Friday, March 31, 2006
Hope you all have a fantabulous fun-filled Friday/Saturday!
The aim of the game is to get the drunk home. After you play, why don't you drop a note into the comments as to how far you got him? And you can totally update it throughout the day (though of course you're only going to have one go ;) ).
My pathetic first attempt ended at around 3 meters. My next got him to 20. Sad, very sad. The challenge has been issued!
Thursday, March 30, 2006
On the news every night, they give reports of the Cherry Blossom Front along with the weather. This is serious business - these flowers only last a week or so when full blooming onsets and people must make plans for cherry blossom viewing parties!
Sakura are an indicator of spring, of things becoming alive again after a cold winter. When I first start a project I think I feel that same kind of vibrancy, that sense that things are waking up. In my case, it's usually not a gentle opening like that of the cherry blossoms, but more of an explosion. What's your take on creativity? How would you visualize it? I know at least one person who thinks of it as a wound up spring, while Tess Gerritsen characterizes it as a "spigot from your brain".
Staying with creativity, what helps you create? I'm talking books, quilts, gardens - anything that requires use of the imagination. Do you love music while you work or is it silence that gets you going? Scented candles? Collages? The Sims? Do you like to be in a certain place or can you create anywhere where you have a free moment?
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Before I let Yvonne take over, I'm going to tell you something about her. She's not only my (very tall) friend, she's an awesome new Desire writer and she knows lots and lots about writing and publishing. So feel free to pick her brains!! (But don't tell her I told you to do so).
Wow, I’ve never been the subject of a scavenger hunt before, but Nalini assured me it wouldn’t hurt and so far she’s right! Thanks for the guest blog-spot, Nalini, and yeah, for the record I do think you’re pretty cool.
I have to admit to being a little overawed and very much a newbie at this blogging phenomenon, but it sure seems to be a great and fun way to share and expand on ideas, thoughts and happenings. Speaking of happenings, I’m relieved to hear that your earthquake didn’t cause any damage, Nalini. Can’t say I’m terribly impressed with your reminder that NZ is so similar geologically to Japan—not impressed at all! I was born in
Speaking of computers, the weirdest thing my computer does to me nowadays is compact my email. This exciting feature of XP is darned annoying. I’ve lost entire folders worth of email which I’m sure are somewhere lurking in the bowels of my hard-drive (ick), but WHERE? And who’s stupid idea was it anyway to compact email in the first place, it’s kind of like your mother going into your bedroom while you’re at school or work and tidying up for you—you get home and think you know exactly where everything is, until you go to put your hand on it and it’s gone and lost forever. If anyone has any brilliant suggestions at recovering compacted files (I’m getting visions of a garbage compacter here—argh!) I’d be truly grateful.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The second bit of excitement is that we had a small earthquake yesterday. The desk shook, the computer shook, I shook, but nothing fell and as far as I've heard, there's been no real damage anywhere. Most excellent. Japan is a seriously geologically active country - I've felt more earthquakes here in 3 years than I had all the time I'd lived in NZ and that's a pretty similiar country geologically.
The third bit of excitement is that we are going to have a guest blogger this week sometime! But who is she? Shall I make it a scavenger hunt? First person to guess her name gets a copy of Secrets In The Marriage Bed. (If you've already won a copy and know the answer, feel free to post, "I know! I know!" but don't give away the game!).
Okay let's start out with a few not so easy clues.
(a) She's a Kiwi.
(b) She's a writer.
(c) She thinks I'm super cool. (I'm pretty sure about this).
(d) She used to be President of RWNZ.
Okay, go for it!! Hunt people, hunt! And because I love you all, here's another really easy clue - there's a picture of her on my website somewhere.
And the fourth bit of excitement is that the super secret blog thing I've been dropping hints about is now live. Check out Diana Peterfreund's Great Blog Voice Experiment. You might want to check back there at the end of the week because someone you know *cough, cough* might be one of the participating authors.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Looking at her face as she skated, you could tell that she'd gone into her own inner space. I get that same feeling when I see shots of Shizuka Arakawa's golden performance at the Olympics, and those of several other stunning performers at the World Championships.
What has this all to do with writers? Well, I think writers do the same thing - go into their inner space - when they're in the zone, creating without conscious thought. Some people seem to fight this process, to try and make the story go where they want it to go. I think that's truly counter-productive. When something takes you to that inner space, you should hold on tight and go along for the ride. Who knows what you'll produce?
