Monday, December 31, 2012

There Aren't Any Apocalyses I Should Know About, Right?

I'm reading over last year's final post so I can figure out what to say in this one. Man. I even started off that post with good year, bad year. I could put this one on the same set of scales and watch them wobble.

Let's recap, shall we? (I hope this doesn't constitute complaining, because I'm not trying to. Anyway, this is my blog, so I guess I can write whatever I want because I did learn a lesson in the end.)

I came into 2012 with the expectation that The Treasure Hunter's Lady would see light of day. My big goal for the year was just to e-publish it in February and finish writing The Sky Pirate's Wife. It was . . . a lot more work than I anticipated. I still fall under the belief that things are much easier than they appear even if you're already elbow deep in them. As in, why does everyone else make this look so easy?! But when everyone encourages me to take a step back and draw in a breath, I turn rabid dog and am like, leave me alone, I won't stop until I finish!

I did publish THL. To Smashwords, to Amazon, to Barnes & Noble. I did interviews on a ton of blogs, And then I had a nervous breakdown. Sales were not what I had hoped--my hopes were ridiculous because I was a debut author. No matter how many interviews I did, they didn't much seem to help. It took me about three months to get over that. It appears as though the world is largely determined to ignore me. You know what, I'm sort of okay with that because publishing THL did nothing and I mean nothing, for breaking me out of my introverted shell. I'm very disappointed in myself for that because I'm even awkward in e-mails, instant messages, and chats.

I also got a ton of bad reviews on my (super) short story. I deleted it from all my accounts, except Goodreads, where the especially mean people seem to hang out. I saved the reviews and sometimes I look at them when I'm feeling sorry for myself. It's kind of like getting stabbed repeatedly by angry seagulls. Only there's no poop and no blood. So that's okay.

Then I made the super-crazy decision to release THL in print. It was far more complicated than I ever imagined, but in the end, I did get it done. I proudly displayed a proof copy at my brother's birthday party. Way to steal the spotlight, little sister.

Looking at 2011, I was sad a lot during the summer because of rejections. I was sadder this year. Not like, I'm-going-to-eat-a-bullet sad, just I-have-severe-gastrointestinal-issues-and-cry-in-the-shower-a-lot sad. Self-publishing almost destroyed my stomach. But I held my head high, defended it with everything I had, and soldiered on . . . while complaining to my soldiers-in-arms aka writer friends.

Not only did I soldier on, but I finished SPW. Look ma, two goals completed this year! And I sent it to beta readers and I said, ha ha, look at me! I'm awesome and possibly invincible because I didn't die from GERD and I'm going to publish it in July!  That . . . didn't come anywhere close to happening. So I decided on September. And I did it. Only I kind of had a cover I hated, so I had to redo that one, but I'm happy with it now.

Suddenly I was an unknown author with two novels out there, still largely ignored by the world. I was feeling better about my gastrointestinal issues though. I stopped letting being unknown freak me out. I took the words of some writer to heart: Three novels is better than two. So I wrote the third novel in the Legends & Lovers series. A series I never intended to write. I knew better than to think I'd get it pubbed this year. Look for it in the spring. I was so excited to have it written that I started a fourth novel. And hated almost every word. Um, November and December were dedicated to rewriting. January will be too. It's tolerable now, but it still needs work. It looks like 2013 will be another big year of editing, like 2011 was.

I chose to believe the strain of this year was caused by the intense heat of the summer. It's hard to be happy and productive when it's 1000 degrees. Okay, it wasn't that hot, but the humidity was terrible, worse than I remember it in years and all I really wanted to do was sleep and cry. Not like 2011 where I walked all the time and actually seemed like a functioning human being (mostly).

Another thing that got me down was some people sneered at me and said mean things (even if they didn't realize they were being rude) and hurt my feelings. Or they ignored me when I needed help the most. Sticks and stones, y'all. I tried desperately hard not to say anything insulting to anyone's face (I mentioned I'm socially awkward, right? In a charming way, I hope).

Reading over that I come to one conclusion: Not that I'm a whiner (I totally am), but that being a writer is hard.

Over these last twelve months that felt like years, I learned that all your writerly problems are not solved by suddenly being published. Being a writer is a multifaceted job. I mean, I've done things I never imagined doing. Learning to convert a Word document into an ebook and then a file for print. Creating a cover that doesn't look like I did it in Microsoft Paint. Learning the ins-and-outs of Paint.NET. Some rudimentary marketing and how Hootsuite works. Participating in blog hops and meeting other writers. Creating my own newsletter than I am really bad at updating. If you scratch away all the crappy parts and look at the stuff I just listed, it seems pretty cool.

Please, don't let me discourage you if you have shiny dreams. It's probably just me and my unstable brain that would have made an excellent flagrant whenever that was popular. A lot of it was frustrating and disheartening, but in retrospect, holy crap, some of it was cool! On the bright side of things, I did manage to survive 3 apocalypses. The first was May 21st, followed by one that was supposed to be waaaay worse on October 21st (according to some crazy guy. What's-his-face Camp or Camping or something). And of course, the Mayan apocalypse. I feel pretty crafty for surviving all that. And whatever terrible flu was going around whenever it was going around. I sort of get all those mixed up.

Also (and importantly) I celebrated my 7th anniversary with my husband (congratulations on not killing each other!). I thought we were going to have to put my beloved Taurus to sleep (er, take her to the scrapyard), but she's still kicking. I didn't run over any large animals, get a speeding ticket, or have a wreck. I wrote about 200,000 words, not counting this blog, marketing, and social networking.

I didn't win any awards, or become an overnight sensation. I spent a lot of time with my husband and dog (our weird little family) and read, ate too much pie, watched too much TV, cried a lot, and learned that the mean words are just as important as the kind ones, but I survived. So I think we can call this one a win.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Friday Five - All About New Year's

I know it's only the 28th and New Year's is still four days away. But it's Friday and I have nothing else, so you're getting five facts about New Year's. Monday we'll recap the year, 'kay?

1) Guy Lombardo, not Robert Burns, popularized the song "Auld Lang Syne" by featuring it at New Year's at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929.

2) You may have heard that it's good luck for a dark-haired man to be the first to enter your home on New Year's Day. This belief is from Hogmanay, Scotland (where Auld Lang Syne was written).

3) In Spain, it's traditional to eat 12 grapes before midnight to usher in 12 good months for the year. All at once, or ...? Before you even ask: No, I don't think wine counts, kids.

