Thursday, December 29, 2011

Random movies

While visiting family in California, my husband was flipping through channels and happened upon Casablanca. What a great movie. I was quoting the lines ahead of the actors (I'm sure it was totally obnoxious), loving the the humor that was thrown in throughout, enjoying Bogie and Bergman. I don't have cable TV at home, so I don't have that accidental access to great classics, but seeing Casablanca again made me think of other great, great movies that I love and I will watch every chance I get. These are oldies: nothing after 1970.

The Bridge on the River Kwai--Great actors, great story, great suspense, amazing movie. And the music is unforgettable.
The Great Escape--What a thrilling story. And again, the score is phenomenal.
The Magnificent Seven--I'm not a Western fan, but when it's done well, you can't beat a great Western. And have you heard this musical theme?
The Dirty Dozen--It's just fun. Turning bad guys into heroes. What more could you ask for?
It Happened One Night--if you haven't seen this classic comedy, quick, find it, watch it. It's said that Bugs Bunny was based on Clark Gable's role.
Bringing Up Baby--Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant in a zany comedy. Too fun.
To Catch a Thief--Again Cary but this time with Grace Kelly. During the filming of this movie she met Prince Ranier and soon after became Princess Grace.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers--musicals aren't for everyone, but this one is such a great romance. (Okay, you have to suspend disbelief a little, but I love it)
Singing in the Rain--perhaps the best movie musical ever made. It certainly tops my list.
Psycho--still one of the scariest movies I've ever seen.

I've left off so many. What are your favorites? I would love to see some oldies I've missed.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
The Bad Luck Wedding Dress by GeralynDawson

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Best cookie recipe ever

I don't cook or bake much. Really, I have burned water. (Making hummingbird nectar--almost burned the house down). But these cookies are the simply wonderful Rich, buttery, and not too hard to make.

Buffett's Sugar
Cookies

1 lb. butter
2 C. powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. salt (you can leave this out unless you use sweet butter)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 C. flour
 
Cream butter and powdered sugar.  Add egg,
and mix well.  Add salt, vanilla and flour (add the flour 1 cup at a time
and blend between cups).  Roll dough on a floured surface 1/4 in.
thick.  Cut into desired shapes.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes
(depending on the oven) until slightly golden around the edges.  Cool on rack, and decorate as desired, or freeze and decorate
later.  These cookies freeze well and are also good plain, without the
icing. 
 
Cookie Icing
Combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifting
makes it smoother) with a couple drops of vanilla or other flavoring (I use
vanilla), and enough milk (2-3 Tbsp.) to make a smooth, slightly runny
icing.  Color if desired.  Decorate with colored sugars, sprinkles, crushed peppermint, etc. while the icing is still wet.  Allow time
for icing to set to a firm, smooth, glaze finish, especially before
packaging.  Once iced, these cookies store well and stay soft for several
days in a tupperware type container.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Credo (Partial)

In this season of reflection, family, and festivities, I thought I'd post something about the things I believe. No, not religion, but random thoughts and ideas.

  • I believe everyone has the right to their own opinions, but too many people don't know what an opinion really is. You don't have the right to ignore facts just because you don't like them.
  • I believe no one should aggrandize themselves at the expense of others.
  • I believe life is not fair, but that doesn't mean there isn't joy in it.
  • I believe celebrities have the right to keep their lives private if they choose. However, even if they go public,  I believe I don't want to hear about it. Entertain me. That's enough.
  • I believe vanilla is better than chocolate, umbrella drinks are better than wine, and books are better than movies. (Hey, this is my list. You want to make your own? Leave a comment)
  • I believe laughter works miracles.
  • I believe that just being human comes with responsibilities.
  • I believe space is scary. (I hate the idea of Earth floating in a vastness coldness. The moon in the sky during daylight hours freaks me out when I see it because that's when I see the universe and I don't want to.)
  • I believe dark humor can be really funny.
  • I believe that people are not created equal. Some people are smarter, or faster, or prettier, or stronger. But that doesn't make anyone better than anyone else.
  • I believe my book is just as valid as your book. (Or movie or song or TV show)
  • I believe you can judge a book by its cover. But that doesn't mean your judgment is correct.
  • I believe you can always learn something and should.
  • I believe the day I stop dreaming is the day I should die.
  • I believe this list has gone on long enough...for now.
--Gabi
Books I'm reading now:
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dos and Don'ts

How is it December already? I have a crazy list of things I need to accomplish and I'm not even talking bout the upcoming holidays. So without further ado, here's the list:

Do:

  • Finish the Work-In-Progress rough draft and get it to my agent. I'm almost there. Only about a hundred pages to go. (If you're interested, the working title is MYSTIC)
  • Plan to get the word out there for the April release of WISHFUL THINKING. I have some contest ideas and giveaway thoughts, as well as some advertising ideas too.
  • Somehow promote my kindle book, Temptation's Warrior.
  • Come up with more original ideas for my blogs. You all must be getting sick of me constantly writing about why I like genre fiction.
  • Remember to take more time for myself and my health. I have got to walk my dogs more (don't worry, there are two others in my household who take them out too).
  • Enjoy not working the day job.

Don't:

  • Worry about Amazon numbers.
  • Compare myself to other author friends. Because the way I view things, I always come out on the short end.
  • Edit in my head as I write the rough draft. That's what revision is for.
  • Drive myself crazy with the things I have no control over. 
  • Tell myself my writing and ideas aren't worthy.
  •  Be so hard on myself.
  • Make impossible lists.

If you didn't know I was neurotic before, you do now.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
The Marked Son by Shea Berkley
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Friday, November 25, 2011

Optimism

A few days ago I read a blog in which someone referred to a talk Jayne Ann Krentz gave. In this talk, she mentioned that, in her opinion, the difference between the literary genre and other genre fiction, was one word: optimism. For whatever reason I've been thinking about this since I read that message (Funny, since I was present when Ms. Krentz gave that talk and only now started thinking about it) and I find I agree with her. Optimism is the difference between genre fiction and literary fiction (which is just another genre, but I won't get into that here--much).

It's a little too simplistic to say that all genre fiction is optimistic, but for the most part it is. Even set in an apocalyptic world, the struggle of a man (or mankind) to maintain dignity or the right thing is optimistic. That's why Mad Max works. A loner anti-hero who has lost everything still does the right thing and fights for the right causes. After he does the right thing, the world isn't "cured", but he goes on to do more "right things". Optimistic. In Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, a book with NO heroes, justice does win in the end even if it's in a weird, unjust, twisted way. The book remains troubling because of its ending, which is what makes it a classic, but there is a weird sense of optimism in it. Justice does prevail (and if you've read the book**SPOILER** you understand the pun I'm making).

I think optimism is the right word. Optimism doesn't mean life becomes easy. It doesn't mean that the characters will live out the rest of their lives in pretty meadows filled with unicorns and rainbows, snacking on candy flavored flowers and never gaining a pound. Optimism means that no matter the circumstances, the characters will strive to seek goodness, justice, strength, and love. If death comes, and it will, hope will still exist. Optimism, whether it's the superficial belief that you will win the lottery or the deeply ingrained urge simply to wake up the next morning and slog through the day, is the strength of the human race.

