Monthly Archives: October 2010

Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Barbara Vey -- October 28th, 2010
Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Well, it’s that time of year again.  I need to start thinking about where I’ll be traveling to in 2011.

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This year I’ve visited Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Atlanta, San Diego, Akron, Chicago, Pensacola and Fort Lauderdale.  I’ve met tons of new people and caught up with old friends.  I gave workshops, appeared on panels and gave my first keynote speech.  There were library events, book festivals, author signings and lots of parties.  I was invited to RWA meetings across the country and was amazed by the camaraderie and energy of the members.  I even got to emcee a night at Lady Jane’s Salon.

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Silken Sands Beach

Silken Sands Beach

I even got to play tourist and saw the Smithsonian, the Coke Museum, a Broadway show, rode in a New York subway (instead of just eating at Subway), toured a Civil War site, had a room overlooking the beach, saw the Space Needle and got to spend a few days at Disney World (thanks RWA).

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The conferences get more incredible every year and I’m constantly reminded of how many authors I still haven’t read (and that’s a hard pill to swallow).  I’ve meet many new friends on Twitter and Facebook that I got to catch up with in real life.

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I still have the Readers ‘n ‘Ritas event coming up in November in Dallas.  It will be great talking to all those readers about what they love in books.  Then I can report it back to you.

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But now I have to start planning for 2011.  I know for sure that I’ll be attending the Romance Writers of America Conference, Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and I’ve been invited to speak to the Detroit RWA group.  Other than that, my schedule is wide open.

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Help me out by suggesting where I should travel to in 2011 and which conferences I should be attending.  While I wish I could visit everyone, I am on a budget, so I will try to get in as many as I can.  And please leave the link to your event so I can check it out.  Thanks everyone!

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Bottom Line: I guess this is why my favorite song is “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (but in a good way).

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- October 27th, 2010
I don’t know if yesterday’s storms hit you like they did here.  A tornado touched down near my home and the power was out all day.  It was so windy that I think everyone will be spending the day looking for their garbage cans.  It’s still a little breezy, but at least it stopped raining, although it was great reading weather.  And speaking of reading, here’s what the WW Ladies have been reading this week.
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joysann

joysann

No Mercy by Lori Armstrong

Read by joysann

Still in the Army, Mercy Gunderson has returned to her family ranch after her father’s death, only to be asked to investigate the death of boy whose body was found on her land. While haunted by her desert war experiences, and pushed and pulled by family obligations, demands she sell or not sell the ranch, and her unwanted attraction to the local sheriff, Mercy is obliged to become involved in a mystery that keeps expanding and coming closer to home.

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I was pulled into this mystery from the first page. Gritty and suspenseful, I found the less-than-perfect heroine to be believable and admirable. Lori Armstrong is a talented story-teller, and I’ll keep coming back for more.

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The Border Vixen by Bertrice Small

Read by Beth

With The Border Vixen, Bertrice Small adds another story to the Border Chronicles. The story revolves around Mad Maggie, a 17 year old heiress to lands that include a secret passage between England and Scotland. King James II sends Fingal Stewart to wed Maggie and secure the land, but Fin is faced with challenges imposed by her grandfather to any suitor… to out-maneuver willful, wild Maggie and win her hand.

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The story line is true to previous Bertrice Small books; headstrong girl, forced to marry, falls in love and happy ending. Though a little slower than previous books, like the Skye O’Malley series, it is good historical fiction.

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Hailee

Hailee

The Necromancer:  The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel Book 4 by Michael Scott

Read by Hailee, age 12

Josh and Sofie are twins. The’re strong, powerful, and most of all confused .All Sofie and Josh know is that they both have powerfull auras and the fact that there have been other twins, other twins that died. When Sofie is kiddnapped, Josh knows what he must do. He has to find Nicholas Flammel and finish his training.
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In this fantastically well made out story, Michael Scott earns his place as a riveting author. This book contains as many twists, turns, and charactures as you can possibly imagine. It casts a spell so deep and tricky, it was almost impossible for me to put this masterpiece down.
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Michelle

Michelle

My Sister’s Voice by Mary Carter

Read by Michelle

Lacey Gears, a deaf artist in Philadelphia grew up in an orphanage and as a result struggles to make emotional commitments with those who love her.  Her boyfriend Alan wants to marry her but she’ll have nothing to do with marriage.  Her life is about to change drastically when she gets an anonymous note that she has a twin sister, Monica.  Monica is also unaware she has a twin and as she is on tour for her book the Architect of Your Soul, she has to face that everything she once believed is a lie.

A very compelling novel about pain, loss, love and commitment.  I loved the portrayal of a deaf character and the immersion into deaf culture.  Mary Carter is a trained Sign Language interpreter and does a remarkable job with this book.  I highly recommend this and will be sharing it myself.

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joysann

joysann

The White Road by Lynn Flewelling

Read by joysann

In the Nightrunners’ continuing story, Seregil and Alec must return to the enemy country where they had been enslaved to steal the books the alchemist used to create the dangerous but childlike creature of magic and unknown, uncontrolled power from Alec’s blood. They already know it is Alec’s ‘faie heritage that was required for the experiment, and when they are captured by his mother’s secretive and ruthless people while in route, they are faced, again, with captivity or death.

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There has been something compelling about the fantasy world Lynn Flewelling has created, and I find I must keep going back there. From the first book I read, Luck in the Shadows, I’ve been infatuated with the characters, the camaraderie of their associations, and the magical mystery of the lands they inhabit. The White Road is fascinating and rewarding as it adds dimension to that world I enjoy.

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Stacey

Stacey

Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn


Read by Stacey

Discord’s Apple begins when a young woman returns to her Colorado hometown, only to discover 1) her father is dying and 2) on his death, she will become the guardian of a storage room filled with mantastical and magical artifacts.  It will be her job to distribute them to those who need them, and keep them from those who do not deserve them…at all costs.
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Great writing, great characterization and a plot that won’t let up, make Carrie Vaughn’s first standalone an amazing read.  I couldn’t put it down.

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Bottom Line: I’m hoping to put away my weighted shoes today, I really thought I’d see Oz yesterday.

My Reads and Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- October 22nd, 2010

With all the traveling, it’s not easy to squeeze in time to read.  But now that I’m home for a while, things have changed.  I managed to polish off two exceptional books this week.

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First up is The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook.  Amid a Victorian England inhabited by people with nanotechnology, Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth vigilantly works solving murders.  When a body is found on the grounds of national hero Rhys Trahaearn, the Iron Duke, Mina finds herself fighting off the Duke’s advances as together they race against time to find, not only the murderer, but those who conspire to destroy her homeland.

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This riveting steampunk novel had me gasping for my breath as Mina and the Duke traveled an incredible world searching for clues.  I knew I was in trouble when I got to the middle of the book and fought myself to read slower because I didn’t want the book to end.  I have to say, I picked up this book because of all the great buzz on Twitter.  It seemed everyone was talking about it and now I know why.  My first steampunk book and it totally won me over.  Deny yourselves no longer, this book should be on everyone’s bookshelf.

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Next I read Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin.  Taking place during the Tang Dynasty, on her way to her wedding, Princess Ai Li learns the truth of her future husband’s treachery and escapes with her trusty butterfly swords for defense.  Ryam was considered a barbarian in this culture and is slowly making his way back to his own group after an attack left him unconscious when his path crosses Ai Li’s.  Thrown together by fate, they travel the long road to her family to warn them of her betrothal’s betrayal.

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Jeannie Lin won the RWA Golden Heart award for this wonderful story and now I want to read all the Golden Heart finals to see what other gems I’m missing.  This beautiful, enduring story of honor above all else had me mesmerized.   Ai Li’s determination and Ryam’s awakening to his self worth make this book a treasure.  Engaging, refreshing take on impossible odds.  This one’s a keeper.

