Thursday, May 31, 2012

Neil Gaiman and All Kinds of Awesome

This has been making the rounds on the Interwebz, so you may have already seen it, but it's the kind of thing I feel cannot be seen too much. I love this man. I want to watch this every day. I want the words to seep into my skin until they are part of me. So brilliant.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Last Chance to Bid!

That's right, boys and girls, the annual Brenda Novak Auction full of Awesomeness and Win is drawing to a close.  You only have one more day to Bid Bid Bid for this great cause and these great items.  Want a quick reminder of the packages in which I am partaking?  Observe!

1) Superhero-themed gift-pack with pre-loaded Kindle
2) Set of signed Karmic books (with bonus material if you mention you heard it here)
3) Paranormal manuscript critique with Darynda Jones (NYT bestseller!) and Tamara Hogan (a steal at only $65!)
4) Kindle Touch pre-loaded with beaucoup Ruby Books

Go forth and bid, minions!  Time is running out!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Hodge-Podge of Book News

And speaking of things that appeared in my email while I was away...

We have reviews!  Francesca at Under the Covers was unimpressed by Superlovin' (aww, sad panda) and the lovely folks at You Gotta Read Reviews have declared you gotta read No Angel & the Winter Wishes stories - which is especially fun because I am fickle and forget about the older books but when an old one gets a new review it always feels like it's been resurrected and I remember that books that are in the past for me are still very much in the present and future for many others. 

It's like time travel.  By the time anyone sees them, they are already past for me, but they are always future for someone.  I love that.  It's good to be reminded of it.

AND, if you're into super heroes (which I hope you are), Superlovin' was featured among MUCH BADASSNESS at RT this month in a rundown of superhero romances on the shelves to feed your Avengers/Superman/Spiderman/Batman-loving selves. 

Monday, May 28, 2012


In going through my many gazillion emails, what should I find?  Art!  Pretty, shiny, approved, coming-in-November, not-to-be-missed, NEXT KARMIC CONSULTANTS BOOK, Finder's Keeper art!  Observe, the sexy manflesh cover in all its sparkly glory!

Do you not love it?  Is it not delectable?  All hail the Cover Goddess Angie Waters for blessing me with this one. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hello, Again

I'm back in the land of internet (didja miss me?)... and spoiled rotten.  This trip has ruined me for all other travel (but I won't let that stop me).  I have many stories, many pictures, and many many many emails to catch up on.  I promise a full account of Pyramids, Mosques, Ruins, Relics, and Men in Boats (gotta love Venice)... just as soon as I download the eleven bajillion pictures I took onto my laptop.  But for now, here's a little teaser.  A snap of me in front of my modest little hotel on Lido in Venice.  My life is so hard...

The Excelsior.  The only way to stay.  Next stop, Alps!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Pulitzer is Too Awesome to be Awarded

Saw an interesting article (here) in which Ann Patchett talked about the fact that the Pulitzer for Fiction will not be awarded this year.  No one was good enough.  Apparently this has happened on ten other occasions in the last century. 

I'm not sure how I feel about this.  It kind of makes me feel like they think the prestige of their award is more important than celebrating literature when the entire purpose of their award should be celebrating literary voices.  Because the idea that of all the books that are published in a year not a single one of them deserves to be celebrated... it's like shoving nettles under my skin. 

Obviously I'm not a candidate for the Pulitzer.  I don't have a horse in this race.  But it still rankles.  To decline to award the prize feels like they are looking at every writer working today and telling all of us that we aren't good enough to be respected by them.  Now, I know they would never respect a romance author, but the idea that ALL OF US, in all our beautiful glory, filled with variety and wit and bright ideas and fresh execution and blood sweat and tears... that not one of us has stood up to be recognized by their oh-so-illustrious panel of awesomesauce. 

Maybe I'm not looking at this the right way.  Help me look at this in a way that doesn't paint the Pulitzer folks as total douchebags, would you?  Tell me how to see this right.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nice Guys in Romance?

Saw an interesting article a few weeks back about a guy writing romance from the point of view of a male protagonist who is not, in fact, an alpha ass.  Shocking, right?  Well, publishers, they aren't really into things that don't fit into the "Something exactly like that made a bajillion dollars last year" box, so he was having some difficulty getting traction with his book. 

Here's the article.

