Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What To Do...

So Very Much Alive has survived the meatgrinder, and has been mailed off to my beta readers (who seriously rock, btw). This morning, I sit at my keyboard and stare at my To Be Written/Edited/Sent Out pile.

Um.

Very Much has been Sent Out. Fae Eye is waiting for word from my co-author, RC, but his wife, who is eight months pregnant, has been ill recently. So not going to bother him, especially when the deadline is end of May. (Feel better, A!) Wallflower is out and still #1 at MBaM (which still boggles my mind, but I'm getting over that), Angie's contacted me to let me know Sweet is about to go into first round edits, but...

Twiddle twiddle. Hmm.

Do I want to begin outlining Dogs and Cats early? I hate the thought of starting a new project and leaving mid-way through to go on vacation. Um.

Ah-ha! That poor little dear has been sitting there, waiting patiently, since I began the Halle Pumas! Dare to Believe! First part of the Grey Court series! And it's almost finished!

Yay! C'mere, you little elven hottie you... muahaha!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

HTML, Day Three: It Works (Everywhere But Yahoo)

I have a newsletter (mostly)! It's lovely! No urges to break out salsa, no crunchy Trademark bits, pictures and links work, and it looks lovely. It's hand-coded, even!

Yahoo, however, and their stinking ads....

grrr....

So now I have to decide how to distribute my lovely newsletter; an entirely different kettle of fish, I assure you.

So, on a whim, I created a Google Group. I customized (mostly... there's always a mostly it seems) the look and feel. I mailed out the newsletter...

...and got a notice that the file had been uploaded. Click here to view.

Hmm. The question of the day is:

a) Do I chuck it all and do a newsletter in PDF, uploading it to my Yahoo! Group, where you can go view it at your pleasure?

b) Do I do the HTML Yahoo!Group newsletter, where it's delivered to your inbox but looks meh (to view the loveliness, you'd still have to go to the group)?

OR

c) Google groups. All you get in your inbox is a notice that it's been uploaded. No big graphics in your inbox as the plus side, but no preview of the newsletter (sort of like option one, but through Google, and you don't need Adobe Reader to view the newsletter).

No matter how you slice it, the only one that delivers any graphics at all to your inbox is the second option. But I've gotten HTML newsletters sent through yahoo, and that graphic off to the right, that cuts into header and text? Distracting. Doable, since you can go to the group to view it, but... distracting.

Which do you prefer?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The HTML Blues, Round Two

Today we learned the basics of hand-coding HTML in Notepad.

For some bizarre reason it worked a heck of a lot better than doing it in Word.

Le. Sigh.

I can see my future now, full of < /p >'s and <>'s.

However, I have a template that acutally works in Yahoo!Groups! YAY!

Mostly...

I mailed it to myself, and viola! No funky characters, no trademark infringements, and no urge to break out the melted cheddar dip. BUT (of course, you knew there was a but) the stupid Yahoo! advertisements cover half of the header.

My children are in the room. I shall refrain from the words that wish to drip, poisonous and vile, from my lips, since I've been working on this since ten a.m. (it's currently five-fifty p.m.).

Deep breaths. I'm going to recreate the testing group I'd made, and see if there's a way to turn OFF the ads. If not... if not, someone in YaHell is gonna get a size seven boot to the ass.

Friday, April 25, 2008

HTML... AKA, Hate This Muy Lots...

I've had some people ask me where they can sign up for my newsletter recently.

Newsletter? Uhhh.... Right! Let me get on that...

So I'm taking a class on how to build an HTML newsletter. The instructor, Ana Thierry, knows her stuff. I managed to get the newsletter built using Word, copying and pasting into my Yahoo!Group's HTML editor. I patted myself on the back, proud that I'd gotten that far, and mailed it out.

The pictures don't show up.

Gah.

Okay, figured out how to fix THAT little problem. The HTML thought the source file was the doc I'd used to create the newsletter, rather than the actual online location of the pictures. A little judicious cut and paste, and viola! The pictures appeared.

Then, this happened:

Emma Carter has been in love with Max Cannon since high school, but he barely knew she existed. Now she runs her own unique curio shop, and she’s finally come out her shell and into her own.

When Max returns to his small home town to take up his duties as the Halle Pride’s Alpha, he finds that shy little Emma has grown up. That small spark of something he’d always felt around the teenager has blossomed into something moreâ€"his mate!

Taking her “out for a bite†ensures that the luscious Emma will be permanently his.

But Max’s ex has plans of her own. Plans that don’t include Emma being around to interfere. To keep her Alpha, Emma must prove to the Pride that she has what it takes to be Max’s mate.

Is it me, or does that not look right?

Oh, it looks wonderful on the group. Colors are excellent, pictures show up beautifully. Email it out, however, and it falls like a bad souffle, made with mashed potatoes and tortilla strips.

(Damn you, Bravo, for your marathons! Now I'm addicted to Top Chef!)

Monica Burns, a really lovely lady who does her own banner ads in HTML, suggested that I copy the text unformatted into Word (because, duh, when I copy/pasted it from the Samhain website it was showing up as Normal (Web)). That should have fixed the problem.

Nope. Oy. It still looks like half the text is Trademarked. Somebody pass me the salsa.

Since I don't really speak the arcane language of HTML, I have to figure out why something that looks stunning on the Yahoo! group looks like absolute feces when I mail it out. It probably has to do with the way the Yahoo! group interprets the HTML code, or it adds something in, or subtracts something... or I'm talking out my butt and need help.

Hey, Ana? Ana? You still there?

HELP! My HTML has fallen... oh, never mind. No way I'm finishing that joke.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Samhain Weblog Post... Oopsie

In all of the excitement last week, I forgot to post about, well, my post on the Samhain Weblog. In it I describe how Max and Emma kicked out a totally hot werecat mage to take over my story.

Bad author. Bad. No cookie for you.

So, since I didn't provide the link last week, I'm going to provide it now:

The Wallflower Is Out Today...

I'd post the article here, but, frankly, there are some pretty cool articles at the Weblog having to do with the Romantic Times convention that I wish I'd been able to go to. Hopefully I'll be at the one in Orlando next year. Sans incense holder/artificial pipe bomb, of course.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Work, Work, Work... =)

I've got some major projects on my hands for the next few weeks. I want to make sure that I have all my little duckies in a row before the family and I head to the House of Mouse in June, this way I don't have to worry about anything other than Florida making my hair frizzy.

Very Much Alive is about to enter the meat grinder: aka, first round of personal edits. I'll chop, I'll add, and I may expand it a little bit; I'm still not sure. I'll decide once the read-through is done. It may go from novella length (max 30k words) to category (which is, I think, max 45k words).

I need to begin outlining Dogs and Cats. I plan on starting work on that after I return from vacation, but I want to make sure the story has jelled in my head before I start. The outline will probably get changed as the characters talk to me, but it's always a good starting point for me. I can go back and say, "Wait. What was I doing again?" And with two kids, I do that a lot.

And I want to finish up Dare to Believe, which has patiently been sitting in my Romance folder since I started work on Wallflower.

Busy busy busy...

Have I mentioned I love my job?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Weirdest, Most Wonderful Feeling

It's still sinking in that The Wallflower is finally out. No more biting of the nails, no more eyeing the coming soon page...

At least, not until I start editing Sweet Dreams. Then it gets to start all over again.

I love my job...
Thanks to everyone who has written to me to tell me how much they're enjoying Wallflower. And make sure you check out the books by the other cat shifter ladies, too! All of them were really good reads.

Now I'm off to bed. If you're a member of the Samhain Cafe, I'll be there off and on tomorrow (April 18th!) for the Home Alone Partay!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

YES! It's Up!

The Cat Shifter anthology books are now available through My Bookstore and More (AKA MBaM).

And I promised one of the authors I would log into Tabula Rasa and do a little roof-top happy dance, since her roof is too steep to do it in real life:



There ya go!

Are We There Yet?

It's only 7:30 in the morning, and I'm already at the My Bookstore and More site, refreshing.

"Are we there yet?"

I know we're not there yet. We won't be there until mid-morning. But I can't help myself. I'm nervous, and excited, all at the same time.

So expect something when the we are there, because I'm either going to do the world's shortest post, or I'm going to ramble like an idiot.

(Are we there yet? No? Damn.)

In the meantime, to celebrate tax day, a Cathy comic strip I think you'll find amusing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

WriteMinded Blog and Giveaway!

Angela James is doing a guest blog at WriteMinded about the cat shifter anthologies. She's giving away one copy of each book to celebrate tomorrow's release!

Go check it out, leave a post, and maybe win a free e-book!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Here, Kitty Kitty Kitty...





Ooh... do I have some websites for you to visit!

Tuesday is the release date of The Wallflower (I think I may have mentioned that once or twice) as well as the release date of the other Cat Shifter books.

You gotta check these ladies out. Chatting with them has been a blast as we prepare for R-Day.

I love urban fantasy... especially shifter urban fantasy, which is tied with my love for vampire urban fantasy.

Kaye Chambers, author of Tiger by the Tail (wicked cool story, with the definite potential for more, which I love).

Taryn Blackthorne, author of Even for Me, another wicked cool story with the potential for more.

Both of which I'm praying I get to see turned into a series.

They are part of the On the Prowl anthology.

I also adore a little heat in my stories...

Marie Harte, author of Rachel's Totem, has been a fave of mine for a while now, so it was an honor to get to work, even peripherally, with her. And her story? WHEW!

Paige McKellan's Claiming Their Mate definitely falls in the HOT category, and another one I wouldn't mind seeing turned into a series.

