Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Friday Five (Halloween Edition)


I know it's Wednesday and I know it says TFF, but I told you you're getting 5 spooky stories and it's not my fault Halloween is in the middle of the week. Today, kids, I bring to you something totally spooky that I have never seen, but would love to (I can't get my husband talked into it).

The Hornet Light. The what's-it, I hear you asking. Hornet. Light. Also known as the Spooklight, which is a mysterious sphere of light that floats off the ground. It 'roams' on a stretch of land called The Devil's Promenade, supposedly named because if you cross this section of land a certain number of times, the Devil will appear. It's between the Missouri and Oklahoma border.

The earliest recorded sighting of the Spooklight is 1881, but there are rumors of it during the Trail of Tears and Civil War. Some people say it's two young Indian lovers searching for one another.They forged a suicide pact because the princess's father would allow the couple to marry. Others says it's a Civil War solider/bushwhacker or miner looking for his head, the mysterious light coming from his bobbing lantern. The light sometimes splits into more than one orb or diamond shape and dances around.

In 1946 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looked into the phenomenon, but found no cause for it. Hunh. Skeptics say that it's caused by gas pockets, lights from Route 66 and the highway, lights from Quapaw, Oklahoma, or a fixed light, energy particles let off by the New Madrid fault, and a slew of other explanations.

Some people believe it's UFO activity. Whatever the cause of it, it's never harmed anyone and many people are here have fond memories of going to see it.

A YouTube video from paranormal experts for your viewing pleasure.



I also have for you a very special photograph that I took myself a few weeks ago.


I know what you're thinking. It's a photograph of cows. What is special about cows? Are they devil cows or something? Look closer. When I opened this image on my computer, I thought, why do those cows have circular shaved spots in their hair? I don't remember that when I took the photo. Those aren't shaved places, hand to God. Those are orbs.

I know what you're thinking now. It's, Allison, Allison, they're just dust particles reflecting the light. Well, just so you know, you're wrong. Those other pictures from a couple of weeks ago, nothing like this shows up in them and most of them were taken in the same barn. This was nowhere near the entrance and not under any direct light. Let me show you another example of this photo.


I count at least 11 orbs in this photo. Those are some seriously haunted cows. What's really sad about this is that I went to the cemetery and tried to take photos of the grave, but after a couple, the battery mysteriously died. Then I turned it on again and took a picture of some trees. It was fine after that. But I didn't capture any orbs there, so I'm reduced to showing haunted cows. Ah, well, it makes for good blog fodder.

Again, happy Halloween and don't get caught out with the boogers and spooks tonight. Remember to light a candle to guide the wayward spirits home.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Barracades

I told myself I was going to finish my WIP this weekend. It was 7000 words to the finish, which is nothing when you think about it. Just a nice black moment and a resolution. Easy peasy.

Okay, I have a problem and I recognize that I have a problem, so therefore I can work on resolving the problem. Denial is my key defense mechanism, but sometimes I'm ready to face my fears and recognize my issues.

I make plans and set schedules and generally try to function like a writer who knows what she's doing. If you've been following along, you're aware that there are 5 books in the L&L series. Or there will be. #1 came out in February. #2 came out last month. #3 is scheduled to hit virtual shelves in March (um, it's looking more like April), #4 in the fall of 2013 and #5 in spring 2014. I've been working hard on writing #4. I've had problems with #4 from the beginning. Some of it (most of it) was because the hero was not to hero-y. It's a long story about who the hero was originally supposed to be and the hero from book #3 kind of stole his thunder. I smashed my finger yesterday and I don't really want to get into it. But the hero hasn't been up to par.

I got the hero up to par, I was feeling pretty good about where he was going now. I figured out his back story. The heroine never gave me a lick of trouble and was all set to take over the world. I got to 72,000 words and froze. No big deal, sometimes that happens. I ignored that voice that whispers you know this is crap, right?

I'd give it some time, come up with a brilliant ending.

This is part of my problem. There are 5 books in all. I never (you've heard this before) intended to write a series. If I finish book #4, then there's only one book left. One I'm struggling with starting, struggling with thinking about. Don't worry about, you say. It'll come when it's ready. Of course it will. As thrilling as starting a series is and knowing it's going to be a series, it's scary as hell realizing it's going to end. Not to say that I'm not excited about starting a new one. I am.

In a way, after reading over book 3, I'm looking at it, going, there's no reason for there to be books after this one. With a little readjustment, this is the end. Sure, I spent two months writing another book to follow. A book I'm not crazy about, a book whose hero I'm not overly fond of, a book that is so far fetched (and if you've read the first two you're going, what? Really? More far-fetched than those? How can that be?) even I don't believe it and I believe all kinds of crazy things.

You see my problem now, don't you? It's fear of failure so massive that I'm thinking about throwing away a 72,000 word MS. Don't do it, you say. Set it aside, because I just told you it isn't even scheduled to release for another year. I'll be sorry if I abandon it for good. There are a few scenes worth saving in it.

The thing is, I don't like to put things away. I like to work on something, keep busy, which is why I didn't take very much time after finishing book 3 to start writing this one. I was in the mood and I took it.

