Friday, December 31, 2010
All of us at Fictionistas wish you a very happy, fulfilling new year. And happy reading, too.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Yeah. Wait a bit.
We are in the midst of a N'oreaster. In local terms, that's "a wickid stawm offa tha wattah."
This morning I got up, cleaned off the car, and went to the post office. Locals (townies like me) were out and about. The transplanted people were absolutely wigging. Some of them in their driveways acting like snow is nuclear fallout. Some attempting to drive gigantic 4 wheel drive SUVs that are really good at GOING in bad weather, but absolutely dismal at STOPPING in bad weather. And, unfortunately, they don't come with a "fix the jerkwad's driving" button.
I drove around them in my normal-drive Nissan. Picked up my mail, sent out some mail, got dog food and bread, and visited Starbucks. I'm fine.
Most of them are in snowbanks or ditches... and the snowbanks are pretty wimpy. I'm hoping against all past experience that these people have realized that Green Harbor is "quaint" in the summer, but she's a bit of a nasty harpy in the winter. She's... well, she's like me. I, too, can be a harsh mistress. It's easy in the good times. Not so much in the midst of a N'oreaster.
Batten down the hatches, folks.
Friday, December 24, 2010
This year, we'll be celebrating another Christmas Eve tradition, The Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian-American meal of many seafood courses that celebrates the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. We're not hosting this magnificent dinner, we're strictly guests, thanks to the generosity of another family who is opening their home to us. I am providing my world famous tiramisu, however.
What Christmas Eve traditions does your family observe?
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
On a side note, I planned my 2011 goals out, both personal and career. What about you--anyone else a goal-oriented person?
Monday, December 20, 2010
Best. Tree. Ever. I may never do another tree again.
Are y'all ready for the holidays? Try anything new this year (like a Charlie Brown tree?) or are you a stickler for old traditions?
Hope you all have a very Charlie Brown Holiday with friends, family and a pet you love. ;)
Friday, December 17, 2010
I also love giving things away.
Whatever you celebrate...or don't...please enjoy this short story that is very dear to my heart. Beth and Lucky's story made me laugh and cry while writing it...I hope it's the same for you while reading it.
The ebook is available at Smashwords. Please enter the coupon code ZR99E at checkout. Coupon expires 12/26/2010. Smashwords has a variety of formats for most ereaders--or you can read it right on your PC.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Except this year. This year, I'm a HOT MESS. I have, like, half my presents purchased. The other half I still have noooo idea what to get them. LOL. No Christmas tree up yet. No decorations. My mom is going to poop a chicken if I don't get on that. Uh, don't tell her I said that.
Anyone else in the OMG-I-HAVE-SO-MUCH-LEFT-TO-DO haze like I am? Or am I going to be super-envious of you this year?
Monday, December 13, 2010
I have a confession to make.
I love wrapping presents. Like… I absolutely ADORE wrapping presents and every year one of the big holiday productions for me is picking out my coordinating gift wrap for the season.
It has to match. It has to be in a minimum of three different gift wraps with ribbons and tags that coordinate within the theme. I tend to like patterns, plaids, or stripes with bold colors.
This year I kind of robbed myself the joy on that since I am giving almost everyone money or gift cards. I’ve been both a little under the weather and incredibly busy. But I’m seriously thinking about going “all out dude” and doing the guys’ stuff in brown paper bags and duct tape ribbon.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Pets are really something and an incident like this (Sam went into ketoacidosis, an often fatal-for-cats diabetic shock and is actually still in the hospital as I type this, making a remarkable recovery) makes you conscious of how much company they really are. When I'm at my desk, so is Sam, sprawled next to my lap top, his watchful eyes occasionally opening to see if I'm working or just shopping online.
Animals are a comfort. They are a source of unconditional love. They don't care if you're having a bad hair or you haven't brushed your teeth after eating garlic or that you're still wearing your pajamas at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. They love us the way we should love each other. Except I don't think jumping on someone when they walk through your front door to see if they're carrying food will ever catch on.
I can't imagine not having pets. No matter how many litter boxes I have to clean or vet bills I have to pay. They're just great additions to life. Do you have pets? I'd love to hear about them.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
What is a TLD? A top-level domain is the last segment of a domain name. The TLD for our blog is .com.
How many TLDs are there currently? Here's a visual, courtesy of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, of the world's TLDS...all 280 of them. (I think it's a little bit out of date, because I believe there are actually 21 gTLDs (generic top level domains) currently, but close enough.)
Most of the current TLDs are country codes (.us, .mx .ca, .cn, .ru, .uk, etc).
But see that medium-sized dot that shows 20 "g"s? Right now there are 20, but under a plan that will be voted on at an important ICANN meeting in Cartagena, Colombia on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10 (2 days from now!), the "g" domains will explode in number. ICANN has not placed an actual number of how many new TLDs will be created, but has said it could potentially be 1000s of new TLDs per year.
No, that is not 1000s of new URLs per year. I mean 1000s of new top-level domains. Come May, we could see .coke, .canon, .fashion, .book, .author, .paris, .xxx, .food, and on and on and on and on.
Rather than expanding to one or two new2 TLDs at a time like they've done in the past, ICANN has proposed an UNLIMITED expansion. This poses significan problems for trademark owners because of the possibility of additional consumer confusion and the great costs that will be involved in brand owners protecting their brands.
So what exactly does this mean for the Fictionistas and our readers?
I'm going put on a quasi-legal hat today and do something I rarely do on here or in the greater writing community...give advice. Sure, I frequently dispense legal info, but I generally am pretty careful to steer clear of giving advice, for ethical reasons.
But I'm breaking with the mold here. Today I'm going to talk in an advocacy capacity, but not as "Amanda Brice, Author and Attorney", but rather as "Amanda Brice, Author and Stakeholder."
Sure, I may not have a registered trademark for my pen name, but I have established common law trademark rights in my pen name, nonetheless. I've been promoting myself online for years under this name, and have created a brand, so to speak.
As authors, our names are our brands. It's how readers know how to find our books. It can also serve as shorthand for reader expectations. When you pick up a Nora Roberts book, you have a pretty good idea what type of experience you'll get. Or if you pick up a JD Robb -- which as we all know is written by Nora Roberts -- you'll get a completely different experience.
So what the heck does pen names have to do with ICANN's expansion of TLDs?
A lot, actually. As we all know, having a website can be a crucial tool for an author. And more important than merely having a website is having the right website. In other words, you want YourName.Com because that's where most people look.
But many authors have found that although they use the Dot.Com of their name as their primary website, defensive registration of other variations is important as well.
Take for example, my good buddy, Rhonda. She has not only http://www.rhondastapleton.com/ but also http://www.rhondastapleton.net/ which points back to the DotCom. She doesn't want to leave the .net one hanging out there in cyberspace for anyone to take, so she snapped it up when it was available. This way she avoids infringers or cybersquatters. (A cybersquatter is someone who goes around registering domain names in the hopes that whoever actually wants it will pay them money to buy it back from the cybersquatter.)
ICANN's proposal to allow a potentially unlimited number of new TLDs will create an open season for potential infringers and cybersquatters. Now we don't have to worry about policing just a few potential domains, but possibly 1000s.
One of the proposed new TLDs that has been bandied about is .book, which would be a pretty sweet one in our field. And you can buy this TLD and become a registrar for domain names if you have a mere $185,000 to spare, and $2 million over the next 10 years.
Will someone actually buy the .book TLD and create a register? Maybe not, since it's an expensive undertaking. But if the .book TLD does get off the ground, then every author is definitely going to want to snap up their domain name in that register as well, before an infringer or a cybersquatter does.
Right about now, you're thinking, "But I'm a midlister" or "I'm a debut" or "I'm unpublished." Why would someone want to infringe you? How would you even get on a cybersquatter's radar screen?
I'm going to break with convention again, and do something I rarely do...embarass myself publicly.
Go to http://www.amandabrice.com/
Go ahead...take your time. Read some of it. Now click on "about".
It doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? In case you haven't figured it out yet, this is NOT my website.
Sure, I used to own this domain, but due to my own stupidity, I lost it. I thought that I'd renewed for a 2-year period that would come up for renewal in January 2011, but in reality, it was only a 1-year period. I had the January 2010 date calendared on my Outlook at work, so had I actually been there to get the reminders, I would have realized my mistake, renewed it in a timely manner, and all would be well.
But I never went into the office during the month of January. In fact, exactly one year ago today was my last day in the office for several months...rather unexpectedly. My daughter was born 6 weeks early a year ago TOMORROW, so I suddenly went on maternity leave without taking care of anything.
Including renewing my domain name.
A few weeks back, I decided to be all proactive and do my renewal early. Um, wrong. I was about 10 months too late. I couldn't renew and couldn't even register, because after my domain went back for sale on the register, someone bought it.
In checking the details, it seems someone bought it within a few days of my losing it, but they didn't do anything with it for several months. Best I can tell, this someone was hoping I'd contact them and offer to buy it back, and then once I didn't do so, they decided to just put up a blog. A rather haphazard and random blog, I might add. Completely erratic, with no rhyme or reason, although the high heels at the top of the screen are a clear attempt to make it look at first glance like it belonged to me, since I write Chick Lit. If you read enough of it, you can find some references to Duke and UNC...so I think this is intentional.
Yup. They're cybersquatting.
But I ain't biting. Had I noticed this months back, I would lawyer up but I'm just going to sit back and wait for now. The 1-year period ends in January, so I'll revisit this issue then.
So if I, an unpublished nobody, can get cybersquatted, then bigger names definitely can and will. Once there are 1000s of new gTLDS, it is going to be next to impossible to police your brand everywhere at all times, so tons of opportunity for infringers and cybersquatters.
ICANN does have a procedure whereby trademark owners (both registered and common law) can get their domains back, but this is costly and time-consuming, and frankly, small businesses and individuals just won't be able to handle it.
If you agree with me that the risks outweigh the advantages of these new TLDS, then please make your voices heard. I do not believe that a business or public interest case for new gTLDs had been made. No launch of new gTLDs should occure before a meaningful study of the economics of the domain name marketplace has been completed and reviewed. Such a study is necessary so that if a launch does occur, it will benefit consumers rather than create risks to trademark holders. As it stands, nobody even knows the scope of this launch.
