Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Harm's Way review



Just received a new Review for Harm's Way, but I have to work out the link -- sorry!

I'll post this tomorrow, gals and guys. It's been a really, really -- with a start around 4am this morning -- day.

Happy writing.

Urban Fantasy News

Fellow Wild Rose Press author, Karen Duvall, just attended the Pacific NW Writers Association conference in Seattle and posted on her blog . . .
“The buzz word for the weekend (conference) was URBAN FANTASY!!! All I can say is: What the hell took everyone so long? I've been loving it for years, long before it was tagged with a subgenre. So it's thrilling to see that it's being embraced like this by the publishing community. Yo, my writer friends, they want it. Bad. If you write it, this is one hot commodity. Polish your prose and get it out there. And make sure it's set in the city. No kidding.”

Thanks, Karen, for the update.

A few weeks ago, I, too, attended a conference – the Romance Writers of America in Dallas. Roughly two thousand romance-minded writers filled one hotel. Yep, it was fun and there were great contacts to be made. See my post on SPARKLE THIS! to learn what to do with all those business cards from any conference. During the RWA conference, several of my fellow writers who tackle the Urban Fantasy market found the agents and editors some what mixed on their forecast for this subgenre. Bottom line: the vibes weren’t great on this market from traditional ‘romance’ publishers. But it does appear, according to Karen’s news, the ‘regular’ world of fiction writing has found the subgenre of URBAN FANTASY and is pushing hard for manuscripts.

I recently finished WIRED, by Liz Maverick, a Dorchester (sci-fi/romance) release. Great cartoon cover, catchy title and good book blurb. That said, I had mixed feelings on this book. While Ms. Maverick made sure to keep the romance alive on every page, and to develop a heroine with a number of quirky and likeable attributes, I found the external plot (time threading) to be extremely complicated and hard to follow. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge reader of ‘all things Science Fiction’ but it was the actual explanation behind the time threading that threw me for a loop. Several rereads of detailed passages didn’t clear up my confusion. Of course, that is just MHO regarding this book – many may find WIRED, the perfect Sci-Fi read.

If you want to see more of Karen’s post regarding the PRWAC, go to Karen Duvall

Writing trend news? Do share.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The end of the private line . . .

This recently came to me via an email.

Google has implemented a new feature which enables you to type a telephone # into the search bar, hit enter, and you will be given the person's name and address. If you then hit MapQuest, you will get a map to the person's house.

Everyone should be aware of this! It's a nationwide reverse telephone book. If a child gives out his/her phone number, someone can now look it up to find out where he/she lives. The safety issues are obvious, and alarming.

Note that you can have your phone number removed or blocked. I tried my number, and it did come up. I clicked on the map and sure enough, Mapquest gave complete directions to my front door.

Want to test your number is mapped? Go to: GOOGLE Type your phone number in the search bar (i.e. 555-555-1212) and hit enter. If you want to B L O C K Google from divulging your private information, simply click on your telephone number and then click on the Removal Form. Removal takes 48 hours.

When ordering business cards, I made sure to remove my address – no need to give out information that folks don’t need. However, my phone number is certainly listed on those cards and those cards have been distributed many, many places. As of now, my phone number is blocked from GOOGLE.

If any of you have heard of other cross-reference sources on phone numbers, please share.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Diva Bookshelf

All right, so this is fun. My romantic suspense release has been highlighted on Diva Bookshelf. Just click on the title 'Diva Bookshelf' for a quick pop-over.

Yes, this is more shameless self-promotion, but this is part of an author's job.

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Looking for Me?



If you're looking for me today, I'm at the Sparkle This blog. Come on over for a great time.

Okay, so that sounded a little suggestive. If you want to R.E.A.D. some great blogs about writing stuff . . . then pop over to Sparkle This!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mark Twain's take on Congress

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress...But I repeat myself." ~Mark Twain

Okay, is this a great quote or what? Has anyone been watching the news? And what's going on in congress . . . or the lack thereof? Did we actually elect these people? Oh yeah we did, because that's when they promised to do something.

