Monthly Archives: July 2010

RWA: Workshops and Parties

Barbara Vey -- July 30th, 2010
Danniele, Marilyn, Kira, me, Kimberly, Alexandra

Danniele, Marilyn, Kira, me, Kimberly, Alexandra

One of the best parts of coming to RWA is meeting up with old friends.  With over 2,500 people here, that’s a lot of meeting up.  An annual get-together that I look forward to is seeing the women of the Writing Playground.  We met at my first RWA when none were published yet and have continued getting together every RWA since.  Now Kimberly Lang and Kira Sinclair are publishing veterans, Marilyn Puitt, Danniele Worsham and Alexandra Frost are polishing up their books for pitches.  The annual conference is a great way to watch people careers grow and blossom from year to year.

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Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts

Keynote speaker for the luncheon was Nora Roberts.  Joysann attended and reports that, exhorting authors to work hard, Nora says “it’s supposed to be hard”, and that “hard is what makes it special”, so “ride the hard”. But she also says to find friends because “no one should have to face the hard alone.”

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Anne Elizabeth at the spa

Anne Elizabeth at the spa

As for me, I admit I slipped off for a few minutes with Anne Elizabeth and Sheila English for a little spa treatment.  It was wonderful to relax, have my poor tootsies rubbed and inhale the soothing scents.  A quick lunch and I was rejuvenated for the afternoon.

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The workshops for the afternoon included:

Sex Appeal: Blurring the Boundaries Between Women’s and Men’s Fiction brought Suzanne Brockmann and thriller author Lee Childs together in discussion. Lee maintains that men are a hard sell as most men don’t read fiction at all, and the best way to get them to read romance is to not tell them it’s romance at all.

Helen Kay Daimon received the Mentor of the Year Award

Helen Kay Daimon received the Mentor of the Year Award

Writing in Multiple Genres was a panel discussion with Ann Aguirre, Cynthia Eden, Beth Kerry, Elisabeth Naughton, Juliana Stone, and Beth Williamson. The consensus seemed to be that despite the challenge of a multiplied workload, writing in multiple genres enhances the writing experience and is rewardin

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Heather Graham, Shirley Hailstock, Gail King-Gamble

Heather Graham, Shirley Hailstock, Gail King-Gamble

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I stopped in the Presidential Suite to help RWA celebrate 30 years.  It was a beautiful view with a grand piano and wine.

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Next I ran over to the Swan for the Trident Party.  I met agents Robert Gottlieb and Kim Whalen and Pocket editor Lauren.   I’m sorry that I could only stay a few minutes because I was off to a dinner, but I got to congratulate Cherry Adair for hitting the NY Times list this week, said a quick hi to Karen Tabke, Liz Kreger and Edie Ramer.

Carina Press Dinner

Carina Press Dinner

Carina Press invited bloggers and reviewers to a lovely dinner off the Disney property, so 15 of us boarded a van.  Yes, it did look a little like a clown car when we all poured out.  Angela James was quick to point out that our waiter resembled an alpha hero and when he mentioned that he also cooks, cleans and does laundry (because it won’t get done itself), there was a collective sigh around the table.  I was seated next to Lynn Spencer of All About Romance and Aztec Lady (she said I could call her Al).  A little wine, wonderful food and delightful conversation.  I learned so much and now have more new blogs to read.  The taxi ride back to the hotel was a nightmare.  Jayne Hoogenberk, Al and I needed to be back early to hit other events.  Unfortunately, our cab driver got lost.  It was a long, hot, bumpy ride in the back seat and I got a case of motion sickness.  When we finally got back to the hotel, I was feeling so lousy that I was walking like a drunken sailor with Jayne and Al holding me up.  More than one person commented that I probably had “too much to drink.”  I wish…instead I stumbled into my room and barely made it to the bathroom.  No more parties for me last night.

So, my apologies to Death by Chocolate, Pasic, Nancy Berland and the Harlequin Pajama Party.  I’m sure they were all a blast and when I get pictures from them, I’ll be sure to post them to the blog.

