Thursday, March 29, 2012

Random Thursday!

Today, the bits of randomness in my life include:

I'm moving! From one apartment to another. In the same complex. Again. And I'm moving back to the second story. Again. Why the move? I'm going from a one bedroom, one bath to a two bedroom, two bath with washer/dryer connections--and new wood laminate flooring in all the major areas. Yes, the lure of one day having a washer and dryer and of having wood floors--even the fake kind--did me in. Plus, I get an additional 225 square feet for only $70 more. I'm like the best bargain shopper ever!

I'm trying on-line dating. Again. I've done the eHarmony bit before and it wasn't a huge success. I'm willing to take the blame for some of that, because I tried to put myself out there when I wasn't ready and wasn't ready to admit what I was looking for. Now, I'm older and in a better place. I'm just going to have fun with it. If something great happens, well, that's great. If nothing happens, well, I'm not in a worse place than I was whenever I first signed up. Ah, maturity.

I'm debating hiring a publicist. Why? Because I'm looking to really build my brand and readership, so when Winged comes out next year it really takes off. I'm doing my best to make this the last football season that I work, which means I need to put myself and my product out there. Since I can't do it all by myself, at least not without compromising some quality in my writing, I need someone to help. I'll keep you updated.

Now, I'm off to do a shit-ton of things, related to moving, writing, and everyday life. I may make it back to bed before 11 p.m. tonight. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Writing Wednesday!--I'm a TOTAL Baby.

Just in case you don't follow on Facebook or Twitter (and why don't you, may I ask?), I thought I'd share this little tidbit of info with you.

I cry sometimes when I write scenes.

There I said it. Be gentle in your laughter and stone throwing.

But seriously, I've always found it a good indication of whether or not the emotional level of a scene is right--my crying, I mean. Now, I'll admit I cry at a number of things--I cry when I read about the Titanic, I cry when I read books, I cry sometimes when I'm daydreaming and there's a sad song in my ear, I cry during movies. I just cry. You'd think I'm an absolute watering pot in real life, but you'd be wrong. Only in things of the art do my emotions get the better of me.

Hence the issue with crying while I'm writing. It can be a little embarrassing if I'm writing in public and there are tears just streaming down my face. People look at you funny or if they're really bold they come up and you if you're doing okay. And then you have to either lie so you don't look like you're crazy or you have to confess the truth and people think you're crazy.

Dilemmas, dilemmas.

So, you all should know that those scenes where, hopefully, you teared up--so did I. And someone got a glimpse of how nutso writers can be. Job well done.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Tuesday Buildup--Excerpt Time!

Enjoy!



“Well, you’ve gone and done it this time, haven’t you, girl?” I squinted, turning my head in an effort to find the source of the voice. The movement caused waves of pain, sharp and stinging, until even breathing hurt. “How many times did your daddy and I tell you to not go wandering off into trouble?”

“Mama?” I croaked the single word, my throat dry and aching.

“Isn’t her mother dead?” LaLa’s voice broke into my consciousness, overlapping with the running diatribe coming from Mama. “Mike, you need to keep her still. I’m going to have a difficult time with this as it is.”

“Cari, you need to hold still.” Mike’s voice and Mama’s blended together, her cool touch somehow merging with his shaking hands where he pressed on my shoulders. “We’re trying to help you here.”

I kicked out, my foot connecting with something. The grunt of pain did nothing to help my rising panic. “Let me go, let me go, let me go.”

“Steven, could you stop limping around like a fucking baby and help here?” A second set of hands joined Mike while two more grabbed at my legs. “She’s already lost a lot of blood, every time she struggles she loses more.”

“Baby, I’m sorry. I can’t let you go.” Salty liquid splashed on my lips, the rest of his tears filling Mike’s voice. “I know it hurts and I’m sorry but I can’t let you go.”

“I’m trying, baby girl. Your daddy and I are trying so hard to let you go. It’s not like we don’t have better things to do other than ride herd on you.” Mama’s voice echoed in my ears, somehow managing to drown out every other noise. “But you never stop being a parent, baby girl, and that’s a cold, hard fact.”

“Why can’t I decide?” Tears rolled down my cheeks—mine, Mike’s, maybe Mama’s. “I just want to be able to choose.”

“You do what you have to do, baby girl.” Lips pressed against my forehead, the pressure familiar and bittersweet. “You always did. No point in anyone thinking you’re going to change now.”

Heat blazed through me and I drew in a deep breath, screamed it back out at the top of my lungs. The sound tapered off into a whimper and I tried to struggle, to be anywhere but there, but too many people held me down now. The second blast of heat robbed me of even the ability to scream even as my head began to clear. The third and final burst made pinpricks of light explode behind my closed eyelids even as the dark began to spin dizzily.

“Oh, hell no.” My eyelids flew open at the sudden crack of a palm against my cheek. LaLa stared down at me, her eyes narrowed, the look in them somewhere between worried and annoyed. “You do not get to pass out after I just saved your life. You better stay awake long enough to at least say thank you.”

“Fuck you.” I flicked my tongue over my lips to moisten them, worked up enough energy to bare my teeth at her. “Sideways.”

“Close enough.” Her hands probed at my chest, pinching in some spots, poking at others. “You should know, you’ve been flashing a dozen or so people for the last half hour.”

“If Mason is here, I’ll kill him.” I rolled my neck, sighing when my cheek came into contact with the cold cobblestone. “I’ve managed to keep my tits away from his lecherous eyes all my goddamn life.”

“Then this would be the wrong time to mention that Mason is holding down one of your legs, wouldn’t it?” LaLa centered my head, opening my eyelids wide with her fingers. “And don’t worry, I have a feeling he was too distracted by the blood and ribcage and jagged skin to really get a good look at what you’ve got.”

“Let me up.” I pushed against the hands again, found myself still held firmly in place. “Let me up, goddamnit.”

“If you pass out, I’m letting you hit your head. And when you wake up, you’ll have a bitch of a headache.” Still, LaLa gestured to the men, easing away from me. The pressure on my limbs disappeared and I slowly struggled to a sitting position. Behind me, LaLa snorted. “Showoff.”

“I repeat, fuck you.” I turned to look at Mike, his face solemn and tear streaked. “I want to go out to the farm.”

“Cari, it’s late, and you really shouldn’t be moving so much--.”

Bending my knees, I leaned forward, bracing my palms against the ground. Ever so slowly, I rose, swaying for a moment when I finally stood straight. My head spun and my stomach churned, my hands shaking as I clutched the tattered remains of my shirt around me. “I’m going. You can either go with me or I’ll get there on my own.”

Mike stared at me, finally rising from his crouch after a long moment. “Fine.”

As I limped back to the church and his car, Mike walking silently beside me while the others trailed behind, I replayed my conversation with Mama. And tried to decide if she’d been stating the obvious or giving me permission to do something that might ruin everyone’s life.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Media Monday--My New Obsession

So, I've recently become obsessed with The Voice. As in watching every episode available OnDemand in one huge stretch. I was already reading the reviews, simply because they kept showing up in my newsfeed thingie whenever I checked the reviews for Smash.

This show is AWESOME. Really, where the hell have I been?

Actually, I know where I've been--I've been over saturated with music shows and with the overt cutsey of American Idol. And so I resisted. And I was an idiot.

The byplay, the actual artistry, is off the charts. There aren't any hokey, gimmicky acts here--these are people persuing their dreams and they are good. They aren't here just to get on television, to have their fifteen minutes of fame. They're the real thing.

Take that, Amerian Idol.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Random Thursday!

One more day! Who else is excited! I'd promise to calm down, but I'd be lying, and so I'll refrain. So, what else is going on in my thoroughly chaotic life this week?

I'm surrounded by crazy bitches. I'm not even choking. Crazy bitches at work, on Facebook, random crazy bitches at the bar...they are every-fucking-where. Two out of the three places for potential and actual crazy bitches are also the places where physically violent people are likely to be--and funnily enough, the bar is not one of those places. There are times when I'm happy to know about the details of people's lives (I'm a writer, I'm nosy) and then there are times where I'm like, "Whoa, back the crazy train up and let me off back at Slightly Sane Town, please."

I've found the inspiration for a character for after I finish, well, everything I'm currently working on. Check out this obituary for Ruby Garret. I'll wait. How awesome was this woman? I would have bought her a drink every time I saw here, which is saying a lot for me. And you may disagree with me, but I think she'd be an awesome character.

I'm moving. Again. Just from one apartment to the next. I thought I had less stuff than I do. Turns out, I don't. And with my book buying habit showing now signs of abating ever and writing becoming more and more a part of my income, I need the space both for additional bookshelves and to set up a home office. And while I'm sure I'll feel super professional with a home office, I'm also sure I'll feel super weird.

Did I mention the Hunger Games comes out tomorrow? I'm going to be reading the book today in preparation for tomorrow. Because I'm a nerd like that.

