In Search of the Fiction Fairy

award-wining author Mia Zachary's online diary where she ponders the meaning of life, strives to improve her craft and generally mouths off

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

RECOMMEND- Yeah, she is


SHE'S THE MAN is a retelling of Shakespeare's Twelth Night in a modern-day prep school setting. Tagline: Everybody has a secret... Duke wants Olivia who likes Sebastian who is really Viola whose brother is dating Monique so she hates Olivia who's with Duke to make Sebastian jealous who is really Viola who's crushing on Duke who thinks she's a guy...

I absolutely loved this movie. My son used to watch Amanda Bynes when she had her own show on Nickelodeon and the girl was really funny and talented. She's a young woman now (20? 21?) and even more talented. Her facial expressions and mannerisms are priceless along with her great comedic timing. It's a really fun movie and while there are a few tampons jokes that younger kids (like my six year old) won't understand, there was nothing in this movie that wasn't okay for the whole family to watch. GO get a copy!

Review/ Synopsis: Shakespearean comedy and American high school are a match made in heaven--or Hollywood, at any rate. Somehow the exaggerated emotions and budding hormones of adolescence are perfectly suited to Shakespeare's twisty plots, and She's the Man is a perfect example.

Viola (Amanda Bynes, What a Girl Wants) is furious when she learns that her high school, Cornwall, has cut the girl's soccer team--so furious that she takes advantage of her twin brother Sebastian (James Kirk, Final Destination 2) skipping town for a few weeks to take his place at his school, Illyria, so she can join the soccer team there. But her disguise as her brother leads to complications when she falls in love with her soccer-playing roommate and the girl he's in love with falls in love with "Sebastian"...

Bynes may not be entirely persuasive as a high school boy, but she's got the charm and sprightliness to make the audience follow her anyway. The clever script walks a fine balance, treating the situation realistically enough to make Viola's efforts matter, but zipping along quickly enough that we don't worry too much about the details. As Duke and Olivia--the other two parts of the love triangle--Channing Tatum and Laura Ramsey combine sex appeal with engaging sweetness; the excellent supporting cast includes David Cross (Arrested Development), Julie Hagerty (Airplane!), and former British soccer star Vinnie Jones (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). All in all, a delightful bit of fun. -- reviewed by Bret Fetzer for

Monday, August 28, 2006


From the corporate press release: "Responding to reader demand for even more romance fiction in a digital format, Harlequin is launching the Harlequin Mini eBook. The Harlequin Mini Round Robin eBook is an outcome of Harlequin’s collaboration with its readers. These stories are launched by a published author, and subsequent chapters are created—and hotly competed for—by fans and aspiring writers. Many of Harlequin’s talented new voices have been discovered through this interactive round robin challenge, including launch author Mia Zachary. "

That would be, um, me. VBG
And the story is a FREE download.

I'm really thrilled that this story is being circulated again. I absolutely loved creating these two characters and had a lot of fun interacting with the readers and contestents during the round robin. Here's the first paragraph of the blurb:

Once he was a Prince of Egypt. Then Kalid Amunemhat spurned the affections of the wrong woman. The sorceress turned him into a Djini, a slave to serve his mistresses and fulfill their secret desires for all eternity. Though she’s skeptical at first, Dr. Lauryn Meade soon realizes that Kalid is the real thing — and she begins falling for the man behind the magic, making it that much harder to lose him after only three nights….

Friday, August 25, 2006

Philosophy Friday


I've written 25 pages since last Friday!!!!
I just started working with my own creativity coach
I'm taking my son to the Renaissance Festival this weekend
School starts on Monday!!!!!

"People often ask me how they can become more creative. By this they mean many different things; even if they meant just one thing, there would still be many different kinds of answers. For one person, the answer might be "worry less." For another person, the answer might be "grow wilder." For a third, it might be "be braver." For a fourth, it might be "somehow find the time." But whatever else you might need to do, one thing that will help you grow more creative is consciously engaging in new explorations. If we do not explore, we do not get to go anywhere new, and if we do not go anywhere new, we can't be creative."
- Eric Maisel, PhD

Here are two suggestions from Dr. Maisel's Everyday Creative card deck:
1 Name a creative project you'd like to tackle. Write down the positive qualities in you that will bring the project to fruition.

2 Divide a sheet of paper into three columns, "Starting', 'Working' and 'Completing'. In each columns write downs some ideas that will help you along the process. Do them.

If you'd like your own Everyday Creative pack, just leave a comment below about a creative project you want to start next week, or next month since it's the same thing I'll pick a name at random as the winner on Monday, Aug 28th.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Return to Sender

If Margery Casares is reading this blog, the French edition of 9 1/2 DAYS that I mailed to you was sent back as undeliverable. If you'd like it could you please email me a corrected address?

Speaking of take-backs...

Have you ever returned a book to the store where you bought it? I freely admit that I have. I read as much as I can and honestly have no idea how many hundreds of dollars I spend on books each year. Which quite frankly means I hate to feel that my [husband's] hard earned cash is wasted. So if I don't like a book, if the author just hasn't grabbed my atention, by the third chapter, I take the book back and exchange it for something else.

But I don't take the time and special effort to write a long email to the author telling him or her what I've done. I mean, how freakin' rude is this? Okay you didn't like my book. Not everyone is going to and I can understand and accept that. But, I'm sorry, you have to be a special kindof bitch to go out of your way to try and hurt my feelings by gloating that not only did you want your money back but you wanted damages for the time you wasted.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shop and Save

Save a Writer, Buy a New Book!
By Susan Gable

The recent demise of yet another Harlequin line, this time the kick-butt heroine line Bombshell, got me to thinking, which, as anyone who knows me will tell you is always a dangerous thing. I heard from a number of readers who were surprised by the closing, because they had friends who just "loved that line!"

I've also heard things like this: "I can't believe they closed that line. I loved that line. I read those books every month at my library." Before I go any farther with this discussion, I have to offer up a disclaimer. I love libraries. Especially as a child with a voracious appetite for story, I borrowed armloads of books from my local library. I love bargains, too. I shop like men hunt or play sports. It's a victory when I score a bargain. (New black cocktail dress, originally $79, marked down to only $16. SCORE!) Used books are great bargains. Swapping books, another great bargain. The new websites on-line, where you can "rent" a book, in a system similar to NetFlix, are also an interesting bargain. Good grief, even the airports these days have a program where you can buy a book, read it, then sell it back to them. What a bargain!

But did you realize that those bargains could be putting your favorite line or your favorite author out of business?

It's a difficult, touchy subject for authors to discuss. We don't want to appear anti-used books ('cause we're not -- not entirely, anyway), or make readers think we're money-grubbers, always harping on them to buy our books. We all know (believe me, we KNOW - most writers don't make anywhere close to as much money as people think we do) how tight money can be sometimes, especially with the rising costs of gas and heating fuel, and food, and taxes, and.well, you know. Everything. We've been known ourselves to sometimes borrow and trade books, or buy used. Or go to the library.

But publishing these days is a strictly-by-the-numbers business, which means if the numbers don't live up to the publisher's expectations, a writer can kiss her slot/line/future contracts good-bye. "Where's SoAndSo's latest book? How come she hasn't published another story
in that series that I love so much?" If you find yourself asking that question, it could be that your favorite, SoAndSo, got cut loose because the numbers of that last book in the series didn't do as well as the one before that. How did you get your hands on that last book? Did you buy it new, contributing to the continuation of the series, or did you bargain read it?

Bargain reads don't count towards our numbers. Writers, especially those of us at the "lower echelons" of the publishing world, need our readers more than ever. Without you, there would be no point in what we do. (Well, okay, there's a certain satisfaction in telling yourself a story, but it's the audience that makes it truly special. It's a shared dream.) But now, because of the numbers, we need your support even more.

Our careers, our lines, even our publishers, live and die by the numbers. So please, where and when you can, save a writer. Buy a new book. We'll all thank you for it. And that way, you'll have more choices of books in the future.

Susan Gable thanks her fans for buying her books. Her last book, The Pregnancy Test, sold well, thanks to them.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Philosophy Friday


There's only ONE MORE WEEK until school starts!!!
I've written 6 pages so far this week and the week isn't over


NOTICE: The Surgeon General has declared that creating schedules can be detrimental to your health and sanity, and that schedule dependence has been linked with weight gain, weight loss, hirsutism, hair loss, nervousness, nausea, vomiting, auditory hallucinations, angina, GERD, hypertension, hypotension, insanity, and death. Pregnant women, women who might become pregnant, persons with preexisting liver or kidney or heart conditions, and people with eyelids should avoid scheduling. If you experience side effects from scheduling, stop immediately and consult your doctor.
DISCLAIMER #1: This schedule is subject to Life, which happens while one is making other plans.
DISCLAIMER #2: (Marine Adage) No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
DISCLAIMER #3: (Yiddish Adage) Men plan, God laughs.
DISCLAIMER #4: (Nursing Instructor Adage) CYA
--Courtesy of Holly Lisle, author of I SEE YOU and LAST GIRL DANCING

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I was Chosen!

I just got the news that my April 2006 Blaze AFTERNOON DELIGHT has been nominated for a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award!

You can read the actual review here, and see the list of other nominees here. Then on Friday night at 9pm EST, drop by the Cataromance Pink Carpet Gala on their messageboards.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 14, 2006


Based on the amount of hype leading up to this book for the past year, I fully expected SECRET SOCIETY GIRL by Diana Peterfreund to grab me from the first page and hold me captive until the end. It didn't do that. The heroine, Amy Haskell, is smart, cool, witty and well-liked by almost every secondary character but I never felt like I connected with her. That is probably just personal bias since I'm not that smart or cool and never attended an Ivy League school. Or maybe it's because overall the story felt more like a young-adult novel, rather than a women's fiction or chick-lit novel. The whole thing could just as easily take place at an elite high school.

All of that aside, Secret Society Girl was a fun and well-written book that by the third chapter had me turning pages to find out what would happen next. The interesting and cleverly laid out plot if not the characters carried me through the story. Go buy a copy if you need something enjoyable for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

BACK COVER BLURB- Elite Eli University junior Amy Haskel never expected to be tapped into Rose & Grave, the country's most powerful- and notorious- secret society. She isn't rich, politically connected, or well, male. So when Amy receives the distinctive black-lined invitation with the Rose & Grave seal, she's blown away. Could they really mean her? Whisked off into an initiation rite that's a blend of Harry Potter and Alfred Hitchcock, Amy awakens the next day to a new reality and a whole new set of friends from the gorgeous son of a conservative governor to an Afrocentric lesbian activist whose society name is Thorndike. And that's when Amy starts to discover the truth about getting what you wish for. Because Rose & Grave is quickly taking her away from her familiar world of classes and keggers, fueling a feud, and undermining a very promising friendship with benefits. And that's before Amy finds out that her first duty as a member of Rose & Grave is to take on a conspiracy of money and power that could, quite possibly, ruin her whole life.

BOOK REVIEWS- "Chick lit heads off to the Ivy League in Diana Peterfreund's superfun, supercool debut novel, Secret Society Girl. Of course, I'd like to tell you all the reasons why I loved it, but then I'd have to kill you..."- Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of The Thin Pink Line

"The action is undeniably juicy from steamy make-out sessions with campus hotties to cloak-and-dagger initiations and the book is a quick read."
- The Washington Post

Friday, August 11, 2006

Philosophy Friday- The Return


Started writing the Sedona novella and am currently into chapter two
The Precious Angel- after a very rough first morning- is loving summer day camp
Mom will finally be released from post-operative rehab in about 2 weeks
I submitted a new Blaze idea yesterday

"Books saved my life. I am not being melodramatic. I had a miserable childhood. This was not necessarily anyone’s fault; I was simply born into a family and a community that didn’t embrace dreamy introverts like me, and where I never felt I belonged. I spent most of my childhood and adolescence feeling lonely, unseen, and wrong. I had a few friends who shared these feelings. For the most part, they slipped into early alcoholism, drug abuse, and teenage pregnancy. I read.

I don’t mean merely that books entertained me and served as a safe means of escape while I waited for my childhood to be over and my real life to begin—though they did serve that purpose. They did more, though. They introduced me to the reality of a community that transcended the boundaries of geography, ethnicity, and even time. .. Books were my teachers and guides; they became, in their way, a secular religion, one that has sustained and fed me when the harshness of life for so many has made it hard to embrace more conventional beliefs.

It is not an accident that so often an invading army’s first triumphant act is to sack and burn the libraries and museums. A people without access to its art and accumulated wisdom is indeed vanquished. It is significant that dictatorships make a practice of imprisoning dissident poets and novelists. Real artists—people who distill and communicate the truth, often at great personal cost—are the most dangerous figures in a repressive society. And that is why you are needed, desperately, now.

Don’t stop writing. And never, ever qualify what you do with the words “only,” “just,” or “merely.” Not even in your own head." - Susan O’Doherty, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a New York City-based practice. A fiction writer herself, she specializes in issues affecting writers.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Amen, sister

Paperback Writer had this to say on her blog this morning:
"Going to the bookstore is like going to church. I'm surrounded by the people who share my convictions, and touch base with what it's all about for me personally. I miss being a bookseller so much sometimes. Man, I lived to work the floor and talk books. "

I _so_ get that! I was actually just thinking about hauling my laptop bag and wip down the Barnes& Noble when I read it. I love everything about books stores, especially ones with extra stuff like cafes and music sample stations. But even without those, I can spend hours [and hundreds of dollars!] wandering the shelves. Of course I hit the romance, mainstream fiction and travel sections. But I also love the children's books and bargain tables- you never know what you'll find which is the main joy of the place.

I also love working in bookstores. I was a Waldenbooks employee for ten years, and while I don't miss hauling heavy boxes or doing inventory or holiday mall hours, I do miss getting to go there every day. That's why at least once a week, I pack up the computer and hardopy pages and treat myself to a day at the bookstore.

I'm lucky enough to have my own tax-deductable office in the house, but as anyone who works at home knows, that means being utterly surrounded by and prone to distractions. Jo Leigh was talking yesterday about how this affects her. "When I’m writing a book, any kind of change throws me off. I’m not talking about big changes here. Anything that isn’t in my usual routine... By the time we got home, I just felt tired and anxious, but sitting at the computer was just that. Sitting. "

I totally get that, too. My son is in day camp all week specifically so I can have uninterupted writing time. But what am I doing instead of jumping into chapter two? Sitting here blogging and worrying because the kids are going to Cascade Lake today and my precious angel isn't a very good swimmer and I'm not there to watch him and I hope they have enough camp counselors and lifeguards and...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Happy Hopping Blogger Day

From Pajama Mama via Bethany Hiitola via Alison Kent

"I christen today (and the next few days) “Bloggin’ Good Blogger Days” in the blogging community. Your mission, shall you choose to accept it (and you will), is to go to as many blogs as you can and point out at least one good thing about the author of that blog. Do your best to give them a warm fuzzy feeling. Show your appreciation, admiration or plain old joy. Tell them why something they did touched you, why a choice they made shows the true fabric of their moral being. Just go BE NICE to every blogger who’s blog you read today. And don’t be shy, either!! Plus, post an entry similar to this one on YOUR blog and ask people to leave warm fuzzies in your comments. Spread the love, people! Maybe if we take a week to engage in warm fuzzies, they will become a more permanent part of our daily lives, both on and off the computer. "

Friday, August 04, 2006

Choices, Choices

So after talking with my Creative Partner, Lisa, I have a decision to make about writing conferences next year. Novelists, Inc. or RWA National?

Blaze author Alison Kent had this to say on her blog the other day:
"Except for editor or author dinners and publisher parties, I rarely walk out of the hotel. I don’t sightsee. I don’t consider conference a vacation (except this year when it was a vacation). It could be held in someone’s basement for all I care about where I am. Conference to me, any conference, is a business trip. Learning, networking, catching up with old friends, making new ones - authors and readers, both. "

And at Romancing the Blog, Kassia Krozzier said this:
"Attending the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference is something you have to do to believe. It’s absolutely amazing, from the stunningly crowded Literacy Autographing (record-setting year!) to the awards ceremony. .. it’s basically 2,000-plus women in a single hotel."

So I need to weigh the Pros and Cons:

Conference Fees-
NINC $360 ($295 + $65 for the all-day workshop)
RWA $390 (No extra costs)

Hotel Room- (will need to share either way)
NINC $180/night [conference rate no matter how many to a room]
RWA $175/ night [rack rate. This may be lower by next Spring]

Airfare- [as of August 3, 2006]
NINC in San Diego $436 (will be lower with frequent flyer miles)
RWA in Dallas $254

Meals Included-
NINC: Th dinner, Th dessert buffet, Fr breakfast, Sa breakfast, Sa lunch
RWA: Th lunch, Th appetizers, Fr breakfast, Fr lunch, Sa breakfast, Sa lunch, Sa dessert buffet
(However, I never go to the RWA Welcome Reception or the continental breakfasts and budget for real food)

Taxis, Other Meals, Miscellaneous- [about the same for either conf] $300

On the financial face of it, RWA looks like the better deal at $1644 vs $1816 for NINC, so now I have to look at the intangibles:

I won't bore you with a complete recap of the 2006 NINC conference- you can go back and read my comments and I'll just sum up.
1. Smaller venue
2. Much smaller number of attendees
3. Everything is focused on published authors
4. I didn't have to be 'on' all the time
5. I felt I had time to talk to people

Specific benefits for next year: Escape from East Coast spring weather to Southern Califonia warmth; Eric Maisel is giving an all-day coaching session ; I truly got a lot out of the workshops I attanded; It's easier to talk to editors/ agents when there's no invisible clock ticking away your 8 minutes.

Other considerations: Without a buddy, I tend to hide out in my room. Lisa isn't going this time so the New Orleans experience cannot possible be duplicated. Only three industry professionals came and I'm not sure how many NYC folks will fly cross country in 2007. If I do end up going, my boys will be flying in for a short family vacation and either my time or theirs will be compromised. (Conferences are traditionally my chance to get away from it all)

RWA is stressful for me- it's noisy and crowded and chaotic and despite all of the people everywhere I usually end up feeling lonely somehow. However there are good points:
1 Tons of industry professionals and publisher spotlights
2 Chances to meet with my Harlequin editors
3 Chances to hook up with old and new friends
4 Lots more workshops to choose from

Other considerations: Dallas- TEXAS- in the middle of freakin' July; I'll have two books out next year and need to promote them; at my last RWA conference I had a chance to talk to two agents and also sold the premise for the novella I'm currently working on.

Specific benefits: Lisa will be there and face to face time with a long distance critique partner is priceless, plus I'd be guaranteed a roommate I get along with.

So, great, the list is done, the arguments are weighed and I still don't know which way to go... Thoughts? Suggestions?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Foreign Editions

Bilingual? Need a gift?
I've got a few of my books that have been translated into other languages:

Claimed as of 8/3 6pm-
1 Italian edition of 9 1/2 DAYS [Ellie Lewis]
1 German edition of YOURS IN BLACK LACE [Minna Puustinen]
1 British edition of YOURS IN BLACK LACE [Pearl Elliot]
1 Australian edition of 9 1/2 DAYS [Sue Ahn]

2 copies of the Dutch edition of YOURS IN BLACK LACE
1 German edition of 9 1/2 DAYS
2 copies of the Dutch edition of 9 1/2 DAYS
2 copies of the Greek edition of YOURS IN BLACK LACE

Just email me with your address if you want them.