Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Romantic Suspense Blurbs Gone Wild!

Dude. Go to Smart Bitches. Go now. They're mad-libbing Romantic Suspense taglines and titles. Hysterical.


Last Chance to Win!

Attention! Today is the Last Final Ultimate Ain't-No-More day to enter the IWOFA Summer Breeze Contest. Don't miss out on your chance to win!

Go now! Play! Win!

Hint hint: Lucy is a medium & the hero in Serengeti Heat is Landon.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Of all the gin joints in all the world...

The Shifting Dreams antho authors are over at JK Coi's Blog today, talking about our bar-hopping characters. Swing on over and join us for a drink.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Woman of Marriageable Age

The RWA® National Conference is less than three weeks away. Which means the Golden Heart® Awards thingy is less than three weeks away. I know I'm not gonna win my category. (Thank goodness. I'm not afraid of public speaking, but I'd just as soon not get my cute lil butt up on that stage in front of all those people and stammer thank yous into a microphone. I'll leave that to Kelly.) I'm not being pessimistic by saying I don't think I'll win. I know that several other entrants in my category had full manuscripts requested by the final judges, so based purely on statistic reality, the good money is on one of those ladies. (Best of luck to you all!)

But just because I'm not gonna win doesn't mean I'm not gonna look hella cute. (With my face I can't pull off "beautiful" but I'm cute on any given Sunday and can occasionally swing a bit of "hotness".) I've got the dress (purple! Go Cats!). I've got the shoes (silver, strappy, sex-goddess). And today, I went shopping in search of (for lack of a better word, because I'm not really a fan of the word as a rule...) bling.

(Today's obsession: parentheticals. Apparently, I must editorialize even my own thoughts.)

The bling quest proved to be quite an odyssey. I had my little heart set on a rhinestone choker because a) my dress is a deep V-neck and I wanted some distraction to draw the eye upward away from my plunging cleavage and b) I look hot in chokers. I quickly learned, however, that chokers are not "in" right now and rhinestones are a rare commodity. My quest took me through a dozen jewelry departments before I found what I was looking for. (Woohoo, Kohls!)

But the weirdest thing about the whole day? I had three separate people, in three separate stores, ask me when my wedding was. They didn't ask if I was getting married. They asked when.

Now, I'm a twenty-something and it's June, so it's not an entirely unreasonable assumption that I, as a woman of marriageable age, would be altar-bound. But I'm not wearing an engagement ring (or any rings, for that matter) and it wasn't like I was throwing around words like "fiance" and "tulle". So why were all these jewelry counter clerks hearing wedding bells?

When I said that no, I wasn't getting married, it was for an awards reception, they all looked disappointed. I kind of wanted to shake them and say, "This is better than married! I accomplished something all on my own!" Not that marriage isn't great, but I have to admit I'm more proud of my ability to write about people falling in love than I am of my ability to make guys fall in love with me.

Someday I'll probably get married. I've always been a free-spirit roamer, but I'm getting to that age when people are starting to expect me to settle down. In a couple more years people will stop looking at my nomadic lifestyle and saying "How lucky you are to be able to live the way you do! Do it while you can, before you have a mortgage and kids." Instead they'll be wondering why I don't have a mortgage and kids yet and when the heck I'm gonna nab a guy and settle down.

Someday... that's when. I'd make a terrible heroine for a romance novel. I'm completely happy with my life just the way it is. I'm supposed to need a man to complete me. I'm supposed to need him to heal my inner wounds and make me whole. I have no angsty internal conflict to overcome on my path to true love. Hmmm, perhaps I'd make a good Regency heroine. The aging spinster who just doesn't care that everyone is starting to think she's a little too long-in-the-tooth to snag her man. The blue-stocking.

Or maybe the best relationships aren't the stuff of romance novels. Maybe they don't have deep echoing chasms of drama and internal conflict to be overcome. Maybe a good relationship is two well-adjusted human beings who are headed the same direction in their lives, looking for a little company and someone who stimulates them to be more than they would be alone. Who knows?

Moral of the story? I have a rhinestone choker and I am not getting married. Yet.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Man Versus...

So, in case you haven't noticed, my latest release is a shape-shifter story. My man-lions are pretty badass, but I'm not sure they can compete with these real-life tales of animals outwitting humans. Man versus wild... only this time, the wild wins. I love it. CHECK IT OUT. And let the hilarity ensue. Who said we were the smartest species, anyway?

And a big thanks to Dubs for sending this one to me.

I think I saw the first one on the Threat Down once... Number One Threat? Bears!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Good News, Bad News, Great News

So I woke up this morning and broke out the puzzle. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out last week's Anticipation Vacation post.) Why did I feel the need to jig some saws? (Or saw some jigs, not really sure which is more apt.) I hadn't received an "official" review yet for Serengeti Heat and I was starting to get a little nervous. Would they be awful? Did it really matter if they were? Good bad or ugly, I just wanted to know where I stood.

