Practice Makes PerfOMG LOOK AT THAT FACE

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So, I’ve got a novella coming out today. I know! How nice of me to tell you. It’s about an erotica-writing librarian with writer’s block and her bow tie-wearing professor friend who just wants to help. He’s a good friend, y’all!

I was thinking that I should post something to commemorate the book birthday, but I wasn’t sure what that should be.

A cover image? An excerpt?

Whatever it is, it should have something to do with the book.

Like the fact that the heroine has two elderly bassett hounds.

That’s right, TWO.

Ugh, this is too hard.

Well! I’ll think of something. In the meantime, enjoy PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT_Final

And Happy Reading!!



Sunday Morning Slacking

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Good morning, brave readers!  I’m having an aggressively lazy Sunday morning because I have so much to do to get ready for RT. (Like, you know, write a book?  Maybe just a book proposal.  Either way, oy.)  (And do laundry.)  (And put outfits together and giveaways in boxes and ugh so much!) (And I started a running class and I’m supposed to run today but I don’t want to!  I want to be lazy!)  (Anyway.)

My friend Sweet Pammy went to the West Virginia Scottish Games yesterday, and I am jealous.  I was at work, serving the public and such, but on my break, I caught this, which is almost better than Live Men in Kilts:

A New Outlander Trailer! 

OK, it’s not better than Live Men in Kilts, but I have watched it approximately 600,000 times and OMG WHEN IS SUMMER!!!

But does it make anyone nervous that Diana Gabaldon hangs out with George R. R. Martin?  This is why I have only read the first Outlander book.  Because if I don’t read any more of them, nobody has to die and nothing bad happens to Jamie and Claire.  Although I did read one of the Lord John books.  Because I can resist neither repressed homoeroticism nor mysteries.

The other video I wish to share more accurately represents my mood, and is a mea culpa for missing the last two Friday Dog Blogs.  I have dog pixx!  I just keep forgetting to post them.

In the meantime, please enjoy this sloth being extremely lazy, even for a sloth:

Via The Sloth Sanctuary.

How are all y’all spending your lazy Sunday?


Warning: This Post Has Chests

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So, I was catching up on some very important blog reading today (aka avoiding a troublesome manuscript), and I came across this li’l gem at Heroes and Heartbreakers:

Nice book.

And I got so excited because I’m all, I know that guy!

It’s not Santa at all, it’s the significantly less hirsute Charles Paz, who is a romance cover model and who I met and made goofy faces with at the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City.

Magic.

Magic.

Don’t worry, he doesn’t know me.  And that is because he is handsome and handsome men are my kryptonite.  I just, I can’t.  I can’t talk to them.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about nothing, really.  I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of a shirtless man.  I mean, what’s the point of having a romance writer’s blog if you can’t do a little objectification harmless but enthusiastic appreciation?

And while we’re on the topic:

Kryptonite.

And finally:

I know.

That last one is technically irrelevant since Tom Hardy is wearing both a shirt and a coat, but do you honestly expect me to resist those faces!!!!

Carry on.

 

 


Random stuff for a Sunday

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My sister sent me a picture of her boyfriend’s dog laying on a blanket I made her, and here it is:

Her name is Angel and she is a slobber machine.

Her name is Angel and she is a slobber machine.

So when I asked her if it would be OK if I blogged the picture of Angel, she sent me this:

"Snaggle tooth" was auto-corrected to "Snuggle tooth," which is also appropriate.

“Snaggle tooth” was auto-corrected to “Snuggle tooth,” which is also appropriate.

Which is her cat, Missy, who is obese and an attention whore.

I don’t have anything else to add, really.  It’s just been a while since I blogged, what with sorting all of the pens and post-its and chapsticks left over from RT.  And the fact that nothing much is happening.

But have no fear, for something will be happening on Monday: The Bachelorette!!!  Katie Holmes will try to, finally, find love.  Is she really over her heartbreak, perpetrated by Brick Detective Sean?  Will her brother, Natie Holmes, show up to cock block the way to her heart?  Will Hurricane Tierrable sparkle all over everybody’s business, then fake a heart attack?

Yes.  Yes to all of it.

