Archive for October, 2009

Miss Me?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I’ve been locked out of my website since Monday night when I couldn’t remember the password for one of my domain email addresses, the one that’s supposed to forward email from my blog to my personal email addy. I’m finally back on-line.

However, I’m still having a problem with two domain emails not forwarding to my personal email addy. My ISP has blocked them as spam. This means I don’t get any notifications of comments unless I pop over to the blog to visit, and I don’t get any of my Facebook notifications or fan email unless I remember to visit the webmail versions of my domain email address. It’s very aggravating.

When I designed this website and Penny’s site, I made sure to only have an email address on one page (the Contact page), to cut down on spam. And then I used an email addy jumbler. But it doesn’t seem to have helped. After about 18 months, the spammers found a way to use my addies anyway. Or maybe it’s because I use both domain addies on Facebook and MySpace, and they got to them that way. Whatever, my personal ISP currently likes Penny’s email but not Cindy’s email. I’m trying very hard to remember to check Cindy’s webmail at least once a week, if not more often. But the whole thing ticks me off.

When I get a chance, I’ll replace my email jumblers on both websites’ Contact pages with an image of my domain email addresses. Maybe that will help.

I’ve had one of those weeks where issues like this have chewed up a lot of my writing time, so you won’t see me around here until next week. I’m hosting guest blogger and historical romance author Anthea Lawson on Tuesday, November 3rd, and she’s giving away three books! She’s giving two books to the first name I draw (rather, that the Randomizer draws…) and then she’s giving a second copy of her new release to another lucky commenter! So make sure to pop by on Tuesday for double the chance to win.

What Weekend?

Monday, October 26th, 2009

My last two or three weekends have been so busy, it’s almost felt like I haven’t had weekends at all. Know what I mean? Being sick throughout one of those weekends didn’t help—all the work I’d intended to accomplish then was postponed. The good news is I think (hope?) I’m finally caught up.

Last Thursday and Friday I glommed researching universities for Youngest Son for next year. I always get waaaaaaaaayyyy too caught up in research, whether it’s for writing or another purpose. But it had to be done. Then, a lot of bookkeeping (5 months’ worth…I’ve been procrastinating) for myself, plus helping someone else set up books for a new business (not that I’m much help, but I had to be there). By the time Sunday rolled around, I was sooooo ready for pizza with pepperoni, feta cheese and black olives (yum!), hot wings, and hours of TV. Now that I’ve overdosed on Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, The Amazing Race, Dexter, and the finale for So You Think You Can Dance Canada, I’m feeling refreshed! Can’t beat the idiot box for releasing stress.

A girl named Tara-Jean won SYTYCD. I was rooting for her—and also the runner-up, Vincent (say it with a French Canadian accent), a very talented 20-year-old. Also, Saturday night, My Liege and I watched a couple of movies on the DVR. I fell asleep during “his” movie, then both of us enjoyed Renee Zellwegger and Harry Connick Jr. in NEW IN TOWN. Classic romantic comedy. When it was done, My Liege said, “Now I know why you like these kinds of movies. They make you feel good.” Yep. Well stated, My Liege.

How was your weekend? Do you ever feel like you can never accomplish enough on the weekends? Or are you one of that special breed of people who actually uses weekends to relax?

I have great plans to relax next weekend—and not because illness is forcing me to. Nope, I have nothing more stressful on my calendar than handing out Halloween candy and watching fireworks over a glittering lake while I stand on the beach with my husband and a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

Musical Editors

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

I found out the other day that the editor in Japan who bought the manga rights to HEAD OVER HEELS has left the publisher. The publication will go along as planned, except now I still have no idea—and probably never will—how the editor became interested in my book.

Dear Amazing Editor with Fantastic Taste:

Thank you for finding my book and contacting my agent in Japan, who contacted the scouting agency in New York, who contacted Amber Quill Press, who contacted me, resulting in the sale. While I regret that I will never know what prompted your request for foreign rights, I’m so glad you did! And, wow, your former bosses are efficient, too. I received the advance check weeks before the date stipulated in the contract. It’s sitting nice and cozy in my bank account. A completely rewarding experience.

I’m looking forward to seeing the manga version of HEAD OVER HEELS and am thanking my good fortune that we somehow-or-other crossed paths.

Best,

Subservient (in another lifetime) Writer

Dear Blog Readers:

No, you don’t get a letter, just an observation. Which basically amounts to that editors seem to play musical chairs as much in other countries as they do in the U.S. When you consider the factor of Being In The Right Place At The Right Time, I’m feeling very blessed.

So often, timing has worked against me. For once, it worked for me. Yippee-ki-ee.

Except now I’m feeling paranoid that maybe the original editor didn’t mean to buy my rights. Maybe he bought them by accident and got fired for it. Maybe I’ve inadvertently kiboshed his career!

Should I feel guilty?

Redirect Test Request

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

A couple months ago, I began having problems (on my end) with www.museinterrupted.com redirecting (or pointing) to www.cindyprocter-king.com/blog. This began after an update to Internet Explorer 8, the web browser I most frequently use. I didn’t always use IE. I used to be a steadfast Netscape Navigator user. So you’d think I would have gravitated to Firefox rather than going backward to IE. It’s the web designing that got me using IE again, simply because, at the time that I redesigned this site and built one for Penny, it was the most popular browser and therefore it was (and still is) very important for me to ensure that my websites look decent on IE.

I am trying to remember to use Firefox, and soon hopefully I can turn my IE habit into a Firefox one (I’m more inclined to use Firefox now that the Facebook Scrabble game isn’t glitching on the browser like it was for me all summer). When I do use Firefox, I don’t have a problem with the redirect to my blog not working. I type www.museinterrupted.com into the browser, and it brings me here like it’s supposed to.

I need some testing from my blog readers so I can learn if this is just a glitch on my end or for others as well. If you use Internet Explorer 8, how do you usually arrive at my blog? Via www.cindyprocter-king.com/blog or via www.museinterrupted.com? If you type in the latter with IE 8, do you get a Page Can Not Load Error (or a variation thereof)? I’m assuming IE 7 doesn’t have the problem, because I never encountered it before I upgraded to IE 8. However, if you have the issue with IE 7 or any other browser, please let me know in the comments section. Thank you!

When I’m talking about my blog on other sites or Facebook, etc., I find it so much easier to refer to www.museinterrupted.com, not only because it’s a shorter URL but because then I don’t have to worry about browsers mistakenly typing a dastardly second O into my name (as in Proctor-King, excuse me while I barf), which definitely won’t bring them here.

Please test by opening a new window and typing www.museinterrupted.com into the window at the top. Don’t test by clicking on the Muse Interrupted links within this post, because, strangely, when I preview this blog post the darn links work. It’s when I type the URL into the browser window that I get the error messages on IE 8.

Thanks!

Welcome Guest Blogger Linda Wisdom

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Going Hexywisdom_pic

Thanks to Cindy for having me here to talk about what makes people remember your books.

One fun part with all the hex titles is that they’re a fun play on blurbs and I tend to make use of it.

Another nice thing is it has the readers remembering the books. Exciting characters also help such as my magic bunny slippers, Fluff and Puff and snarky gargoyle, Horace. They’re excellent counterparts for the witches. Sure, we’ve got the sexy males, but there’s nothing like comic relief.

Over my years in writing I’ve enjoyed writing humorous romance, and the few paranormals I wrote were a blast, but what I’m writing now is like a roller coaster ride.

wisdom_hex_heelsAny paranormal reader will tell you they have incredible choices in the genre. That means we writers have those same choices. I mixed up a witch with a vampire in 50 WAYS TO HEX YOUR LOVER and HEX APPEAL. A witch and wizard in WICKED BY ANY OTHER NAME and a witch and Were Border collie in HEX IN HIGH HEELS. My witches carry their charge cards in one hand and witch flame in the other.

They’re close friends, loyal to the max and always ready to help out each other. I value my friends and I think what I’ve done is give them all a witchy persona. Another good thing about writing paranormal. Anything can be done. I decided the Were didn’t have to be a wolf but a dog, because Border collies are just darn cute.

That’s my mix of characters and creatures. Ones that are fun to work with. Ones that I know I’d like to hang out with and I hope my readers feel the same way.

Blair, my latest witch, is sassy, gifted in the art of revenge, and ready to exact justice for anyone who’s been wronged. She’s ready for romance; so no wonder she’s actively pursing local hunky handyman/Were Border collie Jake Harrison. She deals with gross elves you’d never see in Santa’s workshop, villainous Weres who also happen to be Jake’s family members, and Fluff and Puff without breaking a nail. And when those Weres throw down a nasty spell on Jake, be sure that Blair does her best to save her guy from the unthinkable.

That’s what my witches do. And why they’re so much fun to write and so real to me. Probably why my bunny slippers never seem to be where I left them!

What about you? What do you love in paranormal books?

Linda

***

Please leave a comment to enter to win a copy of HEX IN HIGH HEELS. To read the back cover copy, Linda’s bio, and my FCC Blahblahblah, please visit yesterday’s post.

To learn more about Linda and her books, please visit her website!

Linda Wisdom Guest Blogs Tomorrow!

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Paranormal romance author and two-time RITA™ finalist Linda Wisdom visits the blog tomorrow! Linda’s blogging about what makes readers remember your books and is giving away a copy of her October release by Sourcebooks Casablanca, HEX IN HIGH HEELS. Be there, or be…not there. But it’s no fun if you’re not there. So definitely be there! Or here, as it were. Ahem.

Back Cover Copy for HEX IN HIGH HEELS:

Fourth in the popular, light paranormal romance series by an author whose books have sold 13 million copies.

In this sexy, funny paranormal romance by bestselling author Linda Wisdom, it’s all beautiful witch Blair Fitzpatrick can do to keep a lid on her talent for revenge spells, but things are about to get a lot more complicated…

Blair loves running her vintage shop and hanging out with witchy friends Stasi and Jazz. She’s forever had a crush on hunky carpenter Jake Harrison, whose Were nature (he’s a Border collie) makes him loyal, lovable, and fierce when need be. Just as sparks are beginning to fly, Blair is served with a big surprise when Jake’s mother shows up along with his pack leader, who threatens to make Jake heel! When the alpha does the unthinkable, Blair is pushed over the edge. No one messes with her boyfriend-to-be, even if he does shed on the furniture!

About Linda:wisdom_pic

Linda Wisdom was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California. She majored in Journalism in college then switched her major to Fashion Merchandising when she was told there was no future for her in fiction writing. She held a variety of positions ranging from retail sales to executive secretary in advertising and working for a personnel agency.

Her career began when she sold her first two novels to Silhouette Romance on her wedding anniversary in 1979. Since then she has sold more than seventy novels and one novella to four different publishers. Her books have appeared on various romance and mass market bestseller lists and nominated for a number of Romantic Times awards and Romance Writers of America Rita Award.

She lives with her husband, Bogie, her spoiled rotten Chihuahua/Yorkie, Barney, also spoiled mini white Schnauzer, Syd, an equally spoiled parrot in Murrieta, California, and Florence, her tortoise with attitude.

A number of Linda’s book backlist, including her Hex paranormal series, has been optioned for film and television.

For more information about Linda and her books, please visit her website.

***

FCC BlahBlahBlah:

Muse Interrupted Guest Bloggers is provided as a forum for readers to learn about new releases and authors. I do not request nor receive free copies of my guest bloggers’ books for my own reading pleasure in exchange for appearing on my blog. I don’t review the books, either. ‘Nuff said.

Fonciful

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I’m obsessed with fonts. One of the reasons I could never be a professional web designer is that I waste (um, invest?) hours and hours of time searching for just the right font for a site. I love fonts! Can you imagine how my obsession would reflect on an hourly-basis invoice? I’d have to charge a flat rate for font research.

Of course, I might not be as obsessive about choosing fonts for other people. Choosing for myself, though…it’s a sickness.

I can’t begin to describe how many fonts I browsed for my site re-design (accomplished in May 2008 or thereabouts). I narrowed down to about 20 over a period of 6 hours or so of browsing and testing (not kidding), then narrowed down again from there. I think I remember choosing my Cindy Procter-King name font from a short-short-short list of 3. I wound up buying 3-5 fonts and then kept playing with them until I made my decision.

One of the fonts I didn’t choose for this site, I wound up using on Penny’s site. But my work doesn’t stop there. Because I often like to have a secondary, complementary font (the font on my buttons, for instance). Choosing one font is bad enough. Choosing two = triple the obsession.

I’ve yet to use two of the fonts I purchased when I redesigned this site and built Penny’s. But I don’t mind. Sometimes I go into my Fonts folder and gaze at them longingly, spinning new web designs around them in my mind.

My favorite site for buying fonts is My Fonts (no, they didn’t pay or ask me to say this). The site is easy to navigate, and once you choose a font to test you can type your name or other wording into a window, click, then see what the font might look like on your site. Easy-peasy!

At Fontifier, you can upload a sample of your handwriting and create your own personalized font! I haven’t tried this myself. I have crappy handwriting and know better than to unleash it on the world. It’s the fault of the elementary school I attended. For reasons that are not clear to me, they decided not to teach a few grades of us cursive writing. Instead, we learned “script.” I do believe an exchange teacher from Australia foisted this experiment upon us. “Script” was supposed to look like beautiful calligraphy, but in the hands of 8- and 9-year-olds, it looks like printing with checkmarks on the end (serifs). The result was that, even as a teenager, I didn’t know how to write. I printed. I still mainly print (when I want someone to be able to read what I’m writing). And I’m all over the map. I do two different types of E’s (capital and lower case), depending on my mood. Same with S’s. And F’s (lower case only).

I did have to teach myself to cursive write when I opened a bank account as a teen and they wanted a signature. I remember going with a friend who “signed” her name like straight up and down printing with tick marks at the end of each letter—at the age of 15. Not for me!

I have the worst signature in the world. YOU try signing Cindy Procter-King over and over and over and over and see what it winds up looking like.

I could be a doctor.

I blame my two summers as a meter maid. I learned to sign Cindy Procter without really looking at the pad (I was too busy darting the glares of annoyed drivers).

I blame my children. Eldest Son was such a rambunctious toddler that I didn’t dare take my eyes off him while signing checks in the grocery store or the bank (young mothers don’t realize how easy they have it with debit cards—no signing!). So my cursive handwriting grew worse and worse.

Dare I say I’m the only one who can read it? (Curiously, my critique partners blame me).

If anyone tries the Fontifier, let me know how it turns out.

(Yes, I do believe they began teaching cursive writing at my elementary school again after I left…fat lot of good it did me).

Tell Me Tuesday

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

I haven’t done one of these in a while…

That was one loooooooonggggggg weekend. Youngest Son arrived Thursday morning, and we just dropped him off at the airport again last night. Had a wonderful visit, and Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ Sunday went off without a hitch. Now it’s back to work! I’m happy to report that (I think) I’m finally getting a grasp on the revisions for my single title. My mind really struggled with them all of last week. It’s nice what good a little break can do.

I also entered Penny’s December ’09 Secrets novella, KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT, in the RITA yesterday. The RITA was open to entries from major-a.k.a.-RWA-eligible publishers for the last three weeks, but just opened up to entries from non-vanity/non-subsidy-but-otherwise-non-RWA-eligible-publishers yesterday (ie. mainly e-pubs, which includes Red Sage now even though the Secrets print anthologies have been around for years and were always considered RWA-eligible or whatever the vernacular was at the time, until Red Sage opened an epub division and had to bow out of RWA-eligible status because of the whole low-advance thingie for the ebooks). I had no clue when I went to enter if the RITA was full up yet or not. So I was glad to get in. Not that Penny’s novellas tend to do well in the RITAs. They don’t. They get good (dare I say great, like 4 stars from Romantic Times?) reviews and my readers seem to enjoy them, but all that hot sex…that’s my excuse for them not doing well in RITA, and I’m sticking to it, LOL.

KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT began life as a sexy novella targeted to the now dearly departed Legendary Editor of Kensington Brava. In the first version, the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine didn’t begin until about 75% through the story, although there were lots of sparks. When that sale…didn’t occur (I won’t go into details other than that the editor no longer felt the love for the hero and the story concept)…I submitted the story as was to my first Secrets editor. She told me she loved it and was sending it up the line for approval—just when she was leaving her position to focus on her own writing career. Somehow, the submission went…awry…I was assigned a new editor and told to re-sub the story. I did, and received a form rejection. What a blow! After my first editor wanted to buy it, that set me back. So I emailed the new editor and asked for details, upon which she informed me that it needed to pack a lot more heat for her tastes, but that I could revise and resubmit if I wished.

I decided to do that, but first I wanted to try a new novella with her to make sure I knew from the get-go what she wanted. I wrote and submitted (and sold) the story that became Penny’s second sale and appeared in Secrets 26 last December. Then I finally submitted the revised version of KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT to my new (second) Red Sage editor. And then she left the house, LOL. Finally, I was assigned to the new Managing Editor, who bought the revised version of the story with one minor change to an early scene. So it was a long, hard battle to get that story onto the shelves. And it just goes to show how subjective publishing is, especially when you consider the difference in response between Secrets editor #1 and #2.

Why am I telling you all this, you ask? It’s my convoluted way of getting back to the subject of the RITAs. I have hope that KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT will do better in the contest than either of Penny’s first two novellas, because the H/h hold off on consummating their relationship until the 40% point. Erotic novellas don’t often final in the RITAs, and KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT is the least erotic of all three novellas Penny has sold thus far. Therefore, regardless of whether it finals or not, I expect it to fare better overall. Now watch, just because I came out and said that, it’ll do the worst of all three!

Well, I’m just glad the contest was still open to entries and that I made it in to have another kick at the can.

How about you? How’s your week faring? Any accomplishments or setbacks to report? (I know of someone with a major accomplishment, but I won’t out her as I understand she has some…paperwork to do first).

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

I couldn’t resist posting this:

Eldest Son is coming home for Thanksgiving tomorrow morning, and My Liege is taking Friday off work, so you won’t find me around the blog until Tuesday or so. Monday is a holiday, and Sunday is our Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’.

An American on one of my writing lists asked about the differences between Canadian and American Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. Sorry to disappoint, but the holiday is pretty much the same as it is in the U.S….except it’s celebrated several weeks earlier. Why? I dunno, it’s a holiday, let’s eat!

We’ll be having ham, roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and no doubt another casserole or two. And pumpkin pie for dessert.

Yum. Aren’t you sad you have to wait?

The Middleman (Person, What-Have-You)

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

My apologies to those who visited the blog today expecting to find a guest blog post and book give-away. I did have a guest scheduled, but unfortunately had to cancel when I didn’t receive the necessary materials in time for me to fit photo resizing, blog formatting and uploading into my own busy writing schedule. This is the first time I’ve had to cancel a guest blogger in a year of hosting, so that’s good—but it’s the second time I’ve run into problems receiving the necessary materials, and, both times, there’s been a middle man. A publicity person or assistant. I find this perplexing. Isn’t having an assistant or someone to handle your publicity supposed to make things easier on an author?

Maybe it’s just coincidence, but now I’m reluctant to agree to host another author if the arrangements are made through an assistant/publicity person (unless it’s a super big name like Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Nora Roberts—then, yeah, walk all over me, I’ll love it!). I prefer to deal with my guest authors directly. When I agree to host an author, I send a specific listing of the items required and that I’ll need them five days before the blogging date. Sometimes I book my guests several months in advance, so I expect that they’ll need reminding. Two weeks before the scheduled date, I always send out a reminder, again detailing exactly what I need and by what day.

Dealing directly with authors, I always receive those materials on time and the authors always come by to respond to comments on their designated blogging day without me sending two or three emails to the contact person only to find out that the author is out of state and didn’t realize they were supposed to drop by the blog at all. A conversation ensues. A book is won. The author hopefully will garner more sales and readers. And everyone is happy.

I don’t like chasing after guest authors, or, as the case has been in the two times I’ve encountered it, chasing after my contact for that author. Hey, I’m busy, too. The guests I book contact me, not the other way around.

I’ve run into the middleman confusion as a guest blogging author, too. Earlier this year, one of my writing names had an opportunity to blog with a group of other writers on a popular site. We all jumped at the chance. And then didn’t hear anything about the blog days again. Not from the middleman and not from the blog host. None of us were aware that it was our responsibility to contact the blog host. No one had told us. We were embarrassed, but our blogs were rightfully cancelled. In this case, they were rescheduled. Then we realized that the middleman’s sole function was to gather together the group of authors. Thereafter, we were on our own. So we ran with it. We came up with a theme, coordinated with the blog host, made sure we had our materials to her in ample time for the rescheduled blog days, and we all had a great time visiting each other’s blog posts, meeting the various readers, and chatting with them.

I understand that there times an author has to cancel. What looks like a great promo opportunity four months down the line might seem like a ton of work you don’t really need when you’re suddenly staring a book deadline or family obligation or life-curve in the face. Believe me, I get it. All I ask is that the middleman keeps me in the loop.