Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jacquelyn is a Brave Gal...

She asked me to guest blog.

Not today, mind you, but back on th 29th.

And I have no excuse for flaking, I really don't. Except I was lost in a world of reading. Don't you hate it when that happens? You get lost in a book, or in my case a series of books, and you forget all time and place, wondering what happened, why you suddenly have stuff you should have been doing...

I bow my head in shame. It was a good series of books though... ;)

I apologize to Jacquelyn for messing up, and I apologize to Adrianna for popping in now, over her post.

I had considered not posting at all, since I had missed my slot. But I figured Jacquelyn was nice enough to ask me to come over, and I figured the least I could do was pop in and at least explain why I was...

Yeah, I was reading. And it wasn't Harry Potter. That was last weekend.

I tend to read most standard paperbacks in less than a day. Longer if the book doesn't grip me instantly. Of course, I rarely buy books that don't grip me, so I usually wind up reading them in one quick sitting, zooming through them at top speed, neglecting the laundry, housework, even my own writing.

When I get a bug in me, I read like a crazy person. Course, I do the same when I write. I get into a groove, and the world falls away, and everything zeroes into the story, and I can't type fast enough to get it down.

Like my book Unified Souls, a scifi romance about a cyborg named Jasmine Storm. The idea took almost ten years to enhance and perfect, but when it was done, I finished the book in approximately four months, pouring out of me at breakneck speed. And then it was reworked a couple of times to smooth out the bugs, but for the most part, what's there is what I originally wrote.

Very heady to know I wrote it that fast.

What about you, do you lose yourself in your reading or your writing?

Candice Gilmer

Author Site
My MySpace Page

Adrianna Dane Saying Hi - Risking the Comfort Zone

Thanks, Jacquelyn, for inviting me to come and visit today while you're away. This is probably one of those "outside the comfort" zone moments in my life. Listening in to my characters and then translating their words is one thing, but traveling outside my little cave, on my own, quite another, and something I don't often push myself to do. What's your comfort zone and do you get out much?

First, let me tell you a bit about me. My name is Adrianna Dane and I write sensual and erotic romance. Currently, I'm published with four publishers--Amber Quill Press, Loose Id, Phaze, and Lady Aibell Press.

Tempt Me Not is my latest release from Amber Heat, the erotic imprint of Amber Quill Press. It's an erotic dark fantasy romance about a tempting demon and a bit of time travel.

I tend to be an introvert and quite enjoy sitting in my cave and writing my stories, sort of oblivious to the rest of the world. But as I...mature...I find myself willing to take more risks--both in my fantasy worlds and in the real world.

I did "break out" so to speak just a few weeks ago as I attended a festival all on my own, without my husband of thirty-four years. It was something I needed to do. And something I wanted to do. And the experience was different than it would have been had my husband accompanied me. We have learned over the years that just because we're married and enjoy each other's company, we are not attached at the hip. Although I must admit I've been less adventurous over the years than he has been. He's much more outgoing than I am.

Without someone there to latch onto, a sort of captive conversationalist, I found myself more in tune with what was going on around me and to other people. Take the fact that I arrived a day early, gathered up my courage and trekked over to the grounds to make sure I knew where I was going and ended up being allowed in to witness some of the pre-festival activity. Thank goodness I brought my trusty camera with me, although I hadn't expected to be allowed inside. Would I have gone that extra day early if my husband had been with me? Probably not. But "Ms. Wrong-Way Adrianna" felt a definite need to check out the way of the land first. And I wouldn't have met Juliet and her family, whom I discovered came from the state where I grew up, all the way across the country. We had a lovely chat and I discovered Juliet's father lived for a time in a small town (even smaller than my own) right next door to where I grew up in central New York. Now I have to say, nobody knows about that tiny place except my mom, who grew up there. :-) That was fun.

So that was just the beginning, and it was a good start. I met others throughout the weekend--Thomas, who was traveling across the country on his own had another interesting story. Then there were the authors I had the chance to meet, the mostly Celtic music played by the bands, that I was able to enjoy, and the atmosphere I was simply able to immerse myself into. And the raptors from the raptor sanctuary I could just enjoy sitting and watching as others visited with them as well. It was wonderful to just experience and soak up the creativity and whimsical nature of the festival.

If you'd like to see some pictures from the festival, you can find them here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adriannadane/sets/72157600967432792/ I took so many pictures. Everyone was decked out so beautifully, I just couldn't resist. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

We often move in packs and I think we miss some of the experience by doing that. Is it fear? Protection? A little of both maybe that make us skittish about venturing out alone? And into unknown lands? Probably a little of all those things, who knows for certain?

What do you think?

Thanks for inviting me come visit at your place, Jacquelyn.

"Passionate stories with adventurous heart

Monday, July 30, 2007

Levels of Hauntings

When Jacquelyn said I could come over and play for a day while she’s away, I jumped at the chance. Then, reality set in and I realized just how damn boring I am. After coming to terms with the knowledge, I decided to talk about something that, in the past, has sparked some fabulous conversations. Ghosts/Hauntings

Since I write paranormal romance this seemed like a great topic to discuss, especially here with Jacquelyn’s readers. I’ll first start with a small intro on my part. Hello, my name is Mandy M. Roth (stop laughing, it was necessary to get that out in the open). I currently have eighteen books in print, covering all kinds of paranormal/supernatural. Vampires, werewolves, faeries, demons, angels… the list goes on. I’ve always been into odd things and from an early age expressed an interest in all that goes bump in the night.

Now that we have that pesky intro out of the way, let’s get down to what I want to talk about today—levels of hauntings. I’m interested in hearing your tales. Have you or someone you know ever experienced any of the levels? If so, which ones? What happened?

