Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jenna Howard - Spurred On

I'm so happy to welcome my friend Jenna Howard today. She has a new release out, which I'm going to let her tell y'all about:


I’m not a cowgirl. I’m not even a country girl. Sure there were the summers when I was in the single digits when I’d settle into the station wagon with my mom, brother and the dog and we’d head East to Manitoba but it was never my…thing.

Yes, I used to sing to the cows at my aunt’s farm but my options were limited. I certainly didn’t want to go fishing with our uncle or drive the tractor on the other farm or go catch frogs with the neighbour (to use the term loosely since we had to walk through the creepy woods, down the gravel road and then down another gravel road to get there) boy.

My choices were reading (which I did), sing to the cows, or…help my Granny bake. And considering she scared me (and lectured me a lot in her German accent), I sang to the cows when the books were read.

Yes, I rode a horse once in Penticton, BC. Big Red, however, didn’t like the freaked out city girl on his back and took great exception to his rider and tried to remove via tree branches. But at least her horse had a cowboy name and wasn’t Cotton Candy like the one my brother was riding. He says now that he rode Big Red. Nope. No sirree that was me. With my mom. He was on Cotton Candy. (Hm…is Big Red why I refer to the big ass horse in Spurred On as Crow instead of Red since his full name is Red Crow? Hm…could be something there…)

Yes, yes, I live in Calgary where we have the Calgary Stampede & Exhibition, where for ten days people wear jeans that are tight, dust off their Western shirts they only wear for ten days out of the year and polish the cowboy boots (see Western shirts). We get duded up, the city goes Western and the tourists invade.

But I’m no cowgirl. During Stampede I may wear my jeans but my shoes say Keds and my shirts start with Tee.

So imagine my surprise when 20 years later from those dreaded farm days I’m writing a cowboy story.

With a bareback bronc rider (because saddles are too sissy for him) and a country music superstar.

My one thought was… “WTF???”

My heroes have guns, my heroines wear high heels and they live in the freakin’ city.

Not on acreages.

Or ranches.

With horses.

I’m not sure how it happened. Perhaps in a comment I made to Marie Tuhart who is in a cluster of fellow writers Sherrill & I hang with online when she mentioned she was writing a Cowboy Kink book for Wild Rose Press. “Oooh,” I typed, “rope! Lassos. Oooh and spurs! Bondage and torture!” “No,” Marie said adamently, “no spurs.” (I wonder if she added spurs into her Cowboy Kink story…well? Did ya?)

What? You can’t have kink without spurs!! So…I put in spurs. That my heroine used on the hero. Because she’s a Dominatrix and he’s her submissive.

Yeah…I may not be much of a cowgirl but I can sure use some freaky stuff on a hero who’s willing and able to have a spur run all over his body. (My mom would be so proud if I let her read Spurred On.)

It was also natural (hah…like writing a dominating heroine with a penchant for rope and spurs is natural) to set the book during the Calgary Stampede. Yee and haw. My heroine’s singing at the Saddledome and my hero’s competing in the rodeo…and they’re both playing with ropes and spurs. (Have I mentioned that yet?)

There’s still a vague sense of surprise that I wrote a cowboy story. That I added kink to it…

Is no surprise at all.

Sherrill, thanks for letting me blab on your blog. You rock!

Now make sure everyone buys Spurred On okay? I mean how can they resist? Cowboys and rope and spurs…oh my!



You're quite welcome, Jenna! Readers, you can check out Jenna online at her website.

I'll see y'all next year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Man Meat Monday

I hope everyone survived Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

When eggnog's generously filling
Each and every Christmas mug
And siblings tour miles and miles
To greet you with a hug
There's scarce else I'll be wishing
Than this simple little prayer
Of peace and calm and blessings much
On Christmas Day this year

I will see you next week!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Man Meat Monday


Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Funny


After three weeks in the Garden of Eden, God came to visit Eve. "So, how is everything going?" inquired God.

"It is all so beautiful, God," she replied. "The sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking, the smells, the sights, everything is wonderful, but I have just one problem. It's these breasts you have given me. The middle one pushes the other two out and I am constantly knocking them with my arms, catching them on branches and snagging them on bushes. They're a real pain."

And Eve went on to tell God that since many other parts of her body came in pairs, such as her limbs, eyes, ears, etc. She felt that having only two breasts might leave her body more 'symmetrically balanced'.

"That's a fair point,"replied God, "But it was my first shot at this, you know. I gave the animals six breasts, so I figured that you needed only half of those, but I see that you are right. I will fix it up right away."

And God reached down, removed the middle breast and tossed it into the bushes.

