USA Today Best of 2012

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In the pub spotlight

I'm fielding questions from all sorts of romance authors today at the Romance Divas Not Going to Conference Conference.

Here's a link to our thread (it's free and easy to join, with lots of interesting topics & networking):

I'm also taking 3-line pitches, and here's a link for that thread:

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is there a word for those?

Ever hear a word that basically defines itself? Here's an example: My daughter likes to say "over-exaggerate". Which is pretty much in itself an example of whatever she's describing, because exaggeration is already overdoing the description of something. Does that make sense? It's like the opposite of an oxymoron (not to be confused with an oximoron--that guy who sells Oxiclean), where the term's name is an impossibility.

So now I'm wondering if anybody has a term for these, or examples like "overexaggerate"?

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I did it!

My orchid is blooming again.

And truly, I don't know whether it was something I've done right, or I just got lucky... but for sure, if it didn't bloom again, I'd figure myself an inadequate gardener.

So I'll go with the "upside" and take credit for this one. :)

Have a great weekend.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Superhero question

Last weekend, we went to see Super 8, and during the preview for Captain America, my daughter
had a really good question.

It made me giggle,
and she has a point.

Her question: Why do
superheroes always wear their underwear on the outside?
LOL. Even Anxiety Girl does it! (I'm considering having her as Wallpaper on my laptop, BTW--not because I relate
to her, but because I totally know people like her).

Can I just add, Wonder Woman rocks. I think she needs a remake (though I'll forever adore Linda Carter's portrayal).

Happy Super Wednesday--and my your undies be where they're supposed to. :)

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Something to Talk About

I'm so excited about today's release from another of my authors...MJ Fredrick (and yes, I edited this one also). Her book is a fun contemporary romance about a woman and her best friend's widower (BF died a year before), who manage to get all the tongues in their small town wagging, when their former friendship becomes more--despite their best intentions. You can't help but root for Ellie--seems like no matter what happens, everybody in town blames her, and she can never seem to do anything right (no matter how hard she fights the naughty little devil inside) It's out in ebook today at virtually every digital book vendor you can name. Here's a link to buy it directly from LPI. Today it's only $3.85 at the LPI bookstore, in any digital format.

Something to Talk About

Taking chances is never easy--especially when the whole town is watching.

Ellie Morgan is trying to stay below the radar in a small town. Her break-up with her football coach boyfriend and growing interest in her best friend's
widower are grist to the local gossip mill. Her friendship with the local psychic and the return of her prodigal mother are the cherries on the cake.

Add a meddling preacher, a water-loving dog and a man trying to shake off his past, and Ellie's got more than enough on her plate in her quest for

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Book of Awesome

I nabbed this book off the New shelf at the library on a whim. And I'm so glad!

It's chock full of reminders for us to be grateful--and almost every page makes me smile.

Each "awesome" item gets a page or two of explanation, but most of them speak for themselves. A few examples: The smell of crayons, peeling an orange in one shot, when you nudge the person snoring next to you and they stop, old folks who sit on their porch and wave at you when they go by.


The author actually started a web site one night, when he wanted a place full of good things in life, to counter all the rough news we see every day.

I think he's onto something... awesome!

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whatcha readin' Wednesday

At long last, I've finally finished reading Under the Dome, by Stephen King. It's a superfastacting, funny, horrifying, suspenseful read. Long as heck, but worth every minute.

I truly enjoyed watching the world fall apart for the massive cast in this story. The scariest part is, it's totally believable--I can so see it all happening that way. Didn't hurt that the "bad guy" believes himself to be entirely holy and manages to convince himself and many around him that no matter the atrocities he commits, it's all for the greater good, all in the name of religion.

And I'll just be a super King Junkie and admit--the author's note at the very end? Loved it. In another life, maybe I'll just become a Stephen King groupie and devote myself to memorizing his words of wisdom. He never fails to say something I can totally relate to--like, he put off writing this book for about 30 years because it'd require massive research, which he just felt too lazy to do. LOL. I love that! (I'm a little scared to write anything I've gotta research now, too. The one book I did major research on, I managed to dink around with the "research" entirely too long. Almost got myself blocked.) Now he's so awesome he can just hire somebody to do all his research. Dang. Picture me swooning here, the way teen girls swoon at rock concerts, huh?

I give this one a Keeper: You won’t regret either time or money spent with this book. It has a permanent spot on your shelf. Recommend it freely and lend it carefully to that trustworthy “inner circle” of reader friends. Put the author on your To Be Read list.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

All booked

For the first time in a kajillion years, hubby and I are going on an actual vacation (no kids--in fact, no kids allowed at the entire resort) this summer. 20th anniversary, oh yeah.

I booked our trip this weekend... and am now so excited it's actually, finally, going to happen for sure.

Anyway. Here's where we're going, if anybody's interested. This is after countless hours of deliberation/internet research. So now I have to sit back and hope for good weather. :)

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Friday, June 10, 2011

If you can't beat 'em...

This morning was perfect weather for a walk, so I got out there. Felt a little draggy, but wasn't really up for running--I had Cher playing, and she's a bit more conducive to 'tudey strides than any sort of running. Then I saw this one lady out jogging, who I swear is always out jogging, and the poor thing always looks like she's in excruciating pain. Well... maybe she isn't having it so bad, she just looks that way. Maybe she's having a great time.

Which made me remember this. Still makes me laugh.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Booo, me!

Dangit. Here it's the middle of the day again and I'm still dreaming up what the heck to blog about.

After faithfully blogging Monday-Friday for close to 3 years (and having those posts up by 5 a.m.), it's honestly starting to feel cumbersome. Perhaps that's a result of my workload--I'm editing 2 books per month (some months more) for the next 75 years or so. Don't get me wrong; I'm happy to have so many great books to edit, and sincerely hoping it one day leads to some fat royalty checks that'll let me quit that infernal day job. For now, though... yeah. I'm feeling like a 3 times per week blog might be more do-able, than 5 days. Maybe I'll consider it my Summer Break.

Mulling it over.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Was" is a novel-cidal maniac

I'm going to be honest: I've been editing a hell of a lot of books. Probably far exceeding the recommended daily allowance--enough that some nights my eyes are bleary, but even through the haze of half-vision, I can see some patterns. Which brings me to today's topic.

The letter "was". What's that? "Was" is not a letter of the alphabet? Oh. Sorry, I must've thought that because I've seen it so often lately. Fact is, "was" is killing many new manuscripts on a daily basis. It's a repeat offender--a serial sentence slow-downer.

I'll confess I'm also an overuser of The Letter Was, in some of my manuscripts. (Why only some, I cannot say.) We all have our pet words--mine are numerous, and include "just, really, so, only" and my alltime worst habit ever... "Well,". Still, if I had to name the #1 most overused word by novelists... The Letter Was. The funny thing about this word(letter!) is that we'll go along for a couple of pages without it appearing at all, and then bam! it shows up 6 or 7 times in a couple of sentences. And that's when it becomes a problem. It's a rare instance when the sentence can't be rewritten to exclude "was"--and nearly every time, the sentence becomes stronger, cleaner, more concise without it. (especially when "there was" is the culprit. Can always, always be cut.)

My solution as an editor--which I'm sure somewhat peeves my authors, and I know this because it once happened to me via a critique partner, and I didn't much like it at the time, either--is to use Word's Find/Replace feature, and turn every instance of The Letter Was into a highlighted Letter Was. (In the Find box, type was. In the Replace box, type was, then go below to the More tab, click it, and choose Format>Highlight. Whatever color you currently have chosen as your highlight color--that would be at the little paintbrush icon on your toolbar--will be brushed over all your Letter Wases when you hit Replace All.) This is helpful, because it really shows where the Wases have clustered for attack (a la mold spores). If you find you've really overused "was", you might consider also doing a Find/Replace for "were", which is, after all, the plural usage of the 27th letter.

The highlights are easily removed later, by either doing a reverse of the Find/Replace we did above (highlight is on the Find box instead) or--much simpler, go to Edit>Select All, and then on your little highlight paintbrush icon, choose No Highlight. Baddabing. No more highlights. (your editor will thank you for it, and if you're still querying that manuscript, it just might make the difference whether you get a contract or not. Really.)

Happy Tuesday.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Soap Dreams

It's release day for a fun novella about 2nd chances I edited.

Soap Dreams, by Stephanie Haefner:

It's never too late to start over.

Robyn Miller is perfectly happy in her immaculate home, playing stay-at-home mom and devoted wife. That is, until she's channel surfing one day and sees her high school sweetheart Derek, acting in a lead role in her favorite old soap. Watching Derek's show becomes her secret pleasure...and brings back memories best forgotten. When Derek's mother throws him a big celebration in town, Robyn tries to avoid seeing him, but ends up in his arms for a dance.

Derek has finally hit the big-time, but he hasn't found happiness. He regrets losing Robyn, and his show's ratings are falling. He longs to get her back in his life--both personally, and as a writer on the show. Those love scenes she used to dream up were Emmy material. Knowing her marriage is a sham, can he convince her to follow her dreams and give the show--and him--a shot?

Soap Dreams is just $1.75 at the Lyrical Press bookstore today.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Facts

What I learned this week:

  • The blooms from a "snowball bush" make for a really awkward floral arrangement (I used the sundae vase, thinking the ball-shaped blooms might be something like scoops of ice cream, but ended up with a goofy mess anyway)
  • Good ole amoxicillin can still pack a punch
  • A 2000 Ford F150 can make 174 trips across this little town in one day
  • Some people are just going to be annoying, and no matter what you try to do to placate them, they're going to keep hold of that burr up their butt (I think this is one of those lessons I've probably learned before, but keep on forgetting)
Happy weekend, and may you not have to drive each of your kids to 87 places today.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I made the donuts

First full week of summer break, and with all the driving kids around to all the places they need/want to go...

Autumn Piper
Got errands?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Did they not see this coming?

I predict a great big house of cards falling down in and around New York City in the next 12-18 months, particularly in those areas where the "big" New York publishers operate.

Yesterday, author Courtney Milan announced she'll be self-pubbing her next title, which is 3rd in a series thus far published by HQN. The reason? Because HQN, like so many "big" publishers, only pays 8% of cover price on ebooks to its authors. 8%? That's, like.... really lame. Said author tried to negotiate, and when HQN didn't compromise, she refused to contract the next title. Yay for her. She's got a following, and she's planning to do everything right with the book--hiring out cover art, editing, getting print distribution through Ingram's (I might mention I about choked on my cocoa when I read how long HQN retains rights on its books)... Yep. I think she'll do just fine. I also think she won't be the last author to decide those royalty rates are hooey and they can do this on their own (or, really, they could move the book to a smaller pub and not have to worry about editing or cover art. True, they still have to "share" their royalties, but without any upfront cost or legwork, it's a consideration.).

I think certain big-name publishers have long been the be-all and end-all, big fantasy for many romance authors... and those particular publishers may suffer a rough tumble in the coming months. Unless they change their Scroogey ways, they may find themselves contracting only newbie authors--the very ones they currently stick in their slush piles for years on end.

As digital sales claim more market share, authors will recognize the impact of that 8% on their bottom line. And hey, New York? Just because most of us romance writers are women, doesn't mean we have no business sense. We know when we're getting screwed.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!