Monday, July 28, 2008

Hello, San Francisco!

I'm heading to California tomorrow for the Romance Writers of America's National Conference. Tuesday night I'll be attending the Oakland A's game against the Kansas City Royals along with two of my fellow Breaking Up Is Hard To Do authors, Terri Clark and Lynda Sandoval. Look for us on the big screen! (As a side note: The first-ever major league game I attended was in Kansas City, with the Royals playing the A's. Dennis Eckersley was on the mound for the A's that afternoon, so it was memorable!)

And speaking of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: YA librarian Naomi Bates posted a review of all four stories on her blog today. Check it out right here!

On Wednesday, I'll be autographing books at RWA's annual literacy signing. Over 500 authors will be autographing books, with all proceeds being donated to literacy charities. If you're in the area, please take the time to come to the San Francisco Marriott, located in downtown San Francisco at the corner of Fourth Street and Market. The event takes place from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. Look for me alphabetically in the B's. (Yep, there are so many of us we fill a room and have to be seated alphabetically, or you'll never find the author you want!) It's an event that's worth the drive if you're a big reader.

Finally, on Friday, I'll be one of the official RWA Bloggers, posting a report about the conference to the RWA website. They gave me an official logo and everything! I'm scheduled for 10 am Pacific, so tune in to get the scoop on the conference experience.

Hope to see many of you there, and to see those of you who can't make it to San Francisco online!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

StubHub Can Kiss My...

business goodbye. Not that they care. I mean, I'm one person. But let me warn you: If you try to sell event tickets with them, you may get screwed. Consider going elsewhere.

Normally, I'm not a ticket seller. I don't buy tickets just to resell...I buy if I want to go. As many of you know from an earlier blog, I snagged George Michael tix back in May. I was soooo happy...the guy hasn't been to the US in seventeen years, and I'm a die-hard fan. (Laugh all you want. I do not care.)

But then I found out the Red Sox were playing the Yankees at the EXACT same time, and my husband already bought us tickets. Luckily, the Sox changed the game time to 1:05 pm, so I thought I was safe...until last week, when they changed game time right back to 8:05 pm, exactly the same time George hits the stage. On top of that, the friend who'd planned to go with me couldn't make it, and neither could my backup George Michael fan. Talk about heartbreaking! But since I obviously can't be in two places at once, and I had someone to go with me to baseball, but not to see George, off to StubHub I went, boo-hooing all the way.

I listed the tickets, but they were only up for two days before the "last minute" deadline crept up, which means you have to re-list using StubHub's Last Minute Services, which the site says is "quick and easy!" Well, here's the dirty truth about their Last Minute Services: It's not even StubHub who runs it. You sign up, tell them where your tix are, and they say they'll get back to you within 48 hours to give you a code to re-list the tickets. (And many places on the site even say within 24 hours. But we'll go with the 48, just to give them the benefit of the doubt.) Did I get contacted in those 48 hours? Nope. And repeated calls to customer service after the 48 hours were up didn't help. The first guy said he saw my request in the system, said I should've already been called or e-mailed, and promised to fix it "right away." No e-mail or call back. The next day I called again. A woman in customer service said, "My supervisor's right here...we'll get this fixed and call you back in 30 - 40 minutes. I'm so sorry this is happening!" Three hours later...nothing. So I call again, and the guy I get in customer service says, "Oh, Last Minute Services doesn't have to call you back. It's optional."

HUH? What happened to "quick and easy" or "24 hours" or even "48 hours"?

Nowhere on the site does it say that. And in the meantime, you check off a box that says you will not sell the tix elsewhere. In other words: you're giving them the right to sell your tickets...but they may or may not even let you LIST them. And you can't go elsewhere. Like to (hint, hint) Ace Tickets. Or, say, turn them over to TicketMaster for a possible re-sale to someone who really wants to see George Michael.

So finally, LAST NIGHT, less than 24 hours before the concert, I get an e-mail with the address to which I must send the tickets so they can be listed for sale. I send the PDF *exactly* as requested within two minutes of receiving the e-mail. An hour later, they send back an e-mail saying it's not a PDF. So I re-send, IMMEDIATELY, and make it clear that it's a PDF of the tickets. No response. No password or code or whatever to allow me to list them for sale now that they have the PDF. And when I called back this morning, they said, "We can't help you."

So I have NO tickets. NO listing. NO money. NO one to contact.

StubHub, you can kiss my...well, you know. (And if whoever at StubHub or Last Minute Services got my PDF file sits in my seats, or gives 'em to their buddies, StubHub, you are SO gonna hear it.)

George, I hope it's a WONDERFUL concert. I'd never sell your tix if I could make it. And I'll never, ever deal with StubHub again.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And We're Walking...

If you've ever been to Fenway Park, or watched a fly ball head toward the Green Monster on TV, you've likely seen this (or a similar) logo on the wall:

The Jimmy Fund supports cutting-edge cancer research and first-rate, compassionate care at one of the nation's leading cancer hospitals, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I'm a big supporter of the Jimmy Fund because the money they raise makes a real difference for those fighting cancer--of all types.

This year, to help raise money for the Jimmy Fund, I'm lacing up my Asics to participate in the annual Jimmy Fund Walk. The Walk covers several routes, but I am choosing to tackle the longest--the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon route, which runs from Hopkinton, Massachusetts all the way to Boston. I'm sure I'll come home with a mangled pedicure...and a huge smile on my face. I hope that you will help support my efforts to raise money for this fantastic organization--they save lives every single day, and the research they do could very well save your life or the life of a loved one in the future.

Check out my personal Jimmy Fund Walk page here or just type into your browser window. Every little bit--even five dollars--helps. You can donate anonymously, in the name of a loved one...however you want. What's important is that if we all work together, we can beat cancer!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Keeping It Clean

Blogged today over at the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies page about "Keeping It Clean" other words, what can happen when your basement floods and you're forced to get the place organized!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hope's Bookshelf

Forgive me and my delinquency, but I COMPLETELY forgot to post a link to an interview I did on the Hope's Bookshelf blog a few weeks ago.

Check it out right here.

(And thanks to Hope for the fun interview!)

Can't Miss Parks (and Niki in CT!) posted this great article today about America's baseball parks--three all-time classics and four "new" classics. I've made it to three on the list (Fenway, Wrigley, and Coors.) I don't think I'm going to get to see Yankee Stadium, sadly (though I've wanted to!) If you're a baseball fan, or just appreciate the history of sports and want to see a stadium while you're being a tourist, it's a great article to read.

In other news, I'll be in Connecticut tomorrow night--if you're in the area, come see me! Here's the official info:

Niki Burnham at the New Britain Public Library
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
20 High Street
New Britain, CT 06051

Niki will be talking about her books, what it's really like to be an author, doing a little show and tell (want to see the covers that didn't make it?), and answering all your questions (like why the ski poles are hanging on the side of the lift chair on the cover of Do-Over.)

This event is free and open to the public.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hey Now, You're An All-Star

Over the weekend, the MLB announced both the National League and American League rosters for this year's All-Star Game, which will be the last played at Yankee Stadium (as the ads on ESPN tell us over and over. And over.)

What do you think? Who belongs? Who doesn't? Though I'm a big Varitek fan, I have to admit that I'm shocked he's there. This hasn't been his best year. On the other hand, Mike Lowell, the Red Sox's Mr. Steady, didn't make it, and I thought he might. (Though with A-Rod as competition, it's tough.)

Cole Hamels and Aubrey Huff were pretty big snubs. Ditto Jason Bay. However, I can't say I was really surprised by any of those. And I did want to see J. J. Hardy on the list. The guy's been going gangbusters on my ESPN Challenge fantasy team for the last two weeks, ever since I acquired him. Turned out to be one of my best buys of the season (though with perpetually bad pitching, I'm now in fourth place out of the twenty-two competitors in my league. Overall in the ESPN Challenge, I'm at 88%. A nice B+ grade, though I'm shooting for that A.) But you can't fault the voters for going with Hanley Ramirez over J.J. Hardy. Hanley's had a killer year at the plate.

Personally, my favorite part of it all is the Home Run Derby. It's just fun to watch guys smack balls over the wall just to prove they can. This year, the fave seems to be Chase Utley , but I'm predicting a Dan Uggla victory.

What do you think? Snubs? Derby Predictions? Other thoughts?

I'll be catching one of the final games before the All-Star break tonight at Fenway. My brother lives in Minneapolis, so while I'm cheering on the Red Sox, I have a feeling he'll be calling my cell to mock me every time the Twins score. (Hopefully, the phone won't ring, given that Boston has Daisuke on the mound.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Stuff To Win, Places To Go, and Important Info For Writers

Wanna win a book? Or five? Who doesn't?! Check out this month's Grab Bag of Books Giveaway on :

Yep, that's a copy of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, which contains my novella, Last Stand. If you don't have your own copy yet, enter for a chance to win it (and some other wonderful reads!)

In the meantime, my calendar is filling with events. If there's one near you, please come and see me! Here's the official list (with more updates coming soon, so stay tuned!):

Tuesday, July 15, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
New Britain Public Library, 20 High Street, New Britain, CT.
I will be appearing at the library to discuss how a book makes it from a writer's laptop to a bookstore shelf, and to answer any and all of your questions. (Okay, maybe not ALL questions. For instance, not about my weight. Or about that time in ninth grade when I had to hide a pair of underwear in the trash--long story. But other away!)

Wednesday, July 30, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Romance Writers of America Annual Literacy Autographing, San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco, CA.
I'll be signing books alongside 450 other authors, with all the proceeds of the sales going to literacy charities. If you're in the San Francisco area, this is a great chance to meet and talk to me (and many other fantastic authors, such as Terri Clark, Lynda Sandoval, and Alyson Noël!)

Friday, October 17, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Henry Waldinger Memorial Library, 60 Verona Place, Valley Stream, NY (Long Island).
What would you ask an author if you had the chance? I will be meeting with the library's Mother/Daughter Book Club for a fun night of Q & A about my books, with a focus on Goddess Games.

Finally, some important info for writers: for whatever reason, over the last few weeks, I've gotten a TON of requests from readers/aspiring writers who want me to read their work, give their name to my agent, find them a publisher, etc. Though I'm honored that you trust me with your work, here's the thing: for a lot of boring (but important) legal reasons, I can't read your manuscripts. If you send one to me, I have to delete it unread. Plus, even if there weren't legal reasons preventing me from reading your work, if I started saying yes to one request I'd feel like I needed to say yes to all requests, which would leave me no time at all to write my own stuff. SO...please don't send me your novel-in-progress, or ask me if I will send it to my agent or editor. However, I don't want to leave you adrift! If you are an aspiring writer, I encourage you to check out the Frequently Asked Questions page on my website. There's a lot of info there to help you. Also, consider finding a few other writers and forming a critique group. Not to tear apart each other's projects, but to be give constructive criticism in a supportive atmosphere. A lot of writers find critique groups to be useful in their careers. You might find one useful, as well.