Tuesday, May 31, 2011
True Blood paper dolls.
No, I'm not ashamed I still play with dolls. It's Eric Oh-My-Twisted-Knickers Northman. When it comes to the viking sex god, I have no pride. I had one of him propped up by my laptop for inspiration for the longest time.
If Eric's not your thing (And why he wouldn't be is beyond me, but to each his own.) there's Pam, Sookie, Bill...
So, clickety click to get your own. True Blood Paper Dolls
Now that you've printed off your new toys, tell me...if you could dress up any character from any book and pose them like Barbies, who would it be and what would you make them do?
Monday, May 30, 2011
There were some interesting flags planted in the publishing sand: Amazon had a larger booth than many of the major publishers. Penguin’s new book community, BookCountry (http://www.bookcountry.com/) had a presence helmed by @Colleen Lindsay. And there were literal flags hanging from the high ceilings to herald the arrival of the summer’s biggest books, such as Anne Patchett’s new novel State of Wonder (I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and it’s amazing!!) But for me, the most interesting part of the BEA experience was a conversation I had with a woman at the RWA booth.
RWA, as usual, did a great service to writers by providing a space to sign books. Even authors published by big companies are usually excluded from hosted signings unless they are already big sellers. I went to a few signings and spoke to the ladies working at the booth. I asked one of them what she thought about the explosion of ebook/self-publishing in romance, and her answer surprised me: she was concerned. She told me that writers don’t realize or forget about the fact that some of the biggest, bestselling authors in romance today were once passed over by agents and publishers – many times. Without the option of self-publishing, these writers persisted in honing their craft until their work finally broke through. When they were published, the books were gems. Today, this woman said to me, “Some writers get one or two rejections from agents and they say forget it, and just put their work online,” she said. “This is bad for the writer, and it’s bad for the reader.” Her reasoning was this: most writers need editorial guidance. Most writers get better with time. If a writer rushes to the marketplace, they risk establishing a bad track record. And worse, she said, was that if the romance arena is flooded with underdeveloped or poorly executed material, new readers will be turned off. This new do-it-yourself frontier, she concluded, is, in short, bad for business.
Of course, writers are artists, and artists have a deep-seeded need to have their work read. Business means little when that artists is screaming to be heard.
In the end, it was a provocative conversation. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Bianca: The Silver Age
The Karma Booth
**If you would like to be featured on Blatant Promo Weekend (BPW) please contact Jenn Hart:
jlhart79(at) gmail (dot)com**
Friday, May 27, 2011
Once there was a young man from Redondo Beach, California preparing for his high school graduation. His academic performance was average. He was a well rounded athlete, but he wasn't too keen on team sports. That left academic and athletic scholarships pretty much out of the question.
When this young man inventoried his assets, he realized that much of his daily life was framed around two driving passions--surfing and diving. Neither of those were likely to help him burn up the job market. With graduation looming, the idea of pursuing the nine to five grind felt more like a life sentence than a life goal. He craved adventure, excitement. The perfect job for him was one that would test the limits of his physical endurance allow him the relished thrill of meeting such goals.
Determined to take the road less travelled, he began an earnest search to find a career that would accommodate his passion for the ocean in a meaningful manner. He decided to seek training as a forensic diver. With scholarship money out of the question, the price tag for the required training and equipment to make his dream a reality was more than he could ever hope to manage.
He was left with two choices. Give up, or find another way. Giving up wasn't an option he could stomach. His search for another path led him to a Navy Recruiting Office, which in lit a new path to his goals--the US Navy SEALs. Though the possibility he'd actually make the brutal cuts that could earn him a SEAL trident was dismal, he enlisted on the spot. Mission accomplished.
Little did this young man know that his ability to adapt his strategy in order to meet his end goal made him an ideal SEAL candidate.
According to a study done by the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, CA, NAVY SEALs possess several common personality traits. One hundred thirty-nine U.S. Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) personnel completed the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI). The average profiles were compared to adult male norms for five broadly defined domains.
SEALs scored lower in:
neuroticism and agreeableness, average in openness, and higher in
extraversion and conscientiousness compared to these two populations.
