Saturday, July 31, 2010

And the RITA goes to...

Boys and girls! It's the big day! The day of the Romance Writers of America's RITA/Golden Heart ceremony. What's that, you ask? Only the biggest award out there in the romance writing industry. The Oscars of romance, if you will. The RITAs are for published books, while the Golden Heart represent the unpublished up-and-comers we hope to see on best seller lists in years to come.

And who won this year? Oh, baby. There's a lot of awesome in this group.

There's a link to the complete list of winners below, but I'm gonna gush about a few notables. On the Golden Heart side, two Rubies won this year! Mad congrats to CJ Eernisse Chase (Inspirational) and Elisa Beatty (Regency Rockstar Goddess of Epic Proprotions who also won two categories of the Royal Ascot Historical Romance competition this year, why the hell is this woman not published yet?). Yay, RUBIES!

And in my category, the Single Title Contemporary Golden Heart baton was passed to Lizbeth Selvig - who I met a couple years back at the Emerald City Writers Conference and who it is safe to say rocks some serious socks. Congrats, Lizbeth! (I wasn't able to be there to give out the Golden Heart, so they got Roxanne St. Claire to fill in. I'm sure Lizbeth didn't mind the substitution... given that it was Rocki-freaking-St.Claire. Dude.)

Roxanne St. Claire with RITA winner Kresley Cole.

On the RITA side, there was much "woot, woot"-ing at Casa Andrews as the announcements went out and some of my All Time Favorite Authors got the nod. (Oh, the awesome! I can hardly contain myself!)

Sherry Thomas won Historical for Not Quite a Husband (which I will confess I haven't read yet though it is on my TBR pile right now but I was lucky enough to crash a dinner with her at RT this year and I can vouch for the deep, deep awesomeness she possesses). Congrats, Sherry!

Then two of my hero-worship favs won back-to-back! Julia Quinn for What Happens in London (Oh-my-freaking-god, I loved that book) won the Regency Historical and joined the RWA Hall of Fame for winning her third RITA! And then Kresley Cole took home her second Paranormal Romance RITA for Kiss of a Demon King (which was that one with Sabine the deeply badass anti-heroine and I love to see the tough-girl heroines getting the RWA love).

Finish the night off with Kristan Higgins taking home the Single Title Contemporary RITA for Too Good to Be True (brilliant!) and... well, it's a pretty sweet line-up.

Mad congrats to all the RITA and Golden Heart winners and nominees! Enjoy every second of your most deserved recognition!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Romance Writers Gone Wild!

This week the Swan and Dolphin hotels in Disney World are being overrun by HEA devotees. It's that time, boys and girls, the Romance Writers of America's annual National Conference! Nowhere on earth can you find a larger concentration of romance junkies.

The conference kicks off each year with a signing to raise money for literacy. Rows upon rows of romancey-awesomeness and it's all for a good cause.

Alas, I am not there. I'm home. (I'm also sick. Ugh.) But thanks to SB Sarah and her crew, I get to enjoy a little sampling of the romancey-awesomeness of the literacy signing. Thank you, Smart Bitches!

You can also check out the "Live from Nationals" posts this week at the Ruby blog. Anyone else staying home and feeling pathetic and envious?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Secret Lives of Regency Ladies

You've heard of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies? Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters? Well, it was just a matter of time before we had the Jane Austen Fight Club!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blame It on the Happily-Ever-After

Today I saw a headline that made me laugh even as I simultaneously said to myself, "That must be why I'm single." Statistics Show that Romantic Comedies Ruin Relationships. (The horror! News at eleven!)

I was all set to be fascinated by their study, intrigued by their research, and whine to everyone who would listen that if rom-com viewers/readers are brainwashed by the HEA, what chance do we poor schmucks who write the stuff have? Then I read the article. One line about a poll? That's it? There had to be more stats if this was newsworthy. So I dug around looking for more. And do you know what I found? Squishy science. (Oh my god, do I ever hate made up statistics. They make my brain boil.)