And talking about golden moments, let's all give a HUGE round of applause to my friend Bronwyn Jameson, who is a triple RITA finalist. Yes, that's right, triple! Go Bron!
p.s. That excitement I promised you? It's coming but not on this blog (I've been sworn to secrecy)...*g*
Friday, March 24, 2006
It's going to be about time. And not wasting it. Because you see, I did a lot of that this week. And I'm still doing it by writing this post. Which is why I'm disappearing off the net for the weekend. Guilt is good. It makes you do a lot of things you might otherwise put off.
My main time-waster this week has been reading other people's blogs. If you've commented here, I've more than likely read your blog. But why stop there? I then went and read the blogs of people you'd linked to, the people they'd linked to and so on. There are a lot of good blogs out there. But seriously, do I really need to be reading all of them?
The answer is no. Time spent reading blogs is time spent not writing. Simple equation.
So from next week, I'm cutting down. It's going to be like the 12 step de-blogify yourself program.
Step 1: I'm only going to be allowed to read a few (number yet to be decided - what do you think is reasonable?) blogs a day.
Step 2: No cheating. If I follow a link to another blog and read that, then that counts as part of the quota.
Step 3: Stay away from the Internet. Just stay away. Don't heed the Siren call.
Step 4: Okay, this is as far as I've gotten. What do you all think should go in the next steps?
Does anybody else want to join me in the program? Come on, I dare you.
By the way, make sure to come back next week. Something very exciting will be going on. And no I'm not telling. But feel free to try and bribe me. I accept chocolate in all its variations, books and if you feel so compelled, cash is also always good. *g*
See you Monday/Sunday!
I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation. you were born somewhere in the territory of modern Borneo around the year 825.
All I know about Borneo is that that's where the orangutans live. I'm up with being at one with the jungle. Meanwhile, I wonder if I can channel my past self when I write male point of view?
Your profession was that of a handicraftsman or mechanic.
They had mechanics in 825????
You brief psychological profile of your past life: Seeker of truth and wisdom. You could have seen your future lives. Others perceived you as an idealist illuminating path to future.
Most excellent! This blog is now officially the Blog of the Wise One. Give me your questions and I'll illuminate a path for you.
The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation: Your lesson is to develop a kind attitude towards people, and to acquire the gift of understanding and compassion.
Hey, but I thought I was already illuminated?! (Obviously this part of the past life synopsis was a result of a glitch in the generator).
Do you remember now?
It's all coming back to me...
Thursday, March 23, 2006
I would love to join in the game but unfortunately, what may be the one and only copy of my first completed romance is currently under a desk an ocean away. (Though a friend of mine that I forced to read it might also have her own personal copy). I'm not even sure there's a surviving floppy disk. I wrote it straight out of high school. I was young. I didn't know about backing up. But it was set on a lush tropical island and the heroine had a broken leg. I still think that's a pretty good start. *g*
On a different note, what do you all think of the picture of me on the side of this blog? No, I'm not being needlessly vain. I'm thinking of using it as my new author photo. I was going to post a bigger copy but Blogger's throwing a fit. Will try to edit this post later today and add it in. But opinions?
[Edited to Add: And here it is!]
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Because I have a couple of close deadlines, I finished one book yesterday, took a break then moved on to the next within a few hours. It's a switch from paranormal to contemporary but my brain seems to be handling it well. However, I noticed something odd because of how closely I'd switched books.
Both my heroines are redheads. And the tentative release dates for both these books is April of next year. People are going to think I have an obsession with redheads. Let me set the record straight. I may have an obsession with Ichiro, but not with redheads.
I don't know quite how it happened, but Gabe & Jess's Story (the contemporary that still has no other title) has been a work in progress for a while. And Jess was a redhead from the start. Nothing I can do about it people - I just write what I'm told.
So, if anyone asks you if Nalini Singh is obsessed with redheads, feel free to direct them to this post. *g*
In my short break, I read a novella (because I didn't have time to read a whole novel). It was Diana Palmer's Calamity Mum, which is a bonus novella in the Aus/NZ release of Secrets In The Marriage Bed.
What can I say? I loved it. Diana Palmer rocks. And the reason she rocks is because she is completely and utterly non-PC. She writes fairy tales for grown-ups and I think that's why she's one of my favorite writers. I love fairy-tales. I also think I like her because she writes such strong heroes. That's what really makes a book work for me. What about you? Are you a hero or a heroine reader? (And are you obsessed with redheads?)
Monday, March 20, 2006
For example, I read a certain anonymous agent's blog and think she's hilarious, but because she is anonymous, I take everything she says with a grain of salt. Part of me can't keep from thinking that she might just be a bored teenage boy sitting in Poughkipsee amusing himself. Okay, that's probably not true. She's very onto it, so she is, in all likelihood, an agent.
But in reading the comments, it seems to me that some people have suspended all disbelief. Heck, people even ask her questions they should be asking their own agents. What's up with that?
However on the blogger's side of it, it does allow complete freedom doesn't it?
Like, I never say bad things about other authors' books on this blog for the simple reason that they're people too. I'd rather mention the books I liked because I think a positive opinion has as much impact as a negative.
However that doesn't mean I don't have some snark in me. If I started up an anonymous blog, I could let it all out. Of course that would involve me cloning myself so I'd have time to write, review and double-blog, so I think I'll just let that idea whisper off into the ether. But the conspiracy theorist in me wonders how many other people are doing that very same sneaky thing...
So, what's everyone else think? And for those of you who choose to blog anonymously, is it the freedom that drives you? Do you say things you'd never say in real life?
p.s. The next blog entry will be Wednesday, though I will be around tomorrow, so comment away!
Saturday, March 18, 2006
I'm reading over Visions of Heat and finding mysterious typos that somehow escaped all my other reads. How does that happen?
Meanwhile I have the thrice-yearly communal weeding to look forward to on Sunday morning. I don't know why this apartment-dwellers bonding event must happen at a very early hour on a Sunday, but there you go. I shall weed my heart out.
What's everyone else up to?
And Lord of the Rings fans, check this out - a LOTR musical!
Friday, March 17, 2006
And this is just for fun - I got a hit on this blog for the following search: "My filling fell out". Tee hee!! First, why would someone be searching for that in the first place? And second, did my story fulfill their expectations?
Moving on to today's topic, let's talk about favorites. What's your favorite book/tv programme/movie/food/insert topic of choice and why? You know what, why don't you do a short blurb for it, like you're doing a pitch to an agent or editor to try and sell your favourite thing?
Go wild people!!
Edited to Add: p.s. tomorrow's might be either late or non-existent (no Internet access bwaaaaaa!)
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Today is computer tips day. Why? Because I was working last night and I consciously noticed what has become second nature to me. That being the saving and backing up of files.
1. Back up your files.
2. Double-back up your files.
3. Save every few minutes.
You can do this in a number of ways.
a) The most easy option is to set your computer to make a backup copy each time you open a file. Unfortunately, this is not going to prove very helpful should your computer itself fall victim to something unexpected.
b) The second option is to make a backup separate from your computer hard drive. It used to be floppy disks but now most people use cds. If you're doing that, I'd recommend using CDRs not CDRWs. I picked up this idea from a computer article and it's a goodie because CDRs aren't rewritable, which means your files can't accidentally be written over should someone else decide to 'borrow' the cd.
c) Some people are also using webmail as storage ie. emailing a copy of their manuscript to their Yahoo account etc. This is a good choice if you're not paranoid about people somehow breaking in to your account. *g*
You can set your computer to save every (x) number of minutes. I think mine might be set to 1. If your computer has a fast processor thingie, this won't interrupt your work at all. If you have a slower computer, you might have to set it to a longer period. BUT, if you can teach yourself the shortcut key for saving, you'll be a lot better off. That way, you can just tap those keys every few paragraphs. It was hard when I started but now it's second nature.
I'm no computer genius but those are some things I've picked up. Anybody else have any good tips to share?
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
N: Hello Apartment, how's it going?
A: Well, I have dustballs in my corners and tiny feathers from the exploding duvet in my--
N: Right, moving on. What's it like living with Nalini?
A: Hmm, she talks to herself. It's kind of like living with a whole houseful of people.
N: That must make you happy given that you're an apartment and all. Isn't it like a step up being compared to a house?
A: I'm ecstatic. But I'd prefer if she picked the feathers--
N: Feathers look good on you. What's with the freaky creaks and groans at night anyway?
A: I'm trying out for a part in Haunted Houses 2.
N: Can you stop already?
A: One word: Feathers.
N: I can't believe I'm being blackmailed by my own apartment!
A: I like to call it skillful negotiation. I can even add scary wind noises...
I tag all of you to go interview your own houses and post links to the conversations! :)
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The blurb's here for anyone who missed my excited dancing last week. And while we're on the topic of new things, my new website is being developed as we speak. I'm putting together a FAQ page for it, so if you have any questions you'd like me to address in it, hit me with it.
In good-stuff links today, we have the Knight Agency doing a question and answer blog. This is your chance to get answers straight from some of the coolest agents in the biz, so go check it out.
I also found a new blog that looks very good. Called The Midnight Hour, it's a group blog written by five paranormal authors. They had a guest spot by JR Ward last week which made interesting reading.
Anybody else have a good link to share? Post it in the comments! :)
p.s. Maura could you email me - nalini @ nalinisingh.com? I owe you a book for your guess on the Plumeria title. :)
Monday, March 13, 2006
I'm not going to give you a list of Rules. I'm going to ask you to give me some that you've heard. And then, we're going to rip them apart! Yes, that's right. We're going to deconstruct the rules. Because while rules are good, following them slavishly is never a good idea.
I'm going to visit a traumatic event in my past to give you an indication of why. After Awaken to Pleasure, my second book came out, I got the most horrible 1 star review for it on Amazon. Okay, I wasn't actually traumatized. I'd been through enough contests to know that my work is either loved or not. I tend not to get too many middle-grounders. (The fact that the other two reviews up there are 4 and 5 stars, tends to support my theory).
But though I didn't see it at that stage, I later realized the review had to have written by an aspiring writer. Because one of the things (among many, many others) that she blasted me for was breaking the rules - for telling and not showing certain things. I may be wrong, but what reader actually pulls apart a book to that extent?
Example: I didn't show my heroine being devoted to her brother. Guess what? Those scenes were written and then edited out, because they interrupted the flow of the love story. This book was about Taylor and Jackson, not Taylor and her little brother. Sometimes you do have to tell and then just move on. Showing every single thing would take up too much time and slow the pace of the book to an incredible level.
In the happy ending to this story, Awaken to Pleasure sold like crackerjacks and I still get letters from readers telling me it's their favorite books so far. The point is that while rules are useful bases, you can't allow yourself to get so hung up on them that you forget to tell a good story. Because in the end, it's all about story.
So, what other rules have you heard? And what do you think about them?
Edited to add: Okay, weird. After posting this, I popped over to Romance Divas and there's a Showing/Telling workshop going on. It's very good, and goes way beyond being stuck to the simplistic type of rule I was talking about above, so go check it out!
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
I'm going under this weekend in an attempt to finish the edits on Visions of Heat. I'm working on paper so I still have to enter the changes into the computer but that takes comparatively little time after the thinking stuff is done. Wish me luck!
Personally, I think I'd fly off to some deserted island off the coast of Fiji, find a beach and collapse in a happy pile of utter relaxation in the warm sunshine. My travelling companion would of, course, be Paolo the Pool Boy! :)
Photo courtesy of the Fiji Visitors Bureau
Thursday, March 09, 2006
What do you think about promotion/marketing in terms of books? This is purposefully a general question, so all opinions about anything even vaguely connected, welcome!
What kinds of marketing work best for you as a reader? ie. Websites / web-banners / ads in magazines / word of mouth (as an aside, I'd include blogs in the last one - would you?) etc.
If you're an author and have tried do some marketing for your books, what types have worked or not?
Okay onward with the Tokyo trip roundup. If you haven't read Part 1 and want to get the full experience *g*, click here.
Alas there were no unfortunate moments of hilarity/loosing bits of my teeth on Sunday (yay!) so this part may not be as exciting as instalment one. But I've tried my best to color everything in drama.
So I go down to breakfast the next morning and eat like a linebacker (I swear). And then I look up from my sixty-fifth trip to the breakfast buffet and what do you know, there's an actual six feet tall gorgeous linebacker type standing next to me. So I do what any good romance writer would do - I turn around and go back to my table. (Arggh! Why? Blame it on the tooth I say!).
After returning to my room and attempting to put on makeup for the first time in a year (no joke), I run around frantically collecting all my stuff which has somehow exploded all over the room in the very few hours that I've actually been awake and then it's time for the party! (It was a lunch/early-afternoon event).
