Thursday, June 28, 2007

Because I'm too stupid to post sometimes

Okay. You're wondering what the picture is. The picture is the prize I"m offering over on the Unfortunate Miss Fortunes blog. You see, we're having this contest about the book, and people are supposed to say what they'd like to do with the power my character Dee has(which is shapeshifting). We pick one answer, and they are awared the beautiful needlepoint I did of butterflies, all framed and ready for hanging. It's about 21" x 21". And it's a prize. It's not pictured on the Miss Fortunes blog yet, because I can't figure out how to load the #$%$ thing. It's a different program than the one I'm used to, and it's got me completely bamboozled. So in the meantime, I'll show it here. I can also invite you over to the Miss Fortunes Website( so you can post on the What You'd Do with Dee's Powers, if you want to. Or just laugh at me, since I'm so cyberstupid.

Back to your regular programming....

eileen\kathleen, the evil twins

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

And now, ladies and gentlemen.....

Funny thing about a publication date. In the end, it's more frustrating than rewarding. THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES, the (funny, erotic paranormal) novel I did with Jenny Crusie and Anne Stuart premiered yesterday. I should have felt better.

Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled it's out. I'm so glad that we've reached the culmination of about three years of hard work, and as anybody who reads this kind of blog knows, only about half of that work was writing. We blogged, we websited, we contested(and still do). We cross-posted and sent books in a kind of author merry-go-round so that all three of us could sign each copy. We created needlework briiliance( I did needlepoint, Anne quilting and Jen knitting). We contacted everybody we knew and quite a few people we didn't, to let them in on the publishing news. Jenny's daughter Mollie did yeoman's duty on our website and newsletter. We've been stoking people's anticipation for at least nine months. And then on the day the book actually came out....

Well, I was sitting at home working on a new book. Publishing is kind of like that. I think it's why so many of us do needlework(one of the prizes in our contests over at or gardening or gourmet cooking(that last one would not be me). We need just a bit of immediate gratification. We work so hard on our books, from inception to publication, but by the time the book actually comes out--even by the time the reviews come out--we're at least one or two books down the line, usually stuck at the point(again) where we're questioning our wisdom in going into this business in the first place. We think we stink(we always do in the middle of the book) and carry around a sneaking suspicion that any reviewer who really liked our work was either paid by the publisher or two weeks off her meds.

So think how refreshing it is to focus on flowers(my addiction). After all, all they want is a little water and food, and they'll bloom happily for the rest of the summer. They don't want rewrites or better numbers or a new author photo from you (since the one you're now using was taken at highschool graduation). They don't care what your numbers were last year, or how much you're promoting yourself this year. They just want to make you happy, right this minute. It's refreshing.

I'm not actually at the "I stink" phase. I'm more at the "I'll never finish another project" phase, which often happens when the rest of my family interferes. But the message is always, "when they find out how bad I actually am--how I can't finish anything--they'll dump me faster than Britney Spears panties".

Add to that the fact that numbers come out so fast now, that we're all holding our breath (and praying, and lighting candles and invoking any household god of our acquaintance) that we show up ANYWHERE on a list. That's what publishing survival is all about.

So, am I excited that THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES is out? Absolutely. It's my most dominant emotion of the day. Right behind terrified and wary.

eileen\kathleen, the evil twins

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Will give free books for review

I might actually be too late on this. I'm in Michigan on vacation with the family, and only able to get internet in town(which, if you're on a beach in Michigan, you tend not to frequent). But here it is. My book with Jenny Crusie and Anne Stuart, THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES, premieres very soon. In the spirit of sharing, we would like to offer a whopping 50 copies to people who have an active blog that's at least two years old. The only caveat is that we'd like you to blog a review of it on your site.

So, if you're interested in a free copy, please contact

Molly our brilliant webqueen will randomly pick fifty names, and send the books off post haste. And then we'll link with your site on the Miss Fortunes site. And if I can figure out how to do it here, I'll do that, too.

But don't think that's all. We're having ongoing contests through the end of August over at the www.unfortunatemissfortunes. com site. And I'm giving away three copies myself here. So sign up. And stop by the UMF site and see what you think. I do know that the reviews are coming in(posted on the UMF site), and with the exception of Publishers Weekly, who seem to think that it is not necessary to actually read a book to review it, have all been wonderful.

So stop by. Sign up. And let us know what you think. A good review is NOT a requirement. We just would like a review.

Now, back to the beach. I'm thinking of you all as I watch the waves and birds and sun. Really.

Eileen/Kathleen, the evil twins

Friday, June 15, 2007

What I'm Writing on my Summer Vacation

Tomorrow morning--early--well, for me early is any time before they stop serving Egg McMuffins at McDonalds, I'm heading off with my family to the vacation cabin we've gone to since I was a year old. Now when I say my family, I don't just mean immediate. I mean siblings and families. This year I think it rounds out to about 30 people. I've said before that a drunk lady once labeled us "The Last Functional Family in America." It was on the beach in Michigan we had our run-in with her.

We have a whale of a time here. The kids are kids, the adults are kids, and the entertainment is watching storms come across the lake(the rule is that we all sit on the deck with our gin and tonics until lightning hits the flagpole). There are no TVs, no radio, and only one emergency phone. Cell and wi fi can't make it around the surrounding dunes. It's....QUIET. It's away from everything. It's heaven.

So what am I going to do while I'm there? Why, write, of course. Actually, during the day I'm going to be doing research. You can't really research a fairy kingdom you've made up yourself, so that's a gimme. But I can reread Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer to get me in the mood and place for my regency adventure series. I'm also reading books on regency etiquette and battle tactics. I can't wait. I'm also going to give that collage thing a try. If this series goes the way I want it to, I'm going to have to put together about ten extended peerage families. They need faces, names, houses and animals. So I'm bringing magazines on English architecture, history, etc, and those People magazines with beautiful people in them. I guess if I have ten families, some of them are going to have to be blondes(have you ever noticed that there are more dark haired-blue-eyed English heroes than you'll find in the entire empire....including Wales?) So I'm going to be cutting pictures like a third-grader.

For my suspense I'm reading books on criminal motivation by John Douglas and psychiatric disorders. I'm going to be putting down the basic plot. I already have the okay from my most important forensic research person for the plot and characters. I really would tell you who she is and what her expertise is, but I"m just too superstitious. I don't want to ruin my mojo for the book.

Okay, I'm going to be doing that all out on the deck in the sun with my daughter, sister and sisters-in-law while my brothers play golf. I'll get the research in around long, convoluted discussions on the family(especially the ones not there) and breaks for storms and the hot event of tankers coming into the harbor(I wrote a romance called Hot Shot that I set in Grand Haven, and my favorite scene involves a tanker arrival). Not that I really need to soak up even more atmosphere, but I will. The beginning of my suspense takes place in a town called Blue Harbor, Michigan which is really Grand Haven(but which I change the name to so I don't get caught in mistakes---"No, the Prontopup hotdog stand is in the first block of Washington. Not the second.")

And then, at night, when everybody but me is in bed, I'll pull out the laptop and play in the world of faerie. Nights are the best time for faeries, after all. And there won't be anything to distract me there....except the moon on the water, the sound of the waves, the raccoons digging in the trash cans....

So, if I can stir myself to get off the deck and into town where they swear the whole town is wi-fied, I'll blog for you then. Otherwise, see you in a couple. I'll be busy working.....yeah.

eileen/kathleen, the evil twins

Monday, June 11, 2007

Old Eclectic Me

In about two weeks, The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, the book I wrote with Jen Crusie and Anne Stuart will be out. It's a bit of a departure for me, so I thought this might be the time to discuss why I tend to write so many different kinds of things. It's not that I'm trying to follow the
market. I'm not that smart. Or that fast. I used to be fast, but that's a different blog. No, the truth is that I just like to write....everything. Mystery, suspense, fantasy, romance, history, blogs.... Anyway, as I thought about it, I considered what I'd been doing the last couple of weeks and thought it might shed some light on the matter.

Let's see. First, I went to see La Traviata at the St. Louis Opera Theater. Great, grand opera: lots of emotion, lots of angst and gorgeous music with a bit of consumption thrown in(when my daughter saw a production, she said, "I had a patient with tuberculosis this week. She couldn't sing like that). Then I went to New York and saw a musical, 110 in the Shade. I'd never seen the musical, but it's a version of one of my favorite movies of all times: The Rainmaker with Katherine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster. This was all that and wonderful music: lush, fun, bright, and with a great happy ending, handsome men and a manly chorus(I love manly choruses). It was the perfect romance. To balance that, I went the next night to see Kevin Spacey in Moon for the Misbegotten by O'Neill. And Jenny Crusie would be more than happy to tell you that watching O'Neill is comparable to whacking yourself in the forehead with a ballpeen hammer for three hours. Nobody gets out of that one alive. And I loved it(but I"m Irish. We have an affinity for hammer-whacking).

When I got home I went back to the Opera to see the Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan's delicious ly satirical operetta about bureaucracy in Titipu,Japan. If you're not familiar with G&S, Stephen Sondheim is their direct musical descendent. It was brilliant. I knew the company had updated the book, with the chorus(manly) in business suits, briefcases and PDAs (and a Titipu Hard Rock sign), but you got the full message when, during the overture, a lovely geisha tiptoed out holding a paper model of a Japanese temple. She very carefully laid it on the stage and left. Music swells, we're about to get curtain up, when out from stage right, Godzilla clumps over, steps on the temple and leaves. It was that kind of night.

So then I bought Allison Kraus and Union Station tickets, got another copy of Moody Blue's Days of Future Past and cheered on Rags to Riches as she took on the boys at the Belmont Stakes. Yeah, I'm a horse racing addict. Blame it on Dick Francis. Yesterday I went to a Cardinals baseball game and cheered on my boys. Yeah. Serious and lifelong addiction. Blame that on my mother. She and her dad taught me to keep score when I was four. In fact, when my kids want to make me cry, they make me watch Field of Dreams. And it's my mom I miss.

A bit of gardening, a bit of Monty Python, a bit of Irish music, and a book on bloodspatter patterns. Oh, and registration for the 10th Masters Course in Death Investigation. I guess the point is, I can't sit in one place too long. Some would blame it on my ADD. I think it's just a broad range of interests. Three of my favorite movies? Lethal Weapon, To Kill a Mockingbird, Holiday(a great romance with Catherine Hepburn and Cary Grant). At any time you might find on my CD player Evanescence, Willie Nelson and Porgy and Bess. I think the only place you'd probably never find me is at a Toby Keith concert or playing golf. Other than that, I'm open to about anything.

It translates into my writing. I think it's because I read everything. But if I'm caught too long in one genre, I feel suffocated. There's just so much to see, to say, to create. So many different ways to do it. And I want to do them all. Which, of course, does my career no good. But the sad truth is, I can't write to order. If I'm not involved with the words, they simply don't end up on the page. So I'm researching another medico-forensic suspense, finishing the last of my fairy trilogy for Silhouette and seeing an erotic paranormal published with two other people. And I'm about to put together a proposal for something completely different(can you hear my agent groan?). It's why I'm evil twins. For now. Who know? There may be more of us? It's the only way I can do it.

eileen/kathleen, the evil twins