Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And the Beat Moves On

After much vacillation and hemming and hawing, the Mavens have concluded that it's time to formally close down Ye Olde Blog. While none of us have given up writing, we've reached a point where it's time to move on.

And so, it is with deep gratitude that we say good-bye to our stalwart MaveFaves and let you know where to find us on the Interwebs in the future.

Erica Ridley

Maven Erica RidleyThe author of Too Wicked To Kiss, which will be a March 2010 Kensington Zebra release, can be found at her website at http://www.ericaridley.com/ and her blog at http://www.ericaridley.com/blog/.

Carrie Ryan

Maven Carrie RyanYou can find Carrie, author of the forthcoming and much anticipated The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Delacorte, March 10, 2009), at her blog (http://carrie-me.blogspot.com/) and her website (http://www.carrieryan.com/). Oh, and check out her starred review in today's Publishers Weekly. Go, Carrie!

Jackie Barbosa

Maven Jackie BarbosaJackie can be found at her website (http://www.jackiebarbosa.com/), her blog (http://jackiebarbosa.blogspot.com/) and on the Aphrodisia Authors blog on the 25th of each month (when she a) remembers and b) has time, which so far hasn't been often, but she's working on it).

Darcy Burke

Maven Darcy Burke2008 Golden Heart Finalist Darcy can be found at her website (http://www.darcyburke.com/), which she keeps updated with all the latest and greatest news.

Lacey Kaye

Maven Lacey KayeOur resident process engineer, inventor of "geek lit," and author of Romance with Color can be found at her website and blog at http://laceykaye.com/.

We'll be keeping the site up for the foreseeable future, just in case any of you is overcome by a sudden, irrepressible urge to reread our old rantings and ravings...er, that is, pearls of wisdom. Thanks for joining us on this incredible adventure in writing, and for letting us share our lives with you (and yours with us). We've truly appreciated it.

Last one out...please turn out the lights :).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Out with the Old

Maven Erica Ridley I've had my old laptop for... wow. Since the days floppy drives were considered indispensable. And although technology continued passing it by, my laptop never let me down. It continues working like a charm, except... Well, except the case is cracking. And pieces are starting to fall off. And the hard drive is so small, I have to delete old emails in order to receive new ones. And--

So finally, after year(s) of suspecting I needed a new laptop (and much ridicule from my friends, who insisted I needed a new laptop) I finally ordered a new one. Overnight shipping and everything. Went all out.

(Natch, there's a part on backorder, so who knows when it'll arrive...)

How about you? Do you write on a desktop or a laptop? Old or new? Or maybe an Alphasmart or handwritten on paper? Ever think about upgrading? Or are you an upgrade junkie?

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Bet You

Maven Erica Ridley Mornin', Mavenland! This weekend, while giving a workshop on Websites & Online Marketing to the STAR chapter of RWA, I entered into a friendly little bet.

(Or possibly a snarling, I-will-get-you, just-you-wait-and-see competition... hard to say.)

With challenge in her eyes, a friend of mine informed me that she bet she could write her novel by the end of February. (Yanno... 5 weeks from now.)

As I hadn't yet recovered from the heart palpitations sparked by my own mid-March deadline, I opened my mouth and said, "Oh yeah? I bet I can finish mine first."

To which my friend casually responded, "You're on."

Ack! It's on!!!

How about you? What are you working on? Got any deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise? How are things going with that?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Maven Darcy BurkeHappy New Year! The ends of my hair are currently singed as I burn through my WIP. I'm in that great almost-done phase where you can hardly do anything but sit and write. Like reading a good book that I simply can't put down. Except of course the writing takes much, much, much longer than the reading. If only it were the reverse.

My biggest challenge with this book is writing a truly Alpha Alpha male. I mean, he's entitled, he's arrogant, he likes violence, and he treats the heroine like a sex object for the first half of the book. I love him! But, sometimes it's hard to write him. I've been stuck the past few days on a pivotal scene. He exposes his vulnerable side to the heroine and then in the next scene he's all nice and...bor-ring. And I really need that first scene. So, I thought, "What does a guy do when he says or does something humiliating?" Pretend it never happened and act like a total jerk to the person who might've witnessed said humiliation. Voila, unstuck.

Been stuck lately? What'd you do about it?