First, I found out that Awaken the Senses has been retitled for the Japanese market and is called A Sense of Plumeria (I'm not sure of the correct translation but that's somewhere near it). First person who posts in the comments as to where the editors found inspiration for that title, and who's never won anything on this blog before, gets a free copy of Secrets. Specific answer wins over general. :)
Connected to that, I was given a beautiful flower-themed pen by the Team Desire section of Harlequin Japan. It's the prettiest thing and I signed all my autographs with it that day. After that came a magazine interview. Then it was onto the party part of the day.
It was a sit-down event with over ninety attendees plus Harlequin staff and the first thing was an interview with me on stage. I even got to wear a nifty little microphone clipped to my collar, just like they give people on Oprah.
After the interview came questions from the audience. One of the most popular was whether I could see Japanese men as being heroes in romance novels. My answer: Have you seen Ichiro Suzuki? I would so stalk that man if he wasn't already married (good romance writers don't stalk married men).
Then I was asked to sit at a table and sign some autographs. How cool! I was totally overwhelmed not only by the number of people who'd bought my book, but by those who'd bought all three of them that have been released in Japan so far. It really touched me - especially when people told me their copy of Desert Warrior was so dog-eared because it had been read and reread. That would've been more than enough to make my year, but these readers bought me gifts (see pic above)!
It was a brilliant, brilliant day and all I can say is that if Harlequin Japan ever asks any of you authors to come to an event, GO! They are the loveliest team of people and the readers here are warm, friendly and completely wonderful to talk to.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Now, I promised you all a round-up of my trip to Tokyo, but this is one story that can't simply start with me at the reader party/lunch itself. (Before I continue, I want to say I had a fantabulous time, so don't think otherwise - I just found this sequence of events fairly hilarious and was actually laughing in disbelief half the time).
Carrying on.... It all began with a friend of mine (let's call her E) giving me a ride to the airport. I'm usually a public transport girl but the flight time was a bit close and I live a distance from the airport, so E graciously agreed to drive me up.
All was fairly normal until about halfway into the trip. At which point, I found a couple of candies from my bag and we began sucking on them. One important thing: these were not chewy candies. No tooth movement of any kind was involved. So we're driving along and I begin to realize that my candy was not disappearing. A tiny nugget of it stubbornly refused to melt down. And you know what? It didn't even taste like butterscotch anymore.
Giving up on the candy, I decided to take it out and see if I could sue the candy maker for putting stones in the candy *g* And that was when the following conversation took place (some parts have been fictionalized in the pursuit of a good story).
N: What the !?
E: Huh? What happened?
N: Look? It's a filling! My filling fell out.
E: What do you mean your filling fell out?
N: A big shiny hunk of metal from my tooth is now in my hand.
E: Oh man. That's huge.
N: I have a giant crater in my tooth.
E: Shall we go to the dentist?
N: We can't turn around! I have to catch my flight up to Tokyo!
E: But you have a big hole in your tooth.
N: It's okay, it's the root canal tooth. There's no feeling in it anyway.
(Remind me sometime to tell you the story of having to go to the dentist my first week in a brand new non-English speaking country and being told I needed a root canal)
But wait, there's more. So I finally get to the airport (filling carefully wrapped up and put away because I don't know the Japanese words for 'my filling fell out' so I'm planning to just show up with it), and what do I find? My flight has been delayed. Oh dear.
By the time I get to Tokyo, it's after nine, it's raining and I've missed the nifty airport bus that would've dropped me straight at the door to the hotel. Next bus? One hour later. Thankfully for my sanity, I'd been a good scout and printed out instructions to get to the hotel, so I took an earlier connecting bus, hopped onto the subway and found my way to the street where the hotel was supposed to be.
Lots and lots of hotels all around. Can't see the name of mine. Crap. Relieved when I find a map on a nearby wall, I'm staring at it when this nice Japanese lady smiles at me and finds herself being asked if she knows where my hotel is. At which point she starts laughing and points across the road. Yes. It was right there. In. Front. Of. My. Face. But in my defence - there was a GIANT tree covering the name of the hotel so how was I supposed to know?!
So I walk in looking like something the cat dragged in and proceed to check in. Except the girl can't find my reservation. I'm about to terrify her with the hole in my tooth when I realize that though she pretends to speak English, she does in fact only speak particular phrases and quite likely can't understand my mumbles. So I write out my name for her and five minutes later, I'm in my wonderful lovely room looking at this view.
Okay, so do you want to know the rest of the Amazing Tokyo Adventure today or shall I make you wait till tomorrow? Muwahahaha!
Monday, March 06, 2006
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation"— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two powerful races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…