Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cover for ENEMY LOVER



This is the cover for ENEMY LOVER, my November Nocturne. The fun part about all the work is getting to see the cover. I love this one, the guy looks like Damian, very strong, assertive, dominerring. Hey, he's an Alpha pack leader among the Draicon.

The woman looks a little too frail and blonde for Jamie, but it's okay because I wanted a sexy cover. And I adore the New Orleans background; very gothic and eerie.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Good news



This is the music box I bought a few months ago when DH and I were at the Flagler Museum. I was writing THE LADY & THE LIBERTINE and wanted inspiration for that time period at the turn of the century.

The music box became an inspiration to shape the hero's character. I don't always use props when I'm writing, but this one worked out well.

Anyway, forget the pretty music box. (I collect them, BTW). Look what it's sitting upon.

MY BOOK IS DONE!

I'm mailing it out today to my editor. It's done, done, done!

I'm blissfully happy. I made it!

Now for some more good news...

This week, I accepted an offer to write two more Silhouette Nocturnes, plus another Nocturne Bite.

YAY!

The first book is called DEADLY TOUCH, and features a Draicon you'll meet in Enemy Lover in November. Raphael is a very cool, Cajun, Harley-riding Draicon werewolf.

The only thing is, gulp... that book is due in October. I have two months to write it.

Sooooo I'm going to be super busy the next two months, and probably neglecting things, like email, etc.

BTW, Annie, who just emailed me asking if I'm going to write any more Draicon books? Your email address bounced twice. I tried to respond, and the answer is yes.

Okay, off to mail this puppy, and then DH and I are going bike riding. My reward.

YAY!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Making lists

This is actually kinda funny. When I get buried in work and I'm on deadline for a book, I make tons of lists to remember everything. This is sitting on my desk right now:

Walmart/Target List
Contact lens disinfectant
Facial cleanser
Conditioner
Soap dispenser
Tampons
Contact lens enzyme tablets


Book notes
Add: "His silky chest chair rasped against her hardened nipples."

Wonder if I could find that in Target. LOL!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Top reasons why I'm not attending RWA

1. No time

2. Too far


3. The book that's due next week

4. Too expensive

5. I'm hoping to attend next year

I'm cheering from the sidelines friends who are attending, and crossing my fingers that Linnea wins another RITA, as she deserves it since she is just a fabulous fabulous writer.

I have some news to share, have to get back to work now. My life is about to get incredibly insanely busy...

I keep muttering to myself, "I can do this, I can do this..."

Monday, July 21, 2008

RWA: How to handle the overstuffed author

Found this among my posts from last year's RWA convention posts and thought I'd share yet again. Hee

Most authors you meet at RWA are friendly, very real people. The best thing about RWA is getting together with friends, friends-to-be is associating with people who LIKE romance.

What a relief it is to NOT have to defend the genre, to know that others identify with the same struggles and joys of writing a book.Yet once in a great while, it happens. You meet the Overstuffed Author.

It comes without warning. You're eating rubber chicken at a conference luncheon at a table of strangers. The woman next to you starts talking about herself and her books. And she Does Not Stop. She’s an endless loop.

If a hurricane blew inside the room and everyone scrambled madly for shelter, she’d still be there, rambling on about her and "Look! A hurricane! Why I once wrote a best-seller about a hurricane!"

As an author, I talk about my books. Yes, it’s called promoting myself. Sometimes I ramble, but I also like to get to know about others’ interests. What are they writing? Where are they from? What do they think about the conference?

Most authors do the same. Of course there are authors whom you admire and all you want to do is ask them questions because you’ll rarely get the chance again. You WANT them to talk about themselves! Luck out with a Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Teresa Medeiros at your table, or Linda Howard, and you’ve struck gold.

Or there's the funny author who makes you laugh so hard you snort tea out your nose. You just want her to keep telling stories.Then there is the Overstuffed Author. Her/his ego is bigger than the Goodyear Blimp. It can't be deflated, not even using a hammer and chisel.

