Archive for February, 2006

What’s in a name?

I have a great book called “45,000 Baby Names”. My daughter borrowed it when they were looking for just the right name for the new baby-to-be.

Today’s question – what’s in a name? Or perhaps – “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ” I don’t think so! Would you fall in love with a hero named “Dudley”? Would the book sell?? Maybe Nora could pull it off, or Lori. But I’m 99% sure no editor would ever let that name go into production.

So here’s my question for today – Please tell me your three favorite names for heroes… and the same for heroines. Then give me three of your “yuck” names for heroes. And the same for heroines.

I’ll take a look at all the lists and pick one entry to keep in my mental rolodex. I’ll send that person a small prize.

But remember – to be considered for the prize, you have to come up with 12 solid choices. Put your thinking cap on and have at it!


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Have I ever mentioned I run across some really interesting things when I’m researching? Well, I do and I’ve found a new favorite website, but I’ll get to that later.

The most recent “makes you blink in astonishment” thing I’ve run across while researching for my new Brava series is a radio for the shower that has a hidden camera in it. I’m so not kidding…they really sell such a thing. Want to see? Visit the product page here. Okay, I’m having a really hard time grasping the need for this unless you are like the FBI, or something. Really…the or something is a little scary, but the website that sells this also has other ultra hip spy equipment. I can see that coming in very handy with my new series. (And yep, as promised…I’ve just posted a little info on that on my Current Projects page.)

And how did I find this really very strange product that is honest-to-goodness for sale? On my new favorite website. It’s full of info on cool and unusual and sometimes downright strange gadgets. I love gadgets…maybe not as much as my hubby, but enough that I definitely qualify for closet geekdom. Oh…he sent me the website link, by the way. He’s great for stuff like that and he reads my books too…what more could a woman ask for???

Now it’s your turn…what kind of weird or uananticipated stuff have you run across while innocently web surfing?

Just to let you know…I’ll be out of town for my mom’s birthday weekend with her and my sisters until Monday. But I’m REALLY looking forward to reading your comments when I get back!


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Advice… from me?

You’re kidding, right?

I have this reaction several times a week. Over the past… oh, I dunno, year or so, I’ve gotten emails on a regular basis, usually several a week. Asking for some kind of advice. Or info. Some are a little easier than others. The easiest question to answer is…

How much money can I expect to make… I always answer that one the same. I have no answer for you.

I’m primarily still an ebook author, and yes, I write for a living, so I think I do okay, but every author is going to be different. So that one is easy. No answer~sorry.

The rest of them, though, they make me bang my head. I hardly ever have an answer. I’ve asked, how do you make yourself finish the book? Well, I just do. If I don’t finish it, i can’t sell it and I like selling them. $$$$$

Where do you come up with your ideas? Every single one is different. Sometimes, I’ll see something that inspires me to start a book and then the book comes from there. My current release is one of those. The idea for Hunter’s Pride came from something I saw on Animal Planet. A young girl in Africa was rescued from a couple of kidnappers by…. a pride of lions. Now I moved my book to America and it was cougars, or mountain lions, that saved her, but that’s where that idea came from.

The original Hunters? Eh…that was all Tori. I wanted a heroine that was kick a$$ but not so stupidly independent she’d cut off her nose to spite her face. Those sort of heroines really annoy me. So there was Tori, and then there was Declan and then there was the book. The rest just sort of came naturally after that.

Other ideas came from various places… fairy tales, or I’ll be talking with a friend, and there it is. So I don’t have a simple answer for that.

Do you plot out your books? I hate answering this one. I always feel like a moron. Nope, I don’t plot out until after I’ve started the book, and usually the plot just unfolds for me as I write it.

Where should I try to sell my book? Oh, boy. That’s a tricky one. Depends on what sort of book, how long, too many factors, and that’s another question i hate.

How did you get published? Another one that I kind of scratch my head over. Often… it feels like pure dumb luck. I had a book that was rejected by Harlequin. That form letter so many of us have seen, not what we’re looking for…yadda yadda yadda… My personal opinion~eh, it was perfect for them, however I wasn’t going to sweat it. That was about the time I’d found EC and I decided I’d just revamp the book and try it there. And that’s that as far as my ebook history goes. I’ve sold more than thirty various books, novellas and short stories to places like EC, Triskelion, and Samhain.

New York career, eh… a little different. Boils down to a couple of people mentioned my name to Cindy Hwang at Berkley and she looked me up, read a few things, and liked them. So I got the infamous call. I didn’t really do anything~so pure dumb luck on my part.

There’s other questions, like I need an agent. Will you read my book? Do you do critiques? Frankly, I wish I could help but I can’t. You can find a lot of these resources through RWA. I don’t have time to read for pleasure hardly, and I suck when it comes to technical advice, so I’m not a good person to ask.

It’s really very mind boggling to keep getting these emails~scary, yet at the same time, feels kinda cool. But I seriously suck at advice…

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Character Qualities

What hero qualities do you look for when you read a romance? Let’s go a little further, what qualities do you like to see in your heroine?

I love the alpha hero, but the kind who has a vulnerability. When I read a romance I want to live vicariously through the heroine.

What was the first romance that hooked you? What are a few on your keeper shelves?
Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rodgers and I was hooked. Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Lori Foster…..

What really fabulous romance did you finish last year that you really enjoyed and why. Ulterior motives. I want to add to my mountain of a TBR pile LOL! Believe it or not, I read my first Susan Elizabeth Philips last year for the first time and WOW!

Everyone who answers will have their name put in a hat/can/Wal-Mart bag or whatever else is handy and I’ll draw a winner for a copy of one of my avaivable books–winners choice.

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I read about that fifty-thousand-dollar dog that escaped from the airport and it got me thinking. Pets are the best thing ever and they sure don’t have to cost 50K to make them special!

We have two cats, both intended for our kids and somehow wound up with my dh and me. I guess that means we have grand-pets. Our cats don’t do much, no neat pet tricks. Pixel brought me a live mouse once but since that sent me screaming and climbing on top of my computer desk I won’t classify it as a trick…except by me.

My agent has ten dogs, all little ones. She’s starting to buy pets for her pets. When my brother’s dog passed he had a coffin made. My cousin buried her dog in a pet cemetery complete with headstone. I sent a card. When my cat dies a bit of me will die too.

I love pets in books, add them whenever possible and they always play a part in saving the day.

So two questions.
Have any of your pets done anything remarkable?
And using the link below tell me what kind of dog you really are.

I’m a cocker spaniel!



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A few weeks ago I did something I had never done before….I went into Hustler Hollywood (an adult toy store). I had been wanting to do this for a while after my editor said that I needed to spice up my love scenes that were “too conventional”. Well…. since conventional was all that I know, I decided that I needed to broaden my horisons so to speak and I convinced my husband that I needed to take a look around in one of *those* shops to see what was out there…

He was appalled (but I could tell he was curious) and cracked me up when he made us both wear baseball caps because he was convinced that someone would see us. I, in turn, convinced him that we wouldn’t see anyone we knew in an adult store in downtown Cincinnati and I bravely said “who cares?” if we did?(of course you know where this is going).

So, there we were looking at props and toys, lotions and potions with our caps pulled low over our foreheads. I was in a constant state of giggling and my husband was in a constant fear of being discovered but after a while we both relaxed and started having fun. So, I’m looking a pretty realistic rubber replica of a male body part and commenting to my husband on “geez what would you do with all of that?” when…you guessed it…I saw someone that I knew. ( I was suddenly secretly glad for the ballcap) Of course my husband has at this point forgotten all about his fear of discovery so I have to yank him away from the display and whisper in his ear who I saw. This was a woman was the head of an organization that we had belonged to when our children were younger and I have to admit that I was a bit (okay a lot) shocked to see her in the store. Now under normal circumatances we would have marched over and said, “Hey how have you been? So nice to run into you….” and so on, but instead we hovered in the corner of the store pretending rapt interest in various massage oils until she left.

So my question is: should we have been embarrassed? She hadn’t appeared so and seemed to know her way around. As a matter of fact, most of the partons in the store were couples and while there were things on display with a huge “ew” factor, there were plenty of fun things too…chocolate body paint, flavored lotions, scented candles… things that were sexy and would spice things up a bit and were harmless fun. So…

Would you, could you…have you gone in an adult store? If you saw someone you knew would you greet them or hover in the corner like we did?

Let me know your thoughts 😉

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Valentine’s Day Gifts

Tomorrow is the big day, and I’m here to tell you that it’s not just for lovers. As a public school teacher for 15 years, I enjoyed a host of Valentine parties and gifts… not only from children, but from parents and other teacher friends. I think the day should be about “Love” in all its forms. One of my most treasured “gifts” is a heart-shaped red rhinestone pin my grandmother gave me when I was 13 or 14. It has an arrow through the middle, and I love bringing it out of the jewelry box once a year. I fully intended to wear it to the Reader Appreciation Day in Cincinnati on Saturday, but forgot to put it in the suitcase. 😦 The picture on this blog is another of my “old” and treasured Valentine’s Day gifts. My dh and I started dating during our senior year in high school. This little guy is the stuffed animal Charlie gave me on our first February 14. I keep it in a glass-fronted barrister bookcase that has lots of my romance novels. You can probably see that the paint on his eye is scratched and his original white fur has the patina of age. I hope some of you will share stories of a “special” gift you received in years past. And remember – tomorrow is a day for love… make sure to tell all those special people in your life how much they mean to you. And I’ll say it now to all of you – “Thank You” for reading and loving romance and for being such great online friends! Janice

