Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Deadline for the Win!!!

Okay, so first... sorry I didn't blog yesterday... I intended to, but I had something BIGGER that had to get done first... maybe I should tell you about it.

You all know how I start BuNoWriMo tomorrow, yeah? (you SHOULD know, hopefully oodles of YOU will join us!)

Well I had my looming Cozy Mystery that I was DETERMINED to finish before that. So I committed to a mad writing weekend...

Now Friday my husband also started a new job. It's been a while since he worked—he's been taking classes for a couple years... but besides that... last time he worked he was a lunch lady. That meant he worked about 4 hour shifts cooking, serving, cleaning... respectable work, but rarely respected... I mean seriously, how many of your kids say... say... I'd really like to be a lunch lady when I grow up...

So the lunch service at the schools privatized in 2007, and they kept him on another year because Chartwells is made up of deceitful bastards... and then they laid off ALL employees who'd worked in the kitchens when the employees were school employees... no offer of, 'look, if you're willing to take a pay cut we can keep you...' just GONE. ALL of them. (see, I told you they were bastards)

So HWMNBMOTI decided he wanted to go to school for some actual training... he's been doing nursing pre-requisites. And as part of it, he took a course (and a state certification test) to be a certified nurses assistant. He finished his pre-reqs earlier in the month, and since the waiting list might be as long as two years, he decided to work USING that CNA. He got a job as a home health aid.

So Friday was his first day... and darned it if he didn't want to TALK about his day... there I was (naked, of course... in the tub... my writing time) trying to write, and he kept coming in and sharing something else... and it was too cute to say 'stop it!' but I think I only got 100-200 words written Friday. [note: HWMNBMOTI is not normally effusive and so honestly, I love it when he wants to talk... but that story isn't as amusing]

So on Saturday I asked my FB crew to double dog dare me to finish by Sunday... I looked at where I was and made a calculation... I figured I had about 4000 words left.

Note: I don't wear hats. My head is big.
Whereby I Prove I am Delusional

I managed to write 2500 words on Saturday... felt pretty good—that is about a thousand past normal in my world. I was pleased... but I could also see I was NOT 1500 from the end. My estimate had been off. So Sunday I got up rearing to write right off the bat... I wrote a little... I went next door and sat by my neighbor's pool and wrote a little more (I have the world's BEST neighbor)... I came home, I wrote some more... I got in the tub and wrote some more.... 4000 words on Sunday... AND I STILL WASN'T FREAKING DONE! *sigh*

BUT, I figured I had also written 2500 words more than I planned, so it wasn't like I'd been slacking. I decided to be a LITTLE gentle and just extend my deadline by a bit (well not a BIT... but... you get what I mean).

And so I DID IT! About one yesterday afternoon I looked and thought... I need a tiny wind down and the press release (done later in the evening), but this BOOK it DONE...

That was book #9!  YAY!]

And Now to the Discussion Portion of this Blog

Is it me, or do I seem to take longer and longer to get to the point? Call me brain fried. No, call me DESERVEDLY Brain Fried...

I seem to be able to push myself so much harder with a deadline looming. This 'has to be done before I start the next thing' FINALLY kicked me into gear. This book has been the slowest write I've had in ages—more than a year, anyway... I think I've only averaged... lets see... I think it took 15 weeks to write 68,000 words. That is less than 650 words a day. NORMAL for me when I am writing is about 1500. [that average goes down quite a lot when you take out the 8000 in the last three days]

Funny, I don't think this book ended up any worse for being so hard to write... We'll see after it has it's sitting time, but it feels okay at the moment. I'm SURE I didn't make the mistake I made last time of having the killer too obvious, as I changed killers about three times in the end.

So any of you have some made deadline drives recently? Do you work better with a deadline? Do anything fun when you meet one? (for instance I cleaned the bathroom and sorted my writing piles *shifty*)

Friday, May 27, 2011


(Teep teep a tee-pee) (oh, sure, roll your eyes. see if I care *snort*)

You know... my BFF and I used to sing that together pretty regularly... Not surprising... we sang a lot of Camp Fire type songs... this one just happened to be made most famous through Seseme Street. But I digress...

On Monday, my buddy Michael, at In Time tagged me on this MEME, and it looked pretty fun, so I thought I'd play...

So here are the questions.

Do you think you're hot?

I'm on FIYA! (erm... considering I prefer to look at this as state of mind and all...) Note: I haven't probably been traditionally hot for a couple decades, but considering I view people who CARE about such things with deep suspicion, it is probably for the best.

Upload a picture or wall paper that you are using at the moment.

This is the work wallpaper, anyway

When was the last time you at chicken?
Dinner last night... we had chicken wings, so... spicy guys... We eat a lot of it (chicken, I mean) in summer, a lot less in winter, as HWMNBMOTI is our cook and really likes it grilled, but is pickier otherwise. We do the wings maybe once a month.

The song/songs you listened to recently.

Erm... does the muhna muhna song linked at the top count? And I drove to Meijer and daughter had left the radio on country... the only song I KNEW was Randy Travis's Forever Amen. Country falls lowish on my list of likes, but I still like it. Oooh... the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song? I've been playing season one in the background (via Hulu)...

What were you thinking while doing this?

That I am perhaps OLD to no longer be hot and not care nearly as much about music as I once did.

Do you have a nicknames? What are they?

Oh, yeah... In fact I could probably blog on this, I had so many... and I had deep feelings about most of them...

You know I am Tami in the real world, right? So my cousins did this near rhyming thing growing up and with them, I am Bambi. My aunt asked me a few years ago if it drove me crazy. My response? There are exactly 4 people (all men, 3 of 4 are related) who call me Bambi and I'm pretty fond of all of them, so no, I don't mind Bambi.

In Jr. High the mean rotten brother of a friend called me Moose and it STUCK with my best friend anyway (not HER brother--different friends brother--her brother is a good friend and DID listen). I always HATED it. I was self conscious about being large... she didn't get it. We fought about it and eventually I just sort of ignored how I felt about it as I believed she didn't mean it that way.

I had a one time boyfriend who called me Stilts. That was okay because he really dug that I was tall, so it was 100% good-natured.

My college boyfriend called me Nerpo (and I called him Gloppo) because we were those really ANNOYING people who were over the top with silly romantic goof-balliness. It was fun in a lot of ways, though it seriously pushed me to the dark side when I WASN'T with him (you KNOW how I really want to be dark and mysterious, ne?)

And then among my HP friends I have a whole slew of plays on my name... I am TimTam, Tamster, Tamkini...

And then there are my assorted Tart names... probably my favorite of these is Tartlette, because it is from Jan and Jan and I are soul sisters. I love names tweaked by people who really get you so they have a meaning related to the relationship, if that makes any sense. (it is my fondness for Bambi, too).

Tag eight blogger friends ...

EIGHT?! So many! So few!  Okay... this is absolutely arbitrary... people in my mind for assorted reasons...

Stacy at Frictional Fiction
Leigh at That's Write
Helena at Becoming Layla
Alison at Fresh Pot of Tea
Johanna at Losing Sanity
Michael Offutt at SLC Kismet
Jenny at Ten Lives and Second Chances
Abe at The Blog o' Cheese

Who's listed as number one?

Stacy the spaz... my buddy I spent last Wednesday with...

Say something about number five?

Johanna is one of my newer (via ABNA) friends, but besides being fabulous generally, she also lives in my heart city (Portland, OR) and I love how familiar it feels to read someone who THINKS like an Oregonian... probably seems strange to the lot of you, but I like it.

How did you get to know number three?

ABNA, but LAST year, and through talking THERE about blogging. I fell in love with her blog concept... living a year learning all the skills her MC would need... an adventure in a middle aged woman learning martial arts, multiple languages, lock picking, rock climbing (for the purpose of scaling buildings mind you)...

How about number four?

Alison is an ABNA friend THIS year, and possibly my first ABNA friend in the blogosphere that I KNEW I KNEW before I realized I knew them, as she was great about just tracking me down and telling me where she was.

Leave a message for number six?
Michael, you rock! I am negligent, but you've been persistent, and I totally appreciate you hanging in there with me while life is crazy so I could get to know you a little.

Leave a lovey- dovey message for number two?
Leigh, fellow Thursday twin (are we Thursday triplets now that there are three of us?) I have LOVED getting to know you this year... truly a kindred spirit when the friendship can run so deep so fast.

Do number seven and number eight have similarities?

Does fabulousness count? Because otherwise, not so much... In fact they may in fact be bound by their oppositity... one male, one female, one American, one Brit, one teacher, one office worker, one obsessed with cheese, the other with cats... one content NOT to write, one who'd like to... yes... bound by their oppositity and fabulousness, I'd say...

Okay, friends, have a FABULOUS weekend!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Following the Money

Whereby I debate the definition of selling out.

Not my Cat but like the pic...
Yibus know I'm broke, right? That almost three years ago HWMNBMOTI got laid off, and we moped for 4 months and then he admitted he might be ready to train for a real job... so he has been a STUDENT since then, and we've been pretending I make enough for our family of four to live on, but I don't... That is where this story begins... The money is gone... Oh, some comes in every month... about a thousand dollars LESS than I need to break even if there is no water bill (which comes quarterly) or insurance (in February)...

I have a Cozy Mystery contract which provided a SIGNING advance, and then pays a little when I turn it in (got first one in Feb) and when it is published (first of those will be a year from now)... it's a trickle... on the month I GET one, I am okay for the month (except that whole February is insurance month detail), but writing isn't currently making up the difference between my (very good, mind you) day job and what it costs to live in Ann Arbor.

I have my young adult Kahlotus begging for a rewrite (which I will do this summer). And I have my Conspiracy Trilogy from which LEGACY needs just ONE MORE round before trying it out out there... I have Confluence which needs a rewrite... But the problem with ALL these books is they go on the slow road... long meandering sales track...

One of my BuNoWriMo ideas is ALSO that... Medium Wrong is the name (the talk to the dead one I mentioned yesterday)... and it is a lesson in be careful what you pretend to be... one of those cosmic justice teaches us a lesson things... and it is a GREAT story, as I see it... but it ALSO goes on that slow road... and it is ALSO one I really want to get RIGHT and I think it could use a few more months to stew...

If you can see through, why bother?
Because I have an idea that I KNOW I can sell, and sell sooner than later... There is a HEAVY market for trade mystery... my sassy Microbrew based, not-quite-cozy... my agent has expressed interest in the idea... she wants to see it when I have it... and SHE KNOWS editors who do this, who will contract not on the WHOLE POLISHED BOOK, but on a synopsis or outline and three BANG UP chapters (or so—50 pages). Now being ME, I really don't want to shop it until I have the first draft done, but if I could sell something right away that in the immediate term only had to be polished through the first quarter... that would REALLY help my cash flow...

And I have wanted to WRITE this series ANYWAY... I'm excited about it.

The premise: McKenzie MacIntyre (Kenny) tried the real world. She wore a suit, marketed for a software company, married a finance banker and had a son. But when the bottom fell out of the NASDAQ and her marriage fell apart, she decided she wanted a life with more tangibles... she opened a Microbrewery.

I am setting the brewery in Old Town Portland (the old industrial district, where warehouses are now lofts and art galleries mingle with Portland's remaining underbelly). She has an easy friendship (and not a little sexual tension) with her (currently attached) brewer; employees are made up of the Portland standard pierced and painted young artist types, and she has a teenage son whose (uptight but quickly going broke) father thinks a brewery is no place for a boy.

I hate to have money drive decisions I make... I WILL write the other... but I am just thinking it would be nice to have the bread and butter on the table while I wait for the main meal to come... (because the YA WILL pay more in the end... These mysteries sell so easily because people devour them, but they can devour them because each one doesn't cost a fortune (or pay the author a fortune)... and honestly... they are easier for a writer to get right—the audience reads fast and is forgiving... they are still a LOT of work, but the easy spot they fill makes it easier to get it 'right'.

This and Kahlotus by Joris Ammerlaan
Another Though Milling Around

(much more fuzzy) I am flirting vaguely with self-publishing my trilogy that won't fall neatly into YA or adult because of the MC age problem... I am WAITING a bit... If my current agent wants my YA stuff, then I think she will want to take on my full career and she may have strong opinions there—I don't want to burn any bridges and she deserves a conversation. If I end up with a DIFFERENT agent for Kahlotus, I think I will keep the three strands of career separate... Mystery with my current agent, YA published traditionally and this funny, hard to genrify batch I will do independently. I intend to formally edit (I have it on good authority one of my Burrow peeps has her eye on an editing career and I'm willing to bet she'd let me pay her a percentage of what I earn until she's paid). I would also want to pay my buddy Joris, who did my FABULOUS book covers gratis, but if I actually make MONEY using the covers, he deserves to be paid.

I want to do my rewrites though, before publishing the first, so the second and 3rd could be up with just a couple months between...I even have my pricing strategy figured out... I think I could do pretty decent with them.  They are good stories. They just don't FIT easily anywhere.

None of THIS is a sure thing... I'd prefer to sell traditionally... Heck, maybe I will submit Legacy to ABNA next year instead... if only the hook for it was easier... but then there is a lot of help on that front.

(evil cackle)

By May 31: Finish first draft of Cozy 2
June: Write Microbrewery Sassy
July 1-21: rewrite Cozy 2
July 22-August 7: Cozy 2 to peer reviewers. Edit Kahlotus.
Aug 8-21: edit Cozy 2, send to agent
Aug 22- Sept 15: edit Microbrew beginning. Send to agent when she returns Cozy 2
Sept 16-30: final polish Cozy 2 (turn in Sept 30)
Oct. One of rewrites
Nov. Medium Wrong
December Start Cozy #3

Now all this could change. So far this year on plans, I have missed an editing month (well, 2 really) because this Cozy has taken a lot longer to write than I thought, but I've done okay... Other goals all met.

