Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last Chance for Hawaiian Goodies!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research closes TOMORROW and time is running out to bid on all the amazing goodies and fabulous opportunities available. Including the Ghost Shrink Island Therapy Gift Basket which features delicious Hawaiian goodies and a free download of The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant.

Don't miss out! Bid today!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Road Ramblings

I have now embarked on Phase Two of my summer travels: the Road Trip.

I'm in the process of driving across Washington, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. The verdict? Beautiful, beautiful, extremely beautiful, and, yep, you guessed it, beautiful. Kudos to all people who have the smarts to live in any of those States. (And if you live elsewhere, don't be offended. I'll probably visit your homeland and issues kudos at some point. Unless you live in Minnesota. Minnesota hates me. So no kudos. But you have my sincere awe at your bravery. Minnesota spat me out.)

I've made the trip before, but it's easy to forget how gorgeous this country is this time of year. The Big Sky Country is surprisingly Big.

And the farm lands in eastern Washington have started labeling their crops for the edification of passing motorists. Not really sure why, but I thought it was worth sharing because it was so darned weird seeing Alfalfa! and Sweet Corn! signs which were not selling the items, mind you, just telling you what was growing in that field. It also got me started on a thought bender about words that are their own plural. (Moose! Spam!)

Unfortunately, my car windshield has once again indulged in the highly masochistic behavior of diving in front of oncoming rocks. Four freaking times, I've had to have the freaking windshield patched or replaced in the last two years. You would think my windshield would have learned by now that rocks are not its friend. But no. It just loves rocks. Can't get enough of them. Damn thing needs counselling. Arg.

My new theory as to why my windshield persists in its destructive relationship with rocks is because it is short and has poor self-esteem. I don't think my dad's big ole truck has ever had a rock dare to smack it in the face. Note to self: Buy enormous, gas-guzzling vehicle to save money on windshield replacement.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Grrrrrr... Revisions

I've been cranky all week. (Didja notice? That was me cranky.) But I think the worst of the crankiness is behind me. Due to the fact that I have finally finished my revisions for my Golden Heart manuscript. Woot!

I hate revisions. My revisions are often self-inflicted and always necessary. They make the book better; there's no getting around that fact. But still, I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns. (<- Bonus points if you can name the reference.)

I love the first draft. I love slapping inspiration onto the page. I even enjoy the second draft, when I'm tightening, expanding, tweaking, layering. Edits don't bother me one little bit, but revisions, or "overhauls" as I sometimes call them, are hell on wheels.

You thought it was so great when you slapped those words on the page. Shakespeare, Moliere, they had nothing on you. But then weeks (or months... or years) go by and you've had some distance, maybe even learned a few things about writing that you didn't know before, and you go back to take another look.

The horror! The agony! You actually thought this was good? This drivel? This adverb-laden, passive-voice riddled mess in which the word "somewhat" appears with alarming frequency (as if you were too gutless to actually have your characters do things all the way, they had to do everything "somewhat"). And it isn't just the prose that sags! Where is the internal conflict? Where is the dark moment? The plot?

So you dive back in, ripping out chunks. Reordering chapters. Tightening your language and trying to find a story arc in there somewhere. Clinging to the hope that there is something salvagable in the wreckage.

You come out the other side battered, bewildered, and scarcely daring to hope that the book might actually be decent now.

Bad news: It was bad. It was really, really bad. Good news: It's better now. I hope. And I don't have to revise it again for at least another few weeks. Dude. I hate revisions.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bigger is Better?

Have you heard about the new Kindle DX e-reader? I have to admit, this techno-advancement kind of puzzles me.

Seriously, who looks at a Kindle and thinks, "Darn, it's just too small and convenient for me. I want something bulky. Something that will never fit in a purse. Something nearly as big as my laptop that costs $130 more."

Well, whoever that person is, the Kindle DX is perfect for them. For everyone else... I don't really see the benefit. 9.7 inches tall. Huh. Maybe it will take off. Perhaps bigger really is better and I am just pitifully short-sighted.

