Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From book to big screen

I've been watching HBO's True Blood, which is based on a favorite paranormal romance series of mine. There are a lot of differences between Charlaine Harris's books and the HBO series, and there have to be in some instances.

For one thing, the books are in first person, which doesn't work exactly the same on television. For another, the director has his own interpretation that is (gasp) different from mine, and probably yours too (how dare he?).

Still, on a few of my loops, there are some paranormal readers out there who are ready to chuck the television series out the window. So I put it to you, dear readers. Do you usually enjoy television or movie interpretations of your favorite books? What do they usually get right? And wrong?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Same Old Arguement

I have an interview with a reporter from a local, neighborhood paper in about an hour. Normally, I LOVE these kinds of things, but for some reason -- maybe its my allergies acting up -- I'm not really looking forward to it. The truth is, I've been interviewed by this person before, when I was writing another genre, science fiction. She had a lot of disdain for speculative fiction.

I can't imagine what she's going to think about my move to romance.

And I get really TIRED of that whole condescending attitude, don't you? I wonder if I need to have the facts and figures at hand to PROVE to this reporter that romance is a force to be reckoned with in the publishing industry? I wonder if I'll have to remind her that authors she respects, like Jane Austin, wrote romances. We only call Austin "literature" because she "transcends" genre by being, what, good? Famous? Dead?

WHAT-ever!

Sorry, it's just I've been having these kinds of discussions ever since I published my first science fiction novel. It's exhausting to always have to legitimize what you're writing... particularly when the people who scoff at it, usually haven't READ any. Or if they have, they judge our books by their covers from the eighties with Fabio and bodices and all that.

*sigh*

Thursday, September 25, 2008

RAW 2008


Author Lora Leigh throws one heck of a party! I had a great time at RAW and the fans there were just the best. I had a chance to spend time with old friends (hey Sharon, Lydia, and Angela!); make new friends (Lady Nico, Mr. Nico is a charmer and I enjoyed talking to you both! And Chris, what can I say...it was a blast getting to know you! So many names and faces...I wish I could list you all...thanks for showing me such a good time!); had a chance to hang out with some very talented authors (I didn't have the opportunity to talk to every author there, but it was fun sharing laughs with Dianne Castell, Sylvia Day, Kay Stockham, Delilah Devlin, Donna Mac Means, Jennifer Estep, and, of course, my good bud, Mary Wine. If you're looking for a little romance and/or spice in your life, you can't go wrong with these authors!! ;))

But instead of me yammering on and on, I'll post a couple of pictures! Oh, and btw, RAW 2009 is going to be the last weekend in September next year, so if you're looking for a super time, keep it in mind!!

Now it's back to reality...and my deadline!!! Hope you're all having a terrific week!

Best,
Shirley


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Constructive dedeconstructivism in the works of Tarantino

1. Narratives of meaninglessness

In the works of Tarantino, a predominant concept is the concept of postcapitalist consciousness. Several narratives concerning a mythopoetical whole may be found.

If one examines Marxist socialism, one is faced with a choice: either reject structuralist subdialectic theory or conclude that reality is fundamentally elitist, given that Sontag’s model of submodernist feminism is invalid. Therefore, the subject is contextualised into a that includes narrativity as a paradox. Lyotard uses the term ‘Marxist socialism’ to denote the common ground between class and sexual identity.

In the works of Tarantino, a predominant concept is the distinction between feminine and masculine. Thus, the closing/opening distinction prevalent in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is also evident in Reservoir Dogs. Any number of discourses concerning constructive dedeconstructivism exist.

However, the premise of predeconstructivist nationalism implies that the establishment is capable of truth. The subject is interpolated into a that includes art as a reality.

In a sense, Bataille uses the term ‘constructive dedeconstructivism’ to denote the fatal flaw of capitalist class. Debord promotes the use of the posttextual paradigm of context to read and modify society.

However, Foucault uses the term ‘Marxist socialism’ to denote not narrative per se, but prenarrative. The subject is contextualised into a that includes reality as a paradox.

