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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in annchristopher's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, December 10th, 2006
10:49 am
An Author to Watch—Maureen Smith

Being a newbie author myself, I love to read and promote books from other new/young authors.  Last week, you’ll remember, I mentioned Patricia Sargeant’s first romantic suspense, You Belong to Me, and posted a review over on my What’s Ann Reading page:

 

http://www.annchristopher.com/reading.htm

 

This week, I read Maureen Smith’s novel from Kimani Romance, A Legal Affair.  In it, P.I. Daniela Roarke, in an attempt to collect dirt on his family’s alleged criminal activities, goes under cover as a law student in Professor Caleb Thorne’s class. 

 

Sparks fly, of course, and Smith does a great job of maintaining the sizzling sexual chemistry between Daniela and Caleb.  Daniela’s deception, as you can imagine, leads to a big blowup, and I kept flipping pages to see how the lovers worked things out.

 

Smith has a great voice, and I think we’ll be seeing much more of her work in the future.  Pick up A Legal Affair when you get a chance.



Sunday, December 3rd, 2006
4:34 pm
Book Signing
Yesterday I participated in a holiday romance signing at the local Barnes & Noble, along with such luminaries as Lori Foster and Elizabeth Bevarly.  A bunch of authors chattered, laughed, ate chocolate candy, drank lattes from the café and signed the odd book here and there.

It was lots of fun, and I took lots of pictures with my cool new digital camera.  Later, I will try to upload (download??  Upload??) the pictures from my camera to the computer, and then, if that goes well, from the computer to my website.  Wish me luck.

One of my great new author friends, Patricia Sargeant, was there.  I’ve mentioned Patricia before.  Her first book, You Belong to Me, a romantic suspense for Kensington/Dafina, is now out, and you’ll want to pick up a copy.  I read it this week, and posted a little mini-review over on my What’s Ann Reading page.  Check it out if  you  have time.
Sunday, November 26th, 2006
11:51 am
JUST ABOUT SEX on Amazon
My March, 2007 book from Harlequin/Kimani Press, Just About Sex, is now available for pre-order from Amazon. I just posted an entry about it over on my plog. Here’s a link. Check it out if you have time…

http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0373860110/ref=pd_rvi_gw_3/104-0320588-6767952
Thursday, November 23rd, 2006
11:39 am
Happy Thanksgiving!
I think the following says it all, and much better than I ever could:

Give Thanks
When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength.
Give thanks for your food and the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
--Tecumseh

Have a wonderful day!
Tuesday, November 21st, 2006
10:38 pm
Mea Culpa
I spent most of the day today formatting and sending my very first newsletter. This was a long, tedious process since I’m not the greatest with computers—passable, but not great—and I wanted my inaugural newsletter to be perfect in every way. I formatted and edited, revised and deleted, and basically worked myself into a tizzy about the whole thing. My obsessive-compulsive gene kicked into overdrive, and it wasn’t pretty as I typed and typed, ignoring other things that needed to be done like, you know, writing a BOOK. Still, I managed to produce a decent newsletter that was cheery and, more importantly, brief.

Finally, when every carefully chosen word was perfectly aligned, I sent the thing out and breathed a huge sigh of relief that the whole newsletter ordeal was behind me. I spent approximately three minutes giddy with happiness, and then I realized:

I accidentally sent the thing to EVERYONE.

No, not everyone on my Ann Christopher list. That would’ve been good, but no. I sent it to pretty much EVERYONE I’ve ever exchanged an e-mail with. Amazon, the American Girl Doll company, the good people at Target’s customer service department. Not just the people who actually WANTED to receive the newsletter. EVERYONE.

So if I accidentally sent you an e-mail newsletter and you didn’t want one, please accept the following apology:

I’m sorry for being such an e-mail/newsletter doofus.

If anyone would care to share a G-rated embarrassing incident, I’d sure love to hear it right about now.
Monday, November 20th, 2006
6:17 pm
Decency Prevails
For all these years, I’d foolishly thought my opinion of O.J. Simpson couldn’t sink any lower, but he proved me wrong these last several days. Good sense and common human decency has prevailed, however, and I’m glad. Really, really glad. Here’s a link:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2006-11-20-oj-canceled_x.htm
Sunday, November 19th, 2006
11:19 am
A Teacher and a Student
Well, I did the teaching thing again this week. I hit the road and drove up to the sea of red that was Columbus (go Buckeyes!) to teach my SCENTS & SENSIBILITY craft workshop to the Central Ohio Fiction Writers branch of RWA. This lovely group of women welcomed me and made me feel right at home as I told them everything I know about infusing writing with sensorial detail. Questions were asked and answered, examples given, books awarded, and chocolate consumed. A good time was certainly had by me and, I hope, by all.

So that was the teaching part. Here’s the student part.

Bob Mayer and Jenny Crusie have a couple websites for their various projects, one of which is He Wrote, She Wrote. Here’s a link:

http://www.crusiemayer.com/blog/

These two fabulous teachers have posted a rough syllabus and are going to spend all next year—fifty-two weeks, give or take--teaching writing tips to peons like ME. For FREE! If anyone has a question, all they have to do is post it in the comments box, and Crusie/Mayer will answer.

I can’t believe this amazing good fortune for us fledgling writers. After taking the Crusie/Mayer workshop two Saturdays ago, I spent last week reading Mayer’s Writer’s Digest book, THE NOVEL WRITER’S TOOLKIT. If you’re a writer, you need this book. It’s so full of fabulous, practical information that my head is still spinning from trying to soak it all in.

So, yeah, I’ll be a student in their class. Can’t wait to see what else they can teach me.

What about YOU, all you writers out there? What’re the names of your favorite writing books?

Sunday, November 12th, 2006
10:52 am
A Student of the Craft
It’s been a busy week.

First I taught my NO MORE LAZY SCENES craft course online to the Outreach International Chapter of Romance Writers of America. I was fortunate to have roughly twenty-five engaged and enthusiastic students study the structure of scenes and sequels with me. They did homework, asked challenging questions, and soaked up information like greedy little sponges. Teaching these online classes is a lot of work, but I really enjoy it because it gives me: a) the chance to pass along what I’ve learned; and b) feel like I actually know something about writing.

The feeling never lasts long.

Yesterday I attended the Jenny Crusie/Bob Mayer all-day writing seminar. Crusie and Mayer, you’ll recall, are the bestselling collaborators on this spring’s romantic adventure novel, DON’T LOOK DOWN. They are also phenomenal teachers who covered a wide range of topics—everything from characters and plotting to pacing and unity.

I already knew lots of the stuff they covered.

I didn’t know lots of the stuff they covered.

*Sigh*

I spent the day soaking up information like a greedy little sponge and thinking about all the aspects of writing a writer needs to master.

Here’s what I’ve already studied:
• Scene and structure;
• Goal, motivation and conflict;
• Plot;
• Setting;
• Pacing; and
• Characterization.

Here’s what I still need to study, or study further:
• Scene and structure;
• Goal, motivation and conflict;
• Plot;
• Setting;
• Pacing;
• Characterization;
• Viewpoint;
• Dialogue;
• Voice and style; and
• Theme.

*Sigh*

Learning about writing is, I suppose, one of those lifelong things—like yoga. You can never learn it all. Or like tae kwon do, where the learning really starts only once you get your black belt.

That got me to thinking about other lifelong journeys in learning:

• Cooking;
• Parenting;
• Crocheting.

I’m a beginner at all these things, I suppose. But I’m learning.

What about you? What are you working on these days?
Thursday, November 9th, 2006
7:22 am
Access Romance
I’ve joined the community at Access Romance, and am blogging about my fondness for anti-hero Luke Spencer today. Stop by if you have a chance!

http://www.accessromance.com/blog/
Sunday, October 29th, 2006
7:57 am
Books, Books, Books
My to-be-read pile of books, which runs in the dozens and is always teetering dangerously out of control, is about to grow some more. Several books I’ve been waiting a long time to read are coming out in November, and I can’t wait.

My great friend and co-workshop presenter, Eve Silver, who writes dark historical gothics for Kensington’s Zebra imprint, has a new book this month. HIS DARK KISS tells the story of governess Emma Parrish, who heads to creepy Manorbrier castle with its forbidden Round Tower to care for Lord Anthony Craven’s young son. Of course weird things happen in the castle even as she falls under Craven’s spell…

I just love this Jane Eyre scenario, and can’t wait to see what Eve does with it. The book is sure to be as atmospheric, dark, and sensual her first novel, DARK DESIRES.



Another great new friend of mine, Patricia Sargeant, debuts with her first book for Kensington/Dafina this month: YOU BELONG TO ME. Patricia writes sensual romantic suspense, and YOU BELONG TO ME reunites science fiction writer Nicole Collins and her former husband, Malcolm Bryant, who’s adapting her first book into a movie. But when a deranged fan endangers Nicole’s life, everyone’s plans change and old passions rise to the surface…



Finally, one of my new favorite authors, perennial bestseller Anne Stuart, also has a book out in November: COLD AS ICE. Speaking of gothics, Stuart writes what I call contemporary romantic suspense gothics, where the hero is REALLY dark and may or may not also be the bad guy. This time out, Stuart tells the story of attorney Genevieve Spencer, who thought she was simply delivering documents to billionaire Harry Van Dorn’s yacht for signature. Little does she know Van Dorn is a sicko who has other plans for her. Riding to the rescue is personal assistant Peter Jensen, who apparently—according to Publishers Weekly—uses his sexuality to control both men and women. Hmmm…

Gotta go. I’ve got lots of reading to do …

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006
2:19 pm
Friday Night Lights
Bear with me while we have a teensy digression from the world of books and romance writing.

Have you been watching NBC’s new show, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (FNL)?

Why on earth not?

This is one of the best TV shows I’ve seen in a really long time, not that I watch a lot of TV. USA TODAY reported that the show’s ratings haven’t been great, something I find unbelievable. If anything, FNL’s 8:00 slot may be a problem—this is definitely a grown-up show.

FNL deals with Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler doing a wonderful job), rookie head coach of the Dillon, Texas high school team, the Panthers. I’m not from TX, but I understand that high school football is like a religion down there, and I feel like I know these people. Maybe it’s because my mother’s family is from a small town in Indiana, and high school sports are DEFINITELY a religion in that neck of the woods. Poor Coach Taylor is surrounded by fierce fans who all expect the Panthers to have a state championship season, and all feel free to tell him—loudly and repeatedly--how to coach the team. His wife, Tami, gave an impromptu barbeque party for all the townsfolk in last night’s episode, and she really ought to be nominated for sainthood.

But I want to talk about the romances on the show.

The Panthers’s first-string quarterback (or QB1 as we like to call them), senior Jason Street, broke his neck in the first game of the season and is now in a wheelchair in rehab with dim prospects of ever walking again. Jason’s a great guy—Boy Scout type from a nice family—and has a lovely, devoted girlfriend, cheerleader Lyla. Lyla has stood by his side and stubbornly insists that they’ll still get married, as planned.

No problems, right?

Enter Jason’s best friend and teammate, bad-boy Tim Riggins. Tim appears to be from the wrong side of the tracks, has got a sketchy home life, and is sullen and moody. One of his favorite pastimes is driving golf balls of some nearby cliff. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Tim string more than five words together at a time, so he’s definitely the really strong, REALLY silent type. Tim hasn’t gone to see Jason since the terrible accident because Tim feels guilty that he didn’t protect Jason better on the field.



Naturally, Lyla marches off to let Tim have it for neglecting Jason in his hour of need.

Can anyone see where this is going?

Last week, Lyla, the devoted girlfriend, and Tim, the bad-boy best friend, shared an explosive kiss in the pouring rain. Last night, Tim showed up in Lyla’s bedroom to explain that he could no longer stay away from her, only in Tim’s succinct style, it came out as, “Lyla … I can’t …”

Next thing you know, Tim and Lyla are tumbling onto Lyla’s bed...

I’m going to put aside my obvious concerns about teenagers having sex, and just go ahead and state the following:

I LOVE this triangle.

Clearly, Tim is deeply troubled and probably needs years of therapy. Jason loves Lyla, is a nice boy, and is the safer long-term choice. And anyway, these are TEENAGERS, and long-term to them is probably the length of, well, a football season.

But, still … I kinda like bad-boy Tim.

What’ll happen next? Will Lyla be able to live with the guilt? Will Jason find out? And what’ll happen with Jason and Tim’s embittered ex-girlfriend, Tyra? Is something brewing there?

And what about the potential romance between sophomore QB2 turned QB1, sensitive Matt Saracen, and Coach Taylor’s daughter, Julie?

God, I can’t wait to find out.

Here’s my prediction: Jason’s rehabilitation will go much better than anyone suspects. He’ll be outta that chair in no time …

Seriously. Check out FNL. Great show. Anyone else out there watch it?

http://www.nbc.com/Friday_Night_Lights/index.shtml

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006
6:30 pm
Cool Things
I’ve got a couple of cool things to report.

First, the Bengals won this afternoon against the Carolina Panthers, 17-14. True, I didn’t watch the game and, yes, true, I didn’t know until ten seconds ago who the Bengals played. But does any of that matter? As I believe I’ve mentioned, Cincinnati is all about football right now, and I don’t want to be left out--that would be really uncool. So I just want to go on record right now and say the following:

Who Dey?

Second, Kayla Perrin has taken time out of her busy schedule to read an ARC of my February novel, RISK, and give me a cover quote. Here it is:

“RISK packs an emotional punch!”

So that’s about it from here … Bengals, cover quote, oh, and I’ve got delicious, fudgy iced brownies for dessert tonight.

What more could a girl ask for?
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006
8:45 pm
New RISK Excerpt
I posted another RISK excerpt, this time in my blog--or is it plog?--over at Amazon. Check it out if you have time. Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.com/Risk-Ann-Christopher/dp/0758214340/sr=8-1/qid=1161218612/ref=sr_1_1/103-1936886-2307848?ie=UTF8&s=books


Sunday, October 15th, 2006
2:26 pm
Jazzed!
This week I had the thrill of seeing one of my favorite new authors, J.R. Ward, speak and sign books at Borders. You’ve heard me mention Ward before. She’s the former corporate attorney-turned New York Times bestselling author of a series of books called The Black Dagger Brotherhood, the latest of which is LOVER AWAKENED.

Ward turned up in high heels and a black pantsuit with a long jacket that wasn’t quite a duster but was still way cool. The black was the perfect touch; I’d’ve been unspeakably disappointed if the creator of all those attitudinally-challenged, super-sexy bad boy vampires had turned up in a flowered dress and Crocs.

Anyway, Ward is as hip, edgy, and energetic as her books. She talks enthusiastically and lovingly about “the Brothers,” who, she says, just turned up one day in her head, and says she sees the books as vividly as she’d watch a movie.

She also stresses how hard the novels are to write, how complex the plotting, and how long the hours, which was a tremendous relief to me and, I’m sure, writers everywhere. I can, and do, work really hard, just like she does. Now if only I could think up a brilliant idea like the Black Dagger Brotherhood …

Best of all, she promises big surprises and satisfying stories in the books to come—sorry, she wouldn’t get into specifics and, BELIEVE ME, I asked her-- and says she wants to write these books for the next thirty years. That’s great news for me, because I’ll certainly be reading about the brothers for as long as she’s writing them.

Monday, October 9th, 2006
5:44 pm
Marketing Schmarketing
Guess what I did today? Placed an order for an ad for my February book, RISK, in Romantic Times BOOKReviews magazine. Guess what else? It weren’t cheap. In point of fact, it was pretty expensive. If you’ve read my blog with any regularity, you probably know that I don’t really like spending my advance money. Actually, it’s worse than that. I get testy when I spend advance money, especially large chunks of it.

Next week, I’ll be sending Romance Sells, the catalogue of upcoming books for bookstores and librarians, their portion of my advance money for another ad for RISK. No doubt I’ll be testy about that, too.

After that, I’ll be ordering bookmarks for RISK, so I can mail them out to bookstores and reading groups so they’ll know RISK exists. Once they know the book exists, I’m hoping they’ll decide they can’t live another day without ordering hundreds of copies for their respective readers. Bookmarks, in case you didn’t know, and postage for mailing bookmarks, are also very expensive.

Are you noticing any patterns here?

Why am I spending all this money on stuff for RISK? Good question. It’s because I need to market the book if I want readers to know about and buy it. Sounds like a logical plan, right?

Here’s the rub: I’ve got no idea which, if any, of these marketing strategies work. None whatsoever. None of us authors do.

It’s true. We all huddle together in worried little groups when we get together and pick each other’s brains, desperate for that magic pill. But the tragic thing is … there is no magic pill.

I’ve got a friend who, after years of trying it all, has sworn off marketing and decided only to do a newsletter to targeted bookstores. I’ve got a friend who buys HUGE ads and swears they bring her HUGE sales. I’ve got a friend who sends out dozens of advance reading copies. I’ve got a friend who orders coffee mugs with the book’s logo and gives them to booksellers. I’ve got friends who consider blogging a marketing tool, and friends who refuse to blog. Friends who … well, you get the idea.

Does any of this work? Who the hell knows?

Have any of you authors out there discovered anything that works?

What about you, readers? Which marketing tricks grab your attention and send you right to the bookstore to buy the book?

Someone please tell me SOMETHING. I’d really like to know.
Monday, October 2nd, 2006
5:01 pm
RISK Excerpt
I’ve posted an excerpt from my February Kensington/Dafina book, RISK, on my site. Check it out if you have time.

The hero is Justus Robinson. What can I say about Justus? Well, I love him, of course. He’s tall, dark and handsome, sort of a combination Henry Simmons and Michael Jordan. Wickedly funny and a little … wicked. He doesn’t put up with a lot of nonsense. Oh, and he’s not afraid to go after what he wants, and if a little manipulation is involved, then so be it. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Justus wants Angela, and if you’d like to read about her reaction to his declaration of intent, here’s a link:

http://www.annchristopher.com/books/risk.htm
Sunday, October 1st, 2006
3:46 pm
Changes Afoot
Can’t talk long … The Cincinnati Bengals, who are currently 3-0, will try to make it 4-0 in a little while, and I need to watch the game. Just as soon as I learn who the Bengals are playing this week. True, I know next to nothing about football, but Cincinnati is a rabid football town right now and it’s no longer safe to admit my ignorance.

Anyway, as you may have noticed, I like to tinker with my web site every now and then. Snip a little something here, add a little something there, and the result was a hopelessly cluttered and overloaded home page.

So I’ve had a little work done, and I have to say I think the site looks thirty pounds lighter, and also feels younger and fresher. Sort of like it’s had Botox and liposuction.

If you have time, stop by and see what you think. Here’s a link:

http://www.annchristopher.com

In the meantime, GO BENGALS!
Sunday, September 24th, 2006
12:25 pm
Order RISK Now!
It’s been a big week for my second novel, RISK. You remember RISK, don’t you? It’s got a super-sexy bad boy who relentlessly pursues a slightly older woman, and the Kensington art department gave it a scorching cover that may well require an R rating with parental warning.

Anyway, the other day I was sitting in front of the computer, writing. Well, okay, maybe I wasn’t technically “writing,” but I was thinking about writing. Preparing to write. Yeah, that’s it. But before I could begin to write, I had to check TROUBLE’s rank on Amazon. And since that took only ten seconds and I STILL wasn’t prepared to actually get down to work and write, I decided to check and see whether RISK is available yet for pre-order. And guess what? It is!

So here comes the shameless self-promotion part of the post … Order RISK now! Order multiple copies! Order copies for all your holiday giving! Stock up!

One more thing. Karyn Langhorne, Harvard Law graduate, former law professor and author of A PERSONAL MATTER and DIARY OF AN UGLY DUCKLING, very graciously read an advance reading copy of RISK and gave me the following cover quote, for which I am eternally grateful:

"Ann Christopher weaves heartbreaking tragedy with the unfailing power of the bonds of love, in this unforgettable tale of family, forgiveness and true love. These are characters to laugh with and cry with as they struggle with loss and hope. You'll cherish their 'happily ever after' like it was your own!"

Ordered RISK yet? What’re you waiting for?

Sunday, September 17th, 2006
1:43 pm
Birth of a New York Times Bestseller
I am not, alas, talking about myself.

Even so, it’s thrilling to see the upward trajectory of an author’s career, to know that hard work and a great book can be rewarded, and to know that a fellow lawyer turned writer (like moi) can hit the big time.

In case you didn’t know, my new favorite book, J.R. Ward’s LOVER AWAKENED, sits at number 12 on the New York Times’ paperback bestseller list for the week of September 24. To J.R. Ward, I say this: You go, girl!

I don’t know why I’m so excited about the success of yet another book about vampires. It’s not MY book, nor do I know Ward, nor am I being paid by Ward to endorse the book, nor am I even getting an advance reading copy of her next novel—due in March--of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, LOVER REVEALED. Although, J.R., if you’re reading this and have any extra ARCs lying around the house—call me, okay?

Maybe I’m so excited because Ward really, really deserves this success. Like my other favorite author of mind-blowing paranormals, L.A. Banks of Vampire Huntress fame, Ward treats readers to a fully realized, vivid world full of over-the-top characters, overwhelming conflicts, explosive passions and, best of all, those AMAZING vampire heroes.

What more could a reader ask for?

To romance readers out there: if you haven’t picked up the book, you should. To J.R. Ward: enjoy the success. I’m popping the cyber-champagne on your behalf.
Sunday, September 10th, 2006
9:38 pm
LOVER AWAKENED
Well, I told you this would happen.

No blog this week because my mind has been thoroughly blown by J.R. Ward’s latest installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, LOVER AWAKENED. How anxious was I to read this book? Too anxious to wait until Tuesday, September 5, its official release date, to get my hands on it. So anxious that I looked for it all last weekend and checked out three bookstores near my house, all to no avail. So anxious that when I called Borders and realized they had it, I had to go get it. Right then. Even though it was last Sunday night at eight-thirty. Even though the Borders that had it is twenty minutes from my house. That’s a whole lot of effort for a book, especially considering the fact that I already have a stack of to-be-read books that’s about four feet high. But I happily hopped in my car and sped off to get my copy.

Guess what? LOVER AWAKENED was well worth all the extra effort.

The story of Zsadist, the tortured, tormented vampire warrior, and Bella, the vampire aristocrat who, you’ll recall, was kidnapped at the end of LOVER ETERNAL, is so powerful—so emotional—that I had to gush about it. At length. In a nutshell, J.R. Ward is a brilliant storyteller and world builder, and I just hope that one day I can write a story that’s half as good as LOVER AWAKENED.

Have you read it? If so, what’d you think?

Check out the bottom of my home page if you’d like to read my review. Here’s a link:

http://www.annchristopher.com
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