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Monday, July 31, 2006

It was the best of lines, it was the worst of lines: Writing Compelling Opening Lines


Evil Editor is doing rewrites of story openers, and I'm having a good time reading his revisions. He's not just tweaking; he's totally rewriting. And 9 times out of 10, his versions are MUCH shorter. Interesting!

Anyway, Evil's blog, along with a question someone posted on the Divas, made me start thinking about opening lines.

We all know they're UBER important. They're supposed to:

-snare the reader by raising some compelling questions
-give a hint of the conflict
-tell the reader something about the character
-set the tone/mood of the story

OY. That's a lot to ask from one little sentence.

So, outside of making it a bazillion words long (which I've been known to do, LOL), how does one go about writing a single sentence that does all that?

I admit, I tend to open with narrative instead of dialogue. And it tends to be "telling" rather than "showing". You read some articles on opening lines, and they'll tell you that's a BIG no-no.

Whatever.

The Crabby Cows say dialogue is a bad way to open a story too.

I say do what works, as long as it does all of the above. In writing, there are very few set-in-stone rules, thank God! So far, no reviewer, agent or editor has slapped my wrist, shrieking "Telling, tellinnnnnnng!"

Once you escape the realm of RWA chapter contests, some things aren't as important anymore.

Let's take a look at a few of my opening lines and see how they measure up:

First sample (from Mark of the Beast)
“I’m an idiot.” [NOTE: IT'S A DIALOGUE OPENER] Abby Clumm threw down her useless cell phone, wrapped the quilt tighter around her shoulders then hefted the shotgun up to take aim at the front door.

I'd say I've raised a few questions here. Like, why is she aiming a gun at the door?

Conflict? Well...(hey, give me a break, I didn't do this exercise AS I wrote this. I'm doing it after the fact *g*). We're seeing a woman who has no means of communicating and is facing some kind of dangerous situation. I'd say there's some conflict there. Ya think?

The characterization? She's calling herself an idiot. That says something about her.

The mood/tone? I've set up an expectation that this story is going to be suspenseful, which it is.

Whew! Made it through that one. LOL

Should we try one more?

This one's from Sex and the Single Ghost, and it's short:

Being dead has its advantages.

Questions raised? Check. How the heck could being dead be a good thing?

Conflict? This one's perhaps a little ambiguous, but it's there.

Characterization? Check. We're seeing someone who's able to look for the good in any situation.

Mood/tone? Check. The tone is light and comedic, certainly not dark or gloomy.

Anyone want to post an opening line from their wip? Or perhaps a favorite from a published novel?

For kicks, here's an opening line quiz. Can you name the book each of these famous opening lines came from?
Encarta Quiz

And HERE is litline.com's 100 best opening lines.

Om the other side of the spectrum, there's the infamous Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a contest challenging authors to write the very WORST opening line.

And finally, HERE is a list of the top 15 WORST romance novel opening lines.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:51 AM | 0 comments

Friday, July 28, 2006

Have a Burning Question You've Been Dying to Ask?

Check out this free workshop:

"Free Online Seminar July 27 – 29.
Literary Agents Answer Your Questions.

One of the greatest challenges writers face is writing the dreaded query letter. How much is enough? How much is too much? What should be included? How can a query letter hook the literary agent’s attention and get the manuscript requested? Should sample chapters be sent with the query, a synopsis or an outline? What can a writer do to make their query letter rise to the top of the pile? What are the mistakes that should be avoided?

Scheduled to participate are Miss Snark (yes that Miss Snark), Peter Rubie, Katharine Sands, and Jean Naggar.

You can participate in this seminar at no cost. Just subscribe to our free newsletter to register. You’ll be notified of this and future seminars. author@brianhillanddeepower.com"


Disclaimer: I do not know this author personally and cannot make any guarantees regarding the quality of this workshop, but it looks very promising!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:50 AM | 1 comments

My blog is an award winner!

I got the best news this morning when I opened my email! My blog has been chosen to receive M.E.Ellis's Blog of the Week award.

How cool is that?

And check out the nifty gif she created:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic It sparkles :) I love it.

Thanks to M.E. aka Michelle

Check out her blog! Lots of great stuff, including a contest involving ugly pajamas :) http://www.meellis.blogspot.com/

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:58 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sex in Romance--for Prisoners?!


Be prepared for a rant.

I am a member of a fairly large and well-respected readers' group. Not very long ago, someone posted that they hated sex scenes in romance and suggested the recent shift to graphic sex in romance novels could be due to the large population of prisoners buying romance novels.

Yes, you read that right. Prisoners.

You see, they're not allowed to read porn. At least that's the logic this individual offers. So, they're buying the next best thing--romance novels.

I kept my mouth (pretty much) shut on the loop...but WHAT THE FUCK?!

First, I'd love to know exactly what the current population of prisoners is in the U.S. , total, in all prisons and jails across the country.

Surely, this person does not think that a group of individuals who are incarcerated and cannot go shopping are shaping the romance fiction market?!

From my experience, it would seem the number of prisoners who read romance novels would be small. And smaller yet would be the number of prisoners who purchase those novels NEW. The purchase of used books or the reading of books donated for free into prison libraries would have absolutely NO impact on sales, and therefore would NOT bring about any kind of change in the market.

The ignorance of some people.

I guess only people who've committed felonies would like to read the smut publishers are putting out these days.

*Sigh*

And here I thought we were getting somewhere, that those who didn't care for sexy romances were seeing them as more mainstream, since they're more widely available now.

I'm such a dreamer.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:37 AM | 3 comments

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Book Signing Fun!

Just for kicks, I thought I'd post some photographs from this past weekend's book signing. It was a HUGE hit! And I'm SO thankful to Diana Hunter, Mandy Roth, Rhyannon Byrd and Ann Jacobs for coming up. And I cannot leave out my pal Shelley, who came up from Florida for the book signing just because.

I look forward to doing it again very soon! And Shelley, we've got to have some more cake :)

And thanks to Debbie E., my favorite Canadian, for the pictures!



Debbie and Shelley being friendly :) OMG, look at me back there in the teal shirt. I need to suck in that gut! Or I need a girdle. LOL


Debbie and Rhy being silly. And me again. With my gut hanging out. ACK!


Here I am with Debbie. Suck it in, girl! Sheesh. It's no wonder I run from the camera.


Check out Diana over on the left. Looks like either Debbie or Ann did something yucky, LOL. But I swear that wasn't the case.


Final picture. Here we are, all lined up. I wanted to bust into the Cancan :)

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:27 PM | 2 comments

Monday, July 24, 2006

A sneak preview!


Thought I'd post a short snippet from tomorrow's release, MARK OF THE BEAST.

Enjoy!

Blurb:
City girl Abby Clumm wouldn't normally travel to remote cabins in Alaska alone. But with the expectation that her friend will be arriving shortly, she makes the journey to their rented cabin solo. Unfortunately, things don’t go as she plans--no real surprise there, when do they?--and her first night she finds herself alone in the boonies, a shotgun she doesn’t know how to use and a failing wooden door the only things standing between her and some kind of very hungry animal outside. She’s now caught in a battle for survival.

Research scientist Tarik Evert has no idea what’s wrong. He’s suddenly driven by a need so urgent it’s painful. The scent of a woman nearby beckons him, sends him staggering outside into the cold. And then somehow he’s at her door, not sure what just happened...or what is about to happen if she lets him inside.

He only knows one thing--the hunger that brought him to her in the first place.

By Tawny Taylor
Coming to Ellora’s Cave July 26th.

Buy it here: http://www.ellorascave.com/AuthorsBooks.asp?AuthorCode=TD
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Excerpt:

His mind fought a battle with the blind instinct trying to take over. Caught in the middle of an inner war, Tarik backed away from the woman. His body, this strange new body, wanted to claim her. But what little remained of the man he had once been wouldn’t allow it. He sat back on his rump, raised his head and sniffed the air again. The bitter scent of her fear had faded.

Then she did what he hadn’t expected. Her gaze focused on his face, she slowly stood, lifted her hand and stepped forward, whispering comforting words as she walked. Like magic, her gentle touch released him from the beast’s grip. His roar of agony as the change reshaped his muscles and bones turned to a fading scream.

The room fell silent.

She visibly swallowed. Her eyes were wide as saucers. “Y-you changed. You’re back.”

He wanted to comfort her, to tell her it was okay. He wanted to protect her too. What would have happened if he’d lost the battle with the beast? What would he have done to her? “I don’t know what’s happening to me.”

“I’ll tell you what’s happening. You turned into a polar bear. Holy effing shit.”

“That’s impossible. People can’t change into animals. I know that for a fact. I study genetics for a living. There isn’t a genetic disorder known that causes animals to change into other species. It just doesn’t happen.”

She raised trembling hands to her mouth. “I’d say it’s impossible too, except I saw it with my own two eyes.”

“This makes no sense.”

“I don’t understand it either. But it seemed that when I stopped being afraid, you changed back.”

“Yeah.” He thought back to the impulses and sensations that had coursed through him when he had been a bear. “I could smell your fear. It made me want to chase you…it was like an instinct. A compulsion. I could barely stop myself.”

“But you did.” Trembling, she wrapped her arms around herself.

