Saturday, September 30, 2006



Buy my Friend's Book!

Isle of Desire
by Eden Bradley

Is it really possible to fulfill the fantasy of a promise made in the passion of youth? On a beach on the small Venezuelan island of Isla de Margarita, Isabel Asher meets once more the love of her life, Rafael Cruz, the man she left behind twelve years earlier. Desire ignites, but can the sultry tropical nights spent in his bed lead them back to love? She’s about to find out, and maybe to have her heart broken in the process.

Available now from www.Cobblestone-Press.com

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 11:19 AM :: 2 comments

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Thursday, September 28, 2006



Politics and Dancing

Like raindrops on roses were for Maria Von Trapp, the things cited in my heading are some of my favorite things. I admit it. I'm a politics junkie. I'm totally loving that election season is right around the corner. Bring it on!

And I've been a lifelong dance fan (I've been taking at least some form of dance class, whether ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom, or flamenco consistently for the past 26 years). So the resurgence in dance that's going on right now is right up my alley. Bring it on!

So you'd think I'd love when these two worlds collide. Except I don't. And it has nothing to do with the specific political leanings of the people involved. I'd feel this way if the Democratic Party took up "Dancing with the Stars" as a cause celebre.

But I just don't think that this show should be made into a political battle. It's not a political issue, and shouldn't be. (The exception being, of course, that the first celeb to be booted, Tucker Carlson, is a conservative commentator, but at least he wears his politics on his sleeve...it was all in the open, and even then, he didn't drag it into the show. But I digress...I seem to have a fascination with him, after all.)

What I'm referring to is this...apparently former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has a new campaign (now that he's not running his own campaign anymore--sorry, couldn't resist it, it was way too easy). When he announced his regisnation from Congress in June, he stated that he wanted to "pursue new opportunities to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day from an arena outside of the U.S. House of Representatives."

Well, apparently he's officially taken up the important cultural/political battle of "Dancing with the Stars." He sent a mass email to his supporters using them to vote for Sara Evans. From his email:

"Sara Evans has been a strong supporter of the Republican Party and represents good American values in the media. From singing at the 2004 Republican Convention to appearing with candidates in the last several election cycles, we have always been able to count on Sara for her support of the things we all believe in. … One of her opponents on the show is ultra liberal talk show host Jerry Springer. We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television by supporting good people like Sara Evans."

Like I said, my distaste for this has nothing to do with that it came from Tom DeLay (OK, maybe just a little bit...I really do not care for the smug ******* at all) . I would feel the same way if any number of leading liberals (take your pick) had sent an en masse email urging supporters to vote for Jerry Springer because "we need to send a message to the Administration that supporting free speech is a hallmark of this great country."

It's a DANCE show, people. Get it? DANCE? As in, the best and/or most entertaining DANCER should win? Liberal or conservative, the politics are not the issue here. The fact of the matter remains that neither Jerry Springer nor Sarah Evans are any good.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 3:22 PM :: 9 comments

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006



All in the Name of Fairness...


I'll admit it. I'm addicted to "Dancing with the Stars." I used to compete in ballroom and latin dancing, so I definitely know the rules for competitions and know the syllabi of the dances.

So I'm not mad at the judges for penalizing Mario Lopez and Joey Lawrence for breaking the rules. Lifts are not allowed in competitions unless it's an open round. And you're not allowed to do open, side-by-side work in tango in the middle of the routine. Beginning and end, fine, but not in the middle.

Sure, penalize them. Go ahead. But neither of those guys deserved to be deducted 4 points by Len for their rule-breaking. Sure, deduct 2 per judge. No problem. I could agree with across-the-board 8's. But 6? That was uncalled for.

ESPECIALLY since they don't seem to apply the rules fairly. They seem to be taking this extremely hardline stance when Mario and Joey break the rules, and yet Sarah Evans (who conservative talk show hosts have been hailing as "embodying traditional American values") can break the rules and there's no repurcussions. In fact, the judges praised her very unconventional jive last night. What's up with that?

Cowboy boots in a jive?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? There's a reason why women wear high heels for ballroom, and Sarah's performance is a prime example. It was AWFUL. She was so clunky and awkward and couldn't even point her toes (well, could you in cowboy boots?). Last season, the judges got mad at Master P when he refused to wear proper ballroom shoes, and yet they praise Sarah for clomping all over the stage in boots? The jive is a fast, upbeat, light-on-your-feet dance and she was clunky and heavy. Ugh, it was painful to watch.

So judges, why don't you try applying the rules consistently? It's fine to penalize dancers if they break the rules. However, you shouldn't penalize the better dances and let the weaker dances just slide by. That may be the way to garner ratings, but it's not the way to run a competition.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 10:49 AM :: 7 comments

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006



An Interview with Author and Editor Faith Bicknell-Brown

It's Tuesday again, so time for another in my interview series. Today I'm switching things up a little bit and am chatting with author and editor, Faith Bicknell-Brown. Here's your opportunity to find out what Freya's Bower editors are looking for in submissions.

Amanda: Welcome! Tell us a little bit about yourself, Faith.

Faith: Thanks for inviting me! I'm a mother of four--two girls and two boys--and happily married to a big, red-headed good ol' boy. I'm a professional writer. I'm also the managing editor for Wild Child Publishing and Freya's Bower.

I love to read, and I write several different genres. I'm an artist too. I love history, the paranormal, and faerie lore. I'm an avid bowler and love the outdoors.

Amanda: Writer, editor...is there anything you don't do?!

Faith: LOL, sometimes I wonder! I have several hobbies, but finding time for them all is a challenge.

Amanda: Which hat do you prefer to wear, author or editor?

Faith: That's a tough question. I love working with authors who are eager to learn and grow, but I find that it's hard for me to manage my editing time and my own writing time.

Amanda: How did you begin your journey in writing?

Faith: It began with a green crayon on some brown wrapping paper. I penned my first story at the age of six and wrote stories for my school mates all the way into high school. I wrote my first novel when I was fifteen. It was all in long hand and illustrated too. I still have it. Most of what I've learned about the mechanics of fiction and dealing with publishers, editors and agents has been from my own trial and errors.

Now, I write for various national men's magazines. The pay is good, but the work is boring. I prefer writing novels.

Amanda: How were Wild Child Publishing and Freya's Bower Publishing born?

Faith: Wild Child came into existence in the fall of 1998. It began as a small ezine, the brainchild of Marci G. Baun and Barry D. Gilfry. Barry asked me to write for them, so I did, and a year later, I was the romance and horror editor. Marci bought Barry's half of the magazine and eventually branched into eBooks.

Marci and I became great friends, and in early 2006, we began discussing the boom in erotic romances. We brainstormed, and Freya's Bower was born. Marci asked me to manage both WCP and FB, so here I am, LOL!

Amanda: Great story! Anyway, speaking of great stories, what are you looking for in a story? What things do writers do that immediately turn you off?

Faith: I love material that inspires a reaction or makes me laugh. Well writtenmaterial is a plus, but I don't mind working with a writer who has potential. However, the quickest way to turn me off is to send me something that is full of passive tense and telling. I hate numerous POV switches too.

Amanda: What themes/genres would you like to see more of?

Faith: For WCP, I'd like more mystery, mainstream romance, and fantasy. For FB, I'd like to see some romantic suspense and sweet romances.

Amanda: Can you explain the submissions and editorial processes of your publishing house?

Faith: Submissions come directly to me. I look them over and divide the wheat from the chaff. The manuscripts with potential and the ones that I know are going to be winners based on the first chapters are reviewed more thoroughly. I recently hired two assistant editors who help me go through stories and makedecisions.

Sometimes we offer conditional contracts. This means that a manuscript might have problems, but if the writer is willing to work with us and revises it, then he or she will receive a contract when the revised ms is returned.

After a contract is signed, I assign an editor to that manuscript. The writer works with him or her, and after two or three revisions, the ms goes to proofreaders. We're not like most ePublishers. Every editor with each division is professional and knows fiction, grammar, punctuation, plot, etc. We edit thoroughly.

Amanda: I know you've heard it before, but I'm going to say it again. FB covers are gorgeous! I absolutely loved mine for She's Got Legs. Do authors get much say in their covers?

Faith: Authors and editors work with the cover artists, too. They bounce ideas back and forth until everyone is satisfied with the cover.

Amanda: If you could sit down and have coffee with any of your characters, who would this be and why?

Faith: I'd have to say it would be Hazel from the novel I'm peddling to agents again. Hazel is my protagonist who finds herself pregnant and no recollection of having had sex with anyone. She gives birth to twin girls, but one is stillborn. She's only 17 and must raise this little girl who is evil incarnate and suffering battles with humanity. Hazel discovers she has powers and she realizes who the father of her child is, fighting to near death to save herself and her dead daughter so she can have her returned to her. Imho, I think Hazel is an amazing young woman. She walks through fire to solve her dilemma and have a "normal" life.