Let's go back to Friday when I made the vow to finish the novel. While I was sitting at my desk at work, I thought, what if the hero knew who and what the heroine was all along. What if, instead of being in the dark, he was really friends with the hero from book 3, and he was sent to protect the heroine, even if she doesn't know or want his protection.

This weekend, instead of finishing that WIP, I wrote 6000 words with the same characters in a different situation and a hero with a different back story. Am I out of my ever-loving mind, or what?

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Friday Five - Booger Dog

I mentioned Vance Randolph in the first Ozarkian spook tale. He was well-known in the area as a collector of folklore and mythology. Today I'm going to tell you about the booger dog (laugh it up, I know what you're thinking). This is what he had to say on the subject:

One of my best friends told me seriously that as a little boy in McDonald county, Missouri, he once met a spotted hound that was bigger than a cow, and made tracks in the snow nearly two feet across. At the time he was astounded that a dog should attain such a size, but it never entered his head that there was anything supernatural about the animal. It was years later, when he came to realize that there were no such dogs anywhere in the world, he knew that he had seen a "booger dog."

It's entirely possible that the booger dog, also referred to as a hellhound, is a myth brought to the Ozarks from our Scotch-Irish ancestors. A couple of years ago there were several sightings of a hellhound in the Ozarks. So much so that on the local radio station, they called in a paranormal investigator and now Paul the Nixa Hellhound has his own FB page.

I have my own booger dog sighting from a few years ago if you're interested. One afternoon before Memorial Day in 2006, I'd been to Walmart to get flowers to put on my dad's grave. I turned on a road named Swinging Bridge to go to the cemetery and an animal ran in front of the car. It was about the size of a large dog, reddish in color, smooth coat, no tail and pointy ears. It was running hell-for-leather for no apparent reason. It was built like a dog, but it had the muscle mass of a big cat and it ran like a cat. I stopped to see if I could get a better look at it, but it's really brushy on that road. I've never seen it since. I do walk in that area and I've love to know what it was close up.

Back to black booger dogs, this is the story largely associated with the Ozarks.

When Taney, Stone, and Christian Counties were first settled, community was an important thing. Folks were used to helping one another and going to church. Of course, there are always hermits and hateful people hiding out in the hills and hollers.

One man by the name of Wolf(e), lived around a community and while everyone was busy helping a family that had a bad crop year, he refused to. He was reputed as blasphemer and generally left alone. He grew old and sick and was on his deathbed. Some of the neighboring men came around to try to talk him into being saved before he died. He renounced God again and the house was struck by lightning and caught fire. The men who'd come to visit tried to lift him out of bed, but he seemed to be stuck. They tried moving the bed, but it too was stuck to the floor. Finally they had to leave or be burned up, so they left Wolf(e) there.

They'd no sooner stepped out into fresh air than a big black dog ran out the door and into the woods. When the fire burned itself out, they sifted through the ashes trying to find the old man's bones, but there wasn't anything left. Naturally, they assumed he'd transformed into the devil dog.

You can find this story and a few others (including Randolf's account) at the blog: The Spirit Seekers.

Happy Friday, kids! May your path be ever without shadowy dogs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cover Reveal & Giveaway from Elizabeth Marx

Morning, kids. It's Wednesday, which means it's guest author day. Today we have Elizabeth Marx and she's doing a cover reveal of her soon-to-be-released Red Veil Series! Plus, she's authorized me to pick a winner of both books to add to your reading list. Check 'em out! You know the drill. Leave a comment!

Descent of Blood, The Red Veil Series, The Prequel
When times are darkest, some vampires desire more than blood …
England, 1465. Mortal men clash in the War of the Roses for the English crown, while vampire warriors’ move undetected among their ranks, savoring the flow of blood that battlefields provide. 

Vampire prince, Severian Pearce, fears the revelation of the immortal clans to humankind should King Henry fall from power. While in pursuit of Henry’s enemies, Severian comes to the aid of Meridian Neville, a human woman he craves—and not for the scent of her blood … Meridian is torn between honoring her father’s dying wish and her unexplainable yearning for Lord Severian. But as Severian and Meridian work together to protect a relic hunted by mortals and immortals alike, the red veil descends over them. This all-consuming attraction can drive immortals to the brink of madness. Will the existence of this powerful bond between a human and a vampire be enough to unite the immortal clans or is the red veil a scourge set on destroying any chance they might have of happiness?

When all hope is lost, one vampire will fight unto death for his forbidden love.



Ascent of Blood, The Red Veil Series, Book One
Sometimes, love is conceived in the mind of a man long before it is ever realized. 
1990, Cardiff, Wales.  Vampire prince, Sebastian Pearce, has waited six-hundred years for the right human mate. His own beloved mother was a mortal capable of carrying immortal offspring. While vampires no longer require live donors for sustenance, Mother Nature has played a cruel trick on them … making breeders a rare commodity. As numbers in his Imperial House dwindle, Sebastian’s virgin bride eludes him, until he happens upon a young woman searching for information about a sacred vampire text, the Book of Descent. Sebastian’s desire for her is more potent than anything he’s felt for another woman, but Everleigh Marbut isn’t innocent. She’s an American with a mind of her own, and worst of all, she’s already carrying an immortal being. Sebastian and Everleigh are so intent on fighting their attraction to each other and the influence of the red veil that they don’t realize they’re being pulled into a battle pitting medieval myth against the power of modern science to recreate life.

Author Bio:
Windy City writer Elizabeth Marx brings cosmopolitan flair to her fiction, which is a blend of romance and fast-paced Chicago living with a sprinkle of magical realism. In her past incarnation she was an interior designer--not a decorator--which basically means she has a piece of paper to prove that she knows how to match and measure things and can miraculously make mundane pieces of furniture appear to be masterpieces. Elizabeth says being an interior designer is one part shrink, one part marriage counselor and one part artist, skills eerily similar to those employed in writing.  

Elizabeth grew up in Illinois and has also lived in Texas and Florida. If she’s not pounding her head against the wall trying to get the words just right, you can find her at a softball field out in the boonies or sitting in the bleachers by a basketball court. Elizabeth resides with her husband, girls, and two cats who’ve spelled everyone into believing they’re really dogs. 

Elizabeth has traveled extensively, but still says there’s no town like Chi-Town.

Links:

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Friday Five - Another Ozarkian Tale


Where are we? Oh, okay, the third week of spooky Ozarkian tales. Excellent.

Late one night a drunk was on his way home after being at a pretty wild shindig. He got lost on the road home and walked into a cemetery. The sky was getting cloudy, there was no moon and the wind was whistling through the trees. After some stumbling around he thought he heard his name.

He just knew it was the devil calling for him because the preacher always said what a sin drinking was. So he started to run and fell into a deep hole. The voice called his name again--right next to him! It was pitch black and he couldn't see a thing.

After a moment his eyes adjusted and he saw a dark shape sitting by him. It said his name again and when he jumped up, it said, "You can't get out."

So frightened by this creature, he jumped six feet out of the hole, landed on the edge, and ran for home, vowing never to drink again.

From inside the hole, his friend sighed. Earlier in the day some men had been digging a new grave  He'd fallen into the hole about an hour before and when the other drunk fell in, he hoped they could help each other out. Now he'd just have to wait for someone to come along in the morning and fetch a ladder.


Happy Friday, kids. May the weekend be ever kind to you and not allow you to fall into open graves on your own.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Author Interview - Vanessa North



What's your book/current WIP about?
Amazon is first and foremost, a romance--it’s the love story between Bianca and Jack, both Guardian werewolves from neighboring packs. However, it’s also about family and destiny, and finding a place, and the struggles that are faced when trying to enact social change.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
One of my favorite lines is actually one of the earliest hints at how Bianca feels about being “the chosen one.” She and Jack are talking, and he brings up their eventual mating, and he says something about how they haven’t used the word “mate” yet, and isn’t it a big deal. Bianca, totally deadpan, looks at him and says something like “well, you might have noticed that I’m kind of a big deal.”


What's your next project?
The next book I have coming out is a novella called “Shifter’s Dance” which was written for Musa Publishing’s shared world series “The Wiccan Haus.” Shifter’s Dance is the story of a ballet dancer who is blinded at the peak of her career, losing her job along with her eyesight, and a bear shifter named Stephen who “isn’t really a spy, exactly.”

My current work in progress is a spin off series to the Ushers, dealing with creatures called First Blood, who are sort of like vampires living in an insect-like hive society.

Describe your writing in a sentence.
My writing is a little gritty and a lot sexy.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears? 
I choose them, and I’m really, really bad at it. I once had a publisher ask me to change the names of four characters in one 30k word novella. *hangs head in shame*

Plotter or panster?
I’m definitely a plotter. I outline most of the plot before I even start writing, down to the scene. I have detailed character worksheets to which I am constantly referring, and those drive the plotting process.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
I prefer quiet, but I have four year old twins and two dogs, so I don’t always get the quiet I prefer.

What are you currently reading? 
I just finished a couple of books this weekend: “Calling the Shots” by Christine D’Abo, a M/M/F romance, and “My Fair Dork” by Daisy Harris, the latest in her Holsum College series. I enjoyed both of them immensely--Christine writes very erotic romances, and Daisy’s series is just so fun! Next on my TBR shelf is the Wild at Heart Anthology--I wrote one of the stories in this charity project which benefits the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, and I have been looking forward to reading the rest of them!

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
Hmm, I don’t know. I like talking about words, so I guess maybe I’d like someone to ask me about favorite words to use. I would say the f-bomb for sure! I also have an overfondness for the word “really”--it’s so bad that I have to go through my manuscripts when they are done and delete all the “reallys.”

People think I'm weird because...
I definitely march to the beat of my own drum--I’m drawn to artistic people and artsy things, and I don’t try to hide the things that make me different. I learned a long time ago that when I try to be something I’m not, I end up feeling isolated from the people around me. I’d much rather just be myself and surround myself with people who accept me as I am.


Title: Amazon (The Ushers, Book One)
Author: Vanessa North
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Length: 54,000 words
Genre(s): Erotic Paranormal Romance (Action, F/F/M)
Heat Level: Sizzling

Available at:
Amazon || Musa Publishing

Blurb:
Jack's routine investigation of rogue wolf sightings threatens to uncover both Bianca's secrets and her passionate nature. Can she trust him enough to make the sacrifice her destiny demands?

Born albino, Bianca was spared death in infancy when her mother found safe haven among the ghosts and misfits of Amazon Pack. As Guardian of Amazon, she protects the hidden pack with a ferocity that belies her delicate appearance.

Jack’s routine investigation of rogue wolf sightings in his territory uncovers both Bianca’s secrets and her passionate nature. He finds her alluring and terrifying: he’s convinced she’s his mate, but is she also the Usher--key to their culture’s most sacred prophecies?

The Usher’s destiny requires a sacrifice to repair a rift in wolf culture and set the Goddess free. Can Jack and Bianca trust each other enough to pay that price?

Excerpt:
Bianca pulled her v-neck t-shirt over her head, shucking off her shoes and jeans. Jack immediately started shedding his clothes as well. Growing up among wolves, he’d never really given much thought to nudity. Their bodies grew in size as they shifted, so he was accustomed to stripping down before a run in order to preserve his wardrobe. He glanced over at the Albina as she shook her hair out. Standing in the moonlight, she was stunning. He saw her delicate pink nipples were still hard and aroused from his kiss. The curls of hair on her mound were as fair as her hair, and he saw the delicate pink folds glistening, swollen with arousal, peeking through the white curls. Her beauty was astounding. He saw marks on her skin, leaned closer to examine them. Tattoos, he realized suddenly. All wolves were tattooed after their first shift. Most of them were tattooed in black ink with colors for emphasis, but several of hers were done in white. As befits Albina, he thought as he admired the elegant symbols. Her entire back was covered, here and there a shadow in grey? or a bit of color drawing attention to some of the more consequential tattoos. Clearly she was a powerful Guardian for her pack--she’d not have been tattooed so many times without having achieved her place of power by virtue of her skills. As she turned to fold her discarded clothes, he could see some scars on her body, remnants of fights won. The tattoos glimmered in the dark, beckoning him to trace them with his fingers, his tongue. He groaned, and she looked over her shoulder at him with a smile.

“Kathy has changed already, are you ready?” she asked, turning to stare at his body in the moonlight. Hard and muscled everywhere, his upper body hairy and tattooed all over. She looked at his signs and symbols of strength and honor, a visual representation of his place in his pack. They confirmed that he was a fit mate for her--his beautiful body bore scars of fights clearly dominated, and the tattoos that marked him as a leader curled around them. She smiled, her gaze lingering at the proof of his arousal, standing proudly from the bed of black curls at the top of his legs. She blushed slightly as she realized he had followed her gaze. He grinned back at her with a wink as he sank to his knees.

She had seen many wolves shift before. However, she found herself curiously watching him, to see if her mate--there was no longer a doubt in her mind that he was indeed her mate—would seem different from those others. It was sensual, witnessing his change--his body shook and he turned his head with a loud cracking noise. He owned his change like only a powerful wolf could--it was masterful, graceful almost, as his black fur grew over his body. Then he sat, watching her, a huge black wolf with golden-brown eyes. He was resplendent. She knelt next to him, still in her human form, and caressed between his ears. His fur was soft and his eyes kind. He closed them and rolled his head into her hand like a dog seeking a touch from his mistress. His essential masculine scent still surrounded him in his animal form, and as she stroked his head, he snorted and his tongue lolled out between sharp lethal teeth to lap at her hand. She loved the feel of his fur between her fingers, and he clearly enjoyed her attentions. But then he shook his head, took a couple of steps towards the woods and whined back at her. If they were mated, they’d be able to read each other’s thoughts, as pack-mates could, and even more than that, they’d be able to share their feelings through their mate bond. But even without that bond, she could sense his eagerness to run. She grinned and let loose her wolf, feeling the change work over her, bringing forward the animal, tucking the woman away inside.

About the Author:
Vanessa North was born in New England but moved to the South as a teenager, where she learned to appreciate biscuits and gravy, bluegrass, and that most welcome of greetings: “Hey y’all!” She has a degree in Mass Communication but has long since abandoned journalism in favor of writing romance. Instead of telling the news, V would rather tell stories.

Vanessa has a voracious appetite for books and loves all kinds. She writes obsessively: every day brings new ideas and stories to tell. When she’s not buried in a book—hers or someone else’s—you can find her taking thousands of photographs of the people she loves.

She lives in Northwest Georgia with her handsome husband, not-quite-civilized twin boy-children, and a
pack of dogs.

Contact Vanessa at:
Website - http://www.vanessanorth.com
Blog - http://vanessanorthwrites.wordpress.com
Facebook - http://facebook.com/authorvanessanorth
Twitter - https://twitter.com/VanessaNWrites




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Monday, October 15, 2012

My Sincerest Apologies In Case of Apocalypse

I don't have any pictures for you today except the one I call dummy dogs. It's Mungo on the left and Stormy on the right doing their best to look cute and innocent. I assure you . . . they are not. It's a ploy to get food. Okay, they're kind of cute, especially together.

