Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Well, my Field & Stream mystery has been solved. My good friend and neighbor also received two issues of F&S the same day I did – and she, being a vegetarian, anti-gun pacifist, called the magazine demanding to know who sent this offensive publication to her house. Turns out, we were both automatically subscribed to it when we made reservations for a two-family camping trip we took earlier this summer. So none of you did it. (Why the US Park Service believes everyone who makes a camping reservation would enjoy Field and Stream is beyond me, but …)

This got me thinking, I bet everyone has some good stories about the mail. Tell me about the strangest or funniest or most surprising thing you ordered through the mail, received in the mail, sent through the mail … extra points to you if it really qualifies as TMI.

This isn’t really TMI, but it still cracks me up when I think about it – when I was an overseas volunteer, my mother tried to send a Harry & David fruitcake to my host family for Christmas. I guess she thought fruitcake would be an interesting sort of cultural exchange, or it would survive the tropical climate … I don’t know. Anyhow, Christmas came and went and it never showed up. It was assumed that perhaps the package was ‘misdirected’ to some random postal worker’s family – it wouldn’t have been unusual for that to happen. Six months later, the thing finally … Read More »

Way back in April, I was blogging about Pam Spengler-Jaffee’s tips for promoting your book in unlikely forums. And I joked about promoting Goddess of the Hunt at gun shows and in sporting magazines and quoted that great line from Notting Hill, “The readers of Horse and Hound will be delighted.”

So what shows up in my mailbox yesterday, but two issues of Field & Stream, addressed to MOI. The first (which I could not find a photo of, darn it) has a cover story titled “The Best Ammo” and a feature on “1,000 Women Hunters.”

Now seriously, did one of you do this? I can’t for the life of me imagine how I got subscribed to this magazine. But I do wonder what they charge for a 1/4 page ad….… Read More »

So on Smart Bitches this week, there’s been this whole bloffle (doing my part, Sara Dennis!) over a few authors’ decision to wear costumes to the RWA literary signing. A few authors in the new manga-inspired Shomi line donned manga-inspired outfits, complete with thigh-high stockings and miniskirts, and Sherrilyn Kenyon wore a now-infamous hat shaped like a black swan. In the sea of 450 authors, I honestly didn’t notice any of this, but evidently more than a few people were miffed that, with RWA raising tens of thousands of dollars for literacy and trying to promote a positive, professional image of the genre, the newspaper editors ran pictures of the swan hat.

There were scads of workshops on promotion at RWA. More and more, it seems authors are responsible for promoting their own books, growing a readership, creating buzz, etc. Some spend a great deal of money on it, and the concept of ‘branding’ – putting out a consistent public image that links you the author with the type of books you write – is key. The goody room was filled with all sorts of promotional materials with authors’ names emblazoned on them – from mints to rubber duckies to condoms.

You often hear the old adage, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Is that true? Or is there a line authors should not cross in their promotional efforts; a point where they diminish the genre by pushing their own book? Personally, I had no problem with the manga-inspired … Read More »

So in Dallas, there was a recurring conversation that went something like this:
“I so want to go to her panel/spotlight/signing, but I don’t want her to think that I’m stalking her!”

It seemed we were always treading this fine line between wanting to interact with our favorite authors or dream editors and not wanting to look like obsessive fans of dubious mental stability.

And it seems, in romance, there is often that fine line between attention and persistence that is swooningly romantic and scary stalking.

In college, I was once at one of those award dinners and found myself seated across from a very cute couple. In the course of conversation, they told the story of how they’d got together. They’d met at a party, and the guy was instantly smitten. The problem was, she left the party before he could get her number. All he knew was her (very common) first name and the name of her hometown. Now, we had this student directory that listed all of the (30,000) undergraduates and included their hometowns in the entry. So this guy spent the rest of the weekend going through it, page by page, to find an entry with her first name and hometown so he could call her up. I found that swooningly romantic, yet not without its shades of stalkerish obsession.

I don’t know that I’ve ever stalked anyone myself – but then there’s that mortifying thing (and this happened in Dallas, too) where a certain person … Read More »

Forget “Signature of Success” – the title of this post was the real catchphrase for RWA 2007!

I’m shamelessly borrowing it from my good friend (and roomie!) India, because Ms. Eloisa James came up with the phrase while giving India pitch pointers and it quickly became our battle cry.

RWA was phenomenal. Meeting those of you who were there was awesome, because without exception, everyone was even more fantastic in person than I’d imagined. (Geez, I’m already running out of superlatives, and I’ve barely started the blog!) I was so proud of everyone who pitched and got requests and networked their little badges off. There were so many great moments, I can’t begin to list them all. Well, okay, I can begin, and I’ll just have to save the stuff I forget for a later post:


  • High tea with Julia Quinn and Eloisa James and several of their esteemed readers
  • Meeting more of my idols at the literacy booksigning
  • CM’s birthday bash – after which we caught a pimped-out limo for our Harry Potter showing
  • Pitching and plotting with the Manuscript Mavens
  • Lisa Kleypas’ inspiring keynote address, and Lisa Jackson’s Hot Tamales giveaway
  • Attending the Avon off-site booksigning with several Fanlitters, including a couple of the Romance Vagabonds
  • Hanging out in the pitch room with any/all of the above
  • Hanging out in the bar with any/all of the above

Of course, there was the RWA bylaws drama to keep things interesting, and the nerves inherent to pitching and networking … Read More »

This will be my last post for a week or so … off to Dallas! I’m so excited, but I haven’t packed a thing.

