In November, I am attending a literary writer's conference with one of my best buds. I have been advised NOT to divulge the fact that I write...ahem...romance novels. Apparently, this is an extremely "snooty" conference, and romance is frowned upon.
Accordingly, I'm trying to decide how to introduce myself, in case anyone asks what I write.
Please vote on your favorite!
Hi! I'm Penny Watson and I write...
A) Kinky Mindfuckeria (many thanks to Victoria Morgan for this gem).
B) Veinerschnitzel Fiction (if asked to elaborate on this, I will respond "lumberjack veinerschnitzel and dachshund-ish veinerschnitzel").
C) My writing cannot be defined by any genre. It will BLOW YOUR MIND.
D) Elfin-inspired fantasy fiction, sort of like Lord of the Rings, only actually nothing like that. But it could be.
E) A book about Santa Claus (if asked if I write children's fiction, I will respond..."Is it okay if Santa has sex?" and see what happens).
F) Turfgrass Manuals.
G) Zombie apocalyptic fiction.
I'm hoping any of these will make a good impression with the snooty crowd. And of course I'll be wearing my tiara, which should elevate my status to "super" snooty.
Most mornings as I get the kids ready for school, swig down my heart meds with a cup of coffee, and feed the weenie dog, I forget about this guy. Saint Nicholas. He is perched above my kitchen window, looking down on us every morning. Every afternoon. Every evening.
Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of children, among other things. And more importantly, he was known for his extreme generosity, which is how he came to be associated with Santa Claus, the gift-giver.
This morning I flipped on the light switch over the sink, and suddenly I remembered him.
Generosity of heart, generosity of spirit, giving gifts. What could be more important?
And I'm not talking about Legos. Gifts come in many packages. A gift of kindness. The gift of friendship. Listening, offering comfort.
I had a great time at the New Jersey RWA conference this weekend. My friends and colleagues have many gifts to offer: support, friendship, advice. I appreciate them all.
Including the passion punch cocktails. (Come on. You knew that was coming.)
My favorite bit of advice was not about POV or publishing or the state of the industry. It was about karma.
Be generous and free with your gifts, and good things will happen.
Icon of St. Nicholas perched over my kitchen window.
Speaking of generous spirits, Liberty Blake has a new release this week. Well, really a new old release.
She published this cute novella in an anthology last year. Now it's out on its own, just in time for Christmas. It's the perfect shortie holiday read...sexy, sweet and sassy all rolled into one. I loved it!
I hope I have time to write up reviews for all of the books I've been reading. Kinky erotica, shocking mysteries, sexy firefighters, tedious reality, and hilarious Greek tycoons. I'll try! In the meantime, I'm prepping for my talk this weekend at the NECRWA October meeting. It's called Reach for the Stars: The ABCs of Romance Reviews. I'm speaking with Jen Porter from Romance Novel News. We'll be discussing the different types of reviews, how to use them to promote your books, and how not to behave when you get a bad rating. (Hint: Sticking voodoo dolls with pins is not encouraged).
Hope to see some of you there! The meeting is in Bedford, MA at the old town hall.
1. One of my most favorite gals, the excellent, talented and wonderful Liberty Blake, has interviewed me on her blog, Liberty's Spells. We discuss my love of beardy dudes and I share the lumberjack-inspired cocktail recipe for Jack Me Off (hee hee...bad!). She is giving away a free copy of LUMBERJACK IN LOVE to one lucky commenter. Just let her know your favorite beardy guy!
4. Just finished reading Firefly Mountain by Christine DePetrillo. Bearded and scarred firefighter hero. Set in Vermont. Romantic. Awesome HEA. Perfect pacing, couldn't put it down. Review coming soon. If you're looking for a super satisfying and romantic story, READ THIS BOOK!
It could be argued that Penelope has juvenile tendencies.
1. I love Britney Spears.
2. I wear sparkle nail polish and I'm 46 years old.
3. I love mindless teen flicks, particularly romantic comedies, filled with immature humor and fun music.
It's because of #3 that I went to see Pitch Perfect on Friday, dragging along two good-natured Quirky ladies who didn't seem the least bit embarrassed that I....
1. Clapped and cheered out loud.
2. Sang out loud.
3. Tapped my toes through the whole movie.
For those of you who might not be up on your mindless teenage musical films, Pitch Perfect is a movie about an all-girl's acapella singing group and competition.
Good stuff about the movie:
1. Near-perfect pacing.
2. Adorable singing and dancing routines.
3. Fabulous cast, especially Fat Amy.
4. Hilarious jokes.
2. One scene that dragged a bit, with the touchy-feely stuff.
3. A few character inconsistencies.
4. More puking.
In a nutshell: This movie was close to mindless teenage film perfection. The pacing was spot-on, except one little part where the girls got touchy-feely and started to discuss their feelings. It slowed down the pacing, and I didn't buy that Beca, the female lead, suddenly got interested in everyone's deep, dark secrets. On the positive side: We got to see Lilly do snow angels in a pile of vomit. (I know that sounds hideous, but it was absolutely hilarious. Just ask Quirky Lady Sam Wayland...I was screaming with laughter).
