Posted by Kate Carlisle Nov 25 2012, 12:05 am in Just For Fun, Kate Carlisle, writer's life, writing life
The English language is rich and colorful, constantly changing. New words are invented, old words are repurposed. Tracing the etymology of a word is fascinating. Our language has been influenced by nearly every other language in the world, living and dead. With skill and a passion for vocabulary, writers can communicate the most delicate of nuances, evoking emotions in a reader who is miles – or generations – away.
As writers and readers, by our very natures we have a great appreciation for the English language. But ya gotta admit… sometimes it’s stoopid. Spelling and pronunciation in English are only occasionally intuitive. Every rule has a hundred exceptions. It must be frustrating for people learning English as a second language because there’s no logic to it – we’re forced to memorize each exception as it comes. An impossible task for many native speakers!
Eight is pronounced “ate,” and yet sleight is pronounced “slite.” Take off the T and make it sleigh, and we pronounce it “slay.” Why? Because I said so.
“I knead bread” means something completely different from “I need bread.” Can you guess which is the sentence I would never use? Evidently, I’m not alone. Kneading is so rare these days that Microsoft Word gave me the blue squiggly line, asking, “Really? You knead? Yeah, right! Who are you kidding?!”
I’m convinced that the ability to spell is innate. (I had to look that one up – I couldn’t remember whether there was one N or two in innate.) Those who are born without the gene can still learn to spell, but it takes great effort. I’m fortunate that way. Spelling comes pretty easily to me, but I sympathize deeply with those for whom it doesn’t and have learned over the years not to take a spelling error as an indicator of intelligence. Some of the smartest people I know say “their” when they mean “there.” (My own personal nemesis is “here” when I mean “hear.” I get it wrong every time!)
Still, I’ll confess. It makes me cringe every time I see someone make a mistake like that, but it doesn’t make me think less of them. “It’s” when they mean “its,” on the other hand…
Were you born with the good spelling gene? What words give you trouble? What words do you see frequently misspelled, that drive you crazy?
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 10 2012, 12:03 am in Anna Campbell, Australia, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, history, Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed, Sons of Sin, travel, writer's life
..for people who don’t live here! Especially if you’re from North America!
I’m a proud little Aussie gal!
Just now, I’m particularly proud (not for nationalistic reasons) because my seventh historical romance SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED recently hit the shelves.
In honor of all the 7s doing the rounds, I thought I’d pick out seven interesting facts about Australia that foreigners may find interesting.
So here are seven mostly obscure facts about my beloved homeland that you can use to dazzle the guests at your next barbecue:
7. Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the world’s driest continent. Perhaps that explains our dry sense of humor!
6. Australia is one of the few nations to send athletes to every modern summer Olympic Games. We’ve hosted the Olympics twice – in 1956 and 2000.
5. In World War II, we came very close to Japanese invasion (Darwin was bombed and there were Japanese submarines creating havoc in Sydney Harbor). Hundreds of thousands of American troops under the command of General MacArthur came to Australia to fight in the Pacific arena. So on behalf of my nation, a big thank you to the United States!
4. We had a series of gold rushes from the early 1850s through to about 1900, just in time for miners from San Francisco to hop on the nearest sailing ship and float across the Pacific to dig for the yellow stuff. The gold rushes established Australia’s prosperity and population – and when you look at the records, you’d be amazed how many Americans made the trip to our sunny shores!
3. We have some very strange animals (no, I’m not talking about the types who hang around our local pubs and clubs after midnight on a Saturday!). There are koalas and kangaroos and echidnas and wombats. I want to talk about the platypus here – this duck-billed, egg-laying mammal is so strange that when the first specimens reached London (stuffed, not live) in the early 19th century, the scientific community was convinced it was a hoax.
2. A couple of American slang terms have very different meanings in Australia, something which gives us great (and childish) amusement. In America, if you ‘root’ for someone, you’re cheering them on. In Australia, ‘root’ means intimate relations. And don’t start me on fanny pack! In some things, we’re two nations divided by a common language!
1. There’s a myth that we ride kangaroos down the main streets of our biggest cities. This is completely untrue. The kangaroos of Australia formed a union (the HEA – Hopping Entities of Australia – affiliated to the Transport Workers Union) in 1934 to object to this cruel and unusual treatment. Now the kangaroos ride the Aussies! There’s a whole underclass of people who work as Roo-shaws!
OK, not ALL those facts are 100% true. Can you tell which one? However, having read this post, even if you don’t come from my wide brown land, you may now consider yourselves honorary Aussies. Have a stubbie in your stubbies on the black stump outback of beyond in the never-never.
I’d love to know an interesting fact about where you live. And hey, it doesn’t even have to be true!
I’ve got a signed copy of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED available for one lucky commenter today. So get commenting, people. Or as we say in Oz, drag up a stump for your rump and have a chinwag, mate.
Posted by Susan Sey Jul 1 2012, 12:51 am in interviews, romance bandits, Susan Sey, writer's life, writing life
This month’s Bandita spotlight belongs to Susan Sey, often referred to as The Tardy Bandita, since she wandered into the lair about three months after everybody else. (She dislikes asking for directions & insists she’ll find her own damn way. Eventually.) She’s happily married to her own personal hero, & is the mother of two girls who are simultaneously the pride of her life & the reason she will never be able to write more than one book a year. At least not until the 2020s.
She writes unabashedly in the genre least likely to sell or make her any money (single title contemporary). She was as astonished as anybody when she got picked up by a major publisher after winning the 2008 Golden Heart in this same ill-fated category. She was not, however, astonished to find herself unceremoniously dropped by that same publisher two books later. The economy sucks, & better writers than she have gotten the axe. She remains, however, the proud author of MONEY HONEY (Berkley Sensation, 2010) and MONEY SHOT (Berkley Sensation, 2011), and is delighted to announce her foray into self-publishing with her…what else?….single title contemporary romance KISS THE GIRL, which debuted on June 26, 2012.
So. Let’s grill her, shall we?
Q: How long have you been writing, and how has your writing changed over time?
Susan Sey: I’ve been writing since I was old enough to read. I loved the characters I met in books like I’d love a real live friend, and it was difficult for me to say goodbye to them when the story ended. So in my head I made up more of their story so I could spend more time with them. It seemed like a perfectly logical solution to me but evidently not everybody does that. Who knew?
As far as how my writing’s changed over time, well that’s an interesting question. I’ve just recently self-pubbed the last book I wrote before selling to a big-time NYC publisher, the one I’ve always loved but that never found a home in NYC. (KISS THE GIRL, previously titled THE PRINCESS PROJECT.) And in cleaning it up for publication, I made a fascinating discovery: This book is palpably joyful. It’s funny and charming and ridiculous, and it’s because when I was writing it, I believed in myself and in my talent.
See, when I wrote KISS THE GIRL, I was at the peak of my game as an unpubbed writer–winning contests, finalling in the Golden Heart, signing with an agent–and my confidence was at high tide as a result. And then my dreams came true and I sold to a big ol’ publisher. And suddenly I was a teeny, unproductive fish in a vast, cruel pond, my books sold respectably but I didn’t blow the doors off, and my confidence took a massive hit. And my writing got dark and confined and tentative. And it shows. MONEY SHOT is the book I wrote under that contract, and it’s about as dark a book as I’ve ever written.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that book. It’s tightly written and well-plotted and I’m still sort of half in love with my hero, Rush. But there’s an anxiety running through that book, a darkness, that speaks very strongly to my experience of writing it.
So I’m looking to get back to that KISS THE GIRL place, where I feel happy and strong and confident, and my writing shows it.
Q: What drink does Sven bring you when you’re hiding in the cave?
SS: Ooooh, well it’s summer here in the upper Midwest so I’m all about the beer gardens. I often ask Sven to trot over to our local micro breweries–Surly and Summit–to see what’s on tap. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Surly’s Cynic Ale, and Summit’s Summer Ale. (Thank you, Sven, darling.)
Q: What’s the hardest thing about writing? What’s the most rewarding?
SS: The hardest thing is honestly finding extended periods of time to get immersed in my world. I have little kids, you know, and I can pawn them off on the cabana boys and gladiators for a little while but once the girls start tossing about spears and reeling off drink ingredients, I know I need to dial back the writing time. The most rewarding thing is far and away when somebody tells me my story touched them. I always find it humbling and astonishing when something I write garners an honest emotional response from somebody.
Q: Who do you enjoy writing more — hero or heroine?
Oh, I’m unashamedly in love with each and every one of my heroes. Female friendship has always been sort of a difficult thing for me–I have three sisters so never really had to learn the knack of making female friends until it was too late & everybody already had a BFF for life. So this is sort of a handicap for me when I write, & my heroes come far more easily. I fall in love with them right out of the gate, & they love me right back. They’re easy. But the heroines I have to warm up to. Or maybe they have to warm up to me before they’ll let me know them? I don’t know. But my heroes just spring to life, while my heroines make me sweat.
The one exception has to be Nixie from KISS THE GIRL. She was a joy from page one, a pure delight to know and a ball to write. I missed her when I wrote The End. But she was so darn happy with her happily ever after, I didn’t have the heart to disturb her to see if she wanted to hang out or grab a beer sometime.
Q: Favorite thing you’ve researched?
Right now, I’m thinking about writing a story about a disgraced corporate high-flyer whose business empire falls to shreds & leaves him with nothing but a dilapidated small-scale goat and cattle farm in Northern Minnesota. Which isn’t exactly known for its pasture land. But confidence is not this guy’s problem, & he thinks he can just take up organic farming. I’m learning a ton about cheese, of all things. Working title? The Milk Man Takes a Wife. Of course.
So there you have it. My life story in a nutshell. If I’ve failed to satisfy your curiosity about any little thing, feel free to get in touch by visiting my website, my Facebook page or just old-fashioned emailing me at email@example.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Posted by Anna Campbell May 10 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, anya seton, Barbara Cartland, Dorothy Dunnett, Inspiration, Lorna Hill, Mary Stewart, reading, travel, Victoria Holt, writer's life
by Anna Campbell
I’ve always been a really enthusiastic reader, right from the first moment I worked out what those scratchy black marks on white paper meant. And I can’t tell you how many ways reading has influenced my life and the person I’ve become.
One of the big things reading has done is give me the desire to travel. All those tired, aching Visa bills from my wanderings can be blamed on the fact that I always have a book on the go – and usually more than one!
As I think I’ve mentioned before, I had a pretty idyllic childhood on an avocado farm on the Queensland coast. Now when I know how rotten a lot of kids have it, I’m enormously grateful. But at the time, it seemed that everything happened somewhere OTHER than Redland Bay. I wanted drama. I wanted glamour. I wanted adventure. Not much of any of those where I grew up.
So I fed my mania for romance and drama with my reading. And in the process, developed a list longer than the Great Wall of China (which is on the list) of places I’d love to see someday. Partly because foreign places have such alluring and interesting names. Who could resist wanting to visit places called Archangel or Umbria or Yokohama?
So far, I’ve knocked a serious number of those places off my list. Still lots to go if anyone wants to donate to my travel fund!
Today I thought I’d wander down Memory Lane (yet another place to visit!) and talk about some of the books that made me want to see the world.
The first book I’d like to talk about was a firm favorite when I was in late primary school. It’s called A DREAM OF SADLER’S WELLS and it’s about an aspiring ballerina called Veronica who has to leave London and her dance school to live with her cousins in the wilds of Northumberland. I was a ballet-mad kid so this was right up my alley. Not only that, it was funny and heartfelt and there was a lovely romance between Veronica and a boy called Sebastian. I still think Sebastian is one of the most romantic names out there!
It was the first of a series of ballet books from Lorna Hill and I read a lot of them but none really compared to ADOSW (Sadlers Wells was the headquarters of the Royal Ballet at the time, the 1940s and 1950s). I must have read that 100 times! Lorna Hill describes both glamorous London with its rich culture and history and the rugged beauty of the moors so beautifully, that both went to the top of my travel list. Not to mention the yen to see the Royal Ballet. I remember when I finally got to visit London in 1985, I went to see SWAN LAKE at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Definitely experienced a flashback to Veronica and her highjinks when I settled back to watch the performance!
Another writer who got me interested in an enormous number of places is the much-maligned Barbara Cartland. I must have read hundreds of her romances in late primary school and early high school. I think they’re wonderful for that age – they’re not too explicit and the historical detail is fascinating. The very first Barbara Cartland I ever read was snaffled from my grandmother’s library pile – LOVE UNDER FIRE. It featured an intrepid young Spanish girl who disguises herself as a boy and joins Wellington’s Army so she can get to England and safety. Hmm, interesting that the Regency was such an early subject of my reading, isn’t it? Not to mention dark and dangerous aristocratic English heroes!
Then I discovered really meaty historical romance with Anya Seton, an American who wrote meticulously researched and emotive novels about women in history. I suspect she might be out of fashion now but I adored those books in high school. Favorites were GREEN DARKNESS, based on Ightham Mote in Kent which I was lucky enough to visit in 2004, and above all KATHERINE. KATHERINE is the epic love story of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford and it brings the rich tapestry of medieval France and England to vivid life. Not to mention packing in oceans of romance and emotion. Just my cup of tea! I remember in 2004, I saw the real Katherine’s grave in Lincoln Cathedral and immediately I was swept back to my 13-year-old self for whom that book was an obsession.
About the same stage as I was reading Anya Seton, I discovered the wonderful romantic suspense novels of Mary Stewart. Now that’s someone who REALLY inspired me to travel. Her descriptions of setting are unrivalled. I recently re-read MY BROTHER MICHAEL and WILDFIRE AT MIDNIGHT for a review that’s coming up on The Romance Dish on 24th May (check it out!). Mary S. can still take my breath away with her gorgeous writing about place. She engages every sense when she’s talking about Greece or Skye or the South of France. It’s really like being there in person.
Another author who made settings come alive in my starved imagination was Victoria Holt (who also wrote as Jean Plaidy and Philippa Carr). I think I can lay the start of the gothic tendency in my own writing very firmly at her feet. I devoured VH at about the same stage as I was reading Anya Seton and Mary Stewart. Interesting how these terrifically influential writers hit me all at the same time, isn’t it? The very first VH I read was a stormy romance called BRIDE OF PENDORRIC. After that, I devoured those books about innocent girls in the clutches of dangerous dark-hearted men – men who ended up saving them from even darker-hearted men who intended our heroines’ ruin and murder. Sigh. Great stuff!
The last of the books I want to talk about today when it comes to travel obsession was a slightly later crazeme. I must have been in my early 20s when I discovered the vivid historical world of Dorothy Dunnett. My obsession for the Lymond Chronicles (starting with THE GAME OF KINGS) set in 16th century Europe outshone all previous obsessions. My poor friends – they heard nothing except Francis Crawford for quite a while there!
Then when I traveled in Europe that first time in the mid-80s, I was seeing so much through the filter of Dorothy Dunnett’s wonderful tales. I’m yet to visit the Eastern Mediterranean or Russia but when I do, I’m positive that those Dorothy Dunnett books will still haunt everything I see. Now, that’s powerful writing!
So did any books influence your life? Have you read any of these authors? Any early reading that still resonates with your life today? Have you ever visited a place just because you read about it in a book? Let’s talk armchair travel today in the lair!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Apr 25 2012, 12:05 am in Kate Carlisle, writer's life, writing life
I spent $79 yesterday on ink for my printer. $79! Plus tax! Granted, I got two XL cartridges, but still. And XL or no, I still seem to run out of ink with shocking frequency.
The woman at the register rang up the ink, and her eyes widened. “You could buy a new printer for that!” she said.
“Not when I’ve got this kind of money invested in this one,” I assured her, even though my printer has never worked the way it should.
I bought it with stars in my eyes. It’s an HP all-in-one – printer, copier, scanner – and even better, it’s wireless! I had visions of printing from any room in the house without having to lug my laptop into the office. Of happily trotting to the office with a piece of paper fluttering in my hand, passing it through the scanner, then returning to my computer to discover the paper had miraculously appeared on the screen. Oh, how naïve I was!
The scales fell from my eyes during my many calls to tech support, trying to get the wireless function to work. Each call took several hours, and I promise I’m not exaggerating that to make you pity me. I was on the cell phone so long that I started to worry I was giving myself brain cancer.
Part of the reason the calls took so long was because the tech support people would talk me through the same steps every time – even when I told them that I had already gone through those steps with the last person I talked to. I had to start from the beginning every single time, going through the steps that already hadn’t worked.
I saw occasional glimmers of hope. On one bright Tuesday morning, a paper I scanned did miraculously appear on my computer screen. The paper said, “I HATE MY PRINTER!!!” and I never got it to work again.
