay we go!

10-"In the dead silence, all the details suddenly fell into place for me with a burst of intuition. Something Edward didn't want me to know."

9-"'Sarah's come home.' Ever since Damon Wilder sought refuge in Sea Haven, he's heard the same breathless rumor pass the lips of nearly every local in the sleepy coastal town."

8-"Lunacy was Nate Burke's last chance. As a Baltimore cop, he'd watched his partner die on the street--and the guilt still haunts him."

7-"In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic."

6-"Scouring the darkest corners of the Highlands and Western isles, Robert the Bruce handpicks ten warriors to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline warfare--to lead his secret Highland Guard, Bruce chooses the greatest warrior of all."

5-"As a storm rages, the tale begins...of a powerful vampire's lust for destruction-and that of the circle of six charged by the goddess Morrigan to stop her."

4-"In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, Richard Cypher encounters a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, in his forest sanctuary. She seeks his help...and more."

3-"In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other--six vampire warriors, defenders of their race."

2-"In the California coastal town of Angel's Bay, an old legend says that sometimes, when they're needed, angels from an old shipwreck appear and good triumphs over evil."

And the number one Top Ten Teaser is...

1-"Once upon a a fair maiden lay weeping upon a cold tombstone, her heartfelt desire was suddenly made real before her: tall, broad of shoulder, attired in gleaming silver and gold, her knight in shining armor had come to rescue his damsel in distress..."

So there they are! Seriously, try not to cut and paste the quotes into google. Where's the fun in that? Make as many guesses as you want. If you comment I'll let you know if you're on the mark or far from it and all answers will be revealed in tomorrow's post.

Thanks for playing! Should be fun!

Near Death Experience aka Motherly Freakout

You'll never believe what happened to me Saturday night--other than my diet blowing up like a two-ton firework because I stuffed myself at my uncle's birthday with two too many pieces of tri-tip and deliciously yummy chocolate cake and soda and pasta salad and more pasta salad and crunchy outside-warm inside garlic bread and chips and dip and...Whew. I feel a little better after spewing all that...not literally of course.

Well, doesn't that lead right into my post? I had a near death experience on my way home from the birthday party! YES. It's true. At least in my head it is.

Here's what happened.

I left the party well after midnight when the full moon was highest in the sky. The roads were bare save for the few squirrels and possums smattered here and there on the dry asphalt. My radio was blaring "Thriller" even though it was way past Halloween and my fingers were latched around the leather-wrapped steering wheel like a vice.

It's then that I heard the words whisper from the backseat: "Mommy, I unbuckled my seatbelt."

"What?!?" I yelled, glaring into the back.

Sure enough, as slats of moonlight streamed through the back window I saw my daughter's body free from the restraint that would save her life if some whacko came flying around the corner and slammed into us. And it could totally happen.

My mind raced. We were still a good ten minutes from home. I couldn't keep driving. The roads were bare but it'd only take one car veering out of their lane to hit us and that'd be it. But THE ROADS WERE BARE AND IT'S THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, meaning it's prime serial killer hunting season. I couldn't pull over knowing that. There was hardly a shoulder anyway because the road bent and twisted along the river like a shadow hovering beside a dark serpent. There was nowhere to go.

"Put it back on," I instructed her, slowing to a near halt as we approached the bridge stretching over the river.

She struggled. "I can't."

At this point I went into a wild rant about how it's dangerous to take off seatbelts while the car is still in motion much like the rant you'd get from a stewardess if you don't stow away your articles and put your tray tables in their upright and locked position on takeoff. Except I wasn't wearing a pretty smile and a starched suit-dress. I lectured very well anyway and proved my point as a car came barreling around the corner, windows down, Jay Z's "Hustler" carrying on the night breeze.


My saving grace appeared on the right--a small stretch of sand just before the bridge, large enough to fit my big ass truck. I weaved off the road, bounding over rocks and potholes and came to a halt before the little sandy patch shifted into a dirt road and dropped down into the river.

