Monday, April 30, 2012

Time to Get Super, Baby

It's that time, boys and girls.  Release week!  The moment has arrived.  The Super-ness is (almost) here!  Superlovin', Breaking Bad and Blade of Moonlight hit the digital shelves tomorrow for all you superhero-lovers to devour.  (Just in time for the Avengers!)

This release week, we'll have the original (deleted in edits) opening chapter of Superlovin' here at das Blog, as well as interviews over at the Rubies, Bookpushers, and more.  I'll do my usual chat and excerpt blitz at the Samhain Cafe tomorrow - all from the comfort of my little apartment in Cannes. Go ahead, be jealous, I'm okay with that.

And if you want something else to be jealous of, I get to see the Avengers early!  It's already released here in France and I get to go see the Version Anglais today!  Before anyone in the States!  (With French subtitles!  Bonus points if you pronounce it Le Uh-vaaawnj-ruh.)

I love the things you just trip across if you roll with things. Yesterday, as I was burning time before my train to Cannes, I stumbled across a series of Sunday markets then found this park, the sun came out (gasp!), and I followed my ears to this corner where a gypsy quartet was playing the most beautifully vibrant music.  And selling CDs.  I love that buskers have developed to the point of 2 CDs for 20 euros.  It's like the self-publishing of music.  Technology has made so many things possible. 
Let's all raise our bottle of 5 euro wine bought at the farmer's market on Rue du Richard Lenoir to the possibilities for musicians, writers, and artists like my aunt who sells her paintings on Facebook.  It's a badass world, y'all.  A badass world.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Locked In Love

Fair warning, y'all, Paris has turned me into a sappy romantic.  All my lovely cynicism is mush.  (Possibly because I have found the point at which cynicism will dissolve in water.  It is still raining.  Which should not surprise me since it always rains on me in Paris.)

So there's this bridge, right?  Okay, it's Paris, so there are about three hundred bridges, but if you're walking along the Seine just past Notre Dame, between Pont Neuf and the Left Bank, there's a particular bridge.  With locks.  Hundreds and hundreds of shiny locks.  And on each lock is written the name of a pair of lovers.

Now maybe I was just slow on the uptake last time I was in Paris, or I didn't walk past that particular bridge, or maybe this is a new trend, but can I just say, for the record, awwww.  How sweet is that?  I know it's just a gesture, writing your names on a lock and locking it to the bridge and then probably tossing the key into the Seine (littering! for shame!) and essentially telling the world that your love is here to stay.  But it's such a cute gesture.

What do you think?  Adorable or silly?  Both?

And, in unrelated news, I'd forgotten how good Paris is for my ego.  Then men here will hit on anything that moves.  Case in point - yesterday a random guy chats me up in a park.  Normal, right?  Then today, it's raining (again) and I've tucked my shoulder bag underneath my jacket to keep it dry (dude, my Kindle is in there, I have priorities) and I swear to God it makes me look about six months pregnant.  I'm walking through the cemetery (so not exactly a high romance venue) in Montmartre and this French guy starts trying to chat me up.  I am not in the mood for company, so I (feeling particularly clever) invent a boyfriend, then upgrade him to fiance when that doesn't discourage Frenchie.  He persists in trying to get me to take his arm, let him put his arm around me, give me "just a little kiss", and show me Picasso's house (at which point I'm not sure whether he's trying to be my tour guide or my date, but okay then).  When I refuse, he asks why and I resurrect the fiance-waiting-for-me story at which point my French Would-Be-Date tells me I need to be more open-minded.  The Americans, we are so closed off about these things.  Yep.  Repressed.  That's me.  But then, wasn't it Rodin who loved both his mistress and his wife?  What do I know?  Clearly, we Americans are doing it wrong.  So, for the record, you can be soaking wet, in a cemetery, look pregnant, have a fake fiance, and express no interest whatsoever and the French men still want you.  You gotta love Paris.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Holding Hands

Sitting in a piano bar aboard my cruise ship (yeah, it’s my cruise ship, you got a problem with that?) I spent many an evening listening to gorgeous old love songs.  Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini, My Fair Lady and a thousand other romantic tunes from an older era before romance became “It’s getting’ hot in here, so take off all your clothes.”  I spent a lot of hours in that piano bar. (And can you blame me?  The music was amazing and the pianist was freaking hot.  Just sayin'.)

On occasion I would be lured away by the insanely badass blues band or the raucous fun of the dueling piano bar, but it’s hard to walk away from a man crooning my all time favorite Edith Piaf song so yeah, I was addicted to Shakers Martini Bar and the stylings of Mr. Carlo Nuschi.  And I wasn’t the only addict. 

Every night, the bar was packed, mostly with couples more in my grandparents’ generation than my own.  And as Moonlight Serenade filled the bar, the octogenarian lovers would reach over the high arms of the comfy chairs and touch – a brush of a hand on the shoulder, a little shared smile which was more a tipping of the head than anything, or my absolute favorite: the hand hold.  

We don’t know their history.  What came before or what will come after.  We don’t know if they’ve been together for five minutes of fifty years.  All we know is that in that sweet, perfect, stretching romantic moment, he’s holding her hand and they are in love.  An entire lifetime in that moment.  With the kind of love reinforced by years, tempered by time until it is steel.  My grandparents held hands like that.

I found myself wondering one night, between Misty and As Time Goes By, if loving that music makes you more likely to avoid the divorce statistics and become an eighty-five-year-old hand-holder. If there's a cause and effect involved.  Like they say those who like romance novels tend to have (studies have shown) good relationships (and sex lives).  It’s like buying into the romance makes it happen.   

I say life is what we make of it.  So let’s make it romantic.  Let’s make it steel love and a hand to hold.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Epic Win

Okay, first off, I've gotta start with an apology.  I had stuff scheduled, but due to a blogspot-fail, my pretty scheduled posts to keep you guys entertained while I was gone never showed up.  Let's all shake our fists at blogger.  #$*&^!  I re-scheduled them and hopefully they will appear as planned during my second two week period of radio-silence from May 12-25th. 

And now... on to the good.  But good, that's too mild a word.  The word of the day appears to be Epic. (Though if I hear one more person wish me an epi-licious day, I will not be responsible for my actions.)  I'm currently in Paris, having disembarked this morning from the Norwegian Epic.  And epic it most certainly was.  Wow, y'all.  Just wow.

I wasn't sure at first about taking a transatlantic cruise by myself.  When I was solo on the Alaska Ferry last year it was gorgeous, but I started to get cabin fever on day four.  That was only a third of the time I would be spending on this boat.  Surely I would go stir crazy.  Surely all the people asking the same questions about Alaska over and over again and making the same snarky remarks about Sarah Palin and gawking the same way when they hear I'm a writer - surely all that would get old and I'd be ready to swim for it in a matter of days, right?  Well, my nerves were ludicrously unfounded.  I freaking loved it.

Why don't I live on a boat?  Seriously, why?  And for those of you who think this sounds like the time last year when I wanted to run away to live in Christchurch - you're wrong.  This time I mean it.  (Though yeah, I meant that at the time too...)  My next cruise is in a little over two weeks and I can't wait. Next month: Egypt.  Next year: the world!

I'm so unbelievably glad I took this trip.  I was starting to get in a rut.  I needed this.  Needed to remind myself that I can be wild and bright and that life keeps throwing possibilities at you if you run out to meet them.  Now is not the time to settle!

And that applies to the writing too.  More ambition. More challenges.  No complacency.  No more of the same.  Onward!  Upward!  New and shiny and different!  Be more tomorrow than you are today!

I have a million stories from the ship, but I can't think of anything right now.  I'm too busy being happy.  It's midnight, here in Paris, and in honor of Woody Allen (who, incidentally, is the reason I wedged a quickie weekend in Paris into my plans) I think I'll go for a stroll.  See if I trip back in time as I meander down a boulevard or two.  There's a canal not far from my hotel, here in the Bastille district, with a thousand lights and sidewalk cafes.  There's a glass of wine at one of those cafes waiting for me.

Bonsoir, mes petits amis.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dystopian Gargantuanness

I love dystopian books and movies. The Hunger Games is just the latest in a long line that feed directly into the omigod-wow cortex of my brain. Bladerunner. 1984. Running Man. Brave New World. The Island. Uglies. There is just something about a dystopian story that flips my switches and I've been thinking lately about what that is. Why those stories stick with me so hard. Why they seem so massive in my memory.

I think it has something to do with the ideas. What if is a powerful phrase and a dystopian reality pimps that phrase for all its worth. It works with the extreme, the taken-to-the-max, stripped-of-pretense and exaggerated right to the edge of logic where we see the black and white truth more clearly than our usual grey world. Hunger Games is essentially what if Lord of the Flies was a reality tv show? It takes something true - reality tv and violence appealing to our culture - and pushes it out to the extreme.

I read an agent once who said there were three ways writers could be brilliant. Brilliant writing style. Brilliant plot. Or brilliant ideas. If I had to pick one of the three to excel in, I would always pick ideas. So perhaps that is why the massive ideas of dystopian fiction appeal to me so strongly. Because they are my personal crack - only the pure, uncut version.

What about you? Is there a particular kind of story that flips your switches every time? What do you look for as a reader or strive toward as a writer?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

European Walkabout!

Guess what, boys and girls? I'm going on a mega-trip! Today!

If this feels sudden and vaguely-unplanned and last-minute and oh-my-god-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into to you, well, you're not the only one who feels that way. This trip was planned many moons ago, then put off for 2013 due to a series of excellent rationalizations then abruptly, suddenly, without-warning, instantly, and-then-a-miracle-occurred moved back to this year about two weeks ago. And voila! I'm getting on a cruise ship today.

And due to the rush, I've already realized I forgot several crucial things - note to self, traveling without ATM card is not advised. (And now my grandma who reads this is worried about me. Don't worry, Grandma! It's all good.)

I'm sailing off to Europe where I will disembark das Boat and gad about France and Italy for three weeks before sailing off for Egypt, Istanbul, and Greece for two weeks, then back on land for another week in Austria & Germany. So my internet connectivity, it will be unreliable. But the blog will not be neglected. I've pre-loaded some goodies to keep you entertained while I'm away. (Gladiator style, baby. Are you not entertained? Rrrrawr! ...okay. Ignore that one. I'm a little giddy with pre-trippy-ness and not making a lot of sense.)

So, to recap: Travel! (win!) No internet in the Atlantic Ocean. (fail!) Preloaded awesome! (double win!) And a release week in France. (win au francais!)

See you in France, boys and girls!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mas Karma Coming at Ya

It's official! The i's are dotted, the t's crossed, and we have reached the gushy excitement portion of the proceedings. Yes, boys and girls, there's another Karmic Consultants book coming your way. (I know, finally, right? Feel free to pelt me with jelly beans for taking so long. Preferably Hawaiian Punch jelly beans.) (And before you ask, no, this isn't Karma's book. Hers is next after this one. Promise.)

Finder's Keeper is the classic story of the neuroscientist and the surfer-psychic. (I know, I know, we've all heard that one a thousand times.) We've got magic love lockets, meddling grandmothers, and cameos from our favorite Karmic Consultants. And when is this novel arriving on an e-reader near you, you may be asking? We don't have an official release date yet, but it's looking like November-ish. (Don't quote me.)

But in the mean time (why is time mean, huh? Why can't it be nice time? Or jovial time? Or sultry time?) we have Superheroes and Fairy Tales.

Observe: the Release Schedule!

May 1st - Superlovin' (Super #1)
June - Spinning Gold (Rumpelstiltskin revisited)
July - Super Bad (Super #2)
Fall - Super Hot (Super #3)
Nov (ish) - Finder's Keeper (Karmic #6)

And that's all she wrote. For now. More writing in the works...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Revise Ferociously

Today I'm over at the Ruby blog, talking about the perils of lazy writing and digging deep with your characters. If you're a writer-type-person, swing on by and say hi.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Convergence of Awesome

I recently saw Midnight in Paris for the first time (omigod so freaking gooooood). It made me want to move to Paris. But Paris in the 1920s, when I could have wandered into a cafe and tripped over Picasso & Hemingway & Fitzgerald & Dali & T.S. Eliot. Because damn, how insane must that have been?

I feel like there are these places, these moments in history, when a place becomes a sort of artistic Mecca and there is a convergence of awesomeness. Just tell me where that convergence is today and I will move there tomorrow.

Do you think that kind of convergence is even possible in today's world? Because so much is done online where we are both more and less connected with the world around us.

It's strange how the internet seems to make us both more and less of many things. Anonymously people are more free with their opinions, but when our reputations are attached a single wrong word can make us a pariah when a careless comment goes viral. Author feuds are nothing new - not surprising in a business so subjective - but how many of Hawthorne's readers knew about his catty comments about female writers of his time? (Ever wondered how historical authors put the smack down? Check out this list.) Would old Nathaniel have been vilified on the 24-hr news networks as a misogynist? Would it have killed his career?

Aaaand, I've gotten way off topic. The truth is, I don't really want to live in Paris in the 1920s. I just want to be a part of a creative convergence and I'm afraid the only place those exist in our generation is online. Which, frankly, I find disappointing. I don't want to believe that we've lost the possibility for those convergences. Those artists' Meccas.

And here I am rambling about this on... where else? The internet. Oh, irony.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Superlovin' Review-A-Ganza!

It's T-minus 4 Weeks until the Superhero Hotness of Superlovin' hits the shelves and already the reviews are a'rollin' in, folks.

First up, we have 4.5 Stars from Sensual Reads (**WARNING: All reviews tip a bit toward spoilers, but this one is pretty up front about telling you the plot, so if you want to be surprised, you might wanna pass on that link.) Moral of the story? They liked it, y'all!

"This story has lots of super action plus tons of sexual tension between Darla and Lucien..."

*Bonus points for use of "super" - best adjective evah.*

And next up? Four stars from Night Owl Reviews! Lexile says, "Superlovin' lived up to my expectations for an Andrews romance" and "has me itching to read the others."

Now, by "the others" she's referring to the other Midnight Justice stories - Breaking Bad by Jodi Redford & Blade of Moonlight by Kimberly Dean - which are also releasing May 1st! (Get the whole set!)

But, if that still doesn't satisfy and you just can't get enough superheroes, you're in luck! There are more stories in the Superlovin universe to come from yours truly. Starting with Super Bad this summer, then Super Hot in the fall and Super Trouble next spring. I just can't get enough superhero romance. It's a small miracle I don't wear a cape and mask every day. To the grocery store... to the bank... or wait. Probably not to the bank. They frown on masked people asking for their money. Maybe just the cape...

Sunday, April 1, 2012


The Secret is Out! I'm Vivian Arend

For years I've been saying that Vivian Arend and I aren't really the same person. Lies. All of it lies.

Yes, boys and girls, I'm finally coming out of the closet. I am badass USA Today and NYT Bestselling Author Vivian Arend. It's true.

Now, those of you who know my complete body of work (see list below) may be wondering how I can possibly produce all the insanely awesome books I do. (Writing, editing, and releasing a new book an average of every four weeks.) The truth is I wouldn't be able to do it without my cybernetic hands (think Darth Vader, only less evil, more romantic). These babies never get tired and they type approximately two thousand words a minute. (Unfortunately, this also exhausts keyboards at an alarming rate so I always have to have three spares on hand for a night of writing.)

The truth is, it's a sickness. I discovered early in my career that if I go more than three months between releases, I become physically ill. The only way to keep myself from the violent and unpleasant malady is to type like the wind. It's a defense mechanism, really. And if I hadn't invented a second pen name, there's no way my publisher would have let me stack so many releases back to back. They understood that sweet release is the only medicine that works.

So now, for the first time ever, I reveal The Complete Viv.A. Booklist:

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant - February 17, 2009
Wolf Signs - March 24, 2009
Serengeti Heat - June 23, 2009
Tidal Wave - July 21, 2009
Wolf Flight - October 27, 2009
The Ghost Exterminator - October 27, 2009
Serengeti Storm - January 12, 2010
Claiming Derryn
- February 19, 2010
Wolf Games - March 23, 2010
The Sexorcist - April 27, 2010
Stormchild - May 4, 2010
Turn It On - July 19, 2010
Whirlpool - August 10, 2010
Serengeti Lightning - September 14, 2010
Wolf Tracks - October 26, 2010
The Naked Detective - November 14, 2010
Falling, Freestyle - November 30, 2010
Tangled Tinsel - December 6, 2010
No Angel - December 6, 2010
Turn It Up
- February 8,2011
Stormy Seduction - April 12, 2011
Serengeti Sunrise - May 10, 2011
Silent Storm - May 17, 2011
Rising, Freestyle - July 4, 2011
A Cop & A Feel - July 12, 2011
Paradise Found - August 23, 2011
Black Gold - September 13, 2011
Rocky Mountain Heat - November 15, 2011
Reawakening Eden - November 22, 2011
Rocky Mountain Haven - January 10, 2012
Ghosts of Boyfriends Past - January 17, 2012
Rocky Mountain Desire - March 13, 2012
Superlovin' - May 1, 2012
Spinning Gold - June 1, 2012
Wolf Line - June 12, 2012
Super Bad - July 1, 2012
Silver Mine - September 11, 2012

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a trio of keyboards that I must type into oblivion.

Happy April, y'all. ;)