Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Romancing The Recession

Although the romance novel industry is constantly derided from the outside, made fun of and considered "trash" by the uninformed, these are not the romance novels your mother read, nor anything like the Barbara Cartland books gathering dust on your grandmother's bookshelf. This is a HUGE business of numerous sub-genres for all tastes, and regardless of what anybody thinks, romance novels SELL.

That little snippet is from some interesting reading over at The Daily Dish on the rise of romance books during times of recession. When you think about it, it makes sense that romance novels would flourish. Bad news is being thrown at us constantly these days. What better way to get away from it all than losing yourself in the pages of a very affordable mass-market paperback novel? You're guaranteed a happy ending!

No one likes a recession, but I feel proud that, as a romance writer, I can do my part to help make these troubling times just a bit more enjoyable.

Go out there and stimulate the economy. Buy a romance novel!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This really takes the cake

How many of you out there know of the cupcake revolution? Seriously, the cupcake has been reinvented in a huge way. No longer is it just regular cake with yummy frosting and maybe a few sprinkles, if you're lucky. These days, you can get a cupcake that rivals the fanciest dessert from the finest restaurant. Believe me people, it is all about cupcakes.

This past weekend, thanks to my fab friend and publicist, Tara, I attended a cupcake social. It was like a cocktail party for cupcakes, hosting by the gurus of cupcakes, Nichelle Stephens and Rachel Bussel, of Cupcakes Take The Cake (warning, don't go over to their blog if you're hungry).

Instead of droning on and on about cupcakes, I'm just going to hit you with some serious cupcake porn. Get the kiddies out of the room folks, these are not for delicate eyes.

Here are a few from The Cupcake Bar in Austin. I had the red velvet and nearly fell out of my chair.

And here are more from Cake by Bridges. They had a great New Orleans Praline cupcake! It was fabulous. It tasted like home!

A collection of fabulous cupcakes including that red velvet I mentioned, banana with a peanut butter frosting, vanilla with raspberry frosting and rose hips, and ooey, gooey chocolate with Oreo cookies crunch on top, and the New Orleans praline. Don't get the wrong idea here, I didn't eat them all by myself, I had a friend there with me.

I was going to torture you with a before and almost after of the rose cupcake, but that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Besides, I have a plane to catch and I don't have time to wait for the pics to upload. I'm heading out to New York City for the PASIC Conference and to check out some of those cupcake spots I've read about on Cupcake Take The Cake!

Monday, March 16, 2009

SXSW's New Think for Old Publishers

Not sure how many of you out there have heard about the sparks that flew during a panel discussion at Austin's popular South By Southwest music, film, and interactive media experience. I'll be honest, I thought SXSW was just a big music festival. I had no idea there would be panels with higher ups from Penguin and Bloomsbury.

The title of the panel "New Think for Old Publishers" gives you the gists of what the discussion was supposed to entail, but apparently, the audience took over and were very vocal about their take on how the publishing industry is embracing (or maybe failing to embrace) the role of the internet and other new media.

Here's a link via Galley Cat of some video, and a side discussion that took place on Twitter during the panel.

If you have time, check out the write up on Medialoper and BookSquare. The Book Publicity Blog has a nice wrap up with some lessons all in the publishing industry should pay attention to.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Great Race Debate...again!

I've posted about the blatant racism in publishing before, and believe me, this won't be the last time you'll read about it on this blog. Until Borders puts me in the romance section, I'll continue to be vocal.

I won't say too much this time, because it has all been said in an extremely insightful post over at Editorial Ass. If you've got some time, do go over and read what Moon Rat has to say.

I wonder if any of the hundreds, maybe even thousands of posts on racism in publishing will ever do anything to cure the problem, but it does make for interesting reading.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tweeting on Twitter

Many moons ago, my friend and publicist Tara of TaraMetBlog encouraged me to start "tweeting" on Twitter. I had no idea what a Twitter was, and resisted. But over the course of the last year and a half, I've heard more and more about this Twitter thing.

This past week, at my local RWA meeting, the resident self-proclaimed computer nerd of the group, Sique Keller, gave a workshop on Twitter, FaceBook, and the other social networking sites out there on the internet. After much debate inside my own little brain that really doesn't have room for debate these days, I decided to step out on a limb and start tweeting.

You can now follow me on Twitter.

Totally unrelated, but still super cool, RESCUE ME just received an awesome review on Fresh Fiction! Check it out!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

To eRead or not to eRead

I'm blogging over at the Reader's Rooms about eReaders, and how I'm still holding out on buying one of my own.

What are your thoughts on eReaders and ebooks?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Bible: The Starting Point for a Good Critiquer

So, yeah, I know what you’re asking. What could the Bible possibly have to do with critiquing fiction? This past Saturday, I realized there’s a nugget of wisdom in the Bible that is absolutely golden for a writer who has made the choice to partner up with another to critique.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? - Matthew 7:3

Yeah. Good ol’ Matthew.

You see, on Saturday, I discovered I had a log the size of a redwood in my eye.

I participated in an all-day workshop on critiquing with my local Romance Writers of America chapter, led by fellow ARWA member Emily McKay. Originally, for me, it was more about making new friends (don’t I sound like a seventh-grader who’s just moved to a new school?) than the actual critique. I sent in ten pages of an old manuscript that’s been sitting on my computer for a while, but that I would love to sell one day. I knew it needed some tweaking, but I didn’t think there were major issues.

Well, guess what? Little Miss Love-To-Catch-Info-Dumps had an info dump the size of a landfill a few pages into my story. It was eye-opening, to say the least. And it reminded me how awesome it can be to work with other writers who know what to look for in a clean, crisp manuscript.

I know there are many great writers out there who have never, and probably will never, join a critique group. I also know that some people have found themselves in horrible critique groups. You have my sympathy, but I cannot empathize, because I was lucky enough to find a fabulous critique group early on in my writing career. It includes Shauna Roberts, The Ninth Muse, and two other tremendous writers and I am forever grateful to them and for them.

I know I have some writers out there who read the blog. What’s your experience? Or do you have advice on how to be a good critiquer or accept a critique?