Amanda: Sounds very intriguing. If you had to get rid of all the books on your bookshelf except for the work of a single author, who would you keep around?

Faith: Bonnie Jones Reynolds, author of The Truth About Unicorns. She wrote only two books, but her work is pure magic. Both books are out of print, but I did manage to find an autographed hard copy at Amazon.com!

Amanda: So, what's next for Faith Bicknell-Brown?

Faith: Well, I'm looking for a new literary agent. I have four requested partials with some big names right now, so I'm hoping I'll be offered a client contract soon. Not having to peddle my novels would be one less thing to do, LOL!

Also, Wild Child Publishing and Freya's Bower are printing select titles due out this fall and spring. I'm excited about this and look forward to seeing our books in stores and other various places. It's wonderful to talk with authors who are ecstatic about seeing their books in print.

Amanda: Sounds like some exciting stuff going on! Thanks for coming to chat with us.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:49 AM :: 17 comments

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Thursday, September 21, 2006



Buy my Friend's Book!

Do you know Emma Peterson? Well, you should. And here's your chance. Branded by Emma Peterson will be released tomorrow from Cobblestone Press.

Jenny and Ty have known each other most of their lives and have been attracted to each other since they’ve been old enough to know what attraction meant. A tragedy has bought Jenny back home to Parsons' Pass and into Ty’s arms.
The heat between them is as hot as ever, but the scars he carries from his parents’ relationship and his own failed marriage keep Jenny at bay. When Ty comes close to losing the most important person in his life, he knows it’s time to bury the past and fight for their love.

You can find an excerpt here:

http://emmapetersen.com/branded

You can buy your copy tomorrow (Friday) here: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/
_______________________________________________________________________

So, were we satisfied with who they booted off DWTS? (It was former the former Miss USA, by the way.) I was. She really wasn't that good at all. I still think Sarah Evans also needs to go. She's just downright boring in her dancing. But I'm sure she's getting votes because of all the country music fans there are and also her partner, Tony, is quite a hottie. :) I have to admit, I don't mind him sticking around.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 3:13 PM :: 4 comments

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006



Bought Myself Another Year of Freedom

My dad seems like to give me a hard time about my writing. He thinks I'm throwing away a legal career for a "very long shot." I used to write all the time when I was a little girl and a teen, but he didn't think it was "practical." So instead, I planned to be a diplomat at the American Embassy in Paris. (Apparently I was rather naive about how those placements get made...if I passed the Foreign Service Exam and made it through the oral interviews, more likely I would get assigned to an embassy in a Third World country that happens to speak French, like Haiti.)

But I digress. Anyway, for some reason, they didn't give the Foreign Service Exam the year I graduated from college, so I needed something else to do (not much of a market for newly minted BAs in Political Science and French). So I worked as a legal assistant in a law firm. Got interested in intellectual property law, and then decided to go to law school and eventually became a lawyer.

Practical? Very much so. Good outlet for creativity? Not so much.

A couple of years ago, I was back in school, this time seeking an LLM (basically, an advanced specialization law degree--done after you're already an attorney). The LLM is heavy on writing, so I had about 6 major papers that year (in the neighborhood of 50 or so pages each)--very dry and scholarly.

Anyway, while I was hacking away on a paper on the patentability of indigenous people's traditional medicinal methods, I read a lot of chick lit as an escape from this super technical subject. And then, on a whim, I decided to write my own. I wrote the first 88 pages of the chick lit before having to ask my professor for an extension on the medicinal methods paper...there was no way I'd make the December 17 deadline. But come on, people! Priorities! The chick lit was taking more of my attention!

I got the extension and ended up getting an A on the paper, which I thought was funny, because I didn't think it was that good.

Fast forward to about a month ago. My dad was once again giving me a hard time about my writing and saying that I should focus more on legal writing than on fiction.

Anyway, to placate him, I pulled out that old medicinal methods paper that I'd done well on but had never bothered to submit anywhere (I was satisfied in the knowledge that I'd already published three of the papers I wrote that year...why did I need a 4th?). I read it over, and lo and behold, it was actually not bad at all. I had my hubby read it (who actually is a patent attorney--I'm not) and he said it was quite good and a very interesting subject. So I did a bit of work on it to update it with more recent case studies (although not much had changed in the law) and sent it off to a few journals on a whim.

If nobody bit, no big deal. If one did, cool.

I'm happy to announce that I've two offers in hand right now. I get to choose!

