Friday, April 30, 2010

We've Come A Long Way, Baby...or having one.

Childbirth in the old west often resulted in death of the mother due to complications, and often the baby as well.  Doctor's were spread thin, and pioneers usually lived miles from the nearest town on any plot of land they could homestead.  If a mother-to-be was lucky, she knew another woman who considered herself a midwife based on the amount of babies she'd assisted in bringing into the world.  Often the criteria was how many she'd had of her own.  It didn't take much to be an authority in those days.

Had I lived during that time, my son and I would surely have died.  Although my first son, close to 10 pounds, was a normal delivery, my second son turned sideways and lodged his hand in the birth canal.  The resulting emergency c-section saved us.  In those days, we just wouldn't have survived, period.

There was nothing to ease the pain of labor as we have these days.  No epidurals, no spinals, no Lamaze training to help prepare the mother... nothing.  Women went through grueling hours of pain to bring a child into the world, and many died in infancy because of the widespread diseases and living conditions.  It wasn't uncommon to see a family cemetery started behind a homesteaders shack, with crosses marking the names of babies lost at childbirth or in infancy. Imagine giving birth in the back of a Conestoga wagon, often while the wheels bumped over a rutted trail in the middle of nowhere.  It took something major to halt the wagon train before day's end, and something as commonplace as birthing wasn't a reason.

What I can't understand because I'm such a wimp is why women today want to suffer through childbirth without drugs.  I respect their right to feel every cramp and consuming pain, but having a child is when "just say no to drugs," doesn't make sense to me.*smile*

Pregnancy wasn't reason enough for pioneer women to take it easy.  They still met the responsibilities of their households; some even plowing fields and sowing seeds for the very crops on which their futures depended.  I doubt that a complaint of swollen ankles went very far to shirk their duties.

Let's consider the Indian women of the time period.  Warriors believed that a bleeding woman was possessed by evil and could zap their strength, so during a woman's menstrual cycle, she was isolated that entire time--usually in a specially built lodge deemed the women's lodge.

This same tepee was used for birthing children, and taboo for the men.  When a woman's labor began, she and the tribe's medicine woman and perhaps a few female relatives retired to the lodge for the birthing ceremony.  Most tribes were very superstitious and took great care to pray and chant over the mother and the babe she  carried.  The Plains Indians, specifically, cherished their children, considering them a gift from Waken Taken, their heavenly father.



Usually in the women's lodge, a long narrow trough was dug in the dirt floor and a pole sunk deep into the earth.  The laboring mother squatted over the indention, grasped the pole, and pushed until the baby was delivered.  The afterbirth was caught in the trough, while the baby was swaddled in soft pelts and dried with moss.  The child's umbilical cord was kept in a specially beaded pouch.  Lakota Sioux tribe used two pouches; one to hold the real cord and the other to fool the evil spirits.  The one containing the cord was hidden in the baby's cradleboard until he/she was old enough to wear clothing and then hidden within their attire. This was done to protect the little one from harm.

So ladies, consider the advantages we've shared and the leaps and bounds the medical field has taken to make childbirth a safer and less painful process.  I'm grateful every day that I live in an era that made it possible for both of my children to be born, safe and healthy.  I also pay special homage to the person who created the epidural and the medication administered during my cesarean so I didn't have to be awake while someone dug around in my insides.  *lol* Hey...for those of you who stayed awake during your surgery...Kudos.  When they asked me if I wanted to remain alert during the delivery, I didn't just say no...I said, Hell No!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

We've Got It Easy, Even when we think we don't

A good friend reminded me today that blogging sometimes needs to be about more than book excerpts and competitions.  I was honored when Mirella Patzer, an author of significant historical knowledge cited me as an authority on the old west.  I stopped and thought about it, and realized I really am.  I've spent countless hours reading about the Lakota Sioux, researching their tribal traditions and rituals, and studying the trials and tribulations that pioneer men and women faced.  For Sparta Rose, I researched the area, to familiarize myself with historical landmarks, schools, banks, and hotels from the past.  I may not be a "true" authority, but I sure know a lot more now than I did when I began writing historical novels.

This morning, I bemoaned the fact that I needed to change our bedding.  While I slipped on clean sheets then stuffed the "used" ones (I started to type "soiled" but that conjured up a big ewwww) into the washing machine, I realized how very spoiled our generation is.

