Friday, December 26, 2008

Oi! I'm allergic to blogging!

Well, not really. But all my excuses are lame. I've just had a serious case of ADD the past month and have been self-medicating with mochas and books. Lots and lots of books.

Oh, and nothing too exciting to report. So, for now, a quick December re-cap and I'll zip off again until I have something worthwhile to share.

1. I'm closing in on the finish of my 2nd novel (Working Title 'Witch Hunt', 'Inner Eye', and 'Zyne Legacy' - take your pick.) This one is about 25% longer than Cloak of Deceit, but allowing myself to meander to the ending is a double-edged sword. I seem to have a problem wrapping things up, picking up all the strands I've laid down and weaving them together. But I willl FINISH it - damn it! And then I will rewrite it.

2. My querying/contest entering has come to a standstill. My own fault, but I'll take another gander at that horse after the new year.

3. I also seem to be allergic to all internet-related activities. Either that, or X-box live has officially trumped me. (The epic battle-o-the-internet-usage continues at my house. Hmph.) FYI though, I have my favorite blogs on my RSS feed and I am with you in spirit. o.O

4. SNOWPOCALYPSE 2008. A little bit of non-rain, and the people here in Seattle forget how to do every-day things . . . like drive. I've been spending 2 hrs on the bus to work each way, and those powderpuff football days come in handy when jokeying for position. I've also become quite adept at flipping pages one-handed while holding onto the 'oh shit' strap.


cat



5. Reading. I lost count, but I have averaged a book every-other-day for the month of December. And I will officially never catch my reviews up to my reading capacity - unless I figure out how to bend time back on itself.

Alas, I will do what I can. I'll only write reviews for books I really love and highly recommend. I'll comment on blogs when I can grab a spare moment at the day job, and I will tackle my husband to the ground and earn my share of the bandwidth so I can post more regularly.

But don't expect any of that until next year.

Congratulation on surviving 2008. And all the best to you and yours!

~Gwen

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Review: The Accidental Vampire, by Lynsay Sands



Lynsay Sands's Argeneau novels are popular among vampire lovers. I felt more than a little cheated. Though, this book was purchased for me, and probably not one I would have picked out for myself. It falls into the 'paranormal-romantic-comedy' slot, and I'm the first one to admit I have a hard time with these.




From the back cover:


Fate gave her fangs . . .


Ever since an accident turned her into a knockout
vamp, Elvi Black's been catching her z's in a coffin, staying out of the sun,
and giving up garlic. She knows there's more to being undead than what she
saw in Dracula, but she can't very well ask her mortal friends about proper
biting etiquette. But when her neighbors placed a personal ad for her in
the local paper, she never imagined she'd meet Victor Argeneau, a vampire who
could have his pick of any woman - dead or alive.


He'll show her how to use them . . .


Rich, powerful, and drop-dead gorgeous, Victor's the perfect man for
a novice neck-biter like Elvi. He's willing to teach her everything he
knows, but he'll have to do it fast. Someone's out to put a stake through
her new vamp life, and only Victor can keep her safe - and satisfied - for all
eternity.


*cough*

Did we miss any cliches there? Nope, I didn't think so. To her credit, Ms. Sands can make even a cliche seem fresh. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud one liners, and the whole premise, though ridiculous, was pulled off in a funny way. Elvi ends up basically hosting a whole group of potentials at her house together, a la The Bachelorette. In fact, I saw many missed opportunities for some ironic situations, but that's okay.

The risk/conflict equates to some anonymous person shooting arrows. And I found the whole idea of how a mate is discovered/known (whether or not you can read their mind) contrived. All of the bachelors put it off until the most convenient moment, which just makes no sense to me. And in the end, the whole thing was just too cutesy for me - up to and including the other members of Elvi's community that decide to turn vamp, and the author wrapping several happy endings into one. Although I was tempted, I didn't quit. The writing was sound enough to hold me, but it wasn't my cup of tea. Two bleeding hearts.



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh, and I forgot to mention . . .

My first novel, Cloak of Deceit, took 3rd Place in the FTHRW Golden Gateway contest. You can see the full list of winners here.


I was amazed to final in my very first RWA contest entry, and I'll take third, with pleasure! =P

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Planet Procrastination

I'm over at the Writer's Retreat blog today, discussing how to quit making excuses not to write.

*hums*

I give myself very good advice, though I very seldom follow it . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Am I really THAT Predictable?

So . . .
I'm not completely back in the writing saddle yet, but I'm brushing the horse down and tightening the straps. I've been slowly trying to turn my spare mind-power towards my WIP. And just writing in general. I'm more on the general, universal stuff at the moment. I've gone back and read a lot of my old stuff - just for fun. And in doing so, in a detatched way, I've discovered some sorta funny patterns. I've noticed them before with other writers, but never about myself really. It's funny how the subconscious works, yet not surprising.
Here are a few things that pop up repeatedly in my stories and bear some thematic significance or are otherwise just a common prop:

A rusty old pickup. - I think I've mentioned that my dad has always had one. I guess they must symbolize something to me. *scratches head*

A necklace. - This is a little too easy - a charmed necklace, or a piece of gifted jewelry used as a prop to bring memories to the surface, blah, blah. I'm going to have to expand my reperatoire here.

Car chases and/or accidents. - I think this is because I am afraid of car crashes and hence, really high speeds.

Claustraphobic instances. - I guess to me, being too cramped to move just amps up the panic factor. *shrugs*

Grey eyes. - Do they exist in nature? I can't tell ya. But I in my worlds, grey eyes is a fairly prominent genetic allele. Heh.

Kendo. - I'm sorry, I just think sword-wielding with style (no, I'm not talking about fencing) is hawt.

Rain. - I'm sure you can figure it out. (Hint: Gwen lives in Seattle)

Dreams. - I know it's cliche. *sigh* I have a hard time getting away from dreams though. What are the alternatives? How else do you set up people meeting before they actually meet, or rationalize someone turning down a road they normally wouldn't, or, or . . . *sigh* I know. I know. I know.

Auras. - Almost as bad as the dreams. But . . . I like the idea of using colors to interpret other character's moods. It's quick, and once the audience gets the drift, it's like . . . a shortcut. Right?

What do these things say about me? Is my imagination too limited? I'm too narrow-minded? Or maybe just overly analytical. Hmm... How about you - do you have any commonalities in your writing? Notice them in your reading? Think about it for a minute.

My other question is - is this a *bad* thing - or is it sorta cool? I mean, only people who had read everything I've written would notice. In a way - it would just be between me and them. I'm leaning towards cool . . .

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Unwillingly Dammed

MISSING MY WIP

I'll try to make this post more ponderous and less whiny, but I can't make any guarantees to that effect. As you can probably tell, my blogging has been non-existent lately. That's fitting in right along with all other forms of writing. The honest-to-goodness truth, not an excuse but a reason, is simply this: I haven't had the time.

I'm the sort of person who over-extends herself on a regular basis. Being short on time is something I'm used to. Being under a deadline? No problem. Having lots of work piled up on me? Yeah, that's old hat. Running a website, two and a half blogs and a forum in addition to twittering and poking my nose in various cyber-spaces? Well... yeah.

