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Thursday, 31 July 2008

Thursday stuff...


I was sitting on the sofa last night thinking about something, wondering what to do – or more importantly what I wanted to do. I had a glass of fine Aussie Chardonnay in my hand. Aussies rule in everything – wine included. Am I biased? Hell yeah baby. I love Australia. The wine glass in my hand was one that Katie, one of my best friends who I have know for a thousand years, had given me. I say a thousand, because don’t you feel like there are people you have known forever? These are people I consider my clan. They are not related by blood but if needed they would do the impossible for you– as you would for them. Anyway, for whatever reason, I pressed the base of the wine glass I had in my hand and it lit up this bright florescent colour. I laughed my arse off. Why had I never noticed this before? I have a whole set of these glasses. Hmmm...maybe I don’t drink enough wine. Anyway, my point is, and I do have one, I believe sometimes in life you don’t notice things until you have to or need to. I needed a laugh and there it was. I am a great believer in synchronicity. Okay, so a wine glass that lights up is a weird kind of sign but it made me think about those people who are important to me – and what is actually important.

Yeah, I know what a real clan is considered. My grandfather was a full blown, Highland Scot from Wick in Scotland. Its blood/ancestral relationship. But I think it also means more than that. To me a clan member is someone who stands by you regardless of what dumb thing you may have done. These are the people who will lie their arses off to help you after one frantic phone call. Who above all else can you turn to and know they will support you or tell you the truth as no other person would? And it’s a reciprocal deal. That’s the thing - clan membership is an important, unspoken bond. You do for them as they for you.

So, I have a set of wine glasses that light up – who knew? More importantly I am reminded once more of unbreakable ties and what’s important and who and what is not. The rest is dross.

Off on a tangent….a couple of weekends ago, I decided to do some running repairs on the front stairs of my house. The house is north facing and the wooden stairs face the west. The western sun is a killer. The steps are old and the weather affects the wood. Anyone who has an old house and does renovations is now nodding their head in understanding. Anyway, I sauntered out, paint scraper and sandpaper in hand. I tapped on one of the steps. They're probably 60 years old I guess. It was okay, as was the next step. The third step was interesting. The knife sunk into the wood. Uh-oh. On further investigation I immediately roped the stairs off. Although they are solid to walk on - dry rot is affecting spots on them. Bugger. So I am up for new steps. It's always something isn't it? Though there is a bright side. No one has been able to use the front door so no visitors and no religious types wanting me to join the church of whiz-bangery. The other bright side is I have noticed how nice it is to walk around the side of the house to the back. I sweated one summer sinking in all these hardwood steeping stones into the ground. So, there’s the bright side to life on this chilly winter arvo….and I have wine glasses that lights up…life is surreal.

Have you joined my newsletter? If not you’ll miss out on the chance of being the one random winner each month, I have a book release up until January 09, to win a prize. First prize happens August 5 with the release of
Male Me from Resplendence Publishing. What is the prize? A Bondi Beach t-shirt. Click here to join the newsletter.

www.amarindajones.com
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Characters…


-Who said I was in love?
-I did.
-Well...It's a sin and a shame,but I've got to admit it, I am.
- Who is he?
- What does that matter?
-It's not unnatural that I have some curiosity.
-He's absolutely nothing. A character straight from Characterville.

From How to Marry a Millionaire

A burn notice is an official statement issued by one intelligence agency to other agencies. It states that an individual or a group is unreliable for one or more reasons or purposes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burn_notice

I don’t watch too much television mainly due to there being not much of any interest on that appeals to me and I don’t have the time. But then who does? But I do like TV shows with quirky characters. You know the ones I mean – the flawed, crazy people who are genuinely funny and identifiable because they are so ordinary and average and they stuff up things just like normal people should, Oh sure, they get what they want in the end but it’s their crazy journey that always appeals to me. I love Burn Notice. Have you watched it? I am hooked. I think the characters are wonderfully quirky and I think if I could write characters with even a tenth of that quirkiness I would be happy.

Writers – what is with them huh? They never seem to be happy with their characters but I think that’s a good thing. I think it shows that they are thinking about their readers, the mood of the general reading audience and they are striving to be better with each book. I believe writers who think that they are ‘all that’ and ‘expert’ probably aren’t – no one is. Sure confidence is good but knowing when to pull your head in and shut up and learn from experience is better. I actually have a hard time believing I am a writer - an author - I don’t see it as a title that fits me. But then, I’m not into titles. What do I call myself if not a writer/author? I’m me – it's worked so far.

I think it’s really hard to build a character on paper and then sell other people on it. There is so much to think about – looks, manner and how they react to the other characters. Are they secondary characters? Are they going to overwhelm the heroine and hero? Do you have to pull them back? Or are they people that just wander on and off and make you smile or wonder if they will be in the next book? While I like quirky characters I don’t deliberately set out to make them quirky. I try and write the characteristics of people I know and then expand on them. Sometimes you get it right – sometimes you don’t - frustration thy name is writer or me…whichever.

I was recently speaking to a writer who told me all her characters were very funny. Hmmm, I think that’s a big call to make. Why? Who judges what is funny? What she or I think is funny others won’t. I cannot imagine deliberately trying to write humour in a book. How hard would that be? You would have to be incredibly certain of your comedic talents. Think of all the stand up comics that bomb on stage. I love comedians like
Billy Connelly and Dylan Moran. Their humour to me is quirky and unforced. That’s a real talent. But how do you force humour into a book and make it look natural? Is it experience? Talent? Sheer confidence? And what happens if people don’t see it as funny? Do you learn a lesson and move on and just write without worrying about humour or do you think some people have no sense of humour?

Then there’s sex – what a minefield that is. How many ways can a character have sex in an erotic romance? The answer? Lots. It’s all about imagination. So you have to think about the possibility of trying to be amusing, the gymnastics of toe curling sex and what adventure you set these characters on. Do they have any special skills or do they bumble along? Do they have to thwart evil and can you even write evil convincingly? And while all that is happening you have to deal with your own, real life.

Yep, it’s hard building a person. Why do we do it? Hmmm…but I will let you in on a little secret. I personally believe people who write books are insane. Tell no one…or maybe the next 5 people you see…up to you.

Back to TV, just saw the best the best thing on The Bold and The Beautiful. You're probably all way ahead in episodes but I walked in from after work to discover Katie Logan had been shot by her brother and is on artificial life support. The characters were all crying because of the 'there was no hope' bit – but wait - there is one - if they could do a heart transplant to save her life. Of course you know where the heart will come from. Also interestingly enough, Brooke's ex-husband- Nick -brother to Ridge(also an ex-husband) and now fiancé is apparently in love with Brooke’s sister even though Brooke's daughter is Nick's ex-wife and she still loves him even though Brooke herself is still trying to decide between Nick and Ridge because Nick's son is her maternal child even though she did not give birth to it because Taylor - Ridge's ex-wife and also Nick’s ex-wife gave birth to the child. I like watching Bold as my life is so seems so beautifully uncomplicated in comparison.

"You were born an original. Don't die a copy." --unknown

www.amarindajones.com
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Monday, 28 July 2008

Speed....


I got a draft program copy for the Australian Romance Readers Convention. When is it? February 20 – 22 in Melbourne, Australia. If you are going to be in town then think about wandering by. Check it out here. The whole thing looks good. I believe I mentioned I would be speaking on one if the panels. Not sure what I will say but I expect it will come to me. I am generally not lost for words at any time. One thing in the brochure made me laugh. Author Speed dating. Huh? What is that? Is it a dating service for single authors? Would you have five minutes to convince each potential partner that you could indeed do what you wrote on page 2, 15, 27, some of page 42, only the upside down bits on page 63 and maybe 79 if you had enough alcohol. But seriously…I cannot do it upside down…

…back on track - the convention – author speed dating - no, it's not about romance for the dramatic and the lovelorn. It actually allows authors to have ‘their five minutes of fame’ to talk about themselves and what they write. It's an interesting concept to introduce new authors to the world. Only problem is, I wonder if an author can stop talking about themselves after 5 minutes? I suspect not. We are a long winded bunch. We cannot restrict ourselves to describing something, when asked to, in two short sentences. I have yet to meet an author who can send in a 'short' excerpt. But for all that we are an interesting bunch. How do I know? I just do. Not like I’d lie about the fabulousness of authors.


Could I tell the Amarinda Jones story in five minutes? Yeah, I could do it. Anyone who has ever worked in a call center and has had to rattle off a ridiculous amount of standard script in 3 minutes and not allow the customer to speak unless prompted to can easily blurt out their condensed life story. Will I do it? No, I'm not planning to.

So that brings me to speed dating. A bunch of men and a bunch of women get together. The women sit at tables and the men rotate and spend 5 minutes talking to each woman. Sort of like musical chairs. You get to meet a lot of people in a short time and generally if you like someone you mark a card and then some speed dating fairy hooks you up with any interested partners. If you were you looking for a man do you think you would you do it? Do you think you can get a good idea of someone in 5 frantic minutes? I am a greater believer in love at first sight. I know it happens - been there and done that – though it was really more like “you are so annoying and yet I must have you.” Ah, those were the days. So yeah, I don’t see why you cannot meet someone great in 5 minutes. You can know someone for years and suddenly think ‘crap I don’t like you’ – so time, to me, is irrelevant.

I generally write books where the heroine and hero meet and everything happens really quick and crazy and inhibitions are thrown to the wind in a what-the-heck-we'll-never-see-each-other moment. No, I don’t recommend that for everyone. It takes a certain type of madness to do that. Besides it's a fantasy and from the letters I get from readers the idea of a frantic moment with a handsome man appeals to many. So, I can see how speed dating could work for some people. And, let’s face it, our impressions are formed about someone in the first couple of minutes.

Everything in life is about time and timing isn’t? Time to meet someone and being in the right place at the right time. So why not speed dating? Sure, there is a high chance you'll meet no one special and but you will have a laugh. And who knows, you may just meet the one.



I read the top 10 speed dating tips for women. They are -

1) Laugh – be happy – well duh…
2) Give clear signals – men can be as thick as two short planks. If you are not interested tell him and hand cuffing him to your wrist is a yes
3) The big freeze; a major turn off – look friendly…another big duh.
4) Even the most beautiful woman gets rejected! So don’t giggle at her if you see that happening…but really, if he rejects you then he is clearly insane and you did not want him anyway.
5) Ooze appeal – just appeal – anything else oozing should be covered with a band aid.
6) Let your body do the talking – really? As women that would never have occurred to us.
7) Reveal your sexy glow – I have yet to meet another woman who glows. You just know a man wrote these tips.
8) Emulate Marilyn Monroe – but watch out for subway grates unless you have your good knickers on.
9) Listen up ladies – if he talks about living with his mother, his bottle top collection and the book he is writing on the body language of goldfish then consider moving on
10) Read his signs – hmm...you're putting in a lot of work here...what is he doing for you?

(Parts taken from http://flirt.ninemsn.com.au/top-10-speed-dating-tips-for-girls/)

Before I left work this arvo, a colleague told me about a man she met chatting online. I thought to myself, this is really the way romance seems to be going. You chat for hours with someone you don’t know, you build a rapport and then you meet. It’s kind of sweetly old fashioned and who am I to say it’s not normal? After listening to her talking about him, I actually left work with a smile on my face…that doesn’t happen every day. And er, no, I’m not going to be going online any time soon…

Have an unpukeable Monday if you can

www.amarindajones.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Sunday, 27 July 2008

TSTL?



TSTL – do you know what that means? I didn’t but then I’m not big on abbreviations or that trendy squiggly crap language – dots and dashes - people use now to express emotions. I like to speak my Australian version of English. It works for me. I never follow trends and I don’t like tags or cutesy abbreviations. I speak as I am and think for myself.

But back to TSTL – apparently this means too stupid to live. Yes, it’s another trendy way to describe someone who is not considered smart by the person labelling them TSTL. So who defines what is too stupid to live? Who is exactly is stupid? And can stupid work for you?


Definition of stupid –

- lacking or marked by lack of intellectual acuity.
- dazed: in a state of mental numbness especially as resulting from shock; "he had a dazed expression on his face"; "lay semiconscious, stunned (or stupefied) by the blow"; "was stupid from fatigue"
- a person who is not very bright; "The economy, stupid!"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

So, there is the internet dictionary definition of stupid. You can be considered stupid if you are ‘marked by a lack of intellectual acuity.’ Well, colour me stupid then as I am not an intellectual in any way shape or form and to be honest I don’t want to be an intellectual –

Definition of intellectual -

- cerebral: involving intelligence rather than emotions or instinct; "a cerebral approach to the problem"; "cerebral drama"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Cerebral drama’ – don’t we get enough of that just watching politicians? My personal belief is we have too many people being ‘cerebral’ rather than assessing things on gut instinct like a normal person, without any agenda, and acting to achieve the best outcome without wanting a prize, votes or adulation. Give me raw emotion and real people any day. If that’s considered stupid by the TSTL crew – that’s okay by me. I’m stupid. As for ‘a person who is not very bright’ – who is all the time? Name me one person you know that is consistently bright every single day of their lives and knows every bloody thing there is to know? I would suggest the answer is no one – but my all means prove me wrong.

That brings me to who exactly is stupid? My personal opinion? No one. However there are evil, spiteful bastards out there like terrorists, war mongers, racists, rapists and pedophiles. Stupid does not apply to them. Why? Because they are lower than pond scum and to my understanding pond scum is not worth rating because it’s beneath us all and slime will always be slime.

So, to me, no person is actually stupid. We all have forehead slap moments where we think why did I say or do that? No human being is ever going to know everything and we are all, at some time, going to be considered less than ‘bright’ by someone who does not know us. That’s fine. I can live with that.

Can stupid work for you? Of course it can. There are some people who actively use ‘being stupid’ to get what they want. Have you noticed that? They are the ones that ask the questions that make everyone else do the eye roll thing. These pretend-stupid people then manage to get other people to do things for them. Have you seen that? I have and occasionally found myself helping the person and thinking later that I got suckered into their ‘I’m so helpless plea.’ And yeah there are genuinely helpless people but have you noticed they have more pride and independence than to whine for help. So yes, if you want something that you cannot get or be bothered to push yourself to get and you are prepared to dumb down for someone to help you get it – stupid can work for you.

Before tagging someone with the TSTL label – and we’ve all done it – myself included though I tend to say as ‘not the sharpest tool in the shed’ think if by your words and actions you may also fit that label.

Label – belongs on jars and school book covers -- Amarinda Jones

TSTL? LMNOP? XYZ? Please…lets move on to something less cutesy and try and talk in actual words…we used to do it before.

www.amarindajones.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Saturday, 26 July 2008

The weekend...


There aren't enough days in the weekend.” -- Rod Schmidt

www.amarindajones.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Friday, 25 July 2008

Pyscho Chicken Friday…


You know those days when you have to deal with people running around like chickens with their heads cut off and they are speaking the loud language of hysteria? I had that today. It was pyscho chicken Friday.

Amongst all the insanity – which I won’t go into as I just want to forget it - two men tried to put the frighteners on me to get what they wanted. And no, despite what some people, who have no idea who I am think, I do not enjoy confrontation - but I do not back down from it – nor am I a victim. I rise to any challenge. These two men tried to intimidate me. One by standing over me and yelling and the other on the phone yelling his teeny weeny self hoarse. Yelling seemed to be the theme of the day. Have you noticed people only yell when they don’t get what they want? Having worked previously in a complaints department for a long time and had people screaming and crying and threatening me, there is not a heck of a lot I can’t handle.


So it started off with Male A who loomed over me. I think it was to show me how big and tall he was - how proud his mummy must be. I simply sat back, crossed my legs and waited out his rant calmly. Its quite fascinating to watch someone in full hissy fit isn’t it? They go red in the face and slam their hand down on the desk a lot. ‘Seems all rather pointless to me. Anyway, when Male A ran out of steam, I said the words he did not want to hear - 'no' and explained why. Don’t you just love it when someone who considers himself better than you has no idea what to say as he wasn’t expecting you, a woman, to be calm, let alone say no. He wanted tears, he wanted stuttering and apologies, not a tone of voice that indicated he should fuck off and let me go back to be writing…er…work.

Then Male B rang me. I felt sorry for him as he sounded like his undies were very, very tight and cutting off the circulation to his brain which in turn was effecting his speech. It was full on aggression. He carried on like a pork chop and I again waited him out in silence. As you know silence is very effective on the phone when someone is incoherent with rage because after a while they start wondering if you are still there and if they are talking to themselves. I always wait for them to ask 'are you still there?' then I speak in a low, calm voice indicating that they were not going to get what they want and they too should go forth and multiply.

After this, I awaited the third male in the triumvirate of psycho chickens. If two males are thwarted by a female they will appeal to someone higher to teach the female a lesson. But alas no lesson came as I was right and they knew it. The unspoken fuck off message also helped. It's all so tiring isn't it dealing with fools? Confrontation? Yeah, I’ll meet it head on but what’s to enjoy?

You know, I don’t mind a bit of arrogance in a man. The whole alpha male-master of the universe thing can be quite enjoyable but in moderation - but not in screaming psycho chicken babble with arms akimbo carry on. So men - amazing creatures - but not today – hence the reason I am not doing any writing tonight as I will kill the hero off in some terrible way and the heroine may giggle a lot when it happens.

The winner of the Amarinda and Anny contest is Fedora Chen. Thankfully I sent the parcel off at lunchtime or I may have ripped into it tonight to de-stress. Thanks again to everyone who entered. I appreciate your time and you support.

Have a psycho free Friday and beware of chickens.

www.amarindajones.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Face it….


If wrinkles must be written on our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.
James A. Garfield

I looked at myself in the mirror this morning – saw the fine lines, the dark circles and thought uh huh…you need more sleep. I did not think – crap you’re getting old because I don’t worry about stuff like that. The older I get the more I look like my mother and that’s more than fine by me.

So, does age worry you? Are you like Edina and Patsy out of Ab Fab trying desperately to hold back the years by being hip and trendy? Do you invest in potions that contain things like Tibetan yak spit that promise younger skin in 7 days? I have used the same face cream forever. It’s not the slightest bit trendy nor does it come in a small pot that costs more than my phone bill. It was what my mother used and her skin was fantastic. Sure, she had some wrinkles but it was still great skin.


I often wonder why it’s only in recent years men have only started using moisturiser. Surely their skin was dry before that? Or was it not macho to put cream on your face? You and I know what it’s like when you don’t. Your skin is dry. Or did men just consider this was par for the course being a male? Tough skin = tough man.

It fascinates me that people will spend thousands on a holiday to an exotic Asian location and while they’re visiting they have a nip, tuck and suck done on the sags and bags. But then why not? It’s their money. I just think it would be easier doing it close to home so you could crawl home to your bed when your face or thighs ache and you feel like crap. An acquaintance of mine had a ‘holiday’ like this recently and when she came back the only thing people noticed about her face lift was one of her eyes looked wonky. I support anyone who feels the need to tuck and suck. I personally prefer myself untucked and unsucked.


How can you stop wrinkles? Well you can’t. You would have to…
– Stop going outside to enjoy the warmth of the sun
– Choose you parents at birth for their genetic coding
– Be like Peter Pan and never age
– not lose the weight you may want to lose
– Stop laughing or being happy, angry, sad or any emotion whatsoever
– Don’t drink plonk or eat junk food.
Really in effect you would have to stop living – then you would be dead but a wrinkle free dead. Is that an option? Yeah, all things in moderation but I think you can moderate yourself to death too. We’re humans. We’re going to want to do the wrong thing at some time – so we get a wrinkle or two for our sins. I can live with that.
*************
We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be-- Lauren Hutton
*************
The Two Sides of the Face:
- the left side represents the true, inner, private self.
- the right side represents the outer, public self.
The 12 major features’ general characteristics:
· ears - risk taking ability, longevity
· hairline - socialization
· forehead - parents’ influence
· brow bones - control
· eyebrows - passion, temper, pride · eyes - receptivity
· cheekbones - authority
· nose - ego, power, leadership, wealth
· lips and mouth - personality, sexuality
· chin - character, will ·
jaw - determination
Are your eyebrows dark and thick? If so, it is quite feasible that you have a lot of passion and anger. What about your eyes? The more open your eyes, the more open your heart. Do you have high, prominent cheekbones? If you do, you are likely to be authoritative. (Some might even call you bossy!) What if your left eyebrow is thicker than the other? Remembering that the right side of the face represents the outer, public self and the left side represents the inner, private self, you can see plainly that your face reveals that you are apt to feel more anger (inside) than you show (on the outside). Take a closer look at your ears. Are they the same size? The same shape? Even the same height? It’s not unusual for our ‘matching features’ to be different, though most of us do not notice such differences, on ourselves or on others, unless we are looking for them. If, indeed, your right ear is bigger, or more prominent in shape or position, it means that you appear to take more risks than you actually do take. Interestingly, if our right side features are so much more distinct, or prominent, than the left features, we will sometimes ‘act out’ a certain behavior even though it may go against our inner nature. For instance, some people who have a more prominent right ear find that they take more risks than they actually feel comfortable taking. From....http://www.acupuncture.com/education/tcmbasics/mienshiang.htm

So, maybe we should stop looking at the wrinkles and really look at the person’s face to see what they feel and what they have experienced and whether we can trust what we see.

When you're 50 you start thinking about things you haven't thought about before. I used to think getting old was about vanity - but actually it's about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. --Eugene O'Neill

The winner of the Amarinda and Anny contest has been notified by email and as soon as we receive a response, Anny and I will publish the name. Thanks to all that entered and all your kind comments. Remember you can join my newsletter and go into a random drawn every month up to January 09 for one person to win a prize.

www.amarindajones.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Back it up...


Do not speak of rhinoceros if there is no tree nearby...Zulu proverb...

'Absolutely convinced when I woke up it was Thursday… what a bummer it’s only Wednesday…never mind…

I got the cover for Taking the Fall today. Its ménage romance ready to be released from Resplendence Publishing early October. As always, I believe the cover gods have smiled on me. What's it about? Well, in lieu of the blurb - I am still fiddling around with - it's about an angel and a demon who seek to manipulate a mortal to fall in line with what they want. Problem is they weren't planning on falling for her. Now, I just have to get that into a blurb - along with finish the follow up story…really, aren’t we all too busy to be at work?

Covers can be funny beasts. How so, you ask with wonder in your voice…okay, maybe you didn't but go along with me. Covers can turn a perfectly rational and reasonable author (not me, I'm neither) into either a screaming, foot stamping hellcat (guilty) or a crying wreck. Why? Well because what the author wants and what author gets is sometimes two different things. I have said many times on the blog I am flexible with covers and I am yet to be disappointed. I think its because I don’t have a hard and fast way the cover must be and I am open to interpretation - go wild and naked is usually what I put as a cover suggestion. Some authors are very fixed in what they want and they can be quite vocal in their dislike of a cover - and there is nothing wrong with that. It's their book, they have put blood, sweat, tears and many chocolate stains on the keyboard writing it. They should have a good cover. But what is a good cover to an author is not necessarily a good cover for the publisher so it can become a clash of the titans and only one is going to win. Guess who? Yes, the publisher and the author has to pull up her big girl panties and move on...as you do when things give you the irrits.

Other author’s comments on your covers can be interesting. I have had some that run the gamut from the vague 'oh isn’t that pretty' to 'well, your books always sell so your name is the most important thing people will look at' to 'well, it's okay for one of your books' to – and this is my all time favourite - 'that cover model's back has been featured on another cover and you should demand it be changed.' Hmm…yes, possibly it has but then I don’t analyze men's backs and turning a cover down because his back - gasp, shock -has been seen before is insane to me and not a justifiable reason to chuck a hissy fit. Who the heck would take that seriously? Yes, I think everyone should have high expectations but reality has a way of biting when you least expect it so why make life any harder for yourself over a man's back? Back off from the back I say or maybe don’t look back? A back by any name is still a back...

So multiple back or not….hmmm…there could be a story in that... yes I do believe covers are initially important but in my less than humble opinion, they are not the be all and end all. Sure they attract the eye but to keep the reader there and ready to buy is the blurb. We all know readers will only read genres they are interested in. That's not rocket science. If they turn the hot cover over or click on it and read that it's ménage and they wanted sweet romance or sci-fi romance, they are not going to buy it no matter how sexy the cover is. Alternatively, I have been utterly fascinated by some bloody strange/ugly/deceptively plain covers and been attracted to buy. I'm certain I'm not alone in that. So, I really don’t believe there is any hard and fast rule what cover will sell a book. And, to blame the cover for poor sales is, to me, a cop out.

So opinions? Anyone have back issues or pissed off with their cover? Come tell Auntie Amarinda.



I will be conducting contests in a different way and that will be on the newsletter. Anyone who joins will automatically go into a random draw for one person to win a prize any month I have a book release. At this stage that's every month – but November – up until January. So, if you are sick of answering questions or sending in emails to win stuff then join the Amarinda newsletter and you will automatically go into a monthly random draw for one winner each month to win random stuff - and stuff is always good don't you think? First random draw starts August with the release of Male Me. So good luck.To join…

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/

But for now…it's the last day of The Amarinda and Anny Contest.... thank you everyone for your entries so far

What could be better than kicking back with a good book? Winning two books - one from Amarinda Jones – Knock Three Times and one from Anny Cook – Kama Sutra Lovers. Fantastic. You want more? Be the envy of all with two hand made hair piks to adorn your locks. But wait – there’s even more! How about munching on a delicious care pack of Aussie treats? One lucky reader will win all of this.

How do you win this fantastic prize? Go to www.annycook.com and www.amarindajones.com and answer an easy question -If trapped on a deserted island what two things could Anny and Amarinda not live without? The answers can be found on the websites. As soon as you have them email amarinda_jones@yahoo.com.au with your answers – there will be 4 in all.

The contest starts 18th July and closes midnight 23rd July 2008 (USA EST). The first correct entry drawn at random will win the prize. Good luck.

www.amarindajones.com
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Tuesday Rant…


I just heard on the radio that after 25 years after sexual harassment was ‘officially’ outlawed in the work place that women still report being harassed. Am I surprised? Nope. I hear it all the time. And who needs their arse kicked over this? Sure the men who do the harassing do but as they have their brains in their pants that would just cause them brain damage. No – it’s the women who put up with it. I don't care how much you want to get to the top in the work place, putting up with that crap from some Neanderthal of a man is just plain stupid. If you want to sell your soul and your dignity to have a brass plate on an office door with your name on it then you have to consider what your soul is worth. If it’s putting up with unwanted groping or ridiculous sexual innuendo then I suggest your soul needs some work.

On this topic – I ripped the head off yet another man for calling a woman a ‘big girl’ due to her size. Do men honestly believe calling a woman a ‘big girl’ is acceptable? But then think about it – calling a man a ‘big boy’ has a cheekiness, a comraderie about it. Yet ‘big girl’ to me sounds like some patronizing load of twaddle from an insincere and juvenile man who thinks that’s a politically correct way to describe a woman. Bull shit. Is looking a man in the groin and calling him 'small balled' an acceptable PC thing to call someone? I think not – but then women have more sense. Wanna’ piss me off? Call another woman a big girl in my presence and watch out.

Another thing that had me shaking my head this morning – it has taken years to extradite this pretend doctor from the US to Australia to face charges regarding the deaths of his patients. So, after spending mega tax payer bucks, they finally get him here to Brisbane yesterday. The victims and their support groups are relieved but hey – not for long because some dumb arsed judge gives the ‘doctor’ bail. Oh yeah…you can see he’s going to stick around can’t you? He skipped once because he could not face up to what he did so how is a second time any different? Yeah – real smarts there.

Speaking of judges, a convicted paedophile goes back to court today. This habitual predator’s last trial was quashed as some dipstick of a judge felt he could not be ‘tried fairly’ as people think he is lower than pond scum. Well, that’s just wrong – we don’t thinkwe know and I believe some judges need to find their qualifications other than in a cereal box.

Australian Big Brother finished forever (supposedly) last night. Thank god. It has become a painful franchise. I will admit I watched the first Big Brother years ago as it was new and fresh. Now it’s become painful and dumb. Reality TV – who’s frigging reality or is it reality as we are being told it should be? Do we really care what a bunch of whiny twenty somethings believe the world should be and how hard done by they are when they don’t get alcohol, their douff-douff music and junk food in the house? Care factor? Negative 12.

There is something else I would love to say but only common courtesy makes me hold my tongue. As my grandma Elsie would have said…"Oh what I would like to say…” However I will say that this same courtesy did not apply to the person that said some childish, school yard taunts about another. If reverting to school yard bullying is the best you’ve got I suggest you learned stuff all at school and weeping and wailing to me that no one ‘understands’ your ‘sense of humour’ will get you nowhere.

‘Love a good rant….got hormones? Use 'em. Tuesday Rant over…

I will be conducting contests in a different way and that will be on the newsletter. Anyone who joins will automatically go into a random draw for one person to win aprize any month I have a book release. At this stage that's every month – but November – up until January. So, if you are sick of answering questions or sending in emails to win stuff then join the Amarinda newsletter and you will automatically go into a monthly random draw for one winner each month to win random stuff - and stuff is always good don't you think? First random draw starts August with the release of Male Me. So good luck.

To join…

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/

But for now

The Amarinda and Anny Contest – ends tomorrow….

What could be better than kicking back with a good book? Winning two books - one from Amarinda Jones – Knock Three Times and one from Anny Cook – Kama Sutra Lovers. Fantastic. You want more? Be the envy of all with two hand made hair piks to adorn your locks. But wait – there’s even more! How about munching on a delicious care pack of Aussie treats? One lucky reader will win all of this. How do you win this fantastic prize? Go to
www.annycook.com and www.amarindajones.com and answer an easy question -

If trapped on a deserted island what two things could Anny and Amarinda not live without? The answers can be found on the websites. As soon as you have them email
amarinda_jones@yahoo.com.au with your answers – there will be 4 in all.

The contest starts 18th July and closes midnight 23rd July 2008 (USA EST). The first correct entry drawn at random will win the prize. Good luck.

www.amarindajones.com
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Monday, 21 July 2008

Competition or obsession


I have decided that from now on I will be conducting contests in a different way and that will be on my newsletter. Anyone who joins will automatically go into a random draw for one person to win a prize any month I have a book release. At this stage that’s every month – but November – up until January. So, if you are sick of answering questions or sending in emails to win stuff, consider joining the Amarinda newsletter and be one of my random draws for random stuff - and stuff is always good don’t you think? First random draw starts August with the release of Male Me.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/

But for the moment….

The Amarinda and Anny Contest


What could be better than kicking back with a good book? Winning two books - one from Amarinda Jones – Knock Three Times and one from Anny Cook – Kama Sutra Lovers. Fantastic. You want more? Be the envy of all with two hand made hair piks to adorn your locks. But wait – there’s even more! How about munching on a delicious care pack of Aussie treats? One lucky reader will win all of this. How do you win this fantastic prize? Go to www.annycook.com and www.amarindajones.com and answer an easy question -

If trapped on a deserted island what two things could Anny and Amarinda not live without? The answers can be found on the websites. As soon as you have them email
amarinda_jones@yahoo.com.au with your answers – there will be 4 in all.
The contest starts 18th July and closes midnight 23rd July 2008 (USA EST). The first correct entry drawn at random will win the prize. Good luck.



The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself--WASHINGTON ALLSTON, Memoirs and Essays

Competition is for dogs and horses --GERI HALLIWELL
Focus on competition has always been a formula for mediocrity --Daniel Burrus

I was talking to a writing acquaintance today and she mentioned a particular author and how hard it was to compete with her. My response? Do you have to? Apparently she feels she does as she believes author X has a lot of readers. When I pointed out that maybe author X's readers may not be her readers she said it wasn’t the point. Author X was out there promoting and being visible and that was who she had to complete with. Huh? This line of thought gave me a head spin. How does she even know author X is doing so well? Author X may be a mistress of the smoke and mirror technique of looking good but nothing else. Her sales may suck. Why can’t you do what you want to do without trying to best her? And, even if author X is kicking arse in book sales, why is there the need to compete with her? I just don't get it….competing with another for what you think they are doing or may have? Bizarro world…

So, how competitive are you? Do you need to pit you skills against others in your field? Do you like to see you name above someone else's on the ladder of success? Me? I am not competitive at all. I'm not going to fight anyone for the limelight. I could not care less whether I was ranked 1st or 51st. Why? Because I have no equal. Arrogant? Maybe - but hear me out. I believe everyone should think this way. Every person on the planet is a one-off, an original. They may share the same DNA with someone else but their thoughts and actions are their own therefore they have no equal. See what I mean? If you have no equal why should you compete with another?

Is it all about wanting to be the best? I’ll open a touchy subject – as I do - I often wonder why writers nominate themselves for awards - best book, best cover, best third sentence second paragraph, best scene with bare-chested male drinking a beer - and then canvas people to vote for them. What's that about? Wouldn’t it be better if someone other then yourself nominated you? Wouldn’t you get a good feeling about that? Is the win the same if you have to orchestrate it? Were you really competing with anyone other then maybe another author doing the exact same thing? And then how is that a win? I don’t get it. Please explain to me if you do. It seems like a waste of time and energy. How is winning something you manipulated yourself to win, a win?

But then does it come down to insecurity and problems with self esteem? Do people make themselves compete to fit in? If you are secure as a person do you feel the need to match or beat someone else? Or do you not care because competing means nothing to you because you already know where you stand in life, what you want and pitting your skills against someone else is a waste of time? Truly, I would like to know. I have never understood the need to compete with the Joneses…okay, maybe the Smiths in this case.

Competition to me is when retailers compete for your dollar by providing the best savings. It's like the Olympics where nations compete by skills and abilities. That makes sense to me. Competing for what you perceive someone has is just plain dumb. People fascinate me in what they do - the lengths they will go to beat someone else to be top of the ladder. I have to ask though, after a moment of glory, in the end does it really matter? So that’s my opinion. Agree? Want to tell me to shut up? Go ahead – give an opinion.

You were placed on this earth to create, not to compete -- Dr. Robert Anthony
Trying to be number one and trying to do a task well are two different things-- Alfie Kohn from No Contest: The Case Against Competition

www.amarindajones.com
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Go ahead and jump…


Come on, who's kidding who here? Do you think you would have taken a second look at me if you knew I was the maid? --Maid in Manhattan.

I decided, due to various reasons, to give myself a couple of hours break. So I slumped on the sofa with a couple of glasses of plonk, this cold Sunday arvo, and watched Maid in Manhattan. Yeah, I know it was made in 2002. And no, it’s not an Oscar award winning film but I liked it. And no, I don’t care if no one else did. Why did I like this? Firstly, I like what I believe is Jennifer Lopez. I like that this woman with hips and arse and boobs is out there being all that without worrying about being a size 2. I mean – frig – who is a size 2 unless they are 6 year old child? I do not believe women are overweight. I believe we are voluptuous and full of amazing potential. I identify more with these real women then the fashionistas with their Manolo Blahniks and whatever is the current fashion on their toothpick bodies. As for Ralph Fiennes – I have problems taking him seriously after the incident with the Qantas flight attendant, or hostie as we would call them in Oz, doing the mile high thing in the dunny (toilet) on an overseas flight. Also, like Elaine out of Seinfeld, The English Patient bored me to tears and yes I wanted his character to shut up and die and get us out of the cinema. ‘Kind of similar to a good friend/amateur actor who played Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. It was really hard not to scream out ‘shut and cark it (die) already’ in his final act. It was long, long scene on stage and it tested one's loyalty.

But I digress…I liked Maid in Manhattan because it reminded me of a period in my life when I was also doing the maid gig in a hotel. The staff, the patrons and management were all the same. To think you were more or could be above your ‘allotted’ position was parallel to treason. You were a pleb. I’m still a pleb and you know what? I like being a pleb. I like having no responsibilities. I like walking out of work at 4pm as the place is falling apart knowing only managers are required to stay back and fix whatever the problem is. I like the camaraderie, gossip and out and out bitching of plebs. Go the plebs.

The message of Maid in Manhattan is of course obvious. It’s a Cinderella fairytale of a woman rising above her so called ‘station’ and wanting someone or something in her life that may be considered above her. It’s about taking a leap of faith, maybe telling a couple of lies, calling in some favours and going after something you want. Yes, it’s a movie and life is not scripted like one but it made me think about a few things I was hesitating taking a leap at. It’s about saying “fuck it, I’m going to do it and if I fall on my arse so what?” 'Got something you want or someone you want to be with but you think you will never be able to have it or them ? Take the leap – you may land like a practiced Ballerina on you dainty little toes and people may applaud your skill or you may fall on your flabby butt and people will do the eye roll thing – but hey, as I always say – that’s what cellulite is for. Will I take a chance? Oh hell yeah. Will you? Sometimes it’s the simplest things that push you…


To serve people takes dignity and intelligence. But remember, they are only people with money. And although we serve them, we are not their servants. What we do, Miss Ventura, does not define who we are. What defines us is how well we rise after falling – Maid in Manhattan

Damn straight.


The Amarinda and Anny Contest

What could be better than kicking back with a good book? Winning two books - one from Amarinda Jones – Knock Three Times and one from Anny Cook – Kama Sutra Lovers. Fantastic. You want more? Be the envy of all with two hand made hair piks to adorn your locks. But wait – there’s even more! How about munching on a delicious care pack of Aussie treats? One lucky reader will win all of this.
How do you win this fantastic prize? Go to
www.annycook.com and www.amarindajones.com and answer an easy question -

If trapped on a deserted island what two things could Anny and Amarinda not live without? The answers can be found on the websites. As soon as you have them email
amarinda_jones@yahoo.com.au with your answers – there will be 4 in all.

The contest starts 18th July and closes midnight 23rd July 2008 (USA EST). The first correct entry drawn at random will win the prize. Good luck.

www.amarindajones.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Pardon me while I pontificate for a moment….


“Erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken.”-- Isabel Allende quotes

I was on a particular publisher’s website – no, not one I write for – and I was reading a couple of book blurbs as you do. Anyway one of them stopped me in my tracks. You know how a blurb is supposed to hook a reader in to buy a book? This one repelled me. Why? Well it was supposed to be romance book but that only thing I got out of it was pure-in-your-face-porn disguised as romance. Yeah, I know – erotic novels can come close to the line of is this porn or not but this did not even have the have to waver on the line. The blurb screamed this is a porn novel.

So what does that say about erotic romance writers – myself included? Are we so wanting to thrill, excite and shock the reader that we forget the story and head straight for the sex ? Is sex

a part of the story of two lovers? Do we write porn and wrap it up under the heading of ‘romance’ to makes it acceptable? It’s a tricky thing to do when writing these books. You set out to write a love story with sex and in the end it could turn out to be a sex story with a possible wedding at the end to make it love. How do I know my books err on the side of erotica? I absolutely believe a good and experienced editor knows the difference between erotic romance and porn. A good editor will tell you when you are crossing a line. A reader will also tell you. They aren’t about to be fooled when they have put their money down for one thing and get another.

And yeah, maybe there is a formula to writing erotic romance. I don’t know. I’m not sure if I am even a natural writer. I believe I am more a natural rambler and an observer of human nature who types really badly and send stuff off to my editor who thumps her head on the desk in despair because I maybe should have a formula instead of rambling. And I have often joked with writers I know – “Oh no! My characters do not have sex until page 8!” Again, as far as I know, and please correct me if I am wrong, there is no template for writing erotic romance. Yeah – sure – it’s a no-brainer that at some stage you will have characters having sex hence the erotic tag. But as I said on a previous blog I tend to write the book first and slot the sex in later – lots of writers do that. It has to be the story first and then the sex later – that’s what, to me, differentiates an erotic romance to porn. I also write non-erotic romances. I write these the same way but the sex is subdued as the audience is not interested in that – and that’s fair enough. It’s about knowing your market. What if your market expects erotic romance and gets porn? Are you catering to your customer if that happens?

Now, don’t get me wrong…there are many good writers who specially write porn to cater to a specific audience who want to read that. There is nothing wrong with that. We all have our different tastes and values and really, paraphrasing Lady Astor, as long as no one frightens the horses I don’t care what you do – hurt no one – do what you like is my theory. I just will not wander back onto that particular publisher’s site looking at erotic romance novels. It just surprised me the direction their books were going in and of course as that direction does not appeal to me I won’t be by again. I will be very interested to see how that particular book sells. I am positive it will appeal to a wide audience. I congratulate the author on the contact and wish them huge sales. I just have to wonder whether putting it in the ‘romance’ section is appropriate. And, as always go ahead and give an opinion - good, bad or an indifferent opinion – on my thoughts or what you think. What do you think is the difference between porn and erotica? Does it all come down to chicken parts as Isabel indicates?

For a woman there is nothing more erotic than being understood.” Molly Haskell

The Amarinda and Anny Contest

What could be better than kicking back with a good book? Winning twobooks - one from Amarinda Jones – Knock Three Times and one from Anny Cook – Kama Sutra Lovers. Fantastic. You want more? Be the envy of all with two hand made hair piks to adorn your locks. But wait – there’s even more! How about munching on a delicious care pack of Aussie treats? One lucky reader will win all of this. How do you win this fantastic prize? Go to www.annycook.com and www.amarindajones.com and answer an easy question -

If trapped on a deserted island what two things could Anny and Amarinda not live without? The answers can be found on the websites. As soon as you have them email
amarinda_jones@yahoo.com.au with your answers – there will be 4 in all.

The contest starts 18th July and closes midnight 23rd July 2008 (USA EST). The first correct entry drawn at random will win the prize. Good luck.


www.amarindajones.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?

Friday, 18 July 2008

Day 5 - 2 whole of freedom....


Let the pigeons loose! Knock Three Times has been released at Ellora’s Cave.

In a case of mistaken identity, Montgomery French thinks security expert Ballantyne Teague is the local bad boy. He turns her boring life upside down and she likes it.

Ballantyne has every intention of confessing the truth to Montie when the time is right. He has two objectives. The first is to make Montie fall hopelessly in love with him. The second is to catch the real burglar Montie thinks he is.

But Ballantyne is not the only one caught up in Montie’s life. Her ex-boyfriend has a secret that will shock her and a real bad boy lusts after her.


To buy click on the cover – and yes today you can enter the fantastic Amarinda and Anny Contest….

What could be better than kicking back with a good book? Winning two books - one from Amarinda Jones – Knock Three Times and one from Anny Cook – Kama Sutra Lovers. Fantastic. You want more? Be the envy of all with two hand made hair piks to adorn your locks. But wait – there’s even more! How about munching on a delicious care pack of Aussie treats? One lucky reader will win all of this. How do you win this fantastic prize? Go to www.annycook.com and www.amarindajones.com and answer an easy question -

If trapped on a deserted island what two things could Anny and Amarinda not live without? The answers can be found on the websites. As soon as you have them email
amarinda_jones@yahoo.com.au with your answers – there will be 4 in all.

The contest starts 18th July and closes midnight 23rd July 2008 (USA EST). The first correct entry drawn at random will win the prize. Good luck.

So, I only have 6 possible pages on my website that the answer can be on so it’s a doddle to find. What's in the Aussie care package? Three different packets of Tim Tams and Aussie chocolate bars - a Cherry Ripe, a Violet Crumble Bar and a Picnic - perfect food for book reading…and everyone know that calories do not count if you win the goodies…trust me, it’s all to do with karma. Anything you win cannot make you fat.


52 things you would love to say out loud at work

Have you been sent this at work? I always enjoy it when it lands in my work email. My favourites out of the 52….

- I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.
- Who lit the fuse on your tampon?
- The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist
- It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.
- Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
- And your cry-baby whiny-arsed opinion would be?
- Chaos, panic, and disorder. My work here is done.
- My, aren't you a black hole of need.

Beware the shopper stalker…


I needed a new handbag. I mentioned several weeks ago on the blog I was looking for one. It didn't have to be expensive but there had to be many compartments to carry all my crap in. A MacGyver handbag of you like. Anyway, I saw the perfect one today marked down to half price. The only problem was it was in the hands of another customer in the store. Bugger. Anyway I casually stalked the woman waiting for her to let go of it. She knew what I was doing and while she obviously could not make up her mind about it, she wasn’t about to let me have it. She handed it to her husband to hold on to so she could look at other bags. Ha! Amateur mistake! A man does not understand the complexities of shopping like a woman does so naturally any bright shiny object will divert his attention and make him put it down without thinking. Naturally I swooped in and got it. The woman was totally pissed off at her husband and he got a bollicking from her and I got the perfect handbag. Moral of the story - go shopping with a man and you lose.


A colleague, sitting near me, threw back her head and moaned in absolute pleasure. Uh huh…I casually looked over to see what was making her so very happy. She was sitting there with her eyes closed and a smile on her yes. O-kay…She opened them slowly and asked “do you like chocolate?” Does a chicken have lips? She told me to go to the café next door and order the hot chocolate with a shot or caramel in it. "It’s like a liquid Mars bar. Better than an orgasm mate.” Hmmm… better huh? I wandered over and asked to have what she was having and OMG! It was the most amazing drink! There was no way a man could compete with this drink unless he was dipped in caramel…hmmm…there's an idea...What makes you throw back your head and groan…food I mean…unless you want to be spill all on the blog…

www.amarindajones.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmarindaJonesNewsletter/

Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for
?