Monday, August 30, 2010

to read or not to read...

Before I was a published author, I remember hearing other pubbed authors say that they had never read their books in print.

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

Forever or Not so Much?

The other day I was watching Breakfast Club (shocker, right?) which is totally different experience as an adult. While I once thought that Johnny Bender and Claire would totally be a hot couple, it occurred to me that now, I don't even see them working out until Monday. They may have had a few breakthroughs that Saturday afternoon, but I don't think either of them were ready for real world. They both still had too many self-defenses.

 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.

Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls
I foresee a long, unhealthy relationship here. They will break up and make up their entire lives, I think. They really can't be apart--but they really aren't very well suited either. They will try to find happiness with other people, since they make each other miserable, but this is one torch that will never burn out. Likely, they will make the other people just as miserable as they are, and then find their way back to each other. Lather, rinse, repeat

Johnny Castle and Frances "Baby" Houseman
I'll start by saying I love, love, love them. And then I'll tell you I don't think they will be together past Thanksgiving break at Baby's college. They learned a lot from each other, but some summer romances are only meant for summer. Johnny will never think he is good enough for Baby, and Baby will always feel guilty if she succeeds more than Johnny. They will always remember the time of their lives fondly, though.
Sandy and Danny
Similar to Baby and Johnny, and yet so, so different. I see a lifetime here. They are both willing to compromise, so finding middle ground won't be their struggle. Sharing a bathroom will be their struggle. They both have very high maintenance hairstyles. It could get very ugly.  At the end of the day, though, they can count on each other, and that means a lot.
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. 
Who are your favorite couples?  And do you think they are still together ten years after the credits roll?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The "I'm Better Than You" post

In honor of the craziness that hits the interwebz like a wildfire every full moon, a friend of mine on my mommy board created a tongue-in-cheek thread called the "I'm Better Than You" thread.

Shall we play and feel sanctimonious in doing so?

I'll start.

I'm better than you because my preemie is meeting all her milestones with her chronological age rather than her adjusted age...and meeting them early in some cases!

I'm better than you because I have long eyelashes that everyone thinks are the result of mascara yet I haven't worn eye makeup since dance competitions more than 10 years ago...and I passed them along to my daughter.

I'm better than you because I've partied with royalty.

I'm better than you because I'm in the plotting stages of a new book, so the possibilities are endless.

Anyone else?

(Disclaimer: Full credit is given to Daniel Tosh for the original idea. Yes, Tiffany stole it from him. And then I stole it from her.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gonna Go Back In Time

This is one of those things that makes you go... "and they can't make my cell phone work anywhere in Green Harbor???" I went in last week (Friday) for my regular show-down and had an EKG, blood work, and some other annoyances. Usually I am not surprised by medical science, since Ahmed likes to lecture on long drives or... well pretty much any time. I try hard to tune it out but somehow absorb stuff involuntarily.

But... DUDE! ... they can tell when you've had a heart attack after you've had it. Chemicals, muscular movement, fluid present in places it's not allowed, etc. I mean, I'm pretty sure I did the deer-in-headlights routine when they were explaining the salient details because I was just impressed by the technology.

Anyway, this revelation wasn't one. My other medical stuff does, actually, make me more vulnerable to heart attack and I'm constantly being told I'm incredibly lucky to keep dodging the bullet. I've never been a scientifically minded person, so I just believe them by default when they say things like that. And when they say things like "try to avoid stress" I giggle, because it's a pretty dumb thing for a smart person to say. Seriously? I just had a heart attack. It was a wimpy one, and I'm glad, but do you really think avoiding stress is going to be in my playbook?

Have you met my family? See the dude in the corner glaring at me? Plus I gotta trim the dog's nails and that's a carnival ride all on its own. I'll pencil in the "no stress" thing but I'm not making promises.

Also, apparently this was a "good" heart attack. OK, now when did they get those? Did anyone tell Dick Cheney? Maybe he already knows, because that dude is never going to die... I mean I am semi-convinced he's bionic at this point. But they do, according to the smart sciencey people, have good ones. No plaque, minimal damage, and I didn't drop dead. I sort of tuned out while frowning to myself and pondering the words "good heart attack." If I figure that out I'll get back to you.

