Friday, October 29, 2010

Absolution's Here!!!

Just got word Absolution is now available in print! Can't wait to see what everyone thinks of the 5th and final book of my military romantic suspense series. This is Luke's story, and my favorite of the bunch because of that. It's super hot, and wrenching. My editor said she cried twice while reading it (and in a good way!).

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

EPIC Finalist. Twice!

This morning I was notified that two of my books, Cover of Darkness and No Turning Back, have both finaled in the EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection) eBook Awards Contest.

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.

Karlene Blakemore-Mowle: Operation Summer Storm

Come meet Aussie author Karly Blakemore-Mowle as I interview her about her latest military romantic suspense from The Wild Rose Press, Operation Summer Storm.

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

New Orelans, Day 2

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.

As with the other cemeteries here in New Orleans, the crypts are above ground because the water table is so high. The remains of entire families can be laid to rest in a tomb. So long as a year and a day has passed between interments (a rule that's existed since the yellow fever epidemics), the undertakers simply move aside old remains to make room for new ones. This practice became impossible during the horrific yellow fever epidemics that swept the city several times throughout the summer and fall until Walter Reed discovered the cause and cure for it during the construction of the Panama Canal. Damn pesky mosquitoes.
Below is our tour guide, Val, who's originally from San Francisco. He was a font of information, and patiently pointed out all the celebrity homes we passed, including Sandra Bullock's, John Goodman's, Nicholas Cage (though he no longer owns it), Archie Manning and Anne Rice. Lots of authors down in N'Awlins. Hmm...maybe I could use that angle on hubby and buy a place down there someday. He fell in love with the area too, but he's worse in the heat than I am so I'm certain he'd croak on me down there between May and September.
John Goodman's house.

The house I want to move into. Can't you just see me living here? I'd be happy as a clam sitting on the back porch swing with a pitcher of chilled sweet tea at my elbow and my laptop whirring away on my lap. I think my muse would like it down there. And I have to tell you, this whole area is something out of a magazine spread. Everything here smelled good, like flowers, and the gardens were unbelievable. Lush, green, manicured perfection. Various kinds of palm trees. Banana trees. Bubbling fountains. Fragrant roses. Crepe mertyles. Magnolias. Delicate hibiscus blooming right there in people's yards in the middle of October, and a year-round gardening season. Another reason for me to scope out some real estate! It was quite something to see, that's for sure.

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.

After stuffing ourselves Katie wanted to head back to her place to write (jeez, talk about work ethic!), and since my feet were about to fall off I was totally okay with having an early night. Though I certainly didn't get any writing done that night. I was sad to see Katie go though, since we wouldn't meet up again for three more days. (Oooh, cliffhanger!) Still had fun with my hubby, but I was really looking forward to hanging out with her some more and meeting her hubby. Day 3 post to come soon!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SOS America and Operation Holiday Card

I'm at Writers Gone Wild today, talking more about SOS America at the SOS Aloha blog.

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.

Happy reading!

Kaylea :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Orleans, Day 1

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.

Katie told me not only was she there for the day, but she'd actually made reservations in a guest house a few blocks from our hotel for the next two nights so we'd have even more time together. Squee! I was a very happy camper.

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.

Afterward we decided to do some more sight seeing so Katie and I chatted away and did some window shopping while hubby led the way. He never once complained that I was ignoring him too much, even though it was supposed to be a romantic holiday for us. He knew exactly how excited I was to meet Katie :)

It's kind of ironic, because I remember him saying to me once, "What if you guys meet and you don't really like each other?"

I gasped at the blasphemous suggestion. "That won't happen." And it didn't. She's every bit as sweet and wonderful as I thought she'd be. And talk about talented! Her awesome agent is about to open some big doors for her in New York, and when it happens you'd better believe I'll tell you all about it.

We walked for miles before heading back to our hotels to freshen up, then had a lovely dinner at a place called Maurice's. Once our tummies were full, we promptly headed into the heart of the Quarter on St. Peter street to sign up for a French Quarter ghost tour. Katie writes paranormal, and erotic paranormal (the latter under under the name Savannah Stuart), so she was super excited at the prospect of seeing some ghosts. I was just hoping it wouldn't be too scary, because I'm kind of a wimp.

So here we are, waiting for the tour to start. We learned a lot of historical detail about the city that I didn't know prior to the tour, so that satisfied the history junkie in me. But one of the stories was so gruesome my skin got up and crawled away while our guide told it. I'm going to post about it closer to Halloween, but suffice it to say the LaLaurie Mansion on Royal Avenue gave me the heebie jeebies. I couldn't even walk past it after that without getting a shiver up my backbone. Hardly slept all that night thinking about the atrocities that happened in the place, so if I look a little tired in the shots of the next post, you'll know why.
That's it for day one, but stay tuned for more of my deep south adventure! And yep, hubby sure racked up some extra bonus points with me that day :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness

As you're all no doubt aware, October is breast cancer awareness month. The disease now affects a staggering one in six women, but you might not know that men are also susceptible. The survival rates are better now than they've ever been, especially with early detection and treatment. To all the women out there over 40, make sure you're getting your mammograms! And if you're not yet 40, please tell me you're doing monthly breast self-exams to ensure any problem is caught sooner rather than later.

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

Et Voila!

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 ;)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Best Hubby Ever

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?