The following bit was snagged from the web several years back by me and I’m sorry I didn’t keep the link to it but here it is.

Here are the five known levels of Poltergeist/Ghost activity.

Collected From

Gentle Fawn

Level 1. Senses Attack

Cold spots, hearing voices, not able to understand what they are saying, strange noises, odd odors and smells, hearing foot steps, unusual animal activity (like dogs or cats running from rooms, ect.) feelings of being watched.

Level 2. Communication

Presence felt.... No longer mind tricks

Whispers, laughs or giggles, moans or shrieking, moving shadows, breeze in closed areas, visible clouds (base apparitions) strong static, electricity, marks on the floors or walls- not writing.

Level 3. Electrical Control

Lights and other electrical appliances turning off and on, unseen hands grabbing or touching people, writings on the wall or pattern markings, doors open and close or lock and unlock, hearing voices or words clearly, full apparitions or dark figures, showing levels of communication with living people, strange telephone calls.

Level 4. The Trickery Stage

It gains knowledge of what scares you....

Flying objects, moving objects, objects disappearing and reappearing else where, shaking furniture or beds, fire starting, appearing as frightening entities, pushing or shoving people or shaking them, creating visions or illusions, speaking in ordering tones, people feel dizzy, nausea or sick to their stomach, windows, mirrors or other house hold objects breaking for no reason.

Level 5. The Danger Level

Dangerous activity, biting. slapping or punching, rape, animating objects- possession, use of house hold electrical systems to cause harm, fires and burning, blood on the walls-floor or ceilings, attacked by unseen forces, held down, hair pulled, flying knives or other sharp objects, heavy objects falling, treating writings or visual signs.

Poltergeist last for an unknown period of time, but after level 5 it'll lay dormant and then back to level 1 and
it builds up again

Contest: Anyone who comments will be entered to win a PDF download of a title of their choice from my backlist.



Saturday, July 28, 2007

Print Release Flood & A Contest

When Jacquelyn asked me over to guest blog while she was away, I was excited to come over and play and talk about my new book. But since then, the new book turned into books. This month I've been flooded with print releases. I'm not complaining, mind you. I love new books. Hey, it means I have a job and that's always a good thing--especially since I love what I do for a living.

But, before I get into all that, I should probably do an introduction--I'm Michelle M. Pillow. I write in almost all genres and sub-genres of romance. I have paranormals, historicals, futuristics, contemporaries, dark fantasy, fantasy and every combination thereof. Some of my works includes the Dragon Lords and Lords of the Var series (NCP), Realm Immortal series (Samhain), Matthew Sisters series (Virgin Books/Random House) , Pleasure Cruise series (EC), Taming Him (Pocket Books). There are many more and you can see my Booklist Page for a complete listing.

This month, I've had five print books release. I didn't necessarily plan my schedule like that, it just kind of happened that way. With delays and early pushes, surprises and re-issues, I find myself trying to tackle the promoting of all titles. A challenge to be sure, especially since I'm still writing to fulfill new contracts. Again, not complaining, I love my work.

One of the surprises was Naughty Cupid, a collection of three connected novellas at NCP. I knew this one would come, but I didn't have an exact date after it was initially delayed. I wrote this series to give people who hated Valentines Day a cupid they could love. Contrary to popular belief, Cupid is not a cute little cherub. And he’ll take revenge on any who say differently.

Also from NCP, just released two days ago, Lords of the Var 5: The Pirate Prince is finally here. I say finally, because this was a delayed release that my readers have been clamoring for. When I first started writing these futuristic series, I did the four Dragon Lords books hoping they'd do all right as I went back to my first love, the straight historical. I never realized how popular they would become. Now I can't keep up with the requests for more. Dragon Lords were four prince brothers who were at war with the Var. After their stories, I jumped to the other side of the planet to tell the Var's side of the story. So the bad guys became the heroes and the five Lords of the Var books were born. After these, more futuristic installments are planned. Space Lords will hopefully begin releasing this year in both ebook and print. Also connected to the series are the Zhang Dynasty books in ebook and print (Seduction of the Phoenix, Temptation of the Butterfly) and the short erotic series, Galaxy Playmates (ebook only).

Stop Dragon My Heart Around a book I co-authored with Mandy M. Roth (who will be guest blogging here next week *waving at Mandy*) We always hoped it would come into print and with Ellora's Cave's new printing press it did just in time to sign for the RWA conference this month. True to EC's reputation, this book is super sexy! The Dracodomus brother have a slight problem. If they don't mate by the end of the year, they'll never have sex again.

Fierce Competition and Opposites Attract are re-issues in mass market from Virgin Books. They're part of the contemporary erotic romance imprint, Cheek. Fierce Competition is about a woman with a dream job, great roommates and a wonderful boyfriend. She has everything--even a social rival who'd like to see her lose it all. Opposites Attract sees socialite Alexis Grant losing everything when her mother is arrested for embezzlement. Needing to get away and desperate for money, she agrees to go cross-country with her best friend, the best friend's boyfriend and a man she'd never met--tattoo artist, Ethan James. Ethan is everything she never wanted in a man, but he might just turn out to be everything she needs.

Book Video Links - for you who like to see the trailers
Stop Dragon my Heart Around Book Video
Opposites Attract Book Video
Fierce Competition Book Video
Other Michelle Pillow Book Videos

Michelle M Pillow Links

Chat Group - The Raven
Author Newsletter/Book Notification Group
Free Story- The Raven
Raven Paranormal Blog


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Monday, July 16, 2007

A Hunting We Will Go!! Err....again!

House Hunting, take two!

They say everything happens for a reason and I firmly held on to that belief when the house I wanted slipped through my fingers last winter. That reason is that I now have the opportunity to get an even better house in an even better school district for B. Also, this time seven year old B gets to house shop with me. I told Phyllis, the RE Agent, that if she thought *I* was picky, she is in for a real surprise. *snicker*

Since B learned we were going to shop for the new house together she had begun to compile a list of requirements that may just beat out last year's Wish List for Santa Claus! Apparently she agrees we should have wood and tile flooring only..."Cuz it's easier to clean up the cat puke that way. And you know how much Damien can puke cuz he's really fat!" She dislikes the idea of a split-floor plan lol. She wants to be able to run into my bedroom in a flash. Distance is unwelcome. It must be, above all, a non-scary and utterly MONSTER-FREE house. No houses with monsters will be given consideration. Not even if they come down on the price. Apparently they are guaranteed to migrate under her bed and she wants NO PART of it.

Beyond that, the only requirements are a tire swing...or a tree big enough for the immediate installation of a tire swing. This is non-negotiable. Also, the yard must be big enough for her to run fast and hard from one side to the other and must have a fence "So I don't get stoled."

*sigh* Nice to know at least PARTS of my life lessons get absorbed...somewhat...but despite her bastardization of 'don't talk to strangers', she did have an addendum..."and so I can have a swing and monkey bars, because I like monkey bars, and the fence is so no other kids play on them...unless they are nice to me and are my friends. But they have to ask."

"Me?" I ask archly, knowing how her mind works.

She scoffs. "No. ME! They're my monkey bars. They need my permission."

"Don't you think they ought to ask me, too? It's my yard. My house."

"But it's MY monkey bars," she argues in that I-am-destined-to-be-a-lawyer tone. "You're too grown up to play on them so they aren't yours. You'll be giving them to me to use." She tilts her head to judge me. "Besides, you hate to go outside."

This is true. Damn her. "Yes, but it's my property and I will be buying these things with my money." Do not ask me while I am compelled to reason logically with a 7 year old. It's a mother thing. "That makes them my monkey bars."

I get a narrow-eyed look. "But you are getting them FOR ME. Right?"

She has me there. I don't crave monkey bars...unless you count the value in quelling one more instance of "I'M BORED!"

"You and any other child who might visit," I stipulate. This utterly horrifies her. B is one of the most possessive kids ever, especially if a toy is brand new and she hasn't had the chance to play with it first. Probably a product of always having hand me downs...a situation I can empathize with as 1 of 5 kids. We almost never had exclusively new toys and never were we allowed to not set one apart as just ours. Sharing meant the toy would likely get shared to death. Someone was bound to fuck it up while it was out of your hands and making the rounds.

I watch her stop and search her mind, her eyes wide as she realizes yet another implication to my statement. "What other kids? You don't have any other kids but me! You're not allowed! The doctor said you can't have no babies in your belly." Smug satisfaction. That's her expression as she folds her arms over her chest. Because worse than sharing monkey bars is the idea of sharing...well...me. LOL! And apparently my explanation of the hysterectomy in January was interpreted very strangely...or conveniently...in her mind as guaranteed exclusivity as my one and only child EVER. I just hope she didn't think I was being forbidden from having kids and the doctor was punishing me! (how's that for perceptive and ironic interpretation though?)

"Well, Christopher might visit or Zoey..." The relief running through her makes her bony shoulders relax in a sag.

"Oh. Well they are too small for monkey bars. They might fall and get hurt."

I can't resist. I am cruel and evil and will go to parent hell. "...or Jarred might visit." (Uh oh...he's only one day older than she is. Now we're in trouble). "And Zoey and Christopher will grow up and get as big as you are eventually."

Obstinacy arrives with perfect timing and panache. "Then I'm taking them with me when I go back home to mommy!"

"Sweetie, monkey bars won't fit on a plane. And you are forgetting, they are MY monkey bars. They will stay here and be here for when you come visit."

And in enters craftiness. "But you can take them apart into pieces and pack them in a suitcase and then they'd fit."

"No. You can't. Once it's put together it stays together. But nothing is going to happen to them while you are gone, B. I promise. And if it did, I'd get them fixed."

Reassurance makes its demands, including a boo-boo face. "For me? Cuz you love me, right?"

"Of course, honey. Why do you think I am getting them for you in the first place?"

*SPRING!!* "AHA! See! You just said they are mine!"

The little sneak. She walked me right into that one. If anyone needs a lawyer, look her up in about 20 years. If she survives that long.

So I will be away all this week, but with Internet access, so you might suffer a blow by blow. I am sorry. But if I have to suffer the slings and arrows of the child, I instinctively duck and let it all fly right back to you all. Because I love you. Truly. LOL.

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Everyone's entitled...so here's mine.

Well, I can't imagine this is going to be one of my more popular posts. At least not in certain circles. It all depends where you stand. I have learned over my lifetime never to discuss two things...religion and politics. I made the exception for religion on my website, making a nice forum for mine in a place where I am comfortable. A place where people can volunteer to come...or not. In fact we have a lot of things like that in my forums. I find that most people have chosen to gravitate to the forums because of my free speech policy...even if it has cost me an "over 18 only please" exemptor.

So, since this is MY blog, I am going to take the liberty of getting slightly political. At least, the politics of romance. I think it is safe to say that one of the most influencing forces in publishing politics is the RWA. Romance Writers of America. At least as far as my profession is concerned it is. They started out as a place where upstarts and wannabes could learn all the tricks of the trade necessary to break into a really tight knit industry back in the day. They were trendsetters. Then they became regulators. Recognition by the RWA is apparently a big thing. Something to strive for. RITA awards are much craved and lauded. You have to be a member to get them, so they are also exclusive.

That was one of the first doubts I had about becoming and RWA member. I dislike exclusivity. I dislike being part of a group that you have to be able to afford in order to even have the right to be judged in the first place. I was advised that as a newbie author it was best to go with the flow and experience things firsthand before making decisions or fast judgments. Also a good idea. I dislike basing opinion on rumor. So I joined.

Then came RWA Dallas.

Now to make a fair comparison...I loved RT Houston, had a great time, but I will admit this had more to do with the company I was keeping in the bar than anything else. I met a slew of authors. Made plenty of new friends. Plus my two best friends were with me the whole time on top of it. I was not pleased, however, to hear about the m/m romance promo being stripped from promo lane. I don't read it, I don't write it, I am a traditional gal...well sorta ;)...but it had EVERY right to be there. It has every right to exist. I imagine homosexual people have and want romance just like heterosexuals do. So this dramatic action boded very ill and reeked of prejudice and ignorance, something I happen to abhor. Also, there was segregation in some of the parties themselves. Cliquing and all that high school mentality. I myself left the EC party after five minutes because I was so disgusted by the way the EC authors were isolated from the rest of us. All I had wanted for that party was to meet my most beloved EC authors. Being disabled (and relegated to a far corner of the room), mingling was not an option. The awards ceremony tried to isolate the winners, which I guess is traditional if you think about the Oscars and all that, but I preferred to be with my friends and got up to do exactly that. Still, I was willing to make a little leeway for the convention being unprepared for some of these issues and hoped for the best for next year. I hoped they would listen to the feedback of the attendees.

As a person of some size and disability, if there is one thing I know, it's discrimination. Whether it is passive or aggressive, it doesn't matter. I feel it and I hear it loud and clear. In waiting rooms when all the chairs have arms, it's saying "You are not welcome to sit here in comfort like those who can fit their asses in these chairs"...even though 50 percent and better of Americans are overweight, even doctors' offices and movie theatres haven't changed their ways. I hear it from stores with no handicapped parking (usually older villages) that say I will never be welcome there because I can't walk that far. Even my beloved bookstores, the smaller ones I used to love to browse for hours, but provide nowhere to sit, have forced me into large chains or simply surfing the net in order to browse in comfort. This is passive discrimination. The aggressive discrimination is worse. Laughter, mocking...exclusion...you get the idea. So I am familiar.

When RWA passed the new recognition regulations, I was appalled. The ability to be recognized by RWA or PAN was done with such distinctive purpose. Now some I agree with. For instance, the new rules about being in business three years or better, paying at least $1,000 advance to every author...rules meant to protect the young and budding writers as well as unsuspecting readers in essence. However, when it made demands about the majority of sales NOT being on a publisher owned website and, as I have heard, the turn around regulations from ebook to print that are nearly impossible for young companies to match, I got the message loud and clear, just like every ebook author out there did. They said: "You are not welcome here. Your new ideas and groundbreaking ways disturb us. Homosexual, erotic and menage romances have no place in our lauded ranks, and neither do those who write them." Not one of the current epubs meets the criteria of a recognizable RWA publisher. Not even, as I understand it, Ellora's Cave...the grandmother of all epubs. Does this mean former recognition is being rescinded, or will they be grandfathered in? I haven't found the answer to that question yet.

I wrote a letter yesterday to a friend and contemporary...an eBook author...and I found myself saying something in private that should be said out loud. There is a long standing bias between "New York" authors and "Ebook" authors. When I first came on the scene I eagerly embraced everyone who shared my love of writing, NY, E or otherwise. Now having become more familiar with the ropes, I realize that talent between the two is not always equal...but neither is it all that disparate. But I wasn't looking for talent. I was looking for PEOPLE. For friends. Writers who, like me, wrote because they loved to create great worlds of imagination.

I agree, there should be regulations to keep raw startups from flooding the market with subpar work. Having read more than my share of poorly edited crap and vanity projects, I can see the need to rein in new pubs and give them guidelines to adhere to. This will protect readers from buying crap, and writers from being poorly represented and abused...which I have also seen. Knowing they are answerable to someone can be a good thing.

But making the regulations so strict that it lumps everyone who writes or publishes an ebook into that category? Even EC!? No...this is not about quality. It's about fear. It is, once and for all, about erotic romance, m/m and other gay romance, menage romance, and other things that disturb convention. I saw the ripples when I heard that the lesser epubs were being singled out and delegated to the damaging and exclusionary tactics of next year's RT convention by being removed from the famous Saturday author signing to a night of their own, Wednesday. If this didn't scream "WE'RE BETTER THAN YOU!!" then I don't know what does. Of course, this didn't include Samhain or Ellora's Cave who were deemed fit to swim with the big boys. I wonder, truly, what the cut off is. What makes EC and Samhain eligible for the huge Saturday crowd draw, rather than relegated to being set up in nowhereland Wednesday night...oh, and did I mention the eBook author signing was scheduled perfectly opposite the EC party, the convention's biggest and most popular party? Knowing that, you tell me...what is the likelihood of anyone showing up at the signing from the convention? Nil. What is the likelihood of people wanting to shlep out to the convention twice, both Wednesday and Saturday for signings? NIL. The outright snobbery and prejudicial treatment...even hostilities in some instances between 'new york' authors and e-authors has always shocked and baffled me, and this becomes icing on that cake. Whether it is actual on the NY side or perceived on the Epub side, it's there and it flies as thick as crap in a shit-throwing contest.

When I first entered this scene I was like a child who has no idea its friends are black or white. I had no idea I was supposed to think differently about 'them' until it was attempted to TEACH me to think that way by my elders. I see no difference between that life lesson and the message/lesson this is sending. (Luckily, I made bunches of ebook author friends before I realized I was expected to look down my nose at them--after all, who do you think most of those authors were down in that bar deigning to spend time with the little people?) I am also lucky because my publisher never told me I could or could not align myself with epub authors. I find my publisher to be progressive and tolerant and, in the face of stories I have heard from others about having their work destroyed by other editors at other pub houses, I believe I am damn lucky they took me in and are nurturing me.

But the individual authors themselves? The behavior I have seen from some of them is disgustingly prejudicial. And since RWA is made up of mostly individual published authors, I think they just made my point. New York is white. EBooks are black. And I do believe RWA just passed the modern day version of Jim Crow laws. Separate but equal....except for the equal part. Straight and proper vs gay and alternative sex. The traditional straight romance makes us feel safe and comfy...we don't care that there is a huge untapped market out there for gay/alternative romance!! It makes us uncomfortable! We're only doing what we always do when we're uncomfortable! Therefore, we now dictate that romance is not romance unless it has one boy and one girl and all the proper connecting parts!

And as for the resulting uproar since RWA Dallas and since RT announced the segregation of the signing event? Here's where I get the image of an RWA or RT child sitting on the floor, fingers stuck in the ears, eyes closed, yelling "LALALALALA!! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!"

Unfortunately, lines are already being drawn, people are choosing sides, and it's only a matter of time before the romance writing union starts experiencing ceding and starts to fall apart into the ranks of the blue and the grey. War is coming. I hope they recall that they were the ones to fire the first shot.

Then again, this is just my opinion. I am eternally liberal....I believe in eternal equality. I live in a happy mindset where we can all get along, all be friends, and all be treated fairly, if only we tried harder to be accepting and understanding.

I fully expect someone to come along any minute now to slap me in the face and say SNAP OUT OF IT! I expect fallout from this post. I am even afraid of the idea of upsetting people. But if I didn't speak my mind in spite of fear then I would be passive and sending the wrong message, just like arms on all the chairs.

I wonder what you, the readers, think of all of this brouhaha?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh woe and alas...I have fat ass cats!

okay. let me explain, in spite of the self-explanatory nature of the title.

i lost all cable, phones and internet yesterday, one of the prices you pay for having everything through digital cable. if one goes out they all go out. so that means i have to use my cell to fix the problem and call cable company x. now you have to understand that i have no cell reception in my house, so i have to go outside to get a signal.

it was bleeding effing hot in new york yesterday. i know, arizona has 115 degrees in the shade....but that's their problem. it was 94 degrees out and that is just hot. i hate the heat. if i can avoid it at all, i will not step a single foot outside in all of the summer. it makes me sweat. i hate sweat. it makes me sick, aggravating my fibromyalgia. it makes me irritable. and i am so pale that five seconds in the sun gives me second degree sunburn. so here i am sweat my fat tushy off screaming at the voicemail as it transfers me to manhattan voicemail (i live in the catskills) and am forced to listen to the long long loooooooong loooooooooong list of outages in manhattan, the bronx, queens....you get the idea.

so i am reduced to screaming and cussing like a crazed lunatic in the broiling hot parking lot. then when i get a live person i can't seem to get them to grasp the concept of NO CELL RECEPTION IN THE HOUSE!!! as they continually ask me to check this and that piece of equipment for this and that reset button...I AM OUTSIDE YOU MORON!!! outside standing in the broiling heat in the center of the blacktop which is emanating even more heat.

so finally i find out that there is outages and oh well wait for the service guy tomorrow. i walk into the house and...the cable is working.


except, of course, the internet, which is so vital to my junkie existence. the only way to survive this catastrophic event is to play one of my mindless games from the accursed oberon media collection, my second junkie addiction, which is like being on the computer on the internet and an adequate substitute, at least for stopgap purposes.

now comes time to take B, heretofore referred to as "the ungrateful child", to horseback riding. i don't want to quit the game--forgetting that they now all have automatic save on exit--so i leave the computer on and open. after an hour of watching the UC do her thing in the comfort of my AC in the car, we head back home where i stagger in drooling need back to my laptop and find...

that i have fat-assed cats. no one else was in the house, the lock being changed after the whole medication fiasco. so when i see my keyboard on the laptop has been SHATTERED, there is only one culprit. or rather four. one of four. someone jumped or fell onto the damn thing and shattered the keys! the enter, quote and brackets keys are totally MIA. the shift key and question mark are snapped into bits! you may have noticed the lack of caps in this posting. i am a right handed shifter...so i can't coordinate caps...and left handed shifting requires a complex process of thought and motor control. i am a left handed spaz. thus, i am leading a cap-less existence.

fat ass cats. now, the culprit...how to figure it out. (this is not going to change the inevitable, but it makes me feel better...i think...because i have to have someone to blame other than my dumb ass who left the computer open.) the first and obvious suspect is damien. damien is sixteen lbs on a light day. he is also a horrid clutz. in fact, none of my cats are graceful. but damien is aware of his bulk and gracelessness and so is very careful to pick and choose where he lands.

then we have leo. leo weighs in at a mere 12lbs, but he also loves the highest perch on the cat tree in spite of the fact that he insists on rolling around up there like a spaz (he gets it from his mother) until he plummets gracelessly to the ground. he is a definite possibility.

nino...i least suspect. he actually has grace...more or less...but he is a decent 13 to 14 lbs on his own. and nikki is the lightest...a mere 9 lbs...but by far the one most likely to NOT look where he is going. he hates being crowded or touched by the others and if they get too close he freaks out and springs in any direction he thinks will get him away fast enough and far enough.

*sigh* an exercise in futility. none of this changes the fact that i must call dell hell. and anyone who has followed my blogs knows how i feel about calling or chatting with dell customer service. and to add perspective to the cable call, dell was a pleasant experience after that. the new kb is on the way. so...i will be capless and questionless for a while.

i think i might survive. i am not certain. please send chocolate.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Contest Winners

I know...you are all waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the Evil and Serene winners.

I SHOULD make you wait. Heh. And not just because of random cruelty! Several of you, and I won't name names yet because it could be my mailer's fault, bounced your email notices back to me like they were rubber against a wall. Please make sure of several things. 1. Your mailing address is not only legitimate but spelled and entered correctly. 2. That you have told your email program to recognize the blog announcements as friendly mail...and not junk mail. 3. If you have a firewall and are a super geek, figure it out. 4. If you have a firewall and aren't a super geek, give up now, it's hopeless, all is lost.

Once you double check all of that info, then I can be certain it isn't you but the mailer that is being cranky. I'll send you an email if you bounce back to me again and again after a few more blogs.

All right. Now that new business is taken care of, let's get back to old business. I want to remind you to keep an eye on the previously posted blog! I have been adding fabulous names to it and it assures you all that you will be highly entertained in my absence. I'd like to say right now that I expect you to pounce on each guest like the voracious little author cannibals I know you are. I encourage you to leave comments and I am hoping each lady will be kind enough to interact with you. I am sure if you shower then with your usual enthusiasm and kindness, they won't ever want to leave.

And...the winner of the EVIL EVIL contest, who will be taking home one gorgeous blond Demon by the name of ELIJAH in ARC form is....


Of course! LOL. I forgot yet again to limit the contest to the USA...or simply didn't have the heart to after meeting so many wonderful foreigners at RT...and I WOULD pick the one entrant who live in the Netherlands! LOL. CONGRATULATIONS JANET!! And congrats to all of you who worked SO hard to find those quotes. I had 43 entries, and every single one of them was absolutely correct.

Hmm...guess I am going to have to be much trickier next time. (echoing evil laugh) *rubs hands together*

And the winner of the Serene Contest and a 25 dollar Gift Certificate to Serene Dreaming is:



Janet, please email me your entire address, just as it should be written on the envelope...cuz i am a dork and will send it accidentally to the Netherlands or something ...oh, wait.... ;)

Rena, Serena from Serene Dreaming will contact you after I give her your email. :)

Congratulations guys. Now, I am off to start plotting my next evil contest!


Saturday, July 7, 2007

In other news...

Hey there! I thought I would pop in and remind everyone that this is the LAST DAY of the EVIL EVIL CONTEST, the one for the ARC of ELIJAH six months in advance and The Serene Contest, the one for a 25 dollar gift certificate to Serene Dreaming. Both of these contests end at exactly midnight tonight, so if you haven't gotten your entries in yet, I suggest you do so with ALL DUE HASTE.

Now on to other things.

As some of you may have heard, I am going on a vacation. Oh yes, my dears, a nice LONG vacation. I am spending a whole month in Nova Scotia! Ahh...beaches, whale-watching, sounds of the harbor, my best friend beaside me, a booksigning, a fan inviting me to dinner, writing in the cool breeze off the ocean and completely absolutely internet free unless I trot my tush down to the restaurant where they have. Now, if you know anything about me, it's that I don't like to trot anywhere if it can be avoided. And I will avoid it. So that would leave you utterly bereft of my blogging talents. No more contests. No more bitchfests. No more random dorky thoughts in the middle of the night.

I know. You're mourning. I can feel it. Poor babies. But never let it be said I don't think of the comfort and enjoyment of my fans above ALL else. To that end, I have created BLOGFEST 2007! Yes, yes, it is a good name, isn't it? What does it mean? Well is means that every single day I am away I have retained an author, from a variety of romantic genres, or reviewers, or even our own Fan Club President to blog for you. I have no idea if it they plan to promo or hold contests or tackle an important industry topic. I have given them utterly free reign to do and say whatever they like! Hopefully we will be rewarded with some very candid insights into each of these parts of a writer's world.

The list is incomplete, short by only seven or eight names, but I thought I would post it now and simply edit the post as the days fill in. I want you all to get a good look at what is in store for you. Now, if only I can con--err...I mean coax Lora Leigh to the list, we'll have achieved near perfection. But she is an ARC junkie...and I happen to have one she wants. Hehehe. Remember this sacrifice, my dears. I do it for you!

Oh and, Patrice Michelle has agreed to join us, but I just realized I neglected to find a date for her! Bad Jacki. Bad, bad Jacki! The error is being rectified ASAP.

July 30th - MANDY ROTH
Aug. 2nd - RENE LYONS
Aug. 5th - RENE FIELD
Aug. 6th - ANN CORY
Aug. 7th - CATHRYN FOX
Aug. 10th -
Aug. 11th - PAULA QUINN
Aug. 12th -
Aug. 14th - AMY (Nightwalker Fan Club President)
Aug. 15th - LILA DUBOIS
Aug. 19th - ANYA BAST
Aug. 20th - JJ MASSA
Aug. 22nd -
Aug, 23rd -
Aug. 24th -
Aug. 25th -
Aug. 26th - LORA LEIGH
Aug. 30th - BIANCA D'ARC
Aug. 31st - NALINI SINGH

*edited to add* I GOT LORA!!!! WOOHOO!!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Doubt of the Benefit

Right. So I have this complicated situation you've all been following and I didn't want to blog about it anymore because, frankly, I am certain you all have enough of your own drama and certainly don't need mine.

But here's the deal. There was one little loose end I had to attend to. I had to sit my little girl down and talk to her. I had to make her understand that it is not okay for anyone, not even an adult, to tell her to lie to me or keep a secret from me.

Now my 'friend' had wanted to sit down with her as well, and I am glad I said no. I didn't want her to feel like she was in trouble. I started off with my gentle little lecture and then said, "Now tell me exactly what was said." (See my GF had said B had misheard her. That she had been talking to her own daughter about hiding it from her daughter's grandmother because she didn't want to catch grief. B must have misunderstood.)

B is seven. And guileless. So she shrugs and says, "Well, she said not to tell you about Keith because it was none of your business."

Well, heck. That sounds very specific to me. And like something a grown-up would say.

"Okay..." I stop a moment to hide my seething reaction. "Well, are you sure she meant me?"

"Yup. She meant you," B said.

Thinking about my exchange in the parking lot with this GF when I confronted her, I now have to call everything into question again.

"You guys didn't go to the carnival with Keith did you? I mean, you went and just bumped into him." (GF swore up and down this is what happened)

"Yeah. We went with him."

"Wait...you mean he was in my car?" (I loan her my car whenever she needs it and my one exemption very specifically was that he was NEVER to be in my car. EVER)

"Yeah." B said. She shrugs. "He was sitting in the front seat."

"While she was driving?"

"Uh huh. Drinking beer. And she drank beer too and then they kissed and hugged a lot in front of us."


My mental brakes slammed down, if for nothing else than to keep my plummeting belly from actually hitting the floor. Now until this moment my anger and hurt have been directed toward the woman in question. She fooled me. She fooled everyone I introduced her to! She is imminently believable. Wow. She is missing a fabulous career on the stage. But now I am utterly horrified with myself. WTF kind of a mother am I?? I just spent the past six months letting my child drive around with this...this....creature!

"Wait a minute," I ask, because I have to make absolutely sure I should be exiled from motherhood forever. "It's okay for adults to drink beer, B. But...was she drinking beer and driving the car? Do you mean right after she drank it or at the same time?" As if one is worse than the other!


And now I have no right to my child and no right to own my gorgeous RAV 4. I had already suspected as much about the car after this same GF left the windows open TWICE in the rain and drowned the interior...but I am forgiving and all that liberal good-hearted crap.

I abhor people who drink and drive. My contempt of this is deeply felt. As much as anyone's I imagine. But my CHILD was in the back seat at the time. Hell...HER child was in the back seat at the time!

Now I have to explain to my child how many ways of WRONG that was. How dangerous it was and why. How dangerous Keith is and why. Now I have to tell her to stay away from her best friend, that whole house....everything! And now I want to beat the spit out of the woman who forced me into this position. I should say women. I blame myself as well. She is seven! SEVEN!!! She lost her cousin Ricky to a drunk driver when she was six...and now this?

It's a wonder I have any hair left in my head. All I can hope is that this has taught B never to conceal things from me. Once she began telling me this and realized I wasn't mad at HER and that I was going to protect her and that I wasn't going to let my GF get mad at her ("If I tell you, you will tell her and she'll get mad at me."), she got on a roll.

"They left us in a field and made us go far in the tall grass by these trees and they was kissing all the way back in the car and not watching us and we coulda got stoled."

Well, at least she has grasped just how much danger this person has consistently put her in.

I feel better already.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Resolution....for the moment.

I am not a screamer and a shouter. I don't do drama. I do humor, sarcasm and, on occasion, I pout. Not that I haven't thrown a hissy in my time or slammed a few doors...or my favorite, demanding a man stop the car so I could get out and walk rather than be stuck under his control a moment longer. (And when he told me it was 4 miles and I was and idiot, I said I preferred to look at it like four miles of imagining the road was his face and that I would enjoy every stomping step!)...okay so the stomping car thing is drama...but what I mean is I hate to fight.

Some people totally get off on it. This concept utterly baffles me! Romance novels where the hero and heroine clash and bicker from beginning to just about the very end, irritate the heck out of me. I mean, of course conflict is part of the story...otherwise it wouldn't be interesting and we wouldn't read it. But you can have conflicts, even arguments, without developing the screeching harpy from hell heroine or the pigheaded lout hero.

So last night I was determined to speak softly and logically. Not emotionlessly, of course, considering what was at stake...not to mention it would be highly impossible for an emotional being like myself. I confronted my friend about endangering B and then encouraging her to lie to me. She denied the latter...but no matter what I said she argued and justified this guy Keith hanging around them at the carnival. "He didn't come with us...we bumped into him...he paid for the girls..." "It was a public place with like a hundred people around." "I know what to do if someone gets out of hand..." "I would never endanger the girls."

I stood there staring at her. It was perfectly rational in her mind and, to her, I was the one overreacting.

I think....not.

She is not a bad person. I truly believe she hasn't got evil or maliciousness in her heart. In fact, just the opposite. Like me she says yes too easily, people pleases, ignores her instincts...goes against her better judgment and lets the wrong people into her life, but with the best intentions. That being said, I told her very clearly that the events over the past few days have shaken my trust. I told her B was never to be near this man again. I told her a lot of things.

What I didn't say is that I no longer trust her judgment. I know she doesn't do drugs, but I have no doubt that the theft was somehow associated with her. If not her, than one of her friends. Bottom line, B won't be entrusted with her anymore. But neither will I be nasty to her. I will transition away from this situation slowly and carefully. Calmly. Between travel, vacation and the move to NC, I won't see her very much and that is for the best.

A letter from a fan brought a question to mind. She was consoling me about my blog and explained how she never seemed to learn her lesson either when it came to people. But I have been giving this some thought and realized there were mirrored aspects to this. Either the universe thinks I need to learn a lesson and keeps setting me up with the same situation again and again until I finally learn how to guard myself and listen to my instincts better...or on the opposite spectrum I am supposed to learn how to remain open and giving and stick to my philosophies in life and overcome these challenges.

I believe we should be good to each other, see each other equally and with unity, race and sex not mattering. I believe we should always extend our hand in any way we can to those who are less fortunate than we are. I believe we should forgive, we should not lie, and we should behave honorably as if the being we most respect is watching us with a critical eye.

Perhaps you think this is Utopian and naive. Maybe you scoffed at it and thought "Yeah, right."

But the point is, Utopian or not, impossible or not, the only way I can ever expect to see all these things in others is by relentlessly trying to set the best example I can. I am really good at one or two of those things, I excel in at least one, and I work hard as heck on the others...and invariably fail with one as well. But the point is that I try. And, as much as I hurt, I hope I never stop and I hope somehow my example will make an impact.

Even if it ends up being on just one little blond girl.

That's more than enough for me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Five minutes later....

No sooner to I hit send on here than I am sitting hanging out with Bianca's mom when she offhandedly mentions to me that her nephew Wayne saw Bianca, my little girl of my heart for whom I am guardian legally, at a carnival with 'a bunch of teenagers'. Now I knew B was going with her little GF and her little GF's mom to the carnival. I thought it was wonderful she was going to get to go out. I even gave them the money to go. Not a spry and healthy young chick like this woman is, I cannot take B to a carnival and walk around for hours. I was so damn grateful, on this occasion and others, to let this woman I trusted to take B there, to the beach to go swimming...and more. She is young so I could see why Wayne thought she was a teen. Her friends are likewise young. Of course I hadn't realized other adults were going...but a couple of GFs taking the kids out was no big deal.

But then the description expanded to include "guys". I instantly turned to B and asked, "Was Tony there that night?" (Tony being this woman's ex) "No," she said, "It was Keith. But I wasn't exactly supposed to tell you that cuz you'd be mad," she says.

Mad? Why...why would I be mad? Hmm. Let's examine this. Could it be because Keith is a drunk? Could it be the last I heard, when Keith was drunk he nearly broke this woman's arm, knocked her around and kicked a hole in her wall? Keith the ex-con who went away for beating an ex gf? OR maybe it was simply because a woman I thought was a loyal and trusted friend, a mother who could be counted on, told MY child to LIE to me?!? TO conceal a truth of such dangerous proportions?

Guess I don't need to explain to you this is the same friend as referenced in my last blog.

I'm looking forward to the end of her shift tonight. And I have never been more delighted to be moving out of this place than I am right this very instant.

Platypus magnet


When people are victims of a crime, this is often the term they use to describe it. It's pretty accurate...and pretty skin-crawling. But what do you use to intensify that adjective? What describes the feeling when someone you trust and love commits a crime against you?

Being a person with chronic pain, I'm on a lot of meds. Every week I lay out a tray of almost 14 different kinds of meds for all kinds of reasons. I keep all of my meds in a huge Ziploc bag in the bottom center cubby of a 3 by 3 (9) cubby shelf that it inches away from the lazyboy chair I spend most of the day in. I rarely leave the house, travel and walking and even mundane things tiring me easily. I prefer to sit and type and enjoy my friends and fans on the internet, to write, to read, to watch movies. Before my foster daughter came along, I was as hermit-like as it got.

You see, I don't mix well with people. It's not that I don't trust anyone...it's that I don;t trust myself to choose the right people. Sometimes it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, walks like a duck...and its a platypus. Those are the ones I always seem to find.

I am apparently a platypus magnet. I always seem to find the wolf in a perfectly tailored sheep's costume. Have you ever felt that way? That's how I feel today. That's how I felt yesterday when I went to dole out my medications and while sorting through them lifted out a bottle of narcotics, something I use only in crisis as prescribed, that had eight pills left in it.

Last week it had had over 200. A second bottle of a different narc had also been drained all but dry. At first I was baffled. I usually lock my doors. I almost never leave. Only two trusted people have keys to my house. Only these two trusted people would know where I kept them. It swiftly occurred to me that one of these two had utterly betrayed me. A friend, someone I leave my child with all the time, someone I have loaned money to without conditions...been a friend to...cared deeply for...someone who had violated me.

Nothing else is missing...so far. All jewelry accounted for. I don't own much of value otherwise. So, I conclude this was a very specific target. Someone went directly for the meds, left the bottles and, apparently, cared enough to leave enough for me in case of an emergent crises.

How touching.

So, having a child inexorably draws me out of my hermitage and into the path of people. And of all those people, I once again go straight for the platypus. The wolf. And once again my trust is devoured and regurgitated back in my face. And yet because I did not witness the crime and I have no solid proof, I cannot confront the suspect and I cannot help but be torn between the love I formed for this person and the utter belief that they were the only one out of the two with motive and opportunity.

You see, the one day I went out last week was Sunday. As I was leaving I spoke on the phone with this friend and we laughed because she was just arriving at my apt. complex (where she lives as well) and I hadn't even seen her go by. She asked where I was going. I said to the tattoo parlor for another three hours of work. Many of you know how excited i am about the mural of art I am creating on my back. So did she. And just like that I had told her exactly how long I'd be out of my house and to please, be so kind as to go into my home and steal from me. Break my heart. Devastate my trust. Make me feel violated and stupid. Stupid for once again falling for the tricks of the platypus who acts utter loyal, truthful, trustworthy...at least on some levels...and went chinks start appearing in that trust in tiny flecks in other ways I forgive and forgive and forgive because I WANT to believe the best of someone I have chosen to love.

I want to be a good person. A forgiving soul. I want to be like my true best friend Laura who sees so much in her optimistic perspective...and it makes her such a bright and happy being. Not always of course...she is human and has her moments...but they are oh so rare and I want so badly to be as warm and beautiful as she is, as forgiving and faithful as she is, as trusting and understanding as she has been for every single year of our 15 plus years of friendship. She's a duck. No doubt about it. A true duck through and through.

So now I gather all my keys back, lock up my jewelry and meds in the safe, the passports, the SS cards, my heart, my trust, my faith...all of it.

What would you do?

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