Thursday, May 24, 2007

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Living With Gratitude

I saw the coolest DVD recently. It's called The Secret. Maybe you've heard of it; not only has the book been on the bestseller lists, but Oprah talked about it on her show. I'm always a little leery of anything that's getting a lot of hype, but someone I know recommended it highly, and when Netflix had it available, I put it in my queue.

Overall, I thought it was excellent. I didn't agree with everything that was said and a couple of the presenters seemed a little, well, smarmy to me, but it was definitely worth the time to watch it.

So why am I blogging about it today? The subject seemed to fit Thankful Thursdays perfectly. One of the things that was talked about in The Secret was how we as humans tend to focus on what we don't want to happen or on what we don't have rather than on what we'd like to see or on what we do have. I know I'm as guilty of this as anyone and there were several helpful suggestions to help change this.

My favorite idea was called a gratitude rock. One of the men said that he started to carry a rock in his pocket, and whenever he touched it, he'd think of something he was grateful for. Just touching it was a reminder to give thanks.

It's a simple idea, but what a wonderful way to remember what's positive in our lives!

If you have a moment right now, why not think of some things you're grateful for in your life? I'll even start. I'm thankful that my mom is out of the hospital after suffering congestive heart failure and is doing better every day. I'm thankful that I have a full-time job that pays my bills and keeps a roof over my head. I'm thankful that I finished my latest book and that I can take a break and spend more time with my parents. I'm thankful that my fifth book will be out in August and that I've been able to write another book of my heart.

Even as I wrote those things, it was so tempting to qualify them. I'm thankful, but-- I resisted, though.

Another suggestion from The Secret that I really liked was called the Vision Board. What you do is cut out pictures of what you want and paste it to a piece of cardboard or whatever, then you spend time every day focusing on them. I think of it as visual goal setting. I heard somewhere that goals are more likely to be achieved if they're written down and this is the same type of thing, just done with pictures rather than words.

I always used to tell people who scoffed at my big ideas that if I was going to dream, I was going to dream big. From the time was in eighth grade, my greatest desire was to write stories and have other people read them. When my first book was published in 2002, I walked around with a copy of it in my hand everywhere I went (yes, even at work!) because I couldn't believe my dream had come true. Sometimes I still look at the books I've written and it seems surreal that something I've wanted since I was fourteen has come true.

I'm a big proponent in pursuing dreams. When I sign books, I'll often write "Always pursue your dreams" instead of Best Wishes or Happy Reading because I want other people to find the joy that comes from chasing their rainbows. Mark Twain has a wonderful quote and I have it pasted on my cube wall. He said:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Dream. Discover."
What are you grateful for? What are your dreams? What are you doing to achieve them?

Patti O'Shea
In the Midnight Hour - Aug 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fessing up, part 2

Since no one is scheduled for today, I'll butt in and get this off my chest. A while ago I think I blogged here about reviews. As I remember, I was sort of cocky, saying how I read my reviews and sometimes learn from them.

Well, I've changed. I've now adopted JoAnn's policy of not reading reviews unless they come up and bite me in, you get the idea.

Why am I not reading reviews? Because suddenly they make me crazy. Not crazy mad. I fully understand that everyone is entitled to her opinion and that some people will not like my books. And I do think people are also free to share their opinion with the world. But I've also decided there's no requirement that I know that opinion. That, in this case, ignorance is bliss.

I mean, a book really isn't like a child. If one of my boys was tipping cows or drinking sarsaparilla out behind the pool hall, I'd want to know so I could do something about it. If the book's misbehaving...well...I guess it's more like my adult children. I've done my best. If they're going to cause trouble, there's not much I can do about it now.

Yes, this means I miss the good reviews, but so be it. If I need those quotes a few months from now, I'll go googling. By then I'll be well into writing the current story (I'd better be!) and hopefully more detached from the one already out in the world. But for now, I've sworn off the google function and I haven't visited that Amazon page in forever. It's really rather liberating.

