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Archive for March, 2006

Last summer one evening my daughter and I were heading to the movie store in my little beetle to grab a chick flick and some chololate chip ice cream. We had the top down and the music blaring, singing along with the radio and having a good ole time. As soon as we turned into the Blockbuster parking lot, though, we noticed a big fire truck in front of the Philly cheesesteak place. A couple of police cruisers were parked off to the side. I slowed to a stop but it was obvious that whatever fire there was had been put out. Since we were already in the parking lot, in order to leave we were going to have to back out of the entrance and then go all the way around the block…. well there was a young fireman standing near the truck so I waved to him and very politely asked if I could go past the firetruck instead of going around.(Cara and I both noticed his hottiness) He smiled…. we smiled back and he nodded and waved us on.

I suppose we ere both distracted by his cute smile and all of that gear and what not because I didn’t realize how tight of a squeeze it was going to be to pass the big truck, but I had already committed and had no choice but to proceed. I inched past the truck (my daughter was questioning my decision and I was sort of defending my position… after all the young fireman *had* waved me on (I think) Anyway, just as my little VW has right at the middle steps (remember the top was down) a big fireman began descending the steps backwards (in full gear). He didn’t see me until the last second as I creeped past and was in real danger of falling backwards into my car (on top of me with that big hat on and everything) He suddenly turned and saw me (or maybe Cara and I might have screamed)…. teetered backwardstossing his hat into the air and cursing just as I inched past. Once past I sort of gunned it and in the rearview mirror I saw his hat as it crashed to the pavement and sort of bounced. I noticed too, that he was older but a hottie too… but he raised fist and starrted yelling at me. I felt compelled to stop and yell sorry back to him and sincerely hoped that his hat wasn’t dented or anything. The police by his time were taking notice and my daughter thought that I might be arrested so I gunned my car again, roared over to the far end of the parking lot and we waited like fugitives from the law, huddled down in the bucket seats. Finally, when the coast was clear, we headed into the movie store.

By this time (after the police had left) we thought the adventure was quite amusing and of course my daughter immediately called her friends and told them that her mother had almost run over a fireman… not my fault I tell you….not my fault.

So my question is: have you ever done anything this blonde? (I’m now a redhead but my blonde genes run deep)

It is 70 degrees out and I will have the top down today for the first time in months….fireman beware 😉

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Well, this may be wishful thinking for a lot of us. It snowed here all weekend. Nothing deep, but the ground would turn white and then melt away… only to do it all over again an hour later. It was a pretty snow – big fluffy flakes. But I am more than ready for warm weather!! Which brings me to my blog topic for today. 🙂 How do YOU say hello to spring? For me, there are two “events” that mark the passing of blah winter and the advent of lovely spring… The first is the day when I carry all my cold weather clothes to the upstairs closet and bring down all my short sleeve stuff. It hasn’t happened yet, but soon. 🙂 And the other milestone – my first pedicure and breaking out the sandals! Again, it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m thinking I may bring out the polish tomorrow or the next day. The forecast for the end of the week is warm – yeah! The picture on today’s blog is from a trip I made this week with my mom, two sisters, one brother-in-law, and two nieces. We went to Gatlinburg for two nights. The tree in the pic is a flowering cherry (I think) and in the distance you can see snow on top of the Smokies. It was pretty chilly, but the sunshine was great. So tell me ladies (and gents), what do you do to welcome spring??? I’d love to hear, and I’d love to say goodbye to winter for good. Janice

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🙂

it looks like the first author interview was a rousing success.

If memory serves me correctly, Sylvia Day is going to be the next victim. *G* If you want to join in and help us out with the first round questions, just go to

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ScampsVampsandSpicyRomance/ and join the group. We run random contests for members only and the group is a fun one. We’d love to see you there.

The winner of JR Ward’s prize, a signed copy of Lover Eternal is …. Tina! Tina, I need to email me @ shilohwalker@gmail.com . Put something like BLOG in the subject line so I can find it easy.

Thanks everybody!

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Just to clarify

if you want a chance to win today’s prize offered by JR Ward, the questions have to be posted here. I’ll draw a winner, probably tomorrow, from those who joined in.

if you want to participate in the future author interviews and possibly win a prize before the interview is posted… you need to join the yahoo group.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ScampsVampsandSpicyRomance/

The way it works, we tell you who the next author is, and you have about a week to post your questions to the group, then we will choose five or six of those questions. By participating, you may be able to win a prize in the group.

