Saturday, July 28, 2007

And There Was Much Rejoicing

VIRTUAL EVIL is off to the typesetter. While this might not be a big deal to the majority of the world's inhabitants, it is to me. I have lived and breathed this book since July 2006. It required a number of rewrites, including one after I submitted it to the editor. This one, to be blunt, has been a bitch. Now it is done and I am very happy. More to the point, I am very pleased with the book which is a good thing.

In keeping with the Harry Potter hype, the first two lines of VE are:

Firearms always enliven a party. Tonight was no exception.

And I can attest to the face that the last line in the book does NOT have the word "scar" in it.

Of course, my mind immediately shifted to Book #3 (MADMAN'S DANCE) which is due March 1 and is the end of the three-book story arc that started in SOJOURN. I'm trying to keep away from the computer, but its darned hard. It's like telling a firefighter not to go marching into a burning building. It's what I do.

And now to unearth my upstairs office. If I was a sadist, I'd post a picture of it, but I'm afraid I'd frighten people. Let's just say that it needs cleaning and leave it at that.

Monday, July 16, 2007

From Dallas With Love

How do you recap most of an entire week that was non-stop? You don't. You try to hit the highlights. So I'll do that instead of "On Friday my breakfast was..." Actually, I don't remember many of meals. I might not have had them. No, the bathroom scale says otherwise. Oops.

I remember --
Going out for a scrumptious Italian dinner Wednesday night with my publicists (Sherry & Kristen), and with Jeri Smith-Ready (my roomie) and dear friend P.C. Cast. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but I had a great meal and was on Cloud Nine. I'd won both the Booksellers' Best Award and the Prism that night. Ever since I'd held P.C.'s first Prism Award in 2002, I'd been jonesing for one of these beauties. Now I have one.

I'd not had anything to eat before the ceremonies, foolishly believing I'd reach The Gathering (as the second event is called) in time to nosh on the food. What was left was a basket of rolls. So I had one of those. And a beer. So when I was called up to the podium to get the award that I had DREAMED of for five years, I was way giddy. Sherry assured me that my impromptu speech wasn't stupid. I hope she wasn't just being kind. I had a speech all prepared, but I was too wired to give it.

Thursday was equally fun. In between trying to get some work done on the current book, I met lots of new folks and attended the National Readers' Choice and Daphne awards ceremonies. I didn't win the NRCA Award. Was I bummed? No. That means I have a chance at this award next year. As there were 400 entrants in this contest (an average of 40 per category) to final is an Act of Deity(TM) . Next year I'm aiming for that award big time. I did win the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Paranormal and that was the closest I came to crying.

Why? I've won an Honorable Mention in the Daphnes twice before for my self-pubbed work. Not all contests would allow me to enter when I was self-pubbed. The Daphnes did not care who published the book. Those early wins told me I had a future in this business. Taking First Place in the Paranormal category was a big moment for me.

Friday was a bit more laid back -- two agent meetings and a she-bang of a Harlequin Party. The meetings went well and the party... hey, if you've never been to a Harlequin party you've missed out. My roommate (Jeri) invited me to be her guest and I had a blast. The music was good, the munchies quite edible and the alcohol was free. I did bail out at ten p.m. rather than staying late as a I had a book signing the next morning in Frisco, TX.

Which went well. After the signing I met with some good friends (Lee Martindale and her delightful hubby, George), Melanie Miller Fletcher (aka Hoosier Red) and Heidi B. We went to the Cheesecake Factory, dined on excellent food and "to die for" cheesecake. George helped me pick up a pipe for those times when I like to break out a bit of fine tobacco to augment my single malt scotch. He used to be a tobacconist and his expertise was welcomed.

Saturday evening was the Rita Awards. I had a lot of friends in the running, including Jeri (who was up for TWO), Maria Snyder and Kelly Riley. Alas, none of them won. Still, it was great evening and I learned that a bit of dark chocolate married with some fine port is a very (nearly) sexual experience. (You heard it here first!)

I sincerely enjoyed this years RWA convention. I think it's a matter that I'm more "plugged in" this time and knew a lot more people. Okay, and the awards didn't hurt (grin).

Now I'm back to reality with a book due in a VERY short period of time. Cindarella is home, that's for sure.

Friday, July 13, 2007

If This is Wednesday, This Must Be Dallas

A brief update from Dallas on the state of the Jana during the Romance Writers' convention. The current state is: tired. I've been up a bit too late the last few nights which means the Virtual Evil edits are not getting done as fast as I'd hoped. Bah.

However, on the good news front: Sojourn won a Booksellers' Best Award, a Prism Award and a Daphne du Maurier Award. WHEEEEEE!!!

Today is Agent Day -- I'm meeting with at least two of them and then tonight is the Harlequin Party (quite a gig I hear). I'm hoping to sneak in a nap sometime along with some actual buns in chair work on VE.

It's been great to see friends, catch up on industry gossip and be part of this whole process. Lots of incredible talent in one location. Wow.

Later folks. Must find coffee...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dallas Bound

It's that time of the year when Jana packs up her pantyhose and heads to a gathering of romance authors. The Romance Writers of America annual convention is always an interesting time. Romance has long ago shed its "bodice ripper" image and now is a big enough tent to include inspirational, vampire and mystery novels, albeit with a romantic bent.

Although I don't write full-bore romances (okay, I wrote one a few years back) my books do include a "romantic element" and so fall inside RWA's tent. SOJOURN is up for four romance awards at this convention, so this is a trip I'm eager to take. Since it has alread won a Golden Quill for Best Paranormal Romance, I'm hoping that means big things are ahead.

Which means I will be editing VIRTUAL EVIL while on the road. Never a pretty picture. Still, I'm certainly not the only author who will be sneaking away for a few stolen hours at the keyboard in between the ceremonies, luncheons, meetings and such. It's part and parcel of the job.

I'll try to carve out a few moments to post the happenings in Dallas. My roommate (Jeri Smith-Ready) is up for three awards, including two Rita Awards (RWA's big award). It promises to be a lot of fun no matter how the contests fall out.

Later folks. Must pack my finery....

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Free as a Bird

Setting aside all the rhetoric about Valerie Plame and how her name came to be revealed to the world. Setting aside all the politics, the bottom line is that Scooter Libby lied while under oath. Nothing else is germane when it comes to his sentencing. By Fed standards, the sentence was not overly harsh, in fact it was in line with the others being handed down at this time.

Scooter chose to lie. Yeah, he was taking one for the team, but in the grand scheme, he knew the consequences. He could have said, "Gee, Dick, we got caught. I'm gonna have to tell them the truth." Nope. Scooter decided to game the process and he got caught.

So why would our president commute his prison sentence? And why is he even thinking of granting him a pardon?

Seems to me to be the best way to ensure that old Scooter's loyalty stays in place and his mouth stays shut. Which means that Fitzgerald missed the gold mine and got stuck with the flunky instead.

I can hear Dick Nixon applauding from his grave.