Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Cards

I haven't made any cards in a while because I've spent all my time writing the book.  I've been trying to write more since it's completion -- screenplays, short stories, book #2 -- but this weekend my brain just wasn't in it.  So I went back to my next favorite hobby.  Card making!


I got out a stamp set I hadn't used before ("You're My Type" from Stampin' Up) and made a few birthday and love cards.  I think they're cute.

And one of those happy birthday cards would be perfect for a certain journalist major who is turning 21 this September.  A special work-daughter who just left for college this weekend.  A college in one of my favorite cities in the whole wide world.  Perhaps this view will give you a hint of what city it is...


For those of you that don't like guessing games...that's the Boston Commons.  Yep, she's going to be living right on the edge of it.  Jessica is going to have the time of her life, following her dreams, in this amazing city.  I'm jealous.  And so proud of her.  MISS YOU JESS!!!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Excursion to Ithaca

This morning Drew & I went to Ithaca.  We hit the Farmer's Market first.  I love the market!  It's a unique place with vendors that sell a wide range of goods.  Organic fruits & veggies, free-range poultry & meat, wine, pottery, wood crafters, photographers and florists.  There are several food vendors as well.  You can get breakfast burritos (quite popular judging from the long line), Cambodian food, gluten-free Curry (so getting that next time!), Japanese bento boxes (Drew's so getting that next time!), and lots of pastries.  There's usually a band playing too.  If there was one today we missed it.  (Poop.)

For my mid-morning snack I got a treat - Indian Rice Pudding with Fruit.  It was super yummy and Drew thinks he can reproduce it here at home for me.

While at the market we ran into my BFF Stacey and her man Matt, and also fellow Superfriend Joanie and her buddy Fran.  Odd to go to Ithaca, which is about 45 minutes away, and run into my best buds from home.  I told you the market is awesome!

Our best purchase from the market was Apple Chicken Sausage from Autumn's Harvest Farm.  I cooked it up for dinner with some squash, zucchini, quinoa pasta and Stony Brook Delicata Squash Seed Oil.  We loved it!!!  So yummy!

After the market, we went to Green Star.  It's a co-op health food store.  Anyone can shop there, but you pay a little more than the members do.  If you work a couple hours a month there you can get 10-17% discount on food.  I would do that if I lived in Ithaca.  Of course, if I lived in Ithaca it meant I reached my goal of being a best selling author and then I probably wouldn't need a 10-17% discount on the few groceries I buy now.  Still, I bet it's fun!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Facebook Experience Just Got Better!!!

There's a browser plugin called Unbaby Me that will replace baby pictures on your Facebook and turn them into something else.  This is awesome for someone like me that thinks babies are aliens and garden gnomes.  Honestly, I'm more comfortable about aliens and garden gnomes than babies.  Ew.

It only does it on your internet window though.  Not for everyone.  The default is a pic of a Cat, but you can change it to whatever Instagram hashtag you can think of.

I changed mine to "hotguy."

The site was pointed out to me by my co-worker and Game of Hearts fan Katherine.  She has a baby Max, and I joke constantly about her little alien love-child (whom I hate to admit is really a cute baby --- don't tell her I said that).

Today, Max's photos got changed to this guy...


HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!  Lovin' that plugin!  Thanks Katherine.

http://www.unbaby.me/


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Twitter? Really?

One of the big rules when trying to get published is to be involved in all social networks.  Facebook, forums, blogs, etc..  Twitter is a biggie.

I've had a Twitter account for a couple of years.  I got it mostly because I liked to read Conan O'Brien's comments after he was ousted from The Tonight Show.  There were a few other people I liked to follow: Stephen Fry, Russell Brand, Simon Pegg.  (It's no coincident they're all British.  This was during my "Obsessed with Top Gear" pre-midlife crisis.)

Last night I logged into my Twitter account for the first time in over a year.  I added a few people to follow: Ellen Degeneres, um...ok, I only remember Ellen right now.  I'm sure the others were just as entertaining.  But I was quickly reminded why I stopped using Twitter.  It sucks.  It's like live blogging with millions of people who are incredibly boring.  Or Facebook without being asked to donate a cow or a plank of wood to someone's Farmville.  I can't imagine I have anything to add to the Twitter community that will be any better.

After giving up on the idea of finding my fanbase via Twitter, especially since I had all of 14 followers, I went back to working on Book #2 instead.

This morning I had an email.

Stephanie Deal, you have a new follower on Twitter.

Really?  Who?  *Click*

A Miley Cyrus look-a-like from a very explicitly named sex website.  Great.

