Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In Memoriam: Robin Williams (1951 - 2014)

I'm staring at the blinking cursor willing the words the come. Willing the thoughts to stop swirling in my head so I can properly explain what Robin Williams has meant to me. But I just keep staring at the cursor and my eyes continue to water with every second that goes by. I need to put my thoughts down, you see. I don't know why it's such a fervent need but it is. I can't concentrate on work. Can't redirect my focus to the tasks on my to-do list. Can't even look at social media without gravitating to the thousands of memorial posts, pictures, videos of a man who was a part of so many lives, he was family and MADE us family through our shared love for him.

For me, his death is a reminder that even the greats suffer but most of all, he's a link my father and I share. He's a year younger than my dad and when he first appeared on the scene, he was one of my father's favorite comedians. I grew up listening to my dad retell the jokes Robin told on stage with a few of my father's one-liners thrown in for good measure.

In the 80s, when we moved to Florida from Puerto Rico, my dad and I would watch the Comic Relief specials on HBO and practically pee our pants with laughter over the golden trio: Billy, Whoopi and Robin!

When the news first broke about his death, I was at my parents' home singing happy birthday to my 15-year-old niece. I read the news in a text alert from my local news channel. I was instantly shocked and despite not really wanting to, found myself clicking on the link to read the full news report then mentioned his passing to my family who instantly stopped what they were doing and stared at me with the same shock I'm sure I was showing as I continued to read the news reports as thousands of people flooded social media with memorial posts. I couldn't look at my dad. He looks too much like Robin did in his final days and I couldn't see what it would mean to him to know another of his favorites is gone.

The Guardian, 2010 (Getty Images)
I don't know why we have such a fascination with death in the US and I guess Robin was right when he said that we mythologize people when they die but I can understand why we memorialize those who affected our lives one way or another. We do it to keep their memory alive. To share in the pain and to keep a part of the person we've lost close. I suppose we do it because we don't like to lose.

I'm going to spend most of my day playing Robin Williams videos in the background while I work today. Not just to memorialize him today but to keep his voice and spirit alive for one more day.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Blog Challenge #20: Down time is critical

In her Mashable article: 7 Reasons You Should Unplug This Summer, Kyli Singh includes things like improved health, career and sleep among her reasons for giving your brain a tech break. In my house, we have had to implement a daily "no-tech" hour for our son who suffers from seizures. It wasn't until he pointed out how many hours I work in front of a screen that I realized how much I needed a break from the screen as well. This weekend, I vowed to spend less screen time reading and more paper time reading.

Reading for pleasure is such a rarity these days for me that when I can do so without guilt, I savor every second of it. This weekend, I did a full unplug and only read on my iPad if I was in a non-wifi area. Yes, I can just turn off the WiFi on my iPad and read without distractions but I like to play Frozen Free Fall and The Sims FreePlay on my downtime too so I tend to leave the WiFi turned on.

But because I also edit manuscripts on my iPad when I really want to unplug and not be tempted to check email, switch to iAnnotate or Evernote and do agency work, I pick up a paperback, sit in my reading chair (now comfortably located in my bedroom) and immerse myself in some good ole book reading!

Is there anything more incredible than the worlds you get to explore when you're reading? This weekend, I picked up two books: Seanan McGuire's Discount Armageddon and Tiffany Reisz's The Siren. Both books I've been dying to read for months and just couldn't find the time to sit and savor. Now, reading more than one book at a time is something I do regularly so it's not uncommon for me to have several books in my "Currently Reading" shelf on Goodreads. After finishing The Death Cure, the final book in The Maze Hunter trilogy last weekend, I decided to spend this weekend with kick-ass female authors writing about kick-ass female main characters.

It felt great to spend a little time with my paperback friends. Next weekend, I think I will truly unplug and see how long I can last without any technology. I'm thinking it'll only last one day, but hey... it's a start, right?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blog Challenge #19: What do you mean you're bored?

My teenagers are home for the summer so that means my house is a mess, my fridge is empty and the piles of laundry are threatening to consume us. It also means I get to hear things like, "there's nothing to do" and "I'm bored, Mom!"

Really? You're bored? Well, if you didn't stay up playing video games until 2 AM then woke at 2 PM to stare at the ceiling (which could use some dusting, just sayin') and actually did your chores on time, picked up a book, went outside (and take out the garbage while you're at it), you wouldn't be bored, son!

In the course of one day, I get more done than any of my teenagers (or husband) and I don't know if it's because I'm just a can't-sit-on-my-ass-all-day kind of person or if it's because they are! Either way, I know I've shared my workday with you before but today was all kinds of special in its ability to pack a whole lot of work in a short period of time.

Behold, my day of Thor! Or as the modern mortals refer to it: Thursday.

  • Attended three hour-long conference calls. Two which required me to actually pay attention!
  • Washed, dried and folded two loads of laundry. Actually have to move third into the dryer, don't let me forget.
  • Wrote two pitch proposals. Awesome proposals if I do say so myself.
  • Spoke with two clients over the phone and nine via emails.
  • Posted random Harry Potter Diagon Alley stuff to Facebook. Everyone needs a break, right?
  • Answered discussion board questions for Writer Digest Boot Camp for two hours.
  • Reviewed one query, synopsis and sample pages for a Brenda Novak auction winner.
  • Made revisions on a client manuscript. (Just 230 pages left to go on that one!)
  • Tested software systems for day job.
  • Cleaned up server files for day job.
All while maintaining my level of awesome. I'm sure there was more but I can't remember it all right now. Right now, I'm thinking of dinner and wherefore art thou, dinner?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Welcome Karen Stivali to the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Please join me in welcoming new client Karen Stivali to the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her two New Adult novellas, MOMENT OF IMPACT, a male/male romance and FOUR DAYS TO FOREVER, a steamy contemporary romance caught my ear (as well as that of several publishers) at this year's Romantic Times Booklovers Conference's Pitch-A-Palooza event and we have hit the ground running! Her debut male/male romance novella is currently in negotiation! 

Welcome, Karen Stivali!

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.

Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic love stories filled with sarcasm and sexy details.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Tara Lain Signs New Three-Book Contract with Dreamspinner Press for LOVE IN LAGUNA Series


Tara Lain Signs New Three-Book Contract with Dreamspinner Press for LOVE IN LAGUNA Series

Publication Dates for the contemporary gay romances set for 2015 and 2016

Laguna Beach, CA., June 10, 2014 — Known for her romance novels set in Laguna Beach, a small, seaside town of artists and surfers in the middle of the huge southern California megaplex, author Tara Lain today announced the signing of a three-book contract with Dreamspinner Press for a new series entitled Love in Laguna. The individual book titles are Knight of Ocean Avenue, Prince of the Playhouse and Knave of Broken Hearts. The contract was negotiated by Tara’s agent, Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency, New York.

“These books are very close to my heart,” said Lain, who is best known for writing Male/Male romance, which is growing rapidly in mainstream popularity. “Each of them is wholly or partly set in my favorite town and concerns real issues of ‘coming out’ or even realizing true sexual orientation in a man’s twenties or thirties versus his teens. Like all my books, they’re very romantic and concern couples who often have strong differences — and strong attraction.”

Among Lain’s most popular works are her Balls to the Wall series all of which take place in Laguna Beach. Most of the books in this series — Volley Balls, Fire Balls, Beach Balls, Snow Balls, and F.A.S.T. Balls — have appeared on the Amazon list of 100 top-selling gay romances in their publication years.

Lain is also known for her recently introduced paranormal series with Dreamspinner Press. Tales of the Harker Pack, the first two books of which — The Pack or the Panther and Wolf in Gucci Loafers — have been Amazon bestsellers and have reached number one at All Romance eBooks.

“I’m very happy to be working with Dreamspinner on this new series. We’re two books into my recently signed contract for the Long Pass Chronicles, and I’m enjoying their editing and publishing process so much. Love in Laguna couldn’t have a better home.”

The first book in the new series, Knight of Ocean Avenue, will be introduced shortly before the Romantic Times Conference in May 2015. Prince of the Playhouse will follow in the fall of 2015 and Knave of Broken Hearts in 2016.

About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 25. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!