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I won!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Romance Divas just finished another We All Win Query Contest. The idea is that you post your query anonymously and other divas get a scoresheet and judge according to the criteria on the sheet. Does it have a good hook? Is it grammatically correct? Does it contain the pertinent information? Does it contain a bit about the author?

Anyway, I finalled with a query for Daughter of Privilege. The final judge is Kate Duffy of Kensington. I'm not sure how I feel about that, seeing as how I've racked up a rejection from her already for a different story, but I'm just pleased to have finaled.

Btw, if you're not a member of Romance Divas, you should be. The contests (FREE!) alone are worth a (FREE!) membership. We don't send out annoying e-mails, it's all moderated, though the flare-ups have been few and far-between. You really do need to check them out.

I'm fixing to make some enemies here, but I don't get what the big deal is about writing queries and synopses. It's just writing. Presumably, since we call ourselves writers, it's something we do well.

I watch in sincere puzzlement when friends tie themselves into knots over these things. I figure, if you can't sit down and tell me your whole story in a paragraph or a page, you talk too much. I mean, what if you're at a party and some poor innocent schmuck says, "What's your book about?"

Are you going to tell him every twist and turn for the next half hour? He'll cross the street to avoid you the next time he sees you coming.

A blurb is what you tell people at cocktail parties.

A synopsis is what you tell a friend who actually cares over coffee.

Well, life calls. Grocery shopping, more cleaning. Painters are here. My bedroom is finally painted -- one wall is barn red, the others are sand. It feels like things are moving fast and furious.
5/31/2006 09:23:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 15 Comments



New Gena Showalter book



Gena asked the Divas to help her with the promo of her new book. I've read The Stone Prince (totally hot hero!), as well as her Atlantis books, so I'm more than willing to follow her to this new adventure.

Enslave Me Sweetly by Gena Showalter

She has the heart of a killer, and the body of an angel. . .

Eden Black walks among humans, protecting them from the murderous evil of other-worlders who abduct and enslave. And though she appears to be human herself, Eden is an alien, a Raka, distinguished by her golden hair and skin, and gifted with the ominous ability to kill without remorse – and with total accuracy. That is, until the fateful night she has one shot to eliminate her target, a human slaver – and misses.

"Failure" is not in Eden's vocabulary. Neither is "partner" – but that's what she is forcibly assigned after recovering from her disastrous mission. A sexy, steely-nerved human agent, Lucius Adaire enjoys nothing more than sparking the fury – and rousing the desire – of the fiery female assassin to proud to admit defeat. Locked in an assignment they cannot afford to lose, Lucius and Eden find themselves bound in two high-stakes, heart-pounding games: the dangerous web of kill or be killed, and the erotic dance of seduction. . .

Showalter first demonstrated her skill at blending sizzling romance and nail-biting suspense set in a convincing futuristic society in Awaken Me Darkly (2005). She now continues the roller-coaster-like adventure in an equally entertaining tale that will please a wide cross section of readers. *Starred Review* Booklist.

Order your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or BooksAMillion.

For more information, visit Gena's website at http://www.genashowalter.com and her blog at http://www.genashowalter.blogspot.com
5/31/2006 08:48:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 0 Comments



Life as I Know It

I had a great birthday -- Thanks to everyone who left a message!!

My birthday gets pre-empted more often than not these days because dd was born on the 28th. She's 9 now. Wow.

While ds went to his karate test (he has a white-stripe belt now), I took dd and 4 of her friends to the local children's museum and let them run around like maniacs inside a two-story boy. One of them tried to tell me that the ear canal was next to his stomach. I said, "Only if he hears out of his armpit."

Afterwards, we went to an ice-cream shop and then I sent them home, hyped on adrenaline and sugar.

Minorly spendy, but so worth it not to have everyone tramping all over the house. They had fun, too.

Then Sunday was Memorial Day -- God bless the soldiers and their families. Google, apparently, who makes cute banners for Secretary's Day, didn't think it worthwhile to acknowledge our war dead. I'll be using Ask.com from now on. To quote Forrest Gump: "And that's all I'm going to say about that."

I've got two more posts for today. Gotta catch up somehow!
5/31/2006 08:02:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 1 Comments



Happy Birthday to Me!!

Saturday, May 27, 2006
Yep, it's come around again.

36.

And what do I have to show for it?

One darn-near-perfect husband. Check

Two amazing kids. Check

Fantastic extended family. Check

The best friends I could even imagine. Check

My first published work on its way. Check

Life is good.
5/27/2006 08:32:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 19 Comments



Thank you!