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I really lucked out with two totally different, yet marvelous reads.  It’s exciting to think what the week ahead will bring me.

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Now it’s your turn.  Tell us what books you’ve been reading lately.  Any new discoveries?  Genres you didn’t think you’d like, but were surprised to enjoy?

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Bottom Line: I’m happy to know that I’m still open to new and different ideas…I’d hate to think I’ve gone stale.

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- October 19th, 2010

I am pleased to welcome two new YA readers to the WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs today, Amanda, 9 and Hailee, 12.  Both are avid readers who want to share their love of books with everyone.  Thanks for joining us.

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joysann

joysann

Bite Me – A Love Story by Christopher Moore

Listened to by joysann

In the last book, unbeknownst to them, the vampires Tommy and Jody had been safely encased in bronze by their sixteen year old goth-girl minion, Abby Normal, to preserve their romantic love eternally. Since then, an epidemic of feline vampirism is unleashed in San Francisco, and it has fallen to Abby, her brilliant boyfriend Foo-Dog, two jaded police detectives, Tommy’s friends called The Animals, and The Emperor of San Francisco to save the city. When Jody and Tommy are released from their imprisonment, there’s no predicting how their actions will tip the scale.

Largely and colorfully told through Abby’s diary, this conclusion to the Love Story trilogy (see Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck) is a comic roller-coaster ride of horror, incredulity and hilarity, and, of course, love. Listening to the audiobook read by Susan Bennett was a real pleasure as she delivers Christopher Moore’s hilarious goth-slang dialogue with a convincing flair. Wonderfully funny and entertaining, this was the best of the three books, and wholly satisfying.

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Michael

Michael

Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Read by Michael

Unbeknownst to the common citizens of Atlanta, Georgia, their city is occupied by demons, ghosts, witches, and tribes of supernatural warriors. Evalle Kincaid is in a difficult position. She considers herself to be a loyal member of the Belador tribe, but she is different and many do not trust her.

Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love, authors of the popular BAD series, have teamed in their first joint venture into the urban fantasy genre. Blood Trinity is the first book in their new Belador series, immersing readers first into the action, then gradually developing the characters and explaining their motivations. Like Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson, Evalle is a strong female protagonist, and I enjoy that. Plus there is a host of interesting sidekicks and supporting characters whose stories I’ll want to learn in the next book in the series.
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Stacey

Stacey

The Summer of You by Kate Noble
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Read by Stacey

Lady Jane Cummings must bring her brother and her ailing father to the small seaside town she spent summers in when she was a child.  There, she must deal with things much more difficult than the fact she ran naked through the town square at age 5.  Like her father’s advancing illness, the highwayman who’s robbing the town…and the mysterious neighbor who moved in across the lake.

Kate Noble has taken the popular small town theme and turned it into a beautiful historical romance.   With a heroine I can relate to, a hero I can believe in and a great cast of secondary characters, she has cemented her place in the historical romance pantheon.

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Michelle

Michelle

Garden of the Moon by Elizabeth Sinclair

Read by Michelle

Sara Wade, seer of the dead, inherits her grandmother’s plantation – Harrogate.  Sara also inherits a curse.  The ghosts of Johnathan Bradford, Maddy and Katherine Grayson come back in a haunting tryst that threatens to end life as Sara knows it.  Taking the plunge in a world where uncertainty thrives.  Falling in love with the past and finding your future in the past.

A very cleverly written novel that suspends disbelief for a chance at love.  I found this to be a fun, riveting tale.

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Hailee

The Jaguar Stones – Book One: Middle World by J&P Voelkel
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Read by Hailee, age 12
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When Max Murphey’s archeologist parents go on a unexpected dig, he is suspiciously summoned to join them in Central America.  After he discovers his parents are missing, it’s up to him, a local Maya girl, and a university professor to rescue them. Then, the threesome meets up with unexpected characters, Maya gods, unreal challenges, and dastardly villains.

