Thursday, July 26, 2007

Taramul Interzis

My first book, FORBIDDEN TERRITORY, is now out in Romania. In Romanian.

And I love the cover!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Like Wading Through Cold Molasses

That's what writing feels like right now. It's so much better when I'm in the zone. I've got to proposals to work up, and I really want them both ready before the end of August. Earlier if possible.

But I do not want to send out three chapters and a synopsis while I'm feeling doubts about whether I can finish them on deadline. Argggh. I'm having such a crisis of faith.

But I'll slog through. I always do.

Meanwhile, to make myself feel better, how about a pretty picture? I'm a sucker for guys who are unconventionally attractive. One of my current favorites is Blake Berris, who's young enough to be my son, but we just won't think about that.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Casting Call

It's that time again. Time to cast the hero of my new project. The working title is TARGET: JANE DOE and the hero is a Wyoming sheriff looking for a woman he believes was involved in his brother's murder. But when he finds her, she claims to have no memory of her life before she showed up in the little town of Trinity, Idaho, half-frozen and disoriented. When someone tries to kill them both, the hero, Mitch, is forced to face the fact that his prime suspect may actually be the innocent target of a ruthless killer.

I'm not yet set on Mitch's looks, although I do tend to prefer dark-haired men to blonds. He's in his mid-thirties, lean and a bit taciturn. Very smart, very capable, a real stand-up cowboy of a guy--but bitter when it come to women, thanks to a broken marriage.

So, any suggestions?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Blog Days of Summer

Yes, I know this is my fourth post in two days. Am I running a fever? Some of you are probably thinking about calling Mulder and Scully to check and see if I've been abducted by aliens and replaced by a pod!Paula.

But I really am trying to be a more conscientious blogger, just to get myself into better work habits. And yes, I do consider the blog to be work-related, since it's about my writing and my books. And okay, also about my weird dreams, my pets and my TV viewing habits, but mostly about my books.

So as a test, I'm going to try to post at least once a day every day in August. I'm calling it the Blog Days of Summer, and I hope you'll try to stop by once in a while to see what I'm talking about and maybe join in the conversation. I can't promise it'll always be about books and writing (in fact, I can promise you it won't), but I'm going to try to keep it entertaining.

Jane and the Slushpile

An experiment in England yields predictable results.

This Guardian story makes a big deal out of editors sending out form rejection letters to a writer who queried with lightly revised versions of some of Jane Austen's novels. But this article fails to understand how rejection letters work. They assume, without much evidence to back up the assumption, that the failure of editors to address the fairly obvious plagiarism proves that the editors not only didn't recognize Jane Austen's writing but found it unpublishable.

I'm sure there may have been one or two who didn't recognize the stories, but I wouldn't be surprised if most did and dealt with the plagiarism the way most busy editors deal with any project they know they can't pursue, for whatever reason--they sent out a form rejection letter. And I'm not sure that Jane's stories could get sold as written now because the language conventions of the early 1800s are not the language conventions of the present. At the very least, she would be heavily edited.

So, in the end, the results of the experiment prove very little of what it sought to prove about modern publishing.

Self-Promotion and the Introvert

I don't think I'm very good at self-promotion, which is bad. Because writing for Harlequin as I do, I'm pretty much stuck with promoting myself, because there's not a whole lot that Harlequin does to promote its lesser authors. We're thrown out among the sharks to sink or swim. (In Harlequin's defense, I think that's true of most new authors at most publishing houses).

I read a quote from someone who went to the RWA conference and sat in on an Agent panel. The gist of the quote was that authors should spend 3 to 10 hours a week self-promoting online. My question is--if I spend that much time self-promoting, when am I going to write? I work full time, for pete's sake, outside of my writing career. Yikes.

My self-promotion consists of this blog and my website, putting my books in the sig line of my email, occasional (far too occasional) posts on eHarlequin (also with my books in my sig line) and just basic word of mouth. The last two books, I bought bookmarks, but the problem with that is, by the time I get the cover art, I have only a month or so to get the bookmarks done and start distributing them before the book is out. And with category books, it's only in the store about a month, if that, before it's removed from the shelves to make room for more books.

I'm not at all comfortable with public speaking. I never have been, and I don't anticipate becoming so after all these years, so I don't think I can go the "give a presentation at a writer's conference" or "try to get on a local TV morning show" route. Just can't go there.

So what do I do? Keeping in mind that I'm a total INTJ (Myers-Briggs) introvert who has a terrible time asking for anything for myself or bragging on myself, what positive steps can I take to get my name and my book titles out there where people know about me? Steps that won't cost me an arm and a leg, mind you, because I'm nowhere near wealthy from my book profits at this point. ;) Anybody have any cool ideas?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 and Reviews

First, even though the book is no longer at most book stores, you can still purchase Forbidden Temptation through online sellers like

And speaking of, if you've read Forbidden Temptation or Forbidden Territory and liked them, please take time to write up something in the reviews section! I'd love to hear what you thought of the books.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

We've been in a nasty drought for a couple of months, but last week we finally got some decent rain, and this week looks like it's going to be rainy as well, and I couldn't be happier.

I'm a big fan of rain anyway, even without a drought. Give me gray skies and drizzle and I'm a pretty happy camper. I'm not sure why I'm that way; I just know that I have been since childhood. Maybe it's the inherent unpredictability of stormy weather that meets an inner yearning for excitement. Or maybe my love of mystery and intrigue just demands a hint of gloom and mist. I don't know.

I just know my mood brightens when I look out the window and see that it's raining.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day

No barbecuing for me today. Tonight is spaghetti night of all things. I guess we're celebrating the immigrant influence on the American melting pot or something. But I'm happy to be living in the United States, taking part in this radical experiment in Democracy 231 years after its inception.

So have a Happy Fourth of July!


Well, the spaghetti-maker came down with a migraine, and nobody else wanted to cook. So dinner was potato salad, chicken salad, pimiento cheese and a croissant. I guess that means we celebrated the Mrs. Stratton's Salads influence on the American melting pot, huh?

Be safe and enjoy the fireworks tonight!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Because Basically, I Got Nothin'...

I know I said I'd blog more, and I'm going to try, but it would help if I had a cool and interesting life to tell you about. And I don't. Plus, my book revisions have wrestled me to the floor and currently have me in a headlock.

So, just 'cause I promised to blog more, here's a short film that I saw on Youtube earlier today and thought was really well done. If absurd and demented.