Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let's Hear It For Italy!

I receive RSS feeds from MSNBC and every so often I get an off the wall one that I'll blog about. Here's one I thought was pretty interesting. Men in Italy are considered to be the most handsome. In the poll, the number one requirement to be handsome was good hygiene. LOL! Goodness, I hope so. The second requirement was a "great smile."

I wonder where a good butt fell in the list? I use to work with a girl from Puerto Rico and she said that was one of the saddest things about men in the U.S., they didn't have butts, flat as a pancake. So true. That's why I can't help but admire those few I see on occasion.

Anyway, click here to read the whole article.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday Weekend

Well, I guess I took yesterday off. When I woke up around 6 a.m., (I said woke, not necessarily got up) the thought hit me. I FORGOT TO POST! LOL! I thought about it only once yesterday, but that was it, just thought about it. :0D

After listening to the news about all the fatal shootings, bloody noses (my daughter's friend actually saw two women go at it over an Elmo doll) and other craziness, I'm always happy I don't participate in the mad rush to the stores. Frankly, I can't think of anything I need that bad or want to save money on that much. One of the things I've learned, if someone wants something in particular, most of the time you can go direct to the manufacturer (Apple) or find another brand with the same design (child's bed) on-line.

I did go to a couple stores this morning -- my husband twisted my arm...really -- and one of the stops was Lowes (see, only guys go there to Christmas shop). Anyway, I saw a wonderful sale on a washer/dryer combination at near to half price. I want them so bad, but my washer and dryer are okay. I did say something about giving my old ones to my daughter in college, but she's not moving into a rental house until next year. Her apartment isn't set up for them. Oh, well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Query Letters

For two days I've been working on a query letter for agents. I've completely revamp my old styled one by reading several articles/books written by agents. Though overall agents and editors are all about the story, the agent wants a little more. Considering my bio isn't exactly one to make an agent jump with joy, I was surprised how it's coming together. The suggestions I found in one free PDF download on Amazon was most interesting and helped a lot.

If this gets me some requests, I'll place a copy on this blog. But until then, I rather wait. Of course, query letters are like published books, there are all types for every reader.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What More Can You Do?

You know I'm always surprised when people talk about getting their name out there and don't write articles for their (RWA) chapter's newsletter. I've written over 70 articles and had them published in over 300 newsletters. Let's say the average membership of each RWA chapter was 25, that means around 7000 people may have read my articles.

Something to think about, huh?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Retiring Before Forty

Wouldn't that be nice? To retire before you're forty? I'll miss him in the movies.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Huh?

I usually don't comment on hot topics, but I'm a little baffled by a few things. Everyone knows how much I want to be published. I've done everything I believe is right in the way of getting published. 1) I write all the time. Completing books and sending them out to contests and editors/agents. 2) I network, going to conferences, hanging with like-minded published/unpublished authors, talking with editors and agents. 3) I read what I want to write. This will let me know what is out there and what editors are looking for (with my own personal twist). 4) I have web presence to get my name out there, includes a website, blogging, and writing articles for my local chapter's newsletter. 5) I study my craft by reading books and articles on writing and attending my local chapter's meetings.

So I expect one day soon I'll get that all important call that will be followed by being a published author. Because I'm a member of the RWA, my member status will changed to PAN (Published Authors Network).

Now for the hot topic, I was reading on another blog about some wording RWA changed on the RITA awards. They claim it boils down to ebooks vs. printed. (If you email me privately I'll give you the link, otherwise, I rather not attach it to this for now.) I'm a firm believer there are two sides to every story and I've only heard one. Since I remember last year’s (or was that year before last) discussions on various loops and blogs about the change RWA made on PAN membership of "recognized" to "eligible", I know a lot of misinformed and blown-out-of-apportion observations were made then and I’m pretty sure they were made this time.

