Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Father, the Blogger

For the record, my dad is pretty awesome. He's smart, funny, and definitely the source of my passion for precision. People using imprecise data to prove a point is one of his hot buttons - and the way Climate Science & Global Warming are handled by the media and politicians have been pet peeves of his for years. (Don't get him started on An Inconvenient Truth.)

As an engineer and retired energy company executive, he has a strong foundation in the science, governmental hoops, and technology of energy resources and has researched the hell out of climate change in the last few years. And all during those last few years, as he's slowly plugged away at a book he says he'll likely never publish, my family members (myself included) have been telling him he should start a blog.

And a couple weeks ago, he finally did. Climate SWAG (which stands for a "Scientific Wild Ass Guess") is his new baby and he's got a few posts up as he finds his blogging feet. So if you're curious about the topic, swing on by for a visit and meet my father, the blogger.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fix It Friday: the non-fix-it Hunger Games edition

As friends of the blog may know, Fix-It Fridays are when I rant about how excruciating movie-going experiences could be transformed into bliss with a few minor tweaks to plot, story arc, characterization, etc. Today is not that kind of Friday. Before I start talking about my Hunger Games movie experience, I would like to make two things very clear:

1) There will be no spoilers. None. Read with impunity, spoiler-wary friends.

2) I love the books. I am in no way proposing to fix anything about them or the movie.

This is about movie theater etiquette - a fix perhaps LONG overdue. This is about the things outside of the movie itself that can drastically alter our movie-going experiences.

See, last Friday I went to Hunger Games on opening day. We cleared our schedules to go in the afternoon before the noisy teen population got off school, bought our tickets in advance, and got there early to wait in line to snag good seats. Everything went exactly as planned - except for those things you can't plan. Like the woman sitting directly behind me, who talked loudly through the entire film and belted out embarrassed cackling laughter during pretty much every somber dramatic moment.

I would like to propose an etiquette rule. If you are going to talk to the screen like it will talk back and erupt into awkward guffaws whenever someone has an emotionally significant moment of silence, maybe you shouldn't go on opening day when it is IMPOSSIBLE for other movie-goers to move to get away from you, after their glares and quiet requests for you to stop talking are ignored.

And, for the record, the actors? They can't hear you. So your full-voice exclamations of "Girl, whatchu doing that for?" and "I told you so!" are only serving to piss off everyone around you. You know, those people who actually want to hear the dialogue you're drowning out.

I honestly don't understand why this woman came on opening day. She had zero familiarity with the books - as evidenced by the man with her who felt the need to explain (loudly) plot points that she'd missed. Not that you have to read books to be excited about movies and not that people shouldn't be encouraged to go and enjoy films whenever the hell they want, but why WHY did she have to completely screw with my enjoyment of the film? I honestly don't know if the movie has dramatic impact because when one woman is cackling in your ear through every quiet moment, it's hard to appreciate the drama.

She seemed to think death was funny in exactly the same way the staff of the Today Show think sex is funny every time they do a story on it. With such excruciating awkwardness that it's uncomfortable to watch their sex-o-phobia on display.

I think my own horrendous movie experience would piss me off less if I felt there was a snowball's chance in hell that she wouldn't do it again, but she just didn't care. She enjoyed herself, being that inconsiderate, and that makes me nuts.

So my fix? I'll be going again. Next week. Mid-week matinee. Sitting in the back so no one can be right behind me, squealing in my ear.

But the societal fix, that's trickier. We've all been to movies where someone else has ruined it for us. And I'm afraid it's bound to happen again. Is that just the cost of rubbing along with other movie-goers? Or do we have a reasonable expectation to be able to hear the dialogue when we shell out our $10+ bucks (plus popcorn)? Is texting (which will get you kicked out of that particular theater) really more disruptive than the woman with no volume button and no verbal filter? Is it common sense that we respect our fellow movie-goers enough to let them enjoy the film too? Or am I wrong to be annoyed because her enjoyment might have been lessened if she hadn't been talking back to the screen?

What's your take?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lucky Sevens

The delightful Ms. Diana Layne (who's mafia suspense book The Good Daughter recently received a Top Pick from RT! Congrats, Diana!) tagged me this weekend in a little book meme - The Lucky Sevens! The mission? To post 7 lines, starting at the 7th line on the 7th or 77th page of your upcoming book. (Check out Diana's HERE.)

