Sunday, August 30, 2009

Meet Marc!

Most every romance comic book published had some incarnation of an advice column. Usually they were written from the viewpoint of a female character, with each title having a signature columnist. Some memorable ones from the '60s and '70s include "To You...from Carol Andrews" (Falling in Love), "Suzan Says" (Our Love Story and My Love), and Page Peterson's "Do's and Dont's of Dating" (Young Romance). Most tried to give honest and kind advice, saving harsh words and criticism for only those letters that truly required it. Not Marc though. Oh no, not Marc.

"Marc - On the Man's Side" debuted in Young Love #90 (December 1971) and ran in the romance title for quite some time. Marc, though anything but kind -- was honest. Brutally honest. Read the introductory column below to get a feel for Marc's acid-tongued style of love advice!

Marc's debut makes me wonder if these letters were in fact real, or if they were created by DC to get a jump start on the column. I tend to think that this first batch was planted in order to generate reader response. However it started, this column was obviously a way to get readers riled up and create dialogue between them and the comic book. It certainly work, as in subsequent columns Marc went farther and farther to insult almost every reader that wrote in to him. That in turn generated more letters and even attempts to get rid of Marc through polls! Though we may cringe today, it was a pretty smart marketing tactic in order to create a return audience.

The thing I find most interesting is that DC chose to use a picture of a real person to portray the character Marc (and later - his counterpart, but we will save that for another post). Most other advice column characters are represented by an illustration of the advice giver, making the case of Marc a bit unusual. Who is this Mike Nesmith looking character? Was it a stock photo or a photo of an employee at DC? Where is "Marc" now? If I ever find out the answers to these questions, I will be sure to share!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Anne Frank

I just finished watching ANNE FRANK the movie. (Better late than never, do you agree?)
Some sentences and scenes of the movie were adapted from Anne Frank’s Diary. Some others, I think, were based on what happened in the reality of the second world war as well as the crazy troops of Nazi’s way to treat the Jewish. Some others, perhaps, were based on the imagination of the scriptwriter. You know, even though there is writing ‘based on the true story’ at the beginning of a movie, it cannot be avoided to include some imaginary parts.
People all know that Anne Frank died in one concentration camp due to typhus. This diseases attacked many ‘prisoners’ in the camp due to very limited food and drink as well as unhygienic condition and clothing.
Still my heart was broken when watching the parts when Margot, Anne’s sister, looked so terribly ill; when Anne’s food was stolen by another prisoner; when Anne was unhappy thinking that she would live all alone if Margot died. Before that, she heard that her dad died in the ‘gas room’, and her mom died too because of something else.
I even still expected that in the movie, Anne would survive.
Or at least, the movie would not have scenes where Anne died. I did not want to come to that part.
And the movie really did not show the part when Anne died. I felt a bit relieved. I did not need to be mourning uselessly.

However, I still felt blue after that. When reading Anne Frank’s diary I knew that her dad survived. He himself had his daughter’s diary published, to tell the world the cruelty as well as the inhumanity of Nazi. When I watched the scene of Otto Frank collapsed due to very deep sadness knowing his daughters died in the camp, I almost could feel the similar sadness.
If only Anne had known that her beloved Pim still survived, perhaps she would have tried hard to struggle to survive too.

PT56 22.52 290809

In one class

Last Thursday, my Intermediate 1 class discussed “Reaching for the Stars”. To lead the students to the main topic, the book provided a picture: a quite fat female teenager who has short straight hair is imagining to have a tall slim body and long wavy hair (typical ‘beautiful girl’ according to many advertisements on printed as well as electronic media.)

Here is the way I lead the discussion:
Teacher (T): “What do you see in this picture?”
Students (Ss): “A girl…”
T: “Can you describe what this girl looks like?”
Ss: “She is fat, plain, and she has short straight hair.”
T: “What is she doing in this picture?”
Ss: “She is dreaming of having a perfect body, just like the girl in the bubble…”
T: “Describe the girl in the bubble, please…”
Ss: “She is tall, slim, pretty, and she has long wavy hair.”
T: “Why is she dreaming like that?”
Ss: “Because she thinks that she is ugly.”
T: “Why do you think that way?”
Ss: “Because she doesn’t have a boyfriend, perhaps?”
T: “Why do you think perhaps she doesn’t have a boyfriend?”
Ss: “Because no boy is attracted to her.”
T: ”So, what kind of girl is attractive?”
Ss: “Just like the girl in the bubble…”
T: “Why do you think this girl is pretty?”
Ss: “Because she is pretty…”
T: “You don’t answer my question well. What made you think she is pretty?”
Ss: “?!@#$%^&*???~!@#$%^??…….”

And this made me ‘preach’ about the ugly impacts of watching television.
 Advertisements on television with their so-called beautiful women (‘beautiful’ according to the producers) have magically shaped people—mostly teenagers about what ‘beautiful’ is.
 Advertisements have created mass culture about many aspects in our life (including to be “true women” so that they will be wanted and needed by men or parents-in-laws to be)

Due to this, many people—mostly women and teenagers lose their being critical.
My suggestion to my students, “Don’t watch television!”
PT56 23.33 290809

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Link Time!

