Saturday, January 30, 2010

Begone, January! Begone!

I've been a bad blogger this week - mostly because I've felt like crap, and I've been trying to keep up with my day job. I've had a rotten kidney infection since last Friday night, and I got in a lovely car accident on Thursday.

A (very nice) lady pulled out in front of me because apparently I was in her blind spot. Unfortunately, it was icy as hell, and I couldn't stop. Thankfully, I didn't have my kids with me, and neither one of us was badly hurt. I'm sore, and my car is out of commission for at least a week, but it could have been so much worse. The car is fixable, and she got the ticket. And I got a free loaner car even though it's not part of my insurance. (I think the body shop guy just felt sorry for me.) See? I'm trying to find the positive.

I've been trying to find the positive all month long, but mostly there's been a lot of stress, and I'm ready for it to go away. Usually, I like January - it's a new beginning. Everything seems fresh and clean. Anything seems possible. February, on the other hand, usually sucks ass and is the most miserable month of the year.

But, back to January...I can't think of a single person that I know who's had a great month. Sickness, job difficulties, surprise surgeries, deaths of loved ones, the list goes on. In retrospect, I feel pretty lucky - my kidneys will eventually like me again and Squishy (my car) will get fixed. I'm trying to be all zen about it. I'm also hoping that maybe this year, February and January are just switching places, and just maybe we've gotten all the crap out of the way for the rest of the year. I'm gonna go with that.

In the meanwhile, I think I might read a book. Not one that needs to be edited - or one that I need to work on in any way. In fact, I think it might even be completely devoid of sex. Gasp! If you're looking for a great book to read, head over to Writer's Evolution where we've been talking about reading outside our genres. I've list some of my all time faves, and I'd love to know what you're favorites are. Despite my limited time, I'm always looking for a good book.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Look What Kris Norris Made For Me!

It's great to have friends who are infinitely more clever than you are. Case in point: this awesome book trailer that Kris Norris made for me. Thank you so much, Kris! be sure to pop over to her blog and check out her wonderful trailers, too!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Open Letter to an Author and Cute Kitties

This week over at Writers Evolution, we've been talking about advice to new authors, I've written an open letter. Feel free to go take a peek and add your own advice.

I can't believe how big Willow and Morrighan are getting. Willow's lounging on her sister's belly and they're both hogging the couch. Wenches.

Don't ask me how, but Willow keeps crawling in this drink holder. My kids insist we can't get rid of it because she enjoys it so much. Spoiled kitten...
This is my youngest, Corwin. He's currently grounded from all electronic entertainment due to some unfortunate homework drama. (I have the kid who does his homework...he just doesn't turn it in. Actually, that's mostly in English class. GRRRRR) But anyway, he pulled out the chess set, and Willow decided to join him for a game this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just Right is out today!

Sheesh! I've been so busy, I almost forgot to post! But, my new story, Just Right, is out from Resplendence Publishing today! It's a naughty retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and it's part of the Not Quite Wicked Series with Brynn Paulin, Mia Watts and Dakota Rebel.

There's still time to win all four copies - just go to the Stumbling Over Chaos blog and leave a comment!

Anyway, here's the blurb and an excerpt. :)

Blurb: When Department of Natural Resources officer, Gwendolyn Locke, hits a black bear on the way home from work one night, her entire view of reality changes. She discovers that shape shifters exist and she’s just become Goldilocks to three, gorgeous, very aroused men who also happen to be werebears. Being snowbound has never been so hot.

Excerpt: Gwendolyn followed the path as rapidly as she dared, blowing snow stinging her exposed skin. The whipping wind carried the bear’s anguished cry to her, and she tried to move faster. She hated to have to take its life, but what choice did she have? Judging from the blood loss she’d seen, there was no way it would survive the night—especially not in a storm like this. For a brief, crazy moment, she considered calling Noah, but she dismissed the thought just as quickly. He’d already made it clear she was on her own.

She stumbled across a log only to fall face first in the snow. For a moment, her world went dim as the lightheadedness returned, but she forced away the woozy feeling and pushed to her feet. A few yards ahead lay a dark shape. She’d found the bear. Training her flashlight on it, she watched for signs of life. It moved, and she saw the spreading pool of blood that melted the snow around it.

Feeling sick at what she had to do, she raised her gun to her shoulder and took aim. She tried to still her shaking hands as the bear began to twist and writhe on the ground. Suddenly, its body thinned and lengthened and she thought she heard the muffled sounds of flesh tearing and bones breaking. Before her eyes, its fur receded leaving bare skin, the body of a predator becoming that of a human man.

She must have hit her head harder than she’d thought. How could she have possibly mistaken him for a bear? What the hell was he doing naked in a snowstorm? She needed to get help. She lowered her gun and dug in her pocket for her cell phone. No signal. God damn it!

Quickly, she darted to his side and checked for a pulse. Faint but steady. Her blood ran cold when she saw his face. For a moment, she thought it was Noah. Relief flooded her when she realized it wasn’t, followed quickly by guilt. She’d hit this man with her car and now she had no idea how she was going to get him help.

Stripping off her coat, she covered him with it, careful not to jostle him. She couldn’t tell the extent of his injuries, and she didn’t want to make it worse. Standing, she turned in a circle, looking for any sign of life. The only light she saw was the faint glow of one headlight and the taillights of her vehicle.

Not knowing what else to do, she fired several shots into the air and yelled for help. Her scream was cut short as a rustle sounded behind her. Whirling, she faced the biggest black bear she’d ever seen. She lifted the gun to her shoulder, but before her frozen finger could find the trigger, it growled and knocked it from her hands. Standing on its hind legs, it advanced on her.

It must have smelled the blood of the injured man and been drawn out of its nest. Bears rarely attacked people, but in this case, she could see where it might make an exception. And considering she was standing between it and a potential meal…she was fucked.

Everything within her screamed at her to run, but she couldn’t leave the man unprotected. Her gun was behind the bear, well out of reach. Glancing around, she searched for anything that might serve as a weapon. Maybe if she could scare it away, she still might have a chance at getting help for the injured guy.

Crouching down, she grabbed a stick and quickly stood up again, holding it like a baseball bat. A wave of nausea washed over her as the dizziness intensified. The cold sank into her bones as her sweater absorbed the heavy wet snow that continued to fall. For the first time, she began to wonder if she’d make it out of these woods alive. It would certainly solve Noah’s problem if she didn’t, she thought with a near-hysterical giggle.

The bear cocked its head to the side and looked at her, then behind her at the injured man.

Keeping herself between the man and the bear, she took a swing at the bear and cracked it in the head, hoping to scare it off. It didn’t work. Growling, it grabbed the end of the stick and splintered it before wrenching it from her hands. With a shriek, she dove for the gun, brushing against the bear as she rolled through the wet snow. She gripped it with aching fingers and pointed it at the animal. At this range, she should be able to kill it, but if she aimed wrong, she’d just piss it off, and that was the last thing she needed.

“I don’t want to shoot you, but I can’t let you hurt him.”

She squeezed the trigger and fired a warning alongside its head.

The bear reached out and grabbed the barrel of the gun and pushed it toward the ground. She tried to wrench it from its grasp, but the animal held fast as it sank to all fours. All at once, the animal began to writhe and the nauseating sounds of joints popping and bones snapping filled the air. As she watched, the furry pelt receded, revealing smooth, burnished copper skin stretched over tight, lean muscles. Her breath stalled in her chest as a naked man rose, long dark hair partially covering his face, but she’d know those eyes anywhere.

“Hello, Gwen.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some amusement...well, it made me giggle, anyway

As many of you know I read things wrong all the time. I read Grand Rapids Dominicans as Grand Rapids Dominatrixes and Polar Expedition Vacation Bible School as Bi-Polar Exhibitionism Vacation Bible School. (I actually had to turn the car around to re-read that sign.)

My mom misreads things often, too. She read the McDonald's sign that said, Try Out New Angus Burgers as Try Our New Anus Burners. The great thing about my mom is that it didn't immediately occur to her that she'd misread the sign. Her first thought was that McDonald's was incorporating jalapenos into their menu. Gotta love my mom - lol.

Apparently, I've moved on from misreads to mishears.

I was doing the carpool run the other day and the boys were talking about video games and Justin was going on about tactical slots. Only I thought he said, tactical sloths.

Me: (very confused) What's a tactical sloth?

Justin: (looks at me like I'm an idiot) It's a three fingered mammal that sometimes comes out of it's tree to whisper in your ear - Attack from behind. Tighten up your left flank. Use the pincer maneuver.

I laughed so freaking hard. I wish I was that quick and clever...but alas, I'm not. I do adore that kid, though.

I have to preface this next story by saying that despite living in Michigan (the land of snow and ice) I rarely wear a winter coat. I wear this awesome hand knit poncho that my mom made for herself back in the 60s. I adopted it about 10 years ago and have been wearing it ever since. I hate getting bundled up and since I'm usually only going from the house to the car, I just wear the poncho.

Okay, so Killian and I were looking at switching cell phone service. We were standing in the AT&T store, checking out phones when Killian starts nudging me with his elbow.

Killian: Hey mama, I think that dude's talking to you.
Me: Huh?
Killian: (gestures with his head behind us) That guy, he's talking to you.
Me: (turns to see a guy in his late 40s or 50s shopping for phones with an elderly woman)
Guy: Hey girl!
Me: (surprised to be called 'girl' but am pleased none the less. Ten years ago, I probably would have been pissed, but now, I'm okay with it.) Yes?
Guy: Hey girl! It's cold outside! Can't you see the snow?!
Me: I can indeed see the snow.
Guy: Then why the hell are you wearing that...that...that carpet around?
Me: (moderately offended at my beloved aran knit poncho being referred to as a carpet) It's a poncho, and I'm fine, thanks.
Killian (sing-songing in a very quiet voice) Flypaper for freaks. Flypaper for freaks.
Me: (giggling) Shhhh.
Guy: (clearly getting agitated and angry) Hey girl! You're going to catch your death out there!
Me: I promise, I'm fine, but thank you for thinking of me.
Guy: I'm serious! It's really cold out there! You need a real coat! Why don't you have a real coat on?
Killian: (still quietly singing) Flypaper for freaks. Flypaper for freaks.
Elderly woman: (tugging at his arm) Leave her alone.
Guy: C'mon, ma! Can't you see I'm trying to save a life, here?!

One of the AT&T employees was horrified and amazed. Apparently he'd never seen a complete stranger berate another stranger before. I told him that this was nothing. He should come to the auto repair shop with me, sometime.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Psssst...wanna win four new books?

Chris over at Stumbling Over Chaos is helping me, Brynn Paulin, Mia Watts and Dakota Rebel celebrate the release of our new fairy tale collection, Not Quite Wicked, from Resplendence Publishing. All four books come out Tuesday the 19th. So if you'd like a chance to win all four books, get thyself to Chris' blog immediately and leave a comment. Easy-peazy! The contest is open until the 19th!

Friday, January 8, 2010

I have The RAGE!

Have you seen this??? In a nutshell, Walmart and H&M took their unsold clothing and threw it away. Not only did they throw it away, but they trashed everything - cutting fingers off gloves, slashing through winter coats, cutting holes in clothing and ruining shoes rendering them unwearable in case the items were found.

WTF is the matter with these companies? There are hundreds of thousands of needy people (probably more) across the US. How fucking hard would it be to...I don't know...maybe DONATE this stuff to shelters? I'm just sick over this - those items could have made a huge difference for families in need. I can't imagine it would have cost that much to see that this unsold clothing made its way to a shelter. They're pretty much everywhere. Hell, it could have even been a tax write-off for these companies. Despite the companies' oh-golly-gee-we-can't-imagine-how-this-happened stance, I'm betting it's a pretty common practice.

I understand that companies exist to make a profit, and it's problem for them when things don't sell, but for fuck's sake, this kind of destruction is disgusting. I don't understand how the people that make these kinds of decisions can sleep at night.

Over at Writer's Evolution this week, we're discussing the platforms and causes we support. Come on over and let us know what you're passionate about.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The people I meet...

I went out to supper with a friend I haven't seen in about a year and while we were catching up, she asked if I had any good weirdo magnet stories for her.

It's no secret that if there is a weird person in the vicinity he or she (usually he) will feel an uncontrollable compulsion to tell me really personal information that I have no desire to hear. So I told her about the IRS guy. This guy wasn't weird in the TMI department, but the conversation was bizarre. You can' read the tale of weird here, if you like. (Scroll down to the bottom.)

I also told her about Crazy McCrazypants who I met last month at the car shop while I was waiting for my car, Squishy, to be fixed. My friend wanted to know why I hadn't blogged about this, yet. So, here it is.

Me: (sitting in the auto shop, frantically stitching on my nephew's Christmas stocking.)

Guy: (stands directly in front of me) What are you making?

Me: A stocking.

Guy: For who?

Me: My nephew.

Guy: Oh. Is that the real color of your eyes?

Me: Uhhhh... Yes. (For the record, they're blue. Nothing special...not violet, not indigo, not cerulean, just blue.)

Guy: (staring in a creepily intense way) They're very pretty.

Me: Ummm...thanks. (looking around for another place to move, but all the chairs are taken except the one next to me. Guess who sits down.)

Guy: Do you watch Dancing with the Stars?

Me: (Fwuh?) No. I'm not really big into reality TV.

Guy: My wife loves it. She's obsessed. She tapes them and watches them over and over.


Guy: She wants me to take dancing classes with her, but I can't. I've got Crohn's Disease and it hurts to dance, plus I don't really like it. Really, she just likes that Donny Osmond a lot. He seems like a nice fellow, but you can never tell about those Hollywood types, can you?

Me: never can. They're a wily bunch.

Guy: See? That's what I tell my wife, but she still wants to meet Donny and go on the show, but you have to be a star to do that. I think that's why she wants to take those dancing classes. (This degenerates into an thirty minute long monologue on Crohn's Disease and all of the rest of his health problems. Then he pulls out a newspaper and I foolishly think I'll be spared more conversation. How very, very wrong I was.)

Guy: (pointing at a picture of two young women on the back page.) Those Iranians are going to put these two girls to death. Do you know what their crime is?

Me: (knowing where this is going) I'm gonna go with Christianity.

Guy: Exactly. They want to kill them because they believe in Jesus. What do you think of that?

Me: I think all people should be free to worship however they choose.

Guy: (stares at me for a minute and then pulls out a religious tract.) Can I interest you in the Good Word?

Me: No thank you.

Guys: (mutters about the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, the one true god, infidels and so on for several minutes.)

Guy: ( pulls a picture of the Mackinac Bridge out of the tract and jabs at it with his finger.) Have you ever been here?

Me: Yes, I have.

Guy: What did you think?

Me: Well, the bridge scares me, but I love the U.P. (for you non-Michigan types, that's the Upper Peninsula - it's gorgeous.)

Guy: (looks at the front of his tract again and points at the mountain range on the front.) Do you know what that is?

Me: Looks like the Rocky Mountains.

Guy: (seems very pleased that I got the right answer) It sure is. Ever seen 'em in real life?

Me: I had a lovely view of them from a hotel window.

Guy: (looking wistful) John Denver sure did love them Rocky Mountains.

Me: I suppose he did. (Seriously, what the hell do you say to that?)

Guy: Do you think John Denver ever went to the U.P.?

Me: (ignores the dude behind the desk who's snickering) I...I don't know. Maybe?

Guy: I bet not. If he had, he surely would have written a song about it.

Me: Can't argue with that logic.

I can't remember where in the conversation it took place, but there was also a lengthy discourse on his grandmother and how she baked 514 sugar cookies one day. In case your wondering at the precise number, it was so every member of his high school marching band could have two.

Shortly after he determined that John Denver had never been to the Upper Peninsula, his car was ready. Before he left he reminded me to give God and Dancing with the Stars a chance. All I know is that if I ever see that maroon minivan in the parking lot of the auto shop, I'm going somewhere else!

So do people ever strike up bizarro conversations with you? My mom and sister have the same mutant ability - we're thinking genetic predisposition or family curse.