Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Safety Tips

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Television advertisements have decided to skip Thanksgiving and shoot straight for the day after, also known as Black Friday -- supposedly the biggest shopping day of the year.  It’s also the time of year when criminals come out in force to prey upon shoppers.  And they won’t stop at Black Friday.  No, their efforts will continue all the way through Christmas.  So, I thought I might stray from romance topics momentarily and offer some safety tips for those who will be braving the crowds and wish to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of such characters.
  • First and foremost, don’t leave any valuables in your car.  Some criminals simply troll through parking lots, peering into windows, and break into those vehicles with valuables left out in plain view.  (There is usually at least one news segment a year in which police officers lead reporters through a parking lot and point out the purses, phones, iPods, laptops, etc. that are visible in parked cars, making them more likely to be broken into.)  
  • Don’t leave your purse unattended in your shopping cart, even if the cart is only a few feet away.  That purse can be taken in the blink of an eye.
  • When walking to your car in the parking lot, leave your cell phone in your purse and stay vigilant.  Examine your surroundings constantly.  Purse snatchers are less likely to single you out if you appear alert because they can’t catch you off guard.  Someone who is busy talking on the phone or texting is more likely to be caught unawares and makes a far more appealing target.
  • Continue to observe your surroundings while you load your packages into your vehicle.  Be aware of everyone around you so no one can sneak up behind you.  And don’t leave your purse in the cart while you unload it.
  • Once you arrive home, keep an eye out for suspicious characters loitering about as you pull into your driveway.  Most homeowners use electric door openers now.  When you pull into your garage, stay vigilant until that door is all the way down.  I’ve seen news reports in which homeowners were robbed by criminals who ducked into the garage just before the door closed.  So . . .
  • Always, always be alert!

Well, those are the basics.  I hope this will prove helpful to you.  If you'd like to receive a cover flat of Darkness Dawns, just leave a comment and email me your address.

Have a safe holiday weekend!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cover Flats

Everyone who posted a comment on yesterday's post (here or on Facebook) is welcome to a Darkness Dawns cover flat.  Just email me (see my profile) your snail mail address by Monday and I'll send you one.  If you'd like it signed, please let me know whether you'd like me to sign it on the front or the back. 

Thank you again for visiting The Immortal Realm and for your input!  I hope to see you again soon!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A New Beginning

It’s official!   I’m blogging!  Woohoo!  I know.  I know.  Millions of other people are blogging.   Some of you are blogging and have been for quite some time, very successfully.   (If you’d like me to visit your blog, by the way, either post the address below or email it to me.)  But this is another new endeavor for me, one in a substantial list that has been steadily growing ever since I signed the contract with Kensington almost a year ago.

With that in mind, I’ve been pondering lately how different getting published is for new authors today as compared to getting published -- say -- twenty or thirty years ago.   There are so many more tools at authors’ disposal now, most of which center around the internet.  Home computers with internet access were still a luxury twenty years ago.   Today they -- and cell phones with internet access -- are as standard as televisions and DVD players.   Aspiring writers twenty or more years ago had to rely on Writer's Market and similar books to find agents and editors seeking submissions . . . and sometimes that information was lacking or already out of date only a few months into the year.   Now, writers can find numerous publisher and literary agency websites on the net that offer current detailed guidelines.  Writers can also get a better idea of what individual agents and editors are looking for through blog posts, interviews, e-newsletters and excerpts of conference appearances that are posted online.

Twenty years ago writers interacted with readers and other writers on message boards and in chat rooms.  Thirty years ago, writers had to travel around the country on book signing tours and attend conferences to interact with readers and other writers.   Today, there are social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and more that make a very large world small.   I joined Facebook earlier this year and have met so many nice readers and writers from countless different countries, all of whom have reaffirmed by belief that the romance community is the greatest community on the internet . . . and in person.   :-)   If you’ve friended me on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve seen me say that more than once.

And now there are blogs.   In recent days, when I haven’t been editing the second book in my Immortal Guardians series, I’ve been organizing a blog tour to promote Darkness Dawns when it is released in February.  The bloggers with whom I’ve corresponded have all been so friendly.   I’m really looking forward to the tour and think it’s yet another wonderful way to connect with readers around the world without all of the limits that travel and snail mail correspondence can impose.

These hospitable ladies have all inspired me to finally start my own blog.   I have no ARCs to giveaway yet.  So, to celebrate, I’ll randomly choose five commenters to send one of the lovely Darkness Dawns cover flats my editor sent me.   Just answer the question below, check back tomorrow to see if you were chosen, then email me your mailing address by the end of this week.

Question:  What would you like to see on my blog?  Contests?  Excerpts?  Writing updates?   Guest posts by other authors?   Interviews with other authors and bloggers?  Q&A sessions with readers?  Occasional mention of my independent filmmaking activities?   Any particular subjects you’d care to discuss with me, anything you’d like to see . . . just let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by!