Friday, July 29, 2011

Writers: Never Happy With What You've Got?

I hate my straight hair. I would love curls, but except for my short-lived spiral perm days, my hair has hung straight...and limp...and bodyless.

Of course everyone I know who is blessed with naturally curly hair complains bitterly about it. They hate their curls as much as I hate my straight hair.

Writers are the same way. I can't think of one writer I know who claims to be happy with what they've got.

If they're unagented or unpublished, they desperately want an agent or a publisher.

If they're agented they want a book deal.

If they're with a small press they want to play in the big leagues.

If they're agented and have a book deal, they want a different editor/deadline/cover/release date/sales.

No one is happy with what they've got...all the time.

But most of us are happy some of the time. The contracted writer is happy her publisher believes in her book. The agented writer is happy she's found an advocate for her book. The small press author is happy that, even if it doesn't have the best distribution or marketing behind it, her book is available for public consumption. The unpublished/unagented author is happy to be writing (because otherwise, why do it? Their time could be better spent doing their best Martha Stewart impression or saving the world).

Tell me Killer Friends: What are you unhappy with? What are you satisfied with? What do you want next?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Places I Go


What blogs do you visit? [Besides KC of course.] I ask because I’m always looking for fun places to hang out on the web. How else can I procrastinate?
I have a handful of favorite blogs that I must visit every day. It’s part of my routine, usually accompanying my breakfast, which I eat at my computer. [Multi-tasking!]
In no particular order I drop by:
I Can Has Cheezeburger – I need my dose of kyoot kitties every single day.
Dear Author – I love their forthright, no holds barred book reviews. They tell it like it is.
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – ditto, they don’t mince words and they often have the industry scoop before anyone else
Free Range Kids – I got interested in Lenore Skenazy’s parenting blog after she made headlines for allowing her young son to ride the subway alone. I thought she was nuts then, but after following her posts for a while, I’ve become a fan of free-range parenting
Cake Wrecks – I discovered this blog a couple of years ago and spent a lot of time falling off my chair laughing. I have to admit, I’ve now seen my share of bad cakes, but I drop by on Sundays when they post pictures of knockout gorgeous desserts.
Stars Will Cry – erotica author Cora Zane is my inspiration to put my butt in the chair and write. Her posts are almost always about her writing progress and how tirelessly she works to perfect her craft. I wish I had her dedication and her energy.
Kristen Painter – one of the founders of Romance Divas, Ms. Painter keeps me entertained with her Caturday posts and fun topics about the writing life
Hyperbole and a Half – Do not eat or drink while reading this blog. The hilarity is on hold right now because the author is putting out a book of her posts, but if you want to die laughing, check out some of her favorite posts listed in the blog’s side bar.
And of course,
Confessions of a Crime Writer – our own JB Lynn’s home on the web. I especially like to keep up with her READING, WRITING, LISTENING, WATCHING and EATING posts because my life seems less boring when I have to write down what I’ve actually been doing during the week.
What blogs do you visit most? Why do they keep your attention?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens! or why guest blogger Liz Fichera loves genre bending



Blockbusters



Anyone who really knows me knows that I’m more than just a little bit excited about the movie COWBOYS & ALIENS, set to release at the end of this month.  I haven’t been this excited about a movie premiere since, maybe, JAWS.  Seriously.  It’s been that long.  I’m so excited that I may even stand in line to buy tickets and, believe me, when it’s 115 degrees in the desert where I live, you gotta want something pretty bad.



And I want this movie. Now, please.



I love movies set in the Old West.  I love cowboys.  But most of all, I love genre bending.  I mean, in COWBOYS & ALIENS a spaceship arrives in Arizona in 1873 to take over the Earth.  A band of hunkalicious cowboys must save the day.  There will be horses, silver spurs, cowboy hats and leather chaps.  And did I mention the movie stars Daniel Craig?! Yes, please! More!



Summer is the perfect season for big blockbuster movies.  I almost feel like a kid again (except when Daniel Craig pops on the screen, of course.)



What about you? Are you looking forward to any movies this summer?  What movie have you waited in long lines to see?  Bonus question: Have you ever dressed in costume for a movie? (Be honest. We’re all friends here.)







Liz’s bio:



Liz is an author from the American Southwest.  She writes commercial fiction and young adult novels but mostly she writes stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things.  Her latest novel CRAVING PERFECT released on July 25 from Carina Press.  She is also the author of CAPTIVE SPIRIT (2010) and the upcoming HOOKED (Harlequin Teen, 2013).  Don't hesitate to drop by her web site or blog to connect.






Buy Links for Craving Perfect:






Monday, July 25, 2011

A Writer's Talismans, Totems, and Charms

Writers can be a quirky and superstitious lot.

Many have writing rituals: where they write, how they write, what they drink/listen to/wear as they write.

Some writers make up giant collages that tell the story of their book before they ever commit a word to the page.

I once knew a writer who built a shrine to her muse, complete with candles and an altar. (I'm fairly certain no animal sacrifices were involved.)

I tend to fall into the category of writers who rely on physical reminders of their story. I don't think these things have magical powers, but they do serve as constant links to a fictional world. They help me to remain productively obsessed.

When I was writing The First Victim I carried a rock in my pocket. Why? Because FBI Agent Chase Morgan carried a rock, which had great emotional significance to him. I'm pretty sure that Chase's rock didn't make it into the final version of the book, but my rock served as a constant touchstone during my writing process.

When I was working on my now-agented book, I asked my husband to make a mock book cover up. Copies of it went up on my fridge, bulletin board and as the wallpaper on my computer. Everywhere I looked, there was my book, staring me in the face.

For the book I'm writing now, I'm using a doggie bag for inspiration. No, really, a doggie bag. This one:





Pity my poor husband who, after I'd removed the restaurant leftovers, tried to throw the bag away.

"Don't!" I cried. "I NEED that!"

Writers aren't the only ones with talismans, totems and charms. Baseball players have lucky socks, saleswomen have earrings that help them seal the deal, and practically every runner I know wears something that reminds them of an earlier race as they prepare for their next race.


So tell me KILLER FRIENDS: Do you rely on any talismans, totems or charms?


Tomorrow Liz Fichera will be here talking COWBOYS AND ALIENS. Don't miss it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Do you want to be a serious writer?



I don’t. Let's face it, THE FIRST VICTIM is a creepy, suspenseful read, but not thought-provoking.

I don’t expect people to think deep, complex, what’s-the-meaning-of-life thoughts when they read my books.

I respect authors who want to do that with their work, so please don't think I'm insulting those who manage to pull it off.

It's just that my goal as a genre fiction writer is to entertain a reader, to amuse or scare them for a few minutes, or transport them away from their problems for a couple of chapters. If I want serious, they can turn on the news or read the paper.



This doesn’t mean I don’t take my work seriously. I’m invested in my creation. I’m constantly striving to improve my craft. I just don't think it's going to change the world.

Tell me Killer Friends: Do you read the works of serious writers? Do you want to be a serious writer?


And speaking of reading, what are you reading now? I'm reading AT HOME by Bill Bryson. Fascinating stuff!

Note: This was posted by Jennifer for JB, because Blogger hates JB

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New release!

If you could be someone else for a week, would you want to? What if you could be someone else forever?

Researcher Tess Ronson has been given a golden opportunity. When she agrees to have her consciousness downloaded into a prototype android body, she’s thrilled by the scientific and medical possibilities. The body, nicknamed Sydney by its creator, is physically perfect and stunningly beautiful, two things Tess is not.
For a week she lives a life she’s only dreamed of and learns far more about her own burning sexuality and untamable spirit than she thought possible. But after seven days in Sydney she also discovers the consequences of giving herself over to her every wicked desire.  
“Don’t worry. Absolutely nothing can go wrong.”
Those are the last words Tess hears before her consciousness is transferred into an android body. Beauty, health…even immorality can be hers for the taking. But when she discovers the true priced of perfection will she be willing to pay up?
Seven Days in Sydney is my first all-erotica title. To find out more, and to read an excerpt or sample visit:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I liked that first chapter…by guest blogger Adrienne Giordano

Please extend a Killer welcome to Adrienne Giordano!

I liked that first chapter…

I learned an interesting lesson recently. For me, that's never a bad thing because I wake up each morning hoping beyond hope that I will learn something new that day. On the particular day in question though, the lesson shocked me. I would venture to say I was even embarrassed by it.



Let me give you a little backstory. My debut book, Man Law, was released on July 4. The hero in my book lives by his man laws. He may obliterate every other rule, but he sticks to those man laws.




In preparation for the book release, had sample chapter books printed that I could hand out for promotional reasons. I chose the following excerpt for the sample book.

http://adriennegiordano.com/home2/man-law-excerpt/

With the content for the chapter book chosen, I decided to include a complete list of Man Laws in the back. Finally, my chapter book was ready to be sent off to the printer.

When the proof copy came in, I nearly giggled with joy. There is truly something miraculous about seeing your name on a book cover. After the required cooing, I stood checking each page for errors while the clerk, a twenty-something guy, hovered nearby.

I finished the inspection and held the book up.

"It looks good," I said.

The clerk nodded. "Did you write that?"

And here it was, my chance to say confirm that I was a published author. I was so filled with joy I barely knew what to do with it all.

When I told him I was the author, he laughed and said, "There's some pretty funny stuff in that book."

"Do you like the man laws?" I asked.

He whistled and grinned like the mischievous fella I imagined he was. "I liked that first chapter."

I stood paralyzed. That is, if we don't count the blood rushing to my face and firing my cheeks to a hot red.

I should have been thrilled and I was. I also had no idea how to respond to a man who had just told me he'd not only read the tail-end of a sex scene I'd written, but he'd enjoyed it.

He laughed at my embarrassment and asked me when I'd be bringing the next book in. Which, of course, made my cheeks fire again. As Vic, the hero in Man Law would say, kill me now.

I should tell you that I am not exactly a wilting flower. It takes a lot to embarrass me. It takes even more to render me speechless (ask my husband about that one.), but this situation did me in. So, I did what any other forty-four year-old debut romance author would do. I grabbed the box of chapter books and got the hell out of there! I did. Nearly sprinted to the exit.

I reached the safety of my car and laughed my horror. All I could think about was a print shop full of men sitting around reading the opening of my book. Who says men don't read romances? I now have proof!

But, alas, there was something to be learned in all of this. What is it, you ask? The lesson is to be prepared for situations like this. To grab hold of that moment and work it like a professional trying to nab a sale. My guess is the clerk printed an extra copy of the book and brought it home to his wife/significant other. Maybe that person has even purchased the book.

I won't know until I go to the print shop again in September and run into that clerk again. Maybe by then I'll have figured out what to say when a man says "I liked that first chapter."

Readers, if it had been you in this situation, what would you have said? I'd love to know.
Adrienne's Bio:

Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and women's fiction. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her work-a-holic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaton Terrorist (Terrier).

She is a co-founder of Romance University blog.

Adrienne's debut romantic suspense, Man Law, is available from Carina Press.

Her second book, A Just Deception, will be available from Carina Press on September 5, 2011. For more information please visit www.AdrienneGiordano.com.

Adrienne can be found on Twitter and Facebook

Man Law available at:

Carina Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Monday, July 18, 2011

Favorite Harry Potter characters?

With all the buzz surrounding the release of the last Harry Potter movie, I've been thinking about the books and my favorite characters. I'll tell you mine if you'll tell me yours!

But first I wanted to make sure you know that Adrienne Giordano is guest blogging with us tomorrow. I alternately cringed and laughed at the story she tells, so make sure you stop by to read all about her adventure!

Also, on Wednesday Bernadette Gardner (do you know who that is?) will be telling us all about her latest release, so don't miss that either!

Okay, here are my Top Three Harry Potter characters:

Long-suffering but consistently heroic Neville Longbottom



Brave, loyal, unclothed and clothed DOBBY the House Elf



And the guy everyone else loved to hate, but I just loved SEVERUS SNAPE



So tell me Killer Friends: Who are YOUR favorite Harry Potter characters and why?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My current obsession

Sometimes I wonder about myself.  I think I must be nuts now and then.
Maybe it’s the summer heat, frying my brain. But my latest obsession is a semi-sentient mushroom.
Yes, that’s right. Back away slowly. Jen has lost it.
Let me explain, though, before you grab the nearest butterfly net or straitjacket. You see, I’ve reached a lull. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been writing a lot. I finished novella, then a novel, the another novella. Since last week I’ve been engaged in various stages of proofreading, editing, polishing, submitting, formatting or in some way preparing or fiddling with those manuscripts and at the moment, I’m out of stuff to do. The novella [Married to the MIB] is published. The novel [The Devil’s Due] has just completed edits. The second novella is being critiqued, I’ve got cover art commissioned and I’ve engaged an editor. I’m done with edits for Interview with a Gargoyle and so…now I’m faced with the prospect of coming up with my next big project.
And I want to do is make little blue mushrooms.
[If you’ve backed far enough away, this would be a good time to run.]
See, the other night I watched the movie Gnomeo & Juliet. [Shakespeare and Elton John meet Travelocity]. It was a cute movie, but everything just stopped for me when I laid eyes on Shroom, the hero’s faithful fungi sidekick.

I know I cannot write another word until I have a Shroom of my own. I drew one.

But that’s not enough. Now I must make one. So I’ve been hunting up some white Model Magic Crayola Clay because I positively cannot live, nor can I concentrate, until I have a Shroom.
What’s distracted you from your writing lately?

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm Agented (again)

Okay, so here's some pretty exciting news I've been sitting on for a while since I had so much going on with The First Victim: I've landed a new agent.

If you've never had an agent, I'm sure this sounds like the most wonderful news a writer could receive.

It's not.

I'm pretty sure the most wonderful news a writer can receive is that their agent has sold their book.


I've had an agent before (hence the "again" in the title)and I'm here to tell you that having a book an agent couldn't sell is one of the most depressing spots a writer can find her/himself in. It sucks. Editor rejections are worse than agent rejections. Much, much worse, because they mean you've reached the end of the line.

Unless....

You decide to part ways with your agent. (More than one person basically told me I was nuts for doing this, but it felt right to me at the time.)

Now you have a couple of options of what to do with this novel of yours that has been shopped around. You can trunk it. You can see if a smaller publisher is interested in it. You can give up on ever landing an agent again. You can give up on your dream of ever being published.

I believed in my story so I chose to take my novel to a smaller publisher. (Yup, THE FIRST VICTIM published by Carina Press was the book my former agent failed to sell.)


Then I decided I wanted to try the agent route again. Because going through hell and ending up with nothing to show for it but battle scars wasn't enough, I wanted to do it again.

So after writing a book I LOVE (seriously, I never got the "book of your heart" thing before I wrote this manuscript) I once again embarked on the Great Agent Hunt.

And I bagged one. And she's wonderful. And she's almost as enthusiastic about my book as I am (which is really saying something because I literally STILL jump up and down when I start thinking about my book...yes, I'm that nuts about it).

So once again I'm back in that special level of hell reserved for writers who are "on sub". Wish me luck!

Tell me Killer Friends: What do you think of the role agents in today's publishing world? Worth their weight in gold or not worth the hassle? What have your experiences been with agents? If you haven't had an agent, do they figure into your career dreams?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The CSI effect on the Casey Anthony case

I've had two knee-jerk reactions to the Casey Anthony case (neither of which have to do with her guilt or not guiltiness)that I wanted to discuss today. Since I wasn't privvy to all the evidence and testimony, I'm not going to level blame in anyone's direction.

My first reaction came at the beginning of the case when I heard the prosecutors were charging her with first degree murder. "Big mistake," I literally muttered aloud, being of the opinion that all the defense would need to win the case, would be one juror opposed to the death penalty. Plus, once one charge has been removed from consideration, how easy must it be to disregard the rest?


My other reaction happened this week, right after the verdicts were delivered. Someone asked what I thought of the verdict and my answer was, "Bad science. In our post-CSI society, everyone expects the scientific evidence to be rock solid. If not, the case is toast."

IMHO the CSI franchise has skewed our view of the burden of proof the prosecution is forced to bear. I would imagine,that in the days before CSI, if someone hadn't reported a child was missing/had died for a month, a juror's initial reaction might have had them leaning toward a Guilty verdict. Now it's a matter of "show me the science".

The prosecution didn't have the science to back up their claims. Hell, they didn't even have a "cause of death" which would have never happened if Horatio Caine had been on the case.

So what do you think Killer Friends? Has CSI changed the understanding and expectation of forensic evidence? Or has my own enthusiasm for crime/suspense/mystery/thriller novels and television warped my view of the judicial process?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July Headlines

Married to the MIB is available FREE at Smashwords during the month of July! I entered it in the Smashwords Summer Promotion as an experiment - remember when I was talking about the pricing dilemma? Oddly enough, I've discovered that FREE equals sales, believe it or not. So I figured what the heck. I'll let you know how the promo goes.


An orgasmic review for Fresh Blood! The TBR Pile Blog has reviewed Fresh Blood and has deemed it a Four-Star recommended read!



Fresh Blood is still available for Free at Smashwords and All Romance eBooks!
The "sequel" to Fresh Blood, La Vida Muerta is available at Amazon.com, Amber Quill Press and All Romance eBooks.




I've finished the galley's for Interview with a Gargoyle and my editor sent me the official cover art! I'm drooling.





What headlines do you have for July?

Monday, July 4, 2011

A secret prize giveaway and the lessons of the last 6 months

Happy Independence Day! (and a belated Happy Canada Day to our Canadian readers) Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2011?!?!?

I thought it might be fun to answer the same questions I answered in my first post of the year (but this time I’ve answered them about the last six months). I hope you’ll take the time to answer them too! I’ll be giving away a secret prize to one person who comments!

What did you find were the things you had to work on the most?
Marketing. I feel as though I spent endless hours learning how to market THE FIRST VICTIM.




It was a bit scary since I was trying a bunch of new things, but I also found the process exhilarating and I got to “meet” some of the most amazing people along the way.

What were your weaknesses?
Time management. Promo work is a GIANT time suck, a necessary one, but one that I didn’t manage particularly well. I will definitely do things differently with my next release.

(In my defense, I will say that I had A LOT going on that had nothing to do with THE FIRST VICTIM. The feeling that there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, contributed to my being overwhelmed by the marketing aspect.)


Strengths?

Who knew I had mad juggling skills?? I had multiple balls in the air and I don’t think I dropped any of them. I wobbled precariously more than once, but I don’t recall anything going splat!



What helped you to really get over the hump?

I’d like to say that I kept reminding myself that after years of hard work, I was finally getting what I wanted, but that’s not really it at all. What got me over the hump was the support of friends (real and virtual) the reviewers who were all so generous with their reviews (They like it! They really like it!) and you, my Killer Friends who share your thoughts with us.


In order to be entered for a chance to win a secret prize, share your answers regarding the following questions by noon on Sunday, July 10th.

What did you have to work on the most?
What was your greatest weakness?
Strength?
How did you get over the hump?


On Wednesday I’ll be discussing my progress so far and my goals for the rest of the year over at my blog. I hope you’ll come by and join in the conversation.

Oh, and don’t forget that CREEP by former Killer Chick Jennifer Hillier releases tomorrow!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Devil's Due

Who would you sell your soul to save?



For Ceara Landon, the answer to that question is easy. She would do anything for her younger brother Kevin, even if saving his life means shattering his dreams.


On first glance it seems the skyrocketing success of Kevin’s band, Pillars of Stone, is a dream come true, but Ceara sees the truth. His increasing drug use will destroy him and ruin any chance he has for lasting happiness.


Ceara traces the source of Kevin’s dubious rise to fame back to night club owner Alexander Quinn. The gorgeous, blue-eyed entrepreneur hides a terrible secret. He’s a soul broker – he buys souls for the Devil, and he purchased Kevin’s in exchange for fame and fortune. In desperation, Ceara offers her own soul in exchange for Kevin’s, and for the first time in his lonely existence, Alex risks everything to refuse. He agrees to help Kevin sober up and guide his band to true success, but the price for Ceara is high. She’ll have to bargain with her heart to save her brother along with the man who wants to possess her body as well as her soul.


I just signed a contract with Ellora's Cave for The Devil's Due, which will be part of their Blush line, and my first Jennifer Colgan title with EC. Stay tuned for more updates!