Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Five: Five Lines From My Current WIP

I'm currently enroute to the New England RWA Imagination in Flight Conference. And since I missed last week's Friday Five (mea culpa!), I decided on a quick fly-by post for today. But stay tuned or go to my Facebook page later in the day and over the weekend where I'll be posting photos and updates of all the fun. For now, though, here are five lines from the third book in the Nobody Series, Nobody's Perfect (currently in production):

1. Her marriage was a sham, a farce, a train wreck. (Chapter 1)

2. “You’ll wear a hat like that over my dead body,” Summer managed to say through her tight teeth. (Chapter 2)

3.  The idea that he might have broken her heart--even by proxy--made him feel lower than worm food. (Chapter 3)

4. Now the target of his stupidity sat across from him, a promise to help him still fresh on her lips. (Chapter 4)

5. “God, April, do you always become so brain dead when you lock lips with Jeff?” (Chapter 5)

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into Summer's story, due out in December. Don't forget to check out the other Friday Fivers this week! Their links are in my sidebar.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It's the Hubby's Birthday!

Poor Filippo. He always complains about his April birthday because of its proximity to Easter. And this year is no exception. Add to that, the fact that my in-laws are Greek Orthodox and there's a pretty good chance his birthday will be overshadowed by a major holiday. This year Greek Easter is also tomorrow so it's a crazy weekend for me. The kids and I will fuss for my sweetie's 49th today (49 on the outside; inside he'll always be a 9 year old boy) and make sure he understands how much we love him and appreciate all he does as husband and father. I complain (after 25 years of marriage, I'm entitled) but he truly is the sunshine in our lives. How can we not love the man who dances in the kitchen while he sings off-key and claims, "Today, I'm Kesha!" (I mentioned he's really 9 on the inside, right?)

What did I get him? Ssssh! Don't tell, but I picked him up a Nook. Not an obvious choice for my guy. The man has a love-hate relationship with reading. Still, he always tries to read the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal on the train. Unfortunately, between crowds where he can't find a seat and late delivery so the papers land on my driveway long after he's left for the train station, he winds up missing more than he reads. With the Nook, he can subscribe to the newspapers and read them at his leisure--without stuffing them into his already overstuffed bag and breaking another strap due to excess weight. Ditto all those documents and files he brings home from work or before a flight to some international city. I know when he opens it, he'll be confused. But within a week, it'll be something he can't do without.

Happy birthday, Filippo. I love you yesterday, today, and always!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guest Blogging About How I Write

Today I'm over at the Dunes & Dreams blog as part of their "How I Write" series. Wanna get an inside peek at insanity without getting too close? Stop by and leave me a comment. One lucky winner will get an autographed copy of Nobody's Darling!

Friday Five: Five Business Expenses Authors Can Write Off Their Taxes

Lucky for me, the IRS has extended the deadline this year so I have until Monday to finish my taxes. (And yeah, I'll probably e-file around 10 pm Sunday night.) So it's not too late to consider taking advantage of what Uncle Sam allows you to consider a legitimate business expense. Did you include all of these in your return?

1. Dues: RWA dues, local chapter dues, Author's Guild dues
2. Books. Yes. Books!!! And not just research books, but books you buy in your genre to check out the market.
3. Ink, paper, and other office supplies.
4. Promo items: Bookmarks, business cards, postcards with your cover, brochures, etc.
5. Conference fees and related hotel and travel expenses.

Hope these help. If not this year, file them away for next year.
Don't forget to check out the other Friday Five Participants. Links are in my sidebar.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Got Any Plans This Week?

I've got a busy week coming up and I'd love some company. So if you've got a little downtime and would like to spend time with me, here's where you can find me:

Monday, April 11: Join me at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the SmithHaven Mall in Lake Grove, NY for Write-O-Rama, an evening of writing, brainstorming, and Starbucks drinking with other writers. No fee, all genres and writing levels welcome!

Wednesday, April 13: Two events. For Long Islanders, I'll be at the Book Club Bash at the East Islip Library on Main Street in East Islip from 7-8 pm. Join me and other authors for a meet and greet! Can't get to the library or live too far away? Join me online at the Avalon Authors blog where I'll be giving away two copies of my newest release, Nobody's Darling. All you have to do is leave a comment to be in the drawing!

Friday, April 15: Another online event. Discover How I Write as part of an author series on the Dunes & Dreams blog.

Come spend some time with me!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Five: Five Books I've Really Enjoyed This Year (so far!)

Like most of us, my TBR pile is like pushing sand against the tide. Every time I finish one book, four more pop up in the stack. And because life's too short for bad books, here are five that I've read over the last four months that I highly recommend (NOTE: most of these aren't even close to "new release" status because there aren't enough reading days in a year for me!)

1. Sea Witch by Virginia Kantra Book I of her Children of the Sea series introduces us to selkie, Margred, and police chief of World's End, Caleb. Despite their differences, these two people find love but then must battle a demon to keep it. This story kept me riveted, and I'll be diving back into the series soon.

2. Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb In the 33rd (yes, kids, thirty-third!) installment of the series, Eve and her team fight corruption within the NYPSD, thanks to a tip from Peabody who just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. I honestly don't know how La Nora does it: every one of these stories is compelling, funny, and charming. Eve Dallas is my crack.

3. One True Love by Barbara Freethy This one squeaked in. Not because it's bad, but only because I haven't started the next installment in Barbara's Angel Bay series yet and those are hard to top. This author writes characters I love to spend time with. In this story, Lucy and Nick were torn apart over the death of their only child. After eight years rebuilding her life and on the eve of her wedding to another man, Lucy returns home to help out her best friend and winds up facing the love she can never forget.

4. Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham A sweet little holiday story that will have you believing in love that transcends time. A Revolutionary War patriot is about to be hanged but thanks to a time portal and some magic rose petals, he winds up in modern day Boston and meets Melody Tarleton who can't quite believe he is who he says he is. Although Melody comes with a quirky family, they never cross the line into insanity or stupidity like a lot of "comedic" romance offerings.

5. Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen Okay, so I've been hooked on Tess's romantic suspense for decades, but Rizzoli & Isles have a special place in my heart (and yes, I *love* the series too!) While trying to come to terms with her romance-that-can-never-be, Maura opts for a spur of the moment ski trip with an old acquaintance and winds up stranded in Kingdom Come, an abandoned religious compound. Flipping between Maura investigating the demise of the sect's members and Jane and friends trying to find Maura, the story offers the usual twists and turns a reader expects from a Tess Gerritsen novel.

I hope you'll find something new to add to your TBR or if you've read any of my selections here, feel free to offer your own opinions!

Don't forget to check out the other Friday Five participants. Their links are in my sidebar.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mid-Week Rude Awakening: Shy Guys Finish Last

Tallulah Bankhead said, "Good girls write diaries; bad girls don't have time." To some extent, this applies to authors, as well. Writers are, by nature, the spectators in life. As children, while the rest of the kids were out playing ball, we were the ones in the corner, reading. At high school parties, if we were invited at all, we spent most of our time sitting alone and just watching everyone else have a good time. We studied the written word, body language, and characterizations. Thus, we're not generally social butterflies.

But in this day and age, promotion of our books falls mainly on the shoulders of the writers. You know all those glamorous book tours Hollywood presents as routine for authors? Fuhgeddaboudit. These days, unless you have a reality television show behind you, or an unlimited amount of funds, your "book tour" is wherever you can travel in a fifty mile radius. This means that writers can't afford to hide behind their laptops if they want to be successful. You have to get your face out there. Get your name out there.

So put away the shy routine. If people don't know who you are, how will they know you've got a book they might want to read? Authors can't afford to be another faceless, nameless part of the crowd. Be prepared to speak in public. The best time to start speaking is before you're published to help you get over your fears. You think no one's interested? Think again. A lot of people are fascinated by writers: where we get our ideas, where we find the time, what made us finally decide to try, and what's entailed in going from "idea" to "book."

Or you can continue to sit in the back of the room and be a spectator. But only if you want your book to go nowhere.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Five: Five Famous Pranks for April Fools Day

Today is April Fools Day. So if someone managed to zing you today, remember these five incidents that caught a whole bunch of people off-guard! (And who knows? Maybe one of these will inspire a new scene in your writing.)

1. Spaghetti grows on trees. Did you know that? Back in 1957, the BBC show Panorama ran a news item about the spaghetti harvest well under way in Switzerland. Viewers even called the station to find out how to grow their own spaghetti tree!

2. Yo te quiero, Liberty Bell. In 1996, fast food giant Taco Bell announced they'd bought the Liberty Bell to help reduce the nation's debt and the landmark would now be known as the Taco Liberty Bell.

3. Will aliens require a "Virgin" sacrifice? In 1989, London residents flooded police departments with reports of a glowing flying saucer floating in the air. Soon, a silver-clad figure emerged. It was Virgin Records chairman Richard Branson in a specially designed hot air balloon.

4. The Dagwood Debacle. In 1997, a group of comic strip artists swapped comics for the day so Garfield ate a sandwich at Blondie's house and Dilbert left the corporate world for The Family Circus.

5. What About Hats for Fatheads? The easiest way to lose weight was introduced in 2000. Make way for FatSox! Simply wear these socks and they'll suck excess body fat out of sweaty feet. Then just toss the socks in your washing machine to lose the fat for good.

Happy April Fools Day!