So I poured 1000 puzzle pieces onto the table and got to work distracting my brain. When I finished the edge, I let myself check for reviews. The good news? I got reviewed! Woohooooooo! The less-than-good news? Mrs. Giggles, the fabulously opinionated reviewer, did not care for my story. She rated me a 61. Heave sigh. "This story isn't bad." And it's "readable." Well... that's a positive thing. Sorta.

I'm not gonna argue with the reviewer, because I know how useless that would be (and I'm a little afraid of her), but I kinda think (please, don't hurt me, Mrs. Giggles!) that she stopped paying attention when I used a trope she didn't like. Because I, um, I don't think my characters end up together based solely the "mate" thing and the "heat" thing, though Mrs. Giggles is the second to suggest it. I'm kinda bummed that I didn't manage to make my story clear. Have you read it? Did you think they only paired off because of pheromones? (Not that I'm knocking pheromones. I love me some pheromones.)

But that's enough less-than-good, we're moving onward! On to rockin' good news! Which clearly outweighs that one less-than-good bit.

1) Serengeti Heat is #1 at MBaM for the second day! And Kinsey Holley's Kiss & Kin is at #2! Woohooooooooooo!
2) Two readers over at the All Romance Ebooks bookstore have rated my book at five hearts! I love you, readers. I didn't know ARe did ratings. Did you know? Where have I been?
3) Amanda Haffery of Paranormal Romance Reviews says, "Mouthwateringly delicious and downright mesmerizing, Serengeti Heat is scrumptious to the last page." Good Gosh A'mighty, that's a nice bit of a thing to say about something. Thank you, Ms. Haffery!

So yeah, all in all, it's a pretty awesome day. I can now put away the puzzle. After I finish it, of course. I can't leave something like that undone. It'll drive me nuts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Author Interview: Kinsey W. Holley

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first ever Vivi Andrews Author Interrogation... er, Interview! Today I welcome debut paranormal romance author Kinsey W. Holley to the blog to discuss her new release, Kiss & Kin! (Note: Kinsey & I got a little carried away, so this is quite possibly the longest author interview ever.) Now without further ado, I give you the Kinsey Holley Marathon Interview!

Welcome, Kinsey! (Applause!) I'm so glad you could visit my little corner of cyberspace. So, first things first. The Call. Or, in this case, The Email. When you heard Kiss & Kin was going to be published as part of Samhain's Shifting Dreams anthology, what did you do to celebrate?

This is my very first book. My actions, in order:
Stared at the email
Stared at it some more
Said “eeep!!!” a few times
Didn’t scream – I’m not a screamer, I’m a choked-upper
Called the sister in law who helps me with all my plot problems, reads my stuff, etc. etc. and told her about it
Called my sister, who’d read the book and liked it – which was a shock, b/c she doesn’t read paranormal romance and is very, very critical
Jumped on Romance Divas and freaked out.
Repeated it all several times for the next week

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? (Note: this does not have to be your day job if you have one; it can be anything from flapper to astronaut to crime-solving paleontologist.)

A musician (note: I don’t play music). I’d love to be a fiddler player, like for a country rock band or folk band. Since I can’t, I’m writing a book about a woman who is.

I love that part of writing - being able to live out any life you want through your stories. What is your favorite thing about being a writer and/or your favorite writing memory?

I haven’t been writing fiction very long. I wrote a lot as a child, and I clearly remember being in sixth grade, and we had to invent a tall Texas tail – some legend or something – and the teacher read my story to the class because she thought it was so good.

What three things do you absolutely need in order to write?

1. Solitude – can’t write with people around
2. Quiet – can’t write with music or any sound in the background
3. Diet coke

Diet Coke! My addiction of choice! You're a woman after my own heart. Ahem, back to the interview. In ten years, where do you want to be as a writer?

I’d love to be writing full time, no day job. Not sure how realistic that is, but I’m certainly going to aim for it.

A fabulous goal. I definitely think you can make it. Kiss & Kin is a great launching point for your career. What inspired you to write it?

I did it on purpose, as it were – didn’t wait for inspiration. I really wanted to get published in a Samhain anthology, and I was getting frustrated and stalled out with my big WIP (work in progress), which is set in the same world as KnK. So I thought – okay, no need to invent a new world, I already have a bunch of shapeshifters. And I already had Nick and TJ as characters – Nick’s an offstage character in my big WP, but when I first started writing this world, I was going to do a book about them. I didn’t want to use TJ and Nick, cause I still want to give them a whole book. So I said – okay, it’s a member of Nick’s pack and, what…then the whole “woman walks into a bar, gets into a lot of trouble with werewolves” came to me.