The "statistics" in this case were just 1,000 people being asked if they thought watching romantic comedies had ruined their view of an ideal relationship. Half of them said yes.

That isn't statistical analysis. That's Family Feud.

But tag on a quote from a relationship counsellor (who calls herself Dr. Gabrielle and is billed as Australia's "uber-sexpert") to mask the fact that this is essentially one thousand movie-goers being asked outside a theatre if they want to blame rom-coms for their failed relationships and suddenly it's science. The media hails it as a "study" and "statistics show". (Someone needs to beat the media with a rolled up newspaper. Bad, media! Bad! Provided, of course, you can find a newspaper to roll with all of them going digital.)

Public opinion is not the same thing as scientific fact, people! While it is possible and perhaps even plausible that happily-ever-afters have engendered a belief in fate and the idea that if a relationship is the One you won't have to work at it, that doesn't mean our relationships are failing because of that belief or because of our movie-going habits.

One in four Australians said they were now expected to know what their partner was thinking while one in five respondents said it made their partners expect gifts and flowers ‘just because.’

Look at the phrasing. (But ignore, if you can, the fact that it should say 1 in 4 Australians surveyed said.) "They were expected to know..." "Made their partners expect..." Dude. This is just guys bitching about the fact that rom-coms make their wives want them to be, you know, romantic and shit. 50% said rom-coms were bad for their love lives? Erm, what percentage of people surveyed were men?

Not to say men aren't romantic. Some of the most romantic people I know have a Y chromosome. In fact, I know more men in real life who like to give their wives/girlfriends gifts just because than I've seen in movies.

And does knowing what your partner is thinking mean they want you to have a psychic bond (X-Men lovin'!), or is it just a complaint about the fact that the little woman actually wants to communicate about stuff? (Cuz communication ruins relationships...)

Most of the romantic comedies I've seen do not feature happy couples showering one another with gifts and guessing one another's thoughts. It's one romantic disaster after another until they finally overcome every obstacle and wind up together. More a love endurance test than hearts and flowers.

I find it a little insulting that everyone is so willing to jump to the conclusion that rom-com viewers can't separate fact from fiction. I love Sleepless in Seattle, but I'm not trolling the airwaves looking for guys with insomnia. I've seen His Girl Friday about a bazillion times, but I don't require a hot scoop and a fugitive to shove into a rolltop desk in order to fall in love. (Though, who knows? It couldn't hurt. Where's a condemned death-row convict with a heart of gold when you need one?)

We have to have someone to blame. In the entitlement culture, we aren't responsible for the failure of our own relationships. It's all society setting unrealistic expectations for love. It can't possibly have anything to do with the fact that we weren't willing to communicate or make a couple romantic gestures to show the person we are with that they matter to us.

I say we blame Warner Home Video and the movie Valentine's Day for the failure of every relationship ever. After all, that's who commissioned the survey and released the data to promote the Australian DVD release. Not really sure what the marketing strategy was behind that one. Buy this DVD and your relationship will tank, but you won't care because you will have learned a lesson about REAL (only in Hollywood) love.

What say you? Do your viewing/reading habits taint your views of real life relationships? And if the message of rom-coms is that love is easy when it's meant to be, am I the only one who finds that hard to buy? Is it just me or do most rom-com stars have to work their butts off to get to their "fated" happily-ever-after?

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Joy of Nerdiness

Dude. It's a spoof. Of my soulmate, the Old Spice Man. And it revels in the nerdosity. Does it get better? Does it?

My favorite line: "Did you know that eight out of five dentists say that studying in the library is six bajillion times more effective than studying in your shower?" But I get all my best ideas in the shower!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm in the process of clearing out my storage locker, which seems to be sucking up a remarkable amount of my creative energy (will to live, etc...). In times like these, a girl really needs her bullet lists of awesome as she is standing over piles of random possessions and moaning, "How did I end up with so much crap?"