4) January was not added to the calender until about 700 B.C. March 1st used to be the beginning of a new year.

5) In Medieval Europe New Year's was often celebrated on December 25th to coincide with the Jesus' birth. January 1st was abolished in 567 A.D. because many of the celebrates were consider pagan-like.

Well, whatever you do on New Year's, I hope you get where you're going--or are able to relax at home--safely, comfortably, and that the upcoming year brings you everything you need. I didn't say want because I don't want anyone getting greedy.

Here's a little New Year's Blessing from me to you:
May the wind not muss your hair,
May the door not smash your finger,
May the car always start and tires not be flat,
May there always be the beverage of your choice when you wake in the mornings,
And may pie always solve your problems.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post-Christmas Crash

It's Boxing Day! I had to work. I feel envious of children and college students on Christmas break. I remember being in college and going to day-after Christmas sales at the mall. *Sits on floor, arms crossed, lips in full pout* I wanna go shopping for bargains!

Alas, the life of the (super-happy to be when so many are not) employed. My butt is also burning a bit because I have to work New Year's Eve. I mean, we might as well not even take New Year's Day. What's the point?

So, are you exhausted from the holidays? Got your tree down yet? Mine's still up. I came home from my mom's yesterday and crashed. It was freezing cold in the bedroom, so I dragged on my long johns, crawled beneath the quilt and napped with my sock cap still on. All that could be seen was orange sock cap. I wasn't the only one feeling the crush. PeeWee slept all the way home, slept in his basket when we got home, and then slept long and hard in my chair during the evening after I roused myself. He was not interested in getting up this morning to face 20 degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures to go potty. When I left the bathroom after applying copious amounts of concealer and make up, I found he'd made himself a new bed out of my Snuggie. Please, you have a permanent fur coat!

All that snow the weather people were hollering for? Nary a flake in sight. I was kind of thinking I might get today off due to snow. 'Course not. Couldn't let that happen. There's work to be done. Okay, you know I didn't really want the snow because I. Hate. Snow. I'm glad to see the sun shining today, even if it is a waste at what is currently 31 degrees. Huzzah, we . . . no, wait. It's still freezing outside at 31. Oy.

So I've been hard at work writing this month to make up for all the words I lost in November when I accidentally (possibly subconsciously on purpose) deleted my WIP. As of today I'm at 47,000 and some change. Next month I will set about writing my fingers into dust to finish that book. I only need 33,000. I'm participating somewhat hesitantly (not because of them, what a great group of people) in Jano to try to finish this thing off once and for all. I say hesitantly because I'm all, do I really want the stress of writing gobs and oodles everyday for a month? I've already committed, so yes, yes I must.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Friday Five - Someone's Christmas Spirit Is Lacking

It's not me. It's the dog. I put up the Christmas tree in what my husband swears is the first time in five years. I tried to get PeeWee involved in the merry-making. 

Yes, those are ass-ugly curtains, but they are
super-effective for blocking out the light.
You see, we have the silver tree with purple lights, garnished with some green tinsel stuff and a godawful-ugly star/cross thing on top. I hung my stocking, my husband's, and a green on for PW that you can't see. On a hanger, no less. How inventive was that? I put Festivus Miracle Kitty by the tree and some little dogs that were in the sack with the stockings and the tree skirt.

I told PeeWee to put on his Santa hat and sit politely in front of the tree so I could get a good picture. This is what happened:


He tore the poof ball off the top of his hat in a fit of what I can only compare to a small child who's eaten too much candy. Or maybe it's just because he hates hats. You can tell he's adopted.

Hello? Noms?

That nice Christmas picture I hoped to share with you all? It turned into this:

I'm not looking at the camera. Fa la la la la la la la la.


And this:

I'm laughing at you. 

You see that face? That's the face of a 16 pound (he's added a little weight over the holidays) holy terror! A spinning, barking, biting, Santa hat poof ball destroying terror! He also attacked Festivus Miracle Kitty and tried to tear the hat off of him as well. Festivus Miracle Kitty only wants to bestow happiness and joy on everyone. PeeWee wants . . . well, cheese and a rousing game of rub-my-butt-so-I-can-dig-at-the-bed-and-make-weird-noises.

Like my husband says, I wouldn't take a million dollars for him and I wouldn't give 10 cents for another one just like him. Okay, yes, I would to the second part.

Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine. I hope all your Christmas wishes come true.

See you Wednesday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Author Interview & Giveaway - Autumn Piper



What's your book/current WIP about?
When Mandy catches her husband “getting some strange,” she knows their marriage is over. They postpone announcing it until they’ve tried a month of counseling, which gives her time to be sure of her decision—and get wild advice from a great aunt who thinks she should learn from the black widow spider, a big brother who wants to beat up her soon-to-be ex, and the kooky counselor…who recommends a revenge affair. The one person not giving her advice is a new-to-town hunky Adam. He’s confessed to watching her run by his house every day for months, and provides an attractive shoulder to cry on, but is very secretive about his own past. Mandy has to deal with lots of conflicting feelings, in a variety of mostly funny situations, before finding what happily ever after will mean for her.

Care to share your favorite line(s)?
Sure. A couple come to mind:
1. Mandy contemplates what walking has done for her lately: Please. What would he want with me? Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking better. Been walking off about ten years of accumulated, sedimentary butt. Not sedentary--I’ve never been a couch potato. No, this is sedimentary, one fat layer on top of the last. Just got caught up in the mommy lifestyle. Too many Happy Meals, too much time spent doing everything I had to, except for taking care of me.

2. Mandy considers a predicament she’d never have expected to be in, when Adam is dissappointed
she’s agreed to marriage counseling:
I really hate being cross with him, but this is such a difficult situation right now. He’s going to be worrying every day and night that I’ll cave and take Mike back, that he’s seen the last of me. And I’ll resent him not trusting me, but why should he? All he knows of me is I’m married and sneaking around to see him! It’s a waiting game of epic emotions.

3. (okay, this is more than a couple, I know) Adam and Mandy discuss his previous marriage:

He continues. “She was a girl I’d known since we were kids. Our families still bump elbows now and then. She decided she was bored with me and moved on. Now she’s married into a Georgia family with old money. Sugar plantations and all that.”
“Bored with you, huh? ‘Old money,’ you say? I think you should know, I come from a family of CTMF money.”
He smiles when he asks, “CTMF?”
“Checking the Mail For.”

