Thursday, July 28, 2011

Random Thursday--New Cover!

It's here! I'm super excited about the new cover for Shades of Gray, out mid-August. Here's a look at it:

My promotional blog tour kicks off on August 17, and I'm already gearing up for that. We've got interviews, book excerpts and guest posts all lined up and I can't wait. In the meantime, check out Hole in the Wall on both Smashwords and Goodreads for free. It's an exclusive e-book featuring Jude and just what she was up to the night before everything went haywire.

As always--happy reading!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Writing Wednesday--Comedy in the Supernatural

First, I'd like to thank the men of Blue Collar Comedy Tour and Katt Williams for inspiring this post. I've been laughing my butt off all week thanks to these folks.

In general, paranormal/supernatural stories are dark, gloomy, eerie and dramatic/melodramatic. Readers expect dark and intense. Writers, in an effort to meet reader expectations, will give them dark and intense, so readers never expect anything more, so writers never write anything more. It's a vicious cycle.

So whenever something light and frothy and humorous comes on the scene, we as readers are both taken aback and intrigued. How dare a vampire queen be shoe crazy--but still, shoes? Hmm. That's different. Maybe I should take a look at this.

As far as I've been able to find, there are no rules anywhere stating that just because your story has a blood sucking, bat shit crazy vampire killing people that you can't have a slapstick scene straight out of the Three Stooges. Heck, I actually think have the two in the same book really drives home the brutality of a kill. And besides, does anybody really want to read a book so serious it can't take a joke, even one at itself?

I don't. I want to be able to laugh and cry and be worried about people and be super freakin' happy when the bad guy gets it in the end. I want a book that runs the full range of emotions, because God knows I run the full range, sometimes twice, in one day.

And quite frankly, there's nothing better than a good joke? Did you hear the one about the priest, the nun, and the confessional? Well, you're not hearing it from me, either.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday!

Ah, Tuesday. The day when I would normally rush to the bookstore after work to see what there is to be bought. Alas, this day will soon become more depressing with the closing of Borders. Don't get me wrong, B&N is good and all--but my heart will always belong to Borders. I digress.

I'm currently in the middle of re-reading Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts. I love all Nora Roberts books, without fail, so this is something of a light, familiar read, deserving of a fun, light tease.

"...Then she went too far, she went one step too far."
"What did she do?"
"She called me a--a floozy."
Jed blinked, gamely struggled to swallow the tickle at the back of his neck. "A what?"
"A floozy," she repeated, slapping her fist on the chair.
"Let's go take her down."

Classic Nora Roberts humor. And I happen to love the word floozy myself. Along with wench and harlot.

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Music Monday--Guilty Pleasures

Come on, you know what I'm talking about--the songs you know you shouldn't love, but you just can't help it. Hell, maybe there's an artist you're embarrassed to admit you own one, if not all, of their albums. I'm talking about the stuff that if someone were to pick up your iPod and hit play and it came on, you'd swear up and down you have no idea why it's on there.

Because it's my blog, I'll go first. But don't think that means you can't chime in.

Guilty Pleasure #1--Annie Lenox, Broken Glass
I've said it before, I'll say it again. This is my go-to song for feeling good. They play it on the satellite radio at work, and I just bounce around like a demented person.

Guilty Pleasure #2--Journey, Don't Stop Believin'
Oh, come on. Seriously? How could I not have this on the list of guilty pleasures. It is the ultimate white person song in a bar deal. Although to be truthful, I'd never heard it until my friend Sam told me to watch the movie The Comebacks. Classic.

Guilty Pleasure #3--Britney Spears
Yes, everything by Britney is a guilty pleasure. I don't give a crap about her personal life. I just like her music. Don't get me wrong, not all of it, but enough to take up a good thirty minutes or so if I got stuck in traffic.

Guilty Pleasure #4--Taylor Swift
Actually, I don't feel guilty about this, even though I'm just a bit shy of thirty. I love Taylor Swift. Out of three albums I can count on one hand the number of songs I don't care for. And it's not even that I don't care for them so much as I just don't care either way about them. She has a knack for writing songs from the view of just an ordinary person, which makes them very relatable, no matter your age. She's got a long career ahead of her.

And finally, Guilty Pleasure #5--South Park, Cartman's Version of Poker Face
You will have to trust me on this. If you can find in on YouTube, you will laugh your face off. No clue on the episode number, but it's the one where Stan (I think) goes off to save the whales from the Japanese. Again, classic.

And now that I've shared mine--what's your guilty music pleasure?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Food Friday!

This week has been full of editing, formatting, and a slew of other things. As such, I've had to fall back on some of my quick and easy recipes so I don't starve to death while working. This is a one dish meal, or at least the way I prepare it it is. Super quick and super easy, shouldn't take more than ten minutes, maybe fifteen if you like your chicken blackened.

Buffalo Chicken Coleslaw

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thin sliced and diced)
1 bag prepared coleslaw mix
1 jar coleslaw dressing (I prefer Marie Callenders, but that's me)
3 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons Frank's Buffalo Sauce

Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet; add buffalo sauce. Add chicken breast pieces, stirring to coat with hot sauce. Cook on medium until done (or blackened); set aside.

Prepare coleslaw (This should be self-explanatory. Please let it be self explanatory)

Pour chicken and remaining sauce into coleslaw. Mix thoroughly.


(Told you it was easy!)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Random Thursday--The Art of Sex

This is really more of a writer thing than a random thing, but since 98% of people believe sex sells, I figure it can't hurt. Besides, I like talking about sex.

Writing sex scenes can range from easy to embarrassing to bang-your-head-against-the-desk difficult. Depending on the market you're writing for, most authors find themselves bound by rules, both spoken and unspoken. The more mainstream the market, the more circumspect one tends to end up being in regards to something messy, personal, and wholly natural.

Some of that is due, no doubt, to the general Puritanical moral system of America at large. Despite being either a "melting pot" or a "tossed salad", depending on which cultural school you're ascribing to, American soceity as a whole is wary and highly critical of overt sexual displays. Think of the moral outrage associated with Britney Spears and her over the top racy videos, or to throw it back a few decades, the uproar over Brooke Shields appearing in Pretty Baby as a child prostitute. And let's not get started on the cyclical nature of celebrity sex scandals, either through pictures or video.

But why, exactly, are they scandals? For a country that prides itself on freedom of expression, up to and including burning books and other objects, we are remarkably intolerant of an act that most people will experience at some point in their life. So much so, that the Supreme Court had found itself forced to deal with enough cases involving pornography to have "Movie Day", where they review the movies involved in suits.

The definition of obscenity has changed numerous times over the years, beginning with the Roth test which first came into use in the 1950s. Keeping in mind the general conservative nature of America at the time, the justices set forth the following explanation for judging obscene materials.
Speech which " . . . to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interest" and which is "utterly without redeeming social importance..."

After years of misapplication and misinterpretation due to varying community standards, a second definition was set forth in 1973 in the decision for Miller v California, which stands as the current definition (more or less). It is significantly more conservative, something at odds with the counter culture of the era and the continued progression toward individual freedoms. In short, it states something is obscene if:
"(a) whether the 'average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,

(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and

(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
 The major difference between the two definitions comes from the application of community standards. The Roth test worked on a national level, and ended up being more liberal. Miller shifted judgment back to the community, either local or state, where mores vary widely and often are more stringent.

The real issue, and one every artist of every medium has to take into account, is the final criterion--lacking serous literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Again, what is acceptable in Austin, Texas may not be acceptable in Dayton, Ohio and vise versa. Once an artist makes the decision to offer their work for public consumption, personal preferences become nil and community standards move to the forefront. And so writing or showing or in anyway portraying sex becomes an art. Not just in the craft itself, but in portraying the act while maintaining community standards and falling in line with public opinion. 

And here you thought this was going to be risque. Shame on you.

(The information used here regarding obscenity was culled from Movie Day at the Supreme Court or "I Know It When I See It: A History of the Definition of Obscenity by Judith A. Silver)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Writing Wednesday--Author Interview with Shea MacLeod

It's Wednesday--time for free pie at the VI, drinking at CP, and author interview here at FFUF! Today I've got Shea MacLeod, whose debut novel Kissed by Darkness came out earlier this month.

Now, before I let Shea have her say, I'd like to tell you how I met her. Actually, we haven't met met--as there's a super big ocean between us. We met through a writing website, WeBook, when I was first posting Shades of Gray. I happened to come across a few of her reviews and thought she sounded smart, on point, and knew how to dish out critcism without being ugly. So I took a deep breath and shot her a message asking her to take a look at Shades of Gray. That was three years ago and the rest, as they say, is writing/critique partner history. Truth be told, it's one of my longest running relationships of any kind (not counting family--and I don't count them because you're stuck with them) and I value her opinion on a ridiculous level. But enough shenanigans.

Without further ado, Shea MacLeod!

First, congratulations on the release of Kissed by Darkness. Tell us a little about it.

Thanks so much.  Kissed by Darkness is the first book of the Sunwalker Saga.  It is pretty much the end result of the random thought that mixing Buffy with a Paranormal Investigation team was a good idea. lol  

                                                          Kissed by Darkness

Danger is always on the menu for Morgan Bailey, a sexy and street-smart bounty hunter, who prowls the dark underworld of Portland, Oregon hunting creatures of the night. Morgan’s never met a vampire she couldn’t dust or a demon she couldn't kill until she's hired to destroy a new kind of mystical threat: the Sunwalker.
A powerful immortal once believed myth, the Sunwalker carries with him an ancient secret which, if left unchecked, will destroy Morgan’s world. Pursued by a passionate Templar Knight and the target of the local vampire clans, an ancient power is awakened within her, unlike anything she’s ever known. Morgan must uncover the truth behind her mission and about herself, before the Darkness lurking inside swallows her whole.

How would you compare Morgan to other strong female leads, like Jeanine Frost's Cat or Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson?

I'm not familiar with Cat, but Mercy I've read.  I'd say that while Morgan has had her fair share of pain and heartache, she's not nearly as damaged as Mercy.  She's more... normal.  Ordinary.  Just a regular Jane who had to learn to be tough.  Fast.

You've created a unique twist on the myth of Atlantais, Templar Knights, and vampires in general. Where'd the inspiration for the mash-up come from?

Good lord, who knows! lol  I've always loved mash-ups.  I mean, why not have a post-apocalyptic romance, right?  

I always knew Morgan would be involved with supernatural creatures... fighting them, protecting humanity.  Vampires were a natural choice.  The idea to involve Atlantis came next.  I didn't want to go the usual magical route, I wanted something a bit more than that to create this underlying mythos for the series (Plus I'd probably seen one too many episodes of Stargate Atlantis.).  And come on, what's cooler than a Templar Knight?  So, that got thrown in.  

I hear Kissed by Fire is in the works. Care to share a teaser with us?
In KbF, Morgan and Kabita are called to London after the murder of Kabita's cousin, an MI8 agent (Yes, MI8 was real.  I've just twisted it as usual.).  Morgan will face down dragons, sidhe and her own murderer. KbF will be out this August. 

If KbD was turned into a movie, who would you choose to play Morgan?  Jackson?

The closest actress I can think to play Morgan is Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica from True Blood.).  She's a little young and needs to gain about 20 pounds, but she's a great actress and would play Morgan well.

As for Jackson Keel, who else but the delicious Gerard Butler could play a 900 year old Templar Knight! ;-)

How many books will be in the Sunwalker Saga?  And what other supernatural creatures will make an appearance in the series?
There will be six total books in the Sunwalker Saga.  I've got lots of fun creatures up my sleeve.  In book two, Morgan will discover that dragons aren't extinct after all.  She'll also have another brief run-in with the sidhe (They'll play a big role later on in the series.).  In book three she'll meet a few djinn.  Plus whoever else pops in for a visit while I'm writing. :-)

Are you working on any other novels?

Yes!  I'm working on the third book in the Sunwalker Saga, Kissed by Smoke.  Also, I have a second series I'm working on.  It's a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance with dragons.  Everything's better with dragons. :-)

Thanks so much to Shea for stopping by. Be sure to check out KbD on Amazon and Smashwords, as well as Goodreads. Stop by next week--who knows what'll be happening!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday!

Alas, I'm not reading anything right now. Scandalous, I know. But I'm in the middle of writing, and formatting, and editing, and...I think you get the point.

So instead of teasing with an actual quote, I'd like to take a second to tell you about a book due out August 2 by two of my favorite writers, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I've been a devoted reader of theirs since I was in the 9th grade, which means roughly 15 years. I know--that's a bit of time right there. Their most amazing character, Agent Pendergast, is on the case again, and this time it's a doozy. Check out the description on Amazon:

Devastated by the discovery that his wife, Helen, was murdered, Special Agent Pendergast must have retribution. But revenge is not simple. As he stalks his wife's betrayers-a chase that takes him from the wild moors of Scotland to the bustling streets of New York City and the darkest bayous of Louisiana-he is also forced to dig further into Helen's past. And he is stunned to learn that Helen may have been a collaborator in her own murder.

Peeling back the layers of deception, Pendergast realizes that the conspiracy is deeper, goes back generations, and is more monstrous than he could have ever imagined-and everything he's believed, everything he's trusted, everything he's understood . . . may be a horrific lie.
Super excited! Like I said, Cold Vengeance, is due out August 2, so remember to pick up your copy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Music Monday--Theme Songs

Monday! Since I had a little too much fun last night--resulting in getting thrown out of an Applebee's before nine, but that's a story for a different time--I'm getting a bit of a late start this morning. And since I lost the notes I had for this post, I'm just gonna have to wing it.

Last week I talked about writing playlists and their use. Taking it a step further--and inspired by my interview with Belinda Boring on Wednesday and my viewing of Harry Potter this weekend--I'm going to take a minute to talk about theme songs.

When most of us think of theme songs, we automatically think of movies or television shows. What would the A-Team be without those opening notes (and Bradley Cooper's abs)? Dawson's Creek without Paula Cole? True Blood without Bad Things? Not to say the movie and shows mentioned would suffer for the lack, but there's something about those songs that helps with the transition of the viewer into the alternate world.

For writers, the same concept applies. Unless you're super lucky--which I am not--writing does not automatically pay the bills. So first order of business five days of the week is working. Then there's family, friends, idiot cats, promotion...the list goes on and on. There are days when I sit down in front of my computer and my brain flat refuses to work. This is where a theme song is important.

Even though I write in the same genre, not everything I write is the same. The Jude Magdalyn series is somewhat on the dark side, so I tend to gravitate toward 3 Doors Down, specifically When I'm Gone. The Moon Rising series with Cari is set a little closer to home, both geographically and emotionally, so country is a natural choice. Sara Evans' Little Bit Stronger fit perfectly with Cari's struggles. My current work in progress, tentatively titled Taken, is very noir, very rough and tumble, but with a lot of sex. I've gone back and forth with songs on this, using Fiona Apple's Criminal sometimes, Nickelback at others.

Does it work every time? Nope. But then there are times you're watching TV and your brain is just going too many places and you completely gloss over the theme song. It takes you a little longer to get into the show, to reorient yourself with the world you're viewing, but you get there. So while I'd say a theme song is important, it's not the be all end all. It just makes the journey more interesting.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Food Friday

Food! Always exciting. I did have a mind to share a recipe I created this week, but I'm sitting here drinking sweet tea and realizing talking about that is so much more fascinating right now.

I've heard sweet tea called the house wine of the South, and I'd have to agree one hundred and twenty five percent. Or some other big number. And when I say sweet tea, I mean pre-sweetened. I go into a restaurant and they say all they have is unsweet, I'm drinking something else. Because no matter how much sugar or sugar substitute you put in your glass, it will still never have the same taste as tea sweetened right after brewing.

Now, you'll hear a lot of talk about the lemon vs no-lemon debate. Amongst my friends and family, this isn't actually a debate--lemon does not exist for the purpose of tea. Even my grandmother, who was a full diabetic and drank unsweet tea with Sweet 'N Low my entire life, never put a lemon near her tea. Needless to say, bottled Snapple or NesTea does not sit well with us.

Which leads in to the debate on brands of tea. Again, really no debate. I was raised on Lipton and will most likely drink Lipton until the day I'm no longer to drink anything, period. Doesn't matter if it's normal brew or cold brew, as long as it's Lipton. Do not bring any of that powdered mix of any variety near me. Unless I brewed it, it's not tea.

Of course, this is all personal opinion. You'll meet people who insist that tea is not tea unless it's served steaming hot with milk and lemon and honey. You'll meet people who swear by NesTea and who think flavored teas from Snapple are the best thing since the wheel. Now, I'm not going to say these people are wrong. I'd be more inclined to use the term misguided--but that's me.

I still don't understand the people who don't drink tea at all.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Random Thursday!

Things currently floating through my mind:

Football. Maybe it's a result of the season, or watching FSU's Garnet and Gold game on ESPN last night, but I am so ready for college football. It's my favorite sport, and since FSU had a great season last year, I'm looking forward to seeing what they do this year.

Lucky Breaks. Not necessarily of the career kind. I was thinking more of the personal kind--as in, Wow, I sure got lucky not meeting that person or not staying with that person. Lucky breaks along those lines. Sometimes it takes both time and distance from a person and a situation before you realize where you don't need to be.

Tattoos. Not getting one, at least not at the moment. I have eight myself, so it's a fairly safe bet to say I'll get another one or two. The process is kind of addicting. But, I'm thinking of them, because two of my friends/coworkers had some ink done this week. One of them just finished her second session on a calf piece that's pretty much a Hermoine (from Harry Potter) pinup--uber awesome. The second got her first bit of ink, the phrase "This Too Shall Pass". Big week for tattoos here.

And that's really all that's going through my mind. It's a slow week. Check back next week for more random ramblings!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Writing Wednesday--Author Interview with Belinda Boring

It's Writing Wednesday! Since there's no way I can talk about writing every week, I'll also be doing interviews. This week, I've got Belinda Boring, also known as The Bookish Snob, here talking about her debut work, Without Mercy, writing playlists, and what NOT to do when you meet a hot man.
                                                                   Belinda Boring
You're well known in the blogging community for your awesome reviews of swoon worthy books. Why the jump to "the other side"?
Well, someone told me you guys gave away free ice cream and there'd be semi naked men here with killer abs! Hahaha see you can take a writer out of a reader, but you can't take The Bookish Snob out of a writer. LOL I actually started writing before I started blogging. I wrote a REALLY short story on... man, if I told you I would have to kill you. Let's just say, it got me really excited to explore and I decided to try write a fan fiction of one of my favorite paranormal romance series, Christine Feehan's Dark Carpathians. I loved it and tinkered around but it wasn't until the blessed meeting of my bestfriend Lacey, that I started thinking seriously. She encouraged me to take part in the National Novel Writing Month challenge last year (50,000 words in a month) and cheerleadered me the entire time. Writing is so addicting when you're focused and full charged! I completed the challenge and after that, I began writing. Every dream became a story idea and neatly filed away on my computer. Of course, being The Bookish Snob has put me in the path of some AMAZING authors who have encouraged, listened and offered a ton of support. Each book I read, I think "Hmmm I can do this. I want to see my name on a book I wrote." So here I am... on the other side. Actually come to think of it, I don't think I jumped... I was lovingly pushed LOL Thanks Lacey!

Without Mercy is your first release. Give us a quick rundown of what it's about. Any sequels in the works?
                                                                     Without Mercy

Without Mercy actually came from this gut wrenching nightmare I had where I woke up sobbing. I remembered just a few images but the emotion was so vivid that it clung to me all day. My bestfriend told me "Belinda, you need to write it out" and I began that day. I posted the beginning on my blog and people really enjoyed it and I started thinking, Hmmm I should write a little more. I sat down one Saturday, turned up "Running Up That Hill" by Placebo and finished it.
The story is about Darcy, a young werewolf who is out running errands with her mate-to-be's sister. Mated to the Alpha of her pack, Mason, she'd had alot of arguments about safety and the need for constant protection. He finally relented and Darcy soon learns to regret it when they're stopped by someone they thought they could trust. Things soon get out of control and when the situation turns deadly, Darcy finds herself go from helpless prey to lethal predator but it has consequences. Without the help of her mate, she runs the real risk of losing herself and it takes an act of complete trust to save her. Lots of good emotions!
There's definitely sequels in the works! In fact, Mason and Darcy can't stop talking. I'm going to try something a little different and turn it into a series of Mystic Wolves novelettes. The next one I have planned is called Cherished, and it focuses heavily on Mason and Darcy and how they deal with the aftermath from Without Mercy. You get a better look at their relationship and yep, there will be SWOON! I'm hoping to release each installment every 4-6 weeks so I'm really excited.
What else are you working on right now?
I'm working on two things at the moment. Like I mentioned above, I'm working on Cherished: A Mystic Wolves Novelette but I'm also working on a novel length book called Broken Promises. I am absolutely in LOVE with the whole storyline for this!  It came about from a dream I had (seeing a pattern?) and when I woke up, I sat down and outlined a 3 book urban fantasy series. Here, let me share the blurb I have for it because it sums the book up perfectly!
All Bree wanted to do was spend her Friday night with the man she loved and adored. Planning to watch a movie together, she never would've believed leaving her home would result in her relationship with Quinn being tested beyond its limits. Unbeknownst to her, the Fae have been organizing to invade Earth, and their devious plans are culminating now, colliding with Bree's very existance. Using a powerful glamour, the Fae trigger each person's violent tendencies, turning the streets into a battleground and strangers against each other.

In a crushing blow, Quinn becomes affected and Bree finds herself battling to save her lover from himself as he stalks her relentlessly, taunting her at every turn. In a game of cat and mouse, Quinn can't decide whether he wants to seduce her or kill her, breaking her heart further with each encounter. But fighting for her love isn't her only worry. As the battle ensues, Bree discovers a startling truth about her own heritage that she must come to terms with. Determined to bring balance back, she teams up with others to drive the Fae back across the veil, only to find herself in way over her head. Bree has no other choice but to fight, leading her to a confrontation that will change her world forever - and threaten to leave her with broken promises.
I get giddy whenever I think or talk about Broken Promises. It's definitely a piece of me and I can't wait to share it with everyone. Bree is this amazing woman who faces blow after blow but still she gets back up, dusts herself off and keeps going. I love the transformation she has planned for herself (see how I didn't say me, she kinda has a mind of her own LOL) and she's definitely the kind of heroine I love to read. And as for Quinn, he makes me SWOON and melt! He's the seductively snarky guy and I'll admit, there's a little Damon Salvatore in him - you know that arrogant swagger we all love. He's not sure what he wants to do with Bree... does he want to kill her (yikes) or does he want to grab her, press her up against the wall and ravish her until she's breathless? There's a lot of great moments between them and I could go on and on. Needless to say, it's ALOT of fun writing it and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!
Earlier this week I talked about writing soundtracks. Do you have one, and if so, tell us about it.
I actually do! I'm an emotional person - whether its reading or writing and I found the best way for me to get into the emotion of the scene is to find the perfect song and put it on repeat. I have playlists for everything I write but I'll share a few with you:
For Without Mercy - "Running Up That Hill" by Placebo
Cherished - "Just The Way You Are" by Bruno Mars and "In My Head" by Jason Derulo
Broken Promises - "Russian Roulette" by Rihanna (it's the theme song and what I'll write the final scene to) "Give Me A Sign" by Breaking Benjamin, "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum and "Beautiful Ending" by Barlowgirl
Any crazy stories you'd like to share with readers?

Hmmm, crazy stories... my mind's drawing a blank! Something I can share that won't get me into trouble. Okay here's a story that was HIGHLY embarassing but those who know me say "OMGSH that it so Belinda!"
I recently went to a Romance Reader event and as well as meeting authors I love, sexy as heck romance cover model Jimmy Thomas was going to be there (look him up... trust me, you'll thank me) and we could get a photo with him. I was so excited and I joked around with people that I would ask for a "hump shot" to put on my blog. Finally, the event arrives and I'm in a complete swoon. For an hour, I sat and watched a erotic book cover photo shoot and I could barely look Jimmy in the eye. I am sooo uber shy (I know, hard to believe) and I'll admit, I was a little squee about meeting him. So, it's time for photos... I put my big girl panties on, take a deep breath and say "Jimmy, can I have a hump shot!" Total silence and a look  of confusion. I died! Funny thing about being me is that sometimes... okay most times, only I know what I mean! Call it a consequences of being an Australian living in the US. So I settle for a delicious hug on the couch, gird my embarassed loins and make a quick exit. Later on, I'm chatting with other people at the event and we're giggling about Jimmy and how amazing he was. I share my "hump shot" fiasco and DIE a little further with humilation. Everyone laughs and proceeds to tell me that they thought I had asked him for a "deviant" pose, something of the four legged variety and I am ready to crawl under a rock and die! For the rest of the night, I was "the hump girl". Lesson learned? Make sure you use words EVERYONE is familar with. Oh and don't ask a hot cover model to "doggy" *blushes and cringe* Does that qualify as crazy?
Thank you so much LM for having me over today! You're my first inteview so hopefully I did okay *smiles*

And thanks to you Belinda for stopping by. Next week, look for an interview with Shea MacLeod, author of Kissed by Darkness!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday!

(Sorry for the delay--blogger played a cruel trick on me and didn't post this earlier)

Tuesday! Ah, Tuesday. Time for a little tease--or as my friend likes to say, a little taste.

I recently broke down and started reading the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. And I'm angry. Angry I didn't break down sooner. So far, I'm up to the third book, Grave Peril. Here's a little bit:

"Then you read my theory on the barrier between our world and the Nevernever. That it's slowly being torn away."

"And you think it's falling to pieces, now? Morty, that wall has been there since the dawn of time. I don't think it's going to collapse right now."

"Wall." He said the word with a sneer. "More like Saran Wrap, wizard. Like Jell-O. It bends and wiggles and stirs."

