Kate and the cops

In my relatively short life time I’ve only spoken to a member of the police force (on official business on either side of the Atlantic) on three memorable occasions.

1. Mr Kate and I got told off for kissing and cuddling in the car by our local bobby in our courting days.

2. Our neighbors went through a messy divorce which ended up with the police visiting us for some information.

3. And this week I got my first ticket-ever…for doing 8 mph on a right turn on a red light without making a proper stop.

Luckily only 17 yr old son was in the car with me-if the other two had been in there I would’ve probably ended up with several tickets due to excessive back seat laughter or something. Apparently I have the option to go to traffic school. We don’t have that in England-somehow it doesn’t sound like fun. The traffic cop was very patient when I had no idea which documents he needed to see-luckily-thanks to Mr Kate-they were all in the car. He said I could do traffic school online-I wonder if this is better or worse? I feel like a real American now.

Its my new car’s fault really-all that sleek German perfection whispering away to me “Go faster Katie, go faster, you know you want to, I’ll keep you safe, I promise.”
I would never have been able to move that fast in my previous kid carriers I can tell you.

Not my best week ever. The cats are still duking it out although no more piles of fur are floating around. Both of the wonderful ATII finalists I had on my blog last week got booted out before the last round-(They were robbed!) Is there a curse on my blog? Who knows.

I failed to final in the RWA Golden Heart contest for the third year running. I don’t know why I thought I might-I had this lovely dream of accepting my trophy from Nora Roberts last night and her lending me Roarke for the evening…sad to say I woke up and no phone call. Of course, the good thing is that I have other fish to fry-as in books to write and get published so I’m not exactly devastated. I promised myself this would be third time lucky or never again and I think I’ll stick with that decision.

Mr Kate is off to Hong Kong tomorrow for at least a week so I’ll have to manage all by myself…sniff. The new kitchen appliances are due to arrive on Monday and Tuesday along with Kevin the fixer/fitter guy who reminds me of SpongeBob without the sense of humor-(I think it was the shorts and shirt combo that did it). Hopefully he will have everything well in hand and there will be no disasters…

Here’s hoping everyone else is doing better than me and that next week will be wonderful!!

Weekends

The sun actually showed its face this weekend!

Mr Kate and I spent most of Saturday at a car dealership trying to purchase Mr Kate’s dream car. when we got there, some guy was driving it on behalf of his brother. Believe it or not, the brother put a deposit on it over the phone just after Mr Kate shook hands on the deal and we were sitting down to work out the details-but before he’d got the money sorted. The other guy got it. Mr K was quietly gutted.
He says he wasn’t but I could tell. I suggested that as the guy who was buying it already had one, wouldn’t it be nice if he shared this one with us? Apparently not…
I think Mr Kate was mortified by my feminine logic.
Afterwards, over a cup of coffee he confessed that he thought I was about to burst into tears. I assured him that if it would’ve won him the car I would’ve done it!

We decided to add another cat to our already chaotic family and picked a three year old long haired grey and white male called Elvis from the pound. We already have a twenty pound 8 year old ginger cat called Jasper who loves me intensely but is not quite so keen on the rest of the family. We’ve spent the last week socializing them and were quietly confident that things were going well. Of course today, Jasper lost it and chased poor Elvis up the stairs. We’re now starting again…spray bottles at the ready.

I got my contract from Virgin Black Lace which included a reminder that as part of the Virgin family any poor person who flys, trains or cell phones with Virgin might have to suffer adverts for my book. It also said I had to make myself available for media appearances for a week before the book came out-of course I’m clearing my calender and waiting to hear from Barbara Walters!

In other news-the lovely authors at my Virtual Book Bag (listed on side bar to the left of this blog) are running a fabulous contest to win lots of books. Click on the link and visit the main site to enter.

Gina Black settles down for breakfast with Kate

Gina and I got to know each other in person over breakfast at the RWA Reno conference last July although we were already good buddies through RWAOnline. Gina is an awesome person and a great writer and I’m proud to know her. She’s also another finalist in the Romantic Times ATII contest to find and publish a new historical novelist.

Hi Kate! These are great questions, BTW.

1. Gina-how many books did you write before the Raven’s Revenge?

The Raven’s Revenge was my first complete manuscript.

2. How did you feel when you found out you were a finalist in the ATTII contest?

I was at work, and there was a message in my “junk mail” folder with a subject of Congratulations American Title Finalist! I clicked, and for one brief moment the screen went blank and my heart dropped. But, then it redrew and I was able to view the message. I was tremendously excited and overwhelmed all at once. Also because they wanted all the contest materials yesterday. That meant I needed an author photo the character summaries, etc.

3. What’s the biggest thing you have learned from the experience and how do you feel it will help you in your future writing career?

I’ve learned how to be a public writer. I wasn’t a closet writer before, but unpubs don’t really have a public except for other writers. This contest put me in touch with romance readers and it’s very exciting.

4. What’s your take on the current state of the historical market. Do you see yourself writing other things in the future?

I don’t really have a take on it. I don’t know why the historical market has plateaued. I do know that I don’t care for lite historicals, but prefer them full-bodied.
Because the historical market became a difficult sell just as I completed Raven, I decided to try writing contemporary. That resulted in my second book: Daisy and Goliath. My third book that I’m working on now is also a contemporary.

5. What’s your day job?

I work at Los Angeles’s PBS station: KCET as an Associate Director which means I spend my days in dark edit bays. Sometimes they let me out and I work in a control room with a Director counting backwards and telling people they are out of time.

6. As a member of the Director’s Guild you get to meet some pretty amazing people. Who has inspired you recently and why? (and btw you were supposed to kidnap George Clooney for me not Miss Snark!)

(Sorry about the George thing Kate. If I’d only known…) Um. In spite of the glamorous surroundings of my day job (Gina laughs hysterically), I find my inspirations in the people close to me and in the mundane events of my life. My daughter has just completed her first book. It took her a few months. I’m awed because it took me years to write Raven mostly because I was figuring out how to write a book. She just did it. I’m inspired by the writers I know in RWA who manage to find time to write every day no matter what small (or even large) catastrophes are going on in their lives. And I’m inspired by writers like Nora Roberts and Stephen King who even after writing bestseller after bestseller could retire if they wanted, but they don’t. They write because they are writers.

7. As a self proclaimed contest diva, do you think they are worth entering or have you got over that?

I absolutely think a writer can learn things through contests that they can’t learn any other way and these things will get them closer to publication. They learn to be read by people who they don’t know. They learn to handle criticism–well meant or not, helpful or not. Contests also give us access to editors and agents who otherwise might be off limits.

My critique partner sold her book via a contest. Would she have sold it otherwise? Let me get out my Ouija board and I’ll let you know…

Thanks Gina!
Kate

Thank YOU, Kate.

Fellow escaped Brit romance writer and ATII finalist answers a few questions

Kate: Phew…things got busy there for a while (why did I have 4 kids??)

Michele: I think that’s wonderful.

Here are my questions:

1. Michele-what persuaded you to leave ‘old Blighty’ and cross the pond?
(anyone who needs a translation, leave me a comment)

I guess I was young and adventurous and wanted to travel. When I got here, I found life in North America suited me. It is a little more open to new ideas, it was easier to move up the ladder here. Also, it is so easy to go back and forth these days, I never felt cut off from my family and friends and I think that helped a great deal when I first arrived.

2. What do you think are the main differences between the romance market in the UK and the US?

My guess is probably the settings and category. I understand historicals and medical romances are very popular in the UK. The heartland America novels popular in the US may not be so well understood over there, although chick lit, one of the newer markets seems to have originated in the UK with Bridget Jones and been very popular here too. The world is definitely getting smaller. I think that is a good for lots of reasons.

3. Have you enjoyed the ATII experience?

As much as one can enjoy being in a competitive position and very much out in public view. Making it to round four was a wonderful achievement. I set out with the idea that I would like to get through the first vote without being cut.

What has surprised you most?

How interested and supportive everyone has been, family, friends, colleagues at work, and fellow writers. And the goodwill between the 11 competitors has been wonderful. What a great bunch of women writers. I think we will probably stay in touch long after the contest is over.

4. How do you plan to capitalize on the exposure ATII has given you?

My agent, Sott Eagen has been sending out an earlier novel to editors and keeping them in touch with the progress of the contest. I have made a great many contacts with people who have expressed interest in reading my first book, Pistols at Dawn, which will be published in June 2006, so I hope it will help me build some readership that I otherwise would not have reached. Being an ATII finalist will catch the attention of editors at least for a while.

5. Do you plan on sticking with historicals or have you other possibilites?

I have always loved reading historicals, and I am comfortable with the Regency era, though I do have a medieval with paranormal elements started. I also like fantasy. So I guess world building is my thing. I would like to become recognized for historicals.

6. What British food do you most miss?

I’m a romance writer. English chocolate, what else?
(a woman after my own heart-check Kate’s blog for numerous references to chocolate, especially Cadburys and Galaxy!)

Thanks Michele!

Michele Ann Young
“No Regrets” American Title II Contest Finalist
“Pistols at Dawn” Five Star Expressions June 2006
www.micheleannyoung.com

It’s raining…

The last few days our weather has been weird. We moved to California confident that we would be avoiding the British ‘four seasons in one day’ kind of weather we grew up with. But the last week has reminded me forcibly of home. The strange thing is that most of my friends here get this desperate ‘will the sun ever shine again-is this the end of the world?’ expression on their faces. I keep reminding them that 6 months of fairly decent weather will obliterate their fears and make them forget what they were worrying about.Because it does this every year and everyone forgets.

Anyway, enough about the weather and I’ll turn to another favorite British subject-gardening. We have gophers in our garden. Mr Kate is starting to plot fiendish ways to dispose of them. I bought him and my daughter ‘whackamole’ but it doesn’t seem to be working. My cat helps out by performing micro-surgery (without anaesthesia)on them and leaving the remains on the doormat, heads upright, complete with grinning buck teeth.

English people always have an opinion on your garden-usually that it needs a lot of work and casually grill you on such matters as compost, sun exposure and what you do to ward off greenfly-this interrogation is normally carried out by my Brit relatives right after a long plane journey when they really should be wandering around in a daze.

One example of this, was the first time I put my back out and went to the doctor in England. He asked me what I was doing and I told him I was pruning my roses. He frowned and said-“It’s way too early to be doing that,” as if I deserved to get a bad back for being such a bad gardener. And that was also the first comment nearly everyone else made as well!

No more news on the Virgin ‘Cheek’ book except that it has an April 2007 publishing date. That seems a long way away but I suspect it will fly by. Forces are gathering to make me have a book party but I’m hoping the rumblings will die down if I just smile and keep quiet. I’m not really into that big author thing. All I’m looking forward to is holding a copy in my hand and licking the cover-(I’m sorry-it’s a long held dream of mine.)

For future blogs-I’m going to have some interviews with two of the Romantic Times ATII contest up here soon and I think the Virtual Book Bag ladies are also up to something contest-wise. You’ll be the first to know!