Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First in a series!

In my ultra-dorkiness, I am starting a series of pictures of me and authors whose paths I cross at Harlequin. I've been meaning to do this for a while, and today I finally managed to start my collection. I've also been keeping a collection of all my autographed books. One day, I might get to read them all....

Here's me and New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers, signing her latest, The Angel. This was taken with my cell phone, so pardon the fuzziness.

I haven't read The Angel, but I did read Betrayals, and it was fantastic. You can read my review of the book here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lost in Translation...

Some things translate across the screen perfectly no matter what language it's in. I watched this clip as posted by sporkyadrasteia at LiveJournal, and asked her to translate for me and give me some context. Turns out it was about what I thought it was. Regardless, violence is always, always funny, especially when it's girls versus boys and the girls kick ass.

What sporky told me:

All these girls are members of the Indian National Field Hockey team which gets no funding and the girls didn't get along as a team because they're from vastly different cultures and regions of India. They get along even less with the new coach and kind of conspire to get him to resign, which he does. He invites the team and the other team managers to McDonald's for one last treat as a courtesy and they basically get into this fight.

1:30- He's telling then to just wait a sec because he wants to see how the girls react to the crazy pervy boys.

2:38- That boy was going to hit the girl with the cricket bat while her back was turned so the coach pushes him back and tells him that doing that would only make him a coward. He says all these girls here are hockey players and that "there are no cowards in hockey". :D

3:12 - The old manager is saying "Are these girls a team or a band of rakshasas [Hindu mythological demons]?" and the coach replies that this is a good thing and that this is the first time that he's seen the girls work cohesively as a team. :D

Meanwhile, all the girls are basically saying variants of "TAKE THAT, YOU PERV!!" but I hope that sentiment travels well across linguistic barriers. ;)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

To do...

Any writer will tell you that research is key to writing effectively and accurately about the experiences of their characters, whether they ride horses, deliver babies, hack computers or duel with broadswords. Maria V. Snyder has admitted to taking up glassblowing, riding horses, and picking locks while researching her characters in the Study books (some of my faves--fans of Tamora Pierce MUST read these).

I don't have the time or resources to do anything very in-depth apart from Googling a lot and using my local library, but lately, I've been making a list of things I want to do to add to my life experiences. Some are for research, some aren't, but hey, anything new is something good, right?

  • Getting a bikini wax: This is high on my list of "doable, but do I really want to do this?" Mainly because A) I don't frequently wear a bikini, and B) I just don't know if getting my hoo-hah mass-plucked is going to be fun. Maybe I'll start with something less intense, like an armpit or leg wax.
  • Playing Dungeons & Dragons: Did this last weekend, thanks to John's friend Zack who played Dungeon Master to our maurauding group of mostly noobs. It was a fantastic experience, great for getting into character motives. I've been using the game to help build a character I've been writing for a young adult novel that's moving nowhere.
  • Learning a martial art: I'd toyed with the idea of going to a free karate class, since my latest project involves an MMA fighter whose specialty is karate. Then I thought, hey, why not try boxing or MMA instead? But then I remembered, oh, right, my body is broken and I'm decrepit. Also, I did Aikido for a summer when I was in grade 9, and I don't remember it being that much fun. But just so I can say I did, I toured the Toronto BJJ gym across from Christie Pits. What I saw didn't exactly inspire me to join. They did, however, have an Octagon upstairs in their poorly ventilated upper level. A selling feature, but not for the frightened novice.
  • Camping: I'm not an outdoorsy type. At all. John will attest that I can't even walk on the grass without squirming. I mean, it's covered in poo. Don't believe me? Well, have you ever seen squirrel poo? HAVE YOU? Right, you haven't. Guess what you're lying on over on the grass there!... You know what? Never mind. My idea of roughing it is going without the Internet for 24 hours.
  • Horseback riding: Who doesn't want to do this?
  • Firing a gun: I wondered if my company would actually pay for half the cost of my getting lessons and a gun license. I decided (wisely) not to ask.

