Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest Blogger Cassy - Crazy? You Decide

Do you know what would be fun? If I could do this whole blog post with a really thick New York accent. *waves arms dramatically* I think that would be funny and my hubby, I’m sure would not.  My father-in-law has a very thick New York accent, and it’s real. I love it. (Hey, maybe that’s why my hubby doesn’t like my fake one?! )  Earlier this fall, my sweetheart took me and our kids to the east coast to meet his father.  We also got to meet a ton of his relatives that even he didn’t know about. I took a ton away from this vacay--really I did--but my two favorite things about New Yorkers? [Disclaimer: We only got to spend three days there and were with family most of the time. I’m sure there are many other things I will love about NY when we get to go back someday.] Their accent and how loud they are!! I’m a loud person, and I’m very well aware of this fact (it may have been mentioned a time or two on report cards). But with my hubby’s family it was no competition--I was the quiet one! Me! I never thought I’d see the day! Plus, I got to work on my own New York accent.  My hubby is still not a huge fan, my kids LOVE it. My four year old calls it my New York action, and that’s just too awesome to correct!  When I get excited I find myself slipping into it...
Recently, I found myself unable to stop with the NY accent (ya, I was that excited)! Amanda and I got to go the Midnight Madness that is The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, Part 1!  I so wanted to see the Twihards!! I thought for sure I’d get to see fangs and capes and people dressed like their favorite characters. They all must have gone to a different theatre. We sure saw a lot of t-shirts though and man I would’ve loved being a cashier in Hot Topic that afternoon! We did have a ton of fun, and laughed so hard all night!!
I find it wildly entertaining to see how into books people get! Check any of your favorite authors' blogs or Facebook pages--there are fans out there that have made books and their characters part of their own reality! It’s awesome!
You see, I just found my home in this genre [PNR/UF] of reading barely over a year ago. I’ve always been a reader, mostly John Grisham, Mary Higgins-Clark and the likes. Amanda had tried converting me for years to no avail. But one afternoon I sat down with a book that we like to refer to as the “gateway drug” (Twilight) and I was hooked! I’ll admit it! As soon as I finished the series Amanda handed me a grocery sack full of books and said, “If you liked that you’re gonna love these!”
Inside the sack were Jeaniene Frost’s Nighthuntress Series and Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series.  I loved them and I needed more! I’m a pretty fast reader and in six month’s time I read 120 books!! (That’s why we call it the “gateway drug”-I was on the verge of divorce and my family was preparing to stage an intervention! Just joking...I think!) I use Facebook as a tool to stalk my favorite authors and book blogs. I unfriended everyone I know because I was tired of them posting stupid shit in my news stream and interfering with important author updates. I can’t believe how at home I feel with these book people!
My Mom used to live in the Tri-Cities of Washington State and last year I planned my visit to coincide with the release of Patricia Briggs's River Marked, and the signing that was (I kid you not) two blocks from my Mom’s apartment.  So I spent four and a half hours in line waiting to meet Patty and get her autograph.  It is one of the highlights of my life. I’ve never done anything like that before (oh ya, I’m a newby!).  So my questions for you dear reader: What’s the craziest, most fun thing you’ve ever done in the name of literature? What do I need to have on my bucket list? Don’t hold back, I’m only 31 so I could have anywhere from a day left to like 75 years and I plan on having fun! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Between Light and Dark Blog Tour

Today's blog tour stop is at Full Moon Bites where I'm talking about how my fantasy world converges with my real life. Hope you can stop by!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

As of this week, my blog tour is in full swing! Today, I have an interview posted at Manga Maniac Cafe. Hope you can stop by!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving - Cassy Style

Just a little something to brighten your holiday, courtesy of Cassy, guest blogger extraordinaire.



Have a great Thanksgiving guys!

Blog Tour Stop - Book Chick City

Want to know why I write urban fantasy? I'm talking about it at Book Chick City today and giving away a copy of Shaedes of Gray! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deep Fried and Covered in Chocolate


Not long ago, I read every single Janet Evanovich book I could get my hands on. My main focus however, was the Stephanie Plum Series. Her books are so much fun! In every book there is a bag of donuts. Her characters…Eat…Donuts! They go to bakeries, buy bags of donuts and eat all of them! Either this is fiction at its finest or I am hanging out with the wrong groups. I know very few women who would actually confess to eating a single donut, let alone a whole bag!

I want to eat donuts a bagful at a time! I love apple fritters and maple bars, sugared donuts, donut holes, cinnamon twists, the ones with chocolate frosting and little sprinkles, Boston Creams that are so full of pudding you need a handful of napkins just to look at them. I love sucking the sweet sugary glaze off my fingertips! Mmmmmmmmm... I wish I could eat a bagful of donuts right now and every morning for breakfast! (Oh, and I don't want to get fat or high cholesterol or feel guilty because of it!)

Amanda has talked about this subject in a couple of blog posts: foods characters eat and how it makes them more relatable to the reader. Amanda’s Darian eats Honey Nut Cheerios and Charley Davidson from Darynda Jones’ series takes in coffee via an IV drip (*wink* no, not literally). In Tracey Garvis-Graves' book ON THE ISLAND, TJ and Anna like to talk about the foods they will eat if they are ever rescued (fountain Cokes with lots of ice, Doritos, Slim Jims…). Seeing, or rather, reading about people’s food habits does make them more relatable. Food is definitely important: too much, too little, when, where… Forget baseball-Eating is America’s favorite past time!

Back to the donuts. Every time I read a Janet Evanovich book I crave donuts!! Do you know what I'm talking about? Do you ever crave foods just because your favorite characters are eating it? 

~Cassy



Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog Tour Kick Off!

Today is officially the first day of my blog tour! I'm posting about the Shaedes Mythos over at one of my very favorite blogs Wicked Little Pixie. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rabid Fangirl Reviews ARC of Third Grave Dead Ahead and Does What She Does Best: Talks.

