Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday

We had another great RWA chapter meeting on Saturday. I can't stress this enough--if you write romantic fiction or some other genre with romantic elements, you need to join your local RWA chaper (if there is one) or an online chapter. Check RWA National to find a listing of chapters.

One of the topics covered at our meeting was Characterization by Pamela Tracy. What I found the most helpful was this formula: Character=Class+Distinguishing Characteristics. So, for example, with the Cinderella story we start with

Cinderella=beloved daughter+happy life with no expectations

and work our way through to the end of

Cinderella=princess+happily ever after.

Parallel the characterization of Prince Charming with Cinderella's, and we start with

Prince Charming=beloved son+great expectations

and work our way through to the end of

Prince Charming=prince+happily ever after.

Sometimes the two main characters end up with common items (i.e., "beloved daughter" and "beloved son"), but sometimes they are opposite (i.e., "no expectations" and "great expectations"). See what you can do with yours.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Man Meat Monday


Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Funny

Can Cold Water Clean Dishes?

This is for all the germ conscious folks who worry about using cold water to clean.

John went to visit his 90 year old grandfather in a very secluded, rural area of Saskatchewan. After spending a great evening chatting the night away, the next morning John's grandfather prepared breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast.

However, John noticed a film like substance on his plate, and questioned his grandfather. "Are these plates clean?"

His grandfather replied, "They're as clean as cold water can get em. Just you go ahead and finish your meal."

For lunch the old man made hamburgers. Again, John was concerned about the plates, as his appeared to have tiny specks around the edge that looked like dried egg and asked, "Are you sure these plates are clean?"

Without looking up the old man said, "I told you before, sonny, those dishes are as clean as cold water can get them. Now don't you fret, I don't want to hear another word about it!"

Later that afternoon, John was on his way to a nearby town and as he was leaving, his grandfather's dog started to growl, and wouldn't let him pass.

John yelled and said, "Grandfather, your dog won't let me get to my car."

Without diverting his attention from the football game he was watching on TV, the old man shouted, "Coldwater, go lay down now, ya hear me?"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy

My friend and critique partner Sara has her first book coming out at the end of April. Song of Scarabaeus is a wonderful sci-fi tale with romantic elements that just received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly!

"This brilliantly conceived debut heralds a significant new talent... Creasy's convincing scientific speculation, appealing characterizations, and eerie alien landscapes make this science fiction romance deeply satisfying."

The entire review is here (near the bottom of the page). If you like sci fi, put this book on your to-buy list!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday

For today's tips, I'm going to point y'all to agent Jenny Bent's blog on Rookie Mistakes in querying. Good stuff here.

Oh, and Nathan Bransford had a post where he mentioned Dunning-Kruger effect. Have you heard of this? I hadn't. The basic theory is this: When people are incompetent at something they tend to lack the ability to realize it and they overrate their abilities relative to others. Meanwhile, people who actually are good at something tend to underrate their abilities and may as a result suffer from lack of confidence.

Well, I've certainly seen this, I just never knew it had a name! According to Wikipedia: ...the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.

Huh. Ya learn something new every day, eh?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Strong shoulders. Hard biceps. Too many shadows...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Funny

I'm not sure if this is sad because it's kinda sorta true, or if it's funny. Maybe it's both...

Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel "Pick up your shovel, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the promised land."

Nearly 75 years ago, Roosevelt said, "Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a camel, this is the promised land."

Now Obama has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of camels, and mortgaged the promised land!

I was so depressed last night thinking about health care plans, the economy, the wars, lost jobs, savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc... I called Lifeline, the suicide help line. Got a freakin' call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal.

They all got excited and asked if I could fly a plane...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tucson Festival of Books...

...was a great success! I can't find the numbers yet, but I know they anticipated over 50,000 attendees over the 2-day period. I do know there were over 450 authors (the largest number of authors at any book festival in the country!), and a couple hundred thousand dollars was/will be donated to literacy. As with last year's panel that I participated in, there were about 35 people in attendance at this year's discussion. (Not the standing-room-only that my fellow RWA chapter member Laurie Schnebly Campbell had, but for a no-name like me, it was a nice turnout.) Plus my books sold out at the U of A bookstore, so there weren't any for me to sign after the panel talk.

Mark your calendars now for next year's festival -- March 12-13!

I'm guest blogging over at Silk and Shadows today--come on over and say hi!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday

One thing that I come across from inexperienced writers, more often than I like, is what seems to be a prevailing attitude that the editor (once they get one) is there to fix spelling and grammatical errors, sentence structure, etc. (I've actually had people tell me this, sad to say.) Here's the thing. Yes, the are. To a very limited extent. What you want your editor to focus on is the story content--plot, character development and the like.

