Friday, December 21, 2012

Fun Fridays: My It’s-Not-The-End-of-the-World Blog Party! We’re all still here! Let’s celebrate!

First of all, I should note I’m writing and scheduling this post on Dec. 20, 2012, so I suppose there’s a chance it could go up to a completely not-there audience when Friday rolls around in the Eastern time zone. But, I’m fairly optimistic that 12-21-12 is not the end of the world. Yesterday was 12-21-12 in New Zealand, China and Australia, and they survived. What? Would the Mayans really discriminate and save a fiery meteor shower for North Americans? Mexicans?

Snort.

So, if you’re reading this with me on 12-21-12, congratulations! We survived the fake Mayan Apocalypse in a totally non bad-Syfy movie kind of way! Yes! Do a fist pump with me. We can all celebrate a new year next week. Eat ice cream again. Do Snoopy dances. Watch TV. Go to work. (Groaning) Aw, man, I have to go to work Monday. Dang it.

Best of all (for me), there’s still hope my next novel might get published! That right there is all kinds of awesome (for me).

To celebrate the fact we're all, well, still alive, I thought I’d invite you each to leave a comment below and tell me: Now that you’ve survived the end of the world (again), what three things do you most hope to check off your bucket list before the next end-of-the-world scare? It can be serious. It can be funny. I want to hear them all. Let’s celebrate!

While we all ponder this question, here. Have one of these delicious, calorie-free, completely imaginary cupcakes I didn't really bake and help yourself to some imaginary punch while you’re at it. It’s over there in the corner of my imaginary ballroom in my imaginary mansion. Help yourself.

Don't judge. I’m a writer. Eh.

Now, answers.

I'll go first. The three things I'd most like to cross off my bucket list are: 1. Buy a nice house (not an imaginary one). My current living arrangements are pathetic, although I'm very, very, very glad to have a roof over my head. I'd just like a nicer roof. Okay? 2. Teach my cat how to fetch. It'll never happen, I know, but a girl can dream. I'll say it again: Don't judge. 3. Read all of the books on my Kindle. Read 1/4 of the books on my Kindle. Hey, it could happen!

Your turn. Go on. Post below.

I’d also like to announce the winner of my Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop giveaway since we're all still here. Congratulations, Sherry Johnson! Not only did you survive the Mayan Apocalypse, you racked up on my prizes! High five.

Thank you to all of my new followers and friends. I know I'm poking fun at this date, but in all seriousness, let's make a vow as human beings to be more kind to one another. Hug your parents/husband/wife/children/siblings/cat/dog/whatever and be grateful for your blessings. It's been a difficult past few months for most, with unrest in the Middle East, Hurricane Sandy and the Sandy Hook tragedy affecting most of us in one way or another. That's not even mentioning the personal burdens we each might be facing. My philosophy is that sometimes humor can make things a little easier to deal with. I promise I’m not always this goofy (much). I’m just so darn happy to still be alive today, I can’t help but acting a lil silly.

Care to join me?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop 2012


Dusti, my lil furball, is a jolly gal.
That’s right. It’s December again, and time for the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop 2012! First and foremost, I’d like to say Happy Holidays to you from me and my feline companion, Dusti — actually, she just says “Mreow!” which I’m pretty sure means “Hey. I hope Santa is really nice to you this year, and also brings me lots of tuna on his way to your house.”

Anywho, thanks for stopping by my site on your blog tour! I know you’ve got lots of other stops to make along the way, so I’ll keep this simple.

You can enter below to win a $10 gift card to Amazon and a free audiobook copy of my book, CRY WOLF, from Audible.com.

What the heck is CRY WOLF, you ask? Well, to keep you from searching, here's a short blurb.

Andrea Lockhart's job as a reporter for cheesy tabloid The Naked Truth isn't exactly where she thought her journalism career would end up. She's determined to make the best of it, but when her editor sends her to Woodbine, South Carolina, to investigate a werewolf sighting, Andrea decides the ridiculous assignment will be her last. Until she meets Sean Hunter.

The last time she saw Sean, he had just beat her out for the position of editor of their college newspaper, and told her she'd never make it as a reporter. Given his grand ambitions, she's shocked to find him editing the Woodbine Weekly. Once they start competing for leads on the werewolf, Andrea becomes determined to break the story first—she can't let Sean beat her again.

As they each get closer to finding the source of the rumors, the only thing more surprising than the truth are the feelings Sean is able to stir in her, feelings she thought she had left behind... 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



There are lots more prizes to be won! Don't forget to visit the other sites on the tour by clicking the links on the list here: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=211362 or go enter for the main prize of a Kindle Fire here

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fun Friday: (Spoiler-free) review of "Breaking Dawn Part 2"

I'm taking a break today from my usual Q&A to do something a little different, okay, maybe a little bit wacky, but it won't surprise anyone who really knows me. First of all, I love movies. No, not love. I LOVE movies with all caps and < 3 symbols and anything else you can toss in there. I go all the time. It's neck and neck with reading for my favorite past-time. Second, (takes deep breath and steels nerves), I'm a Twi-hard. Yep. One of "those people." And today is a bittersweet day for me as "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" opens in theaters and closes the book on this movie franchise...or does it?

I'll get to my review of "Breaking Dawn Part 2" in a few. First, let me reminisce a little. Shut up. It's my blog. I can do what I want.

Four years ago, I walked into a movie I had heard started as a YA book (which my then-teenage niece's BFF had already told me I had to read because it was soooooo good) without knowing anything about it except it had Kristen Stewart in it and I thought she was a good up-and-coming young indie actress. And one of my good friends had already seen it...seen it again...seen it again...and was going back to see it AGAIN that weekend — all within its first week of opening. I walked out of the movie theater a fan, cheesy camera angles and over-dramatic angst and all. So I read the book. I read all four books within a month. I don't know how it happened, but suddenly I was among a legion of fans being called Twi-hards. I even went to a Twilight convention with my niece where I met Ashley Greene (Alice), Kellan Lutz (Emmett), Peter Facinelli (Carlisle) and Billy Burke (Charlie) and a bunch of minor players too. I've been to every midnight opening since "New Moon." Bought the t-shirts, magazines and even have a mini Edward poster hanging in my cubicle at work. Me, a 30-something woman with no kids. Yes, I know. Embarrassing.

I've gone from being the "cool aunt who likes Twilight" to being "that lame aunt who still likes Twilight." Weathered the Harry Potter-Twilight battles online. Been ridiculed by my best friend who just doesn't get it. I can relate to everything author Jeffe Kennedy wrote in a blog post earlier this year about why she hates to admit she likes that book — and it's not for the reasons you'd think. Preach, Jeffe. Preach!

Through it all, I continued to wave my freak flag proud and say, yes, I am and probably always will be a Twi-hard.

Which brings me to my review of the last movie in this series.

I was fortunate to get a press invite to a preview screening for Wednesday before it came out in theaters. Oh, yes, I was beside myself. Pretending professionalism that day was difficult for me. "Breaking Dawn" was probably my favorite book in the entire series because it was full of all kinds of weirdness, and weirdness is my forte. Half-vampire babies. An excess of vampire clans with superhero-like powers. I ate it up, even when many fans said, whoa, even that stuff is too weird for me.

"Breaking Dawn Part 2" picks up where "Breaking Dawn Part 1" leaves off. Bella opens her eyes and is a vampire. No shocker there for fans of the book. And really, the rest of the story is surprisingly faithful to the source material. Director Bill Condon did a great job in that regard and is probably my favorite director of this series by far. The Voltorri learns of Renesme's existence, mistakes her for an immortal child, and head for Forks to destroy the entire Cullen clan. Carlisle calls upon his many vampire friends to come and witness the confrontation in hopes it will cause The Voltorri to hear them out.

What I liked most about this movie was that it intentionally seemed to poke fun at itself more than once, and the rabid fans I saw it with were amused by that. Kristen Stewart — and I know a lot of people don’t like the girl, especially now — does her best job in this one by far. She actually smiles. She kicks ass as a vampire, y’all. She really does. I hope fans will at least give her props for that.

The cons: The special effects have not improved. Despite billions in profit, the filmmakers skimped on special effects again, and yes, even I groaned — a lot — in this one. Especially with the baby. You’d think they would have just used a real baby, but nope, Renesme was a creepy CGI-robot-baby-real-baby hybrid. C-R-E-E-P-Y. I could hardly stand to look at her in some scenes.

And finally, let’s talk about the “shocking” ending the cast has hinted at for weeks. Yes, it has been changed from the book. Yes, I was in complete and utter shock when I saw it. And not in a good way either. I was sitting there thinking, "I did NOT expect them to go there. At all. Ever. Wow!" But it was a genius move (in my opinion) because no one in the theater I saw it with — all fans, I'm sure — expected that ending if the loud reaction was any indication. I won’t tell you what happens — sorry if you’ve already heard what it is, because seriously, being surprised by a Twilight movie like I was in those moments is a bit of a novelty, I will admit.

Can I give a quick shout-out to Bill Condon who gave us some amazing closing credits that caused this fan to tear up as he paid tribute to the book by overlaying pages and passages from it over the credits and scenes from the movies — all five of them.

Is this the best Twilight movie? I think it might be, but I'm weird, so you'll have to see it and make your own decision. I’m still partial to the first one, as cheesy as it might sound. The first one started it all for me.

I’ll miss you Twilight. But I won’t miss the ridicule I get from haters who don’t respect that everyone has their something. Twilight just happens to be mine.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fun Friday Q&A with sci-fi author J.L. Hilton

I've never made a secret of what a geek I am, so it should be no surprise I'm giddy over my guest today - sc-fi author J.L. Hilton! In case you don't know (and why don't you?!), J.L. Hilton is the author of the Stellarnet Series published by Carina Press, including Stellarnet Rebel (January 2012) and Stellarnet Prince (November 2012), and a regular contributor to the Contact-Infinite Futures SF/SFR blog. Her artwork is featured in the books Steampunk Style Jewelry and 1000 Steampunk Creations.

STELLARNET PRINCE:  
Her alien lovers call her J’ni, the sacred flower of their world. The Glin call her Truth Teller, one of the magical human travelers from beyond the sky ocean. But humanity calls her Genevieve O’Riordan, interstellar blogger, Net celebrity and sometimes “unnatural whore.” 
When J’ni brings her husband Belloc and her soulmate — rebel gunrunner turned ambassador — Duin from Asteria Colony to Earth, they are met with millions of adoring followers and vicious anti-alien attacks. Meanwhile, thieves, kidnappers, sex traffickers and the U.S. military rush to exploit their home world. Without weapons or communications technology, the Glin cannot defend themselves. 
Duin discovers the real reason behind the Tikati invasion, but he can’t tell anyone, not even those he loves most. Belloc’s true identity threatens to fracture the Freedom Council and propel Glin into civil war. And J’ni must deal with the high cost of fame and loyalty in STELLARNET PRINCE by J.L. Hilton, the second book in the Stellarnet Series published by Carina Press.

J.L.'s newest book in the Stellarnet series, Stellarnet Prince, releases Monday, so I invited J.L. to chat with me about her series, Firefly (yes, the Joss-Whedon-Nathan-Fillion-treasure Firefly!) and jewelry.

Angela:
Welcome to my blog, J.L.! I'm a big sci-fi geek and loved Stellarnet Rebel — it was so unique and more emotional and, dare I say it, political than I expected. The world-building you did in it was quite incredible. Book 2 in the series is out next week, and I can't wait to read it. Where did the idea for this series come from?

J.L.: Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. This series began when I had a dream of Genny and Duin meeting in the middle of the Asteria Colony market. I woke up, wrote the scene, and the rest just seemed to exist, fully formed in my brain meat. Exactly how that happened is still a mystery to me. At the time, there were several things stewing in my subconscious. I was (re)watching Babylon 5, discovering North and South, listening to Les Miserables and Irish folk music, viewing the first season of the BBC's Robin Hood, spending a lot of time in Playstation Home and playing video games. That same year, 2009, I was also a global sponsor of Can't Stop the Serenity for which I designed and donated 60 handmade pairs of Browncoat earrings, to help raise money for Equality Now and other charities. So, Firefly was on my mind, too.

Angela
: (Squeals) Firefly! oh my gosh, I love Firefly! And Capt. Mal. Mmm. Yummy Capt. Mal. (Composes self). I'm sorry, What were we talking about? Oh, right. I love that your subconscious  drew inspiration from so many different and varied sources. For those who haven't read Stellarnet Rebel, can they read Stellarnet Prince as a standalone, or will they be completely lost without knowledge of the first book?

J.L: I think Stellarnet Prince could be enjoyed alone. I tried to provide enough context that there wouldn't be any “huh?” moments for first-time readers. But I recommend both, for the best experience. There are several twists and turns in the first book. If they were read out of order, you'd have all the spoilers.

Plus, the characters grow and change, and I think that process is interesting to watch. The story grows and changes, too. Stellarnet Rebel is about a few people in a space colony who are caught up in circumstances larger than themselves. Stellarnet Prince introduces several new characters and expands in scope. Though the heart of the story is still Genny, Duin and Belloc, and how love and friendship survive through difficult circumstances, they are no longer powerless but have to deal with the power they have as celebrities and political figures.

Angela: The first book dealt with a — I don't know how to describe it without giving too many details away other than to say it's a sort of complicated love triangle between Genny, Duin and Belloc. Does that continue in Stellarnet Prince? (For the record, I liked Duin, but I'm Team Belloc all the way).

J.L.: The complicated love triangle continues, and it's an important aspect of the sequel. I'm trying to think of things to say about that without being spoilery... The two males in the story are aliens, so they have a different outlook on love and relationships than we do. They come from a different cultural and religious background than anything on Earth. Which is what makes it interesting. But given their individual histories (which you know from reading Rebel), there's a lot of personal conflict between them.

Angela: I should point out that while your first book does have a romantic element, it's mostly a sci-fi read. There was also some humor that I loved. Is that true of Stellarnet Prince?

J.L.: What were some of your favorite moments from Stellarnet Rebel? I'm always curious.

Angela: Without being spoilery, I loved the avatars for Ginny's friends in the beginning, especially Nik (or Neek), Hax (one of your characters) was fun to read, and I thought some of the Asteria regulations were a bit humorous (and a little terrifying) as well as some of the information Genny looked up on the Asternet.

J.L.: There are moments that made me laugh (and cry) while writing, but rarely are they the same moments that readers find funny (or sad).

I aimed for a similar balance of action/adventure, technology, character development and humor in Prince, and it's a combination I will attempt to carry through the third and any subsequent books. “World building” is the term I often hear from reviewers, and there's even more of it this time around. We're not just on Asteria, we're on Earth in the year 2062 (and Mars, for a chapter), and we spend more time on Glin, Duin and Belloc's home world. There are also several glimpses into Tikati culture and physiology.

Hax and his other Haxes are still their crazy selves. Blaze spouts his weird colonel-isms. Duin is... Duin. Genny has her sarcasm and Belloc his wry, subtle wit. You will meet some new folks who are a hoot. Stellarnet Prince is funny, but the plot thickens and I think it overshadows the humor. A little bit. You'll have to let me know what you think, when you read it.

Angela: I'm a pretty big fan of your heroine, Genny, because she's kind of the futuristic equivalent of Nellie Bly. Did you draw inspiration for her from anyone in particular?

J.L.: As I mentioned, there were a lot of things in my subconscious when I first dreamed of Genny and Duin. I think Genny was a bit of Margaret Hale/Daniela Denby-Ashe from North and South, and a bit of Marion/Lucy Griffiths in the early episodes of Robin Hood. Marion was a brave defender of the downtrodden and a kickass heroine – just don't get me started on what a lame tart she turned into later in the series. She didn't deserve the black guyliner tears Gisborne cried for her, but I digress...

This might sound weird, but I also think Genny comes a bit from Natalie on the TV show Monk. I've always loved Natalie – she has a way of being assertive, sassy, capable and intelligent but also loving, compassionate, balanced and kind. She's a gentle soul, but not a pushover. Strong, but not obnoxious. Like Genny.

I think she's a little bit like Rose (and Duin is like the Ninth Doctor), but I didn't watch that season of Doctor Who until after I'd written most of Rebel, so they weren't really based on those characters. They're just coincidentally a lot like.