Bottom Line: If the ride there takes 15 minutes and the ride back, over an hour…your cabbie is probably lost.

RWA: Librarian/Bookseller Day

Barbara Vey -- July 29th, 2010
Christie Ridgeway,   , Eloisa James

Christie Ridgeway, Kristin Ramsdell, Eloisa James

Wednesday was a day to celebrate librarians.  The workshops were geared to them, the goody room loaded with books and swag and authors were waiting in the wings to court them.  I hit the workshop given by Christie Ridgeway, Eloisa James and Kristin Ramsdell on trending books.  Focus on Young Adult Romance featured Melissa de la Cruz, Ally Carter, Simone Elkeles, Susan Gibbermand, Amy Alessio – Popular Young Adult authors and a librarian talked about how to bring Young Adult readers into the library, and how to entice them into choosing a book.  Best advice — don’t be pushy.  Offer selections, but let the kids have the final say.  At Tips and Tricks for Effective Romance Collection Development, author Tessa Dare and Wendy Crutcher, librarians both, gave excellent tips for maintaining and weeding a library collection during the financial stress libraries are suffering now.  The best suggestion is to make sure everything is cataloged so that you know it is there and it can be found when needed, saving the high costs of new purchase or Inter-Libarary Loans.

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Jeannie Lin and Kimberly Killion

Jeannie Lin and Kimberly Killion

Karen Rose and Jennifer Dillion of the Pennfield Middle School

Karen Rose and Jennifer Dillion of the Pennfield Middle School

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Sherrilyn Kenyon was the luncheon speaker and told of her days working in a library.  After lunching with the authors, the librarians and booksellers enjoyed the goody room where they gathered tons of books, bookmarks, candy and other offerings.   A meet and greet followed while the two groups mixed and talked to their love of books and gratitude for each other.  Everyone came out a winner.

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Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love and fan

Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love at Literacy signing with fan

The Literacy signing is always a high point of the conference with over 500 authors signing their book and all proceeds to charity.  Fans started lining up 3 hours early and the line went on forever.  It was a sight to behold when the doors opened and the lovers of all things romance came pouring in.  Many of the authors sold out of their books.  I heard one woman tell Beverly Barton how she read Beverly’s books to her dying father when he couldn’t read himself anymore and how much that meant to her.  Stories like this are plentiful and it helps bring home how important authors and their stories are in people’s lives.  While the signing officially ended at 7:30 p.m., Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love were the last to leave at 9 p.m. when their line finally came to an end and all their books were signed.  Congratulations on a very successful event for all.

Kate Poole, Marcia James, Nell Brice, Raelene Gorlinsky, Eileen Ann Brennan

Kate Poole, Marcia James, Nell Brice, Raelene Gorlinsky, Eileen Ann Brennan

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After a quick dinner, (well, not so quick as the restaurants were all packed) I headed over to the Ellora’s Cave Dessert Party.  Wonderfully decadent desserts were served and I got the coolest bag that goes across your body and has two sides that were stuffed with books.  Definitely a keeper.

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Next up was the Goddess Blog Party.  This group of authors not only write a fun blog, they also put on a terrific event.   Here’s even more pictures from RWA.

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Meg Cabot with YA fan, Nicola

Meg Cabot with YA fan, Nicola

From New Zealand, Sandra Hyatt, Tessa Radley, Abby Gaines

From New Zealand, Sandra Hyatt, Tessa Radley, Abby Gaines

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Bottom Line: Don’t come to these events expecting to leave with one or two books…more like one or two boxes of books.

RWA: Disney World First

Barbara Vey -- July 28th, 2010
The Dolphin our Conference Hotel

The Dolphin our Conference Hotel

Finally made it to Orlando after an all day flight from San Diego and an hour plus delay in Atlanta when we were told our flight crew now had to fly to Boston, but we’d be getting someone else.  Then there was the thunder and lightening storm we flew through.  But once we landed, all was well.  Except for the fact that my one very small piece of luggage was the very last thing on the conveyor belt.  I was the last one there.  Very creepy and my good shoes were in that bag.  I was so worried that I even went up to a couple of people who had the same kind of luggage and gave them the once over.

