Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jane Porter Video Easy on the Eyes

Jane's Easy on the Eyes is out in July. Here is her video!


At 38, Tiana Tomlinson has made it. America adores her as one of the anchors of America Tonight, a top-rated nightly entertainment and news program. But even with the trappings that come with her elite lifestyle, she feels empty. Tina desperately misses her late husband Keith, who died several years before. And in a business that thrives on youth, Tina is getting the message that her age is starting to show and certain measures must be taken if she wants to remain in the spotlight. It doesn't help that at every turn she has to deal with her adversary--the devilishly handsome, plastic surgeon to the stars, Michael Sullivan. But a trip away from the Hollywood madness has consequences that could affect the rest of her life.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cindy the Salesgirl - Part Two

The sheer amount of romance comic books that are out there in the world always offer up an opportunity to learn something new. A few posts ago I shared the story of a Cindy (whom I mistakenly called Candy but subsequently changed) the Salesgirl from Secret Hearts #133. When I posted it, I didn't realize that was not the only time Cindy had made an appearance. From what I can tell, she had at least three other little featurettes in the romance books of the late '60s, primarily drawn by Winslow Mortimer.

A few pages from "The Adventures of Cindy the Salesgirl" (A DC Fashion Featurette) out of Falling in Love #98 (April 1968) demonstrate once again that Mortimer was no dummy when it came to drawing beautiful girls.

The writer of the story also seems to have had an uncanny understanding of what the retail world involves. I should know... I did my fair share of working at the mall during high school and college!

How's that for an O. Henry ending? Not too shabby for a romance story!

Well, that's all for this evening! My attention has been a little divided lately. I am working on finishing up my presentation (on romance comics of course!) for the Comic Arts Conference held in conjunction with the San Diego Comic-Con International. I will be posting more details about that soon, but for the next week or so my postings may be sparse. I can't wait to share the presentation with all you readers of Sequential Crush once its all said and done! Be on the lookout!

Pearls of wisdom in the strangest places...

There's an oyster house that love to I pass by on the way to work, filled with spraying hoses, the click-clacking of shucking oysters, and the smell of brine that makes my mouth water. The smell is what gets to me the most-- reminding me of nights out with friends, parties and weddings and good times covered in lemon and horseradish. I think of full stomachs and the smell of the sea.

But what reaction does that smell elicit from the people who work in that oyster house? Does it remind them of being wet and filthy all morning? Or of the pain in their hands, the cuts and the cracking skin? Where I associate the smell with fun and games, to others the smell is closely tied to their livelihood. There's probably an oyster-shucker or two out there who never want to eat an oyster ever again, unable to smell them without thinking of early hours and taking three showers to get the smell off.

Before this morning I never really thought much about the oyster-shuckers, whether they liked to taste the fruits of their labor, or whether familiarity has turned into disgust. I'm sure their reactions run the gamut, and no two oyster-shuckers share the exact feelings on the subject, but at least thinking about it in the first place allows me to be mindful of their distinct point of view regarding oysters.

Well. Lest you think I've gone off the deep-end, let me assure you it's too late for that. ;) But this post was meant to be taken metaphorically. I'll get down off my pile of oyster shells now.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mills & Boon Wins NMA Award

The New Media Age Effectiveness Awards were announced last night at a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Amongst the winners was romance publishing giant Harlequin Mills & Boon, who won the Retail category award for its newly redesigned website - www.millsandboon.co.uk
'This is fantastic news,' says Tim Cooper, director of direct and digital marketing at Mills & Boon, and the brains behind the company's new digital initiatives. 'The new Mills & Boon website is a showcase for our new eBooks, and also offers an online community for romance fans.'

Since the launch of the new website earlier in the year, Mills & Boon has reported an exponential growth in monthly eBook sales and is leading the publishing industry in terms of online sales.

'We are in an increasingly instant and on-demand world. The new Mills & Boon website and eBook offering is our way of responding to the changing face of publishing and taking the lead - and we are receiving a fantastic repsonse from readers as a result.'

Friday, June 26, 2009

RWA Conference Travel Tips

I'm so jealous that I can't go to this conference especially because my daughter Keri literally lives around the corner but this year it's not in the cards for me. Maybe the next time it's on the West Coast?

Here are some travel tips posted on a couple of blogs, that if you're a newbie, these hopefully will help. I know shoes and what to wear on awards night from past blogs I've read in the past, seemed to be high on the list.

TOP TEN THINGS TO TAKE TO NATIONAL RWA CONFERENCE (In no special order) By Anne Marie Novark, details here.

From Stringing Beads, A writer’s journey toward publication, and beyond, here's her blog post

If you're a conference vetran, please share your tips!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Selling Romance - The Living Sea-Gem!

Just imagine...

You and your girl have been going steady for a couple of days. You have held hands and looked longingly into each others eyes. Finally, you decide to go in for the kiss. Just as your lips touch, you feel her necklace brush against you. As you finally pull away you are intrigued by the bulbous contraption. At first it looks like some sort of Christmas ornament on a chain, but as you look closer you see something floating in the necklace. Glitter perhaps? As you take a closer look you realize that the floating specks are not of the everyday variety. Then, to your surprise (and horror) you realize that your young lady friend is wearing brine shrimp around her neck!

Yes -- my romance loving friends, you've just crossed over into... The Sea-Monkey Zone!!!

Sexy and stylish, right? I know. Don't despair too much though. You can have your very own modern day Living Sea-Gem! Perfect for those young ladies who have everything!

Dying for a good read?

I know I'm not the first to plug Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, but I'm sure I won't be the last. Like everyone else who's read it, I can't help but share what I loved about it.
In an effort to keep myself well-read, I'm going to try to do this every Thursday. Suggest a book and give five reasons to read it. Nothing spoilerific, obviously, but just to nudge anyone who might be on the fence. So here it is, the first ever:

Five Reasons to Read this Book; The Hunger Games

1. For a heroine that guys can relate to just as easily as girls. This is rare in YA, IMO.

2. For the little details that just stay with me: Katniss, the girl who was on fire, the bread from District 11, the costumes, the muttations... I still see them as if I'd been watching the Hunger Games myself on a television screen.

3. For the great balance of internal and external motivation and conflict the MC experiences from the beginning of the book, all the way to the last sentence. I felt sympathetic to Katniss immediately. And I had tears in my eyes at least once a chapter.

4. For being quite possibly the most intriguing dystopian novel I've read in years. The societal separations were way too believable. Scary. This book immerses the reader in a world both foreign and familiar. Which makes the things that happen there that much more believable...

5. For its masterful use of first person present. So good I only noticed the immediacy of the story, not the tense itself.

I hope I've managed to lead some potential readers to District 12, lol.
Other Hunger Games lovers? Feel free to add your own spoiler-free reasons to read this book.

Next week, Dust of 100 Dogs, by A.S. King.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jennifer Peterson Daly, the "Average Author?"

Since the majority of our visitors here are writers and want-to-be authors, I thought I would interview the “average” published author right here on this Blog to see exactly how the book publishing experience unrolls for the majority of us.

My guest will be Jennifer P. Daly, author of Black Hole: A Novel. Jennifer,
who is affectionately called “Jenna,” published her first book last year. Black Hole: A Novel is a romance fiction book of 400 pages.

Jenna, please don’t take the “average” comment in negative form. None of us here are Rowlings or Kings, although some of our books may qualify. In fact, I’ve heard already from Black Hole readers that they had a hard time “putting your book down.” That’s a big compliment on your writing skills and storytelling. Many wonderful and talented authors have difficulty getting their books picked up by the traditional publishers. Did you attempt to submit your manuscript to any traditional publishing houses? If so, what was your response, if any?

“Not a lick of offense taken. I’m frankly delighted by the feedback I am getting so far and talking to people like you and readers and authors alike is part of the learning curve. I’m happy to say this has been a fantastic experience so far.

When I was writing the book, I originally intended to have one copy self published for myself. I wanted a tangible, bound book that I could hold in my hand and say, “I did this;” perhaps as a small legacy to my two boys? Not sure. After friends read the book chapters in progress, I started getting feedback about how I should do “something more” with it. Intrigued, I started fishing around for publishing houses. I also had a few contacts who had gothic romances published. The negativity I got (“you will never get it read,” “you’ll have to send out 100 manuscripts and it will take years”) astounded me. I am the kind of person that says “don’t tell me it can’t be done.” That was when I just decided to go in the back door and self publish, buy a few copies, and viral market them. I keep thinking it only takes one person, the right person, who knows where this novel fits, to guide it more than I can. I think the fact that I wrote it from June of 2007 to June of 2008 and things in the book actually started happening to me after I wrote it (around Oct of 2008), make it a bit of an enigma.”

It’s common to receive the standard form letter or even no response at all from the big traditional houses. Writers just can’t take offense to that. We need to let those hits bounce off us and make us more aggressive towards our goal. So where did you look for publishing assistance? How was your experience with that?

“I talked to an acquaintance, who as I stated, had gothic novels published. Unfortunately, she was more negative than I anticipated. After that, I started looking around the internet. I chose Createspace.com to self publish because of their marketing connection to Amazon.com and the ability I had to custom design my book cover in Photoshop.”

Can you make any money from the sales of your books this way?

“I think I can. Patience is the quality I most lack in. But I see it as timing. The novel will fall into the right hands when it is supposed to. All I can do is expose it the best way I know how. My corporate background is in marketing so I am trying everything from Twitter to Facebook, to leaving it on planes. I think every Southwest flight attendant from here to San Diego has a copy at this point!"

Overall, are you happy with the outcome of your physical book and your experience with the publisher?

“I designed the cover myself, as I do graphic design full time. I was very pleased with the quality of the bound piece, and have had a ton of compliments over its look. No regrets over my choice. I have them lined up to publish my next two releases.”

So this is actually the first day of your virtual book tour for Black Hole: A Novel. I’m excited to follow your tour and learn more about this book I’ve heard so much about.

Here is a list of Jenna’s tour stops this week:
June 24 – Blogging Authors at http://www.bloggingauthors.com/blogging_authors/2009/6/24/in-her-own-words.html
June 25 – Bookland Heights at http://booklandheights.blogspot.com/2009/06/bookland-heights-proudly-welcomes-jp.html
June 26 – Plot Dog Press at http://plotdog.com/2009/06/25/introducing-jp-daly-and-her-novel-black-hole/
June 27 – Romance at Heart Magazine at http://romanceatheart.com/interview/jpdaly.html
June 28 – Bird Book Dog at http://www.bookbirddog.blogspot.com/

In case viewers are unfamiliar with a virtual tour, Jenna will have a posting each of the next 5 days at the Websites and Blogs listed above. Mark you calendars or stop back here to click on the next stop when that day arrives. I think you’ll all enjoy this tour. Jenna is a talented writer and her book stands alone.

If you would like to see more about Jenna right now, click on her Website at http://www.dalybookstore.com.

Thanks Jenna for sharing your experience with us. We certainly look forward to your next work.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nana Podungge on the Jakarta Globe


by Michelle Udem

Blogging In English
Michael Jubel Hutagalung, a Web designer based in Bandung, West Java, started Jubel and the Unessential, an English-language blog, primarily to improve his written English. The blog offers Hutagalung’s random musings on Indonesia’s politics and culture.

Within a year of Hutagalung starting the blog in October 2007, the traffic to the site was so high that it was exceeding the bandwidth limit on the platform he was using, and he had to move his blog to another host. The traffic explosion, mostly from Indonesians living abroad, gave him an incentive to do more than just improve his English skills.

“I want to tell the world what Indonesia’s really like — how the people really live,” Hutagalung said. But readers may not always get much on how Indonesians are living on an up-to-the-minute basis, or even about the day-to-day concerns of his countrymen.

Hutagalung last posted on Monday, after a two-month hiatus, filling readers in on his university plans and his personal debate in choosing between studying in London or the Netherlands.

The total number of Indonesian bloggers is difficult to quantify due to the constant deletion and activation of blog accounts. A top Indonesian-language blogger and internet publisher, Enda Nasution, says that Indonesia has about one million bloggers, based on blogger.com information, Wordpress information and blogs hosted personally — there are about 20 blogging communities in Indonesia, one in ever major city.

For Indonesians blogging in English, many are simply interested in trying to reach an audience beyond their own country and to give a perspective not available in the foreign media. Out of the 10 bloggers listed here, seven do not have a degree in English, nor have they studied abroad.

Budi Putra, a freelance writer and full-time, self-employed blogger living in Bintaro, South Jakarta, writes in English about new gadgets from an Indonesian perspective. Though many of his topics involve global technology news, he feels he provides a unique perspective as an Indonesian.

“My main demographic is both Indonesians and foreigners, especially those who love technology and digital life issues … Blogging is about conversation, so I want to talk to them through my blog. That’s why my blog’s tagline is ‘Talk With Me.’ ”

Hutagalung and Putra’s blogs focus on specific topics, but the majority of the Indonesians bloggers writing in English are diarists, who post as the mood strikes.

Devi Girsang, a 22-year-old medical student born, raised and living in Jakarta, operates the site “It’s My Life,” last updated May 5. With a tagline, “Love & Tears. Laugh & Cry. Achievements & Regrets. Welcome To My Life!” Girsang’s blog ranges from discussions on everyday topics such as poor customer service to inquiries on why people do bad things.

Such topics written from an Indonesian perspective and in English help readers realize that people worldwide run into the same problems and share the same emotional inquiries.

In another blog, “Republikbabi,” 23-year-old Calvin Sidjaja from Bandung posts updates about growing up with a mixed heritage in Indonesia. On his blog, Sidjaja discusses the role of mixed heritage Indonesians, such as Dutch-Indonesians and Chinese-Indonesians. He delves into the history of mixed heritages in Indonesia and how society views these people today.

“Many international students were helped because of the personal essays [on my blog],” he said.

But the Internet is not always the safest place to express personal and sometimes controversial opinions.

Girsang has “been accused of being an ‘American-wannabe’ from an anonymous commenter,” and Sidjaja notices how any type of neutral post he writes on religion always causes controversy.

Regardless of the hate mail and negative feedback, the bloggers find that voicing their thoughts and opinions in English is beneficial. “Though difficult to write in English, I like challenges. I love the rhythm of English words. It’s more personal and subjective,” Budi Putra explains.

To these bloggers, writing in English is their key to communicating to the outside world as they find freedom in abandoning their own tongue for just a few moments a week or month.

“Bahasa can be so difficult because of the formality of the language. I can express myself more casually in English” Girsang said.
These ten English-language blogs appear in the top 50 Indonesian blogs tracked by Web site www.indonesiamatters.com

Three Popular Blogs Written by Expats Living in Indonesia:

These three blogs written by expatriates living in Indonesia are ranked in the top six on blogs.indonesiamatters.com.

1. Brandon Hoover
Consisting of high-resolution photographs, Brandon Hoover’s blog takes a look at Indonesia’s natural beauty and his life here as an American. Aesthetically pleasing, Hoover’s blog illustrates how Indonesia has influenced his thoughts and photography. A fan of Indonesia, Hoover’s blog provides an American’s perspective on the joys of living in the country.

2. Jakartass
Jakartass, written by a Westerner living in Jakarta, consists of witty posts chronicling the life of an expatriate in Jakarta. Posts on the blog discuss local news as well as personal experiences illustrating quirks in Indonesian culture. Most recent posts discuss power cuts in Jakarta and a list of books by bloggers. Information on Indonesian acronyms and slang words are found on the sidebar of the blog.

3. Treespotter
Treespotter is a personal blog containing posts mostly on daily life in Indonesia and current, local events. Posts include idiosyncrasies in Jakarta culture, such as how there is always a place to smoke. The personal posts are both entertaining and in depth, while the posts pertaining to politics are written from an outsider’s point of view.

Ten Blogs by Indonesians Who Are Writing in English:

These ten English-language blogs appear in the top 50 Indonesian blogs tracked by Web site www.indonesiamatters.com.

1. Michael Hutagalung
Web designer Michael Hutagalung maintains a blog that consists of his personal perspectives, his design portfolio and discussions on Wordpress themes and Indonesian social issues. His blog offers readers the opportunity to learn about the Wordpress program as well as read an Indonesian perspective on the upcoming election.

2. Budi Putra
Blogger Budi Putra of this self-titled blog provides commentary on local news and technology gadgets. Mixing local technological news, such as Indonesia’s launch of digital TV, Putra also updates readers on more esoteric news such as the discovery of Indonesian sea horses. Technologically-savvy Putra comments on how information from the upcoming election will be broadcast via SMS.

3. Devi Girsang
Attracting both Jakartans and foreigners, Devi Girsang’s personal blog gives insight into the life of a young, Indonesian medical student. Girsang blogs on topics ranging from laptop malfunctions to bus-riding etiquette. Girsang’s blog gives expatriates the opportunity to observe a young Indonesian’s experiences, while peers can relate or rebut Girsang’s critiques of Jakarta culture and society.

4. Merlyna Lim
Blogging from her home in Arizona, Merlyna Lim’s blog focuses on her craft as an artist and her thoughts on both Indonesian and American issues. In between posts of her personal drawings and collages, Lim touches on local topics such as the construction of urban space in Bandung and internationally relatable topics such as inequalities within society.

5. Martin Manurung
Martin Manurung’s self-titled blog covers topical news issues in Jakarta. Providing his own commentary and critique of social, economic and political topics, Manurung tries to counterbalance foreign media reports that he feels are often “misleading.” Straying away from gossip, Manurung’s blog gives foreigners an inside look from a local’s perspective.

6. Calvin Michel Sidjaja
Touching on sensitive topics such as his search for his family tree and being of mixed heritage, Calvin Sidjaja’s blog consists of posts on his personal life and experiences. Sidjaja’s Indonesian heritage is a main theme of his blog, a topic that many young adults can relate to.

7. Ecky
Known on her blog as Ecky, the blogger writes from Australia. Though she mostly posts on personal subjects such as shower rituals and the perks of being a woman, Ecky also writes about the difficulties that come with change and leaving the comfort of her home country, Indonesia. Ecky also posts topical news from Jakarta, such as the upcoming election and President Obama’s effect on Indonesians.

8. Carla Ardrian
Blogging on various topics from gardening to photography, Carla Ardrian provides an Indonesian perspective on everyday things. Accommodating her Indonesian readers, Carla posts innovative recipes and political commentary, while foreigners may be more attracted to her travel and cultural tips. One of Carla’s posts comments on her experience of receiving incorrect directions as a tourist in Bali.

9. Nana Podungge
Nana Podungge’s most recent post on her blog, “A Feminist Blog,” discusses the topic of religion. Podungge considers herself a secular Muslim. Her religious views are mixed with the other main focus of her blog, a woman’s role in society. A unique combination, Podungge’s blog provides insight into controversial topics.

10. Martha
“Frank and Martha’s Blog,” written by Martha, captures the life of a young family in Jakarta. Martha’s updates illustrate the charms shared by all families worldwide, such as receiving her first written letter from her elementary school-aged son. Chronicling the life of a mother, Martha shares her thoughts on baking experiences, the workplace and raising a young child.

Can't blog...

...reading The Hunger Games. ;)

Romance authors call for change in their national organization

As I'm only a blogger who shares author buzz and writes book reviews I'm not sure I understand this topic. However, over the weekend there was a lot of posting on Twitter and even a Yahoo Group has been set up concerning Epub. Here is an article the Examiner has posted.

galley Cat post

Bookseller.com post

Just after reading the above, the Examiner has another article which gives one more insite into the debate. You can read it here.

Publisher Weekly on Epub

"RWA Drama, Take 3,456,112" From I Read Romance.com their take on the publishing issue.