But somehow, my firm purchase on the actual work of writing (the art of applying but to chair and fingers to keyboard) has slid towards non-existent. I'm chewing through lots of books on the bus ride to and from my new job - but that is really just making my hunkering to write even worse. And here comes the whining...

A lot of writers complain that they sit down and the words won't come. Or that they find themselves shuffling writing to the bottom of their list and making excuses *not* to do it. At the moment, I envy those writers. If I had the time to talk myself out of writing . . . well, I'd be writing. Sadly, my case is something else entirely. The words are there. The ideas are flowing. They are just piling up behind the dam built by my brain in order to let me deal with the more pertinent issue of . . . well, survival. (At the moment.) I have so much work to do, I can't even allow myself to dawdle in my make believe worlds, or to ponder characters or stories, or anything. I'm effectively cut-off from my creative flow. And not by choice. It's like a forced block. And it's frustrating as hell.

It comes down to this: I miss my WIP. I *WANT* to dive into it, to finish the story of the people I've come to care deeply about in the past months. I *WANT* to add in my new ideas, and yes, yes - even to trudge through edits because I know the editing process inside-out now and know that the end-product will be more than worth it. But . . . woe is me . . . I can't do that. Yet.

Soon. Soon, I keep telling myself. I miss all of you guys too - if there is anyone out there still reading this. I'll say the same to you. Soon I will be filling your head with fluff, or maybe even something more substantial, telling your what I've read and what I thought, expanding my reperatoire of writing-issues, finally tackling the projects I've been talking 'bout for months, and generally poking my nose in your business again. Soon.

Signed,
Unwillingly Dammed Writer

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where am I?

Somewhere between the edge of sanity and the end of reason . . .

I'm a total slacker! Bad Gwen! Bad!

*sigh*

But really, my life is still just in a topsy-turvy uproar, and though I've been reading a lot, I haven't had time to write reviews, or commit anything substantial to my WIPs. My current design project is up next Wednesday, and once the dust settles, I'll re-evaluate.

Currently, I'm reading the MacCarrick Brothers trilogy by Kresley Cole. I'm liking it. Not sure if that is opening the door to historicals for me, or simply because I love her voice so much.

Not much happening on the writing front. I'm not at a standstill idea wise, but just haven't logged the keyboard time I need to get them out. I still have lots of feelers out there, which I'm waiting to hear back on. And I'm toying with the idea of entering the Golden Heart.

Thus far . . . I have resisted the Red Bull. I think I may have finally conquered that demon! Woot!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Review: Fallen, by Erin McCarthy

This book marks Ms. McCarthy's second foray into more serious, 'darker' paranormals, on the theme of the seven deadly sins (cool!). I didn't read the first one (lust), titled My Immortal, but this second title (gluttony/addiction) is a stand alone story.

From the back cover:

New Orleans, 1840s. Sent to watch over the decadent city, the angel Gabriel loses himself in the liquid pleasure of absinthe. So when his mistress, Anne, is murdered—and all evidence points to him— a foggy Gabriel cannot be sure he didn't do it. His penance: to be forever denied love. Should he seek pleasure with a woman, she'll know the depths of despair.

New Orleans, today. Hoping to unlock that unsolved mystery, forensic scientist Sara Michaels, Anne's great-great-granddaughter, meets the ageless, tormented Gabriel. To work together would mean suppressing their mutual attraction—he can't allow himself to touch Sara, for her own sake.

And for Sara, already familiar with the dangers of addiction, Gabriel poses the ultimate threat to her self-control. But can the desire burning between them turn into their salvation—or lead them both to destruction?

So - let's see here: We have a fallen angel, recovering addict piano player-slash-painter who hasn't had sex for eighty years. And a self-conscious young heroine fleeing the tragedies of her past while trying to unlock the mystery of a family curse and related murder. And yes, it was just as angsty as it sounds. I loved it.

Favorite quote:

"Eventually, we'll both lose interest."

"Oh, really?" She had to admit, that infuriated her. "You have it all figured out, don't you?"

"Absolutely." He nodded with confidence.

"They why the hell did you kiss me?" She wasn't sure whether she regretted it or not. It had been a fabulous kiss, and she had been curious what it would be like, but on the other hand, now she knew their chemistry was real, yet he was telling her they couldn't do a damn thing about it.

"Because I'm an idiot."

Which was the male answer to everything. They seemed to think if they just admitted their stupidity, somehow it exempted them from responsibility for it.

Other reviews for this story have consistently had two issues. First, they think it's slow and don't like the internal angsty monologues and expositions. Secondly, they find the ultimate conflict and resolution (i.e. antagonist) too wimpy. I strongly disagree with the first, and only sort of agree with the second. If you try to read this book as an urban fantasy, or anything other than a romance, it won't work. To me, the main antagonist in the story was Gabriel's all-consuming guilt. There is enough of a story and mystery surrounding the death of Sara's ancestor to keep the plot moving along, but this one is truly a character journey. Each of them are hunting for the truth, wanting each other, but unwilling to 'take the plunge'. I enjoyed the depth of both characters, and Ms. McCarthy did a successful job of interchanging viewpoints without confusing or annoying me - a real feat.

Stylistically, I enjoyed the interspersed newspaper clippings and court reportings, which added depth to the story. The tension was great, the angst better. If the climax was anti-climactic, I didn't notice. The ending was supremely satisfying (since the author held over the *actual* love scene until the second to last chapter!). If you want an emotionally engrossing angst-filled romance, this one's for you. Four bleeding hearts.



PS: Extra points for cover awesomeness.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gosh, Golly, Gee . . .

Some of you may have noticed I've been MIA. Things were a little rough there for a while. It all started about a month and a half ago when I lost my wallet and I've been floundering since, just trying to keep my head above water. My laptop died, I quit my job, and my cat got diabetes. *sigh*

I'm happy to announce I think that bout of ill luck (hey, I'm all for the universe being in balance - if it means it has to screw with me sometimes, so be it) is officially OVER!

I'm writing this post from my brand spankin' new Macbook (yeah, baby, yeah!). I have a freelance graphic design job to float me for the next month and a half until I find something permanent (and the job prospects are looking up from a few weeks ago). This also means my graphic design business, which I started two years ago, is now officially in business (website to come). AND, to top it all off, I got some really great news on Friday:

Cloak of Deceit, my first completed novel, has finaled in the FTHWA Golden Gateway Contest. My first sub to an RWA contest, and I finaled! It feels like Christmas. I'm ecstatic with them apples. And really, really glad to be back on course.

So . . . I'm back in the saddle and in the mood to celebrate! You got any good news to share? Hit me up! If you don't, I'm gonna look like this . . .


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Writing Reference Series #1

I started a new series of Wiley Wednesday posts on several writing-craft books. The first one, on 'The Elements of Style' by Strunk & White, is posted over here on the Writer's Retreat blog.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Review: Dime Store & Industrial Magic - Kelley Armstrong

These two books were loaned to me and recommended by a friend. I hadn't heard of of Kelly Armstrong, which surprised me, because once I looked her up, I saw she was right up my alley. Like authors such as Kim Harrison and CE Murphy, you find her titles in the SciFi/Fantasy section of the bookstore. These two are a pair of titles about witch Paige Winterbourne and her newly-acquired teenage fosterling, Savannah.