Barbara Vey

Yes, I'm wearing a Tinkerbell shirt that says Barbara from friend, Robyn

Very hot, humid and muggy here with nighttime temps in the 90s.  Doesn’t matter.  Yesterday I was off to the Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) with Joysann.  We got to take the boat across from our hotel and I didn’t even get sick (major motion sickness here).  Since it was Joysann’s first time, we hit everything.  Tower of Terror, Little Mermaid, Backlot Tour, Great Movie Ride, Narnia, Walt Disney Story, Beauty and the Beast and even had lunch at the Prime Time Cafe (meatloaf, just like mom used to make).  Sadly, the Toy Story 3 ride wasn’t working, so I’ll just have to come back another time.

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Joysann at the Tower of Terror

Joysann at the Tower of Terror

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Meanwhile, back at the hotel, authors began arriving by the busloads for the Romance Writers of America Conference.  Our sweaty, stinky selves were greeted by the Romance Bandits, the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales, Linda Howard, Linda Winstead Jones, Beverly Barton, Sharon Sala, Lori Handleland and more before we made it to our rooms.  After cleaning up, we had dinner at Shula’s.  Now, I’m not normally this slow, but until they put the real football menu on the table, I didn’t realize that this was owned by Don Shula.  Sure the football pictures all over the place should have given me a clue and I am in Florida, but still, I think too much sun during the day had something to do with it.

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Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Called it a very early night because today is a very big day here.  First the library and booksellers event (that goes all day) and then the huge Literacy signing from 5:30-7:30 tonight with proceeds going to charity.  Over 500 authors will be participating.  It’s a free event, so come on down to support it.

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Bottom Line: No Mickey sighting yet, although I did see Donald, Daisy, Pooh, Piglet, Buzz and Woody.

Comic Con: Once More With Feeling

Barbara Vey -- July 26th, 2010
Nathan Fillion and Katic Stana

Nathan Fillion and Katic Stana

Hard to believe this is the last day of San Diego Comic Con.  It has been a busy week, but so many new and exciting adventures.  Sunday was no different.  Although I got there early, I was unable to get into the Castle panel.  No Nathan Fillion for me this year.  Luckily I met Cynthia Schnautz on the elevator at my hotel and she told me she was there.  Cynthia sent me  pictures of Fillion and Katic reading from Heat Wave.  The first thing the moderator requested was that Fillion and Katic read the pages leading up to the sex scene between Rook and Heat (because of the possibility of children under 18 being present they didn’t didn’t read the scene itself).  They had also changed the name “Nikki” to “Kate.”

Cast of Castle

Cast of Castle

“Richard Castle” sent in a video from the Hamptons saying he was sorry he couldn’t make it.  In the course of the video he discovers a body and invites the general public to help him solve the case by following WriteRCastle on Twitter.

They also got to see the first few minutes of the premiere episode.  Apparently Castle hasn’t contacted anyone at the precinct since he left for the Hamptons. Nathen Fillion brought a bunch of items that he signed and gave away to people who asked questions during the panel.  He even gave away snippets of his hair!  I’m sorry I missed that.  (Thanks Cynthia for the info and the pictures!)

Sue Sylvester and Barbara Vey

Sue Sylvester and me

Kiowa Gordon and Barbara Vey

Kiowa Gordon and me

No Glee either, although I did go over and check out the Glee Karaoke booth.  I didn’t sing, but it was really fun to watch others try to match up their voices to the Glee cast.  I even managed to have a few words with Sue Sylvester.  Then I had a Twilight spotting when I saw Kiowa Gordon who played Embry Call, a teenage shapeshifter from La Push and is one of Jacob’s “wingmen.”  So, of course, I just had to grab a quick photo.