Maybe life is futile. If that's the case, I don't want to read about it or watch it in a film or even know it. I prefer my optimistic delusions. Life is more fun that way.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Breathless by Dean Koontz
Blood Island by H. Terrell Griffin

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Like Light

So how badly does it reflect on an author when she labels herself as a light read? I love my books, but my intention isn't to bog the reader down with characters who have depressing baggage, history that's too text book or research that's too dense (Not that I don't do research because I do a ton). I write the books that I enjoy--fun, with humor, and adventure. Yet I hesitate to label myself so. Case in point: I wanted to describe my new Kindle release as medieval-light. Doesn't mean that I didn't do research or that the novel is anachronistic. I will admit I glossed over many aspects of medieval life...because I wanted to. While I enjoyed the research and learned many cool facts, I didn't want to weigh down the light and lively aspects of my novel. I call it Errol-Flynn lit.

I love movies like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Notting Hill, X-men, Love Actually, anything by Pixar; books like Harry Potter, almost every Agatha Christie, Bewitching, A Kiss At Midnight, and so many more. (By the way, all these stories have themes and important ones at that, but that's a whole other topic.) I also love books/movies like Shawshank Redemption, To Kill A Mockingbird, Casablanca, and other heavier fare, but I stay away from anything like The Hurt Locker, or The English Patient, or stuff you have to use a crane to lift. I recently watched A Single Man. Thought it was slow, but a fascinating character study...and then it ended. If you don't want to know the ending skip to the next paragraph. It's the story of a man about to commit suicide, but through the course of the day he finds his will to live again. It's life affirming; the character finds joy in living again. Wonderful. And then he has a heart attack and dies. Really? REALLY? You want a great, GREAT book where people die and it's still life affirming? Read Dandelion Wine. It's about living life to its fullest, not about the futility of life.

So I hereby declare myself a light writer. I write stories that (I hope) will have you cheering at the end, laughing at parts and maybe even sheding a few tears. I write for fun--fun for me and for you.

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
In Her Sights by Robin Perini
I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Foray into Self-publishing

As many of you know, I had several historicals released before I was able to write paranormals. Well, I've now re-released the first of my backlist. TEMPTATION'S WARRIOR, an award winning manuscript, is now available on Kindle. I like to call it medieval-light--I definitely did tons of research (who wouldn't love reading about the middle ages?) but in the end I told a fun story (in my opinion). I've released it under my other name, Gabi Anderson. Originally it was released only in hardcover, so it didn't get the readership I thought it deserved.

The cover was so much fun to create. My husband and I found an image we liked (iStockphoto.com) and then we played with it. The more I looked at him, the more I fell in love with this model. So did my husband. :)

I'm still looking into how to get the book on Smashwords and into the Nook, Kobo, and other formats, so that will be coming. In the meantime, if you're a huge fan and want another Gabi fix and have a Kindle, this is your chance.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Beyond Ordinary by Mary Sullivan


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wishful Thinking

I have a cover!

It so nails the characters, especially Stormy. You have the beach in San Diego, her usual garb, her tattoo...And Hunter...sigh. Love those arms. Release date is April 24, 2012.

And yes, this is a paranormal, but the cover fits the book. Even if they didn't quite get the dimple in his chin.

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween

I'm not big into Halloween. I don't mind giving out candy or seeing kids (I don't even mind the teenagers) come to my door. I don't mind the people who actually celebrate it as a holiday, and I sort of laugh at the ones who fear it, but it's not big on  my list of days I look forward to. I really am sick of the way it's been built up into a merchandise bonanza; and I always laughed at my students when they thought they should have a day off for it (Yes, I was that kind of teacher--I laughed at my students). I don't like "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (I know, blasphemy) and I don't like to dress up.

I should retract that. I would love to dress up if I could get the kind of costume I would love to get. Probably something Steampunk, or Victorian, made of velvet and lace, with a corset and the right boots. Or something medieval with a wimple and chemise, overgown and laced up bodice. Or perhaps something fantasy--wings, something flowy. The reason I don't: I can't see myself spending the money. I'm frightfully cheap, especially when it comes to myself. The idea of spending the kind of moneyit would take to acquire the kind of costume I would love gives me hives.

I wish I was the kind of person who could just let loose and celebrate. I wish I could dress in the styles that truly appeal to me (Gothic, anyone?--you'd never guess that about me, would you?). Unfortunately, I'm too repressed.

So I'll sit back on Halloween in my non-costume and just say, "Bah,humbug." But have a good time anyway.
--Gabi


Books I'm reading now:
Honey Moon by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (really, Kindle people, have someone proof read it)
Hot Shot by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My Man Pendleton by Elizabeth Bevarly

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Reason I’m Sticking with Traditional Publishing


Don’t get me wrong. I think this is a brave new world in publishing with so many new opportunities. I love that authors are re-releasing their backlists. Heck, I’m even dipping a toe into the waters of self-publishing by releasing one of my historicals written under my previous name . But for the most part, I’m sticking with the non-indie books (hypocritical much?).

Before you start throwing things at me, let me explain. I think it’s great that authors have a choice right now. Really I do. You’ve written a book and you want to see it published. I can understand that feeling. More than you know. But as an author (and let me just come out and tell you that I am traditionally published by a traditional house), I don’t have a lot of time to read. When I read, I want the book to take me away, and for it to do that, it has to be clean, well constructed, and sing (metaphorically speaking).

Again, before you throw things at me, let me continue. I’m not saying that indie authors don’t know what they’re doing. I’m sure many of them do. And yes, I have read traditionally published books that are terrible—and I don’t mean “just not my taste.” I’ve seen error-laden, lazy ass writing from traditionally published authors. But—and many of us do suffer from big buts—I have also read many, many unpublished manuscripts over the years. Not complete ones, but the opening chapters. Hundreds is not an exaggeration (I can’t imagine going through the number of manuscripts an editor or an agent has to). Of the hundreds of chapters I’ve read, I’ve seen maybe two or three, at most five, that were ready to be published. Of the couple dozen that I thought were really good, interesting concepts, great voice, etc, they still needed a lot of work to be publishable—whether the grammar needed work, the pacing, the POV, etc. A good editor could really help those manuscripts. And yes, I’ve also heard that good editors are hard to find. Probably true, but they are out there. My concern is that most authors can’t view their own work with detachment, and I don’t want to read someone’s book that only the author's mother/best friend/husband thinks great. I want someone who has no emotional stake in the author to like the writing.

Keep those rotten tomatoes in your hands for a while longer, please. Recently I’ve heard too many authors say that New York doesn’t know what it’s doing, that so-and-so made it big without traditional publishing, that this big name author is now going indie, that publishing is dead, etc. Maybe that’s so. New York publishers are struggling, really struggling, to figure out what’s happening in publishing. The fact that so-and-so made it big is the exception, not the rule (that’s why we hear about her). The big name author who is going indie knows her craft and has already proven herself a writing entity and has fans who will follow her wherever she will go (“she” used as the default gender pronoun—I’m not thinking of anyone in particular). Publishing is not dead; it’s changing—some of the dinosaurs are gasping, some are blind, some have their heads in the tar pits, but do you really think publishing is dead? They said the same thing when Gutenberg invented the printing press. They said the same thing about movies when television came around. Do you really think publishing will disappear just because we’ve entered a new phase? All authors should be educating themselves and not trusting one side or the other blindly.

But (so many buts in this blog, as if too many of us didn’t already have big buts in our lives), I want someone to have vetted the work I read. I honestly believe I have a better chance at finding a good book that way. I’m not saying that some self-published works aren’t great. I also know that I’ll never find them with this attitude, but I don’t have the time to search or the money, or the patience to wade through the muck. I’m just stating my parameters.

And, yes, I know many people don’t like my books and that’s okay too.

