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Monday, September 29, 2008


Kwana missed my blog sooo much, she tagged me to get me started again. Thanks, sweets!

Here are the rules:Link to the person who tagged you.

Post the rules on your blog.
List 6 unspectacular quirks you have.
Tag 6 bloggers by linking them.
Leave a comment on each person’s blog to let them know they’ve been tagged.

Even though I'm not 100% sure why anyone would want to know anyone else's UNspectacular quirks, or why we all slavishly obey when we've been tagged, here goes.

1.) I don't like to have hair in my face or on the back of my neck when I'm sleeping. It makes me nuts. It makes Stinger nuts that this occasionally means getting flipped in the face with a hank of hair, but I say all that means is he should stop encroaching on my pillow.

2.) Every two years or so, I get puppy obsessed. I'm going through it now. I have emailed multiple breeders and spend a good part of every morning sifting through their replies, happily looking at pictures of unshow-worthy but very possibly pet-worthy border terriers.

3.) When I make cinnamon toast, I butter the cold bread and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar on before it goes in the toaster. Then when it comes out, the sugar is all crisp and crusty on top. Yum!

4.) I try to read the newspaper every morning, but I never read it from start to finish. I skip around, skim, and toss out any sections that don't appeal.

5.) I have a black thumb. My house plants shudder when they see me coming. There's a ban on me in three states to keep me from buying any more potted orchids.

6.) I stubbornly hang on to cookbooks that I've never cooked out of, because the fantasy that one day I might is too attractive to give up.

Also, I'm breaking the rules. I know! What a rebel. But I think this tag has made the rounds of a all my online friends already, so I'm going to refrain from doubling up. You can thank me later, Kristen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tip Sheets

I just a call from my editor that she's about the write the tip sheet for my book. Wow, does that make this all seem real. Tip sheets are for use by the publishing house only, written by the editor and shown to marketing types, salespeople, the art department--basically anyone who has anything to do with your manuscript becoming an actual book will see this thing. It has all the basic info like title, pub date, author bio, summary, etc. Plus, the item my editor was calling to ask me for: any important industry contacts.

Eep! I totally blanked. Not that I don't know anyone, but do I really truly know anyone in the industry that the marketing guys are going to care about?? Perhaps sensing the racing of my mind, the lovely editor hastened to assure me that she didn't need it right away. Maybe if I emailed her in the next few days? I said that I would, and hung up feeling grateful for the reprieve.

Now I have three days or so to make some important industry contacts!! Quick, any suggestions?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Big News

I'm not really sure how to bring this up. Stinger's strategy has been to wait until it comes up in conversation, then share. I'm more of an announcement maker, I think. Take the guesswork out of it. So here goes.

I'm pregnant!

That's right, sometime around the middle of February, Stinger and I will be welcoming a new little member of our family into the McStarter Castle of Love. Our next ultrasound is a week from today, and hell yes we're finding out the sex. I don't honestly understand people who say they want to wait and be surprised. It's a surprise either way! It's not like if you find out early you get to choose! Plus, I'm finding plenty to stress about without adding another question mark to the equation. Like, for instance, getting enough writing done now to be able to take some time off early next year. Actually, the pregnancy has been wicked motivation--my plan is to write the first two books on the contract before February, which would put me way ahead of deadline.

I promise this won't become The Pregnancy Blog, because seriously, I get tired of talking about it. But I'll give updates when something fun happens. So far, it hasn't been bad at all; I'm part of the teeny minority of women who didn't have any morning sickness during the first trimester, and now that I'm in the second, my biggest concern is my expanding waistline. Mostly, I'm enjoying the process, and very much enjoying talking with my friends who've been there about the whole experience. Feel free to share your story! I need all the advice I can get.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

First things first: if you entered the contest to win a copy of Roxanne St. Claire's Now You Die, please check the comments section of the post below for the winners' names! Congratulations, guys. I know you'll enjoy this book! For those of you who didn't win, just run out to Borders and spring for a copy. It'll be worth every penny, I promise.

So I've been back from the beach for about two weeks now, and have yet to settle into any kind of groove, writing-wise. Not that I'm getting zilch accomplished, but there were some editing issues to take care of and, you know, bills to pay and trips to plan (yes, more traveling, someone please chain me to my desk!) and dinner to cook and what with one thing and another, I've only moved forward about ten pages in the last two weeks. Not a great total. When I'm really rocking, I can do ten pages a day, and even at my most moderate steady rate, I can rock out five or six. So what's my problem?

