Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The day after Christmas

It's a bit like a hangover on your pocketbook. It's painful and you don't remember where all your money went. You just have these flashbacks...

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I sat around and ate, and read, and ate some more. Christmas was a day of doing absolutely nothing and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Mr. Santa was good to me. Got me everything a girl could want. A heavy bag and fingerless sparring gloves. Ah the romance. I'm so excited. I've been nagging him since I opened them to hang the bag so I can kick it and punch it. He said he'd do it tonight. Gawd, I love that man.

It's back to work. Argh... Year end tax reporting and all. Have a feeling I'm going to need that heavy bag tonight. Time to stop being lazy and get back to picking away at the re-write I stalled out on too. Sigh.

Have a great day and Happy Day After.

Monday, December 24, 2007

One of My Favorite Christmas Songs

Colorado Snow

Looking out the window of this hollywood hotel,
You’d never know that it was christmas eve.
The billboards and the neon took the place of silver bells,
And the temperature is 84 degrees.

I can hear the traffic on the crowded strip below
As the palm trees poke their heads above the scene
There’s not a single reindeer and it hardly ever snows,
And santa drives a Rolls Royce limosine.

But all along the Rockies
You can feel it in the air

From Telluride to Boulder down below
The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet christmas morning
in the Colorado snow


I remember christmases when I was just a boy
In the morning I would run to see the tree.
And the carolers on the hillside sang their songs of christmas joy
Well, I always thought they sang them just for me.

Now the sun is setting in the california sky
And I cant find the spirit anywhere
So I think it’s time for me to tell Los Angeles goodbye
I’m going back home to look for Christmas there

But all along the Rockies
You can feel it in the air

From Telluride to Boulder down below
The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet Christmas morning
In the Colorado snow


--Nitty Gritty Dirt Band



New Mexico Snowfall
January 2005
Rising Star Ranch

Happy Holidays.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Some thoughts...

Some sad news came to me last night. My husband's Uncle Tim, who is in his mid-forties was just diagnosed with liver cancer. It's pretty bad, five tumors. He's at the hospital right now and they are treating him for the pain. Of all my husband's family, and there are a lot of them, from his mother to his father including the grandparents, Tim is the one that made me feel most welcome when I first married my husband 17 years ago. At every family party and get together we chat. He's also the only one that has asked about my writing, what I've done, how it's coming along. An encouraging friend. Someone I care a great deal for.

When my Mother-in law told me last night, I had flashbacks to three years ago and my father's cancer. I got a call at three in the morning, the kind you all hope you never get, from my mother. They were rushing my father up to Denver, not sure he'd make it through the night. I live on the East coast and the trip was an 8 hour flight. Believe me, I've flown it many times and never has it been that long... I didn't know what was wrong with him at the time, just that he was sick and I might not make it in time.

In a time when family needs to be strong, mine fell apart. My sister who is bi-polar started having issues with her health and came close to going in the hospital several times during this time. My brother became instant a**hole, and wouldn't go to the hospital and refused to help. Staying home to work. I know it was his way of dealing with it, but it just lumped more on my shoulders.
My mother. The minute she heard it was cancer, she dropped to the floor and began to cry. She curled up in his chair for three days, a zombie and cried till her eyes swelled shut. Everything was left up to me, in a time when I'd like to have curled into a ball and cried myself.

They took my father into that hospital on a stretcher, the cancer was wrapped around his spine, causing the lower body organs to shut down. He had lost all ability to use his legs. What was killing him wasn't the cancer, but the poisoning of his own waste.

To make a long story short, a year after the ordeal, my father was on the reservoir in Pueblo water skiing. A testimony to all that you can beat it.

There are things that happen in our lives that define who we are. There are times we have to reach down and grab everything we have and fight. My father fought for his life. I fought to get him treated. You see, three weeks before he became sick, he was laid off from the construction company he'd worked for. Without insurance, living on Ramen noodles and beans, things were tight for my parents. My mother was mowing lawns to pay the bills, just to keep their heads above water.

Once the hospital treated him for the immediate threat, the toxins from the waste backup, they were going to release him. They knew he had cancer and needed treatment, but my parents didn't have insurance. We turned to the V.A. My father is an Air Force Veteran. It wasn't a war related illness, so they intially refused. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the process of getting him help. There were times when I didn't think I was going to be able to get him the help. I had door after door, slammed in my face. At the end of ten days of not getting anywhere, and my father on the cusp of being released, I collapsed in the sitting area in the V.A. and cried.

If it wasn't for a kind man, a staff member who pushed paper and processed medical bills, my father would never have received the treatment he needed. He got an application of hardship pushed through, and my father was transfered instead of released.
The doctors at the VA treated my father for cancer, but one staff member, a man who pushed paper, saved my father's life.

This holiday season, be thankful to the Doctors and those that treat us when we are sick, the soldiers who serve in the armed forces and the men and women in uniform that keep us safe at home. But also... be thankful for the little guys, they may not get the glory, but many are unsung heros.

Tim is in the same situtation and can't afford the treatments he needs. I'm going to the hospital today, to see if we can get Tim the help he needs. This time, I know my way around the system.
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eternal Embrace


Found in Italy, this couple has been in an embrace for 5-6 thousand years. Little is known of them. What was the manner of death? Were they a doomed Romeo and Juliet, so in love one couldn't live without the other? Why were they buried like this? Many ask what inspires me. It is things like this... Life inspires me.
This my friends, is a love story.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Some Monday morning thoughts.

Here on the East coast we were pounded by a big Nor'easter this weekend. I spent Sunday afternoon, shoveling out of two feet of snow, painting, and doing some critiques of several friend's Manuscripts.

The issue of word count came up in a discussion with one of the writers. She's marketing her first novel at 125k. Through our conversations, she mentioned that the plot is woven so tightly, cutting it will be almost impossible. We discussed chopping it in two and going with a series. It is a series already, and book two is well on its way to being as large as number one.
The writer explained that by breaking it in two, the ending would feel unfinished, leaving the reader hanging. Not good. So again, that was out of the question.

Then I mentioned the first novel of Diana Gabaldon. Diana lightly touches on this very issue in the acknowledgments of her first novel "Outlander." It has 850 pages and is over twice the size of a first time novel. Instead of cutting, chopping and destroying text, she rolled with it and found someone that was willing to work with her. That someone, has sold many more novels for her, all just as sizable and Diana, she's a New York Times Bestseller.

So, for you Epic writers, don't lose heart. A larger Manuscript may be harder to sell, but in the end the sell boils down to a couple of things.

1. How good is your writing?
2. How bad do you want your novel published?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Our header seems to be a bit askew. Not sure how that happened, but I see Blogger has tweaked things a bit. I'll see if I can fix it, or find a new one. Probably time to redecorate anyhow. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Let's Say Thanks

I received this in an email at work and wanted to pass it on. The link below carries a selection of cards designed by children throughout the U.S. Choose a card, select a greeting, and hit send. The card will be delivered to a member of our armed forces serving overseas. It's quick, it's easy and it might mean a lot to someone to know their service is valued.

http://www.letssaythanks.com/Home1280.html

I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the many men and women in our military who are away from home, family and friends this holiday season serving their country.

I'd also like to acknowledge our "at home heroes"--our law enforcement officers--and the service they provide to their communities and their country. They, too, often must be away from family during the holidays, because their jobs can never be put on hold.

