Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Enslave Me Sweetly by Gena Showalter
Enslave Me Sweetly by Gena Showalter
She has the heart of a killer, and the body of an angel. . .
Eden Black walks among humans, protecting them from the murderous evil of other-worlders who abduct and enslave. And though she appears to be human herself, Eden is an alien, a Raka, distinguished by her golden hair and skin, and gifted with the ominous ability to kill without remorse – and with total accuracy. That is, until the fateful night she has one shot to eliminate her target, a human slaver – and misses.
"Failure" is not in Eden's vocabulary. Neither is "partner" – but that's what she is forcibly assigned after recovering from her disastrous mission. A sexy, steely-nerved human agent, Lucius Adaire enjoys nothing more than sparking the fury – and rousing the desire – of the fiery female assassin to proud to admit defeat. Locked in an assignment they cannot afford to lose, Lucius and Eden find themselves bound in two high-stakes, heart-pounding games: the dangerous web of kill or be killed, and the erotic dance of seduction. . .
Showalter first demonstrated her skill at blending sizzling romance and nail-biting suspense set in a convincing futuristic society in Awaken Me Darkly (2005). She now continues the roller-coaster-like adventure in an equally entertaining tale that will please a wide cross section of readers. *Starred Review* Booklist.
Order your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or BooksAMillion.
For more information, visit Gena's website at http://www.genashowalter.com and her blog at http://www.genashowalter.blogspot.com
I'm guest blogger on Access Romance!
And I'm getting a little lonely over there. Evidently, there aren't a lot of shapeshifter readers on that blog because so far I have one comment. Who'd have thought it?
Anyway, if you get a chance, and want to win a download of one of my books, head over to www.accessromance.com, click "All a-blog" and tell me what you think about shapeshifter romances.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Things are heating up!
And I’m not talking about the weather. I’m in Michigan. Even though it's been in the 90's for three days, we had a frost warning a couple weeks ago and by tomorrow it's supposed to be back down in the 70's.
No, what I’m talking about are books. Have you read the articles? Watched the interviews on television? Hot romances are the latest buzz. Even Geraldo did a story on it. A lot (I’m not going to say all. That would be silly.) of readers want steamy sex in their novels. They want authors to push the limits, to experiment with new and inventive storylines and sex scenes. They want to read a thrilling plot, memorable characters and sex scenes that’ll have them reaching for the nearest bucket of ice. They love vampires, shapeshifters and alpha heroes. And they demand strong heroines who can handle whatever challenges are thrown at them.
The books that were once only published through epublishers no one had heard of are now being published by larger houses. And some are being released within the commercial imprints. It’s a trend I don’t see falling away. I see it shaping the future of romance fiction.
I’d love to hear your opinions on steamy romances. Do you love them? Think they’re awful? Who are your favorite erotic romance authors? I’ll pull a name from those posting to win a download of one of my books--winner’s choice.
Read more:CBS ChicagoGeraldo at Large
(scroll down to Feb. 23)
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Have a terrific holiday weekend!
Overnight, summer snuck up on us here in Michigan. It's 90 degrees today! And we're expecting a sultry 92 tomorrow. Whew! Steamy!
Hope everyone is having a fantastic, fun-filled Memorial Day weekend! Me, I'm going to camp out in my back yard with a good book and try not to sweat too much :)
Friday, May 26, 2006
The Importance of Being Selfish
I have five children, a husband, a plethora of pets, two stepsons and a career. If I'm lucky, I get five minutes a day to myself. Very often I don't even get that. My money is spent on my kids--shoes, clothes, books, special days at the zoo, etc. Self sacrifice comes naturally to me. It's just my nature. Others first. Myself last.
I'm not looking for some kind of recognition. Maybe someday, when my kids are raising my grandchildren, they'll come to appreciate what a parent does out of love. But I realized some things when I was at RT and I thought I'd share.
Before I became pregnant with baby #5, I was a trim size 8. I took some care in what I looked like every day. I fixed my hair in styles that required more than thirty seconds and an elastic band. I put on a little makeup. I had my nails done regularly. But when I was pregnant, I gained a ton of weight. And when I couldn't lose it, I became depressed and reclusive. I refused to buy myself new clothes that fit because I hated the fact that I couldn't lose weight. I didn't bother getting my hair done anymore. I wore it in a ponytail every day. Makeup? I had no time for that either. I basically hid in my house, wearing dumpy old maternity clothes. I lost a whole year of my life.
And then I decided to go to RT.
I wish I could be like other women I admire--women who are comfortable in their skins, no matter what size clothing they wear--but I'm not. Having been "thin" all my life, I had real issues with what I saw in the mirror every morning. The last thing I wanted to do was face 800 to 1000 strangers --agents, editors, book sellers and fans--hating the way I looked. And so I decided it was time to be a little "selfish". It was time to think a little about me.