Fear. I've talked about this with several fellow authors lately, so I know it's a fairly universal authorial freakout. We get scared that whatever it was that drove us to start the story will suddenly up and quit on us, leaving us stranded in the middle of our plot with no way forward. And of course, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. You're totally stranded for good and all if you let fear paralyze you into not writing. My current fear is tied to that, but is specifically related to the super important turning point scene I'm currently mired down in. I want everything about it to be perfect, to work, to catapult the characters into the second half of the book where everything has changed.

What I keep forgetting is that the only way forward is to write it. And it doesn't have to be perfect on this pass through, it just has to be SOMEthing. You can always tinker with it later, as long as there are words strung together to make a scene. But you can't revise an empty page.

With that in mind, I'm opening up the old doc and plunging in. If anyone has any other advice for me, tried and true methods for combating fear, please share!

Friday, September 5, 2008

My First Contest!

I've never run a contest on my blog before, but I'm lucky enough to be in possession of three brand new copies of bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire's smashing new release, Now You Die--and I just can't resist!

Now You Die is the final book in a connected trilogy set within her existing Bullet Catchers series, about a group of smokin' hot Alpha bodyguards. Now You Die spotlights Lucy Sharpe, the enigmatic, powerful woman who rules the Bullet Catchers with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Lucky girl that she is, she's forced to choose between disgraced ex-employee Jack Culver, the sexiest rogue bodyguard anyone's likely to meet, and her closest friend and confidant, the ever charming Dan Gallagher. Choices, choices...
A random drawing of names from this blog's comments will determine the three winners. Please feel free to forward the blog to your friends for a chance to win! If you haven't read Roxanne St. Claire yet (not that there are many of you out there) you're really missing a bet. She writes the kind of fast-paced, super fun, scorching hot romantic suspense that will keep you turning the pages in a blur. The whole series is great, the trilogy is awesome, but this book totally stands alone and can be deeply enjoyed by new reads.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Okay! I know I've been MIA for a while now, but you'll have to forgive me. I was on vacation with my writing buddies in Florida, and while I did manage to open my laptop for a few hours every day, I used those precious moments to write my book, not to blog. I've passed the halfway point in my book, though, so yay me! Of course, I also realized that there's a big pacing issue stretching back to like the fourth chapter, so I'm revision-bound for the next few days. Once I get through the current exceedingly fun scene I'm working on, because I just can't put it down. Don't you love that feeling, when you're so into what you're doing that it's not like work at all?

This scene is like that for me. It's the physical culmination (or as close to it as we're getting) of the secondary love story, which will lead into the big midpoint reversal for the heroine. I don't want to give too much away, so I won't say more, even though I'm dying to. What is it about secondary love interests that gets me so fired up? I just love them. I love to read them, love to write them. I don't know if I could ever write a book without one. Inevitably, the brother/best friend/mother/niece/business partner of the hero or heroine ends up being my favorite character. Some examples: FBI agent Jules Cassidy from Suzanne Brockmann's Navy SEALs books, as well as her ongoing saga with Sam Starret; Zsadist and Bella in Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward; Marquess Simon Bonnington in Eloisa James's A Wild Pursuit; Pilar, the heroine's mother, in The Villa by Nora Roberts. There are lots more, but Suz Brockmann's are probably my favorites. I love the way she lays the foundation for future novels as she goes along so that by the time Jules finally gets his man in Force of Nature, the reader is so heavily invested in his happiness and loves him so much as a character that the experience of reading that happy ending is nothing short of explosive. It's great setup for catharsis, and she delivers every time.

Can you tell I'm gearing up to read her new hardcover? Just out at the end of July (and I can't believe I missed it that first week, what kind of shoddy fangirl am I?) called Into the Fire, it brings back a character who's been MIA since the first or second book of the series, when the love of his life was gunned down in a firefight right beside him. It was tragic and heartbreaking enough that I remember it a dozen books later, and can't wait to find out what's happening with Vinh Murphy. And hopefully there will be a few little tidbits about my favorites, Jules and Robin, seeded throughout, just to keep her boylove readers happy...

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