Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An Interview with Damien Roth

You'll have to wait until next week to purchase the FB releases of this week's author, Damien Roth. His first FB title, LOVE NOTES, will be released on November 7. His second, THE CASE OF HEART V. MIND, will be right on the heels of that, probably the week after.

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

Damien: I'm old enough to know better, not as young as I used to be, etc... I live in a small house with my wife, my dog, and my typical suburban neighbors. If any of them knew those stories they were reading were mine...[sinister laugh]

Amanda: Ahh, a pen name. Aren't that the greatest thing? LOL! Anyway, how did you begin writing?

Damien: I've been writing since I was old enough to pick up apencil. In third grade, I managed to 'publish' my first piece in the fifth-grade newsletter, and my teachers began to encourage me to keep writing. Since then, I've written at least a little something almost every day.

Amanda: LOVE NOTES and THE CASE OF HEART V. MIND are both set in a law firm. Why a law firm? What interests you in this area?

Damien: Well, I've worked in the legal world for a number ofy ears, and they're people just like everyone else. I try to write what I know, rather than trying to imagine a locale I've never seen. It lets me focus more on the story than the details of the location.

Amanda: How did these two stories come about?

Damien: I've worked in law firms before, and I realized that even "boring, stuffy lawyers" (and all people in the legal profession) can have crazy, exciting sex lives. I just wanted to tell a few stories. I love telling stories...

Amanda: Hey, watch it with the "boring, stuffy lawyers" comment...I resemble that remark! And so do a few of my regular readers! LOL! What's your favorite genre to write or read?

Damien: I prefer to write erotica -- it lets me get inside characters' heads and show their deepest, most primal thoughts and emotions. As for reading, I tend to gravitate toward horror and the supernatural (although I never write much erotic supernatural fiction), but I'll read anything I can get my hands on. I've been rude at more than one family gathering...having my nose buried in a book.

Amanda: Oh, haven't we all? If you had to get rid of all the books on yourshelf except for those on one author, who would you keep around?

Damien: Stephen King. I own all but four of his published works.

Amanda: What are you working on next?

Damien: I have two more stories set in the legal world thatI'm finishing up, and then I'm starting on an erotic romance western.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:56 AM :: 4 comments

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Monday, October 30, 2006

My Vote Finally Matters!

After years of living in states where my vote made zero difference on the outcome of the election, I'm so happy that I'm finally in a legitimate battleground state this year!

The first major election I ever voted in was the 1996 elections. I voted absentee in NJ (I was in NC). That was kind of stupid, though, because it wasn't like NJ was in any danger of falling to Dole.

Then in 1998, I changed my registration to NC so that I could actually vote in a hotly contested election. (OK, I'm wrong...this isn't the first time...just the first time in 8 years.) I voted for John Edwards, and he became a first-term Senator (and then stepped down to run for Pres, and later VP).

In 2000, my voter registration was Virginia. I knew it wouldn't make a difference in the presidential election (this state was solidly red back then), but I thought perhaps I can help keep Senator Robb in office. I didn't...George Allen got voted in. :(

In 2002, I lived in Arizona. Pretty heavily Republican district, too.

In 2004, I was back in Virginia. Again, alas, my vote wasn't going to make any difference whatsoever. Bush was going to take this state, no matter what.

But then, in 2005, the tide seemed to turn somewhat in this great Commonwealth. Virginians voted for their second straight Democratic governor. Could the state be turning purple? Maybe even a bluish purple?

Maybe so. Because it's 2006, and despite the fact that everyone thought George Allen would win in a landslide (and he was even expected to be the frontrunner for the presidential nomination in his party), former Navy secretary Jim Webb is fighting back.

The most recent polls are a virtual dead heat, with Allen favored by 48% of likely voters and Webb by 47%. That's WELL within the margin of error.

So my vote matters this year. Hell yeah, it matters.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 9:17 AM :: 6 comments

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Friday, October 27, 2006

I Need a Title...

I got an idea for a new book I want to write...but not until I finish the book I already am planning to write for NaNo. That one is the sequel to my YA mystery. I need to write that one since I've been calling my YA mystery Book 1 in a series, so well, yeah, I need a series. And I have it plotted so, yeah. Need to write that.

But ever since I watched the 1998 remake of Great Expectations Sat nite with the hubby, I've been toying around with the idea of rewriting a classic to update it. I loved the 1998 remake (the one with Gwynneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke) because it took Dickens' novel and set it in 1970s-1990s Florida and NYC. And it really worked.

And two of my all-time fave movies are updated Jane Austen classics (Clueless, which is Emma set in mid-1990s LA, and Bridget Jones' Diary, which is Pride and Prejudice set in late 1990s London). But then again, I've always been a huge Jane Austen fan. Love Jane. She's fabulous. I think we'd totally get along if she were living today.

