Holiday Cheer…

I went to the grocery sans husband and children yesterday.  It was my effort to get the hated deed done before the chaotic crowds started.  I was glad I did.  It offered me the opportunity to do a fair bit of people watching while I marked things from my list.

The biggest change in the store was the patrons.  Instead of couples or women doing the weekly shopping, the majority of fellow shoppers were fathers with children in tow, most clutching lists and looking a touch frantic.  More than one stopped to text from his phone more than once.

Some of the children were wonderfully well-behaved…and others, not so much.  Both extremes were vastly entertaining.

That’s one of the things I love about the holiday season – watching the people.   Have you ever just sat and watched strangers as they bustle about in the malls, grocery stores, and streets?

Imagine a day in their lives… Hum.  I think I already do that when I sit down to write every day.

Merry Christmas!

Eating CROW for the Holidays…

No need to roast that luscious turkey thawing in my spare fridge.  I’m having nice tasty crow for my holiday meal.

🙂 For the past two years or so, I’ve been on a rampage.  An ANTI-SONY READER campaign.

When the Sony Readers came out, my husband braved life and limb to find one for me.  It was wonderful.  I fell in love with it the first time I held it in my hands.  Like all passionate affairs, the initial lust factor lasted a few weeks and then began to settle.

The PRS-500, the first generation model, had flaws.  As long as I was reading a book purchased by the Sony store or from a publisher who specifically formatted for the PRS model (like Samhain Publishing), I was fine.  However, books by other publishers and through other retail outlets didn’t always work well.  More often than not, those books loaded in such a tiny font as to be unreadable.

I finally resorted to trying to obtain help from the Sony Customer Support.  After two weeks of emails back and forth with suggestions from them, and reports of failure to resolve the issue from me, the Sony Support representative finally sent an email saying they were aware of the problem and regretfully informed me that it would be resolved on the NEXT PRS model.  In other words, I was out of luck and they were closing my case.

I was angry.  Less than a year into ownership, Sony abandoned me with a critical flaw on my device.  I read the books I had already purchased on it, but didn’t buy any more.  Eventually, the device was put back into its box and put away.

Sony offered to take it back on a trade-in when they came out with the PRS-505, but I was still upset at that point.  I didn’t want to give them any more money.

The PRS-505, PRS-700, and the next generation – the PRS-300 and PRS-600 – have improved upon the original.  Each and every issue I had with my PRS-500 has been resolved and a few extra benefits added.

You can now borrow from your local library.  Granted, it’s a limited selection; however, it’s definitely a start!  I’d love to be able to borrow books for my daughter to read without having to drive all over town.

They are also now Mac compatible.  My PRS-500 doesn’t interface with my MacBook and the new firmware update option won’t help that hardware problem.

They’ve changed their digital format to the EPUB standard.  No more worries about where to get the titles I’m searching for.  No more worries that the publisher my best friend’s new release is out with can be read on the device.

They’ve lowered their device cost.  Whereas the first generation device cost $400, the newest generation weighs in at half that with the Pocket Reader’s $199.  And there’s a new trade-in option ($50) for those of us still using the PRS-500 as paperweights.

There is still one major issue with the Sony Readers, but it’s really only an issue if you’re an international customer – and that includes a service member deployed to an overseas assignment and family members living on military bases abroad.  The Sony Store will not sell books to foreign IP addresses.  With the new EPUB format, it’s not really such an issue because the same digital books carried at the Sony Reader Store are also available at other digital retailers.

Anyone know a good seasoning for crow?  It’s certainly beginning to look like I’m going to need it.

*grins*

Do you have an EBook reader on your wish list this Christmas?  If so, what kind?

Bodies in the driveway…

You know, it rains every day in Florida.  The state is famous for it.

Why, then, are there still chalk outlines of bodies in my driveway?  That’s right, folks.  For Halloween, we decided to do a CRIME SCENE motif.

The kids posed for chalk outlines of bodies all the way around our driveway.  We put up “TURN BACK NOW” and “ENTER IF YOU DARE” police style tape.  Stretched spooky spider webs, and put out “TRICK OR TREATERS WELCOME” signs that were unhinged so they looked as if they were decrepid.

It made for a really great look.  And we didn’t get a single monster at the door.

The day after Halloween, we took down all the decorations and expected the rain to erase the chalk evidence.

Nope.  No such look.  Now, people walking their dogs are staring at the driveway as they past.

I suppose I could drag out the hose and wash it down.  It seems like a waste of water, but my house would look respectable again.

Though it was fun to give directions to our house yesterday with the added…it’s the one with bodies in the driveway.

*evil laugh*

UPDATES, Contests, and Coming Soon!

Hello!

BLOOD AND DESTINY returned to Anne in the weee hours of the morning.  I’m excited to say that it was bleeding to death in the comment margins.  Why?  Because every change only makes it a stronger book.

What am I working on while I wait for it to come back to me for the next round?  Two free reads written in the same world as BLOOD AND DESTINY.  The Ladies of St. George’s Home for Abandoned Children have a lot of stories to tell.

For Christmas and Valentine’s Day, there will be two shorts involving Yasmine St. George.  She’s a werewolf who longs for the home and family she never experienced as a child.  Can she find that with Kale Henderson?  Can Kale convince her that his pack will embrace her as his mate?  Tune in for the answers starting in December.

What’s better around the holidays than the word FREE?

Speaking of December and free, there’s a BIG CONTEST about to happen.  Do you have a Sony Pocket Reader?  Do you want one?  If so, read on.

Beginning BLACK FRIDAY, there will be a FIND THE ICON scavenger hunt involving about 30 authors (give or take).  What do you have to do?  Simply tune in for the list of participating authors and browse their sites looking for the contest graphic.  More specific details will follow.

In January, my novella LOVE AT FIRST SHOT releases from The Wild Rose Press.  There’s a lot of happening things over the next few months to talk about.

Is it too early for Christmas music?

I love my dog…

Dogs are man’s best friend.  In this case, the “man” is species oriented and not gender.  I have aLacy dog who is totally devoted to me.  A Boxer.  She’s currently snoring at my feet.  So, how do you know if your dog is just the run of the mill family dog or “your” dog?

She wakes your husband when she needs to take a midnight potty break because she knows you need your sleep.

She’s not content to be anywhere but tripping distance from you.  Thankfully, Boxer’s are a tall and leggy breed else we’d both be sore from falling.

Your laundry will never be the same.  Socks bearing teethy holes become common place.  If it carries your scent, it’s fair game.

From talking to other Boxer families, this tends to be a feature of the breed.  They’re wonderful family dogs, but often bond with a particular household member.  We purchased Lacy as an adult and were afraid of bonding issues.  She and I took one look at each other and it was love.  She’s great with the kids, shares her water bowl with the cat though cats were beyond her experience when she came, and views our home as her castle.

Who could ask more than that?

A new phrase…

Angelic AvengerThis past week has been a wonderful week.  My Maggie Award novel, ANGELIC AVENGER, had its digital debut on Tuesday.  I was absolutely thrilled to say I downloaded it as soon as it became available…and yes, I paid for the priviledge.  Why?  Because it made it real to me.  🙂

My husband, as the dedication indicates, is greatly supportive of my writing efforts.  In fact, one of the most memorable episodes involving Bella’s launch on the world comes from him.

He works at a hospital.  One of his coworkers came up to him and asked about my book.  The digital release in advance of the paperback had some of his coworkers wanting to know when they could go to the bookstore to buy it.

Well, the coworker asked what genre it was.  When my husband, slightly embarrassed, told him it was a paranormal romance, the instant reply was:

“Oh.  It’s one of those vibrator books.”

Having met the gentleman in question, I can hear the humor in which it was meant.  And the more I think about it, the funnier it is.

Vibrator books.  My new turn of phrase for the week.

Well, experts say that a good bit of a woman’s interest in sex comes from fantasy and intellectual stimulation.  Isn’t that the purpose of romance novels?  A little escapism and fantasy?

Men can learn from that.  *grins* And if they took advantage of it, they wouldn’t be called vibrator books at all.

My poor husband may be getting flack at work, but he’s taking it with pride and amusement.  Funny, I don’t think he’s complaining, either.  *wink*

Raven Scavenger Hunt

ravenhalloweenhuntgraphic2 low res-1 It’s that time again!  Time for the Raven Scavenger Hunt.

As always, there are some great prizes to be had.  Here’s a quick list:

Autographed book Dragons Prefer Blondes by Candace Havens

E-book Ambient Light by Mandy M Roth

Print book Red Light Specialists by Michelle M Pillow & Mandy M Roth (for Raven Happy Hour)

E-book from N.J. Walters’ backlist (winner’s choice)

E-book from Bianca D’Arc’s backlist (winner’s choice)

E-book from Candice Gilmer’s currently available backlist (winner’s choice)

Belong to the Night by Cynthia Eden (print paranormal romance anthology)

Tea for Two by Shelley Munro (print)

November ebook from Cobblestone – THE DEMON NEXT DOOR: ALI by Kate Austin

Forbidden: The Sacrifice (eBook copy) by Samantha Sommersby

Autographed print book from Shiloh Walker’s Backlist

E-book Divinity Warriors 1: Lilith Enraptured by Michelle M. Pillow

Mayan Secrets by Ciar Cullen (print US or Canada), ebook otherwise

E-book of Obsession (romantic suspense) by Sharon Cullen

Selkie Island by Jorrie Spencer

Autographed copy of Tempting Turquoise (print) by Amy Ruttan

Autographed copy of Hard Candy by Amanda Young

Adrienne (print) by D. Renee Bagby

Heart of the Volcano, ebook by Imogen Howson

E-book copy of Private Property by Leah Braemel

Furry, Fluffy & Wild (ebook anthology) by Nina Pierce

Venus In Blue Jeans (print) by Meg Benjamin

E-book copy of Lay Me Down in pfd format by Taige Crenshaw

The Forbidden Chamber (ebook) by Ella Drake

The Ghost Exterminator: A Love Story (ebook) by Vivi Andrews

Angelic Avenger (ebook) by Kaye Chambers

What a difference a year makes.