Raelene Gorlinsky, publisher with Ellora's Cave, had this to say on February 15th on EC's Redlines and Deadlines blog:

First she writes, "If you can’t take the time to round up several people to help you make your submission completely clean, I’m not going to have any faith in your willingness—or ability—to spend the time on revisions and editing. Bluntly, it implies to me that you are lazy, stupid or unprofessional."

Pay attention here! Editors do NOT want to work with authors who are lazy, stupid or unprofessional. So make your work as shiny as possible before you send it off.

Raelene went on: "So you believe that your time is more valuable than mine, that I should be your typist and proofreader? That I should waste time slogging through this mess you sent in? You need a reality check. A professional and experienced editor is focused on story development—working with the author on plot, character growth, relationship development. NOT wasting editorial time on things the author should be responsible for, like spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure. Yes, an editor may (maybe!) choose to contract a fantastic book even though the author needs a little help with one or two specific writing mechanics—maybe the author doesn’t quite understand how to use dialogue tags or is choppy about POV switches. The editor may feel this is something they can teach the author—but will then expect that the author learns this and the next submission will not have the problem.

Let’s be frank about this: Great story ideas are a dime a dozen. Yours just is not unique. I can open the next ten submissions and find something just as good or better than yours, no problem. So it is how you present your great story that counts. Gee, would I contract the wonderful story concept that will require massive amounts of effort trying to teach the author how to write cleanly, need excess copy edit/proofing time, and mean working with an author I suspect is unprofessional and unskilled? Or should I contract the equally great story that obviously has been through multiple self-edits and much proofing and is nearly 100% “clean”, allowing me to focus my editorial skills where they should be? That’s not a hard choice."

When I read this, my first thought was, Raelene reminds me a lot of Kate Duffy with her tell-it-like-it-is attitude. (Then I got sad for a bit as I thought about Kate.) But you need to know that Raelene isn't the only editor saying this. The point is: Learn the technical aspects of writing so your editor--who is overworked and underpaid!--doesn't have to spend time on things you should have already attended to.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Man Meat Monday

I'm exhausted from the book festival this weekend (which went very, very well), so I think I'll just curl up with this guy and get some more sleep...or something. ;)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tucson Festival of Books

I'm taking a break from the usual frivolity on Fridays to remind you that this weekend is the second annual Tucson Festival of Books. In the romance track we have several NYT/USA Today bestselling authors, including Julia Quinn, Brenda Novak, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Cheyenne McCray and Jennifer Ashley. Plus yours truly wrapping things up on Sunday in a panel discussion with Elaine Charton about e-publishing.

If you're close enough, come down to the University of Arizona campus--it's gonna be a beautiful weekend, in the 70s with no rain in sight!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blogging at Brava

I'm over at the Brava Authors blog today chatting about hairy heroes--stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

TAMING THE MOON is Today's Fresh Pick!

Check it out! Taming the Moon is the Fresh Pick today at FreshFiction.com!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Oy. Look at those abs!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Funny

The second funniest Super Bowl commercial evah!

Thursday, March 04, 2010


5 Cups from Coffee Time Romance: "Rippling muscles, the call of the wild, and a British accent to boot will have you panting after Sully every bit as much as Olivia is, but it is his big heart that has you really falling for him... These are characters that you can really wrap your head and your heart around, and recommending this book along with all of the others in this series is a pleasure."

You can read the full review here. To read an excerpt or buy, click here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday

Do you give yourself permission to write? Do you empower yourself to write?

If you don't set aside specific time every day to plunk down in front of your computer (or with your pad and pen), then I guess the answers to those questions are "no." What's that old saying? If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

You need to define for yourself where you want to be in your writing career and how you're going to get there. (For most of us, it doesn't happen by luck. It takes hard work and perseverance. A lot of it.) And the main question you need to ask yourself is this: "Am I willing to do something daily in order to achieve my goals and dreams?" (And to further that, "What will I do today?")

For writers with families, carving out time for your writing may not be easy. But keep in mind it doesn't have to be a huge block of time. Don't let the idea that if you can't have at least an hour to write that you can't write at all. If the little ones go down for a 15-minute nap, then write for that 15 minutes. If you're waiting to pick them up after school, take your laptop or pad and pen with you--and write. If you ride the bus or subway to work, write! I know several writers who, when their children were little, got up before the rest of the family (sometimes that meant they were up at 4 a.m.). It was hard, don't get me wrong. But they were determined--driven!--to write.

One of my mom's favorite sayings is "People make time to do what they want to do." And you know what? She's absolutely right. So...do you want to write? Then make the time, whenever you can.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Makes me wanna just start licking...