Time will tell. And in the meantime... here's a nice satire on the convenience of this bigger, more expensive Kindle.

Kindle 9XXXD

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Woohoo! The Ghost Exterminator, my first full-length Karmic Consultants book, following up on the ghostliness of The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant, is going to be published by Samhain!

Jo Banks, rebellious Goth Ghost Exterminator. Wyatt Haines, uptight haunted CEO. Love doesn't stand a ghost of a chance.

More details to come!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Emerald City Writers Conference!

It's here! Registration is NOW OPEN for the Emerald City Writers Conference. I attended this conference last year and I can definitely vouch for the awesomeness.

Here's the official announcement:

20th Anniversary Emerald City Writers' Conference
Sponsored by the Greater Seattle Romance Writers' of America
October 9-11, 2009
Bellevue Hilton
Bellevue, Washington

• Editor & Agent Appointments
• Educational & Inspirational Sessions
• Book fair
• Chat Sessions with Your Favorite Authors
• Social Events for Networking

Join us as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the first Emerald City Writers' Conference. In addition to group editor and agent appointments, the conference features educational sessions taught by published authors and experts in their field. Classes cover everything from the writing craft to online marketing. Chat sessions with best selling authors are also featured.

The annual book fair offers opportunities to mingle with your favorite authors. Several social events provide opportunities for networking with other writers, published authors, editors and agents making this annual conference a not-to-miss event.

Our Speakers
Keynote Speaker: Claire Delacroix
Featured Speakers: Lisa Jackson & Christine Warren
Special Guests: Cherry Adair, Elizabeth Boyle, Stella Cameron, Megan Chance, Bob Dugoni, Yasmine Galenorn, Susan Mallery, Bob Mayer, Jane Porter and more!

Editor & Agent Appointments
Registrants are offered the opportunity to pitch in group appointments to editors and agents of their choice; appointments are scheduled on a first come, first served basis, so register today! Emerald City Opener finalists will receive private appointments.

• Wanda Ottewell, Editor: Harlequin
• Peter Senftleben, Editor: Kensington NOTE: Peter will also be speaking at a session entitled "The Editor/AuthorRelationship: How to work with your editor from the call to published book and beyond"
• Megan McKeever, Editor: Pocket Books

• Steven Axelrod, Agent: The Axelrod Agency
• Alexandra Machinist, Agent: Linda Chester Literary Agency NOTE: Alexandra is also speaking at a session entitled "What Every Agent Wishes Every Author Knew."
• Vivian Chum, Agent: Prospect Agency

Registration is limited. To register, visit

Dude, is that an impressive line-up or what? So if you are a writing type person, I highly recommend checking out the Emerald City Writers Conference this October. Unpublished and aspiring? Enter the first seven pages of your manuscript in the Emerald City Opener contest and you might get the chance for a one-on-one appointment with one of the editors & agents attending the conference and the opportunity to have your work reviewed by them in the final round! Go forth and succeed, little minions!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shame On You

He's saying count. No really. Count. You filthy-minded wretches.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Favorite Things: Hawaiian Style

  1. Rainy afternoons on my grandma's lanai with a book.
  2. Going to the grocery store in flip-flops and a soggy T-shirt with my hair still dripping from the ocean.
  3. Hot malasadas, char-su manipua, kalbi, crispy gau gee, pork hash, and tsashimi so fresh it practically wriggles. Yum. I eat my way through this island.
  4. Listening to tourists try to pronounce the street names. Kapi'olani. Kalanianaole. Ke'eaumoku. Auwaiolimu.
  5. Walking on Kailua Beach for miles and miles and miles. Dude, that beach seems to stretch from here to forever... and the kite-surfers are always such fun to watch.
  6. Hanging out with my big ole Hawaiian family.

Least Favorite Things: Hawaiian Style

  1. Termites.
  2. Cockroaches.
  3. Carpenter Bees the size of my thumb.
  4. Sugar Ants that get into everything.
  5. Ginormous moths the size of my fist (not exaggerating) that are too stupid to fly toward the light like moths of average IQ and instead feel the need to throw themselves against the walls and ceiling of my room for hours on end every night. Too Dumb To Live Moths should do me a favor and commit suicide in someone else's bedroom.

So, yeah. Bugs. Ew. Geckos, however, quite awesome.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wallbanger Made Palatable

I just got back from seeing Angels & Demons which, I'll be honest, I fully expected to dislike. I was not a fan of the book. In spite of Mr. Brown's provoking plots, when I read his books they all-t00-frequently find themselves flying across the room to impact the wall. Angels & Demons made that trip more than most.

The movie, however, wasn't half bad. I was downright tickled by the filmmakers' decision to remove the single stupidest part of the book. They did not, sadly, manage to extract all moments of idiocy (we're on a clock, people! Now is not the time for random exposition!), but the worst violation of the laws of physics did not survive the transition to the silver screen. Thank God.

**Spoiler Alert** In the book, our hero Robert Langdon is in the helicopter with the Camerlengo. He leaps from it at altitude and survives, by using wind-resistance and some sort of tarpaulin window cover, in one of the most idiotic plot devices known to man. I had to stop reading for hours after that little gem. I'm sorry, Mr. Hanks, but even Bruce Willis at his most Die Hardy couldn't survive that. Luckily, the filmmakers saw fit to pull that scene and have the "heroic" Camerlengo fly off all by his lonesome. Much better.

Breaking the laws of physics is only a problem if you've set your world up to obey them, as Mr. Brown has. Wolverine can jump on top of a helicopter and I'll think it's cool. Captain Kirk can sky dive out of a space ship (awesome! so awesome!) and I'll cheer. But you have to obey the rules of your universe. That is a big pet peeve of mine, as a reader and a movie-goer. That and supposedly intelligent people behaving in unbelievably stupid ways.

What are your biggest pet peeves? What will send your books flying across the room to make friends with the wall?**

**Note: Throwing books across the room not recommended for e-books, as your reading device will likely suffer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Hot Hunk with an Identity Crisis

Kate Diamond tagged me on the Royal Reviews' Hunky Hero Challenge. So in order to help this poor shirtless stud find his own rapacious heroine, I'll be blogging about:
  • my favorite hero from a novel (and why he's so great)
  • a short excerpt/quote involving that hero
  • who I would want to play the hero in a movie version of the book.

So, to be quite honest, I don't have one favorite hero and if I had to pick just one, he probably wouldn't come out of a romance novel. Lazarus Long from Time Enough for Love or Howard Roark from The Fountainhead maybe. Oberon, perhaps, from my favorite Shakespearean comedy? Or possibly Mr. Darcy, who has already been admirably immortalized by Colin Firth.

I'm not sure any of these men qualify for "hunk" status. And my access to my bookshelves is limited at the moment, so I'm gonna go with the a book I just finished which I think would make a fantastic movie. (Hint, hint, Hollywood!)

Hale, from Aphrodite's Passion by Julie Kenner, is a Greek God - or at least, he's descended from one. Aphrodite is his great-great-many-times-over-grandma. He's also got super-powers and is sworn to protect mortals - from other supercharged godlings and from themselves. But that's just his Superman. His Clark Kent? Romance novel cover model. Hee hee.

Hale is a total operator, but recently he's grown disenchanted by his own womanizing ways. When he's tasked with "protecting" Tracy Tannin... well, you can pretty much see where this is going, right? Straight to TrueLovesville.

In addition to being all kinds of hot, he has several useful skills: he talks to animals - particularly one very mouthy ferret named Elmer; he can dematerialize at will - and accidentally whenever his allergies are acting up; and the man will jump start your busted Nova with his Ferrari. Hellooooo, Mr. Perfect.

A quote? How's about the biggest cheeseball pick-up line ever? Classic.

With a quick nod, she indicated the offending vehicle. "It's being uncooperative."
"I find that hard to believe." His smile revealed a dimple. "I can't imagine anything not going out of its way to please you."

