Friday, December 26, 2008

Day After Christmas

No this isn't about a post-apocalyptic world where everything was destroyed at midnight after Christmas Day :0) Though I did just see the perfect villain for such a tale driving a red Charger with plates that read MRGRINCH. Now what kind of baddy do you have to be to have vanity plates like that?

To get back on my original topic, let's talk about the question of the moment, "What did you get for Christmas?" I know you're getting sick of that, right? But breathe deeply. You'll have to answer many more times before New Year's arrives.

I'll start my laundry list here. My bf got me the best gift ever! (No not something sparkley that should be on my left ring finger.) He got me...wait for it...a pair of sneakers!! Yeah, I know it's not a blue diamond or a new car, which is supposed to be the best Christmas present ever according to commercials. But when you're a girl who wears a size 11, has flat feet and narrow heels, you'd kill to find a second pair of sneakers you love (that also happen to be your two favorite colors). I found a pair at my local Rack Room, but couldn't see dropping $86 bucks on myself when I still had Christmas shopping for others to do. Needless to say my bf tracked some down. So I will not look like a hack when I run my next race in February (also thanks in part to the new runner's coat my sis and b-in-law gifted me with). In other workout news, my bf also got me an awesome pedometer that I can use to measure running courses as well as track how many calories I've burned! Woot woot!

He also got me the gift of song, which will be accompanying me often as my fingers pound the keyboard (and my feet pound the pavement). Rascal Flats and the Police, now that's an interesting combo :0) And to top it off, I now have one of the top ten gifts of the season (per Weight Watchers magazine) to write in! Bath & Body's luxurious bath robe (which could also be used as a boxer's roentrance attire). It's like being cuddled by a fluffy cloud, of the burgandy variety. Kudos to my mom.

Putting purchased gifts aside, I also got to share meals with my family. We got to chat about my BIGgest Loser win, share the good news that my mom didn't have to start diabetic meds, and generally have a great time catching up on the ins and outs of everyone's lives. Plus my grandmother outdid herself with her lunch time spread. I wasn't sure I'd be able to find an inch of room left to eat at my bf's parent's house. I will say I made room, but really wanted to be able to slip on my new pajama bottoms, in lieu of the skinny jeans I just fit back into. Together we nibbled, made jokes and had a balast eventhough the gifts weren't as big as usual.

And I have one more get-together to attend that just might fall on New Year's Eve. I'm looking forward to my stepmom's safe return from a holiday trip to PA, trading stories with my brother while we share an evening together. With three people involved part of the retail scene, it will truly be a miracle that we'll enjoy to the fullest :0)

So tell us, what did Santa or your someone special leave under your Christmas tree, or just maybe in your driveway?



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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays


Again I must apologize for not being around so much, but I wanted to stop in and wish everyone a happy holiday season.
Here's hoping 2009 brings everyone a little peace of mind, a little joy and maybe a new publishing contract or two.
Top Cat says, "I bet I can take the tree down much faster than you put it up."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Good morning, all!

It's truly winter weather here today with highs at about 8. Yep, eight degrees. Brrr! We've just had about 10 inches of snow with more expected today and tomorrow -- hopefully not another 10, lol. I have to admit I don't like winter, don't like the cold or the snow or the ice but it is a pretty sight...if you don't have to go out in it.

Unfortunately I do. Our snowblower needs a visit to the snowblower doctor and I've got some other errands to run. Snow, cold, ice...life goes on, n'est pa?

I have two announcements today. One, in particular, is special to my family since it's my daughter's birthday. She is the very best pre-Christmas present I ever received and is the darling of her mother and father's heart Yes, we're doting parents, lol. Happy Birthday, kiddo!

The other announcement is that I have sold my book, Heartstone, to Mundania Press. You may remember Heartstone -- it was a RWA Golden Heart finalist as well as a finalist in a number of other contests. And it was available for a short while at Triskelion Publishing. I don't have all the details yet but as they come in, I'll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, to give you a respite in shopping or baking or decorating, I offer a few pics I found on the Internet. Enjoy.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more puppies

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Luckily, none of these cute little animals are my Wookie or Zuzu (who have their own attitudes :-D) but they do provide a moment of mirth before we all get back to shopping or baking or decorating for the holidays.

Again, I hope your holidays are fantastic and that you're surrounded by family and friends, good food and a warm house. See you next year!

GO TO FANCYPROFILE.COM
FANCYPROFILE.COM

Friday, December 19, 2008

Star Light, Star Bright....Interstellar Interview 2008 Extended Edition


Instead of having another author today, I thought it would be nice to see what the authors featured over the course of this year have been up too seen we last talked. So please peruse the roll call below and stay tuned for more bright publishing stars next year!

