Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hot guys? Anyone?

So my husband, whom I love (please don't send me a bunch of emails saying how wonderful he is - this isn't about him), has been playing this little game called "Schedule People to Work on the House Without Telling the Wife" lately.

So today I was sitting outside reading my latest manuscript in my bathing suit, trying desperately to dampen the white glow of my body in time for nationals next week. And no, I do not look like LKH's latest heroine - I look like a sickly computer programmer. Into the driveway roars a bunch of guys in a truck. I scramble for my shirt and shorts like a Yankees fan after a foul ball.

Later, after I'd recovered from my embarrassment somewhat, the doorbell rings. I go answer it to find a guy in his twenties asking if I could turn on the outside power outlets. "No," I said to his two rather large, green nipple rings. I couldn't look away. We had the whole conversation with me staring at them.

I did NOT find that hot.

In fact, I hardly ever see a hot guy anywhere. Sighting them is a very rare occurrence for me. I saw one last year at the Police Academy shooting range. Thinking... Vin Diesel was hot in PITCH BLACK (but not in other movies). Um... well, Harrison Ford, of course, but he lives near my parents in Jackson Hole Wyoming and he's sadly VERY OLD now.

Which brings me to one of those stories all my friends find so amusing. It's call Leigh Wyndfield Acts Like A Jackass, Part 182:

My family has a condo up in the mountains and I went up a few days early to write. We had ants. Lots of them. I carefully tracked them into a box of chocolate cereal the kids love, then called the exterminator, since the ants didn't go away when the cereal did. They said they’d be out “sometime.” I shrugged and forgot them, settling happily in to spend a few days merrily writing away.

A day later, there is a knock. "Weird," I thought. "No one comes here." I open the door to the most fantastically built, hot guy I've ever seen in my whole entire life. Whoa.

"Hi," I said, completely confused. Was he lost?

"Hi," he says back in a strange, kind of sexy accent - maybe Norwegian. He looked like he came from Viking stock. Muscles bulge out his uniform and he's carrying this big box by a handle -- and I swear I thought he was a stripper!!!! In my bizarre, messed up writer's mind, I immediately decided my sister-in-law had finally gone one step too far in her pranks (it was my birthday the next day).

We look at each other while I try to form words to send this fabulous hunk of man away, because I know one thing - there is no way I'm letting him take off his clothes! I'm a married woman, for god's sake!

"Um," he says, starting to look confused. "Did you say you have an ant problem?"

Then I realize that the uniform says “Ned’s Exterminators” on it and I had, indeed, called about an ant problem.

I was so embarrassed. Really and truly. But also relieved, since I hadn't yet gotten the words out to stop him from undressing. THANK GOD!!!

But really, that's one of the few men I've taken one look at and been speechless. Often, it's a man's personality that makes him for me, not his outside package. I don't the like feminine good looks you see in magazines. I guess I'm turned on by what I see on the inside more then the outside. Which might be why a lot of my heroes are pretty banged up. To me, scars mean character and experience. They symbolize the ability to face tough challenges head on and come out better for it all.

I have a feeling I may be in the minority, though.

I've been back up quite a few times to the mountains since then and while I've been on the look out, the bugs are all gone. A man who is good looking AND completes a task beyond expectations - be still my beating heart!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


So my friend Elizabeth Kruger emailed me yesterday about Mary Janice Davidson's latest book, UNDEAD AND UNAPPRECIATED. She's just finished it and said - "The third installment of the Undead series was awesome. Mary Janice kept the action moving and the quips hilarious. As usual, I was laughing out loud in places and read the entire book in record time." WOW! Now that's a fantastic quote!!

I've been a big fan of Mary Janice since reading her Secrets story, JARAD'S WOLF in Volume 8. I'd never read a hero before that was so fantastically original - sexy, strong as hell, and admittedly stupid, he made me laugh out loud in the bathtub the first time I read his story.

So I'm off to get this book. If you are a fan of funny paranormal stories, check out her excerpt here!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Warning from Deirde Knight

It looks like someone is pretending to be Deidre Knight of the Knight Agency, sending out emails to e-published authors with false information.