He scooped up the quilt and, circling her, wrapped it around her shaking form. He caught the scent of her hair as he walked. His cock stiffened.

Dammit, his libido was in overdrive tonight, even more than normal. Because he had to, because being even a few inches away from her physically hurt, he moved closer, until his chest brushed against her back and her bottom rubbed his legs. He inhaled deeply, pulling the sweet aroma of her skin and hair into his nostrils. The need to take her swelled to painful intensity.

His brain told him he should leave before anything else happened. His body refused to budge. He’d been so close to taking her. She’d been willing.

Would she be willing again? Did he have the right to even try? He had to. God help him, he couldn’t stop himself.

“You’re so beautiful and you smell so good.” He gathered her long hair into his hands and raised it to his nose. Lavender. He gently laid the tresses over one shoulder and nuzzled the sweet spot where her neck met her collarbone.

She stood stone still. Her trembling had stopped. Whether it was because of the warm quilt or something else he had no clue. Even though he was a man again, and not a bear, clear thought eluded him. Bizarre, burning impulses charged through his body. So urgent.

He wanted her. More than he’d ever wanted a woman before. This woman. Now.

Copyright 2006 Tawny Taylor

posted by Tawny Taylor at 6:58 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Solving the Mystery of Print Runs


The following was posted by a respected fellow Ellora’s Cave author in response to my questions about print runs and sales.
I hope you find it as informative and insightful as I did!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Basically your print run is determined by your orders from wholesalers, distributors, and booksellers. Your book is sold to these people via your COVER and whatever blurb/info you and your editor have given them. Orders are done about 4-6 months in advance of release.

This is 1) why your book covers are done way in advance (in some cases before the ms. is even turned in), and 2) why your editor bugs you for a good synopsis because you might still be working on your book while the reps are out peddling it.

So your cover design is important, unfortunately, because this is all the buyers actually see. The people selling your book never read it, and the people buying it haven't read it either. Therefore you need your cover to SELL your book, whether or not those people on it look anything like your characters.

The biggest factor in how many orders come in for your book has to do with where you are on the publisher's list. If you are a lead (also known as the A or first position), you are in the best place for sales. (If you wonder who lead authors are, think of a romance author you hear about a lot, and she's very likely a lead.) Anyway, lead authors usually have the most expensive covers (foiled, raised lettering, best designs).

The publishers also offer booksellers $$ incentives to buy lead books. Publishers can offer what they call "co-op dollars", which can be very confusing, but a simple example is that the publisher offers the books 2 for 1 to the booksellers/distributors/wholesalers. For example, every time the bookseller buys one of, say, Nora Roberts' books, they get the second one free. So of course they purchase quite a lot.

Also the lead authors will get the largest share of the marketing budget—the publisher knows they'll probably make back the money they spend on marketing these books, so why not? The author gets full page color ads in RT and other trade publications, printed ARCs distributed to reviewers, including big reviewers like Pub. Weekly, partial ARCs passed out at book fairs (like Frankfurt, BEA, London).
Plus, you will likely get prominent display in bookstores. Publishers can offer incentives to place your book in good positions, such as end caps, table displays, by the register, in a book tower. If the publisher really loves you, you get a standing
display all by yourself (those cardboard displays that have a cover on them and books inside).

If you are in second or B position, you're still pretty good—you get good covers and some marketing incentives. Like leads, second-position books will more likely get picked up beyond the bookstores, meaning Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, grocery chains, etc. Also you might get some good display space in bookstores (front of store
tables, face out on shelves, end caps).

If you are in third or fourth position, then you will probably be bought only by the bookstore chains (Waldens, B&N, etc.). You might be included in a group ad in RT. Very likely each store will buy 2 or 3 copies of your books and display them spine out in the stacks. Unlikely that your publisher will send out ARCs on your behalf. This is the "midlist" and where many beginners start.

Still with me? OK, next factor is the market. What's hot and what's not? If booksellers are all excited about erotic paranormals because Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan and Laurel Hamilton and others are selling big time, they will be much more excited about buying erotic paranormals than they will be about buying sweet Westerns. So, even if you're a only midlist author but you have an erotic
paranormal, chances are you'll get more orders than if you're a midlist with a sweet Western (or whatever, I'm making up these examples!). And if you're a lead author writing the hot trend, woo hoo! You're on your way.

There are a few more factors like name recognition vs. newbie and previous sales (hoo, boy, that's important—if your previous book tanked, the booksellers will order less). Plus how excited the publisher is to push the book (they might offer incentive after incentive for one lead author and not as much for another).

