Friday, February 27, 2009

Lure of the Vamp

Don't know what it is about vamps that we love so much. They bite people and feed on blood so, no, they shouldn't be all that appealing but yet they are portrayed in books and movies as sexy, dark, mysterious and we can't seem to get enough of them. Personally, I adore them. So far, I haven't tried my hand at writing vamps. Shifters have always come more naturally to me. Yeah, I love them too. Earthy, strong, masculine...yep, love shifters. But there is a mystique with the vamp that tends to just reel you in.

Lately, I've been completely hooked on the HBO series TrueBlood which is based on the Charlaine Harris southern vampire series. No, I haven't read the books yet. I'm almost afraid to. From what I hear the books don't jive completely with the series and I'm afraid I'll fall in love with the books and then pick this oh-so-entertaining-and-sexy series apart next time I watch. My daughter is currently reading the books though, so I've been asking lots of questions. Since she also loves TrueBlood the series, I've been curious if her love of the books will interfere with her enjoyment of the series. She says...NO WAY. Like me she's totally hooked on the show which begins it's second second in June. This series is set in Louisianna and centers around a small town waitress who is telepathic. It is a time when vampires are acknowledged in society and are fighting for their rights as citizens yet they are not quite accepted. It is violent, dark, and sexier than any television show I've ever seen.

Fan Boards and other promotion divulge that faeries, shifters and other creatures will be later intoduced into the show. If you don't have HBO, and I know many don't, the entire first season is available on May 19th. I know because I've checked and you'd better believe I'll be first in line to pick this up.

Now I haven't read the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers but my daughter is currently on Eclipse and is loving the series. Just about every girl in her high school carried around copies of the books this fall and, naturally, she and I saw the movie. She fell in love with this story of the burning teenage love of Bella and Edward. I liked the movie. Very beautiful with all the forests and the dreamy scenes and I left thinking this was a very well done movie for teens. Maybe I just like something a little edgier so if I had to choose something to watch for pure enjoyment, it would have to be TrueBlood. The second Twilight book, Blue Moon, is being filmed now and should release faily soon so I figure the craze with start up all over again.

Some of you might not have seen either the television show or the movie nor read the books, so tell me what are some of your favorite vamp books and/or movies. What was it that pulled you in and made you hope for a sequel?

Special Note: Frequent visitor and our friend Amy Ruttan has a new release today at Ellora's Cave. Hard Candy looks soooo good. Happy Release Day, honey! We're all wishing you many sales.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

movie woes

So I watched The Haunting of Molly Hartley the other day. It was actually pretty good, but it had a bad ending. Do you ever find yourself frustrated when a good movie ends bad? I knew going into it that it'd probably end badly. I have no one to blame but myself for being upset by it. In my mind, I tend to always think the best though, I kept hoping that somehow it'd go a different route. It didn't. No surprise. LOL

I think the worst for me is when evil wins. It bugs me when evil triumphs over good. Doesn't that just seem wrong?! I always want evil to get the crap beat out of them. But this happens in movies so often, you'd think I'd just give up watching these types for good.

The worst ending award goes to Fallen. Oh wow. I sooooo wanted that to go a different way. And they keep you hanging on, waiting, hoping...only to be disappointed.

A true thriller is different. You expect them to end with a twist. You know things won't go as you want them to. And usually it doesn't bother me. It's just when I watch a movie that I personally consider suspensful, that I'm left frustrated.

A scary thriller with a really twisted ending would be Descent. It's still one of the most frightening movies I've ever seen. I can't even watch it twice, it freaked me out that much. And it did NOT end happy either. It was a great 'shocking' ending. And I walked away feeling as if I'd gotten my money's worth.

And now there's a new movie coming out. The Last House on the Left. Not so new really, as it's a remake of a very controversial film from the '70s. I think I'll skip this one. Torture isn't my thing. A good suspensful thriller is one thing. Movies like Ring, The Messengers, The Others, What Lies Beneath. Those are good movies to me. They make you think. Gross violence such as movies like Saw, Hostel, or the one below...nope. It just turns my stomach and makes me worry about humans in general.

Thing is, I used to like watching a scary movie. But more and more it seems we're turning away from 'edge of your seat' and moving toward downright sick. Am I the only one who doesn't need blood and guts and torture to get a good scare on?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What makes a bad book

I have a couple friends who have had some really harsh reviews lately. I KNOW this is part of the business. I know it is to be expected. We all have to get used to it because it will happen to all of us at one point or another in our careers. What gets me is books are getting bad reviews, or in some situations torn apart, not because it's a bad book per se but for reasons that to me don't make a book bad. In my opinion bad writing makes a bad book. A story that doesn't flow well, if the writer doesn't know the facts on a subject they're writing about, or a book that doesn't make sense makes a bad book. A story that surprised me by throwing in elements of a sub genre I didn't expected? That doesn't necessarily make a bad book. Yeah it may make the book not for me. Not what I expected and I DO believe that a reader has the right to KNOW what kind of book they're getting when they buy it but me, as a reader or reviewer, not liking elements of a different sub genre alone, don't make it a bad book. Is there a way to give that book an honest review, without grading it low but by stressing what made it difficult for you?