I sighed a breath of relief as the car passed, disappearing into the night. I peered through the dark to where the truck's lights illuminated something near the water. almost looked like people...yes...two, three, maybe Big men. Damn it. They had to be big mean-lookin' men who didn't look pleased that I'd disturbed their little party, didn't they? Couldn't be little old ladies having a midnight tea party, oh no. Holy hell, there was some sort of bonfire going on and they...why were they all standing and looking at me? Oh shit, my lights were pointed right at them. And what they were smoking was definitely not legal.

I reached frantically into the backseat to latch my daughter's seatbelt. I couldn't reach it.

The men were closer now. Three decided to come check me out, bottles clutched in their grasp. They couldn't have liked my lights shining right on them but I couldn't turn another direction (there wasn't any room), and I couldn't turn the headlights off. Like I'd want to commit myself to the dark where I couldn't see them at all! But I also couldn't keep driving with my daughter's seatbelt off while car after car sped by! I wouldn't press my luck--I couldn't!

I made a split second decision.

I jumped out of the truck, hauled serious ass to the passenger door directly behind mine, leaped across the back bench seat, jerked the belt across my daughter's body, latched it, slammed the door shut, scurried back to my seat, slammed my door closed and bounded back onto the road.

I was seriously winded.

"Why'd we have to hurry?" she asked, innocent and worried.

"Because it wasn't safe!" I snapped, my heart still beating out of my chest. "There were men out there by the river and it wasn't safe!"

"There were men by the river?" It's clear the trauma had left her wondering why her mother just reacted like a raving lunatic. But then she said, "Were they Fishermen?"

"Yes," I answered dryly, my mind picturing gangsters with weed and guns and knives poles? "They were really crazy fishermen."

The remainder of the drive home was met with silence as she, no doubt, tried to understand what was going on while I calmed myself down. But I couldn't! We almost died! Those guys could've totally killed us, hacked us up with their filleting knivery and fed us to the fishes as bait for their next meal! Really! It could've totally happened!

Okay, okay, so I may've overreacted a little bit. I didn't leave the party after midnight...we left at nine. A car did come barreling around the corner right as she depressed her seatbelt button, but I thought I heard Michael Bolton not Jay-Z. Okay, that's a stretch too. I didn't hear anything. BUT there were three guys doing something they weren't suppose to be doing near the river. They DID NOT like my headlights illuminating them and they did walk toward me to figure out what the hell I wanted. Except they weren't gangsters or bikers, at least not from what I could discern.

But they sure as hell weren't fishermen...not that I took the time to look for poles or tackle boxes.

Lastly, something I must admit...the freakout...THAT was real. My emotions. My thoughts. Those were about spot-on. Not so much of a near death experience in reality when you look at the hard facts but who looks at facts now-a-days? Everything seems to be driven by feelings and beliefs and desires and hopes and fears. I was definitely running on a few of those skewers that night.

The rest of the night I was completely spent. I crawled into bed and delved into Monica McCarty's The Chief before I called it a night well after midnight. My mind just wouldn't shut off. Thank God the historical romance didn't have cars or seatbelts or crazy men who had bonfires much too late at night and freak out mothers driving home with their restless children.

What about you? Your child ever push the seatbelt button while you were still driving? Have you ever forgotten to latch it completely and freak out when you realize you went halfway across town without it? I could imagine your mind might race through horrible possibilities as mine did. Care to weigh share so I don't feel like the only batty mother?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bachelorette: Pararomance Style

Oh, Bachelorette, how I don't envy thee. I'm going to write a Bachelorette re-do Pararomance Style because, well, because it's damn fun to poke fingers at people who put themselves on shameless reality tv "to find true love". On to the set-up...

After being on last season of The Bachelor, in which Ali turned down a chance at love for work, wait...isn't that the point of the show? To find love? To leave your life behind in hopes of joining his? Poor, confused girl must've discovered she was simply in desperate need of a vacation.

