Posts

Showing posts from June, 2012

League of Extraordinary Authors

Image
The League of Extraordinary Authors is a coalition of seasoned, professional writers who are combining the creative freedom of indie/self-publishing with the best qualities of traditional publishing.

Our brand: creative daring, craft excellence and reader-friendly prices.

Check us out at www.leagueofextraordinaryauthors.com.

Sneak Preview: Relentless Protector

Image
I wanted to share the love by taking a moment to show off the cover copy and photo for my September 2012 Harlequin Intrigue, Relentless Protector. I'm very happy with both, and better yet, in October, Passion to Protect (Harlequin Romantic Suspense) will be out, so readers won't have long to wait. From the Cover of Relentless Protector, which was inspired by a real-life Texas heist... A RUTHLESS ARMY RANGER Former Army Ranger Cole Sawyer reacts on instinct he sees beautiful young widow Lisa Meador pull a gun at the bank. He foils the robbery, but when Lisa screams as the real robbers take off with her son, he realizes that things aren't as they seem. Driven by a painful secret, Cole makes the split-second decision to join forces with Lisa and trail the criminals across Texas. A DESPERATE SINGLE MOTHER Haunted by his failure to save Lisa's husband in Afghanistan, Cole is determined to help her rescue her son. But he's even more determined not to give in to hi…

It's personal: a "You've Got Mail" moment in honor of Nora Ephron

A fantastic retort to the old refrain: "Don't take it personally." Go with God, Nora Ephron, and may I just say, "snap!"

Finnegans Wake: James Joyce speaks from the grave

Okay, don't get impatient. Just take a moment and enjoy this incredibly cool video for nine minutes. Recorded in 1929, James Joyce reads the "Anna Livia Plurabelle" passage from Finnegans Wake, a dialogue between two washer women who become a tree and a stone at dusk.

Finnegans Wake: James Joyce speaks from the grave

Okay, don't get impatient. Just take a moment and enjoy this incredibly cool video for nine minutes. Recorded in 1929, James Joyce reads the "Anna Livia Plurabelle" passage from Finnegans Wake, a dialogue between two washer women who become a tree and a stone at dusk.

I miss having someone to jam with

Tony Tyler and Dani Jaye cover the Allman Bros "Midnight Rider":

Why Steven Pressfield's TURNING PRO Might Just Save Your Life

Image
I've read a lot of books geared toward writers over the years, some fair, some good, and a very few (Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, and Donald Maas's Writing the Breakout Novel, to name a few) great. But Steven Pressfield's Turning Pro is the first that's had me thinking it could actually save lives. Beginning with Pressfield's groundbreaking The War of Art:Break Through Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles and continuing with Do the Work, the acclaimed author helps readers identify and prevail against the psychological BS--everything from procrastination to perfectionism to mindless, destructive behavior--that prevents us from doing the work we sense that we were born to do. Both books, especially the former, are so helpful in framing the struggle to create in understandable terms that they have become a word-of-mouth sensation, as well as a tool that I recommend in every writing workshop I teach. Pressfield&#…

It's the Writing, Stupid

I've been quiet on the blog after a week spent teaching my online class, "The Marathoner's Guide to Writing: How to Stay in It for the Long Haul without Losing Your Patience, Your Persistence, or Your Mind." (Link is to the blog post that inspired this online class, along with a talk I give to RWA chapters by arrangement.) It was a fun class with lots of great feedback and participation. It was also a timely reminder of the qualities that keep a writer from losing herself amid the maelstrom of competition and negativity that the world too often hurls an artist's way. One of the things I love about teaching is the opportunity to re-learn the important lessons, the kind too often forgotten when you're out in the trenches every day. As I shared with the students, they shared with me their dreams, their doubts, and the fears that often mire us in destructive, or at the very least unproductive, behavior. Number one among these, to my way of thinking, is the temp…

From the Archives: Muzzling the Inner Critic

Image
Back in the bad old days of the Middle Ages, a device known as the branks, or scold's bridle, was used to torture women deemed to be too loud, too bitchy, or too inclined to cruel gossip. Locked into this hideous, metal gag, the unhappy female couldn't speak without injuring her tongue against the spikes. I'm appalled, of course, but part of me says, "Heeeey, I've got a use for that. Finally, something to shut up the hellborne shrew sometimes known as the inner critic!" You know her. She's the voice that mocks that daring new idea you just had, the one who sneers and rolls her eyes at your last paragraph, the bitch who whispers into you ear the cruelest lines of every rejection, nasty comment, bad review, or taunt you've heard since second grade. Is is any wonder you can't write, with this harpy from hell leaning in over your shoulder? So you have to find some way to silence her to allow you to create. Some writers have tried blunting her shar…

A visit to Pensacola Beach and thoughts on branding oneself as sacred

Image
Expanding on a comment I posted earlier in response to Dan Holloway's excellent post on The Cynical Self-Publisher about the difficulties of consistent branding in the current publishing/social networking environment.

Yesterday, I sat at a particular spot by the Gulf of Mexico in Pensacola Beach, where I lived when I was a kid. It was a dive back then: a small row of shabby Nixon-era townhomes with long flanks of empty beach on both sides and flea-infested, trash-strewn empty lots across the street. Now it's all swankypants. The old place was destroyed by a hurricane in the 1990s and replaced with high dollar apartments and upscale houses side-by-side the entire length of the once God-forsaken road.

I won't nostalgically argue that the old place was better. It wasn't; it was a shithole. But it was a shithole with a beautiful white sand beach. Yes, it's crowded now, but back then it was lonely. Yes, it's overly commercial now, but back then it was ill-maintained…

"Rock the Casbah" The Clash

It's all about the casbah this week. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that while your work is/should be/really must be personal to you, it's just business to everybody else. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Twisting the Truth: RELENTLESS PROTECTOR by Colleen Thompson

Image
September will mark the release of (I can't believe it!) my twentieth novel, a Harlequin Intrigue romantic suspense called Relentless Protector. People often ask writers where they got a particular idea. Usually, I have no idea, but this particular story had an unusual real-life inspiration, a brief news item on the local (Texas) news. A young mother out running errands was carjacked, then forced to rob a bank while the kidnappers held her baby at gunpoint. Thank goodness, the real case ended quickly and with no one hurt, but as I imagined the poor mother's terror, my writer's brain took over and started twisting the truth. What if, I wondered, the robbery didn't go off as planned? What if, say, a veteran, fresh from a recent overseas tour, took it upon himself to play the hero and frightened the abductors in the getaway car into taking off with the heroine's child? (You'll probably understand why my working title, then, was Relentless Pursuit.) Many more…

Off the Beat: On Playing With Your Writing

Image
I've been thinking about my ballet-dancing days today.  As some of you know, before I was a writer, I was a professional ballet dancer, a career I loved to the moon and back; the stage also taught me a great deal I would use on the page--about rhythm, pacing, arc, tempo, movement, stamina, how to keep going going going until you think you will drop--1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, ,8--and don't.

Yet looking back, friends, I stretch, and sigh. I am disappointed in myself. And I'm disappointed in one thing, specifically : by what I believe, during my dancing years, was a too-close fidelity to the music. I was fiendish, in those days, about the beat--I wanted my dancing to be exactly on tempo, to be so thoroughly aligned, so perfectly in tune with the orchestra that I and its rhythm would seem to be one and the same. I was constantly praised for this, too, by choroegraphers; reviewers noted it in their columns ("wonderfully musical" was the epithet most frequentl…

The History of the English Language in 10 minutes

The History of the English Language in 10 minutes

Colleen Thompson's Artifact from Life: A Ring of Blood and Bone

Image
Today over at the League of Extraordinary Authors blog, I'm sharing my discovery of a very special artifact of life, one that linked me to my family's Civil War history--and the Civil War-set historical I was writing at the time. Sorry about the photo quality, but I thought you might enjoy a glimpse!

YES! Mr. Rogers "In the Garden of Your Mind" autotune remix

When my kids were little, they thought Mr. Rogers was their grandpa.

YES! Mr. Rogers "In the Garden of Your Mind" autotune remix

When my kids were little, they thought Mr. Rogers was their grandpa.

Ray Bradbury and the Venus Connection

Like so many others, I've been moved by the death this week of writing great Ray Bradbury, who passed during a rare celestial event: a transit of Venus across the sun's face, as viewed from Earth. While reading a Junot Diaz's stirring tribute, "Loving Ray Bradbury," in yesterday's New Yorker, I came across a reference to the very first Bradbury story she read, as a young child just learning English, and its profound impact on her. I had never heard of the story, "All Summer in a Day," first published in the March 1954 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, so I quickly looked it up and found an online copy here. Brief at only four pages, beautiful, and absolutely devastating in its spare beauty, the story hit me like a gut punch. Yes, I thought, this is a tale to inspire the latent writer in the immigrant child. This is a story to stir a hunger for the emotion connection a truly gifted author can forge in a few word. Ironically, &…

This is the real Django, baby.

Image


Seriously. Django Rheinhardt. Google it.

(I should have mentioned this one when The Hurricane Lover was featured on Undercover Soundrack on Roz Morris' blog.)

Ray Bradbury on the occasion of Farewell Summer

Image
Celebrating and saying goodbye to Ray Bradbury today. Words can't express. I'll borrow a few of his.

From ON THE OCCASION OF FAREWELL SUMMER:
"ON THE OCCASION OF FAREWELL SUMMER I can only send good wishes to myself.

Please excuse me, but when I realize this coming week is the publication of FAREWELL SUMMER, which began more than 55 years ago, I can hardly believe it. Indeed, it was even further back. It was when I was 22 and, you might say, put on my first pair of tennis shoes, and ran like crazy.

I was fully in love with writing from grade school on and in high school I began to write things about the ravine in my hometown. In FAREWELL SUMMER the ravine is the center of everything; the old people and the young live on opposite sides of this ravine that divides the town.

...I wish all of you the best in reading it because I had delight in realizing that my ganglion and my antenna are still functioning and the darned thing makes, I believe, a good read.

I send all of you my lov…

Shirley Bassey "If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas)"