Archive for October, 2012

NINC Report

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

I am back from the NINC conference and thinking about the people in the East affected by Hurricane Sandy. My roommate at the conference, Susan Lyons, was on one of the last flights to get out of the White Plains airport Sunday night.

The conference was very beneficial to attend. I have never attended a NINC conference before, and I liked the small size and getting to know the members of Novelists, Inc. aside from on the email loop. We were super busy! The sessions began at 8 a.m. and, if you attended the casual Night Owl sessions, could end as late at 10 p.m.

The first day featured a series of panels, and then, at the end of the day, NINC members asked questions of the panel members. I took notes, but it will be a while before I consult them. Too much on my plate this week to accomplish first.

The Thursday and Friday, there were traditional workshops, where the audience could either ask questions during the presentation or afterward. There were also NINCThink Round Tables, and I participated in two of those. The round tables featured industry guests (agents, editors, reps from Amazon and other digital media, cover designers, independent editors, etc.) and also NINC members. Some NINC members on the round tables were volunteers (like me) who felt they had something to contribute to the conversation while others were invited to sit on the round table as more of an “expert” in the subject area. For example, Bella Andre—who just sold a print-only deal to a major publisher while retaining all the e-rights that she’s managed to build into a hugely successful career—was invited to attend the Foreign and Subsidiary Rights round table. Elizabeth Jennings, who lives in Italy and knows a LOT about translations, what a good translation is and how much they might cost, also had a lot to contribute.

As a side note, apparently, we were told, print-only deals are not possible, but Bella Andre has proved that isn’t the case! Granted, she is definitely an outlier, but she is blazing a trail. Go, Bella!

Perhaps the most “entertaining” round table was the Changing Role of the Agent, where a handful of high-powered traditional agents discussed the rise of Indie publishing and how traditional partnerships might still advance an author’s career. Buttons were pushed, and a rousing discussion ensued.

Something I really enjoyed about the NINC conference is that the writers aren’t there to pitch to the editors and agents. So when you meet NYC editors who are on your panel, you’re meeting them as another round table guest, not someone to accost with a pitch or someone to feel nervous around. Private business meetings were still conducted, but we were there to learn from each other, instead of it being a one-way street. I think the format worked well, except that most of the NINC membership really wanted the ability to ask questions DURING the round tables, rather than finding someone afterward to ask a question. So if NINC uses the round table format again in the future, I’m sure there will be some adjustments. That said, I do feel the format worked well this year, because otherwise there can be a lot of questions from the audience and the specific questions for the round table participants might not get answered.

I hope if NINC does follow the round table format at a future conference, that more NINC members will volunteer to participate. Yes, I was nervous, but it helped that I haven’t had my eye laser surgery touch-up yet and so I couldn’t see the audience clearly anyway! I could see the fellow round table participants clearly and therefore “focused” (haha) on them.

It was a long trip back, but I am now unpacked and ready to begin uploading Catching Claire, the second romantic comedy short story in LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES. Claire was loaded to Apple iTunes while I was gone. I have MOBI and ePub files to check, cover sizes to adjust, etc. As soon as the story is up, I’ll announce it on my blog. Then the remainder of my week will be devoted to updating my website, preparing a new newsletter, and catching up on bookkeeping. If I can get that all done this week, next week I’ll begin updating and revising BORROWING ALEX for Sindie Pubbing.

What do you have on your plate this week?

Deceiving Derek Release!

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

I’m taking a break following lunch at the NINC Conference to pop over and announce that Deceiving Derek, Story 1 in LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES, is now available on Kindle, Kobo, Apple iTunes and Smashwords. Smashwords will eventually distribute to NOOK and Sony, but if you can’t wait you can pick up an ePub edition from Smashwords to read on your NOOK or Sony e-reader.

Because I’m away from my lovely desktop computer with all the power, I am unable to update my website Books pages, so I thought I’d share the cover, story blurb, and an excerpt here.

Blurb:

Lingerie designer Lacey DeMarco livens up her life by finagling an unsuspecting police detective into attending a funky bridal shower. She needs one last item to complete a scavenger hunt list, and handsome cop Derek McAllister is it. But a little trickery is at work. Both Lacey and Derek are being hoodwinked…in the name of love.

Cover by LFD Author Designs:

Excerpt! 

“Someone’s stealing my underwear! I need to find out who!”

