Friday, May 22, 2009

WHERE IS JUDI FENNELL?

Wednesday, Judi Fennell showed up in the Atlanta area, she was also in Northern California and I heard she was in New York too. Thursday she was in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and I heard rumors she was also in the LA area. I'm getting reports of Judi Fennell spottings from all over the country.

Now, how is this possible you might ask? Does she have her own Lear Jet? Perhaps she worked a deal with I Dream of Jeannie who crossed her arms and blinked Judi Fennell to all these places?

No Jet and I know for a fact, "Jeannie" is a favorite of hers but alas, no help from there either.

The truth is Judi Fennell's debut book, In Over Her Head, scheduled to be released June 1st, has been released early and is showing up in Barnes and Noble and Border's promotion towers across the country.


Have you spotted her yet? If you do, take a picture for me and post it to Facebook, Gather, MySpace, your website, or any social network and send me the link. Be sure to list the store, the state, and the date. The person with the most Judi Fennell sightings, will win a autographed copy of In Over Her Head and one lucky commenter will win a Mer cell phone charm. This Contest runs until June 16th.

You may send the link to me via facebook, or pop in here (this article will be archived but you can click on it anytime) on the comment section with the words: Judi Fennell sighting and the link. Be sure to leave me your name and a way to contact you. I will go to the link and copy the picture for my Where's Judi photo album. This photo album will be my gift to Judi. Let the hunt begin!


Yesterday, I was able to catch up with Judi in Barnes & Noble, in Philadelphia. While I had her ear, I asked her a few questions:


So tell me Judi, how did it feel when you saw your books up for the first time?
You know? I've imagined it for so long that it wasn't as surreal as I thought it'd be... at first. Then, as I stood there, and realized, hey, this is really happening... this isn't your imagination... then, it was verrrrrry surreal. Almost out-of-body. Especially when a woman in the aisle said, "That's your first book?" then BOUGHT ONE! Of course, I signed it for her, and THAT was awesome!


You knew they'd be part of Barnes and Noble's Promotional tower, but what was your reaction when you saw them up at Borders?


I had noooooooo idea about the Borders tower. I cried when my publisher told me about the B&N one; when I saw it there in Borders, I was just dumbstruck. I had to go outside and check the sign to make sure I was in a Borders. I'm just so honored that they liked my story enough to do that. Mind-blowing.

I have to say, seeing your books up brought tears to my eyes and it wasn't even my book, lol! You mentioned seeing it in Borders, was this the Borders you frequent when you were writing the long hours on these books?

Actually, no. This was the opposite direction from my house. There are more bookstores in that direction and since I wasn't feeling well, I wanted to maximize my time out. I have to go to "my" Borders and see it there. More photo ops! :)

Did you do any impromptu book signings while looking at the displays?

I have to say that the staff at all the stores was very helpful - before they knew I was an author. Not that I could keep it quiet once they asked, "Do you need help?" Once they found out I was the author, the "do you want to sign them" immediately followed. I brought my "Signed by Author" gold foil stickers with me, because Borders' store stickers go on the corner and would have covered either my name or Reel's chest. Couldn't have that. So, all the stock got signed and I did sign the one buyer's.

Any plans for a book signing Event?

I'll be signing 6/6 from 1-3 at the Borders in North Wales, PA, and 6/13 2-4 at the Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting. And tomorrow I'll be calling the correct people for two more stores to set up more. My mom is having a very large book signing at her home, so they are happening. Plus, I'll be signing books at the Sourcebooks Publisher Signing at National on that Saturday, around 3 pm. I hope to see lots of familiar names/faces there!


Congratulations, Judi! I know how long and how hard you worked to see this day. I'm proud of you my friend!




Be sure to look for Judi's book, In Over Her Head in your local bookstore and send me the link. If you spot Judi Fennell do take her home and give her a resting place on your bookshelf or your TBR pile. Be sure to be on the lookout for the next two in this series.





***
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I seemed to have followed writing contests around, being a finalist in such online contests as American Title III, sponsored by Romantic Times BOOKreview Magazine and Dorchester Publishing, and two First Chapters contests, sponsored by Gather.com and Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.

I grew up watching Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and The Addams Family--my mom looked like Elizabeth Montgomery and I had a special Barbie outfit that looked like Morticia Addams' dress. My favorite books are Bewitching by Jill Barnett and A Knight In Shining Armor, by Jude Devereaux, so it should come as no surprise that I like to write tongue-in-cheek lighthearted paranormals.

I love pop culture and manipulating language, so you'll find lots of puns, double entrendre, plays-on-words, alliteration, clich├ęs, and twisting of phrases, as well as several one-liners in my stories that give me a few chuckles.