When the interviews are posted here, there’s another chance to win, if the author has offered a prize.

Hope people aren’t too confused. While you can ask as many questions at the blog that you want, I’m only each each name once, in order to be fair.

Shi

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Blogger is apparently having PMS or something because every time I try to upload a picture, it times out on me. Finally got one up, although it’s not JR’s latest book. Ah well… it’s still an awesome cover.
Vamps and Scamps will be doing author interviews with various authors~some of the future victims include Lora Leigh, Sylvia Day, Toni Blake, & Erin McCarthy.
Today, the victim is JR Ward and JR has kindly agreed to give away a signed copy of Lover Eternal to some lucky poster. Yes… to win, you have to post.
Dark Lover, the first of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, appeared on shelves last fall and many, many paranormal fans fell in love.
With the author interviews we are doing, we are letting the readers ask the questions. For a week, readers are given the chance to post their questions to the yahoo group associated with the blog, ScampsVamps& SpicyRomance.
The readers who ask questions may be entered in a drawing for a prize, but that prize is only available to the participators, so if you want to increase your chances of winning, just visit the group’s home page or send an email to
And onto the interview…
1) Will there ever be any female warriors in this series?Or will they all stay male?

Absolutely. There is a female named Payne whom you’ll meet soon and she is… VERY cool. I like her and I believe I know who she ends up with. And the thing is, with a female coming into the Brotherhood, you’re going to see a lot of the essential social values of the race get skewed. Males are supposed to protect their counterparts. But Payne is not in need of protection. She’s going to shake up the scene, but in a good way. She’s also not one of those annoying, brash, in your face types. She is power. She is strength. She is as up front and direct as any male warrior so she doesn’t need theatrics. She just levels her weapon and gives you a choice: you either do it her way or you end up with a leaky hole. I like her because she’s really an amalgam of male and female characteristics…

Can you tell I’m into her? 😉

~*~

2)Which authors do you think influenced you most in the writer you became?

Ummmm… Stephen King for the horror aspect and the world building. He’s fabulous, a true genius. And I like his stripped down style of prose. Suzanne Brockmann for the romance. She’s incredible… she can create emotion in a reader in like, two sentences. I also like her style, very mainstream. Sue Grafton for craft. She has a great command of story fundamentals and she’s helped me a lot. She’s also very disciplined both in her prose and in her approach to business, so yeah, definitely Sue. Plus I dig her books. My CP, Jessica Andersen, without whom, I think I might be behind bars for a heinous crime against an inanimate object (the compy). Jess also has a great line by line, cleanliness to her work and she’s wonderful at suspense. And then I think of my friends… because other writers can influence not just what you put on the page but how you deal with this business of ours. So… Linda Francis Lee and Gaelen Foley and Tina St. John and Shi and Lora Leigh and I’m sure I’m leaving folks out. You need people to talk to, you know?
~*~
3)Who is your favorite brother and why?

Zsadist. Definitely. Without a doubt. He is violent and unpredictable and dangerous. He’s also… awkward and not a total savage. I like the darkness in him because it makes his redemption so much more vivid and engrossing. But I will say, that this dark side of his is grounded in what has happened to him- there’s a reason for why he is the way he is. I wouldn’t be in love with him if he were just a bastard. The fact that he’s suffered is the way I connect with him.

~*~
4) If your life had a theme song, what would it be and why?

Queen’s Under Pressure. Because I’m usually stressed out and over-focused and feeling like I wish I were doing things better.

~*~
5)If you were to describe each of the brothers as an ice-cream flavor,what would it be and why?

Ummmm… I can’t! I just don’t and can’t see them like that! LOLOL So much for the writer’s imagination… *hangs head in shame* See? This is my point about the song choice. I can’t answer this question and I think I failed the interview!
~*~
I don’t think you can fail this kind of interview, JR. 😉 Although I was wondering who was going to be Rocky Road. *G*
Okay…floor is open for comments and JR will pop in later if anybody has other questions.
You can learn more about the books at www.jrward.com and she has a reader group @
I’ll be posting who the next author interview is here in a few days, so if you want to get your shot at asking the questions, join the group!
Shi

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Take My Breath Away!

