Archive for the ‘Popular Culture’ Category

Preview PICTURE IMPERFECT on Amazon Direct on Your Browser

Friday, October 21st, 2016

If you’re a reader you’re probably familiar with the Look Inside feature over on Amazon, but as I was getting ready for PICTURE IMPERFECT’s release week, I realized that Amazon now has a cool little pop-up app you can direct folks to, and if they click on it they can start reading my book right where they are, on their desktop or tablet and likely also their phones.

Testing it out here.

Yep, it works!

You can read up to around the beginning of Chapter Four without having to go search on Amazon for my book. Just click and read! (If you like what you read, you can then buy directly from the app, which would be nice the next time I need to buy some bulk cases of Kraft Dinner). (Mama needs royalties to keep DH in KD…)

I do have an excerpt on my website, but the Amazon preview app thingy is very cool!

A Note About Comments

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

My delete finger has been a little trigger-happy with comments on my blog lately. Sometimes I empty the spam folder before I realize that a comment might not really be spam. And once I’ve accidentally deleted all the spam comments, I can’t get back to them again.

So if you have left a comment on my blog lately and you come back and don’t see it, that is why. Sorry, it got caught in the spam filter and something about the dashboard on WordPress must’ve changed, because I am losing those comments before getting a chance to check out if they are really spam or not.

The best way for me to realize that you are not spam is to mention in your comment where you saw the link to the post on which you are commenting. If you came to my blog from Facebook, let me know that. If you came to my blog through Twitter or Instagram, let me know that.  You are much less likely to get lumped into the spam category along with all the comments from SEO website engines.

Apologies to anyone whose comments I may have inadvertently deleted. Practically nobody comments on blogs anymore, so it is easy to get trigger-happy. 🙂 But I do welcome comments, if you wish  to leave them here rather than on Facebook, for example.

Find Me on Instagram!

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

I’m on Instagram now and quite enjoying it. I’m basically posting pictures of Allie McBeagle and my travel adventures. As I go on, I’ll add slice-of-life and publishing/author life photos. Wanna follow me?


(This PSA brought to you by Spell Procter with an E!.Org)

(It doesn’t exist, but it should).

And Now Television…

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

While I’m blabbing about my childhood influences, I might as well confess my childhood TV addictions. Because I think they also influenced my desire to become a writer. And my tendency to write humorous/comedy. Even when I’m writing emotional contemporary romance, I like my characters to possess healthy senses of humor. At least one of them, anyway. The other one can be serious. I’m flexible like that.

I tend to believe I’m one of those writers who was born a writer—or at least a reader. I learned to read early (aged 4, so family legend goes), and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Yes, we had TV, but for years we had one, maybe two channels. And neither of those channels was dedicated to children, let me tell you! (“Let me tell you!” is something my grandfather used to say all the time, so when I say it, I think of him, let me tell you). Oh, we had a couple of Canadian children’s television shows, like The Friendly Giant and Mr. Dress-Up. And we had The Walt Disney Show on Sunday nights. If we kids were good, we were allowed to watch The Ed Sullivan Show following Disney. And Ed had that little mouse who told jokes and made everyone laugh and feel good about themselves.

My father loved The Red Skelton Show. I watched and loved it, too. And so comedy seeped its way into my veins.

No one could top Red for me until The Carol Burnett Show happened along. I LOVED Carol Burnett. She was funny, too. Especially her pitiful Eunice character. Tragic and sad, yet, in the midst of all that dysfunction, laugh-out-loud funny. Suddenly, funny seemed so natural to me. When you’re shy as a child, humor is a great way to break out of your shell. Every once in a while I run across someone who tells me I was shy when they first met me. Usually, they just tell me I was weird.

Well, I was raised on Topo Gigio, Red Skelton, and Carol Burnett, with a healthy dose of Bugs Bunny and Grover from Sesame Street thrown in (I didn’t discover Grover until I was 15—long story involving a coveted color television set and my high school that year being on split shift and not starting until afternoon).

And people wonder why I’m a bit odd. Now you know.

“But I’m a Talent!”

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

This video is making the rounds. I love the mechanical voices and how the bear on the left doesn’t listen to ANY advice from those gone before him. You’re right, buddy. None of us know what we’re talking about. We’re just trying to hold you down.

Follow your dreams! But educate yourself along the way.

For Bikers Who Golf!

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Yes, I’m still on a tech break. It would be pretty pathetic if I stopped blogging for only two days, no? One might think I’m addicted. While I’m breaking, I thought I might as well commandeer the blog for some free advertising for my husband’s new business (he’s the one without the beard-goatee thingie). For more information, pop by or visit on Facebook. Happy viewing!

Casting Stephanie Plum

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Seeing as I got on a movie-talk roll last week… Let’s continue it, shall we?

As most Stephanie Plum (of the Janet Evanovich novels) fans have undoubtedly heard by now, Katherine Heigl (Izzy on Grey’s Anatomy) has been signed to play the much beloved Plum character in the film version of ONE FOR THE MONEY. If you do a bit of searching on the ‘Net, the choice of Heigl has created a bit of an uproar. It doesn’t much matter to me, because I haven’t kept up with the book series. I read the first book and loved it, but I didn’t discover the books until Ms. Evanovich was already on book 5 or 6 or 7 in the series, and I already knew from a discussion on a writers’ listserve that…

(In the event you don’t already know this spoiler and don’t want to know, don’t highlight the white bit below. If you do highlight it, the spoiler will appear in blue print or something. And, no, I have no idea if this works on the Facebook or Goodreads feeds for this blog).

…I already know from a discussion on a writers’ listserve that… (highlight next portion if you already know the spoiler).

The Joe Vs. Ranger issue still had not been resolved by book 5, 6, or 7, whichever was currently on shelves at the time.

So, I read book 1 (ONE FOR THE MONEY), loved it, and promptly went out and bought books 2 and 3. I can’t recall if I ever finished book 2, but I know I didn’t finish book 3. The idea of having to read all those books and still the relationship question was hanging in the air was just too daunting for me. Now, I make certain, when I hear about a great series like this, to either (a) stick my fingers in my ears and holler, Na-na-a-boo-boo! whenever people start discussing romantic plot issues or (b) start reading the series when it first appears and keep up with the books as the author puts them out.

I must admit, however, back when I read Book 1, Katherine Heigl did not jump out at me as an obvious Stephanie Plum choice. One could argue that when I read Book 1 Katherine Heigl had not yet been cast on Grey’s, in fact I had never heard of her, so how could I possibly imagine her as Stephanie?

Whatever. Who DID I imagine as Stephanie? Sandra Bullock and/or Marisa Tomei. However, I suppose both actresses are “too old” by Hollywood standards to play Stephanie now.

Whatever, Katherine has been signed.

Are you a Stephanie Plum fan? How do you feel about KH as the lead character? Will you go see the movie? Will it ruin it for you? Do you just not care?

In my understanding, Ranger and Joe Morelli have not been cast yet. At least my puny Internet search didn’t turn them up. So let’s take this one step further. Now that you know KH has been cast as Stephanie, who would you like to see playing Ranger and Joe along with her?

If you could choose an actress to play Stephanie and then choose your own Ranger and Joe, who would you choose?

I can’t remember enough about Ranger and Joe to decide. So please play the casting game for me, my lovelies. Play!

Got A Mad-On For Nicholas Sparks?

Friday, April 9th, 2010

For every romance writer who currently has a mad-on for Nicholas Sparks because of his perceived arrogance, here’s a link to funny instructions on How to Write a Nicholas Sparks Movie on First, read this quote from The News-Herald Blogs, and then read the funny instructions. Well, I think they’re funny.

Quote from News-Herald Blogs:

“I don’t write romance novels.” His preferred terminology: “Love stories — it’s a very different genre … (Romances) are all essentially the same story: You’ve got a woman, she’s down on her luck, she meets the handsome stranger who falls desperately in love with her, but he’s got these quirks, she must change him, and they have their conflicts, and then they end up happily ever after.”

Mr. Sparks says he doesn’t write romance novels. I’ve never read one of his novels, but I have watched a couple of movie versions, and he’s right. He doesn’t write romance novels. He does write “love stories.” There’s no guarantee that a love story will end happily. Love Story didn’t. Bridges of Madison County didn’t. And neither do Nicholas Sparks’s novels.

Romance novels do end happily.

Wouldn’t it be nice if some “love stories” did? Otherwise, the love stories just get predicable. Don’t they?

Whether Mr. Sparks writes formulaic fiction is something I can’t address with any degree of authority…because I haven’t read his books. I have to admit, though, that having at least one character die at the end of the movie version of every story a writer pens does sound somewhat formulaic to moi.

The article on points out several other “essentially the same story”isms. If you need a laugh, check it out.

So, why do you think Nicholas Sparks books get made into movies while the vast, vast, vast majority of romance novels don’t? Is it because people die in his books, so they aren’t “formulaic”? Is it because leaving the audience crying throughout a movie version of one of your books is cathartic for them? Is it because he’s a man writing books mainly intended for a female audience, instead of being a woman writing books mainly intended for a female audience?

I rather think it’s the latter. But then I’m jaded.

Why I Don’t Watch Scary Movies

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
  1. They scare the crap out of me.
  2. I’m gullible (hence #1).

I should have known better…

Oh, caution. This post is full of spoilers. If you don’t want to read spoilers for the movie, The Fourth Kind, don’t read this post. If you do read this post, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Last week my husband had a birthday. I took him out to dinner to celebrate (and also so  I wouldn’t have to cook). We had a marvelous meal and a marvelous time. When we came home, he wanted to rent a movie. He settled on THE FOURTH KIND. “Okay,” I said. I thought it was a werewolf movie. Humans could be the first kind, vampires the second, something I hadn’t thought of yet could be the third, and werewolves could be the fourth kind. Not so. “The Fourth Kind” refers to alien abductions (as in abducting humans, not getting abducted themselves). We rented it through something called Video on Demand on our PVR, which isn’t a very good service, IMO. Yes, you can pause the movie, but other features are glitchy. I’ll stick to my regular renting channels from now on, thanks.

Back to my point (if I had one). You see, I never watch scary movies because of #1 and #2. I tend to operate under the assumption that people are telling me the truth. Thus, when my husband, at 19, told me he “played the organ,” I thought he meant the muscial instrument. He thought he was being cleverly rude.

Don’t ask me why I thought I could handle a werewolf movie (I can’t). Let’s just say that I love my husband a great deal and wanted to make him happy by watching the movie with him. Of course, he kept falling asleep, leaving me glued to the TV kind of alone.

The Fourth Kind opens with the main actress telling you the story is based on real events, that she’s playing this real person, and that “archival footage” of psychology interview tapes and the like are interspersed throughout the movie along with the dramatic interpretations. Okay, I think, sounds kind of nifty.

The DH should have known better. He’s seen The Blair Witch Project. I haven’t. And I never will.

Basically, the archival footage in The Fourth Kind scared the stuffing out of me. I couldn’t sleep that night, or the next night. Finally, on the third day, I woke up with this niggling suspicion about one of the “archival footage” pieces in the movie. It shows a man killing his wife and committing suicide, and it plays while the dramatic version of the event also plays on a split screen. While watching the movie, yes, it did occur to me that it was odd that the police released this footage to the movie producers, or that extended family would ever allow such a thing. But the movie continued and I bought it all for reasons I won’t go into here. Let’s just say I’ve heard alien abduction stories before.

Upon waking, I ran to “the Google” and searched for whether the “archival footage” in the movie is real. And it’s not.

So there, I’ve ruined the movie for you. However, it might be fun to watch it anyway and laugh and giggle at all the places in the movie, where, in retrospect, the actors are telling the viewer not to believe what they are seeing (but Cindy got mightily scared anyway). Clues are strewn all over the place. However, no way am I watching the movie again to list those clues! Just clicking the link for the movie website and having the little video play scares me. Which is why I’m writing this post in the bright light of day. Even though I now know events in the movie are NOT based on real events that occurred in Nome, Alaska in 2000, my imagination still gets the better of me. And off into dreamland I do not go.

Do you watch scary movies? Have you seen The Fourth Kind? Did you buy into the “archival footage”? Or am I, as they say, a moron?

Tried and Trendy

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

According to the latest Knight Agency newsletter, the genres that I and Penny write, romantic comedy and erotic romance, are both Dumpster-diving these days. Out of a score of 5, both romcom and erom are currently rating a 1.75 on the Yes, It’s a Hot, Hot Trend! scale (my terminology there). Yerk. 1 = Long Shot, 2 = Deep Discounts according to TKA agents. Urp. So, yeah, while I am attending RWA National in Nashville this summer, odds look bad that I’ll make NYC in 2011. And I really want to go to NYC. So, tell all your friends and neighbors, forget trends, buy Cindy’s books! Penny’s, too!

However, TKA also sees a bright side:

Now, before you check out our awesome survey, we must issue a disclaimer. Just because our agents said romantic comedy wasn’t at the tip of anyone’s tongue these days — doesn’t mean you should send your beloved manuscript, which just so happens to be romantic comedy, to the scrapper. Mon Dieu! For all we know, you could be the next Jane Austen.

That’s what I like about the ladies over TKA. They always give me hope.

Okay, let’s see, I just submitted a requested contemporary romance manuscript to a publisher, which rates a 3 on the trend scale (“Respectable Mid-Lister”), and now I’m about to return to revising my romantic comedy/mystery. Urp. Make that a “romantic suspense.” Romantic suspense is currently rating 4 “VIP – High in Demand” on the trend scale. Except, um, I think it would be mighty apparent to any editor reading my “romantic suspense” that it’s actually a “romantic comedy/mystery” in sheep’s clothing. Yes, I’m sunk.

The problem with me is I have a light voice. I love writing with a light voice. Even when I write dramatic, there’s a humorous element. And that’s how I like it. So there.

Maybe someday I’ll actually catch a trend at its crest. But it never seems to work out that way. I’m either ahead of the trend or behind it. Penny’s foray into erotic romance is an example. Of course, Penny, darn her, also tends to write light. What’s wrong with the woman?

Time to dust off my paranormal YA idea? Because paranormal rates a 4.5 right now (5 being “Hot Trend-Front of Store Placement!”) and YA paranormal rates a 5. (I have a feeling dark paranormal is doing better than light paranormal, and of course light paranormal would more naturally lend to my voice). Now, remember my post about pacing and trends and books that sell when otherwise they might not (see Monday)? You got it, the book I speak of there is one of the top two selling genres according to the TKA breakdown. But the book still has a huge pacing issue, in my opinion. Which leads me to ask, if its genre weren’t in the top 2, would it have sold?

That’s trends for you, though. They exist to torture writers and satisfy readers. Really, when God created Trends, Trends said, “I need a purpose! A sense of drive! I don’t feel myself when I don’t have a goal.” And God said, “Not to worry, I shall now create writers and you can drive them crazy. Because I have a hankering to brainstorm how to create fig leaves, so I need you to go away.”

Back to trends. The problem comes when publishers buy, buy, buy to take advantage of a hot trend (and who can blame them? They’re businesses, they want to make money) and then the market becomes overly saturated. And then the publishers start dropping authors who are no longer earning them enough money (so they can stay in business), and then these same publishers start looking for the next hot trend and the previously hot authors suddenly find themselves orphaned. Without a publisher. Not because they aren’t talented. But because they haven’t written something that suits the current trend. I have had this happen to so many published writer friends over the last year, I can’t tell you. It’s enough to make me chew on my eyeballs.

Believe me when I say that publishers have no idea what the next hot trend will be. They’re gazing into cloudy crystal balls as much as the rest of us. And writers either follow the trends once they discover them, or kinda/sorta attempt to follow them but realize their heart isn’t in it. Or they eat a lot of packaged macaroni and continue to write what they love.

Like me.


Because I’m dense. And that’s how I like it.