Therefore, a number of theories concerning the stasis, and thus the failure, of postcultural class may be discovered. Brophy[1] suggests that we have to choose between submodernist feminism and subtextual structuralist theory.

2. Tarantino and Sartreist absurdity

If one examines submodernist feminism, one is faced with a choice: either accept constructive dedeconstructivism or conclude that culture is used in the service of sexism. But the subject is interpolated into a that includes reality as a whole. In Jackie Brown, Tarantino affirms Marxist socialism; in Four Rooms, although, he reiterates submodernist feminism.

In the works of Tarantino, a predominant concept is the concept of postpatriarchialist sexuality. It could be said that if constructive dedeconstructivism holds, we have to choose between submodernist feminism and dialectic capitalism. The example of neocultural capitalist theory intrinsic to Tarantino’s Jackie Brown emerges again in Reservoir Dogs, although in a more postsemantic sense.

If one examines constructive dedeconstructivism, one is faced with a choice: either reject Batailleist `powerful communication’ or conclude that the task of the poet is social comment. Thus, the subject is contextualised into a that includes culture as a reality. Wilson[2] implies that we have to choose between Marxist socialism and the precultural paradigm of consensus.

The main theme of the works of Tarantino is a mythopoetical totality. In a sense, many narratives concerning constructive dedeconstructivism exist. Sontag’s critique of dialectic theory suggests that the Constitution is intrinsically unattainable, given that reality is interchangeable with culture.

Therefore, if Marxist socialism holds, we have to choose between constructive dedeconstructivism and subconceptual objectivism. Foucault uses the term ‘Marxist socialism’ to denote the role of the participant as reader.

However, la Tournier[3] states that we have to choose between cultural presemantic theory and Lacanist obscurity. In Four Rooms, Tarantino affirms submodernist feminism; in Jackie Brown he deconstructs Marxist socialism.

It could be said that the primary theme of Dietrich’s[4] model of constructive dedeconstructivism is a neopatriarchial paradox. Submodernist feminism suggests that narrativity is capable of significant form.

Thus, the subject is interpolated into a that includes art as a reality. The collapse, and eventually the absurdity, of materialist postcultural theory which is a central theme of Tarantino’s Four Rooms is also evident in Reservoir Dogs.

Therefore, several deconstructions concerning the role of the artist as writer may be found. If constructive dedeconstructivism holds, we have to choose between submodernist feminism and Foucaultist power relations.

--------------
Biblio.

1. Brophy, Z. V. ed. (1990) The Vermillion Sea: Constructive dedeconstructivism and submodernist feminism. University of Illinois Press

2. Wilson, B. (1971) Capitalism, constructive dedeconstructivism and materialist appropriation. Loompanics

3. la Tournier, T. L. ed. (1993) The Context of Dialectic: Constructive dedeconstructivism in the works of Glass. University of Massachusetts Press

4. Dietrich, I. K. C. (1972) Submodernist feminism and constructive dedeconstructivism. O’Reilly & Associates

--------------

If you read all that and didn't understand a word of it, guess what? It was generated here. That's right; it's pure unadulterated overly academic rubbish. It means nothing.

And that's my question, if you got this far. Is it possible to take the meaning out of language? To become too esoteric? If you use a word too much, such as a swear, does it lose impact after a while? Does FUCK eventually become more like fart on your radar?


PS -
If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy reading about the Social Text Affair, where NYU Physics Professor Alan Sokal’s brilliant(ly meaningless) hoax article was accepted by a cultural criticism publication.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How organized are you?

All things considered, I think I'm a fairly organized person. I always hit my deadlines, I know where to find my keys and I can usually find a matching pair of shoes for the kids. But something happened last night that made me question my abilities - I went to post Joanna Campbell Slan's guest blog for today...and couldn't find it. She'd emailed it a month in advance. How's that for planning? But is it in my inbox? Eek. Perhaps Pirate ate it.

My lack of ability to locate a single email had me questioning my organizational skills. That's when I started comparing myself. Joanna's protagonist is a scrapbook expert and creates all of these great photo pages for a living. Our last two years of family photos are still in the Snapfish envelopes. Hmmm...