And if ANYWHERE along this line someone who might lead me to money makes a request, I will jump... because while I dislike hoops or being told what to do, writing for a living is MUCH less of that than anything else I've ever done, so I will take it until I make it...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going and Coming

[Drat, forgot to schedule... this is Wednesday's post]


It is not shocking surprising or unexpected that I didn't make the finalist list for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. After all, had I MADE it, they would have contacted me last week: I now see why... All the finalists have lovely pictures of themselves posted... not a single person chose to display him or herself as a llama. Contracts are probably formally signed... flight and hotel reservations made (cheaper 30 days out, after all),

The books all look pretty good. Here, see for yourselves. I was a little shocked at the YA entries as TWO of them involve MCs who can talk to the dead, and that is a primary plotline for my planned BuNo project (BuNoWriMo explainer below). Funny how some themes make it into the collective conscious. I am confident mine is different enough, but it was jarring when I saw the first, and BAFFLING when I saw the second... I was thinking, HOLY COW, how does this HAPPEN?! That said, they both look like GREAT reads (very different tones from mine—far lighter, I think—you KNOW how dark and mysterious I am *shifty*) (do you think if I say that often enough, people will start to believe me?) The third YA looks great, too—I'm not sure if it classifies as sci-fi or dystopia, but the premise is unique and appealing. I'd totally read ANY of these books.

The adult ones look pretty good too. I haven't read ANY of the excerpts yet, but plan to... you should, too... There is now VOTING involved, and to vote fairly, you really need to read all of them in a category, wouldn't you say? I am not saying I've never voted for my friend when I knew someone pitted against multiple others, but I generally at least get a FEEL, and if I have time, I read them all (I confess I probably end up biased anyway, but there you have it). Anyway, I don't know ANY of these folks. They are not board regulars, unless they use other names. They certainly aren't Mansers (my home thread there), as I was the 'only horse left in the race' who was regular there.

I guess the BIG point though, is that ALL these books are publishable... ALL of these people have made a FABULOUS accomplishment. I wish them the VERY best.

Many people knocked out are ALSO publishable... but maybe in an iteration or two down the road... So congrats to us, too...

As for that next book...

BuNoWriMo is Coming, 
BuNoWriMo is Coming!

One week, my friends, until the Burrow's version of NaNoWriMo... 50,000 words in 30 days... that is 1667 per day for you math geeks. *looks in mirror* And we Burrowers aren't too picky... if you want to keep going on something ELSE... okay... if you want to write 50K worth of short stories, have atter. If you want to set some alternative goal... start or end on a different day... We are EASY PEASY (or I am, anyway, but you knew that). This is about writing as a group, grabbing some of the contagious enthusiasm, encouraging each other, and giving in to the SPEED. Permission to write crap... just WRITE. It will all have to be changed in the rewrite ANYWAY... best just get the story out!

I know not everyone likes to or wants to write fast, but I find a great many of us, if we give in to it, and address the clean up in the rewrite, do really well with it. Personally, I have a cleaner story as there is no time for tangents (my most pernicious temptation). So we would LOVE it if you would join us!

As for me... I have about 7,000 words to write to wind up my first draft on my 2nd Cozy between now and then... I will be about 10K short of 'done' but it is better filled in on the rewrite anyway (like I've been saying). I've got a bunch of spots already that say 'a scene that does this'... I can make it, but I am cutting it close...

If you want to join us for BuNoWriMo, we are on Facebook, here. The group is open!

And Happy Hing Day!!!

Elizabeth Rocks!

Okay, it may not look like it, but this theme ALSO began in Austin... well, it BEGAN when I decided to come out of the closet as a writer and stumbled across Elizabeth, but it was certainly reinforced in Austin.

The Austin Part

Stacy and I talked writing, quite a lot... It is to be expected... we have been friends about 6 years, but both of us just managed our first publishing contracts within the last year, so we paced and worked and toiled together, and now we are panicking together...

The first question, if I am keeping things straight, came when we were talking promotional plan... see... I signed on for a well-oiled machine, and have not yet been ASKED my promotional plan, where Stacy said it was a very stressful thing. My response? When the time comes, I am going to look and see what ELIZABETH does and I'll do that (certainly not so well, but it is a GOOD plan, and so I will aspire to it).

The next one... Stacy was bowing to my blogging prowess... because... you know... you guys are fabulous, and somehow you are all reading ME... (of course I am reading most of YOU, too...) but Stacy said she didn't know how I blogged almost every day. “Do you know anyone who blogs every day?” And you know what? I DO! Elizabeth!

I only wear glasses to see...
The last one I remember, though I'm sure there were at least a few more... we were waiting in line to go through the metal detector into the capitol (didn't even manage to be frisked—RATS!) and Stacy brought up taxes... and did I know you could deduct your writing space... and I said, “Well of course I know! From Elizabeth!”

We laughed considerably that Elizabeth was the answer to every question, but in a way that was full of admiration and fun. It's nice to be able to find all the answers in one spot.

The Primary Lesson

You see... I can be a little flighty (mostly memory stuff) but I have a pretty firm grasp on what I know and don't know. It became clear VERY FAST after joining this blogging community that there was A LOT to learn...

You know what ELSE I know? It is FAR EASIER to learn from someone who knows what they are doing... someone open to questions when you need answers... rather than digging and sorting fact from fiction and having trouble finding the pertinent information.

The best move I made in this social networking thing was identifying someone doing everything right... someone generous with her knowledge... and following her around.

Her style and mine are relatively opposite, Elizabeth is helpful, where I am more the frivolous version. But it has helped me over and over and over again to know where to look when I am trying to figure something out.

Whatever it is you want to do, figure out who is doing it right, and go ahead... shamelessly follow, ask, praise... You will learn what you need... You will get something... THEY will get something.

How do I know that?

Among my ABNA friends I've had a few strokes in that direction—thanks for guiding... pushing, sharing... it feels good. It builds good will.

Writing, unlike other professions, doesn't HAVE to have losers to have winners. If we ALL succeed, the whole business benefits and we all win. It is one of the few places I've seen that competition really has great will between competitors. Today they are supposed to announce the ABNA finalists, and I will cheer and be THRILLED for the winners... I've had a really good ride. I've made a lot of friends, learned a lot... and honestly, I think I've helped a few people. It is a win for all.

And to everyone who says to me, 'holy cow! How did you get 500+ blog followers?' I am THRILLED to point at Elizabeth and say she showed me how.

Speaking of, Elizabeth has a book release next month as Riley Adams: Finger Lickin' Dead. Watch for it! (she is visiting here the 14th)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Back Yo Yo!