You ready? Let's get to it.
  • Transformers 3 is being shot in Chicago right now and I saw Megatron. I know. You're wicked jealous right now. Just try to contain yourself.
  • During a fifteen minute span on the El last week, I heard conversations in Russian, French, Japanese, Spanish and English. How many kinds of cool is that?
  • Amazon announced they are selling like eleventy-bajillion Kindles and ebooks right now. So let me just take this opportunity to say, "Hey there, new Kindle owners! This is an exciting time for you, exploring the brave new world of ebooks. For all you price conscious folks who waited until the price dropped to $189 to buy, be sure you check out the top 100 free list where you can grab some fabulous books on special discount. And speaking of discounts... **commence shameless promo** did you know that certain books like this one and that one are both only $2.50 on Amazon? I know! Less than the price of a latte and fewer calories too. So cool, right?" **shameless promo complete**
  • I've been watching The Bachelorette on Hulu and I want to play poker with that chick. I would make insane amounts of money off her. (Don't mock me for watching The Bachelorette. It's research. Really.) If you are a fan of the show, I love Cape Cod Chris, I think Roberto is going to "win" and Frank was karma biting Ally on the ass. (I'm sorry, wasn't she the one who walked out on the last season amid much drama and tears? Just sayin'.) Even if you don't care for the show, you might appreciate this hilarious blog which recaps each episode with heavy helpings of snark. (I blame my addiction for this awful show on this wonderful blog.)
  • And speaking of blog hilarity... a while back, I tripped across a blog entitled Sleep Talkin' Man, and it is exactly that, which I find random and fascinating. Especially as I know for certain that my sister and niece talk in their sleep and I have, on occassion, been informed of my own midnight ramblings. I'm just not married to anyone with a voice activated tape recorder...
  • The weatherman just used the phrase "organized rain". I'm not sure whether he means the rain is OCD and needs all its little pencils in a neat little row or if he is implying the rain has mafia connections. Either way, I think I prefer my rain disorganized.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Because Libraries Rock

Libraries are the happiest places on earth. This guy, he gets it. You complete me, Old Spice Man!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Even JR Ward Wasn't Always JR Ward

I saw this cover today and I have to admit it kinda confused me. I was all, "Why launch a new pen name at all if you are going to put your I'm-a-Rockstar penname in big jigundus letters on the cover and make it so you can barely read the snazzy new pen name? Even Nora/JD Robb & Jayne Ann Krentz/Castle/Quick put the pen name the book is being written under biggest on the (very cluttered with so many names) cover."

I was puzzled.

So I did a little searching and realized that this book is also this book (--> -->) and was originally published six years ago when Dark Lover was just a glimmer in JR's eye.

Just another example of the publishing motto: "Thou shalt reinvent thyself and become a rockstar goddess whose books are cracktastically addictive." (And then you can re-release everything you ever wrote and make mad backlist bank.)

That's about as profound as I'm gonna go with this. Just a "Hey, look at that."
Now I'm off to roadtrip up to the lake for the weekend. Woot!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thinkers, Feelers, & Storytellers

I love Myers-Briggs personality tests. You know the ones that tell you whether you're a Thinker or a Feeler, an Introvert or an Extrovert, Intuitive or Sensing, Perceiving or Judging? Kind of like your astrological sign, I think it's a really cool way of exploring the various different ways people see the world. (I'm an INTJ, if you're interested.)

I mention this because in Myers-Briggs, thinking and feeling are two ends of the decision-making spectrum. (This does not mean emotional people don't have brains, but more is an analysis of the dominant factors in how people decide things - empathetically or logically.)

It's particularly fun to look at the Myers-Briggs types in terms of character archetypes. Bleeding heart damsel in distress=feeler; special ops dude who saves her life=thinker... and then they teach each other how the other half lives and fall madly, passionately... But I digress. Today I'm more interested in the people who scribble the stories.

