Monday, July 27, 2009
"The first step is to find out what you love -- and don't be practical about it. The second step is to start doing what you love immediately, in any small way possible. I've seen what happens to people when they get to do what they love. They light up. They glow. They have a kind of energy that's wonderful."
Monday, July 20, 2009
In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are "limbs," therefore painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the _expression, "Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg."
As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October)! Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term "big wig." Today we often use the term "here comes the Big Wig" because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.
In the late 1700s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The "head of the household" always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the "chair man." Today in business, we use the expression or title "Chairman" or "Chairman of the Board."
Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, "mind your own bee's wax." Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term "crack a smile" In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt. Therefore, the expression "losing face."
Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in "straight laced" . . . wore a tightly tied lace.
Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the "Ace of Spades." To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead.
Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't "playing with a full deck."
Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to "go sip some ale" and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. "You go sip here" and "You go sip there." The two words "go sip" were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term "gossip."
At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in "pints" and who was drinking in "quarts," hence the term "minding your "P's and Q's."
One more: bet you didn't know this!
In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem...how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a "Monkey" with 16 round indentations.
However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make "Brass Monkeys" Few land lubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey." (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)
*No source was given for this information
Monday, July 13, 2009
Women with a Ph.D. are twice as likely to be interested in a one-night stand than those with only a bachelor's degree.
During the 19th century there was no cure for V.D. By the end of the U.S. Civil War, a quarter of the Union Army was infected.
The typical lovemaking session averages 15 minutes in length.
The French tickler was invented by a Tibetan monk.
Timmie Jean Lindsey of Houston, TX became the first person to get silicone breast implants in 1962.
The average bra is designed to last for only 180 days of use.
A study of pet owners found that 66% claimed they allowed their pets to remain in the bedroom during intercourse.
In Lebanon, men are legally allowed to have sex with animals, but the animals must be female. Having sexual relations with a male animal is punishable by death.
Besides the genitals and the breasts, the inner nose is the only other body part that routinely swells during intercourse.
According to a recent survey, more Americans lose their virginity in June than any other month.
Semen contains small amounts of more than thirty elements, including fructose, ascorbic acid, cholesterol, creatine, citric acid, lactic acid, nitrogen, vitamin B12, and various salts and enzymes.
The first "official" vasectomy was performed in 1893.
It takes a sperm one hour to swim seven inches.
In earlier times, virginity on one's wedding night was of the greatest importance. To prove that the bride was a virgin, it was customary that the couple would display the bloodstained bedsheet for all to see once the wedding was consummated.
In Cali, Colombia, a woman may only have sex with her husband, and the first time this happens, her mother must be in the room to witness the act.
There are men in Guam whose full-time job is to travel the countryside and deflower young virgins, who pay them for the privilege of having sex for the first time... Reason: Under Guam law, it is expressly forbidden for virgins to marry.
The first known contraceptive was crocodile dung, used by the Egyptians in 2000 B.C. It was replaced with elephant droppings when they realized it wouldn't work.
In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, it is illegal for a man to have sex with a woman and her daughter at the same time.
Thank you to the website Odd facts that happen to be True
(as a disclaimer - I don't happen to know if all of these are true :))
Monday, June 29, 2009
With RWA’s national conference coming up, we thought we’d share some of the ways to make those conference minutes count. Recharge your creative batteries, visit in person with online friends, and immerse yourself with others who feel about writing the same way you do. No one understands an author like another author. We write first, and live in the real world second.
RWA, with all the good the bad and the ugly has value to an author. Lately there has been a lot of brouhaha in regards to the organization. Today, we aren’t going to focus on that, but on those who are going to Nationals, or any other conference.
You invested time and money to rub elbows with established New York Times bestsellers, successful e-published authors, those just starting out, agents and editors. Make sure you have the tools to make the most of your experience.
Of course, there are classes, awards, lunches and dinners. Hone your writing skills in the workshops, take notes, and notice who you are sitting next to. This is your time to network. Say hello, introduce yourself and tell them what you write. From a personal experience, I met an amazing author at RT in Houston. She was my roommate at RT in Orlando this year--Love you Kenzie :).
So let's talk about The Pitch
You’ve made your pitch appointments—be sure you know what they want. Do your homework. Do a bit of digging and make the best use of your ten minutes.
What to know when sitting down to a pitch appointment. The type of story, the setting, era, the genre and if it crosses into a subgenre. Your characters and their goal motivation and conflict. And the conflict of your story and how it is resolved. Be able to explain the full arc of your story in just a few sentences. And what makes your story different from the rest? It’s important to stand out and be memorable when that agent and editor is hearing stories all day long. But before any of this can happen, you need to know your hook. If you can capture the interest of the agent/editor then you have a good chance of grabbing the interest of readers. Be prepared to answer questions. If your book has been on the shelf a year, you need to read it again before you pitch it. Agents and editors will want details if they are interested. It’s best to pitch completed books.
The high concept elevator pitch—it can happen so be ready. What is high concept? A pitch that is easily recognizable storyline and is less than 25 words.
Can you guess the story?
Aliens take the shape of automobiles and attempt to take over the world-Transformers.
James Bond is married to a Desperate Housewife and she stumbles into his secret life-True Lies.
Can you come up with a high concept tag for your story? Give it your best shot. Leave us a comment.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The winner of the signed copy of On The Run, picked blindly from yesterday's posts, is....drum roll, please....Erotic Horizons. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can arrange to get your book off to you.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Meanwhile, since we're talking about romantic cravings here. I thought it would be nice to take a look at the history of romance. A big thank you to Ask.com for being such a great resource.
What was courtship and marriage like for our distant ancestors? Was it more formal than now? Less formal? Beginning with the ancient Greeks' recognition of the need to describe more than one kind of love, inventing the word "eros" to describe carnal love, and "agape" to mean a spiritual love, take a stroll back through romantic heritage with this timeline of romantic customs, dating rituals, and tokens of love.
In ancient times, many of the first marriages were by capture, not choice - when there was a scarcity of nubile women, men raided other villages for wives. Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her, and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered. According to an old French custom, as the moon went through all its phases the couple drank a brew called metheglin, which was made from honey. Hence, we get the word, honeymoon. Arranged marriages were the norm, primarily business relationships born out of the desire and/or need for property, monetary or political alliances.
From buying a woman dinner to opening a door for her, many of today's courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry. During medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages, but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions. Suitors wooed their intended with serenades and flowery poetry, following the lead of lovelorn characters on stage and in verse. Chastity and honor were highly regarded virtues. In 1228, women first gained the right to propose marriage in Scotland, a legal right that then slowly spread through Europe.
All the Nordic countries have courtship customs involving knives. For example, in Norway when a girl came of age, her father let it be known that she was available for marriage. The girl would wear an empty sheath on her belt. If a suitor liked the girl, he would put a knife in the sheath, which the girl now wore as a sign that she was betrothed.
The custom of bundling, found in many parts of 16th and 17th century Europe and America, allowed courting couples to share a bed, fully clothed, and often with a "bundling board" between them or bolster cover tied over the girls legs. The idea was to allow the couple to talk and get to know each other but in the safe (and warm) confines of the girl's house.
Dating back to 17th century Wales, ornately carved spoons, known as lovespoons, were traditionally made from a single piece of wood by a suitor to show his affection to his loved one. The decorative carvings have various meanings - from an anchor meaning "I desire to settle down" to an intricate vine meaning "love grows."
Chivalrous gentlemen in England often sent a pair of gloves to their true loves. If the woman wore the gloves to church on Sunday it signaled her acceptance of the proposal.
In some parts of 18th century Europe a biscuit or small loaf of bread was broken over the head of the bride as she emerged from the church. Unmarried guests scrambled for the pieces, which they then placed under their pillows to bring dreams of the one they would someday marry. This custom is believed to be the precursor of the wedding cake.
Many cultures throughout the world recognize the idea of matrimony as the "ties that bind". In some African cultures, long grasses are braided together and used to tie the hands of the groom and bride together to symbolize their union. Delicate twine is used in the Hindu Vedic wedding ceremony to bind one of the bride's hand to one of the hands of the groom. In Mexico the practice of having a ceremonial rope loosely place around both
So, what’s the romance like in your life? How did you and your other half meet? What’s the most romantic date you’ve ever had? Leave me a comment to throw your name in the hat for a signed copy of On The Run. And here's a taste of that for you.
ON THE RUN When Robin Fletcher saw her sister brutally murdered by her wealthy, abusive husband, she grabbed her five-year-old nephew and ran. Months late, living in Memphis with new names and a new life, their sense of security is shattered. First Andy is diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Then fate sends them directly into the path of the killer. Can Andy’s doctor who’s captured her heart protect her or will she again have to go ON THE RUN? Excerpt: Taking the highway into Oregon might have been easier on her, but she was sure that was the first route C.D. would check. Instead, she cut east immediately into Idaho. Besides, evading C.D., she had a specific reason for coming this way. Tomorrow they’d get to Helena, where she had important business to take care of. Things that would help keep her and Bobby safe. Robin had only a vague idea of how long they’d been driving but it felt as if she’d been doing it forever. Her eyes were gritty from lack of sleep and her muscles rigid with tension. It didn’t help that she was constantly watching for some ca to run her off the road or but her off. She’d been lucky enough to find a couple of drive-through’s where she fueled up with coffee. Caffeine raced through her system like a wild horse, revving her up and making her edgy. She slid a glance at Bobby, wrapped in a blanket and buckled into his car seat. What a lucky thing he was sleeping so heavily. Still, she knew they needed to find a bed pretty soon. And food. Starvation wouldn’t be a pretty way to die. By the time they reached Kellogg, Idaho, she was more than ready to stop. She pulled gratefully into a motel whose sign blinked ‘Vacancy’ in big red letters. It was the most welcoming site Robin had seen in a long time. Nervously she left Bobby in the car while she registered, keeping one eye on the parking lot, terrified that any moment she’d hear the screeching of brakes and C.D. would leap out of his car. At last they were in their room at the back of the motel, well hidden from the street. She toted in her duffel bag and laptop, then tucked the little boy into bed. After that she treated herself to a shower. Tired as she was, she still needed to wash away the strain of driving nearly three hundred miles at night. All she wanted was to wash the fatigue from her muscles before she climbed into bed. But as the hot spray beat down on her physically and emotionally exhausted body, her control disintegrated and tears began to cascade down her cheeks. She was thankful that the drumming of the water against the tiles drowned out the huge gulping sobs that wracked her body, so Bobby couldn’t hear. She cried as she had never cried before in her life, tears of despair and grief. And self-condemnation, that she hadn’t been able to do anything to save her sister. She didn’t think that particular guilt would ever leave her. Jamie! Oh, Jamie! How did I let this happen to you? The water ran cold before the last shudder died from her body. She drew in a long breath and blew it out slowly. Her heart ached unbearably, but she had a responsibility now. A mission, and she would not fail, no matter what. Keep Bobby safe and away from C.D. Create a whole new life for the two of them. This would be her tribute to her sister.
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Monday, June 15, 2009
My Space, blogs, Yahoo loops, live chats, websites…
An author has an arsenal of options available to them—so choose your weapon.
The best advice I can give you is to do something you enjoy. If you’ve never been a blogger, don’t enjoy visiting and posting on other blogs, then don’t start a blog. If you don’t like a lot of email in your inbox, then posting to yahoo loops isn’t for you. The Internet is limitless in its reach, but it can also be overwhelming. Don’t try to do everything, but plan the best use of those marketing minutes. And if something isn’t working for you, move on. You can easily take the pleasure out of writing by trudging through promotion hell.
So starting with the basics
· A signature line – Every email you send is an opportunity to tell someone about your book. However, don’t overwhelm your contact. A simple signature line will include your name, website, and perhaps the title of your current release. If you don’t have a website, use your publisher’s website, but make the website link to your book buy page.
· Blogs – Blogs are free and easy to use, but the important aspect is to be consistent and be persistent. It takes time to build a readership.
· Websites – They should do more than look good. Most authors have a website, but are you using yours as a promotional tool? It’s nice to have photos, signing dates, release information and buy buttons. But your website can do more. Showcase your talents. This is a reader’s first taste of your work. Give them excerpts and give them a reason to return. One option would be to offer a free short story to anyone who signs a guestbook. Hold monthly contests. This is a great way to start building a mailing list. Also, update your page. New reviews, new releases, any news should be posted.
· My Space – A promotional juggernaut, but it doesn’t have to be a huge time drain. Check your page once a week, spend thirty minutes a week requesting friends and utilize the features. One of the things My Space can do is increase your presence in a Google or Yahoo search. But in order for it to work you need to post on other My Space pages and have “friends” post on yours. Some important things to think about when setting up your page. Use as many key words about your writing in your heading and in your content as you can. For example, if you write suspense, when someone does a My Space search for an author who writes suspense, you want your name to pop up. Suspense, author, romance, and any other word that helps distinguish your work—these are key words that need to be in your profile. If MySpace is your marketing tool, make sure it is working for you.
· Live chats – Many review sites have chat rooms and many publishers have chats. The Wild Rose Press holds a weekly chat in their website chat room on Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET. These are great places to meet readers. When hosting a live chat, be sure to let your author personality show through. If you write romantic comedy, you’ll want that light jovial tone to come across. This is a way to let readers get to know you the author.
· Yahoo loops – Do you start your own or work with what’s out there? Once again this boils down to time. Most review sites and publishers have Yahoo loops for promoting your books. However, I think one of the best solutions is combining forces. If you’re going to start a loop, ask a few fellow authors, writing in similar genres, to join you. Then you aren’t alone in keeping the loop active. (I also think this is a good idea for starting new blogs.)
· Twitter, Bebo, Facebook, the list is endless. These sites are very user friendly. These sites are also free. Like all public venues, it is important to make a strong professional page.
However you choose to market your work, be sure it reflects you as a writer. Think about whether you want hot, nearly naked men on your website if you write inspirational romance. When someone visits your website or other promotional spot, they should instantly recognize your brand. Branding helps a reader understand who you are as a writer and what they can expect from your books regardless of the genre.
The Wild Rose Press
White Rose Publishing