Several of the comments on the blog were from former members of RWA saying they had dropped out of the organization because epublished authors were being discriminated against. I’ve heard that song and dance before. I’m not a epublished author, but I read them. Does that count in knowing what I’m talking about? No? Then let me say, I’ve been discriminated against because I’m female, white or overweight. I understand what is perceived as discrimination can hurt. Everyone at one time or another, if not every day, has experienced it. But sometimes what is perceived is not always directed at you. It can appear to be but until you have the whole picture, you may be wrong.

My baffled part is if you’re satisfied with who you’re published with (epublished, POD or whatever), why does it matter if RWA recognizes you as published? I assume it’s because of the RITA. I understand how a RITA can make the difference in being acknowledged by other writers and even editors and agents, but it’s not the be all, end all if you don’t win or even final. I guess it can make your sales improve if you only have a 500 or 5000 print run. Then again I rather “win” the title of NYT best selling author. I know Linda Howard and Sherrilyn Kenyon and many other NYT best selling authors never won a RITA and may never have been a finalist. RWA doesn’t show finalists on their webpage.

But when it comes to being PAN or not being PAN, I believe the benefits are not that much different than being PRO or a general member. Sure you can’t go to some of the workshops at National. Considering I’ve only been able to afford one National conference, I don’t believe it mattered. I go to more and sometimes better workshops at local conferences. Heck, I get more editor/agent appointments at the local conference too. Sure as a PAN member, you get to be on the internet loop with other published authors. Whoopee-do.

I guess a lot of this uproar has to do with ego and what that certain person believes is fair. Everyone repeat with me, LIFE AIN’T FAIR! If it was, I would’ve been published twenty-five years ago with my first book. But thank goodness I wasn’t because it was a stinker.

For those who are PAN, besides declaring to other RWA members you’re published by an eligible publishing house and what it means to your ego (and we all have an ego and it’s okay), what does it do for you? Just curious. And those who are not published, besides the declaring and ego thing, what does it mean to you? Remember, I'm talking about the PAN part, not the published part.

Oh, if you’re wondering if I’m PRO. Yes. Why was it important for me to send in the paperwork for that? 1) I get editor/agent appointments whenever I go to National conference before general membership. 2) I got the cool little pin. 3) Self-satisfaction in knowing I’m really working toward the goal of getting published. If not for 1) and 2) number three would’ve been plenty.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Isn't It Neat?


I love fruit. Back when I was a little kid, my dad was a VP with a produce company. This is before he owned another produce company and later a trucking company. He would bring us a box of miscellaneous fruit and veggies every week. For a few years, our house was the favorite place to stop at on Halloween night. We gave out apples and oranges.

Hard to imagine kids going crazy over fruit, isn't it? But at the time, you could only find fruit in the stores and farmers' markets during certain months of the year.

One of the best things about nowadays is that we can get fruit all year long now. Yumm.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kiss Me!

This is a beautiful clip of some of the best kisses in the movies. Enjoy.

and another one...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Day Early


Usually, if I don't forget, I write about something I'm thankful for on Fridays. But I felt the need to tell everyone today that I'm thankful for my dad. I get my love of reading from my dad and his dad. Sadly, he suffered another stroke a couple weeks ago and his speech and balance has gotten worse. Considering he cannot talk clearly, get his thoughts out of his mouth, or even read, he's become terribly depressed.

I plan to see him Sunday or Monday. Though I won't stay but a couple hours as I don't want him to worry about feeding me and my husband. My dad always loved to cook for us. But I plan to take him a copy of my latest contemporary romance manuscript.

My book, A Sheriff To Call Her Own, has a female trucker in it. My dad owned a trucking company and drove them himself until he had his first stroke last year. By the way, he's 77 and didn't have any health issues until this happened. Anyway, I also have a character in the book who's a FBI special agent who has my dad's name. I figured he'll get a kick out of that.

Knowing he can't read now, I hope to read some of the book to him. And maybe I can get his wife to read some of it to him too. I doubt very much he'll ever see me published and he's been my biggest supporter during my journey to madness. So at least he'll get hear one of them.