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The sexy geek…

Isn’t this cover to die for? This guy looks exactly as I picture Hotwire, the hero for and ABLE. He’s a super sexy computer geek/ex-mercenary. Is that an oxymoron for you?

I admit I’m biased. I married an uber sexy geek so I see the breed as hero material for sure, but what about the rest of you? Can you go for a hero who can program a super computer, but isn’t sure how to tell if he’s in love? Do you think a guy who can go on for hours about the new theory for warp drive space travel but has a hard time saying, “I love you,” can be sexy? What about the man who has more geek gadgets than Inspector Gadget, but has never touched a vibrating massager? Can he be your idea of a man who can make the heroine melt into a puddle of passion…or at least certain parts of her anatomy?

I love the super geeky, super sexy hero, but what about you? I’m starting a new series for Brava…and I’m thinking there are definitely going to be a hero or two who are as competent with the computer as they are in hand to hand combat…is that a good thing, or does it totally turn you off?

Let me know what you think…


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Okay… a troublemaker I know… *and love, admittedly…* is the inspiration behind today’s blog.
Said troublemaker lives in Australia. Said troublemaker loves to read. I’ve gained a number of readers just from her recommendations alone. When you’ve picked up a LOT of new ebook readers and print readers all from the recommendation of one reader, you realize just how much one reader can affect things.
And she’s not alone. There are readers of mine like her in Canada, England, Italy, the Dominican Republic, and Singapore, just to name a few. And most of them buy print books, which means they pay a pretty penny. They all talk about the authors they like. The more they talk, the more others might buy. Okay, not might… do buy.
This is one of the reasons why I appreciate readers from across the globe. You read my books, you buy my books, I love you and you can enter whatever contests I have. And it’s even cooler when I get an email, well, so and so said I should try you…and this person is from Singapore, or Italy, or other places that I can’t type without misspelling, so I won’t try… *G*
But the reason for today’s entry was the author who sparked the uh… hmmm… discussion.
Author stated…(and I’m paraphrasing…I’m not linking to the blog, because frankly, I don’t want to give her the clicks…it got a little rude) “I don’t see why some reader from out of the country thinks I owe her anything more than a thank you.”
Okay, somebody opens a door for me~I say thanks. Somebody lets me cut into the flow of traffic without waiting ten years~I wave thanks.
Yes, I’m very grateful to my readers. Now I’m not about to open a vein in gratitude, and they cannot have my first born, my second born, or my soon to be third… But they should get a little more than a simple thank you. I’m not saying they should all get a free book, or you should fly them to the moon. But they deserve a bit more than the same thing you say to somebody who said bless you when you sneeze.
I write for a living. I get to stay home and actually see my kids and play with them, instead of hitting the PC to pound out one more chapter when I get home from work. That right there is worth more than a simple gee, thanks.
But more…readers see something in my writing. They shell out their hard earned dollars, and whether they loved the book or hated it, they still thought it was worth their time, and for that, I think they deserve more than a simple thank you.
They deserve our respect. Even if all they do is look at the book and think about buying it, I think that deserves respect.
Regardless of whether or not you think it’s worth it to send books overseas, you owe readers in general some courtesy. Dragging something out into the very public world of blogging when a reader was simply expressing her opinion and displeasure…eh, it’s kind of tacky. It showed a complete lack of respect for her opinion, and basically, for her.
It’s even worse when you cut off commentary the second it seems that others might agree with her, or they can at least see this reader’s side.

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Good Morning!

Okay, how many just looked at their watch or a clock to see if it was still morning? I know I’m running behind today. I had to hurry and get my page quota for the day so I could do something really important like drag my husband shopping. Okay, maybe it’s not THAT important—I just want to get out of the house and go shopping.

I often wonder if other husbands or boyfriends go shopping with their significant others. Karl does really good unless we go to the mall. Then his eyes glaze over and he looks like he’s off in his own little world. Are there Mall phermones to put men into a Zombie like state so they don’t care how much their companion spends?

So tell me—inquiring minds want to know—does your spouse/boyfriend (or both if this be the case)go shopping with you?
Karen Kelley

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