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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Monday, November 17, 2008

Guest - Brenna Lyons

Good morning everyone! Today's guest is the fabulous and oh-so-energetic Brenna Lyons. I don't know Ms Lyons personally but I've 'seen' her around on various writer and reader loops. I can say that if I had a tenth of her energy, well...I'd be doing a whole lot more than I am, LOL For more details on this remarkable writer, read on. Oh and don't forget to leave a comment. She's offering a free, signed copy of one of her print books (your choice as long as it's not OOP :-D ) to a lucky commenter.

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WHERE'S THE APPEAL?
by Brenna Lyons

It's an age-old question, posed by readers who read primarily contemporary and historical books... What is the appeal of SF/F/H/P characters and plotlines? Why do women flock to them? If pressed, I'd have to respond that there are several reasons.

Many of the paranormal character types are darkly appealing. It often takes violence to change the human character to a paranormal one (biting, betrayal, death). Dark fiction, in general, has always held a certain appeal for some readers, male or female.

The vampire, for instance, walks in shadow, lives in the night, would rarely want to be noticed... It's the dark underbelly of a seemingly placid world, and who doesn't want to reach into the dark depths (whether it be the night, space, or the depths of the ocean) and grasp at or discover something new and just out of reach? It is the purview of man (the "everyman" man) to search, discover, learn...

But, not all SF/F/P is dark, admittedly.

One of the reasons SF/F/H/P is so popular and has remained so over the years is one fact. It's a departure from the doldrums of an everyday life. It offers something fresh, something to fantasize about when you're tired of everyday. Some people want a glittery HEA type of escape. Some want adventure. No matter whether it comes in a light or dark packaging, SF/F/H/P can offer something for readers who want escape fantasy.

Alpha heroes and kickass heroines are very popular. What's more alpha/kickass than a nearly-immortal or unstoppable, worldly, intelligent...predator? Don't dismiss it out of hand. This is a man (or, in the case of the heroine, woman) who gets what he wants, whether that's a meal or a love interest.

Non-human (or formerly-human) characters are, by definition 'more than human'...and sometimes less than human, in some ways. So, what does that bring to the table?

You can exaggerate human conditions to extremes that wouldn't be believable in a human subject. If you can hurt X amount as a human, how much more can you hurt, if you are able to heal from extreme injuries? How much longer does it take to destroy and rebuild a character, and how much more completely can you destroy someone who isn't human? If you can be tortured for centuries instead of weeks and months? If you are cursed not to die until you've accomplished something in specific, no matter how much suffering that entails? And how does that change a character? Do we see the humanity being stripped away, piece-by-piece, painfully?

What about animalistic characters? Weres? Aliens? Do they have instincts? What about the vampire? Imagine an intelligent, proud character, trapped in a body ruled by the instinct to feed. Further imagine that the intellect slips away, as the urge to feed becomes more pressing or when faced with the scent of fresh blood. How galling would it be to lose yourself to your animal drives? How guilty would you feel later for atrocities committed in that state?

How different would your mores and laws be, when you have instincts? When you have non-human experiences and thought processes?

If the paranormal character is the villain and not the hero or heroine, there is still something to be gained for the reader. If defeating a human villain is difficult, how much more difficult is it to defeat a character that's not human? How much more admirable is it when you're fighting a villain that can dematerialize, use mind control, is nearly all-powerful beneath the night sky? That would be something, wouldn't it?

Why do people like SF/F/H/P? Because it stretches the limits of what we know and delves into the unknown. It's not for everyone, but it's easy to see how it would be alluring.

* * *


Brenna Lyons wears many hats, sometimes all on the same day: former president of EPIC, author of more than 65 published works, teacher, wife, mother... She's a member of ERWA, WRW, TELL, MWW, IWOFA, WPM, and Broad Universe. In her first five years published in novel-length, she's finaled for 6 EPPIES (in five different categories), 3 PEARLS (including one HM, second to Angela Knight), and a Dream Realm Award. She's also taken Spinetingler's Book of the Year for 2007. Brenna writes milieu-heavy dark fiction (in 18 established worlds plus stand-alones), poetry, articles and essays.
Brenna loves talking to her readers and can be reached via her site at http://www.brennalyons.com or MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/brennalyons


If Katheyn O'Hanlon had one wish, it would be a memory of her childhood and the source of her nightmares. Psi-linked to her four-year-old nephew, she is dragged back to Pittsburgh to confront a renegade psychic. Kyle's father has been brutally murdered, and Kyle claims his toy tigers have done the deed led by Ty, the Siberian. It is up to Katheryn to remember where Ty is and how to destroy him before he destroys everything she cares about.