 Had I lived in the old west, I might not have owned anything that resembled a mattress.  Although by the 1800s, beds raised off the ground were commonplace to avoid insects and rodents, poor pioneers often slept on straw covered with quilts or blankets. Rough wooden frames with crisscrossed rope created the foundation. Feather beds were common only among those wealthy enough to have access to down feathers. In some cases, straw was sewn into a bag, and cleaning the bedding meant dragging the heavy sack outside and beating the dust from it. Same for anything that covered the wood or dirt flooring.  No Hoovers or Dust Devils then!

As I added detergent to my washing machine, I thought about the women of the old west who at one time beat their clothing clean on rocks, and later marveled at the invention of a scrub board and a wringing device.  Oh, talk about thanking God for my life.  Do you know that in some third world countries, women still do laundry this way?  Don't you feel lucky?

Tomorrow...more on the pioneer's life.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome, Vanessa Hearne

Vanessa was born in England where she grew up in huge and drafty old farm houses. These houses had more than the occasional ghostly visitor and from early childhood on Vanessa could hear the spirits speaking.

She eventually moved to California and while living in the Santa Cruz Mountains found again many a ghostly visitor would wander in, usually without invitation or notice. Vanessa had bought a horse ranch and ran it with her wonderful help, Joanna, friend Christine, some fabulous students and her daughters, Grace and Lucy; who were going back and forth in custody swaps between their mother and their Scottish father. Vanessa put a wild plea out for a man to come into her life to help her - he must look good in a tuxedo and know how to fix a tractor; oh, and one more thing - he had to be able to cope with all the ghosts and weird happenings at the ranch. The call was answered - Wil arrived in her life. He had been drawn to the Santa Cruz mountains on long drives up by her ranch, he knew he was called by something, not knowing who or what until they met outside a bookstore (where else?) one evening. He met the ghosts and spirits at the ranch, fixed the tractor, looked great in a tuxedo and they married on the red rocks of Sedona.

It was not until Wil took Vanessa to Hawaii, though, that a series of events occurred that made it mandatory to write about her experiences. During a session of meditation with Wil at the Kilauea crater she again experienced a spirit’s message. This time Vanessa was given a strong and clear cry of need. She must write the ghost’s stories.

Now living in high deserts of Arizona, Vanessa is a commissioned artist, an Ordained Minister, with a degree in Metaphysical Psychology and a certified riding instructor, voted one of the top instructors in the US in 2009 by the American Riding Instructors Association. She and Wil still get ghostly visitors - he sees them, she hears their stories. Wil is Vanessa's muse and they make a great detective team!


Excerpt from the upcoming book The Black Sand Beach, book one of the Paradise Saved series.

He leaned closer to the silent woman and noticed every feature traced by the moonlight. She sat there with her eyes closed, head hanging forward, and wisps of long hair shading most of her face.

You look so peaceful.

Then a tear running down her face caught his notice. The sight touched him deeply, but his heart began to pound in his chest; she did not look right. Something was wrong.

“It’s okay, girl …wake up, we figure somethin’ out,” he said, but still she sat, her head hung awkwardly, chin on her chest, shoulders rounded and drooping.

Unmoving, she still did not offer an answer.

The surf crashed nearby, with a rattle of pebbles and the hiss of black sand sucked back with the receding wave. Greg’s attention remained focused on the woman before him; nothing else existed as he wrestled with how to gently get her attention. Torn between letting her sleep there and to wake her up so she could go home, he wrung his hands then decided to nudge her and see if she would wake up.

He reached toward her hunched form when a warm hand landed on his shoulder. He jumped back.

“Don’t touch her,” said the male voice behind him.

Greg had not heard anyone else approach due to the roaring of the surf. He tried to duck away from the hand and whipped around, to find the owner, Tom, another of the volunteers.

“Aaagh, dear God, Tom,” Greg gasped, “you scared the crap out a’ me! What you playin’ at creepin’ up like that?”

He looked back down at Kailani to see if she had woken. She was now lying on her side, blanket around her, just collapsed sideways. Her face was in the sand, unmoving. Greg tried to reach for her again, but Thomas held his arm. Greg felt a panic rising in his chest as he stared at the now-prone figure, and he could not speak.