Dime Store Magic
Paige is the daughter of the former leader of the American Coven of Witches, but she's a modern, forward-thinking type who apparently has a knack for bucking authority. (I think this may have been established in previous titles in the series.) The Elders of her Coven don't want her around, and it is without their help that Paige must face Savannah's father, Kristoff Nast, a powerful and evil sorcerer (Sorcerers are the enemies of the witches in this series) who wants his daughter for his own purposes. In fact, the only one who is on Paige's side is a pro-bono lawyer willing to go up against the Nast Cabal, Lucas Cortez. Who is . . . also a sorcerer, though one who shirks his own heritage. Since she's got nobody else, Paige reluctantly accepts Lucas' help. A legal battle, romance, a kidnapping, and some seriously freaky magical stuff ensue.

I like the world these books are set in. I received another title, Bitten, from another friend, and have it in my TBR pile. The universe is well developed and Ms. Armstrong does a great job of overlapping her world with the one we live in. I actually appreciate these types of AUs more fully, because as writer I know it is more difficult. It's much easier to write urban fantasy in a world where everyone knows about and accepts the existence of preternatural beings. It cuts out a whole host of explanation.

I thought the characters were engaging too. Paige is strong and witty, and generally handles each new catastrophe with grace, and if not grace, at least an understandable and believable amount of floundering. The exchanges between her and Savannah were very true to form and usually comical. The romance was a very light subtheme here, taking a backseat to the politcal and social, and magical issues. And there were lots of them. From a funeral home of raised zombies (ew!) to a full on poltergeist-type moment at the end. And all of that was uber-cool.

The only problem I had was with the pacing. The book seemed to really drag in some places and be filled with a lot of details that just didn't seem important, other than to serve the author's purpose of showing characters interacting or dropping a few choice details that tied in later. The writing was the type that seemed to feel the need to fill in every minute, listing off the mudanities of life like laundry lists and what to make for dinner, rather than jumping right to the action.

As it was, I thought it was an entertaining, if sometimes slow read. Two Bleeding Hearts.



Industrial Magic
This book follows directly after Dime Store Magic and continues the story of Paige, Savannah, and Lucas. Paige has broken from the American Coven of Witches and the book starts out with her canvassing, pretty much door to door, to get Witches on board with her plan for a new organization. But a series of abductions of teenagers, namely those tied to Cabals, calls Paige away from her mission. She agrees to help Lucas' father, the head of the Cortez Cabal, in the search for the missing kids, and the people responsible.

I didn't have as many issues with this book. The beginning was slow, but once I got into it, I did not put it down. There was a nice mixture of mystery and drama, and more of a bird's eye view into the world. The ending was also a surprise, and the tension held through the end. I'm re-invested in the characters and will be reading at least one more title from this series. I can't strongly recommend it, but the story depth did keep me hooked. Three and a half bleeding hearts for this one.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I. Do. Not. Suck.

Contrary to what the past week or so has indicated, I am not one of those people who frequently just leaves their blog hangin'. I just haven't had anything interesting to say. o.o


A bit stalled on the writing front as I put some things in my life back together (hopefully better than they were when I busted them up, heh).

And then I'll be back. I have LOTS of book reviews to write and we have some exciting news coming up on the Writer's Retreat Blog.

Other than that, I've been doing The Artist's Way workshop with Catherine and I have to say - Julia Cameron rocks my socks off. I want to meet her. And hug her. And generally tell her how I'm only up to Chapter 3 and she's changing my life. Literally. As we speak.

Oh, and I quit my job. *ducks and runs*

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dream Chaser by Sherilyn Kenyon

From the Back Cover:
Hades doesn’t often give second chances…Xypher has one month on Earth to redeem himself through one good deed or be condemned to eternal torture in Tarturus. But redemption means little to a demigod who only wants vengeance on the one who caused his downfall.Until one day in a cemetery…Simone Dubois is a medical examiner with a real knack for the job. Those who are wrongfully killed appear to her and help her find the evidence the police need to convict their killers. But when a man appears and tells her that she’s more than just a psychic, she’s convinced he’s insane.Now the fate of the world hangs in her hands…It was bad enough when just the dead relied on her. Now’s there’s the seductive Dream-Hunter Xypher who needs Simone’s help in opening a portal to the Atlantean hell realm to fight insatiable demons. The future of mankind is at stake-and so is her life. The only question now is: Who is the bigger threat: the demons out to kill her, or the man who has left her forever changed?


I can sum my feelings about this book up in one word: Blah. Maybe my view is skewed since I wasn't inducted into the Dream Hunter world at it's inception, and everything since has been done again and again and again. Or maybe it's something specific about Ms. Kenyon's writing. I can't be sure until I read something else from the series. Which, I will. Obviously, she's doing something right. But on this one . . . blah. I didn't hate it. I didn't love it. A year from now I won't remember it.

First off - it was sparse. I read it in two hours. Usually, that means one of two things - it's either very short for a novel (which it was) or I didn't have to think very hard (which I didn't). In fact, I would venture to say that Ms. Kenyon didn't have to think very hard while writing it either. The vocabulary was exceedingly simple, the themes repeated into monotony, and the characters (yes, all the characters) felt like stock to me. The plot and all the mechanisms used were entirely predictable.

I'll give this series another shot, but with reservations already firmly planted. If you have a recommendation for which book might change my mind, please let me know. 1 Bleeding Heart, because I did finish it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Review of The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

I was super excited about picking these books up. I read the prequel novella as soon as it became available on eHarlequin, and posted a review. I could tell Ms. Showalter had a plan, though it was fuzzy through the novella, but I felt confident she'd do it more justice in a full length novel. Part of what got me so juiced, I have to admit, was the covers. They are the pinnacle of beauty when it comes to any book cover I've seen lately. HQN hit the jackpot there. And as we all know, covers go a long way.


Right off the top, I can say that I love the premise. Ms. Showalter says she didn't like the idea of a woman being blamed for all the evil in the world, so she tweaked the old myth and placed the blame for the opening of Pandora's Box on a band of immortal warriors. (Love it!) As a result, each of these warriors was punished by the gods to carry one of the demons from the box around inside of him. Love that too.

I even love Ms. Showalters writing. She clearly has talent, and oodles of creative energy that justify my envy of her blaze to stardom in the ranks of paranormal romance.

Sadly, though, this book just didn't do it for me. Maddox is the keeper of Violence. He was actually the one who killed Pandora, so as an extra punishment, he must die every night, with the assistance of two fellow 'Lords' - those who carry Pain and Death.

Ashlyn Darrow has the gift of clairaudience. She can hear conversations that have taken place at any given time in the place she is. It's overwhelming and has caused her intense suffering her whole life, though she works in a sort of psychic investigative agency and puts her gift to use.

Like I said, I love the ideas. And I can't pinpoint what it is that doesn't quite punch through to me. But I think I can sum it up by saying, the really poignant ideas felt under-done. I hate to use the word 'shallow' because of the negative connotation, but in this case, it really fits.