What a difference a year makes.  Wait.  I just said that.

Last year at this time, I was sitting at home reading all the posts from people that were returning from Nationals.  They were all inspired, motivated, and recharged about writing.

I so was not.  I was staring at the second Tigers manuscript and seeing the fatal flaws in it.  I couldn’t get beyond it.  I was questioning my choices and wondering why, of all things, I had decided to attempt being an author at all.

So, what’s a writer to do?  Pick up the phone and call a friend.

Vivi Andrews, who took home the Golden Heart this year, gave me the talking to that I so richly deserved.  Her advice?  “Get out of your own way.”

She said other things, too, but that was the one comment that I carried in my heart.  So, I sent the manuscript off.  Immediately after that, I looked at my files and found another project outline I was passionate about.  I tinkered with character building scenes and then launched into what is now BLOOD AND DESTINY.

My editor saw the same fatal flaws in HEART OF THE TIGER and sent a very informative, very kind revise and resubmit with a lot of suggestions on how to correct the problems.  For those of you who are still interested in the Tigers, the revamp is pretty extensive and it’s been put on hold until I can devote the time of effort it needs.  Anyway, it reaffirmed that I wasn’t naive and clueless when it came to critiquing my own work.

I put Destiny aside and looked over another novella with a renewed sense of confidence.  After a little minor tweaking, I submitted it out and pulled up another project I had begun to doubt.

ANGELIC AVENGER.  With my heart in my throat, I polished the synopsis, wrote a new query letter, and sent it to my Samhain editor.

LOVE AT FIRST SHOT was well-received, but needed some work.  Taking that revise and resubmit offer in hand, I tooled it accordingly and sent it back.  Three times, I sent it back until it was finally right.  The Wild Rose Press agreed with me and offered a contract just days before Samhain offered for ANGELIC AVENGER.

Strangely enough, after months of self-doubt and second-guessing myself, I remembered why I was writing.  It wasn’t to torture myself.  It was the joy of being able to share my stories with others.

Returning to BLOOD AND DESTINY, I began to retool the wordage lost when I converted from a PC to a Mac.  For some reason, the last three chapters on Destiny had gotten eaten.

This time, the writing came easily to me.  Why?  Because I’d finally gotten out of my own way.  I’d put aside my doubt, embraced my characters, and let the words flow.

Everyone says writing is a lonely job.  And it can be very isolationist.  But, there’s a solution.  We’re in a digital age.  With IM, online groups, and forums specifically dedicated to writers, it’s easy to find people who are not going to look at us as if we should be locked up when we mention the little voices in our heads.  Or better yet, give you that horrified look when they ask what you do and you tell them you’re a romance writer.

The solution to the loneliness?  Network, find a group of writers that will embrace you with all your quirks, and get a good long distance plan and lots of cell phone minutes.  Then, when you need that extra nudge or bullying, pick up the phone… or answer it when they call.

RWA Nationals – and those left behind

*sigh*

The National Conference is launching in Washington, DC.  I’m watching the events via blog hopping.

What I’m doing instead?  Working on my next Angel book and wishing I were there.  So, I made a list of things I miss about living in metro DC:

1) FOOD – the restaurant selection is fabulous.

2) The Smithsonian

3) Library of Congress

4) The Cherry Trees

5) Friends

Ah well, it’s a shot list.  *grins*  Maybe I’ll make Nashville next year.  I’ve never been there…

Exciting News!

Okay, I’m a bad blogger.  I’m sorry.  I have no excuse except there has been a lot of things to deal with on the personal front getting the family moved once the school year ended.

We have made it and mostly settled in the new house.  I’m finding Florida to be a wonderful place to write.  In fact, I just wrote “The End” to BLOOD AND DESTINY.  It’s been sent out to my friends to see if they can find any mistakes I might have missed when I went back over it.  BLOOD AND DESTINY is a shapeshifter/vampire romance.  I hope to have more information to share on it soon!

I have a cover!  LOVE AT FIRST SHOT was contracted by The Wild Rose Press.  While I still don’t have a release date, I do have a cover.  This novella was originally drafted as a Tickle My Fantasy submission to Samhain, but didn’t get picked up.  After significant expansion (to the tune of 12,000 words), The Wild Rose Press contracted it.  Stay tuned for more information about Emma and T.J.’s pending release.

ANGELIC AVENGER has a release date.  October 6th, 2009, Bella’s story will be available for sale.  I’m very excited to see my first book hit the bookshelves.

As to what I’m working on now?  The next Angel story.  I hope my current productive streak holds true and that there’s more news to share soon.