It was really, really hard, but I put myself on an extremely strict diet. I didn't always stick with it, but I was able to lose enough weight to get out of the Women's department of clothing stores. Because I'm small-framed, this made a huge impact on how I looked. No more shirt and jacket shoulders hanging halfway down my arms or sleeves rolled two or three times so I could see my hands. No more pant legs dragging on the ground when I walked. I didn't look like a kid playing dress-up in someone else's clothes. I paid an obscene amount to get my hair "painted" (hubby's term) and I also splurged and had my nails done. When I left for RT, I felt like a new woman. And the sweet compliments I received all week made me feel that much better.
I'm far from perfect. I'm getting older, and I don't look like a little 20-something anymore. I still have a couple more dress sizes to go, and even though I've hit a plateau and can't seem to shake another pound, it's great liking how I look. I think it's important for women--especially women who are neglecting themselves for the sake of their children to take some time for themselves. If you're where I was--hiding from life--find some way to make a change for the better. Whether you realize it or not, your family is paying the price along with you for your "martyrdom". See a doctor if you can't lose weight on your own. Get your hair done. Buy a new outfit. Quit smoking. Live life.
And set an example to your children.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
So much to do; so little time to do it...
OMG, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed this week. I have oodles of things to follow up on after RT, plus I'm trying to write a shapeshifter for EC (I want to get it turned in...it's so hot!) and dealing with a lot of RL (that's "Real Life") issues--dance rehearsals and book fairs, etc. I need another one of me! To think I was hoping I'd be able to slow down after RT. I need a vacation from life :)
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I have to admit, I was really nervous about RT. Yes, I was excited too. I'd been planning for this conference since last October, and I still felt I could've done more. I'm determined to start planning for next year's starting right now :)
The week started out a little rough. My plane out of Atlanta was delayed because of a broken toilet. We sat in that plane for an hour, waiting for them to fix the problem. That left me arriving in Daytona at almost 11:00 and the hotel at almost 12:00am. I was dead dog tired. But do you think I could fall asleep? Noooooo. My roomie, Ann, and I sat up talking like old friends until something like 2:00am.
The next morning, I dragged my weary butt out of bed, admired the gorgeous view out the window and then showered.
Isn't it amazing?!
I was late getting moving, missed the morning mixer. I did, however, get registed, was able to put my goodies out on Promo Alley, and stood in line for the book room. Over the course of the four days, I think I made it to about 2/3rds of the events I'd planned on attending. It seemed I was always late for everything. It didn't help that the events were scattered from one end of the hotel to the other. Oh, and I did manage to stick my foot in the ocean for a split second on Thursday. See that black dot on the beach? That's me :)
The EC party Wednesday night was a BLAST! The best party all week. The music was great, and even though I was dragging, I danced my butt off. That's Sylvia Day on the left. She's such a doll!
I had someone snap a picture of me with my book covers, but wouldn't you know it, we caught it just as Will was shutting it off? Check out the huge shadow. LOL
Thursday started with me being one person too late to get a gift bag at Mary Janice Davidson's morning mixer. I gave the poor woman in front of me a serious case of guilt, LOL. At the EC breakfast, we snapped pictures of the Fantasy Club and I ran around gathering signatures on my deck of cards. I popped into the EC spotlight and even commented on a couple of the questions. That night was Heather Graham's vampire ball. The show was hilarious! And I had a great time talking to Divas Laura and Kristen. Check us out, with LA Banks.
By Friday, I was feeling like I'd been run over by a Mack truck. On average, I got about 3 hours of sleep a night. Partying until midnight or later, then up at dawn. It was taking its toll. I ran around, missing most of the events I'd planned on attending, but enjoying some quiet time with new friends. I popped in on the Changeling group and stole Kate Douglas' seat :) And then I ran off to a local mall with a group doing PR for the Saturday book fair. LA Banks was there and I have to say she's an absolutely sweet, kind and down-to-earth lady. And she gives the best hugs :)
Friday night was a night to remember. The decorations for the Fairy Ball were gorgeous. Everyone looked terrific in their costumes. I mean everyone. The line for the costume contest was HUGE and there were literally dozens of stunning costumes. It was a real honor to have been chosen as one of the winners. I was incredibly flattered!
Thanks to Kate Douglas for snapping this shot!
And here I am with Jaci Burton and Sylvia Day. They both looked amazing in their costumes.
Check out Ann Jacobs. That woman's had like...seven kids?! And she looks amazing in her belly dancing costume.
I even conned Chey and Kathryn Falk into getting a picture with me :)
And that's Sheri back there (Changeling Press). We were goofing around later. She's an absolute sweetheart too.
Finally, I had to pose with the one-in-a-million, JC Wilder. Hugs and smooches to JC. The woman has a heart the size of Montana!
I didn't get any pictures of the book fair, but if any pop up I'll post them. I met a lot of wonderful ladies that day, the whole week. I'll never forget this trip, and I can't wait for next year. I feel I made a lot of new friends. I just wish I didn't have to wait an entire 11 months to see them again.
Monday, May 22, 2006
I'm half dead but grinning like a goof
Last week was SOMETHING ELSE! OMG. For those who don't know, this was my first RT conference. It was everything I expected...and some!
I have to sit down and take some time to let it all sink in. I met so many fantastic people and I have a lot of following up to do. I hung out with authors Beverly Havlir, Sylvia Day and Shelley Bradley. I shook my groove thang with Patrice Michelle, Divas Kristen and Laura, and the gang from EC (Brian, you're the coolest computer geek I've met). I did a meet and greet with LA Banks. The woman gives the BEST hugs :) I met editors. I met booksellers. I met readers. And I had tons of pictures taken in my costumes. I was pathetically lazy snapping pictures myself, so I'm hoping some of them will end up on the web where I can see them :)
Anyway, as soon as I get my poor aching and exhausted bod back to normal, I'll post more. I can tell you this--I'll never forget my first RT. Never!
Friday, May 12, 2006
TGIF! And an early Happy Mother's Day
I have no real subject matter to post about today. I'm just relishing my new office (yay! I can stretch my arms without knocking Tickle Me Elmo off the shelf next to my elbow!), sending out a new batch of queries to agents while waiting (im)patiently for the others to get back to me, and doing some revisions on MARK OF THE BEAST based on some feedback I received from an agent who recently rejected it.
I'm also getting packed for RT. There's so much stuff to remember! UGH! I've printed out a packing list to try to avoid forgetting something. But I just know I'll still forget something anyway. That's me. I'm so flighty sometimes it aggravates me. I’ll probably check something off my packing list, thinking I’ve put it in my suitcase but having forgotten I’d taken it out for some reason. I’m scared as you-know-what about RT. I tend to stutter and stumble over my words when I’m nervous. I know I’m going to look like a moron.
And I’m still scrubbing the house. Such is the glamorous life of a romance author...not! Obsess about writing. Obsess about rejections. Obsess about conferences and scrub toilets. LOL
So, those who aren’t able to go, think about me, will you? Say a few prayers that something really great comes out of this. I can’t believe how much work (not to mention money!) this was. Ouch.
Finally, Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies out there! Enjoy your special day!
I'm hoping to post next week Monday and Tuesday...and then I'll be off to Daytona Tuesday night.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Whew! What an intense couple of days. It started Sunday when I rearranged the bedrooms and painted my daughter's new bedroom. Then I tackled our family room. Since I was converting it to an office, that required some major work--painting, furniture assembly, moving, etc. I hurt all over! But I'm so happy. I'm not working at a spacious, gorgeous work station situated in a large office. I'm giddy :) After working in a corner of my kids' bedroom on a tippy old desk crammed with monitor, printer and computer, this is heaven.
And no, I'm not good at everything, Jen. I'm a TERRIBLE bowler :)
Monday, May 08, 2006
Ahhhh...the satisfaction of accomplishment
This post has nothing to do with writing, LOL. I spent yesterday cleaning, hauling furniture and painting. I redecorated one bedroom and moved our daughter into her own room, a task that required me to drag around heavy dressers from all over our house. I can barely move. But I feel so great when I look in her adorable pink and green bedroom. I've decided to take an official break from writing this week and concentrate on getting some stuff done around the house. I know when I get back from RT, I'll be ready to dig in and write, write, write, so I'm anxious to get all the re-arranging and re-decorating out of the way now.
Wish me luck!
Friday, May 05, 2006
It's Friday and I have a big day ahead of me.
At 12:45 (EASTERN TIME) I'll be chatting for 45 minutes on the Joyfully Reviewed loop.
For any of you who would be kind enough to come check it out, so I won't be sitting there talking to myself :)
Anyone who has been following me knows I don't do these chats very often. I think it's been close to a year since I did the last one. With kids at home, hassling me every few minutes, it's not easy following a chaotic chat.
So wish me luck! And please pop in and say hello. I'd REALLY appreciate it.
POSTSCRIPT: LOOKS LIKE YAHOO IS GIVING JOYFULLY REVIEWED SOME GRIEF SO THEY'VE LAUNCHED AN MSN GROUP FOR TODAY. IF YOU DO NOT FIND US AT THE YAHOO GROUP, PLEASE TRY http://groups.msn.com/ChattingWithJoyfullyReviewed
SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION!
Thursday, May 04, 2006
I think my loglines are sinking...