Then one day, while writing a Guru Bob scene for ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE, I was in a very Zen state of mind. I realized that I could choose to stop being annoyed. I could accept that, whatever it said on the box, mine is not a wireless printer.
Starting that day, when I needed to print or scan something, I lugged my laptop into the office, plugged it in, did the deed, and got on with my life. I have embraced fatalism, and it works for me. So much so, that I’m willing to spend $79 on ink. Plus tax.
I’ve decided to try the same tactic with other minor annoyances in my life. The raised toilet seat, the friend who keeps calling my home phone even though I’ve told her a hundred times I prefer to use my cell, the person with twelve items in the ten-items-or-less lane. My world will be a happier place if I stop trying to change what cannot be changed.
How do you feel about your printer? Does anyone have a wireless printer that works as a wireless printer and, if so, what kind is it? Have you embraced fatalism about anything in your life? If so, how’s it working for you?
Posted by Anna Campbell Jan 10 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Australian Summer, Cherries, fruit, writer's life
by Anna Campbell
I love, love, love cherry season. Here in Australia, the local cherries aren’t around for very long so I always make an utter pig of myself over Christmas and New Year with them. Over recent years, a lot of shops have started sporting American cherries out of our season, but there’s something not cricket about buying expensive imported fruit, I always think.
Right now, a bowl of my favorite (and sadly very short-lived in terms of growing season) St. Margaret cherries is sitting at my elbow. They’re the big, luscious, black, sweet ones. YUMBO! Nothing could be nicer.
Did you know cherries were terrifically good for you? They help with arthritis and gout and heart disease and one site I found even claimed they helped you lose weight. Probably not in the quantities I’m eating right now!
Cherries are a fruit associated with some lovely memories for me. When I lived in London in the mid-80s, I used to work at a perfume stall in Covent Garden market and make my lunch of the luscious summer cherries they sold from nearby costermonger barrows. Always felt I was getting the genuine London experience there!
I remember a glorious day touring the Napa and Sonoma valleys in 2008 and sitting in a lush glade and gorging myself from cherries from a market. By the way, that experience nearly bought me to grief. I flew home not long afterward and the scent ended up clinging to my backpack. The airport sniffer dog wouldn’t leave me alone – clearly a beagle has a good nose for my favorite fruit!
When I went to Colorado for RomCon in 2010, I was delighted to see that this was clearly America’s cherry capital. There were even specialty cherry shops that sold cherry jam and cherry wine and cherry lip balm. Not sure how much actual cherry was in that!
When I lived in Sydney before I started to write full time, I worked up the road from a big Asian market that had a huge fruit and veg section. I remember buying 2kg cases of special quality cherries (about 5lb) that were as big as plums. Oh, man, they were the most splendiferous things on the planet!
Cherries were always a special Christmas holidays treat when I was a kid. These days, a lot of things that had a short season back then are pretty much available all year (watermelon and chocolate biscuits spring to mind) but cherries are still only available for those few short weeks around the solstice. I can remember my best friend from primary school and I rubbing cherries on our lips and pretending we were wearing lipstick. It’s actually quite a becoming shade!
We used to get cases of peaches and nectarines and apricots and mangoes to take away on holidays with us (my dad was a bit of a fruit fanatic although my mum wouldn’t care if she never saw a piece of fruit). But my faves were always the cherries and I can remember being so disappointed a couple of years when they were just too expensive. Sigh.
So I’m a cherry tragic. I even at a pinch will eat maraschino cherries although they’re not a patch on the real thing. Madame (Christina Brooke) always looks utterly revolted when I start raving about the delights of a local chocolate bar with dark chocolate, coconut and dried cherries called a Cherry Ripe. It turns out it’s Australia’s oldest chocolate bar, so as a history buff, she should definitely overcome her revulsion!
If you must have chocolate for breakfast, Cherry Ripe would be my choice! Think of all the vitamins. Snork.
So do you have a favorite fruit? Is it seasonal or available all year? And am I the only person in the universe who likes preserved cherries? Please say it isn’t so!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 10 2011, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Facebook, Social Media, Twitter, writer's life
by Anna Campbell
Do you Twitter?
