As many people already know, I had a release this week: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, which is a getting a bit of attention in the blog-o-sphere.
I'd love to say I'm celebrating with a bathtub full of champagne, parties every night, and Raoul the hunky masseur rubbing oil all over my body.
What I'm really doing is finishing up my next book. Pride Mates is a contemporary paranormal romance about Shifters that is coming up in January. (If you've read the Dragon romances I wrote as Allyson James, they are similar in feel. And BTW--The Dragon Master just won an RT Reviewers Choice Award!!!! woo!)
Pride Mates is due... tommorrow.
I'm also reading page proofs of a September release, Mortal Seductions by Allyson James (which is burning up the screen...ha-cha!). And I'm reading copyedits of a novella coming out this fall (also as Allyson James).
Nor do I get a respite after I turn in Pride Mates. I must dive headfirst into the next book on Monday. You could say I have many things on my plate.
I've seen in movies where authors turn in a book and then lounge about in their fabulous mansions for months or even years before they decide they should write something else.
I usually turn in a manuscript, look around at the wreck of my house, groan, and start cleaning. :-)
People think I'm crazy for working this hard on my many novels. (They might be right.)
But I have to say, I've never been happier with a job in my life. It's hard, hard work, but when you work at something you love it's a very different feeling than working at something you can barely make yourself do. For the first time since I started working, I look forward to Monday.
All right, I've run my mouth enough.
Blog friends, tell us about your dream job. What can you see yourself loving to do? Do you have your dream job already? Or would you rather "work to live"? (There is something comforting about a job you can leave at the office.)
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
To celebrate the May 26 release of my Jersey Shore romance A Little Light Magic, I'm hosting a Countdown to Summer Shout Out!
Check out my Blog and Facebook starting Friday MAY 1 for everything great about the year's hottest season....summer fun, summer memories, summer vacation, summer food and entertainment. And most importantly, the boys (and men!) of summer!
I'll be giving away books and other prizes all month. Hope you'll stop by and join the fun!
Got my advance tickets for the new STAR TREK movie, out May 7!! It'll be a family affair - my my husband and I have managed to instill our Star Trek obsession in our kids. Nature or Nurture? Probably a little of both. Baby geeks don't fall far from the geek tree.
Between now and May 7, my daughter is determined to turn her boyfriend, who has never (Never! Can you imagine????) seen a single Star Trek episode or movie, into a fan. To that end, she's planning a Star Trek The Original Series (TOS) marathon.
It was fun going through the DVDs with my kids and picking out the best of TOS! And so hard to come up with a short list. But we did, and here it is, our top 11 TOS episodes, plus one DS9 hybrid:
TOS Season 1
- The Naked Time - the Enterprise crew contracts a virus that outs all their secret emotions and desires. Nurse Chapel makes a pass at Spock, and Sulu runs through the corridors with a sword...
- Miri - My kids insisted on this one, where Kirk et al visit a Lord of the Flies type planet where all the grown-ups are dead. Bonk bonk on the head, bonk bonk!
- Arena - Captain Kirk battles the Gorn, a dinosaur-like intelligent life form who's about as scary looking as Barney.
- Space Seed - featuring Ricardo Montalban as Kahn! This episode is the set up for the Star Trek "Wrath of Kahn" movie.
- Devil in the Dark - The Horta, a dangerous, grief-crazed silicone-based life form, is nothing more than a dirty blanket with a guy underneath. Look closely and you can even see the fringe!
- City on the Edge of Forever - Reportedly William Shatner's favorite episode, and one of the more poignant ones. Kirk goes back to the 1930s earth and falls in love with a peace activist. He's got to let her die, or else Hitler will win WWII and change the timeline.
TOS Season 2
- Amok Time - Spock's seven year itch. 'Nuff said!
- Trouble with Tribbles - this goofy fan-inspired episode is everyone's favorite. As an added bonus, we'll watch the Deep Space 9 Season 5 episode "Trials and Tribbilations" in which the DS9 crew travel back in time and get mixed up in the original TOS series footage of the Trouble with Tribbles episode. Very clever!
- Piece of the Action - Kirk and crew blend in with 1920's Chicago gangsters
- Spock's Brain - One of my personal favs. Aliens kidnap Spock's brain to run their planet wide computer. Kirk has to figure out how to rescue him, and McCoy has to figure out how to reattach Spock's brain to his body.
- Specter of the Gun - Kirk and Spock in a gunfight at the OK Corral!
Live Long and Prosper!
Coming May 26!
A Little Light Magic
Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Juliet, please email me at jenniferashley @ cox.net (no spaces) to claim your prizes.
What you have won:
Any book from my backlist under any of my names (see http://www.jennifersromances.com/novels.html ; (http://www.allysonjames.com ; and (http://www.gardnermysteries.com to choose one).
AND--any book from the Joy Nash collection (http://www.joynash.com/bookshelf.php)!
Enjoy your "shopping." :-)
Thanks everyone for participating! If you didn't win (and are feeling down), please visit www.plotmonkeys.com today, where I'm doing another giveaway. In fact, please see my author blog: http://www.jennifersromances.blogspot.com for a list of where I'm appearing for the next two weeks. I'm doing a giveaway at I think every single one.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
That's it for us tonight. Feel free to read the excerpts below and leave comments on any or all. A winner will be drawn at random from the commentors (my dh picks a name out of a hat), and I'll email you (if I can) or post your name on Saturday.
