What a Scoundrel Wants (the contest!)

The Contest:

To celebrate the upcoming debut of Carrie Lofty’s fabulous WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS I’m hosting a total blowout of a contest. For starters, I’m offering TWENTY (20) free copies of this book. If you win, you must promise to review it somewhere within a month of its release (that’s December 2). Amazon is fine if you don’t have a blog. Two lines on Shelfari is not. Now to make this even more interesting, I’m offering a bonus prize of a $50 gift certificate (to a bookstore, naturally!) if we hit a hundred (100) entries.

How can you sign up for the fun and games? I’m glad you asked!

The Rules:

Rules for entry for people with a blog:

Copy the code for that sexy contest widget from here. Post it somewhere on your blog. Note: it’s probably too big for most sidebars, so it’ll need to be a post. Then let us know in comments on this blog that you want a copy of the book, and that you’ve spread the word via viral kung fu. Make sure you leave a link back so we can check out your handiwork. For a bonus entry in a separate comment, tell us why you’re interested in reading Will Scarlet’s story. (I could give you a gazillion reasons, myself! But then, I’ve read it. This book is fierce. If you’re tired of the same old time periods, the same old heroes and heroines, you’ll want to be first in line to get a taste of this hot-sexy-fresh historical. It’s lightning for your brain!)

For those who don’t have blogs, here’s what you do to enter:

Tell at least one other person about the contest. That means spreading the word on your loops, groups, emails, or IM or whatever communique works best for you. Mind you, I’m not asking you to spam all of the above. Please don’t do that. One venue per person will be just fine. And then come back and let us know where you mentioned the contest. It would be great if you could also include a link to the sexy contest widget when you mention the contest. That’d be this link here. Just like the bloggers, for an extra entry, you can tell us why you lust for Will Scarlet. (Yes, it can be because Christian Slater said, “Fuck me, he cleared it,” all those years ago.)

In either case (blog or no blog), for a third and extra-special-sauce entry, why don’t y’all give me your best guesses at WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS?

So to clarify, if we get 100 entries (that’s entries, not people), I’ll sweeten the pot with 50 large for some lucky soul to spend on books. Additionally, whenever I get crazy with the Cheez Whiz like this, there are always random surprise giveaways, so you never know who might be the lucky poster. This will run until December 1. Are you guys ready to light it up?

Then why don’t you c’mon and tell me WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS!

I did something crazy…

Imac Indigo You know how most people when they replace their current system, they opt for something faster, newer and more rugged?

Well, I just did the opposite. I had a Dell desktop PC, and it was no more than two years old. It was working just fine. Andres has kind of a shiny-toy habit, so if it had been him, he would’ve been hankering for something new by now. I know he’s seriously lusting after the HP Touch Smart PC.

As for me, well, I’ve always had a huge crush on the Imac. Not today’s Imac, mind you. I don’t care for the design, and I couldn’t care less about specs, as long as I can surf, check email, talk on IM, and write. That’s what I need a computer for.

So I made a radical decision. No more systems in my office that let me play all kinds of fun games, such as Neverwinter Nights, NWN 2, or Fallout 3. I took the plunge and bought this ancient adorable indigo Imac (yes, the one in the picture) on Mercado Libre (that’s like ebay in Mexico). This sexy old computer came to me from a dealer in Monterrey. I paid up and he sent it via UPS. I had it the next day!

And it was pure love from the moment I opened the box. I’ve never had a computer before that I didn’t have to ask my husband how to set up. It was totally plug and go. He did disassemble my Dell and wound up moving the Imac to my desk for me, but I could’ve done it if I hadn’t been on the way to pick up the kid from school. It was all done by the time I got home.

Now I have a spare cabinet in my desk, where the tower used to be. I’m going to turn it into a file storage area (with hanging folders), so I won’t need to buy a freestanding file cabinet after all. I have several sets of proofs waiting for me to make this happen. Better yet, I’m finding this Imac is perfect for my needs. It totally keeps me on task with its limitations.

