Saturday, October 30, 2010

Look What We Did!

Last night Killian, Corwin, Cait and I carved pumpkins and baked pumpkin seeds. Of course, Killian insisted making his seeds with bacon salt. Yeah...ewwww.

But anyway...these are our pumpkins. Corwin's are the cute little demented faces, mine is the raven, Killian's is the pirate and Cait's is Maleficent - her favorite villain. Sadly Matt doesn't have a pumpkin...'cause he's still in Russia. :(

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seussical Nightmare

Someone (I suspect Brynn Paulin) came up with the idea of telling one of our stories Dr. Seuss style over at the Writer's Evolution blog. You can read my attempt, here. It's my take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Mystic Circle.

Sorry, Dr. Seuss...blame Brynn.

BTW, if he decides to haunt me, I'll point him in the right direction. ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Introducing Anna Mayle!

I'd like to introduce you to a fabulous author - Anna Mayle. She's got her first ever release out today! It's called Bedtime Story for a Stolen Child and it's amazing! I read an advanced copy and just loved it. It creeped me out, made me laugh and made me cry. If you're looking for a new male/male author to try, get this book! Her visual imagery is absolutely stunning and I love her take on the Changling mythos!

Here's the blurb (followed by the an interview with Anna!)

Stolen away from his cradle as a child, Leinad has been a plaything of the Faerie for thirty years. He has been broken and put back together so many times that he cannot even remember what he used to be. He has given up all hope of escape, until a soft breeze through his cell leads him home, only to find out that home has gone on without him. A man with Leinad’s face is there in his place, with his siblings, acting out his life. A changeling. The creature who enabled his imprisonment and torture for all those years.

Daniel Tessel is a thirty year old folklorist. He is meeting his brother and sister at their family cabin, to spend the anniversary of their parent’s deaths together. His biggest worry is the séance his little sister is insisting on, and trying to stave off her inevitable disappointment. That is, until he looks up during the ritual to see his own face watching him from the window. He is pulled into the consequences of a plot he cannot even remember, accused of stealing his own life. Confused, angry, and frightened beyond reason, Daniel tries to escape from Leinad, but there is something pulling them together.

Revenge and passion are two very similar things. Blood sings, lust and tempers rise, and before they know it, neither is quite sure who the real monster is anymore.

Or if it will even matter in the end.

And now the interview

Tell us about a typical day in the life of Anna Mayle.

My bed is the same one a had as a kid, a twin four poster with enough layers of mattresses, toppers, feather comforters, and pillows that is feels like a nest. I wake up sunk down in warmth and surrounded by five cats who all like to sleep with me, listening to my frog chirrup in his tank and watching the sun make rainbows on the walls through the prisms hanging in the window.

After that, any day is anyone's guess. The usual is a brisk jog to work since I usually wait too long to get up, loath to disturb the kitties. I write in snatches and snippets on scrap papers at work and in blurb books which I started to carry with me to avoid talking scenes out to myself aloud (I was getting funny looks in public). I get out of work late, but even in the dark I spend some precious time working in my gardens then either run through shadow fights with my claymore, work on crafts, visit friends and family, or play video games until I've unwound enough to go to bed. Give or take a few weekends of war games and reenactments and the occasional live action role play, I have a fairly simple life. But I try to enjoy every minute of it, even in the smallest of ways.
How did your writing path evolve?

I'm not sure, honestly. It grew up and matured as I did.

What type of research do you do for your books?

It depends on the type of book. 'Bedtime Stories for a Stolen Child' required no research, I was obsessed with legends and folk lore as a child and the story of the Changelings was one of my favorites. Then there are other books like 'Such Bitter Heaven' (not a published work) that forced me to dig so deeply into the various mythos of angels that I still find myself asking questions about what I read. In that case I used mostly books and the internet.

The most recent book I've been working on though, a cop story called 'In The Shadow of His Hero', had me begging my friends to physically string me up by the wrists so I could see what it really felt like, where the pain was, and how long I could stay that way. They talked me out of it, but I'm still
curious about that one.

From what or where do you derive the most inspiration for your stories?

Odd places, the way the wind smells or the pattern a leaf makes when it falls . . . roadkill once, but that was a very disturbed short story. My inspiration comes from things I experience, even if what I write is no where near what spawned the words. Does that make any sense?

Tell us about your upcoming releases?

I'm not sure if it will be chosen to be published, but I have that cop story 'In The Shadow of His Hero' that I am hopeful about. Here is the blurb. . .

A cop dies in the city, life goes on. For one little boy though, it changed everything. Haunted by his past, Maxwell Thomas has grown up homeless and friendless. He exists in a tangle of guilt, penance and redemption. Prowling the city, the small man guards the Church District like a vigilante, trying to make up for the past, so he can possibly find some forgiveness. When he rescues the wrong rent boy though, he is pulled back into the madness that destroyed him so completely as a child. And now, there is another cop's life on the line.

Nick Kenna is a simple beat cop with dreams of being a detective. When he stumbles across a murder and the very unusual suspect, he finds himself caught, not only by the mystery of the vagrant he's apprehended, but something deeper that sparks between them.

Will Nick be able to save Maxwell, from his past and himself? Or will love be lost as the broken man fades into the shadow of his hero?

It was fun to write and I am absolutely in love with Maxwell. He's such a tragic anti-hero.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have a nameless short story in progress, but it's being difficult. It's the story of a musician who was injured in a bus accident and lost his confidence along with his ability to play the way he once had. He discovers the journal of a soldier from WWII in a used book shop and is enthralled by the mystery of who the man was, the name is blotted out by blood stains and water damage. As he reads though, a soldier begins visiting his dreams. As he dreams, they get more and more real, at times, he feels like he's dreaming even when he's wide awake. The soldier has found someone he can reach out to, and he doesn't want to let go. Once it's finished, I think it will be dark and delectable. I hope so in any case.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like least?

Getting the voices out of my head and onto paper, meeting them face to words as it were. Secondly I enjoy weaving plots around and molding legend, religion and philosophy in a way that all the twisted logic almost makes sense. It's fun. I think my favorite moment though, will be when I eventually (fingers crossed) hold a hard copy book in my hands with my name on it and know that I did well.

What I like least is writer's block. It strikes when you least expect it and shows it's victims no mercy.
What would you do if you weren’t a writer?

Cease to exist?

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

I love working in my gardens. Also bead, glass and wire working, leather crafts and the like. I sketch and ink when the mood hits, and music is a constant, even if only as a soundtrack to life. I enjoy role playing from Dungeons and Dragons to Vampire the Masquerade, and also contact LARPs (Live action role play) where you dress as your character, use latex or foam weapons and air-soft guns to act out another world or time or both.

Dancing is fun, and swimming. Video games are fun when I'm in the mood for them, same with television. And long walks with my little sister. We've covered eight miles and more in one go. One of these summers we plan to pack a tent and some provisions and just walk from Lansing to
wherever we are when we get bored. I just enjoy life in general, everything else is icing on an already splendid cake.

Of all of the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite and why?

Ooh, tough one. . .

Rikyu, from 'Such Bitter Heaven' he's the incarnate son of the Horseman of the Apocalypse Famine. Rikyu is so afraid of the famine his father stands for that he decides to feel everything he can, to the fullest extent, so he will never feel that emptiness. He feels so strongly that it overwhelms and fractures his mind. He's insane, but still has moments of brilliant clarity and a heart so full of love and good will that he's almost too much to take. At the same time he is a ruthless killer when provoked. The dichotomy of cuddly and deadly was precious in a creepy way.
Do you find it difficult to keep love/sex scenes fresh and interesting?

Aside from during bouts of writers block, not yet. I haven't been writing them long though.

Do you listen to music when you write or do you need quiet? If you listen to music – what kind?

Both. I use music to find the right frame of mind to write from. In 'Bedtime Story' I only used it to drown out the people around me while I was writing.

While working on 'In the Shadow of His Hero' I listened to a lot of the heavier NIN songs to find an angry place. In the soldier's story I'm working on now, I've been listening to a lot of violin music and 'Song from a Secret Garden', it's supposed to be a peaceful and relaxing song, but it always brings to mind war and struggle and bodies for me, don't know why.
What makes a man sexy?