SEALs scored higher in:
extraversion and conscientiousness
SEALs seek excitement and dangerous environments, but are otherwise stable, calm, and rarely reckless or impulsive. Although this average profile may not characterize any individual SEAL, we believe this study provides the most comprehensive personality profile of Navy SEALs to date.
After many years of living in the SEAL and ex SEAL community, from a personal perspective, I'd say most of this study is spot on. The MISSION is everything. What defines SEALs in my mind is their ability to take the unorthodox route in order to meet their end goal. These are men who truly think on their feet.
How does this profile impact personal relationships?
Because SEALs are persons of great conviction, they are fascinating characters to write.The never say die attitude that defines them can fuction as both an enormous boon and an Achilles heel.
FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.
Once a SEAL has dedicated himself to a cause (his family and loved ones), he's likely to go above and beyond in order to keep his MISSION--the protection of those loved ones--intact. When a family member is faced with enormous adversity, a SEALs passion to right what is wrong makes a fierce and stubborn advocate for change.
NEVER SAY DIE.
Daily arguments can escalate into major battles simply because SEALs don't fight to lose. Sometimes the personal feelings become secondary to the objective, to WIN the argument!
BELIEVABLE CRISIS: A hero meeting this archetype is faced with the fact the CONVICTION that has led him to embark on his MISSION is inherently flawed or false.
BELIEVABLE CRISIS: The bigger they are, the harder they fall. SEALs embrace the concept of CARPE DIEM. As thrillseekers, the typical SEAL is hardwired to live hard and love hard.
In the next segment of Confessions of a Frog Hog, we'll discuss who the average SEAL is, and factors that can altar both his personal beliefs and his career choices.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Can't think of much that's interesting to say today. Must be the weather, here. It's dire. Not at all inspiring. So I'll resort to my tried and true filler when I'm lacking in the inspiration department.
Yes, it's Getting All Linky and a Wee Bit Ranty, Part 2!
First up is this little gem from the independent student newspaper of Tufts University, rather unimaginatively known as The Tufts Daily. But let's not insult them for their lack of imagination. Because, yanno, we romance writers are nicer than that.... right? Right. Unlike the author of this article: From guilty pleasures to academic heavy lifting, the summer book season has it all, who IMHO, is the queen of the backhanded compliment.
I’m with the Smart Bitches (Who Read Trashy Books) on this one. I find it quite fascinating how many times the author of this article manages to insult a book she's actually recommending. That, my dears, takes true talent, don’t you think?
However, it doesn’t take any talent at all to resort to sad, tired, and let’s face it, totally unimaginative clichés that we’ve all heard before ad nauseam with regards to romance novels.
Clichés. Gee. Let’s count them, shall we? Just for fun?
1. guilty pleasure;
2. the suggestion that if you read this featured romance you have “no shame in your literary taste”;
3. smutty sex scenes;
4. The suggestion that you must be “desperate” to “resort to reading a trashy vampire romance novel”, and
5. (my personal favorite) you should buy it on Kindle to avoid being judged in public.
IMHO, this write-up smacks of protesting a little too much. Dare I suggest that the article’s author loved this book with a passion that should only be reserved for scoffing dark chocolate and an excellent Merlot? And then was all, “Oh noes what will people think of me if I say, ‘OMG, this was totally awesome! I loved it! You gotta read it!!!!’”. So she chickened out and resorted to parroting what readers of “literary” novels have come to expect whenever the romance genre is compared to literary novels.... As you do.
Hmmm. I wonder.
Moving right along, I present another stunning example of cliché-ridden claptrap. Oooh. Did you notice the alliteration there??? What can I say: I’m a natural.
This time it’s from the Daily Mail online: The Blue Rinse Bodice Rippers: In twin-sets and pearls meet the ladies behind Britain’s steamiest novels.
If you will, check out this caption beneath the cartoon picture of a Barbara-Cartland-clone romance author:
“More than 100 of the country's leading romantic fiction writers were middle-aged and elderly women in their pearls and support tights.”
Oh really? Numerous romance authors are currently updating their profile pictures on Facebook to prove otherwise.