I don't have any pictures because I didn't really do anything this weekend. It was miserable and rainy Friday and mostly cloudy Saturday, so it wasn't really ideal for doing much outdoors. I went to the library and wrote about 2,000 words. That brought me up from 66,000 to 68,000.

Went home and was really bored, so I thought, ah I might as well try to get something else done. It never occurred to me to edit The Turncoat's Temptress. When I reached 70,000 I decided to call it good for the night. I should be able to finish that last 10k in a week or two. As I've mentioned before, our DVD player/VCR combo has finally gone completely out of its mind. It's way past time to get a new one.

Bored witless, I started editing TcT finally. I'm about 80% finished with this round. I remember while I was writing it, thinking about how crappy it is. No, not crappy. It's actually a half-way entertaining story. Okay, it's extremely entertaining. I look forward to bringing it to the world in the spring.

I'm not doing (I assure you 100%) NaNoWriMo this year. I've written my little hands to the bones and they need a break before starting something new. That something new will be the final novel in the L&L series. Fear not! I have other plans for a new series (three books) for late 2014-2015. Assuming the Mayans don't kill us all with their ancient apocalypse. If that's the case, I'm sorry, but you probably won't get to read The Turncoat's Temptress. Yes, I feel sort of bad about that, but I'm really not up for having it available before 12-21-12. You can blame the holidays.

I am, however, trying to decide on a date in March. Preferences?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Friday Five - Ozarkian Legend

What shall we discuss today? Oh, how about one of my favorites?

Taily-Poo

Look at that attention to detail. Tail bones and all.
There once was a hunter who had three hounds. It was a lean fall and he'd been all over the countryside trying to catch game so he and the dogs could eat. One evening he was hunting a rabbit. He thought he missed and when he went to search if he'd hit it or not, he saw a strange shape peering out of the bushes. Its eyes glowed red and it had a long, bushy tail. Hungry, he shot at it and managed to shoot its tail off. The creature howled and ran away, but left it's severed appendage behind. The hunter took the tail home and boiled it up into a nice stew.

As he drifted off to sleep that night, stomach full, he heard a rustling and scratching in the chimney. Jerking awake, he saw the red glowing eyes and heard a voice say, "Give me back my taily-poo!"

He jumped out and bed and sicced the dogs on the creature, which scuttled up the chimney. The dogs were gone for a while and when they came back there were only two. He worried about the missing dog, but exhaustion pulled him toward sleep again. It wasn't long before he heard the scratching again and another demand. "Give me back my taily-poo!"

He made the dogs go after the creature once more. But only one returned. The hunter clutched his rifle and waited to see if the creature would come back.

Familiar scratching alerted him to the creature's presence.

"I want my taily-poo!" it shrieked.

"I haven't got your taily-poo!" he shouted.

 He told the dog to get it, but the dog ran out the cabin door in fright. The creature crept down the chimney and the hunter was so frightened by the animal with glowing eyes, massive claws, and pointed bobcat ears that he dropped his gun.

A few months went by and the townsfolk realized they hadn't heard anything from the hunter in some time. A group of them went up to his cabin and searched, but there was no sign of him or the dogs. As they headed back to the town, they heard a gleeful voice in the woods singing, "Taily-poo, taily-poo, I got back my taily-poo."

I think the most horrifying part of this story is that disembodied voice in the woods. Eep!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Picture This Thursday

You see, kids? I promised photographs and I delivered. Would I lie to you? Don't answer that. FarmFest was last weekend as well, so I bring to you as a token of my generosity, cute photos of animals as well as the lake.

Oh gah! Not a picture with my bad hair day!

I just want to pet that fluffy baby head.

There are no words for how cute this is.

A seriously cool pumpkin.

Table Rock Lake, Port of Kimberling.

Other side of Port of Kimberling.

Port of Kimberling docks
There you are, some stuff to look at on a dull, dreary (at least here) Thursday morning. Come back tomorrow for The Friday Five, which is actually just a Friday one, but I promise you another Ozarkian spooky tale!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Author Interview - Ann B. Harrison

What's your current WIP about?
Red Hot is an very hot romance about a witch that falls for a dyed in the wool geeky scientist.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
Shut up Rhian. Just shut the fuck up and hope he leaves with a shred of interest instead of terror in his bones that you are going to stalk him.

What's your next project?
I have a Young Adult series that I'm working on and a middle grade book that is almost complete.

Describe your writing in a sentence.
Some days frantic, other days relaxed and cruisey. Depends on the muse.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
They tend to shout to be heard over all the other voices in my head.

Plotter or panster?
Oh definite pantser.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
As I write this, my DH has Bathurst 1000 screaming on the television, but there are days when I love the quiet. I can write anywhere.

What are you currently reading? 
I'm getting my YA fix with Harlan Coben's Seconds Away and Melissa Marr's Carnival of Souls.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it? None, interviews in person terrify me.

