Monday, January 29, 2007

We've Moved House!

We've moved house. Come and check out our new website and blog. We'd love to see you :-)

Our new address is here

Shelley

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Underwear, Elastic and Words of Wisdom

A friend of mine sent me this the other day, compliments of the Oprah Winfrey Show (which I never watch). But I just love these words of wisdom from Maya Angelou.

When asked about what she's learned in life, Ms. Angelou said:

  1. "I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."
  2. “I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
  3. "I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life."
  4. "I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as "making a life."
  5. "I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance."
  6. "I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back."
  7. "I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision."
  8. "I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one."
  9. "I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."
  10. "I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."
  11. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

I don't usually forward chain letters, but if you like, feel free to pass this on to five phenomenal women today. If you do, something good will happen: You will boost another woman's self-esteem. If you don't...the elastic will break and your underpants will fall down around your ankles!

TJ

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Meme Type Thing

The totally fabulous Maura Anderson tagged me

Contemporary, Historical or Paranormal?
I like them all but i'm picky about authors in all three. I love paranormals the most probably, but as it's what I write most often, I need a break sometimes. I usually move to contemps or sci-fi and then historicals. I do love historicals but it takes me a bit to get back into the language differences.

Hardback, Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
Generally, MM. But most of my friends write in trade, so I buy their books that way. Very occasionally I buy in hardback (hey, it's expensive for a girl addicted to books!) usually just for JD Robb books and the new Sookie books.

Heyer or Austin?
Austin absolutely hands down

Amazon or Brick & Mortar?
I have three children who are holy terrors (read my There are DAYS entry from earlier this week) so Amazon is way easier for me. Plus I signed up for the free plus and I never bothered to unsubscribe so now I get free two day shipping, which rocks I must admit. Still, I do love to shop in brick and mortar bookstores, there's nothing more satisfying than rows and rows of books all waiting to be fondled.

First romance novel you ever remember reading?
Forever by Judy Blume.

Alphabetize by author, alphabetize by title or random?
Um, no. On the shelf if I'm lucky, more often in four foot high piles because the shelves are all full.

Keep, throw away or sell?

I keep about 1/3 (used to be more but I don't have the room!) the rest I give away or donate.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Remove it, it's too floppy and it bugs me when I'm trying to read.

Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake?
I like Sookie. Sookie is more tangible to me and I like her personality more. Still, I like the AB books.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
I try to make it to chapter breaks but sometimes I just can't I'm too dead tired.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
Neither.

Crusie or SEP?
Okay, this question is totally unfair. Because I adore both and really for the same reason - they take unexpected characters and make them work. Crusie's humor is more snarky like mine but SEP has this unbelievable talent in making a character you should not like at all, a real heroine. I love them both and I read everything they write. I will say it was Crusie's Welcome to Temptation that really made me think writing romance was something I wanted to try - she used these quirky characters who weren't perfect by any stretch and she made it work. Oh and I'll never, ever forget the dock scene...

Buy or borrow?
I do both.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, recommendations or browse?
Hmm, well recommendations by people whose tastes are similar to mine first. Then I browse and I do use reviews if they're from a source I trust. Personal tastes being what they are, I've read great reviews of books I hated, still getting why they got that review - now that's a good review (or vice versa in many cases too) I have my review go to places and my go to reviewers as well.

Tidy ending or cliff-hanger?
Depends on what's right for the story.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or evening reading?
Most of the time it's evening, I don't have the time during the day.

Series or stand alone?
I just like good books. Sometimes they're series books, sometimes they're standalone

Favorite book of which no one else has heard?
No one? Nah, I hang out with a lot of very booky peeps, they're all quite book savvy. How about favorite book I wish more people knew about? That would be Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon - it's cyber noir and it contains some of the most beautiful writing (in a dark and edgy way) I've read in a long time.

I'm supposed to tag people but many of us have been tagged so let me try Anya, Megan, TJ and Shelley.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Facial Hair for Heroes

Heroes and their physical appearance have figured on my mind recently since I'm starting to write a new book. After thinking about it I realized that every single one of my heroes so far has been clean shaven. That's about twenty-five books worth of clean shaven heroes with a sprinkling of stubble here and there.

It's not that I have any objections to facial hair on men. My husband has a moustache, and I don't mind a beard if it's well-groomed and not too bushy - sort of a goatee type. Bushy, Santa Claus beards - no. Not going there.

My husband grew a beard when we did an overland trip through Africa. By the time we reached London he looked wild and woolly. Definitely not a nice look although it did come in handy on Christmas day. He looked the part when he dressed up as our Santa Claus and distributed presents. Apart from the gray that is. In Africa our Santa's beard was on the ginger side!

What do you think about facial hair on your romantic heroes?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Beauty and The ... Jerk?

When I read a romance, I read for the fantasy of the story. I want something that won’t remind me of all the stuff I deal with on a daily basis. But while reality bites, there has to be a bit of life thrown in so I can relate to and/or understand the characters.

Heroines are important in any story, but today I wanna talk about men.

The hero in any book plays half the part, which means he's got a major role, in whether I'll escape reality and curl up with the story until my eyeballs cross or I fall asleep. I have yet to see a book cover with an ugly man on it. But what do you do when the hero on the cover of the book doesn't quite match up with the hero inside the book?

What do you mean, TJ? Do you mean the guy on the cover is six-foot-four, drop dead gorgeous with rippling abs and, er, certain other desirable body parts, while the hero in the story is five-foot-four with a face like a pit bull?

Not really.

What I mean is when I'm finished reading the blurb and drooling over the cover, I expect a story where the hero and heroine have a hell of a ride to happily-ever-after. Now that doesn't mean the hero can’t be flawed. Doesn't mean I can't do a haunted, broken, trying-to-figure-out-life kind of guy. Now, what the hell does that have to do with romance?

If the hero is more beautiful inside than outside, it's still a story I can get into. In the end, it’s all about the jerk factor. And that factor is different for everyone.

Hero + Gorgeous + Alpha + Vulnerable = Oh baby!
Hero + Broken But Strong of Heart + Not So Gorgeous + Willing To Go All Out = Oh, baby!
Hero + Gorgeous + Jerk = TJ Moving On To The Next Story

What adds up to an awesome or not-so-awesome hero for you?

Oh, Come On Contest Winner

The names have gone into the hat...and the winner is (drum rolllll) ...

KimW!

Since you're shivering from the cold where you live, you'll receive a download of Spirit of the Pryde. Nice and warm where the lions have come out to play :D

Kim, please e-mail me at tj@tjmichaels.com with the format you'd prefer.

You have one week to claim your prize.

Tootles, ya'll!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Unforgettable by Shelley Munro

My next release, UNFORGETTABLE is out on Feb 21. It's sort of crept up on me and I hadn't realized release day was so close until I saw my cover on the Ellora's Cave coming soon page. My website isn't even updated yet, although my web lady has the info and the update should be finished in the next few days.

Unforgettable is a historical set during World War 2. It's a story that has niggled at me for ages, demanding that I wrote it.

Here's the blurb:

1941. Britain is at war and under threat from the enemy. Life is fragile and love is more important than ever.

Margo can’t forget Johnnie. A chance meeting brings an opportunity to correct past mistakes, to show him they belong together. Bombs rain down on the city and they take refuge. It’s a night of discovery, of passion and bittersweet love laced with danger and the realization that Johnnie must return to fight the enemy. Margo is thrilled, but in the morning old problems resurface and she faces one final test to prove their love is unforgettable.


Also out last week: SNAP!

Snap! is available now from Triskelion Publishing in e-format and the print version is now available for preorder on Amazon.

Snap! is a humorous look at what happens when Alice receives an unexpected inheritance. Once Alice learns her inheritance is a condom company her life becomes full of complications...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Titilating Tuesday!

Last night I went to dinner with friends and on the drive to the restaurant, I heard this news blurb that yesterday - that Monday in January - is the most "blue" day of the year. They said it was a number of things: the holidays being over, the weather, holiday bills arriving, people failing on resolutions, etc.

I was thinking about that. Yesterday, until I had dinner and talked about writing and books for several hours over dipping things in melted cheese and chocolate, was an odd sort of day. This week has been crazy. I'm trying to catch up on 101 things I need to do and it just seems like there's not enough time in the day to do them all. There's the waiting for projects out there (and the subsequent bouts of elation, expectation and doubt). I owe someone crit that I've promised and every time I get into it, I get interrupted by yet another pressing thing, sigh. My son is involved in play rehearsals and math club, the other is in preschool, the two year old is at turns a nasty, vile monster and a cuddle monster. My sweet husband is never demanding but he deserves attention and I love to be with him and there's deadlines.

In the midst of all that, I got a release date months and months from now and it throws a wrench into the works of my schedule. Which agitates the ordered part of my mind, the list maker who lives inside me who says, "hey! I have a plan here!"

Happily though, I'm a sort of generally upbeat person. I can find humor and a bright side to most everything and really, in the big picture, this isn't so bad. And I got to see old friends and meet folks I'd only known online - and eat excellent food. So all in all, the bluest day of the year ended on a nicely non-blue note.

Anyway, I'm babbling but that's not so different than normal. I hope to finish at least three of the pressing things on my schedule today starting with mailing off some needed information to several people.

Anyone going to RT or Lori Foster's reader/author gathering? I am and I love to meet folks so let me know!

OH! And if you all head over to my website, you'll see I have a new contest up.