Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category
For some folks, St. Patrick’s Day is an excuse to get drunk on green beer and eat corned beef and cabbage without guilt.
Now, I like a hearty meal of corned beef and cabbage as much as anyone, but I don’t do beer — green or otherwise. Like Meg, the heroine in BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, I prefer the taste of mixed drinks.
St. Patrick’s Day reminds me of my visit to Ireland. In 1992, my sophomore year of college, I spent spring semester studying at Harlaxton College. We had classes Monday-Thursday, with Fridays reserved for either class field trips or the start of long traveling weekends. Spring Break offered two trips: Paris for the first half and then Ireland.
Our Irish tour took us to many of the country’s popular tourist spots. In a movie theater in Dublin, a friend and I took in “The Commitments.” (The rest of the group opted to watch Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves in “Point Break,” but Amy and I decided it made more sense to watch a movie about an Irish band.)
Another of our stops was at Blarney Castle in County Cork.
Naturally, while I was there, I had to kiss the Blarney Stone. Who could pass up the opportunity to touch lips to the same stone kissed by heads of state, Hollywood hotties and millions of others?
Legend has it that kissing said stone imbues the kisser with the power of persuasion … the gift of gab, if you will.
Even then I knew I wanted to be a writer, and I’d been practicing so long I doubted I needed help in the persuasive writing department. Still, if kissing a stone would give me extra polish, I didn’t want to squander the chance.
When I saw what was involved in the kissing, I almost chickened out. It’s not as simple as leaning into a wall and puckering up. Oh no. The stone isn’t that easy to get to. You have lie on your back and grip iron handrails, levering yourself over the edge of the wall. A castle employee holds you by the waist to make sure you don’t fall.
I thought I had a picture of myself kissing the stone. I remember it well, down to the maroon paisley shirt and brown fanny pack I wore (1992, remember?). However, when I looked in my photo albums, I couldn’t find it. You can see pictures of others doing the deed at Wikipedia.
Photo or no, I’ll certainly never forget that kiss. It may well be the most frightening and exhilarating smack of my life.
Writers, take note!
Today must be the day for motivating thoughts, because this Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog post also has me thinking: What I really want to say on Twitter by Liz Talley.
I’m pretty sure that’s what every author really wants to say on Twitter (and everywhere else), but can’t. “Look at me! Look at me!” gets really old, fast.
An endless stream of RT’s of fellow authors’ books, all at once — bang, bang, bang — also doesn’t cut it. That’s why I use Buffer to space out my tweets.
Liz also talks about planting butt in chair to write the next book, which is something I need to get back to doing. With releases coming from TMP in March and April, as well as plans to self-pub in June, I haven’t written any new words in too long. Been self-editing BLIND DATE BRIDE and prepping for the release of BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER and SLIDING INTO HOME (formerly Untitled Book 3).
Speaking of SLIDING INTO HOME, I don’t think I’ve shared the cover on my blog yet. Look for it later this week.
At least Saturday’s plot group meeting got my creative juices going again. I now have some ideas for a fourth Love & Baseball story, thanks to some brainstorming with the NARWA crew. I’ll be back to banging out new words in no time.
Feb. 8-9 was a weekend of firsts for me.
I attended my first book signing and got my first mention in the Arizona Daily Sun.
The book signing was Saturday down in Glendale, at the Chocolate Affaire. From 2 to 10 p.m., I had a spot at a table with at least a dozen other romance authors, mostly from the Valley of the Sun RWA chapter.
The Chocolate Affaire is a big outdoor festival celebrating — you guessed it — chocolate. Signs like the one below, touting the benefits of one of my favorite desserts, were posted all over the park.
With all the chocolate around — everything from pie in a jar to chocolate-dipped Twinkies to chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick — would you believe I didn’t eat any? I know, I know. There’s something wrong with me.
That’s not to say I didn’t eat any junk. I had an orange creamsicle float and a Reuben sandwich for lunch after I arrived and before I went on duty. At dinnertime, I ventured away from the table to find a bratwurst with onions and mustard. I seriously considered getting some cheesecake on a stick, but ended up too busy to leave my post.
The park was packed when I arrived, carrying my box of books around as I searched for the romance writers’ booth. (In retrospect, I should have left the box in the car, found the table and then gone back for my books. Live and learn, right?) And the park stayed busy throughout the day. Paths were wall-to-wall people.
That cover still gives me goosebumps. Beautiful!
Plenty of people stopped by. I had a fantastic time telling folks about my debut, Diva in the Dugout. Even managed to sell a handful of copies. I also gave away a lot of bookmarks and business cards. Hopefully some of those contacts will translate to online sales.
It might have been my first book signing, but by the end of the night, I had my pitch down:
“I write contemporary romantic comedy featuring baseball players. This (pointing to DIVA) is the shortstop’s story. It’s my first book and it came out in October. The catcher’s story (tapping the BEAUTY bookmark) comes out next month.”
If they wanted to know more about the story, I explained: “The Condors’ bad-boy shortstop finds out five years after the fact that he’s a father — and must win over not only his little girl but her mother.”
When pressed, I may have compared myself to better-known romantic comedy authors like Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis and Jennifer Crusie. “They’re some of my favorite writers. I’m not that well known — yet — but my books are definitely funny. If you enjoy their books, I think you’ll like mine.”
*Blushing* Maybe I got a little carried away in the heat of excitement. In the cold light of morning, I can admit that.
Then again, there’s nothing wrong with being my own biggest fan, right? And I honestly believe my stories will appeal to readers who like that kind of story.
It was a fun day — long and exhausting, but fun. I’m glad I was lucky enough to get a spot at the table.
I was also lucky to meet Cap’n Jack, in the flesh. He was great. When I asked him if he liked to read, he answered, “Yes. Mostly maps.”
Glad I checked the weather down in the Valley. Otherwise, I’d have shown up in a sweater and roasted. (It was cold in Flagstaff when I woke up Saturday morning.)
A few things I learned:
I want a banner like these for the front of my area. See how they draw the eye? Once I get a cover for Sliding into Home, I’ll get right on that. I think they’ll make one at Kinko’s.
Some kind of easel to stand one of my books up on would be a good idea, too.
I also need to get some postcards or something to promote Blind Date Bride. Since I plan to release it this summer, it’s not too soon to start thinking about selling it.
Maybe I should market it and its related story, Trouble in Paradise, as the “Reality TV Bites” series …
Oooh … That’s actually not bad.
Aw, damn. Just googled it, and someone already wrote a book titled “Reality TV Bites.” So much for that idea.
Ahem. On to my other first: An article in the Arizona Daily Sun.
Abbie Gripman talked to me and Anne Marie Becker about our books and why we think romance sells. It’s a nice article that appeared in Sunday’s Arts & Living section. I didn’t come off sounding like a total idiot, which I appreciate.
It was the first time I’d been on that side of an interview. Usually I’m the one interviewing other people. But it was pretty painless. And the exposure is much appreciated.
I haven’t been doing the best job of getting my name out there. I’m working on that.
Last week, I shared the details of my writing process.
This week, if you hop on over to Susie Haught’s place, she’ll tell you about hers. It’s hard to believe we’ve only known each other for three years. She really is one of my biggest supporters, always ready with words of encouragement and willing to read for me.
I’ll be giving away some of Susie’s bookmarks at the Chocolate Affaire in Glendale, Ariz., next weekend. Did I mention I’m signing copies of DIVA IN THE DUGOUT Saturday? It’s my first book signing. If you live in the Valley, be sure to stop by and say “Hi.” I’ll be there from 2 to 10 p.m.
I ordered 15 print copies of DIVA, and would love to sell out so I have to order more for my next signing at Desert Dreams in April.
The book is gorgeous — trade paperback size, 198 pages.
When the box arrived on a Friday night, I took a dinner break from work just so I could run home and see it. (Give me a break — it was my first time seeing the print version. When I ordered copies for the RITA, I had them shipped directly to RWA HQ.)
It looks amazing!
When I go to the Chocolate Affaire, I’ll also be bringing a sign-up sheet for my newsletter, and some bookmarks for BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER. Its mid-March release date is getting closer. Only about six more weeks and BEAUTY will join DIVA on virtual shelves.
In fact, this happened last week:
I’m a little scared that I missed something. Susie had a chance to read the galley of DIVA for me. Between us, we found quite a few things to change. This time, I went it alone.
Fingers crossed that I had my editor’s hat pulled low over my ears, firmly affixed to my blonde head. (You know, I think I saw a few strands of gray in there the other day … I’m so not ready for that.)
As I worked, I started making a list of some of my favorite lines. Not sure where or how they’ll pop up, but rest assured you’ll be seeing them somewhere.