What's your next project?
I’m working on a couple things: The sequel to this book, Trouble Anonymous, where Mandy’s ex redeems himself and gets his own (well-deserved, I promise! He’s really not a bad guy.) happily-ever-after, which comes about through group therapy. And also the prequel, Marked as Trouble, about Mandy’s bossy big brother, who falls for a southern belle. I’m planning for this one to be a free novella.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned how awesome and fun other writers/authors are. Very friendly bunch of people, and always with something to talk about. The beginning of Trouble Won’t Wait was originally a short story I entered in a local writing contest. When I placed and attended the awards ceremony alone (it was flu season and I had an entire sick brood at home), I met a bunch of really fun, nice people. Not at all reclusive and strange, like I’d sort of expected.

What sparked your interest in romance writing?

I’ve forever loved reading romance, watching romantic movies, seeing the spark of romance with couples on TV programs…and made up little love stories in my head. So writing them down was the next, natural, terrifying progression.

Describe your writing in a sentence.
My contemporary romances have a high heat index to match their American southwest settings, and my characters usually have to suffer, but they always get the happily-ever-after they so deserve.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
I choose them. Sometimes I go to baby names web sites to look up the meanings of the names and find the one that fits.

Plotter or panster?
Pantser, but I’m trying to reform. Honest, I am. If I can ever get my characters to comply with my plans…

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
Dead silence, or Billy Idol blaring in my headphones. Nothing in between.

What are you currently reading?
The Fiery Cross, book 5 of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. And, though I’ve got a brand-new paper copy of it on my shelf, I gave in and bought the Kindle version to read on my Fire. This copy fits in my purse, and I can even read it in the dark. Yay!

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
Do romance authors have a special vocabulary all their own?
Why, yes, we certainly do. In fact, I’ve got a glossary of terms on my website, here: http://www.autumnpiper.com/writersdictionary.htm (and sorry, but…I could come up with no other questions! Hopefully these will be good for a laugh.)

People think I'm weird because...
I polled my friends on Facebook for answers to this question. And they were either A)not forthcoming or B)busy. So. I’ll go with something my hubby finds crazy.

I’m positively anal about Making Our Bed Every Day. Life feels chaotic and gross to me if I walk into my room and find an unmade bed. Going to bed at night is squicky if I don’t get to turn down the sheets and slide into neatness. Fortunately for me, my two teenagers have embraced this value, and they both make their beds up every morning also. Yessss!

Blurb:
Good things may come to those who wait, but trouble waits for no one…

Cheating is a dealbreaker...or so Mandy’s always thought. But when she catches her husband getting some “strange,” she realizes how hard it is to cut and run, or even file papers. She agrees to a month of counseling, which will give her time to grieve the loss of her marriage before she has to tell the world—and the kids. Then she meets Adam, who gives her a hunky--if mysterious--shoulder to cry on, and that thirty-day waiting period seems like an eternity.

Adam has no problem confessing that he’s watched Mandy from his window for months as she runs by his house. If he told her why, though, she’d freak out for sure. He knows they’ve got a future together, if he can think of a way to explain his past. And he’s sure the rat-bastard who cheated on her is putting the moves on her again, but he won’t be the revenge guy. The month-long cooling off period she agreed to is lasting forever, and might just be indefinite, if trouble keeps getting in their way.

WARNING: Eccentric old lady pushing salt-of-the-earth advice, bossy big brother, kooky counselor, super-secretive hunk, and perfect justice served amidst adult situations and language.

Excerpt: 
First part is Mandy’s individual session with their rather…unusual counselor.

I doubt Baldwin understands my resolve, so I explain. I’m only here because I’m stalling Mike until after the holidays to separate. Or was Mike stalling me? I’m not sure anymore. I have no intention of ever sleeping with him again, and I want a divorce.?That should be clear enough.

His bushy brows shoot up. I’ve piqued the wanta-be therapist’s interest. “Why do you feel that way?”

Get it at Amazon, B&N, or Lyrical Press
God, could it be more simple? “He had sex with a woman we know, while I was in the same house! Anybody, even one of the kids, could have walked in on it! It makes me sick to think of him touching me.”

“Do you still love him?”

Jesus, did Mike put him up to asking that?

“It doesn’t matter. I can’t forgive him for what he did. I’ll never forget what I saw, it comes to me at all hours of the day and night.”

“So you do still love him, but you’re angry, possibly jealous of his having another partner without your consent.”

Without my consent. This guy probably advocates swapping and threesomes, all the fun and games, as long as both spouses consent. I snap my gawping mouth shut.

Good ole Baldwin looks me straight in the eye. “What if you were to have an encounter with an outside partner, to even the score?”

Is it the smoke from the candles or his suggestion making me choke?

“You mean like a revenge affair?” Stampeding thoughts of Adam shred my calm like buffalo through prairie turf. I feel flushed.

* * * *

As I clomp past Adam’s back fence, a very wet snowball clobbers the back of my head. I react in time to see a second tightly-packed missile heading at my chest, and move aside without a moment to spare. Adam thinks he has an advantage hiding behind his fence, but he doesn’t expect me to charge straight for him and run through the gate so he can face me like a man. In his yard, we wage silent war for several minutes. The only audible evidence of the battle is the splatting of snowballs exploding on impact, and an occasional grunt as we bend our old bodies over to form our weapons. I’ve been stockpiling mine, awaiting opportunity. Which just arrived. He’s bent over, packing and rounding a huge ball. He must think there’s some Snowball Fight Code of Ethics, and I won’t attack if he’s unarmed.

He’s sadly mistaken. I launch my stash in quick succession, until his entire backside is white.

He waves his snow-whitened glove in the air, begging, “Truce, truce!”

“You started it, troublemaker!” I cautiously approach, making sure he’s going to abide by his truce and it’s not an ambush. His cheeks are pink and his eyes are bright.

“I see the wheels turning, tell me what you’re thinking,” he prods softly.

“How lucky I am that I met you at just the right time.”

“You’re tryin’ to kill me, aren’t you?”

It makes me giggle, while he hugs me hard against him. With all our outerwear, it’s more of a big squeeze than a hug.

It’s time for me to go, and as I back out the gate, Adam says, “I’m crazy for you, remember.”

I answer with, “Me, too. Bonkers. Nutso.” I turn and run.


About the Author:

I write contemporary romance with a high heat index to match their American southwest settings. Known by my writing buddies as "Angst", I have a penchant for making my characters suffer. My stories may be tributes to the old saying, "No pain, no gain", but my Hero and Heroine always get the happily-ever-after they so deserve.

I love sunny days, hot bread, the ocean, and that fluttery feeling I get inside at the first spark of a great romance. In between being a wife, mom of two teens, editor and writer, I like to read, garden, take morning walks, and make people laugh--probably succeed here when I try to jog.

For me, an excellent book has characters I can sympathize with or hate (sometimes both at once), a story I simply must see through to the end, and realistic dialogue. Give me those key elements, and I'll read any genre or time period, any author.

Website || Blog || Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads

Check out Autumn's other tour stops here and a comment on that page for a chance to be entered to win a $15 Amazon gift card!  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Author Interview - Lynda Haviland


I have a very special guest for y'all today! Meet Lynda Haviland, who was a guest speaker at the ORA conference this last summer. Lynda's a fellow self-published author and her second novel in the Age of Awakening series has just been released. She'll also stop by with a one question pop quiz about ancient culture and the first person who gets it right will win a digital copy of Immortal Dynasty: Book One.

What's your book/current WIP about?
I just released Immortal Dominion, the second book in my paranormal fantasy romance series Age of Awakening. In this story, we follow extreme adventuress Jayden Hamilton on her journey to hell and back. Her life hangs in the balance between two gods: ancient dragon-shifting Earth Lords. But Jayden's survival might be far more important than just saving one soul. It could keep the prophecy at bay - for now.

Care to share your favorite line(s)?
Choosing a favorite line is like choosing a favorite movie - I love them all! But I love finding the perfect opening lines. In Immortal Dominion, chapter one opens with a simple noun: "The Great Pyramid of Egypt." What we discover is that Jayden is climbing up the Great Pyramid of Egypt in the dark of night. BASE jumping from the summit of the ancient monument is one of the last items on her bucket list.

What's your next project?
Oh, that's easy. Book three! In 2013, my goal is to release book three and a short story - both within the Age of Awakening series. Wish me luck.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
For me, the most surprising thing that I learned was the emotional journey that I would experience through my characters. Jayden's life is so very different than my own. Like her, I am a risk taker, but a measured one. I love her total commitment to freedom and her need to drain every drop of life given. I felt every emotion of her journey: joy, frustration, anguish, passion, fear, and love.

What sparked your interest in paranormal writing?
Without a doubt, Anne Rice is my all-time favorite writer. She inspired a new generation of writers and readers of vampire lore. She made them sexy (ahem, without glitter). But I have to say it wasn't her vampire series that launched my mind into paranormal creative overdrive. It was her wonderful hero Ramses from The Mummy (unrelated to the movie). She brought one of the most powerful pharaohs back to life and put him on a journey that was romantic and tragic. I knew then that I wanted to write like Anne Rice.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
I choose them, but it's funny how certain words or names appear to you when you need them most. My series pulls themes and divinity from ancient cultures such as Summerian, Egyptian, and Phoenician. The names of my Anunnaki characters are derived from a blend of those ancient inspirations.

Plotter or panster?
Wicked plotter! However, as much as I plan and outline...I still leave room for my characters to explore and discover new things. I agree to keep an open mind, and they agree to share their secrets with me. :D

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
Both. I have writing binges where I basically "brain dump" ideas from my head and into my Mac. This stage is usually random enough that I can have music or movies playing in the background. However, the polishing stage requires complete quiet. It's also the stage where hubby and the kids experience long delays in house cleaning and hot meals.

What are you currently reading?
Actually, I'm not reading at the moment. I'm enjoying all of the cheesy made-for-tv Christmas movies. (And I'm re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the millionth time before going to see The Hobbit.)

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
"If you could travel in time, would you want to go into the Future...or the Past?"
I am a certified Whovian! I'm a HUGE fan of Doctor Who (and Star Trek and Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica). Visiting the future is so appealing. I'm sure that you can tell by my fascination with ancient Egypt that I love history. So compelling. Look at the wonderful things you can do with history. History is fodder for fiction. So many delicious holes to fill. What really happened to Cleopatra? How did the Summarian culture suddenly show up with a written language? Who built the Sphinx? How did the Egyptians become so skilled with Geometry and higher math?

People think I'm weird because...
I never thought of myself as weird. I'm actually pretty normal, although you wouldn't know it by the things I like to read and write. So, I just asked my kids if they thought I was weird. After all, they are teenagers - right at the age where Moms and Dads are thought of as embarrassing and weird. My son said that I'm happy all the time, and my daughter said that I'm a "cool mom". Needless to say, I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy inside right now.

Blurb:

She craves freedom and life.

BASE jumper Jayden Hamilton fears the strange disease racking her body will soon imprison her in a hospital bed. Determined to make the most of the time her body has left, a jump from the Great Pyramid goes horribly wrong. As she drops out of her normal world and lands in a dark one filled with dragons and demons, she sees an opportunity. But it comes with a deadly price. In documenting the most extreme adventure of her life, she could be destroying the one man who can truly save her and set her free.

Others crave what lurks in her veins.

Deep in his cave, Seth Ea?nki is safe from the bloodlust which haunts him, though his self-imposed exile has left him bitter. When Jayden literally falls into his life, he dares to believe that destiny is offering him a second chance. But demons lurk in shadows even deeper than those he carries in his soul. In renewing his ancient vow to protect humans, he could be jeopardizing the life of the most precious one of all ? the woman who soothes the beast inside him.

Truth is in the Blood.



About the author:
Lynda Haviland shares her immortal world with her husband, two teenagers, an aging bearded dragon, an adventurous hedgehog, and a pizza-loving parrot. Lynda will read anything about ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, and she is constantly planning her next trip to Egypt. She admits to being heavily influenced by hazelnut coffee, Doctor Who episodes, and ancient alien theories.

Immortal Dominion: Book Two is the second novel in her debut series, Age of Awakening.

Links:
Immortal Dynasty: Book One on Amazon: http://amzn.to/ImmortalDynasty
Immortal Dominion: Book Two on Amazon: http://bit.ly/ImmortalDominion_Amazon
Lynda Haviland's Website - http://lyndahaviland.com
Lynda Haviland's Facebook Fan Page - https://www.facebook.com/lyndahaviland
Twitter: @ImmortalDiva

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Friday Five - What With The World Ending and All


Photo by Topsoft.
Welcome to the last normal Friday the human race will ever experience. Sit back, enjoy a beverage, put your feet on the expensive coffee table, rack up your credit card bills, and kiss your loved ones good bye. We're done.