So I'm toying with the idea of writing my own updated version of Little Women, set in 2000s Arizona (just because I miss AZ and want to set a book there and to date, eveything else I've written seems to get set in DC).

But I don't want to call it Little Women. So I need a title. And since I'm pretty much an idiot when it comes to titles, I've decided to run a contest.

Help me name my wip! From now until Thanksgiving, I'll be taking suggestions for titles, both here or by email (amandabrice at myway dot com). If I decide to use your title for my wip, then you'll win a prize pack of Christmas books! Just in time to get you in the spirit!

The prize will consist of the following titles:

The Eggnog Chronicles by Carly Alexander (Kensington Strapless, 2004)
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Jenna Lawrence (Kensington Zebra, 2005)
Christmas Wishes by Shiloh Walker (Ellora's Cave, 2004)

Thanks and good luck!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 1:18 PM :: 12 comments

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

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

“Intelligent characters, hot romance and breathtaking adventure with epic feel—exactly what I want to read!” - Susan Grant, New York Times bestselling author“A fantastic and riveting new voice in paranormal fiction.” -Karen Marie Moning, New York Times bestselling author of Spell of the Highlander“At times humorous, at others heart-wrenching, but always compelling, Deidre Knight offers readers a fresh, wonderfully creative glimpse at the complexity of human decisions. What a page-turner!” - Gena Showalter, Author of Playing with FireIn the unforgettable, alternate world of Parallel Heat, two enemies are bound by betrayal, vengeance—and forbidden passion.Warrior and royal guardian Marco McKinley has been assigned a vital mission on Earth, where a war between human fighters and otherworldly soldiers is rising in the far reaches of Wyoming. But he's also been warned about twists of fate yet to come-ones that will transform him into the enemy of his own people and appoint him the personal protector of beautiful soldier Thea Haven.Little do Marco and Thea know, but they have met before in an alternate universe, and they are bound by betrayal and vengeance. Now, on a world at the brink of destruction, forbidden passion ignites—but will the destiny Marco has glimpsed unfold a second time?Sign up for Deidre’s newsletter and be eligible to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate, signed copies of her books, and plenty of other goodies! Just click here. Check out the book that launched the series, PARALLEL ATTRACTION or order your copy of PARALLEL HEAT today! And coming in April, PARALLEL SEDUCTION.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:32 AM :: 3 comments

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

An Interview with Sarah Dobbs

This week's interview is a little late again...sorry about that. Today I'm chatting with Sarah Dobbs, author of THE PERFECT MAN, available from Freya's Bower.

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

Sarah: Well, I'm an eternal romantic, and I write stories about the way I wish life could be. I just recently had my heart broken by my now-ex-fiance. Thought he was the man of my dreams, but it all turned into one heck of a nightmare. There's a novel in this though! But I'll never stop looking for The Perfect Man, even though I don't actually expect him to be 'perfect'. Whether I find him or not, well, that's another story...

Amanda: I'm so sorry to hear that. How did you begin writing?

Sarah: I started writing when I was about 11, I think! I remember getting very frustrated with stories not ending the right way (ie the way I thought they should). I used to rewrite the endings, and rearrange sentences that I didn't like. Sounds a bit strange really. Then I got fed up of 'fixing' stories, and started writing my own.

Amanda: Tell us about THE PERFECT MAN.

Sarah: The Perfect Man is about an artist/waitress called Harriet who is desperately trying to find a date to go to her ex-fiance's wedding with her. She's trying to keep up appearances here! But just when she thinks all is lost, 3 very different men enter her life. There's sensitive Nicholas, sexy French artist Julian, and John, the man who is so wrong for her he might be right.

Amanda: Your book is chick lit, which I also write. Do you write in any other styles?

Sarah: I also write sf, fantasy, and have dabbled in horror. The novella I wrote for my Creative Writing MA, Drawing Alice, is more 'literary' and experimental (and proving very hard to sell!)

Amanda: Do you think the whole "the sky is falling" forecasts we've been hearing about chick lit are true?

Sarah: I do feel Chick Lit is going through a metamorphosis, and I think it's down to the thriving ebook scene. Something to be proud of there! The biggest call now seems to be for sexy, paranormal, fantasy or magical romances. Mills & Boon have recently introduced a new line to fulfill this niche. But I still think the easy-breezy reads that Chick Lit is known for are still required. To keep up, they just need to cater for an intelligent, sassy reader.

Amanda: What are your favorite genres to read?

Sarah: Lately, I'm loving things without much of a genre tag, but that have an interesting and creative writing style. I like intimate, personal stories told in the first person, where you really feel you're getting inside a character's head. I really loved Electricity by Ray Robinson, about a girl living with Epilepsy.

Amanda: If you had to get rid of all the books on your shelf except for one author, whose books would you keep around?

Sarah: Ooo, good one. I would keep Electricity by Ray Robinson. It reminds me of all the things I want to achieve in my writing, one day!

Amanda: What are you reading right now?

Sarah: I'm reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I've heard about this novel for years, and I hate reading things just because people say, What, you've never read it? You have to read it! But it's fabulous. I'm so surprised it was written in the 60s as it's seems so current. Either that, or literature just hasn't moved on!

Amanda: That was a great book. What are you working on right now?

Sarah: I just got an email from a producer from the BBC, asking if I'd like to submit something to be considered for one of their radio shows next year. So I'm in the midst of reworking a story for that. I'm currently redrafting The Cavellini Curse, a novel for Aphrodite Unlaced which is long overdue, but I'm finally getting to grips with it!

Amanda: Wow, sounds like you'll be very busy, and that some great things are happening!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:36 PM :: 1 comments

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What's in a Name?

If you write in more than one genre, do you use more than one pen name? I'm beginning to think I probably should.

Amanda Brice is my pen name. It's my real middle name and my hubby's real middle name (yes, my Asian husband has a way more WASPy middle name than I do...I keep telling him that he needs to go meet Buffy and Biff at the club to play tennis...).

I like it, but so far I've used it for my adult chick lit. Mind you, none of my adult stuff is terribly racy or erotic, but I do use some stronger language and I make a lot of allusions to sex (although most, if not all, the sex is actually off-screen).

But I'm also writing YA stuff. In fact, the book that's landed me an agent straddles the line between middle grade and YA (the elusive preteen range). So I'm beginning to think I need a new pen name.

Wanna help me choose it?

Here are the options:

Mandy Bryce
Mandy Blake
Mandy Marshall
Heather Holmes
Heather San Miguel
Heather Chen

Something else?

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 9:14 AM :: 11 comments

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Monday, October 23, 2006

I Think I Might Have an Agent...

I have doing two posts in one day, but I just had to share...

About 90 minutes ago, I got a very exciting phone call. :) I haven't signed yet, but I just might!!!!! She's very excited about my work and wants to pitch it during her trip to NYC for lunches and appointments in early November.

Please forgive me while I cut this post short to scrape myself off the ceiling again...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:19 PM :: 21 comments

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I've Been Tagged!

Thanks to Tara (www.taramleigh.blogspot.com), I don't actually have to think of a post for today! Thanks Tara!

The purpose of this is to list 5 of your personal experiences so that we can always have a network of people to go to when we need interesting stories/research for our books.

So, without further ado...

* My coolest summer job ever was as a Protocol Officer and Hostess at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. I was based at the "Olympic Family Hotel" (the Marriott Marquis at Peachtree Center, where all the foreign dignitaries stayed) and my office dealt with the questions of who got priority over whom for ticket distributions (should Chelsea Clinton get these free tickets to gold medal gymnastics or should Price William?) and occasionally, I also got to work the VIP sections at sporting events.

* I used to compete on the intercollegiate level in Dancesport. (That's what you officially refer to ballroom and latin when it's competitive.) My best dances were the latin dances. I did a mean jive...

* I've had 18 different addresses in 29 years, living in such places as Maine, South Carolina, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, France, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Arizona.

* I used to be a counsel for a Congressman and sometimes dream of going back to the Hill. It's looking more and more like there'll be a shuffling of power come November, so maybe I will go back (my old boss is likely to become Chairman of his committee).

* I was a "flyer" in cheerleading when I was in junior high and high school. I got dropped on my shoulder (then hit my head) in 8th grade and I now have nerve damage and a pinched nerve in my left shoulder as a result of it.

Okay, enough about me. I wanna hear about you. I'm tagging Debbie Mumford, M.E. Ellis, Trish Ryan, Lillian Feisty, and Alyssa Goodnight.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:37 AM :: 5 comments

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Why Can't I Just Forward an E-book to a Friend?????

If you're published in ebook format, likely one of the problems you fight is the issue of people forwarding your ebook without your permission.

In print, the First Sale Doctrine applies, which means that once the book is sold, the purchaser can do whatever she wants with it, including lending it to a friend, selling it, or giving it away. (Or, destroying it, for that matter, but Fahrenheit 451-style scenarios are a topic for a different day.)

But this isn't the case with ebooks. Why? you might ask. Shouldn't the First Sale Doctrine also apply to ebooks? Why can't you just give it away once you're finished with it?

The answer is really quite simple. One of the copyright holder's exclusive rights is the right of reproduction (the right to make copies). When you forward an ebook to your friend by email, you are not only distributing the book, but you are making copies.

Consider a print book. When you give it to your friend, you are parting with your one copy. You no longer have it in your possession--your friend does.

But with an ebook, there's a copy contained on your hard drive, a copy in your sent mail, temporary copies made in transmission, and a new copy on your friend's hard drive. There's no longer just one book, but several. Then when your friend sends it to her friends, etc...you get the point.

So, don't forward along ebooks. You're infringing copyright if you do.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 1:27 PM :: 10 comments

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Requests and Rejections

Two nights in a row, when I've come home from work, I've found thin envelopes from agents. Both nights, DH handed the envelope to me and said "Sorry." We all know what a think envelope (particularly getting your own SASE back) means, right?

Well, Tues night (I think it was Tuesday anyway...maybe it was Monday, I lose track of days) that's exactly what it was. I got an R from the agent who I'd formally pitched in Atlanta (I pitched lots of agents informally, but this was the one who I had an appointment with) with my chick lit. And although it was an R, it was a very positive R. It was distinctly obvious that not only had she read it, but she thought carefully about it. She wrote very personal comments (extremely HELPFUL comments, too!) and indicated that she actually really liked my voice and would be very happy to take a look at future projects.

So that was good, even if it was an R.

Last night, I got a thin envelope again. This time, it wasn't a SASE. It was in the agent's envelope (I queried by email). So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the agent was asking for the full of the YA!

I'm sending it out tomorrow. I think this will make 5 agents who will have the full. I'm getting nervous, but in a good way!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 11:11 AM :: 12 comments

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An Interview with Wild Child and Freya's Bower Editor-in-Chief, Marci Baun

Sorry this is a day late. :( I've just been super busy this week at work.

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

Marci: What do you want to know? LOL I am a stay-at-home mom who happens to run two epublishing houses. Because I don’t feel that I have enough to do between a toddler and publishing, I also am the editor-in-chief of Wild Child Magazine.

Amanda: Phew! Talk about busy!

Marci: I love to swim, am addicted to email and the Internet,and am not fond of house cleaning. (I do it, but I’mnot fond of it. LOL) My interests are vast andencompass, but are not limited to, all periods ofhistory (except perhaps WWII or the Vietnam War),opera, theater, hiking, documentaries, the paranormal,and current world events.

Amanda: How did Wild Child Magazine begin?

Marci: In September of 1999, in an apartment between two roommates who saw a need on the Internet. The ironic aspect of this is that, originally, my roommate at the time wanted to start an erotic site, but I wasn't keen on erotica. So, I talked him into doing an online literary magazine. We've been online ever since.

Seven years later, I publish erotica and romance. I have always loved romance, but my view of erotica coincided with how the average person sees it. I have since been re-educated.

Amanda: How did Freya's Bower get it's start?

Marci: I have always been an avid reader of romance and hated the euphemisms used in the sex scenes. Whenever an author referred to a man's genital's as "his mighty sword" or "his shaft," it ruined the scene for me. I'd start laughing or wince, depending on my mood. (Personally, neither sounds too sensual to me. LOL)

Amanda: Ugh, I know what you mean. That stuff drives me crazy.

Marci: Near the beginning of last year, the editors of Wild Child Publishing began discussing with me about the possibility of opening an erotica subsidiary to WCP. I was still opposed to it, but they kept pushing, insisting that my views were antiquated and downright wrong. With some gentle prodding from my editors, and some research on my part about erotica and what it really way, I came to realize they were right. Like romance, erotica had received a bad rap. Now, I prefer erotica over romance if there are going to be sex scenes in a book. Oh, I enjoy a sweet romance with sex scenes behind closed doors, but if I read a traditional romance, I skim the euphemistic sex scenes, looking for the end.

Amanda: What attracted you to epublishing?

Marci: The freedom of it, the lower costs of production, the ability to offer higher royalits to the authors, and to publish more books. That being said, WCP, as will FB, is going to publish selected manuscripts in paperback.

Amanda: What do writers do whwn submitting that immediately turns you off their manuscript.

Marci: When it's obvious that they haven't read the submission guidelines.

Amanda: What genres would you live to see both WCP and FB publish more of?

Marci: I'd live to see more historical manuscripts for both WCP and FB and would like to see straight romance at WCP.

Amanda: The Dreams and Desires charity anthology looks fantastic. How did this project come about?

Marci: One of our editors suggested we do a charity anthology. As Faith, my managing editor, and I began to discuss it, we thought it was a fantastic idea.

Amanda: Why was a battered women's shelter picked as the charity?

Marci: Having the anthology benefit a battered women's shelter was a natural for us, as Faith has had personal expeirence with being a battered woman, and I have always been a bit of a feminist and have been very supportive of battered women's shetlers, donating clothes, toys, etc., to them for their use or sale. Most people have experienced domestic violence, whether personally or know of someone who has. Helping one woman escape the violence will change the lives of many people, making this world safer, happier, and a better place to live.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 5:40 AM :: 13 comments

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gemma Halliday, Lois Winston, Candace Havens, me...

What do I possibly have in common with these lovely and talented ladies, other than writing chick lit?

Well, we all have short stories in the upcoming Dreams and Desires charity anthology, coming this February from Freya's Bower! Whoo-hoo!

This anthology is a collection of romance and erotica (all heat levels, from sweet to sizzling) with all net proceeds (after expenses for printing and selling the book are taken out--nobody associated with this project is earning a dime on it!) going to a battered women's shelter. (The name of the specific shelter will not be listed in the book, for obvious anonymity purposes.)

Other authors included in the collection are Jenna Bayley-Burke, Sasha White, Susan Lyons, Jackie Kessler, Richelle Mead, Faith Bicknell-Brown, H.A. Fowler, Zinna Hope, Bebe Thomas, and many more!

What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day? The book will be released in ebook, paperback, and hardcover on February 1, 2007, so be sure to buy a copy (or two, or three) to support the cause of eradicating domestic violence!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 1:02 PM :: 11 comments

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I Think We Have a Winner...

I think Eric and I have found the complex where Eric and I want to buy a condo.


It's called The Ridgeleigh and it's 3 miles from where we work (we work like two blocks from one another, in Alexandria, VA)...unless of course the Dems retake the House in November and I decide to go back onto the Hill (my old biss has made it clear that when he takes the Chairmainship of his subcommittee that he'd love for me to come back), in which case it wouldn't be terribly convenient to my work, but well, we've got time to think of that. We're not planning to move until the summer, anyway.

This place is half a mile from a Metro stop--either a 10-15 minute walk or you can hop on the free shuttle that runs during rush hour. It's only one Metro stop away from work, or an easy 5-7 minute drive.

What we like most of all, though, is that some of the units come with attached garages (you can either enter your condo from the front door or from the garage door, which leads into the dining room. So it would have increased storage space. We haven't seen this feature for any condos...just for single family homes or townhouses. I really like this feature. :)

And the price is right.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 10:26 AM :: 5 comments

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Thank Goodness...

OK, not that I'm happy she's getting divorced or anything, but FINALLY Sara Evans will be gone. It was announced yesterday that uber-boring, excruciatingly painful to watch dancer Sara Evans will be quitting ABC's Dancing with the Stars.



I wish she was booted off because of her horrible skills, but at least now we don't have to worry about the travesty of having her in the Top 2.

I just really hope this is true.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:05 AM :: 2 comments

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Very Productive Day

Well, I didn't get any writing done, but I did get some research done. I'm sure some of you have heard me brag about how flexible my job is. I basically work 80 hours every two weeks, and it doesn't matter what permutation. I just need to work 80 hours at some point during those two weeks. So I generally take a day off each week, and work 10 hour days.

Today I took the day off. And I spent it doing research. I plotting my second YA novel right now (well, kind of more a middle grade), so I decided to substitute teach today. (I used to sub while I was working on an LLM since it was easy and I could study or write while I was there and just take assignments when I felt like it.) But when I graduated from the LLM and started working full-time as an attorney again, I never cancelled myself in the sub system--I just put "do not disturb" on my telephone number so it wouldn't ever call me. But I could still technically sub whenever I wanted.

So I decided to call in yesterday and see what would be available. Turns out an 8th grade Social Studies teacher needed a sub for 2 hours today (from 10:30 to 12:30). By law, the school system has to pay me for a minimum of 4 1/2 hours, regardless of whether it was less than that. So, sure, I could easily hack 2 hours in the classroom today. And my heroines in my mystery series are in 9th grade (and the series is written to appeal to about 5th through 8th graders), so pretty close to the target age. Perfect opportunity to engage in a little observation.

Let me tell you...if you ever decide to write this age level, this is an AWESOME way to get yourself around teens. And it was so easy! And get this--the teacher was out to attend a training in the media center, but it only lasted about 45 minutes, so for the rest of my time there (the remaining hour and fifteen minutes) I just hung around the middle school library, shevling books, and taking note of all the cool "young" YA books I want to read.

Easiest $60 I ever made, plus I got to hang around the target audience and observe how they act in a classroom setting.

Then I spent the rest of the day running errands--grocery shopping, eye doctor, hair appointment. Now I'm home and I'm sitting down to brainstorm the plot of my next book.

It's another mystery. This time there's a theft at an art museum. I found this website for the FBI Art Crimes Unit: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/arttheft/artcrimeteam.htm. Good stuff. I think I'm going to see if I can set up an appointment with one of the investigators or the US attorneys they have attached to the unit. I'd like to pick their brains. Granted, I have a 14-year-old heroine who's going to solve this crime, but still...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 2:04 PM :: 4 comments

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Huge Amount of Eye Rolling...and Also Feeling Pissed Off

Apparently romance readers are uneducated, illiterate, and not desirable employees. Or at least that's what the Greater Washington Initiative wants us to think.


In an ad meant to promote the intellectual capital of the nation's capitol, the GWI contrasts an "average subway reader" (reading a so-called trashy romance novel with a clinch cover) to a "Washington area subway reader" (reading Plato's Republic). The ad copy states that 45% of DC area residents have at least a bachelor's degree. Oh yeah, so what? According to the RWA, 42% of romance readers have at least a bachelor's degree. I'm no statistician, but I'd say that's well within the margin of error, wouldn't ya think? (Thanks to Sela for pointing that out.)

First of all, NOBODY in DC calls it "the subway" so the ad campaign is kind of stupid right there. (It's the Metro, duh.) Second of all, pissing off the largest reading demographic in the country is a VERY stupid idea.

Besides, it's just intellectually lazy. I get the point of the GWI...they want to say that DC's smart city. So how can we do that? Oh, I know! We'll show that the rest of the country reads romance!!!!!! Yeah, that's the ticket!

I take the Metro everyday. The only people I ever see reading philosophy are students, reading it before class. Most people either read popular fiction (suspense, mainstream, paranormal, mystery, chick lit, and oh yes, even romance), the paper, a magazine, or just completely zone out and stare blankly like zombies (yes, I work in Washington, and yes, we can definitely be a bunch of soulless zombies).

I read widely...non-fiction, popular fiction, literary fiction, classics. But what I read most frequently is popular fiction, in particular chick lit and romance. Why? I enjoy it. Yes, I appreciate being challenged to think, but not only the classics or so-called "literary" works can do that. The best books not only make you think but also entertain you. I've read plenty of romance that makes me think, but at the end of the day, what I value most is being entertained.

Why? I have a mentally challenging job that demands that I constantly read. So I like escapism. Big deal. Sue me.

Of course, if you sued me, I probably wouldn't understand all those big words in the complaint, because, after all, I'm uneducated and illiterate, right?

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 8:45 AM :: 12 comments

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An Interview with Karen Frontain

It's Wednesday, not Tuesday, but today I have an interview with FB editor, Karen Frontain.

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

Karen: I’m a mom. Why does that always come out of my head first? I’m a mom. Heck, those little creatures I created watch me pound on the keyboard more often than not. Let me rephrase: I’m a mom with an obsession that chains me to a desk bearing a huge box with a glowing front face. My kids still love me despite this. So does my husband. He asks me regularly, “Why do I love you?” I say, “I don’t know,” and smile. And he smiles, and I go off to pound the keyboard some more.

I’m a writer. I guess that might mean “obsessed person”, but “I’m a mom” always comes out first. Without my family—their presence, love and support—I probably wouldn’t write.

Amanda: What do you write?

Karen: I generally write fantasy. Lately there's been a lotof erotic fantasy. Even my regular fantasy series has erotica.

The list:"The Soulstone Chronicles", available on Lulu(http://www.lulu.com/Frontain) up to book ten in theseries. Volumes One of "The Gryphon Taint" and "Boundin Stone" are free to read pdf files. Go to myhomepage to find download sites. http://soulstonechronicles.bravehost.com/

Published on Erotic Dreams Zine(http://www.eroticdreamspublishing.com/EroticDreams/index.html):"The Beast in Beauty". Beast is a novella available asa download on the Erotic Dreams site. It has reviews: http://bdsmreviews.blogspot.com/2006/08/beast-in-beauty-by-km-frontain.htmlhttp://meellisreviews.blogspot.com/2006/08/beast-in-beauty-k-m-frontain.html

Beast was originally published as serial fiction insix parts. I'm working on the novel sequel, "The Mouthof the World".

Also up on Erotic Dreams, "The Pearl", another serialpublication, but on their Shades of Dreams line. "ThePearl" is about a young man with conflicting demonheritage, that of predator and prey. The predatorbloodline is killing him from within.

And coming soon on FB, "Loved Him to Death: Haru ofSachoné House", first book in a series. I justfinished the cover for that and it's up on my blog. http://kmfrontain.blogspot.com/

I learned more about covers from this one than I didwith my self-pubbed books, lol.