Three weeks passed and God once again visited Eve in the Garden of Eden.

"Well, Eve, how is my favorite creation?"

"Just fantastic," she replied, "but for one oversight. You see, all the animals are paired off--the ewe has a ram and the cow has her bull. All the animals have a mate except me. I feel so alone."

God thought for a moment and said, "You know, Eve, you are right. How could I have overlooked this? You do need a mate and I will immediately create a man from a part of you. Let's see... Where did I put that useless boob?"



Now doesn't THAT make more sense than the rib story?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Revisions Galore

We all would like to turn out a manuscript that's so brilliant it needs no revisions. I have, in fact, had that happen to me just once. And I anticipate that it was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence because, well, let's face it. I'm really not that brilliant. I'm a decent storyteller with acceptable grammar and punctuation expertise, but just as any woman looks better with a bit of makeup on, so to does any story read better with the benefit of some glamor. Give this a bit of a lift, highlight that, tone that down.

Last week I received a revision letter from my editor for Kiss of the Vampire, the first in my Warriors of the Rift series with Grand Central. It was longer than I like but shorter than it could have been. I didn't disagree with any of the changes she suggests, which should make the cuts I have to make a little easier to swallow. But it's going to be a lot of work.

I'm also in process of revising a steampunk proposal for an interested editor. Just as my granddad used to say about women and makeup: Any ol' barn can use a coat of paint. The same can be said for manuscripts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Man Meat Monday


Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Funny

Did I read that sign right?

In an office:

In a Laundromat:

In a London department store:

In an office:

In an office:
(one missing word makes a world of difference!)

Outside a secondhand shop:

Notice in health food shop window:

Spotted in a safari park:
(just goes to show how important proper punctuation is!)

Seen during a conference:

Notice in a farmer's field:

On a repair shop door:

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Gearing Up for the Tucson Festival of Books

This coming March Tucson will see its third Festival of Books--and already after only two years, Tucson's Festival is the 4th largest book fest in the country. It's a thing of wonder. Our romance track is strong again, with best selling authors including Jennifer Ashley, Sabrina Jeffries, Cheyenne McCray, Mary Jo Putney, Cassie Ryan, Vicki Lewis Thompson, and Susan Wiggs. Kim Harrison and Diana Gabaldon will also be in attendance.

The Tucson chapter of RWA will also be presenting our annual Amore & More panels in conjunction with the Pima County Library, on January 22 and 29, February 5 and 12.

It looks like it's going to be another great time. Mark your calendars for March 12-13, 2011 and come on down to Tucson!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Man Meat Monday...A Little Late

I think he's worth the wait...

Friday, December 03, 2010

Friday Funny

Cletus is passing by Billy Bob's hay barn one day when, through a gap in the door, he sees Billy Bob doing a slow and sensual striptease in front of an old green John Deere.

Buttocks clenched, he performs a slow pirouette, and gently slides off first the right strap of his overalls, followed by the left. He then hunches his shoulders forward and in a classic striptease move, lets his overalls fall down to his hips, revealing a torn and frayed plaid shirt. Then, grabbing both sides of his shirt, he rips it apart to reveal his stained T-shirt underneath. With a final flourish, he tears the T-shirt from his body, and hurls his baseball cap onto a pile of hay.

Having seen enough, Cletus rushes in and says, "What the heck are you doing, Billy Bob?"

"Jeez, Cletus, ya scared the bejeezers out of me," says an obviously embarrassed Billy Bob. "But me'n the Ol' Lady been havin trouble lately in the bedroom d'partment, and the therapist suggested I do 'something sexy to a tractor'."

[Don't make me 'splain this to you! ---Read the last line again... slowly--out loud.]

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Listening to Your Editor--Selling Out or Being Smart?

There's been some discussion lately on a couple of the author loops I'm on about whether you should make changes an editor or agent suggests to your book. Some writers have suggested (and may I say, those who have are predominantly unpublished or self-published) that to do so is "selling out". Their argument is that to make any changes would change their Art.

May I say if you want to make any kind of living out of your "art", then you have to be willing to listen--and follow the guidance--of the people in the industry who, by the way, do usually know of what they speak. You must be objective about your book. And remember that it *is* a book--it's not your baby. It's not an extension of your ego. And if the suggested changes will make the book stronger, why wouldn't you do it?

If you're writing genre fiction, you're looking to get published in a field with complex demands. And lots and lots of competition. My agent easily gets 30-40 queries a day. Multiply that by 365 and you end up with over 10,000 queries per year. And many agents, even those still building their author list, will still only sign 2-3 new authors per year.

Are you really going to be so unwilling to listen to advice that you won't change your book to make it more marketable? Now, I'm not talking about something that will radically change the heart of your story--though in my opinion you should be open about that, too. But I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't listened to my agent with regards especially to my first book, that first book would never have been sold. But I figured with 30 years in the business--first as an editor and now as an agent--she knows more than I do about what sells books.

If you'd rather be a Struggling Artist, suffering for your craft, then, by all means, ignore the advice. But if you want to be a Successful Author, well, then, listen. Learn. Change. Grow.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Man Meat Monday


Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Funny

More paraprosdokian phrases:

“I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.” — Will Rogers

Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” — Groucho Marx

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” — Groucho Marx

“A modest man, who has much to be modest about.” — Winston Churchill (of Clement Atlee)

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill

“The car stopped on a dime, which unfortunately was in a pedestrian’s pocket.”

“I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” — Mitch Hedberg

“Take my wife—please.” — Henny Youngman

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” Winston Churchill

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department usually uses water.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

(And I hope that last one is true!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Funny

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. --Anonymous

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. --Josh Billings

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. --Franklin P. Jones

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. --Mark Twain

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. --Phil Pastoret

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Agent Susan Ginsburg

Let me lead off this blog by saying my agent Susan Ginsburg rocks! LOL And not just because she's so good at her job, but also because she's doing me a huge favor by coming to town to speak to the Tucson chapter of Romance Writers of America. Susan is graciously going to share her expertise about the publishing industry in the morning session, then do some critiquing of query letters submitted by several of our members--it's a great learning experience for everyone, even those of us just listening. After the meeting, close to twenty of our members will be pitching their books to her.

Susan and I have been working together since December 2007--and this is the first time we'll meet face-to-face. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it!

If you're in Arizona and can come to Tucson this Saturday, please join us for our meeting at El Parador Restaurant. The meeting starts at 10 a.m.--you can make your reservation online by going to Saguaro Romance Writers website.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Funny

What is a calorie?

Calories are the little bastards that get into your wardrobe at night and sew your clothes tighter.

My closet is infested with the little shits!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There Be Dragons Here!

Coming in January, my three dragon shapeshifter novellas with Amber Heat will be available in a print anthology. I just got the cover last night, and it. Is. Gorgeous!

Right now all three novellas are available in electronic format, purchased separately, at Amber Heat.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Man Meat Monday

For your viewing pleasure...

Love those cowboys!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Funny

Truths for Mature Humans

  1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
  2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
  3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
  4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
  5. Was learning cursive really necessary?
  6. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  7. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  8. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
  9. Bad decisions make good stories.
  10. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
  11. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
  12. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
  13. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
  14. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.
  15. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
  16. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
  17. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
  18. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
  19. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
  20. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!
  21. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974.That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Ladies.....quit laughing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's Official--Warriors of the Rift is Coming!

I've just signed the contract with Grand Central for my upcoming Warriors of the Rift series, written under the pen name Cynthia Garner.

Every seventy-three years a comet passes by the Earth and opens a rift between dimensions. Incorporeal entities from the other dimension--criminals, political dissidents and other "undesirables" who have been stripped of their bodies and held in an incorporeal state--are sent through the rift into our dimension. The will to survive being strong, they come to Earth and take over the bodies of humans. Whatever species they were in the other dimension determines the impact their "squatting" will have on their human hosts--some become vampires, some werewolves or other shapeshifters, some demons, etc.

Nix de la Fuente, part demon/part human, loves her job as liaison to the Council of Thirteen, which governs the behavior of preternaturals. Until, that is, she comes face-to-face with her former lover, vampire Tobias Caine. Nix and Tobias are forced to work together to solve a vampire murder mystery and in the process discover a secret about the rift. But can they overcome the hurts of the past?

Look for Book 1, Kiss of the Vampire, some time next year!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Funny

Too Old to Trick Or Treat?

You know you're too old to trick or treat when:

  • You get winded from knocking on the door.
  • You have to have someone else chew the candy for you.
  • You ask for high fiber candy only.
  • When someone drops a candy bar in your bag you lose your balance and fall over.
  • People say "Great Boris Karloff mask!" and you're not wearing one.
  • When the door opens you yell "Trick or..." and can't remember the rest.
  • By the end of the night you have a bag full of restraining orders.
  • You have to carefully choose a costume that won't dislodge your hairpiece.
  • You're the only Power Ranger in the neighborhood with a walker.