I think some times it's hard to draw that line between a bad book and a book that just didn't do it for ME or YOU specifically. Does a book deserve a bad review just because it doesn't work for me? Maybe, maybe not. I think it depends on how the reviewer goes about the review. I do believe that they should be honest. They put their time into reading the book that they should be able to say how they feel about it but if it isn't a BAD book, just not the right one for you, isn't there a way to say that without completely ripping the book apart?

Someone I know had a review done where a conversation about the book by the reviewers was posted. She signed up for this. She knew ahead of time what would happen but her book was ripped apart. Some of the concerns were valid. I completely understand it but others were going on and on about how they don't like books set in this time period so that's why they had a hard time with it. I'll say it again, that doesn't make the book bad. I don't think reviewers should have to read books they aren't interested in. I also think reviews, where situations like the above occur, should get an honest review but one that doesn't purely grade that book on elements that a reviewer may not have been into, but on the book itself. The writing, the characters. Is that even possible? I don't know....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things to Learn at a Convention

Ahhh. Romance! Where better to get in the mood as a writer than at a convention? Last weekend several friends attended the Australian Romance Readers Convention in Melbourne and over the past few days some Ellora's Cave writers have been filled in on all the cool details.

Apparently the event was well attended and there was a line that stretched forever to grab up all the great stuff available in the Goody Room. I sent a few things to the convention and I'm hoping they lead to hits to my website and maybe some sales. I always wonder how our stuff sells in other countries, don't you? From what I gather Aussie readers are big fans and are very progressive in their attitudes toward e-books. As a writer for Ellora's Cave, it's, of course, great news.

Buying things, especially books on the internet, is convenient for the romance readers Down Under. I even learned some of their bookstores will soon be selling ebook readers. I don't live in a big city by any stretch of the imagination but even my local bookstore is selling the Sony reader these days. So I just have a feeling that as the quality of devices improves and the prices begin to go down, we'll start seeing an upsurge in sales.

Other bits and pieces that I picked up from attendees? They loooooove a Happy Ever After ending. A happy for now? Not so much. Some even remarked they tended to avoid movies with tragic endings. I have to admit to being a devotee of the HEA and I ruthlessly look at the back pages of every book just to make sure I'm not wasting my money. I want the fantasy and the good feelings that a HEA brings, Call me a sap but that's just the way I am. Apparently, I'm not alone in this.

Favorite genres? Aussie readers are like Americans in their love of all things paranormal. No big surprise. Looks like paranormal is here to stay and not just a trend that will fade away. That's a relief for those of us who write vamps, shifters, and other otherworldly creatures. One big surprise for me was to hear that historicals are bigger and better than ever in OZ. I began my writing career writing regency and it is wonderful to know they are still a hot item.
I'd begun to think I might not write many more historicals because they are so much more time consuming to put together but now I'm rethinking that decision.

What is some of the best information you've gotten at a convention? Readers and writers glommed up together at events, panels, and discussions can really provide lots of little tidbits that can be useful when coming up with ideas for future books. This year, I'll be attending the Ellora's Cave Romanticon and I'm really looking forward to meeting writer friends, my editor, and readers. Do you have convention plans this year?

Monday, February 23, 2009

kick-ass heroines and the men who...get in their way?

There are times when I just can't get into the tough girls. I like an independent heroine as much as the next reader, but when they're so tough they seem to need no one, much less the hero, it's annoying.
Or when they cross the line from being funny in a smartass kind of way to just being an ass in general I want to throw the damn book. We've all read them. Nothing has me putting the book down faster than a bitch of a heroine. Why is it that all we ever hear about are the whiny heroines?

Now don't get me wrong, I love a gal who can shoot a big gun or wield a mean looking sword as much as the next woman. In fact, some of my favorite movies have women just like that. I've always admired (and even wanted to be) Wonder Woman. I want my daughters to be women who can take care of themselves and NOT rely on a man to get them through life. There's nothing more beautiful than a self-confident woman, right?

But, I still like them to be at least a little soft. When I read a romance book I want the hero and heroine to need each other. To cuddle. To make love. But when the heroine acts all tough, even during the soft moments, it makes me grind my teeth. It's every bit as frustrating as a heroine who cries every blasted time the hero makes love to her. Give me a break already.
Whatever happened to the regular, everyday heroine? She takes care of herself, but still gets all jittery around the hunky hero. She has her own apartment, but still finds it sexy when the hero offers to fix her car. She insists on paying for her own meal, but still thinks it's romantic when he buys her dessert, and then feeds it to her. A lot of the books I've read lately had that aspect missing. I read romance for a reason! I LIKE the ROMANCE! If you take out the sweet, soft, loving stuff...then what the hell am I left with?!
I'm just sayin'!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Getting Desperate Here

I've been picking up on a recurring theme this week at Three Wicked Writers. I've blogged about my penchant for marathon watching and Kelley has been staring at her computer screen until her eyes are crossed. Anne? Well, she's going through it too. We all have, and now I'm wondering if it's an epidemic or something. ACK! Time to write. I don't care if the sky is gray and the cold north wind is blowing like hell, this is the moment to put that aside and get to work.

Currently, I'm trying to whip out a QUICKIE which, when I'm in my normal frame of mind, should take about a week, maybe less. But not THIS time. I'm piddling and picking and getting little done. To be honest, this has been a week of craziness. I've had a dental appointment from HELL, then we learned my daughter needs her wisdom teeth taken out. So we've had appointments regarding this. As you know, I'm sick to death of dentists and their tools of torture so this was just one more despicable thing to add to the dental heap.

My internet is wonky and slower than death. We think it has something to do with our internet provider but I don't know. Every email takes about five minutes to pull up. When things are running smoothly, I check my emails, hit my favorite blogs and then I'll write but now it takes waaaay longer than usual. On top of all this my web site guys advised me that I was on my own regarding my website. They aren't doing them any more because they are short-handed sooooo I built my own. The very idea of that scared the crap outta me but I did it. No, it isn't fancy by any stretch of the imagination but I CAN do my own updates which is wonderful.

Now you're probably wondering why I have all these hunky firefighters posted today. Let's just call them 'inspiration'. My current work in progress features a firefighter hero so I found these yummy guys and if they don't encourage me to finish this story, nothing will.

So now it's Friday and I've written very little because life has gotten in the way. I'm not going to be to hard on myself though because we all know there is life out there and sometimes we just have to go with the flow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I don't normally talk openly about cases like this. It's just too difficult and much too heartbreaking. Whenever a child dies it's sad, but when a child is murdered it's especially horrific. No child should ever suffer.

I see these brown eyes and it reminds me of my youngest daughter. Those brown eyes just tug at my heart. I want to reach out and comfort her, but I can't. What's done is done. Nothing can ever bring her back.

We've seen all the sensation surrounding the case. The mother is in jail and the evidence is mounting. I always want to think the best of the mother. I always hope it couldn't possibly be true. That surely she's innocent and the police are simply grabbing at the first person they can to solve the case and give the public closure. I guess I just find it so incredibly horrible that a mother could kill a child. Yet, we've seen it happen plenty of times, haven't we?

In this particular case it's not looking good for mom, is it? She hasn't proven herself to be the loving mother from the start. Between the evidence proving Anthony's car trunk had a decomposing body in there and traces of chloroform, Google searches from the Anthony house computer on murder techniques, Casey borrowing a shovel from a neighbor for no particular reason, items found with Caylee's body that can be linked back to the Anthony house, not reporting the little girl missing for almost a month and now there's some duct tape evidence that seems pretty solid as well. After awhile you start to be swayed, despite how impartial you wanted to be.

I always like to think 'innocent until proven guilty' though. So, I try not to make assumptions. Media can skew the facts, we've seen it happen time and time again. But, each time I turn on the T.V. it seems they've pretty much already judged her and found her guilty. And though I sort of have as well at this point, what does that say about our justice system? Does the general public tend to believe what they see? Do we condemn before the courts even have a chance to do their thing?

In the end, Caylee is what matters. Finding her killer, bringing the person or persons to justice and making them pay for this horrible crime. If that killer is her mother then she'll get what she deserves. My mind keeps coming back to one thing. Why? She was just a baby!

Nevertheless, nothing can bring this sweet little girl back. She loved unconditionally. Trusted without question. Maybe, at the very least, justice can bring closure to the rest of the family...?

In Memory of Caylee Anthony

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stepping outside your writing comfort zone

Recently I thought of what I think is a pretty damn good idea for a book. The idea started from a spark then after numerous emails from some of my closest writing friends the spark ignited into a wildfire. I couldn't stop thinking about this book idea. My fingers itched to hit the keys. All I could think about were these character and their story. Excited bloomed inside me just thinking about telling their story. Behind that excited hid a healthy does of fear as well. You see, this idea is completely different than anything I've ever done before. It combines sub genres I've never written. It will take research on subjects I've never written about and honestly, don't know a lot about.

Still, the excitement overcame the fear. I love this idea.

I sat down at the computer and started a little bit of the research. It made my eagerness to start the book continue to grow. Once I decided I was ready to sit down and start writing...nothing. I have one page of the book and I can't get anymore out. I don't know what it is. The idea is still so alive inside me yet it won't come out. I start a paragraph and delete. I turn on the computer, then shut it down. I just can't seem to make the story come out.

