Friday, December 30, 2011

Food Friday!--New Year Traditions

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought I'd take a moment to share with you some of the traditions, food and non-food related, that are common in my family and my region.

For starters, there's black eyed peas. I'm going to be honest, I can't really remember why you're supposed to eat black eyed peas, I just know you're supposed to. I mean, I know it involves good luck for the new year and something else, but I can't remember the traditional reasoning behind it.

Unlike cabbage and corned beef hash. My family is partially Irish (from way back in the day), and now and then it'll show through. In theory, eating the corned beef and cabbage will put coins (the corned beef) and money (the cabbage) in your pocket. I always maintain I just want the cash, so I only eat the cabbage. My mom likes to say it doesn't work that way, but it seems to have done me good so far.

You're also not supposed to wash on New Years. If you do, supposedly someone in your family will die. Super morbid, right? I totally agree. One year, when we were younger, my sister and I attempted to wash a single article on New Years. Not because we wanted someone to die, but just to, you know, test the theory. Our bottoms got to test a pillow that night, since we couldn't sit down without one after our grandmother got a hold of us.

There's also the belief that whatever you're doing on New Years, that's what you'll spend the year doing. Since I always have to work on New Years, and I work my butt off the rest of the year, I'm putting some credence in this one.

What strange/wacky New Years traditions to you have?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Random Thursday!--Taken Tour Schedule

I get a day off! I'm so excited and happy I could cry, but I'm in public and that's a no-no for me. Anyway, I planned to post this yesterday, but my killer work schedule got in the way. Taken is going on tour with The Bookish Snob Promotions, and it's going to be a sexy, dangerous ride. The tour schedule is below, and I hope you join me.

Jan. 2--A Chick Who Reads (book excerpt)
Jan. 3--Here (post, The Birth of a Character)
Jan. 4--Jagged Edge (Interview)
Jan. 5--We Fancy Books (book excerpt)
Jan. 6--The Bookish Snob (book excerpt)
Jan. 7--Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Stories (book excerpt)
Jan. 8--Seeing Night Reviews (post, Being a Woman in Noir)
Jan. 9--Book Savvy Babe (post, The City That Never Sleeps)
Jan. 10--Readergirls (book excerpt)
Jan. 11--Hesperia Loves Books (post, ...Make Him an Offer He Can't Refuse)
Jan. 12--Reviews by Molly (giveaway)
Jan. 13--Supernatural Bookworm (Interview)
Jan. 14--The Wormhole (book excerpt)
Jan. 15--Getting Naughty Between the Stacks (post, Turning Up the Heat)
Jan. 16--Here (post, final giveaway)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Buildup!--Shades of Desire Excerpt

That time of week again! I hope everyone had an awesome holiday--I worked all weekend, and I'm currently in the middle of a 38 hr in about 54  stretch. So without further ado...

The loud banging jolted me awake, more than a little confused. One second, Theo and drizzled honey, now, the library floor. If there was one good thing about being pregnant, it was the crazy sex dreams.

I was still rubbing the sleep from my eyes when the door swung open, light flooding into the room. Next to me, Theo grumbled and turned over, his eyes squinting tighter closed. I sat up on my elbows, blinked to clear my vision. I was pretty sure I’d locked the door before Theo and I took our impromptu nap.

When I saw Elizabeth on her knees with a tiny sliver of metal in her hand, I was even more sure.

“Elizabeth. Didn’t we have a discussion about breaking and entering last week?”

She blushed, but didn’t look the slightest bit chagrined. “Last week was about finding out the contents of the bottom desk drawer. This is actually important.”

“You couldn’t knock?” Theo muttered, rolling back over and sitting up. I’d discovered while Theo was a great person to wake up to after a full night’s sleep, he was not a great person to wake up to after one or two hours of sleep. The crankiness usually wore off in the first ten minutes but until then, total grouch.

“I did knock. You two were out cold.” Elizabeth stood and I blinked again. What she wore could loosely be called a dress. I thought it would be better as a t-shirt but I guess I’d gotten old and domesticated. And no way in hell you’d catch me in four inch heels unless it was an absolute necessity.

Little dress. High heels. And now that I was really awake, I could see her makeup. Date night.

Rian was going to flip out. Absolutely, thoroughly flip out.

Theo stood, stretched and yawned. I knew he was awake when he sucked in a breath, breathed out a curse. “Rian is going to flip out.”

Elizabeth’s eyes narrowed and I resisted the urge to roll mine. I couldn’t smack Theo because I was still on the floor but I did kick him. A little. “I really don’t give a fuck what he thinks. Furthermore, he’s not the reason I picked the lock.”

I raised a hand for Theo to lift me up, curiosity and concern going head to head. Concern, because Elizabeth’s idea of cursing was generally limited to hell or damn. Curiosity, because Elizabeth wouldn’t have woken us up, let alone picked the lock, unless it really was serious. “Alright, we’re awake. What’s going on?”

Elizabeth turned on her heels and walked away. Theo looked at me and I shrugged. I didn’t have any more of a clue about what was going on than he did. I combed my fingers through my hair, tried to look less like a disaster - just in case I had visitors - as we left the room and followed Elizabeth down the hall.

Instead of leading us to the informal parlor, Elizabeth opened the door to the formal parlor. I don’t go in there unless I absolutely, positively have to-because it’s scary. There are all these somber photos on the wall of previous leaders of the Covenant, going back to the first female of my family line. The entire room is full of heavy, baroque furniture in blacks and reds, thick heavy drapes at the windows, the only light from the fireplace and the candle lit chandelier.

Serious freak out territory.

I wasn’t surprised to see Rian and Lies there. I really wasn’t even surprised to see Samuel and Jackson. Lies and Elizabeth liked to double date, although while Elizabeth had an ever changing lineup, the only person Lies went anywhere with was Samuel. My surprise came from seeing Duprees there. He looked as somber as any of the pictures on the wall, although his face held a degree of puzzlement.

Considering the fact Theo and I wore pajamas, Rian his clothes from earlier, and the other four looked like they were about to hit a night club, I could forgive the puzzlement.

“Detective Duprees. I hope you’ll understand when I say I didn’t expect to see you again quite so soon.”

“And I hope you’ll understand when I say I didn’t expect to see you quite so soon either. But when Elizabeth opened the envelope and saw the contents, she made the best decision and called me.” A clear plastic bag containing a sheet of paper sat in his lap. Even from across the room, I could see the writing was in red ink.

“Maybe we could start at the beginning. Or as close to the beginning as we’re going to get.” Theo guided me toward one of the uncomfortable looking pieces of furniture and I eased down to the surface, although it was like sitting on a piece of hardwood covered with thin fabric. “Jude and I were asleep, so we’re a little behind on current events.”

“A courier dropped off an envelope addressed to Jude. I was going through the mail while Lies and I waited for the guys, and so I opened the envelope, shook the paper out.” Elizabeth ran her hands up and down her arms as if chilled. Duprees stood quickly, shedding his jacket and slipping it over her shoulders. She gave him a quick smile of thanks and he smiled back, his dimple popping out.

Rian seethed from his chair next to the fire. It was a quiet seethe, but still obvious. Jackson seemed confused but he’d been at the house often enough I knew he looked that way about half the time.

“It was an envelope addressed to the Covenant in general, in care of you, Ms. Henries. I hope you’ll understand why I took the liberty of opening your mail when you see the contents.” Duprees pulled another clear plastic bag from one of his pockets, held it out to me. Theo took the bag, turned it face up.

Red ink, fluid and smooth, covered the page. The color of the ink varied from dark red to an almost pink color and it looked like the pen had caught in some places, leaving little drops. I raised my eyes to Duprees, eyebrows going up in question.

“Sorry. Open the bag and smell the envelope. Don’t touch, just smell.”

Furrowing my brow, I did as instructed, pulled the edges apart, and held the open bag to my nose. I gagged, assaulted with the smell of rust and iron, and pushed the bag at Theo. He sealed it shut again while I fanned the air around my face, attempted to get the smell out of my nose.

Not ink. Blood. And if I had to guess, I’d say Deiadre’s.

I closed my eyes as my stomach roiled, leaned back into the sofa. I felt overheated, my throat painfully dry. “Water and a lemon. Now.”

The words weren’t fully out of my mouth before I heard the door open followed by the clatter of heels on hardwood. Either Elizabeth or Lies, probably Lies, because she moved faster in heels. Theo shifted me until I could lay with my head in his lap. The room fell quiet. Jackson’s fervent statement broke the silence.

“Dude. I’m so glad guys can’t get pregnant. That just looks like it sucks major rhino dick.” Someone choked back a laugh and a voice that sounded like Duprees muttered, “Jesus Christ Almighty.”

“I’m not going to ask what you know about rhino dick, major or otherwise. Detective, I’m going to guess whatever’s in the other bag is also written in blood. Why don’t you do us both a favor in the interest of time and just read it aloud?”

Silence. I sighed, exhausted even though I’d just taken a nap. “Detective, we keep very few secrets here. And if this is even remotely along the lines of what Marie Therese talked about earlier, the Covenant will definitely find out.”

I heard the tapping of approaching heels and sat back up, opened my eyes when the footsteps stopped in front of me. Lies handed me a glass of ice water and a sliced lemon and I took them like I was doing a shot of tequila. After draining half the water, I handed her back the glass and looked at Duprees. “We’re waiting.”

He looked like he wanted to argue, but decided not to. Picking the baggie up, he cleared his throat before beginning to read.

My dear readers,

I trust this letter finds you in reasonably good health. Little Deiadre certainly isn’t, but I’m sure you know that by now.

I could blather on about why I’m doing this, boring you to the point of tears, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. I’m doing this because I can and as you’ll soon find out there’s very little you can do to stop me.  I’ll be amused by your efforts, so please, do try, but be prepared for failure.

In case you’re wondering, little Deiadre was surprisingly tart. I’d expected a sweeter taste, considering her lack of experience, but I suppose her forays into hoodoo, that thoroughly American backwoods tradition, added a little flavor twist. I’ll have to take such things into account in the future. One wouldn’t want to go to the trouble of bottling all that lovely liquid up only to have it turn to a vinegary mess within a year.

Now, don’t worry your heads about this. As I’ve said, there’s very little you can do to stop me, so there’s no need to give yourselves wrinkles.

I’ll be in touch soon.


I opened my mouth to say something, probably an expletive, but Elizabeth beat me to the punch.

“Well, fuck.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Media Monday!--Guest Post by Shea MacLeod

Squee! I love guest posts. I especially love them when it's like Wife Swap, but less dramatic--meaning if you're wondering where I am, I am on here page (i.e.--here). So, without further ado...Shea!

I admit it.  I love Christmas.  I’m still a little like a kid in a candy store when it comes to the holidays.  Naturally this time of year gets me thinking about things like mince pie, sparkly lights, and angelic hosts.  However, not being a kid (and being a writer of things paranormal) means the kind of angels I think about do a lot less harp playing and a lot more ass-kicking. 

I love angels in fiction, whether it be in books or movies.  Smoldering, sexy, sword wielding guys with wings.  What could be bad about that?  So, let’s talk my favorite angels in fiction.

Michael (Legion)

So, sue me.  I loved this movie.  I’ve always thought Paul Bettany had an odd sort of sex appeal, but with those rippling muscles, ebony wings, and tattoos up the yin yang, well, be still my beating heart.

Michael is willing to put everything on the line to do what he believes is right.  And there is just something so right about a man – er, angel – with that kind of unwavering integrity and commitment.

Castiel (Supernatural)

What can I say?  He’s gorgeous as, um, heaven.  Not to mention ridiculously powerful and ever so slightly quirky.  Okay, a whole lot quirky.

But what I really love about him is how dedicated he is to what he believes to be right and good.  And yet when he discovers the truth, he’s another who is willing to turn his back on everything he knows and pick up a sword (metaphorical in his case) to defend humanity.

Gabriel (Falling Angel – Anne Stuart)

I read this novel more than a decade ago, yet the protagonist still haunts me.  Gabriel is the perfect example of the power of second chances.

A complete asshat in life, in death he is sent back to earth in a new (and completely HAWT) body to help three people whose lives he destroyed.  His is a story of love, redemption, and sacrifice.  Of an angel who learns what it is to be a real man.  And it is powerful.