Check out her blog for details:

I guess this kind of follows that whole "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" thing.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Crimson City

Well on Friday, I went and bought Liz Maverick's CRIMSON CITY, the start to a new series Dorchester is bringing out. The line up goes like this:
Book #1: Crimson City, by Liz Maverick
Book #2: A Taste of Crimson, by Marjorie M. Liu
Book #3: Through a Crimson Veil, by Patti O'Shea
Book #4: A Darker Crimson, by Carolyn Jewel
Book #5: Seduced by Crimson, by Jade Lee
Book #6: Crimson Rogue, by Liz Maverick

I'm actually not a huge fan of reading series unless the whole set is out in print already, but I'm finishing up Susan Grant's 2176 series now and loved the first five books (haven't started the sixth). They didn't have to be read in order or all at once, and neither do these. Thank God, because I hate leaving a hero or heroine stuck for six months while the author writes the next book in the line. Liz Maverick and Patti O'Shea both wrote books in the 2176 series - I actually just sent Patti an email a few days ago saying how much I liked her story THE POWER OF TWO. I loved Liz's THE SHADOW RUNNERS as well, so this new offering from her is going to be yummy!

This series is even jazzier, since vamps and weres abound in futuristic LA. A little different spin, for sure. I'll let you know how it goes. The excerpt was rocking! Read it here. Plus how can you resist a back of the book blurb that ends with: "Fleur Dumont is about to meet the one man who may understand her: a tormented protector who’s lost his way and all he loved." AWWW! A tormented protector hero. Gotta love it!

I must say with all these awesome books out, I don't know how I'm finding time to write these days. My To Be Read pile is so bad, the cats have started playing hide and seek behind the stacks on the floor. But I guess there are worse things in life...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Saying NO

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging recently (besides a summer cold and the complete panic attack I had over not being able to write a word for a solid week - yeah, I know - wah, wah, wah - I'm a big baby) is that I have so many extra things I'm doing besides writing that fall under the writing umbrella. You know - judging contests, critiquing new writer's work, being the treasurer of not one, but TWO RWA chapters, helping with a conference, helping with a party at Nationals, and the list goes on. This on top of trying to make a deadline.

As I sat in Wachovia setting up a bank account for the new Passionate Ink chapter the other day, I realize that I really struggle with the word "no."

The fact is, I feel guilty when I say no. Lots of people have helped me along my writer's journey and I want to give back. I don't want to be stingy, jealously hording my knowledge from my fellow author. I want to share like others have shared with me as I’ve gone up the ladder.

I once read in the RWR an article by some famous author (I forget who, but she's my hero) who sent out a letter to her whole apartment building saying that while she writes from home, she isn't going to accept her neighbors' packages, or walk their dog, or pick up their mail when they're out of town anymore. Essentially, she told them all to f-off. At the time, I laughed. Now I realize just how strong she really was and I admire her for it. I can only dream of being so kick ass!

It's hard to know our limits, hard to actually pre-plan enough to say no to judging a contest five months before you actually receive your entry packets. But some how I'm going to need to learn. Part of the problem is I'm just not sure how much is "just right." Of course, being treasurer of two RWA groups isn't "just right" but rather is obviously in the dumb ass zone.

On the way up to the mountains today, my husband practiced saying no with me. He'd ask me a question like "So, you wanna be the treasurer of our group?" and I would answer, "No." Just no, without an explanation that will allow the asker to further negotiate me into a corner.

One day, I figure I'll have given so much that I'll know for sure I've given enough back. Then the guilt will be gone.

But until then, I need to learn to be strong and keep my eyes on the prize --- if I don't sell because I'm too busy doing free workshops or critiquing other authors' work that I don’t finish my own, I'm not going to be doing much eating next year.

Any hints on how to accomplish this would be greatly appreciated, by the way. Post them here in the comments or email me at!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Demon Hunting Anyone?

So I just discovered (rediscovered??) Julie Kenner. I read awhile back her Aphrodite's Kiss - I think it was up for an award of some sort at RT so I picked it up then - that was when I'd written one or two words of my first book and wore a little neon sign above my head that flashed "Clueless" as I stumbled into my beginning writing class that RT in Reno. Usually I'm great at remembering these things. Wait, wait, I found it - Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award Winner, Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001. See? I had it in my mind I bought that book for a reason. And it was great!

But it looks like she's shifted into a new, demon ass-kicking type of book -- CARPE DEMON: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom. Read the excerpt here - scroll down to the bottom if you're feeling confused. I went all over the site, thinking, "gee, there should be an excerpt here, eh?" and then realized I just needed to scroll down on the first page I'd been to. Hmmm... I think I lost my mind awhile back -maybe at that last RT convention. Anyone finds it, let me know.

