Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wicked Wednesday - my favorites

I've read so many paranormal romances over the years, sometimes they blur together. All those sexy werewolves and vampires, irresistible Fae and hot demons. It takes something special to stand out above the others. I cherish these books not only for the incredible reads they are, but for what they have to teach me about the genre. If I want to write paranormal romance and stand out in the crowd, I have to learn how to craft a story that will make my readers feel the same way as I do about these books.

My #1 Favorite: The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
This is a MUST READ if you love paranormal romances. There's no one thing that makes this series stand out for me. It's the hidden urban fantasy world, the mythology, the characters, the twists and turns, and the romance. The protagonist, MacKayla Lane (Mac) didn't appeal to me at first. She was a bit shallow and peppy, but Mac grows into an impressive heroine. It's not something that happens overnight or even in the first book. Her growth is real compared to what she's dealing with. I don't feel rushed or cheated with how her character changes throughout the series. I can feel every moment and, oh, what moments they were! Jericho Barrons is the hero and one of the sexiest in all the genre. How I love my heroes to be tall, dark and mysterious. My stomach still flutters thinking about him. I can't say anything else about him without giving the juicy bits away.

The story has so many layers. You keep peeling and peeling, more entranced by it as you go along. The series starts with Mac going to modern day Ireland to look into the murder of her sister. She's thrust into the secret supernatural world and discovers she has a strange power she must learn to control. A handsome Fae Prince and the dangerous Barrons offer her guidance, but she doesn't know who she can trust. She must hunt an ancient evil: a sentient book that can create and destroy worlds. Just when you think you've figured something out, the plot twists. There are several OMG moments. I'm rarely surprised by the standard plot twists in most books, but I was shocked again and again.

The romance. Don't expect the heat to come on full throttle right away. This is an exquisitely written slow burning one. There's plenty of sizzling tension, but it's a relationship built up over time. Mac and Barrons don't seem to fit together, but they grow together. I like a lot of the hot stuff sometimes, but I appreciate the gradual romantic build-up most of all.

Other favorites:
Stacia Kane's Chess Putnam books - Dark and macabre. Even romance can be gritty. It's the world after a Ghost Apocalypse event. (Instead of zombies rising up, it was ghosts.) The Church of Truth is the big power and Chess works for them. She's also a drug addict and her love interest, Terrible, is a thug. Not your typical romance, but it's fierce and original.

Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series - Amazing and wondrous dark world after a magical apocalypse. So many unique places in these books. Kate is a kick-ass heroine and Curran is a sexy Lord of the Beasts. He's up there in the top five of my most memorable heroes. This series has everything. Plus, it's another gradual romance.

Christine Feehan's Ghost Walker series - This series surprised me with how much I liked it. I like Feehan's Dark series (vampires), but the Ghost Walkers is far more original. Lots of psychic abilities and intrigue. A complex overall story with several characters. Feehan proves that if you can find a romance formula that works for you, you can use it over and over again successfully. All the books have the same layout for how the romance progresses, but you won't find yourself bored.

Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series - The world and creatures in these books aren't terribly original, but Mercy is a character that stands out in a crowd. She's a mechanic with a Native American heritage and she can turn into a coyote at will. She falls for the Alpha of a local werewolf pack. Another gradual romance!

Jill Myles' The Succubus Diaries - Something steamy and fun. These books make me laugh.

Yasmine Galenorn's Otherworld series - They're wicked, over the top and break several rules of writing. That's why these books are so much fun! The books are told from the POV of three half-fae sisters each with their own unique powers and lovers. Several lovers. The white dragon, Smoky, is one of my favorites.

I need to stop myself here or I'll keep rattling on. What are your favorite paranormal romances?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesday with Blood Promise

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I'm still reading the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I love it! Blood Promise is the fourth book. I'm almost done it. Does anyone have any other recommendations for a good YA paranormal romance?