When I was in San Diego last month, I met a ton of really great people who were fans of romance comics. One of those people was Michael D. Hamersky of the Comic Book Collectors Blog, a blog chock-full of reviews, news and other fun stuff. Michael picked up a copy of my booklet, and did a nice review of it. Read it here!

I am at a four day long work conference right now, but when I return I have an important introduction to make. His name is Marc. You may already be acquainted with his "advice," if you are a fan of DC's Young Love. That's all I will say for now, so stay tuned!!!

Have a wonderful rest of the week everyone, and if you have some time you should try your hand at Pat Curley's grab bag quiz at his blog -- Silver Age Comics. Make me proud, romance fans! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The You 2.0 blog

The You 2.0 blog is about becoming everything you’re meant to be. It’s about pursuing your dreams, changing your world, showing gratitude, and paying it forward. Here’s a chance for our Booklovers to share what You 2.0 means to them.

The blog was mentioned today by Malle from Harlequin concerning a YA editor. It's just another example of the interesting blogs on the internet which relate to books, writing and/or authors.

Here's the blog

Passions of a modern woman – Brenda Novak

Brenda is such a lovely woman, I remember attending a Seattle Eastside RWA Chapter meeting where Brenda spoke and I knew then and there somehow we would be connected. We are, through the romance genre and her Jr. Diabetes Auction which takes place every May.

Here’s a lovely article.

Penny Jordan Stops By UK Guest House

Mills and Boon author pops into a guest house near Knutsford

She explained how she got into the business. She said she never thought she’d be a writer.

“As a child, she said she spent a lot of time alone with her thoughts and telling stories so the seeds of it were there from a young age.”

Here’s the article.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jack Kirby's Many Hats

For a delightful post displaying the many hats drawn by Jack Kirby (and he sure drew a lot) check out Tuesday's post on Bully Says: Comic Oughta Be Fun! It is positively hilarious! I thought I would take a look through the romance comics I have with Kirby art, and what I found was a multitude of men's and women's hats. Kirby sure was generous when it came to depictions of hats in romance stories, but I found this one to be particularly intriguing!

Hat #5,002

This festive hat modeled by Anne in Love Romances #103 (January 1963), is sure to be the hit of the party with its capabilities of being used as a chip and salsa dispenser -- or bundt cake pan! That's right Anne, it will be over in a few minutes, as fellow party goers will be unable to resist your snack hat!

How do you know you're a writer?

When I was a little girl, I was a liar.

I lied about anything and everything, just because the lie was more interesting than the truth. I told one potential friend that I was born in China, and had two Great Danes so big I could ride them. I never really did it for the attention, or to get others to like me. I just saw the world a different way in my mind than it was in reality.

I lied to my parents. Not to keep myself out of trouble, but just to see if I could get away with it. Sometimes I did. And sometimes the lies grew too big to contain, and took on a life of their own. That's when I'd get caught in one.

When my parents, or kids at school asked me why I lied, I'd shrug and look away. I never really knew then why I felt so compelled to change the facts. Now I know that there is some part of me that has always felt the need to re-write reality to suit my wishes. Maybe that's a selfish desire, but that was what drove me to write my own books as a teen, finding something lacking in the books I'd been reading. I wanted to create my own realities, and writing novels was the best way to do that.

It's only in recent years, since I started writing again as an adult, that I've thought about the little fibber that I once was: a bragger of false truths, a teller of tall tales. There was never anything malicious in my lies. I was just a girl looking for something. The stories I tell now wouldn't be nearly as inventive if not for the imagination of that girl. Have I found what I was looking for yet? I think I'm getting there.

Am I still a liar?


What? You don't believe me? ;)

How do you know that the writing life is the life for you?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Romance Under the Covers - Patsy Walker #122 (August 1965)

I don't read many new comic books, but while at the comic book store last week I decided to pick a few up. I ended up buying the first and second issues of Marvel Divas, mostly to check out what all the commotion has been about the past couple of months. I was pleasantly surprised with the first two issues... they were rather amusing and with Patsy Walker as one of the main characters, I am intrigued enough to pick up the third issue when it comes out.

Marvel Divas version of Patsy Walker

Patsy has changed quite a bit through the years, going from a feature in the romance magazine, Miss America to teen-humor comic star to Hellcat in Avengers and now Divas. One thing that hasn't changed is her status as a stunning redhead!

Miss Walker has been the star of various titles, most of which are considered teen-humor. Her solo title which ran from 1945 to 1965 changed throughout the course of its run, with the later issues resembling romance comics. Some may not consider Patsy Walker a romance comic, but it seems to have all the necessary requirements -- fashion, romance, and tears! With the later issues (like the one I am reviewing here) I tend to err on the side of romance.

Issue #122 is the third to last issue in the series. Although the storyline was nearing a close at this point, I still had no trouble delving in and becoming familiar with the characters. Truth be told, I primarily picked it up because I love the cover!

The issue has one 18 page story, "No Greater Love!" with art and story by Al Hartley. In it, Patsy's boyfriend Buzz is back stateside in the hospital after being wounded in Vietnam. Patsy is torn up because she didn't know he was fighting in the war. Instead, she figured he had run off with another girl and hadn't bothered to contact her. As it turns out though, his letters were just delayed.

Thing is, Patsy never wrote him since she didn't even know he had left the country. She feels guilty about this and the fact that she dated other guys while Buzz was away (since she thought he was two-timing her), makes her feel even more guilty. When she visits Buzz at the hospital it seems as if he has been changed by the war. Not only does he bear outward scars, but the scars on his psyche are evident as well. Patsy is determined to figure out why Buzz is acting so strangely, while Hedy (Patsy's roommate) tries to explain that it is probably just from "battle fatigue."

The girls decide to have Buzz over for dinner at their place. He explains to Patsy, Hedy and Nan (Buzz's nurse and their girlfriend) that he is being sent back to Vietnam for another year. Hedy and Nan go off, leaving the young couple to discuss their future. It turns out not to be such a bright one for Patsy -- as Buzz reveals that he is no longer in love with her.

As Buzz leaves, Hedy confronts him wanting to know what was up with his "cock-and-bull story" about not loving Patsy anymore. He replies tersely, as he only wants to protect Patsy in the end -- in case something terrible happens to him in Vietnam.

Although a bit slow in the beginning, the story picks up towards the middle and is quite enjoyable. I definitely was on the edge of my seat when I finished, and I am anxious to read how the whole thing pans out with Buzz.

It is obvious from reading just this one issue that fashion is one of the predominant underlying themes of Patsy Walker. Readers were encouraged to send in their fashion designs, making for a colorful array of changing outfits for the characters. As someone who was constantly designing and drawing outfits when I was little girl -- I can see how Marvel's approach would have really invested the reader and encouraged them to pick up the book time after time.

I do find it interesting that the fashions in this issue lean more towards the fashions of the early 1960s (fitted top, cinched waist and full or A-line skirt) rather than transitioning into the more "mod" style of the mid-sixties. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the readers designing the outfits were going off of what was around them (mothers, classmates, etc.), and not necessary the British youthquake movement or haute couture styles.

Though maybe not my most favorite art, I did like the story of this issue. Though not a typical romance comic, it does fit rather nicely into the genre. Besides the story and a letters page, it was also was packed with fun fashion extras such as the above pin-up page and a couple pages of "heavenly hairdos," also designed by readers. In the future I will definitely be looking for more Patsy Walker!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In the Year 1970

House Ad from Time for Love #15 (March 1970)
Nope, that blue blob isn't an outline of an upper Midwest state --
it's a locket chain!

During the first year of the 1970s, Charlton did indeed lead the "love parade" with eleven romance titles, compared with DC's eight titles (this includes a Super DC Giant) during the same year and Marvel's two. Below is a breakdown of all of the titles that were published in 1970 from comic book companies across the board.

  1. Career Girl Romances
  2. Hollywood Romances
  3. I Love You
  4. Just Married
  5. Love Diary
  6. Romantic Story
  7. Secret Romance
  8. Sweethearts
  9. Teen-Age Love
  10. Teen Confessions
  11. Time for Love

  1. Falling in Love
  2. Girls' Love Stories
  3. Girls' Romances
  4. Heart Throbs
  5. Secret Hearts
  6. Young Love
  7. Young Romance
  8. DC Super Giant (#S-17)

  1. My Love
  2. Our Love Story

It's pretty crazy to think that in the year 1970 only three companies were publishing romance comics, when just ten years earlier there had been eight companies publishing comics in the genre!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: Keeping the Dream Alive part II

Morning, y'all! I am in high spirits today so I thought I'd post another excerpt from the novel I'm currently querying. Aside from a select handful of literary agents, this newest version of my opening hasn't been seen by anyone but myself, so I thought it would be a nice treat to have its debut here. If you read my blog, you'll know that no part of Evangeline has gone through such dramatic change as this opening. So here's hoping that any future changes to it (like those suggested by the editor of a publishing house, fingers-crossed!) will be minimal.



redacted 12/31/09

Monday, August 17, 2009

It Happened at Woodstock!

Forty years ago today, the last bands played the Woodstock festival and the people who made the pilgrimage out to Bethel, New York began to head home. The event was not quickly forgotten however, and was immortalized in a documentary film, comic books, and yes -- cheap costume jewelry.

This advertisement from 1971 appeared in several romance comic books. Notice how it capitalizes on the slogan from the documentary film released in '70 -- "No one who was there will ever be the same" and uses the dove-on-guitar imagery from the poster.

1971 was evidentally a big year for Woodstock memorabilia. The same year as the jewelry ad made its rounds, Marvel released a story called "It Happened at Woodstock!" which appeared in My Love #14 (November 1971).

Marvel's story by Gary Friedrich with art by Gray Morrow (which will make you jump out of your seat and say WOW, by the way) is a more sophisticated tale than its DC counterpart. Read the whole story at The Golden Age of Comic Book Stories blog (thanks so much to fellow romance blogger Jarett Kobek for the heads up), and be prepared to be blow away by Morrow's gorgeous depiction of the festival. I personally think it is a really interesting story, if you can forgive the fact that the splash page says the event happened during the summer of 1968. Other than that error, the story serves as a pretty darn good historical piece. It documents not only the artists that performed at Woodstock, but the social mores surrounding the expectations for young women at the time to "settle down" and begin domestic life. It is definitely one of my favorite romance stories with some of the best art that came out of the genre. Be sure to check it out!

Website for Women over 40

While watching an afternoon cooking show, I saw a cast of pretty impressive women, one especially caught my attention was Joni Evans.

Joni Evans’ 35-plus year career in publishing includes serving as President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster, and Publisher at Random House. Most recently she was Senior VP of the William Morris Agency’s literary department, where she repped such bestselling authors as Marcus Buckingham, Ann Coulter, Fannie Flagg, Quincy Jones, Mary Wells Lawrence, Peggy Noonan, Martin Garbus, James Patterson, Liz Smith and John Stossel. In her dynamic career she has brought over 100 books to the bestseller list. Joni is a member of the Young President’s Organization, the Women’s Forum and a founding member of both the Committee of 200 and Women’s Media Group.

The women on the site: Candice Bergen, Joan Juliet Buck, Joan Ganz Cooney
Joni Evans, Whoopi Goldberg, Judith Martin, Peggy Noonan, Sheila Nevins, Julia Reed,
Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Marlo Thomas. Lily Tomlin, Mary Wells, Jane Wagner and Cynthia McFadden

I encourage you to check it out here

The Gift that Keeps on Giving...

I have to admit it, I get a little thrill whenever I get a comment on my blog, especially since I know I'm not the best at coming up with comments for the blogs of others. So I was especially thrilled when I saw that Icy Roses, over at From Elysium, just awarded me the Kreativ Blogger award. I'd like to officially express my gratitude to her, and tell everyone to go check out her blog.

Here are the rules I must adhere to to be deserving of this award. These rules apply to all those who receive this award.

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

As for nominating seven different kreativ bloggers, well, here goes:

1. Abby Annis, whose blog has a new look! Check it out!
2. Rebecca Knight: Writer in Progress
3. Jess Jordan, whose recent posts on Say What? have been extremely helpful to me
4. Rebecca Sutton at Sometimes Helpful Nonsense
5. Suzanne at Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness, who I know is on vacation right now
6. Tess Hilmo, for being a constant inspiration to me, even if she doesn't know it
7. Eric, at Working my Muse, I wanted to nominate you, too, but I thought the award was too girly. I'll make you a special one. ;), here:

I know you're all dying to hear my seven facts, well, here goes:

1. As you can see by Eric's award, I have mad Photoshop skills!
2. I can't curl my tongue, but I can touch my elbows together behind my back. Seriously.
3. I've never been black-out-drunk before, but I've lied and said I was.
4. I love to shop at the Asian Market, and am addicted to Vietnamese po'boys and avocado, lychee, or kumquat bubble tea.
5. I had a lot of Barbies when I was a kid, but I never actually played with them, just dressed them, did their hair, and made them have sex with Ken.
6. I love to sing, but I can never remember song lyrics unless I read them.
7. I will eat anything that's deep fried.

Is that seven already? And here I was just opening up. ;)

Thanks again, Icy Roses!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The iconic artwork of Mills and Boon

Happy Sunday everyone! I saw this and I've got to tell you, I laughed and thought how far romance book covers have come.

The 100 year-old brand,sells over 200 million books every year, one every three seconds in the UK. In the past 50 years alone, Mills & Boon characters have shared 10,325 weddings, 29,500 kisses and 35,250 embraces.

Article here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Found My Love at the Woodstock Festival!

As promised last month, I am here to bring you the story, "I Found My Love at the Woodstock Festival!" from Falling in Love #118 (October 1970). On this date forty years ago, the world of popular music was literally rocked by the start of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. The comic book industry took notice and published a few romance stories with Woodstock as the setting.

Fourteen months after the event, DC published this story (with art by Murphy Anderson) about two college students, Sally and Robin and their experiences at the festival.

Robin is an outspoken young man. After leading a student demonstration he finds himself suspended, and his girlfriend Sally is not happy about the situation. When they talk about predicament he is in, Robin tells Sally that she is too uptight -- just like the university that reprimanded him. Robin says that he has to think and figure things out, basically he needs some space. He says that he will call her when he has figured things out.

A few weeks later, Robin calls Sally and asks her to meet him at Woodstock. She agrees, and on the next page we witness her stuck in the infamous traffic jam while on her way. Luckily she meets "practicing hippie," Zack Barton who whisks her away on his motorcycle.

After Zack and Sally scope out the scene, Sally frantically breaks off and looks for Robin. As she passes by people's campfires, couples kissing in cars, and a few guys she thought were Robin, Sally slows down and realizes she might not find him. Zack appears with a broken umbrella and hippie kisses for the tearful young lady.

Sally breaks away from Zack's embrace and runs through the torrential downpour and finally stumbles upon Robin, who is less than happy to see her -- and has a girl in his arms. Crushed, she runs back to Zack.

Sally begins to cry and as Zack takes her in his arms, she realizes that she has to do her own thing and not worry about Robin. Just as she is starting to let go and enjoy the festival, it comes to a close. Zack packs up his tent, hops on his bike and gives her his parting speech:

"I'll give you a lift back to your wheels, but then it's Splitsville! We
touched, now this scene's melted! Lots more groovy ones to make!"

And just as quickly as Woodstock started, it ends and Sally is yet again alone. As she walks by some other people leaving and discussing the festival, she realizes she too has changed and will never be the uptight girl that she once was.

The somber tone of the story is quickly interrupted by a surprise O. Henry style ending. A helicopter descends and Robin pulls Sally in. He explains the presence of the girl that was in his arms. As they fly away, they both recount how they were changed by Woodstock.

Forty years ago today, the iconic festival ran until the wee hours of the morning closing with Joan Baez singing "We Shall Overcome." Woodstock's impact on American popular culture was huge, resulting in a documentary film, two albums, an upcoming movie based on the events and even a clothing line currently available at Target stores. Luckily for fans of romance comics, it also resulted in a few stories that captured the aura of love that prevailed that August weekend.

How Many Books to Order Up

You’ve decided to write and publish your book, you’ve even managed to find a publishing method that works for you—great, you’ve made it this far. But your publisher won’t be the only one responsible for selling your books; much of this will fall on you. If you are traditionally published, your publisher will give you some copies, but expect you to purchase additional ones at your own expense. P.O.D. publishers often state they will be promoting and selling your books for you; this is just never totally true. You should expect to have several books on hand at all times. Remember, regardless of common belief, books really do sell “just one-at-a-time.”

So how many books will you need on hand?

Ask yourself these questions:

Will I be attending fairs where I will be selling my books directly to the public?

Will I be responsible for selling and “shipping” my own books?

Will “I” be the one selling and delivering my books directly to book stores?

How many copies will I be giving as gifts or using as review copies?

How many books will my friends and family be purchasing?

If you are a self-publisher and printing your own books, be careful of how many copies you initially order. Book printers offer great deals on large quantities of books. For instance, you may pay $8 per copy if you order only 100 (hard to make a profit). But if you order 500, the price may be cut in half. Then if you double the order number again, the copy price could be drastically less per copy, making it very tempting to order more than you will need. A new author may order 2,000 books to save money but end up with a closet full of books collecting dust (I can show you mine from my very first book order—dusty!).

The average self-published author sells less than 200 copies of their book. Better to make a little less profit than be stuck with excess copies for your grandkids (you just won’t have that many grandkids).

Find out how much your book will cost to print and ship using the calculator at

Authors, give us your input to share with newbie’s by using the comment section below.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Do you like free books?

Because Princess Bookie has got an awesome one going on her blog right now. I just had to support this contest since:

a.) I like free books

b.) I like helping out other bloggers.

It looks like Princess Bookie has gotten a lot of new followers from this contest, including me, and I'd say she deserves them. Take a moment to read her reviews. She's read and reviewed a lot of paranormal novels I've never even heard of, and is obviously well-read in the YA and romance genres. Maybe you'll win a ginormous box of books.

In other contest news, simply come up with your best chicken joke, and Janice Hardy might send you an autographed ARC of her debut novel, The Shifter. This book sounds right up my alley. I like a good not-too-distant-future-society just as much as the next gal, and The Shifter looks like it will be just that!

Good luck!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Electric Romance

Les Paul, the inventor of the electric guitar passed away today at the age of 94. Also known as the "Wizard of Waukesha" (the town where I also grew up), his invention inspired thousands to make beautiful music -- both in real life and in romance comics.

Young Love #112 (October/November 1974)

Young Love #125 (May 1977)

I Love You #130

Rest in Peace, Les!

Back in Querying Hell


If you read my last post, you'll know that my apartment was broken into last weekend. Though it was a scary situation, it has had one good outcome regarding my writing.

I can't sleep. My palms are sweaty, I keep worrying and checking the lock on the back door compulsively. I can't concentrate on my WiP. I'm a nervous wreck.

Symptoms sound familiar? If you're currently stuck in Querying Hell, you'll know why. Since I tend to feel the same way when I am querying, I decided to go ahead and send out another batch of e-queries. Figure why bother wasting these sweaty palms? And maybe compulsive email checking will distract me from the constant, compulsive door-lock-checking.

But strangely enough, aside from the manic inbox refreshing, I feel better about my work this time around. (Is this Round Three already? Can't be!) I managed to clean up my repetitive dialogue tags, tried to remove any awkward narrative, and added more personal perspective from the MC.


One of my biggest worries came from an agent's rejection of a full, though. This agent said they thought: "things were happening too quickly--as though you, as the writer, know the way you want the story to go and are forcing it in that direction, rather than letting it take shape on its own."

Now, I know it doesn't help to obsess over the quick notes an agent jots down about your full, but even though it was the first (and only) time I heard this comment, this agent had been pretty spot on about other weaknesses in the manuscript. I was worried. It seemed like a major flaw that couldn't be overcome during the quick rewrite I had planned. In re-reading the manuscript, I felt that I knew what this agent meant. I realized that I thought of the story as being sort of... guided by a supernatural force out of the control of the characters. Call it Fate, but I realized I needed more than just an unnamed force calling the shots.

What I decided to do was give an existing character a larger role, making it out to be she (or the loa she was devoted to, even I'm not 100% sure of this) who is pulling the strings of Fate. She was one of my favorites, anyway, and I think her presence in both times really helps to balance the story, and cut down on the feeling of a contrived plot.

At least, that's the hope. The proof will be in the partial requests, right?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Donations

Hi all! It's that time again. The South Coast Hospice Annual Casino Night fundraiser is coming up in October. As many of you already know, I am a commited volunteer to hospice. Many of the authors who regularly visit this Blog were gracious last year in donating a signed copy of their book for the event's auction. This year, I am hoping more authors will come out of the woodwork and contribute a copy of their published book for our important cause. Thank you for your consideration. may not need hospice now, but you most likely will someday!
Books can be sent to Carol Denbow at 66513 Schoolhouse Rd., North Bend, Oregon 97459.
May God bless you always!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chicago Comic-Con 2009

I am back from Chicago Comic-Con 2009 folks! I had a blast! Saw some old friends, made some new ones and bought a ton of romance comics -- about sixty! Like I mentioned in my previous post, Chicago is a great convention for picking up romance books. There were a ton of dealers, and with the show's new image and branding campaign there seemed to be more dealers with back-issues than ever.

I liked the feel of the show overall. It had such a warm, intimate feel to it, but perhaps that is just because San Diego (the exact opposite of intimate) was just the other week and was still fresh on my mind. Things were really hopping in Artist Alley, with lots of friendly people coming by to say hello at the Urban Sequence table, where I was helping to promote Super Human Resources. We sold out of books by early Sunday morning, leaving Justin and I free to walk around the convention. While I was looking for books, Justin was in the market for original art. He found a piece from our favorite artist...

Justin scored this beautiful Winslow Mortimer page from
Young Romance #198 (March/April 1974)

He sure found a great piece, and it was at a really decent price. Funny thing though was that the dealer had it marked as an Estrada piece, but it is definitely a Mortimer inked by Mortimer. The same dealer, Anthony's Collectibles had an entire portfolio of original art from romance books, which was great fun to flip through. Justin is going to have it framed and hang it up on the wall in our reading room, so luckily I will get to enjoy it too!

I did something at this show that I have never done before. I bought romance comics from the 1950s! I thought it would be a good idea to have a few, if only for comparison's sake. They are pretty beat up, but should be fun to read anyway.

Overall, it was a really nice con. It almost felt like it did years ago before it was a Wizard show, just on the larger side. Anyone else go to Chicago? What did you think of the rebranding of the convention? Did you buy any romance comics?!

By the way... be sure to vote in the new poll! :)

Mills and Boon in scrum for licensing prize

Personally I've read the entire International Billionaire series and loved it. Some of my most favorite Mills and Boon authors participated and I'm going to be sorry when it ends.

Harlequin Mills and Boon will be going up against Bob the Builder and Wallace and Gromit for a prize in the Licensing Awards. The romance publisher has been announced as one of the final five in the category for Best Licensed Written, Listening or Learning Award.
Here''s the article

Monday, August 10, 2009

You'll be visited by a tall, dark stranger...

So our place was broken into late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. No one was hurt, and nothing of any value was stolen. But I swear I'm still running high on endorphins, sweating and shaking alternately. Not because someone broke into our house, because we forgot to lock our security door, so that was our fault, and our place is nigh-impenetrable with the gate locked. What keeps scaring me is how lucky we were. Things could have been a lot worse.

I wake up to the sound of breaking glass, wondering what the hell the cat knocked over. So I am already pissed off. Despite downing a bunch of cold medicine before bed, I am wide awake when I hear the glass. My cat has turned me into a pretty light sleeper over the years. Of course, once I hear footsteps walking through the glass-- even over the sound of the air-conditioner-- I know it is not the cat. I grab my husband's arm, who is slowly gaining a groggy consciousness, and squeeze tightly. The dog has not even made a sound, either sleeping more deeply than either of us or just as confused.

The footsteps stop at our bedroom door, where the door is slowly opened. I feel my husband's hand tighten on mine. I think a million things in a split second: Do they have a gun? Will they shoot my husband first? Do they just want a quick buck? Why didn't we lock the gate?

A lighter flicks a few times before the flame actually stays lit in the blowing of the air-conditioner. Something clicks in my brain: Crackhead.

"Who the f*ck are you?" comes this voice out of my mouth from God-knows-where, that manages to sound more pissed off than I have ever sounded in my life. Was that me? I think.

The lighter is out, and the intruder backs out of our room and through the kitchen the way he-- or she; it could have been Bigfoot, (if Bigfoot knew how to use a lighter) for all I saw of them-- came in, broken glass crunching beneath their feet.

My husband is as wide-awake as I am by this time. He grabs Phase 1 in our home defense plan: the t-ball bat from his side of the bed. I grab Phase 2: the bear-spray, and we both listen for sounds in the house. We are the only ones there.

Everything turned out fine, but I am still shaken up over this voice that came out of me, almost without my even thinking. It was the right thing to do in this situation, sure, but if that intruder had a gun, things could have been much different. Which got me to thinking-- no matter how we think we might respond in a certain situation, we might not be right. I had no idea I would respond in such a way. I always figured it was the man's job, or the dog's job, to chase burglars away, but neither of them was really awake until it was too late. I couldn't count on anyone but myself, and I'm glad some part of me was thinking and acting.

In case you're wondering, we locked the security gate last night. ;)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Missing in Action - AKA Chicago Comic-Con!

Hey everyone! Sorry I've disappeared for a few days! I drove up to Chicago on Thursday and have been at the convention ever since! I am having a great time at the show formerly known as Wizard World Chicago, and finding a TON of romance comics! Over the past couple of years I have found that this convention is amazing for scooping up romance books at great prices, and this year is no exception. So far I have found about 45. We will see what tomorrow brings!

One other thing... the results of the poll are in!!! Twenty readers voted and out of the choices of Jay Scott Pike, Matt Baker (from the wrong time period, but that's ok!), Winslow Mortimer, Ric Estrada, and Don Heck our winner is... drum roll please... Wait! It was a tie between Pike and Baker -- both with six votes each. Following close behind was Estrada with five votes. Thanks for voting if you got the chance! If not, don't worry because I'll have another poll up soon!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! I will be back Tuesday with a full convention report!!! :)

Not sissy books – Robyn Carr

"I absolutely am not one of the tortured writers. I’m having a good time, and if I wasn’t I’d do something else. I don’t like to suffer. Depression doesn’t work for me—I think I could have a good time at a car wreck.”

It’s the place where I feel most comfortable and most confident—when I’m sitting in front of the computer, creating a story. I have a 10-year-old car with only 50,000 miles on it. Does that tell you something?”

Las Vegas Weekly article

In slow economy, sex sells for Tampa romance authors

In slow economy, sex sells for Tampa romance authors

Now Available in North America - 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance

Product Description from Amazon:

If you want to write romance and be a professional writer then this book is a must for you. Following on from the success of the first edition of this book, which won a major award, this guide explains what is meant by romance and takes you through the process of writing emotion and conflict. The author explains how dialogue should be natural between your heroine and her hero and she explains the difference between sensuality and passion. With an expanded text and more true insider-secrets this is a must for all writers of romance, whether professional or amateur.In this book you will learn: how to write emotion and create PTQ (page turning quality); why dialogue is the lifeblood of your novel; and, the importance of 'after' and why the intense black moment in romance is so important. The book will appeal to: all students taking courses to improve their creative writing skills; post 16-Level students and first-year undergraduates on creative writing and creative studies degrees; adult education centres including WEA; teachers, tutors and lecturers; school libraries, reference and public libraries; and, University and college central libraries. It is ideal for undergraduates. The related titles in the series include: "Writing TV Scripts"; "Writing Historical Fiction"; "Starting to Write" and "Writing Crime".

Purchased from Amazon

Southern Heat Contest! The RWA-East Texas Chapter proudly hosts its annual contest to see if your writing has that special SPARK that will FIRE-UP editors and agents.

That’s right, an editor AND an agent will be judging each category this year, and we make every effort to provide two published authors as first round judges. What a fantastic use of your contest dollars!

Here are the details and the deadline is September 1st.

Friday, August 7, 2009

How Long Should You Wait For a Publisher to Respond?

I get lots of emails from writers who have submitted their manuscripts to traditional publishers and ask me how long they should wait for a response before giving up and submitting to other publishing houses. My answer… not long! Most publishers need two or more months to review your work and respond—some never do. Meanwhile, your work may become outdated (non-fiction), or you might miss a golden opportunity with another house.

Personally, I believe you should carefully choose the top five most likely to pick up your book and stop there. Send a complete and professional package to those five and wait at least 10 weeks for a response.

More tips to query a publisher:

*Research the publishers to learn which ones are “presently” looking for your genre.

*Follow up on-line at the publishers Website to confirm instructions for submissions (current addresses, requirements, complete packages?).

*Call the publisher and ask who the submission editor is—and the correct spelling of their name. Then address your correspondence to that person only.

*Send “only” what is requested (no pictures of you and your dog!).

It’s okay to follow up with a phone call to the editor, but do so only once you know they have received your package and before they have had time to throw it out!

Be prepared and have thick skin. More than 90% of manuscripts are tossed without consideration. Don’t take it personal. Rejection letters are often impersonal form letters addressed to “Dear Author.” This does not mean your writing is bad. Many famous authors have been rejected multiple times. Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull was rejected 140 times and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind 38 times.

A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story includes detailed information on how to query a publisher as well as other publishing methods you might be interested in.