All right, after all those factors are added up, the orders come in. Say Lead Author gets 100,000 of her books ordered. The publisher will probably pump up the number to about 125,000 so that reorders can be covered after the book ships. So her print run is 125K. On the other end of the scale are the lower midlists-- orders were 18K and the publisher printed 20K.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A BIG thank you to Allyson James/Jennifer Ashley for giving me permission to post this!
Read about her books at:
http://www.allysonjames.com.
and
http://www.jennifersromances.com

posted by Tawny Taylor at 12:26 PM | 1 comments

More on Literary Agents

I know I've posted a lot on the subject of agents lately, but I feel it's important to share this information as I find it.

If you've ever thought like I did once--that ANY agent is better than no agent, or at least an okay-but-not-great agent is better than a superstar agent, read this blog. This is how editors think.

I had NO idea.

No, it turns out, an okay-but-not-great agent is NOT better than a superstar agent. Agents are not on equal footing. A agent who is a nobody is no better than none at all.

Wow. I was so clueless, thinking that editors would give at least *some* special treatment to submissions from agents, even those they'd never heard of. My submissions wouldn't sit in slush for months at least. Right? After all, the envelope and cover letter had the words "Literary Agent" on them. That meant something, didn't it?

Not necessarily.

Want editors/publishers to take you seriously? Then you'll need a powerful agent who has a proven track record of sales and a solid reputation. Don't settle for less. You will regret it.

http://jasonpinter.blogspot.com

Wow. He really lays it out there, doesn't he?

Bottom line: Don't think for a minute that even if you are:

1. Able to get an editor to read a manuscript you'd submitted to the slush

...and...

2. Able to gain an offer from said editor

...that your contract will look anything like one an agented author would get. It won't. And it's also very likely a contract "negotiated" by a newbie agent will look no better.

Happy agent hunting! Shoot for the top!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 11:56 AM | 4 comments

Friday, July 21, 2006

Some SOBERING statistics

The following was posted by one of my publishers on their authors' loop. I do not read PW and therefore cannot verify that's where they're from. But it sure does say something about the market, or more specifically an author's potential to earn a living, if these figures are accurate.

Note: the info in brackets was added by moi.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From Publishers Weekly, some sobering statistics:

In 2004, Nielsen Bookscan tracked sales of 1.2 million books [CLARIFYING: INDIVIDUAL TITLES]in the US.

Of those 1.2 million, 950,000 sold fewer than 99 (yes, ninety-nine)
copies each.
[DOING THE MATH HERE, THAT'S JUST SHY OF 80% OF PUBLISHED TITLES SELL FEWER THAN 99 COPIES. ACK! WE'RE NOT JUST TALKING SELF-PUBBED HERE, PEOPLE.]

Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. [THIS IS ANOTHER 16.7%, THEREFORE ADDING THE ABOVE TO THIS FIGURE, 96.7 % OF *ALL* TITLES PUBLISHED IN THE U.S. SELL BETWEEN 0 AND 1000 COPIES!!! OMG. I HAD NO IDEA.]

Only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies. [2% OF ALL PUBLISHED BOOKS SELL MORE THAN 5K COPIES. I'M SPEECHLESS...]

Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000 copies. [THESE FIGURES DON'T SURPRISE ME AS MUCH AS THE ABOVE.]

Only 10 books sold more than a million copies each. [CAN YOU NAME THEM? I'D GUESS DAVINCI CODE'S IN THERE. HARRY POTTER. MAYBE A NORA TITLE. WHO ELSE?]

THE AVERAGE BOOK IN THE US SELLS ABOUT 500 COPIES. [ACK!!!! HOW DO PUBLISHERS STAY IN BUSINESS?]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, so now looking at these numbers, what do they mean? And how do we interpret them?

Yes, it can be argued that these figures include all genres, including non-fiction, so to say these numbers give an accurate picture of the romance genre may not be fair.

BUT if romance is truly a large portion of published fiction (what does RWA say? It's roughly 40% of fiction?), it's mathematically impossible for all the romance books to fit within that top 3% that sells 5k copies and more, along with the biographies written by ex-presidents, as well as timely diet books and novels by the Nora Roberts, Steven Kings and Dan Browns, etc.. No, it's still more likely that a good percentage of romance novels fall into that larger number, the 97%.

Something to consider, however, is the fact that these figures include a GREAT many older titles. If there are roughly 120,000 new titles published every year, then you're looking at books that could be as old as ten years. Having so many older titles in the mix is sure to bring down the "curve" or skew the figures, I'm sure. Then again, if all new books sold over 5k copies, then that number should be 120,000, not 25,000. Maybe the percentage of new books that sell over 5k is low, but it may not be the 2% the figures above might suggest at first glance. But at the HIGHEST, it could only be 25,000/120,000 or 20%, and we know that isn't accurate either because it's assuming every one of those 25,000 titles are "new". The reality is it has to be some figure in between 2 and 20%.

