Friday, December 31

The Year in Review... and Looking forward to 2011

Happy New Year everyone!

Wow, I can't believe that the year is almost over. So much has happened this year. I've made writer friends and critique buddies. Revised a few different WIPs. Read 26 books. Co-founded the awesome blog, Castles & Guns. And I wrote two books! I also finally delved fully into the world of querying agents. I'd queried in the past, but it hadn't been anywhere close to the scale that I did in 2010. And okay, I haven't found an agent yet, but I'm certain good things will be happening within the new year. So much awesome stuff has happened recently, things that have kind of been building blocks toward better and more.

Yes, years end brings optimism for a more successful upcoming year, but that's great, especially when one acts and makes a plan to stick to what they want to accomplish in the new year. I've formed my New Years Resolutions more like goals and have tried to decide what I really want to achieve in the upcoming year. With my "goals list" for 2010, I wrote down quite a bit of stuff I didn't get to. Maybe because I didn't work as hard at the beginning of the year as I did at the end of it, but I also think I acted more like throwing in everything and the kitchen sink, and I decided later what I really wanted to pick out of it. The bad point is it's easy to get overwhelmed and think I'm not getting much accomplished, even if I got a decent amount of stuff done.

Anyways, so what am I trying for in 2011? I'm going to read at least 24 books. I want to write and revise at least 3 novels, write and revise some novellas, query the novels and novellas that I write and revise, possibly attend a conference (I'm torn between it and a Caribbean family vacation cruise.), and keep up and get better with social networking.

So what are your goals?

Saturday, December 18

So close to The End!

Yippie! I am so close to the end of my WIP, I can taste it. Okay, maybe not... but still. I have about two scenes I will be finishing today to wrap up the story. Anything I'd do beyond that would be icing on the cake. Also, hubby and I are nearing the end of our Christmas shopping, which we've been getting done in record timing! Awesome! :-D

Well, that's about it for now. Maybe I'll update this later in my delirious excitement of typing The End. =) Woo!

EDIT: Yes! I have typed THE END! Woo! Although, I have a feeling the revisions on this one is going to be intense. Eeek!

Thursday, December 16

Visit me at Castles & Guns today!

Hey everyone, I'm at Castles & Guns today writing on "Finishing" in regards to staying focused on a manuscript (or however many you can handle at one time) and seeing it through to the end without getting overly distracted by other ideas and thoughts. Stop by, I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, December 14

The Easiest Part of Writing?

Today's topic is rather challenging since while there are areas I've come a long way in, I still don't really consider them easy. So, I'm not sure there's really an "easiest" part in general. Ideas tend to be least difficult for me. Same goes for dialogue and an extent. Although, if there's some kind of important "secret information" that needs to be shared and discussed, I tend to scratch my head and frown.

Someone once said "writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." I'm inclined to agree. I find I have so many ideas for novels and novellas, yet finishing the novel I'm currently working on has been a bit challenging. Why? It involves that large dose of perspiration. Some days I have to force myself to sit down and write, yet I can lean back and daydream for a moment and get the best idea for a new story I've ever had. And they all seem that way when I get them. =)

Okay, back to the subject at hand! Dialogue is enjoyable for me since it allows the characters to communicate and show their personalities through what they do, or don't, say. I've heard many people say they're not good with dialogue, but for me, it's all about listening to the voices in my head. Plot works in the same way. I don't struggle much with it, but I'm still learning what works for me in regards to pre-writing work (outlining, etc). Although, the actual concept and how a piece unfolds forms relatively (note the word relatively... lol!) smoothly in my head. Yet most of the time with outlining, I don't like to know too, too much because it takes away some of the suspense.

Anyways! What about you? What part of writing feels like second nature? Let me know!

Tuesday, December 7

Horror & Urban Fantasy 2011 Reading Challenge

Edit: So I didn't do great this year. There's always next year!

Okay, so here's my list. As with the Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge last year, I'll be updating this as I complete new novels, which won't begin until 2011. But I can't wait! Let me know if you're participating as well.

To Be Read:
  1. Dark and Stormy Knights Anthology
  2. On the Prowl Anthology
  3. Touch of Darkness by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
  4. On The Edge by Ilona Andrews
  5. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
  6. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
  7. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
  8. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
  9. Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance
  10. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  11. Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton
  12. The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis
  13. Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein
Completed (in order of read):
  1. Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas
  2. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
  3. The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton
  4. Vampires and Other Monstrous Creatures by Julius Pemberton-Smythe
  5. Night Life by Rob Thurman
  6. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  7. WebMage by Kelly McCullough
  8. Touch of Madness by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
  9. Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green
  10. Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton
  11. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Sunday, December 5

A New Reading Challenge on the Horizon

Okay, so I had a plan to broaden my reading to step outside of urban fantasy and work on some of the many other genres of romance books I have. Contemporary romances, historical romances, romantic suspenses, etc. Guess I'm doing the exact opposite of that! I found this other awesome reading challenge hosted by that I can't resist. This year, I've been participating in the Speculative Fiction reading challenge, which worked nicely since I read quite a few paranormal romances, a romance with steampunk elements, a dystopian, a horror, and, of course, urban fantasies. I read some new authors, and so this year, I'll probably read the new releases by my favorites as well as delve into older ones by authors I found and liked this year. Woo!

The button is on the side with the sexy, redheaded vampire. If you'd like to sign up, go to

I'll put up the beginnings of my reading list in a day or so!

Saturday, December 4

Nano is over... What next?

What next? Good question! I'll share what I'm focusing on now.

1. First of all, I think we all know that with most novels these days (I think including most YAs) that 50,000 words isn't long enough to submit and think about getting an agent or an editor. My genre for this book is post-apocalyptic paranormal romance, which has required quite a lot of world building in addition to getting the story off the ground and going. Which leads to, December calls for finishing that novel. 80,000 words up to 100,000 (maybe more depending on genre) is where a person should set their aim. I personally am going for 80,000 and then hopefully adding more during revisions.

2. Taking a break! I'm going on vacation for the holidays at the end of the month to see my in-laws in Europe (since that's where they live). So I'll be able to have a good two weeks or so off from writing related activities. Which is good since then a person can see their writing better without being so absorbed into the world and problems.

3. Reading, reading, reading. This is part of taking a break because a good book is definitely a nice way to unwind, don't ya think? Besides, writers should read to help themselves with learning the craft and staying informed on what is currently being published. Plus, it's fun!

4. Thinking about my goals for the New Year, which my critique partner, Kinley Baker, and I have already starting working on actually. Writing can be a hobby, but if you're serious about getting published, it's best to have goals

5. And lastly, I'll jump into revisions at the beginning of the year for this novel. Since as great as someone thinks their novel is, they can always improve it. Boy, I can't wait to begin. I'm not sure I've ever been so excited to start revising before.

Saturday, November 13

And an update!

So, as you might've seen I had a "revise and resubmit for novella" on my blog. I've completed that, and as I said in the previous blog, it lifted a weight off my chest to have that sent off. Writing with Nano is going well, too. I'm planning on doing about 10k words this weekend to get me ahead of my goal. Then I won't have to worry about pushing out large numbers when Thanksgiving rolls around and family comes into town.

I've also gotten up to 21 books read this year (leaving only 4 more until I reach my goal of 25), which is pretty amazing for me. I have so many books, but it seems like finding time to read (or so I thought) was really hard. It isn't. I just had to make the time, exactly the same concept as writing or editing. If you want to do something, you have to make the time.

Writing Through Good Times and Bad

November has been an interesting month so far. Good things have happened and some pretty annoying things as well. Since this month is National Novel Writing Month, I've been writing every day to try to stay at least somewhat on track with my goal to finish the post-apoc paranormal romance novel I'm working on by the end of November at best and mid-December at worst since for Christmas I'll be going out of the country.