What do you think?  Do nice guys finish last, even in romance?  Is there a distinction between what is romantic in life and what is romantic in fiction?  (Because if I had to live Wuthering Heights... ugh.  No, thank you.)  Is there less conflict when the hero is a nice guy?  Or is there a tendency to conflate "nice guy" with "doormat" and lose respect for the man who isn't able to stand up for himself and be alpha enough to bang his chest for the girl he loves?  Your thoughts?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Space, the Final Frontier

Dude. Spacex. How cool is this?

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Elon Musk
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Click here to view video of embed fails.

This. This is the future. I love this. Doesn't it just make you want to write sci-fi?

And, in a random bit of trivia, did you know that this dude was part of the basis for Tony Stark in the new Ironman? A bajillioniare with a vision. And a rocket. It's even cooler cuz it's real.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Afterlife of Awesome Books

Do you love books? Are you looking for the perfect unique gift for a booklover in your life? Ever wonder what happens to books after they die? Then check out Book Zombies, y'all! A friend of mine makes these gorgeous purses and other accessories out of old loved-to-death-and-back books. Her craftiness and the cleverness of this awe me. (And if ever I'm giving away a custom item, like the sexy custom comic-book Kindle Cover in the Novak Auction, be glad I'm not the one who made it. She is.)

So yeah, undead books. Cuz undead is sexy. And so are these purses.

Book nerds, unite!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Romance Man

Here's a little something to keep you entertained while I'm off in the middle of the Mediterranean. Romance Man (which sounds just enough like a superhero moniker to make me want to give him a cape) is a dude who reads romance novels. Cuz love is manly. I like this guy. I really do. Don't always agree with his take, but I love the way he says it. Anyway, worth a look-see. And always fascinating to get the Dude-like perspective on romancey-ness.


Friday, May 11, 2012

See the Pyramids Along the Nile...

And I'm off!  Phase three (of the four phase European adventure) commences today as my aunt and I board the lovely Crown Princess bound for... wait for it... EGYPT!!  TURKEY!!  GREECE!!

I'm going to see the pyramids, y'all!  (Extra bonus points if you got the song reference in the post title.)  As was the case last cruise-time, I'll be out of internet contact for a couple weeks, but I shall return with Many Stories and I've pre-scheduled some blog stuff (which I hope will actually show up this time) to keep you entertained while I'm away. 

Have fun and be good while I'm gone, minions.  (Or if you aren't, take pictures.)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An Inspired Post

**FYI: I'm going all philosophical today. Consider yourself warned, boys and girls.**

I've had a number of conversations about inspiration recently, the nature of it.

Every time I travel people want to know if I'm looking for inspiration.  I always say no, because I'm not going on a cruise to get inspired to write a book about a cruise and I'm not going to go to Paris so I can write a book about lovers locking themselves (metaphorically) to bridges.  The question always seems to conflate research with inspiration, and somehow to both exaggerate and grossly oversimplify.  And it always seemed kind of silly to me.  Because 1) inspiration is EVERYWHERE, even at my desk back home and 2) you don't go looking for inspiration.  It finds you.

But what if I'm not giving my questioners enough credit?  What if they are really asking something much more subtle?  Travel cracks open your mind (and not just in the why-the-hell-would-anyone-put-that-shelf-two-feet-over-the-bed sense... though, for the record, ouch).  It exposes you to new avenues of thought (much the same way an excellent book can do).  And when you open new doors in your mind, inspiration walks through them.  So perhaps, in a way, I do travel for inspiration.  But it's not the boats or the monuments that do it, it's the new worlds inside.

And the people.  God, I love the people.

Sitting in the Rodin Museum, I found myself wondering if Rodin was ever happy with his work.  If he ever saw himself as succeeding in capturing that perfect moment, that perfect movement, that perfect emotion.  It made me wonder if the day of pure success, the day when we achieve the divinity of our ambitions, would in fact be the end of art.  If we need the quest, the unrequited desire to perfectly convey the feeling that is the genesis, the inspiration of it all.  If, perhaps, to be striving for great art, there has to be a lack we are trying to overcome.

Some of the greatest musicians/writers/artists were quite tortured.  Did that make them better?  If we were perfectly happy would we create?  If Shakespeare had been perfectly fulfilled in his love life would we have his work filled with such exquisite yearning?  Would his words have lost their sweet ache?  Movies like Shakespeare in Love want us to believe he loved and lost.  But why do we need to believe Shakespeare felt the kind of love he wrote about?  Why do we need to romanticize the man?  Even if he did not feel it through a person, he felt it through his words.

