Archive for May, 2009

IE 8 Problem Fixed!

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

I’m thrilled to report that, thanks to Vivian Lund of Electric Webs, my issue with Internet Explorer 8 glitching my blog is now fixed. Thank you, Vivian. You’re a gem!

The glitch came along at the right time. The 2007 Golden Heart finalists group, of which I am a member, are gearing up to open a group blog in the middle of June. I had a gander at the design the other day and noticed an IE 8-inspired glitch there as well. We (the management team) alerted the designer, and she fixed it lickety-split.

The Last Scene

Friday, May 29th, 2009

I am writing/revising the last scene of my WIP. Yippee-yahoo! That’s all that needs to be said. There were times I never thought I’d get here. But I’m here. I’m really here! And I like me. I really like me! Er, um, it. I really like it. The book, that is. Until I’m done writing and revising the scene, it’s “not my baby” (as Allie McBeagle would say). So the jury’s still out on whether I actually like the scene or not. Rest assured, I will love it when it’s done.

Phew. What’s going on in your world?

Are Blogs Passé?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Aren’t I fancy with the accent on the passé? Drove me nuts trying to get it to appear. Then I remembered, gotta use the number pad, NOT the keyboard numbers. Yes, when the mind works, it’s a wonderful thing.

Last week, on one of my writing lists, a writer I respect said she feels that blogs are becoming passé, if they aren’t already. That, basically, in this age of social networking (MySpace, Facebook, etc.) and micro-blogging (Twitter, some aspects of Facebook), blogs are no longer the “place to be” (my words, not hers). I’ve been thinking about this. I personally don’t feel that blogs are passé. Yes, I have a MySpace page and I’m on Facebook, but I still feel blogs are a great way for writers to connect with readers and other writers. For one thing, you don’t have to belong to a blogging network in order to read and post on a blog. At least, you don’t have to with WordPress blogs (such as mine). You don’t have to log in. The most you might have to do is enter a bunch of mixed-up letters in a Captcha and provide a valid email address so you aren’t relegated to spam.

Some blogs do require commenters to log in, but it’s not a must across the board, like it is with Facebook and MySpace, etc.

I’m not into MySpace. It was fun in the beginning, but I quickly grew tired of receiving friend requests from people with huge, ungainly layouts that take forever to load (and I’m on cable). I’ll maintain my presence there, but I’m not actively seeking friends on MySpace.

I enjoy Facebook much more than MySpace, and, I admit, I primarily like Facebook because I play FB Scrabble with several writer friends there. Like when I’m eating lunch or printing out pages for a scene I’ve just drafted and need to revise. Or when my mind needs a quick, two-minute break.

Blogs, for me, are easy, because I keep a list of my favorite blogs in my blogroll. A couple times a week, it’s easy to click through and read what my favorite bloggers have been up to. Again, usually, no logging in. If I have to log in to comment on someone’s blog, I’m far less likely to comment.

What about you? Do you prefer blogs or social networking sites like MySpace or micro-blogging sites like Twitter? If you don’t blog, do you feel pressure to blog? (Why?) If you don’t belong to social networking sites, why or why not? Do you feel that you should join? Do you wish the proliferation of social networking sites WOULD JUST STOP so you wouldn’t have to worry about it?

If you weren’t an author, would you have a presence on Facebook or MySpace or Twitter? If you weren’t an author, would you have a blog?

Internet Explorer 8 Argh!!!

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Last night I downloaded Internet Explorer 8 as part of my automatic updates package. Then I visited my blog. Argh, there’s a vertical line to the right of my header. Does anyone else see it?

Also, sometimes when the blog loads, I not only get the vertical line, but graphic elements in the left of the header and around the rollovers are affected, as well. Strangely, when I pass my mouse over the menu rollovers, the graphics correct themselves, and then I only have the aggravating vertical line to the right of my header.

I see IE8 comes with a “Compatability View” button at the top of the browser to the left of the Reload button. If I click this button, I don’t have the issues with the out-of-place graphic elements, I only get the aggravating vertical line. But then what does that mean to other browsers out there? That my blog will look all messed up unless they have clicked that Compatability View button as well.

I’m really not impressed. I’ve updated and checked all my other browsers (Opera, Firefox, SeaMonkey, and Safari) and of course Internet Explorer 8 is the only one that creates this problem. Unfortunately, it’s the predominant browser of use, so I need to ensure my site displays correctly in the dratted IE. Ergh, argh, triple-Bill-the-Cat gack!