I didn't bother counting the clichés in this particular article because frankly, there were so many I got bored. But right from the start the article's author defends herself thusly:
"OK, I know it’s a bit over the top but I’m about to enter a room filled with more than 100 of the country’s leading romantic fiction writers and I’m trying to get into character."
Golly gee. Thanks for that. I guess that makes it all okay, then....
So to finish, I’d like to say this: People. If you’re going to insult the romance community--its authors and readers alike--can you please at least come up with something the least bit original?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
All right, moving on then. Let's talk promotion!Specifically, cross promotion.
I have a question for all you readers and authors out there. If there's an author that you love, and have come to expect a certain type of book from, would you want to be notified if they suddenly branched out into a new genre? Say, a military romantic suspense author that suddenly comes out with some erotic romances under a different name? *flutters lashes innocently*
Hey, just sayin'.
I'm trying to figure out how much cross promotion I need to do (or want to do, for that matter) between myself and my...other self. (Writers are totally allowed to have multiple personalities, by the way. No need for anti-psychotic meds.) I know other authors have managed this successfully, but I wanted to get a show of hands here on Writers Gone Wild. Especially in light of the Judy Mays saga, the bias heaped upon erotic romance authors really hit home for me. I've already warned my kids that a career in politics is out for them both :)
Authors: What cross promo does an author need to do for different pen names?
Readers: What would you like to see in terms of promo for an author with various pen names? What do you want to see on their websites? Do you prefer they keep them totally separate?
Really guys, inquiring minds want to know. Tell me what you think!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Plus it didn't sell. Probably because the price was beyond astronomical. Self publishing via Lulu, even with meager royalties, the book cost almost $20.00 on Amazon. And with the crappy cover, I'd set myself up for absolute failure, ensuring I didn't get the one thing I really wanted. For people to read my book.
And me being me, I swore off self publishing. The words NEVER AGAIN have been shouted from the rooftops, and made public online.
But now, here we are 5 years later. And my tune has changed from NEVER AGAIN into, well.... maybe. What's changed my mind? The only thing that ever changes my mind. Money.
Indie ebooks are succeeding for the same reason POD failed. They cost less than their mass produced counterparts. My backlist has taken off and while I like to think that's due to my expanded web presence and sparkling demeanor, the fact is that you can buy both Laundry Hag books and River Rats for about half what a mainstream ebook is going for on Amazon, B&N or any other ebook venue is probably the root cause.
Which got me thinking. Is it worth another go? Do I really want to undertake this? And in typical Laundry Hag fashion, I started to make an ebook pro-con list.
I've learned from my mistakes and am less likely to repeat them. The books that I'm considering putting out right now have been through my fabulous crit partner and several beta readerIs. I know they're quality. I know an eye catching cover is important. For B Cubed, I plan to hire a pro and I actually like the look of the cover I did for Stellar Timing. I've learned a great deal in five years, about how to write and sell a compelling story. The cost, as I've already mentioned, is a huge bonus. I want to pass on savings to my readers. I'm not in this gig to make a ton of money, but to entertain as many people as I can. And yes, I want to get paid for it, so I can afford to keep writing.
These books will go out into the world my way. No one else's impression of what the story should or shouldn't be skewing what I originally envisioned. I'm willing to compromise up to a certain point but this pure, artistic freedom is a balm for my jaded soul.
The notion that I have to do everything, especially the more technical work, is daunting. Conversion, proofing, cover design, is just the tip of the iceberg. I still have to network, market, promote and read, just like I'm doing now. All of this plus many many other little bits and pieces take away from time I set aside to write. Is that a compromise I can live with?
So,after much grumbling and muttering and exercising pretty much every technical muscle I have, I did it.
Stellar Timing is now on sale for Kindle and coming soon on Nook for the low low price of $2.99. From me to you. This was my On the Far Side Contest first place story as well as my first venture into real world building. I'm very happy with the result.
When a man wearing blood-soaked armor begs her for sanctuary, Ellie McIntyre is sure her mind has snapped like a dry twig. In the year 2059, poverty and stress have done much worse. What else could explain her ability to hear animals talk and the knack for communing with the wounded warrior inside her head? One thing’s for sure, she needs to eject this sexy figment from her life, stat.
Betrayed by those closest to him, Prince Brennigan was banished to the universal Hotel California, the penal colony called Earth. The only way to escape this fate worse than death is to befriend a portal-maker, a sorci who can open a gateway through time and space and return him to his home planet. Getting along with the magically inclined is not his forte—magic is the prevalent fungus at the root of his problems.
Now the hope for his people, and his heart, lies with Ellie. Can an ignorant witch best an evil sorceress before this medieval times space opera’s final curtain?Stellar Timing on Kindle
Monday, May 23, 2011
Pun [puhn] – noun – the humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meanings or applications, or the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words.
It’s been said that the pun is the lowest form of humor, but I wasn’t raised to think that way. My mother, a journalist by trade, loves everything to do with words, even puns; no, especially puns.
The 34th Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championship took place on Saturday down the road from me in Austin, Texas (for more details, including video links, check out http://www.punpunpun.com/). So it’s appropriate that the titles of two of the coming releases from Saturday’s Blatant Promo Weekend author, Ann Yost, are puns or near puns. I wasn’t able to make it to the pun-off, but my mother sent me an awesome (or awful, depending on your point of view) pun:
An Englishman, a Scotsman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Latvian, a Turk, a German, an Indian, several Americans (including a southerner, a New Englander, and a Californian), an Argentinean, a Dane, an Australian, a Slovakian, an Egyptian, a Japanese, a Moroccan, a Frenchman, a New Zealander, a Spaniard, a Russian, a Guatemalan, a Colombian, a Pakistani, a Malaysian, a Croatian, an Uzbek, a Cypriot, a Pole, a Lithuanian, a Chinese, a Sri Lankan, a Lebanese, a Cayman Islander, a Ugandan, a Vietnamese, a Korean, a Uruguayan, a Czech, an Icelander, a Mexican, a Finn, a Honduran, a Panamanian, an Andorran, an Israeli, a Venezuelan, a Fijian, a Peruvian, an Estonian, a Brazilian, a Portuguese, a Liechtensteiner, a Mongolian, a Hungarian, a Canadian, a Moldovan, a Haitian, a Norfolk Islander, a Macedonian, a Bolivian, a Cook Islander, a Tajikistani, a Samoan, an Armenian, an Aruban, an Albanian, a Greenlander, a Micronesian, a Virgin Islander, a Georgian, a Bahaman, a Belarusian, a Cuban, a Tongan, a Cambodian, a Qatari, an Azerbaijani, a Romanian, a Chilean, a Kyrgyzstani, a Jamaican, a Filipino, a Ukrainian, a Dutchman, a Taiwanese, an Ecuadorian, a Costa Rican, a Swede, a Bulgarian, a Serb, a Swiss, a Greek, a Belgian, a Singaporean, an Italian, a Norwegian and 47 Inuit go into a fine restaurant.
"I'm sorry," the maître d' says, "but you can't come in here without a Thai."
What do you think – do you enjoy the word play of puns? If so, hit me with your best puns so I can pass them on to Mom.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
My name is Ann Yost and I grew up on a street named Yost Boulevard in Ann Arbor, Michigan so early on I believed I was destined for great things. After a long stretch (62 years) of supreme average-ness, I’ve learned to be very content with the beautiful state of Virginia where I live with my husband, an Associated Press reporter and our golden retriever. I used to write George Plimpton-type pieces for various newspapers and have humiliated myself by working the plate as an umpire in Little League baseball, substitute teaching and flying across the stage a la Peter Pan, which, by the way, is not as easy as it looks.
The Wild Rose Press, 2010
Timing is everything.
When Veterinarian Baz Outlaw flew from L.A. to Eden, Maine to propose to Hallie Scott it should have been the perfect Christmas gift. Unfortunately, Baz was late. By a year.
Hallie loved all creatures great and small. She provided a sympathetic ear to elderly pet owners concerned with their own ailments, she repaired the wing of an injured bat and she agreed to take in a homeless boa constrictor despite her snake phobia. She loved Baz, too, and had thought that together they could have the family she’d always wanted but despite her imminent fertility deadline, the commitment-shy veterinarian said no.
