Sunday, May 30, 2010

In Memoriam

Freedom is not free. There is a price to pay for the liberty that I take for granted each day.

There are no words to express the debt I owe to each and every person who serves. And to those who pay the ultimate sacrifice so that I might be free.

G_d bless you and yours. You are not forgotten.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Funny

For all you backyard chef's be careful out there.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Yesterday I met with a producer friend who has a myriad of projects that come from books. And, of course, Vampires came up. Because, these days, when it comes to books, well Vampires or some other paranormal are in a great number of them. And our question was this...a question by the way I've heard over and over the last two years posed at writer's conferences, by authors, and even readers.

Are there too many Vampires?

Now please, before you drive a stake through my heart realize I LOVE vampire books. I am a huge Anne Rice fan and read the entire Vampire Chronicles years ago. To this day I would stack Rice's books against ANY recent vampire book. I've read all but the final Stephanie Meyer's books, I've read Chris Moore, and I've read Charlaine Harris. So I enjoy this genre as much as the next reader.

But really. My bookstore? Overrun with the undead. To the point where I don't know if a new author is a good author or just part of this market slide into blood suckers. And this has gone on now for a number of years.

So I pose the question to you...wonderful reader. Do you still NEED the blood. Can't get enough of the undead? Or is your love for the Vampiric starting to wain?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The R & R's of Writing

Rest and Relaxation? Oh no, no, no. The R & R's of writing, as any good writer will tell you, are Revisions and Rewrites.

And boy do I have a lot of them to do. Revise and Rewrite. Three projects. Three. But when you ask for notes...well you get them.

And I did. This week. Many notes. Lots of ideas. From editors, agents, friends and managers... Oy. And while these notes help me. My initial reaction is always the same: No.

No! No! No! No!

Much like when I ask my youngest to brush her teeth, turn off the television, go to bed; anything that she needs to do but just doesn't want to.

Why? Well, I get very close to what I write. And while the famous quote states: Show me a writer who loves their writing and I'll show you a very bad writer... Well that's me. I often fall deeply and madly in love with my characters and their story. So much in love am I, that without notes or putting a project aside for a month or more, I am unable to see the flaws in my telling of the story. Therefore, when notes come in, I am resistant to anyone telling me anything wrong with my beloved....for the first 24 hours. But, then, the other great quote starts to wander through my brain. After my initial reaction of No! I embrace this quote:

I'm not a very good writer, but I am an excellent rewriter.

And while I may not have reached 'excellent' yet, I know that by allowing myself time away from my stories and by getting a second opinion, I am able to view the story and the characters with more clarity.

And that clarity is just exactly what I need for my R & R.

Let the Revising & Rewriting begin.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Funny

Not much makes me laugh as hard as Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. But a spewing geyser of crude oil? Can someone, anyone get that thing shut off!!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
There Will Be Blame
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why I Read and Write Romance

I read romance novels. I also write them. I love a happily ever after.

I returned to romance years ago, after a stint of only reading women's fiction and literary fiction. I am a solid fan of the romance genre. Like a wonderful friend that I hadn't seen in years, I quickly fell back into my relationship with romance. Today, this very moment, I have 6 contemporary romance, along with 3 young adult, 2 literary and 1 legal thriller sitting in my tbr (to be read) pile. I also have a category romance on submission and a full length contemporary romance I am currently rewriting.

Romance fiction is the most popular genre in the world...the entire world. And still, once and again, I get quizzical glances when I tell friends my next book will be a romance. This week, I came across an article about writing romance on by Eileen Dreyer. She was kind enough to let me repost the article.

I Write Romance Novels -- So What?
By Eileen Dreyer

I write romance novels.

That obviously means that I am a sexually frustrated loser dressed in a robe and bunny slippers who lives in a dreary apartment with my cat and lives vicariously through my devastatingly beautiful heroines.

At least that's how I'm portrayed in most media.

OK, maybe I do wear bunny slippers. But that's only because my daughter bought them for me as a joke, and they keep my feet warm.

Oh, all right, I also have a couple of cats. And yes, in fact, I do have a libido. But that's as far as I go in resembling the caricature.

I actually don't write or read romances because I'm lonely, or because I feel inadequate, or want the chance to sneak a peak at dirty words. If you want to get political, I write romance because I like to remind myself (and everyone else. Writers are compelled to make other people listen to them) that I deserve everything I want in a relationship. I deserve to be happy, to be satisfied, to be safe, to be an equal. I deserve to be solvent and for my children to be taken care of.
As a genre written by women primarily for women, it is our promise to each other that life is worth reproducing. It's our commitment to the future. Pretty heavy stuff for heaving loins, huh?

If you think about it, though, we're in the business of hope. No matter what happens in a romance (and trust me, after 26 romances, I've had absolutely everything happen, from attempted suicide to the battle of Waterloo), everything comes out all right. We romance writers say, "If we just commit to each other, if we work together, we can get through anything." Very powerful message, if you ask me.

But romances are just fantasy, you protest. Of course they are. So is every Tom Clancy book, Shakespeare play, and political ad. I make no apologies for the fantasies in romance.

Yes, the heroines tend to be relentlessly orgasmic. The heroes are just as relentlessly manly (as much as I'd love to say that my heroes are everyman, not one of them has looked like Steve Buscemi) and impossibly stoic when wounded.

(Most people assume that women love an injured hero because it brings out her nurturing instincts. They expect us to go all Marion to Indiana Jones' reluctant winces. Baloney. Any woman who has had to put up with her husband's near-fatal colds knows that the fantasy of an injured hero is that he doesn't whine.)

But after 20 years of writing romances and 36 years of marriage, I have to admit that there is one fantasy that is becoming more and more important to me.

I have children. I have grandchildren. My husband and I are both getting gray, and over the years we have collected responsibilities and distractions like dust bunnies.

We love each other even more than when we first married, but it's a tempered love, well-worn and familiar. It isn't new. It isn't exciting. It isn't a revelation. It isn't completely, utterly, magically all-consuming. We have to share it with kids and careers and the responsibilities of the wider world.

But when I read a romance, I can return to that moment in a blooming relationship when I could be perfectly selfish, when nothing really existed but my lover.

When love was an exhilarating surprise, and the world seemed a bit brighter, tasted sweeter, made me smile more, just because the man I loved was in my life. When we could disappear for an entire weekend, doing nothing but lying in bed naked reading (well, some of the weekend reading, anyway) and suffer no consequences (like the state wanting to know why our 12-year old is out driving our other kids to ball practice).

After all, after 36 years of marriage, it's been a long time since I've been able to indulge in one person like that. And I admit it: I miss it, too.

But sometimes, when I open a book and read about a man and a woman who are just discovering each other, I can relive it. I can remind myself that it was a wonderful part of my courtship and marriage.

And, if I'm very lucky and the stars are aligned and nothing calls us away, I can remind my husband of it, too.

Not a bad fantasy at all.

Eileen Dreyer and her evil twin Kathleen Korbel have written more than 36 books in romance and suspense. Her July 2010 release, "Barely a Lady" will be her first foray into historical romance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner

Jenny Gardiner is our first GCCer to go direct to digital! I am so excited for her and her digital adventure. Jenny stopped by to discuss her latest book; Slim to None. Here is the fab cover.

And now from Jenny Gardiner!

Many of you may know me as a novelist who was able to successfully market my way into a publishing contract with my first novel, SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER, which was the winner of Dorchester Publishing's American Title III contest a few years ago. Back then I sort of stumbled into the frontier of capitalizing on what would soon become the most comprehensive way to market and publicize books—via networking on the internet.

Since that time, the industry has shifted in none-too-subtle ways as the internet has become an integral part of the publishing picture. So much so that e-publishing, which used to be considered an unconventional means of publication, is clearly being viewed now as the wave of the future. The future is already upon us, and I hope that you will join me in this brave new "frontier" and check out my debut e-novel, SLIM TO NONE, in which Abby Jennings, Manhattan's premier food critic, is outed on Page Six of the New York Post, and to her chagrin she realizes she's too recognizably fat to now remain incognito in her job. Her editor gives her six months to shape up or ship out, and so this ultimate foodie--a woman who is paid to eat for a living--must vastly curtail her eating in order to continue being able to make a living.

SLIM TO NONE is a story near and dear to my heart. Like probably every female out there with a heartbeat and a stomach pooch, I have been on the dieting treadmill since I was oh, born. Well, wait, I guess after I started walking. It was then that I knew I needed to stop cramming down the Froot Loops my mother kept insisting was the only thing I would eat, and instead turn to steel-cut oats direct from Ireland for the best proper nutrition.

Alas, Froot Loops won the day, over and over again. In what seems like an omnipresent dietary smackdown between Brussels sprouts and Fluffernutter sandwiches, the latter prevails every time. And with that has been the roller coaster of dieting and hating to diet and then never having pants that fit and a closet full of awesome clothes collecting dust that I really ought to just purge and give to someone thinner and more deserving, but instead I hold out mournful hope that I again will jam my fat ass into a size 6 pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans (yes, friends, it has been that long).

With that albatross secured snugly around my neck, I decided to tackle the ups and downs of this way of life in a novel—and decided upon a foodie for whom food had to become the enemy. I loved the idea of taking someone who has to eat for a living then not be able to eat in order to continue to be able to eat for a living. Such a quandary! And then of course I wanted to pile her up with all sorts of issues that she has to overcome.

I hope you'll join Abbie on her journey of self-discovery and while you're at it enjoy many of the yummy recipes you'll find within the pages of SLIM TO NONE.

Take a sneak peek at the first chapter of SLIM TO NONE here.

Jenny Gardiner is also the author of the recently released WINGING IT: A MEMOIR OF CARING FOR A VENGEFUL PARROT WHO'S DETERMINED TO KILL ME (Simon & Schuster's Gallery books), and the award-winning SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER (Dorchester books).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Absence & Illness

Sorry for the lack of posts. The entire family was sick. We are nearly well so I hope to have a longer post tomorrow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

TV Time

Television pitch season The German and The Big Russian called just the other day to check in with me about my pitch.

"Pitch?" I asked.

"Yes, your pitch," the Big Russian said in his Big Russian voice. "For television. How's it going?"

*Long awkward pause.*

"Okay?" I warbled.

"You'll come into the office when you're ready with your pitch, so we can hear it."


"What are you thinking about doing this year?"

"You know, I think I hear...Oh yeah, the baby is crying...gotta go!"

And my escape was made. Why? Because I am just not ready to share the specifics...yet.

I *know* what I'm doing...when I say *know*, I mean that I know the milieu (I really wanted to use that word) and I even have my lead character. I am fairly confident I have her family and friends too. I even know what her primary conflict is. This idea steeped in my head for a couple years, but the past couple seasons other ideas jumped over this one to get my primary attention. Finally the time is right for this idea and I have concrete details.

Why my reticence? My hesitation? It is the same for all writers, painters, photographers, poets, (insert creative endeavor here) is it not? You spend hours, days, months...even years developing something; painting, novel, screenplay, photograph and you've reached the point where it's time to share your creation and what happens?

Well for me, an overwhelming wave of self-doubt happens. At least for a moment. A flood of 'this isn't good enough' or 'I'm not showing this to anyone'. I'm told most of humanity shares these feelings with the stories, sculptures, presentations, (pick your poison) that they create. The act of sharing your creation is equivalent to marching naked through the street. Often times your most private thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams are masked in the costume of words, paint, clay and then presented to the world's critical eyes.

To create and then share your creation is an act of sheer courage. So while I ran the other day, I won't be running much longer.

Yes, it is nearly time to pitch.