Friday, December 31, 2010
This time of year it's kind of rare to have a perfectly clear sunny day up in the mountains, but that's what we had. We left the snow-capped peaks of Whistler-Blackcomb behind us and drove down the gorgeous Sea To Sky Highway back into Vancouver, passing breathtaking scenery like this:
2010 was a busy year for me in terms of releases, and I'll have two more in 2011. In fact, my Carina Press editor just e-mailed this morning to say I can expect edits for Deadly Descent shortly, and I'm both excited and a little nervous.
It's been a year since I wrote the story, and I'm sure there will be lots of thing that jump out at me when I look at it this time. It'll be interesting to see what changes my editor has in mind, and I hope I can make the book even stronger. I'll inform you about the release date when I hear anything.
I'm also 75% finished with the draft of my paranormal romantic suspense that I'm tentatively calling The Coven Leader, and hope to get that wrapped up in the next month or so. Once that's done, I'll need to plot out the second one and dive back into book 2 of the Bagram Special Ops series, Crash and Burn. I've got lots to do, and this year I've got to make sure I'm more disciplined at the keyboard. Hello, New Year's resolution! *cough*
Here's hoping all of you have a happy and healthy New Year, and that 2011 has all sorts of wonderful surprises in store for us all.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I want to wish all of you a very happy and healthy Christmas season and a joyous New Year. Things have been mighty hectic around our house lately, and I've been super sick the past three weeks with a very tenacious strain of bronchitis so it's been tough going. I think I'm on the mend now, but I've torn some abdominal/intercostal muscle attachments on the right side of my ribcage and that's slowing me down a lot. Whee!!!
On the plus side, I got word from my Carina Press editor that my manuscript with them will officially be titled Deadly Descent, and I'm pretty pleased since that was my favorite of the suggestions I sent them. I've also received my first few reviews for Absolution, and thus far people seem to be liking the story so that tickles me.
In other writing news, I'll admit I've been a very bad, bad girl recently. I think I've written only a couple thousand words in my latest WIP over the past two months. That's inexcusable and I know it. *hangs head* I'm having serious trouble getting my words flowing, and I hope I figure out what the problem is sooner rather than later! My New Year's resolution is to finish this story and get to work on the second of my Bagram Special Ops series for Carina.
We've got an action packed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ahead of us, then on the 27th we're heading up to Whistler to stay with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (one of my best friends that I used to play ball with, and she married my hubby's brother) for a few days. Then my dad has rented us a place right in Whistler so after we visit with the hubby's side up there we'll spend a day or two with my dad, step mom, sister, step siblings and their kids. Should be fun!
Please remember to count your blessings this Christmas, and don't forget to send out some love to our troops stationed overseas, in harm's way and far from their families this holiday season. Let's hope 2011 is good to us all!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
It's an emotional ride and even a tear jerker, but I hope the book makes you fall in love with my favorite hero too. He's just so tortured and brave, despite all the sins he's committed in his life. He and Em have both been through hell, so if anyone deserves a shot at a happy ending, it's them.
Stop by Writers Gone Wild anytime between now and Friday night to enter the contest. Just leave me a comment and I'll choose a winner this Saturday, December 11th. Good luck!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
We've been super busy here getting the place ready for Christmas. Had our annual holiday bash last night, and even Santa came and made a special guest appearance for the throng of kids here. Though we've got our standard 5 trees and the humongous arbor decorated inside, hubby went crazy this year out in the yard. We've got all kinds of figures out on the front lawn and garden, and he almost bought one of those annoying computerized things that synchronizes music and lights. I'm sure our neighbors are very grateful he decided to pass on that. I know I am.
In terms of writing, I'm pretty sure I'm on the naughty list, and not just because I sold that erotic romance novella a couple weeks ago! Nope, I've been procrastinating like crazy with my WIP and I'm not sure why. Have to push through that and get my mojo back, because I've got a lot of projects to finish in the next year if I want to keep up any kind of momentum. I'm seeing a writing friend tonight for some girl talk over tea with a side of plotting, so I'm hoping that will jump start my muse again. And next weekend I'm hosting the Greater Vancouver RWA chapter for our Christmas shindig, so that's always awesome. But...you should see my calendar for December. It's nuts. Way more so than usual. Everyone in our house is designated with a different color highlighter, and the entire month is so packed full with color it almost gives me a headache. I try not to look at it too often because it just makes me tired thinking about all I have to do this month. Wish me luck!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Bet you thought I'd forgotten to post about the rest of my trip, right? Nope! Day 3 was a hubby and me day, since Katie had left us. *sob* But it was all good, because I knew we were heading there in a couple days to spend the night at her place.
Here's a shot of me standing in the courtyard garden of our B&B just outside the French Quarter, ready to start our day. Very private and romantic, huh? I think hubby picked a fabulous spot.
After walking through the Quarter we hopped on the bus to get to the Civil War Museum. So exciting! I was like a kid in a candy store there. They had all kinds of Confederate weapons and artifacts, and a great selection of books. I bought one about a Union medical officer.
After I spent way too much time in there we were starving, so we walked back and took the St. Charles Ave. streetcar to the garden district. There we hunted down two places we'd seen featured on our favorite Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. The first place was Guy's Po Boys, and let me tell you the food was fantastic. We each ordered a small, but the sandwiches were at least six to eight inches long and almost as tall. Mine was filled with delicately fried shrimp, Creole mustard, lettuce and tomato. Amazing, and a huge amount of food considering how cheap it was. After that we walked for a while and hunted down The Creole Creamery, an ice cream place where they make homemade and unique flavors. Mine was Mexican Hot Chocolate (you know how much I love hot chocolate), a dark chocolate base with cinnamon, cayenne pepper and ancho chilies. Delicious and creamy on the way down, but then you get a bite of heat on your tongue. Really neat! It's the only ice cream I've ever eaten that made my nose run :)
On the way back to the Quarter on the streetcar, I have to mention my husband was the only man to get up and offer his seat to a woman holding a toddler and stroller. I started to get up too, but he stopped me and guided the woman into his spot. He's just like that, but I was very proud of him. Seems to me there are very few men like that left out there, and I wish everyone had manners like his.
We got spiffed up for our romantic dinner we'd made reservations for at the Cafe Amelie and strolled over. Not an easy feat in three inch heels when there are cobblestones everywhere, and sure enough I twisted my ankle. But the romantic setting and awesome food more than made up for it. We ate outside in a cozy 300 year old courtyard while a fountain bubbled nearby and lanterns flickered from the boughs of a huge live oak. The stars winked to life overhead while we ate dessert, and it was hands down the most romantic dinner of my life.
The Quarter's night life was just starting up when we made the short walk over to St. Peter's Street to Preservation Hall. We stood in line for the better part of an hour to get into the tiny hole-in-the-wall jazz club, but the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's performance made it well worth while. A visit to New Orleans wouldn't be complete without seeing that!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Stop by Long and Short Reviews today to read this interview and learn more about me and my writing process. I'll be over at the LASR Yahoo Group tomorrow, chatting with readers and introducing them to my special ops heroes. Hope to see some of you there!
Here in Vancouver we're experiencing a ridiculous cold snap and it's freaking freezing right now. Minus 8 Celsius, with a wind chill that takes us down to a bone chilling -18. There's a bit of snow on the ground, but of course now it's turned to ice. Lots of fun to drive on. It's supposed to get even colder tomorrow, then start warming up on Thursday so we're all looking forward to that except we might get more snow. What's up with that? Snow belongs on the mountains, not down here in the city! My palm tree is out there shivering in my backyard. Right now I'm curled up on my couch with a blanket next to one of our Christmas trees while a fire crackles in the hearth, and I don't plan on leaving the house again until I have to pick up big weasel from school. Great excuse to get some more writing done!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
So Zosia, if you're reading this, Ben's preening with a huge grin on his face.He's so high maintenance. Even after I've finished writing about him he's still a handful. Some things never change I guess :)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
No word yet on an official pen name or when the release date will be, but if I had to bet I'd say in early spring next year. The story is obviously steamier and less suspenseful than my romantic suspense titles, so I'm not sure how it will be received by any of my current readers if they decide to take the plunge when it comes out. It's going to be part of the Cowboy Kink series (dear God, I never thought I'd write anything that qualified to be labeled with the word "Kink"!), and though it's uber hot it's still going to be very emotional and romantic.
Looks like I'm going to be very busy with edits and galleys over the next few months! That's a very good thing :)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Come by and check out all the giveaways happening there, including books donated by authors like Roxanne St. Clair and Caridad Pineiro, as well as some Wild Rose Press authors. Enter the contest and support our troops at the same time.
Kim will be giving away one of my print books on her blog, so please stop by and leave a comment to enter. Would love to see you there!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
She's been kind enough to spotlight The Wild Rose Press and its authors this past month on her blog, SOS Aloha. I'm going to be her guest this coming Saturday, November 13th, so I'd love some company over there. But first, please stop by WGW today to say hello to Kim and find out how you can help the cause and win some free books!
Monday, November 8, 2010
While I wrote this book, it was important to me to portray what it's like to go through cancer today--specifically breast cancer--because now there's more hope than ever for patients diagnosed with the disease. I found some surprising things along the way.
First off, pretty much every source I checked said that Taxol (usually used in breast cancer chemo) resulted in hair loss. Most of the people I interviewed about it said they lost their hair a few weeks after the first treatment, and they lost it suddenly. A few literally woke up with hair on their pillow. Most were terribly nauseated, especially after that first treatment, and for quite a while. Needless to say, many women going through this find their libidos at an all time low, even when in a loving, committed relationship.
To make Absolution work as a romance, clearly I had some obstacles to overcome. Hard to write a romance without the hero and heroine being together, if you know what I mean. I'd kind of painted myself into a corner, and yet I felt very strongly about the storyline. But then I found some encouraging stories out there. Several women I spoke to that had been receiving Taxol reported being very nauseated after the first treatment, but much less so during and after subsequent treatments. Some weren't nauseated at all after the first dose of chemo.