Thanks to all the heroes at Christmas and always.

Hi Ya, Lee.

Thanks to Lee for popping by and saying hello. Come by and visit any time. I have to say I enjoyed your book a great deal. Lot's of good stuff in there. I was looking for a well rounded book on police investigation, and you certainly delivered.

For all those Peeps and Diggers out there, looking for something that will clarify some of the finer points in police investigations, that you just can't seem to dig up in your research, this book is a great little research tool. I even caught my teenage son looking through it. Curiosity, I'm sure. I don't think he's up to no good. **Crosses fingers**

Uh, rambling again. As I was saying, lots of good stuff in there. Little details make the difference. A perfect example, is that he even gives you the brand names of the bone saws often used in autopsies. How sweet is that?
For those of you that missed it, the book is called "Police Procedure & Investigation" by Lee Lofland. One to add to your research pile...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Holidays

From Take it to the Stars

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Let me take a minute.

Let me take just a mushy minute to say how thankful I am to have such great peers.
No, really. In the past year, I have met some aspiring, some published, some established and some just great writers. We all have one thing in common. Our love of writing and telling stories. From Vampires to Starship Captains, I've seen imagination stretched to its limits, and beyond.

Getting to know you has been a blast, and I hope it continues to be, in this journey of creativity.

In this last year, a couple of my peers have stuck with me through meltdown, burnout, bad writing and getting a WIP on its feet. As Laurie once said, "I heart my Peers,.." and I do.
Talk about Karma, great things are coming back to you ladies threefold... Hang on, it's going to be one hell of a ride.

That being said, I'm going back to my rewrites...
Have a fantastic weekend.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Bah, humbug!

Christmas. Presents. Nightmare. I just popped out to buy awkward child a present he can take all the way to LA so he has something to open on Christmas Day at his girlfriend's parents' house. I had to forgo the usual rubbish I buy that makes us all laugh and get something respectable. A shirt. So exciting. But I made a HUGE mistake. I took my husband shopping. Well, he decided he'd come too when he saw me pick up the car keys. What should have been a quick trip took an hour because everything I picked up he objected to. I wouldn't mind so much but husband is no great shakes in the present buying department. Supermarket vouchers are par for the course. One year I got a set of dusters. Another year an electric drill. Well, you can guess who that was for. What usually happens is that every large purchase made after September, he says is for Christmas. New toaster. That's your Christmas present. New rug. Happy Christmas. I'd just love a real surprise one year. Never going to happen.
This year, I've bought him a night vision scope thingy. That's so he can watch the alligator in the lake at the back of our Florida home and not so he can spy on the neighbours. I bet he takes it back. (Particularly if he can't spy on the neighbours) It so hard to think of things he might like, but I somehow manage it. It's his birthday next week too, so I have double the problem. What do you get the man who has everything, including a wonderful wife?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Uh, George Clooney

Just had to give it one more shot. The Google alert does work. Susan comes by to visit anytime you mention her name. Kind of like a Fairy Godmother. And I didn't ask, but I have to wonder if Linnea's got the Google alert too.
So here goes. Three times and I click my Nike sneakers together... Only cause I don't know the "Bippty do" song from Cinderella, so work with me here. Okay?

George Clooney, George Clooney, George Clooney.

Uh and here's a couple more, just in case... Gerard Butler and Rufus Sewell.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Linnea Sinclair's Latest is Launched

Linnea Sinclair's THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES was released on November 27th. Her latest Sci-Fi Romance edges into the Alien Romance subgenre. This is the book that had a drastic cover art change--from red to blue--late in the game.

I was tickled to see the site even has a quote from my book review of the ARC that was posted on Toasted Scimitar.

Check out the site here: http://linneasinclair.com/DHZBCOVER.htm

The site features something a little different--THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES soundtrack. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's Monday... Again.

Monday. Ah, lovely Monday. Can I go back to bed and sleep through it?
After a weekend of doing absolutely nothing productive, and I mean absolutely, the week had to go and start all over again. The nerve of it.

I've got lots to do. Just lacking the energy to do it. I need to Christmas shop. I promised myself this year, I wouldn't be that person in the stores on Christmas Eve, scrambling to finish my shopping. But why should I break tradition?

I have three paintings to do. One commissioned piece of some Min-Pins, that I have been procrastinating on. I have two rewrites to do, a house to clean, and I'd better get my butt to Black Belt Prep before my Sensei kicks me square in it.

You know how they say "s*%$ rolls down hill?" Well, it's so true. I had to take my oldest son to the eye doctor twice last week, and again this week on Thursday. It's been bothering me a bit. He's lost the vision in his left eye, and though I've been assured that the medicine they've given him should correct it, it hasn't changed. Worse yet, he has this corneal condition in both eyes and the blindness hit over a weekend. It's that fast. A scary thought that he might have the same thing go wrong with the other... With that on my mind and the stress from the holidays coming on, I just can't seem to focus.

And don't get me started on the rewrites... Argh. Chapter 1 from AG is killing me.
Anyway, I couldn't let you start the week without a Monday rant. Taking a deep breath and facing the day. Illegitimi NonCarborundum, baby!
Yeah, or something like that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Monday

Hey the weekend is over and it's time to get back to work in more ways than one. I've finished the rough of "An Alien's Guide to Abducting a Bride", did a little happy dance, and put it away for the weekend.

Yup, I took the weekend off from writing, and chatted online with my buddies. Checked out some Nano stories, and I have to tell you, some of the stuff they are cooking up is fantastic.
I read some books, took my kid to get new shoes and just kicked back and tried to clear the mind to work on my least favorite thing. The rewrite.

Speaking of books. I've got a copy of "The Ice People" in my hands. Thanks Laurie. I'm about a quarter of the way through it and was thinking, wow this was written in the 70's and the idea is just as fresh today as it was then. There are books you just sit back, read and enjoy. Then there are books that really make you think. This one makes you ponder the good and the dark side of human nature. I can understand why Laurie said this one really stuck with her...

Then of course, I have to mention that I read Susan Grant's book "Contact". Loved this story. I think her knowledge and love of flying really shines in this story. It adds realism and punch to Science Fiction Romance, that is often sadly lacking in many books I've read lately. This story didn't lack a bit. Loved it.

Then I'm half-way through Maggie Shayne's book "Eternal Love." A story that starts in the time of the Salem Witch trials and comes forward. It's a story about eternal love. The book is broken in two. The first half is a story about Raven, a witch and her love for a man she can't have. From the moment they meet, they can not stay apart. Fate separates them and brings them together, over and over... Ending in the death of her love, Duncan, who dies trying to save her when the residents of Sanctuary accuse her of witchcraft and throw her over a cliff.
300 years pass, and she sees him again, just as she remembers, but much to her dismay, he does not remember her. To makes matters worse, the man that tried to kill her twice, has also come back to Sanctuary, as the father of her love.
This has been a very engaging read. I'll keep you posted on the rest.

Read Sherriyln Kenyon's "Upon a Midnight Clear".
For me it seemed like a lot of the same thing she has written lately. I'd love to see something different, a story that doesn't follow the same plot line as her previous three. Sorry Sherrilyn. I love your writing, but I feel like the last three books I've read by you, have been the same thing. I want something else. Please.

Last but not least, I've been planning on telling you about Kathleen Nance's book "Phoenix Unrisen," but that will be for another day. I'd really like to take my time with this one. Lots of thoughts on this story...

