Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pretty As A Picture

As most of you know, in addition to this blog, I participate in a couple of writing related group blogs. One of them is the Casablanca Authors blog (just click on the title of this blog post to go there).

In the past week, we've been making a few changes to our blog format. Hey, it's January -- new year, time for change, renewal, and revitalization! One of the changes we CasaBabes decided to make was to put our photos on the sidebar.

I'll confess that I was not in favor of this change. I'd like to claim the reason is because I value my privacy, which I do, but the truth is I'm SCARED. People judge others by their looks all the time, I'm afraid.

Will readers be disappointed if I don't look like their idea of a romance writer?!?! What exactly DOES a romance writer look like?

Hey, I know what I look like, and there's NOT any resemblance to my beautiful, young heroines. Nor do I look like the media cliches of romance writers. I'm not glamorous, with perfect hair and make-up and I do not own a pink feathered peignoir. That's why, in the days before I had a book cover to post on my profile, I used this picture of my grand-niece Jilly. Yes, it's silly but still adorable, and not unlike yours truly when I was a little kid.

I did go along with the majority on the Casablanca blog and my picture is now on the sidebar. It's the same photo I use on Romance Bandits and my website, so it's not like I've been a recluse that nobody has seen before. And maybe I'm worrying for nothing.

Does anybody even look at author's photos? (I'll admit that I do!) Do YOU? Do you care what your favorite author actually looks like?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Interview with Donna Del Oro

Since this blog is about 'the good, the bad, and the ugly' aspects of the writing life, I decided to start something new: Author Interviews! Maybe some of you would actually like to read about somebody else besides moi! DUH! What a concept!

Anyway, my first victim -- er, um, participant is my good friend and chaptermate, Donna Del Oro, who has published two humorous contemporary romances. BIG THANX Donna for volunteering to answer a few questions! (and if you want to learn more about Donna, just click on the title of this post to go to her website.)

Please tell us about your newest release Hasta La Vista, Baby and how you came up with the idea for the book.

After my sister's divorce, I began thinking about divorce and why women choose certain men as their spouses over other, possibly more worthy, men. This became the premise of HASTA LA VISTA, BABY.

Sonya, an art teacher and talented muralist, is informed by her handsome but lying and cheating husband that he wants a divorce so that he can marry his pregnant (and younger) girlfriend. Sonya goes berserk and chases him around the pool with a BBQ fork. His family separates them, Earl leaves and Sonya collapses with an emotional meltdown. Later, much later, when the fog in her mind lifts, she begins to analyze herself and her choice of men. An artist, she's always turned a blind eye to most things practical and introspective. An obsession with beauty, including gorgeous men, has been her detriment in life. It takes a while and the steadfast friendship of her soon-to-be-ex's younger brother, Scott, before Sonya wakes up and wises up. For her, self-awareness is a painful process but a necessary journey. I was thinking of my sister as I concluded the story.

How long have you been writing? And what inspired you to start writing?

Like most authors, I've been writing since childhood, but I began this serious journey to authorship when I retired from 34 years of high school teaching. I'm afraid writing's a need and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stop. I love good stories and interesting characters, whether in books, movie-celluloid or TV.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about writing?

I love playing God and getting to know my characters and then moving them around in my story like pieces on a chessboard. Most of the time, however, they end up with a life of their own and moving themselves ...and me! I dislike rejections, naturally, and the terrible uncertainty that your last novel might indeed be the last one.

What is next on the horizon for Donna Del Oro?

I'm currently revising an FBI mystery novel, A BODYGUARD OF LIES, and a psychic thriller with a Greek-American hunk who's obsessed with a beautiful psychic and her past. One's with one agent and the other's with another agent. A small publisher wanted to buy the thriller but I turned down the offer. Frankly, I'm holding out for a NY publisher.

Floricanto Press wants me to write a sequel to my first novel, OPERATION FAMILIA, so I might revisit the Hispanic world of Rick Ramos, Dina Salazar and Lisa Luna before long. Being half Hispanic, it's always fun to return to my roots and find humor and satire in this subculture.

You are one busy lady, Donna! Thanks so much for being my first author interviewee and best of luck with all your writing endeavors!

If anyone has more questions for Donna, please ask away as she will be dropping by over the next few days.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Give the Bard His Due!

Recently on one of my loops, someone attributed the quote: "Revenge is a dish best served cold" to the Klingons!

As I sat giggling at my keyboard typing up a funny reply, it suddenly occurred to me that this poster was serious. She had honestly never heard this famous quote from Othello except via Star Trek! Would poor old Will be spinning in his grave or laughing?

