Tuesday, February 28, 2006
You'll be seeing the end result when I "revamp" my site in the near future. I'll also be creating a new site dedicated to the Vampire Underground, though that won't happen for a few months, too.
Wish me luck?
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Am I afraid of heights?
Sure, I've never relished being too close to a window on the 53rd floor of a hotel. And I did have a slight "incident" on the sun Ferris wheel at California Adventure a few years ago. But it wasn't until today that I really thought about something I'd read regarding the human condition. "They" say that many of us are afraid of heights not because we're afraid we're going to fall--but because we're afraid we're going to jump.
In a way, I can understand what "they" are saying now. What I felt on that mountain wasn't suicidal, it was just more of a flash of my body angling forward for no good reason as I stood on that mountain, as if my balance was out of control.
Sounds crazy, but I can't be the only one to have ever experienced this. Right?
Friday, February 24, 2006
Now, about last night.....
Anna and Jerry: Good to see their best dancing ever. How many of you were surpised to see these two dance a better freestyle program than Stacy and Tony? Whoa. Jerry was doing very well with those lifts and manuevers, and he was obviously having a great time, making those silly faces. Yeah, the routine was a bit dorky, but it worked for George Hamilton until a few weeks ago.
Stacy and Tony: Once again, their jive was deft and efficient, but color me shocked at what happened during the freestyle dance. What the...? When Tony first came out in that SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER suit, I got rather rocked and said to myself, "Oh, they're going to use 'You Should Be Dancing,'" the awesome song that ushered John Travolta into one of the best dance sequences--and definitive movie moments--of cinema. But, alas, "Stayin' Alive" came on and I wondered what good could come of the slow tempo. Oddly, Stacy and Tony went on to perform a routine you can see on any wedding dance floor (except for the relatively difficult lift at the end, which didn't go exactly as planned, though they get points for effort). It was fitting, though, because remember the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER sequence in which Tony and Stephanie compete in a dance contest with that boring but romantically pivotal "More Than a Woman" routine? Their competition blew them away, and rightly so. Stacy and Tony's dance played out like that scene, except without any chemistry. And in the end, when Tony threw that ugly remark at Carrie Ann (What was he thinking?), my surprise was complete. Just...wow. Didn't they know how subpar that routine was? What? Happened?
Drew and Cheryl: Their freestyle dance was a bang-up culmination of everything this competition has been leading up to. Cheryl's choreography was AWESOME: fun, inventive, high-energy, and seemingly challenging because of the speed. Well deserved high marks. And you know I'm going to sit here and freak out about their "Thriller" Paso Doble. You could tell by the audience's reaction (They couldn't stop clapping, kinda like me.) that if the judges didn't give straight tens, there'd be a riot.
What I'm wondering is why this year's finals use the last three couples instead of the last two. Wasn't that how it worked last season, with the last two? Ah, I'm probably not remembering it correctly. At any rate, Jerry's going to split Stacy's and Drew's votes, which will get him the most phone-in votes.
But we'll see on Sunday, won't we?
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
On the weekend of March 17 - 19, 2006, the Romance Writers of America, San Diego, is hosting the Spring into Romance conference. There's a pretty great slate of workshops and, of course, editor/agent appointments. The workshops I'll be leading are 1) "Pied Piping the Muse," in which I use evocative music to show the audience how to get into a deep brainstorming zone and 2) "I Saw the Bite," an FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal) workshop that'll cover what's going on in this market right now as well as tips on how to build a new world for your novel.
Here's the Web site: http://www.rwasd.com/conference/
It'd be great to see you all there, because it's going to be awesome.
Monday, February 20, 2006
I'm on chapter 8 of DR. ETERNITY, the second Vampire Underground book. (Remember--the first is being released in trade paperback in the Berkley Ace line February, 2007!!!) I'm planning to write 26 chapters for this book, so that puts me at almost the 1/3 marker. Well, not quite but almost. So far my biggest struggle are those opening sequel blues I sang a few blogs back--it really is tough to handle the information a new reader versus returning reader will need. I'm trying to balance the info output with action and, whenever possible, use dialogue to showcase every pertinent fact. And there are a lot of details that add to the building of this paranormal world, believe me. Since this is a noir/mystery/fantasy/vampire book, not only do I have to relate the specifics of the last book's case (It's tightly woven into this book's core mystery.), I have to deal out the rules of this vampire world. And I have to acquaint/reacquaint the readers with old characters who are integral to this plot, too. I keep telling myself that whatever isn't working for me at this stage can be ironed out during the editing, but I'm impatient and it's bothering me now!