Angela: Are there any more books planned in this series?

J.L.: I'm working on Book Three right now. I've thought about doing prequel novellas. I could tell the story of Genny's stay on the space station Perspective, when she met Seth. Or how the people of Duin's river captured the Tikati ship, and how Duin learned to fly it and to speak English before coming to Asteria. Or Belloc's childhood, and how he and his mother ended up on the Tikati prison ship. I'd love to tell the story of how Hax became the head of the Tech Center and built his leet lair. I could write a whole other series about Hax.

Angela: Let’s get to know J.L. Hilton, the person. Are you a member of any TV show/movie/book fandoms?

J.L.: I have a pile of stuff I love, like IT Crowd, Babylon 5, LOTR, John Dies at the End, Sherlock (original books and new BBC series) and Star Trek TNG and DS9. But I identify myself as a Browncoat and a Yognau(gh)t – I'm a huge fan of Firefly and Yogscast. I'm also a big supporter of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment and Glitch, Journeyquest and the Gamers series.

Angela: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

J.L.: It might not be much of a surprise after my current blog tour, but I'm also a jewelry designer and a tarot card reader. And I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. For some reason, that seems to surprise people. lol

Angela: I'd like to thank J.L. for taking time out to chat with me today. She's also giving away some goodies I'd encourage you to enter to win at the following link or link below: http://jlhilton.com/giveaways/


You can also visit her at JLHilton.com or follow her on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and deviantART.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Revise. Revise again. Hmm. I wonder if I should change that too?


All right. All right, already! You've twisted my arm. I’ll come clean and admit my romantic suspense manuscript, tentatively titled On The Scent, was rejected by Carina Press. Such is the life of a writer. And while I'm disappointed Carina won't be publishing the book (because I love Carina — I really, really do), I'm very fortunate that I received some invaluable feedback from the incredibly kind editor to whom I submitted. We all know that NEVER happens in the land of form rejection letters.

So I've been letting the book and the revision suggestions settle while I decide how to proceed. Should I go buy a bottle of hard liquor, drink half of it to drown my sorrows and use the other half to start a bonfire with the pages in a sort of farewell-to-this-manuscript-forever cremation service? Tempting, but I don't drink. And, okay, I don't really know how to safely start a bonfire either. I did give serious consideration to shredding the manuscript and using it as kitty litter for Dusti. Perhaps it would be fitting to do so (because a cat is a character in the book), but nah. I've decided the best option is to go back to the darn thing and see what I can do with it, because the truth is, I know it's missing something in the story to make it special. And I'm also a stubborn sonofagun who refuses to accept defeat. And for all of its minor faults, I also love the story!

Mainly, I know I don't want to abandon the story because I'm 10 chapters into its sequel, The Psychic Detectives Book 2, and I really, really love Book 2's story, too. Problem is, Book 2 depends heavily on a plot point set up in the rejected The Psychic Detectives Book 1. And I've decided I'm too lazy to rework Book 2 to make it a standalone. I understand now why people say not to write Book 2 until you know the publisher wants Book 1 in a series. Meh. So what? Did I mention how much I'm loving Book 2?

I've put Book 2 on hold for a while and have started revising Book 1 in earnest. In some ways, I'm embarrassed I sent the thing out to begin with. I think I fell victim to wanting to be published again before my first book gets pulled from cyber shelves. Okay, okay, I'll come clean and admit something else. I've actually written two full books since Cry Wolf was published one year ago. But I never sent the first one, tentatively titled The Hybrid, to Carina Press because my gut told me it wasn't right for that publisher. That book did get rejected by another publisher (in my defense, I ambitiously sent it to a biggie), so I set it aside, too. I plan to dig into it in the near future and whip that sucker into shape, but first, I'm concentrating on the rejected The Psychic Detectives Book 1 so I can get back to and finish Book 2.

Book 1. Book 2. Other Book 1. I just realized I sound like a crazy person, don't I? Kudos to you if you made sense of that jumble!

To motivate myself, I even announced to the universe the basic synopsis for all my works in progress on my website. Universe, please don't steal my ideas before I can publish them. That would make me cry. Seriously. Thank you.

Now I'd better run. I've got some plot points to revise. And revise again.

I need to stop procrastinating.

Wish me luck.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fun Friday Q&A: author Susanna Fraser

Feel that November chill in the air? Love historical romances? Good news. My guest today can help warm you up with a hot read this weekend. Today I'd like to welcome author Susanna Fraser to chat about her books, England, and (because I can't help myself) superpowers!

But first, a little about Susanna's newest release, An Infamous Marriage from Carina Press:
Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.

Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he's back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…

Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife's love may be the greatest battle he's faced yet.
Susanna Fraser

Angela: Welcome to my blog, Susanna! I have to admit, I don’t read a lot of historicals, so A Marriage of Inconvenience was the first I’ve read in a very long time, and I absolutely loved it! I’ve got The Sergeant’s Lady in my TBR pile, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading An Infamous Marriage soon. (I mean, wow, check out that cover!) For those of us who are just discovering your work, is there any relation between these books, or is it OK to read them individually?

Susanna: Thanks for having me here, Angela! This is my first stop on a month-long blog tour, and I’m excited that An Infamous Marriage is finally about to be released.

I’m so glad you enjoyed A Marriage of Inconvenience. It’s a prequel to my first release, The Sergeant’s Lady. James, the hero of AMOI, is the brother of Anna, the heroine of TSL. I think they can be read in either order. Technically the books “spoil” each other--AMOI has an epilogue years after both books, and James and Lucy appear in TSL--but to me, in a romance the surprise isn’t that the couple gets a happy ending, but what happens on the journey.

An Infamous Marriage doesn’t have any significant links with the two previous books, though the Major Matheson whom Elizabeth meets in the Waterloo section of the story is the same man as Captain Matheson from The Sergeant’s Lady. I want to give him a leading role eventually, but I don’t know what his story is yet.

Angela: Tell us about An Infamous Marriage: Where did the idea for it come from?

Susanna: I’d never written a rakish hero before, so it was something of a challenge I set for myself to write not just a womanizing hero but an adulterous one, and then try to redeem him in a way that I, the heroine, and hopefully readers would find believable. (The adultery takes place during a long separation and before the marriage is consummated, so the heroine’s anger isn’t so much over the fact of it, but more that it was flagrant and led to gossip that made her an object of pity and mockery.)

Angela: I see from your bio that you worked in England for a year. Yes, I’m jealous, and yes, I want details. What great discoveries did you make in your research while there that has made its way into your books? What’s your favorite memory of England?

Susanna: I wasn’t yet writing seriously then, so I didn’t do any Regency-specific research, unfortunately. That said, I think living in another country gave me a broader perspective on the world and a greater ability to put myself in others’ shoes that I hope comes through in my books.

I have two favorite memories of England. The first was spending a day in Avebury, the village that’s inside a stone circle. There are no barriers between you and the stones--you can walk all around them and touch them as much as you want, and you’re standing there in the middle of 5000 years, all that history, all in one spot. In the village itself there’s a mostly Norman church that still shows remnants of the original Saxon structure. It’s a beautiful space, ancient and sacred...but then you walk back out into the circle and remember it’s four or five times older than the oldest part of the church!

My other favorite memory is of a date with my now-husband. He’s American, too, but we met in England, since we were part of the same volunteer program. We used to go spend the day in London whenever we could. Being young and in love and roaming London was heaven all by itself, but our best date was when we got tickets to the reconstruction of the Globe Theatre to see The Merchant of Venice as “groundlings” in the standing room only section. In a very different way from my day in Avebury, it was a chance to stretch out my hand and touch the past.

Angela: Let’s get to know Susanna, the person. Are you a member of any TV show/movie/book fandoms?

Susanna: I never miss an episode of Legend of Korra, Castle or Chopped, though these days I’m not a huge participant in online fandom. In the past I’ve been active in Buffy/Jossverse fandom, and going really far back I used to be active on a Lois & Clark USENET group.

Angela: We could totally be BFFs with that list of fandoms. :) Hobbies?

Susanna: I love to cook, and to keep myself challenged I randomly select one of my cookbooks each week and try a new recipe. I also love to sing, and though currently the day job and my writing commitments keep me too busy to be in a choir, during the holidays I try to track down at least one sing-along of Handel’s Messiah to join.

Angela: If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would it be and why?

Susanna: Harriet Vane from Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, albeit only from Gaudy Night onward. Lord Peter always comes out somewhere in the top five on my fictional character free pass list (I also have a time travel free pass list, because you never know), so naturally I’d leap at the chance to have his devotion and wit focused on me.

Angela: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Susanna: Despite living in Seattle, I never drink coffee--can’t stand the bitter taste.

Angela: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Susanna: I think I’d be a powerful waterbender, like Katara on Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Angela: You also mentioned you have a treat for readers?

Susanna: I’ll be giving one copy of An Infamous Marriage to a commenter on this post in your choice of e-book format, and at the end of my blog tour, I'll be giving away a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell's Books to one commenter on my blog tour as a whole. You get one entry per blog tour stop you comment upon, so check out my blog for the whole schedule! If you wish to be entered in the drawing, include your email address formatted as yourname AT yourhost DOT com.

I’ll also stop by and try to respond to all comments, but since I live on the West Coast and have an 8-5 day job, I won’t be able to check in till my evening.

Angela: You heard the woman. Start commenting! Thank you, Susanna, for being my guest today and for the generous giveaway. An Infamous Marriage releases Monday, so be sure to buy your copy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy birthday, CRY WOLF!

One year ago today, CRY WOLF was published by Carina Press, and I thought I would celebrate by reminiscing about my writing process. To all who have read it, thank you. To those who haven't yet, I hope you'll give it a try! Let's throw confetti around. Grab some imaginary cake and pull up a chair. CRY WOLF only officially turns 1 once!

Some fun facts about CRY WOLF:

• The story of CRY WOLF was inspired by the Beast of Bray Road — a real urban legend (or a real monster? Hmmm…) in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Eyewitnesses began reporting sightings of a werewolf-like creature in the 1980s, and sightings continue until this day. Being a diehard fan of “The X-Files,” these sightings took root in my mind and led to all kinds of fun ideas. Books have been written about the creature, and a really bad B-movie called “The Beast of Bray Road” took the case in a new and very exploitatively weird direction. Now, I like bad movies, but this movie was just bad. Which leads me to...

• CRY WOLF was originally set in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and Andrea and Sean were investigating the Beast of Bray Road. When I walked into my local Blockbuster one day in 2005 and spotted the DVD cover for “The Beast of Bray Road,” I grasped it off the shelf, hurried home to watch it (an hour and a half of my life I’ll never get back), and fell into a deep depression for about a week because my manuscript was finished and I was afraid people would associate and prematurely judge my story based on the movie — despite the fact the stories were nothing alike. This prompted a major rewrite, in which I set the story in the fictional town of Woodbine, S.C. instead. 

• I chose the town’s name Woodbine when I saw a sign for a city with that name while driving from Florida to Georgia. I wanted a town that started with “W” in order to create a moniker that alliterated with Werewolf. Thus, the Woodbine Werewolf was born. 

• The original manuscript for CRY WOLF was titled CRYPTID and was a straight-up horror novel. The romance between Sean and Andrea was very lowkey — in fact, they never once kissed! A response from an agent’s assistant provided me with the feedback that she really liked my story and my writing voice, but horror was a tough genre to sell. She said I had a great voice for romance, she loved the idea of Sean and Andrea as the focal point, and she advised taking the manuscript in that direction, as paranormal romances were very hot at the time. As an avid romance reader, I took this info as positive feedback and ran with it. The rest, as they say, is history.


• I don’t typically write my stories with actors in mind for the parts, but being the movie and television fanatic I am, inevitably I realize afterward that certain actors have provided inspiration for the way my characters look or act. With CRY WOLF, my inspirations are quite obvious, now that I think about it. Actors Sean Patrick Flanery and Jensen Ackles both inspired the character of Sean. See, I even chose Sean’s name for a reason! I've been a huge SPF fan since I first saw "Powder," and I’d watched SPF’s movies “Lone Hero” and “The Boondock Saints” more than a few times each the summer I was finishing my story. I was also obsessed with Jensen’s character Alec on “Dark Angel” at the time I was writing CRY WOLF. Yes, this was pre-“Supernatural” days. Another fun fact: Sean and Jensen later starred together in the awesome indie flick "Ten Inch Hero." I've also been fortunate enough to meet both Jensen Ackles (when he was on "Days of Our Lives" - yes, I've been obsessed with him for quite a long time) and Sean Patrick Flanery (at Dragoncon 2011). I almost told Sean that he had inspired the character in my then-soon-to-be-released book, but instead, I turned into a blabbering idiot and could barely pronounce my name. He was nice enough not to make fun of me. Sigh. Plus, SPF is so awesome, he also responded to my tweet once! Look, I have proof!



Actresses Emily Blunt and Erica Durance each inspired the character of Andrea. When I was finishing the first draft of CRY WOLF, it was the same year Erica joined “Smallville” as Lois Lane. During rewrites I had just seen Emily’s performance in “Wind Chill” and found myself giving Andrea some of the same personality traits as Emily’s character in that film. Another (yes, another) fun fact? Jensen Ackles and Erica Durance starred on "Smallville" together for a season before Jensen left to do "Supernatural." Now, if we could just arrange for Emily to make a movie with Erica, Sean or Jensen, I could start a new game: six degrees of CRY WOLF. Hmmm.


• The book was set around Halloween because it’s my favorite holiday, second only to Christmas, of course! I have many fond memories of watching old black-and-white “creature features” with my dad around Halloween when I was a wee lass. Yeah, that probably inspired me to write CRY WOLF, too. Obviously, I'm a very weird individual.

• I've probably written a total of five different drafts of CRY WOLF over the years. It was rejected more than 30 times before Carina Press decided to give it a shot. I'm living proof that persistence and determination can pay off.

AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST:

• The most common questions I get asked by email are “Is Reed going to get his own book?” and “Are Meg and Trey going to get their own book?” The answer to each is, yes, hopefully. I have plans to go there. With more monsters, too!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fun Fridays: Q&A with audiobook narrator Elizabeth Wiley!

Today I have a very special guest on my blog to help celebrate the upcoming 1-year birthday of CRY WOLF - none other than Elizabeth Wiley, CRY WOLF's audiobook narrator! I have to admit: I love audiobooks and was thrilled when Audible and Carina Press released an audiobook version of my book! I also freely admit to being a Nervous Nelly before hearing it, worried how the narrator would sound, but Elizabeth's narration quickly put me at ease. I'm honored Elizabeth found time in her busy schedule to chat with me.
Elizabeth Wiley
Elizabeth Wiley is a voiceover artist, seasoned actor, dialect coach, and theatre professor at the College of William & Mary. Elizabeth has brought to life numerous women from history in The Idea of America, Colonial Williamsburg/Pearson’s virtual learning curriculum; she gives voice to Lady Macbeth in Paul Meier’s eTextbook Speaking Shakespeare, and her voice travels the world, modeling US-English on Rosetta Stone e-learning products. She believes that her 25-plus-year journey in the performing arts was all along leading to audiobook narration, now her passion and focus! Check out her website at www.alwayswiley.com.

Angela: First of all, I just want to thank you for the amazing job you did narrating CRY WOLF for Audible. I’ve had a subscription to Audible for years and, in my opinion, you’re one of the best narrators I’ve heard on the site. I consider myself to be very lucky to have snagged you. It seems CRY WOLF was your first narrating job for Audible? How did you get the job?

Elizabeth: Thank you, Angela - that's pretty high praise! I'm so glad you liked what I did with your creation. It's my responsibility to serve the writer and her work. I try to pay heed to every clue an author gives me about the characters and their world, and then to tell the story from the inside, riding out the experience with the characters, through their eyes.