People think I'm weird because...
I have a frog fetish. Never ever hurt my frogs.


Title: Taming the Outback
Author: Ann B. Harrison
Publisher: Breathless Press
Length: 159 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance

AVAILABLE AT:
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Taming-the-Outback-ebook/dp/B0091
All Romance eBooks - https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-tamin
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/219617

BLURB:
Is Libby prepared to give up her new home for a chance to roll Nathan in the hay when her libido wakes up after five long years?

Nathan Miller rattles Libby's nerves more than she cares to admit. He is the one person that stands between her and the family home that has been left to her.

So why then is he the guy that stirs her up to such an extent that her body pulses with the need to have him? They do nothing but clash and snap at one another and he makes no bones about the fact that she shouldn't be on the station, but back in the city where he thinks she belongs.

Libby fights to learn about her new home while struggling to find a way into Nathans heart. She almost loses it all when a flood hits their tiny town and rips through her farm putting her daughter's life in danger.

Will she be able to convince him that she is not the irresponsible city chick he has dubbed her or will he
see her as she truly is, a woman in love with him.

EXCERPT:
"That's just it, sweetheart," Nathan exploded, his frustration finally rearing its ugly head as he rounded on her, giving her the brunt of his foul mood. "This is a harsh country, and buts just don't cut it out here. You are cut out for the city life for Christ's sake. You're not a farmer. You don't have the slightest idea of what you're getting yourself into. You proved that by almost losing Tom and your daughter." The look on Holly's face when he had found them was still burned into his mind. The poor kid had been terrified she wasn't going to be able to hold onto Tom against the rush of water. He couldn't bear to think of what would have happened if he hadn't made it in time. How can I be sure Libby won't put her in any more danger now that I have had my heartstrings tugged tight? He stood and looked down on her, trying to keep his face void of emotions but his heart was telling him to take her in his arms and put them both out of their misery. "How many more times are you going to put those kids at risk?"

"Now just you look here," she cried, pushing him back and struggling to get to her feet. "I may be a barmaid, and I know I have a lot to learn, but learn I will. And for your information, I would never knowingly put my kids in danger. Neither would Tom."

"You don't belong here," he ground out. Though aware the words he was saying were hurtful, he couldn't stop himself. They were his only defense. He was trying to will her away from him the only way he knew how, unwilling to risk his heart to a city dweller again. As much as he wanted this woman, he wouldn't let her know it. She had the capacity to break his heart when the going got tough, which was in the cards looking at the state of her farm, and he wasn't sure he would survive another crushed heart. Better to get her out of here now before he caved in. "Get used to the idea and move on back home where you belong."

"Why? So you can take over?" She practically spat at him. "I will not give up what my family has passed down to me. It's mine, and you aren't going to get it."

"There's more than one way to get what I want." Nathan hauled her into his arms.

Libby tried to push him away, but the contact of her breasts on his hard chest knocked the wind out of him, and he held onto her for dear life. He groaned deep in his throat as he pressed his lips against hers, demanding and hungry. The heat rushed through his veins as his hands slid down to cup her denim-clad butt, pulling her against his hips, leaving her in no doubt he wanted her. She wound her arms around his neck as she molded her body closer to his, impatient noises coming from her mouth.

Visit Ann's other tour spots!


Ann swears she was born with a book in her hand and has never put it down. A lifelong love of reading has finally culminated in achieving her dream of writing…and publication.

She lives in the middle of the desert in Australia in a small mining town with her own handsome hero of many years. Ann has always loved the ups and downs of life in small communities and she shares this with
readers in her rural romances.

Strong, spunky heroines with a good dose of sass thrown in feature in her stories. Of course these women need an equally strong hero. Bring on the Outback hero and watch the passion ignite.

When not writing, Ann runs a day care centre and looks after young children for working Mums and Dads. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, walking her very large dog, Hugo, and fighting with her computer.

Visit Ann at http://annbharrison.com


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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Tattler

Public domain. Because the Library of Congress says so.
Ugh those red robes and awestruck faces just scream "Pompous!"
Let the slaughter begin.
Of all the rude things! I didn't have a post yesterday! Well, that's because it was Columbus Day here in the States. You know, the one where white people celebrate the doom of red people. Or something like that. In 1792, America celebrated 300 years of discovery. In 1892, America celebrated 400 years of (because nothin' says 'patriotic' like slaying your red brethren). It became an official national holiday in 1937. Never mind that America was discovered by wandering nomads and Vikings first.

So what was I doing on my big day off? We went to the lake. I got you pictures, but I didn't put the on my flash drive. Sorry! It's been chilly here the last week or so, but the temps hit about 60-ish yesterday (we're shooting for 70 today). There wasn't much boat traffic on the lake and it made for some lovely scenes that you can't see right now.

I also hit 60,000 words on my WIP (currently titled The Siren's Suitor). The heroine, Emer, has just taken over as queen even though deep down she doesn't want to do it. Fortunately she has the hero, Ransom, at her back. Also, there's a steampunk airplane. And a war. Some serious black moments are coming. You know, writing the first chapter of the book is hard. Writing the black moments and climax, way harder. Or at least that's my thought until I start my next book and I'll be all, writing first chapters is hard.