“I just call paramedics,” Tom said, breathless and upset. “…and…and…Kailani’s people,” he continued.

“It’s bad Greg, real bad, man.” Tom choked the words out, still grasping onto Greg’s shoulder, his fingers biting into the flesh.

“What the hell…? “ Greg asked. “What bad? What you talkin’ bout?” Suddenly he couldn’t catch his breath, and his heart pounded.

There was a long pause, and then Thomas said gently, “Greg, man, she pass on…she gone, she…ma’ke – dead, man.” Thomas gulped back a sob as he choked out the words. “I come earlier to help her and…and I couldn’t wake her, man…she got no pulse, man…real cold…not breathing or nothin’, man…just sat there all weird like I found her…an’…an’ I ran…I tried to get help,” he sobbed again, “it’s too late…”

The old man staggered back, managing to pull away from Thomas.

“What you mean…no…no…no…not Kailani,” wailed Greg. “Oh, my God…you sure? She sleepin’ fine, she ok, wake up soon…no…?

Thomas shook his head and put his face in his hands in answer.

Just then the beautiful night exploded with flashing lights and sirens screaming as the emergency vehicles arrived. The paramedics rushed over with radios blaring and floodlights carving into the darkness to join the two men crouched beside their friend, Kailani.

You can view the video here and Vanessa's publishing info here.


A note from Vanessa
About Paradise Saved series:


The stories are all based on true life experiences involving tales of living, historically rich land and local indigenous people versus giant corporations bulldozing and building on their sacred or spiritual land. Sometimes it takes more than a few local voices complaining to stop the big developments destroying paradise, it takes more than passionate pleas. Changes that result in preserving and protecting the paradise we live in, this earth, come from collaboration, cooperation and knowledge. In my stories I share a lot of interesting ideas and facts about the areas through my characters discovering fascinating facts, and experiencing adventures with ghosts and protective spirits which exist around us trying to speak. I hope you all enjoy the stories and learn a little about the wonders on our doorstep.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Got Witches?


First, let me thank Ginger for inviting me here today. It’s always an honor to be one of her guests.

As most of us know who have written a historical or researched for any reason, the seasons or holidays…well…though some of us might not want to admit it, a lot of our holidays are steeped in Pagan Rituals.

When I decided to write the Winslow witches of Salem series, I had to do tons of research because I had very little knowledge about witches, other than they were associated with Halloween and brooms. Frankly, I was surprised at the amount of information about witches and festival seasons.

Since I intended to use Beltane as a serious role in the witch books, (I made it the breeding seasons for witches) I went digging for any and all information surrounding this Spring holiday and thought I’d share a small piece of something I found...I fully admit this article has been plagiarized from the Internet and take no credit for it…But, since it was the first time I’d come across this particular writing, I thought it was interesting and just another way of sharing the wonderful Spring season…


In many parts of the Highlands, the young folks of the district would meet on the moors on May 1. They cut a table in the green sod, of a round figure, by cutting a trench in the ground of sufficient circumferences to hold the whole company. They then kindled a fire, dressed a repast of eggs and milk of the constituency of custard. They kneaded a cake of oatmeal, which was toasted at the embers against a stone. After the custard was eaten, they divided the cake into as many portions as there were people in the company, as much alike as possible in size and shape. They daubed one of the pieces with charcoal, til it was black all over, and they were then all put into a bonnet together, and each one blindfolded took out a portion. The bonnet holder was entitled to the last bit, and whoever drew the black bit was the person who was compelled to leap three times over the flames. Some people say this was originally to appease a god, whose favor they tried to implore by making the year productive.

No matter how we celebrate the coming of Spring, I think we’ll all agree it’s a joyous time of the year to celebrate new life and we’re just as anxious today to laugh, dance and make merry around the May Pole…

I’ve included an excerpt from my latest release, Witch’s Fire; book five of the Winslow witches of Salem. Everyone who leaves a comment today will have their name entered in a drawing for a free E-copy of it. The winner’s name will be announced tomorrow right here, so be sure and check back to see if you’re the lucky person…

BLURB/WITCH’S FIRE/TABITHA SHAY

In a world where magic is dying―two people meet under unusual circumstances…

Realm of light―New to this witchy stuff, Kirrah Walker crashes her broom into a stranger and knocks him unconscious. Feeling guilty, she takes him home with her and nurses him back to health. However, she soon discovers a terrible secret―the stranger is on a mission to assassinate a witch. Now Kirrah must decide if she’ll set him free or keep him tied to the headboard of her bed…

World of darkness―Prince Stry, future King of Ru-Noc awakens to find he’s not only a captive, but captivated by the charming witch who flutters around him like a nervous butterfly. Her magick is wild and so out of control, he knows in his heart he should steal her soul, but kissing Kirrah is habit-forming.

