Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

About That Tiara...


Posted by Christine



Come to think of it, I did have a tiara once. It was bejeweled, as are all tiaras. And, as I recall, sprinkled with stars.

It was presented to me by the Sacramento Chapter of Romance Writers of America a few years ago when I went there to speak. (It was an all day workshop on Setting. Some people even stayed awake. Mwahaha.)

That tiara had a train. A tulle train. Isn’t that what they call that netting-looking stuff that they make bridal veils out of? I mean, out of which they make bridal veils?

Anyway, the train was pink and purple, also sprinkled with little stars. I went to see my mom right after I gave the workshop and thus had the tiara with me. My mom just loved it. She was eyeing it for her purple room.

Yes. That’s what I said. Her purple room.

The purple room is my mom’s meditation room. It’s in the basement of her house in the mountains and it is seriously purple. My mom loves purple. In this room she keeps all kinds of treasures, little figurines and bits of crystal and stuff. There are also tomes on personal growth, religion and just generally the search for enlightenment. In this room, she writes poems and in her journal and she prays. And meditates. I believe, to my mom, prayer and meditation are the same thing. But don’t quote me on that. Ask my mom.

The purple room is simply uplifting. My mom is very into spiritual growth. So what happened to me? Well, this is probably not the place to go into that…

Back to the purple room. And the tiara I had once.

So during that visit to the Sacramento Chapter and the mountains of my childhood, I slept in the purple room. I think I found enlightenment. In my dreams. Unfortunately, then I woke up…

And when I woke up, I saw the tiara dripping stars and tulle, hanging across the room where I’d draped it attractively the night before. And I remembered my sweet mom, oohing and ahhing over the thing and, well, I started thinking it would only get crushed in my suitcase.

So I gave it to her.

And I’m doing fine without it. After all, I still have the banner my friend Susan Crosby made for me back when I left California for the wide open spaces of where I live now (hint: where the wind comes whistlin’ down the plains…)

That banner proudly proclaims me a Member Emeritus (that would be of the Sacramento Valley Rose RWA chapter). As well as Queen of the World. In pink. With hearts…

Can’t go far wrong with a banner—or a friend—like that.

So I’m giving up all future requests for a tiara. I’ll just look at my banner when I want to feel regal. It should do fine.

And Kate, here’s a little beefcake to, er, beef up our blog:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blog Envy

Posted by Kate

I admit I’m a little obsessed with blogging right now. I had just started doing it on my own when I was honored and thrilled to be dragged into this fabulous group and, well, okay, I’m feeling the stress. I’ve promised myself I'll produce four or five blog entries a week and I don’t know if I can do it! I’ve got a life, you know! Things to do! Like, I’ve got a manuscript that’s waiting for a new chapter, and there’s the dreaded day job I’m supposed to show up for every damn day, and—who is that man insisting I join him for dinner? Oh, husband. Right. I’ve got one of those.

But lately I’ve been spending most of my time checking out other group blogs, looking for helpful hints and interesting styles of blogging—for instance, do we all blog a little every day? Do we each have our own day? Do we comment on each other’s entries? I know I’ll snap out of it and get back to living a normal life, but right now, I’m on a mission. And I must say, I’m impressed with all the group blogs out there, and while I certainly have found a number of helpful hints on how to do this group blog thing, what I’ve mostly came away with is...blog envy.

For one thing, some of them have very cool names. My current favorite name is The Good Girls Kill for Money Club, a group blog featuring five female mystery writers. I also really like their layout and their glam author photos. And one of the members regularly posts a new cocktail recipe. I’m so jealous! If I start reciting cocktail recipes, we’ll just blame it on the fact that my husband is a bartender and not on my pathetic need to be as sophisticated as the Good Girls.

Some have the coolest contributors. You’re blog people. You know who they are. Word Wenches, Squawk Radio, Running with Quills. We’re talking Superstars. I’m such a fan! And if you’re into mystery, you probably check out The Lipstick Chronicles and The Outfit and Murderati on a regular basis. I particularly enjoy some mystery writer group blogs because everyone seems so hip and intellectual. Just an aside—it took me four tries to type “intellectual” correctly, so no, I won’t be a guest blogger on those sites anytime soon.

And with some group blogs, well, I just wish I were a member of the group. Like Babes in Bookland, Murder She Writes, The Writers Vibe. All very cool people in these groups, and I want to be blogging with them, too. But who has time? And they didn’t ask me! That’s okay, I love them, and someday we’ll all hold hands and blog together. Although…difficult to type holding hands. So okay, maybe we’ll just think good thoughts.