Anyway, Ali is now the star of her own show The Bachelorette. A dizzying number of guys came onto the show looking for their ten minutes of fame and love. (That's the right order, let's be honest.) She's now down to four guys and is about to go to their hometowns and meet their families. I could write a hilarious ending for the final four who are her actual picks but where's the fun in that? Some of those guys *ahem*Kirk*choke*cough...pardon me, I had a really boring bug in my I was saying, some of those guys are too flat--er, nice. Yeah, they're too nice to throw under the bus. Here are my picks for the spoof date:

Rated Rude Justin Rego has to be there because he couldn't further his career as a soap opera wrestler, uh, I mean as a pro entertainment wrestler, if he doesn't get air time.

Wimpy Weatherman Jonathan needs be be involved in case the outlook on the date changes from lame to stormy with chance of meatballs.

Rico Suave Roberto is nice to look at and he's just as smooth pitching on the baseball field as he is swinging through the air at Broadway's Lion King.

Krazy Kacey has to make an appearance because, let's face it, Ali needs someone who can guard and protect her heart. And she couldn't do that without a stranger offering his wrist to tattoo.

Their date should take place somewhere dangerous to make my story more erupting volcano! No, wait, the producers beat me to it. How about a glacier in a ice/sleet/wind storm! Nope, beat me to it again. Damn, they're into torture too. Okay, okay, how about on top of a tiny platform on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco? Yeah, that's out of left field...sounds about right.

It's dark and windy as Wimpy Weatherman Jonathan and Ali climb the final staircase to the bridge's platform, the other men trail behind carrying the dinner setup like trail donkeys.

Jonathan: It's dark and windy, Ali, you should take my hand.
Ali: (takes hand) Thank you. Look at the view from up here. The city lights are beautiful.
Jonathan: Yeah, and the low pressure system moving in is stunning too.
Ali: (looks at him bug-eyed) What were your parents like? Do you have any siblings? Where do you live? What will I see in your hometown? Will your parents like me?
Jonathan: (trips on final stair after realizing he hasn't asked a single question about her in 3 weeks) I'm not so comfortable without my blue screen so you'll have to excuse my nerves.
Ali: That's all right, I learned all about your nerves the date of the swimsuit calendar. That ducky wraparound floatie looked great on you.
Jonathan: Thanks. There's something to be said about a man who gets into the water with caution.

(Ali, bored out of her wits, leans over rail to gaze at sharks circling beneath them, looses footing just as Kacey skids to her side and braces her around the middle.)

Kacey: (in a Kermit-the-Frog-air-bubble-need-to-clear-his-throat-voice) I've got you, Ali. I've got your heart.
Ali: (winded and more worried about the stalker-determination in his eyes than the hungry sharks) Thank you, Kacey.
Kacey: Here, sit down. (hovers as she sits criss-cross-applesauce on the blanket he's laid out, then sits right next to her) I made you something. (takes a note of his pocket and hands it to her)
Ali: (opens note and reads aloud) 'Ali, I'm the one who's going to guard and protect your heart. Do you like me? Check Yes or No.' Gee, Kacey, that drawing of a shield and rose are real pretty.
Kacey: Thanks. I tattooed that design along with a stenciled picture of your face to my backside. Want to see? (starts to move, she stops him)
Ali: That's all right Kacey, there are more important things I need to know like if you're genuine.
Kacey: Well I'm going to guard and protect your heart. If that's not genuine I don't know what is.
Ali: Well we just met so--
Kacey: You deserve someone who will guard and protect your heart. And I will be the one to guard and protect your heart. You deserve--
Ali: I got it! I got it...Where's a hot pro athlete who looks good and keeps his mouth shut when you need one?

(Roberto comes flying in from a bridge cable, still in green and yellow Lion King leotard. Lands stable on platform, hands on hips, then smiles ear to ear showing Enrigue Iglesius who's the real Latin stallion. Ali claps wildly.)

Jonathan: Temperature just warmed up 10 degrees up here.
Kacey: (rubs backside where ink from fake tattoo drips south)
Ali: That was wonderful Roberto!
Roberto: Thanks. I've been practicing since our Broadway date.
Ali: I don't know a single thing about you but it doesn't matter. You're cute and not crazy, and right now that's all that matters to me.
Roberto: Want me to show you how to throw a curve ball?
Ali: After just talking about not being crazy, sure, I'd love a curve ball! It's cold and windy, and there's hardly enough room to stand up here with the three of you but sure! This seems natural and not forced at all!

