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Free Promo is underway!

14 Jun

Mending Fences is free today and tomorrow on Amazon. If you haven’t read it yet, or if you enjoyed it and want to gift it to a fellow romance reader, now is the time!

Here are the links:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Mending-Fences-ebook/dp/B0077I0OIG

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mending-Fences-ebook/dp/B0077I0OIG

 

And the dust settles…for now

13 Jun

Ok, I think I’ve got the blog’s new look in a good place for now. I reserve the right to change it at any time, because, you know, I’m a girl.

On the schedule this week

11 Jun

Happy Monday, everyone! There are some big things coming this week. Between now and Friday the plan is to:

  • Launch a new look for the blog
  • Offer Mending Fences for FREE Thursday and Friday before it leaves the Amazon exclusive program.
  • Release Finding Refuge on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ARe, and Smashwords. It will launch on Kobo as soon as their new author portal goes live later this month so I can upload directly. I’ll also upload to Apple as soon as I can borrow a friend’s Mac.

Also, Mending Fences will be available on those same platforms as of Sunday, June 17. Being exclusive to Amazon can result in great sales, but, having done it, I’ve concluded that I don’t like paying the price of not having my books available to readers at their choice of vendors, in their choice of formats. So, out of Select I go.

Whew, that’s plenty to keep me busy this week. What’s on your schedule?

Death of an Inspiration and a Legend

7 Jun

I have to take a moment out of this week’s insanity to post about the loss of a legendary writer, a man whose works both entertained and inspired me: Ray Bradbury, who was 91 at his passing. I know this might seem strange, coming from a romance writer. But before I wrote contemporary romance, I toiled over tales of speculative fiction (with romantic subplots), and most of my reading in my youth came from that genre.

I came across Mr. Bradbury’s work as a young teen, when my reading material consisted primarily of epic fantasy novels. His stories and novels added more speculative fiction into my reading mix. The dark look at the future in Fahrenheit 451 cracked my youthful vision of a utopian future world, leading to growth in both my critical thinking skills and my imagination. Something Wicked This Way Comes entertained me, scared me, and made me think about deeper themes, which further shaped my storytelling skills as I studied how to wrap several elements into a tale. I devoured his short stories and enjoyed the adaptations on his TV series, The Ray Bradbury Theater.

Mr. Bradbury is a true legend among speculative fiction fans. He will be missed, but through his work, he will live forever.

If you haven’t seen this, you should!

4 Jun

Tinkerbell by Jirka Väätäinen

Today, I discovered a new work by one of my favorite designers. Jirka Väätäinen is a very talented Finnish university student who has created a series of pictures of Disney characters in “real life”.

His work is so fun and just gorgeous to look at. He has done one villain, Ursula from Little Mermaid. The rest of the series includes Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Belle (Beauty & the Beast), Esmerelda (Hunchback of Notre Dame), Jasmine (Aladdin), Ariel (Little Mermaid), Megara (Hercules), Mulan, Pocahontas, Tiana (Princess & the Frog), Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel (Tangled), Alice (Alice In Wonderland), and Jane (Tarzan).

I really hope he turns his attention to the Disney heroes at some point. Or at least more of the villains. I’d love to see what he could do with Maleficent!

If you haven’t seen his entire series, check out his website by clicking on Tinkerbell, or have a look at the photos section of his Facebook page.

Graduation Day and A Twist on Pride & Prejudice

31 May

Happy Thursday! It’s a crazy busy day around here because son #3 graduates from high school today, woohoo! Three children down, two to go, I’m over the halfway mark. So, while I’m off to watch a class of nearly 800 students walk (and yes, that takes as long as you might think it does), here is something to brighten your day.

Have you seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? It’s a modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, told as Lizzie’s video blog on YouTube. New episodes are uploaded every Monday and Thursday, and it is so much fun! Give it a look!

Auction ending, Scavenger Hunt beginning!

29 May

A couple of quick notes for today. First, Brenda Novak’s amazing month-long auction to benefit diabetes research is coming to an end on Thursday. Hop over and take a look at the great items still available. You have two more days, don’t miss it! Click on the blue box at the right to see the Kindle Fire loaded with 30 books, including my Mending Fences, on the auction.

Second, I’m participating in the Summer Fun Web Hunt, organized by Night Owl Reviews. It’s a scavenger hunt on the web, and there are AMAZING prizes up for grabs. I’m giving away a $100 Amazon gift card. See? Very cool prizes will be awarded during this promo. Click on the sandy beach box there on the right to get all the details on prizes and participating authors and websites. The fun starts Friday, June 1, and runs through July 15. It’s going to be a blast!

Alpha & Beta Heroes in The Avengers (aka I’m having a fangirl moment)

5 May

The Helvetican and I went to see The Avengers last night. I frequently have to drag my hero to summer popcorn movies, or have mercy on his soul and take the teens while he’s at work. However, he likes comic book characters and the good movies Marvel has been making with them, so he went willingly.

I LOOOOOOOVED The Avengers! Of course, with Joss Whedon writing and directing, how could it be anything but fantastic? Great script, a ton of fabulous lines, with so much humor to balance out the tension. Effects were beautifully done. I thought it was a perfect start to the summer movie season.

But the very best reason to love it, particularly as a romance writer and reader…the heroes. Heroes everywhere! And not just heroes, but a fantastic heroine: Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. Now there’s a girl who is very well aware of her strengths and abilities. She can hold her own, kick ass, use all her feminine tools to get the job done as needed, and still be a woman with a vulnerable heart underneath it all. There’s another heroine, too: Agent Maria Hill. She’s a tough girl, a soldier. We didn’t get to know her very well, but I liked her!

But back to the heroes.

  • Tony Stark, Iron Man. Brilliant, witty, snarky, egotistical, self-centered. He is a definite alpha and heroic because he does the right thing no matter what it costs him. I love that he is beautifully matched with a woman who can turn him on his ear and run him in circles when she chooses.
  • Dr. Bruce Banner, The Hulk. Brainy, quiet, caring, thoughtful–but simmering underneath. He is a beta hero with a serious alpha undercurrent. And a shifting issue.
  • Thor…well, hey, it’s hard to look past a god, especially when he looks that good (and this from a woman who’s not big on blonds or beards). He’s an alpha through and through, especially now that this god has grown up and learned about responsibility and protecting others. Extremely powerful, but capable of great love and gentleness.
  • Steve Rogers, Captain America. Serious, strong of character, reserved, decidedly old-fashioned, doing the right thing no matter how hard, because that is what must be done, taking charge because someone needs to rise to the occasion. A very gentlemanly alpha who has beta tendencies.
  • Nick Fury brought The Avengers together, and is doing what needs to be done in the background to keep the world safe, even from his superiors, if necessary. Definitely falls into the alpha designation.
  • Agent Phil Coulson, a supporting character throughout the films leading up to this one. He’s quiet, cool, calm, polite to a fault, genial, but able and willing to do what needs doing. He’s not your usual alpha, and I’m inclined to think on a personal level he’s much more of a beta, so we’ll go with a beta with an alpha streak.

My favorite, though? Surprised the heck out of me. Agent Barton, Hawkeye…OMG, yes, please. He’s definitely an alpha, but what is it about this character that caught my attention, especially when he’s not exactly at his best for a while there? Is it the archery thing? I admit to a serious weakness for a man with a bow. Is it the fact that he is quietly, outrageously efficient, ruthless, with high attention to detail, the best at what he does without being a cocky bastard, and yet is a man with emotions under it all? I haven’t quite figured it out. So, strictly in the interest of research, I’m heading out to see it again with my daughter!

Who is your favorite comic book hero?

The Auction for Diabetes Research is ON!

1 May

auctionofyear

I’ve been missing in action for a while, sorry about that. It’s been a bit crazy around here, full of car repairs, forcing teenagers to attend school when they are suffering spring fever, and, of course, preparing the next book for release.

One of the best things I did while I was away was donate to Brenda Novak’s annual auction to raise funds for diabetes research. This is the eighth year of Ms. Novak’s auction, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it on the donation side, rather than just the bidding side! A Kindle Fire is loaded with a copy of Mending Fences, along with 25 additional contemporary romance and romantic suspense books donated by other authors, and the bidding is underway. Check it out by clicking the blue auction banner to the right!

There are some truly amazing items to bid on, for both writers and readers. Please, go explore and place your bids for a great cause!

Book cover poses and the people who test them

24 Apr

My daughter gave me a hard time about the cover of Mending Fences when she first got a look at it. She zeroed in on the way the woman’s shoulder and arm look. Something about the top line seemed unnatural to her. It wasn’t until I took her in front of the mirror and positioned her like the cover that she saw, yes, indeed, that’s how her own arm looked in that pose.

The discussion reminded me of an awesome post back in January by Jim C. Hines. Mr. Hines is a fabulous writer. His series about Jig the Goblin is delightful, unique in its choice of hero, and very funny. His Princess Novels are another stroke of creative genius, twisting old fairy tales, using their darker origins, and turning princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty,  and Snow White) into fantasy versions of Charlie’s Angels. Seriously, if you like fantasy or fairy tales, check these out. You will not be disappointed.

Now that I’ve told you a bit about Mr. Hines, I’ll explain how this relates to the book cover poses. Mr. Hines decided to discuss the frequently unnatural and downright ludicrous poses of women on fantasy and urban fantasy novels. Since pictures are worth a thousand words, he posted with photos of him mimicking the poses beside the actual book covers…and then discussed the pain involved in getting into those poses. And the post is a scream: http://www.jimchines.com/2012/01/striking-a-pose/

Now he has decided to take on male poses on UF and paranormal romance novel covers! http://jimhines.livejournal.com/628418.html His analysis of what is expected of men and women on covers is great.

Equally brilliant, I thought, is a post by Anna, a book blogger, who ran with the idea and did a side-by-side comparison of men’s vs. women’s poses. http://genrereviews.livejournal.com/371367.html

Really great stuff! I have only occasional flashes of brilliance myself, but I’m happy to take the opportunity to share the good things I stumble across.

What book cover poses have made you think the model must have been in pain or Photoshopped because a real body couldn’t possibly achieve that position?