Death by Snoo Snoo

RIP Beatrice Arthur, whose manishness was always more of a comfort to me than Blanche's Southern manners. You will be missed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finish him

Dear Billy Bob Thornton:

The only reason anyone is talking about you these days is because you're being a douchebag. This is the most press you've gotten since breaking up with Angelina Jolie. No one cares about your band or your music career.

Way to pull a Joaquim Phoenix.

That is all.

No One.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hair altruism FAIL

As some people know, I've been growing my hair out for the past two years or so so that I can donate it towards making a cancer wig. A coworker of mine does it regularly, and she inspired me to follow her lead. After all, I have hair. It doesn't cost me a thing to grow, and probably saves me money since I don't have to visit the salon as often.

But yesterday, in an effort to tame the split ends and dryness, I went to a stylist at the Eaton Centre. A master stylist, in fact, since no cheapy juniors were around. She sat me down and played with my long, wayward locks for a while to figure out what to do.

"You have hair like white people's," she said. "Thin and silky. Very thin."

She was Asian--Korean, if I'm interpreting her name right--and it wasn't offensive. It just seemed like a weird way to start off the conversation.

She started to tell me that I should have more layers to lift the look, and I had to explain for the second time that I was donating my hair to cancer wigs. She took me to wash my hair and as I had my head bent into the sink, she said, "It's very kindhearted of you to do this...but quite honestly, I don't think you should. You have very thin hair...you should think about yourself first."

In my head: WTF? Altruism FAIL!

I shrugged and said I was going to do it regardless, and that I wasn't worried about my hair. After all, SOMEONE doesn't have hair, and I have an excess. And I'm not going to shave it all off, just cut it once it's long enough.

She went on to fix my hair very nicely, gave me a reduced rate (Master stylists are priced between $55 to $65 while Juniors charge $35). She was quite good, and gave me some tips on how to keep it nicely styled with the weight and flatness of it. Still, I couldn't help but think that she is probably not the only stylist with this opinion of hair donation for certain clients: in an industry that is all about vanity and making you look good, would they have a care towards someone other than the client?

Friday, April 17, 2009

WEBC Walking Update

Walked home from Pape Station today, which amounted to just a bit over 7 km in my effort to train for the WEBC. I haven't decided if my running shoes are the right ones to wear yet, though. They served me fairly well in Vegas walking up and down the strip, but I feel like I need more spring in my step. Maybe a few extra insoles will help.

Got my first call from my walking coach today, and received a package from the WEBC people with a pair of pink retractable earbuds I can use to listen to podcasts with. Pretty nifty.

Thanks to a lot of generous donors, I'm up to 62% of my fundraising goal, but I want to raise as much as I can. I've been toying with the idea of getting some custom magnetic poetry made up with romance words to build Harlequin Presents-esque titles. The only problem is that the minimum order would be, like, 500. I don't think I can sell that many...or have the funds to cover that amount. I could use some of them to give away as gifts/promos, etc. But I'm not certain this is the way to go.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Recession? What recession?

Harlequin's sales are up 32%. Because romance does well when times are tough.

Awesome feature from Nightline featuring celebrities reading from a steam selection of our books!

Watch it here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hey, isn't that....?

Proof that Harlequin models can be totally sexy, even if they're gay, married, and host a home design show.

The Border Lord and Once a Hero will be available in May.

Ah, for the days when men could wear skirts and play with their swords and nightsticks....

Lenin Interactivity Winner!

Congratulations to celestialspeeder for her winning entry in the Lenin Interactivity Challenge!

Let it not be said that Lenin did not give it his all to make up for the gas shortages in Communist-era Russia.

Never has Communism been such a gas. HAW!!!

Stay tuned for future Interactivity Challenges! And tell your friends--you, too, could be the winner of a nifty Photoshopped icon to be proudly displayed in cyberspace!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Writer's Update

1. My first book, All in the Details has been renamed: Her Cinderella Secret is prepped and ready to go out to Mills & Boon Tender Romance this week. Slush pile, here I come!

2. My third book, Fighting for Her Love, was on hiatus, but I'm tuned back in now! I hope to get a more comprehensive first draft done by October, at the latest.