You can find an excerpt from my first draft of LoveHim on my blog. http://kmfrontain.blogspot.com/2006/02/small-first-draft-in-response-to.html

And that's about it for the moment.

Amanda: How did you make the transition from writer to editor?

Karen: I self-pubbed my own work on Lulu. I had no choice but to become hyper critical, because there was no one to help me with this vast majority of this endeavour. I had to go into detail. I had to weed, and weed, and weed. I had to look at POV styles and figure what justifies the use of any of them. I had to discover why one style worked in one situation and why not in another. I had to nail down the logic of them.

I paid attention to plot holes and consistency issues and clarity. And then I went back to square one and started the edits again. Just to make sure. And I learned again. I learned every time.

I had to be the proofreader, which meant I had to know my grammar, which meant I had a big red dictionary by my elbow virtually all the time while I worked.

In one year, I gained more knowledge about editing, proofreading, marketing, book cover creation and many other publishing details than I’d known my entire life. Most of all, I learned so much about writing my writing style changed. Again.

I’m still discovering new things. Signing on with FB/WCP, helping authors with their manuscripts, has pushed the learning curve up like you wouldn’t believe. I’m very happy about that.

Amanda: What do authors do to turn you off their manuscript?

Karen: The worst? Use “as” for timing in virtually every paragraph. No one, in real life, does every action at once. Actions generally happen in an order. If an author decides to use “as” for timing, he or she had better ask these questions: Can these actions really happen simultaneously? Have I used this sort of sentence structure very recently in the manuscript, or again just later? Can’t I word this another way to give the story a better flow? Do I really want to drive discerning readers mad with slews of “as” throughout a manuscript?

It’s a disease. Cure your manuscripts.

Amanda: LOL! I hope authors are reading this and taking notes. Anyway, what genres would you like to see FB publish more of?

Karen: Don’t know that I can answer that one. I’m open to publishing all sorts of genres. I’m not into all genres, by why limit? I would like to see more science fiction submitted and published.

Amanda: What are your favorite genres to read?

Karen: Fantasy. It's always been my favourite. I'll read anything, however.

Amanda: Who are your fovoriate authors (other than the ones you work with, of course)?

Karen: LOL. Love the little proviso with that question.

Some of my favourites, that I remember at the moment: Anne McCaffrey, David Duncan, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Orson Scott Card, David Eddings, John Morressey. Wish I could remember more of them. I don't have all the books I once had, but that small list names a few that graced my shelf before many life changes separated me from my original library.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:16 AM :: 4 comments

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So Cold...

I was out of town this weekend at my husband's cousin's wedding. We had a lovely time, but man, was it cold at night! When I checked the weather ahead of time, to decide what to pack, I saw it was supposed to be in high 70s in Knoxville, TN all weekend. Guess I missed the fact that it would get down to the 40s at night. I guess that's what happens in the mountains.

So anyway, my sole warm clothes were jeans and a fleece. And since jeans aren't exactly appropriate attire for a wedding or a rehearsal dinner, I pretty much froze in my little dresses. I brought three. I ended up not wearing the one I planned to wear to the wedding, because it was a halter dress and would be way too cold, even with a pashmina wrap over it.

I ended up putting the fleece over the dresses, which, let me tell you, is such a sexy look. Ugh, I felt so dumb, but it was the best I could do. I held off as long as I could, but the reception was outdoors in a tent...with no space heaters. But hey, at least I was dressed up. Some of the bridesmaids changed into jeans and sweatshirts after dinner!

Anyway, in honor of cold weather, up at the top of the post is a picture from our Alaska trip from a few months ago, since I forgot to post it then.

For those of you who are wondering where this week's interview is, it will be TOMORROW instead of TODAY, even though it's Tuesday. Sorry for the scheduling problem! Check back tomorrow for an interview with Karen Frontain, an editor with Freya's Bower.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:16 AM :: 11 comments

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Southern Fiction Q&A at Romance Divas

What is it about Southern fiction? Is it because Southerners are natural born storytellers? Join Romance Divas October 10-12 for a fantabulous Q&A with some of today's hottest Southern fiction writers and editors.

Scheduled guests:

Deborah Smith
Deb Dixon
Sandra Chastain
Linda Francis Lee
Susan McBride
Jana DeLeon
Loribelle Hunt

Here's a link: http://www.romancedivas.com/divaforum/index.php?showtopic=13751

As always, participation in Romance Divas workshops and Q&As is free, but you must register on the site...registration's free, too!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:21 AM :: 0 comments

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who Says Nothing in Life is Free?

I love that word, "free." It has such a nice ring to it, doncha think?

