Wednesday, December 31, 2008
BEDEVILED is coming! BEDEVILED is coming!!
Oh, wait. Maybe you don't know about BEDEVILED yet. So um, why would you care that it's coming?
Okay, let me start that over. On the left, is the cover for BEDEVILED. Gorgeous, yes? I think so. And even better, it's a terrific story if I do say so myself!
Sure, I may be a little biased, since I wrote the book, but let me tell you a little bit about it and you decide...
See, I love paranormal. The weirder the better as far as I'm concerned. But I also like my otherworldly books to have a sense of humor. Needless to say, BEDEVILED does.
The book starts out with Maggie Donovan going to return her ex-boyfriend's ABBA cd's only to find him being eaten. When it looks like she's going to be dessert, Maggie fights back against a creature like she's never seen before. In the incredibly clumsy battle for her life, Maggie inhales what looks like gold dust. Turns out, it's Faery dust and it's already beginning to change her life! Suddenly, she's super strong and has a tendency to float at the most inopportune times. And just when she thinks it can't get worse, it does.
Culhane, a centuries old Fenian Warrior for the Fae arrives to tell Maggie that she is the Destined Queen of the Fae. The only trick is, she has to defeat evil Queen Mab to claim the throne. No problem, except that Maggie doesn't know how to fight, doesn't have time to fight and hey, has zero interest in being the Queen of a world she never even knew existed until like five minutes ago!
But as she and her family come under attack, Maggie discovers that the only way to keep everyone safe is defeat Mab and become a queen whether she wants to or not. Of course, her sister Nora loves the whole Fae thing. And Nora's daughter Eileen researches Otherworld and peppers her befuddled aunt with facts and tips. Then there's Bezel, a two thousand year old pixie with an attitude, who shows up to train Maggie for her coming battle.
And did I mention that Culhane and Maggie have a much deeper connection than she knows? That this Fenian Warrior will do anything to claim her as his? And oh yes, Culhanes also got this pesky little connection to Mab, too.
Things are hopping around Maggie Donovan as she tries to become the Queen of Otherworld! I really hope you all rush out and buy it!!
BEDEVILED hits the shelves on Jan 6th! Be sure to look for it! Or, click on one of the links in this blog and preorder if you want to make a writer happy!
Either way, I wish you all peace and joy and good health in the coming new year!
And always, I wish you great books!
Monday, December 29, 2008
I want to thank Lee Hyat for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this blog. Now that the whirl of Christmas is past, it seems a good time to reflect on the past year and the year to come. As a writer, I have much to be thankful for this year. I've seen several new books on the shelves in 2008, including my brand new release, A Man To Rely On. (More about that in a bit.)
Obviously, this has been a year of ups and downs for everyone. My nature is not to dwell on the downs, but I think I also sometimes don't stop to savor the ups enough. So one thing I hope to do in the coming year is to Enjoy Every Blessing — both large and small. A beautiful day? I'm going to get up from my desk and enjoy it — even if I only have time to walk out onto the back deck for a few moments and take a deep a breath. I'm going to take those few moments. A yummy desert? Instead of gobbling it down, I want to savor it. A new sale? Time to break out the champagne!
As for those downs — when bad news or tough times or disappointments come my way, I'm going to focus really hard on all the things that are still going right — even if it's something as small as a good cup of tea to enjoy and a new book (or an old favorite title) that I'm looking forward to reading.
And speaking of books, I read a lot of great books in this past year, but my To Be Read pile still towers, so another goal I have for the new year is to Read More Books. I'm not sure how I'll do it, but I plan to find a way!
On the writing front, I want to continue to Work on Improving My Craft. I'm going to read some new how-to books and review some of the ones I have. I also want to take some classes and workshop. I have over three dozen published books to my name, but I know I still have a lot to learn.
As for the books I've written, I promised to tell you a little about my current release, so here's a little blurb "Marisol Luna returns to her hometown of Cedar Switch, Texas in the aftermath of a sensational trial in which she was acquitted of murdering her basketball superstar husband. Her childhood friend, Scott Redmond, isrebuilding his reputation after a few missteps of his own. She was the woman he couldn't forget. He was the kind of man she'd always wanted. But is love worth all they will have to give up to be together?"
"Cindi Myers' A Man to Rely On (4) is a story about recovering from tragedy. Both Scott and Marisol are dealing with painful pasts, and Myers does a wonderful job depicting their emotions and fears." Romantic Times (4 stars)
You can read an excerpt of the book here.
A Man to Rely On collected about a dozen rejections as I submitted the story in various formats and guises over the years. It has, in turn, been written as women's fiction, romantic suspense, and finally, as romance. Finally, at Superromance, I knew I'd found the perfect venue of this story about two characters who simply would not leave me alone. Which brings me to my final goal for the new year. I Won't Give Up. Whatever dreams I'm pursuing in the coming months, I won't let a few setbacks or hard times keep me from going after them. I'll pick myself up, dust myself off and take another shot. A Man to Rely On proves that when the timing is right, everything comes together.
What goals or dreams do you plan to pursue in the coming year?
I'm Cindi Myers. You can visit me online here.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I've been giving thanks for all that is good in life and lately it's made me focus more than usual on my kids. Now that the Twilight mania has calmed down a bit (for teenagers and moms alike), my daughter is totally focused on the upcoming Jonas Brothers 3D movie. She was curled up on a chair in my office the other night, chatting about them with a friend and it was really quite a hilarious conversation. I won't go into it (I value my peace but yes, i was eavesdropping... shamelessly.... )but anyway, that bit of eavesdropping did spark the idea for my topic!
I've got a few questions for you, should you wish to play my game. I'm going to include my own answers with the questions, just to show you there are no right or wrong answers. :)
Question #1 - How do you spell "Delicious"?
My answer - H-U-G-H-G-R-A-N-T
Question #2 - How do you spell "Gorgeous"?
My answer - R-O-B-E-R-T-P-A-T-T-I-N-S-O-N
Question #3 - How do you spell "Dangerous"?
My answer - S-E-A-N-C-O-N-N-E-R-Y
Question #4 - How do you spell "Sarcastically Funny"?
My answer - H-U-G-H-L-A-U-R-I-E
Question #5 - How do you spell "Dreamy"?
My answer - G-E-R-A-R-D-B-U-T-L-E-R
Now it's your turn. Please answer the five questions here, on the blog, and then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and mailing address. Be sure to mark the subject heading Happy Holidays-2.
One lucky winner will receive the following books as a prize -
THE LAST UNDERCOVER - Bob Hamer
CRIMINAL MINDS: FINISHING SCHOOL - Max Allan Collins
ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY - Lori Handeland
PANE OF DEATH - Sarah Atwell
UNLEASHED - Lori Borrill
Winner will be announced here on the 26th of December. :) Good luck!
***Laurie G from FL is the winner! Congratulations! Your prize will be in the mail soon. :) Thanks to everyone who played the game!***
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
"Are you sure he didn't have another nickname?" I persisted. "Maybe something just Grandma called him...like, maybe, Prince?"
"So who is this guy?" I asked him. "What's the deal with this Prince Mohindin?"
I'd always assumed both the Fullers and the Dimlers had lost their respective fortunes by the time my Grandpa Bert and Grandmother El met and married but maybe I'd been wrong.
"Were you rich?" I asked my father.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
THE ROMANTICS by Galt Niederhoffer
"The Romantics is a smart, edgy novel that is wickedly insightful about class and privilege, amusingly cynical about love and friendship, and thoroughly entertaining throughout. Galt Niederhoffer is an elegant prose stylist and a shrewd social observer."—Tom Perrotta
Laura and Lila were once as close as could be--college roommates at the center of a tight-knit group of friends. But the friendship has wilted a bit. Now, ten years after college, the friends--and the boyfriend they shared--have reunited for Lila’s wedding at her family’s seaside estate in Maine.
Laura is reserved, single, and the only Jew in the group, while the bride, Lila, is a WASP-y moneyed golden girl, and the groom, Tom, a swim team star from a working class Catholic background, is a perfect paradox of confidence and confusion. As the wedding draws near and wine flows faster, the disappointments and desires of the reuniting friends come quickly to the surface. A drunken game on the estate’s dock goes awry when the revelers are pulled out to sea by the current. When they swim back to shore, they are short by one—the groom. The search throws the group’s shifting allegiances into relief and results in new betrayals as well as confessions.
With Lila’s family’s picture-perfect Maine summer house as the backdrop, Laura not only sees her old friends in a new light, but reassesses herself as well—is she the only one of the group destined to be unmarried into her thirties? Was it always this obvious that she was the only Jew in a pride of WASPs? Struggling with the traditionally thankless role of maid of honor—not to mentioncontending with Lila’s formidable mother Augusta—Laura also realizes she can't stop thinking about her complicated, long and intense relationship with the groom. But isn't that relationship far in the past?