Thursday, May 25, 2006
How can I fail with such an awesome crew behind me! I was at Romance Divas last night and someone asked the question -- What do you have left to do before RWA? At first, I answered, "Lose 10 lbs." But after yesterday, I said:

Well, I do still have to clean my house, sell it, pack, move, unpack, buy plane tickets from wherever the hell I end up, get new phone number for business cards, finish edits so my book can go on sale 5 months earlier than originally scheduled, register the kids for school, make new friends, find a new grocery store, find a new coffee shop.
Y'know. Just stuff.
And lose 10 lbs.
I might get a haircut, too.


Actually, I feel a little guilty -- like I was complaining. Funny thing is, I'm ok with most of this list, especially the edits part. But I hate packing and unpacking.

Yesterday I spent over an hour putting away the kid's school papers and boxing them up for storage. Dd's box is full now. K-3rd grade, everything we think we'll keep, is all put away and boxed up. Ds's box is just starting to get stuff in it. But for all the work I did, it looks like I accomplished nothing. I hate that.

I also worked for about 4 hours on edits yesterday and got a LOT accomplished. I was able to plug in some changes I'd made earlier, put in some comments and questions, and do some basic cleaning up -- getting rid of so's, just's and that's. And I know those probably don't need apostrophes, but they look better with them. Another couple of hours of work and my first round of edits should be done.

Note: Please check my blogroll. I feel like such a doofus that I lost my whole list when I made the change-over. I just know I've left people off, but I truly didn't intend to! Give me the heads up and I'll fix it.
5/25/2006 06:46:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments



*choke*

Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Gack. I just recieved my first round of edits. It's largely clean-up and formatting, getting rid of junk words, checking sentence structure and fixing up bad POV switches.

I can do this. Right?

Did I mention that I was on the schedule for a January release, but now I may be out in August?

I, er, guess that means I'd better get my butt in gear.
5/23/2006 09:23:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 12 Comments



Finished another WW!

Monday, May 22, 2006
The Samba entry turned into a Woman's World entry. My cp's are giving me great feedback on it, so it should be ready to turn in very soon. I wrote their first meet and it was way too sweet to ever turn hot, so when I finished that section of it, I realized I was done!

Even though they've rejected both my submissions thus far, I feel like I've done well with WW. I've received personal notes both times and the last one even went all the way up to the top editor!

We're buying carpet today. We have spent the last couple of days shopping for something to replace the truly hideous polyester Berber nightmare that graces our living room. It's hijous. To be honest, the carpet we're picking isn't something I've dreamed of, but we're just trying to dress up the house to sell it. The house two doors down from us has been on the market for over a month and two days ago, the house across the street went up for sale. Thankfully, another house about five doors down just closed. It was starting to look weird, having so many houses on our street for sale.

I'm reading FOUNDING MOTHERS by Cokie Roberts for my neighborhood book club tonight. It's really good! I'm not a history buff, to be honest, and often have to slog through the selections, but I'm really enjoying this one. Cokie has an engaging voice and makes free to comment on the foibles of our country's early characters.

And my house is a complete disaster, but that's nothing new around here.

Back with more tomorrow, I hope!
5/22/2006 08:31:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 0 Comments



Ok, Ok.

Sunday, May 21, 2006
I'm back to Scribe for the time being -- at least until Chrissy can help me figure out what went wrong with the comments feature in her lovely page.

Ugh. This is all a huge headache. I'm functionally computer illiterate and it's beginning to be a problem.

In addition, I have to plan dd's 9th birthday party for next weekend. I hate planning birthday parties. She wants to take her friends to the children's museum, then have a sleep-over. Thankfully, it's a small guest list. 4 to go to the museum, but only 2 will sleep over. We can do that.

Right?

On the bright side!!! I wrote 3 more pages on a short story that I'm considering submitting to Phaze for their most recent Heatsheet contest. The prompt is: Samba. Whether it's set in Latin America, or it's something about the dance, or whatever the idea is, it needs to evoke the Samba sense.

It's fun so far. And short. Not sure yet how erotic it will be, though, so if my characters doesn't make it between the sheets, it'll still be useful for some e-pub short submission.

Ok. Going to write now.
5/21/2006 09:32:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 6 Comments



Still working

Saturday, May 20, 2006
Somehow the comments feature is gone wonky. We're working on the problem and hope to have a resolution soon.

In the immortal words of a long-dead advertisement, "We thank you for your support."
5/20/2006 09:45:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 0 Comments



Isn't This Cool?

