Sunday, June 29, 2008

Contests Coming Soon!

July 9th marks the release of the sequel to Mating Stone titled Lovers' Stone. Lovers' Stone is the story of two people who are bitter enemies and yet ardent lovers. Trust me, star-crossed doesn't even come close to describing it.

To mark the release I'm going to be running a contest July 7th through 11th for a genuine ruby and diamond necklace with matching ruby stud earrings. Be sure to check back for details.

Interested in winning $50 or $100 in Amazon gift cards? Stop by and read about the Writer’s Summer Camp to learn how.

It's a weekend of painting around our place. We spent today putting the sealer coat on the walls. The coat of paint put on by the builder was so thin it might just be an illusion. So we sealed the walls in the baby's room and will paint it tomorrow. We have, of course, changed our minds again. *eye roll* We'd chosen white but realized we can't tell whether we actually put the paint on the wall or not. The base color is white, the sealant is white, we can't tell where we painted and not. So today the trip to the home improvement store included buying a paint called Vanilla Latte. I was amazed it only took us three or four color strips to pick one we agreed on. It's the color of a coffee that someone put way to much cream in. A very very light tan. It will match the jungle decals and pictures we are putting up.

We've also had another change of mind related to Smudgie. We still don't know if we have a girl Smudgie or a boy Smudgie. That will have to wait a couple of weeks. But early on we had picked out two names we both agreed on. That wasn't easy, hence the early start on hammering it out. You see, I'm a traditional kinda girl. My family is very connected to each other and giving children family names is just something most of us do. My parents and both of my mother's siblings have sons that are Jr's or II's. The older of my sisters wanted to follow suit but ended up compromising with her husband and using his middle name. Almost all of us have a portion of our name that traces back to a family member. My great grandmother was named for her mother. I was named for my mother's uncle and my father, and right on down to the most recent addition who was named for her daddy's favorite aunt. My darling SO's family has no such family links. A name is a name. And unusual, but modern, names are best. I hate trendy names. Maybe it comes from being a teacher and the nuisance of having six children named Ashley, Amanda, Joshua, Justin, and Caleb in your class each year.

So in the early round we tossed out the new "hot" names: Aedan, Emily, Hannah, Jordan, etc. We also tossed out rather formal names like Addison, Parker, Bentley and others.

We came up with two we liked and we still like the girl's name. Anna Catherine. My great-great grandmother was Anna. My great-grandmother was Anna. My grandmother's middle name was Anna. And I had a great aunt named Catherine, so on my family terms this works. The SO likes it so it's okay.

We'd picked out a boy's name and though we both liked it, it didn't survive the 40 times rule. Someone once said to me that before you decide on a name you have to look at it carefully. ARe there any hurtful nicknames that rise quickly to the mind? Do the initials spell something offensive or humiliating? On both these counts the name we picked met the criteria. It wasn't a family name, but it was an older name, actually biblical in origin. Asher. Asher was one of the sons of Jacob and therefore one of the 12 tribes of Israel.

But Asher hasn't passed the 40 times rule. It goes like this. Imagine yourself over a period of a couple of weeks saying the name 40 or more different times. "Asher stop that." "Asher don't do that." "Asher don't pull the puppy's tail." and on and on and on. For me as much as I liked the name, it just didn't pass the test. I can't see myself using this name over and over and over again. So we are talking about a new name. Not so much a family name, but an older/non-trendy name. It is currently undergoing the 40 times test. The SO seems much less bothered by this than I. I don't think it will start to kick in until we actually know the sex.

JulNoWriMo. Yep. I've decided to do the July version of the NaNoWriMo that is held every November. November is a crazy time for me to try to dedicate to writing 50,000 words in a month. It's the start of the holiday season and it's a busy time at school. So this year I decided to take a piece that I started on a previous NaNoWriMo and do my 50,000 in July finishing this piece. That's the great thing about the July NoWriMo is that you can finish a piece you've already begun. The piece is much more solidly fantasy than romance. Most of my other stuff is mostly romance with fantasy/paranormal bents, but this is fantasy with a bit of romance worked in. It will be a bit different and is a whole different world than any I've had published. It's not the world of Sanctuary and not the world of my Weres.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008



I had a blog all finished and ready to go when the blasted thing had an error and I lost all I had typed. Now I had been typing my blogs onto a word document and then pasting them into the blogger box. Did I do this today? No I didn’t. Stupid me. So I just lost what was a far more interesting and clever blog than I could ever recreate. *grumbling loudly*

I was talking about talismans. Webster’s defines a talisman as something that is thought to bring good luck and or provide protection from evil spirits. In the book Soul Stone, coming from Ellora’s Cave, Tarris has a talisman. It is a stone that he keeps with him. The oblong, smooth stone is unusual in that two thirds of it appears to be a white opal, sparklingly iridescent. But one third of it is smokey black glass. There is no explanation for how this could have happened, but Tarris keeps it as a reminder and it seems oddly to sooth him at times.

Do you have a talisman? I don’t have a single, general talisman that I feel brings overall good luck. But I have noticed that writer’s are fairly superstitious people. Sort of like athletes. Maybe it’s because we don’t really understand where the creativity comes from or why it is us who are blessed with it. Maybe it’s because since we don’t know how it started we don’t know if or how it will stop one day. Think this isn’t you?

Lets replace the word superstition with the words compulsion or habit. Do you have a particular place that you write? Not jot down notes or scenes, but truly write? Is your space organized a certain way? Is it neat and organized? Your ideas outlined on a white board or written down neatly in a notebook. Hanging files showing notes or hows for characters and stories. Do you always begin your writing process a certain way? Do you approach your new stories in a certain way?

Don’t think these are superstitions or compulsions? Try mixing it up and see if it still works.

I have no shame in admitting I have specific compulsions. I can edit and tinker with one of my stories anywhere, lap top, work, anywhere. But I can’t actually “write” my stories anywhere but sitting at my desk. The keyboard and rests are just in the right spot, I have just enough room and everything fits snuggly and perfectly enough that I can lose the surroundings and sink into what I’m doing.