And, of course, another werewolf bails her out. A very hot werewolf hero. What do you find attractive in a hero?

I like alpha guys, whether we’re talking about paranormal or contemporary romances. Not assholes, not abusive or messed up, but strong, I’m-the-guy guy. Kind of guy who automatically takes charge when there’s a problem (my hub is this way). My heroes have to be loyal and committed to their families or friends, or whatever support system they have. I’m working on a hero who has no family or real friends, and he refuses to join a pack, but even with him, he’s loyal and protective of the people who place their trust in him. Also like the hero who, while smart and alpha and strong, finds women a little confusing, a little mysterious, and so tends to unintentionally screw up a lot.

Sounds like my kind of heroes. And the ladies? What do you look for in a heroine?

Intelligent, strong willed, not too girly girl. She doesn’t sit around waiting for Mr. Right to show up, and when he does show up, she’s not gonna just jump in his car and race off. She’s got to make sure the relationship will work for her.

How important is the setting/world in your books?

It’s vital, since it’s a paranormal. The main thing about my world is that shifters and fae are “out” – they live openly among humans. They are separate, but closely related, species who evolved alongside humans, and they finally made their presence known (or were discovered) in the 1940s and 1950s. I don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about how they came out, or how they interact with humans. I just treat them as characters, and they go about their lives just like humans do.

What drives your books? Is it the hero, the heroine, the conflict?

Hm. I think it’s Lark, the heroine. You get both POVs, but I think Lark’s is the closer POV. The conflict is mostly internal – they’re afraid to admit their feelings for each other b/c each thinks the other wouldn’t reciprocate, and they’re both afraid that friends and family would disapprove.

If you are a genre-jumper, what elements of your writing transcend genre? Which differ from one genre to the next?

I haven’t jumped genres yet, but I plan to – I’m working on the outline of a contemporary. I think what will stay the same is I’m more interested in characters – interaction and development – than plot. I mean, the plot’s important, b/c something has to happen, but I want to make two interesting, 3D characters who are fun to watch, interesting to get to know. The characters in my contemporary have some problems they need to work out with themselves. I gravitate toward internal conflict – how is the character stopping herself/himself from getting what he/she needs/wants? How do they get past it to get together? How painful is it, and what do they have to give up?

Lois McMaster Bujold – I LOVE the Vorkosigan stories – was asked by someone why, in all her books, Miles fixes the problem, solves the mystery, dispatches the obstacle just bam, bam bam – dusts his hands off, moves right on. Lois answered “Miles doesn’t need external enemies.”

What she meant was – Miles is his own worst enemy. The internal conflict can carry the story.

Lois McMaster Bujold went to high school with my mom! Okay, now that I'm name-dropping... the incomparable Celeste Bradley describes her muse as “Edna--a sarcastic gravel-voiced barfly who occasionally disappears for weeks at a time with her Vin Diesel wannabe biker boyfriend.” Describe your muse.

Hmm. Y’see, Nora Roberts says there is no muse. I guess it’s a religious question. I don’t think I have a muse – I think I have an anti-muse – this snarky, pessimistic, smartass bitch who sits there and says look, that’s not gonna published, it’s not that good, just put it down and go for a walk, eat a bagel – you can’t come up with an original plot…..blah blah blah.”

I tied her up, throw her in a closet, and lock the door. She always gets out, but I usually get a few hours of peace and manage to write something.

To muse or not to muse... I think we should have Nora and Celeste fight it out. And while we're name-dropping... which authors are on your auto-buy list? Who do you love to read?

Terry Pratchett, JR Ward, Lynn Viehl, Katie MacAllister, Tom Holt

What do you think is the most romantic moment ever from a book or movie?

Oh man. Let’s see.

Princess Bride – As you wissshhhh….

The last episode of Buffy, when she tells Spike she loves him – he’s about to sacrifice himself – and he says no you don’t, but thank you….

And the last episode of Angel, where Wesley’s dying, and the demon who ate Fred morphs into her, and pretends to be her, and holds him and comforts him as he dies crap it’s gonna make me cry…

The end of The Duke (Gaelene Foley) – but I’m not gonna tell you what it is, because I want people to go get the book and read it.

Oh my sweet Westley... I totally wanna be Buttercup when I grow up. If you could be a character and live through any book, which would you choose and why?

I’d be Vishous’ shellan (Black Dagger Brotherhood)

I’d live in Ankh-Morpork (Terry Pratchett’s Discworld)

I’d be the heroine in a Loretta Chase or Gaelene Foley Regency

Okay, Kinsey, we're winding down here. Now that I've asked you for everything except your firstborn child. Last question: What’s next for you?

Win the lottery, so I can write full time.

