Tuesday, December 26, 2006

*glee*

Four star review for The Dragon Undone from Romantic Times? Why yes, thank you. :)

Congratulations to my fellow Cobblestone authors for their reviews as well. :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays to everyone. I hope you're all enjoying peaceful times with friends and families, good food, and entertaining yourselves as you choose.

We did not travel to the in-laws, so we're having an *extremely* quiet Christmas this year. We will open presents when the Engineer gets up. P'raps we'll see a movie today. It's one of those years. Quiet. Just us. With him constantly working and me constantly writing, we don't always get the chance to connect, so this is a good break.

I turned in the first round edits on the Cerridwen book. I turned in a proposal for my alter-ego. I got a request for the full of a book from a NY house.

It's been a good year, but I kind of want to slack and *read* for a while. :) I have not read nearly as much as I'd like, but I haven't stopped buying books. Bad me. It's a weakness. I also know an awful lot of authors and I always feel like I should support my friends...

Right. So. Maybe tapering off the mad writing for the last week of the year and just enjoying life some. There's a whole new year around the corner and I'll be back at it, and then some.

All good wishes and hopes for you and yours!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Forward motion!

I heard back from my Fox contact, which surprised me given how close it is to the holidays, but hey, I'm grateful for any crumbs I get, so I happy danced a while.

I'd turned in some very sketchy ideas and he came back and told me the sorts of things they were looking for. Also that one of my ideas seemed to fit the bill nicely, so I'll run with that one for a while. If that doesn't work, well, it's on to the next, but at least I have more of an idea of what I'm aiming for.

Sent off the contract for the Cerridwen book. Yay! Need to write the synopsis for another project so I can get that turned in at the end of the week. Busy busy.

And, it seems that I may not get to spend a quiet Christmas at home after all. The Engineer's family has requested our presence. Anyone down in the southern California area want to try to meet up for a save-me-from-my-inlaws meal? ;) More about it over at The Novelty Girls today.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The cool kids' club refunded my money.

As I have related, both to the Engineer and to my pal, I had a very vivid dream last night, in which I was possessed by the spirit of Anton Chekov.

It involved attempting to convince a classroom of people, after said possession, that I had indeed *been* possessed and was not just being dramatic. Mr. Chekov got very offended at this questioning, ranted at the classroom for a while, then left me passed out on the floor.

Needless to say, the dramatic collapse did not a) convince anyone or b) make me friends.

Yes, it's true, even in my dreams, I'm a hugerageous geek.

*sigh*

:)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Finally "real"!

News news, more news.

I'm finally "real". Meaning, I've finally made a sale to a publishing house that RWA National considers valid. I'll get a First Sale ribbon in Dallas. I can brag about my sale in the RWR. And, really, this is for the first book I wrote, so I guess it's only fair.

It's tentatively titled No Accounting For Chase (I love that title), it's a romantic suspense, and it sold to Cerridwen Press. No idea on release date or anything else, but whoohoo!

I thought I was going to be able to wiggle out of the Four Things meme, as I'd done it in April, but no, I was wrong! (Thanks Tessa ;)). The questions have changed. So, without further ado:

Four jobs I've had:
Telemarketer (I have such sympathy for these people, but I still hang up on them.)
Veterinary technician
Technical support rep (for many companies at many levels for many years)
Writer!

Four favorite foods:

Jicama and vegetable dip. (Yes, it's weird.)
Macaroni and cheese.
Tempura.
New England clam chowder.

Four movies I could (and do) watch over and over:

Thunderheart
Constantine (this one would probably rotate out, but for now, yes)
Boondock Saints
The Three Musketeers (Disney version. Mmn, Oliver.)

Four TV shows I enjoy watching:

I should not confess to watching as little tv as I do, but my favorites?

Supernatural
Heroes
Lost
House

Four places I've traveled:

Bermuda
Ensenada
Tokyo
Jackson Hole, WY

Four websites I visit (almost) daily:

Romancing the Blog
Romance Divas
BPAL.org (beware the perfume addiction)
Pub Rants

Four people I'm tagging to do this:

I'm not, because most people I know have already done this. If you haven't, consider this your invitation. :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rainy day blahs

Does rain make anyone else want to curl up and go to sleep? I think it stems from rainy Sundays as a kid. I'd go to church with dad, come home and take a bath, and then curl up in his humongous bed watching old movies and fall asleep.

I always want to watch movies and nap when it rains. Fortunately, I can do that. Unfortunately, it rains a lot in Northern California in the winter. A lot.

But I'm still making progress on my writing projects, so I spose that I can't really complain.

How surreal is it, to take a tangent, to have a conversation with someone that goes: I'm on location in Miami right now, but I'll be back in LA at the end of the week. Yes, that was from my Fox contact. No, I don't have exciting news. Still stepping slowly through the process. Still, on location in Miami. How wild!

This is not the season for fast forward movement in tv land. As anyone who watches a show regularly knows, everything's (well, most things) have gone into holiday hiatus. Studios are madly trying to use up the last of their 2006 money on the productions already running. New pilot season happens in the spring. I expect (hope!) to be extremely busy then.

Which means that I need to get my writing done now. Wheee.

I am not out of promo yet. (Told you I've been slacking for a while.) This is a review on my first published book, Fortune's Fool. Brenda at The Romance Studio gave it 5 Hearts and said: "This book is a tremendous success! I loved all of it; it was one of those books I feel lucky to have read. It moved so well, with rocky paths, and it was impossible to put down. I read through as quickly as I could because I was impatient to find out the outcome of the story." She's got it marked as explicit, which it isn't, but don't let that stop you. ;)

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's a Monday

It's definitely a Monday.

#1. If one characterizes chain bookstores as the "Villain", one should expect that people might object or question the wording. That's an emotionally charged word. It's aggressive. And whatever one meant by that particular term really won't matter much. If people misread it, the fault is most likely not in the readers, since the majority of people appear to have taken what was written "the wrong way".

Corollary: I came across the author-in-question's book at a chain bookstore last night. It sounds, by all accounts, like it would be a book I'd like. Given said author's opinion, however, and less than tactful way of dealing with people who don't immediately agree with her, I just couldn't bring myself to pick up the book. Oops.

#2. Ebooks cannot be sold as "used".

#3. Hey look, another review. :) This one covers the entire Vegas Magic series, really, but the book in question is mine. Jennifer at Kwips and ritiques gave Stacking the Deck 5 Klovers and said: "While the books do ask that the reader suspend disbelief a bit, as each of the friends finds true love on the same night and in the same place, the effect of the three perspectives is undeniably fun!"

That's enough for one day, don't you think?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

All the things you wanted to know about me and ... okay, more than that.

Not a lot of promo today. Another break from the reviews, because I've been interviewed. Woohoo!

Want to know what the Engineer thinks about me? Or whether my writing space is neat and tidy? Click here for all the dirt. :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Fun!

It's Friday, it's a week day and it's ... grey and rainy, but hey, two out of three ain't bad.

Nothing exciting to talk about, still. It is hurry up and wait season everywhere, so all the stuff that's out now may not get an answer until after the new year. I'm hopeful for sooner, but, I will not hold my breath. I like blue, but it's not a good color on my skin.

I think that I'll probably go ahead and write up the leavebehinds for my tv ideas anyway. That way, when that next phone call comes, I'll be ready to fax or email them off and won't have to scramble to get it done. I have far too much other stuff to do to have to scramble for anything. I know better. Doesn't keep me out of trouble, but I do know better.

Tomorrow marks the big launch for the Sweeter Romantic Notions authors' blog. This is a spot where those of us who don't write "hot" are hanging out. Stop by, say hi, see what we have to give you. I know there are going to be a lot of prizes, so check it out.

The promo for the day is for a book I rarely talk about. Eye of the Beholder was my contribution to the Freya's Bower line of Bites, two paired short stories. They're futuristics with a teeny bit of spice. Very short. The book's just about 8K in total, so they're quick reads.

Regina at Coffee Time Reviews gave me 4 Cups and said: "Both these stories have edge of your seat action! The author does an excellent job of giving you veiled clues that lead up to the finales where two people discover they are meant for each other. The characters are believable and the world building realistic. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys futuristic love stories."

Tada!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Promo of a different sort

No review today, because I'm giving you different links.

Occasionally, I google myself. It's an ego-stroking sort of thing, but a girl likes to know who's talking about her. After the Fan Lit announcement, my hits increased dramatically. Why? Because of all the press releases that got sent out. They're everywhere! Probably in places where no one really cares, but there they are, proclaiming the news.

So I googled myself yesterday, and in the middle of the press releases, I found this.

Variety! They mentioned me in Variety. Now, y'all might not know much about Variety, but it's a big entertainment magazine/newspaper. It's a trade mag, if you will. And there I am. Okay, so the details are wrong. My name's right, and that's what counts.