Well, it could have been worse.  It could have been Miley Cyrus.  I'd have even less to tweet to her about.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

RomCon & Shelf Unbound

While researching contests and website about romance novels, which is essentially what Game of Hearts is, I've come across some neat sites.

http://www.romconinc.com/

RomCon is a contest and a review site for Romance novels and all their sub-genres.  My novel is a romantic comedy set in a mystery.  Comedy is the tone; Romance is the A Story (main plot); Mystery is the B Story (subplot).  In future books the mystery might play a bigger role, but I love playing with these characters so much and all the crazy, goofy things they do, that the comedy and relationships will probably always be the front story.

Anyway, you can go to RomCon and read reviews on Romance novels in your favorite genres - contemporary, suspense, historical, erotica, paranormal, & sci-fi/fantasy.  I go just to look at the book covers.  HAHAHAHA!  All better than mine, but I still laugh at them.  My favorite are the erotica covers.  My buddy Pam said it the best, "How many people are on that cover?  Ewwwww."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another great website for the avid reader is...


http://www.shelfmediagroup.com/

Shelf Unbound is strictly digital, so you can only read it online.  But it's free!  It's a great magazine for readers who are looking for reviews of something different.  Each issue is just loaded.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love to read, but I don't do it alot.  My mind wanders badly.  I can usually only read on vacation when there's nothing else going on.  Then that's all I want to do!  I've tried to read before bed and I fall asleep.  I know...go to bed earlier.  Lately I've been too busy.  Trying to be an author.  :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Game of Hearts" is Published!

"Game of Hearts" is available as a Kindle download on Amazon.

Prime Members can get it free!!!


Yes, I am a little freaked out about this.  This book is my baby.

Now to go find an agent and make more!!!  :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Remember Friday Night Videos???

Honestly, even I get sick of talking about my own book.  Here's a video instead.



For Mom & Dad...
Chatroulette is an online chat website that randomly pairs strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations.  Most of the time it's naked guys looking for...er, whatever it is they're looking for.  Sometimes you get someone really cool.  Like Steve Kardynal in a bikini.  I love the reactions.

"Game of Hearts" Cover

I resolved my issues with using Alex's face on the cover by not putting him on the cover.  Bah!  Instead Lyssa is going on the cover.  Honestly, I couldn't make a cover with Alex's dreamy but oh-so-serious face that correctly conveyed the theme of the book.  Essentially, the book is humorous.  Alex's face is anything but humorous.  So I made a cover that was less serious.  It contains little elements from the book, but doesn't give anything away.  People who read the book will understand the cover better, but I don't think you have to read it to like it.

Why don't I just show you the dang cover...



Inset photo of "Lyssa" by SavchenkoJulia
Panties supplied by First Mate

I know the photo of Lyssa is not the same as the referenced source I used when writing the story, but I think she's quite lovely.  And it only cost me $5 at istockphoto.com.  There's no limitations on the number of times it's used on e-books.  If and when it comes time to print the book, I will let the publisher worry about the cover then.  This model has lots of great photos on the site, so I can see more book covers in her future. 

Note:  I am not an experienced photographer and I realize this isn't professional by any means.  But I like it and you can read the title when it's the tiny size that Amazon uses on the screen, which is what's important.  Plus, I futzed like hell with the damn thing to get it done so I'm not changing it!!

But wasn't the below the bomb!!!

The model is Rajneesh Duggal
Photo by Jitu Savlani

Yeah, I know.  Maybe for Book #5.  That's a much more serious book.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Book Cover Dilemma

So.  I have to make a book cover for Game of Hearts.  In the back of my mind I had hoped to put it off and make a publisher do it.  Ut-uh.  Not happening.  Not if I want to get this thing posted on Amazon and with RomCon and all the rest!  And I do.

I tried to make a freebie cover using shades of red and black.  Something that looked like a video game, since that is her job.  Something simple.



It sucks.  I dig the M for Mature label in the corner.  But honestly, it sucks.  You have to have read the book to get the point of the cover.  Buyers need to know what the book is from the cover, not vice versa.

So I looked at the books on RomCon (www.romconinc.com).  Almost all of them have the same kind of cover.  Either it has a half-naked guy on it, or a guy & girl making out on it, or a girl looking like she just murdered someone and it's made her horny.  Point is, they're dramatic and steamy.

Like I said...my cover sucks.  I put it aside and decided to deal with it later.

Last night I was talking to my mother and she was telling me how much the girls at work enjoy the pictures.  I didn't have to ask what pictures.  I know exactly what she's talking about.  This is the third time she's told me.  It's him.


Alex.

My next question for her should have been, "What in the world did you do with his pic that the girls are still swooning?"  Instead, my brain said, "My mother and her co-workers are in love with a character from a book I wrote that they haven't even read yet.  All because of his picture.  He's gotta be on the cover!  We'll make a fortune just from people buying it so they can stare at the cover!"

