Archive for June, 2008

Jun 28 2008

Dog Days

Published by under Random Musings

Know why they call them the “dog days of summer”? Well, one rumor is that it’s because the star Sirius, the Dog Star, is shining down on us during the day, and that’s what’s making it so hot. Sirius is a pretty bright star, so way back in the day, they figured that was why it was so bloody much like a blast furnace outside.

Summer out in Arizona is a mixed bag. Nice that it’s bright, nice that you can take the kids swimming every day, not nice that the temperatures are heading for 110 degrees and that your electric bill is laughing at you every time the air conditioning comes on. And the kids are home, which is a mixed bag in and of itself.

It’s good to see them and interact with them. But just try working with them around! My concentration and mental peace are gone. For a little while in the morning, they’re content to hang out in their rooms and watch television or read books. Soon enough, though, they’re bored out of their minds and looking for entertainment.

They’ve been pretty good about letting me get work done so far. But I think it’s starting to wear a bit thin. I hope to get an office set up in my bedroom soon so that I can accomplish more while they’re at home. Because as the summer wears on, I bet I’ll get less and less done.

Except my reading. Which, if you think about it, isn’t such a bad deal.

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Jun 27 2008

Release Day – Moonshine!

Published by under Publishing,Random Musings,Reviews

Moonshine CoverIt’s release day at Cobblestone Press again! And this week, I’m really, really excited about one of the titles. Well, I’m excited about all the titles, but this one in particular has me squealing.

It’s really no secret that among my best buds is Moira Rogers, shifter author, copy editor, and cover artist extraordinaire. Today’s the release of Moira’s very first book, a Wicked story called Moonshine. It’s part of the Mystic Valley world. And wow. Just wow.

I’ve already bought my copy. I’ve already devoured my copy. This story is so good. It’s hot, it’s intense, and it’s got an edge. Lars is fully edible. Most importantly, though, for a story this short, it’s got a really good plot. This isn’t just fluff. This is a meaty little story.

And it has Lars. Have I mentioned Lars?

Why are you still here? Go buy it! Right now!

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Jun 26 2008

Music Ate My Soul

Published by under Random Musings

I love music. I listen to music all the time. From the time I get up until I either get conned into turning on the TV or my husband turns on his music, I have iTunes going. (It’s not my favorite music player, but it works with both the iPod and Last.fm, so I put up with it.) If I forget to start it, I wonder why my writing’s going badly, then I realize, whoa, no music.

Every now and again, though, a song eats my soul.

I get it stuck in my head. Worse, I get it stuck deeper, under my skin. Something in it calls to me, be it melody or lyrics, and I become obsessed with it. It reminds me of something, or inspires something, and it won’t go away.

It’s even more evil when it comes with a story attached. Suddenly, I know everything that happens. I know the hero. I know the heroine. I know the plot. I have scenes spring fully-formed into my head, and I can see them, almost taste them, and I want to drop whatever I’m doing and write them. But I can’t, of course. I either have something to do, or I just plain know better. If I write the scenes, I vent them, and the rest of it goes away. I have to hold it, no matter how it torments me.

It’s been a long time since one hit me this hard. But I woke up with The Cruxshadows‘ “Winterborn” in my head this morning. I’d heard the song all of about twice, and I’d never really listened to the lyrics. I tossed it in my playlist yesterday, just to see if it stuck, and I had the melody in my head when I woke up.

So I looked at the lyrics. And then I was done for.

I see him. The hero. And I see her. The heroine. And I see…

Oh, don’t get me started. I have to sleep sometime tonight.

And in the fury of this darkest hour, we will be the light. You’ve asked me for my sacrifice, and I am Winterborn…

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Jun 25 2008

A Day in the Life

Published by under Random Musings

(This was written for the blog tour. I figured I’d throw it up here, too, in case anyone missed it.)

On the surface, my life seems to run like a chicken with its head cut off. If you delve deeper, however, you’ll find something completely different.

About ten thousand chickens with their heads cut off.

There are patterns to all that fowl play. They tend to depend on what time of year it is, meaning whether or not my kids are in school, but even then there are things that don’t change.

I wake up. It’s seldom before 9 AM, and is more often about 9:30. Sometimes, I go as late as 10, and on the weekends, it might be closer to 11 or 11:30, but most weekdays it’s around 9:30. I’m a late sleeper, mostly because my sleep’s very fragile, so I spend some time in there awake, too.

Most mornings, it’s a shower next. I plot best in the shower, so this isn’t only about washing my hair. It’s about kick starting my brain, getting the plot in order, and thinking about what I’m writing that day. Strange, isn’t it? But it works.

Once I either have all the plotting done or I’ve run out of hot water, I throw on my clothes, open the bedroom door, and trip over the cats that are waiting for me. I stagger out and turn the AC to a less arctic temperature (I prefer to sleep in a blizzard), then check my e-mail.

The music goes on at this point. Generally, it’s my big, random playlist. 193 songs, 14.3 hours of music.

Breakfast time. Bowl of cereal (usually Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds) with soy milk, glass of water, and my usual round of websites. I keep a tab on my Google homepage with all the writing oriented sites I look at, then I make the rounds of my friends’ blogs, my favored news sites, the couple of forums I read, just the usual stuff. One of the cats begs for my cereal bowl, then realizes I have soy milk and gets disgusted with me.

If the kids aren’t home for the summer, I feed the guinea pigs here, too. If the kids are home, they’ve already done it.

For the most part, I open up the document for the story I’m working on (if I even bothered to close it up the night before…most of the time, I don’t reboot my computer, just turn off the monitor) and read over what I did the day before. I make a couple word adjustments, and get back into the feel of the story. I also look over the outline, and whatever wiki information I have on it (I have my own wiki to work with), and then I write.

There’s a break for lunch in the afternoon. If the kids are in school, I go get them, and I grab food. I read a few websites, or do critique work if someone’s sent me something. If it’s the summer, I take the kids swimming and the break’s a little longer. I read while they swim, and listen to my iPod.

Usually, it’s back to the grindstone after that. If the kids are playing the XBox (and until I get my office set up in my bedroom), sometimes I’ll get some chores done here, like picking up, laundry, phone calls, whatever. When I can, it’s right back to writing until suppertime.

Kids usually eat first. My husband gets home later than they like to eat, so I get them fed. Sometimes, we go get Mr. Moore, sometimes he makes his way home on his own. Then I get the two of us fed.

Evenings are almost always the same, just variants on a theme. Occasionally, I’ll keep writing, but it’s often not very good for my carpal tunnel. A break at night is important for my health, and sometimes my sanity. You have to let the words come back. If I haven’t hit my two thousand words that day, though, I do “overtime”.

Other nights, if there’s something on the television, we’ll watch it. Sometimes we put on a movie, and I knit while we watch it. Some nights, we play video games together, either on the XBox 360 or on our computers. Feed the guinea pigs again, clean out their cage, make their food for the next day.

Then it’s bedtime. We try to hit bed around 10:00 PM, but it never works that way. It’s generally closer to 11:00, and on weekends, midnight or even later. We’re usually up chatting til at least midnight either way, sometimes longer. (It tends to depend on how hard and fast the meds hit. No really, I’m an insomniac.)

And then…we do it all over again.

Isn’t my life exciting?

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Jun 23 2008

Whew!

Published by under Random Musings

It was a busy, busy weekend.

I recently decided that I’d had enough of saltwater aquarium maintenance, and that I wanted to go back to my real passion: cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. These are freshwater fish, and are honestly some of the most interesting fish around. They have fascinating behaviors, including spunky little fish that live in shells (and will attack your hand if you get too close to their home, despite most of them being about an inch and a half long).

I’d intended, of course, to do this transition in a couple months. I was going to fix up the rock from my saltwater tank to work for my freshwater setup, which takes about two months to do. I’d meant to do a nice, leisurely transition, and save up, because none of my local fish stores carry the kind of fish I wanted, so I’d have to have them shipped out from someplace that did. Take my time, scrub my tank, get my rocks set up, wash my sand, get my filters, you know, the whole rigamarole.

Until someone in Phoenix (200 miles-ish from where I live) contacted me to say she had the fish I wanted, but could I please take them the next weekend?

Oh my.

This weekend has been spent in a frenzy of preparations, from cleaning the tank to buying the plants and getting the fish themselves from my brother-in-law, who was in Phoenix for the day and very sweetly offered to bring them back down for me. And we spent supper tonight with my in-laws, celebrating my sister-in-law’s birthday (as well as some close family friends that had might as well be sisters).

I now have a beautiful, active tank of gorgeous fish and a backache of epic proportions. It was totally worthwhile. But I’m worn out and ready for a week of work on my next shifter book. If I can take my eyes off my tank, that is…

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Jun 22 2008

Thank You!

Published by under Random Musings

Thank you to all the fantastic authors who both hosted me and participated in the Cobblestone Author Blog Tour! I had a terrific time, and I learned a lot about the people who I write alongside. This was a great opportunity to feature some amazing folks, and I was glad to share their words with my readers.

Make sure you check out the fabulous ladies and gents who took part!

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Jun 21 2008

Me! – Tools of the Trade

Published by under Random Musings

Artists use pencils and paints. Sculptors use their fingers and clay. But it wouldn’t seem like a writer would use much more than a pen and paper, would it?

Not so! Writers use a lot of tools to organize their ideas and get them out for general consumption. Pen and paper is important to some, and others don’t touch it. Here are my tools of the trade:

1. A spiral notebook
Mead Five Star, if you please. Usually five subject. It’s got pockets for storing loose notes that get scribbled on envelopes, a sturdy plastic cover that doesn’t rip or bend much, and is stable enough that I can write on my knee if I want to.

2. Pens
Paper-Mate Profile has a nice flow to it. It makes my handwriting almost legible. Almost.

3. Power Structure
There are a lot of writing programs for your computer out there. Some of them almost write the story for you, some are very bare bones. I’ve found that which one you like is really subjective. Power Structure works out for me, although I’ve been looking into some cheaper alternatives. Still, I can’t deny that this helps keep my plots and characters organized.

4. A wiki
Power Structure’s great for plots, but it’s not great for world building. For that, I use a wiki. Just like Wikipedia, but with my own content. I have character profiles, story synopses, notes, you name it. I copy and paste descriptions from my stories into it to keep track of what I’ve said about who. This is a really terrific tool that I just discovered, thanks to Moira Rogers.

5. Music
Writing without music is torturous to me. Give me my iPod, or the playlist on my computer. I sometimes have specific playlists for specific situations, like writing steamy scenes or fight scenes. My main playlist is 193 songs long (that’s about 14 hours of music).

6. Colored paperclips
This is about as organized as I get.

7. Messy desk
If it’s too neat, how can I think?

8. Pretzels (or black licorice)
I don’t smoke. But I’ve been known to sit around, writing a particularly tetchy scene with a pretzel stick hanging out of my mouth like a cigarette. Sometimes, I have good black licorice. Mmm.

9. Firefox
I sometimes have three tab rows worth of research material open at a time. Included in this are the online dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, and Wikipedia. Also, Google Earth and Google Maps.

10. People
No one writes in a vacuum. I have my husband, my critique partners, my good friend, and other authors to bounce ideas off of, get told off by, and generally get help from. I use Pidgin to access multiple messaging services.

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Jun 20 2008

Leila Brown – Music and Writing

Published by under Random Musings

I am one of those writers who has to have music playing in order to write. The music helps put me in the mood. I can see how this music could be a soundtrack to the movie going on in my head.

Here is the soundtrack I composed for A Chance Encounter. It is totally made of new songs. No old school songs here. Check it out. Even the titles create a picture in your mind.

A Chance Encounter Playlist
1.) Over You – Daughtry
2.) Fergalicious – Fergie
3.) No Air – Jordin Sparks
4.) When I See U – Fantasia
5.) Tattoo – Jordin Sparks
6.) Outta My System – Bow Wow
7.) Bye Bye – Mariah Carey
8.) Because of You – Ne-Yo
9.) Anonymous – Bobby Valentino
10.) Gone – Daughtry
11.) Lesson Learned – Alicia Keys
12.) Hate That I Love You – Rhianna
13.) Wait for You – Elliot Yamin
14.) It’s Not Over – Daughtry

I still love to listen to this one. I also have playlist for Vampire Oracle: Sacrifice, The Diamond Heartstone, and Soundwave’s Surrender.

www.leilabrown.com
www.leilabrown.blogspot.com
~Addictive Erotic Romance You Can’t Resist~

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Jun 19 2008

Terri Molina – It’s a Heartache-Dreams of Being Published

Published by under Random Musings

Anyone who’s ever read my blogs knows I always title them with a song or lyrics to a song, because I like to see how many people can guess the song or artist. So, if you want to play along, tell me who sings the song in the title.

Now…onto the blog.

As any author will tell you, writing is hard. So if you’re planning to pursue the dream of becoming published, make sure you wear plenty of body armor.

Like most writers out there, I started writing when I was a child. It was my way to fill a void.

I was in my late thirties when I decided to actually plant rump to chair and start writing with the intention of getting it published.

My first attempt at a story did not receive the warm, glowing review from an editor I told myself it would and in all fairness, looking at the unfinished manuscript now, I was highly delusional to think so.

However, that not so glowing response to my first book gave me the determination to do it right. So for the next four or so years I did as much studying and training as I could find on the Internet. Living on a military income with four children to take care of didn’t allow me to spend real money on my training, so I read books and found a free online writing course which really helped me understand the craft….as opposed to reading published authors and trying to emulate them.

So, in 2003 I sat down and wrote my first book. I thought it was awesome! And really…the premise was…but when I sent it to another writer (who was fairly new at fiction writing) he tore it to shreds and all but said, I’d never be a real writer. So, instead of letting him dissuade me, I decided to prove him wrong and went back to my “how to” books and studied some more. It wasn’t until an editor I had submitted a query to, asked to read the whole book that I though, Yeah…I can do this. Of course, that was short lived when the editor rejected the manuscript saying it “wasn’t ready”. However she gave me wonderful insight into what I was doing wrong. So, with her feedback, I went back to the manuscript and spent the next three months *fixing* it. When I was satisfied I’d done what needed to be done, I sent it to a reader, who was the wife of a writer friend. She loved it! That was my sign. I sent the book back out and three months later found an agent.

Of course, now you’re probably thinking…so where’s the heartache? Well, four months after I signed with this agent (who happened to be at one of the more prestigious firms in NY) I got a call saying she was leaving the house and could no longer represent me. Thus began my first “shot to the heart“.

It took me a year to find a new agent (2005) and when I did she was very enthusiastic about the work and started submitting right away. About four months later, we got interest from an editor. That summer I met up with the editor at the RWA conference. We talked about what she planned to do for the book, she asked if I’d be able to do the revisions she wanted and she was genuinely excited about taking the book to committee. Then, in November that same year, she asked me if I’d write a novella for an anthology she planned to put together. She only gave me a 15K word count, because I’m an unpublished, unknown writer and she told me it had to be contemporary–I’ve only written suspense—and erotic—I can do a hot love scene…but there’s a difference between my hot and the erotic she wanted.

Needless to say, I was totally out of my comfort zone….but I wrote up three chapters and a proposal and sent them to her. Since it was the holidays and the publishing business pretty much shuts down in November and December, I didn’t know what she thought of the story. Then…..

Heartache.

Before the editor could go to committee with my novel or submit the novella, she left the house. We still submitted the novella because the anthology was supposed to still be a “go”, but the editors sat on it for three months with no reply and my agent pulled it. And, instead of resubmitting my novels (she had my two romantic suspense books), my agent decided to wait for my current work in progress. However, life and things happened in the past year that kept me from working on the story and I was unable to send her a completed manuscript by the end of July, so she cut me from her client list.

Heartache.

Now, you’re probably wondering why anyone would want to subject themselves to such pain. Well, for me the reason is, because if I don’t….how will I know? (If he really loves me…oh, sorry….can’t stop the songs in my head). :P

However, because of my own stubborn determination and persistence, I AM now published. My book, Her Will His Way (the novella I mentioned earlier) released April 18th at Cobblestone Press. I’m so very proud of this book and am so happy to be able to share it with you all.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terri Molina is a native Texan, born and raised in Southeast Texas. She is an active member of the Romance Writers of America including the Northwest Houston Chapter and Desert Rose Chapter in Phoenix, Arizona. She writes multicultural romantic suspense, blending in the flavor of the Southwest with her Mexican heritage. After years of living a nomadic life with her Coast Guard husband, she now resides in Southeast Arizona with her husband, four children and a dog. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading, singing karaoke with the kids and spending time with family and friends.
To learn more visit her at
www.terrimolina.com

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Jun 18 2008

Selena Blake – Fact and Fiction About Werewolves

Published by under Random Musings

As the author of paranormal romance, I love diving into myths and legends. I like reading about the origins, seeing what other authors have written, and then creating my own little world for my characters.

Stormy Weather, my upcoming series, is set in Louisiana, where myths and legends abound. The Deveraux brothers are a small pack of werewolves from France. In my research of werewolves I found a few interesting things.

Werewolves date back centuries to Romania and Greece. It’s said that King Lycaeon tried to test the Gods at his table by feeding them human flesh. The Gods weren’t a big fan of that obviously and turned him into a werewolf.

Interesting Tidbits about Werewolves

It’s said that the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood is a werewolf.

It’s believed by some that werewolves can be killed by silver bullets.

Some authors consider werewolves immortal while others say they have a lifespan of several hundred years.

The word werewolf is thought to come from wer, meaning man. Man-Wolf.

Some say werewolves only appear during a full moon, but many stories claim that they can turn at will.

Lycanthropy is the ability to transform into a werewolf.

A Lycanthrope is a werewolf.

In Portugal werwolves are called lobis-homems. In Argentina the word for werewolf is Lobisón. It’s said that the seventh son will become a werewolf. In French, werewolves are known as loup-garou.

There’s a myth that comes to play in my first book of the series, The Cajun’s Captive. Amanda calls Sebastian loup-garou. The Cajun myth states that werewolves punish Catholics who don’t follow Lent. This of course gives Sebastian a good laugh.

With so many myths abounding, I’ve only discovered one truth. Werewolves are only limited by our imagination. Everyone has a different take on this mysterious beast. You can step into the world I’ve created June 13th with The Cajun’s Captive.

About the Author
Selena Blake writes paranormal and contemporary romance for Cobblestone Press. Her series Stormy Weather will be available in 2008. Drop by her website to find out more about the handsome Deveraux men of Louisiana and for a free short story.
http://www.selena-blake.com

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