I found similar reports about libido. Some women have little or no interest in sex during treatment, while others reported little or no change in their sex drive. One lady I spoke with said it was hard for her to be intimate with her husband at first because she felt so unattractive, but connecting with him that way made her feel like a woman again and went a long way to help stave off the depression she was suffering. She credited her survival with his loving, unfailing support. Now that's a romance hero :)
What about any of you? Have you known anyone with a similar experience while going through chemotherapy?
Friday, November 5, 2010
This has been an awesome week for me in terms of writing. On Tuesday I got my Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Awards trophy for Cover of Darkness, and it's now sitting on my nightstand until I get all the Christmas decorations packed away in January. Yep, I've already got half of the decorating done. (Don't hate me!)
Then yesterday I found a message waiting for me from Angela James of Carina Press, saying they wanted to contract Turbulence. I've never actually gotten a call before, just e-mails, so that was pretty cool. My heart was pounding in my chest as I listened, and I've even saved the message on my answering machine. I haven't "met" my editor over there yet, but from the sounds of it I've got some work ahead of me when we get to edits. That's okay, I'm up for the challenge and I'm sure the changes will only strengthen the book. Bring it!
Friday, October 29, 2010
The digital version releases December 10th, but click here to buy the print version.
In other awesome news, my fabulous critique partner, Katie Reus, just sold a paranormal romance trilogy to Penguin/NAL. So proud of her! The first book will release sometime in 2012, but I'll keep you all posted about the details. Go Katie! You deserve this hon. xo
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I'm very excited about this, since both of my entries finaled and that gives me a better chance of placing in the top three. Plus it's a big contest for our corner of the publishing industry.
Relentless and Absolution didn't qualify for this year's contest, but I hope to enter them next year. Winners aren't announced until March, and at this point I have no idea how many other finalists there were in the romance with mystery/suspense category. You can be sure I'll inform you of where I placed when the time comes.
Stop by Writers Gone Wild and leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy. Winner will be chosen Friday October 29th.
Monday, October 25, 2010
So okay, I didn't get much sleep the night before day 2 because I was creeped out by the story of torture and murder our haunted history guide told us before I went to bed. Took me a while to get my motor running in the morning, but eventually we picked up Katie (who was happily writing away in her hotel, BTW) and headed back through the French Quarter on our way to catch the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, running since the 1920s. Very cool way to travel from just outside the Quarter to the picturesque Garden District, where we spent a good chunk of the afternoon.
Here's Katie with me on the street car, which still has the original wooden slatted seats. Yep, I'd be the pasty white Canadian wearing the black summer dress. It sure felt like summer to me. Wore sunscreen and everything, since I got burned a bit the day before. I think Katie got a kick out of that :)
We'd signed up for a guided walking tour ahead of time, and our first stop was Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. We'd been warned not to enter the cemeteries without a tour group, but in hindsight I don't think it applied to this particular cemetery, as it seemed very safe and in a good neighborhood. Of course I was there in the middle of the day, so maybe it's different at night.
After the tour we headed back to the Quarter and all the way through it to our respective hotels so we could freshen up for dinner. On the way to the restaurant Katie and my hubby patiently waited for this little jewelry shop on Chartres St. to open so I could exchange something I'd bought the day before. Neither of my walking companions are shoppers, so it was very nice of them to wait as long as they did. That's us above, waiting for the shop to open on our forth attempt to get in. Totally worth the wait though, because I upgraded my former purchase to a pendant style fleur-de-lis necklace and matching earrings. Then it was on to K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen for dinner, where hubby and I pigged out on the luscious Creole food. Nothing like it! I think I ate a different kind of bread pudding almost every night down there. Awesome stuff.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Over there Kim Adams is interviewing The Wild Rose Press authors this month, so be sure to stop by for a chance to win some books and find out how you can make a soldier's holiday season a little bit brighter.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Day one in the Big Easy started off with a sense of adventure and only got better as time went by. There wasn't a cloud in the sky the entire week we were there, and the temperature stayed in the upper 80s every day. Not bad for the beginning of October, when the rain and wind usually hits full force here in Vancouver.
Hubby had us staying at the Laneaux Mansion on the edge of the French Quarter, where some of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was filmed. We had our own private cottage to stay in, complete with kitchenette (which we never used because of all the amazing restaurants to choose from) and our own little bricked courtyard filled with thriving plants. Pretty romantic.
After breakfast we wandered up Chartres Street to the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic Cathedral in the US. Hubby lit a candle in honor of his late mother, and then we started touring the Quarter and all its pretty little shops. I was in my glory :) I even tried on a beautiful corset at The Trashy Diva. It was pretty, but not very comfortable and hubby would have had to lace me in and out of the thing. Considering how expensive it was, those factors made it a definite no.
Now, you might be thinking that this was the greatest surprise ever concocted by a husband for their wife. But you'd be wrong, because something even better happened just after lunch time.
We'd wandered back to Jackson Square, presumably to take more photos, and then I sat on the grass in the shade to read The Cajun Night Before Christmas, which I'd bought for the weasels. I'm about three pages in when all of a sudden I hear a woman call my name.
My head snaps up. No way, someone knows me down here?
