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Archive for July, 2007

What Do You Miss?

I’ve been thinking about books I used to read and books that are no longer available. If you’ve been reading romance for any length of time, you know that publishers and lines come and go. Between us, we could probably list 25 different series or lines that have started up and then disappeared. And it’s frustrating if you’ve found books you really like and then “poof” they are gone!

I miss the Precious Gem romances, for example. I got my start there, and so many authors I know went from writing PG’s to other places. Precious Gems were great because they were very inexpensive, and I know a lot of women have a hard time buying as many books as they want to read each month.

I miss the old days when Nora Roberts wrote for Silhouette Special Edition. I adored her category romances and couldn’t wait until each new series unfolded.

I miss the Harlequin Duets (or Love and Laughter). They were cute and funny, and some great authors wrote for them, including, for example, Lori Foster’s “Annie Get Your Guy.”

I miss Harlequin Temptation, and I’m glad to hear that Blaze will be including the new mini-line Blaze Blush… more lighthearted, funny stuff, but still sexy.

I miss Dixie Browning… don’t know if she is still writing or not, but years back, she wrote some of my favorite Silhouette Desires. And in that vein, I also miss Celeste Hamilton. Family circumstances took her away from writing, but she penned lovely books for Desire as well.

You know I always like to use a photo or two on my blogs, but all my pictures are on my computer that crashed two days ago. Let’s hope that the Geek Squad can recover them for me. 🙂

So, chime in on this subject all you readers out there. Let’s take a moment for nostalgia.

And on another note – what with keeping the babies and hubby getting sick and then leaving town for a week, I completely forgot to pick my blog winner from July 16th. Drum roll please – she is Michelle B.! Michelle – I think I have your address, but send it to me just in case, please. (jesm13@aol.com)

Hope everyone has a great week!

Janice Maynard

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Nothing too bad, but still….

We’re going out of town tomorrow for a few days and I haven’t even packed, so in lieu of a real blog post, I’m posting an excerpt from the book I just finished for EC, titled One of the Guys although that is subject to change…

Enjoy!

“I need you to touch me,” Jaynie said softly when he finally looked up at her face.

“Jaynie—”

She knew what he was going to say and before he could form any words to try and talk sense into her, she shrugged her shoulders and sent the robe to the floor in a puddle of peach silk. “I don’t want anything more than you touching me, your hands on me. I’m not looking to find a replacement for Dean and you don’t need to feel anything more than what you’re already feeling. I need to be touched, Brian, and I want you to do it.”

His voice was hoarse when he rasped, “And when you wake up tomorrow, then what? You’re Kate’s best friend. You’re my friend and we work together.”

“And none of that will change, Brian. You don’t need to lie to me and tell me that you love me. You don’t have to worry that I’m using you as a rebound guy after Dean,” she said softly. She took a step towards him. He took a deep ragged breath and started to reach for her. When he would have dropped his hand, she took another step and caught his hand, brought up and pressed it against her. His hand cupped one and he used his thumb to trace a slow circle around her nipple. “But I need this. Please.”

Brian figured he had every man’s fantasy standing right before him. A beautiful, sexy woman offering a night of sex, no strings attached. If it wasn’t Jaynie, he would have already been on her, but it was Jaynie. Jaynie with long legs, tanned smooth skin and hair that fell nearly to her very nice butt, but nonetheless, it was Jaynie. He’d known her all her life.

She stared at him with stark eyes brimming with an emotion he couldn’t quite decipher and it made his chest feel strangely tight. I need this. Shit. Slowly, he stood up. Brian hooked a hand over the back of her neck and pulled her against him. She fit, he realized inanely. She fit against as perfectly as if she had been made for him, her breasts pressing flat against his chest, the soft curve of her belly cuddling the ridge of his cock. Her hands came up, curling around his biceps.

“You sure about this?” Brian murmured. He dipped his head and pressed his mouth to hers. Earlier, her mouth had been slicked with some shiny peachy-pink. Her lips were naked now but they were warm, soft and sweet under his mouth and the taste of her went straight to his head.

“I don’t do things I’m not sure of,” Jaynie whispered.

