Friday, April 29, 2011

Not As Good as Being There, But . . .

That's my 11 year old daughter at 2:30 am PST, celebrating with cupcakes and "champagne," as we watched Kate and William take their vows. I kind of debated on whether or not to wake her up, but I'm so glad I did. We had a great time hamming it up with our tiaras. It was really a special moment that I think we'll both remember for a long time.

As we were watching though, I couldn't help thinking that we should permanently excise the term "American Royalty" from our vernacular. We have absolutely nothing like the pomp and circumstance that they have across the proverbial pond. Most of the time that's probably a good thing--we did fight a rather significant war to rid ourselves of George III--but I can't help but get caught up in all the magnificence that is English tradition. It's hard not to be moved by the fact that Kate and William were standing in the same place William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066.

I think the high point for me was the first time William looked at Kate when she joined him at the end of the aisle. He murmured something like "you look beautiful." The exchange was both sweet and genuine. He also had that "shy" look on his face that reminds me so much of his mother. The reciting of the vows was also moving, but my second favorite moment was the always iconic shot of seeing Kate get out of the car for the first time. The dress surprised me a little bit--I didn't think it would be quite so traditional--but it grew on me. She's a beautiful girl, so she'd probably look good in a bag. I thought Pippa's dress was spectacular. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kate in something more streamlined for the party later tonight.

Anyway, that's this correspondent's take. :) My hubby and I are off for the weekend, leaving the kids behind with Grandma, to go to the annual "Passport Weekend" in Healdsburg (Sonoma wine country). It's a two day event of wine tasting and eating. Can't wait. I'll try to update the post with some pictures later--it's going to be a gorgeous weekend in the bay area.

Any other royalophiles out there who set their alarm clocks bright and early? What did you think of the dress?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Not-So-Grand Unveiling!

I know you've all seen it before, but I thought I'd post a big version of THE VIPER anyway. I swear that Amazon gets the scoop on me every time. As I mentioned in the comments of my last blog, I received the final version of my cover on Tuesday and Amazon had it up a couple of days later. I'd been planning to do the big unveiling . . . oh well. Hope you guys like it. :)

I've been busy getting started on Highland Guard book #5 (mums the word on who's story it is) and catching up on some of my reading. Sadly, I think I've exhausted Karen Robard's backlist on kindle, but I did have the chance to read an ARC of THE ANGEL OF BLYTHE HALL by Darci Hannah, which I will be giving a very enthusiastic quote for. I absolutely *loved* this book and devoured it in a couple of sittings, including staying up until almost 3 am last night to finish. If you like Historical Fiction you won't want to miss it. It takes place in 15th Century Scotland and it has everything you could possible want: fantastic historical detail, a great romance, a compelling mystery , and a little bit of a mystical twist. Most of you know I don't read much paranormal, but I really enjoyed this. It has a very gothic feel, and the writing was exquisite. Can you tell I loved it? I was pretty excited to see Bernard Cornwell's quote up there. He's one of my favorite authors and seeing my name anywhere near his will be pretty exciting. :)

I'm looking forward to Rachel Gibson's new book on Tuesday--love those Hockey players. I think I might start on Marsha Canham's backlist, which she recently put up on kindle. Not sure if you guys have noticed this trend, but a lot of authors with older, pre-ebook publications are self-publishing their backlist on kindle, etc. for really great prices.

So what's the last book that kept you up until the wee morning hours?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let The . . .

I'm back from the Romantic Times Convention and had a great time except for the . . . yes, you guessed it: Bedbugs (screech!!!). I was fortunate not to have them in my room, but a good friend of mine wasn't so lucky.

So here's the thing: this kind of stuff freaks me out. I'm a bit of a germaphobe as it is, and after having dealt with a louse in the house I'm completely paranoid. Apparently with good reason.

I'm at the airport about ready to get on my flight and decide to look up the Westin Bonaventure on Trip Advisor. I see a number of reports of Bedbugs (on Yelp, too) and start to freak. My friends take pity on me, and we use Yelp to find a nearby hardware store that carries the spray. It took a while to explain to the taxi driver that we wanted to make a short detour, but eventually we are on our way, only to find out that Yelp has let me down for the first time: the address was wrong. Ugh. So not wanting to run up a huge taxi bill we decide to just go to the hotel.

At check in, I relay my concerns to the desk person, and she absolutely assures me (reiterating what I'd been told on the phone) that they DO NOT have bedbugs and that all those trip advisor reports were false. I have some land to sell you in Florida, too. This went on for a while, and she even gave me her card, which unfortunately I can't find. Anyway, I'm trying to believe her, but much to my friends' amusement I overnight bug spray from Amazon.

I get my room and take all the precautions: no luggage or anything on the floor, check the mattresses, etc. All my friends do this with their rooms, too. Everything seems fine until two days later one of my friends texts me: she'd just killed a bedbug on her comforter while she was eating breakfast. OMG!!! Boy was I glad for that bug spray. Talk about feeding the paranoia.

To make a long story short, the hotel moved her right away, comped her room, etc. On the surface their response was appropriate, but the underlying response was appalling. There was an attempt to dismiss her concerns ("Are you sure it was a bedbug" yada yada), and only did they admit she was right when her roommate happened to be in the room when the exterminator came and she quizzed him. Turns out there was the makings of the colony behind the bed at the baseboard. To me, there seemed to be a concerted effort by the hotel not to acknowledge the problem. So BEWARE the next time you are traveling. Ask questions and don't take "no" for an answer.

I came back and did the full "de-bedbugging" even though I didn't seem to have any in my room. The cost benefit analysis isn't even close. These things can be a nightmare. Big pain in the you-know-what, but I wasn't going to take any chances.

Okay, enough of my rant/public service announcement. The conference itself was really fun. That's me pictured with two of the cover model finalist hopefuls. I think the guy on the left was first runner up. He definitely had the best, or shall we say most appropriate, physique for my sort of covers. Cough cough muscles cough cough.

The big talk everywhere was the changes taking place in the industry, specifically the decisions by a number of authors to turn away from traditional publishers to self-publish on Amazon. I suspect we are only seeing the beginning of the changes in the industry.

My bedbug experience has me a little traumatized. I'm not sure what to do about RWA in NY. I've heard that hotel has had problems, too. Ugh... Anyone else have any phobias?

(P.S. Laurie, I tried to respond to your email but it keeps bouncing! Not sure what is going on).

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Viper!

Just a quick update to alert you to a website update. For those of you who've asked for more info on THE VIPER, here you go!