Merry Christmas and happy holidays, my lovely reader friends!! Now that Thanksgiving has passed (and while we’re all trying to fit back into our clothes after yesterday’s dinner) it’s time to start passing out presents!!! Ok, maybe not ALL the presents, but how about some virtual “Secret Santa” presents to our favorite characters in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance world, and some very real convention registrations for two of YOU!!
That’s right. One blog hop commenter will win free registration to the 2014 Coastal Magic Convention in Daytona Beach, Florida, in February. A second winner will win registration to the 2015 event!! This is a weekend full of fun panels, meet & greets and face time with some of your favorite authors in the UF/PNR genre. Over 50 authors will be featured, and you’ll be surrounded by fellow book lovers.
A few of the participating blog hosts are Featured Bloggers for the Coastal Magic Convention, and a few are Featured Authors. Be sure to ask them questions or leave them comments about the con if you’re curious about it, or if you’re planning to attend. They’ll be thrilled to hear from you!! To find a list of confirmed Featured Authors and other information about Coastal Magic, be sure to check out the website.
In addition to the two overall, grand prize winners… some of the blogs will be featuring individual prizes, so keep an eye out for those as you’re checking out the other stops on the hop!!
Here’s how to enter:
1 – The ENTIRE urban fantasy and paranormal romance world is yours to choose from. Imagine every name in a giant Santa hat… whose name do YOU pick?? List that person’s name, what book they’re from, and what gift you would give them in the comments section of this blog.
2 – Click on the Rafflecopter link and complete the entry tasks you’d like to participate in. The ONLY mandatory entry is your “secret santa” comment, but there are a few other ways to get extra entries. (just a few, I promise )
3 – Visit other blogs on the list between today and December 6th to play again!
So… easy peasy, right?!? I’m excited to see who each of you chooses!!!
GOOD LUCK, everyone!! Let the season of giving begin!!
As part of
The finishing touches will be made soon to The Sharpest Blade, the last book in The Shadow Reader series. I’m incredibly happy with how this story turned out, and I hope you all will be, too. I know it’s been a long wait, but I really think – no, I know – it will be worth it.
If you’d like a sneak peak, I’ve posted the first chapter here.
Many of you have asked what I’m working on now. I’m in love with my current project. It’s an urban fantasy set in space. That’s what I call it, at least. Others will label it science fiction romance, and it’s that, too, but rest assured, it will contain all the elements you loved in the Shadow Reader books: strong, courageous heroes and heroines, high stakes, excruciating romance, and action that will have you turning page after page.
I have other projects I’m working on as well. There are no concrete details on anything, but if you’d like to keep up with my future releases, the best way to do that is to follow me on Facebook or to sign up for my newsletter .
Thank you all so much for reading!
I’ve decided I need to do more writing oriented events. Not exactly big conferences and signings, but I need to be around writers and enthusiastic readers more often. Every time I am, I feel rejuvenated afterwards. The last time I felt rejuvenated was at the RT convention, and that was over two months ago!
Not that I’m dragging now. (Okay, I am dragging today, but that’s because I got so little sleep last night!) I’m enjoying my new project (and still dying waiting for The Sharpest Blade’s release), and I’m excited about publishing! But writing is so isolating sometimes, and I love talking to people who are just as enthusiastic about books and writing as I am.
My monthly RWA meetings help, but all too often I have a scheduling conflict and can’t go. That means I have to wait a whole extra month to be around writing/book people. I’m thinking of joining a second local chapter to give myself more options.
The whole reason I’m thinking about this is because I just bought and read The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing. It’s a book on the business of publishing. Yes, mostly self-pubbing, but it has great information for traditionally published authors as well (if we could just get the book data from our publishers, that would be SO helpful!). I want to diversify, and I’m so envious of the access to information self-published writers have. I want that info, at least on some of my books! Anyway, reading that book was like sitting around and talking with a group of author friends. It’s made me crave interaction.
But that’s not going to happen this week. This week, I’m curling up with my laptop and pounding out some words in solitude.
I love my job.
I’m finally – FINALLY – able to breath again. Last week was crazy/busy, and I had practically zero time to write. My boys turned two over the weekend, so I was prepping for their birthday. I also had a number of appointments to run around to. Turns out, I’ve broken a rib. By sneezing.
