Thursday, May 31, 2007

Guest-blogging

I've got an interview up at Divas Diaries today, and I'm open for questions over there, so swing by and say hi. :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Likeable Characters

I was reading a random magazine article yesterday - an interview - and I found myself not liking the interviewee at all. She just came across as someone who'd stab you in the back if she had the chance. After realizing that, I really had no interest in reading any further.

The article, and my reaction to it, made me think about the characters we read about. In terms of main protagonists, I've realized that I need at least some speck of liking or respect for the character to keep reading.

I don't have to identify with them or even understand or agree with their decisions. And I'm not saying they can't be flawed. They could be incredibly bad, but despite all that, for a character to work, I have to feel empathy for them, if only on a very basic level.

What do you all think? Do main characters need to be likeable in some sense?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

C-C-Cold

It's very cold today. I think winter's arrived. Brr... If I had my way, I'd buy an island in the Pacific somewhere and spend my days writing on a wide verandah next to the sea. Gee, if only I had a spare billion lying around *g* What would you buy if money was no object?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Paheli

I'm a huge fan of Bollywood movies and I know some of you also watch them. Have any of you seen Paheli (translation: The Riddle)? It's a sweet, funny love story, and it might appeal to those of you who like paranormals.

The plot is based on an old Rajasthani folk tale. Lachchi is a new bride and Kishan her husband. Kishan is only interested in business so on the day after their wedding, he leaves to go work far away...for five years! In the meantime, a spirit has fallen in love with Lachchi. Learning that Kishan will be gone for five years, he takes on Kishan's form and enters Lachchi's life, and their love story begins. But what will happen when the real Kishan returns?

The movie plays out like a fairytale, and it's shot that way too. The colors are amazing and the sets are wonderful, straight out of ancient India. I think you need to believe in a little bit of magic to enjoy this story. All I can say is, I most definitely did. :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Links

Have I got a doozy of a first sale story for you. Check out this link for the details of Natalie Anderson's Call. It involves the words "hospital" and "twins". I'm still in awe.

Miss Snark has retired her blog.

So has agent Nadia Cornier.

Squawk Radio is going to retire.

And Between the Covers, of which I am a member, is also closing soon. Um, is it something in the air?

Moving away from the blog retirements, they're talking about sexy billionaire heroes on the I Heart Presents blog. (I have to admit, I like these guys.)

Jaci Burton talks about editing.

Anna Campbell is a guest on Danetteb's blog.

Paperback Writer (Lynn Viehl) muses on the possible end of the Stardoc series (great, great series!)

And check out this new video trailer for Marked by PC Cast & Kristin Cast.

Have a fantabulous weekend everyone!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Weekly Catchup

This week has zipped by at the speed of light. I'm still working on galleys, though I did take a break to catch up on Heroes. I love that show (Isn't it intriguing how Peter Petrelli has evolved from a sort of goofy nice guy to a tormented hero with alpha tendencies?). We have three episodes to go in New Zealand and I'm desperately trying to avoid spoilers around the net!

What're you all up to?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In order?

I mentioned the other day that I was rereading Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. The first time I read these books, I read them completely out of order (they stand alone very well), but this time, I'm making an effort to go from start to finish. It's funny how many new things and little "in-jokes" I get now - like when two people look at each and laugh over something without saying a word. I also feel as if I'm picking up more of the undercurrents, finding more layers in the stories.

So, given all that, I can definitely see the attraction of reading a series in the right order, but I have a feeling I'm way too impatient to do that consistently - especially with long-running series' where I might accidentally pick up a book in the middle. Hmm, something to think about. What about you guys? Do you read in order? Out of order? Reasons why?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Galleys


I'm going over galleys today, so once more, here's the beautiful Eduardo to keep you company. Anyone for a swim? *g*

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Links

Dear Author has posted a great interview with Jill Shalvis, who incidentally, has a very funny blog.

"Royal Mail is to issue a set of Potter-themed stamps that will be stuck on to a flurry of letters and sent into millions of homes." (Link via Bookslut)

May has a lot more links than me. I have no idea how she finds them all.

If you live in the Las Vegas/Salt Lake area, and you love dogs, swing by Jo Leigh's blog. She's trying to find a home for Jack. (Link via Alison Kent). [Edited to add: Sorted!]

Romancing the Blog has a list of ten "Reader Resource" sites.


"Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop is in talks to create visual effects for an action adventure film telling the story behind the devil's fall from grace..."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Demon Moon - Meljean Brook

I enjoyed Meljean Brook's Demon Angel very much, so when she offered to send me the ARC of Demon Moon, I was all over it. I devoured it soon after receiving it and immediately demanded she send me the third book as soon as it was done! I didn't think it was possible but for me, Demon Moon was ever better than Demon Angel.