(Roberto pulls baseball from leotard--no need to mention from where. He tosses it to her. She drops it. Kacey rushes to pick it up and hands it to her.)
Jonathan: You should throw a couple degrees to the right, Ali, to account for wind velocity.
Ali: Thanks for looking out, guys. (Tosses ball back to Roberto.)

(Rated Rude Justin Rego finally gimps up final stair and snatches the ball mid-air. His crutches fall to the floor.)

Justin: Why don't you let me show you how a real man wins over a woman? (He climbs back down the flight of stairs and back up again.) See? I'd climb a mountain for you, Ali.
Ali: But that was just a staircase.
Justin: But I'm on crutches and that makes it more meaningful.
Ali: You're right. I'm here to find a husband and that shows me how qualified you are. How do I know you're here for the right reasons?
Justin: (opens shirt, showing "Rated R", and growls as only pro pathetic wrestlers know how) I'm here for the right reasons, Ali. I care about you more than any other. You have to believe me.

(Ali smiles despite herself and feels the first rumblings of an earthquake. She grips the railing and watches the men scramble while a 6.0 rocks the faultline hovering bridge. Roberto jumps onto the cable swinging to and fro, wraps his legs around and lets out a tarzan-y, yet very Brooklyn-sounding battle cry. Jonathan searches the clouds for answers, finds none, and sucks his thumb. Justin jerks his cell phone out of his pocket and dials frantically.)

Justin: (into phone) I'm so sorry! I came here for all the wrong reasons! I care about you more than any other! You have to believe me! Sarah! Jessica! Emily! Katrina! Which one are you again?

Ali: (eyes bugging out even more, thinks back to what he said) Wait a minute! You just said all that to me! The guys in the house were right! How is that possible? They lived with you for 3 weeks and I knew you for...well...for a couple hours when you were on your best behavior! How could I have been wrong about you?!?

Kacey: (runs to Ali, falls on his face, scrambles to his feet. He grips her around the waist, and guides her down the staircase by shoving her in front of him.) I'll protect you Ali! I'm here to guard and protect your heart! I'm sincere and genuine and I'll prove it! I'll protect you because even though we just met your heart deserves to be protected!
Ali: Kacey no! (trips on stair, falls flat on lower platform)

Conan O'Brien: (comes to rescue, kneels beside Ali) Who?!? Who would do this to you, Ali? Who? Tell me who!
Jonathan: (takes thumb out of mouth and looks to Ali and Conan who are snuggled into an embrace) The future just got a whole lot foggier.

To be continued...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Losing my mind one micro at a time

Dear Microwave,

I know you're old. I get it. You can stop groaning and grumbling as your cracked plate turns. You think I don't know that you need a new door? Every time I try to open it, the sucker sticks and I have to pry it open with a butter knife. You think I like the jarring sound it makes as it snaps close, nearly severing off my fingers? And just how many screeching beeps do you think it takes to tell me the lasagna's ready? Five? Really? I'm not deaf, fyi. I can hear your wheels churning. I know you're plotting my demise by undercooking food, thereby giving me some twisted disease like lethal micronellacopia--I don't care if it doesn't exist Microknowitall, that's not the point!--If I could rub two nickels together I wouldn't waste them by replacing you with a newer model, oh no. I'd delicately place them right in your white belly and press High Defrost. Maybe then I'd thaw your cold heart and you'd start working right.

Until then I'm using the stove. Take that you 90's dinosaur.

Heatedly yours,

Top Ten ways to wake up your muse

Top Ten Tuesday is back again! I'm beginning to really like Tuesdays...

I've heard some authors say the muse doesn't exist. Inspiration dries up and what's left is the hard work ethic that got them published to begin with. I can see that. Others say their muse is the reason they write and that without their creative juices flowing every day they'd be a useless brain sitting at the computer, checking twitter a gazillion times instead of creating something new. I can see that side too. Pardon me for a moment as I tweet this blog. Heh.

Before I delve into ways to shake life into your muse, you should know where they come from. Wikipedia reads, "The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature are the goddesses or spirits who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture, that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths."

So how can you get those darn sprites to behave and keep your ideas rolling? Here's Top Ten ways to wake up your muse:

10. Dance! Nothing beats shaking the cobwebs out of your brain by shaking your groove thang. The music should put you in a better place (emotionally and mentally) and rejuvenate you. And it's good to laugh at yourself every now and again.

9. Exercise. I don't know about you but after 45 minutes on the bike or treadmill, the ideas are flowing like the sweat from my pores.

8. Eat some chocolate. Okay, okay, so I may be a little of a chocoholic. Seriously though, some studies suggest dark chocolate stimulates brain functioning. It may hurt your waistline, but your story lines will improve.

7. Wash your car. Or the dog. There's something about the rush of a water hose and the hard use of my hands that makes my brain zone. During those when times I'm not really thinking of anything at all, inspiration squeaks through.

6. Free write. I'm sure you've heard of this. Sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and set a timer for fifteen minutes. Write about absolutely nothing at all. Grammar doesn't matter. Story doesn't matter. The point is to not stop writing for a single second and bypass the logical side of your brain. Think of it as a mini-lesson in nanowrimo.

5. Do nanowrimo! Follow the link above for all the info. Loads of published novels were birthed from that insanely freeing month including Rachael Herron's How to Knit a Love Song. (Which is one of my absolute faves written by one of my absolute faves!)

4. Garden. Or, in my case, kill plants that would've lived had they stayed at Orchard Supply. I have a black thumb. I can't keep cactus alive. Seriously people, look at my plants.

They're hanging on for dear life. BUT I've heard gardening on a daily basis releases endorphins that stimulate creativity. Something to think about...

3. Head to your special place for some quiet time. Whether it be the beach, the mountains, your bedroom, just go. By quieting your brain and infusing a sense of calm, that idea you've been struggling to pull out of nowhere may hit you like a ton of bricks.

2. Read. Read. Read. Books are gasoline that set your own ideas on fire. Light them up by reading everything and anything within reach.

And the number one thing you can do to wake up your muse is...

1. Talk it out with a critique partner or fellow writer. Find a writing group online. Yahoo! Groups search engine is one way to start. Plug in writing group to the search field and start chatting. I'd be careful who you share ideas with at first, but once you find someone you can trust there is nothing more valuable than bouncing ideas back and forth. Join writing groups in your local area and reach out to others in your position. Lisa Sanchez, author of Eve of Samhain, is my critique partner and I can't tell you how many times we've met for coffee after a grueling writing session. Every single time she got my brain moving again.

So there you have it! Ten ways to kick start your muse back into gear. So what works for you--any of the above? Or do you have your own little muse rocking secret? Care to share?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to write an author bio...

Scratch that title.

How to sell yourself.

That's a more fitting title, I think. That's what an author bio is all about, after all. Selling yourself. Making your writing background sound professional yet intriguing. It's a harder task than it seems, especially coming from a debut author who doesn't have a publishing credit that shines like the harvest moon.

When I sat down at my blank word doc, cursor blinking irritatingly and all, I thought to myself, "An editor is going to get to the part where it reads 'no publishing experience' and pass on the manuscript. I know it."

Well in a world where I know everything, that may be how strict the industry standards are. (And in a world where I know everything I would make bucku-bucks betting at the Kentucky Derby.) But you have to stay positive and work with what you have. It's hard to remember that every published author once sat in my position, staring at the blank screen, wondering what on earth to put in their bio.

