Thursday, August 31, 2006

Adios August

Can you believe it's almost September? This summer has flown for me. As I get older, the days seem so much shorter--has anyone else noticed that?

I've finished the edits my editor gave me for the book formerly known as DANGEROUS PURSUIT. They were very simple changes and I made them in about an hour. I hope to send the full out this weekend, probably before my book signing.

I also made a little headway on my synopsis for the book formerly known as DEADLY ILLUSION. I hope to have the proposal ready to send by the middle of the month, and then I can set about finishing the last few chapters so the full will be ready if and when my editor requests it.

After that, I'm going to settle down and concentrate on my new series idea that I've discussed before.

Don't forget, if you're in the Birmingham area this Saturday, I'll be signing FORBIDDEN TERRITORY at Brooke's Book Stop in McCalla. Check out my website for the address and more detailed information. Gayle Wilson, Kelley St. John and Jennifer Echols will be signing their books as well. Come see us!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No Longer a One Book Wonder

Just heard from my editor. Book two is a go! It's Rose's story, and the working title, DANGEROUS PURSUIT, is apparently out. They're going to try to tie the three books together with a "Forbidden" in each title. No idea yet what DP's new title will be.

I should have the proposal for book 3 ready at the same the time I turn in the slight revisions she has for book 2, so maybe I'll have more good news before the end of the year!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Shout Out to the Band Geeks

I read my friend Jennifer Echols' new book, MAJOR CRUSH, yesterday evening. I'm not normally a fan of YA stories, but since it was my friend's book, I sat down to give it a read. Funny, sweet, delightful book! As a former band geek myself (flute and baritone horn), I had no trouble getting into the whole marching-band-as-society metaphor. (Though in my marching band, EVERYBODY was a geek, there were no cool girls or guys, and we didn't compete much in competitions because we reeked so badly).

The setting was very familiar (small town Alabama, with which I'm well-acquainted) but to be honest, the southernness wasn't as prominent as the small-townness, if that makes sense. It could have as easily been set in Iowa or Kansas or anywhere in flyover country.

The characters were interesting, really well-drawn and familiar in that all-important "I know someone just like that!" way of really good books. And the teen-age romance managed to be sweet and sizzling at the same time, without crossing into "ick" territory.

Kudos, Jennifer! Can't wait to read the next one!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Promo Opportunity

This November 4, 2006, Southern Magic will present Teresa Medeiros at our Romance Readers' Luncheon at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, AL.

Your books, book marks, and other goodies will be appreciated.

For more information, visit www.southernmagic.org.

If you're going to be in the Birmingham area in early November and you're a big fan of romances, this is a great opportunity to meet and talk with a number of successful and prolific writers, including Linda Howard, Gayle Wilson, Beverly Barton, Linda Winstead Jones, and more. I'll be there as well, hopefully with good news about book two in my "sisters" series.

And if you're a writer looking for ways to promote yourself and your books, the Romance Readers' Luncheon gives you an eager, captive audience for your promotional materials.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Am I a Blogging Slug?

Why, yes. Yes, I am.

Mostly because I'm trying to work up a proposal for DEADLY ILLUSION to send to my editor, and I'm waiting to hear from said editor the fate of DANGEROUS PURSUIT, which has climbed a step up the ladder at Harlequin but hasn't reached "sold" status yet.

That and the fact that I'm a lazy heifer when it gets hot and humid like it's been.

I do have a book signing coming up--my first! It's at Brooke's Book Stop in McCalla, Alabama. I'll be signing with my writing hero, Gayle Wilson, the effervescent Kelley St. John, and the always witty and delightful Jennifer Echols. It's 2 pm on September 2nd, if you're in the Birmingham area and want to drop by, say hi, and buy lots and lots of books.

I'll also be part of a genre program at the September Southern Magic monthly meeting. I'll post more details when I get them.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Save a Writer, Buy a New Book!

That's the title of an excellent and timely essay by author Susan Gable. With Bombshell folding, it's more vital than ever that readers remember to support the writers they love by buying books new rather than used if it's at all possible.

Here's Susan's essay on the subject, with her permission:

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Save a Writer, Buy a New Book!
By Susan Gable

The recent demise of yet another Harlequin line, this time the kick-butt heroine line Bombshell, got me to thinking, which, as anyone who knows me will tell you is always a dangerous thing. I heard from a number of readers who were surprised by the closing, because they had friends who just "loved that line!"

I've also heard things like this: "I can't believe they closed that line. I loved that line. I read those books every month at my library."

Before I go any farther with this discussion, I have to offer up a disclaimer. I love libraries. Especially as a child with a voracious appetite for story, I borrowed armloads of books from my local library. I love bargains, too. I shop like men hunt or play sports. It's a victory when I score a bargain. (New black cocktail dress, originally $79, marked down to only $16. SCORE!) Used books are great bargains. Swapping books, another great bargain. The new websites on-line, where you can "rent" a book, in a system similar to NetFlix, are also an interesting bargain. Good grief, even the airports these days have a program where you can buy a book, read it, then sell it back to them. What a bargain!

But did you realize that those bargains could be putting your favorite line or your favorite author out of business?

It's a difficult, touchy subject for authors to discuss. We don't want to appear anti-used books ('cause we're not — not entirely, anyway), or make readers think we're money-grubbers, always harping on them to buy our books. We all know (believe me, we KNOW — most writers don't make anywhere close to as much money as people think we do) how tight money can be sometimes, especially with the rising costs of gas and heating fuel, and food, and taxes, and…well, you know. Everything.

We’ve been known ourselves to sometimes borrow and trade books, or buy used. Or go to the library.

