Sunday, July 24, 2005

One more (important!!) thing!

I can't believe in my total blabbing of my California adventure I almost forgot to upload my new cover! This is the cover for my first Berkley Jam book - "Boys that Bite". Is it not fabulous? I love it. I think it looks very Gossip Girls'esque and will perhaps attract adults as well as teens. (As I think the book itself might.)

It's funny actually, now that I'm thinking about it. I came up with the concept and title for "Boys that Bite" on the plane ride back from Nationals last year (Dallas). At the time I was an unpublished author and was a bit depressed at seeing all the successful writers at the conference. I didn't think I had a prayer to become published.

But then this crazy idea came to me out of nowhere. A girl who accidentally (through a case of mistaken identity) gets bitten by a vampire a week before prom. How fun would that be? The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. Unfortunately, I didn't have a pen and was itching the entire first leg of the trip to write down my idea, but to no avail. During my layover I ran to the store, bought a pen and paper and scribbled down the prologue on the way back to Boston. Now a year later I have a book out already and this one will be out in April. How cool would it have been to have a crystal ball and to have seen my cover one year from the book's inception?

It just goes to show, in this business, you have to have faith and you can't ever, ever give up.

Anyway - I'd love to know what you all think!

Live from Little Sparrow''s Princess!

Well I didn't know if I would have a chance to blog while I was in California, but thanks to Liz Maverick's mom's computer I'm online and ready to chat. :)

I arrived in San Francisco on Friday morning around 10am PST. That means I woke up at 5am eastern time to get to the airport. To further my exhaustion, I spent the night before at my friend Mary's house and there was wine involved in the sleep over and only about 4 hours of actual sleep. Ugh. Then there was a ticket fiasco in Logan which ended up reducing me to tears and shelling out an extra $100 before I could board the plane. Long story - too boring to tell, but suffice to say this is the 2nd flight in a row that I've taken that's involved tears and money. I effing hate airlines.

Anyway I tried to relax and sleep on the plane and it wasn't that bad. Once in San Fran my friend Brian Fulmore picked me up at the airport and I spent the day wandering around San Fran with him shopping and sightseeing. Was very fun. Then at night he and his boyfriend Oscar and our friends Aaron and Nina went out to dinner at yummy Asian fusion type place in Haight Ashbury. (sp?) I was so exhausted though with the three hour time difference, but it was very fun all the same. Brian's been one of my best friends since high school and I hadn't seen him in a year and a half so I was happy to have a chance to hang out.

The next day, Saturday, Brian and Oscar dropped me off at Liz Maverick's parents' house and Liz and I drove out to Newark, California where we did a booksigning with the fabulous Cherry Adair and Jasmine Haynes. The bookstore we did the signing at was called Book End and was wonderful and very romance friendly! If you're ever in the area I highly recommend you stop by! They had tons of new and used books.

Then today we went and signed stock at Borders and then wrote in the cafe for a good portion of the day. Liz is much more dedicated than I am - she barely got up from her seat! I, on the other hand, found myself distracted by all San Fran has to offer - especially the beautiful, non humid weather that is so perfect to walk around in. But don't get me wrong - I did do some writing. It's a different experience working in a public place since I do most of my writing from home normally. I can't decide if I like it or not...

I'm sure you'll be eager to know that Liz lived up to her "Little Sparrow" reputation by attracting the attention of some freak guy as we were about to leave. I figured out her problem, actually. She was nice enough to offer the guy our table (it was packed) and thus gave him an open invitation to pry into every aspect of her life. Lesson to Liz: if you just are selifsh, antisocial and mean like me and send out evil glare rays at anyone who dares glance in your direction, you get less of that. Sure, you may feel a little guilty at first, but it saves you a lot of time, aggrivation and stupid nicknames.

Anyway - tomorrow we are going to sign more books and get some more writing done. Then Tuesday we're road tripping it to Reno where I'm sure I'll see a lot of you. Should be a lot of fun and I can't wait to see all my writer friends that I haven't seen all year! Oh and I get to wear a pink first sale ribbon! Yay! :)


Thursday, July 21, 2005

California Here I Come!

Hey all -

Princess here. :) Just wanted to post a mini goodbye - I'm off to San Francisco tomorrow AM to see friends and sign books with "Little Sparrow" Liz Maverick. (**ducks from firey death ray**) Then we're headed over to Reno for the RWA National Conference where I also plan to see friends (including Juicy Peach Gena Showalter who is going to give me a temp tattoo, aren't you Gena?!), sign books, and even talk on a panel about writing trendsetting books with my dear friend and fellow author Alesia Holliday, my lovely agent Paige Wheeler and my fab former editor Kate Seaver, now of Berkely. In my spare time I may try to drink some wine and gamble away my fortune. (Um, they do have penny slots, right???)

So I hope to see a lot of you there!! Please come up and say hi if you see me. I have terrible eyes and so am not so good at the whole squinting at name badges thing. :)


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Princess and the Ice Cream Cones

Having read the tale of Liz Maverick's Starbucks boyfriend I feel the time has come to come clean about my own fast food dangerous liasion. The McDonald's guy at North Station.

Of course now you're probably envisioning Liz (aka Little Sparrow) delicately sipping nonfat spiced lattes while I'm wolfing down a Super Sized extra value meal, but to set the record straight I only go there for the ice cream. I am admittedly addicted to McDonald's ice cream cones. They're sweet, creamy, yummy, cost only $1.50 and are even low fat! Yes, a day without a McDonald's ice cream cone may very well be a day without sunshine. (I could end up needing a 12 step program, it's sad but true.)

Anyway - when I take the commuter rail home from work, I often swing by the McDonald's counter in North Station for one of these delicious ice cream cones. And lately, when I do, there is an employee lying in wait for me.

Now while Liz's guy calls her "little sparrow" MY guy has deemed it proper to call me "Princess". But lest you get the wrong idea - this is not in the degrading "you think you're so much better than me" kind of way that *I* might call someone Princess. He means it. In fact, he bows when he says it. Yes, bows. And then he hands me my ice cream with a sort of reverence that almost has me blushing.

And that's not all. Our um, "relationship" seems to be progressing lately because the last time I was there he told me he loves me. Yes. Loves me. Talk about rendering me speechless.

But could it really be true love? Is he aware I'm just using him for the ice cream? He still makes me pay for it so how devoted can he really be? And besides, what the heck does he find lovable about me anyway? I've only spoken a few words to him - namely "please" "thank you" and "ice cream." Could this really be a basis for inspiring true love and devotion? Or, if he discovered the real me - the crazy effed up girl I am in real "non-ordering-McDonald's-ice-cream-cones" life.... would he go running and screaming in the opposite direction?

Chances are good, I'd think. So I'd better not rock the boat. After all, then I might have to start getting Wendy's Frosties instead. And I think they have a way higher fat content...

Marianne (aka Princess)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

GCC: The Halo Effect

Hey all,

As you know from time to time I promote books as part of the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit. Well, this time I've got something a little different. Instead of me just telling you about MJ Rose's "The Halo Effect" you can go watch a short animated film advertising the book. It's a new concept called "VidLit" -- sort of like a movie trailer, but for a book. I think it's soo cool. Talk about making a book come to life! And MJ Rose's VidLit is especially compelling.

Of course it's not surprising. After all, MJ Rose has made quite a name for herself by her creative marketing techniques. She wrote the amazing eBook "Buzz Your Book" which talks about ways to publicize your book to an audience in an inexpensive, often free way. I read it when promoting CT Fashionista and found it extremely helpful.

Anyway - here's more info on The Halo Effect which out from Mira this month.

THE HALO EFFECT is the first book in the Butterfield Institute series, featuring sex therapist, Dr. Morgan Snow. In each book she struggles with the conflict of preserving her patient's privacy and the dangerous and sometimes criminal things she hears. She sees everything from the abused to the depraved, from the couples grappling with sexual boredom to twisted sociopaths with dark, erotic fetishes and the Butterfield institute is the sanctuary where she helps soothe and heal these battered souls.

That's all for now!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Agent Warning

Agent Deidre Knight has been a victim of a weird sort of new crime: "agent identity theft."