Now with kids, a husband, a house, a social life (Go Survivor Girls!), and two cocker spaniels named Vixen and Raven, I get to live my dream of being a writer!

Website: http://www.judifennell.com/

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shaking Things Up With Joel Goldman

It's my pleasure to have author Joel Goldman as my guest today. Joel has written six thrillers and his latest of his Jack Davis series is The Dead Man


I'm always curious what makes a writer choose a particular genre and what makes them begin to write. Joel says, "I started writing thrillers when one of my then law partners complained to me about another partner. I told him we should write a murder mystery, kill the son-of-a-bitch off in the first chapter and spend the rest of the book figuring out who did it. So, I did and I never looked back"


Joel shares a bit about the type of characters he likes to write and why.



I explore life through the stories I write, starting each book with the same question in mind. What happens when things go wrong, especially when no one is looking? Character and characters are measured by the answer to that question. Crime fiction poses that question when the stakes are the highest, when the answer determines not only who lives and dies but how well we do both.

Flawed characters make the most interesting subjects because authors and readers can identify with them, recognizing our own shortcomings and wondering what we would do in their place without having to bear any of the consequences. Creating Jack Davis allowed me to take this process one step further and learn more about myself as I asked what happens when the same thing goes wrong in my life and my protagonist’s life.

I practiced law for twenty-eight years, trying lawsuits all across the United States. In March 2004, I was in trial in San Francisco. I awoke one morning and, while shaving, began to shake uncontrollably. As Perry Mason and Denny Crain proved, you can get away with a lot in the courtroom but uncontrollable shaking is not one of them.

It took over a year and a half and examinations by doctors in New York, New Orleans and Phoenix to get a definitive diagnosis of my condition. I have tics, a neurological disorder with no known cause or cure and a name so totally unimpressive that no self-respecting telethon would ask it out on a date. It occurs so rarely in mid-life adults, that little is known about it. Its closest living neurological relative is Tourette’s Syndrome.

Tics is very idiosyncratic, meaning that there is no set pattern or typical course. The more I do, the more I shake, spasm and stutter. My symptoms vary over time, familiar shaking patterns fading into the background, replaced by spasms that hyperextend my neck, arch my back and twist my torso in ways that makes Cirque du Soleil jealous. Tics is not life threatening or life shortening but it is life annoying and it forced me to give up my law practice.

Fortunately, I already had a second life – crime writer. My first series, four books featuring trial lawyer Lou Mason, allowed me to channel the legal career I’d only imagined. Tics gave me the chance to explore the life I’d won in the be-careful-what-you-ask-for sweepstakes by creating a new character, Jack Davis, an FBI Special Agent, forced to give up his career by a movement disorder that makes him shake when he should shoot.

Jack’s life shakes apart in Shakedown (2008) in the middle of an investigation into a drug ring that claims the lives of everyone in a drug house and threatens the people closest to him. In The Dead Man (2009), Jack he struggles to find purpose in a life that is forever throwing him off balance while he tracks a serial killer who specializes in making deadly nightmares come true.

For more about my books and me, visit my website, http://www.joelgoldman.com/, send me a friend request on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php and click here to watch the video preview of my new book, The Dead Man - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t55cZ1ZnfV0
***

Joel became a ten-year overnight success with the publication of his first book, Motion To Kill, in 2002, introducing trial lawyer Lou Mason. Lou made his second appearance in 2003’s Edgar® nominated The Last Witness. He managed to keep getting in and out of trouble in Cold Truth (2004) and Deadlocked (2005), which was nominated for a Shamus award and has been optioned for film. Joel retired from his law practice in 2006 and still hasn’t looked back.

Joel and his wife have three kids, all out in the world happily doing what they want where they want to do it. They also have two cockapoos, Roxy and Ruby, sisters born on Valentine's Day that may never grow up. Joel is a fourth generation Kansas Citian and am named after his great grandfather who came to the United States in 1881. Legend has it that he overheard his parents arranging his marriage and decided to take his chances in the New World, leaving under cover of darkness. As Joel says, “I don't know whether the story is true but I subscribe to this quote from one of my favorite movies, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: When legend becomes fact, print the legend.”



"Enter a drawing for a free, autographed copy of The Dead Man, by posting a comment about me and my books with a link to my website or the video preview of The Dead Man on your Facebook page, My Space page or website and sending me the link by midnight, May 21 at joelkgoldman@gmail.com. I'll write the names down, put them in a hat, close my eyes and pick a winner."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Disciplined? Or Delusional?

My guest is Superromance Author Beth Andrews. Beth’s dream was to be published and this small time girl worked hard at improving her writing skills to accomplish that. Beth is no stranger to rejected submissions—years of them.

