I received word that Meriam Gray, the owner of Topaz Promotions, has passed away. I didn't know Meriam very well but she was working with me on book promotions and she was a lovely lady.
My thoughts go out to her family and friends.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
As the stomach turns...
I have been removed from one of my publisher's email list entirely. Once again, I'm pretty sure it was just me that was removed - but what about the other authors who work for other publishers? Chances are they weren't booted...just little ole me.
The last instance of removing an author from their lists (without telling her by the way) was an author who complained about the publisher's bad behavior. They too were removed from the lists without any contact from said publisher.
Now THAT is professionalism.
Friday, April 25, 2008
It would appear that my blog posts about RT have angered a particular publisher. Hmm, imagine that - I've annoyed someone. It never fails that people get so upset when you tell the truth.
It would seem they are questioning my motives for making negative statements about the behavior of the male models they sponsored at the recent RT conference. In a memo to their staff, they mentioned my association with another epublisher - hinting that I had some dark ulterior motive to lodging a complaint.
What I find amusing about that is I never tried to hide anything. I attended RT in 2007 and handed out business cards to all and sundry. A great many of their authors knew who I was so I have to ask myself, why would they bring this up now? To try and make my 'motivation' seem more sinister than it is? Talk about grasping at straws...
Convoluted? Yes. Logical? No.
See, the bad blood between said publisher and I came to light in 2005 - long before the other epublisher even existed. That was the first year I made a complaint about the behavior of their models. So why did I make the original complaint?
The authors received an email from TPTB that outlined our expected behavior in public. Yes, we were given guidelines on how to act and to dress while representing the company at a conference. Now the models - they obviously received a different code of conduct as they were offending people by making dick jokes and talking about how many times they were going to get laid at the conference.
And this was only at lunch.
Why should the authors be held to a different set of standards than the ahem...models? If anything they are far more public than the authors so where were their standards of behavior? They didn't have any. Now I hear they have some sort of standards now but I saw little evidence of that in Pittsburgh.
Hence the reason for my first complaint and for any model complaints after that - it has to do with professionalism or lack thereof. Why do the authors receive recommendations for how we should appear while the models drag their knuckles on the floor? Does that smack of sexism to you?
I guess their way of slapping my hand is to remove me from some of the yahoogroups they use for communication. I have to ask myself, they have a few other authors who work for competing houses - were they removed as well?
Somehow I doubt it. I guess I'm just lucky.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Profits are being donated to the Cincinnati Battered Women's Shelter.
Twelve all-new stories of women’s resilience, empowerment, and fulfillment, by bestselling and award-winning authors.
In this engaging anthology of never-beforepublished stories, twelve authors are united by their unique visions of the female experience… A young woman is torn between the security of her fiancé and the excitement of an old flame…a desperate wife is forced into the workplace for the first time in her life…an ambitious professional woman finally finds the courage to take control of her career—and her man…an emotionally fragile divorcee finds resolve in the ethereal visitations of an archangel...
These are just some of the women who discover and rediscover their own wonderfully fallible but ultimately strong selves in the shadow of love— romantic love, platonic love, new love, and lost love. Readers will be touched, inspired, charmed, and entertained by these original stories of disparate longings, unsettled lives, and the power of love.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In the past two days I've received more email about my blog and my, erm, controversial comments that I felt I needed to make a comment or two.
A publisher representative implied that many of their authors were questioning my motivation for posting the information I did. Was I mad / bitter at someone, did I do it for attention or to embarass someone...
Uh, no. If you look at the old blog entries here you will find I comment on RT every year. I usually post blow by blow accounts of events and I have done so since at least 04. It's what I do - this blog is to entertain first. If you read through the entries I'm not a 'newsy' or gossip blog at all. I think this year's commentary caught on because it was more newsworthy. Models running amuck, copious breasts on display (which really isn't new), public floggings...authors behaving badly...its more of the same.
Ever since the Cassie Edwards story broke on Smart Bitches, it has become fashionable to snark the romance world so people are looking for that dangly bit to latch onto. Let's face it, that aspect is now a part of our every day life whether we like it or not. The reason romance is such a great target is because our books deal with sex and touchy feely issues and that makes some people uncomfortable. IMO, it is because we (readers and authors) are willing to put ourselves out there for love while others just see it as being weak or a softie.
I say BRING on the huggy stuff because I want the fantasy and the romance... I will take honest emotions over car crashes and international espionage any day.
The distinction between cover models and the cavemen.
There are actually two distinct groups of models who attend RT each year. First there are the RT Competition Contestants. This group of models are usually your every day Joe. They are nominated by friends, family etc and they come to the convention for a little fun or to launch their careers. They, in general, are very normal, nice, considerate guys.
The next group are the Cavemen from Ellora's Cave. Rodney, whom everyone adores, is a normal man with exquisite manners, a kind smile and a great personality. He is also married with a beautiful little girl and when his wife walks into the room (now THERE is a beautiful woman, inside and out) no other woman exists for him.
Happy Sigh. Isn't that what we want from our heroes?
Then there are the rest of the cavemen most of which are strippers. Now I don't have an issue with strippers but I do have an issue with common courtesy. If you can't have a conversation with a stranger without them putting their arms around you, or touching you (or them) inappropriately, that IMO is a problem.
Do we go to the grocery store and grope the cashier? I certainly hope not. :)
I lost count of the number of people who approached me at the con and thanked me for what I blogged. They were uncomfortable with what happened with regards to the men (and a few model comments) and they weren't happy with it.
Do these men really believe that being groped (or groping) a woman in the bar is what we want from our heroes? My heroes treat their women with respect and dignity, they don't simulate oral sex for a crowd. They don't hoot and holler when someone is being flogged (they were willing floggees) in the middle of a bar. Our heroes aren't meat and many of their actions were not heroic. If someone wants to put on a strip show during a venue at a conference then it needs to be labeled as such.
I have a stack of email from authors and readers alike telling me their experiences of being touched inappropriately, of incidents in the bar (most talked about the flogging) and some bad behavior of the authors.
I spoke to the Fallen Angel Reviewers who were lambasted for trying to help distribute sale material (related to the ebooks) during the ebook fair. Because the information wasn't available in a timely fashion, it was these lovely ladies who took the brunt of it from cranky authors.
What? When did professionalism go out the door? Then again, if you surf the internet you'll see authors behaving badly all over the place so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I really loved the one where the author hired a PI to track down a reviewer who gave her a bad review. She gathered the woman's family information back to her grandparents...and for what? I don't even want to know.
So now onto more fun things...
The conference season is in full swing so below is a list of fun, romance friendly conferences you might want to consider:
Lori Foster's Reader and Writer Get Together
New Jersey Romance Writers
Central Ohio Fiction Writers
Moonlight and Magnolias
Monday, April 21, 2008
Some of the best moments of RT:
- At the awards luncheon my friend Lori popped by the say hi. Next to me Beth Williamson is poking me and hissing 'Introduce me.'
I look at Lori and then at Beth. I was willing to introduce her but I wasn't sure why it was so important to her. Then it dawned on me. My friend is Lori Foster, NYT best selling author and I just don't see her that way. I see Lori the Mom, Lori the wife, Lori the sports nut... :)
- Heather Osborn and the retelling of an episode of Sandra Lee's Almost Homemade - it was the show about creating holiday cakes from angel food...from a store. After her retelling of the show, I'd almost be willing to watch it. (probably not)
- When the lights went out during the book signing. The collective AW! was hilarious.
- Signing books by cell phone light.
- Cindy Holby dropping something under the table then bending over to get it - nothing exciting in that except she was wearing her fairy wings and it took some acrobatics to get her under the table.
- Sitting outside the ballroom the night of the vampire ball and watching the costume parade. Some were quite good while some were just quite...interesting.
- The mad dash to WalMart to buy a frige as the hotel gave mine away. (That hotel was a PIT. Everyone I know has come home with at least a pound of plaster in their lungs. Most of them are coughing until they choke - how pretty)
- All of the fabulous volunteers, all unpaid, who work hard to pull the conference together.
- Kathryn's ability to command help quickly. We had an injury just before the Samhain Sayanara party and she managed to get a bucket of ice to the room in less than 5 minutes. I've never see that hotel staff move so quickly.
- The fairy ball decorations were exquisite - a very classy event.
- Club RT was fun as usual. The readers were fab and I love sitting around and telling tall tales with other authors.
- The lady who approached me at the Samhain party to thank me for taking her under my 'wing' several years ago. I do remember her amazingly enough and I was flattered that she even thought about that event. It was in Columbus and she'd arrived at the con for the book signing. She was alone so I kidnapped her, we got lunch then went back to the con. I then slipped her into the booksigning early. :)
- The ladies who thanked me for blogging about the more unsavory side of the events at RT.
A minor 'retraction' -
The stripping that happened after the military tribute was just that, after the military tribute. My issue was still that they used the American flag and one of the cavemen was shaking his best friend behind it. If there hadn't been a military salute then I probably wouldn't have had much of a problem with it. But to have a salute to honor the military then less than an hour later have the dancers doing pelvic thrusts with the flag, that's just not right. Love it or hate it, that is the American flag that millions of people died for - it deserves more respect than that. I come from along tradition of military service and my father would get angry if we folded it wrong.
A popular romance blog picked up on my RT reports and the response has been interesting. While at the bookfair on Saturday a good number of attendees approached me and thanked me for my posts. They too were offended / annoyed at the over the top behavior of some attendees and they felt what I said mirrored their feelings as well.
As I keep saying, this blog is about my experience and if you feel the same way then guess what, we're both in good company. (Well, I think I'm good company because I'm almost always armed with snacks and a wide smile)
Which is a good segue into the spark for this post. One of the responses to Karen's post was this:
"Hm. My thought of the moment - if someone has to resort to Lycra maybe there’s a personal reason they get pissed at seeing another woman wearing see-through fabric? Can’t help but wonder."
Dear poster - you made me laugh and it was a big belly laugh because yes, I have a big belly and I embrace every fabulous inch of myself.
Firstly - I love the assumption that anyone with a few extra pounds would be jealous of someone who 'could' wear a see-through skirt.
Rebuttal - Since the average size of a woman in the United States is a size 14 / 16 I find this viewpoint to be interesting. If this con was a microcosm of our society then roughly 50% would be in this size range if not higher. The vast majority of people who were seen in their party garb were not a size 2 or even a 10. (if our average size is a 14/16 - why is it still the size 2 cover model that is held up as our ideal?)
I think what made me laugh the hardest was the the (very) common assumption that everyone of size (i call myself a woman of Epic Proportions
I've been overweight all of my life. Two years ago I was blessed to be reunited with my biological sisters and guess what, we're all overweight. My family is German and we have the butts to prove it.
When I was younger it really bothered me that I had a tendency to lean to the heavy side of the scale but I'm so far past that now. So to anyone who is reading this and has some not-so-kind feelings about their body, come on in...the water is fine.
I'm 42 and I love every fabulous inch of my body. I am (a) friend, loving, daughter, sister, puppy momma, giving, beautiful woman, artist, writer, charity worker, civic volunteer, lover, warrior, poet, friend, confidant, hard worker, compassionate, loyal and more. And anyone who is reading this - go create your own list because I'm sure a great many of my attributes are yours too.
So to the poster who said: Hm. My thought of the moment - if someone has to resort to Lycra maybe there’s a personal reason they get pissed at seeing another woman wearing see-through fabric? Can’t help but wonder.
Not on your life, my friend. Beautiful / sexy isn't about what you put OUT there - its about what you carry inside. In order to be a size 14/16 if I had to exchange the knowledge and confidence that I'm a beautiful woman inside and out I'd take a pass. I sleep better knowing I have a good sense of self and I wouldn't trade that for all the sheer skirts in the world.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I'm home and safe in my bed covered in very happy dogs. I literally hit my bed face down and woke up to the debris of a Reese's Big Cup (luvs them like a fat kid loves brownies) sprinkled across my pillow. I guess I can count myself lucky that if I did sleep eat, at least it was a Reese's and not a pillow...tv remote...
This morning I felt like a sweat sock owned by a fourteen year old boy. I've been running on 4 - 5 hours of sleep a night and I'm a girl that LOVES my sleep so I'm happy to be home in my soft clothes.
Sunday morning was the Samhain Publishing party and it was such fun. We raced around to setup the room, had tons of giveaways and yummy food. The California Roll was EXCELLENT. It must have come from outside of the hotel as it was the best thing I had to eat all week. :)
Two of the lovely cover models were there, one was Fred and the other...don't know his name. (If anyone knows who it was, please let me know as I'd love to give him a shout out) They were kind enough to assist me in pulling the names for the drawings and allow me to tease them. They were perfect gentlemen and I'm pleased to report that the readers had lots of fun and no clothing was removed!
A huge thank you to everyone who attended and allowed my to perform my Wylder Road Show one final time. I'm quite happy to report the public Wylder has been shoved (kicking and screaming) into her coffin not to come out until the Lori Foster Event in June. (Sorry Lori, I can only keep her locked up so long - even prisoners are allowed exercise)
Now onto the juicy stuff -
As I mentioned in a previous post, last night was the Dorchester party and it was great fun. I'm a wanna be Prom Queen like most women and I love chair dancing. The Butterscotch Martini Girls and I shared a table with Jo the Librarian (secretly a wild woman in disguise) and several other fabulous women. We had much fun and enjoyed the band (thanks to Kathy Love and the Impalers) and watched the show. The theme was boots and there were shoes the likes of which I've never seen before. I don't know about anyone else but DAYUM - I'd have killed myself just taking one step in some of them.
How did those girls walk on their toes like that?
My usual way of keeping myself amused at conferences is to hit the bar and remain there until the cleaning staff try to run a duster over me. I have a severly degenerated left leg due to a bad break about 20 years ago so walking and standing can be difficult for me so I let people come to me in the bar. Most of my friends call it holding court, I call it a necessity as I can't do what I used to do...but I will again soon so dance floors...WATCH OUT. Wilder will be In Da Howse!
So last night I spent 3 hours in the bar watching baseball.
Baseball you say...
Yes, baseball - now let me explain the game. We have teams consisting of individuals in said bar and various actions on their part or their opposing team or themselves are how we score. For example -
Team 1 - EC Caveman (and the title suits him)
Team 2 - Blonde girl in stripper garb
A touch between the shoulder and waist - first base
A touch on the thigh - second base
A leg around the oposing teams leg - third base
Grabbing the crotch - HOME RUN
How we play - We have a commentator (just call me Howard Cosell with better fashion sense) and we have the spectators. anyone can call out a play and when the teams part that is the end of the inning. When they come back together it was BATTER UP.
And yes, I was the one yelling this in the bar.
It started slowly with myself and a few friends. I was sitting on the right side of the bar facing the bar when the two teams came into view. Seated at the bar - team one was on the phone for at least 20 minutes while team two tried to run the bases multiple times until team one would strike them out.
Additional commentary - first off, why would you want to put your hands in the lap of a man WHO IS TALKING ON THE CELL PHONE AND BRUSHING YOU OFF? Have some respect for yourself woman - its no wonder 'men are pigs' when the ladies are so willing to debase themselves like this. Never allow anyone to treat you with the respect that you deserve.
Over the course of three hours my group ebbed and flowed. At one point we had THIRTEEN people in chairs lined up in a row watching the rest of the bar like it was a live play. Now I ask you, how can people have NOT known what we were doing?
During the evening I called the plays, the spectators mingled to get the up close and in your face (or crotch) action. At one time we had at least 40 -people playing the game and the teams were oblivious. Of course John DeSalvo thought we were hootting him.
As if. Dude...its just not about you. (Oh, and for you bar afficinados - he was the one who removed the tampon from the Scene's sign - wash your HANDS, please)
So on the game went until a third team came on the scene. A woman in black velvet who was trying to make a move on team one. Team two wasn't having none of it so teams two and three were involved in a power struggle while team one hit on a new chick, aka team four.
Ladies - please refer to the commentary above.
Then along came teams five and six. For those of you lucky conference goers - team five was the CAVEman I refer to as potted plant boy (thanks to Cassie Ryan). I heard other references to him such as mop head and porn star. (Yes, this was the caveman with porn roots...and speaking of roots - DUDE, that is the worst weave ever. Next time try to spent at least 2.00 dolla on your tracks and avoid Kim's Cheap Weaves And Press On Crotches - Sally's Beauty Supply is so much better)
Sorry - momentary diversion.
Anyway - teams five and six arrive and I just happened to be up by the bar with the cheerleaders. yes I know baseball doesn't have cheerleaders but I'm a football girl so there you go. One of the cheerleaders said that when team five saw me he looked as if he'd been hit in the face with his bad weave. (Oh, and another clue - hair doesn't grow 10 inches in one year unless you're a chia pet) I thought that was funny as I tore him a new one (in a quiet and ladylike way of course) about acting like chipmunk boy in the bar on tuesday evening and bouncing off furniture. There are quite a few attendees with canes and wheelchairs - running around like a beserker isn't attractive nor a good idea.
So anyway - after a few hours the game died down. I think team 2 did hit a homer (caught them sucking face outside) and I was pretty sure I caught at least a crotch grab which was a home run. All said and done, I think team two did an outstanding job of running the bases and she definitely wins an award for most gold chain on one outfit.
Congratulations - you've won a compimentary pair of panties and a rabies shot. Good show! (Okay, that was bitchy even for me)
I then spent quite a bit of time chatting with CJ and Rodney, both of whom I adore. As we were sitting there there another show ensued, this one involved a flogger and rear ends. As the shouting and camera flashes increased, Rodney and I looked at one another and we said "I can't be involved in this" and we left.
Quotable quote from one of the cavemen - "This has been five days of pure hell."
Sometimes there are no words.
In true prophetic form, the final day has arrived and I'm constipated as HELL. Damn hotel doesn't know how to serve a veggie or whole grain if they tried. Is it too much to ask that they throw a little fruit cocktail my way? One would think that for a conference and room price as high as they are they could throw a little whole grain into the bland plastic chicken and rubber pasta luncheon.
Can a get a holla?
After the book fair I hooked up with Cindy Holby, Jade Lee, Isabo "Who's your boo" Kelly. and my roomie and stunt double Carolan Ivey. We were turned away from both of the restaurants in the hotel (so much for the free food coupons - They sit unused in my purse as I could never get into a restaurant to use them) so we hit our suite to stuff our faces with cold pizza, cheese, chips, chocolate and bagels.
Being the detail oriented writers we are, we spent a scholarly afternoon discussing play activities with rabbits, the tripod method and how I managed to mistake Chris Keesler (editor with Dorchester) for a cover model.
He was not amused.
Okay, he really was but seeing that I was standing next to Holby, I think he knew I probably had little to no sense at all and I made those kind of errors all the time. Guilt by association... I vaguely thought about introducing myself as La Nora but I'm far too tall to pull that off successfully.
After our snacking I headed out for dinner. Yeah, I know - I just ate. But one of many lessons I've learned at this hotel is to snag any free food you can as its a hike to get food if you're hungry. The chances of being served in the hotel are slim to none.
The Dorchester party started off with a bang. There were tons o' books to be had and the readers were lined up in droves. I spent my time chair dancing with Isabella Clayton, Kayla Janz and Cassie Ryan - aka the Butterscotch Martini girls. I luvs them...
More later, I need to pry open my eyes and make some semblance of becoming human. The Samhain party is in a few hours and I need to figure out how to get 120 lbs of coffee mugs down 8 floors...