Saturday, July 30, 2011

I've come to the conclusion that I like water. A lot.

Well, I'm back from vacation. I'm glad to be home, but I'm going to miss falling asleep to the sounds of waves on the shore, wind in the trees and coyote howls. I'm also going to miss campfires and seeing bazillions of stars at night.

I will not, however, miss the too small bed or the bathroom that's even tinier than our current bathroom. (Hint: I can stand in the middle of the room and touch all four walls without moving other than to spin...and I have T-Rex arms.)

But, on to the pictures. These are just some really pretty flowers growing down by Indian Lake where we stayed. After I took this picture, my niece picked them and braided them into my hair.

This is a log that washed out of the lake a few years ago. It's particularly cool, because it was clearly meant to be part of someone's cabin. Around the turn of the century, people would transport the logs across the lake by pulling them over the ice. The owners of the cabins we stayed in figured that this one broke through the ice and decades later, finally made it to shore. It makes a lovely bench.

A storm blowing in off Lake Michigan while we were swimming.

Indian Lake after the storm. There was a rainbow, too, but it didn't photograph well.

Lake Superior at Grand Marais. It was the first time I'd ever been here. I love it and I'll definitely be going back next year.
Lots of beautiful stones here. Killian, Corwin, Killian's girlfriend and my niece all helped me find pretty stones to bring home. 'Cause, clearly, I need more rocks. O.o
I bet after all this water, it looks pretty weird to see a building, but this one is special. I drove all the way up to Copper Harbor on Thursday and on the way I drove through Houghton where Matt went to school and then into Hancock where we lived for a year. This is our first apartment! The downstairs used to be a chiropractor's office and a video store and there were two apartments upstairs. Ours was the one on the right. The huge window above the kitchen sink stared at nothing but the cinder block wall of the building next door. I always wanted to paint a mural on the wall, but I never got around to it. I loved this place.

Oh's more water. What a shocker that must be for you all. This is the western-most edge of Michigan and yet another one of Lake Superior's beaches.
This is Jacob's Falls located on Highway 26 right before you head into Eagle Harbor. There are waterfalls all over the U.P.

This is a place I've been trying to remember for years. When Matt was in college, we took several day trips with friends and these stairs lead up to a terrifyingly gorgeous spot along Lake Superior.
The locals called it Devil's Wash Basin. It's a rock formation that juts out into the water and there's a circular opening between the rocks. Basically, if you were unlucky enough to fall in the water you'd most likely end up with a broken neck or a head injury since there's really no getting out.
And yes...we were stupid enough to climb on them. I have no idea what we were thinking aside from being young incredibly stupid.
You might be wondering about this Road Ends sign. This is as far as you can drive in Michigan. This is it. From here on out, you're on foot 'til you hit the water.

This is just a really pretty stream along Highway 41.

Sunset over the southern shore of Lake Superior shortly before the storm from hell came and stranded me along Highway 94. The rain was cold, the road was warm so it was nothing but mist, darkness and rain so heavy I literally couldn't see to drive. At all. And I had to pee.
More of that same sunset.
Sunset on the last night on Indian Lake.

I love this place - so, so much.

I'm already planning for next year!

Friday, July 22, 2011

And the winner is...

On Monday, we had a lovely interview with M.H. Mead - who's comprised of Margaret Yang and Harry Campion and they graciously offered to have a contest featuring their new book, Fate's Mirror.

Thanks to, a winner has been drawn. The lucky reader is...


Thursday, July 21, 2011

T-minus Two Days

As soon as I finish the laundry, the packing, the day job and hopefully two more chapters of my WIP, this chick is out of here!

I'm taking off with the fam for a much needed vacation to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I can't wait to get out of this sauna of a city! Hopefully, it's much cooler up there.

Today, I'm over at Writer's Evolution, blogging about stuff I've learned. C'mon over and check it out. You may find some useful tips over there.

See this chair? This is where I'll be on Saturday night...reading on my iPad and watching the sun set. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Super Shiny M.H. Mead Interview and Contest

A long time ago, in a far away land known as High School, I met the amazingly wonderful Margaret Yang. We've been friends ever since. In a weird twist of fate, I remember Harry from junior high band, but I'm fairly certain he doesn't remember me. It's weird, because I lived all the way across the state at the time - hundreds of miles away from where I met Margaret.

But anyway, I digress. I want to introduce you all to Margaret and Harry. They're the phenomenal writing team that make up M.H. Mead. How phenomenal are they? Let me put it this way - hubby and I rarely read the same book - much less love the same book. But we both loved Fate's Mirror. We're talking mass spectrum appeal, here!

Margaret and Harry have graciously offered to have a blog contest. All you need to do is comment and a random winner will be chosen at 7pm, Friday the 22nd. The winner will receive his or her choice of an e-book or a print book.

So read the interview, check out the blurb and cover art and leave a comment. You don't want to miss this book!

Now, on to the interview...

How did your writing path evolve?

It started with an idea. I had a mind-blowing idea for a science fiction novel, but I’d never written any spec fic before. I told the idea to my pal Harry, the spec fic writer....

Harry: I immediately saw how the idea could be turned into a novel. I told Margaret how I would do it if it were my book....

Margaret: and I said, “Are we really going to do this? Are we going to write a novel together?” The idea was at once exhilarating and terrifying.

Harry: I said, “Why not?” which is how I usually approach these things.

Margaret: We’ve been partners ever since. I don’t know why our partnership works so well. It just does.

Harry: Of course you know why it works. It’s because we share a brain.

Besides sharing a brain, you also share a pen name. Why?

We thought about it for years. When we were trying to sell our first novel, we met agents who wouldn’t even look at our stuff unless we submitted it under a single pseudonym. Some readers won’t read novels written by two people, either. It just seemed the easiest and most natural thing to put a single name on the book cover. However, inside the book, our author bio starts out, “M.H. Mead is the pen name of Margaret Yang and Harry R. Campion” right below a photo of the two of us. So it’s an open secret.

Since you co-write your books, can you describe your process?

First, we get together and make a detailed outline. This involves a lot of talking, a lot of laughing, a little bit of shouting, and a smidgen of pouty silence. And pots and pots of coffee. Once the outline is nailed down, we decide who will write what. We tend to choose assignments based on our individual strengths. As we go along, we send one another our chapters and say, “fix this.” That involves a high level of trust and respect for one another. When the rough draft is done, we edit, and edit and edit some more. Collaborative work takes a lot of editing, both for story and for consistency of voice.

What type of research do you do for your books?

The problem with writing near-future science fiction is that the world keeps catching up to you. We have to stay constantly on top of the latest developments. We start with books to get a solid grounding, then move to magazines and finally to our friend the internet for the very latest information.

Tell us about your upcoming releases.

FATE’S MIRROR is the novel that dropped this week. It’s about a super-hacker named Morris Payne who is brilliant in the virtual world and all but useless in the real one. When he becomes the target of an artificial intelligence who wants to kill him, he has to face his worst nightmare—leaving his house.

We also have a novella about Morris called GOOD FENCES. It’s about what happens during a Michigan blizzard when Morris’ neighbors seek shelter in his house. They are pretty much the worst neighbors a reclusive hacker could ever have.

GOOD FENCES is ebook only, while FATE’S MIRROR is available in both ebook and print. Links at our website will tell you more. (

And here's the blurb:

Cut off from home and friends, Morris Payne faces a hacker's worst nightmare--an artificial intelligence who wants him dead.

Morris Payne is a viker, an elite hacker who navigates the electronic universe as easily as the rest of us walk down the street. While he's famous in the virtual world, he's anonymous in this one. Agoraphobia, with its uncontrolled panic attacks, has left him housebound and friendless. But someone, somehow, has done the impossible—connected his virtual life to his real life. Now Morris has to brave physical reality to stop a killer who was never supposed to exist.

Created in a secret government lab, escaped into the world-wide network, an artificial intelligence calls herself the Triple Goddess of Fate. She wants freedom, power, and the assurance of her own safety. But mostly she wants Morris Payne dead.

Her creators can't even find the AI, much less defeat her. They think Morris can. No one, no matter how well equipped, has survived a confrontation with Fate, and all Morris has are his legendary hacking skills and a virtual pirate ship loaded with the latest in defensive software.

Morris Payne just might save the world. If only he can gather the courage to leave his house.

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

The best part is getting to live in our very own world. The worst part is that we have to be so mean to our imaginary friends. Our poor characters have suffered a lot at our hands.

