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Moving Day

Barbara Vey -- March 18th, 2014

moving dayToday is kind of bittersweet.  It is my last day at Publishers Weekly and after today you can find me at BarbaraVey.com.  When I started here 7 years ago, I said I would only do it for 3 months.  At that time, I had never written anything longer than a grocery list and I had no idea what a blog was.  I can still remember asking PW to send me “How to” book about blogging, but at that time, there weren’t that many blogs around, so they told me to write whatever I wanted.

PW was just starting their online presence and I was invited along.  My thanks to Karen Holt for seeing something in me that I didn’t know was there and to Sara Nelson for her encouragement along the way.

All at once, my blog just took off.  There was a need to be filled and apparently, Beyond Her Book, was at the right place, at the right time.  I was invited to New York to speak with the other bloggers about how to write a successful blog.  It was an honor I’ll never forget.  I got to ride the subway for the first time, I never took so many taxis, walked so much, ate New York Pizza and was the total tourist geek.

top 10I got to travel all over the world and meet amazing people.  Not bad for a second career.

My top 10 Favorite things I’ve done at Beyond Her Book:

Please click here to read the rest of the blog.

Got Swag?

Barbara Vey -- March 17th, 2014

virna-2Many thanks to today’s guest blogger, Virna DePaul.  Virna is a former criminal prosecutor and national bestselling author of paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. She writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, HQN, and Random House. In her off hours, she loves broadway musicals, spending time with her family and friends, and connecting with other romance readers. 

 

Swag (noun, verb)

Swag from a Lori Foster event

Swag from a Lori Foster event

1. Slang

a. plunder or booty, as in promotional merchandise

b. The way a person carries herself; confidence, appearance, or style

Romance readers love swag. Which is good, because every year, romance authors go to great lengths to fill hundreds of conference registration bags with little goodies. Why? Because we’re hoping to introduce ourselves to new readers and to remind readers who are already our fans how awesome our books are.

-6The problem is, however, it is very possible—no, probable—that our swag will get lost among the sea of other swag in those bags. That can be a disheartening thought—just like imagining our books lost among a sea of other books would be. But romance writers are a hearty (and creative) bunch, otherwise we wouldn’t be putting our hearts and souls on paper for public consumption to begin with.

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Swag is just another extension of our professional brand, one to be taken seriously. It’s a greeting and a handshake to readers when we can’t be physically present. As such, the swag should truly be a representation of ourselves and our stories.

These tips on how to stand out in the overcrowded job market apply beautifully to author swag!

Continue reading the blog here at my new home, BarbaraVey.com.  And stop by tomorrow for my final PW Blog!

A Special Thanks to Teachers

Barbara Vey -- March 14th, 2014

-2 Today’s guest is New York Times bestseller Dianna Love. She’s converted her art studio into a writing cave with a huge white board on her big easel and some paintings hanging on the walls. Dianna spend her days crafting Slye Temp romantic thrillers for adults as  Dianna Love, and also co-writes (with USA Today bestseller Mary Buckham) the Red Moon sci-fi fantasy trilogy for young adults as USA Today bestseller Micah Caida.

When I was a kid, I loved school.

It’s true. I know some of you are shaking your heads and wondering how that can be, but you have to understand that we grew up with very little and school was this wonderful place where I could step out of a restricted home life to find a whole new world.

That’s the same thing that drew me to reading. I could dive into a book and explore the world I’d never seen outside of Tampa, Florida, because traveling was limited to fishing the Gulf of Mexico on any day we had free. We fished to feed the family, so it was great that I loved fishing, but I never realized how limited my horizons were until living on my own, which happened at seventeen.-4

I’ve done a lot of things since then, such as building companies that created unusual three-dimensional art, wall murals, and other strange marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies.  When I stopped climbing over a hundred feet in the air, I went from painting faces of celebrities that were sometimes twenty feet tall to writing bestselling books. That’s quite a change, but I only tackle what I feel passionate about, and everything I do can be traced back to teachers and librarians who inspired me as a child.

School wasn’t always easy, but I thrive on challenge and love to learn so it suited my personality.  Even so, there were boring classes, too, which is why the teachers who made a special effort stand out. They are the ones who come into sharp focus when I think of who influenced my life.

About a year ago, I met two such dynamic teachers in New York at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. We were at a social event that separated writers by their region of the country, so it was nice to find that Dennis Jolley and Justin Jones were also in the Atlanta area. They both write stories for teens and tweens, and were in New York to develop their craft and to network. I’ve had the pleasure of reading their work and I’m looking forward to seeing those books in print when they sell.

Books for Dennis and Justin's students

Books for Dennis and Justin’s students

But these two men were doing something pretty extraordinary back at their high school that I found more fascinating than any writing workshop. They said many teachers complain, “Our students won’t read.” During a discussion of their passion for literature and why they became English teachers, Dennis and Justin came up with an idea on how to share their love of reading with their students. They put their idea into action by creating a four-pronged program. I’m posting a snippet of a post Dennis wrote called Muggles Can Make Magic, Too from the Nerdy Book Club blog:

Step One began with a commitment to having our students read in silence for ten minutes a day. I’d tried this the year before and failed, but I’d learned two things since then. Kids will not read stuff they aren’t interested in – and you have to meet them where they are. I was willing to give it another go. I knew that practice time is essential. Just as an athlete or musician has to practice to improve their skills, a reader must practice on a regular basis.

Continue reading the blog here where my blog will continue permanently on March 19th and comment there for a chance to win Micah Caida books!

 

Sisterhood

Barbara Vey -- March 12th, 2014

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9781460328033_p0_v5_s114x166Today’s guest blogger is Debby Giusti. She writes inspirational romantic suspense for Love Inspired Books. Her thirteenth novel and the sixth book in her Military Investigations series, THE AGENT’S SECRET PAST, is on sale now at your favorite book stores and available in print and digital form at Amazon.com.

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“I’m an Army wife—a member of that sisterhood of women who have had the courage to watch their men march into battle and the strength to survive until their return. Our sorority knows no rank for we earn our membership with a marriage license, traveling over miles or over nations to begin a new life with our soldier husbands.”

Debby lived in Japan as a child.

Debby lived in Japan as a child.

I wrote those words in a short article entitled Sisterhood, first published in Family Magazine when I was a young wife with small children. Since then Sisterhood has been republished in numerous magazines and given in calligraphy form on parchment to thousands of Army wives around the world.

My dad was career military, and I first learned about the uniqueness of the Army sisterhood from my mother. She was one of the first American women to arrive in Germany at the end of World War II. My mom and dad had married when he came back to the States on leave. A few weeks later, she said goodbye to her parents and traveled alone, over more than four thousand miles, to be with her
soldier husband.

Fast forward to when I was six years old. My mother and I journeyed cross-country by train to San Francisco where we boarded a military troop transport ship. We shared a crowded stateroom with another Army wife and her children for a long and stormy voyage across the Pacific to join my father who was, at that time, stationed in Japan.

You can read the rest of this blog at BarbaraVey.com where my Beyond Her Book blog will move to permanently on March 19th.

Hot New Tuesday Releases

Barbara Vey -- March 11th, 2014

Not too many books being released today, but some very interesting ones.  And, if you missed yesterday’s blog, March 18th will be my last blog here at PW, but I will continue blogging about books, authors, conferences and posting the new releases on my website BarbaraVey.com.  You can go there now to find out 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Julia Quinn for a chance to win a book by her.  Now, here’s today releases.

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Power Play by Danielle Steel    (RHPG – Delacorte)

An Heir of Uncertainty by Alyssa Everett (Carina Press)

Helmut Saves the World by Matt Sheehan (Carina Press)

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Slam Dance with the Devil by Nico Rosso (Carina Press)

AfterShock by Sylvia Day (Harlequin)

Bottom Line:  Today is Johnny Appleseed Day, so in his honor I will eat an apple…well, maybe a caramel apple rolled in nuts.

Can You Believe it’s Been 7 Years?

Barbara Vey -- March 10th, 2014

keep-calm-and-celebrate-7-years-7

This week I celebrate my 7th Anniversary with my Beyond Her Book blog here at Publishers Weekly.  It has been an amazing 7 year run, but like all good things, they tend to come to an end.  I will be bidding adieu to PW on March 18th.

But, don’t feel bad for me.  I will be continuing to cover all things books at my website BarbaraVey.com.  I invite you to come over and take a look.  Today Julia Quinn stops by to let us know “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Julia Quinn.”  Leave a comment on the website for a chance to win one of her books.

I’ll still be in the business.  Right now I’m working on projects with Harlequin, Random House, Reader’s Entertainment, RomCon and Reader Events.  My huge Reader Appreciation Luncheon next month in Milwaukee is closing in on 500 readers.  May I’ll be in New Orleans at the RT Convention with many events still planned for the rest of the year.  I’ll be concentrating on my own website and consulting business.  Who would have thought that I’d be here today when I took that fateful cruise 8 years ago?

You can still look for blogs here until the 18th though when I post my final blog.  I’ve got some terrific people stopping by to chat.  I’ll be looking back at my past 7 years at PW.

Bottom Line: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. ~ Winston Churchill

 

Walking the Path

Barbara Vey -- March 6th, 2014

 

-2Today’s guest blogger is Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall.   As the author of over 75 books, Sharon is a New York Times, USA Today and PW Bestselling authors.  She had won many awards including the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award.  If you don’t follow her on FB, you should because she writes the most interesting posts.  Her newest books is The Dove by Dinah McCall and btw, that’s her granddaughter on the cover.

Not everyone knows why I incorporate Native Americans into so many of my stories, but for the uninformed, I would like to share.
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My Daddy and me about 1944. I was a bout a year old.

My Daddy and me about 1944. I was about a year old.

My daddy’s paternal grandmother was Cherokee, and his maternal grandmother was part Cree, and while I might look like this fair-skinned, blue-eyed white child, every facet of my soul belongs to The People. I identify with the Native way of life and the spiritual beliefs in every way that matters. When I six years old we moved into an old frame house down on the river
south of the town where I grew up so I could catch a bus to start first grade, and every morning when I walked the half mile from our house up to the main road to catch the bus, a lone wolf walked parallel on the rise that ran alongside my path. It never tried to hurt me or come closer and for some reason, I wasn’t afraid. By winter, it had disappeared, and I never thought much of it until years later when I was telling the story. As I spoke of the wolf, an Indian man who was standing in the group suddenly grabbed my arm and very insistently told me that was a powerful sign; that it meant I had been marked by The Old Ones and that I needed to pay attention; that I had a special purpose to fulfill. It was startling to think I had any purpose at all beyond being my father’s daughter and my mother’s child. Little did I know that the wolf, which happens to be the totem for the Cherokee people, had put me on a path far more winding and far-reaching than anything I could ever have envisioned.

-1Now as I write my stories, I have a sense of responsibility to carry the torch that was given to me. My stories come to me in dreams, with complete plots, and with dialogue and in color, and they are as real to me as going to the movies would be for you. All I have to do is wake up and put them on paper so I can share my dreams with my readers. Sometimes the spirits give me stories that I don’t realize serve a certain purpose until long after they have been printed, sold, and read and reread countless times.

As I’m sitting with laptop in hand, I don’t feel like I’m writing. I’m not struggling to find what words comes next, or what needs to happen. I don’t see the words I’m typing as they appear on the screen. I see the story unfolding in my head in movie fashion, and I have learned to translate what I see into words. It’s a good thing I can type fast, because sometimes the movie wants to go faster than my fingers, and I have to take a breath and slow down. Some people call that channeling; like I’m being given the story. I don’t know what to call it. I just know it is my process; it is my gift.

Being a storyteller, which is what I call myself, rather than a writer, is a great thing within the native culture. They are the keepers of the past and the historians for the future, and I am forever grateful for my native soul and for the path on which I walk.

Bottom Line:  OMG!  Today is Oreo Cookie Day…like I need a reason.  Pass the milk, please.

Hot New Tuesday Releases

Barbara Vey -- March 4th, 2014

I love new release day.  I get to add new books to my wish list which, by the way, has it’s own folder on my computer.  Yes, there are probably more books on there than I’ll ever be able to read, but just the thought of a never ending supply of new and exciting stories at my fingertips leaves me breathless.  So thanks everyone, for creating adventures that make my days and nights so unpredictable.