Are you ready for the hilarious awesome specs? This bad boy has a fierce 600 mhz processor, 384 rocking megs of RAM, and a 13 gig HD. Pretty sweet, eh? But I can email, IM and do my work, which is what I need to be doing when I’m at my desk. I’m tickled pink with this thing, not least of all because I finally got one (almost for a song) when I wanted one so desperately when they were new, but I was too poor to afford them. I just love how cool these look, and I’m so into the whole “one unit” thing. Talk about efficient. I already have plans to have it repaired forever and ever when it starts to give me trouble; I love it that much. I even like this clack-y keyboard, the like of which I haven’t seen in years. I like the noise to confirm my keystrokes, but I haven’t been able to find one for a long time. Maybe I just have a retro soul.

So here’s to progress, even when it might look to other people like you’re going backward. What do you do that’s weird in marching to your unique inward drummer boy?

Happy Birthday

Dear Dad,

In November of 1998, your hands were frail, paper thin skin drawn tight over swollen knuckles. You had liver spots, although you were only sixty-eight, not old by today’s standards. Old is eighty-something. Old is for other people.

That day, you struggled to breathe and disdained the oxygen the doc wanted you to use full time, but smoking a pack a day for forty years had finally caught up to you. You thought because you’d quit the year before, it couldn’t hurt you anymore, but past mistakes never lose their power to injure. Echoes roll forward through the years.

You were glad we came, but you were so tired. I saw it in the hollows of your eyes. Even though you never yielded in your heart and mind, never doubted the doctors would find a way to save you, your body was giving up for you.

I knew you were gravely ill, but I didn’t want to deal with it. That’s how I function, push it back until I don’t have a choice anymore. On December 24, 1998, that flashpoint occurred. You collapsed while everyone was trying to celebrate the holiday around you, pretending you weren’t dying. Pretending we were full of good cheer and this was a holiday like any other.

But it wasn’t. And holidays would never be the same again. You stayed in the hospital on life support until January 2. I held your hand while you died.

In September of 1999, I bore a son and I named him after you. He was conceived the night we put you in the ground. You never saw him or held him, but he is your namesake.

Ten years later, it is your birthday. Remember how I always bought you a box of peanut brittle and two copies of the same book? Generally a spy novel. You liked Ian Fleming and John le Carre. I bought our books from a bargain table because I was a poor student back then. We would read the novel at the same time, and then discuss it. That gave us some common ground, something to talk about, because we didn’t have much in common otherwise. We were the only two people in the family who liked to read. Now I’m the only one.

I miss you. Ten years gone and I miss the way you fussed over whether I had jumper cables, if I had an emergency kit in the car and a pair of comfortable shoes. When I graduated college, you said you were proud of me. I’ve made so many mistakes over the years; I hope you still are.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I wish you a good book and peanut brittle, wherever you are.

Love,
Ann

Lorelie and Readerdiane

You guys won a signed cover flat for BLUE DIABLO! Email me with your info and I’ll get them mailed right out. Enjoy!

In other news, I have the book proofs right here, ready for me to check them. How exciting, right?

This is pretty much the last step before I receive ARCs, and then author copies. I’m starting to get very excited by this release. I hope it does well, and that urban fantasy fans gobble it up like Godiva chocolate. Here’s the blurb, just to remind you…

Right now, I’m a redhead. I’ve been blond and brunette as the situation requires, though an unscheduled color change usually means relocating in the middle of the night. So far, I’m doing well here. Nobody knows what I’m running from. And I’d like to keep it that way…

Eighteen months ago, Corine Solomon crossed the border to Mexico City, fleeing her past, her lover, and her “gift”. Corine, a handler, can touch something and know its history—and sometimes, its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing—and that’s why people never stop trying to find her. People like her ex, Chance…

Chance, whose uncanny luck has led him to her doorstep, needs her help. Someone dear to them both has gone missing in Laredo, Texas, and the only hope of finding her is through Corine’s gift. But their search may prove dangerous as the trail leads them into a strange dark world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies—and black magic…

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Eating crow

Eating crow I have a confession to make. Years ago, I won a copy of DEMON ANGEL by Meljean Brook. I got it from Dear Author. I was thrilled.

I remember this very clearly… I took the book with me to Playland. I intended to read it while the kids played. The small humans kept coming back to the table, fascinated by the cover art and the title. They argued over it.