My teaser:
Nope. Red eyes and a hard expression looked back at me. My hopes shattered. (page 310)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cloning device, please

I haven't written anything new this month. Usually I try to get at least something done. A short story or a few thousand words of a novel. It's not from lack of inspiration, but lack of time. And it's frustrating. I had two rejections last week and that only raised my level of frustration. I need to write more. I need to get more stories out there.

I only have a limited amount of time each day to do what I want to do for myself. I'm home alone with a toddler for the majority of the day. I can't do anything on the computer while he's awake unless he's doing something with me. I have emails and blogs to write, and blogs to read. I've been working on revising my latest WIP, getting it ready to submit.

I realize I need to balance my time. I've been trying to shorten emails and not spend so much time commenting on blogs. I'd like to comment on everyone's blog, but please understand, I need to write more. I need to take advantage of the blog post schedule option too.

Or maybe I just need an assistant. Oh, no, a clone of myself. Yes, that would be perfect.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Favorite Summer Reads Blogfest - part 2

This is my second installment for Cherie Reich's Favorite Summer Reads Blogfest. I couldn't help but pick more than one book. There's so many great books out there right now.

George R.R. Martin is one of the greatest fantasy authors out there today. He's brilliant. Bloody brilliant! He breaks all the rules and makes it work. A Dance With Dragons is the latest installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I've waited a long time for the book to come out. It didn't disappoint. He's a genius world creator and can twist a plot like you wouldn't believe. Then his characters, oh, his characters. I've met him and attended a few seminars at a convention where he was on the panel. I like that he says "there are no good guys or bad guys in my books. There are only characters with flaws." Some characters that you hate at the beginning of the series, you start to like as it goes on. Ones you thought were good turn out to be not so good. You don't expect it. Martin does what you least expect and it makes his series epic.

Urban Fantasy:
You can never go wrong with the Dresden Files. Ghost Story is the latest book in Jim Butcher's spectacular urban fantasy series. It's funny, dark, magical, amazing, and something I can't talk about it. Yes, it seems weird, but if I even describe the premise of this book, it would give spoilers as to what happened previously in the series. Let's just say that Harry Dresden is In Between and a lot of weird, scary stuff happens.

The summer isn't over yet! I have two books I'm waiting for from the library:
1) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I've heard fantastic things about the book. The cover is creepy and the book trailer, well, you have to watch it for yourself!
2) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I realize I'm a little late getting on board with her trilogy, but a baby keeps you busy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Favorite Summer Reads Blogfest

Cherie Reich's Favorite Summer Reads Blogfest has already begun and will go through Saturday. Join up! It's a lot of fun! Here's the description: All you have to do is pick a favorite read (this year, this summer, years past) and write why it is your favorite read. It'd be nice to have the cover art of the book, but that's it. Pretty simple. Oh, there is also a little form you should fill out, so we know where your blog is to discover new reads. There are also prizes. I will announce the winners on Monday.

Yes, you read right. Prizes!

I can't pick just one book that's been my favorite this summer. I'm going to do one for each genre I've read.

Paranormal romance:

Karen Marie Moning's Shadowfever. The final book in the Fever series. Right now, it's my favorite paranormal romance series. I read this at the beginning of the summer. I'm at a loss for words with this one. In the first book, the heroine, MacKayla Lane (Mac) annoyed me. Yet the story drew me in. I can get past certain protagonists if the story is intriguing. Mac grew on me, though. Grew on me until I wanted to be her. Then there's Barrons. Mm, delicious. Tall, dark and mysterious. One of my favorite paranormal heroes ever. Humans vs. Immortals. The Fae. An evil book with the power to create and destroy worlds. Monsters. Barrons. Did I mention him?! He's so gorgeous. Even more so that he owns his own book store!

YA paranormal romance:
I just finished reading the first book in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. I was a little hesitant about trying a new YA series. I've been disappointed by other ones in the past. I also expected this might be like a vampire Hogwarts. It's nothing of the sort. It's original and well written. Rose is a wonderful, strong protagonist. So far, I think she's a good role model for girls. (I think that's important in YA novels.) The romance isn't overdone. I like it when a relationship builds over the course of a series. Here's Richelle Mead's brief synopsis of the series: Two races of vampires walk our world. One, the Moroi, are alive and wield elemental magical. The other, the Strigoi, are undead and evil--feeding on the innocent to survive. Rose Hathaway--a half-vampire with poor impulse control--is training to be a bodyguard for a Moroi princess. Learning to decapitate and stake is hard enough, but Rose's real danger may lie in an illicit romance with one of her instructors.

Steampunk Romance:
Yes, there is such a thing as Steampunk romance! Though, this is the only one I've ever read. It took me a little bit to get into the story, but once I got a handle on the world and the romance started firing up, I was hooked. Katie MacAlister's Steamed is unique and fun. Katie is better known for her Dark Ones and Aisling Grey paranormal romance series, but she's found something new and intriguing with this one. The hero, Jack gets thrown into this strange world through one of his nanoelectromechanical system experiments. Say that five times fast! Here's what Katie says what happens next: He wakes up to see a woman with the reddest hair Jack has ever seen—and a gun. Octavia Pye is an Aerocorps captain with a whole lot of secrets, and she’s not about to see her maiden voyage ruined by stowaways. But the sparks flying between her and Jack just may cause her airship to combust and ignite a passion that will forever change the world as she knows it.

Favorite Summer Reads Blogfest to be continued tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wicked Wednesday - My first time

The first time I heard about paranormal romance* was in a writing seminar at Gen Con in 2003. It was the genre to make your break in at that time. Sales had doubled between 2002 and 2004. (Sales are still good these days. Romance outsells all other genres. If you write YA paranormal romance, it's the one taking off at the moment.) I listened to the panelists talk about it and realized that was what I was writing.** I had refused to call what I wrote romance. I had labeled myself as an urban fantasy writer. Contemporary, magical and dark with a focus on the protagonist's love life. Sometimes a very detailed focus! I picked up a few paranormal romances from the library after the convention and I was hooked. I haven't been able to stop reading them since. This was my genre. Holy sweet chocolate, I was a romance writer.

I resisted at first. I didn't want to be one of those women that wrote romance even if it is paranormal. There's a certain stigma attached to romance writers. Not only from men, but from other women as well. The stereotype is a woman who is a flaky hopeless romantic. I learned that is far from the truth. Intelligent, funny and amazing women do write romance. Women of all races, classes and beliefs love romance. Don't ever be ashamed that you write and/or read it. This goes for the men too. More and more men are writing romance these days.

Now I fully embrace the fact that I am a paranormal romance writer. This is the genre that I love. It can be dark and gritty like Stacia Kane's Chess Putnam books or fun and hot like Jill Myles' Succubus Diaries. I like the darker ones, but I also appreciate a book that can make me laugh. Oh, I do enjoy the sex scenes, but for romance books, I want to read about the protagonist's relationship(s). I want to feel the ups and downs, the frustration, the fiery lust, the first kiss, the doubts, heart pounding love, and maybe heartbreak. There are so many emotions to explore and, in a world of the paranormal, so many things can happen. It's the supernatural and the romantic journey that suck me in.

What do you love about paranormal romance? What drew you to the genre be it as a reader or a writer?

*You didn't think I was actually going to write about my first time for anything else, did you?!
**Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of romance originating from gothic fiction. It includes elements of the paranormal, horror and urban fantasy. It mostly includes contemporary novels, but some time travel stories do get put into this genre. Do not confuse it with fantasy or science-fiction romance.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writers' Platform Building Campaign and asking for beta readers

I'm happy to join Rachael Harrie's Third Writers' Platform Building Campaign. It's a fantastic way to link those in the writing community together with the aim of building our online platforms. Her previous two were great successes and this one is going to be phenomenal. If you're a writer and haven't heard of the campaign yet, please check out Rachael's site. You only have until the end of the month to sign up.

I am also searching for a couple of beta readers who love paranormal romance. Mine is on the erotic side, so please, only those over 18 years of age. I don't expect anyone to edit or critique my manuscript. I want to know what well read paranormal romance fans think of my story. If you'd like to help me out, please email me at

Teaser Tuesday with Vampire Academy

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I finally picked up Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. Yes, I know I'm a little behind, but I borrowed them all from the library on the weekend. I was a little uncertain about the series at first. I hoped it wasn't some vampire take on Hogwarts, but it surprised me. It's original and well written. I'm usually annoyed by teenage protagonists, but Rose is awesome. This series makes me want to delve more into YA paranormal romances.

 My teaser:
But as she went inside, I could feel that she wasn't there to pray. She had another purpose, one that I didn't know about. (page 57)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Spark Blogfest

What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer? 
What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?
Or, Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

As writers, we're always striving to get out a message of inspiration to others. This blogfest hosted by Christine Tyler at The Writer Coaster is a celebration for those who have done this for us. Join the Spark Blogfest, aka Sparkfest, by posting your answer to any of the three prompts above (or make one up as long as it fits the theme).

I've always wanted to be a writer. There was no one book that made me realize it. I have poems and stories I wrote when I was five years old. A lot of writers have inspired me, but I was born with that spark.

Let's go with the second prompt: what author set off the spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

My current WIP is a paranormal romance. I've read a lot of books in this genre. It's research. Yes, let's call it research. Yasmine Galenorn gave me the spark for this story. It wasn't her books themselves even though I love her Otherworld Series. It was something I read on her blog. I was deciding how I wanted to go with my WIP. I wanted it to be fun and steamy, but to stand out in a genre that has a lot of that. Yasmine wrote that her agent told her to go over the top. Don't make it idiotic and ridiculous, but whatever line you're imagining you can't cross with certain things in your book, cross it. And it worked for her. It really worked. Fans love it. It's a brilliant piece of advice if you can work it to your advantage. That's the chance I'm taking with my WIP. I went over the top. I broke a few rules. When I finally decide to submit it, I hope it works for me too.

Star Trek As We Know It Blogfest

Today is Ellie Garret's Star Trek As We Know It Blogfest! Here are the rules to join along:

  • On August 22nd post your top five Star Trek characters and episodes and/or films, and tell us why you love them.
  • Warp your way over to as many of your Starfleet comrades as you can and comment on their choices.
  • Spread the word on all hailing frequencies, and feel free to post the image on your blog.
  • Wear red at your peril.
Remember - the needs of the many bloggers outweigh the needs of the one!

This was difficult. Of all the series and movies, I can't pick just five! I grew up watching the original series since my mother was a fan. Then TNG came along and I was obsessed. DS9, Voyager and Enterprise. All great series.

1) Data. (TNG) Yes, I was a Spiner Femme. I love his perspective on humanity and his struggle to find his own. I love that he had a cat named Spot! His long term story arc with Soong and Lore was fascinating. I can't pick one episode with Data at his best. He's always at his best! Though I do like "Measure of a Man" where an Starfleet scientist wants to dissect Data and they have a hearing to decide if he's a sentient being.

2) The EMH Doctor. (Voyager) The Doctor came in a very close second to Data. He's hilarious! Again, like Data, I love his struggle to become real and how he dealt with the ethical issues of his unique position. One of the funniest episodes is "Message in a Bottle" even though it has Andy Dick. (I loath Andy Dick!)

3) Captain Kathryn Janeway. (Voyager) I adored all the captains, but Janeway stands out a little above the rest in my eyes. I love her spirit and her hard edge contrasting with her nurturing side. "The Omega Directive" and "The Year of Hell" are very good Janeway episodes.

4) Captain Jean-Luc Picard. (TNG) Yes, I do like him better than Kirk! Maybe it's the accent. He's the intellectual and made bald men sexy. The episode that sticks out most for me is "The Best of Both Worlds" where Picard is Locutus of Borg. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I also loved "The Inner Light" where he was hit by a satellite beam and lived a whole other life. It makes me tear up.

5) Major Kira Nerys. (DS9) It was difficult to choose between Kira and Dax, but I like the hard edge Kira has from her days in a labor camp and as part of the resistance against the Cardassians. "Crossover" stands out in my mind, but again, it's the overall story arc that I love.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

My son is sixteen months old today. We went down to the lake this morning
and he plopped himself right down in the water, clothes and all!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted @ At Home With Books

Friday, August 19, 2011

Learning your craft through short stories

I write novels. My dream is to see my book in print on a shelf in a bookstore. I know a lot of you want the same thing. A lot of us only have limited time to write and so we focus on our WIPs.

But if you want to write novels, you need to should write short stories too. Part of being a writer is improving on your craft. Short stories are excellent tools for doing that. They teach so many things including plot, flow, characterization, and how to be concise. For even in novels, each word must matter.

I've never been a big fan of short stories. My ideas are always big. It's hard for me to write something short because I want to keep going. I've learned so much about writing and myself as a writer from forcing myself to write short stories. My writing is ten times, no, a hundred times better now than it was ten years ago. Yes, writing novels has helped. I've went to conventions and writing seminars and participated in writer's groups. They've also helped. Writing short stories has helped the most, though.

Another good thing about having short stories published is that you have writing credits to show an editor, agent or publisher when you're querying. I have ten short stories published and four forthcoming. They do take you more seriously when they see that.

I use Ralan to find anthologies and magazines/ezines that are accepting submissions. It's a fantastic and reliable site. A site every writer should have bookmarked.

Go bookmark it right now and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wicked Wednesday

I think the popular thing with blogs is to have theme days. Or, at least, on a lot of the popular ones, they have such days. Not because having a theme makes a person a better blogger, but having a set topic allows readers to know what to expect. If they're only interested in reading about a particular thing, they might not stick around if the blog talks randomly about various things. I know a lot of people like to read about writing, but don't really want to hear about my adventures with my son or my back troubles.

I'm going to start with just one day. I don't want to jump in and create a theme for every day. I can't make that type of commitment for seven days in a week. Sometimes I just want to rant about different things or participate in other people's blogfests. One day is a good start. One day to test the waters and see how it works out. I'm also curious as to what you think about themed days. Do they help you as readers? Do you do themed days? If you do, what sort of response have you gotten from them?

Wicked Wednesday is going to be about the paranormal romance genre. I'll write about books, authors, my writing, trends, etc. I decided this would be the best choice of a theme for me because it is my genre. I can share my experiences and knowledge, and hopefully learn new things from my readers and research as well.

I'll start the first official Wicked Wednesday next week. Same bat blog time. Same bat blog channel.*

*Bat fits the genre in a way. Maybe I should have left it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Chicks Kick Butt

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I picked up an awesome new anthology at Gen Con called Chicks Kick Butt. It's edited by Rachel Caine and Kerrie L. Hughes. It features stories from great writers like Lilith Saintcrow, L.A. Banks and P.N. Elrod. I've always loved strong female protagonists. This anthology is full of them!
Here's the teaser:
The instant he was fully solid, I swung and slammed the broomstick into the side of his head as hard as I could. The temple bones are thin there, more easily broken if hit with enough force. ("Vampires Prefer Blondes" by P.N. Elrod, page 123)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sore back and tag line

My back is still in bad shape. My husband had to stay home again today. Not a great start to the week. It's frustrating to be a parent of a toddler and not be able to bend to play with him or clean up after him. I vacuumed yesterday and it took a lot more out of me than I thought it would. Sneezing hurts. Of course, everything I experienced gets consideration as material for a possible story. Would a story be interesting if the heroine had a trick back that would give out at the most inopportune moments? Maybe, maybe.

I've never written a heroine with major physical obstacles to overcome. There are injuries and exhaustion, but not something she starts off with. I like writing emotional obstacles. Perhaps I should write a story with a protagonist that has a major physical obstacle to challenge myself. I'm always up for a challenge!

I finished the first draft of my synopsis for A Lion's Heart. I have a blurb that slowly being tweaked and it's not half bad right now. I have a tag line that I like. Other tag lines that I tried out were about the hero and played on the fact he's a Sphinx. They were a bit sillier than this one. Let me know what you think.

"The key to saving him is within her. Literally."

Friday, August 12, 2011

The reliable quiet man

I threw out my back this morning. It happens every twelve months or so. My lower left side goes into spasms that knock me to my knees with the pain. I can barely move.

It's the worst day to have it happen too. My husband planned on going up north for the weekend to see his father who had heart surgery. Our son and I were going to a picnic with friends tomorrow. I'm lucky if I can sit down without pain. Plus, the boy is nearly 16 months old. He's full of energy and into everything. I attempted to go it alone for the day, but I tried to pick up a 26 pound toddler and I nearly passed out.

My husband talked to his father and will go up next week to see him instead. He's staying home to help me out. He just took our son to the park and left me with a heating pad on my back in front of the computer. I'm working on some edits and blurbs for my WIP. He's not an overly romantic type of guy, but he's there when it matters.

When I write my heroes, they're usually the Alpha male. The sexy bad boy with a good heart. It's the kind of heroes I like to read about, but in real life, I'll take my reliable quiet man over the bad boy any day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I love books

I caught my son reading a book to himself the other day. Oh, the pride and joy I felt.

Books have always played such an important role in my life. I can barely remember being without a book nearby. I remember the delight and wonder of seeing a library for the first time. I still get a feeling that you could call giddiness when I enter a library. I can clearly recall what my elementary school's library looked like and where all the fiction books were located. (We will not discuss just how long it has been since I've been in grade school!) I remember when I went to university and how excited I was to explore a library with several floors. I knew all the best quiet places to read.

I've had a lot of books over the years. I moved a lot in the years of my early adulthood and had to part with books then. I still mourn the loss of my Nancy Drew collection and bags of Stephen King novels. I'm settled in a house now. My bookshelves are overflowing. I still want more. I'll be getting an e-reader for my birthday. Hopefully that will help with the problem of space.

I hope my son loves books as much as I do. We read to him a lot. He sees my husband and I with books. He knows which shelves contain my books, which ones have my husband's and which are his. He has yet to rip pages out of any books or color in them. *knocks on wood*

I see way too many people who never read more than a newspaper or an entertainment magazine. I couldn't see going through life without books. I want my son to know the same joy and excitement as I do when I pick up a new book. I want to nurture his imagination and let him know that it is limitless.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Passing on the Love Award

I was surprised and honored to discover not only one person had given me this award, but two!

Thank you very much, Sarah McCabe and Chandara! You both are so sweet.

Chandara said this: So now I pass it on to five awesome bloggers that I and found that they are equally as nuts...committed, in a good way, as I am on this venture of writing and life.

Sarah said this: Christine is a fellow "geek, writer and stay-at-home mom". The Trifecta of Awesome.

I particularly like this award because it allows me to pass on the love to other writers and bloggers. The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:

   1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
   2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
   3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
   4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
   5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

Here are a few well-deserving writers:
1. Heidi Windmiller - science-fiction and YA author. She gives great advice.
2. Charlene A. Wilson - romance author and mother. I love reading her vivid dreams.
3. Marianne - writer and mommy. Yes, being a mommy is the hardest job, but she's an inspiration.
4. Janel - writer and mother. Great tips, and she teases me with her vacation pictures.
5. M Pepper Langlinais - writer and mother. She inspires me more than she knows.

Teaser Tuesday for August 9th

Time for a bookish meme! Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules for participating:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser is from Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan. She writes excellent fantasy romance. I'm almost finished this book. Only a few chapters to go!

Here's my teaser:
But he wasn't content with that. With a swift surge, Heath flipped her over, pinning her to the blanket below him. (page 60)

Monday, August 8, 2011

My adventures at Gen Con 2011

First lesson of being a parent of a toddler and attending a convention: Never make a definite schedule.

We started out late on Thursday. I scheduled myself for a 9:00 seminar, but we didn't even leave until 8:40. It takes an hour to drive to Indianapolis from our house. That's one seminar I missed.

We found a good parking spot and got inside. The line for SWAG bags was short. Not a terribly good bag of stuff this year. Not even a die. I had to go pick up my tickets at Will Call. I've done Will Call the past few years. Last year, it took me two minutes to get my tickets. This year, I waited in line for three hours. My feet still hurt. I couldn't do anything without my event tickets. Another writing seminar was missed.

We managed to get into our hotel early and get my son down for his nap. The hotel staff was great all weekend. Some of the ladies snatched food from the kitchen to give to my son because he was blowing them kisses! He even got a free milkshake from Steak & Shake for being so cute. He knows how to work people.

I made it for "Stealing One Hour of Anton Strout's Life." It was a lot of fun. He was hilarious and Elizabeth Vaughan did a fantastic job of going James Lipton on him!

We had dinner at Scotty's and then I had the boy for the rest of the night. I discovered it's very different to take photos and wrangle a toddler in a crowded convention center. He's quick like a ninja! I didn't get very many pictures.
My son was tuckered out the first night. I took him to visit the Beholder in the largest of the D&D rooms. He crawled up under the Beholder and looked like he was going to fall asleep right there. Several people took pictures.

We had a better start on Friday. I made it to two morning seminars.

"Urban Fantasy" - The people on the panel were good, but it didn't get into anything more than what was the definition of Urban Fantasy and what wasn't. I was hoping more for tips on the market.

"Villains as Heroes" - Great panel. They were hilarious and made a lot of jokes. They talked about how to make villains sympathetic and ones that are just bad. 

One of the things I really like about writing seminars is listening to the panelists talk about their own experiences. I've attended seminars more than once various years and I still had a good time. I don't get to talk about writing often at home, so it's fantastic to be immersed in an environment where everyone is talking about it.

I had my son again that afternoon. I took him with me to Anton's book signing. After, we had to go play with the troll.
There's the boy showing the troll how strong he is. Every time we passed the troll, we had to stop so he could honk its nose. Later on, he added giving it five. A bidding war for my son started amongst other attendees after seeing him flex his muscles for the troll. We got up to $100. So tempting!

I did the "Write & Critique" on Friday evening. It was fun, but I felt I flopped. Hey, we all have our off days, right? To top it off, I was the last person to read. (Tickets were chosen at random.) We were given a topic and we had fifteen minutes to write something. The topic was: a ride in the country. Totally not what I expected. I played around with a few ideas in my head and then I went with something urban fantasy. Two monsters in a Bonnie & Clyde situation, having just eluded the cops, and are driving down a country road as they're talking. I didn't have enough time to explain the setting of the world or what sort of monsters they were. A few other writers did urban fantasy, too, and they were hilarious. It added to the feeling that mine flopped. The panelists were confused as to what my two characters were, but they got the basic premise of it. They liked the subtle juxtaposition of what seemed like an ordinary outlaw couple with the supernatural weird bits. I didn't go overboard with it. I wanted the focus to be more on the characters and their situation rather than the fact they were monsters. The panelists said that subtle isn't always good, though. In a short story, you have to plainly say such things and say them up front. They said nice things about my clean style, but that was it. Since my story didn't impress me, I don't think it made a big impression on anyone else. The best thing to come out of this workshop for me was listening to the panel critique all the stories. I've been learning a lot about critiquing this year. I hope it's making me a better critique partner.

I missed two more seminars on Saturday morning because I was sick. Something I ate for breakfast didn't sit well with me. Yet after my stomach was emptied, I felt better.

I attended one seminar with a bit of a headache. "Make it Steamy: a look at the steampunk genre." This one was a lot of fun. They talked about the definition of steampunk and its history. There was a new author on the panel who recently published a short story called "Pimp My Airship." He's writing a novel in a new sub-genre called Steamfunk!

My headache cleared in time for me to do the True Dungeon in the afternoon. This was my first time playing through with a group I didn't know. Usually my husband and I do it together. Thankfully, I got a wonderful and experienced group. The girl who played our rogue was dressed as Sailor Moon! I played the cleric. We survived the Lair of the Sea Lich and acquired the amulet to fight the Draco Lich next year. (Unfortunately, my husband didn't get a good group when he went through later that night and didn't survive. AND he was forced to play the bard. Poor guy.)

I had two seminars scheduled for Sunday morning. It was a rough morning as we were packing up. Once again, I missed them. Yet we managed to get down to the exhibit hall and I got some more books signed. I talked for a little bit with a couple of authors about proper book signing etiquette. When you're doing a signing for an anthology, the author is suppose to sign the page where their short story starts. Only the editor is suppose to sign in the front. Yet, of course, it all depends on what the customer wants.

The weekend was a blur. I wish I had gotten more time to do writing stuff, but being a parent must come first. It will be even more fun when the boy is older too.

Thank you, Gen Con. It wasn't my best year, but it was fun.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Home sweet home

I love to travel, but it always feels good to return home. I like our cozy house. My son squealed and clapped when we pulled into the driveway. He likes our little house too. I can't wait until I can curl up in my own bed tonight. Only after True Blood, of course!

Gen Con was good. It had its ups and downs. I'll tell you all about them tomorrow when I get some time to write an entry. I missed some of my seminars. I didn't get enough sleep. Yet social anxieties did not stop me from talking to other authors. I survived the True Dungeon. My son's cuteness got him free stuff.

I didn't get many pictures. It's hard to wrangle a toddler in a crowded convention center and take pictures at the same time. Plus, the first few people I asked to take a photo with my son said no. They didn't want anything to do with babies.

I hope you had a good weekend. It's Monday tomorrow. Let's see if I can get back into the swing of things.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One day until Gen Con

Gen Con tomorrow! Woo-hoo!

I finished my third revision last night. I added some details to the ending and hopefully it will make it feel more complete. Endings are sometimes difficult for me because I don't want my story to end. The world doesn't stop moving on in my head even when the story has to come to an end. It's important to know when to end a story. Dragging it on too long will bore the reader. Cutting it short will leave the reader feeling dissatisfied. I considered adding an epilogue to A Lion's Heart, but I don't think it needs it. Everything was tied up neatly at the end. At least I hope it is. I will have to get my critique partners' opinions and find myself a few beta readers who know paranormal romantica well.

I've got errands to run and cleaning to do. Packing will be done this evening. My husband has been gone these past few days and hopefully he'll be home early this evening to help out. I know anything I put into something will be immediately taken out by a small child.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Teaser Tuesday for August 2nd

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE
    CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t
    give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I started reading Ghost Story by Jim Butcher last night. Oh, I do love Dresden! And the craziness of this book. It's a roller coaster with loops and twists already.

Here's your teaser:
The Thing was two feet closer.
And it was smiling. (page 279)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Paradise 21

I don't want to forget something very important with Gen Con coming up.

Aubrie Dionne's new book, Paradise 21 will be released tomorrow!

 Aubrie is a fantastic writer. Her prose flows like music, so beautiful to read. She weaves wonderful fairy tales whether they be in medieval times or space. I have often compared her to Patricia McKillip. It's difficult to find good science-fiction romance. Goodness knows I've searched many years for a few good ones. Aubrie has given us one of those rare gems. I can't wait to read more!

Aubrie is being interviewed today on Cherie Reich's blog. Please stop by and check it out.