Tomorrow... I have no idea, but I'll think of something. I haven't been having a lot of food-speriences lately. Either way, catch you later!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Writing Wednesday!--I'm Back on Track!

That's right, folks. I'm back in the groove for Harvest Moon Rising. All things being equal, I'll have it finished and shipped off to the editor by the end of the first week in April. Everything else being equal, you guys will have it in your hands by the third or fourth week of April. Fun times!

The next Jude Magdalyn, Shades of Blood,  will be out no later than the first week of June. I'm goaling for just a little sooner, since I want it done before I go on my vacation to celebrate turning the Big 3-0. But still, no later than June 5 for the next Jude.

The second book in the Frankie Post series, tentatively titled Borrowed, is slated for a mid-August release. More details as I figure them out. I will tell you that London, Dublin, and New York are all featured in it, which should make for some great adventures.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Media Monday--It's Almost Time...

...for The Hunger Games! Yes, I'm that excited. I promised my younger cousin I would take him to see the movie as soon as it came out for three reasons.

1) He's really brought his grades up in school
2) The Hunger Games was the first full length novel he read completely through. That's a big deal for a kid with ADHD. He loved it so much, he started reading the second book, Girl on Fire, immediately after finishing HG. Even bigger deal.
3) We both really, really, REALLY want to see the movie.

It's probably going to turn into a group event, since there are quite a few people at my job who want to see it as well. Some of them are like, "But I didn't read the book." And I'm all, "Well, maybe you'll like the movie enough to go read the book afterward." That's what happened with me and Harry Potter. I didn't start reading the books until after I somehow saw the second movie without seeing the first. Granted, I was around 20 or 21 at the time, which might also have had something to do with my total behind the times-ness, but whatever.

So--is anybody else super excited for Friday?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Food Friday!--Irish Tradition Time

This year, I'm not even going to pretend hat I'm going to eat corned beef and cabbage. Nope. Corned beef in any form just kind of freaks me out, and after almost eight years of seving corned beef harsh (which totally looks like dog food--I'm just saying), my fear has not abated by even the smallest degree.

But cabbage? I do love me some cabbage.

So, in honor of my way back Irish roots (and because I'll be drinking on Saturday, and cabbage does not mix well with alcohol), I bring you the Irish dish Colcannon.

Leeks and bacon flavor this traditional Irish side dish recipe of mashed potatoes with cabbage.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 leek, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper

Preparation:

Peel potatoes and cube. Place in saucepan and cover with cold water. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.Meanwhile, cook bacon in large saucepan until crisp and browned, turning often while cooking. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain; crumble. To drippings remaining in saucepan, add olive oil. Cook onion, garlic, and leeks until crisp tender, about 3-5 minutes. Then add cabbage, cover, and cook for 6-10 minutes until cabbage is tender.
When potatoes are cooked, drain and return potatoes to hot pot; shake over low heat for a few minutes to dry. Add butter and mash. Add milk and salt and pepper; beat until combined. Stir in bacon and cabbage mixture. Serve immediately, or place in serving dish and keep warm in 200 degrees F oven for 1 hour. Serves 6-8

(Recipe taken from About.com--Busy Cooks. Check out the site for more awesome dishes)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Random Thursday--Shades of Desire Tour Schedule!

That's right! Surprise! Shades of Desire is going on tour starting tomorrow. This time around, I'm touring with Bewitching Book Tours, and boy is the schedule jam packed. Check it out below.

March 16
Fang-tastic Books
March 16
The Autumn Review
March 17
Doctors Notes
March 17
SJ Clarke’s Blog
March 18
Roxanne’s Realm
March 20
WTF Are You Reading?
March 24
Cocktails and Books
March 26
Grave Tells
March 26
J.D. Brown's Blog
 
March 27 Workaday Reads
March 30 Guest blog
Louisa Bacio -- Love Knows No Bounds
 
April 2
JeanzBookReadNReview
April 3
April 4
The Speculative Salon:
April 4
Fiction Fascination

April 5
Mama Knows Books
April 10
Tynga's Reviews (http://www.tyngasreviews.com)
 
April 10
April 11
April 12
Reader Girls
April 13
Beverly @ The Wormhole
 
 
Hope to see you all out there on the metaphorical road!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Media Monday--Anything Goes!

So, today I'm going to talk a little bit about something absolutely brilliant I recently saw, not once but twice--Anything Goes.

I'm somebody who loves musicals. Aboslutely, positively loves them. I saw The Sound of Music when I was roughly ten or twelve years old and ever since then I've had a deep and abiding love for all things musical. Phantom of the Opera and Rent have both spent a goodly amount of time in my DVD player. So naturally when I went to New York, I was like, "Got to see a Broadway show."

I debated between seeing something dark and twisty and something happy and cheery. In the end, I went for happy and cheery, because, well, I just didn't want to walk around Times square with red eyes from crying. It turned out to be an excellent choice, since I was entranced from the get-go by Anything Goes.

It's a revival piece, actually the second or third if I'm not mistaken, set in the 1930s mostly aboard a cruise ship bound for England. There's lots of farcical comedy, great dance numbers, beautiful singing--the entire works. And what's better, it's a show that's good every time you watch it.

I was lucky to get seats in the orchestra both nights--the second night, I was actually a few rows and seats closer to center stage, so I had a better view of, well, everything. I'm going to sum up Sutton Foster in one word--A-FUCKING-MAZING. Okay, so that word is made up a little, but it still accurately describes how phenominal this woman is at everything. I was lucky to see her perform, since she's acutally leaving this week to start work on the pilot for a tv show.

Joel Grey, also ridiculously amazing. I know, I'm overusing the hell out of the word and that I should really know a few words with more descriptive qualities, but why stray from the things that work. If this is what vaudeville was like, I'm surprised it ever went out of style.

Basically, what I'm saying is: if you can go see the show, do it. You won't regret it, by any means.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Food Friday!--I Am Soooo Glad to Be Back Home

I'm baaaccckkkk! Yeah, I totally just threw out a Poltergeist reference, but it was applicable. Ok, not entirely, since there aren't crazy spirits occupying my home, but still.

While I've unpacked, I haven't bothered to wash clothes, and probably won't until Monday so I can get back on schedule. Instead, I'm going to do some work on two different projects, since I'm feeling somewhat revived, and at some point I'm going to get to the grocery store, since both the cats and myself need food. But first...

What I Learned About Food in New York


1. "Diner" does not mean the same thing up north as it does down south. It seems like every diner I walked into had table clothes, very, very nice silverware, and a very steep pricetag. Now, that isn't to say that I'm cheap (ok, a little), but I don't think I'm out of line to be shocked by a $4 single glass of Diet Coke and a $17 grilled cheese sandwich.

2. Onions are forbidden. Not entirely, but close enough. The only time I saw onions as a condiment was in the Subway next to my hotel. Otherwise--they've been ix-nayed. But Christ on a cracker, do they love tomatoes.

3. Ice is frowned upon. I swear to Jesus, it was like the servers were afraid you'd yell at them if they gave you more than three or four ice cubes.

4. Refills? Also frowned upon. Which I found hysterical, especially in light of the aforementioned $4 for a single glass of Diet Coke. And actually, on at least two different occassions, the server brought me a single can of soda with a glass half full of ice. At the same places charging $13 for two eggs, two strips of bacon and two pieces of french toast, no less. Wacked? I agree.

And finally....

5. You're not paying for flavor. Hear me out on this. I ate at about....6-8 different places. I can't accurately recall at the moment. The biggest thing they had in common, besides price? NO FLAVOR. You think I'm joking. The bread on a turkey club? Flavorless, even though technically it was wheat. The mashed potatoes of my bangers and mash? Definitely instant, definitely flavorless. The breakfast potatoes? No flavor.

Really, New York? Really? I expected better.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Random Thursday--The City That Never Sleeps

(This originally posted during the Taken Blog Tour at Book Savvy Babe)

The City That Never Sleeps
New York. The Big Apple. The City of Skyscrapers. Gotham City. The City that Never Sleeps. There are a hundred nicknames for New York, a thousand things to see and a million places to go. Now, obviously I’m not going to be able to highlight all those places. Instead, I’m going to detail a little more some of the ones mentioned in Taken.
First up—Trailer Park Lounge and Grill. Located at 271 W. 23 Street in Chelsea, the Trailer Park is southern tackiness at its finest. Complete with black velvet paintings on the walls and Pabst Blue Ribbon in the can, the establishment definitely lives up to its name. The menu is heavy on traditional bar or bowling alley snack food, with names like the double-wide burger and even throws down the gauntlet by offering sloppy joes in beef, chicken, or veggie. Drinks include huge cocktails such as the Lover’s Concerto and Jim Bob’s IQ. Like I said, southern tackiness—and kitsch—at its finest.
Now, I’ll admit that both Ugly Willie’s and Low Places are straight from my crazy mind, but that’s not saying there aren’t places like them in a city known for its cosmopolitan flavor. Off the Wagon in Greenwich Village, while not being bad enough to require a Hazmat suite, is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum. Seriously—I did a search for dive bars, and this popped up on the list. It’s very much a beer and wings hangout, with 14 beers available, most if not all of them by the pitcher. And while I’m not a fan of beer myself, I can appreciate a great drink special just as much as anybody.
Strip clubs are a dime for… well, more than a dozen. And yes, the area around Ground Zero is as seedy as depicted. For those with more refined tastes, might I suggest Sapphire Gentlemen Club? They offer bottle service, an extensive list of wines and champagne, and complimentary concierge services. Oh, and did I mention they also do bachelor and bachelorette parties along with divorce parties? A little something for everyone, as the case might be.
While I could keep going—after all, it is New York—I’m going to end our little tour there. For one, thinking about a double-wide burger has me hungry. And for two, I don’t want to end up sounding too much like a guide book.
But mostly it’s because of the burger.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Writing Wednesday--Combining Business and Fun

Woohoo! So, I've been in New York a few days, and I've been living it up. But--I've also been working. Why? Because I'm a nutcase. And because I always like to actually be able to look at a place I'm writing about. While I'm doing some research for a Frankie Post book down the line (yes, they'll eventually make it back to New York), I'm really doing research for Winged.

One of the things about Winged that I love is the historical aspect. I love being able to incorporate real places and events into books. Growing up, I'd often read romance novels set in a certain time or place, and afterwards would find myself reading non-fiction books about what interested me. Yes, I'm a dork, but this little quirk made college pretty damn easy and more fun than it otherwise might have been.

The second training exercise detailed in Winged is a recreation of the Stonewall Riots. If you don't know what those are and feel the urge to Wikipedia them real quick, don't feel bad. Those two words were part of a throwaway line in the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child book Reliquary. No reference, no real purpose other than a contrast point. But it was enough to spike my interest--although not until much later, I'll admit (hey, I read the book when I was 15--give me a break).

In a nutshell, the Stonewall Riots served as a wake up call for the LGBT community. The events that occured June 28, 1969 were a springboard for the same issues that we're still dealing with today. The fight for LGBT rights is not new by any means, although we are now, at last, making inroads, in much the same way it took women and minorities alike decades to have their voices heard. If there's anything to be learned from these movements, it's that change is like a fire.

It only needs a spark to grow into an inferno.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Tuesday Buildup--A Photojournal of Sorts

As promised, a few photos I use for inspiration. There's nothing too special about them, just pictures that I like.

Pretty sure this is Tom Brown Park. The only thing I would have loved better would have been a pond somewhere

Just a random spot in the path. For whatever reason, I liked it.

Taken on one of the nature trails at Tom Brown Park

I ended up using this as the background for the cover of Harvest Moon Rising--nice, right?

Taken at the Tallahassee Junior Museum in one of the swamp areas. Nice and spooky.

Also taken at TJM. They have an entire area that used to be a working farm. Pretty awesome



Monday, March 5, 2012

Media Monday--New York, New York

So here's a question for everybody--why is it that New York is always one of the cities, if not the only one, that gets destroyed during a disaster? Seriously. Off the top of my head, I can list more than a few movies that revolve around the destruction of New York.

Independence Day. The Day After Tomorrow. Godzilla. Ghostbusters (1 and 2). Sex and the City. (okay, the last one is a bit much, but still, you get what I mean)

And those are just the ones that are New York specific. I'm not even talking about the ones where everything gets destroyed. 2012. Dawn of the Dead. Knowing. And let's not even get started about my thoughts on Knowing--absolutely the worst movie I've every seen, and I've seen horror movies that made me laugh.

The point is, New York always gets the short end of the stick. Why? Is Hollywood just annoyed with the entire damn island and feels the need to take it out via cinema? Is it just an East Coast/West Coast thing? I mean, is THERE a reason?

Here's my theory--New York is a symbol of America. Let's face it, even if you hate the city--and there are a few people who do--it's something we all recognize and sort of take it to heart as our own. One of the quickest ways to get the movie viewer on the side of the "good guy" is to destroy something they hold dear.

Sorry, New York. Don't take it personal.

Tomorrow--a few pics of something not New York related: the sort of stuff I look at when I'm feeling uninspired writing Harvest Moon Rising, and usually get a little inspired. Until then...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Food Friday--Oh, God. I am SO Hungry!

That's pretty much it. I forgot until the last minute that I can't eat meat on Fridays--again--and so I haven't had a very filling day of food. I wish I had more to say, but, well...I have to get to packing. My flight leaves in less than 48 hours! Super excited!