Raphael (Guild Hunter series – Nalini Singh)

Who doesn’t love Raphael?  You know, when they’re not busy hating him.  The archangel of New York City is so cold and remote and breathtakingly beautiful, not to mention dangerous.  But one mortal woman holds his heart in her hands.  She who is so weak compared to angel-kind is so utterly powerful when it comes to him, and yet he trusts her absolutely. 

Raphael is living proof that love changes everything, even a being millennia old.  And that love can make you at once frighteningly weak, and incredibly strong.

Angels?  Yes, I love them.  And though I’ve yet to write about them, you can bet they’ll show up eventually.

Who’s your favorite angel-boy?

Thanks again to Shea for stopping by. I'll admit, I've only heard of two of these folks mentioned up above, so clearly, I'm behind. Tomorrow, I'll have another excerpt for you from Shades of Desire. Happy reading, guys!

Shéa MacLeod writes urban fantasy post-apocalyptic sci-fi paranormal romances with a twist of steampunk.  Mostly because she can’t make up her mind which genre she likes best. 

After living in Portland, Oregon most of her life, she now makes her home in an Edwardian town house in London just a stone’s throw from the local cemetery.  Which probably explains a lot.  Fortunately, the neighbors are quiet.

In addition to Dragon Warrior, Shéa is also the author Kissed by Darkness and Kissed by Fire, the first two books in the Sunwalker Saga.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Random Thursday!

First things first: Next Monday, I'll be over at Shea MacLeod's blog doing a guest post on mythological creatures. What will be going on here? She'll be yapping about a movie or book or...something. I'm not sure yet.

Next--it's almost Christmas! Are you excited? Yeah, me neither. Christmas just means I'm working 50+ hour weeks for at least two weeks--in my case, closer to six or seven weeks. Oh, the joy.

If you haven't checked out the new tab at the top, hop on it! It's pretty much all you're getting for the next year in regards to the super secret project. Oh, I may throw a few things out now and then, but that's pretty much gonna be it. I've got like four other books to write for this year, plus the other five in the series. Ya'll are just gonna have to use your imagination for a bit.

Tomorrow, I plan to share my thoughts on holiday cookies, and possibly a recipe. Oh, and next week I'll post the blog tour schedule for you guys. For now...I'm off to write!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Can I Have a Drumroll, Please?

I promised you I'd reveal what the super secret project, due to be released in 2013, is all about. And I totally plan to. But first, I have to give you all some background information.

How many of you out there can tell me how many classes of angels there are? Anyone? Ok, I'll tell you--there are nine. The nine are then divided into three orders, with three classes in each order.

The first, and highest, consists of the Cherubim, Seraphim, and Thrones, all of which serve as priests of God in some capicity. The second order consists of Dominions, Virtues, and Powers, who act as heavenly governors. The third and final order is comprised of Principalities, Archangels and Angels, who rule and watch over various created things.
You notice what's missing, something I never noticed until I started doing some research, just to be on the safe side with this idea? There isn't anyone who expressly stands between mankind and demons. Shocking, I know. I actually went to about a half dozen different websites, tried a dozen or so different search phrases just to be sure.

So, first thing to keep in mind--there isn't anyone existing with the sole purpose of fighting back the tide of evil.

Now, we're going to go old school apocryphal, and talk a little abou the Book of Enoch. To make a moderately long story short, a portion of angels/archangels saw the women of the world and desired them. Wanted to live among them. Major no-no. So when this group of angels/archangels did just that, lived and walked and laid with women, who in turn bore children, God was seriously on the not happy side. He pretty much went, "You want to be with the humans? Done deal." And locked them out of heaven. The head of the now cast out angels, Samyaza, went to Enoch, who is described both in the Bible and in other works as a just and honorable man, and asked for him to intercede on behalf of the Fallen Angels. The message God sent back?

Judgment has been passed upon you; your request will not be granted you. From this time forward, never shall you ascend into Heaven; (He has said, that) on the earth He will bind you, as long as the world endures. But before these things you shall behold the destruction of your beloved sons; you shall not possess them, but they shall fall before you by the sword. Neither shall you entreat for them, nor for yourselves; But you shall weep and supplicate in silence. (Book of Enoch)
Keep in mind, these angels are different from those who were cast out as part of the great rebellion against God. So, second thing to keep in mind--there are two groups of beings who basically want payback on God.

Ok, so what does this all this mean? I promise, I'm getting there right now. What if...

God (or Allah or whoever you subscribe to--we're going for religious open-mindedness here), in an effort to both prevent future episodes such as the one described in the Book of Enoch and to deal with the increase of evil in the world, "creates" a special class or order of individuals. The catch?

These individuals were, at one point in time, human. Just human.

Some of them were probably warriors, some of them weren't. Some were used to sacrificing themselves for the good of others, most probably weren't. The one trait they all share, the one thing that defines them as a group?

When the moment came where they could walk away from certain death, they didn't--for the good of someone else.

And so when they die, instead of going to heaven or wherever you believe people go, they instead wind up in a dusty, dirty, crowded office with a very overworked Secretary. And there, they're given an choice: go to heaven, go back to those last crucial moments before death and have the universe realigned so they live without negative consequences, or they can join this warrior group--the Winged.

If they choose to join the ranks of the Winged, they're given eternal life, eternal youth/stopping of the aging process, advanced healing from mortal (but not supernatural) weapons. They're trained to be warriors, with weapons ranging from longswords to crossbows to your standard 9 mm.

They retain all their human emotions. ALL of them--hatred, jealousy, love, lust, desire. They're free to pursue relationships with other Winged, or to enter into a relationship with an archangel, who serve as leaders and mentors of the Winged. Since they, the Winged, are no longer strictly human or strictly alive, the archangels aren't following in the footsteps of the Fallen Angels.


The Winged can never marry. They can never have children. They exist for the sole purpose of fighting demons. And if they should die in supernatural combat--they simply case to exist. They can never go to heaven. They can never quit, never turn back.

So, I've given you a ton of background. A ton. I'm sorry, but this is one of those times when it's kind of neccessary. And yet, I still haven't totally said what the series of 2013 will be about, other than hinting it above. Instead, I'm going to direct you to the brand new shiny tab at the top--Winged. There you'll find the prologue and first chapter for the first book. It's short, sweet, and to the point.