Cry Wolf was not only my first gig for Audible, but my first audiobook! (I think that's pretty cool that you and I had our "firsts" together.) How did I get into it? A few years back, Scott Brick hosted a "Share The Experience" Contest for aspiring narrators. At the time, I was expanding into voiceover work and really wanted to get into audiobook narration. I entered the contest with a passage from A Hatful of Sky, a YA novel by Terry Pratchett, and ended up tying for third place. Scott's judges were a good handful of the top audiobook producer/publishers that he's worked with, so that was a fabulous boost. I then registered for one of Pat Fraley's "Billion Dollar Read" audiobook workshops - this one was in New York, and Pat had Scott Brick and Katy Kellgren teaching with him. Best investment. So worth it. And then, it's all about pounding the virtual pavement, sending demos, following through on connections, and being gently persistent. I am so grateful to Mike Charzuk at Audible for giving me my first gig (yours!).

Angela: What is the process for narrating a book? For example, do you have to read it beforehand numerous times before you get to the studio or do you go into the studio and just start reading? (If you had to read CRY WOLF numerous times, I’m very, very sorry.)

Elizabeth: (LOL!) I would dread going into the studio cold, without reading the book first. You can be sure that about two-thirds of the way through, you'd find out something essential about a character's speech or tone that you hadn't incorporated up to that point. My preparation is to read a book once through thoroughly, annotating as I go. So that research means: making character notes, looking up pronunciations when needed, finding references for places, names, colloquialisms or expressions that I may need to clarify, etc. Oh - and highlighting all the characters using different colors. My first two books I used paper copies, but now I read off my iPad and use an annotation App, which not only makes for silent page turning, but is very green!

Angela: Here’s a CRY WOLF-specific question in honor of the book's sort-of birthday. Do you remember: Which character in CRY WOLF was your favorite to find a voice for? (FYI: I loved your representation of Charlie, the animal control officer :).

Elizabeth: Yes, I'll admit Charlie was fun. I relish voicing the characters who are 'characters' - because of age, or dialect, or quirkiness. It was a good challenge to try to find the dialect or degree of southern for your characters, based on their background and life experience. I love that.

Angela: How long does it take, on average, to record an audiobook?

Elizabeth: Well, I recorded Cry Wolf at Audible's studios in Newark with an engineer, so that 9-hour book took three days to record, 6 hours a day. That's the ideal. Mostly, though, since I live in Williamsburg, Virginia, I am recording from my home studio and sending the sound files to the audiobook publisher for proofing and mastering. That takes a lot longer, since I am being my own engineer, doing the initial edits myself, and so on. And I am NOT an audio engineer! It's been a steep learning curve, and I am learning more every day, but still a long way from that 2:1 ratio (2 hours in the studio per 1 finished hour of audiobook). It probably takes me more like ten days to do a book from my studio. But hey, you always gotta have something to work toward, right?

Angela: What’s the hardest part of narrating a story?

Elizabeth: The editing! In addition to the technical challenges, I find that I get overly nit-picky in editing my own work.

Angela: You’re listed for several audiobooks on Audible now, so it seems you’ve gained a good bit of experience doing it. What advice would you give to anyone interested in reading books for Audible?

Elizabeth: If you already have acting experience and training, great. If not, that's where you need to start. Do a lot of listening to a variety of narrators -- that's a big part of your research, as you hear what works and discover your own preferences. Practice reading aloud for extended periods of time. If you've read aloud numerous book series to your kids, then good on ya! Take a workshop from a well-reputed coach. As I mentioned, Pat Fraley is terrific, and there are others out there too. That's where you begin to build a network of people in the business - other narrators, coaches, authors, publishers, producers. Go to the annual Audiobook Publishers Association Conference where you can attend valuable sessions and meet other folks in the business. Join online discussion groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, for example. I could go on and on, but that's good for a start, eh?

Angela: Let’s get to know Elizabeth, the person. I know you’ve done a lot of acting throughout the years. What’s been your favorite acting experience?

Elizabeth: I've been acting and teaching acting and voice at the college level for more years than I care to admit! My performing experience ranges from musical theatre to Shakespeare and everything in between. But I can pinpoint two shows that were the most gratifying for me, and they both were 3-person plays. One was Harold Pinter's Old Times, which I did at the Jungle Theatre in Minneapolis, and the other was a production of Copenhagen by Michael Frayn that was produced here in Virginia. Both are very intense plays with complicated relationships and deliciously intriguing stories. The kind of plays where audience members needed to go have a drink afterward so they could continue to wrestle with what they had just seen.

Angela: What types of books do you like to read?

Elizabeth: I have been fortunate in that I've really enjoyed all the books I've narrated. I do tend to lean toward historical fiction, though, given the choice.

Angela: What’s the last great book you read that you’d recommend?

Elizabeth: Lately I'm so busy with narrating (happily) that all my reading/listening for pleasure occurs while I'm driving or working out. I always have an audiobook going! (Currently listening to Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, narrated by Eduardo Ballerini.) When I think of hard copy books I've read relatively recently, Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell -- a mystery that toys with the question of Shakespearean authorship, jumping back and forth from 1613 to 2004 -- really appealed to the actor and professor in me.

Angela: What’s your favorite movie?

Elizabeth: This marvelous little gem of a French film made in 1966 - The King of Hearts (Le Roi de Cœur).

Angela: Hobbies?

Elizabeth: I love making music. I am often discovered humming without even realizing I'm doing it. It drives my family crazy. ("Are you really singing K's cell phone ring tone?") But I did make a music CD a few years ago to satisfy that itch. The CD is called Voice of the Goddess and features 4 female singer/songwriters. If blog readers feel so inclined to look it up on iTunes, check out my rendition of "Witches' Reel," a haunting chant from 16th century Scotland. Perfect for this time of year!

Angela: Elizabeth, you are an awesomely talented and well-rounded person. Thank you again for agreeing to be my guest today!

Elizabeth: Thanks so much for asking me to be a guest on your blog, Angela. Happy Birthday to Cry Wolf and congrats!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Friday Q&A: Reed Coleman of CRY WOLF!

I’ve been totally remiss in posting Q&As to my blog, especially in October because — can you believe it? — CRY WOLF was published almost 1 year ago on Oct. 31, 2011. Wow! Time flies.


In honor of CRY WOLF’s birthday (of sorts), I thought I’d devote the rest of October’s Fun Fridays to the book, leading up to a special post on Halloween. Next week I hope to have a fun and special guest participating, but this week, I thought it would be neat — and slightly schitzo — to interview one of the characters I created. Nope. I didn't choose either of the two main characters. I thought it would be fun to get feedback from Reed Coleman, a character I have probably gotten the most emails about regarding this book. That said, let me pull up my chair to his imaginary one and grill the kid.

Angela: Welcome to my blog, Reed. I’m glad to be sort of talking to you, even if it’s only in my head, which means I should probably be on medication, but still. For those who don’t know you — and shame on them — let’s give a brief bio. You work part-time after high school for my book’s hero, Sean Hunter, at the local newspaper. You’re thinking about going into journalism as a career. When Andrea Lockhart comes to Woodbine, S.C., to search for the town’s rumored werewolf for a Halloween article she's writing, you are excited to assist her investigation and become her enamored sidekick.

Reed: Yeah, Andrea’s totally awesome. She hires me to help her get photos for the magazine she writes for. I think she realizes my family could really use the money.

Angela: It’s a tabloid magazine, kind of along the lines of the National Enquirer. Doesn’t that bother you?

Reed: Of course not! I love to read it. It’s very entertaining. And Andrea is a very good reporter. She went to college with Sean. They’re the best journalists I know. Besides, she’s the coolest thing to happen to Woodbine in ages. It gets kind of boring around here.

Angela: Andrea describes you as looking like a young Jake Gyllenhaal with glasses, but with plenty of potential for future studliness.

Reed: (Blushing) Uh, thanks. She’s pretty hot herself.

Angela: Here’s a fun fact. I think Jake Gyllenhaal is kind of nerdy. Seriously, I don’t think he’s all that attractive, but my niece thinks he’s one of the hottest guys on the planet. I threw in that description of you as a shout-out to her. She really likes you now.

Reed: Is she single?

Angela: I can't even comprehend the idea of my 22-year-old niece dating a character inside my head. Yeah, that's one for Jerry Springer. But you’ve made one or two fans from my readers. You know, I’ve gotten emails from people asking if you’ll get your own book. What do you think about that?

Reed: Awesome! Let’s do it!

Angela: I thought I’d give you enough time to outgrow your awkwardness, grow up a little, and grow into that stud Andrea figured you’d become. Tell me about your ideal woman.

