Monday, April 29, 2013

Have Black Pants, Will Travel

Yesterday, I packed for my trip to RT Book Lovers convention. This will be my first time participating, and I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun and quite a bit different from writer conferences. How different? Not sure, but I do know with it being geared toward the reader/author relationship, high jinx will ensue.  We writers can be introverts but when you get a bunch of us together, we can go wild. Add in a dose of readers’ admiration, we’ll go insane!  

Anyway, as I packed, I kept telling myself that I didn’t need six pair of black pants or four sweaters (the temp should be in the 40s). I use to pack a regular sized suitcase for a full week business trip and that included makeup and a couple pair of shoes.  But now days, I’m thinking about a third suitcase. Sad. Just plain sad.

What about you? Are you a three suitcase kind of person or can you get everything in one for a week’s stay?  If you can do it with one suitcase, tell us your secret.
Guys, no need to answer.  You don’t count . . .  Mr. I-can-manage-with-one-pair-of-pants-and-three-shirts.  Eww!
If you are going to the RT Book Lovers convention or live in the Kansas City area, be sure to come and see me.  I will be at the following events.
May 2, Thursday
1:30 p.m.     The Bride Wore Two-Ply (I'm a judge)
4:00 p.m.     RT EXPO (E-books - "book signing")  - open to the public with $5 admittance
May 3, Friday
8:30 a.m.     Fountain City Jazz Club Mixer (Breakfast including Mimosas!)
6:15 p.m.     Avon's Red Slipper Lounge
May 4, Saturday
11:00 a.m.     Giant Book Fair (book signing) - open to the public with $5 admittance
7:15 p.m.       FAN-tastic Day 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Several Southern Magic Authors Will Be There Too!

Heart of Dixie Romance Writers
16th Annual Romance Readers' Luncheon 

J. T. Ellison, the bestseller of nine critically acclaimed novels, has come a long way from her days working in The White House and for the Department of Commerce. Her hidden passion for crime and forensics pulled her away from the world of politics and has resulted in a blossoming career as an author writing thrillers with a splash of romance. She has mastered the art of creating dark and thrilling worlds full of bloodthirsty killers and well-trained cops replete with those eerie noises in the night that compel readers to return time and time again. Ellison will be the featured speaker at the 16th Annual Romance Readers' Luncheon hosted by Heart of Dixie, the north Alabama chapter of Romance Writers of America. This annual event celebrates romance and literacy in the north Alabama community. Registration is now open for the event, held at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, AL, on June, 8, 2013, from 11am until 3pm.

Special guest author J. T. Ellison will share tales from her prolific world of writing during the keynote speech. She, along with over twenty other favorite romance authors, will host a table for lucky romance readers and sign books at this year's event. Other attending authors include Linda Howard, Linda Winstead Jones, Rhonda Nelson, Lynn Raye Harris, Kimberly Lang, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Kira Sinclair, and Melanie Dickerson. 

J.T. Ellison's novel THE COLD ROOM won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original of 2010 and WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2012. She is also the author of multiple short stories, and her novels have been published in more than twenty countries. Ellison recently teamed up with #1 New York Times Bestselling author Catherine Coulter to co-write a new FBI series. The first book will release in 2013.

HOD's Annual Luncheon includes lunch with guest authors, door prizes, raffles, and much more. A book fair and autograph session with the attending authors following the luncheon is open and free to the public at 2pm. Profits from this year's book fair will be donated to the Cullman County Library to further encourage literacy and the love of reading.

Join us as we celebrate romance in all its various forms! Registration is $25 and must be received by May 25th. Seating is limited, so register today. More information and registration can be found at

Along with some of the authors mentioned, the following will be attending who are also members of Southern Magic.

Carla Swafford
Lexi George
Kerry Freeman
Susan Carlisle
Katherine Bone
Alicia Hunter Pace
Debra Glass
Debby Giusti
Fred Arceneaux

Friday, April 26, 2013

What are you reading?

