Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween! Here in Vancouver the weather has turned crisp and the leaves are falling, swirling through the air on gusts of autumn wind. Our front porch is decorated with spiders and jack-o-lanterns carved to look like a ghost and a pirate skull, and my little ones are beside themselves at the prospect of filling their treat bags once it gets dark.
Tonight I'm dressing up in my drindl I bought in Munich, tying my hair into pigtails and rocking the whole outfit by topping it off with black fisnhet stockings and four inch black heels. Then I'll be escorted by none other than Bumblebee and Scooby-Doo for some good old-fashioned trick-or-treating.
If it's cold wherever you are and you're in need of a Halloween treat to warm you up, Katie Reus has a new paranormal erotic romance release out called Unleashed Temptation, under her alter ego's pen name, Savannah Stuart. You can check it out here.
Hope everyone stays safe and has a great time tonight!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Expecting copy edits for Relentless (book 4), but I've got to get my butt in gear with the first book of my Bagram Special Ops series. I've tentatively titled it Turbulence, and am about a third of the way through the first draft--the hardest part of the writing phase. Well, at least for me ;)
In honor of Halloween, I've put in a short clip of this amazing costume. For anyone out there with young boys, this is guaranteed to make them smile. So without further delay, here's someone who's a huge fan of the Transformers movies. Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I'm going to be posting a few things regarding my books as we get closer to my next release date in February. Character interviews, recipes they like to cook (or eat, in Bryn's case--she's a terrible cook). I cleaned out my iPod today to make room for my new WIP, and thought I'd share some of the songs from my first book, Out of Her League.
You may recall in an earlier post I find having a playlist for my current book or even some songs particular for a certain character in that book really helps get my creative juices flowing. Even now when I'm driving and a song from one of my playlists comes on the radio, I'm instantly transported back to that book and its characters. Kind of neat, actually.
So, here are some of the songs I kept around for when I needed inspiration for Out of Her League:
-Every Breath You Take (The Police--theme song for Seth and the whole book, really)
-Nights In White Satin (The Moody Blues--this was for Luke and Emily's flashback scene where he shows up at her door in the middle of the night in the pouring rain)
-Interstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots)
-Kickstart My Heart (Motley Crue--this always makes me think of softball because it played during warm-ups in Canada Cup one year when I was starting against Team Australia. Trust me, it was a memorable--if short :)--experience. So I used this for writing the scenes where Christa is catching during the game.)
-All We Are (Kim Mitchell--for the ending climax scene with Rayne taking down Seth)
-I'm Ready (Bryan Adams--this is Rayne's theme song, because it took him a long time to become a happily ever after kind of guy. Only Christa could have brought that out in him.)
If you've never tried the playlist trick of jumpstarting your creativity, give it a whirl. I bet you'll find it helps when you get stuck!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I'm back safe and sound! Whew, it felt like a long trip because I was pining for my little guys the whole time. Oh, and hubby too. He really missed me, by the way. He and the boys met me at the airport with chocolate roses :) I can't even describe how happy I was to see them and hug them all.
As hard as it was to leave my family for that long, it was good for my marriage in a way. Keeps things fresh when you don't see each other every single day, which is when most couples tend to take each other for granted. I came home to a spotless, gleaming house, two happy boys and a hubby that lost seven pounds because he missed me so much (or so I like to think, but maybe it was because he wasn't eating my cooking and baking every day!).
My time in France was relatively short, but man is it expensive there! Moreso than any of the other countries I visited. I went to a burlesque show at the Crazy Horse theater in Paris (who'd have ever thought that would happen?), ate crepes and shopped. Now that's my idea of a good time. I even got complimented on my French a couple of times, which is funny because I barely know any. But it's nice to know my accent is good!
At least in France I felt "normal", physically speaking. Not so much in the Baltic countries. I'm about 5' 7" and 130 pounds (size 4 or 6, depending on the clothes), but in the Baltics I felt short and fat. Seriously, all the women there seemed to be 5' 9" or better, and my weight. Size zeroes and twos. Probably because their diet is much better than in North America, or even most of Western Europe. Our tour guide commented more than once that all we seemed to do was eat! Plus, they don't eat processed crap like we all do on the west side of the "pond".
Another thing that surprised me was the number of people that spoke English, especially in Estonia. Nearly everyone we met spoke enough to converse with us. And they still rely on central heating, piped in from Russia. The Batic governments determine when to turn it on and off, and this week in Lithuania, the government is turning on heat in schools and hospitals. And trust me, it's cold there right now. The rest of the population has to wait until the temperature falls below a certain level for three consecutive days, then the heat gets turned on. And once it's on, you can't shut it off or regulate the temperature. So if you're too hot, you have to keep all your windows open until the heat gets shut off in April or May, once again determined by the temperature. You can imagine how expensive this method is, especially to a population struggling to make ends meet. Hopefully things will keep improving there over the next few years, but the current economic crisis isn't helping matters. Our tour guide Edgars has a master's degree in international business relations, and he's just left Latvia for six months to drive a bread truck in Australia. That says a lot, doesn't it?
So, all in all I'm glad I went, and my cousin was awesome to travel with. Other than an upcoming writer's retreat with Bob Mayer in November, I'm not planning on going anywhere for a long while!
Now I've got to get my butt in gear and get back into some sort of writing routine. I've been such a slacker! Let's hope this break from the keyboard has let my current WIP percolate in my little brain, and that the words will flow next time I sit down to write.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Okay, where to begin? I'm writing this from Paris, having finished the tour of the Baltic States. Never in my life did I think I'd be able to say that! But here's a Cole's notes version of the highlights.
We started in Riga, Latvia, then drove the Rovers into Estonia. We stayed the night in the university town of Tartu, then went on to the capital, Tallinn. I loved Tallinn. It was both charming and welcoming, and I would definitely go back someday. It's just a two hour ferry ride from Helsinki, Finland, and indeed the Estonian language is close to Finnish. Bought some marzipan and visited two amazing chocolate shops that put Starbucks hot chocolate to shame.
After driving down the coast to stay on Saaramaa Island for two nights amidst winds of up to 65 mph, we put in a twelve hour day traveling down to Klaipeda, Lithuania. We hit an unbelievable storm there, which turned out to be an anti-cyclone that killed people in the region. Over a foot of rain in ten minutes, and the wind was so fierce at one stop where we got caught outside (the Hill of Crosses), we had to walk backward to the Rovers so the hail wouldn't hit our faces. By the time we dove inside the vehicles, everyone of us could wring out our clothes. Needless to say, we stayed soaked until we reached the port town of Klaipeda.
Next day was windy but mostly clear, and we traveled to the Curonian Spit. It's somewhat like the Oregon Coast, very beautiful and we stopped in the town of Nida where I bought some Baltic amber jewelry. They have distinctive wooden flags there that the seamen used to use, and each flag tells the story of the family it belongs to. The black and white checkered part tells the sailor is from Nida, and the rest tells if they are married or single, how many and which sexes his children are, and if they live near the forest or sea. This was one of my favorite stops of the trip, aside from Tallinn.
We arrived the next afternoon in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, and met my sister and step-sister with her family, including 5 month old Areia. She's the best travelled baby in the world, I'm sure! The following morning we toured the city, and stopped at the former KGB museum. It turns out our tour guide's (Jurate, my roommate for the past week) uncle was the leader of the local resistance against the Soviets, and exhibits about him are featured in the "museum". Let me tell you, I still can't get that place out of my mind. The things they did to political prisoners there would make your skin crawl, and somehow the uncle managed to survive three years of imprisonment there, plus five more in a concentration camp in Siberia. And this sort of thing happened until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. Unbelievable.
All three Baltic States share that awful history of occupation, in ancient times from the Swedes, Danes, Poles, Germans... Then after WWI, the Soviets took over until the Nazis came into town. Then at the end of WWII, the Soviets took control again, and stayed until the wall came down. Millions of innocent people were imprisoned, tortured and killed, including women and children. Jurate told us when the authorities came to take your family in the middle of the night and put you on a train for Siberia, you weren't expected to make it home, let alone survive the trip. Many had no proper clothing or food, and no children under the age of two survived the journey to the camps. All this makes me eternally grateful to be from Canada. Please everyone, don't take your freedom for granted!
On a lighter note, the tour of Vilnius was October 7th, my ninth anniversary. Obviously, I'm away from home. My hubby sent me a mushy email and had some dark chocolates delivered to my suite as a surprise. Isn't that romantic?
Now I'm in gay Paris with my cousin, and about to go to a burlesque show at the Crazy Horse Saloon. Never thought I'd say that, either!
Haven't done a lick of writing since I arrived in Europe, but it's been a good break. Hopefully by the time I get my internal clock working properly back home, I'll be raring to go. If you're interested, you can follow the trip blog here.