But...onward. Upward. Fangward.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Stacy and Tony: Quickstep? Nice job. Cha-cha? Still efficient. I immediately understood what judge Carrie Ann was trying to saying about Stacy's "angry face," but I think she just didn't articulate it as well as she could have. During the dance, Stacy's expression kept resembling my three-year-old nephew's when he wants a treat but isn't getting it. Her demeanor wasn't so much "angry" as "pouty." But who can fault her dancing? Top notch.
Jerry and Anna: Bless his heart, he's out there trying so hard. If he weren't putting his heart and soul into this, I'd be sore about him moving on while Lisa was left behind. But I can't bring myself to be offended by his presence in the final three. He's still stiff and his footwork is not as sharp as Drew's or Stacy's, but Jerry really has come a long, long way. Lisa did, too, but someone had to go....
Lisa and Louis:
Drew and Cheryl: Okay, when brother Nick got all teary-eyed while commenting on his little bro, I lost a bit o' my heart. Jessica Simpson, what the hell were you thinking??? Anyway, D&C are almost the whole package. No, he's not a perfect dancer, but he's still improving and bringing the awesome every single week. And, as noted by, I think, Carrie Ann, these two have a chemistry that you can't get through practice or natural dancing talent. I guess that's what I was feeling a couple of weeks ago when I noted that I get excited watching this couple.
BTW, "Save the Last Dance" was brilliant. I've never heard Michael Bubble or whatever his name is, but that was a cool rendition. And Alec + Edyta? So very cool. That woman is cut, my friends. So very cut.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
GODDESS OF THE ROSE by PC Cast
GODDESS OF THE ROSE is a magical, sensuous retelling of Beauty and the Beast – with a modern slant. Our Beauty, Micki (named after the Mikado Rose), and all the women in her family have a special affinity for roses – their blood, diluted in water and applied during the night of a new moon, makes roses grow spectacularly. What the women don’t know is that they have this ability because they are descendants of a High Priestess of the Goddess Hecate. Hecate is Goddess of Night, Magick, the Crossroads of Man, and of Beasts. She is also the proctrectess of The Realm of the Rose – the place wherein all dreams and magick originate. This realm is guarded diligently by The Guardian, a creature on which the myth of the Minotaur was based. The Guardian swore himself into Hecate’s service for eternity, and in return the Goddess gifted him with the heart and soul of a man, even though he has the body of a beast. But all is not well in The Realm of the Rose. The Guardian made a terrible mistake, arousing the Goddess’s wrath to such an extent that she bespelled him and the realm, and Hecate swore that they would sleep eternally unless the Beast was awakened by a woman who carried the magickal blood of Hecate’s priestess, and was wise enough to see the truth, and compassionate enough to act upon it.
Micki does awaken the Guardian and he abducts her to The Realm of the Rose, thinking that she would automatically break the curse placed on the realm and set things to right, but modern woman Micki is a very unexpected kind of High Priestess, and there are forces at work within the realm, both of love and of hatred that might change the shape of dreams and magick for all of eternity unless Micki is brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice…
ABOUT PC CAST
Award-winning author PC Cast is a dynamic, entertaining orator and an extraordinary teacher. Currently, her realm is in Oklahoma, where she resides with her daughter and spoiled cat.
Join Mikki on an adventure to outshine them all -- P.C. Cast’s own version of Beauty and the Beast. Fourth in the author’s Goddess Summoning series, it’s very easy to see Ms. Cast’s love and respect for mythology, and it’s even easier to fall in love with characters that I believe may be her best yet. Romance, fantasy, mystery, and adventure are all threads woven together in this beautiful account of a woman who is clearly fated for greater things. An enchanting tale from beginning to end, GODDESS OF THE ROSE truly deserves RRT’s Perfect 10, an award that is exemplified with each word and every page in P.C. Cast’s latest. -- Amy Cunningham, Romance Reviews Today
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Isn't that such an awesome gift? Simple yet profoundly thoughtful.
Here's to your own Valentine's Day. I hope that everything you receive is from the heart, too.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Oh, no. This is totally different.
What I'm doing with the Vampire Underground books is walking a fine line between boring returning readers and catching new ones up with what happened in the first book--events that are integral to plot twists and character development in this story as well as the third. Exactly how does an author make the returning reader happy right off the bat without weighing the pacing with lots of backstory? (Sure, the returning readers will need a refresher about the details since there'll be at least six months between each Vampire Underground release, but there's a certain point where enough becomes enough.) And how does an author pull in that new reader without thoroughly confusing them with too few backstory details?
Lastly, here are two more things to consider: How does an author make the action/setting/tone of the second book fresh while keeping it familiar and retaining the essence of what worked in the first story? And how does an author make the characters grow through another emotional, mental, and/or physical arc without throwing that returning reader off balance and ticking them off because "the main character would never do that"?
I guess I'm about to find out as I forge onward. As I plotted this second book, which I'm calling DR. ETERNITY for a work-in-progress title, I tried to keep all these points in mind. I'm also channeling two of my favorite bodies of work that overcame these roadblocks very successfully: the HARRY POTTER novels and the original STAR WARS trilogy. I mean, think of how Harry faces a new "mystery"/challenge every time and how he also has to grow as a person (and sometimes he isn't even that likeable, although I'd never desert him). Think of the first three STAR WARS movies: A NEW HOPE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and RETURN OF THE JEDI and how Luke changed right along with the state of the rebellion.
Oddly enough, during the plotting phase of DR. ETERNITY, I felt some EMPIRE STRIKES BACK vibes. Although the first Vampire Underground book is fairly dark, this one looks to go even deeper into that territory. And speaking as someone who holds great admiration for EMPIRE, I'm happy about that. We'll see how well it works....
Friday, February 10, 2006
Yeah, like that's going to happen.
Anyway, here are my inexpert opinions of last night's show....
Jerry and Anna: I thought last week showed a big turning point for Jerry (see previous blog) yet, this time out, I couldn't help but think that he was back to being pretty stiff (and not in a quarter-between-the-butt-cheeks-way, either). It's obvious both Jerry and Anna feel shafted by the judges--and I don't blame them--but I think the scores are more a matter of George and Edyta being rated too high rather than Jerry and Anna being rated too low. Who knows.
Drew and Cheryl: At first, I wasn't sure I'd like the tango music selection (Black-Eyed Peas? O-kay.) or the dancing itself, but about fifteen seconds into the routine, I started getting excited about watching these two again. Thank goodness Drew's shoulders aren't scrunched anymore! In the end, I was feeling Drew and Cheryl--they're still the only couple that has this particular intangible quality for me.
George and Edyta: The Paso Flatulanco. Why can't I stop imagining a balloon losing its air and going "ffffrrrrrrrrrrrr" as it whizzes around the dance floor now? This couple's routine had a charming story, but once again, George didn't actually do a whole lot of dancing. If he should go tonight--and I think that's how it's going to play out--I'm really going to miss this man's sense of humor. : ( And, BTW, I love the song they used.
Lisa and Louis: Lookin' good! Lisa's improvement arc has been stunning (Jerry runs a respectable second.). She doesn't even look like the same dancer who started this competition, and her enthusiasm is so catching that I can't help but ride on the Lisa Fan Train. When she and Louis took the spotlight during the waltz, they really went for it. Well played, you guys.
Stacy and Maksim: Their jive showed lots of energy and lots of precise moves. As always, these two looked great. (Yes, this opinion is straightforward, but so is this couple.)
And just to prove the extent of my geekiness: I'm totally looking forward to tonight's DIRTY DANCING act. Pretty sad!