I've got two weeks to get through something like 9 books before the latest in the series comes out on July 26th. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Music Monday--Writing Soundtrack

Music Monday! Woohoo! The biggest thing going on with my iPod this week has been Beyonce's "Best Thing I Never Had", which I'd love to dedicate to someone, but manners prevent me from saying their name. Still, I believe he knows who he is.

Anyway, I'd like to take a few moments to talk about writing soundtracks. You have some people who swear by silence and some who swear by music. I fall somewhere in the middle, since I can work in either condition depending on the circumstances of what I'm writing. I also tend to write to movies and/or movie commentary. But I think we can all agree I'm odd, which is fine with me.

Some writers have individual soundtracks for each work they write. To them, I say, "You're amazing." I'd be willing to bet they're plotters as opposed to pansters, which I'm definitely not getting into. I usually don't know what song I'm going to play until I'm spinning the little wheel on my iPod, so knowing what music you want to listen to for an entire book is insane--in a good way.

Some writers have certain genres they listen to, all depending on the work and how it's progressing. Someone--and again, not naming names--likes to say that if they get to Christmas music, it's very bad. Me, one of the easiest ways to get my blood going is to pop in Mariah's "All I Want For Christmas"--does the trick like nothing else. I just want to bop around and throw snow in the air.

For myself, I just listen to whatever. I have a huge playlist with everything possible on it, from the aforementioned Mariah Carey to Miranda Lambert to 3 Doors Down to Annie Lenox with a little Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus thrown in. Anytime I download a new song that I love, I throw it on the list, and just juggle things around. Does it get the juices going? Most times. If it doesn't, that's when I resort to DVD's and commentaries.

In the end, I don't think it's what you listen to that gets you writing. It's just the writing itself. Although dancing around to "Broken Glass" sure as hell doesn't hurt.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Food Friday!

Okay folks, it's Friday. Which means we're talking food! Good, right? And today we're talking potato salad. Which is excellent.

Everybody has some food that, to them, is equal to Linus's security blanket. For me, it's potato salad. I'll never forget the Christmas I had to work a double--I raced home between shifts, eager for potato salad. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. It had all been consumed. Needless to say, my rage was monumental.

I couldn't tell you why I have such a deep love for potato salad. By no means was it the only dish served on the table. And growing up down South and attending a church where we had probably a good half dozen or so "dinner on the grounds" a year, I had exposure to more than one kind. Still, there's nothing like the taste of my mama's potato salad. Nothing, not even my own, compares.

There's something about that first taste. Not too mustardy, not to mayoy, unsalted. It's perfect either still warm or chilled. No matter where I am, how bad the day was, one bite and the world rights itself. It is, without doubt, as comforting as any hug from my mother or grandparents, just the feeling of home that can't be explained.

Bet you didn't think you'd get all that from potato salad, did you?

Random Thursday!

There's no telling what you'll get on Thursday! Remember that, and plan your reading accordingly.

Things going on for me this week: Monday was a holiday, which meant I got to work on my off day. Which sucked. But, I got to have Friday off instead. Meaning two days off in a row. Which is awesome.

Also going on: Continued progress on the work listed in my computer as Frankie. I'm still not sure on the title. I'm already past the quarter mark, which for only 3 weeks is awesome, at least for me. I'm shopping around for beta readers, so if you know someone who might be interested, or you yourself are interested, let me know. HOWEVER, if you just plan to pass my work around (as some so-called fellow writer/reviewers have done) to others, be warned--I will find you. And I will light candles for karma to kick your ass. Have no doubt. I will do this. No more nice, just getting my feet wet, still finding my way writer.

ALSO going on (I know, I'm awful busy for it to only be Thursday): the countdown to footballs season. I love football season for two reasons. One, financial--people like to come spend money, and they like to give me some. Thank you all. Two--it's college football! No other sport in the world will get me so excited, although pro baseball comes close. And, being a die-hard FSU fan, I'm salivating to see what Jimbo Fisher does this year.

Ok, I think that's enough randomness for today. I'd like to thank you all for your patience and humor--and as always, happy reading!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writing Wednesday

Today, I'm going to take a moment to talk about what I'm working on. It's new and different, at least for me, and may require some explanation.

I'm not a huge fan of old movies, but I did go through a phase where I watched movies from the 40s and 50s. One of the things I did fall in love with was film noir, and all the murder, danger, and sex of the genre. Although some people still don't like to call it a genre, but that's a different topic of discussion.