If you believe that. Personally, I like to make fun of stuff and irritate people, so I've decided to take this opportunity to list the five things I would miss most if the world ends next Friday. My family is a given, they don't qualify for this list. Let's go.

1) There are movies coming out that I want to see, people. Seriously. My mom tells me I have my priorities wrong, that I should be worrying about electricity and not freezing to death over movie-going, but Hollywood feeds me these movie trailers and I covet the opportunity to pay money to watch characters getting the poo kicked out of them. For example: Thor 2: The Dark World, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek Into Darkness, and yes, The Host.

2) I could say electricity, but that would be boring and predictable. Instead, how about the next Odd Thomas novel. Because, seriously, I want that dude to get what's coming to him (in a good way, of course). I've been forced to endure all the sad, horrible things that happened to him and how he lost the love of his life. I want him to be happy in the end. I deserve that after following him through many misadventures. Also, I deserve to see him come to life in a movie. A good movie! Not that crap like One For the Money.

3) Dr. Pepper and lemon meringue pie. Oh, come on. You knew that was coming. I can't survive without Dr. Pepper (I see you shaking your head and mouthing 'Water. You can't live without water'. I'll have you know that Dr. Pepper is made with carbonated water. You can't have that without water). Also, I feel like it's rude to insist I live without solid sunshine--my nickname for lemon pie.

4) The Interwebz. This crazy little invention is over half my source of entertainment. There are books, there are LOLcatz, there's Facebook, Wikipedia, and this blog. I need the Internet. I'm fairly certain I couldn't survive without it.

5) The release of The Turncoat's Temptress. Erm, I may have pushed the release date back again. I have this niggling doubtful fear that everyone will hate it (despite everyone who's read it assuring me they love it). I'm more nervous about this one than The Treasure Hunter's Lady because it's taken an odd path. I want you to read TcT. I do, really. I just . . . I'm not ready to throw it out there yet. Or maybe until May . . . . I'll think about.

Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend, because if the Mayans are right, the apocalypse is coming and you can't stop it. FYI, did you know apocalypse means 'an uncovering'. So I'm not sure how that word describes the end of the world, but whatever. This time next Friday we could be sitting around waiting for Judgment and sharing a Snickers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Author Interview & Giveaway - Greta Buckle


What's your book/current WIP about?
Mything You is my new Book out under Greta Buckle. It’s a retelling of Theseus and Ariadne’s quest to fight the Minotaur to free Athens to rule themselves. I love stories of adventure and I will see every movie set in Ancient times. Romans, Greeks, woot woot. Hot shirtless men fighting. My issue with the stories was always the way the stories are told. I wanted to reshape the Ancient world to something I’d like to read. So boom, this story is about two human beings living in a mythical world.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
Honestly, I loved the line when Theseus walked into the bedroom much later in the story like, “I can’t wait for you anymore.” Ari hadn’t realized for so long and for me, it wasn’t killing the monsters that made Theseus likeable. It was how he respected and loved Ari. I loved how he told her that.

What's your next project?
I have a contemporary romance due out in February under my real name Victoria Pinder. I’m working on a sequel to Mything You, entitled for now in my Myth Undone (Or Breaking the Myth. Rough is done of that one. For fun I’m writing a time traveler meets super strong man, but unsure what I’ll do with that one. And I’m outlining a contemporary romance. Basically I’m always writing.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
When I’m rewriting a myth, it’s hard to change the character names. It was when I realized Ari was the girl’s name that the story came together.

Plotter or panster?
A little of both. I do have a basic plot. However characters frequently do not follow suit.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
I prefer quiet, but I can focus in a hurricane, in the middle of a play production, in the center of a political activity. I think for background noise, I like the sound of people, though not necessarily anyone I know.

What are you currently reading?
Nancy Cohen’s Warrior Prince. She’s such a great person to talk to. I promised her I’d get this read, and it’s a fun read so far.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
Are you related to anyone famous? How funny. I teach government, and according to ancestry.com I might be related to Richard Nixon. Not sure how I feel about this, but sometimes I wonder if I should be defending the whole family honor thing. It’s silly, but hey why not?

More seriously guess the whole ‘is every hero based on your love life stuff?’ While the answer is no. Not married and I’ve found lots of guys to base the non-love interest on, my usual answer is a sly smile.

People think I'm weird because...
I walk funny, say random things, always remain an optimist, and follow the beat of my own drummer. Yeah. I’ve never been ‘normal’ and I tend to follow something of interest. I’m varied.

Happy Holiday!


Mything You

by Great Buckle
Published by CreateSpace (Indie)
YA Fantasy Romance
Contains elements of action, adventure and comedy
Heat Level: Steamy
Length: 258 pages

Available at:
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Mything-You-Heroes-Greta-Buckle/dp
B&N - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mything-you-greta-buckle/1113

Blurb:
He wasn't looking for love. He only wanted to prove he was worthy of being a king's son.

Adventurer Theseus had dreamed of meeting his father, King Aegeus. As Theseus journeys to Athens, he meets his match in strength along the way. But is it the will of a beautiful young princess that puts this strong young man finally at his mercy? Or will he be able to conquer the princess’s heart?

She had settled for a life of unhappiness and believed a man who would love her for herself was only in her dreams.

Princess Ari has followed her father’s dictates all her life. On her way to meet her bridegroom, she is attacked. Saved by a handsome adventurer, Theseus, she tempts fate and follows him on his journey to Athens. Being with Theseus opens up a whole new world of opportunity for her. But will she allow her heart or loyal duty choose her life for her?

Excerpt:
Theseus’ entire body must have been made in the nectar of desire because she wished to bury herself in his arms. And he didn’t stop her from running to him. She jumped when a crash cracked through the air. Blinking, unsure of what happened, her body became rigid. Theseus pulled her into his arms and onto the ground seconds before the giant flew over the pair of them.

He took his hand off her head. He had protected her. Again.

Staring up at him stirred something unique inside her that she never believed could happen to her. She’d seen the plays and the tragedy that love caused, but never understood temptation. The fire in her belly burned into every part of her body from his smoldering eyes. He looked down at her as he cradled her in his arms. “That was Sinus. I don’t think he’ll kill anyone else ever again.”

“He’s the reason I chose this path when I was fifteen. I had planned to prove my courage to my father, and take out the biggest villain on the road.”

“Check that off the list of goals then.” she said. “Good job.”

