USA Today Best of 2012

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Color Me Stoked

Last night, I finished (way past my bedtime) reading a submission from one of my roster authors--and it was soooo good! I literally read all 80,000 words (almost 300 pages) in one day. It's that good.
Man. I'm so excited to contract this book.
And the beauty of it is, the author has such a wonderful handle on mechanics, this book is going to be an absolute breeze to edit.
Woohoo. Woohoo!

Sorry. I must dance away now...

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Things That Work- Update

I found another fantastic use for
microfiber cloths, which I already sang praises about and awarded the Piper Patter Seal of Affection.

Well. I love my houseplants, and have several of the broad-leaf variety. Thing is, living in Western Colorado, pretty much everything ends up dusty sooner or later (usually sooner). And a big old dusty plant not only looks bad, but having leaves coated like that isn't so good for my poor green friends, either. So sometimes I stick those plants outdoors during a rainstorm to rinse them off. Unfortunately, our rainy days (and too many of our sunny ones) are usually windy, which is rough on indoor plants. I've bought plant-leaf shine/cleaner, and I've used milk to clean them, after reading the tip online (works pretty well, but it's kinda tedious and a bit yucky dipping an old cloth in dirty milk and wiping down all those leaves). But no more.

Those lovely microfiber cloths designed for house cleaning and polishing work wonderfully (and fast!) to remove the dust from my plants. Nothin' but nice, shiny leaves now, sistah!

The plant pictured is a little hard to see, with the bright light behind, but the leaves are shining! (and that's cat-snack grass growing in the bottom, in case you're wondering)

Happy Monday.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, May 27, 2011

They probably don't know I wrote about their house

Since I was taking pictures near and in the cemetery for the other blog posts, I decided to go for "completely out of her gourd" and also take photos of this house. It's not next to the cemetery like Adam's house in Waiting for Revenge (there are a couple of duplexes between in the front, though I do think the back yard butts up against the cemetery), but this is the house I thought of when writing the book.

I still think it'd be a nice, quiet place to live...

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Incongruous inspiration

So here's my #1 best inspiration spot ever. It's featured in the first 2 stories I wrote--plays very heavily in Waiting for Revenge.

I can't explain why walking around the Rose Hill Cemetery here in Rifle, Colorado gets my brain firing, but it does. It's not an entirely quiet place--roads all around, a huge busy church on one side, neighborhoods nearby, and usually other people are out enjoying the "paths" (used to be roads, but the lawn is really wreaking havoc on the ancient pavement) too. My focus isn't great there--my eyes are constantly darting to this headstone and that, reading the names to see if they are people I knew, or knew of. (often--yes.)

Maybe walking among the memorials of those who've been and gone gives me perspective. Or it could be I just love all the trees and grass--and while it's never tomb-quiet(pardon the pun), there's a certain solitude over that first hill... for a smallish town, we've really got a pretty big cemetery. In fact, it's big enough it offered a bit of scary suspense when my character Mandy in Waiting for Revenge goes walking there alone on Thanksgiving Day, and a strange man approaches
her. The setting is a bit less life-y and more death-y in November, when all the trees are bare. Great for creating mood in that story. It would be a rather ironic place to be murdered, no?

In my book Hits and Misters, this cemetery was one of only 2 places in town my character Dani--who's been relocated in Witness Protection--visits during a quick stop in Rifle. (although, she visited her own grave, which is a whole other story). And yes, walking there recently has inspired me to finally get that story "out there".

So who knows. Maybe I just like it there because I'm a nutter. :) The more people who are freaked out about it and stay away, the better for me.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nutty is a state of mind--for writers

Sometimes I find inspiration in... odd places. Not all writers do--some are just fine people-watching at their local coffee shop, or staring at magazine pictures of beautiful-folk. Considering I write contemporary romance and women's fiction--no zombies, ghosts, or vamps involved--one of my best sources for inspiration might seem rather strange.

But hey. Writers are by nature a little off their rockers, right? Instead of being satisfied with outside entertainment, we turn inward and create Our Own Little Worlds. And that's not enough--sometimes we're displeased with those imaginary worlds we created, or the characters. A writer in Inspiration Mode makes a mad scientist look pretty "with it". Anyway, that's how it is for me, when I'm cooking up a story.

Some people think it's a gift, while others consider us us eccentric, weird, cracked... whatever. I'm okay with any of those labels, so long as the damn story keeps coming!

Tomorrow I'll post photos of my best source of inspiration.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ready for take-off. Clear backblast area!

Despite several years in a row where ebook sales have increased exponentially, with reading devices and programs hitting the market constantly (always better, easier, lighter, cheaper than before), ebooks have still felt to me like such a fractional (growing, yes, but small) part of the market.

But not anymore. The Major Players in ebook sales--Amazon, B&N, and Kobo/Borders--are experiencing phenomenal sales growth.

Now for the why. Here's why I think ebook sales are ready to go through the roof like Wonka's Great Glass Elevator shot out the top of Willy's factory:

  • Consumer recognition. Just a year ago, mention ebooks and you'd easily have a few people give you that dumb look and say, "What's an ebook?" or "What's a Kindle?" Now I see kids at school with them. You can't open a sales flyer from Target or Walmart or BestBuy without seeing one an ebook reading device and its accessories.
  • Availability. With ebook readers so easy to get our hands on in the big box stores, it's no longer a matter of ordering one from Amazon (without getting our hands on one first) and waiting for it to arrive. Not to mention all the out-of-stock issues...
  • Ease of use. Sony Reader notwithstanding, today's ebook reading devices are user friendly and make getting new material a snap, with options such as WiFi and Blue Tooth connectivity to eliminate the dreaded USB connection.
  • Pricing. Yes, I had to go there. Ebook reading devices cost less than a third what they started out, and now have many more options. Ebooks have remained the economical choice when compared with treebooks. And let us not forget--no shipping charges on ebook delivery!
And the number 1 reason why I think ebook sales are up (and going to remain up)? Instant gratification. When that newsletter/coupon from the ebook vendor hits your Inbox, if you have 5 minutes to spare, you've got time to go buy the book you've been wanting. And probably a couple more. No more schlepping to the bookstore (and yes, a bookstore trip is still a treat for me, but definitely a rarity), or worse, ordering the book online from Amazon and waiting a week for it to arrive. I'll admit, I spend more money on books now than I ever have--and get far more books in the process. Impulse purchases are so much easier now. And another awesome factor is, I don't have to keep buying shelves or totes to store my books on, after I've read them. I can keep them around forever, without taking up any "real" space.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend not-so-newsy update

Here are my favorite stories from yesterdaay's paper (yes, I'm still here--which I'd figured on, rapture or not, and still here with all the Too Holies I know):
  • This past week, a U.S. man celebrated (and was honored by McDonald's and Guiness Book) eating his 25,000th Big Mac--in 29 years.
  • Iceland has another volcano erupting. It's not considered quite as dangerous as the one erupting last spring. Still, scientists created a no-fly zone for 120 miles in every direction from the volcano. And then--here's today's Irony Department headline--piled a load of experts into an airplane so they could fly over for a look.
Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Out with a bang

Seems I'm finishing the school year off with the same group of kids I started it with. (too many "withs"? Probably. I'm helplessly drowsy this AM)

It's a walking field trip to a park, a couple miles each way--which is totally good for me. Crappo weather, though. Looks like I'll be needing heavy jackets and an umbrella. Here's hoping we get there and I need sunscreen. You really never can tell in Colorado.

The weather is about as unpredictable as a group of 6th graders. :)

Happy Friday.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So it's come to that?

This is one of those mornings when I really need some caffeine (never mind I completely quit the habit about 4 months ago... I dove off that wagon, much like Mel Gibson might dive out of a moving car, execute a sweet roll and land on his feet). I normally don't imbibe (in caffeine) until late morning or lunch time, but today is special.

I went for hot tea. And you know what? My cupboard is stocked with Lemon Zinger herbal tea (naturally caffeine free!), 2 brands of raspberry tea bags, and the major-mongo make yer family a gallon of iced tea-sized bags. Ugh. Really? Who's the dummy who is supposed to be stocking the pantry here, anyway?

So here I sit dunking a tea bag roughly half the size of my mug...

Laugh if you like. All I care about is the caffeine infusion.

Autumn Piper
Got individual tea bags?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mid-Year Resolutions

Since I work for the school district, I get the fabulous benefit of being "off" in the summer (without pay, of course, LOL), which is a big part of why I keep on keeping on as a Teacher Stunt Double.

So each May, I spend quality time ruminating (not meditating, because life is too hectic to sit down and get very deep, this close to the end of school, plus if you're not fast on your feet, some kid is bound to take advantage) on my plans for the summer. It's sort of like New Year's Resolutions, only for me, these are a bit more realistic, and certainly more do-able. With summer comes certain obligations, like yard work, and ferrying kids to baseball, jobs, and swimming lessons. Still, we've got freedom.... to stay up late watching the Tonight Show (instead of hitting the hay by 10 and leaving hubby by himself out by the TV), to sleep in--or rise early in the quiet and write while the other humans sleep unbothered by voices of characters in their heads. To sneak a nap or spend an afternoon at the pool ignoring screaming kids, to get outside and walk anytime between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.--with the sun up! Summer is truly the best of times for me. And what better way to spend free time than to jam it up with self-imposed chore lists and goals, right? LOL

Some things I'd like to accomplish this summer, in no particular order:
  • Get those aluminum cans to the recycle center (laugh if you want--hey, I'm starting out small, or so you may think, having not seen how many bags of cans I have to take in...)
  • Camp. For fun. No wood cutting, no camping near a town where hubby has to work all day. Just go camp.
  • "Me" time--probably spent walking--on a daily basis.
  • Finish writing the novel I've been working on, and rewrite an old one so it's ready to submit for publication.
  • Edit, edit, edit
  • The "big" vacation with hubby this July, for our 20th anniversary
  • Eat healthier
  • Attend at least one Rockies game
  • Put those microfiber cleaning cloths to use more often and in more places (makes cleaning sound like something new)
  • Make the consult appointment for LASIK
More things will probably come to mind, but that's enough for now.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Things That Work

I'm in love.
I've recently discovered the virtues of microfiber cleaning cloths.
Originally, I bought them for cleaning windows after I learned how they don't leave lint behind. (got mine at Walmart--several different types, and they all rock)

But now, the thing making me sing Praises d' Microfibre...

I have this very shiny, very black, range. And I really have hated cleaning it because wiping it down with the dish cloth leaves smears, but it has to be done to get splatters off, which means I then have to go through another process of wiping it down with window cleaner and paper towels, which also smear, so when they're dry I have to wipe away the smudges. And I'll be honest: I'm not overly fond of cleaning. My house isn't dirty or odiferous, but I'd rather not spend more time cleaning it than I have to. Which is why these cloths are awesome! In one step, I can clean this stove top and leave zero smudges behind. Then Mr. Cleaning Cloth goes in the laundry, which is also cool because I don't waste as many paper towels.


Definitely getting the Piper Patter Seal of Affection

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, May 16, 2011

So they think they're above the economy?

A few businesses seem to believe they don't have to compensate for economic hardship, and they'll come away fine.

For instance, the local golf course. Total green fees collected last year were way down (people couldn't afford to golf because it's an extra, not a necessity? whoda thunkit!), so they have responded by assessing their shareholders an additional fee of almost what they normally pay (so they're basically paying double now). I'm betting this will result in many of them letting their shares go--and paying nothing at all. What I think they should have done? Advertise, run specials, offer rates people can afford, to get those non-shareholders in. Sell punch passes equivalent to buy one, get one. Lower green fees to make it something we can't pass up. Make it a good deal and then people will spend their hard-earned, smaller disposable income there, instead of somewhere else. Not rocket science. (for the record, we'd probably golf 3 times as much, if the fees were half what they are now)

Another example: Big publishers. Borders sends me coupons constantly, and since we no longer have a store, I'm even more apt to use them online for an ebook. However, most of the books in my Wishlist come with notices saying "Sorry, no discounts or rewards on this book." Click the "why" link, and this comes up:
The publisher does not allow this eBook to be discounted below list price in any way.

For this reason, this eBook is not eligible for any pre-order, bestseller, promotional, coupon, or other discount. It is also not eligible for the accrual or redemption of Borders Bucks through Borders Rewards.

Uhm, yeah. Because we all know if you discount an ebook to readers, you'll totally lose your ass, right? Wrong. I'm sure the difference is in the contracts between ebook vendors and pubs. With print books, the publisher gets so much for the book No Matter What. If Borders offers a 40% off coupon, they're probably just breaking even on the book (unless they got a verra good deal on it). Whereas, if they offer a 40% off coupon on an ebook, the publisher is also going to take a cut in profits. And yet... a sale is a sale, no? Wouldn't Simon and Shuster, rather have a few of my dollars than none at all? Apparently not.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tube Thursday

By this time of the school year, I can so relate to this drill sergeant... could really put his theories to use while subbing.

And I especially like his final touch--throwing the tissue box. LOL

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tube Wednesday

I know this ad is totally silly, but it makes me giggle whenever it comes on TV. Hubs thinks I'm nuts.

Perhaps. But the cat gets me every time... Doesn't he look like a cat would look in a high-speed chase? Nonchalant and all "I've so got this under control".

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Big May giveaway day

Today's the day Piper Denna is featured at the Lyrical Press blog... And All Fore Revenge is featured book, so the ebook is 30% off at the LPI bookstore today.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Remember that one time...?

I had a really nice Mother's Day yesterday... although probably not in the "nice" sense most moms would like. In a nutshell, I got one heck of a lot of yardwork done--with the help of my lovely kids, and then hubby helped neatly bundle everything at the curb for the Spring Clean-up truck to grab this week. So yeah... 7 hours of yard work in the sun and wind isn't exactly what most women would consider pampering. Still, my daughter brought out a whole stack of presents she'd bought and made, and a poster to kick off the festivities, and she cooked me bacon (in the microwave pan), then helped me make waffles. I scored jewelry, a cool flower keychain, and framed photos. My son got me a DVD (Meet the Parents). Hubby provided the perfume I've been crazy to have (Forever, from Victoria's Secret). Gift-wise, I got a ton of loot.

My most memorable Mother's Day moment, however... not from this year. When my daughter was in Kindergarten, (and hubby was away working) she surprised me with breakfast in bed. A la salad with ranch dressing. Will never forget that breakfast. Ever.

So I started thinking about Mother's Days... I don't honestly remember much about any when I was growing up. Once we got married, we used to do something special--usually for MIL, even the first several years after our kids arrived and I was a mom too. Seemed like she always wanted to go fishing (though I suspect this was a ploy to get the guys onboard with her plan, LOL).

What are your Mother's Day memories? Anything stand out as great--or unforgettably bad?

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Better late than never

Wow. I started to blog this morning, and then totally spaced it. That happens about once a year.

But hey. I was headed out to watch the kid play baseball again, so I have visions of sunshine and homeruns dancing through my head.

The best part of my day, though? I got some new kicks--used birthday and got some sweet Skechers slides.

My last slip-on sneaks were pretty ragged.

Don't you just love new shoes?

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Take me out to the ball game...

Now that we're down to the last 3 days of baseball (tournament) for my son, the weather has finally started feeling, well... baseball-y. (ie warm)

In fact, today the forecast on my phone says "0% chance of precipitation". Now that's what I like to see!

So I'm off to watch--and I consider myself very lucky that I can, for the most part, choose my days off, and be there.

Off to pack my sunscreen!

Autumn Piper
Got warm weather?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Whatcha readin' Wednesday

I'm gnawing my way through Stephen King's Under the Dome (and so happy it's on my Reader--800 pages in 7 ounces is fab). I've wanted to read this one since it came out in hardcover, but waited a long time for the ebook at the right price. Ended up free, by the way, with a store credit at Books on Board. Can't beat that price!

Haven't yet made it to halfway (300something pages in). King writes popular fiction, so he's all over the place point-of-view-wise. Deep 3rd with one character, then another smack in the middle for a paragraph or sentence, then omniscient with some foreshadowing. And you know what? It's positively riveting. I do so enjoy watching the characters' world unravel at such an alarming rate. LOL. And I also love how King can totally mess with his readers by having a dirty villain do something totally sweet (like thinking a hug from a little kid is one of the best times of his life). The characters are real, and the good guys are flawed--something I appreciate, but many romance readers do not.

I will say I'm finding this one much easier to keep up with than, say, The Stand. When I read that one way-back-when, I had a hard time keeping track of the different characters in each chapter. Transitions have gotten much smoooother since then.

Happy reading!

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Things That Work

Yesterday I decided our lawn needed mowed (1st time it's been there this year, and only patches of it were long, but what the heck. All the neighbors were doing it LOL).

Well. It was just me at home, and it's a gas mower. (anybody who has dealt with a small gas engine knows, it's a crapshoot whether it'll work after sitting all winter) We got this little baby 2nd hand--but unused. Some guy bought it on clearance from Lowe's and then sat on it for a couple of years before finally deciding he wasn't ever going to put in a lawn, so hubby got it for a steal--with the Lowe's tags still on it, and it had literally never even been started. We used it twice last fall after moving in this house. Now, keep in mind we had a very pricey new mower at our place in California, and that lawn was just under 1000 square feet (19 X 50). That mower made it through six workouts and then completely quit on us--went right back to Lowe's for a refund.

So I had my doubts whether this little bargain of ours would perform for me yesterday. Had myself all mentally prepared for a sore pulling-arm and aggravation.

It started on the first pull! Ran like a little lawn-eating goat, too. LOL It's still a workout--not a self-propelled number or anything, and we have a plethora of trees to get around. But wow. I was pretty impressed with our little deal.

Nice surprise.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Major Giveaways This Month

It's Lyrical Press's anniversary month...

Celebrate with Lyrical Press!

Beginning today, Lyrical Press will celebrate its third anniversary with a month-long party.

Join Lyrical’s authors and staff for 31 days of ebook giveaways, author and book spotlights, sales, print book contests, and other daily goodies!

Twitter : Daily ebook giveaways!/lyricalpress

Facebook: Daily free first chapter samples

Blog: Daily author and book spotlights
*Books are 30% off list price on their spotlight day*

Please visit Lyrical’s blog for a list of events. We look forward to having you join us as we party the month away!

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!