Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Newsletter Reminder!

If you're not already receiving Awakening Desires--the Newsletter of Romance Author N.J. Walters, then you're missing out on all the latest news, author interviews, excerpts, and tons more! You're also missing out on a chance to win every month!

2008 is the Year of the Print Book!

This year I'm giving away print books to lucky newsletter subscribers! Each month, a winner will be drawn at random, and that person will be able to choose a print book from my backlist. (Whichever titles I have available)

Go toAwakening Desires Newsletter to join and read back issues. The Next issue will be released on May 1st!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Almost totally untechnological

I've been a member of this blog - and some others - since their beginnings. Have I posted? Rarely on the other blogs - never on this one. Why?

Take a look at the entry just under this one. Yep, I sent an entry before I ever wrote anything. How? I haven't the vaguest idea.

So I'll post the same question I asked JC when I asked her for the directions to get on again.

Do you ever feel like you're on a merry-go-round that keeps spinning and won't let you off?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday Ten: Ten Reactions to RT

It’s over now. I’m at home after more adventures in airline travel than I really wanted. My tired body is planted in the chair, my aching feet are encased in comfy slippers, and my office is nice and quiet, soothing a spirit rattled by too much noise, too much partying, and too many new names and faces to absorb. I’m trying to assess the experience and here are some of my quick reactions.

1. My brain is still tired. I think my mind stalled out somewhere over Philadelphia and it hasn’t quite caught up with my body yet. Maybe you can tell since I started this on Tuesday and didn’t get it posted until Wednesday.

2. Airline travel sucks. The airline lost my reservation for the first leg of the return trip and had to re-route me. On the second leg of the trip, both coming AND going, the airplanes had mechanical issues that delayed my flights for several hours. Yes, I’m glad they’re concerned about my safety and I’d much rather wait than fly in an unsafe plane, but still. I was glad it happened on the second half of each trip so I didn’t have to deal with missing connections.

3. Airline employees can be amazingly nice. When she discovered the airline had screwed up my booking, the wonderful lady at the United ticket counter in Pittsburgh not only rebooked me on another airline, she helped me get all my baggage down to the other airline’s ticket counter at the other end of the terminal, helped them get the boarding passes reissued, and walked my suitcase over to security herself to be sure I would make it to onto the flight. I wish I’d caught her name so I could write a letter of recommendation to her employer.

4. The Conference is more than a bit overwhelming. So many people, so much noise, so many events, so little sleep, etc. It can get hard to be polite to everyone. At least that’s the excuse I was making for them, when I was snubbed by a couple of people I’ve known for a very long time. Fortunately I’ve long since learned to let things like that roll off me.

5. The program was incredibly hard to figure out. I mostly relied on others to tell me what was happening, when and where.

6. Many authors and publishers put out a lot of time, effort, and money to sponsor wonderful events for the conference. I regret that I couldn’t get to every one of them, but highlights for me were the EC Hollywood party (of course), the Intergalactic Bar and Grill, the Fairy Ball, and the Dorchester party.

7. I understand that some truly unsavory activities took place. I managed to miss most of those. I did see some things I considered tacky and more than a few that should have embarrassed the crap out of the participants. I had a Mr. Romance competitor who was younger than my own children put an arm around me and hug me close. Since I’m not comfortable being touched and hugged by perfect strangers, I didn’t care for it, but I realize he was doing what he probably thought was his job—try to flirt with as many convention goers as possible.

8. Food was okay but not spectacular. Most of my best meals were at restaurants outside the hotel. Of course, there I could actually carry on a conversation with my companions without having to shout myself hoarse. The hotel itself was a mess, but that’s been covered more than adequately elsewhere.

9. Was it fun? Hell, yes. I really enjoyed meeting so many people I’d corresponded with online and putting faces to names. I made new friends and re-connected with old friends. Most of the parties were great. Unlike most conventions, I didn’t spend a lot of time in the bar (a good thing since I hear it was packed all the time), but they had cash bars set up for most of the parties, so I could get all the overpriced drinks I wanted at those. The band at the Dorchester party was great. I had fun listening, dancing, eating soft pretzels and scoring a couple of free books I wanted into the bargain.

10. Will I go again? I’m not sure. It was a hugely expensive string of parties and I doubt the return on investment could possibly justify how much it cost. Maybe if it was someplace I could drive to, or in a place where I had family or friends living so I could combine it with a visit, it might be worth it.