Now, 8 is my favorite number, but I decided to be a good little rule follower and go with Lucky Number 8-1. And because I'm an overachiever, I've decided to post BOTH 7 and 77 excerpts from my upcoming, May 1st release Superlovin'. (Available for Kindle & Nook pre-order now!)

For page 7, we join our hero (who happens to be a supervillain, but we don't judge) mid-heist as he is searching...

The Crypt.
Where the not-so-pristine truth about heroes is buried.
Conspiracy theorists loved to speculate on the contents of these super-secret files. But tonight he didn’t care about the truth. Just Mirabelle.
Lucien scanned the room. The filing cabinets had been his best bet, but he’d come up empty there. He walked past the computers, ignoring them. The schematics for Area Nine would be low-tech. Hard copies.

And seventy pages later, we find our intrepid heroine mid-argument with Mr. Supersexy himself.

“And is being a villain any different for you?” She flung the words at him. “Do you ever do something just because it’s right without first thinking of your own self-interest?” It was unfair. She knew he thought of Mirabelle first. Everything she’d seen him do, he’d done for his family, but nothing in the way she was feeling right now was rational or logical—and from the wild look in his eyes, he was right there with her.
“Everyone thinks of their own self-interest,” he barked. “You’re thinking of your own self-interest every time you fly off to save the day. Thinking of how it will enhance your precious DynaGirl image.”

So... yeah... they don't exactly see eye-to-eye on the whole saving-the-day thing.

Now, I believe I'm supposed to pass the meme on to 7 people, but this is where my rule following breaks down. Ever since chain letters threatened terrible things to people who failed to send it on to a certain number of people in a certain amount of time, I've been reluctant to ping other people with memes. So instead, I invite you, intrepid reader, to post seven lines of page seven or seventy of either 1) The book you're reading right this instant (with details so others can check it out too!) or 2) a Work-in-Progress from your own manuscript files.

Happy Seven-ing! (And thanks to Diana for the game.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Golden Heart & Rita Call Day!

Today is the day, boys and girls! It's the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart & RITA Award Call Day!

All around the world, aspiring writers and published authors are waking up and hovering by their phones for The Call that will set them on the path to that little gold necklace or that massive gold statue, respectively. I didn't enter this year, but I have my fingers firmly crossed for several good friends.

Now, as the calls go out, may I say GOOD LUCK to all those who entered and CONGRATULATIONS to those deserving authors who get the call.

And if you're looking for a party, a place to score some PRIZES, share your excitement or get some commiseration if that call doesn't come, be sure to go to the Ruby Blog today where we are having our Annual Call Day Party. It will be crazy and marvelous and not to be missed.

Good luck!

Congratulations to all the finalists (you can see a full list HERE)

But special shout outs to Rubies Darynda Jones & Elizabeth Essex for their Rita Nominations (NSRE/Best First Book & Historical respectively!).

To Rubies Elisa Beatty, Sally Eggert, Kim Law & Elizabeth Bemis on their Golden Heart Nominations.

To Sally Kirkpatrick (who I met at my very first writing conference and who is AWESOME) on her Novel with Strong Romantic Elements Golden Heart nom.

To Eileen Emerson (whose ms I was lucky enough to read last year) for her Regency Historical Golden Heart nom.

AND to the fabulous Jamie Wesley (fellow NU alum, GO CATS!) for her Series Contemporary Golden Heart nomination!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Exciting News!

Hear ye, hear ye!

Do you love fairy tales? Are you addicted to Once Upon a Time? Have you already pre-ordered your tickets to Mirror, Mirror? Does the thought of Snow White & the Huntsman just make your heart go pitter pat? If you answered yes, brace yourself, because I have exciting news!

This summer I'll be releasing (in my first ever self-publishing effort, *gulp*) a shiny new sexy take on Rumpelstiltskin! Who needs Prince Charming when you have a studly gold-spinner of your very own? Spinning Gold is this classic tale as you've never seen it before... complete with fairy dust.

As a special teaser, today I have some studly gilded art for you. You like? Does that look like a Rumpelstiltskin you could fall in love with?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Ingredients of Success

I love St. Martin's Press. They are the home of Jennifer Crusie, Janet Evanovich, Darynda Jones, & Vicki Lewis Thompson, so clearly they have an eye for the good stuff. Those pure, uncut, sweet sweet book fixes we can't get anywhere else.