In this book nothing is as it seems. With ancient secrets, hidden passages and horrible tamales Middleworld contains everything. The suspense, action, and perfectly written storyline makes this book a definite movie ready read. I am clamoring for the sequel.

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Amanda

Amanda

Gilda Joyce: The Dead Drop by Jennifer Allison

Read by Amanda, age 9

14 year old Gilda Joyce travels to Washington, DC for the summer and gets a job at the Spy Museum. Strange things start to happen while Gilda is at the Museum. Gilda starts to find secret ghost messages throughout the city and is determined to solve the mystery.

Jennifer Allison made me feel as though I was really in the book with all the characters. When I was reading the story, my blood was rushing through me because I wanted to read more and more.

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Michelle

Michelle

Risk No Secrets by Cindy Gerard

Read by Michelle

The abduction of her daughter’s best friend Lola has Sophie Weber seeking the assistance of an old friend, Wyatt Savage.  Wyatt and Sophie haven’t been in touch since her marriage to his best friend Hugh.  Unbeknownst to him, Sophie and Hugh have been divorced for two years.  As Wyatt is battling his physical desire for Sophie, he’s also enlisting the help of his Black Ops Team to find Lola.  The search takes them to El Salvador and in the midst of some of the coldest and cruelest killers.

An electric, fast paced novel that kept me rapt from start to finish.  There is nothing like having a buff, Black Ops military man in your back pocket to pull out in matters of life and death.

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Bottom Line: Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.  ~Author Unknown

I Need More Reading Time

Barbara Vey -- October 19th, 2010

I have just finished reading two amazing books that I’ll be blogging about on Friday.  Because I read one on Sunday and one yesterday, I never even went on the computer and that’s a big deal for me.  I used to be able to read a book a day and I didn’t realize how much I missed it.   Blogging takes more time than I ever thought (because I’m on the computer so much), but I’m going to have to find a way to balance things more.  Reading good books feeds my soul and there are so many out there that are calling to me.  Tomorrow the WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs and Friday, my reads.  A great week for books.

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I lived every mother’s dream this weekend of seeing their children succeed.  My son had his first art gallery show on Saturday and you’d think it was all mine.  I arrived early and watched as people came and commented on this paintings.  There were the usual friends and relatives, but because it was “Gallery Night” in Milwaukee and there were showings all over the area, a lot of people showed up.  Andrew was also fortunate enough to have his show in a theater that had two performances that night, so the place really filled up.  He looked all grown up (well, he is 28) as he discussed his techniques and the reason for choosing his subject.  But the storyteller in him came through as he posted about his grandfather’s influence.  You can check out the pictures here.

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Giveaways

From Debby Guisti: Visit Seekerville and help us celebrate our 3rd Birthday Bash during October.  Monday author, speaker and Belle Books publisher Debra Dixon will be talking about and giving away a copy of her widely acclaimed GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict.  Tuesday Jeff Gerke, Marcher Lord Press Publisher, will be with us and giveaways include a chapter critique by one of the Seekers, Cheryl Wyatt’s 7-book Wings of Refuge Series and STORY by Robert McKee.  Wednesday Debby Giusti will draw for a $10 Starbuck’s card and one of her books.  Thursday Camy Tany offers a 15-page critique and copy of ONLY UNI.  Stop by Friday to chat with Freelance editor Caroline Tolley, former senior editor of women’s fiction at Pocket Books, and get your name in the drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card.  Saturday visitors could win a 10-page Seeker critique and surprise book giveaway.  All visitors who leave a comment during the month are entered in a drawing for a KINDLE!!!!  See you in Seekerville!

From Dianna Love: Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love will be touring with their new urban fantasy thriller BLOOD TRINITY. At every signing, they’ll give out free raffle tickets for Belador tshirts (can’t buy these), engraved pins and more booty.  Tour dates and locations are here.

Bottom Line: Today is “Evaluate Your Life Day.”  Well, I have and decided I need to read more books…faster.

RomantiCon 2010 – Ellora’s Cave

Barbara Vey -- October 15th, 2010
joysann

joysann

Cub Reporter joysann here “Celebrating 10 Years of Refusing to Behave.”

This 2nd RomantiCon near Akron, Ohio (Oct 8-10), was also a celebration of Ellora’s Cave’s 10th Anniversary, and drew about 175 authors, readers and other attendees from all over the U.S., Canada, and even Scotland and Australia. Everyone arrived there prepared to meet old friends, make new ones, get some writing tips and ideas, and to be entertained. And, from Thursday evening’s Meet & Greet for the early birds to the Bingo/Pizza Party on Sunday evening, entertaining it was!

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Cougarlicious Authors

During the day the various workshops focused on improving writing skills; world building and character development, tips for doing research or creating crime scenes, learning how covers are selected and designed, how titles are chosen, or how to build tension in a story, and other useful or creative elements a writer can use.

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Author Lena Matthews

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Everyone was excited about the Roaring 20’s Costume party on Friday evening, with dinner and dancing to DJ music that went on all evening. There was even a dance contest, which was won by author Lena Matthews and her fancy footwork.

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EC Owner Tina Engler/Jaid Black

Saturday night was the Awards Banquet, which was also the big 10th Anniversary Celebration for the founding of Ellora’s Cave, with a tribute to founder/owner Tina Engler/Jaid Black. EC staff produced an elaborate and exotic dance show themed from the first book published, an erotic sci-fi fantasy called The Empress’ New Clothes. The show featured the EC male cover models, aka Ellora’s Cavemen, and an interesting visual display it was.

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Ellora's Cavemen

(These guys were part of the show all weekend, graciously entertaining, charming, flirting, and dancing with 150 women, and did a fine job.)

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Awards were given to the 2010 Rising Stars, attending authors who had a first release in the last year. Then, in good-spirited creativity, other awards were selected by the editors for books with some feature that caught their eye, for example, the “Hottest CIA Werewolf Voodoo Priest Hero” or the “Worst Ever Evil Day Job”. All of it was appreciated with good humor and lots of laughter.

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V.J. Devereaux and Marilu Mann enthralled in The Empress' New Clothes

Sunday wrapped with the big, successful book signing open to the public, and wound down with exhausted lingerers gathered for some final visiting and laughter at the Bingo party. Through the whole 3 days, there were prizes and gifts galore, so everyone went home happy. Some of the impressive prizes EC gave away included Sony and Kindle e-readers, digital cameras, and netbooks. And I heard nearly everyone vowing to be at RomantiCon again next year.

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Bottom Line: Happy Anniversary Ellora’s Cave!

Moonlight and Magnolias

Barbara Vey -- October 13th, 2010
Debbie Kaufman

Debbie Kaufman

Today’s cub reporter is Debbie Kaufman who attended October’s Moonlight and Magnolias writing conference hosted by the Georgia Romance Writers in Atlanta, Georgia.  Debbie lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-three years.  She is a mom to four children and grandmother of three.  Debbie is a published contributor in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotionals for Women and the newest volume, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotionals for Mothers.  Debbie is the 2010 Maggie winner for unpublished contemporary series romance, a 2010 finalist in the Maggie inspirational category, and a finalist in the 2010 Daphnes.  When not reading this blog, she can be found at home running carpools between bouts of writing.

Georgia Romance Writers consistently hosts an excellent writing conference, and this year was no

Allison Brennan, Sally Kilpatrick, and Michael Hauge

Allison Brennan, Sally Kilpatrick, and Michael Hauge

exception when Moonlight and Magnolia’s co-chairs, Anna Steffl and Sally Kilpatrick, put on the “Master Your Story, Master Your Destiny” themed event that opened October 1st.   NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan, Hollywood story consultant and bestselling author Michael Hauge, and psychologist and author Kelly L. Stone headlined this year’s program.  Truly, the only thing missing from this conference was the globe-trotting reporter, Barbara Vey, whose presence was sorely missed.
Friday opened on a practical note with a Pitch Workshop, where anxious attendees could polish their pitches with a published author before their editor and agent appointments.  This year I sat with multi-published author Quillia Rain as she helped me and three others craft our pitches.  Quillia was a real blessing, proving craft is the uniting factor among all writers and that genre differences are incidental.  By the end, we were fast friends and everyone at the table had a great pitch for immediate use.

In the afternoon, Keynote speaker Allison Brennan educated, entertained, and enlightened a group of eager listeners who came to hear her “No Plotters Allowed” workshop.  Allison, a high energy speaker, reminded us that masses of people plan to write a book, but we should be the ones who actually finished ours.  She helped us see that “plot happens,” whether it was planned or not, and gave us practical exercises to defeat writer’s block.  Allison, with her five young children, firmly trounced the idea that busy people don’t have time to write.

Debbie Kaufman, Jennifer McQuiston, Susan Sands, Tracy Solheim

Debbie Kaufman, Jennifer McQuiston, Susan Sands, Tracy Solheim

Meanwhile, throughout the day, anxious writers lined up to pitch the story of their heart to one of the six editors or agents that came to find the story of their dreams.  At day’s end, there was an industry panel with Editor Kathryn Lye of Harlequin, Editor Peter Senftleben of Kensington, Editor Michelle Bidespach of Grand Central, Agent Lucienne Diver of the Knight Agency, Agent Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency, and Agent Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.  After a long day of pitches, these brave souls fielded questions from the audience that ranged from how long should we expect to wait for an answer on a submission (3-6 months on a Harlequin) to what do you want to see in a query letter (two pitch paragraphs of the story like a back cover blurb for Kevan Lyon).  Two of my favorite quotes from this panel: Michelle Bidespach about the speed of responding to submissions said, “We feel bad, but it’s sort of like college.  You never catch up.”  Jenny Bent had us in stitches when she fielded a question about how much attention she gives to her authors.  With tongue firmly planted in cheek, she said, “I like to ignore authors.”

After dinner, there was another informative workshop led by Editor Peter Senftleben and Agent Kevan

Joan Kayse, Nancy Northcutt, Cassondra Murray

Joan Kayse, Nancy Northcutt, Cassondra Murray

Lyon on Perfecting the Partial.  It was followed by a purely fun scavenger hunt that had participants scouring the hotel for items such as a New Kids on the Block t-shirt or a garage remote held together with tape to get cool prizes.  Surprisingly, both items named were among those found.

Saturday was a departure from the traditional conference offerings of multiple workshop tracks.  Instead, there was an all-day workshop with Michael Hauge where he expounded on the six stages of plots and helped us all understand the essential elements of our stories.   However, before he got to the meat of his subject, Hauge referred to RWA members as the most connected group he knew, and stated that a bunch of us were probably already tweeting and posting to Facebook as his workshop started.  Allison Brennan quickly confirmed that she had indeed tweeted already and several other heads were nodding in sync, confirming that she was not alone.

Nicki Salcedo and Jeanette Cogdell

Nicki Salcedo and Jeanette Cogdell

Saturday night found a lot of anxious Maggie finalists on pins and needles for the awards to start, including yours truly.  As an added bonus and distraction before it began, a lot of us took advantage of the free photo booth provided by One Six Photography and posed in our finery or with props provided that included feather boas, wizards’ hats, and lots of silly bling.  Can’t wait to see some of those pictures online!

The Maggie awards ceremony was the highlight for a lot of keyed-up finalists.  The ceremony started with dinner and was followed by Allison Brennan giving a lively, on-point keynote address.  Pam Mantovani, Maggie Chair, kept things moving and jumped right in to announce the awards.  I’ve got to say that having my name called as winner for unpublished contemporary series was a huge thrill.  Somehow I managed to deliver what others told me was a sweet speech, but I hardly remember it over the emotional blur that came with winning.  You can see all of the Maggie Winners here.

After the awards, a lively crowd engaged in the dance party that always marks the end of the Maggies.  Lively dancing loosened even the tightest of  inhibitions as writers took the floor and showcased their moves.  It was a not-to-be-missed event.  I mean, where else do you get to dance with a man in a kilt?

Sunday morning capped off the conference with a great workshop by Kelly L. Stone that taught us to “Free Your Creative Mind.”  Kelly expounded on the role of the subconscious mind in the creative process, and helped us examine ourselves for those emotional issues that hold us back from achieving success.  For those of you who missed it, Kelly’s strategies for dealing with writer’s block and resistance, such as dealing with the feeling/behavior cycle, can be found in her last two releases, Time To Write and Living Write: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life.

Bottom line: Great conference, practical workshops, and a lot of happy attendees who couldn’t stop talking about how friendly and well-organized the entire experience was for them.

Write From the Heart Conference – Central Ohio Fiction Writers

Barbara Vey -- October 12th, 2010
joysann

joysann

Write From the Heart

Beyond Her Book Cub Reporter joysann, here, excited to tell about the terrific conference that the Central Ohio Fiction Writers, a Chapter of RWA, hosted the first weekend in October in Columbus, Ohio. This highly successful event brought writers from all over the surrounding states for an opportunity to meet with editors and agents, pick up sensational tips for writing successful novels, and get inspired by special guest, best-selling author Suzanne Brockmann. And raffle prizes were everywhere, proceeds of which were donated to the financially hard hit public libraries in central Ohio.

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Suzanne Brockmann and fan Felicia Browell

After Friday evening’s dinner, Suzanne Brockmann gave the first of the workshops, “The Whole Enchilada”. Intrepid BHB Blurber extraordinaire Kym , who also attended the conference, writes: When an author like Suzanne Brockmann offers “the whole enchilada,” you grab on with both hands and attempt to digest every bite. Wrapped in a shell of good humor and spiced with anecdotes from the author’s own experience, the meal proved to be a filling one. Despite nursing a painful foot injury, Ms. Brockmann graciously shared her tips for writing more efficiently, developing a believable romantic hero, and crafting a page turner. “There’s no right way or wrong way to work. There’s only your way.” – Suzanne Brockmann

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Saturday morning got off to a hope-filled start with a panel of the guest editors and agents answering questions before the whole day of pitches began, and there were a lot of aspiring authors hanging on their every word. Leis Pederson, Berkley; Cori Deyoe, 3 Seas Literary Agency; Charles Griemsman, Silhouette; and Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency all had appointments throughout the day.

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I hate having to choose between so many interesting sounding workshops when one can’t attend them all. I’m interested in finding information on the authors I read, so I attended Susan Crandall’s “Internet Marketing Strategies That Work”. Susan and her personal internet guru, her son Reid, gave excellent tips on utilizing the popular networking and blogging sites and search engines to get name recognition and establish consistent interaction with readers.

Author Virginia Kantra and joysann

Author Virginia Kantra and joysann

Virginia Kantra presented “Developing the Romance in YourRomance Novel”.  Blurber Kym, an aspiring author herself, reports: In one brief hour, author Virginia Kantra somehow managed to walk us through seven phases of romance. Beginning with physical attraction, and ending with “the payoff,” she shared an overview of each step along the way.

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Erin McCarthy and Rhonda Stapleton

“Breaking into the YA Market”, a subject I know nothing about, was entertainingly presented by authors Erin McCarthy and Rhonda Stapleton. Between being mothers of teens, and being young at heart themselves, they know whereof they speak, and gave good do’s and don’ts pointers for engaging today’s young readers.

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I sadly missed workshops presented by best-selling medical thriller author CJ Lyons, romantic suspense writer Karen Harper, and Silhouette editor Charles Griemsman, and I wish I could have figured out how to get to them all.

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COFW took a few minutes at the lunch to have popular romance author Lori Foster present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Linda Keller of the West Chester (OH) Barnes and Noble for her many years of outstanding support of the Romance genre and its authors.

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So, thank you, COFW for the fun and interesting event, the chance to do my fan-girl act with the fabulous authors, and for the raffle basket stuffed with paranormal books – yes, I won!

Bottom Line: Due to technical difficulties, part 3 of the Stan Lee interview will not be available until tomorrow.

New York Comic Con Kids Day

Barbara Vey -- October 11th, 2010
Some Comic Con Attendees

Some Comic Con Attendees

Sunday was Kid’s Day at Comic Con and they got in free.  I thought that would mean it would be packed to the rafters, but actually Saturday was more crowded since the conference completely sold out that day.  There were places where you were absolutely at a standstill in the aisles.  That’s too scary for me.  I have to be able to see an escape route.  But all the amazing things to see more than made up for it.

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I did go to the M. Night Shyamalan panel on the 10th anniversary of Unbreakable.  The movie didn’t do well at the box office, but I always liked it.  Apparently, it was a movie before it’s time.  Since it is essentially a comic book movie, it wasn’t really ready for the time it was released.  Now, of course, the theaters are flushed with movies based on comic book characters.  He said comic books were considered a fringe market at that time.  Night did say he wrote the movie with Bruce Willis in mind and the theory is that someone out there is a real life super hero.  The audience agreed.

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Christopher Judge and Barbara Vey

Christopher Judge and Barbara Vey

I also got a chance to catch up with Christopher Judge of Stargate fame.  I interviewed at San Diego Comic Con a couple of years ago and was thrilled that he remembered me.  (I don’t care even if he did just say that to make me feel good.  He has a charisma that just doesn’t stop and we really need to see more of him.  I can think of a few books where he would make a great alpha hero.

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Anton Strout was there signing his book Dead to Me.  Anton is my Twitter and Facebook buddy, so I

Anton Strout and Barbara Vey

Anton Strout and Barbara Vey

knew he was going to be there and it was great to see the long of fans waiting to get their books signed by him.

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As promised, here’s part 2 of my 3 part series of my interview with Stan Lee.  I can’t say enough good things about this man.  He’s charming, delightful, brilliant and has offers years of entertainment to millions.  I’ll be posting part 3 tomorrow.

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Bottom Line: Today is National Face Your Fears Day…I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.

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Monday Giveaways

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From a.c. Mason: Monday October 11th 2010  on Nights of Passion,  Annie Nicholas will draw a giveaway of one of her backlist of ebooks for one lucky commenter worldwide except  were prohibited by law.

Stan Lee at New York Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- October 10th, 2010
Barbara Vey and Stan Lee

Barbara Vey and Stan Lee

Today I had the opportunity to interview comic book legend Stan Lee.  Known for such superheroes as Spiderman, the Fantastic 4, Thor, X-Men, Captain America, Daredevil and many others, Stan was at Comic Con to promote his new book, Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics and after a 60 year career in comic books, he should know a thing or two about them.  I was one of four journalists and the only woman in the room and we were allowed to ask any question.  Thanks to my brilliant thinking, I went to my friends on Twitter and Facebook and had them come up with things to ask Stan.  Thanks to their amazing questions, I was able to look intelligent in Stan’s eyes.
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I was able to videotape the interview of which I’ll post the first 10 minutes (due to the size of the file).  You can catch Parts 2 & 3 over the next couple of days.  Stan is an amazing man and  I could have spent hours talking to him.  He even gave me his personal business card when we were through and, of course, I got a picture with him.
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Stan Lee is also the Chairman Emeritus of the Stan Lee Foundation.  It “supports programs an ideas that provide people (of all ages) access to literacy resources and education, promotes diversity, national literacy, culture and the arts, and embraces innovation, integrity and scholarly and artistic engagement to build a community of learners, collaborators an creators.”

Enjoy the video!!

Bottom Line: Favorite Stan Lee quote:  “Comics are fairy tales for grown-ups.”