What would you do or have you done if/when you met someone who actually did take your breath away? Or are you surrounded by beautiful people?

My story: I went to the booksigning at RT when it was in Ft. Worth many, many years ago. I had never been to anything like that before and I was in awe at all the authors who were going to be there. I went with a group of women and they were talking about the cover models and I was very smugly thinking that I could care less. I wanted the books and to meet these authors who created them.

As we arrived so did a group of men. Jeans, no shirt, wearing vests, boots, tanned, muscled, 6-pack abs.

OHMYGOD! I couldn’t look away. My mouth watered, my heart skipped beats, then began to race. Smugness went to hell in a handbag. I stuttered, I drooled.

But then I met one who took my breath away. John D’Salvo (spelling?) I asked if I could take his picture and quickly snapped two—double exposing him (don’t I wish!) Never have gotten a blasted picture of him.

So, tell me since RT is fast approaching. What has been your favorite experience at RT? If you’ve never been and are planning on going then you’re in for a treat. I always have a blast. And if you’re not planning on going, have you ever met someone who made you stutter because they looked so damn good?

If you respond in any way, form or fashion I’ll put your name in a drawing for a copy of Southern Comfort.

I’m off to look at flooring but I’ll check in before I go to bed.
Good Luck!
Karen Kelley

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Description…how much is too much??

And I don’t mean this about the sex because that’s sort of determined by the line but what about the rest of the story…

I often wonder how much does the reader really want to know? Do you really give a hoot what he/she is wearing? How they fix their hair? What they’re wearing on that date and to what detail? Black shoes, white shoes? Blah, blah, blah…

What about the setting…what the room looks like, how she’s making those knitted hats, how he’s building that four-lane bridge?

Sometimes I feel like I’m boring everyone to tears but it does add color or is it adding surface crap?

So, how much is too much or too little?
Any thoughts on this?

Hugs, Dianne

The Way U Look Tonight
April ‘06
RT: 4½ star review
Brava Kensington

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Promo on a budget

This week, PBW has been doing various topics that might interest new writers, aspiring authors, and others in the writing industry.

She asked for topics that people would like to explore more closely, and one of them was….

PROMOTION~ to be exact, I think the words were What can be done about marketing for writers with a $2k advance?

Okay, so promo isn’t my favorite topic, but it is something I’ve picked up a few things about. A lot of this is specific to romance writers, magazines, review sites, etc, but I know every genre out there has these things targeted to their genre. You just have to look for them.

Now I’ll be honest. I’m greedy. I wanna spend my money on me, I want to take my kids and the DH on a trip, or buy a nice, pretty desk… but you have to put some of the money back into your career.

So with $2000…. what can you do? Bear in mind, the more money you spend on promo, the more it helps with Uncle Sam once tax time rolls around.

GET A WEBSITE!!!! I can’t stress that enough. I’m also a reader and one thing that will irritate the crap out of me is when I try to find something out about an author and can’t find a website. Readers want to to be able to connect with authors and a website is the best way to do it. A couple of sites to check into for web design are Millenium Promotion and Your Web Goddess

Some pointers…

  • If you are going to do it yourself, be objective. If you can’t make it look professional, hire somebody. A dumpy looking site, a cluttered site, or a site that looks like your five year old did it isn’t going to impress readers.
  • Don’t get a website with pop-ups. Please.
  • Keep it current. If you’ve had three books out in the past two years, and it still has info from the second one but not the third~you’re losing potential readers.
  • Make sure somewhere on your site you have a working email address. And don’t hide it.

Get some bookmarks~ You can check around, but a good place to go is Earthly Charms. You can get a thousand bookmarks, including the design for around $200.

Use Banners~ Have a banner designed. Sites like Millenium will design a banner for about $20-$30. Then you can post them on reviews sites, every place from Romantic Times (more expensive) to smaller review sites, like FAR or AAR.

  • If you really want to go all out, you can spend about a thousand bucks and get an ad in Romantic Times magazine. Sounds like a lot of money, but remember, that magazine is for romance readers. If you’ve written a romance and sold it, that’s one of the best ways to get the word out.

Make friends in the reader community~ For a variety of reasons.

  • Word of mouth sells books. People find out you’ve written and sold one, a lot are going to be curious. If they like what they see/hear, they buy, and if they REALLY like it, they talk about it to others. And that sells books.
  • Booksellers! I’ve met quite a few people who own their own bookstores. An independent bookseller can be your best friend. They like it when authors are friendly to them. Ask if you can send some bookmarks or an ARC (advance review copy) or both. If they like that book, they’ll stock it. Independent booksellers tend to know their customers, they know their tastes. If your book is something that would appeal to said reader, they will mention it.
  • Pay attention. There are some people in the reader community that really like to talk about books they like. I’ve been known to give ARCs to these people. They aren’t bookstore owners, but they can really sell your book. They tell everybody, from friends to the people in the local bookstore. Some of them have blogs or websites of their own. One author suggested giving away dozen of copies of your book to people with the biggest mouths~so they’d read it and talk it up. Sorry, can’t remember where I read that.

Contact your local paper~ or if there’s a local magazine, try them. I contacted Velocity Weekly. They did an interview with me and a fellow author, Anya Bast, and we got free publicity. It was a cute, fluffy piece, and very little work on my part. Of course if I’d known they were going to insist on pictures…. ugh…

So, keeping our budget in mind, lets assume you decided to have Jewel Stone do a three page website. The three page package is around $250.

You order 1000 bookmarks from Earthly Charms. $210, give or take.

You run an ad in RT. $1000

Get a banner from Millenium and run it on FAR for the month before and of your release. About $50.

That adds up to $1510.

You’ve contacted a local entertainment magazine and they are running an interview the month the book releases.

And viola… some simple, fairly cheap *mostly* promo.

Now I started out as an e pubbed author. Things are sometimes done a little different then. First thing I did was join online groups and start trying to establish myself among the readers of my first publisher. Then I designed a website. Then I started messing with things like banners and stuff. It wasn’t until nearly two years later that I finally got a book into print. The e pub went into POD and I had to start promoting my print books as well as my ebooks. But promo is promo. You do what you can to get the word out.

*please bear in mind~I checked these prices prior to putting this blog together, but that doesn’t mean the prices won’t change. Please don’t take anything I’ve said as written in stone. Check around, ask around, shop around.

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With your participation. A couple of times a month, we are going to post the name of the upcoming victim. *G* First victim is JR Ward. Once we post the author, readers will have a chance to post questions they’d like us to ask the author. There will be prizes involved.

However, there is a stipulation. In order to ask the questions and possibly increase your odds of winning a prize, you need to belong to the group associated with the blog. To join, go to the group’s home page here and simply click on join this group.

Or you can send a blank email to

ScampsVampsandSpicyRomance-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

It’s a fun group and the authors often run contests that are for members only. As well as daily hotties and updates on upcoming releases.

We’ve got some fun authors in mind that we plan on asking to participate and we hope to see some of you all join in as well.

So… floor is open in ScampsVamps for questions.

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Uppity Women Unite!

Uppity women…I love ’em. Give me a true article about a woman who stands up for herself and/or her beliefs and I’ll eat it up. So, it will come as no surprise to you that one of my favorite book series is the “Uppity Women of…” you name the era. What this series shows is that women have been asserting their intelligence, their rights and their backbone for as far back as written history goes. Cool, huh?

I think so…which is why when I write a historical, I tend to write uppity women heroines. Not stuck-up heroines, but women who stand up for themselves, their loved ones and their beliefs. My motto is, “If there was one woman being this bold and daring during this era, she could have been my heroine.”

But some historical readers prefer writers to stick with what they view as a more realistic portrayal of the time. Women who were not necessarily unique, or forward thinking, or confrontational. Certainly this type of heroine is more typical of the time, but she wasn’t the only sort of woman who lived during *any* era. And I don’t know…I can’t make myself write heroines that don’t get on somebody’s nerves…usually the hero’s, but oftentimes the rest of society’s too.

What kind of historical heroine rings your chimes? The more traditional belle of the ton, or a woman who was reading “The Rights and Vindication of Women” even as the author was being killed by her government (France btw – if you are interested) for being such a blasphemous thinker?

I’ll be honest and say that while I can’t seem to write the more traditional heroine, I can really enjoy reading about her. But my favorite historical authors usually write outside the box too…Amanda Quick, Teresa Madeiros, Julie Garwood, Stef Ann Holm and Barbara Dawson Smith – to name a few.

What about you?

Hugs,
Lucy

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