Who would I want to play him in a movie? Ryan Reynolds, baby. And not just because he is the pinnacle of all hotness. He's also got that twinkle. Dude, I love that twinkle. And that twinkle is all Hale.

So who's your favorite hero?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Deep Breaths

So, as those of you who frequent my blog may already know (and if you don't, you clearly aren't dedicated enough little stalkers, are you?), last week I joined the ranks of the voluntarily unemployed. This is a good thing, as I will be enjoying a few months of travel without my day job tagging along and dragging at my jollies like an anvil. However, I have discovered there is an unexpected side-effect to having oodles of time to do exactly what I want to do.

I freak out.

Yep. I go into hyper-I-must-eat-sleep-and-breathe-writing-24/7 mode. It is a frightening place. No longer an accounting drone, I must therefore spend every waking hour doing writing and writing related tasks, no? Nooooo. That way lies insanity, my friends.

For five days, I queried, I edited, but mostly I panicked. It was not a happy place.

Then a magical thing happened. I found a To-Do list I'd written for myself on the plane ride over to these tropical isles. It had two columns. One side was titled Writing and had all the items I'd been obsessing (and I do not use that word lightly) over for the last week. The other little column? It was titled Balance and included such gems as "Chill at the beach" and "Read a lot."

I have failed the "Balance" side of my To-Do list, boys and girls. Shockingly, there is more to life than the written word. Balance is crucial. So for the last couple days I have balanced. I drove up to the North Shore. I hung out with my family. Then today I helped my gramma with a mountain of epically confusing geneology stuff. All day.

I didn't think about writing at all. Not once. And you know what? It was awesome. Deeply, deeply awesome. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Newfound Hotness

Check out my sexy new cover, y'all!

Serengeti Heat, my sizzling shape-shifter novella, is hitting the virtual shelves June 23rd! As evidenced by the (sexy! sexy!) cover, it is a paranormal of a different flavour than my previous goofy ghostiness.

Are you psyched? Cuz I'm superpsyched.

I've already gotten past my Good-Lord-she's-topless-and-my-gramma's-gonna-see-this moment and now I'm in full-on hell-yes-check-out-the-hotness mode. So yeah, check out the hotness!

Ah, Natalie, cover artiste without compare. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Genre Jumping... like, you know, Bungee Jumping

Have you ever jumped off a bridge with a rubber band strapped to your ankles? I haven't. I have, however, jumped off a cliff into the ocean. Cliff-diving, sky-diving, bungee-jumping, base-jumping - sounds like fun, yeah? I'll admit I'm a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. I thrive on new experiences.

Luckily, I can satisfy my urge to leap off of high places without that awkward "going splatt" part of the equation. I call it genre-jumping.

This month I'm featured at the website of the fabulous Kaye Chambers, talking about my inability to commit to anything and the adventure of genre-jumping. Check it out.

And answer me this: are you a jumper?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bidder Up

An amazing online auction to fund Diabetes Research is going on all this month. You can bid on gift baskets, once in a lifetime experiences like dinner with your favorite author, editor & agent evaluations of your work, and so much more. It's a phenomenal opportunity for a great cause. Whether you're a reader, a writer, or you haven't opened a book in a decade, there is something for you at best-selling author Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction for Diabete's Research. Bid today!

Since I'm in Hawaii visiting my family right now, I'm donating a Ghost Shrink Island Therapy Gift Basket filled with all manner of Hawaiian goodies. (Picture coming as soon as I can get my darned photo card-reader thingy to work.) You can bid on it HERE. (The basket, not the busted photo-card-reader thingy.)

And while you're over there, be sure to check out the Godiva Indulgence basket from friend & fellow author Kaye Chambers, Shelli Stevens' Seattle Steam Basket, the Welcome to Temptation Basket by Misty Evans and the Love Partner Gift Basket by Robie Madison. We're going nuts with the baskets here, people, and there's plenty to go around.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


On Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a fantastic event, a "Romance Extravaganza" held at the King County Library. It was extravagance in six parts - workshop, talk, signing, panel, panel, tea - but it was all about romance.

There's way too much to talk about after such a fabulicious event, so I'm not even going to try to cover it all. The part I really want to talk about is the talk given by Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Amanda Quick, aka Jayne Castle). And why am I gonna talk about that? Cuz it's a theme! I feel like she spoke about precisely what I've been babbling about here for the last week or so. Only, of course, she said it with a degree of eloquence and gravitas that I clearly lack.

The marvelous Ms. Krentz talked about why we like genre fiction and the inherent fallacy involved in judging popular fiction by the standards of literary fiction. She discussed the classic heroic values embedded in stories in which courage, determination, honor, integrity and love triumph. Where the murderer is caught, the world saved, and the guy always gets the girl.

What I loved most about her talk was the fact that she never once apologized for writing genre fiction. She was utterly unashamed of her work and genre fiction as a whole, and I wanted to cheer. We do not need validation from literary critics because popular fiction does not bow to literary fiction's rule book. We have our own rule book. Separate, distinct, but no less valid.

We write stories of optimism, justice and hope. There is no reason for us to be huddling in the shadows of literary fiction, apologizing for our popularity over the dour and demoralizing Book Club Books.

It's a sign! Romance is stepping out of the shadows and into it's own. Woop!

And this isn't the only sign. Just a couple weeks ago there was a symposium at Princeton discussing the merit of the romance genre. (There's been quite a bit of online chatter about it, but here's an article to give you a frame of reference, if you have no idea what I'm on about.) I love that people seem to be realizing we don't fit neatly into the preassigned box of Fabio-esq bodice-rippers. We are wondrous variety. Ain't it grand?

It was an extravaganza and a half. Cherry Adair, Stella Cameron, Alexis Morgan, Yasmine Galenorn, Gerri Russell, & Deb Schneider paneling it up. Jayne Castle (I'm gonna call her that cuz those are my favorites of her books) being brilliant. A workshop by Ann Charles & Jackie Rogers which left me ruminating on the fine distinctions between networking & promo & "name building". Chatting about romance and books all day long. And cake. They gave me sugary icing. So yeah. Awesome day.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pendulum Girl

I love the unfettered life, but I've found the act of removing the fetters can be somewhat stressful. I'm in the process of moving. This process is made slightly more complicated by the fact that I'm not entirely certain where I am moving to. I know I'm going walkabout for a while and at some point I will settle down in some other apartment (possibly in some other city?) and at that time I will want the items which are now happily taking up residence in my storage locker. (At least, I hope my items are happy. I'm happy to have them there, so that's a start.)

For the last couple weeks, since my rather abrupt decision to unfetter, I've been swinging wildly back and forth between being overly confident that I will easily complete all necessary moving tasks with oodles of time to spare and being a neurotic wreck, convinced that I will never wade through the mountain of moving tasks before me. Swing, pendulum girl, swing!

I am now something less than eighteen hours away from turning in the keys to my place and being homeless. I am also (gulp!) temporarily jobless, as I've decided to take a hiatus from the workforce for a couple months. Yeah, it's a risk with the job market being all wonky, but too much time is wasted in life in an attempt to do the safe thing.

So I'm sitting here, midnight-oh-one May Day, looking around my furniture-free apartment at the scattered objects that haven't made it into storage yet: a beribboned bottle of champagne from my first release day, a stuffed hamster that sings "Kung Fu Fighting" and wildly swings nunchaku when you squeeze his paw, my Seattle Mariners hat... and pennant... and bandanna... and duffel bag (the team shirts and the knit cap are already packed), books of logic puzzles stacked next to the current editing draft of my GH manuscript, and a little green frog prince ornament, holding a heart and asking for a kiss. It's funny the items that wedge their way into our lives. Even the unfettered life.

What about you? What random memorabilia would you never be able to leave behind?

And Happy May Day! Go nuts! It's May!