But that’s for Monday, or Tuesday, when the recap will be up.  Do you like how I said Tuesday when I really meant Wednesday or Thursday?  Or Friday?  Anyway, it will be up before episode 2.

To preemptively make up for my tardiness, I leave you with this:

 


A Mary of Worth

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(That title is a little homage to my girl, JR Ward, who I don’t actually know and who would probably be surprised to discover that she is my girl.  Because a) I love her and b) Lover At Last comes out this week!!!  I’m dying.  If you were an editor, you would give your author an extension on her deadline because she had to spend the rest of the week reading about giant vampire warrior dudes getting it on, right?  Right???)

Anyway.  Today I want to talk about Mary Worth.  Are you all faithful readers of Mary Worth, the soap operatic comic strip featuring the eponymous elder stateswoman of the world, who is all up in everyone’s gravy, but in a way they eventually come to love and appreciate?  Listen, it is boring.  It is a boring comic strip, and I say that as someone who watches soap operas (or used to!  And will again when All My Children goes online) and is used to the alternately molasses-then-whiplash pace of the story lines.  Mostly I would just read Mary Worth on Sundays, and have no idea what was going on, but that Mary would probably work it all out.  And then I would happily move on to Prince Valiant.

But now.  Now Mary Worth has a plotline that is ripped from the headlines!  Or at least the headlines of my life!  Because it features a cranky old neighbor woman and her shy, retiring spinster daughter…

 mw1

Yes, Mary.  I also hope they are nice.

And the great news is…the Spinster is also a…ROMANCE WRITER!  A career of which her Cranky Mother Does Not Approve:

mw2

She knows nothing about romance in real life, because she is a spinster.  CAN YOU FEEL THE TENSION.

And then they go to a dinner party at Mary’s, and Mom is a total bitch:

mw3

But she’s apparently a bitch for a reason!

Don’t worry, though, Sunday’s extra-large strip reveals Mary’s ulterior motive:

mw4

Which is to pimp out the Romance Writer to the Gentle Widow Next Door.

Anyway, this all seems particularly timely, what with my first book coming out soon and all.  There’s a part of me that worries that people will assume I am a Sad Spinster with a Cruel Mother.  (For the record, I am not a Spinster, I just totally dress like one.  I Heart Sensible Shoes.)  Or that I have some kind of pervy sex obsession (aka a female sex drive. Oh, society!).  And that, in short, I will spend the rest of my life, or at least a decent amount of my future time, justifying my existence as a romance novelist.

And, I mean, I probably will.  But also, I am a romance novelist.  That makes it go down a little easier.

(Props to The Comics Curmudgeon, which is where I rediscovered the joy of newspaper comics soap operas.)


The Wind Done Blown Me Right Off This Here Mountain

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JK, no it didn’t.  But it’s a fun way of telling you that a) it is windy in West Virginia right  now and b) the Bachelor recap (Bachelorecap?) is going to be a smidge delayed.

But here’s what I did this weekend while many of you were shoveling snow:

0210131424aI built a gorge!

No, but I went hiking and took pictures with my shitty phone camera.  Sorry for saying shitty.  But, look, just imagine this view but one hundred million times better when not seen through the eyes of a jitterbug.

image(1)I mean, right?  Imagine if you could actually see it!


Where the MAGIC happens

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So, I live in a sort-of two bedroom apartment.  I liked to call the second bedroom my “craft room,” and by “craft room” I mean a big room where I just throw a bunch of stuff on the ground.  Seriously.  It was like a gigantic junk drawer.  As any fan of the fiber arts knows, that stuff can get out of hand.

But this weekend, in a fit of productivity, I decided to make it a Writing Room.  And by Writing Room I mean a room that is mostly a horrific mess of fiber arts supplies, but one corner is an oasis of neatness and productivity and deadline-meeting zen.  Behold…

004Please note the empty bulletin board, which will soon contain notecards with character descriptions.  Because I can never remember what color eyes I give people.

Also, you can just see the clothes piled on top of the chairs stacked next to the printers.  That is my mending pile.  It has been that way for a year.  Fiber arts!