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How to be a Diva

If you’re going to be a writer you have to learn how to be a Diva. There are certain rules you need to follow or you’ll stumble and believe me, it would be disastrous if you stumbled. You might never make top Diva status. You’ll be stuck with the stigma of only becoming a minor Diva. I’m shuddering at the thought.

Don’t for one minute think it will be easy, either. Only with help from my very good friends am I getting close to attaining Divahood.

Rule number one: Being a Diva has to start on the inside. Close your eyes and feel it. If you can’t quite picture it don’t fret. It takes time and patience. Practice every single day. I’ve found that sitting at my computer, incense going and a glass of wine close by, helps create the Diva mood.

Now, think to yourself. I am a writer, therefore I am a Diva. Tilt your nose ever so slightly, head high, shoulders straight. You might have to shake your shoulders to loosen up. Careful if you’re well endowed. I strained a shoulder doing this once. It really took away from my Diva moment.

Rule Number Two: Only after you’ve achieved inner Divahood can you move to the next step. Yes, the outer Diva. It’s so easy to make a faux pas so I caution you to be extremely careful.

Start at the top. The hair-do. This is a must. It should be a little poofy, but not so poofy it hangs on tree branches or birds decide it looks like a great place to make a nest. It also shouldn’t be perfect.

Ahhh, I can see the raised eyebrows. I bet you were thinking every hair had to be in place. No, that’s for Top-level Diva’s. For now, just concentrate on lower-level, believe me, it will still be worth it.

And remember, I’m cringing here—no, absolutely no, sparkle stuff in your hair. If it glitters, get rid of it.

Rule Number Three: Okay, I’m assuming you have the hairdo down so we’ll move on to the make-up. Muted colors work well, but apply with a heavy hand. No blues (shuddering here). Soft browns and beiges work well.

Deep red lipstick is THE color of choice and always carry an extra tube in your purse. Then when you go to the lavatory (note I said lavatory not bathroom or can—learn the Diva words!) anyway, while you’re in the lavatory make sure you freshen your lipstick.

Especially if other women are present. You can make some very striking poses as you lean toward the mirror thus enhancing your Diva image. Another caution, sadly to say, I once saw a Diva Wannabe applying her lipstick and she leaned to far forward falling into the sink. Not a pretty picture. I doubt she ever fully recovered. Even worse, the dreaded wet line across your stomach.

Rule Number Four: This is probably the single most important rule. Always wear nail polish. Again, the deep red color works well.

Learn to talk with your hands. Flutter them to the right, flutter them to the left. I know you’re dying to try it so go ahead. Fun isn’t it? Another warning, though.

I know, it’s so hard being a Diva. So much to remember.

When you’re fluttering your hands about be very careful not to smack the person next to you. They never fully appreciate when you explain you’re only being a Diva. In fact, they can be quite irate, but enough about that little incident.

Rule Number Four: Diamonds are a Diva’s best friend. Two on the right hand and two on the left. You may count a wedding ring. And where might you get these diamonds, you ask. Wal*Mart. Unless you’ve reached one of the Upper Crust Diva levels you fake it ‘till you make it.

Think about it, if you’re a writer people assume you must have money (Oh Lord, holding side and laughing here) so the diamonds must be real. It doesn’t matter that you only paid $10 a ring.

Now, this is where we go back to the reason for rule number one. Remember the inner Diva? Yes, I can almost see the light bulbs going off. If you’ve been practicing and working on the inner Diva you can wear fake diamonds and get away with it. You now have the confidence to do anything, dahling.

Rule Number Five: The clothes. They should be loose and flowing. When you flutter and wave your hands they should flow with your movements. Think butterfly—back and forth. You can practice with a tablecloth until you feel confident enough to make your purchases. Or you can pretend you’re Scarlet O’Hara and use the curtains.

Rule Number Six: The shoes. Diva shoes are a must. Heels. Nothing sensible. If you don’t have the right shoes the rest of your ensemble will not work.

Rule Number Seven: The talk. Diva’s speak soft and smile a lot. Not a wide smile. Show you’re interested in others but remember deep down it’s still all about you, honey.

And raise your eyebrows a lot. But do not pencil your eyebrows to your hairline in the hopes you’ll look wide-eyed. You’ll have the wide-eyed look all right. More like a deer caught in headlights. That can be really scary to non-divas.

Rule Number Eight: The walk. Practice at home wearing full costume. Place one hand out to side, palm facing the floor (one hand only!) two and you look like you’re walking down the runway of a cheap strip club. Chin up, but not too high. Too high and you slip into snobbery. You want to be able to see the little people not step on them. Now flowwwwww as you walk forward. Bright sunlight is better so your fake diamonds glitter. Don’t flash them toward high traffic areas though. You wouldn’t want to be responsible for a pile-up because you’ve blinded everyone.

Okay, now you’re ready to go out and meet your public. You are a writer, you are a Diva. Now go forth and conquer the world!

Life should be about having fun!

Karen Kelley
Available Now!!! Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind/Brava
Romantic Times 4 1/2 Stars Top Pick!
09/07 Double Dating With The Dead/Brava
09/07 The Morgue The Merrier anth/Zebra
10/07 I’m Your Santa anth/Brava
http://www.authorkarenkelley.com

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Cravings!

When you all go off to intentionally buy a book or maybe you pick up a book because you see it like I do when I’m at the market. That usually means I’m off snooping books instead of laying claim to a pound of ground beef or carrots or the like.

The question is, why am I there? Sometimes I’m on the hunt of a specific book that’s out but mostly I’m just shopping for something good to read. Oh, I might have heard that this is a good read and that’s great but most of the time I’m looking for a book that I’m in the mood for.

Yep, I get book cravings like I get Peep cravings and I have no idea why I get either. Maybe I need the sugar high or a mystery high or a good laugh or be wisked away to Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska, Happy Springs, Texas.

So the question today is… What sort of book are you in the mood for right now?

What book are you so not in the mood for?

As for me, right now I’m in the mood for love and mystery…mostly because that’s what I’m writing. I have about a hundred more pages of
Hot and Bothered to finish up. The cover fits. It looks like a hot night in Savannah and a little mysterious.

Here’s a partial list to get your craving juices flowing.

Vampires Dangerous Heroes Reincarnation
Love and War Love and Laughter Revenge
Terms of the Will Bad Boys Presumed dead
May, Dec romance Bad Girls Marriage of Convenience
Rags to Riches Doctor Nurse Time Travel
Chick Lit Lady Lit Tropical setting
Love & Mystery Amnesia Mistaken identity
Twins Changing Places Hidden Baby

Have a great Sunday!
Think of me writing like a mad-woman to get this book done. The last hundred pages are the most fun. It’ll be a good writing week!

I’ll draw a name from the responses for a The Morgue The Merrier (Kensington Zebra) tote that’s out in September with Karen Kelley and Rosemary Laurey.

Hugs,
Dianne
DianneCastell.com

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And our winner is….

Ilonda… who commented

Thaks for a very interesting interview. I have no questions for Meljean but I would highly reccomend that she gets around to reading Marjorie M Liu’s Books – MML is an excellent writer of superheroes 🙂 Take it from a superhero addict LOL

Ilona, is Superwoman your fave, too… cuz of the lasso? ;o) Email me at shilohwalker@gmail.com and I’ll get you in touch with Meljean.

Thanks ladies!

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V&S: Other than paranormal, do you see yourself writing for other genres? Do you enjoy reading other genres?

Meljean: I don’t think that I could write anything that didn’t have an element of the weird in it. The closest I could come in romance is — maybe — a gothic historical romance; straight contemporary isn’t for me, but I think the tone of a gothic might be fun. And I’ve been dying to try my hand a steampunk-flavored romance for a while.

And I’m a huge reader in and outside of romance — and I’ll go for any kind of sub-genre in romance, from suspense to a fluffy historical. It all depends on my mood.

V&S: When did your fascination for superheroes begin?

Meljean: Oh, wow — when I was three or four, easily. I blame Saturday morning cartoons, and shows like Superfriends, Spider-man and friends, He-Man and Voltron. It’s always been there — so I think it was natural that I lean toward writing and reading stories containing characters with super-human powers, from vampires to witches to angels.

And what has always interested me in those stories is the human core of it — not necessarily the “super” part (which is great fun), but the part that anchors them and makes them relatable to a reader, and someone that we want to cheer on. Whatever it is that, despite the superpowers, still makes them human at the core … and that plays really well in romance.

V&S: What won’t we see in a Meljean Brook story?

Meljean: This is a tough one — I’m willing to do just about anything if it fits the story. I probably won’t ever have the hero/heroine sleep with another character during the course of the book. I probably won’t have many big misunderstandings, just because my characters seem to talk a lot. I won’t ever NOT have a happily-ever-after (happy endings are just wired into me, like superheroes.)

V&S: Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?

Meljean: Oh, wow. I wish I had time to read. I have a huge to-be-read pile on my shelves right now, and it’s full of names like J.D. Robb, Marjorie Liu (superheroes!), Linnea Sinclair, Lora Leigh, your Hunters: Heart and Soul. Lots of historicals, from Kleypas to Carla Kelly. Other names that I really love are Anne Bishop and Jacqueline Carey, Neil Gaiman … okay, this is becoming a huge paragraph.

If it’s dark and sexy, I probably want to read it.

V&S: Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?

Meljean: I have a set schedule, but my brain doesn’t always follow it. There are times in the day when I sit down to write and not much comes out; then I’ll be trying to fix dinner or something, and I’m like: oh my gosh, that’s what I was going for! and then have a few pages come out smooth.

I burn dinner a lot.

V&S: What was the inspiration behind the Guardian series?

Meljean: There were a couple of different inspirations that led directly into the Guardians — one was Batman and Wonder Woman. I’d been writing fanfiction about them, but was growing tired of using other characters, so I was thinking of writing an alternate-universe fic where I flipped their roles around.

I’d also read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman to death; I love that book, but my favorite part was the interaction between the demon and the angel. It wasn’t a romance, but it was a strange sort of friendship that really intrigued me.

And I was also taking classes on Milton, and so that just got really deep in my head. Taken all together, it just kind of mixed with some ideas that I’d been playing with for a while, and came out as a really fun, kick-ass demon heroine, and kind of a long-suffering fallen angel hero who just can’t help himself around her. But the world was bigger than they were, and gave me lots of stuff to play with — I’ll be playing for a while, I hope. I’m just having way too much fun.

V&S: Who is your favorite superhero?

Meljean: Wonder Woman — it’s the lasso.

V&S: Thanks for joining us, Meljean.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
You can visit Meljean’s site here. I can tell you from experience, she’s got some yummy Guardians.

If you have other questions for Meljean, please ask away… she’ll drop by the blog when she can!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Updated to add….
Meljean has offered to do a book giveaway. All you need to do to win is drop a comment below. You can comment as much as you want, HOWEVER your name(s) will only be entered once into the drawing for the prize.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
UPDATED again to add… the contest part of the comments has closed. A winner’s name to be posted shortly. Feel free to continue asking or commenting… Meljean will come answer questions, promise.

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Monday, Monday…


Hope everyone is having a good Monday. It’s so muggy here, hardly worth going outside when you can sweat standing still!

I’m keeping Anastasia and Ainsley (3 1/2 and 1 1/2) for a few days so mom and dad can get away for an anniversary trip. We’ve already trashed the house – toys everywhere, but we’re having fun!! 🙂 DH headed off to work, but he’ll get to roll on the floor with them when he gets home this evening.

A and A just went down for a nap, so I’ll try to get a few things accomplished. I e-mailed my July ’08 book to my agent. Feels good to have it done – all but the final polish.

Thanks to all of you who have bought Improper Etiquette! Since RT’s reviewer didn’t get the review turned in on time, and since NAL didn’t do ARC’s, I feel like the book has been orphaned. But I do appreciate all of you die hard readers!!

We have a family reunion in Chattanooga coming up this weekend. Hope it cools down by then, but I’m not counting on it.

Oh, and by the way, we tried to get a pool for the girls this past weekend – one of those hard plastic ones – but everyone has already started clearancing summer stuff and we came up empty handed. Got to make room for those blow-up snowmen and Santas, I guess – sheesh!

Don’t forget to check out the contest tab on my website… I’m giving away a tote bag from the June Get-Together. http://www.janicemaynard.com.

And if you have MySpace, please come friend me… http://www.myspace.com/janicemaynard.

I feel like being generous, so I’ll draw a name from today’s posters and give away a pair of Karen Kelley’s cool “alien” earrings. They are really fun.

Talk to you soon,
Janice Maynard

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