I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Tuesday Buildup: Interview with Detective Rhett Duprees

We're back on schedule! Mostly, that is. There may be an interruption after the first of the year when Taken goes on tour, but for now we're going to go with the idea that there's nothing but smooth sailing until the release of Shades of Desire in February.

This week, we've got a new character in the hotseat, Detective Rhett Duprees. Without any further ado...

So, tell us a little about yourself--where you were born, how old you are....

Well, I was born here in New Orleans, like my parents, and their parents, and well...most of my family, truth be told. Rambled my way through school here, put in a little time at Tulane before deciding to get into police work. After my first day at the academy, I knew I'd made the right choice.

You didn't mention how old you are. Come on, inquiring minds want to know.

Just like a true lady never reveals her age, neither does a true gentleman--or at least not according to my mama. Let's just say I'm old enough to drink and old enough to rent a car without needing adult supervision, but I haven't hit the big 3-0 yet.

I guess that will have to do. So, did you just fall into the role of police liaison for the Covenant?

You could say I did. Like most locals, I'm pretty familiar with all the ghost and vampire and voodoo stories in New Orleans. It's kind of like our version of a bedtime story. My great-great-great grandma--I think--used to pal around with Marie Leveau's daughter, way back when that kind of thing was a major social faux pas, so we've always been a little more open-minded in my family than most good Catholics probably would be. Whenever the Chief of Police approached me about partnering up with the previous liaison, I figured, "Why not?"

So you've been serving as liaison for how long now?

Right around a year, give or take a bit. To be honest, there wasn't a whole helluva lot going on until the past couple of months. We just checked in now and then, made sure everything was going smooth. And then Jude came into the picture, Gillian died, and well...the supernatural shit hit the fan.

That's definitely one way to put it. How are you doing under the new leader? Any thoughts you'd like to share?

I'll say it's too early to come down on either side of the fence. Jude seems to know what she's doing for the most part, which is good. But she's also reckless, which is definitely not good when dealing with creatures that are likely to rip your throat out first, ask questions second. And whatever's going on between her, Theo and Williams is something that's going to eventually blow up in everybody's face.

Wow, way to be a total Debbie Downer there, Detective.

I'd say I'm being realistic. Or cynical. Either way, that's one of the things I get paid for--making sure the explosions are few and far between with a minimal blast radius.

In that case, we'll let you get back to it. Thanks for stopping by, Detective.

And there you have it! Obviously, he couldn't stick around for long, since we all know the holidays making everyone crazy, and supernatural creatures definitely aren't excluded. Check back next week for another excerpt, and tune in tomorrow to get a sneak peak at the much hyped super secret project/series of 2013!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Media Monday: THE Christmas Movie to Watch...Love Actually

Some of you may know about Love Actually. I'm going to guess that more of you don't. That's ok--to be honest, I can't exactly remember how or why I even came across the movie, although I do remember I purchased it second hand from a cd/video store--yes, I may have actually just aged myself, but what the hell.

Love Actually is what Valentine's Day, and based on the reviews, New Year's Eve, were aiming to be. It's a movie composed of roughly a half dozen stories, intricately woven together through friendship and family ties, all taking place in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Some of them have happy endings, some of them don't, and some of them don't really have an ending either way.

Love Actually wins on a number of levels, first by NOT squeezing everything into a single day. Yeah, I get that life and real life situaitons do happen in a single day, but trying to connect and keep up with so many characters and their relationships is too time consuming and eventually too mind numbing for you to actually care about any of them. Love Actually spaces things out, builds storylines and characters to a believeable level, so when the guy finally gets the girl in the end, it's believable.

Second, as mentioned above, the writers of Love Actually weren't afraid to NOT give you the happy ending. Sure, in Valentine's Day there were a few non-happy moments, but the frown was quickly turned upside down. In Love Actually there are genuine non-happy endings. People don't get their heart's desire. Relationships are broken, possibly to the point of no return. This, this is actual, real life.

Third, Love Actually is funny. Like laugh out loud, feel good about yourself funny. Seriously, how can you watch Hugh Grant dance around like an idiot and not laugh? Or watch Colin Firth shiek like a girl after jumping in a lake and not start giggling? Or watch...damn, what's his name...anyway, the English caterer guy totally work the accent in the middle of Wisconsin and wind up with Elisha Cuthbert and not crack up? Is some of it gimmicky? Maybe. But it works.

Fourth, and most importantly, this is one of the movies I feel every writer should watch, because it totally highlights the difference between showing and telling. One of the mini-stories centers around a couple who can't even actually talk to each other--they can't speak the other person's language. Through weeks of knowing each other, seeing each other, just being around each other, they fall in love--and it's there, in looks, in non-looks, just in how they are with each other. It's beautiful, and perfect, and they never say I love you until they each learn the other person's language, near the end of the movie.

I could continue to rhapsodize about the movie, but I won't. Instead, I'm going to tell you to go find it, either in the stores or on Netflix or wherever. Find it, watch it, and fall in love with it. Trust me, one watch, and you'll see why I watch this movie EVERY Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Food Friday: Why I Don't Play With Turkeys

The holiday season is upon us--or rather it continues to be upon us. Everybody has their own special holiday dinner--for some it's ham, for others it's cornish hen, but for most, it's turkey.

Folks--I don't play with turkeys.

Let me explain.

I'm one of those people with absolutely weird hangups. I'll admit it freely. I don't like to touch silverware unless I'm using it to eat, doesn't matter whether it's clean or not. Anything with a numerical volume, I have to have on an increment of five. And most importantly, at least for the purposes of this blog, I really don't like to touch raw meat. I mean, I can do it for short periods of time--but there's a reason I don't really do meals like meat loaf or even hamburgers. I don't like raw meat on my hands.

You might begin to see part of what the problem with a turkey is.

Still, about three years ago, I decided that it was time to host Thanksgiving for my family at my place. It'd be a small crowd--no more than about ten--and i decided it was past time to get over my childish disgust with raw meat. So I bought the turkey, discusssed cooking and everything with my mom, and proceeded to begin the time honored tradition of turkey roasting.

Small problem: I couldn't find the innard bag.