Anyway, I just think it's pretty neat they can tell. It's like time travel. Only not, but kind of. And I guess asking me AFTER the heart attack to avoid stress is asking me to do a little time travel, too. Fire up the Delorean! I'm going back in time!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A week of firsts

Almost three weeks ago now, many of us came home from the Romance Writers of American National Conference. It was a great week for me and several "firsts" happened that week.

1. I was part of my first workshop panel. One thing few people know about me is that speaking in front of crowds gives me wicked nerves. This surprises most people because I'm such an out going person, but it's true. Even when I taught college, I would get shaky hands and an elevated heartbeat. It's just one of my "things" but I got through my panel and feel like I did a good job.

2. I ran my first mile. Yes, I know this isn't conference related, but it happened while I was there, so I'm including it. I've been running for a while now, off and on on my treadmill at home. I think the longest I'd gone before was maybe 8 or 9 minutes. Something came over me on that fitness room treadmill and I just pushed it until I ran that full mile (12 minutes). What a great feeling! And I've since duplicated it at home, so it wasn't a fluke.

3. I participated in my first RWA Literacy signing. Every conference, RWA holds a massive literacy signing where the publishers donate the books and all the proceeds go toward literacy. This was my first year and I sold almost all my books. As you can see from the pic below, I was a pretty happy camper just to be there.What firsts have you done lately? Share!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Funny Facebook statuses

I found this website that has really funny facebook status ideas. Here are a few of my favs:

--In this world, there are 3 kinds of people: people who can count, and people who can't count.


--is proofreading to make sure she hasn’t any words out.

--1 of my nipples is a different color than the other 2--is that normal?

--I hate being's awesome!!!

--For the past hour, I've done some heavy duty reflecting, dreaming, planning, laughing, crying and thinking. Then it hit me: I have GOT to get out of this shower and get ready for work.

--Behind every successful man is a woman rolling her eyes.

--once your pants catch on fire, the fact that you just lied will become less important.

--sometimes i just don't have enough middle fingers to let people know how i feel....

--The great thing about Facebook is that you can quote someone and totally make up the source. (Ghandi 1937)

--When i'm sad I cut myself...another slice of cheesecake

So, if you're on twitter or facebook or another social networking site, where do you get your ideas for status updates?

Monday, August 16, 2010

readin', writin', & rhythm

No 'rithmatic around these parts. Nope. I save that for my day job, not my fun job, TYVM.

So, let's get down and dirty and talk about something most everyone experiences but nobody wants to discuss: losing your rhythm.

I've been separated from my husband for a year and a half. It's amicable (I hate that word) We are still very close, still good friends, and there has been very little cause for stress overall.


It's a huge life change and no matter how great we get along, there is still stress involved. And for the first time in my life, I've found it VERY difficult to read or write.

It's true. Even reading became a chore. And when reading is no longer joyful for me, you know there's a problem.

I've tried over the year to find my get back into my groove. But every time I sat down to read or write, I would suddenly have to balance the check book (something I haven't done in 2 years, thanks to online banking) or clean (something I've never done on purpose unless there was a party) or paint a wall, or dig a ditch, or...well, you get the picture.

Things seem to be changing for me now. I find myself plotting my new story idea in my head and playing with the characters. I'm getting more and more excited about the thought of writing. AND I've actually been reading (though the book I'm reading is kinda boring me right now. Sigh) But the point of all this (and I have one) is that I finally WANT to read and write again.

What do you do when you lose your mojo? People told me to force myself to write, but that made me feel worse. I couldn't make myself do it (now if I had been on deadline, I'm pretty sure that would've been a different story!) I really had to just let it all work out naturally. But it's taken so long, that I feel almost out of sorts now. But NOW is the time that I have to develop my new routine and force myself to stick to that it isn't physically painful to try to write. Thankfully my 'Nistas have sworn to help me...or punish me if I start to slack off. I'll probably start logging my progress in my blogs here, so you guys will know if I'm slacking, too. I never want to disappoint the Internetz!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Read: Butterface

Lucky has a secret--if he doesn't bring Beth to the "dog dinner" party his roommates are having, he's off the team. The soccer scholarship is paying his college tuition--he HAS to stay on the team. But if Beth ever finds out she's his entry in the contest for ugliest date, he stands to lose even more.

 A lot more. 

If you would like your free ecopy, please go here: and use coupon code: WT49G  when you check out. You will need to sign up for a Smashwords account if  you don't already have one, but I chose that site because it has all the different formats available--so you can read it on whatever reader you prefer. 

This story is very special to me. I hope you like it. It's free until September have at it. Tell you friends!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Don't Have Time to do That...I'm Tending My Homestead!

"Glorious time-wasting fun for our modern times."

That's how my friend Tiffany describes her newest addiction, Frontierville. In fact, sometimes it seems I'm the only one on Facebook who isn't working on my homestead in my spare time.

I keep getting Facebook requests from friends to become their "neighbor" but I've been resisting the temptation. I am the world's worst procrastinator and I know if I get sucked in, it'll be the beginning of the end. As it is, I haven't written more than a handful of pages since my daughter was December!

But even though I haven't joined the madness, probably close to 50% of my friends' status updates on Facebook talk about their crops or livestock. As a result, I get sucked in whether I want to or not.

So what exactly IS Frontierville? Wikipedia says:

"Frontierville is a simulation, role-playing video game available for play on social networking sites such as Facebook. It is developed by Zynga.

The player creates an avatar which resembles a pioneer. The player then may complete a total of 46 collections which can be traded for coins, experience points (xp), decorations, livestock, trees, craftable items, energy and horseshoes (rare money). The player can also finish goals which include tasks such as gathering money, buying energy, clearing land, chopping down trees, raising livestock and trees, creating items such as beds, furniture, and clobbering unwanted pests like bears, snakes, foxes and groundhogs. Eventually the player may acquire a spouse and produce children. The player can also have them perform tasks.

Other tasks include collecting from buildings, building inns, wagons, general stores, cabins, schools, chicken coops, barns and sawmills and seeding, growing and harvesting crops. Completing goals yields rewards."

So now you see why I refuse to get sucked in. The whole concept really appeals to the old-skool Oregon Trail lover in me.

Tiffany, a fellow Oregon Trail fanatic describes Frontierville as "Oregon Trail on steroids...But FV is just has more stuff to keep me entertained. I probably do spend more time at work on my homestead that I should, but I can still get my job done. Maybe that's more telling of my job than my "addiction", though. I avoid playing it on the weeknights when I'm home with my daughter, because I want to spend as much time with her as I can."

Jeanette says: "I play these games when I'm at work as well, but can get my job done too. It's a nice little bonus of having my own office and working for a small company. I also play when I'm at home on the weeknights, but only after my daughter goes to bed. And, usually when I'm playing we are watching our shows on the DVR or my husband is playing his PS3, so it works out nicely for me."

Joanna says "I probably play a total of 2 hrs a day. It's very sad. I could be working out or reading. It's addictive because of all the different missions. Once you complete one, you get another task. It's fun because you can have your neighbors help you. I had no idea that collecting poop from animals and harvesting crops could be so much fun! I really need to stop playing though and get my ass off the couch. Oh, and feel free to quote me. Please mention that Tiffany was my drug pusher and it's all her fault that I'm a pathetic loser."

Laura says: "I have never been into games, but this game has gotten to me. I am so ashamed of it, that I do not tell people that I play. But I love how it is task-oriented, and you have to think about your next moves. I'm sure that some people are very strategic about how they play, and it probably advances them faster, but it's just a bit of fun for me that's not reading."

But not everyone is loving it. Angie says, "Frontierville is a life-sucking addiction that clutters up my friends' Facebook pages and makes my babycenter addiction less exciting."

Now, my friends are responsible adults who just use this time-sucker to blow off some steam, but unfortunately not all simulation gamers know how to draw limits and their escapism can have some very serious consequences.

In March, a 3-month-old South Korean baby girl starved to death after her parents repeatedly left her home alone for 12-hour stretches while they went to an internet cafe to play a simulation game called Prius Online, where you raised a virtual baby. And Google abounds with sad tales of shattered marriages as a result of World of Warcraft (WoW) or Second Life obsession.

Now that the Fictionistas are focusing on goals and being Accountabilibuddies, I know that there's no way I can join in Frontierville.

So if you see me tending crops, yell at me, OK? Or better yet, sabotage them and burn my homestead.

Monday, August 09, 2010


We here at Fictionistas have decided to keep one another accountable for word-count, goals, and cetera. Having an accountabilabuddy is a great idea. I often make deals with Ahmed, because I know he will nudge me without being too gentle, but will also back off when he knows I need to ease up. It's a fine line.

I think procrastination and "getting too much in my own head" are my biggest weaknesses. In the past I never missed deadlines, never failed to complete projects, and never gave up on something I started. But I was always working FOR someone, or pleasing another person, or delivering for the "team." I'm not good at doing for myself, and never have been.

So I promised my guy I'd write him a book by the fall. I will, too. This is a project I've been sitting on a while and Ahmed wants it done. Nobody else is interested in a comedy space-opera romance. But Aji wants it bad. So I'm doing it for him, and letting my Nistas bang me on the head, too.

Who is YOUR accountabilabuddy??

Friday, August 06, 2010

A Pirate By Any Other Name

Is a thief. I'm talking about e-pirates, people who illegally upload things like movies, music and books to file sharing sites to that other people can download them without paying.

The dirty bottom line is piracy is stealing. No matter what country it happens in. No matter who does it. I've heard arguments for it like the particular book isn't available in the country of the person who wants to read it. My answer? Then you don't get to read the book. Don't ask me questions like "Would I steal to feed my family?" and "Would I steal to provide them life-saving medicine?" to try to show me that everyone's willing to steal. Those questions don't really compare to "Would I steal for a few hours enjoyment?" do they? It's not the same thing. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Authors are often told that piracy isn't lost sales or that people who download one book illegally often go out and buy the whole backlist when they discover a new author. Really? Authors have stopped writing series because piracy has gotten so bad. I know at least two that I could name. Who knows how many more didn't get another contract because of lost sales and dwindling sales numbers? And it doesn't matter if you're print published or epublished, you'll be pirated just the same. Ask JK Rowling - the Harry Potter books have never been released in eform and yet her books are some of the most heavily pirated.

I'm a small fish in a very large pond when it comes to being pirated, but I know authors who've seen hundreds of thousands of illegal downloads on their books.

Ebooks aren't the death of publishing. The epirate is. What do you think should be done about epiracy?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Dying of Dystentery: the movie!

One of my FAVORITE computer games as a kid was Oregon Trail. There were so many fun ways you kicked the bucket. Check this awesomeness out:

I can't stop giggling. hahaha

Have you seen any funny youtube videos lately? What ones are your favs? Let's share some links--I need new funny stuff to laugh at!

Monday, August 02, 2010

love to love you baby!

Had a great time at conference last week and I'll be heading home today. It's a long drive from Florida to Arkansas, so it's a good thing I don't mind time alone.

One of my favorite things from conference was getting to meet Gwen Hayes in person. She's a lovely, lovely, lovely woman and I had a very hard time not packing her in my suitcase and bringing her with me....Here we are in a very blurry, dark picture from the Berkley party. Sadly I don't have an iPhone 4 yet, so no flash for me! Only Fictionista left for me to meet in person is Rhonda. So Ms. Stapleton you better be in New York or else I'm gonna have to hunt you down!

One more thing...LOVE SUCKS! is in the wild! We stopped by the Gainesville B&N and I introduced myself to some cool folks and I signed stock. I love signing stock! So fun!!