Have a great start to your week, and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

'Tis the Season

I know what everyone on my Christmas list is getting this year. Books! This is a great way to support the industry and promote reading. Books are also easy to wrap, pack and/or ship, and can fit any shopping budget. They don't break, spoil or require batteries. And what gift recipient doesn't appreciate a good book?

Get the word out. Buy books. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another trip to Borders.

Three day weekend, Yahoo!
Lot's to do and very little motivation to do it. So I got out of the house for a bit and took a trip to my favorite bookstore, Borders.
I found a couple of books I simply couldn't live without. With a lighter spirit and pocketbook, I took my treasures home.
The first book is by a writer, who I've seen a lot of but haven't read. Eternal Love by Maggie Shayne. The cover on this one is beautiful and has an ethereal quality to it.
The next is a research book with lots of good stuff on autopsies and crime scene investigation. The author is Lee Lofland and the title is Police Procedure & Investigation. Written by a former police detective with lots of experience in major felony cases, this one has proved most interesting. A good book for your research shelf.
I happened to notice Karen Marie Moning's new book Blood Fever is on the shelves. In hardcover. Grrrr.
I normally don't have issues with hardcover if I really, really, really like the writer's work, like Jim Butcher. He never disappoints me and for a matter of fact, I wish I could get all of his books in hardcover, because I will read them more than once and I collect them.
Besides, it's that time of year, when I torture my teenagers by reading to them before school. Life moves so fast, and reading to them in the morning is my way of grabbing some of that time and making it matter. I make a big breakfast, and read a chapter to them. You get eye rolling and snippy comments, but eventually, even though they try to hide it, sparks of interest show in their eyes. They hate me for it now, but they will thank me later. We've read King Kong, The Hobbit, and 1776. Each book has given me time with my children without the television, without the computer or video games. It has given me time with them. If you haven't done this, I highly recommend it. Go ahead, torture your teenagers.
Hmmm got off track a bit. Back to hardcovers...
Karen let me down a bit on the last book, Dark Fever. It's the first book I've read of hers where she wrote in first person, and I really didn't care for it much. I like her third person style much better.
The rest of her books are quite yummy, but this last one felt very impersonal. So guess what? I'll wait for paperback. Sorry Karen, but my $22.00 is better spent on a nice research book about autopsies. Wonder if my kids might like that. Hmmmm

Monday, November 12, 2007

My heart aches...

So, my father called yesterday to tell me that my Grandparents would be having their 70th wedding Anniversary this June 29th. They are amazing. In their 90's, my Grandfather continues to get up at 3:00 in the morning, to feed cattle, and run a full sized ranch. He traded his horse and saddle in about 10 years ago, for a four wheel ATV that was easier to climb up on. Everything to keep his ranch and the only way of life he's ever known. My Grandmother still gardens and cans enough food to feed her family and all our extended families through a Nuclear Holocaust. She has a root cellar that is packed, and feeds the cowboys when they come out of the pastures for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She helps in the hayfields at the end of summer when temperatures can get to 110 degrees. Tough, but still as feminine and ladylike as a woman can be. This has been my families way of life for as long as I can remember. My father ranched, my grandfather, and his father's father before him. My Great, great, grandfather used to drive cattle down to Kansas City then hop the train home. He'd toss a colt revolver in his suitcase, one that still hangs over my grandfathers fireplace. I have an old photo of him, in Angora chaps and a ten gallon hat. My heritage. My Great-great Grandmother's name was Nellie Boone. Going back generations, you can trace our history to the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone. I guess you could say this way of life runs in our blood.
Why does my heart ache?
When I left to go into the Army, I left my home, my family, the only way of life I ever knew, behind. But I was okay with that, I knew there would always be a home to come home to.
During that conversation with my father, I discovered that my Grandparents have been approached about selling the ranch. And with rising taxes and age, it is turning into their only alternative. They could live out their lives comfortably, travel where they want when they want. But to be truthful, it is the ranch that has kept them alive. Not just alive, but living...
My heart aches for them, because the only way of life they understand, is disappearing...
My heart aches for the other ranchers and farmers, some who never finished school, but chose to be what their fathers were, chose to raise their families where kids can run free and be kids, and understand the meaning of a hard days work. My heart aches for the neighbor who is always there to lend a hand and was as close to family as your own brother. I hate to see this way of life disappear, slowly one ranch, one farm at a time, giving way to condos and industry. I hate to see the peace and beauty of a land unscarred by construction, stripped away to make room for factories, housing, highways, and vacation resorts.
Most of all, I hate to see my history for sale.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Double Dating with the Dead.

As promised I'll try to post a couple of reviews of books I mentioned. The first on my list is a book by Karen Kelley called Double Dating with the Dead.

Trent Sanders writes books. He writes books that disprove the supernatural and uncover scams. After a very public verbal attack on Selena James, a local phychic, who claims to talk to ghosts, Trent finds himself challenged to prove her wrong. Since ghosts don't exist, this should be easy. Right?

Not being one to back down from free publicity, Trent takes her up on her offer and finds himself staying in an Inn for two weeks, that as legend goes, is haunted. Trent has a plan, get in, get evidence that Ms James is a con, and write a book on her. Problem is, since he set eyes on her, there's only one thing he's thinking about and it isn't his writing.

Selena James isn't why sure why she showed up. After all, it was her mother who posted the challenge in the newspaper. If she fails to show Trent the error of his ways, it will mean her career.

From the moment she meets Trent, sparks are flying and the ghosts are acting up. One even pinches Trent on the rear and Selena finds herself getting the blame. To make matters worse, in a heated discussion with the very sexy Trent Sanders, Selena makes a bet. The stakes, a night in his bed if she can't prove the existence of ghosts.

This was a fun read. You feel the heat between the two characters from the moment they meet and it continues to escalate from there. You've got kooky families, cynical ghosts who would love nothing more than to hijack a host's body and participate in a little hanky-panky, and two people that couldn't be at more opposite views.

A shorter story, that is perfect for curling up with on a cold winter night.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

November...and You Can Hear a Pin Drop

Well, it's that time of year again. NaNoWriMo is in full swing, and many of my cross-critters are slaving away at their novel-in-a-month goals. Unless, of course, you're Merc, who is writing six (count 'em six!) novels in November.

I haven't participated in NaNo to date, and I'm undecided if I'll give it a shot in 2008. I tend to owe so many crits that I can't just take a month off to focus on cranking out a 50,000 word plus novel (that most likely wouldn't be in any shape to market for a year or more).

Flick and Dawn, you're not participating are you?

Friday, November 2, 2007

TGIF

I can't say I've ever been as happy to see Friday as I am today. This week was insane.

I've finished one of the books, "Double Dating With the Dead," that I planned to read last week and will be posting my thoughts tomorrow. I've added three stories to my TBR pile(Like it needs to be any bigger). I've added Susan Grant's "Contact," Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Upon a Midnight Clear," and "Lover Unbound," by J.R. Ward.

I've also just seen the RomVet's list of reads. I will be going through it and fattening up the ole TBR pile even more. Think of it as emergency snow storm supplies. Some good looking books on that list demanding my attention.
I'm a quarter of the way from finishing "Phonenix Unrisen." I have to say, I absolutely love this writer's style and I'm sure I'm going to love it to the end.

I've read a couple of Non-Sci Fi, Non-Fantasy, Romance stories that you need to add to your pile, if you're looking for reads.
For a Historical I've got "The Courtesan's Daughter," by Claudia Dain. I'll post a review of this jewel later. Or perhaps I should say it's a real pearl.
For a Contemporary, I've got "The Black Sheep and the Princess" by Donna Kauffman. She's one of my faves in the erotica market. I will also post a review of this book, though some of you may have already heard my thoughts on it. Keep your eye out for her novels, they sizzle.

For the rest of this weekend I have crits to catch up on for my peers (get them posted, I'll be on the prowl), and three chapters left to write on "An Alien's Guide to Abducting a Bride" to finish it. Yes, I said it, the rough will be finished in three chapters, er maybe four. Plus I've got Birthday shopping to do for the husband. Should be a busy weekend.
Have a Fantastic Friday. See you on the backside.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


J.R.Ward

Well, I take it all back. The names have really grown on me. I've just finished 'Lover Unbound' and it was great. JR has created a pack of incredible alpha males and each book concentrates on one of them in particular, while maintaining the world they live in. I loved 'Lover Awakened' about Zsadist who had terrible start in life but 'Lover Unbound' was even better. JR really makes you feel for her characters. By the end I was desperate that it all turn out all right. My only niggle is one that applies to all the books, that the females are less interesting and less well drawn but these books are about the men, no two ways about it. They are big, sometimes ugly brutes but with an attraction that's magnetic. Though there is a hint of a female MC coming up soon and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with her.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Reads for the week.

Ah, payday. You know what that means? A trip to borders and some new books in my pile. I've been watching out for Karen Marie Moning's new book, but haven't seen it. Had my eye out for Jim Butcher's new Dresden Files book, haven't seen it yet either. Jim's books are a must. An addiction of mine. He really needs to hurry. Going into withdrawal.

So I took my time, walked around and found a couple of books that look interesting.
First off, I've got Karen Kelley's book "Double Dating with the Dead." You know how I like comic romance and this one looks like it just might be what I'm looking for.

The next is a book by Kathleen Nance called "Phoenix Unrisen." Love the cover art on this one. It's what got my attention and sold the book. Okay, call me shallow. I made a decision based on the cover art. But if you think other readers don't, you're sadly mistaken.

I haven't read either of these authors, so this should be interesting.

And here's one of Laurie's recommendations. I picked up Linnea Sinclair's book called "Gabriel's Ghost." Her comments had me wanting to dig right in.

Last but not least...
What would a pile be without a little Anne Rice? Going back and reading some of the older favorites. Studying them for what I liked and what I didn't. So, for this weeks pick of Anne, I've got "Servant of the Bones."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cattle Mutilations

Okay, here's another creepy tale for Halloween time. During the 1970s I grew up on my grandfather's ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska. The community is a tight group of people that have lived together since the west was settled. Ranch handed down from father to son, through the generations. It was a community where nothing odd ever happened.
But something did. One summer my father was out feeding cattle. Granddad and him started work at around 3:00 in the morning. I remember this event clearly. My father came rushing back into the house, a strange look on his face.
Granddad and my father had found something. Something strange.
Out in one of the pastures were several head of cattle. Mutilated. But it wasn't an animal that killed the livestock. It was something much scarier. Bits and pieces of them were missing, removed with lazar precision. One had its eyes removed, another its tongue.
When the authorities arrived, they took pictures and notes, but apparently this was not a singular case. One man found over 100 head of his stock, dead in the same manner.
Is it aliens? Are we being studied? Here's a scarier question... Why?
To this day, nobody knows who did it or why the livestock were mutilated. One thing is known for sure, the precision with which the organs were removed was something that would put a plastic surgeon to shame. According to the medical examiner, it wasn't possible to preform that kind of surgery in the middle of no where. Coyotes don't use scalpels.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ravens

Here's a fun rhyme that is a harbinger of what's to come depending on the size of the murder of ravens or crows you see:

One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil's own sel'.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Susan Grant "Your Planet or MIne"

Just finished book one, "Your Planet or Mine?" by Susan Grant.

Nine year-old Jana Jasper wants to talk in the worst way, but can't. When she sees a glowing boy hanging from the tree next to her bedroom window, her life changes. Jana learns that magic really does exist. Sadly her visit with the boy from another world ends, but he gives her a gift, her voice, and memories of magic and possibilities.

Twenty-three years later, Jana is a smart, powerful and influential woman. She is also the youngest Senator in California state history. With her eyes focused on the White House, nothing can stop her. Well, almost nothing. When political scandal threatens the family, Jana makes a promise to her Grandfather to stay as pure and clean as virgin snow. Unbeknownst to her, that promise is going to be a little hard to keep. Jana soon finds herself hip deep in an ocean of misery with no sign of the tide pulling out. It doesn't help matters when she becomes stuck in the middle of a shoot-out with an intergalactic hit man and his target. Soon she's driving stolen cars, running from the law and falling in love with a man that looks like he stepped out of her nephew's video game. Everything she'd promised to steer clear of. Trouble.

"Take me to your leader." Cavin of Far Star has come on a mission. A mission to save a girl and the planet she loves. He just has to get her to convince the rest of the planet that the Earth is in imminent danger of invasion. There's an issue, and it's a big one. He's got one of the most dangerous assassins in the galaxy on his tail, and he's having a bit of a problem shaking him. Not only that, his bio-implants are malfunctioning and the Earth is running out of time. With an invasion force on the doorstep, and flames igniting between himself and Ms. Virgin Snow. Cavin sets a plan in motion that could destroy everything he's come to love, or maybe, just maybe, it will make true magic happen.

What can I say, I really liked this story. It wasn't about falling in love overnight, or even over the course of a month. It was a story that started in childhood with two souls from different worlds that were meant to be together, and could not forget each other. It starts with the sweet sparks of puppy love. From there, the connection only gets hotter as the book progresses.

You've got confusion and chaos, love and explosions, and that lovely little dog that thinks she's a Great Dane. "Yarp, Yarp."

A fun, sexy, read, with a Sci-Fi twist. I'd call this one a Intergalactic Fairy Tale, for big girls.
If you're in the mood for a Cinderella story, check this one out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Haunted Places: The Queen Mary

Several years ago I went to a training event in Long Beach, California and was housed aboard the former luxury cruise ship The Queen Mary, now a floating hotel. This "Ghost Ship" has a history of hauntings including phantom swimmers and wet footprints beside a long-drained swimming pool, a ghostly woman who roams the ship, the sounds of screams and scraping metal, and sightings of a man who was once crushed by a watertight door. (We had a couple of odd happenings ourselves while on board.)

The Queen Mary is larger than the Titanic. She's so big that when you look down her corridors, you can see the how the deck is curved downward from bow to midship and back up again to the stern. She has several restaurants and bars onboard, and hosts a massive Sunday Brunch in the grand ballroom that I believe is the single largest room ever built inside a ship. There's also an onboard shopping mall, a large museum below decks, and a "Ghost Ship" tour that takes groups to some of the haunted locations and recreates spectral visits with special effects.

http://www.gettysburgghosts.net/queenmary.htm

Every Halloween, The Queen Mary hosts a bash called the Shipwreck Halloween Terror Fest. This year will be the 13th Annual Shipwreck. One of these years, I hope to make it to the party.

http://www.queenmaryshipwreck.com/shipwreck2007.html

Friday, October 19, 2007

The First Vampire

So who was the first vampire, the creature that started the legend? It wasn't Vlad the Impaler. No this creature's story goes back much further and is rooted in Jewish history and the garden of Eden.
I'm talking about Lilith, of course.
If you have heard of lullaby, you've heard of Lilith. She is where the origin, of the songs that are sang by mothers to infants, originate. More on that in a moment.
According to the Talmud, a Hebrew sacred writing on holy matters, Lilith was created to be Adam's first wife. But Lilith had other ideas on the matter. She left Adam and went to dwell with the demons by the Red Sea, the fallen angels. It was said she wanted equality and when she couldn't have it, she became angry and left. This resulted in the first divorce. Lilith became the lover of demons and produced children at the rate of 100 per day.
Legend says that Adam appealed to God, who sent three angels to bring Lilith back to Adam. Lilith cursed the angels, (Talk about a woman scorned) and refused to go. The angels warned Lilith that if she didn't go back and submit to Adam's will, they would take her demon children. She didn't and they took her children, scattering them across the planet and tossing them down into different dimensions.
As the story goes, Lilith was more Succubi than vampire, but she did favor the blood of children. Apparently, by feasting on children, she felt she was getting even for the loss of her own demon babies. Crib death in ancient times was associated with Lilith sucking the souls of newborns. The Lullaby came about as a means to ward off Lilith and her evil appetite.
An interesting fact, Lilith translates into Lilitu, which in ancient Sumer or Babylon, is one and the same.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jersey Devil

Here it is.

I'm sure this is an advertising mock-up of some sort, but still...pretty creepy critter.

The Jersey Devil

Here's a creature that has been seen by policemen, goverment officals, postmen, businessmen. People who's integrity is beyond question.
So what is it?

As the Legend goes, Mrs. Leeds, being quite cranky to find herself pregnant again, with a thirteenth child, shouts out "I hope it's the Devil."

Be careful what you wish for.

The creature is said upon its delivery, to have had cloven hooves, wings, a horse-like head with horns, and a tail. The creature supposedly escaped up the chimney. It would come back to visit its mother daily. Mrs. Leeds would stand at the door and tell it to leave. Eventually it never came again, at least while Mrs. Leeds was still alive.

It it said that it now nests in the old Leeds home. People have found nests, very large nests there, lined with the feathers of birds that had been ripped from their bodies. Hmmm. A big eagle? Not on the ground.

From the pre 1909 era, few documented records of sightings exist. The ones that do are eerily similar, the same in description and nature and seem to confirm the existence of the devil.

In the early 19th century, Commodore Stephen Decatur was testing firing cannon balls when he saw a strange creature flying across the sky. He fired and hit the creature but it kept on across the field.

Joseph Bonaparte, former king of Spain and brother of Napoleon, saw the Jersey Devil in Bordertown, NJ, between 1816 and 1839 while he was hunting.

In 1840-41 several sheep and chickens were killed by a creature with a piercing scream and strange tracks.

In 1859-94, the Jersey Devil was seen several times in Haddonfield, Smithville, Longbranch, Leeds point and a few other towns and villages. It was said to carry off anything that moved.

For the most part, the Jersey Devil is said to inhabit the Barren Pines.

Here are some interesting sightings that started around January 16 1909:

On Thursday, the Jersey Devil was seen by the Black Hawk Social Club and also by a trolley full of people in Clementon.

Hoof prints were also found at the arsenal in Trenton. As the day wore on the Trolleys in Trenton and New Brunswick had armed drivers to ward off attacks.

The West Collingswood Fire Department fired their hose at the devil. The devil retreated at first, but then charged and flew away at the last second.

On Friday, Camden police officer Louis Strehr saw the Jersey Devil drinking from a horses trough.

Hysteria erupted. The school in Mt Ephraim was closed because no students came in. Mills and factories in Gloucester and Hainesport had to close because nobody came to work. Many New Jersey residents wouldn't leave their houses, even in daylight.

In Riverside, NJ, hoof prints were found on roof tops and around a dead puppy.

To this day, the residents of the Barren Pines don't like to venture into the woods after dark.

Since 1909, there have been many reports of people seeing the Jersey Devil. They all have one thing in common, the description. He has been described as having of cloven hooves, wings, a tail and horses head. The sound of the screams the creature makes, and the feeling of being watched when in the Barren Pines all seem to follow the same pattern.

Boo!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Phantom dogs, steeds and the last ride.

I tried to see if I could find phantom sheep. Sorry Flick, but I couldn't find so much as a ghost Shepard and his herd. What's up with that?

In 1006, the Battle of Hastings resulted in a rather interesting haunting. In October every year in Sussex on the anniversary of the battle, a phantom knight on horseback appears. Other figures are said to make their appearance there as well.
One other interesting fact about this haunting - the ground is said to bleed after a storm.
Hey it’s October. Up for a little site-seeing?

Then we have this little peach - the black hound, otherwise known as the phantom hound. Seen mostly in the United Kingdom, but on occasion these little beauties have been spotted in several countries, including the United States. Some say they are harbingers of death, others a warning of a tragic event about to unfold. Sometimes, it is said, they bring good fortune to those that see them. They have been known to chase people from cemeteries, playfully follow hikers and stop people in their tracks on roads with glowing red eyes.
No one is sure of the origins, but the appearances go back to Medieval times, perhaps even earlier, originating with the Germanic tribes of Europe. Which makes perfect sense. They also have a legend of a black phantom horse, that if a farmer found it and hooked it to his plow, the horse would drag him over a cliff and down to hell.

Speaking of last rides...
Here's a couple of beauties that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Professor James had this experience in Provo Utah. As he approached a train crossing, he heard a whistle blow twice. Normally you hear the clack of the tracks and the chugging of the engine, but strangely he did not. His vehicle stalled. He rolled down the windows and still couldn't hear the train, but he could see it the bright light as it roared towards him. As it got closer, the sounds came with it. Then the screeching of metal, noises so horrible he covered his ears to block them out.
Just as the train was about to hit his car, he closed his eyes, sure that he would die. However the shrieking metal and sounds of a derailing train, the light, the phantom image, all passed through him and his car, leaving it in one piece, and the Professor in desperate need of a change of shorts.

In Badby, Northamptonshire woods, a woman is often seen riding along on a horse. Legend says that she was either going to, or coming from a rendezvous with a lover. Somewhere along the way, her cheating caught up with her, as well as her husband and she was murdered for her adultery. She is said to be seen many times a year, reliving her last mortal ride.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Some unusual creatures of legend.

In the spirit of Halloween and things that go bump in the night, I have decided to list a few of my favorite creatures of horror. I'll try to list one a day. Some will be creatures you recognize, and others you may never have heard of...

To kick this party off, I'm starting with one of my personal favorites, the Ilimu.

In 1996 Hollywood came out with a movie called "The Ghost And The Darkness." What you may not know about this movie, is that the story is deeply rooted in truth,and the lions in question suspected Ilimu.

In 1898, two lions in Uganda killed, or were suspected of killing over 130 people who were involved in building a bridge across the river Tsavo.

The lions seemed to possess an inhuman intelligence. They used deceit and tactics that were more human than lion, to hunt and stalk their prey. This nature had never been witnessed in lions before. When tracked back to their cave, it was discovered they had been killing longer than thought, that the bridge workers were just the tip of the iceberg. Even more creepy, they did it for sport. For the pleasure of the kill, not for food to fill their bellies.

