Archive for June, 2008

Please Ask Me First

Monday, June 30th, 2008

How do you feel about the practice of authors signing you up for their newsletters—whether electronic or print—without your permission? I’m not asking this because I plan to sign up a bunch of people to my newsletter without asking. I have a handy-dandy little box in the upper right corner of this blog where anyone can subscribe if they wish. There’s also a clickable graphic on my Home page and info on my Contact page (I’m nothing if not persistent). The bases are pretty much covered. No, I’m asking because finding myself signed up for an author’s newsletter without me actually subscribing to the newsletter myself is one of my readerly pet peeves. And it’s a big one.

I’m not talking when you enter a contest with the understanding that the author will sign you up for her newsletter—you know, because the contest rules explain that that’s exactly what will happen. In that case, I’m fair game. I’m not talking “Join My Newsletter List and You Will Be Entered in a Draw to Win a Free Copy of My Book” contests, either. In these cases, I know what I’m getting into, and I’ve done the “Join My Newsletter” contest thing myself. What really annoys me, though, is when I’ve emailed an author about something totally unrelated to her newsletter, and then I find myself subscribed to that newsletter. Then, despite requests to get removed from the newsletter list, I continue receiving them.

Or, the biggest annoyance…

Several years ago while I was unpublished I finaled in a contest in which a well known multi-published author judged my entry. Being a polite little Canadian and following the contest coordinator’s suggestion, I wrote thank you notes to all my judges, including Judge Promo Hound. To my surprise, I suddenly found myself on Judge Promo Hound’s snail-mail list. Two to four times a year, I receive glossy newsletters from JPH that elicit a cursory glance, then go in recycling. These days the newsletters don’t even elicit the cursory glance. I should point out that I have only ever bought one of JPH’s novels, and the purchase had nothing to do with my receipt or lack thereof of her newsletters. In fact, I bought the novel before JPH added my name to her mailing list without my permission. It’s not that I’m not buying her novels because she added me to her snail mail list. Not to continue buying her novels was purely a “her books are not my cup of tea” decision. So for her to continue sending me newsletters I didn’t ask for is a big waste of time in the first place, is it not?

Yes, I suppose I could have written Judge Promo Hound and asked her to remove me from her newsletter list. But why should I have to waste the paper and the stamp? Then a friend suggested an utterly brilliant idea that one would think I could have come up with myself (sadly, I didn’t). A few weeks ago I received yet another glossy, multi-page newsletter from Judge Promo Hound, so I followed my friend’s advice and simply wrote “Not at this Address” or “Return to Sender” (I can no longer recall which) on the envelope and dropped it back into the mailbox. My friend is convinced that this action will result in my name being removed from JPH’s mailing list. We shall see…

 

Ask the Agent

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Writer Kwana Jackson has an excellent weekly column appearing on her blog: Ask the Agent featuring Kwana’s agent, Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency. Each Friday Elaine posts another response or two to questions that have been left in the Comments trails of previous blog posts. The trick to keeping Elaine answering questions every week is to ask them. This is an excellent opportunity to pick Elaine’s brain, so don’t pass it up.

I’ve interviewed Elaine myself, if you want to check it out. The information in the interview is over a year old now, though, so the best place to get new information is—you guessed it—on Kwana’s blog! And tell her I sent you.

Bit of Good News

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I’ve received an offer from an epublisher to re-issue my romantic comedy short story, DECEIVING DEREK. I’m very happy about this, as the story was only with its former publisher for a few months before that pub closed. Kind of ironic, really. There aren’t too many short story markets for re-issues, and when I was looking the first time I could have submitted to either Pub A (the one I did submit to) or Pub B (the pub who just offered). I chose to submit to Pub A because Pub B was very, very new, and you all know (or you should) how leery I am about trying untested epub waters—I’ve been burned (drowned?) too many times. So I submitted to Pub A and received a contract. I totally loved the cover art and had a good editing experience, so I was happy. Obviously, however, I made the wrong submission choice, because Pub A closed in November and Pub B is, by all accounts, going strong.

Yes, sometimes I am wise in the world of publishing, and sometimes I have really, really bad luck.

I still need to go over the contract and make sure everything is  in order, which is why I haven’t announced which epublisher has made the offer yet. You’ll earn two points if you guess correctly, though. 😉

Are You a Creature of the Night?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Brava and Red Sage author Cynthia Eden has a fun paranormal “Creature Feature” quiz on her website. Apparently, I’m a vampire. Yeah, I really suck.

In the mood for a bite? You’re a true night person—forget those early mornings! Mentally and physically, you’re strong as all hell. Your teeth may be a bit too sharp, you might have a liquid diet, but, hey, no one is perfect, Besides, you’re sexy, seductive, and not many humans can resist when they look deep into your eyes…

Yup, irresistible, that’s me. What are you? Click here to take the quiz. If you suck, too, tell me in the Comments section. We can suck together.