Let the throwing commence.
--Gabi

Books I’m reading now:
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
Dragonbound by Jade Lee

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Formula

Critics of Romance complain that the stories are all the same, that they're all formula. Well, sure, if you consider having an HEA (happily ever after) formula, but as a recent study  (from UCSD, my alma mater) showed, people actually get more from reading if they know the ending. Spoilers don't spoil anything. In Romance the "how" the hero and heroine get to the HEA drives the reader, not  the "if". Besides, within the formula you'll find an almost endless variety of styles, tones, themes, settings, conflicts, etc.

If you're a person who loves Romance, I don't have to convince you that I'm right. If you're no fan of Romance, then, besides wondering what the hell you're doing on this page, I feel I should inform you that all genres, including literary (yes, it is a genre) have their formulae.

Still not convinced? Well, I don't have time or energy to deal with you. I'm busy writing. But as a final thought watch this three minute short film. According to the restrictions placed on the film makers, the films were allowed to have six lines of dialog:
  • What is that?
  • It’s a unicorn.
  • Never seen one up close before.
  • Beautiful.
  • Get away, Get away!
  • I’m sorry.
Just watch:


Don't tell me formulae are limiting.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Guess it's Fall

Today I was cold for the first time in months. I don't like cold. Mind you, I think I'm becoming really whiny, because I'm not liking the extreme heat either (Yes, I did complain in Rome and other parts of Europe while I was there because of the heat. Never going in summer again). To me Hell isn't fire, but ice. I was chilled on Friday and I actually took my first (of usually many) hot bath of the season (with a book--in this case a Kindle in a Ziploc--something to drink and a couple of cookies. TMI?) My favorite season used to be summer (before I became whiny about the heat), spring brings allergies like crazy, and winter is just too cold. So by default, fall has become my favorite season--especially since I don't have to go back to school.

But by far the coolest (no pun intended) thing about fall in Albuquerque is this:

The Balloon Fiesta. While five of the ten days were rained out this year, and one cannot depend on the weather, the Fiesta is worth a trip, the early rise (although they also hold evening balloon glows, but you MUST see the early morning mass ascension), and the crowds. Food is fun--Breakfast burritos (on the way home, my husband was wondering if the Fiesta serves the most breakfast burritos in addition to hosting the biggest number of balloons--really, what other event boasts as many breakfast burritos?), doughnuts and mini-doughnuts, funnel cakes, hot chocolate, coffee--even the pinon variety--and today we even spotted breakfast pizza. And the odd offering of things to buy--today's winner: flu shots.

But the big draw is the balloons. You can walk on the field as they lift off. Wave after wave launch right beside you.

My favorite:


Yeah. I'm a nerd.

--Gabi


Books I'm reading now:
Shadowman by Erin Kellison
A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James

















Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why am I not an engineer or a computer scientist?

Who says the sciences and technology are not creative? I've had this argument with my students often. Science and math can be very creative--it's just a matter of understanding the language well enough to create in.
Want proof? Watch this. (And yes, I know it's an advertisement, but who cares. It's awesome.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gaps in my Education

As we travel through life, grow up and get out of school, we realize there are some things we just never studied that perhaps might shock others. I can give you a couple of examples in my own education. I have never read Hemmingway, I didn't read The Great Gatsby until last year, and I first read Huckleberry Finn the summer before I knew I was going to teach it. Now I truly believe I had a great education. I had classses in high school in subjects that many students are never exposed to: an American West history class, an English class on science fiction (which was truly marvelous), a class called Ripping off Shakespeare, and in my Latin class we read Roman poetry, plays, and Winnie the Pooh. As a German major in college, I read a lot of books English majors have never heard of and Goethe's Faust in the original German, but that also meant I missed out on some English language books. I didn't read Frankenstein until a couple of years ago,  never read A Tale of Two Cities, and still haven't read Hemmingway.

As a romance novelist, I believe it's important to understand my genre. So when people rave about a book, I know I should read it just to see what others are raving about. But that doesn't mean I don't have gaps in romance too.  I am currently reading Outlander for the first time. Yup. I'd never read it before. I didn't pick up Lord of Scoundrels (widely regarded as the best romance novel written) until a year ago. I was late to Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Jayne Ann Krentz, but I've since caught up. There are still some big name authors I haven't read, but who shall remain nameless because I really don't want to hurt feelings (though why they should care if I've read them gives me way more importance than I'm warranted).

I really don't understand people (especially writers) who say they never read historical, or romantic suspense, or paranormal, or whatever. Limiting yourself creates gaps in your education (and yes, romance novels are a part of your worldview and therefore educating). So I'm challenging you to broaden your scope. Read something you wouldn't normally read, even if that means reading out of genre. There are some terrific horror novels out there, or mysteries, or even the occasional literary novel. Or pick up a historical if you don't read those, or a YA, or a category.

The bottom line is the story. The type is just the vehicle to tell it.

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie














Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Defense of the Wallpaper Historical

I love the wallpaper historical. Don't get me wrong. I love history. I love the details, seeing the the patterns, understanding the flow, recognizing modern repetitions (actually, that last one not so much). But when I'm reading a historical romance, one where I want to be taken to another world, I understand that world is a fantasy. A FANTASY. It never existed. I know most women of those days (whenever those days may be) didn't have rights and that society had different expectations for them, and yet it doesn't bother me to find women with modern sensibilities and attitudes in the historical romance. I think that juxtaposition makes for interesting plots. It's the ultimate "what if".

If I wanted to read history, I would pick up a history book. I know the difference. It doesn't bother me if a heroine from the middle ages uses words that didn't exist until the 1800s. Let's face it; if the author wrote a linguistically accurate novel, you wouldn't be able to understand it unless you knew middle English. Do you find it easy to read Shakespeare? He wrote in modern English.That doesn't mean I expect the heroine to say "dude" or "chillax" (Am I dating myself?), but honestly, I'm reading a fantasy even if it is a historical novel.

Mind you, I also enjoy the rich, detailed historical. I enjoy the density, the obvious knowledge of the author, but I would say the majority of the "wallpaper" authors do their research too. It just doesn't hit you over the head. I have read wildly inaccurate historicals and I will knock those as much as the next person. I read one once that took place in Venice and the author had the characters traveling around the city in carriages and even a coach and four! Ouch. That kind of inaccuracy is inexcusable, but I hold that the majority of authors don't make such errors. But I've read errors in contemporaries as well.

I used to write historicals and I can tell you that I did copious amounts of research, but the bottom line was the story. Yes, my historicals tended to gloss over the bad teeth, open sewers, and body odor of the past. Those are still the historicals I like to read; the ones with the endless number of dukes in England; with the governess who can end up married to the earl; the ones where they can have sex in a carriage because her clothes come off rather than being stuck in the accurate stiff and unyielding corsets and crinoline. Give me the Robin Hood where Errol Flynn can best real life swordsman Basil Rathbone.

Give me the fantasy.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now: A Regimental Murder by Ashley Gardner

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Critical Thinking

It's a catch phrase in education. It's what supposed to be taught to students. It's what intelligent, thinking adults should possess. Yet often I believe it is the aspect that is most missing in our society. Critical thinking. It is the ability to come to conclusion based on evidence, logic, thought, observation, analysis, and experience. Unfortunately, it requires some work, and that's why I believe so many people opt out of critical thinking and prefer to be told what to think.

