Thursday, December 19, 2013

Listen, Santa

Christmas is almost upon us, and thanks to my son’s ever-expanding list of things he’s hoping will magically appear under the tree, free from the constraints of money, availability, or time, I’ve decided to make my own list of dream LEGO themes. Once the holidays are here and gifts are unwrapped, I know I’m going to be assisting in the construction of quite a few sets (thanks grandparents and Santa!) and my fingers will be sore until after New Year’s.

1.      Star Trek, first Classic, then TNG. Why hasn’t this licensing agreement happened yet? I want a rocky planet set complete with a green Gorn and a cute mommy Horta. Not so thrilled with the idea of a bridge, but I’d go for sick bay and engineering in a heartbeat. The mini figures would be so fun. Kirk would have several heads to cover all his facial expressions and imagine all the different forehead designs for Klingons over the years.

2.      Jurassic Park. Please! LEGO did the dinosaur hunters sets, but I want Muldoon and Ian Malcom mini figures. The park control room would be fun to build and there could be breakaway walls and windows for the velociraptor attacks. Cool functions, as my son says. Sadly, LEGO would have to include packets of fake blood for realism and that might upset the kids.

3.      The Walking Dead. Herschel’s farm, Dale’s camper, the prison, all would be fantastic constructs. Imagine a whole herd of walker mini figures, some missing their tiny little hands. Gruesome but fun. The special, limited edition set would feature Daryl, his crossbow, motorcycle, and his brother Merle with a modified slicer arm. Again, gruesome, but fun.

4.      Ice age. No, not the movies, but caves, fires, smilodons, wooly mammoths, and all sorts of cool stone tool accessories for fur clad figures. They could even create a frosty clear blue brick by the thousands to have a glacier set.

5.      A cruise ship. My son and I have discussed this one extensively. Pool deck, buffet, cabins, casino, engine room, bridge, elevators, all could be standalone sets eventually assembled into a whole ship.

While we’re at it, I think it would be incredibly fun to have some themed mystery figure series. For those of you unfamiliar, Lego puts out different groupings of individual mini figures in tiny bags. When you buy it, you have no idea what’s inside, which is part of the fun. I think it would be great to have a Star Wars series, classic 80’s television characters (Mr. T! Buck Rogers! Magnum P.I.!), or literary heroes.

I have a feeling I won’t be seeing any of these on the shelves in the future, but I can dream.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Early Christmas Gift

Before the holiday season gets in full swing, I just wanted to let everyone know that I have a free read available on the Musa Publishing site. It's the prequel to my novel Return. Despite the beautiful Christmas cover, the story actually takes place in the spring, but since it's a free gift in December, it's appropriate.
So download it, read it, and if you want to find out what happens to Evelyn next, consider buying the rest of her and James Winchester's story.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Impending Failure

This is me.
Or at least this is the look I have in my eye as I face my impending NaNoWriMo failure. I've participated several times and always managed to meet the goal by the end of the month, but November 2013 has been my undoing. Too many days off from school for my son, too many other pulls on my time, so I will not reach 50,000 words by the end of the weekend. I'm at close to 40,000 and planned on it being about 60,000 by its conclusion.
Never fear, I am like the steady tortoise and will finish this manuscript mostly because it's pretty good already and I don't like to leave things undone for my characters. I've really enjoyed the research I've done for this book and have learned a lot about costume jewelry, the parts of a bar set up, and how to use ricotta cheese in ice cream.
It's good to fail every now and again. It teaches you perspective. And my perspective at this point is I'd rather be 10,000 words behind on a manuscript than be an angry-looking tortoise covered in some sticky brown substance. No wonder she looks outraged.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Let the Writing Begin!

So it's November third and I'm deep into my NaNoWriMo story. November is National Novel Writing Month and there's an online community devoted to encouraging writers to complete a 50,000 word first draft in one month. Now this timeline is problematic for me because of the holidays that fall in November (Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Daylight Savings time, etc.) which means my writing time is somewhat reduced. However, I have always met my word count every time I've participated even though my books tend to run about 20,000 words beyond the requirement.
How do I do this? There are all sorts of guides and tips out there for an aspiring NaNo writer, so I won't go into those. I usually have plenty of ideas for stories floating around in my mind, so once I've set on 'the one', I start a notebook and write out my backstory, plan scenes, and write questions out that I'll need to answer as the book progresses. That starts a month before I begin writing. I also do research on the internet and with the help of the Worthington Public Library system (vote yes on Issue 53 Tuesday!).
This time around, my idea was sparked by a submission call from a publisher. Of course, this doesn't mean I'm going to end up with a book I want to submit to anyone, or if I'd even submit it to this company, but I've been enjoying writing 'on spec' for the first time.
Anticipation builds and sometimes I can't resist making note of some runs of dialogue. It's a relief when November first arrives and I can begin. So far I'm at over 5,000 words and I'm happy with where things are going and how my characters are taking shape.
I'll post more later about the story, but first I'm going to list a few of the research topics I've explored and see if anyone can guess what I'm writing about.
1. Top Chef Canada auditions on YouTube
2. Hattie Carnegie costume jewelry
3. knives
4. Daytimers