Be sure to check out Brenna's "Coming Soon" page on her site. With 18 books and stories releasing in the 9 months between the end of October 2008 and the beginning of July 2009, there's always something new and interesting going on!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Real World Experience

I'm capping off the end of my vacation as I type this. That's right. 9 days of nothingness, unmarred by a trip and full of time to gel. Or so I thought. Today on my way back from a neighboring city I thought, "Where did my week go?" It seems like it was only Monday yesterday! Don't you hate it when the work week drags on and vacation whizs by? It just seems like, well...and injustice.

To get back on track, I'd planned to do a lot of reading. After all I have a TBR pile that's starting to lean like the Tower of Pisa. Alas, I did polish off the last of my Weight Watchers' book entitled START LIVING, START LOSING: INSPIRATIONAL STORIES THAT WILL MOTIVATE YOU NOW. (Interestingly enough one of the later shorts was from the actor that plays Parkman on Heroes!) Then I'd intended to go back to my beloved fiction. BUT my sister had just finished a book she lauded as hilarious and was always sharing snippets from. She insisted I just HAD to read THE NONRUNNER'S GUIDE FOR WOMEN: GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND ON WITH YOUR TRAINING. I dug in dutifully, and though it's got some technique and a lot about running (which I'm not keen on) it's actually good. What saves it from being another non-fiction title about the sport? The author's quirky tone and the personal way in which she takes the reader inside the world of marathon racing just as she'd been introduced as a newbie (who'd rather have watched the race on her TV). I'm 3/4 done, and think my sister ought to do the same thing...write a book that is. Though she is talking about doing a half marathon (that's just over 13 miles, btw) when we'd planned our next 5K at Myrtle Beach. And I said yes to another 5K! On Valentine's Day no less! (Hmm...a proposal idea like that in RUN FATBOY RUN did just pop to mind.)

That whole kernel of a romantic idea does beg one question...what would you learn about or do for a story idea? Would you do a marathon to feel the agony, learn the jargon, and run heel/toe like runners do for pure inspiration? Would you take a whirl in a track car or be tethered to a hot air balloon floating way above the ground? How about enrolling in a cooking class, horticulture seminar or college course on biotechnology?

One of the hardest things for me to choose about my characters is their occupation. Why? Because what they spend their time doing, and hopefully loving, is a reflection of themselves.Sure they can be tethered to a career, but if that's the case they do dream of something more....something that's as pleasant as a vacation every day.

I can't say running/walking 3 miles for the last 3 days has been pleasant, nor even fun. But it has put me closer to my goal--being in shape for my race this Saturday to honor my Dad. And spending time with my sister has fed my soul, helped me to believe in myself and therefore I'm not afraid to try new things. Heck, a couple years ago I'd have laughed in her face over running a 5K. These days I grin and bear it because I know my dad never gave up, so I can't either. That kind of perseverance is at the heart of any character we create as authors. So I've learned a valuable lesson...though my hip and knees wish I'd done it sooner!

;0) And there are all those men (some in short shorts) who'll be running ahead of me to provide creative inspiration as I huff and puff along. Who knows, some of them might even be single lung cancer survivors. See there's the dark backstory and baggage that hints at conflict...you can't go anywhere without it! The only question I have left to answer is--will his heroine be a fellow racer competing for his 1st place glory or a race official who tries to take that away?

Did you take the leap and try something your hero or heroine did? If so, kindly share your adventure!


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Writing...how does it affect us watching TV?

I've had an on-going problem for awhile now. It not only relates to my writing, but also my work as a nurse.

Firstly, as a writer, when I watch movies or TV programs, I'm always the one who says, "They made a mistake."

I think my mother is past the stage of sighing. Now she just looks at me and waits.

The problem is, I seem to always find the plot faults. The slip-ups. The mistakes. I won't I spot them all, because I'm not that good LOL. But when an actor says one thing, then turns around and does the exact same thing, or when he/she has something on their left hand but it changes to their right hand, or there's a mistake in the time - anything at all that seems to leap out so glaringly obvious.

I blame this all on my writing and plotting. Because I'm always on the lookout for mistakes in my own plots, I seem to spot some of the mistakes in movies and TV films.

Nursing is another thing that has affected my watching some TV and movie programs. Especially medical films. I'm laughing and yelling, "They wouldn't really do that!" and "Oh geez! Someone give that doctor a Valium before he expires from all his screeching and dancing around!"

Yes, as you can imagine, my mother doesn't even sigh anymore.

I can't help it. I bite my lip, shift on the sofa, contemplate the wall, but it just has to burst out from me. "Oh, for Pete's sake!"

Yep, I either need to give up plotting or stop watching TV. In fact, I don't watch medical movies/films anymore LOL, not for some of the absurd things they do, but because I live it at work, so i don't even watch the true medical dramas documentaries.

You know, I bet there are readers and non-readers out there who have the same problem. I wonder how often cops must watch a cop show and groan? Lawyers who groan? School teachers who groan? Cleaners and shop assistants and a lot of other people who groan?

But then, that's why many of us watch TV and movies, to escape the realism of our own world, and enter the exciting, fantasy life far away from our everyday lives.

No, I won't stop watching TV or movies. I'll just have to learn to bite my lip harder - or see what other plot problems I can find!

LOL

cheers
Angela

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Guest - John Klawitter

Good morning everyone! I hope you're ready for a very interesting article from our guest today. Here's a bit from his bio (you can see all of it below): John Klawitter has worked as a writer, producer and director. Based in Hollywood, he’s worked for major studios, indy companies and run his own production company. He’s written and produced for CBS, NBC, Disney, The Disney Channel, Paramount, Universal, Atlantis Productions, and many others. Today he'll be explaining some of the nuances of adapting our work to the screen and he's offering a contest so check below for the details.

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THE ADVANTAGES OF ADAPTING IT YOURSELF
By John Klawitter

You—as a storyteller who tends to write in the various popular genre formats—you understand that format is important, but your story idea is everything. And, as an author, you are understandably nervous about allowing someone else to adapt your work—no matter if it is a short story, novella or novel—into a video script or a screenplay.

You are not alone in this. Hollywood has gained a villainous reputation; the testosterone-driven Geniuses of Tinseltown have a history of taking successful novels and putting their own ‘interpretation’ or ‘spin’ on them. I need only mention the various failed reincarnations of Jules Verne’s Journey To The Center of the Earth…or for those of you who follow this sort of thing, consider the ‘interpretation’ director John Irvin & writer Lawrence D. Cohen made of Peter Straub’s wonderful novel Ghost Story. Even closer to home (I worked on it) the mish-mash Disney’s Ron Miller and Tom Leetch made of Florence Engel Randall’s classic The Watcher in the Woods.

Soooo...is there anything you should be doing to protect your work? Once you option your book to a producer or an indy production company, the rest of the process will almost surely be taken out of your hands. Most producers aren’t interested in ‘the novelist as a screenwriter.’ Be irate, but don’t take it personally. It’s a culture thing, a bit inbred, and doesn’t have anything to do with your literary talent. None-the-less, as the writer of your own published novel to which you own all the rights, what do you care what they think?

If you’re going to consider adapting your work yourself, you’ll want to do it before you sell the option. Once you decide you’re going to do this, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. Writing a screenplay from scratch generally takes three to six months. Adapting your own novel to a screenplay may take you as little as four to six weeks.

I personally enjoy the process of interpreting my own work in another medium. And, I’ve seen so many examples of films gone wrong that I’m somewhat paranoid about who is going to be tinkering with my baby. That’s one good reason why I tend to adapt my own stories to screenplays, many before they are published. Sometimes I see my own story on another level and feel driven to go back in and rework the novel itself. But the primary benefit to me personally as the writer is that I’m able keep my creative presence felt, usually through 1st Draft Screenplay.

You’ll notice I’m not talking about monetary compensation. Yes, your agent can demand a slightly higher price for an option if you present a screenplay adaptation as well as your novel. But that’s short term thinking. You have your career to consider, and so you might look on your screenplay adaptation as a little insurance—not a guarantee—but an element in the right direction to help the movie made from your very own novel—help it turn into box office gold rather than a rotten tomato (www.rottentomatoes.com)


SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION:
Those of you feeling you may be alone in a world uniquely unsuited to creative types such as yourself may be interested in my survival manual: TINSEL WILDERNESS, Lessons on Survival as a Creative Person in Hollywood & Other Extreme Climates.

These are hard lessons culled from 40 years of chasing the muse. It is available as a downloadable ebook, trade paperback and/or audio book from the following link: http://double-dragon-ebooks.com/single.php?ISBN=1-55404-487-1&picsize=LARGE&x=87&y=61 I personally recommend the audio book, if you can afford it, as it contains jingles, show openings and other audio moments to illustrate the lessons, which directly translate into instructions on your own survival as a creative person in a world that doesn’t really care too much, one way or the other, whether that unique essence that makes up you, yourself, the person, lives and thrives or dies.


OFFER:
You are not alone. I will read any short story, novella or novel (published or unpublished) and provide any or all of the following:
A) Coverage: $150
B) Summary: $150
C) Analysis of Adaptability: $150
D) Opinion as to Marketability as a motion picture project: FREE with any or all of the above.

Send a copy of your work as a PDF or Word Document (Rich Text) Use PayPal or send check or money order. All work completed within 30 days upon receiving payment and manuscript.


CONTEST:
Submit to me via email ( john.klaw@sbcglobal.net ) a log line pitching your novel. AND a short paragraph explaining why it will make a successful motion picture.

I will select one of these entries and will provide in a timely manner (before the end of January 2009) FREE coverage, a FREE summary, a FREE Analysis of Adaptability, and a FREE Opinion as to Marketability of the winning entry.

The winning entry will not be selected on the basis of literary genius or writing skills (although these won’t hurt your cause), but solely on John Klawitter’s discretionary and personal opinion, based on his years of experience in Show Biz, of the filmic potential of said entry.

BIO:
John Klawitter has worked as a writer, producer and director. Based in Hollywood, he’s worked for major studios, indy companies and run his own production company. He’s written and produced for CBS, NBC, Disney, The Disney Channel, Paramount, Universal, Atlantis Productions, and many others. He’s also worked on animation projects for Disney, Warner Bros. Animation, Hanna-Barbera, Phil Mendez Productions, Zoiyu Productions (Japan), Pink Planet Productions (Holland) and Franke Films (Finland). He has directed short films featuring a wide range of stars and personalities, including Bill Cosby, Ali MacGraw, Jane Alexander, Jacqueline Bisset, Ray Bradbury, George Plimpton, Leslie Nielsen, and many others.

His film credits include the political documentary Scene: Politic (EMMY AWARD); the Television Specials The Great American Dreammobile, Le Mans & The Man McQueen, Disco Mickey Mouse, The Adventures of Sports Goofy, and Here comes Sam (The Olympic Eagle).

He has adapted several novels to screenplay format, most notably HOBBERDY DICK by K.M. Briggs (for Zoiyu Productions, Tokyo), STYX by Christopher Hyde (optioned by Atlantis, developed for Fox), MONSTER TALES by Phil Mendez (for Zoiyu Productions).

He has adapted his own novels CRAZYHEAD, DEVILS, and THE HEART OF DESIRE to screenplays, as well as HEADSLAP, his highly praised biography of legendary NFL player Deacon Jones.

More about John
http://double-dragon-ebooks.com/eAuthor.php?Name=John%20Klawitter

http://looney.goldenagecartoons.com/tv/bbrr/bbrrinterv.html


CONTACT INFORMATION:

e-publisher: Double Dragon Publishing
http://double-dragon-ebooks.com/eAuthor.php?Name=John%20Klawitter

Audio book publisher: Audible Books
http://www.audible.com/adbl/site/enSearch/searchResults.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&Ntk=S_Author&Ntt=John+Klawitter&Ntx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&x=9&y=8&D=John+Klawitter&N=0&Dx=mode%2bmatchallpartial

Distribution: Amazon
www.amazon.com (search ‘John Klawitter’)

email: John Klawitter
john.klaw@sbcglobal.net

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Friday, November 07, 2008

A Woman Dedicated to Inspiration

Writers get inspiration from so many places. From the movies we watch on the silver screen, to the music that plays on the radio, and from other books we read. Today I’d like to mention one person who inspired me.



Amy Adams was a pioneer in my community…and a female entrepreneur among few. Alongside other big chain gyms, she opened a women’s only facility so ladies could work out without being ogled and measured by the guys. Why? Because she’d been where we were, with a hundred extra pounds weighing us down. She’d battled to become slim and wanted other women to do the same for themselves. I joined her location in Graham with my mom and sister, so we could get healthy together after Amy told us the grim news of our BMI. We also used it as a time to reconnect as we let go of outside pressures and stresses. Our hours there were our time to chat, pump some iron and sweat, but not in that order.

Amy was the first person to personal train my sister as a Christmas gift from her husband. And when I had my car accident and didn’t come to the gym, Kim would say “Amy’s wondering where you are.” She was always there checking up on us to make sure we stayed on track. When my sister dropped 80 pounds Amy told everyone at the gym, and had my sister post a testimonial on her website. (What Amy didn’t know was that she’d spurred my sister toward earning a personal training degree and a dream of carrying on Amy’s vision.) Every one of us mattered to her, no matter how busy or preoccupied she was from watching over her two girls who often joined her at the gym or running her business.

Since there’s never enough time in the day, I also multitasked while I worked out alone. I still recall those days on the treadmill when I’d read the latest RT to see what was current, and the Sunday afternoon I spent riding the bike while I judged Golden Heart entries. The gym was also one of the first places I got to unveil my new business cards, since Amy supported other women who’d started their own businesses.

Amy was also a prolific writer who reached a wider scope of women and men alike through her articles in several local publications. Her articles in ALAMANCE WOMAN were the reason I decided to submit. When the February issue with my first submission hit stands, we were both in the magazine. This December, the editor is dedicating the issue to Amy for her inspiration and determination to help women.

Remember that drama I mentioned last week in my post? Well it tripled in magnitude this week when I learned that Amy was found dead. She’d been forced to make the hardest decision of her life by closing the gym she’d run for 9 years. From friends I learned Amy felt that she’d let us, her members, down. Yet, really she’d built so many of us up to highs that we never would’ve reached alone. Together we’d built new relations to strengthen each other as not just as workout buddies, who shared triumphs, and especially this week, tragedies.

Please let anyone who inspires you know how you feel about them! Reach out that helping hand to a friend, and listen when they need to talk. You never know when that few moments could mean the difference between life and death.

_________________________
One of the special pictures I got to see of Amy last night at the funeral home was a shot from her first 5K. I had to wonder if that had something to do with my sister’s drive to do 5K’s. Needless to say, each one we’ve done has been special. Our first race we did for ourselves and to meet one of Kim’s testimonial goals, the next we did for Breast Cancer since we have friends and family who’ve battled the disease, and on November 15th we’ll be racing to honor our Dad. If you’d like to add to our fundraising efforts to support research and education about Lung Cancer, please go to: www.firstgiving.com/dadsgirls .

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Browsing the Bookstore

The other day, I was in my local big bookstore, looking for something to read. It was actually a crochet book, but as I walked past the (rather extensive, thanks to my good friend Linda Keller) romance section, I thought about the ongoing discussion about where "ethnic" romance belongs in the store.

Most of it centers around African-American romance being shelved in the African-American lit section, and whether or not that's a good idea. Let me be up front and state that I don't know the answer to that. I can see points on both sides, and since my romances lean more towards interspecies than interracial (although I find that term inaccurate since I tend to think of people as the human race rather than the white race or the black race--I dunno why, it just feels more respectful to me to not think of peoples' skin colors defining their race).

Now, I'm the first one to express frustration at brick and mortar stores because I've gotten so used to having some sort of "search" function that part of me finds it irritating that Google doesn't exist for meatspace via the existence of Star Trek-type transporters that simply beam you directly to the books you're looking for. Instead, I have to drift through titles sorted alpha by author, which makes me kick myself for not writing down authors that pique my interest, and hope that something will trigger a half-memory. I'm the first to wish the romance section were organized by time period, so if I'm looking for ancient historicals, I look all the way to the left, and if I'm looking for Vikings, they're somewhere in the middle. Or that paranormals are called out in their own vertical section, complete with subsections: "Here be vampires, over there be were-critters, look down for ghosts and under the shelf for hunky boogy-men."

I'm also the first to sigh in frustration when an epublisher doesn't have these miniscule call-outs or drill-downs - "paranormal futuristic threesomes with light bdsm elements set in rural farming towns" and so-on.

And then my mood changes along with my mind. I know that the trappings are nothing without the good story underneath it, and that if your love story is between a cluster of pod-spores expressing kinky mushroom love, if it taps into the human experience somehow, then it won't matter whether those pod-spores are phosphorescent or use the awesome power of the pan-flute to communicate. I'll close the book or close the file and sigh happily.

But only if I can find it first.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We Have a Winner for Dark Highland Fire!

Kendra has chosen a winner for the free copy of her book Dark Highland Fire.

Stephanie, you lucky girl! You left a comment and you won! Now all you have to do is to contact Kendra at kendraleighcastle@yahoo.com and make sure you give her your address. Congrats and enjoy reading the book! (I know you will :-)

-- Lynda

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A FIRST for Australia!



I am so excited. Australia is having its FIRST-EVER Australian Romance Readers Convention! It's in Feb 2009, held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. We have some big name authors coming - Sherrilyn Kenyon, Mary Janice Davidson, Susan Grant, and our own Aussie Keri Arthur, just to name a few, and up and coming authors as well! This is so awesome!

http://www.australianromancereaders.com.au/

It will be a great time for readers and authors to meet each other, participate in the panels, go to book signings and have fun! Check out the ARRC09 website for all the details on who is coming, the contests they are running NOW, and how you can get involved! Even if you can't come, you can put one of their logos on your website to show your support!

So check it out and we'd love to see you there. I'm actually going to be on the panel "Urban fantasy, sci-fi, futuristic - Love and alternate realities" with Keri Arthur, Tracey O’hara and Susan Grant! I'm still in shock that I'm in their group! LOL I'm honoured!

Angela

One Flew Over the Pundant's Nest


Since today is election day here in the good ol' U.S of A, I thought I'd do a politically flavored post. No, I'm not going to discuss the candidates or how I voted this go-round, because let's face it...aren't we all just a little sick of this political season that has lasted longer than most college careers? That being said, the basis of most of my sci-fi and fantasy novels/novellas is politics. Oh, not the Republican V. Democrat variety, but ones developed from my own twisted and slightly off-centered mined. Creating entire political systems and forms of government is so much fun for me. I actually get to be the architect of the halves and the have nots.

What a heady feeling.

When it comes to the types of government, well that's just as varied as the plots themselves. I have theocracies, coucils, assemblies, senates, regents, monarchies, and some forms I made up completely that may or may not be based on something I read in a history reference somewhere. Sometimes, I'll even drop more than one system in a book, if I have two countries warring with each other. But the message here is that no matter what system is used, it has great importance to the characters and their actions. Laws must be written and upheld as a framework for which the characters live within - or not - depending on the conflicts, motivations and ultimate goal. Generally, the hero or heroine are fighting against the system, or those who would upset the status quo -either outside their borders or within.

In one of my sci-fi novels, Diplomatic Relations, Semma Paris - a human living on an alien space station and a member of the diplomatic corps - must find her tween son who is lost during a terrorist attack on a foreign planet. His father, Tragon Pas-Arhon - a commander in the service of an ambassador, and a native of said planet - must work with governements once hostile to his own in order to save he and Semma's son. In the background of this tale, which is at its core, one of family, is the negoitations to mine a valuable mineral found only on Tragon's homeworld.

Government plays a large part in Diplomatic Relations. Almost to the point of becoming another character. (The problem was coming up with several forms for all the different worlds coming for the negoiations and their separate reasons for needing the mining rights.) The main body of Trehet Prime (the Malatelle homeworld or Tragon's home.) is an elected chancellor as the leader, who rules with a council of elders. The council maintains the integrity of the cultural traditions while navigating an ever-increasing universal view. It's sometimes a slippery slope when one has inter-stellar travel.

Writing the intricacies of how a country works is a fascinating part of the world building. Sometimes it grows organically from the time period of the story. However, me being me...I like to turn things on their heads. So, a fantasy peice that takes place in a medieval-based world, might be one ruled by a type of Roman senate rather than an absolute monarch as one would expect. And a high-tech world might be ruled by a council of wizards or priests.

Whichever form of government I choose for my stories, one thing is always a must - it has to feel real and it has to be able to create as much conflict as the characters themselves. Everything else is just boring.

-Kat

Monday, November 03, 2008

Guest - Kendra Leigh Castle

Good morning everyone! We're lucky to have a fabulous author with us (and one who's becoming a 'must-buy' for me) Kendra Leigh Castle. You can see my review of her latest book, Dark Highland Fire, on my October 6 post.

Ms Castle lives in Maryland with her husband, three kids, two geriatric Pekingese, and one very large, very obnoxious Siberian cat.

To visit her online, go to www.kendraleighcastle.com, where you can learn more about her books and sign up for her newsletter, if you’re so inclined. She also blogs regularly at www.wickedlyromantic.blogspot.com, and www.casablancaauthors.blogspot.com.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Good Old-Fashioned Loverboys
By Kendra Leigh Castle

A lot of my early romance reading involved massive, muscular alpha males (often represented by Fabio) who were more concerned with getting their woman of choice to obey them than really helping them fulfill their own destinies. Granted, most of the heroines found ways around these big lugs, at least to a point, and also granted, I found a lot of those “Me Tarzan, you Jane” dudes pretty drool-worthy…big swords and bare chests do have their appeal. And no, I really do mean swords, so stop it. I heard the collective descent into the gutter, there.

Still, in my own work, I’ve never been able to bring myself to write what I think of as a classic alpha male. My sharp, capable heroines wouldn’t stand for it, for one thing, and for another, I think modern romance allows for a much broader definition of alpha than it did in the past. A confident, assertive hero is now just as often found fighting at the side of his heroine as standing in front of her, and it’s completely acceptable for even tough-guy heroes to exhibit a few less aggressive, or “beta” traits. I welcome all of this…because while the hero of my new book, Dark Highland Fire, has plenty of delightful alpha qualities, he doesn’t fit that mold entirely. And that, to me, makes him all the more appealing.

Gabriel MacInnes, second son of the pack’s Alpha, pub owner, lover, werewolf, and slacker extraordinaire, is what one reviewer described as “born to be a beta.” His brother Gideon is next in line to lead the pack, and though Gabe is proud of his serious, disciplined older sibling, he himself has never really been sure where he fits in. Devilishly handsome and a charming clown, Gabriel has all of the latent talent that comes with being of the Alpha lineage, and none of the drive. In fact, although he’s begun to feel more and more like he’s missing something important, he’s actually pretty happy running his pub and chasing women. Or rather, letting himself be chased. He is, after all, totally hot.

Not exactly a fearsome warrior, right? Though Gabriel is no slouch in a fight. But ever since I introduced him in Call of the Highland Moon, I’ve loved his character. He has a sweet, boyish quality to him, and I always picture him with a naughty twinkle in his bright green eyes. His big brother Gideon, in general terms, is a strong, silent protector. Gabe’s much more the entertainer. I knew he was going to need a special sort of heroine, someone who could help him realize his full potential, but who would also need his particular blend of alpha and beta qualities. Then Rowan an Morgaine showed up, and I knew she was perfect. Being a drop-dead gorgeous demigoddess with a sharp tongue and a need for blood, Rowan thought she was pretty perfect as well.

Rowan is incredibly strong, but emotionally wounded from having lost much of her family in a senseless slaughter. As the next leader of her people, she wants to make a stand and exact revenge…and she sure as hell doesn’t want some overbearing Highlander werewolf tucking her away and trying to fight her battles for her. Gabriel proved to be just the right hero for Rowan. Yes, he chafes a little at her stubborn independence and refusal to rely on him…I mean, he might not be all warrior, but there’s plenty of that in him. But though their verbal battles get pretty heated, in real battle, Rowan and Gabriel are complete partners. Because of his position in his own family, Gabriel is far more accepting of the fact that Rowan doesn’t necessarily need him to fight for her. He has always fought at someone’s side, and it’s a natural role for him to assume with her. Rowan is a tough customer in general, a female flamethrower with a biting sense of sarcasm and very little patience (I say this with love…Rowan was an absolute blast to write!). Gabriel didn’t win her so much with his hyper-manly manliness as he did with his wit, charm, and dogged persistence. The sparks that flew between them kept me entertained for the entirety of the story they spun for me. And though I still love the more traditional alpha heroes, I’ve gotta say…given the choice between Thor the Virile Viking and Gabriel MacInnes, I’d take Gabe, every last time.

So now I’d like to hear from you…do you prefer the classic alpha male, or do you like your heroes a little sweeter? And whichever you prefer, who’s your favorite example of that sort of hero? Please leave me a comment, because one lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of Dark Highland Fire, the second book in my Highland Werewolves series! I’ll be in and out all day to chat, as well, so feel free to just say hi or ask any questions you might have…every commenter will be entered into the drawing. Thanks again for having me here today, Lynda…it’s always fun to come over!

-Kendra
Available Now


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