Thursday, September 27, 2012

Battling creative inertia

The past year has felt a bit like being a on a treadmill to me. I went from a full-time writing and editing schedule, which dovetailed with a part-time office job and full time parenting to a full time office job, writing, editing and parenting. In order to save my sanity, I cut back on freelance editing and made the decision to only work on one writing project for the year. Unfortunately the project I decided to work on involved writing twelve novellas – or the equivalent of three full-length novels.

I’m two-thirds of the way through the project, and my energy is zapped. Normally the summer months drain me, and I don’t get much done, but I look forward to autumn. The cooler weather tends to energize me and I’m able to get back on track. So far, this year though, it hasn’t happened. The frustration of rewrites slowed down my progress, and I decided it was okay to take a break to recharge my batteries.

Problem: I don’t feel recharged yet, and I’m starting to enjoy goofing off. I used to feel very guilty when I wasn’t writing or editing or formatting or researching or doing something involving with my books – [as a last ditch effort, sometimes I would even mange to feel guilty for not doing enough promo!] but somehow, during the course of trying to structure a less stressful schedule for myself, I’ve actually started to thrive on the lack of stress. [Well, maybe not lack as much as less stress].  I have no ambition to go back to twelve-hour days where I had to pry my fingers off the keyboard and force myself to rest for an hour or two, weekends where every waking moment was spent staring at Word document, eating breakfast and lunch at the computer and cooking dinner in between editing chapters.

I’m not sure how I used to do it…but now that I haven’t for a while, I know I can’t do it anymore.

I’ve heard the story about Nora Roberts and how she writes every day because she never wants to lose her momentum. That’s partly what kept me on the writer’s treadmill. Don’t stop because you may not want to start again.

And therein lies my dilemma.

Have you ever slowed down only to discover you can’t speed up again? Were you able to break out of it? Did you want to? How did you do it?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tell me your favorites

In honor of Fall, my favorite season, here's a list of some of my favorite things. Tell me yours.


1 - George Lazenby was my favorite 007.  Yours?

2 - Snape and Dobby were my favorite characters in the Harry Potter books.  Yours?

3 - Cheese is my favorite snack food. Yours?

4 - Cider is my favorite kind of juice. Yours?

5- Fuchsia is my favorite color. Yours?

6 - Walking is my favorite form of exercise. Yours?

7 - God from the Confessions books is my favorite character. Yours?


Don't forget that FURTHER CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN will be out October 16th. If you're so inclined, you could like it on Amazon, add it to your To Be Read list on Good Reads or pre-order your copy. If you're not so inclined, you could say that Maggie and God are NOT among your favorite characters....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Let the festivities…continue?

So yesterday, September 19th was International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I know this not because I looked it up or heard it on the news but because, for my husband, this is an important holiday.

He spends much of the day, in fact, talking like a pirate, singing like a pirate and spreading the Good News about how to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day.

I mostly roll my eyes. I have nothing against pirates – well, the seafaring kind anyway…the fictional seafaring kind – that is. All other types of pirates I am officially against.

But TLAPD is not the subject of my post – because it was yesterday. Today I want to talk about all the things we should be celebrating on September 20th. For those of us who still have some energy left after spending 24 hours walking the plank and saying ‘arrrrr’ – you may want to join in the festivities for such age old and time-honored celebrations as:

Chicken Dance Day
Farm Safety Day
Gibberish Day
Railroad Station Day
And
Punch Day [the beverage, not hand to hand combat]

So, put on a pair of safety goggles, go to the nearest train station, stick your thumbs in your armpits, lift a glass of punch and say [while your mouth is full preferably] Happy September 20th!

What unusual holidays do you celebrate?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chris Karlsen, author of Heroes Live Forever -- Goddess Fish Blog Tour




Today we're welcoming author Chris Karlsen to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for HEROES LIVE FOREVER. 

Chris will be giving away a digital copy of her thriller, "Golden Chariot" to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and a $50 Amazon gift card to another randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

Don't forget to comment Killer Friends so that you're entered to win these great prizes!


Heroes Live Forever

by Chris Karlsen

Elinor Hawthorne has inherited a house haunted by the ghosts of two medieval knights, Basil Manneville and Guy Guiscard. Basil is the man of her dreams, her knight in shining armor. She falls in love with him and he with her. Basil soon realizes she needs to live a normal life, a happy life with a mortal.

A lifetime later fate intervenes. Basil, still in love with Elinor, is told her spirit lives on in a young woman and he is given another chance at life to find her. 


Excerpt:

At the top of the stairs, goose bumps suddenly dotted Elinor’s skin and the hair on her arms stood on end. She glanced back, but didn’t see anything strange, or more to the point, Lucy’s ghost knight.


Make sure you leave a comment and don't forget to follow the rest of Chris's tour! 

The more you comment, the better your chances of winning one of the great prizes. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/08/super-book-blast-virtual-tour-heroes.html








Author Bio:

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse. 


