Monday, October 25, 2010

Paybacks are . . .

. . .rather nice actually.  It's time to share somebooks I've recently enjoyed by authors I know.  Yes, I have a new book out and I'll pimp that later.  But first I have to say how much I enjoyed this story.  This is June Kramin's (aka: Aunty Bug) first novel.  I don't read a lot of contemporaries, but this one had a lovely little time travel twist.  No, she didn't go back to medieval England.  The heroine went back in her own life.  And forward.  And back again.  And then forward.  And then...oh, just read the book already. Here is the author's website:

Back Cover blurb:

A successful veterinarian, Kaitlyn thought she was content with her life. That is, until she turns thirty and realizes that her current ‘boy toy’ is simply not the father material she was looking for. As her biological clock ticks loudly in her ear, both her ‘toy’ and fate strongly disagree.

But something happens and over the next several days, she starts traveling between her birthdays of an altered present and those of her past, leaving her more confused than ever. With the help of a kindly old custodian named Frank, Kaitlyn comes to terms with her feelings for Dustin. And can Dustin Time quiet the ticking she’s trying so desperately to ignore?

See?  Time travel.  Sort of.  Just go read it already and tell me you don't fall in love with Dustin.  You'll be glad you did.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Can't Help Falling in Love

I'm a spaz.  This should come as no shock to anyone reading this.  If you know me at all, you know I'm just a nerd at heart.  I recently went on vacation and did the nerdiest, spaziest thing of all.  I bought my own book. 

Yes, I know.  I have free author copies.  But I had my Kindle and I didn't have a copy on it, so I bought one.  Told you I was a spaz.  Even spazier?  I read it.  Every word.  I read it like I had never seen the thing before.  I laughed at the funny parts.  I got misty near the end.  I'm such a spaz.  Even my husband couldn't believe I was reading my own book.

Him: Don't you know what happens next?

Me: Hush!  This is the good part!

So I did more than read my own book on vacation.   Of course I did.  I'm not that bad.  Yes, I finished the next book in the Mad Hatterly series. I sent it off to my editor when I returned and now I'm deep in edits with it. 

Normally editing is something I loathe.  Who wants to be told do it over?  But Becoming Mr. Brooking is an anomally for me.  I love this book.  Adore it.  Writing it was a pleasure.  I was jealous of the time I spent away from my characters and now--I actually like editing it.  I like reading it again.

No, not like.  Love.

I love this book.

Soon I will have a lovely cover to share, followed by some even more lovely news that is yet a secret.  Ssh. So you share with me instead.  What has been your most beloved project?  The one you dreamt of at night and craved while on your day job?  The one you were secretly thinking of when your significant other said "Are you listening to me?"

Tell me so I'll know I'm not the only spaz  out there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My book is out!

Whew.  Been a while since I've update my poor little blog.  Life has been busy and still is, so I'll keep this brief. 


How's that for brief?  I'll add more later, but I'm staring an August 1st deadline in the face and I do not miss deadlines.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brain Overload in 3... 2... 1...

What a week it has been.  There's so much, I don't know where to start.  Work has been crazy.  Personal life has been crazy.  Writing life has been productive.  I started joining in the #1k1hr madness at twitter.  The premise is simple.  You pick a time and write.  You must hit one thousand words AND one hour in order to stop.  It's strangely addictive.  Once I get started, I find myself often producing much more than the one thousand words.  For more, here is Patrick Alan's page about #1k1hr.  I've almost finished Becoming Mr. Brooking.  This is a good thing.  The early release of Compromising Prudence is July 23rd.  That is a week from friday. EEP!

Things are fun around Aspen Mountain Press as they celebrate their 4 year anniversary and kick off their new imprint.  Aurora Regency officially launches in October, but they have three books as special "pre-launch" treats, including mine. 

How about some free stuff?  My publisher wants to give you some.  No, really.  Like a nook?  And a FIRST EDITION GEORGETTE HEYER!!! I'll let my editor explain it to you.  Hang on while I get her.

Celina says:

Ready to get started? Okay–here's how it works.

From July 23-August 1, Aspen Mountain Press is conducting its big fourth anniversary bash and if you want the presents, here's what you have to do.

1. Post a comment to the Aspen Mountain Press blog .

2. Post a comment to the twin blog post at the Aurora Regency blog .

3. Sign up for the AMP newsletter.

4. Participate in the AMP Anniversary bash party at the AMP Community Loop from 7 to 11 pm EST. We'll have a thread specifically for entries there where you'll have to shout out.

And that's all you have to do to win a Nook e-reader from Aspen Mountain Press. Other prizes like downloads and gift baskets will be given away at specific chat events.

Tomorrow, at Loves Romance and More E-cafe, the Aurora authors are chatting from 10 am to 5 pm. Your first chance to win is at the Aurora launch party–we'll be giving away a "Good Night With a Historical Romance" basket with downloads, a hot chocolate set and a FIRST EDITION Georgette Heyer! Gift basket is worth $100! So show up at the Love Romances and More E-Cafe for your chance to win.

Next week, you can chat with AMP authors including Cynnarra Trenarth, Maura Anderson, Lena Austin, Lizzie T. Leaf, Celina Summers, Marguerite Butler, Kimberly Nee, Arabella Sheration, Colleen Stormer, Dominique Eastwick, V. Mark Covington, Raine Delight, Kara Griffin, Viki Lyn, Cynthia Vespia, Jade Buchanan, Barbara Custer, Sloane Taylor and Chris Morrow. We're giving away downloads from most and many other prizes as well. You can find them at chats–Romance Reviews Today all day on June 28 and Love Romances and More on June 30.

So the first step is to post a comment to the blog posts. Then sign up for the newletter. Then the Aurora Regency/ Aurora Regency Historicals authors tomorrow at the Love Romances and More E-cafe! And good luck!

Celina Summers

Got all that?  Good.  Now go win something.  I'm going to breathe into my paper bag again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Freckles says "Howdy y'all."

Howdy from a real Texas Longhorn.  She's one of my dad's cows and always has a knack for being there if food is involved.  She and I have a bit in common.  I tend to show up whenever food is involved.

I think I need more than just 24 hours in a day to get everything done.  The last week has been great.  I've been lounging at the lake, happily typing away on my current WIP and enjoying my Kindle while my kids do their best to terrify the fish, both with rod & reel and swimming attempts. It was good fun, but now I'm back to reality. Gack!

Reality is that I have a ridiculous number of things to get done this month.  Ack!  Okay, first some fun things.  I came back to find that not only am I up on my publisher's coming soon pages, but I'm on their blog, and best of all, there is an interview with me up at the new Aurora Regency blog! Everything you ever wanted to know, but was afraid to ask is there.  Okay, maybe it's just a mini-interview, but it definitely tells you a bit more about my projects. 

I don't know about you, but this weather makes me want to eat, but not to cook.  One of the awesome things about camping is that the husband feels the need to be all manly and run the grill for every meal.  This means good eating with very little effort on my part.  Win!  So in honor of laziness, I have two--that's right TWO--recipes. 

The first is for my Aunt Doris' Icebox pickles.  These are the sweetest, most addictive pickles you will ever love.  Even the onions become mild and delicious.

Start with about 16 cups of cucumber slices and 6 large onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 TBS celery seed
1 TBS mustard seed
1 TBS tumeric
1 Cup pickling salt
8 Cups sugar
8 Cups water

The recipe is simple.  Mix all these spices together and stir until the salt and sugar are fully disolved.  Pack your cucumber and onion slices into containers and pour the pickling solution over them until they are fully covered.  It's important for all parts of the veggies to be submerged.  Then just put them in the fridge and let them sit for five days.  They keep for about a year, but are their best for about 3 mos.

My second gift to you is my Aunt Dottie's Unbaked Cookies (Aunt Dottie was named for the above Aunt Doris who is actually my great aunt).  There is a teeny bit of cooking involved in this, but no baking.

1 stick of butter
4 TBS of cocoa
2 Cups sugar
1/2 cup milk

Mix these together and boil for 1 1/2 minutes.  Then stir in:

3 cups oatmeal
1/2 Cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let dry for an hour or two.  If you live in a humid climate, it takes a bit longer, but you can eat them anyway, even if they don't dry fully.  I have trouble keeping mine on the wax paper until they're dry.  They just keep disappearing.

Writing is the fun part, but now I have laundry and dishes and a camper to unpack and loads of dayjob stuff waiting for me.  I think I need cookies.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fresh from the Garden

Happy 4th of July!  This is for the 4th of July Blog Potluck over at Creating Home.  Be sure and stop by there for links to lots of memories and recipes.

My grandmother was a fantastic gardener, but she didn't eat fresh vegetables.  Nana was a product of the great depression and all things were to be hoarded, even food.  Some of my earliest memories are of summer harvests and the inevitable canning process.  With only a tiny icebox, she didn't freeze things.  She canned them.  For days on end, the pressure canner and pots of boiling water roiled nonstop.  I'm talking about a Texas summer with only a little swamp cooler unit to take the sting out of the heat. 

We'd sit there beet read, wiping faces on the apron and eat those last few peaches that didn't make it into the jars.  She would tell me stories about her childhood and we would snap beans.  She excelled at all those things folks consider the dying domestic arts now.  She canned and quilted, made all my clothes until junior high--and she could strike a match at 100 yards with her rifle.  She was a shrewd business woman in an era in which it wasn't appreciated, but she had to be.  I'm pretty sure that if she was of my generation, she'd be a Fortune 500 CEO, given her ruthless nature and razor sharp intellect.

I still haven't found any store bought relishes, jams, or pickles that come anywhere close to hers. My favorite was her chow-chow.  Chow-chow is a pickled relish made from whatever you've got in the garden and hers had a smattering of everything in it.  Nana loved color and this is a vibrant, beautiful garnish to your hotdogs and burgers. The vegetables can vary, but she started with:

Tomatoes: This is the base of your relish.  Peel and core about 2 1/2 pounds
Zucchini, 5 or six medium sized will do, you can throw in crooked neck squash for a little color
Sweet bell peppers, 6 large ones, I like to use a combo of red, green and yellow ones, remove stems and seeds
Onions, 2 peeled and quartered
Garlic, four cloves

Coarsely chop all your veggies.  Nana chopped these all by hand and mixed them, but I like to use the coarse chop blade of my food processor.  Put them in a colander and let the excess liquid drain into the sink.  Sprinkle them with 1/4 cup of pickling salt and let them stand overnight.

The next morning, rinse the mixture and drain again.  In a large pot mix:

2 Cups sugar
2 Cups white vinegar
1 Cup water
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp thyme

Bring it to a boil and add in the veggies.  Once it reaches a full boil remove from the heat.  Put it in your pint jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace, adjust lids and boil in canner for another 10 minutes.

Soon I'll share her corn relish recipe and maybe even her icebox pickles (if I feel frisky).

Enjoy your 4th of July!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's all about me!

So today I'm going to pimp my book because, hey--it's my blog and my book is coming out soon and it's fabulous and you should read it until your eyes bleed and buy copies for your mom and sis and cat and everyone.  So there.  Or something like that.

Anyway, my book really does launch soon.  July 23rd is the official launch day and I'm sure that I have a fun contest leading up to it.  I'm all about the fun.  So is my heroine, Miss Prudence Wemberly.  Prudence has spent her life being good and what has it gotten her?  Ruined and unmarried.  Yes, a single moment has ruined years of being good in the eyes of the ton, but the worst part is that she didn't even enjoy it.  She's out to remedy that.

Prudence Wemberly is desperate. Her reputation has been damaged by a cowardly suitor and her overbearing father will disown her when he finds out about it. She musters her courage and flees to the house of the most notorious courtesan in London. If she's ruined, why not become a courtesan herself and have a little fun for a change? It sounds like a reasonable idea—after she has her third glass of sherry.

Charles Hatterly only wants to pursue his passion for ornithology, but his family expects him to marry and manage the family estates. He needs to find a well-behaved girl who will be content to marry him—and then leave him alone.

For a gentleman scientist in need of a wife and a ruined miss in need of a future, there is an obvious solution. If Prudence and Charles can make it to the altar despite their meddling families, unscrupulous rakes and the brewing scandal that has the ton talking, they just might find more than they bargained for. Can true love bloom amid the catastrophes that arise from compromising Prudence?

This novella represents a sea change from my writing just a few years back. I'm sure it will shock no one, but at one time I wanted to write ::clears throat::  Serious Literature (note the caps?  it was that important).  Yes, I was going to write important things, deep, meaningful scenes with imagery that would transcend the written word into the collective subconscious of the world.  Yeah.  Problem is, I'm a very silly person.  It's sort of who I am.  I'm incapable of taking myself seriously for longer than four consecutive seconds and no matter what I was writing, humor crept in.  Horror?  I wrote funny horror.  Mysteries?  I wrote funny ones.  No matter what I tried my hand at, my sense of the absurb found itself on the page.

I finally learned to embrace my goofy side.  Once learned to love the goofy, writing became much more fun and my writing improved vastly.  I found my voice.  No angsty romances for me.  Compromising Prudence is a light-hearted romp and I hope people have as much fun spending time with Charles and Prudence as I did. 

Now back to your regularly scheduled Lolcat.  I'm off to write more funny.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Breathing into a paper bag

There's something different about the blog today.  See if you can guess.



Not that either.  Give up?  Look to the right.  Yes, I know.  It's the same picture of my cover art.  Click it.  Go on, you know you want to.  I'll wait here.


