Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If you can't say anything nice...

"Come sit by me," says Clairee Blecher (played by Olympia Dukakis) in STEEL MAGNOLIAS.

Of course it can be fun to sit and gossip. Yes, I've been known to do it myself, but I doubt the southern lady Clairee would approve of making those comments outloud so that others could hear them. And in this electronic age, our ability to be outloud includes writing, posting and commenting on blogs.

I didn't attend this years Romantic Times (RT) convention, but I havent been able to avoid some of the controversy that happened during and after. Blogs abound, but more... the comments to the blog go on for pages. Some nasty stones are being thrown and some good people are getting hurt.

It seems to me that some blogs can be like the tabloids. Uncensored, they comment on the the big racy/juicy/newsy stuff as if these were big, bold headlines, and if they have to "print" a retraction, that part is done smaller and more hidden. Not that it matters - the damage is done. Tempers have be raised, things have been written in the heat of the moment, feelings have been bruised.

And perhaps worse than feelings, which heal, sometimes reputations are hurt, which takes longer. Things posted on the internet can last a long time. Blogs are searchable by friends, family, fans, as well as future editors and agents. A lot of folks use screen names to hide their identity - or the names of others (there is a poster who uses Nora Robert's name and I have come to doubt that this is the famous author). I dont blame them, but I have noticed that those are the folks who make some of the most scathing comments. While the posters authority is questionable (due to the anonimity), it doesnt seem to make their comments sting less.

If there is a reason to make a public opinion of something known, I agree it should be written. There are many writers (and reporters, politicians, and humorists) whose thoughts I appreciate. It's those who talk/write to hurt or condemn for the sake of doing it that concern me. If my future fans want to know my take on something, I'll put it in a newsletter to them directly. Not somewhere more public where it can start the rumor mill running or be misrepresented.

Just like positive events aren't what leads on the evening news, positive blogs aren't the ones that get 100+ comments on a single post, hundreds of hits, and related posts on other blogs. But I'm going to hold out for the ones that do and post my comments there.

Then again - I also hope that one day we'll see the cable channel ONN - Optomist News Network, which will report on how many planes landed safely, how many kids are snug in their beds well rested and fed, how many people fell in love, and how great it is that tomorrow is a new day waiting to be filled by our positive choices.

No wonder I write books with happily ever after endings.

Optomistically yours,

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Research and Musing

I ordered a new book to use for research today, and I thought I’d ask the other Muses- What do you find most helpful when researching?

I’m one of those “write what you know” people, but “what I know” isn’t necessarily what I have lived. Many times a bit of knowledge from a class I took, or a book I read will be lodged in my brain and will present itself while I am writing.

I don’t usually say, Okay I want to write about X and then go purchase ten books on X, because what if I don’t like X after all? If I need a word or need technical knowledge of something, then I dig for information on it.

I had three majors and a minor in college, so I, needless to say, am a reader in many subjects (and languages!). I always thought I’d do well on Jeopardy, since I am filled with tons of useless knowledge that way!

My current research is still in the form of books that I read for joy or curiosity. If the information proves useful later, great- if not, I gained insight into a topic I was curious about.

I love history books, police research books, forensics texts, and the Worst Case Scenario series. My shelf is also filled with dictionaries: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, cowboy (yes, cowboy), and slang dictionaries from various periods.

Sometimes just the right word is the trick.

And I do love words.

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Friday, April 25, 2008


Hello everyone! Between being sick and on vacation, and struggling with a deadline, I haven't been able to post much. I'm so sorry I missed RT, but it sounds like such a blast! I wish I'd been there...sigh.

Anyway, my news: I had a e-book release this week! WOO HOO! It's my scorching hot contemporary Hawaii story, 10 Days in Paradise. It's gotten some great reviews, including 4 stars and an "O" rating from Just Erotic Romance Reviews. Mahaira said,
"Their love scenes have the passionate quality of an erupting volcano that can singe fingertips and set the computer screen ablaze." and "The issues between the lead pair and their resolution turn 10 Days in Paradise into a wonderful but deep read with the backdrop of the beautiful and romantic island. You go, Ms. Halliday!" Isn't that cool?

Now I need to go off and try to get over this cold...and try to think of some other stories. Oh...and I am SO going to get to RT in Orlando next year!

One last thing--I'm holding a contest over on my website. Come enter and you could win a $10 gift certificate for Samhain and a copy of my first print book, the Sins of Summer anthology.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

On the Same Page

Since I'd never been to RT before, I didn't have a lot of preconceived ideas. Oh, I'd been told about the cover models and the parties, the costumes and the rabid readers. The reality was much more fun than I'd imagined it would be, but I did learn quite a bit.

What To Do At RT:

Stand Up and Be Noticed. Don't sit in your chair at the signings and expect people to come to you. Get up and talk to whovever walks by. Stick your hand out and say hi.

Talk To Your Fellow Writers. My flanking partners at the ebook signing, Samantha Kane and Cat Johnson, are two of the nicest people I met all week. They answered any questions I had and generally made me less of a nervous wreck.

Dress The Part. I'm usually a jeans and t-shirt person, but when you're presenting yourself to the public, spiff it up. People notice you more readily. And hopefully remember you more favorably.

Strike Up A Conversation. The woman standing next to you in line to meet your favorite author might just be a reviewer who hasn't read your book yet. And you want her to like it.

What Not To Do At RT:

Be rude. Because the person without the nametag may be your biggest fan or the organizer's significant other.

Be late to dinner. You may not find a seat.

Complain about being shunted to the overflow hotel. A blessing in disguise as the Omni was gorgeous and the Hilton was somewhat of a mess from renovations.

Decide not to approach your favorite author at the book signing because you're shy. Go to my personal blog, On A Moonlit Night, to find out why JR Ward is my hero.

Orlando, here we come!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On the same page

Yes, RT was a blast, and with Annmarie's arrival, it took on a life of its own. The laughing was non stop. You had to laugh because the actual hotel was a "pit of despair". We made cover model sandwiches, joked during the Mr Romance competition, mingled with authors, readers and booksellers, and had a fabulous time. I am blogging all about my time at RT on my site, so check it out at Yes, my site IS my blog now. So far I have blogged about Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And it ain't over yet.

I am at work on my new book I call Hot Steel, a Blaze hopeful. I did spend Monday resting (read: passed out in bed) from RT. Today, I plan on getting a good start on the book. I want to get most of the book written before the kids get out of school the end of next month.

I am off to do some writing....

We're on the Same Page

I had the best time at RT this year... From the minute I walked into the room I shared with Marianne (while ripping a tile off the wall in the process) I knew this year was going to be awesome. Mari and I had so much fun and we laughed until we had tears at times... Especially during the Mr Romance competition... (oh the humanity!!) I'm not even sure where to start about RT so let me tell you about our room...

It smelled like paint.
The tiles were not quite cemented to the walls...
The fridge cabinet was fridgeless...
The bathroom door was see thru with frosted glass panels...
There was no exhaust fan in the bathroom...

I'm sure Mari will be able to think of more to tell... and I still need to get the pics off my camera...
Right now I am exhausted so I am off to bed...

ps... Mari... I missed waking up to "Yo ho, Yo ho, A pirates life for me..." lol


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dreaming of the future

A year ago, my first book ROLL PLAY was newly accepted and I was just finishing signing the contracts. It was released in August 2007. And now as the Romantic Times conference goes on in Pittsburgh without me... I can't help thinking about the future.

Next year at this time I want
- to be at the RT in Orlando
- to have at least one (and preferably more) print book to sign
- to have at least three new e-books on my back list
- to have a new laptop computer
- to have my writing income support my travels!

Those are definitely my writing goals.

Nothing else new here, fans. I've submitted a new book to Ellora's Cave and I am waiting to hear back from my editor and I'm working on a very sexy retelling of the Cinderella story.

Hope your spring finds you and your dreams blossoming!

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Howdy all!

Hey all. I thought I would pop in and give an update. I haven't posted in a few weeks, and I do appologise for that. I have just been doing some thinking, writing, planning, etc. I went to a conference and some great feeback on my works. Right now I am going to concentrate on getting an agent. One agent looked over my stuff and said she liked my contemporary voice better than my historical voice. (!?!) So, what could I write? I settled on writing a Blaze. I am also planning a Desire as well. I read both those lines, in addition to Presents, so why not, right? I am writing my Blaze sub along with Tierney Linn who is starting one as well. And the Desire, author friend Samara King and I will be writing along together with our subs. Should be a great next 2 months. I am determined to sell to NY, particularly Harlequin, this year. (No, I am not too interested in Spice right now. Writing above 60K is intimidating to me...for the moment.)

I am also revving up to get going to RT this week. I won't be posting on my normal day. (ha! As if I posted for the past few weeks!) I do hope everyone who is in the Pittsburgh area comes and says hello either during the convention or the Saturday Book Fair. I should also be at the Ebook Expo on Wednesday as well.

Also, look for the "Feel the Passion" buttons at RT! Annmarie Ortega, Stephaine Julian and I will be handing them out and a basket will be full of them on promo alley!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


SEDUCED IN SHADOW, the second book in my Magical Seduction series has a release date!
Look for Antonin and Ellie's story July 11 from Ellora's Cave.
Etruscan linchetto Antonin de Feo has been tasked with the job of keeping Fiorella Johannson's luscious body safe from harm. But when someone tries to kidnap the beauty with a secret, Antonin has the perfect place to keep her safe: in his bed.