Happy Tuesday, kiddies. Pictures soon, I promise.



Friday, October 5, 2012

The Friday Five - Myths From The Ozarks

You can thank Melissa Limoges for inspiring this post. She got me thinking about Yokum silver the other day. Long story, but you can read about it in this interview. I was thinking about legends to put into a post, but then I got the bright idea to tell you one Ozarkian ghost story every Friday until Halloween (which is on a Wednesday). So no TFF, yes 'pook haint story.

I'm a huge fan of Vance Randolph and he's sort of the inspiration behind the hero of The Turncoat's Temptress, Basil Tinwhistle. Mr. Randolph was a folklorist who spent a great deal of time studying Ozarkian myth and legends. This story is in one of his books.

Raw Head and Bloody Bones

Raw Head and Bloody Bones is one story that always stuck out to me as holy crap, what kind of moonshine inebriated psycho thought this up?! It's about an old woman who was a witch that had an Arkansas razorback as a pet. Her house was full of magical herbs and folks believed that the razorback she called Raw Head was always nosing around for scraps and roots and ingested a bunch of her magical potion leftovers.

He could also walk upright like a human. People claimed to see him walking around her house on two legs all the time. One day a hunter came through the woods and either he was just a jackass or he asked her for food and she turned him away (depending on which version you get), but he knew Raw Head was her pet. When she went to town one day, Raw Head wasn't with her and she expressed concern to the storekeeper about not knowing where he was.

When she got home she mixed up a potion that showed her visions. In them the hunter had found Raw Head and rounded him up with other pigs for slaughter. Of course, she was really angry about it and got out her spell book of black magic.

She chanted "Raw Head and bloody bones". The head rolled over to the bones. When she said, "Bloody bones get up and dance", the bones assembled into an upright hog. The head zoomed up to the top. Raw Head slipped through the woods to find a weapon to use against the hunter (like a freakin' talking, upright, tusked pig isn't enough? If you know anything about pigs you know first and foremost that most of them, especially razorbacks are very dangerous). He found the skeleton of a bear and took the claws from it, the teeth from a dying panther and the tail of a dead raccoon. Then he cut in front of the path where the hunter was walking. The hunter saw a pair of eyes looking out of the darkness and said, "What have you go those big eyes for?"

Raw Head replied, "To see your grave."

The hunter thought it was just some kids messing with him. He kept walking, but then he saw Raw Head's eyes were brighter and he saw bear claws.

"Why have you got those big claws?" the hunter asked.

"To dig your grave." He made a noise in his throat that scared the hunter, who didn't know how a kid could make that sound.

The hunter tried to run, but he tripped and Raw Head came closer, displaying his coon tail. The hunter said, "Why have you got that crazy tail?"

Raw Head replied, "To sweep your grave."

His panther teeth glistened as he leaped out to kill the hunter.

The hunter tried to scramble away, stuttering, "What have you got those big teeth for?"

"To eat you like you wanted to eat me!" And the Raw Head proceeded to eat him.

Sometimes folks would still see Raw Head around the old woman's cabin. Once a month on the full moon he could be seen riding through the hills in the hunter's overalls with a hole cut out of the back for his tail and his head held high in his clawed hand as he raced through the moonlight.

It's kind of a Sleepy Hollow, Little Red Riding Hood type story. Very spooky considering some of the sounds you hear at night around here. Wahahahaha! There's also an English legend of the same name, but their fey got nothin' on our razorback.

Happy Friday, kids!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Feature - Crimson Footprints (Part 1) - Shewanda Pugh

Title: Crimson Footprints (Part I)
Author: Shewanda Pugh
Publisher: Delphine Publications
Length: 87,000 words
Genres: Contemporary Interracial/Multicultural Romance/Women's Fiction
Heat Level: Steamy

AVAILABLE AT:
Amazon | Smashwords

BLURB:
When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted family in the dark—albeit with devastating consequences.

On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through the hood in a Porsche will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief. Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way, she could’ve done the same.

But love’s a devil that way.

So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. Anyone. And Tak understands this—for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had. And away from him. (read the review)

EXCERPT:
A slender, striking man of Asian descent was on the wrong end of Anthony’s .32. With arms raised, his hands were splayed in a show of defenselessness. His expression was calm, despite the growing crowd of onlookers and the pistol in his face. Behind him, an old woman made the sign of the cross.

“Anthony!” Deena cried, rushing towards them. Her brother cast a single sideways glance but kept his gun level.

“Get back in the house,” he said.

Deena turned her attention to the Asian man. She was struck by his eyes, wide and heavy-lidded. His mouth was generous, his square face softened by layers of thick black hair. He had boyish good looks and a long, lean athletic frame.

Japanese.

She was certain he was Japanese.

Deena turned to her brother. “Will you put that thing away?”

