Michelle Rowen

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The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance

See previous post for my contest to win a free book of your choice — going until Tuesday, November 18 at 9:00 pm EST.

Here’s the cover for the anthology I’m in next year — The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance. It’s out April 2009. I am featured on the cover, but they spelled my name “and many more” for some reason. Ha.

My story ended up being about vampires and soulmates and it’s set in my Immortality Bites universe, but with completely different characters. It was a lot of fun to write, and if I can quote the editor when I handed it in, she said: “It’s so fast and funny, it reads like it came out of your brain in a lovely rush.”

It was a painful rush of about four days, but I was glad it read smoothly.

Fall in love with someone out of this world!

If love transcends all boundaries then paranormal romance is its logical conclusion. From the biggest names in the field, here are 24 tales to take you to another time and place.

Let Alyssa Day, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Cheyenne McCray, Jeaniene Frost, Ilona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong, Maria V. Snyder, Carrie Vaughn, Allyson James and others show you powers beyond your wildest imaginings.

Within these pages mythical beasts, magical creatures of all shapes and sizes, heart-stoppingly handsome ghosts, angels and mortals with extra-sensitive sensory perception play out the themes of extraordinary desires.

Speaking of vampires, Lori Devoti has begun her 30 Days of Vampires event on her blog, and I’m guesting on December 11th and will be giving away a signed copy of Stakes & Stilettos then.

Buy a Book, Save the World! CONTEST!!!

Alison Kent has a great contest going on on her blog right now. It was triggered by this post about the dire conditions in publishing today and how everyone should go out and buy a book to help things stay above water. I think it’s a great idea. I admit, even my book buying, which in the past was up to addictive levels, has dropped off significantly.

I, for one, plan to buy a lot of books as Christmas gifts this year. The book will be geared toward the recipient, of course. And I know of one immediate family member who doesn’t like to read books. Any books. Even when a book is actually dedicated to them. Over two years ago. :-/ So, in this case, I would pick a different book. Possibly a picture book of some kind. Or one about shoes.

So, here’s my contest this weekend. Tell me a book that you want to read and why you want to read it. It has to be a new or recent release and it has to cost under $10 — so you’re looking at mass market paperbacks here. Be sure to say why you want the book — buzz it here (by chatting about it a bit in comments), and maybe it’ll trigger somebody else to want to pick it up!

I’ll pick 2 winners from the comments next Tuesday, November 18 at 9:00 p.m. EST and send off their book choices. And I welcome anyone to do a similar contest on their blog. Books rock!!

Good luck!

–Michelle

Hump day

Monday I blew through 5K no problem at all. Yesterday I hit a wall. I got sidetracked by a sudden and compulsive urge to test writing software. I can say that if you have a Mac, you might want to check out Storyist. I heard about it on Twitter, and, of course, felt compelled to download it and play with it for way too long. All of a sudden my day was gone and I only had 1300 words written, far short of my 5K goal — and most of it fairly bland and in need of a major rewrite. Today I plan to hit 5K. But tomorrow and Friday and through next week I’m freelancing at the ex-day job (this new MacBook ain’t just gonna pay for itself, you know). I can’t really focus on writing when I’m using the design half of my brain. I’ll do evenings, but I’m fairly positive I won’t be doing 5K a day.

So, what I said the other day about absolutely, positively, hitting my goals?

Yeah. Only fools are positive. It’s a saying. However, I will be finished my first draft no later than Dec 15th. That’s a stamped it, no erasies kind of deal.

I also had an extendo phone meeting with my agent yesterday and we (I) discussed where we (I) are (am) and where we (I) want to go with my career. I guess I’m constantly in a state of wondering if I should be doing more, better, faster, pussycat! Kill! Kill! Then I need to be reminded that all is well. The world is not as bleak as I sometimes think it is, I’m doing just fine, etcetera. Then my agent administered some valium and patted me on the head and then called the doctors with the straitjackets to come for the babbling, drooling blond chick with self esteem issues.

Neurotic. Who me?

I was listening to the Nora Roberts Q&A on the 2008 RWA conference CDs the other day. For all the time I’m wondering if what I’m doing is the right thing, if I’m writing in the right genre, or why, after nearly three years of being published, my doubt weasels have only gotten fatter and meaner…she’s probably written two books. She looks at writing as a job, not a gift handed to us by the muse. I like her no-nonsense attitude. I’m revising my What Would Madonna Do? to What Would Nora Do?

Nora doesn’t keep a blog. That’s food for thought right there.

And in a completely unrelated subject…did anyone see my future husband Hugh Jackman on Oprah the other day? Could he have looked any hotter? I DO NOT THINK SO.

Lazarus Rising + TRW + LiE

My father said he’d take my useless door stop of an iBook off my hands and maybe look into getting it fixed. So I took it to him, turned it on to show him that it dies after a minute.

It didn’t die.

In fact, it started up just fine and dandy. Since I reinstalled the system software in my last ditch attempt to fix its problems, I navigated through the start up screens (the same start up screens that crashed multiple times on me with a “You Can Not Pass” type error message reminiscent of something from Lord of the Rings). But nope. Started fine. Worked fine. I loaded some wedding photos on it. All fine.

I’m confused. So is the computer okay again? Or is it just messing with us? Was I too hasty in buying the new and shiny MacBook? The iBook was DEAD. D-E-D. Everything I did to it just led me to believe in the DEADNESS. But now, magically, it’s okay again?

I have until November 20th to return my MacBook, with a restocking fee, but I really like it. Sure it’s too expensive and it wasn’t remotely on the budget for this year. And even though Lazarus is saying he’s okay right now, will he just die again in a few days?

It’s annoying, to say the least. My father, however, is very happy with his new computer.

This weekend was my RWA chapter meeting. Recently I was asked if I might be interested in a board position. I gave it a great deal of thought, keeping in mind some advice that weighs heavy on my mind, but in the end decided that it would be fun and a good way to give back. I don’t have a whole lot of other commitments in my life right now.

Also, I have realized this year that I am in no way comfortable doing workshops or public speaking, so this is a nice, friendly way to break myself into that arena. Kicking and screaming. No, no. Ha. Just kidding. It will be fine. So for 2009, yours truly is the Vice President of the Toronto Romance Writers. My duties include scheduling and picking guest speakers. I shall wield this power as best I can as VP. I can see Toronto from my house. Etcetera.

I have started, in earnest, LIVING IN EDEN. Got 8 pages yesterday. I had to write in first person to get back into the character, but that will be switching to third since I want to keep the option of other viewpoint characters open for the future.

Since I’m very late starting Nanowrimo, I am going to buckle down and do 5K days this week, Monday to Friday. That’ll net me 25K. And no, I’m not going to “try to,” or “hopefully get” the words. I WILL get the words. It’s mind over matter, I’ve found.

If you believe it, you can achieve it.

You know. Crap like that.

Sparking it up

All right, enough of these computer issues, I’m ready to start writing my next book, LIVING IN EDEN. I am so excited about this book and the characters. I’m READY TO START. I already have 11K done from my proposal. Deadline is February 1. Sounds like ages from now but it’s ONLY TWO AND A HALF MONTHS.

This story has been with me for a few years, actually. It started its life as a dark urban fantasy back in ’06 about a woman possessed with a Shadow Demon and she was the incubator for him — actually the romantic elements were rather Oedipal. However, since she had mad psychic skillz (skillz I since cannibalized to use as Kira’s empathic ability in COUNTDOWN) she was able to survive and grow in strength, and control her inner demon. Damn, I loved that proposal so much, but it lacked focus and worldbuilding. She had to save the world and there was a demon inside of her. As Simon Cowell says, “so what?”

So, I changed it. I drew on my strengths — breezy dialogue, humor, and romantic elements — and it slowly evolved into the story I now have outlined. I love the heroine. I love the hero. And I love the supporting cast.

And now I get to hang out with them for a while. I hope they love me, too. Especially when they find out what I have planned for them. *evil laugh*

Being that this is the first scheduled FULL DAY OF WRITING on this new project I anticipate two things:

1) My condo will become very clean since I tidy things up when I’m procrastinating, and,

2) I will more than likely have a nap. Knowing I have to accomplish something is a prescription for overwhelming weariness.

Since, alas, Hugh Jackman is not right for the part of the hero this time, I’ve been searching far and wide for the perfect actor to embody Darrak in the theater of my brain. I flirted with Josh Holloway, I snuggled up to Gerard Butler, I even checked out Dane Cook. My demon hero is that subtle mix of bad boy, jokester, and wounded soul. He has issues, but he’s a bit more jovial (at least, on the surface) than my previous emo heroes. Plus, he needs to be hot. I finally gave the part to Colin Farrell. He promises (not) to behave himself.

And right after my nap, he’ll get his chance.

Sad Mac

My G4 iBook laptop died yesterday. It gave no warning of being ill other than a barely noticeable sluggishness the last week. And then, all of a sudden, it went kaputz. An unfamiliar box flashed on the screen telling me to restart (Wikipedia calls it the “Mac Screen of Death” or the “Gray Screen of Panic and Disarray). And then it told me again. And it told me again. It was an unfriendly grey box in multiple languages I’d never seen before and I just knew.

Three years, my ibook friend. We’ve had three wonderful, trouble-free years together. I loved you so. You were better than my previous Powerbook. You, my little White Plastic Idea Box, will be missed.

I went through the five stages of dying with it: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. I tried to fight it. I tried to fix it. I tried to channel the universe to do my bidding by using The Secret.

And as it died, I thought one very important thing…

! ! ! !  I HADN’T BACKED UP ANY OF MY FILES. ! ! ! !

Three years of photos, music, emails, and most importantly…. WRITING!!!!

LUCKILY — to say the very least — I was able to retrieve everything. It wasn’t a hard drive problem, it was a logic board problem so I could connect to it. I hooked the laptop up to my trusty iMac (who knew it would become essentially my back up drive?) and copied over 50G worth of stuff using a firewire cable.

Whew.

So, if it had been a hard drive prob I could fix it for a couple hundred bucks. Since it’s logic board, it’s a no go. :(

LESSON #1 LEARNED: BACK UP YOUR STUFF!!!! Just because your computer works well, doesn’t mean it won’t all of a sudden just die…even if it’s a glorious, wonderful Mac. If I’d really lost everything — except the final versions of my most recent work that I email to myself at an online address, I would have been REALLY SCREWED. I will never neglect this very important aspect of being a computer user again. EVER. I did a whole day of brainstorming and prewriting on LIVING IN EDEN on Monday and that was almost lost. ALMOST. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

LESSON #2 LEARNED: I HATE WRITING ON A DESKTOP COMPUTER. I’ve had a laptop ever since the very first clamshell iBook came out in 1999. Desktops are good for design work, but not for writing. At least not for me.

So you know what that means. :) Luckily I’ve gotten a few advance and royalty checks lately, I’m doing some freelance design next week. I can swing it. No ebook reader or iPhone for me now or any other extravagances. Michy needs a new laptop.

Surviving our monsters

I survived!

No, not Halloween… my rather weighty edits to TALL, DARK & FANGSOME!

Coincidentally, I realized one of my themes in the book is survival and what it really means and what people are willing to do in order to not get voted off the proverbial island. Other themes included how we attempt to control ourselves and the world around us. Also, I seem to have a recurring theme in all of my work about the nature of good and evil. Is anyone really purely evil or good? Seems that I don’t think so since I keep making the “monsters” my main characters. I believe in shades of grey, but it’s the choices we make that make us mostly good or mostly evil. Also I threw in some self-sacrifice, dark seeds of jealousy, and the decision to embrace or eliminate the poison that exists inside all of us.

All tied up in a pretty, pink, humorous bow. With fangs.

Speaking of dealing with our inner monsters, I’m about to start LIVING IN EDEN, which deals with actual demonic possession (or my fictional take on it, at least). Good times. I can’t wait to get into this fun new book, but first i want to take a day or two and 1) recoop from my edits, and 2) do some brainstorming to get back into Eden’s and her inner demon’s world. FYI, her demon is named Darrak and he’s very hot. No pun intended.

But today I’m just going to chill, do some exciting grocery shopping, and finish reading a fun book I’ve been asked to blurb.

And yes, I know Nanowrimo started on Saturday. It’s going to have to wait a bit since my fingers are cramping from typing at the moment….. ;)

Ghouls Gone Wild

I had a great time on Thursday night at the Ghouls’ Night Out with Kelley Armstrong and Eve Silver. The people at the St. Thomas Public Library were so gracious and wonderful! Thank you so much to Paul and Kim and the awesome staff there as well as everyone who came out to give us such a fab time!

We each read a short excerpt from our books. I’m sure it might have been rather obvious, but I’d actually never done a public reading before. I can answer questions and do panel stuff with tons of confidence, but the reading was a little shaky — I’ll admit it!! Practice makes perfect, they say, and I’m going to look for more opportunities in the future to practice this. However, my snippet from Bitten & Smitten went over very well, I think. I chose the one when Sarah first meets Quinn, since I felt that was a good scene that encompassed everything in my writing from romance, to humor, to paranormal. I’ve never gotten immediate reaction from my writing before, and through my nerves I did hear some laughs — and in the right places! — so that was a-okay.

Me and Eve drove together and stayed over at a local hotel so I got to chat with her lots. Plus, we had dinner at a cute Mexican restaurant with Kelley — and I grilled Kelley shamelessly about the next book in her YA series (since I’m a sucker for romance I wanted to know more about that angle and who and when and where, etc). I was satisfied with the answers she provided. And no, I won’t say any more than that. However, I am on Team Derek. ;)

Mary gave us each a very cool handmade bead as well as a copy of a graphic novel she had a hand in illustrating. Thank you Mary!

There were lots of pumpkins there — since it was a Halloween event — and the coolest thing is three of them were carved with our names! We were allowed to take them with us. I mean, come on, people! How often do you get your name carved into a pumpkin?? That totally rocked.

There’s more of a run down over on Kim’s blog (whom I also stole the pic of the three pumpkins from because mine was a bit overexposed).

Thank you St. Thomas Public Library! I had a ghoulishly good time!