Tell Me Tuesday Summer Hiatus

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Popping in for a quick TMT. As usual, I’m finding the summer is getting away on me, what with the kids’ odd hours for their summer jobs, friends visiting from out of town, and RWA National coming up, etc. So there’ll be a few changes around the ol’ blog until early September. Tell Me Tuesday is going on hiatus, as I’ve decided to reduce my posting to about 3 times a week. I haven’t yet decided on a schedule or whether there’ll be a schedule. Ie. I might blog Monday, Wed, Friday, or I might blog Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or any combination thereof. So keep checking in, because I’m not disappearing completely. I do have posts planned for the rest of this week, featuring a fun quiz tomorrow, so drop back in.

My Tell You Tuesday: The WIP is motoring along, I’m finally so glad to say. I’m also coordinating the 2007 Golden Heart Alumni offerings for the Jo Leigh Fundraiser, and I have a packet of Maggies entries to judge. Lots of fun! I’m even getting outside to do some of my writing, because the rain has finally decreased to a few showers a week. It’s about time.

What do you have going on? Do you find it more difficult to blog and keep up with your writing schedule in the summer? How do you prioritize?

Hulk Me Baby One More Time

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Edward Norton as The Incredible Hulk

The fam-dam went to The Incredible Hulk late last week to celebrate Youngest Son writing his last ever final high school exam. I give The Incredible Hulk several thumbs up. I liked it better than Iron Man, even though the latter stars Robert Downey, Jr. and I do love me some RDJ. However, as a kid, my favorite comics were Batman, The Incredible Hulk, Sergeant Rock and Jonah Hex, in that order. I can’t recall ever reading an Iron Man comic, although I probably did. The Brother had quite an extensive comic collection, and I made full use of it (by the way, I could never figure out why Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t make a Sergeant Rock movie and why Clint Eastwood didn’t star in a movie version of Jonah Hex—both when they were a, um, tad younger. Because both actors would have perfect in those roles. If you’re familiar with the comics of which I speak, aren’t I right? Of course I am. Thank you.

Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man

Anyway, while I enjoyed Iron Man (mainly because of RDJ; his acting and the quirky wit he instills into most of his characters always get me), The Incredible Hulk has my vote. If you’re an Iron Man/RDJ fan, though, Robert Downey, Jr. has a cameo in The Incredible Hulk. The cameo sets up all sorts of wonderful possibilities for a sequel to both Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. I can’t wait. As the only woman in a house full of men (until Allie McBeagle, even all our pets were male), I think I’ve seen nearly every super-hero movie out there, so I’ve developed quite an affinity for them.

(P.S. Yeah, I know, both those pictures are tiny. WordPress 2.5.1 has some glitches in the Upload Images thingie, and I can’t be bothered to figure it out).

A scene in The Incredible Hulk references Bella Coola, British Columbia. If you saw Sex and The City, The Movie and read about how people were flooding bookstores looking for the book Mr. Big reads from in the movie, but the book doesn’t exist, well, Bella Coola does exist. I ain’t got a clue if The Incredible Hulk was shot in B.C. or if the scenes that say they’re in Bella Coola really are in Bella Coola, however, if you’re interested in checking out some gorgeous scenery, check out this link.

By the way, have you ever read an Incredible Hulk reference in a romance novel? Don’t you think you should? If your answer is yes, have I got a story for you! Yes, indeedy, BORROWING ALEX features an Incredible Hulk reference. For those who already have the book, consider yourselves brainiacs for being so on top of popular culture! Then flip to page 45 for the reference. It was one of my favorite scenes to write.  

Those who haven’t yet bought a copy of BORROWING ALEX, if you beg real nice, I might excerpt the scene on the blog. Of course, I’d rather you buy a copy of the book so I can keep my family in Kraft Dinner, but if you need motivation (and don’t we all?), just ask in the comments section and I’ll provide the excerpt later in the week.

Seems I’m Not the Only One…

Friday, June 20th, 2008

…concerned about the weather.

CBC news story from about a week ago:

B.C. has endured weeks of unseasonable drizzle and grey skies this spring with temperatures touching record lows in the months of May and June, and growers are worried about mildew killing the seedlings.

And…

The economic value of B.C.’s illegal marijuana industry is difficult to determine, but over the years experts have estimated it exceeds a billion dollars a year.

Gee, poor pot growers. (For those who don’t know, “B.C.” = British Columbia). (The western-most province of Canada, right above Washington state, for those who really don’t know! 😉 ).

To read the full account of the “dilemma,” click here.

