The winner of PBW Holiday Giveaway #1 -- Gifts of Stories is:
Marnie Colette a.k.a marniebelle
Marnie, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to info to LynnViehl@aol.com, and I'll get your package out to you. Thanks to everyone for sharing their favorite holiday reads with us.
Ten Things You Probably Don't Know About Writers
1. All writers have at least one secret bad habit that makes them better writers. Mine is discreetly eavesdropping on people talking to each other, usually in restaurants, grocery stores and at the post office.
Best line I ever overheard in a coffee shop, from a woman talking to two men: "I can take both of you, but it's gonna be a tight fit." (She had three kids with her and was talking about giving them a ride in her compact car; get your minds out of the gutter.)
2. One or more characters in our novels has probably had their name changed at least once. The reasons for these name changes are logical only to the writer.
Alexandra Keller from the Darkyn series started out as Vanessa Whitman, and then became Vanessa Killian, and then, finally, Alexandra Keller. I first changed the surname because it reminded me too much of chocolate. I changed her Christian name after meeting our blogpal Vanessa Jaye (who doesn't know about this, btw) because I kept thinking of her or something she had said online every time I sat down to work on the character in the first book. I chose Alexandra specifically because at the time I didn't personally know any Alexandras.
3. Bad reviews never bother us.
I accidentally kicked that hole in the wall because I went a little overboard trying to kill a silverfish. The voodoo doll? That was just a joke gift from a friend, and I've been using it as a pin cushion when I sew. And I don't know how those pictures of those reviewers got pinned to the dart board in the garage, but they're really helping me improve my aim.
4. Books are priceless to writers. Words are like jewels. Unread stories are gifts waiting to be unwrapped. Book stores and libraries are our treasure houses. People we see reading books always look beautiful in our eyes.
Lady who I saw reading a Harlequin romance novel in your car while we were waiting in the school pick-up line? You're gorgeous. I love you.
5. Every writer probably has a private, funny nickname for people in the industry that no one but their closest writer friends will ever hear.
I'll break the silence to reveal a couple of mine: Lady Catherine de Iceberg. Inspector Clueless. Lord of the Wrongs. The Scarlet Pimp. (and no, I'm not going to tell you their real names.)
6. If you ask a writer which is more difficult, writing or performing neurosurgery, they'll probably say writing.
No one sends in eight highly-trained people to help me write my books in a controlled environment with the latest in cutting-edge technology. Yeah, those brain surgeons have it easy.
7. No matter how personally uncool we are, we writers always get to hang out with amazing characters who do incredible things in strange and wonderful places.
Today I did the laundry, put away the dishes, and watched/listened to two immortal Kyn lords having a fist fight in a nightclub while arguing over the possible existence of zombies.
8. The biggest mistake you can make is to tell a writer that they can't write something.
The last time that happened to me, I not only wrote the story, I sold it. For a lovely pile of money. So, come on, tell me what else I can't write.
9. We won't admit it, but most of us do shop for our characters.
Except me. I was only looking at those Armani suits at the mall to see if they had any marked down to 90% off so I could afford to buy one for my guy. Okay, so he's a mechanic and doesn't wear suits, but if by some chance he unexpectedly wins the Nobel for peaceful advances in HVAC or something, I need to be prepared, right?
10. Writers are always writing -- if not on paper or the computer, then in our heads. Even when we sit on our favorite windowsill and seem to be doing nothing more than watching the snow fall, trust me, we're writing.
As it should be.
For the third PBW Holiday Giveaway, I have:
A Gift Bag of 10 Writer Secret Joys
-- A No Plot? No Problem! novel-writing kit by Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month
-- a hardcover blank book to journal in
-- unsigned hardcover copies of The Writer's Complete Crime Reference Book by Martin Roth, The Pocket Muse and The Pocket Muse ~ Endless Inspiration by Monica Wood
-- unsigned paperback copies of The Writer's Book of Matches ~ 1,001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction by the staff of Fresh Boiled Peanuts, A Literary Journal, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent, A Writer's Space by Dr. Eric Maisel, A Writer's Book of Days ~ A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves, and The Daily Writer ~ 366 Meditations to Cultivate a Productive and Meaningful Writing Life by Fred White.
To have a chance to win this giveaway, in comments tell us something we don't know about you (or, if you'd rather keep your secrets, toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Sunday, December 14, 2008. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner the gift bag with the 10 Writer Secret Joys, plus two extra stocking stuffers -- signed, printed* copies of my Lynn Viehl writing how-to, Way of the Cheetah and my December Darkyn novella e-book release, Master of Shadows. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something from PBW in the past.
*Printed by me on bond paper and placed in a three-ring binder.