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Loving Lord Ash: Duchess of Love by Sally MacKenzie (Zebra / Kensington)

Hearts of Chaos by Kira Brady (Zebra / Kensington)

Turn Up The Heat by Kimberly Kincaid (Zebra / Kensington)

Tell No Lies by Tanya Anne Crosby (eKensinton)

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Overcome by Annmarie McKenna  ( Taliesin Publishing)

Redeemed, Wolf Gatherings Book #: 4 by Becca Jameson  (Taliesin Publishing)

The Ambassador’s Daughter by Theodora Lane  ( Taliesin Publishing)

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Secrets in Paradise by Pauline Saull (Taliesin Publishing)

Witch’s Bounty, The Witch Chronicles Book #: 1 by Ann Gimpel 
(Taliesin Publishing)

A Simple Hope by Rosalind Lauer (RHPG – Ballantine)

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The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal  (RHPG – Bantam)

Four Years Later by Monica Murphy  (RHPG – Bantam)

Rock It by Jennifer Chance (RHPG – Loveswept)

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Murder Comes Ashore by Julie Anne Lindsey (Carina Press)

The Epherium Chronicles: Embrace by T.D. Wilson (Carina Press)

Dial M for Ménage by Emily Ryan-Davis (Carina Press)

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Take the Bait by Cindy Dees (Harlequin HQN)

His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock (Harlequin Heartwarming)                 

Night Games by Lisa Marie Perry (Harlequin Kimani Romance)

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For His Eyes Only by Liz Fielding (Harlequin KISS)

Risk of a Lifetime by Caroline Anderson (Harlequin Medical Romances)

Remembering That Night by Stephanie Doyle (Harlequin Superromance)

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The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin (Harlequin HQN)

Waking Up Pregnant by Mira Lyn Kelly (Harlequin KISS)

Shadowmaster by Susan Krinard (Harlequin Presents)

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The Returning Hero by Soraya Lane (Harlequin Romance)

The Real Thing by Brenda Jackson (Harlequin)

The Rome Affair by Addison Fox (Harlequin Romantic Suspense)

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Most Eligible Sheriff by Cathy McDavid (Harlequin)

Dark Tide by Susan Sleeman (Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense)

Winning Over the Wrangler by Linda Ford (Harlequin Love Inspired Historical)

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Seducing His Princess by Olivia Gates (Harlequin Desire)

Flight to Coorah Creek by Janet Gover  (Choc Lit)

The Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli (Choc Lit)

Bottom Line:  “A book is a movie made out of a tree.” ~ Seth MacFarlane

My Friend Pierre Jalbert

Barbara Vey -- March 3rd, 2014
Eileen Dreyer

Eileen Dreyer

-11With the Academy Awards on last night, I first want to congratulate author Maggie Mae Gallagher’s brother, Robert Huth, on winning an Oscar for Frozen.  You can read Maggie’s story about Robert here.  Today, author Eileen Dreyer, shares with us her friendship with Oscar and Emmy nominated Pierre Jalbert.  Eileen is a retired trauma nurse, and lives in her native St. Louis with her husband, children, and large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.  Eileen is an award winning author of over 30 books.

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My friend Pierre Jalbert died last month at 89 years. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him. He made a career in Hollywood, but isn’t a household name. He won’t be in the Oscars remembrance clips. He was one of those yeoman workers who get thanked at speech time.

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I met Pierre by sending a fan letter. There was a TV show in the 60s called
Combat! I watched, critiquing it as a theater/film student (okay, so there were also
handsome soldiers in danger. Sue me). My friends and I would dissect each episode as if it were Hitchcock.

 

Pierre in Combat!

Pierre in Combat!

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The show came back on in the 80s, and to my relief, it really was as good as it had seemed to me as a teenager. Vic Morrow, the star, had just been killed on the Twilight Zone set. I figured if I wanted to reach the cast, I needed to do it then. So I wrote, just to say thank you. Somehow, serendipitously, Pierre and his wife became dear friends.

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Pierre had an amazing life. He was Captain of the 1948 Canadian Olympic
team and one of the first ski instructors at Sun Valley and Aspen. He was a film and dialog editor. In fact, if you can understand Marlon Brando in The Godfather, you can thank Pierre.

The Canadian Olympic team. Pierre is second from the right.

The Canadian Olympic team. Pierre is second from the right.

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He worked with the big names (“Marlon Brando is a pussycat, darling. A
pussycat”) on movies like Ben Hur, Singing in the Rain, Mutiny on the Bounty,
Blackboard Jungle, American in Paris. When he wasn’t editing, he was teaching the
same people to ski. So when Pierre and his wife dropped names, the ground shook.
Not to impress. Those were just the people they knew. Nureyev. Sinatra. Lazar.
Duvall. Chamberlain. Altman. Hepburn. Power.