Next week, I’ll share more of my obsession with group blog names. Take for instance, The Writers Vibe. Do you think that’s the first name they came up with or did they originally call themselves “Three Hot Brunettes?” And Squawk Radio? Brilliant yet disturbing! What does it mean? More about that later. Right now, my husband is insisting I join him for dinner. Such a demanding man. In the meantime, I’m curious. What do you think of group blogging? Which ones are your favorites? Do you like short entries or long stories? And do you like them aimed toward writers or readers?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Leaves and trees and squirrels, oh my!

Posted by Susan

I’ve moved 8 times in the past 10 years, including a move last week. I’ve lived in a couple of different states, in very different climates and this is the first time I’ve had a garden. Actually, it’s the first time in my life. There’s a reason for that. I don’t do well with plants. I have the black thumb of death. When I walk through a plant nursery—not often, I promise, I’m not keen on the whole outdoor thing—the plants actually shriek softly and shrink away from me. They chant “Take that one. Don’t take me.” They know that life with me is short and painful, with only darkness in their future.

It’s not that I don’t like plants. Well, I don’t. I mean they’re pretty and all, but I don’t get the thrill of digging in the dirt. It’s dirt, after all. We all have anti-bacterial soap in our house for a reason. I don’t have a spiritual connection with trees, I don’t like bugs or being at one with nature. I like indoor plumbing and air conditioning. I’m not the girl you take camping.

We really love this house. My office is fabulous and the whole place works. Except for the stupid yard. It's so big. My husband suggested we keep the previous owners’ landscaping professional to take care of the plants. I told him there was no way that was happening. I’m intelligent and organized. I should be able to learn enough to keep our garden alive. Determined, I walked the property today. It seemed endless and frightening alive. Guess what? We have bees, too. And spiders. They’re lying in wait by the window boxes. They’re just looking for a moment of weakness before they attack. And it smells out there. Different scents that made me sneeze. Two of our plants had already been destroyed by something in the woods. Something that bites off entire leafy, grassy, pale stalks with surprising efficiency.

Then I was attacked by a squirrel. Okay, maybe “attacked” is strong, but a squirrel came towards me and when I shooed him away, he didn’t leave. I think he was mocking me. It was just too much outdoors for me. I hurried back inside where I called my husband and told him yes, Bruce, the landscaping professional, is so keeping his job.

As for intros…I’m Susan Mallery, city girl. I write single title books for HQN and Pocket and category romances for Silhouette Special Edition and Desire. (Why does this suddenly seem like I’m writing a personal ad? Should I mention long walks on the beach? Not that they’re my favorite. I mean, please…have you tried to have a romantic walk while huffing and puffing your way through sand?) Okay—that’s enough for now. You’ll have to learn about me as we go.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Worldus Interruptus

Posted by Maureen

Really nice to be here with my pals. And Kate and Chris have both been so entertaining, I’m feeling the pressure, here! Let me just adjust my tiara and we’ll get started.

I’m Maureen Child and Chris was right, I’ve written more than 90 books. Historicals, paranormals, contemporary single titles and Silhouette Desires. Right now, I’m writing series romance for Desire, series paranormal for Silhouette’s new Nocturne line and single title paranormals for NAL.

Actually, this weekend, I only had 15 pages to go on the final polish of my latest Nocturne, Nevermore (Feb. 07). I was soooo close I could taste it. I could see the neatly labeled FedEx envelope, hear the solid thunk the manuscript makes when it hits the drop off chute and actually see my latest book strapped into its seat on the plane to Manhattan! (I hate to think of it tossed into a corner in the cargo hold). Anyway, the end was nigh.

Then I suffered Worldus Interruptus. The phone wouldn’t stop ringing. And, like a rabid dog lunging for a tasty thigh bone, I have to react to a ringing phone. It’s impossible to ignore. I’ve tried. It ain’t pretty.

Now, normally, when the phone rings and I’m trying to squeeze out just the right word from an overworked brain, I do a happy dance as I answer the phone. But this time, I really wanted to be finished.

But Worldus Interruptus has no consideration. Life walks in, shakes everything up and demands I vacuum because my son and his new girlfriend are coming for dinner! And hey, maybe a trip to the grocery store would be a good idea, too. And then my daughter calls because her Nana is making her nuts all of a sudden and I have to explain that it’s not hereditary and she’ll probably be okay. And then my husband offers to help, but can’t find anything in the house we’ve lived in for YEARS. Then my mom emails me a message that only says DON'T ANSWER PHONES!!! So I had to call her and find out what time the men in white coats were coming to get her...

So, the book had to wait an extra day to be finished because I finally caved and surrendered to LIFE—if you can’t beat it, join it.

Maureen

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Color me excited....


Posted by Christine

Color me ecstatic. Color me thrilled. Color me pink, as that is our official Deadline Diaries background color. I love it.

I love it here, in our brand new home on Blogger. Picture me sighing.

I’m really feeling pretty good about life right now. I just sent a book in. I always feel good when one of my babies hits the mail chute on the way to Manhattan.