I'm sure publishers know what that number is, but I don't.

On another site, I read that 70% of all books published do NOT earn out their advance. OMG. And a book that sells over 5000 copies (I'm assuming that's taking into account returns) is considered "successful".

I've just had a MAJOR reality check. With my first NY published book about to release, I'm hoping I'll be in that top 2 (or whatever that figure really is)%. I'm REALLY hoping.

No matter how I look at it, the math isn't on my side.

Wow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, I'm editing this post to add some new information I've found.

1. Bookscan does not track *all* sales, such as those generated through publishers' sites.

2. I located a site that stated that adult fiction constitutes roughly 14% of all books published in a year.

That's a very small percentage.

Using the 120,000 figure, that means roughly 17,000 new fiction titles are published each year.

Then, look at how many of those are romance. According to RWA, there were not quite 2300 romance novels released in 2004. That's a VERY small percentage of the 1.2 MILLION titles Bookscan tracked in 2004. It's statistically possible that EVERY ONE of those titles sold over 5,000 copies. It's probably not likely, but it is still possible.

Bottom line: While at first glance, these figures are shocking, we're not really learning much from them. They're too vague, include old books as well as new, and include non fiction as well as fiction.

However, they do give an author a vague idea of the market as a whole as well as a general measure by which they can assess their book's "success".

Numbers. It's interesting how they can look one way one minute and then under more careful scrutiny, look entirely different the next.

Thoughts anyone?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:21 PM | 8 comments

Hello, My Name is...


One of the most common (and oftentimes pressing) matters a new author faces is the question of whether or not to use a pseudonym. Does she want to use her real name?

Or perhaps something cute and snappy?

Or perhaps sweet and lyrical?

This is not a trivial matter, as it turns out. There are so many factors to consider, even for an unpublished author. And if the author is published, things get even more complicated.

There are no doubt many reasons why a writer might consider taking a pseudonym. An unpublished writer may wish to keep her writing private from neighbors, friends, even family (not to mention psycho stalkers just released from prison). She may work in a field like teaching or law where she cannot afford to associate her real name with certain genres. She may want to purchase a url and set up a website before she's sold her first book. A sidenote: The process of building name recognition is slow and tedious but well worth an unpublished writer's time. Some of the most successful new author launches I've seen were by writers who had established a name for themselves before selling.

A published author may be looking to move into a new direction with her writing and wouldn't want to confuse readers, like JD Robb/Nora Roberts. Or perhaps she's suffered poor sales and is looking to make a fresh start. Those things happen.

Therefore, the first question is: Do I need a pseudonym? If the above apply, then the answer is most likely "yes".

Secondly, how does one choose?

This is the fun part! I know when I was a little girl, I often wondered what it might be like if I could have chosen my own name. Originally, I started writing historical romance, therefore, I wanted a pseudonym that sounded "historical", something that fit the time frame I wrote in. I googled the words "Names" and "Elizabethan" and found lots of stuff. After much deliberating, I picked.

Then I went and changed genres. I had decided to start writing sassy contemporaries and my historical name (Devon) just didn't fit. So, it was back to the baby name sites for me. I knew I wanted to use my father's name as a surname, since he'd died when I was young. So I had my last name picked out. I just needed a first name.

Again, I struggled to make a choice. How would I balance the syllables in the first and last names? How about the "hard" sounds versus soft ones? Allan was my chosen last name. Would my first be Courtney? Paige? Sydney? I liked Sydney, but felt it needed something. A middle name. Laine. Voila. I had a penname.

And then I changed genres AGAIN.

Have you gotten the impression that I'm a ADHD author? Because I am. I don't deny it. LOL

Back to the drawing board again. Although this time it was much easier to choose. I had a first name in mind already, a name that was sexy--Tawny. My last name was again chosen from my family. And thus, Tawny Taylor was born.

It's odd, but now that I "live" my Tawny persona all day online and on the weekends when I'm working at the bookstore, I've become more comfortable with that name than my given name. It's strange but true.

For those looking for a penname, I recommend the following site: http://www.babynamesworld.com/ It has the absolute best search engine. You can search by sex, letter, syllables, nationality...there are a gob of options. And there are millions of names to choose from.

One final suggestion--I strongly recommend a writer do a google of their chosen name, and also check Amazon for other authors using the same or similar names. There is no law against having an indentical name (or one very similar) to another author, however, it could work against you, especially if that author is popular.

Good luck! And I welcome anyone out there to share their penname experiences. How'd you choose?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:50 AM | 3 comments

Thursday, July 20, 2006

She's Got Legs...


A friend of mine has a release coming out and it looks fabu!

Check it out!