I'm on my publisher's coming soon page.  I exist!  I'm a real rabbit now!  So that's fabulous news, right?

Except for the part where I freak out.  Each step closer makes me more nervous instead of relieved. That's the dirty little secret of publishing and writer egos, because I'm sure I'm not alone in this.  As writers, we stay focused for so long on landing an agent or selling a book that when it finally happens--euphoria!  We're so afraid no one will ever say yes, that it's like magic when it comes.  But magic doesn't last.  

Daylight arrives and we all know the magic dies at midnight.  The editing process beings and brings a new fear.  I'll never be able to get this manuscript right.  It's a daunting task and so the writer sweats and toils and chews nails and kills "its" and "thats" and a multitude of adverbs and dull scenes are polished and finally--finally--the editor says it's done.  A big relief.  You've passed muster.  But there is always another hurdle, isn't there?

What next?  What about my next book, the one I'm frantically writing? What if I can't finish?  What if my editor hates this one?  And what about book one?  What if everyone hates it?  What if the reviewers laugh at me?  I could become a bad blog meme.  What if I've missed some whopper of a typo?  And perhaps even worse...what if it doesn't sell?  What if my book creeps in on little cat paws, quiety sits on its haunches, then steals away?  What if I sell five copies, on to my sister and each of my aunts.  My career is over before it has begun.  I'm a failure. 

Now you're understanding the paper bag over my head.  I'm going to sit here and breathe quietly for a moment.

Please send chocolate and tell me I'm not alone in this. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Everyone loves a party, right?

Anybody out there?  Summer time is when things slow to a turtle crawl.  Nobody around here wants to do much.  Texas is hot.  I realize that's hardly a news flash, but it is a reality.  It's too dang hot to do anything during the day.  We pulled out the saddles just to give the a scrub and Chex, my son's horse gave me the stink eye.  She was not in the mood for a trailride.  Lucky her.  I wasn't either.

When the 4th of July comes, all I want to do is hang out at the lake and eat.  Fireworks are good too.  That's how I intend to celebrate this year.  I'll be camping not far from home.  It's close enough to come home and shut up the critters, but far enough to be not at home.  On sunday, we will grill and scare the fish in the lake with our mad splashing skills.  Then by dark, we'll pull up a chair and watch fireworks over the lake.  If it sounds lovely, it is.

And best of all, I'll also be dropping by Creating Home to see their Blog Potluck starting July 2nd.  Sound like fun?  It is.  Go ahead and click their site.  Go on.  I'll wait here. 

Fun, right?  So in the spirit, I'll be posting some great recipes for garden goodness including my Nana's chow chow (vegetable relish) and a corn relish.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll even throw in my icebox pickles.  Just mix and chill.  No boiling, no canning. 

Speaking of garden goodies, I was having an issue.  My tomatoes are doing fabulous, thanks for asking.  That is, except my little grape tomatoes.  I had plants smothered in green ones, but never saw any red.  I'd have some look like they were ripening, but when I checked back--nothing.  Someone or something was stealing my tomatoes.  I busted the culprits this morning.  Early in the am, I heard a ruckus and came out my front door to find my gaggle of geese fighting over their loot.  There's no honor among theives and they all tried to act innocent bystander, but everyone had red juice dripping from their beaks.  They were all in on it.  It was a goose conspiracy.  So now I have to shut the garden gate at night to keep the naughty geese from stealing all my tomatoes.  Don't worry.  I'll set some aside to share with them. 

So get those summer memories and recipes ready to share.  I'm getting hungry!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Cabinet of Curiosities

Maria Zannini has asked that we entertain her as she is trapped at home.  Her wish is my command, of course.  So here is a list of oddities and curiousities about yours truly.

1. I went to high school with Barney.  We were drama club geeks together!  It's true!  Well, actually he's one of the two guys who donned the big purple suit and played him.  They didn't do all the vocals, but he still knows all the words and does a dead on impersonation if you get him drunk enough.

2. I once broke my foot--and broke it twice more before I got off crutches.  Yes, I'm that much of a klutz. 

3. I'm addicted to peanut butter.  I can eat it from the jar with a spoon.  Nom!

4. My husband used to be a golf pro, but I have never swung a club.  I think a golf course looks like a lovely place to ride my horse, if those nutty people didn't put holes all over it.  Grown men cursing at a white ball.  I don't get it.

5. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an ornithologist.  I just find birds amazingly cool.  This was like 5th grade when I had that dream.  Flash forward all these years later and the dream has manifested in my adoration of poultry.  I breed and raise chickens, geese, ducks, and guineas.  Coming this October?  Turkeys!  My incubator has been turned off for less than a month and I'm fighting the urge to hatch something.

6. I have visited every continent except Australia and Antarctica.  I intend to rectify the first, although not the last.  I also have an obsession with explorers and collect the journals of folks like Mungo Park and David Livingstone.  My hero is Ernest Shackleton.  If you love polar exploration, you need to read his journal, South.  You can download it for free.  Another favorite you should know is Mary Henrietta Kingsley, You can download her Travels in West Africa for $1.99.  It's a fascinating read. You can't beat real life for amazing and weird!

So now you know six goofy and useless facts about me.  If you want to read the seventh, visit Maria Zannini's blog and check out the comments. :)  In fact, you should go there now and read all of her weird, random items.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mugged by Sleep

The sandman mugged me.

 I meant to write a great post about Sushi--that's a capital 'S' because she's my pet goose.  But that involved taking photos of her and actual effort.  Yanno, thinking and stuff.  I also meant to surf the net, add 2K to my current ms, write an introductory post for my publisher's blog, and all sorts of good things. Instead, I did my impersonation of the kitteh above and yes, it was that abrupt.  I was upright.  I was face down in the bed.  And there was no alcohol involved. 

It was supposed to be a 10 minute power nap, but I just woke up an hour ago.  Goody.  I'll sleep well tonight.  At least if I have insomnia, I can surf the net, add 2K to my current ms. . .

How about you?  Can you sleep after napping?

So in the comments of my previous post about zombie children, we were having a fun discussion of the crazy games we played as kids.  It reminded me of what summer used to mean.  Summer used to be fun.  It used to mean pools, ice cream, lemonade, watermelons.  I think it still does.  So after I crawled out of bed and dragged myself outside to feed and put up critters, I chased fireflies.  Then cut into a watermelon.  Nom?

Monday, June 21, 2010

On Zombies, Yardwork and Waterparks...

I won something!  How often does a love of zombies and a hatred of mowing combine to gift you with books?  Well, it has and so to celebrate I've got a cute story and then a recipe for my favorite brain food: oatmeal raisin cookies.  Nom!  Speaking of noms, I won a galley of Dust by Joan Frances Turner from Jude at Omnomnom Books!  Clink the link to fnd out what zombies and yardwork have in common (at least in my head!)