I researched. A lot. There are loads of resources if you simply google "writing" and "author bio". Here's some things to keep in mind:

~Keep the bio about one page in length
~Stay professional, omit the personal
~Include degrees earned (shows English/writing background)
~Include conferences and workshops attended (where, when, and who presented)
~Include writing group memberships (shows dedication to perfecting craft)
~Include blog or website info. (shows "followers" or "future sales")
~Include publication credits, if any

Sounds easy-cheesy when it's spelled out like that, doesn't it? When you look over the list how many things could you expand on? Have you been to RT, RWA Natonal or RomCon? Have you taken writing workshops like Donald Maass' "The Fire in Fiction"? Do you hold membership in RWA, SFWA, or MWA? Do you attend regular meetings with branches of those groups? Do you know any published authors from these meetings who might be kind enough to give you a blurb for your debut novel? And finally, how many hits do you receive on your blog? How many followers do you have? In other words, how many sales are you bringing to the table when it's time for your agent and editor to negotiate?

You see, there are loads of ways to expand on an author's bio if you're not yet an author. But, and it's a mighty bold but, you have to show you're working toward branding an author name. You have to show you're perfecting your craft and dedicated to writing.

In my research I often came upon author bio's that included personal information. The rules clearly state no personal information, so what's the reason for the discrepancy? Take a look at the first few lines of Karen Marie Moning's two bio's:

The bio on her website reads, "Karen Marie Moning was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of four children. She graduated from Purdue University with a BA in Society and Law." Her "official" author bio on the other hand reads, "Karen Marie Moning, a New York Times bestselling author, graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor's degree in Society & Law."

Catch the difference? When a reader enjoys her book and finds her website, he or she might feel connected to know how many siblings she has or where she grew up. But no editor, when deciding whether to represent or pass on her manuscript, cares about that info. They care about her professional capacity and how that will relate to future sales.

So this is what I did (not saying it's right or wrong because I have yet to sell Enemy, Beloved), but I kept it professional and expanded on areas I could expand. I didn't say I was unpublished...I just left it out and focused on my stengths. Before I knew it I had a full page in length.

Know that WHEN you get an agent, they're going to need your author bio up front. Start bulking it up now and it'll be that much easier later.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tik Tok

Oh, you would not believe what I discovered on the world wide web this morning...

Further proof that with enough time and an immense amount of boredom, even Star Trek can be amusing.

Want an update on my progress? I'm still editing Dark Tide Rising for The Wild Rose Press and Enemy, Beloved is out of my hands, hopefully making editors salivate for more in New York. I completed my Author's Bio a couple days ago, turned that in, and am now inserting my voice into a rather dry synopsis. That's the challenge, isn't it? Making your voice come through in a 4-5 page summary. Not as easy as it would seem.

On Monday I'll give some tips on how to write an Author's Bio or at least tell you what I did. I researched a ton of different sources trying to find the best way to make myself "marketable". I'll put all those together and condense them for you. I think I'm gonna let the Trekkies Tik Tok me into another writing session. Have a great Fourth of July weekend! Be safe out there!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

100 Follower Contest Goes On

I haven't mentioned the 100-follower contest in awhile and it's high time to refresh. You can find this info on the "100-follower contest" tab above, but just to save you the mouse click here's the info again.

I'm giving away either a SIGNED copy of Lisa Sanchez's paranormal romance novel, Eve of Samhain,

Or a $15.00 Starbucks Giftcard.

The winner will get to choose their reward, but I'd pity the fool (in Mr. T's voice, of course) who turned down the chance to ogle Lisa's super-sexy (yet adorably tortured) hero Quinn Donegan.

The rules are simple. To be entered, you must "Follow" my blog and leave a comment on the "Author Spotlight: Interview with Lisa Sanchez" post. You can find the post by clicking on the "Author Spotlight" label on the sidebar.

You also get one bonus entry for each thing you do on this list: (And who doesn't love a bonus or two?)

+2 Adding this contest post to your sidebar (shoot me an email so I can check it out)
+2 Blogging about the contest (shoot me another email so I can give mad thanks)
+1 Twittering this post (make sure to add @KM_Miller so I know you did it)

*(Each of those above can only be done for bonus points once. Thanks to those of you who'd so graciously tweet the contest every day...but I couldn't possibly add up all those bonus points until it ends.)

The winner will be announced once my "Follower" count reaches 100. On May 24th, 2010 I had 31 followers. As of today, July 1st, the tally's up to 59! Thanks guys, we're nearly there! Tell your friends and win some goodies!