She blogs about it today - but I will quote the gist of it here:

Apparently about three weeks ago someone claiming to be me sent a blanket email to roughly forty e-pub authors offering representation to anyone who was interested, ?guaranteeing? a sale in NYC and claiming to charge only 10%. This is VERY serious business. Any of you who frequent this blog can imagine my take
on this email?I believe some scam artist has decided to target writers and possibly charge fees or perhaps it?s someone wishing to discredit me.

Can you believe that? What is wrong with people? What makes them act like this and do things to hurt the reputations others have worked so hard to build? I have to wonder if it's some rejected writer who wanted to "get back at" Deidre for passing on their manuscript? If so - wow! I mean Deidre rejected me way back when--I think I retaliated by eating a pint of ice cream. (Take that - Rejecting Agent!!!! **grin**)

Anyway - just wanted to pass along the word--and to remind you all that a legitimate agent is never going to send out mass form emails asking to represent you. They get plenty of submissions already and don't need to seek them out. So if you get a letter like this from ANYONE - just toss it out. :)


Friday, July 15, 2005

Writer Geekiness

So my writer friend Janice Lynn, winner of this year's Romanatic Times "American Title" contest announced she got her cover flats this week for her upcoming December release "Jane Millioniare." For those of you who don't know, cover flats are basically the actual flattened cover of the book (without the book inside obviously) . The publishers send you like 3 million of them (okay, maybe like 300) to use in promotion.

Anyway - it's a really special moment for a first time author to open up the package and find these glossy, full cover renditions of your actual book staring back at you. I don't know about the rest of you, but the day I saw my cover flats for CT Fashionista, it was the first time I could accept the fact that Dorchester wasn't going to turn around and say, "Sorry we were just joking. You didn't actually think we'd publish YOU did you?" (Yes, all writers are this neurotic!)

So when Janice announced how excited she was to get her cover flats for Jane Millionaire, she mentioned that she kept wrapping one around a copy of MY book and pretending it was hers. (Because they're the same size.) This cracked me up because when I got my cover flats I did the exact same thing - though I wrapped mine around my all-time favorite Love Spell book "Contact" by Susan Grant. I even placed it back in my bookshelf with the fake cover, spine out and stared at it for a while, pretending it was really there.

Silly, huh? Well maybe. But it's just one of many, many strange things we writers do to celebrate our books coming out. Especially first books. It may seem odd to outsiders (I'm sure me taking camera phone photos of my book on the shelf freaked out more than a few Borders shoppers), but I think we deserve a few geek moments of celebration and unabashed childish joy when it comes to our books. And I hope I don't lose that giddy, geeky feeling - even when/if I get to see cover flats for book 100.

So my question for you authors out there: what silly/geeky things have you done to celebrate your books coming out?


Thursday, July 14, 2005


Yawn. I am so tired. I could not sleep last night for some reason. Ever have nights like that? You haven't had any caffeine, you're plenty tired, but you can't seem to relax and fall asleep. Annoying.

I just finished Gena Showalter's Awaken Me Darkly, by the way. Great book! Really, really kick ass. The heroine, Mia, is one tough chick - yet still very likable. And the love interest... Well all I can say is me-ow! Hot, hot, hot. I highly recommend it if you're a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton. It rocks. Can't wait for the next one in the series.

Speaking of - don't you love that feature on Amazon where it says "Customers who bought this book also bought:" I always use it when I'm checking out a new author to see what her book is similar to. Here's mine for CT Fashionista:

Customers who bought this book also bought:

Derik's Bane (Berkley Sensation) by Mary Janice Davidson
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison
Sex, Lies And Vampires (Paranormal Romance) by Katie Macalister
Sins of the Night (A Dark-Hunter Novel) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter
Hard Day's Knight by Katie MacAlister

All I can say is - people who bought my book have GREAT taste! And no, not cause they bought CT Fashionista (well maybe a little bit because of that!). But also because they also bought some of my favorite romance authors as well. There's not one name on the list that I don't love. :) Guess I'm writing for the right people...

Okay anyway - time for (yawn!) work. Sorry this isn't more exciting. Just one of those mornings....


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Signings and cool summer reads

If any of you are going to be in the Bay Area on July 23rd, I hope you'll stop by "The Book End" bookstore in Newark, CA from 2?4:00 p.m. There will be a group booksigning -- including authors Jasmine Haynes, Cherry Adair, Liz Maverick and myself. Should be fun.

I'll also be signing at the Literacy Booksigning at Reno on Weds the 27th for any of you going to Nationals.

Okay with that business out of the way, how about a couple book recommendations? After all those of you going to Nationals have a long plane ride to contend with. Better stock up now!

First from the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit we have Deborah LeBlanc and her new book Grave Intent. This ain't no light and fluffy beach read, however, but a heart pounding tale of spine tingling horror.

Here's a blurb:

In all their years at the funeral home, Janet and Michael Savoy had never seen anything like the viewing for nineteen-year-old Thalia Stevenson. That's because they had never witnessed a Gypsy funeral before, complete with rituals, incantations, and a very special gold coin placed beneath the dead girl's hands...

When that coin is stolen, a horror is unleashed. If the Savoys don't find the coin and return it to Thalia's grave before the rising of the second sun, someone in their family--perhaps their little daughter--will die a merciless death. The ticking away of each hour brings the Savoy family closer to a gruesome, inescapable nightmare. Only one thing is certain--Gypsies always have their revenge . . . even the dead ones.

Are you scared yet? You will be after reading this excerpt!


Or if you're looking for a lighter comedic read, I highly recommend you check out Julie Kenner's "Carpe Demon - Adventures of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom." Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Desperate Housewives!

Here's a blurb:

Carpools. Crabgrass. Creatures from the depths of hell. Suburbia has its problems too...

Lots of women put their careers aside once the kids come along. Kate Connor, for instance, hasn't hunted a demon in ages...

must be why she missed the one wandering through the pet food aisle of the San Diablo Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, he managed to catch her attention an hour later-when he crashed into the Connor house, intent on killing her.

Now Kate has to clean up the mess in her kitchen, dispose of a dead demon, and pull together a dinner party that will get her husband elected to County Attorney-all without arousing her family's suspicion. Worse yet, it seems the dead demon didn't come alone. He was accompanied by a High Demon named Goramesh who, for some unknown reason, intends to kill off the entire population of San Diablo.

It's time for Kate Connor to go back to work.

Doesn't that sound adorable? It's also be adapted as a movie by the producers of Harry Potter! How cool is that? Julie's awesome - a great person as well as a great writer. So I highly recommend you pick this one up!

You can read an excerpt here.


Okay those are two to get you started. :) I'd write more, but I must get ready for work!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm "Acknowledged" !!!

So I hadn't been in a bookstore to go check out my friend and fellow author Alesia Holliday's new book "Nice Girls Finish First" which just came out from Berkley this month. I figured there was no rush - after all I had already read a galleys copy (It's a FAB book, btw!!!!!) and I was going to see her at Nationals to buy my very own autographed one.

So this morning, I walked out with the trash and remembered to check my mail. I opened up my mailbox and discovered a book-size package from Alesia.

"Oh cool," I thought, "she sent me a copy!" (Then I went through the moral delimma on the way back inside about whether I should still buy one to help out with her sell through. **grin**)

Anyway, so as I'm making my morning coffee I flip through the first few pages. Decide to check out the acknowledgements to see who she thanked. (This is always my favorite part!) And low and behold - to my utter surprise - she thanked ME!! I had no idea she was thanking me!! I stared at the acknowledgement for a minute, thinking if I blinked the thanks might go away. But no, there is was... thanking me for my "friendship and enthusiasm."

Now you've got to understand - Alesia has been a total mentor to me since I first started shopping around CT Fashionista. She's offered a wealth of advice, support, and friendship every step of the way. And all she ever asked for in return was that I pay it forward to other writers. (Which I've tried very hard to do.) So for her to thank me -- well, it got me a little misty eyed to tell you the truth.

So my two words of advice are as follows:


Make writer friends. Find good ones who won't stab you in the back or gossip at your expense. They can be essential to surviving the ups and downs of a writing career.


Buy Alesia's book "Nice Girls Finish First." :) It rocks - even if it didn't have my name in it!!


