Thursday, July 31, 2008

That's What Friends Are For

I got this email from one of my best friends (we met in our freshman year at college). Just what's she tryin' to say?!?

Today is International Disturbed People's Day

I don't care if you lick windows, take the "special bus" or occasionally pee on yourself...

You hang in there sunshine, you're friggin' special.

Today's Message of the Day is:

Life is short, break the rules, and never regret anything that made you smile.

(All I have to say in my defense is that the occasional peeing on myself has more to do with age than me being special...)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tipsy Tuesday

One of the things that I do once I've finished my rough draft is at least one complete read-through. Out loud. This way, I hear the way the story flows, pick up on repetitive words and phrases and, hopefully, find discrepancies. Last night I made it through the first 2/3s of Moon's Rise (my sequel to Daring the Moon), and made several changes. In one place I noticed that I had the heroine making a day-trip to London and would be returning home that same evening, and several pages later it's the next morning and she's just returning home. Oops.

I also had to chop a few lines that didn't fit where they were, though they were excellent lines. And there's another tip. Don't be unwilling (or unable) to delete words. If their absence makes the story tighter, then they've got to go.

In the long run, you'll be glad you did.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Man Meat Monday

Rowrrrrr. Just...rowrrrrrr.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Making Choices...Daring To Be

One of the things that intrigues me about science fiction (or, perhaps more appropriately, quantum physics theories) is the idea of parallel (or alternate) universes--for each choice we make, there are numerous choices we *didn't* make that could have/would have taken us down another road. And for each road not taken there is an alternate life playing out.

So...there's a Sherrill Quinn out there on an alternate Earth who never broke up with her boyfriend a month before her 16th birthday. She went ahead and married him after she graduated from high school and (if what happened with his actual wife played out between him and Sherrill), she had four kids. Which means she probably never went to college, never went into a career in Human Resources, never moved to Arizona, and never became a published author.

It's mind boggling, how different my life *could* have been had I not made the choices I have. (Because I'm tellin' ya, right now, if I'd had four kids, I'd probably be dead. Or insane. Don't get me wrong. I love kids. I also love sending them home with their parents when I've had enough. LOL)

I'm reminded of something I learned early on in my career. My first boss out of college was a big believer in not leaving your life up to the Fates, as it were. It's up to each person to make things happen in their lives. Her slogan was always "Be proactive, not reactive." What that means is I can't just sit around and wait for good things to come my way. I have to go out and look for them. I have to make sure I'm in the right place at the right time and make it happen.

It's the same for you too, you know. No one's going to look out for your interests better than you. So if you want to make a change, do it. Now. It's not as scary as you think.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Funny

I've always wondered about this myself. Now I know...

- The Silent generation, people born before 1946.
- The Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 and 1959.
- Generation X , people born between 1960 and 1979.
- Generation Y, people born between 1980 and 1995.

But why do we call the last one generation Y? I didn't know, but a caricaturist explains it eloquently below...Learned something new!


Have a great day!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Do You Notice FIrst...

...about a guy?

Is it the eyes?

The hands?


Butt? Back?

Hair (or no hair)?

Or something else?

Me, it's usually eyes and hands that I check out first. They say the eyes are mirrors of our souls--don't know who they are or if they're right, I just know a man with a sparkle of humor in his eyes is damned sexy. And big, long-fingered hands are just so grrrrrrr.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tipsy Tuesday

When I first began focusing on starting a new career as an author, I didn't realize completely just how much more there is to writing a book than just the writing part. But I know now that writing the book is just the first step. Because once the book is finished (meaning you've rewritten where necessary and revised, edited, and polished the thing until it's blinding in its shine) there's still a lot to do--and this is where you have to take off your artist hat and put on your business person's cap.

Because it's your responsibility to understand the industry. You need to know

  • how to assess the market (who's buying what, and what's selling and what's not),
  • how to write a pitch targeted to an appropriate publisher or agent (because you don't want to send, say, a cozy mystery to a publisher that only publishes science fiction and fantasy--it makes you look lazy and, believe it, when it comes right down to it, New York is a small town where everyone knows everyone else and the publishing world is an incestuous one),
  • understand contracts (and have someone--a literary agent or literary attorney--who can look them over for you before you sign),
  • how to work the Internet to your advantage,
For the most part run your "business" like a savvy CEO. It's all part of being a published writer.

Well, it's all part of being a successful published writer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Man Meat Monday

Hot guy in wet white shirt... grrrrrrrrowf!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's An Odd Feeling

For the last two and a half years, just about every free moment I've had has been used writing, planning what I'm going to write, or thinking about writing (and feeling guilty if I wasn't). The last two days I've been doing other things (and this weekend, also)--and it's a weird feeling. My head keeps trying to tell me that I should be writing--or feeling guilty that I'm not--and I have to keep reminding myself that, no, it's okay. I actually scheduled this downtime (it was supposed to start on Monday, only I didn't finish my WIP until Wednesday night), so it's O.K.

My sewing machine *is* working, but it's putting a zig-zag stitch in with the straight stitches about every two inches or so, and I don't know why. It's been probably 7-8 years since I used the machine and I was amazed I remembered how to thread the thing. So figuring out why the stitching is a little wonky is beyond my ability at this point. And it doesn't, in the long run, impact the look of the rocking horse. I should have the 24" rocking horse done this morning, and hope to get at least two of the 12" horses done by this evening.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Funny

I received this in an email from one of my readers who sends me funny stuff from time to time (thanks, Steph!!):

But do they bloom???

Do they come in different colors?

I wonder about the fragrance?

I wonder if it would help to put those preservative packets in the water.

I wonder if they bloom.

I wonder whether they would look better on the kitchen table or in the entry.

I wonder if they're cheaper by the dozen. (That's what *I* wanna know...)

I wonder if they come long-stemmed. (Oh, I dunno. I think wider is better than longer...)

Captured at 115th and Allisonville Rd. in Fishers (Indianapolis). The sign is real and was up for two hours before someone stopped and told them how to spell PEONIES.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Typing The End... such an incredible feeling! And that's just what I did last night with Moon's Rise (the sequel to Daring the Moon that comes out in January).


Of course, I'm about 2,000 words short of my goal, but I have self-edits to do now, so I'll be adding more verbiage (more emotions, more sensory details, etc.). But at least I have the rough draft DONE!


But I'm taking a break from it for a few days and I think I'm going to do some crafting--I have a pattern (and Christmas material) for a soft sculpture rocking horse (24" tall) that I'm going to make for my local RWA chapter's big fundraiser in October. I also bought some Southwest style material to make a couple of smaller ones (12"). I haven't made these in years and they're just adorable, so I think I'll have fun.

That is, of course, if my sewing machine still works. Like I said, I haven't made these in y-e-a-r-s. *G*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tipsy Tuesday

In 1878 Mark Twain wrote in a letter to his brother Orion:

"You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God's adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by."

And to D.W. Bowser in 1880:

"I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice."

What was he saying? Rewriting is a necessary part of writing a novel (or any other work of words). William Shakespeare claimed to never have "blotted a line" while Gustave Flaubert polished and polished and polished so much so that his editors pretty much had to say "Enough already!" and pry the manuscript from his hands.

In my opinion (and, apparently, in Mark Twain's as well) it's only through rewriting that you can achieve the unbroken flow required to hold readers' attention. Each rewrite should pare more unnecessary verbiage from your manuscript--whittling it down to simple but powerful language that's easy to understand. If your readers have to keep picking up their dictionaries, you're going to lose them. Fast.

And one more Mark Twainism - "I am dead to adverbs; they cannot excite me. To misplace an adverb is a thing which I am able to do with frozen indifference; it can never give me a pang... There are subtleties which I cannot master at all--they confuse me, they mean absolutely nothing to me--and this adverb plague is one of them... Yes, there are things which we cannot learn, and there is no use in fretting about it. I cannot learn adverbs; and what is more I won't." (A reply to a Boston Girl, 1880)

So, to do away with adverbs means something like this: "Walk silently" becomes "crept"; "walked heavily" becomes "lumbered"; "gaze moved quickly" becomes "gaze darted", etc.

I hope this was helpful. :)

P.S. I watched a rerun of Stargate SG1 last night and cried a bit for the loss of Don S. Davis. It was the episode where Master Bra'tak comes to the SGC and is introduced to Dr. Elizabeth Weir, who's just taken over as leader of the facility. Bra'tak looks at Daniel and asks, "Has Hammond of Texas fallen in battle?"


Monday, July 14, 2008

Man Meat Monday

In celebration of the season opening of Stargate Atlantis (this past Friday night), here are my favorite men of Atlantis.

My favorite cutie-pie:

And his next in command:

The wild man:

The doctor is in:

And the geek:

Edited to add another of my favorite scientist-types:

W00t! My inner sci-fi geek is verrrry happy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Release day! WICKED OMEN by Sherrill Quinn

Hello everybody! Sherrill's having computer woes (on a release day, ack!!!) so I get to play on her blog, whee! I'm really excited because her WICKED OMEN is releasing today -- Book 1 in the Dark Pantheon series!

Whose idea was the Dark Pantheon? I can't remember now who started the whole ball rolling, it might have been Sherrill (Sherrill?) But somehow it gestated and grew and became a shared-world vampire series from the Deliciously Naughty Writers -- and the first one is out RIGHT NOW at Ellora's Cave!

by Sherrill Quinn

Book one in the Dark Pantheon series
Available NOW!


They are children of the gods. Half-immortal, yet never whole. Until they find the one they burn to possess for all eternity...

Wicked Omen

In the seventh century B.C., Kalla must pretend to be one of the hated enemy -- a Spartan -- in order to save her family. Her gift of sight has brought her to the attention of her Spartan master, Praxiteles, who is determined to use her to overthrow one of the dual kings of the Spartan monarchy. She has no choice but to play along, or her father and brothers will die.

Nikolaos, an Aresian vampire, is a fierce proponent of one of the Spartan kings -- in direct opposition to the man who threatens Kalla's family. When Praxiteles introduces Kalla as the Spartan's new oracle, Nikolaos is suspicious of her, both because her behavior is inconsistent with that of a Spartan woman but especially because of her association with Praxiteles. However, he can't resist her beauty and intelligence.

When she tells Nikolaos something that happened in a recent battle that no one but one of his men -- in whose fealty he has absolute trust -- could know, he begins to believe her. With his skepticism put to rest, he gives in to his desire for her.

Kalla and Nikolaos must now face a common enemy -- one who threatens both Nikolaos's way of life and Kalla's family. But their happiness is not guaranteed. What will Nikolaos do when he discovers Kalla is involved in the plot to overthrow his king? Can their love overcome the bite of betrayal?


There had been a time not all that long ago when Nikolaos would have welcomed the sting of death, had eagerly anticipated the journey to the Isles of the Blessed where all heroes spent eternity. He was tired of war, tired of the loneliness that ate away at his soul. It wasn't easy, watching those around him grow old and die while he stayed youthful and fit. But in spite of his many headlong rushes into battle, the god of the underworld apparently did not want him.

Nikolaos would have thought one less Aresian on this plane of existence would be a good thing, but it seemed Hades preferred that the vampire descendants of the gods be Zeus' problem instead of his.

"I'd prefer to die in battle," Nikolaos went on, "than at the end of an executioner's axe."

"Aye, my lord." Castor turned away from him and started back the way he'd come.

Nikolaos fell into step beside him. Within moments, they came upon the rest of his troops. He scanned the crowd, at one glance taking in the beaten Helots on their knees with their hands behind their heads, huddled in a group with the tired but victorious Spartoi gathered 'round them. But there was one man missing... "Where's Deucalios?" he asked, referring to his boyhood friend and fellow Aresian vampire.

Castor's throat moved with his hard swallow. "He has fallen, my lord." He gestured toward the rocky knoll that crowned the hill upon which they stood.

In spite of the warmth of the day and his own overheated battle-worn body, a chill iced its way through Nikolaos. With leaden steps, he walked in the direction his lieutenant had pointed.

There, in what clearly had been a killing frenzy, Deucalios lay in pieces. The gaping hole in his chest was further mute testament that the butchers who did this knew how to make sure the Aresian warrior could not be restored to life.

Fisting his hands, Nikolaos went to his knees beside his fallen comrade. His eyes burned with unshed tears, his throat tightened around the howl of grief clawing to be set free. What was the benefit in having near immortality if it only made you a target of vicious attacks like this? Until the heart had been removed from his chest, Deucalios would have been coherent enough to feel every bite of the blade that rendered him asunder.

The only reason Nikolaos could think of for the viciousness of the attack was because, like him, Deucalios was an Aresian.

When Nikolaos returned to Sparta, he would visit the oracle and discover whatever portends she could envision. For now, though, he would avenge his friend. He put his hand palm down in a deep crimson pool of his friend's blood. Then he placed his hand on his brass chest plate, over his heart, marking himself with Deucalios' life essence. "I will avenge you, my brother," he muttered, bowing his head.

Grief turned to an all-consuming rage that brought back his bloodlust. A red haze colored his vision. He jumped to his feet and returned to the captives. His nostrils flared as he sought out those who had brought Deucalios to such an ignoble death.

He paused in front of each enemy soldier, breathing deeply, taking in the multitude of scents that fierce battle always brought. The coppery smell of blood, the pungent tang of sweat, the stench of fear. But there was one particular aroma he sought�the same scent that wafted to his nostrils from the bloody palm print on his chest.

Deucalios cried out for vengeance.

Get your copy of WICKED OMEN today!

Explore the Dark Pantheon at

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Did It Again...

I fell at work. Again. This time, instead of hurting my hand, I've royally f***ed up my left ankle. It hurts like hell. Severe sprain, and here I am hobbling around on it. I'm thinking I may call off work, even though I have an interview scheduled this afternoon and one tomorrow--it's going to be better for me to stay off this leg as much as possible.

Although I have set a record...I went more than two years without spraining an ankle. Hah!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tipsy Tuesday

As a writer, you need to keep the readers engaged throughout the entire story. It's not uncommon to have a terrific, high-octane start and an exciting, dramatic end, but somehow, in the middle, things break down and get a little, well, boring. How can you avoid this?

One way is to make sure you keep the action rising. A fast pace is crucial to keeping reader interest, so everything that happens before the climax should keep kicking the suspense, the drama, up. Stephen King argues that a closed door can be a continuous source of fearful suspense, but only so long as it remains closed. Once it's opened and the "Unknown Thing" confronted, suspense is resolved. (Danse Macabre)

How many movies have you seen where the hero's car starts just fine throughout the movie (even after being shot up and driven into the ground) until that moment when the villain or monster is about to catch him? The motor grinds, viewers slide closer to the edge of their seats and, finally! The engine catches and the hero escapes with only seconds to spare. Trite, perhaps, but certainly tried and true.

It's like this: each time you make it bad for your characters, you must then make it worse. Then worse yet again. And still worse until you reach the climax.

That's how you hold reader interest and keep them turning the pages.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Man Meat Monday

I just love this guy. Now, if he'd only just. Drop. The. Towel...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Star Trek and Stargate Atlantis

I don't talk about it here much (well, not *too* much), but I'm a Stargate Atlantis fan--I love the team dynamics, the action, the suspense and, of course, the cutie-pie known as Joe Flanigan (who plays the lead, Lt. Col. John Sheppard). While browsing around, I came across a link for a video that is just too funny, and thought I'd share it here.

Keep in mind, this is one of the "inside" jokes on Atlantis--that Sheppard is a "Kirk" when it comes to alien women. But I think you'll enjoy this if you like Star Trek, even if you've never seen Atlantis. It's about 4 minutes long.


P.S. Now that dang song's gonna be playing in my head all day, 'cause of course I had to make sure the embedded link still worked before I posted my blog.

P.P.S. According to my friend S, this song was really popular in the 80s in Australia. I'd never heard it until I stumbled across this video. There are, of course, a couple of videos at YouTube that use actual Star Trek footage with this song, but, hey, I think Joe's cuter than Bill. *G*

Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday Funny

The inventor of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Arthur Davidson, died and went to heaven. At the gates, St. Peter told Arthur, "Since you've been such a good man and your motorcycles have changed the world, your reward is, you can hang out with anyone you want to in heaven."

Arthur thought about it for a minute and then said, "I want to hang out with God."

St. Peter took Arthur to the Throne Room, and introduced him to God.

God recognized Arthur and commented, "Okay, so you were the one who invented the Harley-Davidson motorcycle?"

Arthur said, "Yeah, that's me."

God commented: "Well, what's the big deal in inventing something that's pretty unstable, makes noise and pollution and can't run without a road?"

Arthur was apparently embarrassed, but finally spoke, "Excuse me, but aren't you the inventor of woman?"


God said, "Ah, yes."

"Well," said Arthur, "professional to professional, you have some major design flaws in your invention:

1. There's too much inconsistency in the front-end protrusion,


2. It chatters constantly at high speeds,


3. Most rear ends are too soft and wobble too much,

[] []

4. The intake is placed way too close to the exhaust,

5. And the maintenance costs are outrageous!!!"


"Hmmm, you may have some good points there," replied God. "Hold on."

God went to his Celestial supercomputer, typed in a few words and waited for the results. The computer printed out a slip of paper and God read it. "Well, it may be true that my invention is flawed," God said to Arthur, "but according to these numbers, more men are riding my invention than yours!!!"

LOL!! Have a great 4th of July, y'all!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Saying Another Goodbye

Most of the time, when I watch the news and they talk about this celebrity or that celebrity, I really don't care what's going on in their lives. Angelina and Brad and their babies? Phfft. Good for them, but I. Don't. Care.

But there have been two people who have recently died that have made me regret I never had a chance to meet them. One is Tim Russert. The other is this man:

Don S. Davis. His acting portfolio is varied, but what I remember him best for is his portrayal of General George Hammond on Stargate. He was one of my favorite recurring characters on the show and I missed him when his appearances were curtailed. His last role was on the upcoming Stargate: Continuum movie that's being released on DVD at the end of this month. It'll be a bittersweet experience, watching that movie.

Joe Mallozzi posted a very touching tribute to Don on his blog yesterday. When I read it, I was pleased to discover that the man I thought Don was, based on my observations of him, was really the kind of man he was. Gentle, gracious, and loyal to his friends above any consideration to himself.

Rest well, Hammond of Texas. I wish I'd known you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tipsy Tuesday

I had an author day on Sunday over at Love Romances Cafe, and had quite a list of questions to answer from the owner Dawn. One of the questions that's nearly always asked is "What advice do you have for aspiring writers?"

My response is always: Read, read, read. And then read some more. Not just the how-to/craft books, but also the books in the genre you're planning to write, whether that's romance, mystery, horror, sci-fi, etc. If you're targeting a specific publisher, read books by authors already published with them.

Another tip: Do *not* expect your editor to be your grammar/punctuation cop. You want your editor to be able to concentrate on the story--does it flow, are there sections that don't make sense or need more fleshing out, etc. (Having said that, each house has its own style, so you may see grammatical and/or punctuation changes even if you were very careful. Case in point is my manuscript for Kensington that just went through copy edits. When I wrote it, I followed the comma rules that Ellora's Cave uses, only to see that the copy editor inserted commas all over the place. Commas that, I might add, I would have had in there had I not followed Ellora's Cave rules. Other things you won't know until you get into the edit stage are the house rules on words like blond/blonde.) If you're unsure of yourself in this area, invest in a Strunk & White Elements of Style and a dictionary.

Plus, if you're using a word processing program like Microsoft Word, pay attention to the squiggly colored lines that appear under certain words. Red means the program thinks it's a misspelled word (sometimes it's not), green means there's a possible grammar glitch.

Turn in the cleanest manuscript you can and you're a step ahead of the rest of the pack.