Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I blogged at Missmakeamovie today!

Do Reality Shows Reflect Reality?

Check it out at http://missmakeamovie.blogspot.com/2008/10/do-reality-shows-reflect-reality.html


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming soon at WCPT!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Venetian Rhapsody


About three weeks ago I flew to Venice, Italy, with my mom and a friend. It was the first time I’d seen Italy in about 11 years—a place which, I’m always happy to say, feels like home to me. What prompted me on this visit? Book research. Of course, I needed a break, but I could have taken that anywhere. Yet, researching my story suddenly became paramount to me, although in the process I got so much more than I bargained for.

Our fantastic, low fare, Ryan Air plane landed in Italy’s Treviso Airport around 10pm and from there we took the bus into Venice, which stopped us in Piazzale Roma, not far from the train station. A short walk and we hopped onto Venice’s chosen mode of transportation (besides the traghetti or gondola ferries) – the vaporetto - to the San Marco stop. This is a sort of ferry boat or bus which travels up and down the Grand Canal and the basin around Venice. It does not venture into the small, narrow canals which cannot welcome a large boat in their depths.

I had visited Venice for a day a long time ago, when I was still a child. For all intents and purposes, this was my first time visiting as a mature (I hope) adult who can appreciate all the nuances and mysteries of such a place. Soon after 11pm, I caught my first close up glimpse of The Queen of the Adriatic, or La Serenissima, as the locals love to call this magnificent city.


I cannot describe how I felt when I first stepped onto St. Mark Square at night and beheld the gothic-style basilica looming ahead. My breath caught in my chest and as cliché as this sounds it is hard not to feel humbled when one comes upon such a sight. Close to midnight on a weeknight then, it was empty and quiet with the last strings of a live orchestra echoing faintly through it from the outside area of one of the old cafés. As we crossed the wide expanse, we saw that the number of lingering patrons could be counted on barely more than one hand. The ground was wet, the air humid. My skin felt clammy but I didn't care.

It was magic.


It didn’t take us long to find our centrally located hotel—Hotel Ai Do Mori, which is to be found inside a 15th century palazzo in Calle San Marco—although we did do a couple of wrong turns in the maze of alleys which Venice is famous for. On the next day we discovered just how close to the square we were (past the Basilica into the arch adorned by the large blue clock with the Moors on top striking the hour - called "Do Mori"). At night, it would be easy to miss the hotel’s nondescript entrance right next door to the city’s only McDonalds. So late at night the restaurants were closed and there was sparse activity going on. Woe unto us—we had to haul our luggage up three steep and narrow flights of stairs as the hotel has no elevator. Toward the end of our stay, we were told to ask for the Annex which is entirely on the first floor but only contains rooms for two people (no triples or quadruples). This hotel was fairly priced when compared to the others, and is one of several boutique hotels we considered after stumbling on an article on Venice budget hotels published in UK’s Telegraph. It was also very clean and we specified our need for a private bathroom beforehand (this is always advisable). Only downside: the hotel had no restaurant, but we did take cereal and a mini coffee machine with us which proved absolutely invaluable! Breakfast is not a big thing there and if one happens to find a place which offers a hearty one, it will probably be extremely expensive.

This is the first of a series of blogs where I will be detailing all (or most) of the interesting aspects of my week long stay in Venice. I hope that you will do me the honor of visiting my blog each week to learn about my trip. Each blog will take care of a day, in consecutive fashion, until the day of our departure.

John Berendt described Venice as a city that is “easy to visit and hard to know.” And after a week there I truly understand what he meant by that statement. This is the home of canals, dark alleyways, and long held secrets. The Venetians are nothing like the rest of the Italians. The “municipality” mentality still seems to reign there – it is as though they still cannot accept the idea of being forever linked to the rest of the mainland and letting go of their independence. They cannot see themselves as “just another Italian city.” Despite the fact that the last Doge lost his power upon Napoleon’s advent in 1797, and the Republic of Venice was, from then on, no more, their pride survives—somewhat nicked in some respects, yet, still intact.

Venetians are resentful of the constant influx of tourists to their shore. Although they know that tourism is essential to their survival, they also know what it is doing to their beloved soil—the millions of new faces the city welcomes each year are slowly, but surely, enabling its destruction. Venice sinks a little bit more each year. One day in the future, it will be completely underwater… either that or the whole city east of the area of Dorsoduro (and the Grand Canal) will cave in. This being because of the fact that this part of Venice is built entirely on wood, not on solid soil/ground, as is Dorsoduro (literal translation: hard back). In the meantime, Venice is undoubtedly a tourist trap, but it is so many more things if one knows where to look. Sparks of irritation at this set up are inevitable, but the pouting won't last for long. One cannot but stay enamoured with it, like one may be of a capricious yet, at the same time, undeniably loyal lover. A close relationship with Venice would be a complex one made of constant highs and lows. It is, quite simply, incomparable to anything else I've ever seen, felt, and tasted. It is nothing more and nothing less than Venice.

As a side note - One of the things which struck me most is that Venice is definitely a dog-friendly city. Dogs are allowed anywhere and everywhere. Even in the posh cafés and restaurants. The locals are sometimes more tolerant of our four legged friends than they are of humans. I don't know if that is an entirely good quality - although love of animals is certainly a great thing to have. Residents are mostly polite and very helpful. Wait staff in restaurants is sadly a hit or miss. As is the food. More to come later.

For my historical romance novel, I decided to research an area which signified darkness, loss of dignity and dread in the lives of many Venetians – the years of Austrian occupation in the 1820's. The information I found in my research I know I could never have snagged on the internet, and I’m grateful for that. Again, I hope that you will stay with me as I log my experiences in Venice on a weekly (if everything else permits) basis - starting probably two weeks from now. My accounts will have a dual function: both as a travelogue to record my thoughts and doings, and as a travel guide to those who hope to visit this amazing locale in the future.

I feel so very lucky for having been able to do this and can safely say that this was an experience I will never forget. You will see why.

I say, see Venice and die...

That said, I’d like to ask…what would you do, or how far would you go, to research a book if you had your rathers?


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming Soon at WCPT.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The process of getting published - tickling the funny bone

New blog at Midnight Seductions Authors! Check it out and leave comments here.

Thanks!



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming soon at WCPT

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

NEW GUEST BLOG!

Hey gang,

Today I was invited to guest blog at Missmakeamovie - popculture peekaboo and had lots of fun doing it! This will be a monthly blog for me and I'm very much looking forward to posting more on this site. All the contributors are great - lots of great blogs to read and the host, Joanna D'Angelo, is a real trooper! Her documentary on the romance industry made TV in Canada and I hope we'll get to see it soon here in the U.S.

My thoughts today: Do you think that life (or the ability to love) stops after 40? Far from it! Please hop on over and read my views about Love after sunset!


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming soon at WCP

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Literary vs. Commercial Fiction – does it have to be a war of condescension?


I was recently participating in a discussion relating to authors and writing hosted by a European publishing company on their Facebook fan page. I know I have blogged about the topic already and I don’t want to bore people to death but I so wanted to share this!

So what happened is...

One of the contributors saw fit to somewhat ponderously denounce the evils of “publisher marketing” which he dubbed unnecessary glamor. These were his words (names have been changed or deleted to protect both the innocent and the guilty):

“I should clarify my mention of the 'glamour'. With all the very colourful publicity and viral marketing, one could easily be led to believe that [X] publisher's current success is more down to the cultivation of image than to the quality of the writing... I see a double risk in the creation of so much hype and excitement around a book, particularly before it's published… Firstly, the more a book is talked about, the higher the expectations raised, and consequently, the greater the probability of disappointment when it finally reaches the hands of the reader. [Y] and [Z] are both enjoyable books, but I think [the author] will agree that they showed a lot of room for improvement. Secondly, it is not a secret that in today's popular culture, the more a phenomenon is mentioned the sooner people become tired of hearing about it, however promising the quality or delight offered by the subject concerned. Perhaps this is particularly the case among adolescents and young adults, who may feel pressured to consume a particular item (a book, for example) in order to acquire and be able to demonstrate a sense of integration with the central popular norm. What may be considered 'cool' and fashionable today will quickly be forgotten tomorrow, unless of course the talent and message –naked of the parafernalia [NOTE HOW I’M RETAINING THE SPELLING—MAKES THE SUBSTANCE OF HIS POSTULATION EVEN MORE IRONICALLY INTERESTING] which smothers them– inspire enough awe to speak for themselves and project themselves through the changes of time. As Martin Luther King once said, only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. Once the hot air ceases to blow and the balloon is released, we will see how high and far it floats.”


How lovely and insightful for this individual to quote MLK’s words with such idealistic fervor--and demean them in an entirely misplaced context! If MLK found out that someone believes he meant to propose a call to "snobbishness" in his inspired speeches, he'd probably never stop rolling in his grave. Suffice it to say, after reading this amazing post I started huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf. Well, well… I just couldn’t let this pass so here’s MY response to the diatribe complete with necessary quote and all:

“Okay - don't get me started on all of this. I have even blogged - and shall probably blog ad infinitum and in extremis - about the subject of literary vs. genre fiction. Whoever said that writing was intended to be the pleasure of a select few? And who is supposed to judge the purveyors of our literary bounty - a select few?

If the writing is good, are we to judge a book adversely because it is appreciated by the masses and not merely by the supposed intelligentia? God forbid I should wait for someone like that to judge my writing because it's not of the literary calibre of whoever-they-think-my-work-should-be-compared-to.

Robert Duvall said that "Listening to critics is like letting Muhammad Ali decide which astronaut goes to the moon." I came across another quote by an esteemed writer (name presently eludes me) who said that writers write so they can have their books critiqued by those who know not a fig about writing a book.

I'm not saying I agree totally with the above, although I come darn close to it - yet, there you have it. The harsh truth.

If we are to think that books are the exclusive empire of a few people who stand on a pedestal waving their wands around and architecturing which book is worth reading and which isn't - we are in hot water indeed.

I write genre fiction, which is looked down upon by those who like to tweak their noses at "populist" literature. Now how is it that those same people do not direct their acid words toward the likes of authors such as Brontë, Austen, Leroux or Dumas [or as a writer friend pointed out, even Shakespeare]? All these writers and too many more to mention were the "populist" [i.e., "commercial"] writers of their time. Leroux' The Phantom of the Opera, for example, was initially published as a serialized novel under the umbrella of what used to be dubbed "gothic novels" (i.e., the trashy books of their era). When did we decide that these books were literary gems after all?

I agree with [the publisher] that when it's good writing it's good writing and it doesn't matter which audience the book is intended to attract. As certain contemporary authors such as Junot Diaz (who I admire) show well in the pages of their books, the art of writing is best shown in its simplicity and the way with which it touches the heart of every single person who peruses it...not just the "literary snobs".

And what happens when a "literary gem" is transformed into a movie? We've seen it happen with so many books. I could mention Brokeback Mountain, for example, by Annie Proulx. Has this exquisite work been tainted now that it is within reach the grubby hands of the masses - only in a different medium?

We can go round and round with this - it's a subject that I feel very passionate about and I don't intend to offend anyone here. However, my belief is that books should be part of the common heritage and as such, there should be different books targeted to different people. The beach books for intellectuals and the intellectual books for beachcombers... it should be one big pool within which anyone and everyone should find their favorite fish.

That said, marketing is - if you want to call it that - a necessary evil. We can either sit stuck in the past of "This book is way too good to be tainted by the vulgar processes intended to boost sales" or we can move forward and rise to the level of everybody else and put our names on the literary map as we so rightly deserve. At the end of the day, this is the bottom line: Besides the fact that good literature is a great thing to have, publishing is first and foremost a business and ways have to be found to put money in both the publishers' and authors' pockets. If this weren't a priority at this point, we can just keep going the way we've always done...publish books so a handful of people can croon over them.

My two cents.”


The undercurrent is clear here – what the first post above is not so subtly saying that only what he considers glorious works of literature have to survive in this world. Hence, where would that put me and so many others as a genre fiction writer? As the publisher later told me, and I agree, does “good literature have to be unreadable”? Indeed. I’m quite weary of this war of condescension, of this attitude by some that suggests that populist fiction (such as romance and mystery books, etc.) is something to be ashamed of. Besides, I suspect many of these people, when they open a book, barely know what they’re reading about — just like those “connoisseurs” and "intellectual snobs" who stare for hours at an abstract painting thinking they’ve figured it all out.

I blogged a while back about men and women who predicate their dating choices on the potential partner’s reading preferences. It’s true but… methinks, what condescending rot!!! My belief is that ALL TYPES of books (note that I didn’t say “all books”) are worthy of a place on someone’s shelf, no matter who they’re for or what they’re about. And nobody should be judged because of their reading choices.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer in QUALITY and readers should be respected for plunking down their hard-earned money to purchase a book. It is the duty of authors to give the best of themselves. I also agree that there are such things as bad books we’d rather never see again — I’ve read quite a few of those and was royally pissed to waste my moolah on them. But here I am not debating the difference between bad or good books. I'm talking about the arbitrary condemnations of some literary snobs who hold on to their misguided belief that all popular or commercial fiction is rubbish.


Undoubtedly, this literary vs. populist debate is becoming quite tiring. As to the virtues or otherwise of either: I can say I’ve sometimes dozed off after struggling through reading 2 or 3 pages of a dry “literary novel” while at other times, I stayed up all night reading a highly entertaining, and not so literary, one. Also, just because a novel falls under the category of literary doesn't mean that it has to be boring. One can even see a bit of an inclination today where the contents of some literary novels are becoming a little less pedantic and sesquipedalian (hah! thank you, Dictionary.com) and more down to earth — thank heavens! (again, I quote Diaz here -- and his style of "highbrow meets street culture," with the latter more powerful than the former)

Some critics and self-coronated “literary connoisseurs” should start seeing the light and perhaps stop sniffing in disgust from their high horse long enough to get sucked into a well-written entertaining novel (although if they did, they'd probably die before admitting it -- reading any commercial novel, that is, and never mention that dratted romance or mystery genre. What blasphemy!). Irish prose writer and poet Brendan Francis Behan summed it up nicely: "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." Ain't that true? I wonder if said critics (including the one I quoted above at the beginning of this blog) think about how the tales they regard highly today and study to exhaustion in their Ivy League universities or discuss with suitably cerebral savoir faire at hoity-toity literary salons are precisely those same novels which garnered little “highbrow” respect in their time. Also, for example, these people gush over the Romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley [due props, of course] who wrote about nature and love, yet... what about the romantic novelists of our time - even some of the ones whose muse is expressed and pressed between cheesy book covers?

Please let it be known that I'm NOT condemning literary book lovers here - as I fully consider myself to be in those ranks! I love literature in all its shapes and forms. What I dislike is the element of "condescension" or "snobbery" toward commercial fiction which is never called for.

I recently saw (for the umpteenth time) the movie Finding Forrester and it cracked me up when Sean Connery said something about how authors write books and then everyone else fancies that they know what was in the author’s head when he wrote it, then proceed to tear the novel apart with assumptions. I swear -- after reading and/or experiencing accounts of such nature -- if I see another nose twitch in disdainful snobbery after my admission of, “I write romance novels,” or if I'm ever asked when "will I write a real book?" I may just cast up my protein-drink breakfast on someone’s well-starched shirt or polished leather pumps.

What is your view on the above?


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming soon at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I blogged at Midnight Seductions Authors

Go to http://midnightseductionsauthors.blogspot.com/2008/07/literary-snobbery-and-why-i-write-what.html to read all about . . . Literary snobbery and why I write what I write.

Happy Reading!

~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming soon at WCPT!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I blogged at Midnight Seductions Authors

Go to http://midnightseductionsauthors.blogspot.com/ to read about...Words!

The folks at MSA have invited me to contribute to their blog and this is my first post. Please come check it out and leave your comments. I posted some questions I'd like you to ponder and give me your opinion on.



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--coming Dec 2008 at WCPT
"Mile High to Heaven"--coming Mar 2009 at WCPT

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My WTF moment of the day...

Ireland's contribution - Dustin the Turkey - to the Eurovision Song Contest*:



(* For those who are not aware, The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is a yearly competition "held among active members of the European Broadcasting Union". It is quite a big deal for some in Europe. I, myself, grew up watching the competition with my parents each year with the same enthusiasm as some kids have here today when they've won tickets to a Hanna Montana concert. Countries first hold a local competition within their shores, and the winner gets to perform in the ESC. During the ESC, each country votes for songs submitted by other countries in a "block voting" system. Many have criticized this as the tendency is to vote not for the quality of the song itself, but more for the country it represents. For this reason, many of the winner (and other participating) songs are too atrocious for words - each year it gets worse and worse - yet, I felt compelled to share this one, which pretty much left me speechless.)


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--coming soon at WCPT

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Moonlight & Magnolias 2008


I'd like to share that I finally registered for the 2008 Moonlight & Magnolias conference (to be held October 3rd-5th), which is organized by the Georgia Writers Romance Association. Now that I have a manuscript that I want to get published, there is no better time to enter the foray. In view of my absence at the RWA National Conference in Frisco (which I threw over in favor of 6 weeks in Europe - please don't kill me!), I decided the M&M would be adequate compensation. I do plan to attend RWA next year (perhaps also RT), but I think the line up for M&M this year could be considered very exciting as well. Here's some of what attendees will be experiencing:

---Pitch Workshop*
---Special PRO sponsored collage workshop
---Published Author Retreat
---Literacy Book Fair
---Critique Raffles
---2008 Maggie Awards Presentation
---Cold Reads by Editors & Agents
---Bookseller & Librarian Koffee Klatch

*The Pitch Workshop will be the special privilege of the first 100 registrants, and I'll be finding out soon if I'm one of them (fingers crossed).

In any case, I've volunteered to help with scheduling Editor/Agent Appointments (one of the wonderful perks being offered, in addition to "cold reads" by editors), which will, apparently, put me in the enviable position of being in close contact with publisher and agent representatives (yippee!).

Furthermore, there will be lots of other, very interesting workshops I look forward to being a part of. Here's the info directly lifted from the GRWA website:

Moonlight & Magnolias 2008 is proud to present a special 3-hour workshop "Empowering Character Emotions" by Margie Lawson on Friday, October 3, 2008.

The following workshops will be presented by our fabulous line-up of authors on Saturday, October 3:

Suzanne Adair - Writing the Hero's Journey
Haywood Smith - A Crash Course In the Book Business
CL Wilson - Dazzle 'em w/Description
Anna DeStefano w/agent Michelle Grajkowski - She Said, She Said... Developing Communication Skills that Make or Break Your Career
Alesia Holliday - Lessons Learned from the Trenches
Lynne Marshall - Riveting Revisions: The Key to Getting Published
Karen White and Susan Crandall - Using setting as a leading character
Winnie Griggs - What Came Before - The Art of Backstory
Leanne Shawler - Let's Get Physical
Jenna Petersen - The Great Agent Search
Stephanie Bond - 5 Things About Your Writing Career to Obsess Over
Barbara Ferrer - What Have You Done For Me Lately? (Working with a freelance publicist)
Carmen Green - Junk We Carry
Nancy Knight - Screenplay Writing (and how it applies to novel writing as well)
Tanya Michna/Michaels - Weathering Career Earthquakes
Margie Lawson - Empowering Characters' Emotions


An author does not have to be a member of RWA or the Georgia Chapter to attend this conference, but members do get a discount :-). As far as editors are concerned, it has been confirmed that there will be representatives from Pocket Books, Avon, Tor/Forge, Silhouette Desire and Harlequin Superromance. Spencerhill, 3 Seas, Steele-Perkins and Irene Goodman literary agencies will also have a presence at the conference.

I have also bought tickets for the Maggie Awards ceremony for myself and my husband. I'm pretty psyched about that as well, and can't wait to meet some of my favorite authors there!

All in all, I definitely look forward to getting involved. I'm sure it's going to be an amazing experience :-D.



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming soon at WCPT

Monday, May 19, 2008

Critique Pains...and Pleasures

It's been a crazy two weeks, very busy and very productive, and I decided to share a little piece of all that's been happening with you. About a month and a half ago (perhaps longer), I decided to participate in the Virginia Ellis Critique Workshop organized by the Georgia Romance Writers Association. So I submitted the first 30 pages of my paranormal, "An Eternity of Roses", and hoped for the best :-).

The day of the workshop finally came. I was on pins and needles, nervous and excited at the same time. By the time I arrived, I was a bundle of tight knots stitched together.

I sat down, waiting, anticipating.

Everyone got together in groups of three and met their critique author. Everyone except me and another two authors.

"Uh?" I asked.

"Seressia never received your manuscripts, and she's not here." (meaning Seressia Glass)

"You mean you don't know where the manuscripts are?" I dumbly asked.

"We'll find them, don't worry," I was assured.

As a consolation, I got to attend a Q & A session with Rita Herron. To be honest, I don't regret that hour because it was very informative and helpful. Rita is one of Georgia's most well known romance writers and she's very knowledgeable about the business side of things. She's a real trooper and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her and a few other authors.

Well, to make a long story short, I resent my manuscript to Seressia via email, this time. I received a response from her and finally, about two weeks ago, we met at a coffee shop. I plied her with some sweet tea, her favorite drink. Then I sat down and trembled with inner fear. But I didn't have to. Seressia is a lovely person and I must say: she did such an AMAZING job critiquing my novel! Apart from some stylistic suggestions, she gave me much hope and encouragement, and told me she thinks the concept of the story is timeless and awesome. She loved my characters and told me she really started "caring what happened to them". This is my first novel, and I was so happy with the outcome of this meeting. Getting the feedback of a published author and being told such positive things... I was touched.

After our meeting, I went back to the drawing board. By the time I returned to the monthly GRWA meeting this month (and got my original manuscript copy back from Pam Quattlebaum...phew!), I had addressed most everything and am now in the process of adding some meat to the novel in preparation for the Maggies and for other, equally exciting reasons. A story which originally started at 20k and grew to 40k will now probably reach 50k-60k.

Basically, thanks to Seressia's magic, I ended up receiving some very anticipated, encouraging news from another source (my Holy Grail) - news which I had been waiting to hear with bated breath. I am on pins and needles again...I have bitten my nails to the quick. But this is the subject of another blog...

Hopefully, I'll have THE NEWS before the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference this year...and if nothing comes of it, there's always RT and RWA next year, which thankfully for me, will both be held in beautiful cities on the east coast.


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming Soon at WCPT!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Pseudonyms: What's in a name?

"Must a name mean something?" Alice asked doubtfully.
"Of course it must," Humpty Dumpty said, with a short laugh. "My name means the shape I am and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape." - Lewis Carroll


Throughout history, countless authors have used pseudonyms for some reason or other. We often come across examples of female authors who wrote under a male or androgynous nom de plume (be it temporarily or during the whole of their career) for fear of being ostracized or even taken seriously by the publishing elite in the nineteenth-century which happened to be male dominated—or in some cases, simply because they wanted to have more freedom to write about topics which women were not expected to write or even know about. In fact, “Robert Southey, then the Poet Laureate of England, explained to young Charlotte Bronte: "Literature cannot be the business of a woman's life, and it ought not to be."

Here are some notable names that fall in this category:


Mary Ann Evans – George Eliot
Charlotte Brontë – published Jane Eyre in 1847 as Currer Bell (garnering overnight success and much speculation about the author’s gender. The mystery, in itself, fueled this success as fames author Joyce Carol Oates writes: “The intelligence, vigor, and passion of the work argued for its having been written by a man, commentators noted; at the same time, its sensitivity, and, of course, its point of view in the heroine Jane, argued for its having been written by a woman.”)
Emily Brontë – Ellis Bell (for Wuthering Heights)
Ann Brontë – Acton Bell (for Agnes Grey)
Amandine Aurore-Lucie Dupin, Baroness Dudevant George Sand (a young version of whom is pictured right. Sand used this pseudonym, coupled with her public appearances in men’s clothing and much gossiped about speculations about her romantic liaisons, as that with composer Chopin, poet de Musset and novelist Sandeau—and also unsubstantiated rumors about an intimate lesbian affair with French actress Marie Dorval—perhaps to openly display her personal views and beliefs about feminism. This cost her to lose many privileges she would have enjoyed as a Baroness, and her behavior was criticized by many, including Charles Baudelaire)

Joyce Carol Oates offers a list of British women writers who used male pseudonyms:

"Harriet Parr ("Holme Lee"), Mary Molesworth ("Ennis Graham"), Mary Dunne ("George Egerton"), Violet Page ("Vernon Lee"), Margaret Barber ("Michael Fairless"), Olive Schreiner ("Ralph Iron"), Gillian Freeman ("Eliot George"). Others have used names of dubious gender: Storm Jameson, Radclyffe Hall, I. Compton-Burnett, V. Sackville-West, A. S. Byatt. The American Hilda Doolittle followed the advice of her friend Ezra Pound and published her poetry under the neuter, if rather diminutive, "H.D."; Janet Flanner became "Genet"; Florence Margaret Smith became "Stevie Smith"; Lula Mae Smith became "Carson McCullers"; Janet Taylor Caldwell published as "Taylor Caldwell" (and as the yet more virile "Max Reiner")."

In a similar version of her article published in the NY Times, Oates states about George Eliot: “George Eliot's feminist sympathies were strong yet ambivalent; she freely conceded the prejudices of the era, asking, in 1855, that a writer friend not reveal the fact that she was the author of an essay in the Westminster Review: ''The article appears to have produced a strong impression, and that impression would be a little counteracted if the author were known to be a woman.''”

Pseudonyms are also used today, or in the not so distant past of the 20th century as first-time or career-long author names. Examples are Lula Carson Smith (Carson McCullers), Ann Rule (Andy Stack), Baroness Karen Blixen (who used Isak Dinesen for Out of Africa and Pierre Andrezel for The Angelic Avengers), and famed SF author Alice Bradley Sheldon who is known as James Tiptree Jr. There are also female authors who use female pseudonyms (I know lots of those, including myself :-D).

Moreover, some female authors also use androgynous names…such as Louisa May Alcott (A.M. Barnard), Antonia Susan Duffy (A.S. Duffy), Phyllis Dorothy James (P.D. James), the almighty Nora Roberts (who also writes as J.D. Robb), Marie Henri Beyle (Stendahl), and the richest author in the world—J.K. Rowling. Incidentally, in an article/blog on “Her Circle Ezine”, the author writes about Rowling that: “Having no middle name, her first Harry Potter book was published under the name Joanne Rowling. But before publishing her first book in the U.S., her publisher Bloomsbury was concerned that the target audience (young boys) might not buy books by a female author. The company recommended Rowling use two initials instead of her first name. Rowling chose K. for Kathleen, the name of her paternal grandmother.”

Poets also use pseudonyms. But according to Paula R. Feldman, to claim that all Romantic Era women poets, for example, used pseudonyms, would be a myth. She in fact tells us that between 1770 and 1835: “women rarely published books of verse anonymously. With surprisingly few exceptions, women who published poetry books proudly placed their real names on the title page from the very outset of their careers. Such was the case with Lucy Aikin, Mathilda Betham, Felicia Hemans, Mary Howitt, Mary Leadbeater, Mary Russell Mitford, Hannah More, Amelia Opie, Sydney Owenson, Mary Robinson, Anna Seward, Charlotte Smith, Agnes Strickland, Ann Yearsley, and many others. When a woman did bring out a book of poetry anonymously, it was often her first book, and her name appeared quickly on the title pages of subsequent editions and later volumes. This first book was a trial balloon, so to speak, a testing of the waters.”

Jane Austen never used a pseudonym, which is often attributed to be the reason for her evading popularity—and living a rather obscure, dull existence—during her lifetime. In these modern times, we desperately try and convince ourselves that it wasn’t so, as books like Janeology or Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict or movies such as The Jane Austen Book Club may attempt to suggest. We are fascinated by this woman who spent all her life away from the glamor and ritz of London. To reflect our enduring obsession, all Austen’s books have been repeatedly dramatized and her life the constant subject of debate and speculation. Authors such as Amanda Grange, Linda Berdoll and Helen Halstead (and the list goes on) have written a variety of sequels to/alternate versions of her books, exploited Austen’s most renowned characters to craft or extend their lives beyond the confines of her books, wanting so much to emblazon in our psyches their own take on the futures of Emma’s Mr. Knightley, the iconic Darcy, his opinionated Lizzie and the rest of the Bennett family, etc, etc. (sometimes to modest or negative reviews)…I can go on and on but this would be the subject of another blog, which I’ll probably write some other time. Fact remains: Jane Austen was by no means a glamorous, celebrated figure in her time.

But it is not only women who have historically used, and still use, pseudonyms. The Pseudonyms and Nicknames Dictionary (you can order one here for $19.50), edited by Jennifer Mossman, contains a list of 80,000 author aliases from 1897 to 1976 printed snugly in 627 pages containing three-columns of information each! Hundreds of these entries refer to well-known or lesser known women writers. But there are also other examples—of men who use another male or even female alias. Oates offers the rare example of such latter phenomenon in her mention of William Sharp, a Scottish poet and friend to William Butler Yeats, who wrote as “Fiona Macleod”. As far as other male authors using male pseudonyms, you may have heard of Stephen King (who has also written as Richard Bachman), George Orwell, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll (who was in reality Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), and Pablo Neruda (whose real name is Reyes Basoalto). Furthermore, Carolyn Keene, author of the Nancy Drew books, is not Carolyn Keene at all, but a pseudonym representing a slew of writers which included also male authors—who all had a hand at writing some or all of the books. Apparently, according to Wikipedia (“Pen Name”) even Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly has dabbled in fiction and wrote a thriller under a pseudonym – although the only one I found to prove this claim has his real name pasted on it and the reviews mark it as a crappy read. I can't say because I haven't read it and not likely to. So dear reader, you’re forewarned!

Going back to the ladies: Another woman who uses a pseudonym and I mentioned this above (although by no means famous yet) – yours truly, of course! Well, Angela happens to be my middle name and Guillaume is a different spelling of my maiden name. Many of my author friends use pseudonyms. I think it gives one a certain anonymity which enables one to be more bold, to say things, paint pictures and propose theories in books that one wouldn’t ordinarily in real life. Which begs the million dollar question—WHY do authors use pseudonyms?

For me, it’s just an alter ego. I’ve been considering writing in different genres because I find they’re all a part of me—I’m a writer of romance (historical, contemporary, and novels with a paranormal element), a poet, and I also feel close to both mainstream and literary fiction. How do I reconcile all this with my marketing strategy? How can I “split” my persona in so many parts and get away with it? I cannot, therefore, I am aware that I will probably have to consider the use of different aliases and present the different sides of me in diverse ways, although I am aware I cannot just scatter myself to the four winds. Jayne Ann Krentz has done this “split” successfully, or Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle – all pseudonyms for the same author who loves to write contemporary, historical and futuristic romance novels, respectively. I find myself partial to her Amanda Quick style and narrative the best. I can tell the difference between the three…it’s almost like a different person is penning the words…I can almost touch the shift in personality and style to reflect the nature of the genre, I'm sure. Some authors do this when writing different genres, albeit they opt to keep the same name or alias in all cases. In any case Krentz writes only romances though - so there is a certain cohesiveness to her fragmented author self. Catherine Coulter, on the other hand, has decided to start writing mystery using the same name as that she uses for her romance novels. Does this work for her? Not sure - perhaps - but I haven't researched enough where she's concerned. I don't know the numbers.


Each author has their own reasons for using an alias. According to Butler and Delany who wrote a blog article in which Alice B. Sheldon (who wrote as James Tiptree, Jr. and is pictured left) is discussed, their idea is that: “By choosing a masculine nom de plume, having her stories accepted under that name and winning awards with them, Sheldon helped demonstrate that the division between male and female SF writing was illusory.” (Many SF women authors have chosen to utilize a male pseudonym, in fact, possibly for this reason. This very point was brought up in the very cute romantic comedy The Jane Austen Book Club). I suspect the same is the case with a bunch of women writers who have written "male oriented" westerns—indeed, would a male reader have picked up such a book if he saw a woman’s name on the cover? On the other side of the coin, would a romance reader pick a book that’s been written by a man?

So should an author have a pseudonym? Can readers really discriminate if they come across women (or even male) authors writing their favorite genres? The answers to these questions would be purely speculative and subjective. Many may say they don’t discriminate, and find anyone who does this to be missing out on a lot of good reads that are out there. Some think that the fact that authors have used pseudonyms to hide their gender throughout the times has brought forth an ethical issue: the consideration that this act itself has enabled the perpetuation of sexist stereotypes in literary history. Really though, in the past, did female authors have a choice? Perhaps they did, perhaps not. Today, it may be that they have more of one—and the use of an alias is to be considered more of a choice made freely--although I have spoken to some who claim they use an alias to protect their family's reputation in their routine life, considering the controversial/erotic nature of their work. They don't want to be judged by others and don't want their families to bear the brunt of such judgment. But many authors use pseudonyms even when their work is not controversial at all! So here we come back to the element of anonymity which is rather attractive for myriad reasons, it appears.

The above are by no means intended to be blanket statements. Human psychology is a tricky thing indeed. At the end of the day, for the publishers, a pseudonym is of no consequence unless they feel it affects the bottom line—that is, how many sales can be made in what time.

I’m stopping this before I run the risk of making it a dissertation! In conclusion, the U.S. Copyright Office has posted some information about pseudonyms which can be found here. If you’d like to find out some useful information about the legal considerations of using a pseudonym (copyright, trademark, contractual, etc.), I have come across this site and am sharing with you.

Oh…in case you’re interested, here’s a list of Pseudonyms of Horror and Fantasy Writers for your reading pleasure!

So tell me - what about you? Why do you have a pseudonym or why would you want one?


*(Top picture courtesy of http://www.mbbp.com/images/article_art/psuedonyms.jpg)



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--coming soon at WCPT

Friday, April 25, 2008

I want to bleed like a stuck pig


There is nothing to writing.
All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)


My other half stumbled upon this cool article on an equally cool website called "37 Days". The site's tag line is: What would you do if you only had 37 days to live? Well, he thought I'd like reading it so he sent me the link. I have to say that just reading this piece gave me goosebumps.

How many people here have experienced this? How many excuses do you give yourself and others not to do something? We keep postponing. Procrastinating. Thinking, not doing. I know I've done it at some point in my life, and I also know you've done it too.

Artists and writers are the worst lot - at least until they realize, as the article says, that writing is a PRACTICE, not merely an art! This is an undeniable truth. It's something you do every day, in the same way that you wake up and go to sleep and do everything in between. Many writers recognize this - those are the successful ones, or the ones that will eventually become successful. Others are content to sit on the sidelines, although they don't realize it. For a long time they tell themselves tons of things just so they don't write. I've been through that phase a LONG time ago. Here are some excuses we tend to use...

I need to focus on my day job because I gotta pay the bills; I'm just too busy today, my book's gonna have to take the back seat; I'm so tired today, I'll just pick up tomorrow; one of my buddies needs my help, my writing can wait; I have errands to do, can't sit by my computer all day; it's too inconvenient to write on a piece of paper or in a journal when I'm out and about, I prefer my computer so I wait till I get home (then I forget my thoughts and ideas); If I schedule writing time, I don't think I'll be inspired...inspiration is something that comes on impulse and can't be "summoned", right? (or some such esoteric crap about writing); it's my birthday today, I'm not supposed to work, so I'll just sit and do nothing; my family wants ALL my attention, where does the time go?; MUST clean up this house, no time for anything else; I take all day helping my kids with homework... or the worst one, horror of horrors, the perverted murderer of muse that lurks in many aspiring writers' hearts: I'm just not good enough yet (or someone told me some shit along those lines, or laughed at my writing style), I need to LEARN how to write first.

So I say - when is writing supposed to be perfect? Isn't it supposed to be, most of all, an expression of our innermost thoughts and feelings? Recently I was contacted for professional editing services by a gentleman who wrote a 540 page book. He's been called a crappy writer, well, he's somewhat right and he knows it... but he wrote the damn book! He called me and laughed about it. I told him I admired him and loved his idea. There's a big movie studio in California that's interested in getting a script done if the book is given a good facelift. My job, as his editor, is to help him get the manuscript "in shape". Geez...this guy didn't even intend to be a writer, and already he's being romanced with movie deals and what not! Did I feel a tad jealous or what? Not really, just truly pleased to meet someone like him. So here's the problem this guy didn't have. He didn't sit there worrying about whether he could write or not. He just sat down and wrote. And if you think that he may have much more time on his hands than you do, let me tell you this guy has wife, a demanding business, five kids and I don't know how many grandchildren. So think again. The great thing about him: HE MADE NO EXCUSES.

So I'm happy that I've learned to take my "muse saboteurs" and throw them out the friggin' window. I still want to work on giving more time to writing my own stories, but one must start from somewhere. I make it a point to give MY inspiration at least a portion of the attention it deserves, each day. This month, I sent out my manuscript to agents, participated in a critique workshop, wrote a short story (approx. 3k) and submitted it to a competition, added 5k to one novel, 2+k on another novel, and did some historical research. It may not be much, because I have a freelance writing and editing business I must keep up until I get richer than sin or at least, comfortable enough to keep only one client: myself. But in any case, what I've done this month is way more than I'd do if I just sat down and worried/ whined about how busy I am (my biz takes up about 10 hours a day or more sometimes).

Every writer should give themselves an accounting of what they do each day, each week, each month, to benefit their craft. Just thinking about it and taking no action - you end up having nada, and may as well just throw in the towel. Write one page a day, and you'll have a full length novel in a year. Two pages, and you have two. Think like this, and you'll get somewhere, sometime.

As for moi, if I had my rathers: if writing is all about sitting and opening my vein, I just want to bleed till I die.



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming Soon at Whiskey Creek Press

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ken Lee

I absolutely MUST learn this mysterious, new language. Sounds more interesting than Esperanto (despite the lack of "melodiousness") :o)



I'm not one to poke fun but had the overwhelming urge to share this. Hope it brings you a smile.


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming Soon at Whiskey Creek Press

Monday, April 21, 2008

Not a laughing matter: The man who made lists and the advent of N2O


In last week’s blog I honored Eugine Ehrlich, creator of thesauri, dictionaries and other cerebral goodies for the “intellectually literate”. Today, in the spirit of fairness, I’d like to jot a sentence or two about the creator of the most famous thesaurus probably in the whole world: Peter Mark Roget.

Joshua Kendall, in his fresh on the shelves biography, “The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness and the Creation of ‘Roget’s Thesaurus,’" describes Roget as an obsessive compulsive, prone to bouts of “depression and mental instability”. Most probably, making lists and classifying things according to an “odd binary scheme” was the straw he held onto, the one thing that kept him from falling too hard into the dark world he wanted to avoid. Apparently, in a NY Times article published recently, madness ran in Roget’s family. Perhaps this is what led him to his enduring addiction to a substance known as “nitrous oxide”, today better known as “laughing gas”, and is used extensively in dentists’ offices.

From some web sources, I have learned that nitrous oxide (or N2O) was invented by Jason Priestly, who in 1792, “reported the isolation of a mixture of nitrogen oxides that he called dephlogisticated nitrous air, later changed to nitrous oxide. He did several experiments with the gas but never inhaled it.” A few years later, “the Pneumatic Institution (a small medical facility in Bristol England) conducted the first tests into the mind altering qualities of the drug in the 1780's.” This is where Sir Humphrey Davy and Roget come in (see below, and see here for a nitrous oxide timeline).

At this time, “various scientists and others were doing experiments with the gas and its use as a recreational drug spread.” The drug was introduced in the US in the 1840’s, by the way, when “side show entertainers gave laughing gas demonstrations”. The dentist Horace Wells happened to be watching one of these shows and started using the gas in his practice, leading the drive for surgical anesthesia. In the 1860’s, decades after such use in the UK, laughing gas was popular as a recreational drug in America.

One interesting thing I’d like to mention, of particular interest to some romance writers and readers, I’m sure, is that there is clear mention of Roget in Sabrina Jeffries’ last book “Let Sleeping Rogues Lie,” where she gives insight into the use of nitrous oxide in 19th century England for entertainment, rather than anesthetic, purposes. From Sabrina Jeffries’ author’s note: nitrous oxide was used in medicine only around 1846, despite the fact that its anesthetic properties were discovered, in her words, way before in 1799 by Sir Humphrey Davy (who wrote a hulking 579 page book about it!).

In the intervening years between 1799 and 1846, before the substance came to be recognized for its medical benefits in England (that is, to numb pain), it was therefore primarily utilized for entertainment purposes, in much the same way as opium. People inhaled nitrous oxide in order to “get high” and as a means of “escape” just like they would many other drugs, and some were hopelessly addicted to it. So do I know of any well known characters who fell under nitrous oxide’s spell? Sabrina Jeffries mentions a few, in addition to Roget—namely Samuel Taylor Coleridge (who used it to buffer his opium addiction), Robert Southey, and Thomas and Josiah Wedgwood (that's right, you guessed, those guys from the famous family of potters, descended from the Darwin - Wedgwood family... and here I'm refering to THAT Darwin, too), who all enjoyed getting regularly “stoned”. I did have fun reading this book, and it prompted me to do a little research about this particular 19th century underworld populated by the intelligentia and artistic genii addicted to the use of the gas.

Since we are on this subject, here’s a more comprehensive list of renowned nitrous oxide users lifted from David Wallechinsky’s “Book of Lists”:

• Allen Ginsberg, American Poet
• Gregori Corso, American Poet
• Humphrey Davy, English Chemist
• Ken Kesey, American Writer
• Peter Mark Roget, Author of Roget's Thesaurus
• Peter Ouspenski, Russian disciple of Gudjieff
• Robert Southey, English Poet
• Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English Poet
• Theodore Dreiser, American Writer and Journalist
• Thomas Wedgewood, English Physicist
• William James, American Philosopher
• Winston Churchill, English Politician

Yes, Churchill, too. Who'd have imagined? My mom told me she knew about this from a History Channel documentary. Unfortunately, I missed that particular one.

So, let's get on the home turf: is use of nitrous oxide legal in the US? According to one website, it isn’t unless it's for medicinal purposes; but, here’s what it says: “Technically it is not illegal to possess nitrous oxide in the USA, it is an unscheduled drug. However, in many states it is illegal to use nitrous oxide for recreational purposes. If you use it to get high, you are committing a crime. Possession of nitrous oxide with intent of inhaling is illegal in many areas, unless you are under the care of a dentist or doctor.”

Others, such as Dr. Drew (ever caught him on TV spewing his wisdom on relationships and sex?), say that use of the drug is tough to regulate, because it’s “everywhere”: “Pressurized whip cream cans containing enough of the gas to get high are sold at convenience and grocery stores all over. Dead heads and neighborhood head shops peddle metal or plastic canisters of pure N20 (known as crackers in inhalant lingo) for pocket change. Also hawked at head shops are poppers, small devices specifically made to pierce crackers, releasing a powerful blast of nitrous oxide. And in college, enterprising students pilfer entire tanks of the anesthetic from campus laboratories, then sell it by the balloonful at frat parties and in dorms for as little as $5 a whack.”

I wonder what Roget would have thought of this, of how this invention has been both a blessing and a curse and continues to be so in modern society. I wonder what he would have thought of its use among children and youth. Roget was early in catching on to the trend; he played an active role in assisting Sir Humphrey Davy in Bristol, UK, with his nitrous oxide research. Thus, he went to great lengths and traveled far to nurse his habit and experience, in Dr. Drew's very words, its "euphoric effects.”

But Roget was not only a depressed drug addict and creator of a thesaurus. He also did many other laudable things which he is less known for. He was both a prolific writer and an inventor.

He was a genius who before his death in 1869 gave considerable contributions to the world. Here are some: he “invented an improved slide rule used until the development of pocket calculators, and the pocket chessboard… [and] he did research on vision physiology which he published in 1825 that is the conceptual basis for motion pictures.”

In case you need one, a FREE copy of Roget’s Thesaurus may be found here at Project Gutenberg.


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming Soon at Whiskey Creek Press

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vacancy: Lexicographer


Perhaps feeling weary after so much limelight thrown on Mr. Charlton Heston's passing, with whom (despite his renowned thespian talents and, I'm sure, much deserved recognition) I had nothing in common, including ideals, opinions and values, but for whom I sincerely wish eternal peace (although I assume there are no guns in the "other" world, unfortunately for him and fortunately for many others)--I wish to steal the spotlight from such a heavily touted personality and place it for just a few moments on a more obscure figure who deserves the attention and yes, even the utmost respect, of those of us who consider ourselves authors. Although this figure does not hold Hollywood star status in the hearts and minds of the general public, far from it actually, there is ample reason for me to honor him on this blog. Why? Because as a writer engaged in an ever-growing love affair with language, I have an interest in doing just so...

Today I choose to blog about Eugene Ehrlich - The New York Times has recently called him a "word connoisseur", a self-taught lexicographer who wrote or co-wrote "40 dictionaries, thesauruses and phrase books for the "extraordinarily literate"" or for those who really, really wish they were. During his esteemed career, Mr. Ehrlich wrote "three to five million words about words." Impressive, ain't it? Alibris.com supports this fact with three pages of search results for the name "Eugene Ehrlich," whose first book was written in 1961 and held the title "How to Study Better and get Higher Marks." This purveyor of high-brow lexicon died on April 5 after a long illness at the quite ripe age of 85.

If you are one of those who think that the only thesaurus worth owning (or even that the only one that exists) is that compiled by the more widely known Roget, think again. Ehrlich's works are for those intellectuals who make words their art, their sophisticated weapon, their purpose, and are not, admittedly, for the average Joe who needs grammar and sentence structure tips so he can write better emails on the job. And Ehrlich does not only tackle the complex battlefield of the English Language; indeed, some of his books expouse his knowledge of Latin and French...even with very humorous titles, such as (my favorite) "Les Bons Mots, or How to Amaze Tout le Monde With Everyday French," published in 1997, or "Veni, Vidi, Vici: Conquer Your Enemies, Impress Your Friends with Everyday Latin". Apparently, according to Mr. Ehrlich, there IS such a thing as everyday Latin.

This blog is to commemorate such a grand personality, who, to the very end, felt it necessary to fulfill his assumed duty as grammar watchdog. According to the NY Times:

"Some family members were so used to Mr. Ehrlich’s habit of correcting grammar that some studied up before visiting him. On his deathbed, Mr. Ehrlich heard somebody ask, “To who?”

“To whom,” he said, with a weak voice and great authority."


May you rest in peace in "word heaven," Mr. Ehrlich. I would have liked to meet you and converse with you, even at the cost of occasionally embarrassing myself with poor word choice.



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Coming Soon at Whiskey Creek Press

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Yet another contract! A lovely new home for Cole and Olivia...

My debut contemporary short, Mile High to Heaven, has also been accepted for publication by Whiskey Creek Press. I'll be getting a new cover and all, along with a whole new crew of esteemed author buddies -- I'm very grateful!

"Mile High to Heaven" has received great reviews, including a 5 star Recommended Read rating from Romance Junkies (I know, don't beat me--still haven't uploaded it) and I'm happy for the opportunity of seeing it on the virtual shelves again.

To reflect the new changes, I'll be working on updating my website soon, promise.

Thank you, WCP!


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mile High to Heaven"--Xtra hot!!!--Contemporary short. Coming Soon at Whiskey Creek Press
"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--A toasty warm holiday tale--TBR 2008 by WCP

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Another reason to dump him (or her)?

Well, well, when I read this NY Times article, I could hardly believe my eyes but there it is. According to Rachel Donadio, in her article, "It's Not You, It's Your Books", there are people who actually dump each other because of the books they read, and apparently, there are people who take this fact very, very seriously.

Perhaps, there is some sense to this, after all. So after reading the above link, I wanted to create a scenario in my head.

I thought, let me just imagine for a moment that I'm single. If I met someone whose ABSOLUTE favorite book of all time is The Satanic Bible for pure philosophical purposes and his library is filled exclusively with these works of literature (some very creditable, I admit, close to being my favorites, particularly Oscar Wilde, Bronte and Dostoevsky - but there is a pattern there, isn't there?)... and let's just also say it's not for "knowledge enhancement" or "reference" purposes because of some specific project he's working on (eg. one never knows, he may be an undercover agent preparing to infiltrate "the darkness"...ok, mind's running too fast here) - well, in this case, I'm pretty positive, my alarm bells would start chiming a REALLY loud tune. Basically, I may be, um, slightly put off by this particular specimen (just trying to be diplomatic here). I'm not trying to offend anyone, and I do love a good, chilling occult movie or some related interesting reading. I also love to explore some dark elements in certain of my books. Therefore, I would look this literature up if knowledge of it were to prove crucial for one of my characters or plots, so I'm not shy about that sort of thing. There are many roads I would cross for the sake of my stories. I'd probably do anything short of joining a cult. That is just WAY too creepy for me. What I want to say, however, is that my occasional fascination with the subject STOPS there, and does not touch areas of lifestyle or creed. So presently, as I have had so far no use for it from the research angle, I DO NOT own a copy of The Satanic Bible, nor have I ever read it or borrowed it (or wanted to borrow it) from a library or person (I don't actually know people who'd own such a book - my life would seem very boring to some). Coming to think of it, do public libraries carry those sort of books?

BUT I'm really digressing here. See what happens when I let my mind take the lead?

Anyway, going back to the title of this blog, the NY article mentioned above goes beyond all that...we're here entering the realm of "book snobbery". Would romance readers therefore be considered "below par" according to this lofty standard? And what about romance WRITERS? (***she shudders)

Damn, what a thought! I'm so glad my dear husband hasn't dumped me! Should I emit a sigh of relief that he thinks my reading "adequate", hmmm?

So I ache to know - what do you think about this? Would you really dump someone because of his reading choices (assuming they're not too far out as in scenario above)?

Tell me please, I wanna know!!!


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--A toasty warm holiday tale--coming 2008 at Whiskey Creek Press!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A labor of love

Today I want to blog about someone I hold very, very dear to me - my wonderful husband. No, I don't want to brag about what a fantastic person he happens to be and what a great support he is to me - I'm sure that, if I did, you'd be either dozing off or throwing up within seconds.

Instead, I simply want to invite you to read his blogs and also friend him, of course. My husband is a clinical hypnotherapist (not the Svengali or stage type, the other kind :-D) and life coach who does what he does out of pure love and dedication. He's worked with athletes (NBA, PGA), executives, artists, and people from all walks of life, including people who had just about given up on life. When I watch him help those he works with change their lives for the better, it never ceases to amaze me. Really, he should be a millionaire and rake it in like some others have done with their products and techniques for self-help, but for him, it's a calling that should be respected and used for peoples' benefit - and although he knows that what he does can change peoples' lives, he will never use it to purchase fame or create useless products in pretty packages.

I've seen him take someone from a person who lived on the streets at night, selling her body to strangers and feeling horrible about herself and her life choices, to a confident woman with a business and property in an exclusive part of town...within two years! I'm not making this up, because I met the person and agreed to welcome her in the beginning when one encounter went awry and she got beaten up really badly (as in clubbed with a gun, restrained, forced to perform oral sex, and her face beaten to a pulp; she was within an inch of losing her life--and I'm sure she'd be dead if she hadn't managed to escape). I had never seen anyone look like that except on TV, believe me. That event shook her to the core and my husband's job to help her reach her goals got much easier from then on. We took care to make sure the police were notified and that she got proper care at the hospital. She resolved to turn her life around 360 degrees and my hub guided her each step of the way as her coach and mentor. Of course, she is also to be credited for her transformation because she had the desire to change and claim the life she wanted.

Sometimes it takes a lot to make a difference, sometimes just a little. At times, people just want someone to share their troubles with and provide them with some direction. At other times, a more heavy, therapeutic approach is required. I've also seen him give several people hope in life--people who had about become tired with the abuse they received in life, and decided to leave this world, literally. I've seen him help talented people reach their full potential, enhancing their game to the maximum possible level. God knows how many others he helped - he's had many clients I've never met or heard of, because of confidentiality reasons. But for what John did in all these cases and many others, I'm positive that he didn't get paid even 10% of what he deserved to receive.

That's the kind of person he is. He believes that if someone buys a service or product from him, he should give them more than they paid for. Basically, he wants to get his fair and square. He's the real deal, and perhaps that's why I love the ol' bugger so much (ok, so he's not that old LOL) - although I keep telling him he should be stricter with his business.

Well, I guess I did brag a bit didn't I? Hope I didn't bore you too much. But seriously, John's Joimethod blog is a weekly blog that will tackle all kinds of subjects from hypnosis to healthcare to sleep to relationships. It's worth checking out, I promise.

John is also the author of several e-books that have received AMAZING reviews on eBay and other places on the web. More books are scheduled for release soon on his site...and they're not only books about hypnosis. The offerings include self-improvement and inspirational books, and audio downloads.

And when you visit John's blog, don't be shy. Leave feedback, he loves it! If you have questions, email him. He'll answer those too :-).



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--A toasty warm holiday tale--coming 2008 at Whiskey Creek Press

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm an alien...I'm an Englishman in New York...or not?


I just read this jaw dropping and rather hilarious article today about controversial British memoirist Sebastian Horsley, who was denied entry in the U.S. because of a life of "moral turpitude" (referring to his drug use and too frequent forays with ladies o' the night). I admit that just cracked me up - the "moral turpitude" bit at least.

I wonder now, if I wrote a really shocking book with lots of lies, half-truths or truths about a life lived beyond the straight and narrow...perhaps I could make up some really horrific and shockingly juicy details...don't matter if it's true or not I guess...would my U.S. residency be revoked?

Ok, perhaps Horsley goes a 'lil too far with his claim that depravity is part of an artist's job...but hey, if we had to kick all the supposedly "depraved" people from these shores, I think half this country would look like a barren wasteland (particularly D.C. whereabouts...and I don't mean regular people like you and me who live carefully, immersed so thoroughly in the light of the legal radar).

Hmmm...does a propensity to kink count, you think? Gonna have to check that...

So watch out, all ye Erotic Romance, Erotica or 'whatever genre' authors. Add too much heat and you may just get investigated. Make sure you don't include over-the-top drug use or prostitutes in your twisted tales, or you may be in trouble. Worse still, darn if you happen to be the pervy subject of your own stories. Can't say you haven't been forewarned!


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
"Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--A toasty warm holiday tale--coming 2008 at Whiskey Creek Press!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Contract!

After a few rough spots, which included the folding of my erstwhile publisher, some good news was in order. And it came today in the form of a new contract offered by Whiskey Creek Press for my hot holiday romance, Mr. & Mrs. Foster. Yay!

I'm so excited to be joining this publishing company - this is decidedly a step up for me, my books, and my writing career in general.

What's next from now on? Who knows, but one thing is sure...this is just the beginning!



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fleeting life

In the past few weeks I've been faced with the fragility of life. Twelve days ago, my husband's only maternal uncle was diagnosed with cancer. It started in the liver and spread to his left lung. Seven days later, he had his first chemo session. We were told he was in the last stages of cancer. Two days ago, he died. The day before, we were all in the hospital room with him, keeping company to a skeleton of a man who barely weighed 100lbs. Just like that.

Just two months ago he was the picture of health. An 180lb. man who walked around as if he owned the world...full of vigor and life.

It's been a tough time for my husband's family. My mother-in-law and her sisters have lost a baby brother. This weekend, he'll be laid to rest.

Life is fleeting, indeed. When all this is over, I fully intend to continue as I have and even up the ante. To make the most of it--to step into the unknown and grasp my dream.


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Understanding and Knowing

I came across this quote today on my Google account page and it struck me:

"It is by universal understanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree." Charles Beaudelaire.

So I wondered, is this really true? Because in today's reality, it is often claimed that people disagree precisely because we do NOT understand each other. Then again, there is a 50% divorce rate in the US and many other countries, and major fallouts happen frequently between people because when they actually have the opportunity to really KNOW one another, they do not like what they see.

So is there a difference between KNOWING and UNDERSTANDING? Yes, I believe so, at least it's what my mind perceives. Understanding, in my view, suggests that one feels some emotion for another person, that although that person may do something we don't like, yet, after a while, when contrition is in some way expressed, we can go past personal feelings, perceptions and perhaps even pride, and really SEE somebody else's point of view or simply, understand that mistakes are sometimes made and move on.

Knowing, on the other hand, is just that. We can know many things, and we can even have an opinion about those things, but that does not necessarily mean that we understand them. It does not even mean that we're "intelligent" about things.

So once again, I go back to Beaudelaire's statement. If we would disagree with somebody the more we understand them, how can we claim to have what we like to call "humanity", as in the propensity to "be good"? Are we saying that "being bad" is more natural to us? How terrible! We have the capacity to be cruel and set in our ways. I've been cruel sometimes, although in my present life, I've learned to let go very quickly of negative feelings towards others, for if I do not, regrets surface to haunt me. Sometimes, I feel relief when my "cruelty" has revealed a complete lack of compassion in others, the kind that destroys unity between people. For example - let's say I went all out and argued with a friend and reacted negatively to something. If soon after, I do all I can to make up for something I said or did, with genuine concern and feeling, and that offer of a truce is rejected, I feel no regret, but infinite relief that I can see the other person's true colors. For in this case, prideful emotions and barriers have outwitted all other feelings and my initial cruelty has been returned in kind, rather than suppressed in the spirit of good will.

Would my initial act of impulsive cruelty, in that case, have made me worse or more unworthy than the other person, then? I don't think so. We all have, at some points in life, disagreed with others and yes, been cruel or selfish in our words and actions to family members, friends, colleagues or even acquaintances or people we hardly "know", whether unwittingly or purposefully. We can even be selfish by saying or doing nothing, or by rebelling against imaginary enemies when we feel threatened. Often, we cut our own noses to spite our faces because our pride hurts our own "self" more than anyone else.

So where am I going with this? In essence, do we need to truly understand or even know someone to disagree with them or hurt them? Again, is the misunderstanding the source of our disagreement? Or perhaps, is it because we know them or rather, do not know them at all? My opinion - it's not the actual lack of "understanding" that is the true offender here.

I think we disagree with someone not because we "understand" them. If we understood somebody, in my mind, we would accept them.

We may disagree, I think, because we have "knowledge" -- and when we are exploiting others, we are exploiting our knowledge of them. We may also disagree with others because we only care about what we believe or want to believe. Perceptions are very strong and when they are formed, and mingle with our PRIDE, they form a formidable barrier around us. I know this because sometimes, albeit (thankfully) rarely, I've made this mistake, and others have sometimes made it towards me. Hey, Jane Austen even wrote a book about two important emotions I'm dipping into here - Pride and Prejudice.

So finally, do we see the "bad" in others because we understand ourselves too much? I believe that we can go around and around about why people fight so much with each other, but I think that at the end of the day, when people can't move past their position, it boils down to one thing - ego. Namely, pride.

This, dear readers, is what mostly creates the end of peace, love and friendships between us "humans".


~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Blue Ribbon Favorite - go figure :-)


Well, I've just found out some really nice news.

My book, MILE HIGH TO HEAVEN, has been selected as a Blue Ribbon Favorite for the month of December by the reviewers at Romance Junkies!

The email I received expressed that "very month, the reviewers at Romance Junkies are invited to nominate the best book they read during the last month for this award. As you can probably guess, our reviewers read a lot of books, and they have chosen yours as one of their favorites".

This comes as a wonderful "pick me up" after the news last week that my publisher has closed down. Right now, I'm focused on getting "Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" back on the virtual shelves and I can't wait for that to happen :-). Do you think this will make publishers look more closely? I certainly hope so!

Whatever the case, thank you for making me smile from ear to ear, Romance Junkies!



~ Angela Guillaume ~
"Breathtaking Sensual Romance"
Website: http://www.angelaguillaume.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelaguillaume
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breathtakingromance/
Blog: http://angelaguillaume.blogspot.com
AUTHOR OF "Mile High to Heaven" & "Mr. & Mrs. Foster"--Xtra hot!!!--Contemporary shorts--NEED NEW HOMES :-)