Then, this morning, I got notice that I was being featured on the Arts and Literature page at Next Cat, which is sort of like MySpace, without the seizure-inducing blinkies. (I apologize to those of you who like MySpace. I tried. I can't make it work and I get a headache being blinked at every time I try. Not for me.) How cool is that?

Speaking of cool, Ms. Laura T is going to be on Rachel Ray this afternoon. I'm going to try to remember to watch. You should too!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Busy busy busy

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour...


Yes, I'm shamelessly stealing from Isaac Watts. You know it's a good poem when you can still remember it at random, right?

I'm taking a chance on a book today. It was rejected by one line without comment, but after consideration, it may fit another, so off it goes again. Good luck, little manuscript. Write when you get work!

I'm blogging about promo over at The Novelty Girls today. Yes, I'm obsessed. Go check me out. There's even a helpful link from Cheyenne McCray for those of you who are looking to boost your promotional efforts.

And the review of the day! This one's for Vegas Magic: Stacking the Deck. Jennifer at Rom Rev Today, says, "By itself, or as part of a set, STACKING THE DECK is an enticing short story sure to please." Full review at the link.

Ta!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm a big chicken.

That's right, I'm a humongous chicken. Know why? I've been hiding from my own blog.

I should have been posting new reviews as they came in and I always manage to talk myself out of it. Because I'm a chicken. I posted some, back in the day, and now, I feel like I'm beating my own drum too much.

Which is silly, I know. How else do I promote myself if I don't beat my own drum.

(Don't go there. I already went there. Come baaaack.)

So. I will begin beating my own drum again. Y'all can kick me if you can't stand it. Virtual kicking is much easier to withstand. I will only beat my own drum one review per day, though. No need to spam the masses.

First up? A review of The Dragon Undone. Jennifer from Kwips and Kritiques gave it 5 Klovers and said: "I have read and enjoyed several books by various authors in Cobblestone Press’s Shifters series, and this book by Sara Dennis is no exception!...That said, The Dragon Undone is undeniably entertaining."

Which is, of course, excerpted. Read the rest of the review at the link and please, if you've read the book and agree with her comments, don't feel bad. I agree with her issues too. Hindsight is twenty-twenty and there are always going to be things that we'd do differently after the fact, right? Right.

And! I did create a Yahoo!Group. If you are interested in signing up, hearing from me occasionally, talking about whatever happens to strike your fancy, or about my writing, y'all come. Click here to join.

And that's that.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fini!

I think, just possibly, that I'm finished with my Rune, which has been a long time coming, but you know. These things take time. I didn't quite make my projected 30K, but that's all right. 26K is respectable. I'm currently calling it Finding Home. Titles are so not my strong point.

I'll print it and give it a last read and repair, then ship it off to the bosses and move on to the next project on the list. Feels good to have it done and one more thing completed and under my belt.

I like that story quite a bit. I like more of it than I dislike, which sounds like a weird thing to say, but we writers, you know, we're very critical of our work. I'm very good at finding parts that I don't like or that I didn't manage to convey quite the way I wanted, so to say that I like more than I don't at this stage of the book? Is quite something and I'm proud of me.

Spoke with an agent in LA yesterday about my thoughts and hopes for the Fox deal. It was nice to bounce ideas off someone who gets what I'd like to do with a career in Hollywood, should I happen to end up with one. Please allow me to clarify, though: She's not my agent. I don't have an agent of any sort. Just someone who was willing to talk. I've found, actually, that much like published authors (who used to terrify me) that agents and editors are real people too, and that they like to talk--just talk--almost as much as the random person on the street does. About their lives, about the world in general, all without any expectation that they have to do work or provide a service they weren't expecting too. It was a good conversation.

Rumor has it that I will be writing a guest spot at Romance By the Blog in January. Rumor has it that Tessa will too. I'm sure one (or both) of us will let you know more.

And happy birthday, yesterday, to my mother, who is not really online but she might, someday, peek. Happy day, Mom!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Post-holiday updates

I hope that everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and managed not to be too traumatized by Black Friday. Those of you overseas, I hope the weekend's treating you well.

I have been dutifully writing along on my next project. Then I made the mistake of looking at all of the things I want to do for next year. Even without any firm deadline committments, it looks like it's going to be another busy year. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it means I need to re-examine my ability to say no.

In other exciting news, congratulations to Mary Danielson for winning Round Three of the Harper Teen FanLit contest! It's about time! She finaled nearly every week in Avon FanLit, so her big day was just taking its time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thinking is dangerous.

At least for me. I get into 'what if X' conversations with myself and they never end well.

I have not heard from Fox again, so apologies for no exciting updates. As The Engineer reminded me last night, it's a 12 month deal. They've got loooots of time left. And, it's the holiday season. Much as I would rather know something soon, I have to face the fact that I may not hear anything new until next year.

I do wonder, though, whether some of the silence stems from the O.J. book controversy. Who was going to publish the book? HarperCollins (well, Regan Books, but same parent). Who was going to air the special? Fox. Both of the FanLit sponsors. I suspect that they're veeery busy.

Add to that that we're sliding into Sweeps Week and I'm not really shocked that my phone isn't ringing off the hook.

In better news, though I'm not really doing NaNoWriMo (and thus haven't shown up over at the boards), I *have* written almost 28K so far this month. That's a lot for me. More importantly, I've finished a couple of projects I was dragging my feet over. Go go determination!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Waiting Game

Hands down, the worst part of this writing gig is the waiting. We writers operate on a completely different schedule than agents and editors (and producers!) do. It's very easy for us to get caught up in the cool factor and excitement of having completed a book and want details and contracts and shiny things now now now.

When agents and editors (and producers!) have to deal with dozens of writers all wanting the same thing.

I understand this logically.

It doesn't make waiting any easier. :)

Went to the last "real" meeting of our local chapter yesterday, which was an EMS panel, and it was fantastic. I love my chapter. For all the drama and stresses that we go through now and then, I really do love them. Enough that I'm going to be president, again, next year.

Between me and my pal Anna, we've been president for the last four years. Three years ago it was Anna, two years ago it was me, last year was Anna, and next? After that I'm done, and I really hope the chapter doesn't implode for lack of volunteers. I don't think it will. I think someone will step forward who loves us as much as I do.

But I have to wait to see.

Grr. :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

You're in the right place.

Just on the off-chance that people are wandering by to see who I am, I say this.

Hi! Welcome to my blog!

If you read the press release linked in RWA's eNotes yesterday, then yep, I'm that Sara Dennis. You won't find a lot of behind the scenes information about Fox, yet (and possibly ever, as they probably won't let me tell everything) but the parts of the process I can share, I will. When I've got updates. :)

If you'd like to read my FanLit entries, they're all linked here. The weekly round finalists are there, as well as the entries that didn't do as well.

In other news, I'm considering starting a Yahoo!Group or Google!Group or something. Sing out if you think it'd be interesting.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I can hear it now.

Why are you not updating?

Because, my friends, I spend a lot of time running around like a chicken with no head. And not because I'm working on anything particularly exciting. This is just the state of my life.

I did get to have some fun yesterday. The Engineer surprised me with tickets to the Dixie Chicks concert in town. We trucked on over and got to spend the evening in one of the box suites, watching my girls play. My girls, like I had anything to do with their success. Still, I love them and I support their right to make controversial statements about the government. Heck, I do it. Fortunately for me, maybe, I'm not a big name country group, but still.

So the contest was amazing, their video team did spectacular things, and a good time was had by all!

Back to the salt mines.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My kingdom for an extra hour

I'm beginning to understand the need for a personal assistant.

I have no new updates from Fox as yet, but I did find a couple of press releases that mention Tessa and I, so that was pretty cool.

I also talked to a reporter from the Sacramento Bee this morning, so we'll see if that turns into an article in a couple of weeks.

And life goes on. Writing to do, parts of the house to clean, laundry to fold.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Let's Talk About Sex

Okay, first, let me ramble.

For those who are curious about my list of five things, did I snow you all? Ha! I am so sub-tul. Or, you know, y'all just don't know me.

The one that is *not* true is number 4, about dressing up as a curvy Lone Ranger. Though I participated in high school rodeo in Wyoming, I never did it in costume.

The Engineer says I cheated because he did not actually *fling* the rabbit at me. But, yes, proud romantic that I am, I got married because of a dead rabbit.

Well. The *real* proposal was mine. He surprised me with the rabbit, but *I* had already bought *him* a ring. And so, after I made dinner that night (not rabbit, mind you), I put the little black box down beside his plate and said 'Here, I brought you dinner, marry me.'

It's been eight years. :)

In other news: I have had contact with Fox. I had a great conversation with a man named Gabriel (who told me that Fox actually read the finalist entries. Did you guys know they were doing that? I didn't!) Next steps on how to work with them in the development deal are forthcoming.

I turned in a long overdue novella over the weekend. And I played some Final Fantasy XII, which was my reward.