The idea of being a cooly analytical thinker who writes about feelings and relationships all day almost seems like a contradiction in terms, but I'm not even remotely alone in being a highly cerebral romance writer.

The Thinker writer isn't insensitive to emotions, but I think we are inclined to process them differently. Perhaps the tendency to analyze emotional and contextual clues actually makes us more inclined to write about emotions (rather than, you know, feeling them). We can be the gods of our own little universe and demonstrate the logic behind the emotion on the page.

As a writer, part of the contract you form with the reader is the heroine loves him because and vice-versa. The book shows us the because. The how of the emotion of falling in love. Which definitely appeals to my thinker side.

I also think my thinker-ness is part of why I value honesty more than niceness. Not that we can't be tactful or polite while being honest - but authenticity is more important to me than flattery and what I might want to hear. I'm not afraid of the hard (and un-nice, politically incorrect) answers. I like the reality of them. The honesty.

As was stated on the Dystel & Goderich Lit Agency blog recently, sometimes the answer is no. I think it's good to face the fact that not everyone is cut out to be a published author. Some people's talents lie in other areas and being lied to about your potential in writing is not helping you find where you can excell.

The blog was particularly thought-provoking to me because she distilled the elements of writing talent into three categories - "storytellers, prose stylists, or thinkers".

That was a real lightbulb moment for me. Obviously we want to have all three talents (the writing triple threat!) but I think for each writer that is drawn to this vocation one aspect will tend to weigh more strongly than the others. I have friends who came to writing because they love to tell stories, others because they love to play with words, but I'm here because of the ideas.

I want to be a writer because I want to make people think, open up new avenues of thought. Which is only logical, I suppose. I mean, I am an INTJ.

What's your Myers-Briggs type?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Movie Junkies Unite (and win stuff...)

I love movies, like, a lot. I killed our beta player when I was a kid by watching waaaay too many of them. So when I saw a tweet from rockstar goddess author Beth Kery about a chance to gab about our favs and possibly win stuff, I knew this was one that must be passed on. For the good of humanity and movielovers everywhere.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Go to Beth Kery, Julie James, Lea, & Stacy's blogs. Read their movie lists. Comment with your own top ten (or top three, four, whatevs). Possibly win cool stuff from these rockstar-goddesses. And then come back here and tell me about your favs.

See, I loved this idea big time because I'm engaged to snark paranormal movies at the Raven each month (which I love to do, no denying it) but an unexpected side effect of being a regular snarker is that I spend less time purely gushing about movies on the brilliant and awesome side of the spectrum. (Last night I saw Despicable Me and there was much giggling to be had.)

So now, we gush...

My all-time list is impossible to pin down to just ten, but here are a few solid keepers:

The Philadelphia Story, Princess Bride, To Catch a Thief, The Usual Suspects, Groundhog Day, Bull Durham, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Pride & Prejudice (BBC version), Immortal Beloved, X-Men 2, The Last of the Mohicans, Chocolat, Noises Off, Ghostbusters, Oscar, Pirates of the Carribean, Blazing Saddles (or anything Mel Brooks touched), Gross Pointe Blank, True Romance (or anything Tarantino touched), The Fifth Element, Dogma, Dirty Dancing, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (or anything Charlie Kaufman touched), Harry Potter, Scrooged, Ten Things I Hate About You, His Girl Friday, Minority Report, Shawshank Redemption, The Incredibles (or almost anything Pixar touched, I'm not a huge fan of Up or Wall-e but everything else made me giddy-happy), Across the Universe, Love Actually, Galaxy Quest and True Lies.

What about you?

Friday, July 9, 2010

And now, a word from our sponsors...

People have been making a living from writing for centuries, but the way the words translated into money (and food, and shelter, and so forth) has gone through a series of changes over the lifetime of the written word. From patronage to endowments to royalties and advances, writers through the ages have found ways to avoid starvation (though sometimes only just).