Now excuse me while I liberate myself from the Internet entirely to get back to work on that work-in-progress.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fessing Up

Yesterday I was at a loss for a proposal I've been working on, and a friend of mine pulled out two books that she always prefaces with an explanation, something like "this one is full of horrible little writing exercises. I bought it for $1 from the Borders sale. . ." and a tiny book of conversation starters. I always think it's funny, and cute, that she sort of apologizes for not only having bought, but for using, these dorky little books.

Still, no bones about it, they were helpful. She pulled out two ideas at random and threw them at me -- I chewed on them for a while, and they didn't end up in my proposal, but they did get the wheels turning and I managed to finish a draft of a new proposal by the end of the day. She had me thinking maybe I needed to try to find a couple copies of those books for myself.

We all have some of those books the shelf, the book that we put in a place where no one will notice, or that we preface with "It only cost a dollar" or "A friend gave it to me." But at the end of the day, we get something from them, even if we can only admit it to ourselves.

In my case, it's the copy of Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul -- it pains me to admit I have it, but a friend gave it to me for my birthday, and bless him, he actually apologized in the card (I think he might have threatened me if I let anyone know he sent it). Chicken Soup books are pretty much one of the few books I swore I would never have in my home, the ones that make me shudder when I see them at the bookstore, seeping their sentimentality and stories of "if only I'd sent her flowers before she died" to teach us life's lessons.

However, I pick it up and read it now and then because I love my friend, and he gave it to me, and I want to honor that. In truth, the book is full of short essays by writers I like: Ray Bradbury, Sue Grafton, Clive Cussler among them. When I bring myself to read them, there are inspirational bits and pieces, and there's even some good advice in the book (though there are still the requisite stories about people who died...). If nothing else, it makes me think of my friend, and gives me a laugh every time I think that he actually sent me this book. And it's something I can hold over him should I have to. ;)

What are the books hidden on your shelf? Feel free to make apologies and excuses as necessary... ;)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Up In The Air

I was recently asked by my agent to give an estimate of when I might be able to get her a revised final copy of the complete manuscript she's currently shopping around for me. I really wish I could tell her.

Not because I don't have a clue how long it takes me to type in (I'm one of those freakish throwbacks who writes first drafts in longhand) and revise half a manuscript, but because my "life" is currently up in the air. The fella is waiting to hear on a job offer that will potentially have us moving halfway--no, about 3/4 of the way across Texas. We currently live in the Panhandle (that's the square, not-very-panhandle-looking part that sticks up at the top, for those of you who aren't familiar with the nomenclature), one of the more westerly parts of the state. The new job, if it happens, will take us to the Texas Gulf Coast. (Yeah, I know, they have hurricanes. We have tornados. Not a lot of difference, IMO.) But until I know whether I will be packing up my household goods and moving them over the summer, I don't really know how long it will take me to get this ms. revised and sent off to the agent, because I don't know how much time I'll have.

Summer is already filled with three conferences (an all-genre one in June, RWA's conference in July, and a science fiction/fantasy con in August), plus the mandatory visits from the grandboys, so I'm already working around those as is. If we add a move (and the insanity-making elements of selling and buying a house) to that--well... But I do keep thinking how much fun it will be to introduce my landlocked grandsons to the beach. I don't want them, like my nephews once did--mistaking a golf course sand-and-water hazard for the beach...

(My middle sister lives in Idaho, and when our kids were little and her family came to visit the Texas branch of the family, we got a golf course condo in Rockport, on the Aransas Pass (No "k" in Aransas, and it's pronounced ah-RAN-sahs), because we thought it would be safer with a horde of pre-schoolers. There was a pond behind the condo, surrounded with sand, and when we all arrived, the nephews spotted that pond, and went running out to it screaming "The beach! The beach!" They were duly impressed when they saw the "real" beach.)

I do know in general how long it takes me to write a book of a given length. And I know how long it takes me to get it revised and ready to ship out. Of course, given the fact that my books tend to grow when I'm writing them, it can sometimes take a little longer than I expect to reach the end. The writing business is insane as it is. When you add life to it... the insanity compounds.