I've had positive news, namely a revise and resubmit request (hooray!), and as great as that is, it stressed the daylights out of me.  I didn't want to mess up the revisions, so I put them off for a few days until finally the stress of having it dangling out there ate away at my ability to focus on writing my current novel. So, I decided to work on the revisions and then I still stressed about them, which made writing hard, but I told myself I would still get at least some words on page.

I've also had annoying stuff. Well, besides from the changing of season and feeling a little out of whack some days because of the move to an area with season change, as opposed to Florida. So! On to that example of a bad time. Long story short, Wednesday (yesterday) night at my house was very eventful. In between the billowing smoke coming from the fireplace, the frantic running around the house to all of the fans and almost all of the windows, the deafening noise of the smoke detector, and the herding of cats, I, with my blackened nostrils, very easily could've given myself permission to sit the night out from writing. But, I hadn't written that day, and I didn't want to fall behind with my word count goal.

Sometimes in life, it's easy to say that we're not going to write just because things either go well or don't go well at all, and this isn't to say that if you have a really sucky day that you should drop everything to plop down in front of the computer, because believe me, it wasn't the first thought that came to my mind either. But there are a few reasons why opening your word document and getting at least a hundred words down on paper could be a good thing.

  • You stay connected with your story. You don't go back in a couple days and scratch your head, having to think "What was I thinking the other day when I wrote this?" You have a better idea since there's not a lot of time that is passing by.
  • You develop a habit with writing, just like washing the dishes after dinner or brushing your teeth before bed. It's just something you do every day, which makes it easier to keep up because it becomes second nature. Sure, there are days when you don't feel like doing a habit, but they tend to be fewer.
  • You have the feeling of accomplishment that you actually wrote instead of letting circumstances get the best of you. Looking back on a chart of how much you write each day, you're not necessarily going to say "Oh, that's the day I worked on my revisions. Or the other day when I had a super crazy evening." Besides, you won't feel as guilty (or be as far behind on your word count or page count goal) the next day. You'll know that even though you might not have gotten to your word count goal, you still did something.

How about you? Do you write every day (or almost every day)? And what are things that you keep in mind to help you get in front of the computer regardless of circumstances?

Thursday, November 4

What I've learned this year with Nano

This year, I had a few setbacks with figuring out which story I was going to work on.  Some years, I've forgotten to figure out a story until the last minute, but this year, I'd planned on doing the historical urban/dark fantasy, then I decided that wouldn't be possible without me doing further historical research for the time period I want to write as well as for my heroine. So sadly I put that idea aside and struggled to pick a new one.  I was torn between one I'd like to do, and one that I'd just had sitting around that would be cool if I mustered up some enthusiasm.  Needless to say, I went with the one that I needed to muster up enthusiasm. 

Except for the fact my critique partner, Kinley Baker, went to a chat room pitch session through our RWA chapter FF&P, so I decided to tag along for support.  Long story short, at the last minute I was able to pitch to the editor as well, and I had one story I thought could pitched and gain some attention with her.  A story that Kinley said should be lengthened.  I ended up throwing out that I needed more enthusiasm on since the editor wanted a full and said it needed lengthened.  Now I'm working on that story.

So, the things I've learned.

  1. If you have a good critique partner, trust him/her, at least sometimes.  They should be looking out for you.  I pondered about lengthening my current novel, but I figured if I did, it'd be something I'd work on "one of these days."  I didn't expect to get interest and have that reiterated by an editor.
  2. Just because a story starts slow, and you're wondering if maybe you should give it up, don't give up on it yet.  My current story started a little slow, and it's involving a little more science than I'd like.  But I kept with it and am super thrilled with the story.
  3. Speaking of the science, just because you notice an element in your story that you feel uncomfortable with, don't try to eradicate it.  Try to figure out how it can work to your advantage and make your world that much more unique.
  4. This one especially pertains to Nano.  If you feel like you're getting stuck with a certain scene, write out some of it and leave yourself a note on what you think should happen there.  And move on.  Last night, I stumbled upon I scene in the Hero's POV I knew needed to be there, but I couldn't figure out for the life of me what else he should do.  So I wrote what I could, and I went back to the Heroine who was being especially interesting to write.
  5. And lastly, it is important to make sure what you're writing isn't illegible to you.  Don't feel in such a rush that you can't write clearly.  It doesn't have to be perfect prose, this is a first draft after all, but I've gone through in previous years and rushed.  Sometimes, I was left with a good sentence that had an illegible word that I couldn't for the life of me figure out, so I had to throw out what I'd written.
I hope any of these help! If you're curious, I'm currently working on a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance, and my current word count is 9,035. =)

Tuesday, November 2

Praise of Nano and the End of Day 1

2010 marks the sixth year that I'm done National Novel Writing Month. Honestly, I think NaNoWriMo is a fantastic way to give people who have always wanted to write a book the permission to just do it. And that's basically why it was created. Chris Baty and his friends LOVED books, and therefore adored writers, so he wanted to have a way to what he loved. Not all of the people participating in Nano are pursuing lifelong publishing careers, they just want to have some fun and tackle what they've always wanted to do. Write a book. A lot of the people who do this, write only once a year, during Nano. Why give them flack for doing something they enjoy?

But it also has Pros for people who do want to get published. It's a good way of jump starting a project might only take two or three months to finish as opposed to a year or more of 200 (give or take) words a day. Like Chris Baty says in an guest blog he did yesterday, "Human beings are amazing procrastinators. Give someone two years to write a 50,000-word novel, and what you’re really giving them is two years to feel guilty about not writing their 50,000-word novel. Give that person 30 days to write the same book, and they’ll get it done, no sweat. Tight deadlines bring focus and build momentum, which ultimately makes them much easier to achieve than their open-ended cousins." And I couldn't agree more. Unpublished writers don't have set deadlines to finish their books like our published and contracted peers.

But 50,000 words in a month produces pure crap? Not necessarily. If it was so horrible with quantity over quality, why do published authors like Jocelynn Drake and Kelley Armstrong amongst others participate in Nano? Besides, authors on deadlines put out amazing numbers daily, I've seen Laurell K. Hamilton talk about doing 20 pages in a day. Yesterday, Jocelynn Drake wrote a little over 5,000 words. Does that mean either of them are producing crap? No, they're producing first drafts. But that's Nano is about, isn't it?

Writers doing Nano who want to pursue publication do need to research the industry and know that just because they type THE END and give the manuscript the once over, doesn't mean its ready to send off to an agent. Manuscripts need to be revised thoroughly before being sent off. And if a writer knows they work a certain way better (pantser vs. plotter), they should prepare before diving in with both feet. That's why people who typically do Nano reserve October for getting ready.

Still don't think it's possible to publish a Nano novel? Think again, here's a link to a page at National Novel Writing Month's website that lists the people who have had their Nano books published. (Including a #1 NYT Bestseller, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen)

The most common advice writers give to aspiring authors is to "Write, write, write." (As well as Read, read, read, but hopefully people who like to write, also like to read.) And writing is the thing Nano is about.

As this is my 6th year doing Nano, I can say that during my first year, oh yes, my writing was not that great, but through the years, it's given me the chance to have at least one month a year to focus on honing my craft (through THREE years of college finals, parents, and getting married, no less.) And it taught me how to make a deadline, no matter what.

In closing, for the end of day 1, I wrote 3,150 words that I'm proud of and that didn't exist before. Currently, I'm at 4,070 with hopes of reaching 6,000 before the end of day 2.

Thursday, October 28

Preparing for Nano

(I'm cross posting this from Castles & Guns.)

This week, I've been getting ready for an intense experience know as none other than... National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short). For those who might not know, it's a month long writing event where you aim to write 50,000 words by the end of November. It begins November 1st, and you have a daily goal of at least 1,667 words. This year will be my sixth year/win. I know, I'm so humble. haha

Preparing is even more important to me this year than previously since I usually give myself November and then finish up my novel in December, but this year, I'm going to Europe for Christmas to spend time with hubby's family. So I'll only have a month and a half for my novel to get done before the end of the year (because I'm a sadist obviously), and I'll have to write quicker than I ever have.