I have not NaNo'd. I should. I have a bunch of projects, though, so I may just add up the sum of my words and call it a technical NaNo, and not worry about the 50K being all on one project.

Now, the sex part:

I am so, so very frustrated by the fact that, in order to make a good showing in the ebook market at the moment, it seems to me that one must write hot, on-the-page sex. Okay, wait, I amend. One must write hot, on-the-page sex with graphic language. No euphemisms and you absolutely can't close the door. Readers right now want hot, hotter and blazing and that, unfortunately, just isn't my speed. So, I've seen my co-writers sell better, get more reviews, and more oohs and ahhs from the mailing list/chat room crowds than I ever will.

I vent not because I think they don't deserve it. I've read the books. I enjoy reading erotic romance sometimes, too. And these are some very talented women I'm talking about. It just chaps a bit when reviews and readers come back saying, 'We love your writing', but the sales numbers don't bear up.

Sex sells, and that's the bottom line. I can change or I can cling to my sensual-but-not-steamy stories and stiffen my bottom lip.

It just gets to be too much to keep quiet about sometimes, you know?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Contest announcements and answers!

Hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween. I'm a little disappointed, since we got *not a single trick or treater*! What's up with that? Last year we had great ghosts and ghoulies. This year? Not a peep. Though I'm hearing that from friends all over the country. I'll be sad if Halloween stops being what it was when I was a kid.

I'll bet you want to know about that contest of mine, don't you? Well, the wait is over. The winner of my Vegas Magic contest is: Mindy! I'll be contacting her to get her address and have a basket in the mail to her soon.

There's another contest going on over at one of our group blogs. Swing by, answer some questions, and get entered in a drawing for five of Cobblestone's Octoberfest ebooks, including my latest release, Stacking the Deck.

I found out I was awarded one of Literary Sass's Tequila Worm awards yesterday, for a favorite read. I love that blog, their reviews and their taste in books. ;) Go check them out.

As for the question about which of my five facts is false from yesterday... should I let that go another day? Maybe I will. Ah, delicious torture.

Off to run errands (that involve getting my glasses fixed, what fun) then back to the computer to dive into NaNoWriMo. Aieee.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Get your ears on

... because I've got a lot to say.

First and foremost, Happy Halloween! Or Happy Samhain! Or Happy Tuesday! Whichever you prefer.

----

Second, Cobblestone Press is having a Halloween party tonight, celebrating the release of the final Octoberfest books. There'll be games and contests and prizes, so swing by if you're interested. 7pm Central in the chat room.

----

Third, thank yous.

There are a *lot* of people to thank surrounding Fan Lit.

Thank you to Laura T for holding my hand from very nearly the beginning of the contest and being a fantastic behind-the-scenes support. Not to mention all the entries she read and commented on. Holy smokes!

Thank you to Chris, without whom it would have taken me a lot longer to notice the good news.

Thank you to the Bon Bons, for being wonderfully welcoming and friendly and supportive.

Thank you *thank you* to the authors (Julia Quinn, Teresa Medeiros, Eloisa James, Victoria Alexander, Cathy Maxwell) who gave their time and left such fantastic feedback.

Thank you to Lynne for keeping me up to date and in the know and for being there to lean on.

And thank you to everyone who's said a kind word, offered a congratulations or a wow. The people I've met because of this contest are some of the most talented and creative and generous people I've met.

----

Fourth! I've been tagged. I will tell you five amazing things about me. One of them is not true. It's up to you to figure out which. ;)

1. My husband flung a dead rabbit at my feet and proposed with the following words: "Look! I brought you dinner! Marry me!"

2. I once danced on the field of as part of the half-time performance at a SuperBowl!

3. I spent many years of my life being very accident prone. Can you imagine fracturing your eyesocket while doing laps in a pool? I did!

4. I won first place in the costume category at a high school rodeo for appearing as a very curvy Lone Ranger!

5. I have a Bacon number of 2 (and a Jackman number of 2) because of Sean Patrick Thomas!

Guess away. :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

It's official!

Like Tessa, I got my confirmation email about the paperwork I need to fill out to claim the prize over at Fan Lit last night. It's no longer a long, very complicated dream. Woohoo!

And now I'm going back to work. I am. Really. After I make my tea. And light my incense. And chase the cat off the desk.

Working.

3.

2.

1...

ETA (can you believe that I just realized that ETA means "edited to add" and not just "estimated time of arrival"? Sometimes, I embarrass myself): My contest is still running through tomorrow! If you haven't entered, drop me a line with the answer to the following question: If you were stuck in a casino full of monsters on Halloween night, which of the Vegas Magic heroes would want to keep you company? Jake, Grant, or Alec?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday, Sunday

Oddly enough, I'm having trouble motivating myself to do mundane things today. :) Had a great meeting yesterday, had a great evening with The Engineer. But today, I must get back to the ordinary and every day routine of life.

Which means writing and moving forward with the projects I have in the works. Time does not stop no matter how much I might want to bask.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Yes, another Fan Lit post

I really didn't intend to post about the FanLit contest again, but I'm going to, and I'm going to do so with my head held high.

Today, Fan Lit has announced that they're awarding me with the Editorial Grand Prize for the contest. You can see all the prizes laid out here, but the simple explanation is this: I get to pitch ideas at Fox TV, and if they like one, possibly have it developed into something bigger.

The question of whether I'm going to accept has come up. The answer is: Yes.

Why?

My complaint with Fan Lit was that the voting system was flawed and should be repaired. I still believe that there were issues with the voting process. I stopped submitting or reading chapters at the end of week four. It wasn't any fun to submit a chapter and not know whether it failed to make the finals because it legitimately didn't belong there, or because there were duplicate accounts and unfair voting going on. That's why I stopped participating in the weekly rounds.

The Editorial Grand Prize was not given as a result of voting by the participants in the contest. This prize was determined by the editorial team at Fan Lit. My complaint was never about the editorial process at either Avon or Fan Lit. Therefore I don't feel there is an ethical conflict involved in accepting the prize. I'm flattered that my writing stood out enough to catch the editors' attention, and I'll keep people up to date with how it goes.

I haven't talked about it for a while, but I write screenplays as well. This is a fantastic opportunity to pursue something I've wanted to do for some time.

Thank you to everyone who's sent their congratulations. If anyone wants to question my decision, I'm willing to answer those who sign their names.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Parallels in Fiction

And now, to do some shameless promotion for a fellow author:

Deidre Knight Cranks up the Heat in Her Latest Installment in the Parallel Series: PARALLEL HEAT

“Intelligent characters, hot romance and breathtaking adventure with epic feel—exactly what I want to read!” - Susan Grant, New York Times bestselling author

“A fantastic and riveting new voice in paranormal fiction.” -Karen Marie Moning, New York Times bestselling author of Spell of the Highlander

“At times humorous, at others heart-wrenching, but always compelling, Deidre Knight offers readers a fresh, wonderfully creative glimpse at the complexity of human decisions. What a page-turner!” - Gena Showalter, Author of Playing with Fire

In the unforgettable, alternate world of Parallel Heat, two enemies are bound by betrayal, vengeance—and forbidden passion.

Warrior and royal guardian Marco McKinley has been assigned a vital mission on Earth, where a war between human fighters and otherworldly soldiers is rising in the far reaches of Wyoming. But he's also been warned about twists of fate yet to come-ones that will transform him into the enemy of his own people and appoint him the personal protector of beautiful soldier Thea Haven.

Little do Marco and Thea know, but they have met before in an alternate universe, and they are bound by betrayal and vengeance. Now, on a world at the brink of destruction, forbidden passion ignites—but will the destiny Marco has glimpsed unfold a second time?

Sign up for Deidre’s newsletter and be eligible to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate, signed copies of her books, and plenty of other goodies! Just click here.

Check out the book that launched the series, PARALLEL ATTRACTION or order your copy of PARALLEL HEAT today! And coming in April, PARALLEL SEDUCTION.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Still going strong

The contest is still going strong, and I'm still taking answers to the question from that post. It's just a couple down so scroll down and take a look. I've gotten a lot of answers, but there's always room for more, so send 'em in!

I killed my printer last night. It's 15 years old and you know, it's time had probably come, but I employed a particular brand of stupid. Word of advice: Do not use nail polish remover on the roller on your toner cartridge. Really. Just don't.

So, the dino will go away and a new, speedy, state-of-the-art model will be along shortly. It will do duplexing, and be wireless, and undoubtedly faster than the old boy we've had so long. But it still makes me a little sad.

Still writing like mad, hoping to finish a project by the (looming!) end of the month and another one or two (they're short!) by the 20th or so of next. Man. The life of a writer. It may not be exciting to anyone else, but it sure is busy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Stacking the Deck is out today!

It's live, it's live!

Stacking the Deck, the third book in the Vegas Magic series, following This Spells Trouble by Shelli Stevens and Gone With The Wolf by Loribelle Hunt is out today at Cobblestone Press!