Is there a 'lemon-law' for congressional employees? Like on a car (or any really expensive purchase) you get so long to change your mind, resend the offer, cancel the policy. How do we cancel Congress?

Me, personally, I'm all for electing Moms and teenagers (college age is okay) to Congress. Why? Moms know how to get a thousand things done at the same time and they know how to finish a task. Just try half-cleaning a room and see a mom's reaction. They also have eyes in the back of their heads--and you thought big-hair was only for fashion. Moms know what goes on around them, in their real world. I'm certain most of Congress must be from another planet because they seem totally clueless as to what the average American wants or needs.

As for why I'd put teenagers, who live in the World of Me, into Congress: they believe everything affects them, everything is personal--there are no time outs for teenagers. Okay, so we'd have to deal with the whole drama-thing for teenagers . . . wait, we're already dealing with that in Congress and those folks are old enough to know better. But I'd love to have someone in Congress who feels personally about the world, who takes their commitment personally--who simply believes personally.

My wallet is personal (high gas prices, soaring food costs). My children's education is personal (no child left behind--yeah, right) My morals are personal (how are we still ignoring dying children just because their country doesn't produce oil?) Where do we find folks who take their job personally?

Pick anyone, from any walk of life, who would you choose to put in Congress?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Disturbia

It is in fact a disturbing movie, definitely not for the under 13 crowd, maybe even not for the over 13 crowd if serial killers bother you.

Disturbia brings the serial killer right into the suburban neighborhood, which is where most are said to lurk, and makes the film very creepy.

Growing up, we had a next-door neighbor who was notorious for her partially open blinds, night and day. She was a lonely little (or not so little) woman who’d never had kids and didn’t get the constant noise and fracas the neighborhood group made. We thought she was creepy—spying on us—but maybe she was on to something.

In Disturbia, spying turns out for the best. If not for Shia LaBeouf’s (Kale in Disturbia) boredom due to house arrest and his consequential spying spree on all the neighbors, a serial killer, played by a very convincing David Morse, would have continued his vicious killing cycle.

A couple of things really worked for me in this film: without giving away too much something tragic happens to Kale’s (Shia LaBeouf) dad, and the young man is changed into an uncommunicative, sullen teenager. Okay, this describes most teenagers, but this kid has an excuse. In one scene, Kale’s Spanish teacher, who is clearly put-out with his student’s lack of scholastic achievement, attempts to ‘guilt’ him into reacting, to participating in class by bringing up Kale’s dad—Kale does react, by punching the teacher in the nose. Okay, for all you teachers, I don’t condone the violence, but Kale stayed true to character, reacting from the gut. I thought this scene was well done and not overacted.

Another scene: when Kale’s mom has been taken prisoner—sorry, needed to let you know that—by the crazy serial killer neighbor, Kale goes after her. He doesn’t hesitate, even though his fear is palpable on the screen. While in the neighbor’s house, Kale makes a number of macabre discoveries, any of which would send most normal folks into the street and waiting for the cops to arrive. Not Kale, he stays after his mom, calling out to her, opening creepy secret doors, and traversing through gruesome rooms even though he knows the serial killer is probably in the house. Again, he stayed true to character, putting his mom’s safety before his own.

Disturbia is a dark, suspenseful film—definitely not date movie type stuff—but it works on a number of levels.

Seen any great (or not so great) films lately?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Peter Abrahams' Oblivion

Just finished Peter Abrahams, Oblivion, and found it a great thriller.

Well, almost great. I knew who the villain was by page 100. The reason behind the villain’s actions weren’t clear until book’s end, and then all was reveals and neatly tied up. Perhaps, Mr. Abrahams didn’t care if the reader ‘figured’ out the who dunnit part of the book, as long as there was some secret to kept dangling for discovery. Perhaps, as my family will attest, I’m simply twisted enough I normally know who the guilty culprit is long before confession time arrives.

Have you read Oblivion? When did you discover the villain’s identity?

