Thursday, March 30, 2006

CRIMSON ROGUE

It's time to start touring with www.outoftheblogosphere.com again! We're back with the Crimson City series. I haven't checked these books out yet, but they look good, with all the werewolf and vampire activity. Enjoy!

CRIMSON ROGUE by Liz Maverick

(Dorchester, April 2006)

From the four strata of Crimson City come rogues: vampire, werewolf, human, demon. These rebels, rakes and unsung heroes have turned their backs on the extravagant vampire skyway, the gritty werewolf underground, the iron-fisted human stronghold and the fiery power of the demon underworld. Walking a thin line between heaven and hell, they make their own rules and follow their own destinies. Ironically, they will be the ones to determine if the City flourishes or fails.

Cydney Brighton knows them well, for she too is now rogue. Having escaped hell, she’s discovered that the City is not what it once was—and neither is she. Only one man understands her, understands what it means to be someone or something beyond control. He’s ready to come out of the darkness; and part-man, part-machine, he’s willing to sacrifice almost anything to make himself whole.

Liz Maverick created and developed Crimson City as a series for Dorchester. The full slate of rockin’ authors and their books is as follows:

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

http://www.crimsoncity.com/

Excerpt:

http://www.lizmaverick.com/crimsoncity.html

Cover:

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0505526255.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

Other links:

Crimson City Hub

http://www.crimsoncity.com/

Crimson City city resident’s blog

http://crimsoncity.blogspot.com/

ABOUT LIZ MAVERICK

Liz Maverick is a world traveler, novelist, and freelance travel writer whose contract assignments have taken her around the globe. She’s driven trucks in Antarctica, attended university in the New Territories of Hong Kong, and worked on reality TV shows in California. Liz writes women's fiction comedy for Penguin Putnam’s NAL imprint and futuristic/paranormal action romance for Dorchester and Red Sage.

REVIEWS

“An original, dark and fascinating world….” —RT BOOKclub

Website: http://www.lizmaverick.com/

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Plugging along

More than halfway through!

I'm past the midway point on the second VAMPIRE UNDERGROUND book, DR. ETERNITY (working title). This one might even be a more challenging project than the first, mainly because of the start-up issues (which I blogged about before--how much info should you give about past events? etc.). Also, my schedule has hit me hard this time, and my "writing flow" has been interrupted by prior engagements. Sure, all you can do is work around them, but when you're on a roll, it's hard to get back into the groove when you return.

There's also something else that's making this project a little tougher than most: the dark moments. I've mentioned before that this book feels like THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK of the trilogy, but I didn't know how it would feel to actually delve into these trials for my characters. My poor heroine, Dawn Madison, is going to have a breakdown if I don't let up on her. But I can't. And things just get worse and worse until I have to shut what's happening to her out of my mind at the end of the day and pick up where I left off the next.

At any rate, I should have only 11 chapters to go (only?), but I'm taking it day by day....

Sunday, March 26, 2006

TV report card--part 2

Here's the continued glimpse into my TV overkill!

American Idol
: How dare I relegate this show to one slot in the TV Report Card. Unthinkable. But, guys, when a program tries so hard to push Kellie Pickler at me, I can’t help but to be a little underwhelmed. She’s got a good voice and I felt for her when we first met her at auditions but…”What’s a ballsy?” Actually, the whole “mink” conversation was the turning point for not picking Pickler anymore. However, there are still a lot of great singers competing for the title, and I get excited to watch about 90% of them. Not bad at all. Go, Mandisa!

The Amazing Race:
Roses are red,
Flush is the dawn,
Boy, am I glad
The families are gone.

Lost: Is it me, or is almost every show on the air right now a prescription for hypertension? I love that this show has the guts to guide their characters into such dark places. All the players are falling into bad habits or starting to follow dark paths. I don’t know if that ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY theory about Aaron the comic book geek is true, but it’s the only thing that’s making sense right now. Not that I mind being confused. I LOVE IT. Please, LOST, keep messing with my mind.