Attending the Hell's Ball with her friends was just supposed to be about having a good time. Samantha didn't plan on meeting the man of her dreams or to give him a crash course in magic to keep his power under control.

Alec Zimm is a stage name. Doing card tricks pays the bills. He's caught off-guard by his reaction to Samantha and the sudden revelation that the magic he's been performing is real. When a rogue werewolf threatens the Halloween party atmosphere, Alec must learn to trust his teacher and save the woman of his dreams.

Available for purchase here.

And don't forget to check out the contest that I'm holding. It's the post directly below this one!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Halloween Contest!

It's one day late! Sorry, sorry, for those of you who were eagerly awaiting this announcement.

Welcome to my 100th blog post over here at Love Between The Pages! Can you believe it? I can't. Who knew I had that much to say?

To celebrate both this milestone post and the Vegas Magic series out at Cobblestone Press right now, I'm holding a contest.

But first, the books!

The Vegas Magic series is set in, no surprise, Las Vegas and centers on the Crypt casino on Halloween night. What could go wrong at a party where the creatures of the night are free to strut their stuff? A dangerous question to ask.

Vegas Magic books

She never expected the Hell’s Ball to live up to its name. Buy This Spells Trouble here!


A wolf, a witch, and a casino—magic, love, and mayhem in Vegas. Buy Gone With The Wolf here!


Playing with cards was never this much fun. Stacking the Deck is coming Friday!


Want to know what you could win?

-Three imps (sample vials) of Halloween/Samhain-themed perfume from BPAL in the following scents:
  * Samhain: Truly the scent of autumn itself -- damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein.

  * Dia De Los Muertos: A joyous celebration of La Catarina, La Flaca, La Muerte… Glorious, Beautiful Death. In Mexico, death is not something to be feared or hated; She is embraced, loved, and adored. La Muerte is fĂȘted, as the celebrant "…chases after it, mocks it, courts it, hugs it, sleeps with it; it is his favorite plaything and his most lasting love." This is a Mexican paean to La Huesuda: dry, crackling leaves, the incense smoke of altars honoring Death and the Dead, funeral bouquets, the candies, chocolates, foods and tobacco of the ofrenda, amaranth, sweet cactus blossom and desert cereus.

  * Sugar Skull: Vibrant with the joy and sweetness of life in death! A blend of five sugars, lightly dusted with candied fruits.

-Two scented wax melts from Dark Candles in the following scents:
  * Autumn Harvest: Spicy blend of cinnamon bark and clove bud on a dry down of musk.

  * Jack O'Latte: Pumpkin Spice flavored Latte, the perfect coffee-inspired scent to carry you into the fall season.

-A $5 Gift Certificate good for purchase of any book at Cobblestone Press

How do you win? Simple! From October 20th to 5pm PST October 31st, just email me with the answer to this question: If you were stuck in a casino full of monsters on Halloween night, which of the Vegas Magic heroes would want to keep you company? Jake, Grant, or Alec?

I'll choose a winner Halloween eve! Good luck!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I lied.

That wasn't my final word on the matter. Lynne's posted an interesting look at how close the scores were, and how what was done really *could* have had an impact on the contest outcome, regardless of what Fan Lit may have said.

And could *still* be having an impact, just so we're clear.

Yes, I'm still upset.

But in other news, this is post #99. That means that tomorrow, I'll do my post about the basket I'm putting together. There will be wax tarts, perfume, possibly some candy (who can resist Halloween candy) and who knows what else?

Stop by and check it out!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Last Word on Avon FanLit

As should be obvious from the last few posts of mine, I got involved with the Avon FanLit contest. It was a unique contest set up, looked interesting and I thought hey, why not, I'll give it a shot.

I met some great people. There are some *very* talented writers over there and I sincerely hope that those who have what it takes go on to publishing contracts and good things.

In the process, I also met some not so great people.

One of the rules set up at Avon FanLit was that people were not to create shill accounts, a shill being a duplicate account. Whether that was meant to be for reading the forums, submitting entries or voting on the contest rounds, it really didn't matter. It's right there in black and white, against the contest rules. And the penalty for doing so is disqualification.

And yet, during the course of competition, I was given convincing evidence that some contestants in an earlier round had done just that and were using shill accounts to "stack the deck".

Fan Lit, when provided with this information, chose and chooses not to acknowledge the cheating--because no matter how you spin it, it's cheating--publicly. Thanks to the phrase "sole discretion" in their rules, they don't *have* to acknowledge it. They can pick and choose when to enforce the rules and when to let a contestant slide.

They've made their choice, and so have I.

I cannot, in good conscience, be a part of a contest where the rules set forth are not upheld, where voting on another writer's hard work is not protected and there is no accountability or repercussion for abusing the system in place.

Some people may feel that all's fair and that doing anything to win is acceptable. Personally, I'd rather surround myself with people who succeed honestly.

Edited: I am not the only one posting about this.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Spared!

You are all spared more rambling about FanLit. Well, sort of. I didn't final in this week's round but Jacqueline did! So if you have an account, go vote on the finalists and help her earn her place in the fishbowl head hall of fame.

Congratulations to Mary and Sara and Tessa too, of course, but I don't have links for them.

So I sulked a bit, and then got kicked in the butt and told to work on my proposal already comma dammit, so that's what I'm going to do and -- crud, I forgot to do my group blog post today. Must think of something.

We had our first rain last night, which means it's officially fall in California. I wish I lived a little further north so we actually got snow, but The Engineer says that my childhood love of snow would not hold up as an adult.

He's a California native, what does he know? ;)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Third time's the charm...

Or something like that.

I have lost my pointy little mind. I have three entries in this week's round of FanLit. I did my best when I wrote only one. This should tell me, I suppose, that the later I come up with an idea, the more dilute it is. Or, maybe it just means I've been obsessing. Again.

Ahem.

I turned in the manuscript Cerridwen Press requested finally. We'll see if it floats. I love that story. I love those characters. It's a contemporary romantic suspense with, of course, a cop hero and a sort of Ugly Ducklingesque heroine. I'm great with characters, if I do say so myself. Plot is my weakness. I tend to get halfway or three-quarters of the way through a book and go "aiieee" and my plot sort of flounders around until I find it again.

Yes, I'm working on it.

I worked on it a lot when I revised this book. I hope it worked.

I have a proposal to send off before a friend kicks me, and then I'm back to work on finishing promised books.

OH!

I will soon hit 100 posts on this, my blog. I'm thinking I'll put together a Halloween basket type thing to give away on that post. So stay tuned!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The (Neurotic) state of the author.

All right. So I have now given up three weeks of my life pretty much entirely to FanLit. And we're gearing up for week four.

Yes, I've submitted a chapter. I've hit that stage after clicking 'confirm submission' where a couple of not-so-stellar scores have come in and I'm staring at the screen thinking 'what have I done?!'

I mentioned before that this is brutal. But it really is. This is the submission/rejection game of publishing on a very condensed scale. It takes a special kind of idiot person to put themselves through this once. Here I go with try number four.

One good thing that it has taught me is that I can still roll with the punches. And that there really are an awful lot of good people out there in writer-land to make up for all the people who aren't so great.

But I can't hover around FanLit forever. I have books to turn in. Back to the grindstone.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A fetching shade of bruised.

Man, this is brutal. Laura, who's been keeping me company for the past couple of weeks, through the FanLit madness, said something to the effect that published authors don't have to go through this kind of up-and-down rollercoastering, and I think she's right. It's like the Romance Idol thing they've been doing at National for the past couple of years. Step right up and take your licks.

The winners are announced tomorrow at noon-ish EST. Then begins round 4. Three more weeks of this insanity.

In other news, I won second place in San Francisco's Heart to Heart contest with In The Blood, in the paranormal category. I cannot wait to see what the editor had to say about the book.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More about the contest...

I know, I know people are probably tired of hearing about it now, but:

I made the top ten in Round Three, too. I'm happy dancing again. Hopefully this time my celebration plans will not be interrupted by parking lot fender benders.

Woohoo!

Octoberfest!

It's October! That means that we get to start celebrating Octoberfest, over at Cobblestone Press. No, no, not a lot of beer-drinking, but lots of fantastic books.

The ones I'm most excited about are, predictably, the Vegas Magic series written by Shelli Stevens, Loribelle Hunt and myself. It's a trilogy involving three friends who are all witches and the trouble they get into in a Las Vegas casino on Halloween.

Shelli's book comes out first, this Friday. Lori's is out this week and mine will be out October 20th. Here's hoping that you all enjoy all three. Can't beat the covers.

Need proof? Check them out:




We're also having a contest. You can get all the details on that over on Shelli's site. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I think I'm going to out myself.

You know, I've been sort of kind of circumspect about myself over at FanLit. I sign my posts with a different name. I think I've slipped up a couple of times in sending email responses to people and left my blog information on, but mostly I don't tell people who I am.