3. I'm playing Dungeons and Dragons next weekend. I thought it might help my storytelling skills and imagination so that I can figure out my young adult novel heroine, Ohi Mimare. In DnD, she's a level 1 albino Eladrin rogue who's pursuing whoever tried to murder her adopted father. In my head, she's an outcast albino girl bent on solving the mystery of some stuff that goes on...er...yeah....

4. My second book, Star Attraction, did not make the Golden Heart finals. I'll post the scores as soon as they come in the mail. Back to the ol' drawing board....

5. My other book starring someone who is looking and sounding more and more like Simon Pegg in my mind is on hold. I'm stuck, though the characters are floating in the back of my head, banging on my skull to continue. I wish they wouldn't do that.

On reading:

I'm recharging with a little happy reading of Deanna Raybourn's latest in the Lady Julia Grey novels. She's my favorite Regency author by far. Go out and buy Silent on the Moor...but don't tell me what happens! I'm not done with it yet!

I'm giving up on Pride and Prejudice. I might settle for either Marvel Comic's Pride and Prejudice, or the very popular Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In either instance, at least there'd be pictures, and violence in at least one of these retellings. Maybe I'll just rent the BBC miniseries and be done with it.

Have a pile of research books to read about MMA and karate. Also, still haven't figured out how to set the speed dial on my new cell phone, so I need to read the manual.

Got a great bookmark from John: it has a kitty wearing a sweater and the words "And THEN what happened?" printed all over it.

Pretty much sums up the plot bunnies and constipated cats of curiosity eating up the grass of my time and energy.

So much to do...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Of Great Import

I'm taking time out from my regularly scheduled irreverence to write about something very important to me and to thousands of women (and men) everywhere.

This past year, two women very close to me were diagnosed with breast and uterine cancer. They are both currently receiving treatment and care. I have been in awe of their strength and courage, and now, I am finally able to do something more than just stand at the sidelines and watch helplessly as they endure rounds of surgery, radio, chemo, and hormone therapy.

On September 11, 2009, I will be walking in the 30 km event at the Princess Margaret Hospital's Weekend to End Breast Cancer.

This annual event draws thousands of people every year and encourages them to raise funds for breast cancer and other women's cancer research and therapies.

As a participant, I am required to raise a minimum of $1,250.00, but I hope to raise more.

I'm asking anyone and everyone to please donate whatever you can at my web page. It'll only take 13 donors contributing $100 each to get me to my goal; or, if you prefer, 25 people donating $50. But any and all donations are welcome, and you will receive a tax receipt for all donations.

The last day for donations in September 14, 2009. So if you're thinking of donating and just aren't sure if you can, try putting aside $2 a week until September. Like I said, any amount is welcome!

I'll be posting regularly about breast cancer and keep you all apprised as I train for what is surely going to be the longest and possibly the hardest walk of my life (I haven't been in great shape lately, but I'm committed and I want to do this, even if I can't do the 2-day event)

Until then, please visit and give what you can:

Thanks go to Crisitina Li, a dear friend, whose first generous donation has bolstered my belief that I can reach my goal and surpass it!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Mmm, popped ribs

According the the deep tissue massage therapist, the cause of my recent chest pain scare is a popped rib, which he proceeded to shift back into place.

It never occurred to me that I could do something like that with the limited physical labor I perform on a daily basis (though I've certainly hurt my lower back and gluts plenty of times), but then I remembered turning in a funny way while I was on the bus and being in excruciating pain. I had to hold in my scream and chew on my knuckle. I'm sure the woman sitting next to me probably thought I was crazy for those five minutes. That was more than a month ago.

I assumed I was fine, but then last week I woke up in agony, with crushing pain gripping my upper chest and sides. It took a while for the ibuprofen to kick in, and in the meantime Telehealth Ontario wanted to send an ambulance for me, but in the end, I just went back to sleep and decided it was probably just a spasm.

Not so. I have an injury worthy of a professional athlete...just from daily commuting.

Conclusion: I'm getting OOOOOOLLLLLLLD.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Reader Interactivity!

Not even an April Fools' Day joke:

Reader interactivity challenge!

Leave a comment and throw me your best Russia/Lenin/fart joke or caption by midnight EST, April 11th, 2009. Winner gets a fancy icon of borscht!

Sad News

Andy, you'll be missed.