Finally made it into the Sons of Anarchy panel.  It was almost over, but it was fun seeing Ron Perlman.  Next up was the panel for It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia.  Now I’ve never seen the show, but they showed a never before seen episode and it was hilarious.  Danny Devito was there and he makes me laugh by just walking on the stage.  I know I’ll be watching more of this show.

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Cast of White Collar

Cast of White Collar

I also got to be at a press panel with the White Collar cast.  Love that show. Premise is  “A white collar criminal agrees to help the FBI catch other white collar criminals using his expertise as an art and securities thief, counterfeiter and racketeer.”  Tiffani Theissen is on the show and it’s such fun to watch her play an adult role after all those years on Saved By The Bell (Andrew made me watch it).  I did ask Matt Boomer how it was to come from being a spy killed on Chuck to playing suave Neal Caffrey.  He said the spy was very focused on doing the right thing and Neal is more about doing his thing right.  Just different thrills.  Tim DeKay admitted that after the camera zooms in on his two beautiful costars, it has to back away when it shows him.

Matt Boomer and Barbara Vey

Matt Boomer and me

Comic Con closed, for me, like it always does, with a final showing of the Buffy musical episode, Once More with Feeling.  The audience is handed props to use during the show and subtitles are supplied for those of us who don’t yet know all the words.  There’s yelling at the screen when Spike says he wants nothing more to do with Buffy (Liar!) and when Dawn comes on (kill her).  Cheers for the bad guy and hoots when Spike and Buffy kiss at the end.  Then the doors close on the convention center for the last time for this Comic Con until next year and everything ends “Happily Ever After.”

Bottom Line: Now on a plane for Orlando and the RWA where ever more HEAs await…I’m psyched!

Comic Con: Celebrity Sighting at Cafe Diem

Barbara Vey -- July 25th, 2010
Dr. Who and his screwdriver

Dr. Who and his screwdriver

I spent a couple of hours just walking around the convention center.  Actually, I was barely moving because of the crush of people.  It was more like shuffling your feet until you wanted to stop and look at something and could get over to it.  There were lines forming everywhere for free stuff, autographs, photo ops and to buy stuff.

At the BBC booth, they were sold out of the sonic screwdriver (or whatever it’s called) that Dr. Who uses.  I kept hearing, “We hope to get more in soon.”  Over at DC Comics, they had limited edition action figures made just for Comic Con, but you had to go to the second floor sales pavillion, get a ticket for a lottery drawing and then hope to get picked just to have a chance to buy the thing.  Warner Brothers was giving away free t-shirts, but again, you had find a guy in a red t-shirt and stand in his line for a ticket to come back to the booth and then they’d make the shirt for you.  I saw a sign for an autograph session with Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz and then another one for Human Target stars.  The lines just kept wrapping around and around.  I found out I’m just not a line person, so I passed on all those things.

Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan

I did go upstairs to the separate autograph hall that had more breathing room and saw Rick Riordan signing his Percy Jackson books.  He took a moment for a picture.  Charlaine Harris was also there and even though she was signing for the last person in her line (because she was doing a panel next), the security wouldn’t even let me go up for a picture.  I tried to explain that I knew her and just wanted to say hi, but it was like they were guarding the President.  Finally I got the attention of the bookseller and he passed along a message, but geez, that was frustrating.

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Marjorie Liu signing at the Marvel booth

Marjorie Liu signing at the Marvel booth

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The lines for panels were several hours long and once in the room people could stay all day for each different session if they wanted to.  That meant that those in line for later groups might not get in.  Not a perfect system.  While everyone was basically fun loving and in good moods, news traveled quickly when one person tried to take a seat saved for someone else and ended with one stabbing the other in his eye.  Glad I wasn’t there for that, but it’s really amazing that, for all the people there it was the only incident I heard of.