Where to find Chris:


http://www.chriskarlsen.com/index.html
http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/chriskarlsenwriter
http://pinterest.com/chriskarlsen/


Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's YOUR sign?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I don’t mean your Zodiac sign – [I’m Aries, btw] – I want to know if you have an invisible neon sign on you that attracts things, people, questions, etc.

I have an invisible neon sign. It says: PLEASE ASK ME DIRECTIONS. [In fine print, which no one can read, it has the disclaimer: Because I’m sure I can’t help you.]

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, people always ask me for directions, and I’m the least prepared person in the world to give them an answer. I can’t direct people to places I’ve been, even places I’ve been dozens of times – far less someplace I’ve only heard about that’s supposed to be nearby. I have no sense of direction. I don’t navigate by street signs as much as by landmarks [turn left at the red house – if they ever paint that house, I’m lost]. I have to think twice to tell the difference between left and right sometimes.

I admit this willingly, not because it doesn’t embarrass me - it does – in fact halfway through giving directions to someone I’ve had them say, “You don’t live around here, do you?” [Only 45 years in virtually the same neighborhood, I’m still getting my bearings]. No, I admit this willingly because I want to spread the information that I’m NOT the person to ask if you need to know how to get to the DMV, or the mall or Town Hall [I work at Town Hall, btw, but if I'm there and you're not, well, good luck finding the place. I'm lucky I found it.] I could probably drive you to any one of those places, but I can’t possibly explain how to get there. 

I’ve often thought of wearing a real sign that says “No, I’m not from around here. Please don’t ask me directions.” But I don’t think people would notice. 

So tell me, do cats flock to you even though you’re allergic? Do people follow you even if you’re the one who’s lost? Do you ever wonder why? It's because you've got an invisible neon sign too. What's does yours say?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Finding True (Doggy) Love on the Internet

Sure, you see those ads for eHarmony and Match.com all the time. I even know real life couples who met online and are happily married, but I never thought I'd make a love connection on the 'net.

And yet, I'm here to confess I found a true love on the internet. Since it's our anniversary today, I thought I'd share our story.

A long time ago we adopted our sweet girl, TASHA from a local animal shelter when she was about a year old. She was stubborn, physically strong and loved to run away....like on the morning of my sister's wedding when I had better things to do than go traipsing through the woods to catch her. But we loved her.




One day, when she was eleven, she suddenly fell ill. When I took her to the vet, I asked about the possibility of getting another dog to help keep Tasha young. Sadly, Tasha passed away the same day she got sick. :-(

But my vet and his wife had already decided they had the perfect dog for us....so TEDDY came into our lives.



He was four years old, only "spoke" Korean, and didn't respond to his name (Indy, at the time). He wasn't the friendliest of dogs (except with me). I found out a year later that he'd rejected everyone else the vet tried to get to adopt him. Eventually he warmed up to almost everyone....almost....

Teddy ruled the roost for five years.




But I really missed having a big dog and Long Suffering was kind enough to indulge me, so I began a search for another dog, hopefully one who could accompany me on my walks and runs. (I do half marathons so they're not your usual walk around the block.)

I scoured Petfinder.com for months. We visited the shelter we'd adopted Tasha from. We visited the local rescue organization. I drove Long Suffering nuts. I studied Petfinder.com some more.

And then I saw her and it was love at first sight.



So we filled out an application with Eleventh Hour Rescue to see about adopting her. On August 25th, 2011 our application was approved, but we had to wait to see her.

She wasn't in New Jersey. She was in Tennessee.

So we waited. We took Teddy to meet other dogs Eleventh Hour had available for adoption. None were a fit for us. (I did mention he's not the friendliest of fellows, didn't I?)

So we waited.

And we took Teddy to meet other dogs at the local animal shelter, but found no one who fit with our family. (i.e. no one who could get along with Teddy)

Meanwhile, Teresa was spayed in TN and had to recover before volunteers would drive her all the way to NJ.

Finally, on September 9th, we got an email asking if we were still interested in meeting her because she was being brought up to Jersey the next day. We made an appointment to see her at 4:30 the next afternoon.

The poor girl was pretty tired when we met her, having been in a car all night, and only having arrived at the rescue organization that morning. She was dirty, mangy, stumbled a lot (Long Suffering was convinced she had something neurologically wrong and would die) and skittish, but we fell in love with her anyway.

Even Teddy didn't seem to hate her and when he growled or barked at her, she would just wag her tail and move away from him, as though she knew that he weighs seven pounds and she weighs close to seventy.

We brought her home that night and named her PHOEBE. Slowly, but surely, she settled in. She's healthy now. All the discoloration in her coat disappeared once she had a couple of vet visits, a steady, healthy diet, regular exercise and brushing. She's no longer nervous (except during thunderstorms) and she enjoys her walks and runs without stumbling.

She and Teddy still aren't best pals, but he rarely growls at her any more and when he steals food meant for her, she still just wags her tail and moves away from him.

They've even become couch buddies.


Today is the one year anniversary of Phoebe joining our family.





So that's our love connection made via the internet. How did you find your four-legged family members?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Now in print!