The two stared at each other, older sister, young brother, eyes narrowed. When he didn’t move, Deena stepped between the gun and the stranger, her eyes level with the barrel. Anthony lowered the gun with a sigh and Deena seized the opportunity to snatch it.

She turned to the stranger. “I assume that’s your car,” she said, nodding towards a sleek gray convertible parked haphazardly, a shiny nickel in a murky puddle. He nodded, his glossy black tresses falling into wide almond eyes.

“Yeah, um, about that.” He cleared his throat. “He uh, took my keys.”

Deena turned to her brother, hand extended. He dropped the keys in her palm with a sigh, a new Ferrari slipping from his grasp with reluctance.

She passed the keys to the stranger and their fingertips brushed. Something warm and foreign turned over in her and her lips parted in surprise. She thought she saw the makings of a smile in his eyes, but she dismissed it. He took the keys and thanked her. And as she watched him peel off with the top down on his sleek convertible, Deena’s pulse skittered then and long after.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shewanda Pugh is a native of Boston’s inner city, though she now lives in sunny Miami, Florida. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Alabama A&M University and a Master’s in Writing from Nova Southeastern University. Fueled from a young age, her passion for crossing societal boundaries like race, class and culture, is the inspiration for both her cluttered bookshelf and her writing. When she’s not busy obsessing over fiction, she can be found traveling, nursing her social networking addiction or enjoying the company of loved ones.

Website - www.shewandapugh.com
Blog - http://shewandapugh.blogspot.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Author.ShewandaPugh
Twitter - https://twitter.com/ShewandaP



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Monday, October 1, 2012

SIFWIW - Nuts About Nature

The only thing I can say is, crap last week was long and the end was stressful. And now my DVD player doesn't work, which really sucks, but I'm coping. 

Saturday I was in the doldrums and to be honest, the weather is part of it. It's been so cloudy here lately that it drags me down and makes me tired. So I went to the library with the intention of adding a whole bunch of words to my WIP. I sat there for about four hours, but didn't reach my goal before my computer battery threatened to quit on me. When I got outside I was like, it's only 1 pm, what do I do now?

My brain went dut, dut, dut, dut . . . Nature Center! I was like, yeah, brain, that's it! The Springfield Nature Center! Because by then the sun was shining. So I took me a little drive up to Springfield, missed the exit, of course, then found it again and pulled into the parking lot. I've been there before, but never on the trails. So here are some photos of a pretty cool nature trail.
The top photo there is of a paved trail. This photo on the right is an unpaved trail, which is more my style. It's called Foxbluff Trail and went up, up, up to a loop. I saw lots of squirrels which was kind of unimpressive because I see squirrels all the time, but it's funny to listen to city people talk about them like they're really rare or something. "Look, squirrels!" Um, yeah, tree rats. They're edible too, city folk.

See? This here is a squirrel. He's looking for his nuts. Probably.


At the top of Foxbluff Trail, where there were no other people because the couple with the loud little boy chose to go down the path with the sign that said Long Trail 2 miles (and didn't believe it was that far), I found these:






I got within 10 or 15 feet of them. The one above this text didn't have spots, but it was the littlest of them and you could see it was a baby. It was so cute. It kept lifting its tail to show the white like, eep! A People! 

Then I went back down the trail and it another one called Boardwalk Trail. It ran down by Lake Springfield (yeah, like in The Simpsons, but not that Springfield). I saw this boardwalk and I was like, sheesh, where are the alligators? It looks like the swamps in Louisiana. I didn't go all the way down it because it just looped around and I saw another bridge and decided to go that way instead. It's call Sycamore Cut-off.
Pretty bridge. It joined a trail called Long Trail and I thought, nah, not feeling the longness right now. Yes, I was wearing flip flops instead of tennis shoes. In my defense, my tennies were soaking wet because they'd been out in the rain after last week's jaunt down Wilderness Road where I got into a mess of seed ticks. And I didn't plan on walking on Saturday, so I didn't think I'd need tennies.

 This is the view off the bridge. Muddy because we had some rain, which we needed, but it was kinda icky looking. Don't drink the water, don't eat the red berries. Got it? There were people canoeing on the lake, though. In the end, in a much better mood, I turned around over the bridge and decided to take a photo of this bluff in front of the bridge because it's purty. Still all nice and green and shady. I kind of wanted to just live there. Except they close the gates at 8 pm and I'm scared of the dark, so that wouldn't work out very well.

On the way back I got this little picture of a chipmunk butt. I stopped in the trail to take the photo and this family of people that looked like hippies were all, "Shh, don't move! It's a chipmunk!" They all froze and stared at it like they'd never encountered a chipmunk before. I thought they were just being polite while I took the photo, but they continued to revere the sight of a tiny woodland creature, never even taking their eyes off of it as I passed by them. I was confused.

 I really enjoyed the walk, even though on the way back it was a lot of uphill. I had to pretend I wasn't huffing and puffing while all these buff joggers ran by me. No, no, I'm fine. Just because I'm laying in the middle of the path, red-faced and clutching my chest doesn't mean I'm out of shape and having a heart attack.

Note to self: Stop going where the show-off joggers are.