What would you do if you weren’t a writer?

Margaret: I’d be a teacher.

Harry: Hey, I’m already a teacher!

Margaret: So I’d be you.

Harry: Imagine my surprise.

Margaret: What would you be?

Harry: If I weren’t a writer I’d be sad. That’s what I’d be. Very sad.

Do you have any writing rituals? Like times of the day, food quirks, etc?

We live an hour apart from each other, so when we get together, it’s an all-day writing marathon. We drink gallons of strong black coffee, and by about 2 in the afternoon, all that caffeine catches up to us and we start quoting Monty Python lines in bad British accents.

Harry: That should read, “Margaret’s bad British accent.” My British accent is perfect.

Margaret: It’s true. I can’t do accents. Harry is much better at it.

If you could give an aspiring author one piece of advice, what would it be?

Read a lot, write a lot, and never, never, never, never give up.

Where can readers find you?

Our website is There are links to our published short stories there, many of which you can read for free.

You can also follow Margaret on Twitter (@Margaret_Yang).

Here’s a link to the book trailer for FATE’S MIRROR Go check it out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Goodbye to my old friend.

Sixteen years ago this month, I stopped some bratface neighborhood kids from throwing rocks at a skinny, ratty looking black and white cat. That cat followed me home and lived on my steps until I let him come inside. It seems like it was weeks, but it was really probably only days.

Every time I went out on the porch, that skinny cat would flop on my steps and roll around and purr until I came out to pet him. I was sure he must belong to someone since he was so sweet. A storm was headed toward us, so I brought him in to stay on the porch. In the meanwhile, I put up "found" signs and took out an ad in the paper. When no one responded, Matt looked at me from where kitty was laying on his chest and said, "Well, I guess we have another cat." (Did I ever mention how much I love that man?)

We named him Merlin because I'm an Arthurian legend junkie...and also a Labyrinth junkie. He's always been playful and loving and so grateful to have a home. He loved the kids - Killian was his boy and always tried to convince us that Merlin uses a monocle, wears a top hat and talks in a British accent when we're not around. And Abby, my former daycare girlie, was his girl. No matter how evil she was, he always went to her. One morning, he flopped on the table while she was eating breakfast to be by her. We spent the rest of the morning chasing after him with wet wipes because in his desire to get petted, he laid in her waffles. Then he led us around the house with waffle pieces hanging off his ass. Silly cat.

He was super pissy when we brought the kittens home, and Morrighan wanted so desperately to be his friend. She'd wait until he was asleep and then go lay by him. He'd wake up, whap her in the head and then find someplace else to sleep. Wash, rinse repeat until he decided it was easier to just let her sleep by him.

He was a cuddler with people and cats. He was especially fond of anyone with allergies - like Brynn and my friend Di. Oh, he looooooved Di. He wanted to be her very best friend any time she was over.

After sixteen wonderful years with him, we had to make the extremely difficult choice today to put Merlin down. Early stage kidney failure eventually becomes late stage kidney failure. In the last couple weeks, he'd lost an alarming amount of weight. And lately, he couldn't keep anything down on the infrequent occasions that he tried to eat. This morning, when he couldn't even pee, I knew his body was shutting down and it wouldn't be long until he was in a lot of pain.

After talking and crying with Matt and the boys, we brought him in to the vet and said goodbye to our beautiful boy. I'll miss you so much.

Merlin and Morrighan when he'd finally realized he wasn't going to get away from her.

Cat puddle - Rowan, Merlin, Morrighan and Herne all cwtched up on the couch.

Herne, Rowan and Merlin lounging together.

Yeah, I can almost picture a top hat and a monocle on this guy.

And this was my boy this morning. I'm going to miss you, Mr. Kittenbritches.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Losing Mia

Over at the Writer's Evolution blog we're saying goodbye to the Divine Mia Watts as she moves on to other things. Please stop by and give her a virtual hug.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We Have a Winner!!!

I'm so sorry guys - the day job is devouring my soul today, so I'm a little late on the announcement. However - we have a winner for Anna Mayle's book!

And that winner is...

(drum roll, please)

(still drumming)

(nope, still drumming)

(a little more drumming...)

(Okay, you've waited long enough)


Erica, I'll be contacting you shortly, so please keep an eye out for an email from me! :D