When we last chatted with Angela Knight, her latest releases were SHIFTER from Berkley and DARK ONE from Changeling Press. Her non-fiction book, PASSIONATE INK, which teaches writers how to write erotica had also hit bookstores. Since then her new series The Time Hunters has debuted with WARRIOR and the second book is due out in May 2009. Her novel CAPTIVE DREAMS, co-authored with her friend, Diane Whiteside, will be re-released in mass market paperback this month! Angela also announced that she’s been offered a new three book contract with Berkley! She says the order will be—a new Mageverse novel, a third Time Hunters book, and then another Mageverse novel with two novellas interspersed. So be on the look out for more from Angela in the future!



Jenna Black has a new Morgan Kingsley series novel called THE DEVIL’S DUE out this month! When Jenna did her interview in April HUNGERS OF THE HEART, the fourth novel in the Guardians of the Night series, was about to hit shelves. In August, she also celebrated the release of THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, the much awaited follow-up to THE DEVIL INSIDE. Jenna has also signed a multi-book deal for a new fantasy YA series! So stay tuned for exciting new releases from Jenna in 2009.




In May, FIRE IN THE BLOOD had just hit shelves as the latest Sexth Sense release by Kelley St. John. BED ON ARRIVAL came out in June, followed by LIVE AND YEARN in September, which we got a sneak peek of! These Harlequin series titles are books four through 6 of Kelley’s spicy original tales set in Louisiana and centered around some sexy ghost mediums. In February, she also has a new single title due out from Grand Central called FLIRTING WITH TEMPTATION!






Since June, Patti O’Shea has received more awards! IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR, the first book in the Light Warrior series, won the Booksellers Best Award for Paranormal as well as the Laurel Wreath Award for Best Paranormal, and the Barclay Gold Award for Best Paranormal! The follow up to IN TWILGIHT’S SHADOW, and the third book in the series has also received a new name—EDGE OF DAWN. Be sure to look for this next installment about the Gineal in July of 2009!




Virginia Kantra’s Children of the Sea series is doing smashingly since we last touched base in July. SHIFTER, which included the prequel to the series, reached the bestsellers ranks. When she joined us for her Q&A the first book, SEA WITCH, has just hit stores, and in August the second book entitled SEA FEVER scorched readers hands with its hot cover. Stay tuned, because the third book, SEA LORD, is headed your way in May of 2009 with another gorgeous hunk front and center!






KISS OF FURY is Deborah Cooke's follow-up to the novel that kicked off her Pyr series called KISS OF FIRE. If you're into hunky men with an air of mystery as well as mythical dragons, the next offering, KISS OF FATE, will be hitting stores in February 2009 in time for Valentine’s Day!








Jennifer Estep is still recovering from her back-to-back Bigtime releases—KARMA GIRL, HOT MAMA & JINX—plus she’s hard at work on her new series, Elemental Assassin. The first book, GIN ON THE ROCKS, is set to debut in the fall of 2009 from Pocket Books. If you’re looking for giants, dwarves, and vampires, oh my, stay tuned to this writer’s website! Where you can also read the first chapter!







Mindy Klasky has created and started selling a new Cake Walk Calendar to benefit First Book, one of the charity’s she champions. 100% will go to First Book to give kids the chance to have their very own books. The calendar is a collaboration from Mindy and other romance authors to recreate the divine concoctions at Cake Walk from the Jane Madison series. Mindy is also hard at work on book two of her new As You Wish genie/vampire series. No date yet about the release of book one, so stay tuned to her blog. Her latest book, MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL, is still available! Make sure to grab a copy or ask for it for Christmas so you can find out what happens at the conclusion of the series!



Eliza Gayle latest release is HER SURRENDER, an erotic Tryst from Cobblestone Press. Her Pentacles of Magick series has also been released in print! She has also just contracted with Phaze to do a story called “Rope Dreams” in PURGATORY. If you visit Phaze, check out her recent release, SURRENDER with Eden Bradley, Reese Gabriel and Alessia Brio. Eliza is eagerly anticipating the 2009 release of her Black Cougar series from Linden Bay Romance!






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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Peace on Earth

Christmas is fast coming. Never mind last Christmas, what happened to the Christmas before that? Where did Christmas 2007 go?!

I'm going to be working almost every night until after Boxing Day, so this is possibly my one chance to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. May it be Peaceful and happy, and I wish you all a most Blessed New Year.

At this time, let us remember the true meaning of Christmas and not get caught up in all the commericalism and hype. I pray for Peace, Harmony, and Understanding. Christmas is the time for giving, for sharing, and for remembering the One who was born to save us.

So to you all, I hope this Christmas will fill you with true Joy, and it will follow you into the New Year

Cheers!
Angela

Monday, December 15, 2008

Guest - Toni Sweeney

Good morning everyone! Today's guest is Toni Sweeney. Now, ordinarily, I'd use a short bio to introduce her but I found this so interesting, I thought I'd use her entire bio. Enjoy!