And I've been thinking about why that is and what I'm hiding. And I think I'm going to stop.

There's no reason for me to hide. I read over the rules many many times before I threw my hat into that particular ring. I'm not employed by Avon (no matter how many times I've sent submissions to them) so I'm kosher. So why hide?

I think it's because I felt like other people would think it unfair if someone published, even epublished, were playing along with all the other hopefuls. Obviously, being published guarantees nothing. I went from 100th place in the first round to 2nd in the 2nd round, but second is not first. I didn't win. That honor goes to Lacey. So what do I have to be afraid of?

Nothing.

No more hiding.

The next batch of finalists gets announced tomorrow. We'll see if I make it to the finalists circle again.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I may never come down

Okay, so over at the contest? In the final round, the author panelists (Teresa Medeiros, Julia Quinn, Cathy Maxwell, Eloisa James and Victoria Alexander) get to pick their favorite chapters. Their votes lend weight to who wins.

I've got author picks from Julia Quinn AND Teresa Medeiros.

Obviously, I want to win. But if I don't? Holy crap! Julia Quinn and Teresa Medeiros liked my chapter!

How could that possibly be bad?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

*happy dancing*

Yes, I'm posting this everywhere. Eventually the shiny will wear off and I'll stop.

Maybe.

I write this post with my head spinning, a little.

Writers, as a breed (we are a breed, show your pedigrees with pride!) live for validation. As we all know, this is a solitary business. We might join mailing lists or critique groups, or take a class or two, but mostly we do it on our own. We practice and we polish and we hope we're doing it write. We get to the point where we think 'gee, I'm pretty clever' or 'I did that well' and we send our babies out into the world. They don't always succeed.

And sometimes they do.

And when they do, we can't help but be giddy and happy and, you know, we do embarrassing dances in our socks in the kitchen. So I'm going to brag.

Avon's having a contest, much like a 'choose-your-own adventure' sort of thing. It's Regency and they supply an idea for what the chapter must include. Writers flesh that out in the entries they submit. They do mini promos, with headlines and graphics. They write about 1500 words and their peers vote. The goal of the first round is to make the top 10.

Last week, I made the top 100.

This week, top 10!

Picture me dancing. :)

(If anyone's interested in following along [or voting!], the website is Avon FanLit. It costs nothing to register.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This writing life.

As the author proves that she is, once again, not dead. This is getting to be habit.

But I'm not! Hi! If anyone's still reading the blog after such a long hiatus, hello and welcome back. :)

For starters, I have another great pair of reviews over on Literary Sass for Fortune's Fool. Go check it out!

For seconds, I am at one of those endless loop, writing rut places that authors hate to be in, but that happen to all of us. In reading a couple of other blogs, it appears to be going around. With luck, I'll get out of it soon.

And start updating again. :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Catching up

I admit it. I am a grade-A slacker. The Engineer is out of the country, and I'm content to sit in my extremely quiet house and write. Or watch movies. Or pet the cats or read. Gosh, reading. I haven't dedicated significant chunks of time to reading for a while. It feels so good.

Still, I have to cook to eat, and do the occasional chore. Go to class, answer the phone, get the mail, that sort of thing.

I dream of the day when I don't have to, though. When I have servants and maids and -- okay, yeah, I'd probably be bored out of my skull, but it's a nice fantasy.

Got my RWR today, which means reading over the candidates and getting ready to vote. I've heard some people say they don't know enough to cast a ballot. To which I say, read. Think. Discuss with your friends. And if you decide not to vote, you have no room to complain if something doesn't go your way. That's how I feel about American politics, and how I feel about RWA National politics too.

I did my stint as chapter president. I may do it again next year. And I loathe nothing more than someone who complains about a decision the chapter made when they don't volunteer their time to do anything about it.

So there you have my rant.

Oh. Question: After all of the kerfluffle over Janet Butler's letter last month, do we know why there's no Letters to the Editor section in this month's RWR? I know for a fact that letters were written...

Friday, September 01, 2006

All about the dragon.

I've been sitting on reviews because. Well. I'm burning out on promotion. It's early in the career to say that, but it's true. I'm sure I'll get it back, but for now, working up the energy to say 'here are more exciting and new reasons to buy my book' isn't all that fun. Perhaps when I'm done writing more things and have a few more releases, I'll be more thrilled.

But the reviews.

First:

Serena at Fallen Angel Reviews says:

"The Dragon Undone is a fantastic tale of understanding and love. Both Chaia and Berdhan are wounded people with obstacles to overcome. They continually find themselves in positions that force them to open their minds and ultimately their hearts. ...I can only hope that there is another book in the works that walks us through the trials with them." -- 5 Angels at Fallen Angel Reviews

And then there's Literary Sass. Literary Sass is a review site run on Blogspot. The reviewers there pride themselves on not giving fluff reviews. It's purely a submit your own stuff site, if you've got the courage to do it, because if they don't like your work, well. They say so. Two reviewers read and review each submission. So I submitted The Dragon Undone.

Their rating scale is a little "backward" in that they judge by how many "shots" (of alcohol) it took to get through the book.

I'm pleased to say that The Dragon Undone, in their opinion, meritted two single-shot reviews. I may have danced. You can find them over here.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Like a dog with a bone.

Yes, I'm still on about this hot vs. not hot thing in romance currently. I'm serious about trying to figure out how to even up what's happening out here. I don't know that my little efforts will make a difference, but I'm trying anyway.

I blogged about it (again) over on Novelty Girls.

And the review site will be up as soon as I have something to put there. Hopefully this week.

I had adjusted, more or less, to my schedule with school. Now it's just a matter of making it through the semester. I'm very grateful to everyone who's cheered me on thus far.

So thanks!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Observations from this side of the screen.

So, now that I've been doing this whole writing and selling (!) thing, I've made a couple of observations. Possibly more than that, but one that I can put into coherent thought at the moment.

With the current focus on writing hot, it seems to me that books that are not "hot" have a hard time getting noticed, at least in the ebook world. I understand that this was the medium where the more erotic books got their start, and as such, it's where people go to look for quick, hot reads first. There are entire review sites that are dedicated to erotic romance.

But what about those of us who are writing "standard" heat level books? Or sweet, closed door books? We want to sell our books as much as anyone else. We want reviews and buzz and compliments on our writing too. But in trying to do promotion for my books, I've noticed that, unless there's something explicit in an excerpt, posting to mailing lists gets very little, if any, response. I've noticed that books without the higher heat ratings tend to get fewer reviews. I don't know if this happens with print books as well, seeing as I don't have any yet. Maybe it's just the climate at the moment.

But I'd like my fair shot, you know? I'm sure my fellow non-erotic authors would as well. To that end, I'm going to try to start doing reviews of these books. If you know of, or are, an author that writes at this heat level and you'd like to have your book reviewed, feel free to contact me (sara @ saradennis.com).

There are a few caveats:

1. I have a busy writing schedule and I have a busy school schedule. I am only one person and I have deadlines. :) I must also So I'll be doing one book a week AT MOST. It may be every two weeks.

2. No inspirational fiction. I don't have anything against inspirational romance, but I don't read it, so I'm not the right person to give you a critique. Anything else is fair game.

3. There will be a seperate journal for this. I will post a link when I get it set up.

4. Any reviews will be purely my opinion. I will not attack authors. My critiques will be of the writing, plot, characters, etc. only.

So that's the plan. I may be insane, but at least I admit it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How do they do it?

Holy cow. Those of you who have kids, work a full time job, have a marginally clean house and *still* manage to have a writing career, I salute you, I swear.

I had a mini panic attack today as the penalty for trying to be nice when my teacher asked people to switch to the earlier class. No problem, I thought. I'll go to the earlier class, I'll come home, kick back, I'll go to the later class.

Except it's 35 minutes, more or less, one way to school. Not counting traffic. And then home again. And then back again? And. I needed to get groceries and clean the bathroom (my favorite chore ever!) and replace a toilet seat and get The Engineer's laundry done *and* I was doing promo today and well, let's just not talk about how much writing I didn't do, shall we?

How do you all do it? This is what comes of being out of the workforce for five years, I think. Or from having actually kicked off the career I want. I didn't have this problem when I was doing school before because I had no deadlines. The dread D word.

So now I have to decide whether I can keep up with school, not drive myself or the Engineer nuts, and still make deadlines. That whirring sound you hear? May be my brain. If you smell smoke, don't worry. I have an extinguisher.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Too cool for school.

Or not, since school started up again for me yesterday.

Is that an awkward sentence or what? Ahem.

Yes, here I am, back in school again. Still. Whatever. I'm trying to get through a sign language interpreting program so I can get certified and do medical interpreting. I'm not sure why this fascinates me so much, but I got an EMT and did medical assistant training so I'd know something about the field. I may be crazy, but I love sign, when I get into it. Getting back into the scene is tough, though. Have to work on that. I also have to videotape myself a lot this semester. Eek!