If you, like me, love getting stuff for free, then you're in luck. One of my short stories (flash fiction--about 1000 words) is online at Coffee Time Romance in their "free reads" section, along with stories from Jenna Bayley-Burke, Sela Carsen, Zinnia Hope, and Debbie Mumford.

Check us out!


My story is entitled "Swept Off Her Feet" and it's a sweet read (in their PG section). Guess what it's about...let me give you a hint, I'm obsessed with ballroom dancing...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 10:08 AM :: 10 comments

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

An Interview with FB Editor Rhonda Stapleton

Today I'm chatting with Freya's Bower Associate Editor, and my YA critique partner, Rhonda Stapleton.

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

Rhonda: Hello - my name is Rhonda, and I'm a peanut butter cup-a-holic. Seriously, I'm an editor for Siren Publishing and Freya's Bower/Wild Child Publishing. I'm also an editor for Thomson West, a legal publishing company. I have a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in English. I'm divorced with two crazy children and a wonderful boyfriend, and I have all of my Christmas shopping done. bwahahahaaaaaa - you know you're jealous...

Amanda: Christmas shopping? Sheesh. I don't even bother to think about that until mid-December. Maybe it's good I don't have kids. LOL! So, Rhonda, how did you get your start in writing?

Rhonda: When I was in elementary school, I wrote a brilliant, stirring story about Pocahontas and won an award for it. Since then, I was hooked. I've always been a writer, even if it was mostly just in my head, at first. I'm one of those neutoric people who will have a whole conversation with someone in my head that never actually happened. There were several times I was ticked at someone for what they said to me in my head. At that point, I figured it was either time to go to therapy or try writing. Well, writing is cheaper, so it won out.

My first novel was a chick lit that took me two years to complete. It didn't start as a chick lit - it started as short contemporary, then gradually evolved into chick lit when the lines I was targeting starting dying off (i.e., Flipside, Temptation). My second novel, a YA, is about 20 pages from the end and has only taken about 3 months to write...that's a bit more reasonable.

Amanda: I know what you mean. It took me two years to write my first full-length manuscript but only a couple of months to write the second. Funny how that works, huh? Anyway, how did you make the jump into editing?

Rhonda: Just as much as I love writing, I love editing. In undergrad and graduate school, friends were always giving me their papers to clean up. I worked in the writing center as a tutor during grad school to help fund my schooling, and that was awesome. Eventually, it spread into editing manuscripts. I do quite a bit of freelance editing, as well, which helps fund my peanut butter cup addiction.

Amanda: LOL! What do you look for in a story?

Rhonda: I love compelling characters. If they're memorable and unique, all the better. I love snappy dialogue and fun plot twists, too. I don't have a particular genre that I love more...if the writing is strong, I don't care - it can be historical, horror, romance, or whatever.

Amanda: What do writers do that immediately turn you off?

Rhonda: Turn-offs - I dislike when writers rely too much on crutch words (e.g., using "as" or starting sentences with "ing" too much). I also don't like when dialogue is too bogged down with excessive tags or action, or when writers use proper names frequently (or even worse, the ever-dreaded info dump, where the author uses dialogue to catch the reader up on stuff the characters already know, so they have no good reason to be talking about it). Basically, make the dialogue realistic!! That's one of my pet peeves.

I don't like one-sided characters, either. Don't be afraid to let your characters make mistakes, snap at other people, be cranky, or do dumb stuff. They're people, after all. On the flip side, don't be afraid to let your "bad guy" have a softer side or do something that's not wholly evil.

Amanda: What are your favorite genres to read?

Rhonda: I try to read widely - it keeps my mind fresh and actually benefits my writing, as well as my editing. I love literary fiction, sweeping sagas, historicals (I'm on a big kick right now of Henry VIII-era historicals, revolving around Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth, etc.), horror (well-written, and not just gory for the sake of gore), and humor. I adore funny books that make me laugh.

Amanda: And what about your favortie genres to write?

Rhonda: I like writing chick lit and YA. I find that's my general tone, so I just kind of aligned with it.

Amanda: Me too. Who are your favorite authors?

Rhonda: Oooooh, this one is hard. I love Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds (swoon), Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, Phillipa Gregory, Sophie Kinsella, and many, many more...

Amanda: What are you working on at the moment?

Rhonda: I'm currently wrapping up the first draft of my second novel, a YA paranormal chick lit. I'm also doing freelance editing, and I offer self-editing workshops.

Amanda: Sounds like you've got a lot on your plate. And I can attest that your YA paranormal chick lit totally rocks, but you need to finish it! I need to know what happens! LOL!

Thanks for coming to chat with us today!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:17 AM :: 15 comments

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