Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Columbus, Ohio, Here I Come!

I'm off to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention tomorrow morning to pick up my award (Highland Warrior won for Best Scottish Historical--it was supposed to be a secret but since the magazine is in the stores I figure it's okay) and to attend the massive bookfair on Saturday. I can't wait! It will be my first time to RT, and I'm really looking forward to it. Heard it's absolutely wild and crazy. Hopefully I'll have some good (and publishable, LOL) pictures to share when I get back.

If any of you are attending, please make sure to stop by on Saturday and say "hi."

I think it must be Murphy's Law that right before you are traveling you get hit with a massive (blank)storm of things that have to get done before you go. I've been running around like a proverbial chicken with its head cut off all day. So much for work. I had all these grand plans of picking out exactly what I was going to where, but now I'll basically be tossing stuff in a suitcase late tonight and hoping it looks good. Sigh.

Does traveling stress you out? Do you look forward to getting on the plane so you can relax? Any trips you're taking soon?

Sorry for the blurry picture, but the iphone doesn't do great in low light situations. That's what happens when you forget your camera! The ceremony was really nice and made even more special by the presence of Barbara Taylor Bradford! She was accepting a special lifetime/achievement award.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I love this!

A good buddy of mine, Karin Tabke, just posted this great blog over at Murder She Writes about some of the common misconceptions about writing and publishing.

I've received many emails along these same lines--especially regarding covers (running the full gamut from complaints about the hair color not lining up to asking me to do away with the torso covers). I'd also add that I don't get to pick the models, I don't get to meet the models and I don't get to go to the cover shoot. Bummer, I know.

Karin does a great job of pointing out some of the common misconceptions. Make sure to read the comments as well, there are some great points about choosing titles (author's have little control) and prices of books (author's have NO control). I've noticed the new trend on Amazon reviews to give authors one star reviews for kindle prices. I feel really bad for those authors. Many people don't take the time to read the reviews and just look at the overall stars.

I also appreciated the point about errors/typos. They happen. By time the manuscript is published I've read it literally dozens of times. My editor has read it. The copy editor has read it. Then two proofreaders have read it. Yet, they still sometimes slip by. As Allison points out, sometimes people have identified it and it just gets missed in production, and sometimes no one catches it. I don't see it after the proofreaders read it and sometimes they change things on their own. I've had one or two surprises (one of the reasons I don't like to read my books after they are published). For example, in The Chief dedication I had "Go Cardinal," referring to the Stanford Cardinal (the COLOR not the bird), it is not plural. The proofreader put an "s" on it. No big deal, but a BIG no-no to Stanford fans. I've already had one or two smart-a#$ comments. Sigh.

Did you guys know all this or learn something new?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Taxman Cometh . . .

The taxman taketh away. April 15th. My least favorite day is almost here. Anyone else depressed by the check they had to write? Is it just me or does it seem like a bigger percentage of our income is "taketh" every year? Sigh. From what I hear, I guess it's only going to get worse. And I know, living in CA doesn't help. Might be time to move to Texas . . . (no state income tax).

I took tax law many, many years ago (and my father was a corporate tax attorney), but our taxes got too complicated when my husband started playing baseball. We used to have to file 13 to 15 tax returns every year. A little known fact: you are supposed to pay taxes in a state when you work there--even if it's only for a day or two. Most people don't, but athletes and entertainers are easy targets. Even though he's been out of baseball for almost five years (hard to believe), we still have a preparer. I can't imagine trying to figure this stuff out myself (and I graduated from law school, LOL). I get a headache just going over them.

Okay, done with the grumbling. But I do have an urge to go toss some tea overboard somewhere.

Hope you guys all have your taxes ready to go and instead of writing a check are getting a nice big refund. I'll try to live vicariously. Anyone waiting until the last minute?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Spring Break!

The picture above is an ode to days gone by. In college (USC), we used to go to Mazatlan for Spring Break. Hard to believe it was over 20 years ago. Okay, now I really feel old. [As an aside: I remember going through Calexico and Mexicali on the train and have been watching the news of the earthquake closely. So glad to hear that the damage doesn't seem to be as bad as it could have been...scary.]

Alas, there is no rest for the weary at Casa McCarty. All spring break means nowadays is the kids are home for the week. Hope you guys are having more fun than I am, LOL. We'd hoped to go skiing, but looks like we'll be lucky to make it up for a day trip. How does life get so busy? (Answer: book deadlines!).

I am looking forward to my first book signing for THE CHIEF tonight at the Los Gatos Borders. It's the regular meeting for a local romance group and it's a great group of ladies. It's always really interesting to get a glimpse of what people are reading and enjoying. Borders has a number of romance reader groups like this one around the country who report back to Sue Grimshaw (Borders Romance Buyer) directly.

I've belonged to a couple of book groups over the years, but I always ended up getting annoyed by the selections--most of which I thought were a little along the "let's show how smart we are by reading a book that is supposed to be good for us." Slog-fest ensues.

But interestingly enough, I've been invited to talk to a number of neighborhood book groups. Though romances aren't usually the standard fare--most read Oprah type books--it's always ended up being a great experience. I think people love reading something different and are surprised that they aren't the "trash" that they've always assumed.

How about you . . . are you in a book club? Ever been in one? Good experience or bad?