Thursday, February 09, 2006
If you like ultra-creative, sexy, funny paranormals, you should read a Gena Showalter book. She comes up with really cool premises, as you can see here. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one!
JEWEL OF ATLANTIS by Gena Showalter
(HQN Books, February 1, 2006)
Enter a mythical world populated with vampires, dragons, demons and Nymphs…enter a world of dark seduction and powerful magic…enter Atlantis…..
All Atlantis seeks the Jewel of Dunamis, which legend claims can overcome any enemy. Grayson James, human agent for the ultra-secret Otherworld Bureau of Investigation, has orders to keep it from the wrong hands – or destroy it. What he doesn’t know is that Jewel is a woman, not a stone! But once he meets this precious gem, destroying her is the last thing on his mind…
Jewel, part goddess, part prophet, is a pawn in Atlantis’s constant power struggles. She needs Gray’s help to win freedom and uncover the secrets of her mysterious origins. Gray needs her wisdom to navigate monster-ridden Atlantis. But need blossoms into passionate love as they fight demons, dragons, vampires – and a prophecy that says the bond between them could destroy them both.
ABOUT GENA SHOWALTER
Gena Showalter holds a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics (lie), is an expert in Krav Maga (bigger lie), and once worked as a body guard for the stars (the biggest lie of all). Actually, Gena Showalter is just your everyday, average girl who enjoys creating sizzling paranormal tales of kick ass women and the men who can't resist them.
Showalter has created a ripe mythological world populated with fascinating creatures and dark lore. . . , for extraordinary escapism, read this book. -- Romantic Times
Showalter's fans will enjoy her breezy tone, fast-paced plotting, and sexy humor, set against a backdrop of malevolent demons, vampires, and dragons. -- Ginger Curwen, Barnes and Noble review
JEWEL OF ATLANTIS is clever, witty, sexy, exciting and just plain fun to read. Full of lots of "other world" goodness, it's a paranormal romance lovers delight. With characters that are rich in personality, scenery that is lush and enchanting, and dialogue that is snappy, fresh, and fun, you just couldn't ask for a better story. – Susan at Singletitles.com
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
At any rate, there are two reasons to go to Ain't It Cool News now if you're curious about "Risk Addiction":
1. There's no way this trailer--one which you will never see in a theater because of its eyebrow-raising content--will stay posted for long.
2. You might have an attack of decency and lose the impulse to see just how far they're going to take this movie in the "oh my" direction.
First, I have to tell you that I like the first BASIC INSTINCT. The cat-and-mouse games between Michael Douglas' morally ambiguous detective and Sharon Stone's ice-pick queen were like the proverbial car accident on the side of the road. In the end, my favorite thing about it was how the film manipulated the audience just as effectively as Stone's character manipulated everyone in her life. No matter what a moral ruckus that movie raised, it worked the public masterfully, as it was intended to do.
Will BASIC INSTINCT 2 accomplish the same? Judging from the extended, explicit trailer, I'm not too sure. It looks as if they've piled on the depravity and left out the mystery. But I am curious--will the story concentrate on whether or not Stone's character is on a killing spree again? Will it merely be an amped-up rehash of the first plot?
If you see the trailer, don't say I didn't warn you. This is not one for the sensitive, but it is a big deal in entertainment news right now....
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Just for review, here was the Publisher's Lunch sales announcement:
Chris Marie Green (AKA Crystal Green)’s “Vampire Underground” series in a three-book deal with Berkley. The trilogy follows Dawn Madison, a stunt woman turned slayer, as she searches for her missing father only to uncover an erotically charged vampire society that languishes below the streets of L.A. Editor: Ginjer Buchanan, agent: Pamela Harty of The Knight Literary Agency.If you've been keeping up with my blog, you'll know that this is the book that dominated my life near the end of last year. I can't tell you how rewarding it is to know that things are falling into place so that you can finally read it. I'm at the beginning stages of book 2 in the trilogy right now, so the timing for this announcement couldn't be better: it's given me even more motivation.
The copy department is deciding on a book title, and the cover art will be taken care of in a matter of months. Still, I thought you all should be among the first to know about the pub date! I'll be keeping you current about any more news....