I’ve contacted the web designer who did my blog coding for me when I could not manage it myself. Hopefully she can get me out of this mess.

Welcome Guest Blogger Avery Beck

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUNbeck_pic

Two things before we start: first, big thanks to Cindy for inviting me to party at Muse Interrupted on this very special occasion, my virgin release day. And second—well, I already said it. My first published novel, SEXY BY DESIGN, releases TODAY! (Enter a horde of hyperactive emoticons.)

I have to admit I had a lot of trouble coming up with a topic for this post. I kept reading other guest blogs and searching the Web for profound ideas…and that’s when I discovered that my profound idea is my tendency for lighter subjects.

Writing short contemporary romance can feel a bit elementary at times, in a neurotic, am-I-good-enough kind of way. Trust me, completing any piece of novel-length fiction is no easy task, but when someone asks what I write, “short contemporary” doesn’t sound nearly as powerful as dark paranormal (cue scary music) or sweeping historical (wave dainty fan at heaving, corseted chest). I fully expect my first bad review to mention a lack of drama and too many flirty young women.

But that’s not bad—it’s the point! Remember when life didn’t revolve around money, career, marriage, and kid issues? When terrorism and recession weren’t front page news, and all that mattered was the moment the cute guy in class or the stud in the next cubicle made eye contact and left you floating for a week? That’s what my stories are about. I want people to close the books and smile, maybe laugh, and definitely wish those days would happen to them all over again.

beck_designThe choice to write romance—especially series romance, which I’ve always loved—seems to shock people, as though they believe all authors should aspire to tragic and controversial tales intense enough to suit Oprah’s book club or a Hollywood adaptation. While bestsellerdom and a six-figure royalty check would be sweet, I often need to explain to naysayers that I’m not actually aiming for those things—I’m after a steady career that brings an hour or two of happiness to readers’ lives. When I wrote the first draft of SEXY BY DESIGN long ago, I did it for no reason other than fun. Had a vision of a conservative woman frantically sneaking out of a stranger’s apartment after a sorry attempt at her first one-night stand, and wrote it down. (That scene became an unnecessary prologue that eventually got thrown out of the book.)

Despite my certainty that the manuscript was too light, too character-driven, too “just the romance” to make it in an industry demanding edge-of-your-seat conflict (or so it seems at times), that story was the one to pull me out of romance-publishing obscurity. Still, there’s pressure to write something tragic and tear-jerking—and to post technical, intelligent blogs all the time instead of the random thoughts that blow through my mind on any given day.

So, what do you think? Do you like your romance novels with a side of danger or a heavy dose of humor? Should an author keep her online presence all business, or is there a place for girls who, well, just want to have fun?

P.S. If you want to have fun, I’m giving away a (digital) copy of SEXY BY DESIGN to one commenter. Talk to me!

***

Please leave a comment to enter for your chance to to win an ebook of Avery’s SEXY BY DESIGN. Entries accepted until midnight PST.

To read Avery’s bio and the blurb for SEXY BY DESIGN, please see yesterday’s post. To learn more about Avery and her books, please visit her website.

Avery Beck Visits Tomorrow!

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Tomorrow I’m hosting two-time Golden Heart finalist and debut Samhain author Avery Beck. Avery’s giving away an ebook of her very first book, SEXY BY DESIGN (yoo-hoo!). Be sure to drop by to help Avery celebrate her release day and to comment to enter for your chance to win an ebook of SEXY BY DESIGN.

Blurb for SEXY BY DESIGN:

One night of anonymous sex. Zero consequences. At least, that was the plan.

Dumped for another woman, Bree Jamison buries her white-picket-fence dreams—and her naturally shy demeanor—for a contract job behind the scenes of an erotic cyberstore. Her new life comes with a sexy public persona, and a driving ambition to earn a permanent position with the company.

On the day she’s prepared to present her best work, she’s shocked to discover her future depends on impressing her only one-night stand. The one man who could blow her cover and ruin everything.

Evan climbed out of poverty with sarcasm on his tongue and a ring in his eyebrow. He can’t believe the vixen in front of him is the same woman who fumbled her way through their single botched encounter. Her offer for a do-over is an opportunity he can’t pass up, not only to secure his reputation, but to satisfy his curiosity about the one woman he couldn’t please.

In a bedroom full of the company’s products, fiery arguments lead to experimentation—and then to a passion that strips away their masks. In that vulnerable place, their troubled pasts collide, baring secrets that force Evan into a hard decision. And Bree back on the road to heartbreak…

Sounds scrumptious!

About Avery:beck_pic

Two-time Golden Heart® finalist Avery Beck has crafted compelling fiction since age five, when she played school with her best friend and sent home a “teacher’s note” that got the poor girl in trouble.

It seems natural that her two passions, writing and studying relationships, have found an outlet in romance novels. She is fascinated with exploring the something that draws two people together, and she hopes to share with readers the humor, fun, drama, and best of all, joy of falling in love.

Avery writes short, sexy contemporaries and believes life is not complete without the pursuit of dreams and an intense roll in the hay…or wherever one feels inclined to roll.

Visit her at www.averybeck.com.

Whipping the WIP

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Or is it whipping me?

Lesson Learned: Never announce on a public forum that you WILL have your work in progress finished by such-and-such date. Because unless you’re working to an editor-set deadline and have no choice but to deliver the project by said date, odds are something will happen to trip you up. Trip me up, anyway.

I’m still writing and revising the last few scenes of my mystery romance. No excuses, really, other than Elle Muse kept wanting me to change the villain at the last moment. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to change the villain, but because she kept hankering about it, of course I had to spend tons of subconscious thought time subconscious-thinking about it. Not to mention the additional conscious thinking time. I don’t know about you, but all that subconscious- and conscious-thinking time impacts on my writing progress. In the end, I went with my original villain. Thanks a lot, Elle Muse!

Then, as a result of the crappy economy, My Liege has begun working four-day weeks, using his amassed holidays to enjoy wonderful long weekends every weekend. Which is great! But when everyone else in the family is having a long weekend, it’s much harder to treat Mondays like work days.

Eldest Son returned home from university two or three weeks ago. He started his summer job on Tuesday, and Youngest Son began his college summer session last week. So, as of this week, with both kids absent from the house during the days, and with the little exception of having M.L. around Monday mornings (he usually golfs in the late mornings, so I can get some work done then), I’m finally back to making decent headway on this book. If I weren’t wise enough to follow my own advice, I might even declare that I WILL finish writing/revising this book by the end of next week. But I’m not that foolish, no. You’ll just have to keep checking in and see.

So, about the American Idol finale last night. Kris Allen won, as my buddy Shelinda predicted. I expected him to win, just like last year I expected David Archuleta to win. But I was still hoping Adam Lambert would win, just like last year I hoped David Cook would win (and he did!). I wished Kris had shown a bit more excitement about winning. Instead, he appeared to be in shock and did that Aw-shucks-it-should-have-been-Adam thing. You won, buddy! Soak it up!

Skinning

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Happened upon Erin McCarthy’s website the other day. I’ve read several of her Bravas and am a fan of her voice. Noticed something cool on the website. Her designer has enabled “skinning.” That’s when the browser (as in person) has the ability to click a button to change website designs or “skins.” I thought that was very cool. Take a look and tell me what you think (McCarthy’s skinning options are under Mix it Up! below Contact Erin.) I’ve seen this done on blogs before, although usually not writer’s blogs. But I can’t remember seeing it on an author’s site before.

What are your thoughts? Should an author make up her mind and stick with one design? Do you like the option of changing the skin to suit your tastes? I’m asking because I design my own websites, and often I’m very torn between color combinations. Personally, I doubt I would go as far as to change designs completely—too much work on the design end for this puppy. Actually, I have no clue how to enable skinning, either. But on an aesthetic level, I thought it was pretty cool that Erin’s designer did this for her (that’s Liz Bemis of Bemis Promotions, by the way.)

Sunday Walks

Monday, May 18th, 2009

My Liege and I love to take long walks with Allie McBeagle on the weekends. We’re blessed with amazing views a very short distance from our house. It doesn’t get much better than this!

lake

lake_dog

She stepped in cactus a moment later… Yelp!

Dorchester Accepting Electronic Subs

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Dorchester Publishing is now accepting electronic submissions. For details, visit Romantic Reads by Dorchester editor Leah Hultenschmidt.