- Karen McCullough

A tisket, a tasket, a new release in my basket

Settler's Mine 3: The Woman released at Loose Id yesterday! I'm so excited. Check out my fabulous cover by April Martinez. I love what she's done with the covers in this series.

Each book in Settler's Mine does stand alone, though certain things are better understood if read in order, i.e. certain characters appear again in the books.

The blurb:

Tam and Jax are perfectly hot and happy with each other, despite their rare male pair bonding. Until Tam starts having visions and feels the need to go to Settler's Mine, that is. Why is a puzzle as they already have their mated heartstones.

But Jax will deny Tam nothing, so they go to Settler's Mine, where they meet Kiann. And once they do, their lives will never be the same -- because her heartstone glows in response to theirs. They can't believe a woman is their third mate, even if they both feel mind numbing attraction for her. The first attraction they've felt for any woman.

But Kiann is not just any woman. She's the denied heir to the throne of Ebolia, and her stepbrother will stop at nothing to keep his power. Tam and Jax will have to do more than claim their mate. They're going to have to keep her alive.

To read an excerpt.

Go behind the Woman with Southern Fried Chicas.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Home Alone at the Cave!

Not going to the Romantic Times Convention in Pittsburgh.

Then join me, NJ Walters, at the Ellora’s Cave Chat Group for the 4th Annual HOME ALONE AT THE CAVE PARTY on Thursday, April 17th, from 9 AM EST until 4 PM EST. (But probably later.)

The Ellora's Cave authors are always generous, but this year they've outdone themselves. This will be the biggest Home Alone party yet.

I have dozens of excerpts to share and 18 prizes to be won! So don't miss it!

Check out the participating authors:

Debra Glass
Kate Hill
Robie Madison/RE Matheson
Claire Thompson
BJ McCall
Sally Painter
Mardi Ballou
Nicole Austin
Taige Crenshaw
Cindy Spencer Pape
Lacey Thorne
KZ Snow
Ann Jacobs
TJ Michaels
Lise Fuller
Denise Rosetti
Ashley Ladd
Shelley Munro
Katherine Kingston
Marilu Mann
Rowan West
Madison Blake
Jory Strong
LA Day

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

RT: Yet Another View

I’m getting ready to head off to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. I’ve got a bad case of the last minute crazies…running around trying to get everything done, make sure I haven’t forgotten anything, pack, try to remember what I’ve forgotten, remind myself that as long as I have a credit card it doesn’t matter what I’ve forgotten because I can replace pretty much anything else.

This will be my very first RT. I have some idea what to expect, due to the generosity of other ECPI authors who’ve share their experiences and advice.

I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it.

I’m looking forward to meeting many people I’ve known on the Internet for ages, putting faces to names and email addresses. I’m looking forward to sharing stories and jokes and business information over food and drinks. I’m looking forward to meeting readers I’ve corresponded with by email or sometimes snail mail.

I’m looking forward to the ECPI party on Wednesday night, where I’ll get to wear my long gown as I parade across the stage and try hard not to trip on the high heels I rarely wear.

On the other hand, I don’t know about the rest of the parties. Parties are just not my thing. And I know I’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people and noise and…everything. I’m not especially shy, but I am an introvert, and anything that involves new situations and a lot of interaction with people other than close friends and family tends to leave me flattened. I’m already planning in retreat time in my hotel room or the gym. Even with that I know that I’ll be totally exhausted well before it’s over.

But I’m betting that once I recover from the shock and fatigue, I’ll totally vote it worthwhile.

-- Katherine Kingston

Monday, April 14, 2008

A confession

I admit it. I’m an overpacker. *sigh*.

I’m getting ready to go to RT. I leave tomorrow. I have packed everything but the kitchen sink. Hmmm maybe I should…

No, just kidding.

But I keep thinking, “I need to take this. What if I need this?”

I’ve looked at suggestions for packing lightly. It never works with me. I try and combine outfits. As I’m actually dressing up for a few balls, that didn’t work this time.

As I struggle to fit all this in my car tomorrow and into the hotel, I’m sure I’ll wish I’d have left some things at home.

Any other overpackers out there? Or am I a lonely breed?

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Romantic Times Booklovers Convention & Other Ramblings...

Like many people, I’m spending today scrambling to get ready for the Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention in Pittsburgh. It’s one of my favorite conferences, and that’s saying a lot since I just returned from my other favorite conference—the local Desert Dreams conference in Chandler, Arizona, last weekend. Desert Dreams is a terrific conference with less than 300 attendees, great workshops, intimate access to editors, agents and other authors and the beautiful April weather of Arizona. :) The fact that I don’t have to buy a plane ticket to get there and that it’s held by one of my local chapters only improves its appeal.