As for the book itself . . . the pacing is fast—really fast with snippets for chapters and an amazing ability to employ chapter hooks. And considering how many chapter hooks, Mr. Abrahams used in this book; he can only be considered a master of this writing technique.

I loved his dialogue. Long streams of back-and-forth dialogue with few tags and little scene blocking, but somehow the character speaking is always clear. Many writers will laud an author’s ability to build distinctive character voices to make this technique work, but there was so much more in Oblivion. Were there differences in character dialogue? Sure, but not enough to always set them apart. It was something more than language style or accents or ingrained educational backgrounds.

I would say, Peter Abrahams possesses a terrific talent for setting up the perfect dialogue run. Only two characters in the room, so the back-and-forth works to maximum efficiency; there is enough scene blocking, as in who’s standing where or who’s holding the drink, and then Mr. Abrahams jumps in . . . or at least his characters do. He lets them talk it out, like a fast-paced tennis match, serving the ball across the net then lobbing it back again and again. The dialogue literally flies on the page. I loved it.

Cool fact:


This is the cover of Oblivion that’s all over the net (checked under Google and found multiple entries showing this cover layout.) My Oblivion cover is completely different—different picture, coloring of book jacket, color of his name, type set on title—I mean it is completely different from the actual release of the book.

I checked the inside cover to see if I’d somehow received an ARC (advance reader copy). Nope, all the copyright information is the same as the one found on the net. I have no idea what the differences mean, except how cool is that? I have a Peter Abrahams novel that’s unique from the mass release.

If you’ve read this Peter Abrahams novel, or any other, do share. I’m always looking for my next great read.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Famous people . . . or not so famous

Today, President Bush honored a 92-year old with a Congressional Gold Medal.

No, the purpose of this blog isn’t to highlight ABC News coverage of President Bush, or even the sanctity of the Gold Medal, but the man who deserved this distinctive recognition.

Norman Borlaug, a scientist, is credited with saving a billion people from famine. That’s right, billion with a 'B'. A million millions owe their life to this one man.

Why? Because he taught the world to farm.

He launched his revolutionary crop-growing techniques in Mexico when many, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands were starving. He developed a sturdy, shorter form of wheat that withstood harsher conditions and devastation from pests. But he didn’t stop; he kept pushing forward and developed new types of seeds and fertilizer for 3rd world countries.

In 1970, Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his extraordinary achievements; his efforts termed The Green Revolution.

At 92, he claims to still have work to finish, people to teach to farm, new techniques to develop.

During the presentation, he stood at the Presidential podium, almost ram-rod straight, shoulders only slightly stooped with nine decades of age, white air gleaming in the brilliance of camera lights. Not seemingly awed by the influential audience or the political power-brokers in attendance, he briefly glanced at the Congressional Gold Medal, as though the award held little merit. I suppose when you’ve saved a Billion from starving, there is no reward larger than the accomplishment itself.

Norman Borlaug is a man I would love to trail behind, listening to his casual statements and throw-away words, knowing that what he considered nothing more than common conversation would very likely be the wisest thing I might ever hear. I am enthralled to know how his mind sees a problem on the magnitude of world-wide starvation then breaks it down into manageable and accomplishable bits. Yep, of all those folks taking up space on our planet, Norman would be top on my list to meet.

Who would you most like to meet? Why?

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Book Cravings review for Harm's Way

Another review for HARM'S WAY . . .

...Ms. Ferguson has written a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat with spine-tingling suspense. The mystery unfolds as Alex and Tori discover who the stalker is and why he wants to take her to Paradise. As you read this book you will be spellbound until the final pages as the villain is revealed. The excitement builds to a final climax that will show you that lovers will do anything to protect each other and keep their lover out of harm’s way, even if you lose focus on matters at hand. Love can conquer all, and bring happiness forever. This book has a sweet romance that builds slowly to everlasting love, while surviving many obstacles along the way.

Reviewed by: Sherry at My Book Cravings

Monday, July 9, 2007

Conference Gears Up

Getting started, okay so maybe we've been here awhile. With over 1900 conference attendees, there are a few bags to stuff.