I'm on this rant because an acquaintance posted an inflammatory, "cutesy" political remark, and I called her on it. It wasn't logical, and I pointed out the flaw in the reasoning. Now granted, it was smart-ass of me, but it pissed me off. She proceeded to throw more sound bites at me that wandered further from the original topic of the post, and then her friend joined in, calling me a patronizing name (which made me just laugh-- that's how to win a debate--by resorting to name calling) and waving the patriotism flag, which of course is often the last resort when no valid arguments can be made.

Don't talk to me about patriotism. My parents escaped an oppressive, totalitarian regime by crawling through miles of mud and snow with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My mom had a new coat for the first time in her life, and her heart broke that she had to ruin it in the dirt by escaping. My parents lived in a refugee camp for two years after escaping. They had the chance to move to three other countries, but they held out for the chance to come to the United States. (These were my bedtime stories growing up--what their life was like, what they went through to come here, and what life was like when they started here.)

But that doesn't mean I accept what is told to me without evidence or proof. The political pundits on the radio and TV for the most part like to hear themselves talk, and several have been shown to stretch the truth so many times that it's a wonder they still have a job. But of course they do, because people would rather believe what is told to them than learn about an issue and think it through for themselves. It's easier.

Incredibly, thinking for yourself was a theme in so many of the novels I taught my students: And Then There Were None; The Crucible; Huckleberry Finn; I, Robot. Unfortunately too many people are willing to be led instead of questioning why they follow.
Think!
Sorry about the rant, but it's really a shame.
--Gabi

Books I am Reading now:
Seduce me in Dreams by Jacquelyn Frank
Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen by JK Rowling

Monday, August 22, 2011

The new Man

No, I'm not trading in husbands. I'm talking about my new hero. He's so much fun. I turned in revisions for WISHFUL THINKING, the third and final book in my series (unless there's a huge write in campaign for a continuation of stories in the world) and I was just thinking of Hunter. He's my hero. He's a Guard--kind of magic military. His job is to protect the third fairy godmother. Of course, it's not as easy as he thinks, and he has to go through much soul-searching and changing before the end.

One of the interesting things about writing the male (which I'm not) is trying to understand their point of view. How do they think? For example, how would a man describe the heroine's blue eyes? Well, he'd probably say blue. When writing a scene from the male POV, one has to worry about how men think or it won't come off as authentic--especially if the guy is an alpha hero. For example, men usually don't ask for approval, so they don't use tag-ons like "right?" or "don't you think?" When they write e-mails then tend not to use a greeting like "Dear Mr. Brown." They just jump right into the meat of the message.

There are other male behaviors that make scenes more authentic, like their attitudes about nudity. Yes, there's a scene in my book that uses this aspect of male behavior. I think it's pretty funny.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that I really like the male. And all of his quirks, strengths, and behaviors fascinate me. Maybe because I'm not one.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Stranger by Zoe Archer

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guilty Pleasure

Can I share a secret with you? Tomorrow is the first day of school If you follow my blog you know I'm not teaching any more, so what does the first day of school have to do with me? My daughter, the one left at home and not in college, goes to school tomorrow. The husband goes to work, the daughter goes to school, and I will have the house to myself for hours every weekday.

I truly hope I'm not letting myself in for a big letdown. I don't want to spend my free hours doing the things that will distract from writing--you know, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning. I have to tell myself this is a nine-to-five job (or in my case seven-to-three job--the daughter leaves the house early). And I also have to make sure friends and family understand the same concept. I am NOT a stay at home mom with time to run every errand. (Not that there's anything wrong with that role. I was that for ten years.) Errands will come. Like next week, Baby girl gets her braces off. I will be there for that. But I will be writing. And it's hard work. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Now if I can only find some way to communicate this to the dogs...
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Scoundrel by Zoe Archer
Rebel by Zoe Archer

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rom Con 2011

I'm in Denver right now at RomCon 2011 and it got me to thinking. I know I thanked my readers in AS YOU WISH (see the acknowledgements) but I wonder if you know just how much you mean to us authors and to me personally. I'm not the kind of person to squeal, or jump up and down, or visibly demonstrate my emotions. Basically I was taught not to trust exposing one's emotions to the world. I tend to appear reserved, stoic and serious when you first get to know me. I don't dislike that aspect of me, but sometimes I wish I could just let go and whoop with abandon. I had a reader approach me here at RomCon and she told me how much she enjoyed my book. I was thrilled. I of course thanked her, gave her a trading card of my latest cover, and a little tchotchke that I'd brought with me, but inside I was whooping.

Deep inside I'm rather shy (I think I've said that before). The feelings and the exhilaration were all there; I just have trouble showing it. You can't overcome years (years and years--I had a birthday last week) of behavior. But that doesn't mean I don't feel it.

So to my readers: Thank you. You are appreciated. You are valued, and I can't begin to tell you how much you mean to me. No, really, I can't. :)

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Silk is for Seduction y Loretta Chase
Heartless by Gail Carriger

Monday, July 25, 2011

For you Historical fans (of which I'm one)

I am so thrilled to have a guest blogger here today. I met Michelle Diener at the Orlando RWA conference. This woman impressed me. She was so refined and so elegant and so funny. Okay, maybe I hated her. Just kidding. She has this fabulous accent--because I'm an American; I'm sure to her ears, I was the one with the accent. And she writes historicals. You know, the meaty kind. So when I found out her book was coming out August 9, I knew I had to have her come by. Please welcome Michelle Diener.

GRAND PASSION

Thank you so much to Gabi for inviting me to visit today.

My debut historical novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, is due out on August 9th, and it is set in Tudor London, in the pre-Anne Boleyn days of Henry's reign. My series was really driven by my interest in Susanna Horenbout, the heroine of the book, who was a real person, an artist from Ghent (which is in current day Belgium), who was acclaimed by some of the most famous artists of her day as exceptional. Unfortunately, no work remains today that can be attributed to her, except for a brass plaque, and even that isn't definite. She was obviously talented, and her father sent her across to England to work in the court of Henry VIII as an illuminator and painter.

I was fascinated by the idea of a woman who was so accomplished, working in a field which was almost entirely dominated by men, and the problems and trials she must have faced. Because I'm mean that way, I've also thrown her into dangerous court intrigue as well, and given her a dangerous (but delicious!) courtier to deal with. Lucky for me, she really did marry him in real life, so I could include a romance between her and Parker, the courtier Henry asks to look after her, with a clear conscience on the historical accuracy front.


But because this is a mainstream novel, and the elements of romance do not drive the plot, I build their growing awareness for each other in whispers, rather than bold shouts. I have always loved the more subtle approach to a growing relationship in novels, my tastes being defined early on by masters of understated but strong sexual tension like Mary Stewart. I hope Susanna and Parker's growing passion shines like a bright thread of gold through the book, in much the way Susanna would work gold leaf through the border of an illumination. It doesn't overwhelm the story, but the book would be the lesser for it if it wasn't there.

But I'm interested, do you love an over-the-top passion in your books, or the silent, simmering awareness like I have in In A TREACHEROUS COURT? Or are you happy with either? I've got a copy of IN A TREACHEROUS COURT to give away to a lucky commenter. (US residents only, unfortunately!)

Michelle Diener lives in Australia with her husband and two children. She's worked as an editor, a publisher, managed a small IT business, and now writes full time. Her debut historical novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, is due out with Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books on August 9th, and the second book in the series, KEEPER OF THE KING'S SECRETS, is due for an early 2012 release. You can find out more about her at her website (http://www.michellediener.com), her group blog (http://www.magicalmusings.com) or follow her on twitter or Facebook


Thanks for coming by, Michelle. Can't wait to get my hands on this one.


Make sure you leave a way to reach you in your comment. The giveaway will run for a week (until Aug 2) , and then I'll pick a winner.