And the number one reason Seniors should not go trick or treating:
  • You have to keep going home to pee.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

I've been reading books and watching movies/shows about Sherlock Holmes since I was a teenager. Take my word for it, it's been a long time. (When you can start counting time in decades, you know you're getting old...) My all-time favorite is the pairing of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, though Bruce did play Watson as much more of a bumbler than Conan Doyle wrote him.

The latest version is from the BBC and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson, and it is brilliant! It has been updated for modern audiences, set in present day with Holmes using texting to communicate with journalists (and the killer!) and Watson blogging instead of writing in a journal.

Holmes's intellect and obvious glee over crime scenes has put off the police--Lestrade only calls him in when he's desperate, and not really because he wants to. Watson is home from the war in Afghanistan (eerily a mirror of the original Watson, who also saw action in Afghanistan). The pairing is, well, brilliant!

I can't wait for the next episode!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Man Meat Monday

I really like the perks this sauna has...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Funny

You can't help but laugh!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Saturday's RWA Meeting

This Saturday, my local RWA chapter is hosting two incredible women who happen to be incredible speakers as well. In the morning, Maya Reynolds is coming up from the grand state of Texas to speak to us about the good, the bad and the ugly in the publishing world. I'm hoping she'll be able to clear up some confusion that some members have regarding self publishing and vanity publishing, as well as talk about the pros and cons of epublishing and print publishing. Our afternoon speaker is Connie Flynn, a veteran author and educator from Phoenix who's going to speak on Beginnings, Middles and Ends.

If you're in Arizona, I promise it's a day you don't want to miss! You can read more about it at Saguaro Romance Writers website.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Seeing as how I didn't sleep at all last night, I have a bedtime theme this morning...


Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Funny

Baptizing a Drunk

A man is stumbling through the woods totally drunk when he comes upon a preacher baptizing people in the river. The drunk walks into the water and bumps into the preacher. The preacher turns around and is almost overcome by the smell of booze. Whereupon he asks the drunk, "Are you ready to find Jesus?"

"Yes I am," replies the drunk, so the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the river. He pulls him up and asks the drunk, "Brother have you found Jesus?"

The drunk replies, "No, I haven't."

The preacher, shocked at the answer, dunks him into the water again, but for a bit longer this time. He pulls him out of the water and asks again, "Have you found Jesus, my brother?"

The drunk again answers, "No, I have not found Jesus."

By this time the preacher is at his wits end so he dunks the drunk in the water again, but this time he holds him down for about 30 seconds.

When the drunk begins kicking his arms and legs, the preacher pulls him up. The preacher asks the drunk again, "For the love of God, have you found Jesus?"

The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the preacher, "Are you sure this is where he fell in?"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Today's Publishing Industry

Things are changing, I think everyone can agree with that. Ebooks are becoming more and more popular and may eventually mean that books won't be available in print format. For now, readers have a choice. But editors, agents and writers can all agree that that may not always be the case. Even now the retail brick and mortar stores are in crisis, unable to compete with Amazon and WalMart.

For authors the key is, as always, to write consistently and to write the best book you can write. You need ways to connect to readers, so you need to be savvy about marketing, because soon the best way to get books into the hands of readers will be common knowledge.

  • Make use of social media to spread the word about your product.
  • Strive for national publicity by using all methods in your other areas of expertise.
  • Stay in touch with review sites that are doing good reviews and have a global reach. Use them.
I've said it before: Writing the book is only part of the author's job. There's a whole lot more work to do afterward.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Man Meat Monday

This looks like an invitation to me...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday Funny

Whatever you give a woman, she will make it greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.

So if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Publishing...The More Things Change...

...the more they stay the same. Today I'm being lazy and am going to point you to a recent post of Joe Konrath's regarding ebooks. It's an interesting--and humorous--look at how the Big 6 NY publishers are handling electronic publishing.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Washboard abs, but look at those eyes...!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Friday Funny

More Paraprosdokian sentences (a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part):

Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you can't help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted pay checks.

A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don't need it.

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on I said"Implants?"

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.

A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Intellectual Property and Pirates

Senator Patrick Leahy introduced legislation earlier this month aimed at curbing online piracy and counterfeiting. The bill would give the Justice Department new authority to file a civil action against a domain name linked to a website trafficking in illegal copyrighted content or counterfeit goods. The court could order a registrar, a firm that sells Internet domain name registrations to the public, to revoke the domain name linked to the site with the infringing content or counterfeit goods. The bill also would give the Justice Department power to target foreign websites by requiring U.S.-based third parties to stop doing business with these foreign targets. This might include requiring a U.S.-based Internet service provider to block access to such sites or requiring a U.S. payment processor to block payments to the site.

According to an article at Tech Daily Dose, several groups banded together and sent a letter that calls on the committee to hold a hearing on the bill before taking action on it. In part the letter stated that this legislation "raises a host of global entanglements and serious questions that need to be evaluated thoroughly and carefully."

The article further stated:

Noting the growing threat of online piracy, the Recording Industry Association of America said in a statement Tuesday, that, "The answer from these self-styled public interest groups can't always be 'no.' Congressional and administration leaders have made it clear that doing nothing is no longer an option. If these groups have a better idea than the meaningful, bipartisan approach like the one put forward by Chairman Leahy, we welcome their ideas on how to insure that the Internet is a civilized medium instead of a lawless one where foreign sites that put Americans at risk are allowed to flourish."
What I know is that to continue to do nothing solves nothing. The majority of these pirate sites are overseas yet target American consumers (and thus defraud American artists, including authors). According to Senator Leahy, his measure would "give the Department of Justice an expedited process for cracking down on these rogue websites, regardless of whether the website's owner is located inside or outside of the United States."

Amen, brother! We'll have to see how this plays out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Funny

Thanks to my friend Roz Denny Fox for forwarding this little jewel along.

A paraprosdokian(from Greek "παρα-", meaning "beyond" and "προσδοκία", meaning "expectation") is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but also play on the double meaning:

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

There's more, so expect these to turn up again a bit later...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Belong to the Night

Now available in mass market paperback:

City Of The Dead by Sherrill Quinn

Dori Falcon is a witch with a plan: get to New Orleans, locate her missing brother, and recover a mysterious and powerful amulet. Her plan never included falling for sexy Cajun cop Jake Boudreau; but without his help, she may never find the key to her family’s survival.

Belong to the Night - now 30% off directly from Kensington!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Man Meat Monday


Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Funny

Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and proceeded to the checkout counter.

The man at the counter asked the older boy, "Son, how old are you?"

"Eight," the boy replied.

The man continued, "Do you know what these are used for?"

The boy replied, "Not really, but they aren't for me, they're for him." He pointed to the younger boy. "He's my brother. He's four. We saw on TV that if you use these, you would be able to swim and ride a bike. Right now he can't do either."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

President Obama, Author

This November, Knopf Books for Young Readers will publish Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, a picture book by President Barack Obama, and illustrated by Loren Long. The book is due to release on November 15th with purportedly a 500,000-copy first printing. The hardcover and ebook editions, available simultaneously, will both carry a retail price of $17.99. You can read more here.

I don't have an issue with President Obama writing a book. (This was finished prior to him taking office, not that that matters, either.) Of Thee I Sing is a tribute to Americans and to “the ideals that have shaped our nation.” I think it's a wonderful idea.

What I have a problem with is that the hardcover and ebook editions will cost the same. This is a children's book that is going to retail for almost $18. Seriously?!? It's wonderful that the proceeds will go into a fund for the children of deceased and disabled veterans. I commend the publisher for that. But... $18 for an ebook? Really?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Anybody got a towel? Oh, never mind. I'll just use my tongue...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Funny

Two nuns, Sister Catherine and Sister Helen, are traveling through Europe in their car. They get to Transylvania and are stopped at a traffic light. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tiny little Dracula jumps onto the hood of the car and hisses through the windshield.

“Quick, quick!” shouts Sister Catherine. “What shall we do?”

“Turn the windshield wipers on. That will get rid of the abomination,” says Sister Helen.

Sister Catherine switches them on, knocking Dracula about, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.

“What shall I do now?” she shouts.

“Switch on the windshield washer. I filled it up with Holy Water at the Vatican,” says Sister Helen.

Sister Catherine turns on the windshield washer. Dracula screams as the water burns his skin, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.

“Now what?” shouts Sister Catherine.

“Show him your cross,” says Sister Helen.

“Now you’re talking,” says Sister Catherine. She opens the window and
shouts, “Get the fuck off the car!”

And there is the lesson in the difference between "your" and "you're".

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Another rather high-profile case of plagiarism, author Gerald Posner and publisher Simon & Schuster has been sued by author Frank Owen. Owen alleges that Posner's book Miami Babylon as "numerous examples of word-for-word copying" of his book Clubland. The lawsuit claims that Posner's book "is little more than a frequently verbatim precis of significant portions of Clubland, a verbal reduction sauce in which 30,000 words are reduced down to approximately 10,000 and yet the flavor remains the same." In a separate letter, Owen wrote that "Simon & Schuster has known since March that Miami Babylon contains dozens of plagiarized passages, yet six months later they continue to sell the book. It's obvious that Simon & Schuster not only condones plagiarism but continues to profit from it."

Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg tells the NY Post that while Posner acknowledges "inadvertently used phrases, to suggest that this usage amounts to copyright infringement is entirely without merit. As the complaint makes clear the unattributed use of phrases at issue was limited and in the reporting of factual events. Mr. Posner and Simon & Schuster will vigorously defend this lawsuit."

Here's my question: Why can't people just do the right thing? There's a reason why I don't read the type of book I am currently writing--I don't want to inadvertently pick up and use phrases or ideas that I may retain from another author's book. I don't know the details of this case, any more than what's been made public. I don't know if Posner indeed plagiarized Owen's book. I'm just saying...

Do the right thing.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Happy Labor Day to all my American readers!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Friday Funny

New dress for the show............$700.00

Make-up and hair style..............$500.00

Giant stuffed bear......................$300.00

Not knowing how to hold the bear
with a microphone in your hand...........


Wednesday, September 01, 2010


My agent is coming to Tucson for my local RWA chapter's November meeting. She'll be talking with us about the publishing industry and more specifically what works and what doesn't in query letters and pitches. She'll also be taking one-on-one pitches from members who have a complete manuscript ready to go.

When I asked her to verify what fiction genres she was interested in, her response was "I'm more interested in the author than the genre." For her, it's the author's voice that matters, the way the author tells the story than what the actual story is about. Not all agents are like that. Many niche themselves in specific genres, which is fine. It just saves a writer time to know who doesn't represent the book they've just written.

My point is: if your story is the best it can be, that's what's going to sell you to an agent. Not the genre.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Long and lean and hard...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Funny

Little Bruce and Jenny are only 10 years old, but they know they are in love. One day they decide that they want to get married, so Bruce goes to Jenny's father to ask him for her hand. Bruce bravely walks up to him and says, "Mr. Smith, me and Jenny are in love and I want to ask you for her hand in marriage."

Thinking that this was just the cutest thing, Mr. Smith replies, "Well Bruce, you are only 10. Where will you two live?"

Without even taking a moment to think about it, Bruce replies, "In Jenny's room. It's bigger than mine and we can both fit there nicely."

Still thinking this is just adorable, Mr. Smith says with a huge grin, "Okay, then how will you live? You're not old enough to get a job. You'll need to support Jenny."

Again, Bruce instantly replies, "Our allowance, Jenny makes five bucks a week and I make 10 bucks a week. That's about 60 bucks a month, so that should do us just fine."

Mr. Smith is impressed Bruce has put so much thought into this. "Well Bruce, it seems like you have everything figured out. I just have one more question. What will you do if the two of you should have little children of your own?"

Bruce just shrugs his shoulders and says, "Well, we've been lucky so far."

Mr. Smith no longer thinks the little shit is so adorable...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Highest Paid Authors

Forbes recently ran an article listing the top 10 highest earning authors. The lead sentence: "Times may be tough for book sellers, but for Stephen King, James Patterson and Stephenie Meyer, the money keeps rolling in." Uh-huh. Times are tough for most authors, too. Just not these folks:

  1. James Patterson
  2. Stephenie Meyer
  3. Stephen King
  4. Danielle Steel
  5. Ken Follett
  6. Dean Koontz
  7. Janet Evanovich
  8. John Grisham
  9. Nicholas Sparks
  10. J.K. Rowling
Top on the list is James Patterson. From the Forbes' article:
Patterson's literary empire includes television, comic book and gaming deals. His foreign sales alone bring in well over $10 million a year. Patterson's e-books are posting respectable numbers, too. I, Alex Cross alone has sold 160,000 units digitally. Ironic, given that there's no computer in his home office--Patterson writes all his novels in longhand. To date he has published 51 New York Times best sellers.
I haven't read any of Patterson's books. I have seen a couple of the Alex Cross movies and really enjoyed them. (Plus I get a kick out of Patterson appearing on the TV series Castle.)

The article goes on:
Vampire romance author Stephenie Meyer ranks second this year. Her Twilight series has become such a juggernaut that despite not releasing a new title in 2009, she earned $40 million over the year. About $7 million of that came from movies adapted from the Twilight series. In June the third Twilight installment pulled in $175 million in its first six days, the most successful first week of any movie of 2010.
Let me just say that the majority of authors don't make anywhere near this amount of money. Most of us hold day jobs, struggle to pay the rent/mortgage and have bigger balances on our credit cards than we'd like. I don't dream about getting rich like these folks; I dream of the day when I can quit the day job and support myself with my writing.

Have you read these authors? What do you think of their writing?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Is that an invitation? I think it might be...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Funny

Dogs are so goofy! LOL

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Buyer Beware

Publishers Marketplace recently pointed its readers toward an article in the Indy Star about yet another literary scam, this time based in Indiana. The Indiana Attorney General's office says at least seven written complaints have been received in recent days from authors who say they paid money to New Century Publishing, owned by David William Caswell--but didn't receive printed copies of their books.

The authors, who include several prominent Hoosier politicians and first-time writers from around the country, generally claim they lost between $1,500 and $10,000 in dealings with New Century and Caswell. Unfortunately for them, this is not Caswell's first run-in with the Indiana Attorney General. The State sued him twice, in 1990 and 2005, over consumer complaints related to his employment service companies. In both cases the courts ordered him to pay a total of $99,000 in restitution and fines. As of the date of the article, he's only paid $600.

The sad thing is that the red flags were out there. A Google search on New Century Publishing turned up a link to Yahoo Answers where a writer had asked for help. The response:

Red flag, a huge one, popped up when I read their website. They have a clear conflict of interest. While they insist they are not a self publisher or vanity press, because they offer all services of a traditional, mass market publisher, their authors are required to pay for their editorial and design services.

If that's not enough to convince you to avoid them (and it should be), I checked two of their featured titles and neither is sold at Amazon or Barnes & Noble's websites.
One of the first things I learned about publishing is that the money should flow TO the writer, not FROM the writer. (Yes, yes, there are some things a writer must pay for--website services, marketing, giveaway items such as pens, bookmarks, etc. Sometimes a writer may elect to pay someone to edit their manuscript--though I'm not sure that's the right step to take. A good critique group would serve you better and cost you nothing.) But to pay to actually get the book published...not a good idea. If an author is required to pay the publisher for any part of the publishing process--editing, design, marketing, distribution--then the publisher is NOT a traditional, mass market publisher. They are a vanity press, plain and simple.

For more on this, Victoria Strauss blogged about this last Monday on behalf of Writer Beware here.

Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Man Meat Monday


Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Funny


They were together in the house. Just the two of them.

It was a cold, dark, stormy night. The storm had come quickly and each time the thunder boomed he watched her jump.
She looked across the room and admired his strong appearance...and wished that he would take her in his arms, comfort her and protect her from the storm.

Suddenly, with a pop, the power went out. She screamed.

He raced to the sofa where she was cowering. He didn't hesitate to pull her into his arms. He knew this was a forbidden union and expected her to pull back. He was surprised when she didn't resist but instead clung to him.

The storm raged on...

They knew it was wrong...

Their families would never understand. So consumed were they in their fear that they heard no opening of doors, just the faint click of a camera...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dorchester Going Straight Es

Dorchester Publishing recently announced their move to an all digital platform, with some titles being available in trade paperback format via POD (print on demand). Starting in September (through April), new books will only be available in ebook format. From Dorchester's website:

Given the many changes in the publishing industry over the last several years, Dorchester has made the decision to more tightly focus its distribution models so that we may fully capitalize on the most profitable emerging technologies.

Starting with September titles, we will be moving from mass-market to trade paperback format. This will delay new releases roughly 6-8 months, but it will also open many new and more efficient sales channels.

And we’re pleased to say all titles will be available in ebook format as originally scheduled. The substantial growth we’ve seen in the digital market in such a short period—combined with the decline of the mass-market business—convinced us that we needed to fully focus our resources in this segment sooner rather than later.

Dorchester has always been known as a company ahead of the curve and willing to take risks. As bookstores are allocating the bulk of their capital to the digital business, it only makes sense that we do the same. Everyone keeps hearing that the industry has to change if it’s going to survive. We’re excited to be at the forefront of that change and will continue to keep you posted on further developments.
To read more, go here.

I'll be blogging at Brava Authors tomorrow--for a chance to win a copy of the anthology Belong to the Night, come on over and chat with me!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday Funny

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Enhanced Ebooks

Yet another cool thing that books published electronically can do: enhance the content. In yesterday's Publishers Weekly, the magazine reported on the most recent releases from Harper Collins' enhanced ebooks. In part:

HarperCollins has entered the enhanced e-book market, putting three titles into the iBookstore last week and has plans to do at least five more in the coming months. Ana Maria Allessi, v-p, publisher, HarperMedia, said it is quite possible HC will do additional titles before the end of the year. “We want to do as much experimentation as possible between now and the new year," Allessi said. The three titles now available are Getting the Pretty Back, God is Not One and Louder than Words. Louder, by Joe Navarro, is one of four enhanced e-books that will be reviewed in Monday’s PW, and it features 22 in line videos that illustrate how to read, and use, nonverbal signals in business. To capture the material, HC wrote a shooting script, hired an actor and shot on a number of locations.
You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Funny

How hot is it?