Well, I assume if you’re a wren or a finch, you probably do. But we don’t get a lot of comments from our avian visitors. Even the Rooster is too busy creating mayhem to spend much time hanging around the daily blog. By the way, if you’re a fowl and you’re just lurking, come and say hello. We promise to add some cracked wheat to the margaritas! On the other hand if you’re just foul, we’re happy for you to remain incognito.
I long resisted joining Twitter. Partly because when I joined Facebook, for a while there, it took over my life. Eventually I had a word with myself and my deadline and realized I was allowed to dabble but not hang on all day to see all the jokes and the funny pictures of dogs and the “It’s fine in South Carolina” posts that kept me so riveted. So with great difficulty, I weaned myself to a peek now and then. Well, maybe a LEETLE more than that but at least real life (compared to cyberlife) now occasionally gets a look-in.
Then Facebook did a bad, bad thing (without unfortunately dressing up as Chris Izaak to give me the news) and banned contests. I’d been having a wonderful time building up the membership of my fan page and meeting lots of new readers and suddenly that avenue wasn’t open to me anymore.
So in high dudgeon (my dudgeon is usually of the miniature variety), I decided to investigate Twitter after all.
It’s taken me a while to get the hang of it but I must say I really like it. The short message thing really works and it’s a wonderful spot just to do a blast of news about something like a prize on the Bandits or a new book by a friend of mine. I still find long conversations work better on Facebook, although I certainly see people who have extended chats on Twitter. It’s also great for finding out little snippets from all over the world. As a museum geek, I’ve signed up to all sorts of interesting places like the Metropolitan Museum. They have a lovely habit of featuring photos of their costume collection for my viewing pleasure. And I love being able to retweet an interesting post or good news or something that takes my fancy.
One of the really fun things about Twitter is that every so often someone famous follows me and I have no bloomin’ idea why I hit their radar. This morning it was Kevin Costner for me. I kid you not! KEVIN COSTNER!
You also find out interesting things so it’s educational. Current affairs. Publishing news. I’m following a site that gives the complete works of Shakespeare line by line. We’re on THE WINTER’S TALE at the moment. And these days, most of my breaking news comes from Twitter.
Just in case you Twitter, here are some useful links:
Anna Campbell https://twitter.com/#!/AnnaCampbelloz
Romance Bandits (and check out the individual bandits too – most of us Twitter with bells on, which can get VERY noisy) https://twitter.com/#!/RomanceBandits
Metropolitan Museum of Art https://twitter.com/#!/metmuseum
I Am Shakespeare: https://twitter.com/#!/IAM_SHAKESPEARE
And if you’d like to join my Facebook Page, it’s: http://www.facebook.com/AnnaCampbellFans
I sing the praises of Twitter!
So do you Twitter? Do you Facebook? What do you think of social media in general? Wonderful opportunity for international understanding, the devil’s handmaiden or just a lot of useless noise?
And because I’ve been suffering contest withdrawal, I thought I’d do a giveaway (in a way that won’t annoy Facebook). You all get two chances to win this one. Join my Facebook Fan Page (or tell me you’re already a member) and you get one entry. Follow me on Twitter (or tell me you already follow me) and you get another entry. TWO commenters win a book today, your choice from my backlist (see Books page on my website http://annacampbell.info/books.html if you need help choosing). Good luck! I’ll announce the winners tomorrow night!
Posted by crocodesigns Sep 13 2011, 3:00 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, writer's life
Thank you so much to everyone who kept the blog going on Saturday when I was off having a wonderful time at the Brisbane Writers Festival!
Just to let you know I’ve swung by and answered all the comments – what fun to hear about all your best-laid schemes going oft agley!
The two winners of their choice of my backlist are:
Congratulations, girls! Please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) and let me know which book you’d like. If you need help to choose, please check out my books page: http://annacampbell.info/books.html
Posted by crocodesigns Sep 10 2011, 4:02 am in Anna Campbell, Backlist, Bandita Booty, Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance, writer's life
by Anna Campbell
Welcome to the launch of…
What’s that you say?
Guys, so very, very sorry but we were meant to have one of the infamous lair launches today (in fact people have started calling the Banditas the ladies who launch).
We had the cabana boys on standby. Extra margaritas. Deck chairs lined up with Sven on duty for massages. We’ll just have to have a party anyway!