The song and dance numbers were fun, adorable, manipulative in a typical Hollywood manner, and crazy entertaining. The cute little romance was super sweet and satisfying. And the supporting cast, including the requisite lesbian, crazy Asian girl, nerdy Star Wars guy, and emo male lead with a love of The Breakfast Club, was fabulous.
How much did I love the reference to the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club? And Simple Minds song?.....
I am IN LOVE with Fat Amy, played by actress Rebel Wilson. She absolutely stole the whole show. Perfect comedic timing. Her solo in one of their competitions was the funniest thing in the whole movie. Anna Kendrick, who plays the lead Beca, was cute as a button and has a lovely voice.
Bottom line: This movie kicked total arse.
I'm going back to see it again. At least 3 more times.
A few more notes:
1. Please stop by Carolyn Crane's blog today to check out our hysterical interview. We discuss Pa Ingalls, gilette razors, and an analysis of epic beards in art history. (Some are extremely painful!) Carolyn will be giving away a copy of LUMBERJACK IN LOVE and one of my fun promo mugs.
2. My new favorite comment about LUMBERJACK IN LOVE, from a recent Goodreads review..."Momma loves her hairy men!" Yes she does.
3. I read a book about an agoraphobic virgin musician in love with a billionaire Greek tycoon. And I loved it! Review coming soon.
5. Plaid bookmarks and Klaus Brothers romance trading cards.
I'll be giving them away at book-signings, for contests, on street corners, etc. In fact, Carolyn Crane and I had a hilarious interview which she will be posting Friday on her blog, and she'll be offering a copy of my ebook and one of these naughty mugs. Stay tuned for more info! By the way, check out the gorgeous new book cover she just posted for her latest book, MR. REAL. I love it!
Hope everyone has a great day. I'll be attempting to fix the proof for my Create Space version of LUMBERJACK and hopefully won't pull all of my head-banger hair out while I do it.
...the romantic conclusion to the Soul Series by Julia Rachel Barrett? You're in luck! Stay is out, and it's a wonderful finale to the series. Romantic, sexy, with a fascinating portrait of life on a ranch, and an absolutely delicious cowboy hero I want to lasso up and take home with me. I really like how Barrett incorporates paranormal elements into a reality-based contemporary story, and it flows seamlessly and believably. Grade: A (I cried at the end...hee hee!) Purchase here.
...a story about a billionaire's pregnant mistress? How about trying the aptly named The Billionaire's Pregnant Mistress by Lucy Monroe. Of course the billionaire is Greek. Of course the pregnant mistress is hiding a BIG SECRET. Of course...well, it's a Harly. You get what you get, and you don't get upset. Grade: B/B- Purchase here.
...a stunningly wonderful mystery series than transcends the genre? Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache Series is full of surprises. Unexpected dialogue, unique characters, a mesmerizing protagonist, and layers and layers of lovely prose, startling revelations, and immersion into the most seductive small town I've ever read. I just finished #4 in the series, and I'm about to read #5, The Brutal Telling. I have a feeling when I'm done with this series, I will sob like a little baby. It's brilliant. Grade: A+++ Here's a list of the full series.
...a tycoon-y book (yeah, I just made up the word tycoony, so what?) with a pompous gorgeous rich Greek guy, an adorable secret baby, a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps sort of gal, and lots of misunderstandings, including illnesses, gay friends, etc etc., then you might want to give Pregnant by the Greek Tycoon by Kim Lawrence a shot. It's surprisingly entertaining. Grade: B Purchase here.
"But the scent she longed for, and caught as she leaned into her husband, was sandalwood. It was more than his cologne, he seemed to exude it. It was how every season smelled. It was how love and stability and belonging smelled. It was the perfume of friendship and ease and peace."
"Grief was dagger-shaped and sharp and pointed inward. It was made of fresh loss and old sorrow. Rendered and forged and sometimes polished."
"You asked what I count each evening and each morning. What I counted each day in prison while better men withered and died. Do you know the sums that I do?"
Gamache stood still, in case moving would scare this man off and he'd never have his answer. But he knew he needn't worry. This man was afraid of nothing.
Dachshund-lover, cocktail drinker, botanist, obsessive reader, author of quirky fiction. Titles include The Klaus Brothers Series, Lumberjack in Love, Apples Should Be Red, A Taste of Heaven, and Lucy the Wonder Weenie (children's fiction--W/A Nina Clark).
LUCY THE WONDER WEENIE
Because every dog's a super hero.
Penny On The Dark Side (illustration by Scott Fiander)