She continued to embrace Theseus, making her body tingle from crazy stirrings. What would he taste like? She’d die a happy death if he put his lips on hers. My, what was she thinking?

“I never believed you’d be here, or that my goal in that moment would turn to protecting you.” he said
pulling her closer.

She shook off her desires. She needed to let him go. She focused on logic instead of the male body in front of her. “I don’t know what to say. Today has been the craziest day.”

“You’re right. I don’t know what’s happening to me anymore. Theseus, this never happens to me.”

“What doesn’t happen to you?” he asked, smiling.

He played with her hair, and straightened her clothes. “Your innocence and desire are a siren’s call to me, Ari, and you don’t have a clue, do you?”

“Who’s Ari?” She half expected to be disappointed with whatever he would say.

“You are. It fits you much better than Ariadne. Ari trembles for me.”

She licked her lips, wanting to kiss him. But she couldn’t. Theseus embodied a man out of her dreams.

She looked away thinking of what waited for her when her father’s men found her. “I don’t know my
 bridegroom. I’ve only ever known my duty.”

Theseus’ body tensed. “You’re betrothed?”

“I never agreed. The bride price, I’m told, paid for my father’s upgrade to the artillery. In the morning or someday soon, I’ll be found. But…can you do me one last favor?”

“What, little one?” His arms grew warm again, tightening around her. She dared for a different life, where she lived with a chance of walking next to him in life. Letting him go and going back to the life her father chose sounded cold and dreary. She couldn’t, not yet.

Taking a step closer to him, she looked into his mesmerizing eyes. His strong hands framed her face, his fingers circled her mouth and his eyes darkened with tenderness. When he leaned into her, her eyelids fluttered shut. His light pressure sweetly opened her mouth.

Her secret wish had come true. The prison walls in Ariadne’s heart disappeared in her soul, and today Ari’s lips ached.

He bent his head close. Then, she felt his strong lips on hers, and she lost control.

About the author:
Greta Buckle grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, then became a lawyer. After realizing she hates clients, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is fun, but writing is a passion. She wrote one hundred and one fan fiction stories online before deciding to transition into writing her own stories. Never ask her to republish her fan stories from age eleven- horribly written stories of princesses. Greta dreams of writing professionally, where her barista can make her coffee and a walk on the beach, can motivate her tales. Theseus story came to her when she was a freshman in high school as her English teacher, the nun, told her how life was hard and tragedy teaches lessons. Greta’s love of writing has kept her centered and focused. How is she crazy? The voices in her head are characters in novels and she’s not insane.

Visit Greta online at:
Website - http://www.gretabuckle.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/gretabuckle


Click here to find Greta's tour schedule and don't forget to enter her giveaway!
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Monday, December 10, 2012

A Glowing Christmas Tradition

Eerily chilling when you think about
how many men died here.
Saturday night we attended the 9th annual Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Luminary Celebration. This is only our second year to go, I think we missed the date last year. If you've never attended a ceremony like this, let me explain what it is.

Volunteers stuff little white paper sacks with sand and electric candles, then drop them every ten feet or so on both sides of the road (I think it's about a five mile loop). One for each dead, missing, or wounded soldier at the battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861. A guy in Confederate dress played 'Taps' on the bugle, they lit the first candle and opened the gate.

Typically the park closes at sundown each day. Few and far between are the opportunities to see it at night. This photo, while eerie, is what it looks like with the lights from the neighboring town of Republic behind a stand of trees. In 1861, it would have been pitch black with the cloud cover, only the lights from the Ray House glowing inside. I believe the lady inside in full period dress said the house was built in 1851.

The luminary path leading up to the Ray House

I believe the Rays were Confederate sympathizers, as they owned slaves. The man of the house, whose name I forget, watched the battle of Bloody Hill from the front porch while his wife, children and the slaves hid in the cellar. When the battle was over, the house served as a Confederate field hospital and General Nathaniel Lyon (although he was a Union solider) died in the master bed. It's the prize piece in the house.

This is one of the lanterns on the path up to the house. They had carolers in costume on the porch singing authentic Christmas carols from the period.

We only saw one guy dressed as a soldier. The year we went before there were Federal "troops" all over the place, even sitting out at the tour stop known as Siegel's Final Position around a camp fire despite the cold. I'm guessing they had a tough time getting volunteers this year.

This is my favorite picture. A field of luminaries around
the orchard at the Ray House. I think that glow in the
background is actually the sunset. The single light in the
background above the others? No idea. Orb! Orb! Ghost!
At first I thought taillights, but there's no road over there.
It was difficult getting into the Ray House with all the other visitors, but I managed to get some shots of what it looked like inside during the times. Here you go:

A bureau inside the master bedroom of the house. Love the
lantern shadow on the wall.
 You start the tour through the master bedroom where that lady is proudly telling you how Nathaniel Lyon died in the bed she's pointing at. His shroud is in the museum, still gross and bloody looking, but they have to keep it locked away in case some sicko wants to steal it.

Desks inside the house.
 You marvel at how spacious the kids' room was, even with two beds in it. I forget how many kids the Rays had, but it was a nice room. Fire place, beds with nice quilts. It was a pretty good sized house for back then. The Rays seem pretty well-to-do.


If you care to squint at the photos, you can see their things are nice. They didn't skimp on their belongings. I was trying to figure out why they needed two desks. Lots of letters to write?
The cellar where the woman hid beneath the house. No thank you.

 This is the kitchen/dining area where the family would ahve sat down to enjoy their Christmas meal. The fireplace is a replica of the original. It's double faced, which meant twice the cooking power--important in feeding a big family. The kitchen is pretty tiny though. They'd have been squished in there.
Looking in from the outside. Those are real people, not ghosts.
A gas lamp inside the house. Doesn't that looks like ever
so much fun to read and do chores by?

 I tried to take pictures of the luminaries from the road, but they didn't come out good. Too many taillights and too much darkness. But it was both cool and a little creepy because you look at all those little white bags with candles inside and realize how many men died there. Late in the evenings during the summer, it gets a little spooky out there if you're on your own. Especially if the wind is blowing and making the trees creak. I swear I've heard horses where there were none (horseback riding is allowed in the park), and one time a bunch of turkey hidden in the brush chased me away from where Lyon was fatally wounded because I thought someone was after me.

I let my membership to the park lapse this year. Walking up to the Ray House reminded me how much I missed hiking out there this summer. Must remember to reapply for membership. Provided it's not a million degrees again like last summer.

Happy Monday, kids!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Wishes Blog Hop & The Friday Five


Merry Christmas! 

Or close enough, right? I hope you're here to join me for the Christmas Wishes Hop or just to check out The Friday Five, because you're getting both!

As per the tradition on Friday and a holiday/hop, I'm giving you five fun facts about Christmas. If you stick around and leave a comment + your e-mail address, you could win a prize. Ooo, ooo, what is the fabulous prize, you ask? How about a vintage Coro brooch? It's very Christmasy with it's golden color and big round orament/berry (?) decorations. Apparently they made a great deal of jewelry in a floral theme. Fortunately this one came into my hands and I thought, Christmas gift!

The other prizes you can win on this hop include a Nook Glowlight, a Kindle Paperwhite, and a $90 giftcard to Amazon. Both the e-readers will be loaded with books, so don't forget to visit all the sites on the hop to increase your chances of winning!

On with The Friday Five per 50 Interesting Facts about Christmas:


1) Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.

2) Norse god Odin is the figure legend bases Santa Claus from. In myth, Odin's horse, Sleipnir had eight legs (is this where we get eight reindeer from?). Odin gave out gifts and punishments to children who left treats for the horse.

3) Quick, name your favorite saint. Is he/she famous for any of the following? Butchery, thievery, sailing, banking, pawnbroking, pirating, orphans, or New York City? No? Well guess who is? Everyone's favorite jolly fat man, Santa Claus is also based on St. Nikolas of Myra or Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari from the fourth century. He's the world's oldest known non-Biblical saint. Okaaayyy then.

4) The name mistletoe means little dung twig. It's spread by being "delivered" through bird poo. It's also sacred to the Druids because it's green and bears fruit during the winter. Ah, what's more romantic than kissing under the little dung twig plant?

5) Most of Santa's reindeer have masculine names. Male reindeer shed their antlers during the Christmas season, so they must be really lady reindeer (who retain antlers until spring) or they've made the decision that they don't need any more little reindeer mouths to feed. Castrated reindeer are called steers.

Okay, you made it through that, right?

Now all you have to do is tell me your favorite thing and/or fact about Christmas, put your name and e-mail address in the comment box and you'll be entered for a chance to win this awesome brooch.

Merry Christmas, I hope your holidays are bright!

To enter to win the Kindle, Nook or GC, fill out the Rafflecopter below and don't forget to visit the other blogs!
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Feature - Over the Mountain and Back by Marie Astor





Blurb:
With his father gone missing and his mother losing her grip on reality, Peter Bailey’s life is no picnic. Peter’s gray existence changes unexpectedly after he takes his new snowboard for a ride in the mountains of Colorado and is stunned to find himself in Transadonia – a hidden world that coexists alongside with the Earth.

Lara Grover never listened to her elders, so warnings like “do not talk to strangers” mean nothing to her. When a boy from an unknown world saves her from an avalanche with the aid of a snow dragon, Lara is not stunned in the least. Instead, she joins Peter on his quest to help him realize the purpose behind his arrival to Transadonia.

Together, Lara and Peter embark on an adventure filled with perils, trickery, betrayals, and unexpected alliances.

Excerpt:

Up until recently, the Viglian Smiths used to hire giants to help them with heavy mining. In exchange for labor, giants took payments in the form of the Smiths’ expertly crafted metal objects, for while giants could forge objects out of wood and stone, they possessed neither the knowledge nor the skills of metal work. Now, with all giants gone, the only hope rested on Timur, Yofur, and Baldur - the three remaining giant brothers.
King Ragnvald departed to see the three Giants himself, along with Gregor, the Chief Miner. When the two Viglians arrived at the giant's dwelling, they found the three brothers in a desolate state. The three brothers were so heartbroken by the loss of their people that at first they would not even hear of doing any work for the Viglians and bade them to leave. Thus, King Ragnvald had no choice but to swear the giant brothers to secrecy and to reveal to them the reason why their help was so desperately needed. While Ragnvald wanted to keep their mission as secret as possible, he also knew that giants were noble in their character and would keep their word. Upon learning that there still might be help in rescuing their kin, the three brothers promptly agreed and followed Gregor to begin drilling the old mine.They worked tirelessly for three days and three nights, until at last they struck upon ore.

“This does not look anything like luster ore!” exclaimed Gregor, looking at the gray, dull ore that the giants have mined.

“That's all there is. We drilled to the very bottom of the mine and there is nowhere else to look,” said Timur, as Baldur and Yofur nodded in agreement.

“Well, that is not good enough!“ shouted Gregor. “My king will not pay for such a poor job.”

“But we have worked hard for days. It is not our fault that you have already drained all the luster ore out of mountain years ago. We found all there is to find, and you must honor your word and pay us. It's not the payment itself, but the principle of the matter that is important to us,” explained Timur calmly.

“Yes, you must pay,” added Yofur, and Baldur nodded.

“Are you trying to threaten my people?” exploded Gregor. “We will not pay, and that is final!” Gregor stomped his little foot.

Unfortunately, at times Viglians could be extremely touchy and when faced with someone much taller than they, they often became hot-tempered and tended to act rashly.

“We do not want to quarrel with you,” replied Timur. “And so we will let you have your way; but remember, we are no longer allies and you are no longer welcome in our domain. Should any of your people ever set foot in our lands, it will be treated as trespassing.”

“And you can forget about using that old tunnel of yours that runs underneath our land,“ joined in Baldur.

“The minute we see any of you squirmy runts on our territory, we will catch you and fry you for dinner,” added Yofur.

Of course none of the giants would ever do such a thing, but at the moment the three brothers were so outraged by Gregor’s rudeness that their reason was clouded with anger.

“We are leaving,” announced Timur. “Let it be upon your conscience that you have ruined ages of peace between our people.”

With these words, the three giants retreated back to their dwelling, while Gregor carried the ore back to the smithy to forge the luster metal. Gregor was so anxious to deliver the luster ore to Hendrik that he forgot to tell Ragnvald about his altercation with the three remaining giants.

Hendrik was surprised to see the dull-looking ore, but noticing the irate look on Gregor’s face, he remained silent and set to work. Hendrik did not leave the smithy for five days as he labored first to forge the luster metal and then to craft the snowboard. Finally, he finished his work. Despite the fact that Hendrik followed the methods of the old Smiths carefully, the metal that he forged did not radiate blue light and looked little like the luster metal in the old descriptions. Nonetheless, the snowboard was remarkable; the color of silver, it was incredibly light; its edges were sharp, and its body was well-balanced.