I'm thrilled to announce my full length paranormal romance, INTERVIEW WITH A GARGOYLE, is now available in Print!

The Long and the Short Reviews had this to say about it:

Interview with a Gargoyle is a super amazing story with fascinating characters and a love between two kindred souls. The details were superb, the editing squeaky clean, and the dialogue brisk, entertaining and insightful to the characters. There is nothing I didn't like about this book. It's surprisingly fresh, innovative and just plain fun.









Here's a teaser:

“Run! Get out of here while you can.” Palmer’s strangled command stopped Melodie halfway around the front display counter. She skidded to a halt and glanced back over her shoulder. DeWitt had Palmer by the stretchy collar of his T-shirt and was lifting his linebacker body about a foot off the floor.

Ignoring Palmer’s gasping and his ineffectual kicks, DeWitt turned his predatory gaze on Mel. “I only want the jewel. Don’t make me hurt him to prove how desperate I am.”

And there went her escape plan. In a strange way, Palmer had saved her life, and weird as he was, she couldn’t let him suffer on her account. “Jewel? You’re looking for a jewel?” Why hadn’t he just said so in the first place?

“The Cabochon is a cursed jewel. It will bring you nothing but tragedy. Hand it over to me, and you’ll escape its curse.”

“Ah, okay. I think I know what you’re talking about. The Gogmar gave me something in the alley, right before he…died.”

Tortured eyes searched hers, and she had the distinct impression he could see into her soul. The oddly naked feeling made her shiver.

“It gave you the Cabochon?”

“It gave me a sapphire. Now, put Palmer down gently, and I’ll give it to you if you promise to leave us alone, okay?”

She made a “down boy” gesture with both hands.

“If you give me the Cabochon, I promise, you’ll never see me again.”

That seemed reasonable to Mel, but apparently not to Palmer, who still dangled in midair.
“Don’t do it, Melodie. He’s pure evil. He’ll kill us both if we give him what he wants.”

“Oh, please.” DeWitt dropped Palmer then, totally ignoring the “gently” part of Mel’s request. “Get over yourself, demon hunter. There’s nothing pure about me.”

Clutching his chest, from which DeWitt had likely ripped a handful of hair, Palmer slithered away along the floor. With a lot more bravado than she felt, Mel inched back into the kitchen and put herself between DeWitt and Marty, who still sat grinning like a fool on the very edge of the center workstation.

“Okay. Nice and easy,” she said, holding up her hands like this was an old-fashioned stickup. Since it appeared the only weapon DeWitt possessed was Palmer’s sword, she probably could have made a break for it, but she really was more than willing to part with whatever it was Creature Boy had given her.

“It’s in my pocket.” She reached slowly for the gem that the Gogmar had pressed into her hand. DeWitt’s tawny gaze followed her movements, skeptical but anxious.

Judging by his expression, Mel held all the power. He wanted the cursed jewel just as badly as she wanted to get rid of it. When her cold fingers scraped the crumb-dusted bottom seam of her apron pocket, her heart shriveled a little. With a reassuring smile for DeWitt, she felt to the left, then to the right. Nothing.

She held open her pocket and glanced inside. There was nothing there but a few shards of antler and a little ball of bright green lint. “Um…”

DeWitt’s accusatory glare made her spine tingle. “You lied to me, lass.” The timbre of his voice brought to mind the windswept hillsides of Scotland and the icy depths of a cold hell. He was not amused.

“I did have it. I swear. It must have fallen out of my pocket in the alley. It’s probably still out there under the…ooze.”

DeWitt wasn’t buying it. His ire wilted her. Under his alluring golden gaze, she felt guilty.
“I swear, I don’t have it.”

“Yes, you do.” The accusation hung in the sweet-scented air of the kitchen for a second; then DeWitt lunged for her.

[Find out what happens next...AMAZON.COM]


Monday, September 3, 2012

What does love look like to you?

This weekend Long Suffering and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. We've been married a long time and I'm still lucky enough to say that he's still my best friend.

So how did we spend our anniversary?

Not like the characters of any romance novel I've read.

Not like I would have imagined us doing it a couple of decades ago.

Not like I would have imagined us doing it a year ago.

We went for a six mile run and then we went and bought Long Suffering new running shoes.

Which was an AMAZING thing.

Because a year ago, Long Suffering didn't run (AT ALL) and he barely walked more than a few miles per week.

And yet he dutifully stood in the rain over the years to watch me as I slogged across the Finish Line of my half marathons. He thought I was nuts for putting myself through that, but he supported me.

Then, a year ago, Hurricane Irene pretty much decimated our town and a few months later a 5k was held to help raise funds to rebuild it. So Long Suffering decided we should do it, even though he couldn't remember the last time he'd travelled three miles on foot. So I told told him I'd walk it with him...as slowly as he needed to.

And somewhere in those 3.1 miles he caught the running bug and he became my running partner.

So this weekend we ran, we shopped for running shoes, and we marveled at this new hobby we've taken up together.

That's what love looks like to us. What does it look like to you?