The story felt more like a caricature of what it could have been. Maddox is the typical brusque, tortured hero who finds his heart softening for the lovely woman clinging to him. Ashlyn finds that only Maddox's presence can give her peace from the voices in her head. And this contrived attraction is stretched out with overwroght tension through most of the book.

Later, we're introduced to more characters and learn more of the backstory and dive into some more world-building.

It could be that I've reached a saturation point from all my reading in the genre, but this book just felt like more of the same, up to and including the hints that each member of the 'brotherhood' of lords will get his happy ending in the coming books. It just didn't ring my bell. I never felt truly connected to the characters, surprised by anything, or deeply moved.

It was entertaining, well-written, and as I've said several times, the series has tremendous potential. I have the next two books at home, and I will be reading them - hoping to see Ms. Showalter find a groove and really knock my socks off.

Two and a half Bleeding Hearts.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

13 Things To Take Your Mind Off Submissions

I have some feelers extended into the sea of writerly opportunity. Nine, to be exact. I’ve decided nine will be my magic number. I will always have nine feelers out there, working for me while I continue to write. They can be queries, submissions, contests, whatever. I just have to keep nine going. If one comes back, I toss another one out there. Simple, right? But I have this horrible habit of fixating on said feelers, and not getting anything done. That simply will NOT work. So, here are 13 things I’ve done to take my mind off of my pending flood of rejection letters enough that I at least feel productive while I wait.

Photobucket
Thirteen Things To Take Your Mind Off Submissions

1. Pick up another WIP. This is the ultimate BEST thing to do in this case. I have set myself up with a daunting quota of 10K words/week and bi-weekly check-ins with a crit partner. I just have to pretend those other stories I’m trying to sell do not exist. It works. Mostly.

2. Chatting, blogging, and now TWITTERING with friends. It’s a hoot.

3. Baking. I don’t know why, but when I get stressed, I cook more. I’ve kept my work well-supplied with cookies and muffins the past few weeks.

4. Actually getting work done. I threw myself at my job for a week. The fact that I now have nothing to do is testament to just how much I should be writing instead of wasting my time there, but c’est la vie. At least I’m caught up.

5. Re-organizing files on computer and backing everything up. I don’t know about you, but when I’m heavy in draft mode, I get sloppy – like, my desktop is invisible sloppy. A lull in your ‘writing press’ is the perfect time to go over everything, file it away neatly, and catalog it so it’s ready to work with at the next phase, whatever that may be.

6. Cleaning desk, filing and re-ordering office. I’ve talked about the importance of having a writing space. I find ‘padding the nest’ while I wait is a comfort, and also feeds into #1.

7. Shopping for mancandy and other inspirational pics. Just file under ‘research’. Heh.

~ INTERMISSION ~




See? What submissions?

8. Reviving an old manuscript. Sometimes I get too stuck in edit/prep mode after sending out subs and queries and I simply cannot find the creative gusto. So, I channel that self-depreciating energy into something useful. We all have that old piece gathering dust in the back of a drawer (or computer file) somewhere. Now’s the perfect time to go back over it, and have it ready to be the next ‘feeler’ if needs be.

9. Reading. When all else fails, read. It always, ALWAYS works for me. Reading reminds me of why I love writing so much in the first place. It gets me excited about stories, characters, and scenarios, also feeding #1.

10. Take a break and do something fun. I often neglect other parts of my life when I have my head down and fingers to keyboard. But every once in a while, you gotta push away from the desk and step away from the computer. It’s summer, it’s lovely outside. I’ve been going to the park with my hubby to play Frisbee. Does wonders.

11. Write something fun, just cuz. When I first started writing, it was merely for the pleasure of it. Sometimes I have to shelf even that daunting WIP and write something off the wall, on a whim, to remind myself of WHY I am putting myself through all this trudgery.

12. Find someone else to root for. This is why it’s so important to have a network of friends who are also writers. We inspire each other, console each other, understand each other. Whenever I’m feeling particularly nerve-wracked or over-stressed about the ‘feelers’, I take a step back and focus on someone else – cheering them on or giving them a boost. Makes me feel better, and spreads the love. Two birds with one stone.

13. When all else fails? Cybercrack. Like this. Or this. Or this.


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Leave a comment, and I'll link back to you here:

Rant for August Arrives Early

I’ve heard a lot of feedback from other authors and readers within the romance genre about the way other people see us from the outside. Heck, there are even uber-popular sites that go ahead and make fun of it. *cough*sidebar*cough*. But I have to say I have never really experienced it first hand.


My husband (bless his heart – he is already out there marketing for me) gets more flack than I do. He receives plenty of taunts from ‘the guys’ about his reading choices, as he makes an effort to keep up with me. His standard reply: “You don’t know what your missing. You should give it a try. You would understand women a lot better.” No, really. Guys - if you read romance, I’m confident this is the best possible response to such testosterone-laden posturing.

I, however don’t usually get harassed. I get the glazed eyes and plastered smiles, and the ‘that’s nice’ from people who just. Don’t. Get it. As a result, I have reverted to a slow-reveal technique, hooking people with the other premises and dynamics of my book before revealing that it stands among the ranks of *gasp* romance.

Alas, in light of the recent RWA, the arrival of my newsletter and the general commaraderie among readers and writers alike permeating the webveins recently, I’m feeling pretty proud to be a part of it. Like I know something a lot of other people don’t. Like they are missing out on something great, and I’m glad I’m not one of those brainwashed drones anymore.

You see, my family is proud of me. They understand they don’t see much of me because I am persuing a passion and trying to turn it into a career ON TOP of working a full-time job and finishing a degree. They already claim me as ‘the author of the family’. (I know – no pressure, huh?) So, the ‘and she’s a WRITER’ always gets tagged onto my introduction. At which point, the acquaintance usually feels obligated to inquire into what sort of writing I do.

This is where it gets tricky.

Usually, my breadcrumb trail goes something along the lines of: popular fiction > novels > paranormal (compare to fantasy) > action/adventure > romance.

But LATELY, I’ve been feeling more and more like I should be proud of the romance part. I should say that first, because whether my stories fit the formula or not, they certainly are about love. I should hold my head high and declare it!

Or at least, that was the high I was on until an acquaintance at a recent social gathering down-shifted from, “That sounds really cool,” to “Oh, no, I don’t waste my time on that smut.”

Excuse me? What gives you the write to assume I write smut? I do not. In fact, most romance authors don’t. Hell, most erotica authors these days have strong, emotionally grounded stories behind the sex. Romance DOES NOT EQUAL smut!!! And that so-called smut that you are so vapidly against? It accounts for almost half of the books that are read in the WORLD. It dominates the bestsellers lists. It makes dreams come true.

So, needless to say . . . I lost that potential future reader. Maybe the slamming my drink on the counter after instabitching and storming away was a bit overdramatic. *sigh*


Now that I've faced the derogatory attitude head-on, I’m on a crusade, or uh . . . officially joining a crusade. As other creative masterminds before me, I will find a way to do my part . . . *cogs start turning*

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Review: Dark of the Moon


My hubby picked this title up at the grocery store for me, as he is want to do when he sees anything that has vampires on the cover or implies it in the title. I had never heard of Susan Krinard, but a google search revealed that she's been very prolific and successful, AND since hubby knew I was scoping Nocturne Bites, he takes credit for this book being from Harlequin, even if he didn't know it at the time.

The premise of this book immediately caught my interest - 1920s reporter in New York investigates murders at the pier and gets sucked into a hidden world she didn't know existed.

The back cover reads:
During the heyday of the Clan, New York’s vampire organization of gangsters and bootleggers, Dorian Black was an enforcer for the notorious boss Raoul Boucher. But when the Clan is shattered by violence and betrayal, Dorian abandons his old ways and is prepared to die for his sins … until he saves the life of a brave and determined woman reporter, Gwen Murphy.

Gwen realizes at once that there is something very unusual about Dorian Black. She’s drawn to the haunted suffering in his eyes as well as to his strength and sexual allure. But he hides secrets that lie dangerously close to the ones she is pursuing for the New York Sentinel. Soon human and vampire must join forces and come to terms with their growing attraction as they battle warring vampire factions and a fanatical cult bent on changing their world forever…

Read an excerpt.

It says "I'm dark, I'm angsty, and Gwen will love me." It really does. And overall, I did. After all - Gwen Murphy - Gwen Mitchell - c'mon - she's got good taste in names! It wasn't what I expected - which, I suppose, is a good thing. If it turned out exactly as I'd expected, I'd probably call it predictable.

Loved the characters. Gwen was the strong, determined career woman, way ahead of her time - someone I could really get behind, with admirable qualities, like her brains and her loyalty to her friends. Dorian was the ultimate tortured hero. And I'd like to emphasize this point. One of the things I appreciated the most about the story was how true Dorian's character rang for me. His progress was slow. Painfully slow. And instead of the typical 'oh, well she loves me and I get sex on a regular basis so I'm fine now' solution to the tortured hero, Ms. Krinard kept it real. Thank you!! His feelings for Gwen are unwanted at first, and even when he realizes that he's in too deep, they complicate things, and in some ways make them worse, not better. It made for great angsty conflict that kept me turning the pages.

I also loved that the story kept me guessing. There were so many 'who done it?' moments where I just wasn't sure who the bad guys were, or what they really wanted. Conflicts abounded - both internal and external. Lots of double-triple-crossing, and each time I thought I had nailed it, she proved me wrong. I pride myself on my ability to guess what's going to happen - so Ms. Krinard gets extra credit for that.

Normally, I'm not in the 'if it doesn't have an HEA, it's not romance' club, but I have to say, I feared for these beloved characters. It started to look very dire indeed and I was worried. Glad to say everything worked out in the end. I enjoyed the writing, and the story was well-paced and entertaining. But I give this one a higher rating, simply because I haven't cared that deeply about characters in a long time. Four Bleeding Hearts.

Good Reads!

Eden Hail has ebily introduced me to a new online addiction. It's called goodreads.com, and yes, I know, I must be slow because I'm just hearing about it *now*...

Come check me out and friend me if you're on there. If you're not - you should be! I've put up all the TBRs and Favorites I could think of off the top of my head and will use it to keep track of my reviews, which I am going to start putting up with more frequency very soon.

Gwen's Goodreads Page

Monday, July 28, 2008

What is a Bestseller?

I'm over at the Writer's Retreat Blog today, pondering what it means to be a best-selling author.

Check it out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bright Sunshiny Day

Warning: This post is a bit more twittery than usual. Mayhap because I cashed in my 'treat receipt' and had an extra mocha this afternoon. And yes, I know I should be ashamed, but when I went through my massive editing binge a few weeks ago, I totally fell off the 'caffeine-free' wagon and landed in a pool of Red Bull. What can I say? I'm still paying for it . . .

Srsly, they should make a patch for people like me. Or a support group. But anyway.

*cough*

Oh yeah, I decided to write a no-particular-reason post because, well . . . I feel damn good today. For no particular reason. And it's been a while since I've had one of those days. You know - the ones where nothing gets you down? You hit all green lights, and despite the fact that you have an actual *LIVE* chat with an editor you're hoping to impress in T-minus 40 hours (but who's counting?) you just have a big stupid grin on your face and not a care in the world?

That's me today. The sun is shining, and my boss yelled at someone else for a change. Just thought I'd share, since it's such a rare occurrence.

I leave with my favorite LOLCat of the day and hope the stupid grin is catchy . . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

B&N Privilages Suspended

Hubby says I can buy no more books until I whittle this pile down some. I have to admit, I have a lot of reading to do, thanks to my birthday last month, and a lack of time since. I'm looking forward to taking a load off from the writing and editing the next couple of weeks and diving into some of these.

Have you read any and enjoyed them? (No spoilers!) Which should I go after first? *rubs hands together gleefully*


Gwen's TBR Pile:

The Firey Cross - Diana Gabaldon
Kushiel's Scion - Jacqueline Carey
Thriller Anthology - E.b. James Patterson
Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
Fangs for the Memories - Kathy Love
Night Pleasures - Sherrilyn Kenyon
Grave Sight - Charlaine Harris
The Devil You Know - Mike Carey
Rogue - Rachel Vincent
Swimming Without a Net - MaryJanice Davidson
The Accidental Vampire - Lyndsay Sands
The Darkest Pleasure - Gena Showalter
Nightkeepers - Jessica Andersen
Through the Veil - Shiloh Walker
Storm Front - Jim Butcher
Personal Demons - Stacia Kane
Pleasure Unbound - Larissa Ione
Claimed by Shadow - Karen Chance
Full Moon Rising - Keri Arthur

Oh, and not that this will actually stop me from buying more . . . I'll just have to do it sneakily.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Darkest Fire Review


As a prequel to her new Lords of the Underworld series, which is completely rolling now (though I've only read the novella and the first book so far), Gena Showalter released this short novella about how the demon lords were trapped in Pandora's box, but the mention of said box and said demon lords is really minor. This is a stand-alone story about the goddess of oppression - Kadence, the gate-keeper of hell - Geryon, and their unlikely romance.

I've read some other reviews of this story, and while I can agree with some of the points made, as a writer who has done both novel-length and novella-length pieces, I have to comment in Ms. Showalter's defense - novellas are hard. Especially if you're a novelist. I think the other readers must have been expecting a novel's worth of story. I found the pacing and the plot to move along as a novella should. It kept me engaged all the way through and was a quick read. The characterizations were good and the setting was painted vividly for me.

The love story developed between the two characters was sweet and endearing, and their coupling, though brief, was very steamy. I did think the ending was a bit anti-climactic, but I took this story as a 'taste' of a new world, so it didn't bother me much. It's the first of Ms. Showalter's work I've read, and I have since read the first book and purchased the others. That said, this one didn't spike my 'wow' meter in any particular way. I give it a solid 3 Bleeding Hearts.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm not dead . . . yet.

Of course just when I thought I would be taking a little time off and getting back in the swing of things, I get some news that turns my plan on its ear.

