Monday, September 19, 2005

E-books and Harlequin

This weekend, I went to a mini-conference that had a great cast of speakers, all speaking about epublishing. Jennifer Skully spoke about her career and what e-books have done to build her writing resume. It was an inspiring speech and those of you who are looking for a way to break up and out through epublishing should take a look at Jennifer’s career (she also writes spicy romance as Jasmine Haynes).

But I think the most interesting information came out of a talk given by Malle Vallik, VP of new business for Harlequin. Here's a little bit of what she said:

* Next month, HQ is starting an e-book program consisting of 40 titles (reprints and a few new releases). These books will be available on the e-Harlequin site and from
* is partnering with HQ to record HQ's books, which will be available for download to your MP3 and i-pod. Brenda Novak will be one of the first authors recorded.
* E-harlequin has serialized romance stories (if you haven't read them) to generate traffic on the site and let readers try an author.
* E-harlequin has been trying interactive writing, to let readers vote on plot twists for these stories. Telling stories in the future will, they think, be more interactive.
* Harlequin is trying to come up with ways to use new technology, such as our mobile phones, to increase interaction with the reader. HQ has a mobile phone test with Vocel, where HQ novellas will be sent to people's cell phone in daily chunks of 500 or so words for a small charge.
* HQ has been putting Manga out in Japan now for years (these are graphic novels which are more and more popular here these days). They plan to test two new lines -- Pink for 12 to 16 year olds and Violet for 16 and up.
* HQ and Oxygen are teaming up to put out series books as movies.

I found her talk fascinating. HQ really is looking for new ways to deliver stories to people.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Reflections on the Big Apple

I'm a travel freak. I love it, especially if I'm traveling with someone who knows the lay of the land and speaks the language. That rarely happens and, as much as I like to think of myself as a world traveler, if I'm really honest, I can get strung out as a bat, slipping into super-bitch mode when you least expect it. But as I've gotten older, I've kept my calm like a champ. (I tell my husband that if he thinks my behavior was bad, just think how much WORSE it would have been if I hadn’t been controlling myself.) Part of the problem is I don't like to miss things, so I take the time to be early. If you make me late because you're messing around, not managing your time like a good little travel companion, then the wrath will be unleashed. Your lack of planning should not be my emergency.

My husband, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law and I all traveled up to NYC with the express purpose of seeing my sister-in-law, Lauren, get her hair cut. Yes, yes, it sounds insane, but my mother-in-law gave her a hair makeover with the What Not to Wear hair guy, which thrilled Lauren's socks off, since it is her favorite show. And since Lauren had the same hairdo since she was 11, this was nerve wracking for her. The haircut was actually a masterpiece. He cut it one strand of hair at a time with a razor, an assistant holding her hair for him while he worked. She really did look amazing afterwards.

The rest of the trip went it fits and jerks. I realized for the first time that others, not me, don't like to plan (this person said it was too stressful), so we had odd moments where none of us knew what to do. I did get in a quick drink in with my agent (I love her), we saw the city at night from the top of the Empire State Building, we walked and walked, we shopped, we went to a comedy club, but there were dead times where everyone tried to figure out where the others wanted to go without seeming pushy.

I took a moment to reflect on my travel preferences during one of the many times I stood in front of the hotel waiting on the slower members of the group. I'm one of those people who feels antsy if I have a moment of dead time in my schedule. I'm a freak. I've accepted that. But I either need to be moving or have a drink in my hand. And oddly, I really don't care so much where I'm going so long as it's somewhere. I make plans, but easily cancel them when I get distracted. Once, my husband and I were in London and ended up dropping everything to hit the top ten pubs in the city according to our guidebook, since we accidentally stumbled on one of them for lunch. I find plans freeing, because you can always cancel them if something more interesting comes along. The idea that planning can be stressful is really quite fascinating to me. The more stressed I become, the more I plan. It calms my nerves hugely.

