Archive for October, 2007

And the winners are….

Okay… as always, I drew the winners by their IP address. Each IP address, no matter how many comments, only gets into the pot one time, keeps it fair for all.

The winners drawn were…

Kelly H who commented

Wonderful blog! I never really thought of reading as dress-up but it is definitely true. These days I generally prefer to escape in a romance where there is always a happy ending. However, I do occassionally “dress-up” as a forensic scientist or private investigator. And there are always those times when a girl needs to be a little naughty. ;)

And Stacia H who commented

I don’t really do a whole lot of real life dressing up for Halloween. Usually, if I do I am just a boring old witch or vampiress. I suppose it’s because I’m either too lazy or normally broke around Halloween so I can’t afford an extravagent costume & I have no sewing skills so I can’t even make my own. However, I do love to imagine that I have the most extraordinary costumes and one of my favorite is a dark angel with real feather wings. That’s what I’m being for Halloween this year in my head. And I even have an amazing body to go with it – if only :o)

Ladies, I need you to email me shilohwalker@gmail.com and put Jennifer Estep’s blog in the subject line… otherwise I might lose it or the spam filter might eat it. As always, you need to email me so I can get you hooked up with Jennifer to get your prize. If I don’t hear from you within a few days, another winner might be drawn.

Thanks to everybody who dropped by!



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Jennifer Estep is joining us today at the V&S loop.  

She’s also giving away prizes…  ;o)  Everybody that comments will have their name entered into a drawing for your chance at two prizes… Just a reminder about the contest rules here at the blog…you can comment as much as you want, but you’ll only be entered once.  Entries are done via ISP, not name, so one entry per household.

If you haven’t checked out her site, make sure you do!


First of all, thanks to Shiloh and the rest of the Vamps & Scamps for letting me guest blog. You guys are too cool!

So, Halloween is coming up, and soon, ghouls and goblins and miniature vampires will prowl the streets in search of candy – or else. I never really got into Halloween as a kid. I didn’t care about haunted houses or sticking my hand in plates of cold spaghetti. Didn’t watch scary movies. Didn’t carve jack-o-lanterns and watch for the Great Pumpkin. 

I even wore the same costume every year. A black cape thrown over jeans and a T-shirt, a black hat with a floppy point, and a cracked orange plastic pumpkin. That’s it. That was my costume. I didn’t even put on a fake warty nose. Not even once. In short, I was the most pathetic little witch you’ve ever seen. But as long as my pumpkin was full by the end of the night, I was pretty happy. Unless people gave me coconut-flavored candy. Yuck!

Over the years, I’ve realized Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And not just because of the candy. Well, not entirely. You see, every day I read or write is a little bit like Halloween – a chance to play dress-up. A chance to try different characters, different genres, different authors on for size, and see how they fit. Each book I write or read is a new experience, a new chance to play dress-up in my mind, to pretend to be someone else, if only for a little while. To experience someone else’s highs and lows. To be brave and noble and fall in love with the hunkiest guy around.

So what have some of my imaginary costumes looked like over the years? Thanks to writers like Meg Cabot, J.D. Robb, J.K. Rowling, and Ian Fleming, I’ve been a long-lost princess. A tough, but vulnerable detective. A boy wizard with a heavy burden on his young shoulders. The world’s coolest and most resilient spy. And countless other heroes and villains, saviors and sinners, and, yes, even vamps and scamps. 😉

I’ve made my own imaginary costumes too, with my Bigtime books. I’ve been a nosy investigative reporter. A hot-headed superhero with a killer fashion sense. And some of the nastiest, most maniacal, egotistical, over-the-top villains you could ever dream up. All wearing outrageous, brightly colored spandex. Which, now that I think about, probably has something to do with that boring, black, witch costume. But that’s a post for another time.

Regardless, my pathetic little witch costume is long gone. Thanks to all the great writers out there and my own overactive imagination, I can dress up like whatever I want to, whenever I want to. I’m still holding on to my plastic orange pumpkin, though, cracks and all. Imaginary chocolate will only get you so far. 😉

What about you? Who do you like to dress up as in your books? Whose worlds do you like to escape into? Inquiring minds want to know …

by Jennifer Estep 


Thanks so much for dropping in, Jennifer… guys, feel free to ask or comment away.  I’ll draw two winning names for the prizes that Jennifer is giving away, one autographed copy of KARMA GIRL and one copy of HOT MAMA.

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Yummy Halloween!

Hey, Halloween is just around the corner…like it’s Wednesday and I have a few candy bars left that I haven’t eaten to pass out. I’ve started buying those Mound bars because I hate them. It many not be the trick-or-treaters fav either but if I buy anything else I eat it all and I have to resort to passing out rolls of toilet paper and paper towels on Halloween.

So what is your weakness? What candy do you devour before the beggers get to your door? Is it the Baby Ruth candy bars? The Kit Kats? What about the popcorn balls? I looooove popcorn balls and Snickers. Snickers are the bomb! Do you still remember the houses who gave out the really big candy bars when you were a kid? Who were the rat-finks who didn’t even turn on their lights to give candy.

But giving out candy and goodies is just half of the issue, the other half is the dressing up part. I’m not really into dressing up all that much unless you consider my pink cowboy hat with sparkly tiara and fringe, or my pirate hat or my purple witch hat complete with orange hair.

I remember one year when I was a kid I dressed up like Tom Sawyer. Loved it! Those were the days when you ransacked your parents’ old clothes drawer and made your own costume from stuff around the house. We had a top hat that my dad had gotten from being in the Knights of Columbus and a bridesmaid dress we used for being a princess. Those were great beginnings for Halloween costumes.

Soooo, what about your fav costume? Did you have one you still remember? Did you have to scrounge around for your costume or did you get one of those neat store-bought ones? Have mom make you a really great costume?

Tell me about your Halloween. What candy are you going to steal from your kids stash? What costume do you remember the most from when you went out trick-or-treating?

Happy Halloween!
Dianne Castell

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Fave romance theme

What’s your fave romance theme?

I really loved the reunited lovers thing…you know, guy and girl madly in love.  Guy or girl screws up or something equally dramatic happens and they are separated, reunited years later and gasp!  That sizzle is there.  They’ve got trust issues to work past, feelings of betrayal (you gotta love the emotion that can get inside those kind of scenes) and still overcome whatever obstacle lies ahead for their story before they can live happily ever after.

But even though I love this theme, it’s easy to mess it up.   If it was a major issue that separated them (and it usually is)  the wrong party (or parties) isn’t going to let go of their anger so easily, but too often, it’s like all the hurt feelings, the anger, are just swept under the rug.  Does love conquer?  It should, especially in a romance-no, scratch that.  In a romance, it has to.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  It should be an uphill battle because that’s what really gets the big pay off at the end.  If it’s too easy, there’s really not much of a story, is there?

So what do you like?  Love at first sight, boss/employee secret crushes, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers… and the list goes on… and on….  Don’t you love romance?


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 I’m going to have to try one of her books out.  Sounds wonderful.  😉 I mean, her tag line alone is excellent…

Sex, lies & superheroes.

Coming up on October 29, Jennifer Estep is going to be guestblogging here at Vamps and Scamps.  She’s also going to give away a couple of prizes.  We do like prizes. 

Her bio is below and if you haven’t checked out her site… here’s your chance! 


Jennifer Estep

By night, Jennifer Estep is an author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next super idea. Her Bigtime books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and lots of smart, sassy gals looking for love.By day, Jennifer is an award-winning page designer for a daily newspaper. She’s also a certifiable fangirl and an authority on fantasy literature and culture. Jennifer is a member of Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and several other writing groups.Karma Girl was her debut book. It was published May 1, 2007 by Berkley Books. The sequel, Hot Mama, will be released Nov. 6, 2007. The third Bigtime book, Jinx, is set for an April 1, 2008 release.

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Strong women!

poweroflovesm.jpgMost of you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I hope you’ve had the opportunity to participate in some way, even if it’s something as simple as purchasing a product whose proceeds go in part to the cause.

 I lost my best friend to breast cancer 17 years ago… Sheila left two young children behind, and she left a huge hole in the lives of those who loved her.

I have learned over the years that women are strong, resilient people.  And in general, women stick up for each other and support each other.  It’s up to those of us who have been blessed in so many ways to lend a hand to our sisters who may not live in such fortunate circumstances.

I am proud to be included in a special project that will be published in June 2008 by Berkley.  It’s a short story collection called The Power of Love, headlined by authors Erin McCarthy and Lori Foster.  I believe I am correct in saying that all of the authors and all of the agents have donated their monies to a battered women’s shelter in Cincinnati.

The book will be available at the Reader/Author Get-Together in Cincinnati next June, and I think all or most of the twelve authors will be there.

As you head through this week with its challenges and stresses, pause a moment to be thankful for all the blessings in your life, and stop a moment to remember the many women who live in poverty or abusive relationships or the fear of losing their lives to cancer.

 As women, we are strong… hear us roar!   🙂

 Janice Maynard

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Good Morning!

When I started this it was a lot earlier, but then Karl called and we talked a bit, then I went straight to writing and forgot about the blog.  Not that I have anything terribly exciting to say. 

I have 13 days to finish this book.  Doubts are plaguing me.  Nothing new.  

 I realized a long time ago that most writers share the same fears.  Like will they get another contract, will they meet their deadline, is what they’re writing pure crap, can they get by without taking a shower one more day so they can get more pages done? 

I figure I’m saving a bundle on makeup by being a writer.  I leave the house to go to my monthly meetings, to buy groceries one time in the city (Karl will buy things at the local grocery store when we run out before the end of the month) and if I’m not getting close to a deadline, once to go shopping.  The rest of the time I pretty much stay at home.

When I finish this book we’re going to the coast.  Just pitching a tent and fishing all day.  I really doubt that I’ll smell worse than the fish and if the fish see me, they’ll be on the end of a hook and I doubt they’ll care less whether I have makeup on or not.

But first I need to finish this book so off I go!



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New TV Heroes

Are there any that get your blood flowing faster? We’ve all had a chance to catch new TV series and revisit old ones. Some we fall in love with, other we never come back to and it seems to be different for everyone.

For example I’m not a Dancing With the Stars fan and love Boston Legal. Some still think Desperate Housewives is terrif but I think they need new writers. Then there’s Lost. It’s not due back till winter but it might as well be on moon. I just don’t get it. I know, I know…take me out and shoot me. How could anyone not love DWTS and Lost?

Then there’s Hot Shots… about four guys who are buds. I love the male bond shows. I think that’s why I love Boston Legal. The interplay between guys is way different than women. And I love their humor. Guys have great humor. And what about that hunk off that new vamp show. Wow!

And then there’s my fav, Brothers and Sisters. Wonderful characters, esp Rob Lowe. I think I have a thing for Rob Lowe and it’s not just that he’s great looking. I think I fell really hard for him last week when he stood up for the Walker family. He gets them and he gets Kitty, his inconvenient fiancée. He chooses her over being politically correct. What’s not to love about this guy?

Soooo who is your latest TV hero? The guys from Lost? The guys from Heroes? I’ll give away a The More the Merrier tote from the replies.

Have a great Sunday!
Hugs, Dianne Castell

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In the Genes?

I was helping out with the monster’s class on Monday.  (the monster aka my son)  He’s in kindergarten and it was my first day helping out with his class.

He was a little bossy…  😉  Showing off, but it seems like he behaved pretty well.  When it was about time to go, the teacher waved the aide aside and asked her to show me the writing assignment the monster had done…they commented they hadn’t ever seen anything like that from a kindergartener.  Full sentences, punctuation, and mostly the letters were capitalized where they should be…and spelled right.  Everything.  Kind of blew me away.

But then I remembered a little short story his big sister had written when she was in first grade.  I won’t repeat the entire story, but the last line of the first paragraph was…

Sleepy Hollow was a very peaceful town…or was it?

Cue the eerie music.  ;o)  Already understands the idea of suspense.

I’ve got a younger brother that is one of the most talented artists I’ve ever seen.  He doesn’t do anything with it~it’s mostly just for his own amusement and I doubt he spends much time drawing now.  Kind of sad because he does have a great deal of talent. 

My dad drew a lot. So did his mom.  My mom’s mother is the crafty sort. 

Dad used to write a lot and his mom drew and wrote poetry.

I’ve always been around people who either drew a lot, who liked to read a lot or who liked to write…or all three.  😉   The imagination gene seems to work in overtime on my dad’s side of the family.  And it’s starting to look like I’ve passed it on to my kids.

*G* Their poor daddy.  Stuck with a wife and at least two kids who were born to have their heads in the clouds.

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smalldumpphoto.jpgaverymerryxmasmm.jpgI’m running a bit slow this morning… had company from Thursday all the way through today.  We had all envisioned a brisk autumn weekend… instead, it was uncomfortably warm.  Oh well… I’m sure we’ll remember the heat fondly come January.  Human nature, I suppose, to want things our way!

Saturday evening we stopped by a Barnes and Noble to take a peek at A Very Merry Christmas on the shelf.  Neither I nor the wet-behind-the-ears clerk could find it at all.  It wasn’t in romance… it wasn’t in “new paperback fiction”, it wasn’t anywhere that we could see.  He ended up calling his manager, who gave him further directions… Finally the nice young man located the book in an obscure corner of the store.

Now the weird thing is… Kensington paid for a very nice cardboard “dump” for their mass market Christmas titles.  And they probably paid for “front of store” placement.  Sadly, this particular display was technically in the front of the store – in the far left corner by the magazines and the travel guides… not exactly where your average romance reader might be looking.  And there were no copies located anywhere the romance section… sigh…

This is why many authors have given up obsessing over the business end of things.  Once a book leaves the relative safety and comfort of my laptop, I have little control over its future.  The whole marketing process is one big roulette wheel.

Which brings me to my question of the day… do you go into bookstores with particular purchases in mind?  Or do you troll the bookstore aisles and impulse shop?  For the first kind of buyer, the search for my book wouldn’t matter.  People would persevere because they went in for that title specifically.  But for the second type of buyer, the impulse buyer, that poor cardboard display, pretty as it is, will never be seen.

 Oh, well.. there you have it.  A large part of the book business is luck and/or being in the right place at the right time.  Hopefully, other Barnes and Nobles have the holiday display in a tad more prominent spot.

Today’s prize is a small one, but interesting.  I came back from the Moonnlight and Magnolias conference with a whole stack of interesting boorkmarks and other promotional stuff… and I will give it away to one lucky poster today.

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to hearing you tell me which kind of shopper you are when it comes to bookstores.

Janice   🙂

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