Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Blogger Linda Winstead Jones

Today we welcome guest blogger and Maven, Linda Winstead Jones!

Some days, I feel a little like a dinosaur. My first books were written on a typewriter, and while I was eventually dragged to a computer (Kicking and screaming, btw. I thought my typewriter was more than sufficient) several of my first books never existed as a computer file. Not in my house, anyway. But I have evolved. I recently jumped into the self-publishing pool with two of my fairy tale romances from a few years back. Into the Woods and DeButy and the Beast were always two of my favorites, and I’m thrilled to make them available again.

A funny thing happened while I was getting these books ready for release. One of the most frequent questions an author hears is “Where do you get your ideas?” My instinctive response is “How do you stop them from coming?” It’s difficult to look at a book you’re still close to and identify the roots. But looking back several years, reading through the new files, I could see very clearly where the ideas for these books came from.

DeButy and the Beast is one of those rare books that started with the title. At a meeting of our writer’s group, we had a speaker who was a police officer. He was introduced; his last name was DeButy and immediately the title popped into my head. DeButy and the Beast. The story grew from there, the characters taking shape long after the title had grabbed me. Going back and reading the book now, I can see where some of my research came into play. I have a book (or two or four) about the Victorian era, and they are alternately horrifying and hilarious. Oh, the things we believed, the “facts” that were presented to us as truth. My favorite research book is “The Physician and Sexuality in Victorian America.” A few quotes, chosen at random: “Beware!! science pronounces that the woman who studies is lost.” And “Like novels and letter-writing, dancing was another source of impurity.” Then there’s “Overindulgence in romantic stories produced a flow of blood to certain body organs causing ‘excessive excitement’ and finally disease.” Is it any wonder my hero is a Victorian era physician with a few ridiculous ideas that need to be shaken?

Into the Woods came together very differently. I don’t remember where the title came from, if it was mine or if my editor suggested it. It was one of several fairy tale romances I wrote, and I can’t even remember how I decided to write a romance based on Hansel and Gretel. What was most important here, when we talk about what brings a story together, was the climactic scene near the end -- which I won’t spoil by giving details here. You’ll recognize it if you read the book. I had read a fantasy that I absolutely loved, but the ending sucked. In fact, the ending sent me into a
downward spiral of depression, it was so wrong. It was years after I wrote Into the Woods that I could see how I had taken that scene and rewritten it, giving it my own romance-friendly ending. Reading through the book again, I could also see the influence of some research books about old beauty remedies and aphrodisiacs. After all, the heroine is a witch, the witch from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. What better way to use her gifts than the creation of beauty creams and love potions?

I still have all these books. I actually have a pretty decent research library. Maybe I should head back to my office and browse a bit. You never know when, or how, inspiration will strike.

One commenter will receive an original paperback copy of one of these books!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I want! I want!

I've been fighting with my Crackberry for the last several weeks. Okay, months. It died on me last week. I lost all my contacts, emails, music, pictures...everything. No warning. No blips. One moment it was working and the next I had a white screen of death (apparently Crackberry can't even get the death screen color right). I was not a happy camper! It took me four hours to revive the thing and get most of the info restored...and another hour to figure out how to fix my number pad when it stopped working thirty minutes later.

So why haven't I thrown the thing across the room by now?

I'm waiting for the iPhone 5! Rather impatiently. I could have upgraded months ago, but I refuse to do it until the 5 surfaces because I just know the minute I cave and get the 4 the new one will be announced. Because that's how my technology mojo works.

I've spent countless (and pointless) hours scouring the internet for any news, rumors or educated guesses on the release. I watch with envy as most of my friends use nifty apps I can't access. I scream at my phone every day when the screen landscapes and refuses to move back. Part of me knows the iPhone isn't smart phone Mecca and that it too will probably have quirks that annoy the snot out of me. But I don't care! "I want it, want it, want it," she says in a whiny toddler voice. And considering the number of articles, blog posts and speculation I'm not the only one.

But all my impatient waiting has finally paid off. Word of invites to an Apple iPhone event on Oct. 4th hit the web yesterday. Finally!!!! I'm seriously hoping this means it'll be in stores sometime next month.

Any electronic gadgets you'd really like to own? Anything on your personal wish list? Or are you a technophobe?


P.S. I'm also looking for an HP Touchpad 32 GB so if anyone happens to have an extra just lying around... Apparently, they're as rare as unicorns. Who knew.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I hate when that happens

So I'm thinking about doing NaNoWriMo again this year because I REALLY need to get back into writing and the accountability plus the little "Yay! You're a Winner!" screen you get when you upload fifty thousand words has been a real motivator in the past.

I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about what to write and nothing. For weeks and weeks... NOTHING.

And then a couple days ago I have this half dream, half vision, half revelation -- oh wait, that's three halves, but I digress.

I hear a man's voice saying, "Look, __________. I don't care that ___________ is your old boyfriend. You're broke and you can't afford to turn down this job. So put on your big girl panties, and--"

_____________ storms out, remembering a time she and __________ were together and he removed her panties with his teeth.

But who is ___________ and what does she do? Who is this man telling her she can't turn down the job? And who is her old boyfriend? I swear I have the vague picture of a man in my mind (he's an actor) but other than the fact he has dark hair, I can't describe him and I sure as heck can't remember his name.

What does he do that he needs her to work for him? And what's the story behind their relationship and break-up? And who is the man telling her she can't turn down the job?

That's an awful lot of questions, and with just a month before NaNoWriMo starts, I'm not sure I can answer them all.

I just hate when that happens. I should have done this blog on "Talk Like a Pirate Day" because then I could have really said, "ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!"

Any ideas? Suggestions? Brainstorm away cause my brain seems to be fried.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good for a laugh...

My computer has been acting up today, and the Geek just spent two hours trying to fix it, so I'm a little irritated and blog-less. And I'm tired and want to go to bed.

So instead of my witty observations, I give you two of my favorite YouTube videos. These are my go-to vids when I just need a laugh.

WARNING: Language is NSFW or small children (use of the F-word). I still laugh until I cry, though.

Booba's New Shoes:

Cat vs. Printer -- The Translation:

Do you have funny videos you know will make you laugh when you need one?


Monday, September 26, 2011

I Love the Night Life

Are you one of those people who are up and chipper at 6am in the morning? Or do you come alive around 9pm when everyone else is hitting the sheets? I’m a night owl, by nature. I could stay up half the night and sleep until 10am well into my 20s (when I didn’t have a class the next morning). But my environment has forced me to be a morning person (or at least get up in the early morning, but you can’t make me like it).