I rooted around inside the body cavity for a good ten minutes. Ran water through, flushed it from both ends. Nothing. I could not find the damn bag. Now, part of me wanted to just let it go: "Hey, maybe I got lucky and they just forgot it." But I knew, with the sixth sense of disaster prone people, that this was just asking for trouble.

So I did what every desperate cook throughout history has done: I called my mother.

Of course, she didn't believe me. She knows about my little idiosyncracy, and while she finds it amusing, she also things I tend to exaggerate. Which I do, but not about raw meat. So after a good ten minutes on the phone, with her talking me through where I should be looking, she finally just tells me to hold on and she'll be over in a few minutes.

Yes. Twenty-six years old, I have to get my mother to come help me with a turkey. And I feel no shame about this. Nonewhatsoever.

Upon her arrival, she washes her hands, examines the turkey, and with the ease of someone who does NOT have a raw meat hatred, shoved her hand right in. After ten minutes or so, she looks at me and says, "It's not in here."

Really. You don't say.

She keeps looking, although at this point she's just as puzzled as I am. Finally, she starts peeling the skin back, not off, just back, and begins looking under there. And lo and behold, she finds the damn bag. She proceeds to tell me that in all her years of turkey cooking, she's never had that happen.


The turkey ended up coming out just fine, well enough that I convinced myself it was a one time fluke. So the next year when I had a Thanksgiving party/dinner for people at work who couldn't get home for the holiday, I not only volunteered to host, but to make the turkey.

I found the innard bag on the first try this time. Unfortunately, the bag broke in my hand. Liver, gizzards, and other things I don't want to think about flooded my palm, slithered down the garbage disposal. When I called my mother in hysterics, yes, hysterics, she told me that, again, she'd never had that happen.

Clearly, I'm cursed.

So I don't do turkey for holidays anymore. I do a nice, presliced ham, with a cajun brown sugar glaze. I leave the turkey for the experts.

And the people who don't mind their hands in raw meat.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bonus Post: The Ten Things I've Learned From Horror Movies

One of my favorite genres is the horror genre, whether the movie is good or bad. Nine times out of ten, you can take something away, even if it's corny and stupid.

So, in no particular order...Ten Things I've Learned From Horror Movies

1. Video cameras are ALWAYS a bad idea. Do you really need to know what's going on in your house at night? I mean, are things being broken, stolen, anything like that? If not, just let it go. Doubt me? Uh, hello Paranormal Activity series. And please, if you're going on some kind of covert assignment, don't take one. Again, doubt me? Quaratine.

2. If you're not sure whether or not you locked the doors and windows--don't check. Yes, I just told you to not check. Why? Because if you do, one of two things will happen. Either you'll find one open, and will freak out and draw attention to yourself, thus making the crazy person's job easier. Or, you'll find you did in fact lock everything, but sometime during the course of your distracted wandering through the house, the crazy person still managed to sneak in. And you're still dead.

3. If the phone rings, you answer it, and you don't know the person on the other end with the spooky voice--you're probably going to die. Soon. Exceptions to this can be seen in Scream and so on, but generally speaking, scary voice, creepy phone call, you're screwed.

4.If you're female, do NOT share a dorm room/apartment/house/bus/car with another female. What's that, you say? I'm being ridiculous? Let's take a look at what happens to nice, normal girls who decide to not live alone. My evidence: The Roommate. Scream 2. Single White Female. Decide to share a car/vehicle? Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Wrong Turn. Last House on the Left. The Hills Have Eyes. I think I've given enough examples.

5. That virgin thing? Out the window. Yep. Thank you, reboots/remakes/new material. We've now entered the era where giving it up does not, in fact, make you the "bad" girl in a movie. As a matter of fact, there are a number of "good" girls who save the goods and still bite the dust. Case in point: Penelope from My Soul to Take.

6. Speaking of giving it up, guys--do NOT be a douchebag and cheat on your girl. The chances are good that you're going to die at some point, and while it won't necessarily be because you cheated, at least in the movie, the chances are good. And when you die, it will not be pretty. Take a look at the boyfriend in Scream 4. Ouch.

7. Any major event in your life is the perfect time for a bloodbath. Birthdays, anniversaries, school have to be super vigilant. Prom Night, Cabin Fever 2 (which, coincidentally, did not involve a cabin at all), My Soul to Take, Scream, Sorority Row. And here you always thought just going to the event was a huge deal--surviving was the best part.

8. Possession is way more common than people think. I mean, Jesus. Everytime you turn around, someone's soul is in danger. Again, I point to My Soul to Take. I know there are other examples, I just happen to be watching it right now, so I'm kind of drawing a blank on others.

9. Speaking of souls, they are always up for flippin' grabs. Car wreck? Soul Survivors. Piss off a bank client? Drag Me to Hell. Have the poor luck to be born on top of a burial ground that didn't get moved when it should have? Poltergeist. Born in a town worshipping Satan and sacrificing their second children because they're annoyed with God? The Reaping. Go out to salvage a ship that hasn't turned up on the open ocean in years? Ghost Ship.

10. The only way to keep a secret is to make sure everyone involved is dead. Seriously. If you kill someone, witnessed a crime, committed some other kind of crime, and you had more than yourself involved, at some point there will be a blood bath taking out the other participants. I KnowWhat You Did Last Summer, Sorority Row, House on Haunted Hill. Okay, the last one wasn't really a secret-thing, but since the people who died didn't know, it kind of was. The point is: if you're going to go felonious, do it solo.

Random Thursday--I Have Returned!

You may have noticed the lack of posts this week. Well, this would be because techonology hated me this week. Absolutely. Totally. Hated me.

First, my laptop died. So, I went and got a desktop. I planned to do it anyway, just not quite right this second. Great, yes, but I still can't get my iTunes to switch over properly, so that has me annoyed.

Then, my internet went out. All of it. The actual dial-up, the wireless, everything. So that was a big reason for why I wasn't online except via the phone. By the way, thank you once again, late Steve Jobs for creating an awesome product. I got it fixed last night, at Eight Flippin' Thirty because Comcast thinks nobody has anything to do at night besides wait for them.

Ugh. Like I said, techology has hated me this week.