Good thing I have the solution: a quiz. Because online quizzes really do offer the answers to life's questions, right? I went online and found an Are You Organized? quiz. The scary thing is that I scored pretty well.

So how organized are you?
Give yourself 10 points for every "yes" answer.

1) Do you know how long it takes you to get up and out the door in the morning?
2) Do you arrive early or on time for appointments?
3) Do you return calls and emails the same day?
4) Have your bills and credit cards been paid on time for the last six months?
5) Do you know how much money you have in your purse and banking accounts?
6) Do you know how much gas you have in your tank? Is your car clutter-free?
7) Are clean clothes put away and dirty clothes in the hamper?
8) Do you know what's for dinner and how long it will take to make it?
9) Would people say you're organized?
10) Do you feel organized?

90 points or higher: you have excellent organizational skills
70-89 points: You are a generally well-organized person
50-69 points: You're struggling with organization
10-49 points: You're making things a bit hard on yourself sometimes

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where Do You Get Those Crazy Ideas?

I'm not one of those writers who has a plethora of ideas. In fact, I'm more like those author characters in Stephen King's movies/books who are always worried that they've run completely dry. So, unlike like some who have a really cool answer for this question, I have to actually sit down and mechanically assemble a plot.

Of course, for any of you who know me (think: slightly ditzier than my character Garnet), realize that the term "mechanically assemble" and Tate do not go hand-in-hand. So normally my idea process starts with a deadline, ala, "Oh s&@t, you mean that short story is due on the anthology editor's desk in ten days? Arrgh!"* Then, I run around the house talking to myself. "Okay, what was the theme? What can I do on that?"

Some time later (after the panic has worn off a bit), I sit down in a quiet place and start with what my friend (and fellow writer) Kelly McCullough and I sometimes refer to as "a problem statement." What a problem statement really is, is a phrase that describes the conflict of the story (or novel) in a concise way. An example might be: what kind of horror does it take for a seasoned soldier to abandon his duty?

Then I try to figure out what my answer to the question is. From there, I have the kernel of the short story/novel, and more often than not I can either write a plot outline/synopsis for a novel or get started on a short story.

This doesn't always work as smoothly as I describe it, of course. Often I'll get started (particularly in the case of my novels) and realize what the book is really about 2/3rds of the way through. Then, I usually have to do a whole boatload of revisions, which isn't a lot of fun. That's why, actually, over the years, I've tried to do as much thinking about a novel/short story BEFORE I start writing as humanly possible (given the usual constrains of the looming deadline.)

How about you? Where do you get your crazy ideas? What's your process like?

-------------------
* Real statement made about twenty minutes ago.

Friday, September 19, 2008

International Talk Like a Pirate Day


It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day and to celebrate, I'd like to welcome Something Wicked's very own Pirate the dog. He's one of the main characters in The Accidental Demon Slayer and thanks to my heroine's powers, Pirate can talk, and talk...and talk.

Pirate: Hold up. I could always talk. It just too some magical demon slaying hoo-ha for Lizzie to start listening.
Angie: Now let me make sure I'm hearing this right. Lizzie is your owner and she's a demon slayer?
Pirate: She's the best demon slayer. Well, maybe not the best. She just got her powers like a week ago. But she has me and I'm fierce. I protect her from butterflies, the vacuum cleaner, her hair dryer...and as soon as she lets me near a demon, that sucker is history!
Angie: What do you enjoy most about Lizzie's new life? I hear you're tight with a gang of geriatric biker witches?
Pirate: Oh the Red Skulls? Those ladies are nice. Fine cooks too. Last night, I ate rotisserie raccoon, possum pate, barbeque squirrel... And I'm a biker dog now! No kidding. I ride on a Harley like all of the other biker dogs. Wind in my ears, wind in my face, wind all up in my -
Angie: Thank you, Pirate. Tell me, what's the one thing you haven't done yet that you wish you could do?
Pirate: That's easy!
Angie: Non food related.
Pirate: Oh, now let me think. Hmm...I think I'd like to learn how to read. I want to see what all those paranormal romances are about. There aren't enough of them with dogs on the cover, but there's plenty that look like mighty fine reading.
Angie: A worthy goal. What's it like to be in a book that made the New York Times Bestseller list?
Pirate: You know why I think it made the list? It's got me on the cover. See, if more books had dogs on the cover, more people would want to buy them.
Angie: Thanks for sitting down with us, Pirate.
Pirate: Well, you did tell me to sit. And I've been to doggie school.
Angie: Of course. You can see more of Pirate in The Accidental Demon Slayer, which is out now. And he's also back in The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, coming in May of '09.
Pirate: May? That's a long time to wait.
Angie: Um. Yes. Well...
Pirate: I can't count or anything, but I'm thinking that's at least one or two dog years.
Angie: How about I read you some good books in the mean time?
Pirate: Oh yeah. Now that'll be nice.
Pirate is making the blog talk rounds today. If you'd like to see more of him, and have the chance to win free books, visit two of our favorite blogs, Simply Romance Reviews and Bitten By Books.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

On The Road Again!

I'm off today to Huntington, West Virginia for author Lora Leigh's Readers Appreciation Weekend (RAW)! It's going to be a great time-a chance to meet up with old friends, hang out with some very cool authors (see the list below), and get the chance to talk with a lot of readers!

So if any of you are in the Huntington area, please stop by the open signing on Sunday and say "hey!"

Sorry this is so short, but I've got to fly for now-literally! Catch me next Thursday and I'll fill everyone in on the trip. Take care and have a good one!
Best,
Shirley


Authors Attending:
Jules Bennett
Claudia Pemberton
Nalini Singh
Jasmine Haynes
Shayla Black
Lora Leigh
Kay Stockham
Delilah Devlin
Veronica Chadwick
Lorie O'Clare
Shiloh Walker
Bianca D'Arc
Dianne Castell
Jacquelyn Frank
J.R. Ward
Donna MacMeans
Sylvia Day
Lucy Monroe
Mary Wine
Jennifer Estep
Dawn Ryder
Anya Bast
Diane Whiteside
Erin McCarthy

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This book is killing me

I'm going to talk process a little now, mainly because I need to get this all out. If you're not interested in such things, maybe you want to get a coffee. Could you bring me back a muffin? Thanks.

The rest of you, settle in and enjoy.

People ask me if writing in first person is hard. And maybe for some people, it is. I'll admit it's a little inconvenient because you need that person whose POV you're writing in for every critical scene. But with a little creativity, that's not a problem. That's what I'm used to, by the way -- writing in first person.

Now I'm writing a book on a bigger scale. Instead of one POV, the heroine, or even two points of view, hero and heroine, I'm writing my paranormal in FOUR POV: hero, heroine, villain, and ...someone else. I won't say too much about the last person because he'll be important in book two -- and he's intriguing as hell right now. I'll admit that it gives me more freedom. I can do a lot more in this format.

Thing is? My process makes this hella difficult. How come? you might ask. That's an excellent question. See, the way I work, I channel the emotions of whoever I'm writing at the time. I suspect the intensity people talk about in my books comes from the fact that I feel whatever my protagonist is feeling while I'm writing the scene. Since I generally go dark -- that's a lot of emotion surging through me over the course of a chapter.

And it's bad enough with one person. Now I'm writing a book in the POV of four complex, tortured individuals. By the time I complete one chapter, I feel utterly exhausted, ready to go to bed even though it's two in the afternoon (or whatever time I finish). At this point, I'm near the 25K mark, and the idea that I still have so much left to write is daunting. I never imagined it would be this tough in multiple points of view.

I can keep up, but at what cost? I'm a little worried about what kind of mental shape I'll be in by the time I'm done. So at this point, I can use some cheering up. Good news, anyone?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome Jennifer Ashley







Today, we welcome USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley. She's won the RITA, two RT Reviewers Choice awards and (this is the most important thing) she's a really great person. I met her in San Francisco this summer and I couldn't have been more impressed. And now Jennifer has a new Immortals book out and she's here to chat with us about that and also talk about authors who have influenced her throughout the years. Take it away, Jennifer!
Thanks so much, Angie, for inviting me to your blog!

