Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On-Shelf Day!!!

FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE is on the shelf today!!! It's part one of the release-day week and, first and foremost, I thank you ALL for being so supportive and enthusiastic as I approached this day... xoxoxox!!!

I'm headed out of the house for the morning to visit bookstores/sign stock with a good friend (and get some celebratory Godiva chocolate -- oh, yes, really), but I'm visiting 2 new spots around the Blogosphere today:
An interview with Joan Reeves at Sling Words and...
My first post on the new Girlfriends Book Blog, where I have some big giveaway news I've been anxious to announce. Please take a peek!!

And on a completely unrelated note, anyone else getting addicted to the new "Hawaii Five-0"?? (I love the semi-amused, semi-antagonistic relationship between Steve and Danno.) Which new fall shows have captured your interest this season?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Q&As and More Giveaways!

More interviews and giveaways today in celebration of the Friday Mornings at Nine release tomorrow! Friends have been so gracious in hosting me, I feel I should be bringing chocolate treats as hostess gifts all around the Blogosphere ;). Thanks so much, ladies!!

Coincidentally, three of the places I'm at today have wonderful women whose names begin with 'M' (my fave letter, you know!). You can find me visiting:
Malena Lott at Book End Babes
Melissa Amster at Chick Lit Central
Maria Geraci at Writing Romance in the Closet

Back tomorrow with more fun tour stops *and* a VERY EXCITING giveaway for everyone that I can finally announce in the morning...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Giveaways and Q&As Around the Blogosphere

The Friday Mornings at Nine pre-release frenzy is building...and I've been so lucky to get to visit online friends all across the Blogosphere with even more fun coming soon!

Today, I'm a guest on two fabulous Girlfriends' blogs: Brenda Janowitz and Wendy Nelson Tokunaga!! Thank you, ladies ;).

And I just found out there's a Romance Reader at Heart book giveaway, with Friday Mornings at Nine as one of the prizes! How nice is that? There will be five packages given away and mine is in package #2 along with these wonderful authors below:

From the site:
WINNER #2 gets swept away into...

"INFAMOUS" by Suzanne Brockmann
"HOME AGAIN" by Mariah Stewart
"PERFECT BLEND" by Sue Margolis

Finally, for those who are Goodreads members, there are 5 advanced reading copies of my upcoming novel being given away there (contest details are here) and two days left to enter still... Fresh Fiction has continual contests, too, but this one is the most recent. Hope lots of people win stuff!!

There will be more coming up soon... Wishing everyone a great day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Visiting Friends

Today I get to zip over to California (virtually, not literally -- unfortunately!) to visit my friend Robin Bielman, who has an interview with me on her blog today about Friday Mornings at Nine. Thanks so much, Robin!!

And the newly expanded Magical Musings is just getting started! Thanks to everyone who joined in our celebration over the weekend and to Barbara Vey, who mentioned us over at her Publishers Weekly blog!

The Janefest is still going on over at Austen Authors, too, so if you'd like to win some Austenesque prizes...

This is, to use a phrase I've heard rather a lot, a "crazy busy" time of year. I'm barely keeping up with everything, and everyone I know is swamped as well. I'm trying to remember take a break or two, amidst the hecticness of the day, and relax for a few moments -- talk for 5 minutes on the phone with a friend, send a quick email to someone I'm thinking of, snatch a little time to read a blog I like and, if life gets too crazy for even that, to simply pause for a second to send some happy vibes to everyone I know and love. It's 10:30am and already it's been a busy morning, so I need to make some tea and do that mindful little pause -- right now, I think ;). What do you do to help yourself relax?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Parties Go 'Round

It's a Launch Party! Magical Musings has E-X-P-A-N-D-E-D and I get to be one of the lucky newbies to join the crew as a regular blogger there. We're having a party (complete with giveaways) to celebrate today and throughout the weekend, so please join us!

Also, I get to party hop a little, since I'm the featured "Austen Author" today on our new Janeite blog! I got a little mushy and romantic talking about my Mr. Darcy... Check out "For the Love of Darcy," if you have a chance.

And, above all, Happy Friday!! Wishing everyone who reads this a fabulous weekend ;).

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Visit with Joelle Charbonneau!

Today, I'm so pleased to welcome my talented Chicago-North chaptermate, Joelle Charbonneau, whose new comedic mystery, Skating Around The Law, will be release on September 28th by St. Martin's/Minotaur!!

Can you tell us the premise of your new book?

First, thanks for having me as a guest today! I am thrilled to be here. I loved According to Jane and I can’t wait for Friday Mornings at Nine.

Tell you about my book? Well, I guess you twisted my arm. SKATING AROUND THE LAW is a comedic mystery. A woman goes back to her old hometown to sell an inherited roller rink and finds a dead body head first in a rink toilet. Now she’s stuck in a town she can’t stand with a Sheriff’s Department that is better at gardening than solving crimes. Desperate to get back to her real life, she decides to solve the murder herself. With the help of her randy grandfather, a sexy large animal vet and an ex-circus camel, she has to track down the killer before the killer finds her first.