LOVE that cover!


SHE'S GOT LEGS (chick lit 7500 words)

When the Clock Strikes

Daria Wyatt didn't want to go to her fifteen-year high school reunion. Although she has blossomed from a wallflower into a powerful Capitol Hill attorney, she knew seeing those girls in person wouldn't exactly do wonders for her self-esteem. If only her younger sister Kara hadn't insisted she go. Giving in to shut her sister up, Daria borrows Kara's high heels in an effort to jumpstart her confidence. But in her rush to get out the door, she picks up the wrong pair, a butt-ugly purple platform creation with bright green sequins...

After Midnight

Greg McCauley can't believe his bad luck. He finally meets a beautiful, intelligent, intriguing, confident woman, but she rushes off before he can get her number. He knows he should put her out of his mind, but there's just something about her. Those lips, those eyes, those legs, those crazy shoes...

Rating: Tangy

Book Length: Bites
Buy Here: http://www.freyasbower.com/

Price: $2.00

posted by Tawny Taylor at 2:56 PM | 1 comments

Coming July 26th!

Speaking of book covers...


Lookie what I found in my inbox yesterday!

Happy Squeeeeeeeee! It's PERFECT!

Blurb:

City girl Abby Clumm wouldn't normally travel to remote cabins in Alaska alone. But with the expectation that her friend will be arriving shortly, she makes the journey to their rented cabin solo. Unfortunately, things don’t go as she plans--no real surprise there, when do they?--and her first night she finds herself alone in the boonies, a shotgun she doesn’t know how to use and a failing wooden door the only things standing between her and some kind of very hungry animal outside. She’s now caught in a battle for survival.

Research scientist Tarik Evert has no idea what’s wrong. He’s suddenly driven by a need so urgent it’s painful. The scent of a woman nearby beckons him, sends him staggering outside into the cold. And then somehow he’s at her door, not sure what just happened...or what is about to happen if she lets him inside.

He only knows one thing--the hunger that brought him to her in the first place.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:56 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fun with Book Covers!

Check this out! You can upload any picture, hit a button and voila, it's a cover!

http://www.glassgiant.com/romance/

Let's have some fun...








Oh! I can see some potential with this one. Hee hee!











Hahahahah!

Let's see if I can beat that one :) It's hard finding fun pictures to use. Digging through the archives at my fave freebie photo site...






I'm such a dork sometimes. So easily amused.

Ack! My kiddies are making too much noise. I can't concentrate. I need a logline.










I gave up. Anyone want to help me with a funny logline for this one?

Give it a whirl with your own picture and post it in the comments! I'd love to see them!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:35 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Confessions of a "Carnal" Book Lover


(photograph by Kristen Handfield)

Okay, so I'm spending my evening doing what all (slacking/procrastinating) writers are doing...blog hopping! And I discovered the Avon editors' group blog, aptly titled Avon Romance Blog.

June 11's entry caught my eye. Titled "For Book Lovers", it spoke to me, perhaps because I am (of course) a book lover. Have been since I was a little girl.

My faves: Nancy Drew, Little House books, college psychology textbooks, Fairytales...the list goes on. I'd read anything. I was a book carp.

Some things haven't changed, but I digress...

The blog entry turns out to be about a collection of published essays by Anne Fadiman. Evidently, she has determined there are exactly two types of book lovers, those who are "Courtly" and those who are "Carnal".

According to the Avon blog's summary (I haven't read the essay so I am relying on their synopsis), Courtly book lovers do not dog-ear books or break the spine. They wouldn't write in a book or rip out a page. (I know someone like this--her books are arranged by author and then alphabetized by title.)

On the other hand, Carnal book lovers don't bother with bookmarks and break the spine at will. They might use a book as a coaster, or if needed, use a couple to prop up a piece of furniture missing a leg.

Me? I confess (as my entry’s title suggests), I am a Carnal book lover. My books are well-used and well-loved. I sleep with them. I lose them in the creases between the couch cushions. I read them while I eat and leave the occasional smear on a page. A small stack of hardcover books prop up my son's tippy desk.

The shame.

Want to win a free print proof of my September release, Sex and the Single Ghost? Go to All A-blog at www.AccessRomance.com and publish a comment to my post. I'll be drawing one winner.

Good luck!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 12:13 PM | 2 comments

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Blog Review Bookseller Chick

Time for my almost/kinda/semi-weekly blog review (won't commit to every week because sometimes I just can't find a good blog to review).

http://booksellerchick.blogspot.com/

This is the blog of...guess...yep, a bookseller.

VERY interesting stuff in here.

As an author, I can't imagine a better head to climb into than that of a bookseller. They know your readers. Intimately, if they're doing their job well. They have some idea of what makes readers crazy in a good way...as well as a bad.