Being the huge Shakespeare buff that I am, and knowing his bawdy sense of humor, I rather suspect the latter. He'd probably leave it to the mere mortals like me to be outraged on his behalf that so many people don't recognize his famous words as actually being his.

For example, the very biblical sounding: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" is actually from Hamlet. Yes, there's a lot more in that play besides "To be, or not to be" and "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." In fact, most of the famous quotes from Shakespeare are from Hamlet, whether most people realize it or not.

I fully expected "To be, or not to be" would be his most famous quote, but I looked up the 100 most famous quotes from Shakespeare just now, and number one was from a play I personally like far more than Hamlet. "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Of course that's from Romeo and Juliet. But do people really know that? Given my recent experience, I'm beginning to wonder.

Number 2 is from MacBeth (another favorite play of mine) and was not "Out damn'd spot!" as I expected, but "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,"

My personal favorite quote didn't even make the Top 100: "...some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." This is from my favorite of the comedies, Twelfth Night, and it never fails to get a laugh during a performance. I wonder if the writers of Star Trek ever used it?

What about you? Do you have a favorite Shakespeare quote? I'd love to know what it is, and I'll tell you if it made the Top 100.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Off Again!

Remember back in November when I was dreaming about spending time in the Florida Keyes? Well, looks like I wasn't the only one thinking about sunny Florida. Seems the DH found a good deal on a flight and a rental car...

So by the time you read this, I'll be enroute to Tampa. Of course, the only problem with this trip is that Florida is having the coldest winter in years! Matter of fact, I've been looking up the weather predictions, and the high temps. in central Florida are the SAME as we have been having here. In other words -- BRRR!

There's just something inherently WRONG about packing thermal long johns for a trip to Florida. Can't quite make myself do it... Sure hope I don't have to buy a pair once I get there!

What about you? Ever taken a trip somewhere and it turned out to be not at all what you expected?

Please think WARM thoughts for yer olde Aunty!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Two New Reviews!

YAY! And BIG THANX to Pudgy Penguin Perusals (click on the title of this post to go there) for giving me TWO great reviews in the past couple of weeks!

Here's part of what the reviewer said about The Wild Sight:

"I loved the setting and the budding sensual romance between the two main characters. The mystery of who really is Rylie's father and why he abandoned them. Also liked the lesser characters a lot; Donovan's father Dermot and his sister Doreen. They really add to the plot as Donovan suspects they know more than they are saying about the day Donovan's mother disappeared. There is an element of the paranormal in this book too that really fit into the story in a big way."

And here's part of the review of The Treasures of Venice:

"I loved the setting; rich descriptions transported me right into the scene.
Two concurrently running plot lines centuries apart; one in the present with characters who may be the reincarnation of the characters from 1485 time line.
The intrigue and adventure of the characters', main and minor, dangerous search for the jewels from renaissance Venice."

Surprisingly, she is one a the few who did not like the cover of TToV. I guess the jeans were a little too low-slung, and too much bare chest revealed. Oh well... Luckily we all like different things!

I'm anxiously awaiting the cover for The Wild Irish Sea, which will be released SIX MONTHS FROM TODAY! HURRAY! Considering the current cover trends, I expect the cover will have a bare male torso on it somewhere. LOL!

Do you judge a book by its cover? What kinds of covers are your favorites?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Charming Threes

Thought I'd start the New Year off with a fun little Meme.

This one is from my friend (and former co-worker) Sassy and the answers are all in threes...

What are three names you are called?
  1. Cindy
  2. Aunty Cindy
  3. Loucinda

Three things you did last night?
  1. ate dinner
  2. watched "Castle" on TV (but it was a rerun -- BUMMER!)
  3. checked my email

Three things you are wearing right now?
  1. fuzzy red slippers (birthday present from my son)
  2. pink sox (I know, I know they CLASH with the slippers!)
  3. thermal long johns (Hey! It was cold today.)

Three things you ate today?
  1. chocolate Christmas candy (a tough job but somebody had to do it)
  2. tortilla chips and salsa (from my fave fast food place, Rubio's)
  3. a handful of raw almonds (healthier than those chips)
Three things you want very badly right now?
  1. My cover for The Wild Irish Sea
  2. a new book contract
  3. chocolate
The last three people you talked to on the phone?
  1. My son
  2. My BFF Shirley
  3. My very good friend Kathy

Your three favorite beverages?
  1. Diet Pepsi
  2. Chocolate milk
  3. strawberry margarita
Thanks a bunch for that fun little exercise, Sassy!

Okay, now it's your turn. Answer as many of these questions as you want. Or maybe you have another three things you'd like to know. DO TELL!