--Gabi
Books I'm reading now:
Killing Me Softly by Maggie Shayne
Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen by JK Rowling (Yes, in German)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer

I'm in the depths of revisions right now, so this one will be brief. One to make you laugh.

Remember THE EXORCIST?

Be sure to watch to the end.




Be sure to stop by next week. I'm having a guest blogger --Michelle Diener, author of In A TREACHEROUS COURT. With a giveaway.

--Gabi

Books I'm Reading Now:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (Yes,I've already seen the movie; then again, I've already read the book too.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Confession

I have a confession. Yesterday was the first day in months that I felt like a writer again. Yes, months. This feeling goes back long before I left for Europe on my Grande Tour. Of course it was hard to work while eating gulyás made by my relatives on an open fire in a kettle like they used to do on the Puszta (Oh. My. God. Amazing).
I expected it to be difficult to work as we walked along the canals of Venice. I knew nothing would get done as hiked through the Alps trying really hard not to break into songs from the Sound of Music. But even before that I couldn't get into the right frame of mind because of the job.

Teaching. One of the most beastly, infuriating, frustrating, incredible, rewarding, satisfying jobs I have ever done. I couldn't write while teaching because I threw myself into my work. That's how I operate. I had one year teaching where I decided I wouldn't care about the kids, I would hold myself back and distance myself from the job so I could write. That was my worst year teaching. So I decided never again. I am happy to say that my final years of teaching were...well, see above. Thank you to my students for showing me so much and inspiring me. And to the administration (not the immediate administration) and the "laws" and the so-called improvements and the "new" ideas...yeah, not so much.

I always said that teaching would be what I was meant to do if I didn't know what writing was like. But writing did so much more for my soul. Oh, it is beastly, infuriating, frustrating, incredible, rewarding, and satisfying too. But even more deeply. And yesterday was the first time in months I fell into bed at 11:30 feeling like I did good work that day. I was a writer. Not someone who writes when she can, when she doesn't have essays to correct, when she has a spare moment. I was a writer and everything else was the second thought.


Can't wait for the rest of my life.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Warrior by Zoe Archer
In Scandal They Wed by Sophie Jordan

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I'm Baaaaack

The answer to the mystery I've been posting really isn't much of a mystery at all. I was in Europe for the past month. I didn't really want to publicize it because I didn't need the world to know that my house was empty, but I'm home now.

Things I noticed (not historical or touristy): cars have become bigger in Europe since the last time I was there; I saw a number of small SUV's and even one Dodge Ram and one full size SUV. However, the Smart car was everywhere. I love the Smart car. Instead of parallel parking, they would just park perpendicular to the curb and wouldn't take up any more width than a regular car. Also scooter riders in Rome are crazy. I take that back. Any drivers in Rome are crazy.

The food was wonderful everywhere we went (except when I cooked to save a little money). They eat more sensibly than we do too. A large breakfast with proteins, fruit, cheese, etc. A large lunch--that's the hot meal of the day. Then a small dinner--usually a cold sandwich or an omelet or a salad. And they walk everywhere. I lost five pounds without trying. And squid is a staple in a couple of the countries I visited. Yum.

Odd state of affairs: in the US, if you bring your own bags to the store, they pay you five cents for each; in Europe if they give you bags, you pay them.

Italian gelatto has put me off of inferior ice cream for life.
Ditto for Swiss and German chocolate.

The Europeans know how to do recycling.

But their showers are too small (especially if you're 5'10" and your husband is 6'3"). They don't see a need for screens (thus the mosquito bites covering my daughter's arms), and air conditioning is not everywhere, and where they have it, it's pretty weak. Now you could argue that we Americans are spoiled, but really, if you live in a country where it regularly is humid and temperatures in the summer get to 36 degrees Celsius, wouldn't you think air conditioning is lovely?

My hair was wild. The humidity everywhere made my head look twice as big as it normally is.

We had a wonderful time. So many experiences and adventures. But it is nice to be home.

If you're interested, I've posted an album on my FaceBook page under Gabi Stevens Europe Trip


Now to work diligently on my new project.

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Need more help?

Here's another hint about my activities.



And soon...



Answer next week.


Books I'm reading now (which should also give you another hint because I'm reading really slowly):
Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just a brief notice to check in with everyone. I promise more details soon. Meanwhile here's a picture to give you a hint of what I've been up to...



Yes, explanations will follow.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Luck

I have none. I absolutely cannot rely on fate, luck, chance, the stars, etc., to get me anywhere. I don't win when I gamble, but I don't lose either (well, not more than an evening's worth of entertainment anyway); I don't win raffles; I've never been upgraded to first class on a flight; and everything I've achieved has been through my own hard work. I know there's something to be said for that last, but sometimes I wish for something to happen easily and without effort. Oh, yes, and wishes don't work for me either.

That's all. Just a thought.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Last Lesson

As you know, this was my last week of teaching. A colleague, a science teacher whom I greatly respect and who taught one of my twins, shares final thoughts with parents and students every year. This year he shared them with me and with his permission, I'm sharing them with you.


A Final Mr. Brügge Story...

It’s a tale of the 18th letter of the Greek alphabet. In science we are far too lazy to write out the full name for ideas and concepts so we often use letters from the Greek alphabet as shorthand for math and science ideas.

The 18th letter in Greek is sigma, which looks a bit like an arthritic capital E. Although it’s not a symbol we use in 8th grade, it will soon become part of your high-school or college science vocabulary.

We use sigma to stand for the sum of mathematical terms. More broadly, however, we are all sigma. We are the sum of our experiences. Some of this we control and some is simple a given because of the circumstances of our birth.

I would like to think that we are actually greater that the sum of our experiences. It should be, then, our job to make the most of our sigma. I offer four free pieces of advice in order to get the most out of your life:

1. Be passionate! I know that passion and middle school probably should not ever appear in the same sentence, but I mean the passion for understanding. Become the local expert on how to take apart a computer—and put it back together, of course. Know the name of every aircraft that passes overhead. Memorize every baseball statistic since Babe Ruth. These passions may or may not lead to a career but they will bring you joy throughout your life.

2. Say “thank you!” Tomorrow at the promotion ceremony, thank the adults who are there to see you walk across the stage; they are there because they love you. Ten years from now when you think kindly about one of your former teachers, look her up and send a note. A sincere thank you will serve you well always.

3. Admit when you are wrong! I’ve made a point this year to give out homework passes when I make a mistake in GradeBook Wizard. While I don’t make too many mistakes, they do occur. The small things are easy to own up to; the bigger ones take character. Trust me, your marriage—please wait at least ten years—will be much happier if you understand this very important concept.

4. Be sigma! You have the ability to take your experiences and become more than the simple sum.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Brügge


Since I am now stepping into a new world, so to speak, his words spoke to me. No, I"m not an eighth grader, but I don't think these thoughts are limited to the young in years. The young in heart can always benefit as well. Thank you, Steve, for letting me share.

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Last Week

Not as in the past, but the future. Why? Because this is my last week of teaching eighth grade. If I teach next year, it will be in a different job, probably at a different level. But if I don't teach at all...

Leap, and the net will appear. --John Burroughs

I still have one year of college tuitions (two of them) to pay, so the idea of not having an income is scary. But if I'm not working, I can write. Full time. Without distraction. For hours and hours a day. And I know I'm capable of it. I did it before I started working (to pay tuitions, unshockingly enough)

So this is my last week in the classroom. I will miss the kids and the occasional success I had showing them the joy of words and literature. But I won't miss the rules and regulations imposed upon teachers by people who claim to want the best for students but in practice end up seeming only to want to save their own jobs. Yes, I'm leaving the teaching field convinced that school does not exist for the students (how else can you explain a proposal to save money by having the students stay home for three weeks?). It's rather sad.

But on the other hand, it's with a sense of fear and freedom that I face the week after next.

I'll let you know if the net appears.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn
Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh

Sunday, May 15, 2011




Min:1 Max:17 Result: 3 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

So the winner is Pamela Cayne. Yay, Pam. Thanks to everyone for entering. Pam, send your address to me: GabiStevens505@gmail.com

I will pop that in the mail as soon as I can.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Little contest

Right here on this blog site, I'm running a contest to celebrate AS YOU WISH. You can win this magic wand book mark (about four inches long) just by leaving a comment here. In one week I'll use random.org to choose a winner. I'll send it anywhere the post office will let me (So, yes, international).

So spread the word and leave a comment. (And check back in a week to see if you've won. I have to get your address somehow)

And pick up AS YOU WISH anywhere you buy books. If they don't have it, make them get it. Remember, ten percent of my royalties go to Best Buddies International.
--Gabi

Absurdity

Sometimes writing is like banging your head against the wall--it's an exercise in futility and painful to boot. There's so much you can't control: where the book is distributed, when reviews will be released, if reviews will be released, how much it sells, whether readers will pick it up, how it is received, etc. I've hit a few of those roadblocks in the past week--and it's only been one and a half weeks since the book has been released. So after moping for a day (or three, if I'm honest), my husband passed on his words of wisdom to me.

"Once you recognize the futility of it all, do it anyway. After all, what else are you going to do?"

So, I'm going to keep on going. and write the best books I can. Only sixteen more days of school, I have summer to regroup, and I have set an ambitious goal for myself. I will write a book this summer. A whole book. And when school starts again, I will probably be home because I'm taking the leap. That's another motto passed on to me by a writer I consider a mentor: "Leap and the net will appear."

So spread the word. I'm not done yet.

And also let everyone know that ten percent of my royalties from AS YOU WISH goes to Bust Buddies International. I'll blog more about that in a few days.

--Gabi
Books I'm reading now:
Indulgence in Death by JD Robb
Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good news


This past Saturday I was notified that my novel THE WISH LIST is a finalist in the Reader's Crown Contest, the contest associated with RomCon.

I attended the first RomCon last year and had a great time. Here's a picture of me last year.

Although the winners will be announced June 30, I am attending this year, no matter the outcome of the contest. So look for me August 5-7 in Denver.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Indulgence in Death by JD Robb

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just a quick note....

AS YOU WISH came out yesterday. Thank you so much for all the support, the reviews, the visits, the cajoling, the cheers, the woots, the opportunities, the shoulders, the friendly ears, and the love. For all that writing is a solitary endeavor, it really can't be done without, well, you.

So, thank you.

--Gabi
Books I'm reading now:
Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Friday, April 22, 2011

Brenda Novak's Auction

I know I've mentioned my book's tie in with Best Buddies International, but I couldn't let May arrive without mentioning the granddaddy of all romance related do-gooding. Brenda Novak holds and annual auction for Juvenile Diabetes. This year she has over 2000 items for sale and bidding. Go check it out today.

http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com

--Gabi
P.S. AS YOU WISH comes out next week, April 26 !!!!
Books I'm reading now:
Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
Lord of Scundrels by Loretta Chase

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Glom

Today I went out to get the latest Harry Potter movie on DVD, and then I watched it. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed it when I saw it in the theaters when it came out. The only problem was that it ended and I have to wait until July for the continuation of the story.

I have never been one to glom a series. I end up watching or reading all the ones I'm interested in, but order or immediacy never mattered to me. Good thing too, because my book that comes out in ten days (AS YOU WISH) is only the second in a trilogy. The first came out in April of last year (THE WISH LIST), and the last doesn't come out until March of 2012 (WISHFUL THINKING). I enjoyed the frustration and growing anticipation of waiting for each Harry Potter book to come out and to a (much) lesser degree, the movies (Let's face it--the books are so much better than the movies, although the movies are good). But lately I've been on a glom kick.

I started watching Bones over spring break (March), and I've now finished watching all five completed seasons. I've enjoyed the characters arcs that grow and become apparent as you follow the seasons. But on the other hand, the errors become more glaring as well. Nevertheless, it was fun to have something to concentrate on. I also picked up the Twelve Houses series by Sharon Shin. What fun to be able to read one after the other of these books. But these two gloms have pointed out the major drawbacks of a glom.

When you find something you like and then finish them all, you're setting yourself up for a letdown. When no more is left to a series, you have to leave it after you've become used to a certain style, humor, story, etc. And suddenly you need to find something new, but you've become so accustomed to whatever it was that you've become accustomed to that the new can be difficult to enjoy. At least that's my experience.

So I'm hoping that you won't mind that there's been a bit of a break between THE WISH LIST and AS YOU WISH, and that there will be another between AS YOU WISH and WISHFUL THINKING. Sometimes too much of a good thing isn't a good thing.

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Taken by the Prince by Christina Dodd

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Trading Cards

The newest thing in romance are trading cards. If you're at the RT convention (and, no, I will not mention how jealous I am), you've probably seen them. If you're attending the RWA conference in New York this June, you'll see them there, and if you're going to RomCon in Denver in August, you'll find them there also. While I'll only be attending RomCon (and the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference in Atlanta at the end of September), I have trading cards.



Isn't he delectable?
And this is the back...with the stats:




So if you aren't going to RomCon or Moonlight and Magnolias and want one of my cards, you can send an SASE to me, Gabi Stevens, P.O. Box 20958, Albuquerque, NM 87154-0958, and I'll be happy to send you one. Just be warned. I don't get to my box daily, but I will check for your envelope more than my usual once a month. :)

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
The Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak
The Man who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Very Special Post

We are less than a month away to the release of AS YOU WISH. I’m sure by now, if you follow me, you’ve heard me talk about the magic, the hero and heroine; I’ve shown you the cover, the arcs, told you about the contests, and pretty much have shared my excitement about the upcoming release. Now I want to tell you about my author’s note.

In AS YOU WISH, I have two special characters, Tommy and Joy. They are bakers. And Tommy has Down syndrome, and Joy has...well, Joy is just Joy. My heroine, Reggie, has set up a bakery for her two friends. Reggie runs the business aspect of the endeavor and supervises her friends. And they are her friends first and foremost. Tommy and Joy have a real talent for baking. It doesn’t hurt that they have magic too, but I strove to keep them realistic. I came to love these two characters. Good thing too, because, you see, my daughter was the inspiration for them.

Like Joy, my daughter doesn’t have a specific diagnosis, but it wouldn’t matter anyway. She is who she is. We celebrate her accomplishments, fight for her rights, and simply enjoy her for who she is. I don’t want to make us seem like some ideal family—we fight, and she has those terrible teenage hormones and can give us attitude like any other kid. In fact she is more normal than not in many ways. And that’s what we focus on—all the many things she can do. She thrives on her independence, loves to sing (horribly off key—she inherited my husband’s singing voice), plays a wicked Wii game, makes her own lunches for school, and bakes the family brownies. Give her rules and instruction, and she can do almost anything. The hardest part of her life is getting other kids to accept her for who she is.

Did you know that fifty-four percent of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) never receive a phone call from a friend in their lifetimes?