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Pierre was such good friends with the legendary Norma Shearer, he was
married in her living room. The fireplace in his living room came from the set of
Gigi. He was Oscar and Emmy nominated, and still the fastest man down the ski
slope well into his sixties. And, by the way, to the day he died the sexiest man I ever
met. I mean, like, knee­-weakening. He loved women, and when he held your hand, you knew it.

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In the 60s, MGM asked if he wanted to act. They needed someone who
spoke French for a show about WWII. Pierre said no. He would have lost his parking
spot. They finally talked him into it, though, and he became an integral member of
the Combat! cast, doing some wonderful work.

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Pierre in later years.

Pierre in later years.

 

Of course, as a writer, I couldn’t simply waste all that wonderful experience.  I talked him into letting me watch him loop a movie and then sit by his pool talking of his life. I got a romance out of it (written as Kathleen Korbel) called Edge of the World.

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Pierre had an amazing thirst for life. Not just for his crafts. He was a
voracious reader, a dedicated historian (I still really want to do a miniseries of the
treatment he wrote about the Marquis de Lafayette), and a lover of art. I’ll never
forget being followed around the old Getty museum by guards after he laid himself
out on the floor to fondle the antique parquet floor.

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I met some people in the industry through him, other character actors and
technicians. I heard great stories and saw how the industry could wear you down.
And I learned that to survive and thrive, you have to be strong and self-­assured and
resilient. The people like him live from call to call, and I saw the impact when that
call didn’t come. But Pierre would simply shrug and open a book on Napoleon or
break rock to terrace his lawn or share a ski slope with his wife Joy. It’s a lesson I
took to heart in my own career. We can control very little. But we can make sure
what we do control is the best we can be. Because that is what remains.

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That and the memories. And Pierre left behind some wonderful memories.

Bottom Line:  I watched Combat! every week as a teenager and we’d all talk about it at school.  Great show!

An Oscar Winner in the Family

Barbara Vey -- February 28th, 2014

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Maggie Mae Gallagher, is the author of Anointed: The Cantati Chronicles, a dark, urban fantasy series.  A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie is a also an Event Manager for RomCon , and CEO of Gallagher Author Services.  She’s also related to an Academy Award winner.  This is her story.

This weekend will be the eighty-sixth Academy Awards. While most of the population considers it nothing more than a bunch of Hollywood Pomp and Circumstance, it is a quite a bit more significant for me. You see, last year my baby brother, Robert Huth, won an Oscar or at least, he worked as one of the animators on the film, Disney’s Paperman, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short. This year, his latest film, a little movie by Disney you might have heard of, Frozen, has garnered two Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. What is it like having a little brother who has worked on a film that has won an Oscar and might win more?

My brother, Robert, holding the Oscar and the director of Paperman

My brother, Robert, holding the Oscar, and the director of Paperman

Besides being utterly amazing, it means he has also set the bar for success in my family pretty high. Creativity certainly runs in the family as I am releasing my debut novel Anointed today!

I think in many ways having my little brother do what he does, has inspired me to work tirelessly on my dreams of writing and being an author. His path to working at Disney wasn’t necessarily an easy one nor did he start out at Disney. Prior to Disney, he worked at Blue Sky Studios in Connecticut, and worked on films like Rio and Ice Age 3. In 2011, Disney knocked on his door, and it was the type of opportunity he could not pass up.

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I asked him once, “What is it like, once you get your dream?” And his response was one that pushed me to change my approach in working toward my goal and aspirations, he said, “Well, Mag, it is still a job.”FROZN_014M_G_ENG-GB_70x100.indd

The journey for Frozen, from being a mere story on the page into the wonder they created: both musically and visually is an iconic film in the making. I tear up a bit, in a very proud, big sisterly, type of way when I think about my brother being a part of it.

The moral of this story is: Live your dream. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. The chances you take may be big and scary, but in the end, life is too short to do anything that doesn’t make you happy, inspire your passion and make you to want to reach beyond yourself. You might even one day end up with a golden statuette or book with your name on it.

Bottom Line:  As for this weekend, “Go team Frozen!”

Watch the Academy Award winning Paperman here.  Very romantic!!