Yeah, we've all heard the phrase "author crack" for referring to those deeply addicting reads, but should we have been calling it author pot all along? Recently the Feds intercepted $70,000 worth of marijuana that was being sent to a fake employee at the St. Martin's Press headquarters. I know I should be indignant at the drug trafficking and the besmirching of St. Martin's very good name by tying it with such activities, but, I'm sorry, I can't get over how funny I think this is.

How awesome is it that the drug traffickers are literate! They picked a publishing house as a delivery address for their package which is really kinda brilliant because they get boxes of manuscripts sent to them every day and it wouldn't seem at all out of the ordinary. If I were some enterprising young intern with side-interests, I'd totally use the company as a front so I could afford to pay rent in Manhattan. Or... no... I wouldn't because it's wrong and illegal and I never do anything that is either of those things. Ever. So there.

I've often wondered what the secret ingredient is to really, deeply, wildly kick-ass books. Selling your soul to the devil? Voodoo? Hard work and talent? Naaah. Better writing through chemistry, baby.

Monday, March 12, 2012


One of my best friends is an epically amazing blues guitarist. He introduced me to Robert Johnson (among other legends), for which I am eternally grateful. Somehow whenever I come to a decision point in my life, I find myself listening to Robert Johnson's Crossroads and trying to find my answer in the slides.

I haven't been blogging much lately. Haven't really known what to say. Because I'm not quite at the crossroads yet. I feel like I'm at that point where you look ahead of you and see the crossroads, but you aren't there yet. You know you will be making this vast, exciting decisions you will want to tell everyone about, but since you can't make the decision yet, you're in that waiting pattern.

I hate waiting.

My dad has this saying about decisions (I'm going to totally mangle it, I know). He says being decisive doesn't mean you make decisions quickly, it means you make them when they need to be made - not so early you don't have all the info, but early enough that you have time to implement them. Or something like that.

So what do you do when you know it's too early to decide, but all you want to do is get there? Get ahead to that next road, be past the dang fork and onto your next leg of the journey? (Yes, the metaphor is getting a bit tired, but work with me, people.)

I need a shot of focus to keep me working steadily on the path I'm on so I can get to the crossroads. Gotta finish this book before I can start the next one. That's what being a writer is. Follow-through. Bright ideas are great and all, but hours at the computer is what gets it done. Time to buckle down. Head down. Don't look ahead. Nothing to see, folks. No crossroads ahead. No shiny book idea on the horizon itching to take me away in a new direction. Nope. Just the page in front of me. Blank as always, looking to be filled up.

Tunnel vision is a good thing, right? Not to be distracted by questions like should I buy a house? Should I get a dog? Should I travel some more? Nope. Time to be in the here and now. Why is that so damn hard some days?

Thursday, March 8, 2012


It's that time again! March Madness! And we're not just talking about basketball, boys and girls. It's time for the Dear Author Bitchery Writing Awards for Hellagood Authors. Yep, the DABWAHA is here!

As with every year, there will be beaucoup prizes to be won as we pick our favorites and vote them on to glory in this tourney that pits book against book, author against author, in a Deathmatch for Writing Glory! Sixty Four Books Enter. One Book Leaves. (Mwa-ha ha.)

The finalists have just been announced and... okay, I'm totally out of step this year because while I'm huge fans of several of the authors represented, I've only read a couple of the actual books on the list. (Though, for the record, Julie James's A Lot Like Love is deeply badass.)

Swing on by and take a gander at the finalists and then place your vote to add books that are Too Awesome Not To Be Included to the roster. One more will be added to each category according to reader demand, so let your voice be heard. Go forth and DABWAHA, reader minions!

P.S. Am I the only one having a "Where the f*ck is Victoria Dahl on that list?" moment? No Eloisa James? No Kresley Cole? What would YOUR brackets look like if you picked the best of 2011?

Saturday, March 3, 2012


You guys! I just got my Comic-Con badge! Yes, my nerdiness knows no bounds and I'm so freaking excited! Four days of unchecked imagination. You know you're jealous.

I feel like Comic Con is the Mecca of all things superhero, and as a lover of all things super, with my own spin on the superhero romance genre coming out in just a couple months, it's about time I made my first pilgrimage.

Anyone else out there making the trek to San Diego this year?