Reed: Andrea is pretty awesome. I could go for someone like her.

Angela: She’s old enough to be your…older sister.

Reed: So?

Angela: Okay, tell me this. Are you still interested in journalism as a career?

Reed: Maybe, but I really think I want to go into cryptozoology. I think there are a lot of mysterious creatures out there waiting to be discovered.

Angela: You’ve already dealt with werewolves. What other creatures do you want to find?

Reed: Bigfoot! And lake monsters. I really hope to go to Loch Ness someday and search for Nessie. That would be cool!

Angela: I like Nessie, too. Maybe we could do something with that.

Reed: Can Andrea come?

Angela: No, Andrea is too old for you, and she’s taken. Well, maybe she could come. For a few scenes. Maybe. And Sean, too.

Reed: That would be so awesome! Let’s do it. Scotland, here we come!

Angela: Whoa, kid. Calm down. You’ve still got a little growing up to do. And I can’t afford airfare to Scotland yet. I’m still a struggling writer.

Reed: (Ignoring the point) There might be some other cryptids we could search for — the Jersey Devil, zombies, the Mongolian Death Worm. We could travel all over the world!

Angela: You’ve put a lot of thought into this. Or I have. But mainly you.

Reed: There were a lot of animals thought to be myths before they were discovered. The kangaroo, platypus, pandas, okapi and the giant squid, to name a few— 

Angela: That's more than a few. And did you say Mongolian Death Worm earlier? What the—?

Reed: We just need someone willing to take the time to search for them and prove whether they exist or not! I could totally be that person.

Angela: Tell that to the cast of Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet. I love that show, but they never find anything. Ever.

Reed: It just takes time, that’s all.

Angela: We’ll leave it at that, and I’ll thank you for taking time to talk to me again. It’s been a while since we’ve chatted. You’re a good kid.

Reed: OK, but don’t forget about Scotland. Or we could go somewhere else. Or we could stay in Woodbine, because there are still rumors of a werewolf. Sightings still persist to this day.

Angela: Good to know, kid. Good to know.

CRY WOLF makes a fun Halloween read and is available from Carina Press in ebook and audiobook format. Aside from CarinaPress.com, it can be purchased at Amazon.com, Audible.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Dragoncon 2012 fangirl experiences - Plus, a coupon code for Carina Press!

I'm back from DragonCon in Atlanta, and although I am sore, exhausted and a little bummed that it's over, I'm happy to share my experiences. Let me just say that while you can experience DragonCon in a day (which I've done twice now), I think you could go for all four days and still not do everything you wanted. Next year, fingers crossed, I'll go for multiple days.

Before I launch into my fangirl diary, I want to share that several Carina Press authors got together and bought an ad in the DragonCon program. Better yet, there's a DragonCon promo code in the ad that I'm going to share here. Get an extra 15% off at CarinaPress.com! Use promo code DRAGONCON2012 at checkout. Expires Sept 30, 2012, 4:59 p.m. EDT. One-time use only. Not to be used with other offers or coupons. To see our ad, click on the image at right. The titles featured are CRY WOLF by me (contemporary with a hint of paranormal), STEAM AND SORCERY by Cindy Spencer Pape (Steampunk), DEMON'S CROSSING by Eleri Stone (paranormal/fantasy), WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM by Veronica Scott (sci-fi/fantasy), THE FALLEN QUEEN by Jane Kindred (paranormal/fantasy), ROGUE'S PAWN by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy), THE BLOODGATE WARRIOR by Joely Sue Burkhart (paranormal/fantasy), GAMBIT by Kim Knox (sci-fi/fantasy), MONSTER IN MY CLOSET by RL Naquin (fantasy), and KISS OF DEATH by Seleste Delaney (paranormal).  Not all titles listed are Carina books, but the authors all have books with Carina Press, which is where the coupon is valid. Show some love and give one of these books a try!

First of all, while I had three writing panels on my schedule, I have to confess I didn't make it to a single one. I was having too much fun being a groupie. Yes, I admit it. I love the celebrities that come to DragonCon. It's the one place I can totally fangirl out over lots of people I'd never have the chance to meet otherwise.

Me and Joe Manganiello
I started my day by trying to make Stan Lee's panel, but I was stuck in  registration line hell forever, so I went straight to the Hilton, picked up tickets for a photo opp with Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries, Lost) and then headed over to do a photo with Joe Manganiello (True Blood). I met Joe last year at DragonCon and vowed to get a picture with him simply because he's taller than my own 6'2" and not many celebs are. OK, and because he's hot. Whew, he's hot. And I touched him. And he touched me. Unfortunately, the touching only involved wrapping our arms around each other for a photo, but still. I'll take what I can get. I think my picture with Joe is the only one I've ever taken with a celeb where I didn't feel extraordinarily self conscious because of my colossal size. I actually felt normal with him, which is further proof we should marry. But I digress.

Me and Ian Somerhalder
Then it was back to meet Ian and grab a photo with him. His line was so long, they had us packed in a room like sardines. I met some interesting people in line. A girl dressed like -- I think -- Rainbow Brite chatted with me for the hour we stood waiting. Yes, the worst part about DragonCon are the darn lines. Almost worse than Disney on a holiday. But I finally met Ian, he gave me a big hug, and he said, "What's up Superwoman?" which totally thrilled me until I remembered I was wearing a t-shirt with the Superman logo on it. Yes, his charisma rendered me braindead for a few seconds. I only wish he were taller because I felt like Ginormica hugging him back. But I still love him. LOVE him.

Most of the guys from "The Vampire Diaries" were there. I ran into Joseph Morgan in the hall as he was walking to wherever. I tried to chat him up, but he must have been in a hurry. Klaus, his dad, his brothers, they were all there. Jeremy had to cancel his signing, but I lucked out and met him by accident while I was in Atlanta, and he was extremely nice and funny and didn't seem to mind I had stopped him to chat.

After meeting Ian I rushed over to catch the Gillan Anderson (X-Files) panel because The X-Files is possibly my all-time favorite show. In college, I wrote a paper on Agent Scully and her epic awesomeness that earned me an A in my most difficult class. For that alone, I still want to hug Gillian Anderson. She literally helped me graduate. She told some funny stories about the strangest X-Files fan she's ever met -- a woman who claimed to be an alien who also claimed she could pick up objects with her um, private parts, and fling them across the room -- and confirmed that X-Files creator Chris Carter is writing a script for a third movie (but Fox has to give approval to greenlight it). 

Then it was back to meet up with my two friends who drove in late (slackers), and we went to the Walk of Fame, which is where the celebs sign autographs. I immediately zeroed in on Dean Cain, because when I started college as a journalism student, "Lois and Clark" The New Adventures of Superman," was a favorite and helped reconfirm that I wanted to be a reporter. It's true. Jack and Jennifer from "Days of Our Lives" and Lois and Clark are to blame for my choice of profession. I've always been impressionable like that, and I am the biggest Superman fan ever. So I dragged my friends Daniel and James over to his line so they could take my picture with Dean, but then I saw he was charging $40 to take a picture with him. Darn. I opted not to do a picture, but I got his autograph. When I went up to him, I reverted to being a schoolgirl again and asked for a hug. He happily grabbed me up in one -- Dean is a big guy too -- and squeezed real hard. Or maybe I squeezed real hard. Or does it even matter? We hugged. And then I blubbered that I was a newspaper reporter, in parts thanks to him, and he said, "Get out of here! Really?" And then he asked me a bunch of questions about newspapers today and how much they've changed since he played a reporter. And we talked about how weird it is to imagine Lois and Clark not working for a newspaper and working for an online outlet instead, and then he stood and hugged me again, and thanked me for telling him that! I think he gave me the coolest autograph ever. And I have two witnesses that Dean Cain hugged and chatted with me. No picture though. I kind of regret that now. Oh well.

After that I had planned to get to "The Walking Dead" panel, but I was told Gillian Anderson would soon be signing autographs and she was on a tight schedule. So I popped over to wait, yet again, in another line. When I finally got up to her, she politely thanked me for coming and I blabbered, starstruck, that I thanked her for coming and that she helped me graduate. I'm pretty sure she thought I was whacko, but she was polite.

After that, my friends and I met up again to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe, and I fangirled over all the Elvis stuff there. I think someone had flipped my FANGIRL button that morning, so I was fangirling over everything. We separated again, and I went back to the Walk of Fame because my No. 3 target for the day was actress Felicia Day. Who? Oh, you poor dears. Felicia is kind of my role model. She is known for starring on Buffy, Eureka and a hilarious guest appearance on Supernatural, but among many things, she is a Gamer Queen and one of the most famous web personalities alive. She co-founded Geek and Sundry, which is a Youtube channel, and the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout book club, which is both hilarious and awesome. Go watch one and see. They chat about romance fantasy books they read, in a side-splitting fashion. They were all at DragonCon doing a panel, but of course, I missed it.



To my surprise, the entire cast of The Guild was there, and so was Felicia. I got in line, and I was literally the last person in line (and it was a massive, massive line) before they capped it. I chatted with the nicest Felicia Day fangirl in front of me for the longest time about what a great role model she is, and Felicia's personal assistant came over to talk to us and she was super awesome too. I felt bad because I couldn't afford the entire Guild's cast autographs, but I told them I loved them, and Sandeep Parikh said, "You know what's free? High fives!" And the entire cast high-fived me as I made my way to Felicia. So much fun. She was happy to take a picture with me for free, and I think she could fit in my pocket, she's so tiny. And nice. Felicia Day is the nicest gal. Period.

Anyway, I mingled around after that, taking pictures of cosplayers (people in costume), and then headed to check out the premiere of Felicia's new movie, Rock Jocks. Again, a long line in the Atlanta heat, but I made some new friends in that line. I've never been so glad to sit for two hours in my life. The movie was funny. Kind of too much bad language for my taste, but really funny.



I left after the movie, and I'm recovering today. New goal: Save money and go for multiple days next year. Maybe then I can actually make it to a writing workshop or panel. You know, cause I'm a writer and should have done that...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fun Fridays: Dragoncon!! And why everyone should go at least once

It’s Labor Day weekend in the U.S., and for a lot of fabulous, geeky folks (yes, that’s me), that means one thing: DragonCon!!!!

What is DragonCon, you ask? Oh, you poor things. Let me educate you on the wonders of this fantastic and awesome convention. DragonCon is billed as the Southeast’s — and possibly the universe’s — largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film! But that description doesn’t even do it justice, y’all. I’m serious. It doesn’t.

I heard about DragonCon several years ago, wanted to go, but could never scrounge up the time or money to make it. Last year I buckled down and went to Atlanta on Friday, but for only one day. I’m a poor, struggling writer, after all.

And WOW.

So much fun.

SO MUCH FUN!

First of all, there’s something going on 24 hours a day for the four days of the convention. For us literary bookworms, there are writing workshops with authors such as Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charlaine Harris, writing workshops with top agents and editors, workshops and panels on every topic from paranormal romance to steampunk, screenwriting and fantasy and horror.

For us fandom geeks, there are celebrities from almost every TV show we love — Buffy, The X-Files, Once Upon a Time, Dr. Who, The Walking Dead, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Battlestar Galactica, True Blood, and on and on —and celebrities from the world of comic books — Stan Lee, y’all. Stan Lee!

There’s nothing like sitting in a massive room with hundreds of other fans and the stars from your favorite shows or movies. The camaraderie that flows at DragonCon is wonderful. I felt like I was among my people. At least for a day.

But the best thing, by far, about DragonCon are the attendees.

A lot of people go to DragonCon just to photograph the attendees — thousands of whom show up in costume. I’m talking Hollywood professional costumes.

My fondest memories from last year’s con were of riding on an elevator with two zombies on one side and a stormtrooper on the other, and we all chatted about our love for all things Joss Whedon because actor Nicholas Brendan had just brushed past us and passed through our little crowd in the lobby. I don’t know who those zombies and that stormtrooper were, but for a few minutes, they were my best friends.

That’s the power of DragonCon.

And yes, I’ll be making the trip again this year, and again, only for one day — Sunday. Yes, of course, I’ll report on here afterwards. With pictures!

In the meantime, here are some of my memories from last year’s con to give you an inkling of how much fun it was.








Friday, August 17, 2012

Fun Fridays: Q&A with author Pamela Hearon!

For my Fun Friday Q&A guest today I have a very special guest and fabulous friend to feature   author Pamela Hearon, whose Harlequin SuperRomance debut Out of the Depths released last week. I can vouch for Pamela's fabulous-ness because she and I have been critique partners for many years and she has never once told me to my face (or in an email) that I am weird, although when I pointed this out to her, she said, "I love weird—that’s why we get each others’ stuff!" which only made me heart her more.


As her CP, I can also vouch for what a great story Out of the Depths is, and I can warn you to be on the lookout for her upcoming books as well because they're all great reads. What is Out of the Depths about, you ask?

Kyndal Rawlings thought she'd learned her lesson when Chance Brennan left her to pursue his Ivy League dreams. Yet here she is, in Kentucky, falling for him all over again. Maybe it's being stranded in a cave with him…the same place they first became lovers.

Or maybe there's still something between them.

Not that anything will change—even after four tense days of depending on each other for their very survival. Chance needs a certain kind of woman to help him with his career. And Kyndal will never be that kind. But something has changed. Something that will force them to decide what they really want.

Maybe growing up in Kentucky didn’t have any impact on Pamela Hearon’s writing, but she has her own theories and believes otherwise. A lifetime of those sultry Southern nights surely infused her blood with a special heat—the kind that transforms simple love stories into tales of romance and desire and gives even the most unlikely couples their Happily Ever After.

She let me pick her brain for a while, and we talked about her new book, what she has planned next and advice for aspiring authors.

Angela: I have to start off by saying I really loved reading Out of the Depths. What inspired this story?

Pamela: Years ago—actually while I was in high school—some friends and I found a cave and went exploring. Memories of that experience have stayed with me ever since. I was trying to come up with a fresh, new setting for a story, and that one popped into my mind. The story evolved out of the setting, which I realize is a very strange way of doing things. Then as I wrote the story, the passageways in the cave became symbolic of the passageways of the heart, and the adventure of falling in love.

Angela:
Why did you choose Kentucky as your setting? And inquiring minds want to know — is the cave featured in the book a real location? Cause I kinda wanna go visit it now. :)

Pamela: Kentucky is my home state and will forever be the place of my heart. We’re always told to write what we know, and I know Kentucky intimately. The cave in the book is much larger than the one my friends and I explored—or at least the section we explored. I always imagined many more passageways yet to be discovered if we’d had the time.

Angela: I already know the answer to this question, but I'll ask it anyway. Are you planning any other books featuring characters found in Out of the Depths?

Pamela: Yummy Rick Warren gets his own story next, and Chance, Kyndal, and Sheriff Buck Blaine make cameo appearances in that story as well.

Angela: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who haven’t been published yet?

Pamela: Does it sound too corny to say you have to believe it will happen and keep plugging away at it? As a daily affirmation, I actually cut book covers of other peoples’ books out of magazines, covered their titles and name with my own, glued it on a sheet of paper and taped it to my bathroom mirror. That paper stared me in the face each morning and was one of the last images in my brain before I went to bed. It kept reminding me to not give up—it was going to happen.

Writing is a craft as well as an art, and just like with everything else, the more you practice, the better you get. Keep practicing.

Angela:
So tell us, what can readers expect from you next?

Pamela: My second Harlequin SuperRomance The Summer Place, with Rick Warren starring as the hero, will appear on shelves April 2013.

Let’s get to know Pam the person with these questions:

Q: Are you a member of any TV show/film/book fandoms?
Pamela: Officially? No. But I am a rabid fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I devour the books as soon as they’re released. My autographed copy of The Scottish Prisoner has a front-facing, prominent place on my bookshelf. Favorite TV shows—Friends, Damages, Game of Thrones, Homeland, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and The Newsroom.

Q: What’s the last book you read for fun?
Pamela: I just finished Killing Floor by Lee Childs two days ago. I can’t really say it was “fun,” but it was fast paced and quite entertaining.

Q: If you could spend one day as any fictional character, which one and why?
Pamela: I didn’t even have to think about this one. I would choose Claire Frasier from the Outlander series. Why? A day with Jamie Frasier—‘nuff said. :)

Q: Celebrity crush?
Pamela: Augh—busted! Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve Googled images of Chris Hemsworth—maybe more than once (a day)! (say—maybe he’ll play Jamie Frasier in the film version).

Q: Hobbies?
Pamela: I have a huge perennial flower garden where I spend a great deal of time. I love being outdoors. I use the time to think about plots and characters, so I’m writing even when I’m weeding. (weeding and writing)

We also have a motorhome, and I love traveling in it. It’s great to take my “stuff” with me—bedroom, kitchen, computer, and of course, Casey the Cat. 


Angela: I'd like to thank Pam for being my Q&A guest today. Now go buy her book. It's a great read.

Visit Pamela on her website (www.pamelahearon.com), on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pamelahearon), and the second Monday of every month at her group blog—Everybody Needs a Little Romance (http://everybodyneedsalittleromance.com). 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Why writers deserve their own personality disorder

It has been a crazy whoa-where-did-the-time-go couple of weeks, and yes, I suck at blogging. For future reference, if I say I’m going to blog on (fill in the blank), you can probably just add an extra week or two to that estimate. And if I say I’m going to blog about a certain something — yeah, I’ll probably forget about it.

Cut me a break, people. I survive on five hours of sleep most nights to feed this habit called writing.

My latest manuscript has been finished and is now sitting in the inbox (i.e. slushpile) of my editor for consideration. I tweaked it to death, hit SEND, and then suffered a moment of pure mental anguish. OMG, did I just hit send? Nooooooo! Maybe I should have read it one more time! Was it ready? I think it was ready. Buried my head in my hands. God, I hope it was ready.

Add this to the many quirks I have as a writer, and it kind of amazes me I’m not doped up on meds somewhere in a padded cell, babbling about the pretty wallpaper.

For example, I missed my calling in life to be independently wealthy, which means I’m chained to a cubicle in a 10-to-6 job Mondays through Fridays (give or take a little). I also spend part of my time in that position writing and part of that time designing and doing layout on ads, advertorials and magazines. One day this week — which one is a blur (insert maniacal laugh) — I was in the middle of throwing together an ad for a local Chamber of Commerce when I realized I was also talking to myself — yes, out loud — about the characters in my latest book. You know, like, having a conversation with myself and them.

Ha ha ha he.

The great thing about the Internet is that I’ve friended lots of other writers who assure me this behavior is not uncommon, which brings me back to the title of this post. Writers create fictional characters in their heads, spend tons and tons of time developing them, talking to them, talking to themselves…and this is okay?

We spend far too many hours thinking about ways to torture the characters we create and love because we need "conflict." Let's be honest — we're also paid to be liars, if we're paid at all. Many of us spend years and years writing away with no paycheck in sight and starving ourselves because we refuse to do anything else. Please explain that to me. I do it myself, and I don't understand! We work by ourselves in front of a glowy-square thing with, if we're lucky, a cat or dog hanging off the chair beside us to bounce feedback off of. Most of us are caffeine addicts because inspiration has a habit of striking when we should be sleeping, which leaves us looking like jacked-up junkies because we've had too many sodas/coffees/espressos in one day to ever sleep again. Plus, we’re not writing so that we can just read back to ourselves and giggle like little schoolgirls. Oh, no ma'am. We want you to read our masterpieces (which, let's face it, are never really masterpieces). Yes, you! And you over there, hiding behind the trees like a scared little girl. We want everyone to read it! The more attention we get, the more successful we feel, which is all kinds of ironic since most of us aren’t comfortable with that attention at all. Which, you guessed it, makes us Fifty Shades of crazy.

Sad thing is, I could go on and on and on adding to that list, but I won't because I'm so darn tired right now. There's no denying there's something wrong with all of us, so I wonder why we don’t have our own personality disorder classified in psychiatry? Or maybe we do. I don’t know. 

Maybe we're stuck in medical dictionaries right there beside Schizoid personality disorder. "Writers." I'm guessing they don't know what the hell to do with us either.



That said, my most favorite people are writers, and the world owes a lot of gratitude to them. Without writers there would have been no "Wizard of Oz," "Lord of the Rings" or even the Bible. 


That's why I don't mind being lumped in with the lot -- not at all. :-)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fun Fridays: A giveaway and, you know, other fun stuff

I haven't blogged in a while because I have been finishing my latest manuscript so that I can, hopefully, get it submitted and published and be able to afford a new house, an arcade machine and my very own pool cabana boy to eat something nicer than Ramen noodles for a while. I'm finally in the rewrite and polish stage, and I really love this book and its delightfully snarky characters, so I hope others will, too. And I'm kind of in that I've-only-been-averaging-four-hours-of-sleep-a-night-so-I-can-finish-this-book phase that only other writers can probably understand, which means I'm very scatter-brained and loopy right now. I apologize in advance for this blog post, because I'm sure someone will read it, get to the end, and think That poor, poor girl. Someone needs to help her.

As if I weren't already in a celebrating mood because of finishing my new manuscript, I found out that CRY WOLF was a finalist in the contemporary romance category of the RomCon Reader's Crown award. That's very encouraging since that's a reader's choice award and I assume it means someone, or a couple of someones, really liked my book enough to give it high marks. Like, someones I don't even know and didn't bribe to say nice things about it. Which is awesome. Thank you, someones. :-)

I thought I would celebrate by giving away a free copy of the audiobook download of CRY WOLF to one lucky reader. To enter, simply send me an email with the subject AUDIOBOOK CONTEST. (And if you prefer a copy of the ebook instead, I'll be happy to substitute that as your prize.) I'll announce the winner on this blog next Friday, so you have until midnight EST Thursday (July 12) to enter. Simply email me at angelamcampbell@aol.com for your chance to win.

Good luck, and may the force be with you! ... or something like that.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Having fun with Google alerts

Have you ever Googled yourself? Come on. Admit it. You have, right?

I went one step further and set up a Google alert on myself, back when my book was first published. I’m pretty sure a lot of authors do this, or maybe I’m just ridiculously vain — but either way, I like to be alerted whenever someone posts a review of my book. Since I had no experience with Google alerts, I didn’t realize I’d get an email every darn day. Sometimes I get articles that feature Angela Brown from Campbell University because apparently Google thinks that what I wanted. Well, okay stupid Google. Okay.

I also get a lot of alerts about Angela Campbell every darn day because apparently Angela Campbell is one of the most common names in the universe. Who knew? Yeah, I probably should have, considering when I was in high school, I would always get deliveries meant for the other Angela Campbell — the one who was a couple of grades lower and in band and who was apparently in the hospital for a few weeks one time, judging by the number of “Get Well” cards I received from my teachers and classmates — nevermind I had actually been in class the entire time I was supposedly in the hospital. It’s so nice to be noticed. Sigh.

Seriously, there are far too many Angela Campbells running amok in the world.

There’s Angela Campbell, the lawyer crusading for civil rights and kicking butt while doing it (Psst. She’s my favorite).

There’s also Angela Campbell, public librarian.

Angela Campbell, special ed teacher.

Angela Campbell, professor.

Angela Campbell, architect.

Angela Campbell, graphic designer.

Angela Campbell, another writer. It seems I have some competition coming up in the world which could become very confusing for our readers someday.I will say, her poetry is very good too.

Angela Campbell, you name it.

And yes, there’s even Angela Campbell, the crack addict who was arrested for public intoxication and possession. Meh. There’s always a bad apple in the bunch, isn’t there?

I actually enjoy opening my email each day and seeing those alerts, because I like to live vicariously through The Others every now and then (except the crack ho — I got enough problems, thank you very much). I’m sure somewhere in the world there is, as there is in my mind, an Angela Campbell, crusading lawyer who is a special ed teacher by night, architect in her spare time, and possibly a secret vigilante who wears spandex and really cool thigh-high boots when she’s beating up riff-raff on the streets. And she looks AWESOME — like, Mila Kunis awesome, y’all.

But I digress.

If you haven’t ever Googled yourself (bahahaha…er, um, right) then go ahead and give it a try. At the least it’s highly amusing, and the most, it will make you strive to be the best Whatever Your Name Is out there.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...