My latest book, Immortals: The Redeeming, was just released, the fifth of the Immortals series. Note: If you've read it already and are interested in the werewolf character, Logan, his story will appear in Immortals: The Reckoning in March. Also note that you can read The Redeeming as a standalone.

I will be giving away a free copy of Immortals: The Redeeming today as well to someone drawn from the comments.

(And don't miss October's Immortals: The Crossing by Joy Nash, and then Robin Popp's Immortals: The Haunting in November, more books set in the Immortals world.)
Read more about them at http://www.immortals-series.com/ and http://www.jennifersromances.com/

I'm also excited because I just turned in a historical romance called The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and I already have its boootiful cover.

And that's all the BSP I'm doing.

Now for the blog: I was thinking the other day about how sometimes you'll see an advertisement or a banner in a bookstore or even blazoned on a book cover: If you love Author X, you'll love the novels of Author Y!

That got me wondering-if someone asked me who I wrote like, what would I say?
I dunno. If you love Sherrilyn Kenyon or Charlaine Harris or Christina Dodd, will you like my books?

I have no clue.

So then I thought, ok, what authors do I absolutely adore? What authors influenced me to sit down and start banging out stories? I bet that my style, tone, and approach is somewhat similar to, or at least influenced by, what I like to read.

And because I'm shy about talking about myself, I'll talk about them instead. :-)

Early influences: I didn't grow up reading romances. I grew up reading mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy. One of the first mysteries I read were the YA mysteries of Phyllis Whitney. Does anyone remember those? I still have a couple in my bookshelf (The Secret of the Samurai Sword; The Mystery of the Gulls). She set them around the world (Japan, Greece, South Africa), and the protagonists were two teenagers (girl and a boy, different ones each book).

I graduated straight to Agatha Christie's mysteries, which I read throughout high school. She has tight plots and fun characters, and I learned from reading her how to do a whodunit. (Not that I'll ever match her, but her books were my study guide).

Sci-fi fantasy: I read The Chronicles of Narnia when I was about eleven, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was twelve.

I read Barbara Hambly for her strong female leads. I really liked Those Who Hunt the Night, a Victorian vampire/mystery, and Bride of the Rat God, set in Hollywood of the 20s. Cool Chinese mythology, a Hollywood starlet, and magical demon-hunting dogs.

Also I liked David Eddings' series, the Belgariad--a quest story with bantering friends and lots of adventure and magic.

In college I kept on reading classic mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy. I got a graduate degree in English lit., so I read everything from Jane Austen to Old English poetry.

Later I started reading Elizabeth Peters--the voice of Amelia Peabody is strong and hilarious. Terry Pratchett writes fantastic funny fantasy, which has more to it than just humor.

Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigen series (scifi) and Lindsey Davis's Falco series (mysteries set in ancient Rome) are also some of my favs. Again, I think it's the strong voices of the characters.

In about 1995 I finally started reading romance. (I was a late bloomer.) I first picked up one of Jo Beverley's early Regencies (The Stolen Bride) and adored it. I loved how she wrote strong, sexy males with intelligent heroines to match them.

Someone said: If you love Jo Beverley, you'll love Mary Jo Putney :-) And they were right! My favs of hers were The Rake and the Reformer (the original "super-Regency"), Angel Rogue, and Shattered Rainbows. Again, she has very strong heroes and strong, smart heroines to match. Darker books I liked were Laura Kinsale's character-driven romances and her hot, dark alpha males.

Then I found Loretta Chase and Christina Dodd. I read Christina Dodd's That Scandalous Evening, and discovered how wonderful humorous romance could be. (This is ultimately the direction I went--humorous historical romances with hunky alpha males). I loved the heroine in Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels, who was witty, smart, funny, and in love with her dark, difficult hero.

Once I got published (with Perils of the Heart, a sexy, funny high-seas adventure/romance), I discovered some fabulous, new-to-me authors: Nina Bangs (hilarious paranormals--I don't know how she thinks up what she thinks up). Sandra Hill, ditto.

And then came urban fantasy. Oooooo, I love it. I have devoured Charlaine Harris's Sookie series and am so excited about the HBO series based on it (True Blood). Patricia Briggs is a fabulous writer, and her werewolves are so hot. The Kitty books of Carrie Vaughan are great too, though I have only read the first one so far (I have so little time to read, sadly). These authors have heroines with strong voices that carry the story.

I guess, thinking it through, what I love most are strong heroines with strong voices--and hot alpha males. I prefer character-driven stories, not worrying about whatever plot they're involved in. I just want to linger in that world.

So if you love any of the above authors, you might like my books too! Maybe. :-)

My question is: If someone tells you: "If you like Author X, you'll love Author Y," does this influence you to buy the book? And if it does, do you find that the claim holds true?

Thanks again, Angie for letting me chew the fat. It was fun!
Jennifer Ashleyhttp://www.jennifersromances.com/

Monday, September 15, 2008

MIA: Tate Hallaway

Can someone please explain the science (or magic) behind the fact that errands always seem to expand to fill the amount of time you have? I swear, time at home is like a reverse Tardis, swallowing every moment I'd set aside for writing. I'd really hoped to be back at home WAY before this, but somehow I managed to get lost on the way to Home Depot (which I've been to a thousand times) to pick up a toliet for a downstairs bathroom remodeling project, and am only now sitting down to get started on my writing day?

Sheesh.

Anyway, how are you?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

You Got to Have Friends



In the past, readers have asked about Ophelia and Darci's friendship. They want to know if it's something that parallels my life. The answer? A resounding "yes"! All of my life I've been lucky to have great girlfriends. They've been my therapists...my partners-in-crime (no, we've never been arrested, but one of my favorite quotes is: "A good friend will bail you out of jail...a great friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'dang, that was fun!'"). And they've always been there when I've needed them. Honestly...I've needed them a lot! They've seen me through some very tough times, and along with my family, they're the most important thing in my life! I couldn't survive without my "peeps!" (Well, maybe I could, but life in a mental hospital wouldn't be much fun! :))

Now I'm going to celebrate one of those very special friendships. My dear friend (advisor, sounding board, and just general go-to person), Joanna Campbell Slan, has the first book of her new mystery series (PAPER SCISSORS DEATH) hitting the bookstores right now. And what better way to honor this very special lady than to blatantly promote her book! (Hey...Joanna is not only a terrific friend, but one heck of a writer! Not a biased opinion--the gang at Kirkus gave PAPER SCISSORS DEATH a glowing review! ;) ) Through the end of November, I'm running a contest on my website. We're offering some great prizes (4), and it's going to be easy to enter...just email me from my website the name of Joanna's protagonist. (Hint: the character's name is mentioned on the front page of her site! http://www.joannacampbellslan.com) Your name will be entered in the drawing for one of the prizes.

I hope you all stop by and check it out! Take care and have a great weekend!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Time Off

I always enjoy the break between projects. I like being able to read as much as I want with no higher calling, but I'm not so great at taking time off. I always seem to find myself working on something. For example, even though I'm not working on a contracted project, I'm working on a sekrit book that nobody knows anything about.

But it's actually a great refresher. It's nice to write something for love because it reminds me why this is the greatest job in the world (not that I forget too often). I'm incredibly lucky to do something I love every single day. I'm lucky somebody will pay me to write. I'm lucky to have the support of my family, who are very proud of what I've accomplished.

No, I'm not telling you about the sekrit project so don't even ask. If / when I have news about a sale, you'll be the first to know. Until then, you can daydream about what I might be writing.

This is hard for me to confess, but I'm nervous. Why? Well, Wanderlust just released. I did everything I could to make sure it does well, but is it enough? Hard to say. There are so many factors that are outside our control as authors. It's enough to drive you crazy.

Sometimes I think I'm too hard on myself. After all, I've achieved my dream and I'm making steady progress. I wish I could relax and quit worrying, but I don't seem to be wired that way. What do you guys do to unwind?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Romance Junkies have a new fan

Last week, the Romance Junkies Book Club invited me to stop by and chat for a few days. This is an online group boasting hundreds (actually about 1,800 or so) fun, crazy romance readers. So of course I knew it would be a good time. But wow - these women are crazy (in a good way). I had a blast. In fact, I was so amused by some of their questions, I have to post a few here.

RJ: Now, if you can time travel back to anywhere you'd like and only have to stay a year, where would you go? What three things would you bring with you? Me, Going to Regency time, in London, staying with a Rogue (he's also a Duke), I'm bring Toilet paper, glasses for reading their books then, and a bra (when I need relief from the corsets!)
Me: Well I'll see you in Regency England then. How about I borrow your toilet paper, lend you some of my deodorant, and perhaps some of the Ellora's Cave novels I bring (one cannot live on sweet, period books alone). But my Diet Coke stash I guard with my life. It's an addiction.

RJ: What was your worst dating experience?
Me: I was dating this cute, fun, smart investment banker. Perfect guy, only I had a feeling he wasn't crazy about my dog. I had a white toy poodle named Beau and not only was he the runt of the litter (very small) but he also had a bit of doggie attitude. My new boyfriend and my dog got along for me, which was fine, but one night after a great night out, the conversation went kind of like this:

Hot dreamboat guy: I really like you.
Me: I like you too.
Hot dreamboat guy: So, um, how long do poodles live?
Me: (a bit confused at the change of topic): Oh about 14 years, but my last dog lived to be 16.
Hot dreamboat guy: So how old is Beau?

I kid you not. He wanted to know how long my sweet, precious doggie had left on this Earth. And that's how he became my ex-cute, fun, not-so-smart, jerky investment banker.

RJ: We love Dimitri, but what made you decide to make him a griffin?
Me: Frankly, I'm surprised there aren't more griffin heroes in paranormal romance. Griffins symbolize light, protection and courage. And they're the ultimate romantic heroes because they mate for life (Lizzie doesn't know this yet). Griffins, in fact, were used as symbols of marriage in the Medieval Church because they are known for their loyalty and monogamy. So...hot, heroic and loyal. Lizzie deserves no less in a man.

RJ: If you were going to be a guy for a day, what would your name be and what would you do?
Me: I'd want to be a gay man named Kyan and I'd re-decorate my house.

If you haven't, you should check out the Romance Junkies. In my opinion, it's one of the best readers sites on the web. They're welcoming, they're fun and these women know their books. What could be better?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tick Tock

I'm late! It is still Thursday, but I do try and post earlier than this. So what's up?? Lots and lots of stuff!!

My main problem is that I feel the clock ticking. Not my biological clock...that sucker shut down a long time ago! No, I feel a nip in the air which means Fall is here, Fall means November, and November means the deadline for Book 7 in the Ophelia and Abby series!! Ay-yi-yi!!! The pressure's on and right now I'm feeling a little stressed. I've always joked around that writing has taught me a new way of spelling anxiety...d-e-a-d-l-i-n-e! And one would think I'd be accustomed to dealing with them by now, but I'm not!

Not that I'm complaining-I'm lucky to have deadlines-but trying to balance everything(being the grasshopper that I am)is tough. So if I seem a little whiney over the next few weeks, I hope you'll forgive me! I promise once Book 7 is winging its way to New York, I'll straighten up!

Got to run for now-I need to research fairies. (It's an idea that popped into my head yesterday. It may or may not work out. Say, anyone out there got any tips about them???) I hope everyone has a terrific weekend, and please think kindly of me...chained to my desk typing away!!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My To-Do List... and your fridge.

Revise Doubleblind for the second time and finish polishing it before September 15.
Check! Thanks to my awesome beta reader, I got that wrapped up tonight. She worked on it all day long -- I'd like to think the quality of the book made that inviting -- and I dealt with the changes and minor rewrites late this evening. Then I emailed it to my editor. Yay! I'm 12 days early. Big relief, as I'm already writing the next book, due November 15.

Wrap up the contest for the release of Wanderlust

Yep, did that too. I posted the winner tonight.

Come up with something for this blog.

Uhm. Does this crappy to-do list count? *g*

Tomorrow I need to write my 3K, go to the post office, and then to FedEx. Then I'm going out to lunch with my family, and at 5, we have a Meet the Teacher event at school. I'm tired just thinking about it.

So distract me, ok? Tell me 10 things that are in your fridge. Go! Now I will.

Ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, ham, cheese, eggs, milk, kiwi, nectarines

To round out this awesome post, I invite you to take this quiz like I did...


What Your Fridge Says About You



You like to be surrounded by things you love. You aren't exactly greedy, but you can be materialistic at times.



You tend to be a fairly thrifty person. You splurge occasionally, but you're mostly a saver.



You are a very adventurous person. You love to try new things, and you get bored very easily.



You are responsible, together, and mature. You act like an adult, even when you don't feel like it.



You are likely to be married - and very busy.



Huh, that sounds about right, actually. Except for the easily bored part. A good book can keep me entertained for hours. How accurate was the quiz for you?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The latest wicked book is DONE!

Okay, so while everybody else in America is getting back to work today, I'm inviting you all to sit down and have a glass of bubbly with me instead. That's because I turned in the manuscript for The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers last night (late last night). While everybody else was at barbeques this past weekend, I was on deadline. But you know what? It was actually a lot of fun watching everything come together.

You write a book in so many pieces and chapters. I don't know about other writers, but I rarely have time to read an entire book in one sitting. That's always my final step - sitting down with a Diet Coke and cookie stash (vital for brain power) and making sure it all hangs together.

Every book is a new experience, at least for me. This morning, I've been thinking about the things I learned while writing The Dangerous Book.

Don't over-think it
When I tried to write the beginning that the book "should" have, it was hard and it didn't quit hit right. When I had the courage to trash that part and write something that amused me, bing, it was exactly what the book needed.

Every manuscript needs a good bikini wax
I know I have a reputation for a super-fast pace, but that's what I like to write (and read). And when you're writing that way, it's important to make every word count. I always think I write tight, but then in edits, it's easy to see a lot of pudge in that manuscript. Cutting out the extra words makes everything read so much better.

A good critique buddy is, well, amazing
My critique partner, Chessie, read the final draft of the manuscript with a colicky baby, a sick toddler and hurricane Gustav blowing into town. And she did a heck of a job. It's a favor I didn't expect, but it sure reminded me how great I have it with her, and why she's such a success with her own work. Dedication, baby!

So let's make a toast to good friends, hard work and the books that make it all worthwhile.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day


I'm taking the day off to celebrate Labor Day. Before you exclaim, "That Tate, she'll do anything to avoid work," let me explain. I'm in my hometown of LaCrosse, Wisconsin... *actually* celebrating Labor Day. Here on the working class part of LaCrosse, the North Side, there's an actual parade of various unions (electrician's unions, police officer unions, postal carrier unions, as well as the traditional Teamster's, AFL-CIO, etc.) There are floats and flags and, as to my five year old's delight, candy tossed at eager kids. Afterward, it's traditional to retire to the nearest park (Copeland) and eat brats and beans.

Until I was talking to some fellow writers at Wyrdsmiths last Thursday, I had no real idea that this tradition is mostly lost. Not only is the Lacrosse Labor Day parade cool because it actually celebrates the average working man and woman, but it's a total slice of small townness, in that the parade is very small, mostly consisting of people walking behind their various union banners, with a few odd and ends thrown in -- the Oktoberfest, which is the other HUGE celebration in LaCrosse, always has a fancy float with a loud speaker piping out "Roll out the Barrel" while people in lederhosen polka in the streets, and the Trane Company (one of the major factories in town) brought through a huge flatbed semi to display a gigantic chiller unit (in other words, an enormous air conditioner -- fifteen feet long, eight feet high). I mean, if I were to write about something like this in fiction, people would accuse me of being overly "quirky."

Anyway, it was great. (I should note that the above picture is not one I took at this year's parade. Our parade is MUCH smaller. I did get some great digital shots, but I don't have my cables for transfer here at my folk's house.) I hope this tradition survives here in LaCrosse so my son can continue to enjoy it.