I have to finish that damned WIP. I want to submit a story for the Space Opera anthology, but not sure I have enough time.

And I need to write Nick and TJ’s story, because that’s what everyone seems to want.

BIG THANKS to Kinsey W. Holley for being my first interview victim, er, subject. Here's to the wild success of Kiss & Kin and all your future works!

Check out Kinsey's kick-ass new release!

Kiss & Kin
by Kinsey W. Holley
ISBN: 978-1-60504-612-9

Brotherly love? Oh hell no…

A Sexy Shifter story.

On the surface, court reporter Lark Manning looks like the luckiest girl in the world, blessed with great friends and a wonderful family. Underneath, she harbors a hopelessly unrequited love for the sexy werewolf everyone thinks of as her cousin. Taran rarely notices her except to condescend or lecture. He’s treated her the same way since she was eight years old, and there’s no reason to think he’ll ever change.

Taran Lloyd, a detective in the Houston Police Department’s Shifters Investigations Unit (SHIU), lives for those rare moments he gets to spend around Lark, torturing himself with what he can’t have. Kin only by marriage, she thinks of him as her big brother. He couldn’t bear her pity—or her disgust—if she learned he wants her for his mate.

When weres from a rival pack attack her, Lark screams out the first name that comes to mind—Taran. Only this sexy alpha can keep her safe until they find out who wants her dead, and why. But keeping her safe means keeping her close. And the closer they get, the harder it gets for these not-really-cousins to honor their commitment to keep their paws off.

Click HERE to read an excerpt.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Serengeti Heat: Release Day!

... or night. Since it's just past midnight and I don't think the book has actually gone live yet, but I'm still freakishly psyched. It's Release Day! Woohoooooooooooooooo!

ISBN: 978-1-60504-613-6
The fur’s about to fly…

Ava Minor is done being the good girl. As the smallest and weakest in a pride of shape-shifting lions where size and strength rule, she’s never had any choice but to toe the line. Now, with sexy, nomadic alpha Landon King winning control of the pride, she grabs her one chance to let her inner feline out to play.

Landon would rather focus on reforming the antiquated traditions of his new pride than taking a mate…until the rebellious Ava crosses his path. All his noble intentions go up in flames, incinerated by the heat she exudes—especially when he realizes she’s in heat.

Ava, knowing she isn’t mate material, is determined to revel in one wild night before she’s sent back to her place in the pride pecking order.

Except Landon has no intention of letting his daring, seductive lioness go…

Warning: This book contains sizzling heat, adult language, no-holds-barred cat fights, and hot shifter lovin’ with an alpha male who takes inspired leadership all the way to the bedroom.

But that's not all! Two more hot shifter novellas are also releasing today.

by Kinsey W. Holley
ISBN: 978-1-60504-612-9
Brotherly love? Oh hell no…

On the surface, court reporter Lark Manning looks like the luckiest girl in the world, blessed with great friends and a wonderful family. Underneath, she harbors a hopelessly unrequited love for the sexy werewolf everyone thinks of as her cousin. Taran rarely notices her except to condescend or lecture. He’s treated her the same way since she was eight years old, and there’s no reason to think he’ll ever change.

Taran Lloyd, a detective in the Houston Police Department’s Shifters Investigations Unit (SHIU), lives for those rare moments he gets to spend around Lark, torturing himself with what he can’t have. Kin only by marriage, she thinks of him as her big brother. He couldn’t bear her pity—or her disgust—if she learned he wants her for his mate.

When weres from a rival pack attack her, Lark screams out the first name that comes to mind—Taran. Only this sexy alpha can keep her safe until they find out who wants her dead, and why. But keeping her safe means keeping her close. And the closer they get, the harder it gets for these not-really-cousins to honor their commitment to keep their paws off.

by Robie Madison
ISBN: 978-1-60504-614-3
Three days. One wish. If the Fairy Queen keeps her promise…

Workaholic web designer Megan Jones exudes sensible and practical by day, but in her dreams she truly lives. Her nights are filled with erotic trysts with a dream lover—who also defends her against the dangerous wild stallion of her nightmares.

When she inherits a Victorian-era Welsh locket, she opens it to a shocking revelation. The tiny portrait of a black-haired man with a sardonic smile is none other than the man in her dreams. There’s only one way to learn the truth about him—head to her ancestral home town in Wales.

A member of the ancient race of Tylwyth Teg, Owain Deverell has spent the last 170 years suspended between man and beast—punishment for loving a human woman. Weary of his cursed existence, and longing to be more than the object of Megan’s dream desire, he strikes a bargain with the Fairy Queen. In exchange for retaining his human form, she grants him three days to win Megan’s unconditional love.

Or remain the object of her nightmares. Forever.
And don't forget to check yesterday's "Tomorrow" post for info on events going on during release week!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya, Tomorrow

T-minus one day (technically a bunch of hours) til Serengeti Heat Release Day! The fur's about to fly, baby. Wooohoooooooooo! Are you excited?

Those of you who were with me for the Ghost Shrink launch may remember that I went a little nuts around release day. I'm still nuts, but I'm learning moderation.

**Tangent: Most awesomest quote ever: "Moderation is for monks. To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites." -Robert Heinlein.

So it's release day and that means I will be a whirling dervish of internet goodness all week! I will be popping up unexpectedly to surprise people all over these nifty interwebz, but here's the lowdown on where you can definitely find me this week and some nifty opportunities to learn more about Serengeti Heat (and maybe even win a copy for your very own)!
  • Stop by the Samhain Cafe tomorrow morning (starting around 7:30PST) where I'll be chatting up a storm with my Shifting Dreams anthology mate Robie Madison and all the Samhellion regulars!
  • Check out the Samhain Blog tomorrow where the Shifting Dreams Trio will all be chiming in to gab about the men of our heroines' dreams.
  • Don't forget to scavenge madly for the IWOF Summer Breeze Contest, on-going all week.
  • Be sure to swing back here to the blog later this week when I will be doing my first ever author interview! I'm picking the minds of my Shifting Dreams fellows, Kinsey W. Holley and Robie Madison. First one coming this Thursday!
  • And this Wednesday, the Shifting Dreams Trio will be chatting it up at Romance Excerpts Only in the early afternoon (12:00-1:30PST).

Don't miss out on the Release-y Goodness! Sexy lions! Summer heat! We're steamin' it up, people.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Infinite Worlds of Fantasy Summer Breeze Contest!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls! Infinite Worlds of Fantasy is sponsoring an online scavenger hunt through the web homes of paranormal authors! The prizes are many, among them free downloads of The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant and the brand-spanking-new Serengeti Heat. There are even three different heat levels of fun to scavenge your way through in the IWOF Summer Breeze Contest!

Contest ends June 30th so scavenge now!

***And if you're having trouble finding either of my answers, comment here and you might get a hint.***

Friday, June 19, 2009

Anticipation Vacation

In the week leading up to the release of The Ghost Shink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant, I was a nervous wreck. A mess of anticipation and insecurities. Would people like it? Would they buy it? Would they laugh? Or, horror of horrors, would they laugh at me for my foolish belief that I might be able to cut it as a writer?

I called my mom, telling her I couldn't stop thinking about it and she gave me some advice that turned out to be surprisingly brilliant. (Not that my mother isn't often brilliant, but more that her advice was about the last thing I expected and, amazingly, just what I needed.) She told me to do a puzzle.

A puzzle? You ask, as I asked. But I was willing to try anything to get my brain to stop spinning in a circle of excitement and doubt, so I went to Fred Meyer and bought a puzzle. A lighthouse. I took it home, broke open the box, and went to town. For three hours, I jigsawed. For three hours, I focused on the details of shape and color. For three hours, I didn't think about my book. Not once.

I did that puzzle six times that week. Twice on the night before release day.

Now we're in the countdown to Serengeti Heat. The anticipation, the nerves, the stew of self-doubt, isn't as bad as it was last time, but I'm still a certifiable wreck. But time time, I'm trying a new tactic. My college friends and I are meeting up at a positively idyllic lake in Wisconsin for a weekend of wave-running, kayaking, sunbathing, and reminiscing on those good ole college days. I'm taking a vacation from the anticipation. Wish me luck.

And if all else fails, I still have that puzzle.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Friending and other odd ends...

For anyone who had trouble viewing the Serengeti Heat trailer, it is now available on YouTube! Check it out. You can even give it a rating!

And Facebook has added this nifty feature which makes it a heck of a lot easier to find people. Usernames! So if you want to friend me, I'm here: http://www.facebook.com/viviandrews. Or if you want to become a fan of me (Dude, how narcissistic is it to even say that?), I think this is the right link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vivi-Andrews/88828604619.

Tangent Warning!

So, I'm a language nerd. I am utterly fascinated by the way Facebook is corrupting the word "friend." Recently, I was talking to a friend (standard definition) of mine about the distinction between a Facebook friend and a friend friend - the two terms not being mutually exclusive. More like a Venn diagram.

What was cracking up my friend (standard definition) was the fact that two of her Facebook friends, both of whom have personally expressed extreme dislike for the other to her, had become Facebook "friends" with one another. Apparently, the word "friend" on Facebook really only indicates that you are in any way connected with the person and want to keep tabs on their online activity. Which is weird. And kind of stalkerish.