Boy spawn: “That’s stupid. How could anyone be both a demon and an angel?”
Girl spawn: “I think she’s the demon, and he’s the angel.”
Boy spawn: “Oh. Then they should put that in the title somehow.”
Weary Mom, played by me: “Like with a comma or a hyphen or a slash?”
Boy spawn, who doesn’t even use capitals or periods correctly at this point: “What’s a hyphen?”
Girl spawn, canny as an owl: “Leave Mom alone. Let’s go play.”

So I read the first half of the book there at Playland. I went home and fixed dinner, laid the book in my office. Then I had work to do. Then my housekeeper tidied up. Things were moved. (I hate when she rearranges my shelves, but since she doesn’t read in English I can’t expect her to know what was where and put it back there after she dusts.) I could tell her not to clean my office, but that hurts her feelings for some reason (no, I don’t know why), so I let her and I deal with it.

In any event, I lost track of DEMON ANGEL. I’m still not entirely sure where it is. I have book shelves all over the house, plus a cache of a books in a hope chest at the foot of my bed. I never know where anything is. There’s a lesson in that; I’m always careful now not to let a book out of my sight until I’ve finished with it.

But to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t heart-broken over losing track of that book. I didn’t care all that much about what happened to Lilith and Hugh. They didn’t engage me. The writing was excellent, but something about them never clicked for me. I kept pushing through, trying to find the magic, because sometimes I don’t get it. There are a number of series that other people swear by, and I just don’t understand the appeal. I’m not saying they’re wrong. It’s just not for me.

But I like Meljean’s online persona, and she was very sweet in person at RWA. So I desperately wanted to like her books, too. Then I read something on The Book Binge, where they perfectly articulated my thoughts.

When I got the email that I’d won a copy of Demon Moon, I figured I might as well buy Demon Angel and read it before reading Demon Moon. I have to tell you, I didn’t love Demon Angel. I liked it well enough, but it didn’t blow me away. I honestly couldn’t understand why so many others were raving on and on about it.

Well, yes. Pretty much. Exactly.

But she goes on:

I went into Demon Moon with pretty low expectations…and was completely blown away. Here was the WOW factor that had been missing for me in Demon Angel. I absolutely adored Colin and Savi. The pacing was cleared up and the story flowed so well I was at the end before I realized it. I laughed, I cried, I went on an emotional roller coaster ride it took me days to recover from.

Huh, I said to myself. Self, maybe you should try out DEMON MOON.

So I did. This time I was clever enough to buy the book for my PDA, so nobody can move it on me. I carried it around with me all day, even had it with me when, through a complex series of unfortunate events, I wound up locked out of my house in the late afternoon. But that was all right! I had something fantastic to read.

I adored Savi and Colin. Meljean made his vanity something else entirely. If you haven’t read it, you won’t understand, no matter what I say about it, but if you have, then you know what I’m talking about already. As for Savi, she’s smart. She really is. You know how in some books, the author tells you the heroine is a genius, but then she acts like the stupid blond in a slasher flick? No. Savi is quick as a whip.

The writing is unbelievably lovely. There were passages where my breath caught in delight because it was so evocative and pure, like a nightingale’s song in the early morning light, when all the traffic has stilled, and there’s nothing but that cool purity swelling to crescendo. Demon Moon

So here I’m eating crow publicly. I never said on this blog, “Gosh, I don’t see what all the fuss is about with that Meljean Brook,” but I thought it after failing to finish DEMON ANGEL. I’m happy to say now I totally understand what all the fuss is about. She’s worth every squee. DEMON MOON was a fabulous read. I’ll be including a Meljean Brook prize package in my Early Christmas contest (which will run in December, before Christmas, obviously).

Now I’m off to get the next one. Lucky me!

Winners (and an update)

Hey, everyone. I’m back! How much did you miss me? Thanks for keeping the blog company while I was gone. It can be temperamental.

Now it’s time to announce the winners.

Katee (#47),

you won the Jeri Smith-Ready trilogy!

Dina (#61),

you won the $30 Amazon gift certificate.
Congrats to you both. Now you just need to email me your names and addresses, so I can make this happen.