Anyways, the meat of how I'm preparing.

1. First things first, I've let my family and friends know that I will be participating in NaNo. By now, they know how important it is to me, so I'll have their support throughout the month. They'll be there to cheer me on, but also, it shows them that I have set a priority on my writing.

2. I've taken care of (and am finishing up) things that could tie up my time during November and other writing projects are being placed on the back burner while I work on this new novel. Anything that isn't urgent or pressing has been dealt with. I've mostly gotten caught up on my favorite shows, too. That way my obsessions won't take up my time. lol

3. Figuring out what I'm going to work on for NaNo. With the amount of words needed to be written in the span of only thirty days, I always figure out what my novel is going to be about and (some years) outline it accordingly. Now, I'm not the type of person to write fifty page intensive outlines, but I do like to have a road map of getting from Point A to Point B. That way, I have a sense of direction, but there's a lot of options still open. It's still an adventure.

4. Cleaning my desk. Yes, I know. It should be something I keep tidy on a normal day, but with NaNo here... I'll need a place for my story notes, my character list, and my favorite caffeinated beverage, Coke.

5. Lastly, I'm kicking my internal editor to the curb. Recently, I've been doing a decent amount of editing, so the internal editor is strong. I've been doing more reading to try to cage it, and come November 1st, it's not going to be let out. It's important to keep a decent speed with writing during NaNo. If not, it can be easy to run into barriers that you can't figure out how to get around. I've noticed that when I am going quickly enough, that my brain helps me figure these things out instead of crossing her arms and refusing to help.

Anyways! That's what I'm doing this year. I hope it gave ideas of ways to make this year a winner if you're participating in NaNoWriMo! Each week in November, I'll blog my journey and share struggles and how things are going. Are you doing NaNo this year? What are you doing or have done in preparation?

The official National Novel Writing Month website.

More Tips for NaNo.

Sunday, October 17

Making progress...

Although, why is it that I'm feeling more stress about getting things done this month than I have in a while? Could it be simply that Nano is next month? Or the fact that I'm really, really ready to be finished with this urban fantasy novel? I just want to send it out again to find an agent now that it's in good shape. Yet in some ways, the stress isn't really helping me like the good stress Nano brings that pushes me to do insane word counts.

Blah... I'm getting through it. I might toy with my deadline to push it back. Depends on how much progress I'm getting done. I don't want to burn out. Still need to keep up my creativity for next month, especially now that I'm in an area that gets darker and colder than sunny, warm Florida. It'll be my first real winter in several years. Yikes! I'm excited.

I also would love to spend a few days just reading before the month is over. Not only to catch up on my 2010 TBR list, but also just to detox from editing. Haha... I don't want to be in an editing mindset and then have to switch over to a Nano mindset of just letting my fingertips take over.

Saturday, October 9


I'm actually beginning to feel productive, even though I've been working pretty hard on my paranormal romance novella. Yesterday, I finally was able to submit it off to three publishers. It feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I've waited for a long while to be able to get it off the back burner, always looking to work on the next novel and not paying much attention to finishing up the final touches on it.

Needless to say, I now have to do put finishing touches on my urban fantasy novel. Ack... But hopefully it will be a bit easier and just flow out! My goal for it is to have those done by the 21st. There, I've said it. Now I have to stick to it. That would give me the end of the month to focus on plotting my upcoming historical urban fantasy novel.

It'll also give me lots to take my mind off of the submissions, but I like putting those out of my mind anyway. I do like to keep in mind when I expect to be hearing back though. I don't want to be waiting forever on something when a place has lost my submission. Guess it's just a balance.

Friday, September 24

The Things You Learn On Twitter...

It's National Punctuation Day! lol

I didn't know there was a day dedicated to punctuation, but I guess it makes sense. Here's the website if anyone is interested in seeing it. One of the things they have in celebration of the day is a Punctuation Haiku Contest. I tend to stick with writing novels instead of poems, but I figured I'd try one out here.

Commas dashes quotes.
What would I do without you?
I don't want to know.

In other news, I'm nicely settled into my new home. Yay! I've started back to work on my writing. I'm currently in the midst of edits for my paranormal romance short story (or novella, depending on submission guidelines), Jungle Heat. Soon it shall be ready to find a home. It's being reviewed by my awesome critique partner, Marissa, at the moment. I'm also in the process of finishing up the remainder of tweaks on my urban fantasy novel. Can't wait to work on plotting my upcoming National Novel Writing Month project, a historical urban fantasy about werewolves! I'm so excited! It'll be the first thing I've written that really focuses on werewolves, and also, the first historically based thing that I've written.

Anyways, back to work!

Saturday, September 11


Okay, I have to share this! I saw Resident Evil: Afterlife in 3D IMAX today! It was so awesome. Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield was great eye candy, and the action... wow! I haven't seen too many 3D movies (My Bloody Valentine 3D was the last one), but this is definitely one to catch on the big screen and in 3D.

I also really enjoyed that aspects of the Resident Evil 5 game were included in the movie. My husband and I grinned at each other a few times during the movie. I think once we get settled into our new place, we'll definitely be playing it again. In addition to that, we'll be watching what we missed of Prison Break since our TV watching faded half-way through the show, which we both enjoyed, especially now that we have Netflix.

My only other news is that I finished reading The Ultimate Dracula Anthology by Byron Preiss. Someone had bought it for me a long time ago, but only picked it up now because my husband started reading it. For a book called The Ultimate Dracula, it sure didn't have many stories focusing on Dracula. Some were just plain and simple vampire stories. Not many of them were any good.

Speculative Fiction 2010 Reading Challenge

Here is the list of books I've read for the Speculative Fiction reading challenge as well as the tentative list of what I've planned to carry me through the rest. I'll update it as I complete new novels.

To Be Read:

Completed (in order of read):

  1. Between Light and Dark by Elissa Wilds
  2. Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather*
  3. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
  4. Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf
  5. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
  6. A Hunger Like Fire by Greg Stolze
  7. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
  8. Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
  9. Must Love Hellhounds Anthology (read Ilona Andrews' novella)
  10. Embrace the Night by Karen Chance
  11. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
  12. Shadow Force by Linda Conrad
  13. The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein
  14. Pride by Rachel Vincent
  15. Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
  16. The Ultimate Dracula Anthology by Byron Preiss
  17. Minion by L.A. Banks
  18. Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster
  19. Night Falls Darkly by Kim Lenox
  20. Servant: The Acceptance by L.L. Foster
  21. The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide by J.R. Ward
  22. Prey by Rachel Vincent
  23. Curran by Ilona Andrews
  24. Mischief in the Garage by Liza James*
  25. Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance
  26. Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
*Non-speculative fiction reads this year.*

Thursday, September 9

Blogging today at Castles & Guns!

Hello everyone! Hopping in to say that blogging today at Castles & Guns about research. Make sure to check out my post and leave me a comment. The link is

Saturday, September 4

A Weekly Update...

So, for now with the pressure of moving, helping with the awesome new fantasy-focused blog Castles & Guns (You should check it out. You know you want to.), and finishing up the remaining chapters of my urban fantasy novel (Yes,'s beginning to drive me crazy.), I'll be making weekly posts here so that I don't go absolutely crazy with trying to update it on more than that.

Anyways, I just finished reading Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp. Really good urban fantasy book. At first, I struggled to staying in the novel, but after a few pages, I was hooked. It makes the 14th speculative fiction book I've read this year, and 15th book total. Only 10 more spec fiction books until I reach my goal of 24 for the challenge hosted by Book Chick City.

If anyone is interested, here is the list of books I've read as well as the tentative list of what I've planned to carry me through the rest of the challenge. I'll update it as I complete new novels. [Edit: I'll update as I finish reading new books.]

To Be Read:

  1. Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas
  2. On the Prowl Anthology
  3. Night Falls Darkly by Kim Lenox
  4. Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance
  5. Tempt Me with Darkness by Shayla Black
  6. Heart Duel by Robin D. Owens
  7. Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey
  8. Minion by L.A. Banks
  9. Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster
  10. Watchers in the Night by Jenna Black

Completed (in order of read):

  1. Between Light and Dark by Elissa Wilds
  2. Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather*
  3. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
  4. Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf
  5. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
  6. A Hunger Like Fire by Greg Stolze
  7. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
  8. Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
  9. Must Love Hellhounds Anthology (read Ilona Andrews' novella)
  10. Embrace the Night by Karen Chance
  11. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
  12. Shadow Force by Linda Conrad
  13. The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein
  14. Pride by Rachel Vincent
  15. Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
*Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather was my non-speculative fiction read this year.*

Thursday, August 26


So I've been adding in edits from my critique partner to my urban fantasy manuscript before trying it out on the publishing world again. The only bad thing is that it's been bleeding words. That's great in some ways since I think a lot of the wordy, passive writing is now out. Except that I'm going to have to go back and add in a wee bit more description, depth! It's being cut too slim, and that's with adding another chapter. *sigh* I wish I were one of those writers that have to cut because they write too much the first time through. No, I'm the opposite. I have to add stuff to fulfill word count. Ah well, such is a writer's life.

Anyways, check out my introduction on why I enjoy urban fantasy and paranormal romance over at! Also, feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, August 23

New Group Blog Update!

And no, just because I'm working on a group blog doesn't mean I'll abandon this one. I'll still churn out posts as I think of insightful things! But, I can now depart more information on it. It's called Castles & Guns. It's a "fantasy-focused site for those who love the genre. From the urban streets of downtown to the village paths of alternate realms, our stories all have something in common. Magic. From sexy warriors with swords to fierce women with weapons, we love romance with a spark of power." We now have our very beautiful custom banner made by my awesome webmistress, Rae Monet. The blog will be launching on Wednesday, so make sure to check it out and follow along this thrilling new group! *smiles*

Thursday, August 19

Another Book Read and New Group Blog

Okay, so I did update Twitter a day ago via Goodreads about this, but I finished reading Pride by Rachel Vincent. I thought it was really good, but it wasn't quite as awesome as the first two. I'll definitely read the next book, Prey.

Also, my critique partner and I are starting up a Fantasy/Urban Fantasy (Paranormal Romance is welcome too. =P) group blog! Woo! We've been planning it out and working on it for about a week now. All shall be revealed soon though since we're currently having a custom header made. The posting fun should begin on 8/25/2010. Stay tuned for more information!

Saturday, August 14

RWA Nationals (Late) Wrap-Up


I went to Writing the Bestseller: Six Magic Words by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It was great. I think she had some awesome words of wisdom that really soaked in. One of those is that editors and agents want the compelling story, not the perfect one. I struggle with making my stories perfect before sending them off, but really, we also have to focus on making them compelling.

Next, I went to The Agent/Author Relationship with Jessica Faust and a few of her clients. Most of what they said reinforced what I've learned over past few years. I had thought about going to the pitching area during that time, but I decided against it.

I went to the Digital Publishing Q&A. It was interesting, but not as informative as I thought it might be. After that was the Luncheon with Jayne Ann Krentz. It was great. I took a picture of the lunch and dessert on Twitter that day. Chicken, chicken, and more chicken. haha It wasn't too bad though. The desserts were great.

Went to The Fire in the Fiction: Part 2 by Donald Maass after hearing him talk during the PRO Retreat. Great stuff there. Really enjoyed his workshop and the PRO Retreat. Might have to pick up his books and workbook.

Next was Spinning Straw into Gold. It was by Eloisa James and her editor. It was cool to hear what they had to say about editing and the process she went through with making her book stronger. Would have liked just a little more information about how to apply it to my own projects, but it was good nonetheless.

Active Setting was the last workshop of the day. It was really informative. I felt like I learned a whole lot in it about how to make my settings more active and real and to incorporate them without it being tons upon tons of description.

Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal's The Gathering was also that night. I went to the Prism awards ceremony, but that was about it. The conference was starting to wear me down with all of the different workshops and things once Friday night hit.


I went to Writing Fight Scenes first thing in the morning with Angela Knight. It was really informative as well.

After that I went to Finding an Agent as an Unpub, which also reinforced a lot of things I've already learned while giving a couple of tidbits here and there.

Next was the worldbuilding workshop, which I started getting really hungry and sleepy in, but it had great information and awesome handouts.

I went to lunch with my critique partner, Marissa, during the short break, but due to it not being a very long break, I missed the next workshop time and didn't want to walk in late.

After that was Business of Writing with Kerrelyn Sparks and her agent, and that was really fascinating. I learned a lot in it.

The last workshop was I've Got a Fever: Taking Sexual Tension from Lukewarm to Hot. It played a few film clips and really went in depth on the different wants to build awesome sexual tension. I really enjoyed it as well.

Then hubby (who had been there all day long in his nice suit, haha) and I (who also had been in her nice clothes all day) waited in the hotel's lobby until became close to time for the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony and Dinner. It was really good. We had great tablemates, and watching the awards ceremony was very much an inspiration. Hopefully, one day I'll be able to count myself among the winners (or at least finalists!).

That's about it. I'm really looking forward to 2011 Nationals in NYC! I've never been to New York before.

Thursday, July 29

RWA Nationals Day Two

So last night with uber-confidence in my ability to not need much sleep, I figured that I would be able to go to the RWA Annual General Meeting this morning from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM. Eh... didn't happen. I underestimated my love of sleep. So when the alarm went off this morning, I reset it. (Mind you, since I'm local and not staying in the hotel, I can't just wake up at 9:00 AM and be bouncing off, that alarm went off at about 7:15 AM. I have to count in plenty of time to drive there as well.)

Once I pulled myself from slumber at 10:30 AM, and after getting ready, I was headed toward the hotel for Day 2. I made it to the Keynote Luncheon with wide eyes and a touch of frustration at the fact that I couldn't pinpoint anyone I even faintly knew. Got seated and ate, then it was time for Nora Roberts's speech. It was absolutely fantastic and very timely. She was smart and very witty.

After that was the PRO retreat. I struggled between going to workshops or going to the PRO retreat, but after reading more about what was going to be discussed at the retreat, I went with it. It was great. Donald Maass was funny and gave a great keynote speech. Stephanie Feagan spoke as well, telling her story about how she was the winner of a RITA in 2006 and then orphaned after Silhouette Bombshell closed its doors. Then she had to struggle to get another agent after her agent wouldn't represent a women's fiction book she'd written, and she had to query 101 different agents just to find another one who would take her in, which is crazy since she won a RITA, one would think it would've been easier for her. Really good timing since I have learned how querying agents isn't a walk in the park. The editor and agent panels were informative and answered some great questions.

When that was finished, I went to the Cabana Bar and hung out with my critique partner and two other authors for a while until it was time for the Moonlight Madness Bazaar. I parted ways with them and saw what all was going on up there. It didn't have as much as I'd have figured there would be, but I saw a neat leather bracelet maker that I'll have to look up online. Then I went downstairs and sat in the lobby for a little bit before going home.

Now I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, July 28

RWA Nationals Day One

Okay, so I'm going to blog about my days at RWA as if real-time tweeting about it wasn't enough, right? *grin*

Needless to say, I didn't wake up as early as I'd have preferred, but hubby and I went down to the Dolphin hotel in good time. I registered, and then we set about waiting for an hour to get into the "Readers for Life" Literacy Signing. Good thing we got there early, too. Afterward, the line became HUGE. We walked through each aisle. I got my books signed by Shiloh Walker, Christine Warren, and Kelley Armstrong. I also got bought books from Jessa Slade (who was so awesome and very nice!), Laura Bickle, and Anya Bast. I totally froze up when I talked to Anya Bast, but she was great. =) We also put our tickets in for the raffle, but didn't win anything. Argh... oh well.

We left that at a few minutes before the event ended, then sat in the hallway for a little to recoop. Blissful moments off our feet. After that, we found where the First Timers' Orientation was (since this is my first time attending RWA). Hubby sat in the hall outside, and I wandered off inside. Seated myself inside and played with my phone for a bit before meeting my critique partner, Marissa Berry (and her mom =) )! It was great and informative. The speaker, which I can't remember's name, was so funny and informative.

I also could relate to what she said about how going to your first conference can make you feel like "an outsider who hasn't gotten the memo" because everyone is around talking with each other and giving hugs while one sits off alone with no one to talk to since I felt that way at RomaticTimes convention in 2009. I didn't really have anyone to hang out with. With this conference, I'm excited but I guess I don't have the rose-colored glasses on and feel more secure in doing whatever. I want to network and meet people, but I won't let it stand in my way of having a great time and learning a lot. But, I digress!

After the First Timers' event, my husband and I had dinner with Marissa and her mom at a quick-eats restaurant called Picabu. It was pretty good, and we got to talk and get to know each other outside of the computer! =) We finished eating and went out separate ways. Hubby and I sat by the neat fountain for a while and talked, then we went outside and saw Disney's firework finale. Nice touch to the evening.

And now, I'm off to bed!

Saturday, July 24

Entertaining and Informative from Twitter this week

So, I'm a proud Tweeter. I think it's a great way to network and keep up with what's going on. Here are the things that I've found highly appealing this week!
Yes, I possibly spend a little too much time on Twitter, but there's so much useful information to be learned. So what I'm also utilizing the ability to live vicariously through others able to attend Comic Con as well? =)

Thursday, July 22

New Release from my friend, Tierney O'Malley!

Wolf's Soul
A Midnight Howl Novel
Tierney O'Malley
Mainstream Romance: Contemporary, Paranormal
Available Now

To keep the woman he loves, he’ll do more than turn his back on his pack.

He’ll fight and kill every shapeshifters in his path.

Damn the consequences. Damn his fifth and last remaining life.

Ruthless, charismatic, and dangerously handsome shapeshifter, Callum Dyrdek abides by his clan's code - avoid humans, but protect them from their archenemy, the Blood Robbers. But he broke the rules when he meets Marisol, the passionate and kick-ass woman who possesses the powerful ancient sword that belonged to the leader who ruled his clan many centuries ago. He claims her as his. Now, the enemy demands he give up the woman and the sword or they will attack the humans. Will his clan stand behind him after what he has done?

Expert swordswoman, Marisol Saint James killed a shapeshifter. Now she's on the run with another named Callum who wants her sword and has taken her virginity. But until she finds the truth about herself, she must trust him. When Callum put his fifth and last life on the line in exchange for her safety, she intervenes. Callum wants her sword, but she gave him her heart—whole-souled.

Tuesday, July 20

7 more days! Ack!

The realization of how close RWA Nationals are just hit me today. Seven more days until the Literacy signing (which I'm going to) and the First Timer's Orientation (which I'm also going to)! I'm beginning to feel a bit more nervous. I know I'll have a great time. It's just that this will be my first Nationals. Eeep! I've wanted to go to one for a long time, and now I'm finally taking that opportunity. =)

Well, let's see... what else has been going on with me? I finished reading Jeanne C. Stein's The Becoming not long ago. Really good book! I'll definitely be picking up a copy of her next book.

Also, here's a fun quiz I just did. *laughs*
The Zombie Bite Calculator
Created by Oatmeal

Now I'm back off to prepare for Nationals!

Monday, July 12

Counting down the days...

Now that the World Cup is over (Yay Spain!), I have less to distract me from the RWA National Conference on the horizon. Yes, I'm definitely starting to feel a little nervous. My pitch is becoming smooth and ready, so when I have my agent appointments, I think I'll feel more comfortable than last year's RT Convention. But it's my first tme going to an RWA Conference. I hear they're more business-like than the party atmosphere that RT has. Yikes! Thoughts of what do I wear instantly come to mind. I'll dress nice but comfortable; although, if I think about it too much, I get urges of going to the mall, which is not my favorite thing to do.

Besides from that, I'm currently reading an urban fantasy, The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein, which so far is great. I'm also revising with my critique partner and taking the pitch workshop my RWA chapter is holding online.

Wednesday, July 7

The End

Today marks another first draft complete. Another The End achieved. Hooray! I'm thrilled by that, especially since it allows me to focus my attention more on getting my other novel in shape for possible requests at the end of the month's RWA conference. The finished first draft will need quite a bit of work when it faces its turn for editing, but I'm pretty pleased with it.

Now off to relax with hubby and read!

Thursday, July 1

July! Conferences, Agents, and Pitching -- Oh My!

So, as you all probably know, I'm going to Romance Writers of America's National Conference this month. I was fortunate enough to get a couple of agent appointments, which I'm happy about, but that leaves me with the impending feeling that I'll be pitching at the end of the month. Yikes! I'm a fairly quiet person, so just thinking about talking with an agent is enough to make me slightly nervous. I did it last year at Romantic Times Convention, which, besides from one appointment where I got completely frazzled and ended up forgetting parts of my story, weren't too scary.

Right now, I'm taking a workshop by Bob Mayer on pitching. I enjoy his teaching. I read a Writer's Digest ebook on writing by him, and I took his Warrior Writer class in December '09. Both were excellent and informative. So far with the workshop, I feel like writing the perfect pitch that bedazzles an agent is just not one of my strengths. It's hard to look at my own novel and figure out something to write in one sentence. Argh! But it's only the first day of the workshop, so I'm sure my pitch will work out. =)

Monday, June 28

I Promise to Blog More *cue broken record*

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

That picture says it all. This week has been something else. There have been the awesome happy times, the dreadful times, and the just plain stressful ones. I'm doing better now. 

Monday, June 21

Revised query, check!

funny pictures of cats with captions

I hope everyone had a Happy Father's Day yesterday!

Today I've spent some time revising my query letter, which has done pretty good so far. It took me several hours to do, but I'm more content with it than I have been previously. I had some great writing resources to stare at while in the process of revising it too. There's Query Shark, Jill Corcoran's Formula For A Query Letter, and Guide to Literary Agents' How to Write a Query Letter. If you're looking to write or perfect a query letter, Query Shark is a great place to go, but all of those resources are really good.

Anyways, I can't believe it's nearing the end of June. Between writing and the FIFA World Cup, where has the month gone? Not that I completely mind, since I'm highly anticipating next month with the 2010 RWA National Convention at Swan and Dolphin in Orlando, FL. Woohoo!

Friday, June 18

The Friday 56

The Fourth and Fifth Sentences
"He had actually accomplished the feat he'd been dreaming of for years.  He'd become the Navajo Wolf--in broad daylight." - Shadow Force by Linda Conrad

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
* Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Saturday, June 12

Entertaining and Informative this from Twitter this week

I've gotten back to using Twitter, and I have once again become emerged in the brilliant information those that I follow give. I'm not going to give all of the things I've found this week since I didn't keep all of the links, but here are a few.  Hopefully they'll entertain or be enlightening you guys as well.

  • -- On Characters by Lilith Saintcrow. An awesome blog post that gives a lot of great tips and information for writers wanting to utilize their characters better.
  • -- A funny link to a movie trailer Norwegian Ninja. My husband and I laughed throughout the entire trailer.
  • -- Formula for a Query Letter by Jill Corcoran is a really interesting article/blog. It gives step by step information on writing a query letter, what to have in it, what not to have in it, and why.
  • -- 4 Tips For Making Time to Write by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D is an except from her book, Book in a Month, which I actually have sitting on my shelf waiting for me to try out. Hmmm!
  • And last but not least... -- The Official music video for War by Poets of the Fall from the Alan Wake (video game) official soundtrack. I *love* Poets of the Fall. They're a band from Finland, and they're very, very awesome. Great song, which the music video was only released this week.

Friday, June 11

Please welcome... author Lenore Butcher!

Fan Fiction - A Few Thoughts from a Fledgling Author

Recently one of my favourite authors, Diana Gabaldon had a bit of a public lash out against fan fiction. I read her blog and the responses to it very carefully and quite attentively as I was, once upon a time, a fan fiction author. *Shock, gasps of disbelief from the audience.*

I am not going to touch on the legality of fan fiction, intellectual property rights, the many societies devoted to protecting transformative works, or the Fair Use legislation. I am only going to write about my personal experiences in writing fan fiction and my viewpoints on it now that I’m a published author (Check out my book, ‘Dead Girls, Dogs and Ponies’, available exclusively at

Oh my forays into the art of writing fan fiction started innocently enough. I loved the Brady Bunch madly as a young child and I would write little stories where my own little Mary Sue persona would have mad adventures with Marcia and Jan (but not Cindy, because she was annoying) and then Greg would... well, I was only seven at the time, so I think my imaginary Greg probably took me out for ice cream. And then there was the time I was the new girl on the Facts of Life and everybody liked me, even Blair. And then I discovered Star Wars (and, oddly enough, about the same time, puberty) and my stories became a bit more... interesting and very Han Solo-specific.

Once I entered high school and the 80's, fan fiction became a way to escape daily life for both myself and my friends. I wrote ream after ream of fan fiction, both solo and in tandem with one of many writing partners I had at the time. The main topic most of the time was the British pop band Duran Duran. I still have most of that fan fiction, squirreled away deep in the depths of my basement.

Fan fiction took a break for me when I entered university and Duran Duran faded quite a bit from the public eye. I was busy getting educated, and then after that getting married, having kids and so on. Along the way I kept writing my own original work. There weren’t any fandoms out there that really seized my imagination... until my brother gave me this little book for Christmas one year. It was called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You might have heard of it. I devoured the books, and then found fan fiction online to read. A lot of fan fiction. Some of it is quite good... some of it not so much. Along the way I discovered and began reading a few other fandoms. There are quite a few talented fan fiction writers out there. At least one of them that I know of has actually branched out to publish her own original works. Fan fiction asks the question ‘what would happen if’ and it answers it. Sometimes the question appears to be ‘what would happen if the fan fiction author smoked a whole lot of drugs before she wrote a story?’ Either way, it’s a lot of fun to read both the good and the bad.

That’s my perspective on fan fiction as a fan and as an ex-fan fic author. My viewpoint on it as a new author is still being formed. Many authors, such as Diana Gabaldon, Anne McCaffrey, Laurell K. Hamilton and Ann Rice are vehemently opposed to fan fiction in any form. They do have a point. When you put so much time and effort into carefully crafting a world and populating it with interesting, vivid and memorable characters, it is upsetting to have them taken and put into situations you hadn’t intended to have happen, such as romantic entanglements or character deaths. To use an example from my own writing, Justin who is my main character has a friend Gord who he spends a great deal of time with. Justin and Gord are both straight. I would definitely not enjoy reading a story where they were not so straight as that was not my intention when I wrote ‘Dead Girls, Dogs and Ponies’.

On the other hand, there are authors, notably J K Rowling, Stephenie Myers and Jim Butcher (no relation, honest!) who don’t mind their characters being used in fan fiction. I admit, it is quite heady to think that your characters are so awesome, your plots so well written, your setting so compelling that you inspire others to create works of fiction based on your own world. It’s kind of like having a legion of ‘Mini Me’s’ all over the world.

So for me, for right now, I’m still on the fence in terms of fan fiction. But while I’m sitting here, I have this nifty little Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Brady Bunch crossover I’m working on...

Thursday, June 10

Into the Paranormal: Fylgjur and Valkyrjur in Norse Mythology

So! Last week I discussed Fylgja and delved into my topic of this week a little bit of how Fylgja seem to resemble Valkyries (Valkyrjur). Fylgja are guardian spirits that take shape in either the form of an animal or a woman and watch over a certain person or family. If the person sees their Fylgja, it’s a sign that their death is immediate. Interestingly enough, the Fylgja takes on the features of the person it is assigned to protect.

Valkyries are warrior women who brought the souls of their chosen slain heroes to Valhalla, which is the “hall of the slain” (aka Norse afterlife) that the Norse god Odin ruled. They did protect the chosen warrior as well as well as They associated themselves with swans and had the ability to shapeshift into one. They could also appear as women in the form of the heroes’ lovers or another mortal.

According to one source, valkyries and fylgjur are “Fates, who direct a man’s destiny from birth to death.” One part of the source seems to lump them together as if they are one spiritual guardian that changes roles as the person’s life progress, but other sources oppose the idea, proving that they are two different types of guardians with their own role. I lean in favor of this explanation since it seems like they seem specialized and not run of the mill guardians.

Overall, this was a very fun topic to learn about. Links to a few of the different sources I visited are listed below if you’d like to research the topic further for a story idea, or if you’re like me, just for fun even. It’s always great to find new things to write about in the paranormal genre. And I hope you all have enjoyed this as much as I. Give me your thoughts and opinions about this topic. Or let me know what other kinds of paranormal creatures you’d like me to discuss! *smiles*

Wednesday, June 9


Woo! I got a lot accomplished yesterday considering the fact that I threw my back out a couple days ago.  Blah...

In the wee hours, I finished reading Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews from the Kate Daniels series, which was such an awesome book.  It has to be one of the best, if not THE best, that I've read this year. Then I also finished reading Embrace the Night by Karen Chance from her Cassie Palmer series, which was really good, too. Now I'm currently reading Shadow Force by Linda Conrad.  It's a little bit of an older book, but it looked good enough to put on my shelf to read this year. =)

I've also gotten back on the horse with writing my WIP. I shall finish it by the end of the month. That's my main goal since next month I'd like to focus on getting myself prepared for Nationals.  I've been getting decent word counts each day, and the ideas are starting to flow again.  So I'm going to hang on for the ride.

Saturday, June 5


This month, I'm going to try to get back to my rhythm of posting blogs and participating on twitter, etc as I'd planned throughout this year. I've also gotten back to going to the gym, writing, etc. Here's for getting back on track (again, lol)! Things are now starting to stabilize a little, which is a relief.

I've registered for the RWA National Conference. Woohoo! It'll be my first one. I'm sad that Nashville was flooded since I'm originally from there and spent most of my life there. I'd planned on going to the conference in Nashville initially, but with a few hefty expenses arising, I reluctantly decided it wasn't going to be feasible. Now that the conference is in Central Florida, I'm able to go for sure, and I'd be stupid to not go.

On a sidenote, I've added Bob Mayer's blog to my blog list. He has a Warrior Writer class that I took online at the beginning of the year, which was awesome. Very good information.

That's about all I can think of at the moment. =)

Friday, June 4

The Friday 56

The Fifth Sentence
"The old photographs showed a small stream winding through it all, flanked by carefully selected plants, its waters sheltering huge surly koi." - Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
* Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Thursday, June 3

Into the Paranormal: Fylgjur and Norse Mythology

Today, I’ll be discussing a mythological being I found out about a while back. It is called the Fylgja. The Fylgja is a guardian spirit of Norse mythology. They carry a connection to a person or sometimes family and protect or prevent harm from befalling its human. Fylgjur usually appear to their person in the shape of a woman or an animal. While researching this, I read that they are most often seen in the animal form during sleep; although, they could be awake, but if one were to see their fylgja, it is an omen of their encroaching death. Though, when the fylgjur appear as women, they are looked on as guardians, which is fascinating since valkyrjur (valkyries) were also females that would appear to the Vikings in female shape and lead the men to Valhalla. Valkyrjur were also connected with animals.

I’ve been very intrigued by this subject ever since Elizabeth Black guest blogged at The Deadly Vixens (a paranormal blog I used to be part of) about different mythological creatures that are out there for paranormal authors to partake in that step outside the norms of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, which I love so much. I couldn’t imagine not writing about these more common mythological creatures, but I’ve decided to eventually write a novel on the fylgja. I definitely plan on dipping into how the fylgjur and valkyrjur’s similarities, but that’ll have to wait until next week! I can’t give too much away so soon, can I?

Some great links to find out more about fylgja are:

What do you think about this topic regarding fylgja? What are some mythological creatures that you’ve heard about recently that delve outside of the normal of the paranormal genre that you really enjoy or that you’d like to find more information about? Let me know! =)

Tuesday, May 25

Here I am again

I haven't been paying as much attention as I want to, to social networking recently, which means that my blog, twitter, etc. have been neglected. Sorry about that. I have some pretty transitional things going on right now in my personal life. And that's also made me fall off the wagon with writing, reading, and going to the gym. Yikes!

I have read Ilona Andrews's novella from the Must Love Hellhounds anthology as well as started the novel Magic Bleeds. The novella was great, and the novel so far is absolutely awesome! I very much recommend her Kate Daniels series. I drop everything to read those books.

I've been trying to pull myself back to my neglected WIP the past couple of days. It's been a bit like pulling teeth. I stare at the computer screen and then some shiny idea comes along and I end up browsing the internet, so I decided to put pencil to paper, which was the way I wrote several years ago. And it's given me a little bit of a boost.  I seem to be able to focus better.  So, I'll go continue on sharpening my pencils with my newfound electric pencil sharpener and focusing on getting words down on paper.

Saturday, May 15

Please welcome... author Becky Moore!

You’ll Be As Happy As You Let Yourself Be

You’ll be as happy as you let yourself be. At least that’s what my mother’s always told me … and I’m happy to report she’s right. I’m based enough in reality to know I’m no Pollyanna, but you’ll never meet a more optimistic idealist than me.

I think that’s one reason that I love the romance genre so much. Regardless of how many times our heroine’s kidnapped or how battered the heart of our hero, they’re going to find a way to be together at the end of the story. The gal always gets the guy. The guy always gets the gal.

It’s been my experience that happiness spreads. I did a little experiment over the past two weekends. Nothing scientific, mind you … I am a writer and marketing guru in the real world, not a scientist. It went something like this:

Saturday number one, I went to Nordstrom’s in the morning, and then drove across town to Wal-Mart. I shopped around both stores by myself, kept my head down and ignored everyone. When someone caught my eye, I kept my expression bland. Their reactions were pretty obvious, and pretty universal—they treated me with the same indifference. No surprise. I took about an hour to have lunch and hang out at the library, and then retraced my steps. But this time, I met the gaze of everyone I passed, smiled and nodded, and spoke to a good handful of them. The shift was remarkable, because everyone reciprocated in kind. Everyone was happy.

Saturday number two, I chose Macy’s and Target, but took my son with me. Our trips were quicker since he’s even less enthusiastic about shopping than I am, but we followed the same pattern—grumpy, introverted and nonchalant in the morning; open, direct and cheery in the afternoon. And while most people were less likely to be visibly rude to my son, the afternoon leg of the experiment was extraordinarily more pleasant than the morning.

So it served as a useful lesson for my son, proof for my mother’s lifelong beatitude, and a great topic of conversation. Happiness spreads easily. It’s free, it’s painless, and it certainly brightens the mood of everyone around you.

It’s a shame that we’re inundated by sorrowful, violent, panicky news on a daily basis. Natural disasters, suicide and unemployment are on the rise, while hope, R&D, and healthcare are on the decline. I’m lucky that, as a romance author, I have the power to create a happy ending.

You see, every story deserves a happy ending. That’s my motto … and I’m sticking with it.

Becky Moore
• Find me online:
• Buy The Right Words at the XOXO Publishing Online Store
• Follow me on Twitter at: @beckym_romance
• Follow me on Facebook at:

Friday, May 7

Please welcome... author Lenore Butcher!

Zombies – Not just for Hallowe’en anymore!

When I was asked to contribute a guest spot to this blog, I didn’t know at first what I was going to write about. I’m not great at shameless self promotion, has to do with that self-deprecating Canadian thing I have going on. As I was procrastinating in the name of ‘doing research for the next book’ (okay, yes, I was surfing the Internet), I stumbled upon a web page proudly proclaiming that May is Zombie Awareness Month. That fits and it’s a perfect topic for me to talk about, one I know quite a bit about.

You see, my book ‘Dead Girls, Dogs and Ponies’ (currently available on is about zombies. One zombie in particular, named Justin. He is not your average zombie, being possessed of more acute mental faculties and is indeed the narrator of this book, hopefully the first in what will be a series of books all set in the same thematic world where zombies, vampires, werewolves, faeries and dragons and other fantastic supernatural beings exist alongside and among humans, keeping their secrets and policing themselves and each other lest the mortals become aware of the stream of abnormal culture running just beneath the surface. Justin is hired by the head of one of the city’s vampire dynasties to uncover some information for her. What he uncovers is far more devious and dangerous than he’d imagined and he soon wishes it was information he didn’t know as his knowledge endangers both Justin and his friends. The book is also about loss and the enduring nature of love as Justin spends a good portion of the book remembering and pining for his dead girlfriend Honey. Justin is shrewd and possessed of a caustic wit but also with surprisingly deep emotions that surface in unpredictable ways. I am currently hard at work on the sequel, ‘Food Chain Boogie’, which will be released hopefully in the fall of this year.

Back to Zombie Awareness Month. I hadn’t realized it until the website pointed it out, but the majority of zombie movies are actually set in May, which is quite fitting. In ancient Rome and Greece, most of the festivals in May were to honour the various gods of the dead such as Hermes who was not only the god of speed and of thieves but was also known as the ‘herdsman of the dead’. He lead the recently departed to their final rewards in the underworld. During May in Rome, festivals were also held to appease the Lemures, who were the ‘wandering spirits of the dead’ and the Lares praestites, who were the ghosts said to stand guard around Rome.

May is said to bring about rebirth and fecundity as the earth sends forth its’ blossoms in all their glory. It is a time for renewal and hope and apparently for zombies, so don a grey ribbon and join me in uttering a mighty ‘gargh!’ in celebration of ‘Dead Girls, Dogs and Ponies’ and Zombie Awareness Month!

Lenore Butcher

Wednesday, May 5

Please welcome... author Amelie Court!

The Thought Process

When trying to figure out what I will write next, timing is everything for me. I could be watching a television show or even a movie, and suddenly I get an idea. I never try to copy anyone else's ideas, but turn whatever comes to mind, into something that only my brain could comprehend, then try to form it so that everyone else can figure out what is going on.

Sound's complicated doesn't it? For me, it is quite easy, but putting those ideas into words is the long process for me, hence, my next book is still in the writing process.

My next book is going to be a Paranormal book, which is why I am taking the up-most caution with this one. I want it to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, so-to-speak.

I always found, back in school, writing to be a tedious and pain-staking ordeal, but after graduating, I found it very therapeutic, how funny things can turn out. After writing Poetry, Short Stories, and now working on my first full-length novel, I find myself very relaxed, but sometimes pumped-up after writing for different periods of time.

Overall, trying to figure out what to write, how to write it, and get it down on paper (or the computer) is a process that takes immeasurable time to make it just right. Never give up, is what I always tell myself; the end result will make it all worthwhile.

Amelie Court
author of "Noble" available for sale at

Tuesday, April 27

Simple pleasures

So, as you can see from my word count bar, I've been progressing pretty well on my next book and averaging about 2k words/day. Er, besides from yesterday that is. I've had some kind of cold/flu/sickness for over a week. I'd begun feeling better a few days ago, but yesterday just took the wind out of my sails, and I felt yucky really again. So only 199 words were added on the book. I've been waiting to work on this novel in particular for a few years now. It began in a previous incarnation, but the pieces just weren't fitting together properly. I ended up re-envisioning it, and now it's flowing pretty well so far. Some of what I'd thought before is staying, but other things are being put in the missing pieces that make more sense.

But one of the things I love about the book is the setting.  It takes place in a faraway country called Finland, which I absolutely love. Yesterday while I wasn't feeling well, I looked over a photo website by Niklas Sjöblom. It definitely counted as novel research. *grins*

The picture above is one of my many favorites from the picture website of Helsinki's South Harbor. And then there's the webcam from, which is also of the South Harbor. 

Sunday, April 25

Valuable Lesson Learned...

Don't forget to hit SAVE every once in a while!

That charming little autorecovery save feature in Microsoft Word is really nice, and it's saved my butt a couple of times when I've had my computer crash unexpectedly. I'm quite fond of it. But today after working hard on completing a tricky chapter and beginning the next one in a neat fashion, I walked away from my computer to talk to my husband. When I strolled back, I notice that my computer has in fact rebooted itself because of the ridiculous feature on Windows 7 that causes a computer to restart if 15 minutes have passed without the user to hit a Postpone button.

When Microsoft Word popped back up, my entire day of writing was gone. Auto save had apparently taken a hike while I'd been working today (which I know isn't technically true since the feature itself is enabled, it just didn't save anything. Techie hubby tried to figure it out to no avail). I ended up having to rewrite the scene to make sure I didn't completely forget what I wrote, but the damage has been done since I think what I rewrote is lackluster in comparison to what I initially had.

So don't let this happen to you... SAVE your work throughout the writing session.

Friday, April 23

The Friday 56

The Fifth Sentence
"I pushed as hard as I could, not caring at the moment if the movement tore my neck, just wanting him off. My hands were at an awkward angle on his shoulders and my strength was no match for his, but something about the action seemed to get through. He stopped." - Embrace the Night by Karen Chance

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
* Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Saturday, April 17

The Reading Blitz Continues...

And surprisingly, I've already finished reading my "reading quota" of the month so far with it being just over the middle of the month. Wow! I'm a little surprised. Those two books being Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews and Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur. Both were great. I actually finished Full Moon Rising last night during the wee hours of the night. This year I've been trying to read more, and I made an insane goal at the beginning of the year to read at least 24 books this year, making it two books a month. Though I really have a stack of 30 sitting in the TBR pile. I've actually read 8 books so far (7 spec fiction and 1 historical category romance). I'm amazed by that number, especially considering it's only April. My husband reads very fast, so I get frustrated by my lack of being able to speed through pages since I have a ton of books. And there are always new ones coming out. It makes me very pleasantly surprised that it's one more goal that I've been keeping with this year.

Friday, April 16

Please welcome... author Morgan Wyatt!

The Writing Virus

If you are reading this then you’ve probably been infected with the writing virus. Instead of carving your name into your desk or signaling your BFF across the room in elementary school, you may have written her a note or even a story that featured her as a lead character. Some of you may have started your story weaving even before you could write. Sure, parents tend to consider stories as lies as opposed to seeing it as a sign of a creative mind. Perhaps you were attempting enliven their mundane lives by populating it with a cookie-eating alien who just happened to throw a few cookies your way.

Maybe writing was your outlet when things didn’t go exactly as you planned. The super hot soccer captain did not ask you to the prom. In turn, you created a story that has a main character, who bears some resemblance to yourself, exacting revenge a’ la Carrie style. What girl hasn’t had a diary? The boys tend to like to call their small diary-like books journals because it sounds less girl-like. All the same, you were writing down your thoughts for yourself and perhaps others. In my younger years, I was convinced I would be famous and thought I needed to track every thought and word. People might want to know later what I was thinking on December 3, 1973. This was probably not the best plan since my sister tended to read my diary and wreck vengeance when she was portrayed in an unfavorable light, which was 95% of the time. Inadvertently, I learned my first lesson about creating characters—disguise them. My second lesson was not to let anyone in the family read your work because they might find themselves.

Maybe you enjoyed English in school, does that mean you have the writing virus? Not necessarily, a true writer (and you do not have to be published to be one) must write. Do the days your schedule is overloaded with work and family activities that allow you no time to scribble even a sentence leave you feeling vaguely unsettled? On the less chaotic days, when you can sit and tap out at least the rough draft of an article or story leave you feeling more content, even settled? If so, then you have the writing virus, which can be a bit of a benign parasite. The need to write is in you motivating you to write, but when you don’t something is missing it as if bits of you are being devoured.

The easiest cure for this illness is to write. Although I have found contact with other writers, writing workshops and reading well written books is also helpful. It seems simple enough to cure this illness, but we don’t. Instead, we make excuses why we can’t write. Work, prior commitments, family, the dog, etc. the list is endless. There are humorous anecdotes that other writers tell each other about getting ready to write including re-arranging the room to wearing their lucky shirt. While they spend 60 minutes getting ready to write, a family emergency happens which can consists of the dog throwing up on the carpet, a forgotten science project that is due tomorrow, or the smoke alarm going off. It is usually a combination of the three.

The end result is you didn’t write a thing and you feel vaguely guilty and unsatisfied. I should know. I needed a room to write in, an office, far away from the family. In this glorious sanctuary, I could burst out of my chrysalis and become a New York Times bestselling author. The spare bedroom, where all the bursting forth was supposed to happen, became the place all the clothes baskets resided with unfolded clothes. Items that were all their way to Goodwill hid out there too. The children decided they could clean their rooms by putting unwanted items in the spare room. It became an ordeal to hack my way through the debris to just get to the computer. Sigh, not only did I have a full blown case of the writer virus, but mother guilt too. Did I even deserve a room just for writing? On top of that, I was fast developing a case of lack of writing guilt. This involves mentally whipping myself with a wet noodle because I was not writing.

Perhaps a few of you have bemoaned your inability to write properly due to time and space. I remember attending a conference where the speaker commented that she started writing at 4am in the morning every day before her eight children woke up. Eight children, my one whiny teenager and demanding dog could not compete. You have to find time. I pick morning because I am pretty useless after work. Good only for television watching, eating and devouring novels. Find your time. Hank Phillipi Ryan spoke at a recent Indiana RWA meeting about giving up things to write. There really are so many hours in the day. Decide which ones to claim as your own. A word of advice when it comes to families, they don’t understand that you have a virus and must write, so try to find time that doesn’t interfere with them too much.

As for space, give it up, unless you live in some palatial estate. My space is wherever my laptop is. I’ve written in bed, on the couch, in the hair salon, the doctor’s waiting room, even in the car, but I wasn’t driving. Don’t waste dead time. You might not always be able to take your laptop everywhere, despite what the commercials show, but you can take your brain. I highly suggest you take your brain. The conversation you heard between the cashiers at Target has the making of a bit of dialogue. Maybe you spotted a fellow in Wal-mart who would be the perfect sidekick to your villain. Every moment you are gathering material. Other people just exist, you are gathering material to create new people and new worlds, a regular Dr. Frankenstein without all the gross assembling of inanimate body parts.

By this time, you may have a handle on your writing virus, you have scratched out some time. If you have created space wherever you are at or cleaned out that back bedroom. I am busy reclaiming mine, again. This is all good. The one thing you have to make certain to do is spend time with other writers. I should include an aside here and say: you don’t have to like all writers. Hey, they’re people. Some you click with, some you don’t. Some have helpful ideas others have just begun their writer’s journey. The wonderful thing about being in the company of writers besides finding out about agents, contests and publishers, you have a chance to feel normal. No need to explain your virus to disbelievers. It is good to be understood for a change. Other writers can even make you laugh at outrageous tales how their families and friends reacted to their virus. On second thought, maybe it isn’t a disorder, but more like reaching a heightened stage of human development like growing a third eye. Something to consider, but more importantly, something to write about, find your time and space and write.

Morgan Wyatt

Check out my latest story, To Catch a Chef @:

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