I guess I just hadn't considered that anyone else might like to travel differently. I mean, it makes sense that there would be other points of view, but the thought is just so bizarre to me. Is standing on the sidewalk for an hour after the appointed departure time discussing the day’s activities fun for anyone? Maybe so. I managed to make it through the trip without my temper slipping free. The dead times weren't bad and I really do need to learn to learn to deal with them.

One thing we all agreed on was the food. We ate lots of it. Often. And I was reminded once again that NYC is a great place to visit, with bustling nightlife and fantastic eats.


Looks like Gena Showalter has come out with another one!

Here's the blurb:
He’ll make you burn…
He is a Dragon, a rare breed of warriors able to transform into the legendary creature at will. Though the mighty warlord breathes fear into the minds of his enemies and fire into the blood of his women, no one has ever stirred his heart -- until he encounters Grace Carlyle of modern day Earth. He burns to possess this proud, alluring beauty . . . but he has sworn to kill her.

Journey to the mythical world of Atlantis, where the gods’ hid their greatest mistakes – the vampires, demons, dragons, and other creatures of legend – and experience white-hot passion, exciting adventure, and a love that defies the boundaries of time and magic.

Sounds pretty yummy, eh? Read an excerpt here!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Out of Office

Well, in my mad dash to book it out of town, I have once again neglected my blog - I apologize! But I'll be back on Monday, with hopefully a pulse on NYC. We'll see. Those folks are stingy with the info.

I'll see you all in the funny papers!!


Looks like Mary Janice Davidson has another one out, this time in hardback!

Read an excerpt here!

Meet Damon, Maltese, and Shakar - three noble brothers from an enchanted kingdom where wooing and pleasuring is practically a royal commandment. They're hot. Irresistible. And just a little different. But what woman doesn't like a guy with a few surprises?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Jaci Burton's GARDEN OF EDEN

You might be scratching your head, wondering why it took me since Thursday to finish reading Jaci Burton's GARDEN OF EDEN, a novella in the Ellora's Cavemen Legendary Tails II Anthology. I can only say it wasn't because her story isn't excellent!! I give it two thumbs up!

Read an excerpt here!

It has more to do with me trying to get my e-book reader piece of you-know-what set up on my PC. Yes, I did work installing software systems for seven years, but I have been defeated by an old Gemstar ebook reader. I should just go buy another, but it's the principle of the thing.

Anyway, so I finally just said flock it and printed her story. I stuck my tongue out at that piece of soon-to-be-trash and read it in the bathtub, something I would never have done with the Gemstar anyway. So there.

Having gotten over my peevishness, I settled back in the tub and had a diet coke and a smile reading this fantastic short. While there, I began to ruminate about how hard it is to have a true, I-love-you, Happily Ever After with a 15,000 word story. Jaci did an excellent job with it. But I've been struggling myself with my latest story, THE HANGING MAN, which releases in November from Liquid Silver Books.

I was also working with 15K, and with three sex scenes, there isn't much room to allow them to have the experiences for marriage level commitment. Or at least not with this particular hero and heroine. They were both pretty battered when they happened upon each other (as you might imagine since the name of the story is so dark) and they had a lot to work out before they were in a place where they could believably give their hearts and souls.

So I found it interesting to see how Jaci did it in her story and I'll be reading other shorts, looking for the secrets to building believable true love in 15,000 words. Feel free to leave recommendations for me to check out in the comments section on this blog!!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

An Early Halloween

First, I'm reading Jaci Burton's GARDEN OF EDEN and loving it. I hope to finish tonight and give you guys a book report tomorrow.

Second, here's a little early Halloween candy - I mean EYE CANDY!

WARNING - if you are on dial up, I'd skip this (I bet you thought I'd warn you not to view it because it has nude men in it?? Of COURSE it does, but if you're on this blog, you should expect that kind of thing - LOL!)

A random aside: I do not subscribe to the philosophy of the site that hosts this e-card. Personally, I'm a man lover, not a man hater. Explore that place at your own risk.