Awwww. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Fine Art of Schmoozing

Today is the first day of the national RWA convention, which once again I'm not attending. But I know what goes on--lots of authors, editors and agents meeting and mingling and having a great time. And while editors and agents still really don't like having manuscripts shoved at them under the bathroom stall door, they're open to conversations any other place--like if you happen to end up on an elevator with them.

Remember: They're people, too. Ask how they're enjoying the conference, or if they've had a chance to see anything interesting in the city yet, or if they have a favorite nearby restaurant. In other words, have a conversation. It's almost a guarantee they'll ask you for at least a partial manuscript, but at this point you just want to make a good impression. Because...really? Most editors/agents will ask for a partial. It's a lot easier than telling you to your face that your story sounds like a real eye-drooper. Which I'm sure most of them are more than ready to do--it's part of their job. But if you're riding up the elevator after a long day at the conference, the editor/agent has probably already heard a lot of pitches that day and more than likely really doesn't want to hear any more. So don't worry about pitching. This is the time to ask questions about the business and/or get a professional's advice on your book idea. It's all about networking.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Funny

I am addicted to checking my email and being connected, I'll admit. But I'm not quite this bad. Yet.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


My friend Maya Reynolds has an interesting blog today about Heroes' creator Tim Kring's Conspiracy for Good. CFG is a project that invites the audience to become part of a story with real world outcomes. As Maya calls it, it's transmedia--using multiple forms of media (video, text, blogs and participatory games) to tell a story. The next evolution of murder mystery dinner theater and the like, perhaps?

It's an interesting concept, and one that could impact the way stories are told in book format. We'll have to wait and see.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Hmm. Kinda puts me in the mood for Diet Coke break...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Funny

This has been making the email rounds--I've received it several times and decided I had to share it here.

No I have not seen your lipstick, why would you even ask me that? I'm insulted! Every time something goes missing around here, everybody looks at me! For your information, I don't even wear that shade. It doesn't flatter my complexion and it tastes terrible.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Great News!

I've been sitting on this news for a few weeks, thinking I would announce this once I had signed a contract, but I just can't contain my glee any longer!

Grand Central Publishing (formerly Time Warner Books and now a division of Hachette Book Group) and I have a three-book deal in the works, with the first book set to be released next fall! I'm so excited!

These books will be written under my new pen name Cynthia Garner. The series introduces an alternate reality where vampires, werewolves and other creatures are loud and proud...and living next door. There's a twist on the origins of these preternatural beings that I'll get into in a later blog.

With the first book, the heroine, Nix de la Fuente, is part-demon/part-human and is a liaison to the Preternatural Council. The majority of her job is to investigate crimes that involve humans--either as victims or as perpetrators. Her former lover Tobias Caine, a vampire, comes back to town and is tapped to take over as the vampire liaison to the Council.

I'm hard at work on book one, which is due to the publisher October 1st. I'm finishing up Chapter 6, which means I have roughly two months to write about 14 more chapters. So, as you can imagine, with a full-time job my time is at a limited premium. I will not be continuing to offer free blog stories, though I am going to do my best to continue free stories in my monthly newsletter, probably in the same serialized format as done here on my blog. So if you haven't joined the group yet, please do. You'll get the newsletter once a month, and there's no other chatter to clog up your inbox.

Yikes! Two chapters a week. I gotta get busy! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Man Meat Monday

If one is good...

...half a dozen is better!

Just a note: Beginning today, for the foreseeable future, I will be blogging on Monday/Wednesday/Friday.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Friday Funny

What is a real man?

A real man is a woman's best friend. He will never stand her up and never let her down. He will reassure her when she feels insecure and comfort her after a bad day.

He will inspire her to do things she never thought she could do; to live without fear and forget regret. He will enable her to express her deepest emotions and give in to her most intimate desires. He will make sure she always feels as though she's the most beautiful woman in the room and will enable her to be the most confident, sexy, seductive, and invincible.

No, wait... sorry... I'm thinking of wine. Never mind.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Bloggin' at Brava

I've over at Brava Authors today--come on over and chat with me about your favorite type of heroine!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday

Just because an agent is reputable and from a well-known agency doesn't mean you shouldn't do your research before signing with them. Check out this article from The Daily Beast.


Monday, July 05, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Take it all off!