Friday, July 27, 2007

More on RWA National...My first year as a PAN!

Okay, taking a break to do what I promised to do--tell y'all about my fab first year as a real live published author. Along with doing my first Literacy Signing *yippee-and for a good cause, too!* I met fantastic booksellers and promised to come do signings, esp. at nearby Round Rock Hastings, which is doing a tie in with one of my favorite charities --pet adoption. Tahoe and I will be there raising cash for this charity--did I mention a portion of the proceeds of Dead Copy go toward pet adoption? I'll let you knmow when we set a time and date.
Sue Grimshaw from Borders Group
But, back to PAN: My first ever PAN Retreat, starring mega powerful (they are the buying power behind our books), Margaret Terwey, Romance Buyer, Books-A-Million, Tommy Dreiling, Romance Buyer, Barnes & Noble, Sue Grimshaw, Romance Buyer, Borders Group and Cathy Cadek, Paperback Romance Buyer, Levy Books.

The good news is that romance is on the rise, and there's no end in sight! And to sweeten the deal, the New York Times Bestseller List is changing--for the better! This autumn, the list will split the paperback into to two seperate categories--one for trade and for mass market. The list will also increase to 22 slots, giving more authors the opportunity to make the list in the first place. Wahoo!

Each of the panel said they are particularly interested in debut authors and helping rising stars make that list. Two authors they mentioned often were ChickLit bud Allison Brennan and RWA pal Sherrilyn Kenyon (who wore a giant black bird on her head during the signing--v. cool :). The panelists pointed to these two authors repeatedly on how to hit the list right.

Historical novels are alive and well and actually increasing in sales for the first time in a long time, according to this panel, with strong sales among established authors. The bookbuyers said they're watching this trend carefully, paying special attention to debut authors.

Traditional romances *the panelists pointed to Debbie Macomber as an example* are making a comeback, paranormal is leveling off, and erotica is hotter than ever.

Holiday books, especially anthologies are eagerly gobbled up by both booksellers and book readers. And not just Christmas get those ideas cooking and get them out there.

And have you seen this? is a new site that you should check out early and often!

I've got to get back to writing, but will glean more from my notes and get them up soon.

Happy writing,


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Letters in the wind . . .

I want to give a shout out to some sweeties who sent me missives via email this month... thanks, gang, I appreciate the connection!

To Jeannie Burgen, who admired my "There are three kinds of men in this world...the ones you play with, the ones you stay with and the ones who just need killin'"--Your tee shirt's in the mail!

To Karla Fulker, thanks for the kind words, and yes, I'd be happy to come to Houston for a signing! Check back for more details...

To Cris Carl, a fellow journalist, thanks for the kind words. Yes, I love Mia's clothing choices--and in my little brain, her closet looks like a bag of Skittles exploded :)

And a big holla to new pal Edward Morris, who writes for ForeWord Magazine who said I was dangerously funny and was kind enough to point out some of his faves . . . more on that later...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Romance Writing Babes

I just got back from RWA National in Dallas and I have to tell you, what a talented, supportive group of gals. I roomed with my super-talented pal Marian Stevens and had an absolute ball. She's like the Martha Stewart of Romance Writers, but with way better shoes. She was so organized. We sat up late making lists of things we wanted to accomplish during the conference *we both hit our goals!*

We told each other secrets, giggled like a carload of eighth graders, borrowed accessories, fixed each other's hair and had a slumber party, ARWA style. Watch for this woman...she's tearing up the contest circuit and she's going to hit the shelves before you know it. I'll fill you in on the panels I attended later, but for now, here's some of the action... *Marian and I on top of the world at the Hyatt!*

My pal Lexi Connor *God bless her all the way down to her little Scottish heart* helped me get the bookseller bags together in a frenzied fury--thanks, bud, I owe you! Lexi's another ARWA gal who's winning contests left and right--I'll be at one of her signings, too. We met with fellow pink pen users from the Chick Lit chapter and Lord help us, Heather decided we should do Lemon Drops...of course, we all did (except Lexi, who had the good sense to stick with her Guinness). Most of us were sorry later. Good thing the hotel wasn't having a wet tee-shirt contest, 'cause she probably would have talked us into that, too... *Marian, Me, Shot Girl *aka Heather,* Lexi and Golden Heart Finalist Cindy Procter-King...*
I met so many cool people at the Literacy Signing, and signed next to Pat Gaffney--was I in heaven or what? I sold out, and met some incredible women who'd read SCOOP and were ready for Cauley's next adventure. I met all kinds of new pals, including the fab Jeanie Burgen, Carol Johnson and two wonderful women from Florida. Although I loved all of the conference, stuffed my brains with important info and ate like a starving sailor, the book singing was the highlight of all the scheduled events. *Me signing for the Florida Gals*

The Chick Lit Chapter had a fab party complete with yummy chocolate things, drawings and of course, we got to meet each other in person. I'm always afraid people will meet me and think that old Laurie Notaro title, "We thought you'd be prettier..."
We had tons of fun, and got to root for Cindy Procter-King as she headed for the Golden Heart.

More pics and scads on the super panels and festivities later, including the Get My Friend a Baby Party, an adoption soiree which made me laugh, cry and eat entirely too much cake.

*Robyn DeHart, Me, Marian, Hattie, Emily McKay and Addie having way too much fun. Not pictured is Addie's Daddy *and Emily's husband*, Gregg, who patiently took our picture and put up with a lot of giggling, chattering and book talk...*

I think it's fair to say a blast was had by all, I was struck dumb with all the star power and the vibes off of all those talented, funny, super cool babes. I'm still exhausted, but missing it already, and am gearing up for next year.
Off to write...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Recovery in all it's forms

Search and Rescue is a tough life calling. The two most difficult areas of SAR are when a Search and Rescue mission turns into a Recovery mission, and just as bad, when we fail to find the person. The case of Bradley McMellon and Paul Slinkard is tragic on both counts.

The Burnet County Sheriff's Office recovered the body of 20-year-old Bradley McMellon on July 7 in the flood-swollen waters of Lake Travis. Paul Slinkard, also 20-years-old, is still missing.

Water rescues are especially difficult. Dive teams come in to search, and often, small boats manned by a driver, a paramedic, and a handler and a specially trained dogthat can locate the scent of human remains in the water. Sadly, the water recovery usually ends when a fisherman or swimmer discovers a floating body, or the body washes ashore.

It's been a whirlwind of a month, and while the families of the men try to pick up the pieces, it always surprises me that life goes on. The sun still comes up, the grocery stores still sell my favorite kind of bread, the big RWA National conference went as scheduled. The only thing that changed was the knowledge that two young men weren't around to see it.

So, while the mission is labeled a Recovery because we're trying to recover the bodies of the two missing men, at some point, it's supposed to be a recovery for team members, too. But, like some missing persons are never recovered, many searchers never completely recover either.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Living with Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue can be tough, especially after a flood, hurricane or tornado. Rough terrain, debris, sink holes, tangles of barbed wire, heat and fire ants have taken their toll on the teams looking for the two men who went missing last Wednesday after the severe flooding here in Central Texas.

Tougher, though, is learning to structure your life in a way that the Search and Rescue doesn't take over your life. While the first few days are consumed by the rescue effort, the following days have to be balanced. The dogs need to be rested, and because the Searchers are primarily volunteers, we have the usual responsibilities to family, work and the other daily duties that must be attended. It's hard to keep your mind on your work, when the wheels keep churning around the missing person, the lay of the land, where you haven't searched, where you should search next.

For now, the search continues from Ranch Road 1431 and Lake Travis. The dogs have alerted to a large brush pile in an area near Hickory Creek, which flows into Lake Travis. Meanwhile, we're trying to preserve the lives we live every day while trying to preserve two lives that otherwise may be lost forever.

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing
My friend Pantera with Tahoe & Me

Tahoe and a new friend at the signing