I have kids now (sickeningly perky morning children) and a job during the week that requires me to hit the ground running at 6am. And I do it. I’ve even gotten to the point where I’m not grouchy in the morning… much. This is one of the reasons I taught myself to drink coffee this year. That’s right – I learned to drink coffee in the mornings (even though I still drink it with 1/3 flavored creamer). But I needed something to make the mornings a little more bearable; a shower wasn't working anymore. And it worked. I function pretty well most mornings, and even get up early on the weekends to hit the gym before the hubby goes to work.

But nights are the hardest. I get tired around 8:30pm – its like my body recognizes the quiet in the house as soon as the kids are in bed and starts to shut down. I just want to pile up in bed and watch television. As long as I’m asleep by 10:30pm, mornings work just fine. Yet the lure of the night still calls me – and its even louder if I’m stressed or sick. I want to fall back into that natural pattern where I’m up during the quiet, deserted night house and sleep while everyone else starts their day. I can read uninterrupted, write uninterrupted, and just generally absorb the quiet.

Most of the time I’m disciplined enough (and my body is exhausted enough) to go on to sleep. But some days… Its time to hit the coffee.

So tell me, do you live this tug of war or are you able to work with your body’s natural rhythms?


Friday, September 23, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

So, now that I've crossed the bridge into the world of the published, everything is different. Instead of just worrying about writing and submitting, I have to worry about writing and submitting and promoting and branding and building a readership. Sigh. It's a lot to think about.

Since I have several big events next spring coinciding with my book release, I've been giving thought lately to promotion. I've got all the social media type stuff down, so really, my focus has turned to imprinted promotional goods. Tchotchkes. I want to do something different. Unfortunately that usually equals expensive. There's a delicate balance between novel/keepable and price. If its cheap and cute, likely someone else has done it. PC, for example has done rulers, emery boards and collaborated on tote bags with Lynn Raye Harris. All great ideas. And I may borrow an idea or two, but I'd rather not if I can come up with something else. Over the years I have been to many conferences and luncheons and collected my share of stuff. I have my opinions on the subject, but I'm curious about what others think.

First - paper. I'm sorry, but I don't want your bookmarks or your postcards. You can try to sweeten the deal with candy, but I'm just going to pull it off, eat it, and throw the paper away. Its cheap and you can make a million and send them all over the place, but I don't know if it makes a fig. I may make some bookmarks, but the point will be to advertise the next book by slipping it into the current one as I sign it. And I won't have 10000 of them.

Trading cards might be my exception. Yeah, lots of people might throw them away, but I think they have a novelty and collect-ability about them. I like the idea. I'll probably do them, even just so I can have my own and slip them into plastic sleeves alongside my 1991 Marvel Comics Silver Surfer hologram card.

Pens - it seems like everyone does pens, yet at the same time, everyone grabs pens. Do they keep them? I don't know. But I know I have a purple glitter TOR pen that I really like. I've had it for years. It has purple ink. I don't use it very much, but I remember it and its probably in my drawer as we speak. Other times, the pens die almost immediately and I hold the author responsible in the back of my mind for buying crappy pens. And they get tossed, so no help there. They might as well have saved their money.

I've asked around at what people like and I've heard a couple things. Some like magnets with bookcovers. That's cool. Might do it once I have a cover. Some like the nail files. The Playground has done pens, chalk, crayons and big paperclips over the years. I've seen several people do the tote bags, which I think is brilliant to distribute at book signings where people have a lot of books, but possibly, no bag. They'll be grateful for the bag and advertise for you as they walk around. But again, Kim & Lynn did that already. Maybe when they run out...

Another complication is relating it to me. My tagline is "Seductive Romance with a Twist" so I've been considering something to play on the 'twist' idea. Travel corkscrews are my number one favorite, but they can get a little pricey unless I buy a larger quantity, which saves money, but costs more in the end. Its a big, painful chunk up front when I won't see any royalties for a long while. DB mentioned little bags of pretzels, which are cute, but consumable. Eat them and its done, just like candies. Any other ideas for twist? I'd rather do that than something applicable to just one book. The little travel sewing kits would be perfect for the first book, but make no sense for the second one, so I'd have to be sure to get rid of all of them fast.

What are some of your favorite promotional items? Any you saw that you really loved? Any ideas for me?


PS. And I am VERY delinquent, but SUMMER is the winner of Free Book Friday! Email me at smartypants @ to claim your prize!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I've been sick, sick, sick this week. I'm finally starting to feel better, although I still sound like I've swallowed a bullfrog. My problem is that while I've been spending lots of time in bed, I've also been neglecting my elliptical and eating any comfort food in sight. The scale has definitely been moving in the wrong direction!

The fact that I'm even worried about this while feeling like crap is sorta an epiphany. I actually MISS my time on the elliptical. I feel so much better after I've been on it. Maybe I've become addicted to the endorphins or something. I would say it might have something to do with watching TV since I usually don't allow myself my favorite shows unless I'm exercising, but I've cut myself some slack this week. Especially since it's been preview week for all the new fall shows.

I'm actually hoping I can get back to it this weekend. I got a new exercise ball as well and I'm looking forward to breaking it out and using it. Do you look forward to exercising? Is it something to dread? Do you have a love/hate relationship?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Git 'r Done

So I'm working now and even though it's a part-time job, I'm having to adjust how I do things. All appointments must be in the mornings now. Housework is a morning chore instead of dusting at 11 P.M. Two nights a week I facilitate a divorce recovery group so I don't get home until after nine o'clock. I really like having my weekends free for fun things, so I was excited when this email popped into my box -- "13 Tips to Get Your Errands Done Quicker." I love it when the Universe knows what I need and sends the answer ASAP.

So without further ado here's my paraphrased version of the email.

1. Bunch things up. This is the golden rule of errand-running, according to the article. NEVER RUN ONE ERRAND AT A TIME. You save all the way around by grouping errands together. Map out your stops and hit them in order. If you have to go to the drugstore, take the route that goes by the bank where you deposit a check and by the grocery store where you pick up milk and bread. You'll save time and gasoline, and your stress levels will be lower too.

2. Avoid rush hour. Raise your hand if you've spent a Saturday standing in check-out lines along with everyone else on the planet. Most folks run errands on the weekend, which is precisely when YOU don't want to be running yours. See if you can find a bank, grocery store, gas station, cleaners, etc either near your home or your work. Drop off your cleaning on the way to work and pick it up on the way home. Fill up your gas tank during your lunch hour. Shop for groceries after dinner. If you're single, just go. If you're married with kids, let one parent stay home while the other buys groceries. It's less crowded plus you won't have the check-out-aisle candy tantrum.

