Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Christina Hogrebe Is Visiting Today!

It's no secret that I adore my literary agent. Actually, I adore the entire agency - everyone at the Jane Rotrosen Agency is a true professional in every sense of the word; efficient, courteous, highly intelligent, and entirely enthusiastic about the book business. I thank my lucky stars for aligning properly and bringing us together!

Anyway, I asked Christina Hogrebe if she would consent to a Question & Answer session over on my new joint blog, WRITERS AT PLAY and she - enthusiastic as ever - agreed!

So if you've ever wondered what makes a good literary agent tick, pop on over and find out! I'll post a permalink here for those who miss today's blog so anyone can find it later: Ask An Agent: Christina Hogrebe.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Avast, Ye Matey!

As I sit here trying to write, I hear gunshots in the distance, sirens wailing, and people laughing in the street outside my open window. A group of obviously intoxicated teenagers, wearing colorful beads and holding aloft plastic cups filled with beer, hooting and hollering their way down the sidewalk in front of my house. They’re well on their way to partytime… even though it’s barely one o’clock in the afternoon. Helicopters hover overhead, but I can still hear the faint, tinny sounds of music. There’s a parade going on less than a mile away, it’s a beautiful day in Tampa, FL, and half the city has turned out to enjoy the show.

Shut the window, you may think, but I don’t want to. It’s Gasparilla Day in my hometown, and even though I’m here at home tending two family members who are sick with the flu, I’m still lucky enough to enjoy it vicariously. :-)

Gasparilla, you ask? (Don’t you love how I make up these imaginary conversations?) Once a year, the oak-lined streets of my all-American neighborhood become subject to invasion. Yes, an actual invasion… by PIRATES! You see, legend has it that Tampa was once invaded by a dastardly devil named Jose Gaspar, also known as the evil, merciless (yet quite the ladies man) Gasparilla! This terrifying seadog was the terror of the local seas, from the Panhandle down to Cuba. Back in the late 1700’s, he supposedly sailed right into Old Tampa Bay and conquered the city. And yet, for some reason, back in 1904, our city officials thought it would be a great idea for an annual festival in his honor.

I can only shrug, and do my best to imagine Johnny Depp. :-)

It’s our hometown version of Mardi Gras, with krewes and floats and beads and beer and scalawags. There’s an actual flotilla invasion, which anyone with a boat can join, led by the noble pirate ship Jose Gaspar, which is filled with normally staid businessmen dressed to the hilt as swashbuckling pirates, complete with scars, pistols filled with blanks, stuffed parrots and an eye for booty (and believe me, lots of women are willing to show their booty for beads!). Afterward, a long parade down the waterfront; local high school bands, colorful floats, beads flying through the air and ending up in the greedy fists of screaming civilians (with quite a few ending up in the palm trees that line the route).

It’s glorious, and fun. Wish you were here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How Not To Be A Professional

I've mentioned my friend Tricia Owens on my blog before - she's an editor for The Wild Rose Press. Specifically, she's an editor for their erotica line, called Scarlet. I was stunned to learn that she'd received an incredibly nasty, profanity-laced email from an aspiring author who'd been turned down, both for the quality of her writing and for submitting a story that was totally inappropriate for Scarlet (i.e., it was NOT erotica).

Trish, being the lovely, talented lady she is, took the time to offer some well-meaning advice to said aspiring writer (which is far more than many editors would do when they're rejecting something), and received a scathing personal attack in return.

Let's face it: nobody likes criticism, constructive or not, but if you're a writer who can't handle rejection or criticism, then you're in the WRONG BUSINESS. No reputable literary agent or publishing house is going to want to work with you. Period. There are far too many other authors out there to put up with primadonnas.

So the question arose as to whether Trish should simply ignore this person's nastiness, or use it as an opportunity to educate other aspiring writers on how to behave in a professional manner. Today's blog over on Writers At Play is the result.

Stop by and check it out. Leave a comment. And the next time you hear the word "No", think about how you should behave instead of flying off the handle.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I've Been Tagged, or Seven Silly Facts You Never Wanted To Know But I'm Going To Tell You Anyway

Jenna Mayson , daily blogging sex kitten that she is, has tagged me. (Hey, look at the picture - I'm not sure which hunk this is, but I guarantee he finds kissing the lovely Jenna to be no hardship!)

What this means (to me, anyway... I'm not talking about the hunk anymore. Focus.... focus!) is that I'm now required to follow the official Rules O' Tagging, which are:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Leave a comment on their blog, so their readers can visit you.
3) Post the rules on your blog.
4) Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
5) Tag 7 random people at the end of your blog.
6) Include links to their blogs and let each of them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven random and/or weird facts? Ok, let's go:

1) I once lived in a house that turned out to be haunted. Notice that I didn't say "a house rumored to be" haunted. If I'd heard any rumor about what happened in that house before we moved in, you can bet your bottom dollar we'd NEVER have moved there. It was only AFTER we'd had some strange experiences in the house (which led me to talk to the neighbors) that we found out it had been the scene of a murder/suicide. Ummm... we moved. Luckily, we were only renting.