*NOT* complaining, mind you - it's good news. =D

It just required I drop everything else and give some attention to a project I had sorta shelfed.

You see that revision counter bar down there? *points*

Yeah, that's at umm.... 87,000 words now. o.o

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

*dives back under*

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Familiar Fate

I've finally finished the novella I've been working on the past month-plus. Something so short shouldn't have taken me so long, but more than half the time has been spent revising and cutting it down. To be quite honest, it only took 4 days to draft.

But I'm happy to tell you I finally shaved it down to BELOW word count (it comes in at 14.5/15K), sweat bullets over the blurb, and after a lot of pussy-footing around, nailed myself down to a title.

Introducing my first completed piece of the Zyne Legacy universe . . .

Familiar Fate

Scarlett Edgewood is a fiercely independent Zyne Ward witch, and her shields extend far beyond her metaphysical gifts. After the unexplained death of her parents, she built a fortress around her heart and dedicated her life to completing their work. On her quest for an ancient Divan, a book of legendary power, she traces the origins of a stolen amulet into the thick of the Mayan jungle. She's close. But the forces of destiny have other plans. On the precipice of achieving everything she's always worked for, Scarlett discovers something she never thought she’d desire – a savior, a warrior, and a lover who penetrates all her carefully constructed defenses.

Rook's mission is simple: find the amulet, retrieve the book, return to Khaos. But the half-breed Wielder demon's first assignment to the mortal plane proves more difficult than anticipated. After centuries serving the Legion Army and denying his weaker half, he's not prepared for the powerful emotions associated with assuming human form. With only four days to complete his task or perish, Rook falters when he encounters the Zyne witch who holds the amulet. Scarlett’s beauty and strength disarm him, arousing conflicting desires. Chief among them is a longing so deep he might be willing to sacrifice his mission, his rank, or even his life to quench it.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

*Ping*

Is it just me, or do people suddenly fall of the radar when summer hits?

It sucks on this end, because I feel like I've spent the last few months sorta shouldering people off, slacking on blogging, letting emails go three or four days without responses . . .

I had a legitimate excuse, mind you, but still. Now I'm freed up for the summer, ready to play and I can hear my own cyber-echo.

Where did everyone go? I know I still have to catch up on your blogs. I know I have crit work to get back to you. I know I've been a passing ship in the night (or day or whatever time it was for you when I was online for that three minutes in May) but c'mon! Are you punishing me, or is the sunshine just umm.... shinier than me?

*checks inbox again*

*sighs*

Monday, June 23, 2008

Graveyard to Garden


I'm over at the WR blog today, with thoughts on how to turn your manuscript graveyard into a garden.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quick and Dirty

I really am trying to be better about my blogosphere participation, but heck - Thursday is just a busy part of the week for me.

So, here's a quick and dirty list of sites I find useful for writing.

1. Behind the Name - any name from almost any culture. You can search by name, language, sex, or meaning.

2. Intertran - a good online translator. Mind you, it's probably best to have a somewhat working understanding of the language before dropping big blocks of auto-translated text into your manuscript.

3. Thesarus.com - I live here. I don't care what Stephen King says.

4. deviantArt - Talk about inspiring. I'll admit it - I feed off of other people's creativity. You can get LOST in there . . .

6. Futureme.org - Not only is this useful for sending yourself reminders and or setting goals for yourself, but some of the stuff people put up there is good author fodder. I mean - it's life's drama. That's what this is about, right?

7. theromantic.com - A collection of famous love letters. *sigh*

8. brainyquote.com - I love quotes - ideas that have been immortalized.

9. poets.org - I usually start here and look for something to detail a google search. The point is that poetry is word-craft in it's highest form. What writer wouldn't want to immerse themselves in that?

10. etymonline.com - This is one of the coolest sites I've found. It's great for creating your own universe terminology based off of root and linked words. Good stuff.

11. Okay, I'll admit it. I rely on Wiki more than I should. But research is not the fun part of writing for me. I usually stay vague enough that Wiki suits, and make the rest up.

What do you mean that's only 11 items on my Thursday Thirteen? Um . . .

Google counts as two.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Truth is Out . . .

Gee, I must be stalking Debbie Mumford. *whistles*

You can read my review of her paranormal romance Second Sight over on the Writer's Retreat Blog.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Release this Week from Wild Child

fantasy, science fiction

Star Stepping: An Anthology of Fantasy and Sci-Fi Tales

Written by Various

Stories Included:

Beneath and Beyond by Debbie Mumford

Archaeologist Erin Carstedter is a no-nonsense kind of gal. If something can't be defined by scientific method, it doesn't exist. Erin's beliefs are about to be tested by a ruin beneath the polar ice cap. What Erin discovers in those icy depths will challenge her thinking...and change the world.

Read excerpt.

That Old Sweet Smell of Deception by Martin Owton

An ancient dragon tempted out to war for the first time in centuries finds the world greatly changed and dragons a rarity. Does an enemy wizard hold the key to saving dragonkind?

Read excerpt.

Fatal Wager by Andy Heizeler

Read excerpt.

A Pixie Story by Joe Miller

Miike awoke to find himself in a strange land. To then find himself surrounded by a whole hoard of pixies, each one with an arrow aimed at his heart, one could hardly guess how things would turn out.

Read excerpt.

The Honorable Lady by Kim Knox

Royal officials are vanishing and Evia-ben-Thiak doesn't intend to be one of them.

As a high-ranking member of the court, she fears for her life. So, she takes the only option open to her. She hides on a boat sailing to her home-island.

However, the boat is not the sanctuary she hoped for. A friend from her childhood, the now-feared sorcerer, Makovik is also onboard. To be seen with him could end her career; have her thrown in the deepest dungeon. But more than that, she finds he has a plan.

And his actions will change her life forever...

Read excerpt.

Wakinyan's Valley by Debbie Mumford

In a post-apocalyptic world, Mark Whitehorse and his friends search for a safe haven where they can raise their families. When they stumble across a hidden valley, they believe their search is over. But the valley is already inhabited. Will the band of survivors find refuge...or something else entirely?

Read excerpt.

Storms of Light and Shadow by Patrice Sarath

Some gifts are better left unopened.

Read excerpt.

Under a Full Moon by Tom Fowler

A weretiger wizard immune to the lunar cycles suddenly finds himself caught in a painful transformation -- one he suspects was caused by someone else. Can he stop it before he becomes a rampaging monster, and can he find the man who did this to him?

Read excerpt.

Casey by Noelle Sterne

An ordinary junior high school boy, Casey suffers the trials of a teenager until one day his life is changed forever.

Read excerpt.

Bastet by R. S. Pyne

Captain Kai Brenhin Righa of the corsair fighting ship Raven is quite happy not being human. The transition came without warning, a blessing from a stowaway with the face of an ancient Earth Goddess and a strange sense of humor. Now Bastet is back and she needs a favor.

Read excerpt.

Nana Genevieve by Julie Nordeen

As science creates robots that behave more and more like humans, how will we know when they cease to be our creations and become self-aware beings of their own? Nana Genevieve knows. And she'll make sure the world understands...if it's the last thing she ever does.

Read excerpt.

The Tie That Binds by Debbie Mumford

Twin brothers Cameron and Kyle McClellan have always shared a psychic bond. Though the adult men lead very different lives, when career military officer Kyle is wounded in Iraq, Cameron's ability to decipher their special link may mean the difference between his brother's life and death.

Read excerpt.

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Book Length: Novel
Price: $5.95
Buy it here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sniff or Snort

I'm doing a fiction writing workshop with A. Catherine Noon through the Writer's Retreat Forum. It's been slow-starting because my slackerific ass has been virtually non-existent online the past month. But, I have been reading. We're on to chapter three: Characters.

Why is this relevant? One of my fleeting thoughts was wondering how to show and not tell things about characters. For some reason, I made the leap to integrating all the senses. And THAT got me thinking . . . what smells might affect a certain character in a certain way? Basically, the idea is that each person has a catalog of smells that have certain meanings to them, that evoke strong memories or emotions.

Here are thirteen scents that get a strong reaction out of me . . .

Photobucket
Thirteen of Gwen's Sniff and Snort Worthy Scents

1. Lilacs.
Where I grew up, there were huge lilac trees everywhere. Not only is this my favorite flower and my favorite floral scent, but it takes me back to age five - lime popsicles and running through the sprinkler.

2. Spaghetti sauce.


Nothing says you're home like walking in the door to the infusion of basil, garlic and tomato . . .


3. That stale smell of the box that has all the holiday decorations in it.


The decorating is my favorite part, so this smell always gets me excited for the holiday season.

4. Ralph Lauren Polo Sport.


Hubby's eau de choice when he first swept me off my feet, still makes my heart flutter. I can hone in on it in a crowd from fifty yards away.


5. Sea air.

The first hint of chilled salt that comes miles before you can actually see the ocean. It just makes me feel free.

6. The great white belly.


I love to nuzzle my cat Oliver's tummy. He smells like popcorn flavored Jelly Bellies. No joke.

7. Banana fragrance of any kind.


If you want to see me gag - bring out a whif of this stuff. When I was little, my mom put this nasty stuff on my fingernails to keep me from chewing them. It was very close to Banana. I gagged and hacked, but I still chewed.

8. Airplanes.


There are two many wrong smells here to mention. Just about any one of them can get my body pumping adrenaline.

9. Cinnabon.

Even if I'm not hungry, this smell can make my mouth water.

10. Patchouli incense.


Not my favorite scent, but it is my mom's, so it's comforting by default.

11. Fresh Mint.


Naturally refreshing and invigorating, but it reminds me of a HUGE garden we had once. I spent the whole summer grazing. Or it also makes me think of Mojitos, which are also good. *grin*

12. Cigarette smoke.


I don't care if it's rude, I hack all over anyone who dares to smoke anywhere near me. I can smell it on breath, clothes, furniture. I have to wash my clothes and shower immediately if I'm anywhere where there's smoke. Just yuck. Srsly.

13. Wood smoke.


Funny, but this has the opposite effect of that *cough*other*cough* kind. I love to camp, or to have a fire blazing for any reason. This smell just makes me want to snuggle up.

What scents do you love/hate and why?


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Leave a comment, and I'll link back to you here:


Motivation Schmotivation

I put up a lengthy post of a two-part series on motivation and goals over on the Writer's Retreat Blog today. Check it out here.

And for frick's sake . . . I just realized it's June. *bugeyes*

Did it sneak up on anyone else?

Friday, May 30, 2008

I should be doing something productive right now . . .

Ever had one of those weeks? You're busy, the time is flying, and yet - you get absolutely nothing done.

Big. Fat. Zero.

Well, okay - that's not exactly through. I've got 18.5K words on a 15K limit novella that's only 90% done. But, I think that qualifies as counter productive. Since now, I have more editing work. I've gone through it twice, and I think . . .

I think I've got too much story for 15K words. But how the heck do I pick a thread of my story to cut out. I love them all! And they make such a pretty pattern. *sigh*

Other than the novella - like I said - nothing doing. Just counting down to the weekend.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back in the Blog Saddle

The past two weeks have just been nuts, and it wasn't until I got back from a recent business trip that the 'I'm away from my Blog' post I thought I had left was apparently eaten by Scribefire, along with one for the WRB.

Anyhoo - a quick rundown:

I finished the Sweat with Sven challenge. It was the third round, though the first time for me. I think I could have gotten more out of it if I hadn't had so much on my plate otherwise. I went into it with big plans to be the ultimate cheerleader and fell woefully short of that goal. BUT I did at least complete the challenge - rather early too. From that aspect, it was a good motivator.

My first draft of Cloak of Deceit, is finished and being edited and slowly re-worked and re-written with the assistance of The ABC. I've sent off a submission package to a contest and am planning to possibly enter a few others this summer.

I'm still chugging along (albeit slowly) on my mentorship with the fabulously inspiring Debbie Mumford, whom I'm sure will be a very successful YA author soon, and on my Fiction Writing Workshop with A. Catherine Noon on the Writer's Retreat Forum. I'm not giving either of these as much attention as I would like, but c'est la vie - for now.

My next goal is to tackle a Nocturne Bite submission. I have plans to write and submit at least three possibilities for this. I'm 3K words into the first one and finding it challenging, but am very excited about the premise for the story. It's set in my Zyne Legacy universe - the one from my second novel project, Witch Hunt.

Two more weeks left of school and I can safely say I am completely crazy for thinking I could do all of this at once. I should manage to pull okay grades, but just by the skin of my teeth. I'm looking forward to having the summer off in order to focus on writing and maybe enjoy a bit of leisure time.

I have a stack of book reviews to do, and some already written. I'll be posting them over the next month rather frequently. Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series is one of my new favorites. I breezed through three of them on my trip and liked each one better than the last.

We've hosted a shrunken down version of the Flash Fiction Carnival on the Writer's Retreat Blog. I'm not sure if it is my fault because I didn't actively recruit enough, or if it is a mix-up because of the admin change - but in any event - major kudos to those who submitted - Catherine, Susan and Unhinged. I will have the posts up with a link hopefully tonight.

That is May in a nutshell so far. What have you been up to?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May Flash Fiction Carnival

If you are looking for the Flash Fiction Carnival theme/instructions for May, you can find them here. Happy Flashing!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday Fly-By

I tried, I really did - but I'm getting over the mutant flu from hell (yes, again), had a midterm on Monday (which I nailed, btw) and missed 3 days of work a week before THE big trade show, so things are a leetle ... um . . . hectic. Yeah, hectic. That's it.

No Thursday Thirteen for me, unless you want 13 cellular pathways that cancer can affect.

Ah. I didn't think so.

What's everyone else up to?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Secret in the Cellar




A good friend of mine has a short story published in the Membra Disjecta e-Zine by Drollerie Press.

It's a touching story with a bittersweet ending, and I'm a sucker for those. I can't say too much because I don't want to spoil the secret. Just trust me - it's good!


I may be slightly biased, but I think I could take up house inside Eden's imagination and live quite happily there. And she's just getting started.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Didn't Say It . . .

But I still think it's true.