Now, the last and the most important part of the task remained; the board had to find its rider. The Chancellor personally arrived for the snowboard since only he knew how to decipher the rest of the Epistemon’s words, the meaning of which stemmed from Transadonia’s ancient history:

“In the world beyond, a Craft forged from the metal that shines with piercing light Will seek its Rider to deliver Transadonia from the impending plight.”

The Chancellor carried the snowboard to a hidden passage in the Vigli Mountains. We have done all we can, thought the Chancellor as he placed the snowboard on the edge of the passage, watching it slide down the tunnel, propelled by some unknown, mysterious power.

The next morning, Jasper, the store owner received a new shipment of snowboards for the season. It was not until the new shipment had been unloaded and the deliverymen had left that Jasper noticed an unusually shaped silver snowboard perched against the wall of his store. The store owner grumpily rushed outside to fetch the lone snowboard.

“Those rascals never get the job done right,” he muttered, adding the new snowboard to the display.



Author Bio and Links:

Dear Reader,

Thank you very much for joining me for Over the Mountain and Back blog tour. The story of Over the Mountain and Back began over twenty years ago when I was fourteen years old and decided to write a novel as an anniversary gift for my parents. It was going to be a fantasy adventure about a boy named Peter and a girl named Lara set in a magical country, Transadonia. I remember writing studiously on the pages of an ornate notebook I had acquired especially for the occasion. Back then computers were not yet widely used, so I had to pay extra care to my handwriting. A year later, Over the Mountain and Back was completed, or at least I had thought so at the time. Needless to say my parents were very surprised with their anniversary gift.

Years passed; I finished high school and went on to college. Lara’s and Peter’s story faded from my mind, replaced by the hustles and bustles of everyday life. Then, one day – the day that happened to be my thirtieth birthday, my parents presented me with a gift: it was oblong in shape and wrapped in shiny paper. After I opened the wrapping, I was stunned to find the long forgotten story I had written all those years ago.

Long story short, after two years of extensive work, I rewrote and expanded Over the Mountain and Back into a novel of 95,000 words. For me it had been an exciting journey to be reunited with my old friends: Lara and Peter, Forest Witch Ramona, Chancellor Libra, Bookbrownies, and, of course, Carnelion, among the many others.

I hope that you will join Lara and Peter on their adventure in Transadonia.

If you would like to find out more about my books, please stop by website: www.marieastor.com.

Regards,
Marie Astor

Books by Marie Astor:
For Young Adults:
Over the Mountain and Back – a fantasy adventure novel
http://www.amazon.com/Over-Mountain-Back-Adventure-ebook/dp/B008WF1Y78/
ref=la_B004EBDX9Q_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1348537570&sr=1-6

Kindle link:
http://www.amazon.com/Over-Mountain-Back-Adventure-ebook/dp/B008WF1Y78/
ref=la_B004EBDX9Q_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1348527276&sr=1-6
For Adults:

To Catch a Bad Guy – romantic suspense
http://www.amazon.com/To-Catch-Bad-Guy-ebook/dp/B008W1L5IA/ref=sr_1_5?
ie=UTF8&qid=1348537512&sr=8-5&keywords=marie+astor

This Tangled Thing Called Love – a contemporary romance about overcoming one’s inhibitions,
learning to tango, and finding one’s true love match.
http://www.amazon.com/This-Tangled-Thing-Called-ebook/dp/B0078IPNCW/
ref=la_B004EBDX9Q_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1337972977&sr=1-3

Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.
http://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Charm-Contemporary-Romance-ebook/dp/B005BZL3L4/
ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336842915&sr=8-1

On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.
http://www.amazon.com/On-Rim-Love-Contemporary-ebook/dp/B005TOWI7K/
ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

A Dress in a Window – a collection of short stories about love, coincidences, and fate.
http://www.amazon.com/A-Dress-Window-ebook/dp/B004E112TO/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?
ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.marieastor.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marieastorcollection

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4665230.Marie_Astor

Twitter: @marieastor

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mad Recapery

Saturday was our annual Christmas/Holiday Party at ORA. Lots of deliciousness and Christmas gift exchangery (today I'm putting 'ery' at the end of words to make them more fun) went on. As always it was a good time.

With authors T. Sue VerSteeg and Cecily White.
Critique was an excellent part of the day because there was very little to clean up in the chapter I brought from The Turncoat's Temptress. Go me! (Only because I have excellent help at cleaning that one--I'm looking at you, Brenda Dyer.)

After noshing and Dirty Santa gift exchange (which never gets as dirty as you'd think--we're all quite ladylike, in fact) a few of us writers were presented with roses to celebrate our accomplishments this year. I got one for publishing my first book, publishing my second book, and finishing a manuscript.
There were no open containers of alcohol at this party, I swear.

(Note: Blogger went crazy and decided Normal sized font is now small, so you get Large Print for the rest of the entry. Beats me.) I also received one of those glass tile necklaces with my book cover under it that I was talking about from my last post. I have never gotten over the awe I feel when I look at my covers, whether they're tiny or book-sized, on an e-reader, or a computer screen. My photo camera obviously does not take the bestest pictures ever, but there it is, draped across my roses. I put it on when I got home and then I realized I was wearing people practically doing the nasty on my chest. But you know what? I wrote the book, I made the cover, I don't care. I really, really want one with the SPW cover under it. Which leaves me with the same conundrum I would have if I had Keep Calm and Trust (insert hero name) t-shirts. Which one would I wear?

Very tragically, I was struck ill on Saturday night. My second most embarrassing upchuck happened. Riding in my husband's truck down a very busy road, I suddenly decided my dinner salad needed eviction.

The light at the intersection turned red, of course and my stomach parted ways with its contents. The first most embarrassing time? At JC Penney's in the infant section after indulging in a Starbucks Vanilla Creme Frozen Frappucino. I hate puking in public.

My stomach has been a little wonky since then. We drove home and I was pretty much comatose from 8 pm to 9 am when PeeWee insisted he had to go outside. I functioned long enough to get a little Christmas shopping done yesterday. This morning my stomach is: Feed me! Then: Just kidding, don't even think about it.

Of course, I ate half a caramel apple pie for dinner last night (so not getting started off on the right foot for a healthier New Year. In my defense, it said use by 12/03/12 and I didn't want it to go to waste), so it might not be happy for that reason. At least the pie stayed where it was supposed to, unlike that treacherous lettuce.

So there's my weekend. What did you do?