The people of Africa have a legend, a creature that appears in many nations, Ghana and Uganda included. This creature adopts human form, insinuates itself into a village as a helpless child, or perhaps a beggar. It will deceive those around, and gain an invitation into their victim's homes. Then, once inside the dwelling, the creature slaughters the entire family. Only a village medicine man can uncover the identity of these creatures in a community. Upon discovery, the creature will revert back to its original form and flee. Since it is a demon, it will keep the abilities and nature of the animal it possesses. Often hunting in this form alone.

In the case of the movie "The Ghost And The Darkness." They were lions, never adopting human form.

Just some thoughts.

I've been working on a story called "An Alien's Guide to Abducting a Bride." From the start, I wanted a Science Fictionish, steamy romance. But this story, much like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, has taken on a life of its own. It seems to have gone Urban Fantasy, well not completely and it's more comic than romance. I've got amore, but not as intense as I wanted.
Recently, when I had vacation, I hit a wall. Chapter 18, to be specific.
I couldn't go forward. I tried. I wrote two chapters ahead. That didn't work. A nice chapter, but it still didn't get me anywhere with 18. I tweaked prior chapters, played video games, read books, chatted with friends, even worked on a story I'd buried under the bed. I tortured and twisted, and put the juice to it, but it just wouldn't get off the lab table. No matter what I tried, I couldn't write the next chapter, or even come up with the first sentence.
Then the other day, now that vacation is over, I scrapped a good chunk of the chapter before it and took it in a different direction. "It's Alive!"
What amazes me is that I'm supposed to be the one in control of this thing...
It has other ideas on the matter.
So, I have to ask. How many Dr. Frankensteins have we got out there?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

For MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND Fans

Lisa Shearin now has the first two sample chapters up for the next book in her Raine Benares series, ARMED AND MAGICAL. This is the sequel to MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND.

These chapters are a lot of fun to read. Raine manages to get right in the middle of the action in no time at all.

Here's the link to here site: http://www.lisashearin.com/chapters.cfm

Enjoy!

Getting the Words Right

Every writer knows that the most time consuming, difficult process in writing is the rewrite. "Getting the Words Right" by Theodore A. Rees Cheney is by far the best book I have found on the subject. He breaks it down, making it easy and effective to murder those little babies. This is a book I find indispensable. Great for those small tweaks or whole chapter cuts.
If you don't own a copy, I suggest you get one. I keep mine between the "Strunk and White" and "The First Five Pages."

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Book That Has Stuck With Me

While doing searches on Amazon the other day, this one popped up What a blast from the past. :)
I was a member of the Science Fiction Book Club when I was young and this was one of the selections. The story is riveting, and it's stuck with me for decades. In reading the reviews, many other readers have the same comment. It's haunting.
THE ICE PEOPLE by Rene Barjavel (and Charles Lam Markmann) is a Sci-Fi/Alternative History novel about an expedition to Antarctica that discovers a sphere buried in the ice. Buried in the ice...below the soil of the continent. They have to take a look at this! What they discover are two perfectly preserved humans--a male and a female--from a 900,000 year old civilization. The reader is taken back through time for a glimpse of this beautiful and exotic world through the stories of the female survivor.
This was a #1 Best-seller in France. I do have one warning. It has an ending that will shake you up. One you may never forget.

Linnea Sinclair

"Gabriel's Ghost"
Okay this is one Laurie recommended. I had to wait for an order to come in at borders to get it, but now I'm holding it in my hands. Success! Looks like she's popular. They were sold out of all her books, but one, "Games of Command." I've read that one.
So it's going into the stack with Susan's. Should get to it next week, if all goes as planned. Got some catching up to do for my Black Belt recommend that will be on the 20th. The pneumonia put me a bit behind there, so I have to play catch-up with the classes. Okay, enough rambling. This book looks interesting, and might prove to have quite a unique twist from what I'm reading on the back.

George Clooney

Come on Google alert. **crosses fingers, stares at screen**
Oh George, where are you George?

Ageism

Having just failed to get anywhere in another competition - why do I bother- I noted something odd about the shortlist of winners. Out of 5 winners- 4 were in their early twenties and 1 was in her early thirties. We had to put our age on the entry form and at the time I thought - why does it matter. Husband said don't tell them you're 93, lie. No, said I, I'll tell the truth because it would be just my luck to win and then find I was disqualified. But it does seem suspicious to me. Why does it matter how old we are?


ohh - just in case George Clooney!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Susan Grant

I'm off to Borders, to pick up two more books. Trilogies are great, and as Susan pointed out, better read in order. The book I read was the last in this group, so some of the details that bothered me, that are woven in, are meant to link and pull the stories together. So in order to get the full picture, I'm going to read them all this week.

I believe this is the order, but please correct me if this is not the case...

Book one: Your Planet or Mine?
Book two: My Favorite Earthling.
Book three: How to lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 days.

Now the front of the book I have doesn't mention which it is, nor the inside cover. So upon picking it up, I assumed no particular order necessary. So thanks for the heads up, Susan. I'm sure the first two stories are just as fun and as sexy, and reading them will pull it all together.

So there was this book I was reading...

Alright, I finished it Monday, but I've been lazy about hopping on and telling you what I thought.

Susan Grant's book "How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 days." Are you picking this up on your SLAR, Susan? Thanks for hopping on and paying us a visit earlier.

Reef is an intergalactic hit-man, taken as a child from his planet, bio-engineered to be neither man nor machine. When a failed hit goes bad, he finds himself in the hands of those he tried to eliminate. Rehabilitated and more man now than machine, he’s looking for a place to fit in.

Evie is a housewife, mother of two teenagers (I can sympathize there) and an entrepreneur. She's out trying to save the children of the world, one chocolate strawberry at a time. When the REEF (Robotically Engineered Enemy Fighter) needs a place to stay, the government contacts Evie, who in turn says she doesn't want a killer in her house, and that he wouldn't last ten days there. REEF takes her up on her offer.

Overall, a cute story, and an interesting beginning. The playful banter was charming. The teenagers were definitely teenagers, and the interaction between the characters very natural.
On the hot scale, it could have been turned up a couple of notches, I didn't break into a sweat whilst reading it, but I don’t require that in every story I read. Some I read for the *clears throat* sex, tension and all the complexities associated therewith, and others for the world building, the characters, and if I can relate to them.

The only complaints I had, that I felt affected me as a reader, were that too much attention was paid to the plots of other stories this one intertwined with, and that the REEF needed a little more edge to him. Many times during the read, I was pulled into back-story on something that happened in another book, with characters I knew nothing about. I like stories that are linked, but I like the links to be small drops here and there, characters I recognize, not a history lesson from another story. Stick to the characters and stories at hand.

Now I like my bad boys, and the REEF came across as such. Not as much as I expected, but I like the way Susan incorporated the transition into a humanoid from machine. Here we have a cold-blooded bio-engineered assassin and he acts like a pussycat. At times, that was amusing. At times I wanted just a little bit more of the cold-blooded bad boy.

Now, for what I liked. I liked that he ended up in the home of one of his target’s relatives, playing house. I loved the yappy little Chihuahua, who urinates on his leg when he rescues it. I’m not usually one for fluffy, fuzzy or cutesy critters, but I loved the big dog attitude of this little guy. “Yarp, yarp!”