Big problem.  I don't own that picture.  Theoretically speaking I shouldn't have even posted it here without at least giving someone proper credit for it.  Which raises the question...who took the picture?

Should be easy enough to figure out.  The guy's name is actually Rajneesh Duggal.  He's an Indian model.  The man's job is to be photographed.  There's gotta be some site out there that gave credit to whoever took the photo.

Nope.  Not at all.  There's nada / zilch / zip / zero credit given on the interwebs for this picture.

But I do have a possible lead.



This is also Rajneesh.  This is the Alex fan-favorite "touch my girl and I will mess you up" photo.  This photo was taken by Jitu Savlani.  I am this close (imagine I'm holding my index finger and thumb up, and they are a flea's width apart from each other) from sending Jitu an email asking if he took both photos.  And if so, what's it take to get permission to use the top one for Game of Hearts.

Actually, now that I look at it, I think this photo might be nice too.  The dimensions aren't great for a book, but if we use maybe just the right half of his face and put the wording on the grey part then...hmmm. Not bad!

Anyway, I'm too chicken to email him right now.  I should be too old to be too chicken to do anything anymore, but I still get that way.  One of the downfalls of never having kids is that you remain immature & nervous about some things that parents got over a long time ago.  Sending emails to photographers in India about a photo of a hot guy is apparently one of them. Silly thing is, if this were for Stacey's book or Jeff's book I wouldn't hesitate to send an email for them.  In fact, I'd jump all over that.  I love being the resource that says, "Hey, I contacted him and he's cool!  Says go ahead and use it!  Whoot!" But not for my own work.  Nope.  Stupid, isn't it?  A lot of writers are weird like that.  (Ok, that was a little mental side trip no one really needed.  Let's get back to the picture.)

Jeez, that would be a nice cover, wouldn't it?  *squee*  Maybe I'll email him later this week after I figure out how to make the *insert expletives here* document convert to Kindle correctly.  Without that then a cover is completely useless and a large waste of time anyway!

In the meantime, check out Jitu's website.  It's kinda cool.  Very Bollywood.

http://www.jitusavlani.com/

Looks fancy, don't it?  Looks like he'd probably charge a lot for the photo, don't it?  Yep.  I fear he's gonna want a lot for it, I'm not gonna be able to pay it, and then I'll have lost my Alex.  I think I'd rather be able to look at the photo and see the cover, then know for sure it could never be the cover.  Looks like I'm not gonna send an email, don't it?

And that right there is what they call in the therapy biz as a break-thru.

I should have taken the percocet prescription from the doc when I had the chance.

$$$$Steph

Happy Birthday to Moi!

Saturday was my birthday.  I turned 43.  Yippy.  Actually, this birthday didn't bother me.  Probably because I'd actually accomplished something this year and am still accomplishing things.  The novel is written and it's in the process of getting put up on Amazon.  Agents are being contacted.  Novel #2 has started and I've got two movie scripts and two TV pilots in the writing works.  I've gotten quite serious about all this now and I'm loving it!

On Friday, my work-daughters Triscia and Jessica decided to surprise me with...

A BIG CARD!!!





It says The Dream Team on the left with drawings of all three of us holding hands.  Very cute.

On the right it says :
Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
We couldn't ask
For a better Supervisor than YOU!

From Your Only Daughters,
Triscia & Jessica

And they also made these:


(L. to R.  Triscia, some old broad, Jessica)

The Dream Team t-shirts.  My says Supervisor of The Dream Team.  Jeez.  I do look like I could be their mother.  Good lord that's terrible.  HA!

Well, you can't say I'm not sucked up to loved at work.  Honestly, it's very sweet.  Those girls crack me up daily.

Yesterday I had a delicious breakfast with my "brother" Jeff.  He gave me some great advice about posting digital books on Amazon!  It was nice to be able to sit and talk with him.  We don't do that as often as we used to when the Sunday Morning Writing Crew met at Witches' Brew.  (Gawd, I still miss that place something fierce.)

Then later that day I went winery hopping with Stacey.  We went to the Garlic Fest at Fox Run.  We had planned to see Castle Street Band, but stupid me never checked the schedule and they were there Sunday, not Saturday.  Duh!  But we had a great time anyway.

We saw a guy normal looking guy with a normal looking family with a normal looking Town & Country SUV wearing this t-shirt...



Seriously.  (Mom & Dad - Amy can explain to you what that means.  Thanks Amy!!!)

After Fox Run, we hit several wineries as we looped our way around Seneca Lake.  We had lunch at Red Newt Bistro, which was just absolutely fabulous!!!  Thank you Stacey for lunch and a great day out!  It was a lot of fun.