Saturday, July 30, 2011

I was just about to get shirty with tiny letters

I make and send my newsletters with tiny letters -- and thought the service was the bee's knees until I got sixteen copies of my last newsletter in my own inbox. Sixteen of the same promo-y newsletter filling up my inbox page, and, what's worse, maybe also filling up your inboxes.

Grrr. That's not going to win me friends and influence readers.

But I just got an apologetic note from Mr. Tinyletter Man himself. Apparently he had issues with multiple copies of one of his emails going out into the world over and over and over . .  . I can't stay shirty when he is so clearly mortified.

I'm done with him at the moment -- as in I no longer feel the need to express my opinion.

But let me just say to anyone who's seen one or both of my newsletters over and over and over and over and over and oo jeez. . .Sorry.

As Mr Tinyletter Man himself said, Sorry about that and I'm almost positive it won't happen again.

If it does, and we all end up with way too many copies of that newsletter, I'll pick up the sword of self righteous fury (more like the scissors or paring knife of SRF) and wave it at Mr. TLM. And maybe I'll even look for another way to send out newsletters. Bah.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Every now and then when I think about my kids, I realize how very cool they are and how much I like them. I love them, too, but liking your kids isn't a given. Mine are funny, interesting, and even if nice doesn't always show itself (scuse me? boys? teenagers?) there's nice under there -- scathes of it. Oceans of nice. Ditto integrity. They get that from their dad.

Anyway, the next time one of them annoys the shit out of me, I'll have to reread this.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Resigned to my popular fiction fate SBD

Okay, that didn't last long.

I looked through my oldest's books. He's an honest-to-god intellectual, an English major and has bookshelves crammed with volumes of essays and books like The Cambridge Companion to Narrative. He reads this stuff even when he doesn't have to--this is his entertainment.

I picked up a book by a Brazilian author.  Oh, man, I have to read and reread the first page -- and the author's voice is annoying, or maybe it's the translator. Could you be any more pompous? So how about a bit of James Joyce instead? Yup, he's simple, elegant compared to that lumbering elephant prose.  The Dubliners. I loved those stories right? I think? A story or two in, I remembered the misery.

I wandered out to the family room to find something else to read. Maybe the Essays of George Orwell. That'll expand the mind.

Hey! Right next to Orwell was that missing copy of Cry Mercy by Toni Andrews that I'd started and lost a couple of months back. Yes! Score!

Anyway. I tried, sort of.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I can't help feeling connected to this Borders issue

To the people in the Farmington, Connecticut, Borders
(aka my workspace).

I wrote about five books sitting in that store---including a few that sold way better than the one where you'll find that dedication****. Maybe I should have dedicated a more popular book to 'em. That might have helped, right?

Alas.....Bye Stephen, Justin, Andy, Ashley Have fun with your next job. Enjoy Berlin, Stephen. Take care of yourselves. I'm going to miss you guys and that place.


**74 cents? Holy Moly! The cover alone is worth that. 

**** you couldn't find one that sold much worse. I had a lot of fun writing it though. Some books that don't sell so well, I resent them. That one, not as much. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

not very interesting

I think it's time to get back to reading Literature again. I've had a streak of YA and easy reads but a varied diet keeps one regular. Don't want to clog up the system with too much of one genre.

I've noticed that when I read books by people who are much smarter than I am, there's a nimbus effect. Their little glow rubs off on my brain. ew. Anyway, the emotional chunk of my mind is always in gear. Other bits need some charging up. It's a temporary effect, but I'm sure it delays the decay of the little grey cells ... by a few hours at least.

Except I'm trying to find things to do with a bored 14-year-old. I hate driving; he hates staying home; the summer programs are over. There aren't friends around so I can't foist him off on other people. We'll have to do something so I don't look back on these days with regret. I want to push fast-forward on various parts of my life until they're past and then I want rewind. It's a good thing time apparently only chugs along at a steady pace in one direction. If I was put in charge we'd all be dizzy from the back and forths. Thrown around and back and forth like on a tea-cup ride.

Today's big adventure: looking for the car of the kid who's locked out of it. This occurred in Frog Hollow so I've been warned to do it soon because omigod someone will break into the car any second now. Trouble is I don't know where the hell the car is. Or where his classroom is. Or how to find them.

At least I'm not scared of Frog Hollow. I have neighbors who refuse to go to that part of Hartford. This response always always gives me the (temporary) desire to move to Frog Hollow ASAP. Actually a part of me always always wants to live there because who wouldn't want to live in a place with a name like that?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Somebody To Love and Somebody Wonderful

Here's the good part. Kensington apparently has pretty good distribution for their ebooks. I've found my books at Amazon, All Romance ebook, kobobooks, and Barnes and Noble.  Let me know if you see Somebody to Love or Somebody Wonderful in ebook form elsewhere and I'll send you a free ebook -- either one of those two or some other book. 

I got lotsa books, so I'm telling you it's a good deal.

I put the links I know of into my newsletter. Want future editions? Sign up at the link on the right. I only send them out when I have a new release.

Here's my latest newsletter, featuring links and ginger ale:

Apparently I have two new releases--though this are actually re-releases. My two Kensington historical romance titles that have been out of print are now available as ebooks. Both stories are set in 1880s New York City.

Somebody Wonderful features Mick the New York City cop and Timona, the heroine based on Pauline from the Perils of Pauline. This was a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Readers Choice Awards finalist.

"Timona is an amazing character with a big heart, while Mick is the perfect hero. . . There is also a wonderful cast of supporting characters in this fantastic, heartwarming story from debut author
Rothwell. The conclusion neatly mimics the danger that Timona faces in the beginning of the book, thus creating an exciting ending that will keep you turning pages late into the night."
  -- from Romantic Times

Somebody To Love contains the story of Griffin, Timona's brother and Araminta, a strong-minded mixed-race woman and one of the best chefs in New York.

"This is the second novel following the debut, SOMEBODY WONDERFUL, by an amazingly fresh and original new voice in historical romance. In this she has again charmed the reader with her witty intelligent dialog and two protagonists who are as different as night and day.." -- from

I've found the ebooks online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and All Romance Ebooks and at kobobooks. 

To make up for the fact that I've written to you twice in two weeks, how about a recipe?

I make ginger ale from nearly scratch sometimes---it's a refreshing summer recipe!

Ginger syrup. About 3 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger (more is good if you like strong flavor of ginger), 2 cups water, 1/3 cup sugar (more is fine, if you like it sweeter). Boil these things together for a while. How long? I do it for at least 10 minutes, usually longer because I forget.

The resulting syrup is good multipurpose stuff. I pour a bit into my lemon tea in the winter.  You can refrigerate it in an airtight container for at least a week. I suppose you can strain out the ginger but I don't bother. If you have bigger chunks in your ginger syrup, you can fish them out, roll them in sugar, let them dry for a while and pretend you've made crystallized ginger. I've used that in a pinch for recipes. (there's a cranberry gingerbread recipe that's just wonderful. But that's for cold baking weather.)

For a summer drink you can add your ginger syrup to lemon tea and drink it as ice tea. OR you can add a few tablespoons of the syrup to a glass of carbonated water/seltzer. I always squeeze lime or lemon in there too. Mint's a nice flavor with ginger.

You can make a spicy mix by letting the cooked ginger syrup sit for a while with cinnamon sticks, cloves--then I strain it after an hour or so of sitting. That's particularly good with lemon and orange juice, cut with some seltzer.

* * *

. . . . It's too freaking hot so now I'm going to go drink the ice tea one of my sons made. Good boy. Green tea, honey, lemon tea, buncha lemon juice--yum.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

hey lookit! my two Kensington titles are on Kindle!

Somebody Wonderful and Somebody to Love** are now both available for ebooks. A few weeks ago someone at twitter asked me about them--she wanted one for her ebook collection--and I said it'll be years before they ended up as ebooks. (I figured I'd get the rights back in a few years, buy a cover from Kimberly Killion and do it on my own.)

But hey! I don't mind who does it. I'm just glad to have them out there....unless it's some pirate. In which case, I'm not exactly pleased.

If I find out this is legit (as in I get royalties again) I might even hold a celebratory contest of some sort.

** this book.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


1. The book must be written in first person and must feature a girl, usually one who doesn't consider herself pretty. She may not be popular at start of the book.

2. If she isn't physically fit at the start of the novel by mid-point she'll be kicking ass right and left. Also she'll be outsmarting people who are years older than she.

3. Boys will like her. Sexy mysterious boys, sneering unpleasant boys, milquetoast beta boys. Many will like her.

4. She won't be running with the in-crowd, but chances are she will be perfectly happy at the start of the book, or at least content.

5. The society will be obviously evil to anyone from our world, duh, but it will take her some time to figure it out because it's all she's ever known

6. The society will look like it has no cracks, but it'll fall in a few weeks/months depending on the girl's schedule because

7. By the middle or end she of first book, she will be ready to lead an entire revolution against a powerful society.

8. Successfully.

9. But success will take at least three books.

10. At least a few people she loves will have to die. Anyone who's pals with a feisty teenaged girl (or formerly obedient, now feisty) wake up. And if your friend seems to be developing powers or maybe just brains faster than anyone else around?

Watch out. You will have to die. Your solution might be to act dick-ish because only the good die young. (although in the latest one, two good friends die and one does act purely dickish. So best just stay away from her, okay?)

11. There will be a gang of kids who are out to get her. Imagine high school bullying to the nth degree.

12. She will kick their asses, oh, yes. She will.

13. I forgot! a huge DUH! She will have to pick sides or a new life or move to a whole new community or kill people because society demands it of her. She's come of age and is forced into action because society won't leave her the hell alone. These dystopias, I swear. They're worse than school for forcing kids to do stuff when they hit a certain age

As always, I'm mocking** a particular sort of book that I'm having a great time reading. I'm off to find more of these babies.

My favorite first-person teenaged-girl-with-powers book lately has been Diane Farr's Wicked Cool [corrected with the title and link because if she's going to bother to visit me, I'll bother to get it right] because the heroine is torn in a way I can understand and she doesn't seem to act like a moron, ever. It's not a dystopia book, so the heroine can get away with being silly or playful occasionally. I really like Farr's voice. I wish she'd finished writing more of them, dammit.

Same with the Divergent, another purely dystopian book I just read (follows nearly all of my rules above) -- and when I went to find the next? It's not done yet? WTF? Get writing, author. Faster.

Also another couple whose titles I've forgotten even though those titles are one word. They feature some girl inside a glass ball.....or something. Matched. And then there are the Linger, Shiver etc books although maybe they're not dystopian, more werewolfian, but they do have a powerful girl or two running around. Bah. It's all joined together in my brain as one big grim world, saved by a 14 to 17 year old girl. Yes, of course I read the Hunger Games trilogy. I read it while the rest of you were still gaga for Twilight which I haven't read and never will because my kid read the first page out loud in the bookstore in a fruity accent. It was too much.

The latest one I found (just starting it) has the brave, smart girl as an experienced thief. Heist Society. Not really a dystopian or superpowered girl book, but it looks like a version of high society White Collar with teenagers. As in sillier fun. Oh, boy!

Actually, the main trouble with the rash of dystopians I've read lately is that I've also read Shades of Grey by Fford and so now have a standard for a world and dystopia that will be hard to live up to.

I know, we're talking writing for adults vs. writing for YA, but the best YAs can go up against the best adult fiction, dammit. Maybe not the best in the literary fiction world, but otherwise, yeah. I'm serious. Good stuff out there. But Mr. J Fforde, when it comes to invention and new worlds, he raises the bar.

**mock is the wrong word. I mean pay homage to.

UPDATED TO INCLUDE THIS KICK ASS EDUCATIONAL CHART (via MagdalenB) Click to enlarge or embiggen it as some people really do say--with straight faces, even. ANOTHER UPDATE! The actual person who made the chart is Katie Anderson

.@maureenjohnson For you: "Am I Living In A Dystopia? Fl... on Twitpic

Monday, July 11, 2011

portraits of boys

summarizing my kids in this short conversation.

I ask a question. They answer, each according to his style. . . .

do we go to watch the shinolas tonight across the river?

sure :D:D

i want your sex pootie i want your sex pootie i want your sex pootie

lave me lone

also added to the conversation later:

Saturday, July 09, 2011

sliced bread

If you've ever scythed a lawn before, you know how happy you are when you finally get to use a real lawn-mower. Hey! You can just push a machine instead of that whack-swoosh-whack-swoosh-whack-swoosh**. It's the elation you feel when you load a dishwasher after years of washing by hand. It's like reaching for sliced bread vs whole loaf and crappy knife. Yes, really.

As good as sliced bread.

That "THIS IS SO EASY!"is my attitude (at the moment) about this new way to do my newsletter. Holy moly, after years of messing with email programs and trying to hide the recipients' addresses and dumping emails that don't work and . . . . other stuff. . . . there's this program that will take care of everything but the content**** for me.

As soon as I get banned because someone who forgot they signed up for my newsletter complains to the management--that's when I'll feel less sunny about the whole thing. But until then, the people at tiny letter are my heroes.

Yo, sign up for my newsletter. That's what this entry was supposed to be about.

**when I was a kid, we would go to the farm and there were no power tools there. Gawd. No running water either--we had to haul water up from the spring and heat it on the woodstove. I didn't go to school there, but if I did, it would have been 3mileswalkinguphillbothways for sure.
There was a tractor but sometimes the grass got to high or something.

****and Megan Frampton is right, content is a perfectly good word, dammit.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

It's a Summer Devon day at The Romance Reviews

Here's part of their review of Powder of Love:
Are aphrodisiacs real? If they are, what happens when they affect various members of a Victorian era household? POWDER OF LOVE is a funny, spicy and at times, downright graphic story of a woman who inherits a box full of aphrodisiac.. . . . The growing relationship between the dour Gideon Reed and the outgoing and strong willed Rosalie is delightful to read. Rosalie's interactions with the various secondary characters are well written.

The presence of this aphrodisiac provides for some pretty hilarious comedy as various people fall under its influence. It is also the cause of some of the steamy action that occurs. At just under 200 pages, this book is a wonderfully complete read. It's a story that stays with you long after you finish reading! This book isn't for the faint of heart! The sex is graphic; it involves group sex, public sex and M/M sex.
--the rest is here.

And here's the Mad Baron review--it got a Top Pick!
Wow! What a nice surprise! THE MAD BARON is a wonderful treasure found. This is no disposable romance. It is an instant classic to be kept "on the shelf" and read over and over. . . . The story flows smoothly from start to finish. Great characters and story. The secondary characters are all wonderful and the dynamics seem to work. Although there's so much happening, it doesn't overpower the main plot. Much more depth than the usual romance. Excellent emotional element. Highly recommended!

--and there's more.

Monday, July 04, 2011

ta da!

getting this felt good

this felt even better!

Bonnie and I won Historical first place for The Rogue and the Gentleman.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Seeing a drawback to those craft workshops

I'm sitting, waiting for a bell cart**, reading one of the approximately 1000 books from the conference (Linda and Lori collected many, many books) and I keep seeing examples of What Not To Do. This is an author whose stuff I love. And now I'm doing the dissection thing again. I forgot about that part of thinking Craft all the damn time.

I want to go back to being a reader and only apply this nit-picking to my own work. After years of being a way too critical reader, I'd reached that happy balance.

In other news, the lobby still smells like spray paint. Last night the artists lined up on Times Square just outside the hotel with the easels or tables and started drawing the passersby for $5 a pop. Maybe thirty people, mostly Asian, drawing astonishingly fast, good portraits.

Then there were other guys who used krylon spray paint cans (sounds outer space) and paint scrapers as blockers as they painted outer space scenes. The spray paint wafts around the place like nobody's business.

**L or L called and asked for a luggage rack and the guy just showed up with a luggage rack--you know, the kind that sits in the closet and no one uses. He tried to leave it here even though we don't need the one we already have.

Friday, July 01, 2011


Here's what I loved this year:

Craft workshops. When I took a craft workshop, even the ones that are full of familiar stuff, I got sparks again. CWs used to bore me because I'd overloaded on them, they are basically restating the same True Facts, after all. I'd grown tired of getting preached at and I didn't want to learn jargon for stuff that doesn't need freaking jargon.

Yeah, some of that's still true. But the good workshops, man, I'd forgotten how cool they can be. Michael Hauge, Toni Andrews, Jenny Crusie (of course) -- those were a few of the ones that gave new words to something that I needed to hear again. As I listened, I'd relate them to my life or books and feel my writerly brain expanding, if only for a moment. Instead of doodling or jotting down jargon, I wrote notes for books. I won't be able to read the notes I wrote about the books or the jargon, but it was good stuff.

And the craft workshops gave me that message over and over, yo, dude, you are a writer. You write. Yup, you can do it.

I need to hear that. Anyone who wants to write does.

Therefore -- and pay attention, because this is the thesis--you should go to craft workshops even if you have written (hold on, I'll be right back, gotta count) .....hell, the page doesn't open.

....... even if you've written a whole lot of books and are a RT Readers Choice Finalist, cataromance readers choice, 4 time passionate pen finalist, one time winner, a golden rose winner, a RIO winner.**

Craft workshops. Yes.

Here's what else I learned:
I am not a party animal so all the great party reports aren't here. In fact the minute the last RITA winner was announced I raced upstairs, as fast as possible. There will be crowds of people down there. Yikes.

Hey, but I did get to see Jackie and Terry and Sally and I love them, a lot.

The crowds of successful writers talking about craft--I feel like a writer. The crowds of successful writers talking about anything else? I feel like the opposite of a writer, whatever that is. It's too bad, and I hope to get back the ability to hang around in bars or hotel rooms because that's what I loved in previous years. Craft this year, schmoozing another time.

RITA report:

When Rita winners thank their dead relatives and start sniffling I join them. Also when they thank their husbands I think, yeah, got to remember that one when I get my Rita. Yup. Don't forget to say, I'd like to thank my meal-ticket, Mike.

When Rita winners are funny, I want to read their books. For instance the inspie Golden Heart winner? Whose name I've forgotten? One of the funniest people of the night. I don't read inspie but IF she gets a contract and IF I remember her name and IF I run across her book, I will buy it immediately. She was that good.

When people I know don't win the Rita, I feel cheated, which is significantly less gross than feeling cheated when I don't win things. What's the sensation of second hand envy for someone else? It's an almost but not really an altruistic sort of a feeling.

Okay, I'm going to go try socializing again. I'll let you know if I learn anything new about the secret success handshake so popular here in New York, New York.


**I throw all those in whenever I'm feeling illegitimate. I'm not talking about having unmarried parents, I mean the other kind, the sensation of illegitimate that kicks in when interacting with people who started writing after you and have six Rita nominations and nothing but NYC contracts.

In other words, that utterly useless and stupid sort of insecurity.