Friday, December 4, 2009

Where'd I go?

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's been a long time since my last blogging post. I have a really good explanation!

I've been suffering with REALLY bad migraines for a few months, so after I'm on the computer all day at my day job, my poor, sore brain can't take anymore computer time. Thus, no blog posts.

But today I was prompted over on a digital scrapbooking site I frequent (Miss Honey - she's quite talented with design) to write a letter to Santa. I thought I'd continue my thoughts here. Perhaps you'd like to post what YOUR letter to Santa would be in the comments?

Dear Santa,

I've been pretty good this year, so I should definitely bee on the "nice" list (I figure you'll give me at least one pass for that one time, right?)

I'd like to ask if I could borrow your sleigh after Christmas - and the reindeer too, please - because I need a vacation to Vegas, and the airlines are just too expensive and the airports are just crazy.

I'd like to ask that you please bring a really great job to my fiance. He's been so good this year, he gave me a ring and everything, so that would make him really happy.

I'd also like to add a money tree to my list. If you could plant it in the backyard when you come, we could harvest some in the spring to continue work on our beautiful new home. I'll be sure to share the harvest from the money tree with those that are less fortunate, or those that forgot to ask for a money tree. That way, I'll be on your "nice" list again next year.

Thanks Santa, remember, we have a REAL fireplace this year, so you can come down the chimney and you don't have to jimmy the locks. The cookies will be on the table, and the carrots for the reindeer are in the fridge, just tell Rudolph not to mess on the lawn again, okay?

Love, Carmen

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Project 2996 - We will never forget

Today's post isn't about my book, or writing, or other authors. It's about honoring those that perished on September 11, 2001 with Project 2996 - a wonderful idea by Dale C. Roe.

From what I’ve read about Melissa Rose Barnes, Yeoman second class, U.S. Navy, I think that if we’d had the opportunity to meet, we would've been friends. Her family and friends have described her as the family "clown" – and anyone who makes people laugh can be a friend of mine!

Melissa was stationed at the Pentagon, and was there on September 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and used as a weapon against the United States. She was 27 years old.

I was living in the DC suburbs at the time, and I can remember that day as clear as glass. I was at work as a Web editor for the Finance channel at AOL, and monitoring Wall Street on the television. The station brought us breaking news to tell us that the first plane had hit the World Trade Center. Honestly, I thought "how awful!" but assumed, as did most, that it was a fluke accident. Only a few minutes later, the second plane hit, and my heart sank into my stomach. Our office building was right next to Dulles Airport, so we were quickly evacuated. I listened to the radio as I was driving home, shaking and crying and wondering what kind of world I now lived in. The radio guy (Elliot in the Morning) said that he was getting reports that the USA Today buildings had been hit because people could see smoke rising behind them. I would find out when I returned home and turned on NBC that the smoke they were seeing was actually coming from the Pentagon, located directly behind those buildings.

I was very concerned about those in the Pentagon, as my friend's father worked there as well. Once the phone lines were open again, I found out that her dad was okay. But others weren't. Melissa wasn't.

"Mel," as she was called, was scheduled to start her first seaborne assignment the next month. Mel's mom told the Washington Post that her daughter was so proud to wear her uniform and serve her country. I wish I could somehow tell Mel and her mom that I am so proud of her for her service and her sacrifice.

I still can't think about September 11, 2001 without getting emotional – and I'm tearing up as I write this. Mel and the other 2998 people who died that day paid the ultimate price for my freedom, my liberty and my happiness. Everyone's world changed that day – and the family and friends of the victims will never be the same. My loss was of innocence, their loss was of spirit.

I honor Melissa Rose Barnes, and look up as I write this and give her a salute. I know she's probably looking back and laughing, just as her family remembers her.

We will never forget.

Read about Project 2996 and see the other participants, so you can read the other memorials and honor them as well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Book Widget for THE LIST

I subscribe to a lot of newsletters with author tips and tricks, and several have now recommended BookBuzzr. So, I took a look, and thought it was a cool way to share my book with everyone. With the widget below, you can read an excerpt of the first two chapters, see reviews, press, etc. You can even buy with thw link - it takes you straight to Amazon.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Can I Get a "Woot Woot!" ?

I am always excited (and a bit humbled) when my writing is recognized by - well, ANYONE! From the reviews on Amazon from my wonderful readers to book reviewers to other authors that like my work, it's fabulous to get kudos (They like me, they really like me!)

I did a little internal dance when I found out that I had been nominated for a Book Blogger Appreciation Week Award. (The dance was a bit of a Cabbage Patch, with a bit of 80s breakdance thrown in.)

If I make it to the next stage, I'll let you know where to vote. (And I can assure you, there will be no expected violence at the polls!) If it goes no further, it was a pleasure to be nominated. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

(Early) Thursday 13 Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

I just found out that there is a wonderful initiative to celebrate book bloggers! I thought I'd participate in the Thursday 13 meme to tell you about it (even though the post is on Tuesday!)

The second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will take place September 14-18. Click on the link for all the details!

There have been several book bloggers that have really stepped in and made a difference as I published THE LIST. I've thanked several by nominating them, so if you're at a loss for who to enter in the "Best Book Blogger" contest, let me help. :)

First, clearly, I wouldn't say no to a nomination for for the "Best Published Author Blog", (or the "Best Design", the "Best Writing" or for you book reviewers "Best Book of 2009!") Be sure to nominate me here. I'm even suggesting that people write in a nomination in the "write in" space, for author bloggers to be recognized!

Here are 13 other wonderful bloggers to consider (and I've included their url so you can cut and paste into the nomination form, should you like):

1. Malena Lott, who also has her own book published, Dating DaVinci - edits Athena's Bookshelf ( She ran a marvelous interview with me there, which you may read again if you'd like. She also blogs under her own name at

2. Denise Robbins, who wrote It Happens in Threes and the new Killer Bunny Hill interviewed me on her blog, and I interviewed her on mine!

3. I received a wonderful review for THE LIST from Love, Romance, Passion ( - where it's all romance books, all the time. It's a great place to go to find new romance/chick-lit reads.

4. Another outstanding review for THE LIST came from Coffee Time Romance ( Another great spot for honest opinions about romance novels to read (or not!)

5. Kay's Bookshelf ( also liked THE LIST when she reviewed it, and I've found her reviews to be most insightful. :)

6. #LitChat ( is a wonderful Twitter chat about books that takes place a few times a week, but they also maintain a blog. That's where they posted the transcript of the one time I was a guest host. I find the chat, and the blog follow ups, to be a wonderful resource!

7. Kimber Chin ( another successful author and blogger, and has created quite a stir when it comes to romance e-books. :) She was a guest poster for my blog when I was on vacation.

8. While I concentrate on the romance genre, Richard Ridley ( is a great YA author and blogger. He has great things to say, and runs killer contests. :)

9. Then, there is my friend Steve Weddle, who blogs at If you're an author, he's a good guy to know. :) Plus, he's a fiction writer and poet, whose writing style is addictive!

10. My friend Sara Taney Humphries is a new paranormal author of the Amoveo Series and you can find her blogging over at

11. Authors of I'll Have What She's Having Liz Fenton and Lisa Stienke write some of the most humorous and insightful blog posts, and not all of them are about their obsession with "The Bachelorette." Check them out at

12. One of the most ingenious pieces of blogging - that every author must know about - is the Authors Promoting Authors site. ('ve not run across another site that so openly gives authors free space to get their name out there!

13. This space is for your very own choice. Get out there and Google "book bloggers" and find your own favorite!

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Book

I'm excited to tell you that I'm about 10,000 words into my new book! The story is coming along nicely. However, the summer weather, and lots of distractions, are keeping me from really writing. I need to get cracking more!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Sale!

"I read "The List" while on vacation and really enjoyed it!"

"Take "The List" to the beach or your back deck, even dinner at your favorite watering hole and lose yourself in the trials and tribulations Candace has to go through to get to her version of Mr. Perfect."

"I recommend it for a hot sunny day on the beach."

These are just a few of the review snippets from for my novel, THE LIST. As you can see, lots of folks think that THE LIST makes for great summer reading.

In honor of these reviewers, and of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, I'm offering a summer sale coupon. If you order now (a signed copy no less) you'll get $2 off the Amazon price and free shipping! So $14 gets you a fun book for the beach, your summer vacation, or just a stint on your front porch!

|  $2 OFF                      COUPON                    $2 OFF         |
|                                                                                          |
|                            SUMMER SALE!!!                                 |
|                                                                                            |
|       Get your copy of THE LIST for $2 off the list price on   |
|              Amazon, PLUS free shipping! (U.S. only,               |
|                 Intl. shipping ask me in comments)                     |
|                                                                                            |
|                    Click here for your discount copy                     |
|                                                                                             |

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stylin' My Medal!

What to I have in common with Michael Phelps? A medal!

I just received my medal for my win in the Romance category for the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It arrived with stickers to put on my book! Yippee! Check me out!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday 13 - "Twinterview" With Melanie Fine

I heart Twitter! I have met so many great people that I now consider friends! Everyone is willing to help each other out, post links, etc.

This week, I started a new activity on my Twitter account, an interview with one of these cool Twitterers, and called it a "Twinterview." Melanie Fine, fellow travel nut and good Twitterer, graciously said she would be my first Twinterview subject. We had a couple of people participate, and it was a success!

Here's what I discovered on our Twinterview about Melanie:

1. Melanie's favorite destinations are exotic ones. She'll be going to Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand in July (lucky dog)

2. Her trip after that will be a cruise to Egypt and Turkey on NCL. She likes the freestyle cruise.

3. She's been to Fiji - 14 years ago - and the Twitter tweeps want to go back. Except we don't want to do the activity with 6 foot bats!

4. But Melanie likes to watch her back-yard bats catch bugs in the evening (we had a small sidetracked conversation!)

5. She has also cruised to Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, Hawaii

6. She was a travel agent for 20 years.

7. She thinks that anyone can afford travel, it's a matter of priorities. (Cut out that daily Starbucks and go on a trip!)

8. Melanie says that Planning the next trip is the best way to get over the sadness of coming home from a trip, and I agree!

9. To book a trip, first she does lots of research and books the best trip for the best price.

10. Her suggestions for surviving long flights are a) hydrate and b) take things to entertain you. She's taking 5 movies on her 15-hour flight to Asia in July

11. She's too excited about her destination to sleep on the plane, so she sleeps when she gets there. She's getting better at napping on the plane

12. This trip will be a romantic getaway with her wonderful hubby!

13. You can find her on her various travel sites, her website and travel journal. She's also on Twitter at @MelanieFineEVI and you'll find her if you search on Facebook as well.

If you want to read the full chat, you can log into the chat room at Tweetizen (You'll want to enter the room called #twinterview)

Home of the new Thursday 13

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another Interview

If you're not on Twitter, you probably need to be. Especially if you're trying to network your way to a goal.

That's where I met my new friend Malena, who interviewed me on Athenas Bookshelf. Here's the link, check it out!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday 13 takes a vacation

With the long weekend making for a short week, I totally forgot that today was Thursday. Since clearly, my brain is overworked, I'm going to take a vacation this week. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Great New Article!

I'm becoming a press whore, I think. :) I love when people share the word about THE LIST!

Here's the latest press installment, an interview on

Isn't it cool? :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday 13 - Meet Denise Robbins

Before I get into this week's guest, I just wanted to tell the Thursday 13 people that THE LIST won a 2009 Indie Book Award in the Romance category. Yay!

And with that out of the way, I want to introduce you to another author, my Twitter friend Denise Robins (@dkrobbins). You can find her at and (You can head to her blog this weekend, as I am her Book of the Week Challenge author!)

She wrote a book called IT HAPPENS IN THREES, which I just finished reading. Man, can this chick write a love scene or what!

Here's a tease for the book:

Everyone knows bad things happen in threes, especially Ruby Goodman.

1-Fired from her job
2-Her ex-fiancé turned stalker
3? . . . Ruby is not sticking around to find out

Fleeing Florida to escape her fate, she runs headlong into. . .Michael Augustson, secret agent, and. . . straight into danger.

Once burned, twice learned, does Ruby dare trust again?

And now, here's my interview with her.

1. What motivated you to write this book? Your first book.

A software engineering manager by day, I developed a passion for romantic-suspense novels when I was out of work five years ago. I began writing IT HAPPENS IN THREES as a way to combine my love of writing with a lifelong interest in true crime and mysteries. In this debut novel, I used my own knowledge of computers and software to take readers on a roller coaster ride of suspense and intrigue

2. Are the experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your life?

A little bit of both. The story starts in New Hampshire where I live now and then moves to Florida and Hawaii, both places I have lived or visited. The underwater descriptions are places I have been on various scuba adventures. Of course, the computer technology aspect of the story is from my software engineering background. To top that off, I have a longtime friend who is a spook.

3. Do you have a specific writing style?

My writing style would be considered “by the seat of my pants.” I have never been a person who can outline or plot. I do try and have gotten better so that now once I start a story, I plot several events or chapters ahead at a time.

4. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

That is actually a tough question. A voracious reader, I enjoy several authors that as soon as a new book comes out I have to get it, and I try to get everything they have ever written. The author that influenced me to actually start writing would be Linda Howard after reading her book ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN.

5. What are your current projects?

My second book KILLER BUNNY HILL is scheduled to be released in July of this year by L&L Dreamspell.

I am currently working on book number four with a working title of NEVER TEMPT DANGER. This book delves into two characters who both work for a governmental spy agency, but the heroine finds herself in a pickle when her knowledge and skill gets her would-be fiancé killed and then the killers go after her. The technology focus in this story revolves around the tiny transformer robots the government wants to use in the military.

6. What makes your stories unique?

I believe the “Denise” aspect, the part that makes the stories uniquely mine, are the fact that each of my stories involves computer technology. In IT HAPPENS IN THREES, one of the characters uses software to launder money from large corporations under the guise of helping them with their network security. The heroine writes a piece of software called a trojan to get in and follow the thief’s software and then make it appear that the funds are transferred – when in fact they are not.

In KILLER BUNNY HILL, the technology revolves around nanotechnology and the creation of manmade real diamonds for use as computer chips and laser weapons.

7. How do you come up with your story ideas and your characters?

That is both the easy and the hard part. With my current work-in-progress, the beginning of the story popped into my head as I was crawling into bed one night. With IT HAPPENS IN THREES, I sat at my computer and the beginning just flowed out. I had no clue where it would take me.

If the story idea does not hit me in the head and say, “hey, write me,” I approach it a little more methodically. I sit down at a local restaurant with a notebook and pen, and I listen and observe. After a while, I start to write the name of my hero and/or heroine and what I know of them such as what they may look like, where they are from, maybe their fears, and then it hits me as to what jobs the characters have.

I tend to come up with the characters before I come up with the storyline. Once I know my characters, I can come up with a story.

8. When do you find you are the most creative or write the most?

I am my most creative and most productive first thing in the morning and usually when I am not at home. For whatever reason, when I’m at home I tend to get interrupted or sidetracked easily with everyday chores. If I go out for breakfast, I can tune out the world and write like a mad woman.

9. Who came up with the book cover for IT HAPPENS IN THREES? Why?

The main idea was mine and then my publisher tweaked it. Because the majority of the story takes place in Florida and Hawaii, there is a lot of ocean time and the heroine wears a bikini. The heroine’s scuba fins are hot pink same as on the cover. The original idea had three shark fins, but the publisher thought one large one was more menacing and I agree.

The most important piece on the book cover and any of my book covers is that you don’t see the character’s face. It should be up to the reader’s imagination to draw that picture in his or her own mind. Even on my website, you don’t know what the hero or heroine look like.

10. Were you the model for the book cover?

HA! I get asked this all the time. . .and I shall never tell

11. How to you get inspired to write your romantic scenes?

I have to say, this question made me laugh. Who needs inspiration to write a love scene? For me, the love scene just seems to flow into the story at the right time and does not require any "prep" work. Although, after I’ve written the love scene, a good "review" is always fun. :)

12. Who is your favorite character in the book?

My favorite character is Jake. For some reason, Jake, this tall, broad shouldered "Neanderthal" of a Southern speaking guy just drives me crazy. At one point, I almost made him the hero. He is so lovable and pushy that Jake actually makes appearances in all my novels and gets to be the hero in CONNECT THE DOTS, my third novel. My editor and I actually fight over him. Of course, I created him, so he’s mine.

13. What is your guilty pleasure?

Hm. There are probably too many to name. One guilty pleasure is my caffeine addiction to Mountain Dew. What can I say? If there is a can of Mountain Dew in the house, I drink that before anything else, including for breakfast. My other extreme guilty pleasure is books. OMG! I could be dirt poor, but if I see a book I want to read, especially an old one that is no longer in print, you bet I will scrape through my change jar and car floorboards to get the money to buy that book. And yes, I have done that.

Home of the new Thursday 13

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet Candace Saunders

There's a new interview posted for THE LIST. However, this time it's not an interview with me, it's an interview with my character, Candace. What a great idea! It's the idea of Pat Bertram - author of More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

Read the interview with Candace.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm a Winner!

I just found out last night that I am the winner in the Romance category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Holy Guacamole!

I get a gold medal and a certificate, plus, the book is set to a BIG (in name, not size) NYC literary agent. I'm listed in the Awards catalog, to be distributed at BookExpo in NYC (which I want to attend but it's so pricey!) Plus, they'll put out a media release, and hopefully, that will get my foot in the door in some places where they slammed the door on my foot a few months ago.

More on this later, I just wanted to share the awesome news!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looking Forward

I'm in a post-vacation, it's-always-raining-around-here, lull. I need some things to look forward to, so I came up with a list of 13. And you should be looking forward to next week's Thursday 13, where I interview a fellow author, Denise Robins, of IT HAPPENS IN THREES. Man, does she know how to write a steamy scene!

1. I'm looking forward to being the featured speaker and author at the UVA bookclub here in Richmond next Monday. I hope I represent!

2. I'm looking forward to a long weekend and an extra day off of work for Memorial Day.

3. I'm looking forward to going to Virginia Beach on said Memorial Day weekend for some R&R and to see for sure if we'd like to move there.

4. I'm looking forward to the BF completing his training (he was laid off, and I'm so proud of him for pushing forward and getting this new training!) so we can move to Virginia Beach if we like it.

5. I'm looking forward to the paint supplies being taken out of the kitchen. We just tore down wallpaper (evil, evil stuff) and painted. A few touch-ups, and I get my kitchen back.

6. I'm looking forward to a housing rebound, right around the time we put our house up for sale, so we can move. :)

7. I'm looking forward to a visit from my mom soon. I hope she can talk my dad into giving up a golf day so he'll come with her.

8. I'm looking forward to the gnomes that will come and remove the wallpaper from the other two rooms. (They exist, right?)

9. I'm looking forward to Janet Evanovich's Finger Lickin' 15, coming out in June.

10. I'm looking forward to the new Harry Potter movie in July.

11. I'm looking forward to summer. I love summer.

12. I'm looking forward to our next trip. We're thinking of a cruise (since we sell them) - maybe to the Mexican Riviera? I'm hoping the H1N1 virus will be a non-issue by then.

13. I'm looking forward to selling more books. I always get a happy, warm fuzzy when I see someone has bought one!

Home of the new Thursday 13

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fire Sale!

I ordered too many books for a recent book signing. Bad for me, good for you!

I have 10 copies that I will sign and ship to you for the bargain basement price of $13. (That's $3 off the Amazonprice, plus, it includes shipping.)

The first 10 people that post here that they'd like a fire sale copy will be my new favorite people, and will be taking advantage of my over-ordering. If you post here, you need to post an email, or a way for me to get back in touch with you (do you have a blog? leave that url, etc.).

What's THE LIST about? Excerpt links above, reviews on the review tab in the navigation and on Amazon page.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday 13 - Linky Linky!

Here are some links to important (to me) things from the past week.

1. THE LIST was featured in my sorority magazine (Alpha Xi Delta). You can view the PDF here, and scroll to page 29.

2. I co-hosted a LitChat in April. If you're on Twitter, it's a literary discussion every M, W, & F at 4 p.m. EST under hashtag #LitChat. You can view the transcript of my chat here.

3. Here's a link to Amazon if you'd like to buy a copy of THE LIST.

4. I don't know if I told you, but we have a new travel agent/cruise business. We can give you lots of info, and help you book an awesome deal! View our Website for Cruise Deals/info.

5. I posted my trip photos on Facebook. You don't need an account to view them. The first set is of the Keukenhof gardens and the TULIPS!

6. The second set is the Red Light District. (Don't worry, this is the PG version.)

7. The third set is of our Mike's Bike Tour of the Amsterdam countryside.

8. The next set of photos is the sites on our canal boat tour.

9. These are the general Amsterdam photos, Volume 1

10. These are the general Amsterdam photos, Volume 2 (I took a whopping 1000 pics on this trip!)

11. These are the Brussels photos - just the chocolate parts.

12. These are the Brussels photos - the things to see in Brussels parts.

13. Did you see my iReport on the Netherlands on CNN? They mentioned my name! And Jim's! My part is at about 2 min 30. If the player won't work, do a search of CNN's site for "CNN: May 2, Pt. 3"

Home of the new Thursday 13

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Everyone's a critic

I post this to show that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and no author is exempt from criticism. I take this and add it to the experience bank.

This first-page reviewer doesn't think my intro is strong enough. I post it to be fair, and to encourage all writers to take criticism with appreciation (if not a bit of angst) and use it!

Self-publishing review

Perhaps she has a point. Perhaps the first page isn't the best hook? I don't know. I wish she would've read the entire book, maybe she did, and she still didn't like it. :) Hey, I don't like TWILIGHT, and that was made into a movie, so there you go.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fruitful Weekend

Well, the "Spring Book Tour '09" completed this past weekend with a trip to the CT Fiction Fest. I went to network, and to pitch some agents on THE LIST.

I had one request for a partial, one request for a full manuscript, and one agent tell me that THE LIST wasn't for her, but she liked my ideas, and to send her my next book.

Out of that, I got an idea for another book. This one very different. I don't want to talk about it too much yet, because it's still developing, but I'll let you know more if I actually sit down and write it.

So a good weekend, and a good few days in Boston, which I'll recount for you later. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Thursday 13 :(

Since I'm traveling to Boston today, and probably won't be able to get some quality online time, there's no 13 today. Plus, I want to be able to actively participate, and visit all of you as well.

But next week will be a GREAT 13. With links to my trip photos, other interesting links, etc. So COME BACK THEN!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quill Magazine Feature

I mentioned yesterday that THE LIST was featured in THE QUILL, the Alpha Xi Delta sorority magazine.

If you'd like to read the snippet, click on the link below for the PDF. I'm on page 29!

Read the article.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Monday

What is it about weekends that makes them fly by so quickly, while weekdays seem to drag along? I guess it's the "time flies when you're having fun" theory.

It was a good weekend. On Friday, I did a co-hosting stint on LitChat, search for #LitChat on Twitter, or view the transcript on the LitChat blog. It was a lot of fun!

Because of that chat, I networked with lots of new people. Including a representative for several local Virginia newspapers. We're going to see if one of them might interview me about my book. Fingers crossed!

And then on Saturday, I got a copy of my sorority alumni magazine, The Quill, and there was a little snippet on me and THE LIST!

Plus, it was just a gorgeous weekend, so all was good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday 13 - Why My List Isn't Better This Week

1. I just flew in last night from my trip to Amsterdam and Brussels. Boy, are my arms tired (along with everything else.)

2. I'm still on Amsterdam time. Right now, it's six hours ahead there. So my body is still adjusting, and I'm beat.

3. We walked and walked and walked. That's what I love about Europe. But it takes its toll on normally sedentary bodies. ;) So I'm tired from that.

4. I can't wait to share my photos from the trip, but there are a LOT of them, so I'm spending time getting those together.

5. After only one week, our DVR is 100% full. I've got to make room for new stuff, and get caught up on Lost and Heroes before someone spoils it for me.

6. Do you know how much dirty laundry can come out of a small suitcase?

7. There is no food in the kitchen for eating. None. Except the milk I bought on the way home last night. Grocery store, here we come.

8. We also shot a lot of video. Need to upload that (takes forever).

9. Then we need to edit the video. Also takes a while. But all for your enjoyment!

10. Need to prepare to go to Boston next week, pitching my book to some agents at Connecticut Fiction Fest!

11. I have a ton of books that I need to get to reading!

12. Came back from vacation to job cuts at work. Spared this time, but still nervous. Grateful and feel guilty for being okay, too. So I need to put in special extra effort.

13. Still need to do some promoting work for \THE LIST to get more people to check it out!

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Well, I had some airplane connection drama, so my trip was delayed by one day, and then we were delayed coming home, so I apologize for my extra absence. Did anyone notice? :)

I just want to thank those of you that welcomed Kimber Chin as guest blogger while I was gone, and I want to thank Kimber for giving the site a little life last week!

I sold a few books while on vacation, which means my hometown food bank will be getting some much needed aid. So I thank those of you who purchased as well. Tell others!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday 13, By Guest Blogger Kimber Chin - Another List. :)

Candace, in Carmen's novel The List, has a list of 50 qualities she wants in a man. I'm happily married to the man of my dreams but my heroine, Maeve, in Invisible is looking. Well, actually she's NOT looking and that's part of the problem. But if she DID look, these would be her requirements (for fun, lets see how our hero Hagen stacks up)…

Thursday 13 – Maeve's List Of Requirements For The Perfect Guy

1) The perfect man knows the less said the better.
Hagen: Silence is to be filled with words, many, many, many words.

2) The perfect man accepts that there is no reason to discuss the past. It is over and done with.

Hagen: As an antique dealer, I know that the history of any object adds to its value. I apply the same concept to people. The more I know their past, the tighter our bond.

3) I don't like to be touched. The perfect man would respect that.
Hagen: Why would women be so soft and rounded if they weren't meant to be cuddled with?

4) Loyalty to people is everything. The perfect man would kill for me.
Hagen: I completely agree. I would do anything for my loved ones. That's why I'm spending three weeks with the most irritating woman on the planet.

5) The perfect man wouldn't want anything from me. Nothing at all.
Hagen: I share everything with my loved ones. What is mine is their's. What is their's is mine.

6) The perfect man would understand if I disappear for weeks at a time. He wouldn't ask questions.

Hagen: No freakin' way. I update everyone on where I am (and why). I expect the same.

7) My perfect man would love me.
Hagen: I made a mistake not marrying Isabelle. I plan to fix that. She's the perfect woman for me. Not some closed mouth green-eyed witch.

8) My perfect man would like to travel. Discretely. Without fuss.
Hagen: I like to travel. In my private jet. Big freakin' seats.

9) My perfect man wouldn't mind that I hang with sugar daddy mafia bosses and knife wielding vigilantes.

Hagen: My loved ones should be untouched by the unsavory sorts in the world. D--- it, I don't even cuss around them.

10) Sex is not a requirement for my perfect man.

Hagen: (Raises eyebrow) Do I even have to address this one? I'm a big guy with big appetites.

11) My perfect man wouldn't draw attention to himself.

Hagen: I'm built like a truck. I'm ugly as sin. I have more money than royalty. People staring is a given.

12) My perfect man would eat my cooking.
Hagen: See Number 10. I eat anything that's at all edible. (snorts) Not that the crazy woman cooks or anything.

13) My perfect man wouldn't leave me.
Hagen: The second we find the d--- deed, I'm never seeing this nutcase of a madwoman again

Named Love Romances And More's Rising Star for Spring 2009, Kimber Chin writes contemporary romances set in the sexy world of business. Her latest release, Invisible, is a contemporary treasure hunt romance through the world of hidden identities. A world where loyalty and love can be found in the most unexpected places. You can track her down on where she gives away her favorite eBooks, shares short stories, and posts photos of good looking men in business suits.

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Guest Blogger, Kimber Chin

Note from Carmen: While I'm away on vacation, Kimber agreed to write a few guest posts. You'll adore her as much as I do, I'm sure.

Being True To Your Characters – Kimber Chin

I don't cuss. At all. Sometimes I say hell but that's about it. This isn't because I hold myself to any higher moral code than the profanity using world. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

No, I don't cuss because I am the second eldest of six kids and because I babysat during my teenage years to raise much needed cash. As any mom, big sister, honorary auntie will tell you, kids quite happily repeat everything you say and will then give you full credit for teaching them that wonderful word.

My characters cuss. Hagen, my hero in Invisible, deals with his grief by getting angry. Extremely angry men cuss. And he does. Often and loudly.

That's what being true to your character is all about. It is about writing them as THEY should be written, not as you'd like them to be. It is about having them do things you'd never in a million years consider doing. In Breach Of Trust, the hero Philippe, when in doubt, fires the woman he loves. Because he would. That's the type of man he is. I'd think about the situation more but he's used to making quick decisions and taking action on them.

Characters doing things I wouldn't normally is my benchmark for whether I'm feeling a character or not. I create situations. My characters should react to them. If I'm pulling the strings, making the character say things or do things, I know he or she isn't real enough to me. I know that if Maeve, my heroine in Invisible, is faced with a dangerous situation, she's going to turn tail and run. I know if she's asked a question, she'll give the shortest possible answer. I know that as surely as I know my own hubby would, like Hagen, give the longest possible answer. That's how real she is to me.

Of course, that's also why writers get so defensive about their characters. Their heroes or heroines are friends, family. But that's a whole other post.

Named Love Romances And More's Rising Star for Spring 2009, Kimber Chin writes contemporary romances set in the sexy world of business. Her latest release, Invisible, is a contemporary treasure hunt romance through the world of hidden identities. A world where loyalty and love can be found in the most unexpected places. You can track her down on where she gives away her favorite eBooks, shares short stories, and posts photos of good looking men in business suits.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And They're Off

Heading to the airport to leave on a jet plane. Amsterdam, here we come!

Don't forget, there will still be new blog content this week, with guest blogger Kimber Chin. Don't miss it!

See you soon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Turn It Off Week 2009

I don't know about you, but going without TV for an entire week would be an exercise in sheer restraint. I may need valium. Or something stronger.

But that's just what next week is, April 20-25 is - Turn it Off Week. Turn off that television. Let your DVR stock up on Lost and Heroes and Idol (couldn't they do this in the summer during re-runs to make it easier?)

So what are you going to do with an entire week of free time away from the television?

The obvious choice is READ A BOOK!

Now, I'm hoping you'll get prepared for the week's events by getting your copy of THE LIST now so you'll have a great book to get you through some of the no-TV time.

There are also events at Barnes & Nobles around the country (even though they don't sell my book) like book scavenger hunts, readings, etc. Check with your local store.

Some TV facts for you (quoted from
1. The average American home has the television on for well over 8 hours every day. That is an hour more than just a decade ago.
2. The average American watches 4 hours and 35 minutes of television each day.
3. Young people 12-17 years of age increased their television viewing by 3% just this year…a pretty big increase in just 12 months.
4. 50% of American homes have at least 3 televisions or more 19% of homes have only 1. Compared to 1975 nly 11% of US households had more than 3 TVs…and 57% only had 1
5. New research on America's fattest cities has been released. This study is conducted by Men's Fitness Magazine. The award for the fattest city in 2008 is Miami. When asked about this, the magazine was quoted as saying "Miami received poor marks because of a large number of overweight people, a high rate of TV viewing among residents...(and) almost three times as many fast-food restaurants as the average city."
6. Many devices that are “always on” while seemingly “off” draw power so that they can spring into action on demand. How much electricity does a television, for example, use when plugged in but not turned on?

Hey, I'm as guilty as the next person for my bad TV vegging habits. It's not called the "boob tube" for nothing. Even says it mushes our brains. All I can say is, I'll try. To watch less. But miss Lost? Ummmmmmmmm. . .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Ideas in My Head

I often get asked how I came up with the idea for THE LIST (which you can still by on Amazon. Click here. Do it! You know you want to.)

I don't know if anyone believes my answer. But it's true.

My brain is the most creative in the wee hours of the morning. That time of day where sane people are snoozing away peacefully. Not me! I'm coming up with ideas for songs (I'm also a songwriter), good movie script ideas, and of course, the premise for THE LIST. (Which you can still buy by clicking here, btw.)

The story is about a girl who shares my initials, Candace Saunders, and shares my love of Type-A lists. Her list takes things to a funny level, with more than 50 items she wants in her future husband. The trouble is that she meets two men. One is her list-perfect man. The other is the anti-list, but she's still attracted to him. My brain shouted to me "STORY HERE!" and "FUNNY STUFF" so I listened.

You see, I had my very own list. When I was in my 20s, the list was a little longer than it is now. My friends used to make fun of my list, saying I was really picky. I just thought I was being, um, organized about it. :) I learned over time that a lot of the things on my list weren't deal breakers. So I figured out what was important to me, and narrowed it to 12.

But one night, my mind thought it would inform me at 2 a.m. that this would be a great idea for a movie. I got up and started writing things down, and two hours later, I had enough on paper to be able to get back to sleep. The idea morphed from there into a book (though I'm still thinking of adapting it into a movie script.)

So you really want to buy it now, right?

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Friday Dance

Fridays are the best days of the weekend. Why? Because Friday, when I get off work, there are two whole days stretching out in front of me with no requirement to go to work. Saturdays are okay, because they're pretty lax, but Sundays are tainted with their proximity to Mondays.

This Sunday won't be so bad, though, because next week is a short week due to my vacation! Woot!

However, when I'm away on vacation, I can't be actively selling my book, THE LIST. So I'm offering incentive. For every book purchase between now and when I return, I'll donate some of the proceeds to my hometown food bank. So you can enjoy reading AND do something good for the community.

So BUY YOUR COPY of THE LIST! Tell your friends. And I thank you muchly. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday 13, My To-Do List

I leave for Amsterdam and Belgium in 5 days! Woot! I'm excited for the trip, but I have lots of things to do before I go. You know this site is all about my book, THE LIST, but I now have a list of what I need to do before next Tuesday.

1.I have to schedule the posts for my GUEST BLOGGER! That's right, come back next Wednesday, and then Thursday for the Thursday 13 to meet Kimber Chin. She's also a romance novelist, and publishes her works in the form of ebooks. She's a hoot, and I think you'll enjoy her posts. You can learn more about her before-hand by visiting her Website.

2. I need to make sure my favorite PJs are washed and ready to go.

3. I also have to make sure that the rest of the clothes I want to take are laundered. I hate laundry, btw.

4. I need to exercise a bit more. Walking in Europe is exhausting. And I'm sure all the biking will take a toll on my bottom. I'm hoping that my recent walking and biking endeavors here at home will lessen the pain.

5. I need to make sure all our tickets and passports are ready to go.

6. I need to start my "packing pile." Days before actual packing begins, I start piling up items that I'm likely to forget.

7. I need to print out my nice Excel packing list - yes, I have a list for that, too. It includes little boxes for me to check off when I've packed a certain item.

8. I need to confirm with the pet sitter that Pooh Bear will indeed get fed, and the occasional head scratch.

9. Need to print out our Dutch travel words, so I can at least try. I know "thank you" and "hello" and "please" so far. And interestingly enough, "toilet" in Dutch is almost exactly like it is in French. Good think they speak English over there. However, I do like to try and not be the conceited American and make an attempt.

10. I need to decide which book I'm going to take for the plane. I have so many to read, but several are signed by the authors, so I don't want to risk losing them.

11. I have to finish my current book, TURN COAT, by Jim Butcher before I go. No problem, because it's so good. I'll likely be done quickly.

12. I need to keep checking the weather, and crossing my fingers for sunshine and very little rain.

13. I need to post about my new book selling plan. For every purchase of THE LIST between now and the time I return, I am donating part of the proceeds to my hometown food pantry. So, if you've been thinking of getting a copy of THE LIST, now's a good time!

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Are We There Yet?

In 6 days, I will be off on my next travel adventure, this time, to Amsterdam and Belgium. So I won't be able to post on this here blog during that time.

But wait! My loyal readers (Renee) won't be left entirely in the cold. I'm going to have a guest blogger. Woot!

Her name is Kimber Chin, and she is also a romance novelist. She writes ebooks, and you can check her out before next week by heading over to her website. She'll even be guesting for the Thursday 13, and I think you'll find her engaging and fun.

So treat her well, throw her some comments and play nice. :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Today Is Monday

Today I am all about stating the obvious. Like "Today Is Monday" and "It's Rainy Outside."

Other than that, I don't have much to say, today. Hopefully tomorrow I can come up with something better to write about. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday 13 - Interview with Rekaya Gibson

I feel that my readers may be getting a little tired of hearing about "me me me" all the time (I don't understand this. Ha!) So, this week, I'm introducing you to another author besides myself. Meet Rekaya Gibson, author of THE FOOD TEMPTRESS. I've asked her 13 questions, and she's answered them below. You can find her book on Barnes & Noble's Website. Buy it here.

Of course, if you never tire of hearing about my book, THE LIST, or me, Rekaya is interviewing me over on her site. There, you can see my interview and learn more about Rekaya.

1.Quick! You've met a movie producer, he says "walk with me for 15 seconds" tell him what THE FOOD TEMPTRESS is about. My main character, Ambrosia, uses food to not only seduce men, but to convert them into the perfect guy. Paralleling southern cuisine, each short story captures the hearts and minds of different men ranging from the local police chief to a Bourbon Street musician. The Food Temptress serves up a delectable treat connected by Ambrosia’s continuing quest for both romantic and culinary perfection.

2. Each chapter has a different food theme. Which was your favorite to write? I loved writing the last chapter, Hurricane Katrina. I wrote it halfway through the book. Certain details were fresh in my mind and I wanted to capture them.

3. Which would be your favorite to eat? Jambalaya

4. New Orleans is a supporting character throughout your book. Tell me about your time there, and how it influenced your writing. I lived in New Orleans approximately 13 years until Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. I connected with the city and its people. Some considered me a native, but I was born and raised in Indiana. New Orleans was the perfect backdrop for The Food Temptress because of its culture, food, and history. Of course, I feel in love with the food, and how it was the focal point of most activities. I began a serious writing career the same year as Katrina and I never looked back. I wanted to make sure that I captured all her grace and charm prior to the storm.

5. How would you clarify THE FOOD TEMPTRESS? Is it a pure romance? Food romance? Romantic comedy? Chick Lit? I have always considered The Food Temptress a Chick Lit.

6. I hear tell that there are recipes that induce proposals, I think one is called "marriage chicken." What would be your own, personal recipe to "reel him in."? I know this answer is going to freak some folks out, but I use spaghetti. I make my own meat sauce. My secret is to include a little hot sausage with the ground meat.

7. My favorite of the dishes would be the peach cobbler. Tell us about the chapter where the peach cobbler ends up in the wrong hands. :) While in Atlanta, Ambrosia is invited to a birthday party by her best friend, so she decides to make peach cobbler for the “birthday girl”. When she arrives at the party, she places the dish in the kitchen. Well, when the stripper, Black Thunder, finishes his routine, he heads to the kitchen for a snack. Guess what dish he selects?

8. How did you come up with the idea for THE FOOD TEMPTRESS? I developed the concept from the adage, “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I took my interpretation and expanded upon it, using my creativity. As result, I birth The Food Temptress.

9. What is your writing process? How do you work? I write best at night. Lately, I notice the creative juices kick-in after midnight, not a good thing when you have to work a full-time job. I do write during the day, but I am not as productive. If I have time, I write on my lunch hour. The adrenaline rush is nice since I have a limited amount of time, perhaps that is my answer to procrastination.

10. I understand there's a sequel in the works. Give us the cover blurb. Yes, I am working on the sequel, “The Food Temptress: Ambrosia’s Delight.” I rather not give the cover blurb for three reasons. One, some folks are still reading the first book or have not read it. Two, I have not completed the sequel yet. Three, though I have written the ending, it may change. However, I will tell you this; Ambrosia continues her quest to find real love and a life-long partner.

11. Tell me about your publishing process. How did you get representation? I spent ten months writing “The Food Temptress.” I searched for an agent for twelve months, to no avail. I conducted research on several publishing companies. Xpress Yourself Publishing Company (XYP) was the right fit, so it was the only one that I submitted my manuscript to for review. Six months later, I received a contract.

12. Tell me something about Rekaya that you put into your main character, Ambrosia. I think Ambrosia and I have a great love for cooking.

13. How do you come up with the names for your characters? Well, Ambrosia is the Greek Goddess of drink and food, so it made sense to use that name. I come up with names as I make my keystrokes. I do not spend a great deal of time thinking about it.

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Twilight: The Book and the Movie

I think that I am perhaps the only person on the planet that did not like the book, TWILIGHT. Well, that's not true. I know Stephen King didn't like it, and he took it, and it's author Stephanie Meyer, to task about it. I guess that should make me feel a bit better, since I agree with Stephen King, and he's published a kajillion books. Problem is, I don't like his stuff either - not for the same reasons. He writes well, just scares the bejeebers out of me. I didn't like the writing in TWILIGHT, I didn't like the dialogue, I didn't like the story, I didn't like that it was, well, boring. Of course, I compare all vampire lore to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, and it just didn't live up.

Now the movie adaptation is out on DVD. I didn't see it in the theaters, not wanting to waste money on a movie when I know I didn't like the book. Now that I can watch it at home, however, I'm considering giving it a chance. Mostly because the guy star was in Harry Potter, but partially because I don't want to feel left out in my pop culture obsession.

I usually find the movie version of books less than par. I always enjoy the books more, possibly because the movie never lives up to my imagination when I'm reading the story. However, in this case, there are no expectations, so maybe the movie will be okay.

Have you seen it? Did you like it? Did you like the book?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Do I Have a Brain?

I have a neurologist appointment today. I wonder if he'll tell me if I have a brain? :)

Speaking of brains, mine is most creative between 1-3 a.m. I don't know why. My best ideas come when I'm half asleep. Then, they keep me awake until I do something about them. Write them down, talk into a recorder - something. It's how I came up with the idea for THE LIST. It's how I used to write songs when I lived in Nashville.

How do you get your ideas?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Interview Me

If you participate in the Thursday 13 meme, you may have seen this interview last Thursday, but I wanted to post it anyway because it's so cute. :)

Interview with Carmen

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oh Excitement!

Two of my favorite authors on the planet have new books coming out! Like I need more on my TBR (to be read) pile (see tuesday's post). These will definitely move to the top of the list!

The first, Turn Coat, comes out April 7, and is written by Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files series. It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer except a little more grown up. He released a prequel a few months ago, and I was slightly disappointed in that it was a graphic novel. I'm not a fan of reading in that format, and the story took me like 10 minutes to read. However, this is an actual book! Woot!

And then on June 23, Finger-Lickin' Fifteen comes out, the latest in the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. She can't write these things fast enough for my voracious appetite!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday 13: Virginia Festival of the Book Report

Saturday was the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. It was a long day.

1. We got up at 7 a.m. (on a SATURDAY!) and drove an hour to the home of my alma mater, UVA. (Where the lacrosse team is #1! Congrats to them!)
2. We unloaded all the books, balloons, displays and computers and set up our half-table at 8:45.
3. My table was in the atrium of the Omni hotel, so I got to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and glorious inside garden area.
4. I managed to peddle 7 books! Should you like to purchase one of your very own, you can get it on Amazon. (Kindle as well! A good use of any Amazon gift cards, I think.)
5. One woman took me up on my festival special (2 books for $25) so she was my customer of the day! She also asked to take a picture with me, for when I got famous. Ha! It was kind of cool. It could go to my head.
6. The authors next to me were wonderful to talk to.
7. First, there was Don Payne. He has written a book called A Legacy of Rural Virginia. He was a selling fiend, I tell you! Check out Don's Website
8. On my other side was William Minor. His great, great uncle has a UVA building named after him (Minor Hall), so I was immediately in awe. :) He is a musician and a writer. He plays 4-string guitar, among other instruments. You can check out his Website as well. Buy a CD or a book.
9. Next to Don was a table that was giving away books, trying to get people to write that elusive review! Check out iBookDB to catalog, rate, review and win books.
10. I met a few of my Twitter Tweeple this weekend as well. I met @Idleubry - selling a book called Be Careful What You Wish For - the story of Gwendolyn the Great, Savoir of Idlebury.
11. I also met friend-of-a-friend and Tweep @thebookmaven, Bethanne. She writes a book blog for WETA in D.C.(where she often gives away books to commenters), as well as her own personal blog.
12. The cover of Jeffrey Harris's book caught my attention, since it was an illustration of two people sitting on the steps of UVA's Rotunda. It's a story about a man who proposes to his wife On The Steps (the name of his book). She dies of breast cancer, and it's a story of his healing and journey. You can check it out here.
13. Brad Meltzer came into the Atrium lobby after his lunch speaking engagement to sign books. I caught a glimpse of the back of his head. The line for his autograph went out the door. That's going to be me someday, I promise. :)

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Photos from Virginia Book Festival and Charlottesville

Here's a slideshow of my table at the Va. Book Festival, and my walk around the Lawn at UVA reliving my college days. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Own TBR Pile

I love to read. I think that's why I love to write so much.

In the last few weeks, I've been hearing about TBR piles (To Be Read). Book reviewers have TBR piles that probably stretch to the ceiling, and when you request a review, you should expect to go on the bottom of that pile. :)

My own TBR pile has increased exponentially over the last few weeks. I usually buy a book or two a month to read before I go to sleep at night, since Jim likes to read and won't turn out the light. ;) So I bought Charlotte Hughes new book, Nutcase. Then, I found out that Janet Evanovich had released a book that she had written a long time ago, so it was new-to-me, and I bought that one. Then, when I did my book signing at a local bookstore in Staunton, VA, (BookWorks) I wanted to support the store so I bought a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book called Glitter Baby. After that, I won a book by Denise Robbins called It Happens in Threes. Then, I did a radio show interview where the host, Rita Schiano, wrote me a wonderful review, and I want to return the favor and read her book, Painting the Invisible Man. I found a few books (which will be in Thursday's post) at the Virginia Festival of the Book this past weekend that I want to read. Plus, I got a free book from another vendor with the promise to write a review called The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. Gasp!

These days, with promoting my own book, my free time has dwindled. Thank goodness for my upcoming vacation for reading time. I have a 7-hour flight to Amsterdam and back, so that should take care of at least 2 books, if you include "sitting in the airport time." Then, maybe I'll share the love with some of these books and hand them to someone else to read in the airport when I'm done. Oh, and that's another book on my list - Rick Steeves Amsterdam, Brussels & Bruges. If you want to check them out, here are the Amazon links below.

Maybe I'll take on the review hat when I'm done and spread the review love. By the way, I love reviews on THE LIST as well, so if you read it, I'd appreciate you telling the world about it!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Mind Is the First to Go

I forgot I had a contest running. Yes, that's right. I completely forgot. Until this weekend. Sigh. There's just a lot going on.

Anyway, the contest was for a $50 discount hotel card, and you could enter by leaving a review for THE LIST on Amazon. When the contest ended, I had 11 Amazon reviews, and the hotel card goes to the very first person that wrote a review.

Jim pulled MELLI's name out of his hat. Woot!

Though Melli won the prize, I have a special place in my heart for each person who wrote a review for me. You know, I can never get enough of them. So, if you still have a review to write, don't hold back. Let me have it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday 13 - Virginia Festival of the Book

I will be attending the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA this Saturday at the Omni Hotel, which is on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall. I'll be exhibiting, selling and signing THE LIST. It's a big day for me, because visiting Charlottesville is like going home, because for 4-years at the University of Virginia, it was home. (And don't anyone start on me about not being in the March tourney.) So this week's list is things I'm looking forward to on Saturday.

13 Things I Look Forward to On Saturday:

1. The Booksigning Okay, that's obvious. I hope to network with lots of people, and sell some books!
2. Lunch at Bodo's Bagels: Some of my online friends have already heard me wax poetic about these bagels. They truly are all that. My fave? Onion bagel with cream cheese. Yum.
3. Seeing the Rotunda: No trip to Charlottesville for a UVA alum is complete without paying respects to the Grounds (which is what we call the campus) and the Lawn with the fabulous Jefferson-designed Rotunda. Photo op!
4. Feeling Like I'm Home: Aside from my parents' house, this is where I always feel like I belong.
5. Having a "Tweet Up": I've connected with quite a few authors and those in the publishing world through Twitter. (follow me @carmenshirkey) Several will also be in attendance, and I'll get to put a face with each Twitterer!
6. Spring in Charlottesville: Blooming dogwoods, and lots of sneezing allergies. :)
7. Twittering My Day: Speaking of Twitter, I plan to post updates on the festival throughout the day. Barring Internet complications.
8. Possibly Seeing Brad Meltzer: He's one of the author guests at this year's festival. I don't have tickets to his luncheon, but I keep hoping that maybe he'll come check out his competition . . . I mean the other authors. ;)
9. The Downtown Mall: I had to do a school project at UVA when I was in architecture school (yes, me. I changed majors after 1st semester thanks to a sexist professor, my one regret) where we studied the architecture of the Downtown Mall. It's really beautiful, and houses a lot of unique shops and galleries.
10. Dinner on the Downtown Mall: The restaurants change all the time. So I don't know which one we'll visit, but it will depend on what we're hungry for then.
11. Driving with Jim I know it's corney, but I just like spending time with my S.O. A one-hour drive means dedicated time. Even if we don't talk.
12. Networking: I hope that I can make contact with the right people. It's all about who you know.
13. Success!: I just know that this is the right time for this book.

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In Case You Missed It

My Blogtalk Radio show last night was a blast to do. The host was charming and professional, and I even wrote a limerick in honor of St. Patrick's Day!

If you missed it, no worries. You can still hear the show by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Radio Interview


To celebrate, Jim and I are heading out for a green libation of some sort for happy hour, and then I'll be appearing on a Blog Talk Radio show to talk about THE LIST (no worries, only one or two drinks before hand.)

The last time I was on the Blog Talk Radio, the show was a little late for my East Coast friends. This one may be too early for my West Coast friends, but hopefully, some people will listen/chat with me!

Tonight at 8:30 PM EST

The call in number for guests is (347) 327-9158 (if you'd like to call in with a question, or if you've read the book and you want to give me a "holla!")

Or, you can visit to listen online and participate in the chat room.

If you chat, let me know, I'll try to send out a personal "holla!" to you!

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Authors Promoting Authors

There are some genius people out there on the World Wide Web. Tina-Sue Ducross is one of them. She thought that we authors need to help each other out, and created the Authors Promoting Authors Website. Those who are promoted are supposed to promote the author that came before them!

THE LIST is the book featured today. Hop on over and take a look!

While you're there, you may want to check out some of the other books. Such as the following:

THE parenting handbook : compassionate, practical, and deeply wise ...

A child is possibly life's greatest miracle; raising one is possibly life's greatest challenge. But fear not – help is at hand!

From conception to early childhood, Spiritual Parenting, the first in a series by Hay House India will steer you through this life-altering journey. Marrying spirituality with tried-and-true advice, it offers simple but enormously effective strategies on bringing up children in this crazy world that we live in – and staying positive and sane through it. 

In this indispensable guide, Gopika Kapoor, a writer and mother of twins, shares with you all that she has learned both as a parent herself and as a close observer of other parents. From managing your toddler's tantrums to advice on kiddie birthday parties, and from suggestions on positive discipline to ideas on how to connect with your child, she provides not just solutions, but also useful tips on pre-empting the common problems that every parent encounters in bringing up Baby. However, this book is much more than a primer on how to raise happy kids; it is also about how to be happy parents. In her typically reassuring, compassionate tone, she shows us how to tackle the physical and emotional difficulties we face as parenting adults – post-partum depression, sleeplessness, strains on spousal relationships, and much more – with suggestions for body and soul based on practical experience and spiritual lessons.

This book will not tell you how to deal with colic or cold sores; it will not give you recipes for kiddie snacks, nor will it tell you when your baby's shots are due. Kapoor shares what she has learned with other parents like herself, as who collectively struggle to create an atmosphere of normalcy for their children in this world of greed and materialism, competition and commercialism. She does not advocate any religion or practice, nor does she claim to be a child-development specialist or psychiatrist. She is a writer and a mother, and what she offers are simple solutions that have worked for her, and are guaranteed to work for parents today.
Focused on both parent and child, Spiritual Parenting is an invaluable compendium of common sense and spiritual wisdom. Read this one book and you'll see how one of life's greatest challenges can also be one of its greatest joys ...

The book has debuted at #8 on the Bestseller Chart.

About the Author
Gopika Kapoor is a writer and communications consultant. She has written for a number of leading publications, including The Times of India, The Indian Express, Elle, Seventeen India, and Andpersand Magazine, and has been consulted on various communications initiatives with Child Relief and You (CRY), Point of View, CREA, and Save the Children, Sweden. Gopika lives in Mumbai with her husband Mohit, a corporate lawyer and life coach, and her twins, Vir and Gayatri. ISBN: 978-8189988531 Price: Rs.200/- Format: Paperback

Sherna Khambatta Literary Agency, the Indian representative of the Wade & Doherty Literary Agency UK is proud to launch Gopika Kapoor’s first in a series of books on parenting. Literary Agents are a new concept to Indian publishing but a vital link between authors and publishers. 

Sherna Khambatta Literary Agency

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Listen to Me, People!

On the radio, anyway.

I'm going to be on BlogTalkRadio tonight, and again on Tuesday.

BlogTalkRadio is an Internet-based radio format that allows you to either call the number and listen in, or listen to the show streaming on the Web. There's also a chat room (that opens during the show) where you can participate and ask questions (please? for me?)

Saturday night's show information is listed below. I'll not confuse you with the info for Tuesday's show until Tuesday. :) Which is St. Patrick's Day, btw!

Author Spotlight
Call-in Number: (347) 308-8612
or chat online at:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday 13 Friendship Poems

You may or may not know, this blog is the home of my new novel, The List (buy it on Amazon!).

This week's 13 has nothing to do with my book. Are you shocked? Well, it also doesn't have 13 items. I'm breaking all kinds of rules today. My friend Monica sent me this in an email, and I thought it was funny enough to share.

13 (or 9) New Takes on a Friendship Poem:
Are you tired of those sissy friendship poems that never come close to reality? Well, Let's try this my way, just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.

1. When you are sad: I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!!
2. When you are blue: I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile: I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.
4. When you are scared: We will high tail it out of here.
5. When you are worried: I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining, ya big baby!!!!
6. When you are confused: I will use little words
7. When you are sick: Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall: I'll pick you up and dust you off-- after I laugh my ass off!!
9. This is my oath: I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask; because you are my FRIEND
10. Hope
11. you
12. enjoyed
13. it!

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Small Press Month

Did you know that March is Small Press month?

Now, I love my Barnes and Noble as much as the next book addict, but the big chain stores can sometimes run the little guys out of town. (Remember Fox Books putting the Shop Around the Corner out of business in "You've Got Mail?")

So maybe once a month - or more - you could frequent a little-guy store. I did my book signing below at such a place, BookWorks, in Staunton, VA. They're the only bookstore left in the city limits, and the big guy - Books a Million - is really their only competitor. So do the same, look around your neighborhood and find an independent bookstore.

You may also want to check out an independent or self-published author. Now where would you find one of those? ;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Signing Update

Well, Saturday afternoon in Staunton, VA was just the most beautiful day. Best day of the year so far (thank goodness it's only March.) It was the perfect day for people to be out and about downtown, and brought some foot traffic into the bookstore.

I sold 3 books to people I didn't even know, by my sheer friendliness and self marketing. ;) Another book to the mom of a friend. So 4 books in 2 hours, not so shabby. Plus, some other people came by with their OWN COPIES and got a signature & chatted.

Here are some photos :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Another Great Review!

I've got to be honest. When I get the emails from book reviewers telling me that they've posted their thoughts, I get a little nervous. What if they hated it? What if they just feel "eh" about it?

So far, I've had this feeling with all three of the professional reviews I've received. And so far, I've been pleasantly surprised when I read the reviews!

Today's review came from Kay's Bookshelf. Here's an itty bitty bit:

"All in all the book was a fun read that I have quite enjoyed. Recommend it? Chick lit, light reading, funny at times. It reminded most of Kinsella's books, so if you like the genre you might want to try this one too :)"

Sophie Kinsella? She compared me to Sophie Kinsella? Well goooo-lly! That's quite the compliment, seeing as she's a bestseller x10!

I know you're now going to want to hop on over to Kay's site and leave a comment!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday 13

You may or may not know, this blog is the home of my new novel, The List (buy it on Amazon!).

Being a writer isn't all cupcakes and cookies, you know. There are some hard lessons to be learned. Here are 13 of mine.

1. Rejection is a hard pill to swallow. Hey, I expect rejection, but it can start to get you down.
2. Books don't sell themselves. Oh man! Shoot. :)
3. You have to spend money to make money. I'm trying to be smart about spending, I'm not paying any agents (bad, bad), I'm not paying for any reviews (can they be honest reviews if they're bought?), etc. I'm paying travel fees to attend signings and conferences and such.
4. You don't make money as fast as you spend it. :)
5. I didn't do this to make money, but I would like to not see those red, negative numbers in my balance sheet.
6. Getting someone to write a review is akin to getting a cat to do anything. Both are extremely difficult.
7. Some people are incredibly lazy, or dense, or both.
8. Some people can be outright cruel with their "constructive" help. Just like Simon and Paula on AI, I think there's a balance somewhere between being rude and lying to me to make me feel better.
9. Four star reviews are great! However, they still make you twinge for a five star. :)
10. Everyone's question to me is "When will you write the next one?" Dude, when would I have time, while I'm trying to sell this one?
11. There has got to be a better process for getting an agent. The current "send a query letter to a perfect stranger, they don't read it, receive rejection" just isn't a great way to go. :)
12. Even when you get an agent, I'm told the work doesn't stop. :)
13. Agents whine a lot. Authors whine a lot. Everyone whines. :)

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who is the best writer you know?

Writers are no different than any one else. We put our pants on one leg at a time - even though we'll try to put them on two legs at a time just to have a funny story to write about later.

We also have heroes in our field; people we look up to.

I, for one, have always thought that Joss Whedon is one of the best writers of our time. While not a novel writer, as a screenwriter, he's still a WRITER. I find his dialogue to be funny, touching and REAL. Who is Joss Whedon? Holy Cow! He's only the writer/creater of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and now Dollhouse. What I wouldn't give for 10 minutes in his brain.

As far as writers of fiction novels, I think one of my heroes would be Janet Evanovich. She also writes humorous dialogue well, and knows how to move you through a story. Her Grandma Mazur character is possibly one of my favorite.

Non-fiction hero goes to Bill Bryson. I can not read his books on airplanes, for fear of snorting something out of my nose when I laugh at what he's written. His book, In a Sunburnt Country was my funny bible for my Australia trip.

Who do you look up to, either in your chosen field or mine, or any really?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I always hated that Morisette song "Isn't it Ironic" because I didn't think that any of her examples in the song were irony. It was just crap. Rain on your wedding day isn't irony, it's Mother Nature. etc., etc.

Irony is being a writer and not being able to think of anything to write on your blog.

I think the snow outside, and our record low temp of 12 degrees this morning has frozen my brain.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day

Ever wish that you looked forward to snow days like kids do? Like you used to do when YOU were a kid? Snow days as an adult mean worrying about the morons on the road going faster than they know they should, shoveling sidewalks, cleaning off your car, etc. Well, today (barring a loss of power and no heat afterward) I'm going to go out and relive my youth. I'm going to play in the snow, I'm going to build a snowman, and I'm not going to even think about shoveling or cleaning off the car. Richmond seldom gets snow, much less the 7 inches that are still building in the backyard.

The good news is that this Saturday it's supposed to be back up into the 60s - it's good news because I have my very first in-person book-signing event, and I think more people are likely to show up if it's a nice day. Apparently, there's already an order for a book! Woot. :0)

So on this, my first snow day in years, I ask any authors out there to share their booksigning experiences, so I know what to expect. :)