It’s only all rest of the time that I’m miserable. Hah. Not really….

Since this is my first post, I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m Christine Rimmer. I write contemporary series romances for Silhouette Books and also mainstream romances for HQN Books. I’ve written 60 books. I would be crowing.

But then again, two of my fellow-Deadline Diarists can so put me in my place. Maureen’s written, what? Ninety or so books, I believe it is. And Susan’s written ninety, as well. Maybe more. Not that I’m counting or anything.

I can say that I’ve written more books than Kate. Haven’t I, Kate? Say it’s so. Kate, self-proclaimed Contest Sl—er Fr—er Diva (and yes, I’m still a little irked about not having a tiara of my own. But I’ll get over it)

Where was I?
Oh. Kate, as you already know, is our unpublished diarist—but we’re all sure that won’t be true for long. She’s just way talented. Plus funny. Some people are simply too richly blessed. But I’m a forgiving soul and I like her anyway.

At my house—let’s call it Chez Christine. Not that anyone else around here does, but you know, just here on the DD, so I can feel special—Um. At Chez Christine, not only did I just turn a book in and start rolling on another, we’re finally wrapping up an extended phase of HOME IMPROVEMENT HELL.

What? Am I shouting?

You would be, too. Take my word. And try doing DEADLINE HELL—wait. Let me whisper that. Deadline Hell. in the midst of Home Improvement Hell. You’ll know what hell is, let me tell ya.

Try getting into those juicy, romantic bits with workmen swearing in the other room and ongoing pounding, squeaking, grinding sounds. Sometimes, in the middle of a particularly sexy paragraph, all the smoke alarms would go off due to the dust in the air as the guys putting in the wood floor in the family room ground down the concrete to smooth it.

Lovely. Romantic. Smokin’ hot in ways you have never imagined.

And my poor cats—yes. Everyone else on the DD will be speaking of their various gorgeous dogs and adorable puppies. All I have are two aging, patient cats. Tom and Ed. I often dedicate my books to them. They deserve it. They’ve been sitting right here beside me through all the deadlines for the past nine years. They love everything I write and their support keeps me going when things look bleakest.

Or dustiest.

Poor Tom and Ed. They spend days in the laundry room during Home Improvement Hell, in order that they not be crushed by a random box of flooring—or let out by an unwary workman. Sometimes I would turn on the dryer in there without anything drying in it, just so they could lie on it while it ran, and be soothed.

But it’s all over now. I’m starting another book. The home improvement is done for the moment and the deadline on this new book is weeks and weeks away.

If I only had a tiara, my life would perfect…

--Christine

Friday, August 25, 2006

We Got Deadlines!

Posted by Kate

Deadlines? Deadlines? What do I know about deadlines? In fact, what am I doing here? Better yet, who am I? And how do I—a newbie, an unpublished rube!—rate a spot on this new and fabulous fun-filled blog with Deadline Divas like Susan and Christine and Maureen, three incredibly talented, award-winning and very funny published author friends who toss around phrases like “print runs” and “multi-book contracts” as smartly as they shop for new tiaras?

The truth is, I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder if my time might not be better spent signing up for online writing classes. Like, maybe I could discover what it takes to craft a winning query letter, or study the fine art of deep POV. And what about Fonts? I could learn about Fonts!

But then I think, hey, I do belong here! Because...I have been a Diva. That’s right! Tiaras? I’ve worn them! They gave me a headache! Oh yes, I know the pain of an ill-fitting crown. And that’s no metaphor, my friends. Scalp divots? Ouch! And slippage? Oh yeah. If that crown starts to slide, it could poke your eye out. But I digress.

You see, I was a Contest Slut—er, Freak...no, Diva! I was a Contest Diva. And let me tell you, it was very stressful! Contests have deadlines, people! Extremely strict deadlines. And rules. Oy! All those stamps and binder clips and oh, mercy, the Tyvek abuse! Is it destroying the ozone? I worry!

But that proves it, right? I’m a Diva! That’s why I’m here! Whew. I hope y’all bought that.

Anyway, enough about me. Welcome to Deadline Diaries! Susan, Maureen and Christine should be here any minute now...unless this is another little joke they’re playing on the newbie. Ha ha, very funny...time to start blogging, you guys...are you there? Hello? I’m dying here...

No worries, they’ll be here any minute, so stick around! I promise we’ll have fun, be brilliant, give insightful and fascinating views into the publishing and writing biz—well, okay, let’s just say we’ll gossip and laugh and talk about stuff you’re going to want to know about, so stop by often and join in!

Cheers!

Kate

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Coming August 25! Advice, musings, occasional words of wisdom, rants and raves and ramblings about writing and reading and poodles and fine wine and fashion and more -- all ripped from the hot and steamy pages of the Deadline Diaries!