Then again, I love series, too.

These ladies are in the Feral Attraction anthology.

Finally, there's J.B. McDonald of Treasure Hunting, who is in the Hunting Love anthology with yours truly. I only have one thing to say about her story:

Can I have Santiago? (Ducks and hides before Dusty sees this...)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Caffeine Addict

Dusty beat me, but then, I always knew he had delusions of god-like power. (Sniff.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When Is It Enough?

My current WIP has the working title of Very Much Alive, something that may or may not last when the story is done. (For instance, Beta Testing became Sweet Dreams after the re-write.) It was (and still is) intended to be a story of novella length for the Menage and More anthology.

My small, teensy-weensy, problem?

The characters want it to be full-length.

Oy.

I keep wrinkling my nose and shaking my head and wondering why everything seems so... rushed. Dusty asked me why we weren't seeing more of the main bad guy when he read what I currently have. I have roughly 7k words to play with... and it doesn't seem like enough.

However...

I've read stories where there was too much. Too much interaction, too much exposition too much explanation, too much... aren't they done yet? No? zzzzzz...

So I have to decide; is this a case where more is better (like anything involving Godiva chocolate)? Or should I follow the "good things come in small packages" (also like Godiva) and work on, er, making it work?

I will figure it out, eventually, after much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and a lot of editing.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chat at Romance Junkies!

Monday, April 7th, I'll be chatting away on the Romance Junkies chat about The Wallflower, a gift certificate contest, possibly about upcoming releases, and M&M's.

Got you curious, don't I?

Come check it out! The chat starts at 9p.m. EST and runs for one hour. Just click on "Click to Chat", enter a nickname, and away you go! Also chatting that evening will be Beverly Rae of Wailing for Love (which I finally found time to read this week, and it was soooo worth it!) and Beth Williamson of The Malloys series and Devils on Horseback series.

I hope to see you there!

Update: I just got off my chat at Romance Junkies, and I have to say I had a wonderful time! I'm so glad I got to chat third, since it gave me a chance to listen to Beverly and Beth discuss their books while trying to keep my little one in his bed! (Beth, I can't wait for Kincaid! And Beverly, is Callie's best friend going to get a supernatural love of her own?)

Thanks to everyone who showed up, you made the evening memorable!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I HAD To Do It...

Since Angie is at a convention for the next few days, Editr Kitteh has decided to keep an eye on me for her...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fourteen Days

Doesn't seem like a lot, does it? Just two weeks.

Two weeks until I see The Wallflower on Samhain's New Releases page.

Holy. Moly.

It's already on the first page of the Coming Soon section, along with the other Cat Shifter stories. I'm watching it inch up the page, and the excitement is beginning to build.

It's a very strange feeling, knowing that the first story you've ever sold is finally going out to the public. There's a part of you that preens, looks a the cover, points and says, "I did that."

Then there's a part of you that just points, feels nauseous, and says, "OH, God, they're gonna hate it. What was I thinking?"

I don't know if those feelings will fade over time or not. My hope is... not. I figure if I ever get blase about a new release with my name on it, then I need to rethink what it is I'm doing. Oh, I know with some releases the feelings will be more intense, with others less so, but I hope it never goes completely away. I want to know that I love what I'm doing enough to have fits over the fact that it's going out into the public. And if that means a flip-floppy tummy and nerves of Twizzlers (which is about as far from steel as you can get), then I'll be a happy puppy.

On a lighter note, the Romantic Times Convention is coming up on April 16th, the day after Wallflower releases. I won't be going, unfortunately (maybe next year!), but I did send something of mine. I sent in prizes to be included in two of the RT baskets from Samhain: one for the Paranormal basket and one for the large Grand Prize basket.

I finally found a picture of the "pipe bomb"/incense holder I attempted to make for the Paranormal basket. Wanna see?



Oh, yeah. SO not Martha Stewart...

(What was I thinking?)

Favorite Quotes

"I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability." Ron White

"So let me get this straight. You want me to kill the little guys, kill the big guys, crowd control those I can't, buff the team, debuff the boss, keep myself alive, AND keep you alive, all while waving a stick and dressed in a towel?" - Anonymous Role Playing Gamer

"I think that statue over there is a statement on modern life. The statement is, "Well, shit." - Varric, Dragon Age II

"Why is it all claws and guns? Can't we piss off a fuzzy planet? Still dangerous, but hey. Bunnies." - Joker, Mass Effect

"Last night, I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?" - Dilbert


"Aim at the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you'll hit the bull's-eye of success." - Annie Oakley

"It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." - Flemeth, aka The Witch of the Wilds, Dragon Age 2

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.'” - George Carlin

"I hear there's a wild bridge tournament down the street. And you know Bridge. It's a lot like sex. If you don't have a great partner, you'd better have a good hand." Barry Weiss, Storage Wars

"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

"I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

“If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.” - Henry Ford