Thanks for all who have already stopped by, and hope you enyoed it!!
Continuing Chapter Two of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, by Jennifer Ashley (release date April 28)
Beth could stand up in a huff, point her nose in the air as Mrs. Barrington had taught her, and march out. Mrs. Barrington had said she’d slapped a good many would-be suitors in her time, though Beth would leave off the slap. She couldn’t imagine Lord Ian being fazed by any blow she could land, anyway.
“If I said yes, what would you do?” she asked in true curiosity. “Balk and try to talk your way out of it?”
“I would find a bishop, pry a license out of him, and make him marry us tonight.”
She widened her eyes in mock horror. “What, no wedding gown, no bridesmaids? What about all the flowers?”
“You were married once before.”
“So that ought to have satisfied my need for white gowns and lilies of the valley? I must warn you that ladies are quite particular about their weddings, my lord. You might want to know that in case you decide to propose to another lady in the next half hour.”
Ian closed hard fingers around her hand. “I am asking you. Yes or no?”
“You don’t know anything about me. I might have a sordid past.”
“I know everything about you.” His gaze went remote, and his hand closed more tightly on hers.
“Your maiden name is Villiers. Your father was a Frenchman who appeared in England thirty years ago. Your mother was the daughter of an English squire, and he disowned her when she married your father. Your father died a pauper and left you destitute. You and your mother were forced into a workhouse when you were ten years old.”
Beth listened in astonishment. She’d made no secret of her past to Mrs. Barrington or Thomas, but to hear it come out of the mouth of a lofty lord like Ian Mackenzie was unnerving.
“Goodness, is this common knowledge?”
“I told Curry to find out about you. Your mother died when you were fifteen. You were eventually employed by the workhouse as a teacher. When you were nineteen the vicar newly in charge of the workhouse, Thomas Ackerley, met you and married you. He died of fever a year later. Mrs. Barrington of Belgrave Square hired you as her companion.”
Beth blinked as the drama of her life unfolded in the brief sentences. “Is this Curry a Scotland Yard detective?”
“He is my valet.”
“Oh, of course. A valet.” She fanned herself vigorously. “He looks after your clothes, shaves you, and investigates the pasts of obscure young women. Perhaps you should be warning Sir Lyndon about me instead of the other way around.”
“I wanted to discover whether you were genuine or false.”
She had no idea what that meant. “You have your answer, then. I’m certainly no diamond in the rough. More like a pebble that’s been polished a little.”
Ian touched a lock of hair that had drifted to her forehead. “You are real.”
PS from Jennifer: That's it for the excerpts! We'll take comments all through Friday and I'll pull and contact the winner on Saturday.
Keep comments coming! You can comment on any of our blog blowout posts to qualify to win free books from our backlists!! (One book from me, one from Joy--from me, from any name I've written under.)
EXCERPT 4: More from A Little Night Magic, by Joy Nash, due out in June!
Oh, God. Nick had found her Kama Sutra.
Tori’s lips parted on a quick intake of breath. “Um … that’s not supposed to be out here. I mean, it’s not for sale.”
Amusement—and something a lot hotter—flashed in his eyes. “You mean it’s part of your private library? I think I’m glad to hear that.”
Her face was blazing. “You know, the Kama Sutra is a sacred text. It’s not a porn magazine.”
“If you say so. Though I can’t see it going over big in church on Sunday morning.” He made a show of turning a page and bending his head over the next illustration. He gave a low whistle. “But I could certainly get into this on a Saturday night.”
“Very funny.” She held out her hand. “Okay, you’ve had your fun. Now give me that.”
He looked up in mock outrage. “Excuse me? No way. I’m not done reading it yet.”
“You are not reading it.”
“Sure I am.” His gaze dropped back to the page. “‘The Rising Position.’” He turned the book around so she could see. “Ever try that one?”
“None of your business.” She made a grab for the book.
He held it just out of her reach, lips twitching. “Oh, so you have tried it.” His voice lowered. “Guess what? So have I.”
“Hmph.” But she couldn’t stop her own smile.
He laughed and turned the page. “Now here’s something called the Yawning Position. The woman has to be freaking double-jointed for that one. …” On the next page, “‘The Lotus.’ Hmmm. Can’t say I’ve tried it.” He flashed her a grin. “Yet.”
A laugh bubbled up in her throat. “Making plans, are we?”
His gaze turned hot. “Maybe. But there are so many possibilities, it’s damn hard to decide where to start. ‘Splitting of a Bamboo... Fixing of a Nail...’ Now, those look tough. They might take some practice, but I think we can manage them. You’re pretty flexible, aren’t you? You do that yoga stuff, right?”
She was laughing outright now.
“Hey, look! Here’s the Congress of a Cow and Bull. That’s one of my favorite positions.” He winked. “But I always thought it was called doggy style.”
Tori made another grab for the book. “You are so—”
“Whoa, careful! This is a sacred book! You wouldn’t want to rip it.”
He flipped to the next page, and his brows shot up. “Hello! Now, this one … You know, I’m not even sure this is physically possible.” He turned the illustration toward Tori. “What d’you think?”
“I think you’re crude and irreverent,” she said when she managed to stop laughing.
“Yep. Turns you on, doesn’t it?”
“No, it does not!”
“Liar,” he said without heat. He closed the book and offered it to her. “Here you go. Thanks for the very … um … stimulating reading material.”
She reached for the book. Nick, the fiend, waited until her fingers brushed the cover, then grabbed her wrist with his other hand and hauled her up against his chest.
The Kama Sutra fell with a thud.
She didn’t even care.
From Chapter 2 of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley:
At the beginning of Chapter Two, Ian takes Beth into the Mackenzie box at the theatre. Picking up mid-scene...
The man sitting next to her couldn’t be called good by any stretch of the imagination. He and his brothers had terrible reputations. Even Beth, sheltered by Mrs. Barrington for the last nine years, knew that.
There were whispers of sordid affairs and stories of the scandalous separation of Lord Mac Mackenzie from his wife, Lady Isabella. There had also been rumors five years ago about the Mackenzies’ involvement in the death of a courtesan, but Beth couldn’t remember the details. The case had gained the attention of Scotland Yard, and all four brothers had removed themselves from the country for a time.
No, the Mackenzies were by no means considered "good" men. Then why should a man like Lord Ian Mackenzie bother to warn nobody Beth Ackerley that she was about to marry an adulterer?
“You could always marry me,” Lord Ian said abruptly.
Beth blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
“I said, you could marry me. I don’t give a damn about your fortune.”
“My lord, why on earth should you ask me to marry you?”
“Because you have beautiful eyes.”
“How do you know? You’ve not once looked at them.”
Her breath hurt, and she wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. “Do you do this often? Warn a young lady about her fiancé, then turn about and offer to marry her yourself? Obviously the tactic hasn’t worked, or you’d have a string of wives dogging your footsteps.”
Ian looked away slightly, his hand coming up to massage his temple, as though he had a headache coming on. He was a madman, she reminded herself. Or at least, he’d grown up in an asylum for madmen. So why did she not fear to sit here alone with him, when no one in the world knew where she was?
Perhaps because she’d seen lunatics in Thomas’s charity work in the East End, kept by families who could barely manage them. Poor souls, they’d been, some of them kept roped to their beds. Lord Ian was a long way from being a poor soul.
She cleared her throat. “It is very kind of you, my lord.”
Ian’s hand closed to a tight fist on the arm of his chair. “If I marry you, Mather can’t touch you.”
“If I married you it would be the scandal of the century.”
“You would survive it.”
Beth stared at the soprano on the stage, suddenly remembering that gossip painted the large-bosomed lady as a paramour of Lord Cameron Mackenzie, another of Ian’s older brothers. “If anyone has seen me dive in here with you, my reputation is already ruined.”
“Then you will have nothing to lose.”
# # #
More from Joy and Jennifer to come. Comment on any of these excerpts to enter our drawing for free backlist books!!
From Joy Nash's June release: A Little Light Magic
Nick stared at the utter chaos that was Tori’s shop.
She’d been busy today. Open boxes and packing peanuts littered the floor, interspersed with some of the world’s most bizarre merchandise. Oils, incense, bowls, and cauldrons. Statues of dragons and fairies. Jewelry featuring stars, moons, and spirals. A jeweled, blunt-bladed dagger. Books and CDs—but probably nothing he’d ever want to read or listen to. Bright gauzy dresses were piled on the floor like heaps of wildflowers.
And then there were the attitude T-shirts. Worship me like the goddess I am. Surrender, Dorothy. Don’t mess with PMS.
He grinned. Tori was a trip. One he was definitely enjoying. He’d never met anyone quite like her. She was tough and funny and sassy, but there was a softness about her, too. A shadow of vulnerability that appeared in her sea green eyes, a remnant, he guessed, from her rotten childhood. When he saw that sadness there, all he wanted to do was soothe it away. He wanted to make sure no one ever hurt her again.
Christ. He hadn’t felt this way since Cindy, and that was a long time ago. Was it about time for him to feel something again? Not exactly love, at least not yet, but something that might grow into it if he nurtured the feeling? Maybe Nonna was right. Maybe he was the kind of guy who needed to share his life with someone. He wasn’t talking marriage, not this early in the game, but maybe in a year or two, if things worked out …
He imagined taking Tori home to dinner. Introducing her to everyone. They’d be surprised, to say the least. Tori wasn’t his usual type. But then again, Nick didn’t bring his usual type home.
He was falling, no doubt about it. Was it real? Or just an intense case of lust? Maybe he’d stick around long enough to find out. There’d be no rush this time, not like seventeen years ago, when Cindy had exploded the pregnancy bomb and shattered Nick’s carefully laid career plans. No, this time he’d do things right. Take things slow.
He picked his way between the shelves he and Tori had assembled. Man, it had been tough getting that job done without jumping her bones. But he’d kept his head down and his hands busy, because he knew she had her heart set on opening before the first official day of summer.
He could hear her now, rustling around in one of the bedrooms, humming some New Age thing that didn’t really lend itself to singing along. He was about to call out to her, let her know he’d arrived, when he nearly tripped over a stack of books she’d left on the floor.
The one on top was called Fingerpainting on Mars.
Bemused, he picked it up. He couldn’t believe some of the nonsense she was into. The one underneath wasn’t much better. Ghosts from Coast to Coast. Right. Abacomancy Made Easy came next. He opened that one. What the hell? Now, this had to be a joke. No one could possibly be wacky enough to believe you could read the future in random dust patterns.
One last book. He picked it up and nearly choked.
Sacred Sex: The Path to Spiritual Ecstasy.
Okay, now. Finally, something New Age he could get into. The title curled in gold across the crimson leather cover, where a sepia drawing showed a nude man and woman engaged in a carnal act. All the interesting spots on their bodies were artfully blurred. A ghostly image of the Taj Mahal floated behind them.
The subtitle under the illustration read: Secrets of the Kama Sutra and Other Ancient Texts.
Curiosity raging, Nick cradled the spine in one hand and flipped the book open. The drawing on the flyleaf was so graphic it made the one on the cover look like it had been lifted from a church bulletin. The artwork, he noted, was very good. His eye appreciated the delicacy of the inked lines, even as another body part stirred in response to the subject matter.
He sent a glance toward the bedroom and turned the page.
Another drawing, more explicit than the last. These new lovers were standing, the woman’s legs wrapped around the man’s hips. As if the visual weren’t graphic enough, a paragraph at the bottom gave a name to the position—Suspended Congress—and some “how to” instructions.
Not necessary, as far as Nick was concerned. He needed no advice at all on how to “suspend” Tori.
The object of his flaming fantasies chose that exact instant to glide into the front room. She was all retro sixties today, decked out in a tie-dyed T-shirt and cutoff jeans shorts. A tantalizing slice of midriff showed off a green crystal belly-button stud.
And no bra today, either. He supposed that was a sixties thing, too.
“Oh!” she said, stopping short when she saw him. “You’re early. I didn’t hear you come in.” She glanced at the book. “What are you read— Oh!”
Her cheeks went blotchy.
He lifted the book and gave her a slow smile.
P.S. from Jennifer. I read this and laughed my butt off.
Keep posting comments to win a free book from our backlists, and check back for more excerpts!
Hi all: Joy Nash and I didn't get to go to RT this year, but we can still have fun, right??
So, what we're going to do is--Today ALL DAY--I will be posting sneak peeks (some never before available!) from
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, by Jennifer Ashley (May)
A Little Light Magic, by Joy Nash (June)
Of course, we're doing a giveaway! Leave your comment, and I will draw a winner tomorrow who will win a copy of anything from my backlist (in any name I've ever written under), and your choice from Joy's backlist.
Let me start by linking to the excerpt of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.
If you've read it already, please stay tuned: I will be posting other excerpts today that no one has read (unless you've already read the whole book--then I can't help you.)
Here we go:
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
For 15 years, I’ve worked as a writer for an international charity. I travel and write about poverty in Third World countries such as Haiti and then write materials to raise money to help the poor. When I became published, I had to improve time management skills. Challenges were extreme, including one year when hurricane after hurricane kept hitting Florida. It’s tough editing a love scene while a hurricane is lurking off shore! But I had little choice.
Here’s some time saving tips for busy writers:
1) Invest in your writing: Work at a desktop computer all day? Purchase a laptop and find a different writing space if you can’t face sitting at a desk to write. I use my laptop on the couch or in the Florida room. For less than $300, you can purchase an Alpha Smart. It’s a word processing machine that runs on double AA batteries and powers on and off quickly. Lightweight and durable, you can take it anywhere, even the beach.
2) Use mundane tasks such as folding laundry or cleaning to brainstorm: Daydreaming frees your creativity. At the day job, I use the 15-minute breaks to walk the grounds and think about my characters. It’s amazing how fluid the ideas flow when you’re busy sorting socks or exercising. But don’t spend all your valuable writing time doing tasks. Husbands can do dishes just as well. ;-)
3) Prioritize: If you have a tight deadline, learn to sacrifice. Your writing career deserves sacrifice. After the deadline, make time to lunch with friends, or indulge in other favorite activities. Message boards and blogs are very time-consuming and you need to restrict time on these. Have a few conferences you long to attend? Cut back to one a year and alternate.
4) If you’re published, limit time-consuming promotional activities: Booksignings are not successful for me, so I limit mine to one or two group signings per release date. Conferences are best. Find a conference timed with your book release date and ask about doing a signing.
5) Maintain a writing schedule: Decide how many pages a week will accomplish your goal and stick to the schedule. Know how productive you are and use this to your advantage. Tell yourself, “I will write 10 pages this week.” Be flexible. If you have days when you can’t write, make up for it by the weekend. Life interferes. Family members fall ill, and other emergencies occur, but get back on schedule.
6) Keep a tape recorder in your car and record thoughts about your WIP: I’ve done this for years. Use the recorder during the morning and evening commute or situations such as waiting at the bank drive-through.
7) Learn your body’s rhythm: Are you an early riser? Wake an hour early and write. Can’t get out of bed until the last minute? Write at night. Don’t force yourself to write early in the morning if you’re not a morning person or vice versa. All you’ll accomplish is staring at a computer screen for an hour. Instead, use the extra morning time to catch up on email, blog, do promotional activities and other things.
8) Are you a plotter or a panster? Even if you meticulously write from beginning to end, learn to write sketches for scenes. Just a paragraph can trigger inspiration when you arrive at that part of the story.
9) Learn to write on the go: It’s astonishing how much writing you can accomplish in short spaces of time. I use my Alpha Smart to write while my husband is driving when we’re on the road for at least 30 minutes, or in the field in Third World countries. Take advantage of down time such as:
a. Waiting for an airplane
b. The lunch hour, even just to jot down notes about your WIP
c. At the doctor’s or dentist’s office.
10) Keep a small notebook with you to jot down ideas: Use key words to remember the idea later. For example, I conceived the idea for my third Dorchester historical, THE COBRA AND THE CONCUBINE, while riding in a car to visit a ghetto in Jamaica. I clearly saw Jabari (hero of The Falcon and the Dove) and Ramses (hero of The Tiger and the Tomb) as little boys, peering into a basket Jabari’s father had rescued from an attack on a caravan of English visitors. Jabari’s father had told the boys that the basket contained treasure. Thinking it was gold, Jabari and Ramses lift the top off the basket and see inside a small boy. The boy was Kenneth/Khepri.
The scene was so clear and vivid in my mind I can still recall it. But I was on the road for the day job. So, lacking time to fully sketch it out, I jotted key words in my notebook. Later in the hotel, I was able to remember and construct a short scene.
11) Work writing in with other family activities if you can: Waiting to pick up the kids from soccer? Bring your Alpha Smart. I compromised in spending time with my husband by visiting the beach after work. While he combs the sands looking for shells, I sit and write. Then together, we watch the sun set and our favorite lighthouse flash a steady beacon out to sea.
12) Learn to say NO: Repeat after me. NO. It’s a one-syllable word. Harder to say than you think to friends, family and co-workers. If you’re the one friends always rely upon to throw football parties, say NO. Let someone else do it. Uncle Fred’s birthday party and you’re the only one who can call all 200 relatives? No. If you can’t say no, learn to compromise. Split the list. Remember, it’s YOUR time. Another thing. Learn to turn off the phone or let the answering machine pick up messages when you’re writing to reduce interruptions.
13) Use music, pictures or other inspiration to get back into your story: Juggling between edits for a werewolf paranormal for Nocturne and writing The Lady and the Libertine, my new Egyptian historical, I used a music box I’d purchased at an historical museum to get back into Nigel’s character. The prop also became an integral piece in a scene later in the book.
14) Know your writing challenges and find ways to overcome them: Though my books are very sensual, love scenes are a challenge for me to write. I need to devote a large chunk of time and involve the emotions of the characters. If I’m struggling with a love scene, I’ll skip it. I’ll write “insert love scene” and return to it later. I suggest trying this for other parts of your story instead of spending hours staring at a blank screen.
15) And most importantly: Learn to take time for yourself. Don’t overload. If the Ferris wheel ride of working and writing is spinning too fast, slow down. Take a day off and relax. Visit the beach with your significant other. Do what Julia Cameron calls “filling the well” to recharge your creativity. No time to read a whole book? Read a chapter or two. Picnic in the park. Learn to find balance in your work, your writing and your life.
Day jobs and deadlines can be managed, if you organize your time right. And you’ll find that the rewards are well worth it.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Its RT week! I love RT. Unfortunately this year I'm only going to get a small dose of it. I won't be arriving until Friday, will be at the Vampire Ball and signing Saturday morning, then attending the Dorchester Beach Party Saturday night.
Fellow Chatelaines Emily Bryan, Bonnie Vanak and CL Wilson will all be attendance. Emily is teaching new writers on Monday and Tuesday at the beginners workshops put on by Bobbi Smith and Judi McCoy. The rest of us will be hanging out, giving workshops and enjoying mingling with fans. So if you're at RT be sure to come by and say hey! We'd love to meet you.
Posted by Cindy Holby at 7:10 AM
Saturday, April 18, 2009
So what do you think? What would your interpretation of these modern terms be?
Friday, April 17, 2009
from Emily Bryan
"I shop. Therefore, I am."
This is my mother's core philosophy. The pic at the right is of her and my dad on a shopping spree in Juneau a couple years ago. (The chorus line number she's doing means she scored some real bargains. Notice who gets to not only pay for the goodies, but carry the bag as well! Still, Dad looks like a happy camper, doesn't he?) My mom can shop till she drops. Often she has no intended goal. She'll know what she wants when she sees it. Her day is not complete without a visit to her own personal Mecca--Walmart.
However, the shopping gene skipped a generation in my family. Whip me. Beat me. Don't make me shop. Just the thought of wandering aimlessly from store to store without an intended target for acquisition gives me the willies!
This is probably because I'm difficult to fit. My bionic boobs arrived the summer after 5th grade (just when the anorexic super model trend was beginning!). Buttoning a jacket has been an Olympic event for me ever since. Fortunately, my thunder thighs keep me from appearing top-heavy. And don't get me started on my duck feet.
Any woman who wears a W width is nodding in sympathy right now. A few months ago, I went to my local DSW(Designer Shoe Warehouse), hoping to find something flirty and fun. And was led to the tiny little W width section--all of 2 shelves. Honestly, the shoes were so hopelessly geriatric, I asked the clerk if they came with a complimentary walker.
So those are my excuses for being shopophobic, but into every life a little shopping must fall. I was trying to put together some outfits for RT and realized I might end up running around naked a few days unless I hit the mall. So I decided to try the Avenue, a store I'd noticed but never visited.
What fun! Their clothes fit me! There was a raging sale in progress. Every shoe in the shop was a W width shoe! I found a dress that made me feel like Marilyn Monroe in THE 7 YEAR ITCH! (Please notice I said 'feel' like, not 'look' like. My DH should be so lucky!) As I staggered toward the cashier with my treasures, I had an epiphany of sorts.
"This is why my mom shops," I realized. Matching the right shoes with the perfect twinset gives a woman a jolt of endorphins to rival chocolate. I had achieved Shopping Nirvana, that blissful state where you know in your heart you found the right items in the right sizes and colors. And all on sale.
Only cruiseship sex comes close to equaling this thrill.
So when you see me in Orlando next week, I'll be stylin', girls! And after I get my hair done this afternoon, I may have to see if I can achieve Shopping Nirvana again. How else will I know if it was a freak, one-time event?
Perhaps I am carrying a latent shopping gene, after all . . .
Mom would be proud.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
If you need inspiration, watch the movie Rudy. It's about a young man who had a dream of playing football for Notre Dame. I love this movie because it shows that determination, hard work and sheer guts can overcome the odds, including naysayers who declare it can't be done,
Monday, April 13, 2009
As anyone who follows me on Facebook and Twitter knows, I am fostering a Siberian husky puppy for my son’s girlfriend. Why am I doing this? Well the obvious reason is I am stupid. But I like to think of it as an investment in my future. Or as I constantly tell my son, remember this when its time to pick out the nursing home.
I thought life would be fairly simple once Achilles came to stay with us. After all, I’m at home, I have a fenced back yard, I already have a dog, a long hair doxie named Cody. So what’s the big deal?
Well for one thing Achilles is the big deal. He’s a snow-white Siberian husky who’s supposed to top out at seventy pounds. The problem is he thinks he’s a doxie. So when he arrived, at five months old he was constantly getting stuck under the bed and trying to lay on the back of the couch. He also was shedding. Big time. White fur on wood floors. Not a pretty sight. Hmmm, this means more work for me.
And did it ever. My office is upstairs over the garage. I get plenty of exercise going up and down the stairs because he howls. I want in. I want out. I want food. I want water. I want to play. I want to walk. I just want to howl because I like too. Huskies don’t bark. They talk. And the entire neighborhood hears it. It’s hard to concentrate when you are constantly being interrupted by a dog.
Then there’s the rampant destruction. Actually I was keeping a journal of what he destroyed but he ate it. Off the top of my head he’s eaten a leather ottoman, a pottery barn rug that I bought to cover the big stain he made on our bedroom carpet, three pairs of my husbands shoes, the insides of my uggs, the corner off our stairs, my day timer, books, and an entire pan of brownies. (yes I know the dangers of dogs and chocolate and that was a sleepless night) We also had to get rid of a room size rug due to stinkiness and we have a big crack in our ceiling in the kitchen from the day he decided to have a romp around the attic.
He is a full time job. Just like having a child. My entire life now revolves around this dog. Trips are a big deal because I can’t leave him for a long time. Boarding is expensive. I have to make sure doors are closed and stuff is out of his reach and he’s got a big reach. No counter or table is safe. I’ve had to replace our back door. My porch furniture is ruined. Our back yard has no grass. My house, which is only two years old is a disaster but there is no need to fix anything until he’s gone, which will be in another 15 months when Alex gets out of grad school.
Needless to say my writing has suffered. Big time. I’m up and down 100 times a day. I get really frustrated because our house is no longer the way I want it. Sometimes I scream and cry. But as I said, I’m investing in my future and my son’s future. As I told Alex, we’ve got to get you through grad school so you can take care of Drew. I’ll take care of the dog until you’re done then you get both of them. She cried and said “Okay” because she loves both of them too. She comes to visit when she can just to give me some relief.
I do love Achilles. It will be hard to give him up. I’ll miss him. I’ll miss our walks. I’ll miss the way he looks at me with his beautiful blue eyes. Eyes that say I love you. I appreciate how you take care of me. I’ll miss how he watches through the window when I leave and how he watches for me to come home. I’ll miss dropping my hand down to touch him when he lies next to the couch while I watch TV. As I write this he’s lying on the floor in front of the fire, and probably dreaming about his next meal, which will probably be the sofa at the rate he’s going.
As for me, I’m dreaming about the nursing home. Right now I’m thinking a big suite on a cruise ship with cabana boys. But that’s hopefully a long way off. For now I’ve got to concentrate on getting through the next fifteen months, hopefully with my house and furniture intact. And seeing how many words I can get down before Achilles wakes up and the next adventure begins.
Posted by Cindy Holby at 7:14 AM
Saturday, April 11, 2009
What else can I say that hasn't already been said this week except to share a bit more of a "northern" attitude about historical hotties. A man in a kilt makes my heart beat faster . . . Hope it does yours as well. Here's a few of my favorites.
A picture discussion of Scottish men in action would not be complete without Mel Gibson.
Or Sean Connery, the ultimate Scotsman . . . does he just keep getting more handsome as he ages, or what?
Then there is my fantasy Scotsman ... Duncan MacLeod. Adrian Paul was perfect in this role.
And no discussion of Scottish hotties would be complete without Gerard Butler who proves that Scotsman really do have big swords.
And finally, my own perfect Scotsman who greeted me at the hotel door in Glasgow. He even walked me to dinner one night. Maybe not a historical hottie, but he was certainly fodder for a future hero.
So who is your favorite man in a kilt?
Friday, April 10, 2009
from Emily Bryan . . .
No discussion of historical hotties would be complete without a mention of Colin Firth. After all, he IS Mr. Darcy! Even though he appears emotionally constipated at times, there is something sweetly endearing about a man who fumbles about for the right words.
And Colin plays those characters with total conviction, whether he was at his peak of hotness as in the babe-like photo above or as the older, more introspective gentleman on the right. There's always something seething behind his eyes. Still waters do indeed run deep, but I suspect they are far from calm.
On the other end of the spectrum from the man who can't seem to find his voice, there are those who are all voice. It may just be me, since I was a voice major, but I think a man's voice is a huge part of his appeal. (Just ask my DH who's a wonderful rumbling baritone!)
Who can match Alan Rickman's tones (Professor Snape, Sheriff of Nottingham, etc) for silky menace? Or Patrick Stewart's (Jean Luc Picard) Shakespearian ring? And even now when his hair is gone and his rugged features craggy at best, Sean Connery's whiskey voice and Scotish accent still gives me the shivers! Turn out the light and talk to me, baby!
What do you think? Is a man's voice important to you?
Thursday, April 9, 2009
When Cindy mentioned our "Historical Hotties" week, I racked my brain--I couldn't think of who on earth to talk about, and then I remembered:
What a Sean-o-phile I am!
Sean Bean, who I first saw as Richard Sharpe, in the Brit series, Sharpe's Rifles.
Bad-boy Sharpe is field-promoted from sergeant to lieutenant then captain during the Peninsular War (1808-1814) by Wellington (before he was Wellington), because Sharpe exhibits courage, intelligence, and initiative (and he saves Wellington's life, which doesn't hurt).
He's given command of the Rifles (The Chosen Men), who are considered the riff-raff of the army. Two things make them stand out from the others, their bottle-green uniforms and their new rifles, which are far more accurate than the musket. The Rifles become sharp-shooters and are sent on clandestine missions for Wellington.
Sharpe is tough and courageous, not afraid to be hard on his men, and he shapes the Rifles into the best fighting team in the army. He falls in love with a beautiful Spanish woman who leads a contingent of Spanish rebels (she wears pants and shoots as well as Sharpe does). He deals with personal enemies as thoroughly as he deals with French soldiers in battle.
Richard Sharpe not a "nice" guy--he's alpha male, and he makes sure we know it.
Sharpe's Rifles played through the 1990s. I remember at the time how many Regency historicals featured heroes who'd been in the 95th Rifles. Coincidence? I think not--the Rifles were too cool to pass up, and Sean Bean gave them a face and a character.
Most Americans know Sean as Goldeneye from the James Bond movie of that name (Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean in one movie--what's not to love!)
And also as Boromir from Lord of the Rings.
In fact, I only reluctantly watched the second and third movies of Lord of the Rings, because Sean was only in the first one. Aragorn, piffle. Give me Sean!!!
Most of the Regency-era hotties play Darcy and other Austen heroes--Richard Sharpe is the rough, tough bad boy of the lot.
And it's no coincidence that in my Regency mystery series, my hero/sleuth is a half-pay cavalry captain from the Peninsular War. Captain Lacey is not Richard Sharpe (Lacey was gentleman born, but just as tough as Sharpe ever was), but Sharpe's Rifles helped me visualize Lacey's background.
Any other Sean-o-philes around? And if not, I hope I've inspired you to rent DVDs and get to know the terrific actor Sean Bean. (Note: You can see a *lot* of him in Lady Chatterley's Lover.)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
There's nothing like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and knowing that you're almost there. Well, except maybe actually emerging into the real world.
Most writers I know get pretty intense as deadline time draws near. We hole up in our writing spaces, lost in their fictional worlds. Our eyes glaze over as we work that last tricky plot point or logical inconsistency. We attack our manuscripts, pen in hand, and skewer every typo. Or at least most of them. Have to leave the copy editors something to do, lol.
Right now I'm finishing up the manuscript for my November 09 release, Silver Silence. So how does this dash-to-the-finish work? I write my first drafts on the computer, but when I've got something that I hope is close to finish, I'll print a rough draft. I prefer to do final edits on hard copy, in pen. It's more like reading a print book, and I tend to catch a lot more mistakes than when I read on the computer. After I get through this step, this is what the book looks like:
Silver Silence is the third book in my historical fantasy Druids of Avalon series, after The Grail King and Deep Magic. Counting the prologue book to the series, Celtic Fire, Silver Silence is the fourth story set in the pre-Arthurian world of the Druids of Avalon.
The hero and heroine of the tale are Rhys and Breena, characters who first appeared in The Grail King. Rhys, a Druid,was condemned at a young age to a hard life. By his grandfather's order, he roams the Celtic isles, seeking Druid initiates for Avalon. Breena, the half-Celtic, half-Roman daughter of Rhiannon and Lucius from Celtic Fire, is one of those initiates. She is quite a bit younger than Rhys, and he's known her since he was fourteen, and she was three. She's been in love with him forever; he treats her like a child, even though she's now a woman.
Breena has rare and powerful Druid magic. She's a Seer, and her visions of the future are terrifying. A woman is murdered, again and again, in her dreams. She knows she needs to prevent the death, but has no idea how she is to accomplish that task. When a mysterious old Druid appears near Avalon, offering to take Breena to the woman in her vision, she accepts the challenge. She never imagines that the Druid, Myrddin, will take her through the Lost Lands and into a war-torn future Britain, where dark forces conspire to prevent the birth of the powerful Celtic king destined to unite Britain under one throne. Readers know this future king, of course, as Arthur.
I put all those edits into the computer, changing a bit as I go. Now I have (I hope) a very close to finished draft. I print it all out again. This is what it looks like now:
Then it's time for one last read through, catching those nasty typos and strengthening the language here and there. And off to my editor.
Whew. Now it's time to act like a normal person (rather than an obsessed writer). For a few days, at least. Until I start obsessing about my next project...
Coming May 26!
A Little Light Magic
Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!
In Bookstores NOW:
Immortals: The Reckoning
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Ok, so I have a new release out this month. My mind is on The Lady and the Libertine and Nigel, the naughty, rakish earl hero.
We're doing a week of historical hotties here at The Chatelaines, so I thought I'd do something different. I can't come up with just one hunk to describe my hero.
This is now Nigel starts out, that wicked look burning in his bedroom gaze, the charming and cocky "come hither" grin.
Sexy is good.
But when it comes right down to it, a girl needs, yah know, tenderness! Passion but restrained passion is oh-so-sexy from a hero. A sweet, tender kiss...promise of things to come, gentle consideration beneath all that simmering animalistic passion...
Of course, when "the moment" arrives, our hero needs to feel assured with his equipment, that it is all in working order and has the right proportions and can deliver all essential actions.
A hero confident in the bedroom is very important.
A hero without confidence in the bedroom, without passion and tenderness, well, it's not something a girl wants to see...
But the right delivery, emotions, passion and performance on the hero's part makes our heroine feel very special.
Of course after all that hard work, our hero deserves a rest!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Welcome to Historical Hero week or as I like to call it Historical Hotties! First up is cowboys. Since I write about them I decided to go with my favorite cowboy, Johnny Gault as played by Tim Daly in The Outsider. Johnny Gault is a wounded gunfighter who is found by a fiesty Amish widow, played by Naomi Watts, and her son. She nurses him back to health and he saves her land. Meanwhile her family disapproves of their growing attraction and Johnny pretty much stays all twisted up inside. The actors really make this movie and Tim makes one hot cowboy.
I grew up watching cowboys and had many crushes. Little Joe, Heath Barkley, The Young Riders, and fell in love with Kevin Costner in Silverado. Hey there's so many that this might have to go another week or two! So who's your favorite cowboy? And don't worry, we'll have plenty of heroes from other time periods coming up.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Did you know that Monday is National Tartan Day? So what is Tartan Day, you ask? It’s a day that commemorates the signing of the Scottish Declaration of Independence—a day when Scotland finally won their independence from England after centuries of war.
National Tartan Day has been celebrated in Canada for many years, and in 1998 President George W. Bush signed United States Senate Resolution no. 155 that designated April 6th as National Tartan Day!
The signing of this resolution had a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.
The resolution honors each year the major role that Scottish Americans played in the founding of this Nation, such as the fact that almost half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the Governors in nine of the original thirteen States were of Scottish ancestry, and that Scottish Americans successfully helped shape this country in its formative years and guided this Nation through its most troubled times. It also recognized the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans that have led to America's preeminence in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government, politics, economics, architecture, literature, media, and visual and performing arts.
Are you of Scottish ancestry, even a tiny little bit? Will you celebrate National Tartan Day, if so, how?
Friday, April 3, 2009
from Emily Bryan ...
Last Friday I pitched a proposal for STROKE OF GENIUS to my editor and today, she called with an offer! Here's the blurb:
Stroke of Genius
Grace Makepeace, an American heiress, is determined to marry a titled English gent, but her Back Bay bluntness wins her the title “Least Likely to Succeed.” When she takes flirting advice from the acknowledged artistic genius who’s engaged to sculpt a marble model of her hands, she garners the attentions of a duke.
A cynical, but brilliant artist, Crispin Hawke is a keen observer of the ton and enjoys the challenge of helping Grace beat them at their own game. But he begins to wish he was the object of her passion. Especially once she steps in to model for his bust of Venus.
STROKE OF GENIUS will be out in June 2010 from Leisure Books. Guess I need to get it written!
Oh! I just started a new contest at www.emilybryan.com. Check out my new look and enter for a chance to win PLEASURING THE PIRATE, a related title to my current release VEXING THE VISCOUNT. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
For my post today, I'm going to direct you to another post: Over at the Good, Bad, and Unread, I'm doing an interview about The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, and Dorchester is giving away four arcs of the book. So if you want a free read... :-)
Sandy at Good/Bad/Unread gave it an A+ review (very nice; thank you):
And here's the interview/giveaway/party/thingee:
Hope you enjoy it.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I'm always on the lookout for real-life news of the paranormal. I also devour odd historical tidbits. A couple weeks ago, I came across a news story that fed both my addictions.
Recently, the remains of a medieval "vampire" were found near
Apparently, in the Middle Ages, it was thought that burying a suspected vampire with a brick in its mouth would prevent the corpse from rising again to feed. This was especially true for female vampires (who knows why?).
The vampire starvation method was often employed during outbreaks of plague. Superstitious medieval folk thought that the trickle of blood that came out of a dying plague victim's mouth was an indication that the dead person would rise again. It was the gravedigger's job to identify potential vampires and make sure they couldn't rise to turn others into the monsters that they had become.
The female vampire dug up by Borroni's team died in the Venetian plague of 1576, an epidemic that also took the life of the artist Titian. The brick that was found still in her mouth had been hammered in with such force that it broke her teeth. And I guess the anti-vampire charm worked, because it took more than 430 years for this particular vampiress to rise from her grave!
All my grisly best O.o ,
Coming May 26!
A Little Light Magic
Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!
In Bookstores NOW:
Immortals: The Reckoning