And what makes that even more amazing is that I wasn't sure if I would like Demon Moon at all. While I thought Colin was an amusing, intriguing character in Demon Angel, I wasn't sure Meljean could pull him off as a hero. Because seriously, how vain is he?!

But pull it off she did. Colin is a wonderful hero - and he's the same man we saw in Demon Angel. He didn't get a magical personality transplant, thank goodness. No, what happened was even better - in Demon Angel, we saw Colin as the world sees him. In Demon Moon, we get to go inside his head and discover the real man. I'm a total Colin fan now.

Equally, his heroine, Savi, is also unusual in the best sense of the word. When was the last time you read about a part-Indian computer hacker who handles the idea of an arranged marriage as easily as she does vampires and nosferatu?

Hmm, what else can I say without being spoilerish? Oh yeah - the ending. I sent Meljean an email at one in the morning after I finished Demon Moon accusing her of making me cry. Talk about intensity. I was convinced there was no way she could bring about a happy ending for Colin and Savi. It just seemed impossible. Well...without giving anything away, let me say the plot twists were amazing and you won't be sorry you picked this up. :)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Comfort Books

From the comments on yesterday's books, it looks like everyone's reading some great books. Since I've been on deadline, I haven't been picking up any new books, but I have been dipping into some comfort reads. I can't just not read! (Gasp!)

At the moment, I'm making my way (back) through Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series. I just love that feeling of picking up a book and knowing I'm going to meet old friends. Plus, sometimes, it's nice having a guarantee that the book will be good.

What are some of your comfort reads? Any of you not reread?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Weekly Catchup

How's everyone been? I've had a very disrupted week so today is all about focus, focus, focus!! What about you guys? Read any good books lately?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Look Into My Eyes

Or if you prefer, you can look into Eduardo's instead.

Gosh, I wonder what he's thinking? What do you all think?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cover - An Enchanted Season

Check it out! It's going to be matt and have pretty raised lettering. I think it's very elegant :) (Did I tell you guys I love Xmas anthologies? They just somehow seem to have an extra dollop of happiness. Don't you think?)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Writing Children

Writing realistic children is one of the hardest things to do. I've spent considerable time in the company of small children and I still find it so hard to get across their sense of innocence, adventure and mischief. The most difficult thing is dialogue. Children often speak in their own dialects and it's very hard to write that without sounding to cutesy. But seriously people - little kids are adorable. Is it wrong to write them that way?

What are your thoughts on kids in fiction? Have you seen any portrayals that really worked for you?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Linnea Sinclair - Games of Command

I picked up Games of Command after reading some great reviews about it. The reviews piqued my interest but it was the story description that really sold me:
Can she trust a man who is half-machine?

The universe isn’t what it used to be. With the new alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, bio-cybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten—and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary falls into their ship’s hands, her efforts may be wasted …

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass’s secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart—and end Sass’s career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the bio-cybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings...for Sass. Soon it’s clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for—and everything they now have to live for…
I love science fiction and thought Kel-Paten sounded like a very intriguing hero. Half cyborg and all in love with Tasha, what's not to like? I'm so very, very glad I picked up this book because I loved it. Kel-Paten has gone on my mental Great Heroes list. That kind of devotion, it's a kick to the heart. Especially when he's all tough and soldierlike around anyone but Tasha. The complexities in his character - like the hints of shyness - they just got to me.

Janine said this in her review over at Dear Author and I so agree:
It’s not an everyday occurrence in my reading life to find a romantic hero whose happiness I want so badly...

Kel-Paten’s programming makes it difficult for him to come up with a suitable response when Sass cracks a joke, but though he doesn’t know how to show it, he would do nearly anything for her. His shyness, vulnerability and inexperience with women endeared him to me so much that I felt every distrusting remark or warm look Sass gave him almost as acutely as he did.
Rosario also echoed that sentiment in her review:
I loved the guy to death, and seeing him struggle was heart-breaking. Every time Tasha unwittingly said something that seemed to indicate she thought of him as nothing more than a robot, I cringed, and when things finally started happening between them, I practically did a happy dance, because he so deserved to be happy.
Okay, moving on my ravefest about the hero, the rest of the characters were great, too. Tasha was an interesting heroine - very much what I would term an alpha female. And the furzels - serious adorableness.

I know some of you might be put off by the science fictiony aspects, but don't be. The love story is so worth it. I'm a Linnea Sinclair fan now!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Links

Editor Laura Shin gives some great advice on how to "knock an editor's socks off" over at the Pink Ladies Blog.

The Guardian has a fascinating interview with Rosie Thomas, winner of the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Here's a bit from the interview:
Thomas's notions of romance were largely formed by the visiting library van back home in Wales. "You got five books a fortnight and got through them all because there was nothing else to do. Nevil Shute and Everyman editions of the classics, which you read after you'd read all the James Bonds and the books that might have had some sex in."
Agent Kristin Nelson has a post up about Publishers Lunch Deal blurbs as a writing exercise. (Link stolen from Diana Peterfreund, who has pictures up of her ad in Life & Style magazine. Cool!)

Check out Patrice Michelle's brilliant roundup of the Romantic Times conference, complete with pictures of the male cover models! Color me green.

And the gorgeous Nicola Marsh has just had a very special delivery - her son, Jude. Congrats Nic!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Weekly Catchup

It's weekly catchup time. What have you been up to? I went to buy a new microwave after the old one went bye-bye. Woohoo, excitement! *g* Seriously, it is excitement. Have you tried living without a microwave? Not good.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tagged!

I've been tagged by Angelle, Kendra, Julie and Marie to do this blog, so here goes!

Here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random Facts/Habits About Me

1. I have a minor in anthropology and I once spent two weeks on an archaeological dig. (Good research info for books and it gave me killer calf muscles. Digging is hard work!)

2. I hate having cold feet.

3. When I lived in Japan, my only form of personal transportation was a bicycle with a little basket in the front (handy!).

4. I like making lists and crossing things off. (Type A personality anyone?)

5. I've been tagged four times with these meme which is really weird because I wasn't tagged for like a year before that. Okay, wait, that's not a habit. How about...I regularly read lots of blogs but never comment. Call me a card-carrying member of Lurkers R Us.

6. Jigsaw puzzles drive me insane. Really, really insane. And yet I feel compelled toward them. Why?!

7. When I was writing Slave to Sensation, I ate peanut-butter toast for dinner on a pretty much continuous basis. (I love peanut butter toast).

8. I like bagel crisps (can delude self into thinking they're healthy).

I'm tagging the last eight people who commented on this blog (and if you don't have your own blog, you can do the tag in the comments - as Angelle said, resistance is futile *g*): Sweet, Abby, Yvonne Lindsay, Joyce, Casee, LesleyW, Amanda Ashby, Christina Phillips

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Links

I don't know how I missed this when it went up originally, but here's a link to Nora Roberts' first sale story, which I just found the other day.

Also, I sent out the May Newsletter a few days back, so if you didn't get it, check it out on the yahoo group site. And you should really check it out if you're a fan of Sascha and Lucas. Trust me, you want to. No really, you want to. That's all I'm going to say. *walks off whistling innocently*

Lora Leigh has promised excerpts of upcoming books on her blog. Ooooh... Did I tell you guys she gave me the coolest quote for Caressed By Ice? Here it is:


"A dangerous, sensual adventure not to be missed."

Yay! :)


And if you didn't see it when it went up, Meljean Brook had an awesome interview up with a professional proofreader. By the way, Demon Moon (coming out June) is a wonderful, wonderful book. I'll be putting up a post on it soon.

Bookseller Chick has a great interview up with the Ja(y)nes behind Dear Author.

And finally, check out this link for Samhain editor Angela James' thoughts on professional editing services.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

BTC & OOTB Tour: Pleasures of the Night - Sylvia Day

I'm also over at Between The Covers, discussing series vs singles, so make sure to drop by.

Today I've got another Out of the Blogosphere tour book for you. I haven't had a chance to pick up Pleasures of the Night yet, but it looks very, very intriguing. Check out the details below.
________________________________________________

PLEASURES OF THE NIGHT by Sylvia Day

ISBN: 0061230987

HarperCollins Avon, April 24, 2007

In the Twilight between sleep and consciousness, a battle rages between Dream Guardians and Nightmares. Captain Aidan Cross is a legend, as skilled in fulfilling erotic dreams as he is with the glaive that kills his enemies. Women see Aidan as part of their fantasies...except Lyssa Bates. Exquisite, desirable, enigmatic Lyssa perplexes this immortal seducer because she sees him as he really is. And as he attempts to unravel her secrets the unthinkable occurs: Aidan Cross falls in love.

Lyssa has been having the most incredible dreams about a man whose blue eyes hold the promise of decadent pleasures and tempting intimacies. And then he appears on her doorstep! This intoxicating stranger is just as irresistible as the man of her dreams...but with her surrender there is also grave danger...

Because Aidan is on a mission, and the passion that consumes them body and soul could have dire consequences. Loving the mortal woman prophesied to destroy Aidan's world is not only impossible...it is forbidden.

Flash Excerpt

Non-Flash Excerpt


ABOUT SYLVIA DAY

SYLVIA DAY is the bestselling, award-winning author of over a dozen novels. A wife and mother of two, she is a former Russian linguist for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence. Her books have been called “wonderful and passionate” by WNBC.com, “wickedly entertaining” by Booklist, and frequently garner Readers’ Choice and Reviewers’ Choice accolades. Her work has won the EPPIE and been named a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award of Excellence.

REVIEWS

“This is a brilliant book. Passionate and full of lush romance...”
–TJ, The Romance Studio

“…one of the best stories I’ve read in a Romance category thus far this year (2007). Sylvia Day obviously knows what readers love!”
– Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews

“…a brilliant new world… Passionate, exciting and spellbinding...”
- Lettetia, Fantasy Romance Writers

“PLEASURES OF THE NIGHT sizzles as a romance, enthralls as a paranormal, and captivates with a fantastic cast of characters. I didn’t want the ‘night’ to end!”
- Susan Grant, New York Times bestselling author

“So hot the pages should be on fire!”
- Gena Showalter, New York Times bestselling author

“I was enthralled with this book. It was erotic, sensuous and had an amazing plot.”
- Marcy Arbitman, Just Erotic Romance Reviews

“PLEASURES OF THE NIGHT is a must read. An absolute must!”
– Natasha, Romance Junkies

Website: http://www.dreamguardians.com

http://www.sylviaday.com

Monday, May 07, 2007

Perverance and Hope

This post's for the struggling writers out there. So on Saturday, I went to the monthly meeting of my local writer's group. It was a great turnout and we had lots of fun catching up, congratulating and commiserating as it fell. And hey, nobody fell asleep during my workshop!

Here are just some of the people who were there
(now guys, this is off the top of my head so if I forgot someone, my bad!):

Yvonne Lindsay, Tessa Radley, Abby Gaines, Karina Bliss, Helen Kirkman , Frances Housden, Amanda Ashby, Jane Beckhenham

You might be wondering why I'm listing all these published author names. The reason? When I first met each of these women, we were all -every single one- unpublished. I don't think even a few years ago we could've imagined a meeting where so many of us were talking contracts and deadlines.

So if you've out there submitting and getting discouraged, don't be. It might take time, but if you have a dream and the will to fight for that dream, then anything can happen. I remember that each and every time I walk into one of these monthly meetings.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont

Have any of you seen this movie? It's such a lovely, lovely story. You can read the full blurb for it here, but it's basically about a friendship between an elderly woman and a struggling young writer. There's a sense of love in this movie that you don't often see on the silver screen.

Go rent it and get all sappy. :)

Got any other movie recommendations?


Friday, May 04, 2007

Weekly Catchup

Okey dokes, I've been thinking - this blog is fairly laid back. I post all over the board and really, that works for me. But I was wondering what you all would think of making Friday the Weekly Catchup day? (Yep, I know it's still Thursday in some timezones but reading this blog will make the time fly by!).

I thought we could reserve this day to talk about whatever's been happening over the past week - bookwise, newswise, anywise you want to interpret it. Work for you guys?

So, to kick us off - the copy edits for Caressed By Ice are done! Woohoo! I'm now working on copy edits for Beat of Temptation (my novella in the An Enchanted Season anthology). I'm also polishing up a workshop I'm giving tomorrow to my local writer's group (more on that tomorrow).

Okay, now catch me up on you!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Auction Heads Up / Links

If you haven't already heard, Brenda Novak's auction to benefit juvenile diabetes research has gone live.

You can bid on a huge bunch of stuff - critiques from editors / lunches with authors / signed books galore! There is also an ARC of a book called Caressed By Ice up for auction...just in case you were interested. ;)

Also, I saw this cool link on Alison Kent's blog - it's a one-stop shop for seeing what romance bloggers are talking about. (Still a work in progress according to the note on Alison's blog).

And one more link - Sasha White has posted an excerpt from her LUSH anthology at Between the Covers.


Link & OOTB Tour: Damsel Under Stress - Shanna Swendson

First up, Dannetteb is doing a series of Fantastic Five interviews with different authors this week, including Shanna Swendson...which ties in very nicely with today's OOTB tour book! Check out the details below. :)
____________________________________

DAMSEL UNDER STRESS by Shanna Swendson

May 1, 2007

To-do: Stop the bad guys. Rescue the wizard. Find the perfect outfit for New Year’s Eve.