I don't know about you guys/gals, but I *LOVE* Google. So much that I've decided to do an 'Ode to Google'. But don't worry - that's not what this is. That will get tossed on my ever-growing WIP pile.

Instead, I'll share something that Google helps me with. I'm a student of philosophy. So, I'm always on the lookout for quotes. You never know when you can use something someone else said to back you up. And, truth be told, there are many billions of people more eloquent than I that have come before - so why not stand on the shoulders of genius, right? Heh.

That's why I love Google. I have 28 Google Notebooks - various collections of things, but one of them is a list of quotes I encounter that strike me. I've dug up thirteen of them for you this week. =)


Photobucket
1. "Chance favors the prepared mind."
~ Louis Pasteur

2. "A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives - of approving of some and disapproving of others."
~ Charles Darwin

3. "Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech."
~ Martin Fraquhar Tupper

4. "A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."
~ Charles Dickens

5. "The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well."
~ Horace Walpole

6.
"There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures."
~ James Thurber

7.
"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric."
~ Bertrand Russell

8.
"The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

9. Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
~ Kahlil Gibran

10. "
The longest journey of any person is the journey inward."
~ Dag Hammerskjvld

11. "Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives."
~ C.S. Lewis

12. "An absolutely new idea is one of the rarest things known to man."
~ Thomas More

13. "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere."
~ Carl Sagan


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Leave a comment, and I'll link back to you here:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Quest for Balance . . .

I'm rambling about how to balance writing with your personal life over at the Writer's Retreat Blog today.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Poetry: Take Three

The City in the Sea
by Edgar Allan Poe

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters he.

No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently-
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free-
Up domes- up spires- up kingly halls-
Up fanes- up Babylon-like walls-
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers-
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye-
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass-
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea-
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.

But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave- there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide-
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow-
The hours are breathing faint and low-
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.

Poe is pretty much my favorite early American writer. I love his stories, and I love his poems. Part of it is the dark, gothic style. Part of it is something I can't explain. But I chose this poem, mostly because of all of them, it paints such a vivid picture. The imagery amazes me. And with something this long, the meanings/interpretations are many. Every time I read it, I feel like I'm peeling back a new layer, revealing a way to look at it that I never knew before. Hope you enjoyed it too!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Drat!

Despite my best efforts to fly under the radar, I've been tagged again, though I'm blaming Fey for this one.

Here we go, quick and dirty. And by dirty, I don't mean in the good way, so get your mind out of the gutter! Srsly. *sigh*

You're feeling: Like I need a Red Bull in the worst possible way, but I'm not going to give in that easy. I still have to get through tomorrow.

To your left: My living room, complete with two lounging cats and one lounging humanoid of the weekend male variety.

On your mind: Red Bull. I'm rather single-minded by the time I reach this point. That, and the list of other things I must do when I finish this post.

Last meal included: Mom's chinese pepper steak, with a lemon fruit bar for desert. MMmm.

You sometimes find it hard to: Get up on time in the morning. If my body had it's own way with me, I'd sleep 10 hours a night instead of 5.

The weather: A nondescript grey. Could be rainy, could be sunny. I'll wait five minutes. *waits* Hm. Still grey.

Something you have a collection of: Post cards! I love them! Everywhere I go, I buy one and write to myself. I love receiving them too. I also have about 5000 basketball cards that I plan to go through, value, and sell on eBay. Someday. *snort*

A smell that cheers you up: Fresh mint. It's invigorating.

A smell that can ruin your mood: Alcohol on someone's breath. *shudders*

How long since you last shaved: Uh...

Current state of your hair: *snort* It's a custom style. I call it 'Saturday'.

Largest thing on your desk/workspace (not computer): TBR pile.

Your skill with chopsticks: I manage not to look like a fool, but I walk away hungry.

Which section do you head for first in a bookstore: Nowadays, usually the new releases, then the romance section, then the sci-fi/fantasy, then the general fiction. I can't wait until urban fantasy/paranormal has its own section someday, so I won't have to make such a big loop. *lol*

Something you are craving: Red Bull, dammit. Keep rubbing it in, will ya? Okay, and a pedicure.

Your general thoughts on the presidential race: Fey said it best: Is it over yet? When the hell is Bush getting kicked out? is it over yet?

How many times have you been hospitalized this year: Last time I was 'hospitalized', I was 12.

Favourite place to go for a quiet moment: Park up the street from my work. It lets me get worlds away from the workday.

You've always secretly thought you'd be a good: Make-up artist. I thought about it for a while. Still love it. But there are too many other things I want to do.

Something that freaks you out a little: Flying on an airplane. A lot.

Something you have eaten a little too much of lately: Lemon fruit bars from Dreyers. In fact, I think it's time for another one!

You have never: Scuba-dived, bungee-jumped, or sky-dived. And I never will.

You never want to: Ha. Two for one! biggrin

The three people I'm tagging: Most of my fellow mischief makers have answered these already, and I will spare the rest of you.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

13 of Gwen's April Reads

I'm betting that more than a few people I know will relate to this. I actually have four 'book lists': to research, to be bought, to be read (the list), to be read (the pile).

Here's a glimpse at April's pile for me.




Photobucket
Gwen's April/May TBR Pile

1. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova - recommended and loaned by my father in law.

2. Fiction Writing Workshop, Josip Novakovich - for my workshop with Cat on the WR Board.

3. An anthology of thriller short stories, to get my feet wet in that genre.

4. The Fiery Cross, Diana Gabaldon - this is the fifth book in the Outlander series, which I absolutely love. Looking forward to snuggling up with this one over my coming business trip.

5. Moon's Fury, CT Adams and Cathy Clamp - I try to spread my paranormal/urban fantasy genre reading around various publishers. This is Tor/Forge.

6. Kushiel's Scion, Jacqueline Carey - This is the fourth book in a series. I loved the original trilogy and the friends I've recommended it to have gone on to read the later books and recommended them to me, so I'm looking forward to this one too.

7. Dime Store Magic, Kelley Armstrong - A new name in paranormal for me, recommended by a friend who doesn't normally read paranormals. This Canadian author is published in the US through Bantam Books.


~Intermission~



8. Industrial Magic, Kelley Armstrong - I was instructed to read both books. =)

9. Demon Night, Meljean Brook - I went on to the girls a while back how Meljean was my new hero. I hadn't read anything of hers yet, now I have, and I re-certify: she's my hero. Obvioulsy, I cheated and read this one already. Review will be coming.

10. Dream Chaser, Sherrilyn Kenyon - I have been meaning to read something of hers forever. I'm looking forward to checking out this very successful author, published through St. Martin's.

11. Dark of the Moon, Susan Krinard - I am hitting Harlequin titles hard over the next couple of months, this was my first toe in the pond. I read this one too. Review to come.

12. I picked up a pocket version of the Oxford Essential Guide to Writing. I do actually plan to read it. Bits and pieces at a time.

13. Swimming Without a Net, MaryJanice Davidson - I read a story of hers in a recent anthology, and really liked it, so when I spotted this on a fellow bookworm's shelf, I snatched it up. Now, don't go thinking I'm just a clepto who takes books out of people's houses. I traded it for some lasagna.


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!