What's one scene from this story you loved writing and why did it excite you? And what drew you to the mystery genre??

I have to admit that any scene involving the circus camel was a favorite to write. Researching how to ride a camel and then turning that into a scene was especially fun. The camel in the book is a dromedary, which means he only has one hump. I, like my heroine, was baffled as to how a person could ride a one humped camel. I haven’t had the chance to ride one myself – yet. But I plan on taking a spin on one this October.

Funny, but I have no idea what drew me to writing the mystery genre. I read them all the time, but, I was trying to write women’s fiction. However, the fabulous Nephele Tempest heard about my mother’s past career, artistic roller skating, and suggested I write a roller skating book. I laughed myself silly over that suggestion. Ten days later I started typing and there was a dead body at the end of chapter one. Suddenly, I was writing a mystery and I’ve loved every minute of it.

Name 3-4 of your favorite musical artists/groups. Did you use any musical references in your novel? If so, do they play a significant role?

Yikes…only 3 or 4. I’m a professional singer/actress by trade, so I admit that I love about everything with a singable melody. Billy Joel, Chicago, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are amongst my favorites. With a toddler in the house, I also listen to a lot of Seasame Street music. :-)

Because the book is set in a roller rink, it should come as no surprise that there are lots of musical references. Songs like YMCA and The Hokey Pokey aren’t integral to the plot, but you can’t write about a roller rink without them. (Ooooh, this is going to be so awesome to read! I can't wait! I have fond memories of the wacky music they played at the rink back in my junior-high roller skating days...)

Would your high school friends be surprised to discover you'd become a novelist?

The popularity of Facebook has allowed my high school friends to learn about this turn in my career and, yes, to say they were astonished would be putting it mildly. I was the singer/actress of the group. My best friend was actually the writer. Unlike many authors, I wasn’t someone who wanted to be published at an early age. I was far more comfortable on stage using words that someone else wrote.

Actually, I think the biggest shock is still to come for my high school friends. In high school, I was the serious friend. I’m talking REALLY serious. I was the straight man to my friends’ comedy routines. Skating Around The Law is on the comedy side of the genre. My friends are going to wonder what happened to me.

What's one piece of writing advice you've found valuable on your journey to publication?

Network. Susan Elizabeth Philips has been a mentor of mine since I first started writing. She gave me the advice to join RWA and meet everyone I could. As a professional performer, I am not a shy person, but I am also not one finds it easy to walk up to a group of unknown people and start chatting. But Susan said I should (and she should know), so I did. I forced myself to talk to other writers and to industry professionals. Not because that would help me get published, although for some writers it might, but because the more I learn about the industry the better off I would be if ever I got The Call. I’m glad I took Susan’s advice or I might be totally freaked. As it stands I only chew my nails and cower in the corner once or twice a day.

What's a personality trait you love about one of the characters in your novel and why?

My favorite character in Skating is my heroine’s grandfather – Pop. He’s a hoot. More important, he’s a person who always wants to try new things. Whether it be new careers, breaking and entering or trying a new lady friend on for size, Pop is ready to give it a whirl. So often in our lives we become settled and uninterested in change. I hope I grow up to be like Pop – always interested in finding out what is beyond the next horizon, or behind the locked door.

Writers are usually big readers too. How do you make time for reading and what are you reading at the moment?

Writing has totally cut into my reading time, but yes, I am a HUGE reader. Before writing I used to read 4-6 books a week. Now I’m down to one. Sigh. Part of that isn’t just the writing. I have a 2 ½ year old at home, who isn’t interested in reading the newest Caroline Haines or Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Thankfully, I enjoy the literary stylings Dr. Seuss and Curious George. (LOL! My son was a fan of both, too. ;)

Right now I am currently working my way through a stack of books by authors in my imprint. When I got my publishing contract, my husband went out and bought a large number of Minotaur books. He has supplemented those with additional titles every holiday, anniversary, birthday and sometimes “just because” days. I appreciate the gesture, although the pile is getting rather intimidating. That being said, I plan to purchase Friday Mornings At Nine while I am on tour and read that one in my hotel room at night. I can’t wait! (Oh, thank you!! I really hope you'll like it...)

Thanks again for being with us today, Joelle! Best of luck to you on your debut and on all the books to follow!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Visiting the Seekers (+ a Giveaway!)

Today, I'm off to Seekerville! I love the wonderful ladies there, and the awesome Tina Radcliffe -- whose debut novel The Rancher's Reunion comes out from Steeple Hill in January! -- was kind enough to invite me back to visit this year. Thanks, Tina ;-).