*cough* Oh, I know... I don't look much like a gangster, but I probably have something in common with those goofy childhood toys that couldn't be controlled by anything but skilled hands... *shifty*

So I had a FABULOUS trip. Living in poverty, I really only get the chance to travel when my work pays for it, and I LOVE it when they send me somewhere that I KNOW someone who can show me a good time.

Llama and Penguin Paint the Town

So a couple really nice things happened Wednesday morning. The FIRST was that a baby skunk was in our yard and was very amusing to watch snurfle around our yard as I waited for my driver (okay, so he's my bosses driver, but she shared him). And there was no person in the middle seat on the long leg of the flight (Detroit to Dallas) so I could sprawl a bit... okay, not a BIT, but a bit... and THEN, when I got to my hotel, even though it was only 11am, they let me check in!

I did my obligatory work thingy-do, then Stacy came to the hotel (all excited about her FAB parking spot). She claimed to have a poor sense of direction, but I am google map queen, so we walked from there to Stubbs for (DELICIOUS) barbeque.

Note: Google Maps does not warn about the 'rough' part of town. Not sure what it was exactly, but there was a largish group of needy people waiting for SOMETHING, and police arresting somebody else... It was never frightening, as nobody approached us, even for a handout, but it was a little bit one of those...erm... wrong neighborhood... moments...

The barbecue was FAB!!! (and the company more so—my face STILL hurts from laughing so much three days later)

And then we came back to plug Stacy's meter... and then we walked up and down 6th a bit (erm...) and then up to the Capitol building. We discussed joining a group of kids for an official tour (debating how much Spanish we spoke, as it seemed that may need to be the tour language), but then learned we could have an official tour all on our OWN... I'm sure we scared the woman, but it was really interesting to get some Texas history. I'd had no idea Texas was once it's own country... that the people of Texas had lived under 6 flags (not the theme park, though it took a while to establish that detail): Spain, France, Mexico, Texas, the US, and... erm... I forget the 6th... Oh right... the Confederate flag—they were on the WRONG side in the civil war *cough* (my great X6 grandpa was a Vermont sharp-shooter and I am a northerner all the way through).

Yup... pretty penisey... Leigh, explain this...
The capitol building (above, behind Stacy and I) is cool... almost identical to the Michigan one, for good reason, it is the same designer! (a Michigander no less)... The Texas one is the biggest capitol, though not the tallest... Louisiana has the tallest, though according to her, Louisiana's looks like a penis... okay, so maybe that wasn't the words she used... but she implied it... Stacy and I might have used the word, though Stacy probably used the words Meaty Thunderstick... (did I use that term out of context, Stace?) *giggles* (see, pretty much everything is giggle material for Stacy and I)

After the capitol tour, we went back to plug the meter... it might be possible you are detecting a trend, though it's a little early to be sure... and we went to an art gallery... Austin artists... whereby I proved I was dark and disturbing and Stacy proved she's a nut... It's all about interpretation, sort of like those pictures that can be two things at once... I really dug the dead body display... I'm serious... it was subtle, and surely it means I'm edgy and mysterious that I spotted them *shifty*

Then we plugged the meter... walked 6th a bit more discussing bats—see, Austin has the largest urban bat population in the US and we thought maybe we'd like to SEE it, but we weren't sure where they were. We tried (TWICE) to go to the bat bar to find out, and then proved once and for all that THERE'S NO HARM IN A U-TURN (Yes, we were walking, but it still needed to be said) when we went BACK to The Chupacabra for Margaritas... The gal at the Chupacabra knew where the bats were, but it didn't keep me from having two...

Then we went back to plug the meter... *shifty* and register for my conference (they didn't allow check-in until 5). It's possible we were loud and obnoxious, but nobody brought it up later, so at least I've got that going for me.

Then we walked down to try to see the bats, who unfortunately insisted on sleeping until sunset, and Stacy had to pack for a 5am drive to Dallas (Hopefully her peeps were stellar at their competition) so we gave up.

Conference conference conference

Then FRIDAY, I got to meet CAROL!

Stolen from here
Now Carol and I don't have the same zany history as Stacy and I do, but it was FABULOUS to meet for a bowl of soup and cup of coffee... chat books—mystery strategy, pantsing versus planning... learn about each other—she's FABULOUS! I really enjoyed it!

I have a few more topics from my conference, but I think I will sprinkle them a little. I hope to make a good run at catching back up with my peeps (meaning all of you) this week. It's sort of strange being gone... I've lost a follower here... SEVERAL on Twitter... though I think there there is a software somethingorother that drops people who don't post statuses or something... SURELY I can't be more offensive ABSENT than PRESENT otherwise...

I am glad to be back and looking forward to catching up!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

News of Llamas and Penguins

Art what I found here
So you all KNOW I am off line until at least Sunday, yes? I won't have internet today or Saturday really at ALL, and Thursday is JAM packed... Friday I will check, but it won't be a lot of time to play (I DO get to meet Carol for coffee though! SQUEEEE!) And I get to spend much of Wednesday with my good buddy Stacy... so don't feel too sorry for me... And when I announced on Twitter I'd packed 3 pairs of shoes, all silver, I got a marriage proposal, so I've got that going for me... MAN I will be glad to get out of this sorry excuse for spring...40 degrees, 80 degrees, no kidding, 34 degrees... GRRRRR. I am SO OVER anything under 60! Go away and don't show yourself until September!

And so when I searched for llama and penguin... I find this BLOG post: A Penguin, an Italian and a Llama Walk into a Bar  *snort* and it's a blog about cookies... mostly, but there is this joke:

What’s black and white, black and white, black and white, black and white?

It’s a penguin rolling down a hill.

*dies* I think I'm in love...

(Mari, there are Japanese culture lessons, too)

Now for the Great News

Everybody shout a big SQUEEEEEEEEE for Jenny Milchman! Jenny is one of my ABNA friends, and she is a true writer's writer—she has spent hours on hours helping promote others, helping hundreds (even thousands) of people polish their pitches—she is truly one of the good seeds. And she's had a long and often heartbreaking journey—two different books earning agents, getting publisher interest... and time and time again, killed at the editorial board level... ALMOST after SO MUCH hope has gone into it... but this week her book COVER OF SNOW was picked up by the great Linda Marrow (editor of favorites such as Nancy Pickard and others) at Ballantine! YAY for persistence and keeping atter!!!

See, PENGUINS wear RED shoes
And the NOT as Great News

Still no call, still no email... no parade, no chariot, no cabana boys bringing me a bouquet... pretty darned sure I'm out at ABNA... One day, I could pretend, but we are now into the 3rd... that short list of 6 next week will not include me...

Really Lousy News

So apparently the world is ending Saturday. Sorry about that. I'm sure glad though, to have spent the last two years getting to know Yibus. Probably won't manage to be published by then... But I suppose those are the breaks.

Erm... And When I see you Sunday, we can all mock the world's nuts... so that will be fun...

Have a great week, everyone! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Super Secret ABNA Week

So... on the 24th, the finalists for ABNA will be announced, right? But the rules state that the finalists will actually be NOTIFIED starting YESTERDAY!!! But they aren't allowed to TELL ANYONE!? I know, right? Could they POSSIBLY have any more unrealistic expectations? But you lose your status if you tell... TALK ABOUT TORTURE!!! Sadists! The lot of them!

Now only 6 people will be notified... 94, will NOT... though...

[for the record, as of posting, I have NOT been notified... almost absolutely out this round... but I will hold out hope for a bit yet... more on this]

Okay, see the rules state you have to be able to GET THERE (New York City) and you have to agree to their contract (which I will address in a minute)... so I think... well... that's what I'm here to talk about... what I think...

In Absence of Facts, I Might as Well Make Stuff Up...

I think this lag is because SOME SMALL portion of people may not be able to get here... maybe they live in... say Australia... and they didn't KNOW that their shenanigans have put them on a 'do not fly' list (because Australians are notorious troublemakers) *cough* (waves honorary Australian flag and threatens everyone with drop bears) So then they get notification, begin arrangements and CAN'T... Well there has to be SOME lag to find the NEXT in line (man, can you imagine being 'next in line? Though I guess you only know if they have to then reach YOU... which they would do... say, the 18th because it would take a little while to get to the 'sorry but' answer from the person who SHOULD have made it...)

But anyway... if someone CAN'T they have to have time to find the next one who CAN... or so I see it...

As to the Contract...

Well since by SIGNING UP, you are agreeing to their terms... *rolls eyes* What gets ME, is the people who... at THIS POINT start grumbling it isn't a good enough deal... Are you serious? A $15,000 advance is nothing to sneeze at, but they fail to see what the word ADVANCE means... let's just go over it...

The ADVANCE is the money you get BEFORE the book is out... they are GAMBLING on you and your success, and this is what they are willing to put up front. But HONESTLY, the sky is the limit—if you promote the heck out of your book, you can make a whole bunch MORE money... you just have to wait to see how the sales go (and work your tail off so they go the way you WANT).

I saw somebody grumble about 'translations being included'--what, they want a personal hand in translations? Translations expand their potential audience. Why grumble? Now on the off chance one of these books becomes a MOVIE or something... then the contract might not be the best deal a writer could have gotten... that is a gamble we take. But if somebody thinks they can do BETTER, why the heck did they not just query their book?

Now the Piece of the Rules that could feasibly (read: hopefully) matter to ME...

We are ALSO entering a period where Penguin claims first rights to ALL semi-finalists... if, before June 30, they contact us, we are obliged to negotiate with them... (hello, talk about a problem I want)... but it IS the reason I am really hoping my agent (or actually her YA partner) is on board... I don't want to negotiate without an agent in the loop. And if they contact us and no agreement can be REACHED, they reserve rights to counter-offer (and promise 10% MORE than the negotiated advance)...

I am somehow STILL not seeing a downside here...

Though that Super Secret Week...

Okay, so let's just pretend... because it is my BLOG and therefore my RIGHT... that they contact me today... Tell me I am a finalist... and I can't TELL anyone for 8 days?! How do I DO that!? I'll tell you how... I'd probably have to go underground... I'm a LOUSY liar (even if I didn't object to lying)... then again, misattributing is my superpower, so I suppose I could throw questions in strange directions and tell you OTHER stuff...

But strangely... I don't HAVE TO... I am almost completely offline May 18-21... I could avoid the 22nd easily, too—I never blog on Sunday, and I get home at an ungodly hour anyway... so today and 23rd are the only days I'd need to throw off questions... Coincidence? Or divine intervention? I'll let YOU decide! HAIL DIGRESSION! *cough*

Seriously though, as a contestant, it will be so strange to know that 6 of our number KNOW they have won (well... pretty much...), while the rest of us leer around wondering who the good liars are... I am definitely glad I actually don't have the leeway to obsess.

And FINALLY... former ABNA finalist makes good... You may or may not have read my interview with Harry Dolan after Bad Things Happen came out... and you may or may not have SEEN I get an ARC for this, but SURELY you don't know it came in PERFECT time for my trip!  I have 10 hours on planes and in airports in the next 5 days... and I have a book I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT to read!!!!   It came last night and it's perfect timing!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guest Author Douglas Corleone's

Whereby I am double booked... so if you are here for the Laughter is the Best Medicine blogfest, you can look at last night's post... humor that is perfectly MOI...

But for TODAY, I am hosting Douglas Corleone... Douglas was here last summer when his last book, One Man's Paradise, was released and shared a little about creating a series MC. I am happy to congratulate Douglas and welcome him back today, where he's sharing a little about luck and publicity and what they can do for our confidence as a writer, so welcome Douglas!

What a Little Publicity Can Do for Your Book…and Your Confidence

I had an interesting weekend – the most interesting weekend since my first book was published in April of last year. That’s because I had my first real taste of publicity…and witnessed the resulting spike in book sales.

Saturday morning I had the great fortune of appearing on ABC affiliate KITV in Hawaii. I was interviewed during a three-minute segment on the morning news. The live on-air interview took place at 7:15 a.m., and as I answered questions, I wondered how many readers were actually awake and watching television at that time on a Saturday morning. Turns out, quite a few. At least enough that throughout the day, several people stopped me to ask, “Hey, aren’t you that lawyer-author I saw on the news today?”

Saturday afternoon I gave a one-hour presentation at the Hawaii Book & Music Festival in Honolulu. And whether it was me or my time-slot (I was up right after Roseanne Barr’s presentation in the auditorium), the Author’s Pavilion was packed with people for my reading and Q & A. It was easily my largest audience ever, and the hour just flew by. The presentation was followed by a book signing at the Barnes & Noble tent, which went equally as well.

And this morning I woke to find an excellent review of NIGHT ON FIRE in Hawaii’s only major newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. In part, the review read, “Douglas Corleone's second look at the seedy side of life, lawyering and untimely death on Oahu in the 21st century…is a page-turner in the best sense of the word.” While NIGHT ON FIRE had received strong reviews in each of the major trades, this print review resulted in the single largest spike in Amazon sales I’ve seen in my first two years as a published author.

It’s difficult for most new authors to garner significant publicity. Most of us turn to quiet book-signings at chain stores, lengthy virtual book tours, and the occasional radio interview to promote our works. But once in a blue moon, we can get lucky…and that’s when we realize how well traditional publicity works.

This weekend boosted my confidence and gave me new hope for a long and successful career. The journey that began with my first book contract only now seems to be heading somewhere desirable, and I finally realize that, like any other journey, it requires patience, persistence, focus…and a hell of a lot of luck.

Thank you, Douglas! Both for visiting and the little shot of hope we all need!

Night on Fire is available at:
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Night-Fire-Douglas-Corleone/dp/0312552270/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0
And ONE MAN'S PARADISE: http://www.amazon.com/One-Mans-Paradise-Douglas-Corleone/dp/0312611587/ref=pd_sim_b_1

And here's my website:  www.douglascorleone.com

Product Description

Kevin Corvelli---a hotshot New York defense attorney who packed up his bags and hung his shingle in Hawaii to dodge the spotlight---is deep in his mai tais at a resort when an argument erupts down at the other end of the bar. It’s a pair of newlyweds, married that very day on the beach. And since Corvelli doesn’t do divorces, he all but dismisses the argument.

That’s at least until the fire breaks out later that night, and he barely escapes his hotel room. Most weren’t so lucky, including the new husband. His wife, Erin, becomes not only the police’s prime suspect for arson and murder but also Corvelli’s newest client, and she has a lot working against her, like motive and opportunity, not to mention a history of starting fires.

The heat gets turned all the way up in Douglas Corleone’s scorching legal thriller Night on Fire, his second following the MB/MWA's First Crime Novel Competition winner, One Man’s Paradise.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ha Ha—Now THAT's Funny!

So tomorrow is the Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest, and I signed up, but... being me... I am double booked, so I am posting the HUMOR one tonight, and will link it tomorrow, but tomorrow have a guest author... it's all good.

I am sort of a twisted mix, humor wise. You may guess from my blog name that I am a Monty Python nut... specifically, THIS sketch.

I also am fairly obsessed with cross dressing and nudity, as best represented by this (the funniest thing ever):


Then again, I am fine adding angles of LOLZ cats...

designed and created by Rissa Montano
Or llamatized...

And then the quintessential me...

So that's what I think is funny--no surprises there, I suppose... then again, I am pretty easy to make laugh...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blogger Follows My Lead

[Whereby I display a delusional sense of my own importance]

I meant to blog today, but it didn't happen... You KNEW I wasn't going to yesterday... I feel like a disconnected slacker, but... at least I'm not alone...

So I really have to apologize for Blogger losing it this week. No sooner did I announce my pending scarcity and it FREAKED out... unavailable... And I just have to say... My Bad... Blogger obviously can't survive in my absence. I hope this week when I'm completely GONE, it doesn't bail on you permanently, but... it could happen... *cough*

On the positive side, it really helped ME, that if I wasn't posting or reading, nobody could... so there's that...

And in OTHER news...

THIS came Thursday!!! I'm about 80% done and LOVING it, but I will wait until I'm done for a real review... Hopefully wearing the boa didn't make Nick too uncomfortable...

And THIS: I learned (also Thursday) that I get an ARC for Harry Dolan's Very Bad Men! I interviewed Harry when Bad Things Happen came out—it was my favorite book I read last year, so I am thrilled to have gotten in on this ARC...

So my NEXT book is set too! I feel so important! I've never been sent an ARC before... (and Harry actually asked me personally if I was interested, which makes it all the more special)--he put me on a list for his publicist-type folks, though he wasn't sure who they'd pick. I don't know how they choose, but the interview I did had a lot of hits, and stayed on the Google front page for his book for quite a while, so I suspect that helped.

And then the visit with my cousin was fabulous—it was great to see him... I drug him to my son's band concert, but I think he didn't mind (and the middle school concerts are only 3 songs per group—band, choir, orchestra) and because the auditorium is small, they only want you there when your kid is performing (which means we got to leave early.)

Jeff spent some time taking pictures... mostly of Joel because he is a challenge... here he is with his summer haircut... (I keep asking to keep his ear tufts, but HWMNBMOTI never listens)

So that's what I've got at the moment...I hope you are having a great weekend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Divine Order

So I've been paying a fair bit of attention for a few years now... New authors launching social campaigns... Hopeful Authors launching social campaigns... And I've learned something YOU need to know...

Build Following FIRST, Book Launch AFTER.

Here is why:

1)  If you launch to promote, people will shun your one-trick pony, but if you launch when it's promotion time and FAIL to promote, the opportunity is lost. You need to prove yourself interesting in ABSENSE of promotion, and THEN launch... then the launch may in fact be perceived as ALSO interesting.

2)  You need to PAY IT FORWARD. Nobody has a reason to TRUST you will PAY BACK. If you start up for a promo, in fact, there is every reason to believe that's all you've got. If you promote OTHER authors first (for one to a dozen years) BEFORE you launch, you have collateral for others to shout from the rooftops (or car hoods, or gutters, depending on your audience) when it is your turn.

Work it! If you promote for others, let them KNOW! Otherwise... they don't KNOW! If you know what I mean... I mean surely it's good karma to promote books of others ANYWAY, but this networking thing works better if you reinforce the connections...

And while that is a WISE bit of wisdom I just shared with you, it is all I got today... and probably I will have nothing at ALL tomorrow, as I have a HOUSE GUEST coming! I will try to blog Saturday to make up for my negligence...

In he MEAN TIME....

It's Thursday, you know what THAT means!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Company Clean...

But first, an apology, a heads up, and a heads up... erm...


I am SO SORRY for my absence from blog hopping this week! I didn't really realize I'd fallen behind at work, but realized yesterday I only had THIS WEEK to get two posters and a presentation ready for a meeting next week. I decided to keep my nose to the grindstone until they are DONE, but sadly, that means no breaks for blog checks (even my own, mostly) until I get home from work... THEN, today's topic will tell you why my evenings have ALSO been commandeered...

Heads Up

The Squeaky wheel seems to be lined up for a greasing. This is related to my Hewlett Packard rant last week, my friend Janet (who works for them) and her trusted and fabulous colleague Jeff, who may indeed come through... More one way or the other will come when I know how it goes...

Heads Up Again

A week from today I leave for a work conference. I think last year I scheduled posts ahead, but this year, I'm not feeling the available time... I get to go to AUSTIN (YAY!) and have dinner plans with my good friend Stacy (YAY!). I plan to head over and see if Carol might be able to have a coffee or something, too... any of the rest of you in Austin? I have a tightish schedule, but coffee or a glass of wine would be FABULOUS if you want to give a shout and we can look at my agenda. I am there through Saturday. So there will be a blog break from the 18th-22nd... and a Mall in Miami is spreading the word the world ends the 21st, so if I don't make it back before that... smooches all around. I love yibus!

And Now for the Blogging portion of this Blog *cough*

Company Clean

So you know I'm a hermit, mostly, right? And our family is nearly all on the west coast? We have visitors (neighbors, parents of our kids' friends) as far as our table sometimes (it is 4 feet in the front door, in case you wondered what that means), and once in a while the Childings have a friends sleep over (but not often, they have shoebox rooms and the basement is 'public space' (meaning my computer is there, so so am I) so there is really no privacy for them). Who am I kidding, most of my socializing is HERE.

Also, my mom and I had a bit of a disagreement two summers ago, that resulted in the acceptance that probably she and my husband should never be in the same space again... so that was the last time we had FAMILY visit.

Well yesterday, my mom called... they'd gotten home from a cruise and she'd called to thank me for the Mother's day stuff... and she said, 'you know Jeff called me, too, to get your number. He is going to be in Michigan.'

Jeff is my cousin—I don't have a LOT of cousins, and growing up they all lived in proximity, so I was fairly close to all of them. Jeff and I probably have the most common personalities (which is a little funny, as they are very different from our common family—we had DADS who were very alike, though it is our mothers who are sisters). Jeff and I, in fact, are UNBEATABLE at Pictionary, because we process symbolism the same, so can very quickly arrive at answers like 'thick' (as simple as two lines, one of them thick, eh?--but you need to have a partner thinking EXACTLY like you do on the subject to get a partner shouted response in 4 seconds).

So I called Jeff to give him alternate numbers (because AT&T SUX ROCKS), and so he is coming for dinner Thursday (YAY!) I haven't seen him in almost 3 years, as that was the last time I got to my home town... SINCE then, he and his family have relocated to Texas, so they currently live CLOSER than my other family, but too far for... you know... birthdays and such... (and I'm not quite convinced, if we had the money for a road trip, that the kids would accept Houston over Orlando, or even DC... but never mind, there is NO MONEY for any road trip anyway)

So I told HWMNBMOTI Jeff was coming, and that was fine, but I got the question I think I'd been blocking. “So who is cleaning?”

*dies *

Clean? GADS, I'd forgotten about the cleaning for company thing! Because frankly, our house has not been CLEAN for two years... I don't have anything AT ALL against a clean house, but I've got issues all OVER the place about CLEANING a house.

I work full time. I write MUCH time. I have children who seem to think I am the only one who can... for instance help with Geometry (last night) or take them to the store. NO, I am not primary parent (and am thankful to have a partner with a better head for appointments and such), but I am still the favored parent for a fairly significant portion of things when I am home...

HWMNBMOTI is a decent homemaker. He cooks WELL. He shops inefficiently but I can hardly complain, as I don't have to do it (though I have thought recently about trading him in for Lisa Golden... I think I'd make enough to get by if she were my spouse... Oh, sure, there would be some sexual relation issues, all four partners being straight and all, but at least she is an efficient shopper—and I suspect she and I wouldn't stop laughing, so that is pretty much as good as sex most days) *cough* Anyway... HWMNBMOTI and I have some cleaning issues... Namely, I STACK stuff, and he won't clean AROUND my piles. My choices are get rid of the piles so he can clean, or clean it myself... so there is stuff that doesn't get cleaned... lots of stuff... like... we'll call it the basement... (though we could call it the bedroom or the laundry room)

(Jeff is the baby)
So anyone thinking my day job interference might be made up for through my evening time, should probably accept my EVENING time for the next few days is booked, too. Last night I dusted (wet and dry+ WASHING the knick-knacks), swiffered, and vacuumed (even the stairs, which was surely a whole cat worth) and tonight I clean the bathroom and wash windows and mirrors... I'm really looking forward to seeing my cousin, though, so it's worth it!

Happy Hing Day, all!  And I really will TRY to catch up on blog reading, but I suspect it will be slow until after my trip.  Sorry!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Author Rebecca Carlton

Halo, fine friends! It's been a little while since I've had a guest, so just to remind you... if YOU have a book release or event coming up and would like to be a guest, I am thrilled to have regular readers, and open to other authors most of the time... my sidebar has a link to my policy...

And SPEAKING of book releases, Gae Polisner's Pull of Gravity comes out today! I got my notice Sunday mine had shipped (though I am beta reading for a friend and therefore didn't splurge on two day... probably will be Thursday before mine arrives... still SQUEEEEEEEE (Gae is my hero). BTW, Gae is one to watch on HOW TO for book promo... she has gotten articles in both the New York Times and Newsday (I know, right?)

And NOW, back to the present. Becky and I made friends through the Amazon connection. It all becomes murky as to 'where first' but we've chatted quite a lot on Facebook. Becky has self-published, and has noticed quite a lot of venom on the Amazon boards when authors try to promote themselves, and decided to conduct a little experiment to help you learn what can happen (Man, I love a deviant). I for one, WELCOME the heads up that comes with this, and the opportunity for all of us to learn a little about how people may respond (time to toughen our skins, I think—but also to realize there are no short cuts).

So without further ado, Welcome Becky! (look how young she is! *pinches Becky's cheek*)


I’m thrilled to be a guest tart. If anyone is curious, I’d like to let everyone know that in attempt to prolong my life as a tart I have chosen to be a grape hard candy tart. They taste odd and most people don’t want to eat them. I thought you all might be interested in a little insight into the experience of an Indie author over on the Amazon.com forums. It would probably take three or more installments on Hart’s blog to let you guys in on all the fine details of what Indie authors should expect on those forums- screen shots and all. But out of respect of your time I’m going to make this as concise as possible and I’m going to use bullet points to do it!!

Two promo threads created in the forums yielded:

• 21 No-voters present [Tart note: Amazon gives viewers an option to vote 'yes' or 'no' on whether comments are helpful.]
• 9 Verbal attacks on either me or my writing
• 7 Reminders of TOS [Tart note: Terms of service]
• 5 Claims to lose readership simply by posting
• 5 Accusations of my thread being spam
• 4 Admittances of not minding promo threads
• 4 Twists of my words into presumptuous attacks on readers
• 3 Valid answers on why they wouldn’t buy my book
• 3 Displays of disapproval of my thread’s existence
• 3 Accusations of insulting readers
• 2 Claims of not being a real author
• 2 Non-constructive offers of posting advice
• 1 Constructive offer of posting advice
• 1 Add to their wish list
• 1 Download of my sample
• 1 Reminder of Community posting guidelines
• 1 Proclamation of informal TOS being violated (etiquette)

One attempt at joining an existing thread yielded:
 • 17 No-voters present
• 6 Verbal assaults towards me or my writing
• 3 References to TOS
• 2 Accusations of posting inappropriately
• 2 Accusations of attacking readers
• 2 Claims they would never read and/or buy one of my books simply for posting
• 2 Actions or statement provoking the others to attack me
• 2 Denials or defense of their actions
• 1 Non-constructive piece of advice on how to post

After I felt I had gathered enough information to provide a learning experience to other Indie Authors, I made a post outing my true intentions. This was my post after the OP inquired why they attacked me-
“Because I posted on the forums in a way they interpreted as a guise of self-promotion, which many other authors outright do or try to be clever about doing. I wanted to collect information on how many readers are on the forums during a given time by getting feedback on the content of my description so I could share the information with other authors. I had to provide a link to a book to get the type of responses I was looking for. The truth is, I simply wanted to evaluate which forums have users who attack Indie authors, and I got my answers. There are many readers on these forums who welcome Indie authors providing links to their books, and then there are some people such as those who have openly attacked me on this forum. Most of whom are the same as those who attacked me yesterday. Then they attempted to "school" me on THEIR guidelines of amazon forum ettiquite and told me to "jump into conversations" which is what I did today, and as you can see from the post directly below mine, in a manner of minutes, they attacked like a pack of rabid dogs.”
0 of 17 people think this post adds to the discussion.

Unfortunately for the pack, no amount of no-votes can get something that is not a violation of Amazon’s TOS deleted. Since so many of them yes-voted their own actions and are so proud of themselves they most likely will never delete their posts, their infantile behavior is there indefinitely for the education of newbie Indie Authors. A side note: oddly enough, not one of them took the opportunity to correct my spelling, grammatical or capitalization errors in that post to further invalidate me as a legitimate writer. Feel free to read between the lines on that comment.

Later that day I discovered some old and new threads for tagging and exchanging information with other Indie authors to expand Indie author networking. I did my best to join every tagging group, follow every twitter account and blogspot listed. Even though I’m sure there are a few authors in those threads that will throw their names onto the lists and not make the effort to return the favor, I’d prefer to operate on positive assumptions for now. A few other forum regulars have the negativity angle covered quite well.

Disclaimer** I’ve contacted Amazon for clarification and they do state that it is a violation of their Terms of Service for authors to create threads with the purpose of ‘shilling’-to advertise or promote. When I asked why so many authors are able to have thriving threads for such purposes and some are deleted immediately I was given a stock answer. Amazon claims that there are too many to keep up with and they rely on the community members (no-voters and abuse-reporters) to let them know where to concentrate their efforts. So that means that not enough people no-voted or clicked the abuse button to get every promo thread deleted, only yours! I'd also like to state that I appreciate all current readers and potential readers of my work. My intentions were to show other Indie authors how not to behave on the forums to advance all of our success rates on the forums. I am still a person who wishes to be treated with respect. I stand firm that despite the outright attacks taken towards me I never attacked a single person during these posts. When I asked for forwards of email notifications where I clearly attacked someone I received no responses.**

Rebecca Carlton is an Indie Author from Richmond, VA. She is married with a daughter and a son. Her writing offers plots that are unique and at times sensitive in nature that send the characters through twists and dives down unexpected paths. She appreciates developing characters that are “real people” who dare to say what’s on their mind and steal your heart at the same time. With every book she strives to make an offering that multiple age groups can benefit and learn from.

Book Blurb:
Geric is lured by Dalis to a remote island to practice medicine until his license is reinstated. Upon arrival, Dalis reveals that Geric must erase memories and personal identities from abducted women or face his own demise. While Geric bides his time until an opportunity arises to escape, he is presented with a patient that is resistant to treatment but manages to catch Dalis’ eye. Livia’s life is spared with the mindset that her immunity is the key to developing an alternate therapy for other resistant women. She serves as Geric’s medical assistant while enduring the aggressive advances of Dalis. The stress of their living conditions proves to be too difficult when the consequence of their reckless behavior triggers a deadline to escape. A deadline that will expose their transgressions…and cost them their lives.


I loved this little experiment, by the way... and DO find it interesting some authors are attacked right away, and others 'get away with it' (guess those 'terms of service' reminder guys are actually trying to be helpful?) But absolutely... no substitute for real life networking. I'm with you there!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Bull Addiciton

Taurus, as some of you may know... is a very PLAYFUL sign. As a Cancer, two signs away, it happens to be the most perfectly MATCHED playful sign, and somehow this stretch of May is VERY hard for me to do anything... productive... Why, you must wonder... memories, for one... the 8th of May... for another...

We Cancers are sort of an emotional, family oriented sort, by reputation, but the Taurus playfulness has a sort of childlike joy to it... it doesn't SEEM like the self-indulgent play of the fire signs, or the self-destructive play of Pisces... Taurus play is a drug we Cancers can get addicted to.

I have several fast friendships with Taureans, and they are a different sort than a lot of my friendships. That complimentary thing goes a long way in bond formation. (yes, I believe this, though I never look at birthday when forming friendships... it's an after-thing). It's funny though... the difference in the girls and boys...

I have some good friends who are April Tauruses... relatively normal friendships—mostly female, but some males... I like them a lot... a lot in common... easy camaraderie...

Then there is the Week of the Exes... I honestly didn't even know most of these guys were Tauruses until reconnecting on FB but May 4-9 only has one day without a 'past love'--by love, I mean only infatuation/attraction most of the time, but considering there are 2 of them on the 5th, and that this is probably HALF of my life's deep attractions (3 of the others are Virgos... like me some earth signs, I guess—only 3 aren't one or the other (there is a Cancer, a Leo and a Libra in the others, if anyone cares))--seriously... what are the odds... that 6 of 12 'loves' would have their birthday in the same week? If ANYONE can explain this, I'd love to hear it. Note ALL of these are only friends now—I married one of my Virgos... in fact the 3 Virgos are the only 3 I ever felt I might marry... weird, astrology, when you think of it...

I suppose my memory may be skewed because ALL these Taurus boys are in my 'current friends' set—easier to remember people you still talk to (then again that says something... that I still talk to them...) ... but I have a feeling this particular week is ALSO one with the ability to relax the sometimes insecure Cancer. They have a sense of fun, a sense of loyalty, and an enjoyment in a little self-indulgence that is fairly suited to that first week of Cancer. (I'd LOVE feedback from my friends born this week... ALL of us are writers, so I know there are a few of you out there)

And then we get to the week starting 5/12... Of my 'intentional friendships'--those perhaps FORMED by proximity, but maintained because there is a deep connection... the 12th to the 19th is a pretty good run week on girlfriends for me. My current boss falls in here, for which I believe I am VERY fortunate.... one of my middle school friends... but my friend Stacy, who is the single person more nutty than me that I know, and my friend Natalie (I have a daughter named after her if that is any indication of how I feel)... this timing is the PERFECT match for total support... for fun when it is appropriate, for unjudging honesty... for BEING THERE...

So in honor... I just wanted to toss you all a little bull...

Taurus is ruled by Venus, goddess of beauty and the arts. This brings a love of luxury and affinity for the physical expression of love... tangible, tactile... do I need to be more clear? Sex matters. (as does good food, drink and ambience).

Tauruses LIKE STUFF... it is an aesthetics thing... they want to be surrounded by beauty (Cancer's like stuff, too, but for us, it is security).

The SYMBOL of Taurus, represents the bull and horns, but also the CUP of material power brought about by force of will. (HA! Force of will! I know about that!)

Taurus rules the neck and throat and often has individuals with a lovely speaking or singing voice (my daughter the Taurus provides supporting evidence here... she has had perfect pitch since birth (and covered my mouth because I didn't when she was a toddler *rolls eyes*)

So to all you Tauruses out there... I love yibus! You are my kind of drug. You keep we hermit Cancers venturing into the world and having fun, in spite of our hermit habits. I promise to always reflect as accurately as possible, as I think you can use the emotional check of your most complimentary sign.