Dear Authors Post on Digital Publishing - Here is a June 19th post concerning the very controversial subject hitting the internet

From Susan Saville’s Caffeinated Natter Blog her blog post “RWA Disrespects ePubs Yet Again” details

RWA President Pershing Responds ESPAN. Here is the Diane’s response to the controversary

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I hope all you dads out there are having a relaxing and enjoyable day! In honor of this special day I thought I would share a "crazy" little story from Heart Throbs #130 (February/March 1971).

I present to you for your enjoyment, "Like Father, Like Daughter." This story unfolds a little more slowly than some romance stories -- but the deep, dark secret is worth the wait!

Cindy and her mother move to a new town, after running from their last domicile. As they unload the moving truck, a couple of young men with eyes for the pretty young lady greet them. Cindy's mother ushers her into the new house, reminding her what happened last time when people found out about Cindy's father. Since she is pretty much banned from talking to anyone by her mother, Cindy is perceived as shy and has trouble connecting with dates and with her peers at school.

Soon, the mother and daughter once again become the town's gossip. Everyone is curious where they go on Sundays with bags of books and food. Finally Cindy can't take it anymore and tells the neighbor-folk to mind their own business. She runs off, "blind with tears and anger," but is quickly approached by a kind young man, Ted. After pulling it together, Ted and Cindy go on a multitude of dates. Eventually their time spent together blossoms into love and everyday they grow closer. She gradually begins to let down the wall that she has built around her. Naturally Cindy wants to tell Ted her deep, dark secret -- but she still feels like she can't. Ted insists that she meet his parents, in hopes that their meeting will put her more at ease. Ted's parents seem friendly enough, and Ted's father boasts about his "ability to understand the younger generation." Then comes the moment of dread. Ted's parents ask about Cindy's father.

And so, the secret is revealed! Cindy's father is in a mental facility. Ted, being the tender guy that he is lets Cindy know that everything is cool, and that his parents will understand. Of course they understand... to her face! What Cindy and Ted don't know though is that when Ted's parents retire upstairs for the evening they start talking smack. They hope that the affair between the lovebirds is just temporary puppy love, and that it will wear out. Boy, are they wrong! They continue to get closer and Ted and Cindy become engaged. This of course infuriates Ted's parents.

Ah threats! They work every time! Or do they?

Cindy is intent on marrying Ted, until her mother drops a bomb on her... Cindy can't have children because she risks passing on her father's mental illness. Her mother tells her she will make it up to her with a long trip to Europe.

Instead of mourning the loss of her supportive fiance, Cindy wonders how her mother could even afford a trip to Europe. After some rummaging and detective work, Cindy learns that it was all hush money from Ted's father. He certainly doesn't deserve a new tie for Father's Day, now does he?

Luckily, the love that Ted and Cindy share remains solid and it is the three parental units that are left to wallow in their self-conscious shame.

So, there you have it. My tribute to Father's Day. I like to think that after the last panel, Ted and Cindy went off to visit her father at the mental institution -- and that he was the only one who gave his blessing toward their union.

Two Fun Author Sites - Writing Playground and Writer's at Play

I've been a fan of Writing Playgound for years. Stop by and check it out here.
Their blog here. The
Writing Playground is where writers come to learn and play. Stop by, it’s lost of fun and informative.

Here's another authoro playgroud I discovered today, Writers at Play.

Writers At Play is a group of women writers who came together 5 years ago in the spirit of fun and encouragement. (Sounds so noble, doesn't it? The truth is, we got our hands slapped in a larger group for having too much fun, so we decided to create our own little "virtual playground". No rules, hunks encouraged and naughtiness guaranteed!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Blog o' Tears

Over at the blog Easily Mused, John Glenn Taylor has put together a side-splitting spread narrating the various circumstances in which tears are shed in romance comics. I can guarantee that you will start crying from the hilarity of it all! I have one of my own to add...

Happy couples with melanin issues

Author Christine Rimmer and Plot Groups

I'm always fascinated when hearing an author speak about her writing techniques, habits, what works and doesn't work and here's a post that those of you who write or are aspiring authors might be interested in on her plot group Prairie Chicks Write Romance here.

Story Casting - Toni Andrews

On Twitter this am Toni Andrews posted a comment about her release Cry Mercy and mentioned a website where you can cast her characters, her listing below. Now don't laugh but I actually had fun reading about her book and thought I would pass along as I thought a fun way to promo one's latest release.

Cry Mercy (Mercy Hollins 3)
by: Toni Andrews

I just want a normal life - even if I'm not entirely sure I'm human. My current good fortune is dependent on a dark secret: I can make people do whatever I want using a power I call "the press." Since that ability has hurt some people I never wanted to hurt, I try to keep it under wraps. I also try to keep people at a distance, but recently a group of fearless characters broke through my self-imposed walls and became my friends: Sukey, my receptionist-turned-P.I.; Tino, a Chicano gang leader; Hilda, a wealthy society widow; Grant, a retired millionaire—and Sam, my sexy-as-hell ex-boyfriend. Tino has inadvertently led me into the dark world of gang violence, and Sukey has pushed me into searching for my biological parents, the only people who can finally tell me who — or what — I really am...

Here's the link, give it a try!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Harlequin Executive Editor Marsha Zinberg

There's an excellent post by Marsha Zinberg. She mentions some of my favorite authors like Lori Foster, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Stella Cameron and on and on. Here's Marsha's post


In one encounter with a cousin of mine

A: Why did you get divorced?
N: We were no longer suitable to each other.
A: Tidak ada dua orang hidup bersama, kemudian langsung cocok begitu saja. Keduanya harus saling mencocokkan diri satu sama lain. (There is no case of a couple living together where the two of them directly suit each other. Both of them have to struggle to do that.)
N: Aku tidak mau mencocokkan diri dengannya lagi. (In that case, I no longer was willing to do that.)

This part of the conversation reminded me of one cynical or rhetorical question of one post in a friend’s blog, some years ago: “Enak saja bilang ‘kita berdua ga cocok lagi.’ (How could people easily say, ‘we were no longer suitable to each other?’ What did you consider before getting married in the past?”
The answer is simple actually: “People change.” When only one of the couple changes, the other doesn’t change, the two of them will not be compatible anymore.
In one scene of “Definitely Maybe” movie, Sarah was worried to let Will go to New York. “You will change …” Sarah pleaded. “Let us change together,” Will responded.
When the love disappears between the couple, or perhaps only in one of them, living together will be like in hell for both of them, or especially for the one whose love has disappeared.

A: Kalau kasusnya begitu, ya repot. Aku ga bisa berkomentar apa-apa lagi. (So, if that is the case, I cannot comment anything else.)
N: You had better not.


A: You have a boyfriend?
N: No. Not yet.
A: Is he already married again?
N: Not yet.
A: Ah … why don’t you two get back to each other?
N: Naaaay … No way.

(What a stubborn cousin. LOL. Haven't I told him before that my ex and I are no longer compatible? Just blame me, if you want, because I have changed alone, I have left my ex far behind me so that he could not catch up. Just blame me, if you want, because my love for him has disappeared with the wind. But, blame him for making this happen. A long long time ago.)

A: Have you ever heard a hadith saying that blessing of a woman is on the husband's hands (or feet? I forgot what he said. LOL.)?
N: Bless me because I am not married! My blessing is directly on God's then.

This cousin of mine must be dreaming thinking that I would be easily cheated by such a misogynist hadith. Wake up, cousin! My role models are Fatima Mernissi and Amina Wadud for Muslim feminists. Another role model of mine is Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a Deist. My favorite reading is JURNAL PEREMPUAN.
Anyway, that conversation happened on our first encounter. He obviously doesn't read my blog thoroughly, though he found my blog first, then me.
SPB 08.20 180609

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

From a little spark may burst a flame-- WIP Wednesday

For WIP Wednesday, here's the first draft opening of an as yet untitled ghost story I'm working on. I have a ton of research to do, and may change some names, but here's the first chapter as it stands now, set in the first decade of the 1900s in England. Enjoy!

Chapter I

Blinding smoke choked our tiny caravan. Its walls hadn’t caught yet, but they would, sending our home to the hereafter with Papa. I could live with losing my Papa and my home in the same week, but not her, too. Not my violin.

Orange flickered off her smooth surface, right where I’d left her on my little bunk. The blanket was still unburned. I grabbed both off the soft mattress, holding my violin tight to my chest and wrapping the blanket close around me. I stumbled sightless toward the door, but the flames had grown up the wooden walls of our beloved vardo since I ran inside.

Mother shouted my name from outside. “Mara, sweet Mother Mary, save my baby Mara!”

The door was a wall of fire, a gate to Hell. I tucked the blanket even tighter, wrapped a fold around my palm, and groped for the handle. The metal scalded my hand through the blanket and I fell forward.

I sucked fresh air in as I tripped down the three stairs, collapsing in the snow. Mother ran to my side and clutched at the sooty blanket. She babbled at me through a mess of tears. I pushed her away. Not that I wasn’t glad to see her, but I saw another face in the crowd that had gathered. The cold, manipulative face of old Lucia Saray. Only she could have convinced Mother to send our vardo up in flames after Papa died inside. All because of Alex.

I thrust my violin and bow at Mother and dropped the blanket to the ground. The wind whipped it into the wheel of the closest vardo where it flapped like a dying bird.

“Mara, what were you thinking?” my mother cried, cradling my tiny violin. “Holy Mother, you’re alive.”

“No thanks to that old hag,” I spat, stepping closer to Lucia.

The woman’s needle-like eyes narrowed even further.

My sister Jeanette stepped in between us. “Behave yourself, Mara,” she chided. “Have some respect for your elders if you’ve none for the dead.”

Holding my chin up, as if that could make me any taller, I spun on my heel away from the judgment in their eyes.

Fire licked at the painted sides of the bowtop wagon. Flame manes crowned Papa’s painted mares, one each for me and my two sisters. The little birds Mother kept bright with oil and wax had curled and warped under the heat. For sixteen years I’d called the vardo home and in less time than it would take to play an Irish jig, it was gone. And soon Jeannette or Hannah would take Mother away from me, too.

They all thought I was bad luck, anyway. I couldn’t cook or sew. I had no husband. The only thing I had was my child-size violin, the instrument I was meant to outgrow. But I never did.

“Mara,” Mother said when I walked back over to her. “Mara, Jeanette and her husband will take me in.”

I wrenched the violin from her hands, barely listening to her. I already knew what she was about to say.

“Mara, my lovely, I…”

I set bow to strings and played for my papa, for my home and for everything else I’d lost, a song that had been welling up inside me for the past seven days. Though my Mother and sisters had heard me play at unexpected times, they’d surely never witnessed anything as richly miserable as this lament. The crowd slowly, solemnly thinned, until it was only Mother, Jeanette, Hannah.

And Lucia, the woman who’d convinced Mother to burn our home.

The woman who accused me of driving her son Alex away eight months ago.

Somewhere in the middle of my dirge I realized that though I had begun playing for myself as much as for Papa, I’d wound up playing for Alex.

Lucia was right. I had driven him away.

But I’d be damned if I’d admit that to her.


Please, throw no stones, but I'm fascinated by the death rituals of the Romani people. I also thought opening with the MCs home burning down and her life about to change would make her a bit more sympathetic, since she's not the nicest character.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blink and You'll Miss It!

If you are looking for a good romance story with a thrilling and sophisticated plot to read on a rainy day, "Cindy the Salesgirl" from DC's Secret Hearts #133 (January 1969) is definitely not for you! It is one of the shortest, most anti-climactic romance stories I have ever read --but, it has great art by one of my favorites, Winslow Mortimer! I have posted the entire story below, all three pages of it!

Before I realized how short the story was, I thought that maybe the woman was trying to play matchmaker for her son and was scouting out potentials at the local department store.

I thought that perhaps on the next page the plump woman's ulterior motive would become clearer...

Nope! It was just my imagination running away with me! Even Cindy looks shocked in that last panel that the story is over so quickly!

Though not the strongest piece of writing in history of romance comics, this little three-pager has a truly great layout. The vertical panels really help to break up the book and give Mortimer's figure work a chance to shine. I also really dig the coloring on the story. The changing background colors and contrasting text panels serve to highlight Cindy, and her splendid outfits.

There is a fair amount of information out there about Mortimer and his work on Superman and other various superhero covers, but I have found very little about his romance work and other work outside of comic books. He obviously had a natural affinity for drawing beautiful woman wearing fashionable clothing, and it really makes me wonder if he had prior experience in fashion illustration or something of that nature. As of yet, I haven't been able to find enough detailed information on him to make a solid statement about his inspirations, but with more digging perhaps I can get closer to that. One of my long-term goals is to do more research on Mortimer and make sure he gets the credit he deserves for his non-superhero work.

Teaser Tuesday, or, If everyone else is jumping off a cliff, why can't I?

Here's a quick teaser from EVANGELINE, the novel I'm currently querying.

It's a YA Paranormal, with an emphasis on time-travel romance. Evie was just rescued by the hero and his mother, but hasn't told them the entire truth. Because she triggers a gift the hero wishes he didn't have, he doesn't trust her...

redacted 12/31/09

Should I Write My Life Story?

Nearly 81 percent of people say they have a book inside them. It’s in their hearts, minds, and soul; but unfortunately, it never seems to develop in pen. Most of these people feel their life story or an event in their life is worthy of becoming a book—and they may be right.

Why then don’t we write our special and unique story? Are we afraid of failure? Do we feel we just don’t have the time? Whatever the reason, we can overcome it. So what if it does take you five years to complete your manuscript? And what is failure anyway? If you sit down and spend one hour a week writing what’s been festering in your heart for years, would you consider that failure? I would define it as true commitment, a healthy outlet, and an expression of your being; far from failure.

Writing doesn’t have to be a full-time job; in fact, it shouldn’t feel like a job at all. Set aside an hour a week to write. You have a story to tell and there is sure to be someone who would be interested in reading it. Even if you never publish your story or make it available to the public, writing it will be an accomplishment to be proud of.

If you don’t want to write an entire book, then write bits and pieces in a journal. Journaling is considered one of the best remedies for stress. The reason being, you are removing yourself from your normal stressful environment by retreating to a quiet space to write. Also, you are able to express in your journal the feelings you aren’t comfortable expressing aloud.

Whether you have a book inside, need to release your thoughts, or just feel the need to write about something on your mind, write it. It’s healthy, it provides quiet time, and it’s free—so why not try it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fashion Files - Wedding Fever

I currently live in a crazy little tourist town in Indiana called New Harmony. It is scenic and really quite lovely, and it is a very popular spot for weddings. People from all over Indiana come to this town on the banks of the Wabash River to say, "I do." Last weekend there were five in town. That's a whole lot of wedding action for a town with a population of only 800!

'Tis the season for weddings and to continue with the Wedding Fever I thought I would share a couple wedding themed romance covers!

Falling in Love # 107 (May 1969)
I'm thinking its Cardy inked by Colletta, but not positive about that.

This apprehensive beauty comes from Girls' Love Stories #162 (October 1971)
Cover by Jay Scott Pike

Heart Throbs #142 (June 1972), Cover by Art Saaf
I feel exceptionally bad for those bridesmaides!

As you can see, long sleeves with high collars were all the rage in the late '60s and early '70s for wedding dress apparel. Obviously the artists drawing the romance books were with pretty with it when it came to fashion as evidenced by this Simplicity sewing pattern #9608 from 1971.

Extremely different from today's wedding fashions!

Dozens of romance comic books had wedding themes, so look forward to further installments exposing Wedding Fever!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Querying Hell, or, We can't stop here, this is Rejection country

Querying demons.

The worst of the horde.

Nothing sucks the confidence right out of you like a flight of these little devils on your back, circling and swooping on your self-esteem as soon as you hit send. A manuscript I thought was perfect (again) now seems trite and my characters shallow. That amazingly fresh premise I thought I had feels old and stale from contemptuous familiarity. I want to work on a new story, but the demons keep me too distracted; when I'm not constantly refreshing my inbox, my palms are too sweaty to hold a pen (I brainstorm longhand).

Rejections aren't so bad one at a time, just like these guys with the bat-wings flying overhead. But once they swarm, my cool attitude has reached its limit. Seemingly innocuous words like subjective, unfortunately, and connection rasp away my faith in my writing. It's a dark place, being in querying hell, one among a mass of writhing, faceless writers. (Which may be why we have developed such a large blogging culture, to give ourselves faces and individualism, but more on that at another time.)

Despite the fact that we writers may seem on the surface to be our own competition, it is this sense of community, of mutual experience and sympathy that helps me ignore the querying doubts. My development as a writer and as a professional would never have been possible without writing communities online, helpful writing blogs and and critique groups. Being a little stubborn helps, too.

What best soothes the wounds the querying demons inflict? Hearing about the experiences of other writers, sympathizing with their own self-inflicted purgatory, and being able to wish other writers well on their writing journey, and mean it. I want to give out to the world what I want in return. But at the same time, I'm a bit of a pessimist, expecting every query reply to be a big R. So I'm delightfully surprised if I get a partial request, or sometimes even a kindly worded rejection. It reminds me that there are people on the other end of this business, too, people who are as passionate about books as we writers.

Querying hell suddenly seems a lot more like a very crowded bus than an endless inferno. My stop will come eventually. Maybe I'll ride it all the way to publication. Maybe I'll get off early and start writing something else, and wait to get back on the bus when the next work is finished. But if I get off the bus in Rejection Country, I may never want to get back on. That's why this post is dedicated to everyone who shares their querying woes with the rest of us across cyberspace.
We'll stay on the bus together as long as it takes.

Anyone know any good driving songs? Anything but 100 bottles of beer on the wall...

Sure you can ask me personal questions (2)

I am a Muslim, if you think religion for you to know. But I am a secular Muslim. Sometimes I even label myself as an agnostic, especially during my journey to be an acclaimed feminist and a secular.
Don’t get me wrong. I shaped myself as a secular from books I have read. My background was strict, religious family and somewhat conventional Islamic elementary school.
The turning point in my religious or spiritual life was when I was pursuing my study at American Studies, Gadjah Mada University; the reading materials from some classes, plus books I bought using the allowance I got from BPPS, mixed with my rebellious nature and ‘wild’ interpretation changed me to be the present Nana.
Surely, I felt very alone and weird afterwards, thinking that no one could understand my way of thinking. Blogging has helped me a lot to overcome this problem. Joining some mailing lists—whose members are broad-minded—obviously made me feel “I am not the only one to be a secular (and sometimes agnostic) and a feminist. Nevertheless, when facing ‘real’ people’ in my ‘real’ world, I still feel weird. Anyway, I have to move on with my life, right?
Recently I have been busy working especially since August 2008 so I don’t have much time left for blogging. That’s why I seldom post in my blogs, only some trivial poems (sometimes )
My daily schedule is
• Monday till Friday 07.00-15.00 in an international school. My teaching schedule is around 26 slots per week. During 2008/2009 academic year, I taught Senior English level 1, Bahasa Indonesia for grades 7, 8, 9, and supervised library sessions for the same grades.
For 2009/2010 academic year perhaps I will handle Senior English level 1 and 2, English literature for grades 7, 8, 9, and IGCSE Sastra Indonesia for grade 10.
• Monday till Thursday 17.00-19.00, Friday 16.00-18.00 and Saturday 08.00-12.00 and 16.00-18.00 I teach English as a foreign language in one English course.
• Monday AND Thursday 19.00-21.00 I teach Poetry and Drama Analysis classes in one private college in my hometown.
Very hectic, isn’t it? :)
Practically I don’t have much time left to do exercise. Therefore I usually bike around the town around 30-60 minutes after teaching. I bike to work from Monday until Thursday.
Well, b2w has become my lifestyle since July 2008, after I joined b2w Semarang community. At first, someone named ‘Aluizeus’ read my post at ‘multiply’ blog complaining about the soaring price of gasoline. He suggested that I b2w to overcome the problem. :) To read more complete writings of mine about b2w, you can visit my blog at http://afemaleguest.multiply.com under tag ‘b2w’.
Being born in a Muslim family that belongs to the so-called ‘indigenous’ ethnic in Indonesia absolutely made my life easier, not much discriminative treatment I have ever got. Though I don’t have Javanese blood, living in Java island is very ok for me since I look like the majority of Javanese people, brown complexion, dark hair, and dark almond-shaped eyes. If bloody events happen (such as a tragedy in May 1998), I will certainly NOT be targeted. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean I don’t have empathy for my fellow Chinese Indonesian citizens. Just read my posts thoroughly at http://afeministblog.blogspot.com
The “only” discriminative treatment I have ever got, as far as I remember, is because I was born with vagina, breasts, and womb. However, this “only” thing means BIG when coming to the life of women in this patriarchal society.
Some reasons why I blog in English:
• English is my second language, since I graduated from English Department.
• To sharpen my ability in writing in English—one thing I oftentimes had to do during my study at American Studies Graduate Program. I work in a place where I am not obliged to write a lot. Writing in English for blogs helps maintain my ‘spirit’ as a Graduate Program student. :)
• To reach wider audience. I sometimes address people living out of Indonesia to talk about what has happened in my home country.

LL Tbl 10.20 120609

Sure you can ask me personal questions (1)

Nana Podungge is my name.
Well, I was born in Semarang, but both of my parents are from Gorontalo, North Sulawesi.
Yup, I got my family name from my parents. Both of them happen to be Podungge; in fact they are cousins.
I am a teacher, especially an English teacher.
The most interesting thing from my profession? Well, I love sharing knowledge I have, and love to know my students’ experience too, so there is a kinda exchanging knowledge between us.
I love reading, writing, blogging, listening to music, biking, and swimming. In fact swimming is my most favorite sport although since I bike to work, I don’t go swimming regularly anymore.
Blogging? Ya you can say this is my most favorite pastime. I have loved writing since I was a kid. Blogging has enabled me to expose my writings so that other people can read my writings too. (I am absolutely a narcissist for this. LOL.) Moreover after I was awakened by feminist ideology, blogging has obviously helped me a lot to express my anxiety.
Wanna know my blogsites? Easy. Just type NANA PODUNGGE in any search engine, google, yahoo, or any other. You’ll be led to my blogsites.
Single or married? Hmm … do you think I look like a single or married woman? LOL.
My favorite reading is JURNAL PEREMPUAN. One favorite book of mine is SI PARASIT LAJANG written by Ayu Utami.
I was born and raised in Java island so my favorite dish is Javanese food, such as ‘pecel’, ‘gudangan’. I also like fried rice and ‘kwetiau’.
My favorite drink is coffee. The second is tea. The third is orange juice. No, I don’t like soda drink. :) Well, I don’t think I am a coffee addict, though. :-d
SPB 09.30 120609

This is 'kwetiau'. :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

R.I.P., Porthos Pomander. May flights of angels... well, you know the rest.

Just so no one starts scratching their heads saying they've never heard of such a fellow, let me assure you that you never will.

He was dead weight, just another confusing name at a dinner-party, a pompous, snuff-addicted ass who really served no purpose in EVANGELINE (my YA paranormal currently in revision). He only had one scene. His family will never miss him, nor will the book reading public. So why do I feel a pang of regret for striking his name, his dialogue, his very existence from my novel? He is the first named character I have ever deleted like this, which may have something to do with the way I am feeling.

I'm feeling a strange sympathy for fictional author Karen Eiffel from the movie Stranger than Fiction when she discovers her character Harold Crick, who she's just figured out how to kill, is a real man. Now, killing off characters is not hard for me. I've killed off characters, main characters, mind you, whose deaths affected other characters profoundly. Whose deaths were necessary to the story.

I understand that eliminating the chaff (and old man Pomander was certainly chaff) is also necessary to the story. What I don't understand is why he's been haunting me. I didn't even like the old codger, and he was a bit of a misogynist. I should be happy that I've slimmed down my manuscript, while, simultaneously, adding to the characterization of the other members of the dinner-party who DO return to the story.

Instead I keep thinking, did he actually have a family? Or maybe old Pomander played for the other team? Maybe his snuff-addiction began in his stint in the military. No, he was way too much of a coward to fight in the infantry. There are a hundred lives, histories, that might have been for Porthos. I'll never know him properly, and there probably won't be a reason to use him again. Because he's just a name floating out there in the collective consciousness, a man without a purpose, without a motive and without motivation, he isn't a character any longer. But I called him into being. I feel responsible for him, and for taking care of him now that he's outlived his usefulness.

Here's hoping that this post will send poor Porthos to wherever he belongs. Is there a heaven (or hell?) for characters stricken with the horrid and always fatal backspace-fluenza?

Anyone else plagued by fictional ghosts of their on making? Characters you killed or eliminated?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get with it, Girl!

Romance comics weren’t just all fun and games and polyester pant-suits. In issue #11 of Marvel’s Our Love Story (June 1971), Suzan of the “Suzan Says” advice column offers a stern lecture about the merits of doing well in school.

Heaven forbid anyone spend their summer break in summer school! Now I finally realize why I didn't have a steady during undergrad... I was in class during the summer semester!

Authors ready to throw the book at online pirates

I remember reading one of Nicola Marsh's blog posts on this very subject. Here's the article

Mills and Boon and Harlequin

Harlequin Mills and Boon romances - a history

Science Fiction; The Devil is in the Details

For years, literally since I was 15, I've been knocking around ideas for a sci-fi novel. But I wear myself down trying to nail the science before I can even get to the story. It's not a "work in progress" so much as a "premise in progress". My "you're not smart enough" demon and my "easy way out" demon keep telling me to stick to YA fantasy and paranormal.

The scientific details, details like those I meticulously research in my real-world fantasies, are outside my comfort zone. Yet I read and re-read Heinlen as a teen, Arthur C. Clarke, Anne McCaffrey's Pegasus in Flight, and of course, Madeleine L'Engle's very meta sci-fi.

Today's science fiction seems to be less interested in the limits of the human intellect, and more in the depths of the depravity humanity can sink to. Of course, there is the indomitable nature of the human spirit side to these stories, but what happened to the science? What happened to the techno-centric societies authors of the 50s through the 80s used to write about? Did we wake up and discover we're in one? Where the hell is my hover-car, dammit?!

That little diatribe aside, I'll definitely read The Hunger Games, but it feels like the latest in a string of dystopian novels (and the occasional "zombie" book, fantasy-horror disguised as sci-fi) that are keeping the genre clinging to the cliff's edge. Hell, heist movies seem to have more hard science elements than some sci-fi does these days. The last time I asked someone online to recommend a good sci-fi, they simply said, Heinlen. Perhaps I should have specified something written in the last five decades. ;)

Sci-fi I'm curious about:
Spacer and Rat
Uglies series and any other Scott Westerfeld

Anyone just dying to share a good sci-fi they've read? I prefer YA because I like to read widely in the genre I write, but I'll eagerly devour a good adult sci-fi.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dealing with Demons

Yes, that is the final horn of the Apocalypse you're hearing.
I finally gave in to the little demons telling me to start up a blog. Well, here it is, freshly summoned from the abyss of my right-brain.

This first post is dedicated to the little demons we, as writers, battle every day:

The "my work isn't good enough to be published" demon
The "writer's block" demon
The countless niggling devils that make us second-guess the chapter we just spent all night revising
The "where the hell is my notebook?" demon (though in retrospect, this one may be a gremlin)
The "why can't I write like (insert favorite author here)?" demon

Sometimes the demons can be helpful, when humilty is at stake. The "keeps my ego in check" demon gets the occasional cookie. But when they start to dance on your manuscript, tearing it to shreds with their little cloven hooves, it's time for a good old fashioned exorcism.

I like to take a bath and write in my notebook when the demons get me down. I only write about things that I can stay positive about: notes on a wip I may never get around to fleshing out, notes on my current novel or the query letter that I'm currently in love with.
Remind myself why I'm a writer in the first place.

Though my demons are even more numerous and varied, Lord knows the whole world doesn't need to meet them all. ;)
But I'd love to meet some of yours!

Hey, look, tomorrow is Work in Progress Wednesday! I'll have a better post for tomorrow based on my own recent WIP ranting about the real reason no one is writing any hardcore science fiction lately: It's too damned difficult!
Tomorrow: Science Fiction; The Devil is in the Details

Monday, June 8, 2009

Unlikely Romance - Lady Cop

Romance comics were often times fraught with young women looking merely for a husband or temporary companion. Lady Cop, the fourth installment of DC’s 1st Issue Special (story by Robert Kanigher, art by John Rosenberger and Vince Colletta) portrayed a different side of the romance coin. Liza Warner – Lady Cop, was looking not for a husband, but for a killer.

A somewhat naïve Liza witnesses the murder of her roommates. Immobilized, she hides under the bed. Though in shock, she has a photographic memory and can tell t
he police exactly what the murderer’s boots looked like – white cowboy boots with skull and crossbones decorations. A police woman who comes to the site tells her she has the “camera eye” of a police officer and laments, “wish we had more women like you applying for the police academy! The city would be a safer place to live in!”

Thinking and dreaming constantly about the tragic incident, Liza enrolls in the police academy in an effort to find the killer. Liza proves her dedication to the force and her courageous nature by intercepting a live grenade hurled by a disgruntled ex-student of the police academy during the graduation ceremony. All this is just an introduction though to the meat of the story, which is titled “Poisoned Love!” It even has a romance ring to it!

We see Liza start her career by coming to the aid of a young woman on a rooftop being assaulted by a brute and his dopey sidekick.

After putting the Neanderthals in their place with some action-packed martial arts moves, Liza arrests the duo. Unfortunately, the young woman who was being assaulted leaves the scene and Liza is unable to question her. In her quest to find the victim, Liza proves she not only can put bad guys behind bars, but is passionate about watching out for the community as well.

While patrolling the streets, Liza finds the victim and overhears her telephone conversation.

In her desperate attempt to catch the still unnamed girl, Liza gets pulled away by another crime scene. The grocer has been stabbed and she must go after the man holding the knife. As the bad guy attempts to slice her, he simultaneously gives her a lecture that she should have stayed home to practice the “female” arts of washing dishes and mending socks. She quickly puts him in his place, knocks him out cold and heroically saves the grocer with a quick thinking dose of CPR.

Unable to find the missing girl by the end of her shift, Liza takes some well deserved
time off by going to the beach with her boyfriend. He doesn’t seem to be taking her choice of profession as well as she is. It is on this page that you can really see the influence of the romance genre in both the art and the dialogue, even though our protagonist has different things on her mind than just getting married or keeping her man like in many of the traditional romance stories.

Liza eventually finds the runaway girl, who stares despondently into the water at the edge of a pier and councils her on seeking help for the possible VD. In what sounds like a PSA, Liza lets her know that a family doctor and/or Board of Health VD stations can test her and give her antibiotics if needed. The girl is hesitant due to what she thinks her father’s reaction will be. Her father meets her at the dock and Liza sticks around to make sure everything goes smoothly. The father doesn’t take the news well, berates his daughter and punches Liza in the face. Incredibly calm and resilient, Liza reasons with the father and urges him to take his daughter to the doctor.

The story comes to an abrupt end when Liza is confronted by a friend of the perps she sent to jail for attacking the girl with the VD. Liza and the attacker wind up in the river where it is revealed that the “tough guy” can’t even swim. Liza dutifully saves him. We are left with an image of Liza pondering if she will ever find the man who killed her roommates. Unfortunately, that is the end of Lady Cop and no one finds out who the killer is.

As you can see, in many respects Lady Cop can be considered a romance story – though maybe not a traditional one. Since it was late in the game for romance (1975), perhaps it was a way to test the waters and see if the genre was still viable if packaged differently. I personally really like the story, and I wish Liza Warner the Lady Cop had been given another chance, but alas, it was not meant to be. I would have liked to see a continuation of her personal love life with Hal and how she balanced that with the search for the elusive killer in cowboy boots. The internal struggle is alluded to, but never quite capitalized on. I think Lady Cop would have made for a good serial romance/crime title, but obviously it didn’t catch on.

What do you think? Would you have liked to see more adventures of Liza Warner – Lady Cop?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tips to Allure - Footnotes to Beauty

Trying to get your feet in shape for those fashionable summer sandals? Need some tips? Look no further than Falling in Love #122 (April 1971) for advice!

DC romance comics often resembled teen magazines in that they featured sections with beauty and diet suggestions. The commentary was usually pretty standard common-knowledge type stuff accentuated by “hip” language and minimal illustrations.

Besides creating a multi-layered experience for readers, these sections most likely were used to fulfill postal regulations that required one to two text pages in order to constitute a periodical.

A Debbie Macomber Event - Cedar Cove Days

You can't imagine how excited our little town of Port Orchard is to be hosting Cedar Cove Days August 26-30, 2009. Please visit the website to make your lodging reservations. The planners have blocked rooms up and down the Kitsap Peninsula (and some beyond), but rooms are going quickly, so reserve yours today!

Tour details