Not bad for something I'd never planned to publish.

And it gets my dad off my back for at least the next year, I'd say. LOL! Thus, I've bought myself another year of freedom.

But I just thought it was rather fitting that it was the paper that was kicking my butt so badly that I decided to say, screw this, I'm writing fiction instead!

So, did you watch DWTS last night? Wasn't Joey Lawrence absolutely AWESOME?!?!?!?!?!?!? To borrow his signature phrase, WHOA! Talk about a classy, wonderfully entertaining, fantastic quickstep. And trust me, the quickstep is HARD! He's definitely the one to beat now after that performance.

Mario Lopez was highly entertaining to watch, but that was NOT a quickstep. The audience boo'ed the judges for their assessment, and that really kind of irks me. Same thing in So You Think You Can Dance. Yes, entertainment definitely has it's place in dance (a ver ymportant place, I should add) but when you're supposedly dancing a certain style, it's incredibly important to actually dance that style. You can get away with that a bit more on So You Think You Can Dance if you're not doing one of the ballroom dances, but Dancing with the Stars is strictly ballroom (I know, I know, bad joke).

Standard and Latin have specific syllabi that you must follow. There are rules, and they're not the type of rules that are meant to be broken. If he was doing an open routine, cool, but he wasn't. He was supposed to be doing quickstep. So why not actually dance a quickstep?

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 9:42 AM :: 7 comments

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006



An Interview With Bella Tyler

It's Tuesday, which means it's time once again for an interview with another Freya's Bower author. Today I'm chatting with Bella Tyler, author of CHARLY'S FIRE.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Bella: I just turned twenty-six and for some reason that really fueled my desire to be NY published. It's taken me awhile to get over my last agent experience and for awhile I didn't think I'd ever try it again, but I'm ready for whatever they throw at me. It can't be worse than the first ex-agent, hehe.

I have three kids so I write when they are busy playing, napping, etc. I tend to keep the laptop open all day, praying for the opportunity to use it.

Amanda: Wow, 26 and three kids. Color me impressed. I don't know how you do it. So, when and how did you begin writing?

Bella: I wrote a lot throughout school, but after graduation I figured it was time to "grow up" so I put the pen away. A few years ago, I was going through a rough patch and I'd been keeping an online journal. A friend emailed me one day after reading it and said my words had made her cry. She wondered if I'd ever considered writing. I laughed, but eventually I did pick up the keyboard.

Amanda: How did CHARLY'S FIRE come about?

Bella: Charly's Fire started as a single short story. It was actually on of my first attempts at writing romance. I wrote it and subbed it to one press, who I actually never received a reply from, and then I kinda shoved it aside and worked on something else. A few months ago, I began to hear a lot about Freya's Bower Bites, so I re-opened the file, wrote a second story and submitted it.

Amanda: I know that Bella Tyler is your erotica pen name and that you've also published under your own name, in the women's fiction field. Is it difficult to make the switch? Which do you prefer writing?

Bella: I actually started writing under the pen name out of necessity. I have a lot of very tightly laced relatives who would be shocked and disturbed to read anything even remotely spicy.

Amanda: Don't we all?

Bella: You know, I really enjoy using a pen name. It gives me a chance to write a bit more freely without having to worry what those people around me will think. I have a few projects I'm working on for each of the names. While I edit material for my real name, I'm working on a new project for Bella.

I enjoy writing under both names. It allows me to write more kinds of material.

Amanda: Definitely interesting to think about. I've thought about using a second pen name if I ever write in another genre. Who knows? So, anyway, where do you find your inspirations?

Bella: Everywhere. There are things that happen in daily life that inspire me. I keep a small notebook in my purse to jot down ideas as they hit me throughout the day.

Amanda: What do you like about working with small presses, like Freya's Bower?

Bella: I love the whole family feel to it. I had an amazing editor with Charly's Fire and I have the most beautiful cover art. There is a lot to be said for feeling comfortable with the people you work with. Freya's Bower has an excellent staff and everyone is very willing to help you be as successful as possible.

Amanda: What are you reading at the moment?

Bella: I have a HUGE TBR pile, full of print and ebooks. Currently I'm reading Enduring Promise by Tempest Knight.

Amanda: Tempest is one of this blog's regular readers, so I know she'll be happy to hear that! What projects are you working on?

Bella: Bella is working on a few romantic comedies. One for a humor anthology and another that I hope to submit to Ellora's Cave. As for my real persona...

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Well, looks like Bella is going to be mysterious! :) I actually do happen to know who her real persona is, but I won't divulge, because I know she's trying her hardest to keep the two personalities separate. :)

So go buy a copy of CHARLY'S FIRE. It's a really great pair of stories! Sexy firemen--what more do you want?

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:21 AM :: 11 comments

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Monday, September 18, 2006



HOW NOT TO GET PUBLISHED...
Wow. Just, wow.

Check this out. http://sarahryoffa.blogspot.com/2006/09/ya...ee-at-last.html

I think the blog is down now, but here's an excerpt:

"I just sent the Partial (letter, synopsis and first three chapters off to Anna Louise Genoese, the editor at Tor who said in March, 2006, she's looking for a Jewish-Inspirational-Paranormal Romance. This is not the "Hannukah book" of which she wisted, but otherwise, is precisely what she asked to see. Hopefully, she'll buy it.You can help make that happen!If you aren't already familiar with OST, go read the first chapter on my web site and then pop over to Anna's blog to ask her to buy it so you can go get it and read the rest. Be sure to give a name other than "Anonymous" though. Not only was there this recent tirade due to an "Anonymous" idiot poster, but it looks like "idiot author stuffing the ballot box" eh? Please don't do me that kind of "favor."Yes, rallying the editor to buy a book just submitted to her low-priority list is odd, unusual, even unheard of--and your point is? You haven't forgotten that this is Sarah R. Yoffa speaking, right? Just checking"

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Wow. Need I say more?

On another note, yesterday was Constitution Day. On September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed. I'm sure you all know the many and varied reasons why the Constitution is such an important document in our society, so I won't go into them. However, as most of the readers of my blog are writers, I thought I'd throw a reason out there that they may not have thought about.

Did you know that copyright law derives from the Constitution? Yup, Article 8, Section 8, Clause 8 gives Congress the power "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

So, is writing "science" or is it "the useful arts"? I'm sure you'll guess "useful arts" but you would be wrong. Historically, "science" was the term used to describe writing. The "useful arts" was the application of today we refer to as "science" (although not in the 1700s) to invent new things. An examination of the wording of Clause 8 further demonstrates this parallelism: "by securing for limited times to authors and inventors..." Therefore, "authors" engaged in "science" and "inventors" engaged in "useful arts."

Therefore, Congress promotes the progress of "science" by giving "authors" copyrights and promtotes the progress of "useful arts" by giving "inventors" patents.

OK, geeky legal history lesson over.

For more on this all-important document, pop on over to the fabulous Q&A on the National Archives website: http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution_q_and_a.html

Even if you think you know a lot about the Constitution, you still might learn something. :)

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 10:09 AM :: 8 comments

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Friday, September 15, 2006



Just Got Back From a Lovely Lunch

One of the things I struggle with is not having many real-life friends who are writers. Sure, I have tons of blogosphere and online forum writing friends, but very few of the people I know in real life understand the "writing life." When I tell them that an agent requested a partial or a full they look at me blankly and say "Oh, that's nice."

So I'm so incredibly grateful to have this fantastic network of online buddies who "get it." I love you all!

Anyway, I just got back from lunch with Diana Peterfreund (SECRET SOCIETY GIRL, Bantam July 2006) and am happy to report that I had a fantastic time! She's so funny and down-to-earth and we had a blast! She emailed me before nationals when she saw we both lived in DC and suggested that we get together sometime (she also knows so few writers in this area).

We'll definitely have to do that again!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 1:23 PM :: 12 comments

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006



I'm Cured!!!!

Yesterday I admitted that I had a bizarre crush on Tucker Carlson. Well, I am proud to announced that as of about 8:15 or so last night, I am now cured of my crush. He was so incredibly bad at the cha-cha (and I must admit that I kind of expected him to be) that I can go back to a world in which I no longer have to feel dirty for having a crush on a man dimaterically opposed to my worldview.

I'm in fangirl love with Mario Lopez, Emmitt Smith, and Joey Lawrence now. :)

I should've known that Mario Lopez would totally kick butt last night. I mean, come on! He's A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell--what's not to love?! (Although I must admit that I was a Zack-girl in my preteen days.) His cha-cha was abso-freakin-lutely FANTASTIC! Of course, he probably had a leg up on the other men with respect to the whole "latin lover" angle...although those dimples don't exactly make for a bad boy image.

And Emmitt Smith? Wow! I did NOT expect that! I mean, I knew the man was physically fit, but who expected him to be so light on his feet?