3. Designate an "Out Box." Tell everyone that all items involved with an errand should be put in one spot in the house -- library books, dry cleaning, outgoing mail, etc. If you can have this near the door you use most frequently, it helps as a visual reminder. Or you can put things on the passenger seat of your car to remind you. I have a tote by my door for this very purpose. It really helps keep me on task.

4. Make a list. And keep it with you all the time. Using a small notebook or legal pad makes this work better than trying to keep up with a single sheet of paper. Put your usual errands on the list (groceries, gasoline, mail) but also write down the less often tasks (make dentist appointment, buy three-hole-punch paper at the office supply store, return the sweater that didn't match your burgundy skirt). Having everything on one list helps facilitate #1 too. You can see mine on the right. Since I wrote this blog, I've crossed more off the list. I've also added more.

5. There's power in numbers. Toilet paper, personal care items, dog food, etc can be purchased in bulk, thereby reducing the number of times you have to go to the store to buy them. Don't have a lot of storage space? Try storing them under your bed.

6. Make it fun. Carry a novel, crossword puzzle or sodoku book with you when you run errands. You can read or work a puzzle while you wait in line.

7. Automate. Computerize your grocery list. Most people buy the same things every week, so why not have a master list on the computer? You can add or delete items easily. And you can organize it by aisles in the store to streamline your shopping.

8. Let Your Fingers Do the Walking. Do as much by phone and online as possible. Why pay for stamps when you can pay bills online or have them automatically drafted from your account? I absolutely ADORE my bank's online Bill Pay service. And ordering from various online retailers beats the heck out of driving to the mall, especially at Christmas.

9. Be a bag lady. Put a bag or tote in your car to hold note paper and a pen (how many times have you remembered something while at a stop light?), store coupons, sale flyers from your favorite stores, etc. When the coupons are handy, you're more likely to use them.

10. Chill out. Keep a cooler in your trunk. This way you can keep foods frozen and cold while you do other errands. Also put a large tote in the trunk so you can carry more inside at once. I like using the cloth shopping bags at the grocery store because the cashier will put more into them. If I buy twelve items, they'll all go in that one cloth bag. But without it, I'll come home with three or four plastic bags.

11. Remember yourself. A motivated errand runner is a happier one. ~grin~ Pick up a bouquet of flowers at the market or stop for a latte to give yourself a little treat.

12. Take turns. Do you have a neighbor you could share errands with? You could shop for groceries one week and she'd do it the next? If you have children, you could watch her kids while she tackles the supermarket and switch tasks next week. This could work with bulk buying too. Don't have room for 50 rolls of toilet paper, even using space under the bed? Maybe your neighbor would like to split the package with you.

13. Get dad involved. The article said a study showed that children who do household chores and errands with their fathers were better behaved and had more friends than children who didn't. Who doesn't want better behaved kids and for their little darlings to be well-liked? And a little bonus -- the study showed these men's wives found them to be sexier. That should be motivation for the guys to de-clutter with the kids, right?

Do you have any other tips to share? With fall in the air, I'm eager to keep my weekends as free as possible to take advantage of the cooler temps and various activities going on in the area.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Best of the Bookshelf -- September

Once again, the Playfriends provide some must-reads...

PM is currently catching up on some non-fiction reading, but this is the next book on her TBR pile.

It’s the opportunity Elena Alvarez has been waiting for–the challenge of running her own kitchen in a world-class restaurant. Haunted by an accident of which she was the lone survivor, Elena knows better than anyone how to defy the odds. With her faithful dog Alvin and her grandmother’s recipes, Elena arrives in Colorado to fine a restaurant in as desperate need of a fresh start as she is–and a man whose passionate approach to food and life rivals her own. Owner Julian Liswood is a name many people know, but a man few do. He’s come to Aspen with a troubled teenage daughter and a dream of the kind of stability and love only a family can provide. But for Elena, ghosts don’t die quietly, yet a chance to find happiness at last is worth the risk.

Instigator's choice:

I’m going for a 2-fer this month. I read The Madness of Lord Ian by Jennifer Ashley some time ago and absolutely loved the book. The hero was unique –and not just for a historical. It wasn’t until recently that I realized Jennifer had released two more books in the series – Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage and The Many Sins of Lord Cameron. I have to admit, my first thought was that she had a lot to live up to because The Madness of Lord Ian was just soooo good. But somehow she managed to do just that with both of these books! Her characters, interesting and individual in a genre that tends toward the predictable, are what make these books for me. I highly recommend them and can’t wait for the next book in the series.

I must say that SP's choice puts a smile on my face:

The Privileged & the Damned
By this chick you might know

This month, I’m pleased to recommend the latest by our own Problem Child. This book kicks off her Dirty Sexy Money trilogy about the Marshall brothers – three rich, powerful men who know how to mix business, politics and pleasure. The first book is Ethan’s story. Lily comes to work for the Marshall family looking for a fresh start and hoping her less than spotless past doesn’t come back to haunt her. Keeping a low profile is nearly impossible when she catches the eye of the irresistible Ethan Marshall. I loved this story and it’s a great kick off to the series. As always, it’s the fun, sexy read you can count on from a Kimberly Lang book.

PC's choice:

I finally read Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase because everyone raves about this book. While I can't say that I'm joining the fangirl ranks and saying this is The Bestest Book Ever, it was certainly a good read. I love a reformed rake story, so that was all the book really needed to get a thumbs up from me, but I also really enjoyed Jessica. She was spunky and fun without being over the top. The sensuality is so well done and weaves throughout the entire story, and I got very caught up in the spell. (As in, I sat down to read a chapter and read the entire book. Oops!)

Angel's pick:

Stay With Me by Maya Banks
This emotional roller coaster features Catherine Cullen-Wellesley on her 5th wedding anniversary – to 2 men. One would think being in a ménage relationship would mean she’d have all the attention she needed, but instead her significant others have neglected her in order to build their successful business. When she finds herself sitting alone in the restaurant for her anniversary dinner, she decides enough is enough. So she goes on her Jamaican beach vacation… alone. Coming home to an empty house is just the start of the surprises for Logan and Rhys.
If you like erotic romance, this is a unique twist on a ménage relationship. I found myself invested in the characters and feeling very deeply for a woman who’d tried everything she knew to rebuild her relationships. After reading this early ebook by Maya Banks, I can see why she’s gained so much success!

