Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Catching up with the Lunch Gang

Since you are probably tired of hearing about me, I thought it might be fun to hear what my fabulous (& talented) group of writer friends are up to. As most of you know from prior blogs (okay, prior bragging), I am very fortunate to have a great group of writer friends I rely on for everything from industry information, business advice, story plotting, brainstorming, cheerleading and sympathy. Oh yea, and just plain fun. We regularly get together about once a month for lunch, although we have plenty of email time in between. Honorable mention must go out to Candice Hern & Penny Williamson who both had the audacity to move on us. But we still miss them. :)

So here's what everyone is up to in alphabetical order:

Jami Alden when she's not helping me brainstorm the latest part of my book, Jami has been making a big splash in the world of self-publishing with her erotic novella Private Pleasures, which just spent some time in the top twenty of the bestselling nook list! She's also getting ready for the release of her third book in her romantic suspense trilogy Run From Fear which will be in stores later this month.

Bella Andre is the thirty-something wunderkind & posterchild for the brave new world of publishing. Think the Mark Zuckerberg of self-publishing and you get the picture. Sigh. I really don't know where to start. When she's not jet-setting to Denmark and London (refusing to take me!), she's building an empire. The fourth book of her bestselling Sullivan series will be released soon, and also--a little bird told me--we might be seeing another Bad Boys of Football book soon.

Carol Culver is also burning up the nook and kindle lists (sensing a theme around here?) with the self-publishing of her huge backlist of Harlequin/Silhouette books written under her pen name Carol Grace (Welcome to Paradise is free right now on kindle!). She also has great cozy mystery series from Berkley and Midnight Ink.

Barbara Freethy has been spending most of the last year on the New York Times Bestseller List. I think she's only been off for two or three weeks since April or May. She also hit #1 at some point--there aren't too many people who can write "#1 NY Times Best Seller" but she's one of them. This week it's the Sweetest Thing at #3! You know what a big deal the Times list is to us authors, but it's become so commonplace for Barbara that I sometimes forget to congratulate her--so here's a public congrats for this week, Barbara! She's also recently released an e-original novella, A Secret Wish, the first in a series I've been anxious for for a long time.

Tracy Grant is getting ready for the release of the second book Imperial Scandal (under the name Teresa Grant) in her fabulous new Regency historical fiction series, which started with Vienna Waltz. She's recently started on the third book, and has also joined the e-pub ranks by putting up her backlist of romances and historical fiction. Tracy was one of my favorite authors before I even met her, so you know where I stand on these books. Oh yea, and she is also a new mom. I think we are all living a bit vicariously right now through Tracy and baby Melanie (who is such a little cutie!).

Ann Mallory had a book out last fall, In Total Surrender, and is now working on summer 2012 release, as well as a top secret project. If I told you anything about it, I'd have to kill you. Or actually, I'd be killed.

Poppy Reiffin or MissPoppyR as she is known on Twitter is busy not only with her writing projects--Native American Women's Fiction--but also with her web development and e-book design company. Popular lady these days around these parts, as you can probably imagine.

Veronica Wolff my travel buddy has deserted me (& Scotland) lately for YA Vampires and small town Contemporary Romance--although I guess technically there is still a Scottish connection in the Vampire series :) She is currently working on the second book in her new Sierra Falls series (1st book out soon) and getting ready for the release of her second YA novel, Vampire's Kiss, which comes out in early March. I've absolutely been loving this series and hope to get my hands on book #3 soon. She's also getting ready for our big RT conference Spring Break Adventure with our daughters.

So that's the update. Oh yes, except for one person...I'm getting close to wrapping up book #6 in my Highland Guard series--the recently announced The Recruit--and getting excited for the release of book #5, The Saint, next month. I'm also suddenly dealing with a very big case of under-achieveritis after reading this blog :)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The i-Finger

Starting with the crash of my hard-drive about three years ago, I've made a complete platform switch into the world of Apple. With the exception of one computer (a laptop for my husband's work and to do Quicken on, which doesn't have a good mac program) all our household computers are macs. We have an embarrassing number of "i's" in the house--iphones, ipods, ipads, etc.

IMO the iphone is one of the most brilliantly designed technological tools of the last decade. I recommend it all the time. To me it's a total game changer. Extremely portable, with a wealth of tools available at the fingertips, easy to use . . . brilliant.

I don't feel the same way about the ipad. I sometimes feel as if I'm the only person in the world who doesn't really love it, LOL. It's "cool," but I just don't have the same love for it as I do my iphone. In many ways, it's just a bigger iphone without the phone, LOL. I don't like the reading experience at all--especially compared to my kindle. It's too heavy to hold comfortably in bed with one hand (unlike my kindle) and the backlit screen bugs me. It's great for poking around the internet and reading the morning newspapers (the USA Today App is brilliant). It's also great for watching movies on the plane and love HBO to Go for traveling. But as far as a productivity tool, I don't like it at all. I have a wireless keyboard, and I've attempted to write on it, but I much prefer a laptop and/or the alpha smart. Given the choice between an ipad or that small mac air, I'd take the latter every day of the week. And don't even get me started on flash!

But my biggest concern is for what I call the "ifinger." It happens a little bit with my iphone, but since I don't spend as much time "surfing" with it, I notice it MUCH more with the ipad. After a certain amount of time, the tip of my finger starts to feel numb. If I'm traveling and really using it a lot, I will actually start to get pain in my entire hand, stemming from using that finger too much. I try mixing up the fingers a little, but it doesn't seem to help much. My husband has noticed the same thing, so I know it's not just me :)

It really makes me worry about kids that are spending long amounts of time on these touch/finger devices. I've had discussions with my kids about limiting their time and paying attention to warning signs, but it makes me wonder what kinds of problems we are going to see down the road. I've actively discouraged their use of the ipad in favor of a desktop and/or laptop.

Do you have an ipad? So you love it? Any numb fingers around your house?