Is it because this story is so different for me that I mentally built a roadblock? Do I fear stepping outside my comfortable writing zone so much that I'm setting myself up to fail? I'm not sure. I hope not because I don't want to be that person who can only write one thing. Yes I want to feel comfortable and excel in my primary genre of writing but I also want to spread my wings.

Was it difficult for you the first time you tried writing something completely different? Do you write different genres or stick to one?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yes, I Have Become a COUCH POTATO

Is anyone else ready for spring? I swear, it's been so cloudy, overcast, and downright cold I haven't the energy to do anything but veg out in front of the TV.


I hate being boring and uninteresting but absolutely nothing is inspiring me these days. My current WIP is suffering too. Yesterday I re-wrote the same paragraph a couple of times. Moved on and repeated the process on the NEXT paragraph before finally giving up. As a writer I find this lack of creativity sort of humiliating.

First there was my day of the marathon watching of the entire season of Wolf Lake. Very hot series on the Chiller Channel. This was a show about a town full of werewolves. Fascinating. I spend all day watching this knowing I'd be left hanging because it was a failed series from years ago. No new shows on the horizon. But what do I do? Keep watching, mesmerized, as if the series would magically resolve all the outstanding issues between the characters.

Then yesterday my daughter flipped on America's Next Top Model. Yes, I think she was bored, too. This isn't normally her type of thing. Oh. My. God. Please, please tell me I didn't actually watch this drivel all day and most of the evening. Eighteen and nineteen year old girls fighting over 'who ate my brownies' and 'omg!!! She's in the bathroom throwing up!' and 'sniff sniff...I just couldn't take a good pic today and my hair SUCKS and everyone HATES ME!!!"

Somebody shoot me! I think I've lost my ever-lovin' mind! If the weather and my mood doesn't change soon there's no telling what kind of marathon crap I'll be watching next. Um...think I'm avoiding things? Yeah. Me, too.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Best Ghostwalker Book Yet!

First I have to know, have you read this series by Christine Feehan?

If not, why not?! It's such a good series! I'm so in love with it!

To give a reading order, the Ghostwalker books go like this:

Shadow Game -- a fantastic beginning that'll grab you!
Mind Game
Night Game --
Hot! I love Gator!
Conspiracy Game
Deadly Game
Predatory Game
Murder Game
--without question the best in the series!

Blurb for Murder Game:
Games should be fun, but for two expert teams across the country, they’re murder – because the winning team is the one that gets the most kills. The participants in this violent challenge rumored to be GhostWalkers. And Kadan Montague isn’t happy about it.

Kadan is a GhostWalker and he’s determined to clear the GhostWalker name of the rumors. To do it, he’s going to need the help of psychic Tansy Meadows. But as soon as he sees her, he knows his mission will be more complicated than he imagined – and the “murder game” may not be at all what it seems.

Murder Game is quite easily the best book Feehan has written. I loved Kadan. He was the best hero since Jacques in Dark Desire! There was intrigue, hot love scenes, some really great interaction with the other Ghostwalkers that had me cracking up and a hero and heroine that were so perfect for each other I fell in love with them.

It's been a long time since I closed a book and felt sad it was over. I was so upset that I'd read Murder Game so fast. I'll definitely re-read it too. Don't you love when a book does that for you? It rekindled my love for books! As an author it makes me WISH I had Feehan's fantastic mind. Her books rock!

The really sad thing is, I didn't see any info. on her site about her next Ghostwalker book. I'm going to die if she doesn't continue this unique series! My mom and I both LOVE the Ghostwalkers and will probably cry buckets if Feehan stops writing them! She simply cannot stop now!

In the meantime I do have Burnin Wild to look forward to. Feehan is continuing her Leopard series...can you say WOOHOO!!!!! I've prayed for this day since I read The Awakening in the Fantasy Anthology! (clearly I'm a big fan of Feehan, lol)

Here's a blurb of Burning Wild--comes out April 28th

Born into a world of twisted monsters, Jake Bannaconni is shaped and molded into a cold, revenge driven man. Honed in the fires of hell, he controls his world and rules with an iron hand. He has everything and anything money can buy. He’s ruthless, merciless and considered a man to leave alone. His hidden legacy, that of a shapeshifter, makes him doubly dangerous in the corporate world.

Emma Reynolds is a woman who knows how to love and love well. When their two worlds collide, Jake’s plans for a complete take over, may just come tumbling down.

So, are you a Feehan Fan? Do you just love all the different series she has going?
As a writer don't you wish you could just step inside her office and observe for a day? Seriously, that'd be the ultimate!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines day everyone! Please share your favorite Valentines Day memory!

Mine is the year my hubby proposed. It was actually the day after Valentines because I was out of town on Valentines day. He picked me up at the airport and drove me home. When I opened the door all the lights were out and candles were lit all over the house (he'd snuck into the bathroom at the airport and called my best friend to go over to the house and light the candles). My favorite song, All My Life by KC and Jojo was playing on the radio and my favorite dinner was on the table. We ate and chatted then he went to the other room and brought me a single rose. I opened the card and my ring was inside and he asked me to marry him! I was so touched that he went through so much to make it perfect for me. *sigh* I still get goose bumps.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Reality? Anyone? Anyone?

So, you're already loaded down. There are a million and one things that need your immediate attention, and then someone decides that you HAVE to deal with their little crisis now. Am I the only one this bugs?? Some people get it in their heads that their time is more valuable than yours. They're like a spoiled child who can't take no for an answer. It's the most annoying thing in the world to me. As writers we often have to drill it into a person's head that creating a good story is indeed a job. It IS important and it DOES require uninterrupted attention on the part of the writer!

Why is it some people just don't get that? No matter how many times you explain, 'I need to get these edits done' or 'I'm sorry, but I'm busy. I have a deadline to meet'. Nope, doesn't matter. THEY have a day off so clearly you can be at their beck and call, right?

I can tell you that lately I've taken to just doing my own thing. I'm done worrying about hurt feelings and pissed off attitudes. My time IS important. My job IS important. My schedule IS important! Please tell me this happens to you too. I sometimes feel like I'm just being a major bitch, like I'm unreasonable in my demands. Am I alone in this??

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Taking the Fifth

Taking the fifth, repeatedly, is what Stewart Parnell did yesterday when he testified before congress over the salmonella in peanuts thing. The head of Peanut Corporation of America twiddled his fingers on the table and stared stonily throughout the entire grilling. I know because I watched it.

The recent salmonella scare that prompted a recall of 1900 peanut products has caused over 600 people to become sick and is suspected in 9 deaths in the U.S. As early as 2006, this guy KNEW the peanuts were contaminated but he didn't care. He told his employees that he wasn't about to lose any money over this and to ship the stuff out. So these contaminated peanuts went out of 50 manufacturers of cookies, crackers, and ice cream. He apparently felt no remorse saying this salmonella stuff was "costing us huge $$$$". The cookies, candy, crackers and granola bars were shipped to schools, stores and nursing homes. During testimony, the son of a 72 year old woman spoke about the death of his mother. She was a nursing home resident who was recovering from cancer treatment when her daughter gave her a peanut butter sandwich. The poor lady DIED...not from cancer but from peanut butter.

This is the most disgusting thing ever! How many of us have sent our kids to school with lunchboxes packed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? This is one of our most basic food items and I suspect most of us have a jar of peanut butter in our pantry.

During the testimony before congress, emails were read where this guy griped and complained about lost money and how he didn't care if he had to scrape peanuts off his floor, he was SELLING THEM. What a huge creep! The FBI is currently investigating Stewart Parnell and his company. I hope if he's as guilty as he seems, they nail his ass.

In one of the most interesting moments of the hearing, a congressman held up a big clear plastic jar filled with products that included peanuts from his company. He was asked...would you, Mr. Parnell, eat any of the food in this jar? Mr. Parnell stared stonily and said...I take the fifth.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Author bashing

Even before I became a writer I had a major problem with author bashing. I completely understand that everyone has their own opinion and we all have the right to share that opinion but I've never understood the need to publicly bash or slam an author or their book. Now if you don't enjoy a book, and give in an honest review that states that opinion, I understand, but when it turns to mug slinging, berating and slamming a book, author, or their ability to write, that is where I draw the line.

As a reader, I have never felt the urge to do that. I've never emailed an author of a book I disliked and told her all the things I thought were wrong with her book. I've never posted a bad review or spread the word in anyway that I disliked a book because the way I see it, just because I don't like it, doesn't mean the book is terrible. What I hate you may love and vice versa. Why would I want you to go into the book with negative thoughts about it because nine times out of ten, that will sway your opinion when you might have enjoyed the book without going into it from a negative standpoint.

That is how I take it from a reader standpoint but from an author view it plain pisses me off. Again, not saying people don't have a right to their opinion but when a NY Times best selling author feels the need to publicly announce that another author "dosesn't write worth a darn" I think that's wrong. The way I see it, as authors we should all be on the same side. You have to worry about what your readers will think of your books (rightfully so), you worry about reviews, your editor, agent, why should we be getting slammed by our peers as well? I KNOW how much of my heart, mind, time and love goes into my books that I can't imagine attacking another author who does the same thing. Even if I feel that way, to me, something like that is better kept to myself, or even a close friend.

I have a friend who received an angry letter because "there is so much going on in the world today that you should be ashamed of yourself by focusing on something a trivial as you are" Umm, really? So throw out escapism, imagination and HOPE? I don't think so. In times like that, I rely on my books even more. Even if I didn't, I can't imagine emailing an author to tell her that.

Of course, that's just me. I try to play by one of the first lessons my mom taught me when I was four years old: Treat others the way you want to be treated. I think that's a damn good rule to live by.


A friend sent me this picture last night and it served to bring home a number of things. A little epiphany, if you will. Yesterday, I was more or less bitching, whining, and moaning because I was a little depressed. Yes, and thanks for all the private emails from concerned friends. You know I love you all to pieces.

Thing is, while I was wallowing in some weird funk, Australia was burning. As of now roughly 175 people have died, more are missing, and entire towns have been destroyed in fires that now appear to be arson. Arson? Who could do such a thing? So many of us have been watching the television and news reports as the horror unfolds. For me, it brings back how millions of us felt several years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. I recalled the inaction of our government and how the rest of us cried over the voices we heard begging across the airwaves...someone, anyone, please save us. We are dying here. I remember the airport luggage conveyor belts were stacked with dead bodies and people lay dead in the dirty streets. New Orleans died before our eyes and it is our prayer that one day it'll be reborn into it's full glory. I live in Texas and many refugees came here looking for shelter and basic necessities. We held our arms open. Some returned home to Louisianna and others decided to stay.

Last night I realized that we seem to focus like a laser beam on things that really don't amount to a hill of beans. Yes, we get upset about silly things that happen but in the scheme of things they mean nothing. At the moment I'm happy that I have shelter for my family. I can feed them simply by walking into my kitchen. Everyone is healthy and happy. I love them and they love me right back. All the rest, those little nagging problems, is hubris. Unimportant in the face of what others are dealing with. Today I'll hug my daughter as she leaves for class and tell her I love her. My husband will get the same treatment. I will call my son and have the supreme pleasure of hearing his voice. I will laugh with friends and work a little but in the midst of it all, I will be thankful for what I have. I will tell those I love how I feel. The rest is bullshit in the face of these horrific events.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Face Transplant...a success!

I read about this woman's ordeal, back in Decemember on this site. When I saw these words, so badly injured that only her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin were left.
I have scars too. Mine aren't so easy to see because they aren't on my face, they're on my left arm and leg. I had extensive skin graphing done when I was about 4 yrs. old because of a birthmark. The birthmark is what's known as a Giant Hairy Nevus. Google it, you'll see pictures. So far I'm the only person to have it cover such a large portion of the body. And from what the doctor told me recently, he's never in his career seen anyone with a GHN that covered the entire arm and shoulder. It made the surgery extra difficult, because they had to remove all the skin from that arm and replace it with new skin. Working with the shoulder took several hours. I was in and out of the hospital so many times that now just walking into one has me anxious and ready to claw my way out. I can remember being held face down, screaming while they shoved a needle in my rear to knock me out. Those images stay with a person.

After the last surgery, mom was told I wasn't supposed to be able to use my arm, because the skin on my shoulder was particulary difficult to operate on. Raising my arm or being able to move it around would be next to impossible for me to do. To add to that I have no fat cells on that arm. The doctor found that particularly interesting and when he saw me recently I could see he was surprised by how much use I've been able to get out of my left arm. I'm left handed and I can use it just as easily as I can my right arm. Although, it does get tired, and my arm will ache after a day of writing. My wrist, elbow and shoulder will feel swollen and stiff. I can't lift heavy things, or the next day I'm paying for it with a lot of pain. If I bump my arm it hurts like crazy because there's no fat to cushion it. If I go out in public with a tank top on, or to a water park with a bathing suit, I get curious looks. Some people frown. I've even heard people say, 'oh gross'. You wouldn't believe some of the things they've said to me.
A picture of me in Maine. You can sort of see the scars, but they don't show up too much in this pic. I normally don't show pictures of me if my arm is visible. Usually I wear long sleeves.

The truth is, none of that even compares to what this woman has endured. Her disfigurement was the result of an injury. And it was her face that was damaged. Knowing the looks I've gotten, I can imagine the sorts of comments she's had to overhear. The frightened eyes of a child, the frowns from adults. The pity.

This woman's quality of life was altered in a way that most of us couldn't even begin to imagine. When I was little I used to resent having this arm. I was called horrible names. I couldn't understand why me, why did I have to suffer? I just wanted to be like everyone else. I didn't want to be different.

Well, this woman's story has touched me greatly. I realize now how lucky I was and good I have it now. When I read that She can eat pizza. And hamburgers. She can smell perfume, drink coffee from a cup, and purse her lips as if to blow a kiss. It blew me away. We take so much for granted every single day and we don't even realize it.

Today I'm thankful for the life I have, for the husband who loves me AND my arm. For my kids, who have had to hear people say nasty things to their mom. For the fact that I had a mother who didn't sit back and treat me like I was disabled. She didn't accept that I wouldn't be able to use my arm and because she thought I could, so did I. Today I'm esp. thankful for those doctors. They changed a woman's life and there's something beautiful about that.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My little girl is five

My oldest daughter turned five a couple days ago. It's just amazing to me how time flies. Tomorrow she's having a bowling birthday party with her friends. Bowling? Since when do I have a child old enough to bowl? In a few short months we'll be packing her lunch and bringing her to kindergarten for the first time (though she doesn't understand why she can't start today). I know this sounds funny but kindergarten is the big leagues to me! School five days a week, older children on campus with'm still in a little bit of shock. Just yesterday she was learning to say mama and teetering around while trying to learn to walk. Now she's a five year old who tells me she wishes she were sixteen!

She's so funny. Such a strong personality. A little bit diva but also very sensitive with a kind heart. She loves books just like her mommy and wants to write someday (actually she wants to write now). She rocks out with me in the car while we're driving and listening to music and loves taking care of her little sister.

I'm SO very lucky to have her for my daughter.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What the Hell?

Like, I'm sure, many of you, I've been shaking my head in amazement over the story of the California woman who delivered eight babies a few weeks ago. Naturally this was an in-vitro fertilization thing. That, in itself, is amazing enough but then it was reported she has six other children, ages 2-7 who were conceived in exactly the same way.

The woman, Nadya Suleman, who is divorced and in her early 30's lives with her mother. Read a story last night that said Nadya's mother wants no more to do with the whole thing. Can't say I blame her. Yes, they are her grandkids but damn, enough is enough.

Have to say I have a lot of questions about why anyone would want something like this. I'm a mom and love babies and kids and one day I would love to hear a chil
d call me Grandma. But who in their right mind would want 14 kids, especially considering her circumstances? And what ethical doctor would do this procedure? Each of the first six kids were conceived in-vitro and now this. Okay, I've always believed people are free to make their own choices but at what point do certain choices become the responsibility of others? According to a recent interview, Ms. Suleman felt her childhood was disfunctional and she was lacking somehow because of it. As a teenager she decided she wanted a huge family. Sounds to me like she wanted to validate herself in some way. Make up for what she considered a crappy childhood. What the hell? Does anyone else see this as the height of selfishness?

Medical Ethi
cs people are talking this whole thing over right now while the book and tv deals are flowing in to the new mom who, by the way, has just hired a publicist.

Don't get me wrong. Like many of you, I know of loving, wonderful cou
ples who have benefited from in-vitro fertilization. Practically, I'm a big believer in science. Emotionally, I love a happy ending and wish for all couples who would love and nurture a child the opportunity to have one. But where is the line drawn? How will this woman educate, provide healthcare, feed and clothe all these kids? Or will it fall to an already overburdened society to offer a handout?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Skinny in Hollywood!

I'm SOOOOO sick and tired of seeing pictures like the ones below. I'm speaking out today against the stupid Hollywood stars who are killing themselves to be thin. This makes me so mad! As far as I'm concerned when you take on a job like these ladies have you have a responsibility to the public! You're what our DAUGHTERS look up to! You're what they see on TV and in the movies. You're what they want to be like! When they see their boyfriends drooling over the so-called sexy starlets it leaves an impression on them. It says to them that 'skinny is hot'. I'm fed up with Hollywood pushing this image on the general public.

Starving yourself is NOT sexy.

Going from a pretty, curvy woman to a stink figure is NOT hot!

Throwing up your lunch and downing the laxatives is NOT cool!

Looking like roadkill with a sparkly dress and a tan is NOT beauty!

How can it possibly be exciting to hug or kiss or even make love to a skeleton? This is getting gross people. When are the ladies of Hollywood going to wake up and eat a damn donut already?!

We stand in line at the grocery store and we see these images all over the magazines. Thank God my daughters are smart enough and secure enough in themselves to look at these anorexic stars and realize it's not pretty or healthy. But there are a lot of girls who see these women and want to be like them. I remember wanting to be thin. Going without lunch to keep the weight down. And when I was a teen we didn't see images like these all over the magazines. Hell, if I had seen them I would have probably felt fat or inadequate. Esp. if my boyfriend thought Keira Knightley was a babe.

Am I the only one sick of seeing these lollipops? That's what they remind me of! A stick with a round ball on the end. Every time I see them I just want to buy them a dozen Krispy Kremes!

Guys, is this what you consider hot? Ladies, are you as tired of seeing these unnaturally thin women as I am?

I have an urge to bring her to my mom's house for a plate of lasagna and homemade rolls!

Cover the ribcage at least! And having a tan doesn't make you healthy!

She looks like she's been put in a room and kept there for a month with no food. What does she eat anyway? A third of a carrot and a bottle of water?
Black is supposed to be thinning...I'm thinking they need to wear some damn color!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

what hooked you?

Hi, my name is Kelley and I have a confession to make. I used to be one of those people who snubbed my nose a romance novel *hides head in shame*. Of course I'd never actually read a romance novel when I felt this way. I assumed (and you know what they say about assuming) that they were all cheesy, gooey stories that I would never be into, which honestly made no sense. Not only was I completely wrong, but I've always be a romantic. Why I thought I was too good for romance books is beyond me.

So, about four and a half years ago my hubby, myself and our eight month old daughter moved from a tiny town in Southern Oregon (no more than two lane freeways, one grocery store in my town, 98 kids in my graduating class kind of small) to Southern California. His family was down here and it just so happened that my sister and her family had moved down here as well. So the move made sense and even though I was scared, I was excited too. Things were really hard on me at first. I went from a town where I knew everyone, to a city where I knew no one (family doesn't count :)). I went from always working full time to being a stay at home mom and my hubby worked A LOT. I was really lonely. On one of my lonely days I was browsing Barnes and Noble and ended up picking up my first romance. I devoured it and from that day on I devoured a great deal of books. I averaged about three or four a week reading any and everything I could. I was shocked at what I'd missed out on all those years! Not only were there beautiful relationships of intelligent women finding love, and steamy sex but also friendships. With a good book, I walk away feeling as though I've made a friend and at that time in my life that's what I needed most. I found that between the pages of my books.

My old love of writing started bursting to the surface again. I wanted nothing more than to give that same feeling of hope, love, and humor to other women, the same way the authors I read gave it to me when I needed it most. That's when the idea for Getting Lucky with Luciano started to form in my brain. It began with three friends and honestly, in almost all my books there will not only be a romance but strong relationships between women. I think our female friendships are SO important but some times get lost in the shuffle of our lives.

From Kaylee, Tabby and Bri Luciano popped into my head, followed by Nico. My hubster is Italian and when we moved here I was introduced to a large Italian family and the wonders of great Italian food which gave me the idea for Luciano's restaurant. I sat down to write and things have never been the same for me.

I am still a compulsive reader but my numbers have gone down to one or two books a week. With my writing and now TWO kids that's all I can do. I am so thankful for that trip to Barnes and Noble. I'm thankful I got off my high horse and opened myself up to the wonder that can be found beneath the cover of a romance novel.

Now it's your did your book reading habit begin? How did you get hooked or do you remember specifically what book hooked you?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Works, What Doesn't

I had to turn in a cover form at Ellora's Cave not long ago. Naturally, I'm excited to see what the cover gods at EC come up with. Personally, I think they do great work and I can't wait to share the finished product. For Highland Beast, a shifter story about a lycan trapped in an ancient Scottish Castle, I asked for a nearly naked couple, a gothic feel, and a touch of Highland plaid. I tend to keep things simple in my cover requests. I give a basic description and try to relay the 'feel' of the book. For example, for Breath of Magic, I asked for a nearly naked couple, a Christmas theme, and a sno globe. That's it.

Sometimes a cover is so glommed up with stuff that it takes away from the beauty of the human body and in erotic romance (which is my deal) it's all about BODIES. HOT BODIES. Oh yeah...I love a pretty font, too.

Studies have shown the male chest is the most popular with readers. I can't argue with a gorgeous male chest. Can you? For some reason though, I tend to ask for a couple. Don't know why exactly. I just like that.

What do you like best? I'm posting examples of two covers of recent releases and I'm curious to see what draws your eye the most. I love both of them personally but adore the Breath of Magic cover.

Do you prefer no faces or faces? And what about the menage covers featuring two men and a woman? Is it just me or aren't these all looking just a little bit the same, these days? Dang, lots of questions but I've really been curious about this. I'm getting ready to start another menage...those are always fun to write but the idea of another cover featuring a woman sandwiched between two buff men just isn't doing it for me. Wonder if you HAVE to have two men on the cover? If she's going to end up with one of these guys, I'm thinking it would be fine to have just a couple but here's the problem. You look at a cover with the two men and the woman and you KNOW it's menage. GRRRRR! Decisions. Decisions. I hate being so unsure. What do you think?

On another matter: Remember my post last week about the dental fiasco??? Got my root canal finally and when I went to the front to get my little card for the next in a series of appointments, one of the ladies goes...oh, by the way, we'll be sending you a bill for $61 for the teeth cleaning you got last week. Hmmm. After being doped up, stressed, and aching from the root canal, I guess I wasn't in the best of moods and the comment just hit me wrong. I looked at her and smiled crookedly (considering I was numb from my forehead to my boobs) and mean for the teeth cleaning where the hygenist knocked a tooth down my throat? She got very quiet and actually looked a little embarrassed before nodding. Okaaaaay. They can send the bill but I know we won't be paying it.