I suppose that's part of why I'm not afraid of the current shifting of the publishing business model - as the way we buy and read books becomes about convenience and format (words that would have meant something very different fifty or two hundred years ago). There will always be a place for writers with the determination and flexibility to roll with the changes. (And I happen to be one of those odd people who really like change.)

I was thinking last week about the different ways writers make a living, chatting with a friend who was working as a freelance writer - ghost writing & writing for "packaged" children's books. I don't know much about that side of the industry (and certain aspects make it unlikely I'll delve deeply into that side any time soon), but I was intrigued by the fact that the brand is not the author but the subject matter of the book. Like the Magic Treehouse books.

It got me thinking about the different ways an author can be known. Many of the big authors start out by being "the author of ___" and then progress to being known as a Name in their own right. Fill in the blank - Twilight, Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code. But when did Stephen King stop being "the author of The Shining (Carrie, The Stand...)" and become just Stephen King. When did Grisham outpace "the author of The Firm". Is it about the depth of their body of work? Is it about a level of celebrity?

I was watching golf last weekend (I know, like watching paint dry, right? And I enjoyed it. I just shocked myself with that sentence right there). Anyway, I'm watching golf with my dad (we were all doing the 4th at my g-parents in Ohio) and he makes a comment about how you can tell how famous certain golfers are by checking out the sponsor logos on their clothes. I responded with my usual snark, saying when I'm rich and famous people are going to pay me to write in pajamas wearing their logos. This book written entirely while wearing the Nike swoosh!

But it got me thinking about how few celebrities these days make their primary income from the thing which they are actually famous for. Endorsement, sponsorship, merchandizing, putting their smiling face on a billboard or in the middle of a Right Guard commercial - that's where the real money is.

Companies sponsor webstreaming of television shows... others give large grants of money to individuals that are selected by voting from their members (current Pepsi project, former Visa & Amex projects). Support the arts has gone corporate (because it makes them look good).

Just wait until this trips over into writing. It's a new kind of patronage, in a way, but now instead of being sponsored by Lady Moneybags, this book will be brought to you with limited commercial interruptions by Nissan.

What do you think? Cool new wave of the future or dystopian nightmarescape? Would you buy more wickets if they brought you great literature?

Monday, July 5, 2010

We've Got Art!

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! The third installment of my (ridiculously inaccurately named if you're a stickler for geography and the serengeti being in Africa and not in Texas and all that) Serengeti Shifter series, Serengeti Lightning, releases September 14th. And guess what? We've got cover art! Lookee!

What do you think? Electric? So sizzlingly sultry your own shirt is shredding in sympathy as you look at it?

My thanks as always to Ms. Natalie Winters & the Samhain art folks. T-minus ten weeks, y'all! Let the countdown begin!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I saw Eclipse last night and all I can say is the movie made me feel about a million years old. Was I ever that young and stupid and self-involved? Yeah, probably, but I'm trying to forget about that phase, thank you very much.

My official age-ist Eclipse review is at the Raven blog today. Check it out, movie-goers, and tell me how you feel about these books & movies.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've been remiss lately with my bloggage (mea culpa, boys and girls, mea culpa), but it's because I've been doing so much stuff! Yay, stuff!

Super cool stuff like... looking at cover art (so pretty! I'll share as soon as I get the go ahead!), editing an upcoming release (dear lord, how did I never notice how frequently I use the word against? It's almost frightening), getting freakishly psyched about a cool new idea which might be part of a cool new opportunity (no details yet but I will hint that it involves angels, hellfire and enough blasphemy to see me banned in several states), AND judging a contest which featured one of the absolute best things I've read in years (OM-effing-G if this book does not get published soon I will stalk the writer until I can read the end, I kid you not).

It's shaping up to be a really busy fall at Casa Andrews, chock full of releases, travel (no details finalized yet but China appears to be losing the battle to New Zealand at the moment, place your bids now if you want to travel vicariously through me), and other wild and crazy stuff. Stay tuned, y'all. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.