Ridiculous, I know! In my defense, I think the rib was already broken. A few months back I hurt it. By coughing.
Yeah. I seriously have problems. lol. Anyway, about a week and a half ago, I sneezed and I felt it pop. Ouch! It doesn’t hurt that much, but when I lean over to pick something up, I can feel it move a little. THAT is freaky.
But I’m ignoring it and getting back to work! I’m so excited to be writing again! I’m working on a science fiction romance that I started around the time I finished writing The Shadow Reader. I luuuv this book! And I’ve been dying to write it for the past three years. I just haven’t had time since The Shadow Reader books were my priority.
It’s VERY different from those books, though. For one, it’s written in the past tense. After three years of writing in the present, it’s more difficult than I thought it would be to switch back. So weird because, four years ago, I despised the present tense. I wouldn’t read it. I certainly never thought I’d write it.
The other weird thing is that The Sharpest Blade still hasn’t hit the shelves yet! I feel like all my attention should be on that book, but it’s not. I guess I’ve kind of moved on from it. Sort of.
Okay. Not really. I’m still dying to know what you all think of it! And I miss McKenzie!
Ahem. I’m going to get to work now. I want to catch up on email, and I plan to do some freezer cooking today since the boys are at daycare. Blueberry muffins. Hamburgers. Breakfast burritos. Yep, all today. I’m ambitious!
How have you all been? I’m gonna attempt to blog more regularly (more ambitious-ness!), and would love to hear from you. What have yall been reading lately?
(First: why is there no Goodreads for movies? I’d love to follow people who like the same movies as I do, and I love GR’s interface. Somebody please create this site STAT! (Pretty sure I’ve already made this request several times.)
Second: do any of you have suggestions for movie bloggers to follow? I’m not talking about big name movie reviewers/publication, but more real-life movie watchers.
Third: I don’t watch many movies. I’m super, super picky, and I usually end up wanting it to be over after 30 minutes so I can do something more productive/fun with my time like write.
Now, for the actual review. (Four! I’m terrible at writing reviews. You can look at my Goodreads reviews to see that!))
WHITE HOUSE DOWN is an action movie starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. Channing is a member of the capital police (he’s assigned to protect the Speaker of the House) and he’s applying for a job with the secret service. Since his daughter loves politics and the president, he gets her passes to the White House and takes her with him on the interview. (I SO did not realize how WEIRD that was when I watched the movie, but now that I write it? Who takes their kid to a job interview???)
Jamie Foxx is the president. Um, that was interesting. I like Jamie Foxx pretty well, but I thought he was awkward in this role. When he was giving a speech, I kept thinking, “Geez, they should have just cast Obama for this role. He’d do a better job!”
I guess Obama was busy, though.
But when Jamie Foxx wasn’t attempting to give a speech, he was okay.
Channing Tatum. Yeah. He looks great, but I almost didn’t go see this movie because he was in it. I just don’t have the highest opinion of his acting abilities, and most of the roles he’s been in haven’t really been all that awesome. (Honestly, though, I haven’t seen many of his movies. Maybe I’ve only seen the bad ones?) But I couldn’t help but think that his role was written for Will Smith. There was this really random, awkward scene with a squirrel at the very beginning of the movie. When Channing was talking to the squirrel, I grimaced and thought I was about to watch the worst movie ever. Then, I pictured Will Smith in that scene, saying those exact words, but in a Will Smith type of way. It would have totally worked and been funny. But with Channing? Not so much. Weird and awkward.
Anyway, my expectations were SO low for this movie. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed it! That surprised me because I rarely enjoy movies these days. Many of them have gross, slap-stick humor, and that doesn’t appeal to me at all. In fact, I hate it, and I’ll walk out of movie if it has too much (thankfully, we usually watch movies at home).
Yes, the action was over the top and unrealistic, but I was okay with that. I laughed several times, and I thought the premise – terrorists take over the White House and (try to) kidnap the president – was interesting. The motivations for the terrorists were all over the place (weakest part of the movie aside from the impossible action), especially at the end, but I’m happy I watched it.
Um, if you’re a member of Seal Team 6, the Secret Service, or especially, Delta Force this movie will drive you crazy (actually, it’ll probably drive any law enforcement/military person crazy). I mean, the US sends Delta Force in three helicopters in the middle of the day to the roof of the White House when they know that there are men up there and RPGs. Maybe I’ve just read too many Seal Team 6 books, but that part was just so freaking ridiculous.
BUT! The most ridiculous line in the movie goes to a reporter. When those three helicopters fly by low overhead, she ducks and says, “Oh my God, US Special Forces are flying over us!”
It’s a friggin’ helicopter! How the heck do you know who’s flying over your head.
Good thing I wasn’t drinking at that moment. I would have snorted Diet Coke out of my nose.
My husband totally disagrees with me on this, but I felt a very Independence Day vibe with this movie. If you liked Independence Day, I think you’ll like this. It’s not quite as good as ID (ID lost me when they made the aliens evil (why can’t we have some nice alien invaders!? That would be much more interesting! (Hey, I totally need to write that book!))).
I’m gonna rate the movie 4 out of 5 stars. (Any movie I can sit all the way through gets at least 3 stars). As long as you know you’re going to be watching a ridiculous action movie, you should enjoy it.
In early May, I flew out to Kansas City for the RT Booklovers Convention. I had a great time. I was on a panel, got to mingle with readers and authors, and I learned a lot from the panels I attended. What was the most surprising thing I learned?
Everyone has a secret identity.
I learned that Jaye Wells had published two books as Kate Eden.
I learned that Jeanne C. Stein collaborated with Samantha to become S J. Haper. (I had a chance to read CURSED early. It is awesome. Preorder it now!)
There were so many others who had split personalities secret identities that I can’t remember. And now I’m learning that urban fantasy author Amanda Bonilla is now Mandy Baxter. (Congrats Amanda/Mandy! I’m so happy for you!)
I’m feeling a bit left out. I want a secret identity, too!
Must work on this!
I stumbled across this on Pinterest today.
Watch the video. It’s exciting! Five years ago, it would have been impossible to turn a book into a good, well produced, and widely distributed TV series outside of Hollywood, but Kickstarter and enthusiastic fans have made it possible. It’s an awesome time to be a reader… and a writer! We don’t have to depend on Hollywood anymore to get what we want.
I can’t wait to see the Morganville project! I’ve already backed it. It’s one of two kickstarters I’ve supported this month. The other one is The Name of the Wind Playing Cards Yep. Another book-related kickstarter. The whole concept of that website is cool. A lot of people contributing a little can make some great things happen.
I hope this project gets funded! If you’re a fan of the series, or of Rachel Caine (who’s so, so sweet and smart!), or of books in general, check out the kickstarter. You can contribute as little as a $1.00. Every little bit helps, especially spreading the news of the kickstarter.
Have any of you contributed to a kickstarter before? If so, which ones?
P.S. When is someone going to start a Firefly Kickstarter?
P. P. S. I know I said in my last newsletter I was shutting down the blog for a while. (Didn’t receive my newsletter? You can sign up here.) I guess my “while” was super short!
Took the twins halfway to the grandparents’ house today then came home and frantically prepared for the RT Booklovers Convention! I think I have everything packed. *crosses fingers*
I have two “official” appearances this week.
FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013
10:00am – 11:00am Reader Anything Goes in Urban Fantasy: Authors Tell All
SATURDAY, MAY 4, 2013
11am – 2 pm Giant Book Fair
I’ll be attending a few panels and stalking introducing myself to a few of my favorite authors, but other than that, I’ll just be hanging around (and probably sneaking in a few minutes of writing time here and there). If you happen to be at the convention, do find me and say hello!
Oh, and the fabulous Shawntelle Madison has put together a raffle basket of books and swag from all of us Magic & Mayhem Writers (Shawntelle Madison, Amanda Bonilla, Nadia Lee, Amanda Carlson, and me!). Check out the awesomeness!
Can’t make it to RT this year? One of the cool things about this big conference is that it changes location! Last year, it was in Chicago. Next year, it will be in New Orleans! I highly recommend attending if it’s close to you. It’s exhilarating to be around people who love books as much as you do!
Gotta get up early to catch my flight!
There’s something you don’t know about me. I am – or I used to be – a news junkie. It started in high school, maybe a little earlier. My family has always paid attention to the news and politics. We’re informed citizens and we love our country and want what’s best for it. When I finally took government in high school, I was enthralled by politics and all the background work that’s done by civil servants. I thought about becoming a legislative assistant (I’ve wanted to write books all my life, but never really considered it a career, or even possible for someone like me). I thought about joining the FBI or CIA. I thought about entering the foreign service.