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What I'm watching

Fall television season is here and I've been DVRing a lot of shows I haven't bothered to watch yet. Part of the reason is lack of time, and part is because our television is slowly dying and everyone on the screen is turning green so it's hard to concentrate. In any case, a couple of shows have managed to interest me enough to endure watching while every one in the cast look like moldy cheese while I stay up past my bedtime.
One is Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC
I'm not particularly a fan of the original source material, or Joss Whedon (gasp, horror, how is that possible? Main reason; annoying quips). But I did enjoy the Avengers movie last summer and thought I'd give this a try. Plus, I find Clark Gregg to be adorable so that's incentive enough. So far, the two episodes I've seen have entertained me. Like most of the commentary I've read, some of the characters are clunky and too predictably pretty, but they've intrigued me enough with cool gadgetry and Melinda May that I'll keep watching.  Plus, I want to find out why Tahiti is a magical place.

The other new show I've taken a shine to is Sleepy Hollow on Fox. Normally I'm not much for horror/paranormal shows. They usually require too much suspension of disbelief for me to enjoy (please, once and for all, vampires are no more sexy than leeches. Think about it!). I have to admit, the writing and acting on Sleepy Hollow has won me over. The characters are smart, skeptical, and behave as reasonably as one could hope when you find yourself confronting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Love the chemistry between these two and hey, Orlando Jones, John Cho, and Clancy Brown? For those three I'd watch! But I have to be honest, Tom Mison is the big surprise for me. Sure, he's very good looking, but the guy can deliver a funny line like no-one's business.
Plus he gets to play scruffy, courteous, and intelligent which are all big yes votes for me when it comes to male leads.
So there, a couple of shows I recommend only two episodes in, so take it with a grain of salt. They might fizzle out next week, but I have a feeling they'll get better.
And the usual disclaimer, I have no rights on these images, I borrowed them from the 'official' sources so if anyone cares to protest, I will of course remove.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My First...

Yes, today, the very auspicious Friday the thirteenth is my first ever cyberlaunch. Author Island is promoting my first book, Bent Boot Road in a couple of venues;

and on Facebook

Come visit, make a comment for a chance at a copy of the book or a stressball and help introduce me to the world of publishing promotion.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Elysium for Everyone

Who needs a laser when you've got a big sword and psychosis?
I managed to get away from the house and see a movie with bad words, violence, no humor, and big ideas this weekend. If you couldn’t guess from the title of my post, that movie was Elysium and I was blown away. I needed at least twenty-four hours to settle after watching before I could put together a semi-coherent blog post.
First off, the visual effects were great. I was so drawn into those worlds, so taken with the contrast between the dusty, crowded, falling-apart Earth and the spectacularly clean and wholesome Elysium I had to remind myself to breathe. Amazing work with production design and set decoration. I was so impressed I looked up the ‘visual futurist’, Syd Mead, who designed some of the sets and once I did, I realized why his work appealed to me so much. It’s because he was also a designer on two of my favorite films; Blade Runner and Aliens. Those happen to be two of Neill Blomkamp’s favorite films as well so it’s no wonder I felt so comfortable stepping into his Elysium. It reminded me of how I try to make my Sci-fi stories equally gritty and every day. Doors that don’t work right, dirt, worn-away finishes, piles of trash, all help make a world of the future more appealing to me.
The story was the typical hero quest with some ‘crushed by corporate inhumanity’ thrown in, but that’s a trope I can get behind. As far as acting goes, one person hit it out of the park; Sharlto Copley. Wow. I thought he was impressive in District 9 but in this film, he’s amazing. He plays a simply awful character so well I couldn’t look away. Normally, I’m ready for the villain to bite it about halfway through a film because their uberevil machinations bore me, but I wanted Kruger to last until the final scene because he was so terribly magnificent. It was a strange sensation to sit in a dark theatre and be simultaneously attracted and repelled by him. So Mr. Copley, I’m sorry to say, you will probably end up as a placeholder in an upcoming book of mine. Maybe a hero, maybe a bad guy or more likely both. Oh, and Faran Tahir was also in it and I always like to see him.
If you’re a fan of hand to hand fighting, this is your movie; swords, knives, blood spatter everywhere along with some really fabulous weapons that stick on and blow up. People were incinerated, radiated, decapitated, drawn and quartered, turned to flesh-mist, you name it. (Oh, flesh-mist, I like the sound of that. I called it!) I might be betraying my high tolerance for medical gore here, but the reconstruction of fifty percent of Kruger’s head was one of my favorite parts of the entire film. In fact, I could have watched that process for at least fifteen minutes.
Now I have a new facet to one of my fantasies. If one of my sci-fi stories is ever optioned, I want Neill Blomkamp to direct it. That is all.

As always, I don't own the rights to these images, if you object to their presence, I will of course remove them.

Friday, August 30, 2013

It's A Week Away!

Next Friday is the release for my second book, Return. It’s a sweet contemporary romance with an older hero and heroine facing a lot of family history. Here’s the blurb:

‘James Winchester is content with his predictable small town life. He lives alone, helps out at his family farm, and doesn’t miss an ice cream social. His life is so neat and ordered he could use one of his accounting spreadsheets to chart his upcoming years.

