Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Not a winner this time around? That's okay! I give lots of books away all the time, so check back in a few days for my next big giveaway!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Take it away, Jenny!
Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.
Winging It: Think David Sedaris meets Marley & Me, with a deadly beak.
When did you first begin writing?
I've always been a writer--ever since I knew I sucked at math (around 2nd grade) so needed a Plan B. I studied journalism and worked in radio/tv/print, then worked in PR, so writing has been my trade. But I didn't start to view myself as a writer until I started writing again a few years back after being a stay-at-home mom for a good long while. And I realized I finally had in me the seasoning to actually write something more substantial than reportage on someone else's life. The first time I resumed writing at all, I was bumming out that due to a severe drought (with water usage cut by 50%), we'd have no Christmas parties that year (who could invite 100 people to your house to drink lots of liquids, but then not let them use your bathroom? Impossible!). So I wrote a funny piece about this, sold it to a regional publication, and was duly deluded into thinking getting published was a snap.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I am constantly inspired from everything around me. I hear stories that seem so outlandish and then I think of ways I can rework them with a plot and some goals and motivation and conflict and make a book out of them. Sometimes just a sentence intrigues me enough to write a book (which was the case with my first book, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver--I'd jokingly said that about some guy, that he'd be like sleeping with Ward Cleaver, and the phrase stuck with me and sounded like such a fun book title).
What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?
I think besides honing your writing skills and educating yourself about the industry, I think the most essential thing for any writer is to believe in yourself. You need to be able to believe in yourself when you think not another soul on the planet does. Because otherwise you will struggle to persevere in this business--it's a tough business with a lot of downs and sometimes not as many ups. But if you know you're a damned good writer, then tell yourself that all the time. And if you need to be reminded of it, go back and read something you've written, and surprise yourself with how good a writer you are. And remember to write because you love to write, not because of external forces that are making it an unenjoyable practice.
Do a quick character study on yourself: don’t forget to add in the fun stuff, like favorite foods and things you love/hate!
Hmmm...I think I'm actually a study in contrasts. I am organized in an amazingly disorganized way. I am friendly, outgoing, helpful, fun. I am the one who spearheads the party, who organizes the get-together, the one who stays in touch or gets in touch again after 20 years. I can hold a grudge probably too long, but will equally hold someone upon a pedestal who has been particularly kind or thoughtful. I'm super sarcastic, yet bizarrely pollyanna at times. I'm really tough and determined, but sometimes plagued with self-doubt. I have a gift for retaining extremely useless information and would be fabulous on Jeopardy, except that I'd always forget to begin my answer with an interrogative. I remember useless nonsense but then forget really important things.
I wish I could be a vegetarian, but I don't care for many vegetables. I wish I had more self-discipline, but hey, don't we all? I am crazy about milk chocolate with almonds, and adore banana cream pie. I love to cook, love good wine, traveling is what I would do if I had time and money, and I'd also continue to study Italian if I had the time to do so.
Thanks so much for swinging by, Jenny! Don't forget to rush out and pick up a copy of Jenny's latest, WINGING IT.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
To enter to win a signed copy, just leave a comment below! Winners will be announced on March 31st!
Monday, March 15, 2010
But today we're talking about a different secret identity! Last week on my blog I introduced you to the talented Megan Crane. She's the one with the secret identity. Okay, well, it's not really quite so secret since we're talking about it here and most of her readers know about it, but.... Well, just go with me here!
Megan writes under her own name, but she also writes under a pseudonym! How cool is that?! Well, I thought it was super cool, so I asked Megan to blog about it!
So, without further ado, let's hear from Megan:
Who wouldn't? I remember watching Alias and thinking it would be pretty cool to be Sydney Bristow--especially with that yummy Michael Vaughn trailing along with her on her adventures--because taking on all those new identities looked like a blast.
Also, I'm a Gemini, so I guess I was always destined to have an alter-ego.
When I decided to see if I could write a romance novel, I had no idea that anything would come of it. I just knew that romances were my most favorite books in the world. I hoard them. I read my favorites over and over, and can spend whole afternoons in book stores with good romance sections, browsing for new authors to love, cherish, and follow slavishly. Though I'd written for years and sold a few books, I didn't think I could write a romance novel.
They're so *hard,* you see.
Think about it: when you pick up a romance novel and read the back cover, you know at once who the heroine is and who her hero is. Which means you also know that those two will end up together in the end, happily ever after. That's what a romance novel offers: a happy ending, no matter what. So your job as a writer is to tell a story that everyone already knows the ending to, in such a way as to keep the reader entertained, hopefully making them worry and fret and forget to breathe because *how* can it possibly all work out... and then making that happily ever after ending ring true. Pulling that off is the art of the romance novel.
You'll have to tell me if I succeeded!
But when the book was finished and Harlequin actually bought it--the culmination of a life long dream!--it seemed like the perfect opportunity to create a new identity for these books. After all, a Harlequin Presents, so richly layered and emotionally intense and starkly passionate, is a very different sort of book than the others I write. I thought it made sense to make sure up front that no one thought they were getting one form of my writing when they'd be getting the other--and so Caitlin Crews was born.
So far, I quite like her. She hit the USA Today bestseller list with her debut book, has two more set to come out this year (Majesty, Mistress...Missing Heir will be out in May in the UK and October in North America; Katrakis's Last Mistress will be out in September in the UK), and really should be working on her latest one *as we speak.* In comparison, my usual identity feels like a little bit of a slacker.
You can't really ask for more from a not-so-secret identity!
No, you can't! Thanks so much for stopping by, Megan! But wait, there's more! Megan has generously offered to give away a copy of one of her romance novels! Er, one of Caitlin's, I should say. But, anyway, you get the point: a free signed book!! Check back in a few days for deets!!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Didn't win? That's okay! Megan's alter ego, Caitlin Crews, will be giving away a copy of her latest release in a few days. Check back for deets!!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Not a winner this time around? That's okay! There are still a few days left to enter to win Megan Crane's EVERYONE ELSE'S GIRL! Enter to win today!!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
The fabulous Wendy Nelson Tokunaga just recorded a video that is a companion piece to her novel, LOVE IN TRANSLATION. The book features a Japanese song called "The Wishing Star," and Wendy wrote that song!! Her hubby then composed the music, and voila!
Check out Wendy belting it out-- in JAPANESE, no less!-- here: