Mira Lyn Kelly Giveaway!

Labor Day weekend’s coming up, which means you need extra reading material. Lucky for you I’ve got books to give away! Never Stay Past Midnight is Mira Lyn Kelly’s latest Harlequin Presents Extra release and it’s AWESOME. I love Mira Lyn’s voice, so fresh and sharp, with a great twist on the typical Presents storyline and characters. See below…

Never Stay Past Midnight (Harlequin Presents Extra)

 

“You are so wrong for me.”

Levi had to agree—he was. He was leaving Chicago in a few short weeks. He didn’t do commitment—ever. But everything about this night, this girl, was so good. So right. Until at 11:59 p.m. she got out of his bed, got dressed and left!

What had he done? Things had hardly started and she was off! Yet he was bored with simpering women he couldn’t get rid of. Elise was a breath of fresh air. How was he going to find her…and get her back in his bed—for the whole night this time? It seemed Mr. Levi-and-Leave-Them might have found the one woman to leave him begging for more.…

Jane at Dear Author gave this book a B+ review.  I’ve got 3 copies to give away. Just post a comment and you’re entered, or you can enter on Twitter with the #miralynrocks hashtag. Contest ends tonight after I take Small Boy to Tae Kwon Do, so somewhere in the 9-ish range? I’ll post winners late tonight or tomorrow, so check back!

 

In Which Anne Makes A Knitting Analogy

Starting a new knitting project takes a fair bit of concentration, especially when the project involves new-to-me techniques. After I finished my niece’s baby sweater, I wanted to start on a similar sweater for me but had to order needles. In the meantime I started another baby sweater knitted entirely in garter stitch. Very simple. Good for brainstorming and thinking through book problems. Busy hands free up the subconscious to send up ideas, if not answers. Sometimes I get snippets of dialogue. Washing dishes has the same effect.

The second project I started was a maybe for me. It’s Lucy Neatby’s Sea Lettuce scarf. When I travel I like to buy yarn and patterns from local shops featuring local designers and fiber artists. Some people buy snow globes. I buy yarn. In Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia I got a skein of Handmaiden sock yarn and Lucy’s pattern. Despite the pattern picture, which looks like the test knitter used leftover baby sweater yarn (so pink! so blue!) I took a chance on a “spiraling, frilly, short-row extravaganza”.

Just because I buy a pattern or yarn doesn’t mean I’ll finish the project. Sometimes you get into the pattern and you hate a) the work involved b) the way the yarn looks as you knit it or c) both. Here’s the Sea Lettuce scarf:

Sea Lettuce scarf

When I finished the setup wedges I stopped to consider whether or not I wanted to continue or if I’d turn the yarn into socks instead. Good news: I like the way the short-row extravaganza’s turning out. The colors are dark enough for fall/winter, which is when I’m most likely to wear it, but that little splash of electric blue would work well in the spring and summer, too. It’s an interesting knit, with colors changing within the rows and enough complexity to keep my attention but not stressed about working on it.

I do the same thing when I get an idea for a story. I work with it a little, knit up a swatch, so to speak, and then step back and think about it. Do these characters have enough color and complexity to keep me (and readers!) interested? How are they coming together? Good tension? What about secondary characters and subplots? Sometimes you’ve got to rip back rows you’ve already knit; sometimes in writing you throw out whole scenes, whole subplots, whole characters. Sometimes you need a break from a project in either medium.

Keep working. Keep a project with you at all times and knit a few rows in your down time. Do the same with a notebook or voice recorder, and your book will move along, too. Books, like sweaters (or spiraling, frilly, short-row extravaganzas) take time and perseverance. The end result, however, whether the perfect, soft scarf to wear with jeans and a white T or a book you’re proud of and can’t wait to share, is well worth the effort.

Baby Sweater on the Cutest Baby Ever!

I’m what’s known in the industry as an unreliable narrator. 😉

This is actually my son’s stuffed dinosaur wearing Elizabeth Zimmerman’s February Baby Sweater. My niece is due to arrive very soon, so I’m glad I finished it on vacation.

Rexy wears this very reluctantly, I can assure you.

 

He’s all boy-dino, and I nearly lost fingers to those sharp teeth when I dressed him, but in return for raw meat he acquiesced and let me take the picture.

Guest Post: Beth Kery “Because” + Giveaway

The Serial Novel, Another Reader Choice

by Beth Kery

When I was first asked by Berkley to write a serial novel, I was a bit dubious. Wouldn’t people be upset that they weren’t offered the book all at once? As I began the intensive, unique process of writing this book, however, I realized that the serialization process doesn’t limit readers’ choice. It increases it.

Because You Are Mine is one novel—Francesca and Ian’s steamy, addictive romance. Each “Part” consists of two hefty chapters and releases every Tuesday starting July 31st for 8 weeks.

People have busy lives. There are those who will appreciate the idea of consuming a book like they would a television episode. I like the idea of the element of time being more controlled, so that the ‘episode’ can be talked about simultaneously, using social media and other pathways, giving the romance community and readers something immediate to share.  I know I’m often telling my husband that I can’t ‘commit to a movie’ at the moment, but how about a television show? I think some people feel the same way about a novella or serial versus a full novel.

The nice thing about it is, voracious readers who consume an entire novel in hours aren’t left out of this experience, by any means. People demand availability of choices in this day and age, and this publishing model offers that. For readers who insist they must have the book all at once, there’s always the option of waiting until the book is fully out and available. There was a lot of behind the scene work that went on to get this book to the public so quickly. For my part, I worked my butt off, although it was totally a blast to be so submersed in the writing/editing process. Keep in mind, if Because You Are Mine had been done under the traditional publishing model, readers wouldn’t put eyes to it until next winter, at the earliest, probably not until spring of 2013. The publisher allotted a huge amount of energy and resources to make these extra choices possible to readers.

But aside from the unique release of the book, it’s Francesca and Ian’s story that I’m so excited about. I like to describe it as a little bit Cinderella, Pretty Woman and Fifty Shades of Grey, and a lot Beth Kery. I hope you’ll take the journey with Ian and Francesca in whatever way you choose, and have as much fun reading this sexy romance as I had writing it.

Thank you for having me here!

Beth

Readers: you can find more about Beth and her best-selling, hot books at her website:

www.BethKery.com

Follow these links to the first two installments of the Because series. Part two is out today!

Because You Are Mine Part I: Because You Tempt Me

http://www.amazon.com/Because-You-Mine-Part-ebook/dp/B008JHXOKY/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

Because You Are Mine Part II: Because I Could Not Resist

http://www.amazon.com/Because-You-Mine-Part-ebook/dp/B008JHXUTO/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

Beth’s gifting a copy of the first installment Because You Are Mine to one lucky person who comments!

Backlist Glom

Alison Kent recommended thriller writer Karin Slaughter‘s Fallen just before I left for vacation. Once I realized it was a series, and a freakin’ good one, I borrowed the first two from the library, then picked up a couple to read on vacation. Once I realized the Will Trent series was connected to her previous Grant County series, I had to read those, too. Which lead to this picture of the first page of my Kindle.

This list extends into the 2nd page…a total backlist glom. I’m reading Beyond Reach now, but slowly, after inhaling Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn yesterday. I know what happens at the end of Beyond Reach (no surprise to anyone who started a Slaughter-fest with the Will Trent series) so I’m ready slowly. Despite the characters’ glaring flaws, I’ve come to love them. Happiness, like justice, is a difficult thing to quantify. These books don’t end with everything all right for everyone. They end with some characters a little better off than they were, and others a little worse, still others dead. I’ve absolutely loved the ride.

What’s on your Kindle?

50 Shades of Puns

The Tall Ships were in Halifax while we were visiting, so we took Small Boy down to the harbor to see the big wooden boats (and ride the zip line). $5 got a ticket to tour all the ships. We saw the US Coast Guard barque Eagle, the movie version of the Amistad, the movie version of the Bounty, and a few other neat ships. Then we got ice cream at Cows, an ice cream shop headquartered in PEI. The ice cream was good, served in waffle cones made right in front of us, but even better was the merchandise. T-shirts galore, all featuring silly and/or clever puns on pop culture. Some examples:

Cow of Duty: Moodern Warfare

Farmbook

Mootube

Angry Herds

And then there was this one:

50 Shades of Hay

I didn’t buy it.

First Fruits

Aka: there’s food growing in my back yard!

That, folks, is a table laden with the first fruits of spring labor. 5 cucumbers, all falling into the ginormous category (insert your own inappropriate cucumber joke here), one tomato, and 370 pgs of a book that will release in September, 2013. Now I’m going to slice that tomato, sprinkle it with just a bit of salt, and enjoy.

Sidewalk Chalk Creativity

I visited my sister in St Paul a couple of weeks ago and found this fabulous sidewalk chalk art during walk in a park near her house.

You are beautiful…you are wonderful…you are doing everything right.

 

Get your story out.

 

The Meaning of life is Art.

This one’s a little hard to read because of the light/shadow play on the blacktop, but I liked it best. I took the pictures with my cell phone camera, so there wasn’t much I could do to compensate.

Keep Walking…your destiny awaits.

So say we all!

Date Night

On Saturday I picked up the Lacrosse-playing babysitter capable of running herd on both Small Boy and Difficult Dog, and Mr. Calhoun and I went out for the evening. We ended up on the grounds of a local retreat center, walking the labyrinth. (You know…like you do on a date night). The labyrinth is outlined in white rock, with dark brown mulch forming the path, and it’s surrounded by cottonwood trees. I love the sound the wind makes in cottonwoods.

Fallen leaves were strewn all over the path, and I started to pick some up as I walked. At first I thought about the leaves I found was, “Dead leaves.” But as I walked I began to notice how different each of these fallen leaves were from the others on the path. The color spectrum was really spectacular.

That’s all the leaves I picked up, but note the difference in just the shades of…oatmeal, is probably the best choice.

These are my favorites:

A wide range of colors and sizes. A writer’s work is formed in the details. I’m saving all these leaves (I keep a paper journal with a pocket at the back for things like ticket stubs, notes, cards people send, and leaves) for the colors, and the memory of another quiet date night.