Friday, July 31, 2009

Marie Force's Bandit Booty

    OOPS! Can't forget to announce the winners from Marie Force's guest blog on Monday! All those things we can't, or prefer NOT to do.

    So without further adieu, I'll let Marie announce her winners!

    Karen Olson gets a copy of Line of Scrimmage because we each had a tow rope-astrophy on a ski slope and that makes us friends for life. Never, ever let go... Because if you do, you might prove to be a human domino who takes out the whole row behind you... I'm just saying... Don't let go!
    Lunatic Cafe gets Love at First Flight because I love her screen name and she's as much of a freak show flier as I am, so she NEEDS this book about a couple who form a bond on an airplane!

    ALL RIGHT! Winners, please email Marie at marie AT marieforce DOT com to claim your prizes.Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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Have a fun weekend

Whoopie pies

    My dolls, have you ever had a whoopie pie? At a party on Wednesday, my friend Allen walked up, held out an odd black-and-white cookie, and said, "Take a bite!" At first, I wasn't sure, but it turned out to be the most delicious, chocolate-y, marshmallow-y treat.

    P.S. The NYTimes says whoopie pies are the new cupcake. Good to know!Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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Waking Up With the Kings


    If you're like me you've dreamed of waking up with Caleb Followill. Many times. Many, many times. Fuck Folgers in your cup, the best part of waking up would be rolling over and right into dirty morning sesh with Mr. Followill. But since that shit ain't ever gonna happen (le sigh) we'll have to settle for this; Kings of Leon were on the Today show this morning.

    Apparently we're not the only ones who want to wake up with a Followill brother/cousin because the Today show received 20 thousand requests for this morning's performance, the most they've ever received. If you've ever seen the boys live you know they always bring it and sound awesome and this morning was no exception. Also, if I may wade into the shallow end of the pool for a moment (who am I kidding, I live there) Caleb looks mighty fine rocking a salmon-coloured shirt. Who knew? I love a man who's secure enough in his manhood to sport something pink.


    KOL performed three songs, Use Somebody, Notion and Sex on Fire. Replace Use Somebody (I'm kinda 'over it') with I Want You or better yet, Closer, and it would have been almost too much to handle. I loooooove living alone but it's times like this when cohabitation would have its benefits, to use somebody, if you're picking up what I'm putting down.

    Click below for the boys' performances before the Nazi Broadcasting Corporation, NBC pulls this shit down:

    Sex on Fire;

    Notion;

    And just cause it's porn for your eyes and ears, here's vintage KOL performing Trani live;
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Pit of Despair

    by Susan Sey

    I wouldn't feel right about leading anybody on, so I'm going to say right up front that this is not a Princess Bride blog. Sorry, fans.

    In spite of the title, there will be no ROUSes (Rodents of Unusal Size), no Six Fingered Men, & no love in the Fire Swamp. There will also be no more rhyming, & I mean it. (Though I will give props & bonus points to the first person to successfully finish off that quote. It's my mom's favorite.)

    No, the Pit of Despair I'm talking about (hereafter referred to as the PoD) is a writerly phenomenon. It's not an underground torture chamber, exactly, though there are similarities. It's more a state of mind.

    A realization.

    A moment of clarity.

    It's the place you end up when you must reconcile three ugly realities:

    1) You have reached the limits of your talent.

    Seriously. You have taken every workshop, tried every technique, read every craft book & worked your tail off. You have dug deep, you have summoned up your courage & honesty, & you have put your heart on the page. On lots of pages. Maybe a book or two (or three or four) worth of pages.

    2) You have put your work out there.

    You've queried every editor, every agent. You're written a kick-ass query letter, your synopsis rocks. You've endured the sound & fury of the contest circuit, & flung yourself on the mercy of every person even remotely interested in critiquing you. You've even (saints preserve you) pitched in person. Maybe you have an agent. Or even a contract. But you're doing the work. You're out there.

    3) It isn't enough.

    Your contest scores blow. Or maybe they don't. Maybe you're winning contests, but not getting requests from editors. Or maybe you are. Maybe you're getting full requests, but getting form rejections that get your name wrong. Or maybe that agent you sweated blood for just blew you off. Or maybe your long awaited publication date just got pushed back. Again. Or maybe book two on your contract just got shredded by your editor & you're pretty sure you only had one decent book in you.

    Welcome to the PoD.

    Good news, though. You're in good company. Hell, you're in great company. NYT best-selling company. And how do I (not remotely a NYT best-seller) know this?

    Easy. I heard Janet Evanovich speak at the RWA conference a few weeks ago. And of course, she told us her Call Story. Now keep in mind, it's been something like 15 years & several millions of dollars since she got The Call. But between the part where she wrote & failed & wrote & failed for ten years, & the part where her husband & son tracked her down at a roller rink so they could tell her her editor had called--her editor!--she had to stop.

    She got choked up & had to stop to collect herself so she could go on. Fifteen years after the fact, fifteen years in which presumably she's gained a certain amount of confidence in her talent, she still remembered so vividly what it was like to live in the PoD--and how it felt to be so miraculously released--it could move her to tears. I don't think there was a person in the audience who wasn't moved by that. Or inspired.

    I know I was. Because while I don't have the faintest clue what it must feel like to see your name on the NYT best-seller list, I sure as hell know what it feels like to reach the limits of your talent, & see that big gap between where it ends & your dream begins. I know what the PoD feels like, & I know what it feels like to live there long enough to write a book or two. Or three. Or four.

    So when I find myself in total despair (like when I read anything by SEP or Kristin Higgins & realize I will never write anything that witty or charming), I like to reframe things. Because what if the PoD isn't a death sentence? What if it's a prerequisite? Because here's something I know:

    Maybe not everybody who lives in the PoD winds up on the NYT best-seller list. But every single writer who hits the NYT list has lived in the PoD. They all served their time.

    And if they can go on to own the list, why can't we?

    So, tell us. Spent any time in the PoD lately? What--or who--pulls you out when you fall in? Share!Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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Winners in the Lair!

    posted by Jo Robertson


    The winners of Brenda Novak's fan pack, the first three books in her Last Stand series, go to

    Laurie and Maureen!

    Congratulations, ladies! Please send your snail mail addy to jo.lewisrobertson@yahoo.com and I'll forward the addresses to Brenda.


    And the winners of Delilah Dawson's books go to

    Janga and Pink Peony!

    Send your snail mail information to jo (dot) lewisrobertson (at) yahoo (dot) com.

    Thanks for commenting both days, everyone! And thanks to our guests Brenda Novak and Delilah Dawson for their generosity.
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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Produce Blogging #169

Emerson Made

Vikings Ticket Prices Lowered!



    I have some great news for all of you Vikings fans! Especially those of you that decided to wait to buy your tickets this season. The boss just lowered the prices on our ENTIRE inventory of Vikings Tickets! Since Brett Favre decided to stay retired, ticket prices are back down to normal. That means that now is the perfect time to buy your tickets. They haven't been this low and probably won't be this low again. Remember that if/when the Vikings win a game, prices will be going up again. So grab some cheap Vikings tickets today before they're gone!
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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The Hovey sisters

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Delilah Dawson's in the Lair!

    by Jo Robertson

    I’d like to welcome my good friend and former chapter mate, Delilah Dawson, to the Lair!

    Hi, Delila
    h, thanks for joining us today. I’ve been waiting a long time to lure you into the Lair, ply you with some drinks and a cabana boy or two, and probe your mind about writing erotic romance.

    DELILAH: Thank you, Jo! Love what you've done with the place! Keep the drinks coming, and the cabana boys fanning me, and you can probe my mind all you like. :D

    JO: Hmmmm, probe your . . . mind, Delilah? Are you getting naughty on us straight off? Wheee, here comes another cabana boy with a long, tall drink.

    Now that the boys are hard at their tasks (oh my, is this double entendre thing catching?) why don’t you tell us a little something about your journey to writing? I remember that you’d just sold your erotic romance TRUTH OR DARE when we became friends on our way to RWA National in 2006. How many books have you sold since then?

    DELILAH: Actually, I'd sold two erotic books (Ebony Butterfly I & II) years earlier, but it was to a small press and it didn't get a lot of publicity. Truth or Dare was my first mass market sale with a well-known publisher (St. Martin's Press). Since then I've sold five books to them. They've been supportive of my writing, and I'm blessed with a wonderful editor, Monique Patterson.

    JO: St. Martin's is a great press. Your Orchid Soul trilogy is excellent and amazingly sexy! Can you tell us something about the three books and their stories and characters?

    DELILAH: The trilogy is based around Orchid Soul, an online dating service where the compatibility is determined by the participant's sexual fantasies.

    The owner, Eileen, decides to do some final testing before she opens it up for business, so she recruits some of her friends to do "anonymous" testing. But, of course, to the user's panicked surprise, they soon find out that the system is flawed, their deepest sexual fantasies are being sent to whomever they were matched up to, and their identities are not "anonymous" as promised. A further complication is that Eileen is nowhere to be found to fix the mess!