I’ve been off in the woods for a few days, so I’m late doing my bit to notify the masses, but if you haven’t already heard, we’re having a little to-do for CM’s birthday on the evening of the 11th. India, Sara and I are hosting a little cocktail hour in India’s and my room from 7-8:30ish. Afterwards, we’re off to see the new Harry Potter movie! If you haven’t already RSVPed on India’s blog or to one of us by email, feel free to leave a note here. We’ll let you know how to find out the room number, or which theater/showtime to get tickets for on Fandango.

Hope lots of you can make it to the party and/or movie! Those who won’t be in Dallas … *sniff.* You’ll be missed.… Read More »

Okay, so a friend of mine who drops by this blog occasionally saw Chandler’s picture down there and accused me of being “an apostate from the church of Firth.”


No, no.

I think Chandler is funny. I do not yearn for Chandler. I do not ardently admire and love Chandler.

Just to prove the point, let’s have a little Friday Firth-fest, shall we? In black-and-white no less. (I find it lends a bit of class to my rather adolescent obsession.)

Who is your most enduring celebrity crush?

Edit: Sorry, my linked pix kept disappearing … I think I’ve got it fixed now.… Read More »

Okay, I am just stumbling out of bed and realizing I have no TMI Tuesday up. This post is incredibly off the cuff and short and lacking. I do apologize.

So I woke up this morning thinking about Chandler. I have to admit, I still love Friends. When I first got the idea for GOTH, my “high concept” was something like, “An episode (or perhaps a season) of Friends, set in the Regency.” The characters are all young, good-looking, witty, and at the time in their life where they’re pairing up and settling down. Plus, I wanted to write lots of fun, snappy dialogue. Of course, the idea evolved from there and became a bit more complex – but there are definitely Friends-inspired scenes in that book – big groups of characters, talking at cross-purposes and taking good-natured jabs at one another.

So I was thinking about Chandler this morning, and how he was picky. Do you guys remember this? Before he hooked up with Monica, there was a point where he believed he’d end up alone forever, because any little thing could be a deal-breaker for him. He’d eliminate a girl from the ‘possibilities’ list for the most ridiculous reasons – her head was too big, her voice was too high, she had too many goldfish, etc.

Chandler’s case was extreme, but don’t we all have those little lines we just can’t cross?

What, for you, is a deal-breaker? Any personal habits you just can’t or Read More »

Over on Manuscript Mavens, Erica has a great blog today about creating sexual tension with effective use of details. And Lacey suggested I blog about this, too. Well, okay! Actually, I’ve been looking for an excuse to post a some kind of excerpt from Goddess of Beauty, so this works well.

Details are everything, aren’t they? I’m still learning how to incorporate them smoothly – historical details, physical details, backstory details – but I know this is something I’m doing much better in GOB than I did in GOTH. This is in large part because I did much more research before beginning this book. So I have more details at the ready. I’ve also given my characters qualities that make them keen observers – the heroine is an artist, so she has an eye for color, line, beauty. The hero is accustomed to sizing up the quality and worth of things – and people – in a glance. So one lesson I’ve learned is, give your characters a unique look on the world. That way, the details they notice can be different from what anyone around them notices, and therefore A) worthy of mention, and B) revealing, in terms of characterization.

Specifically regarding sexual tension – I just love it when the hero notices details about the heroine that no one else does, and vice versa. There’s a lot of that going on in GOB.

Another thought – when you want to describe a scene vividly for the … Read More »

I have come to a conclusion, in my continued quest for self-knowledge.

I don’t do quick transitions.

I’m not referring to the transitions in my prose. Actually, I’m pretty proud of those. I try to keep my chapter and scene transitions snappy and full of momentum. I just wish ‘snappy’ and ‘full of momentum’ were words I could apply to myself.

I once had a roommate who was like a light switch. When she went to bed, she fell asleep. When her alarm went off in the morning, she was awake. End of story. Me? It takes me a half-hour of thinking/processing/obsessing about anything and nothing before I can ever drift off to sleep, and in the morning – oh man. Multiple swats at the snooze button and some serious caffeine intake are required before I can be called remotely ‘awake.’

I’m similarly sluggish when it comes to transitioning from “doing anything else” to “writing.” I have to sit in front of my computer for an hour sometimes, just puttering and waiting for my brain to shift into writing gear. Or maybe it’s more like I’m waiting to get out of my head and into the character’s. It takes forever. And once I’m in the zone … if you interrupt me when I’m writing, don’t expect a relevant or articulate response. I’m not home.

And now, I’ve aggravated the problem by alternating back and forth between writing new stuff (Goddess o’Beauty) and revising old stuff (Goddess o’da Hunt), and coaxing … Read More »