New friend, Jennifer stuffing conference bags.



Another new friend (new to RWA as well) Julie, and dear friend Sherry stuffing bags.

So that's a bunch of bags, and this picture only reflects a small fraction of the completed bags. New fabric and silk-screening scents permeated the room once we finished. A sea of green and black met the eye. Conference goers should make quite a statement sporting around these totes. Ooh, and what good books are they stuffed with? Gotta get to conference and find out.

I'm headed off to my national conference (Romance Writers of America) in the morning, leaving hubby and kids to entertain (and hopefully not kill) each other for the next week. I'm unbelievably excited--conference with another 2000 writers is wonderful. No excuses for excessive shop talk because it is all about the craft or promotion or publication or distribution (well, you get the point) of the shop of writing.

A few last minutes things to dump in my bag:
Plastic bags. I don't know exactly why I need these, but inevitably I do. Pack shoes going and laundry coming home, tote extra books, occasionally a souvenir, and just stuff I don't want to repack in a nice and neat order.

Comfortable shoes. This one doesn't need explanation.

Extra digital camera batteries.
I've never had a digital at conference and I'm excited to capture these moments to share.

Business Cards.
This is a great opportunity to network. My business cards turned out bright and focused on my new release. Perfect for conference.

Phone charger.
Yep, I am expecting my kids and hubby to check in once in a while--a charged phone will be great.

For those of you not coming to conference, I'm sad. I'll miss you.

What's the one thing you never forget to pack for any trip?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

July Flood

Not that we aren't accustomed to flash flooding in Texas . . . as a matter of fact with the flatness of some of our state, flash flooding is a way of life. However, I didn't expect to see it in my backyard.

Then, there was the problem of what happened to my street. We . . . um, sorta lost the curb.


That water is four inches deep, running river-style down my sidewalk.

This was my side yard.

Does this mean I don't have to mow anymore?


This is what I did tonight instead of writing. There was that whole issue of either I sweep or the house floods. Hum . . . should I or shouldn't I? Get the broom somebody.



One last image. This isn't the ocean, but instead a small creek within a half mile of my house. In Texas when we say creek--well, actually, we say crik, but don't hold that against us--we mean a muddy patch of bottom land that occasionally gets wet enough to catch a tadpole or two.

However, after 4 inches of rain in ONE HOUR, this creek, which normally measures 2 or 3 feet at its deepest, flooded to 20 feet plus in depth. For reference, that is a 15-foot light pole on the right-side of the picture. So who needs a summer trip to the Gulf of Mexico? Just pull up a rocker on the porch and hang on. As my Big Mama used to say, 'The crik'll come up presently.'

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Book Signing . . .

. . . Is scheduled.

On Saturday, August 25th, 2007 at 2:00pm, I will sign copies of my latest release, HARM’S WAY, a contemporary romantic suspense.

BARNES & NOBLE booksellers, 8525 Airport Freeway, N. Richland Hills, 76180 (located on the access road of Airport Freeway, off the Bedford-Euless Road exit, also listed as North East Mall exit, is hosting my book-signing on August 25th, 2007.

To all of you, who have emailed, called, and cornered me in the grocery store to ask about copies of HARM’S WAY,
1ST Thank you for your encouraging words,
And here’s your opportunity,
2nd Please mark your calendar and come by for a visit.

When you enter BARNES AND NOBLE, on the 25th, there will signs directing you to my table. As my kids will turn out for awhile, just listen for the loudest part of the store and that‘s where will be. *GRIN*

To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement. This book-signing is a dream come true. Please plan a visit on August 25th and share my dream with me.

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Texas sayings

~Watch your step! Cacti, tumbleweeds, and an occasional armadillo might be ahead.

~Welcome to the land of tar-bubbling summers, gas-guzzling pickup trucks, standard Stetson headgear, and mile-high hair.

~Welcome to the Lone Star State, and Romance With A Texas Twist!

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