Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday!

It's Teaser Tuesday! This is from an oldie but goodie, Face the Fire, by Nora Roberts

Something shivered on the air, like warm hands brushing her cheeks. It wasn't comfort she wanted, or the urge to be patient. So, she turned from them, from the cliffs, and the sea. Her cloak whipped behind her as she ran toward the lights of home.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Back!--Kind of...

I'm alive! Some of you may have wondered where I've been--the short answer would be, really sick. And I'm willing to admit that when I'm really sick, I have no desire to do anything. I pretty much just curl up in my bed and sleep. That's it. I really don't even want to read a book, which should tell you something right there.

And now that the doctors have (mostly) figured out what the heck is wrong, I'm on some medication to deal with it. Which means I feel more human than I have at any point in the past two weeks. Let's hear it for modern medicine, eh.

So, a little revamping on the blog--Tuesday will now go back to Teaser Tuesday, which may or may not taken from a book I'm reading. It may just be taken from a book I pull off my shelf and I think is soemthign tht others will enjoy reading. Wednesday I'll be sharing snippets and character bits from the upcoming release, Winged. Thursday will still be random. And Friday will still be the occassional food blog. I'm really bad about Fridays, I know. I'll work to be better.

So tomorrow--a bit of a tease. Hmm...what shall it be?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

True Crime Tuesday

It's that time of the week again where we delve in to the deep, dark recesses of the human mind and psyche. As always, the information below--and the full story--can be found at True Crime Library.

Eighteen-year-old Judith Neelley lured teenagers to a horrible death, but only after they had been raped and tortured. It was the consensus of those who listened to the various witnesses that Judith was the brains behind the most serious of the couple's offenses. It was she who had persuaded Alvin to participate with her in the brutal crimes, not the other way around. When they had lured Lisa Millican into their car and molested and killed her, it was Judith who injected her with liquid drain cleaner and who then shot her.

She was also the person who shot John Hancock and left him for dead. The question for a jury was whether she had done so because she herself was psychologically disturbed or whether she had been forcibly subordinated to Alvin in such a manner that she would do whatever he wanted, even when he was not around. They had decided that she was aware of what she was doing and had not been under anyone else's power.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Media Monday--Review of ICED

I was both worried and excited about the release of Iced. Excited because, hello--it's the next book in the Fever series and that right there is enough to excited about. Nervous because I'm really, really hoping the relationship end game doesn't involve Ryodan.

At this point I can say there is still hope that the man of my dreams will still be free in a few years. But there is also still worry. So much confliction!

There is, of course, plenty of Fae action. We get introduced to some new types of Fae, some of them more than a little creepy. And the Big Bad is one of those kinds of Fae. Let's just say that I was as confused as everybody in the book and all the way up until the last moment I didn't have a single damn clue what was causing the damage or how to fix things.

There is also the requisite love shape. In this case it's a square. Or more like one of those crazy four sided shapes with weird angles. Right now I'm footing for the one with the least angle, if that makes sens, but like I've said, I've got a personal stake in this.

Do we find out more about Dani's past? Yes. Do we get hints about what's going to happen down the line in regards to Cruce/V'Lane? Yes. Do we get acquainted more with the various "men" who make up the Nine? Kind of. There's still lots of questions and hopefully they'll get answered.

But it's going to be at least a year. Damn it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Random Thursday--The Fair is in Town!

It's that time of year again, at least in my neck of the woods--the fair is in town! For eleven days this year, not ten--not like it matters, I'll be working the eleventh day and for whatever reason I never make it to the fair after the first day anyway. But the Tilt-a-Whirl is back! I love the Tilt-a-Whirl. Really. I think my record is something like 8 rides in one night. It is my most favorite of rides.

In other news: I'm slogging through the editing for Winged. I thought I'd be further along at this point, but since my Kindle ate my notes, alas, it is not to be. I'm doing the editing in stages--the first/second sweep for comma whoreness, tense issues and the random word that is spelled correctly but isn't the correct word. The second/third sweep will be for overuse of things like "just" and "that" and "was" and to make sure I've not screwed up my "then/than"s. The third/fourth sweep will be to make sure everything is in place and good to go.

And then there will be formatting and placements and ordering proofs and giveaways!

That will be the exciting part. Until then, I shall continue to slog through.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Media Monday--It's Almost Time...

Tomorrow is the release date for Iced. Who has two thumbs and is excited? This girl.

I came to the Fever series late--as in after the fifth book came out. And I'm willing to admit, I read the first one and went "What is the big deal about?" I didn't get it. I didn't like the lead character. I didn't like the writing. I just wasn't impressed.

But then I forced myself to read the second book. And that's where it took off.

Now, I'll be upfront and say I'm not a big Dani fan. There's nothing wrong with her, I'm just not a huge fan. But that may change. I wasn't a fan of Mac at the beginning of her story but she grew on me. I'm hoping Dani does the same.

I am NOT hoping for a Dani/Ryodan hook-up. Because I want him, lol. But seriously--not hoping for a hookup. There's plenty of available men in the series, including the mysterious Dancer. Dani can have one of them.

So, is anybody else out there excited about the new Karen Marie Moning?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winged Wednesday--Cover Reveal

Some of you may have already seen the cover for Winged. Some of you may have not. Some of you may have seen the cover for the next book in the series, Uprising. Some of you may have not.

Well, here's your chance to see them both.

Next week we're going to talk release dates--which depend a lot on whether or not I can recover from the great editing snafu of October 2012. And the fact that I have so many that I need to date them is something really, really sad. Anyway--next week, release dates!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

True Crime Tuesday!

Better late than never, right? This past week has been super hellacious, which of course means the blogging has taken a hit. It sucks that the blogging is like the first thing to go whenever my schedule gets too full, because I really do enjoy doing it, but when you're all but dead on your feet, something has to give.

And speaking of dead on your feet, who wants to read about The Axeman of New Orleans? As usual, material is pulled from TrueCrime library, where you can find all sorts of interesting stuff.

The Axeman of New Orleans

Andrew Maggio, a barber in the city of New Orleans, had just received his draft notice. It was May 22, 1918 and World War I was on everyone's mind. Andrew wasn't keen to go to war, so he went out drinking that night. When he returned just before two o'clock in the morning to the place he shared with his brother Jake, he noticed nothing unusual. But then, he wasn't in much of a condition to notice anything at all, and that would soon come back to haunt him. Compared to what he was about to experience, a draft notice would seem like a mosquito's bite to shark attack.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

True Crime Tuesday

It's True Crime Tuesday again! What do you get when you add sex to murder? A campy, yet slightly cruesome nickname. As always, the original material is lifted from True Crime Library, and all rights belong to them.
In post-war Britain, it certainly seemed for many that sex was something that was rarely seen and barely ever heard. Sex was a concept shrouded in secrecy. Yet society's suppression of it meant that exponents of the world's oldest profession were rarely short of customers.

Likewise, in the dimly lit back streets of England's capital city, married men were prepared to pay for the kind of services which "nice girls" such as their wives would not provide. Duke's Meadows, on the banks of the river Thames in Chiswick, West London, was one such spot, crudely nicknamed "Gobblers" Gulch' by locals in reference to the sexual practices said to be popular there. However, something considerably more sinister than the usual discarded prophylactics greeted police as they patrolled the towpath early on the morning of June 17, 1959. They stumbled across the body of a woman, sat up against a small willow tree, her blue and white striped dress torn open to reveal her breasts and some scratches on her throat. She had been strangled.

To find a dead body abandoned nearly naked in a public place was shocking even for experienced detectives, suggesting this was different to the crimes of passion, violence or avarice that police were used to. Yet despite house-to-house enquiries, interviews with prostitutes, pimps, taxi drivers, and night shift workers, no strong clues were found as to the killer's identity. As the case slowly went cold, Elizabeth Figg and the strange case of the semi-naked corpse were forgotten. It would be more than four years before anyone had cause to mention her name again.

Claiming as many as eight victims, Jack the Stripper, like BTK, after almost half a century may still be out there. Or like his namesake, Jack the Ripper, he may baffle crime buffs for many decades to come.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Media Monday: Oh, the New Shows

As I'm writing this I'm watching the first episode of The Mob Doctor. I'm not thirty minutes in but I'm fully committed. Because it's good. It's really, really good. The characters and setting are authentic, the acting is good, and since I was a huge fan of Sister Act, I was happy to see Wendy Makenna in action.

What else am I loving so far? Well, of course I'm still a fan of The Good Wife and Revenge. We can't forget 2 Broke Girls and How I Met Your Mother. In addition to those, we've got the new shows Partners, Elementary, and Nashville. So I've got a nice mix of comedy and drama going on. I'll occassionally watch The Voice and I'm super excited to see Smash come back later this year.

What about you guys? What are you excited to watch this season?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Random Thursday--Good God, Am I Tired

That's the long and short of this post. I'm evidently so tired I left my flashdrive at home, which is making work more than a little difficult.

So I started looking for quotes for Winged. And now I've also got the plotting and opening for the second book in the series, Uprising, going through my mind. I'm going to be up to my elbows in work today, because I MUST WRITE SOME FRANKIE. I'm shouting at myself, not you guys.

Don't get me wrong, I love Frankie. Love, love, love her--the series, even though darker than either Jude or Cari, is so much fun to write. I think I'll always associate Cari with a rough part of my life, which diminishes some of the joy. And Jude is...well, Jude. But Frankie and the gang are just full of awesomeness. And their story is going to blow people's minds.

But I have the most intense feeling if I don't get the entire series of Winged out, my head may explode. Or I'm going to miss out on something really amazing. Either way, bad things will happen.

So, I'm going to keep working myself to the point of exhaustion, because I feel everything will be worth whatever is waiting for me at the end. I feel there are going to be some truly astounding things that come out of these books.

I just got to write the damn things.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Winged Wednesday--Behind the Book

I'm in the odd position a lot of people are these days--I grew up going to church, where the Bible and its contents are expounded on at length--and then I went to college. Education tends to beat religion out of people. I'm not saying this to criticize education or religion or imply that those who can manage to juggle both are somehow better than those who can't. I say this because it's something I struggle with, something I know a lot of people struggle with--the church (and that's the church in general, not any specific flavor) almost always takes a literal interpretation of the Bible. And yet science and modern archaeological discoveries have proven repeatedly that a literal interpretation is not possible.

There's also the very real problem that throughout the course of history, the church (again, general, not specific) has elected to not include materials in the Bible because they didn't fit with the image the church was trying to project. You add in mistranslations and outright lies (James I of England and the whole witch thing) and at best you have a flawed document with major plot holes, at worst you have outright lies.

One of those books that didn't make it in to the Bible is the Book of Enoch. I've referenced it before and I probably will repeatedly, because it plays a huge part in the overall series arch of Winged. It tells the story of angels who looked down upon the people of earth, including the women, and wanted to be a part of it. They married women, fathered children on them, taught things like the art of war, divination, how to craft weapons and so on. Their children were larger than normal people--what some might call giants. In the eyes of God, these angels betrayed their purpose--they didn't watch over humanity, they didn't protect it: they corrupted it. This is the main reason why God turned them away, why he refused to allow them to reenter his presence for all eternity. According to Enoch, God flooded the Earth to erase these children of angels, these monsterous giants, so humanity once again had a chance.

We've all heard the story of Noah and the Ark. Most people have heard the story of David and Goliath--a giant among a race of giants. Both of these episodes are better understood with the information given in the Book of Enoch. So why isn't that information there?

Because it wouldn't fit with the safe, sterile image of angels the church wanted to present--continues to insist on presenting. Never mind the fact that one of the scriptures constantly touted is about God making man in his image--logic stands that God didn't just throw things together and hope for the best. There has to have been trial and error, room for improvement and growth. There also has to be some kind of blueprint to work from, something to goal for.

Why wouldn't it be creatures who have been around for millenia--like, I don't know, angels? Creatures who were also quite possibly created from the image of God.

And what about emotions, free will, personality? Again, even if you're going with blind faith, take a moment to think: where did God get the idea for anger, for pride--things that were already in place when Lucifer fell? And what about love, longing? Everything has to come from somewhere. Why wouldn't he work from something he already knew about?

Now having said all that, is it so hard to believe angels would look down on humans and long for them? To love and want to be with something/one so similar to theirselves but yet just different enough?

A lot of Winged hinges on not just the idea of humans who aren't quite humans anymore fighting demons, but on their interactions with the angels and archangels they meet. There are other themes, but at the end of the day the books come down to one question: what would you do for love?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

True Crime Tuesday!

Time again for True Crime Tuesday! This week, I'm doing another name most of you should know. And unless I'm mistaken, he was up for parole recently.

Many hardened criminals blame their crimes on their parents, but few have as clear a case as Charles Manson. His mother was an alcoholic prostitute who sold him for a pitcher of beer. In and out of reform school as a youngster, he had an IQ of 109 and became a kind of institutional politician and manipulator by age 19.

From then on his continuous scrapes with the law landed him in prison. His record there described Charlie as having "a tremendous drive to call attention to himself.

On March 21, 1967, Charlie was released from prison in California. He was 32 years old and more than half of his life had been spent in institutions. He protested his freedom. "Oh, no, I can't go outside there...I knew that I couldn't adjust to that world."

Charlie started to attract a group of followers, many of whom were very young women with troubled emotional lives who were rebelling against their parents and society in general.

This was the core of the Manson Family execution team who he ordered to kill pregnant actress Sharon Tate, her wealthy house guests, and the well-to-do LaBiancas.

Charlie was trying to start a race war and vet himself as a prophet of doom.

Read the rest of the story at the True Crime Library.

Source material taken from trutv.com, all rights reserved

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Random Thursday

Things that are awesome in my life right now:

I won the "meet your ex with their new significant other" round of life. Because I'm awesome. And I got to laugh in his face when he asked if I still had his phone number.

The hot bartender is now single. This sucks for him, really, because he's a great guy and it was one of those breakups where she just went, "This isn't working out" and never really clarified why. And she's doing the whole "let's still be friends" bit on top of things. So he's pretty angry right now. And while I'm not going to hit on him (although I did shamelessly use him as a buffer against a drunk, horny, businessman last night), at least now I can ogle him guilt-free. Because even in my mind I can't lust after a hooked up guy and not feel guilty.

I told my boss I was going to be out of town for an entire month next year--and he just went, "Okay." Seriously. This is the man who will harass me over the nature of my doctor appointment until I'm forced to embarrass both of us by saying in front of half a dozen people that I have to get a Pap smear, and all he said was "Okay." I must have caught him when he was in a REALLY good mood. I'll probably have to remind him half a dozen times between then and now but it's on the books.

I'm back to work on BORROWED. Time for me to hunker down and get some work done. I'm actually getting a headache just thinking about it but that could also be the remnants of vodka from last night. We'll have to wait and see on that one.

And now--on to the writing!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WINGED Wednesday

This is really just a placeholder post--my brain is not in a happy place right now. It's not in a sad place, but it's not in a happy place either. It might be my weird sleep schedule, but who the hell knows.

Anyway--for the next however the hell many weeks (which I should probably really calculate--one more thing to do), I'll be devoting Wednesday to character sketches, history tidbits, and yes, religious stuff, all leading up to the release of Winged in February.

Next week we'll start with the backstory and basic idea of the series. So hold on to your hats, folks--we're about to start rocking out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

True Crime Tuesday

In honor of Frankie Post (who is crime fiction, not true crime--or at least I hope not--I would have some serious explaining to do), Tuesdays during the month of October will be devoted to true crime. Each week I'll highlight a different case or individual. To start us off, I picked one most people should be familiar with and who was "kind" enough to make a stop in my hometown--Ted Bundy.

The Early Years

Theodore Robert Cowell was born on November 24, 1946 to Louise Cowell following her stay of three months at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Vermont. Ted's biological father, who was an Air Force veteran, was unknown to his son throughout his life. Shortly after his birth, Ted and his mother moved back to the home of his grandparents in Philadelphia. While growing up, Ted was led to believe that his grandparents were his parents and his natural mother was his older sister. The charade was created in order to protect his biological mother from harsh criticism and prejudice of being an unwed mother.

At the age of four, Ted and his mother moved to Tacoma, Washington  to live with relatives. A year after the move, Louise fell in love with a military cook named Johnnie Culpepper Bundy. In May 1951, the couple was married and Ted assumed his stepfather's last name, which he would keep for the rest of his life.

Following high school, Ted attended college at the University of Puget Sound and the University of Washington. He worked his way through school by taking on several low-level jobs, such as a bus boy and shoe clerk. However, he seldom stayed with one position for very long. His employers considered him to be unreliable.

Although Ted was inconsistent with his work outside of school, he was very focused on his studies and grades. Yet, his focus changed during the spring of 1967 when he began a relationship that would forever change his life.

In 1968, after his girlfriend graduated from the University of Washington, she broke off relations with Ted. She was a practical young woman and seemed to realize that Ted had some serious character flaws that took him out of the running as "husband material."

Ted never recovered from the break-up. Nothing, including school, seemed to hold any interest for him and he eventually dropped out, dumb-founded and depressed over the break-up. He managed to stay in touch with her by writing after she returned to California, yet she seemed uninterested in getting back together. But Ted became obsessed with this young woman and he couldn't get her out of his mind. It was an obsession that would span his lifetime and lead to a series of events that would shock the world.