At last, Owen Palmer, the dreamboat wizard at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has conjured up the courage to get Katie Chandler under the mistletoe at the office holiday party. But just when it looks like Katie has found her prince, in pops her inept fairy godmother, Ethelinda, to throw a wand into the works. Ehtelinda’s timing couldn’t be worse. A plot hatched by MSI’s rogue ex-employees, Idris and his evil fairy gal pal Ari, threatens to expose the company’s secrets ­ and the very existence of magic itself. Even worse, it could also mean the end of Katie’s happily-ever-after.

Now Katie and Owen must work side by side (but alas, not cheek to cheek) to thwart the villains’ plans. Braving black-magic-wielding sorceresses, subway-dwelling dragons, lovelorn frog princes, and even the dreaded trip to meet Owen’s parents at Christmas, Katie and her beau are in a battle to beat Idris at his own sinister game. All mischief and matters of the heart will come to a head at a big New Year’s Eve gala, when the crystal ball will drop, champagne will pour, and Katie will find herself truly spellbound.

Excerpt

ABOUT SHANNA SWENDSON

In addition to writing fiction, Shanna Swendson is a freelance marketing consultant and writer specializing in technology and telecommunications. She is single and lives in Irving, Texas, with her many pet plants, including a vicious attack bougainvillea and a Christmas cactus that has outlasted three homes, three jobs and three boyfriends, yet still faithfully blooms every Christmas and Easter. She’s looking for a man that reliable.

REVIEWS

The ongoing adventures of Katie Chandler are filled with such magical fun. -- Armchair Interviews

Mayhem at its most enchanting. 4 stars -- Romantic Times Book Reviews

Fans of both chick-lit and Harry Potter should not miss out on this series set in magical modern-day Manhattan. -- Fresh Fiction

Great fun, an amusing romp of a romantic read -- Book Loons

Website http://www.shannaswendson.com


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Interview - Emily Gee

Today, I bring you another debut author - the lovely and talented Emily Gee! Her book Thief With No Shadow is like nothing else I've read lately. Check out the interview below, where I totally grill her!

1. Your first book, ‘Thief With No Shadow’ came out last month. What’s your state of mind right now?

My state of mind? To tell the truth, I’m a little bit freaked out. Even though (weird though this may sound) the book doesn’t ‘feel’ like it’s mine any more. It’s no longer a pile of scribbled-on sheets of paper--it’s neat and trim and has a shiny cover. My name is on it, but I swear it’s someone else’s book!

2. Who is Emily Gee? Give us the lowdown.

Me? I work in the wine industry in Marlborough, New Zealand. I’m a member of the viticultural team at a winery and I really enjoy it--particularly the frantic rush of harvest, which we’ve just finished. I love to travel and am itching to get overseas again. I’m a bit of a walking freak--I have to get outside and up the hills as often as possible! I love reading and movies and wine and food and art ... oh, and yoga!

3. Backcover copy of ‘Thief’?

Aided by the magic which courses through her veins, Melke is able to walk unseen by mortal eyes. When a necklace she has stolen holds the key to both saving her brother’s life and breaking a terrible curse, she must steal it back from a den of fire-breathing salamanders. Things are about to get very tough for Melke, especially when she comes to realise she may have to trust the very people who were out to kill her.

Thief With No Shadow is a rich, romantic fantasy tale set in a world where the ordinary and extraordinary co-exist, where nightmarish creatures live alongside men, and magic runs in the blood of mortals.

[And then there are some lovely quotes, yours included!]

4. Having had a chance to read ‘Thief’, I’d categorize it as dark fantasy with romantic elements. Agree? Disagree?

I agree, absolutely. It’s dark, but it’s also romantic. And it ends happily. I could never write a sad ending!

5. Tell us about some of the creatures in your fantasy world.

The creatures that feature most prominently are salamanders. They’re cruel and avaricious and hedonistic--and extremely dangerous. They’re motivated by treasures--gold and jewels--and by sexual pleasure. Only people who’re in desperate circumstances dare to approach them. Unfortunately my poor characters are in rather dire straits!

6. What’s next for you?

I’m working on another fantasy that’s both dark and romantic. It’s not set on the same world as ‘Thief’--there are no salamanders! The working title is ‘Witch-Eye’.

7. Anything else you want to share?

We’ve just finished harvest, which is a pretty demanding time of year--no time for getting to the supermarket, let alone reading. ‘Slave to Sensation’ was the treat I promised myself for when I had time to read again--which was this past weekend. I gulped it down. A great read--thanks!