So what have you read recently that you'd recommend to us?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest Blogger: Amanda Brice

I'm excited to introduce my fellow Ruby Slippered Sister, Amanda Brice. She's a busy mom and new adventurer into the world of self-publishing. She's got some awesome insight for us today!

First of all, I wanted to thank Danniele and the other Playfriends for inviting me here today. I’m really excited to talk about “niche” publishing.


Ever since I decided to jump into the indie waters, I’ve been told that the book cover for my debut teen mystery novel fit right in perfectly with the traditionally published Young Adult books out there. I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of it (shout out to the fabulously talented Amy Lynch of PhotoArt by Amy!). But long before I got to this point, NY didn’t think the book would ever fit in.

My former agent shopped Codename: Dancer widely. The book was named a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart® Awards, and it had gotten a lot of attention. Editors at several Big Six houses raved about the premise, the writing, the voice, the characters…and even though the manuscript made it to several final acquisitions meetings, ultimately they all passed. Despite editors who loved it, marketing didn’t know where to place it.

The kiss of death.

The YA imprints called it Middle Grade. The Middle Grade imprints called it YA. I’ll let you in on my dirty little secret…they’re both right. It wasn’t that I didn’t know my audience. I just had a different audience in mind.

For years I’ve lamented the fact that there isn’t a category between Middle Grade and Young Adult, despite a large segment of readers who could benefit from one. There’s a real market void. The Middle Grade books are too babyish for this group, yet many YA books are too mature (for lack of a better term). My middle-school-aged niece is a prime example. She’s a voracious reader, and is ready for something meatier than what’s offered for her age group. But my sister-in-law doesn’t want her reading Twilight (and Twilight is actually on the tame scale compared to some YA books out there) yet, and frankly I don’t blame her. Intellectually, she’s ready for it. Emotionally? Not so much.


So with this age group in mind, I sat down and wrote Codename. But because NY didn’t know where to shelve it (is it a “children’s book” or would it go in the “teen section?”), it never sold. Apparently main characters can only be 12-or-under or 16-or-older. Fourteen-year-old high school freshmen need not apply.

Some might consider my book to be “tween” but even that seems a bit limiting, because I know several teenagers who have read it and loved it. And what 13-, 14-, or 15-year-old wants to be lumped in with the 10-to-12-year-olds? Uh-uh. No way. So I’d call it a “Younger YA,” but that’s not an accepted trad-pub term. Where do you shelve it?

That’s the beauty of indie-publishing. With a virtual bookstore, we’re not confined to the categories already in existence. We don’t have to choose whether to shelve something in Middle Grade and Teen (or Mystery and Romance) and can instead cross-list it so we hit all the correct categories…and readers!

Then there was the whole dance element. I didn’t realize it when I wrote it, but apparently dance books aimed at teens don’t sell well. But that could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. New York doesn’t publish YA novels focusing on dance, because supposedly only little girls want to read about dance. And because they don’t publish them, they don’t sell. Circular logic.

Yet today you have tons of popular reality TV shows about dancers. If it can work for TV, why not for publishing?

When I first started researching the indie scene, I came across the fabulous YA novel, Girl in Motion, by Miriam Wenger-Landis. I absolutely loved it. When I discovered that she had self-published, I knew I had to chat with her. I learned that she was a former professional ballerina, who (upon retiring from her dance career at the ripe old age of 22) later worked as an assistant editor at a Big Six publishing house while writing a novel based on her experiences in a ballet boarding school. She told me that she wrote Girl in Motion because it was the type of book she would have wanted to read as a teen.

Same here. That’s why I wrote Codename. I, too, was a dancer in my teens (although not as serious in my training as Miriam). We’d both read the Satin Slippers series as preteens, but that was it. That was in the 80s. And the market hasn’t really changed since then. Very few novels for teenage girls who love to dance. We saw an opportunity, but New York didn’t see it that way. Despite agents who believed in us and strong writing that NY editors loved, both books were deemed “too niche.”

And that’s the beauty of indie publishing. Bob Mayer once said, “The Internet has made things more specialized rather than broader.” By targeting a good portion of our promotional efforts towards the various dance media, we can find a respectable readership. Maybe not a readership that would have a NY publisher jumping for joy, but we don’t have to sell hundreds of thousands. By using freelancers and pricing accordingly, we can be profitable with many less units sold than in traditional publishing.

So the moral of the story is that if you have a “niche book,” don’t be discouraged. It might be perfect for indie publishing. And I bet you’ll have a blast!

So tell us, have you written or read a book you see as a "niche book"? What was your favorite book as a teenager? Amanda will be answering questions for us today and giving away an ecopy of her book. So comment to win!


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Worst of the 90's

So, the other day Rolling Stone magazine published their list of the top 10 worst songs of the 1990's. Apparently it has been long enough that we can look back with (painful) nostalgia. Given I was a teenager in the 90s, it's personally upsetting to me. So was hearing a Nirvana song on the classic rock station. So wrong.

Anyway, so I was curious and had to click over to the article. The 90s had a lot of cheesy potential. But what was THE worst? Apparently, the readers of Rolling Stone magazine voted and selected "Barbie Girl" by the Danish group, Aqua. I had forgotten that obnoxious song even existed, so part of me wishes I'd never clicked on the article and remembered it. Now its stuck in my head, so I'm going to share the pain with all of you. It was awful, but European Pop music is always a little... different. If you don't know the song, you should at least pull it up on YouTube or click the link to the article where they have it. Its hard to imagine something that bad ever got major radio airplay.

Here's the rest of the list:

1. Aqua, "Barbie Girl"

2. Los Del Rio, "Macarena"

3. Billy Ray Cyrus, "Achy Breaky Heart"

4. Vanilla Ice, "Ice Ice Baby"

5. Chumbawamba, "Tubthumping"

6. Hanson, "MMMBop"

7. Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On"

8. Baha Men, "Who Let The Dogs Out?"

9. Right Said Fred, "I'm Too Sexy"

10. 4 Non Blondes, "What's Up?"

Man, I always thought 90s music was pretty good. I liked the alternative thing. But there was some serious crap going on on the other radio stations. And not just music. There was Right Said Fred and their see-through mesh shirts, Billy Ray's mullet... Line dancing to both bad country and bad latin fusion. I remember doing the Macarena at my friend's graduation party. So embarassing. Especially since I can still do it. But I'll admit it, I had or still have no less than 6 of these songs thanks to the NOW 1-6 CDs (yes 1-6, though I think they're on 39 now) I bought in college.