My mug is always by my side. Either my Circle of Crones or one of my Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark-Hunter/Sanctuary mugs. A hodge-podged stack of reference books are piled on my right and my little focuses, my talismans are scattered about. In front of me sits my green dragon, Flame. Flame was designed to be an incense holder but now he holds the focus stones that helped me think about my little mages. In Circle of Wolves, coming from Cerridwen Press, the hero Evan uses a piece of green aventurine as a focal stone. Evan is a mage who also happens to be a werewolf. Not a great thing to be unless you want to be tagged, studied and possibly exterminated by your own people. So he keeps his “disability” quiet from all but those he loves dearly. But the wolf inside him makes him the perfect choice as envoy to the shapeshifters, the Weres. Sent to broker an alliance that will shore up his master from the challenge of the dark mages, Evan finds more than he bargained for and everything he’s ever dreamed of.

The big piece of black obsidian? That’s Julien. He’s a whole other story.

I also use much less serious things to help me think about what I’m writing and to help me self direct when ADD strikes. Beau the bear and Glimmer the dragon sit on top of my monitor and urge me to stay on task. Beau was of great help when I was working on the Jewels of Ursus trilogy for Ellora’s Cave. Glimmer is for another WIP that is filled with warriors, princesses, healers and scoundrels. Of course there is a dragon.

So these are my talismans for writing. The pictures of elemental beings that hung on my wall to my right have already given way to posters of crystals and crystal healing as I prepare the next WIP, working title- Heal Thyself. Samantha is a healer, terrified of her own gift and worn down by those who would misuse it. She takes a job that should demand little or nothing from her, certainly not her “special talents.” She’s just there to pander to Haven’s more exclusive clientele and incorporate holistic and new age philosophies. She doesn’t count on Matthew. Someone who actually needs her skills.

What are your talismans, compulsions or habits? Share, share.

Flame, Glimmer, Beau and I want to wish congratulations to Anny Cook for getting 5 hearts from Loves Romances and More for her book Daffodil from Ellora’s Cave. Anny’s books are always wonderful and the Flowers of Camelot series is no exception.

Stop by and check out the blog of Amarinda Jones who is celebrating a great new cover for her Resplendence release and Kelly Kirch who is talking about being famous…or not.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Writing something every day

I've been listening to (or more accurately said, reading) this advice from Anny Cook from time to time throughout the last year. I've even passed it on and received verification from others that it does, indeed, help. In fact, a friend recently commented that just the process of sitting down to respond to emails had help him overcome the dread he felt when faced with a blank word processor screen of late.

I've listened to and believed in the value of this advice but have never taken it myself. Now I find I am stuck in a rut and cannot seem to write or work on my WIPs. I find I have no particular urge to do much of anything. Do you ever have those day? Where you don't want to write, you don't want to read, you don't want to do nothing but you damned well don't want to do anything? I am having such a week. I started what is shaping up to be a good book last Friday, but it has sat since Friday night untouched. Instead I have found myself sitting on the sofa, surrounded by puppies, watching movies I've seen a hundred times. And not because I want to watch them, but because I don't want to do anything else.

So I'm taking Anny's advice for myself this time. I am going to make myself write everyday, even it is only on my blog. Hopefully that will help.

On another note all four of my dogs seem to have gone mad at once. We have this runner that stretches from the sliding glass door across the back half of the livingroom. The point of it is to act as a foot wipe for the dogs as they charge inside from the outside. However, the last two days each and every dog has taken to rubbing themselves along this rug. It is not new. It has been there for years. But today even George was rubbing his head and body along the runner. They don't do this anywhere else in the house and have never done this before. Suddenly all four are attracted to the same spot. Perhaps there is something there they smell that we can't? Strange.

Finally got pictures of the niece and nephews from Florida today. We had preschool gradutes complete with caps and gowns. They are adorable as ever and doing well. I can't say that I understand the elaborate graduations from preschool, fifth grade and eighth grade that I see and hear about. I wonder if it really acts as a motivator for the students or if it simply detracts from the specialness of the high school graduation. I'm undecided on this, but not undecided on the issue of eighth grade dances.

Our school has this eighth grade dance to celebrate the end of middle school for our eighth graders. They get all dressed up and have an exclusive party just for them. I think that's awesome. What I don't get are the people who are spending huge amounts on dresses, limos and other frills for this dance. It's a running joke that we need extra staff in the office after noon because once they have met the state minimum for attendance for the day, every eighth grade girl in the place will be checking out to get her hair and nails done.

Oh, someone asked me the other day about the problem I was having with the security system. Well, after I had chewed a new backside to the people at the security system they scheduled the appointment. The tech never showed. I got a call at the end of the service window telling me the tech had car problems and wouldn't be there. The rescheduled me for another day. I told them that if the tech wasn't at my home by the end of my service window on this new day, my first call was going to be to my attorney. And yes, I do have an attorney. I have prepaid legal services and I'm not afraid to use them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

To home improve or not to home improve

We spent a part of today working on what was the cat room and what will become the baby's room. Because of my SO's allergies to cats (which we didn't know about until after we got the cats) we have to rip out the carpeting and redo the flooring. I washed walls, doors, windows etc. today so that we can put a sealant coat on the drywall. The folks who built our townhouse didn't do that and the paint layer is so thin that it rubs off. Once we seal the walls, we'll paint and put up the appliques that we have.

We went to the home improvement store today to look at flooring. We've agreed we don't want carpeting. With the allergies Kell has it is a real nuisance to keep the floors clean enough that they don't act up. Blinds fall in the same category and are going to go bye-bye. We looked at hardwood (our floors aren't strong enough for tile) and at laminate. Being on a budget, I think what we'll end up with is the vinyl tile that looks like wood.

Here is where the question comes in. I was raised in a do it yourself household. From auto repair to home repair, you did the work yourself unless you really had no choice. My first instinct is to do the intallation of the vinyl tile ourselves. It's not that hard. The problem is that my SO is the "call a repairman to change the lightbulbs" sort. I know going in that there would be little usable help in that direction. So the decision was made to have it installed for us.

Then I discovered that doubles the price of the deal. It is literally more per square yard for the installation than it is for the tile. I hate the very idea of that! But is it worth it to avoid the problems of self installation? The question, for me at least, remains up in the air.

I haven't felt like writing the last week. I've gotten very little done on my WIPs. I am getting my head together for a contest that will be coming up soon. It has a rather substantial prize and will mark the release of Lovers' Stone in just a couple of weeks. Details will be forth coming.

Don't forget to check out the blogs of people like Kelly Kirch, Anny Cook and Amarinda Jones. They always have something fun going on. Kelly's just had a new release with Marriage Plot at Resplendence Publishing and Anny and AJ are gearing up for their own July releases.

Friday, June 20, 2008

No direction implied

I have no particular direction today. Don't you love those days? Or are you someone who needs everything scheduled and planned so meandering is stressful for you?

This morning I made spiderwebs and had a catepillar race and played spider, spider, fly. Yep. I sure did. The SO works for the Youth and Children's services dept. at a local library. I am routinely recruited in the summer to work special programs. Today was Miss Spider's Tea Party. Miss Spider is a book character who just wants to have a lovely tea party with someone, but all the bugs are afraid of her.

So we had close to thirty girls ages 6 to 10 playing spider, spider fly (duck, duck, goose). They then crawled through cloth tunnels (cocoons) to become butterflies. My team won! We all became butterflies before the other team. Then we made spider cookies, lady bug bracelets and spider webs (God's Eyes) that we glued bugs to. Everyone had fun including the two big brothers who got dragged along. Though they were disappointed that I didn't find the big rubber bugs the least bit distressing.

I finished a wonderful book yesterday. My Lord Raven by Jan Scarbrough was a wonderful historical romance set during the reign of Edward I. The King's Champion, also known as the King's Raven, has cultivated a ruthless and merciless reputation at the direction of his king. Rumors fly that he has even committed murder. Most particularly the murder of the father and brother of Catrin Fitzalen. When Catrin learns her delicate and timid cousin Olwen, a ward of the crown, is to be married to The King's Raven she knows the poor girl, better suited for a nunnery, would never survive the marriage. Determined to save what's left of her family and certain she can find the truth behind her father and brother's deaths, Catrin switches places with Olwen as the girl flees for a convent. When the King finally listens to the rumors and placed his Champion under arrest, Catrin knows her deception must end and that she is the best hope of saving the man she now knows could not have committed the crimes. But once she reveals herself, she could well lose him forever. This book was published by Resplendence Publishing and is one of those that will be read again and again.
So now that I've chattered a bit, I'm back to doing my research for the current WIP. I've been paging through volumes on holistic therapies, aroma therapy, massage therapy, crystals healing, auras and homeopathic healing. It's fascinating reading.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Rose by any other name...

Names of a character are important. I know I've mentioned this before as a writer. For example, I have a WIP with a character who began life as Samantha, "Sam". A bit done and even risking the cliche. So I chose another name for her, Teri. I reworked the entire story replacing Samantha with Teri and quess what? The entire writing process for the story ground to a screeching halt. I lost her voice and she wouldn't talk to me anymore. And her hero, Matthew, stopped talking to me too. It seemed she didn't want to be Teri and he didn't want her to be Teri, either. Nothing I did would work. So I have surrendered to their stubbornness and she is once again Samantha. Matthew is happier and has been poking at me to write.

As a reader I find names important too. I've read some fantasies and some historicals where the character's name was unpronouncable or totally unrelatable. Though it may be the fashion these days to name children using the scrabble letters (draw out a predetermined number of tiles and try to make something out of them) it is a very bad idea with a character in a book. Combining names or giving a name an obscure spelling is also difficult for me as a reader. I ran across this problem with an author I otherwise like. (And no I'm not naming names.) I found a copy of a book that I'd not read by this author. I scanned the blurb, it looked good so I bought it. Got it home and started reading. A few pages in, amidst giggles and snorts I had to put it down and stop. Sim, a nice macho name I assumed was short for Simon or such turned out to be short for Simeon. To my eye that should be pronounced Sim-ee-on. All I could see was a small primate swinging through the trees cheaping and chattering. Simian. -def. resembling a monkey or ape in appearance or behavior.

Then there was Botof. Okay, once I got past my middle school moment and stopped giggling about "Botof-butt off", cause let's face it who wants a guy with no ass-tight ass yes, no ass, no, I just couldn't do it. Botof, while a perfectly respectable name if one is a highland laird from many centuries past is just plain not attractive today. Botof is not a handsome, swaggering, powerful Scotsman. No, he is short, pot-bellied and has excess amounts of body hair everywhere but his head. And as much as we may love our DH's and SO's with their bald heads and love handles the name Botof just doesn't sell the fantasy. And if your medieval Welsh lass has a name with so many consonants that anyone who isn't Welsh is completely lost and has the image of a name that sounds like a cat hacking up a fur ball, that's also not a good idea.

I am not disparaging the Welsh language. One of my friends is, in fact a self described Mad Welsh Witch. I myself have a Welsh grandmother. I'm simply pointing out that the unfluent amongst us are at a loss as how to decipher it. How can I connect with a character if I can't even think her name.

And I live by one simple rule of book buying. If the book begins with more than one page of family lineage, pronounciation guides or explanations of guilds, worlds or languages I keep looking. If it's that complex, it better be one hell of a story for me to wade through it. Obscurity for fantasy's sake annoys the crap out of me. If it's a blasted pencil, call it a pencil. You're writing the book in English, not in Zweetok. Give me a few Zweetokian terms tossed in and I'm great with it. But if I need a Zweetok to English translator, forget it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hurray! New Covers

I have not one, but two new covers to share today. Hurray! I’ve been so fortunate to have such great covers done for my books.

The first new cover is for Lovers’ Stone, the second book in the Jewels of Ursus series that began with Mating Stone. Lovers’ Stone is Luke Ursine’s story and Luke is quite the gem in the rough. He’s plain spoken and not necessarily a nice guy. He lives to make his older brother Mark’s life interesting. Accompanying a cousin to the sacred caves of his clan to stand watch (more of a ritual thing than a safety thing) while his cousin seeks his own mating stone, Luke finds himself drawn down the forbidden central corridor. Inside the sacred chamber he finds a woman. One who draws him in a way no woman ever has before. Their coming together is passionate to the point of explosive. When Luke awakens afterward he still in the chamber but the woman is gone. But in his hand lies the one thing he has never sought. His own mating stone. The only problem is he has no idea who the woman that fate has just tied him to is.

I’m told by the incomparable Anny Cook that the cover model for Lovers’ Stone is a man named John Fish from Houston, TX. According to Anny, who met him at the recent Romantic Times convention, he is quite a “teddy bear.” He’s definitely very nice to look at and if he’s a teddy bear, it makes him twice over perfect for Luke’s book.

The second new cover is for the third and final book in the trilogy, Soul Stone. Books one and two feature a secondary character who is an integral part of the Ursine brothers’ lives. Tarris Ursine is not a Were, but an orphaned Incubus raised by the Bear clan. He lives by very strict rules. Rules that are designed to keep him from ever fully maturing into the dark creature he was born to be. A creature that feeds on the sexual energy of women until it loses interest, drives them mad or kills them. Tarris refuses to become that monster and has extracted an oath from his Bear brothers to make sure it never happens. If he is turning, before he turns, they will kill him. When a sleeper calls Tarris into her dreams he is lost. In her are all the things that a soulless creature like him could never have, love, a family, a mate. Now his choice is clear. If he takes this one chance to find real love, he risks breaking all the rules that keep him sane and risks forcing Mark and Luke to keep their promise.

I don’t know the name of the model for this book but I can tell you that myself and several friends saw him on another cover and all went, “Oh my God, it’s Tarris!” I got emails and IM’s from friends telling me they’d seen this guy on one of the Ellora’s Cave books and could I ask for him for Tarris because he was perfect. I agreed. I asked and the wonderful artist produced this perfect cover. All I can say is thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Kelly Kirch, another amazing writer, brought up something that has me worried from my last blog. She suggested taking the elephant (who is being called a hephelump to the annoyance of my SO who doesn’t quite get the Winnie the Pooh obsession that claims the wife) and putting the elephant against the belly so that Smudgie can learn the sound and it will help sooth him or her.

Okay, now I’m worried. My musical tastes are a bit unusual for someone my age and I now find myself a bit concerned that lullabies may end up including Linkin Park, Everclear, My Chemical Romance and other alternative or serious rock bands. I’d rather not have a child who comes out singing Numb or Bleed It Out. Of course Smudgie’s first concert will be the Project Revolution tour. We have tickets this August for Linkin Park and others playing nearby. This could end up being very interesting.

Of course my friend Kaia has said I’m going to end up with a little Goth kid who likes to read all the time. I don’t think it was meant to make me happy and excited.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Problems with Blogger

I've been having problems with blogger letting me post lately so we'll try this again. If it works tomorrow I'll post my new cover and an excerpt.

We went shopping today. We set up our registry at the local Wal Mart and did a bit of shopping. Maternity clothes were on the agenda and we had a bit of luck there. But as we were walking through the home furnishings we saw something that made us rethink our plans for the nursery. You see as usual my plans are grand and broad and involve a great deal of creativity and work. My SO knows this and accepts it as one of the lovely little quirks that is me. So we had our plan.

As we were shopping, we walked past a small row of baby toys and the cutest toy caught my eye. It is a baby blue elephant that is sooooo soft. His tail has a handle and you pull it like a string and it plays the Brahm's Lullabye. I fell in love with it. It is so sweet. It felt like a rather big moment as I stood there holding it. If I bought it it would be the first toy. Something inside me just screamed it was the perfect one. So into the cart it went.

When we reached home furnishings, I spied the cutest appliques for the walls. They were jungle animals like giraffes (of which I am a huge fan-I have a giraffe story I'll have to tell one day), elephants, hippopotomi, lions and others. I then saw two cute pictures of animals in a similar style to the appliques. My grand plan for the nursery shrank significantly as my rational brain latched on to a way to adapt things to be a bit more do-able. So instead of hand painting animals on the wall, we will be putting up appliques. We bought the two small pictures as well and will be looking for a couple of larger prints to fill in the walls.

Get the connection? The SO did not. I had to explain to the poor dear that it was absolutely a sign that this was exactly the right thing to do. I still think the very quick agreement had more to do with the vast difference in the amount of work required by each option than any true acknowledgment that I was right.

The alarm people are due to come tomorrow, finally. They should arrive between 8am and 12pm. I love appointments like that. And they'd better be there because if not someone is going to owe me money for the months we've been paying and they're not getting the signal. I don't care who, but someone will.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ping! Ping!

I had what I've begun to call an "Amarinda moment" today. Amarinda Jones is probably the most assertive and plainspoken people I've ever almost met. I say almost because though I know her from the internet a bit, I've never actually met her. But I read her blog regularly and I've come to admire how she deals with people in complaint departments and the like. She does not take crap. She does not let them push her around. Well today I put on my Amarinda hat and dealt yet again with our alarm company.

Our alarm system stopped functioning properly in March. Yes, March. They have the trouble ticket on file and everything. A closed trouble ticket even though the trouble was never solved. Well, several calls on my part yielded the opinion that all that was wrong, or so they kept telling me, was that my phone connection hadn't been updated due to some FCC/FAA some federal regulation that had changed and now the old backup wasn't worth a tinker's damn and that's that. (I've always wondered why a tinker's damn was worth less than anyone elses, unless it was originally dam and a reference to his mother? Anyway...) Well we called and they scheduled a time to come out and fix it. Only they couldn't come out in the evening or on a Saturday for three weeks and because we are people who actually have jobs where they expect you to show up at work, we needed an evening or Saturday appointment.

So we got the appointment and were all set. Then the day of the appointment they don't show up. We call to find out and they tell us they left a message the previous day to cancell the appointment. Right. And I just overlooked it, I suppose. Or maybe my answering machine doesn't like security maintenance folks and it ate your message on purpose. So I speak to this woman named... oh, what the hell, Rachel and Rachel tells me they will be out next Saturday to fix the problem. We are now into April.

Next Saturday comes and goes and guess what? No repair people. I call and Rachel doesn't remember making the appointment. She doesn't make appointments, she can't remember saying anything like this. But she'll get with the guy who does make appointments and call me back. HA!

So, several cancelled appointments and still no show on upgrading the security system when my cell phone gets a call tonight telling me that they had a warning of a fault in the backup system. I chewed the guy on the phone a new ass. Then he connected me to customer service where I chewed another person a new ass. Second person, oh let's say Lorraine, says that I have to talk to Antoine and he is at lunch (at 7:40pm) and will call me back. HA!

Nine rolls by and I call back. I get a poor hapless young woman from the monitoring center who informs me that the customer service people all went home at 9pm. Why was Antoine taking his lunch an hour and 20 minutes before he went home? Why didn't I get my call back? Why? Because the entire place is filled with crap monkeys for employees and can't manage to get anything right. So tomorrow as soon as I get myself out of bed I will be calling back and chewing yet a third person another new ass. At this rate I'll bet I could get very sore jaws.

I am going to be late getting my father's day cards out. Of course this will be no surprise to my dad or my step-dad since they know me well enough to be surprised I remembered the holiday at all. Now there was a time when I did the whole Martha Stewart thing. Flowers in the house, hand made cakes and candies, crocheting scarves and mittens, all the happy little homemaker stuff including keeping track of holidays, cards and the like. Now, I'm generally sending out ecards at the last minute. *shrug* I have no excuse.

I got told today that I'm acting like a first time parent. This was said with a mocking note of condescension from exactly the wrong person to be saying this to me since they are also involved in this whole first time parent thing and came dangerously close to getting something thrown at their head for patronizing me. I am a first time parent and I will be as silly, giggly, and happy family as I choose to be. So there!

I bought a photo frame for the ultrasound picture with an adorable little poem on it. Yes, it is just the sort of thing a first time parent would do. Just like the baby book that I'm putting together. I picked out the one I wanted and got it. I've scanned photos and all that good stuff. I'm filling out the inside and pasting pictures. So all I have to say is "get with the program." We are first time parents. We are allowed to be first time parents. Everyone who has children gets that first time parent pass where for a few months you are allowed to be totally obsessed with all things your baby. Suck it up and stop trying to play it cool. I saw your face when you heard that heartbeat for the first time. You are just as excited as I am, so shut up and grab a paintbrush.

Thank you, I feel better.

Hurrays to all the folks who got great reviews today. Kelly Kirch got two of them for her Cerridwen release Time For Love. It was a great book, check it out. Regina Carlylse also got a great one for Tempting Tess. Something about wild monkey sex? And the aforementioned Amarinda Jones got a stunning review on Marlow's Curse. These ladies are always a good bet for romance-warm, hot or steaming.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What's in a name?

I have been having a bit of trouble with the name for a character lately and it has spawned this totaly self indulgent meandering about names of characters and how we give them names. Having just recently gone through the task of picking a name for an actual child, I was amazed that it was much less of an ordeal than some of the characters I've named.

There are a lot of resources out there for authors as well as prospective parents. Book stores and even your local library are filled with baby name books. I have a few favorites that I go to over and over again. First is 50,001 Baby Names by Diane Stafford. What I like most about this one is the lists in the front of it. Lists of names from different ethnicities, names for artists, names for athletes, names for serial killers, (no joke) and dozens more lists. Then there's the Writer's Digest's Character Naming Source Book that was compiled by one of my all time favorite writers, Sherrilyn Kenyon. This book is organized by ethnicity and then by male and female. One of the best features, aside from it being one of the few places you can actually find list of common names from almost any country you can imagine is the section at the front of each category that tells the common surnames and rules for surname/given name placement. If you are writing a character from a country where surnames or family names come first, you want to get the placement right.

The Internet is a great source too. is a frequent go to because it lets you sort by gender, nationality and meaning. I needed a name for an earth elemental spirit. Actually I needed names for four of them. I was able to type in words like earth, forest, woods, etc. and came up with the names for the elementals in the book that has just recently been contracted by Cerridwen Press. Keita, Adem and Damek are three of the earth elementals that you will meet in Circle of Wolves. All of their names come from or relate to "earth".

Of course, I've had a recent problem with a WIP where I wasn't comfortable with the character's name. That is a problem when the character is the main character, the one telling me the story. Sometimes I can convince the main character to change a secondary character's name or to let me pick a name for them, but I've never been able to alter a main character's name. It just runs contrary to how I write. I take dictation from a character that is born in my head and begins to tell me their story. Sometimes they tell it straight through like Luke whose story, Lovers' Stone, is coming out in July. But then that's Luke. He just tells you how it is, no messing about. Tarris, whose story is contracted and in my editor's hands was different. He took several months to tell me his story. But then he's a more subtle, secretive sort of guy.

The winner though is Evan, the hero in Circle of Wolves. He's spent the last four years telling me his story. Evan was never one to push or be rude. He'd just smile patiently and wait his turn. Until recently. Then just as he grew in his story he suddenly became more demanding and finally finished his story.

But I digress. Changing my main character's name is sort of like telling a new friend, "I know your name is John, but I'm gonna call you Blade because it sounds cooler."

So Memory, who is not only the only female who is trying to tell me her story-- it's always been my boys before, she has a name I'm not crazy about. But she is who she is. I guess I'll just have to accept her and love her as she is.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lazy Days of Summer

I know it's summer when I see the sunrise. I've mentioned before I'm an absolute owl. I write best at night, I think best at night, I even used to clean house at night. Now that we live in a townhouse I try not to do that because it tends to make for grouchy neighbors. But I saw the sunrise Sunday morning and realized it was summer.

Summer is hitting us with a bang this June. It's 94F right now and it's only June. My Brittany, George, is plotting another computer take over to register his complaint that momma isn't letting him out to point things in the backyard. At these temps the last thing I need is a dog who already has a seizure disorder becoming over heated. He is terribly angry and is lying with his back to me on the floor infront of the fan. Wendell, the dachshund, is quite happy. He has a fuzzy big brother to curl up against. He's over there right now trying to get Mr. Ticked-Off to play with him. And as the lizards and squirrels are resting in the heat of the day, Shiloh, the cocker spaniel couldn't care less.

The birds share George's irritation. They like being hung outside in the sun with a big bowl of water in the cage so they can bathe and sun themselves. It is however too hot for budgies right now unless they have a misting to play in and mine don't.

Then there is Gracie Sue. Now I love my dogs, I do. But I've come to the conclusion she is either deaf or the dumbest of all creation. The Dr. says she's not deaf. I've never had a dog reach three years old and not know its name. True, Shiloh thinks her name is "puppy" but she does answer to Shiloh, too. Gracie answers to nothing. You can call her, offer her cookies, she simply goes about her business. She doesn't know the words the other dogs know except "house." This is because she gets a cookie for going in her house. The rest, Shiloh and George especially, have very well developed vocabularies of over 40 words. I had a pug once who had an even larger vocabulary. Tootsie knew the difference between "Let's go to grandma's" which got her excited, and "Let's go to Grandma [insert ex's last name here]". That one made her curl on the couch in a ball and glare in defiance. She did not like Grandma [insert name here]. And it was mutual.

Gracie and I are going to have to have training sessions this summer. I'm going to have to walk around with cookies in my pocket to reward her every time she comes when I call, "Gracie" or "Gracie Sue". She's my special needs pup and we'll get there.

I finished the latest book on my TBR list, Marriage Mart by Kelly Kirch. I fully admit to being biased going into this book. I've been waiting on this one since I first cyber-met Kelly about a year ago. I loved her Cerridwen Press Release, Time for Love, and was certain this would be just as wonderful. I wasn't disappointed. The book is currently number 2 on Resplendence Publishing's best sellers' list for good reason.

I love historicals. Regency or highland tales are my favorites. Kirch has created a wonderful story of Lady Ester Richmond and Marcus, Earl of Rochester that is warm, comfortable and appealing. Reading this story is like sinking into your favorite chair, warm cup of tea at your side and all day to get lost in your favorite dream. Ester is the spirited and forward thinking woman we all love to read about. No fainting violet, is she. Marcus is the strong and commanding man we'd all like to see coming our way.

One thing I've noticed about Kirch's books is that she has two distinct flairs that set her apart. First is her dialogue. Kirch crafts conversations that flow. You could easily see yourself and your friends having these talks and saying these things. She manages to infuse wit and humor into her settings by making her characters articulate and comfortable.

That leads us to her second flair. Characterization. Kirch crafts her characters with ease. They are quickly defined for us and laid bare. The opening line of Marriage Mart tells you exactly who Lady Ester is. "Poppycock," Lady Ester Richmond announced. After all, what was one to say to such a thing, anyway? We now know Ester is strong willed woman who speaks her mind, but even more we know that she is someone who may just get carried away with herself and her plans. A well-bred lady who announces "Poppycock" at a nice tea with three other well brought up young women, friends or not, is one who does not always constrain her instincts.

Marriage Mart is a wonderful ride and the chemistry between Lady Ester and Marcus is delightful. The scene of their first intimacy was tender and gentle but retained that bit of laughter and humor that should always be a part of making love.
I did just finish another book, right before Marriage Mart that wasn't anywhere near as good.
My book group chose the book and it was essentially a fantasy romance. I won't name the book because I really don't want to recommend it even by reverse. It was the story of a woman who was taken as a body slave to a General who was known as the King's butcher. It was a f/f pairing but it broke the fundamental rule of a romance no matter who is doing the falling in love. There has to be a reason the two people fall in love. Partner A has to see something in partner B that draws them and visa versa. There just was no reason in this book for the General to fall in love with the body slave. Now I could get a temporary kind of love from slave to General because here is someone that protects her and treats her with dignity. The General allows no one, herself included to treat the body slave as a "body slave." But the slave was such a milktoast, rice pudding sort of person that there was absolutely no reason for the General to have fallen in love with her.
I've written heros who are hard to warm up to. Not all my guys have been as sweet and accommodating as Mark Ursine in Mating Stone. James Edwards, from Access Denied, was a prickly, argumentative and unpleasant sort of man. But he was loyal and caring and had a committment to family that could be seen. He was wounded, but it wasn't so hard for Leah to see the fact that it was pain and fear that caused him to be as harsh and closed off as he was. There was a reason she fell in love with him. There was a reason he fell in love with her though there was no initial physical attraction between them.

Now to find what's next. Checking my list...hmmm. I have a whole shelf full of books I need to read and a list of ebooks too. Up next, I think, is Mercedes Lackey's Fairy Godmother. I just did an article on fairytales in contemporary literature that will run in the June issue of eMuse. The book sounds interesting and has been on my to read shelf for about a year. Of course, I've got some very cool e-titles that are tempting me away.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

I've made a decision. I write under two different names for a couple of reasons. First of all, there is the idea of brand identification. As Elyssa Edwards I write romantic erotica. I write stories of love and passion between adults for adults. As Jacqueline Roth, I write your regular romance, usually paranormal or fantasy. I write about adults in love and they express that love as adults are want to do, just not as often or as bluntly as the stories penned by Elyssa. The second reason is that those who might identify me as Jacqueline Roth might also have a problem with the adult content of the Elyssa stories.

I have been maintaining two blogs. It is silly and I no longer have the energy nor do I care enough about someone else's sensibilities to do double work.

So I am forthwith combining the two blogs into one. Which one was a simple choice, the one with the most traffic and that happens to be the Jacqueline Roth site.

I am in the midst of a conversation with my editor and another writer who are both Aussies. They have been informing all of us wide-eyed Americans exactly how they prepare the perfect burger. Now I don't know about you, but I don't dress mine up too much. Cheese, mustard (unless I can get A1 Sauce) a pickle or two, an onion if I don't have to impress anyone later and I'm good to go. But the final list from the Aussie crew included onion, lettuce, tomato, beetroot (sliced beets), pineapple, cheese, egg, bacon and ketchup. I don't know about you, but I think they're pulling my leg. How would you ever taste the burger? They could leave it off an never know! And how would you fit that in your mouth? I'm not sure Blondie's Dagwood could manage that.

I've had two doctor's appointments that delayed my official vacation begining until tomorrow. See I don't count it as a day off if I have something I HAVE to do or someplace I HAVE to be. Nope, just not my idea of a good time. The good part of these doctor's visits (which as we all know means you are commiting at least two hours, usually more, of your time to sit and wait) has been that I was able to get some uninterupted reading time. You may think this would be easy since I don't technically have children yet, but it's not. If it's not telemarketers calling, my brother texting, then it's my dogs deciding they love momma so much they must all lay on her RIGHT NOW! Or Shiloh sees one of her phantom squirrels and is scratching and howling at the sliding glass door to be let outside. Not normally a problem except we dumped the wading pool we keep for them to prevent mosquitoes nesting and I really don't want to brave the wilderness that is my backyard to find the hose. And with temps in the 90's I'm not going to let her out for long without a big tub of water to drink and or lay in.

As I was saying, uninterrupted reading time. I'm moving down my TBR list slowly but surely. In the last couple of days I've finished Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce and Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot.

I love Pierce's The Immortals series. Her central character Daine is a wonderfully strong young girl who has remarkable powers. Oddly in tune with the animal world around her she is accepted by the animals as one of them. As one of the People. The first book in the series, Wild Magic, is one I've started teaching in my classroom. It is a wonderful introduction to high fantasy that introduces a fearsome female character that the girls can identify with and that the boys, once they get past the "Ah, it's about a girl" thing, come to admire. Especially when she's battling monsters. And in the first book it's easy to tell who the good guys and bad guys are.

But in Wolf-Speaker, things aren't so clear cut for Daine any longer. Her beloved adopted home of Tortall is the focus of a rebellion by one of the holdings. The Lady of Dunlath is mining black opals and destroying the land. Daine answers the call of her old friends the wolves. Her teacher and friend, the wizard Numair must leave her behind to guard the land while he tries to warn the king. Neither of them expects to become separated by a magical barrier that seals Daine in and Numair out.

As much as I like Daine and find her charming and endearing, one of the things that draws me back to this series is Numair. He's this overgrown boy of a man who is the unlikeliest person to be one of the most powerful of all mages. He's calm, quiet and patient until those he cares about are threatened. Then he will unleash a fury as has never been seen on those who threaten his friends. He's adorable and one of those guys you would have trouble deciding if he was the little/big brother you always wanted or ...

I also finished Meg Cabot's Every Boy Has One. I forget how much I like Cabot's writing style. She's funny and irreverent. And she doesn't fall into the one trap that romantic comedy writers often do. Making the female character such a bumbling fool she's not funny, she's pathetic. I've never been a fan of that and it makes me cringe. Cabot gives her female lead, Jane, a couple of quirks but doesn't turn her into a idiot. She's a bit clumsy and tends to step wrong or trip over things. But she's not a complete disaster. She can't see the leading man, Cal's, attraction to her at first, but she doesn't go so blindly on refusing to admit it that it's ridiculous. When the man grabs her and kisses her, she gets he's attracted --even if it's for the wrong reasons.

In Every Boy Has One, Jane and Cal are accompanying their best friends, Holly and Mark, on their elopement to Italy. A blurb at the back of the book tells readers that some of the more unbelievable pitfalls in the story actually happened to Cabot when she eloped to Italy with her husband in 1993. But for Jane and Cal, who dislike each other on sight, the mission is to get Holly and Mark married. At least that's Jane's mission, Cal isn't so sure marriage is a good idea period.

There were several laugh out loud moments in this one. It's a good thing most of them happened when I wasn't in a waiting room, but for those it was hard to stop at just a big grin behind my hand.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I'm on vacation,
I'm on vacation,
I'm on vacation!

I finished up my last day of post planning (which implies it happens after planning rather than that it is post instructional planning time). EEEK! I just did a teacher thing! I am not allowed to do teacher things until July. One month without teacher things. No correcting anyone's English. No giving other people's children the "teacher look" out in public places when they're being bratty.

I now have time to dedicate to my other profession, writing. Last summer was incredibly productive. I finished Mating Stone, wrote Lovers' Stone (due out in July) and started Soul Stone (contracted but no release date). I'm hoping this summer proves just as productive. I recently submitted the sequel to Measure of Healing to my editor and hope it will prove acceptable. I'm starting on the third in that series and I have a couple of other pieces, one short and one I don't know what it is yet. It's very different than anything I've worked on because it's starting first person and because the primary voice in my head is female. I never work from a female voice. It's always my guys talking to me. So this is a new experience.

My dogs will soon become spoiled because they have Momma home all the time. That's okay, I get spoiled too. I will also soon become nocturnal. I just have to wait a couple of days to finish some dr. appointments then I can become the owl I was born to be. Sleep in the day while the SO is at work, work all night. I love summer.

I'm seeing the doctor about my recent medical crisis and hoping that the first thing that will happen is that I'll be able to stop giving myself injections. I currently have to give myself two shots, one at night and one in the morning to keep my blood thinned out. The injections I don't mind. They don't hurt much. It's the bruising that has me looking like I've been beaten in the stomach or am wearing a belt the color of a bruise around my middrift that I mind. Pretty soon I'm going to run out of places to stick myself.

Okay, I'm off to see if my strange female person still wants to talk to me. Her name is Mem and she has quite an interesting story so far. Here's a bit.

I can’t imagine what life would be like today if it hadn’t happened. It seems such a fundamental part of the way the world is that I can’t even conceive of living in any other reality. Yet if you’d told me ten years ago it was going to happen, I’d have…well, I don’t think I’d have laughed at you, but I’d certainly have thought you were crazy. That or a bit too deeply involved in some RPG, or role playing game. Those used to be really popular. Especially among twenty-something college students and guys who still lived in their parents basements. Okay, so some perfectly normal people were into RPGs, it still wasn’t the sort of thing you revealed on a first date if you were over twenty-one.

It seems so strange, like a false memory or a dream, to think of a time when we didn’t believe in them. We flirted with what we imagined their lifestyle would be like if they were real. We played dress up and pretend for a night in October or for a few hours at a party that we were them and that they were more than just a myth. We even stopped being afraid of them.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Smile Smudgie!

Down to one day before freedom. The kiddies are done, but we teachers are still working today and tomorrow. I have a huge mess in my room to get cleaned up. We have to box up everything, clear everything off the walls, stack chairs and tables. I’m behind because I was sick the last week of school when I normally would have started getting everything together on my planning periods. So after tomorrow, with the exception of some dr. appts, I am free to pursue a life of leisure while I prepare lesson plans and materials for next year. This will include buying and laminating several books for my classroom.

Today was the 12 week ultrasound. Smudgie (as my SO has taken to calling the baby since it appeared as a little grey smudge on a previous ultrasound) has arms, hands, feet and all the wonderful little things a baby is supposed to have while only being the size of a fist. Everything looks good. No idea on sex yet, it’s far too early for that. Will have to wait ‘til next ultrasound. It seems so weird to actually think that there is a real live little person in there. I know that’s the point of pregnancy, but the realization is sort of shocking.

So I thought I’d ask the parents out there for some advice. I read a lot of non-fiction including books about education. I ran across a great book for parents and teachers of boys a couple years ago called The Minds of Boys. It was an awesome look at sex differences through brain based research. How do the minds of young males differ from the minds of young females and yes, there are marked differences. It changed how I taught my male students and actually improved the rapport I was able to develop with them.

So those of you who are parents, other than What to Expect When You’re Expecting, what other parenting books would you recommend?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Contest Winner

I took all the entries and wrote the names out. Put the slips in a bag, shook it up and drew. The winner of the copy of Seeing Me and the deck of Ellora's Silver Screen playing cards is:

Molly Daniels!

Congratulations Molly. If you'll email me at and let me know what format you want your book in and what address I should mail the cards to, I'll get them out to you.

I am surprisingly unsunburned today. I have very fair skin that matches my sandy brown hair and blue eyes. I can (I swear this to you, I did it just last week) burn through the car window. I'm fairly close to vampire status where sun and flaming skin are concerned. But aside from a bit of pink on the back of my neck, the one place I was assured I did not need more sunscreen, I am only a pink tinged person at the moment.

We spent the morning at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Today was the last day and we had to miss the festival last year because I had a dislocated knee. Not something I recommend to anyone. I love looking at all the crafts and vendors shops. We have our own costumes that we use for other things throughout the year, but we always decide not to dress for the actual festival and I always regret it once we’re there.

What could we possibly use them for during the year? Well for me it’s the introduction to fairytales, folktales, myths and legends that I do for my students. I have a light blue over dress, shift and a big floppy hat that I use to dress as Mother Goose for the opening of that unit. Even at the middle school age they get a kick out of it. I also have a costume for the start of Greek Mythology that dresses me in a chiton. I’m still looking for a gold oil lamp to complete that costume as if I have to dress as a goddess I’d prefer to be Hestia. She’s my favorite of the Greek pantheon because she’s so devoted to just helping people. She never gets involved in their wars or battles. She’s sort of like the divine Switzerland. I have a WIP that includes her as a minor character.

Every year we go past the swords and staffs and every year I really want to buy one of the staff’s that has the blade on one end. I’m going to do it eventually because it’s going to be the weapon of choice for a character that hasn’t been given a story yet. She has to wait a while before she can be “born”. I also prefer the staffs in general for myself. My stepfather was a military man. He believed all of us girls should be able to defend ourselves. He taught us not just your basic self defense moves, but he also taught us to use things like throwing stars. And I learned the use of the staff from him. If you know how to use one, you can find a suitable substitute almost anywhere. That’s probably why my heroine in my first “battle scene” used a staff.

Oh, and he also taught us all how to take down a man with one finger. There’s this pressure point that if you can hit it… crying on their knees, my friends. But for legal reasons I’m not going to tell you where it is. All I need is for someone to hurt someone because they read my blog. And no, it’s not where you think though he always taught us to go for that if we could. He was very nervous about having several teenage daughters. This is the man who dragged out his knife collection and started sharpening them the first time a boy who wasn’t family or part of our neighborhood gang came over to my house. He wanted no question as to his position on things.

We did buy some interesting things today. I bought a print of Azriel-The Angel of Death. It’s this gorgeous black and white print by Ruth Thompson. She does a whole series of the Arch-Angels. My SO was more practical. Drawing on the “Catch the Reading Bug” theme of the 2008 summer reading program for libraries we ended up with a pendant and a bracelet that contain actual bugs. The bugs are enclosed in clear acrylic and have natural cording or leather straps. They are sure to be a hit with the kids this summer. I also raided the natural tea shop and stocked up for the year. The flower tea they sell is wonderful and the company doesn’t have online capability so I have to wait for the Ren Fest every year.

Taking a break from excerpts today and I don’t have any new reads to recommend. I’ve been spending my free time working on a couple of bibs. And I keep getting shot down on my suggestions for painting the new dresser. I like painting the base white to match the walls and then painting each door front a different primary or secondary color. This from the person whose house was done in purely black and white before I moved in and started mussing about and adding…gasp…color!