Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Writing Resolutions

It's that time when we all start thinking about New Year's resolutions. I've come up with ten writing goals. I might be able to keep nine of them.

1) Learn how to spell hors d'oeuvres so I don't have to google it every single time.

2) Use the word appetizers more instead of hors d'oeuvres.

3) Don't yell things at the computer such as, "Find that file or I'll show you what you can do with your gigabytes!" Or any other thing that would make the neighbors question my sanity.

4) Stop checking Amazon's rankings for my novels. Do I really want to know that353,194 books are selling better than mine today? No, I don't.

5) Stop noticing Amazon's rankings for other books. Do I really want to know that Snookie's book is number 11 in biographies? Again, no, I don't.

6) Learn what all those acronyms mean so I can understand my fan emails.

7) Don't send critiques to authors who have asked me for blurbs. (Yes, I have done this, and yes, I do feel bad about it. But in my defense, I was trying to help the authors improve their books.)

8) Don't see how many sunflower seeds the hamster can fit in its mouth while I'm supposed to be writing.

9) Don't see how many Almond Joys I can fit in my mouth while I'm supposed to be writing.

10) Finish my middle-grade fantasy, sell my paranormal romance, write sequels to Slayers, Erasing Time, and the next Fairy Godmother book--and do all the revisions said books require.

Sigh. Can you guess which goal I'll have the most trouble with?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Worst Christmas Gifts You Can Give

I wish I could say that I had to look long and hard to find these horrible gifts, but no. I'm apparently on the catalog list for crazy people, and I get dozens of Gifts-for-the-Bizarre magazines. Without further ado (because there is enough doo-doo in this list) here are some gifts that will win you no brownie points with your friends and relatives.

What could be more tacky than dog poop on your lawn?
A sign with a dog pooping that you put in your lawn. I'm sure this is a lovely sight to see each morning. I bet the Home Owners Association will have nothing to say about it.

And speaking of poop (because what says the holidays better than poop?) here's a charming gift for that special someone in the office.
It poops paperclips, combining all that is sophomoric and unprofessional in one convenient desk item.

Looking for nostalgia? How about a gift that will remind you of those childhood days where you trapped unsuspecting bugs in an old jar and most likely left them to die on your dresser. Yep, just let these little babies blink on and off in their pathetic attempts to gain freedom. Plus, your loved ones will know that you spent actual money on this gift--which is worth approximately an old jar and some bugs.

This Granny sling shot would be a great gift for, um, uh, Grandpa, after Grandma runs off with Enrique, the poolboy.

How about a matching set of hats that look like sharks are eating your head? Junior will need therapy after this gift. For many reasons.

A lot of the items we sell here in America have the made in China label stamped on them. I often wonder what the factory workers in China think of the items they assemble.

"What are we working on today, Shang?"

Shang picks up a glowing solar frog and shrugs. "Maybe it is to warn against nuclear fall-out."

And lastly, what is a better way to impress upon friends and loved ones that you are totally not a psychopathic serial killer--than to hang a human brain ornament on your Christmas tree? Don't ask what happened to Dinky, Santa's missing elf.

If you want a good gift instead--try a book. In fact try one of mine. They're all good. And, as a special Christmas offer, my ebook Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards will be available on Amazon for .99. This price will only last for a couple of weeks. (Or longer if I forget to change it back.)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 16, 2011

How authors party

One of the fun things about being an author is getting to hang out with other authors and cool book people. Last week eight Arizona authors put on an author appreciation open house--which sounds like we were appreciating ourselves, but really we were appreciating all of the many awesome teachers, librarians, and booksellers who do so much for reading. We lured them to Lisa McMann's house with promises of books and free food.

Here's another cool thing about being an author. You can have a blow-up of Captain Underpants sitting on your table and nobody thinks it's strange.

Here is a picture of James Owen and the chalk masterpiece he whipped up for the evening. Seriously, it only took him a few minutes to draw these dragons. Which seriously baffles my not-able-to-draw mind.

Many thanks to Janni Lee Simner, Amy Dominy, Aprilynne Pike, Lisa McMann, Bill Konigsberg, Tom Leveen, and James Owen for a great time!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And the winner is Jen

I'm letting Jadean know. You can contact me with your email address and I'll pass it along to him. jrallisonfans at yahoo dot com

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

eBook give-away and interview with a writer's husband

I met Danyelle Leafty at a writer's conference a couple years ago. A few days ago her husband emailed me and asked if I would like to interview her on my blog. I have to say I was impressed her husband was actively promoting her. If I had known I was going to be an author, I would have questioned all my boyfriends about their willingness to set up interviews for me. Alas, I didn't have the foresight to ask that important question.

Anyway, I decided to do something different for this interview. You’ve all read lots of interviews with authors. By this point you know about our creative quirks, our into-the-night writing sessions, our despair at rejection letters, and you know about those times we forgot to pick up our children from (fill in the blank) _________ because we lost track of time while writing that awesome love scene. But have you ever heard an interview from an author’s husband--from those poor folk that have to deal with us? Neither have I, so this interview should be interesting.

Without further ado, here is Jadean Leafty, husband of Danyelle Leafty, author of The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell. We’ll be giving away one of her ebooks to a lucky commenter on the blog.

When did you realize Danyelle was a writer, and by then was it too late to do anything about it?

I am told that I should've realized it a lot sooner than I did. I have a bad memory. I first realized that she was a writer when I went off gallivanting with a bunch of freshly graduated high school kids in Texas. Which is also when I was being yelled at by men in uniform to whom I was their senior in age by quite a few years. Pretty much while I was away at basic training. I knew it was serious though when I was deployed to Afghanistan. Of course by then it was too late, but I wouldn't trade her.

I once spent ten days dragging my husband around England to research castles for a novel that I still haven’t written. Has Danyelle ever dragged you into her research, and if so what did you have to do?

If by research, you mean the book store. YES. She doesn't have to really drag us anymore. Our six year old gets put out when we don't take the turns that would end us up at Barnes and Noble.

When I was writing romances, my husband once accused me of fantasizing about other men.
“Yeah,” I said, “but I’m getting paid to do it.” Then for my next romance I put my husband in the book as the hero. (What the Doctor Ordered) Which would have been a really sweet gesture if I hadn’t fired him from my romance four days later. My husband is too easy-going and he just wouldn’t argue and banter with the heroine. (Who incidentally was me. I did not fire myself from the novel as I am quite good at arguing and bantering.) Have you shown up in any of Danyelle’s books?

Bits and pieces of me do. The whole me has been in each of her dedications thus far. Usually some aspects of me are found in her prince charmings. I'm still trying to devour Catspell. But I have to fight the children for it. So reluctantly, I sneak chapters in while at church.

I am pretty sure that classifies as a sin--or true devotion to your wife. Either way, you are clearly a supportive husband. Do you read your wife’s drafts and offer suggestions?

Of course, time permitting. I have a keen eye for line editing. Heck, I even find mistakes in her "research" books.

Does she take kindly to your comments?

If they are valid, yes. She's always right.

Any last advice for wives who are authors?

Love the author. And even though she calls you biased don't believe it, her books are the BEST!

Those are words every author's husband should learn. Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win. To find out more about Danyelle you can go to her website at:

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Your questions answered, plus a really cute dog

Want to win a copy of Slayers? Free Book Friday is giving away three copies.