I knew that Joey Lawrence had started out tap dancing, but didn't realize he hadn't danced since he was 7. But he was great, too! Where did all his hair go? I keep picturing him from his "Blossom" days and now he's bald!

All in all, the men totally kicked the women's butts.

But thank goodness I'm now over my Tucker obsession. I can focus all my "new anchor crush" energy on Dr. Sanjay Gupta now.

I know reality dance shows are an obsession with me when I totally forget that yesterday was a key 9-state primary day. I totally missed watching any returns on the cable news networks! Yikes! Where was my brain?

Anyway, Lincoln Chafee's win over his primary challenger for the Senate seat in Rhode Island makes it very difficult for the Dems to retake the Senate. But the Dems's chances are still looking good in the House.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:32 AM :: 7 comments

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006



An Ode to Tucker Carlson, or Why I'm Strangely Obsessed With Him

By now, most of my regular readers should have probably guessed that I fall on the left side of the political spectrum. I'm not a "flaming liberal" (although I have no problem whatsoever with the term or being called it...however, I'm actually more conservative on some issues than most people would guess...I just come down on the liberal side on way more issues than on the conservative side), but I'm definitely left-of-center...very left-of-center, I admit.

And that's what makes this crush so odd. I'm not sure why, but I have this weird unexplainable fascination with bow-tie-wearing conservative commentator, Tucker Carlson. Maybe it's my tendancy to fall for smart, hot nerds. Or maybe the fact that I find policy wonkism sexy. Who knows.

It makes me feel dirty, though, because I disagree with pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth. If he would justt keep his mouth shut, then he'd be cool, but the second he opens it he ruins the fantasy. Oh well.

Anyway, the reason Tucker Carlson is the subject of my post today is because he's one of the "stars" on this season's "Dancing with the Stars," which begins tonight. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that there are a few things I love in life...dancing, reality shows, and politics. So maybe that's what's behind my fascination with Tucker. :)

Anyway, watch "Dancing with the Stars" tonight. Why? Well, my YA ms that I'm shopping to agents currently is a mystery that takes place behind the scenes of a teen version of this show, so I want the ratings high so I'm more likely to sell! LOL! Just kidding...you should watch because ballroom dancing is cool. And because you'll get to see Tucker Carlson and Emmet Smith strutting their stuff. How funny is that?

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 1:03 PM :: 3 comments

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An Interview with Miranda Heart

It's Tuesday, so you know what that means...time for my next interview with a FB author! Today we're chatting with Miranda Heart, author of THE INSUBORDINATE, a Bites piece available from Freya's Bower.

WARNING: Today's author writes BDSM erotica, which is not appropriate for children under the age of 18.

Amanda: Welcome Miranda. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Miranda: Lets see. Where to start. I'm 29 with a husband and one toddler. I have my own BDSM review site as it is one of the things I'm very passionate about in my life. I've done every odd job America has offer until I became pregnant and sitting at home eating ice cream all day became more appealing.

I have one divorce behind me, yet somehow we've stayed great friends. I moved out when I was seventeen to rent my own place. I have two younger sisters who live close by. My cat is my second baby. And when my brain is fried and I need a break, I cross stitch or pretend I know how to sew.

My favorite thing to do when I'm in a bad mood is bake and cook. But, I work all this off by cycling with my daughter, taking walks in the park or chasing little girl around the house all day.

Amanda: It sounds like you definitely keep busy. When and how did you begin writing?

Miranda: Somewhere around the age of eight, I wrote my first short story. I believe it was about an elephant.

Amanda: An elephant? Hmmm...I bet I wrote one of those, too. Anyway, jumping forward to your career as an adult, how did THE INSUBORDINATE get its start?

Miranda: It was actually meant as a side snippet for my husband and welcome break away from romance writing. Don't get me wrong, I love the genre, but there are times when I can't get my brain out of the gutter. When I found out Freya's Bower was looking for short submissions I turned it into two short stories.

Amanda: Where do you get your inspirations?

Miranda: Most of my inspirations come when I'm cleaning. The house is quiet and who really needs to focus on mopping?

Amanda: LOL! Very true.

Miranda: Otherwise, I might hear a conversation and turn it into something it never started out being. Sometimes, I'll watch something on t.v and seeing the lifestyle of another country might give me an idea for a story written two hundred years before that time. It's quite amazing how little everyday things we never think about turn into novel ideas.

Amanda: What genres do you most enjoy reading? Writing?

Miranda: My absolute favorite has always been historical romance. I've written three historicals, but they need rewrites of which I have no time to be rewriting 100k manuscripts right now. So currently I'm working on my second favorite, which is BDSM Erotica.

Amanda: Who are your favorite authors?

Miranda: To be completly honest, I have no favorite authors. I feel to have a favorite would limit reading well written novels. And with all the novels being produced today I have found I enjoy the surprise of reading and getting to know different types of characters and author voices.

Amanda: What are you reading at the moment?

Miranda: At the moment my computer is filled with BDSM Erotica as that is the review site I just opened. And I'm reading Desiree Erotique's Disciples of Pleasure.

Amanda: What are you working on right now?

Miranda: I just opened a new file for a Master/slave story that I have been dying to write for ten years. At the beginning of the story it had little to no direction. While mopping my floors last week, I found the idea of writing about a Turkish slave woman who moves to America to be a much more fascinating read. I couldn't be more excited to start this story.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 10:22 AM :: 7 comments

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Thursday, September 07, 2006



Taking the Day Off

I'm doing something today that I rarely do...stay home from work and actually take time off. OK, sure, I take time off when I go on vacation and I have annual leave built up, but generally I "flex" around my time off. One of the perks of working for the federal gov't is that by law you can't work more than 80 hours per biweek, so if you work 10 hour days then you get one day off per week. So I work 8:30-7 Monday through Thursday and then take Fridays off.

Well, today is Thursday and I'm home. And I refuse to flex around this and come in tomorrow instead, either. I'm actually taking a sick day. It was my husband's idea. I felt like a$$ all day yesterday with allergies so he suggested that I take the day off.

It's LOVELY.

Oh, and before I forget...the direct link to the mass author chat on THIS IS CHICK LIT is right here: http://www.romancedivas.com/divaforum/index.php?showtopic=12775

It technically begins tomorrow, but a few authors have already begun fielding questions. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:32 AM :: 7 comments

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006



Chick Lit vs. Literary Chicks

“How can you write/read such fluff?”

Pretty much anyone who’s read or written a chick lit or romance has heard those words, oh, about twenty gazillion times in her life.

I know I get it all the time.

I hear it on an almost daily basis from my Yale-JD-turned-Stanford-“Modern Thought and Literature”-Ph.D.-candidate brother. (For the uninitiated, Modern Thought and Literature is an interdisciplinary degree drawing upon philosophy, literature, law, and politics…because “Ancient Thought and Picture Books” doesn’t pay nearly as well, but I digress.) He thinks I’m wasting my time reading and writing books that I enjoy. Apparently entertainment value doesn’t rate too high in his world, but then, he writes this epistemological existential whatever cr@p that I don’t understand because I’m not “intelligent” enough. (I’m the dumb one in the family, by the way. My law degree is only from Arizona State, not Yale.)

When I tell people I write, I always get "Oh yeah? What do you write?" When I say chick lit, I often get a blank stare or a question about how can I write chewing gum. But sometimes I get, "How can you write that fluff?" or sometimes, "Oh good. I thought you were going to say romance." (Um, chick lit is a romance genre, you dumbass. And if I looked at your bookshelf, I bet I'd see more than one example of romance fiction, even if you don't realize it.)

But the criticism is never so strong as from the so-called literati. For years, participants in college-level creative writing workshops and English classes have been told that romance is crap. (Interestingly enough, however, most of the world's most beloved titles are romance in some form...even if it's not marketed that way. Take Pride and Prejudice, for example.) There seems this idea that if you're entertained and feel good about yourself when you walk away from the novel that somehow it's less intelligent.

Elizabeth Merrick, editor and contributor to the recently-released THIS IS NOT CHICK LIT, certainly thinsk so. In the book's introduction, she writes: "Chick lit's formula numbs our senses. Literature, by contrast, grants us access to countless new cultures, places, and inner lives."

Oh really? Only so-called "literature" can do that?

She continues: “It has become nearly impossible to enter a bookstore without tripping over a pile of pink books.” (I should point out that her latest title has a decidely pink cover…)

Sure, Merrick doesn't have to love chick lit. It's a subgenre and not everyone is going to love all subgenres or genres. But what's with the caustic ad hominen attacks?

She goes on to say "Chick lit shuts down our consciousness. Literature expands our imaginations." Um, OK. Talk about a generalization. Not to mention an opinion.

Speaking of opinions, the subtitle of Merrick's book is "Original Stories by America's Best Women Writers." Gotta love someone who attaches a superlative to her own name so casually.