I turn my head, and who should I see standing before me but my very own critique partner, Katie Reus. My jaw fell open. We've been working together for almost two years now, but I've never actually met her in person. She lives about 90 minutes from New Orleans and was planning to try and come up here to Vancouver in the New Year, so meeting her in the middle of Jackson Square was a complete shock. I was verra happy to see her, as you can see below. I think I might have left bruises on her from my bear hug ;) Hubby had once again taken me completely by surprise and set this whole thing up--and didn't breathe a word about it despite giving me grief for wanting to see her while we were down there. What a guy.
Once I got over my squealing and hugging episode, we headed over to the famous Cafe du Monde (open since the 1860s) and got some beignets and cafe au lait to snack on while we caught up and watched the Mississippi roll by from the Moonwalk. We even got serenaded by a man named Leonard, who's been busking along the Moonwalk for over 40 years singing tunes from legends such as James Brown and Otis Redding.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Breast cancer is a serious issue, and one I've wanted to write about for a long time. When Absolution comes out in early December, you'll see the devastating toll this awful disease takes on its victims--and on those who love them.
I wanted the story to show both the gory details of the diagnosis and treatment, but also to show hope. So if you know or meet someone struggling with breast or any other type of cancer, please reach out and give them your support. Sometimes a kind word of support or encouragement can make all the difference for someone struggling through this crappy disease.
Monday, October 11, 2010
It's Thanksgiving up here in Canada, so happy turkey day to all of you. I'm going to do a series of posts about my amazing trip to New Orleans soon, but first I wanted to show you what I've been working on for the past month instead of writing :)
At long last I can post pictures of my newly renovated powder room. It's a tiny room, but believe me a lot of work went into this transformation. I don't have a before picture, but the walls were covered in a busy Victorian floral wallpaper on a yellow background, and the ceiling was also painted yellow. I thought it was cute when we moved in, but in the past year or so I changed my mind and decided I wanted to do a chic Parisian style theme instead.
I already told you what a nightmare stripping off the wallpaper was. The walls were an absolute horror show by the time that was done. But, a few sandings and fillings later, I was able to put on the three coats of vanilla ice cream paint and get cracking on the rest of the room.
With the walls done, I got busy painting everything else. I took down the brass light fixture over the sink and painted it black, then painted the cabinet in the corner cream and black and put crystal knobs on it.
My mom found an antique mirror someone was throwing away and brought it back for me a few months ago. I painted it cream, then dry brushed it with black, and once it was dry I dry brushed cream over top of that to make it look antiqued. It's still my favorite piece in the bathroom, other than the awesome ceiling. I also bought the botanical prints and painted them black along with the big mirror on the back wall, and transferred the wording onto the walls, blind and mirror.
Next, I painted the curtain rod and brackets black, hung the curtain panel over the window and added the pretty crystal chandelier. I also found these really cool tin fleur-de-lis at a local French shabby-chic shop, and decided I could make them into a TP holder. I antiqued them and anchored them into the wall, then made a TP roll with a dowel and two crystal knobs on either end. (I was pretty pleased with myself, lol)
All that being said, I saved the best for last: the ceiling.
It makes the whole room pop. It looks like a tin ceiling, but it's actually wallpaper that I painted a flat black.
Overall I'm really happy with how it all turned out. The paint on the walls is a pearl texture that allows for easy cleanup, and that's a very handy thing when you live with two little boys. I know the room's a little girly, but hopefully it's in a style that won't ever look dated. Plus the family seems to like the room, so that's lucky for them ;)
Posted by Kaylea Cross at 8:56 AM
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Well. Just had another humongous surprise sprung on me. Hubby and I celebrate our 10 year anniversary on October 7th. As far as I knew we had another ball game that night, but that was it. I thought we'd go for dinner or something on the weekend, maybe go overnight someplace in the next few weeks. Boy was I wrong.
Apparently we won't be at the ball park on our anniversary, because we'll be in the Big Easy all week long. Yeah, it was a bit of a shock for me too :)
I'm typing this at 4 pm on Saturday, and he just surprised me with the trip twenty minutes ago. We leave in the morning at 5:30 am.
Wow. At first I didn't know how to react. Panic was the first emotion of course. This involves flying I didn't voluntarily sign up for. A lot of it. My adrenal and sweat glands went into immediate action mode.
My next thought is going to make me look bad, but I want to be honest with you all. My critique partner, who I've never met in real life, lives a few hours from there. Right away I was already thinking about how I might be able to hook up with her sometime during the trip. Hubby wasn't exactly thrilled about my reaction, lol. Here he's secretly planned the trip and sprung it on me at the last possible moment so I'd have only minimal time to freak out about the flying, plus he's picked up some Ativan for us both to help calm our nerves. What a guy! I guess I should have made more of a fuss. I feel bad now! But really, he took me completely by surprise. (That's my only excuse, but I feel like I need to use it!)
Luckily my mom and her twin are still with us and will look after the weasels while we're gone. All that driving back and forth to school, swimming lessons, soccer practice, play dates and Beaver Scouts. Just a typical week here at our place. I'm sure they'll be thrilled.
Hubby's walking around the house right now wearing a very smug grin. He says, "I'm gonna look like a rock star on your blog!"
Yeah, he is, isn't he?
I'm starting to come out of my shocked state, which is kind of too bad because now the flying phobia is going to be in full swing until I land in New Orleans twenty-four hours from now. My heart's racing as I type this and my palms are all sweaty. But the kids are in good hands, my will is up to date and hubby will be with me. Besides, Dec, Ben, Rhys and Luke would get on the plane without batting an eyelash. Got to put on my big girl panties now. The last thing I want to do is spoil the trip and excitement for hubby by being a sweaty neurotic bitch for the whole next day. People fly all the time and get where they're going to safely. I don't see why my plane has to be the one in a million to go down. *slaps self* Okay, no more thinking like that.
So yeah, hubby's done it again. We're off on a romantic vacation for an entire week to someplace we've always talked about visiting. Once again I'm feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Wish me luck!
Oh, and what did I get him as a present? Thought you'd never ask. I got him new batting gloves and a pair of ball pants. Gee, aren't I the romantic one in this relationship?
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I can't believe it's been a year since I went on my grand adventure to the Baltic States with my favorite cousin. There he is at left, my hunky cousin Mike, dressed up in his racing gear. He's a well respected sprint car driver that suffered a pretty serious crash back in August. Ironic considering the fifth day of our trip one of his friends nearly died in a racing accident and is still in an institution getting treatment for his severe Traumatic Brain Injury. I thank my lucky stars that Mike was more fortunate than his friend.
In his last race of the season, my cousin crossed the finish line in first place and lost control of his steering. He hit the wall doing 100 miles per hour, and suffered a severe enough concussion that his vision is still impaired. The doctors expect it will be a few more months before the swelling in his brain reduces enough to restore the rest of his eyesight.
Anyway, thinking back on our trip I'd have to say my favorite parts were visiting Paris, and a little place in western Lithuania called the Curonian Spit. It's a narrow sand spit nestled between Klaipeda, Lithuania, and Kaliningrad, Russia. Baltic mythology claims a giantess named Naringa formed it by throwing sand out of her apron.
I've recently started my first paranormal series, and the books link the Curonian Spit and surrounding area with ancient legend and WWII history. I can't tell you how excited I am about the premise for this! Hope it turns out as well as it looks in my head :)
We were there in early October and the Baltic Sea was stormy and wild. Chunks of amber still regularly wash up on the beaches after storms.
The tiny resort town of Nida is nestled at the tip of the Spit, and it was absolutely gorgeous. It reminded me so much of the little village at Crescent Beach here at home that it made me even more homesick. Nida has the same feel to it; a summer seaside town with shops and restaurants, with breathtaking views from the sand dunes built up by the winds blowing off the Baltic. Each year the dunes lose approximately 10 meters of sand from the wind blowing it into the lagoon. Nida was where all the Soviet well-to-do spent their summers during the Communist era. Today it is the most expensive resort area in Lithuania.
Local legends and customs abound here, and they are evident in the traditional wooden flags still used in Nida today. Each color and image on the three-layered flags tells a story about the people they represent. For example, the black and white checkered square at the bottom symbolizes Nida, and the red and white symbolizes the Curonian Spit. Most traditional houses here are painted blue, brown and white, symbolic of the pagan tradition of the elements earth, water and air.
The entire area is magical. Mystical. When you have a chance to tour around, it's not hard to see why.
The cemeteries in this part of the world are in forests, due to pagan tradition. This particular cemetery has Curonian crosses from the 19th century. They were unpainted, weathered wood with different designs and shapes. "Male crosses were made from male trees such as oak, maple or birch. Female crosses were made from female trees such as pine, cherry and apple. The male cross would have a horse design on it because a man rode his horse in his next life. The female designs would be with birds because a woman would fly to the beyond. These crosses would be placed at the feet (not the head) of the burial site." (from my step mom's blog)
Pagan tradition is an essential part of the area's history and culture, and I've used it heavily in my new series. Folklore and legends of witchcraft abound, especially in what was our final stop in Nida last year.
The Hill of Witches stands on an ancient pagan ceremonial site, and is now covered with intricate wooden carvings depicting local folklore of magic, witches and devils. When you take the tour you begin in sunlight with the "good" figurines, and work your way up into the forested hill toward the shadows where the witches and devils play, waiting to lure unsuspecting mortals to their doom. This lit a fire under my muse that I haven't been able to extinguish, and so my paranormal series was born. I don't want to give away too much, but suffice it to say I'm using this site and the surrounding area for the books. There are so many amazing details and legends for me to intertwine with the plot threads and I can't wait to tell you more about it! Stay tuned :)
Sunday, September 19, 2010
In terms of writing, I had a pretty great weekend. I submitted my first erotic romance novella, and on Friday I got word that Romantic Times gave Relentless a 4 star rating with a glowing review, so that was pretty great. But as of about twenty minutes ago, something even better happened.
I just found out that Cover of Darkness won first place in the romantic suspense category of the Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Awards contest! I get an engraved trophy and everything. And, as if that wasn't reason enough for me to think about drinking a celebratory mojito (because I rarely touch alcohol), No Turning Back won second place. You know what? I'm totally okay with coming in second to myself :)
I had my suspicions when I wrote the books that COD was the best of the series. I love NTB too, but it's really graphic and I wasn't too sure how readers would feel about that. I'm so happy people are loving my books! Luke's is due out in a couple months, so I've got high hopes for that one too because it's the most emotionally wrenching of the five. Guess we'll have to wait and see what the consensus is.
I haven't gotten a trophy since my last years of competitive softball in my mid-twenties, but you can bet I'm putting this one right on the mantle in my bedroom so I can see it every day. It's going to come in very handy for those days when I doubt my ability as a writer. Fingers crossed that people will love Absolution as much as I do! Now let's hope this will help generate a few more sales for this series :)
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I can safely say I'm the least spontaneous person I know. I'm not a spur of the moment kind of gal, never have been. So yesterday when my hubby waltzes in the door at lunchtime, I thought something was wrong.
Me: "Did your computers crash or something?"
Me: "You got fired."
Him: Glares. "No. We're going out."
Me: "What? No, I can't. I've already arranged a play date for the kids." Plus I've already got stuff laid out to do a painting project for my powder room. The entire afternoon is spoken for. Don't mess with my schedule.
Him: "Play date's cancelled."
I look over at my mom, who's standing behind him. She and her twin sister moved in with us in mid August and are staying until the renos on their new house are complete. Anyway, mom's shaking her head at me to get my attention and then puts on an excited look, starts prancing behind him in joy to prompt me. As in , hello? Cue excitement anytime now.
Oh, right. Don't kill the guy's effort by not being thrilled. I'm supposed to be excited. My bad.
So I mentally switch gears, put on a smile and off we go. He won't tell me where we're going, but soon enough I figure out we're heading toward the border. Well fine, if he won't tell me, the border guard will find out soon enough when we declare where we're off to in the good old U.S.A. But hubby's foiled that plan too. He's tucked a note to the border guard inside my passport so the surprise won't be spoiled.
I'm starting to get a real kick out of this. He's obviously put in a lot of effort. My mind starts humming. He's taking me to find a Victoria's Secret store where I can indulge in my lingerie fetish.
No, he says with a little smile.
I'm getting puzzled. Why else would he be taking me down south in the middle of the day? My eyes light up. A ball game?
"You're taking me to the Mariners game." I gasp. "Oh my God, are the BoSox in town?"
Another grin. "Maybe." He's still Mr. Mysterious.
Nah, I think. The M's usually play at 1 or 7, not in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday.
About twenty minutes down the road, Hubby can't stand it anymore. "Yeah, we're going to see the M's play the BoSox."
I gasp. Hooray! I'm so stoked. I spend the next hour and a half writing in my little plotting notebook (I never leave home without it), and we finally arrive in Seattle and make our way to Safeco Field.
Next great surprise--our seats are 19 rows behind home plate. Dead center. Awesome! Now I'll have a great view of the whole field, not to mention the catchers. (Please let Varitek be catching...)
We sit down and hubby leaves me with my bag of roasted peanuts to go in search of some better food. He comes back with a hot dog, garlic fries and a hot chocolate for me (what a guy), and the starting lineups are announced. I hold my breath when the BoSox lineup comes over the PA system. Please let Varitek be playing. Pleasepleaseplease...
Nope. Victor Martinez is catching. Bummer! Ah well. Maybe Varitek still isn't healed up enough to play, and it's late in the season anyway. They're not going to make the playoffs this year, so maybe they're just giving him some extra time to heal his foot.
It's all good though. I'm on an unexpected date in the middle of the day with my man, and there are no little boys fighting beside me or whining for more junk food or that they're bored. I've got nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the game. That in itself would have been more than enough to made the day incredible. But there's more.
Partway through the third inning, hubby nudges me. I look over to the third base dugout, and my heart trips. There he is, in the flesh. My heartthrob. The hunky Red Sox captain is leaning over the dugout railing with his back to me. Be still my beating heart! I can barely take my eyes off him.
Two innings later, he shoulders a ginormous duffel bag and heads onto the field. I perk up. He's going to the bullpen!
I grab hubby's hand. "Come on," I said, tugging him impatiently out of his seat.
"You really want to watch him warm up the pitchers that bad?"
"Uh yeah, he's on my list." All you Friends fans out there know what I mean by that. Varitek shares my five-man list with The Rock, Gerard Butler, Ben Affleck (who's not only hot, but a die hard BoSox fan), and one spot I haven't filled yet. So yeah, I'm going to the bullpen.
Hubby rolls his eyes and comes along for the walk around the stadium to the bullpen, where the relieving pitchers warm up.
I spot him the instant we round the corner. There he is, not forty feet from me, number 33 with all his gear on. Oh my God he's sexy. I take up position at the far end, right next to the stencil of home plate, and camp out there. And I'm watching nothing but him. I couldn't care less who was standing next to him. Not even Papelbon, their famous closer. My eyes are for Varitek only while he does his stretches.
About the 7th inning he's finally all limbered up and grabs his mask. He strides toward me. I swear my mouth went dry. He plays catch for a bit to loosen up his arm, then drops into his squat. Like, fifteen feet from where I stood. My insides go all jittery. He can tell I'm there, but he goes about his business and I'm way too shy to wave or call out to him. We're sorta hard to miss though, because we're two of about five people standing on his end of the pen. And trust me, I'm not at all being subtle as I stare at him.
I feast on the visual treat before me. I watch his positioning, the way he sets up behind the plate, the tape around the fingers of his throwing hand (helps the pitcher see the signals he's giving), the way he grips the ball. His throwing mechanics. After a couple minutes they take a break and he stands up. Looks over. Sees me. My heart pounds.
"He just checked you out," hubby says in outrage, and steps closer to me to put an arm around my waist.
While I roll my eyes, Varitek goes back into his squat and catches a bit longer. "He did not. He looked at me because I'm standing here gawking at him. It's a natural reaction."
"No way. He was totally checking you out." Hubby's arm tightens. Jeez, maybe he's taking this whole list thing too seriously. It's only a hypothetical list, for fun, and I'm way too shy to do anything about it even I Varitek and I were both single. I think hubby's pretty safe. I push him aside so I can see better.
We watch Varitek catch for a while longer. Next time he stops, he stands up. Looks over. Tips his mask back.
Holy hell, he's looking right at me. I go rigid and stare back with a stiff smile on my face.
Varitek grins at me. And then...he winks. I swear on my childrens' lives, the man winked at me before tugging his mask down again.
My heart nearly stops beating altogether. While my face goes red as a tomato, hubby whirls to face me with a look of astonishment on his face. "Did he just wink at you?"
My face is about to combust it's so hot. "Um, yeah, I think he did." Oh no, I don't just think it. I know it. My heart is still all aflutter thinking about it as I type this.
Talk about the perfect way to top off an awesome date with my hubby. And let's be honest, how many husbands would willingly stand there and let their wives ogle a man on her list? The man won serious brownie points with me yesterday.
Come October the BoSox won't be in the post season, but I'll still be a faithful member of the Red Sox Nation. And you can bet I'll be cheering for whoever's playing against the damn Yankees.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Another great review for Relentless, this one from The Reading Reviewer, Mary Gramlich. My military romantic suspense series (which I dearly regret not naming, by the way) is going to be featured over on the SOS Aloha blog next month, so I'll be sure to post details. I'm happy to report that The Wild Rose Press and its owner, Rhonda Penders, have stepped up to help support the cause by donating books for military personnel and their families. Thanks Rhonda!
To read the review, click here.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Hi gang! Stop by Writers Gone Wild so I can introduce you to an incredible lady, Mary Gramlich, and her worthy cause, SOS America. Please consider donating some books or other things to her so she can give them to soldiers and their families. Come learn about Mary and see how you can help support our troops.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Ever wonder how those annoying little mistakes make it into the final version of a published book? It's easier than you might think! I'm over at Writers Gone Wild today, telling my own story about that particular pet peeve.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Had another whirlwind weekend. Friday night we went to Cirque Du Soleil, followed by dinner right on the water at False Creek. Saturday I cleaned up the house and yard to get ready for my RWA chapter summer get together on Sunday. Then a bit of a monkey wrench.
We were supposed to go to the air show just before lunch, but due to hubby having to go into the office for a few hours, that didn't happen. By the time he finished up, we had less than two hours left before the show closed. I was not impressed. I desperately wanted to see some aircraft featured in my current WIP, and I didn't want to drag two fighting kids around with me while I did so. I let my displeasure with my hubby be known, and we finally headed out to the show. The kids fell asleep on the way, so they stayed in the van with DH while I went in myself. Was I going to pass up the opportunity to see Hercs and Globemasters up close just because my family wasn't interested? Hell no. Their loss.
It was over ninety freaking degrees outside, and probably close to a hundred on the tarmac. What I didn't count on was being able to meet the air crews, and actually talk to them. It threw me. I felt like a total dork because I was all by myself with this little yellow sundress on (not exactly air show attire), but whatever. I needed to see these planes firsthand. There are plenty of Canadian military aircraft around, but I ignore all of them and head straight over to the planes stamped USAF.
First stop was the C-5 Galaxy, pictured at left. This thing is monstrous, and I have no idea how it gets off the ground. In this shot they're unloading a Pave Hawk (special ops version of the H-60 Black Hawk), but unfortunately I didn't get to see one of those at the show. Probably just as well because I would have drooled all over it :)
Next stop was the C-17 Globemaster, which was impressive in itself. Could easily park a semi in there and still have room to spare. The sides of the interior are lined with jump seats (see below), and it regularly flies with two loadmasters on the crew.
But what I really came to see was the C-130, or Hercules. It's the four-prop workhorse of the military, and it's been around a long time. The heroine of my Bagram series is the co-pilot of the souped-up heavily armed version of the Herc, known appropriately as the Spooky. There aren't many of them around, so I intended to take a close look at the 130 and imagine the rest. So, no surprise I made a beeline for the Herc sitting with its tailramp down. Trying to ignore my sudden nervousness, I approached the men from the Alaska Air Reserve standing there in their flight suits.
The back end crew were in their forties or fifties, and very sweet to me. They gave me a tour of the cargo area, politely answering all my questions about the Spooky. The loadmaster showed me where the weapons and electronics systems would be, and talked about its range, average air speed, etc. Then he called the pilot over to answer some specifics about the flight deck. This is where I got tongue tied. He was young and damn good looking and I just about completely froze. (Katie, where are you when I need you!!!)
Him: "Hi, ma'am. Can I help you with anything?"
Oh my God. I'm all sweaty and gross, and here's this gorgeous pilot in front of me.
Say something! You look like an idiot! "Um, can I see the cockpit?"
"We've closed it off because it's too hot up there, but you can take a look through the floor if you like."
I follow him forward and get my first look up at the front seats and the bank of electronics and instruments. It's so hot the backs of my knees are sweating. I can feel my dress sticking to me, and I just know my hair's gone all wild and curly.
The pilot faces me with a smile, his deep blue eyes crinkling slightly at the corners. "Ever been in a Herc before?"
"No, this is my first time." I'm absolutely not blushing because he's easy on the eyes and mildly flirtatious, I tell myself. My heart is beating hard and my face is red simply because I'm about to have heat stroke.
"Well welcome aboard."
Oh yeah. He's got that alpha-male, charismatic thing down pat. And man, he's really good looking.
Say something intelligent. "Uh...What altitude to you generally fly at?"
"Depends, but I like low and slow."
He says it with a distinct lowering of his voice. Now it's even hotter in here, and the twinkle in his eye isn't helping. Oh my God, I'm a cougar.
"In the day we can go as low as 200 feet, and at night with NVGs--You know what NVGs are?"
Another grin. "With NVGs we can go to 500 feet."
That's pretty freaking low, especially in a place like Afghanistan, with all the sharp mountain peaks in the northeast half of the country. We chatted a bit more about the kinds of missions he flies. Air drops mostly, to resupply teams in the field, or civilians needing aid. But they can also do troop transport, medevac and recon missions. I asked if dropping from higher altitudes made for a low success rate. He said no, because the parachutes used to deploy equipment actually have GPS systems in them. Who knew? And, as it turned out, this particular reserve Captain has been to Iraq once, and 6 times to Afghanistan.
Anyone who's read my books knows how much I love talking about military action in Afghanistan. I'm practically vibrating inside.
After taking all this in, I flounder for something sensible to say. "When you fly medevac over there, are the patients transported to Landstuhl?"
"No, we take 'em to Bagram."
I open my mouth to say I meant after Bagram, wishing I'd phrased it differently so I looked like I had a clue.
"From Bagram they're transported in bigger aircraft to Landstuhl or Ramstein."
I nod, still stuck on the magic word Bagram. My heart starts beating even faster.
Here it was: the perfect opportunity to ask him everything I'd ever wanted to know about Bagram, flying in Afghanistan, and maybe find out if he knew any PJs over there. Did I ask him any of these burning quesitons? Nope. Too wound up inside. My mind's gone blank.
We chat a bit more about flying, his career, etc. Then he tilts his head and gives a little smile. "What do you do for a living, if you don't mind me asking?"
"I'm a massage therapist." Why does that suddenly have less-than-proper overtones for some reason?
His grin widens. "Just seems like you know more about all this than the average person."
"Oh, well I'm...I'm a writer." I clear my throat and glance away, up into the safety of the cockpit. It's waaay too damn hot in here, but he doesn't seem to notice. I have the impression he'd stand there and answer my questions all day. "The character in my book is a female Spooky pilot." I don't dare tell him it's a romance.
"Oh. Wow, that's really great."
I think it's great, but I'm a geek.
I asked him a few more inane questions, then someone from the air show came up to talk about his itinerary. I waited a few moments and picked my moment, thanked him quickly, wished him well on his upcoming deployment. Then I left. The second I exit the aircraft a breeze hits my sweaty skin, and thank God.
I turn around to see all three crewmen standing on the tail ramp, waving at me. My face gets even redder as I smile and wave back. Who knew I was still this self-conscious around a bunch of good-looking men? I hurried back across the baking tarmac on my way to the parking lot. As I turned the corner and glanced back, they were still standing there. They waved again; I waved back. The Snowbirds (Canada's version of the Blue Angels) were performing overhead, but I didn't much care. I was too busy kicking myself for freezing back there. When am I ever going to get the chance to talk to a 130 pilot again? There are so many things I wished I'd asked him.
Still, I'm glad I got to see the aircraft and get a feel for it, because that'll only make the scenes more vivid when I write them. But I learned an imporant lesson. Next year I'm taking a list of questions with me!
Monday, August 9, 2010
I guess the logo is pretty self explanatory, huh? Lol.
Anyway, I'm over there talking about Relentless and the final book of the series, Absolution. Okay, and I gush a little bit about Luke too :) Gosh I hope I'm not the only one that's completely in love with him! I guess I have the advantage of knowing how his book goes, but seriously, someone's got to be aching to find out what happens to him!
In other news, I've recently sent out two more fulls on my PJ novel, and I'd appreciate all my readers crossing their fingers and toes for me. That makes four fulls out in total right now, but I've yet to hear back from any of the agents. Send out good vibes for me, okay?