When I first heard this stat, it shocked me, but didn’t surprise me. I know the loneliness my own daughter suffers from. Until she hit high school There she joined a group dedicated to breaking down the barriers society sees for people with IDD. Best Buddies International is a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing one-on-one friendships for people with IDD. They have groups in schools, colleges, communities, and even in the business world. You can find out more about them at www.BestBuddies.org. Because of Best Buddies™, my daughter receives texts on her cell phone, attends dances, goes out to eat, and has made friends who don’t judge her or look to help her. They are just friends.

So I’ve decided to support Best Buddies™ with more than just the words here. For the next five years, I pledge ten percent of my royalties from AS YOU WISH to Best Buddies™. That’s what my author’s note says. It explains my reasons, and talks about Tommy and Joy, and my own joy, my daughter. I hope you will support me in my endeavor, and besides, you’ll get a good read in the meantime. At least I think so.

--Gabi

Books I’m reading now:
Destined for an Early Grave by JeanieneFrost

Giveaway!!






Goodreads Book Giveaway







As You Wish by Gabi Stevens






As You Wish




by Gabi Stevens






Giveaway ends April 13, 2011.



See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.








Enter to win






Approval coming soon, I think.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wanted: Magic

The magic has gone missing (Please, no grammar lectures here. I know what I wrote.)myspace comments



My weekend was filled with grand plans of rewriting, editing, creating, and producing. Instead, I did nothing. Nothing of value anyway (Video games don't count--I'm sorry, they don't). I can't even remember how I spent Saturday (don't tell me I'm old--I know), and I can tell you how I spent today, but I don't want to (it involved hours playing a mindless game on the computer). Really, I wasted TIME--time that should always be handled as if it were precious, because it is.

I could try to justify my time squandering as a needed break from the day job or that my mind needed to disengage for a moment, but the truth is I was lazy. And honestly, I was scared. I have a major edit to do on a proposal that was difficult to write in the first place, and now I've learned it really doesn't work as it is. And so I'm afraid. I'm afraid that when I look at it, I won't know how to fix it. I won't know what to do. The Magic wasn't with me when I wrote it and I'm afraid it won't be there when I try again.

The stupid part is that I KNOW the Magic comes the more you use it. Just doing it (Thanks, Nike) actually works. No good comes from finding excuses or avoiding the work or "waiting for the muse." The muse comes when you show her that you respect her and do the freaking work.

So I wasted my weekend, and tomorrow is Monday and I'm back at work. Maybe I've learned my lesson. I'll let you know next weekend. In the meantime, if you have any magic to spare, send some my way.

(By the way, if my editor or agent reads this, don't take it so seriously.)
--Gabi
P.S. My contest ends March 31 at Fresh Fiction. Be sure to check it out.

Books I'm reading now:
Fortune and Fate by Sharon Shinn

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Comfort...uh,...things

I just finished spring break. I had a list of things to do, finished most of them, and still had time to just have fun. (Gotta love a vacation) I read, watched TV and DVD's, and enjoyed great weather. I even wrote a lot. Overall I had a lovely, relaxing week.

So I got to thinking, what are the things I turn to to find comfort? First foods. If I didn't dislike cooking so much, I'd make comfort foods all the time. This past week I did make one of my favorites--veggie lasagna. But the other ones (which I didn't make): clam linguini, rakott krumpli (a Hungarian potato and sausage dish), spaghetti carbonara (are you getting the hint I like carbs?)...okay, now I'm just getting hungry.

I watched "Bones" on Netflix on the Wii this week too. I hadn't seen the show before, but had heard good things, so I tried it. And liked it. I'm in the second season now and enjoying the brainiac characters and the sparring of the two main characters. I really don't watch a lot of TV. I havn't seen (No angry letters please) Buffy, Firefly, only a few of Monk. Heck I don't even have cable channels unless I'm in a hotel. Here are some of my other TV show favorites: Glee, Amazing Race, House, The Mentalist

Movies? When I want to laugh: Notting Hill. When I want to sing: Sound of Music. When I want to cheer: Star Wars. Others: Indiana Jones (I know that's not one movie, but you get the idea), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, LadyHawke, Casablanca, To Catch a Thief, Bringing Up Baby, The Shawshank Redemption, Disney (pretty much every one) and so many more.

Books: Bewitching, Dandelion Wine, To Kill a Mockingbird, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler, And Then There Were None; I, Robot; Phantom Tollbooth, and so many more. Yes, I left out romance novels on purpose, except for the one listed first. That one has a special place in my heart.

I didn't even begin to list drinks, candy, places, clothes, or people. This blog was already getting too self-centered.

So what are your comfort items?
--Gabi

Don't forget my contest: http://freshfiction.com/contest.php?id=3261

Books I'm reading now:
Reader and Raelynx by Sharon Shinn
Fortune and Fate by Sharon Shinn

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Indomitable Spirit

If you're anything like me, sometimes you feel like the world is against you and that nothing you do seems to get anywhere or have any value. So and so's books are better placed than mine; my current manuscript is giving me trouble, I didn't earn enough money. I complain because I have to get up early, or it's too cold outside, or, damn it, we don't have any good snacks at home.

Then something happens that puts it all into perspective: the earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami.

I'd like to think I would maintain my dignity in the face of such catastrophe, but how do I know? I've been through earthquakes when I lived in California. Nothing like the one they experienced in Japan. I've never been hit with snow enough to bury me for days, no tornadoes, no wars (that I've personally been in--not talking about the one that we're in now that no one is expected to sacrifice for except those actually fighting).

My parents escaped from Hungary after the revolution there. They lived through the bombings of WWII. Me? My life is cushy. And I am grateful for that.

Someone has found my work worthy--I have been published. I have a job. I have a bed to sleep in that my early alarm clock disturbs me from. I have a warm house to escape the cold, and frankly, I don't need those snacks (Twenty-five pounds more to go).

I like cushy and I am grateful for it.
To those suffering right now, those we hear about and don't: well, I doubt you're reading this right now, but my heart and sympathy are with you.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Dark Moon Defender by Sharon Shinn
Bridge to Happiness by Jill Barnett

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Contest

I promised you and here it is. A Countdown to AS YOU WISH contest. You can win a magic wand and an autographed copy of THE WISH LIST. You know you want one.

To enter just go to Fresh Fiction and fill out the form.

A wand. Really.



Good Luck.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
The Thirteenth House by Sharon Shinn

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wishful Thinking

I have a title for book three. Drum roll...

No, wait I already announced it. It's at the top of this blog. The title is...

WISHFUL THINKING.


(Love, love, love it)

--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn (still--heck it's only been a day since I last posted.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

KnickKnacks


I have always loved trinkets. I have a collection of David Winter cottages, I used to collect parrots (ceramic, plates, wooden; not the real ones), I collect plates with folk art, and since my latest book came out, I have all sorts of figurines depicting magical beings. I have a copy of a medieval goblet from England, a lizard from the Grand Canyon, and all kinds tins, especially holiday ones that used to hold candy.

I'm a junk junkie.

I absolutely hate shopping, clothes or grocery. The minute I step into a mall or supermarket, I start to yawn (I'm not kidding). But get me in a knickknack store and I could spend hours gazing at every little thing (Book stores too). I love things that catch the light, collect dust, and serve no real purpose on this planet but to look sweet.

But not too sweet. I don't like the cutesy things. No teddy bears or kids with big eyes. Although my daughter has some Pocket Dragons (I should put a trademark here, but, oh well) that I find adorable (My poor daughter inherited my junk gene, but her tastes run toward dragons--of which I have a few myself).