Well, I’m happy to report that it is raining less than it was a week ago. In fact, we’ve had more than two days in a row with bursts of sun! Yeehaw. I’m happy, but don’t you pity those poor pot growers? Whatever shall they do?

Ding A Dong, Dong, Dong

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

The Ding Dong lives! I’m ecstatic to discover this. For years, I wondered, “Whatever happened to the Ding Dong?” Dare I confess that for decades I worried I made the name up?

My kids love a chocolate-covered, chocolatey-cakey, white-cream-filled concoction called a King Don (okay, so do I). Every time I buy a package, they gobble them up. However, lately we’ve been arguing over whether they’re supposed to be called Ding Dongs or King Dons. I mean, really, King Dons? Sounds like you should be genuflecting before some fat royal guy named Don (and let’s not get into genuflecting before Don King).

When I was a teenager, The Queen of Sheba (a.k.a my mom) introduced our family to Ding Dongs. For some reason we never had Twinkies in the house, but Ding Dongs were consumed by the barrel-full. One day I opened the Ding Dong cupboard and discovered the name on the package had changed overnight to King Don. WTF? Why take a perfectly wonderfully cupcakey name like Ding Dong and mutilate it like that? 

Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that I didn’t make up Ding Dongs. They do so exist! Under that name! However, apparently the Ding Dong name is only in use in the U.S. now. Yep, up here in the Great White North, we still have to call them King Dons. But at one time, YES, indeedy, at one time, the Canadian packaging did say Ding Dong. Now when my two teenagers tell me that “ding dong” isn’t a name for a cakey treat, but rather slang for male naughty bits, I feel quite vindicated that they’re wrong and I’m right.

Guess what else I discovered? Ding Dong recipes. Who’da thunk it?

Here’s one called Ding Dong Mousse, by April Vandecamp:

Ding Dong Mousse

Cool, huh? Click here for instructions how to assemble. And let me know how it turns out. Because I’m not making Ding Dong recipes for my kids. Not when they insist on calling them King Dons.

Have any Ding Dong recipes you want to share? Twinkie recipes? Uses for a Twinkie? Naughty uses for a Twinkie? Just please—no, no!—no naughty uses for my Ding Dongs.

Getting the Word Out

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

From HelenKay Dimon’s blog:

Dear Friends,

One of our own, author Jo Leigh (aka Jolie Kramer) lost her husband on June 13 after he courageously battled cancer. If you don’t know their story, which is the stuff romance novels are made of, you can read it here and see their wedding picture here.

In addition to being a fabulous friend to so many and a multi-RITA nominated author who has written for Harlequin Blaze, Temptation, Intrigue, Special Projects, Silhouette Intimate Moments and Meteor Kismet, Jo is known across the country for the amazing writing classes she teaches, including one on plotting that is incomparable. She has been incredibly generous to so many in sharing her knowledge and expertise.

Unfortunately, Jo has been left with a lot of medical expenses she will be struggling to cover as they had no health insurance, and we would like to help her out by holding several fundraising auctions. If you have items to donate – books or book baskets/collections, critiques, ARCs of upcoming releases, mentoring opportunities, web or promotional material design work etc., please email the item description to the following email address: forjoleigh AT gmail.com This is the address we’re using to organize the items.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Alison Kent, HelenKay Dimon, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Tyler.

Tell Me Tuesday

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Phew, Motherhood Madness is almost over! In fact, I’m over the biggest hump and can now put most of my focus toward writing again. All last week, when I was able to sit at the computer, I was headed off on the wrong tangent on my WIP. I implored Elle Muse for an answer. Finally, and quite suddenly (while I was driving, of course, and didn’t have a notepad handy—bad writer), the answer came to me. I was writing the wrong damn scene. As soon as I admitted such, ideas for the scene I should have been trying to draft came flooding in. I didn’t get a chance to fast-draft the scene until yesterday, however, I’m already onto revisions (I’m a revise-as-I-go writer). Praise be to Elle!

Anyone else? Is your writing going smoothly? Hardly (as in hardly at all)? Or some variation of the two?

Oh, and before I forget, editor Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks is taking questions at the Casablanca authors blog today. Deb is very approachable, so if you’re interested in Sourcebooks, hop over and have a gander at the sub-genres she’s acquiring, ask a question if you’re so inspired.

Now I must get back to those scene revisions. Tally-ho!

By the way, if anyone knows how to use the Visual editor for WordPress 2.5.1 to insert links, please tell me. What was once so simple in 2.3.2 (or whatever I was using before—that’s close enough) is now impossible in WP 2.5.1. I keep having to go to the HTML editor to insert my links (yes, I’m lazy).

Okay, now I’m really leaving.