Writing proceeds apace. A real pace. I'm making my quota, which suddenly feels like not enough, but man, sometimes it's a struggle to get there. Which makes me think I'm writing in the wrong direction, but I want to get this stuff down on paper. I can fix later. And I don't really have the time to start over, so, onward!

Speaking of which, I'm moving onward to do some promotion for Gena Showalter's next book. She's got the best covers! Check this out:

----



Playing With Fire by Gena Showalter

Earth, Wind and Fire aren’t just a band anymore…

Used to be my greatest achievement was holding a job more than three days. Now suddenly I can shoot fireballs, chill your drink, or blow-dry your hair at fifty paces with a blink of my eye!

It all started when this crazy scientist dropped something in my grande mocha latte. Of course I got wicked sick. Next morning I’m waking up with this total hottie bending over me. He tells me 1) his name’s Rome Masters, 2) he’s a government agent and 3) I can control the four elements with a thought.

He seems even less pleased by my (apparently irreversible) transformation that I am. . . because now he’s supposed to kill me. The only good news: I didn’t make this bed of trouble, but Rome sure seems to want me to lie in it. With him.

Read an excerpt

Order your copy from Barnes and Noble or Amazon or Books A Million

And if you’d like a chance to win signed copies of *all* Gena Showalter’s books, all you have to do is post this entry, too. Post the cover, the blurb, the links, and this contest announcement, then head over to Gena’s blog (http://www.genashowalter.blogspot.com ) and let her know you posted the material. A name will be randomly selected on September 3rd from those who do!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Status check

Time for another "I'm not dead" post. Apologies for not updating for eek, nearly a week. It's been a busy one. Long story short, I'm here, I'm fine and grinding away on stories as usual.

Thank you for the kind words of support. I'm over my stress fit. I realized I was being much harder on myself and more critical of the situation than I needed to be. And the resolution was so simple. Oish.

Last weekend, I ended up going down to Santa Cruz with the Engineer. Yesterday, down to San Jose to see a friend. No more traveling for a while. Don't these people realize that I have work to do? ;)

Actually, it was good to get out of the house for more than the errands of daily life. We keep hearing that writing is a solitary business and hey, some of us like our solitude, but it is nice to go and do things that have nothing to do with the business or computers or works in progress every once in a while.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fear of success

Someone, somewhere recently mentioned fear of success and how sometimes we sabotage ourselves in taking the next big step.

I'm living in more than a little fear that I'm doing that to myself at the moment. I am in the process of giving myself an ulcer and probably driving everyone else around me nuts. The sad part is that I can't help it. I've got feelers out all over the place and I'm waiting for answers, but so far I haven't gotten any. So I stress this out alone.

And yes, realistically, I'm sure it'll all be fine and everything will work out for the best and one day I'll come back to my little stress fit and laugh about it. But for now, it's really not funny.

In brighter news, Cobblestone Press is chatting over at Evolution Writers this weekend. Come check us out.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On Deadlines

I have just pushed yet another story to the backburner.

Was it going horribly wrong? Was I stuck at a dead end? Was I sure that it would never see the light of publication?

Nope. I ran out of time. Technically, with both of these, I could have finished them and kicked them out the door, but I knew they would read like what they are. Rushed. Hurried. And they'd reflect badly on me as representations of what I can do.

Besides, it's not like I don't have plenty of other stuff to write. I'm not giving up on these pieces. I'm just waiting a while. I'll come back to them I'm sure. I like them quite a bit.

Mostly, I need to be more realistic with myself about deadlines. If something is due by the middle of the month, starting it on the first is just silly.

In other exciting news, I have the cover for my October book! And I'm in love. Sable outdid herself and I'm so thrilled.

Stacking the Deck cover


Isn't she gorgeous?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sometimes, Monday really is a Monday

I know, I haven't done Monday Motivation in a while. I will, eventually. Today, I'm catching up.

Found an odd lump on the cat today so he went back to the vet. We shall see if it turns out to be long term bad news. I prefer to think no.

Got a rejection (though a good one!) from an agent. I always wonder, when they say 'if you have anything new, please contact me' whether I really should. Or rather, no, because I know they don't ask unless they mean it, but how soon after, you know? I mean, I could just turn around and fire something back out to her, but that seems tacky somehow.

Over at Romance Divas, they asked us to pass this on. I'm slow, but I'm passing:

Romance Divas
Author of the Month : Gemma Halliday

Contests workshop from the Golden Heart winner Aug 5-7: Paranormal Event with Carrie Vaughn, LA Banks, CT Adams/Cathy Clamp, Gena Showalter, and Kelley Armstrong.

Aug 11 Jessica Faust: Bookends-inc agent in the Chatroom. 9 Eastern

August 8-18

Getting To Know The Voices in Your Head Workshop with Jo Ann Ferguson/Jocelyn Kelley

Aug 18 :: Theresa Meyers: PR/Promo in the Chatroom.

August 25 :: Ann Christopher, Patricia Sargeant, Maureen Smith and Sophia Shaw Multi-cultural Authors Chat



And Tawny Taylor asked people to spread the word that her book, Sex and the Single Ghost, is typical Tawny fare and contains hot hot hot sex. It's not a "typical" ghostly romance, in other words. It sounds like a great premise though, so don't let the cute cover and back cover copy fool you.

There. Now I can try to catch up with the day.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Eye of the Beholder gets a five.

Eye of the Beholder is my short (very short!) book with Freya's Bower. I was googling myself, without going blind thank you, and stumbled over this review last night.

Imagine my surprise to see that Annie over at Euro-Reviews said: "These two stories, based on a similar theme, are most thought-provoking and disturbing. I’d like to see more from this author. I think these stories will remain with me for quite a while. They are erotic but not graphic, and examine some serious issues. I recommend them."

Fair warning, the rest of the review is extremely spoilerific. It's basically a summary of the stories in the book, which, if you want to read them and haven't yet, you probably don't want to read. That said, the rest of the review is here.

In other news, I got the contract for that book that was giving me grief, so phew, I can breathe again. It's titled Stacking the Deck and it will be out in October as part of the Vegas Magic series with my fellow Musketeers.

Annnnd, as we suspected we might, we're in the process of doing another series, this time with our new d'Artagnan, Crystal. It's going to be cooool. Keep your eyes peeled for more news.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Communication issues

There have been any number of communication issues of late, and they all make me shake my head and want to stay in hiding until things straighten out.

If you're a fan/believer/follower of the metaphysical, you might know that Mercury has been in retrograde. Mercury, known to the Greeks as Hermes, was the messenger of the god. His planet, therefore, is believed to control communications of all sorts. Been having more fights than usual with friends and family? Cellphone on the fritz? Emails bouncing or being misunderstood? Blame Mercury.

When it's in retrograde, meaning traveling backward in its orbit, communications tend to break down. While that isn't an excuse not to try to be clear, it is something to look out for. It happens three times I year, I think. Once nowish, once in November, maybe once in March.

Fortunately for us, Mercury's scheduled to start moving forward again tomorrow. It's about time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Still dancing!

Thanks to everyone for their thanks. I promise I'll at least post a link here when the webpage and new journal are up and running.

I mentioned a few days ago that I had a discussion with Elizabeth Bear that I thought was interesting. And it touched on the subject of alpha males in romance.

She was trying to understand the appeal and have them explained. She's not a romance writer, and had heard about them and didn't get why they were used in the genre. I'm paraphrasing, and I'm not sure I gave her the best answer. What I said was that I thought it fell into the realm of reader fantasy. That romance readers like to read alpha males because they like to see strong, unbending, dominating and maybe even sexist males being shown that his new partner/interest does not belong only in the kitchen or delivery room, but that she has a brain and deserves respect and to be an equal partner.

She thought that perhaps that translated to the heroine being content to be the special one while other women still suffered the brunt of the Alpha's bad behavior and chauvenism and didn't feel all that comfortable with the idea, herself.

There was a comment in that discussion made that perhaps the concept of "changing" the alpha male fed into dangerous illusions about romance that might be translated to the real world, too.

So how do you feel? Do you like alpha males? Do you feel they do a disservice to the genre or to our readers?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

News news and more news.

You fret about something and it something changes. That seems to be the law of internet blogging.

For those of you who didn't get hit by the squee heard around the world: My alterego is being offered a contract with Ellora's Cave. I'm still doing backflips!
It's in a spicier subgenre than I currently write, so I don't know how much, if any, overlap there'll be between the two blogs, but I'm happy enough to celebrate publically here.

*happy dancing* :)

The waiting game.

Let's discuss patience.

I suck at it. I freely admit this.

Okay, I take it back. I don't suck at it. I'm pretty good about following guidelines and listening to what I'm told. If you give me a six month deadline, I will write that down and wait to hear something back in six months. If you get back to me before then, with good news or bad, I am happily surprised and I move on.