Last but not least, I like the cover art. Probably the least controlled area a writer has to deal with, and maybe one they sweat over the most. It was well done, and it sells the book. I have friends that will pick a book up and buy it based on the cover. If they don’t like it, they don’t buy it. They say it’s hard to get past a negative image in their head. And I have to agree. If you’re a good writer, that shouldn’t matter, but unfortunately the readers out there form opinions starting with the cover. I’d be a liar, if I said I didn’t pick a book up because of the art on the cover, and I’m picky about art. Now that being said, I only will buy another of that author’s books, for what’s between the covers. (No pun intended.) Get me to read the first and hook me, and I’m yours for life. Susan, your cover is a winner.

What would I like to see? I’d like to see a little more action (I’m all about kick-ass fight scenes), more sex, and a tad more humor. I love humor that sneaks up on me and taps me on the shoulder when I least expect it. I'm sitting on the fence here. I really like Susan’s world building and the character interaction. I'll probably read another before my opinions are set in stone.
So, it looks like a trip to Borders is in order…

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Shows

How many episodes will they last? What's your guess?

Pushing Daisies
A bit too artsy and campy for the current viewing public, methinks. I give it four episodes. Of course, I said the same thing about Ugly Betty.

Cavemen
I thought making a series out of lame insurance commercials wasn't the best idea. I haven't changed my mind about that. Three.

Private Practice
OK, as noted in my 20 Things About Me post, I'm a huge Grey's Anatomy fan, so I'm still scratching my head wondering why they take an intricately interwoven character from that series and stick her in a situation that is so different from Grey's, and without the same stellar ensemble cast. (And no Eric Dane. *sigh*) I mean why do they DO these things? How often does a spin-off ever do as well as the...unspun version? My motto is: If it's not broke, don't fix it...and definitely don't spin it off. I hate to say this, but I think this show will be done in one season tops, even on Grey's coattails. I hope Addison goes back to Seattle. Not THAT would be fun. :)

Any other nominees?

Meet and Greet

We're going to kick off the blog with a Meet and Greet of the three personalities that run da joint. We'll each be posting "20 Things About Me" this week as our introduction to the blogging public.

My co-bloggers have voted, and I guess I get to post first.

::: cringes :::

OK, here goes...

20 Things About Me - Flick

Twenty things about me

1. Another blonde, but after having spotted one grey hair - I now dye my locks with mixed results. I know I should read the packet but hey, what can go wrong? My nicknames – badger, skunk (purely the look!!), snowball and pinkie. Yes, that time it really did go wrong.
2. I live in Yorkshire in the UK. The largest county in England, probably the size of Laurie’s horse paddock. But I do have a great view of rolling moorland and sheep and a former lunatic asylum and sheep and an almost view of the American listening station at Menwith Hill and sheep. I love sheep. Well, not love them. You know what I mean.
3. Writing. I really do love that. I started by making up episodes of TV series with me as the heroine. You name it, I’ve been in it – Star Trek, Man from UNCLE, Hawaii 5-0. I’ve 7 completed novels, a handful of novellas and a few erotic tales. My range is from paranormal to horror but they all have a touch of romance and humor. Well, I think I’m funny. My family laugh at me all the time.
4. Success. $5 for a horror story and then – wait for it – drum roll – Ellora’s Cave offered me a contract. I said I’d think about it. Two seconds later, I’d signed. I’m going to sit back and wait for the millions to roll in.
5. Former life – a sad cautionary tale. Started off as a government inspector – spying on people trying to cheat on their taxes. A short period as a media planner in an advertising agency. I fled that at dead of night. Several years selling cyanide – mainly to Sweden – no idea why – for the largest chemical company in the UK. Grand title of export manager. There was just me in the department. Had kids. Ughghghg. Then went to work as Government Inspector, spying on teachers. I was so popular, you can’t believe. Thank goodness I married well. ( married for money anyway)
6. No I didn’t, dear. Husband is financial whiz. Met at university when he was bringing a sack of potatoes to my flat mate. Romance is his middle name. Gifts to me include – supermarket vouchers, a magic duster set and a hammer drill. He spent most of his life in the aerospace industry but now works very part time for a green energy company.
7. Two children. Daughter a lawyer. Son about to need her services. Enough said.
8. TV – never watch it, I can’t work the remote. Music – rarely listen to it but I like Robbie Williams. Films – can’t be bothered unless they are really good or feature naked hunks. Books – I ADORE. I read at least one a day. I have thousands as I can’t stand to part with them. I read at lightning speed. 70 pages in 20 minutes. That’s fast? Right?
9. What do I do all day? Write. All day if I can. Its my world and I love it. Start at 8.00 and finish late. Interspersed with journeys on the internet and satisfying needs of husband. No, not those sorts of needs. Really!! I was thinking of making coffee.
10. Worried about – possible visit from FBI. Research for one of my thrillers did involve some investigation of a decaying fetus under a boat shed. Research into plastic handcuffs brought a deluge of porn. Well, that was my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
11. I’m very tall. 5.10 and a bit. I used to be very self-conscious about my height. Now I don’t care. I’m far more worried about other bits of me.
12. I won the prize at school for ‘Good conduct and Example’ It was the worst day of my life. Well, one of them.
13. I drive a BMW Z4 convertible – lovely. Of course we can only put the roof down twice a year. This is England!
14. I spend 3 months of the year in our home in Florida. I know I’m lucky, spoiled, ruined for other men. You can stop twisting my arm now, dear.
15. I’m more long-winded than Laurie. Yippee.
16. I’m struggling now. I’m really not interesting.
Ohh, I used to write travel articles for the largest regional newspaper in the UK.
17. I don’t have any pets. I HATE hamsters. I know they’re cute but it hurts when they bite.
18. I was once kicked by a giraffe.
19. When I was once desperately thirsty - desperately - I sucked my bra. (I'd been swimming in a lake so it was a wet bra - but I was stuck up a sand dune and desperate. Really desperate)
20. I was the only one in my class to fail my cycling proficiency test.
Phew, made it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

20 things about me: Dawn


1. I'm a brunette though my children are working on turning me gray. I feel it is unjust that I can't use the blond excuse.

2. I'm not superstitious, but I believe in ghosts, aliens and things that go bump in the night.

3. I started writing, thinking that perhaps I should write and illustrate children's books. Now there's a scary thought.

4. I know from experience, that one should never, ever, no matter how inviting, or fun it looks like it might be, jump on the carcass of a hugely bloated cow lying out in the pasture. Bad, bad idea.

5. Most of the trouble I got into as a kid was because of my sister. See #4.

6. Nothing brings my husband running faster than the sound of his power tools, screaming in my hands.

7. My two best friends in High School, were guys.

8. I was in the Army for four years as a Military Intelligence Analyst with the 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum NY. I was one of two women placed in a combat arms unit as an experiment in the late 80's and early 90's when Uncle Sam was trying to figure out if it was a good idea or not. When asked why it is I went in the Army, "I tell them it was to get out of English class." And it was, initially. I made some terrific pictures with the little dots on the test. But the real reason, the reason I raised my hand and swore to defend this country... It's my country. It's a great country with a lot of liberties to enjoy. I'd like to keep it that way. So what can I say? I am a Patriot.

9. I've been roped by a cowboy. Okay so Granddad had some cute cowboys living next to the ranch.

10. Jumping from an airplane is on my list of things to do.

11. I'm named after my father. His name is Larry. I bet you thought I was going to say Don.

12. I am told that I am stubborn. My husband says I never listen, I tell him "Honey I Listen, then do what I want to do anyway."