So stay tuned. I will be posting soon about a contest I am running where the winner can receive a wand. Details are forthcoming, I promise. And it's a cool wand. One I would like to have.

Because you can never have too much fun stuff.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now;
Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Word about Truth and Honesty

Recently I was giving a talk on Theme, and I realized that AS YOU WISH, my April 2011 release, has truth and honesty as a major topic in the novel. Haven’t we all heard that lying is bad? Isn’t honesty the best policy? Well, I’m here to say the subject isn’t that black and white. I honestly believe that lies have an important place in this world.

Of course, I believe that honesty is necessary in a relationship, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Nothing irritates me more than a story where the hero believes he must always tell the truth when a good lie would let him get away from the villain. That’s just stupidity. Huck Finn lies throughout his story, yet we admire him because his lies are good lies. He lies to protect himself, to protect Jim, and to survive. I have nothing but admiration for someone who does that. (Yes, I am currently teaching the novel so it’s kind of in my head right now)

So does that mean you can’t trust me? Far from it. I am totally honest with friends and family, but if you ask me if your butt looks big in your jeans, unless you are my bosom buddy, I’m not going to tell you that you look awful. I will point out if you have spinach in your teeth, because that’s an easy fix and I’d hope someone would tell me if I did.

So I can understand lying, if the motive is there. I tell my students that I will always tell them the truth (at least as I see it), but that doesn’t mean I won’t lie to them. That leaves them scratching their heads for a while. But sometimes a lie is important and necessary.

And that’s the truth.

--Gabi

Books I’m reading now:
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The First Review

The first review for As You Wish is in.

Thanks, Felicia, the Geeky Blogger. :)
--Gabi
Books I'm Reading Now:
Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle

Monday, January 31, 2011

Timing is everything

Just a quick note this week. A few events made me think about timing. The first is that job I told you about. I applied and within a few days of applying the job was pulled. When I inquired, the school said that they have filled the position for the year and if the position will be open for the fall, they would let me know. Yeah, I don't buy it. Really, I was highly qualified for this position and I didn't even get consideration. But it's not all bad. I will be a full time writing come the end of May, and that's good.

Second is RWA National. Because of hotel rennovations (that's what I heard, the conference this year is being held nearly a month earlier. Because of the change in date I won't be attending for the first time in years (I chose not to attend one other national conference for reasons that I don't want to get into right now.) But I'm missing the New York conference because--and this is a GREAT excuse--I'll be in Europe. Yes, one of the twins will be studying in Budapest starting in March, and we'll be flying over to join up with her in June, so I won't be back in time. (I know you're feeling sorry for me right now)

Third, my other daughter (they're twins, you know) came home from her study abroad program Dec 23, 2010. Why is this a matter of timing? She was studying in Cairo. I wish the people of Egypt the best in achieving a democracy and a government they can admire and support, but I'm glad she's home.

--Gabi
Books I'm reading now:
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz
Fat Chance by Rhonda Pollero
Catch of a Lifetime by Judi Fennell

Friday, January 21, 2011

The adventures of electronic reading.

I got a Kindle for my anniversary from my husband. I was afraid of it for the first couple of days. This is not unusual behavior for me. When I get new clothes, I can't wear them right away either. But I downloaded my first book (Pride and Prejudice) with ease (but I didn't read it), and then I bought another and read it.

My reaction? Meh.

I wasn't blown away. It was comfortable enough to read-- not too heavy--and it looks sleek and new and pretty, but the reading experience itself troubled me a little. The page buttons are not where I wanted (I think I may just hold my hands in a strange position), and too few words appeared on the page for me (Yes, I know you can adjust it-- I did--but it wasn't quite right no matter the adjustment). I like knowing what page number I am on, and flipping to the end, which is what I do with EVERY book I read (and I am not opening this to discussion--some people do read the end first; I am one of them), wasn't as easy as in a book. The chapters seemed short without page numbers. And the typos...they were glaring in the Kindle format. I don't know why, but they jumped off the page at me. I googled typos on Kindle and discovered that typos are an issue with the Kindle. I don't understand why unless someone has to type in every book they publish. Shouldn't they have some sort of electronic file from the publisher for the Kindle? Maybe they do, and it was the publisher to blame. Honestly, I don't know, but I found so many typos. For example, the hero's name was misspelled twice in a few lines and then correctly a couple of lines later. (Can't say on the same page because who knows if they were on the same page. They were when I viewed it.) The word torque was used instead of toque by an author I know wouldn't make such an error. Misplaced commas, misplaced italics in several spots, and others (and yes, I know this is a fragment). I make many, many typos myself, but I do try to eliminate them. I guess I just expect better quality when I've paid for something.

On the plus side, I love not worrying about trees. The book I read was not a keeper, so I'm glad no tree was harmed in the production of my book (Yeah, yeah, I'm sure the author did use paper in the writing--I'm being figurative). I do enjoy technology, and it feels cool.

Honestly, I haven't given the Kindle enough of a chance yet. I need to read more on it to get used to it, but I had some gift certificates to a book store and bought paperbacks, so reading book number two on the Kindle will wait for this weekend. And the work I have to finish. But I'm sure many of my complaints will disappear over time. I love the idea of reading on the Kindle. I just haven't gotten used to it yet.

--Gabi
Books I'm reading now:
Changeless by Gail Carriger
Blameless by Gail Carriger

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Surprise

The past two weeks have been filled with surprises--not the unexpected gift kind; the kind that life throws you when you become too complacent. First I was sicker than a dog (cliche) for New Year's. Didn't stay up to midnight for the first time since I was an infant. Then my husband drove my daughter out to Atlanta for school. She's moved into an apartment and needed her car out there, so they took a road trip to get it there. And then the STORM hit. Hubby was supposed to be home Monday night. Forty-eight hours later, he finally made it home, which meant I had to take the other daughter to the airport before work which threw my whole day off. But it all turned out well.

But the biggest surprise of all is an opportunity that opened up. I had planned on leaving teaching at the end of this school year. I could go into the political reasons for my quitting (not retirement--everyone keeps saying I'm retiring. I am NOT retiring. One cannot retire before one turns 50 with only seven years of work), but suffice it to say that NCLB, while a beautiful idea in theory, doesn't work in practice. Kind of like communism. I was jumping into writing full time. Full time writing made the household monetary situation a bit iffy, especially as we head into the daughters' last year of college. Then I discovered that the German teacher at the local high school quit over the winter break.

I have always wanted to teach German. I love the language, the way you can play with it, the sound, the music of it (unlike French which sounds like you're moving around phlegm--just kidding. Anyone who knows me knows I always make jokes about French--the language, not the people). Best poetry ever. So I have applied for the job.

I don't know if I'll get it. If I don't, this will be the last five months of teaching for me. If I do get it, I can see myself teaching for a while longer. My youngest is at the high school where the job is, we'd be on the same schedule, and it's GERMAN. Having a job will help with the twins' final year as well.

The interesting part of this whole drawn out story is that life throws you surprises--some good, some not so good--but I believe that's the joy in life. Not knowing what's coming. Oh yeah, you make plans, you SHOULD make plans, but life happens. So life is happening now and it makes me appreciate it all the more: the sweetness when my husband finally did make it home; the excitement and good fear of new possibilities; the uneven and unpredictable turns of the path we're all on.

Go out and find life. Oooo, and I have a kindle now too. I'll report on that next time.
--Gabi

Books I'm reading now:
Salvation in Death by Nora Roberts
The Lady Most Likely...: A Novel in Three Parts by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway