Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Today I'm going to direct you to JA Konrath's blog. On Monday he posted an interview with Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords. It's interesting and informative. If you're thinking about forgoing the traditional publishing route and plan to publish your book yourself, you should look into Smashwords.

(And I'll say this again, because it cannot be said enough. Do NOT use a vanity press. If a "publisher" has no real distribution plan, or asks you to pay for its services, RUN. I'm not talking about paying to have your book edited, which you need to do, or paying for cover art. Those are necessary to make sure you have a product that will sell.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Funny

An Indiana Jones moment if ever I saw one! LOL

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing Rules

Some tips from a couple of successful guys...and keep in mind that sometimes rules were meant to be broken.

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing:

1) Never open a book with the weather.
2) Avoid prologues.
3) Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialog.
4) Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said"
5) Keep your exclamation points under control.
6) Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose"
7) Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8) Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9) Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
10) Try to leave out the parts the readers tend to skip.

Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Rules of Writing (Kurt Vonnegut's rules were written for short story writers, though they can be applied to longer works (with the possible exception of the 8th rule). He also qualifies his list of rules by saying that Flannery O'Connor broke all them except the first one.):

1) Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that they will not feel the time was wasted.
2) Give the reader at least one character they can root for.
3) Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4) Every sentence must do one of two things - reveal character or advance the plot.
5) Start as close to the end as possible.
6) Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7) Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8) Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Elmore Leonard's rules are much more particular. Most of these rules are easy to break and are broken regularly. Though I have to agree with number one. Unless the opening line is "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Just kidding. ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Funny

A man and a woman were sitting beside each other in the first class section of an airplane. The woman sneezed, took out a tissue, gently wiped her nose, then visibly shuddered for ten to fifteen seconds. The man went back to his reading. A few minutes later, the woman sneezed again, took a tissue, wiped her nose, then shuddered violently once more. Assuming that the woman might have a cold, the man was curious about the shuddering.

A few more minutes passed when the woman sneezed yet again. As before, she took a tissue, wiped her nose, her body shaking even more than before. Unable to restrain his curiosity, the man turned to the woman, "I couldn't help but notice," he said, "that you've sneezed three times, wiped your nose and then shuddered violently. Are you ok?"

"I am sorry if I disturbed you," she replied. "I have a very rare medical condition; whenever I sneeze, I have an orgasm."

The man, more than a bit embarrassed, was still curious. "I have never heard of that condition before," he said. "Are you taking anything for it?"

The woman nodded. "Black Pepper."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Follow Up To Tucson Festival Of Books

Wow, what a ride! This past weekend saw at least 100,000 people crowding the University of Arizona campus to attend panel presentations/writing workshops, mingle with authors, and have a great time in 85 degree temps. Both of the panels I was on had more than 50 people in attendance, which is up from last year's attendance. Questions asked were thoughtful and attendees seemed grateful and excited to have access to over 450 authors.

There was live music performed throughout the mall. A miniature pony at the University Medical Center tent. Grilling at the Arizona Public Media Culinary Tent. Food vendors like Beyond Bread, The Fat Greek, and Brush Fire BBQ to name a few. Oh, and McDonald's with a booth giving samples of their Real Fruit Smoothies.

Lines were sometimes long at the food booths. People had to be turned away from some of the workshops. But overall people seemed patient. Kind. Maybe a little less prone to get upset over the little glitches that are inevitable. A wonderful energy that I hope to revisit again next year when I make my first appearance as Cynthia Garner.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Funny

Little Carol came into the kitchen where her mother was making dinner. Her birthday was coming up and she thought this was a good time to tell her mother what she wanted. "Mom, I want a bike for my birthday."

Now, Little Carol was a bit of a troublemaker. She had gotten into trouble at school and at home. Carol's mother asked her if she thought she deserved to get a bike for her birthday. Little Carol, of course, thought she did. Carol's mother, being a Christian woman, wanted her to reflect on her behavior over the last year, and write a letter to God and tell him why she deserved a bike for her birthday. Little Carol stomped up the steps to her room and sat down to write God a letter.

Dear God:
I have been a very good girl this year and I would like a bike for my birthday. I want a red one. Your friend, Carol

Carol knew this wasn't true. She had not been a very good girl this year, so she tore up the letter and started over.


Dear God:

This is your friend Carol. I have been a pretty good girl this year, and I would like a red bike for my birthday.

Thank you, Carol

Carol knew this wasn't true either. She tore up the letter and started again.


Dear God:
I know I haven't been a good girl this year. I am very sorry. I will be a good girl if you just send me a red bike for my birthday.

Thank you, Carol

Carol knew, even if it was true, this letter was not going to get her a bike. By now, she was very upset. She went downstairs and told her mother she wanted to go to church. Carol's mother thought her plan had worked because Carol looked very sad.

"'Just be home in time for dinner," her mother said.

Carol walked down the street to the church and up to the altar. She looked around to see if anyone was there. She picked up a small statue of the Virgin Mary, slipped it under her jacket and ran out of the church, down the street, into her house, and up to her room. She shut the door and sat down and wrote her letter to God.





Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tucson Festival of Books

The third annual Tucson Festival of Books is this weekend. Over 400 authors are attending, and reader turnout is expected to be around 100,000. If you're in the area or close by, plan on dropping by to have some fun. There are lots of vendors and entertainment venues, workshops and author and editor panels. Power house authors in attendance in the romance genre include Vicki Lewis Thompson, Mary Jo Putney, Jennifer Ashley and Susan Wiggs. Other authors include Kim Harrison (urban fantasy), Diana Gabaldon (sci fi/fantasy), Elmore Leonard (mystery) and Brad Meltzer (mystery) just to name a few.

I'll be presenting on two panels: Mining for an Agent: It Takes More than a Pick and a Shovel on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., and Sex is Not Enough on Sunday at 2:30. I'll also be moderating the panel on The Art of Writing Romance presented by Vicki Lewis Thompson and Mary Jo Putney at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

So come on and join us!

For more information, go here.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Man Meat Monday

A hearty thank you to Colleen Love for this pic! ;)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday Funny

I don't know why, but lately I seem to be stuck on a theme about getting old... LOL

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Things I Learned From Nephele Tempest

Agent Nephele Tempest spoke to the Tucson chapter of Romance Writers of America on Saturday. She talked about the industry, agents in general, her own likes in particular, and then gave a great presentation in the afternoon about writing a synopsis. A few things that I knew but had reiterated to me:

1) When looking to submit, go directly to the agency website. Don't rely on a third-party website to give you up-to-date submission information.

2) Follow the submission guidelines. If the agency doesn't rep mystery, for example, don't bother submitting your mystery to them. You're wasting your time and theirs.

3) Know your genre. Don't send a 200,000 word manuscript, no matter how great you think your book is. And Young Adult fiction, for example, doesn't usually even get to 100,000 words, and it certainly doesn't go higher than that.

4) Pay attention to your driving. Blowing through a red light on the way to taking the agent back to the airport might give the wrong impression that you're in a hurry to get rid of them instead of the simple fact you were focused on making sure you didn't take a wrong turn (which I ended up doing anyway).