Surprise, surprise–how I became fond of cats.

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By the time this is posted, I’ll be at the Romantic Times convention! If you’re attending make sure to check out my Editor Hide and Seek game. For details and hints, follow the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/EditorHideAndSeek

I also have to give a shout out to Mama Braus. It’s her birthday and because I’m in Chicago, I won’t be able to celebrate with her. (She did get her present early though, so there’s that!)

This actually gives me the perfect lead into today’s blog post. A few weeks ago, I put on Disney’s African Cats for background noise, intending to edit. Documentaries are often my favorite since there’s a lot of narrative and not much action to follow.

The story follows two mothers—the lioness, Layla, and the cheetah, Sita—and the lengths they go to protect their cubs.

I never stood a chance.

From the moment the movie started, I was hooked—and I’m not even all that fond of cats! I hardly glanced at my computer and when I did, it was more at annoyance for tearing me away from such an amazing story. Needless to say, no editing was done.  There were chuckles, tears, and where I was biting my lip in anticipation. Forget Mr. Toad—this was a wild ride!

I went through and took notes (8 pages!) on the movie, wanting to examine it and see why they were so successful in creating this story. My intention was to go through the story and examine the pacing—but I think I’d give you all glazed eyes and spoilers. Instead, I’ll sum up the key elements of this story and why I feel it is such a wonderful example of story telling! You can read it here.

Honestly, I could go on and on. I encourage you all to watch this movie, savor it. What struck me the most was how surprised I was to be hooked at all. I didn’t expect it and that made the experience all the more wonderful.

And I’d love to find more examples like this. What movies or books have you picked out on a whim and found yourself marveling at? And why?

New Friends and Old Favorites

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It’s spring and once again a lot of us in the romance community are gearing up for the season of conferences and conventions. This year I’ll be attending the Romantic Times Convention, in Chicago, (April 11-15) and I’m looking forward to it for a number of reasons. (That’s me above, at a previous convention’s mass book-signing. See, not at all scary to approach. J )

First and foremost, writing is a solitary occupation, and I love it when I have the chance to catch up with colleagues. There are so many people I normally only see online, and it’s a blast to see them in person. I truly look forward to attending, if only for the chance to visit old friends. Also important, its an opportunity for me to make professional contacts–to meet my editors, publishers, and marketing people face-to-face. You never know what kind of opportunities are going to develop from that kind of interaction. Finally, though, and maybe the most exciting, is the chance to meet the people who actually read my books. If you’re another writer, you know what a thrill that really is. So if any of you are readers, and you happen to be at RT, please, by all means, stop and say hello. You’ll really make my day. I’ll be one of the hostesses at the steampunk-themed Gaslamp Social, on panels about steampunk, SF, writing under multiple pseudonyms, hosting the Build-a-Hero Workshop and at all the Carina events, of course. I’ll be signing at the massive bookfair, and at the e-book expo, where you can pick up a copy of my brand-new release, Motor City Mage.

This is the fourth book in my Urban Arcana series, and for me, writing it was a lot like a visit with old friends–along with a few new ones. Come to think of it, writing series is a lot like going to conventions. New friends, old friends, new experiences mingling with shared jokes and tender reminiscences. I hope you enjoy Lana and Des as much as I did, and if you’ve missed the previous books, you can find them all right here at Carina Press. Everyone have a wonderful spring, and I hope to see as many of you as I can.

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Leave a comment with your email address, and on Friday, March 16, I’ll draw one random winner for a free download of Motor City Mage. I’d love to hear your thoughts on series, paranormal romance, or which reader/author events you’ll be at.

As a cop who keeps paranormals in line, Des has a hard time trusting them. So why does he want the beautiful werewolf Lana more than his next breath? She’s mouthy, flamboyant and distractingly sexy–not the type of woman for a reserved mage like him. Lana admires Des, but she can’t be with someone who won’t take her seriously, no matter how much she’d love to rip off his dress shirt.

When a dangerous new drug shows up in Detroit, Des must locate the source, and Lana is determined to help. But their plan goes awry, trapping them in a demon dimension. To return home, Lana and Des must flee through a series of unpredictable alternate realities, fighting enemies while trying to shut down the drug trade. But if they’re going to survive, they’ll have to rely on each other, even though getting closer will add fuel to a fire that’s already burning out of control…

Click here for an excerpt.

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An avid reader of romance, fantasy, mystery, and even more romance, Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty-five years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in southern Michigan with him and two grown sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets.  Author of more than 40 books, Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator, though now she is lucky enough to write full-time. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the male humans who share her household.

Website: http://www.cindyspencerpape.com (http://bit.ly/ybxKjP )

Blog: http://cindyspencerpape.blogspot.com/

Newsletter group: http://yhoo.it/ni7PHo

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CindySPape

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gjbLLC

Carina Press Goes Steampunk at NY Comic Con!

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by Julie Forrest, Manager, eBook Marketing

Last week we had the pleasure of attending NY Comic Con to represent Carina Press and “The Other Worlds of Harlequin.” To pay tribute to our fabulous collection of Steampunk (including our upcoming anthology, A Clockwork Christmas) Sunday was “steampunk yourself” day—booth staff dressed up and invited Con attendees to our tickle trunk.

(L-R: Elizabeth, Giselle, Julie, Drew, Carly)

We fully expected Sunday to be good times, but were still impressed by just how many people took part! And they were only too happy to strike a pose…

A few folks who visited us were already in full-on Steampunk attire. These two blew our minds:

The kids of the Con also got into the Steampunk spirit. Behold the cuteness!

Yes, Steampunk was big at Comic Con this year, and our collection is growing. Check out our Steampunk titles at CarinaPress.com.

Carina Press Authors at Word on the Street Sept. 25!

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On Sunday, September 25, 2011, Toronto will hold its 21st Word on the Street festival. This annual event takes place in Queen’s Park every year and celebrates everything literature! This year Word on the Street will feature something extra special…

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A chance to meet some of your local Carina Press Authors!

If you’re in the Toronto area please make the trip to booths 219 & 220 – located in the Toronto Star Exhibitor tent. You’ll get to meet J.K. Coi and Christine D’Abo (at 12pm) and Elyse Mady (at 3pm), all of whom will be doing signings and giving away treats. Needless to say they are very eager to coerce (er…tempt) new readers to try a book by Carina Press!

Created to promote Canadian authors, books, magazines and literacy, Word on the Street has grown from a small event hosting 40,000 booklovers to become Canada’s largest annual book and magazine festival.

J.K. Coi

I’m excited for Word on the Street because it celebrates literacy, books, reading, authors, and all things wordy, which my mother definitely approves of! I owe my joy for reading to my mother, who didn’t yell at me when she found me with a book and a flashlight under the covers in my bed at night, and who always made sure I had the book I wanted to read—even if it meant that she had to wait longer to afford her own books. (I didn’t realize she made such a sacrifice until I was much older.)  Her love of words inspired me to write so that one day she might read something of mine.

J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy, including FALLING HARD released this July, and FAR FROM BROKEN, one of four steampunk novellas in A Clockwork Christmas, a holiday anthology coming in December from Carina Press. Find her at www.jkcoi.com and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jkcoi.

Elyse Mady

I have always been a big book lover, so of course I’ve been telling *everyone* about this year’s Word on the Street! There really is no better place to be if you’re a reader, a writer, or just a fan of books, period. What I’m most looking forward to is meeting current Carina Press readers, and hopefully some new ones as well! My favourite memory about learning to love books happened when I was seven and my father read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” out loud to me before bed.  He was a huge fan of the English writer’s novels and he had a beautiful leather bound edition of the book, with gilt edges and a gold spine.  It had its own case and I still remember the sound the book made when my father would slide it out.  I’d sink down in my bed, wriggling ‘til I was just right, and listen to my father as he read the story out loud, a chapter at a time. I owe my father a great debt for that and only hope I can repay it by giving the same gift to my own children, too.

Elyse Mady is the author of “Something So Right”, “Learning Curves” and “The Debutante’s Dilemma”, all with Carina Press.  Upcoming books include “The White Swan Affair” (2012).  She blogs at www.elysemady.com.  You can also find her on Twitter at @elysemady and Goodreads.

Christine D’Abo

The idea of an event dedicated to reading and literacy is like candy to me. An opportunity to meet readers, talk about books, writing and my favorite authors without coming across as weird is a chance I couldn’t pass up.  Growing up, I drove my parents nuts. Living in a small town, I had limited access to things though my parents got me into whatever they could. One of my fondest memories was our weekly trips to the local library. Every Friday night, my parents would throw me and my sister into the car and we’d head down. It didn’t take me long to tear through the “children’s section”, leaving me with a hunger for more. We didn’t have a large bookstore and Amazon wasn’t even a thought in someone’s mind. My parents didn’t want to slow down my love for reading. After speaking with the librarian, they gave my permission for me to access the “adult’s section”, and I was off!