In 2006 and 2007, she caught a break for all her hard work. She was a finalist with two manuscripts in the RWA Golden Heart in 2006. In 2007 she won the golden Heart. It was bought by Harlequin Superromance and published as Not Without Her Family.

Today she talks about lessons learned and how she juggles family life and her writing.




I’ve never considered myself a particularly disciplined person but all of that changed when I decided to become a writer. Believe me, sitting at your computer each day producing pages takes what I call the Three Big Ds: Dedication, Determination and a boatload of Discipline.

Now, the first two I had covered. It’s easy for me to be dedicated to writing because honestly, I love writing. I love the entire process of writing from taking the initial idea and fleshing out into a full story, I love getting to know my characters, coming up with scene ideas and writing that first draft. I also love polishing those first pages into a final draft and using the revisions from my editor to make the story the best it can be.

Determination? Yep, I’ve got that too. From the time I decided I wanted to be a romance author I was determined to be published. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but that was okay because the end result was worth the years of honing my craft, submissions and yes, even those heart-breaking rejections.

But discipline? Ugh. Even just typing the word gives me the heebie jeebies. It goes against my very, laid-back, see-what-happens, there’s-plenty-of-time-to-get-things-done nature. Yet I knew that to be successful, to accomplish my writing goals, I’d need to suck it up and put my bordering-on-chaotic life into some sort of order. Here are a few tricks and tips I’ve learned over the years:


Smaller Is Better. This tip is from a NYT Bestselling author. When I asked her for some time management tips, she told me how she uses a regular Post-It note for her To-Do List. This works because it forces you to prioritize your goals and narrow them down into a manageable list. At the beginning of each month I write my goals for that month in a notebook. Sometimes this takes up two pages! Looking at the long list can be totally overwhelming but by taking this advice, I’ve accomplished more in the last three months then I ever thought possible. I simply look through my Master List, take the top 3-5 (depending on how small I write *g*) items and put them on a Post-It note. Then I work down the list and when the day is over, I simply toss the Post-It and start a new list tomorrow. (This can also be done on your computer. Just remember the key is to keep the list small and manageable.)

First Thing’s First. This is advice I’ve known and was reiterated to me by another NYT Bestselling author. Prioritize your To-Do List and take the first thing, the ONE thing you want to get done that day and get it done first. This advice works for full time writers and those who have full time jobs as well. If you’ve set aside an hour in the evening and the first thing on your list is to write 3 pages, do that first. An average day for me consists of getting my pages done first then my exercise and only after both of those have been accomplished do I allow myself to check e-mail and blogs (unless I’m the one blogging *g*) I’ve found that if I push back either of those items until ‘later’, I never get them done.

Chunk It. I discovered a while back that although I loved to multi-task, I wasn’t getting anything done. Oh, I was working on lots of projects and was busier than ever but nothing was ever finished. I knew I needed a change so I started Chunking. All that means is I concentrate on one thing at a time and I set aside certain times of the day or week to get them done. For example, I’ve now set aside Saturday mornings for writing blogs, updating my website and sending out mailings. Knowing I have an entire morning I can dedicate to these tasks makes it a lot easier to set them aside during the week and concentrate on my writing.

So, even though I still shudder at the word, I’m slowly learning how to become disciplined and I’m always on the lookout for more tips and tricks for making the most of my time. What about you? Anyone have any time management tips to share?

Which of the Three Big Ds is easiest for you? The hardest?

***


As a stay-at-home mother of three children, Beth Andrews decided to put pen to paper (or, in her case, fingers to keyboard) and pursue her dream of becoming a published author. After much trial and error, Beth discovered her writing process—daydreaming, mumbling to herself, playing Spider Solitaire…and writing, of course.

Beth’s stories have netted her three Golden Heart finals and in 2007—a coveted win. Her winning manuscript, Not Without Her Family, sold to Harlequin Superromance—marking the achievement of her original dream and the beginning of what she hopes is a long career writing the stories she loves.

When Beth’s not writing (or daydreaming, mumbling to herself or playing Spider Solitaire) she can be found making some of the many recipes she collects, redecorating her home or stringing beads together. She has been honored by her kids as “The Only Mom in Town Who Makes Her Children Do Chores” and “The Meanest Mom in the World”—as if there’s something wrong with counting down the remaining days of summer vacation until school starts again. To learn more about Beth, her books or to get her latest favorite recipe, check out her Web site.

Beth's website: http://www.bethandrews.net/
Blogs: Romance Bandits - http://romancebandits.blogspot.com/
Writers At Play - http://www.writersatplay.com/wordpress/


A NOT-SO-PERFECT PAST ~ April '09 Harlequin Superromance
HIS SECRET AGENDA ~ October '09 Harlequin Superromance
Beth is offering a copy of her latest book to one lucky commenter. We'll let you know who you are a bit later.