Large hands and a bigger heart?

Do you family and friends know you write erotica – if so, how have they reacted?

Yep. Some of my friends think it's hilarious since I'm pretty much asexual. My friends have a long standing idea that one day I will self replicate to reproduce. One friend got on my website and read an excerpt from 'Betime Story for a Stolen Child'. He texted me at three in the morning to insist that I hadn't written that. He had particular trouble wrapping his mind around the fact that I used the word cock. hahaha. They're all pretty excited about it though.

My mom and grandma have a little trouble with the man on man part of things and it's spark some heated debates, while I think I've gotten mom to a stage of acceptance, I think granny is a lost cause. She likes the rest of the story but has me skip over the 'godless' parts when I read to her.
What’s your favorite food?

Mmm fruit. Watermelon, tomatoes, cactus fruit, pomegranate.

Do you have any bad habits?

I can be very shy and quiet at times. I collect shiny things like a magpie, so while it is clean, my house is also full of random bits of interest. I'm also a bit obsessive about order sometimes. I hate confrontation, so I let people walk all over me until it gets so bad I really can't take it anymore. And even though my little sister is 16 I have the bad habit of treating her like she was still twelve.
I'm sure I have more, but those are the ones I notice.

What do you like about where you live?

The trees.

If you could travel back in time, would you? If so, what time period would you visit and why?

I'd be worried about messing with the time stream, I'm enough of a SciFi fan to know that is a bad thing. If I knew there wouldn't be horrible life altering repercussions though, I'd like to go back and talk to Jesus when he was a young man, before the bible takes up on his story again. From
everything I've read, no matter what a person believes about who he really was, he always sounds like a really interesting person. I would enjoy talking to him.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Anna as much as I have!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What a freaking week...

Well, I got some sad news regarding the day job on Monday, but I'm working on finding the positive.

Also on Monday (and Tuesday) I had two pukey children. And lots of running around to do.

And Matt left at the buttcrack of dawn for Singapore. Poor guy got delayed in Hong Kong for fifteen hours, though. Since he's just coming off a shoulder surgery, this hasn't been the most comfortable trip for him. But I got to talk to him this morning, so that was great! I know it's only been two days, but, I miss the guy.

I was really stressed out yesterday afternoon, but when I got home, I was greeted by the most beautiful sight. My sister, singing along to ABBA, doing my damn dishes. I could have cried with gratitude. She did ALL of my dishes. I'm ashamed to say there were a ton. I did make her and my mom a lovely supper of Meow Loaf, though, and we all sat around and giggled.

Then, as if this wasn't enough awesome wonderfulness, she came over early in the morning picked up the boys, brought them to school, then picked them up from school, brought them all treats and rocked out with them to Bohemian Rhapsody - Wayne's World style.


Sister (and Aunt).


Sunday, October 17, 2010

An Open Letter to Microsoft

Dear Microsoft,

In addition to being a writer, I'm also an editor. It's a side job that I dearly love and keeps me incredibly busy. As a result, I use your products all the time. I recently got a lovely new laptop. it came with Word 2010.

I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive. I don't really like change, and I'm particularly uncomfortable with technological change, but I have a massive amount of work to do, so I dove right in.

The first issue I had (besides not being able to find a damn thing and having simple functions turned into multi-step processes of doom) was suddenly being unable to highlight text with my track pad and right click button. I had to do it old school with the shift and arrow keys. It was time consuming and annoying, but I managed.

However, this morning's "glitch" pushed me over the edge. Yep. Microsoft, you made me cry. I woke up to work on the manuscript I'd spent 16 hours on yesterday, only to discover that 75 comments were missing. The line edits are still in there, but comments are gone, baby gone.

My husband has already spent several hours searching online and within the program trying to restore them, but no luck. This means I get to re-edit it. Again. I'd already lost stuff when I switched from 2007 to 2010. I'm enraged. I don't have time for this shit. I'm switching back to 2007 as soon as humanly possible. Oh yeah, 2010's Help Menu blows.

So, thanks Microsoft for making my job infinitely more complicated than necessary. Perhaps next time you release a product, you may want to consider testing it a might more thoroughly.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Can I Have a Do-Over, Please?

Yesterday, I remembered that the boys needed haircuts before Corwin's school picture today. So, I took them up to the shop, got them lovely haircuts and stopped by the store to pick up a few groceries and a new shirt for Corwin to wear.

I'll be honest, the laundry is piled up as high as my elbow and I haven't had time for more than a load of here or there. Considering that in an average week, I do at least seven loads, this a horrible backlog. So the new shirt was, while not a necessity, going to help me out quite a bit.

This morning, I woke up to discover that the one load of laundry I managed to do yesterday and the new shirt had fallen on the floor...probably helped along by a kitten or two. Trying to be as quiet as possible, because I have a house guest sleeping on my couch, I picked up the laundry, only to discover that one of the damn cats had peed on it. I suspect Merlin or Herne.

Stifling my rage as best I could, I told the kids to finish (quietly) getting ready for school, while I threw it down the laundry chute raced up to Meijer. Thankfully, they're open twenty-four hours a day. I dashed into the store, found a new shirt, tried to check out, got charged twice the price marked, had to get someone to help me with a price adjustment, had to beg the guy to actually punch in his badge number to do the price adjustment after scanning his bade for the eighth time didn't work, raced home, had Corwin put on the new shirt and still managed to pick up Justin and get to both schools on time. Corwin's school picture had better turn out damn cute.

I need a nap. But instead, I'll be doing laundry. Lots and lots of laundry.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Catching up...or at least, trying to.

The last couple weeks have kicked my ass, and the end doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight.

Between epic school projects of doom, hubby's shoulder surgery and too many other things to name, I feel like I can't get anything done. Like I'm just wandering blindly from one project to the next but never accomplishing enough to call myself finished. In short, I've become my mother - who I love and admire, but yeah...these aren't necessarily the traits I'd like to emulate - lol.

But I do have some writing type news.

Maggie's Mates is currently number three overall at ARe!!!!

I got a lovely review and a reviewers top pick for Moonlit Menage from Night Owl - the first review for that book, so I was especially thrilled that the reviewer enjoyed it so much. Waiting for that first review is always nerve wracking. But it's here, if you'd like to read it.

And my last bit of news is that an expanded version of Solstice Seduction will be re-released in December, and it has a freaking gorgeous new cover! Aaaand all three Celtic Fire books will be released as a print antho (with this cover!!!) early next year!!!!

I'm super excited. Not that it wasn't painfully apparent by my overabundant abuse of punctuation. ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

The annoying and the cool

Corwin, my youngest, has been assigned the leaf project of doom. Apparently, there are thirty-three trees that are indigenous to Michigan, and he has to find leaves from twenty-two of them. He and I spent last Sunday wandering around a local college campus, and we found most of them. We still have at least three leaves to track down, though.

This is the tree he insisted was watching me...

Last night, we sat at the kitchen table for hours, me helping him identify and him mounting the leaves and doing the write up on each one. Unfortunately, as a result of our leaf togetherness time, we both ended up with runny eyes and noses, sneezing and asthma attacks. After the doses of benedryl, singular and nebulizer treatments for both of us and hydrocortizone for my stupid hives, we've got fourteen leaves done and eight to go.

Nothing says togetherness like group allergy attacks. But we had fun. Particularly when the kittens tried to help... I'm not gonna lie. I'll be glad when it's done. The Charles Darwin project seems much less allergy inducing.

Today, my cousin and I were going through the drive-through at Starbucks, because I needed caffeine to face my day. It's a quad shot kinda day. Anyway, we reached the window, and I tried to hand the cashier my card and she told me it was already paid for. I was slow on the uptake, so she had to explain it again. Apparently, the lady in front of me decided she was going to perform a random act of kindness and paid for our order!

I've heard of people doing things like that, but I've never had it happen. It was freaking cool! So thank you random lady in the big, black SUV. My coffee was super awesome, and next time, I'll be buying coffee for the person behind me!

What a nice start to the day!