I don't know that all these songs are awful, though. I think Celine Dion's song got a bad rap because they played it to death. I loved it the first time, but the thousandth time, it got annoying. But any song with that kind of airplay is the same way.

What do you think of the list? Any songs on here you (secretly) love? I'll admit that I love me some cheesy old school hip hop, so yes, I know all the words to Vanilla Ice. And I can spout it at any time, which sends PC into giggle fits until her mascara runs. Any songs they left off that you'd nominate? I think I'd add "All I Wanna Do" by the Spice Girls. I do not want to 'zig-a-zig-ahh' under any circumstances. It sounds painful.


PS. And just for PC - "STOP! Bum rush a speaker that booms. I'm killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom. DEADLY! When I play a dope melody. Anything less than the best is a felony. Love it or leave it, you better game play. Better hit the bullseye the kid don't play. If there was a problem, YO, I'll solve it. Check out the hook while the DJ revolves it! Ice, ice, baby..." :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall TV

It's been awhile since I talked about one of my favorite subjects...TV. I admit it. I'm a TV junkie. Fall is one of my favorite seasons. And not just because it brings cooler weather and warm, fuzzy clothes. For me it means the return of my favorite shows and the opportunity to add new ones to the DVR list.

If you've been visiting the Playground for long you probably already know that I'm a huge fan of Castle, NCIS and the Mentalist. I mean, what's not to love about a sexy bestselling author shadowing a kick-ass detective? And how could you go wrong with the colorful cast of crime solving agents? And I love to watch the mental machinations of Patrick Jane.

But what I'm really excited about are the new shows. It's sorta like the excitement of buying new shoes. They look pretty and awesome in the store. And they never, ever pinch. At least not until you get them out the door. The new shows usually look promising too but I find that nine times out of ten the best bits appear in the first few episodes. But the fun of discovery is always there. And It'll be interesting to see which of these I actually stick with after the first month.

Here's what I'm looking forward to:

Grimm (NBC) - how could you go wrong pitting well known fairy tale villains against the gritty detective destined to protect humanity? Even if the lead character is played by a Real World/Road Rules alum.

Hart of Dixie (CW) - okay, I'm not overly excited about this one, but it's set in Alabama and involves a fish out of water heroine. I think I'm going to have to at least give it a chance.

New Girl (Fox) - I think this is the one I'm most excited about. The previews are hilarious and I love Zooey Deschanel's ability to play characters with quirky personalities.

Once Upon a Time (ABC) - what can I say? I'm a sucker for a good fairy tale. My guess is that between Grimm and this show only one will survive. My money's on this one. I think I like the storyline better...and the writers are from Lost.

Person of Interest (CBS) - while I'm intrigued by the idea of this show, I'm afraid it might get bogged down in complicated details. The premise involves a washed up CIA agent tapped to prevent crimes before they occur. Michael Emerson from Lost stars so I'll probably watch at least once.

Revenge (ABC) - Any retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo gets my vote, even with a few twists. It'll be interesting to see if the TV format can do justice to the story without diluting the drama.

Terra Nova (Fox) - Steven Spielberg. Need I say more?

Unforgettable (CBS) - I was intrigued with the idea of someone who could remember everything after watching a news program about an actress who actually has the ability. I'm intrigued to see the main character - a detective - in action.

Whitney (NBC) - Yet another comedian trying to make the leap to prime time. The difference is I've always thought Whitney Cummings was hilarious so she just might make it work.

Take the Money and Run (ABC) - this show started a few weeks ago, but I'm really enjoying it. I'm intrigued by the interrogation tactics seen on the show. And I can't help but strategize how I'd hide that case of money so I could win it.

I'll tell you what I'm not looking forward to - all these retro shows like Pan Am and the Playboy Club. They just don't interest me. And I have to admit that I'm a reformed reality TV show addict. However, none of the new shows excite me and I'm getting pretty tired of the old ones.

The commercials have been airing for weeks. Stars are making the rounds of the late night talk shows. So, do you have any returning favorites or new shows you're looking forward to?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whine About it Wednesday *

Not a day goes by that I don't hear talk about this economy. "It's tough to find a job in this economy." "I can't sell my house in this economy." "How can anyone save money in this economy?"

Yeah, this economy sucks. I have to believe it will get better. The U.S. economy has ALWAYS gotten bigger and better after a hit. Call me Little Mary Sunshine, but if you've read the blog for any length of time, you know I like to look for the silver lining. I love the song "Tomorrow" from "Annie." Tomorrow's only a day away.

But as I read a couple of pop culture magazines and surfed a few websites recently, I had to shake my head. It was a moment where I wanted to just grab someone and scream, "Get a freaking clue!"

And in no particular order, here are the victims of my wrath:

~ Stars in general who blow money on drugs and then whine about jail or rehab. Okay, first do you not know it's illegal? And do you not know that illegal activities come with a price? Maybe we need to bring back the old show "Baretta" with it's "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time" theme song.

Ask the senior citizen who can't afford his or her blood pressure meds or the cancer victim who can't afford chemotherapy if they feel sorry for the star who sniffed cocaine and had to wear an ankle bracelet and you won't get a lot of sympathy.

~ Kids barely old enough to drive tooling around in quarter-million-dollar cars. I have a friend whose son works "seventeen part-time jobs" as she puts it and drives a clunker someone gave him. She gets calls at least two or three times a week because the car won't start and he has to get to one of his jobs. As him to feel sorry because some kid's Ferrari had the fender bumped. You won't get much sympathy.

~ And the one that absolutely frosts my cookies is the reality show TV mom who is whining because her show has been cancelled. "And my kids," she was quoted as saying. "How will they handle this?" I guess maybe they can handle it like millions of other kids whose parents have lost jobs. Have you thought about that, Miss Whiny Pants?

"People think we made gazillions of dollars and we didn't." Let me whip out my trust calculator and multiply $25000 per episode times at least 110 episodes and that comes to -- oh my, $2,750,000. Sure, it's not a gazillion, but it's almost THREE million. It probably IS three mil when you factor in the DVDs, books, speaking engagements, endorsements and free trips. According to U.S. Census data, it would takethe average Alabama family of 7+ members over 65 years to earn that much money. You used that money to fund a lavish lifestyle, which won't earn you much sympathy from the single mother who's living in a homeless shelter because her no-good ex-husband won't pay his alimony and child support.

Granted, this whiner mother has eight mouths to feed besides her, but lots of families get by on very stringent household budgets. Have you looked at the dried bean section of your grocery store, honey?

And ya wanna know the real kicker? She was photographed recently driving her new car -- a $50,000 car that will hold less than half of her children. And she had just taken the car to the carwash. Another tip, darlin' -- wash the car yourself. Or get the kids to help. Eighteen hands can make quick work of a dirty car. And you can also have a little cheap fun with the garden hose. Want to make bathtime easy? Buy a couple cans of cheap shaving cream and let the kids have a shaving cream fight. Fun and clean all at once!

I'm through whining now. Now it's your turn. What's stuck in your craw lately?

* I borrowed this phrase from friend-of-the-Playground Rhonda Nelson.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So, you want to run a "Best Book" contest...

I freely and fully admit that I’m a contest junkie. Yes, I love the validation that comes from contest wins and finals, but I also look at these contests as promotion. I’m putting my books in the hands of people who might not have read me otherwise. If they like the book, they might buy my next one. If I win or final, my name and title get plastered all over the place and folks might think, “hmm, maybe I should read that book, too.” It also gives me something to blog about occasionally. ~grin~

But contests cost money. And it’s money out of my pocket, not my publisher’s. Plus, it takes time to enter, get everything together, and make a trip to the post office. If I’m going to invest time, money, and books, I want to be sure that I’m getting my money’s worth.

There are dozens of contests and I simply can’t enter them all. So, after doing this for a couple of years, I’m starting to develop a list of criteria that helps me decide which contests I’m going to invest my time and money in.

Let me just say that I loved to enter contests before I was published as well, but the unpublished contests are a different animal entirely. The criteria is different because my needs were different.

*Quality and judges* Some contests have heft just because they’ve been around for a while or they’re known to be tough to win. I will look and see how long a contest has been running and the past names of winners to see if winning this contest will be something I can brag about. I realize it can take time to build a reputation like that. But I will pick a contest with reader judges over another one. Not published authors or aspiring writers. I want Jane Reader to be a judge, because Jane Reader is my target audience. I want Betsy Bookseller to be a judge, because Betsy will recommend my book to her customers. I want Lucy Librarian to be a judge, because she’ll recommend my book to her patrons. I realize it’s harder to find these reader judges (and it can be very tempting for a RWA chapter to use their own members just because it’s easier), but from a promotional point of view, reader judges are a far better choice for me. (And I know the argument that writers are readers too, but writers come in to a book differently than a reader.) Granted, the RITA is peer-judged, but that’s its cache, like the Oscars. When it comes right down to it, I want readers judging me because that’s who I’m writing for.

*Win or Final – that’s all I need to know* Honestly, that’s all I need to know, because that’s all I’m going to share. I like being able to say “BOOK is a finalist in this contest! Cross fingers for me!” Needless to say, that means I like to know when my book has made the shortlist. If I win, I will then broadcast that news as far and wide as I can. What I’m not going to do is say “BOOK finished in third place.” Outside of the Olympics, no one cares who took home third place, and it’s a letdown. If I don’t actually win, I can believe I missed it by thismuch. Third place means that I missed it by quite a lot. Win or final: that’s all I really need to know. (If you want to do something for the other finalists, give everyone other than the winner an “Award of Merit” or some such. I’ll post an “Award of Merit” much more readily than “Third Place.”) Oh, and honestly, I don’t care what my scores were. Either I finaled or I didn’t. I also don’t need critique/comments from the judges. The book is published; it’s not like I can go change something.

*Be Loud and Proud* Remember, I’m in this for the glory and the promo op. The book that just finaled or won is a year old by now, but this is promo for my next book, too. So spread the word! I’m not saying that you have to take out a full-page ad in one of the magazines, but post it on your website and blog. Send emails to the writers’ loops. Help me get my name out there. If this is just a private conversation between us, I’m not going to spend my contest budget just for a congratulatory email from the contest coordinator.

*Offer me something* At the very least, create a logo that I can post on my website and blog that says I’m a winner or finalist. If you have a popular blog, invite the winners or finalists to come guest blog. Trophies and do-dads are nice, too, because they make me happy when I can put them on my wall, but aren’t always necessary. An actual, attractive certificate should be mandatory. Otherwise, I realize you’re only doing this to collect entry fees. I know it’s not cheap to run a contest, and you’re probably doing this to raise cash for something, but honestly, I need to know I’m going to get something in return if I win. If I’m just filling your coffers, I’m less likely to spend the money.

*Be Professional* If you’re going to miss a deadline (like when finalists or winners will be announced), let the entrants know. I do have announcement dates filed in the back of my mind, and I will eventually start to wonder when I haven’t heard. Spell my name right. Get my title right. Again, this is a promo op for me, and if you announce that Kim Langer is a finalist with her book It Happened in Rio, it’s no longer a promo op and my money was wasted. (And I won’t be entering next year.)

This is not a rant. Far from it. Like I said, I am a contest junkie. I love to enter contests and consider it a valuable use of my promo budget. But my budget is not infinite. I have to weigh the pros and cons of every contest before I decide which ones to enter. And the more contests I enter, the more I refine my list of what is and isn't a valuable investment. Everyone’s budget is tight these days, and if I’m not entering your contest, *your* organization’s budget gets a little tighter too.

So as the 2012 contest season starts its engines, I’m chomping at the bit. I’m very proud of the books that will be eligible this time and can’t wait to see how they do on the contest circuit.

No matter what contest you’re entering – from the RITAs to the local SoapBox derby – I hope you bring home the prize! (Unless you’re in my category, and then I hope you do almost as well as me!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yikes! Its Monday!

Look at that! Angel’s late this morning. It’s a Monday for sure. :)

It was a VERY busy, VERY enjoyable weekend for the Playfriends. Our local chapter hosted a workshop on working with the media, and we got to meet 2 fabulous ladies from RT Book Reviews – Morgan Doremus, their Web Coordinator, and Stephanie Klose, their Reviews Coordinator.

I learned so much! It was wonderful to get their view of promotion and all the options available to romance writers, both in and out of their magazine. Both women were smart and entertaining. And they are great to hang out with too!

So, yes, I’m still lagging behind today. Trying to catch up on laundry, dishes, and just stuff. That’s life, right?

How did y’all spend your weekend?


Friday, September 09, 2011

Free Book Friday - Love Inspired Suspense Edition

It's Free Book Friday again! The other day, when I was thinking about what theme I wanted for this month, I ran across a Twitter post from Love Inspired editor Emily Rodmell. I follow several editors, even ones I'm not targeting, because they share lots of universal tips for writing and submitting in addition to specific insight to their lines. The other day, she even asked for a LI Suspense set on safari. If you were writing one or thinking about writing one, that's an invitation, people.

You'd also learn that she's a huge animal lover (so make it a photo safari, please). She ran a contest giving away a book to a follower that could guess one of the animals she had on her wall. My first guess was wrong (I can't not answer, I'm too competitive) but then she gave the hint that 3 out of 5 were black and white. I won with "Pandas" and "Penguins." Apparently she also had Chik Fil A cows, a shark and a jellyfish. My first guess was a dolphin, so I was close.

Long story, but point is... I won a book and you're going to benefit. I'm passing it along to one of our readers today. Think inspirational romance isn't for you? Think again. Today's author Dana Mentink also writes cozy mysteries. Think of a LI suspense as a cozy mystery with romance and redemption.

Buried Truth by Dana Mentink

"Coming for you."

A note, impaled by a knife on Bill Cloudman's door, tells the former tribal agent a murderer has escaped. The vicious madman who murdered Bill's partner--and cost Bill the community's trust and his job--is on the loose in the South Dakota badlands again. Bill vows to put him behind bars once and for all. But when the woman he loved and lost returns to Eagle Rock reservation as a newspaper reporter determined to restore her own reputation with the story, Bill has to protect her...and his guarded heart.

To win, comment with the phrase "I'm Coming For This Book!" and share a little about your past experience with inspirational romances. Have you read any great ones that would make a reader hesitant about the genre change their minds? Share some of your favorites.

PS. Smarty Pants is blogging today at eHarlequin. Join her to chat about your favorite heroes.

PSS. Janice's winner from yesterday's blog is EllenToo! Ellen, email me with your info at to claim your prize.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Guest Blogger Janice Maynard

Thanks so much for the invitation to blog today. I’m celebrating the release of The Billionaire’s Borrowed Baby. But at the same time, I’m hard at work on Book 3 of a series called “The Men of Wolff Mountain” which begins in January 2012. In that vein, I have decided on the topic of today’s blog. I think I’ll call it “Life Happens”.

Have you ever pulled a thread in a garment or project and ended up with a big hole? That’s what happened recently to my daughter and her husband. They decided to rip up the old carpet in their downstairs and install laminate flooring. Nice idea, right? They picked out what they wanted at Lowe’s (within their budget) and settled on a delivery date. Lowe’s pointed out that if customers rip up the carpet themselves, it saves some money on installation. So my son-in-law spent hours tearing out dusty, somewhat dirty carpet and pad.

One tall bookshelf was bolted to the wall (for kids’ safety). When Jamie moved the shelf, he found a wall with mold. Next, out comes the sheetrock revealing a two by four that was black with mold. Somewhere from up above, a tiny leak had been doing slow, insidious damage. Several estimates later, it was established that the leak is probably from the kitchen drain.

Fix it – right? Not so simple. The kitchen floor rests on a concrete slab. In order to get to the bad pipes (old galvanized steel that needs to be replaced), the tile floor will have to be jackhammered up completely.

You may be wondering what this has to do with books or writing. Well, the last I heard was that the involuntary kitchen remodel will probably take 3 weeks. My daughter, son-in-law, and three adorable little girls will have to move in with us! (Breathe, Janice). I have a book due October 1, and I was already behind before this for a variety of reasons. Now it looks like I may have to take up residence in Panera every day to get finished.

I have to laugh just thinking about it. We all try so hard to make the world operate according to our specifications, but on any given day or week, life happens. All we can do is roll with the tide and try to keep our heads above water.

If you have a chance to pick up a copy of The Billionaire’s Borrowed Baby, I hope you enjoy the story of damaged pride and second chances and love that survives a ten year separation. I think you’ll find the hero as sexy and appealing as I do.

Do you have your own “life happens” story to tell? I’ll draw a name from one comment poster today and will give away a copy of the new book. And if you have a chance, pop over to and “Like” it. On Sunday evening, the12th of September, I’ll draw the name of one “friend” and give away $50 cash. Nothing to enter. Simply being a friend makes you eligible.

That’s it for now. If you want to see more pics of those three cute little girls, check out

Thanks again for inviting me to play. :)
Janice Maynard

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

To Smile or Not to Smile

"If you see a friend without a smile, give him one of yours."

"Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened."

"You're never fully dressed without a smile."

"The shortest distance betwen two people is a smile."

How many times have you heard your mother tell you to smile? "You don't want your face to get stuck in that frown, do you?" And has anyone told you it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown? (The veracity of this is undetermined.)

Personally, I like smiles. They're a lot nicer to look at than frowns. I try to smile at people. I like to think it makes me look like a pleasant person and will make people like me. And who doesn't like to be liked?

But a recent study from Michigan State University caught my eye and made me pause and think a minute.

In this study, scientists followed a group of bus drivers for two weeks to study the effects of fake smiles. They chose bus drivers because their jobs require interactions with a variety of people and they are supposed to be courteous to passengers.

The researchers studied what happened when the drivers pasted on fake smiles or when they had an authentic smile brought about by positive thoughts.

Following me so far?

After two weeks, the researchers found that when the drivers forced a smile, their moods worsened and they withdrew from work. Trying to push away negative thoughts may have made the thoughts more persistent.

On days when the drivers smiled because they thought about pleasant things, their moods were better and they were more productive at work.

To take the results a step further, women were more affected than men, perhaps because women are often socialized to smile more. Thus, faking that smile might cause more stress.

So what's the bottom line?

The research suggests faking a smile can make a bad day worse.

So what are you supposed to do when your dog died, your car was rear-ended, you just took a pay cut and you have a job in customer service where you're supposed to smile at people?

Maybe you should put this photo on your desk so you can generate a genuine smile.

Remember the smile quotes at the beginning of this post? I left my favorite til the end.

"Smile. It ticks off some people and makes others wonder what you've been up to."

So what say you about faking a smile?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Guest Blogger Nicola Marsh

It's always a pleasure to bring one of my fellow Riva/Presents authors to the Playground, but Nicola is embarking into new areas with her new books. And I'm really thrilled to welcome her today to tell you about her foray into self-publishing with her latest release!
Welcome, Nicola!


Always a pleasure to visit the Playground so thanks for inviting me!

I love the publishing biz because it’s ever-changing, always evolving. After publishing 29 books with Harlequin Romance & Presents series, and my first mainstream contemporary romance BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD releasing with Entangled Publishing this December, I’ve dipped my toes into the e-pubbing pool with my romantic suspense short story, TAG TEAM.

It features Coralee Keaton, a tough bio-weapons expert in the Australian Defense Forces's Tactical Assault Group, who is called in by the Victorian Police Special Operations Group when a ricin threat is imminent.

Lee can whip bad asses all over town, but working with Garcia 'Fox' Diaz has her strangely nervous. She assisted on a Fox case three years earlier and ended up in the rugged, scarred cop's bed.

This time, when her life's in danger and they have minutes to live locked in a safe room, will she be able to resist him again?

There’s an excerpt on my blog, along with early reviews:

"a super fast paced awesome short story packed with tension and sexual sizzle amidst the International police drama, action and espionage...I've always enjoyed Nicola Marsh's contemporary romances and this short story delivers a powerful punch! The dialogue and action scenes felt like I was watching a
movie rather than reading!"

"Hot, potent and riveting! Amidst a life or death situation these two really spark, through dialogue, tension and emotion. When they finally get it on it feels so real, deep and exciting. Nicola Marsh is a whizz with words, creating such wonderful, fresh, lively characters. My only wish? That there had been more to this story!"

"Tag Team by Nicola Marsh oozes sizzling heat... short and steamy, but wafting with goodness..."

Must admit, I have a thing for special ops heroes.

To win an e-copy of TAG TEAM, share your favorite type of hero here. Cowboy? CEO? Carpenter?
Let’s talk hot heroes!

Nicola blogs daily and is giving away a 3 book gift pack of her current releases right now!

To grab a copy of TAG TEAM (only 0.99 cents!) check out Amazon ( )

Monday, September 05, 2011

MOANday: Sean Bean

To follow up on last month’s MoanDay hottie, Viggo Mortensen, I’m inviting his fellow Lord of the Rings co-star Sean Bean to model for us today.




I admit, I found his looks much more versatile than his co-star's. Here is the ultra-sophisticated businessman for those Presents novels.


Tortured hero on the run for romantic suspense.


Historical Soldier


Even the evil villain in a modern thriller.


But again, my current obsession leads me back to a noble, knight impression.

Don’t labor too much today!!!


Friday, September 02, 2011


Although most of us don't spend our time trying to firm up our place in the line of succession to the throne, legitimacy does come up from time to time, especially as writers. I'm sure this happens in most fields as well.

I struggled for years telling people outside of the writing community that I was a writer. The first words out of their mouth were always "Are you published?" My answer being "no" or "not yet" always seemed to deflate the conversation. Their interest waned, the conversation shifted. As far as they were concerned, it was like declaring "I'm a ballerina" because I bought a tutu on eBay. At best, they'd ask what I was writing and when I'd say "romance" that was the end of it. (Another subject for another day, however.)

I think it's really hard for a writer to feel legitimate, even if everyone around them is supportive. I don't know if it is because we're all working so hard to reach the goal of publication that we won't let ourselves wear the title proudly until we do. The fact is that we are writers, we are all just in different stages of our careers. Is the chorus line member of the local community theater any less legitimate of an actor because they aren't in a Hollywood summer blockbuster? No, they're still an actor. Do they strive to get bigger and better roles? Sure. Do they have to work a day job to make ends meet? Yep. And most authors do, too - published or unpublished.

I know this was always a difficulty for me. Knowing 'the universe is unfolding the way it should' was always a frustrating mantra, even if true. At the same time, I've heard that sending positive energy out could yield positive results. Some article recommended repeating a phrase to yourself in the mirror until you could say it and really believe it. I tried saying "I am a writer. I AM a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer." It just made me feel stupid and not any more like a writer than when I started.

Then, late last year, my car died. When I bought a new one, I decided I wanted to get fun plates and splruge for a vanity tag. Being limited to 5 letters no one had used yet, I came up with "WRYTR." My mother seems to think it was fate that within a year of getting the tag, I sold my first book. I don't know that I'll go that far, but maybe this was my own version of the mirror exercise, without the layer of cheesiness. I was owning it and letting everyone left in my dust on the freeway know it. I'm not saying that my recent sale had anything to do with buying a license plate. But maybe it changed my outlook. It helped me feel more like a 'real' writer so I was more motivated somehow. Opened up my universe to possibilities or something.

I have to admit it is still a struggle. Even now, officially contracted to be published, license plate and all, it can be hard to say. I certainly feel closer. I don't know if it will be easier when I have a book physically out in stores or if it will take ten or twenty. Maybe I will always secretly feel like a fraud because of some weird insecurity that me and my therapist need to hash out. I don't know.

Do you feel like a real writer? If you're in some other industry, is there a title you're loathe to use? How do you get over it? Do we ever really get to the place where we feel like we aren't fooling ourselves and everyone else?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Melody

I've recently started listening to music while I write. It's sort of funny because for years I avoided working with any noise around. If there was movement in the office, I couldn't concentrate. Or if the kids interrupted me in the middle of a scene that was moving well I wasn't happy. You'd think having a song - complete with lyrics - blaring in my ears would have the same effect wouldn't you? At least I did. I was wrong.

I'm not exactly sure why or how it works for me. I just know it does. I think maybe it has something to do with the music blocking out all those other noises that annoy me when I'm in the middle of my creative process. But that's just a guess on my part. And, really, it's sort of counter-intuitive since when these same songs come on the radio I sing them at the top of my lungs. *shrugs* I've decided not to pick at it too much for fear the magic might unravel.

I do have the added bonus of using certain songs to help me get into the 'mood' of a scene. I have a playlist for love scenes, grovel scenes, emotional scenes, actions scenes... It's funny because I find my favorite 'go to' songs change. I think partly because I get tired of listening to the same thing over and over after awhile, but also because each book is unique and I need different inspiration.

If you're a writer, do you listen to music while you write? Does the idea make you cringe? As a reader, would you want to know what songs inspired the story you're reading? Do you have any good music you think I should check out? I'm always interested in expanding my playlist!

My current favorites are:
These Old Wings - Anna Nalick (her new album is awesome!)
Car Crash - Anna Nalick (this song opens with I think I love you like a car crash, dear. Sorta caught my attention)
Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5
If I Die Young - The Band Perry (yeah, I know this doesn't sound very upbeat - and it isn't - but I love the message and the melody of it so much)
I Get Off - Halestorm (bet you can't guess what scenes I use this song for...)
Set Fire to the Rain - Adele (I LOVE this song! Just the idea of setting fire to rain pulled me in)