If, however, you go beyond the deadline or extend it over and over, I get nervous and anxious and fidgety. I obsess. I think that's part and parcel of being a writer. I also think it has something to do with the difference in mindsets on both sides of this business.

As writers, we focus only on our own work. We only really pay attention to what impacts us or what opportunities might come open for our work. We want to know that we're headed in the right direction, taking full advantage of good things and that we're moving forward.

Editors have a *ton* of things to keep track of all at once. They have many authors, all of whom want their time and attention and want to be the special ones. It must be maddening to try to keep up with everything and make sure all the pieces of the job get done, that no one person gets skimped on or brushed aside.

But I think there's something of an unfair expectation from that side of the publishing desk. It seems, to me, that editors want deadlines met and adhered to and if they aren't, there's a penalty to the author. It doesn't work in reverse. If an author gets frustrated or fed up, there's no real recourse. There's someone else who will gladly take her space, fill her slot, and not think twice about doing it.

So what are some tricks that you all use to slay the beast of doubt while you're waiting? Because I could use the help.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Stick a fork in me.

I'm done!

With the "still must be edited" draft of Stacking the Deck, but the story is told. There are some tweaks to be made, but it's finished and it feels good, I tell you what. I was sweating getting it done. I did it.

I don't want to squeak that close to deadline again. I'm sure I will, but that doesn't change the fact that I don't want to.

In other news, Karen over at Euro-Reviews had this to say about Fortune's Fool: "Fortune's Fool presents the reader with good characterization and realistic, loveable characters." - 4.5 flags out of 5. You can read the whole review here.

Pretty decent day, all told, but now I'm giving my brain a break.

Oh! First. Congratulations to our very own Shelli Stevens for winning her category in the Stroke of Midnight contest. Way to go, Porthos!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Friday!

Wow, as far as Fridays go, this one has been a bit of a mixed blessing.

I can see the end of the current project from here, which is a huge relief.

I was supposed to go visit a friend during her layover at the airport, but her flights have all been rescheduled. At this point, she may not make the connection to her international flight. Mrp.

I had a fantastic virtual "conversation" with an acquaintance of mine who writes fantasy novels, Elizabeth Bear. Which is something to blog about another day!

I have to take my cat to the vet. Bleh.

And it's new release Friday! Check these books out:

A Taste of Italy by Lucie Simone
She's always been a naughty girl at heart...



Between Floors by Lia Sebastian
Her home is where his heart is and he'll prove it to her.



Slow Burn by Madison Chase
Their passion was instant. But her secret could change everything.



Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Connected books

So as we've talked about (we being Lori, Shelli and I), we're writing connected books. Or rather, that's the plan. There are already two books turned in. Mine's the last one to go.

This is harder than it looks. I keep hitting walls and getting myself all tangled up in trying to make things work and fit around what the other two wrote.

Man. We did this one off the cuff. If it happens again, it's going to take more planning to result in fewer grey hairs. :)

In other news, it's still hot. That's not helping.

ETA: Crisis averted somewhat. This is a good thing. The learning curve is a bear, I tell you. But the Musketeers will persevere.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday Motivation

I am seriously, seriously ready for the heatwave to end. It's sucking every ounce of creativity out of my head. I would rather read someone else's words than write my own. Pity that it doesn't work that way, huh?

But it's Monday, start of a new week and hopefully things will be somewhat cooler. Okay, they're not yet as it's 102 at 11am, but there's always wishful thinking.

I know I've seen this addressed on other blogs, but I'm going to bring it up too. Why is it that, when you *must* work on one project, your brain insists on coming up with a dozen others that would be better/more entertaining/more fun? What sadistic little splinter of our minds does that to us writers?

Why does "us writers" look wrong?

On to the interesting part!



I remembered days like the one displayed on the screen, as a child. Days when the heat shimmered up off the Serenghetti like waves of water passing over my eyes. When the sun was a necessary part of life and we played beneath it, taking for granted that it would always be there. Before the days of the bunkers and cold meat in tins.

----

Your turn!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hey hey, it's Friday!

It's Friday. Woohoo, another week over. And boy, time is flying. It's the 21st? July's almost gone? How is that possible?

Still chugging away on Stacking the Deck. Well. Plodding. Okay, sort of oozing at a snail's pace. I will make deadline, I will. My brain may erupt into flame, but I'll do it, dang it.

I got a fantastic review from Ecataromance on The Dragon Undone. Keely Skillman gave me 4.5 stars and says: "As a stanch fantasy fanatic, I can honestly say that Ms. Dennis brings a breath of fresh air and the comfort of familiarity to her writing. I hope to see at least one sequel to this enchanting tale; but I would be even more satisfied with multiple additions to the treasure trove of Ms. Dennis' unique world." You can read the full review here.

Friday also means it's release day at Cobblestone Press!

Butterfly Kisses by Ann Cory

Can a life-changing miracle occur from the act of a single kiss?


Butterfly Kisses

My Lips Are Sealed by Mia Romano

Jade’s husband is moonlighting as a gigolo and revenge is on her mind.


My Lips are Sealed

Seducing Olivia by Madison Layle and Anna Leigh Keaton

Two men, one woman, and a seductive love to last a lifetime.


Seducing Olivia

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Oops!

Also, I failed to mention! There's a new group blog, if you want to check out our rambling madness.

Come see the Novelty Girls!. You know you want to.

Not melted yet!

I have not melted yet, though man, the weather's making serious attempts. Okay, so we had a "significant cool-down" yesterday. It only hit 104. Today, it's supposed to be 106. 112 by Friday. I may be living in a bucket but I'll try to solidify enough to type.

My system of project rotation has to go by the wayside, until I finish this book for Cobblestone's Octoberfest. My book--which I'm calling Stacking the Deck, by the way--is the third in a miniseries the other two Musketeers and I are doing, so I can't let them down. Must. Write. Faster.

As another side note, did you know we've decided which Musketeers we are? Loribelle is Athos, because she writes dark, brooding stories. I'm Aramis, because I'm a gigantic, romantic sap. And Shelli is Porthos, because she's the crack-up of the group. We may be auditioning a d'Artagnan. Keep your eyes peeled.

In more news! I got a request from a publisher I've been waiting to hear from. I squealed at The Engineer who rolled his eyes and was happy for me in his own quiet, long-suffering way. So think good thoughts as I attempt to give it a final pass (while finishing the Octoberfest book! Really!)

Who needs sleep?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Too hot to think.

We're having a heat wave. Everyone's having a heat wave, I think. But it's currently 109 degrees. I have the air conditioner on and it's still way too warm in my house to have creative thought. So I'm begging off of the monday motivational post this week. I apologize. With luck, it'll be cooler next week and it'll be back, but I'm having trouble motivating myself to do my necessary writing, much less anything else.

The weekend teaching went well. We stumbled over a program we're probably going to repeat in the future, for the chapter. I love it when that happens.

Okay, off to lay under the fan. I dream of a kiddie pool right here in front of the computer.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Contest winner and Saturday teaching

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the contest for the dragon ring to celebrate my second book release. Thanks for those of you who came out to the chat a Cobblestone Press last night, as well.

The Engineer drew a name last night and the ring and copy of The Dragon Undone goes to:

Tara Woods!

Congratulations, Tara. I hope you enjoy it!

Today, I'm off to teach a couple of topics at my local RWA chapter. I'll be speaking on how to write a synopsis and very very basic website information. I always wanted to speak to a chapter, but I don't know if these were the topics I wanted to touch. :) We'll see how it goes.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Dragon Undone

is available now, complete with a brand new excerpt. Thanks, everyone, for the words of support!

Also available from my fellow Cobblestone authors today:

Midnight Whispers by Anisa Damien
What happens when friends-with-benefits isn't enough?

Midnight Whispers

The Pirate's Booty by Shelli Stevens
She went to steal a brooch, but found her deepest fantasies.

The Pirate's Booty

And don't forget my contest. If you haven't commented or emailed me already, you have until 8pm Pacific tonight to do so.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Big news!

As hinted at yesterday, I have big news today!

The Dragon Undone, my second book with Cobblestone Press, is being released tomorrow. Surprise! This is a fantasy romance with shapeshifting dragons, a rather reluctant hero and, yes, romance, because a little romance always shows up in my stories. Curious? You can always read an excerpt.

To celebrate, you guessed it, I'm having another contest. This time the prize is a copy of The Dragon Undone and this ring.



The ring is stainless steel and a size 11, but rings from this company run small, so it's probably more a ten. This means it may be a thumb ring, or a gift for a male friend, if your hands are small. Mine are large and I wear one on my middle finger. What you do with yours is up to you!


In order to win it, all you have to do is comment here or send me an email with "Contest Entry" in the header. I will draw a winner tomorrow night at 8pm PST.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Procrastination is the name of the game.

I should have been writing today. What did I do instead? I updated my website. Nothing major, just a little bit of a face lift since the clutter was beginning to drive me nuts. And it's easier to clean up web clutter than it is to clean my house. Ahem.

I need to make a few more changes but then I think I'll let it sit for a while. Maybe. If I can stand it.

This is the peril of knowing how to write HTML. One of the perils. You can't leave well enough alone. (The other is that you're too impatient to let anyone else do it for you.)

I'll write now. Probably. Unless that other website starts calling my name...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A late entry!

But an entry nonetheless. Or rather, a posting.

I had a dentist appointment today. O frabjous day, calloo callay! Or not. I loathe going to the dentist. I actually have a minor phobia of it. And one day, I will recount the many tales of horror. Or maybe I won't, but believe me, they were horrible.

At any rate, an otherwise uneventful day. I've finished the last pass on The Dragon Undone and will have it turned in to my fantabulous editor hopefully tonight or tomorrow. We may see this book come out sometime soon. We shall have to see what the cards say. Cross your fingers.

It's a vague sort of day, so I'll leave you with nebulous, wibbly thoughts and try to have content tomorrow.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Monday Motivation

Another Monday that actually feels like one. Not that I'm particularly a fan of the first day of the work week, but better to know where you are than constantly be playing catch up, right?

Though I have not seen Superman Returns yet (and I hear it's better than expected), we *did* see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. And holy special effects. If you thought the undead crew in the first movie was impressive, wait until you see this one. There were incredible amounts of character development, a *wonderful* tentacle-y bad guy and ... really. Last time it was about the plot more than the characters. Not so any more. This movie was all about getting to know the players better.

And that's all I'll say to avoid spoilering.

This week I'm moderating the final week of the Pre-Conference Bootcamp, which is an online workshop we do with RWA National. We have agents, locals to that year's conference, editors and authors who volunteer their time to ask questions and give advice to those of you going to National. This week we have Nadia Cornier of Firebrand Literary with us. If you're a member of RWA Pro and are interested in hearing what she has to say about pitching at National, feel free to sign up!

And with no further ado:

----



"It's not fire or ice," the old man said, pausing to chew the stem of his pipe. His gaze was unfocused and far away. "It's a tree. A great, black tree with no leaves. There's no god to tell you up or down. It's all about the climb. If you can climb the backs of the people beneath you, you can reach the thinnest branches and climb up to a better end."

"And if you can't?" Someone had to ask. Most held their breath.

His gaze snapped back and his eyes crinkled at the edges. "If you can't, a thousand passing feet will wear you smooth as a stone."

----

Your turn!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Finally Friday!

Ha! Now it's Friday, and I can stop feeling like the week is all out of whack.

I attribute the fact that this entry is late and very likely full of not much at all to the fact that I was up too early this morning. I've entered this phase of my life where, no matter what time I go to sleep, I wake up at 7:30. Go to bed at 10pm? Up at 7:30. Go to bed at 3am? Up at 7:30. It's great on the 10pm nights. Not so much on the 3am mornings.

And then sometimes, like today, I get up even earlier for some reason I have yet to figure out. It leaves my head very empty though. I think this is why I've been having a devil of a time doing my writing quota lately. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm doing it. But it's a bit like pulling teeth. This too shall pass.

I finished an "old" category novel today. It was Cassidy Harte and the Comeback Kid by Raeanne Thayne. It's the last of a miniseries she wrote for Silhouette Intimate Moments back in 2002. (It's #1144 if anyone's looking.) I really enjoyed Matt and Jesse's books so figured I'd like this one too. Cassidy's the little sister of those two heroes. It's a long-lost love/reunion story with a suspense twist, and while I usually like those, this one just didn't work as well for me as I might have liked. I liked Zach, the hero, a lot, but Cassidy wasn't my kind of heroine and the suspense factor wasn't all that suspenseful to me, meaning I had it figured out about halfway through.

That said! Ms. Thayne's a great writer, and one book that didn't sparkle for me will not keep me from turning my nose up at anything else she might have written.

So what're y'all reading out there?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rambling, as usual.

Yes, the holiday in the middle of the week (close enough, shh) threw things off. Still trying to work back up to speed. It doesn't help that my brain now wants to leap a day ahead and tell me that tomorrow's Friday, so I can relax today!

Ha ha, nuh-uh brain. It doesn't work that way.

I was looking around at Harlequin's webpage today and specifically the Kimani Press pages. I'm not going to get extremely political again. I've done that once and once was enough, at least for the time being. I think that Kimani books look really good and I think they're going to reach a lot more readers. Harlequin is nothing if not good about getting books to places where they'll be seen.

Matter of fact, I think I'll go order a few. Not that I need more books to read. (*gasp* Heresy! How could I not need more books, I know!) I'm going to do it anyway.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It's Wednesday?

Does it feel like Monday to anyone else? I keep getting confused.

But it's my day over at Love, Lust and Other Oddities, so it *must* be Wednesday. I'm over there talking about favorite locations to write about. Feel free to swing by and chime in.

The Engineer is back at work today, but he showed me this link: See if you can identify the stories based on the pictures. No fair cheating if you read Cyrillic!

In other news, I got an ergonomic keyboard. I went through the onset of carpal tunnel in college and so I try to be careful with my wrists. Also, my old keyboard was *shot*. I tell you, I'm hard on them, I guess. I actually wore a hole in my e key. And the letters were wearing off, other keys were pitted and grooved. Weird.

I don't touch type. Rather, I don't touch type correctly, with home row and such. I taught myself how to type, so I have my own system, but I'm pretty fast and unconcerned about it. It does, however, lead to interesting stretches when your keyboard is split down the middle and you can't really cross over where you shouldn't. It's good for me. I think. It's amusing, at least.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July to all of the Americans stopping by! 230 years of fireworks, celebrations and parades. I know that's hardly a drop in the pot to our European friends, but we're still trucking along. Consider what's happening now our adolescent phase, possibly pre-teen, and I think you'll have it right.

I was remembering the bicentennial thirty years ago and how I marched down main street in Millersville, PA, right beside Aaron Dread. Yep, we were four, and no doubt adorable. I wonder whatever happened to Aaron. Too bad I lost track of him.

At any rate, enjoy the day! It's yard work, house cleaning and possibly a late dinner and firework show for me. :)

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's Monday! It's also July. How does that happen? Time just moves faster and faster, I swear.

Still working away. I've been doing some webdesign work for myself and other people, so that takes my attention away from the blogging business, but I also just haven't been good about it. I know I keep saying that, and that I'll fix it, but really, I'm going to do it this time.

It's like a diet or exercise plan. Eventually it sticks, right?

My fellow Musketeers made the Best Sellers list over at Cobblestone Press, so three cheers for them! I console myself on not being there because I'm selling a) a full-length ebook that's b) a straight contemporary and c) a "standard" romance. There's no explicit sex on those pages. In the current ebook market, that makes me a hard sell, and you know, for all of those marks against me, I'm not doing badly. Onward and upward, as the saying goes.

Now for the fun part:

----



Thomas stared at the array of glowing things before him. They didn't bubble, fizz, hiss or pop. They glowed. They glowed brightly enough to illuminate the basement and shine in Naomi's eyes, but they didn't smoke and they certainly didn't look like the answer to the question of whether she was a real witch or not. Dare or not, he wasn't putting any of that in his mouth.

----

Your turn!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bad author, no biscuit.

Really, Sara, you are slacking on the job here. Not being entertaining and witty seven days a week. Tsk.

The truth is, I have trouble being entertaining and witty two or three days a week. :) I mean *I* like some of what I write, but then I do that writer-who's-read-too-many-craft-books things and thing "Am I writing darlings? Am I going to be too stuck on myself to change anything?" And I stress. And it's a vicious cycle.

Yes, I know, I know, I missed the inspirational picture of the week. It'll be back next week, honest.

I finished the second round of edits for The Dragon Undone last night. Once they're finished, I can announce the release date I get, and hunt down someone at VistaPrint to tell me why my cards aren't here yet. Grr.

You'll notice that I added another word meter to the sideboard over there. That's for a Halloween book for Cobblestone. I'm writing a semi-connected book with my fellow Musketeers Loribelle and Shelli. Only those two have already turned theirs in, I think. So not fair.

I tell you what, there's always someone to catch up with. :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Home again, home again.

The Engineer is back and we're readjusting to each other. Ah, the trials. ;)

The ladies of Love, Lust and Other Oddities are chatting on the CataNetwork email loop today. If you're a member, don't hesitate to stop by and say hello. We'd love to see you.

And, back to writing. Gotta keep up, can't fall behind.

There's not a lot that's more interesting to say. It's been 105-106 here for the past several days, so I haven't been getting out of the house to see the world much. This makes for less than thrilling updates, I know, and I apologize. I'll think of something fun soon.