Friday, March 31, 2006

Patience is a Virtue, Redux

My editor has had my proposal on book two for approximately two months. Not a long time, I realize, but I'm antsy to get another book in the HI pipeline, and I hate waiting. I'm not quite ready to start another book yet, but I do have a completed manuscript waiting in the wings once I hear back from her, whether the news is good or bad. I just want to get a second sale, to take the pressure off, you know? Who wants to be a one-sale wonder?

I feel a little guilty whining, however, when I know of several great writers who haven't yet sold the first book. I keep up with many of them, and I ache with frustration for them, because I know they're sooooooo close, and yet they're having to wait and wait and wait for an editor to finally say those words, "We'd like to buy your book." I feel greedy griping and groaning about whether and when I'll sell book two.

So for all my writer friends out there who are teetering on the verge of selling (and you know who you are as well as I do), I apologize for being selfish. And know that I'm almost as anxious for y'all to hear from an editor as I am to hear from my own editor.

Who still hasn't gotten back to me yet, darn it! ;)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I promised myself I was going to dive head first into my To Be Read pile as soon as I finished the first draft of DANGEROUS PURSUIT, but I can't seem to get out of the creative mode. I spent last night cutting a previously completed manuscript down to 262 pages so it would better fit the new Intrigue word count. I also did some brainstorming on upcoming projects.

Apparently I save my lethargic, I don't want to write ANYTHING moments for those precious moments right when I'm in the middle of writing manuscript that needs to be finished on deadline.

I have a keen sense of time running out, I think. I realize I'm only in my early forties and a lot of highly prolific writers didn't start selling until they were much older, but I've been working at this goal of publication since I was in my late twenties, and I feel as if so much time has slipped away when I could have been establishing myself. So now that my foot's in the door, I want to be prolific and successful.

And, I must admit, I'm also highly competitive. I have a lot of friends who are fast writers, and I don't want to lag behind. I want to write three or four books a year, have them all be brilliant and sell every one of them. Of course, that may be a tough goal to reach, given my demanding day job, but I like to set my sights high.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

And They Lived Happily Ever After

Ladies and gentlemen, I finished my WIP. The first draft of DANGEROUS PURSUIT clocks in at a lean, mean 262 pages, officially the shortest first draft I've ever written. I have no idea how well it holds together as a cohesive novel, but, well, that's what critique partners are for, right?

To Be Read pile, here I come!

Friday, March 24, 2006

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Because you just can't get enough Jack.

Golden Friday

Yup, today's the day Golden Heart calls go out!

I'm no longer eligible, but I have so many friends with entries out there that I'm almost as nervous as if I'd entered the contest myself. So, best of luck to all of you who entered.

I also have several friends who entered the Rita, RWA's published author award. I fell between the cracks this year--not eligible for the GH OR the Rita. Maybe next year. Meanwhile, good luck to all my published friends who entered.

If you want to keep up with the GH & Rita finalists real time, or want to report a final so the rest of us can know about your good news, Melynda Beth Skinner is keeping a tally again this year.


The GH and Rita finalists are up on the RWA website! Congrats to my cyberfriends Dianna Love Snell, Shane Bolks and Stef Feagan for their Rita nominations, and Mary Fechter, Trish Milburn, Tawny Weber, Robin Perini, Linda Rooks, Laurie Kellogg, Stacey Riemer and Anna Sugden for their Golden Heart nominations.

Best of luck to you all!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Drive By Blogging

Just this and that. . .

Congrats to my friend Kelley St. John, who just sold to Harlequin Blaze. It's book #3 for her, but her first Harlequin. Welcome to the H/S family! (And man, Harlequin and Silhouette are buying stuff right and left these days!)

I'm about 18 pages from my target goal for my WIP, and it's mostly action/mystery from here on, which makes it easier. If I can finish it before my editor gets back to me on the partial, it will be a victory. ;)

Garden update—who knew it was going to get all freezy and frosty in the middle of March?! Not I! The little fellas are going to have to sink or swim over the next few cold nights, because they're already in their big pots, and we don't have anywhere inside to put them. We're bringing the tiny seedling pots in, though, to give them a fighting chance. Think kind thoughts for my little plants.

And don't forget to check out Romance Magicians--heroes are the topic for today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Romance Magicians

I'm blogging today on Southern Magic's group blog, Romance Magicians. My topic: What do you do when your character's aren't in the mood for love?

A timely question for me at the moment, as my WIP's hero and heroine aren't cooperating at all.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Speaking of Covers...

My friend Kelley St. John has her cover for book #2, REAL WOMEN DON'T WEAR SIZE 2. Check it out and if you have a little time, be sure to see what other great stuff she has on her website. My favorite section is her collection of "The Call" stories—very inspiring!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Well, finished my tax returns. I need to call my broker to see what I need to do about putting some money into my IRA before the deadline so the tax return I just signed is correct, but at least I actually have money to contribute to the poor IRA this year. It's actually an IRA set up over a decade ago when I was with a different advertising agency. My current agency doesn't offer a pension plan, and to this point, I've just been staying ahead of the bill man every month, so the only increase in my IRA was interest and dividends. Thanks to my book advance, I actually have a little money to contribute this year.

Of course, the book advance also made my taxes a little more complicated, thanks to the self-employment tax. I was already filing a schedule C for my freelance graphic design work, but the extra money added a layer of complexity to filing my taxes.

You'd think the nation that put the first man on the moon could come up with a less bloated tax system.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Planting Day

Some of you may remember my gardening adventures from last year. I started a container garden on our back deck last year around the middle of May, mostly on a whim.

This year, we're getting started a little earlier and mostly growing vegetables—bibb lettuce, mesclun, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions and herbs so far (a salad garden, obviously). We're also planting strawberries and blueberries, and this fall I think we're going to plant a muscadine arbor that will hopefully produce fruit next season. We already have a small fig tree, and I think we're going to plant a peach tree this year, too. We're quite the little organic farmers, aren't we?

So, does anybody know any other vegetables that grow well in containers? I'm willing to experiment. ;)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Back Cover Copy

So, today I get the copy that will go on the back cover of my book:

Walking away wasn’t an option

“Help me!”

For Lily Browning, there was no escaping the visions that had haunted her all her life. And now a little girl’s desperate cry for help had brought enigmatic, disturbingly masculine Lieutenant McBride to her door...

McBride didn’t have time for psychics. He had a kidnapper to catch. But the honey-haired woman with the golden eyes seemed to see things no one else could—including his own tragic secret. With a child’s life at stake, he had to trust Lily…even as each step plunged them deeper into danger and into the uncharted territory of irresistible desire....

Pretty good copy, huh? I like it, too. Except my heroine isn't honey-haired. Her hair is dark brown, nearly black.

Then again, with Mr. Hottie McBride on the front cover , who's gonna worry about Lily's hair color?

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Copyright © 2006 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
Ain't he purty?

And the photo actually corresponds to a scene in the book, wonder of wonders. Of course, McBride wasn't wearing a t-shirt, but now I wish I'd thought of it myself!


Mary at The Bandwagon got me.

Four movies you would watch over and over:
Pride and Prejudice (either the mini or the new movie. Obsessively)
Die Hard
Independence Day
Sound of Music

Four places you have lived:
Birmingham, Alabama
Gardendale, Alabama
That's it.

Four TV shows you love to watch
Battlestar Galactica

Four places you have been on vacation:
Denver, Colorado
Washington, DC
New Orleans, Louisiana
Gatlinburg, Tennesee

Four websites you visit daily:
The Corner on NRO
Protein Wisdom
Day by Day

Four of your favorite foods:
Sesame Shrimp
KFC Honey Barbecue drenched Chicken Strips
Fried green tomatoes

Four places you would rather be right now:
At home writing
The Smoky Mountains
Gulf Shores

Four friends you are tagging that you think will respond:

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

If Patience is a Virtue . . .

I'm not particularly virtuous.

The June book covers have started going out from H/S. Have I received mine yet? Why, no. No, I haven't.


One thing I've learned since selling my first book is that the whole publishing process teaches you not patience but resignation. ;)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Nice Weekend

The kids were at my aunt's house, which meant the house was quiet from about 11 am Saturday to around 4 p.m. on Sunday. The weather was gorgeous—sunny and mild—and I took the opportunity to turn off the television and hang with my mom. We planned this year's deck garden (more vegetables and fruits, fewer flowers) and I finally got around to reading my friend Kris's book HELL'S BELLES. I was blown away by how good it was. Textured, complex, funny, heartbreaking, scary—in short, a great read. I highly recommend it.

I also managed to write 14 new pages on my WIP over the weekend, bringing my page count to 242. It's going to run long, which means lots of trimming during the second draft edit, but the light at the end of the tunnel is finally in view.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

To Agent or not to Agent

I recently turned down an offer of agent representation, largely because I don't see myself writing anything outside of category for the next three or four years. Frankly, with H/S being the only game in town for category length novels, and with their contracts offering very little wiggle room for negotiating terms, I don't see the point of handing an agent 15% to do what I can do myself.

My five year plan includes writing enough category books to build a name and reputation for myself. I think my voice works well for Harlequin Intrigue, my preferred line, and I think I have plenty of category length stories in me. I like reading category and writing category, so it all works out.

However, I know that some day, even if I'm still writing category, I'm going to need an agent to take me to the next step in my writing career. I just wonder--when will I know it's time to take the agent step? Was I wrong to turn down the agent who was willing to represent me? I have one more submission out there, under consideration with an even bigger agent. What if that agent wants to represent me? Should I consider signing with her, even though I don't think I'm going to be writing a single title in the next couple of years?

Gah, I hate making decisions, sometimes.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion

Don't forget you can pre-order FORBIDDEN TERRITORY from several of the on-line bookstores. There are links to Books-a-Million, Barnes & Noble and on my website. I'd love to have great sales for my first book—it'll make it that much easier to sell the second!

When it gets closer to June, I'll start posting some "behind the scenes" stuff about FORBIDDEN TERRITORY and how it came into being, how I conceived of the characters, how the characters have evolved over the course of the multiple rewrites and revisions, and how a book targeted for Silhouette Intimate Moments for a decade found its home as an Intrigue.

Also, I'm going to open up the comments section of this post for questions. Anything you've ever wanted to know about selling your first book, writing for Intrigue, writing category length romance, etc. If I know the answer, I'll give it, and if I don't, maybe some of the other authors who occasionally leave comments will have an answer.

So, have at it!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

In Vain Have I Struggled

Sorry for the lack of recent posts. I've only now dragged myself away from my DVD player since the arrival of the new PRIDE AND PREJUDICE movie in the mail earlier in the week.

As a hugely obsessed fan of the 1996 BBC/A&E miniseries and the owner of almost all of Colin Firths available films, I think my creds as an aficionada are pretty much self-evident. Therefore, I'm as shocked as I can be to say that I think Matthew MacFadyen made a lovely Darcy, one who is coming to rival Firth's Darcy in my affections.

Spoilers ahead, so if you haven't seen it, turn away now...

The miniseries definitely hewed more closely to the book than the feature film. Because of the time constraints, the two-hour movie, of necessity, had to conflate several scenes into one, trim out characters (Bingley has just one sister in the movie) and give shorter shrift to others (Wickham's role, while pivotal, is much shorter). That said, there was a lot about the feature film that I liked better than the miniseries.

I always thought Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth was too mature and self-composed for her age. Keira Knightly captured the girlishness of Elizabeth that Jennifer lacked, which I think added to the moral of the story: that Elizabeth's pride and vanity--common and universal flaws especially in the young--led to her gravely mistaking the characters of both Darcy and Wickham.

And speaking of Wickham, I always thought the casting of Wickham in the miniseries was a weakness. I didn't find that Wickham physically attractive to begin with, and the actor's choice of how to play him made him seem far too smarmy to ever attract a girl as sensible as Lizzie. However, the feature film's Wickham, Rupert Friend, is, well, pretty hot. Friend played Wickham as a subtle charmer, and it worked much better for me than the Wickham of the mini.

Finally, the chemistry between Knightly and MacFadyen was sizzling. Every scene between them sparked, especially the doomed proposal scene. In the miniseries, this is one of the most excruciating scenes, one I usually cringe my way through. In fairness to the mini, the scene is much more true to the book than the one of the movie. However, I'm going to forgive the movie for straying from the book because the way the proposal played out on screen made my palms sweat. Even as Lizzie and Darcy argued and antagonized, the sexual tension between them set my TV ablaze.

On the whole, the romance worked better, for me, in the movie because it was not so rigorously constrained as it was in the miniseries. Even though there was no kiss until the very end, in a coda that gives us a brief, lovely glimpse of the newly married couple at home, the passion between Elizabeth and Darcy pulsed in every scene between them, growing inexorably until they meet early one morning and confess their love in a sweetly understated moment that throbs with emotion.

My first time through the movie, I found myself missing the things that had been in the miniseries but not in the movie. However, on second viewing, I really appreciated the elements the movie chose to highlight and illuminate that the miniseries didn't.

Lovely, lovely adaptation. I highly recommend it.