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Robert Carlyle and Barbara Vey

Robert Carlyle and me

Had dinner at my favorite place, Cafe Diem.   It’s normally called Mary Jane’s, but for Comic Con it’s converted into the restaurant from the SyFy channel’s Eureka.  I was keeping my eye’s pealed for someone from one of the shows to come in when I spotted Robert Carlyle from Stargate Universe (he was also in The Full Monty).  I almost tripped over my feet with my camera in hand and asked for a picture.  He was very gracious and with his lovely British accent said he just stopped in because he heard his name was on the menu.  Next I noticed David Blue who plays Eli Wallace on the show (one of my favorite characters) and he was adorable while he patiently smiled for pictures with his excited fans.  I saw I guy I thought I should have

David Blue and Barbara Vey

David Blue and me

known and when I asked him who he was he explained that he was the creator of the show.  I thanked him for it, but didn’t get a photo.  Maybe I should have, just to be nice, so I’m apologizing now in case he’s reading this.

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More pictures from Comic Con.

Dresses made from the Comic Con bags

Dresses made from the Comic Con bags

Mad Hatter and Captain Jack Sparrow

Mad Hatter and Captain Jack Sparrow

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Silver Surfer

Silver Surfer

Sean and Ian

Sean and Ian

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Bottom Line: One day to go…can my feet handle it?

Psyched at Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 24th, 2010
Stephen Collins and Barbara Vey

Stephen Collins and me

Great start for me on Friday.  My first interview was with one of my favorite actors, Stephen Collins, at the Hard Rock Hotel restaurant.  I thought it would be really cool to be sitting out in public with such a cool, famous, good-looking guy and I was right about that part of it.  The bad part was that it was so loud in the place that it was almost impossible to ask/answer questions.  Of course, that just meant we had to scoot our chairs a little closer (please let me not have bad breath).  Yes, total fan girl mode here.

Stephen, with trademark dimples flashing, patiently answered my burning questions.  How amazing was it to be on the first Star Trek movie? At the time, it didn’t do that well.  No one was sure how the tv show would translate to the big screen with fans.  But it was great fun to do and I attended my first Star Trek convention last year.  The panel drew 3,000 and I found the fans to be intelligent, loyal and enthusiastic. One of my favorite movies of yours is Jumpin’ Jack Flash with Whoopi Goldberg. Well, when they changed directors, they wanted to recast the movie except for Whoopi.  Lucky for me Richard Dreyfus and Michael Keaton turned it down. (I’m glad too.)  Tales of the Gold Monkey is being released on DVD and I watched the show when it first was on television (loved it).  Were you hoping to follow the success of Indiana Jones? Actually, it was pitched to tv before the Indiana Jones movie and turned down.  After the success of the movie, the studios came back to the writer and said, “What about that show you pitched a while ago?”  I had never watched the Indiana Jones movie, so I really didn’t base my character on him. Ok, at this point his publicist started to push me off my chair, but I did manage to get a quick picture with Stephen and I asked him if it was ok if I said, on the blog, that I love getting lost in his dimples.  He gave me a huge smile and I was lost.

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Cast of Psych

Cast of Psych

Now, here’s what went on at yesterday’s press panel for Psych, who’s tagline reads, Fake psychic. Real detectives. The cast came by the press tables by ones and twos, but the most common question centered around food.  On the show, food is always discussed by Shawn and Gus, but the question was, “Why no food at the police department…like donuts?” There are donuts and snacks behind Juliet’s desk and they’ve been there since the beginning, they just keep shellacking them. I asked about a musical episode and James Roday said they’ve talked about but nothing yet.  He also mentioned a Twin Peaks episode that he wrote and directed with some of the original Twin Peaks cast coming on board.  When asked about sticking to the script, Dule Hill admitted that sometimes James goes off into another area, and Dule will just follow along.  It’s obvious that they all have a great time with the show and it comes across every episode.

I do have wonderful videos and as soon as I get help transferring them to the blog, I’ll let you know.