Friday, May 19, 2006
How do you like it? I was surfing for new blogskins when I remembered that a few of my fellow Romance Divas do all this HTML, CSS stuff for fun and/or profit. Voila! The lovely Chrissy Olinger of Websong Designs had this template ready for a website. I e-mailed and asked if it could be used for a blog and, even though she was crawling in nieces and nephews all day, she e-mailed me the adjusted code.

I Love It!! I'm going to tweak a bit to see if I can't enlarge the frame a little and maybe increase the font size a half-point or so, but I love the colors and I love the books!

In other blogging news, PBW had a really thought-provoking post over at Romancing the Blog today. I highly recommend reading it if you want to make your blog work more efficiently as a marketing tool.

I'm going to work on making this blog a little less MOI-centred -- fascinating as I am, I'm sure -- and a little more of a romance writer and reader's blog. I'll unveil my plan as it comes to me.
5/19/2006 06:42:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 0 Comments



Different green

Thursday, May 18, 2006
The other one was just too blinding. I scratched my eye tonight taking out my contacts and when I opened the other template, it was literally painful.

This is better, but maybe a touch...ordinary. No offense to anyone who uses this template, but it's just not me. I'm going to have to go find one I really, really love.
5/18/2006 10:47:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments



Messing About

What do you think? Too green? Too weird? Not me?

I haven't decided yet. Like a doofus, I forgot to save all my links before I switched templates, so I'm rebuilding them...slowly. Give me a day or two to put your link back up. I'll let you know when I think I'm done, then put out the call for corrections and additions.

One thing I like about this template is that I can lable my sidebar segments the way I want to. Not the way Scribe wants to. A minor limitation of that particular template that I finally got sick of.

Feedback welcome!
5/18/2006 01:12:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 6 Comments



A Parenthetical Life

Monday, May 15, 2006
I love parentheses. I speak in parentheses. Lots of asides. If I didn't have parentheses, I'd wear out my comma button. Or I'd be forced to learn how to use semi-colons properly. Since that sounds like a fate worse than death, I use my beloved brackets instead.

I also speak in fragments. I guess most people do, but, as opposed to the parentheses thing, I also have a bad habit of writing in fragments, then I have to clean up the whole mess. Usually, by shoving a comma in somewhere and linking up my sentences. I know, I know. They're a useful device, but I overuse it, especially in narrative. In dialogue it's not so bad, but it really chops up a narrative.

This is apropos of nothing, by the way. I just thought I'd throw it out there.

Yesterday was FABULOUS!! Breakfast in bed was Bananas Foster Pancakes, and the children were allowed to snip off an amaryllis and put it in a vase. Gorgeous. Lunch was a Mother's Day Buffet out. Rather disappointing, food wise, but I didn't care. We were having fun. After that was the real treat -- we went book shopping! Anything I wanted at Books*A*Million!!!

I was so good! I only bought 4 books.

An anthology called DATES FROM HELL. Eh. The Kim Harrison entry was, in my opinion, dreadful. Mostly because it asked more questions than it answered. Obviously the sort of thing you HAD to have read her series to understand. Very annoying. The Lynsay Sands offering was ok. A little over-cute for me, but not bad. Kelley Armstrong, who is hit-or-miss for me, hit it on this one. Great characters, excellent pacing, fun relationship. And the final entry by Lori Handeland worked well, too. I'm not big on 1st person stories, however, so I missed having the hero's pov. Funny thing, Armstrong's story was written in 3rd, but *only* from the heroine's pov and I didn't feel like anything was missing. Maybe it's because Handeland writes such big heroes that I don't feel like she can do them justice without being in their heads.

I'm a little ways into Vickie Taylor's CARVED IN STONE. Gargoyles. Sounds interesting and so far, so good.

Haven't started MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs. Found this one in the SF/F section, so I'm not expecting much in the way of romance. From the back blurb, it sounds a bit like SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley, whom I adore.

I also read THE BURNING by Susan Squires yesterday. It was ok. Not quite enough to make me glom onto her backlist, although she did end it with possibilities for a new couple. Very vampire angsty and a hint of something I read in a Lynn Viehl book. An Alpha male, or at least a dominant male, who willfully submits to torture to turn himself into a submissive tool. In the Viehl book, it was mostly physical torture, in the Squires book, it was primarily sexual. Kinda squicky, actually. And yeah, these guys have biiiig issues.

Also, I started TO LIGHT A CANDLE by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. It's apparently the 2nd in a series. I hate when I accidentally pick up a book that's in the middle of something. Surprisingly, however, I'm not completely lost. And it's got enough personal interaction that I don't feel lost in fantasy land, where sometimes the relationships are overwhelmed by the world-building.

So that was my day, I ate, I shopped, I read. Perfect.
5/15/2006 07:25:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments



New Baby To Play With

Friday, May 12, 2006
No, not literally. Ye gods. I couldn't deal with more than the two I've got and in any case, I'm sans girly bits anymore. Thank heavens. My life is much easier now.

Anyway...

The gerbil in my rodent-wheel brain finally woke up. It's not exactly a fresh idea. It's just so old that I'd forgotten I'd had it. Kind of a mail-order bride story with a twist. Now, I don't like Westerns, usually. I've read a few, but I doubt there are more than 2 on my keeper shelves. And you couldn't pay a publisher these days to take a Western, anyway. So it's not a Western. I don't know exactly what it is. I'm toying with the idea of a time travel, but I'm not sure.

It's more of a germ than an actual story. I've got two characters, a setting, and some intriguing backstory rolling around in my head. And 9 pages written. I have no clue what happens next, so I'm letting it play out in bits and pieces while I do other things.

So that's the new thing. I'm keeping my options open for now, too. I still need to rewrite Daughter of Privilege and turn it into something more than a plotless boinkfest.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. *gg*
5/12/2006 10:20:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 11 Comments



Still thinking

Monday, May 08, 2006
I saved A Dark and Stormy Knight and all accompanying notes to my Jump Drive, printed it all out, then deleted it from my hard drive.

It felt wonderful. Like a weight had been removed.

I opened an old idea -- Last Man on Earth -- changed a word, then realized that wasn't the story I wanted to tell right now. It's kind of a post-Apocalyptic, futuristic Norse Adam and Eve story. Could be fun, but not right now.

I read the new J.R. Ward -- very good.

I read the 2nd of the Elizabeth Vaughn's Warprize series -- also good. Not as good as the first one, but a worthy follow-up. Now I have to wait until 2007 for the final installment.

I think I may read a werewolf novel today. Kristen Painter recommended Ronda Thompson, so I picked up The Dark One.

Today, dd takes her PACT test. It's the standardized test they use here. Today is the writing test. One page on the topic they give you. If she will only finish it, she'll get a great score. If she'll finish it. The process of writing -- brainstorming, outlining, rough draft, revisions, checking grammar and spelling, then rewriting -- is extremely tedious. She often balks at the last hurdle. She'll do everything but the rewriting, so her grade will tank.

I hate this part. Seeing everything she's capable of doing and then watching her quit. What's worse? Seeing myself in her. I'm surprised my mother didn't sell me to the Gypsies.

But school's almost out. Only a week and half left for ds at preschool. He'll be a Kindergartener in the fall. And dd has two and half weeks left, but most of it is testing, so regular classes are essentially over. 4th grade looms.

Am I really getting old or does it just feel that way?

I'll tell you what hasn't changed. I'm still a lightweight drinker. I went out this weekend to The Melting Pot, an all fondue restaurant. You'd never think that would work, but it's a chain and quite successful. I decided to try a chocolate martini, since I'd never had one before. Wow. I was blitzed before I was halfway done with it. Then, like a schmuck, I forgot to drink any water before bed and woke up parched and with an annoying headache.

Sorry I wasn't a better blogger last week, but I'll do better this week.
5/08/2006 08:25:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 10 Comments



I'm back

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
I don't know why it never occurs to me to just unplug everything and start over. It just seems too simple. Anyway, apparently I had static build up in my internet connection and that was the answer. Unplug. Weird.

Anyway, I've been thinking again. I know. Everyone step away.

I hate that damn Regency. I honestly do. I don't care about these characters. They're boring. Really, truly boring. Their entire situation is just so predictable. Not just because I know they're going to get a HEA, but because everything leading up to it is exactly like a dozen other stories I've read. Just because my heroine has a unique quirk doesn't make the whole thing original.

I'm not even in a middle of the story slump. I know what happens next. I just don't care.

I think it's time to round-file this one. I know, I know. I've done it before. But I'm thinking more in terms of keeping the print-out in a folder, but deleting the file from my hard drive so it doesn't keep haunting me.

Do you have any idea how long it's been since I worked on an original idea? Well, I did with Daughter of Privilege, but that's it. In years, it feels like. I've been going back to things in my idea folder, but I haven't added anything new there in a very long time.

I think it's time for a mind declutter as well as a file declutter.

I'll let you know how it goes.
5/03/2006 10:56:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 11 Comments



Touching base

Tuesday, May 02, 2006
My internet's been wonky for the last couple of days so I'm posting while it's working. It's happy right now, but I've run out of virgins to sacrifice to my modem. They're a little thin on the ground here anyway.

I'll be back when I can!
5/02/2006 07:15:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 1 Comments



 

 
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