Wednesday, October 26, 2005

If you loved me, you'd drive me to the airport

I do love my DH. Truly, I do. But I am directionally challenged, something he has known about me for the thirteen years we've been married. I think it is some sort of test of my devotion to him, as if the past thirteen years haven't been enough, that he still asks me to drive him to the airport.

The very thought causes me to break out in hives.

He has to understand: I have never been in a city where I have driven either from or to the airport where I didn't get horribly lost and/or intimidated by the blur of traffic whipping around in ferocious circles, buzzing the beleaguered travelers as they dragged their luggage across the pedestrian crosswalks trying to figure out, "dammit, which terminal do I go through to get to Gate 16?"

I learned my lesson long ago with my ex-boyfriend (He Who Must Not Be Named) when I optimistically offered to pick him and a friend up from the airport on their way back from a trip. An hour after he arrived and went through baggage claim, he was still sitting on top of his Weekender waiting for me to pull up. Not that I wasn't at the airport. I just couldn't figure out how to get to baggage claim in my car! I was flushed, shaking, and embarrassed after that debacle (the merciless teasing didn't help...which is yet another reason why we split up), and I swore I'd save any future relationships by never driving my loved ones to the airport.

So, I love you, DH, and I'll miss you terribly...and here's the number for Super Shuttle. I'll see you when you get home.


Changes at St. Martin's Press

Cindi Myers reports that there are changes afoot at St. Martin's Press. Monique Patterson has been promoted to Senior Editor (this is kinda cool, because I've got a requested submission still to send to her, so now I get to send it to the "senior" editor instead of the "regular ole" editor). Former Senior Editor Jennifer Enderlin (she of the bubbly personality) is now associate publisher for Griffin trade paperbacks. She will continue as associate publisher of mass market, involved in all paperback publishing issues. According to their main publisher's site:

"Griffin offers a unique list of trade paperback originals, and reprints in conjunction with St. Martin’s Press hardcovers, as well as Minotaur. The paperback originals program is dedicated to producing new and fresh voices in genres such as African American Street Fiction and Young Adult. Griffin reprints allow readers the opportunity to have established authors and bestselling novels in paperback format."

Griffin Trade publishes Af-Am writers Brenda Jackson and L.A. Banks.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sorry I haven't posted for a while

My life, as ever, is in turmoil. Had to fly home to Los Angeles this week with one day's notice to be with my mom, who underwent a lumpectomy. The prognosis is good, but I wanted, and needed, to be with her when she went under. We'll know more about the next stage in her treatment in a few days. I had to do all of my classes on-line, using Blackboard, and grade essays while I waited in the hospital with her and at her house. Whew, that was a tough few days. Flew back home to discover that my husband's uncle, with whom he had a great relationship, passed away that morning. Now my DH will have to fly back to San Diego for the funeral next week.

The resulting turmoil has made it a bit difficult to post, needless to say.

I do, however, have some good news on the personal writing front. I got a follow-up request for a full, with revisions, on Dreamweaver from one of the agent packages I had recently sent out. So, as soon as I blast through the one-hundred or so essays I'm still catching up on grading due to my trip, I'll turn my attention to making those revisions and getting that puppy out!


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Harlequin buys BET Books

Julie Moffett reports in her Market News column that Harlequin is planning to acquire BET Books. Here's the press release:

Harlequin Enterprises Limited has bought the assets of BET BOOKS, the publishing arm of Black Entertainment Television. The deal is expected to be sealed on November 30, 2005. The purchase is seen by many in the publishing industry as a move to cement Harlequin's role as the key publishers of women's fiction in the world. BET Books is the U.S.'s leading publisher of African-American romance novels under the Arabesque imprint. *

Well, you know, that's all well and good. However, a while ago, an acquaintance who writes for Harlequin once explained that since many of the editors are located in Canada, she was told to avoid Americanisms like "girlfriend," as in "you go, girlfriend," in her writing because not everybody in Canada would understand them and the terms were too regional (read "black") for their readership. I'm not saying anything, here, about Canadians and people of color (I happen to have people of color relatives who live in Canada, very happily it seems), and I do admire Harlequin to some degree for pursuing their monolithic desire to dominate the world market so that eventually, we will all read the same thing, think the same thing, write the same thing (The World, According to the Harlequin Bible). Hey, you gotta respect people when they set high goals, and world domination is right up there.

Really, I'm not making any point whatsoever. But if you intend to write for the BET Books after it's purchased by Harlequin , may I just say one thing?

You go, girlfriend!


*Excerpt reprinted with the permission of Washington Romance Writers and Julie Moffett.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Making plans

Well, I finally put the agent posts in the mail that I've been trying to get out since after Reno Nationals. My manuscript Dreamweaver is winging (or grounding, in this case) its way to Elaine English (who requested a full) at Graybill and English, and Lois Winston, who is reading for the Greyson Agency and is a fellow GH finalist, even as we speak (or read, in this case). Wish me luck--I've pretty much done what I can for the manuscript in terms of agents. I've done some revisions that I hope will address the comments I've received so far, and I have rewritten my synopsis to hopefully reflect more of my "voice" that wasn't coming through, so maybe I'll get lucky. All is not over, of course; I've still got three requests for partials to submit from Reno to editors, but I thought I'd hold onto those a bit until I hear from the agents. Then, after that, if there is no more interest, the thing is going under the bed with the other two books already there. I debated resubmitting it to the Golden Heart, but finally decided that I had achieved everything I set out to do when I submitted it the first time, so what would be the point? I wanted to get the attention of agents and editors, and that's what I did.

Speaking of my first two books...those of you who know me know I wrote two historical romances before I came to my senses and moved to contemporary. Don't get me wrong, I love to read them still, just too painful to spend tons of time doing that research! Well, I pulled out Alonsa's Choice the other day with an eye towards making this book I absolutely love a bit more sellable, and realized that if I can get it together in time, I might submit it to the Golden Heart in the "mainstream with romantic elements" category. Many of you who read chapters of it have lamented the death of the book, and wanted to see me finish the last couple of chapters. So wish me luck--I've revised the end a bit in the synopsis, and I'm going for a shorter length. I've flipped some of the chapters around, starting with the scene where Alonsa is cursed (duh, why didn't I think of that before) and taken out some of the more "researchy" research sections that were slowing down the pace. Now, I just have to find the time to write fifty more pages on it before the deadline in November. Plus, I have to find my two critical research books, which, in accordance with Murphy's Law, have disappeared in my move. Every other book made it here but those two, but if I have to, I'll buy them again. Oh, please turn up, research books.

Hopefully, I'll get it all done in time; if not, I guess there is always next year, right?


Sunday, October 02, 2005

"Who's Gonna Drive You Home Tonight?"

Lest you believe the evacuation for Rita wasn't as bad as it's been described in the paper, I'm including some shots of the freeways and gas lines at the height of the "run away" time. My DH's collegue sent him these. Many of these shots were taken near the freeway we go to work on--Huntsville is a small city nearby--and days later, when I finally returned to work, there were still dozens of disabled cars lining the sides of the road. People either hadn't returned for them yet, or more likely, the tow trucks were working overtime trying to get every car off the road in the larger cities and didn't have time to come for these.

The first shot is the entitled "broken down on the I-45 near Huntsville." Can you see why?

Next is a shot of people standing in line to buy a few gallons of gas to take back to their cars. And this doesn't even include the cars still waiting in line to buy gas that ran out before they ever got in line (that's the next picture).

All things considered, as hot as it was, and as scared as most of us were, it is amazing to me that there weren't more accidents, fist fights, and incidents. There were a few, but when you consider how many people moved out of the gulf coast areas in the short amount of time given (estimates are a couple of million or more), these folks were remarkably well-behaved. People for the most part really did try to help out and keep their temper, although there are always the few jerks who spoil it for everyone else. However, there were no repeats of New Orleans here, thank God.

And that's what it's all about, isn't it?