Monday, July 11, 2005

Smooch Goodbye

As many of you have probably already heard Dorchester is shutting down its Smooch Young Adult line as of April of 2006. That means that while my first Smooch (Sk8er Boy) will still be released in October, my second contracted one (The Camelot Code) will not. Very sad as I was looking forward to writing that book. :( However, rights do revert back to me so perhaps we can find someone else interested in it. Hope so, anyway! The good thing is that none of the book is actually written (just a synopsis) so it's not a ton of wasted work in either case. But I love the story and would like to tell it all the same.

I would like to mention that the lovely people at Dorchester have been EXTREMELY supportive through this transitionary time. They could have said, "Well Smooch is dead, sucks to be you, give us back the advance and have a nice life." But instead they suggested I write them another Love Spell (adult) book instead, which I've agreed to do. I believe this new book will be the 3rd (and final) book in the Connecticut Fashionista series, which is something I'd hoped to do anyway. So that's cool. And it's nice to have a publisher that is supportive and believes in you.

So while that's all fine and good, what is worrying me now is the YA market in general. Smooch was one of the first of the new American YA lines out of the box and if they experienced slow sales, what does that mean for the other companies with YA lines? How are they doing? Should I still pursue writing for the YA market? Or should I turn elsewhere? And if so, where? What's the next big thing? (I guess if I knew that I could become a very rich agent or something...)

You know, I've often thought it would be cool to be a full time writer. To make a career out of telling stories. But perhaps that's just a pipe dream. Perhaps with shrinking sales and thus advances, I'll never make enough writing books to support myself. But you know what? That's actually okay with me. I love writing. And even if I don't make tons of cash, I like having books out in the bookstores with my name on them. Getting letters from readers who loved my story and can't wait for the next one. And I enjoy crafting the books themselves. Telling stories and sharing them with others. That may just possibly be reward enough.

Anyway - ramble, ramble, ramble. I could go on all day about this subject. But I'd much rather hear your comments. On life, the universe and the future of the fiction market.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Master of the Moon

While I'm taking a little blog hiatus (I'll be back on Monday I swear!!) I thought I'd give you something to do since you'll have time on your hands by not reading my ramblings. :)

What? you may ask. Why read, of course!

Today's suggesion is the very hot paranormal - "Master of the Moon" by Angela Knight and published by the steamy Berkley Sensation line.

Now I ask you -- how many books can you think of where a werewolf heroine hunts down an evil vampire with the help of a sexy otherworldly warrior named Llyr?
Gr, baby, grrrr....
Anyway check out the blurb:
Diana London works hard in her day job as the city manager of a small South Carolina town. Yet she still finds time to moonlight for the Verdaville Police Department.

As a werewolf.

But while helping the police investigate a brutal murder, Diana discovers she?s not the only magical creature in town. A female vampire has also decided to make
Verdaville her murderous playground. What?s worse, she has powers even Diana
can?t match.

Fortunately, Diana is not the only one determined to stop her. Llyr Galatyn is the king of the Cachamwri Sidhe ? a seductive otherworldly warrior with fantastic abilities. He?s sworn to hunt down the murderer, and he?s more than willing to give Diana any help she needs.

And not just with the case. Diana is in her Burning Moon, a time of sexual heat, when need rides her hard. Llyr is delighted to be the answer to her erotic prayers.

But as they hunt the vampire while desire runs hot between them, a deadly enemy urges the killer to turn her sights on Llyr. It seems Llyr isn?t the only king of the Sidhe ? and his brother wants him dead.

Sounds great, huh? Well I'm not alone in thinking so. MASTER OF THE MOON got a 4 ½ stars and a Top Pick from RT. It also spent three weeks on the USA Today bestseller list, and was #1 on the Waldens Romance List for three weeks.

Anyway - check out an excerpt here and then go out and get the book sure to put some sizzle in your summer!

I promise to be back on Monday with your reguarly scheduled blog.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Blog Slacker

Hi all,

Sorry to be a blog slacker - but I have some major life stuff going on right now. I promise to be up and running again soon!

Happy Fourth of July weekend! Hope it's as nice weatherwise as it is here in Boston.