Friday, February 03, 2006
Blow by blow? Here we go:
Stacy and Tony: What wasn't a surprise? This couple was polished to a fine shine. What was a surprise? A 30. A perfect score? I don't know. As much as I enjoy Stacy, I realized last night that something big is missing in her peformances for me: excitement. I never feel that extra zing from her and Tony, even if they are technically proficient.
George and Edyta: I'm the first to admit that I'm a ballroom dancing naif, but can someone explain why the judges gave this team 8s across the board? Was this couple indeed better than Jerry and Anna? Maybe George's 8s are different than Jerry's, even though they're the same number? How does that work? Now that all the couples have stepped up and have gotten more intense, it's obvious that George's routines rely on props and flash as opposed to footwork. But, again, he's so fun to watch. I'll miss his wit when he does go.
Lisa and Louis: Compared to last week, I wasn't feeling the love this time out. To tell you the truth, I can't really remember their routine from last night. But Lisa's attitude is awesome and I have faith they'll come out roaring next week.
Tia and Maksim: Just when I thought Tia was showing improvement every week... Missed steps, a general lack of energy...I'm afraid the call-in votes are going to usher this couple out the door tonight, even though I think Tia has a lot more to show us.
Jerry and Anna: Wow! Jerry finally gets a little loose, thanks to his darling daughter. Last night looked like a real turning point for his dancing, but the judges didn't seem to agree so much. As I mentioned above, how was this couple rated below George and Edyta? I don't get it. But I have a feeling it's not Jerry's time to go yet, so he'll have next week to rev up that competitive spirit and show those judges what's what.
Drew and Cheryl: Even though I didn't feel the excitement of last week's "Thriller" (Hard act to follow!), I was loving my favorite couple once again, especially when Cheryl tore off Drew's sleeves. And Drew looked pretty relaxed during that salsa, showing marked improvement from previous weeks.
Brawling Judges: Awesome. Put Carrie Ann in a red dress next week, too, because it's fun to see Bruno charging at her. Poor Len. He was the cape that separated Carrie Ann and Bruno and you could tell he was not a happy jetlagger. Also, Carrie Ann? Hon? What was with you last night? I kept wondering where they put the real judge while this pod person crabbed her way through the show.
See you at the results show tonight!
Thursday, February 02, 2006
This is the first time I’ve posted with the http://www.outoftheblogosphere.com/ book promotion tour. Basically, a bunch of paranormal writers belongs to this blogging group, and we support each other by highlighting new releases on our own blogs. This looks very cool, and I've really enjoyed the Luna novels I've read so far. Have fun checking this one out!
SORCERESS OF FAITH by Robin D. Owens
(Luna, February 1, 2006)
With the world of Llandrana threatened by encroaching evil, the Sorcerers must do the unthinkable—Summon an outsider to stop the insidious Darkness slowly taking control of their land and poisoning the Sorcerers themselves.
Arriving in Lladrana, grad student Marian Harasta is stunned to find herself the center of a dispute among Sorcerers who want to augment their Power with her own. She must quickly learn her new magical Powers – and decide who she can trust in this strange land. She has prayed for a miracle to save her brother – could Lladrana offer that knowledge, and can she somehow return to Earth with it?
She knows she must offer the Sorcerers something in exchange, and ridding them of the Evil Sorcerer is what they want, but how will she fare in her first magical duel?
With unexpected help – and unexpected betrayal – Marian must determine where her true fate lies.
ABOUT ROBIN D. OWENS
Robin D. Owens has been seriously writing longer than she cares to recall, but is very happy with how her writing career is proceeding. She was named the Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in 2004, and 2003 Writer of the Year by the Denver Area Science Fiction Association. Robin has been the librarian, contest co-chair, and President of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She has given seminars at Pikes Peak Writers Conference, the Colorado Gold Writers Conference, and Romance Writers of America as well as other groups.
Marian is a fantastic heroine, both fiercely intelligent and independent, as well as willing and able to stand up for herself and what she wants. This book will enchant readers who enjoy strong heroines. – Romantic Times Website