Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

PERFECT TIMING Party!

I found the perfect cake for our little Take it to the Stars Book Launch Party.

What do you think? ;)

OK, pass the champagne and party snacks. It's almost time...

Congratulations, Barbara, on your book debut!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wednesday is the BIG DAY!

PERFECT TIMING by our own Barbara Elsborg is now on the launchpad.

Barbara's debut novel is a funny, steamy romp that takes place during a role-play murder mystery weekend at an English manor.

Release date: April 30th

Ellora's Cave

Ellora's Cave Romantica Publishing - Home/New Releases

News Flash! Read Barbara's interview about PERFECT TIMING on the Toasted Scimitar blog.

http://www.toasted-scimitar.blogspot.com/

Read Barbara's interview on LadyJaided e-magazine here:

Lady Jaided, the Ellora's Cave Magazine

Read Dawn's promotional blurb here:

http://takeittothestars.blogspot.com/2008/04/perfect-timing.html

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Landmark

Take it to the Stars surpassed 2,500 hits today. :)

Thanks for reading us.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Make Sure I'm Not in the Lead

My First 'Not a Comment':

Blog: Maintain or add content to a website. Intimidating. Might as well be up on stage giving a speech, but no shot of vodka makes it easier. The words once blogged are always out there...kind of like being published. How exciting! No hook, synopsis nightmare. Yes, I like this!

Writer: One who creates written word. Fill that whiteness. Characters perform or they get tortured-killer, and never get the girl-boy-alien, once their creator hits the delete key. Yes, I like this!

From grandparents to pre-schoolers, cell phones fill the air. Personal websites connect us in ways I never would have imagined as a child sitting in an apple tree, hiding from siblings and chores, reading classic and cartoons.

The world is smaller, yet expanding so vast with endless creations for everyone to share. Multitudes of universes created by authors everywhere, pictures and audio posted for anyone with connection to enjoy or rant about. Yep, interesting times.

Yet, I can't get over the little things. Despite being shown, oh I say twice, he'll say 18 times by my son how to lose that stupid little icon thing in the corner of the cell screen saying I missed a call, its bugging me on my phone now.

And now the next step to master without asking for direction, it seems too silly, is how to post. So, I'm messing around, driving aimlessly.

Laurie, if this shows, remember your meds. You keep thinking I'm real, but I'm only the drop-dead gorgeous heroine in your latest WIP (work in progress for the acronym challenged) so, delete me! Yes, able to be deleted, I like this!

Here's to losing chunks of time, writing unreality into concrete form.

Take: A manner of getting something into ones possession or control. Aggressive
It: A cousin in the Adam's family. Silly
To: Denoting a motion toward. Literal
The: He hung on a T. Visual
Stars: Massive luminous balls of ionized gas. Wondrous--I love these times we life in.




Thursday, April 17, 2008

MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND Nomination

Lisa Shearin has shared some great news:

This is what I've been waiting to tell everyone!! *HUGE GRIN* Since it's been announced over on Science Fiction Awards Watch http://www.sfawardswatch.com/ I can officially announce it myself:

Magic Lost, Trouble Found is one of five finalists for the Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award for the best debut novel of the year. The award is voted on by members of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and will be awarded at their annual convention (Balticon) on Memorial Day weekend.

Needless to say, I was thrilled and amazed to be included in such great company. Check out the other nominees -- WOW!:

The Blade Itself, Joe Abercombie (Pyr)


The Outback Stars, Sandra McDonald (Tor)


The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss (DAW)

Magic Lost, Trouble Found, Lisa Shearin (Ace)

One Jump Ahead, Mark Van Name (Baen)


Being a huge fan, I'm very excited. (As if you couldn't tell?)

Congratulations, Lisa!!!!!

P.S. Lisa's next book in the series ARMED & MAGICAL premiers on April 29, a day before Barbara's PERFECT TIMING is released on April 30.

*\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/*

Bullying

It seems to me that every day in the papers there's an article about bullying and people suing schools years later because they were bullied and the school did nothing. Parents are quick to rail if their child is picked on. It makes me wonder if its worse now that it was when I was at school or just that perceptions suggest that. I was bullied because I was tall. 5' 10 and three quarter inches. I was called all sorts of names and spent many nights crying into my pillow. It cut me off from any sort of relationship with boys at school because they were all smaller than me. Being the tallest girl in school aged 12 was no fun. But it made me a writer. In my stories I could be the heroine, the one that got the guy, that saved the day and I created a world where I could be happy. I read voraciously - in those days the library got shirty if you took a book back the same day because they weren't prepared to sort through the tickets manually. No problem now the computer has taken over. I read maybe 10 books a week all through my teens. The boys in the books never called me names. They were the ones I fell in love with. And that's why I fall in love with every hero I create. My favourite is Charlie - a popstar turning film star who has so many problems he tries to kill himself. He's just begging to be saved by my heroine. I just need to find a publisher who agrees with me.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Part II. Adventures in House-Flipping and Multiple Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Husband Watch Home Improvement Shows.

Day 12: Today was all about ripping out walls and ceilings, gutting the monster where it sits. Gone are the boxes of mouse poop, musty magazines and discarded clothing. Nothing but walls and ceilings. My husband has decided I will be of more use at our house for the time being. What am I talking about? I know, I know. He really needed me down there. Yes and no. Things are getting a bit more complicated. My husband gathered the family earlier this week to lay the news on us. We’re not just flipping it now; we’re going to be moving in when we’re done.

So what’s all this mean? Well... It means for one, I’ve got not only one house to fix up, but two. My mission, should I chose to accept it, and I didn’t have a choice, is to pack up and stage the home I’ve lived in for 15 years. I hummed and hawed about where to start for at least an hour, then finally decided on the kitchen.

First off, where did all this stuff come from? I don’t remember having moved this much in. The first item to go, Tupperware lids. I had boxes and boxes of Tupperware lids and not a container in sight to put them on. Seems the husband likes to take the dishes, but only bring the lids home. Which begs one to ask, where do they go? I mean is it like the socks when you stick them in the dryer? Do they rearrange their molecules and shift to another plain? Where? It’s a mystery. However, I can tell you where the lids went. Recyclable plastics. Therefore, if you’re looking for a couple hundred lids for your topless Tupperware containers, there you go.

Of course, my duties don’t end there. Oh no, that would be too easy. Seems I’ve opened a catering business. Yes, you heard me. I cooked a ham dinner, with all the trimmings packed it up, and hauled it down to the work site to feed the men. I set up tables and had the whole picnic thing going. It smelled good, looked good. I was so proud of the spread I’d put on. We had a beautiful day for it too. Sixty-degree temps and sunshine. What more could a girl ask for?

An animal control officer, for one.

Yes, our picnic was invaded by not one, not two, or even three dogs. Across the way is a farmhouse that the owner doesn’t live in, but her pets do. They busted out of the fence and were on the food in five seconds flat. I had four dogs, six cats and one guinea hen. It was awful. They were jumping up on the table, in the cars, on your lap, in your plates. Worse yet, they were neglected and half-starved. And the scary thing, the dogs have bitten the neighbours before. Yikes. I had to throw the ham and run. It was a feeding frenzy. I went home and made egg salad sandwhiches and the crew ate in their vehicles.

I did call animal control. Not only for the condition of the animals that raided our picnic, but for the condition of the farm animals across the street in the barnyard. Never in my life have I seen such horrible neglect. There was this donkey, his hoofs were at least six inches long and curled up on the ends like Arabian slippers. The hooves of several sheep and horses, though not as bad, were cracked to the tops and the animals lame. Tomorrow the state is paying them a visit. The last thing I wanted to do was move into the neighbourhood and make enemies. But some things you can’t turn your back on, and the abuse of animals is one of them.

Okay I've donned a pair of ruby slippers and I'm going to click my heels together and none of this will be happening. Right? Okay here I go. Wait, how about some magic words too. Bippity-boppity-boo, or is it Alakazam? Whatever, work with me, okay? I never had girls, my cartoon viewing was limited to Ninja Turtles, Sponge Bob and Rin and Stimpy. Here we go. There's no place like home...

Damn. I'll see you next week with more updates.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stephenie Meyer

I've just finished "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer. What a story! I can't remember now why I bought it. I think I must have seen a review that praised it somewhere. Maybe on Critique Circle but this book is a real find. The interesting thing is that it's written for YA. It deals with protagonists in high school so I was a little wary of whether I'd find it interesting. But I did.
The cover is sensational. Simple and elegant as are the others in the series. Very striking. The cover alone would have made me pick it up to read the blurb.
Well, the story is about 17 year old Bella who goes to live with her father in the wettest place in the USA - in Washington State. She thinks life in the small town will be dull. Of course it isn't. She quickly becomes popular at school except with Edward Cullen. Its not giving anything away to say that Edward and his family are vampires. Edward is terrified by his attraction to Bella and so a love story is born. I think any romantic teenager or would be teenager like me - will love it.

It brought out the issue again to me of cover art, though. Until a week ago I had never read Jodi Picoult -I think that's how it's spelt. The covers feature dreamy looking child-like women and I presumed the stories were about children with terrible backgrounds - abuse etc. The one I read is called 'Mercy' and nothing like the cover led me to believe. From reviews I've read, this book is not so popular with her faithful fans but I'm glad I read it and sad that the covers put me off reading her before.

Friday, April 11, 2008

More on PERFECT TIMING

With only a little over two weeks until PERFECT TIMING is released by Ellora's Cave, I thought a little taste of what the book is about might be in order. Kudos to Dawn for writing this great teaser.

How to Seduce a Priest.

Dress as a Nun. Check.

Wear red lace underwear and stiletto heels. Check.

Drop face first in your desert and wait for the mouth to mouth. Double check.

Okay, so he wasn’t a Priest, and Daisy wasn’t a Nun, but she was really getting into the role-playing. Overall, he was her best choice. Hot, tall, rich and young. Especially young. He was also the host for the 60’s murder mystery weekend, and her best shot at rescuing her getaway from disaster.

When she’d read a 60’s murder mystery weekend, Daisy had been thinking, hippies, free love and tie dye, not varicose veins and false teeth. So, she missed one teeny, tiny word on the brochure. Over. As in, over 60’s, over the hill and when will this weekend be over?

Not one to spoil the fun for everyone else, Daisy decides to stick it out. With the hot host on the prowl, it might not be so bad.

Of course, every time she encounters Jake, she finds herself looking like an idiot. From almost knocking the… uh, bits and pieces off the statuary, to strolling in late with a sheep, she’s made quite the impression. Like an escaped mental patient. And sliding down the well-waxed banister and landing on her bum in front of him... Not a good idea.

When her charming host dresses her as a nun, Daisy wants to scream. Another impression she didn't want to make. Pious. Soon, she begins to wonder if she should go home and write the holiday off.

On the other hand, maybe not… He did wear that costume well.

Bless me father, for I have sinned...or I’d really like to.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Adventures In House Flipping





























For all of you that have been dying to see these, here they are. These were taken after a solid week of hauling out rubbish. But, I think you'll get the idea. Sorry, I hate to disappoint and not post pictures of the funnel, but a girls got to draw the line somewhere. Take note of the sill and roof-line. We will be jacking this baby up and blocking under it. Please excuse the dates on the camera. Husband malfunction.
Along the front you can see white letters. They spell out Rhythm Ranch. My husband in his infinite wisdom when he repaints the exterior, wants to repaint this name back on. Why? Is it so charming it needs to stay?

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Countdown Begins!

Everyone here at Take it to the Stars is so excited that one of our own, Flick, aka Barbara Elsborg, will be published with Ellora's Cave on April 30! Congratulations, Barbara!!!
Here's a link to the LadyJaided's Getting Nosy with Newbies interview with Barbara on PERFECT TIMING. Barbara has a rare gift with humor, as you will see!

Here's the link to Ellora's Cave main page:

Those of us who have had the priviledge of reading Barbara's other novels know this will be the first of many to come. Calling her a "very talented writer" is a huge understatement.

Excuse me, but I must run. Time for Take it to the Stars to plot our internet release party for PERFECT TIMING.

*motions Dawn, Arlene and Flick into a huddle*

Happy Monday.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Adventures in House-Flipping and Multiple Reasons Why You Shouldn't Let Your Husband Watch Home Improvement Shows

Since this wonderful project is taking up so much of my time and slowing a couple of WIPs, I figured I’d make it part of my writing. Come with me while I start this journey of insanity, someone in his or her infinite wisdom tagged ‘House Flipping’. What traumas will men like Bob Villa and fine public television shows like Flip this House bring on an average woman’s life?

Day 1: My husband has informed me he is quitting his job and going into business with his parents. First off, if you’ve ever met my mother-in-law, you’d would know why the thought of going into business with her is much more terrifying than being without the paycheck (more about that later). I nearly had a stroke. If you are like me, an average person trying to make ends meet, living paycheck to pay check, socking away for retirement and your children’s higher education, you can see why I might have issues with this. Lucky me. He agreed to keep his job, if, and it’s a big if, I help him with this Flip. April 1st, 2008, we signed on the property.

Day 5: If I could summarize the adventure I have embarked on in two words, those words would be mouse poop. Today I awoke at 5:00am, ate a quick breakfast, stumbled out of the house and drove down the road to our new property. It’s everything I could dream of, rotted sills, broken windows and a leaky roof (more on that later). It doesn’t have running water; there is a funnel (yes, you heard me) in the bathroom attached to the sewer that the previous, if not a bit eccentric owner used to pee down. Inside, lining 2500 square feet, from wall to wall and floor to ceiling are boxes and boxes of junk. It’s an old dance hall that has seen better days, and more recently served as a junque shop. Why anyone one in their right mind would think spelling it junque instead of junk dresses it up and makes it any different, I will never know. Today I hauled out boxes and boxes of crap and yes, mouse poop. I don’t think there is a shower in existence that will erase this memory.

Outside in the yard, are piles and piles of broken vehicles, furniture, mattresses, wooden pallets, a great big fiberglass cylinder that looks like a grain silo, and multiple things my husband could throw into a burn pile and set the neighbourhood on fire with. Good thing we live in a rural area, where the local townies see piles of trash and think it’s a BYOB party. Half the town of Winchester turned out last night to see us light the night up like day.

Day 6: This morning, not only did I have left over debris to clean up from the fire, I had beer bottles all over the place. I have discovered the joys of burn piles and sore backs. Today, I have excused myself to do laundry for work tomorrow, and to see about getting a tetanus shot.

Next weekend I will return with more of my adventures. Please stick around for the sequel, Flip this Marriage.
I hope to have some photos to share. You really have to see this.

Reviews

Interested to know your thoughts on reviews. I read that many authors don't read them, too sensitive to criticism they feel is only one person's point of view and subjective. EH? Don't they have to take the rough with the smooth? Do they only want to hear - this was fab? On the other hand - this is their baby and it's hard to hear that someone thinks it sucks.
I've noticed a growing trend for authors to request reviews from specialist sites. So, questions:
1. If you knew there was a review of your book out there, would you read it?
2. Would you actively seek reviews or not?
3. Would you respond to a reviewer who didn't like your book?

My answers:
1. I would have to read it. I don't have a particulary thick skin but I couldn't not read it.
2. On the fence here. Something tells me it's asking for trouble but if you have faith in your book, maybe it's fine. Ooh, I don't know. Wobbles indecisively.
3. Yes. I couldn't help myself - unless it was abusive. In which case I'd change my name to Hillary Clinton - see previous post.

Excitement mounts

Well, I am getting very excited about the issue of my first book - well ebook but I live in hope that it might make it into print one day. It's due out on the 30th April. Ellora's Cave have it in their upcoming section. www.ellorascave.com Their magazine www.ladyjaided.com has me featured as one of four new writers. I've used my own name - Barbara Elsborg -if this comes back to haunt me, I'm changing my name to Hillary Clinton. That seems fairly anonymous, right?

The book - for the two people in the world who don't know - is called "Perfect Timing". It's racy, it's erotic and it's fun. Well, better blow my own trumpet a little. That will do. It hurts my cheeks.

I'd also like to say thank you to anyone that helped critique this story, you know who you are. I'd like to thank my editor Carole Genz for her time and patience with a new author, I'd like to thank my husband for doing the shopping and volunteering for erotic research - won't tell which offer I accepted, and I'd like to thank my lucky stars that I finally, finally made it into - sort of -print. Hope I didn't forget anyone. Ooh, thanks to the cover artist too. I really like the cover!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Q & A #5 The Hook

Let's talk about hook.

What do you think makes a great hook? What books have you read with a fantastic opening paragraph? Or even sentence? Can you list any examples?

What method do you use to come up with the perfect hook? Do you think most books do or do not have a great hook?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Q - How much planning do you do before you start writing?

Do you create character charts? Do you work out the plot - start to finish? Do you run a time line? Do you know how the story will end?

My answer - no, no, yes, sort of - sometimes.
I have the germ of an idea and just run with it. Only on one or two occasions have I given up a story I started because I couldn't find a way to continue. They develop a life of their own as I write.