Okay, cute story first and then noms.  Yes, it's a zombie story.  Sort of.  Okay, my kids are weird, but then I was a weird kid.  I know.  Isn't that where authors come from?  We all started as weird kids, right?  So Lizard Boy had a cub scout event yesterday morning.  e'd built a rocket and it was time for Rocket Academy.  Basically, you get a bunch of hyped up little boys together with moms and dads and fire off their homemade rockets.  Good fun except Howler Monkey now wants to make one.  He's 12, btw.  Their father (Let's call him Lawnmower Man, m'kay?) was also smitten with the process.  He's quite a bit older than 12, chronologically speaking.  But they don't want to make just any little old rocket.  They want to make a huge, enormous, Mythbuster-worthy rocket.  Stay tuned for more on that front.  I just hope they don't blow a hole in the barn roof.  Lawnmower Man tends to overestimate his explosive skills.

Now, you're saying "Where are the zombies?  Didn't Marguerite promise zombies?"  Patience!  You're as bad as my children.  So after two hours of explosive goodness, everyone is super hot.  This is Texas and it's already in the 90's by 10:00 am.  Solution?  I'm a brilliant mom.  I had them already in swimsuits to go to the Splash Pad and play.  We arrive at the Splash Pad and kids are playing the usual water games.  It's orderly, good clean fun.  Mom's have lawn chairs arranged in the shade and kids with appropriate smears of sun screen are splashing about.

But now the Butlers have arrived.

My kids invented an awesome new game they've dubbed "Zombie Tag."  Someone starts out as the zombie and chases everyone through the waterpark, violating Rule # 1: No Running.  It isn't enough to just touch someone.  You must be able to grab and hold on, thus violating Rule # 2: No Roughhousing.  The "zombie" then eats the brains of the kid he's tackled.  Bonus style points if you make lots of messy noises and your victim howls in mock agony.  Now the victim is infected and he's a zombie too.  The last non-zombie kid standing gets to be Omega Man.  He wins!  I love my weird kids.

We stayed for a couple hours and when we left, the kids were still messily devouring one another.  Butler Mission complete.  I'm sure the other moms love me.  I'm raising the next generation of writers.

On to the noms!

Oatmeal is good for your brain and you don't want zombies to starve, right?  But you don't want to be their snack of choice either.  So make sure you feed these cookies to everyone around you.  Zombies will be attracted to their big brains and leave yours alone.  It's a theory.

Brainiac Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 Cup butter
1 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups quick oats, uncooked
1 Cup raisins
1 Cup pecans

Now there is a secret to this and it's in the raisins.  Plump them up.  For the G-rated version, soak them for an hour in apple juice.  They'll absorb it and get all big and juicy.  For the adult version, soak the raisins in rum.  It's wicked good.  Cookies and a buzz.  Win!

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Beat your butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until creamy.  Combine all your dry ingredients except the oats. Now add the liquid mixture and the dry indredients together.  Stir in Oats, raisins, and nuts until it's well-mixed.

Drop tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.  Be sure and cool these before you try and remove them.  They need about a minute to set up.  This recipe makes about 4 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies.

Enjoy and look out for zombies.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pet the Internet!

My son (Howler Monkey, not Lizard Boy) had a brilliant observation just a moment ago.  See, I should be working.  To be more precise, I should be writing.  I have several Very Good Reasons why I need to write like a maniac on Becoming Mr. Brooking, not the least of which is that I accepted a dare.  Oh, this wasn't just any old dare, but the dreaded Triple Dog Dare (from Celina, Kim, and Grace) which is an entire level above Double Dog.  So we're talking serious cosmic consequences should I fail.  I was dared to be at the half-way point for this WIP by Sunday.  In other words, I should be writing.

Howler Monkey just busted me playing a game on the computer.  Not only was I trying to unlock pieces of a puzzle (so Atlantis could rise again!!) but I had open multiple windows including my Facebook page, Gmail, Twitter, and Absolute Write.  Oh yeah, I was totally busy.  Busy wasting valuable writing time.

I find that the Internet is like a needy cat, demanding to be petted.  Pet the Internet!  Check your email!  Pet it!  Feed it!  It's soft and purring and oh so insistent.  But it can suck all your time without conscience.

Howler Monkey's brilliant observance? 

Me: "I know.  I said I was going to write."

HM: "You should write on your laptop, Mom.  It doesn't have Internet."

Wisdom from a 12 year old.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I've hatched a novel--and it hates me.

I swear this novel is trying to kill me.  I'm leaving this note behind so that if my body should be found, the world will know the truth.  Mr. Brooking did it, in the library with the lead pipe.

Cause I feel like I'm being bludgeoned. This whole stinking novel doesn't want to cooperate.  It's like dragging an anchor.  But I know there's a narrative thread buried somewhere in this mess.  I will finish this novel and dig back through it until I unearth that thread, you know, the part that ties the whole thing together, the part that makes the novel work.  I'll drag that narrative thread to the surface and polish it until it shines.

But if anything happens to me, you've been warned. 

My novel wants me dead.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Goodies from the Garden

For veggie loves, summer is an embarassment of riches.  All the cucurbits run wild in the garden: cucumbers, squash, zucchini, cantelope, watermelon, pumpkins.  Many a careless gardener has discovered to their chagrin that these fuzzy-leaved critters are not particular about their sexual partners.  You can have pumpkin flavored cantelope and watermelonish zucchini.  Don't be fooled into thinking these are tasty.  They aren't.

It's also the season of tomatoes, peppers, okra, pole beans and today's star: eggplant.  Oh, the humble eggplant.  So many varieties to choose from.  I'm partial to slender Ichibans for eggplant parmesian.  For hearty dishes, I prefer the plump, luscious Black Beauty. 

What sort of hearty dishes?  I'm so glad you asked.  I promised Lisa and Mac I'd post this:


1 lb peeled eggplant, cut into 1 in. cubes
1/2 lb bread crumbs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 beaten eggs
1 TBS pimiento
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp sage
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar

Brine your eggplant cubes overnight.  Just put them in cold water with a little salt and let them soak.  Drain the water and put in fresh water.  Simmer them until they are just tender.  Add the milk to your bread crumbs.  Stir until moistened and then set aside.  Saute your onions and celery until tender.  Combine all the veggies, breadcrumb mixture, eggs, pimentos, and seasons.   Blend thoroughly.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Top with grated cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts.

Want more delicious goodness?  Be sure to check out Creating Home.  This is social networking at its finest, all about food, friendship, and blogging with your mother.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Something exciting

Notice anything different about the place?  No?  Just look around.  I'll wait here.

Still nothing?  All right.  sigh.  Look to the right.  No, you're other right.  Back at me.  Back to the right.  What do you see?  You see what your cover art could look like if it smelled like a man.  I'm on a horse!

Yes, there is cover art!  Isn't it purdy?  And it's green.  In case you couldn't tell, green is my favorite color. 

But wait, there's more.  Oh, yes.  If you haven't seen me buzzing around Facebook, you might not have heard my squees.   I have a big squee.

Aspen Mountain Press has officially accepted Becoming Mr. Brooking, book two of the Mad Hatterlys.  Look for it in October when they formally launch their Aurora Regency line.  Pardon me while I take a moment to dance.

C'mon!  Dance with me!

This is one of those things that you hope will happen, you believe will happen, but to have it all official and stuff is a big whew.  Needless to say, my weekend was a bit manic.

In other exciting news, the chicks have figured out how to escape their brooder on a regular basis.  Somebody is about to move to the outdoor baby coop.  They grow so fast!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Drama Chick is Dramatic

This is Drama Chick as discussed in the previous post and yes, her mouth is always open and cheeping like that.  She never shuts up and everything is of The Sky is Falling variety.  Every little occurence, from being stepped on to the lights going out is cause for hysterical screeching.   

I had a long involved post planned out and half-written, but a funny thing happened and good news took the stuffing out of my rant.  So here it is in the Cliff Notes version:

The sky is not falling.  Print is not dead.  E-books are not a fad.  DRM sucks.  Friends and family make everything worthwhile.

Now one more fluffy chick picture and then tomorrow, big news. 


Here's what she looks like quiet.  You gotta love the fat cheeks.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hatching a Novel: They're Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!

As promised, I have a few pictures of fuzzy goodness.  Whew!  This has been a rough hatch.  I tried a few things for the first time.  Not so sure I liked them all.  My humidity wasn't right.  There is no nice way to say it.  I must have peeled shells and membranes from six or seven shrink wrapped babies.  That never happens to me.  I think it's because I tried the carton hatch method.  To keep the fat end up, I placed them in egg cartons.  I see people do it all the time.  But I use recycled paper cartons and I think they were absorbing moisture and jacking with my humidity levels. 

But I now have 13 little peepers--or the dirty baker's dozen as I like to call them.  One is still struggling, but the others are thriving so far.  My struggling peeper was the last to hatch.  Late hatchers often have problems.  Some people think that they are weaker and might not hatch in the real world without intervention.  Still, I've got some late hatch weaklings running around my yard right now, so I'll give this one a chance.  The most obnoxious baby got his picture taken because he (or she) wouldn't stop picking on a new hatchling, so I took him out and he hung out at the computer with me for a while.  Then we played papparazzi. Someone in the brooder is a screamer.  There's always one.

Peep: "OMG!  I'm flipped!  I'm upside down!  Help!  Oh!  I got back up!  Look at that!  Hey!  He pecked me!  Mom!  He did it again!  Ow!  Someone stepped on me!  OMG!  I'm upside down!"

Always one drama queen.

I'm giddy with joy that one looks exactly like my favorite hen, Blueberry.  She is a carbon copy of her mother, a fat, blue baby that was born happy.  She was an easy

Some books hatch easier than others as well.  Mad Hatterly's 2 pecks at me in fits and starts.  I keep getting sidetracked with editing and other issues related to book 1 and my other series.  (Thank God I've got years of practice in juggling children.  I'm used to being tugged in a zillion directions at once.)  Some books just flow.  You start typing, look up, and wonder where your day went, but oh! look at all the shiny new words.  Some are late hatchers and force you to pry them out of your brain, wash them repeatedly, dry them under lamps and rewrite them until your fingers bleed.  Sorry.  I clearly need more sleep.  I try to stay in a single metaphor.

So this book is a little more labor than love at the moment.  If you will excuse me, I've got Drama Chick screeching that she's being killed and a scene that is ready to pip its shell.  One more obligatory cute pic:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hatching a Novel: Lockdown!

We have acheived lockdown.  Woo and hoo!  What's lockdown?  Lockdown means we are close to our hatch date.  On day 17 of our incubation, it's time to stop turning the chicken eggs.  They go into cartons with the fat end up (remember our air cell) and I fill all the water resevoirs to pump up the humidity.  Then I close the incubator and step away. 

That's the hard part.  Tinkering is easy for me, but stepping away can be hard.  It's sort of like editing--you knew I'd turn this around to writing, yes?  See, I'm a tinkerer by nature.  I can piddle and rearrange the words in a sentence and play with synonyms forever.  I'll rewrite a scene 150 times if left to my own devices.  Thank God for editors and deadlines that force me to hand it over--step away from the ms and no one gets hurt.

I've spent the last week smoothing and prettyfying Compromising Prudence one last time.  I handed it back over to the tender mercies of my awesome editor Celina (no, I'm not kissing up.  honest.)  and now it's time to sit and watch. The last look will be proof for errors.  That's it.

 Once eggs are in lockdown, I won't intervene unless babies have a serious issue.  You can kill them with your love.  Inside the egg, there is a membrane.  The baby pips the membrane into the air cell and then goes to work on the outter shell.  It's why you need the high humidity.  Too low and the membrane dries and literally shrink-wraps the poor chick.  Too much moisture and you can drown them in their shells. Opening the incubator jacks with the humidity.  It's a tricky dance, but all you can do is present them with the right atmosphere and watch. 

Now I have to distract myself with the shiny of my new WIP.  And it's lovely and shiny.  The characters have suprised me in the most delightful of ways.  But my novel and eggs are all in lockdown.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm in the big pond.

Every summer we face a rite of passage at my farm.  Little ducklings that hatched in the spring are released.  When they are small, I raise them up in a protected pen with netting over the top to keep them safe from hawks and fencing to contain them.  I make it as nice as possible, but nothing compares to the natural life.  Ducks are meant to live in the pond and I have a dandy one for them.  It covers a quarter of an acre with lovely shade around the edges.  It's an established pond full of life.  In fact, the big pond is the perfect place for ducks. 

It isn't easy for them to see it.  Getting them to leave the pen and go down to the big pond usually goes something like this.

Me: (opens gate) Go! Be free!

Ducks: We'll just stay in here.

Me: No, seriously. Go on out guys. It's time. You're all big enough to swim in the big pond now.

Ducks: We like it here. Thanks anyway.

Me: But there's life outside your pen. See? See the water? There's a big pond down there.

Ducks: We have water.

Me: You have a kiddie pool.

Ducks: It's water.

Me: This is a real pond with fish and frogs and aquatic plant life and the thing is huge. It's duckie heaven. You'll love it.

Ducks: No.

Me: (chasing them around, flapping arms) Get out of the pen! Shoo! Go!

Ducks (running in mad circles flapping wings) Do not want! Do not want!

I should be more understanding of the ducks, because I am also resistant to change.  I'm really a social person.  Okay, not really, but I can be.  But social media stuff?  That gives me hives.  I lurk on message boards for years before joining and even after I join, it takes me a while to start posting.

Eventually I get in the swing of things, but I'm a slow adopter.  I don't facebook.  I don't tweet.


Change that last one.  I refuse to Facebook because of their privacy issues, but I decided to dip my toes into the enormous social pond of Twitter.  I've posted a grand total of one tweet.  Exciting, I know.

So I'm margueritwrites there.

Now what?  I have no clue how to navigate and no friends as of yet.  It's like going into a new school with a million new faces looking at you.    Gah!    Friend me?

My first challenge is to figure out how to make the dang thing work.  My second will be to keep it from sucking all my time.  Cause once you get in the pond.  Getting out is hard.  Eventually my ducklings go out and discover how wonderful life in the big pond can be. Then they don't want to get out of the water and go in their nice safe duck house for the night. My evenings become a replay of the above scene, but in reverse.

Me: Get out of the pond and come in the house.

Ducks: But we like it in here.

Me: But it isn't safe at night. You need to come inside.

Ducks: (sitting in middle of pond) Make us.

Me: Do not want!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hatching a Novel: Developing the body

Even a big guy like this starts as a little egg.  This is Hickory, aka PITA.  He's good to his ladies and the primary reason that all my eggs have excellent fertility.  But he annoys the snot out of me.  I guess there isn't a perfect world.  See, I have two roosters for 24 hens.  It's a good ratio and the roosters don't fight.  But I have one who is popular with the hens and one who is popular with people.

Apparently, Hickory is good at what he does best because all the ladies run up to him and squat for him on a regular basis.  There is no pulling of feathers or squawking.  He finds treats for his girls and calls them to partake.  He protects them from hawks and if a fight should break out, he stops it immediately.  He's a good rooster.  Unfortunately, Hickory thinks he should run the barnyard and occasionally I have to kick his feathered butt to make him back off.  I only wear long pants and boots in the chicken runs in case he tries to spur me.  Rotten turd!

Thistle is the opposite.  He has a devoted few ladies, but the rest...well...let's just say he's a sneak attack rooster.  He ambushes them when coming around the corner, or waits for them to bend down and eat, then jumps aboard.  But my son can actually pick him up and carry him around.  One day, Hickory went after my eldest (the Howler Monkey) and Thistle jumped on Hickory to make him stop.  He's my sweetie.

But both of these full grown boys were once just eggs in the incubator.  My eggs are now five days along in the hatching process.  Already they have all the organs needed to survive.  They have little buds which will become beaks, wings, and legs. In another five days, I will be able to confirm which eggs are viable and which are not. 

My novel is developing too.  My characters are becoming real, surprising me.  My hero, who was in danger of becoming too perfect, has gotten rather pissy about being trapped in the Cotswolds following a torrential rain.  Heh.  My heroine has strengths and talents I never knew.  The ending has finally revealed itself, as have twists to the plot.  I can't give you a word count because I've been scratching away in a notebook. 

Yes, my chickens have gone high tech with an automatic turner and self-calibrating incubator, while my writing is unplugged, just an ink pen and a notebook.  Hopefully this weekend I can get it all into the computer and see where I stand.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hatching a Novel: the early days

I've discovered the best way to edit.  Just start a new writing project.  That way, the editing can be your procrastination.  It's almost like you're writing.  Except not.  Genius!  Brilliant!  Thank you!

Sigh. I've finished paper edits for First Ghost and now I'm transferring them to the actual document.  I need to hurry up and finish because I have final edits for Compromising Prudence just sitting there in my email, taunting me.  Not to mention that I should be working on my next Mad Hatterly novel. 

The eggs are developing nicely, thanks for asking.  I did an early candling today.  I like to candle eggs with a super bright, but very small LED light.  The face of the flashlight is roughly the size of a half dollar.  I turn ou the lights and hold the flashlight to the fat end of the egg where the air cell should be.  If the egg is fertile and developing, I can see the air cell and even the start of veining.  A chicken embreyo, like any embreyo is attached by and umbilical cord to the interior of the egg, but first the membrane must develop a support system, just like a uterus.  You can see the act veins running around the egg.

My novel has started developing.  I've taken the rough idea and turned it into an outline.  From there, specific scenes have sprung to mind.  The characters have drafted a supporting cast to flesh out the story.  Subplots have not yet revealed themselves, but the often don't until I'm actually writing.  It's the plot and characters that develop first.  Tonight's goal is to take this outline and write a specific scene into it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hatching a Novel

I have decided that writing a novel is just like hatching an egg. No really. Okay, maybe it's just me, but both are fun things that keep me off the streets. So tonight I set a batch of eggs from my chickens. I also started book two of the Mad Hatterlys.

Mostly the novel is just a premise at this point, but that is all an egg is anyway. It's a promise. It's an idea. Maybe it will develop and maybe it won't. The fertile ones have real potential to create life. For eggs it requires warmth, moisture and a bit of effort. When a mama chicken sits on a nest to brood her eggs, she doesn't really just sit. She moves about, turning the eggs. This keeps the babies inside developing evenly. I'll blog more about that later.

So my incubator is hot, about 100 degrees inside and the automatic turner is filled with eggs, big end up. It does make a difference how you place the egg. Ever notice that there is a pointy end and a fat end to an egg? The fat end is where the air cell goes. This is for at hatching time. First the baby will pip his protective sack and breath air in the air cell as he begins working on the membrane and the outer shell.

But we're a long way away from that. Today is simply the promise of a future.

I sat at my computer and sketched out the idea for the novel. Characters, major plot points, conflict, resolution. I really think this is a fertile idea. I'm going to apply the heat and see what develops. If an egg can become a chicken in just 21 days, can this become a novel in the same amount of time.

Apparently I've lost my mind. I'm going to try and write a novel in the amount of time it takes these eggs to hatch. It's like NaNoWriMo on steroids. I've never been one of those super prolific writers and I've no idea if I can pull it off, but I'm going to try. An egg left out in the cold will never hatch.

So who is hatching with me? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Join me if you like, or just stop back in to point and laugh. I'll try and update my word count every day and keep you informed on the progress of egg to chicken.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Did someone say paperless?

I'm resistant to change. I know, shocking, right? It seems everyone in the world is hipper than I am these days. They listen to bands I've never heard of devices I couldn't possbily work with an owner's manual and pictures. A few years back, my office went paperless. I still can't work half the programs.

I'm not a technophobe. I'm willing to learn. I can navigate my way around the net and eventually I catch on. But I'm trying something new, which is actually something old.

I'm editing on paper.

Yup. Don't call the Green Police, but editing on my computer just wasn't cutting it for this latest project. Finally, I printed the ms and went after it with a highlighter and pen.

I love it.

No distractions. No internet beckoning. I'm totally portable. I find that I'm reading the prose differently. I'm seeing it differently as well. I can lay out the chapters, compare them.

I don't know that I'll always edit books this way, but sometimes it's nice to go unplugged. In this case, stepping away from the computer really broke the logjam for me.

Next I might try writing a novel with pen and paper.

Naw! I'm not that crazy.

Or am I?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Just keep swimming

Whew! It really sounded like a good idea at the time. See, I was flush with success following the acceptance by AMP/Aurora Regency, so I just thought I'd send off my paranormal mystery to Lyrical. I liked their books and their authors seemed very happy. They were at their 2 year anniversary and doing well. I'd heard they had a brutal editing process, but that only makes a book stronger.

It didn't matter anyway. They were sure to reject me. Nobody was more stunned to get an acceptance. I was thrilled. I was giddy. Life was good.

Be careful what you ask for. Soon I was filling out two sets of author packets and contracts and cover art forms, etc. Yow!

Then I started panicking a bit about editing. I reminded myself that I have two children in school with sports, 4H, scouts, and a farm to run. I'm the personification of multi-tasking. I can do this.

So yesterday I sent off first edits on Prudence and today I'm working on First Ghost edits. I have until the 22nd, but I want them done this week because I have eggs due to hatch this weekend. Soon I'll have a brooder full of ducklings. Just one more thing to add to my dish.

Cute duckling pics to follow!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Things I Hate About You

You doesn't mean any specific you. I mean it in a general, crankypants sort of you. I'm referring to the you who violates common sense and my own tiny intelligence by perpetrating bad regency tropes. You know who you are.

For starters, I know that romance novels set in regency England get a bad rap. Some of it is deserved. Yes, historical accuracy often gets tossed to the wayside. But not always. Some of us truly strive to makes things as accurate as possible. Really, we do. My editor is a booger on word usage. She'll often bust me if I'm off by just a couple of years. Ouch.

But there are some things that transcend inaccurate words or details. Some trends are just plain bad fiction.

I had an awesome weekend. We went camping and the weather was gorgeous. The kids were reasonably well-behaved. Nothing broke on the camper. But my book.


You ever have one of those books you really wanted to like? This one seemed like something I would enjoy and parts of it, I did like. Other parts made me want to bounce the book off the camper walls.

But I kept reading because I only took the one book with me. I took my laptop and got a huge amount of editing work done on Prudence, but at night I want to read and relax. So I read on.

I now give you without further ado, a list of ten things that made me Madam Crankypants about my book choice.

1. The hero is a spy. And he isn't a very good one. He's impersonating his dead cousin to catch a killer. His plan? He goes around to all the gaming hells and underworld haunts he can find, hoping to provoke the killer into trying to kill him too. So he can bust him. Yep. That's the whole plan. My cat would be a better spy. At least she understands how to hunt things. He's needlessly secretive when it would be better to simply tell the truth about things. But then he wouldn't be a spy. Shhhhhhhhhh! It's a secret.

2. He's the handsomest, biggest, most virile man who ever graced the planet. Chuck Norris is green with envy at his mad skills. Even horses bow to his majesty. Every woman who meets him, wants him. Except our heroine. She hates him on sight. He's tall and wins every card game and bests all opponents. Oh, and he dances divinely as well. Plus he's a good lover. All the trampy women want to sleep with him and the innocent girls want to marry him. He's the most interesting man in the room. He doesn't drink beer very often, but when he does. It's Dos Equis.

3. His chest is covered in black fur. Blech! Not hair. Fur. If the author described it once, it must have been fifty times. Everytime his chest is mentioned (and boy does it get a lot of airtime) we have to hear about how broad it is and how it's covered in a matt of black fur. Do. Not. Want.

4. He's Mr. Wonderful to everyone but the heroine. He loves to tease her by treating her like crap because he likes her so much. Seriously, it was like elementary school where the boy who secretly liked you glued your braids to the chair and threw up on your desk. See, it's fun to make her blush and stammer and humiliate herself. Cause she's cute. :headbang: He treats her like a toy. I hate it. And does he ever apologize? Of course not! He was only funning!

5. The heroine seems to have a brain except for the second he kisses her. At the slightest touch from our hero, she's ready to put out. Seriously, he gets to second base with her during their first kiss even though he's been sweating out a fever for days. Some virgin. It's a good thing this is her first trip to London and she isn't some raving beauty. The girl can't keep her legs together for twenty minutes.

6. The villian is cardboard. He's never on scene unless he's there to menace the heroine. He's been stalking her for something like twelve years. Plus he killed the hero's cousin. He's rich and evil. Why is he evil? Cause he's know? Really bad. Why? He just is, dammit! Accept it and move on. Oh, and he's ugly too.

If you can't say something Nice...

My mama always told me to find the good in things, so here it goes. Everyone had period appropriate names. No girls named Hayley or males named Brad.

It isn't much, but it's a start.

So you don't go away empty-handed, here are some awesome classic links.

Mrs. Giggles Regency Drinking Game
SBTB's Contemporary Drinking Game

BTW: If I was playing along in this novel, they'd be treating me for alcohol poisoning about now.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's all about the happy endings

No, not THAT. Mind out of the gutter, people. I don't mean the massage sort of wink*wink*nudge*nudge, I mean the HEA you get with romance. Isn't that what we read the romance for? And mysteries. Don't we read them to see the villian get his/her and for the justice of it all?

It's just like geese. No, really. Geese. I raise African and Pilgrim Geese. While I had two geese sitting on their eggs, tragedy struck. Okay, maybe tragedy is a bit melodramatic, but bear with me here.

We had a snake.

The first inkling of doom was missing eggs from Panini's nest. She started with six. Then there were four. Then there were none. I thought we had a possum or skunk--both notorious egg theives--sneaking into the barn at night.

It didn't matter that her eggs were gone. Panini was devoted. She sat on that empty nest day and night. To make things feel right, she even dragged brushes and small items from the barn into her nest so that she had something to sit on. This girl wanted to be a mommy.

One night, as my eldest son (who shall hereafter be referred to as the Howler Monkey) and I were out feeding. I was dumping grain for the horses when Howler Monkey came running up. "Mom! Mom! Something's wrong with Panini! She's hissing and freaking out in the barn."

Howler Monkey was right. It was too dark to see well, but I sent him for a flashlight. In the dim barn I could just make out my little goose standing in her nest, raising up her body and looking for all the world like a woman holding up her skirts. Her eyes remained trained on something between her legs as she madly hissed, but held her ground. When Howler Monkey returned with the flashlight, I was able to see the problem: a huge black ratsnake.

When I say huge I mean like OMGWTFBBQ snake that ate Manhattan big. Six footer. Gack!

Fortunately I'm a hardy farm girl and not some fainting city miss. Nosirree! I did what any farm girl would do.

I screamed until my husband came outside to rescue me.

Then, I did my Queen of Hearts impersonation (Off with it's head!!!!!!!) but the harm was done. Poor Panini. Nothing could break that girl from sitting on her nest. Day and night. She sat through the snow until the sun broke through, but still she would not be budged. The time came and went from when the eggs would have hatched, but still Panini was faithful.

Sad, huh? And if the story stayed here, it would be a tragedy. Well, at least from the goosey perspective and that's really what we're talking about. Our heroine is sad, sad, sad and in denial.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: I'm a fool with an incubator. Have eggs, will hatch. I had acquired some Pilgrim goose eggs from a breeder and plopped them in the incubator. Three goslings later, we're set for our happy ending, if only things will work out.

Geese are fabulous parents. They mate for life and are devoted to the care and raising of their young. Even the ganders are tender and loving parents. But would Panini accept substitutes, or would she climb back on her nest of brushes and feed scoops?

She was most unhappy when I pulled her off her nest, but the moment she spotted three peeping goslings in a pen, she lost her mind, running and honking. Those were HER babies and she wanted in there with them RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW!

Panini is an awesome mommy and couldn't be prouder of Schnitzel, Sushi, and Truffles if she'd hatched them herself. I'm not sure if she comprehends that she didn't. But the end result is HEA.

Doesn't that change the story? Suppose all you knew was that "Hey, my female goose has some babies." That would make you smile and say "Aw, how cute." Then you'd promptly forget. But when you have the struggle, the conflict, the tragedy, and ultimately the triumph?

Happily Ever After.

So satisfying.

And isn't that what great stories are all about?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Awesome Linkage

Some things are just plain wrong. But cool.

Like these awesome links for stuff you might want to read.

Agent Jennifer Laughran on her blog "Jennifer Represents..." about the "Old Girls Club" perception.

Hyperbole and Half blogs about optional punctuation and spelling: Alot is better Than You at Everything I like this post alot. heh!

Lifted this one from Mrs. Giggles blog regarding how books are resold on Amazon. Irene Watson explains it all to you (and me cause I didn't know half that stuff).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Finding your niche

This photo was taken at the Cedar Hill Marina at Joe Pool Lake. I was fascinated with all the lines and angles of the boats. I had to wonder, how the bleep do you find your boat in all that? (Like how I'm keeping this blog all family friendly?) I felt lost just looking around.

Bookstores are like that. It's easy to get lost in there and I'd never find anything if they didn't put up helpful signs that said "mystery" or "romance" or "fantasy." Unfortunately, I can't always choose where a book will be. I'll spend ages looking in "fantasy" only to find that the books has been shelved under "romance." Umkay. It was a paranormal and there was a romance, but seriously, sometimes it's hard to tell.

As a writer, we can't control where we get shelved. We can steer toward a certain genre, but that's no guarantee of how others will perceive your work. The First Ghost was that sort of book. It's got paranormal elements: Portia Mahaffey sees dead people. It's got a mystery to solve: Who killed her roommate? There's some romance: Will she choose the hot doctor or the handsome detective?

So where does my book fit? I tried pulling out the elements and seeing if the whole structure fell apart. Take out the love? Still a dandy story. Take out the paranormal. More boring and I would be sad, sad, sad to see this story without Hephzibah, but...still a story. Take out the mystery? No more story. So my primary genre is mystery and my subgenre is paranormal. Paranormal mystery. I can live with that.

How about you? a/s/l? Now I'm showing my age! Genre, it's funny stuff. How funny? I'll let the kittehs explain it to you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Its a house warming

Er...a blog warming. Welcome to my new blog. Aren't you thrilled? Why of course you are.

Have a seat over here. No, wait! That's where the cats sits. It's a little hairy. How about over here?

Wait! Not there! That's too close to the bird and he'll pull your hair.

Here. Sit here. Don't mind the dog staring. His name is Bear and he just wants your food. Careful not to set down that plate or it'll vanish.

Being the first post of a shiny new blog is a lot to live up to and begs the question: Now what? What to blog about? See, I've never been very good about journaling and even less so in public forums. I have a bad case of the doubts. Why would I have anything interesting to say and even if I do happen to think of a scintillating topic, how would anyone notice amid the noise of a thousand hands blogging simultaneously? Yet here I am. I read my friends blogs and I'm trusting them to read mine, or at least to leave friendly comments and pretend that they read every word of breathless prose.

Now what?

How about I tell you a little bit about myself? It will explain a lot and that way, when you're are reading my blog (please come back and read it again) and you're thinking I'm one crayon short of a full box, you can simply refer back to post one and refresh your memory.

Here is the awful truth that not everyone knows about me and I will reveal it to one and all on the great internet. I really am a soccer mom. With an SUV. And a seat on the PTO. And a Labrador Retriever. And a husband and two boys and a full time job as a lawyer. Wait for it, it gets better. I live in a cute, two-story house with green shutters and an honest-to-God white picket fence. Seriously. And that is where my resemblance to the apple-pie-baking, sweater-wearing, competitive mom of your nightmares ends.

Don't get me wrong, because I can bake a mean apple pie, but I'm a redneck soccer mom. I live in a tiny little town that you've never heard of with only 1250 people officially listed in the population. I suspect they count some of the cows.

We like to play farmer and live with a menagerie mostly comprised of rescues and throw away animals that no one wanted. Currently, we share living space with two large horses, a Shetland pony, two dairy goats, five miniature donkeys, two dogs, two cats, a geriatric goldfish, and an attack rabbit. And I haven't even listed the birds. I raise chickens, ducks, geese, and guineas.

If you question how anyone can own an attack rabbit, you have clearly never livid in close proximity to a bunny. They are impossibly bossy and vigilant. I have ceded the dining room to the bunny. It is his territory. He allows us in. But he does have to share it with my son's telescope and a giant snake kite that my husband bought at an auction. (Hubby is just waiting for the right day to try it out.) This doesn't leave room for a dining room table, but so what? I'd rather have a bunny and a telescope and a snake kite than a fancy room. Sounds like chaos? It is. I'm that sort of mom and our life in Nameless Tiny Town is odd but satisfying.

So other than lawyering, farming, chauffeuring children and indulging in whatever interests take our fancy, what do I do with all my spare time? Unless you stumbled in here by accident and are diligently searching for a polite way to exit, you already know that I am a writer. That's mostly what I'll blog about. All things writer. What do I write? I write mystery and romance in all lengths, from 100 word drabbles (which I suck at) to 100,000 word novels (which I suck less at) and all things in between. There will be announcements regarding my two upcoming novel publications. I'll post some of my flash fiction and links to stories I've sold to online markets and kittehs.

Oh yes, there will be kittehs.

I'm addicted to LOLCATZ. I've tried twelve step programs, but they don't work for me because I don't really have a problem. I could quit the kittehs anytime I wanted to. I just don't want to.

So that is pretty much it. Now you know all about me. Well, not all about me, but enough that you could bluff your way through a test.

Please stop a moment to say howdy. I'll bring cookies. You bring the tea.