Update: Last time I blogged (uh, way too long ago), I'd just found my long-lost Danish cousins. I'm now in frequent contact and even talked to Paprika on the phone last week. Despite the lost years and never meeting, the connection between us is so strong. I can't wait to meet them in person and hug them tight!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Coffee, Google, & CO2

Maven Erica RidleyI was reading a Science and Technology article on my google homepage today (warning: it's in Spanish) that claims every two times you Google one of your burning questions, Google produces the same amount of CO2 in answering as is produced when heating up a cup of instant coffee. (This is not a knock against Google, whom I'd marry if it was a he.)

Google, in fact, was quick to point out that just the mere fact of having your computer connected to the Internet at all (whether you're Googling or busy cursing at Spider Solitaire) produces even *more* CO2 in the same amount of time as two Google searches. Given that there's 200 million Google searches in any given day--and a whole lot more of other 'net shenanigans going on whilst not Googling--that sounds like a helluva lot of C02.

Given the technologically addicted nature of the world at large (and myself in particular) however, I'm not sure what we can/will/should do about it...

Do the super-awesome benefits of internet technology outweigh the cost of environmental responsibility? Is it naive to think the general population would take time to unplug in an attempt to curb our rush toward a greenhouse effect backlash? *Is* there a risk of a greenhouse effect backlash, or is that claptrap anyway? If it is a real risk, is it far too late to avoid its effects by simply denying ourselves the freedom to Google?


Friday, January 9, 2009

Anti-Resolutions, Take 2

Maven Jackie BarbosaA little over a year ago, I wrote a post about my New Year's Anti-Resolutions. (If you want to see why I make anti-resolutions instead of resolutions, go here.)
Oddly enough, I was just about to take off for a vacation in Yosemite when I posted; this year, I've just gotten back from one! (Wow, did we hit it just right! The three days we were in the park were gorgeous and sunny. The day we left, it had started to drizzle--and there's nothing I hate more than rain on top of snow!)

Anyhoo, on the heels of Maven Erica's goal post (haha, I made a pun!), I thought it would be fun to revisit my 2008 Anti-Resolutions to see how I did. Here are the things I promised to try not to do.

1. Enter a slew of contests.

Did all right here. I only entered four contests in 2008, and of those four, I didn't final in two and won my category in the other two. Winning was nice validation, but I have to say that I got a lot of valuable information from those non-finals (including that a non-finaling manuscript can be the one that sells, lol).

2. Start manuscripts I can't seem to finish.

The jury's still out on this one. I started at least four (maybe five) manuscripts this year that I didn't finish...YET. But that doesn't mean I won't/can't finish them. It's just that the ones I've got out there right now are of the "it's not time to try to sell these" variety, which means they're sitting on the shelf pending a better moment.

We'll have to put this one in the "wait and see" category.

3. Put on ten pounds.

Definitely achieved. As far as I can tell, I didn't put on any weight in 2008 and, while I didn't get the 10 I gained in 2007 OFF, I held steady. Good enough for me.

4. Come up with another pseudonym.

So far, so good, but if I do finish one of those "not time yet" manuscripts, I might really NEED another one (esp. since one is middle grade/YA).

5. Open my mouth and insert my foot--at least not repeatedly!

Okay, still working on this one. I do think I'm getting better--or maybe my friends are just getting more tolerant. Either way, this is the hard one for me because I so often tend to speak without a filter. I have a thought or an idea and I just blurt it out. It's in my nature. Doesn't mean it's a good thing, though, or one I don't have to try to improve. But hey, I'm only 44. God isn't finished with me yet ;).

What's New for 2009?

This year's Anti-Resolutions, in no particular order, are as follows.

I will not:

1. Waste so much time on the Internet. (Notice I didn't say I won't waste any time on the Internet. That would be impossible!)

2. Allow myself to fall so far behind a deadline that I have to neglect my family to meet it. (Yeah, this was bad in 2008.)

3. Try to write a book without writing a blurb first. (Yeah, doesn't work for me. Even when I have a synopsis. Go figure!)

4. Get more cats. (We picked up four in the past year for a total of five. One more and I suspect I will be officially considered a cat lady.)

5. Spend every writing moment doing everything but write. (Yeah, corollary to #1, but still, important!)

And, with that, since this is a writing moment, I'd better get cracking!

YOUR TURN: Got any plans for things you won't be doing this year? Or things you will? Tell all. The Mavens want to know!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Call Story

Maven Erica RidleySo, I was sitting at a tall table in a tiny internet cafe in Arenal, Costa Rica watching a cow cross the road, when Gmail was so kind as to drop an email from my agent, Lauren Abramo, into my Inbox.

