Saturday, March 31, 2007

FREE EBOOK - Kathy Holmes' Cyn's Fabulous Guide to Crusing!

Okay, everyone, get thouest overly-expanding-seen-too-many-drab-winter-days lead butts over to Kathy Holmes' website/blog. She's giving away a free ebook! It's called Cyn's Fabulous Guide to Cruising and it's right there on her website/blog for easy download. Like Cyn, it's FABULOUS.


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What's the Latest News in Chick Lit?

So, what's the latest news on chick lit? Is it dead? Are they calling it something else? Is it a no-no word in the publishing industry if that's what you write and you want it published in your lifetime?

It's been ten years since Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones. After its release and watching its popularity spread like wild fire, authors jumped on the chick lit bandwagon. I was one of those authors, although it took me a few years into it to find it. But, once I did, I loved it! Not the shoes thing, but because of the witty and sarcastic tone of the heroines. Ahhh...the shoes thing. One of the things the critics loved to stomp into the ground. Fluff, they said. Isn't worth the money spent, they said. Drivel. Not literary-oriented enough.

What I believe happened is that while some people believe the popularity of chick lit has run its course, authors who write the genre are not discouraged. They've just changed their game plans which is encouraging to me because I love reading about heroines who who are strong and catty beings who take the knocks long enough to find answers to their life's problems in such a way that we can all relate, not to mention their kick-ass way of doing it.

Some authors will tell you their agents aren't as gun-ho taking on these stories anymore and the agents themselves will tell you they're a hard sell because NY has been overrun by them. However, chick lit is still alive and well. Their stories might be more focused to please the literary audience, but they're still cranking out these wonderful light reads, only they're punchier, have more depth and don't rely on a pair of shoes to pull off a story (sorry, had to throw that last phrase in for those naysayers who believe that's what chick lit stories are all about).

So, here's what I found out about chick lit around the recently. I was amazed. Chick lit is still alive and well and I believe will be around for a long time...

1. Teen chick lit is selling real well. According to the Seattle Post, teens are buying books at the fastest rate in decades.

"Not only are teen book sales booming -- up by a quarter between 1999 and
2005, by one industry analysis -- but the quality is soaring as well. Older
teens in particular are enjoying a surge of sophisticated fare as young
adult literature becomes a global phenomenon."

2. The Age reports that chick lit has now "grown into" hen lit.

"As a recent New York Times article pointed out, it's 10 years since Helen
Fielding invented Bridget Jones, and even the perpetually adolescent Bridget has
given birth. Both the Chick Lit authors and their readers are getting older and
becoming mums, and they want to see their experiences in print."


3. Chica lit is hot. According to a review at Blogcritics.com for Boston Boys Club by Johnny Diaz, chick lit had to make way for chica lit.

"Chick lit had to make way for chica lit, and I'm glad to say the the ground for
chico lit is being broken by Johnny Diaz and his own tale of the city,
filled with hot boy on boy sex, friendship, romance, trying to make sense of
who you are, and what you really want against a well-crafted backdrop of
Beantown."


4. According to The Nation, it's all about J-books, K-books and chick lit.

"A man promotes Pramuan Pengchan’s bestseller ‘Dern Soo Issarapab’ (Walk Towards Freedom). The book is expected to be a hit at the book fair. Youngsters
will likely brush aside economic worries and snap up Japanese and Korean chick
lit as their summer vacation reads, the organisers of the Bangkok
International Book Fair 2007 said yesterday."


5. Caffeine Nights publishes a new form of fiction...Chick Noir.

"Chick Noir could be the result of living in modern times where almost overnight
a new generation of readers has had to grow up quickly. Caffeine Nights
Publishing certainly believe that the time is right to produce a brand of
fiction that has an element of escapism that also carries a healthy dose of
21st century realism. "


6. According to San Mateo Daily Journal, teen lit enters the golden age.

"There is also a new proliferation of chick lit, a genre that gives this
generation their own version of Nancy Drew, Baby Sitters Club and Sweet
Valley High. The new generation of teen chick lit has the same salacious
plot lines with a definite older vibe, which caters to today’s fast growing
teens. It’s Judy Blume to a higher level. The stories are compared to a
toned down Sex and the City or Paris Hilton escapades."