OMG, my TBR pile is out of control. (That’s ‘in the know’ ‘hep-cat’ lingo for Heavens, my bookshelf is simply bursting with yet to be read tomes!) I thought since I mainly write historicals, I should clarify, but since my daughter accused me of being an out of touch fuddy duddy who didn’t appreciate Nikki Menage’s presence on American Idol, I thought I’d at least try to sound . . . ahem . . . modern. What was that Adam Ant said in his song Room at the Top? An eighteenth century brain in a twenty-first century head. (Oh hell, I just dated myself again.)

shelfFor me, a huge part of being a writer includes firing my imagination with good books. It’s a part of my job I thoroughly enjoy. So, I’ve listed some of the many books I’m reading at one time, no less, and (will probably regret this because it’ll just increase the size of my TBR pile) ask you to comment with what’s on your nightstand?

Naima Simone’s as of yet unpublished, unedited masterpiece, Malachim, in Naima’s Secrets and Sins series. Each book will carry the name of the hero as its title. The first book in the Secrets and Sins series is Gabriel and will be release by Entangled in June. Yep, I got to read it first wenches! Don’t hate me.

Heather Graham’s One Wore Blue. One Wore Gray is right underneath it on my bookshelf.

SK Whiteside’s Vexed. I’m Facebook friends with SK and if the cover alone doesn’t sell you on this book, one of the characters is Isis.

I just finished Lila Dubois’ Undone Rebel and immediately bought Undone Dom. Her Undone Lovers series is guaranteed to set your ereader on fire.

Next in the hopper are all the Game of Thrones books.

Oh, and check out the pic of my (rather dusty) bookshelf! You’ll recognize several of our Southern Magic scribes’ books there.

What are you reading?

About Debra Glass


DEBRA GLASS is the author of over thirty-five books of historical and paranormal romance, non-fiction, young adult romance, and folklore. The recipient of the National Society of Arts and Letters Alabama Screenwriter Award in 1992, she went on to win the NSAL Empire State Award for excellence in screenwriting. She holds and MAed with emphasis in history from the University of North Alabama.

Debra is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Professional Authors’ Network. She is also a member of RWA’s Heart of Dixie and Southern Magic Chapters.LoverbyChance_final_1600x2400

She lives in Alabama with her real life hero, a couple of smart-aleck ghosts, and a diabolical black cat.

For information about the Skeletons Series or Debra’s Haunted History of the Shoals Ghost Walk Tour, click HERE.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Moriah Densley's New Book--With Giveaway!

Author Moriah Densley
I am excited to have Moriah Densley here today, she is one of my favorite authors and great friend. When I found out her newest book was out--I had to invite her to talk about it. She is one of those writers whose characters stay with you long after you put down the book.

Welcome Moriah!
Hi, MV! Thank you so much for hosting me today. It’s a pleasure to visit. 

Tell us a bit about your book: Hero/Heroine. What are their roadblocks to happily ever after?

Introducing The King of Threadneedle Street, my newest historical from Astraea Press. It might be my pièce de résistance, a story of star-crossed lovers who take on the world.

Andrew Tilmore is a mad genius of sorts, who figured out at a young age how to make a killing in the stock market. (Did you know Threadneedle Street is the British equivalent to Wall Street?) He returns home after two years’ absence to find uproar. His sister is about to marry a lecherous duke, Andrew’s mother keeps trying to marry him off too, and worse, his childhood sweetheart is being sent away to start a career as a courtesan. He has tenants, investors, and family all counting on him to do his “duty,” but he can’t let Alysia go.

Alysia came to live at Ashton Park as a young girl with her mother, the infamous courtesan Violet Villier. When she died, Andrew was all Alysia had left. His parents fear his “dangerous attachment” to a courtesan’s daughter and will go to any measure to keep them apart. Andrew’s father is Alysia’s legal guardian and controls her inheritance. She makes a lonely living as a painter, but every time Andrew comes back into her life, it’s more and more difficult to turn him away.

Andrew knows he must choose either a life of wealth and fame, or a life with Alysia. Will he give it all away for the woman he loves?

I LOVE this story! And star-crossed lovers--what's not to like?! And I was fascinated you spoke about Alysia and her mother was a courtesan, you truly wove in some very interesting historical elements I haven't seen before.

What inspired you to write this book? 