2) My given name is Terri, but most of my family (and my husband) call me by my childhood nickname, which is Ted. Yes, Ted.. or Teddi, depending on the person. Only one of my sisters refuses, because she says "Ted Garey sounds like a golf pro." And you know what? She's right! :-)

3) I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue. (Yes, I really can.)

4) I'm practically a vegetarian. Chicken, fish, fruit, vegetables and grains - red meat once or twice a year, tops.

5) When my husband and I are in the car together, I'm usually the one driving. Why? Because I am the worst back seat driver EVER ("Turn here! Put your blinker on! Slow down! Speed up!"), so for the sake of our marriage and my husband's sanity, he now just hands me the keys. :-) Needless to say, he's the one who taught the kids to drive, so they wouldn't be traumatized by Mom's white-knuckled shrieks, poor things. LOL

6) I survived a ruptured appendix a few years ago, but barely. I was in the hospital for three days (in agony, btw), until they did exploratory surgery and found the problem. Apparently, I had an abnormally long appendix that had become entwined (and partially hidden by) my intestines, so normal ultrasounds and scans didn't see the problem until they went in. Yay, me! I always knew I was a little twisted, and my body apparently agreed!

7) I've had Lasik surgery twice, and it didn't work either time, dangit!! I am now forever banned from trying it again because of the risk of corneal scarring.

8) I once had a torrid love affair with Hugh Jackman. It happened in NYC at Christmastime... I'd gone to see him in a play on Broadway and waited outside the stage door afterward. He came out into a light snowfall, dark hair falling into his dreamy brown eyes, took one look at me and...

Oh, wait. That's eight things, isn't it? Sorry to run on like that! I guess my star-crossed love story will have to wait for another day. *sigh*

Now, who shall I tag? I'm thinking Stacey, Lisa, Tawny, Leslie, Tammy, Pam H., and Kate. Off to say, "Tag, you're it!"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ask An Editor with Writers At Play

Ever wonder about the secret inner workings of the mind of an editor? One of my dear friends, Tricia Owens, is an editor for the Wild Rose Press, and she's blogging today over at Writers At Play.

Trish is talented, funny and very, very approachable. Stop by and read about a glamorous day in the life of an erotic romance editor :-), and ask her a question!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Open Book Club

I'm way behind on my official "Thank you!" to the wonderful women of the Open Book Club, who hosted me last week as their guest author. Carol, Carol and Carroll, Sydney, Eileen, Amy and Candi (did I miss anybody?)are a great group, and I SO enjoyed talking with them about plotting, storylines, character development, underlying themes and the writing process itself. It was both gratifying and flattering to be among of bunch of highly intelligent, personable women who love what you do. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when one of the Carols :) read aloud a passage she'd marked as something she'd particularly enjoyed (a treat, she called it)... it was strangely surreal to hear my own words read back to me like that.

Anyway, a big Thank You to a great group of ladies!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Would You Like To Win Some Free Books?

I belong to a small group of women who are truly extraordinary. We call ourselves Writers At Play because even though writing is a serious business, we've vowed to have fun with it. We've hung out online together for almost four years, seen each other through contests and finals and rejections, met up at conferences across the country, and learned some publishing lessons the hard way. :)

And you know what? We've succeeded. When we met in 2003, we were all unpublished. Four years later, twelve of us are published, and one's gone on to become an editor herself.

So we must be doing something right. :)

Anyway, over the holidays, I got this crazy idea that instead of sending candy and cards to my PlayPals for Christmas (a WONDERFUL tradition, btw... don't ever stop!), I'd give them them gift of a group website. We'd been talking about it for years, but it would require some coordination and some effort and a lot of technical stuff that only computer geeks would be interested in. :-)

So I got creative (it's not like I was busy with the Christmas holiday and brain scans or anything *g*), and Writers At Play is the result. Our hard lessons learned are yours for the picking, our inspiration yours for the asking, and our books are yours for the winning. (Just don't try and steal any of the eye candy... particularly Matthew McConaughey. Janice doesn't share very well.)

To celebrate our new home on the web, we're giving away free books on our new Blog as we take questions for our two official Contest Divas, Stacey Kayne and Lindsey Brookes.

Stop by and visit, and comment to win a grand prize of four books!

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I can't believe how quickly the month of December passed! In addition to the normal Christmas hubbub (shopping, wrapping, decorating, Christmas cards, cooking, entertaining and holiday parties), December was full of personal things: a couple of family birthdays, a brand-new baby nephew, out-of-town family members in town for the holiday, a CT scan and MRI of the brain...

Yes, I had a personal health scare this month - three sudden, severe headaches at the base of my skull, the last of which landed me in the emergency room at my local hospital. After two different brain scans, the good news is I DON'T have a aneurysm or a brain tumor (lovely words to be able to write), but I do apparently have some cervical issues with my neck. Physical therapy three times a week and regular massages should take care of it, I'm told. (Darn! I have to go get massages! Poor me!) LOL

So I'm feeling pretty fortunate as I go into the New Year. I have my health, I have my family, and I have two books coming out in 2008. Now I just need to get to work on the current work-in-progress, which is coming along quite nicely.

Happy New Year to you all!