Arianna's Blog

Come listen to the ramblings and assorted babblings of a crazed mother and newbie author. It might not always be helpful, but it should be amusing.

Monday, May 29, 2006

we interrupt the RT memoirs to bring you. . .

some thoughts on Memorial Day. . .

I promise I'll go back to the "good stuff" tomorrow, but I just feel the need to express some thoughts I had today.

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. The unofficial start of the summer and a day full of parades, picnics, and fun. My husband marched in our local parade with the fire department, and I sat on the side lines with my kidos and watched everyone go by.

As the Veterans of Foreign Wars went by and the local Army unit marched in front of us with their color guard, I made my girls stand up. The man next to us looked at me like I was deranged when I forced my girls to stand and clap. I explained to them when they whined that they were showing respect not just to the men and women in front of us, but to all the men and women that had gone before them.

My grandfather was the second to last man drafted in World War II, two of my uncles came home from Viet Nam, and my husband's uncle did not. My father was in the Air Force, my father in law, and brother in law were in the Army, and my sister still is. My other brother in law was in the Navy, and I have several friends either former military, currant military, or military spouses. For me, showing respect for our armed forces is very personal.

I am not a political person. I hate political discussions, am not a registered anything, and for the most part vote according to whim. I almost always vote for the underdog (like the Green party) and avoid advocates from either side of the fence like they carried the plague. That being said, I will always support the troops. Whether or not I agree with the person or mission that sent them into danger, I will ALWAYS support the men and women who put their lives on the line so I don't have to. That includes police officers, fire fighters, and members of all the branches of the armed forces.

I am not the least bit embarrassed to have made my children stand to show respect for the flag, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Happy Memorial Day.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pictures from the Vampire Ball

Here is a picture of (from L-R) Ann Wesley Hardin, Lisa Stoddard (Ashley Raine) Lori Armstrong and me

My picture of Beth as Ariel isn't showing up, but if you go to her blog or Mary Stella's blog you can see them.

where is that brain cell?

Thursday morning dawned bright and sunny, and really darn early. Kathy again had to be somewhere so she couldn't hang with Lori and I. Lori wanted to go for a walk on the beach before she went to one of the workshops, so we headed outside and attempted to find enough caffeine to sustain us.

Aparently it wasn't enough.

Idiot that I am, I totally missed the fact that it was THURSDAY and that I was SUPPOSED TO BE SOMEWHERE that morning. EC was gracious enough to throw us a brunch, one I missed last year because I had to leave early and was looking forward to. Unfortunately, I didn't even think about it until 5:00 that night when someone asked if I had seen an author because they weren't at the brunch.

Not my finest moment.
Honestly, I felt like a complete ass. I had everything written down so I wouldn't forget what to do when, but did I even look at the paper that morning? Nope.

I'm really an intelligent woman, honest. I blame it all on caffeine withdrawl.

Thursday afternoon and evening were spent helping Connie Perry get ready for the Vampires of the Caribbean ball that Heather Graham was throwing. Several of my friends were in the little skit that was going to be performed so I wanted to help out as much as possible.

I had a cute little vampire dress that was HOT as hell and I wore a bandana on my head. I decided to skip the eye patch. Kathy went as Jack Sparrow's abandoned (dead) bride. Complete with goth makeup and Victorian dress.

Then there was Lori. Lori was costumely challenged. We ended up creating an outfit for her on the fly and she looked darn cute. It took the rest of the box of tissues to push up her cleavage for the Wench outfit, but we did it.

The play was hysterical and Beth looked too cute as Ariel the mute mermaid. Mary Stella did a fabulous job as the Oracle, and as always Heather Graham did a great performance as Jack/Jill Sparrow. A great time was had by all. . .

Thursday, May 25, 2006

EC party

Here are Mary Stella, Beth Ciotta, Kathy Love, Julia Templeton, and me in the infamous nurse outfit at the EC party. . .

And so it begins. . .

Wednesday morning came VERY early. Poor Kathy Love had to do a workshop type thing, but Lori and I got to go out on the beach. It was lovely to sit in the sun and (detox) relax. Time sort of got away from us, and before we realized it, it was time for lunch before my "photo shoot". I ended up running out of lunch because I hadn't showered yet and looked like death microwaved. On the way to my room I ran into several friends, a cover model or two, and author Evelyn Vaughn whom I just ADORE! I gushed all over her when I realized who I was with, poor woman she must have thought she was trapped in an elevator with a lunatic. A stinky one at that.

I ran through the shower at warp speed and slapped on some make up before trying to find my way to Tara Kearney's suit. I had to run through two towers before I figured it out but I got there on time. (Yay me!)

The photo shoot was much fun, Tara and her assistant Bethany were great to work with, and Susan Kearney (awesome author of THE CHALLENGE etc.) helped me pick two pictures for my official author look. I'll post them eventually, honest!

Then, things got interesting. From the photo shoot I went to help Connie Perry organize things. Ms. Connie had enough work for ten people and I did very little to really help her, but I can carry things, hahaha.

Then I was running late, once again, for the EC party. I busted my butt to get changed into my nurse's costume. Then the panic set in.

The costume, even with the shorts on underneath was so darn short I looked like I belonged in a porno movie. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't go out of the room.

My roommates gave me a drink.

I still couldn't do it.

I opened the door to where Lori was on the phone talking to her husband.
"I can't go through with it."
"You have too! You look so cute."
"It's too short. I can't do it."
"Bend over."

At this point her husband goes something to the effect of "It's a little disconcerting to hear your wife tell her female roommate to bend over."

I had another drink. I was now sufficiently sloshed enough to put on the stilletto heels and go to the party.

I hadn't figured on having to walk through the lobby though. I had my toy doctor kit that I was using as a purse and I wanted to hide behind it as I went through the hotel.

By the time they let us into the room for set up, my feet were killing me and my face was permanently blushed.

It got worse.

I then found out that we had to WALK ACROSS A STAGE and be introduced.
In a nurse's outfit.
In front of people.

Luckily Brooks, one of the sweetest people you will ever met was nearby.
With a bit of hysteria in my voice, I ordered/begged him to get me a glass of wine, which I chugged before crossing the stage.

After I was out of the public eye I switched into my ballet slippers and was careful not to bend over all night.

Lori went as a cowgirl, complete with spurs and she was so darn cute. Kathy went as Bianca, the hostess of Studio 54 and had sparkly heels and a disco-ball purse. It was a lot of fun and a good time was had by all.

But I'll never live down the Naughty Nurse costume. . .

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Oh Yeah. . .

Um, did I mention that I have a book released today? Thank you Kate Rothwell for reminding me to announce it. For the 6 readers of this blog who didn't know, SLOAN'S HEART the third book in THE FEDERATION CHRONICLES came out today at Ellora's Cave, WOOT!

I was most excited about this story coming out because it's the sequel to REBEL'S LUST and LUCY'S LOVER which were my two first releases at EC and hold a special place in my heart.

I also lust after the cover. . .A lot. . .

Yum yum!

Pictures from Tuesday

Here are some pictures of Lisa Stoddard (Ashleigh Raine/Rina Slater) Patrice, and Joy (in the bunny ears)

Tuesday. . .and the fun begins

Tuesday morning Lori, Kathy and I were up relatively early (okay, so Kathy went back to sleep) the sky was overcast but I assured Lori it would burn off by noon. We decided to go for a walk on the beach to warm up our muscles before we practiced a bit of our workshop.

Lori and I were doing a workshop together on fight scenes and I would be kicking and punching at her so we wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing first. Her husband is in the firearms business and I REALLY didn't want to send her home with a black eye.

As we walked along the beautiful Daytona beach, it started to rain. I was not happy. It has rained for three weeks in CT and I wanted to escape the rain, not walk in it. We continued to walk anyway, darn it. I wasn't giving up that easily.

After about an hour or so, we headed inside to register for the conference. I hadn't showered yet, was barefoot and had my hair in a sloppy ponytail. Why do I do this to myself? As we walked in we saw a million people we knew and tackle hugs abounded. I'm sure there were people there going, "who is that street person hugging all the authors?"

Lori and I found a quiet place to practice (after a little searching) and then decided to shower before we ran into anyone else. Meanwhile my bestest bud Leigh Wyndfield arrived and we met up with her for lunch.

We went to Bubba Gumps Shrimp restaurant for lunch and it was FABULOUS!!! They had any number of really good drinks and the food was incredible. Our waiter carded us, which was wonderful too. I think we were there for over an hour. . .or three drinks whichever came first.

From there we got ready for the laou (? spelling, my brain isn't engaged yet) where we met up with lots of our buds. I got to see Joy from Joyfull Reviews. My very first fan and great friend. I also ran into Ann Wesley-Hardin, Jaci Burton, and a bunch of other EC authors. Bliss!

After the laou Kathy, Leigh and I went to the bar for a drink where we waited for at least half an hour to get served. From there Lori and I met up at the unofficial Medallion Authors Party thrown by the delightful Delores Wilson. I have to tell you, when I throw a "hotel" party it's chips and dip with beer in a garbage can full of ice.

Not Delores.

She had beautifully arranged hors d'oeuvres, table clothes, petit-fors, and a varied supply of alcohol. I was mightily impressed.

Much, much later in the evening Kathy Love and I went back to our room to get settled in "early" for a change. Okay, it was already midnight but we were trying. We'd gotten into our jammies and the lights were out and we decided we were hungry so we ordered a pizza.

Of course we ran into a bunch of people as we slipped into the lobby in our jammies and glasses. Yes, I'm the uber professional. . .

After our yummy supper (at 1:30 am) we lay back down and shut off the lights again.
My cell phone rings.
It's Lori. She misses us.
She's been drinking since we parted hours ago.
It was very funny actually. Kathy and I slipped down to the patio (still in our jammies) to rescue her before she had any more to drink. While there, we had an experience that would scar us for life, but common decency prevents me from telling it in a public forum. . .

More more tomorrow. . .

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Let's start at the beginning

I arrived Monday after some serious travel delays. I was overjoyed by the Daytona airport. It was quiet, clean, and the people there were wonderfully helpful. A very nice experience after spending the day in Newark.

I took a taxi to the hotel and settled in. I'm the type of person who needs to unpack everything and hang it up before I can relax. I even ironed all the things that needed ironing so that I wouldn't have to do it later when things got nuts. (This was very key because I would have had to use napping time to iron. Obviously, I would have appeared very wrinkled.)

Soon it was time to meet my friend Lori Armstrong at the airport. The wonderful Mary Stella and I went to pick her up, and low and behold my friend Lisa (half of Ashleigh Raine as well as Rina Slater) was on the same flight. We crammed their copious luggage into Mary's car and drove home. On the way we stopped at Walgreens and made something of a spectical of ourselves while picking up snacks. We hit a package store too, and were none too serious there either.

Well lubricated with soda, snacks and booze we headed back to the hotel for some serious partying and ended up at a neat little diner for dinner. It didn't take long for us to end up walking on the beach, laughing the whole way.

It's so great to meet up with people who "get" you. Conferences are insane, but they are one of the few places besides family gatherings where I laugh so hard my stomach hurts. No one, and I mean no one, gets me like my writing friends. I'm already going through the blues because I miss everyone so much.

April seems very far away. . .

Monday, May 22, 2006

I'm home from RT, oy

I'm home and I'm alive. . .barely.

It took a while for me to get home yesterday. Storms in the Northeast held up my plane so I was in the Newark airport for 6 hours. This wouldn't have been too terribly bad except for two things. . .

1.) I had sat in the same airport for 6 hours on Monday and explored almost everything already.
2.) I'd had all of 4 hours of sleep the night before. (Thanks ever so much Kathy Love!)

We had quite a bit of turbulance on both of my flights which didn't leave me feeling bright-eyed and bushy tailed either. . .

I plan on documenting as much as I can remember, and haven't been bribed to forget, here on my blog as the week goes on. I'm afraid I didn't get many pictures of myself. In fact I didn't get many pictures period. I'm hoping folks who got pictures will send them to me as time goes on.

I do have to give my husband his props here though, when I FINALLY got home he had the house SPOTLESS and the laundry done. He didn't complain about me being gone and actually listened to me as I talked about the conference. It was a great homecoming.

Now I need to catch up on my own laundry and email hahaha. Welcome home, oy!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Faster than the speed of gossip. . .

I just finished reading Junes's ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEWS magazine. I enjoy flipping through it every month, especially if I have a review coming in. This month I really enjoyed reading about how far the magazine has come in the last 25 years. There were a bunch of pictures from the early years and it was a blast to see some of the people I think of as icons in their younger and (maybe) wilder days.

As I was reading I started thinking about all the stories and tales I'd heard about the early years of writing romance. The lack of respect, money, and circulation, and the almost total isolation. It got me to thinking about how would I survive without my writer friends? I'm counting the days until I see my buddies at RT (5!) I don't know how I'd handle it if I didn't get to email them daily (sometimes hourly).

Writing is a lonely business. I don't belong to any local chapters (yes Kate, I'll join eventually) so except for the random (and I do mean random) lunch date, I don't get to see other authors except at conferences twice a year.

I'm very new to the writing gig. I only submitted my first novel 4 years ago. (It was rejected, by the way.) The thing I think we newer authors have that the veterans didn't that makes the most difference in our business isn't the money (I'm still waiting for that) the respect (it's getting there) or the circulation, it's the INTERNET.

Besides the growth and development of organizations like RWA and magazines such as RT, we newer authors (I don't dare say younger) can connect with hundreds of peers, fans, and business associates right from our own comfy chairs. We can bitch and moan, whine and complain to people we've only met in person a handful of times. We get support, sympathy and congratualtions from friends all over the world without having to get on a plane.

Back before the internet explosion, it seemed to me that authors were kept in the dark about the goings on of other authors and other publishing houses. Keep in mind, this is only from what I've heard from different veteran authors, but they all have similar stories. Now, if one author gets a three book deal with a fat advance, everyone knows about it before she can tell her spouse. Authors have more information at their fingertips than ever before. In fact, in one case I remember hearing about the closing of a line before authors and agents OF THAT LINE heard about it. How? On a message board.

The internet has changed this business in so many ways, from ebooks (thank you GOD!) to on line review sites, to writing groups and yahoo groups. When I was in college there were very few people who even knew what the internet was. That wasn't THAT long ago folks. I wonder what changes will come to the industry in the next 12-15 years?

This may be my last post until after RT, things are a little hectic here. I'm going to do my best to take pictures this year so I'll post them when I get home!!!

For all you moms out there HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!
Have a great week and I'll see you soon!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Practice what you preach

I have three daughters. Three pretty smart daughters. Sometimes I wonder if it be a little easier on me if they weren't so darn smart.

As you know, I've been dieting since September to get rid of 30 pounds of stress weight. I managed to lose 23 and then stalled. In fact, after visiting my sister in Georgia and eating biscuits and gravy, I managed to put 3 pounds back on.

RT is a week away.
What are the chances I'll lose those 10 pounds in the next 10 days? Slim to none, I'd say. Anyway, my house has not had chips or ice cream or cookies in it for a while. While I was away my husband bought all of the above. I whined because I couldn't have any because of my diet.

Today my girls were watching a Disney sit com called THAT'S SO RAVEN and on it, the main character, Raven, who is a typical healthy girl, wasn't allowed to model the dress she created because she wasn't a size 1. She ended up storming the catwalk wearing her creation and declared that all sizes are beautiful.

"See," I told my girls, "everyone is beautiful in their own way. You don't have to be like the girls on magazines to be pretty."

"Then how come you're on a diet mommy?"

ZING! *whoop! whoop! hypocrite alert*

So, I had to come up with something on the spot. I couldn't say "Because mommy doesn't want to look like a cow when she's walking in front of 650 people at the Faery Ball." I'd just told them all sizes were beautiful.

My answer was, "Mommy wants to be healthy, so she had to lose some of the unhealthy pounds she'd gained."

But it got me to thinking. I am trying really hard to keep my girls from being as weight conscious as I am. I keep mostly healthy snacks in the house and my girls are very active so they get a lot of exercise. Hopefully, this will help them to remain at a healthy, age appropriate weight at least until they hit puberty.

But is my dieting undermining my efforts to make them self-confident? I've never been very confident about my looks, I don't know if that comes from pudging out in Middle School or if it's just the type of person I am. It's not like I had critical parents or a gorgeous sister that everyone compared me to.

I guess somewhere along the way I bought into the "if I don't look like a Victoria Secret model I'm not attractive."


I'm proud of the weight I lost, it needed to go. With the prevelance of heart and vascular disease in my family, I can't afford to carry around 30 extra pounds. On the other hand, I'll never look like I belong on the pages of a magazine. I don't have that type of body and never will. But does that mean I'm not beautiful?
*cringe cringe*

No it does not. I'm a good mother, wife, daughter and friend and regardless of my looks that makes me beautiful.

There, I did it. Now I just have to try to do it without wanting to apologize for sounding braggy. Hey, I'm 36 years old, my self-perception isn't going to change overnight.

But I owe it to my daughters to practice what I preach. And if I want them to consider themselves beautiful, loving people deserving of respect and appreciation, then I have to do it too.

Now if only the fashion industry would figure that out. . .
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I thought that might get your attention! In the writing world, using that word is like dropping the F-bomb in church. Accusitions of plagerism are serious things. I know it's something I'm always worried about as an author who reads so much in the same genre I write in.

What if I'm stealing someone's idea unconsciously?

What if I had the SAME idea as someone else, only I didn't know it and their book came out first?

What if someone THINKS I stole their idea when I've never even read their books?

Some of those things keep me up at night, seriously.
BUT that's not the kind of plagerism I'm talking about. I recently received a review--from a site that shall remain nameless so I don't get sued--for LEGENDARY TAILS III. My short story, TIGHT PLACES was in that anthology. When I scrolled down to look at the review, I couldn't believe what I read. Actually I could because it was MY BOOK BLURB FROM THE EC WEBSITE!!!

I mean, word for word, totally cut and pasted from the site. They didn't even bother to paraphrase! I immediately looked for a contact button on the website, but didn't find one. EC has a review coordinator who handles the sending out of reviews, so I shot her an email telling her about it.

I'm still mad. Not only did someone take my words and claim them as her own, they weren't even my best work! I write terrible blurbs! What yanks my chain is that someone got a rather expensive book for free, with the expectation that they'd read it and write a review. I have no idea if this person:

A.) Read the book and hated it so instead of panning the book they just copied the blurb.

B.) Didn't have a chance to read the book so they just copied the blurb.


C.) Read it but was just too damn lazy to write the review.

In any case, it's a betrayal of the trust given to a review site. It's also the first time that has happened to me and I find myself seriously annoyed by it. Even more annoying, I can't tell the site about it because they don't have a contact button!!!

I'm definitely going to be watching that site very carefully in the future. . .