Outcasts. Often in Regency and Victorian fiction we see characters who are raised with the sensibilities of an aristocrat but are denied the benefits because of how they were born. The 19th-century illegitimate child spent her life being whispered about and spurned. The essential theme of The King of Threadneedle Street is valuing people for their merit. Love conquers all, of course.
This is a theme I can identify with--haven't we all felt outcast at some point? I like how you focus on a time period where being on the fringes was dangerous and heartwrenching.  

What was the hardest part of writing the book? 

Making Andrew a cocky genius investment broker was so far beyond my scope, I had to learn Economics 101 before Andrew could tinker with his Bombay shipping company and African gold mine. I wanted the reader to believe my twenty-something hero was capable of inciting riots in Parliament.
Your research was/is impeccable, I read this--and thought wow! Even I was boggled. I am quite awed by the depth of what your discover and your ability to portray it so fantastically.  

What was easiest? 

Making Alysia a semi-famous Expressionist painter was a joy. I took art lessons the year I wrote this manuscript, which helped me write from the perspective of an artist who sees light, color, and shape as possibilities instead of facts. There’s a scene wherein Alysia claims not to be affected by “heroic nudity” in art, and Andrew calls her bluff. You’d better believe that was fun to write!
That was one of my favorite scenes *ever* I fell in love with Andrew there. (Ok, I confess, I always fall in love with your heros). 

What was your favorite scene?

Andrew held out a finger to trace the lines of her drawing, but withdrew. “The Dying Gaul? He turned his discerning gaze on her.
“One of my favorites. He reminds me of you,” she confessed. The heat of his stare was too intense; she diverted her eyes to the case of pastels in her hand.
“But I have no moustache.” Playful, but she knew he was trying to draw her out.
“The resemblance is in his form and his masculine expression.”
“But he is dying.”
“But not in despair. He is brave. He meets his fate proudly.”
His eyes gleamed with mischief. “He is naked. Surely you don’t imagine me that way.”
“As an admirer of great art I am quite unaffected by heroic nudity in the erotic sense.”
His eyebrows raised into his tumbled hair.
She took her book back and looked again at the drawings he found so disturbing. Admittedly, from the perspective of an objective viewer, there was indeed a great deal of emphasis on suffering.
Alysia noticed Andrew was removing his clothes. He often shed his jacket, waistcoat, and necktie in her presence, but he now had his shirt off and was unfastening his trouser buttons.
“Andrew! What are you doing?”
“You said you wanted to sketch me?” He held his arms out. “I want to be sketched. No better time than now.”
He shut the door of the salon. The turning lock echoed, a sinister sound.
“But — I… I had a portrait in mind. A decent one.”
“Oh, it will be better than decent.” He tossed his boots and stockings into a chair.
“I mean, presentable. To the public.” She watched with wide eyes as Andrew wadded his trousers and launched them into the chair as well.
“You said you aren’t averse to heroic nudity.”
“But not yours!” She felt on the verge of panic. “Besides, what is heroic about this?”
“You are the artist with the vivid imagination. Make something up.”
He tossed his drawers into her lap, and a whimper squeaked from her throat. She heard him drop onto the settee opposite her.
Alysia reined in the giddy feeling making her lightheaded and opened the book to a blank page. She selected a pencil then looked up at him.

FABULOUS SCENE! :) Thank you!

Blurb of your book: 

King of Threadneedle Street
By Moriah Densley
He owns three shipping companies, a diamond mine, and his own castle.
He knows Portuguese, Hindu, Mandarin and Morse code.
His assets net thirteen million.

Andrew Tilmore, Lord Preston, the financial prodigy dubbed “The King of Threadneedle Street” wants the one prize out of reach: his childhood sweetheart. The papers can waste a sea of ink scandalizing over his lavender-eyed Alysia; so what if she is the daughter of his father’s mistress?

Alysia Villier learned the craft of the courtesan from her infamous mother―by osmosis apparently. A gifted artist who almost won the Prix de Rome, Alysia is not interested in following in her mother’s footsteps, since Andrew ruined her for any other man. But with her legal guardian—Andrew’s father―in control of her inheritance, she has little choice in the matter.