Although Merrick's book essentially names chick lit as contributing to the dumbing down of society, it's really a broader attack on genre fiction as a whole.

As a retort, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, acclaimed author of THE THIN PINK LINE, A LITTLE CHANGE OF FACE, HOW NANCY DREW SAVED MY LIFE, and the upcoming Victorian erotic suspense literary work, VERTIGO, called together a diverse group of chick litters to put together a collection that shows the depth, emotion, and sure, fun, of the genre. At the same time, the authors "reach across the aisle" and name their favortite books of any genre...including the classics and the so-called modern "literary" works.

Last week I wrote about how some women seem hell bent on dragging other women down. Why is Elizabeth Merrick so intent on bashing chick lit? Why not just be happy that women writers as a whole are seeing a heyday? But this is not just about chick lit. This is about all genre fiction. Why do the “literati” hate it so much?

And really, what’s so wrong with wanting to escape when we read? What’s so wrong about wanting to curl up with a book that will make me feel good and entertain me, not make me utterly depressed or confused by the end? And not all chick lit is mindless fluff about twenty-something assistants in NYC or London running all over town in their Manolo Blahnik slingbacks while shopping for designer clothes that they clearly can’t really afford on their pathetic salaries. Sure, some is, but chick lit heroines (and romance heroines in general) are evolving and we’re seeing a wide range of depth in these genres.

Anyway, you can weigh in, or at least just chat with the lovely ladies of THIS IS CHICK LIT (led by Lauren Baratz-Logsted) this weekend on Romance Divas. They’ll be answering your questions about publishing, the chick lit genre, and the controversy.

As always, Romance Divas is free. Just register at www.romancedivas.com. See you there!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:14 AM :: 13 comments

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006



An Interview with Sara Dennis

It's Tuesday, so it's time for an interview with another Freya's Bower author. Today we're chatting with Sara Dennis, who mostly writes for Cobblestone, but who wrote a fantastic Bites piece (EYE OF THE BEHOLDER) for FB.

Amanda: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Sara: Let's see. I'm a thirtysomething, married for eight years to a very supportive and understanding (even if he doesn't always "get" the writing thing) husband. I've lived all over the country, following my military family around and bouncing between houses. I make beaded jewelry, crochet and cross-stitch when I steal a minute or two, and am a pro at distracting myself with the next "Great Idea".

Amanda: How and when did you begin writing?

Sara: I'm an only child, so I always told myself stories. I started writing in jr. high, writing Star Trek novels that will never see the light of day. I moved on to writing scripts and creating characters for popular animated shows in the 80s--fan fiction before I knew what that was!--and started writing original stories and plays in high school.

Amanda: THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER is a futuristic, FORTUNE'S FOOL is contemporary, and THE DRAGON UNDONE deals with shifters. Was it difficult for you to switch between such very different subgenres?

Sara: It's not difficult for me at all. I have a lot of stories in my head that want to be told, and more that pop up all the time. It's easier for me to switch between subgenres than to stick with one. It keeps my mind engaged and I don't get tired of the same old-same old.

Amanda: What is your favorite genre to write? How about to read?

Sara: I read in as many genres as I write in. I started with reading fantasy, and that'll always be a major love of mine, but I love a good romance too. I adore writing both, but no matter where I wander in the genres, there will always been a romance lurking.

Amanda: Who are your favorite authors?

Sara: Also a tough question! Teresa Medeiros, Suzanne Brockmann, Catherine Mann, Karen Templeton, Ingrid Weaver, Gena Showalter are just a few. Sarah Zettel, Sarah Ash, Jacqueline Carey, Carol Berg and Jim Butcher feed some of my more fantastic loves.

Amanda: What are you reading at the moment?

Sara: I actually read pretty slowly, especially since I'm writing so much. I have a huge TBR pile. Right now I'm working my way through Silver's Edge by Anne Kelleher, from Luna.

Amanda: What do you like about working with small presses, such as Freya's Bower?

Sara: I like the author to publisher interaction that you get from a small press. I like knowing that you're not just a number, but that people know your name and something about you. It's nice to have a couple more voices raised in support of your work.

Amanda: What are you working on right now?

Sara: I'm working on a couple of books for Cobblestone Press. One is a contemporary involving a woman's quest to find out about the part of her life she doesn't know, including her father. The other is a paranormal djinn book with prophecies and the end of the world and a hero plunged right into the middle of the chaos.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:45 AM :: 5 comments

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