I had a lovely time, and I’m feeling fantastic now. I’ll write more about the trip when I have pictures downloaded from the digital camera. For now, I’ll give you a brief overview of what’s coming down the pike, sort of a syllabus, if you will.

Next, I’ll be writing a proposal for SKIN TIGHT, the next romance by Ava Gray. That’s due January 15. It only needs to be a couple of pages, so that’s not exactly onerous. (What’s that? you gasp. A break?! Yes, it looks that way, gentle readers.) After that, I’ll turn my attention to KILLBOX, the fourth Jax novel, due March 15. And then on May 15, SKIN TIGHT (the actual book) will be due, pending approval of the proposal, of course. Finally, the last Corine Solomon book, SHADY LADY, will need to be written before January 15, 2010.

And that’s it. Once I’ve done those three books, I will have completed all my contractual obligations. That scares me a little! I write fast, and I’m disciplined. I love having work to be doing. Once I finish all this work, we’ll have to start pitching again. *shiver* I hate the waiting that comes with pitching, but it’s so lovely when you end that with a sale. I hope it’ll be easier this time around, but I’m afraid to hope for it. (That’s where you chime in with blanket reassurances. I’m not interested in sage comments about the economy. *g*) In any event, I have worked hard, written the best books I can, tried to be easy to deal with and accessible to my editors, and I’ve always met my deadlines. That is the sum of what I can do.

Moving on to other matters… I won’t be running a “hot reads” contest this month. I’ve read a number of good books, but this contest we just wrapped up took the fore. My next book blowout will take place on November 24. I’ll give you the scoop. My good friend Carrie Lofty has her historical debut scheduled for December 1. In honor of the occasion, I’m giving out TWENTY (20) copies of her book.

I’ll start that contest in a couple of weeks, and you’ll have a week to ask for your copy. There is a catch, however. You have to promise to read and review it. Posting it on Amazon is fine if you don’t have a blog. I’ll probably come up with some code for you to put on your blogs as well. You know I like the viral marketing.

I can’t recommend this book enough, which I don’t always do. I have a number of friends who write, but I don’t pimp each and every one of their books because sometimes they’re just not to my taste. It doesn’t mean they’re bad, but what that does mean is you can trust anything I pimp, I really, truly loved it. (That doesn’t mean you will, but if you’ve found your tastes dovetail with mine, you just might). WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS is a sexy, fast-paced historical. If you like your historical romances packed with action and angst, you won’t want to miss this. Oh, and the heroine is mean as a snake, which you will adore (trust me!). Carrie has taken the Robin Hood legend and written Will Scarlett’s story. It’s delicious. So you can be looking forward to that contest as well. Get your comment-typing fingers ready because it’s going to be quite a party.

Edit to add: winners have a week to get in touch with me. If I don’t hear from you by next Monday, I redraw these prizes.

A much needed fall break (and a contest)

We’re headed to Catemaco this weekend, where we will spend a week at La Finca and explore the magic of the state of Veracruz. Did you know that it’s a town full of witches and warlocks? I intend to make use of this setting in the next Corine Solomon novel I write. More on that when I get back.

Anyhow, I need to unplug from the Internet and spend some time with my family. That means no cell phone, no laptop. I will not be checking email. When I return, I’ll be completely refreshed and excited to get started on my next project. Try not to miss me too much.

While the cat’s away, though, the mice will play. (You’re the mice. I don’t want you to get lonely, and I don’t want the tumbleweeds blowing through my blog.)

So I’m running a contest in absentia. My good friend Jeri Smith-Ready has a release this week. Yay for The Reawakened! That’s the final book in the Crow trilogy (and it totally rocks).

Those are all three books. You can win the whole set, just by commenting. In case you’re already a huge Jeri Smith-Ready fan, I’ll also offer a $30 Amazon gift certificate to sweeten the pot. That’s right – two winners. So chat it up amongst yourselves while I’m gone. I use a random number generator so the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. There’s no limit. One comment = one entry.

No spamming. No mindless one word posts. No random linkage. I want each comment to have some content, understood? I’ll wrap this up after I get back (the week of the 10th), winners announced then. Let’s have a clean match, and may the best poster(s) win!