Or: Cassy shares her review of Darynda Jones, Third Grave Dead Ahead







Me:  I won?  I won!! Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!!! *SQUEEEEEEEEE* (almost pass out) *SQUEEEEEE* (jump up and down hugging my husband, *squeeee* some more)
Husband:  (Can’t help himself, he too is bouncing, smiling and hugging me back) What did you win?
Me: One of Darynda Jones’ ARCs!!
Husband:  (No longer bouncing) So… you won a book?
Me: Not just a book, an Advanced Reading Copy of Third Grave Dead Ahead.
Husband: I thought you won the lottery.
Me:  This is even better!!
Husband: Hmmmm…
*sigh* He will never understand.

I was really, really bummed at the end of Second Grave. Charley and Reyes were separated and Reyes was so angry with Charley and didn’t want to see her.  I wanted to lay down right next to her and have a good cry!!! Amanda reassures me often that these unfinished endings HAVE to happen so that the story can continue. You can’t very well have a series if you tie up all the loose ends.  I Facebooked Darynda anyway, and told her she was on my sh*t list. In my defense, I was quite nice about it and she quickly messaged me back with smiley faces and reassuring words.  The same evening, while I was making dinner, Amanda called me. I answered. “Hey lady!” (caller ID, of course) and she says, loudly and without a hello,
 “You are the only person I know that would tell an award winning author she’s on you sh*t list!”
 “Uh-oh, is that bad? Should I have not done that?”
 “No, are you kidding me? I can’t wait till a reader tells me I’m on their sh*t list!”

Sooooo….I was really looking forward to January and some, dare I say, redemption. You have probably already guessed though, since I won the ARC, that I did NOT have to wait (it’s really not my strong suit anyway).  The problem with reading a book three months before anyone else is that you can’t talk to anyone about it. Thank goodness Amanda and I are friends, I read the book then sent it down the road to her with strict orders to stop anything else she might be doing and read!! I had to talk to someone!
 Four different times Amanda said “I can’t believe _________!” And I’d say “He/she/it/they didn’t!! Keep reading!! Then call me back!!” 
Every time you think you know what’s going to happen-*BZZZZ*, you’re WRONG!! Ha!!  I love Charley! Love, Love, Love Her! While I was reading Third Grave, the phone rang a coupla times and I had to answer it (it makes me feel like I’m still being productive, I guess) and I had to use some of Charley’s lines. (It should probably worry me that they were so easily transferred over into my reality… but it doesn’t.) She’s got great lines and her snarkiness is at an all time high in this third installment of the series. At one point in the story (and this I promise will be my only almost spoiler) Charley wakes up from being unconscious and Cookie is holding her hand and she thinks to herself –That’s silly, Cookie and I rarely hold hands in public. 
 There is so much to love in this book. We know the characters, it’s comfortable and fun and flows so well.  Reyes has tons of face time in this book and let’s be honest, that’s what we all want now, isn't it? Darynda shows sides of Reyes in this book that make me feel all warm and tingly and I’m not talking about s-e-x, but now that I've mentioned it, that makes me all warm and tingly as well! We get to see lots of Ubie and Swopes (Oh, Swopes!) Cookie is huge and Rocket has me feeling a little uneasy, I must say! There was a great scene with a bunch of biker dudes *sigh* and Holy Shnikes wait till you meet Mistress Marigold!! She actually made me nervous in the second book--I was feelin’ all, Charley don’t do it, don’t contact her!!! And then we meet her and Wow-not what I was anticipating! There is something that Mistress Marigold says about the connection between Reyes *swoon* and Charley that’s really got me thinking. Amanda and I have talked about it and I can’t wait for the book to come out so I can hear what the rest of Charley’s followers think.
 Man o’ man, Darynda Jones has really outdone herself! I know that she wrote this book really fast and was a little nervous about it, (Facebook, again) but I really think her books just keep getting better and better.  I can’t wait till January 31st, I’m sooo stinkin’ excited for all of Charley’s fans and for Darynda!! Uhhh…I just realized I wrote this with the idea you’re already a fan. Amanda has mentioned this series like a hundred times, so really you ought to be! Everybody mark your calendars and if you have yet to meet Charley and the gang: The first book is First Grave on the Right and the second book is Second Grave on the Left. Both books are fabulous, but wait till you get your hands on Third Grave Dead Ahead!

-Cassy


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Say Hi to Cassy!

It's happening. My brain is slowly turning to mush. I'm forgetful. Scattered. Trying desperately to schedule myself  before I lose control completely. November is going to be like running the gauntlet for me and to top it all off, my head feels like it's 3 times too big and filled with helium. I'm popping zinc lozenges like they're candy. Damn it, I will NOT get sick! But swooping in to help save my sanity is my friend Cassy. She'll be guest blogging here from time to time. She's an avid reader and not afraid to speak her mind.. And she's pretty kick-ass. So, without further ado, let me introduce you:


Hi, my name is Cassy. *curtseys* Most people know me by my smile and the decibel at which I speak. Since you can’t actually hear or see me you’ll probably know me by the number of exclamation points, asterisks and parentheses I use.
I’m a stay at home mom to two small girls and the wife of a very hardworking man which means I gotta be a hardworking woman (most days). If I ever had a boss that worked me as hard as my family does, I’d quit!! There is no way I’d be getting paid enough!
My best friend is a writer. You may know her, Amanda Bonilla? She writes an awesome sex scene!! Even though that should probably be an awkward sentence for me to write--it isn’t. She also writes an awesome fight scene. Don’t let that fool you, I could still take her! Anyhooo…she’s the reason I’m here…or…maybe the reason I’m here is because her debut book is about to be released and she’s teetering on the precipice of stardom (or insanity) and has too many blog posts to write (for her blog tour). So instead of letting her own blog flounder she’s letting me be her guest blogger (and thus I’m questioning her sanity). I’m not a writer. I’m a reader! BTW: that’s my disclaimer. 
I thought I’d start by telling you a little about myself (because I haven’t already) and since I always enjoy it when people tell me random things about themselves in lists (Hi Tracey!) that is what I’m gonna do for you!!
·         Someday I want to live in a yurt.
·         I have a ten year old Pug named Vinny.
·         I have three sisters and we all sound alike when we laugh.
·         I wish I was a runner.
·         I use the word “dude” a lot.
·         I’ve tried to quit.
·         I hate scary movies.
·         I wish I could wear cute hats all the time.
·          I’ve got a big head and they look weird so I never wear hats.
·         I like hot tea, clean sheets and snuggling.
·         I listen to country music and classic rock.
·         I love painted toenails but hate painted fingernails.
·         I don’t like it when my husband calls me by my name.
·         I’m a morning person.
·         My favorite show is Castle.
·         I clap my hands and jump up and down when I watch it.
·         I’m a Capricorn.
·         Paranormal Romance/Urban fantasy books are my drug of choice.
·         I believe the Twilight series to be a gateway drug.
·         I didn’t know I was a geek until I saw Nathan Fillion (Castle) in an interview and he was being referred to as the “King of Geeks”.
·         I’m OK with that. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spooky Legends Blogfest

Pop on over to Dark Faerie Tales today where Darian is telling the story of Idaho's Jack the Ripper. Leave a comment and enter to win a signed ARC of SHAEDES OF GRAY! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Putting My Ducks in a Row

Last week I blogged at Magic and Mayhem about how a book release is like the ninth month of pregnancy. Between now and the first of the year, I'm going to be hustling about like a nesting mother-to-be. I'm busy in a way that I never thought I would be, and I'm loving every minute of it. But it also means that blogging here, even one day a week, might be too much for a month or so. I have 20 or so blog posts/interviews to finish for my blog tour, the outline for book 3 is due in November, I'll be working on edits for book 2, and I have a novella due by the end of December. Plus, I have to keep plugging along on a zero draft for book 3. Oh, and did I mention Shaedes of Gray will be releasing in less than 45 days?!?!

I'm really proud of how I've stuck to my schedule this summer/fall. I've blogged twice a week (once here and once at Magic and Mayhem). I've maintained my FB page and Twitter, though I have to say, I'm not the most brilliant or witty of tweeters. I'm starting to realize, though, that I need to back off a bit and get some work done. I won't be gone, though. I'll still be blogging here and there, and my blog tour kicks off in mid-November. And I'm going to have guest bloggers! Yep, you heard me. ;) My friend Cassy is going to be popping in now and again with book reviews and whatnot. I'll be posting a little hello snippet from her next week.

Have you kept to a blogging schedule lately? What works for you? What doesn't?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Book Birthday to Sandy Williams!

THE SHADOW READER hit shelves today! I can't say enough about how wonderful this book is. Full of action, suspense, danger, and a fair share of romance, this is a must read for any urban fantasy lover! Go forth and get your copy! You won't be dissapointed.

There can only be one allegiance. It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ARC Giveaway and Blog Tour Info

I'm giving away an ARC of SHAEDES OF GRAY over at Magic and Mayhem this week! Stop by and leave a comment until October 25th to be entered to win.

Also, I've added a Blog Tour information tab with a list of dates and locations for my blog tour. I'll be giving away books and cool swag. I hope to see you at one of my stops! My blog roll has grown considerably over the last year, and it's crammed full of great sites dedicated to reviewing books and spreading the love of reading. There's nothing better than the enthusiasm that comes from a great review or much anticipated news from your favorite author. I get most of my book and publishing news from blogs. I'm a total fan girl and I can't wait to be a guest on some of my favorite blogs!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pots n' Pens

I'm a guest over at Pots 'n Pens this morning, discussing food and fiction. If you get a chance, stop by!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Winter Prep


For the first time in 8 weeks I don't have a post prepared. It's busy around here. Soccer just wrapped up for the season. I'm up to my eyeballs in peppers, carrots, peaches, and tomatoes. Today I'll be freezing, canning, and generally getting prepped for winter. And when you live in the mountains, you know that snow can come and stick anytime after October 15th. How about you? Are you prepping for winter? Or do you get a break before the winter storms hit?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Zero Draft

I learned something over the course of writing my Shaedes World novella last month. It's really important to just spit the story out. I have a tendency to over-analyze every word. To go back and change sentences or paragraphs before moving on with the story. But when I wrote the novella, I set a goal for myself: finish the zero draft in 30 days. And I wasn't about to not meet my goal.

I have friends who can crank out a zero draft in no time at all. And I found out that the best way to finish a story quickly is to allow yourself to skip over minor details. Whereas I might usually suffer over a name choice for thirty minutes or longer, this time I just typed [name]. Or if I needed to research another language to make sure my word choice was correct I would type the word  in English and type [Armenian] or [Gaelic] next to the word. I didn't sweat the small stuff. If I wrote a couple of pages of dialog that didn't sound quite right, I would add a comment bubble in the margin that read: "This doesn't sound quite right. He's more...(add character traits) go back and fix later."

By allowing myself to skip over the fine details, I sped up my writing and finished on time. I didn't have to sacrifice anything to the time frame I set. I still wrote in a linear fashion, I was able to keep to my rough outline, and I busted out the word count, which in this case, was only 1.5k words a day.

Since finishing the zero draft, I haven't even opened the document to take another look. It's not due to my editor until the end of December, so I have plenty of time to go back, fine tune, and fill in the blanks. I won't have to rush. By spitting out the zero draft, I've given myself more time to focus on the third book in the Shaede Assassin series. A book that I'm planning to finish ahead of schedule so I can work on some non-Shaede related projects.