Veronica Mars: “You didn’t get it from me,” says the skuzzy, rival P.I. as he gives a stolen cell phone to Veronica, who’ll be returning it to its rightful owner. In response, the perky teen wonder snarks, “I wonder how many times you’ve had to say that in your life.” Yes, folks, just another dialogue gem from one of the best shows on TV. You’ve heard me rave before, but allow me to remind you how GREAT this show is, okay?

Survivor: I should’ve gotten sick of this formula years ago, but I’m still hanging in there. This is no longer urgent TV for me, but I’m watching it every single week. Shane the disaster just makes things interesting, you know?

My Name is Earl: Somehow, every week, I forget just how clever the writers are. And Jamie Pressley gets funnier with each episode. I’m telling you, the gal is a marvel, along with the two Hickey boys. Hilarious—I find myself engaging in at least three belly laughs each half hour. That’s an excellent average. Besides, if you’re a cool enough show to have Timothy Olyphant playing a bald, drag-racing perv who’s slept with FOUR females, you’ve won me over for good.

The Office: You might’ve read my “Moments” blog a few entries ago. That stands. Love.

Battlestar Galactica: Sure, this show won’t be back until OCTOBER! (uh-huh, that was the sound of me screaming), but I haven’t had the chance to blog about how much I admire this series, so I’m doing it now. It’s truly one of the best-conceived worlds ever. It’s scary how deeply the writers delve into the possibilities of this human society on the run from the robotic Cylons, who oftentimes seem more like true people than the humans do. And I’ve mentioned that 24 has a lot of balls, but how about a show that ends with a gigantic leap forward (one year) in time, revealing changed characters that would make even the most die-hard fan uncomfortable? Genius. October needs to get here right now.

Friday, March 24, 2006

New TV report card--part 1

Time for a long overdue TV Report Card! Let’s see how many programs I can possibly watch while I empty my mind at the end of the workday….

Footballers Wive$: The triumphant return! It seems like I’ve been waiting yeaaaarrrrs for Series 3. When Series 2 ended last fall on BBC America, Jason, one of the main players, was pushed off the roof of a building. Bye bye, J.R. Of course, five episodes into this new series, and we still haven’t really found out who did it, but we had to wait with DALLAS, too, didn’t we? And I’d really like to know where my favorite player, Sal, went. The guy just disappeared from the cast. At any rate, Tanya is still causing utter mayhem and she’s awesome, so I have to tune into the mischief each week without fail. It’s an addiction, I tell you.

The Sopranos: Hello, talk about a series taking its sweet time to get back to the screen. David Chase—you’ve tested me. So far, two episodes in, I’m hooked anew, even though I sometimes feel like the pacing could use a jolt. Still, great stuff with Tony in limbo. Also, AJ is primed to explode. Should be very interesting.

Big Love: Talk about a made-for-controversy premise. In Utah, Bill is a family man. I mean, a real, real big family man, because he’s got three households. Yup, he’s a polygamist, juggling a trio of wives at one time. I like the backstories because Bill and two of his hubbies hail from a commune that encourages polygamy, and they’ve “escaped” into the real world. It’s funny how the wives interact, too; there are a lot of subtle sexual politics going on. These women seem to accept this strange marriage situation, but…do they really? Mucho passiva-agressiva stuff happens in Bill’s household—not that he would know. The wives wage their own wars in quiet desperation, trying to keep all the infighting to themselves so as not to disturb the man of the house(s). And, really, can a series that boasts three—count them, three!!!—young actors from VERONICA MARS be anything but good? I think not, not, not.

Desperate Housewives: Looks like the plotting is coming out of its initial season 2 slump, and I’m very happy about that. With more focus on the housewives and their everyday interaction, we've gotten back to the reason everybody fell in love with the series in the first place. I think Bree is by far the most interesting, especially since the War with Andrew has stepped up.

Grey’s Anatomy: How much have I come to adore this series? Let me count the ways: lots of hot doctors (Give me more McDreamys and more McSteamys any day. BTW, where is McSteamy? Bring him back!!!). Lots of naughty little subplots. Lots of fun dialogue. Sure, I could’ve done without Christina running around the hospital with Bailey’s baby and I want to stuff Meredith’s mouth with cotton balls to stop her incessant whining, but the good far outweighs the minor frustrations.

Prison Break: Yes! Whoo! It has returned!!! Hottie and his team of hapless escapees. If this show gets any better at cliffhanging, I think I just might have a heart attack. Seriously. Can they be any crueler than leaving us for an entire week without seeing how Linc escapes the electric chair? And, jeez, Michael, lay a big ol’ smacker on Sara already. Dang. Ooo, ooo, and did you hear the rumor floating around about the return of (SPOILER—stop reading if you don’t want to know—SPOILER) one of our favorite bad guys? Hint: he has lots of scruff, a vendetta against T-Bag, and is currently starring in some of the strangest car commercials ever. Oh, man, I cannot wait.

24: You all read what I thought of the premiere. Loved. It. And…still. Loving. It. Holy cow, just as I was starting to like Audrey, the writers pull the carpet out from under me! Those weasels! How dare they mess with my brittle, building trust of a character I really despised last season. Also, this is bad, but how great is it when the main character shoots an accomplice/bad guy’s wife in the leg and screams, “IT WAS ABOVE THE KNEE,” justifying the action by asserting that this is what the villain had taught him to do? That is so wrong of me to enjoy that. Just…ah, so wrong. Anyway, week by week, this is the gutsiest show on TV because it doesn’t pull punches--ask the dearly departed Edgar and Tony. Awesome.

The Apprentice: Still addictive. And Tarek? Me like you and your Orlando Bloom vibe. Me like a lot.

Stay tuned for part 2 in my next blog....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The feminine

Is there anyone out there who hasn't read THE DA VINCI CODE? Well, if you're one of the few, then stop now. I'm going to mention a general spoiler in order to talk about one of the books I'm pondering at the moment.

My fellow author and friend, Cheryl Howe, one day ordered a bunch of books by Marie Louise Von Franz. Years ago, this woman studied with Jung and became well known for her takes on archetypes in fairy tales and dreams, among other subjects. Over wine one day, as Cheryl and I sat on her ocean-view deck, we started to talk about weird dreams we'd had. I told her about one very vivid entry that I still remember in great detail. (Don't worry--it's too long to go into and I don't wish to be psychoanalyzed via the Internet--I wouldn't wish that chore on anyone, as a matter of fact.) Suffice to say that this dream disturbed me so much that I started reading up on dream analysis, which brought me to Jung and the idea of the animus. I figured out that this horrifying figure starring in my nightmare could be this male-driven force in my psyche.

Yikes.

Anyway, an inspired Cheryl brought out her new books and loaned one to me. It's called THE FEMININE IN FAIRY TALES and it uses the idea of the anima/animus to interpret sociological aspects of different so-called bedtime stories (but we know that fairy tales are far from that--those are the scariest freakin' stories ever and I would never tell one in pure form to a kid).

Von Franz has a chatty style that makes the dense material easy to access, so while I feel I'm being educated, I don't feel like it's a chore to pick up the book. Also, it makes an interesting companion to THE DA VINCI CODE. Both works maintain that there's a gaping hole in Western culture where "the feminine" should be due to the structure of our religion; we have no ultra-powerful feminine symbols and it affects the way women see themselves. It might be an interesting idea to read both works at the same time.

So there's my generalized take on something with much more depth. Still, it's a fascinating study....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring into romance: the return

Once again, I return from a weekend away from my keyborad. This time I spoke at San Diego's Spring into Romance conference, as I mentioned before. It was a great smaller venue, and I hope the RWASD chapter repeats this event in a few years.

Even though it started out rocky--a couple of scheduled editors couldn't attend due to acts of nature--everything evened out wonderfully. First, the absent editors scheduled alternate critiques, either over the phone or with other house editors, so that turned out fine. And, second, the slate of speakers the organizers put together was amazing. Basically, this means that, at a small conference like this one, an average Josie like me gets a lot of opportunity to meet high-profile writers as well as those all-important editors and agents. Saturday afternoon, I sat next to Julia Quinn and Sandy Blair at lunch and they offered insights into publicity. On the same day, Christie Ridgway attended my "Pied Piping the Muse" workshop and I got to see her create stories firsthand. Friday night, Catherine Coulter touched my hair and said I should donate it to charity (and if you think I'm hoping she had some sort of magic that she transferred over to me via touch, you're right). I did miss out on interacting with Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, but they delivered an amusing and enlightening keynote speech. Best of all, though, I also got the chance to chat and rebond with my writing friends while, at the same time, getting to know new ones.

All in all, small conferences can do more for an author than you might think, especially when we're in the middle of a heavy deadline: it gives us a chance to recharge because we're connecting with others who will understand our schedules and any issues unique to the industry. It also allows writers to take a step back from our work and see how we can improve it. How very meta, yes?

So next time you see a smaller conference advertised, seriously consider going. It could turn out to be one of the best time and monetary investments you'll make in your writing careers....

Friday, March 17, 2006

Moments

There are certain "moments" that make a story. Maybe it's just a small beat, a hestitation that reveals everything. Maybe it's a slip of the tongue from a character, exposing secrets they've tried so hard to bury. Or maybe it's a scene so painful that it takes the oxygen out of a room.

That's what happened on last night's THE OFFICE.

From my previous TV Report Cards (Hmmm, gotta do another one of those soon....), you know that I adore this series. Its quirky, frequently uncomfortable humor isn't for everyone, but I love everything about it--even the characters who sometimes have "over the top" moments. Yes, I'm talking about Michael Scott (played by the awesome Steve Carrell). Michael comes off as a huge jackass with terrible social radar. But, last night, I almost cried for him--and so did most of the characters.

If you saw the episode, you know exactly what I mean. Michael, who seemed rather put out at "Take Your Daughter to Work" Day was actually really good with the kids. In fact, he was trying so hard to impress the rugrats (as he does everyday with the adults, but it doesn't work as well with them) that he brought out an old videotape featuring his "star turn" on a children's show. Turns out that his moment in the spotlight wasn't as grand as he remembered it to be in the Wonderful Theatre of Michael's Mind. The tape showed a little boy oddly dressed in a business suit. When he was asked, by a puppet, what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered something like, "I want to get married and have a hundred kids who'll be my friends because they'll have no other choice." Something like that.

It was such a sad moment that the puppet even gave the camera a stunned, shattered look. Here it was: Michael admitting that he's a loser who's desperate for friendship. Sure, he was only about ten when he did it, but the accidental confession was enough to drive the adult Michael out of the room in mortification.

The whole scene didn't take long, but most "moments" never do.
Thank God, too, because I don't know if we could take the prolonged heartbreak.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bookshelf




Just a couple of reading recommendations for you all….

You know my critique partners Judy Duarte and Sheri Whitefeather, right? Both of them have books out this month. Since we all trade chapters and give each other feedback on our stories, I feel good about putting these before you for a great read.

First, there’s Judy’s newest Special Edition, CALL ME COWBOY.

“Cowboy” (the hero’s nickname) is a P.I. and he’s hired by a woman who wishes to delve into the past of her father, whom she always believed to be a “good man.” Um, not so much. Cowboy finds himself attracted to her, even though she’s a bit uptight and he’s a bit of a charming playboy. And as they discover the reality of her dad, he can’t help becoming emotionally involved, even though it’s the last thing a man like him wants to do. Judy writes warm and funny romances, and Cowboy is a cute one, too, so you might want to grab him while he’s available.

Next, there’s Sheri’s second Bombshell, NEVER LOOK BACK.

In this Native American mystical fantasy, Allie Whirlwind is an artist and an emerging shaman. Her powers are even strong enough to bring one of her paintings to life—a black-winged warrior with a haunted past. As this hero, Raven, and Allie start falling for each other, the story takes a lot of suspenseful twists and turns. There’s also a love triangle in this hot book (I do like a great love triangle!), and you never know whom Allie will choose until the end. If you enjoy paranormal action/adventures, I think you’ll love this offering.

Have fun with both of them!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Back from the deep

I'm ba-aack!

Okay, all I did was go on a four-day cruise from Long Beach, CA, to Ensenada, Mexico, but when you're in the middle of intensely writing a book, it seems like a very long vacation.

But--here's the thing. Each year, three college friends and I meet for a weekend to catch up with each other. In the past, we've visited each others' houses, but this time we decided to do something different. Thus, we boarded the Carnival Cruise Ship, Paradise, Friday for some big time R&R. Believe it or not, I've never been on a cruise before. It's true! So I was tripped out by all the free food (of which I took ample opportunity, of course) and the summer-camp-in-mahogany-splendor atmosphere. I even managed to go to the spa because the concept of money ceased to exist in such a place. We met some great people at our dinner seating (Hey, you all, if you're reading this! Sorry about that Pee- Wee-Herman-does-"Tequila" imitation Sunday night!), and our state room was pleasantly bigger than I suspected it would be. Oh, and every night, a towel arrangement would grace our beds after turn-down service: elephants, bulldogs, and last night's seal. That made me very happy.

At any rate, it's back to work tomorrow, but I do feel revived. This weekend, I'll be on the road again, leading those workshops at the San Diego Spring Into Romance Conference (www.rwasd.com). If you happen to be there, say hi!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Galley gee

So here I was, into somewhat of a groove with my DR. ETERNITY schedule, when BAM!--what should arrive on my doorstep but the galleys for my July Blaze, INNUENDO.

Ask any author who writes more than two books per year: galleys are notorious for landing in your lap at the most inconvenient times, like the day before a vacation(such as the college-friend reunion cruise I'm going on this weekend) or the final hours before a big deadline for another story (which, I'm glad to say, isn't the case this this time; I'm not down to the eleventh hour yet). The inevitable inconvience of galleys is almost funny, really. Not that I'm laughing. I'm not exactly complaining, either, just acknowledging that this is one writing urban legend that's true: galleys have all the perfect timing of a beloved, long-lost relative who rings your doorbell just as you're about to do something swell like having Orlando Bloom hand-feed you from an overflowing silver plate of Godiva chocolates.

All the same, galleys are essential to the publishing process, and I'm actually very glad to be able to see them before a book goes to print. "Galleys" is a term that refers to the very last printout an author receives--they're the final chance to make any changes. They follow the line edited copy of a manuscript, which means an editor or two has cleaned up the story for flow, accuracy, and polish. The author gets to see if all the changes have been inputted correctly and if they're happy with the final product.

Luckily, with these INNUENDO galleys, I got right on them and they're done now--before my cruise this weekend. However, it's set me back a day on my writing schedule and I'm so intent on getting DR. ETERNITY from my brain to the page that I feel like I took a mini-detour to Blazeland and need to get back into gear on the road to Vampireville. But the positive side is this: I like INNUENDO a lot, and I think it's given me some pep in the writing game as I continue with DR. ETERNITY. That's valuable.

So, yay, galleys, after all!

Monday, March 06, 2006

March contest is up!

Remember my last blog where I told you the contest was being fixed? It's done! So you can head on over to the main site any time. Again, thank you so much for your patience!

Oscars

First, I just want to let you all know that my contest on the main page is in the process of being fixed. There's some kind of glitch that tells you it's shut down right now, but I want to assure you it'll be addressed. I'm really sorry for the delay and testing your patience in asking you to come back when it's functional, but thank you! (And for those of you who brought it to my attention, I really appreciate it!)

In the meantime, just a few words about last night's big show. I haven't seen any press on it yet (just woke up), but I'm going to guess that this was one of the lowest rated telecasts in years. It's not that it was boring--actually, I thought Jon Stewart was the right kind of laid-back funny--I just didn't get all that excited about most of the highlighted movies. I never did get out to see more than 3/5 of the big nominees, so it's my fault for being out of the loop. But did the show in general seem uninspired to you all, too? Stewart even noted this after "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" won and the winners were jumping around all over the place in pure glee. He asked why no one else was that excited. Bing, bing, bing--and there we go. Everyone seemed a bit dull and even somber at times. There was no joy in that theater last night.

At least there were some absolutely beautiful gowns on display (and Eric Bana was excellent to look at just because he's Eric Bana in a tux. Put him on my screen the whole time and color me a happy camper.). Keira Knightly's dress was gorgeous, as was her vivid necklace; the colors of her ensemble were wonderful. Her hair was a bit of a mistake though: I wish she would've gone the Jessica Alba route with those upswept soft waves. And Salma Hayek's dress was "shiny," and if you're a FIREFLY person, you know that's a good thing. But poor Naomi Watts in that ostrichget up...? We all thought that maybe Santino from "Project Runway" got a hold of that gown. Though it was interesting, it was a bit much for my tastes.

And...that's all I really have to say about this year. Pity.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

RT convention

Just a convention update:

I've already mentioned that I'm going to be speaking at the San Diego Spring Into Romance conference March 17 - 19, but I'll also be on a few panels at the Romantic Times convention in Daytona from May 16 - 21. So far, I'm scheduled to help with an "opening hooks" workshop for the Ann Peach Beginning Writer's Program (date to be decided), a category writing panel (Thursday from 3 - 4), and a paranormal panel (date and subject to be decided). This is my first RT convention, and I've been told to prepare myself for the energy and enthusiasm! I'll also be signing THE LAST COWBOY (April, 2006, Special Edition) and TWICE BITTEN (reissue of THE HUNTRESS) at the Book Fair, so I hope I get to see some of you there!

Here's the Web site if you're interested in attending:
http://www.rtconvention.com/

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The almost-triumph of my won't

It was time to write chapter 10 of DR. ETERNITY, and I had to do it because the month of March is filled with activities that do not have anything to do with allowing me to get my manuscript written. Thus, I knew I had to stick to this strict schedule I have laid out. I got out of bed, did some yoga, did the breakfast thing, got ready for the day, then hopped onto the computer. My notes were positioned next to me, my fingers ready to type.

Then I went onto www.aintitcoolnews.com.

Procrastination, thou art my friend and foe. Soon, I was berating myself for wasting time. But, hey, what if I could take the day off and write this chapter later?

I darted to my calendar and checked the feasibility of this lovely plan and...nope. No time to spare.

But...but...I didn't feel like writing! How could I possibly produce anything in this lazy-butt, I'm-not-in-a-creative-space mood???

"Just do it," I told myself, summoning my inner Nike goddess. "Just floggin' DO IT."

Grudgingly, I got up from the floor where I had been drama queening and arranged myself for serious work. Then, after a few more whiny moments, I just did it. Twenty-three pages later, I felt great. Not just good, but post-marathon-runner, endorphin-flooded great. How could I have ever fought myself on writing? I thought. Why had it been so hard to get started?

I wish I wouldn't forget how wonderful it feels to fit in a good day's work. I wish the fear of not being able to write (because that's where my procrastination comes from--I have no doubt about it) didn't get to me sometimes. It's such a silly emotion, fear. At least when it comes to writing. Why in the world would I not be able to create another scene in my vampire world?

Fear. When it's in a scary movie, it's good. But what is the use of it otherwise?