Has life tripped you up lately? We'll listen, if you want to share.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"Friday I'm in love..." The Cure

Since this is a Friday post, I was trying to think of a Friday type song, so amazingly, I came up with a line from one!

It's appropriate, isn't it, since we all write with strong romantic elements, no matter what our specific genre. I think everyone wants to be in love (every day, not just every Friday,) and so even if they can't personally do so, it's certainly nice to read about people who do and experience the rush vicariously.

Now here's a question - how do you personally feel about love stories that don't have an HEA (happily ever after) ending? And how do you classify them - something that I keep harping on, I know, but our entire world is so classification-crazed these days.

Is it the love story itself that makes you 'fall in love' or is it the HEA? As long as the story is rich and satisfying, does the resolution always have to be positive?

I raise this question and yet even when I am writing a sad love story, the ending is, in its own way "happy." I like HEA, even if it is non-traditional. I think it is a definite human urge, need, belief - that things are resolved in a positive fashion. What do you think?

Dipping back into classification madness - I love my XM radio. I wish I didn't, I wish there was just RADIO, you could hear all different types of music without having to specify a category. Anyway, with the demise of possibility in local, over the air radio, here I am in XM land. Where there is alternative country, country, adult acoustic rock, contemporary rock, "real" jazz, alternative rock, cutting edge rock, alternative rock of the 90's, alternative rock of the 80's -- all on my punch buttons.

Are we over categorized? not just in terms of music, and our writing, but in terms of our lives? Are people niche marketing themselves?

Okay, wandering from far afield back to the specifics - We're supposed to be announcing our news here on FRIDAY , but I haven't much NEW news to report, so I'll go with a quick recap of things -

-signed FIVE O'CLOCK SHADOW and THE MODEL MAN at the Los Angeles Times Book Fair the end of April. I had my kids pass out about 250 book marks and yes, my Amazon numbers did go up afterward. I was also amazed to meet people who actually knew who I was (from local newspaper articles last year, reviews and such.)

-my erotic romance novella from THE COWBOY, Rodeo Man, finaled in the Passionate Plume

-and the warm buzz and new contacts made at the PASIC conference in NYC continue, I'm still getting requested material out there

Five O'Clock Shadow - available NOW

Videos and Awards?

When I signed up to blog on this day a few weeks ago, I had news. Funny thing, you'd think, having spent several years writing for Arizona's largest daily newspaper, I would've remembered that news is only really news, when it's, well, new.

However, since this is Thankful Thursday, I'm still thankful that my edgy video for No Safe Place, from the brilliant Circle Of Seven, won Cameo Awards for Best Suspense trailer, Excellence in Writing (script, Sheila English; visual concepts Mike Miller), the Viewer's Choice award, as well as a Cameo for Promotional Excellence, the top award for all trailers.

There's been a lot of talk about whether or not videos actually sell books. I've had five videos created so far and have no idea. I just know they're a lot of fun, and for me, that's worth doing them. (I'm already working with COS on utilizing actors and incorporating scenes from the books for my upcoming trilogy.) Also, my website statistics show that visitors enjoy watching them, and a recent contest where viewers voted on which of two very different No Safe Place videos they preferred proved hugely popular.

Meanwhile, Simon and Schuster, having decided videos are good way to sell books, will begin creating them for some of their authors. Proving that timing is, indeed, everything, they announced this just a few months after I moved from Pocket to NAL. LOL

Although I've never been much for entering contests, I've judged the RITAs for most of my 26 years in RWA, going back to when the contest was called the Golden Medallion. This year I judged both the preliminary and final rounds and stayed up until two this morning rereading an entry before ranking the books, which, for me, is always the most difficult part of judging. The best part of judging is that I never fail to discover a wonderful writer I've somehow missed. This year was no exception and I'm proud -- and thankful -- to have been able to spend so many years working in a genre boasting so much stellar talent.

Recently some of us have been having a conversation about whether winning the RITA actually makes a difference in a writer's career. Which brings me back to those video awards.
Borrowing a bit from Wondering Wednesday, I'm wondering if viewing a video has actually ever made you want to buy a book? Does seeing a sticker on a cover announcing that the writer has won an award -- a RITA, a Newberry, an Edgar, whatever -- make you more likely to pick a book up? And better yet, does an award make you more willing to risk your money on a new-to-you author?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wondering about Research

If you've ever wondered about how a writer researches to write a book. Here are some of my recent adventures.
My new project is set in Portland, Maine. It involves gun smuggling, a good topic for a port city. Lots of my research can be done on the Internet, but some has to be direct, in person. So I needed to see locations and picture events there. Portland has the nearest airport to where I live, so it was convenient to visit prior to a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit friends. First, I went to the Old Port, the renovated part of the old city that has trendy shops, restaurants, and condos on the waterfront. I walked around the docks and took picture after picture with my trusty digital camera. Then I drove farther along the harbor toward the more industrial section so I could figure out where my murder takes place. I found a really spooky spot beneath a bridge but I have to go back at night to see how dark it is. I may freak myself out. My final stop was in the West End, to check the neighborhood where my heroine lives and to choose a building for her. While there, I had a brainstorm for a scene of the villain chasing her as she jogs on the Western Promenade, a paved walking trail overlooking the harbor. Now I need to go to direct sources--a cop, a Marine Patrol Officer, and someone in the port authority.
That's it. Researching can be fun, but it can suck a writer in so you want to put it all in the book. I have to rein myself in.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Reading for Research

Today is Tempting Tuesdays and were supposed to blog on things we're reading. Currently I'm trying to get a feel for real-life war scenes, since I write romantic action/adventure featuring military heroes. But I ran into an interesting book the other day and passed it up the first few times. But then, having cracked it open, decided I needed to read it. It's called "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier", by Ishmael Beah. It's his story. True and turbulent. Here's a story about an honest boy forced by circumstances into hell. It's real. That's what gets me the most. And more frightening than any horror flick. I haven't finished it yet but found it engaging. I've posted the piece from the front below. And you can check out this link for more:

New York City, 1998
My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.
“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”
“Because there is a war.”
“Did you witness some of the fighting?”
“Everyone in the country did.”
“You mean you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?”
“Yes, all the time.”
I smile a little.
“You should tell us about it sometime.”
“Yes, sometime.”

Many blessings,

~ Lise

How much danger would you face for the perfect romance? Lise Fuller,,, ROMANTIC TIMES REVIEWERS CHOICE NOMINEE, 2006; Pikes Peak Romance Writers 2006 Author of the Year
~On Danger's Edge, print-03/07, available in e-book, Cerridwen Press,, 4 1/2 Stars from Romantic Times
~Intimate Deceptions, available in e-book, Cerridwen Press,, RECOMMENDED READS from Coffee Time Romance and Joyfully Reviewed
~Cutting Loose, print-04/07, available in e-book, Cerridwen Press,

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mom's Day

My blog today has nothing to do with writing. It's all about Mother's Day and the brilliance of one teacher. My husband always takes the kids out to do Mom's Day shopping the day before. But this year, my youngest son's grade 1 teacher summed it up perfectly. He told the kids that moms like gifts their kids have made better than gifts they buy. I've received some absolutely gorgeous gifts from my boys over the years, both hand made and purchased, but this one took the cake this year. My son insisted we had to go for a walk down a trail because he needed to collect sticks. So I'm shaking my head and thinking "I wonder if mothers of girls get requests like this?", but away we went, and he diligently collected stickes, measuring them with his arms, making sure they were long enough, or short enough, and that they weren't too dirty or too crooked.

When we got home, he shooed me inside the house with instructions that I was NOT to come out on the back deck. The poor kid was out there for over an hour, running in occasionally to stock up on more tape. Yes, I was a little concerned, but my husband didn't seem too worried, and he had access to the activities outside. Sunday morning, I was taken by the hand outside where I was shown a stick portrait of myself. Now how adorable is this, I ask you?

We then had to find a piece of cardboard big enough to transfer it to, so I could hang it in my office. I particularly like how my legs are long and THIN. If a girl can't have her dreams come true on Mother's Day, when can she?