ICANN is meeting in Cartagena this week, and will be voting on the proposal ON FRIDAY. Please let them know that as a stakeholder, you do not want 1000s of new TLDs created without careful study and without creating protections for those who are likely to be infringed.
At a meeting the other day, a representative from IPO (the Intellectual Property Owners Association, a trade assosication involved in advocacy for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets) indicated that the large corporations and lobbying groups have all weighed in, but ICANN hasn't really heard from small business or from individuals. So here's your chance!
Submit your comments by December 10, 2010:
Monday, December 06, 2010
I'm not ready for them yet. I know, there are only 18 days between now and Christmas Eve. I know that halls are being decked, sweet treats are being baked, and stockings are being hung...and yet, the Christmas Spirit is eluding me.
Maybe it's because I can't have a tree this year. My
Maybe it's because this holiday will be a weird one for me. It's the first post-divorce holiday. It will definitely feel strange. The good news is, I will actually get a gift this year! I guess I've finally been a good girl.
Or maybe it's because I just haven't heard the right song yet. There is one song that always makes me happy, even though it's not technically a Christmas song, it is always played around this time of the year and it works wonders for my spirit.
Today I shall listen to it over and over again until I'm no longer feeling the ba humbug.
Baby It's Cold Outside
Do you have a specific holiday song that always gets you in the spirit?
Friday, December 03, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
So, in continuing the discussion of fake retail holidays... it’s Cyber Monday. I’m not sure if you care—I know I don’t. I do love shopping, but frenzied and forced “retail holidays” tend to turn me off rather than on. I sat out Black Friday, Recovery Saturday, and Last Chance Sunday. If there had been an incredible deal somewhere I might have been tempted to step outside and take a shot. But nothing in any of the sales circulars seemed worth my time.
I DO love to shop, and I’m notoriously frugal. (We don’t say cheap… not if we like our teeth.) Bagging a bargain, for me, feels like a huge victory. I leave Peter Harris with my bright yellow bags as if I am returning from the great hunt, sweaters and jeans aloft, a spring in my step. Best part? I don’t have to skin anything to enjoy the spoils.
So today is another fake retail holiday… which, let’s face it, is just as good as the other fake holidays. I am perfectly happy to find great deals on eBay or amazon or anywhere else. But I’m serving notice on the rest of you—I’M TALKING TO YOU SITTING IN THAT OFFICE CHAIR NOT FREAKING WORKING, CHUM—shut down the internet trying to get the last Arnie the Electronic Armadillo with Flash Action Prehensile Tail—yeah, I’m coming for you.
Friday, November 26, 2010
I've never done it. I know that might seem shocking considering how much I enjoy shopping and how good at it I am, but the prospect of fighting all those other people for merchandise seems more like combat and less like shopping.
Still, I know folks who do it faithfully every year and love it.
Which camp do you fall into? Have you already hit the stores this morning? Or are you content to stay in bed ignoring the siren song of low-priced goods? Or maybe you're doing some online shopping today? Tell me!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Here's a list of some of the little things I'm thankful for:
--two-ply toilet paper
--cute shoes (this was worth thanking twice)
--stores that have clothes for curvy girls
--Garnier hair color (I can pretend for a little while longer that I'm not graying, lol)
--my Mac notebook
--Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's Christmas album
--deliciously warm gloves
What about you? What little things in life make you happy?
Monday, November 22, 2010
So today, for the first time in a long time, I plotted with my writing partner, Maria Geraci (who's book THE BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB will hit the shelves December 7...and you should totally pre-order it NOW!) Anyway, this morning I actually worked on a book idea that I've been playing with for a year and a half but haven't written much on thanks to the foggy haze of divorce that was surrounding me.
Which means, I'm adding a couple of new things to my thankful list. Because apparently I took my creative juices for granted...and I never plan to let that happen ever again.
- I'm thankful for my imagination
- Thank all that's holy (and possibly all that's unholy) for Maria Geraci
- Thanks for my 'Nistas who listened to my whiny emails and supported me even though I was acting like I was the only person who had ever been foggy and sad.
- And for my agent Deidre and editor Kristin for their patience and understanding while I took the long road back to my creativity. :)
Now, let's all go eat some pie!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, the annual monthlong writing challenge that pushes you to write a book in November. This year, I'm taking a big risk and writing a story that is very, veeeerrry different for me. An adult thriller featuring a kick-ass heroine.
It's been a couple of months of change. But I've learned a lot about myself through these challenges. I can take risks. I can self-motivate. I can put my mind to a task and succeed. Is everything perfect? Snort. Man I wish. Life is never going to be perfect. But I took a bad situation and am trying to run with what I have.
To those of you facing big changes--you have a well of strength and resourcefulness in you that is greater than you know. Embrace change. Use it as a chance to reinforce your awareness of your strengths. And be prepared to be flexible.
To those of you also writing, we can do it!!! Let's kick some ass and take some names this month. And don't be afraid to write something completely new. You never know--it could be the best thing you've ever done for yourself.
Monday, November 15, 2010
This past week I began a six week run of radiation for a health issue. No biggie. Only the thing is, in comic books all the people who get exposed to radiation—or radioactive stuff—get superpowers. Like, they fall into a vat down at the treatment plant and wake up with the ability to shoot flaming twinkies out of a secret compartment of twinkanyte in their arms, perfectly placed so that a pair of stylish aubergine gloves, for instance, could be worn to both enhance the twinkie fire power, but also conceal the twinkpockets of doom.
Yaknow… stuff like that.
So far the only things radiation, chemotherapy, cytoxan, and similar chemical experiences have granted me are the abilities to make my hair disappear and my lunch reappear. Not to complain, but there are no marketable crime fighting skills there. I mean I really don’t want to be Baldy the Puke Crusader or Vomitta, Mistress of Hurl. I can’t imagine the get-up would be in a flattering color range. Something in a puse and pea-green spandex/lycra blend? Not so much.
Plus sometimes I think the way the radioactive stuff manifests is bunk. Peter Parker? I think not. Ever seen a spider that skinny? Or both red and blue? Red, maybe, but blue? No. And spiders are NOT skinny. They’re ARACHNIDS. Helloooo? Round bulbous critters, those. So Spidey is full of something other than webbing, if you know what I mean.
Come to think of it… that’s a look I could totally pull off. I have the bulbous thing going on. Plus I think I could spin a web of any size and quite possibly catch thieves just like flies. And if you’re going to toss up gross stuff, why not work that into a venom angle, right?
Don’t make me shoot silly string at you, dude. I’m serious.
Friday, November 12, 2010
My husband asks me if I'm filing receipts. I always nod and smile brightly and then as soon as he steps out of my office, I shove them all into a folder and scrawl something across the tab in black Sharpie marker like Writing Exp 2010. I have no doubt that this will, indeed, some day be the death of him as he likes to proclaim.
I do what I can organizationally and while I dream of better things, I know my limitations. What are yours? Are you uber organized or furiously stuffing papers in a shoebox when no one's looking?
PS. That is NOT my office. No matter what my husband may have told you.
ETA: The winner of the copy of "Morning Glory" from Amanda's Wednesday post is...drumroll, please...Andy!
Please email amandabrice (at) romancedivas (dot) com to collect your prize!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
My good friend Diana Peterfreund is joining us today to talk about her experience writing the novelization of the new movie "Morning Glory," which hits theatres TODAY and stars Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diana Keaton, and Patrick Wilson.
Here's a blurb for both the movie and the book:
BREAKING NEWS: Ambitious young TV producer Becky Fuller is fired from a local morning show in New Jersey, and her career begins to look as bleak as her hapless love life.
Desperately in need of a job, yet still full of boundless optimism, Becky vows to land on her feet and stumbles into an opportunity at Daybreak, a floundering network morning news program in New York City. Abysmal ratings are only the tip of the iceberg: Executive producers seldom survive beyond the next commercial break, and the outdated cameras belong in the Smithsonian.
Promising the head of the network that she can reverse the downward spiral, Becky makes legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy an offer he can’t contractually refuse. She successfully adds Pomeroy to the team, but he refuses to participate in any Daybreak fluff pieces and morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, fashion, and crafts. What’s more, he takes an instant dislike to his equally difficult co-anchor, Colleen Peck, a former beauty queen.The only bright spot in Becky’s career is Adam Bennett, a gorgeous fellow producer, but Daybreak’s dysfunction spells trouble for their blossoming relationship. As Mike and Colleen’s on-air chemistry proves more explosive every day, Becky must scramble to save her love life, her reputation, her job, and, ultimately, Daybreak itself.
Please welcome, Diana Peterfreund!
DP: Hi, Amanda! Thanks so much for having me!
AB: Glad you could be here! Let's talk writing. What was it like to write a book based on a screenplay?
DP: In a word: invigorating. I'd just come off writing ASCENDANT (a killer unicorn fantasy), which is my darkest novel to date. It was the depths of winter and I was in desperate need of writing something light and funny. When the script for Morning Glory came in, I sat on the couch and laughed my head off the whole way through. My husband, sitting in the next room, kept calling over to me and saying, "So it's good, huh?"
The process was pretty simple: they sent me a working script (there are differences between the script I had and the final film) and I tried to keep as true to the dialogue and storyline as possible. The challenges were how to translate the occasional montage into a cohesive narrative and of course, to fill in all of the action and the main character's interior thoughts. The needs of a screenplay and feature film are very different from those of a novel. In a movie, they can do a lot of visual short cuts. I can afford to be more expansive, to add in explanatory scenes and to flesh out parts that take more development on the page than on the screen. Whereas a film can get a lot of mileage from two attractive co-stars (in this case, Rachel McAdams and Patrick Wilson) making goo-goo eyes at each other, it doesn't come across as well in text, so I enjoyed adding to their romance.
After turning in the draft and doing revisions with my editor, we had to go through another round of approval with the studio and the the producers. We made some changes because they had updated the script. I had no descriptions to go by and only the stills I could find online, so sometimes I made changes to certain scenes so they'd be more in keeping with the actual sets/costumes/hair in the film. After the producers signed off on it, Random House put it into production.
AB: I usually write my books by "casting" them in my mind. Did you know who the stars of the movie would be before you agreed to write the novel?
DP: I did. In fact, that was one of the reasons I was so keen to do it. I've been a fan of Rachel McAdams since her Slings & Arrows days (an awesome Canadian show about a Shakespearean theater troupe), and I've loved Harrison Ford since my early childhood. To get the chance to write a character for Han Solo -- um, Ford? Awesome! Additionally, Patrick Wilson is from my hometown. He's a few years older than me, and I remember all the drama kids in high school would talk about him as one of the guys who "made it."
AB: How did you get involved with the project?
DP: My editor at Random House is the same one I had for all my Secret Society Girl novels. She called me up and asked me if I'd be interested in the project. I'd been hearing a lot about novelizations from some fellow writers in NINC (Novelists, Inc.) and I was keen to do the project. She thought we'd be a good fit because of the voice of my other novels. She pitched me to Paramount and they said yes.
AB: Are you working on anything new at the moment?
DP: My main project at the moment is caring for my newborn daughter. She's a month old now, and so I'm still on my one-woman shop's version of "maternity leave." But since my husband's paternity leave runs out soon, I'm going to have to figure out the details of how to be a mom and a writer all at once.
Just this week I signed on to do two new short stories for anthologies (yay!) I had so much fun with the short I had out this year: "Errant" in Kiss Me Deadly and "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn" in Zombies Vs. Unicorns, and they seem to have found a readership, so I'm excited to do more. I have three in the hopper for 2011 and 2012. Additionally, I'm working on a YA post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion which should be out in 2012.
AB: OK, you hooked me with "YA post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion." Awesome! I can't wait! And congrats on your little girl!
OK, Fictionistas readers...I'm going to give away a copy of "Morning Glory: A Novel" to one lucky reader. All you have to do is comment!
We'll post the winner on Friday's blog.
Monday, November 08, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
Eighteen years ago, you came into my life and changed me forever. You're not my baby anymore--today you're a young woman--and I am so proud of you.
You are such a bright, shining star. As much as it hurts to let go of you as grow, I'm also so pleased to send you into the big world. It really needs someone like you.
Happy Birthday to the best daughter a mom could ask for.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Last night, as you all know, was Samhain, or Halloween, or All Soul’s Eve. Pick one. Hopefully you were treated, not tricked, and had a good time. In a related, but not necessarily specific to the holiday, note—I spent the night watching the annual Ghost Hunters live show.
I used to be really hooked on Paranormal State, too. Ryan, the head honcho of the crew on that show, has become a tad too melodramatic for me. They are less likely to rely on science, in spite of the fact that they have the tech on hand. I still tune in occasionally.
Ghost Lab was interesting last season… but I am not yet hooked. I have to admit, Ghost Adventures occasionally sucks me in just for the pure dweeb-factor. I mean, basically we’ve got frat boys hyped up on Red Bull freaking out in the dark. But that one dude’s hair is absolutely not of this world. For sure.
What’s your ghostly poison?
Friday, October 29, 2010
Do you like when authors do free reads? I think they're great. It's like when you spend $30 at the Clinque counter and end up with a free make-up bag stuffed with sample sized goodies.
Go check out her freebie and tell me what you think!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wrong. I'm talking about the latest #1 Amazon bestseller, a book that hit that spot in preorders. The book doesn't release until November 15, and the author's been dead for 100 years.
In honor of the centennial of his death, the University of California Press is publishing "The Autobiography of Mark Twain," an uncensored, rambling, and supposedly hilarious look at his life. Samuel Clemens (Twain's real name...1835-1910) left specific orders that his memoirs were not to be published until he was loooooooooong gone and everyone mentioned in them were, too.
So he was free to speak his mind without offending anyone.
On CBS Sunday Morning, Twain scholar Roberty Hirst referred to the book as "partly a journal, partly a diary, and partly recollection. So yeah, I think of it as a kind of blog, a blog without a web."
Twain's memoir would have been very unusual for his time period, but actually feels kind of modern. It's not a chronological story of his life from birth to old age, but rather a "random meandering." Rather than picking up pen and paper or a typewriter, Clemens dictated to a stenographer. Hirst describes it as "daily dictations over four years, about whatever he found interesting that day."
Hmmm...sounds a lot like a blog to me.
And just think about it. How cool for people to care about your totally random ramblings from more than 100 years ago?
Pretty awesome marketing, too. He had to know that the buzz alone would drive sales.
Clemens planned carefully for a centennial posthumous release. Jules Verne (1828-1905), who was popular around the exact same time, did not.
Verne's "Paris in the Twentieth Century" was written in 1863, but not published until 1994. He'd only intended to put it in a vault for 20 years, per his publisher's suggestion, but then forgot all about it. His publisher didn't want to release it at the start of his career, because the grim distopian view of the future it painted was thought to be a potential turnoff to his readers.
(The heroine in my 2008 Golden Heart nominated manuscript, "Party Like It's 1899", finds a copy of Verne's lost book in a used bookstore in Paris and it magically transports her back in time. I won't tell you any more, because I hope to sell that book some day.)
Anyway, whether the work was lost or intentionally held back, the idea of posthumous publication so many years later is just thrilling. To have people so interested in what you wrote more than 100 years ago? Wow!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
If you like a chance to win a copy, stop by Meljean Brooks blog today and leave a comment.
Here's the book's blurb:
The last thing she planned to steal was his heart.
The Company. Military institution, protector of Praeton and the nation of Grand Isle. Dirty rotten thief.
When Pandora Bramble steps aboard the Company’s premiere airship Daedalus it’s not for the exclusive VIP tour. It’s to secure proof that the Company stole the regulator valve her father designed—even if it means tearing the engine apart. Foiled by the unexpected appearance of a handsome crew member, she despairs of ever getting another chance—until he kisses her.
Captain Theolonius Hatch, sentenced to engine room duty for refusing to take part in the Company’s fleet week activities, never dreamed a woman like Pandora existed. Her brains match her beauty, a combination that adds up to more trouble than he ever expected.
As Pandora allows Theolonius to sweep her into a whirlwind courtship, her wildest dreams come true. As do her greatest fears, leaving her to decide what matters most. Loyalty…or love.
The clock is ticking.
Warning: This book contains airships, mechanical owls, women who are good with tools, men in and out of uniform, steam generated by engines and people, and some hot carriage scenes.Now go forth and purchase! Or comment! Or both!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Several people who know him "online" had googled the name thinking to get all kinds of... what? I hope they weren't too disappointed. He got a huge charge out of it.
With the recent movie all about Facebook's founder, and with nearly daily alerts about some scam or another, I guess we should all be careful. I am a Facebook fan, but I don't play the interactive games, or take the quizzes, or respond to "somebody answered a question about you" alerts. I've never seen one posted by somebody who knew me well enough to answer a question about me, but I am flattered anyone cares. As long as it all stays fun, we're good.
Twitter and Facebook can suck a lot of time, though. And message boards start to get addictive. And these days you can't just shut off the computer... we've all got apps on our phones, or stand-alone devices, or... well, too much access, maybe.
But for me it's all worth it. I can keep in touch with family and friends and old co-workers without being on the phone all day. I've never liked the telephone. I always feel like the person on the other end expects me to entertain him or her. Only my absolute most-beloved ones get long phone calls from me or are allowed to place them to me. It's not that I'm wallowing in swamp-witchy hermitage. It's more that I like a quick howdy and a jack-rabbit exit.
So you know... you can always hit me on FB or shoot me a tweet.
Friday, October 15, 2010
A gimme book, as most writers will tell you, is one of those rare novels that just pours out of you, every character nuance and plot decision coming as seamless as silk. Some writers have never had one of those, some have them periodically, but most writers have had at least one. Ask a writer what their gimme book was and their face will light up and their eyes sparkle with a faraway remembrance. They'll nod and smile and start telling you about it, how it issued forth in six weeks and had no revisions or some such fantastical thing.
I've had one. It's called The Perfect Dish and I wrote the first 60 pages in about five days. It really did spill out of me, so fast my fingers could barely keep up. It was a risky book, featuring an older woman/younger man scenario long before the word cougar had really entered the vernacular. (He's a hot young chef with a recently widowed sister, she's a grief counselor who's meteoric career is suddenly spiraling downward due to her own unresolved issues. Also, he's got a magic cookbook and isn't afraid to use it.)
The Perfect Dish opened doors for me. It proved to people that I could write, that I was growing as a writer and that I was a talent worth noticing. That book got me my agent. It eventually sold, but the publisher closed, leaving the book homeless again. (I've decided to put it out there myself via the Kindle route, but that's a story for another post.) Still, The Perfect Dish was a gimme book that made a difference in my writing path.
Have you had your gimme book yet? What was it? What happened to it? Are you writing it now?
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Do you want a sneak peek at Falling Under? Of course you do!
Please visit the Haunted Halloween event at A Life Bound by Books blog for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win an Amazon gift certificate.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Today is Columbus Day here in the USA and it is a holiday for many offices. (Mine is NOT one of them... *grumble*)
In honor of Columbus Day, I thought I'd post some little known facts about El Capitan.
- Christopher Columbus’ name is not Christopher Columbus. It is Chrisoffa Corombo. Christopher Columbus is the English translation of sorts.
- The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria were not the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Well, the Pinta was but the Nina was a nickname for the Santa Clara and the Santa Maria was known as the Gallega.
- While Columbus is considered a hero in the U.S., Spain and Italy, he was not well-known during his life.
- Christopher Columbus never actually set foot on U.S. soil. He landed on an island in the Bahamas.
- It was not Columbus’ idea to sail across the ocean. It was his brother, Bartholomew’s idea.
- Columbus was an opium addict, the same drug used in producing modern-day heroin.
- There is genetic evidence that Columbus and his men brought the sexually transmitted disease Syphilis to Europe.
Syphillis? Gee Chris, sounds like you could be called a Land Ho, too!
Hope you're off work or school today and enjoying something fun!
Thursday, October 07, 2010
- The title and my name are foily!
- The cardstock has a softy suedey feel.
- It's so freaking gorgeous.
- I'm a writer so I make words up like "foily" and "suedey".
And the winners are:
Monday, October 04, 2010
Be there or be TOTALLY square!!
Friday, October 01, 2010
During October we celebrate such things as Columbus Day and Halloween, but also lesser known days like Apple Day, Freethought Day and Leif Erikson Day.
But today, on the first of October, people will look at each other and say, "Where did September go? Can you believe it's October already? It'll be Christmas soon!"
I know where my September went. I wrote 35,000 words that month. Celebrated my dad's birthday. Enjoyed the company of my visiting family. Saw a friend get married. Watched my niece perform in Cinderella. Took a trip with my husband and made some new memories.
All in all, September was a good month and while it did go by fast, it went by packed full of good times. My September feels well spent. How about yours?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Chrissy Hines from The Pretenders
Meg White from The White Stripes
Belinda Carlyle from The Go-Gos (gotta love all-female bands!)
Susanna Hoff from The Bangles (same thing!)
Shirley Manson from Garbage
Hayley Williams from Paramore
Courtney Love from Hole
Amanda Palmer from The Dresden Dolls
Delores O'Riordan from the Cranberries
Okay, I could totally go on and on and onnnnn, but I wanna know--which female rockers do you love the mostie mostest? I'm always on the lookout for new music to jam to!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Yesterday, I started to realize that I was already dreading the morning...and you know what that was doing to me? Making me bitchy. So instead of enjoying the beautiful Sunday afternoon, I was already cranking about Monday.
And isn't that exactly the opposite of how we should end our weekend?
So today, I'm looking at Monday as the beginning of a great week instead of the end of a fantastic weekend. Because everyone loves a good beginning...right?
Happy Monday, y'all! What do you plan to do to make today a good one?
Friday, September 24, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
On Saturday, September 25, Washington Romance Writers is hosting "A Day With Literary Agent Nephele Tempest." From tackling a tricky synopsis to finding the agent that's right for you, Nephele offers an agent's eye view of publishing.
Then on Monday, September 27, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts is hosting a Writer's Evening. Learn what an agent can do for you as a writer, plus hot topics in publishing. Special guests are Elaine English, Jeff Kleinman, Gail Ross, and John Mason, and a networking reception with refreshments is included.
Hope to see you there!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Stephen Bandera was the reason for the brilliant splash of color. A student at Marshfield High, he passed away last spring at the age of 16. Orange was his favorite color.
Since the game I have had Stephen, and the heart-felt support shown him, in my mind. We hear so much about teens that is negative, nasty, and dismissive. That attitude bothered me a lot when I was teaching, and it still does. I've always found it to be untrue. I've always been moved by how good, generous, and supportive kids can be when the chips are down.
Stephen has been gone for a while now, but his classmates refuse to let him go. They've kept his memory alive, kept his spirit in their hearts, and have continued to do good in his name. They had a raffle at the game... they've run marathons, and more. This young man will not be forgotten.
Too often people gleefully point out the bad, celebrate the mis-steps, and criticize the flaws. I was really proud to be a Townie this weekend. I usually am. But seeing kids care with a fierceness that simply will not relent-- to grip Stephen's memory so tightly, even half a year after his death, made me incredibly grateful we have such terrific kids in this town. I found myself wishing very much that I had known this young man.
They really do get it right more often than we give them credit for.
More about an inspirational life:
Wicked Local Article
Another Wicked Local Article
YouTube Tribute from a Friend
Friday, September 17, 2010
Basically, they're complicated. I don't think they're so much complicated to read as they are to write, though. See, while the reader will have all the story lines laid out for them, I have to keep them all in my head, all moving along, all traveling toward the same interwoven end.
It's a lot like what I imagine juggling to be. Thinking not just one but two and sometimes three steps ahead. What happens halfway through one subplot will impact the ending of another. A bad beginning and the ball drops. A wrong choice and the ball drops. Information given too soon - or not soon enough and the ball drops.
And that's just one book. The kicker is the series on the whole works the same way because the same characters are featured in every book. There are character arcs to consider, larger plotlines, growth, development...lots and lots of balls in the air. (And I'm a pantser. Scary, huh?)
So like a juggler, I keep moving, keep writing forward, keep pushing through each subplot, weaving and layering as I go because if I stop? If I forget to keep one going? It all comes down. Or at the very least, leaves a gaping hole. But there's a frantic energy to it as well and that energy is what motivates me to get on the keyboard every day and see what's going to happen next.
What are you juggling? How's it working for you?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I'm not sure if you guys know, but I'm an editor for Carina Press, a brand-spanking new imprint of Harlequin that publishes e-books. It's incredibly awesome--I get to read submissions in all genres (except YA and nonfic, which we don't take), decide what I want to acquire, and pitch it to Harlequin. And if we get it, I get to edit it and release it into the wild. It's a dream job, and I dig it oh-so much. :D
We're actively acquiring submissions right now! You can check us out at http://www.carinapress.com/ -- check out our submissions page for details about what we're looking for, and send us your full manuscript and synopsies. We love drowning in good stories, so send, send, send away! It makes me a happy camper, and you don't want me to be sad, do you?
Monday, September 13, 2010
And here I am with some of my schoolmates. My HIGH SCHOOL mates. Not kidding. I am very blessed.The signing was a huge success and I get to do it all over again on Friday in Oxford, Miss. I can't wait to see everyone! It's gonna be a good week!!!
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
So there I was, happily jumping waves with my baby in my arms. She was squealing with delight and we were having a great time. All of a sudden there was a sharp searing pain first in my left leg, then a few seconds later it spread to my right leg. It felt like someone was stabbing knives into both of my legs...or perhaps a shark had dug his teeth in and was gnawing away.
Needless to say, I started screaming my head off. I wasn't scared so much for myself (OK, yes I was), but more for my baby. See, I was convinced I was going to drop her into the ocean at this point.
It probably just took a few seconds before my husband got to me and took her away from me, but in those seconds, I was convinced we were both going to be dragged away my sharks. It was probably the scariest experience of my life.
The whole time, my dad was trying to tell me I'd just stepped on a shell and was fine. Well, he was right that there were no sharks, but it was considerably worse than simply stepping on a shell.
I limped out of the water, because my this point, both my legs had started to swell up. It was low tide, so I had a very far way to go to get to the lifeguard station, and I couldn't straighten either leg, so I was limping with both legs bent, tears streaming down my face.
The lifeguards sprayed my legs down with vinegar and told me to pack it with wet sand. Then a gentleman offered me some shaving cream, which really did the trick.
By the time we got back to the beach house, the welts were still there, but maybe a tenth of what they had been. It no longer felt like a shark was ripping my leg apart, but it still stung badly.
It's been almost 24 hours and now I just have a low-grade stinging sensation left, but it's still there. And the welts are still there.
I think I'll pass on the beach today.
Monday, September 06, 2010
That's probably because we go back to school in this month. Even though my school days are done, I still love that feeling. A new school year is all about promise, potential, and opportunity. It's a clean slate. New clothes, new supplies, new teachers, new class-mates... and a chance to make this the best year yet. Let's face it, most of us found the bloom off the rose a few weeks in. By Columbus Day we'd be watching clocks and drifting off into daydreams during Sociology. The cute guy had said something awful. The former-not-so-b-ff was the new frenemy.
But September was pre-let-down. September was all about possibilities. I glance out the window even now and the leaves have not yet turned. Earle was, it turns out, a big dud. So if nights get cold soon we'll begin to see glorious colors. And maybe the cute guy will smile in stead of sneering. And maybe the BF really WILL be F. And maybe this autumn will go on record as the best ever. And maybe...
It's all about the maybe. I'm very, very fond of the promise in maybe.
Welcome, September. And thanks for the MAYBE!
Friday, September 03, 2010
PLUS - there are big giveaways going on! You can check out those deets at Books, Boys, Buzz - www.booksboysbuzz.com or Marley's website - http://marleygibson.com/2010/08/28/awesome-giveaway-for-ghost-huntress-the-counseling/ - for contest, giveaway and prize package running through September 15th. You can also tweet the following to either @ addy and get entered: @marleygibson @hauntedhighways having huge prize giveaway for launch of GHOST HUNTRESS: THE COUNSELING - http://tiny.cc/oa7o2
Monday, August 30, 2010
Each time someone would say this, I was scandalized! What? How could you not read your printed book??? What is wrong with you?
Guess what? I've never read BITE ME! in it's published form. I've started a couple of times, but never could get past a few pages. It felt weird.
But then LOVE SUCKS! came out a few weeks ago and I realized I barely remembered anything about the book. I remembered Sexy Lexy but that was about it. So I sat down one night and started to read.
And I didn't hate it.
So I read a little more.
And I still didn't hate it.
And then I laughed out loud a few times.
Wow. Not hating it.
And then, the book was finished. I read it all. And, dare I say it? I actually enjoyed my own book. Sure, there were a couple of things I would've done differently. It's very fast paced (which I prefer) BUT there were moments that it felt a little rushed to me. But then, I'm the author and I'm never gonna be truly satisfied with my own work.
Armed with this knowledge and new found courage, I thought I'd try to read BITE ME! again.
Yeah. I'm pretty sure BITE ME! will always be my one unread book. I just can't do it. I dunno why, and I'm quite certain I'm ok with not knowing the reason behind my psychological block.
What about you? Do you think you'll want to read your book in print or are you gonna be like me? And if you're a reader not a writer, do you find it weird that some authors can't read their own work after it's published?
Friday, August 27, 2010
So then my mind wandered to other John Hughes/Molly Ringwald movies. Would Andi and Blane (Pretty in Pink) have made it? Again--I don't think so. He wasn't man enough yet.I kind of wanted to kick him when he told her she didn't believe in him. Though I give them more than the weekend, I don't think more than the summer after high school.
What about Jake Ryan and Sam Baker (Sixteen Candles)? These two, I think, had half a shot. Jake understood the gulf between them, but seemed to be cognizant that he needed to make her feel like the prize, not the other way around. (My author friend, Bria Quinlan will smile about this.)
So....what about my other favorite couples?
|Han Solo and Princess Leia|
Han was totally right when he said Leia needed more scoundrels in her life. If she stops making out with her brother, I think these two will have many years together exploring the Force.
|Patrick and Kat|
With enough Midol, they are both smart enough to make a go of it. I hope they stay in Seattle--her dad is hilarious.
|Sally Albright and Harry Burns|
When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.