The topic is one dear to my plot-loving writer's heart: Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet. If I could only use ONE tool for novel-writing structure, it would be this one -- hands down. Come join me HERE as I walk through the 15 steps outlined in the beat sheet using 2 great films as a guide: Bruce Willis at his action-hero best in "Die Hard" and one of my Top 5 all-time favorite romantic comedies "When Harry Met Sally..." I'll also be giving away a couple of advanced reading copies for Friday Mornings at Nine to commenters, so please stop by!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Austen Authors Launches Today!!

An official invitation from the group (and, perhaps, from the ghost of Jane herself):


Writers of Jane Austen fiction cordially invite you to the Launch of

‘Austen Authors’

and to share in our passion for her world... because there’s never enough Jane Austen.

We look forward to the pleasure of your company on Monday, September 6, 2010, and daily thereafter.

Throughout September, during our Launch Extravaganza, there will be posts by many of your favourite Austen-related fiction writers as well as contests, quizzes, a scavenger hunt, oodles of information, spotlight guest Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy, Vampyre), new release parties, author introductions, entertainment, humour, polls, secrets, recipes, games galore, and giveaways of gifts and books from the authors and their publishers. Mark your calendar, join us, and be sure to post comments.

"My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."
~ Jane Austen ~


I confess I did not write this on behalf of our group, but I simply love the British spelling of "favourite" and "humour" and could not bring myself to change this :).

We're going to have a great September in our new Austen playground. Hope you'll join us!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's all in the Cattitude!

Today I have the honor of welcoming a friend and fellow blogger--someone who's definitely no stranger to Brant Flakes!--the lovely Edie Ramer. Hi, Edie!! So glad to have you here ;).

As one of the founding members of Magical Musings, Edie has blogged regularly and offered many book reviews, author interviews and insightful posts on various aspects of the writing industry. It's a treat to have her here to talk about the book she just released on Smashwords and Amazon Kindle: CATTITUDE!! (I love that title.)


Can you tell us the basic premise of your book? It’s all in the Cattitude

After Belle the cat switches bodies with a psychic on the run from a murderer, she wants her perfect cat body back instead of this furless human one. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with her former owner. Or that a CEO and a beauty queen want to use up her nine lives. Now is her chance to prove anything a human can do, a cat can do better.

What's one scene from this story you loved writing and why? My favorite scene features two secondary characters: the woman who switched bodies with Belle, and a lonely rich girl who befriends this confused woman in a cat body. I cried when I wrote it, and I cry every time I read it. It’s a good cry, the kind that happens when characters touch your heart and make you care.

What's your Writer Fantasy--i.e., to see your book make into a feature film, to be on the New York Times bestseller list for 40 consecutive weeks, etc.? One of my beta readers said she’d love to see Cattitude as a movie. Ever since she said that, I keep thinking about it and wonder who would play Belle. Jennifer Garner was one possibility, but she might be too nice. I need an actress with an attitude but still likeable. Any suggestions? (Hmm. Angelina Jolie is very cat-like, in my opinion, and also has an attitude...Jessica Biel, maybe...I'll keep thinking! Anyone else have some possibilities? :)

Being a on the NY Times bestseller list used to be one of my goals. Now it’s the Kindle bestselling list. Not yet, though. I know it’s not going to happen overnight. And that’s okay. The great thing about being an indie author is that you can build your audience. Your books aren’t going to be whisked off the shelves in a month or two. That takes a lot of pressure off the indie authors.

What's a personality trait you love about one of the characters in your novel and why? I love my cat, which is why I wrote a story about Belle, the heroine in Cattitude. I love her me-first attitude, her honesty, her independence. So when she became human, I had her keep all those traits. Plus, a few others, including a love of tuna, a dislike of vegetables, and a desire to scratch people who irritate her. (Which I find perfectly understandable, though it’s something I haven’t done since I fought with my brother when we were kids.) Belle is the most fun character I’ve written.

What’s the most surprising thing that has happened to you on your publishing journey? I don’t know if it’s surprising, but what’s wonderful is the support I’ve gotten from the writing community—from my CPs to writers I barely know. I mentioned on an online writing group that I was going to self pub Cattitude, and one of the newer members emailed me and offered to do my cover. She did an amazing job! The first thing people say about the book is how much they love the cover. (I agree--it's really eye-catching!)

When I think of my friends who’ve been there for me, I feel my heart swell. I think it must be three sizes bigger than before I published Cattitude.

Marilyn, you’re one of the heart-stretching culprits! Thank you for being a friend and having me as your guest. (Awww, Edie! It's my pleasure!!! I'm thrilled for you. ;)

Where can we find you on the web?Here is my website. You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and at Magical Musings.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Cattitude is available on Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99. I’m giving away a free e-copy to two different commenters on today’s blog. And starting Friday, I’m having an exciting release party with a fun contest. The details will be posted on Friday on my website, Facebook, Twitter and Magical Musings (see links above).

YAY!! Can't wait to read it, Edie, and to celebrate with you ;). Congratulations!