Friday, June 30, 2006

You Could Win!

In honor of "Losing It," my newest release, I'm having my first contest. Everyone who joins my mailing list between now and July 31st will earn a chance to win a cute white t-shirt with cherries on it!

My email address is kate_willoughby

Send me your email address and cross your fingers!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cocoa or Caffeine?

This Week's Question: If you had to give up chocolate or coffee, which one would you choose?

As much as I adore chocolate, I'd have to give that up. I drink coffee everyday. I could probably live without chocolate, but it would be tough!!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

We Have A Winnah!

I found out yesterday that Phaze liked my story Leap of Faith and want to buy it! I'm thrilled. Here's a blurb:
Kira de la Fuente signs up for an “immersion tour” of some Peruvian ruins--authentic food, lodgings, and a tour guide dressed in period clothing. At first, she’s thrilled with her guide, Amaru. He’s not only incredibly sexy, but unusually knowledgeable about the Incan culture as well. Almost too knowledgeable...
I'm really really happy that the preliminary cover art looks pretty nice, too. I can't post it here yet, but I will when I get the okay. So, now I have two books in the editing process and still have that Woman's World story I want to finish. Grrr. There are not enough hours in a day, or more accurately, there is not enough energy in this "old" body!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

This Week's Recommendation: Kiss Me, Annabel

This book is the second in Eloisa James' series about the Essex sisters, and it far surpassed the first one, in my opinion. I loved the hero, Ewan Posey, and the middle of this book did not sag in the least. I was excited when the two of them were finally on the road to Scotland because I knew that this was when they were going to fall in love with each other. Eloisa really, really pushed the sexual tension, but in a good way. I'm very much looking forward to the next two books in the series.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Go, Chiefs!

"Finders Keepers" by Kimberly Silver, from the June 27th issue of Woman's World

Tagline: Lila's cousin was right--you never know when you're going to run into the man of your dreams.

This was your average Woman's World story. Sweet and tame with everything winding up nice and tight.

Best Part: "...That hokey Country Western guy--" I had forgotten about the third "requirement" Lila had for her perfect man until this line. Cute.

Worst Part: "Ooops! I'm getting dog hair on your blanket." This observation of his seemed odd and a tad bit contrived.

Overall rating: 3

Originality: 3


Friday, June 23, 2006

Ignorance is Bliss

If I hadn't heard rumors that Phaze was going to whip through the Samba submissions quickly, I wouldn't have this antsy anticipation humming in the back of my head. I had heard that they responded in two weeks with the Surge series, and that maybe they'd get through the Samba stuff in one! Since we're nearing the end of the third week, it's obviously taking longer than they thought. I suppose no news is good news. I'd rather not know than see on Romance Divas that other divas had been accepted and I hadn't gotten my rejection email yet!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

This Week's Question: What is your secret vice? Chocolate? Buying shoes? Colin Farrell?

I have several! I have a serious weakness for video games. Once I start playing one of my sons' platform Playstation2 Games, I'm hooked and won't stop until I finish the game or get hopelessly stuck. I loved the entire Sly Cooper series, Kingdom Hearts, and Ratchet and Clank. Although I haven't played the last R&C because I knew I'd be in trouble if I started.

I also have a bunch of games downloaded to the desktop and play those, too, until I reach a level that I can't get past. Then, I just keep trying occasionally. Among these are Bedazzled, Phlinx, Zulu Gems, Chuzzle, Fortune Tiles Gold, and Magic Match.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rockin' Book Cover

This Week's Artwork: Hostile Takeover

The very first novella I ever finished is going to be published by Moxie Press and it's in the editing process. They sent me a mock-up of the cover, and I'm so thrilled with how classy it looks. It really captures the feel of the book and I couldn't help but post it here. I'm not sure who the artist is, but I'll find out and give him/her credit here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Nanny McPhee

This Week's Recommendation: Nanny McPhee

I just watched this movie with my kids, and it was terrific. Of course, how could it not be with Colin Firth? Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay and I really admired her work with Sense and Sensibility, so it doesn't surprise me that this movie was so tight. If you are looking for a good family film, look no further!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lifeguards = Hunks!

"To the Rescue" by Katharine Swartz, from the July 4 issue of Woman's World

Tagline: Elizatbeth wasn't a teenager. She didn't intend to go off the deep end over anyone...

I remember a movie from my teen years about a lifeguard and it was a favorite, so this story made me feel nostalgic. We have your classic family member trying to make a match - a daughter this time. Unlike many Woman's World stories, this one did have a climactic moment when the heroine looks for the hero at the pool and he's not there, but of course, he does show up. Swartz also created a little character arc for Elizabeth, something that's not always easy to do in 1,100 words. Brava. She also uses the pool setting as a metaphor for the heroine "jumping into the deep end" and "wading in [to the dating world] slowly."

Best Part: "Fifteen minutes later she was jolted from her romance novel." I love that she was reading a romance novel.

Worst Part: I couldn't really find anything that poked me the wrong way.

Overall rating: 4

Originality: 3.5


Friday, June 16, 2006

Revisions and Waiting

Writing News:

I got a longer revision letter from my editor at Moxie Press. There will be a lot of changes, all for the good. I expect that new readers of Hostile Takeover will find it a more satisfying read after I'm done revamping it. If there are repeat readers, then hopefully they'll also find that the book is richer. My editor and I are beefing up the characters, especially Fiona, the heroine.

Monday marks two weeks that Phaze has had the Samba submissions. I'm really hoping they respond quickly. I find that with my new job I forget for days at a time that that Inca story of mine is out there, but when I do remember, I get antsy. That's all I need lately--more reasons for my stomach to do flip-flops.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

This Week's Question: If you had to emigrate to another country, which one would you choose?

If you have read my very first blog entries, you'll probably be able to guess my answer. I'd settle in Italy. I love that country's language, food, people, etc.

What about you?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Devotion II

This Week's Artwork: Devotion II by Jack Vettriano

I've featured this man's work before and I probably will again. I love his style and his subject matter. He can paint extremely romantic images, and I had no idea until I was flipping through a book of his work at Barnes and Noble today that he also delved into more provocative images.

Vettriano lives and works in Scotland and England. He was born in 1951. Apparently he's so popular in the UK that his posters have outsold Dali, Monet, and Van Gogh. Jack Nicholson and the composer Sir Tim Rice own original Vettrianos. And yet the cultural elite across the pond ignore him. The major galleries of Great Britain have never displayed his work.

That's just so dumb. At least he's laughing all the way to the bank. He reportedly earns 500,000 pounds annually from poster royalties. Not bad!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Low Down on Lo Mein

This Week's Recommendation: Pei Wei

Tried a new restaurant this weekend: Pei Wei. It's a take-out Asian fusion restaurant owned by the company that owns P.F. Chang's. I really really liked the Asian Chopped Chicken Salad. It had basil in it and tomatoes, which is unusual in an Asian salad, but delish!!! The Lo Mein noodles were yummy, too, but twice the calories. I wasn't crazy about the orange chicken. It was too orangy for me, and the fried rice was only so-so.

Still, I'd recommend it. I'll definitely be going back for the salad.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dangerous Carrots

"Good As Gold" by Marritt Andrews, from the June 13th issue of Woman's World

Tagline: Laura wondered: Was someone playing a joke on her or was the situation serious?

Terrific story this week. It stands out to me because, not only is it a romance, but it's a mystery, too. Like the Woman's World version of romantic suspense. The friend is funny, and the twist at the end surprised me. I blithely bumbled along reading the story, puzzled by the mysterious carrots and not really thinking about the romance until, boom, there was the surprise.

Best Part: "And if a stranger calls and asks what you keep in your crisper, call nine-one-one!" Very funny line!

Worst Part: I didn't really get the feeling that the hero and heroine's feelings for each other were strong enough for marriage.

Overall rating: 4.5

Originality: 4.5


Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Hard Core Me

After being approached by Moxie Press, I've taken a leap and signed on with them this week. They had seen a work of mine that had been on a free site for many years and offered a contract for it and its sequel short story. I wrestled with this decision for several weeks. It is a romance still, of course. I can't not write a happily ever after. However, as I mentioned in the title of this entry, it's hard core and politically incorrect. There is no question that once people read this, they will have seen my "dark side," the raunchy me who's been hiding behind the goody-goody, always follow the rules, set the good example teacher.

So, I guess it's appropriate that this publisher's name, Moxie, means aggressive energy and initiative. They are a new company and haven't even opened their electronic doors yet, but I was impressed by their website and their book cover design. Also, I doubt that my story, Hostile Takeover would ever have found a home at another electronic publisher because it's a story of forced seduction. So, they are demonstrating moxie by being brave enough to offer that to the public. Most e-pubs won't touch that type of story.

I do have some editing to do, due to the excellent suggestions of my Moxie editor, Jo, and expect that the title will be available in the late summer or early fall.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tall, Grande, or Venti?

This Week's Question: What's your favorite Starbucks drink?

I love Cafe Mochas. The Chai Tea Lattes aren't bad either. But my all time favorite drink is seasonal:

The Egg Nog Latte It's to die for. I could overdose on 'em, but then I'd be as big as Dumbo.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fanny Fingerpainting

This Week's Artwork: Fanny/Fingerpainting (1985) by Chuck Close

Chuck Close created this work by applying pigment to the canvas using his fingertips. He used a black and white photograph of his mother-in-law, divided it into smaller units by using a grid and then transferred the images to a much larger grid.

I saw this painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and the amazing thing about seeing it in person is its vast size--8.5 feet by 7 feet. They have to hang it in a very large room because in order to take it all in, you have to stand some distance away. And yet you still want to move closer to see the individual fingerprints that make up the giant image.

They don't fingerpaint like that in kindergarten!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fang Dysfunction

This Week's Recommendation: Fang Dysfunction by Anna Evans

I thought this story was hilarious. Anna Evans has a terrific sense of humor and it shows in her writing. It's a welcome change to find a vamp who is dealing with her immortality with sass instead of angsting over it.

Here's the blurb:

Erin just wants to be a normal modern day vamp, living a life filled with lots of vigorous blood sucking and more hot sex than a girl can handle. But when one of her fangs goes on the blitz, shriveling up like a neglected houseplant, she can no longer deny that things aren’t going exactly as planned.

If she doesn’t find a cure soon, she’s in for a lot worse than a severe case of vampire depression, she could very well bite the big one.

Secretly, Erin thinks life as a rookie vampire would be so much easier if she hadn’t been abandoned by the gorgeous man who transformed her in the first place. Too bad she hates his guts and he's not into the whole 'mating for eternity' thing. Right?

Erin’s about to realize that there’s no cure for fang dysfunction like interrupting a vampire orgy, taking a long hot shower with an old friend, and learning that maybe love isn’t impossible after all.

Buy it here: Chippewa Publishing

Monday, June 05, 2006

Beaten to the Punch

"Stranded" by Ann Russell, from the June 6th issue of Woman's World

Tagline: Jim was in a fix, all right, but help was on the way...

Jimmy Meiss recently rejected my story "Tire Trouble" because someone had already sent her one about a female mechanic, and here it is! Grrr! Unfortunately, I can't razz it, because it's pretty solid.

Written in first person, we see this through the guy's point of view. As usual, Jim is a beta hero, the kind of guy you want to cuddle up to because he just brought you a cup of tea and told you how beautiful you are. We even get an explanation of his beta-ness when he explains why he has no idea how to fix his car.

Another Woman's World standard device that Russell employs is the matchmaker. Usually the story revolves around the matchmaking, but this one doesn't. It's a "man in distress" story that has a matchmaker at the end. The characters are likable. We don't see too much of the heroine, but Jim is as well-developed as 1,100 words allow.

Best Part: "When was the last time I'd paid attention to the magic of an evening landscape? I felt a stab of loneliness. Instead of sitting here by myself in an empty parking lot, I should be headed hometo somebody special." Aww. Poor guy. This made me want to hug him.

Worst Part: I thought it was an odd coincidence that both sisters worked late night jobs.

Overall rating: 3
Originality: 3.5


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Deadlines Are Hell

My internet connection is working, but now I have a deadline to meet. I am frantically trying to finish a short story for Phaze Publishing's Samba Contest. So I'm afraid I'm taking the rest of the week off from my blog. I'll be back early next week!