Monday, January 31, 2011

baby, baby, baby

So, a couple of weeks ago I told you I was sooooo over Katy Perry.

And now I'm gonna tell you, I was never into the Bieb. I don't get this fascination with Justin Bieber and I never will. My 7 year old niece acts like this boy hung the moon. Maybe he's today's Shaun Cassidy?

Nah. The Bieb just ain't that cool.

You know what is cool, though? The Neon Tree's mash up of The Bieb's song Baby and Stand By Me. Seriously, have a listen. I'm betting you'll dig it immensly. I do.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Date Night


You know you write Young Adult romance when you're watching the State of the Union and are struck by how much it resembled a prom this year.



Or maybe I just have been blogging with the Fictionistas for a while, because you know how much we love crazy prom stories here.



In a spirit of bipartisanship in the wake of the Tucson tragedy that many are criticizing as empty symbolism, members of Congress abandoned their time-honored partisan seating chart and sat with members of the opposing party during Obama's speech to a joint session of Congres.

The last several days here in DC have been like a politican Match.Com as members of Congress have scrambled to find "dates" to the big event.



After all, those all-important prom pictures look that much better when you have the perfect date.

In years past, the State of the Union looked just like a junior high dance, with the Republicans on one side and the Democrats on the other. But now we have a more mature Congress that's graduated at least to high school.

The tradition of partisan seating dates to 1845 in the House of Representatives, with Democrats on one sides of the aisle, and Republicans on the other. But it wasn't until 1913 that it became the practice for the State of the Union. For the first time since Thomas Jefferson, President Woodrow Wilson personally delivered the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, and the Representatives and Senators observed the House's partisan seating.

For the next 70 years, partisan seating was the norm, but no overt partisanship during the speech. But in 1983, Democrats mockingly applauded President Ronald Reasan during a line in his State of the Union. From then on we saw an era of one side of the chamber leaping to their feet at various times during the speech, with the other side sitting quietly and sometimes grumbling. At times it looked like the party the president was from was engaged in a weird aerobic workout during the State of the Union, they would get up and down so often.

It was always entertaining, that's for sure. Several State of the Union drinking games were even built around the jovial jumping up and down. (Because let's face it, even for the biggest politics die-hards among us, the only way to get through these things is with a drink.)

But this new seating arrangement really screwed things up. It used to be that members of Congress didn't even really have to listen too terribly hard in order to participate in the political pep rally. If the President was from their party, all they had to do was pay attention to what the sea of politicans around them were doing. If your seatmates are standing and cheering, you do too.

I kept watching last night to see if anyone would mess up, forgetting that their seatmate was from the opposing party and just following along, caught up in the excitement. That would have been funny.

I do know of one person who was very caught up in the excitement of the evening. She kept standing up and clapping whenever she saw the people on TV doing so.

My 1-year-old daughter. :) video

Hey, it's DC. We start 'em young.

Monday, January 24, 2011

When I was COOL

levis

Once upon a time I was cool, and so was this jacket.  I swear.  I have witnesses.

In fact, yesterday (Sunday) I made my normal morning rounds and came across Bill, who dated me a little a million years ago, and somehow ended up married to my absolute best friend, Roxy.  (You may now shriek the Police song in your head… you’re welcome.)

Anyway, I was minding my own beeswax, standing in line at the pharmacy with ice, a newspaper, and some Tylenol when Bill wandered up with his two adorable kids—Johnny and Bill Jr.  He kissed me on the cheek and said “hey, sweetheart!”

That’s where the trouble started.

Johnny:  WHY are you calling Chrissy “sweetheart?”

Bill:  Because she IS a sweetheart.  Back in the day everybody wanted her to be THEIR sweetheart, you know.

Johnny (incredulous—thanks, Johnny):  WHY????

Bill:  Because she was cute, she could sing and play guitar, she could play BASEBALL, and she could open beer bottles with the buttons on her Levi’s jacket.

*note: this is true… and I can still do it.

Johnny (considering):  Welllll… okay, that IS cool, but it’s a really stupid reason to fall in love with somebody.

*insert hysterical laughter wafting through CVS

Everybody’s a critic.  That kid can open his own bloody beer bottles.  *fume*

Friday, January 21, 2011

She's a star, baby!

Our own Gwen Hayes is a best seller! Her novella, Second Son of a Duke, is currently ranked number 5 in Amazon's historical romance list. Isn't that awesome?

If you haven't checked out this gem for yourself, you really should. And hey, at .99 it's the best buy you're going to get all week.

Check it out here.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Puppy cuteness overload

Back around Thanksgiving, I got two doxie pups, which we named Daisy (the girl, lighter color with the pink nose) and Duke (the boy, darker color with a black nose). haha. I hearty heart my puppies and decided to overload you with the MOST ADORABLE PUPPY PICTURES EVAR. haha. As you can see, they sleep a lot. It's so, so freaking cute.





Awwwwww! I lubs my babies. Thanks for letting me share. :D

Monday, January 17, 2011

so over her

I'm totally over Katy Perry. I liked her when she kissed a girl. But now? Ugh. The airwaves are saturated with Firework, California Gurls, & Teenage Dream...and I just wanna barf every time I hear one of those songs. (which, if you listen to the radio, is approximately every 13 seconds)

I actually really liked her at first, so I feel really badly that my finger automatically hits the seek button every time I hear a few bars of one of her songs. It's like Pavlov's dog...only with my finger and Katy Perry.

And it's not fair. It's totally not her fault that the stations are cramming her into our heads until our eardrums burst. Or at least, until my eardrums burst. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one off the Katy Perry bandwagon. I'm alone, on the side of the road, while the rest of the world rides off into the sunset with KP. But I'd rather be alone than listen to California Gurls one more time. Yeah, I know. She's so hot she'll melt my popsicle. I guess that means I'll stop eating popsicles then.

Are you over anyone right now?

Friday, January 14, 2011

These are some things that are really bothering me.

I'm usually a happy go lucky blog poster. "This is great!" "Look at this link!" "I love this" etc.

But lately.


Here goes:

Pluto is still a planet. I don't care what they say. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060824-pluto-planet.html

There are twelve zodiac signs. Not thirteen. http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/13/horoscope-hang-up-earth-rotation-changes-zodiac-signs/ Not only are they messing with people's tattoos, but omG, what about the continuity on Battlestar Gallactica?

Words have meaning. Especially negative ones. By removing them from classics, you change the context of the story. How about instead of whitewashing history, we talk to the kids about why it's important to remember even the ugly bits of history so that we continue to move forward. http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/05/new-huckleberry-finn-edition-removes-the-%E2%80%9Cn-word%E2%80%9D/?iref=allsearch

So...what's eating you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Marlene Awards is low on entries!

Calling all unpublished writers! The Marlene Awards, sponsored by Washington Romance Writers, is low on entries in all categories.

This is a fantastic contest, with great feedback and stellar final editor judges. And the 1st place winner in each category wins a detailed critique from a published author!

And if you happen to be the winner of the YA category, then your critique will be provided by none other than Fictionistas' own Gwen Hayes!

So don't wait or hesitate! (Sorry, I've been watching too much Sprout network lately.) The deadline is SATURDAY, JANUARY 15.

FINAL ROUND JUDGES AND CRITIQUE AUTHORS FOR EACH CATEGORY:

Single Title Contemporary Romance
Final Editor Judge: Amanda Bergeron, Avon
Critique Author: Jane Porter

Series Contemporary Romance (long and short)
Final Editor Judge: Patience Smith, Harlequin/Silhouette
Critique Author: Amanda Berry

Historical Romance
Final Editor Judge: Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks
Critique Author: Janet Mullany

Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic Romance
Final Editor Judge: Latoya Smith, Grand Central
Critique Author: Stacia Kane

Romantic Elements
Final Editor Judge: Holly Blanck, St. Martin's
Critique Author: Gemma Halliday

Young Adult
Final Editor Judge: Kristin Daly, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Critique Author: Gwen Hayes

http://www.wrwdc.com/ee/index.php/marlene_awards/

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wild Blue

heron1

I am something of a bird-nut.  I love watching them out on the rivers, harbor, and marshes. I love the slow glides of the swans, and the brilliant little flicks of the nuthatches and titmouses. I even love to watch sparrows and chickadees, pedestrian as they may seem.  I love flicking french-fries at them in the parking lot at the harbor.  But my favorite of all is the great blue heron.

If you have never seen them, you don’t know what you are missing.  We are lucky enough to have a healthy population in my area, and they fascinate me.  They are huge—which makes them hard to miss when they stand along the edges of the harbor or the river, usually on a boggy spot of marsh.  In flight they are gigantic—so much larger than our largest birds of prey.  If those long legs seem awkward on land, the wing span you see in full flight is all magesty and grace.

heron2

Saturday evening, on my way home, a male great blue flew over my head.  He was no more than ten feet above me, but it felt as if I could reach up and touch him.  The sun was setting, and his color was amazing: a faded denim blue that picked up peach and rose from the sun.  He took my breath away.

The long, meandering paths along the Green Harbor river and amazing views of the marshes are one of my great joys. Even as a child I wandered these woods, getting covered in muck and dragging home all manner of critters and clippings.  My mom would make me empty my pockets, only to discover a mangled bit of wild sassafrass root, a carefully pocketed feather, or—sorry Mom—something furry.  Moles, mice, newts, and chipmunks… baby ducks who incited near-violence from their mother, and turtle babies my father helped me return to the marsh.  I was quite the manky little beastie, with quite the wild menagerie. 

I don’t bring wild things home these days… unless you count Ahmed.  But I do so love to watch them.  I guess I always will.

Friday, January 07, 2011

another year?

Yeah. Another year. And I guess I'm supposed to make resolutions and try not to fail meeting them again.

I have a love/hate relationship with the new year. I love the idea of new beginnings, of wiping the slate clean and starting fresh, of getting a chance to right some wrongs of the previous year.

I hate the idea of setting myself up to fail with resolutions. The last two years I've described the previous year with 3 words and then assigned 3 new words for what I hope the new year will be.

This year, I'm just making one resolution.

Move Forward.

What are your plans? Are you resolving or boycotting the whole idea?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

To Age or Not To Age, That is the Question

My good friend Gemma Halliday posted a question on Romance Divas yesterday, and it got me thinking.

If you're reading a YA series, do you expect the characters to grow up?

JK Rowling did it in her Harry Potter series, of course, which correlated nicely with how her original readers were aging. But that was a fantasy world, and the characters were dealing with fantasy issues very far removed from our own everyday world.

For a contemporary, if the main character is 16 in the first book, would you expect her to be in college by the end of the series? Is this a good idea?

On the one hand, if you're putting out 1 book a year, and your target audience starts out in the 12-15 age group, then by the time you're 3 or 4 books in, your readership has "outgrown" this type of book, so aging your character might be a good idea.

On the other hand, what about your readers who find you once you already have a backlist? As a mom, would you want your 12-year-old daughter to start off reading books with a 16-year-old protagonist and then continue reading that series all in a row, even if the main character is now in college? It wouldn't be a big deal if your daughter is now 16 or 17, of course, but if she came upon the entire series while she's a preteen, it could get awkward.

But then again, keeping your main character in a vaccuum and never aging her, Nancy Drew style, is unrealistic.

YA writers...what do you do?

YA readers...what do you prefer?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Something tasty to start the New Year with

I've got a new book out - The Perfect Dish!

It's a light, contemporary paranormal with a chef hero. Yum! Here's the scoop:

Texas-born Kelly Spicer is not just one of Manhattan's hottest young chefs, he's also one of the city's most eligible bachelors. Desperate to help his grieving sister, Kelly uses the magic cookbook passed down through his family's generations to conjure up a recipe of chocolate-laced persuasion to enlist the help of the only woman he thinks can reach his sister.

Psychologist Meredith Black has buried two husbands, an experience which has made her an expert in grief and pushed her to pen two books that landed her on the Oprah show and the best seller list. A cynic in matters of the heart, her success does nothing to ease her belief that she's a jinx. She vows never to love again and when she makes that sentiment public, dating Kelly becomes her best damage control.

Buy it for Kindle or Nook or any other format - for just $2.99! A print version should be available in a week or two. If you read it, I'd love to know what you think.