[begin complete and utter paraphrase with shameless abuse of poetic license]


I left you messages on all forty-eight of your phones and yet I haven't heard from you. What could possibly be more important than the super-exciting thing I'm killing myself trying to tell you?? Call me before I shank you!

Love, Lauren

[end complete and utter paraphrase with shameless abuse of poetic license]

Hmmm, I thought to myself. I *could* continue to drowsily stare at the cow crossing the road. Or... I could call my agent.

Seeing as how AT&T charges $2.29 per minute for international calls from Costa Rica [$?#*@!] I fired up my good buddy Skype on my laptop and placed me an international call faster than you can say "VOIP".

[begin complete and utter paraphrase with shameless abuse of poetic license]

L: Hello?

E: Hey, Lauren, it's Erica.

L: Hey, Erica! Long time no talk. What've you been up to?

E: Oh, you know. Ate some beans and rice. Drank an Imperial. Watched a cow cross the road. You?

L: Oh, you know. Crossed tall buildings in a single bound. Shot spiderwebs out of my wrists. Sold your book.

E: SQUEEE!!!!!

L: SQUEEE!!!!!

E & L: SQUEEE!!!!!

[end complete and utter paraphrase with shameless abuse of poetic license]

There you have it--my two-missed-calls-one-email-one-cow-and-an-emergency-voip-chat call story.


Special thanks to my uber-massive support group: the Mavens Darcy, Lacey, Carrie, and Jackie, Kel & Manda, Janice, PCubed: Jean, June, Elissa, Cheryl, and Linda, all my TARA sisters, Cheryl, Julie and Virginia for never being too busy to answer my questions, and of course Karen and Diana, whose (utterly perfect) initial reaction was, "I told you so!"

Monday, January 5, 2009


Maven Erica RidleyCan I get a SQUEEEEEEE?!?!?!

I am pleased, thrilled, utterly apoplectic to announce that my superstar agent Lauren Abramo just sold my superstar Regency-set gothic TOUCHED to Kensington in a two-book deal. Yayayay!!!

It will be arriving at a bookstore near you in the next 18 months. More details to come (including "call story"...)


Special thanks to my uber-massive support group: the Mavens Darcy, Lacey, Carrie, and Jackie, Kel & Manda, Janice, PCubed: Jean, June, Elissa, Cheryl, and Linda, all my TARA sisters, Cheryl, Julie and Virginia for never being too busy to answer my questions, and of course Karen and Diana, whose (utterly perfect) initial reaction was, "I told you so!"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Maven Erica Ridley Most of you know how I feel about goals. Last year around this time, I yammered on about how they must be specific, quantifiable, realistic, and attainable, and how above all, you (er... I) should be accountable for sticking to them.

Somewhere around mid-year, I fell off the write-every-day wagon.

How did this happen, given that I am the self-professed queen of making specific, quantifiable, realistic, attainable goals and sticking to them like bubble gum on shoes?

Because... I missed a bullet point. I should've added this tiny detail here:

  • Goals must be a priority

Even a goal like "get out of bed by noon" won't come to pass if it seems more important to lay in a sea of pillows with the TiVo remote and a plateful of comfort food.

So. My #1 goal for 2009 is:

Write/Revise/Plot/Daydream about my WIPs every single day, even if a few stolen moments is all I have.

1b: Because it matters.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Quick Update

Maven Jackie BarbosaSince MaveFave Vicki posted yesterday asking how the Mavens are doing, I thought it was the least I could do to pop by for a really quick update and...well, an utterly shameless squee.

As always, the day job, the family, and the writing are keeping me plenty occupied. I am (still :P) working on my option book proposal for Kensington. After writing about 8K, I found myself in a corner I didn't know how to get out of and realized I needed to retool the story from the ground up. Sigh. It happens!

A little over a week ago, I discovered a black and white, low resolution version of the cover art for my Kensington release, Behind the Red Door. Finally, after many excruciating day of impatient anticipation, the color, high-resolution version is here and I can share it with you.

Let me know what you think! But I warn you, it's mine, mine, all mine.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And, It's Off!

Maven Jackie BarbosaAnd by "it," I mean the completed manuscript of Behind the Red Door, my novella anthology which is slated for release by Kensington Books in the summer of 2009! I emailed the file to my editor yesterday (my official "extended" due date) with a follow-up hardcopy hitting the regular mail today.

Yay me!

As you may remember, I started a 30K in 30 days challenge to help motivate myself to finish. I wound up not only meeting, but exceeding my 30-day goal, although it wound up taking 32 days for me to put the final finishing touches on it. I literally closed the file ten minutes before I emailed it out.