How do you write that zero draft? Do you turn off your internal editor and run with it? Or do you go back and edit as you write?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Running on Empty


Honestly, I got nothin'. I'm running on fumes, and it seems like no amount of sleep is going to make me feel replenished. I sort of feel bad for whining because it's the teen's soccer schedule that's killing me. And let's face it: I'm just driving and sitting in the stands. He's actually running, non-stop, for 90 minutes, three times a week. And that doesn't count the practices on non-game days. But when the closest school is over 2 hours away, it makes for a tired bunch of travelers, parents and kids alike. And the hubs and I have committed to attending all of the teen's games because, well, he's a freshman starting varsity. And playing every minute of every game. It's a huge achievement, no matter what size school you attend. So, we're out there, supporting the team screaming and yelling, sometimes in Spanish. Okay, well, the hubs cheers in Spanish, I have to stick to plain-old English cheering. ;)

I'll be back next week with a shiny new post. But in the meantime, I'm going to give my brain a little rest. Downtime can be good. Really good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shaedes of Gray ARC Winner

Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment on my ARC giveaway post! I asked readers to guess who was hiding behind the SHAEDES OF GRAY galley in this picture:


There were some great guesses, my all-time favorite being Newt Gingrich (thanks for that, Hillary!!). I love that most of you thought the girl behind the book was my daughter. But the fabulous woman behind the book is none other than...drumroll, please...

My uber awesome, kick-ass agent, Natanya Wheeler! A correct guess was not required to be entered in the giveaway, so everyone who made a guess was eligible. I'll be giving more ARCs away over the next couple of months, so if you don't get one this go around, there will be other chances. Thanks to random.org, I've selected a name from the pool of commenters, and the winner of the SHAEDES OF GRAY ARC is...
GiGi! Congrats! I'll be emailing you today for your mailing address. I hope you enjoy the first book in the Shaede Assassin Series!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Win an ARC of Shaedes of Gray


I find it surreal that people will soon be reading SHAEDES OF GRAY. These butterflies I feel in my stomach aren't unpleasant, though. I'm not terrified--well, not anymore. I'm excited! I'm anxious to share Darian and Tyler and Xander with readers. I can't wait to let Raif loose on the world. And yes, some people won't like the book, the characters, my writing style, whatever. But I also know that there will be readers out there who will love my characters like I love them. And so, since we're just under 3 months from the release date, I'm giving an ARC of SHAEDES OF GRAY to a blog commenter!

All you have to do is give a guess as to who's hiding behind the book in the picture at the top of this post. You don't have to guess correctly to win. Just throw a guess out there along with your email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. I'll draw at random from all comments left between now and next Wednesday, September, 21st. You can comment as many times as you like. Each comment will count as an entry. Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Novel is Like an Occasion Cake


Most states now have senior projects that are a required research project/class necessary for graduation. When my daughter was a senior, she was obsessed with baking cakes. Not just some box mix thrown together, but the kind you see on Food Network shows. Occasion cakes.

It took her a year's worth of research and practice to build her skills up to make her senior project cake. And she didn't do it alone. I helped her make the flowers, roll the fondant, and stack the cakes. It took an entire weekend and one full school day to assemble this cake. Writing a novel is a lot like making an occasion cake.

A novel can't be thrown together over night. Just like an occasion cake, a certain amount of planning has to take place. The cake artist (because baker just doesn't do justice) develops the cake from an idea. That idea is sketched out from many angles. The flavors, fillings, and color schemes are chosen. Garnish and decorations are planned to match. Like the cake, a story is born from an idea. That idea grows and through plotting, outlining, and structure, a sketch is made. Characters are created and developed, the perfect garnish, and through those efforts, a novel is created.

Occasion cakes, just like stories, take time. My daughter didn't wake up the morning before her project was due and throw together ingredients. She did her research, baked many cakes from many recipes and through trial, error, and practice, found the best cake recipe for the job. A novel isn't born overnight, either. Drafts have to be written and revised. Plots have to be tested and restructured. And after many months of writing and re-writing, a solid story emerges.

An occasion cake isn't a one-person job. The sheets of fondant were huge and it took two sets of hands to knead the fondant, roll it out, and place it on the cakes. I prepped the cake with icing, while my daughter secured the gum paste flowers. Like the cake, a novel can't become a finished product without a little help. Critique partners give that helping hand that a writer needs by offering support, an extra set of eyes, and valuable opinions. Plots and story-structure can be as wide as a sheet of fondant. It takes more than one person to smooth it out.

And when everything is said and done, like the occasion cake, the artist can sit back and enjoy her masterpiece. I have to say, though, that there is one difference between a novel and an occasion cake. When we finished my daughter's cake, I felt that it was just too pretty to eat and I didn't want anyone to cut it! With a novel, well, my hope is that the spine will be cracked and the pages, devoured.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School


School started here on Monday. And though I feel sorry for my teen because he didn't get much of a relaxing summer, I have to say, I'm glad to have my routine finally back to normal.

Well, sort of. He plays soccer and his game schedule is pretty packed. My husband and I have vowed to go to as many away games as we can manage, as well as making every single home game. Not that I mind. I'm one of the loudest parents out there. I love sports, and being a former volleyball coach, let's just say that I can get a little worked up.

But what makes me happy is that I get to reclaim my space. There won't be anyone to drive to soccer, driver's ed, the beach, etc. I'll have one less person to cook for and clean up after during the day. I can sit in peace without the sound of Black Ops in the background or Dub-Step (the teen's new music obsession) blaring from his laptop speakers.

For the next few months it's just me, the pets, my laptop, and a couple of deadlines. Bliss.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Everybody Needs a Buddy


Okay, so maybe the title of this post should have been everybody needs a BUNNY. This is the new addition to our "farm." She's a lion's mane angora and in my opinion, she looks a little like a baby Ewok. I mean, have you ever seen anything so freaking cute??

But I digress. Here's why we bought this cute little thing: We had two bunnies and this spring, one of them died. It was pretty sad, and though we didn't do any sort of bunny autopsy, we're pretty sure he just died of old age (Bunnies have a life span of about 6 to 10 years. See, this blog can be educational!). After that, the remaining bunny got depressed. She became easily spooked and took to hiding in dark little corners and behind the hay bails we have stored in the chicken coop. Even with all of those chickens for company, she wasn't happy.

A couple of weeks ago, we came across the angora and of course, how could I resist her cuteness? We brought her home and stuck her in the chicken coop with the old bunny. It took a couple of days for them to get used to each other, but one day when I went to check on them I found the old bunny running around the coop, chasing the new bunny, kicking her legs, and for lack of a better word, frolicking. In the past two weeks, the old bunny has been hiding less. She lays stretched out (a sign that a bunny is content) and has been less skittish.

The hubs was watching Up in the Air with George Clooney the other night (FYI, what a depressing movie!!) and his character said something that really resonated with me: Life is better with a co-pilot. I believe this. We have two dogs, two bunnies, 2 male ducks, 2 female ducks, a flock of chickens, and come next spring, our gander will have a goose again. Animals, just like people, need companionship.

And since I write stories with some sort of romance sub-plot, that desire to connect with another person fascinates me. One of the reasons I'm drawn to romance is that I love to get elbow deep in my character's psyches and peel back the layers of their personalities in order to find out why they need a certain connection or why they've closed themselves off from a relationship. That's why people read romance. They want to experience that spark of connection, relieve the excitement of finding that special someone who can be their co-pilot. It's only natural to want to companionship, no matter its form or definition. Human beings need it, chickens, dogs, and even bunnies need it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ode to the Sidekick

Today's post is dedicated to the sidekick. The unsung secondary character who can elevate a story from good to great. I love secondary characters. Sometimes more than the main characters.

I think what I love about sidekicks is that they tend to let loose more than the MC's. They're given more leeway with their personalities and idiosyncrasies. They can be as bad, as crass, as naughty as they want and the reader will still love them because their outstanding personalities are like a get-out-of-jail-free card for any untoward behavior.

I have lots of favorite sidekicks. Ian from Jeaniene Frost's Cat and Bones series is one of my favorites. Ian is a VERY naughty boy, right down to his--uh--body piercings. ;) But he's so damn endearing, I'd forgive just about anything his rakish behavior can dish out. Another of my favorite Frost sidekicks is Vlad. I'm so happy to see that he's getting his own series. He's a sidekick who could easily carry his own series.

Patricia Briggs has Stephan, the vampire with a conscience, and Warren, Mercy's movie-night buddy with a cute southern accent and an even cuter lawyer boyfriend. JR Ward has Lassiter, the Oprah lovin' fallen angel. Lassiter is another sidekick who'll be seeing his own book. In a word...SQUEE!!!

Sidekicks make a story great. What would Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series be without Pam? And would Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series be the same without Nix? No. We need those secondary characters to help carry the story. The hero and heroine are busy fighting monsters, falling in love, and dealing with emotional baggage. We NEED those secondary characters to give those stories a little extra oomph. The laughs on the side. And in the words of SKY HIGH: Hero Support.

Who are your favorite secondary characters? Are there any sidekicks who just turn you off?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Alphabet Soup



My sister actually came up with the title for today's blog post. We were talking about our favorite paranormal/UF books and the discussion came around to books with large casts of supernatural characters. Hence, alphabet soup. We like our books to be crammed with supernatural creatures from A to Z.

When a story is brewing and percolating in my mind, I already have an idea of who (and what) my major players are going to be. And since I love to write series, I have to be really careful not to paint myself into a corner. A small cast of characters can be the kiss of death to a series.

I need variety. I can't settle for just vampires. Or just vampires and werewolves. I want vampires, werewolves, fae, goblins, ghouls, demons, and as many otherworldly creatures as I can think of. Now, you don't have to cram all of these creatures into every single scene. But, these fringe creatures should be introduced at least once, so they can be brought into later scenes or later books with ease. A series is only as good as its individual stories. And no one wants to read seven books about one creature. That's not what a typical urban fantasy reader is looking for. Neither do they want to read about every single supernatural creature under the sun hanging out in one book. That's just too much, and it's easy for the story to spiral out of control. Not to mention the burden of world-building that the author has to pull off in order to keep the story believable.

But by introducing a large cast, you can have one book that focuses on one creature, another book that focuses on another, and so on. Your world-building is only as good as the creatures in your world. And the story options once they're there, is limitless.

How about you? Do you enjoy an alphabet's worth of supernatural characters in the books you read, or do you prefer to focus on a specific creature? And does the lack or excess of either affect a good series?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Finding a Schedule That Works

One of my CP's is going to laugh at me for writing this, but, I'm not a planner. Like not at all. I don't even plan things a day in advance, let alone months. So you can imagine what gearing up for a book release has been like for this non-planner. It's not the sort of thing you can do at the last moment. There's no, "Oh, my book comes out next week. Guess I'll do a couple of things." No, this is a months-long process.

And since I'm not much of a planner, my agent suggested I keep a calendar to keep track of my various social networking and platform building activities leading up to December and my release. So far, the calendar has been great! It's allowed me to see the days/weeks/months right there in black and white and since I'm a very visual person, I can schedule my activities in a way that works for me. I've decided to blog twice a week. I've admitted time and again that blogging isn't my strongest social networking medium. So, I'll blog once a week here, and once at week over at Magic and Mayhem. I'm going to post five days a week on my Facebook page. I LOVE Facebook. The posts can be as short as a sentence or as long as a small paragraph. And I get to interact with primarily readers, which can be really enlightening. I'll pop in and out on Twitter once or twice a day, but I have to admit, being witty in 140 characters or less is really HARD! ;) And I'll be giving away ARC's and jewelry and other goodies on all three social networking sites from August until the SHAEDES OF GRAY release on December 6th.

I have to say, it feels good to have a plan in place and a schedule to go by. How about you guys? Are you the plan-it-out, scheduling sort? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm Curious

I'm curious about the readers of this blog. Since I blog on this site so sporadically, I don't ever get much in the comments department. Which, is fair enough, I suppose. I don't often blog because I save a lot of my blog ideas for the Magic and Mayhem blog. Another reason is, that between Twitter, my author page on Facebook, reading and commenting on certain blogs (including the many book review sites I follow), and the group blog, I spend approximately 2 hours a day on social networking alone. And now that I'm under deadlines and accountable for my writing, I feel like every word blogged is a word NOT in the MSs due to my editor.

But I digress. This is about YOU after all. And I'm honestly curious about you. So let me ask you this, blog followers: What genre do you read? Are you a writer as well? And do you enjoy reading blogs about writing and industry relevant topics? I'd really like to know. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Welcome to Jurassic Park

This is a repost from the Magic and Mayhem blog last week.


We own birds. Chickens, ducks, and geese. Now, before you say anything, I'm going to throw this out right off the bat: our birds live WELL. Even the ones that end up being food. They live in insulated, heated (when it's cold) buildings and eat top grade, premium food. Most days, they get the run of the place. Those damn birds live better than we do. Okay, now that that's out of the way, back to my post! ;)





These are buff Cornish crosses. Aren't they adorable? Don't let their innocent faces and fluffy bodies fool you. Just hatched, they're SO cute. Unassuming. Wouldn't hurt a fly. Yeah, right.



This is the buff Cornishes today. Two months old. Awww, still cute! NO! Don't get sucked in by they're cute feathers and curious stares. We've dubbed them "Baby Velociraptors" and rightly so. They are EVIL! In the past weeks I've witnessed these sweet, unassuming babies stomp, peck, scratch, and cannibalize their own. They've killed ten out of the group we purchased. (Five went down when they were still in the cute fluffy stage). When you go into the pen to feed them, they swarm like piranha, jumping, pecking, dead-set on pulling you down and making you into their next snack. Their violence astounds me. I can totally see how these babies could have evolved from dinosaurs. In one of my novels, these chickens would represent the bad guy.


This sweet boy is our African goose. I'd liken him to a Brachiosaurus. He's an herbivore through and through. He'd never stomp another bird into oblivion or peck his ducky pals to death. BUT--if he feels threatened, or if he feels any of his duck and chicken buddies are threatened, he will KICK YOUR ASS! In which case, he becomes an avenging T-Rex. If you've never been bitten by a goose--it is a pain like no other. In one of my novels, he'd be my alpha male.


Enter the Cochin rooster. He's gorgeous and he knows it. He flashes his cocky mane, crows nice and loud, struts his stuff. He tries to chase away any other male who dares to look at the ladies. In novel world, he'd be the thorn in our hero's side, the cocky bastard trying to steal the lady out from under my alpha's nose. But for all his flash, he'll never be what the ladies want: a sweet guy who'll die to protect his love.


Here's one of our Rouen ducks. In noveldom, he's the sidekick, the Stegosaurus trotting alongside the Brachiosaurus. He's not the biggest dino on the block, but he can be tough when he needs to be. He'd have the hero's back. No questions asked. Our sidekick isn't just a stage prop, however. He's a rake at heart (not even the chickens are safe when he's feeling amorous). But he's got charm and charisma all his own.

Well, there you have it. A cast of characters descended from dinosaurs. Where's your heroine, you ask? I didn't feel like any of our chickens would be a good representation of an UF/PR heroine. After all, they're not too particular on who they date (all of the roosters get a piece), and they lay around in nests all day, gabbing.
And if you're wondering if I get most of my inspiration from the animal kingdom, I'll leave you with this:


The Praying Mantis is 100% the physical inspiration for my Lyhtans in SHAEDES OF GRAY. Just thinking about my evil Shaede arch-enemies puts a smile on my face. :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On the Mayhem Blog

Today at Magic and Mayhem, I'm ranting--just a little--about what's got me riled this week. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Little Mayhem Never Hurts

I'm blogging over at Magic and Mayhem today, and I'm talking about character quirks. Do you relate better to a character with regular-joe traits and quirks? Stop by and leave a comment, I'd love to hear your opinion!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Smile With Your Eyes

So last week the amazing Kimberly Minter of Kimberly Minter Photgraphy did my author photos. I've never considered myself photogenic. Not even a little. And if my friend Joy Denisoff hadn't been there to transform my hair and makeup with her super mad skills, I'd have been in big trouble. I tend to make weird faces and I'm generally self-conscious and nervous. But Kim was so great! She made me feel at ease, knew what to say to get me to look the way she wanted, and my self-consiousness melted away. Well, sort of. I'd thought I'd show you guys some of the "out-takes" so you could see what pictures of me usually look like! ;)


"Give me a smirk," Kim said. To which I responded by making this face. Awesome.
I don't even know what's going on here. Notice the skewed necklace, the drunken vagrant expression. Just what you want to see in an author photo!


Ugh. Just, ugh.

I think for this one, she asked me to look contemplative, or pensive, or something equally deep and artistic. Not exactly what we were going for. And again, the necklace is crooked! Why did I even wear the damn thing!?!?!
Uh-huh. Yeah. Nice necklace. Again. ARGH!

I must have been dreaming about ice cream... or a pedicure... or eating ice cream while getting a pedicure...

Ultimately, this is the photo we settled on. Out of 170 shots, Kim picked her 16 favorites. And out of those 16, I chose:

                                                  Notice the absence of the evil necklace? ;)

Thanks again, Kim and Joy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Magic and Mayhem - Focus, Focus, Focus

Hey guys! I'm blogging over at Magic and Mayhem today, talking a little about my writing space and what I need to focus! Hope you stop by. Also, congrats to Carmen Finestra who won my full manuscript critique on the Help Write Now auction! I can't wait to read your work! If you haven't checked out the Help Write Now site, you're missing out! There are some GREAT items up for bid. I'm bidding on a book trailer, and I hope I win! ;)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cover Art Love

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day weekend! It rained here...again. And the greenhouse didn't get planted...again. I'm jonesing for sunshine, people. I. Need. It.



On a happier front, I got the go ahead to show my cover art last week. I am in deep love with this cover. And I'm not gonna lie; I tend to stare at it. A lot. It's absolutely beautiful. Darian looks just as I picture her right down to the hood on her coat and the color of her hair. My favorite part of the cover is the way the artist made the ends of Darian's hair and the edges of her coat wispy, as if she's just leaving, or just entering her incorporeal form. You see, Darian is a Shaede after all, and she'd rather travel as a shadow at night. ;) I'm also struck by the expression on her face. Serene, while at the same time reaching for her Katana and gearing up for an ass-kicking. That's my girl! After seeing my cover, I have only one thought: December can't come fast enough!

Friday, May 6, 2011

You are Not Alone

I'm a guest over at the Gem State Writers Blog talking about networking and living in a small town. I'd love it if you stopped by! :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Brenda Novak Auction

Happy May everyone! We've had two straight days without rain or snow and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will hold. In addition to Mother's Day, yard work, greenhouse maintence, and my birthday (hehe), May is the month of the Brenda Novak Auction to benefit diabetes research. This is a great cause and I'm happy to be participating with my Magic & Mayhem sisters this year.

What did we offer up, you ask? A 4 for 1 critique of a paranormal romance or urban fantasy partial manuscript. The winning bidder will get an in-depth crit from all four agented/published/soon-to-be-published members of the Magic and Mayhem blog. Pop on over and take a look at the rest of this year's offerings as well. There's just too many great items to list!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Voice

I don't usually do book reviews. Nor do I throw a book up and shout, "You MUST read this book!" But I'm going to make an exception today. So often as writers, we're looking for that elusive voice, the magic narrative that makes agents and editors melt into puddles of goo. The voice that causes readers to line up in droves, salivating for our words. Voice can't be taught. It's not like grammar, or spelling. You can't hone voice the way you can a story arc or plot twist. Voice is voice. You can't fake it. That may sound cryptic, but it's true. You've either got it, or you don't.

Voice comes from letting your guard down. From saying, "Screw it! This is who I am, who my character is, and I'm throwing down!" Voice is the truest part of you that flows through your thoughts, your personality, and your imaginings as you slowly wear the letters off your keyboard. And letting go of your writerly inhibitions and allowing your voice to flow is scary as hell.

Read FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, by Darynda Jones. I'm telling you, from the first sentence, you'll be hooked. Ms. Jones knows her MC,  Charley Davidson like the back of her hand. The narrative flows easily, Charley's personality comes through with amazing clarity, and through Charley, Ms. Jones tells one hell of a good story. I have to say, this book is one of the best examples of narrative voice I've ever read. It's no wonder this book won the Golden Heart in 2009. I'm hooked. The next installment of this series can't come fast enough for me. Ms. Jones, I'm salivating for book 2. ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Giveaway

Just a reminder that I'm doing a giveaway over at my facebook author page. Once I hit 100 "likes" I'll be giving away a Barnes and Noble $25 gift card. I love facebook and I love to interact with people there. Most of my book news, contests, etc. will be run through my fan page. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Magic and Mayhem - Your Ad Here

I'm blogging at Magic and Mayhem today about product placement and advertising in media. Hope to see you over there!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thin

Sorry I've been absent for so long! After going off the radar while I worked on edits, I managed to catch the nastiest cold/flu/virus/whatever that I've had in a couple years. Even with antibiotics, these damn germs are holding on for dear life!

So, I realized something in my recent blogging adventures. I'm NOT a blogger. In the month of February I blogged every day. I scheduled posts ahead of time, and I put a lot of thought behind what I did. But when March rolled along, I didn't blog at all. I'd managed to burn myself out in the course of four weeks. Another side effect from my mad February blogging schedule: it caused me to lose a lot of my creative drive. I was putting so much thought into blogging, reading blogs, commenting on blogs, and following new blogs, that when I was done with the blogging portion of my day, the thought of writing wasn't quite so appealing.

Granted, I've been in revising mode. I didn't want to disrupt that groove because I knew I'd be working on edits soon. I have a hard time switching gears from creating to revising. But, really, blogging is creating. I had to plunk down new words once a day. I'd worn myself a little thin.

We're all eager to brand ourselves. We've all read the articles, heard our friends talk about how our careers as writers are staked on our on-line visibility. But if we don't have a product to peddle, that product being our novels, all of the visibility in the world isn't going to do a damn bit of good. I think about some of my favorite authors, take JR Ward, for instance. She doesn't blog. But she posts to her facebook page almost every day. She's interacting with her fans constantly. She also posts on forum pages and is active on her website. But as far as I know, she doesn't blog. At all. In a recent article in RWA's RWR April issue, Ward said that she forgoes a lot of appearances, as well as real life activities for her writing. She basically said, hey, my fans are in it for the books. And it's my job to give them what they want. Without a book to sell, I don't have fans.

Now, it's easy for Ward to put her platform on the back burner. She's already built a tremendous fan base. But I think the moral of the story, at least in my case, is this: don't over do it. Everything in moderation. It's not necessary for ME to blog every--single--day. It's perfectly acceptable to blog once or twice a week. Or once every couple weeks. It's okay to blog in the form of my favorite song, or a quote I want to share, or a joke. It's okay to write an essay or blog about my current work in progress. As long as I'm popping in, saying 'hi' every once in a while, I think readers will be okay with that. I'm going to keep writing blog posts, reading the many blogs I follow, commenting. I'm not going to attempt to be that super-blogger that I know I'm not. I tip my hat to those of you that can blog once a day/five days a week. I envy your hundreds upon hundreds of followers. I wish I could follow in your footsteps. But I can't. And that's okay too. I'll continue to network and build my platform through facebook and twitter. I'll continue to blog with my UF/Para-romance sisters at Magic and Mayhem. And hopefully, you'll continue to pop in every once in a while. You know, just to see what's up!

What's your opinion on blogging? If you don't see a post a day, do you unfollow blogs? Are you okay with the occasional blogger? What's your take on blogging? Love it? Hate it? Undecided?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Magic and Mayhem - The TBR Pile


I'm laying out my reading goals and revealing a few gems from my TBR pile on Magic and Mayhem today! Stop by and you might find a new series to read!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Magic and Mayhem - Owning It

Hey everyone! I've finally come up for air while my edits stew a bit and I'm blogging over at Magic and Mayhem today about owning your successes as well as your failures. Hope to see you over there!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Magic and Mayhem - Let's Talk About Sex

I'm talking about sex in paranormal romance and urban fantasy over at Magic and Mayhem today. Hope to see you there1 :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

So...Whatcha Doin'?

I was a bad blogger last week. And I have to warn you, when my edits come in, I'll probably be a bad blogger again. I have a lot of blog reading and commenting to catch up on and I hope to hit you all up today! :)

I'm trying not to write too many new words because I have a hard time switching gears from writing to revising. So I've been finishing my outline for book 2 which is due next week and looking over CP feedback so the MS for book 2 is ready to go. I've also been reading. Sooooooo much reading. Some of my favorite authors had releases over the past few weeks, two of them being Jeaniene Frost and Patricia Briggs. Let me just say, I devoured their books. I've also dipped in to Kresley Cole and in a couple of weeks I'll be making the two-hour trek to Boise for the new JR Ward book. Yes, I love JR Ward enough to drive two hours for her. ;)

So, what is everyone else up to? Writing? Revising? What are you reading right now?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Winner!

I totally dropped the ball on this and should have posted on Friday! I've just barely come up for air from revisions on book 2 and expect to start edits on book 1 at the end of the week. Then I'll dive back under for a while.

Anyway, thanks so much to everyone who entered my contest! I'll be doing another one at the end of March. Random.org has halped me pic a winner...Tracey (funny in the 'hood)!!! WOOHOO! Congrats, Tracy! You get your choice of either a $25 B&N Gift card or a synopsis critique. Thanks again for stopping by the blog! :D

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Indie? Commericial? Both?

Okay, so I really wanted to post this the day after the Grammies, but since my blog schedule was already full, it's going up a bit late. Really, my brother-in-law is the inspiration for this post. You see, he's an Indie snob. He avoids all things mainstream like the plague. He posted this huge rant the day after the Grammies expressing his excitement over Arcade Fire's Album of the Year win and basically said main-stream, commercial artists could shove it...well, you get the picture. This got me to thinking, though. Isn't Indie really Pre-commercial?

Think about it, a few years ago, Green Day wasn't considered commercial or main stream. But after they won a Grammy, a mainstream audience took notice. Their popularity soared and their songs were being played along side other Top 40 artists. Then the detractors started wagging their tongues calling Green Day sell-outs and shouting to the heavens that the band no longer cared about their indie roots. Really? I mean, seriously?? I like Green Day. I liked them pre-commercial success (uh, Brain Stew...brilliant!) as well as after. And isn't it every artist's goal to reach the largest audience possible? Of course it is! We WANT millions of people to buy our CD's, books, DVD's.

Think of Arcade Fire as the Indie pubbed author. They've been around for a while, found their popularity in a smaller, yet no less valid audience. They've perfected their craft, played the venues, paid their dues. Then, one day, some mainstreamer somewhere happens to hear one of their songs, passes it on to someone else, and so on and so forth. Their peers in the music industry start paying more attention to them as well. And before you know it--BAM-O! Grammy. In the weeks that follow, mainstream music customers grow curious, they buy their albums, and so it goes. Arcade Fire is no longer "Indie" but "Commercial". A great literary example of an author going from indie to mainstream is Audrey Niffenegger. She sent The Time Traveler's Wife as an unsolicited submission to MacAdam/Cage, a successful indie publisher in California. The book has sold millions of copies and from I found on the interwebs, her second book sold for a seven-figure advance.

Same goes for commercial, or "traditionally" pubbed authors. Think of them as Rhianna. Agented, contracted, publicized, she's got a cameo in a dozen records this year, as well as her own successful album. Everyone knows who she is, they recognize that trademark red hair she's sporting lately, and there isn't an hour of the day when some radio station, somewhere isn't playing one of her songs. Yet where was she on Grammy night? Sharing the SAME stage as Arcade Fire. Singing to the SAME audience. Building a fan-base in the mainstream, television viewing world.

Indie? Commerical? No matter how you classify yourself, we all have the same goal, to put our books out into the world and have them read by the masses. Otherwise, we'd just print out our manuscripts, put them in a binder and circulate them to friends and family only. We're all on the same staircase, people. We're just on different steps. What do you think? Is Indie really Pre-commercial or will there always be a line separating two artistic sides of the street?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Magic and Mayhem - Digital, Paper, or Both

Hey guys! A quick reminder that if you haven't entered my contest to win either a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card or a synopsis critique, there's still time to enter! Just check out the original post here. I'll be picking a winner at the end of the week.

In the meantime, I'm blogging at Magic and Mayhem today, talking a little about my love of paper books versus my new obsession with e-books. Check it out!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Contest Time!!!

Okay, so I promised a contest a month until SHAEDES OF GRAY sees the light of day. Without further ado, here's contest numero uno! I'll pick a random winner at the end of the week and you'll get your choice of prize! That's right! Hurray for choices! You can have your pick of either a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card or a Synopsis Critique. According to one of my CPs, I write a pretty mean synop so this was her idea. ;) Synops are usually the bane of writerly existence. When an agent asks for one, I swear I can hear a collective groan in the universe. In the past year, I've written my fair share. For books I hadn't even written yet. So, ya, you could say I'm getting fairly good at it.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. If you mention this contest on your Twitter or FB, send me a link in the comments and you'll get another entry! Blog about it and link to in the comments and you'll get one more entry! YAY FOR CONTESTS! I can't believe the count-down to December has already begun!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Snow, Snow, Go Away!

Winters are long in Idaho. Looooong. We won't see green grass until April. March if we're lucky. I want to see a view out of my window that isn't a blanket of white. I found these pics I took over the past couple of summers. Spring is right around the corner, right?