Murder on the Run

On Saturday night, January 14th, few of the sorority sisters could be found at the Chi Omega House. Most were out dancing or at keg parties on campus. It wasn't unusual for the sisters to stay out late, since there was no curfew. In fact, it was pretty normal for the girls to return in the early morning hours. However, none of the sisters was prepared to confront the horror that awaited them back at their sorority house later that night.
At 3 a.m., Nita Neary was dropped off at the sorority house by her boyfriend after attending a keg party on campus. Upon reaching the door to the house, she noticed it standing wide open. Soon after she had entered the building, she heard some movement, as if someone was running in the rooms above her. Suddenly, she heard the footsteps approaching the staircase near her and she hid in a doorway, out of view. She watched as a man with a knit blue cap pulled over his eyes, holding a log with cloth around it, ran down the stairs and out the door.

To read the rest of the story (as well as more on Bundy's background, arrests, and eventual execution), go to <crimelibrary>, a part of the TruTV website.

This material was excerpted from the above mentioned website. All copyrights belong to its author, Rachael Bell.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Media Monday--Review of PITCH PERFECT

I'm alive! I know, some of you may have thought I fell off the face of the earth. But I was just chained to my computer, doing my best to finish Winged. Which I did, on Thursday. And now I'm back to work on Frankie and Borrowed, so everybody hold on to your hats--things are about to get more than little wild.

But, in order to celebrate my success over yet one more bout with the writing demon, my friend and I went to dinner and a movie on Friday night. And lucky me, my city was one of those that got Pitch Perfect an entire week early. And for once, there is no sarcasm in that sentence at all.

I got excited about Pitch Perfect back in June, when Rock of Ages came out and one of the trailers was Pitch Perfect. I've been anxiously awaiting the release date and when I found it I could see it an entire week early, I didn't even hesitate. I was on that like white on rice--which, now that I think about it, has to possibility for being a confusing and misleading statement. But I digress.

Pitch Perfect is one of those light, feel good Hollywood movies where everybody ends up finding their place, the nerdy guy gets the girl, the evil girl learns the error of her ways, and the lovable rebel understands the value of friends. Yeah, on the surface, it's pretty darn light.

But you set all that shit to music, with the word "acapello" thrown in? And it becomes laugh out loud funny.

And when you have people who can actually sing? Even fucking better.

Seriously--it's almost unfair. They can already act. Now they can sing? I feel like there's a distinct inbalance in the distribution of creative genes. But since I can't do anything about that, I might as well appreciate it.

Are there some moments where you think to yourself--"Did I really just see that? How the fuck did people even think of something like that?"? Yes, yes there are. Minor spoilers, but if you're uncomfortable with the sight of vomit, you're going to want to avoid this movie. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

But for every one of those moments, there are plenty of others where the dialogue and acting is legitimately funny. Anna Kendrick really does shine, from her beginning as the counter-culture/rebel girl without a cause to her end as...well, if I tell you I'll ruin it. And all those funny bits of Rebel Willis that you see in the trailer? Those aren't even all the funny parts. There's plenty more spread throughout the film like little nuggets of joy, which is just the way comedy should be doled out.

All in all, Pitch Perfect is absolutely worth seeing, more than once, if you want me to be brutally honest. And if I get my word count for the day, that's just what I plan to do.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Random Thursday--I'm Working!

A lot. Like a lot, a lot. So much, that you're getting a super short blog post and possibly nothing tomorrow. In addition to my regular shifts at the Village, I'm doing a pick up between shifts, so I'm going to be a super cranky bitch come Sunday evening. I may actually pass out during Doctor Who, unless I get a nap in somewhere.

I also have a shitton of blog posts to do for PR, which I must go do now. I got them kind of last minute, so I need to crank them out. And on that note....tata for now!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Writing Wednesday--I'm Almost Done!

Really. Truly. Swear to God. I'm almost done with Winged, which is a huge deal for me. Winged has been a labor of love, even--or especially--when I thought I would never see the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember when I first had the idea for the series and how excited and scared I was. Excited, because this just feels like its the one. The book and series that puts me on the map in a major way. Scared, for the exact same reasons. Success is something that we all search for and we're scared to find at the same time, because if we succeed that only means we have even further to fall.

Anyway--the book is almost ready for beta readers. After that, I'll deal with any rewrites and edits, get it mocked up and sent out to reviewers in anticipation of the big release day--February 5.

And after that--well, it's gonna be a helluva ride.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Media Monday--Doctor Who

I mentioned on Friday that my friends and I have started a Sunday night ritual of Doctor Who marathons. We actually watched nine episodes yesterday, taking us to the beginning of Season 2. Which means we've only got another six season or so to go before we're caught up with the rest of the world.

It's interesting, watching the show with my friends. We all have different takes on everything, different things we focus on. My friend Sara is about the overall journey--the new adventures, the new aliens (although we were both annoyed as hell when the Sylvein made a second appearence), the general overall goofiness. Casey (yes, part of the inspiration for Casey Lynn from the Frankie series) is really there more for the camraderie than the actual show. And I'm sitting on the couch every episode going "Goddamnit, would you two just admit you're in love with each other already?!?"

Don't worry if you're laughing. Sara and Casey laugh at me every time I make a frustrated sound about the lack of forward progress in the Doctor and Rose's relationship.

Doctor Who has become our Sunday night thing. We try to do other things while watching--me writing, Casey reading, Sara random things--but when the Doctor is on, we're horrible at multitasking. About the only thing we manage to do while watching the Doctor is eat dinner, which is why dinner is now incorporated into the marathon.

Am I the only one who fell in love with the Doctor out of nowhere? Please tell me no...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Food Friday--It's Soup Season

My friends and I have started to watch Dr. Who. Please, for those of you who have always known about the doctor, don't judge me. One of us has NetFlix (actually, her roommate has it, but close enough), so we're starting with Season One, Episode One, and working our way forward. We watched three last Sunday and we're meeting this week for another 3-5.

In honor of this--and because we'll be hungry after another killer day at work--I'm making soup.

A Chicken and Bacon Chowder, actually. Or I may go with a Loaded Baked Potato Soup. I'm still unsure.

Soup is something that you can experiment with and just go wild. I made a BBQ Chicken Chili one time that was interesting, but not something I'd do on a regular basis. If I need a hearty meal for two or three days because I'll be short on time (and probably cash), I go with a Beef Stew (add A1 to it--trust me). For laid back, comfort type food, I tend to go with something cream based, hence the choices above. They're perfect for an evening watching NetFlix with friends, relaxing after a long day of work.

What's your go-to soup?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Non-RantyThursday--Do You Have to Choose?

So, I went and saw The Words last night. I did this for a few reasons. One, I thought the story was interesting, despite what the critics said (or maybe because of the panning--I'm perverse that way). Two, I'm in love with Bradley Cooper. That second is pretty well known. I've made no secret about it. But that's not the topic of this post.

But isn't he pretty? Yes, yes he is.

No, the topic of this post comes from a line in the movie that just stuck with me. One of the characters, a writer, says something along the lines of "You have to choose. Fiction or reality? The line between the two is very close, but it is there. Eventually, you have to choose. Fiction? Or reality?"

Now, obviously that's paraphrased--my memory is good but it's not that good on a first listen--but it really got me thinking.

While the movie uses "fiction" as a metaphor for the lies we tell and the lives we destroy or make, I looked at it from some weird unidentifable angle. I heard those words and I thought, "Is that really true? As writers, do we really have to choose between our fiction (the lies we tell, etc) and reality? Do we really have to decide which one we're going to invest more of ourselves in?"

I say no. I can point out multiple authors who not only have great commercial and critical success but also have (as far as we the public know) a stable, happy home life.

On the flip side, I can also name people who have blurred the lne between fiction and reality to such a degree that their fans and they themselves have problems seperating the two.

So the question is: Do you have to choose between fiction and reality?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Food Friday--Hmmm. Steak...

I love steak. Really, sincerely, love steak. Not as much as I love chicken or bacon and only slightly more than I love pork in general, but I have a mild love affair with red meat. I'm not overly particular on the kind of steak--I'm not one of those people who is a total snob and refuses to eat only filet mignon or ribeyes or whatever. I will admit I don't do bones or excess fat and there better not be any blood, but that's about the extent of my pickiness.

The only seasoning salt I use is Lawry's. Sorry, but that's a must. Wostershire? Has to be Lee and Perins. Steak sauce--did you really ask? Of course it's A1.

Ok, so maybe I'm a little more picky than I let on.

There's something about a well-prepared steak that really sets the tone for the rest of a meal. You can almost forgive medicore side dishes if the steak is excellent. If it's not... well. Not even a to-die-for dessert can make up for a lackluster slab of red meat.

What about you guys? Any thoughts on red meat? Please don't tell me I'm the only carnivore....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random Thursday--I'm Working

No, seriously. Since I went on vacation, I had to "make it up" by working on what would normally be my off day, aka today. My enthusiasm is overflowing like a stopped up toilet. Or something equally slow and gross.

And now I've kinda grossed myself out.

Two of my new television obsessions--Gallery Girls and Paranormal Witness--are keeping me alternately in stitches and chills. I'm not big on reality television, but Gallery Girls is so flippin' addicting. Maybe because it deals with New York and the art world. Maybe because there are one or two girls on the show that I'm actually rooting for. Who knows. It's addicting. Paranormal Witness tends to freak me out, but I love that kind of stuff, too, so I'm perfectly happy with being unnerved.

Annnddd....I think that's it for the moment. Not a lot, I know, but it's been a busy week. Catch you on the flip side, guys!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday Buildup: I Have Returned

Yes. I am back, mothafuckers! (sorry, I just really felt the urge to say that). I am back and I am in fine, fine form.

My brain is overloading with ideas, some which may be good, some which are probably nothing more than whispy-willow type things. I'm eager to get back to Frankie and to Joanne, which is even better. The past few weeks I've been kind of aimless--just not really there, if you know what I mean. I know what I need to do, but I just couldn't seem to find the energy to do it.

All that is gone, baby. I am ready to roll/rumble!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Media Monday--I Have No Media

Obviously, that's a little dramatic. What I meant is I have no media I want to discuss with you at the moment. I have pictures for DragonCon that I'll be putting up tomorrow along with some thoughts and impressions in general. Michele and I are already planning for next year, including costumes, which is something we didn't do this year. We're thinking about doing like a transition through history kind of thing, ending with the Roaring 20s and some flapper attire. But that's way far off in the making, at least at the moment.

I feel more inspired and rejuvenated than I have in a while, which is good for both me and for you guys. I talked to some people, gave out some information, and got some in return. There was an agent on a panel who seemed very approachable and someone who I might want to work with, so in the next week or so I'm going to work up the nerve to query them on some work. Don't get me wrong--I love the publisher that I'm at and I love the freedom of being able to publish when I want (which I know you guys appreciate as well) but like Amanda Hocking said, it gets very tiring, and it would be nice to have a little help now and then.

Alright. Michele and I have one more panel to go to this afternoon. We're going to do some browsing in the exhibition halls, see if there's anything worth going to the ATM for (I don't care cash, because I like to have receipts for business purposes), grab some dinner, and hit the road. It's been amazing all around and I can't wait to share more with you. Until that time--I don't know what I thought I was going to say, but I lost it. Peace!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Special Saturday: Holy Shitpants

So, in case people are wondering, Michele and I made it to DragonCon with the bare minimum of getting lost. Which for us means two wrong turns. For those of you out there saying, "wouldn't the bare minimum be zero?", the answer would be...no. Neither of us has a great sense of direction and sometimes Google maps is not your friend, no matter what you may think.

Let me start by saying this place is FUCKING NUTS. Seriously. And I'm not talking about the public transportation system or parking or whatnot. I just mean the actual convention. Michele and I walked in to the Marriot Marquis, just innocently looking for a panel, and holdthefrontdoormotherfucker it was like walking in to the end of the world, complete with zombies and zombie killers. Unknown to us, the Marriot is one of two "party central" locations. Do you remember that song saying something about the "party don't stop"? That's the Marriot until Monday afternoon. Holy shitpants, indeed.

Michele and I made it to four different panels, two during the day and two "late night/adult" panels. I'll be honest, they're not quite what I expected. Whenever I hear the term panel, I assume there's going to be a semi-lecture of sorts with the various panel members chiming in, steered in certain directions by a moderator, with a Q&A session at the end. Not really the case. Who knows, it may just have been the panels I attended and today will be different. We shall see.

Speaking of attending panels, I was super hyped to see one on True Blood. That may not happen. The lines for those kind of panels are ridiculous. Like wrap around a building ridiculous. I'm not sure if I'm going to rearrange Sunday and give up another panel to try and make it or not. Once again, we shall see.

Today is jampacked full of dark fantasy and writing panels, so it should be a good day. More tomorrow, ladies and gents!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Random Thursday--Tomorrow, Tomorrow...

That's right. Tomorrow, Michele and I leave for DragonCon. I won't do any actually squeeing, but it's pretty damn close. I'm held back by the simple fact that I'm in public and people would look at me strangely. Not that this normally stops me, but I'm trying out subtleness today.

I'm going to spend the day doing last minute shopping for things that are absolute necessary--like batteries for my camera and contact lens solution (because even if I don't want to sleep, my eyeballs are going to make me). Then there are things that I really want but I may not end up getting--like kick ass heels to go with like three different outfits and a statement belt (which I may not even need--it depends on the shoes). I also get to go to the bank, go to the laundry-mat, clean my kitchen, put away all the clothes I've been letting pile up and that aren't going with me, and make sure the litter box is clean--my mom will feed and water and play with the cats while I'm gone, but she won't clean the litter box. Also at some point today I need to eat dinner, actually pack, take a shower (because I can't go on a road trip without a shower--yes, I'm weird), and sleep.

Because Christ knows I won't be getting that much while I'm out of town.

What are YOU doing today?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Tuesday Buildup--Frankie's Fashion

Yes, I know I'm late. But I had to do an extra shift at work this week, plus I'm trying to plan to pack (it's not as crazy as it sounds--I'll explain the basic principle at some other time) and not go school girl giddy with excitement. But I digress.

If you're like me, you sometimes read a book and go, "Hmm. I wonder what that dress/outfit really looks like." Maybe you don't. If you're in the second group this post is not for you. But if you're in the first, well...feast your eyes on this!

You may be going--"wait--Frankie is a private investigator--why do I only see dresses and heels here?" That's a very good question. This isn't really Frankie the PI's wardrobe. Obviously if she's doing a stakeout or something similar she's in practical clothes. This is more Frankie in her off time clothing, or Frankie doing decoy work clothing.

It's also Frankie's disguise, for lack of a better term. People often judge others on their outside appearence, which obviously includes clothing. If you dress like you have money, people believe you do. If you dress like you're successful, people tend to think of you that way and treat you accordingly. And if you dress like someone who knows their true worth, people give you the appropriate level of respect.

Frankie dresses like a responsible, respectable citizen with nothing to hide.

But you and I know better....

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food Friday--Collard Greens

My friend Michele and I like to try new restaurants once in while. Sometimes it turns out good. Sometimes it doesn't. Our latest new food experience was hit and miss. I had some macaroni and cheese that was phenomenol (I really want to know what kind of cheese they used) and her pepper steak with gorgonzola was good, too. (We swapped bites--sue us).

Where it failed, for me at least, was the collard greens.

For some ungodly reason--they had onions in them.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against onions. I frickin' love onions. At work, if an employee meal pops up and it has "add onions" the general (correct) assumption is said meal is mine. So my annoyance didn't come from not liking onions.

It came from the fact that the collard greens had onions in them.

I've lived in the South all my life. I probably will, if only for the fact I really sincerely don't like cold weather--by which I mean anything under sixty degrees. I've grown up on what's alternately called southern food and soul food (I'm not going to argue on whether they are or are not one and the same). I was raised on things like fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and lemon meringue pie (I don't know if that's Southern or not but just go with it).

Never in my life has anyone I have ever known put onions in collard greens.

The more I think about it, the more insulting it is to true Southern cooking.

Every born and bred Southern cook knows that the key to cooking collard green is to cook them slow, because it keeps them tender, with a little salt and oil. And finally, you add some sugar to them, to counteract the natural bitterness of the greens. Here's where my mother and I differ, because she adds the sugar at the end and I add sugar throughout the process. Her explanation is you can't tell the sweetness until the end. I say you want to cook the sugar in to the greens.

Either way--there are no onions.

If you take anything away from this post, it should be that simple fact--you don't put onions in collard greens.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Random Thursday--One More Week!

One more week until DragonCon! I'm super excited, can you tell? For one, this is going to be the first Labor Day weekend I've had off in eight years. For two, it's a road trip with one of my best friends, Michele, something we haven't indulged in in way too long (darn you, school and work!). For three, it's my first vacation since New York in March. And fourth--um, hello? It's DragonCon!

I'm still ironing out the schedule but I'm going to be attending a shit-ton of panels. And they're going to be amaze-balls (as my friend Casey would say).

On Friday:

If we make it, we're kicking things off with Inside the Mall: Urban Survivalism. Yes, I'm totally going for a panel involving surviving the apcolypse. Because I'm a dork. If we can't, then our first event will either be a True Blood panel or Cough and Sneeze: The Science of Epidemiology. We're following that up with Costuming Alternate History 1600-1800 and then Frightening Folklore. We've got a break for dinner, and then we're going to Saloon Girls, Actresses, and Other Fallen Women followed by A Steampunk's Guide to Sex.

Saturday doesn't start until noon, which gives us time to sleep, eat, and travel. Barely. And then we start going and we don't stop.

First up is either True Blood or NY Times Bestsellers Tell All. I'm not sure how alike the various True Blood panels are going to be, so I may go to one or I may go to all. Who knows. I promised my mom I'd go to Ghost Hunters, so I will. And then things get tricky. We can go to either Costuming Alternate History 1800-1920 or Zombies: Beyond Armageddon. I'm torn between my desire to find out about clothes and my love of end of the world craziness. Then we have to choose between Urban Fantasy: What exactly is it? and Vampires, Demons and Werewolves--Oh, My!. At some point we're going to grab dinner, probably on the way to Heroism and Sacrifice or if we can't do that we'll grab it on the way to Jack the Ripper: The Many Faces of the Murderer. Our final choice of the day will be between Alternate Apocalypse: How Many Ways Can the World End? and Heroines Among Us.

Are you tired yet? Because I am. And we've still got two days to go.

Sunday--the day of rest, my ass. First choice (possibly--we may have this figured out by then) is True Blood or First Ladies of Fantasy. Immediately following this is The Witching Hour and then Ghost Excavation. We get a nice, decent gap before the next round when we have to make our toughest choice for the entire convention: Victorian Mysticism OR Laughter in the Graveyard OR Why Actors Choose Their Roles. I have no idea what we're going to do. We may just have to wander around until we pick one. We're going to hit up Editors and Agents Tell All  and then Hollywood or Georgia Bound--Screenwriting 101 before partying the rest of the night away at The Mechanical Masquerade. And yes--we will probably be in costume.

Monday morning will probably be going through the vendors, doing any last minute shopping and what not. Our final panel is in the afternoon--Women in Alternate History. After that, we're packing the car up and making the trek back down to Florida.

I know. I'm going to be ridiculously busy. But never fear, I'll keep you guys updated with pics and tweets and Facebook posts. Wish me luck, guys!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Buildup--Frankie Post Teaser

As promised, some of what I've been working on. I'm hoping to get more back in to this soon, but I'd rather take a while and do it right than rush and get it wrong. Okay, enough of that--happy reading!

I poked Ian with my left foot. “Hey. You’re awful quiet.”

“Sorry, I didn’t want to interrupt Abbot and Costello.”

“Weren’t they both men?” I poked him again, harder this time. “What’s going on in that detail-orientated mind of yours?”

“You say detail-orientated like it’s a bad thing. You’ve benefited from my attention to detail numerous times, I’ll have you know.” Ian frowned at the computer, picking up the connected headphones, holding one muff to his ear. “There’s some kind of shipment coming in.”

“Probably liquor. We’ve been low on some of the top-shelf stuff for the last week or so.” I turned my attention back to Jack just in time to catch him swallow, grimacing. “Really? It can’t be that bad.”

“Shut up and let me eat this garbage. Actually, tell me which club we’re going to target next. Maybe work will take my mind off what I’m eating.” He looked at the half-eaten slice in his hand, shuddering. “Or not. But I’m willing to try.”

“Don’t the Iskovs own two other strip clubs? Why don’t you see about transferring to one of them?” I bit back a giggle at the pained look on Jack’s face as he took another bite. “Just because one is mostly legitimate doesn’t mean the others are.”

“Good point. Let me talk to Boris, see if I can swing a transfer over to The Tea Room.” Huffing out a breath, he looked at the pizza then looked at me. “Do I have to eat the crust, too?”

“No, you don’t have to eat the crust.” Rolling my eyes, I leaned my head back against the sofa, lifting my hand to chew on my thumbnail. I needed to get a pack of gum, quick, before all the little smoker tics became obvious. “Ian?”

“Working. You two amuse each other.” He shot a glance over his shoulder. “And I don’t mean have sex.”

“You talk about sex more than we do.” Both men snorted. I kicked Ian with my toes, elbowing Jack in the ribs at the same time. “Careful, or nobody gets dessert.”

“I rest my case.” Ian grabbed my foot before I could kick him again, gripping my toes. “Stop that.”

“Once a lawyer, always a lawyer.” Sighing in relief, Jack dropped the mangled crust in the box, flipping the lid closed and setting it on the floor on the far side of the sofa. Throwing his arm around my shoulders, he hauled me against him, his fingers tickling my ear. “Casey Lynn still doing fine at Diamonds?”

“Took to it like a duck to water. Guess all those acting classes really did pay off. There are days she gets back from work and it takes her an hour to drop the accent.”

“Which one? The fake Russian used by the English girl or the fake English one used by the American?” Jack pinched my earlobe and I elbowed him again, harder this time. He knew how much I hated that. “She has so many it’s hard to keep up.”

“Her and I both. I slipped up a few weeks ago when I dropped a glass and cut myself. Thank God the only person around was Timur and he was half-comatose.” My entire body went cold at the thought of trying to explain the sudden change from a cockney accent to a Kentucky twang. “He woke up and asked me what American show I’d been watching on the television.”

“You need to be more careful, Frankie.” He pinched my earlobe again, all the teasing gone. “One slip up is all it takes to sink all of us.”

“Guys. I think we got something.” Ian yanked the earphone jack free, his hands flying over the keys. Jack and I both winced at the high pitched jibberish that erupted from the speakers. “Sorry, rewinding.”

“Do they still call it rewinding if it’s on a computer?” Jack grunted when I drew back enough to punch him in the ribs. “Hey, I broke those a few months ago.”

“And I was shot. I win this battle of the scars.” Leaning forward, I squinted at the green scales and squiggles on the screen. “What’s up, Ian?”

“Your boss, Aleski, had a conversation today with a Sven Ivasoski. Sven talks about a shipment coming in to the Port of London in three days.” Ian used the touchpad to adjust various levels, things I’d given up on after only two sessions. Jack had a slightly better grasp, but this was really Ian’s territory. “Listen.”

I blinked at the mechanical voice coming from the speakers. “That doesn’t sound like Sven. Or Aleski.”

“It’s a translator, not a replicator. I told you, listen.” Ian raised the volume, leaning back against the couch. “This is what I’m talking about.”

It is a good shipment, Aleski. Many fine products.

Is the special item on there?

Yes, it is on board this time. The captain has assured me.

If he is lying, you will see to it he never does so again.

Of course, Aleski. And the special item?

I will take possession. The buyer has waited long time for his product. He is impatient.

The other products?

The Tea Room has first pick this time. A half dozen girls.

“Guess I should hold off on getting that transfer.” Jack squeezed my shoulders, rubbing at the tension knot between them. “Do they get more specific?”

“Sven says he’ll be back the day the ship is due to confirm everything with Aleski. Then they talk about the bartender—that would be you, Frankie—and Sven asks how long Aleski is going to play with his little flower before plucking its petals.” Ian coughed, red creeping up the back of his neck. “It goes on like that for a bit and then you come back on and the conversation is over.”

“Three days. Doesn’t give us much time.” Jack scratched at his chin, arching a brow. “You ready to go to work, Frankie?”

My smile was all teeth. “Oh, definitely.”

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Media Monday--On A Sunday--TRUE BLOOD

So we're at the penultimate episode for season five of True Blood. And if it's anything like last week's, I'm going to be weeping while I write this running review. And I really do mean weeping. It's strange how I will rarely cry in "real life" but put something in dramatic form (film, book, music) and I will just fall apart. You don't even want to know how I reacted to all the deaths in the Harry Potter series--I think I actually embarrassed my mother in public for the first time in...I really don't even know how long.

And we're starting! God help us all.

Oh, great, the psychotic episodes are beginning already. I really don't have a single fucking clue if Bill is just faking this entire Lilith thing or if he is so deep in shit territory that he can't find his way back out. I do know that they did the most horrible casting job with the role of Lilith--or if not the casting then just the costuming. It's so distracting, in a way that nudity never is on this show. So, is Bill crazy? I sure as shit don't know.

Is it wrong of me that everytime I see the credit sequence I'm like, "I swear, I've been in a town like this." I may, in fact, have been in bars and churchs like this. Okay, I know I have, I'm just trying to be coy.

Oh, Nora. Having second thoughts? I would too if I saw my Maker destroyed in front of me. Or if i just had a brain. But, hey, here's Salome to do a little more brainwashing. Good old-fashioned brain washing, just what the doctor ordered.

Wow, Bill, that's a dick move. Not wanting to deal with the "trivial matters of humans". Pretty speech, and if I had to pick someone as a spokesperson I'd go with that charming accent. Oh, shit. Jessica. This is a really, really bad idea. Nice spin, or attempted one anyway. Oh, shit, shit, shit. This is looking bad on every level.

Is it me, or has Erik just looked tortured in one way or another the majority of this season? And wow, that was not a good costuming choice for Nora. And this is how we do acting, ladies and gentlemen. They don't even need words, but all the emotion is there, and the ones they do use--perfect.

I have to say, I love the entire Sookie/Jason storyline this season. We're finally getting to see them act like siblings, much more than in previous seasons and definitely more than in the books. I'm going to go on record as saying letting Jason out into the big, bad world by himself is a really, REALLY bad idea.

And where the hell are we now? Oh, it's the outside of the Authority complex. And that's a lot of fancy gold braiding and stars. I'm going to guess this dude doesn't make it out alive. Okay, total side note, but I just have to say I really love the way Salome carries off the heels 24 hours a day. Oh and there it goes--way to lay it down there, General. And way to keep choosing the wrong words, General. For a man with a lot of stars and I'm guessing experience with crazy situations you are not striking me as a smart man. But then again, I could be wrong--or not. I'm not sure what Erik's doing but it's probably not good.

And this is definitely not good. Oh, I hope Jessica has a plan. I really, really hope she has a plan.

Bill--I'll say it again. You're a dick. But it was nice to watch Salome freak out.

Yes! A plan! Oh, but sad face. Jessica can't catch a fucking break.

Oooh, Pam and Tara. And now Jessica. I have to say, I did love the "ginger bitch" comment.

And that was definitely one of the better kills. Oh, yes! Brother and sister going rogue! With kick-ass boots, no less.

Oh, it's Sam and Luna. As much of a non-fan of Luna as I am, I do admire her total drive to protect her daughter.

Okay, I'm really not sure what's going on with this fairy thing. But I do find the reference to Ke$sha pretty flippin' funny. And the "slut your heart out to every cute guy with fangs" is spot on. Warlow is...who? WHO!?!?! Damn it! I want to fucking know!

Okay, as much as I like having glimpses of the rest of the BonTemps inhabitants, I really just feel like this is dragging things down. And don't get me wrong, I love me some Andy Bellefleur, but, damn it, there is too much else going on at the moment.

Alcide without his shirt. I was wondering when that was going to happen again. And some werewolf drama/history that, again, I could care less about.

Yes! Back to the faeries! And finally something that makes a little bit of sense. Taking a stand as opposed to just being hunted. And more lovely Stackhouse sibling interaction. Aww, it just occurred to me that I can't remember the last time the siblings exchanged I love yous.

"I'm a bitch, not a snitch." I'm going to make that my flippin' motto. And more awws..."She saves my life every day." And I love the way Arlene just breaks everything down to the very basics.

Okay, Bellefluer and Morellia. This is interesting. Oh, and acts of war. Always bad.

Oh, look, Pam is giving lessons. And snark. "Fucking baby vamps." And girl-talk confession time. Maybe we'll get a Tara-Jessica friendship thing after all.

And for once, there's a good stripper on the pole at Fangtasia. But we also have the Authority bitch, so...well, this is bad. Bitch was the crazy sheriff's maker. And now Pam is arrested for Tara's crimes. And damn, bitch found Jessica. This is just getting worse by the minute.

Fucking Lilith. I am getting sick of this bitch. What does it say that I almost hope Bill is just delusional? I don't know, to be honest.

I have no idea what the hell is going on with Alcide and his father but.. I don't care.

Ooh, ooh, ooh...Jason and Russell. And Steve. I really hope this is all part of the plan. I really, really do.

And--see the statement above this statement in regards to the killing scene that just occurred.

More Sam and Luna. And Emma! And more Sam being self-sacrificing.

That was the cleanest kill I've seen in a long time. We're about to have a whole lot of "what are you doing here's", which could be comical or not. Maybe.

Well, that's bullshit. Bill, hitting Jessica officially put you on my shit list. And, hey, guess what? Bill IS hallucinating, him and everyone in the entire nest. Looks like Pam's little lesson was spot on.

And this is...interesting. That was a lot of light into one vampire. And this is bad all around. I really lope this was part of the Elder's master plan. Oh. Oh, this is bad. This is very, very bad.

Okay, that's enough rambling. Now we're reminded why I don't do this that often. I hope you guys enjoyed listening/reading me rambling as much as I enjoyed the episode--and hey, no weeping!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Buildup: What's Going on with Frankie

So, in case you missed my various comments over the past few weeks, you know Borrowed will not be out over Labor Day weekend as originally stated. Why, you may ask?

To be blunt: I'm pretty much working myself into a breakdown.

I will admit to being the most overachieving underachiever probably in existence. I was one of the kids who was constantly told I wasn't living up to my potential. Even  now, as soon as people find out I have a college degree I'm quizzed on what I plan to do/want to do with my life. I'm sometimes tempted to say "nothing" just so people will freak out. But I'm digressing.

After high school and at some point after college I realized that what other people thought of as my potential and what I think of as my potential are two different things. And while I'm happy with not living up to other people's view of my potential, I have problems not living up to my view of my potential. So I push myself and push myself, which isn't bad--unless I'm pushing myself to the point of exhaustion trying to work full time and write full time and still live an actual life.

So I'm slowing down a bit. Not a lot. Frankie will still be out before the end of the year--should be out no later than mid-October. You'll still get another Jude book, most likely in December. And both will be better for me not rushing to put them out.

Next week I'll have a snippet for you. Something fun and upbeat. In the meantime--let's all take a breather, okay?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Food Friday: What I Miss

There's an art to cooking. As much measurement and specification and precision as the process of cooking a meal requires, there's an art--if you don't have that undefinable something, you can taste it in your food. It's the difference between merely good food and amazing food.

I understand the basics of making biscuits. So does my mother and my sister. So do my aunts. We all understand the basics of making biscuits. And yet none of us can actually make biscuits. No matter what we do or what we try, they just don't come out the way my grandmother's did.

I remember growing up there was a big sort of trough type thing we used to hold flour. My sister and I would sit or stand on one side of the counter and watch my grandmother add water and oil and knead the dough and shape it. Sometimes she'd let us cut out the dough into perfect circles with the rim of a glass but usually they were handshaped. And they were, somehow, always perfect.

We'd have them for dinner that night, usually with fried chicken or collard greens or something so quintessentially southern just saying the words conjures images of Sunday dinner on the church grounds. Some nights my granddaddy would mix together peanut butter and cane syrup and sop it up with a biscuit--that was dessert. If we had any left over, then in the morning we'd have refried biscuits and grits and eggs.

My grandmother passed away almost three years ago. Just thinking about her can still make me cry. I don't think that'll ever change. And I don't think I'll ever stop missing her cooking.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Random Thursday: Ugh.

Yes, ugh. It's been raining for pretty much the entire week here in Florida, which means my ankle is not happy with me. Which means I'm not going to the gym. Which means I feel like a slacker.

Yes. I work 40 hours a week waiting tables, roughly 20 hours a week writing, maybe 5 doing blog posts and social media/PR stuff, and I feel like a slacker for not going to the gym.

In case you're wondering, my mom and friends tend to look at me like I grew a second head whenever I call myself a slacker or lazy. So that look on your face? Totally justifiable.

I did spend the morning plotting the rest of Winged. So I feel somewhat accomplished there. If all goes well, beta readers will have it by the end of the month. Once I finish up with that, I'll be able to focus on Borrowed and have that in your hands no later than mid-October. The next Jude book will then be out in December (title still undecided) and then 2013 will bring you the entirety of the Winged series. More details on that at a later time.

So. I'm going to straighten my kitchen up. Cook some dinner. And hopefully do some writing. Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Writing Wednesday--Free Stuff!

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I'm more than a little stressed out because I've got a lot going on on obht the writing front and the personal front and I've got less than a month until DragonCon. Holy crap. I'm on the verge of a panic attack just thinking about everything I need to do this month.

Anyway--what you're here for--free stuff!

Remember the whole "hey, I've been blogging for a year, have some free stuff" thing I had going on last month? I hope so. I also hope you left a comment. Because if you did...


That's right--just shoot me your e-mail and all 6 books are yours! Yeah for you!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Random Thursday! Randomness!

So--I have an idea brewing for another "reporting" piece. Really, it's just more STGB drama, but I need to do some research across various mediums and since I plan to actually write this morning, it'll have to wait for a different time.

Moving on--my friend Sara is back! She and her husband moved to Savannah about a year ago so he could go the the art school there. Unfortunately, life got in the way and plans had to change. They've moved back to Florida and she starts back at work today. Fun and crazy times are going to ensue!

DragonCon is less than a month away! I'm excited, can't you tell? I've never been to a conference of any kind before and this promises to be huge. Plus, it means I have like a week off from work. Since my last vacation consisted of me nursing a wisdom tooth, this one will be infinitely better.

I'm redoing my work schedule. What does this mean for you? It means you're going to get a Frankie book and a Jude book by the end of the year, definitely. After that, my main focus for the next year or so is going to be Winged. Will there possibly be another Cari book in the near future? Possibly. But I'm pretty much working myself into a severe case of exhaustion which is going to be bad for everyone. So, I need to slow down just a bit. For everyone interested in Cari's story, it's going to be told--it may just take a bit.

Finally, it's catch up on TV watching day! Yes, I devote one day a week to catching up on television programs I may have missed. This is usually just something like Haunted Collector or School Spirits, but it makes me happy.

Ok, guys--tomorrow will either be a special edition reporting piece of something food related. Speaking of food, I'm hungry, so I'm going to go eat before my stomach growls any louder. Catch you on the flip side!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Naomi Clark

I met Naomi through rather...interesting circumstances. I'll leave it at that. Since then, we've developed a Twitter-iffic relationship (yeah, that was a bad joke--cut me a break, I'm exhausted) and she's been at the top of my beta-reader list for my last three books. Today, she's here doing a guest post and talking about her latest work. Take it away, Bob!

Guest blog – Night and Chaos

I knew several boys called Ryan growing up, but I didn’t stumble across a girl called Ryan until I started reading Point Horror books (I had a ridiculously large Point Horror collection. I wasn’t allowed to read Stephen King, so I invested heavily in Point Horror instead). I can’t remember the plot or the title of the book, but I remember the heroine was called Ryan, and that for some reason that really lodged in my brain. For whatever reason, I thought being a girl called Ryan was pretty cool, and I must have filed that idea somewhere in the back of my mind. When I first came up with the concept for the Deva Chronicles, the very first thing that popped into my head was the heroine. And I knew she’d be called Ryan.

So I wrote away quite happily and then submitted the first chapter to my writers’ group...all of whom assumed Ryan was a boy and were confused when it turned out she had breasts. A lively debate ensued in which I insisted readers would understand Ryan was a girl and everyone else suggested alternative names for her.

I vacillated for a while, trying to think of girls’ names with the same “feel” that Ryan had for me, that still suited my heroine and conjured up her image when I wrote it. I thought maybe Rhianna or Rianne would be a nice compromise, but the minute I changed names (even mentally), I changed the character. Ryan, as I always envisioned her, was brave and cautious, prickly but yearning for affection. Rhianna or Rhianne didn’t hold those connotations for me. Now, I’m sure if I’d started writing NIGHT AND CHAOS with a heroine called Flossy, I could still have made her brave, cautious, prickly, or whatever I wanted her to be, but for me there was no changing Ryan.

I’m a firm believer in the right name for the right character, and have agonised over stories in the past because one of the characters just wasn’t working. And I usually find that as soon as I stumble upon the right name, everything comes together. I don’t know why – I’m sure I’m not alone in this though. So there was no changing Ryan, although I admit that my writers’ group’s confusion over Ryan’s gender stuck with me while I redrafted NIGHT AND CHAOS. I did have visions of readers spending the whole book worrying over whether Ryan was a boy or a girl. Nobody’s mentioned it to me yet, so I guess my fears were unfounded, which is nice!

I’m interested in how other people feel about it though – does seeing a heroine with a traditionally male name bother you?

Night and Chaos

 Ryan McCarthy fled Applied Paranormal Theory and Tactics, her father, and her lover six years ago, desperate to build life away from the weird science and supernatural experiments of her childhood. But everything she hoped to escape comes back with a vengeance when she’s kidnapped and tortured by a possessed APTT employee out for revenge on the man responsible for his possession: Ryan’s father.

Now, reunited with the lover she abandoned, Ryan is forced back into a world of danger and darkness she no longer understands, pursued by enemies with powers she can’t fathom. But Ryan’s not entirely powerless herself. She’ll have to use every trick she knows – as well as the mystic gift she hates – to stay ahead of those enemies. And that will be easier said than done.
Author Bio

Naomi Clark lives in Cambridge and is a mild-mannered office worker by day, but a slightly crazed writer by night. She has a perfectly healthy obsession with giant sea creatures and a preference for vodka-based cocktails. When she's not writing, Naomi is probably either reading or watching 80s cartoon shows, and sometimes she manages to do all three at once. Find out more at http://naomijay.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Buildup: Running a Criminal Empire

Taken, for all its twists and turns, was a fairly straightforward book with a fairly straightforward premise--find the missing girl and then unravel the tangled web of lies. Borrowed is, well, a lot more complicated.

For one, we have money laundering. No, I don't mean washing a twenty in the pocket of your pants. I'm talking systemic cash deposits, follwed by equally systematic but infinitely more confusing transfers to numbered accounts, followed by more transfers or even purchases, all culminating in the withdrawal of funds or the acquiring of items with "clean" money. Sound confusing? It is. Here's a diagram:
And yes, I have to refer back to it in order to make sure I keep my facts straight. I may be writing fiction, but I'd like some elements of it to be true. Which leads me to my next, slightly distasteful point.

Human Trafficking. I touched on the issue of this enormous crime in Taken but it takes much more of a front row, center position here. The entire plot is driven by uncovering the source of this particular branch of a much larger human trafficking scheme. Frankie and the gang aren't naive enough to think they're going to end human trafficking in general or even one particular Russian family. They're after fixing this one thing, which has led to the deaths of people they consider friends and family.

Finally, there's something that anybody reading the Frankie series should be familiar with: falsifying documents and using aliases. At this point, everybody in the gang is involved. Now, Ian and Casey Lynn aren't in any legal trouble but they could loosely be called known associates. This means there's a good possibility people are looking for them, too. So they've got the false identities they're living and working under in London. There's going to be more of them before the journey is over, so be prepared to start a cheat sheet.

Okay, next week, we'll do a little bit on the paranormal side of things. Until then..read on!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Media Monday--Guilty Pleasure Movies

So, I was originally going to do a review of The Newsroom, because despite the yells and boos of the critics, I'm still totally in love with the show. But then I turned on the television (because I can't do anything without background noise) and what should be on the screen?

Sister Act 2. And what's following it? Sister Act.

I dare any child of the 90's to tell me they have never heard of those two movies. Whoopi Goldberg may not be on anyone's most awesome or most favorite list, but let met tell you, she knocked the shit out of the park with these two movies. I think I may have mixed some metaphors in my excitement but whatever. The movies themselves are just full out feel-good. And, unlike a lot of movies today where you either get people who can dance/sing or people who can act but not both at the same time, the main characters in these films do both. (Ok, with the exception of Wendy Makenna's character, but we'll let that go)

So I guess you can tell I really like these movies. They may not be on the same level as something directed by Aaron Sorkin or David Fincher but I love to watch them nonetheless. Other movies that fall in the same category of guilty pleasure:

Robin Hood: Men in Tights. I will randomly break out in songs from this movie. I can't help it. It's so funny to look at Cary Elwes in this movie and then look at him in something like Speed or Saw.

My Bloody Valentine (3D). I may not be able to watch the 3D version, but I still love watching the movie. It's a funny slasher film without trying too hard to be funny.

The Scary Movie series. Yes, all of them. I love all of them. I think I've established I have a love for the ridiculous and even more ridiculous and these movies definitely qualify on all levels. Plus, Anna Faris is a freakin' comedic genius as far as I'm concerned.

Finally...Waiting. I feel like any person who has worked in the food service industry relates to this movie. I've said it before and I'll say it again--any time I have a bad day at work, I come home and pop this movie in the DVD player. Because it never fails to brighten my mood.

Ok, there they are--my guilty pleasure movies? What are some of yours?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Writer Wednesday--Shea MacLeod

I told you I'd get some new stuff on here--tada! My friend and fellow writer, Shea MacLeod, is here with a guest post. Emjoy!

Losing Atlantis
Yeah, yeah, I know. Atlantis can't be lost. It’s not real. The scientists say so. Even if it was real, tales of its rise to power and sudden demise were probably based on the eruption of Thera which resulted in the destruction of the Minoan culture lo these many years ago.
I’m a writer. If I want to believe in the lost city of Atlantis and write fantastical tales of its exploits, then by golly I will!
I’m sure you’ve all heard lots of stories surrounding Atlantis. What it was. What its people were like. Where it was located. How it was destroyed and why. There are loads of stories out there.
They’re all wrong.
Here’s the truth:
Ten thousand years ago, the sun was dying. Even worse, a deadly virus sprang up out of nowhere killing billions and turning survivors into rampaging homicidal monsters. There was only one choice: flee.
So, a dying race of people left their world for ours. They built a new city on Earth and called it Atlantis. It was a beautiful city full of wonders and magic. Well, the local humans called it magic, but remember this was an advanced species from another planet. So was it really magic? Or just incredibly advanced technology?
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”Arthur C. Clarke, “Profiles of The Future”, 1961 (Clarke’s third law)
I guess we’ll never know. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was, the Atlanteans brought the virus with them. When the virus escaped Atlantis and came into contact with the human population … well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. You can read all about it in Kissed by Darkness. I think you’ll be surprised. I know Morgan Bailey was when she discovered the truth!
Needless to say, the only way to stop the virus and save humanity (in the mind of a priest admittedly going slowly insane) was to destroy Atlantis. It didn’t take a night and a day. Just one big BOOM!
And in that one act of destruction, an entire people was lost, and a legend was born.
So, what do you think? Was there a real Atlantis? Where do you think it was? What’s your favorite Atlantis myth?
Shéa MacLeod is the author of urban fantasy post-apocalyptic scifi paranormal romances with a twist of steampunk. She is also rather fond of lemon curd, mushroom pizza, disco, and Ancient Aliens.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reporting Thursday--It's Not About Reviews. It's About Having a Vagina.

Yes. It's going to be that kind of post. Good thing I'm not in Michigan.

Stop the GR Bullies continues to...I don't know. Thrive? Persevere? Honestly, I have no idea what they're doing, besides posting entries on what constitutes a "bullying" review. Leaving aside the obvious freedom of speech issues there, I'd like to point out something very important.

Unless both participants are minors, NOTHING is really bullying.

For people so up in arms over what is and is not appropriate, their continued usage of the word "bully" when it is by no means appropriate is nothing short of appalling.

My original intent today was to discuss the legal implications behind the site. There has been a lot of commentary on whether what they are doing is legal or not. In light of recent events, that particular portion of the dialogue has become even more relevant. I'm going to do this the easy way--copy and paste. The bolding, of course, is mine.

(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or causes substantial emotional distress to that person, a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115) of that person, or the spouse or intimate partner of that person; or
(2) with the intent--
(A) to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or

(B) to place a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to--
(i) that person;
(ii) a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115 [1] of that person; or
(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person;

uses the mail, any interactive computer service, or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to that person or places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, any of the persons described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (B); [2] shall be punished as provided in section 2261 (b) of this title.
So, let's just consider that dealt with. Oh, and the punishments? Not pretty.

Since I try and be as thorough as possible when dealing with an issue of both this magnitude and volatility, I forced myself to read every post on the Stop the GR Bullies site. And the comments. The comments were just as bad. Sometimes worse.

Which is when the focus of this piece changed.

I'm not the first person to discuss this particular component of this fiasco. As mentioned last week, there are numerous sites devoted to the social (in)justices being done by this site.  But when something slaps even the most complacent in the face (and yes, that's me--I'm willing to admit it), it needs to be addressed.

It's been pointed out that the only victims (I refuse to use the terminology employed by the site) that have been profiled are women. One of the theories being posited is one of numbers--more women than men read, thereby making it logical that there will be more female than male reviewers, leading to the conclusion that there is a greater possibility for strident female reviewers.

I have another theory--actually, it's not my theory, it's just something that fits the situation.

Lack of Fit Model/Bias

Don't worry if you haven't heard of it. I hadn't either until I started doing research for this piece. I told you, I like to be thorough. Thankfully, the explanation of this bias is short and sweet:

Lack of Fit Model/bias proposes there is a perceived lack of fit between agentic characteristic of traditional male roles and women’s supposed communal/expressive characteristics; agentic women are evaluated negatively when they violate the tacit cultural assumption they must be communal

To have a better idea of what this entails, you have to take a look at the characteristics of both traditional male and female roles. One thing I discovered is that defining traditional male and female characteristics is a lot like how the Supreme Court once defined pornography--I'm not sure, but I'll know it when I see it. What I mean by this is that out of the half dozen or so scholarly papers I read and the various web sites I visited, none of them actually set down a list of characteristics for each role. They were alluded to or glossed over but never explicitly stated. The closest thing to a list came from--wait for it--Wikipedia.
  • Women are more emotionally expressive.
  • Women are more emotionally responsive.
  • Women are more empathetic.
  • Women are more sensitive to others' feelings.
  • Women are more obsessed with having children.
  • Women express their feelings without constraint, except for the emotion of anger.
  • Women pay more attention to body language.
  • Women judge emotions from nonverbal communication better than men do.
  • Women express more love, fear, and sadness.
  • Women laugh, gaze, and smile more.
  • Women anticipate negative consequences for expressing anger and aggression.
  • Men are more obsessed with sex.
  • Men are overwhelmed by women's expressions of emotion.
  • Men express more anger.
  • Men are stoic.
  • Men show emotion to communicate dominance
Noticing something? These aren't characteristics so much as stereotypes. Like I said, this is the closest there is to a "defined" list and by no means is it complete. Some of the other words associated with being female that I ran across included submissive, weak, warm; some of the words associated with being male were dominant and competent.

Having done that, we need to go back one more layer and look stereotypes in and of themselves. Whenever people speak of stereotypes, one of the foremost attitudes is that it (the stereotype) originates from within the perceive or within the perceived.  

Stereotypes are the result of social interaction.

It's simple cause and effect, something that's been demonstrated in a variety of ways. Our interactions with other people lead to the creation of a stereotype, which is then extrapolated to include a group--based upon our experience with a limited number of individuals who may or may not identify with the larger group. An area where you see this happen quite often is in food service. A server will look at the new table in their section or even a table coming through a door and make an instant judgment on what kind of table they're going to be. 

In a male-dominated society, centuries of social interaction have led to a stereotypical women being complacent, compliant, meek, humble, shy, retiring, caring, warm, and above all else, submissive to authority. A stereotypical man is harsh, abrasive, strong, proud, withdrawn, and above all else, dominant. These are the roles created for men and women by men and women.

People automatically stereotype others, based first on physical characteristics. This automatic stereotype does not have to permanent--this is where using individuating information comes in. It can help people look past their initial judgment of someone. Again, using serving tables as an example, a server may approach a table thinking the table is going to be a "problem table". But the initial greeting and interaction changes that judgment, which enables the server to look past the stereotype they imposed upon the table when they were seated. Unfortunately, individuating information can also work to reinforce a stereotype if the information being presented is irrelevant to a change in judgment and the person in question is already "atypical" of their perceived stereotype.

Okay, let's put all this together (by the way, I always hated that part of a paper--I just explained everything for you, damn it!). What the hell does all this mean in relation to the larger issue at hand?

The behavior of the victims is being judged more harshly BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN.

Have you ever noticed how they don’t go after men? And that men don’t do this to each other or to women? There may be a case or two of that happening, but I’ve never seen a male author or male reviewer behave this way. Just the skankier, slobbier women authors and reviewers.

…there are a few men in their group but mostly you’re right. Men don’t behave this way.(1)
That's taken from the Stop the GR Bullies site. Just like this is:
Intelligent adults who read regularly, who purchase books regularly instead of waiting for freebies or bargains, don’t waste time on a bunch of shrewish women who form packs and harass and bully authors and readers.
Oh, this too:
They must have very little joy in their lives if this is what makes them happy. It’s pathetic really.
 And this:

But then again, they pretty much only read YA fiction. I find it strange that middle-aged women (or those in those 30s/40s) still read YA books.
 The last time I checked, there wasn't an age limit on books. If so, then don't I feel like an ass for reading Anne of Green Gables earlier this year. Well, I was only 29 then, so maybe it wasn't that much of a faux pas.

The site says that the victims exhibited "bullying behavior" in their reviews because they (the reviews) were overly caustic, harsh, sarcastic or combative--all stereotypes associated with male gender roles. Let's look at that Lack of Fit Model/Bias again.
agentic women are evaluated negatively when they violate the tacit cultural assumption they must be communal

So, because these victims didn't bat their eyelashes or follow the old mantra of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" or didn't "act like a woman", they're horrible people.

Basically, they're being attacked because THEY HAVE A VAGINA.

Wow. What a way to not take any motherfucking steps forward in equality, Stop the GR Bullies.

(1)--They think this absolves them of their behavior. In fact, highly prejudiced people are more likely to explain away gender inconsistent information by saying its due to situational causes--i.e. they're not profiling men because men don't act "that way"

A great deal of this information was gleaned from Psychology of Women: A Handbook of Issues and Theories (Denmark and Paludi). If you have both the time and the money (it's a textbook and not a cheap one), I'd advise you to check it out.