Archive for February, 2009

Updated Kevan Lyon Interview

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

I’ve updated my interview with agent Kevan Lyon to reflect the opening of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency with Jill Marsal, both formerly of Sandra Dijkstra.

Their new website is now open, and they are taking electronic queries—always a plus.

Click here to read the interview.

Click here to check out their new website.

May the queries begin.

Good luck, everyone. And thank you to Ms. Lyon for graciously agreeing to update the interview. My best wishes for the new agency’s success!

Moderation Frustration

Friday, February 27th, 2009

This Wednesday, about 80% of the comments left for Natale Stenzel’s guest blog went to moderation. Very frustrating! I don’t know what happened, but I’m hosting four guest bloggers in March and I really don’t want to deal with an 80% moderation rate again. I know a comment will go to moderation if the writer includes a long signature file, some sort of list or more than one link (actually, if you leave more than one link, your comment will go to spam rather than moderation), or if a writer leaves two or three comments in quick succession (which is why I allow my guest bloggers to log in). However, Wednesday, we had one sig file go to moderation, a couple from the guest when she forgot to log in first, and then all hell broke loose and suddenly every comment required my approval.

Something signaled my spam filter to go crazy Wednesday. I’m hoping it was a temporary aberration, but if you’re reading this, do me a favor and leave a comment so I can test it out. Thanks!

Kevan Lyon Opens Her Own Agency

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

No sooner do I post an interview with agent Kevan Lyon on my Articles page than she opens her own agency! From Publishers Lunch:

Agents Jill Marsal and Kevan Lyon have left the Sandra Dijkstra Agency to form the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Marsal was at the Dijkstra agency for eight years and practiced as an attorney representing authors prior to that. Lyon spent four years at Dijkstra and worked in the wholesale and distribution side of the publishing business for over 17 years before becoming an agent.

Being the resourceful sort that I am, however, I’ve already been in contact with Ms. Lyon and will update the interview this weekend. I’ll post here next week when it’s up.

Welcome Guest Blogger Natale Stenzel

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

stenzel_picMUST THE SHOES ALSO BE CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE?

No man will ever understand the pain of childbirth (unless medical science advances beyond what he should wish); a scuffed favorite shoe (okay, maybe); or nail polish remover making contact with an exposed cuticle (owowowowowowie!). That’s just how it is. Biology and eons of socializing. Sucks for us as women. But we can make it suck worse for them *eg*.

Okay, seriously, and perhaps less feloniously, let’s talk shoes. Not my shoes. Not your shoes. Daphne’s shoes. Daphne is fictional, but I like Daphne and I hope others like Daphne, too. She’s the heroine in my latest release, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE (Dorchester Love Spell ~ Feb. 24, 2009), and life really sucks for her in a way that most just cannot understand. You see, she has a plan that’s been in the making for as long as she can remember. Freedom. The woman just wants to take control of her life at last.

As an only child of feuding and exiled Druids—the dethroned king and queen of the weirdo cult, in her opinion—all she wants is to start a life far away. She wants to work and live among normal people who live in blissful ignorance of the existence of magic-wielding Druids, shape-shifting pucas, and temperamental faeries. And guess what? At long last, she has that new accounting job, that sleek new apartment, that new and utterly normal life lined up and waiting for her all the way on the other side of the continent. And she bought herself a new pair of shoes to go with her new life. Now, the stenzel_rock_coverwoman’s no spendthrift or name-brand fashionista. She’s just an ordinary girl who usually wears sensible, low-heeled pumps to her sensible job in her sensible life. But these…well, these were those red-hot, patent leather, nosebleed-high heels that encourage even a mild-mannered woman to cop an attitude and live a life worthy of wearing them.

Dream shoes.  More importantly, freedom shoes. And now—right now—she’s wearing them…

I guess I don’t need to tell you that all of this was destined to blow up in her face—and all over her beautifully shod feet. A stray thunk with no ordinary cornerstone and suddenly Daphne’s a non-practicing but hereditary Druid wielding puca powers and trying to suppress a lifetime’s worth of rage. Life gets a little messy. Not only do the Druids not let her leave town now that she’s wielding undisciplined shape-shifting and mind control powers—a virtual powder keg just waiting for a stray spark to incite flaming chaos—but now those precious shoes are ruined, just like her plans are. Can’t you feel it? The frustrated rage?  Well, Daphne feels it and she’s going to make darn sure that enigmatic nature spirit Tremayne pays at least a little for it as well. You see, he’s the guy charged with helping her learn how to control her powers or, failing that, destroying her in order to protect everyone else.

Tremayne, however, understands on a soul-deep level her need for freedom. That, plus growing feelings for her—and a little thing like her being the key to his own future—might save her hide as well as his. Those shoes, however, are another matter.

So tell me. Do you have anything like Daphne’s freedom shoes? Or just a favorite pair? How have you celebrated a new direction or milestone in your life? I’m easy. Leave a comment. In celebration of my recent release, I’m giving away to one lucky commenter a free copy of either PANDORA’S BOX (Dorchester Love Spell, Feb. 2008) or THE DRUID MADE ME DO IT (Dorchester Love Spell, August 2008). Both are prequels to BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE. Winner gets to pick.

(Thanks for having me here today, Cindy!)

***

You’re welcome! You heard the lady, folks. Leave a comment to enter to win one of Natale’s prequels to BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE. Entries accepted until midnight Pacific Standard time.

To read Natale’s bio, plus the back cover copy and a fantastic 4.5 Star review from Romantic Times for BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE, please see yesterday’s post (arranged, quite cleverly, right below this one).

To learn more about Natale and her books, please visit her website.

Natale Stenzel Blogging Tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Please join me tomorrow to welcome Natale Stenzel, author of funny paranormal romances for Dorchester Love Spell, to the blog. BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE, Natale’s third in a series, recently received 4.5 Stars from Romantic Times BOOKReviews! Whoot-whoot, Natale.

The reviewer says BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE is “full of magic, familiar faces, some humor, some mystery, hot sex and wonderful characters. This is a story created to be read quickly yet savored slowly….” Yum, yum. Don’t mind if I do.

Also, please note that Natale really loves E’s. She loves ’em so much that somehow, while still in utero, she convinced her mother to spell Natale without a dratted I, thereby drawing attention to the E. Yes! A woman after my own heart (I had to get a plug for Procter spelled with an E in there somewhere).

But enough about E’s. Here’s the back cover copy for BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE:

Daphne Forbes always knew the world was an odd place. Unlike most CPAs, she grew up the daughter of a druid. Unlike her father, she eschewed the supernatural. But magic was coming to trip her up. In the form of an enchanted cornerstone, it was set to knock Daphne’s socks off—or at least one of her shoes—and the rest of her clothes were soon to follow.

Magic filled Daphne, empowered her, shifted her shape and raged wild as a summer storm. Enter Tremayne. Whether the tormented newcomer was truly her guardian or something more sinister, one thing he wanted was clear. Daphne wanted him, too. She had spent her whole life with control but little power; this was just the opposite. She was suddenly between a magic stone and…someplace harder. And we’re not (just) talking about Tremayne’s abs.

Natale’s blog, Must the Shoes Also be Caught BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE?, is a hoot. Not to be missed. Says me. And you all know I must be obeyed.

Tomorrow, please leave a comment or question for Natale to enter to win a copy of your choice of either PANDORA’S BOX or THE DRUID MADE ME DO IT, both prequels to BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE.

About Natale:stenzel_pic

An avid reader and an incurable writer, Natale Stenzel has sold seven books for publication so far. The latest three are a series of funny paranormal romances published by Dorchester Love Spell. PANDORA’S BOX, the first book in the series, was released in February 2008; THE DRUID MADE ME DO IT was an August 2008 release; and a third book, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE, is scheduled for release in March 2009. Prior to the paranormal romance series, she wrote four books for Harlequin’s now defunct Flipside line of romantic comedies. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Natale earned degrees in English literature and magazine journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Currently, she resides in Richmond, Virginia, with a husband, two kids and a shamefully spoiled hound.

To learn more about Natale and her books, please visit her website.

Oscars Recap

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I lurvvvve the Oscars. I can’t recall a year I haven’t looked forward to watching them, although getting “the big TV” for Oscar night—all night, without interruptions—can sometimes be a challenge. However, this year, My Liege happens to be off on his annual golfing trip, and unfortunately for Youngest Son, I commandeered “the big TV” last night (it’s really big).

I thought I’d offer my thoughts on Oscar night. Big problem, however—I haven’t seen most of the films that were honored. As a story teller, I luuuurvvvve movies, but I live in a town that doesn’t usually get Oscar-nominated movies until way after Oscar night. Does anyone live in a city, where, if you wished, you could watch every Best Picture nominated film before the Oscars?

Okay, let’s start. Number one, the Host: Hugh Jackman. Now, I always love me some Hugh. I’m a Wolverine fan, and who doesn’t want to just squish him to pieces in that old film with Ashley Judd? (The title escapes me at the moment). Mr. Jackman starred on Broadway a year or so ago, so I figured he could sing and dance. But I hadn’t realized just how amazingly well he can sing and dance. Reminded me of when My Liege and I saw Antonio Banderas perform in a Broadway production of Nine the last time RWA National was held in New York. I’d seen the movie version of Avita, so I knew Antonio Banderas could sing and dance, but seeing his talent live, on stage (especially when you’re sitting in the first or second row) is amazing.

Back to Hugh. I’d lurrrrve to see him on Broadway. Hugh, would you mind appearing in a Broadway musical next time RWA National is in New York? (2011, in case you or your agent is reading).

Number two, the Format. I lurrrrved the format. I lurrrrrved how they really honored the Best Supporting Actress/Actor and Best Actress/Actor categories by speaking directly to each nominee. For me, the format especially drew attention to the Best Supporting Actress nominees—because usually that category is announced before I’ve realized the Oscars have started.

Best Supporting Actress: I’m bad, I didn’t write down all the names. All I knew as I heard them read off was that the only performance I’ve seen was Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona, which I just rented last week. I lurrrrrrrrved Penelope Cruz in her role, so I’m very glad that she won.

Best Supporting Actor: I actually had a prediction for this category (who didn’t?). Heath Ledger. I luuuuuuuurved him in The Dark Knight. However, I also lurrrrrrved Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder. Yes, I actually saw two films nominated in this category!

The only other nomination I recall was Philip Seymour Hoffman, because I think he is such an amazing talent, and while I haven’t yet seen Doubt, I have no doubt that he did an amazing job. He always does. Mr. Hoffman is another whirlwind of the stage My Liege and I were lucky enough to see on Broadway. He played alongside Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Dennehy, and he wiped the stage with them. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

So my prediction—Heath Ledger—came true. The big question (perhaps) in some people’s minds is, would Mr. Ledger have won Best Supporting Actor for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight if he hadn’t passed away? Well, I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care. I luuuuuurved Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in Tropic Thunder and think it was every bit as good as Heath Ledger’s. But Mr. Downey already has an Oscar and the opportunity to win several more in his lifetime, which I’m sure he will. So if the Academy wanted to honor Heath Ledger with a post-humous Oscar, I was all for it. That lizard tongue alone was worth it.

Best Actress: I didn’t have a prediction for this category, and last night I realized, quite sadly, that I haven’t seen any of the films. Not a one. But I lurrrve Kate Winslet, and I luuuuurve Meryl Streep, so either of them winning would have done it for me. Ms. Winslet won, and good for her. I can’t wait to see The Reader, and I’m sure she more than deserves it.

Best Actor: My prediction? Mickey Rourke. Years ago, he was a fantastic talent, and who doesn’t love a good come-back story? I thought for sure he would win. Now, I haven’t seen The Wrestler yet. Of the films honored in this category, the only one I’ve seen is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and, while I enjoyed it, I didn’t understand what all the hype was about, so I didn’t expect it to win in this category or in Best Picture.

Sean Penn won, for his performance in Milk. He’s a truly gifted actor. I luuuuuurve him in about every performance I’ve seen (save, possibly, that movie with Madonna). So I can’t wait to see Milk.

Best Picture: My prediction? Slumdog Millionaire. No, I haven’t seen it—it just arrived in town the other night, so I haven’t had a chance. But it won at The Golden Globes, it’s received a ton of excellent press, and Maureen McGowan recommended it. Who am I to argue with my buddy Maureen? After all, she was right about Across The Universe, so I trust her judgement.

There you have it. I thoroughly enjoyed my night at the Oscars. How about you? Do you watch the show? Do you enjoy it? Did your favorite nominees win? Will you go out of your way to catch the nominated films in theaters or on DVD?

Which nominated film do you most look forward to seeing? For me, despite my prediction, it’s Frost/Nixon and The Reader. Frost/Nixon because I’ve watched part of the real interviews on DVD with Eldest Son, and because I remember when that whole mess was occurring. The Reader I look forward to because the story is so compelling, and I think we’ve already established that I lurrrrrrve Kate Winslet. I also look forward to Milk. Heck, I look forward to them all.

A Day in the Life of…Diana Duncan

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Seeing as I’m still on Vision Leave, I’m sharing this link to Sia McKye’s blog. My buddy Diana Duncan posted a hilarious “Day in the Life of a Romance Writer” blog. Enjoy.

P.S. Yes, I am managing to work on the WIP, for which I am most thankful.

P.P.S. In case I don’t return before next week, don’t forget that Natale Stenzel, author of funny paranormal romances from Dorchester Publishing, is guest-blogging here November 25th. That’s next Wednesday. The promo post will go up Tuesday. See you then.

The Eyes Have It

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I’m having issues with my vision, so am limiting my computer time this week. Might not be hanging around here much—the WIP must come first. And hopefully I can manage that.

My vision has always been important to me. When you’ve worn glasses since 10 and probably could have used them at 9, it’s safe to say your vision is precious. As a writer, having vision problems naturally makes it very difficult to write! So, next to my brain, of course, which houses my creativity, my vision is my most important writing tool. I mean, I could go deaf and still write without any problems. I could lose my sense of smell and hopefully rely on memory or an excellent beta reader to help me through scent descriptions. My hands? Yes, I need them to touch, so if I lost my sense of…sensation, I guess I’d have to look at the keyboard to make sure I was typing the right letters. However, overall, the eyes have it.

Which is your most precious sense?

Utter Foolishness

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Yes, it’s utter foolishness. No, I don’t care. Allie McBeagle and The Evil Entity (a.k.a. Keisha) now have their own Facebook pages. Check ’em out! (You might have to be a Facebook friend of mine to see them).

Who Loves Ya, 13?

Friday, February 13th, 2009

I had a different post planned for today, but then I glanced at the calendar and realized—it’s Friday the 13th! And, guess what? We get another Friday the 13th in March, mwahaha.

Thirteen is my favorite number. It has to be. My birthday is January 13th, which, if you continue counting after December (and who wouldn’t?) is the 13th day of the 13th month. As I was lamenting to someone the other day, sadly, though, I was not born at 1 p.m., which would have made me a 13th hour, 13th day, 13th month baby. Nope, I was born in the evening. Irritation sets in!

For years, I thought I was born on a Friday the 13th, because my father was working out of town, only coming home twice a week, every Wednesday and Friday. My mother assured me that I was born Friday the 13th. The year I was 13, I found out, however, that I was born on a Wednesday. Yes, I’m a child of woe, which pretty much describes my adolescence and can account for all the characters who came to foul ends in my teenage short stories.

I have a brother and a sister born on the so-called “lucky” dates of 7 and 11, so you can imagine the ribbing I received over the years that I was born on the supposedly unlucky date of us three. Now, as an adult, I’m closest to the sibling who was born on a plain ol’ nothing fancy date. That’ll teach the other two.

How do feel about Friday the 13th? Are you superstititious? Do you avoid all things 13? Will you not read my books now that you’ve found out I love 13?