Ellie is the sister of Justin from SEDUCED BY MAGIC, and she's about to have her entire world view turned upside down.

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The best lesson I've learned since getting published...

I would have to agree with Catherine a lot on this one - surrounding myself with other writers who are putting their butts in their chairs day after day has been an important part of finishing and submitting more manuscripts. The process of writing is solitary, but I have found that more than ever, it is great to have people I can talk to about my work and from whom I can receive encouragement and support.

Personally, I've also learned that I cannot take too much time off between projects. A few days, for me, can easily become a week and then longer since starting a new project can be daunting. Now, not only do I not take more than a weekend, but I am sure to make notes on my next project while finishing my current one. In addition, during the editing process, I try to take a full week off from the current manuscript so that I can edit with relatively fresh eyes. During that week, I start work on my next book so that when one is done, I'm excited about and ready for the next.

And I suppose, finally, I've learned that you can never do too much marketing. Myspace, posting excerpts, getting reviews... anything positive that can create a buzz for your work and your name is good.

On that note... I think it's time for me to get back to finishing the edits of my newest work. I built a whole world for this one, and I am looking forward to sharing it with this world!


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Saturday, April 5, 2008

The best lesson I've learned since getting published...

... is the value of having friends who write.

Not everyone in my life would understand if I tried to tell them that people live in my head. Or that I watch them interact in my head and that I write down what happens.

But say that to a fellow writer and you'll most likely get a nod.

Nods mean so much.

As a writer you can feel really alone sometimes. You are on your computer, or scrunched in a comfy spot with a laptop or a notebook and pen, and you're listening to people no one else can hear or see. And you are by yourself.

If I tell my family I'm going to be upstairs writing for a while, they'll look through me and ask what's for dinner. As long as my writing doesn't interfere with their lives, they are fine with it.

If I told another writer that I'm working on a deadline, the writer not only wouldn't bother me, but might let others know not to bug me if they got wind of an impending interruption. Writers understand what it's like for other writers.

The Muses and the Bats are two of the best groups. The Muses are there for a pat on the back or encouragement. Commiseration. Information. The Bats (in the Bat Cave at eHarl) let you howl and scream and then cover you gently with slime and let you wallow in the pit until you're better.

Yes, even though writing is a lonely profession, I have more friends I've never met than friends I see on a regular basis. Strangest thing is, that it isn't strange at all!

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Best Lesson I've Learned Since Getting Published...

Persistance pays off ... if you have the guts to stick it out and enough brains to know when to forge ahead. But most importantly, you need talent.

I've been a member of Romance Writers of America for more than ten years. I love the networking opportunities it affords and I love my local chapter. But I believe RWA has done a disservice to a large number of its members. It lets them believe that if they really, really, really wish hard enough, attend enough workshops and want it bad enough, they too will be published.

For more than 70 percent of the members, that's not going to happen. Why? Because there is such a thing as natural ability.

I love to sing. The radio goes on in the car and my mouth never closes. I know every word of MCR's The Black Parade. But I can't carry a tune to save my soul. My kids will be more than happy to tell you how bad I am. Do I think if I sing long enough and loud enough, someday I'll be onstage at Radio City Music Hall? Hell no. I'm not deluded.

I do have a natural ability to write. Some of it comes from being a lifelong reader. Some of it is imagination. More, though, is having some talent. I can craft a story and make you love my hero just as much as I do. I can make my heroine's plight believable even if she has pink wings and can do magic.

It took me six long years to see my first two books published with Avalon. It took another three to get into Ellora's Cave. I'm still working toward a contract with a major NY house. As I just signed with literary agent Elaine English, I'm hoping that dream becomes reality soon.

Many people have more natural talent than I do. I read their books and wait breathlessly for the next. And I work at perfecting my own stories every day. Even if I don't write every day, writing is never far from my mind.

There are those who believe if they wish on a star and learn the secret handshake, they'll see their book on a shelf someday. But without natural ability and persistence, they'll still be dreaming of writing instead of actually being a writer.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The light IS at the end of the tunnel

Hey everyone,

Today is my day to post and I do have some stuff going on in the career to mention.

I went to the Southern Lights Conference this weekend in Jacksonville, FL. OMG it was great. I had so much fun and made some great networking connections. I was asked to send partials by 2 editors and an agent. I am busy at work on one and will send off before RT. I will get the second done right after RT. Successful weekend all around! I feel the big break is on the horizon.

Yes, as I mentioned, I am going to RT. I am already gathering all my promo items to pack and lug on up to cold Pittsburgh. I do hope the snow is done up north by the time the conference comes. I don't know if I am being shuffled to the Omni yet. At this point, no news is good news, I guess. I am going to invest in one of those rolling carts though. JC Wilder suggested it to ease the carrying-everthing-around-the-conference mode.