Can you tell I'm in the middle of a deadline? My brain is fried, the only thing I'm focusing on is "must write this sex scene." (like that guy on the donut commercial - heh) Well, that's not true. I had a nice, long conversation with myself this morning where I debated if 28 pages was too long in between sex scenes for this book I'm writing called SECRET OBSESSION. I usually write about people who keep in bed when not out having adventures, but my characters had some things they needed to take care. These things happen sometimes, I suppose.

I'm wandering again, aren't I? I guess what I wanted to say is that I've got this book ordered through Amazon, and thought all of you may want to check it out! With Julie's impressive writing resume filled with 24 books that are on the shelves or coming soon, you know she's worth a serious read.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Word on Book Reviews

I have this theory about book reviews -- great ones can help you a little, bad ones are generally forgotten by everyone but the author, and okay ones are never read.

Now if you disagree, I want to hear! So post a comment.

However, I'm not finished, because this is supposed to be a rant, and so far I haven't been very rant-ish.

I've gotten two bad reviews for different books. One was for my first book, TRUE SEEING, and while the rating was really low, the words themselves were really nice. Sadly, that was my first review ever, and so it sent me orbiting around planet Neptune in one of my classic freak-outs.

The second one was for IN HEAT, my second book that is still on the best selling and best reader review erotic lists at, 20 months after its release. The reviewer said that while she loved the first half of the book, she could barely finish the second half, it was so awful. That book came out in November of 2003. I can remember reading that review as if it was yesterday. I lost a week of writing after that. I paced the floor and discussed with myself if I should even be an author. I agonized the impact to my sales (of which, there were absolutely none - this is still my all-time best selling book by 150%). I emailed my publisher and asked if I should withdraw the manuscript. I was a mess.

But I'm glad for that review. I owe that reviewer for letting me have that massive slap early on, before I had a book come out that would impact my career more than IN HEAT did. Learning how to take hurtful feedback and go on is a vital weapon in the author's toolbox. For that, reviews are great. And they're an ego stroke when they're good, although a million great reviews can't temper one bad one, believe me.

However, what else do reviews bring us? A writing resume stuff if you're just starting out. Something to put on your book cover and website. Sales? I don't actually think so. Maybe you'll see a small bump for a really stellar book review, but to be honest, looking at daily sales, I saw no decrease or increase for anything except for a mild jump for my RT Bookclub Top Picks. Not enough to even come close to covering the cost of my RT ad, by the way. (In case you were wondering, I'm a complete numbers freak - give me data and I'll start running all kinds of analysis on it.)

Some other truths about reviews from my perspective:

-- Don't worry! No matter how bad your book is, you'll have someone review you high. It's the way of the land, I'm telling you. Think of the worst book you've read recently, then do a search across review sites. Someone will have given it a high score. I guarantee it!
-- The more generic and inoffensive (and boring) the book is, the more you'll see it getting consistent 4 out of 5 review scores. The books that fly up and down on the review scale usually have something interesting about them, something that may cause a reader to love it or hate it. (I don’t think this is the case with my published books, by the way. I’m just trying for love it or hate it and I can’t sell any of those books – LOL!)
-- Some review sites will not review books badly. If the book gets a 2 out of 5, the owner will hand it over to another reviewer to try again. If that reviewer gives it a 2 as well, the owner will email the author and ask if the author wants to withdraw the book. Now I don't know about you guys, but a review site that never gives a low review seems a bit counter-intuitive to me. Aren't they supposed to keep people from wasting their money?

So the long and the short about this rant? Reviews are cheap to obtain, especially when most sites take emailed galleys. So your time isn't wasted. But don't blow their importance out of proportion. They’re a tool. Use them all you can, then lose them. They are, after all, one person's opinion... and we all know that we can't please everyone all the time. Maybe, just maybe, we don't even want to...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Happy 4th of July All!

I've been in the mountains with my step-kids and in-laws, playing cards and doing that all-American craft fair/fireworks/picnic thing. Oh, and playing a lot of Spyro the Dragon with my eight year old step-son. I love that guy. Very relaxing to run around solving puzzles, flaming bad guys and picking up gems. If only life was that easy!!

Of course, what I really want to do is head home so I can pick up a copy of Angela Knight's MASTER OF THE MOON!

Wow! Check out the cover! And the excerpt here. RT gave this a Top Pick, one of many she's received.

As some of you might know, Angela and I were up for Best Erotic Romance of 2004, but she took home the gold for her Red Sage Release, THE FOREVER KISS.

I personally loved her book, JANE'S WARLORD. Fantastic book and I can't wait for another great read.