Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hello March! And Tim Gunn wins best human being award.

Wow! February was a bit of a whirlwind, a lovely Valentine's day with my sweetheart as usual, a lot of hard work and new projects on hand, keeping busy and trying to keep many balls in the air as I juggle. Some moments are more successful than others.

March started off with a bang with our monthly Lady Jane's Salon, featuring Cara Elliott, Louisa Edwards and Mingmei Yip! With such diverse talents, it was, as always, a joy! Stay tuned to the Lady Jane's Salon page for upcoming blogs and re-caps!

Also March 1st began the BOOK-A-WEEK GIVEAWAY via the Strangely Beautiful Facebook page! We're starting off with my 2009 Prism Award winning novella DARK NEST. Each week, the giveaway is open until the following Monday when we turn over to the next book, so become a fan, "like" or comment on the giveaway status update, and you're entered to win. For the schedule of books being given away, check out - and while you're there you can preview what's cooking for the Darkly Luminous contest!

Okay. So this is what this post is really about: Um... what else can March possibly have to offer after having met Tim Gunn?!!! For those of you who may or may not know, I freelance for a New York television studio specializing in satellite media tours. And this week Tim Gunn of Project Runway was in the studio to talk about a wonderful contest he's hosting for people who suffer from psoriasis to make them feel comfortable and fashionable in their own skin. How wonderful is that? How wonderful is he?! So. Wonderful. Seriously. The man shines light and makes the world a better place for his being in it. Not only is he perhaps the most classy, elegant man ever (I know I'm being superlative here but really, I've honestly never met anyone who deserves superlatives more than him) but he is kind, gracious, humble, funny, good-hearted, passionate, talented, and well-spoken (his vocabulary is thrilling), just to name a few good qualities. I think he's pretty close to enlightenment folks, maybe only one more turn around the globe for this one, him and the Dalai Lama are doing pretty well in the "make it work" category. I told him the only other time I was this excited for a guest in the studio was the time I met the Muppets. That's good company. *squee!*

March events: (I know. Everything's utterly pointless and mundane after Tim Gunn) I'm thrilled to be RWA Women's Fiction's Chapter's first workshop! I love teaching this workshop, I've done it for several RWA Chapters and it's fun and energizing: "Direct Your Book!" Theatrical Techniques to a Blockbuster Novel!"

About the workshop: "Crack open a whole new way to think about your fiction by using techniques inherent to actors, directors and other theatre professionals. As an author, think about what it takes to step into the role of actor, director, cinematographer, etc. and feel the lightbulbs go off as you troubleshoot your way towards an engaging, character-rich, one-of-a-kind hit novel." Click here for information on how to participate.

SIGNING: March 13th - Middletown, NY:The lovely Stella Price kindly invited me to a group signing at Borders in Middletown, NY! - 1 North Galleria Drive, Middletown, NY 10941 - 2pm-5:30pm! (As always, my upcoming conferences, events and signings are listed on my BookTour page)

STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL LOVE around the interwebs:
THANKS to Angieville for this lovely Darkly Luminous preview!

THANKS to Smokin' Hot Books for listing The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker as your favourite of 2009 at All Romance's Rom-blog Days of Heart, and for saying why; "I'm an avid Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte fan girl, Strangely Beautiful brought me back into why I started reading romance." - Goodness, thanks K.C.! (I'm a fan girl too)

THANKS to Brooke Reviews for naming Miss Percy under "The Most Beautifully Written" category, wow!

Well, it will be hard for me to top this March so far! What've you been up to?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In which a grand time was had at TempleCon

How awesome was TempleCon? So very, very awesome. Beloved friend from the Goth scene back in Cincinnati back-in-the-day, incredible artist Kelley Hensing and myself packed her art, my Strangely Beautiful books, and a ridiculous amount of poofy skirts, corsetry and hat boxes into her car and drove to Warwick, Rhode Island where the moment we walked in, the magnificent Creative Director Madame Ximon recognized me immediately by my absurdly large hat and showed us graciously to our booths. She is a consummate hostess and runs a damn good convention.

As we set up our wares, we gaped and grinned as spectacular Steampunk, Neo-Victorian and other Retro-Futurist costumed ladies and gentlemen strolled by. Please visit the TempleCon site for fabulous photos of these incredible feats of costuming and imagination. (Shown here, me at my booth - with said large hat - Kelley's work to the right)

After a day of selling wares and greeting fellow gaming and fantasy fans, Kelly and I were invited by our talented booth-neighbors to their Unhallowed party and thus begun my realization that the Unhallowed crowd were just about the ultimate in cool. Unhallowed: Metropolis is a Live Action Role Playing game designed by Jason Soles & Nicole Vega and described as: a gas-mask chic role-playing game of Neo-Victorian horror. SIGN ME UP! Not only did these ladies and gents know how to dress up beautifully (a skill I hold in the utmost esteem), and throw a party, but they've tossed everything I love into one beautifully realized and inventive world. Mr. Soles and Ms. Vega have surrounded themselves with fabulous artists and authors like photographer Marc17, puppeteer and artist George Higham, and author Simon J. Berman.

The next day the Unhallowed crowd were my fellow guests (again, all of us impeccably dressed to the Victorian nines, I might add) on the Neo-Victorian panel where we all gushed (okay, I gushed, they were all much more composed) about why we love the 19th century, infusing paranormal into it, and why everyone else should be just as obsessed with it too. And then I was graciously granted the opportunity to read from The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and had (as I always do when I get to play the actress and read) a most delightful time of it. And then we relaxed with another party. A Tea Party, of course, with sumptuous trappings (and more costumes). Particular kudos to our Neo-Victorian cage match/pit-fighting discussion replete with appropriate WWF characters and etymology. Bartitsu!

Other highlights included my fantastic chats spanning 300 years of history with The Major of Big Bear Trading Co.
(pictured here in striped finery is Miss Kitty of Big Bear Trading Co. who made me an Edgar Allan Poe brooch that I'm positively in love with) The friendly people working the Privateer Press booth, and The General and his Lady, Chief Security Officer of the S.S. Icarus and the Penny Dreadfuls company. And I've more to look forward to! Continuing my Neo-Victorian / Gaslight Gothic tour, now I can't wait to be a guest author at the Steampunk World's Fair in May, where I'll see a lot of familiar faces and new friends!


Happy Birthday Lady Jane!

The delightful Barbara Vey of PW's Beyond Her Book featured my post about Lady Jane's Salon one year anniversary, so I wanted to make sure I posted it here at home base. :)

Monday marked the one year a
nniversary of New York’s only reading series devoted to Romance Fiction; Lady Jane’s Salon. Lady Jane’s was founded in late 2008 by myself, fellow romance authors Hope Tarr, Maya Rodale and internet guru Ron Hogan over drinks one night discussing why New York, in all its literary splendor, didn’t have a reading series for Romance Fiction. So it was up to us to start one. And we did, in the red-velvet-drenched upstairs of Madame X, with our first authors Cara Elliot and Lauren Willig- who because of their partnership at Lady Jane’s are now teaching romance in the big leagues (Yale).
While the night boasted champagne, corsages and cupcakes, the spirit of Lady Jane’s is always about great fiction and a good cause. Now New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig returned to our stage to help us celebrate this landmark year with her latest hit, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, along with guest emcee and fabulous Historical author Leslie Carrolland her Notorious Royal Marriages, and scintillating debut author Sara Lindsey with Promise Me Tonight.

And so a year later… thanks to the support of people like you, Barbara, and Romantic Times Magazine, our wonderful venue Madame X, a host of bloggers, newspaper articles, radio interviews, thanks to a slew of talented authors and an ardent crowd of loyal supporters, Lady Jane’s is one of the most vibrant forces in New York’s experience of fiction in real-time; a face to face opportunity for readers, authors, industry and fans to talk about and applaud (literally) the genre we love. And then, of course, to share the love, by donating money and gently used romance novels to women in need, as charity remains a core part of our Salon’s identity.

A ton has happened through the year, for the co-founders, our readers and authors. Our co-founders published new books, the year marked my dream-come-true with my debut; The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, we watched as our featured readers’ books hit lists and thrilled at the news of contracts for our some of our Lady Jane’s audience who will now be debut authors too, Ron Hogan got a cool new job ruling the interwebz for the very smart New York publishing house who snatched him up, and 2010 proves to be no less than spectacular. With featured readers returning to the Lady Jane’s stage unveiling new names and new initiatives, we’ll also have a host of debut authors take the stage. We’ll continue our mission to promote every single sub-genre within Romance. We’ll be expanding our charity options, we’ll have a Salon at the Romantic Times convention (please come!), and most importantly, we’ll get to see Barbara Vey again, our supporter from the beginning, and we can’t wait for it all to unfold. Keep in touch at Lady Jane's Salon and come see us!

Blessings, thanks and happy reading!