Tuesday, July 31, 2012
However, while I’m comfortable in my clumsy skin, I do enjoy seeing others excel in sports. The Olympic Games in London are playing on my flat screen TV as I type, providing plenty of inspiration for our July theme of all things HOT!
With that in mind, I’m celebrating a few especially hot Olympic athletes!
And for you historical fans....
Whew! (Fanning myself!) Let the games begin!!
What’s your favorite Olympic sport in the summer or winter games? One winner will be chosen at random from the comments on Monday, August 6, 2012. Winner will receive a copy of my books UNDER FIRE (Sourcebooks) and AN INCONVENIENT AFFAIR (Harlequin Desire.)
USA Today bestselling author Catherine Mann writes military romantic suspense for Sourcebooks and Berkley, as well as steamy romances for Harlequin Desire. A RITA Award winner, she lives in Florida with her military flyboy husband, their children and their ever growing menagerie of pets. FMI:
Monday, July 30, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
I'm leaving California today after having a terrific time at RWA Nationals. I got to see several old friends and make a few new ones, in addition to learning all kinds of new things that should improve my writing. I'm already looking forward to next year in Atlanta, where I'm sure it'll be a lot hotter there than it was in Anaheim!
I'd always thought the weather in southern California would really be hot, but it's been mostly in the 70's, and after the 100+ temps back home in Indiana, it feels downright chilly here. I can't wait to see my family, but I can do without the heat. A little rain would be a nice touch, too!
One thing that has come out of this conference is that there will be another book in the Cat Star Chronicles series after Wildcat. This one is currently titled Rascal, but you know how that titling process goes. No telling what it'll be called by the time it's released in February 2014. I'm hoping it'll be the best book yet, and it will certainly heat up the chilly winter days for my readers. After all, there's nothing quite as hot as a Zetithian hunk!
Saturday, July 28, 2012
|Obligatory ab photo|
Friday, July 27, 2012
While many of my writer friends are busy networking and buzzing to and from workshops, book signings, and banquets at RWA National in Anaheim, I'm at home having my own celebration.
You see, today is my birthday. I turn [age redacted] years old. Like I'd really tell you all my real age. :) Then again, I've been twenty-nine for let's just say quite a few years. I know the theme this month is heat, but I figured that if I actually put the correct amount of candles on my birthday cake, it'll more than likely get pretty darned hot in here.
In a way, it's kind of cool to celebrate a birthday on the opening day of the Olympics. Even if those Olympics are taking place in London--a place I've dreamt of visiting all my life. Oh well, I'll get that chance some day, I'm sure. Until then, I can live vicariously through the coverage on the telly--Wow! I already have the lingo down.
Hey, maybe if I blow out all the candles on the cake, I can wish myself there. Then again, my cake more than likely will look like the one pictured above. Better check that fire extinguisher!
So have any of your birthday wishes come true? One lucky commenter will win a copy of both Demons Like It Hot, Demons Prefer Blondes, and Wings of Desire (a fantasy erotic romance written as Arianna Skye).
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
First, you have that predatory look. It's time for some action-packed loving--the jungle's hot, but it gets hotter when the jaguars arrive.
A Jaguar at Edinburgh Zoo. Hmm, maybe there are Highland jaguar shifters in Scotland!
All that golden skin, lovely black rosettes, whiskers that sense even the slightest movement in the air current, and he's watching you sitting up in that tree, intending to join you soon. So be ready. He wants some kitty-cat comfort.
And you're ready.
So here's the first of the jaguar men. He's looking for you. Protective and caring.
Yet comfortable in either of his forms.
And here's the next one, who's just as intrigued with you.
Thanks to Sourcebooks for combining wolves and jaguars on a book mark for conference! They're beautiful! They look so nice with my watermelon red crepe myrtles in full bloom in the Texas heat! You don't have to go to the jungle to get hot here! :)
You see what Sourcebooks did, didn't you? The jaguars were outnumbered. A SEAL and a Highlander wedged the jaguar in between. But then the jaguar appeared from the jungle to keep the wolves in line.
Hmm, I wonder if I should write: Fifty Shades of Gray Wolf next???
Heart of the Wolf--in the beginning there were wolves. And then...there were hot wolves.
Now it's time for a fairy tale adventure!
The fairy is in front of an oil painting of one of the Greek islands we visited on a short cruise after seeing Athens.
When you take a trip, do you ever feel you're in a fairy tale world? The room gets cleaned and you didn't have to do anything to make it happen?
You get to eat out and not do the dishes?
You get to see places that you normally can't see around home?
Do you make the most of your trips no matter what happens on them?
One couple told my family that they considered a trip an adventure. You never knew what might happen!
When I went to New Orleans and shared a room with Bonnie, we had so much fun. One of the highlights of the trip was the vampire/ghost tour, but also, as she reminded me before conference--the bouncing truck.
Will I see one in Anaheim? I doubt it. Which means I'll have to see something else so that I can share with her. Last time I was in Anaheim, years ago, a man was panhandling doctors at their conference. And some of the doctors were giving him money, because he was dressed nicely and had run out of money for gas on his way home. Only he was there the next day, panhandling again, because hey, it's a lucrative business. Doctors. Lots of money. Some with not enough sense to know they were paying into a scam.
Chalk it up to an adventure!
It is like a fairy tale time. Every trip. Because every trip takes you out of your comfort zone. It takes you to a new world that you don't live in every day.
A couple were talking about another who had taken a cruise. Everyone was like, "Wow, how was it?" It's a dream for many--the idea of taking a cruise.
They hated it. They hated everything about it.
Did they get deathly ill? (I did on a cruise. We had violent storms so bad and one of the stabilizers went out on the ship, and they had to detour way out of our way because the seas were so rough--but I still had loads of fun!)
Did either of them die? (Several do on a trip every cruise, according to ship's staff. They bet on it. Where do they store the bodies? Amongst the flowers and ice sculptures. :) )
Did they get burned to a crisp? (I did snorkeling once. I always wear a T-shirt now, but I still had a blast!)
What was wrong? Everything. People were drinking in the lounges. Raise eyebrows here. A woman was wearing something really provocative who was helping the magic man. Uhm, yeah, so that eyes would be on her instead of the man using slight of hand. And the list goes on.
Take a trip. Take an adventure. Even if not everything works out (I could make several blogs on this alone), make the most of it and have fun.
Have a super day and if it heats up too much for you, think of hanging out with a jaguar shifter and just how hot that can really get!
Happy hump day eve!
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality."
Monday, July 23, 2012
I've been in my new home in Galveston for almost three weeks now. Here's what I've learned so far:
1. Driving down Seawall Boulevard on the weekend is life-threatening. Have you ever seen someone do a U-turn across three lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, so they could parallel park on the opposite side of a four-lane road? I have. More than once.
2. Half of the state of Texas congregates in Galveston Walmart at ten a.m. on Saturday mornings. Not fun. I guess I didn't need ice cream that badly. Lesson learned.
3. It's hot outside, baby. For the entire month, it's been a consistent 90 degrees with 80 percent humidity. It doesn't even cool down at night. There is some relief when it rains, but within half an hour it's back to 90 and then all that rain evaporates and we end up with 90 percent humidity. I don't mind heat. Really, I don't. Humidity doesn't bother me much, either. Yes, my hair currently looks like it had a love child with a poodle, but I'll take a lifetime of bad-hair days over shoveling snow. That humidity does make it miserable when you have to do more than lounge around. I call it "insta-sweat". Go get the mail--insta-sweat. Carry in the groceries--insta-sweat. Walk the dog--insta-sweat and insta-pant for the dog. Chase the cat off the neighbor's balcony--insta-sweat.
Thus far my plans to sit on the beach and write each and every weekend have been thwarted. I'm still trying to figure out where to put all my stuff and trying to get my life back in order. I drive past the beach, which is half a block from my apartment, while running errands. I see other people enjoying the beach. Other people lounging and swimming and having a great time. Next weekend I have more errands to run, so again I'll miss out on the beach. I know eventually things will settle down and I'll get to enjoy my new environment, but right now, everything is in chaos and I'm the type of person who can't take a break when I have a mile-long to-do list hanging over my head.
I had planned to write a post this month with pictures of my new desk which looks over the French doors that open to my balcony. They didn't deliver my new desk on Friday as planned, so instead that space is filled with a stack of boxes I can't unpack until the desk arrives. Doesn't make for nice pictures. I'd also planned to take pictures of my patio furniture on my balcony, where I'll eventually spend time writing in the evenings beneath the shade of a gorgeous palm tree, surrounded by all the pretty flowers in my flower boxes. It got dark outside before I finished assembling the furniture and planting the flowers. I also planned to take pictures of my favorite office space on the beach--in my beach chair with my feet in the surf, writing by hand in a notebook. Yeah, that didn't happen. I'd actually have to go to the beach to take that picture.
So since I can't share my hot new offices, I'll share my hot new book cover.
Double Time will be released this November. And its contents are even hotter than Galveston in July. It's a good thing I like heat. The boys of the rock band Sinners sure know how to turn it up to sweltering.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
I am so excited to be going next week to the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Anaheim, CA. In my excitement to have access to a pool, I decided to take a chance and purchase a bathing suit. Now I have kids, so shopping alone is not always possible. So I ended up trying on bathing suits with two kids "helping" me pick the right suit.
Let's just say if I suffered from false pride, I have been cured. Here's a sample of some of the ever so tactful statements uttered by my loving cherubs.
"Ewww, is it supposed to look like that?"
"I see your tummy sticking out."
"Don't you want us to tell you the truth?"
Um, no, I really don't want the truth. So if you need to be grounded (translate: humbled, humiliated, mortified), let me recommend taking my children with you shopping. I did return with a suit, something with as much fabric as possible and a skirt down to my knees!
Here are the details:
- Wednesday, July 25, 2012; 5–8 p.m.
- Convention Center, Ballroom (third floor)
- Anaheim, CA
This event is free to the public so I hope to see everyone there!
So as I get ready for my trip (and recover from the psychological trauma of bathing suit shopping with my now fired personal assistants), let me know your itinerary for this summer. What are your hot summer plans?
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Oh, the possibilities! I could blog about this:
|Who doesn't love MAGIC MIKE? (Source: Ew.com)|
|Macy's toes on vacation!|
|Win me, baby!|
When June Augustine hightailed it out of Sultry Springs, Texas, with her heart in pieces, she swore she'd never return. But nine years later, one thing stands between June and her dream of opening an upscale martini bar: a month of community service under the supervision of the devilishly sexy Luke Gallagher, her first love and ex-best friend. As lust turns to love, June must decide where she belongs: in the glorious anonymity of Austin or back in Sultry Springs with the man who intoxicates her like no other.
How can you win? It's easy!
Thursday, July 19, 2012
a) I’m really receptive and excited to hear from you
b) I don’t expect you to be a great pitcher—I’m hoping you’re a great writer
c) Being nervous won’t take away from your pitch—I’m going to be listening for your book to meet my editorial criteria, not to see if you can deliver a good pitch to me under intense circumstances
Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your pitch session:
- Research the editor, agent and house ahead of time and make sure your book is a good fit. (For example, I acquire single title romance and women’s fiction. I’m interested in all sub-genres and currently have a keen interest in contemporary romance. You can see my specific criteria here. If you discover too late that the publisher/agent doesn’t publish/represent the kind of book you’ve written, acknowledge that, and ask to practice your pitch and for them to make suggestions or referrals. Don’t NOT show up, because that editor or agent might be able to refer you to the perfect person.
- Know what subgenre your book is and tell the editor/agent right away. Be very clear about where your book would sit in the bookstore and how it fits into the category—be clear about the subgenre or mix of subgenres (Regency paranormal romance, Scottish Highland time travel romance, etc.). I’ve seen pitches get derailed because I can’t tell whether the book is a mystery (which we don't publish) or romantic suspense (which we do), or whether it's sci-fi/fantasy (which we don't publish) or fantasy romance (which we do).
- Present a strong hook. The hook is a 2-3 sentence selling tool that positions your book as something unique and desirable and will get a buyer excited about stocking your book and a reader excited to read it. Think of it as your ‘elevator moment’.
- A quick and concise introduction to the hero and heroine and major conflicts. Don’t aim for a plot summary, but please do hit the high points of the hero/heroine/story arc so I know that it’s a love story.
- Are you a published author already? If you are previously published, I am going to ask you about your sales history (how many books published, and how many sold to readers, and when was the last one?) What do you see as your career arc? If you’re changing subgenres, let’s talk about it.
- Be enrolling! Your passion about your own book is the most enrolling thing. And, your passion for working with Sourcebooks shows that you know who we are, what we do, and you’re eager to be part of our team. That’s music to our ears!
- Try not to push back. I’m trying to help you, no matter what. Think of me as Simon Cowell, except I’m never deliberately mean. Simon gives the best coaching. If you try to explain away my comments or push back immediately, it will appear that you’re not coachable and not interested. I don’t believe that I know everything, but I’ll share with you everything I know.
I’m looking for:
- Single title romance: paranormal, contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, erotic romance
- 90,000 words
- A heroine the reader can relate to
- A hero she can fall in love with
- A world gets created
- A hook I can sell with in 2-3 sentences
- The author has a career arc—if the first book works in the marketplace, what are we giving readers next and next and next…
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I often think about that day as I now live in the temperate Pacific NW where going out of doors on those few rare 90-degree days of the year is unimaginable. Of course, on the hottest day so far this year, my wife and I did decide to voyage forth on a 4-mile hill walk through one of Portland's oldest neighborhoods. It was a great hike! Of course any time spent with my wife is. (Yes, there's a reason I'm a guy writing romance.)
Well, this summer I get to double the heat. Book 2 of my Night Stalkers series is launching from Sourcebooks on August 1st, just a measly two weeks away. And I turned the heat way up. Twice as hot? (You'll have to tell me, but I have this whole collision of '2's thing going on in this paragraph, so let's assume so.)
How do I make a military romantic suspense hot(ter)? I write about the U.S. Army's secret helicopter regiment, the real-life SOAR 160th, the Night Stalkers. They're serving in Afghanistan, engaged in a war that you've never heard of...and never will. But far more importantly, I write about the first women to ever fly for them. And the men they deserve.
Being a guy writer, I find the strong woman to be an endlessly fascinating character. Whether sitting quietly cleaning her rifle on a day that would melt mortals, or setting off on an impossible mission to save us all, I sally forth in an attempt to capture the woman's strength that so amazes me. (My wife astonishes me constantly with her simple, every day strength. Strong enough to think that going hiking on the hottest day of the year is actually fun!)
Of course, the truly great women absolutely deserve a truly great man. (At least that's my theory. See, now I get to be amazing just because of the lady I married. Neat, hunh?) Double the heat and double the fun. (I can't believe I get paid to sit in a corner and have such a good time telling stories.)
Of course, the best part of my day, is when I get to head out the door with my wife and we hold hands as we go off and about exploring somewhere new.
Other than reading romance, what do you do to be come one with the heat?
Is it twice the fun?
Monday, July 16, 2012
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Since the weather isn’t making me feel warm I went looking for some hot heroes.
I’ve just discovered the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearn. It’s urban fantasy and the hero is a two thousand year old tattooed Druid. (If you’ve read ‘Kiss of the Goblin Prince’ you know tattoos and magic are my kind of thing in a fictional hero).
Spartacus: Vengeance DVDs are about to arrive in my mail box any day now (runs out and checks again). I pre-ordered the series as I missed the start of it while I was travelling in the US (for those of you in the US scratching your head and wondering why I’m so far behind we get everything months late in OZ). I love this series: the scheming, the fighting, the very fit guys…I’m feeling warmer already.
DIY hero—he’s the one I have to write myself. New series=new heroes. So. Much. Fun.
Who are your favorite hotties on TV or in fiction?