NYC Day 1

Yesterday I traveled to NYC. It wasn’t the best day of traveling I’ve ever had. Because I live in a small town, I had to hop three flights to get to NYC. I don’t normally mind flying, so this wasn’t a big deal to me.

But the first flight was really turbulent, horribly, horribly hot (I stripped down to my tank top, thank goodness I always travel in layers) and came complete with screaming toddler directly behind me. Really, I didn’t blame him. Thankfully, it was a short hop so the misery was over quickly.

The second flight was fine and I had a two hour layover in Norfolk,Virginia, where I had to switch airlines and so, leave security, go to another concourse and re-enter security. Bleh. The flight was overbooked but since I had Mamma Mia tickets, I couldn’t give up my seat. I was pleased because it was a plane with one row of single seats on one side (double on the other) and I was in a single so I had a window and an aisle seat all in one. But then…we waited. And waited. For over an hour we sat on the tarmac waiting for the okay from air traffic control to take off. Too much traffic over JFK so they wouldn’t release us. Bleh. I started to worry about making the show.

We finally did land at JFK around 5pm and since the show was at 7pm, I figured I was good. Until I discovered that I had made it but my bag hadn’t. Ugh. Even better, I had packed my coat in my suitcase since I had no need of it while traveling (it was gorgeous everywhere I went). So without luggage or coat, I hopped a cab to Times Square and my hotel. And discovered I dislike both the NY cab experience and NY traffic.

I did make it to my hotel by just after 6, got checked in (by that time I was convinced the next thing to go wrong would be a lost hotel reservation),threw my stuff in my room and booked it to the theater. Slightly chilly but not too bad. I made it with 20 minutes to spare!

Mamma Mia was fabulous, amazing, awesome, energetic, ginormously fun and all other good adjectives you can think of. I loved every minute. I grinned the whole time. I saw the movie a few weeks ago, and liked it, but it doesn’t capture the magic, depth or sheer talent of the stage show. Did I mention I loved it?

For the first act, I was sitting at the back of the orchestra seats, with half a row to myself (a pole separated me from the other half). I was totally fine with this. The seats were great and I had little problem seeing, though I am kind of short (don’t tell my husband I admitted to that). When I came back from intermission, my row was full! I guess some other people didn’t like their seats so they moved because, as they said “when we looked over, all we saw was one little girl sitting all by herself”. That would be me. They were very nice, but the lady used her seat and then half of mine for her arm space. But after some rearranging, we got things squared away and I also ended up with, don’t laugh, a booster cushion. Which was good since I was in a different seat with a taller man in front of me.

People are always curious to know why I’m somewhere by myself. I’m so used to going to things solo, it never occurs to me that it’s not the norm, but I guess most people do go to shows with friends. So the lady asked me why, I said I was traveling for work. From their the conversation went on to that I’m in publishing, we publish romance, and yes there is a lot of demand for “that sort of book”. I always love to watch people’s faces as they process “romance”. Yes, romance for women. Books about love. Yes, lots of people buy it. Yes, I do like it. Yes, that’s what Harlequin publishes (or Mills and Boon if you’re having this conversation in Australia/New Zealand or other parts of Europe).

The second act was as fabulous as the first and the lady next to me and I immediately jumped up to dance at the end. Not too many others were standing and dancing, but we didn’t care. Then in the second encore song, some random guy in the front stood,then a lady and just like that, the whole audience was standing and dancing (how they resisted the first song, I don’t know). What a fun way to end the show, with three encore songs (Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen and Waterloo for those wondering), bright colors and high energy. I left the theater totally energized and upbeat. Just what I needed after my day of traveling.

I wandered Times Square for awhile, the energy of it is just a lot of fun at night (haven’t been during the day yet). At one point, I happened by the backstage door where the cast of In the Heights was coming out to sign autographs and people were screaming. Made me wish I had time to see it (but I don’t).

So while I didn’t love the cab or the NY traffic experience, the show, the downtown area of Times Square, the energy and even the kind of jaded, slightly unfriendly and sometimes rude people have all been a really unique experience. Especially when you add in Batman. Did I forget to mention he was in the middle of the street last night? Yeah.

Welcome to NYC. Where, apparently, anything goes.

My mantra for today

Is I hate packing. It’s worse this trip because I totally unpacked all my bags and electronics for the winter and so had to repack everything. Usually I keep my carry-on mostly packed, along with my toiletry bag. Since this is my first trip of the year/conference season, I was starting from scratch. Blech.

Add in that I have new luggage, which seems to be slightly heavier (dammit) and that my luggage scale is missing in action (I blame it on the fact that we took it out of the carry-on to weigh the turkey at Thanksgiving) and I’m just not enjoying this whole packing experience. Not that I ever really do.

But, at 10am tomorrow I’ll be winging my way to NYC for the Tools of Change conference. If you’re there, I’ll be speaking Tuesday afternoon along with Kassia Kroszer of Booksquare, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches and Malle Vallik from Harlequin. Are you intimidated? I am!

Other than that, I have a whole lot of meals and drinks lined up with some of my very favorite people, from within the publishing industry. Oh, and I have tickets to see Mamma Mia on Broadway tomorrow night. My one free night and I’m taking advantage of it!

I’ll try to be a good blogger from NYC, but you know me. Don’t hold your breath.

Have a great week everyone!

Oh, and for you Nascar fans…it’s Daytona time! Boogity, boogity, boogity!

Friday Confessional 2-6-2009

I have two confessions today. One is that I went shopping this morning for pants that I can wear to cocktail parties Monday in NYC. I didn’t find any because I’m TOO SHORT. Kohls is having some great clearance sales and I tried on an embarrassing number of pants but they all were too long for me by about 4 inches. It might have been worth it at clearance prices to buy them and pay to have them tailored, but I was too overwhelmed to make that decision this morning. Maybe I’ll go back.

The other confession is that I’m not at all ready for the traveling to start again. I think it must be because I’m basically lazy at heart, and it suits me to be able to do nothing all day 😉 Also, ever since I told her I was going (last week, because she heard me talking about it and asked) Brianna has been telling me how much she doesn’t want me to go. This morning she was particularly upset about it.

But on that note, blogging will probably be lighter again in the next few weeks, because we all know I’m no good at traveling and blogging!

For the Reader:
Since I don’t normally promo my releases during the week, I’m going to start listing them here, under the “for the reader” section. So, released this week:
Taken by Anya Bast (erotic sci fi romance)
Called by Blood by Evie Byrne (erotic paranormal romance)
Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon (m/m action romance)

Publisher’s Weekly is looking for reviewers in fiction genres including romance!

Kristen Nelson wants to know if free books work on you. On an interesting related note, I got an email from one of my blog readers this week, who was emailing to tell me that the free books she’d gotten from Samhain definitely resulted in her buying others. Anecdotal evidence that free works! I think editor Leah Hultenschmidt talked about that on her blog this week as well.

Jane from Dear Author wonders if you’d be interested in a rent-to-own ereader and ebook subscription?

Smart Bitches has the video from MSNBC that features the Kindle (and Kate Duffy of Kensington!)

Continuing the series about the Dear Author reviewers and their new Sony Readers. I’m really enjoying these posts.

For the Author:

Edittorrent had two great posts up on rejections this week. Alicia wrote this one on form rejections that I swear I could have written myself. Theresa wrote one that relates to my blog post here a few weeks ago about how fast is too fast?

And since we’re talking rejection, here’s one more on post-rejection protocol from Jessica Faust at BookEnds.

Author Lauren Dane has started a Sunday series on promotion.

Author Maria Zannini talks about signature lines. Honestly, an obnoxiously long signature line irritates me enough to remember the author’s name in a negative light.

Author Shannon Stacey has an awesome post up about making sure you’re following your dream, not someone else’s.

In the Kitchen:

Download spice jar labels.

Nom nom nom, these Italian love cakes look good (and easy)!

Pioneer Woman is doing a series on sushi. I actually learned how to make sushi from a Japanese friend years ago, but I’m still enjoying this series.

Peanut Butter and Rice Krispie treats
. Me please.

For the Crafty:

Does anyone out there knit? I really want this scarf. Almost enough to take up knitting, except it would take me five years to finish. The scarf combines my love of two things: Doctor Who (LOVE Tom Baker) and scarves.

Sew, Mama, Sew is doing Fat Quarter February. Check out all the fat quarter projects they’re sharing. Tissue holders here (and if I’d thought of it sooner, I’d have whipped up a bunch as small Valentine Day gifts for the daycare staff)

Check out this list of the top 100 tuturials of 2008

I would love to make one of these tea wallets. I like to travel with tea but it always ends up in the bottom of my purse.

I love this idea. Anyone who’s ever been to a conference has a bunch of tote bags laying around. Here’s a tutorial for dressing up and resuing those tote bags!

For Everyone:

Thankfully, the CPSIA Lead-Testing Law has been delayed for one year. I hope they can work the kinks out of that and get a new/different/better law into affect.

An interesting post on recipes and copyright (where I learned, though was not surprised, to find that recipes aren’t copyrighted).

A little insight into the editorial debate between an author and an editor. These are weighty issues we discuss!

Whee! There’s going to be another Sex and the City movie. I’m not sure what type of story line they’ll come up with, but I don’t care. I’ll go see it! Looks to be set for hopefully Summer 2010

It’s what everyone has been talking about. The Snuggie. Now you can make your own and pimp it out to boot! Score!

$25 free from E-Trade when you open an E-Trade Savings Account.

You know you want to make one. A LOLCat purse!

So you’re bored and want to kill some time? Make your own comic strip!

Maybe your music library is like mine and could use a little attending to? MakeUseof.com has 4 suggestions for tools to fix and auto-organize your music library. Let me know if you’re familiar with any of them or try them!

Wi-Fi Hotspot finders. I need to put these links in my phone, with as much as I travel I often need Wi-Fi (even with an aircard, it’s nice to find Wi-Fi)

For the Political:
Not really political but I’m putting it here. Via HighlandGal, a quote about the Michael Phelps thing that made me laugh (also, see the bottom of this post for some links to current articles about Phelps losing sponsors):

Look, I don’t blame Michael Phelps for apologizing. He has a living to earn, so he did what he had to do.

In the meantime, I merely note that this broken wreck of a man’s failure to win any more than a pathetic fourteen Olympic gold medals (so far) is a terrifying warning of the horrific damage that cannabis can do to someone’s health—and a powerful reminder of just how sensible the drug laws really are.

-Andrew Stuttaford from The Corner at National Review Online.

A new video from Ashley Judd about Sarah Palin’s support of the brutal hunting of wolves. The video is not for the tender-hearted.

Obama puts a cap on executive pay at businesses that received bailout money. I really wish more things like this had been put in place before the bailout money was ever given out.

I’ll admit it, I laughed when I read to the end. There’s a follow-up article here. All I can think, though, is that our nation is facing the largest unemployment rate in two three decades and this guy is going to be worried about a suit jacket? Puh-lease.

Michelle Obama is stepping into the stimulus package fray. Oy.

Picture of the week:

Because the whole idea of this still makes me laugh.

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Talking about erotic romance…

The second clip from my RomanceNovelTV interview has been posted. In it, I talk about the industry of erotic romance as well as a specific Samhain erotic romance author. Oh, and I talk about hairbrush handles too.

Ereaders in pictures

Last week in the comments of a Dear Author thread, I told one of the commenters I’d take some pictures of the Sony and the Kindle, for a visual comparison of size, as well as the best visual comparison of the screen images as I could get. Luckily, I have a sunroom that gets good light in the morning, so the pictures don’t do too bad a job showing the readers in natural light. Since I have them, I also threw in some pictures of the Ebookwise, the iPhone and the Asus EeePC. Sadly, I don’t have the Sony 700 or other readers to provide comparison pictures of.

I’m going to share a few here, but for the whole shebang (I took a lot) please go to this album to browse them. There you’ll find pictures of the Sony and Kindle from all angles, including the back, pictures of me holding them and side views, all to give you an idea of the differences between the two.

Two side by sides of the Kindle and Sony 505 from different angles
Photobucket

Photobucket

And a picture for a comparison of the eink screen on each. To be honest, I thought the Sony might be darker but side by side, I didn’t notice any big difference. I have to wonder if it’s the difference in the white casing versus the darker casing.
Sony/Kindle Screen compare

Sony/Kindle screen compare

And shots of all the readers (From left to right: Asus EEE 900, iPhone, Kindle, Sony 505, Ebookwise:
4 reading device comparison

4 reading device comparison

5 reading device comparison

Eink versus grayscale:
Ebookwise/Sony screen comparison

I think it’s important to note about the grayscale, that the contrast can be adjusted quite a bit. That’s just how I happened to have it.

Anyone want to see any other pictures that I didn’t include?

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Zombies! Run!

Thanks to a tip from you know who, who was laughing hysterically over this article at MSNBC

Pranks with electronic road signs stir worry

COLLINSVILLE, Illinois – Pranksters in at least three states are messing with electronic road signs meant to warn motorists of possible traffic problems by putting drivers on notice about Nazi zombies and raptors. And highway safety officials aren’t amused.

The latest breach came Tuesday during the morning rush hour near Collinsville, Ill., where hackers changed a sign along southbound Interstate 255 to read, “DAILY LANE CLOSURES DUE TO ZOMBIES.”

A day earlier in Indiana’s Hamilton County, the electronic message on a board in Carmel’s construction zone warned drivers of “RAPTORS AHEAD — CAUTION.”
Story continues below ?advertisement | your ad here

And signs in Austin, Texas, recently flashed: “NAZI ZOMBIES! RUN!!!” and “ZOMBIES IN AREA! RUN.”

read rest of article

Okay, I can’t help it….bwahahahaha. It would totally make my day if I saw something like that.

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Romance Novel TV

Today and tomorrow Samhain Publishing, myself and ten authors are being featured on RomanceNovelTV.com

I was fortunate to do a video interview with the fabulous Marisa last October while at NJRW, and part of that is up now, so wander over, check out my interview, my blog post and those of the authors in the next two days. Post in the comments over there and win ebooks!

http://www.romancenovel.tv/wordpress/rntv/marias-blog/

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I’m going to go…

Snuggle up with my Sony Reader and my copy of Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs. Please hold all my calls as I will be unavailable until I finish.

Also, as a random aside, cocktail parties? Freak me out. I’m always afraid I’ll end up standing in the corner with no one to talk to for two hours. Very scary stuff.

Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll be back when I’m done.

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I have an idea

I bought this skillet last week, because the price had dropped to $16.99. I’ve been wanting a cast iron skillet, this one gets great reviews and $17 seemed like a great price (and it is).

But today, I see that the price has dropped to $15. I sobbed. Amazon has done away with their price guarantee policy, so I can’t even write and ask for a refund of the difference. Okay, I accept, I chose to purchase it now. Still…I’m sad.

So my idea is this. I think all of you who cook and have been lusting after a pan should click through and buy one. I can then earn back that $2 through the Associates program, and I’ll be happy again. You want me to be happy, don’t you? What do you mean you don’t cook? And that you already have five cast iron pans? So? Buy another. You know you want too. No really, I’m doing this for you, my readers. This is a good deal and I wanted to share it with you and make you happy. Make your stove happy. Make your…husband happy with all the good meals you’ll cook in your new pre-seasoned cast iron pan. You see how selfless and giving I am? I thought so.

Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet

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