Sadly, publication of THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE which I was so looking forward to introducing today has been delayed until late next year. You’ll all have to wait to meet Calista and Miles and Isabella and Josiah. Goodness me, they’ll have to wait for their happy endings too which is MUCH harder on them, I’m sure!
I was all geared up to tell the world about “The Chinese Bed”, my story in the anthology, including a contest on my website (thank you to the people who have entered – you’re already automatically entered in the replacement contest where I’m giving five people their choice from my backlist).
Do you know where the quote “the best-laid schemes” comes from? It’s a poem by Robbie Burns called To a Mouse, on Turning Her up in her Nest with a Plough:
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An ‘lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Hmm, not sure if the cabana boys count as mice or men – Paolo looks scared most of the time. And after a few margaritas, I’ll feel neither grief nor pain!
Actually I think the mouse in the poem has come along to offer her condolences. Either that or Ermingarde hasn’t been undertaking her rat-catching duties the way she’s supposed to. Sheesh, you can’t get good help these days!
I had originally planned on doing a giveaway of the anthology here today (another best-laid scheme that went agley). But hey, why should you suffer? Two commenters today will win their choice from my backlist (which explains the covers illustrating the blog). If you’re not sure which book you’d like, please check out my books page on my website: http://annacampbell.info/books.html
Just tell me about a best-laid scheme of yours that went astray and you’ll go in the draw.
Speaking of best-laid schemes, I’m away at the Brisbane Writers Festival this weekend so I may only be around sporadically (no, not because I’m drowning my sorrows in a barrel of margaritas or a barrel of cabana boys – you guys have SUCH naughty imaginations!). But I WILL get back, promise!
Now, where did that mouse get to?
Posted by Caren Crane Jun 12 2011, 5:01 am in Caren Crane, childhood memories, life events, memories, photographs, Significant Milestones, writer's life
by Caren Crane
I had a lovely daughter graduate from high school yesterday and it was one of those Significant Milestones that should be Caught On Film. I have a few pictures, most of which I am not in because I was taking the pictures, but I have some. They are now held hostage on my digital camera because I am too…let’s not call it lazy, rather unwilling to take the time to upload all the pictures to my PC (although I did this one time, just to have a picture for this blog post!).
I have masses of picture prints from other Significant Milestones sitting in boxes in my dining room and guest room closet. (My husband would have consigned them to the attic and did not understand they would be ruined by being stored there!) I have no plans for these pictures, except to take them out from time to time and look at them or share them with others in the pictures. “Oh, look how cute they were then!”
I do not scrapbook (which I need to, because I’ll forget this picture was Rachel’s last day of school someday). I don’t make cheesy photo collages to hang on the wall of the stairwell. There are no lines of framed school pictures from kindergarten through graduation on a mantle or wall or dresser in my home. I do have photos I have stuck in frames from time to time, more from shame and fear of being the Worst Mother Ever than any other motivation. I also have a very fragile and changeable collage of photos covering my fridge (ask anyone who has been to the house!) that spans the past couple of decades. I think there is even a baby picture of me up there!
I have great photos that I feel I should do something with, but I realize I probably won’t. I may get them scanned one day – or I may give them to one of my kids to scan one day (seems much more likely). I don’t want to lose them or be without them. I also would love for my kids to do what I still do at my mother’s house: take down the boxes of photos and sift through them, remembering, laughing and smiling. Come to think of it, my mother never made scrapbooks or memory albums either. She tossed packets of photos in a drawer or box and still has them there. Maybe it’s hereditary – or maybe, like me, she’s just not a visually-oriented person. Then again, I’ve never thought she was the Worst Mom Ever, either. I am always thrilled to sift through and unearth the treasures that await me in her precious boxes.
So maybe I’ll upload my photos to a memory stick and take them to Walgreens and have those Significant Milestones turned into pieces of colored paper. Then I’ll stick them in a box, put them in the closet, shut the door and let them age a bit. By the time they are pulled out, sifted through, smiled over, laughed at and remembered, they will be Treasured Memories. I may even be in a few of them!
Do you make memory albums or scrapbooks or do you toss the photos in a box or file or drawer? Any particularly wonderful photos from your own Significant Milestones you would like to tell us about?