Archive for August, 2008

Nobody Writes it Better

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Have I mentioned that several/many/more than half of the members of the 2007 group of Golden Heart finalists (the ‘007s) are opening a group blog? It revolves around a bit of a Bond theme, so we’ve dubbed it Nobody Writes it Better (I won’t blab who offered that title when we were brainstorming, but let me just say it was someone very smart, initials of M.E.)

Okay, it can be argued that Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jennifer Crusie et. al. might write it better, but we have the URL, so there.

Right now we’re waiting for quotes from designers, so no word on the launch date, but we have a placeholder page on-line, if you want to bookmark the site. And if the graphic on the placeholder site looks remarkably similar to a business card you picked up at National, that’s because it is the business card, which accounts for the “Check Site” after “Launch Date.” That said, we’re targeting the blog to readers as well as reader/writers.

We’re all very excited. Watch this space for more information, doled out as sanity permits.

Tropic Blunder?

Friday, August 15th, 2008

I haven’t found a book to recommend here lately. Oh, I’ve been reading…sort of…but nothing’s holding my attention. I can recommend a movie, depending on how you like your comedy—this one’s heavily dosed with satire. Tropic Thunder, starring Ben Stiller and Robert Downey, Jr. (whose acting I adore). It’s the story of a group of actors starring in a Vietnam war movie who are dropped into some real action in the jungle (drug trade related), but Stiller still thinks the movie is being shot (hidden cameras, yada). Yes, there is a running joke partway through that plays with political incorrectness, but overall the movie works (you know, I have to wonder if Stiller included the Sean Penn/Tom Hanks bits to detract from the potential controversy of Downey, Jr.’s character). (That’s Downey on the right).

The best performances? Robert Downey, Jr., naturally (yes, I’m a rabid fan, even during his drought), and Tom Cruise. Cruise has a small part in the film, but it’s definitely memorable and he plays it to the max. My Liege and I went to see the movie Wednesday night. That was my morning for the long dog walk (like today—I’m late getting going, and my dog is staring at me with huge brown eyes right now). After walking the dog Wednesday, I was stretching to Regis & Kelly (The View was over by the time I returned to the house), and Stiller was on. Regis blabbed which character in the movie is played by Cruise, so I was on the lookout. I told My Liege that Cruise was in the movie, and I thought he would recognize him, but the end of the movie arrived and he hadn’t picked him out. So now I’m cheesed that the ONE day of the week I catch ten minutes of Regis & Kelly post-dog walk is the day the news is blabbed. It would have been a lot more fun to watch the movie not knowing.

Anyone here seen the movie? Do you think Stiller went too far with the satire?

You know, I can’t believe I actually saw a movie on opening night. This is what happens when your children grow up. :) And your husband has to miss his standing golf night due to a tournament. We actually had some couple time. Imagine that.

As for movies now opening on Wednesdays instead of Thursdays to “get a start” on the box office—what’s next, opening on Tuesday? Monday? Don’t they have to toss out all previous “opening weekend” box office counts now and start over?

When did the weekend ever begin on Thursday, anyway?

These and other questions will continue to go unanswered As Cindy’s Mind Churns.

National Sex Day?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Only in Canada, eh?

And I quote:

Jonathan Yaniv, a computer science student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C., wants to make Aug. 21 a day devoted to the art of love.

The 21-year-old is trying to get at least one million Canadians to join the Facebook event “National Sex Day 2008.” If he’s successful, it will likely be the biggest organized sex event ever.

 The Facebook group already has over 130,000 people getting ready to unzip and unwind.

Trust that Facebook. (I’m kidding. I don’t belong to Facebook, and I’ve never explored the same—before anyone goes bananas on me).

Brittany, a 19-year-old student in St. Catharines, Ont. – who requested her last name not be used – said she can’t wait to “make the best” of the informal holiday. But she added that participants should be careful.

“If you’re silly enough to find a partner just for the day, don’t be upset when you get a sexually transmitted disease,” she said.

Yes, we Canadians are socially responsible and horny.

What do you think? Should we take National Sex Day to Parliament Hill? (That’s like taking it to Congress—I think—if you’re American. Taking it somewhere in D.C., at any rate). (I knew I should have paid more attention when I was there).

Impressions of Conference

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Better late than never?

I really enjoyed National this year. Aside from getting sick, that is. I couldn’t find anything about the hotel to complain about. Excellent location, the elevators didn’t get clogged up, and I had an excellent roomie. The only thing I found weird about the hotel itself was how some workshops were held on the fifth floor, was it? I wasn’t paying that much attention due to the illness, but I seem to remember a hall of hotel rooms as well as the meeting rooms. I couldn’t help feeling like I was infringing on the guests of those rooms. Or did I get that wrong? Were there guest rooms on level 5?

I’m used to seeing a lot of signage at National. Bulletin boards with announcements, placards pointing the way. We didn’t get that this year. I kind of liked not having the placards and bulletin boards, but it did make the first day or so of conference a bit confusing.

My favorite workshop? That’s a tough one, because I attended very few workshops this year. I didn’t attend any on Thursday because of meetings and other functions, and then Friday I had editor/agent appointments, plus by then my sickness had invaded full force. I’m not even sure I attended a workshop on Friday! Crazy, huh? Well, not so much. The more conferences I attend, the more the conference becomes, for me, a networking and business meeting environment. I can only attend so many workshops on similar themes. I understand the Eric Maisel Creativity workshop and the Save the Cat workshop were divine. However, both were two hours, and I didn’t have the energy to sit there that long. (Yes, I’m pathetic.) I must seriously consider ordering the podcasts for these two workshops, however. 

Attended a lot of Spotlights, including the Sourcebooks Spotlight. I also had an opportunity to meet the Sourcebooks editor one-on-one Thursday before lunch. I just love putting a face to a name.

Thursday afternoon revolved around meetings with Penny’s Red Sage editor and publisher, then the Red Sage Coffee Mixer, which was packed!

Friday, more appointments. Met with two agents, one outside of the official RWA appointments. Both meetings went well, however, I was quite dizzy during the official appointment, and I’m not sure how I came across. Like a ditzy brunette? I warned the agent that I wasn’t feeling well and for that same reason I decided not to shake her hand. We hit it off on a personal level (well, I did—maybe she thought I was nuts!), but, as they say, it’s in the writing.

My second agent appointment went swimmingly, if you don’t count that I had a hard time figuring out the message she left on my cell phone about where to meet her, both because there were voices in the background and because my ears were blocked. I scampered up two or three escalators while re-playing the message until I figured out that she was waiting for me at the top of the escalator for the Terrace Something restaurant. Again explained about the illness.

With all these explanations about the illness, I’m now realizing I didn’t actually pitch to any of the agents. We talked about my and Penny’s careers and what single titles I had going for both personas, but only in general terms (ie., erotic romance single title and contemporary romance with a mystery sub-plot). The editor, however, did ask me to read the pitch for the contemporary romance. And read it I had to do. I’d had it memorized, but no way was I relying on my memory with my brain so befuddled by the cold, so I read from my index card, lifting my head every few seconds to make eye contact. The result was the editor asked me to re-send the full of the erotic, which she saw last fall pre-revisions when it was a very hot contemporary, and she asked me to send as much as I have polished of the contemporary with mystery subplot. That’s about half the book. I need to finish a chapter, and then I’ll send her both books in the same package.

Fulfilling the editor and agent requests is my goal for this week. All in all, I received a request for one full and one extended partial from an editor, and requests for 5 partials from 3 agents (two wanted partials of both the erotic and non-erotic story while one agent wanted a partial only from the finished book, which is the erotic). Looking back, I can’t complain.

How about you? Any gripes or raves about conference? How did your editor/agent appointments go? I had grandiose plans to haunt the appointment desk Friday and Saturday and snatch up any skipped or cancelled appointments, however I felt bad enough putting the scheduled agent and editor through my disastrous “pitches” without exposing more industry professionals to my germ-laden self.

Vicki and Nora on Author Talk

Monday, August 11th, 2008

I love Jill Monroe and Gena Showalter’s Author Talks, but this one takes the cake! Make sure to watch all the way to the end.

08-08-08 — And Conference Pictures

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Oooh, I think I’ve mentioned before that I love eights. I know my blog defaults the date to August 8, 2008, so I had to bring attention to the triple eights in the blog title. Note that I also set the blog to post at 8:08 a.m.! Yes, I’m obsessive, but only in a nice way, I assure you.

Today, as promised, I’m posting pictures of Conference. First up, the ChickLit party, held Wednesday night at Annabelle’s Bar and Bistro in the Mosser Hotel across the street from the Marriott (the conference hotel).

Left to Right, Heather Roth, Kelli Estes, and Christina Arbini.

I first met Heather at the ChickLit party in Dallas last year. However, she was Heather Dodge then. Now she’s wearing a bunch of sparkly on her finger that has transmorphed her into Roth. Why is Heather so memorable, you ask? Because she convinced myself and Lexi Connor, among others, to imbibe in Lemon Drops at the bar in Dallas last year until the ungodly hours of the morning. I stayed up way too late and had to wake up at 6 the next morning for a group breakfast. Heather did not get me in her clutches this year, although I was tempted. The tiredness from this damn summer cold was already creeping in.

Kelli is a new ChickLit chapter member and Christina is a member of the Dancing Divas, from way back in Reno (you had to be there).

Thursday Pictures:

Moi and Kathleen Irene Paterka

Kathleen was nice enough to buy a copy of Penny’s first book at the Literacy Autographing for a friend. Kathleen and I have known each other in email for years—how nice to put a face to a name.

 With my Red Sage editor, Theresa Stevens, at the Red Sage Coffee Mixer.

Fellow Red Sage authors, Leigh Court and Mia Varano.

Mia Varano with publisher Alexandria Kendall at the Red Sage author dinner held at Roy’s. Yum!

Mia and I also had dinner together on Tuesday night, plus she made me walk all the way to the Coit Tower Wednesday morning, earning Moi a tiny blister on my pinky toe of right foot that required band-aids for the duration of conference. Bad, bad Mia. However, I must confess, it was my idea to visit the Coit Tower. But! It was her idea to walk. ;)

Friday:

Amber Quill Author Dinner: Karin Story, Natalie Damschroder, and Karin’s mom!

Karin is my editor at Amber Quill. Yes, she’s responsible for the brilliance of my books! Actually, I’m responsible, but she keeps me on the straight and narrow (you didn’t think I’d let her hog all the credit, did you?). Natalie is a fellow Amber Quill author I’ve known on the loops for years. She’s also a fellow Capricorn, which naturally endears her to Moi.

Fellow Amber Quill authors Linda McLaughlin and Caitlyn Willows.

Note that I sport the same squishy-eyed grin in every photo!

I really missed catching up with my buddy, Jamie Sobrato. We were supposed to have dinner Saturday night, but she fell ill and had to cancel. Sob. I did run across her a few times during the conference, but I’m used to seeing her a lot at conference, so now I’m suffering Jamie Withdrawal. Anyone have a cure?

Thanks also to my roomie, Natale Stenzel, for putting up with me (or was that the other way around?) Heh, heh. 

Penny’s First Booksigning

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

In case my faithful (snark!) readers haven’t figured it out by now, “Penny” is my new nickname for my Pen Name, previously known as “Alter Ego.” Alter Ego is two words, and Penny is just one, and my fingers are tired because my brain is exhausted because I am still sick (and, apparently, the master – mistress? – of the run-on sentence), so Penny it/I shall be from now on.

Yes, Penny had her first book signing at the Literacy Autographing at RWA National in San Francisco last Wednesday. I, Cindy, have previously signed at the LA, but this year was Penny’s year to shine. Here she is, putting on a brave face while hoards of fans descend upon the much-more-popular author sitting to her left: 

Note how I unintentionally color-coordinated my blouse to my blog! Now how I also unintentionally color-coordinated my blouse color to the RWA bags, which, may I go on record as saying I did not like in the least (color aside). Every year I save my RWA bag to re-use for other purposes. Not this year. Because, while I admire RWA’s decision to use recycled material for the bag fabric, the result was not what I would term “nice.” My roommate’s bag ripped before the conference was over, so I gave her mine. Can’t remember if she took it home or was just separating stuff for packing. Really, did anyone like this bag? I don’t see the point in supplying bags constructed of recycled material if the bag itself winds up in the garbage.

However, I totally loved the conference name tag holders, so there you go. I’ll live with the bag, which isn’t too difficult seeing as it’s not in my possession any longer.

Faithful blog readers, note that I did not Photoshop out Penny’s name card. I assure you, I have the tools to do so. Most of my faithful readers already know my pen name, anyway, but, for those who don’t, consider this photo a little Easter Egg of sorts. A surprise just for you! So you can, you know, go to Amazon (or your vendor of choice) and order my book! Can’t see the title, you say? Well, I’m not about to give that out, although I will concede that “Volume 21″ and “Secrets,” perhaps even “Primal” and maybe “Heat” figure predominantly…

Why am I trolling for readers to buy Penny’s first book? Because I only had two copies available at the Literacy Autographing. My publisher had sent a full box of books to the hotel for the signing and then had (thank God!) tucked two more copies into a box of another volume. If not for those two copies, I would have been sitting at my station with a “Sold Out!” (snicker) note on Penny’s name card a heckuva lot earlier than I did. Yes, when I sold out of my measly two volumes, I decided to spin it. Technically, I had  “sold out.” And, I tell you, I could have sold more than double the amount I did, I was that popular. Maybe even triple. Yes, maybe six sales might have occurred had I all the books in my possession! At least five sales, that I know for sure.

Anyone reading this who is not an author, believe me, selling five books at a signing is respectable. Unless you’re a much bigger name, like the lovely author to my left (if you were me sitting in this photo), Roxanne St. Claire. She sold out, too, but I think she started with 30 times the copies I did.

Those who missed me or couldn’t find me (you know who you are and that I love you anyway), check under S next time. That’s after you check under P or K in the event I’m signing as Cindy. If I’m ever signing as Cindy, I should be with the P’s, but you never know what might happen. The one year I did sign as Cindy, I was put with the Mc’s. Go figure.

If you’re still reading (don’t I test your patience sometimes?), did you attend the LA? And did you like it? If it was your first time at the LA, what did you think? Pretty overwhelming, huh?

ChickLit party pictures tomorrow. Tally-ho!