Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New(s) Year!

Okay, so that's a corny title for a blog post, but I couldn't think of anything else. Let me start by wishing everyone a Safe and Happy New Year! If you're going out tonight, drive save, drink responsibly and party like it's 1999 [again]. If you're staying in like me, have a cozy, enjoyable evening.

I seem to have a habit of finding out good things at the end of the year - which isn't a bad habit to have. This year I get a few snippets of good news:


Forbidden World: Ambrax is #10 on the Fictionwise Erotica Best-Seller list!

and #1 on the Amber Quill Best Seller list at Fictionwise


AND...I found some reviews for Hunter's Mate while Googling last night:


4 Angels! Hunter’s Mate is another fascinating peek at alien romance, and fans of SF romance will love it! – Jean, Fallen Angel Reviews


4 Ribbons! Hot alien action lies in store for the readers in this very creative and entertaining book, HUNTER'S MATE. – Anita, Romance Junkies

4 Lips! Hunter’s Mate is a fabulous short story by Bernadette Gardner. After reading this story I am hooked on the writings of Bernadette Gardner and am eagerly awaiting her next work. – Tara Renee at Two Lips Reviews


Happy New Year everyone! See ya' next year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mark your calendars!

I just got the release date for Skin, my next Ellora’s Cave release! It will be available on January 25, 2008! My first release of the New Year!

You can see the cover art up on the second Coming Soon page at EC!!
http://www.ellorascave.com/coming_soon.asp?Page=2

Here’s the blurb:

Her body is his canvas.

When Makena Brady walks into SkIntense Body Art, she expects nothing more than a little prick, and a small tattoo to satisfy her quest for independence from her ‘good girl’ lifestyle. What she gets instead is a sensual awakening.

Darq Stone is an artist and Makena’s body is the perfect canvas. He works his magic on her, bringing her to the edge of reason with a temporary tattoo airbrushed on her inner thigh. Enthralled by the excitement of lying nearly naked while he paints on her, Makena yearns for more, but can she handle the real thing? Darq is much more than he seems and once he brands her with a permanent mark, she’ll be drawn into his world forever.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Makena trembled when Darq Stone raked his eyes over her body. His gaze traveled from her mouth all the way down to her primly crossed ankles in a sensual sweep that left her weak.

He would do it. He would ask her to take her clothes off and he’d touch her and look at her and she’d love every minute of it.

He stood so quickly she almost jumped out of the chair.

“I don’t normally do this, but in your case…” She watched his Adam’s apple bob before he turned his back on her. With a startling swish, he pulled a dark curtain around the chair, forming a secluded alcove that was separate from the rest of the brightly lit shop. When he turned to face her again his eyes seemed darker, feral and piercing.

“This seat is reserved for private work, for the modesty of my customers. No one can see you from outside the shop. If you’d like to show me the areas you have in mind, feel free.”

Her eyes tracked over his shoulder. How private could this be after all? Of course, she thought nothing of removing her clothes in a dressing room surrounded by mirrors and hidden from other customers by nothing more than flimsy shower curtains or half doors. Other female customers, anyway.

“I’ll lock the door out front, if that’s all right with you. Our busy time isn’t until later. Since there’s no one else here, I can close for a little while.”

“Okay.” She realized she didn’t want to get undressed alone. That wouldn’t be any fun at all, and already Makena had decided this adventure was going to be fun. If nothing else, she was going to enjoy having Darq Stone look at her and touch her and whatever else she wanted him to do. The look in his eyes told her he was ready, willing and able to give her far more personal service than a private consultation about body art.

What had come over her? She didn’t care. She’d worry about it later, after she’d asserted her independence with this beautiful, sexy beast.

She was still fully dressed when he came back into the alcove. He gave her a curious glance.

“My hands are shaking,” she said. “Maybe you could help me.” She dropped her suit jacket on the chair behind her, but it slithered to the floor. She shrugged and tried to quell her internal tremors. If he continued to look at her that way, she might come from anticipation alone.

In two long steps he crossed to stand in front of her. The musky scent of his cologne reached her and her head swam. Darq Stone was nothing like she’d expected him to be. In fact, with his long-sleeved casual shirt and black Dockers, he didn’t even appear to have any tattoos of his own. She wondered if she might convince him to show her all of his body as well.

“Would you like me to unbutton your blouse?”

She nodded. “Yes.” The word came out as a breathless whisper. She held herself utterly still until he obliged, raising his hands and clasping the first tiny button.

It popped open under his expert touch and Makena gasped. Good Lord, if just having him open one button felt this good, what would it feel like if he actually put his hands on her?

She’d come apart under him.

The next button went and Makena felt his warm breath on the vee of flesh exposed above her collar.

“Are you considering an image above one of your breasts?” His voice had gone thick. His eyes were locked on the third button of her blouse.

“I’m not sure. Maybe the small of my back, or on my shoulder. Or my inner thigh.”

“That’s a very sensitive area. You might not be able to wear a tight skirt or pantyhose for several days after the work is done. That could interfere with your job.”

“I have vacation time coming.”

Two more buttons. Makena wanted to put her hands on his broad shoulders and lean on him. Her legs felt rubbery and each breath hitched in her chest. “Pull my blouse out of my skirt, please.”

He hesitated only a second then tugged the creamy yellow silk out of her waist band. She didn’t need to ask him to push the blouse off her shoulders or to run one finger under the strap of her bra.

She bent forward to ease the intense ache that crawled up from her pussy to her womb. Her stomach clenched when his breath hit the bare skin of her shoulder. “Do you see a spot you like?”

He didn’t answer. Instead he curled his fingers around the satiny strap and pulled it down, almost exposing her breast. He ran his fingers over the skin below her shoulder and then into the cup of her bra.

Every nerve in her body went tight and she gasped when his fingers grazed the smooth skin just above her nipple.

“You’re very sensitive here as well. The process can be painful in certain areas . I wouldn’t want to see you in discomfort for a long period of time…unless you like pain. Some people do…they get a sexual satisfaction out of being tattooed.”

“I don’t know if I would…ah…”

“Turn around.”

She obeyed on wobbly legs. In her mind’s eye, he put his hand on her back, just between her shoulder blades and pushed forward so that she bent over the chair. She pictured herself spreading her legs for him and biting her lower lip hard while he lifted her skirt and probed between her thighs for the hardening nub of her clit.

Instead he merely removed her blouse, sliding the cuffs over her wrists. He placed the garment on the stool he’d been sitting on and then brought his hands up in delicate strokes along her spine to the clasp of her bra.

“Will you allow me to—”

“Yes!”

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Un-Resolution Post


Back in December 2005 I started my Un-Resolution Post tradition. I gave up making New Year’s Resolutions years ago and have been much happier for it. Instead I look at each New Year as a time to look back on what I’ve accomplished the previous year rather than set up what usually become unattainable goals for myself in the coming year.

This year has been a good one career wise. I signed with a literary agent, I released eleven titles [among them anthologies of previous published stories included in two print books.] I attended my first book signing at NJRW in October, and I was interviewed for Romance Novel TV!

If 2008 sees as many firsts as 2007, it will be a banner year, so I can only hope my career continues its upward climb.

Over the previous twelve months I’ve learned a few things about writing. Working as an editor has helped me hone my craft, taught me things about commas I never knew {LOL} and gave me a keener eye for detail. I’ve learned some about the publishing process [chiefly that it’s slow, time consuming and frustrating] and about my own weaknesses as a writer. [I start strong and then I doubt myself when I hit the sagging middle of the manuscript.] I’ve learned that a good portion of promotional activities are a waste of time [gasp!] and the best way to further your career is to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. Blogging, podcasting, designing fancy book trailers, chatting until my fingers fall off or running contests until I go broke on postage are not productive for me. [No offense to authors who work hard doing those things. They’re fun and creative and they often do endear you to readers], but the best way to be a writer, is to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE, then submit and WRITE some more.

So, if I must resolve anything for the coming year it’s this: I resolve to waste less time on the Internet [gasp!] and spend more valuable time writing.

I’m vowing to drop in on my loops less often [I may devote one day a month to messaging]. I’m not going to spend endless hours tweaking MySpace. I’ll update when I have a new book coming out] and I’ll also spend less time aimlessly surfing and hopefully spend less time playing Alchemy at Yahoo Games.

Here’s to 2008, may it be a banner year for everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Wishes


Sexy Comments Galore!



I'll be off for a couple of days enjoying the holiday. Have a wonderful Yule, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Art of Sleep

I had this thought as I was lying in bed this morning pretending that the alarm wasn't going to ring in three minutes. The Art of Sleep is something that it may actually take some skill to master.

Okay, you may say, what is she babbling about now?

These are the things I think of in the wee hours. Sleep doesn't often come easy for me. I toss and turn and I worry a lot which keeps me up. DH falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. I have a hard time getting comfortable. My feet have to be warm, but not too warm. My pillows have to be propped just so. I can't sleep in long sleeves or if the room is too bright. DH can practically sleep standing up. I fall into my deepest sleep just about the time the alarm is set to ring. During the four minutes between turning off the first alarm and the time the snooze alarm goes off, I can go back into REM and have a complete dream. I always vow once I get the kids off to school, I'm going to climb back in bed and finish up that extra and much needed hour of sleep. I've done that exactly once and I've regretted it because I felt groggy and tired all day.

I've come to the conclusion that getting a really good sleep is an art form. You have to finesse it. The right atmosphere, the right attitude, the right ambiance, maybe even the right outfit.

I'd give up a lot for a really good, refreshing sleep, but I'm not quite sure how to achieve that without hitting the snooze alarm every four minutes all night long.

What do you do to get a good night's sleep? What's the best sleep you've ever had?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Controversy begets controversy

And this is from the 'You've got to be kidding me,' file.

With regards to the pregnancy of 16-year-old Jamie Lynne Spears [sister of the quintessential Britney] I read this today on Yahoo news:

Her mother, Lynne, who will soon be a grandmother of three, saw her planned book on parenting high-profile children placed on indefinite hold by her Christian publisher.

Can someone explain to me what would make any publisher think Britney's mom knowns anything about parenting, Christian or otherwise?

This is even better:

A spokesperson for the publisher declined to comment on whether Jamie Lynn's pregnancy contributed to the decision to shelve the memoir...

Which is a delicate way of saying, "Hell, yes it did."

Maybe I should suggest a book on how to be a mom and a erotica author at the same time. Sounds like it woud be right up their alley.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back Home

The Romance Divas Forum is on its way to being restored. Whew, it's nice to be home. Cyberspace does not want hundreds of displaced Divas prowling around with no place to hang out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Chosen

The Chosen
by Gwen Hayes

is available today at Freya's Bower!

Daniel “Morgue” Morgan hunts demons. And likes it—until the day Madigan Carter cuts through his life like a blade of sunshine. She is everything he isn’t, and for the first time in his life, he questions his calling when it means he will be forced to turn Madigan into a killer. Just like him.

Madigan doesn’t believe in demons, until the day she fends one off with her Louis Vuitton bag. She doesn’t want to be an Expeller, and she really doesn’t want to be trained by the most aggravating—and sexy–man she has ever met. When the Expeller instincts, and the unnatural hungers that go with them, threaten to overwhelm her humanity, will her connection to her mentor be enough save both their souls?

Rating: Tangy
Book Length: Novella
Price: $4.75
Genre: Paranormal/Vampire/Werewolf/Contemporary/

Want to know more?

Read an excerpt
Buy the novella

Monday, December 17, 2007

All in a day's work

Here's another confession:

Sometimes I prefer weekdays to weekends.

Since I work at home most of the time, I don't necessarily get a 'day off.' In fact, I don't get a day off because even though there are days when I don't write, I still work.

Take yesterday:

I rolled out of bed around 8:30 and handled the usual morning routine, feeding the pets, making breakfast, making the bed. The rest of the morning was spent preparing for son's birthday party, which, thanks to the weather, was held at our house. Icing the cupcakes I'd baked the night before, straightening up the house so a passel of 9-year-old boys could wreck it. Fortunately DH took over the festivities which centered around playing video games. This way I could get on with the real important stuff, like diving into the mound of laundry that needed to be done.

While washing enough towels to dry a small army, I balanced the checkbook and messed around some with visiting my friends on MySpace [I consider this work, btw, I really do]. Then between the pizza and cupcakes [eaten standing up of course] I finished reading Wolfsbane: Aspect of the Wolf again and took notes for the sequel I have planned for 2008. More laundry followed, then editing.

Once the party had cleared out [magnanimous husband told the boys to call their parents and ask if they could all stay an extra hour!] I made dinner, fed the pets and did more laundry. After dinner, I ordered everyone to put their clean clothes away [always a dicey proposal. DS tends to toss his clean clothes into the bottom of his closet and 24 hours later can't tell which ones are clean and which ones aren't.] Then I started on today's batch of cupcakes for the Winterguard bake sale and finished off the evening with two hours of editing while the family played a raucous game of Star Wars Lego...something or other in the other room.

At 10:30 I plopped on the couch and announced, "My work day is done."

Saber gazed balefully at me a few minutes later so I hauled my butt off the couch and let him out, then sat back down and declared, "NOW, my work day is officially done."

Who needs weekends? I get more rest between Monday and Friday.

Friday, December 14, 2007

You would even say it glows...


File this under 'I've heard everything now.'


Saw this on the news today and I had to look it up to see if what I was seeing was really what I was seeing.

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday.
In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.
Is that too much or what? Read the rest of the article here.
Now, the idea of a glow-in-the-dark kitty certainly has commercial value. Topper could stand a little bio-luminescence as he's pracitcally invisible during the day when he closes his eyes. Think how many injuries would be avoided if people no longer had to worry about tripping over the cat in the middle of the night?
On the down side, this technology is designed to help cure human illness [that's not the down side obviously] the downside is that what if we end up with people who glow in the dark?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Pursuit of Happiness

Sometimes I go back and read my old blog entries and the other day I was looking through January 2007 where I had included a post on happiness. The idea came from my having read an article in a magazine [while hanging out at the dentist with DD] that listed 50 Ways to be Happier.

Most of them, I felt, were somewhat insipid. You can read the original post here if you scroll down to January 16.

While I’m torn on the subject of happiness [I believe our happiness is something we’re all personally responsible for, and I also believe there are times when happiness is impossible to achieve] I do have a short list of things that I’ve discovered can help boost, if not create, personal happiness. This is along the vein of the original article, btw, so it’s not a list of those elusive things that would make anyone happy like winning the lottery, getting an uber multi-book deal from a major publisher, making the NYT bestseller list...etc. Those of course, are givens.

Here are a few things I’ve discovered this year that have made me happy, or increased my overall contentment level. Don’t laugh.

Getting a cat. [My kitteh may try to eat the Christmas tree, and I think he’s giving the dog an ulcer, but he’s a joy to me. All black velvet and glowing golden eyes, he’s always looking for fun and he sees the world as one big adventure. I adore him.]

Having the carpets cleaned. [Who would have thought, but wow, the house looks a thousand percent better and my anxiety over cleaning has dropped to a manageable level.]

Finding a new [or rediscovering an old] hobby. [Having something to do besides working and cleaning house goes a long way toward personal happiness. This year I’ve rediscovered painting and drawing and it’s made me feel a lot better.]

Advanced preparation. [stealing a bit of time to get a project done ahead of schedule had reduced my usual anxiety about a lot of things, whether its writing out Christmas cards or shopping for school supplies, doing it before it NEEDS to be done makes life easier.]

Reading a new genre. [Science fiction and romance, adventure and romance, paranormal and romance, I love them all, but I’ve had a ball reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series which really doesn’t fall under any of those catagories.]

What have you done this year that has increased your happiness level?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No wonder kids can't write

Ursula is having a fit.

This has nothing to do with any work she's editing right now, but with a book my son is reading for a Fourth Grade Book report.

Let me start by saying, book reports are hell. There's nothing that sucks the joy out of reading more than having to answer insipid questions about a story like: Why do you think the author wrote this book? [To make a living?] or What was another way the main character could have solved the problem in the book? [If I knew that I'd have written it myself?]

Anyway, as if book reports aren't torture enough, guiding a 9-year-old through a book report in which the actual writing part of the assigment must fit onto a paper shaped like a snowman [I kid you not] is something right out of the Seventh Level of Hell. What's infinitely worse is that the book my son chose to read is GOD AWFUL.

Now, as an author, I don't like to pan other people's work. I really don't because I recognize how difficult it is to create a manuscript, get it past an agent or editor and get it sold. But EGADS! This book, written for the 8-12 age group, has atrocious grammer, pointless dialogue and it seems the author tried to make up the most ridiculous character names she could, I suppose assuming that children would find it amusing.

I'm reading it with my son because his book report grades are rather dismal and if I don't know what the book is about, I can't guide him through the questions he needs to answer about it, since his response to most things is, "I don't know."

After reading a paragraph together that contained three sentences using 'had had' as the verb, Ursula stepped in and started making comments under her breath. I tried to shush her, but when a one-eyed cat rolled its eye[s] she had a conniption. A one-eyed cat can't roll both of its eye[s]. Did an editor not notice that?Please.

When one of the characters used the word 'screwed' and not in the 'putting in a light bulb' context I had my own conniption. Now, I'm not a prude [by any stretch] but as a parent, I'm not sure I want to explain what 'screwed' means to my 9-year-old. [Okay, maybe he should already know, but the book is about animals for heaven's sake, not human relationships.] In a book where the narrator is a Labrador I just don't think there's room for the word 'screwed.' Sorry.

What kills me is, this book was published by a well known educational publisher that specializes in YA and scholastic novels and text books. I'm desperate to know, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

I'm now beginning to understand why new writers make all the same mistakes - even though most of them are avid readers. When early examples of published writing are so horrendous, how are children supposed to learn how to craft a sentence or a decent paragraph?

I really don't want to start a movement, or a crusade, but is it too much to ask that YA publishers go for books that aren't just grammatically correct, but are well-written besides??

Monday, December 10, 2007

Divas Down!

The Romance Divas forum has been down all day which puts a major cramp in my style. I consider Divas my co-workers and my friends and not being able to stop in and chat on the board a few times a day is like being banished to a windowless room in an office full of people. You know everyone is out there, but you can't see them or talk to them.

What a bummer.

Hopefully my virtual water cooler will be back online soon. Until then, if any Divas stop by and want to chat, feel free to do so!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Read my shirt...er...lips?

DD and DH went to the NY Anime Fest yesterday and in addition to a box of Crushed Almost Pocky [gotta love that stuff!] I got some t-shirts!



I love One-Up mushrooms. I don't smoke them or anything. I just think they're cute.


This one is for Ursula. LOL.




DH bought this one for himself. He is the master of chaos, so it's perfect for him. He's long wanted the shirt that says:

667 - Evil and then some

but I told him he should get this one:

333 - Only half evil.

He was not amused.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Elusive Perfection

I've been editing this week. [Okay, Ursula has been editing] Some of my stuff and some for other people and it's got me thinking how far should we go in the pursuit of the perfect copy?

Don't get me wrong, I think a manuscript should be as clean as possible. If you're submitting to an editor or agent, you don't want them sidetracked by typos or stray punctuation or stumbled by copious backstory or passive verbs - BUT no manuscript is perfect.

If authors could create perfect manuscripts, we wouldn't need editors. Editors exist because there comes a time when an author cannot see their own errors anymore. How many times have you read over a manuscript and skipped by an obvious mistake because your brain told you to see what you wanted to see? It's a normal function, really. Our brains are actually wired to try to make sense of things that don't make sense. That's why we see shapes in random images, that's why abstract art works, that's why we can comperhend wrods taht are not speled rihgt.

It's not just about typos though, or poetic license that allows us to sometimes skip a comma or toss in a semi-colon in order to make a sentence read exactly the way we want it to read rather than the exactly grammatically correct way. Language of course should be fluid and adaptable as well as having reliable rules to follow.

But I digress. What I'm really interested in is, how much time do you spend in the pursuit of perfection? Do you edit your own work once, three times, ten times before submitting it? Are you grateful for nitpicky CPs and anal retentive editors [Ursula takes offense at said comment, btw] or do you appreciate every single tweak in a manuscript even after you'd read it over until your eyes fall out? Or...and I know there are some of you out there...do you finish writing, kiss your ms goodbye and feel that it's up to the editors to polish your work until it shines, that you've created the bones and muscles of a story and the editor will be putting the cosmetic touches on for you? [Don't feign shock! There are such authors out there. I know it.]

Do you think the pursuit of perfection is your highest responsiblity or a waste of time?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Been editing Rogue Heart all day. I think I'm high on orange Sharpie. [My red one ran out of ink.]

I also loaded an update of Explorer - so now everything looks a little different and works a little different and I hate it all. Why can't these tech people just leave well enough alone?

Here's a funny for the week. I sent this to DD the other day and it Cracked. Her. Up.

Maybe I think it's funny because I've been working twelve-hour days all week and I'm high on orange Sharpie.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Dreaded Nap Attack

I was hoping to be very productive today, but I was caught unawares by a nap and it wrestled me to the couch and knocked me out for two hours.

I hate when that happens.

I have a rule I follow on the days I'm working at home. I never go anywhere near the couch all day long. As soon as I sit down and get all comfy, I'm a goner. Today, I couldn't fight it.

I worked in the morning, made some revisions on Rogue Heart [tentative title for the sequel to Rogue Theta] and decided to go back to Chapter One and do some major edits. Then I went out to lunch with my mother and my aunt and when I got home my eyes just would not stay open. I faced the dilemma of sitting at my desk holding my head up with both hands while I tried to read or accepting the inevitable descent into unconsciousness if I parked myself on the couch.

The couch won. I closed my eyes at 2:30 and at 4:30 woke up when my son looked up from his homework and said, "Did you have a nice nap?"

Ah well. I guess I can make up for it by staying up a little later to get some work done.

I hate when naps attack.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Mixed Bag



I can't seem to settle on one coherent blog topic lately, so I thought I'd just toss up some random updates.

I've been drawing to keep myself entertained in the evenings. I've been desperate for a hobby to work on while watching television since I don't have the patience for sewing anymore and my crocheting is generally crappy.

I'm closing in on actually being ready for the holidays this year - the Christmas cards are all written out, I just have to get to the PO and buy some stamps. Most of the shopping is done. I even have supplies in for a nice, traditional Christmas morning pancake breakfast.

So far I'll have four releases lined up in 2008: my second Ellora's Cave story, Skin, will be coming out, Thieves in Paradise from Amber Quill will premiere in May and La Mirage will be available in print Samhain's Sand, Sun and Sex anthology also in May and later in the year the long-awaited [hopefully somone's been long awaiting it anyway] sequel to Wolfsbane: Aspect of the Wolf will be part of Amber Quill's Howling at the Moon...Again Pax.

Whew. It sounds like a lot - in addition to my plan to turn out at least two more stories related to Rogue Theta for EC and the second of my Forbidden Worlds stories for Amber Quill.

Now all I need is a bunch of uninterrupted writing time. Not sure where that's coming from. If anyone has any spare time they'd like to lend me, I'll fax you a cupcake. Thx!

Off to procrastinate! Have a day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I confess....

...in addition to not having blogged in several days [hey, I've been hard at work on the sequel to Rogue Theta!] I also must confess something:

I read for the moment.

You might say, "Huh?"

And if you did, I would explain that I don't store massive amounts of literary trivia in my head. I don't have the plots of every book I read memorized, nor do I keep track of characters or situations from other people's novels. [Unless I'm in the middle of editing of course.]

In essence, what I read goes in, rolls around in my head until I read The End, and then the file is purged to be replaced by the next book I read. Sure I retain a general feeling of good will toward a story that I particularly liked and I do have a few permanent records in the wallbanger file that I can call to mind whenever the discussion of train wreck plots or TSTL characters come up, but on the whole, I don't remember much of what I've read long after I've read it.

Is that bad? I mean, I read a lot of books. I don't memorize them. I enjoy them for the moment, and then I move on. I tend to only remember how I felt when I finished a particular book. Good or bad goes in my mental database, happy or disappointed. The rest gets deleted to make room for more.

Maybe that's why I can read books over again that I've read in the past. The knowledge that I liked the book remains, but the details of the plot have been erased so they seem brand new.

Or it could be that I could use massive doses of ginko.

Do you retain the plot details of any book you read? Can you name seconary characters in them - not just from your all time favorite books or the classics that you've written essays on for school - but from the majoity of novels that have made their way through your TBR pile? Or do you read for the moment, enjoying the plot and characters in the NOW and then clearing that space in your brain for something new when you're finished?

Monday, November 26, 2007

How I Met...Aunt Robin?


I know I should probably have a topic more pertinent to writing after not blogging for three days, but something's been bugging me and I have to get it off my chest.

I'm a big fan of How I Met Your Mother, but the premise, I have to admit, is starting to wear a bit thin. Has anyone else noticed that Ted has spent two years explaining to his teenage children more about how he slept with their Aunt Robin than how he actually met their mother?

Don't get me wrong, the show is hilarious, but enough already. If Robin isn't 'Mom' she and Ted need to stop fooling around and Ted needs to meet 'Mom' before the kids wise up and figure out they've got to be adopted because their parents didn't have enough time to actually meet before they were born.

That's my rant for this rainy Monday. Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wednesday is Sunday?

I spent the day thinking it was Saturday today. I need one of these:

http://www.ohgizmo.com/2006/10/15/day-of-the-week-clock/

Weekday holidays always screw with my perceptions.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rainy Day Drama

Under sad but funny...we had a bit of drama this morning.

My daughter went outside to go to the bus stop and after a few minutes she came back and said, "There's a doggy out here."

We had a stray Golden Retriever pacing around outside our fence. The poor boy was cold and thirsty and exhausted. He had a collar but I wasn't quite sure I wanted to grab it to look at his tag. I gave him a bowl of water pushed under the fence and DH called the police.

While we waited for the police, the dog wandered among the houses, just desolate. He didn't know what to do with himself. The neighbors all came out and while he seemed friendly enough, he was definitely in distress so no one really wanted to get down and grab that tag.

The police office finally pulled up and got out of his car, leaving his driver's door open. He followed the dog around for a bit and tried to give him a biscuit we provided, but the poor pup was too tired to eat much of it. He gave the officer the slip and climbed into the driver's seat of the police car!

Poor pup finally found a warm dry place to sit down and he wasn't about to budge. He made a few half-hearted nibbles on the biscuit, but could not be enticed to climb out of the car. At least the officer could read his tag and disocovered our wayward traveler was not local - he'd come from several towns away. No wonder he wasn't budging now that he was finally sitting down.

I thought we were going to need a SWAT team to get the dog out of the seat. The officer was about to call for reinforcements when Goldy finally decided to move to the passenger seat. The officer took a blanket out of the trunk to cover the now 'wet-doggified' driver's seat and drove off to the station with his 'new partner' riding shotgun.

I hope Goldy makes it home to someplace warm and dry, and I hope they eventually get him out of the police car.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fill in the _______

I've noticed a disturbing trend among my friends and family lately. I know it's contagious because I've got it too. I've started calling it 'Fill in the Blank' disease but I think the official name for it is CRS Syndrome or 'Can't Remember $hit.'

I just got a phone call from my friend, K. She's known for those 'and now from left field' type questions and today was no exception. Here's how the conversation went:

K: Listen to what I'm saying and fill in the blank.

Me: Um...okay.

K: I said to my husband, "Do you have any _______ to me going out tonight."
What's the missing word?

Me: Ummm...objection! Do you have any objection to me going out tonight!

K: Yes! That's it! Oh my God, that's it.

Me: Yay! What did I win?

K: Nothing. I've been wracking my brain trying to complete this sentence. My husband thought the missing word was 'repute'.

Me: Do you have any repute to me going out tonight?

K: Yeah. I knew that wasn't it.

So the conversation turned to how often we forget words, simple, everyday words that are part of our conversations. I do this all the time. Usually it's nouns - "Where's the thing?" I'll ask my husband. "What thing?" he'll reply. "You know, the thing to turn the thing on?" "You mean the tel-e-vision re-mote?" He sounds out the words like he's talking to someone who just flew in from Jabib.

It's annoying more than anything. I'm not embarrased by my dwindling vocabulary because apparently everybody has the same problem. I'm just inconvenienced. I think maybe I need to make some flash cards for ordinary objects and commonly used phrases so I don't have to call anyone and ask them to fill in the blank, and then not offer any kind of prize if they get the answer right.

Does anyone have any repute to that?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I could use an epiphany

I was reading Jordan Summers's recent post at Romancing the Blog the other day on the subject of writing for money vs. writing to make ourselves happy.

It's the age old debate all writers face. Do we go where the money is, write what's selling at the moment in order to keep paying the bills, or write what we love because that ultimately gives us a better chance of wowing the pants off our readers [assuming someone buys our stuff] and it makes us happy and content?

The consensus of course is to write for happiness. It's like marrying for love. You shouldn't do it for any other reason. Nevertheless, despite the virtue of that addage, there's still that lurking need to earn a buck and that insidious envy of the authors who just happen to LOVE writing exactly what's hot at the moment.

Ms. Summers said she had an epiphany of sorts and decided to write only for herself regardless of the salability of those stories. She's happier for it, and I envy her that decision. I've never actually said to myself, or anyone else, I'm writing for the money. I'm not...really...but I am trying to make a living at writing. I've wanted writing to be my full time job my whole life. Not a hobby, not a side gig, but my one and only career and now that I'm smack dab in the middle of the growing pains of said career, I have to balance the need to earn [and hence justify doing ONLY this] and the need to write because I love it.

The whole point of always wanting to be a full time author was that I wanted to have a job that I loved. Not just something I could tolerate doing until retirement, not a job I hated that paid well and therefore would never be worth quitting, not a job that just filled the hours until I had enough money saved up to quit and play around all day. I wanted to LOVE going to work, to get up in the morning and look forward to my daily tasks.

I know that's a lot to ask of any career and/or job. Probably 98% of the people I know either actively despise or at the very best tolerate their jobs. The all play the lottery with the idea in mind that if they hit it big, they'd hire a limo to drive them to work one last time so they could Quit with a capital Q.

Not that I would look a lottery jackpot in the mouth, mind you, but I really never wanted that - essentially to spend all my time daydreaming of the moment I could quit my job. I wanted to do something that I would do even if I had all the money in the world, a career that would only become more enjoyable if I didn't have to worry about how the bills would get paid.

So what I need now is an epiphany. The ability to look at my work and say, I love this even if it doesn't earn me a lot of money and I love it enough to knock myself out working at it so that one day it will make me a lot of money, and I love it enough to write what I want to write and not worry about what's making money these days because I'll be happier in the long run.

If anyone can get me a price quote on that epiphany...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"And here's what you should have done..."

Lock and load everyone, I'm ranting again.

Today's pet peeve is the propensity for customer service representatives to tell people what they 'should have done' to avoid a problem that more often than not, was not their fault to begin with.

Case in point: I was due to receive a check approximately two weeks ago. [Not a royalty check, btw - nothing writing business related.]

Normally the checks from this establishment are cut and mailed immediately and they arrive within three business days. Fast efficient service.

Well, I'm still waiting for my check. Obviously it's lost in the mail. Granted the USPS has been known to deliver something from Alaska to New Jersey in three days and something from walking distance the next town over in a week and a half, but seriously, after ten business days I'm a little jumpy that my money is lost.

So I called the business in question [a bank] and politely asked what the problem could be. I realize if something is lost, it's not their fault or mine, but the fact remains my money is in limbo somewhere. I got the anticipated - "Give it a few more days because we don't feel like researching the problem right now and maybe if we're all really lucky it will go away." I agreed reluctantly to wait a little bit longer for money that should have been in my hands last month. I'm annoyed but hey, I realized a stop-payment costs money and time and they're hoping they won't actually have to do any work to correct the problem. That would have been fine, but TWICE the customer service rep says: "You know, we offer Fed-Ex service for $5."

This is her way of telling me what I did wrong was to not pay to have my check FedExed to me when normally it arrives for free in three days. After the second time she reminded me of their FedEx service I got a little miffed and I told her, "Obviously that's a great idea, but it doesn't help me recover this missing check, does it?" I also went on to say that if my money isn't secure, and I can't count on it being in my hands when I need it, perhaps I shouldn't use their services at all.

Anyway, the point of my rant is, this isn't the first time a customer service rep has pulled this, "Here's what YOU did wrong," deal on me. It's one thing to suggest alternatives, but when a customer has a problem, the last thing they want to hear is 'coulda shoulda woulda' from the customer serivce rep. Help me solve this problem first, before you tell me how I could have avoided it all together, especially if that avoidance includes paying extra.

Is jsut me? Or have you ever had to deal with the 'Here was your first mistake' spiel from a customer service rep?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

U-4EA Debuts at #2

I was just over at Fictionwise checking out the Amber Quill best seller list over there and I found U-4EA at #2!
Hey, it's the little things in life that make me happy.
4 ½ Lips! U-4EA is a fascinating book... I was spellbound by the wonderful characters... The dialog is fresh and fun and there is plenty of action to keep readers on their toes. This is a fun book that is a pleasure to read!Tara Renee, Two Lips Reviews

* * *

4 Blue Ribbons! If you are looking for a fun, quick read—U-4EA is for you. – Eileen, Romance Junkies

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The pressure's on

My mother is pressuring me to read faster.

Not write faster. Read faster. She's retired, an avid reader and like me usually has a towering TBR pile but she's actually reached the end of her pile and she's bugging me to get finished with the next Stephanie Plum novel so she can have it.

I've created a monster. I've been loving Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and I'm up to Hot Six. I gave the first few to my mother to see how she'd like them - we usually have vastly different taste in books. You'd never catch her with JK Rowling or Karen Marie Moning and I don't have a taste for Maeve Binchy or Debbie Macomber, but with both agree on Janet Evanovich.

She just ordered the rest of the series from Hard Eight up. [Yay for me!] But she's literally timing me and threatening to read ahead without me. [Ga' head, don't come cryin' to me when you're confused about what's going on.]

My fear is that if I don't finish up Six and Seven fast enough, she'll hold Eight for ransom. I guess I'd better put aside my WIP and get reading. I don't want my Mom mad at me.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ursula Says! Play nice

My internal Editor, now aptly named Ursula, will be taking over my blog today. Everyone stand well back from the yellow line and put your safety goggles on. Thank you.
********************************
For my first post I was going to talk about ellipses since they're one of Jennifer and Bernadette's big problem areas, but having hopped around the blogosphere yesterday and ran across a post on editing by fellow author, editor and cover artist, Rene Lyons, I thought I'd pick something even more basic and discuss the evilness of editors.

There's always been the stereotype of the Evil Editor - take for instance The Evil Editor's Blog and Angela James's Nice Mommy, Evil Editor blog.

Perhaps we like to perpetuate the myth so that authors are a little bit afraid of us. Maybe some healthy fear is good, but when it creates an adversarial relationship it's very bad.

I'd just like to dispell some of the idea [but not all of it of course] that editors, whether internal or external, aren't all bad. Sure we like to redline the absolutely best paragraph in your WIP and tell you it's purple prose. Yes, we enjoy making you weep with comments like 'headpopping, ouch!' or 'WTF?' scribbled in the margins of your manuscript next to the blood and tear stains you've left there during your own laborous process of producing your baby. Trust me, it's a blast for us, but our goal isn't to leave the writer a quivering mass of raw emotions curled in a ball under her desk. [Though we'd like some photos of that if you have any]. Our goal is to help the author create a better story.

Whether you're dealing with your own internal editor [and I'd like to meet her, btw, because I'm forming a support group] or someone who works for your publisher either for cold hard cash or simply because they get off on the smell of red ink, bear in mind that editor's are people too. Some are more experienced than others, and some of what we gleefully type into those gray word bubbles in the right margin, are simply opinions. Some of what we tell you is not opinion, it's fact. It's okay to keep certain suggestions and chuck others, but please consider all of them and weigh whether or not your ms will be better having taken the advice of your editor.

I've heard of big wig authors who are so popular, so well-selling that they can request [or perhaps are offered] a no editing clause in their contracts. When Jen and Bernie get to that stage [did I say when??] I plan to be standing right beside them ready to smack their greedy little hands with a ruler if they decide to sign such a contract. I want them to be able to put in their contracts that they will get the 'best, toughest, most experienced, kick a$$ editor a publisher has' because I believe you want someone who is tough enough to tell it like it is. Those authors who eschew editing --- it shows. Let's be honest. It shows. You don't want that. Do you?

So, my point for today is, embrace your editor. You don't have to be afraid to challenge a suggestion, but don't look at an editor as an enemy who is going to rip apart your work. I prefer the 'machanic' anology. I'm here to look under the hood and tell you where that rattle is coming from so your story will purr like a kitten and be able to carry you the distance.

We're not evil. Gleefully macabre, perhaps, but not truly evil.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Eyes Have It

I've been fixing up the first fifteen chapters of my paranormal WIP and today I discovered that not only do the hero's eyes change color partway through the book, so do the heroine's and a secondary character's.

This is why I edit and edit and edit before I submit anything. I messed up some hair color too, but for some reason eyes give me a lot of problems.

There are only so many reasonable eye colors for human characters. And only so many ways to decribe them. I've done violet eyes, whiskey colored eyes, smoke colored eyes, moss green, jewel green, forest green, amber, chocolate brown, pale blue, sapphire blue and indigo.

We put a lot of importance on eye color - I guess because it's a definite characteristic. Like hair color and skin color, eye color helps to really define a character in the reader's mind. You can describe someone's height or build, but I believe readers spend less time imagining exaclty how tall the hero is or how broad his shoulders might be than they do trying to picture his eyes or matching him against their ideal blond or dark-haired heartthrob.

Do you worry a lot about eye color as an author? What about as a reader? Does it make a difference to you if a character's eyes are blue or green or jewel-toned or silvery or dark or is it something you just file away and don't think about until you realize the eye color described in Chapter One isn't the same as it is in Chapter Ten?

If readers ever remember one of my characters for their eye color, I can only hope it won't be because that color changed halfway through the book.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Election Day?

Since today is Election Day, I went in to my office to help out my boss. The municipal office is officially closed on Election Day for all but election business, but unfortunately my boss has to work all day as long as the polls are open.

Normally I go in at night and help tabulate election results and handle phones when the polls close [everybody calls to find out who won the minute the polls close - as if we have the answers. News flash: We don't. We have no clue who won anything until the tapes in come in from the polling machines, but I digress.]

Today I went in during the morning to do some work and to cover the phones while my boss toured the polling stations and I fielded a bunch of typical phone calls, mostly: "Are you closed today?" Since I've already answered the phone, people generally don't believe me when I say, "Yes, we're closed. I'm just here answering phones to tell people that we're closed."

Hey, this is government, folks. It's how things work.

The thing that got me most today, though, was the woman who said, "Oh, that's right. It's a holiday."

Now, I know she meant, obviously a government holiday. The day we elect our government officials is also a day all the government officials have off, explain that one to me?? But beside the obvious irony, I thought to myself, is it REALLY a holiday?

"Holiday" is a contraction of the words 'Holy Day' - therefore, is a day off in honor of the government [decidely unholy, let's face it] really a holiday, or just a day off?

Granted there are days of the year, the Fourth of July, for instance, which while it's a secular holiday, a government holiday, a Federal holiday, could also be construed as a 'holi-day' because it celebrates freedom. Likewise I suppose for anyone running for public office, Election Day would be a solemn and celebratory occasion, if they win of course. If they lose, then it's crap.

I'd like to propose that certain days be designated 'UnHolidays' - not because they're bad or evil, but because they are not necessarily holi/holy in any way. Election Day should be one of those UnHolidays. Everybody can have the day off, no problem, but let's not call it a Holiday because there are no parties [well again, unless you win the election] and there are no gifts, festivals, services, rituals or Hallmark cards designed to herald the occasion.

What do you think? Is Election Day a Holiday or an UnHoliday?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa – from the Latin meaning ‘scraped tablet’ or clean slate.
I’ve been seeing this phrase a lot lately. It’s one of those things that pops up, like a message here and there. I did a little digging and discovered it’s a favorite title for science fiction and paranormal TV shows.

For instance:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 6 – Tabula Rasa, the Scooby Gang loses their memories thanks to Willow’s amnesia spell

LOST – Season 1 – Tabula Rasa, flashbacks of Kate’s pre-crash Bonnie sans Clyde existence

Stargate Atlantis – Season 4 – Tabula Rasa, staff members lose their memories courtesy of an alien virus [damn those alien viruses!]

There was even a Season 2 episode of the animated Justice League called Tabula Rasa.

It’s an interesting concept, the idea of a clean slate. Have you ever wished you could start over? Would you do if you had the chance to begin anew – maybe not as a baby, but as a young adult, or even a new writer. What would you do differently?

I don’t know if I would, but it’s certainly an interesting concept for a story.

****

Speaking of stories btw - I hit my goal of 200 pages on my ST paranormal WIP. Hopefully this one will tie into the world I created in Uncross my Heart. Two hundred or so pages to go, but hey, halfway done ain't bad.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Ursula Says!


Thanks to Gwen Hayes for helping me name my internal editor! It was getting kind of tedious just referring to her as ‘the B!tch.’

Ursula seems a fitting moniker for the entity that now haunts my dreams and makes me edit them, and who won’t let me just type out a first draft on the computer without making me go back and fix all my typos immediately. Ursula is also the one who torments the hapless authors who are assigned to me when I freelance. They can tell you, she adores red ink and comment bubbles and will wax rhapsodic on any editing related topic.

Ursula is a cruel mistress and she has a lot to say, so I’m thinking I might appease her by letting her take over my blog once in a while to talk about editing. Stay tuned for the first official installment of ‘Ursula Says!’

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Now I edit in my sleep

I guess I've been weilding the red pen too much lately [actually I've been using orange this week, I like to vary my colors]. Editing is starting to seep into my dreams.

Last night I dreamed I was writing a Stargate fan fic. Haven't done that in years [write fan fic, I mean]. I sort of miss it. It was fun to have ready made characters to play with - but I digress...I was writing a fan fic, and seeing the scenes in my head in my dream which is a little weird. Daydreaming in one's dream.

I remember looking down at the paragraph I had written and realizing it was all passive verbs so I started crossing out and rewriting. I actually woke up reciting lines from the story I'd been writing.

It just goes to show you, the internal editor never sleeps. Now I'm even editing my dream stories. I wonder if IE [internal editor] gets paid to work 24/7 or if she does it just because she loves it. Either way, she needs a vacation so I can get some sleep and enjoy my stories without having to edit them in my dreams.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Huh?



Ever feel like that? Like you just don't get what you're looking at?

I feel that way a lot.

Usually the 'Huh' is followed by an 'Are you kidding me?' Yesterday was a case in point.

DH and I had the rare opportunity to go out for lunch. He had the day off and we had some errands to run, then decided to stop at a popular chain-style eatery for lunch. I'd never been to this particular place so I was looking forward to something new and I picked a trendy sandwich and salad combo and he decided on a sandwich and chips.

The clerk could not take our order because the computers were down.

We stood on line for maybe ten minutes while the employees and the manager shuffled around behind the counter looking like glassy-eyed pinballs. Nobody knew what to do.

While the line got longer behind us, the manager apologized for the computer snafu. "It will be just a few minutes," he assured us and then everyone stared at everyone and shuffled from one foot to the other and contemplated their navels.

I did a 'Huh?' Back in the good old days when I worked in retail [I was a teenager] - we did of course rely heavily on the computerized cash registers to tell us what to do, BUT we also had to know how to add up a customer's purchases and figure taxes if necessary and make change. Granted credit card orders which are a lot more prevalent today, would pose a problem if the computers were on the fritz, but cash was something you could keep on working with.

I wanted to climb over the counter and yell at the manager. "Has anyone got a calculator and a pen? Why can't you take orders the old fashioned way, make change and keep the line moving so people can eat [during the lunch rush?]."

The computer did not tell them to do anything by hand, therefore they could not.

Eventually they started taking orders and we actually got our lunch and ate it - but like a number of other customers, we hadn't paid for it first. After we'd finished, DH went back up to the counter and repeated our order so they could punch it into the computer and we could pay for it. I wonder how many people just ate and left, since the staff were completely unable to take anyone's money while the computer was down.

It boggles the mind.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!


Here's this year's Jack-o-Lantern. He turned out pretty scary even though he was actually supposed to be modeled after Squidward from SpongeBob Squarepants.


Here he is with the lights on. DD did the black outlining to make him scary during the day. I put the triangular hole in his head to let the evil spirits out. ;) And just because I was in the mood to chop some more.
Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Two more with teeth





I'm going to carve this year's jack-o-lantern this afternoon so it'll look a little gnarled by tomorrow. I know some people carve them early, but then you either have rotting pumpkin in the house or a feast for the squirrels if you leave it outside, so I wait until the last minute.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Two for one


Because they're small, I picked two pumpkin shots today. The one on top looks like it would make a nice quilt. If I ever get back into quilting, I'll have to remember it.


This one looks like Topper would look if I could get him to sit in a pumpkin patch. I bought a huge pumpkin yesterday for carving, and he won't go near it, nor would he sit among all the little pumpkins I've got, so this is the next best thing.




Sunday, October 28, 2007

An Earie Sight


Disney World takes Halloween very seriously. Last year we went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and we had a blast. If you're ever looking for a good holiday to visit the Magic Kingdom, try Halloween. It's not terribly crowded, the weather is usually fabulous and the decorations are great.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's pumpkin week

I'm going to be looking for cool pumpkin pictures this week. This is one of my own jack-o-lanterns. Carving pumpkins is one of my favorite projects.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #28




Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Names I call my Cat


1. Sir Toppington


2. Topster


3. Tip Toppington


4. Top Cat


5. Topping


6. Kitty Bat


7. The Bat


8. Bat Cat


9. My Topper


10. Purr Baby


11. Mr. Purrrfect


12. Baby Cat


13. Purr Face




Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!




Please forgive the intrusion

I know I’m treading in dangerous territory here – but I’m going to complain about the public library. I fully expect to garner a few rotten tomatoes, but I’m sorry, I have to speak up.

Yesterday I took my daughter to the public library to get her a book for a book report. She had a rather eclectic list to choose from which included both Madeleine L’Engle and Stephen King believe it or not, and there were exactly two entries from the list available. Not an impressive selection.

Now, I’m hoping this isn’t the case in most libraries, but I have to say the one in this town is staffed by the least helpful bunch of people on the planet. Not one person we spoke to made eye contact with us. A question about the computer system was met with a curt reply in between the stamping of book cards, and when we finally checked out, the person at the desk slapped the book on the counter and gave us a monotone, ‘Have a nice day’ without so much as cracking a smile.

I’m not asking for joviality, and I realize one has to be quiet [though there seemed to be tutoring lessons going on in the middle of the room, which I thought was rather rude.] There are smaller rooms around the perimeter of the main library that could be used for tutoring and there are also quiet little nooks on the second floor where the conjugation of verbs would not be heard by people doing research. No one seemed concerned by this. Nor by the woman having a conversation on her cell phone in the stacks.

Sigh. I realize a job is a job to some people, but I can’t fathom choosing a job in a library if you weren’t passionate about the work, about helping people, especially children to enjoy their library experience. In a world where people can download ebooks to their computers instantly or have Amazon deliver a shipment of books to their door by FedEx, wouldn’t you think library employees would be latching onto ‘customers’ like used car salesmen?

A friend of mine regularly borrows novels from the library, and she reports being browbeaten on several occasions when she’s returned books a day or two late. She says she’s been treated like felon while paying the 10 or 15-cent fine for an overdue book. Now I understand one must follow the rules, but again, you’d think the staff would be pleased someone is borrowing the books at all when many of them can be easily obtained elsewhere.

Maybe it’s me. Am I expecting too much? I used to love the library, but lately, I feel more like an intruder there. Whassup?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Walk to Work

Since the end of the summer, I’ve been taking a walk three to four times a week. It’s my ‘I’m 40 now, I’d better exercise’ regime and it’s also a little bit of mental down time for me.

I like walking because it’s something I can do without feeling worse after I do it. [Sit ups, jogging, jumping jacks – forget it!] I get to be outside [a treadmill just isn’t the same], and it’s 45 minutes to an hour of time that I don’t have to do anything else. It’s an allowance of mental vacation.





I’ve been walking in the same park for a while now. I vary my route, but I still manage to run into a lot of the same people – a lot of the same characters, if you will, and they make the walk more interesting.
There’s Henry, my mother’s neighbor, who often walks in the same park. He’s a determined walker but he always gives me a southern accented ‘Goud mornin’’ as I stroll by. There’s the guy I call Lopey...he’s a jogger with an unusually long gait. He’s not running per se – it’s like a slow motion run, probably really good for the hamstrings. Then there’s Happy Guy – an older gentleman in flannel and a fishing vest who greets everyone he meets with a jovial ‘Goooood mawning!’ There’s the Politickers – two middle aged men who meet going in opposite directions and debate congenially before going their separate ways and there’s The Lady With Two Dogs who is constantly admonishing her miniature collies not to bite people. [I don’t think the dogs would even consider it, they seem very friendly, but you have to wonder if maybe she’s speaking from experience or just a touch of paranoia.]
These are the people in my neighborhood, if you will. The characters I meet on my ‘walk to work.

What characters do you meet every day?

See?



I told you there would be backlash.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dastardly Deed of the Day

I'm bad.


I can't help it. I have a mean streak in me that I usually keep under control, but sometimes I just have to let it out, and Friday was one of those days.


My husband received one of those chain letters in the mail - you know the kind that promise big bucks in return for no investment. This one was a doozy. It claimed you could make $250,000 in weeks and all you had to do was send some guy $10 and mail out 19 other copies of this letter telling people how much money they could make by mailing out the same letter.


It was four pages absolutely rife with grammatical, punctuational and spelling errors, not to mention fuzzy facts and contradictory statements. And it was supposedly written by a lawyer! How anyone could fall for it, I don't know, but the really big question on my mind as I read it over dinner, was how could anyone read this crap and not succumb to the all powerful urge to EDIT it???


So I gleefully ran to my desk, grabbed my red Sharpie and went to work correcting every single mistake from the odd punctuation !, to the number discrepancies - your investment on page 1 is $23,20 [with a comma for a decimal point, btw] and on page 3 the breakdown of costs adds up to $33.20. It was a treasure trove of bad, an editor's playground - well, more like a nightmarish fun house - editors really do like clean copy, you know. Honestly.


After all four pages were good and bloody, I stuck them back in an envelop which I mailed back to the hapless schlep who got my husband's name [and spelled it wrong besides!] thinking he's going to get rich quick over this mess. I'm sure he'll be shocked and offended that someone had the audacity to correct his money-making scheme, but if the claims in the letter are correct [it works perfectly EVERY single time you use it!!] maybe he'll at least feel a small bit of shame at being taken by something so blatantly badly written.


After all, if you're going to scam someone, at least have the decency to proofread your chain letter, ya' know??

A Wizard Outed



I just read on E! Online that J.K. Rowling has outed Albus Dumbledore.

Yes, apparently the kindly if quintessentially mysterious headmaster of Hogwarts is gay. Or was gay, rather since...well, I'm sure everyone knows he's dead but just in case you don't, you didn't hear it from me.


How do I feel about it? Well, I couldn't care less one way or the other if Dumbledore was gay, straight, bi or omni [like Captain Jack Harkness!]. It's certainly Ms. Rowling's prerogative to reveal that one of her characters is gay. It's not a big deal for me, nor would it in any way color my decision to allow my children to read the books or watch the movies or even dress up as Dumbledore for Halloween if they wanted to.

What interests me more is what the extreme right will have to say about it. There is already a staunch, if debatably intelligent, army of protestors who have made it their job to cast Ms. Rowling's blockbuster series as nothing less than an insidious grimoire of evil magick. [And these are the people who would recoil even at seeing the 'k' on the end of the word no doubt.] I'm sure discovering that not only will the Harry Potter books turn their children in Devil worshipping warlocks, but will also give them slightly squicky leanings toward members of their own sex - well EGADS! Someone better alert the media.

I'm looking forward to the hubbub actually. Not so much because now and then I struggle with a macabre delight in bruhaha, but because this latest bit of scandal can only rachet up Ms. Rowling's royalties even higher than the 'more money than God' that she already makes.

And that's funny to me.

So I'll be sitting back and watching, listening and reading to see how this revelation, if you will, pans out.

Any thoughts?






Every TV show should have...

...a romance novelist on staff.


It just makes good sense. Let's face it, even though there's an abundance of 'shippers' out there for almost every show on TV, how often are you really satisfied with a TV romance?


I mean, I'm so tired of hearing 'If so and so got together it would ruin the show.' Bah humbug. That's absurd. Sure it's happened - look at the Moonlighting fiasco. That was the show, I think that set the precedent. You can't have a couple dance around the idea of being in love for a number of seasons and then have them finally hook up, because the show goes to the dogs after that.



Not true. The addage should be, you can't have a mediocre plot after two beloved characters get together or the show will go to the dogs.


As a romance novelist, and a dedicated shipper since the age of ten, [who didn't root for Mark and Princess to get together on Battle of the Planets?] I'm so tired of spending years hoping a couple will get together and then either a) having the romance fizzle out because the writers are afraid of where it will go, b) having a substitute thrown in at the last minute [fortunately the whole Deanna Troi/Worf thing didn't last and she ended up married to Riker, but look how long it took!] c) getting to the series finale and finally having the writers throw the fans a bone.


Don't you think the world would be a better place if we got more satisfying romance? Who's your favorite TV couple?

If offered the job, would you be a romance consultant for a television show? Heck, I think it should be a mandatory staff position.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things that go bump...

Lo and behold, I'm over at Star-Crossed Romance today blogging about things that go bump in the night.

Chickens welcome.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What is it....

about men named Captain Jack?

Earlier this year Captain Jack Sparrow had everyone swooning in the third installmant of Pirates of the Carribean. [Honestly, I'd pick Orlando over Johnny Depp, but that's just me].

Now there's a new Captain Jack on the scene, at least for us sci-fi geeks. The British Doctor Who series spinoff, Torchwood, boasts a new and different Captain Jack - Harkness, that is.

Played by American actor John Barrowman, Captain Jack made his debut in an epsiode of Doctor Who then spun off to star in his own show.

Torchwood [an anagram of Doctor Who] is a fictional law enforcement agency that operates 'outside the government, above the police' and deals with alien incursions on Earth and very often interdimensional and time travel.

The show rocks - mostly because it's British and they can do things we just can't on American TV - chief among them have the lead character be admittedly 'omnisexual.'

Captain Jack isn't gay [though John Barrowman is] and he's not technically bisexual, even though he's been in love with both males and females. The word 'omnisexual' has been coined to describe someone who is open to all sexual experiences. I've yet to see him mack on a non-humanoid, but I'm sure it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Captain Jack fascinates me because in addition to being a tortured soul of sorts - lost in time, and unable to die - he's dashing, compassionate, intelligent and hot. He has all the qualities of a good hero, with the added bonus that he can potentially fall in love with anyone, or any thing.

The difference, I think, between Captain Jack Harkness and Captain Jack Sparrow is that Jack Sparrow was somewhat ambiguous, and Jack Harkness [an alias, btw - but you have to watch the show to find out where he got the name] is unapologetically...biguous so to speak. There's nothing questionable about his orientation. He's gay, he's straight, he's bi and he's easy on the eyes so everyone can fantasize.


If you get a chance, check out Torchwood and see for yourself what makes this Captain Jack so compelling. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Once More With Feeling




Under 'Things you never knew you wanted until found out you couldn't have them:'



Apparently FOX has put the smackdown on unauthorized airings of the muscial episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer entitled Once More With Feeling.

Fans have been showing the episode and apparently dressing up for a sing along a lot like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and FOX, which now owns the rights to Buffy and is not making any moola on the venture, decided to step in and crack the legal whip.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for protecting the rights of artists and the actors and others who get royalties for airing these episodes do deserve to get paid, as I'm sure their contracts state, but I have to say, if I were a big hootie hoot at FOX, rather than tossing everyone else's toys off the table over this, I'd figure out how to make it work for me. If fans want to turn this episode [which is utterly fabulous, btw] into a cult classic like Rocky Horror, why not let them? Hell, why not help them?

I'd set up official screenings of the episode, charge for tickets and make it an all fired big deal. This way your fans get what they want. Just because a show is cancelled doesn't mean there still aren't people dying to watch it. Look at Star Trek. Cancellation didn't hurt Trek fandom at all, why should it hurt Buffy fandom?

I've never been to Rocky, but let me tell you, I'd go to theatrical screening of Once More... and I'd sing my heart out...

Walk throught the fi-re...to the point of no return...

Once I get that in my head, forget it. I'm a goner.

Come on, FOX, let Whedon fans have their fun. You don't want us all asking the musical question...

Where do we go from...here??


Sunday, October 14, 2007

So I guess I should post...

Lately it's been a real chore to come up with blog topics. I used to have a lot to say and I enjoyed the journalistic aspect of writing a blog - coming up with 'articles' and pertinent subjects that might be of interest to my readers, other authors or maybe even the occasional editor or agent who might have the time to happen by.

It seems like now, when I sit down to blog, I think...ugh. Other people seem have interesting topics, funny stories, cute pictures...and I just....don't.

I'm wondering if it's my increasing frustation with Blogger. It seems like everything I try to do with Blogger takes forever and it comes out wrong and has to be redone. I have to go through several formerly unnecessary steps just to read and post comments and it's a real drag. Several of my fellow divas have changed to Wordpress and I'm thinking about doing the same, but that requires a learning curve and I'm not sure my general malaise when it comes to all things computer would be able to handle that.

I'm also wondering if it might be my increased committment to actually writing [fiction that is]. The whole list of extraneous author activities like blogging, collecting friends on MySpace, chatting, creating a database of excerpts...etc. takes so much away from the actual business of writing. I feel overwhelmed. I need to work on three or four short stories, sequels to existing books and a new single title. I just don't want to devote so much of my week to considering blog topics, hunting down appropriate photographs or messing with tedious HTML codes in order to make things look good.

Maybe I'm getting lazy in my old age, or maybe I just really want to focus on what's important, creating new stories.

I need a new approach to the blog if I'm going to continue doing it - should I go with a quick update of my progress a few times a week? I conversational style? Stream of consciousness? Or post more mechanical things like quick tips and tricks from the mind of a writer and editor?

As a reader, a writer - or whatever you may be, what type of blog post do you like to read?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 27


Thirteen Cool Things About NJRW

1. Rooming with Jen Elbaum
2. Dinner with my agent, Christine Witthohn
3. Meeting the Book Cents Gang – Hi, Miriam, Liz, Cathy and Heather!
4. Not having to pitch this year – whew!
5. The dessert reception
6. Knowing someone who won the Golden Leaf Award – Hi Beth! Congrats again.
7. A weekend away from housework
8. My first book signing
9. My promo items disappeared like hot cakes
10. Dinner with the Samhellions
11. Seeing Stella Price and Rene Lyons at the Book Fair
12. Meeting some fans [I have fans!]
13. Meeting my EC editor, Briana St. James



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!






Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Everyone's a Character [in a book, that is]

I don’t often run into fully drawn characters in my day to day life. Most of the fictional people I’ve created do have a little bit of reality mixed into them, but they’re usually never modeled entirely after one person. It’s so much more fun to mix and match – especially with heroes...but I digress.

Yesterday, on my way into the office building where my daughter’s orthodontist runs his bustling practice, I ran smack into a character from my next story.

The perfect villainess sauntered through the lobby in her Paris Hilton glasses, silk blouse, painted on skirt and shoes that cost more than my wedding ring.

She had a cell phone jammed against her ear and her lips pressed together in a disdainful pout. She breezed by me as I blithely held the door open for her. Why did I do that? Well, because it was polite, and because I didn’t want her to break a talon trying to push the door open by herself.

I tossed a jaunty “You’re very welcome” over my shoulder as her stilettos hit the sidewalk and I’d like to think she took a moment away from pouting into her phone to say Thank you, but somehow I doubt it.

No problem. I went up to the orthodontist’s office and borrowed a piece of notebook paper from my daughter. While we waited, I scribbled the intro for my villainess while all the details were fresh in my mind.

Now, naturally, I don’t know any more about this woman than what she looked like, and that at this particular moment in time she happened to carry herself with a veneer of bored superiority and faux sophistication. For all I know, she may have been a perfectly lovely individual who was having an exceedingly bad day and she’s home right now agonizing over her inability to be polite to a stranger while she was perhaps getting dumped over the phone by her long-time boyfriend, or learning her cat had just swallowed her roommate’s canary and was even now being rushed into expensive veterinary surgery. Who knows? I’ll have to round out her personality using ingredients from other sources and hope I do her justice.

And of course for anonymity, I do plan to change the color of her blouse.

Have you ever met a character from one of your stories – complete and life size as if they’d walked out of the pages of your book? Was it before or after you'd written the character?

Monday, October 08, 2007

I'm baaaaaaack!



I'm back and raring to go. As usual, NJRW's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference was a blast.

I met so many people and saw so many old friends I don't think I could list them all.

[BTW - this is me at the Literacy Book Signing. I sold quite a number of copies of Unleashed, Conjured in Flames and Ravenstar's Bride AND was interviewed by Romance Novel TV!]

I'll be back later with the highlights. I'm still trying to get my thoughts organized. Catch you later once I've fired up my remaining brain cells.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Put a kitty in the window for me



I'm off to NJRW tomorrow morning. Looking forward to rubbing elbows with my fellow authors, fellow Divas, fellow Samhellions and the Book Cents Babes.

The conference is always a lot of fun. My first year, I pitched to an editor and got a request for a partial manuscript. The second year I pitched to my future agent and got a request for two fulls and who knows what this year will bring.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Reminder!

I will be signing my Amber Quill Print releases at the NJRW Literacy Book Fair

The Sheraton at Woodbridge Place
515 US Highway 1 S • Iselin, New Jersey 08830 • United States
732-634-3600

Date: October 6, 2007
Time: 4:00 to 5:30 PM







Please also be aware that at the request of Barnes & Noble, any previously purchased books are not permitted into the book fair.

Stop by if you can! I’d love to see you there!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Backlist Bonanza over today!

The Backlist Bonanza Book of the Week Contest ends today and to celebrate a summer of great reading I’ve decided to pick two winners!

Congratulations to the September Winners:

Christy Allard and Ruth Palmer!

Christy and Ruth have won a free download of Hunter’s Mate by Bernadette Gardner.

Congratulations Christy and Ruth!

And thank you to everyone who participated in my contest this summer. I’ll be planning more in the coming months so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ssssssizzzle and snap



A bright spot in these dismal few weeks of revisions - I got the cover art for my upcoming Ellora's Cave release and it ROCKS!
I'll be turning in first edits soon and hopefully have a release date in 2007.
In other news:
This Friday, October 5th I'll be off to NJRW's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference in Iselin, NJ. On October 6th I'll be participating in the Book Fair and signing my Amber Quill Press print books. I'll post more details later in the week.