So now, I'm free. (Breaks into a refrain of "I'm free to do what I want any old time.") It's a rather odd sensation, actually. I've been bound to that book for so long, I feel a little rudderless.

Oh, it's not that I don't have ideas. No, no, never that! It's more that I have a plethora of them, and since none of them are contracted, it's hard to prioritize. That said, for the next couple of weeks, I'm going to kick back and do some fun projects--a short story for a freebie Christmas anthology Anna Leigh Keaton is putting together and a short Christmas novella for Cobblestone Press.

After that, I reckon I'll get serious again by putting together a proposal for an option book for Kensington. And then we'll see what happens.

YOUR TURN: What have you been up to the past month while I (and the other Mavens) have been hiding in our caves? Tell us all the news. We'd love to hear!

Monday, September 15, 2008

30k in 30 Days Challenge--Update

Maven Jackie BarbosaI planned to check in a little more often than this, but actually doing the writing seemed to eat up most of my time. (Wonder how that could have happened?) I have been managing to update my daily word count on my blog, but that's about it for updates so far.

So, yesterday marked Day 15 of the challenge. I'm a little shy of 15k at this point, but that's primarily because yesterday was Sunday, and Sundays are always iffy for writing (this funny little thing called "family time" seems to get in the way, lol).

The good news, however, is that this method seems to be working. Making sure I sit down and write every single day with a specific goal in mind has made a huge difference in my productivity. When I do get a good, solid block of time, I am writing faster and more efficiently, and finding it not that hard to meet or even exceed the 1,000 word goal.

Which is a good thing, because I've now completed two of the three novellas that are due on October 1, and it's going to take me more than 1,000 words per day to finish the one I'm writing now. My math tells me I now have to average 1,400 words to write THE END on that one by September 29, the last day of the challenge, giving me a whopping ONE DAY to polish it up before sending it in. Am I worried? Nah! I'm freaking terrified. LOL.

YOUR TURN: Update us on your writing progress for the last fifteen days. If you're in on the challenge, how's it going? If you're not, what are your current goals and how are things coming along? Remember, we love to hear from you, even if we are pretty quiet ourselves!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

That Crazy Internet

Maven Darcy BurkeHowdy Mavenland! I had to share something I learned this evening from my brother...he found our cousins. Were they lost? Not really, just lost to us. Long story short: Our father had one sister and she moved to Denmark in 1951. I only met her once in the early 80s. We lost touch with her (and consequently our cousins) after our grandmother died in 1987 (my father died the previous year). I'd always wondered what was going on with them, but it never, ever occurred to me to Google them.

And how stupid was that.

See, my aunt was an actress, and a rather famous one in Denmark. She has a page in Danish Wikipedia! And my eldest cousin, Kim Sagild, was in a successful latin/jazz/funk band (Buki-Yamaz - they have a myspace page with super groovy music!) and went on to do something in music (he came to visit once also - I remember him as being so, so, so cool - I think I was maybe 9?). My other two cousins, Paprika (if you go to her page here at Internet Movie Database, click on the first trailer for The Substitute and watch what happens to her at the end!) and Nikolaj Steen were also artists, but I'd no idea Paprika won the equivalent of the Danish Oscar - for both best actress and supporting actress...in the same year! Wild.

My brother gets credit for finding them and is trying to make contact. I hope he's successful and that we'll be able to swap photos and stories. I'm certain we have much to share about our families and I'm really excited about the possibilities.

Ah, Internet, sometimes your powers are far more good than evil.

So what's the Internet done for you lately?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nothing Left But Writing

Maven Erica Ridley Happy Monday, Mavenland! (It *is* Monday, right? I am notoriously calendar-challenged...)

I am pleased to report that this weekend, I finally finished reading the first 190 pages (which, coincidentally, is all that exists) of my WIP (where P=Procrastination). Now that I've got my previous WIP shipped off to my agent, and my soon-to-be current WIP re-ingrained in my head, there's nothing left for me to do but... write. Ack!

...and revise. My initial plan was to write the entire first draft before showing any of it to my CPs, but all that happened was, I hit 60k or so and never opened the file again. So I'm now thinking, perhaps I ought to clean up what I have and let 'em have a lil look-see, just to get my critdrenaline flowing again.

Am I the last person to know about Google's Panoaramio? I spent more time surfing this site yesterday than I used to spend playing Spider Solitaire. Dangerous, dangerous!!

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens