Monday, December 31, 2012

Point 1 and The Best Books of 2012... and Why I'm Not Telling

Okay, I totally brainfarted out over the weekend and forgot to talk about the big surprise - aka Point 1 from my post the other day.  Go over to Killer Chicks right now... then come back and read the post for today.  Oh and SQUEE!
I don't do best books lists.  Sorry if you stopped by hoping I'd pony up with the deets.  Suffice it to say, I read 90 books in 2012 and picking out the top 5 or 10 wouldn't do justice to the other 80-85.  I read books I loved and books I didn't.  I put a few of them aside without finishing them and I won't really go into the deets about those either.

If you're interested in seeing the books I read, and the stars I gave them, head over to my Goodreads page.  I think you can get to the list by clicking that widgety thing on the right.  Most of them are 4 or 5 stars.  I think there's a three in there somewhere.

I love books.  And I read everything.  So putting together a top ten list would be like asking me which apple I liked best and then me throwing oranges and bananas into the mix.  Having said all that, though, let me tell you that I have certain authors I can't get enough of.  If you've been around long enough, you've heard me gush.  You can tell who they are by looking over my reading lists for the past few years and seeing the same names over and over.

And I have friends now that have books published, and I love all of them as much as I love all their books.

So, if you're looking for a 'best of' from me, sorry to disappoint.  And if you want a book recommendation, tell me specifically what you're looking for and I'll point you in a direction.  Want a light SF author?  Read Gini Koch's Alien series.  Want a quirky, fun mystery?  Check out JB Lynn's Hitwoman series.  Want something gritty?  Larry Correia  With monsters?  Larry Correia.  With alternate history and magic?  Larry Corre... you get the point.

Want an all-around awesome author who generally writes something having to do with the paranormal or the supernatural or the strange?  My long-standing writerly crush is on Seanan McGuire (aka Mira Grant).

But see?  Now I've gone and started naming names, which makes me wonder who I forgot, who I'm inadvertently offending, and who might be frowning right now because I didn't drop his or her name.  Which is why I don't do these lists.

Like I said - want to know what I think about the books I've read, go to Goodreads.  Or ask me privately.  But understand something else - I'm not necessarily all that objective about the books I read.  Maybe because I'm a writer.  Or maybe I'm just weird.

What about you?  Can you pick the best books you read in 2012, or are you like me and pretty much liked everything?

Oh and for those of you who didn't follow the link up there, the big surprise is that I am the newest Killer Chick.  SQUEE!  

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye to the Greats in 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, I'd like to pay tribute to some of the great people we lost this year.  In no particular order, these are some of the famous people who passed away this year.

General Norman Schwarzkopf - military
Charles Durning - actor 
Jack Klugman - actor 
Dave Brubeck - jazz legend
Larry Hagman - actor
'Mr. Food' Art Ginsburg- television food reporter/author
Gary Collins - actor 
Alex Karras - actor & NFL legend
Andy Williams - singer
Steve Sabol - sports film maker
John Ingle - actor
Michael Clarke Duncan - actor 
Neil Armstrong - astronaut 
Phyllis Diller - comedienne  
'Arnold Horschack' Ron Palillo  - actor
Marvin Hamlisch - composer
Chad Everett - actor 
Sherman Hemsley - actor 
Sally Ride - astronaut
Donald Sobol - author
Celeste Holm - actress 
Ernest Borgnine -actor
Andy Griffith - actor
Nora Ephron - screenwriter
Frank Cady - actor
Ray Bradbury - author
Richard Dawson - actor
Robin Gibb - singer & composer
Donna Summer - singer
Carroll Shelby - car designer
Vidal Sassoon - hairdresser
Maurice Sendak - author
'Goober' George Lindsey - actor
Beastie Boy Adam Yauch -musician
Junior Seau - sports figure
'Barnabas Collins' Johnathan Frid - actor
Dick Clark - entertainer & host of American Bandstand
Mike Wallace  - journalist
Thomas Kinkade - artist
Davy Jones - singer & actor
Jan Berenstain - author
Whitney Houston - singer & actress
Ben Gazzara - actor
Muhammad Ali - boxer
Don Cornelius - host of Soul Train
James Farentino - actor
'Juan Epstein' Robert "Bobby" Hegyes -actor
Joe Paterno - sports legend
Etta James - singer

Sure, there were a lot of other notables, but these were the ones who meant something to me.  I remember dancing around the living room to my sister's BeeGees album, or to the songs on American Bandstand and Soul Train.  And I remember sitting around watching Welcome Back, Kotter or Hogan's Heroes or The Monkees.  (Or who could forget that one episode of The Brady Bunch where Marsha sent a letter to Davy Jones?)  Glued to the TV during Desert Storm or when Sally Ride went into space.  Ali was the greatest and Phyllis was the mouthiest and Dave was the legend and Etta was the queen.

But the hardest of all for me to take was learning Ray Bradbury had died. =o(

So many lost this year.  May Stormin' Norman lead them all into eternity.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 is Almost Gone

Can't say as I'll be too sad to see 2012 go.  It wasn't a bad year, per se, but it wasn't a great year either.  It was more of a meh year.

Looking back - literally - I found this post where I talk about my half-year goals for 2012.

1) Finish Djinn 2 - Check
2) Polish Djinnocide - Check (this check turned into a total rewrite, though)
  2a) Put together submission materials so I can... - Check
  2b) Send this sucker out - Check
3) Edit at least one other forgotten book (you know - one I wrote but never edited like Nano or UEQ) - Not Check
4) Edit Djinn 2 (just in case Djinnocide sells or something) - Not Check
5) Read at least as many books this year as last year (the count was 90 in 2011 - more on that tomorrow) - I'm at 89 read this year with a few days left to go, so this'll probably be a Check.

I only really missed two, so that's not a bad thing.  It's just that here I sit at the end of another year, still unagented and still unpublished.  Bleh.

I feel like I'm in stasis - not moving backwards, but definitely not moving forward either.  And yeah, I'm so sick of listening to myself whine about it, I could spit.

"Really, Meissner?" I says to myself (because when I talk to myself I call myself by my old name)  "If you want something to happen, do something.  You toad."

Looking ahead at 2013, I see some things on the horizon that might make the beginning of this year interesting.

- Point 1 - which is a special surprise I can't talk about until next week or the surprise will be ruined.

- Point 2 - which I also can't talk about yet, but it's totally not writerly.

Hopefully, one of these will help shake things loose.  (Although the second one is going to be a bit distracting at first, so that'll shoot my productivity in the ass.  And NO, I'm not pregnant, planning to be pregnant or even remotely considering adding anyone to my tiny family.  :shudder:)

As for making public plans, here's a list which will probably be like last year's craptastic list:

- Finish Sleeping Ugly (from first draft through to submission)
- Resume submitting Djinnocide.
- Edit AWJ (because all of you who stopped by and read my snippet last Sunday said so)
- Edit one other forgotten book
- Read at least 50 books (because I'll be too busy to read as much this coming year as I did last year)

Check back with me next year to see if any of the above actually got checked off.

How about you?  Are you ready to see the back of 2012?  Was it a good year for you?  What expectations do you have for 2013? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post Holiday Whip Crack

I hope all y'all had a wonderful holiday weekend (or just a great four days if you didn't celebrate a holiday).  But now it's time to get back to work.  :whipcrack:

Stop by The Unpublished Writers Guide to Survival and chime in on how to combat the guilt of not-writing.  Or just commiserate.  I don't know about you, but this not-writing is killing me.

Did you get any writerly work done while you were celebrating?  Or were you like me and just laid around the house eating goodies?

Thinking about it now, maybe I should add exercising to my to-do list and get back to work on that, too.  The Ferrero chocolates are attacking my ever-widening ass.  (Have you ever had the coconut ones?  They're to die for.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas Day - whether you celebrate or not.  And here are some doves to help you along...

A Gift from Mom, years ago.

Two Eurasian-Collared Doves in an Unknown Tree
Happy Holidays to you all.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Here's a sweet treat that's perfect for the holidays.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

3 c sugar
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 T lemon juice
1/2 c apple juice
3 cups flour
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour two 9x5" loaf pans.  Beat together sugar, pumpkin, eggs, and juices in large mixing bowl.  In separate bowl, sift together flour, spices, baking soda and salt.  Gradually stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients - until just moistened.  Evenly distribute batter between the two loaf pans.  Bake for 60-65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from pans when no longer hot and allow to cool completely on wire rack or tinfoil sheets.  Slice and serve.

The Kid made this recipe for the first time yesterday.  It's pretty awesome.  Make sure you do a good job with the whole grease and flour thing. though, because you do not want these bad boys to stick to the pans and fall apart (especially if you're planning on giving them as gifts or setting the slices out for guests).  Tasty, tasty mess, but a mess just the same. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Picture Pause

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing this end of the year season...

Stay warm.  ;o)

And don't forget to read the Lucky Sevens Sunday Snippet.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Putting Pen to Paper

I'm in that place again.  You know the one - where every time I sit down here to write, the words won't come?  Yeah, that one. 

I don't know why I get stuck in this place.  It's so much easier physically to write on the keyboard.  My hands take a lot longer before they cramp, for one.  But nooooo.  I'm stuck over there, sitting on the couch with my big 5-subject notebook in my lap and my trusty red pen. 

I'm still working on the story I wrote about for my The Next Big Thing post.  I'm really liking where this is going.  I threw in a twist I wasn't expecting and now my poor MC has to deal with that before she can deal with the curse she's under.  It's awesome.  Really it is.  But hammering through it one page at a time is killing me. 


I think I just need to kick my own ass and tell myself to quit being such a ninny.  I'm in charge here, dammit.  And I want to write lots of words instead of just a few.  So there.  =op

Until then, though, I'm stuck doing it the old-fashioned way and putting pen to paper.  Because, hey. slow writing is better than no writing.  Right?

Do you ever write longhand?  It's a great way to get unstuck.  (Until you get stuck while writing longhand, then you're screwed, I guess.)  I know several of my friends can't due to hand issues, so if you're one of them, what other trick do you use to get unstuck?  Maybe it'll help my muse to not be such a damn techno-phobe right now. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Blizzard's Over But I'm Still Distracted

Okay, so the blizzard is over and so is the cleanup.

The rush of holiday shopping has been completed, too.  So I guess at this point, I don't have any excuses for being a blog-toad.  Oh, except for I've still got wrapping and cleaning to do.  Yeah, that's it.  And my husband's going to have a four day weekend after today, so I get to spend extra time with him.  Yay!

So, if I don't get back here before the holiday, have an awesome one.  And stay warm.  (If you click to make the picture larger, you can see snow crusted on the poor finch's head.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Disturbing Dreams...or Story Ideas?

You know the instant you wake up that what your dreaming mind just created disturbed you.  You can't stop shaking, you can't get it out of your head, and you feel totally creeped out.  And then the creative part of you wonders if perhaps this might not make a good story. 

If you're like me, you leap from your bed (okay, maybe leap is too strong a word - stumble, perhaps) to write it all down.  I might get some of it out, but I never seem to get all of it.  And sometimes when I go back to read through it, I wonder why I ever thought it might make a good story.  :shrug:

This morning, I woke up from a very disturbing dream that would make a good story.  But I can't remember the key points.  All my brain keeps focusing on is the maggots.  (I hate maggots.)

Let me back up a bit...

Something horrible had happened - that much I remember - and it seems like mankind was infected (or infested) with some kind of thing that turned killed them and then went on to infect/infest everyone around them.  And while they were dying, they became cannibalistic (I think... that part's unclear).  Anyway, in the dream, I had just joined a group of survivors and I knew them.  Several of us were sitting around discussing the situation when this guy - the one I loved, who looked like a young Mel Gibson (Mad Max young but with Thunderdome longish hair) - gets up to walk away and the kid sitting next to him screams.  Where he was sitting has maggots and he has maggots all over the back of him.  And everyone wants to kill him before he goes insane and kills everyone.  But I'm trying to figure out if the maggots are coming from inside him or if he just sat in them (yeah, it was pretty gross), and also trying to stop everyone from attacking this man I love... who may or may not be about to eat me. 

And then I woke up.  I know I've got the potential for a post-apocalyptic story there but all I can remember in vivid detail are the maggots.  (Not fly maggots, per se, thinner and more translucent...  :shudder:  Did I mention how much I hate maggots?)

Anyway, I hope writing it down here will jog something and make it bloom when I'm ready to write a story like that again.  (And yeah, I'm saving it to my ideas file, too.)

Ever happen to you?  How much do you remember after you wake up?  How do you keep it from fading into nothingness?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guns Are Not the Problem.

I've spent a lot of time going over this latest bout of insanity in my head.  I wish I could just let it go, but I can't.  Friday morning a man who wasn't much older than a kid himself slaughtered 20 little children and 6 of the adults tasked with protecting them.  And not long after, people started pointing fingers - mostly at the whole gun control thing.

Let me say this right off:  The availability of guns is not the problem.

So, evil dude got himself a semi-automatic assault rifle somewhere somehow.  I haven't heard whether he got it legally, and I don't care because it doesn't really matter.  If the damn thing had been outlawed by the government, he would've gotten it elsewhere.  And if somehow the entire world had banished assault rifles, he would've taken revolvers into the school.  That shithead had a plan and a little thing like the legality of his weapons or the rate at which they fire weren't exactly going to stop him.  And if somehow all guns were abolished, he would've built himself a bomb.  I've heard you can find the directions on how to build one somewhere out here on the internet.  The shits who did the Oklahoma City bombing certainly proved that bombs are just as effective as guns at killing people.  No, this guy wanted a lot of bodies, and he made them. 

Still, it seems like there are a whole lot of people out there focused on the guns being the bane of society.  Like after the football player killed his girlfriend and then himself not long ago, and a certain sports announcer felt the need to jump on the gun control bandwagon on national TV.  Sorry, Bob, but you were so wrong.  The gun wasn't the problem there either.

It seems to me that the real problem - and one that hits pretty much across the board with the problems we're facing today - is this idea that we can have and do whatever we want, whenever we want, without effort or consequences.  And if we don't get what we want?  Well, then somebody's gonna pay.

The gunman who went into that school...  We may never know exactly what he wanted.  Most likely, he was pissed at his mother about something, blamed the school she worked at (or used to work at, since I read just now she was unemployed*), and decided he wanted to kill a bunch of people.  Maybe he heard that schools don't pay their employees enough and therefore his mom couldn't get him the GI Joe with the kung-fu grip that he wanted for Christmas when he was 10.  Could be he was jealous of all the little kids who got the toys they wanted.  Maybe any of the above was just an excuse he might have used to give himself permission to commit the most heinous act a human can commit.  Don't know.  Don't really care about the exact whys.

He wanted to do it.  So he did it.  And then he killed himself because he wanted to escape the consequences of his actions.

From the smallest of things - shoplifting, for instance - to this horrible act.  The underlying cause is the same.  I have a whim and I'm going to fulfill it.  And other human beings be damned.  (If the people committing these acts ever stop to consider that there are others involved.)

I don't know how to stop it.  I just know it has to be stopped at some point or we're screwed.  Maybe if every single parent in the world taught their kids the simple things like 'if it doesn't belong to you, don't touch it' and 'life has value'.  Maybe if we taught our kids about individual rights and property rights and said it like we meant it, it would trickle down. 

I don't know.  All I know is that shrieking about the availability of weapons doesn't do a damn thing to address the underlying issue.  All it does is cloud everything up so the real work never gets done.  And it will be work.  We've already slipped too far down the slope to make it an easy climb back. 

I'm afraid at this point, it's too late to stop the current trend.  I think the best we can do now is change the future by teaching the children of today they can't always have what they want when they want it.  That they might have to work to earn what they want and they can't just take things that don't belong to them.  And at its most basic form, murder is taking something: someone else's life.

Like I said, I don't know what the answer is.  Chances are you don't either.  But I think we might be able to agree that guns are not the real problem here.  So let's all just shut up about them, shall we?  All the time we're spending pointing at the symptom is taking time away from addressing the real issue - and while we're attacking the symptom, the disease is continuing to kill.

*with anything like this, the details are sketchy - but the details here aren't pertinent anyway.  

:Administrative Note:  The thoughts expressed here are my opinions alone because this is my blog.  As always, comments of a nasty, derogatory nature will not be allowed to post here.  (That's the joy of comment moderation.)  If you can't see the truth of what I've said here, I can't really help you and I won't let you spew on my blog.  And if, by some chance, what I've said here this morning has pissed you off to the point where you feel the need to un-follow me, let us part ways as amicably as possible.

Also, any facts in the above post are leftovers from what we knew on Friday (with the exception of his mother being unemployed).  I've really tried to stay the hell away from the news since all this came to light on Friday.  So if you've got a new fact that refutes the few facts I left here, feel free to leave a nice suggestion in the comments.  Chances are it won't be pertinent either, but facts are facts.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Great Gift Suggestions for the Writer in Your Life

This morning over at Not Your Usual Suspects, JB Lynn talks about the Best Gifts for Writers

Feel free to send me whatever you choose from that list.  ;o)

Seriously, though, we're not giving gifts this year.  The gift we're all going to have is a better padded bank account than we would've had otherwise.  I know it sounds kind of Scrooge-worthy, but after thinking about it, we all have everything we need.  And anything we want ends up being more stuff cluttering up the house. 

And anything we really want bad, we've just bought for ourselves over the year.  (Which makes my daughter's wishlist of CASH actually kind of perfect.)

I'll just be happy if we can make it through the rest of the year sans illness or unhappiness or worry or woe. 

Of course, I'll still be making Christmas dinner.  And yeah, I already did the fudge.  The tree is up and the house is decorated.  I guess I'm not such a bah-humbug after all.  So there.  =op

Whatever you give and whatever you get for whatever holiday you're celebrating this time of year, have an awesome time. 

Now about that retirement home (and the ability to retire into it) that I've always wanted...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas is Coming, the Writer's Getting Fat

Yeah, I know it's supposed to be 'goose is getting fat' but let's get real here.  In the past week, the Kid made 4 batches of cookies and I made 3 batches of fudge.  I'm afraid to step on the scale and see what kind of damage all of this is doing.  Add the hazelnut Turtles and the candy canes to my already horrible 'see-food' diet and my ever-widening ass* is going to take over the world.  (Or at least crush Tokyo.)

And what have I been doing to ameliorate the calories?  Umm...  Yeah, we won't go there.  Let's just say my life consists of writing, reading, watching TV, and catering the the cats' every whim.  (Including the strays who have decided my place is the best feline restaurant in town.)

At this point, I'm not really worried about it.  It's December.  I've got stories in my head that want to come out and I'm going with the flow there.  I've also got a TBR pile from hell of stories that want to go into my head.  As for the cats, they're plotting their own version of the French Revolution in case I stop ponying-up with the vittles.  And I watch TV to take a break from everything else. 

Life as usual.

How are things in your world?  Do you see a weight increase during the holidays or do you manage to hold it together?  How? 

*I actually sing the term 'ever-widening ass' using the tune of Poor Wandering One from Pirates of Penzance.  What can I say?  It's a thing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Administrative Junk

Okay, so since loads of people hate the word verification thingie, I nixed it.  Unfortunately, ever since, I've been getting a shit-ton of 'anonymous' obnoxious comments and spam.  So, in an effort to get rid of that crap, I ditched the ability to make anonymous comments on this blog.  (This seems to be the only affected blog of mine so far.)  Most of the people who stop here don't comment anonymously anyway, so I don't think this is a big deal, but if for some reason, you can't comment because of the changes, drop me a note via email and I'll see what I can do.

If the spam continues to be a problem, I'll put everything back the way it was - including the word verification.  Sorry.  I just don't want to have to deal with lewd and lacivious comments or comments trying to peddle repulsive items, and the atrocious grammar/spellings that go with that crap.

Thank you for your understanding and thanks for stopping by the blog to leave real comments.  You actual people are awesome.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Because I Love You And Junk

Because I love all my minions oh so much.... Here's a recipe for Peanut Butter Fudge that is the BOMB.  da bomb... totally...

Follow this recipe.  I haven't had a batch fail on me yet, but your mileage may vary.


2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 cups plain ol' white sugar
4 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Butter a 8" x 10" glass cake pan and set aside.

Grab a 3 quart saucepan and combine the butter, the white sugar, the brown sugar and the evaporated milk.  Set on burner at low heat.  Stir until the sugars are pretty wet and the butter's mostly melted.  Turn the burner up to almost HIGH, stirring constantly.  Right when it starts to boil, set a timer for EXACTLY 5 minutes - no more, no less.  Stir the raging boiling evil mixture of molten sugar until the timer goes off.  (Even if a big splooch of tasty-tasty lava lands on your arm and you want to cry.)  Remove from heat immediately.  Stir in marshmallows.  Stir in peanut butter.  Stir in vanilla.  NEVER STOP STIRRING until it's all combined because when you stop stirring it starts to set.  (At this point, it helps to have someone nearby tossing ingredients into the pan while you stir, but if you're alone, it's still possible.  I just did it and no one got dead.)  While it's still molten goo, pour it into your prepared pan and smooth so it reaches all the corners.  Allow to set in a room temperature or cooler spot.  (But not cold.  Refrigerating your fudge is CHEATING.  It should set without any help from Kenmore.) If you did everything right, it should've started hardening around the edges while you were stirring and it shouldn't want to spread in the pan - because, hey, it's like chilling out and wants to stay in one clump, man.  You're harshing its buzz.

And yes, I typed this recipe into blogger yesterday afternoon right after I ate a bunch of super sweet, extra-awesome, gooey fudge bits that were still stuck to the pan.  Why do YOU ASK??!!

Pardon me while I go run around the living room for a while. Weeeeee.

:WARNING:  Do not let your children make the fudge without supervision.  Molten sugar is nothing to laugh about when it lands on skin.  (One year I got a glob in the face - not fun.  The fudge was still worth it, but I'm an adult.  I will suffer for my fudge, but kids shouldn't have to.)  Also do not let them eat massive amounts of fudge without a shot of brandy nearby - it's not for the kids, but you're going to need it after their sugar buzz wears off.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Last week over at the Killer Chicks, JB Lynn tagged me to participate in The Next Big thing and AlexiaChamberlynn tagged me a while back, so here goes nothing...

...ahem, before I begin, let me just say that I don't feel like anything I write is 'the next big thing' - well, not since my first book and you can guess how that went.  So, rather than think of this as 'the next big thing', I'm just going to think of this as 'the big thing taking over my life right now'.  Hope that's okay.

10 Questions:

What is the working title of your book?  
Sleeping Ugly

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I woke up, wandered into the bathroom and while I was sitting there, this popped into my head.  I can't think of any reason why it would.  Nothing connected to anything.  One moment it was just there, so I finished what I was doing and came out here to write the idea down before I forgot it.

What genre does your book fall under?
I haven't decided if this is a paranormal mystery, a paranormal romance, or just some supernatural thing I cooked up.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
I never think of actors who'd play my characters.  They're their own people and no actor I've ever seen has matched who I have in my head anyway.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
When model Jeni Braxxon sleeps with the wrong man, she finds herself under a curse where she wakes up every morning ugly as sin and has to track down the witch she pissed off before her life falls apart.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
It's too early in the game to know that.  Could go either way - or even the third option where I'm not represented by an agency but still traditionally published.  Ya never know.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I've only written 2400 words so far, but these things usually take 2-4 months depending on my level of commitment and the laziness factor.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'd like to think it'll turn out to be a little like Carolyn Crane's Mr. Real or Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I have no clue.  Things just pop into my head sometimes.  I can say, though, that without my husband's encouragement when we were courting, I never would've stuck to writing.  I spent too many years beginning novels and never finishing them.  After he read the first chapters of what would become my first finished novel, he told me I needed to write - nothing else, just write.  And he's been beside me ever since.   

What else about your book might interest the reader?
Jeni is a pretty likeable gal under the cutthroat model but like many girls, her self-esteem is low enough to make her sleep around - which is how she gets into this mess to begin with.  Or so she thinks.  ;o)

Mini Excerpt:  
:Disclaimer:  This is the roughest of rough drafts since it's barely begun and I have no idea where the hell I'm going with it.

It was morning and I was ugly.

Near as I can figure it, I pissed in the wrong witch’s pool at some point.  All I know is one night I went to Spanky’s, drank a lot, danced a lot, and went home with the first available hottie.  The next morning, I woke up cursed.

And ugly.  Did I mention ugly?

Not the best outcome for a twenty-two year old fashion model, let me tell you.  I had a photoshoot the following week.  I had an agent who kept promising me the cover of Vogue if I kept going the way I was.  Sure, twenty-two is a bit old for a modeling career to take off, but I had hopes.  It had to take off.  It wasn’t like I had skills to do anything else.  Even on a good day, I’m not fit for fast food or retail sales.  Like this, I’m not fit for even that. 

Who wants to buy food or clothes from a hag?

I spent the first twenty-four hours of my ugliness trapped inside my apartment with the drapes drawn and the door closed.  After the initial shock of seeing myself, I threw towels over all the mirrors.  It was like someone was sitting shiva in there.  Until I tried to get ready for bed. 

With nothing and nowhere to go, I opted for an early bedtime.  Brushing your teeth is an interesting experience when you can’t see yourself.  So I sucked it up and pulled the towel down.  Prepped for a glimpse of gruesome, I got the second shock of the day when a nearly normal me stared back.  Other than looking like I had the roughest day of my young life, I was me again. 

Chalking it all up to the worst hangover ever, I swore off booze and went to bed, confident in my beauty.  I didn’t remember falling asleep.  I don’t even remember dreaming.  I closed my eyes in the dark one minute and opened them the next in the soft light of dawn.

I wish I could say I felt a tingle or a twitch.  Even a burning sensation in my nether regions would’ve been preferable, because it would’ve provided a warning.  Nope.  I got nothing.

Except ugly.  Overnight ugly.

At first I totally doubted my sanity.  Nobody gets ugly overnight.  Then again, no one gets pretty throughout the day either.  Either a person is always pretty or they’re always ugly. 

Psychotic break now or one earlier in my life—neither option made me feel any better about myself.  Of course, the only other answer seemed just as crazy.  Magic isn’t real.  Curses don’t happen in real life…

Unless they do.
Content might change during edits. Copyright 2012

Now I guess I'm supposed to tag some other people to talk about their Next Big Things.  I don't usually do this part, but what the hell - the more the merrier, right?  The people I tagged are:

J.S. Corcoran
Natalie Nicholas

and Silver James but she has a deadline looming so she had to bow out.  Go visit her blog anyway - just because. 

Look for their answers to The Next Big Thing next week.  =o)

Also, speaking of Alexia Chamberlynn, she's the latest guest poster over at The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival this morning.  Stop on by and take a look at her post on entering writing contests.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Picture Pause - The Birds

It's migration time here on the eastern plains of Colorado.  Sometimes this means we get interesting new feathery friends who stop by for a nibble at the feeder.  What it usually means is that we get boatloads of typical birds gathering up to fly to warmer climates. 

This year, they're gathering up - but they aren't leaving.  It's been an unseasonably warm year.  It's also been very dry - which is why the geese never went too far from any available water source.  I'm guessing these factors are why I've been seeing thousands of starlings every day.  THOUSANDS.  Flying in flocks so large it looks like locusts up there.  Flooding the trees across the road.  Pooping on everything, btw - including one incident where I didn't step under the carport fast enough and got it. 

Anyway, this is about what it looks like when they all decide they want to leave together:

I love birds, but this is ridiculous.  And starlings have to be my least favorite bird.  Noisy, messy, ugly birds...  Here's how they look as they're making a racket in the trees:

It's like a scene from Hitchcock out there. 

I can't wait for winter to hit hard enough to encourage them to move on.  (And that's probably the only time you'll ever hear me saying I can't wait for winter.  I hate winter.  I just hate these birds more.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lagging Behind

I always seem to be coming in at the tail end of things.  When I was just a lass, I joined the local Explorers post for Veterinary Medicine (because, yeah, I wanted to be a vet back then).  Not long after I joined, the group fell apart.

I became active at Absolute Write a few months before the ownership shifted from Jen (who I loved) to Mac (who I didn't).

I really started to get excited about blogging when I heard an ugly rumor that blogging was passe. 

And I seem to get into the swing of writing a particular genre only to find people talking about how that particular genre is dead.  Seriously.  Have you seen any adult dystopian running around lately?  And what about the death knell of paranormal?

Ummm, yeah.  The story of my life.

Back in 2002, right after I got a promotion to management btw, my multi-million dollar telemarketing firm employer decided to start phasing out my branch.

It's giving me a complex.  I think I single-handedly killed the college computer club.  (Okay, so that had more to do with breaking up with the president.  It wasn't pretty.  But still...)

I know it's not me.  I think I just lag behind the curve.  That Explorer post was run by a weird chick who bred French Bulldogs in her basement and the meetings always stank.  I didn't have anything to do with AW's ownership change, and leaving was my choice.  (AW is still going strong as far as I can tell.)  D---A------ had upper management issues and my branch had a problem with honesty, so it was fated to die.  And I refuse to believe blogging is passe. 

As for the genres, I write what I love.  So what if it's not what's hot or popular right now?  When the next wave of adult dystopians hit, I'll be standing there with my manuscripts in hand.  Hell, I could start the wave.  Right?


And I'll be the forerunner of the rush for paranormal suspense (you know, when urban fantasy becomes old hat).  Yeah, yeah.  That's the ticket.

So, am I lagging behind?  Or am I ahead of my time?

Only the shadow knows.

But yeah, it's giving me a complex.  ;o)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Post over at The Guide

This morning, published author JB Lynn stopped by The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival and did a guest post:  This Book Will Never Sell.  Stop by and... what the hell... enter for a chance to win a prize.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trying Something

As if life wasn't busy enough - especially this time of year, right - I decided to try something else new.  I don't know if y'all have ever stopped by my branded blog - (aka Tabula Rasa) - but I started something new over there. 

I shamelessly borrowed an idea and twisted it to suit myself.  Yeah, I'm that kind of person.  Can't just come up with blog ideas on my own.  Have to borrow and twist. 

Anyway, I'm calling Lucky Sevens Sunday Snippet.  If I can manage to keep up with it, I'll be posting a short snippet from one of my books every Sunday.  The only rule is it has to be from some page ending in 7.  This week I picked a snippet from pg 87 of Dying Embers

If you want to play along, let me know in comments over there.  And please, if you like the place, become a follower.  Follow me here, follow me there, follow me at The Unpublished Writers' Guide - it doesn't cost anything and it lets the industry people know I'm not out here in blogland talking to myself.