Why does passion on the page have to come directly from passion in life?  It's all around us.  It doesn't have to be happening to us. 

We all project so much, if you're listening for it.  There's this marvelous, wild sea of emotion in the air all the time.  When we're too much in ourselves, we can miss it, but when you listen you can almost taste it.  (Yes, I realized I mixed listen and taste, but those are the Right Words for what I mean.  Accept the dissonance and move along, boys and girls.  And, FYI, if you're looking for a book about tasting emotion, Tamara Hogan has some hot incubi who do just that in Taste Me, just sayin'.)

Could it be those most adept at writing the emotional squalls of humanity are simply those who are best able to open themselves up to the entire spectrum of human feeling floating around us at all times, rather than those who feel it most acutely themselves?  It seems, perhaps, that feeling it acutely yourself would be a handicap.  You become so centralized in your own narrow experience that you lose the ability to bring your reader (listener, viewer, whatever the art form) into the experience.  Perhaps the greats are not those who are best able to feel, but those best able to capture universal feeling.  To lasso the amorphous tide of human desire.

Is that listening something most of us grow into?  Is that part of why so few children write master works?  Because they certainly do not lack for creativity or inspiration.  Dreams are so bright and wild when you're young - but do you need the empathy that comes with age to truly connect with your audience emotionally?  Mozart composed as a boy and his songs were beautiful and precise and crisp and neat.  Beethoven composed as a man and his songs were savage and yearning and impassioned and fierce.  Was it not just the years they'd lived, but the ability to connect with the universality of life around them that separated them?

Just a thought.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lock On!

You guys!  The locks are in Italy too!  It's an epidemic!

So today I'm in Cinque Terra (beyond awesome, highly recommended) and I'm wandering down the Via Dell'Amore ("Love Walk" awww... though for the record, the path that goes between Monterosso and Vernazza is waaaay more fun) and what do I happen to espy?  Locks!  Not as many as the bridge in Paris, but a flippin' ton of them and some of them even have "Via Dell'Amore" inscribed on them - which begs the question, did this trend begin here?  Or is it a larger international trend that some enterprising Italian has decided to merchandise?  And why didn't anyone tell me?  How did I not know this was happening?  It's so freaking cute

Since someone (*cough* Kali *cough*) has been nagging for pictures, behold, the locks of Cinque Terra (and a few other snaps from today):

At first I think there are just a couple locks. Then...
And if you walk a little further... yep. They're even hanging from the ceiling.
Living on the edge in Manarola...
My favorite path, between Monterosso and Vernazza...
And I walked so far, I destroyed my shoes. And me with no duct tape. The horror! This one I like to call "A Shoe with a View."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Super Secrets Revealed!

Want insider info even I didn't know about the Superhero anthology?  My editor and all three Midnight Justice authors (myself, Kimberly Dean & Jodi Redford) were interviewed by Bookpushers - who are all kinds of awesome.  Swing on by and check out the interview for an inside peek into how the Superhero antho came about.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Rubies Get Super

Today I'm interviewed by the lovely and talented Sara Ramsey over at the Ruby Blog.  We're talking about all things super... and there's an excerpt... and there's a giveaway.  So hie yourself on over and say howdy and you could win a shiny, new, fresh-of-the-presses edition of Superlovin'.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bidder Up on Choice Super Swag

It's that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen!  It's the Brenda Novak Auction to Save the World! (Okay, I'm still in a superhero mood - if we're being all technical it's for Diabetes Research, which is also a hellagood cause.)  All your favorite authors are coming together for fun and a good cause.  You can bid on anything from books to vacation getaways and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  Wanna have lunch with your favorite author?  That can be arranged, y'all.  (Provided your favorite author is not me, cuz I'm not auctioning off lunch.  Though if it is me... awwww, that's so sweet!  Wanna go to lunch?)

Now, you may be asking, what are you donating this year, Vivi?  Observe, the awesome:

You guys, I want this basket.  I'm a huge nerd for all things superhero, as I believe you may be aware.  The Superman mug?  It is ENORMOUS. (For a super thirst!) And the soft tote bag?  How badly do I want to keep this for myself?  Badly.  Very badly.  Since I already have one just like it, I am willing to give away the Kindle, pre-loaded with all the Midnight Justice stories AND an ARC of the not-yet-released Superbad - my sequel to Superlovin.  But the custom one-of-a-kind Kindle cover?  OMG.  You guys.  I want it.  It's mine.  You can't have it.  Except you can... if you bid now. 