And the use of friend as a verb? What's that all about? Is it so hard to add "be" to the beginning? But no, people do not befriend one another on Facebook. They friend. I'm kinda waiting for another word to take over the standard definition of "friend" now that Facebook has claimed those six letters for its own. What do you think? Chum? Cohort? Crony? Familiar? Pal? Mate? Buddy? But is buddy already taken? Buddy lists... we're losing words, people! The internet is sucking them up and altering their definitions! Ahhhhhh!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Epubs, the Red-headed Step-child

Saw an interesting article at the Electronic & Small Press Author's Special Interest Chapter of Romance Writers of America today. Dierdre Knight on ePubs and RWA. http://espan-rwa.com/the-digital-age-and-rwa-a-call-for-change/

Very well said. Now, will it make any difference? Are they listening?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Let the Book Pimping Begin!

T-minus eight days til the launch of Serengeti Heat! You know what that means, boys and girls? It's time for some shameless promo! Woohoo!

Today I'm over at my Shifting Dream anthology-mate Robie Madison's Blog, being interviewed about my brand new red hot lion shape-shifter romance! Stop by for a sampling of some good ole fashioned book pimpage.

Okay, folks, there appear to be some technical difficulties. I've had some "Website Down!" reports, so if you have trouble getting into Robie's site, please try again later. Thanks and cross your fingers for good internet karma to get us back on track soon!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Serengeti Heat Trailer!

Check it out y'all!

What say you? Good? Bad? Filled with Red Hot spiciness? So amateurish as to be laughable? Post everywhere? Or hide it in a drawer somewhere, never to see the light of day again?

Friday, June 12, 2009


I have been to writing conferences where big name authors hold up stacks of hundreds of rejection letters. Many a bestseller wear their rejection merit badge with pride. They came through the trenches. They've been there, man.

Writers love those stories to a freakish degree. Because (a) it makes us think we are on the right track - in spite of the tide of "No"s coming at us. "If she got rejected seven gazillion times, then I might be just as freakishly successful someday! After all, I've only been rejected four gazillion times! There's hope for me! Three gazillion to go!"

And (b) it brings the demi-gods of publishing down to our level. "She got rejected! She's just like me!"

I honestly don't know how many times my stories have been rejected. (More than ten, less than a hundred.) I don't think about my rejections after the fact. I jot them down in my little spreadsheet where I keep track of dangling submissions, and then I forget about them.

I have yet to have a rejection crush my soul (and hopefully never will), but each one is disappointing in its own way. Why am I talking about this? Well, I've had a pretty disappointing week on the rejection front.

Following the Golden Heart brou-ha-ha, I sent out a trickling stream of agent queries. I'm not a "blanket the market, submit to everyone" kinda girl, so I carefully selected agents I thought suited my needs who'd also expressed an interest in the genres I write. I researched, I queried, I submitted requested partial manuscripts for consideration... then I waited.

In the last week, I've received rejections from four of them. Which, honestly, has bummed me out a little. However, I'm still going great guns on my new WIP. I'm jazzed about my shifter release (less than two weeks!) and I have about a dozen other very pleasant things to distract me. So the sting of rejection? Pretty mild. In the karmic balance of things, I think I'm still on the plus side. And I've got a lot of rejections to go before I get to seven gazillion.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In Defense of Snark

As with many of the best words in the public lexicon, "snark" has yet to make it to Webster's as anything more than Lewis Carroll's imaginary friend. However, the Urban Dictionary has definitions aplenty. And by aplenty, I mean 27. Some of which are flat out ridiculous, but such is the way of the interwebz.

It's called a hybrid of "snide" and "remark", a hybrid of "smart ass" and "remark", and a number of bizarre bodily fluids - many of which have to do with the nasal cavity. But my two favorite definitions are:

4. snark (n.) verbal ingenuineness that is brief, subtle, yet quite stabbing. snark is often marked by deep creativity & use of psychological attack. It employs coldbloodedness and is best served unprovoked. Snark can contain hidden complimentary meaning under a mean face, but it hurts more than it strengthens.

7. snark (n.) A smart ass remark made by wanna be hipsters who think they cloak their douchebaggery in a self important sense of fey cleverness and ironic witticism. Usually those who make "snarky" remarks , can expect to receive a punch to the face , which usually results in cries of injustice, inevitably leading to an apology for bleeding all over the aggressors shirt after being punched again for being a whiny little bitch. (The reason I love definition seven is that it is so magnificently snarky as it maligns the use of snark. Poetry, my friends, pure poetry.)

I like snark.

And I don't think it necessarily "hurts more than it strengthens" any more than it is necessarily coldblooded. Snark is not evil! Snark is just a tool, used for good and evil alike. Don't blame the snark! Blame the wielders of evil snark!

Snark is often a way of proving how clever you are to the rest of the world, so maybe it's a glorified front for insecurity (blah, blah, psychobabble, blah), but it can also be hella funny and the benefits of the hella funny are not to be easily dismissed. (Laughter is the best medicine, and all that.)

You know why I think people don't like snark? Because in general snark is smart and snappy and funny and accurate, which makes it damn hard to refute. So the victims of snark feel impotent and out of control, which they really, really hate. (Bonus for the reference.) They blame the fact of snark for their lack of snappy comeback. Or they fear the onset of a snark war should they reply wittily.

So you've been snarked. My advice? Laugh it off. It's attention. Take it as a compliment (no matter how uncomplimentary) and just remember it isn't everyone's opinion. Even if it is funny and true.

But I'm a thinker, not a feeler (woot, Myers-Briggs!). Sorry, guys. I just don't give a [insert expletive here] about how the snark makes you feel. I'm too busy laughing. Cuz it's hella funny.

Here are some of my favorite romance book review sites, which employ the art of snark in varying degrees. Enjoy. Feelers: you might wanna take a pass on these links. Lovers of snark: I highly recommend the "F" reviews on DA & SBTB. Heaven.

Mrs. Giggles - snarkiness galore.
Smart Bitches Trashy Books - snarktastic.
Dear Author - eau de snark.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Are you good with compliments? The receiving of them, that is, not the giving. Because I'm really not.

People give me a compliment and I can't just say thank you. Noooo. I have to make some self-effacing joke, as if to prove to myself and the world that I am not letting the compliments go to my head. I'm getting good reviews? Someone must be drugging the reviewers. Ha ha.

Or point out someone who does whatever it is better than me. You like The Ghost Shrink? Oh, it's just a little novella. Have you read Stephanie Rowe? She's so much better. Just. That word to tell the world I know I'm not so hot. I'm just me.

Or sometimes, I redirect the praise elsewhere. I'm not responsible. Compliment someone else. You like my shoes? Thank you - my mother picked them out. You like my use of the word usurp? Thank you - my eleventh grade English teacher is wholly responsible for my vocabulary. I take no credit.

Taking credit... maybe that's what I have a problem with. Honestly, I don't know what my deal is. I just know that the self-effacement leads to what is quite possibly the worst marketing strategy known to man: The Disclaimer.

A few weeks ago, I wrote to a writer whose book I had read and absolutely adored. (Biting Nixie - sooo good.) I introduced myself and told her she was a goddess - as she deserved to be told. In her reply she mentioned liking The Ghost Shrink and looking forward to whatever I came out with next. (I'm paraphrasing here, since I'm too lazy to actually pull up the old email conversation and look at what was really said.)

My knee-jerk reaction was the same knee-jerk reaction I always seem to have. I wanted to tell her not to get her hopes up. I wanted to tell her that maybe she should quit while she's ahead when it comes to reading my books. I wanted to tell her that the next book just ain't that great and she should save herself the trouble. What kind of idiot am I? Who actually says that to someone who likes their work? How counterproductive is that?

I'm not even sure how I ended up responding. (Did I respond? Crap, now I have to dig back through my email and make sure I wasn't that rude chick who never responds. Crudly.) But I'm sure it wasn't a graceful acceptance of her kind words. I just don't do graceful acceptance, it seems.

When friends, family and acquaintances express interest in my books to me in person, why do I feel the need to tell them they don't have to buy it? Why am I always downplaying? I'm freakishly proud of my books, so why the disclaimer? Am I trying to lower expectations? If they expect less, maybe they'll like it more?

I'm getting better at squashing the disclaimer impulse, but it's still there in my brain, urging me to tell people my book is just mediocre, don't expect too much. My instincts, it seem, fly directly in the face of the "Writer, Promote Thyself!" mantra, but I'm trying. I'm really really trying not to tell people to avoid my books like the plague.

Maybe someday I'll even succeed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

To Book Trailer or Not to Book Trailer...

... that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to YouTube or to take arms against a sea of opinion and by opposing, advertise elsewhere.

What say you, gentle reader? Should I make a book trailer for Serengeti Heat?

And in case you don't know what a book trailer is (and who could blame you? Cuz frankly, I think the idea of trailers for books is kinda odd... I'm just sayin') here are a couple samples of trailery goodness from fellow Samhain author Shelli Stevens and New York Times Bestseller Carly Phillips.

Want more? Check out the Samhain YouTube Channel.

Your thoughts?

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Language of the Dude

Dude. Have you ever noticed how versatile the word "Dude" is? My cousin and I were discussing this last week. You can have an entire conversation consisting of nothing but the word "Dude" using a variety of intonations with a variety of gestures. How kick-ass is that? The best part of this revelation? My cousin and I acting out said conversation for my grandma. It went something like this:

The Scene: A high school classroom. My cuz "A" will be playing the role of the teacher. I will be the tardy student.
V enters.
A: Dude! (waves hands in "Where have you been? Class is clearly in session" gesture)
V: Dude! (holds up note in classic "I am not at fault, my educational friend" gesture)
A: Dude. (said in "You are forgiven for your tardiness and disruption of the flow of learning. I should not have doubted you" tone, with accompanying placating hand gesture)
V: Du-ude. (said in "Quite all right, my good man" tone, with accompanying nod)

My grandmother did not quite follow the entire conversation, but my cousin and I nevertheless deemed our performance a resoundingly successful demonstration of the language of the Dude. (Bonus points for Lebowski comments.)

And in a random side note (as if this post weren't random enough already), I call my computer Little Dude. I'm a big fan of naming inanimate objects. My desktop was the original Big Dude (that was one honkin piece of machinery), and my first laptop just naturally became known as Little Dude. I am actually currently operating Little Dude: The Sequel and pondering the purchase of Little Dude the Third.

Do you ever use the word Dude? Or have I just simultaneously proven how young I am and how much of my life has been spent at the beach?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Too Much Technology

A few weeks ago on the local midday news, the anchorman read a breaking story directly from a Twitter page. The big "this just in!" newsflash? Emergency vehicles had been dispatched in the vicinity of the White House. Which would be news. If I lived in the vicinity of the White House. Seattle? Not so close. It would also be news if we knew why emergency vehicles were being dispatched. Like "President Obama had an aneurysm" or "A little old lady on a White House Tour tripped and broke her hip." One of these: National news. The other: Not so much. But with Twitter at our fingertips, why do we need to discriminate? All news is exciting breaking news! Who cares if it has relevance or even accuracy? Be the first to break that story, even if it isn't a story, because if it is a story, then you'll be the first to break it! And that's what matters in the media. Speed! Popularity! Journalistic integrity can take a hike. (Note: Hiking is a slow way of getting around.)

Something I read recently said the interwebz move at the speed of stupidity, which is pretty damn fast. (I would credit whoever said it, cuz I thought it was both hella funny and brilliant, but I can't remember where I read it, so if you know, please comment!)

What I'm about to say is going to sound curmudgeonly and old fashioned, but I'm a card carrying member of the Internet Generation, so if I can't bitch about it, who can? My complaint is this: We are taking it too far. There is such a thing as too much technology. And yeah, we're there.

Twitter, Text, IM, LinkedIn, Live Journal, Facebook, Myspace, Blogs (yeah, I'm bitching about blogs on a blog, you got a problem with that?), it's all TOO MUCH.

Are we really so much more informed? More connected? Are our lives richer? Or is this the social networking version of a computer solitaire addiction?

I'm not one of those Technology-is-the-Antichrist people. I don't think the convenience provided by the internet is the first sign of the decline of our culture or anything. But I do think we're going through that awkward learning phase when people are so excited about "We can!" that they never stop to think "Should we?" Internet puberty. That's what this is.

I'm ready for us to grow up now.

I must admit I kinda like having a blog (in part because I get to post rants like this one whenever I feel like it), but I feel ridiculously pressured by the need to have a "presence" on Twitter & Facebook & a dozen writing yahoo loops. If you want to know what's going on with me, it's right here. Ta-da. Do you really need more? Do you really need to know how I feel right this instant in 140 characters or less? It feels totally egotistical to live your life as if there is an audience cheering for your every tweet. I'm sure I will give in someday. I already have a Facebook page (which I almost never update), but, for the moment, I will focus all my narcissistic tendencies right here. Where there is no character limit to my moans and groans.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Sex Effect

I'm over at Damned Scribbling Women again today, blogging about the effect of Sex & the City on contemporary romance novels. Stop on by and post your thoughts!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Meaningless Milestones

I am disproportionately excited. I know my excitement is disproportionate, but it's a first so I'm gonna wallow in it for as long as I can.

Tickle My Fantasy, the print anthology edition of The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant is now available for pre-order on Amazon! LOOK! We have a page! You can search for me and everything!

I know it is a real book, but I haven't been able to hold it in my eager little hands yet and this just makes it seem so much more real somehow. I'm gonna have a book out in print this year. It will be on shelves in bookstores. Real, live, brick-and-mortar bookstores! In December! Merry Christmas to me! Anyone for a rousing June chorus of Jingle Bells? Or perhaps Joy to the World? Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea... Oh, wait, that's the wrong one. Oh well. It's still about joy. And that's where I am right now.

I take back all the "evil empire" comments and snarky things I said about you, Amazon. You have validated my existence with your most excellent pre-order page. My joy is beyond measure. Go on, just try to measure it. I dare you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I'll Be Damned

I've joined the ranks of the Damned Scribbling Women! Check out my Hello, world post today and stop by often to see what's going on in the Damned Scribbling World.