Friday, July 29, 2011

If you missed the call on writing romance

You can still hear it by going to this link:

Please ignore all those instances when I sound like I'm drunk. Really, there is no better way to make yourself tounge-tied than to know you are being recorded and the recording will be available forever and ever.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The book thieves book reviews--and a conference call

I've heard from more than one teacher that books frequently go missing from their classroom libraries. Personally, I think it's a compliment. (This is because I'm not paying for the books.) Kids liked the novels so much that they resorted to a life of crime in order to possess them.

My daughter made a collage of all the books that went missing from her class last school year. I think she sent the picture out to parents to see if they had spotted any of the wayward books at their homes. I passed on a lot of books to her that I didn't like so much, and yeah, none of those got stolen, which just proves that even thieves have taste.

I am very proud that two of my books were among those stolen!

And in other news, I'm going to do a conference call about writing romance next Wednesday, the 27th. I'll post more info about that here when I get it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Disney villains should be nervous at the Grand Canyon.

Have you ever noticed that an inordinate amount of Disney villains meet their doom by falling from high places? The wicked queen from Snow White was the first, but by no means the last. Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, the evil queen from Enchanted, and Mother Gothel from Tangled all bit the dust that way. Shan Yu form Mulan flew off on a rocket, so we can assume there was some falling involved with his demise as well.

Of course not all Disney villains die exactly that way. Disney likes to mix things up once in awhile. Scar from The Lion King fell and then got eaten by hyenas. The film Mega Mind started with Mega Mind falling to earth and then the movie went on to tell about his formative years and all of the events that led to his fall. I'm sure I’m missing many other Disney fallers, but according to the first website I saw after I googled the phrase: “How many films has Disney produced?” there are 318 Disney movies and one cannot be expected to remember all the grisly deaths.

Suffice it to say, falling is a popular way to end one’s existence.

What does that have to do with my recent vacation, you may ask. I’ll tell you. The Rallison clan just went to The Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon--which is still pretty darn grand even if it doesn’t use the word in the title. Some canyons are modest that way.

Here we are smiling at the start of our trip. There are signs that tell you to be careful when you turn your back on the canyon to take pictures, as this is how most people fall in. They forget how close they are to the edge and take a step backward. We made sure we were far away from the edge.

Here is a picture of what looks like my middle daughter lovingly putting her hand on her little sister’s shoulder.

I'm pretty sure Middle Daughter is doing this as a way to make sure Youngest Daughter doesn’t do a Disney Villain and plunge off the side. Youngest daughter has no built-in fear gage and is much too daring.

Middle Daughter has already saved Youngest Daughter’s life once. When Youngest Daughter was about four we were walking along Newport Beach and a rogue wave nearly carried Youngest Daughter out to sea. Thankfully, Middle Daughter was standing nearby and grabbed Youngest Daughter before she was swept away. Youngest Daughter laughed with delight during this incident but Middle Daughter and I remain traumatized to this day.

At any rate, one has to watch Youngest Daughter very carefully.

So then of course the next thing we did was go horseback riding at Bryce Canyon. This was perhaps not the cautious thing to do since the last time we rode horses, Youngest Daughter’s horse bit Middle Daughter’s horse which caused a horse fight in which there was actual rodeo-like bucking.

Somehow this didn’t dim Youngest Daughter’s love of horses. Middle Daughter, however, refused to go on a horseback ride anywhere near a canyon.

Here is a picture of Youngest Son by the edge of Bryce Canyon.

When we got to this point, I was beginning to agree with Middle Daughter about the whole horse/canyon thing, but by then it was too late. My horse went right to the edge to eat the grass growing there.

One side note about my horse: His name was Zero. I thought that was an odd name until I mounted him and he proceeded to walk around the corral putting his face into the other horses' butts. Then I realized zero was the amount of friends he had.

So there I was on the edge of Bryce Canyon, my horse happily munching on grass, and all the other horses followed him, thus boxing him in. He turned sideways, walked a few steps, then turned his back on the Canyon.

This is when I realized that not only was I on a horse with no social skills, he couldn't read either. It was entirely possible that he was going to take an unintentional step backward. Or one of the other horses might have been fed up with his butt-nudging antics and decided to push him over. Heaven knows, if I were one of those horses, I would have been tempted.

Which is why I was very glad that I have never been a Disney Villain.

I lived to vacation another day.

And no, this picture isn't photoshopped. This is the sort of thing gymnasts do.

Monday, July 04, 2011

The next manuscript status

I finally finished my next manuscript, Hunters and Hunted. I think this is the only book that has taken me over a year to write. It was my default manuscript—meaning, I wrote on it during those rare times when I was in between revision letters or copy edits from two different publishers. (By the way, I’m now writing for another publisher too. Harper bought Time Riders. More on that in a later blog)

So, while I’ve been waiting for Harper’s revision letter, I finished Hunters and Hunted. This was harder than one might imagine because Hunters and Hunted took a ton of research. My main character spends quite a bit of time in Boston—some of the time being pursued by the antagonist, so I had to plot out a course for her using Google street view. I now love Google street view, as it saved me a trip to Boston. (Oh wait, maybe a trip to Boston would have been fun. Dang!)

I’m a little nervous about how readers will react to Hunters and Hunted . It's quite different from my usual romantic comedies. This book isn’t a comedy at all. In fact, people are killed by flesh-eating scarabs. (More on why I wrote it, later.)

Here are the first reviews:

My mom: “It was great! I read it twice!” (Of course, one must take into account, that she is my mother and loves everything I do. She also told me I was the prettiest girl in my school.)

My husband:” It was good. I liked it.” This as much enthusiasm as he ever musters for any of my books. He generally only reads nonfiction.

Middle Daughter’s review (well, at least the review of the last chapter): “FINALLY one of your characters turned away from a kiss. Usually it’s, ‘I don't want to kiss you but you make me feel wanted!’ mwah mwah mwah.” (Those are kissy sounds.)

I was actually surprised by Middle Daughter’s review. I wanted to say, “My characters aren’t like that.” But then I thought about it. Maybe they are. I’m not going to analyze what this means about me though, because it might mean that as a teenager I kissed far too many boys far too quickly. And I’ll never admit to that.

Now I’m waiting for my agent’s review . . .