    JO: I j
    ust love that idea of matching up couples according to their fantasies. And what a delicious “problem” for your characters to have!

    DELILAH: I really enjoyed writing these books because I wanted to show that although it is an incredible escape to reveal their deepest, wildest fantasies, in the end, passion is only a part of who my characters are. The sex is erotic and steamy (and maybe quirky) but the trick was to make the characters’ fantasies work within the realities of their day-to-day world, and to find love in the process.

    In Up All Night, we have Natasha, a lawyer who feels stuck in a daily rut, and Logan, a renegade who knows a good thing when he sees it. Although they initially seem like polar opposites who enjoy sex, they find that they have similar values, and a blooming respect for one another that leads to love.

    In Better On Top, we have Toni, a struggling single mother with an autistic child, and Nick, an army veteran who has been changed by war. They are both 'broken' people, dealing wit
    h tragic events in their lives, and Orchid Soul offers a much needed sexual escape. Through this, they learn to trust and believe in love again.

    In Wanting It (not released yet), we have Jenna, a feisty, small-town florist, and Troy, a man trying to enjoy a well-deserved vacation. For them, their sexual fantasies are tangled up with what they do for a living, but they learn that gambling on love is worthwhile.

    JO: Better On Top and Up All Night are currently available. Check Delilah's website (http://www.delilahdawson.com/) for the release of Wanting It.

    You write under a pseudonym and are very private about your personal life. Can you tell us about how you came to writing in this very, very hot genre?

    DELILAH: LOL! All I will say on the subject is that I lost a bet to my husband (there may or may not have been a few glasses of wine involved at the time). He dared me to submit my first erotic short story for publication, and that eventually led to my first book deal. We chuckle about it now, but prior to that I was writing multicultural mainstream romances that I'd been trying to sell. I still have those in cobwebbed boxes somewhere in my garage.

    JO: Ah, ha, so Truth or Dare may have some grounding in reality!

    Are you interested in writing other genres or have you found your naughty niche, so to speak?

    DELILAH: I am definitely interested in writing other genres because it lets me give my 'naughty' muse a break, and refreshes my imagination. At the moment, I'm in a futuristic and paranormal state-of-mind, and have a few short stories brewing in my head. Who knows where those will lead?

    JO: Every time my husband reads one of my “naughty bits,” as we call those hot scenes in the Lair, he gets embarrassed. How does your husband respond to your books?

    DELILAH: He's a typical male in the sense that he gets amorous, wants to dim the lights and put on some mood music. But he also understands that I write fiction, and my characters can sometimes be vastly different from who I really am.

    JO: I know that you’re a very beautiful woman. Without revealing anything too personal, can you tell us a little
    about yourself?

    DELILAH: Shucks, Jo! I'm so glad you don't get your eyes checked often (hee hee). I'd like to think I'm the kind of person you pass on a busy street and not think twice about. I'm a wife, mother, and a daughter. I daydream a lot, I'm optimistic by nature, and I love anything to do with art, or creative things. I feel very lucky to be an author, and am always thrilled when I get fan mail, proving that a complete stranger read my work and enjoyed it enough to write me about it. Amazing!

    JO: What excitement! I think that’s the best part of writing, to have someone else enjoy these characters you’ve created out of your own imagination.

    You have a full-time job as well as a family. How do you manage to juggle all these constraints on your time?

    DELILAH: It's difficult. I love to spend time with my family, and my full-time day job is a necessity. I've slipped into the habit of doing my writing late at night, when I get fewer interruptions and can spend more time with my stories.

    JO: And now, readers, it’s your turn. Ask Delilah anything you want about writing or reading. She’s glad to share her considerable knowledge. Plus, she’s giving away copies of her latest releases UP ALL NIGHT, and BETTER ON TOP to one random commenter.


    And just to get the conversation started, Delilah would like to ask YOU a question: The "Orchid Soul" theme is about couples confessing their deepest fantasies when they think no one will read them.

    Have you ever told anyone your deepest erotic fantasy?


    Come on, readers, ‘fess up. What’s said in the Lair stays in the Lair. Be sure to use euphemisms so we can keep our blog PG-13!

    Or if you're not inclined to share intimacies, what about fantasies in general? I must confess that mine include a bubble bath and a long massage, which may or may not include a happy ending!


    You can read more about Delilah Dawson’s books and read excerpts of them at http://www.delilahdawson.com/.

    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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Alley Weeds

Polite umbrella

Ten seconds

    Every morning, I get so busy and sucked into my computer that Alex made a new rule: I have to take ten seconds to say goodbye to him before he leaves for the office. So, he'll walk up, wearing a crisp shirt and smelling of musk, and say, "Ten seconds." We'll smooch and hug and say goodbye for the count of ten, and then I'll go back to work. I've come to love those ten seconds.

    It's exactly a month until our wedding day, and I love you more than ever, Alex.Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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Anime wallpaper

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Welcome Brenda Novak!

    Today I'm so happy to welcome back my good friend Brenda Novak! Whether you're a reader or writer, a fan or an Auction junky, Brenda always finds time to support and mentor the people in her life.

    New York Times Best-selling Author Brenda Novak has three novels coming out this summer—THE PERFECT COUPLE, THE PERFECT LIAR, and THE PERFECT MURDER, all part of her popular Last Stand Series. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at http://www.brendanovak.com/. To date, she’s raised over $770,000. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

    Please say hi to Brenda today as she talks about a universal problem most women experience -- how to manage your time more productively. Today she's giving away two fan packs containing the first three books in the Last Stand series, so be sure to comment and share your ideas on time management (or in my case, the lack thereof :-D).


    HERE'S BRENDA:

    Time Management is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Why? Because one thing I don’t plan into my day is time to relax and just “hang,” and that’s so important to relationships. Just being available to people is a great way to build stronger ties, but being available requires flexibility which is difficult for me and other workaholics to manage.

    If my kids want to go somewhere or create something, I can put it on the calendar and make it happen. But what about those times when certain subjects wouldn’t come up if you weren’t just puttering around the house together, cooking or cleaning or shooting the breeze? My weakness in this area is why I don’t consider myself an expert on this subject.

    I think I’m great at getting stuff done. People ask me all the time, “How do you do it all?” But time management shouldn’t be about accomplishing the most in the least amount of time. It should be about balance, about nurturing those around us while we accomplish a reasonable amount.

    So now that you know my greatest weakness (I’ve actually had to set goals to stop what I’m doing and let the rest go until tomorrow—LOL), I’ll tell you how I manage to write three books (and one novella) a year, travel, speak and promote my books, run a major charity fundraiser and raise five kids.

    First of all, I do it by taking care of myself. Sometimes the hour I take out of my day for exercise seems like a waste. There are so many other things I want to do with that time. But I remind myself that if I’m healthy and have energy, I will be able to accomplish more in less time. And it’s true. If I get enough rest and exercise, I feel strong and capable, and it makes a big difference in my daily output.

    Another sure-fire trick is to prioritize what must be done each day and to do the most important things first. That may sound like a no-brainer, and yet it’s so easy to let ourselves get diverted. If exercising every day is your goal, do it first thing in th
    e morning. But if it’s more important for you to write ten pages a day, start with that instead. That way, when the unexpected intrudes as the hours progress, and the day begins to get away from you, you’ll still accomplish those things that are most important to you.

    Keeping myself on an even emotional keel is another thing that really increases my productivity. This isn’t always easy, of course. Problems crop up, sorrows intrude, accidents happen. But developing some type of inner peace helps you withstand the emotional
    buffeting that goes along with the bumps of life.

    Some people use meditation. Others read an inspiring story. Still others keep a gratitude journal. All of these are great techniques. I simply close my eyes, take a deep breath, and think, “Be still and know that I am God.” This usually brings me right back to my center, and if it doesn’t, I begin counting my blessings—taking a look at what I’ve got instead of what I don’t have.

    And who doesn’t like killing two birds with one stone? I print out pages from my current WIP and edit while I ride my Exercycle. I listen to research programs on True Crime TV while I clean house. I read my latest manuscript to my husband whenever he has to drive somewhere for work. And, prob
    ably the best thing I’ve done to date, I’ve hired an assistant. I thought this was something I shouldn’t allow myself—being raised by a frugal mother I felt as if I couldn’t justify such a luxury—but I’ve been able to extend my reach on so many fronts, thanks to this decision.

    How do you increase your productivity? Do you agree that time management is more about balance than it is about working every minute? How do you make yourself take time out?

    JO: What great tips, Brenda. Thanks for the advice and thanks for joining us today.

    Whether we're writers or readers, we all need to be reminded of how best to manage the hours we have. When I was a young mother, I made sure to nurse my babies (at a time when it wasn't so popular) because that way I got to read to my toddler at the same time. Or I watched TV with some sort of handwork, embroidery or mending.
    What about you? What tips can you share with us. Or if you're like ME, what disasters? Come on, we all need a laugh and some of my most hilarious moments are trying to save time and failing miserably.
    Be sure to leave a comment for the chance to win a fan pack!
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/07/
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