Friday, May 11, 2007

How We Met

Fridays at the 2BRead blog are for First Alert, but I thought I'd go back and talk about an old first. Like the first date I had with the fella. We spent the night together.

On a band bus with 43 other people in the college marching band. We'd met early on in our freshman year, at the band picnic. He was dating another girl (who became my roommate the next two years) at the time and we all got into the same game of spades. Then we discovered that we were in the same chemistry class. (And I never thought about all the cheesy puns that could be made about "chemistry" until now. Really.) He still exclaims about all the times I walked barefoot to class in the rain. It made sense to me...feet dry better than shoes, and once my feet were dry, I could put on dry shoes and warm my feet up. So we would talk in chemistry class, and walk together to our next class--same building, different rooms.

As the time came for the annual overnight band trip, to the University of Arkansas this particular year, he started talking about band trips and "what happens on the band trip stays on the band trip" but I just couldn't believe he was flirting, because we're exactly the same height (I look taller these days, because he's gone to the Captain Picard hairstyle) and in my experience, guys just didn't flirt with girls who might be taller. Turned out I was wrong. And so we spent the night together on the bus coming back from Fayetteville.

Our romance was entirely too dull for any romance novel, which means it was much more pleasant to live through. Reading this, I'm sure people are asking "But where's the conflict?" Well, there was a little, but very little, and it came later. If we did fit a romance-novel story, it would be the "good friends who discover something more" sort of story.

So what did you and your honey do on your first date? And what kind of romance novel would it be?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Vanished by Margaret Daley

Vanished is my May Love Inspired Suspense book. This is the sequel to So Dark the Night, my March release. I love writing romantic suspense stories, but they are very intense and emotional.

As a detective in Chicago, J.T. Logan had put away a lot of criminals—and had made a lot of enemies. However, the last thing the widowed father and current small-town sheriff expected was crime in his own backyard. Until his young daughter was kidnapped.

FBI agent Madison Spencer found herself working with J.T. again, on a case painfully different from their previous one. She could only watch as she struggled to remain coldly professional while his heart was in anguish. And what of her own heart? Romance should be the furthest thing from their minds. All she could do was hope—and pray—for them all.

This was one of the hardest books I’ve written. There were a lot of clues and red herrings that pointed to various suspects. I felt like I was putting a jigsaw puzzle together—sometimes in the dark. I have a book to give away. I will send the first person who emails me at an autographed copy of Vanished.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Since today is open, I wanted to pop in with a general "wondering Wednesday" question that I think affects us all at some point or another:

What do you do when you're stuck in your writing? Or stuck in your thinking about your writing? It could be writer's block, but also, in between books, when you take time off, and it's just hard to start anything new or get back into a regular routine? Or when you keep starting a book, and nothing sounds "right"?

I was watchingNumb3rs on DVD last night, and one of the mathematicians said that when you were overwhelmed or stuck on a problem, it was usually because you're trying to solve too many problems at once, so the best way to solve the bigger problem is to focus on one small part and just solve that. I thought that was really interesting -- so while your book or idea might not be working on several points, maybe the best idea is to just pick one area, one character, one plot point, etc and work the devil out of it.

So that's my contribution to how we might solve "stalls." What other bits of advice and wisdom are out there?


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tempting Reading: SUGAR DADDY by Lisa Kleypas

It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I began reading Lisa Kleypas’ Sugar Daddy. You see, she’s one of my favorite romance writers in the historical genre while Sugar Daddy is her first contemporary romance. Not that I have a preference for one time period over the other (after all, I write contemporaries myself). It’s just that historical authors don’t always transition well to such a different period and tone.

I shouldn’t have worried. Sugar Daddy has everything I adore in Lisa’s novels: characters that leap off the page, emotion, warmth, charm, and an addictive story line. She adds something new in this novel: Texas, a place she knows and loves. The sense of place and how it affects the people who live there is a powerful addition to an already great story.

Sugar Daddy is not a romance in the classic definition of the word. It begins when the heroine Liberty Jones is barely a teenager. Her father’s dead and her mother has just moved the two of them to a dismal trailer park in Welcome, Texas. Here Liberty meets Hardy Cates, a troubled young man who becomes her idol. Hardy is smart enough to know that he needs to get out of Welcome or he’ll be sucked into the same downward spiral his father was. So despite his love for her, he leaves Liberty behind.

Liberty is a heroine you root for all the way out of the trailer park, through beauty school and on to her strange new life as assistant to billionaire Churchill Travis. Through it all, Liberty cares for her baby sister Carrington and never forgets Hardy. That is, until she meets Churchill’s eldest son Gage. Then her loyalties are divided to the breaking point.

Liberty’s voice carries the book: she’s smart, funny, spunky and a shrewd observer of her fellow human beings. Comments like “Hair is serious business in Houston” make you howl. Her down-to-earth common sense gets her through many a tricky situation. She’s someone you want to spend a lot of time with and yet you find yourself racing to the end of her story because it’s such a great ride.

So, fear not, Lisa Kleypas is as great in the 21st century as she is in the 19th!

What other great books are folks reading these days? Now that I've finished Sugar Daddy I need another good read.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Seriously. What is the Deal with Mondays?

I know I've posed this question on the blog before: Namely, what's the deal with Mondays? (Or, probably more accurate still, what's my deal with Mondays?) But it's a favorite topic of mine . . . especially on those Monday mornings when I've agreed to blog and I have no idea what to say.

Sort of like today, for example.

I mean, on a typical Monday morning, I think I'm doing good if I can find my way to the coffeemaker without tripping over the cat. As for why that is . . . .

Okay, I figure this could take me awhile. In the meantime, do what I usually do on a Monday morning and read your astrological forecast for the week.

I'm a Pisces and mine says that I should do some planning during the early part of the week.

Good advice. I'm planning on not doing much of anything until after the caffeine kicks in. *g*

What about you? What's your forecast for the week? Care to share?


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Family Stories, Available Now!

Last Monday, I did an errand for my son and realized I was next door to the bookstore where I would soon be holding my book signing for my new release. Even though my book wasn't supposed to be out yet, I thought I would slip in and see where it would be shelved. When I rounded the corner of the romance aisle, I saw three copies of the book already displayed!

At first, I wasn't sure if the books were really there. Over the years, I've done a lot of positive imaging, standing in front of bookshelves and envisioning my book next to some of my favorite authors. A tiny part of me wondered if my active imagination was once again helping me with this writing process.

This time, no imagination was involved. The books were really there!

FAMILY STORIES, for the new Harlequin Everlasting Love imprint, is my first mass market book. I've published others for a more select market -- the libraries and educational markets. Finding the books listed in the library was fun. But seeing the books on a shelf in a bookstore was a much different thrill. Now I can have friends go into a real store and buy the book, rather than selling author copies out of my car trunk. While that's satisfying in its own way, seeing the book on the shelf makes this whole process more valid to me.

I stood in front of that shelf for a few more minutes and then started to leave, planning to come back later with a camera. Then I remembered my sons had convinced me we needed phones with cameras this time. I stopped the nearest stockboy and asked if he would take a picture of me with my book.

He gave me an odd look. I quickly assured him this wasn't just a book that I was buying but one that I had written. I grinned at the look he then gave me. He looked at me and then my book and then snapped a picture of me standing in front of the Romance Series section, holding a copy of Family Stories.

I thought I could include the picture today but the computer-savvy son is off at University and I had to finally quit trying to make it happen. Instead, I'll direct you to the copy of Family Stories listed on the side of our blog. And if you'd like to stop in and pick up your own copy -- at a real bookstore -- well, my next picture is going to be me walking in and not finding any books on the shelves! Because that means somebody bought them!

A Non-Alcoholic Toast

Back in November my doctor ordered some routine blood work. It had been a couple of years so I was due. I'm not a big fan of the medical profession, especially now that I'm getting a little older and the warranties on some of my parts seem to be expiring, but I'm usually fine with blood work. Not to boast or anything, but I've got great blood.

Well, pride goeth before the fall, heh? The doc's office called the next day. Two of my liver enzymes were off the charts. (That news didn't do good things for my blood pressure, but that's a whine for a different blog.) So more tests and no more booze. No beer, no wine, no margaritas.