13. I like to think I'm an artist, but I'm still working on it.
14. I'm left handed and Dyslexic. I spent a great deal of my early school years in Special Education.

15. I'm an avid fan of men in uniforms and a firm believer the world needs more.

16. I practice the Martial Arts and I'm working on my Black Belt. (First degree brown as of Oct 20)

17. I know how to ride and jump a dirt bike and I used to flag at a moto-cross track in the summer as a teenager.

18. I'm a crack shot with a rifle and was a M-60 Machine gunner for the Division Artillery TOC. (Target Operations Center)

19. I believe in Life, Liberty and the pursuit of a damn good cup of iced coffee.

20. For over 20 years I have wondered what it is that I really wanted to do with my life. I been pushed to go to art school, and dug my heels in (see #12). I've served my time as a soldier, a custodian for a hospital, a manager for an arts, crafts and fabric store, waited tables, flipped burgers. I've been a banking supervisor, an IRA clerk, a cowgirl and aerobic instructor... But nothing has felt right until now. At last I've found a place to channel my creative energies, and laugh while I do it. I must say, I'm having a blast.

20 Things About Me: Laurie

Hello, world. Here are 20 Things About Me.

1) I'm a blonde. Remember that. It explains many things...and probably more than a few of my posts.

2) Love Classic Rock. Must worship Classic Rock. I'm trying to work some lyrics into a WIP. We'll see how that goes.

3) I used to raise Thoroughbred racehorses. Now, that doesn't mean I sat in my box seat on Derby Day with my fancy hat and my mint julep, pinky daintily raised. It meant I was out there in the barns mucking stalls, lugging hay, scrubbing water tanks, and getting kicked, bitten and stomped on for my trouble. Glamourous life, I tell ya! Uh huh...as you may wonder and I often ask myself..WHAT was I thinkin'?

4) I'm a former cop—worse than that, a former lieutenant. But not for a living. I was a reserve trooper for a state agency for a number of years. Which means, I did the same thing every other cop does, but without the bennies. I mention it because being a law enforcement officer tends to change your whole outlook on life, on our justice system, and on humanity in general. I've been called every name in the book in five different languages, cussed at, spit at, threatened and had my parentage insulted...and that was just for the speeding tickets. LOL Someday I oughta write a book...

5) Everything I write turns into an epic. I have never been word count challenged.

6) If a genie granted me three wishes—and I could ask for anything I wanted—my first wish would be to have a really great singing voice. I'd love to be able to sing like Faith Hill, or Sheryl Crowe, or Karen Carpenter, or even Fergie. It's the only thing in life I really feel I missed out on.

7) Someone once asked me why I write. I told them it's because no one wants to listen to me sing. Self-expression has to come out in one form or another.

8) I absolutely LOVE where I live. It truly is the Land of Enchantment. It's a fabulous thing for a writer to live in a place that can't decide which century it wants to exist in.

9) I live in the hinterlands. I have more Hereford cattle than people as neighbors. Hollywood likes to film Westerns and aging biker flicks in my neighborhood. The nearest store is 14 miles away, round trip. My 42-mile commute to work is via a scenic mountain highway and has exactly two stop signs. (What's a stop light? LOL) On days when I encounter more than ten cars, I grumble under my breath about the heavy traffic. On the other hand, I'm only 30 minutes from Albuquerque, a metropolis rapidly approaching the 1 million population mark. And lots of shopping. And theatres. And book stores. And Starbucks! Life is good.

10) I drive an Infiniti. The car I owned before that was an Infiniti. The car I had before that was an Infiniti. My next car will be an Infiniti. I stick with things that work for me.

11) I'm a Grey's Anatomy addict and a Dancing With The Stars fanatic. I don't watch much TV, but I schedule my life around those two shows.

12) I collect dragons. When I started my collection, dragons represented all things magical and possible. That was my Yin phase. Later, they began to represent Yang, that sinister element which we all must struggle to overcome even if we don't always succeed. A former female officer friend and I coined a phrase for it: "Sometimes the dragon wins. That's just reality."

13) I have a poster on my home office wall that says "Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned From Star Wars." It starts with: Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try. Ain't it the truth?

14) I grew up on a lake in northern Michigan, reputedly named the Sixth Most Beautiful Lake in the World by National Geographic. Now I live in a desert in the Southwest. No. I don't miss the water. Water comes with companions like mold, mildew, high humidity, overcast skies and mosquitoes. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw a mosquito. I can tell you the last time I saw a blue, blue sky. Today. Yesterday. The day before that. All last week. Etc.

15) A friend of mine named a star after me. I don't know where it is, and I forgot exactly what he named it. Lauris something. He said that was Latin for Laurie. Someday, I need to find out where it is. I'll add it to my list of things to do.

16) I'm a Pisces. Like #1 above, that explains many things.

17)  I was a war widow. Not literally, but figuratively. My spouse was a high ranking military officer based four-and-a-half hours away from home. Some couples had his and hers towels—we had his and hers households. In any given week he might have been in DC, Alaska, Kuwait, or any of the border states. Now he works in the homeland security field. In his spare time he's a reserve police Chief. In his other spare time he's a member of a ceremonial military horse unit, and rode with the British Royal Household Cavalry and is one of two Americans to hold the Netherlands Cavalry (Cavalerie Ere-Escorte) Badge. He's also in the Big Brother program. On weekends he fixes everything the horses have stomped, chewed or broken, and gives me foot rubs. My spouse is amazing!

18) I'm descended from the Bruces of Scotland but long, long before I discovered this, I was mesmerized by the sound of bagpipes. Ancestral memories, I tell ya.

19) No kids. Lifestyle choice. I figure we needed to help balance out one of those other couples who has six. This is a fragile world we live on. (And no, I'm not a tree hugger, just a realist.)

20) When I was a senior in high school I had a muscle car and used to drag race. Now I'm older and wiser and I always observe the speed limit. (Yup, there it goes.)

I TOLD YOU everything I write turns into an epic!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Susan Grant

Okay, I've read some of her work, but this is the first in this group. I picked it up out of sheer curiousity, since the title reminds me of my story "An Alien's Guide to Abducting a Bride." I've got lot's going on this week, but somewhere in my schedule, I plan to squeeze this in. I want to see what all the talk is about.
The Book is "How to lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 days."
More to follow on this. Looks interesting.

J.D.Ward

Have you read any of her 'Black Dagger Brotherhood' novels? I'd seen the hype and bought the first book - Dark Lover. I wasn't very keen and it was for an odd reason. I hated the names of the characters - Wrath, Tohrment, Rhage, Zadist, Vishous, Phury etc with the baddies as O and X. But it seemed such a petty reason to dislike something I bought another two - 'Lover Revealed' and 'Lover Awakened' - never say I'm not a glutton for punishment. The names still annoy me but the characters have grown on me and it occured to me that handling a largish cast of players in a story is a bit of an issue as far as names are concerned. Ordinary names - as her females generally have - would have been wrong and confusing. Tom, Dick and Harry just don't work. Names like Revik, Goran, Kiril are too easily confused and ultimately forgettable. The names she's chosen DO fit the characters but its the corruption of the spelling that throws me. I actually thought the books were going to be funny! They're not.

Monday, October 1, 2007