For example, a luncheon conversation goes like this:

Overstuffed Author (OA for short): "My newest book, THE DANDY RAKE'S HANDY TOOL, is a quadruple RITA finalist! It was Number 89 on USA Today and number minus 1 on Bookscan! I just had dinner with my editor, Miss Tired and Weary and Overworked Jones, and agent, Mr. I'm So Happy I Have a Bestseller Author Now I Can Pay The Phone Bill Smith, and they assured me my career is skyrocketing! Why they predicted I'll make the NY Times soon! I'm leaving with my husband after the conference for Paris, Rome, Istanbul and Yeehaw Junction, Florida to research my next book in my gadzillion book contract, THE RAKE AND THE HO, after my Oprah interview, of course."

You: "Uh...wow."

NY Times bestselling author sitting on other side of you asks you directly: "What do you write?"

You: "Well, I write contemporary women's fiction and..."

OA: "My editor just asked me to write a contemporary women's fiction novel! I don’t know HOW I’ll find time, but she said she’d give me a four book contract and a book tour with a $2,000 a day expense account and ..."

yada yada yada. You get the picture.

Most published authors are VERY nice. Down-to-earth, modest, fun people. They're helpful, very willing to share. But once in a while... you run into the OA.

Years ago before I got published, I sat next to an OA at a luncheon. I think my head finally fell into the ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes. I may have actually passed out and needed oxygen, but she kept blathering about herself. She didn't even bother to check to see if I had a pulse.

It was shortly after that a dear friend and I encountered two OA's trying to outdo each other in the Olympic version of Look how wonderful I am! My friend and I devised this very simple, but effective scenario we used to play tag team.

Next time you get stuck besides an OA, use this handy phrase:

THAT SOUNDS GREAT!

Then you smile.THAT SOUNDS GREAT is code for many things.It could mean, "You are boring me to death and I'd rather walk on hot coals and eat writhing worms."

It could mean, "Did you exit your mother's womb talking about yourself?"

Or even, "I see a mob with pitchforks and torches. I'm assuming they're coming for you because they have to sit by you at the NEXT luncheon."

It can even mean, if you are sitting next to an author you admire, "I really am so glad I got to meet you!"Such is the wonderful simplicity of THAT SOUNDS GREAT!

It depends upon the person you meet. Whatever you desire, that's what it means. It's just a nice little polite way of enduring the OA when you're trapped. And a much nicer option than throwing your scoop of plastic mashed potatoes at her face.

Dolce



DH gave him a bath yesterday. He's looking at the camera as if to say, "Try that again and I lick your toes off."

Heh

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mary Stella's personal literacy signing




Kudos to Mary for making lemons out of lemonade... she's a very gracious person. I personally think the new RWA policy sucks. Sucks big time.

Here's the blurb from her blog. You can follow the link below as well. Help a literacy effort and get a great read!

I will send a free copy of one of my books to whomever wants one. (Up to 100 requests.) Give me your name or email address here in comments or send your name and mailing address to me at:
mary@mary-stella.com. (Don't put your mailing address here in comments!)

Tell me if you want All Keyed Up or Key of Sea and I'll mail out your copy after the National Conference.

How does this benefit Literacy, you ask? I'm going to make a donation in your name to the local Literacy organization in the Florida Keys. In return for the free book, I'm asking you to donate to your local Literacy chapter. $5, $10, $2, $100 -- whatever you can afford, just please do it.
Even if you already have my books, don't let that stop you from entering. Maybe you have a friend who'd like to read a romantic comedy set in the Keys. I just want to raise money for Literacy here on the blog -- since I can't contribute to the big signing in San Francisco. Author Mary Stella


Follow this link to her blog and more info:
http://www.starfabu.bravejournal.com/


Friday, July 18, 2008

Rip it up

Ahhhh, yes....

I'm very proud of myself. I destroyed the first part of my book due in two weeks.

It was fully intentional. I had written a prologue that turned into a first chapter. I put aside the book and when I looked at it again, it really bugged me.

I took off my Writer's Hat and started reading as someone standing in the aisle of a bookstore would. Reading the very first graph.

It was... okay. But not great, not thrilling, just meh. Too much background.

No interaction between the hero and heroine, because the prologue/first chapter was about the heroine as a little girl growing up in England.

So I dumped it. The entire first chapter, and then rewrote.

Now, instead of reading like this: "She was a thief and would be punished."

The first line reads like this, "He couldn't stop staring at her breasts."

Much more intriguing to me. The very first line you meet the hero and heroine.

I wove the old first chapter into the rest of the story, including a key scene between the heroine and her uncle, that actually embellishes the story and makes it more intriguing.

It's not easy wiping out an entire first chapter. But that's what you have to do if it makes a book stronger. You have to be able to let go as an author and rip it up. Look at the book as if you were a reader and debating on buying it based on the strength of the first few pages.

It was tough, but I did it. And hopefully, it makes for a much stronger book.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hump Day Hunk



The RIGHT kind of pirate...

Yar.

Can't go wrong with Orlando Bloom and Pirates of the Caribbean. Yo, ho, ho. Let me help you hoist your anchor, matey.

There's something just wrong about this...



Yar. Not the picture, which amuses me, and shows why a pirate should never wear tights, as my friend who sent the picture told me.

But other kinds of piracy. Like piracy of music, and books.

My books. I found out that someone else has pirated my first three books and offered them as downloads for anyone who cares.

It's a losing battle, just like the one the guy in the photo is fighting, but I feel compelled to say it again, publicly. It's wrong. Taking my books and putting them on the internet for anyone to read, free of charge, is illegal.

I spent a lot of time and energy and creativity writing those books. I didn't do it so I could see someone put the books out there for free on the internet. More than the money is the time I invested in the books. That's what bugs me the most.

When you download my books for free off the internet, it's the same as walking into a McDonalds, and walking out with a cup of coffee that you stole and had no intention of paying for.

Sigh...


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

How to buy a child in 10 hours

This is very disturbing, but nothing new to me. I'm glad they are exposing this.

ABC ran a special on child slavery in Haiti. Click here.

I've met restaveks in my 15 years of traveling in Haiti for the organization I work for. I met one just this year. She broke my heart.

She cried as she showed me her scars that she received from beatings.

I went back to my hotel room and cried, too.

Her mother gave her away to a "godparent," not realizing she was giving her away to a hellish nightmare. The mother couldn't afford to care for her, so she gave her away and then moved to Cap.

She sleeps on a rag rug on the floor and works doing chores all day, and sells lightbulbs on the street at night. If she doesn't bring home enough money, they beat her with an electrical cord.

Restaveks were the inspiration for me when I wrote The Cobra and the Concubine, telling the story of Badra, who was a child slave in Egypt. That story had a happy ending.

Unfortunately for many restaveks in Haiti today, there is no happy ending. I hope this program will bring more awareness and a push to finally end this disgusting trade in human life.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I think I can, I think I can

Getting close.

Second day off of a week's "vacation" from the day job, to finish The Lady and the Libertine. Wanted to concentrate all my efforts on the book and write this week. I'm close, very close.

Right now I'm reading about the Temple of Alexander the Great in the Bahariya Oasis, where the hero and heroine go before they raid the treasure tomb. The temple is mainly ruins, and it's the only known temple dedicated to Alex in Egypt.

The Valley of the Golden Mummies is very close. I'm loosely, very loosely, basing the secret tomb in The Lady and the Libertine on that tomb site. The Valley wasn't discovered until much later than the time period of this book.

I love researching Egypt. Always something new to uncover.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Carrie Lofty's first sale announcement




Finally got around to reading my RWR and saw in the First Sales column that fellow author Carrie Lofty's sale was announced. But the format has changed. Now they just list the names.

I understand about space requirements, etc., but an author's first sale is a very special time. You want to shout it from the rooftops, and tell details. Just listing a name doesn't say anything to me about how long this writer has worked to achieve this special goal. Or what publisher she sold to, or even the name of her book!

So here's Carrie's announcement the way it should have read:


Carrie Lofty announces the sale of her first book, as part of a two-book contract, to Kensington Publishing. What a Scoundrel Wants will be a December 2008 Zebra Debut release in which Will Scarlet, Robin Hood’s estranged nephew, rescues an alchemist who can clear him of murder, but she’s blind, obsessed with fire, and sister to the woman he helped abduct. What a Scoundrel Wants was the second full-length manuscript she completed before selling.

Here's a link to buy the book on Amazon.

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. We had some friends over, fireworks, hot tub party. Now it's back to work and the book due in three weeks.