Don't you just hate it when you go to the doctor's feeling fine and then discover something's not quite right?

Anyway, I'm happy--thankful--to report I recently got the good news that the enzymes are now back in the normal range. What caused them to go wacky? Got me. The current theory is I was exposed to a toxin, maybe the ant spray my dear husband applied liberally to the kitchen counter.

My months as a teetotaller--months covering the holidays and many personal triumphs all worthy of toasting--gave me a new perspective on alcohol use, particularly in my own little social corner of the world. It also had me searching for some festive, non-alcoholic, palatable beverages. I don't like soda--too sweet. So what else is there? Water, even sparkling water, is a tad...dull. I found sparkling fruit juices (Izze makes some nice ones) that are pretty good. Non-alcoholic beer isn't so bad, though the non-alcoholic wine my husband brought home didn't get my thumbs up. But maybe it's a matter of finding the right label. I wasn't a fan of sparkling cider until I tried a new brand.

So here are my questions for you in cyberland: 1. Do you have any good non-alcoholic beverages to recommend? (Even though I can now climb off the wagon, I've decided I'd like to add some variety to my liquid options.) And 2. How do you like to celebrate good news? Pop the bubbly, open the chocolates, treat yourself to a day at the spa--or something else?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Another Tuesday Temptation

Since it's Tempting Tuesday, I'm going to be totally self-serving and tempt you with my new book, Damsel Under Stress, which hits stores today. This is the third book in my Enchanted, Inc. series, which includes Enchanted, Inc. and Once Upon Stilettos. This series follows the adventures of Katie Chandler, a small-town girl from Texas who moved to New York with hopes of being more extraordinary than she stood a chance of being back home.

In the first book, she'd been in the city a year and still felt like a hick, since she hadn't yet managed to learn the New Yorker trick of pretending not to see weird things. It didn't help that she kept seeing some really weird things, like people getting on the subway wearing fairy wings. She later found out that she was actually seeing things most others didn't because magic didn't work on her, not even the magic used to hide magical things. That odd talent landed her a job at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc. (basically, the Microsoft of magic, only not evil).

In this third book, the stakes are higher than ever before. There's a rogue wizard on the loose trying to market dark spells, and now he's managed to get enough financial backing to buy ads and open a real store. Katie and her wizard boyfriend Owen have to figure out what's going on and where that money is coming from. And speaking of that boyfriend ... just when she didn't need any help in the romance department, Katie suddenly has a real, live fairy godmother. Supposedly the fairy godmother is there to help, but it seems like every attempt at dating and romance ends in disaster. No wonder Katie is a Damsel Under Stress.

As you can probably tell from the description, these are serious, dramatic literary works (and in case you're immune to sarcasm, they're really not. They're meant to be funny). I certainly have fun writing them, and it seems like readers are having fun reading them. I originally pitched the series as "Bridget Jones meets Harry Potter, as it's a blend of chick lit and fantasy. Just for fun, here's a list of reasons why people might want to check out my books for themselves:

1) I write faster than JK Rowling, so you won't have to wait as long for the sequel (the next book is coming in January 2008 and is already written).
2) You can read each book in a few hours, especially if you're willing to sacrifice nonessentials such as sleep, homework, housework or food (or so my readers tell me).
3) My books are funnier than anything Oprah recommends.
4) Talking gargoyles! Talking gargoyles who drive!
5) You think your boss is an ogre? Read these books and you'll meet a truly evil boss -- and I'm not talking about the one who's green and has fangs.

I'll be doing a mini book tour throughout Texas, so if you're in one of these locations, the more, the merrier!
May 3, 7 p.m., Borders at Preston and Royal in Dallas
May 5, 2 p.m., Barnes & Noble in Tyler
May 9, 7 p.m., Hastings in Round Rock
May 12, 2 p.m., Barnes & Noble on University in Fort Worth
May 16, 7:30 p.m., Borders at the Quarries in San Antonio

For more details on all of these or on the books, visit my web site.