The idea for a psychic detective isn't new. I actually have something else that I started, but could never really sink my teeth into, that follows along the same lines. However, this new book, still untitled, is more crime fiction than urban fantasy, although it does have some of those elements--otherwise it wouldn't be mine.

There's the world weary, cynical detective with the sharp attitude, biting sarcasm, at least one vice and the mysterious past. The twist? This detective is female. And a little bit psychic.

She's got her long time partner in crime--and other things--, a cadre of slightly seamy friends and acquaintences, and a hot case. A young girl has been kidnapped, the target of a human trafficking circle--or has she?

I'm about a quarter of the way through after only two and a half weeks. I've got a good feeling about this. To share that good feeling, the first five comments will get a sneak peek at Chapter One in all its roughness. Happy reading, everyone!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesday!

It's Tuesday! New books! If you're like me, that alone is enough to make your Tuesday. But now, I've got something a little extra for you.

My friend, an amazing kick-ass writer in her own (ha-ha) right, Shea MacLeod, has just released her debut novel, Kissed by Darkness as an e-book. I've been with this book from the beginning, and now to see it come to non-pages is enough to bring a tear to my eye. Here's a little piece from it:

He tilted his head as he laughed and the sun streaming through the open door picked out the gold in his hair. “Yeah, something like that.” 
Down, libido, down. “Well, this Cordelia is supposed to know something. Something that will help me track the Sunwalker I’m hunting. So, can you help me out? Go to the club with me, find this Cordelia chick and find out what she knows?” 
“Yeah, sure, if you promise to leave me in peace and let me sleep. Unless you want to join me?” His grin was pure naughtiness.

Hot, right? Well, if you want to know more, you gotta buy the book! You can find her on Amazon and Smashwords. Happy reading! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Music Monday

I have an eclectic taste in music. It's kind of all over the place, but not really. By which I mean I stick to certain genres on my iPod, but if you put something on, the chances are good I'll listen to it. Unless it's heavy death metal, or severe gangster rape. Although I do love Eminem.

Currently spinning round on my Ipod (which I know isn't even possible, but you know what I mean)

Tomorrow, by Chris Young--brutally sad, which I love in a song
U + UR Hand, by P!nk--for when I'm feeling badass
Burn It To the Ground, by Nickelback--because I love tons of alcohol references and the crazy beat
And, last but not least, The Best Thing I Never Knew I Needed, by Ne-Yo, off the Princess and the Frog soundtrack--don't judge

Next week, who knows what I'll be listening to, but I'll be talking about book soundtracks. Yes, they exist.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Food Friday!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, I'm from North Florida, or where some people like to call the last bit of the South before you head to Miami. And yes, it's true. About halfway down the state--and its a LOOOONG drive--the culture changes completely. But I digress.

I grew up eating things like refried biscuits, collard greens, fried chicken, and sweet potato pie. Like all teenagers, I went through a period where I turned my nose up at some of those offerings. What can I say, teenagers are special. But the older I've gotten (and don't ask me, because I'm not answering), the more I've returned to my food roots. Although I may do some tweaking here and there.

A lot of what I cook has a base in traditional Southern cooking. And then I usually take and flip things to fit my tastes. I don't remember where I first heard about sweet tea and chicken, but everybody should thank this genius. I like some spicy with my chicken, though, so this is a little different. Amounts are guesses, because I only use a measuring cup if I can't get out of it.

Chicken, thawed and washed (I prefer boneless and skinless, but that's me. I'm weird about bones)--I'd say 2 or 3 pieces a person
1/2 gallon of sweet tea, either your own or premade--do NOT get something with lemon in it, you'll pervert the flavor
4 eggs
3 cups or so of flour
Tony Catchetori's Seasoning (I may have totally butchered the name, but you should get the point--if you can find it, go with Zatarin's)

Soak the chicken in the sweet tea for at least an hour. The longer it soaks, the more flavor you get into the chicken. For optimum results, over night is best, but sometimes you get a yen for chicken. Or at least I do.

Beat the eggs until smooth. Sprinkle in around 2 tablespoons of seasoning.

Add another quarter cup of seasoning to your flour.

The decision to double batter or not is all up to you. Some like it super crispy, some don't. Either way, drain the chicken, dip into your egg batter, then dredge in your seasoned flour. Repeat if desired.

Fry until thoroughly cooked. Or really dark. Whatever works for you. I'd suggest draining on a wire rack if you can--something about paper towels makes the chicken soggy if you're not careful.


Next week, I'll be talking about potato salad. Because it is my one true weakness.