Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Richard Linklater's WAKING LIFE (salsa dancing with my confusion)

Super excited to be attending VIP reception and screening of Richard Linklater's BERNIE tonight! Makes me want to revisit WAKING LIFE, one of my all-time favorite movies.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Indie Authors: What We Really Are

People wonder why, after a dozen books in the corporate publishing industry, I decided to go indie with my own digital press, Stella Link Books. One factor in the decision was the transition from driving a big fat family truckster SUV to my smart car convertible. I suddenly wanted everything about my life to be fun, austere, economical, fun, a conversation starter, fun, fun, wide open up top, flipping the finger to the very concept of status symbols, and (lest we forget) FUN. On my to-do list: a post entitled "Everything I Need To Know About Publishing I Learned From My smart Car," but right now, I need to blow on some sunscreen and head for Galveston.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Isaac's Live Dub Proposal

This dude just ruined the life of any man who even thinks of proposing with a ring in a Jell-O mold.

When the Facts Don't Conform to the Theory & a New Kindle Free Read!

On Saturday through Monday, my historical romance alter ego, Gwyneth Atlee, is giving away copies of Dangerous Attractions for Kindle. Originally published by Kensington (under my short-lived Colleen Easton pseudonym) Dangerous Attractions is set in the gorgeous Key West of the 1850's, a city made rich on the salvage of the many shipwrecks along the reefs of Florida. When I first proposed the story to my editor, my preliminary research had cast the early wreckers as near-pirates, "moon cussers" who cursed the bright nights of a full moon and even lured ships onto the rocks in order to steal their cargos after the passengers and crew had drowned. When I visited Key West and dug into archival diaries, journals, and newspapers from the day, I found instead that the wreckers were absolutely serious about saving 1. lives and 2. property. They were legally rewarded for the latter in salvage courts, which allotted them a percentages of the proceeds from auctioned goods and insurance settlements. Though they were never paid for preserving human life, the wreckers--a religious and superstitious lot--saved hundreds, often risking their own lives to rescue passengers and crew in bad weather before beginning the dangerous work of off-loading the cargo. This research completely scrapped the plot I'd proposed, because there was no way I was dishonoring that kind of courage with what amounted to a pack of Disneyfied pirate lies, even though I had only a few months left until my deadline and a great big book to write! Fortunately, the real Key West came through, enriching my book's plot with details from the life of James Audubon (who lived there briefly), the Seminole Wars, the rough-hewn wreckers' frequent fights at the Green Parrot bar (which is still open; I visited two weeks ago and am wearing one of their t-shirts now!) and the even more intriguing tale of a woman artist used by another naturalist to do much of his work--with no credit for her mere feminine assistance. Here's what Booklist had to say about the resulting novel:
After surviving a shipwreck, Genna Whitworth, a Boston heiress fleeing from scandal, is stunned to learn she's been saved by a childhood friend she thought was long dead, a victim of the Seminole raid in which her father died. Eli Blaylock is also surprised to see Genna, the friend he blames for betraying his trust that fateful night. Amid secrets and guilt, Genna and Eli must decide if loyalty is stronger than love, and if sins from the past can be forgiven. The one word that describes this book best is "different." From the unique, culturally diverse setting of the mid-nineteenth-century Florida Keys to the integrated use of past and present, Easton has created a story a breed apart from the typical romance novel. However, it is indeed a romance, one that should interest readers looking for historicals beyond European ballrooms, as well as readers who never thought they'd like to read romance in the first place. Nina Davis Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
I hope you'll join me in the tropics this weekend with the free Kindle edition of what one reviewer called "a tropical paradise turned deadly." Happy reading!

Friday, May 25, 2012

I'd so love it if you would stop by and visit me today at the blog of historical romance author Mia Marlowe (*love* her books!) at where I dish a bit about my wonderful recent vacation to the Florida Keys
and share details on this weekend's free Kindle giveaway (Sat. through Monday) of my Key West-set historical romance Dangerous Attractions. While I can't take all of you with me on a tropical vacation, I can at least share a taste of the tropics to start your summer off right! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Hurricane Lover book trailer

During the record-smashing hurricane season of 2005, a deadly game of cat and mouse unfolds amidst polarized politics, high-strung Southern families and the worst disaster management goat screw in US history.

The Hurricane Lover is a fast-paced, emotionally charged tale of two cities, two families, and two desperate people seeking shelter from the storm.

Read The Hurricane Lover FREE with Amazon Prime!

Rolling Stones "Street Fighting Man" (live in 1969)

"Hey! think the time is right for a palace revolution, but where I live the game to play is compromise solution."

Honeysuckle, Fireflies, and Time Travel: It's the Little Things that Count

Great fiction can transport us, not always through its clever plotting or dynamic characters, but often through the perfect, well-placed sensory detail--some unexpected image, sound, or scent that lights up our synapses. I've been reminded of this lately, by the sweetly-subtle scent of mimosa blossoms and honeysuckle on a recent neighborhood walk, by a friend and author's offhand Facebook mention of her children chasing fireflies. Those little sensory details combined to pluck a hidden string in my mind, transporting me back to the shade of my grandparents' huge pines and maples, to the sweet, wet dew on my bare feet on a summer's night, to my sister's and brother's laughter and my parents' and grandparents' smiles from the front porch rockers as they watched us race about the grassy creekside lawn competing to capture lightning in a bottle. This is why the best writing feels like a homecoming. Though the characters and situation may be novel (no pun intended), it is the use of universal detail that forges the bond between the author and the audience, that brings the tale to vivid life inside the reader's head.
What unexpected detail has illuminated your fiction today? Image from website A Day in the Smokies.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Still crazy after all these years (Heart "Crazy On You" then and now)

Yes we get older...and bigger. But as much as I loved the ramped kid version of this song (and yes, I could play that awesome guitar riff at the beginning), I'm definitely into the big broad version. Way to evolve, Wilson sisters!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sign Up for an Online Class from Colleen Thompson:The Marathoner's Guide to Writing

Beginning June 18th, I will be teaching a week-long online class for RWA University: "The Marathoner's Guide to Writing: How to Stay in It for the Long Haul without Losing Your Patience, Your Persistence, or Your Mind." Here's the class description: Class: The Marathoner's Guide to Writing: Staying in It for the Long Haul without Losing Your Patience, Your Perspective, or Your Mind Class Dates: Monday, June 18 - Friday, June 22 Instructor: Colleen Thompson Class Description: How do some authors manage to stay fresh, relevant, and published, while so many others burn out and fade away after only one or two books? With 20 books and more than a dozen years of experience behind her, RITA-nominated, best-selling romantic suspense author Colleen Thompson shares wisdom she's collected from numerous veteran authors on the qualities that will help prepare you to survive and thrive for the long haul. Topics for discussion will include: • Balancing the needs of the market with the needs of your muse • Keeping criticism and rejection in perspective • Keeping both your ego and professional jealousy in check • Honoring and accepting your own pace and talents • Continually striving for improvement • Blazing your own unique trail to success For more information or to sign up for the class, please follow the link to RWA University. Hope to see you in class!

"Rejected" (7 min of bizzarro, 2 min of wow)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

THE HURRICANE LOVER is fiction. Climate change is real.

Set on the Gulf Coast during the devastating hurricane season of 2005, Joni Rodgers' novel The Hurricane Lover weaves real weather feeds from the National Hurricane Center and actual emails to and from FEMA officials into the story of an obsessed weatherman, an ambitious journalist and a con artist using chaos as cover for identity theft and murder.

"It's about 40% fiction," says Rodgers, who volunteered with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and witnessed Hurricane Ike up close and personal. "The rest comes from what I heard and saw that summer and from five years of mind-blowing research."

Rodgers, a New York Times bestselling author repped by William Morris Endeavor, says she chose to indie publish the novel because she wasn't willing to "sacrifice relationships for car chases" or water down the politics to accomodate a corporate publisher.

"Two weeks before Katrina, a prominent scientist at MIT - a guy with no political dog in the fight - published the results of a study clearly connecting the dots between climate change and megastorms," says Rodgers. "I wanted to make the science accessible by placing it in the context of these characters' lives. My hope is that the suspense will keep the pages turning, the reality of what happened will blow readers' minds and the human heart of the story will stay with them."

Read The Hurricane Lover FREE on Kindle today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Maurice Sendak on life, death and best friends

Thanks for the rumpus, Maurice Sendak

Trying to find words to express how I feel about the death of Maurice Sendak. Huge gift to my life. Huge gift to my kids' lives.

Where the Wild Thing Are was the very first book I bought with my own money. It was 1968. I earned $5 singing at the Bike-o-Rama and spent $2 on a paperback of this book I'd stared at for hours in the public library. I was thrilled to have my own copy and drew my own illustrations in most of the white spaces. I think Mr. Sendak would have approved of this.

Over the years, I staged several versions of WTWTA with various children's theatre troupes and after school arts programs. Always a big hit, as it required each child to make his/her own wild thing costume from trash bags, construction paper, yarn, egg cartons, etc. Also required: wild rumpasing. The kids had a lot of fun, and the parents had rich home movie fodder.

When I was working on Sugarland, I took a trompe l'oeil class, and painted my pantry door for practice, recreating scenes from In the Night Kitchen, which had recently caused a huge argument between me and another PTO mommy at my kids' school because of the little boy's penis. My kids adored that book and insisted I steal the pantry door right off the hinges when we moved out of that house.

Maurice Sendak's influence on my life and art is mostly subliminal, but very strong. He was brave and unique in a way that called on each of us to know our own bravery and uniqueness.

I'm just so glad to have shared my world with this wildly wonderful artist and so grateful that he shared his world with me.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Feel free to create your own caption

Gare Bear stops for coffee with a friend at Sam's in the Brouxelles Midi train station.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

League of Extraordinary Authors: Writerkind: Win a Kindle Fire in our Flash Fiction...

Check out this amazing flash fiction contest! Do you have what it takes to write a 500 word story?

BtO founder and NYT bestseller Joni Rodgers is one of the judges, and the prizes are primo.

League of Extraordinary Authors: Writerkind: Win a Kindle Fire in our Flash Fiction...: May is National Short Story Month! We're celebrating with daily short story features and (ta-rin-ta-RAH!) the 1st Annual Stella Link Flash F...

A Note about Copy

What makes you pick up a book in a store? The cover? But you immediately flip it over to read a description of the book, don't you? All writers should be interested in cover copy for their books, especially self-publishers. Take a peek around the stores you frequent, virtual and online, and see what kinds of copy makes for good sales. What copy makes you want to actually purchase the book?


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