Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Time, Space & Facebook Conundrum

Oh what a tangled web we weave... of social networking! Seriously! I'd like to say, for those who might have wondered, that if my facebook page looks as though a toddler has been playing with it- it was just me bumbling my way through an afternoon of figuring out how the damn thing works. There are so many pitfalls to these stupid sites! Honestly, I know there are a LOT of authors who seem to navigate the choppy waters of the world wide web in an almost effortless way. I am so not one of them. I think I probably could be. I'm not stupid. I'm just busy. How am I supposed to leave time for writing when I get on the computer when it takes me fifteen minutes just to remember which password I need to use, and then another twenty to post or upload the necessary info. My website is hopeless out of date and I just updated it three weeks ago!

Am I the only one who feels as if the pace of life has sped up past the point of terminal velocity? Anyone remember what it was like to be a kid and feel as if the school year dragged on forever? Did you know that even kids are saying things like, "Wow that school year just flew by!"?

So I'd like to put forth a question for anyone to ponder. Since time is a literal thing, but is also governed by our perceptions, is it possible for out fast paced lives to actually speed up time? I'm starting to think that it is.

That's not all bad. I mean, hey- I'd like to pay my car off sooner right? And wouldn't it be great if I didn't really owe on my student loans until Armageddon? On the other hand, there's an awful lot of stuff I really want to do. And I find it disturbing to think that I might not get to do it all just because time sped up and passed me by.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Little Teaser

This might seem weird, but the final portion of my process for releasing a new book is to actually read the final product once it's available. See, the editing process continues up until the very last possible second. Once my content editor and I have hashed out all of the usual stuff, a proofreader goes through to nitpick. And let me tell you--we have some really great proof editors at Loose ID. You don't slip ANYTHING past these people! (Jill-I love you-really) So sometimes by the time the finals are formatted and I get my copies, things have shifted a little bit from how I thought they looked. It's sort of cool, really. And it proves that a book is not solely the work of an author. It's a process, and a project, that really has to be credited to a team of people. (Lemme hear a cheer for Kierstin Cherry-LOVE you!)

Anyway, that's why I always read my books within a day or two of release. Impetuous was no different. I fired up the Kindle and read it on May 22 just as (I hope) plenty of YOU did. And the following blurb was one of the things I thought turned out pretty darn well.

From Impetuous-By Kaitlin Maitland...

     Nicky the bartender deftly flipped a martini glass in his big hand before dumping Smirnoff and triple sec inside. He swirled it expertly in one hand while using the other to reach for the next ingredient. The cranberry juice seeped through the liquor, making red swirls as he stirred with a glass stick that vaguely resembled a miniature version of a certain toy she kept stashed in her nightstand.
     “Lemon or lime?”
     Desiree was suddenly too tongue-tied to respond, and she was never tongue-tied. She knew instinctively that this man could rock her world from the inside out. Her pussy had responded more viscerally to the smooth baritone of his voice than it had to her last three lovers. She was so turned on she was going to leave a wet spot on the bar stool.
     “You look like you prefer them by the book.” He looked sideways at the beach bum buying her drink and put a thin slice of lemon on the lip of her glass.
     By the book? He thought she preferred things by the book? Her cheeks grew warm, and she clenched her teeth to avoid screaming. If that were true, she wouldn’t have been in a bar called Jack’s. She’d have been prancing through the master suite of some Brookline estate, dressed in a designer negligee, trying to tempt her workaholic husband into having sex in order to procreate and raise the next generation of Boston’s elite. She’d have settled down years ago just like her mother wanted her to, just like her sister was about to do.
     “So, sweetheart, what’s your name?” Beach Bum was trying to get her attention.
     Nobody in this bar would’ve known her, but Desiree had made a conscious choice to leave her regular life behind for at least one night of fun. “You can call me Dizzy.”
     Beach Bum leaned in closer. “Baby, you can make me dizzy all night long.”
     His words suddenly struck her as practiced and hopelessly immature. He was male. He wanted to fuck. Well, dammit, so did she! Why bother with all the small talk? From the corner of her eye, she could see the bartender’s chest move as he suppressed a chuckle. Anger, helplessness, and years of repression swelled to mythic proportions inside her head. Snatching the lemon slice from her drink, she lobbed it at the bartender. The fruit bomb bounced off the big man’s bare head and plopped right into the drink he was mixing.
     Beside her, Beach Bum froze. Sliding down off the bar stool, he moved away from her toward the buddy he’d been chatting with earlier. Coward.
     “I don’t usually recycle the lemons around here, little girl.” The bartender tossed the contents of the glass into the sink.
     “And I don’t play by the book. So maybe we’ve both learned something new.”
     “Little girl, you’re so predictable it’s like reading a script.”
     The man was insufferable. “Oh, I’m predictable, but you’re the original bad boy with those rings in your ears, barbells through your nipples, and a name like Nicky.”
     He placed both hands flat on the bar and leaned over until his face was only inches from hers. His eyes were a beautiful rich brown flecked with gold. Her heart began to hammer, her breath coming quickly. He was unbelievably attractive. He was sexy. No. He was sex—sex waiting to happen. She thought of all the Beach Bums who’d ghosted in and out of her life. Starting in prep school, her mother’s list of acceptable boys had read like a who’s who of the world’s most boring dates. If any of them had packed this much charisma, she might’ve stuck with one.
     “My name is Nicolai Anastas, and I think bad man might be a better description.”

Kaitlin Maitland (2012). Boston Avant-Garde: Impetuous (Kindle Locations 126-155). Loose Id LLC. Kindle Edition.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Top Ten Reasons Books are Better than Movies

Thinking about this the other day and wondered if anyone else might feel the way I do. So- *cue drumroll*-

1. A good book costs between $6-$10 and can be read repeatedly. A movie sucks $10 for a ticket, $20 for popcorn/soda, and only lasts 1.5-3 hrs.

2. Books can be resold, traded, or loaned far longer than DVD or blu-ray or video (anyone still own a VCR?)

3. Icky scenes in a book are only subject to the creativity of MY imagination. Icky movie scenes make me watch someone else's twisted take on fantasy. And some things you just can't UNsee.

4. The pause feature of a book does not require me to learn fifty buttons on my stupid DVR remote which still seems to skip directly to the middle of a commercial when I try to rewind to catch missed dialog.

5. In a book, a character's accent does not mean I don't SEE what they are saying. In a movie, even the sexiest accent can leave me wondering if he really just called her booty call instead of beautiful.

6. When reading, I can get up and take my book into another room to avoid annoying noises. While watching a movie I am subject to everybody's commentary.

7. It is really simple to read the last chapter of a book just to make sure there's a HEA.

8. Thanks to ebook pubs, books offer a wider variety of material to read. With movies, Hollywood seems determined to be green- reuse/recycle.

9. While reading, I am free to imagine characters with any number of facial features or body types I find attractive. While watching a movie I am forced to see Tom Cruise age before my very eyes while playing the same role over and over again.

10. Book sequels related to each other and penned by the same author are called a series. Movie sequels are usually a cheap attempt to squeeze just a few more dollars out of the first film's few fans. "I know what you did last summer, and fall, and the spring before that, and that time during summer camp, and maybe once during Christmas break..."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...

So I don't normally do movie reviews because everybody does them, and really, there have been a LOT of sucky movies lately. That said, I took my kids to see the new Avengers movie yesterday after school and I have to say I'd recommend spending your ten plus dollars to see it.

First off, the idea that the studios have been working their way up to this film through Ironman, Ironman2, Thor & Captain America is intriguing. My kids have been making quite a study of it in the last 24 hrs. They've gone through these films tracking appearances by Shield Agents, Director Fury, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, as well as Stark's grandfather in the Captain America film. Not only that, but they've managed to pull all of those same actors together to reprise or expand their roles. That goes right along with my desire to see familiar characters pop up in novels. I like to see a familiar face or personality in a new flick. It makes you feel right at home.

Another great thing, FINALLY, Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of the conflicted Bruce Banner was fantastic. Whether its because CGI has finally come far enough for us to have a Hulk with real facial features and a personality, or it was Ruffalo's soft spoken hard edged take on the scientist who speaks so candidly about his alter ego--one of my all time favorite heroes had his day. The undeniable humor of the writing helped too. You can't help but enjoy a moment when Loki is waxing poetic about his superior intellect and Hulk picks him up and bashes him back and forth until he shuts up.

Truthfully, I'm certain no matter how much audiences enjoy it, The Avengers will earn some criticisms for a plot that could have been considered somewhat tired. But really, aren't all plots just a little tired? Films, like books, have been around for a long time. No idea is entirely new. Instead, the important thing is how a writer and a director use the chemistry and vitality of their cast and crew to mold that idea into something that just works. It isn't unlike writing a book.

I can take an idea which evolved from something else, twist it, mold it, shape it into something workable and then add layer upon layer of dialog, character, scene, setting, tone, and emotion until the end product takes my readers on a journey that leaves them with a satisfying feeling on the inside. That's what makes a great book.

So go and see the Avengers. Tell me what you think. Am I full of crap? Tell me! Or did you find it just as entertaining as I did?

Friday, May 4, 2012

When Words Fail...

Hans Christian Anderson once said, "where words fail - music speaks." We all know this to be true. Music is one of those things that fuels creativity. It is a refuge, a catalyst, and a muse, depending upon the day of the week and your mood.

With this is mind, I wanted to discuss a little bit about my Boston Avant Garde series. Unless you're blind (or I did something really wrong with my blogger dashboard) you can see the covers for two of my books from the series in the sidebar. One features a violin and the other a piano. No, its not one of those random, because it looks sexy, art decisions. The characters in all of these books have some affiliation, some attachment, something about them that involves music.

To me, music is the perfect ingredient in any romance novel. It's raw and earthy. It's arousing, and it can make even the most emotionally constipated person feel. So with that in mind, I thought I'd offer up a tidbit and give you a playlist for the newest member of the Avant Garde family. I suppose you might call it a soundtrack of sorts.

All of my books have soundtracks. Sometimes its a band or a style of music. Sometimes its a specific combination of work from several artists. For example- if you really want to experience Crescendo, pick up Once Upon a Red Moon by Secret Garden. Even if you don't particularly like classical music, it'll enhance your reading experience. And their version of Elegie is what I designed Leslie's Elegie around.

Now, for Impetuous. I'll group them by artist. The order doesn't really matter to me. The shuffle function on my iPhone is my fave thing to do. I reshuffle the playlist everyday. It just matters that these songs are running through my head as I write.

Machine Head-Darkness Within


Five Finger Deathpunch- Remember Everything
Avenged Sevenfold-Buried Alive
                                 Far from Home
Fair to Midland-Dance of the Manatee

All That Remains-The Waiting One

Apocalyptica-Not Strong Enough

Volbeat-Light a Way

Shinedown-Diamond Eyes

Valora-I Waited for You

Chevelle-Letter from a Thief

Cold-Wicked World

See, what did I tell you? All over the place. And some of these come from other "soundtracks" too. That's the best way to start a new soundtrack. Just snag a few tunes that gave me the strongest sense of the characters that carried over from the previous book, and find their complements. All of these can be picked up on iTunes, btw. And I'd love to hear your comments about my playlist.

Remember, comment today-win free ebooks on May 22!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day maybe kind of 2.5

Ahh! One day and I've failed! Or more to the point, my internet failed--last night--when I could not sign on to save my life. Okay, so really that's just an excuse because I could have tried at any point during the day and probably managed to make the airwaves more agreeable.

Shhh, I'm going to pretend this never happened. And just move on with my topic for today--er--yesterday.

Anyone else ever had an imaginary friend? Please don't try and tell me I'm the only one! I promise I'm not still running around with my two early childhood pals, Betty & Bill. (And no, I cannot give any reason for the odd nursery rhyme names)

My point with all the reminiscing, was to say that when I'm writing something that really speaks to me, the characters become a little like imaginary friends. Both my Boston Avant Garde series and Phoenix Rising are examples of this. Its why I've grown so fond of writing series, its like hanging out with a bunch of comfortably familiar people.

I feel this way about reading too. Don't you just love to dive into a new book and meet new people while still keeping in touch with characters you've known before? Or, it's great to meet an interesting character and then finally get the 411 on their personal history and love life.

As I mentioned yesterday, Phoenix Rising is that kind of place. Connor Archuleta was a badass guy who had most of my readers almost wishing he were single. But, and if you haven't read it, I can't wait for the re release so you can--Connor's bartending friend Alex Dalesio is hot, single, and ready to charm your socks off.

Which is why I can't wait to get back to the bar and let everyone get a little more friendly with Alex. His story is going to introduce more of the downtown occupants who live their lives and run businesses in the quaint historic district where Phoenix Rising is located. For me, it was a chance to explore the neighborhood and create a little flower shop called Blooming Buds which is run by the most fascinating woman named Emory Banks. A woman who is going to change the way Alex Dalesio thinks about sex and long term attachments.

So tell me, for you--what's the best thing about a series? Do you like feeling as if you're hanging out with old friends? Does it feel satisfying when you get to find out what their stories are as each book unfolds? Or occasionally are you finding yourself outraged when something doesn't go the way your swore it should have? Funny thing about that--fictional characters are just like real people. They just don't always do what you think they're going to.

Remember- I want to hear your comments! And in 20 more days I'm going to pick some lucky smart ass to win a complete ebook set of my Boston Avant Garde series. So sound off people!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'm Wide Awake and Ready to Go!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much for consistency with this whole blogging thing. I get it. I do. But let's face it, not every thought in my head is worth sharing. And blogging about stupid pet tricks or the stuff my kids do is not my style.

However, I do have something I want to talk about. A lot. In fact I'm just bursting with excitement about it. See, I believe that every author has a favorite book in their backlist. It's something that really spoke to them. Either it was deeply personal, or a voyage of self discovery, or blah blah blah. Whatever. We just have a fave. And me? I totally have a favorite book.

My very first published work, Phoenix Rising, has always been my baby. The bar where the story is set was a place that I felt as if I really travelled to, in my head of course, but it felt as real as any fictional setting can. And I know a lot of you readers felt the same because you TOLD me you did. You guys demanded I fess up and tell you where the place really was. Alas, the bar is just a figment of my imagination, but the stories and people that occupy it are fleshed out to perfection inside Phoenix Rising.

There's something about the idea of a bar where everyone not only knows your name, but where you can really let down your hair. Anything goes. And no judgement. You can explore those same sex fantasies, or experiment with group sex, play wild and crazy drinking games, or dance on the tables like a rock star. Not only that, but Phoenix Rising is owned by the biggest, baddest, sexiest guy on the planet. Connor Archuleta. Of course, Connor's taken, very taken, as anyone who's ever read Phoenix Rising can tell you. However, our down and dirty bartender Alex Dalesio is not. At least not yet. But more about that in my next blog post.

I've been revitalized, reawakened, and I want to kick it off with a bang. So I'm working with my editor at Etopia Press to re release Phoenix Rising with a new hot cover and some extra spice that will remind my readers exactly why they pick up one of my books. So don't be surprised if you find your air conditioner unable to keep up with the heat this June when Phoenix Rising scorches its way back to your TBR pile.

In the meantime, my next book in the contemporary series Boston Avant Garde, releases with Loose ID on May 22, that's right, only 21 days until Impetuous hits the ebook shelf. You can always check the book page on my website for a teaser.

And to celebrate this awesome return to writing, I'm going to give some stuff away. That's right. Who doesn't love free stuff? I'm making a commitment to blog everyday this month. You guys feel free to check up on me, I need the accountabilibuddies. I want to hear your comments. I want to know what you want to read about, what you like, what you hate, what you thought worked and what didn't. Hit me with it all! You never know what idea I might run with. And on May 22 when I'm dying with excitement to see Impetuous go on sale, you might just be the one hand picked to get free copies of all three books in the Boston Avant Garde series.

Yeah, you heard me. In 21 days I'm going to give away copies of Strung Out, Crescendo, & Impetuous in electronic format. All you gotta do to enter, is leave me some kind of comment. Although let's be honest here, the more creative comments are going to get my attention. That's just reality, folks. So talk to me readers!