Evelyn Prentiss’s world is in chaos. She’s returned to her home town twenty years after leaving and the transition isn’t as smooth as she’d anticipated. Her home needs renovated, her parents are once again too hands-on, and she only has the summer months to settle in before she starts her new teaching job.

In an effort to be a good neighbor, James finds himself stopping by Evelyn’s house more and more to help with her endless to-do list. When a mystery from their past resurfaces and opens old wounds, the two find comfort in each other. And so much more.’

Sound good? I hope so. I had a lot of fun writing this book and getting to know these two main characters. If you read it, you’ll learn about steer shows, lilacs, glass plate negatives, ice cream socials, and even more.

I also want to say a big thanks to Musa Publishing for saying yes to my manuscript and for giving me such a great cover.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Welcome Secret Cravings Publishing Blog Hoppers

Greetings visitors from the Secret Cravings Blog Hop. I hope you are having a great time visiting all the author blogs and you are discovering new books to try.
My book, Bent Boot Road, is a sweet contemporary about a young woman with a chip on her shoulder and the patient man who falls for her while they search for her missing friend. Their adventure takes place a small college town, the urban environment of Columbus, Ohio, and the forests of southeastern part of the state. These three locations make me wonder, are you a country, small-town, or city person?  Make a comment below for a chance to receive an e-copy of Bent Boot Road.
In case you get lost on the way, here's a link to Secret Cravings

Friday, August 16, 2013

Let Them Bake Cake

In my upcoming book, Return, Evelyn Prentiss bakes a chocolate cake. There are a lot of reasons why she does this. The main one is she’s trying to get on the good side of someone she hopes will develop some glass plate negatives she bought at auction. She’s a good baker but has something prove after coming in second in the 4-H competition twenty years before.

While I was writing that scene, all I could think about was how many times I’d made the following classic recipe. I found it in a magazine when I was in high school and it’s always turned out well. Without further ado, Evelyn’s favorite chocolate cake.

Hershey’s Disappearing Cake

1/4 cup butter  

1/4 cup shortening  

2  cups sugar  

1  teaspoon vanilla  

2   eggs  

3/4 cup  cocoa  

1 3/4 cups flour  

3/4 teaspoon baking powder  

3/4 teaspoon baking soda  

1/8 teaspoon salt  

1 3/4 cups milk




1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour 2-9 inch round or 13x9 cake pan. Cream butter and shortening, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Blend in eggs. Combine cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl and sift to mix well.


2.      Add milk and flour mixture alternately to batter. Blend well and pour into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans if using round pans. Frost with your favorite frosting.
My suggestion is to bake the cake on September 5, 2013 and share it with your family but save a slice. On September 6, go online and buy my book Return from Musa Publishing and give yourself a double treat of chocolate and romance.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Welcome Sweet Cravings Blog Hoppers!

I hope you are enjoying hopping from one Sweet Cravings Publishing author site to the next. To celebrate our hop, I'd love to give away a copy of my book, Bent Boot Road. It's about a woman who works in a museum basement until a private investigator drops in and needs her help locating a missing professor. Since the missing man teaches archaeology, I'd like to select the winner from anyone who comments below and mentions their favorite movie that includes either a private investigator, a museum basement, or an archaeological site. Bonus points if you can think of one that includes all three.
Good luck, I'll announce the winner on Monday!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

And Here's the Cover!

Isn't it gorgeous?
Musa Publishing will have it ready for purchase on September 9, 2013. As long I as I get the dedication and acknowledgement written in the next few days...
Here's the back cover blurb;

James Winchester is content with his predictable small town life. He lives alone, helps out at his family farm, and doesn’t miss an ice cream social. His life is so neat and ordered he could use one of his accounting spreadsheets to chart his upcoming years.

Evelyn Prentiss’s world is in chaos. She’s returned to her home town twenty years after leaving and the transition isn’t as smooth as she’d anticipated. Her home needs renovated, her parents are once again too hands-on, and she only has the summer months to settle in before she starts her new teaching job.

In an effort to be a good neighbor, James finds himself stopping by Evelyn’s house more and more to help with her endless to-do list. When a mystery from their past resurfaces and opens old wounds, the two find comfort in each other. And so much more.

Aww, I just love them!
Next blog post will be an excerpt...I think I have that selected already...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sweet Saturday Samples

Hello and welcome all visitors from the Sweet Saturdays Sample blog. I’d like to share a PG-13 excerpt from my first novel, Bent Boot Road. It’s available on Amazon, B&N, ARe, and from the publisher’s website, Sweet Cravings Publishing.

The next morning, Carter placed a call to the local detective and discovered that there was nothing new to report. He was not surprised but he was pleased that the detective didn’t seem to have any objections to him continuing his independent inquiry. It saved the detective the trouble of doing some work himself. Carter didn’t care, he was feeling like they were getting close. And thinking of they, he began to consider Back again. Not that he’d really stopped thinking about her since he’d met her two days ago. He wasn’t sure what was going on in his subconscious. Get real, of course he knew what was going on, but she was fascinating him more and more. Her mind worked in mysterious ways and ever since she’d run her fingers through his hair he was desperate for her to touch him again. He kept bringing her back to his room, hoping that she would jump him. It hadn’t worked yet. Maybe if he fed her some more, something sticky that would require some licking of fingers she’d be overcome with lust and make a move.