I appreciate all comments and additional suggestions from published authors.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Decorated New York City Fire Lieutenant writes a fiery romance book

Firefighter Brody spent much his first year on the FDNY shuffling from mandatory twenty-four hour shifts in the firehouse to funerals of his fallen brothers – sometimes two a day. In late 2002 a year had passed and Firefighter Brody decided to write again. To relieve some of the stress of the previous year he decided to write something light-hearted and fun. When a “Shakira,” music video came on the television in the firehouse he got the idea for his first book entitled “RESCUING MADISON.”

In RESCUING MADISON, a young, New York City firefighter and a gorgeous, Midwestern Pop Star test the possibility of an impossible relationship. There’s romance, drama, action and plenty of laughs for teens and young adults. Terry has written several award winning screenplays. Rescuing Madison is based on his most popular ne. .

For more on the book, here's what's posted on Amazon:

A terrific story packed with Drama, Romance and belly laughs. No teenager should be caught in the halls of they're school without this book. --The Bellport Bugle

A terrific story packed with Drama, Romance and belly laughs. No teenager should be caught in the halls of they're school without this book. --The Bellport Bugle

Intense drama, passionate romance and surprisingly funny! If you're not reading this book, you're probably not cool. --The Patchogue Trumpet

Some of the most realisticly vivd characters I have ever had the pleasure to read about. Superb dialogue that captivates from cover to cover. Read it in Detention. --The Staten Island Voice

Some of the most realisticly vivd characters I have ever had the pleasure to read about. Superb dialogue that captivates from cover to cover. Read it in Detention. --The Staten Island Voice

Product Description
A New York City Firefighter and a beautiful all-American Pop Star test the possibility of an impossible relationship. Madison Park is at the height of her career when she decides she wants the one thing she doesn't have - True love. When a handsome firefighter saves her life it leads to a fiery romance. But her on-again, off-again boyfriend (and fellow Pop Star) isn't ready to let her go. But does he really care for Madison or is he just trying to revive his stalled career.

About the Author
Terry Brody, resides in Patchogue, New York. He is a New York City fire lieutenant working in Queens. He has written several screenplays. Rescuing Madison is his first book and is based on the screenplay of the same name. He wrote the produced short film, Beer Chocolate or You which can be viewed online. He is currently adapting his award winning horror/thriller screenplay Adrian of Death to a book.

Personally, I think this is wonderful to see a man writing for the genre and I wish him all the best with Rescuring Madison.

Harlequin Art Exhibit - Celebrating 60 years

Art Exhibit

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Unlocking the Door

If you read my last post, you'll know that I received an unexpected full request before I went on vacation. Let me tell you right now that vacation is not a good time or place(s) to try to revamp a manuscript. While there were some technical issues in dialogue tags and repetitive sentence structure that were pretty easy to fix, I didn't actually write a single word I felt truly CHANGED the manuscript for the better. By changed, I mean helped the reader get into the MC's head, which I've felt to be one of my downfalls writing this novel.

At first I was worried that not enough time had passed since the last time I revised Evangeline. That wasn't a problem, as it had been about six weeks since I even peeked at it.

However, it was only once I got home from vacation, decompressed, and relaxed a bit (this was not the fun, relaxing kind of vacation, I was on no fewer than six planes and spent over fourteen hours in various cars, slept in uncomfortable beds, swam in 65 degree water-- which was beautiful, if hypothermia-inducing-- and woke up to my brother's two year old screeching the mornings we were there. Oh, and I caught a cold as soon as I got home. But I digress...), that I was able to put a spin on my original opening that sort of, unlocked, if you will, a door into my MC's head that had been completely blocked to me.

Actually, it was more like I didn't even know the door was there, like the Secret Garden, covered over in vines and neglected. By unlocking that hidden door, I realized that there was so much more to her than I had shown on paper. More even than I thought I knew.

I'm supposed to be the one who knows her the best, but I was so close before all I was seeing was the bigger picture-- the garden wall, and not the garden. I was ignoring her quirks, her personality without even knowing that I was doing her a disservice. Not only did I need time to let her personality develop, I'm certain that writing the main character of my WIP helped a bit. For some reason, this new MC has no problem letting her innermost thoughts bleed all over the page. I hope I've been able to use what I learned writing this WIP to give my queried manuscript the overhaul it needed.

Sorry to keep this so short (I've been writing it piecemeal for two days now, when I have a few minutes to spare), but I've got another 200 pages of my manuscript to comb through, and too much other work to do on top of that.

Promise I won't go too long without a new post, even if it's just to tell you some of the good things that happened on my vacation. I did go to a Drive-In and saw Harry Potter 6, which was awesome, even if I got eaten alive by mosquitoes.

C'est la vie!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Survey Time - The Man I Want

We have to thank the young lady who didn't rip this survey page out from her issue of Young Romance #172 (June/July 1971) and send it in!

I can imagine a number of girls would have sent this in. DC was smart to involve their audience and make them feel like they had a stake in what they purchased and read. I would love to have seen the results!

I myself would have written in a contender based on the illustration -- the orange tie wearing type!

Celebrate the Category

Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books are offering a contest with the details being as follows:

Celebrate the Category

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fashion Files - The Shorty Nightgown

Sweet dreams!!!

Gorgeous fashion spread with ingenious layout
Young Love #79 (March/April 1970)