But publishing these days is a strictly-by-the-numbers business, which means if the numbers don't live up to the publisher's expectations, a writer can kiss her slot/line/future contracts good-bye.

"Where's SoAndSo's latest book? How come she hasn't published another story in that series that I love so much?" If you find yourself asking that question, it could be that your favorite, SoAndSo, got cut loose because the numbers of that last book in the series didn't do as well as the one before that. How did you get your hands on that last book? Did you buy it new, contributing to the continuation of the series, or did you bargain read it? Bargain reads don’t count towards our numbers.

Writers, especially those of us at the "lower echelons" of the publishing world, need ur readers more than ever. Without you, there would be no point in what we do. (Well, okay, there's a certain satisfaction in telling yourself a story, but it's the audience that makes it truly special. It's a shared dream.) But now, because of the numbers, we need your support even more.

Our careers, our lines, even our publishers, live and die by the numbers.

So please, where and when you can, save a writer. Buy a new book. We'll all thank you for it. And that way, you'll have more choices of books in the future.

*****
Susan Gable thanks her fans for buying her books. Her latest book, The Pregnancy Test, sold well, thanks to them. It was also awarded the National Readers' Choice Award for Best Long Contemporary. Visit her at www.susangable.com for excerpts, contests, and more.

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Remember, too, that category-length books are only on the shelves for two or three weeks, tops, so be sure to buy books from your favorite category books early! You can still buy books online after that early sales, period, however. For instance, FORBIDDEN TERRITORY is still available on most online outlets, including amazon.com and e-Harlequin.com.

If you love a particular line or a particular author, remember that sales can decide whether or not the line continues or the author sells her next book.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Suzanne Brockmann in USA Today

Good for Suzanne for getting behind a worthwhile effort.

Good publicity for romance writers, too, although I realize that's a side effect, not a goal.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Demise of Bombshell

After January 2007, Silhouette Bombshells will no longer be published.

I'm not a Bombshell author, but I know several, and I can't imagine how hard this news must be hitting them. It's emotionally wrenching as well as a financial set-back for many of them. I'm hoping that several pending authors will be able to transfer their stories to other lines, or maybe sell them as longer, single title books or series.

I also hope that this change opens doors in the suspense lines (IM and Intrigue) allowing for stronger, more action-oriented heroines and plotlines.

I've not been a Bombshell reader because, to be honest, I wanted more dependable romance in my books, and that wasn't the line's focus. But I'm sorry that readers who liked the sorts of books Bombshell authors delivered so ably won't have those books to read in the future, and I'm sorry for the authors who found their voices in that line and now have to figure out where to go next.

So, be kind to your local Bombshell author--he or she needs a little extra TLC these days.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

2006 Cataromance Reviewer's Choice Nomination!

FORBIDDEN TERRITORY has been nominated for a 2006 Cataromance Reviewer's Choice award!

Naturally, I'm thrilled, and so pleased to be included with a list of such fantastic category romance writers as those who were also nominated. Special congrats to my Southern Magic chaptermate and friend, Deb Webb, whose book Past Sins made the list. Deb is an inspiration to me as a writer and an endless source of good advice and support.

Congratulations, also, to:

My fellow 2004 Golden Heart finalists Julie Cohen, Terry McLaughlin, Stef Feagan, Gail Barrett and Beth Cornelison.

My e-Harlequin subcare buddies Jenna Bayley-Burke and Michelle Styles.

Fellow Intrigue authors Dana Marton and Rebecca York.

Friday, August 11, 2006

You Know You're Getting Old When...

Yesterday, my 10-year-old niece showed me pictures from her baptism this past Sunday. Apparently our church sets up someone at one side of the baptistry to take pictures of the actual baptism. (We baptize by immersion in our church).

When she showed me the photos, I said, "Wow, that's cool. When I was baptized, nobody took any pictures."

Her little brow wrinkled. "Well, they probably didn't have cameras back then."

Thanks, Melissa. Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hot Enough Fer Ya?

Man, it's hot here. In fact, I'm going to blame my blog laziness on the heat and humidity.

I did post on the Romance Magicians blog today, on the topic of anti-heroes as romantic heroes. My current WIP features an anti-hero hero, and we've already discussed my fondness for Sawyer on LOST and Steve Johnson on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, two anti-heroes if there ever were anti-heroes. But turning an anti-hero into a viable romantic hero takes a little finesse. I share some of my thoughts on the topic on today's blog. Check it out.

Still no word from my editor on DANGEROUS PURSUIT. And I'm currently at an impasse on DEADLY ILLUSION, as I failed to actually plot out the final climax and resolution of the story beforehand, and I still have no clue what happens. Hopefully I'll break through when it cools down here a bit and I can think straight.

(Yeah, I'm blaming writer's block on the heat, too. Handy thing, a heat wave).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Go, Cynthia! Go, Cynthia!

Wow, two e-Harlequin Sub Care buddies sell within a week! How exciting is that?

Cynthia Reese sold her book THE RED THREAD to Harlequin Superromance. Not sure yet if she'll keep the title, but who cares? She sold!

Go tell Cynthia congratulations!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Freakin' Insane

Talk about your politics of personal destruction...

Candidate's romance novel an issue again

Would this be happening if her name was Stan Combs and her book had been published as a thriller by Random House instead of a Kismet Romance?

I don't think so.

Not crazy about some of the comments from her publicity people, either, though:

"It was written as kind of a lark, not serious literature," Bashur said. "It was described to me as paint-by-numbers formula writing, a genre."

Gee, thanks for the rousing defense of Ms. Comb's literary efforts.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006