A wry observer of cultural and social mores, Niederhoffer creates a pitch-perfect group of characters and a winning novel about friendship, class and love.
CAPTIVE DREAMS - Angela Knight & Diane Whiteside
Celeste and Corinne Carson are more than sisters—they're both bestselling writers, each with an alpha-male hero who fulfills the wildest fantasies of readers. For Celeste, it's Jarred, a conqueror from the future. For Corinne, it's the barbarian Mykhayl from a world long ago. Devilishly sensual warriors, Jarred and Mykhayl have something in common with themselves—they're both far more real than their beautiful creators could have imagined.
Fearing that the sisters are baout to write them off with a single stroke of the pen, Jarred and Mykhayl decide to exact hot, sweet revenge. The plan? Kidnap Celeste and Corinne, spirit them away to the very worlds of which they wrote, and force them to surrender to the sublime punishments of their own uninhibited imaginations...
THE ROGUE AND THE RIVAL - Maya Rodale
If Lord Phillip were not in pain, he'd consider himself lucky to be in a hospital full of women, albeit nuns. His reputation has preceded him, but as he stays on, his thoughts of novitiate Angela Palmerston grow nobler-as her thoughts of him become less than holy . . .
NO REST FOR THE WICCAN - Madelyn Alt
Maggie O'Neill reluctantly volunteers to care for her bedridden, oh-so-perfect sister, Mel, but strange spirits threaten to divert her attention. Then a friend of Mel's loses her husband to a dreadful fall, and the police call it an accidental death. Maggie's not so sure, and sets her second sights on finding a first-degree murderer.
Monday, December 22, 2008
This fall, I was invited to present a luncheon keynote speech at the League of Utah Writers Conference. I chose a topic very near and dear to my heart, and since this is a time of year we like to reflect on what makes us happy and what we’re thankful for, I’d like to discuss it here today.
Many people believe an author lives in a bubble, where she writes, writes, writes and occasionally takes a break to eat or use the restroom or (if she’s lucky) sleep a few hours. This is sometimes unavoidable. However, I don’t enjoy being in my bubble. I long for human interaction.
I’m guilty of being “a social butterfly,” so finding fellow writers was a natural step for me. When I first started writing, about six years ago, I answered an ad placed in our local paper by international columnist Drienie Hattingh. She was searching for people to start a critique group. Since then, the original group grew and branched out, but the two of us remain close and still critique each other’s work and support one another’s careers.
To further grow my writing network, I joined RWA and met wonderful people at their national conferences. One such person, YA author (Sorority 101 series w/a Kate Harmon and the forthcoming Ghost Huntress series) Marley Gibson, not only helped me with my writing and kept me updated on industry news, she introduced me to the fabulous Christina Hogrebe who became my agent and quickly made my dream to be a YA author come true.
Conferences are a great way to build one’s network, and Drienie Hattingh and I partnered up to bring the first annual Eden Writers Fall Conference (http://www.edenwriters.org/) to life last year, with plans of a second conference in 2010. But for the writer who’d rather network from the home or office, the internet offers many options. There are an abundance of social sites, like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. There are also many Yahoo! Groups to join, or you can even start a new one that serves your specific needs. Blogging is another great way to network. (Of course, these options can also help grow one’s audience, which is always a good thing.)
This year in particular, my writing network grew by leaps and bounds. Much of it is due to a blog my friend and author of The Second Virginity of Suzy Green, Sara Hantz, started with a dozen other YA authors. http://www.teenfictioncafe.blogspot.com/. Another way I grew my network was by promoting my first novel within the community, from school visits to book signings, book clubs to TV interviews. I also joined SCBWI and a Yahoo! Group of Utah-based nationally published children’s book authors and illustrators.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to keep growing and nurturing my writing network. I’m so thankful for everybody who’s helped my dream to be an author come true—teachers, parents, siblings, relatives, husband, sons, friends, fellow writers, and the great folks at Jane Rotrosen Agency and Simon and Schuster. Cheers to you all!
YA author Wendy Toliver lives in the Utah mountains with her husband, three little boys, and other various wildlife. Visit her online at http://www.wendytoliver.com, http://www.pulserocom.com, and http://www.teenfictioncafe.blogspot.com.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
With the downturn in the economy, I was wondering if people were going to light up their houses, yards and anything that will stand still the way they have in previous years. I can remember places that were practically a “must see” for everyone when I was a child. Lights on everything. Moving figures. Life-size mangers. The bigger the better.
One of my favorites was an area in a neighboring town that may have been part of a Christmas tree market. Memories are a little fuzzy, but it seems that parents would take the kids there to check out the trees, and while Mom and Dad were attending to the business of choosing Scotch Pine or Douglas Fir, the kids could go through a brightly lit maze loaded with decorated cut-outs of gingerbread castles, Santa figures surrounded by elves, reindeer and at the end of this dazzling wonderland, a meeting with Santa himself, who would patiently listen to you while you rattled off a list of every toy you had ever seen in the ads on TV. And if Mom and Dad had paid for an “extra,” you went home with a brightly wrapped present that generally turned out to be a coloring book. Hey, it came from Santa, so it was great.
Later on, when you were older and either had a car or had friends with cars, you went on the holiday grand tour. After dark you drove all around your town to gawk at your favorite light displays from years past, took note of the newer ones, commented on additions to old favorites and got together with your best friends, cousins or boyfriends to go to nearby towns with outstanding displays that involved outlining entire houses, yards, fences and anything else that could be wired.
I remember one house in a fancy suburb a few towns away that was almost an institution. This guy had every imaginable decoration on his property – including his piece de résistance, a tribute to The King. Not the Baby Jesus. Elvis. Display aficionados adored it. His neighbors hated it. I believe there was talk of a lawsuit to ban cars driving into the area and clogging up traffic all the while it was on show. That was the down side of the winter extravaganza, of course - the fans who waited all year to see what the proud homeowner would come up with next, and the furious neighbors who ground their teeth at the real inconvenience and probably muttered about “all these people from who knows where,” jamming up their streets and blocking exits.
One of my friends from work once told me she used to take her parents from Ecuador on a tour of light displays in my town when they came for a Christmas visit. They loved it, took pictures, and considered it a real highlight of their stay in New Jersey. Inca gold they could see back home. New Jersey had millions of Christmas lights and people who weren’t afraid to use them. They thought it was fantastic and found the natives really clever!
Melina, who wrote the paranormal thrillers DEVOUR (2007) and PREY (2008) is currently working on a third novel in the series. Her newest vampire tale is tentatively slated for 2010.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
And, along those lines, I'm making a point of reading some Christmas-themed romances during my hiaitus.
In my holiday shopping travails, I picked out the following titles for my Christmas reading which are waiting in my TBR pile. I'm curious to know if anyone has read them and what you thought:
I love Brava anthologies, and Jingle Bell Rock had a ton of my favorite authors. I mean, who can go wrong with Alison Kent, Nancy Warren, Lori Foster and Janelle Denison all in one batch?
I picked this one up because I liked the theme: Two people stranded on a deserted island. Plus, with the weather getting cold, I thought the added tropical setting would warm up the holidays.
I'm a big Jamie Sobrato fan and this was her first endeavor in writing short stories. And I think in general, there's something about the rush of the holiday season that makes it suitable for the shorter reads. This Blaze anthology centers around fireman. How can you go wrong?
So what's on your holiday reading list?
Friday, December 19, 2008
What was your worst job ever?
Mine was working at a gas station when I was 21. Working my way through college, I took the swing shift making $4.50 an hour, working 10 hour shifts without breaks. I worked alone and felt vulnerable late at night.
It was a bad time in my life. As if my financial situation weren’t difficult enough, I was also forty pounds overweight and engaged to a man who was all wrong for me.
But the dark time turned out to be the classic darkest-before-the-dawn cliche. Things started improving when my fiancé cheated on me and dumped me. I found a better job at twice the pay
My new book Italian Prince, Wedlocked Wife was inspired by that gas station job. Except Lucy Abbott’s situation is far more dire than mine ever was, because at twenty-one, she is not trying to work herself through college—instead, she is the sole support of her baby daughter.
She'd come home from the grocery store at Christmas when she was nine months pregnant to find her fiancé had deserted them to poverty. A year later, she is struggling to support her baby with minimum-wage jobs.
Then a dark Italian prince comes into the gas station one snowy New Year's Eve. Punching out her lecherous boss, Prince Maximo d'Aquilla kisses Lucy senseless, blackmails her into a forced marriage, then whisks her and the baby away into a life of luxury in
I wanted Lucy to meet the man of her dreams who would ultimately love her as his princess bride and love her baby as his own child. I wanted all her money problems and fears to disappear forever. I wanted her to finally find her prince, like I did.
Italian Prince, Wedlocked Wife comes out in few days--just in time for New Year's wishes. Please visit my website to read an excerpt, or enter to win a signed copy of Sharon Kendrick's book The Greek Tycoon's Baby Bargain.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
What are your favourite things about the white stuff?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
9. Last hints for stocking fillers for my TBR pile (I always love Christmas novellas)
8. Put my feet up after going shopping and listen to my favorite Christmas CD.
7. Call my mom thousands of miles away—only a week until Christmas!
6. Bake Christmas cookies—I'll have helping hands. (Why does baking always taste better when someone else does it? I don't even mind the tidy up.)
5. Carols by candlelight – love those!
4. Wrap presents (for sure I'll run out of paper) and put them under the tree…
3. Take the neighbors' a Christmas cake – I have wonderful neighbors.
2. Read "The Night before Christmas" to the whole family in front of a tree lit with flicking lights (yearly ritual).
1. Very special time…Christmas Day!
So what's on your list?
Monday, December 15, 2008
I guess writing teen fiction makes it easy for me to insist that my more juvenile tendencies are solely due to all the “research” required in order to capture the teen voice.
Beginning all of my sentences with, “Oh my gawd!”-? “Research.”
Attending the midnight showing of Twilight and squealing when Edward came on screen? No question. Definitely falls under “research.”
Blatantly hinting for a new iPod and Ugg boots last Chrismukkah, then jumping up and down in excitement when I got them? So obviously in the “research” category.
Braces at forty??? Please. Just how far do you think I’d go?
Apparently, that far.
And while I’m told there are plenty of adults who get braces—according to one orthodontist I saw, adults make up a good amount of their patient load—all I could think as I gazed around a room purposely decorated to make it seem as though we were sitting inside a ginormous aquarium is—Really? And is that why you offered me a game of pogs when I checked in?
Seriously. The only adults I’ve seen in there so far are the ones chauffeuring their kids to and from their appointments. And while you’d think it would be research heaven to sit inside an aquatic themed room with a giant orange fish eyeballing me from its place on the wall and a seemingly never ending supply of pogs and Teen People—well, I’m sorry to say it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be.
Because the truth is, I feel kind of silly. Like I’ve taken this whole YA research thing way too far. And now, after hours of examinations, forms, and x-rays, it’s beginning to feel like it’s too late to turn back.
But that’s exactly what I was planning to do the other day when my husband and I stopped by Burger Bar on our way home from Las Vegas. I was cutting into my turkey burger with a knife and fork—(my front teeth don’t meet, making them useless for biting, tearing, eating, and just about everything else but smiling for photographs)—when it struck me. The epiphany. A true, Oprah style, light-bulb moment. Because the moment I brought my fork to my mouth, I gazed down at my plate covered with tiny bite sized pieces of hamburger and thought: Oh my gawd! Talk about juvenile!
And that’s when I decided to go for it. No whining, no complaining (well, maybe a little), and definitely no looking back. I mean, so I’ll spend the next year as a metal mouthed brace face, so what? Next time I eat a hamburger (and I average about one a year) I’ll eat it with dignity. And pride. And hopefully without a fork and a knife.
But even though there’s no doubt my next protagonist will sport a mouthful of shiny metal braces, I’ll be kinder to her than life was to me—she’ll wear them as a teen, I won’t make her wait until she’s an adult!
So how about you—just how far are you willing to go in the name of “research”? And do you have any tips on wearing braces??
Sunday, December 14, 2008
This is always a special time of year, but today I’ve got some extra news to share. December 2008 sees the UK release of my Modern Romance, The Ruthless Italian’s Inexperienced Wife. Seeing it on the bookstore shelves is a lovely early Christmas present for me. I hope you like reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s the story of nanny Cheryl Lane, who walks straight into a honey trap when she is employed to care for Marco Rossi’s orphaned nephew. On Marco’s own private tropical island the sun, sea and golden sands work their magic. But there are problems ahead. Marco is a man in demand. Cheryl is a country mouse, unprepared for the stress of being a billionaire’s wife. He doesn’t understand her distress. They are drifting apart, until Cheryl discovers why Marco is so resistant to romance.
My second bit of news comes from closer to home. It’s just a mouse click away, in fact. My website has had a facelift (it was much less painful than having one myself!) and I’d love you to drop by at http://www.christinahollis.com to see what you think.
I hope you and the ones you love have a calm and peaceful holiday. Have a happy New Year, too. I look forward to seeing you in 2009!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
So . . . I decided that I would share a couple of easy recipes with you that I got from the side of a box and the food section of a newspaper so long ago that I can't remember when. But for years now I've used them and modified them and every year my kids -- and now grandkids -- and I make them whether we're together or apart.
Hope you'll give them a try if they sound appealing to you!
Cranberry & White Chocolate Biscotti
- 1 package cranberry quick bread mix (take your pick of brand) or you can make the dough from your favorite biscotti recipe and just add the other stuff. I go the quick route myself
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 eggs, beaten (but not within an inch of their lives)
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips -- whatever brand you can find. Some are marketed as vanilla chips. Um, no.
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds (I have dyslexia when it comes to almonds. I can't remember which are slivered and which are sliced. But logically you don't want the flat ones which seem sliced to me, you want the other ones. Unless you don't like the same kind I do. Suit yourself)
- extra flour as needed
- powdered sugar
Combine the bread mix, melted butter and eggs, stirring them together (but again, not beating them to a pulp. Go gently here).
Work in enough flour that you can handle the dough without it sticking to your hands. Make a ball of the dough and cut it in half. Shape each half into a sort of flat loaf-like shape about 9" long and 3-4" wide. It should be maybe half an inch thick. Set both loaves on the cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. They spread. Make sure you have enough room.
Bake the loaves at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until light brown. Don't overbake. Removed from the oven and let cool at least 15 minutes. Go walk the dogs or write a page. Then come back and go to the next step.
Turn the oven down to 250. Cut the loaves into slices about 3/4" thick. Separate the slices on the sheet so that they are not touching, but leave them all upright. If you need another cookie sheet in order to give them space, use one.
Then put them back in the oven and go for another walk or go write several pages and come back at least half an hour later. If they are golden brown and looking crisp, they're ready. If not, leave them in longer. Go write some more. Go read a good book. Turn the oven off and let them sit there. Come back sometime and get them out and let them cool. This is an inexact science. If you like them really crispy leave them in the oven longer. If you want them slightly chewy, take them out sooner. When they are cool, dust them with powdered sugar.
If you think you'd like more cranberries than are in the quick bread mix, you can add dried or chopped fresh cranberries. The dried are probably better in terms of keeping the crisp dry texture. It depends on what texture you prefer.
Cranberry Cookies with Orange Frosting
These are seriously ambrosial if you are fond of cranberries and oranges. If not, go find some chocolate.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 tsp grated orange peel
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 egg
Then stir in:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups chopped cranberries (this is the annoying part. Chopping cranberries is one of my least favorite activities, so you know these have to be worth the effort of chasing cranberries all over the kitchen as they roll off the cutting board. No, I don't have a food processor. If you do, you'll like these even better.)
Bake 12-14 minutes. These get done fast, but you can't take them out too early or they simply crumble (but crumbs of course are calorie free, so there is an upside). Cool them on wire racks at least 30 minutes. Go write some more. Go jog. If you're going to eat very many of these you're going to want to work out in order to feel entitled to them.
When they are cool, frost them with a mixture of:
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- enough orange juice to make a soft spreadable frosting.
It's making me hungry just writing this. But I can't indulge until next week. Not until the revisions are gone.
What are some of your favorite holiday recipes? You don't have to give me all the ingredients -- just name some.
The one that makes my tastebuds leap up and head for the kitchen will win a copy of my January release, Antonides' Forbidden Wife -- in which PJ actually does cook for Ally, but they eat fresh pineapple for dessert. Sadly, not a cranberry in sight.
You can read an excerpt by clicking on the link.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Essentially I had my hero, or one of them and the scene where he and Sera, my heroine, are reunited after being apart for ten years. He’s big and muscled, bald with markings of his rank and station in life on his skull. Basically, it wasn’t hard for me to write the scenes where he dominates her because he embodies a very dominant man and I only needed to fill in his personality.
Counter to that harsh, jagged-edged masculinity is Brandt, the other hero. Where Ash is arrogant and outwardly dominant, Brandt is the kind of man who wears tailored clothing over his tightly muscled form. Where Ash is bald and marked so publically, Brandt’s black hair hangs past his butt. He’s smooth and his dominance comes from the inside.
These two men form bookends to Sera, who is conflicted. And Sera, she’s only like Sera. Tall, thin, whip-smart and battle-hard. But she’s also beautiful in her own way and the longer she’s with these men, the more beautiful she feels. Her heart was broken by Ash. Ash, who was forced into a political marriage but despite being forced, it still left her alone. She’s had to rebuild herself into a woman who doesn’t need anyone. She’s the one who is needed. She is the one who leads, but despite her feelings of rage toward Ash, she loves him still. She’s put into a situation leaving her open to creating a relationship with Brandt and pretty soon, they’re all in a tangle of their own making, exacerbated by outside forces.
So I built the story, layer by layer. I wanted a futuristic setting because I liked building the world with its strict class layers and political intrigue. At the same time, I didn’t want to create a world with so many terms and names to attempt to be “futuristic” that I alienated and confused readers either. So a shoe is a shoe. A bra is a bra. Time is a bit different but the explanation is fairly simple. There’s a line to walk, just like with paranormals where the suspension of belief has to be carried off. But it’s also why I absolutely love to write paranormals and futuristics. It’s my world! I can do anything I want. There’s responsibility to make it a believable place, but it’s mine.
I had a great time writing the book. I loved each of the main characters, loved their flaws and their strengths too. When my agent read the proposal she wrote me back and said, “This is the one. I can feel it.”
She was right. As she often is, LOL. It took about five months to hear back but then it all happened very fast. My little scrap of a scene with the heroine punching out the hero combined with that picture of Dominic Purcell turned into nearly 100,000 words.
Sometimes a story is with you a long time. It takes years to sell it or it gets sold but doesn’t come out for a while after that. My novella Stripped in the Vegas anthology took four or five months total from being asked if I was interested in writing something, writing it and pitching and selling it. But then it took about a year and a half after we sold it to get it released! Undercover had been in my head in the form of that little scene, for about a year before I saw that picture. And now it’s here.
I hope you all enjoy it!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
As regular readers of my blogs know, I have a book out at the end of this month (the 30th December, not that I'm counting! MUCH!).
After over a year since my last release, TEMPT THE DEVIL hits the shelves this month. I hope that brooding, sexy gaze is staring out at you in a local store soon.
I hope he's tempting you! He sure tempts me!
The month leading up to a book's release can be quite a nervous time because it's when you get hit by a lot of REVIEWS!
So far, and I blush to boast, all the reviews for TEMPT THE DEVIL have been of the kind that my mother would write. Romantic Times even went so far as to call it "unforgettable powerhouse romance."
Isn't that nice? It was also nice to be chosen as a January Top Pick and to see my gorgeous hero the Earl of Erith awarded a K.I.S.S. (Knight in Shining Silver) Award.
If you'd like to read more reviews, I've put excerpts from a couple up on my website in the Latest News for December.
While you're there, why not check out the contest where you can win one of three signed copies of TEMPT THE DEVIL? Just tell me what tempts you! Oh, and if you want to read the blurb and an excerpt from the book, visit the books page. Perhaps that might tempt you too!
Something else to tempt you is a trivia contest All About Romance After Hours are running. They've got three copies of my second Avon historical romance UNTOUCHED up for grabs. The contest closes at midnight on 11th December so you've got plenty of time to enter!
Something else to tempt you in December is the 12 Bandita Days of Christmas over on the group blog I share with 19 other fantastic writers. We're giving away rooster-themed prizes from December 12-24, culminating in a major prize on the 24th. Why roosters? Aha, become a regular on the Romance Bandits and you'll discover all!
Then on Christmas Day, we're giving away a humungous hamper of Bandita goodies to someone who manages to wrench themselves away from their presents long enough to comment. Seriously, this is a prize worth winning so if you have a chance on 25th December, pop by and wish us the compliments of the Season!
And while I'm talking about goodies, my good friend Annie West has an amazing contest going on her website right now (closes at the end of December). You can win signed copies of EIGHT latest releases from Aussie authors Anna Campbell (um, that would be me!), Annie West, Robyn Grady, Christine Wells, Carol Marinelli (two books), Melissa James and Nicola Marsh.
As this is my last post for the year, I'd like to thank everyone at Tote Bags for the lovely warm reception I always get here. It's such a nice, friendly blog to be a part of and I'm in awe of my sisters in crime (well, romance!) who blog here. I'd like to say a special thanks to Leena who wrangles us all and makes sure the blog is there. I'd also like to say thanks to everyone who comments on my blog each month. I always thoroughly enjoy the conversations!
Happy Holidays to everyone, however you celebrate the Season. See you back here for a rocking New Year in January 2009! Whoo-hoo!
Now, my question for you is - how much attention do you pay to reviews? Can a review convince you to buy a book?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
By Jenny Gardiner
I’m a sucker for the Christmas season. Always have been. Don’t know if it’s the deluded optimism the holiday thrusts upon us, or just a strange affinity for otherwise maudlin songs dressed up as cheerful seasonal chestnuts. I mean, let’s be honest, at any other time of year, who would actually listen wistfully to a yawner like “The Little Drummer Boy”?
Whatever it is, I have always ensured that my family gets into the holiday spirit, starting with finding the perfect Christmas tree.
When I was a kid, the search for the ultimate yuletide tree took us to the nearest gas station: hardly a romantic venue from which to choose the centerpiece of our holiday decor. We’d pile into the station wagon for the three-block drive to Buck’s Esso station, spill out onto the oil-slicked parking lot, mull over three or four already-netted spruce trees, and then dad would haggle down the price. End of story.
Ah, so I was determined to rewrite that tradition with my own family. Early in my marriage, we decided the most festive tree-acquisition could only be achieved by cutting down our own (plus you get the added benefit of the needles actually staying on the tree all month rather than littering the floor). Because we lived in citified Northern Virginia, the cachet of escaping to the “country”--i.e. the closest remaining patch of farmland untainted by greedy developers--only added to the allure.
But one year, I found myself almost wishing for the chance to just pop down to the local gas station to buy a tree…
That year, my husband and our three children, all under the age of four, trekked to the Clifton Christmas Tree Farm, where awaiting us were candy canes, hot chocolate, homemade wreaths and the typical abundance of forced holiday cheer that we craved.
I had whipped my kids into a tree-chopping frenzy, and so they took their task quite seriously. For forty minutes, we foraged throughout the whopping half-acre “farm” until we found the perfect tree: seven feet of holiday splendor, as wide as it was tall, perfect to fill our cathedral-ceiling’ed living room and flood us with the Christmas spirit.
The kids took turns on the ground with the saw while my husband supervised the chopping honors. Their excitement was palpable. We dragged the tree back to the cashier stand where the farmer’s son coiled the netting around our white pine. The kids stood by, sucking on candy canes, sipping hot cider and petting the farmer’s dog, who’d recently wandered over. I was just about to retrieve the car to load on the tree, when Fido lifted his leg.
“No!” I shouted in what seemed like a frame-by-frame slow motion, as a steady stream was released onto our perfect tree.
For a moment we stood stupefied, not knowing what to do. But we weren’t about to keep a tree covered in dog wee, so we grabbed the kids’ hands to head back into the wilds to hunt for a replacement one.
Until our kids let us know in no uncertain terms, that this tree was the one, the only. They threw themselves on the ground, flailing and crying, thrashing and moaning, like something from a Greek tragedy. They wanted their special tree, and nothing else would suffice.
Their wails did not subside until we relented, and agreed to load up the tainted tree.
The farmer found a makeshift bucket, filled it from a nearby stream and doused the offending urine from the tree. We loaded it onto the roof of the car, and went home.
I have admit, I sort of detached emotionally from the tree that year. Couldn’t quite get over the psychological hurdle of having a tree the dog peed on in my living room. Somehow it clashed with the whole festive notion.
But for my kids, the tree was just about perfect, despite its incumbent flaws. And maybe that’s exactly why I like the holidays so much: because at this time of year, we’re all a little more likely to forgive the small things in order to see the bigger picture.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and don't let those disruptive moments get the best of it!
..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
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((¸¸. ·´ .. ·´Jenny-:¦:-
:¦:- ((¸¸.·´* -:¦:- ´* -:¦:- ´*
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
1. Home for the Holidays. This is actually a Thanksgiving movie (perhaps the only Thanksgiving movie besides Planes, Trains & Automobiles-- right?), but I don't always remember to watch it at Thanksgiving. If I don't, we watch it at Christmas.
2. Love, Actually. Even THINKING about this movie makes me happy. I just love it so much!
3. The Holiday. Okay, so, I actually don't think this a good movie. At all. And yet, I like to watch it at Christmas. It makes me feel happy and gooey, and sometimes that's all that's required.
4. A Christmas Story. This is usually run on repeat on cable for 24 hours over Christmas, but I have the DVD, just in case. I actually saw this in the theater when I was a kid, and find I am still overcome with the same sense of wonder. It's the best!
Sometimes we watch The Sound of Music. This year I plan to watch Flirting with Forty again, because it's so Christmas-y and yummy. This year I might dig out some of the old Christmas musicals to watch, because I loved those.
What am I forgetting? What are your bedrock, must-see Christmas movies?