Also, this year, the Rubies snagged their very own category.  There are tons of books & critiques from the Rubies HERE.  But pay particular attention to:

If you are an aspiring paranormal author, this package is insanely badass.  You get feedback from not one, not two, but THREE multi-published, Golden Heart & Daphne Winning paranormal romance authors (one of whom is also a NYT Bestseller!).  Tamara Hogan (author of the Underbelly Chronicles), Darynda Jones (of Best-selling Charlie Davidson fame), and I have come together to offer a critique of a manuscript partial and synopsis (not to exceed 30 pages) and afterward I will follow up with you via email or in person if you are attending the RWA National Conference, to discuss your manuscript. 

Not a writer-type?  All about the books?  Then check out:

You hear tell of the Rubies, yes?  You want to know what we write... and get a shiny new Kindle in the bargain?  Then be sure to bid on this Kindle Touch with lighted cover, pre-loaded with over 30 Ruby books, including several by yours truly.

Perhaps you prefer your books of the pet-able, page-turn-able variety?  Also on the bidder's block is a signed trio of Karmic Consultants Books.  And if you win this... and when you collect your prize you say you saw it here, I will throw in some other cool swag to sweeten the pot.  Some trading cards, of course, and perhaps a .pdf with all the other Karmic stories not yet available in print?

 That's all for me, but there are HUNDREDS of other amazing packages available at this auction.  Go forth and bid, minions!  And remember, it's for a good cause! auctionofyear

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Get Your Super Love On! (Plus Deleted Scene)

Finding someone to love is hard, y’all.  Okay, correction – finding someone to love is the easiest thing in the world.  Finding someone to love who loves you back and wants to spend the rest of their life with you forever and ever amen – that’s the hard part.  Dating can be an exercise in doubt.  Does he like you?  Do you like him?  Does he like you as much as you like him?  WHY ISN'T HE CALLING, DAMMIT?  Do your lives fit together?  Do you want the same things?  Will you still want the same things in ten years?  Twenty?  You can make yourself crazy – and that’s just dating in the real world.  Just think how much it must suck to be single with superpowers.  

Darla, the super heroine of my new release Superlovin’, is just a single girl, living in the city, looking for love… and, okay, yes, she straps on some spandex and flies (literally) off to do some derring-do every night, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want a nice, normal relationship for the times when she isn’t kicking bad guy ass.  Unfortunately, Darla also has super strength, so she has to always be careful with her beaus, lest she get a bit carried away and crack a rib or three in a moment of passion.  The idea of being able to be her whole self with a man – badass strength and all – is a temptation nearly impossible  to resist – even if the man who brings that out in her is a villain himself.  

And that's where Lucien comes in.  Second generation villain.  Trouble in black leather.  Super strong.  More than a match for our girl.  But can they get beyond their ethical differences?  You're gonna have to buy it to find out, boys and girls.  (On sale now!  KindleNookSamhain!)  ...but I'll give you a hint: it's a romance.  Everyone lives happily ever after. Thems the rules.

Here's a peek at the official blurb and below that, cast your eyes upon the (unedited) scene I like to think of as See Darla Date, deleted from the final work but originally the opening chapter.  Enjoy and may your week be all things Super!

She could resist this bad boy…if he wasn’t so damn good at it.
A Midnight Justice story

Darla Powers, a.k.a. DynaGirl, is the Jessica Rabbit of crime fighters, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy finding a date. When her latest ex opines she’s not helpless enough to make him feel manly, she flies off to take out her romantic frustrations on a villain dumb enough to pick tonight to break into a secret government vault.

Lucien Wroth’s father may be a famous supervillain, but Lucien doesn’t see himself as a bad guy. Just one determined to free his baby sister from a supercriminal’s clutches. He’s this close to getting his hands on a vital set of schematics when one sultry superheroine catches him elbow-deep in a top-secret safe.

Darla is horrified when Lucien’s pretty face—and bulging muscles—distract her enough to let him get away. No one escapes DynaGirl. But somewhere along the way to getting revenge for her public humiliation, she and Lucien become uneasy allies…resisting an all-too-easy attraction. Suddenly she suspects the perfect man for a good girl just might be a very bad boy. 

Warning: This book contains heroes, villains, mind-games, epic battles, bustiers, leather, and an infamous “Women of the Cape” Maxim photo spread.

(Deleted Scene after the jump)