Christine’s Long Shot series debuts October 3 from Carina Press. She is also published with Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, and has a future release with Berkley Heat. She can be reached via her website at http://christinedabo.com/

Come see me in Nashville this weekend!

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This weekend, Saturday, April 16th, I’ll be doing a presentation for the Nashville (Music City) RWA chapter. The presentation will be three hours (lots of speaking from me!) and we’ll be talking about Carina in particular for the first 45 minutes or so, and then the other 2+ hours will be spent talking about publishing in the digital age: DRM, contracts, royalties, self-publishing…you name it and we can talk about it.

The presentation will be at the DoubleTree Hotel off Briley Parkway. The business meeting starts at 10:00, my presentation will start around 10:30 and they tell me we should wrap up around 2:00 or so, with a 30 minute quick buffet lunch in there.

There will be a cost of $17 at the door, which covers your lunch (the chapter is not making any profit from this).

DoubleTree Hotel

2424 Atrium Way
Nashville, TN 37214
(615) 889-8889

If you have further questions, please visit the MCRW website (www.mcrw.com).

Hope to see you there!

A small conference update

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I realized I haven’t done this in a good bit, so I thought I’d give you a head’s up on where you can find me (and Carina Press) for the next two months.

This weekend I’m at Liberty State Fiction Writers Conference. I’ll be taking editor pitches, doing an editor panel and giving a TWO hour presentation on author brand and website development to support that brand.If you live in the New Jersey area, they do have a booksigning on Saturday night @ 5:30pm.

April 4th-10th I’ll be at the Romantic Times Convention doing a whole lot of presenting. I have several panels on Wednesday, including one on Publishing in the Digital Age, the Carina Press spotlight and a third that slips my mind right now. I’ll be doing the editor panel on Thursday, and on Friday I’m giving a workshop with Jane Litte of Dear Author and Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches on digital devices (and there might just be a device giveaway in that workshop!) If you live in the Los Angeles area, but aren’t registered for the conference, you can plan to attend both the huge (massive) booksigning on Saturday April 9th as well as the young adult booksigning. If you love digital books, you can check out the Digital Book Expo, open to the public, Friday evening.

April 16th I’ll be appearing at the Nashville RWA chapter’s local conference and giving a presentation on digital publishing and answering a ton of questions. You can find more information here if you live in the Nashville area.

And to cap off my April, the last weekend I’ll be at the Washington DC RWA chapter’s retreat. I’ll also be giving presentations there (sheesh, sounds like I’ll be quite vocal in the month of April)

If you live near any of these reader and author events, and plan to attend, I hope you’ll let me know and look me up so we can say hello!

Before You Hit Send is back!

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I’ve had many inquiries about when the next installment of Before You Hit Send, my self-editing workshop for authors–both aspiring and established–will be held again. That time is here!

January 10th-30th, I’ll be holding a three-week session of Before You Hit Send on Savvy Authors. You can go here to register. And for more information.

Here’s the basic info:

Join Angela James for a three-week workshop as she shares some of the common pitfalls she’s seen in submissions and contest entries. She’ll give you ideas, tips and tricks for polishing and self-editing your manuscript. Discuss things such as dialogue tags, whether all forms of “to be” are really evil and just what you’re doing to your life expectancy with your use of that exclamation point. The course will guide you from the basics of self-editing and grammar in a clear, conversational manner with examples, to more advanced topics such as show versus tell and passive voice. Through it all, she’ll be available for clarification and questions in order to help you on your way to a cleaned-up manuscript and understanding the basics of editing your manuscript.

Time for another self-editing workshop

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I took a few months off from running the Before You Hit Send workshop but SavvyAuthors.com is hosting it for all authors starting August 2. This is a good post-RWA workshop to take before you send your manuscript off to all those editors and agents you met!

From the SavvyAuthor.com website:

Instructor: Angela James. Join Angela James for a 2 week workshop as she shares some of the common pitfalls she’s seen in submissions and contest entries. She’ll give you ideas, tips and tricks for polishing and self-editing your manuscript. Discuss things such as dialogue tags, whether all forms of “to be” really evil and just what you’re doing to your life expectancy with your use of that exclamation point. The course will guide you from the basics of self-editing and grammar in a clear, conversational manner with examples, to more advanced topics such as show versus tell and passive voice. Through it all, she’ll be available for clarification and questions in order to help you on your way to a cleaned-up manuscript and understanding the basics of editing your manuscript.

What do participants who’ve taken the workshop have to say?
“I’ve been writing for over 15 years and published 8 novels. Angela’s online class on self-editing was packed with information and suggestions designed to improve your writing whether you’re a beginning or an advanced author.” Donna MacQuigg www.donnamacquigg.com

“Taking the self editing course was like pulling the blinders off. I was given the tools to see the common mistakes in my first drafts. I highly recommend this course to any writer who wants to make their writing tighter and more polished.” Amy Ruttan www.amyruttan.com

“Angela’s Self-Editing Workshop gave me many tools and tricks to apply immediately and things to consider while writing. The information presented is clear, concrete, and practical.I can’t recommend it strongly enough to anyone who want to strengthen and polish his or her writing.” Sara Nash

WHEN: Aug 2 – Aug 16
COST: $10 for Premium Members
$15 for Basic & NON-Members
REGISTRATION: Click here to Register for $15 (Non-Savvy Member Rate.)

JOIN TODAY to take this workshop for only $10! If you are a current Premium member of Savvy Authors, please log into the website before registering for this workshop.

RWA Nationals 2010

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I’ve been working on another post I thought I’d be putting up today, but it’s taken on a bit of a life of its own so I need more time to get it done! Hopefully by next week I’ll be able to share it.

In the meantime, I know some of you will be at RWA Nationals and I wanted to share with you the Carina Press schedule, so if you’d like to meet up with either me, or other Carina Press team members (both Malle Vallik and Jenny Bullough will be in attendance as well) you have a fair shot of hunting us down!

Wednesday July 28:

Digital Clinic–this is for Harlequin and Carina Press authors only. But it doesn’t hurt to let you all know what future authors have to look forward to. We’ll be holding an all-day drop-in clinic on topics like social media, websites, digital reading devices, and other topics.

Thursday July 29:

PRO Retreat panel–Time: 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM
Title: PRO Retreat – Small, Independent and New Presses
Angela James joins other small press executives for discussion and Q&A

Friday July 30:

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM in Americas Seminar Room: Angela James workshop with author Jaci Burton. Q&A: Inside Digital Publishing–we’ll do a candid Q&A about all things publishing digitally–both small and large press

2:00-3:30: Carina Press Cocktail Party in Europe 8
Come and enjoy wine, cocktails and snacks while meeting the Carina Press team members. Enter to win a doorprize of a Sony Pocket Reader!

3:30-5:00: ESPAN tea
Angela James will be guest speaking

Saturday July 31:

2:00-3:00 Carina Press Spotlight

Come and find out more about Carina’s current books, what we’re looking for and some behind-the-scenes marketing info!

Meet me in Birmingham

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Come to Southern Magic’s June 26 meeting at the Homewood Publc Library to hear Angela James, Executive Editor of Carina Press, talk about e-publishing.

It doesn’t matter if you’re published or not, or if you ever plan to be e-published, you need to listen to what she has to say. This is the future and you need to be informed and aware of what’s happening around you.

What: E-FACTS ABOUT E-PUBLISHING

When: June 26, 2010, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Where: Round Auditorium at the Homewood Public Library, Birmingham, Alabama

Southern Magic will provide a dessert table and coffee.

Registration is mandatory by contacting Callie James at calliejamesbooks@bham.rr.com. Otherwise, we cannot guarantee you a seat.

Attendance is free for Southern Magic members, $5 for other RWA chapter members, and $10 for the public. Pay at the door.

PROGRAM: Angela James discusses the ins and outs of e-publishing, including what to expect from an epublisher, how to distinguish between unfunded or under-funded epubs, the real sales figures, what constitutes good distribution, covers, promotion, and more. We will have Q&A time available throughout the program.

More about Angela James:
Executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first press, and veteran of the digital publishing industry, Angela James is a well-known advocate for digital publishing. James has enjoyed a long and varied publishing career that has included ownership of an independent editorial services business, work as a copy editor for electronic book and small press publisher, Ellora’s Cave, and executive editor for Samhain Publishing. James frequently travels to regional, national and international writing conferences to meet with authors and readers, and present workshops on digital publishing for both authors and readers of all genres of fiction.

Carina Press is a new digital-first publisher that combines editorial and marketing expertise with the freedom of digital publishing. With a long history of digital marketing and editorial experience, the Carina Press team is committed to bringing readers fresh voices and new, unique editorial.

Our philosophy is: no great story should go untold!

Carina Press will publish a broad range of fiction with an emphasis on romance and its subgenres. We will also acquire voices in mystery, suspense and thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, erotica, gay/lesbian, and more!

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Southern Magic is the Birmingham, Alabama, chapter of the Romance Writers of America.
Meetings held at Homewood Public Library
1721 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, AL 35209