A piece of advice: if you have books in print...will have books in print...or hope to someday have books in print, read bookseller blogs.

Looking at a few posts:

Friday, July 14th, she talked about sales of Trade paperbacks versus hardcovers. Interesting stuff, although nothing too shocking or exciting.

Thursday, the 13th, the title is "To Be Seen and Read." There's a mention of a chick lit writer, some opportunities for promotion. Oh, I've struck gold! Great advice.

Look at those links too! A whole host of new links to visit. I'm in blog heaven. Happy sigh.

Overall, I'm really liking this blog and I'm sure I'll be back. My rating: 8! Blog on, Bookseller Chick! I'm reading!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 6:43 PM | 1 comments

Friday, July 14, 2006

Anyone like to sew?


My mainstream personna has launched a new costuming site. I'm sure you'll recognize a couple of the pictures.

It's just getting started, but I have some links for medieval, Renaissance and Victorian period garb and wedding gowns, plus dress diaries for my two current projects: a white medieval fairy costume and a Venetian courtesan's gown.

Come check it out.

http://www.sydneyscostumes.homestead.com

posted by Tawny Taylor at 6:56 AM | 4 comments

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Do I have "Dumbass" written across my forehead?

From: "ALOY JESSY"

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Reply-To: aloybe_28@yahoo.com
Date: 6 Jul 18:01 (PDT)
To: tawny@tawnytaylor.com
Subject: I NEED UGENT HELP!!!!!

i am 26year old girl who is looking for seriously help,please if you are
willing to help me out let me know through my private email adress
aloybe_28@yahoo.com so that i can tell you more about my problem
and what am looking for okay,waiting to hear from you as soon as porsible
thank you so much for writing me back.
Miss Jessy.


[THIS CHICK--IF IT'S TRULY A WOMAN AND NOT SOME 50 YEAR OLD MAN IN PRISON--NEEDS SOME SERIOUS GRAMMAR HELP, WOULDN'T YOU SAY? SHALL WE HELP HER? I'M NOT ABOUT TO EMAIL HER BACK. SHE'LL PROBABLY RETURN THE FAVOR BY SENDING ME A VIRUS.

FIRST, THAT'S ONE FRIGGIN' LONG COMMA SPLICE, CHICKA. PERIODS. THEY HAVE THEIR PURPOSES.

SECOND, "PORSIBLE"? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?

THIRD, "MISS JESSY"? I'M NOT A HORNY MALE TROLLING THE WEB LOOKING FOR SWEET YOUNG WOMEN TO SEDUCE. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

FOURTH, "SERIOSLY HELP" NO. SHOULD READ "SERIOUS HELP", NOT THAT YOU'LL GET ANY FROM ME. I'M PRONE TO GIVING PEOPLE LIKE YOU THE VIRTUAL FINGER. I PREFER KEEPING MY MONEY IN THE BANK...MY BANK.

SCAMS. IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE ANYONE FALLS FOR THIS SHIT, ISN'T IT?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:06 AM | 5 comments

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Looking for a Nom de Plume?


Try this:

http://www.testcafe.com/pen/

I put my name, address, etc. and ended up with Jeanne Tawny.

Guess I'm destined to be a "Tawny" :)

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:35 AM | 2 comments

Monday, July 10, 2006

One of those quiz thingies

It's Monday. Let's have some fun doing something silly and pointless...







?? Which Creature Of The Sea Are You??


posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:39 AM | 3 comments

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Is there REALLY a market for this?!


Funny what a girl will find by Googling the words “Bizarre Websites”.


The word bizarre isn’t even fitting for some of these sites.

Take for instance, this one. OMG, I can’t imagine what people are doing with these things...outside of at Halloween time. Anyone care to take a guess?






[MY COMMENTS IN BRACKETS AND ALL CAPS]

The headline: Build a lifesize, realistic, decaying corpse in the privacy of your own home. [FUN FOR THE FAMILY! FOSTER LOVE AND CLOSENESS WITH YOUR CHILDREN WHILE EXPLORING THE MORE SOBERING ASPECTS OF LIFE...AND DEATH]


This Step By Step Manual includes options for installing Lights into the eye sockets, cabling the mouth to open and close using a cable controlled handle and Life Casting. All materials can be bought at local Hardware and Hobby stores. [I GUARANTEE THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT SHOPPING AT HOME DEPOT, LOL] If your favorite Hobby store doesn't supply some of the needed materials then you may have to visit a Theatrical Supply Shop or even your local dentist. [TELL ME THE DENTISTS ARE NOT FORKING OVER REAL TEETH, PLEASE!] In case you can't find the materials you need there is a list of on-line suppliers included in the back of the manual. [WONDER WHAT A SKULL IS GOING FOR THESE DAYS...NOT.]

You don't need any prior experience or great artistic talent. [JUST A STRONG STOMACH] This manual will guide you through each process, step by step, giving you many tricks and techniques along the way to help ensure your corpse is realistic in every detail. [I’M SPEECHLESS. THIS COULD BE TAKEN SO MANY WAYS.]



You think I made this up? CLICK HERE.


posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:21 AM | 4 comments

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Friday Giggle


LETTER FROM ARKANSAS KID
(NOW AT
CAMP PENDLETON DOING MARINE CORPS RECRUIT TRAINING)


Dear Mom and Pop,
I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Graffender by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.
I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly
6 A.M. but I am getting so I like to sleep late.


Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch , mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.
Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till
noon when you get fed again.

It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much. We go on "route marches," which the platoon sergeant says are lo n g walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A "route march" is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.
The country is nice but awful flat. The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown They don't bother you none.

This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Harklau boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comforta bl e and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home. I'm about the best they got in this except for that Bub Vote from over in Hardy. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6" and 130 pounds and he's 6'8" and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter, Susan


posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:00 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm So Excited!


I just found out the release date and title of my Pocket anthology!!!

Title: Master of Secret Desires

Release Date: June, 2007

A three book anthology with:

Broken – S.L. Carpenter

6 Enchanted Princesses – Elizabeth Jewell

Dragons & Dungeons – Tawny Taylor


THAT TITLE ROCKS! Can't wait to see the cover.

Squeeeeeeeeee!!!!!


posted by Tawny Taylor at 6:48 AM | 4 comments

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Win FREE STUFF!


It's a scavenger hunt!

Start here. Click the links. Gather the clues and win, win, win!

Have fun and good luck!

http://www.erotic-escapades.com/PillowSH.html

posted by Tawny Taylor at 3:02 PM | 0 comments

Happy 4th of July!


Hope everyone has a wonderful, fun-filled day!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 2:47 PM | 0 comments

Monday, July 03, 2006

Blog Review Karen Scott's World


http://karenscottworld.blogspot.com/

I went a-wandering through blogland today and stumbled upon this intriguing blog. The title on the header: “It’s my blog and I’ll say what I want to; Observations on life, love, sex, books, and the world!”

Hmmmm...attitude. That sounds like fun...
I read on.
I immediately gathered this is a personal blog, not one intended to promote any one publisher/author or agency.

I read further...

The first article is about men spending time with children.

I have to agree: the stresses of children are more likely to cause problems, rather than solve them. People who think it's the other way around tend to end up in divorce court.

That was a semi-interesting post. Certainly nothing to get too excited about. Should I read on? Sure. What the hell.

The second title caught my eye: Authors Behaving Badly.

Ooooohhhh. Dirt! Now we're talking.

The subject matter is Dara Joy. It seems she may be taking money for her self-published books but not shipping them. Gossip. I love reading gossip.

I explored further.

More dirt, about one of my fave authors, Mary Janice Davidson. And also about Changeling Press and several of the authors published by that small press. There’s another post about LL Gurke’s slam of Ellora’s Cave (now THAT was some ugly shit!).

I forced myself to check out some of her non-authors-behaving-badly posts (It was hard. Those were so much fun!).

here’s a rundown of Piers Anthony write-ups on some of the better known epublishers. I found the comments particularly interesting. There are also some posts on sports (yawn). Book reviews (yay!). And posts on miscellaneous other topics. I eventually stopped digging through the archives.

Overall, this blog was amusing. The author makes no apologies for what she posts (I wish I had that kind of guts sometimes). Her blunt opinions make for some interesting reading, as do the comments of her readers. And there are LOTS of them. She’s obviously doing something very right!

There’s some juicy gossip in there to amuse, as well as a splash of info. But there’s not enough “meat” to make it useful in a writerly, building-your-career sort of way. Frankly, it doesn’t look like it’s intended to be that sort of blog.

If you like reading dirt, or commentary on interesting, timely topics head on over! You’re sure to be pleased.

My rating: I give it a 6.

Oh, and here's hoping my name NEVER ends up under the Authors Behaving Badly heading :)


posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:15 PM | 12 comments

Anyone want to play a game?

This is just for kicks. No prize...well, unless I come up with something in the next few days.

Below is a photograph. Write 100 words. Micro fiction, poem, whatever, about the picture and post it as a comment.

Have fun!



Ready?














Keep scrolling...








Warning...If spiders give you the squicks, this is freaky!





























Thanks to fresh-m for the photograph! http://visionfresh.net

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:43 AM | 0 comments
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