Arching an eyebrow at the indignant female voice, Detective Derek McAllister raised his gaze from his computer screen. Hello. A slim blonde in a slinky red dress stood on the other side of his desk in Rosewood’s police station. Sparks radiated from the woman’s blue eyes as she dangled a scarlet G-string inches from his nose. Her hand jerked. The scrap of silk flipped off her fingertip, bonking his Mariners coffee mug and plopping onto his notebook.

Derek glanced at the front counter. Both Biggs, the balding desk sergeant, and Harding, a lanky patrol officer who shadowed Biggs like a starved-for-attention sidekick, looked back at Derek and chortled. Biggs twirled a finger near one cauliflower ear, mouthing, “Craaazy.”

Like Derek needed Biggs to tell him. Thanks a lot, boneheads. Sending me the kook, huh?

Both uniforms were working the night shift. Although Derek had reported a slow afternoon, there was still plenty to do before the bars closed and mid-July crap hit the fan. For instance, Harding. Instead of chuckling over the Funnies, the dope could be checking parks and alleys. And Biggs…rather than playing Sudoku and flirting with the female clerk, the guy could at least check email.

“Well?” The blonde at Derek’s desk stared him down. “Are you going to shuffle me off like they did—” she flicked a hand toward Biggs and Harding “—or take me seriously?” Her golden hair shimmered beneath the bright lights in feathery layers.

Hell, why not? Elbows on his desk, Derek hunched forward in his swivel chair. Taking initial theft reports wasn’t his responsibility. His job was to investigate. However, he sensed frazzled nerves beneath the woman’s righteous ire. And, considering the nature of her complaint…

He wanted to get a good sense of the problem and who she was so he wouldn’t need to do a second interview later. If kook-job poured off her in bucketfuls, he’d rather pacify her and escort her safely home than subject her to potential ridicule by directing her back to the guys up front. Sending her away to roam the Seattle suburb in her current state of agitation was out of the question.

Derek calmly eyed the G-string. He slipped a pen beneath a lacy strap and lifted the lingerie as carefully as if he were handling a piece of forensic evidence.

“Is this the underwear in question, ma’am?” he asked.

Her chin tipped up. “I’m a Miss. Miss DeMarco.” Her blue gaze darted away a moment. “No, that’s not the underwear I’m talking about. That underwear isn’t missing. Is it, Detective?”

That depends on whether you’re wearing any. Derek stifled the urge to lean across the desk and check the presence or absence of panty lines beneath her luscious red dress. “All right, then. What underwear of yours is missing?” A question he certainly hadn’t anticipated asking upon his return to the station. On a seedy street corner, maybe.

“My lingerie designs. The prototype samples.” The blonde snatched back the G-string. “This thong is a prototype, too, but thankfully the thief didn’t nab it.”

“Are you sure it was a thief?” Derek still had panty lines on the brain.

“Yes, Detective McAllister,” Miss DeMarco said with strained patience. “You are Detective Derek McAllister, right? That’s the name she—I mean, the men at the counter gave me.”

Derek arrowed a glance to the desk. Biggs, looking back again, rolled his eyes. Harding scratched his stomach and snickered.

“They would be right.” Derek tapped the cheap brass nameplate beside his computer. Miss DeMarco’s nervous gaze tracked the movement.

Her shoulders squared. “Well, Detective McAllister, usually when there’s a burglary, there’s a thief involved. Wouldn’t you say?”

“Yep. Usually, I would.” Unless she’d imagined the whole thing. Anxiety hopped off her slender curves like ants attacking a sugar bowl. Maybe she was paranoid. What a shame.

She hoisted a gigantic shopping bag off the floor. Derek’s lips tugged into a smile as she plunked the bag onto his desk, dug inside, and pulled out a skimpy lingerie top. She tossed the G-string—pardon him, thong—and pink lingerie onto the desk, then rummaged through the bag again.

“Damn it, I wanted to make sure he—I’m pretty sure the thief is a he—didn’t steal more samples, so I grabbed as many as possible before catching the bus over.” Out flew blue underwear and a yellow slip thing. “Trouble is, these prototypes take up so much room I’m having trouble finding my wallet.” The shopping bag coughed up a purple bra and some flimsy, pale green panties.

Derek put down his pen. “Don’t worry about the wallet.” Did she think she had to pay him?

“I see it!” She continued emptying the bag until an explosion of frothy colors littered his desk, reminding him of his twin sister Janie’s rooftop garden after her ex-boyfriend broke her heart and she’d weed-whacked every blossom formerly planted in honor of their love.

It occurred to him Janie would like Miss DeMarco. He could visualize the two of them whacking blossoms together.

“Ah ha!” The blonde produced a slim wallet. A cell phone clattered out of the bag, bouncing across the lingerie and clunking his jar of pens. Amid the chaos, she opened the wallet, withdrew a business card, and handed it to him.

A flowery script on creamy stock announced: Lacey’s Little Underthings. Lacey DeMarco, President and Head Designer.

“Lacey?” Derek muttered. “Give me a break.” Yeah, she’s a wing-nut.

A blush stained her face. “That’s right, Lacey DeMarco. My mother, Cather—uh, Christina DeMarco, is the famous lingerie designer out of Milan. My sister is Silken and my brother is Teddy. My mother believes in theme names.”

“Does she now?” Placing aside the card, Derek pressed down another smile. He’d never heard of Christina DeMarco. Or Cather-uh DeMarco. “Look, I need to understand the situation. If someone’s stealing your underwear, what’s all this?” He sifted his fingers through the pile.

She gazed at the heap. “This is…what’s left. What I’ve rescued.”

“Mm-hm. From the culprit, you mean?”

“Yes.” Her voice rose. “This hasn’t been stolen. Yet.” She stuffed the cell phone and lingerie back into the bag.

Derek picked up the green panties and studied the inside label. Well, lookee here. The hand-stitched label read Lacey’s Little Underthings, like her business card. Maybe his sexy wing-nut was on the up-and-up.

“Okay.” He tossed her the panties, which she caught with surprising deftness. “Please sit.” He indicated the chair in front of his desk. On his computer, he saved the grid he’d drafted showing a week of vehicle thefts. “Tell me what happened,” he said as he logged out of the computer and reached for his notepad.

She remained standing. “I’d rather tell you on the way over.” She shoved the wadded panties into the bag.

“The way over where?”

“My place.”

Your place?”

“My design studio—it’s in my apartment. That’s where the theft occurred. Don’t you want to inspect the scene of the crime?”

“I’d rather take notes first.”

Her eyebrows high-jumped. “I don’t have time! I never know when he might strike again. He’s already plundered me twice!”

Derek chuckled. “The panty thief?”

“The corporate panty raider,” Lacey returned in an uppity tone he swore she employed to disguise her obvious jitters. Because, if her dress was anything to go by, she didn’t look the uppity type. “Lacey’s Little Underthings is a legitimate company, Detective McAllister. I’ve produced my business card. I demand your respect.”

Derek tapped the pad against his palm. Finishing the vehicle theft grid could wait. While he didn’t buy into Lacey’s business-card definition of respect, she deserved his attention and protection as much as any other Rosewood citizen. Even if he wasn’t technically on-duty.

“Just a minute,” he told her. He got up and strode to the counter. “Harding. I need a ride-along. You available?”

“Sorry.” The guy plunked on his hat. “Just got a call.”

Biggs backed away, hands raised. “I need to write a report.”

Derek nodded. Typical.

He glanced back at Lacey. She stood at his desk, clenching the shopping bag and nibbling her lip.

He drew in a breath. Okay, then. He’d poke around her design studio, call in the crime scene techs if necessary. Volunteer an hour of his time toward her peace of mind, tops.

He motioned her over. “Not to worry, Miss DeMarco. I’d be happy to take a look.”

Want it? Buy Links!

Kindle

Kobo

Apple

Smashwords

Off to NINC!

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I’m heading off to the NINC conference in a few hours. If you’re going, I’ll see you there. If you’re not, I won’t!

I’m participating in two round tables—Indie Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing and another on Subsidiary Rights. I’ve never given any type of workshop before, so this will be a new experience for me. The round tables are comprised of industry professionals and NINC members (authors) like me. All the questions have been submitted beforehand, and the members of the round tables will discuss the questions/topics while the audience…sits quietly and takes notes.

The round table format is a new undertaking for NINC. There will also be traditional workshops at the conference. If I get a chance, I’ll report in. But I don’t know if

Head Over Heels at Cents-ible eReads

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Cents-ible eReadsHead Over Heels is featured at Cents-ible eReads today. Scroll down to the green arrow of the Vocaroo recording—that’s me reading a scene from the book. Yes, I sound like a nitwit. That’s half the fun.

Nitwit with me. Check it out!

Deceiving Derek Is At Smashwords!

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Deceiving Derek, Story 1 in LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES is now available in multiple ebook formats at Smashwords! Seeing as I’m leaving for the Novelists, Inc. conference in a week, I’ve decided to go ahead and hire a formatter to create the Kindle and Kobo/Apple (ePub) editions. I know, I know, I said I would learn formatting on this short story, but learning to format for Smashwords was enough for this puppy. I still need to finish editing Catching Claire, the second story in the series, and hopefully get it off to the formatter before I leave for NINC, as well. The less time I spend on formatting Deceiving Derek, the more time I can spend on polishing Catching Claire before I leave. So, you see, it’s not laziness but time-management that spurred this decision!

Because of attending the NINC conference, I’ll probably be a little late updating my Books pages. So I’m including the Deceiving Derek cover and story blurb here. Never fear, I shall update my book pages with all the buy links as they come in after I return from the conference.

I just love this cover! It’s so cute!

Story blurb:

Lingerie designer Lacey DeMarco livens up her life by finagling an unsuspecting police detective into attending a funky bridal shower. She needs one last item to complete a scavenger hunt list, and handsome cop Derek McAllister is it. But a little trickery is at work. Both Lacey and Derek are being hoodwinked…in the name of love.

To read an excerpt, for now please visit the Deceiving Derek page at Smashwords and download a sample in the format of your choice. Or buy a copy in the format of your choice! (Insert Subliminal Message: Buy a copy, Buy a copy, Buy a copy!) Smashwords sells .mobi formats for reading on Kindle, ePub formats for reading on NOOK, Kobo, Sony and the iPad, plus HTML formats and more. So if you can’t wait for the 3 weeks or so time it takes for Smashword to distribute to NOOK and Sony, you can buy Deceiving Derek from Smashwords now.

I’ll upload to Kindle, Kobo, All Romance Ebooks, and iTunes as soon as I have the specific files in hand. But, for now, Smashwords is it! Shout it loud and wide! Mama needs a new case of Kraft Dinner.

Galapagos, Day 15, Morning: South Plaza Island

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Ecuador Trip: Day 15

Galapagos Cruise: Day 10

Enough dallying about on slice-of-life and writing stuff. It’s time for another Galapagos travel post. I know, you’ve missed them. I can tell by the cheers that pour from my computer speakers whenever a new post goes up.

So, okay, on Day 10 of our cruise, we made a morning stop at South Plaza Island, which is located off the east coast of Santa Cruz (one of the populated islands).

South Plaza is an island best told through pictures, without someone nattering in your ear about every single one. For example, you get to see…

Iguanas in trees! Honestly, a sight I never imagined I’d see. What’s next? Dinosaurs in trees? And before you’re thinking there’s ONE earthically challenged iguana in one tree, you’re quickly realizing there a LOT of iguanas in a lot of trees! This is a close-up.

Lava lizard. Just hanging out. At the Lava Lizard Lounge. “Watch your step! Don’t step on the Lava Lizards!” That Harry. Always so helpful.

South Plaza Island has steep cliffs that were formed by rising lava (I know because the Cormorant Itinerary says so, and would it lie?). South Plaza Island is now covered with “Opuntia cacti.” Translation: a cool tree-like natural growth.

The island is also pretty rocky. If you’re hankering to play Fred Flintstone, South Plaza Island is a good place to hang out.

South Plaza has abundant bird life. I practiced my photography skills until the cows came home (that is, on my dinner plate later that night).

“Grace Defined.” Also known as “Not Cindy.”

it’s gonna be a watery landing! I love how his little legs hang down, and for some reason his butt reminds me of Donald Duck. Yes, before I left, this fellow was sporting a sailor jacket. I just whipped one up using the cacti pointy-jabby things for a needle and someone’s stolen daypack for fabric (not admitting whose daypack).

I like to call this shot “Talk to the Back.” Or “Back Talk.” Depending how snippy I am at the time. Yellow land iguana just sitting around waiting for humans to admire him and all his brethren. When was the last time you were just sitting around with your brethren and 16 people stopped and admired YOU? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Isn’t that a cute bit of molting skin?

“Show me your hand, poker face. No? I’ll show you mine. Impressed yet?” Why, yes, I am.

I wouldn’t want to feel those claws wrapped around my throat on a cold, clammy night. Of course, I’d have to have a pretty skinny throat.

Mama feeding her baby. “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!”

That’s it. Told ya, short and sweet. No needless nattering. Not a lot. Just enough or you’d think it wasn’t me writing this post.

There’s the rub. Is it? Is it REALLY me?