So, in an effort to make up for lost posts, I'll be doing a second one later today inspired by a post I spotted last week by Jack Wallen--The Ten Things I Learned From Horror Movies. And tomorrow, I promise, there will be a food blog. And, there might even be a surprise blog on Saturday--I'm still not sure. It will depend on how tired I am.

So, look for all those things in the very near future.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Media Monday--Damn you, Urban Spoon

I promise you, that headline makes sense.

On Saturday, I did what I normally do. I came home from work, and despite my best efforts, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I fiddled around for a little bit, not hungry enough to go to the trouble of making a full meal, but at the same just hungry enough to eat. So, I made myself a salad, and sat down to do a little research for my trip in March.

I came across the name of a restaurant that sounded interesting. I thought to myself--"Hmm. Let me check this out on Urban Spoon."

I did. And I got a virus.

You can imagine my annoyance.

Thankfully, I managed to pull everything important off my laptop, including music, pictures and various works. And then I went out and bought/rent to owen-ed a desktop. It's pretty cool. I'm going to have to get used to it, but it's still pretty cool.

I still have my laptop, and theoretically it found a restore point. I'm still convinced there's something on it, so when I can I'll get it cleaned up. But for now--damn you, Urban Spoon.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Thursday!

Yes, it's the time of week where I round up the bits of random in my life and try and put them into some sort of order. This week, the random things running through my mind:

I need new shoes. For once, this is not the cry of a woman feeling neglected. I need new shoes for work, which is kind of boring and stupid, because I'll have to buy another pair in a year, since no one has yet to make a pair of slip-resistant shoes that can last for more than a year. I also need a pair of black riding-style boots, so I can walk around New York in March and not lose my feet.

I'm going to New York solo. Yes, my first time on a plane, first time in New York, and I'm going by myself. My mother is insisting I call her everyday. I've reminded her I'll be three months away from turning thirty. She does not care. Considering the fact that she's the type of woman who would somehow convince NYPD to break down my hotel room door if I didn't call, I think I'll be calling everyday.

My work/writing schedule may end up killing me next year. I'll be releasing a total of six books. I'll be writing closer to a dozen. Clearly, I both love you guys and am a sucker for punishment.

The book tour for Taken: A Frankie Post Novel is scheduled to run December 27-January 16. I'm touring once again with The Bookish Snob Promotions. I'll keep everyone updated as the kickoff date gets closer. I will tell you that there will be a abso-freakin'-lutely amazing final giveaway. Even better than the last one. And speaking of giveaways....

Starting next week, I'll be giving away copies of Taken as part of a 12 Days of Christmas promotion. Yes, that's right. The kickoff will start on the 12 with 12 copies of Taken up for grabs. Each day, the number of copies will go down, until Christmas Eve when you get a single shot. So, stay tuned, be prepared, all that jazz.

And now, I'm off to check Yahoo! news, then write a super hot sex scene while sitting in a restaurant. Because that's how I roll.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Writing Wednesday!--The Good and the Great

So, amazing news first (yes, I know I didn't mention amazing, but that would have thrown off the alliteration--and look, now I'm rhyming--geez)--Shades of Desire is with the editor. Yes, that means that within two months, the next Jude Magdalyn will be available for Kindle and Nook. Can I get an amen? Yes, yes I think I can.

On to the great news--I'm back online with Harvest Moon Rising. I've discovered that while I can write two different books at the same time, I cannot edit and write at the same time. One more unique oddity of mine. So, all things being equal, Harvest Moon Rising will be available in April 2012. I'll keep you updated, and you'll probably start seeing excerpts toward the end of January.

And finally, the good news--I've worked out my writing schedule so you'll get not only the re-release of Shades of Desire this year (meaning 2012), you'll also get TWO brand new Jude Magdalyn novels. In addition, you'll have Harvest Moon Rising, and the second Frankie book, Borrowed. Why the overload?

2013 will be devoted to one series, from start to finish. Six books, released every nine weeks, starting in February and ending December. And this series promises to be AWESOME.

(Yes, I totally had to bold and caplock. Because it will be AWESOME)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Tuesday Buildup!--Vampires in the Attic

As promised, I'm sharing some of the inspiration for Shades of Desire this week. It's something of an interesting story, so everybody sit down, buckle up, make sure your seatbacks and trays are in the upright position, and let's get this party started!

Way back when Louisiana was just swamp, or at least moreso than it is today, the original colonizers, aka the French, were having a time an a half getting people over there, and with good reason. If you went to the city of New Orleans--which pretty much was Louisiana--chances were good you would either die of disease, be killed in an Indian raid, or you'd take a wrong turn, wind up in the swamp and get munched on by a gator.

So, what's a nation with imperialistic leanings to do? Well, if said nation also had a very healthy prison population, the easiest and most efficient way to colonize the city was to offer the inmates a deal. Go to this New World, work, live, yada yada, all as a free individual, or you can sit in the Bastille and rot.

You'd be surprised how many people suddenly felt the urge to find out what a swamp looks like.

Well, this worked for a bit. Kind of. The only problem was the women. Yeah, yeah, it's always got to be something. The problem with sending over a bunch of loose women? They tend to run around. And in the case of the women from France, they tended to run off with the Indians. Hey, I get it. Why hang around with some low life louts in a dirty, disease ridden city, when you can start a new life--again--with some not so savage individuals.

Anyway, this did not make the men happy. It actually made them unproductive as well. Which did not make the King of France happy. Big condundrum, right? The women in prison weren't getting the job done. And no way in heck the nobility was going over under those circumstances.

Enter the merchant class. For the promise of a "respectable" marriage, complete with dowry, middle class families were lured into sending their young daughters to the New World. This totally would have worked, God bless their souls. If the ship hadn't made a stop before New Orleans. There, these gently bred girls were informed of what truly awaited them further down river.

Not one of them felt like continuing the journey. Funny.

So, the big day comes. All the men from New Orleans lucky enough to be picked in the wife lottery are waiting at the docks, hyped up and eager for their blushing brides to disembark. Nothing. Like I said, not one girl made the trek to New Orleans. The men, beyond disappointed, eventually left the dock.

Now, some of you may be thinking--"I have not heard one thing about a vampire. What's the deal here, man?" Hold your water. I'm getting there.

Now, the girls didn't reach their final stop. But their luggage did. And for whatever reason--draw the conclusion you choose--their belongings had been shipped over in long, rectangular wooden boxes bearing a marked similarity to caskets. Hence the nicknames of the girl, even to this day--Casket Girls.

Their luggage sat on the docks. And sat. And sat. And sat some more. Finally, the nuns of the Ursaline Convent took it back to the convent, placing it in the third story attic. The attic that no one is allowed to enter. The attic that  for over two centuries has had the shutters opened one time--and in that case, the shutters were kicked off from the inside. When the shutters were replaced, a bishop was flown in from the Vatican to bless the nails.

You get three guesses what a lot of residents of New Orleans say is in those caskets in the attic. And it ain't linens and lace.

Are you creeped out yet? Maybe? Well, I'll save the really nutso stuff for a later date. Next week, we're having a sit-down with one of the newest characters in the Jude Magdalyn series, Detective Rhett Duprees. Make sure to check back.

Happy reading, guys!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Random Thursday!

Today's bits of randomness:

I have to steal a vacuum cleaner. Not entirely. I have to clean my house, and do some serious vacuuming, butt I have no vacuum, nor a way to purchase one. So, I'm borrowing one from my job. I'll bring it back tomorrow, and I doubt I'll cause any damage to it. I hope so anyway. Even if I do, they have two others, so it should be fine. Which leads to my next bit of randomness.

Christmas Party on Sunday! Yes, Christmas Party already. Some of my co-workers are college students, and so we have to work around final exam week and winter break. And make sure a minimum amount of staff is hungover the next morning.

Final bit of randomness: I'm booking my flight for New York in like, two days. My excitement knows no bounds. None. I book the hotel at the end of the month, and then all that's left is to budget for the taxi to/from the airport, my Metro card, and lots and lots of spending money. Hello, income tax refund!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Writing Wednesday--I Have Failed

Yes. That's right. I got NOWHERE near close to the 50K required for NaNoWri. Why? A few reasons--or excuses, depends on how you look at them.

One, I'm doing my best to get through the editing on Shades of Desire. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you've read about my total hatred for editing. Actually, just for editing SoG and SoD, because they're very wordy, very full of character's internal thoughts, which I've been told is not the way to go. I'm working with a new editor, one who manages to get the job done without making me feel like an idiot, so who knows, maybe I'll stop hating the editing process at some point. But I doubt it.

Two, I got distracted by a project. I'm sorry, I've just got too much shit going on in my head to not write some of it down. I really, really, really want to focus all my energy on this, because I've got a deep gut feeling it'll be big. But I've got people asking for the next Jude, for the next Cari, even the next Frankie, so I can't devote all my time to this amazing idea. Instead, I'm going to spend 2012 putting out 2-3 Jude books, 1-2 Cari books, and 1-2 Frankie books.

Why am I going to kill myself with work? Because I plan to release an entire series in 2013. Yes, I'm assuming people will still want to read what I write in 2 years. Either I'm ballsy or psychic, I don't know which, but either way, I'm going for it. What this actually means is I'll be writing roughly a dozen books, if not more, in less than 24 months. This is like NaNoWri on cocaine. Or meth. I'm not sure which one keeps you up and going longer.

So, yes, I failed NaNoWri. But I'm coming away with a better sense of what I need to accomplish, and with an idea of how to accomplish it.

Now--back to editing. Damn it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Tuesday Buildup!--Shades of Desire Excerpt

Ah, that time of week again. To those who care, I had a very long Thanksgiving week/weekend. Profitable, but long. And my poor body is feeling it. Ugh.

Moving on--this bit below introduces, and reintroduces some characters, as well as throws the first monkey wrench into the works. Question: if it was any other kind of wrench, would there still be the same problems? Something to ponder.

I know, I know, I promised vampires and history and all sorts of stuff. But I'm deep in editing hell, and the sooner I get through it, the sooner you all get Shades of Desire. So, next week, cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, I WILL share some spooky vampire info with you. For now, enjoy a bit of Jude and the gang.

Detective Duprees turned as I opened the door to the informal parlor, no doubt alerted by the slight groan of the hinges. “Ms. Henries?”
“Detective Duprees, right?” I crossed the room to shake his outstretched hand, not surprised to feel calluses. He had the look of someone who spent a lot of time being active even if he wore a jacket and tie now. His dark blond hair looked in need of a cut, his skin a light tan color speaking more to heritage than the sun.
What caught me were his eyes. A brilliant shade of blue, they reminded me of the blue and white china in one of the hundred and one cabinets of the Crossroads. Full of intelligence and directness, you knew right away he took his job seriously.
The bad guys were so in trouble.
“Yes, Ms. Henries. Your assistant no doubt told you why I’m here.” He scanned the assembly at my back before turning his gaze back to me. “I wasn’t aware you’d be bringing a crowd with you.”
I lifted an eyebrow, amused. Gesturing to a seat, I settled into the sofa, left space for Theo on one side and Celia on the other. On our way downstairs, Celia popped out of her bedroom and announced she was ready to go. In the interest of timeliness, nobody argued.
“Introductions, then, before we continue. Theo Rossiere, my….” Well, hell. Boyfriend seemed so juvenile, baby daddy way too ghetto. “My Theo.” I caught his grin out of the corner of my eye. Guess he didn’t mind his title.
“Celia and Elizabeth Malley. Rian Flannery. And you’ve already met Lies.” Now that I thought about it, I didn’t even know if Lies had a last name. Something to find out later. “Now, Detective. Perhaps you’d care to tell me something about Deiadre.”
 “Like I said, your assistant has probably told you why I’m here. Ms. McKee was murdered sometime last night. Her personal information said to contact you in case of an emergency.” Those eyes were hyper focused on me now. I wanted to squirm slightly, even though I knew I was in the clear on this. “Not her parents or any other family. But you.”
“Deiadre didn’t have any other family. Her parents died a few years back in a plane crash over the Atlantic.” Good thing Elizabeth had a memory for family trees. Although how serious Detective Duprees would take her when she looked like a tart I didn’t know. “Most of the people of the Covenant who don’t have any family have Ms. Henries listed as emergency contact.”
“The Covenant.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement. “In that case, are you, Ms. Henries, the leader of the Covenant?”
The surprise must have been evident on my face because Duprees continued hastily. “I don’t believe I fully introduced myself. I’m your New Orleans Police Department liaison. Any potential criminal issues you’re involved in, I handle.”
“You’re not the same person I saw at the reading of Gillian’s will.”
“Detective Neasterly was only a few months away from retirement. I’d been his partner for the past two years, so when he took early retirement, the department offered me the position.” Duprees smiled, a touch of humor in the gesture. “Actually, the higher ups begged me. They didn’t want to go through the trouble of explaining everything to someone else.”
“Understandable.” And really, it was. It took me more than a few minutes to wrap my mind around the existence of the Covenant, let alone the extent of how huge it was. I couldn’t begin to imagine how a nice, normal person would take the idea of throwing fire and producing gusts of wind with a thought.
“With all that being said, yes, I’m the leader of the Covenant. Now, can you tell me anything about Deiadre’s death?” If he gave me the crap line about early hours of the investigation and so on, I’d have to seriously control my temper. I didn’t like cryptic when things actually were kind of crypticy. Cryptic when it involved people dying really pushed my buttons.
“She was found in St. Louis No.1 by a group of tourists, earlier this morning.”
“She didn’t go there willingly.” Every head in the room turned in Rian’s direction. “Deiadre hated the cemetery. She wouldn’t have gone there at night for any reason, I guarantee it.”
Duprees looked like he wanted to ask a question or two, but decided against it. If he’d spent any time with the Covenant, he probably knew random statements weren’t really random. “That’s the same conclusion that we reached, Mr. Flannery. The cemetery was merely the dump site, which leaves us with more than a few problems.”
“Such as?” Theo’s hand tightened ever so subtly around my shoulders, his heat bumping up a notch.
“Well, the first would be why Deiadre. The second would be why the cemetery. But the big one would be why she was completely exsanguinated.”
Even the high school drop-out knew what that meant. “Not a drop of blood left in her?”
Duprees’ eyes stayed steady on mine. “Not one.”
Well, hell. “I think you should take us to the cemetery.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Writing Wednesday!

Well, this week I've written a lot of e-mail. And I've written blog posts. That counts, right?

I've also done some editing, which is great. I've got the release date set for Shades of Desire--mark your calenders for February 7! As usual, I'll be going on tour, probably mid-March when I get back from a well earned vacation.

In other news, the Jude Magdalyn short, Hole in the Wall is now FREE on Amazon! To keep Shades of Gray at it's super-low price, help me let Amazon know about a lower price at

That's it for now, folks!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Tuesday Buildup!--Interview with Jude Magdalyn

Yeah, still haven't worked out a better title for this series of Tuesday features. But, I do have something better than usual for our Tuesday get-together: an interview with Jude Magdalyn, our narrator/main character of Shades of Gray (out now), and the upcoming re-release, Shades of Desire. I manged to get Jude to sit down for a little girl chat.

Thanks for taking the time to meet with me, Jude. I know you're pretty swamped with the holidays.

Swamped does not begin to cover it. I've got people running in and out of the Crossroads, couples canoodling, society activites... it almost makes me nostalgic for the days when it was just me, or just me and Izzy.

Does it bother you, thinking about Izzy? It hasn't been that long since....

She was murdered by Hart? You can say it--after all, it's only the truth. To answer your question, yeah, it bothers me to think about her or talk about her. Izzy was my friend. For a long time she was my only friend. And Hart took her from me, not because she was a threat to him, but just to be petty and vicious. To some extent, I blame myself for that, for her dying, which is why I haven't talked to her family. I don't do guilt well, or grief for that matter, so I just... ignore it. Maybe it's not the healthiest way to deal, but it works for me.

Understandable. I'm sorry if I've upset you with the question.

No worries. If I got upset every time someone asked me a hard question, I'd be in a state of constant panic.

*Laughter* Moving on. The next chapter in your life--your biography, if you will--takes place a few months after the events in Shades of Gray. Care to give us a few hints?

First, let me say how weird it is to think of someone writing a biography of my life. But then again, my life itself is weird, so, hey--just going with the flow. Anyway, the week or so around Halloween, some vampire pretty much goes ape shit crazy, and Williams and his vampires, myself and the Covenant, and our new police liason have to pick up the pieces. Joy.

A new police liason? Do tell.

Well, it's not that exciting. He--Detective Rhett Duprees, NOPD--is there to sort of keep any Covenant related police activity as under the radar as possible. From what I understand, he was the partner of the previous guy and just kind of slid into the job. He's holding up pretty good so far, although he's a little stiff under the collar yet. I give it a few months before he's chill with us.

Speaking of the Covenant at large, what's going on with some of our favorite people?

 Uh, they're driving me crazy. Ok, not entirely, but they're giving it their best shot. Celia is, well, Celia is your normal totally precocious five year old who can send people to the future. We're working on her not doing it so much, but it's tough going. Elizabeth and Rian... there's not nearly enough time to go into the mess of those two.


We're working at getting along, for a variety of reasons. It's a lot of work.

There's another area people have a lot of questions about. You did a pretty rapid turn-around there, going from Williams to Theo.

I don't think it was a turnaround at all. Look, from the get-go I was attracted to both of them, on a physical level. I got to know them both more, on a personal level. I made a choice. Did Williams knowing about my family, knowing what his brother did to my family, play into the choice? Yeah, it did. But if there's anyone out there who wouldn't feel a sense of betrayal amount being kept in the dark about something so huge, well, they're a much better person than me.

Obviously, I've touched on a sensitive subject.

Yeah, you did. I'm sure there are people out in the world who constantly have to defend their romantic choices, and they manage to not be angry and hormonal about it. I'm not one of them. Bite me.

Speaking of hormones, how's the baby baking going?

It's going. I swear, there are days I feel like I've thrown up every bite of food I've ever eaten. And coffee. God, do I miss coffee.

*Laughs* You know, they say it gets better after the first three months.

So I've heard. Remind me to shoot "they" if I ever find them.

Thanks for taking the time to be here today, Jude.

That's it, folks! As you can see, she's still as cantankerous as ever. I'd lay odds on that baby coming out spouting sarcasm. Check back next week to get a little more background on the legend behind the inspiration for Shades of Desire!