I wanted to do something to serve my country. I was considering law school because I wanted to do something in constitutional law or international law (love foreign politics). But the more I looked into jobs in government, the more I saw that I didn’t have the right personality for it. I’m a quiet person. I don’t kiss butt. I don’t schmooze. I’m a follower, not a leader. I’m an introvert. In short, I would have been miserable in all the jobs I was considering.
But then, in college, I stumbled across my dream job. I went to Texas A&M University. I majored in political science and history, and in the history building one day, I saw a posting asking for volunteers at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which happened to be on campus.
I signed up. And I loved the job. LOVED IT. I worked ten hours I week for free and I was doing the most menial jobs, photocopying newspaper articles, entering descriptions into the databases, I catalogued museum items. Very menial labor, but it was awesome. How could it not be? I was surrounded by history! I touched papers that had been in the White House. And if I became an archivist, I would have been involved in government without all the politicing and schmoozing (though there’s some of that in every job, I suppose). I would have been processing FOIA requests and helping researches learn more about the government. It would have been AWESOME.
So I have to admit that I am beyond excited that the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum has opened in Dallas, less than an hour drive away from me. (Please do not take this as a sign of political affiliation. I would be just as excited if this was Clinton or Obama or any other president’s library.) I cannot wait to go.
Have you ever been to a presidential library? I’ve only been to the H. W. Bush Library, but it is such a neat experience for anyone with even the slightest interest in history or politics. You totally should go, whether you agree with the president’s policies or not. In fact, I’m going to put that on my bucket list. Before I’d die, I’d like to visit every single presidential library there is. This is totally doable at the moment. I think there are only thirteen of them so far.
Anyway, if I wasn’t an author, I would be an archivist. That’s why I got my Master’s in Library Science. It’s one of two degrees that would help me get that job (The other degree would have been a history degree. I decided on Library Science because it opened up more job possibilities.)
To be completely honest, if the perfect entry level job opened up at the new Bush library, I’d apply. I’m sure I wouldn’t get it. I applied for one back when I was in college and volunteering and was passed over, and that was ten years ago. I’m less qualified now than I was then. But I’d still have to try. Heck, if my family and life wasn’t in Dallas, I’d move to D. C. or some other location where I could get an archival job. It would be a lot less stressful than writing!
But I wouldn’t give up writing. This is the dream job I didn’t know it was possible to have, and I’m thankful I didn’t get hired at the H. W. Bush library when I applied. If I had, I wouldn’t have met my husband. And if I hadn’t met my husband, I wouldn’t have received the support and encouragement I needed to really pursue my dream of publishing a book. (Garth Brook’s is in my head. “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.”
That’s what’s on my mind today. I love all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the opening, and I can’t wait to visit the new presidential library soon.
I’m curious. What is your dream job? Do you have it? Are you pursuing it? Are you, like me, lucky enough to have two dream jobs?
Gah, I have so, so much to do this week! And so much is happening! I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, and I’m running behind on everything. As usual. If you’re waiting on an email from me, I promise I’ll get to it this week. (I know, I know, I said that last week, but this time I’m 99.9% sure I’ll get to the bottom of my inbox!)
Yesterday, I was at the Barnes & Noble in Frisco, Texas with Rachel Caine, Victoria Scott, and Gwen Reyes. We had a marvelous time. I thought this panel was particularly fun because we were able to talk about our favorite books growing up, the expansion of the YA genre, and books and publishing in general. I probably rambled on way too much, but I don’t often get to talk books IRL, so I took advantage.
In other news, one of my writing buddies has a book out today!
I loved the first book (my Goodreads review is here) and I’m so looking forward to reading this one. Congrats, Amanda!
In writing related news, I’ve received comments back from a couple of beta readers (THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU, you guys!). They’ve all loved THE SHARPEST BLADE! I can’t tell you how relieved I am. When I finish a book, no matter how much I love it, I always end up convincing myself that it’s the worst thing ever written and that everyone else will loathe it. I’m feeling so much more confident about the book now, and I have to say, the eight month wait for it to be on the shelves is KILLING me. I can’t wait for everyone to read it!
Okay. Going back to my email now. It WILL be under control this week!