Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jury Duty

Most people hate jury duty. They have to take a break from their lives to drive downtown and sit in a room full of other people for long periods of time until their badge number is called.

For me, it was an opportunity to read quietly in a comfortable chair in an air conditioned room and people-watch. And there were plenty of people to watch. The most amazing thing about it: These were the locals, the residents, not the tourists!

The process goes like this. I arrived at the parking garage, then hoofed it three blocks to the court house, a large, impressive building surrounded by palm trees. Inside, everyone went through "airport security", removing our shoes and throwing our bags on the conveyor. I'm sure my book A Prince of Norway by Kris Tualla was of great interest.

From there, I hiked up to the 3rd floor to Jury Services. The room was huge and full of thick, fluffy chairs armrest to armrest in long rows. It was like a movie theatre without the movie. I found an empty chairs, of which there were only a few and sat down to read. I'd gotten there a little early and the lady at the front desk told everyone we'd be starting at noon.

There is supposed to be an orientation, complete with movie, but there was too much going on yesterday and the movie didn't get shown. Darn. I so wanted to watch it! Instead, the group that was supposed to return by 12:45 from a break had to get lined up because a new case was being tried and they needed new jurors. Most of the people had gotten back in time, but there were a few stragglers who hadn't made it. The lady lined them up, across the room from the entryway doors. The line curled around the backside of the room, threaded through chairs, and ended at the windows facing the courtyard outside.

One name kept getting called and no one showed up until close to 1:00. She flounced her way into the room, swinging her hips so hard, she could've held up a hula hoop. This woman wore a huge brimmed black hat to match her black V-necked shirt and tight black pants. I saw her take off her hat to reveal bound white blonde tresses and black bug eyed sunglasses. I didn't think anything of it until I looked back up and realized she'd unbound those locks until they resembled the "Big Hair" bands from the 1980s. Hair was everywhere and she wore more makeup than Tammy Faye Baker at her most brilliant. Botoxed lips the color of unripe red grapes swelled below her nose, stretching the skin around her mouth. Wrinkles crowded around her eyes and cheeks, but I was struck by her determination! Wow, it was Lady GaGa's lesser known grandmother!

I saw her return a little later. Apparently, she'd been excused from the jury selection.

The woman upfront tried to finish the orientation, but it was just too busy for one person and she gave up. I settled back into reading until I heard another woman's voice say, "A kiss is definitely cheating." Hello, what? I looked up to an attractive young woman with long straight dark hair speaking with a man and an older woman two rows ahead of me. She added, "If I saw my husband kissing another woman, I'd kill him, and you'd all be here for my trial!" The other people laughed, but she wasn't kidding. "There's also emotional cheating." Apparently the man didn't know what that was, so she explained, "Emotional cheating is when you tell someone about your feelings and dreams and stuff, but they aren't your [spouse]. It still counts as cheating."

Good thing she cleared that up for him. Now he can accurately categorize what he's been doing! ;)

Ah, good old Vegas. You gotta love the characters who live here. I was dismissed at 2:30 and able to spend the afternoon with friends, so it worked out pretty well for me. Do you have any good jury duty stories?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Big (HUGE) News

A couple of weeks ago I attendedI the Arizona Dream' Romance Reader Event in Tempe (and I'm planning to go again next year). I had a wonderful time, learned a lot about being an author and writing, and met a lot of amazing people.

Some of those people were the folks of Sapphire Blue Publishing. I was given the opportunity to pitch my story to them and at the end of the pitch, they asked me to send them my manuscript and a synopsis. I was so excited about it, I had to sit down because my legs were shaking. I called my husband and he let out a war whoop! Not every "new" author gets their manuscript requested. I'm still excited just writing about it!

Yesterday, I sent the manuscript, synopsis and "cover email" off to them. That was an even bigger spike of excitement for me. According to their website, it should take about 16 weeks for them to make a decision. In the meantime, I'll be working on The Bone Flute (excerpt on previous post And the Winner Is . . . ).

I want to say a huge thank you to my critique group (Natascha McIntyre, L. Ross, Tom Keller) for helping me scour the novel until the best story came out and my kick-ass editor EK Yenawine, who corrected all my nitpicky mistakes and even my cover email. Your efforts and help have been invaluable.

So think good thoughts that Jeff Lightfoot's story is coming out (because it is; the story is just that good :D) and I'll let you know when I have an acceptance. Until then, happy reading! :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quick Notes

Hey, folks, I'm just popping in for a few short moments to give some news, then I'm back to it! I'll leave you with a bullet list so this will be quick and easy. ;)
  • Pop on over to Morgan Kearns' blog. She's in the middle of a blog hop and you can not only meet some new authors, but you can win some wonderful prizes; books and bookmarks, trading cards (yes, they have those in romance writing), and other such things.
  • I'm in the middle of editing on a deadline, so that's why I'm quiet and quick about notes. I'll post a long, drawn out, meandering post once I come back up for air! ;)
When I'm done editing this beastie, I have several projects waiting for me, but I'm having a tough time choosing which one to work on. Wanna help me choose? Here's the list:

  •  Wolffe in Alien's Clothing - where you meet Thio Wolffe, sheriff of the little town of Hershel, Nevada, nestled against the border of Area 51. The boys in black come to him searching for an escaped woman engaged in espionage. He's a werewolf and he soon discovers that the woman they want is one, too. Nora Farkas has been held prisoner for two weeks, but now she's free and no one will take her back, not even the impossibly handsome Sheriff, who smells suspiciously like her True Mate.
  • The Bone Flute - Rain Szep is your average, ordinary Paleontologist working for the Bureau of Land Management in Las Vegas, Nevada. The only weird thing that's ever happened to her is her inheritance of a human femur carved with ancient runes and air holes. If that wasn't weird enough, there's a ghost attached to the bone flute; a sexy, handsome male ghost who desperately needs her help to be set free from his curse.
  • The Navy's Ghost - Lt. Christiana "Ghost" Brickman is the only woman to make it through BUD/S training and earned her Navy SEAL pin. Unfortunately, a bullet to her leg destroyed her career as a SEAL and she's at loose ends. Lt. Junior Grade Todd "Magic" Hunter and Lt. Jim "Retro" Waters have loved Ghost since they survived SERE training. They only admitted it when the bullet ripped through their lives. Chris loves them both; will she have to choose just one of her SEALs? Or can she have them both?
  • Dragon in Distress - Isabelle Andersen doesn't want to be sacrificed to the dragon for peace in their village. The dragon will only take virgins, though, so her goal is lose her virginity - fast. Jonarrion Swiftwind has been hunting and killing demons for centuries before he came to the little village in northern Scotland where a demon is masquerading as one of his people. However, his plans are thrown to the winds when he meets Isabelle and she has a unique request for him. She wants to give him her virginity so she won’t be sacrificed to the “dragon”. Little does she know she's found the only dragon in town.
 There are the four choices of upcoming projects. Do you have a particular story you'd like to read? Which is your favorite? Leave a comment with your vote. Don't forget to check out Morgan's blog! I hope your week goes well and I'll catch you next Monday. Happy reading!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Arizona Dreamin' Romance Reader (and Writer) event 2011

I just returned from Tempe, Arizona, after spending the weekend with my good friend Beverly Preston at the Arizona Dreamin' romance reader and writer event. It was terrific and we had an amazing time. We arrived Friday night and were so glad to get out of the car, wandering around in search of a little bit of cold libation and some great conversation seemed like just the ticket. We met some extraordinary ladies, all of us so happy to just hang out with other writers (and readers), away from family and responsibility for a few days.

We first had drinks at the hotel's cafe with Ann Narcisian Videan (pictured) and the Quill Sisters, Amylynn Bright and Kelli Daymor. A great time was had by all and I think we all talked a mile a minute. Beverly and I stayed with a friend who lives nearby and she cooked us dinner, with which we shared chocolate wine; and let me tell you, if you haven't had this stuff, it's amazing! If you like chocolate and you like red wine, this is the perfect combination; Beverly said it tasted like a Mud Slide, I thought it tasted like Bailey's Irish Cream. Whichever, it was awesome! I think we drank all but one small cup's worth! That night. Woo-hoo! :)

In the morning, we didn't sleep in (what is up with that?), but we did laze around, reading. Ah, reading, with no interruptions of children asking for water, or food, or the chores of the house calling our names. It was great, but I was so excited for the event to start, I could hardly sit still.

When we returned to Tempe, the first person we met was the FRICKIN' AWESOME Morgan Kearns, who greeted us with her million-watt smile. What a greeting! I couldn't help but grin back at her and she showed us where to sign in, pick up our swag bags (and let me tell you, there was some GREAT swag in those bags), and choose a place to sit for the dinner. We chose to sit with Morgan (who can turn down a great smile like that?) and off we went.
The FRICKIN' AWESOME Morgan Kearns, Ruth Lacy, and Siobhan Muir.

I think the highlights of the event were meeting some new authors (to me): Vijaya Schartz, Cassie Ryan, Erin Quinn, Morgan Kearns, Linda Conrad, Tami VanGurp; seeing friends: Kris Tualla, Deb Haralson, Shannan Albright, CR Moss; and meeting some professionals in the business of romance writing: Jimmy Thomas and Sapphire Blue Publishing. I even got a photo with Jimmy; he's as friendly as his smile and has more than 1300 book covers to his name! Fabio doesn't come close to that number!
Siobhan and Jimmy Thomas

It was a great time. I couldn't stop grinning (notice in all the photos?) I bought books, won books, was given books, and just increased my TBR pile by at least 10! Want a sample of what I'll be reading here soon?
Vijaya Schartz's Coyote Gorgeous
Kris Tualla's A Prince of Norway and A Matter of Principle
Cassie Ryan's Seducing the Succubus
Linda Conrad's Her Sheik Protector and The Sheik's Lost Princess (less than great titles, GREAT author)
Tami VanGurp's Winter's Heat
Morgan Kearns' Fade to Black and In it To Win it.
Erin Quinn's Haunting Beauty and Haunting Warrior

If you do read them, do these lovely authors a favor and leave reviews on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Smashwords. It helps us all. If you want to see the rest of my photos, please visit my Facebook page and happy reading! :)