7. The Centre Daily Times in Pennsylvania says more books are aimed at the single audience.

"These books are not about the rules, whether he's into you, or love languages.
The newest kind of "nonfiction chick-lit" - as we're dubbing it - is a backlash
against the idea that people who are married or in coupledom are happier,
healthier, and more prosperous."

8. The Baltimore Sun believes that books are crossing color barriers.

"The whole young adult field is expanding, and this trend is just part of the
general healthy growth of the genre. Instead of being one flavor, it's
many flavors. The black experience in America is expanding, and the genre is
simply catching up to social reality."


9. Literary agent Kristin Nelson of Pub Rants says, "...Penguin is still game for Chick lit with sassy main female protagonists (action-adventure works well)."

10. At Trashionista, "We've told you before about the Nibbies (or the Galaxy British Book Awards as they're more properly known) and now we're delighted to bring you the news that much-loved Queen of Chick Lit Marian Keyes won the award for popular fiction - way to go, Mazza! (As she'd probably loathe me to call her...) It was also great chick lit news for Lauren Weisberger, who won Television and film book of the year for The Devil Wears Prada (of course)."

I don't know about you guys, but I don't think chick lit is going away anytime soon. ;o)



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Interview at Jamieson Wolf's New Blog - Musings: A Blog of Words

I forgot to announce this! I've got an interview up at Jamieson Wolf's new blog, Musings: A Blog of Words!

Jamieson's a wonderful fellow who devotes a lot of his time for others, so please, check out the link and if you want an interview, drop him a line!

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What Kind of a Writer Am I?

You Should Be a Film Writer

You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Why We Love Sanjaya

Okay, here's the deal, dog. Sanjaya is hot. If Howard Stern, shock jock who thrives on being different, endorses him, how can you think otherwise?

After yesterday's blog post, I did some digging. All along I have rooted for our little underdog and as it turns out, I was right on the money.

According to AOL Television, here are the reasons why we love Sanjaya:

1. Not since season three's Jon Stevens has a country been so riveted by a marginally talented teenager (marginally talented...hmmm...can you get your hair up in a seven-ponytailed mohawk?)

2. He beat Sundance (gotta give him three thumbs up for that one).

3. Because his fans have the craziest names (gotta love Fan-jayas!).

4. Because he's already been immortalized on Saturday Night Live (this was one of the funniest videos I've seen on YouTube).

5. Because he had nerve enough to hoola dance on television (Nerve? Anyone who would do that doesn't care a doodiddly what others think!)

6. He leaves Simon speechless (priceless!)

7. Because he sucks and he doesn't care (the best thing about this is that I feel he truly knows he doesn't suck and doesn't care that the rest of the world think otherwise).

8. He makes little girls cry (instant teenie-bopper superstardom there!)

9. Howard Stern is a fan (need I say more?)

10. His hair (I gotta admit the mohawk thing was a bit wild and probably scared off those crying teenie-boppers, but what do I know?)

I'm curious to see how far Sanjaya gets. I'd be pretty darn surprised if he doesn't become the next American Idol, despite all the naysayers, for the simple reason that he's already become a household name. I don't think the rest can top that. My next contenders would be either Blake or Haley. The rest have great singing voices (don't they all?) but I'm thinking who would be the most likely one to sell albums for these record companies and that's what it's all about, doc.

Here's a video of his first audition!



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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Will Sanjaya Malakar be the Next American Idol?

You know, I find it either very weird or very interesting that American Idol is the only show I watch. I barely have time for TV, but American Idol is the only show that I will stop what I'm doing and race in the bedroom to watch. And it's all because of a seventeen-year-old teen called Sanjaya Malakar (sorry, I couldn't get the image thingee to load tonight).

Oh, well, that's the reason this year, anyway. I watch it every year, but this year is different. We have an underdog who doesn't sing as well as the others, yet he's really holding his own. But, it wasn't until I saw the little girl crying in the audience did I realize what Sanjaya has. He's got teenie-bopper sex appeal...adorable little guy who I truly believe has the potential to become America's next American Idol. But wait...don't hiss at me yet, let me explain...

When I was a teenie-bopper back many moons ago, I had a crush on Davey Jones, one of the singers from the sixties sensation, The Monkees. Then, when the Partridge Family aired on T.V., it was David Cassidy. If you'll take a real good look at both of these teen idols, what do they have in common? Teenie-bopper sex appeal. It didn't matter how they sang, as long as they sang.

Both these teen idols were never as good as other performers of their generation, but they reached superstardom, selling platinum and gold albums and had every teenie bopper (like me) fainting at their feet.

This is what's happening with Sanjaya, and this is why I feel that he could really win American Idol hands down.

You have to look at the music business as it really is. The music moguls want performers who can sell albums. It's not enough to know how to sing, you have to know how to perform and do that with such power and energy that everyone talks about it. And they are talking about it. Sanjaya even has his own fan website simply called SanjayaFans.com. People are definitely talking about it.

It doesn't matter what Simon, Randy or Paula says at this point. Sanjaya already has legions of fans which to me is pretty unusual so early in the game. Diana Ross sums it up: "Sanjaya is love," and I believe that he's going to do pretty darn good. Mark my words. Even if he doesn't win the competition, this boy is going to go far.

I'll tell you one thing. He reminds me of Michael Jackson a little. Anyone notice that?


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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Other Side of Being an Author

It didn't occur to me until last night that I have at least four manuscripts sitting in my files doing nothing but sitting. This doesn't include another five or so at various stages of completion, plus a relationship book that will be sent to Zumaya real soon.

But, getting back to the Fab Four, I took a poll in my writing group to see which one I should be concentrating on getting a contract for and the overall winner was Over the Hill. The book has been rewritten I know six times. Every time I'd get an agent rejection, it would get revised.

Crazy, but true. And this really isn't the way to go about it being as every agent has their own set of rules and guidelines and maybe the book was perfect in every way, but wasn't right for them. I would not know this, of course, and would rewrite it again.

But, everytime I rewrote, I did feel the book getting stronger. Against what I'm hearing, I changed everything from third person to first. And I really like it better this way.

But, after the fifth rewriting, I put the book aside and started teaching authors how to promote. I self-published A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published eBook, appeared on Fran Silverman's book marketing radio show, set up a promoting blog, Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion, and have started representing authors in various degrees of promotional representation.

What I am learning through this is that now I can look at being an author from the other side of the fence and what I'm seeing, it ain't pretty.

Publishers are a business, that we all should know. They "buy" your book for the intentions of making money from said book. They give authors a free service (unless it's vanity, of course) - free editing, free printing, free distribution - and, in return, they want reinbursement in books sold. If I were a publisher, I would definitely expect this; after all, I've invested my own monies into this venture and I want to see some of it back or I'm going to be in the red and will question why I got into this business in the first place.

The problem is that as the population of writers grows, the amount of books being published is astronomical. Everyone seems to be writing a book and everyone wants said book published or all that work is down the drain.

So, they search for a publisher or an agent, or opt to self-publish or pay for it through one of those vanity publishers. Either way, they are determined this book will be published.

For those who self-publish or pay through a vanity publisher, the stress is minimal. Sure, they want to make money off their books, but there's no one standing over them with death threats if a certain amount isn't sold within a reasonable amount of time.

For those authors who go with publishers, whether it's a NY house or even a publisher who prints using POD technology, it's a whole different ballgame.

There is an incredible amount of stress involved because if said book doesn't sell a reasonable amount of books according to what the publisher deems reasonable, they are automatically blacklisted. And by that I mean, either a) they will not accept anymore books from said author or b) they will pull their book. I know of one publisher who is actually putting their "promotional agreements" in their submittance guidelines (authors, read your contract carefully for said agreements).

One author who I'll call Sallie is published by a NY publisher. She came to me, wanting me to help her promote her book because she simply was stressing out because she was afraid of not selling enough books. I checked her Amazon rankings (they were great), I checked where the book was reviewed (they were great), I checked her website and blog (again, great). So, what's the problem here?

I represent an author right now who was published by a POD company. They turned down the last book she sent to them simply because her past sales from her past books weren't what they considered "enough."

It's a scary world out there. The reason for this post is that I want new authors to go in with their eyes open. There is no magic success secret. There is no magic potion. You can have the greatest Amazon rankings, the greatest reviews, have a blog and website up with everything perfect, and still, sometimes, it isn't enough.

I'm not sure what the problem is. Are publishers getting over their head and going into this business with their own eyes closed?

As an author, I know I have done everything possible I can do for my books, although maybe there's more I don't know, that I haven't done. But, you can better believe that for subsequent books, and maybe that's why I'm even stalling submitting them, I will definitely have a marketing plan already in place. I will do my research. I will do my homework. I will make sure before I put a publisher through this, and myself, that I will do everything possible to make sure I'm not one of the victims of having a contract being pulled or a publisher who feels that my sales weren't enough to publish subsequent books.

It's a scary, scary world out there, but a good idea might be for publishers to contact said authors ahead of time and help them. Maybe they don't know what to do next. Maybe they don't even know their sales are lagging to the point where the publisher is going to pull the plug.

I say it's time authors and publishers get together on this. No surprises. Honesty. Up front honesty and help these authors. Everyone is already in the game; how about we help each other win?

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

It's Not Nice to Fool the Boomer Chick


Rrrrrring....

"Hey, Dorothy, it's for you."

It was a typical Saturday at work. I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off and trying to please a million people all at the same time. I managed to stop for one little second and see who in the hell decided now was a good time to call me and complain about something. I grabbed the phone in one quick swipe and yelled, "Hello????"

"Hi, Dorothy, it's Wiley Zilfleman (name changed to protect the guilty). You remember me, don't you? You've waited on my wife and son and me."

Uh, no, I don't. "How can I help you?"

"Well, you see, my wife has just left me..."

Oh, great.

"...and I need to ask you if you'd lend me fifteen bucks until I get my paycheck cashed. I'll give you my license to hold for me and everything. I'd be right back with the money....so...."

"Uh. Hold on."

I put Mr. Wiley Whoeverinthehellhewas on hold and ran over to one of my co-workers. "Paul, can you believe this? Some guy I don't know who in the hell he is has just asked if he can borrow $15. Who in the hell does he think I am? A bank or something? And like I'd actually do it???"

Paul laughs and asks, "Wiley Zifleman?"

I stopped in my tracks. "You've heard of him?"

"Yeah, he asked me for fifteen dollars a month ago. Said something about his wife leaving him."

"You. Are. Shitting. Me."

I ran back to the phone and picked it up.

"Did you not borrow money from Paul for the same reason and never pay him back????" I yell into the receiver.

"Oh," he says, "I'm going to pay him back...."

CLICK.

I hung up on the bastard.

On the way home, I'm telling BF this same story, but before I can even get to the gory details, he says, "Oh. Wiley Zifleman. Crack head. He borrowed fifteen dollars from me a few months ago. His wife left him, you know."

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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Boomer Chick's Love Uncensored

I was reading an article a few minutes ago that gave me an idea for a series of blog posts concerning relationships, but focusing on my own particular relationships down the road of dating and finding true love, thinking it might provide you with a glimpse of how the Boomer Chick got so darn knowledgable about relationships. What was it about her uneventful past that gave her all these smarts that she can offer advice? Well, you're about to hear about it. The good with the bad. Think of it as the bold and the not-so-beautiful meets Rebeccca of Sunnybrook Farm.

I will label these posts under "The Boomer Chick's Love Uncensored" for future enjoyment when you have nothing better to do than peruse the archives...man, you guys need to get a life. I mean, some people might actually get a kick out of me embarrassing the hell out of myself, but I think it's going to be fun.

Some of the names will be changed to protect the not-so-innocent, but what you will be reading are the real facts behind the love life of the Boomer Chick...UNCENSORED.

Anyway, I think it's going to be a hoot. Stick around. BTW, if you've signed up for my feed at Blogorhythm, I'm about to take it down so go on and sign up with my feed at Feedblitz before I do so you won't miss any of the gory details...hee...hee...hee...

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The Pine Bench

I couldn't leave the pine bench that BF gave me yesterday sitting outside, so I brought it in. I've got a lot of work to do on it and waiting for warm weather to do it so I can do it outside, but this is what it looks like in my living room at the time being...sigh...I am so in love....



Can you imagine the history behind this? Who made it and why? I ran my hand over it, slowly, to let the beauty and craftsmanship enter my fingers, and omg, it's downright magical. It's something about possessions that I feel spirits continue to hang onto...that for every something special that we, as human beings, feel a certain belonging to, we continue to keep a part of this with us when we pass onto the "other side." I have an antique black rocking chair that my mother-in-law let me "borrow" when my daughter was born. I can't even begin to imagine the history behind that, but I gave it a bit of history myself. Both of my kids were rocked in that every night when they were babies. It is where I did my most deepest thinking, too, as I breast-fed both babies. What a history I have given this black rocker.

And I will do the same for this wooden pine bench.

Have you given a history to a certain non-animate object? Is it something you just cannot part with for whatever reason?

If you do, then you know what I'm talking about. Even if that RV is in my future, that pine bench, along with the black wooden rocker, is going in there somewhere!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Neat Little Freebie...


I have to show you something so incredibly beautiful. BF picked me up from work yesterday (car is still in the shop) and when we pulled into the driveway, there was this bench that you see here sitting by one of the pine trees out back. Now, I'm a sucker for pine. When we rented that cabin last year in the Smokies, EVERYTHING was pine, and I know I just looooove pine.


Anyway, I asked him where he got it and he said that the guy who runs one of the chicken houses who he helps with sometimes has a bunch of these, plus tables, plus long benches sitting in a garage that he wants to get rid of. Now, if anyone doesn't know about people who run chicken houses, THEY HAVE MONEY...so, I presume this guy either was a) stupid, b) had so much money, he didn't care or c) doesn't see a truly fine piece of furniture when he sees it.

Omg, I told BF to grab as much as he can.

I'm not sure what this piece is except a small sitting bench. It looks to me to be big enough for two people, and it's just the most beautiful piece of furniture I have seen. This piece is solid. I tried moving it and I could do it, but it was heavy. And this is just a small piece. There isn't a piece of veneer on it.
I am in pine heaven.
So, what I want to do with it is refinish it back to its original splendor. That's my project the first of next week. Isn't it beautiful? Wait until you see it when it's finished.
One question, though. What am I going to do with all this pine furniture in an RV? *grin*

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Are You a Full-time RVer?

I was at work today (very slow...a total of four tables!) and something out the window caught my eye. I couldn't help but to notice it. In the deserted parking lot outside, an RV pulled up with its motor running. I so wanted them to come inside, and not because of the future tip they might leave me, but because I so wanted to talk to them and ask them questions. Were they a fulltime RVer? What did they like about traveling via RV? Do they have Internet on the RV? Very important questions.

I never got my chance. After standing at the window for a really long time, I watched them finally roll away. Gone. Into the oblivion from my standpoint; but for them, into a life I would die to have.

The guy who was working with me thought I was crazy as I went around the restaurant singing, "I'm in love! I'm in love!" They think I'm loonier than a looney-tune anyway.

Man. It was incredible. As I was looking out the window, I wondered what they were doing inside. What did it look like inside and what was that incredible feeling they must be feeling right now? Did they feel cooped up or was that all part of the experience?

I'm going to start adding some links in the right-hand sidebar of people who blog about RVing so I don't forget to stop by and visit. I feel that blogs give me more of a first-hand look as to what is involved. Better than any travel magazine could, that's for sure.

If you are a fulltime RVer and would like me to visit your blog, leave your url in the comment box. I would surely love to visit your blog and find out what it's really like to give up everything and take to the open road. One day I hope to be blogging about the very same thing. Here's to wishing and making dreams come true...here, here!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

It's American Idol, Baby!

I sure wish I had been blogging throughout this whole competition, but I got a little promo sidetracked. For the record, and this is so sad, American Idol is my most favorite show. A lot of people would feel this is a shallow thing to say being as it's not very literature-related, nor is it something that requires thinking to watch, but then maybe that's the fascination in it all.

Maybe I like to kick back once in awhile and take in Americana at its best and what better way to do it than to replay what's happened in this season's American Idol.

For your viewing pleasure, here's one video from the show that's one of the most watched show in America at this time. Now, this guy...he's a strange dude. I picked that one up the moment he walked in the door...and in Simon's famous words...."What...was...THAT?" I love Simon...absolutely love him...anywhere, here's the video...



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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Boomer Chick is Back

Okay, okay, I've been bad. It's just that I've been really, really, really busy. I have another blog that is keeping me on my toes. It's called PUMP UP YOUR ONLINE BOOK PROMOTION and you can see it at www.pumpupyouronlinebookpromotion.blogspot.com. It's my dream blog. It's more of an interactive blog...people will comment, leaving questions about promotion, and I give them feedback, including their url which is good PR for them. It's the least I can do for these folks being as they have shown me what potential I really do have. They believe in me, and I never, ever want to let them down.

I've branched off into doing PR for authors because as the saying goes, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it anymore." It's about time someone showed authors how to promote the NEW way. The old rules aren't cutting it, so now it seems new rules have taken over and, I'm telling you, I'm having more fun than ever. But, the thing is, and this is what gets my goat, no one wants to talk about the new rules...it's like they are keeping it to themselves so that they will get into the number one position in google, so that they will sell more books, so that they get all the notoriety. Pish. I was brought up to share.

But the thing is, I want authors to get excited about promotion. I don't want to see them groan. I want them to get so pysched up that they're staying on the computer until 4 in the morning like I am! Heh. Well, I just want to put the spark in their fire so that they can come out of the woodwork and be the person they want to be.

Everyone has it. They just have to latch onto that special quality that stands out from everyone else. It's like American Idol...we don't just want great...we want STUPENDOUS.

So, that's what my little ol' blog is all about. Check it out if you will...but there is one prereqisite....

YOU MUST BE PUMPED UP TO SELL YOUR BOOK LIKE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN PUMPED BEFORE.

Are you with me on this?

Good...check it out and learn the secrets of great online promotion...things the "others" don't want you to know...see you there!

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

THE SEARCH FOR THE MILLION $$$ GHOST HAS A BLOG!

After preaching to everyone to start a book blog, I decided to take the plunge myself. I'd like to introduce you to my new book blog for THE SEARCH FOR THE MILLION $$$ GHOST at www.thesearchforthe milliondollargho st.blogspot. com!

Incidentally, if you haven't stopped over at my Pump Up Your Book Promotion blog, I've been giving some helpful hints on how to promote your book/author blog in my free workshop over there, so stop what you're doing and get over there at www.pumpupyouronlin ebookpromotion. blogspot. com and it might inspire you to either start one or how to pump up the one you have!

Have a wonderful week-end everyone!