It’s a little sad, I know.  But I’m a little sad.  Not as sad as the fact that I just took down my Christmas decorations, also this weekend.  (When I get productive, I get productive, man.)  But because I bought my pink Christmas tree at a cheap-o discount store, it didn’t come in a box so I have nowhere to store it.  So I’m keeping it up!  Sans decorations!  I think it adds a touch of whimsy.

005I especially like the way the top tilts a little.  Seems appropriate.  For life.

OK!  I hope you all enjoyed this tour of the outer workings of Sarah Title HQ!  Onward!


Resolution Absolution

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(I had to break out the rhyming dictionary to make that title work.  I also came up with: Lilliputian Resolution, Resolution Devolution, Resolution Persecution.  Substitution Institution Execution.  Prostitution.  You’re welcome.)

Anyway!  I did not make any New Year’s Resolutions this year, for several reasons.  The first and most prominent being: I am lazy.  But then I started thinking a little more deeply about it (and not at all to fabricate a justification for my laziness), and I realized it’s much more.  Much more.

Not that much more.  But it’s a little more.

First of all, as the person in the cubicle next to you said on January 2nd, I never keep my resolutions so what’s the point.  Which is a ridiculous attitude, by the way: I have failed in the past, so why bother to try?  And, actually, I sort of did keep my resolution last year.

“Sort of” being the operative term.

So, my resolution last year was to use my passport.  I used to travel all the time, all over Europe (well, not all over, maybe just regular over), and last January I was feeling pressure with starting a new job and maybe a little trapped, and I was frustrated with my self-stalled writing, and, you know, travel.  It’s fun.  I used to be adventurous!  Now I’m lucky if I even try a new recipe.  So!  Passport.  Perfect.

And I did it!  I used my passport.  But I did it in such a way that was totally cheating.  See, I did take a big adventure vacation – to Maine.  I don’t know if all y’all know about the United States, but Maine is totally in it.  No passport required.  But!  I had to renew my driver’s license, and I forgot to do it before it expired (oops), so I had to go to the DMV and prove my existence with several thousand gallons of documentation, including…my passport!

I should feel disappointed that I didn’t take a big international trip, but I am too busy being proud of myself for pulling a fast one.  On myself.

There’s something very sad there.  Let’s not get into it.

OK, so this year.  This year, I just wasn’t feelin’ it.  I feel like things are happening, they are good, and I have enough to do to keep on top of the current good things without forcing additional things on myself.  Besides, I’m perfect!

But then I always feel a little guilt about that.  I could stand to lose the ten pounds (no joke) I gained over the holidays.  But, look, that will happen.  (I shan’t mention the fact that my regular Saturday morning zumba class started twenty minutes ago.  And I am still in my pajamas.)  (I also shan’t mention the fact that on the way to the parking garage yesterday, a button popped off my jacket.  Literally.  I was walking along, and it up and popped right the hell off.  That is not good for a girl’s self-esteem, I tell you what.)

I also have what can gently be called a contrary personality.  If I am supposed to be doing something, I like to pretty much always do the opposite.  For example, this morning I am supposed to be at zumba, but instead I am watching Geordie Shore.  But then I always throw in a little something to justify it.  So, today, I’m also blogging, which is something I have been putting off.  And hasn’t it been worth the effort, gentle readers?

The point is, I’m tired of kidding myself with these bananas.  My resolution for 2013 is just to do what I do, man.  Just chill it out.  And blog and work out and write a novel (a contractual obligation I am very grateful for) and maybe periodically shave my legs although probably not.

And then next year I will have something to be contrary about, and I’ll make all kinds of resolutions and be The Woman I Was Always Meant To Be.

OK, enough of this shit.  Here’s a picture of my friends’ kitty, Floofy.  He works out!

He's Floofy and he knows it.Happy New Year, kittens!


Readin’, y’all

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So, I read one hundred books this year.  And I only wrote one.  Stop judging me!  Because technically I only wrote a novella, but I also edited the hell out of a whole book, so everybody shut it.

ANYWAY!  I keep a little journal (some of you kids use the Goodreads, I use a daggun journal) where I write a little about my impressions of the book and then one or two or zero stars, depending on how I much I liked it.  So I thought I would share some of my faves, which are the two stars.  I provided the links to Amazon because I am too lazy to do a proper plot summary and all that business.  What do you think I am, a writer?

In no particular order:

artoffieldingThe Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.  I know, how obvious that a 500-page book about baseball would be on a romance writer’s list.  But I went to a small liberal arts college (I’m not sure if there were athletes where I went to school…I think there were athletes.  Does theater count as a sport?), and that’s where this book is set and it really spoke to me.  Compulsively readable, as we say in library world.  And Schwartz was such a great character, I’m surprised the author didn’t kill him off.  Because it’s literary fiction and sometimes that happens.  He doesn’t die.  Nobody dies.  Wait, that’s not true.  Anyway, it’s a good book.

arrangedArranged by Catherine McKenzie. I guess this is chick lit?  The author pretty much never mentioned shoes, so I’m not sure.  La.  For sure this would appeal to romance readers, even though it doesn’t follow the usual genre rules.  Because technically, it’s not a romance.  Anyway, a woman keeps having bad luck in love so she decides to join a dating agency, only it turns out to be an arranged marriage agency based on the idea that marriage works if people can be friendly and compatible, and not necessarily in love.  It’s funny and good and the main character is terrific.  Also, Canadian.

 

BaredToYouBared to You by Sylvia Day.  I know.  But I read 50 Shades and then I heard about this book and I read it and I was like, yes, that’s how you do it.  What’s-his-name is still a total alpha-hole, but his alpha-holeness is acknowledged and explored, and the heroine is not a total washcloth.  I mean, I liked it even when I’m not comparing it to 50 Shades.

 

lady awakenedA Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant.  Here’s what I wrote: “A historical romance that did not make me compromise any 21st century ideals.”  (Because remember that thing I said about the small liberal arts college?)  My fave kind of romance, where each character is made better and stronger by the love of the other.  I mean, they were sort of equals.

 

FineColorOfRustThe Fine Color of Rust by P.A. O’Reilly.  Such great characters, as one would expect from a small-town story.  But this town is not idealized – it is actually a shithole in the Australian outback – which makes everything even more appealing.  And you’ll want to have a beer with the narrator, who fantasizes about dropping her kids off at the orphanage so she can run away with a motorcycle man, but then organizes a campaign to save their shitty school in their shitty town.  And boy howdy did I cry at the end.

 

clays-quiltClay’s Quilt by Silas House.  Silas House is book group gold in these here Appalachian parts, but let me tell you, you can’t go wrong.  (Although I was the only one in my book group who fell in love with Clay – at least the only one who admitted it!)  Silas House, who is cute as pie, by the way, manages to write realistically about poor people in Kentucky without turning it into some kind of Appalachian gothic horror fest.  I love his characters’ Kentucky accents.

 

Authors and series I discovered:

Victoria Dahl – love those contemporary trilogies!  I glommed.

Sujata Massey’s Rei Shimura series – mystery series set in Japan.  The first books take place in the 90s, and I love watching people solve crimes without cell phones.  I glommed this one pretty seriously, for me.  I am a very bad series reader.

Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series – I actually only read one of these this year (bad series reader!), but these books are so great and so quick that I sort of can’t believe that.  But the notebook don’t lie.

Loretta Chase!  Everybody was right!  Love her!

 

Honorable Mentions:

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin.  I am an unlikely reader of inspirational fiction, but that don’t change the fact that I am.  And I had to throw this one in because it has librarians; specifically, packhorse librarians in Kentucky during the Depression.  So much about this book sounds annoying, but it’s not annoying.  It’s adorable.

Hush by Cherry Adair.  First of all, because I randomly met her at RT and she is AMAZING, and second of all, the heroine’s survival vest – where do I get one of those?  It had a frigging tent in it!

 

Apparently I also read a book called Mindless Eating.  I tell you what, it didn’t stick.

 

So, 2012 had a lot of hits for me.  I read a ton of romance, or so I thought.  I think I started a ton of romance, then only finished half of them.  That might be true of other genres as well, actually.  If I don’t write things down, it’s as if they never happened.  Anyway, my general impression of my reading is that I read a lot of romance, and a few really great ones.  That’s not terrible!  It’s like a metaphor for life!

What did all y’all read in 2012?