Keeping Alysia out of trouble and away from eager suitors becomes a cross-continental quest for Andrew. Not his old-fashioned family, the disapproval of the ton, nor even Alysia’s dedication to duty and propriety will stop him. Playing newspapers and investors like pawns, tumbling world markets, inciting riots… has he gone too far?
Makes one want to buy it--wait, I did! :-)

What are you working on now? 

Three different projects. The next in this historical series is underway: “perfect” Captain Cavendish meets his match in Katie Calypso, the infamous matchmaker who never misses her mark… until she takes on Philip. I’m nearly finished with my second paranormal, about an undercover assassin posing as a physics professor. Also dabbling with a contemporary; I wondered what would happen if a UFC fighter moved next door to a divorcée with scumbag ex-husband problems. When I get “stuck” with one project, I work on another for a while.
All of them--I want to read them ALL. I love you can write in these different genres.

You work out—so what is your favorite exercise or piece of equipment?

“I work out.” Heh. You made me want to start dancing to that goofy song, I’m Sexy and I Know It. Trust me, it wouldn’t be pretty. Speaking of uncoordinated people trying to dance, I go to either Zumba or kickboxing almost every day. It’s better than the treadmill. And my supersoldier brother put me on a weight training routine which I tolerate, but I have to fight the guys at the gym for the barbells. That’s not pretty either.

Excellent! See, I hope to talk you into kettlebells (you knew *that* was coming!) Quite inspiring if you ask me.

Thank you for being here Moriah! For one lucky commentator (who can receive it) I will give a Kindle or Nook version of your book The King of Threadneedle Street. Please write your email address like so:  jane doe at gmail dot com and I will email the winner! I will post the winner on Sunday, April 28th here in the comments.

Author Bio:

Moriah Densley sees nothing odd at all about keeping both a violin case and a range bag stuffed with pistols in the back seat of her car. They hold up the stack of books in the middle, of course. She enjoys writing about Victorians, assassins, and geeks. Her muses are summoned by the smell of chocolate, usually at odd hours of the night. By day her alter ego is your friendly neighborhood music teacher. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and four children.  

Published in historical and paranormal romance, Moriah has a Master’s degree in music, is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist, 2012 National Reader’s Choice Award “Best First Book” finalist, and 2012 National Reader’s Choice Award finalist in historical romance.

King of Threadneedle Street available in ebook:



Tuesday, April 23, 2013


There must be a rule somewhere in the universe that certain body parts should not be rendered in cake and icing unless they belong to oh, let’s say … Gerard Butler or Richard Armitage or Hugh Jackman or perhaps, this guy?

Some days I truly believe my cake decorators deserve an Oscar. And the award for explaining why she cannot make a cake in the shape of a woman’s “cootchy” without falling in the floor laughing or running to dial 911 goes to ….  Fortunately Walmart has a number of very strict rules about what we can and cannot write or depict on a cake. And I have some rules of my own as well. Doesn’t stop the crazy requests. Or the filthy ones. Or the simply strange ones. 

Then there are the customers who walk up to the counter with a picture, or pages printed from the internet. Sighting one on approach is guaranteed to cause a stampede of my staff into my freezer the likes of which has not been seen since Noah stood on the deck of the ark and yelled “All aboard!”

“I’ve already looked in your book, but I want my cake to be something unique. Can you make me a cake like this?”

“Oh! And can you make it for $125.00 like your sign says?”

Next there are the customers at the other end of the spectrum. The ones who have no clue what they want, or they know what they want but they can’t explain it, or they don’t know what it is supposed to look like, but they’ll know it when they see it.

“Just make it pretty.”
(Sorry, we only do ugly cakes here.)

“I need you to make a cake for a man. Just make it look like it is for a man.”
(What does that mean? Put a beer can and a football on it?)

“She’s thirteen. What do you usually do for a thirteen year old girl?”
(Tell her to stay in school and not to do drugs?)

Readers are a lot like bakery customers. Some of them know exactly what they want when they open a book. They will buy books by the same author over and over again because that author always delivers and they know they are guaranteed a great read. They might buy a book by someone they haven’t read before on the recommendation of a friend or after reading a review, but they still have those expectations of a great read. And if it is they have a new “auto-buy” author. And if it isn’t …. Well they probably won’t be trying that author again.