But now that Desert Dreams is over for 2008, it’s on to RT, which also happens to contain my biggest author promotion push of the year.

Don’t get me wrong, I promote year round, but at RT, I’m speaking on one of the Paranormal panels called “Lighting the Sacred Files: Turning Up The Heat in Paranormal Romance,” I’m speaking with my critique group in a talk called, “Critique Groups: The Good, The Bad & The Butterscotch Martini Girls”, (which we did at Desert Dreams also) and I’m on the Faery Court, which hosts the Faery Ball on Thursday night—complete with dinner, a costume contest and our book covers flashing on the big screens all night :) I’ll also have plenty of my Cassie Ryan bookmarks (since I’m attending the convention as my alter ego, Cassie Ryan), as well as my hot pink “Got Seduction?” buttons, (which were a big hit at Desert Dreams along with the black and hot pink lanyards provided by the Butterscotch Martini Girls.) :)

My other favorite part about RT, besides getting to see all my friends who don’t live close, is that I get to meet so many readers, and sit and chat with them. A lot of writers are introverts and pretty shy—I don’t think I got either of those genes, so I absolutely love getting to meet new people and hearing from the readers what they love to read and what they don’t love to read. After all, I was a reader long before I was a published author, so either way we definitely share a love of books! So, if you’re at RT and you see a woman with a Cassie Ryan name tag walking around, come on over and say hi!

If you’re heading to Pittsburgh, too, I’ll meet you in the “networking area”—aka the bar. :)

If you’re not, then I plan on taking plenty of pictures while I’m there! So watch for them when I get back.

By some ironic twist of fate, my plane leaves at the butt crack of dawn tomorrow morning and I have to be at the airport somewhere in the 3am range—EWWWWW!

Why, you may ask, am I whining about this when I obviously booked my own flight? Well, when I booked it using frequent flyer miles, it wasn’t quite that early, but it was still plenty early as the fine print for redemption indicated it needed to be unless I wanted to get in uber-late. Then about a month later, I got one of those “friendly” emails advising that my flight had been rescheduled. Not just me—the entire flight, but OMG!! I’m usually not even awake at that time, let alone coherent during any of that time frame, and they expect me to not only get dressed and make sure my underwear is under my clothes and not over, but also get my luggage together and find my way to the airport, then the correct terminal and onto the right plane?


I’m just hoping I actually end up where I’m supposed to rather than stepping off the plane after a nap and realizing I’m on the opposite side of the planet. (Although I totally wouldn’t complain if it was somewhere like Ireland or Scotland!)

Anyway, I have to get back to packing. I hope everyone has a great week!


Thursday, April 10, 2008


So, I finally got around to applying for RWA PAN (Published Authors Network) status last week and received the congratulatory email yesterday. And I felt completely blah about it. Champagne didn't fall from the heavens. Doors didn't open. Velvet ropes didn't part. (I'm a Nicolas Cage fan.) Why? I don't see the tangible benefits of PAN. Seriously, what does the following statement mean:

The purpose of PAN is to establish within the RWA framework a network of communication and support to effectively promote and protect the interests of published romance authors; to open channels of communication between those romance authors and other publishing industry professionals; and to encourage professionalism on all levels and in all relationships within the publishing industry.

Very vague, isn't it? And, um, shouldn't RWA being doing this for ALL members?

The only thing I've heard about PAN is you get first pick at editors and agents at conferences. Unfortunately, I don't attend conferences. My Clark Kent-job schedule is hectic and even though I have 4 weeks of vacation, I have to schedule them around monthly closes, quarterly closes, and plan time, which stretches from May to September. My local RWA chapter organizes a conference every two years, but I've been snubbed by these people. (I contacted them three times about joining and they never replied. Since their 6 published authors are NY-pubbed, they might not want an e-pubbed author in their midst.) think that's the only benefit.

Oh, wait! I now get a link on the RWA Authors page. Woopee. Somehow, I don't think that's going to bring me the same amount of traffic as an ad on the Smart Bitches site.

Anyone care to correct me?

EDITED TO ADD: Coincidentally, JA Konrath is discussing writing organizations and their relevance.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A little different promo

Nothing but Red isn't a romance.

Sometime in April of 2007 (some say the 7th), a mob pulled Du'a Khalil Aswad into their midst. Supposedly she had been fraternizing with a man not of her faith. They brutally stoned and beat her to death in an honor killing. She was 17 years old. Some recorded Aswad on their cell phones and the horrific images were later posted to the internet.

Joss Whedon of Buffy and Serenity fame penned a blog entry about the incident and about misogyny in all cultures. A few authors got together and decided to create an anthology to raise awareness about the issues Joss Whedon spoke of in his essay and also about Aswad's murder. The anthology contains artwork, essays, poetry, and stories by a multitude of authors.

Nothing but Red is now available. All profits will go to Equality Now. To read more about Nothing but Red, including a list of contributors, go here.

A quote from Whedon's essay: "Because it's no longer enough to be a decent person. It's no longer enough to shake our heads and make concerned grimaces at the news. True enlightened activism is the only thing that can save humanity from itself. I've always had a bent towards apocalyptic fiction, and I'm beginning to understand why. I look and I see the earth in flames. Her face was nothing but red."

Everytime I write about this anthology, I start crying. For Aswad. For countless other women who we don't even know their stories.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Are you ready for RT?

I've been writing the dates for the Romantic Times convention in various places for nearly a year now, and it's only this past week that I've realized the timing conflicts with the final mad dash to complete my taxes. Whoops.

So, in the next week, I not only need to complete my taxes, I need to:
-- do massive amounts of laundry
-- decide what I'm wearing to things OTHER than parties
-- pack shoes, clothes, toiletries, etc.
-- find the emails containing the panel descriptions / panel feedback forms
-- find the email containing my roommate's legal name
-- create handouts for the two panels I'm on
-- pack handouts
-- print out driving directions
-- buy food (the last thing I need is a food allergy reaction!)
-- pack food
-- pack all the various boxes/bags/suitcases in the car
-- gas up and go!

How many days do I have to do this, again? I'm sure the IRS will understand that getting ready for RT is more important than completing my taxes. Won't they? :-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

BEFORE DAWN by Ann Bruce

Before Dawn is out today. Woohoo! Check it out and help me hire a pool boy...even though I don't have a pool

A darkly beautiful, seductive vampire who is literally the man of Mercy's dreams and an ill-mannered, bad-tempered vampire hunter. The choice is rather obvious.

Be warned that this one contains scenes of a violent nature and which can a little gruesome. (Figured I put that in there to avoid this and this.)

The Blurb

"I'm sorry, but guests are not allowed in this area."

He moved deeper into the office. "You sound a little hoarse," he said, ignoring her statement, and held out a flute filled halfway with champagne. "Take this."

Mercy automatically accepted the offering. "Thank you, Mr.--?"

"Edmond," he said, a hint of an accent flavoring the name. It sounded French, which suited the name and his Gallic coloring.

"Thank you, Mr. Edmond."

He shook his head but his hair barely moved. "Just Edmond."

"Uh, okay."

He lifted his own flute, tipping it toward her. Feeling a little awkward, she touched her flute to his, very aware of his eyes following her every movement. Not wanting to insult a man who'd forked over two hundred and fifty dollars for a ticket to the fundraiser and a potential donor, Mercy took a sip, just enough to coat her mouth and her esophagus.

And squeezed her eyes shut as her head swam and her hand faltered, tilting the flute dangerously. She really should've eaten something beyond the banana and carton of cherry yogurt at lunch.

A hand caught hers. She had the impression of icy coldness a heartbeat before warmth washed over her like rain. The champagne flute was rescued from her unsteady fingers. Despite the voluntary darkness, her head continued to bob like a bottle tossed in the sea. Her hand reached back and found the solid surface of her desk.


That compelling voice filled her head, dampening the waves. She exhaled, unaware she'd been holding her breath 'til that moment. A heavy, artificial scent filled her nostrils and she instinctively turned her head away. Satin brushed the naked skin of her legs, cool and slick. His cape. Fingertips skimmed the curve of her cheek, the line of her throat, the slope of her exposed shoulder. And she couldn't protest, couldn't stir herself from the lassitude that trapped her in its silken grip. Not even long enough to lift her lashes, let alone break away.

The exploration continued, soft and gentle and warm…and somehow familiar.

There was nothing to fear from him. That thought whispered through her mind like a tendril of smoke.

Mercy let herself drift, let the sensual pleasure of his touch lull her.

The hand holding hers drew it upward until her palm met a chest that felt like marble under the layer of cloth. Soft lips grazed her jawline. He whispered her name again. From the jumbled, hazy mess of her thoughts, one question emerged.

"What are you?" she breathed.

Lips brushed her earlobe. "The man of your dreams."

Copyright © 2008 by Ann Bruce. All rights reserved.