I plan to encourage him to stick around until I do get published and then he'll need to stick around until I'm on the New Times Best Selling list, and then...in other words, a long, long time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Love Cars!

Do you know how much TOTAL these cars cost?




























Aston Martin $2.3 mil+
Bugatti Veyron $1.2 mil+
Ferrari Enzo $1.5 mil+





Over FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Collage Your Book

At our last writers group meeting, one of our authors, Laura Hayden, gave us pointers on putting a story collage together to help you in writing a new book. She has such energy and imagination and I knew whatever she came up with I would probably have a good time doing it.

I did. It was loads of fun. We all were laughing, teasing each other about the pictures we were looking for out of the ton of magazines we all brought. And the hour or so we had set aside to do it flew by.

Well, tonight I came across my collage and I found myself energized by it and I can't wait to start writing the story. So doing a collage works!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Reading Level - No! Not On A Flat Surface!

Several years ago, I came across an article that claimed the average reader read at a ninth grade level. Though overall, the U.S. is probably better educated today, I feel the reading level is most likely the same or no more than tenth grade level.

Some of the NYT best sellers I've read appear to meet that criterion. Don’t get me wrong. I prefer books I can get lost in and don’t need a dictionary handy to get through the thing. I just thought it was interesting and thought I would share.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Dash In and The Dash Out

Yesterday, I did like thousands do in the U.S. every Saturday. I went to Wal-Mart. I hate shopping. So you can imagine I doubly hate going to Wal-Mart. Thankfully, I have learned how to go in and buy what I need and not add no more than one to two items more into my buggy. It's hard, but it's called, "I'm broke and don't want to be in debt further."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yes, I'm Definitey Mad

I've lost my ever-loving mind. Of course, that's a given as I'm a writer. And we all know about my kind of people. LOL!

Why am I saying I've gotten a step closer to the looney bin? Because I've agreed to blog with another group. So that's blogging in three different places. Patricia, the lady who asked, no, not beg, she just asked and everyone knows me. I have a hard time saying no. Thus me being married...if you're wondering, my oldest was born two weeks shy of my 6th year wedding anniversary. So it had nothing to do with that...sorry, I've gotten off track. Anyway, I will be blogging at The Damsels In Distress blog on occasion.

I don't usually have a problem finding something to write about. Part of being a big blabber mouth. So I really don't mind and feel honored she asked.

Don't you think the title of the blog is cool? When you look at the blog you'll understand why it's call that. The title got me to thinking how at times my imagination doesn't kick in. Like this blog. I just named it after me, nothing snappy or cute or poignant. Though I have to say I wasn't slacking in the sub title for my blog.

Oh well, that's just crazy me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thankful Friday

Last Friday, I forgot to do my usual thankful post. Well, this Friday I'm thankful I still have a day job, considering the economy. But the silver lining is, I've been able to do a lot of writing and editing, even a little of reading. Yeah, yeah. I know if my boss reads this he'll have a cow. I do my job and I'm pretty darn good at it too and at least I stay in my cube and don't go wondering off like some of the guys...whatever! :::nodding head with hands on hips:::

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday and the kids are coming home. We're having chicken and dressing with whatever veggies I can whip up. The dressing is bought from a little restaurant in Warrior, AL called The White House. Only my mom makes better. Sure we'll have her dressing in two weeks, but my husband's been craving it and as I said, it's his birthday.

Happy Birthday, old man!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What Do You Say...

Yesterday, one of my old lunch buddies who had retired a couple years ago came by to say hello. He’d read an earlier manuscript of mine and had said nice things like the writing reminded him of James Patterson. Did I mention he was a friend? LOL! Well, he asked me if I was published yet.

Do you know how much it hurt having to say no? People who never tried to get a book published don’t understand why it takes so long. They expect if you write a book and finish it, presto! somewhere an editor will buy and publish it. Maybe there is if I decided to go the self-published route. To me, that would be saying I give up. Sure I could get a few family and friends to buy and read it, but I want my book on the shelves of every book store in Birmingham and the world!

How do you tell a person in a five minute conversation you had written three books in one year (they would believe everyone does this) and you had a book final in two contests, one considered to be a biggy? If you tell them about the contest, they believe you mean it will be published now. As you can tell, I already had a similar conversation with someone else not in the writing business about it.

They also don’t understand how you’re still maneuvering around the publishing world with query letters, partials and the like in getting your books and name out there. Of course, during the whole conversation with yourself after he leaves, you’re convincing yourself you’re not delusional, fooling yourself about your chances of getting published.

As they say about writing, it’s a lonely business but a part of you must love S&M.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hit The Ground Running

I'm like a lot of people, I like a story that hits the grounding running. In other words, the action starts on the first page. In my Sheriff to Call Her Own, the Heroine is sitting in a jail and fervently claiming her brother's innocence.

Then in The Preacher's Son, the heroine is watching the hero fight in the streets. But in Shadow Healer, the heroine is trudging along Atlanta's streets with a slow build of action. That worries me. But at the same time, some books need a slow start for the big ending and SH certainly does that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Respect

You know, one thing I don't see as much as I would like is RESPECT. People are so busy giving their opinion about something, they forget they need to respect the other person's. And emails are the worst in conveying feelings. It's not like fiction where you have the heroine showing tears in her eyes when she tells the hero he's wrong. Or where you show the hero's hands shaking and his face stricken when he tells the heroine to go away.

Yeah. Respect can help and go a long ways.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Bang Theory

I know I've already talked about this show, I love each one of the characters. It's laugh out loud funny. My favorite scene so far this season...



Something about those long legs sticking out slays me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Decisions

At my day job, I have no problem making decisions. I can see my way clear on what is needed whenever a situation or question comes up. During my time on my chapter's board, I rarely had a problem making decisions. But when it comes to my writing, I feel like a badminton birdie, being batted back and forth across the publishing net. Category? Single title? Romantic suspense? Paranormal? Harlequin with no agent? Or agent with more possibilities?

Geez Louise, I hate not having a plan. Not knowing where I'm going. Every time I'm certain something will happen and I make a plan, it gets all screwed up.

I hate this uncertainty. Others may thrive on the dangerous thrill, but I'm of German descent, I need a plan to achieve my goals.

This sucks lemons.

::sigh::

I feel better now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Educating Men


I went to one of my most favorite places to be in the world today. Books-a-Million. While checking out the titles in the romance section, I overheard an employee helping a customer find Charlaine Harris's books. The customer was a man. The employee (male) said the books should be in the fantasy section. They were checking that section one aisle over from where I stood. When they couldn't find it, I heard the employee say in a lower voice (an attempt to keep the customer from being emarrassed I'm guessing), they might find it in the romance section. The employee almost sounded like he couldn't imagine why. LOL!

Seeing series like TrueBlood on television has boost the romance paranormal genre for sure. Maybe we'll see other great works (Linda Howard, Anne Stuart, Sherrilyn Kenyon) no matter the genre on the little and big screen.

Anyway, it's time men finally see what women read/write can be thought provoking and wonderfully entertaining.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What Is Romance?


Dictionary.com reads “a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting.” That was the most common definition at number one. Number four was “a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.” Encarta Dictionary said something similar. Same as Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary.

Hmmm, I believe there's a trend here. Are you feeling that the definition needs updating?

Well, American Heritage Dictionary has got it together. It reads “1.a. A love affair, b. Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love...” BINGO! By George, I think they got it!

Why are these definitions so important? One, I look up words on Dictionary.com often and depend on it to get them right. Two, I overheard a reader say romance was sex. I disagree.

Sex is a by-product of romance. Most of the time. I believe there can be romance without sex. Just as you can have sex without romance. (Yuck!)

Romance is the best part of the books I love to read. The emotions, the way the man and woman become attached to each other. The need to be closer, to connect, even if it is only to hold hands. Or maybe they can’t touch, can’t be together. The hunger in their eyes, the wary glance, the need to hear a voice or brush shoulders. The gentleness in their tone when they say that special someone’s name. The tremor in their fingers when they finally touch for the first time. The way they sacrifice a part of themselves to be together.

Oooh, romance.
There’s nothing more satisfying to read.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Margarita Time!

Well, I got another rejection today. Boo-hoo. I liked the agent but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, right? So now, I’m off planning my next strategy and preparing to send a query to another agent.

No time for a pity party, though I did stop for about five minutes and felt sorry for myself. That'll be a pity pause, wouldn't it? LOL!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Historicals

I love reading romantic historicals but I rarely read them anymore. Why? Because I'm tired of those set in Scotland (or with Scottish heroes), in the Regency period, and have women who are goldsmiths or other mostly male dominated professions, rich/poor spinsters solving crimes, or dressing like a man.

Now I'm not saying there aren't books out there without the above elements, but then they have paranormal in them or "actual" historical figures as the hero or/and heroine.

There are two kind of historicals I've really missed: 1) western and 2) medieval.

In a western, I want the man to be a gunman, sheriff, cattleman, anything that would make him tough with a lot of baggage. The woman better not be a newspaper reporter (Yuck!) or a citified rich b***h. She can be strong but recognizes a real man and happy to let him take care of her.

In the medieval, I want the man to be a knight with scars and all. He knows what he wants and knows how to fight for it. (Think Ivanhoe.) And the woman is a woman, knowing a man can be changed with kindness and love. I missed the pageantry of a good medieval. The jousts, armor, horses and beautiful gowns.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I should write the books I want to read. Maybe one day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Well, I went to city hall and voted today. I had expected a city block long line like last time, but was pleasantly surprised. I walked straight to the table and signed in. Amazing. That was about 6:15 p.m.

One year, the lines were horrendous. I guess everyone thought to do like I always did and wait until 6:30 p.m. to vote. A local TV station came out and filmed us. The police surrounded the group at 7 p.m. to keep others from coming in after the cut off time. I think I finally voted at 7:30 p.m. that time. It was crazy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

If There's Anything I Can Do...

I love it when people say, "If there's anything I can do, just ask." Have you ever taken them up on their offer? I have and, boy, it's funny watching them scramble to get out of it. LOL!

Then when I was president of my writers group, I would hear, "Why don't we [fill in the blank]?" And when you tell them they had a great idea and how about heading up the committee? They start backpedaling and stammering, it's too funny. Yes. I have a cruel streak at times.

I'm a firm believer in saying what you mean.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Winding Down

I'm cleaning up the synopsis for the last book I finished this year. Once I'm finished, I'll get the three entries into the mail for the Golden Heart. Then I could edit them further or start on something new.

Sure would like to start something new, but what? This is where I would love to have an agent. She could give me suggestions on what she would like to see more from me. I've got ideas for paranormals, romantic suspense, contemporaries, and even historicals.

Oh, I do need to decide on what to send to the LH AoE contest. Hmmm.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day Dreamer

Today was my chapter's Romance Readers' Luncheon. If you've never been to it, you should plan on it next year. Anne Stuart will be the keynote speaker. I never had the pleasure of meeting her but from the way everyone who knows her acts when her name is mentioned, she must be a hoot.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun and Christina Dodd was fantastic and delightfully funny and charming. And she's more beautiful in person than the pictures on her website. The woman's got it all and talented too.

I'm looking forward to the day I'll host my own table as a published author. The first few years, I'll be begging people to sit at my table, probably mostly family and friends, but hopefully when I become a New York Times best selling author, I'll have fans clamoring to sit with me. LOL!

As Christina said, "You have to be a dreamer." And that I am.