These are the customers who look in the cake design book and pick the same sorts of designs over and over again. They’re easy to work for so long as you remember they want exactly what you advertised and if they don’t get it things could get ugly.

(You knew I was going to get my man, Richard, in here somehow!)

Sometimes a reader has a vague idea of what they want. They want a romantic comedy, or a vampire romance, or a historical romance. They buy the book based on the cover blurb or the cover or some intangible thing that speaks to them. Even if their expectations are vague they still have them. If the book fulfills those expectations, even the ones they weren’t quite certain they had, then you had better believe they will be buying that author’s books again.

These are the customers who didn’t know what they wanted when they came in, but if they look at the cake and don’t see it they go nuts. And if they look at the cake and squeal and say “I knew you understood what a wanted. It’s perfect!” then you have basically snatched perfection out of the black hole that is another person’s mind. Now all you have to do is do it again next time.

Some readers have no earthly idea what it is they want. They are searching for something that speaks to them in a voice they never knew they wanted or needed to hear. These are the tough ones, the ones who demand you stretch their imaginations, their psyches and even their hearts in ways they’ve never experienced. Tough? You bet your sweet chocolate eating, mocha chugging butt that’s spread so wide from sitting in a chair the only way you’re getting in those jeans is with a can of Crisco and a shoe horn.

These are the customers who don’t squeal. They don’t get ugly. They look you in the eye and quietly say “Thank you.” And they go out and tell their friends and family and neighbors where they got the cake. And all you’ve got to do is do the same thing the next time. And do it better, so they’ll come back again and again and again.

What kind of writer are you? What sort of things do you think about when you begin to write? Are you catering to the picky customer who has a set idea of what they want and God help you if you deviate? Are you writing for the person who has a vague sort of idea of what they want and then you give it your unique little twist? Or are you writing for the person who has no idea what they want? Do you write with no thought to the tried and true patterns, to the vague notions editors and publishers have about what people want to read? Do you write for the one person who gets to the last page, closes the book, looks you in the eye and says “Thank you.”   

Monday, April 22, 2013

World Book Night

April 23 is World Book Night.  Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. go out into their communities and give a total of half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers.  One of my favorite books (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) is on this year's list.  What better way to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday? 

How do you plan on celebrating? Is there a special book you would like to share with light and non-readers to spark their love of reading?

Friday, April 19, 2013

When will I see you again?*

While in the muddle of revisions, I’ve been thinking a lot about endings. Specifically, endings for single title books vs. endings that signal a series. 

Here’s a series ending that’s on-the-nose:
When the excitement died down, Nancy began to feel rather pensive--a feeling she always had when a mystery was completely solved. She was hoping that another challenging case would come along soon. And it did, when Nancy had the opportunity to solve The Spider Sapphire Mystery
 To be fair, seven paragraphs of dialogue follow this set up. But has a clearer example of how to pull the reader out of the story ever made it into print? Not that “Carolyn Keene” ever suffered because of it. 
How about this famous ending? It sets up a sequel, but Margaret Mitchell never got around to a follow-up for Gone with the Wind
I’ll think of it all tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.
Dark Lover, the first novel in J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series**, ends with an Epilogue and these words:
Fritz brought in dessert. 
“Please, if you would,” the butler said, “no throwing the linens. Peaches, anyone?”
Though the Brotherhood has unfinished business, the ending takes place at a happily ever after dinner party. If the book had not become a best seller, it could have stood alone.  
Southern Magic members write single title novels, series, and trilogies. (Not to mention serials!) Care to tip us off about how you craft the perfect ending? Feel free to post a favorite! 

* A 70s song title. I’d say “bad 70s song,” but that’s redundant. I hope if you recognize it that you don’t have to suffer through singing it all day. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Other Side of the Desk

I've been working as a junior editor at Samhain Publishing now since the end of January, and in some ways this is my ideal job. I can take everything I know about literature, grammar, and writing, and all those many years experience of commenting on essays and articles and put them toward the literature I've come to love.

It's been a long, long while since I've blogged, but I thought I'd share some dos and don'ts for writers from my experience so far with an e-first publisher. So here goes:

1. Do your homework: I read a lot of slush, and it always amazes me how odd some of it is. It's so easy to read up on the proper way to format a manuscript (double space, no weird fonts) and how to write a query letter, but I've seen so many writers who haven't taken the time to put that information and knowledge to use.

The thing is, first impressions matter. If I open a manuscript that's in comic sans with strange font sizes and weird spacing, my initial impression--my first impression--is that this is not the work of a professional. Now the book might be great. I might be able to get past the wonky font stuff (usually by changing it so it doesn't distract me), but why make things harder on yourself?

2. Don't undersell yourself: I've seen an alarming number of submissions that basically outright state that this is either a first manuscript, that they treat writing as a hobby, or that they don't know if it's good enough yet. Why would you do that? Present your work positively and professionally. I don't care if this is the first thing you've ever written. If it's good, I want it. If it's the 10th book you've published, and it's not good, I don't.

3. Don't over-sell yourself: A clean, professional query is more important that one filled with "personality" or every minor contest that you've placed in (but not won). In your bio, you just need a sentence or two to prove that you are a professional

4. Not all agented manuscripts are equal: I've been passed a few submissions from the submission coordinator that are agented, and that's always exciting, because you assume that this means the submission is going to stand out, right? Not so much. While it's true that getting subs from an established agent makes me over-the-moon excited, getting subs from a start-up that no one's ever heard of doesn't really have any effect on me. Get an agent if you can, but a meh agent is not necessarily better than no agent. And if your agent isn't giving you editorial feedback, think twice. It's always odd when I read an agented sub that's filled with typos and grammar/punctuation errors or weird formatting issues.

4. When you get a contract, learn from your editor: When that magical day comes when someone finally offers you the contract, it's time to continue being a professional. My favorite authors to work with so far are the ones who can take a holistic comment or suggestion and implement it effectively--not just in the manuscript I'm working on but in all the future ones.If your editor says you have POV shifts, for example, or use too many -ing verbs and passive voice, that's something to watch for from now on. Take that and apply it to everything that you write from there on out. The better your next manuscript is, the more likely it is that it will also get a contract without a revision.

5. It really is a matter of taste: I think this was one of the most eye-opening things for me to learn. I've queried more people than I care to admit, and I've always heard this, but dealing with submissions has made me really understand the truth of it. If I get a manuscript that I feel like putting down or start to skim, that's a bad sign. All in all, I usually end up reading a manuscript anywhere from 3 (rare) to 7 or 8 (more likely) times. I really have to love a story--the voice of the author, the characters, the set up--or those readings are going to get really torturous really fast. I'm only part-time at Samhain, so I need to be even more careful of which books I request a contract for. Each book means one less spot in my publishing schedule, and since I'm really interested in authors who can build careers or readerships with us, I have to really love what you're doing.

6. Not all publishers are equal: Because I'm also a writer, I understand the urgent, almost desperate desire to be published likerightnow! But now that I've seen just how much goes into editing a book, developing cover art, formatting and checking ARCs, preparing writers for promo opportunities, etc, I'm astounded when books go from done to published in a month or so. Going with a smaller press or an indie press has become one way to break into the industry, but be careful to ask questions before you sign on the dotted line. You want to make sure that you are assigned a single editor (hopefully the one that offered for your work) who will be your point-person the whole time.  Ask how many rounds of edits you can expect, because even though we all believe our work is great, even veteran writers should get 2-3 edit passes. You want to see what opportunities are available for input into cover art and what help the publisher's going to give you in trying to secure promotional opportunities.Basically, ask the questions that will help you determine whether giving up your rights and a good percentage of the sale of each book is a good deal for what you're getting in return.

I want to mention that these are just my opinions and not necessarily the opinions of Samhain or any of the other editors who work there. But it's been eye-opening to be on the other side of things, and I wanted to share.

If you have other questions, I'm happy to answer them in the comments.Or you can follow me on Twitter @EditorLisaD and ask there :O)

Happy Writing!

Monday, April 15, 2013

How Do You Find a Good Book?

Release Date May 13
These days there are so many different things competing for our attention.  I don't know how it is for all of you, but I often feel like I am on a sled flying down a mountain. The ride is getting faster and faster, but I have no way to steer and no brakes.

Juggling work, family, volunteering, writing, and the details that keep life going like laundry, dishes, and cooking mean  I have to really prioritize my time.  This doesn't mean that I don't read, but it does mean that I read less.  It also means that I am more selective about what I spend my time reading.

Of course, there are lots of ways to find a good new book.  Recommendations from friends is one of my favorites.  I also love the "People who purchased this also bought" feature on Amazon.  I have discovered some great new authors and their books this way.  Romantic Times is another super way that I find new things to read and make sure that I don't miss new books by my favorite authors. I also can always count on Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly, but  I have recently realized that there are hundreds of online sites and blogs that do book reviews.  I think these will give me a great way to expand my resources to find quality new books to read.

I am looking forward to when Jean and I turn our next book in May 30 to Crimson Romance.  School is also out about then  so  I  hope to have even more time to read.

I am working on my to-be-read list and thought that I would ask you all where you find new books?
Do you have a favorite book review site that you can always turn to for recommendations?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Labeler. Labeler. Where For Art Thou, Labeler?

At work I've got a labeler I love to use. It's handy for identifying files, 3-ring binders, shelves, products, even time cards. Periodically, it disappears. Coincidentally, like my stapler which hasn't been seen for a week and is identified by said labeler with AA (Administrative Assistant) on the top. I suspect students of Hogwarts practice magic in my office because my scissors take flight as well. (All are identified by two letters, AA) Flying scissors? Now that's an image I'd like to forget. Ah! If only deliveries were made via Owl-gram. But I digress...

"Labeler. Labeler. Where for art thou, Labeler?"

Oh yes! Labelers. How I adore thee! Handy dandy tools which help me keep my office in order, under normal circumstances. Thankfully, I don't usually have to search long to retrieve my office utensils. As luck would have it, my accessories mysteriously return. Poof! Zap! Kazaam!

Labels are magical instruments. Interesting? Think personal bubbles, demographics. Identifiers of ownership and design, labels can make or break us, can't they? These monikers are usually assigned from the time we're born via birth names and nicknames, childhood experiences or infamous escapades. During football season and Prom, there are Homecoming Kings and Queens. At graduation, the Valedictorian encourages seniors to strike out and reach for their dreams. Afterward, an initiation into adulthood ushers in the struggle to rise to the top of the corporate ladder, using various job descriptions or labels to keep us on track or hold us back.

I've even been privilaged enough to usher in a new award category during Junior High ~ The Giggle Box Award. Bet ye didn't know I was a bit of a trail-blazer. (Pirate!)

Like anyone else, I've worn a lot of labels in my life, daughter, niece, granddaughter, cousin, friend, softball player, cheerleader, college student, wife, mother, grandmother, Army brat, Army wife, Language student, Commander's wife, Homeroom Mom, Concession Chair, Air Force/Army Mom, Publicity Chair, Thrift Shop Chair, Luncheon Chair, Contest Finalist, and other various Volunteer monikers, until finally... Romance Author.

This last label is the one I've strived to mantle for twenty years. As a general rule, I set my own dreams aside for my kids. In my eyes, it was more important to be there for them, especially when Prince Charming was away on duty. It wasn't until my youngest was a freshman in High School that I finally devoted the majority of my free time to writing. Attaining the label of published author has been a dream come true! Having the support of fans, even better!

If there was a label that confounds me, it would be ~ goofball. Is there an award for that? If so, I'd win. I'm great at forgetting things. An example: I could have sworn I was supposed to blog at Romance Magicians on April 9th. Turns out, it was today. Buahahaha! Want to take a trip on the goofball train? Continue to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I guarantee a few laughs.

Labels. Labelers. Nicknames. Monikers. Job descriptions. Who we are, what we've become and who we want to be isn't written in stone. It's never too late to adjust the settings on our labeler and hit print. We can be whoever we want to be. The only limitations we face, exist in our minds. Mind over matter, yes? And a jug of rum to aid our cause. (Pirate!)

What labels have given you the most joy? Are there labels you've set your cap for? If so, what are they?