Why was he being so pathetic? He was fully capable of seducing a woman, why was Lydia Back intimidating him? Carter shook his head and in an ironic effort to stop thinking about her, called her house from memory. When she answered, voice blurred and sleepy, his throat closed for a moment and he castigated himself for being such a fool.

“Back, you ready to go?”

“Who is this?”

“Carter Harris. Were you expecting someone else?”

“I’m always expecting something other than what I get. Eternal disappointment is my lot in life.” She sounded as dour as a heavily laden camel in the desert. She was such an Eeyore.

“Sorry to keep the streak alive Back, but we have work to do.”

“Frickity frack, is it really 8:45?” she croaked and he heard her shifting around. Visions of arms and legs tangled in rumpled sheets filled his brain. The ultra male part of his brain chanted “sleep with me sleep with me”, but that part of his brain was of no use while working. In fact, that part of his brain hadn’t been out to play in a long time.

 “Heavens to Betsy I slept late. You are wearing me out, Harris.” She sighed and he wanted to ask her to start talking dirty.

“I have some good ideas for today. Let’s have some breakfast and make plans.” Syrup was sticky, so waffles or pancakes could work. And then there was whipped cream….

“Gotta shower or something first. I’ll meet you somewhere in a half an hour.” Then she groaned and he lost track of the conversation for a moment as her moan vibrated somewhere deep in his ear. Focus, focus, focus, he ordered himself.

“It only takes you a half an hour to get ready?”

“Yeah Harris, a half an hour. It’s not that complicated to wash off and cover myself with clothes. What kind of women do you hang out with?”

Don’t answer that, the more civilized part of his brain interjected. “The kind of women who like to ride in cars and not hike everywhere like a Sherpa.”

“Ah, passive and squashy.” She sniped back and he grinned. He was going to miss her caustic wit when he returned to Columbus.

“Can you really be here in half an hour?” And no, he was not going to order room service despite great, overriding, massive temptation. They would eat in the restaurant like normal people.

“Yep, if you let me get off the line sometime this week.”

“Done, meet me in the restaurant.” A dial tone was her farewell and Carter decided to contemplate his depleted wardrobe. If he had to stay here much longer he’d need to go shopping. He could only imagine the look of dismay on Lydia’s face if he told her that. So far she wasn’t very impressed with his style, so it was unlikely that any of his current clothing would prompt her to fling herself at him in a state of uncontrolled arousal. What apparel did she like? Flannel shirts and ripped jeans? Baggy corduroys and tweed jackets with elbow patches? Maybe she was turned on by pipe-smoking. It was too horrible to contemplate.


I hope you enjoyed a little bit of Carter and Lydia’s story. Would you like to read more? Here are the buy links;

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Whew, I'm tired

This is how I feel every time I try to get my son dressed in the morning

Yep, I went to see Pacific Rim today and I am exhausted. I've never jumped, flinched, or gasped more in a movie. So yeah, it's pretty good.
I love monster movies because they combine my interests in special effects and disaster scenarios in one efficient package. Pacific Rim delivered both wonderfully. The CGI was the highest quality I've seen to date and the designers did some really unique things, like having debris floating around in the underwater fight scenes. I really appreciate details like that. Despite a lot of the scenes occurring at night/in the rain as is typical with these sorts of films, it was easy to see what I was looking at. They kept the contrast at a level that worked for me. The only time I squinted was when I wasn't sure if I wanted to actually see what was going on up there. The sound was mixed really well too, I didn't feel audio assaulted like I often do in an action movie.

Knife head kaiju lookin' for some fiber

The world-building was good too. Of course it needed to be since these monsters were going to tear it all up. Ha Ha. As a science fan, nothing throws me out of enjoying a movie more than when basic logic is ignored by a filmmaker. Pacific Rim didn't have any glaring problems once you accepted the idea that there was some sort of time-space crevasse in the bottom of the ocean. I'm willing to do that for a monster movie. The contrast between a digital jeager and an analog jeager was a little problematic for me, but it was a necessary plot device so I'm going to let it slide. I would have let a lot more slide because the monsters were superb; cool attributes, realistic movements, and diabolically malevolent. I loves me some monsters.

Hmmmmmm....what was I writing?

Here are my two criticisms. The movie needed more Idris Elba. Please? Pretty please? I could have watched him command people to clean commodes for two hours straight and been perfectly happy, but some other stuff happened too. Like giant monsters with acid vomit or electromagnetic pulse burps. But more Idris Elba would have made Pacific Rim even better. Last criticism; no sequel possible. Darn it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Franklin Park Conservatory

Earlier this month we made a trip to the Franklin Park Conservatory. It was my son's birthday request, which surprised me considering all the more noisy and commercialized entertainments he could have chosen. Maybe he loves the place for the same reasons I do; peaceful environment, waterfalls, butterflies, an abundance of nature. In any case, here are a few photos I took on this latest visit.
A bald cypress bonsai dating from 1843
Buckeye butterflies on a bird of paradise bloom


Gingko bonsai


Golden Helicon on lantana

Common Sergeant

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Raffle Madness

A sampling of lovely raffle baskets

I have returned from my first-ever Reader Author Get Together. It’s Tuesday as I write this and only today have I felt like myself. It was an overwhelming experience that I’ll soon discuss with another post but first I want to talk about a wonderful part of it; the Raffle.

Every year, authors, readers, publishers, you name it, donate gifts to a raffle at this event. This year, there were over 250 items donated and they raised more than 13,000 dollars for a charity, One Way Farm Children’s Home,

Since I only have one book out at this time, and my second isn’t going to be available until fall, I spent some time trying to come up with something interesting. Since I don’t shop at Bath and Body Works, a basket of spa items was out, so I decided to offer up the chance to name a character in my next published book. I thought it would be a fun prize for someone and I would enjoy sharing the experience of submitting, editing, designing cover art, and finally release day with an interested person.

My prize was drawn in the final round Saturday night. I stuck around despite being very tired and was excited to meet the winner, Joyce Boyd (Hi Joyce!). Joyce and I are going to work through this process together and I’ll be sure to post updates as they occur.

Here’s the first one; I met with two editors at RAGT, both requested full manuscripts, and I have sent those and synopses out as of today. Whew! It’s stressful to prep a submission because you want to re-read the whole manuscript for the umpteenth time, you second guess yourself and your story, and when the panic really hits, you try to think of reasons NOT to send the thing to anyone because you fear rejection. But I have overcome all those obstacles, hit the send button twice, and plan to celebrate tomorrow with a nice lunch out. Then it will be weeks of waiting and checking my email constantly and when I do get a message, being afraid to open it because of the aforementioned fear of rejection.

Oh, in case you are wondering, I didn’t win anything. I never win anything.

my raffle prize...kinda cute

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Jitters and Guilt

These roses are pretty but my thoughts are not
I'm putting up a last blog post before I head off to my first romance writer/reader convention this weekend. This has been a difficult week with a death in my family and the rising tide of mommy guilt because I'll be away from my son for three days. At this point I'm doubting it's all worth it and I'm afraid I'll come home on Sunday exhausted, impoverished, and completely disillusioned. I'm a planner, and part of planning is anticipating the worst so this could be pessimism talking, but the negative feelings are getting to me and I'm hardly in an excited, anticipatory mood.
Part of my problem is my current WIP is reaching a hard place to write as I'm going to kill off a likable character and this puts my heroine in terrible pain. That's no fun to look forward to, and I haven't figured out how I'm going to get her and the hero to their first sexyfuntime so I don't have that as my reward for writing the sad stuff first. I think I'm going to bring the computer along with me so if the convention is too painful and awkward I can at least hide in the hotel room and get a little writing done. That's delusional I know.
Another part of my problem is my son's birthday is tomorrow and he's growing up. He's already reading, sarcastic, and independent, entirely ready for every day and all the fun it promises. I miss my little boy though.
I told my husband tonight I just need a win, even a little one, and I'll bounce back with some of the determination I depend on to keep me going. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Oh the Pressure

Swag, get your free swag

I am busy prepping for the 2013 Lori Foster Reader and Author Get together. My preparations are not especially well-informed since I’ve never been to this event. I was informed I’d need giveaways and I have managed to accumulate some things, such as the candy bags pictured above. My son and I labored many hours (not really) on putting these together. I suspect he helped mostly because he wanted to sample the candies, but no matter, one hundred bags are filled with candy, a magnet, and are stickered with my info. I’m also bringing some stress balls, although they are more like stress cubes. I plan on giving those to people who buy copies of my book while I’m there. And there are more magnets to be included in the goody bags all attendees get.
Since I’ve never been to one of these, and I tend to be a stay-at-home introvert who suffers terribly when forced to make small talk, I’m trying not to get nervous ahead of time. Here’s what I’m worried about in no particular order.
1.       I will make some incredibly obvious new author faux pas and everyone in the vicinity will give me pitying looks
2.       I will sit at my book-signing table and no one will talk to me, let alone buy a book
3.       I will miss some important thing because I was distracted or lost or caught in a crowd
4.       I will have to bring home most of these give-aways because no one will be interested
5.       I won’t like the food and I’ll be hungry all the time
6.       I will make a fool of myself in pitches
7.       I will meet people and immediately forget their names
8.       I will feel like a dork during the ‘party’ portions of the event
9.       Someone will want to talk about paranormals, erotica, new adult, shapeshifters, whatever and since I don’t read those genres I will have a blank and ignorant look on my face the whole time
10.   No one will put a ticket in to try and win my raffle prize
Okay, so I just typed all that out and now I’m really nervous. I haven’t even packed yet. As I review the list, I can see there are some common themes such as meeting people and swag. In an effort to make myself feel more confident, if you are reading this and are going to RAGT this year, mention my insecurities to me and I will give you a bag of candy. Or a stress cube.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rejected but not Dejected

My manuscript was rejected for publication. That hurt just a little bit to type, but not as much as it would have a few months ago. I didn't even get sad when I read the email, just a bit confused at the contradictory reasons the editor gave. There weren't any concrete criticisms or suggestions that would make it possible for me to even  re-write the thing so I'm not going to bother. It's not worth it because the response was so formulaic I know the editor has zero interest in my work. I can read between the lines and understand exactly where I stand (or don't with that publishing house). And that's okay because I wrote a good story, I wrote it well, and another editor will like it.

I'm like one of those knights, I'm just going to keep waving my sword (manuscript), hold up my shield (faith in my work) and fight again (submit it to someone else).
If anyone's interested in reading an excerpt from my unattached book, leave a comment and it might show up on a future blog post.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Trek and T*ts

So I had a Star Trek and mammogram kind of day. Here's the picture to prove it. In the early a.m. went to have my annual mammogram. Go get yours if you are due! And that's all I'm going to say about it.
And in an unexpected turn of events, I actually got to go out to lunch with my husband and go see a grown-up movie afterward. We so very rarely get to do this since he works and we have a child which means kid friendly entertainments ninety-nine percent of the time.
We went to Wurst und Bier, and ate a lot of German meats and each had a beer. Neither one of us could remember the last time we'd both gotten to have an alcoholic beverage AT THE SAME TIME. We could do this because a) our son was not with us, and b) we could walk over to the movie theatre after we ate and drank. And oh my goodness the meat and beer were delicious. We waddled over to the movie theatre and lowered our bloated bodies into the plush seats of the UltraScreen for a matinee of Star Trek Into Darkness. OH MY.
What can I say about this movie? It grabbed you and just kept tossing you from one scene to the next. Bruce Greenwood! Peter Weller! Klingons! Tribbles! KHAN!!!!
I enjoyed the movie very much, but had trouble catching my breath about halfway through because of the unrelenting action sequences, explosions, crashes, assaults, and general mayhem. It did throw in a lot of material from past Treks (radiation in the warp core, hello! and KHAN!!!) but I was very entertained and that's all I expect from my summer fun films.
Simon Pegg was lovely as usual. And I'm finally getting the Benedict Cumberbatch crushes. I guess it just took him playing a despotic, genetically engineered superman to catch my eye.

P.S. I want all the leather jackets everyone wears in the film. Right now. Even though it's eighty degrees and sunny.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blog Hop!!!

Welcome to my first blog hop! I've never done this before so let's hope it all goes well. I'm only asking two things, please make a comment below and then click through on the link at the bottom so you can visit the other contemporary Secret Cravings authors hosting this weekend.
Be sure to post a comment here and at the other author's blogs. I'll be giving away a copy of my my book Bent Boot Road to someone.

Here is the badge for the contemporary blog hop. There is no button since there will be no overall SCP prize. Each author should have their own prizes and select their own winners. The link to the SCP blog -- and please link back to the blog is:!/photo.php?fbid=10200511198001271&set=o.367142080026996&type=1&theater

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gatsby in Mind

Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan
I don't own copywrite on this so will remove if asked
Lucky me, I was able to the new Baz Luhrmann film The Great Gatsby this weekend. On Mother’s Day to be exact, so that was a nice present to myself. I’d seen one review of the film that was vaguely complimentary, so I didn’t have many preconceived notions about it before I sat down other than I liked F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, and I love that period. I was hoping for some great costumes and sets, hoped for good music, and as long as the script wasn’t radically different than the book, I didn’t really care. It had an afternoon to myself, a tub of popcorn, and an iced chai (yes, my theatre serves chai, who knew? They also serve White Castles, which is all kinds of awesome.)
Let me say first off, I really liked the movie. It was as wild, frenetic, loud, and colorful as you would expect from this director and once I settled in for the ride, it was perfectly fun. I believe the movie treated the characters much more sympathetically than I ever did as a reader, which made sense considering how ‘pretty’ the whole movie was. It would be jarring to have terribly conflicted and hard to categorize characters in the middle of these over the top gorgeous surroundings. And they were gorgeous. The crystal was Waterford by my guess, the costumes conspicuously expensive, and the floral arrangements alone looked like they’d cost tens of thousands of dollars. There was as much conspicuous consumption up there on the big screen as what you would have seen at any striver’s party during the twenties. The only quibbles I had were with jewelry; Daisy’s famous pearls rolling all over the floor when the string broke was totally unrealistic, pearls are always individually knotted to prevent just such an occurrence but I’ll give it a pass because it’s such a dramatic visual. And one of Jordan Baker’s necklaces was too clunky for the period, it would have fit better for a thirties costume.
I didn’t notice the actors much, Gatsby and Daisy were credible, Carraway was more appealing than he’d ever seemed in the book as was Jordan Baker. The only actor that stood out to me was Joel Edgerton, he really nailed Tom Buchanan and gave him more nuance and interest than I’d ever gotten from the book. Of course he was a horrible, spoiled, and entirely pointless excuse for a person, but the actor made him interesting.
As I watched the film, I began to see where the novel influences my own writing. In my first book, Bent Boot Road, I compare my hero Carter, with an Arrow Collar man, an image of which featured prominently in the film. My heroine Lydia also compares the hero’s nice shirts to Gatsby’s lovely excess. Of course, Carter Harris is about as far away from Jay Gatsby as a fictional person could be. All they have in common are ethnicity, gender, and sartorial elegance. And in the book I am polishing for pitches this summer, my hero, Thomas, arranges for a beautiful hotel room with fresh flowers and lots of snacks for the heroine Mel to enjoy when she comes to London. It was very similar to the scene in The Great Gatsby where Jay Gatsby sets up an overblown tea for the reunion with Daisy, all to try and impress her. So F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work has had a subconscious influence on me as a writer and not just as a reader, which is really interesting considering I haven’t read the thing in at least a decade.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sunshine On My Brain

Maybe because it finally feels like spring and the sunshine and warmer temperatures are mellowing my brain, or maybe because I wrote over 50,000 words on a new book last month for Camp NaNo, I haven’t paid attention to making a blog post in far too long. Let's blame it on all the plants emerging in my garden and distracting me terribly.

First off, the writing is going very, very well. I am so pleased with the SFR story I’m finishing up now, all the little connections and threads I needed are coming together at the end and that’s a great feeling. And I went through another story (one I wrote last November for NaNo)  and revised it in the last two weeks. This one I’m going to pitch to an editor at Lori Foster’s Reader and Author Get Together in June, so it’s very nice to have most of the heavy lifting done on it already. It’s a contemporary set in Ohio, the heroine is a small town school bus driver employed for the summer to drive around some movie actors on a location shoot in her home county. And our hero is one of those actors who decides he doesn’t want to be famous. So far, my favorite scenes to write were one at a garage sale, and another of a seduction in below zero weather in a drafty bedroom.

Still waiting to hear about the pitch I made three weeks ago. I kept myself busy and haven’t thought about it much other than wanting to know what the editor thought so I can enter it into our Central Ohio Fiction Writer's contest; Ignite the Flame. I might just enter my contemporary instead and not worry about it. I just want to find a publisher for my SFRs, I have written four and I’d love to find a home for them so I can get them out there.

I also managed to order my swag for the above mentioned RAGT. If you are attending, expect a magnet from me, and I’ll have some cover post cards to sign, stress balls, AND bags of Brach’s hard candies. Getting ready for this event has been hit or miss for me. I have no idea what to expect, so I’m kind of muddling through all the pre-planning. Although I have been getting great advice from a writer friend, Allyson Young , who has attended before. This will be my first ‘appearance’ as Lynn Rae, author. It’s a little daunting. I have a not so secret fear that no one will have even heard of my book, let alone read it. Ah well, if that’s so, I’ll just mingle and fake it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Reading Horror

(not my photo, let me know to take it down if it's yours!)
Lately I’ve noticed that I’m on a horror-reading kick. I shouldn’t be surprised because I grew up reading Stephen King but I had backed off the genre for a while. Having a young child to worry about sort of dampened my enthusiasm for opening my mind to wretched creatures preying on innocent people. It’s just like disaster movies. I used to love them, loved anything with earthquakes or plane crashes or disease outbreaks and now when I watch them I think about little children being caught up in it and I start to cry. So no more disaster movies. There’s no accounting for the fact that I am a huge fan of the Walking Dead,  I can manage to watch that without all the mommy hormones flooding my body.

But reading horror seems to be creeping back into my comfort zone, so to speak. Creeping like a stealthy zombie, that is. Here are a few that I have/am reading that I have enjoyed.

Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman. Oh my goodness, this was GOOOD. Very well-written, not over the top gross, and was set during the Great Depression which was unique (and commenting as a historian, the setting and period rang very true so kudos author Buehlman). A very good spin on the were-beast mythos. This is a debut book so I’ll be hoping for more from this author.

Horns by Joe Hill. Not quite done with this one yet but I am enjoying it so far.  Enough that I plan on reading more of his work. He writes this story from several POVs and despite my misgivings at being in the head of a terrible person, he handled it so well that I kept reading. I’m not sure how it’s going to end and that’s a good thing.

Juggernaut by Adam Baker. Almost done with this one too. The premise is great; Three Kings meets The Walking Dead. That’s all you need to know, if that sounds good, you’re going to like this one. More suspense than horror, at least to my mind, but there’s enough creepy gross out to satisfy. I really like this author’s choices in choosing POVs as well.

Despite my renewed interest in horror fiction, I won’t be writing any of it. My brain just can’t conjure up the necessary plots and the idea of sustaining my creativity through all the awful blood and guts is frightening. I’d hate to think what I’d be like to live with if I was trying to write horror. At least with romance there is an inherent optimism and knowledge that good things await, not matter how dire the situation I’m writing.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Here We Go Again

Isn't that a great picture? I took it last fall on my way to Chichen Itza.  Those are ceramic wall plaques on the most fantastic orange wall. I loved the contrasting colors and repetition.  It reminds me of all the colorful bits and pieces you need when readying something for a submission to a publisher.  Writing the story is one thing, making it fit for an editor to read is quite another.

Look at that, it’s been a  week since I posted.  There’s a reason for that; I’ve been hard at work on my new MS for the April Camp NaNo and revising another manuscript in the hopes of being able to submit it.  I had a pitch with an editor yesterday and she asked to see the whole thing so hopefully all those hours of editing, re-writing, blank stares, sore back, and despair are worth it. And if she isn’t interested, I do understand.  My book isn’t easy to categorize.  It’s a small town sci-fi romance with no space battles or aliens.  My heroine works as a trash recycler. It’s not dystopian or shiny perfect future. People on my world work and get dirty and don’t have many places to shop because the settlement exists to grow food and ship it away to more populated worlds. Definitely not something I could pitch as fitting very neatly into one of their lines. But I’m grateful she’ll at least take a look at it.
So I spent my writing time today doing a massive re-write of the ending (always the most difficult part for me to write), running that spell check AGAIN, and fixing everything on my knock list. Once I did that, I did a little happy dance around the room, drank a cup of tea, and returned to the computer to write up the dreaded synopsis.  Once I completed that, I started in on this blog post because I am done done done until I hit send tomorrow morning.  Or heck, maybe I’ll send it out tonight with a glad heart and return to my current WIP with a clear conscience.  And speaking of quirky Sci-Fi, the story I am writing now takes place on a world made of peat moss, animal-like trees, and a special epiphyte that makes the human brain VERY happy. I love it there and can’t wait to return to it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

From the Caribbean to Deep Space

So that’s a picture of a fan palm.  At least I think it’s a fan palm.  I took that picture last fall on a trip in the Caribbean because I love palms of all sorts. But this palm inspired a biological plot twist in my April Camp NaNoWriMo novel.  For those confused by the acronym, NaNoWriMo refers to National Novel Writing Month which is November.  But for those of us insane enough to want a novel in a month more than once a year, there are mini-celebrations in April and July.  I wrote a pretty decent novel last November that just needs some polishing so I decided to take the plunge again this month.
Because I’ve been doing so much ‘business’ over the last few months (editing, promoting, blogging, etc.), I was starved for something purely creative.  As the germs of my work in progress started to grow in my head and I began to make notes in a composition book which is what I do for every novel I’ve written.  I outline the story, make character studies, and diagram scenes in there.  Sometimes I’ll even write dialogue longhand to get a feel for the characters.  My last contemporary/paranormal buzzed to a halt because both of my main characters were just too, well, repressed, so I decided to indulge myself with a sci-fi effort.
When I write sci-fi, I am able to let go of so much that realism that I think is important when you write contemporary.  With sci-fi I can make up names and places and plants and devices to my heart’s content.  Plus I don’t have to abide by current societal norms.  Just an example of how wild my imagination can get; I am creating a world filled with symbiotic trees that have all sorts of epiphytes living on them.  Intrepid scientists have recently discovered that one of these epiphytes produces a compound that does something magical to human blood chemistry (one guess what that is) and now the race is on for people looking to get rich quick.  It’s sort of like the California gold rush except on a soggy planet very far away.
And this fan palm was the inspiration for the organism that hosts the epiphyte in question.  The waving of the fronds is an important part of the life cycle of the epiphyte.  The sad thing is that I have written pages of notes about the biology of these creatures and I know that hardly any of it will appear in the book.  But it’s my world and it’s safe in my imagination.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ben Hurry

that's his formal whip
My son calls this movie Ben Hurry.  I love the 1959 Charlton Heston version and it is an Easter weekend tradition for me to watch at least a little of it. I have ever since I was a small child.  Now I own a copy of it and can pop it in for a viewing whenever I might have a few hours with control of the television. But I rarely have control of the television or about three hours of time with nothing else requiring my attention, so Ben Hur is unwatched.  Except at Easter.
But enough about my schedule, let’s get back to Ben Hur and why I love it. It’s a really great dramatic story with all sorts of characters and themes and overt tie-ins to Christianity. There is slavery and betrayal and redemption.  The costuming and set decorations are simply wonderful (I think they are the reason I collect Fontanini nativity scene pieces). Plus a wonderful Roman naval battle and the epic chariot race sequence.  What more does a movie need?

They make a cute couple
Judah Ben Hur is complicated; a decent man who makes mistakes and comes out transformed by tragedy and the goodness of others. He’s the hero and rightly so.  But I have a sneaking admiration for the evil Messala.  First off, Stephen Boyd plays him perfectly; handsome, smart, and very clearly making a choice between being decent and being ambitious.  He’s wonderful to watch and whenever the two handsome leading men share scenes it’s hard not imagine some sexual sparks between them. Ah-hem. Messala has the best death scene.  I always fall for a great death scene.  My husband jokes that I only really like a movie when the hero dies.  Which isn’t very HEA. The story is still incredibly romantic and I sigh a lot when I watch it, even on what is surely the fifty-plus viewing.

blame Stephen Boyd for my slight addiction to be-toga'ed men
So, anyway.  Despite the floggings and leprosy and ships in flames with galley slaves still chained in the holds, Ben Hur is romantic to me.