Sherrilyn Kenyon and Vyxsin

Sherrilyn Kenyon and Vyxsin

While cruising Comic Con, I checked out the autograph areas and saw Vyxsin and Kynt from The AmazingRace.  I loved watching them compete and they are as delightful in person.  Turns out that Vyxsin is a huge romance fan and was thrilled to meet Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Since Vyxsin is from Los Angeles, I told her about RT being there next year and she’s planning on stopping by.

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I also caught up with Ardrian Phoenix signing at the Mysterious Galaxy booth and David J. Williams at the Bantam booth.

David J. Williams

David J. Williams

Adrian Phoenix

Adrian Phoenix

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I know Heather Graham asked me to look for her daughter, Chynna, who’s working at a booth in Artist’s Alley, but it was packed with tall, beautiful women dressed in costume.  I felt like a Munchkin around them.  Sorry, Heather.

Bottom Line: Missed Nathan Fillion, William Shatner and Dexter yesterday.  Today wearing x-ray glasses made to single out those on my “Must Meet” list.

Comic Con: From Spartacus to Bruce Campbell

Barbara Vey -- July 23rd, 2010
Barbara Vey and the Spartacus Guys

Me and the Spartacus Guys

I wish I’d have worn a pedometer here because I am putting on some serious mileage. The costume wearers aren’t only confined to the Convention Center.  There’s a lot to be seen on the street.

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Ray Guys

Ray Guys

Barbara Vey and Men in Black

Me and the Men in Black

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After cruising through the main room of Comic Con on Thursday, I headed over to the Hard Rock Hotel to interview independent writer/director Larry Blamire.  I was sent the DVD for A Dark and Stormy Night, a campy tribute to the 1930′s scary dark house movies.  While watching it, I kept waiting for Abbott and Costello to pop out.  Highly entertaining, it brought back memories of Saturday afternoon movies and Larry admits that he likes his movies to be the kind that “the whole family can enjoy together.  When movies were more than just special effects.”    He also did The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and Andrew insists that we have already seen this movie and enjoyed it.  Larry was kind enough to do a Drive By Video and explain how his films are perfect for romance readers.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oReyoDQykI4

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I apologize ahead of time in case the video doesn’t show up.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  If anyone can tell me what I’m doing wrong, I’d appreciate it.

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LdyDisney

LdyDisney

Met up with Twitter buddy, author Lisa Kessler (LdyDisney on Twitter) and her hubby for a quick lunch.  They live in the area and enjoy Comic Con, but their daughter really gets into it.  She sews costumes to wear everyday and was Tinkerbell when I saw her.  Coming up she’ll be wearing Alice in Wonderland’s Bridal Dress.

I finally made it to the press room and got to interview the casts of Burn Notice, Psych and White Collar.  Thank goodness I met Tracy Sebastian because she had an amazing camera, took terrific pictures and then sent them to me.  Be sure to check out her blog.  Since there’s so much to write about each show (and I have video), I’ll space them out over the next couple of days.  First, Burn Notice.

Barbara Vey and Bruce Campbell

Barbara Vey and Bruce Campbell

Burn Notice is about “A spy recently disavowed by the US Government uses his Special Ops training to help others in trouble.”  The cast of characters is one of the best parts of this series and I was thrilled to meet the amazing Bruce Campbell in person.  I even asked him if he would have his picture taken with a grandma (yes, I used the grandma card).  There’ll be video of him coming up next week when I finally get a few minutes to download and edit it.  Bruce said how much he enjoys playing Sam and working with Emmy nominated Sharon Gless is amazing.  They have some great guest stars lined up including Burt Reynolds.  After meeting Bruce, Andrew told me I now have to go and watch all the Evil Dead movies.

Barbara Vey and Sophia Nash

Me with Sophia Nash

Next I ran about a mile to a cocktail party given by EOS/Avon/HarperCollins.  I was hot and sweaty, but the cold wine went down well.  I was offered a skewer of fruit balls (watermelon, honeydew, cantalope) that I looked so good I shoved the whole thing in my month and nearly choked to death.  I asked the waitress why it tasted so odd and she said the balls had been soaking in rum for 3 days.  Ewww!  I had to eat a bowl of potato chips to get the taste out of my mouth.   Sophia Nash was there looking like a model and it’s always a pleasure to talk historicals with her.  I felt like I belonged on “What Not to Wear” in my capris and sneakers, while Sophia sparkled in her little black dress and 5 inch strappy heels.  (Note to self:  keep spare outfit in purse.)

Finally, I did another mile or so down to the Harbor House Restaurant where I was delighted to share the company of Syndee Barwick (DC Comics), Mary Elizabeth (Mysterious Galaxy) and others in a designated “Girls Night Out.”   Outside the restaurant was a lighted Cinderella carriage (with horse) to take us back to our hotel, but since my butt was dragging and I felt more like the bride of Frankenstein than Cinderella, I limped back to my room to rest up for what I’m sure will turn out to be Freaky Friday.

More Comic Con Photos:

Dog Walking...Comic Con Style

Dog Walking...Comic Con Style

Wonder Women

Wonder Women

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The winner of the Rizzoli and Isles jigsaw puzzle from yesterday is Gina.  Please send me your snail mail address and I’ll send your prize to you.  barbaravey@gmail.com

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Bottom Line: Just heard that Angelina Jolie is here, but I haven’t seen her yet.  Now if it was Brad Pitt who was here, I still wouldn’t be sitting in this room.

Preview Night at San Diego Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 22nd, 2010
Preview night

Preview night

The lines seemed to stretch forever as the crowds gathered to check in for the mega comic con event.  Of course, I waited in line only to discover that “industry professionals” does not mean “press.”  That was a whole other line.

Preview night used to mean the press would get in early and exhibtors  could look each other over before the general masses decended on opening day.  Now it’s just a free for all.

Patty Berg of Crown Publishing

Patty Berg of Crown Publishing

Giant bags (almost as tall as me) are given out so you can haul around all the goodies you are likely to collect going from booth to booth.  Almost everyone is giving away something for free.  Books, posters, dvds, skins for your iPod, comics, toys, buttons and more bags.  I have to tell you that my shoulder was aching by the end of the night due to the weight of my stash.  Think Trick or Treat on Halloween without the candy. Crown Publishing was giving away books with the cover that read, “Did LSD Kill JFK?”

The biggest lines seems to form around DC Comics and Mattel, but I couldn’t get close enough to see what they were giving away.  I’ll try to find out today.  Comic Con is not for the faint of heart and if you can’t bear crowds, this isn’t for you.

Jackie Kessler, Diana Rowland and Rachel Caine

Jackie Kessler, Diana Rowland and Rachel Caine

I tried to keep my eyes on the passing people because you never know who you may run into and sure enough I caught up with authors Diana Rowland, Rachel Caine and Jackie Kessler.  Turns out we were all checking out the publishers booths.  No authors were signing yet, although there were some books presigned for sale.  At Random House they were promoting Tess Gerritsen’s new television series, Rizzoli and Isles with  puzzles of the main characters.  That was something I’d never seen before, so I snatched a couple up and will send one to a lucky commentor today.  All you have to do is post that you wish you were at Comic Con and you’ll be entered.

Rizzoli and Isles Puzzle

Rizzoli and Isles Puzzle

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I made a big mistake by wearing my cute flip-flops, but today comfort rules as I don my trusty sneakers.  I’ll find out how good my stamina is as I head into a full day of interviews, panels, meet ups and parties.

So now, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win of the Rizzoli and Isles  jigsaw puzzles.  I’ll post the winner tomorrow.

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Bottom Line: Oh, the loyalty I have to my job.

Gearing Up For San Diego Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 21st, 2010

I swear I spend more time going through my email than anything else.  This is especially true at Comic Con time.  Everyone and their uncle are sending out press releases from movies, tv shows, authors, publishers, artists, games, wrestlers, candy bar eating contests and yes, even comic books.

Even though I have a full schedule of interviews lined up, there’s lots that I’m sad I couldn’t get into.  Castle, True Blood, Chuck and Bones.  But I did score on Psych, Burn Notice (ah, Bruce Campbell), White Collar, Stephen Collins and a red carpet event at the Hard Rock.  Of course, you never know who I may run into just wandering around the convention center or even on the streets of San Diego with my Flip video.

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Bella's shoes

Bella's shoes

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I spent Tuesday afternoon meandering around the area and went into Nordstoms for the first time.   They have the nicest sales people and many were romance readers (always nice to hear).   I also met Bella there who just got the most amazing shoes.  The funny part was that her sister’s tennies had no laces.  Poor thing.

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Mike Frey and Shauna LeValley of George's

Mike Frey and Shauna LeValley of George's

While I was checking out the construction of the Carpe Diem restaurant (from the SyFy show Eureka), I stumbled across Georges on Fifth.  This steak house building was formerly owned by Wyatt Earp in the 1880′s here he ran a saloon and gambling hall called “The Oyster Bar.”  Their brochure explains:  This was one of the better known and frequented saloons in the city.  One of the reasons for its popularity was that upstairs was a brothel called the Golden Poppy.   The uniquie feature was that each room was painted a different color and each lady wore a dress the same color as her room. They even offer tours there.

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It’s still pretty quiet here compared to what’s about to hit the city, but I can’t wait for all 140,000 people to show up.

Bottom Line: You can never see too many Storm Troopers.

How Much Time Do You Give A Book?

Barbara Vey -- July 20th, 2010

I always was the kind of person who had to finish any book I started.  It didn’t matter how bad it was, if I picked it out to read, I had to make it to the bitter end.  I mean, it could always get better, couldn’t it?

Well, those days are over.  With the amount of books I receive daily and knowing how many enjoyable novels are out there, I don’t want to waste my time with a book that I don’t enjoy.  It’s not fair to me as a reader and it’s really not fair to the author.  I just may not be the right fit for the kind of book they wrote.  Or I could just be having a bad day and not be in the mood for that type of story.  And if I muddle my way through the thing feeling like a slug, I’m sure not going to recommend it to anyone.

I’ve struggled with this for a while and I’ve had friends tell me they’ll give a book 50 pages to hook them and others who have a designated amount of chapters before they give up.  Now I just read until it becomes uncomfortable and then I’ll put the book aside.  Sometimes I’ll just let it sit a week or so and then pick it up again because maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for that genre that day and this time around it just clicks.

This happened to me with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  I started that book no less than six time because everyone told me how wonderful it was.  When I finally took the time, with no interruptions, I found it to be an amazing read.  Unfortunately, that never worked with me and The Lovely Bones (which I did eventually finish because it was for a book club).

I bring this subject up today because I recently read a review blog site that gave a negative review to a book that the reader admitted to reading only 10 pages of.  Really?  It’s possible to judge a whole book in just 10 pages?  That’s like judging a person after 10 minutes, or a movie after 10 pages of script, or a blog after one post.  While I may not finish a book, I would never consider myself an expert enough to write a full blown review guessing what may be coming along further in the book.  I certainly feel that anyone can stop reading whenever they want, my issue is the posting of a negative review without the benefit of the whole story.

This is why I’m so grateful to all the WW Ladies.  Everyone brings a different perspective and life experiences to their reading which only goes to benefit the authors who send their books in.  So, if I find I “just can’t get into” a book, there’s usually a couple of anxious readers ready to pick up story and give it the respect it deserves.

Now you tell me, how many pages do you give a book to snag you into the story?  If you didn’t care for it, do you still pass it on to someone else who you know will like that kind of tale?  Do you just put it aside to try another day?  Or do you just chuck it and consider it a bad choice?

Bottom Line A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. ~ Chinese proverb