Monday, June 30, 2008

Five Angels for Ambrax!

I was thrilled over the weekend to receive a 5-Angel review from Fallen Angels for Forbidden World: Ambrax.
Here's a snippet:
I’ve read a number of Gardner’s books, and I’ve always enjoyed them. This is one of the author’s best, in my opinion. - Jean, FAR
Not to toot my own horn, though I often hear that, as an author, I should, I have to agree with Jean in that Ambrax pushes the envelope for me. I pulled out all the stops to make this story something as edgy and unusual as I could. Ambrax did make the top ten in Erotica at Fictionwise back in December but kept a low profile after that. I'm so happy to see the reviewers are enjoying it.
For more info on what I hope to be the first of a series of Forbidden World stories, visit Amber Quill Press!

Friday, June 27, 2008

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

K called me this morning with a doozy from the retail trenches and I just had to share in case anyone out there is in the market for some high end beach-goers accessories.

She was in Century 21 at the mall and happened upon a cute beach towel in a bright lime green. She said it was by far the softest, most luxurious beach towel she'd ever come across and decided it would make a nice gift for her son's girlfriend, so she picked it up.

She hadn't made it all the way to the register before she noticed the price tag said $247.00.

Figuring it had to be a misprint, she went up to ask the cashier, who said, no - that was the correct price. This was a Chanel beach towel - and it was on SALE.

No kidding - the ORIGINAL price? $700.00. That's right. Seven-HUNDRED dollars for a beach towel. Something you're going to use to rub the sand out from between your toes.

Can you imagine? Please.

I went on line to check this out and I couldn't fine a $700 lime-green Chanel beach towel, but this one seems to be a steal at $500.

Now I know what I want for Christmas. No, not a $700 beach towel. I want a friend who thinks $700 is a good price for a beach towel. Then when I hint that I'd like a Sony eReader for $300, it will seem like a bargain.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm having a Jack attack!

I've become such a Torchwood addict that I went on a Harkness hunting spree yesterday.

Have I mentioned how much I adore Captain Jack? He's the hero who has it all - the looks, the brains, the gadgets, the mysterious past and the tortured soul. So yum!

Anyway, I found out that Torchwood will only have a 5-episode season 3 and I'm disappointed. The show is SOOO good. I know things are different in the UK - less is more, it's not about beating a dead horse like it is here where popular shows can go on for decades...anyone for ER? [And the really good shows get cancelled - Angel? Firefly?]

My only consolation so far is that Jack will be making another appearance on Dr. Who, so I have that to look forward to. In the meantime, I'll just have to fill up my blogspace with Jackness.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another thing to obsess about

As if my WIP isn't giving me enough trouble - 40,000 words so far and I'm not half done, so it may be a full length novel when I'm finished if my brain doesn't implode first - now I have another problem.

I did something in this WIP that I never, ever do. I named a character after a person I know. Well...I gave a character a name that is the same except for a different spelling of a person I used to know but don't hang around with anymore.

I didn't do it on purpose. Really. It was just a name that seemed to fit and sounded good, but the moment I wrote it down I said, oh, no. I probably shouldn't do this.

It's one of my obsessive things. I don't want anyone to think I put them in a novel on purpose. I may give my characters some traits of people I know, but I don't base anyone on real people. My characters are the fictional people who live in my head. Sure it's possible that now and then one might have a name similar to someone I actually know, but it's not that person.

So now this is bugging me. Every time I see the name I think, Should I change this? This is the character's name. It's the name he was born with in my head, but maybe he should operate under an alias. Then I wonder if that's really fair to the character to make him change his name just because it bears resemblance to someone I know - someone I was not patterning him after or thinking about when he popped into existence.

Then I wonder why I worry about any of this when the plot is giving me seizures and the writing makes my eyes bleed because it's so bad. This story needs serious work, people, and the least of my worries is what the characters choose to call themselves. So why can't I just let it go?

It's my nature to worry about things, to turn little details into big problems. I can't help it. I keep coming back to the fear that someday someone will read this story and say to me, "You put HIM in your story? Why?" I didn't. I didn't. I really didn't. Aaaagh!

Do they make a pill for this?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Journaling and the CIA

I'm over at Star-Crossed today, talking about Journaling. Stop by - and don't forget to scroll down, my entry isn't always at the top.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Farewell George

Comedian George Carlin died today at the age of 71.

What I liked best about him was his irreverence. He knew how to put things in perspective and show us how ridiculous some aspects of our society really are. I have no doubt he's cracking everyone up on the Other Side.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Steal some time for a good read

I just finished an excellent story recommended to me by Gwen Hayes. In addition to having some stunning cover art, Like a Thief in the Night by Bettie Sharpe is one of those rare finds - sexy, unique and extremely well-written.
Not only was I impressed by the skillful way Ms. Sharpe weaves her words, I was damn jealous if I must admit. This is one of those books that made me go: "I can't do THAT!"
If you're looking for a good read, grab a copy of Like a Thief in the Night. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Malai Kofta and Galub Jamun

No, these are not the names of the hero and heroine in my WIP.

This is what I had for dinner last night.

I went out with K to an Indian resturant in town. No place DH would ever go, and the kids? Forget it. If there's no pizza and french fries on the menu they're not interested.

The place was small, but very nice - dark and spicy, just the right amount of ambiance. We ordered a couple of appetizers, along with nann and mango jutney [yum]. I had Malai Kofta as my entree which was actually very good, and for dessert we had pistachio ice cream and a small bowl of Galub Jamun - decadently yummy.

I figured I'd have some very strange dreams after all that, but not really.

Tonight I'm playing it safe with some home made vegetable stir fry. Off to cook and do some more work on my WIP - my marathon writing session yesterday produced four chapters [rough draft style so don't get too jealous - it's basically 40 handwritten pages of dreck] hopefully througout the week I'll be able to mold it into something as tasty as the galub jamun. Wish me luck.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Glorious hours of peace and quiet...

I has them.

Today would be the last day of school, however - we're allowing DD, who hasn't missed a day of school in two years, to take the day off so she can attend an Anime convention. DH is taking her today, Saturday and Sunday, along with one of her friends. They're meeting another one of her friends there...blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, last night they went to pick up the weekend passes and got a third kid's pass for free, which means DS [who hadn't wanted to go until now] can go for free. So he's taking the day off too and going to spend the weekend at the con.

Which leaves little 'ol me all by my lonesome for three days! [They'll be home at night, but gone from dawn 'til dusk].

[Insert wild happy dance here]

happy dance

I plan to have an intense BDSM/Menage session...[with my WIP, people!] I may not check in again until Monday...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

They don't call it a WIP for nothing

My latest work in progress is kicking my butt. Too many possibilities - characters who aren't sure what they want to do - a sequel that's demanding to be written even though the first story isn't done yet.

And tomorrow is the last day of school, which means no more glorious hours of peace and quiet to get my brain in gear.

Not to mention my 'two voices' are arguing over who should even get the by-line.

What do you do when your WIP drives you crazy?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

When technology bites

I'm over at Star-Crossed Romance today talking about uncooperative cell phones. Drop by, but don't call, the phone's on the frtiz. ;)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's your mantra?

I’m not talking about what phrase you use when you meditate, though if you have one, lay it on me. I’m actually talking about the phrase that defines you, your conversations – something you say all the time that either stems from how you’re feeling about things or shapes how you feel about them.

What? you ask.

For example: When I ask my various friends how they are I often get the following answers:

Friend 1: “I feel crappy.”

Friend 2: “I’m exhausted.”

Friend 3: “I can’t complain.”

These are responses I hear most of the time when I talk to these particular people. My one friend doesn’t feel well a lot. Her health is often an issue, so nine times out of ten her response is, “I feel like crap.” I know she does, and I have great sympathy for her. This response is her mantra. And sadly, it has come to define her.

Friend 2 has a house full of kids who drive her nuts. She’s understandably tired all the time and trust me, I can sympathize with the ‘blah’ feeling that weighs you down when you look at all the things you have to do and realize 24 hours a day isn’t enough time to get it all done. Her mantra defines her as someone who is tired all the time.

Friend 3 has just as many problems as Friend 1 and 2. She works, deals with children, a husband, pets, and health issues. Her response, however is different. She can’t complain. Really, she can. She’s got plenty worth complaining about and no one would blame her if she did complain, but her mantra is, “I can’t complain.” Even though I often know I’m in for a litany of hair raising stories when the conversation really gets going, I feel a bit more upbeat about it because her mantra is a little more positive – in theory if not in actual wordage.

My mantra used to be, “I’m so tired.” I realized this about ten years ago when I worked part time as an administrative assistant. I was raising a toddler and trying to make ends meet and keep the house clean. I was tired all the time, but when I realized that’s how I answered every time someone asked me how I was, I began to wonder if saying I was tired was partially to blame for me being tired. Putting it out there, giving it voice, made it more true. Saying, “I’m so tired,” out loud sent the message to my brain that that’s what I was, so I felt even more tired. I realized after I said it, I would always think about how tired I was and agree with myself that I was indeed very tired. Finally I decided one day not to say it anymore.

I gave up my mantra and thought, it goes without saying that I’m tired so I’m not going to say it. When someone asks me how I am, I’m going to say, “I’m good, or I’m fine,” and hope my brain believes it.

I don’t know if the psychological mumbo jumbo really works, but overall I don’t think it can hurt.
What’s my mantra now? “I’m okay.” I figure if I say it enough, it has to be true.

How is it working for me? I can’t complain.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fwd: Fwd: Fwd

Three little letters I hate to see in the subject line of my e-mail in-box.

I sigh, loud and long, when I see friends or acquaintences have taken the time to e-mail me the latest round robin chain letter or inspirational poem or--worst of all--some online petition to protest the use of on-line petitions or some news story that's suppose to make me outraged enough to write my own online petition.

I'd so much rather hear from people about REAL life. Sure, I make things up for a living. I live in the fantasy worlds of my own creation, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't rather get a quick note from my friend Mary Sue telling me how her garden grows or how last night's curds and weigh turned out than a chain letter that she wants me to forward to ten amazing women I know plus send back to her to show her how much I care about her as a friend.

SIGH. I don't want people to think I'm anti-social or that I don't want to talk to them. I do. Really. I'd love nothing better than to discuss any topic that comes up. The price of tomatoes, where to buy great kid's shoes, Obama vs. Clinton, my favorite color - whatever. I want to interact with people, not just hit the reply button and send back the same pre-written drivel they've just sent me to show them some form of solidarity.

I don't mind news briefs, like when DH sends me links to articles about Joss Whedon or Battlestar Galactica. I don't mind when someone sends me a pertinent cartoon joke for a chuckle or even a cute pic from LOLCats, but please, please, please - don't send me something that requires me to add my name to a list and pick ten people out of my inbox to forward to so Bill Gates can track an e-mail around the world and I can get a $100 gift certificate to Denny's. Please don't send me inspirational quotes that will bring me good luck if I send them back to you in five minutes. Send me a note that says, "Hi! How are you? What's up?" Or "Guess what?" and tell me your life story, rant, rave, wax rhapsodic, I don't care. I'll respond, but please don't ask me to hit forward.

In the immortal words of Meatloaf, "I'll do anythign for love, but I won't do that."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The dangers of too much safety

Yesterday I was haunting the bead aisle at AC Moore again, using up what was left of my Mother’s Day Gift Card and I came across a charming little charm that caught my eye. It was a faux brass zipper pull in the shape of those oriental coins – with the square hole in the middle. Cute but once I got a good look I decided it was too big to be a dangly for one of my bookmarks so I was about to put it back when the wordage on the card caught my eye:

Not for children under 15 years of age.

WTF? I read it twice just to be sure it said years and not months. Yes, this product, a metallic zipper pull, should not be used by children who, in some states can be licensed to operate farm machinery.

I thought to myself, are we taking this a bit too far, now? I considered calling DD over [age 13] and asking her if she might have any desire to stick the zipper pull in her eye or swallow it, but I thought, no – best not to invite trouble since I wouldn’t be covered legally if anything went wrong. I couldn’t sue the company for negligence if she jammed the zipper pull up her nose because it said so clearly on the package that she was too young to use it properly.

Carefully, I put the zipper pull back on the rack, fearing that since I occasionally have immature thoughts, it might even be to dangerous for me to be fooling around with. I backed away from the rack and considered myself lucky to have spared my kids from such peril. I should probably check all their jackets for zipper pulls because I had no idea they were so dangerous.

This incident seems especially ludicrous considering just yesterday I discovered the blog of Lenore Skenazy, a columnist for the New York Sun who recently drew scads of criticism when she wrote an article about how she allowed her 9-yeare-old son to ride the subway alone. [Once, mind you.] In response she started a blog called Free Range Kids to discuss and promote the novel concept of actually allowing children some freedom. I like the term she uses for the uber-protective modern parent “Helicopter Mom” – the ones that hover and don’t allow their children to breathe in the wrong direction. I wonder if she knows about the dangers posed by zipper pulls for the under 15 set.

While I don’t agree with Ms. Skenazy’s decision to let her son ride the subway alone [I don’t even think most adults should be alone on the subway] I applaud her down-to-earth approach to parenting and to safety. She’s an advocate of something very rare today, ‘common sense.’ Most people don’t have it, especially when it comes to their kids, and the litigious atmosphere of this country makes it even worse. Now we have to designate beads and charms to be too dangerous for young teenagers? Why? Because somewhere, some fool 14 ¾ year old did something stupid with a zipper pull and their parents sued?

Can we have a return to reality around here, people? Please.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Keep the Panini Maker - I'd rather have cash

So last night I had one of those wild dreams that’s so real-feeling it can shape your mood for the day.

In my dream I was on the phone with K – could have been real life because in real life I’m ALWAYS on the phone with K. Another call beeped in and it was my friend R. He sounds odd. Asks me if I’m home, what I’m doing, etc. I say, “Why? Are you like, outside or something?”

He says, “Yeah. Come to the door.” [No, it’s not that kind of dream.]

I look outside and R pulls up in a long, white stretch limo. He’s sitting on top, in the sun roof, wearing his trademark jeans and a t-shirt and a gray top hat. The limo driver is dressed in white tie and tails and looks suspiciously like President Bush.

I hang up the phone and go out to the car and say, “What did you win the lottery or something?”

He says, “Yeah.”

Me: OMG! Are you kidding?

R: No, really. I won the lottery.

Me: OMG! That’s insane! Congrats. How much did you win?

He proceeds to tell me he won about $7 million - $5 million after taxes - and he won by stuffing some kind of contest box with entries. Well, whatever. Good for him. Five mil is awesome! So I call DH to come out and I call the kids to come out and we’re all talking about his awesome luck and I notice the back of the limo is piled high with small kitchen appliances. Turns out he’s giving these out to friends and family.

Hint: Here’s how I know it’s a dream. No newly minted millionaire bachelor would be buying kitchen appliances for ANYBODY. Sorry, things like that just don’t happen.

Anyway, we end up in the house having lunch and next thing I know DH is making paninis on a brand new Panini maker. [Again, must be a dream because DH is cooking.] I say, “Where did we get this new Panini maker?”

Of course he says, “R gave it to us.”

Wow. That’s so nice. So, when I woke up this morning, I rolled over, smacked DH on the shoulder and said, “You’d better call R and I tell him I dreamed that he won the lottery. He should go buy a ticket.” What I didn’t add, and probably should have was:

“Tell him to keep the Panini maker. If he does win millions, we’d like a box of money, a bucket of cash or a knapsack of mula – not a small kitchen appliance. Thanks anyway.”

Friday, June 06, 2008

Self-Esteem and the Writing Life

This post was inspired by some information I learned through a circuitous route the other day. My friend K has connections – not in the industry, but to people who sometimes talk about me. [They’re allowed to talk about me, I guess, they’re family.]

She let on to me that some people I know are worried about my self esteem. Specifically because I have not yet sold a book to NY. [The 26 other titles I have available apparently are not withstanding but that’s beside the point.]

I had to laugh out loud at this one. Then I started thinking about self-esteem and being a writer and it occurred to me that to be a successful writer [and I define success as someone who keeps on writing until they get exactly what they want out of the industry] one has to have a curious mix of self-esteem and humility. You have to KNOW you’re good, and you have to accept it with dignity when other people disregard your work, ignore it, pan it or rip it to shreds. You have to expect to be stomped on.

Not an easy way to be. I thought about my own personal self-esteem level. It’s had an interesting path through my life.

Grammar School – academically way up, socially way down
High School – same as above, nothing puts your self-esteem in the toilet like High School
College – academically and socially – recovering
Work force – up, down, up, down
Marriage – up
Having kids – up, slightly down, up
Writing - ....

Well, writing is another story all together. My self-esteem was up enough for me to know I could write and down enough for me to fear submitting. Time and general exhaustion wore me down to the point that I felt I had nothing to lose and submitted, and from there things went up. It’s interesting that it took a complete break down of my self-esteem to get me to the point of actually sending my work out. I had to reach the point where I honestly didn’t care what people thought of it in order to begin my career. How messed up is that?

Now I find that in the writing life, self-esteem can yo-yo all day long. Finding out your book is on a best seller list can come moments before a rejection shows up in your e-mail. Good reviews are tempered by mediocre or bad ones. Faboo royalty checks are often followed by the laughably small ones. Up, down, up, down, up down. The self-esteem of a writer has to be round and made of rubber because it does a lot of bouncing.

Ultimately I decided that self-esteem isn’t really my problem. I’ve got enough to get by. What I need is more toner for my printer. Maybe I’ll drop that in the rumor mill around here and see what people say about me.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I bought what??

Conversation this morning with DH over the phone.

Me: I’m taking the Netflix back to the post office. Do you still want to watch MI-5 or can I return it? [MI-5 British spy drama].

DH: No, you can take it back.

Me: Okay. I also got 27 Dresses yesterday. Do you want—

DH: You got what? Why the heck did you buy twenty-seven dresses for?? Are you—

Me: [blinking at the phone] Um...the MOVIE. 27 Dresses, the MOVIE.

DH: OMG. Sorry. I thought you meant you bought twenty-seven dresses.

Me: [rolling eyes] I don’t even own ONE dress. Why would you think I would buy 27 of them?

DH: I don’t know. That’s why I was like – OMG!

Me: Back to reality now – Do you want to see this movie?

DH: Nah. Send it back.

Me: Will do.

Good thing I hadn’t gotten 101 Dalmatians. He might have fainted.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Thieves in Paradise is a Best Seller!

The Amber Heat May Best Seller list released yesterday and look who's on it!

AMBER HEAT [Be sure to check out all these amazing stories!] Here!

1. Chasing Booty - Shannon Leigh (Futuristic)
2. Wounds Of Engagement - Adrianna Dane (Futuristic)
3. Thieves In Paradise - Bernadette Gardner (Futuristic)
4. Double Delicious - Christiane France (Ménage / Bisexual [M/M])
5. Galaxy Gone Wild 2 - Brit Blaise (Futuristic)
6. Midnight Rendezvous - Caitlyn Willows (Contemporary / Ménage)
7. Two On One - Erica DeQuaya (Ménage / Bisexual [M/M])
8. An Acquired Taste - Adrianna Dane (Ménage / Bisexual [M/M])
9. Spectrum - Shara Bloodstone (Futuristic)
10. The Things We Do For Love - Cassie Stevens (Ménage / Bisexual [M/M])

I'm also over at Star-Crossed today, lamenting about brilliant flashes of inspiration that tend to interrupt my work schedule.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Things I do late at night

I hate getting caught up in Internet searches for strange reasons. It usually ends up in a lot of wasted time and some type of mechanical disaster.

Saturday night was no exception. I decided after everyone had gone to bed and I was still wide awake, that I would jump on the search engine and look for two interesting things. 1) Photos of Keanu Reeves [because he’s so yummy] and 2) the lyrics to a song I’d heard while eating out at the diner.

The song is Little Wonders by Rob Thomas and I had the refrain ‘ these small hours...’ stuck, STUCK I tell you, in my head.

I searched on the lyrics first and of course found tons of sites, many of which didn’t actually work, but eventually I found not only the lyrics but a button that would allow me to play the song [usually a surefire cure for hearing it my head until my eyeballs explode.] I adjusted my speakers and hit the button and nothing happened.

So I fiddled with the speakers and decided the best course of action was to plug in a set of head phones. [I hate noise coming from my computer, especially late at night, but any time really. Usually if the slightest noise comes from my computer people have to flock over to find out what I’m doing and I hate that even more.]

Now I’m fiddling with the headphones and they don’t work, they don’t stick in the headphone hole, when I finally get them situated, nothing plays through them. The website I’m on now wants to me design my own personal radio station which I don’t feel like doing and it also wants me to play Michelle Branch [I think her name is Michelle – don’t know, don’t care. I only want to hear the song by Rob Thomas.] I click away.

Then I decide, damn but I want to hear that song so I click back, yank the useless headphones of the speaker [they’re the broken ones, I now recall, and spend a moment wondering why I’ve kept them]. I toss them in the trash, adjust the volume [sadly in the wrong direction] and hit the button again.

Music now BLASTS from the speaker scaring me, the cat and the dog.

I jump on the speaker, shut it off and indulge in a litany of creative cursing. Then I give up and go on to searching for quiet pictures of Keanu. Which I find in droves, ‘cause let’s face it, a LOT of people think he’s yummy.

Here’s what I finally found, but all these pics of yummy Keanu get me thinking about romance and casting a hot couple for my next book and blog topics and I start searching for ‘best onscreen kisses.’ I come across a lot of famous kisses which starts me making a cool collection of romantic kiss scenes, and sets me off on the trail of an elusive kiss – the Mulder and Skully kiss from an episode of the X-Files that I never saw.

Why did I never see it? Because by the ending seasons the show that had been my favorite of all time thoroughly disgusted me and I couldn’t watch it, so I missed out on the good stuff they should have shown a bit earlier to keep shipper fans like me happy.

So I finally saw the ‘kiss’ – wasn’t terribly impressed and by now I’m tired so I finally logged off and went to bed after taking a circuitous tour around the web. At least I found Keanu.

Where do your web searches lead you?