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I was born sometimes in the years between the War Between the States and the Gulf War, in the Sovereign State of Georgia. My ethnic extraction is French/Alsatian. One of the first movies I remember seeing was "Dracula's Daughter" and I guess that set me on the road toward the genre I would write. At the age of nine, I received a portable Underwood typewriter and used to write my own novels. It was during this time that I was noticed by a band of Transylvanian vampires who had somehow gotten blown off-course and landed in Georgia. They offered to finance my e4ducation in exchange for my writing "nice" stories about them. Shortly after graduation from college (BA, Fine Art), I worked as secretary to the chairman of the English Department at Mercer University and that's when I began writing "real" novels, but it wasn't until after I was in an auto accident which left me hospitalized and disabled for a total of two years that I began to seriously consider getting my novels published. The years following my accident, finding myself a single mother with a child to support, were extremely lean and often there wasn't much money, and one of the things I had to give up was books. Remembering my promise to my vampire patrons, I began writing my own so I'd have something to read and when a co-worker dared me to try to get one published, I took the challenge. So far now, I've had about nine books published, some of them as ebooks and audio novels. I've been a dancer, a teacher, a medical transcriptionist, and now I'm a writer.

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If there's one thing I hate, it's anachronisms--something inappropriate or not in context of the time in which it is presented. The most famous example is the clock striking in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The Romans didn't have clocks, they had sundials! I've seen it so many times--in settings other than the present, although it can happen in any genre. I suppose it's difficult to remember that people in other time periods didn't always speak the same way we do today. Oh, we have to have a little leeway--otherwise the books is going to get bogged down and go nowhere--but just how difficult is it to remember that modern slang has no place in a story set in medieval England--unless it's a time travel story or it's being played for laughs? There is nothing that makes me cringe quicker than hearing someone clad in a viking costume, lifting his sword to rally his men and shouting out: "Okay, men! Listen up!" (Yes, I swear, it's happened!) Or-- A Spanish conquistador standing on a hilltop, looking around at a valley below him and declaiming, "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world." (A quote from Robert Browning, who lived in the 19th century.) Or-- (my favorite) the weary knight who just went ten rounds with a firebreathing drfagon, as he staggers to his tent: "I'm sleeping in tomorrow. Don't anyone wake me, okay?" As far as I'm concerned, the story came to a skidding halt, right there. When I write a story, I always try to use in a few words or phrases that were used in that period, but ones that will be comprehensible in their context so, even if the reader doesn't know the word, he can infer its meaning. I look for words that can be used in place of "Okay" which is such an integral part of our language today. (Just the other night, on the TV show "Crusoe" I heard Friday say it to Robinson! Groan.) Yes, aye, as you will, it will be as you say, very well, so be it....there are plenty of ways to get the idea of agreement across without using "okay," as with with words or phrases.

The same goes for objects. In Shadow Lord (unpublished), set in 1806, I have my hero and his cousin smoking cigarettes on a terrace during a ball. PROBLEM: How prevalent were cigarettes in 1806? What did they use to light the cigarettes? Research showed that cigarettes were common during that time in Europe but were called cigaritos. Sulphur matches (later called Lucifers) were developed around the same time in England but were extremely volatile and apt to self-ignite if they brushed against each other. My hero solves that problem by carrying them in a small metal case, figuring if they burst into flame, the metal will protect him long enough to toss it away. In my novel Walk the Shadow Trail, the main character sees the young son of a friend chewing something and chastises him for using tobacco. Imagine his surprise when the boy tells him it's something called chewing gum, a present from a drummer (salesman) who came to town. My investigation into chewing gum revealed a wealth of information about this subject--the formula for gum was introduced by none other than Santa Ana, villain (if you were a Texan) of the Alamo. Wrigley, whose name is synonymous with gum, gave sample sticks to his customers when he was a traveling salesman. It was very available throughout the Midwest during the late 19th century. (A history lesson and information at the same time.) Bubblegum, however, didn't come into being until the 20th century so it would've been incorrect for me to have the kid blowing bubbles in that scene.

Now that we're in a new century, the opposite is in effect. Stories I wrote in the 20th century have to be updated, what with cellphones, ipods, teleconferencing, DNA, the Internet, all the advanced criminal research techniques, etc--only a few years ago, this was science fiction, nowadays, it's accepted fact, so, whether your story is set in 1008 or 2008, make certain your characters' speech, clothing, and ways of life are set within those boundaries, and you won't set your readers'--and my--teeth on edge!

Here endeth today's lecture.

I currently have two books scheduled for December, and one which was just released. Sinbad's Wife is the second novel in The Adventures of Sinbad series and tells the story of Andi's trials and tribulations when the famous surgeon hired to save her beloved Sin's life refuses to do so unless she becomes his mistress. Most of the story centers on what happens to her as her husband lies in a coma. Blood Curse, the sequel to Bloodseek is set for sometime in December and my futuristic romance Three Moon Station (written as Icy Snow Blackstone) will be coming out as an ebook on December 19 and will be released in March in print. The publisher is The Wild Rose Press. It's the story of a young woman who witnesses her boss' murder, and is on the run from the killer, taking the information for which he was killed with her. Since her uncle, a ruthless businessman is involved, no place on Earth is now safe for her, so she leaves it, hitching a ride on a ship going to a Terran colony. What she doesn't know is that the ship is carrying women convicts to the planet to become wives of the men living there and suddenly she finds herself married to a rancher who not only believes she's a convicted felon but fully expects his "marital rights." How she convinces him to help her while he tries to make her fall in love with him makes up the majority of the story.



When murder witness Katy Rawls escapes to Tritomis-2, a farming planet, and meet reclusive rancher Sarkin Trant, she believes she's going to be his housekeeper. Instead, she's startled to learn she's legally his wife. When she tells him why she came to Tritomis-2, Sar agrees to protect her until it's safe for her to return to Earth. Secretly, however, he's determined to court Katy and make her fall in love with him so she won't want to leave. While Katy is struggling to keep the attraction she feels for Sar from overcoming her determination to bring the killers to justice, the hitmen sent by the man ordering the murder are slowly closing in. Can Sar keep his promise and protect the woman he loves from their deadly weapons?

I have two novelettes also recently released by TWRP: "Love, Vampire Style"



and "Demon in Blue Jeans." These are humorous takes on supernatural amor and have both gotten some very good reviews. "Love, Vampire Style" was also nominated for Book of the Week by Long and Short Reviews. They also have trailers featured on YouTube. I also have three novels contracted with Lyrical Press--Jericho Road (set in Vietnam-era Georgia), Earthman's Bride, and its sequel, When the Condor Returned, which are scheduled for release sometime in 2009. Earthman's Bride recently won First Place in the Maryland romance Writer's "Reveal Your Inner Vixen" contest, paranormal division, for 2008. My science fiction novel Blood Sin has a conditional contract with Leucrota Press.




Former smuggler Sinbad sh’en Singh and his beloved Andrea are married at last, but happily ever after isn't in the cards. Even before the wedding bells have stopped ringing, a young stranger appears claiming to be Sin’s son. While Andi is adjusting to that news, Sin succumbs to the illness that threatens their happiness, and the only surgeon who can save him unscrupulously demands Andi’s body as his fee. Reluctantly paying the price, the little Navajo finds herself on a mid-space liner with her lover-by-force while her husband recuperates in the hospital. When the ship is attacked by Blackbirders Andi and the other women passengers are destined for the Slave Pits of Bel-Ammon. Then the slavers’ leader decides to keep her for himself, and Andi faces an even worse fate than being a slave, for the man who leads the Blackbirders is someone she never expected to see again.

I've got a website at www.tonivsweeney.com, which also includes information about my pseudonym, Icy Snow Blackstone. There's also information on myspace.com/tvsweeney, Facebook, and I have trailers for several of my novels on YouTube.com/tvsweeney.

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-- That's it for today, everyone. Hope you've enjoyed Toni's visit. Be sure to say hi and let her know Have a great week! Lynda

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas What If

One of the brainstorming ideas I usually employ is what if. It opens up a gamut of possibilities. Usually they aren't all gems, but the act can lead to some interesting side forays. The exploration is even more fun when there is more than one person involved, say a small group of writer friends. So I thought why not throw this idea out. What if you shook Christmas up? Think about a snowglobe, where all those pieces floating through the water/gel are ideas that you can use to form a pretty verbal picture.

What if the currency of the season wasn't gifts, but something more tangible, more emotional or even carnal. What if it was a sacred night of marriage, and punctuated by the wedding night? Which would make the gift virginity or even one's self. Hmmm...brings up a new twist on the marriage of convenience, doesn't it? It could either be a chaste union or a sullied form of "selling" stock.

What if what we decorated wasn't a tree? What else could it be? What if it was an ancient idol? One that glowed in the light of the stars instead of by electricity? What if that one special night of Christmas Eve was the one time of the season when it might come "alive"? And what if that occurrence signified a long awaited occasion? Think forward to modern times and turn that idol into a skyscaper, instead of something made of stone. Are those light displays really secret messages to followers?

What if Santa wasn't Santa, but instead a warrior who became that idol or a keeper once a year? What would he be the rest of the year? A toy maker as is often used? How about a toy designer who used a computer instead of a pencil, paper and a ruler? What if he was a marketing man, who'd "sold" himself in the biggest PR campaign ever? To throw romance in the mix, what if he weren't married? How would his intended be found? Would she have to meet certain standards like a degree or perhaps her special power makes him come to life? What if he is destined to find his one intended in each lifetime, instead of living forever? And what if her presence and love is the only thing that keeps him alive? Now add the time limit of wrapping up the adventure by Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Now that gives new meaning to a speedy courtship and quick engagement, not to mention a likely marriage.

Makes you think doesn't it? All of these ideas could be used in any type of romance--ancient, medieval, contemporary, futuristic. There are all different ways to spin a tale, especially when you let yourself open up to a universe full of what ifs. Editors are always looking for something different than the norm. I'm not saying that anyone should mess with Christmas, because it is a staple of our culture. But this would make a great holiday roundtable game with a brainstorming group.

So go forth, be merry and don't drink too much cider as you mull over the ins and outs of your next set of characters or complex plot.


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Friday, December 05, 2008

Sinful Holiday Indulgence

Do you give into any sinful activities during the holidays?

I’ll confess I love to take time out from my regular TBR pile of books to indulge in Christmas novels. Whether they’re straight-laced contemporaries, holiday who-done it mysteries, wintery historicals or the new strain of paranormal holiday romances. I think as a bibliophile reading these romances or fantasies helps get me in the holiday spirit. With the rise in publishers using compilations of novellas for a full single title release, you not only get more for your buck but also get to try new authors. An added bonus is that if you’re trying to fit in reading time between a busy schedule, you can get to the heart of the story and THE END in no time while still having the HEA. Even e-publishers are banking on holiday shorts being snapped up and some even do special covers so readers know they’re part of the “theme”.

With less shopping to do this year, I’ll have even more time to indulge in my holiday pastime. Who knows I might indulge in another vice to dieters everywhere—hot cocoa! Ah, if only I had a blazing fire to warm up with, but I guess I’ll have to settle for the whoosh of my central heat, a fuzzy blanket and kitty cat on my lap.

If you’re looking for something to banish your bah humbugs check out these titles:

Holidays are Hell (Kim Harrison, Lyndsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu)


The Magical Christmas Cat (Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh, Linda Winstead Jones, Erin McCarthy)


A Cedar Cove Christmas (Debbie Macomber)


Santa Baby (Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster, Carly Phillips) & (Lisa Jackson, Lisa Plumley, Elaine Coffman, Kylie Adams)


A Wallflower Christmas (Lisa Kleypas)


Twilight Before Christmas (Christine Feehan)


Doc Holiday (Debra Dixon)


All I Want for Christmas is A Vampire (Kerrelyn Sparks)


The Night Before Christmas (Erin McCarthy, Jill Shavis, Kathy Love, Katherine Garbera, Kylie Adams) & Victoria Alexander, Sandra Hill, Dara Joy, Nelle McFather)


The Magic of Christmas (Emma Craig, Annie Kimberlin, Kathleen Nance, Stobie Piel)


An Affair Before Christmas (Eloisa James)


All I Want for Christmas (Lori Foster, Dee Holmes, Kinley MacGregor)


Undead and Unreturnable (MaryJanice Davidson)


To All A Good Night (Donna Kaufman, Jill Shavis, HelenKay Dimon)


NASCAR Holiday 2 (Pamela Britton, Gina Wilkins, Abby Gaines, Ken Casper)


A Gift of Joy (Virgina Henley, Brenda Joyce, Fern Michaels, Jo Goodman)


Shop `til Yule Drop (Alesia Holliday, Naomi Neale, Stephanie Rowe)




This time of year I also like to snuggle up against the chill with my Mr. Tall, Dark & Handsome to watch the local night time Christmas Parade. This year we’ll be kicking it off with a bang thanks to the A and T Drumline!! Wish me luck fighting the wintery chill while I watch these talented men make magic with their hands. Hopefully I’ll score some cocoa and get to share sugary kisses with my man with or without a sprig of mistletoe.

_____________________
So what's your indulgence? Scowering the internet for hours to locate the one thing you'd love to put on your Christmas list? Wrapping up a surprise under your fuzzy bathrobe's bow? Perhaps you secretly read the new holiday books and regift them to friends? Maybe you're doing a little spell to foster good will? Or you might simply have a delightful title you'd like to add to the list above. Whatever it is, let us know in good cheer :0)


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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hiding in Cyber Space [The Art of Lurking]



I'm not sure what possessed me to blog on this topic today, other than I needed an excuse for my absence of late.

The thing about the Web is, you can lurk rather anonymously. You're not some shadowy figure in the corner, or the geeky kid that no one talks to because you're too shy to do much but contemplate your own navel.

In Cyber Space you are well and truly invisible if you want to be. Lurking is easy but there still needs to be some finesse applied. For instance, in order to lurk, you do acutally have to be present. Lord knows I semi-lurk on a lot of my discussion loops. I'm there, in that I get the daily digest every day. I just don't open them. I guess you could call me a bad lurker in that case, because I don't even really show up.

In the blogosphere, I'm a much better lurker. I visit several blogs a day and I often enjoy what I read, but when I find myself sitting with my fingers poised over the keyboard ready to respond, my mind goes curiously blank. I remember the old addage, it's better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak [or type in this case] and remove all doubt.

So in that case I lurk well. I slink away without commenting and no one knows I've been there. It's not for lack of interest, really - it's just for lack of a pithy comment.

Sometimes I speed lurk. I click around, looking for someplace to land, but nothing catches my fancy and I'm gone in a flash. Again, not true lurking - more like drive-by surfing. It's okay to drive by surf - but you should never drive by-promo, or drive by-comment. People will think you're rude.

On that note, today I delurked. I have great ambitions to delurk more often, really I do, but it's that old blank slate in the noggin' that stops me. You'd think a writer would have a lot to say, but alas - I'm still the geeky kid in the corner.

Nonetheless, you may call me an artiste...I lurk, therefore ... I am.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Guest - Lynn Crain

Greetings! Today we have author Lynn Crain visiting us. Lynn realized at an early age she wanted to weave fantastic tales as a career. She took the long way to that goal by doing a variety of things like nursing, geologist, technical writer and computer manager. During her free time she writes hot to erotic fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales for various publishers. She lives in the very hot southwest with her husband, son, one dog, three cats and three snakes, one which she named Psycho. She is a past board member of the Romance Writers of America, past VP of EPIC, past EPPIEs Chairman and current EPIC President. You can visit her at www.lynncrain.com and she loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Make sure you read all the way to the end to see how you can win a copy of one of Lynn's books.



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Keeping It All Straight
By Lynn Crain

When writing any story one of the basic fundamentals is to keep everything straight. This is especially important when writing in the fantasy, science fiction and paranormal romance realms. If we as authors can’t keep it straight, how can we even expect the reader to keep it in order?

One of the most important things I do when starting a new series or novels is to start keeping something known as my book ‘bible.’ I start with one of those hard bound composition books and add to it as I go. Along the way, I do character charts, plot charts and start taking notes on any of the new gadgets I find which might fit into the story if it’s science fiction. If it’s a fantasy, I’ll see if there is any myth or swords or any other research I might need. I put all the notes here so they are all in same place for ease of use.

I also include pictures of how I see each of the characters, how they relate to other characters and themselves. I even go as far as looking at each of my characters emotional state at the beginning of the book and project just where I want them to end up. This is always good to know for their character arc. One of the final bits of information I include is a chapter by chapter outline.

This is really strange for me to do since I am a pantser by nature. You know one of those writers who sit down and write by the seat of my pants. I normally just sit down and write. But with works in the SF/F/P realm it is very important to keep the details correct.

The last thing I do is to write to what I have put down in the bible. I look at every note, picture, chart and all the things I’ve put into that ‘bible’ over the month or two I plan out these novels. If I’ve done my homework correct, everything will fall into place and I’ll write the best story I can for myself and the readers who love my work.


Lacey Sinclair wants to be a doctor but life and circumstance has made that path impossible. Given the chance at the job of a lifetime and the promise of enough money to see her through med school, she is hesitant. Something draws her to one certain man that she can’t put her finger on. Her body is alive and her mind sharp, focused when she’s near him. So before she can live the life of her dreams, she must discover just who Cuinn Lochlin is to her and her future.

I’d like to mention a couple of books that I’m working on right now that I’m really excited about. The first one is a series called Protectors of the Earth with the first book titled Avenging Aingeal is complete. It’s about a group sent here to protect us from enemies beyond our world. It’s one of those I have to keep a bible on. LOL! Another one is tentively titled Where’s My Underwear, Anyway? and is a really nice contemporary set in Scotland.

I’ll give one print copy of my Santa’s Elves print book to one lucky commenter of the blog. I’ll keep the list and pick a winner one week after the blog is posted.

Lynn

www.lynncrain.com
www.themanyshades.blogspot.com (I do the Wednesday slot.)
www.lynncrain.blogspot.com
http://morganmandelbooks.ning.com/profile/lynncrain

-- Don't forget to leave Lynn a comment. Her books look fascinating, don't they? Lynda

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hung Over

Lol. No, I'm not in bed with a headache from imbibing. I do however think I'm going to have a time waddling around after eating 2 turkey dinners! Especially that pound cake, chocolate cake and low-sugar/low fat pudding! In other hang over news, we did talk a bit today about our "muffin tops" that reach out beyond the waistband of our jeans (well almost), and I decided that term isn't quite right for guys. So I deemed them "honey buns" :0) I know mine is a little more round after my grandmother and almost mother-in-law's fine cooking.

This year I had bunches to reflect on as I thought about all I'm thankful for. As Lynda mentioned, times are hard, but they could be much worse. I definitely can ditto that when I have family who've been laid off and are worried about keeping what they've worked their whole lives to build. I'm fortunate to have a job, a roof over my head, food to eat, and a little money to spend on Black Friday. However what makes me richest is having a loving family that I can share triumphs with (29 lbs lost, 3 races completed), tell jokes with, and generally just be me around.

I have always loved Thanksgiving because it's a time for family. I remember lusting for the day when I'd get to come home from college to celebrate and eat some great home cooking, eventhough I came with term papers, etc. in tow.

These days I'm pleased to spend time with all the family I usually just say "hey" to in passing. That includes my significant other. Since he's been closing at his job, we haven't been spending much time together except for a few minutes caught here and there. As a matter of fact, I'm keeping him waiting now to watch Wall-E, a love story between two robots :0)

No matter how much time passes I always remember the faces who are no longer there among the Thanksgiving bunch. I thought yesterday morning, they're up there watching us celebrate and wishing they were here. I knew each of them were taking part in their own special way. My grandmother now sits in my grandfather's chair, my aunt still jokes about her mom, and we watch the dog show and remember the pets who kept all of us in stitches with her antics.

Though we all have our problems, our vices about family and situations that need to be resolved before anger boils over, we need to remember why we get together. We need to think about how things would be different if we didn't have anyone close to us, to share and console us during times of loss. What kind of life would that be? I think I can safely say, not one as good as we have it now.

On this day of thanks and the days after, I think it's important to remember those who've fallen on harder times, those who don't have anyone to lean on...and reach a hand out. Like Lynda, I've already started donating. A few cans of food for a needy family, races that support medical research, spare change that adds up in the donation buckets, a percentage given to my local United Way while gift shopping, and then there are the children's ornaments from the Salvation Army I've perused. I question whether I have the extra money, but how can I turn away from a child who only wants the same toys I played with as a child?

Hug your loved ones close and thank your lucky stars. That's what I'm doing :0)

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

I hope no-one minds if I post this early, but I'm not going to be able to post on my Wednesday! Anyway, I'm too far away for anyone to smack me

Down Under, we don't have Thanksgiving Day, but for those in the US who do, I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day.

For me personally, I am thankful for my family, my furbabies, my friends. I'm thankful that I can live in relative safety, and I'm thankful for those who fight for our freedom and peace, and the right to remain safe.

I am thankful to those people who spend so much of their time caring for the unwanted and injured animals, mammals, birds and reptiles.

I'm thankful most of all for God, to whom I give all praise for everything He has done and given to us.

May this time find you thinking of what you have, rather than what you want, and realizing that it's not the material things that always count (though that certainly provides physical comfort!) Peace to you all

cheers
Angela

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, even more so than Christmas with all its bright cheerful glitter.

We moms spend hours prepping and cooking the meal, the family spends 15 minutes eating it. It doesn't seem worth it, does it? It is, though, because the important part -- The Family part -- is there.

Now days, with the grandparents and many of our other elder relatives having been called home, our Thanksgiving celebration is smaller but no less traditional. I get up early to prep the turkey, make the pie, and all that good stuff. Then we get to smell the wonderful aroma's wafting from the kitchen as we watch the Thanksgiving parades. Actually, our holiday is not so different from anyone elses. My hubby won't eat turkey (I know, he's strange! LOL) so I will have two main courses plus some of the ethnic food my hubby adores and some that I grew up with. With the leftovers, I won't have to cook for a week, lol, even if I send some home with my daughter.

Food is traditional with the American Thanksgiving but, even though I love all the foods, I try to remember the ideal behind the holiday.

To be grateful for what we have. I have a wonderful hubby and a lovely daughter. I have a comfortable home and two good jobs (my day job and my writing job). And I have fantastic friends, both local and online.
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Yes, we've had set backs this year. I lost my little brother and one of my local friends has been diagnosed with cancer (but he's holding his own and we're grateful for that). With the economy as bad as it is, my hubby's job has gone down the tubes but we'll get by. There are a lot of folk worse off than we are.

This time of year, with Christmas right around the corner, I start thinking about my favorite charities. I've been donating to St Jude's for years but in the last year or two, I've also started donating to The Humane Society. We always think about people oriented charities at this time of year but oftentimes we don't think about how the economy or life in general treats our 4-legged friends. With my hubby having lost his job, my donation won't be as much as I'd hoped but I figure every little bit helps. And I'm grateful I can do it.

I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful holiday filled with good food and a comfortable home. Most of all, I hope you have family and friends to brighten your days.

Lynda


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Friday, November 21, 2008

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Eliza Gayle


Eliza Gayle has been obsessed with books as long as she can remember, and the first time she picked up her an erotic romance, she found her niche. Now she's an Eppie finalist who successfully writes in the contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal erotica subgenres. Currently she has 7 books with Phaze, 2 with Cobblestone Press, and a novella with Whiskey Creek Press available.

She is also owner of ScrapFairy Designs, a source for BookPeek videos and MySpace page designs for authors. Her creative innovations can be seen at several bestselling authors' websites and on YouTube. Because Eliza is also a writer, she knows how to tap into the heart of other authors' stories and make this graphic media attractive to readers. From her list of awards, it seems her talent also impresses multimedia judges too...in a good way.

Luckily for us, she's able to divide her time to write hot, steamy romance that has her readers fanning themselves...and then coming back for more!


I met Eliza at a local RWA chapter, and from the beginning she was nothing but nice. Her red hair is attention grabbing, but otherwise she looks like the mom next door. Not only is she intelligent in all things computer related, but she's also willing and able to talk through an type of story problem.

Eliza is an active chapter member as our VP Elect, and she isn't afraid to voice her opinion on what works in the romance industry and what doesn't. I think that pluck is due to her passionate nature, which makes her such a phenomenal erotic writer. She knows when to have her guard up and when to let it down. If you get the chance to know her, you'll be lucky to call her a friend.

I've watched her struggle to get her stiletto in the door, and she's finally dug in her heels to leave her mark with the Pentacles of Magic series. In part her success is due to her tenacity and her wide cast over the world wide web with blogs, posts and chats, but in the end her acclaim all boils down to talent. She's a hot star on the rise, so be sure not to get left out. Become one of her readers NOW!


What led to your epiphany to mix the erotic and paranormal subgenres in your work? Was there also an event that led you to mix magic into your work?

I was already a huge paranormal reader thanks to Sherrilyn Kenyon, but after I read my first erotic romance back in 2006 I knew that was it. I finally felt motivated enough to start writing instead of just thinking about it.


Do you feel there are limitations or blessings in the erotic and/or paranormal subgenres that have helped mold your career?


I love the freedom in writing erotic romance. Sex is emotional and fun and combining that with the paranormal gives you almost limitless possibilities. I love that erotic romance has grown in
to a huge and somewhat stable subgenre and see that I have plenty of room to continue writing it for a very long time.


Will you share any super important moment(s) that stands out in your booksigning travels or during your brushes with the publishing elite?


You mean something like the first time I met Nora Roberts and could barely speak? lol. The first two conventions I went to, I was a silly fan girl. I still get excited when I get to meet some of my favorite authors but I've learned not to scare them with my enthusiasm.


How do you feel being both a writer and a creative mind behind one of the most popular booktrailer/website/video companies for authors?


I feel blessed. Scrapfairy Designs has been a fabulous opportunity to allow me to continue working from home, giving me more insight into the publishing industry as well as affording me the time to write on my own schedule. Video marketing has become quite a big promotional tool these days thanks to all the social sites that allow them to go viral.


If you had to chose one hero you've created to be your own boy toy, who would it
be? And is their a heroine that you can identify with more than the rest?


Awww, just one? There have been many now, but if I had to choose just one I would probably say Garon from TAKEN BY TAROT and DRAGON'S FATE. He is everything you never thought a fairy could be. Big, muscular, sexy, dominant and fiercely protective.

Picking only one heroine I identify would be very difficult. I imagine there are pieces to each one of them that could resonate with me. How can we not put a little bit ourselves into the characters we write, whether its who we are or who we want to be.



In our circle there's rumor of a new shapeshifter series coming out from you? Can you give us more details? And can you let slip why these will be different from your Pentacle series?


I do have a Black Cougar trilogy
coming in 2009 with Linden Bay Romance that I'm really excited about. This is a series I started two years ago and they are finally almost here. It takes place in the mountains of North Carolina only a few hours from where I live now and is centered around the legend of the Black Cougar. A species that experts say does not exist.

The first three books focus on Clan brothers Lucas, Kane and Malcolm and combine romance with lots of action and mystery. I hope to have a page up soon on my website that will be fully devoted to the series with lots of extra goodies.

In the Pentacles series the focus was on a family of male witches, so this is definitely going to be a bit different.


Are there any other juicy tidbits or appearances your fans need to know about?


The next several months are being devoted to writing and I don't expect to start traveling again until the Romantic Times Convention in Orlando, FL next year in April.

But on the book front there have been several things going on lately. The entire Pentacles series is now available in trade sized paperback and in October I released my first Vampire story with Cobblestone Press titled AWAKEN. A neat tidbit about AWAKEN is that the heroine is a singer and as a gift for my birthday, a good friend of mine wrote an original song for the story. Those lyrics were incorporated into the story and are printed in the dedication of the book.

Thanks so much for interviewing me, it's been fun.
To check out more about Eliza, her work or ScrapFairy Designs, go to www.elizagayle.net!

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