Saturday, July 3, 2010

HEARTBEATS IN TIME ~ "Any romance A.V.?"


Does the Twilight Trilogy mark the end of the Vampire Era, or just the beginning? Call me Old School or Old Fashioned but I associate vampire-driven romance with erotica and "highly-sensual" subject matter. Absolutely, 100% nothing wrong with that. Mind you, I think there's plenty of erotica and sensuality to go around in historical romance, too. I'm just wondering if there will be any romance left after the vampires have sucked the blood out of every romance genre today? What's next? I'm curious about where creative romantics will go next with their literary pens.

As I see it, right now with vampire romance, there's no such thing as writing a credible story, since, with vampire romance you are sent into a world of fantasy, asked to suspend belief at every turn of the page or press of the kindle cursor. Right now, this is what the market is selling and this is what the reading public is buying. No argument here. I'm looking forward to seeing ECLIPSE and suspending belief along with everybody else! My question is only that I wonder where this will next lead us.

Into the surreal future or back to the real past?

Food for thought ... for vampires and cave-dwellers, alike.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HEARTBEATS IN TIME ~ "Print or Virtual? Can we keep the romance?"

I realize that in the not-too-distant future, actual print books will be a thing of the past. We won't be holding pages in our hands, free to feel around the edges as we immerse ourselves in stories, remembering every coffee-spill and thumbprint, but instead fondling the sharp edges of a cold piece of metal, pushing a button to turn the page. Something is lost in this transition from the printed page and book-in-hand to a metal gadget where we "program in" our latest reading preferences. Mind you, I do understand that reading machines, if you will, are the future. I understand that print books are on their way out, making room for push-button, instant downloading of the latest NYTimes bestseller ... and Five Star bestseller. I understand that changes in society and culture are demanding that we embrace reading gadgets and do away with library shelves, complete with their worn, torn edges.

There it is: the word, EMBRACE. If I'm reading an historical romance, can I embrace a little metal gadget in any way that resembles an actual book? Will all of my senses be stirred with this little metal gadget, the same way my senses are heightened by the actual print pages of my latest treasured purchase? We wake up with books. We fall asleep with books. We ride to work with books. We take books on vacations. We take books on planes. We fall asleep with books. We peer over shoulders to see what books others are reading. We give books as gifts, taking great pains to select just the right ones. We take ownership of books the moment we have them in hand, taking ownership of the characters and story waiting inside for us. We can't wait to find the time to read. We thrive on the warmth from our in-hand books.

Will we find that same warmth within the confines of our reading machines?

Time will tell.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

HEART 2 HEART ~ "And on the ninth nite of Hanukkah ..."

In my world , if you count the shamesh, and if you believe the miracle of the Festival of Lights might just continue on into the next nite and the next. Well it just so happens that I DO believe in miracles and that miracles can continue on in our hearts and minds long after the eighth candle has burned down. The heart-warming message of Hannukah -- a time when the Jews survived Syrian oppression, a time when the holy oil in the Temple miraculously lasted eight days, a time of re-dedication -- continues to inspire on into the ninth nite, and the tenth ...

When I think of the inspiring stories in the air this time of the year, I can't help but reflect on the wonderful Christmas story, YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS. To me this wonderful children's story serves to inspire "on past the eighth nite and the ninth ..." If we believe in miracles, whether it's Santa Claus or a candle burning when it should not, we carry in our hearts the year through, the possibility of all the things life might bring, all the hopes and dreams for our future, and our children's, and their children's.

Miracles can happen long after Hannukah and Christmas ... if we believe in the spirit and inspiration both of these wonderful holidays bring this winter season and the next ... and the next ... and the next ... IF WE BELIEVE.

Shalom to All and to All a Good Night!

:-) Jo(anne) Gregg Sundell

Saturday, December 12, 2009

HEART 2 HEART ~ "Holiday Hearts"

This time of the year brings out the best in us all, no matter which holiday we celebrate. Smiles abound on faces of young and old alike. Whether searching for the perfect Christmas tree or the perfect box of candles for the family Menorah, it's a time for family and friends and romance. It's a time for our generous hearts to shine forth, right along with the lights on the tree and the candles in the Menorah. It's a time for Holiday Hearts.

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to one and all!

:-) Joanne Gregg Sundell

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HEART 2 HEART ~ California Dreamin` Can Be A Nightmare!

Writing-wise and Marketing-wise, that is.

This is a very BIG POND out here and only the heartiest of small fishies will survive to write another day!

I'm speaking here in the context of having moved recently to southern California from the Colorado mountains. Both are resort areas, admittedly created for fun in the sun, whether frolicking in the water or on the slopes. If you're a relatively unknown writer who wants only to frolick in the waters of the Pacific, no problem. But, if you're a relatively unknown writer who wants some recognition for your books, big problem.

OK, so how to solve the problem of being a small fish in a big pond. (Any suggestions will be appreciated.) Since we're on a "water" theme, I think it best to approach the problem, considering the glass half-full as opposed to half-empty.

The half-empty glass, I can speak to with authority. It's intimidating to open the doors of the local libraries, bookstores, and newspaper offices in southern California, enter, and have your book bag in hand, not to mention your hat! Folks smile and they're very nice, don't get me wrong, it's just that they've heard my story countless times already. I mean, this is the land of Entertainment Tonight, E News, and Access Hollywood! This whole state is full of successful achievers or wanna-be-achievers and I'm beginning to think you've got to start with a spot on Oprah before you can expect any notice. Well, other than having a blog article appear in the Chicago Sun Times last week, I'm not expecting a call from Oprah's production department.

Short of that ...

The half-full glass, I can also speak to with authority. This half is far more refreshing and rejuvenating. For starters, WRITE A GOOD BOOK. No, WRITE A GREAT BOOK. Then, pack up your ego in the book bag you tote from bookstores to libraries to newspapers and get your 15 minutes of fame with each and everyone who will listen. Think positively and wait for a good response. Right? At the very least, get your name out there any way you can. Now, living in the beach cities, I see the airplane signs trolling the skies over the beaches, advertising this new show or that new beer ... and the truth of it is I'm quite sure I can't afford the same advert for my books. So, I'm going to keep plugging away with my postcards and bookmarks and nudges to the newspapers and we'll see.

A girl has to try. How else can I be California Dreamin`!

:-) Jo(anne) Gregg Sundell

Meggie's Remains 7/09
The Quaker and the Confederate series 5/10, 9/10

Thursday, August 13, 2009

HEART 2 HEART ~ "The Blog Market"

The Blog Market, I've come to learn, is just as important as watching the stock market. Soooo ... I'm jumping into a scheduled blog tour for the month of September for my latest Five Star-Gale release, MEGGIE'S REMAINS.

Partering with Pump Up Your Book Promotion, I'm beginning work today on my posts, beginning with Blogcritics. This should be interesting and fun. My heroine and hero in MEGGIE'S REMAINS, Meggie and Ethan, deserve a bit of internet attention! In addition to hitting the Blog Market, I'm attending the Women Writing the West conference in September where I'll showcase MEGGIE'S REMAINS in their bookstore. The chair of the conference, Harriet Rochlin, is an amazing writer and an all-around great person! In October, I plan to participate in a signing at Barnes & Noble in Encino for MEGGIE'S REMAINS, where I'll sign along with members of Los Angeles Romance Writers. This should also be interesting and fun!

Last week I blogged with you about all of the changes, moving to southern California. Not much has "changed" since that post in that I'm still 63 and tech-challenged, and still watching my adorable, brilliant, 5-month old grandson. Where changes are needed rests on MY SHOULDERS. I'm so priviliged to be a published author and I need to step up to the promo plate and JUST DO IT!

Everyday for me from now on, is a day to learn and a day to lobby for my heroines and heroes!

Can we say, ENERGY, boys and girls!

:-) Jo(anne) Gregg Sundell

Five-Star, Gale, Cengage Learning
ISBN: 978 1 59414 788 3

Friday, July 31, 2009

HEART 2 HEART ~ "I think I can ... I think I can ..."

Remember THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD? I'm attempting to chug along with the timeless theme from that little, yet oh-so-important children's story.

"I think I can ... I think I can ... I think in can ..." blog on a regular basis, just like most of the Writing World. Why this has been so difficult for me, is for me to figure out and improve on, for sure.

In my defense ... the moment I have something kind-of/sort-of figured out, something else has already come along as replacement. For example, when I finally got onto MySpace, happy as a clam that I have A Few Good Friends, many of you now are on Facebook. And not just Facebook ... but twittering, as well. I'm having to "spark" The Little Engine That Could on this one, too. I have a Facebook site but it does need a bit of tending. Ya think?

As for my blog, I've decided to tell the unfettered, raw truth, week by week, detailing my falling off the writing wagon and then climbing back on. It's a journey that you might find interesting, and during which I might find a kindred spirit or two.

My blog stands alone at the moment, other than being listed on MySpace, or on the website of some wonderful writing friends. My first challenge is to link up with other blogs, connecting and networking on a regular basis. I'll let you know how this goes. The truth of it is that I'm a 63-year-old, techno-challenged lass who is ever intimidated by the Big Bad Internet. Ah well, such if life.

HEART 2 HEART, I want to reveal to you that since my part-time move to California, I've fallen off the Writing Wagon. Separated from old friends, writing contacts, and those bookstores that would have me in for a signing, I feel pretty doggone alone. It's a tough world out here in the Los Angeles area. It's hard to get notice other than for road rage on the 405! Marketing is going "to be a bitch" out here, I'm sure of it. I'll let you know my trials and tribulations. Perhaps some of you will relate.

Next time I'll tell you why I'm out here in LA LA LAND in the first place. Perhaps, over the next weeks and months, we can climb back onto the Writing Wagon together. Stranger things ...

Tweet, Tweet!

:-) Joanne