Anyone feel like critiquing my loglines and 2-sentence pitches? Giving them a little nudge? I've been tweaking them for days and can't see them objectively anymore.
I have two loglines and pitches below. What do you think? Can you see a way to tighten them up even more? Make them more fun or memorable? I'd love to hear your suggestions.
MARK OF THE BEAST (40K) A paranormal erotic romance novella about a city girl out of her element and a scientist who must accept the loss of his humanity.
During her vacation in Alaska, marketing assistant Abby Clumm confronts a ferocious wild animal, an armed assassin, the impossible notion that a man can change into a bear, and what she fears most—love. Genetic researcher Tarik Evert is unable to control the instincts driving him to possess Abby. Is he a man? Or a beast?
DRESSED TO KILL (90k) A paranormal erotic novel about an determined entrepreneur and two men on opposite sides of the law.
Nightclub owner Sylvie Durand learns what security truly means when she’s forced to rely on vampires Burke Langton and Dane Kittera to keep her alive. The lawbreaker, Burke, and the law-enforcer, Dane, must make a choice—to either trust each other and work together...or face their doom.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Rambling about Dan Brown
IMO, Dan Brown has nailed the page-turner suspense plot.
I've read three of his books now, in this order: DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, and Deception Point. I loved DaVinci Code. The plot was tight and the premise was fascinating. I will admit, Angels and Demons had a fantastic premise but the pacing was slow. It didn't hold my attention (granted, I have ADHD, so it's easy to lose me). I wondered if perhaps The DaVinci Code was Dan's one hit, or if he'd perhaps found his stride with later books. I picked up Deception Point to see, and I didn't put it down until I finished it.
I read this book as both a writer and a reader. It was a fascinating study in plotting. Brown knew what he was doing with this one. There's conflict on every page. The chapters are extremely short and always end on a hook, which keeps the reader turning pages. Things go from bad, to worse to disastrous. But you know as you're reading where it's headed. And it's your need to see how it all goes down that makes you keep reading.
I want to write like Dan Brown! Hot sex and spine-tingling suspense would be such a fabulous combination. I think I'm going to have to do some more reading. Research, you know?
Anyone else want to share their non-romance favorites? I love suspense stories that make me think and I'm open to recommendations. BTW, I'm a science geek. Love science.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The Wind-up. The Pitch. The Home Run!
The past couple of days, I've been preparing my materials for my pitches at RT. I have two, both to editors. Since I've never been to a writer's conference, I've never given a formal pitch. This is all new territory for me, and I'll tell you right now, I'm nervous as heck. But there's nothing that eases a case of the jitters better than being prepared. That's what I'm determined to do--be so prepared there's no reason to be nervous.
My first step was to get online and google the editors' names. I want to learn as much as I can about the editors ahead of time. What books have they acquired? What genres do they work in? Any pet peeves? Do they absolutely hate Alpha males? Do they have a phobia of polar bears? (my story has a bear shapeshifter) I wasn't able to find anything as specific as those last couple of questions, but I was able to find some good information. There are so many sites, including RWA chapters, that host and publish interviews with editors and agents that it's not always difficult to find information on them.
Once I'd verified the editors would be interested in my genre, I focused on the next step--composing my pitch. This is the hard part and I'm not finished with it yet. I've found a few websites with suggestions on what to include, among them:Anna Genoese's blog
(Tor editor)This article by Sue Fagalde LickThis article--it has some handy advice and a fantastic example, but it is a lead-in to a sales pitch for services. Wanted to warn you.And Ready, Aim...Pitch by Julie Ortolon
More tomorrow. I'm trying to brainstorm something as brilliant as the scratch off lottery tickets today :)
Monday, May 01, 2006
Manic Monday--Advertising for the Clueless
For all the ladies who have asked, "What is marketing?", the following analogies will help clear it up...
You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and say, "I'm fantastic in bed."
- That's Direct Marketing.
You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome guy. One of your friends goes up to him and pointing at you says, "She's fantastic in bed."
- That's Advertising.
You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and get his telephone number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed."
- That's Telemarketing.
You're at a party and see a handsome guy. You get up and straighten your dress. You walk up to him and pour him a drink. You say, "May I," and reach up to straighten his tie brushing your breast lightly against his arm, and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic in bed."
- That's Public Relations.
You're at a party and see a handsome guy. He walks up to you and says, "I hear you're fantastic in bed."
- That's Brand Recognition.
You're at a party and see a handsome guy. You talk him into going home with your friend.
- That's a Sales Rep.
Your friend can't satisfy him so he calls you.
- That's Tech Support.
You're on your way to a party when you realize that there could be handsome men in all these houses you're passing. So you climb onto the roof of one situated toward the center and shout at the top of your lungs, "I'm fantastic in bed!"
- That's Spam.