Baz knew he’d made a mistake right away but a drinking binge and an impulsive decision tied his hands and by the time he was free to follow Hallie to Eden, Maine, the hometown he’d abandoned decades earlier, she’d become part of a family: his. Baz was willing to do whatever it took to win her back up to and including reconciling with his father. But during the critical twelve months Hallie’s last chance to have a baby of her own had slipped away and back in California, Baz was harboring a tiny secret of his own.
THAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO
After catching her fiance and a bridesmaid in a tete-a-crotch, Jessie Maynard vowed to renounce men forever. Or at least until Christmas. She figured she’d hole up for the holiday in her late Aunt Blanche’s sleepy southern town. But the residents of Mystic Hollow weren’t so much sleeping as dying and her aunt’s witch hat house was already occupied by a sexy green-eyed sorcerer who knew just how to make a girl change her mind.
Luke Tanner’s ex-wife had turned his heart to ice so spending five days with a feisty runaway bride was no threat, at least not until Jessie entangled him in a murder investigation of a philandering minister and locked him in a coffin. Luke’s plans for a hot little affair with Jessie did not include marriage until his ex-wife showed up gift wrapped and he had to make a choice: the past or the future?
FOR BETTER OR HEARSE
(Jewels of the Night series)
From the files of Daisy Budd:
It seemed like such an inspired idea at the time.
When I and my two slightly dysfunctional sisters, Caroline and Junie, decided to turn the Randolph Bowman Mortuary into a fashionable wedding boutique we expected some opposition. After all, towns like Mayville, don’t care much for change. But when a body showed up in our Cupid Fountain I knew it was time to leave the bridezillas behind to find the murderer. My ally, Nick Bowman is the disinherited son of the town’s leading family (Bowman’s Biscuits, Inc.) and the only male who has ever made my heart stutter. Unfortunately, Nick has secrets of his own. And there’s worse. He used to date Caroline.
What on earth was I thinking?
The Wild Rose Press, coming 2011
When Reginald Wanstead, the newly elevated earl of Marchmont, threatens the Watson females with the loss of their home and herb-growing business, the pragmatic Miss Honeysuckle Watson devises a Grand Plan to save the family fortunes. Honey intends to compromise Reggie. As a gentleman, he will be forced to offer for her and she will graciously allow him to keep his freedom in exchange for a life-time lease on Hilldale House. The Grand Plan goes awry when, in an unexpected and mortifying development, Honey falls in love with the devil earl.
EYE OF THE TIGER LILY
The Wild Rose Press, coming 2011
What makes a respectable midwife decide to rob a sperm bank?
As a teenager, Molly Whitecloud fell in love with Eden Maine’s golden boy Cameron Outlaw but she couldn’t find the courage to tell him about the baby they’d conceived or to leave the safety of the reservation.
Twelve years later, corruption at the tribe’s casino forces Molly to seek help from the still-bitter man she betrayed.
As the danger intensifies and the old attraction explodes Molly knows she has to be honest with Cam. But what will he do when he discovers she’s keeping not one but two baby secrets?
There’s not much wild about me.
Favorite food (currently): melty mints.
Favorite author (s): I just discovered Georgette Heyer – OMG! – but have always loved Jane Austen best. Also Jayne Ann Krentz and so many others.
Favorite movies/tv: The Office, all British mysteries, Arrested Development, the Daily Show. (I’d pretty much follow Jon Stewart anywhere.) Oh yeah – The Bachelor. I’m all about doomed love.
Favorite music: Bob Dylan, the bootleg years,”The Marriage of Figaro”, latest hot song recommended by daughter, currently “Jar of Hearts.”
I couldn’t wait for success so I went ahead without it. – Jonathan Winters.
Muggs was always sorry, Mother said, when he bit someone but we could never understand how she figured this out. He didn’t act sorry. – James Thurber.
**If you would like to be featured on Blatant Promo Weekend please contact Jenn Hart:
jlhart79(at) gmail (dot)com*