Kirrah and Stry―magical beings who must face the fear of their past, acknowledge their future and trust in destiny in a world gone mad…


EXCERPT
: WITCH’S FIRE/TABITHA SHAY…PG-Rated

She sighed, shoved up her sleeves and went to work dragging off his low-heeled boots and socks. Carefully, she swung his legs onto the bed. Only―somehow her legs tangled with his. She stumbled and fell clumsily across the poor man’s chest.

His eyes flew open. A half-smile flirted at the corners of his handsome mouth. Kirrah glared at him. How the heck did he manage to look so darned sexy with a big ole’ purple bruise fanning over his right eye?

Slowly, he slid his arms around her hips and squeezed her buttocks. “Well, hel-lo.”

Kirrah widened her eyes. Oh, crap, that’s all she needed, a concussed Romeo with a sexy voice hot enough to curl her toes and set her thighs on fire, a voice that both compelled and could easily lead a woman astray.

The man looked at her as if he’d never seen her before and had just discovered his favorite eye-candy. “Aren’t you just a sweet little beauty?” he purred, sounding for all the world like a hungry cat whose appetite had just been satisfied. A big, dopey, contented cat.
Sweet little beauty? She blinked. Oh, yeah, the man was definitely off his meds. Obviously he was no stranger to seduction 101, either, if the way he massaged her butt was anything to go by.
And damn, did he have to have such dreamy bedroom eyes? Tiny gold specks sparkled like angel dust in the warm amber depths. Thick gold tipped lashes completed the allure of his heavy lidded gaze. He had the kind of gold-flecked irises that attracted a woman and sucked her right in.

He might as well wear a sign around his neck that read: Come and get it, sinful indulgence right here!

And boy was she ready to go get it.

Her brows knitted together in a deep scowl. What was wrong with her? All of a sudden her hormones were out of control? She wondered if her face was as red as it felt. Since she had red hair, her complexion was the fair one typical of redhead’s. She blushed as easily as she sunburned.

His gaze wondered from her hair to her lips. Oh, my. Those tiger-colored eyes fixed on her mouth. He licked his lips as though he’d just discovered a delicious snack he contemplated nibbling on.
Startled, Kirrah gasped as he suddenly tugged her closer.

Her hands splayed across his wide chest. “Uh-Mr. Wa-Wa, I think you might be getting a tad bit carried away here. Unhand me.”

“No.” One hand slid up her back and his fingers curled around her nape holding her in place. “I don’t think I should do that at all. You belong to me,” he whispered, and took her mouth.

That was the only word for it. Took. He ravaged her mouth with a slow steamy gut-wrenching kiss. Warm and wet. Hot and melting. Yum. He might be half-dead, but he had a mouth to die for and he knew how to use it.

Witch’s Fire is available in print at Amazon or at Moongypsy Press

Be sure and visit my website to view some lovely art of my witchy characters. Previous editions of earlier books can be found in E-format at Fictionwise or in print at Amazon.com.

As always,
Happy reading,
Tabs

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Welcome, Jannine Corti Petska


Blurb:
Charlotte Nikolos keenly feels the difference between the dark coloring of the Gypsies who raised her and her own pale hair and skin. When she learns she has two sisters somewhere who share her looks and psychic powers, she's determined to search for her lost family and find answers about her past. But how?

For three years, Rafael Cazares has been away from the Gypsy camp and the woman who makes his blood boil. He's determined to win back Char's trust and recapture her heart. He insists on helping her to find her true family, but someone or something is determined to keep them apart. When a deep dark secret is revealed, Rafael would do everything in his power to keep the only women he has ever loved out of harm’s way. Even if he must die.

*******************************************************************

When I set out to write the Sisters of Destiny trilogy, I had the concept that each sister would have her own story and live in different countries. Beyond that, I wasn't sure how I would tie the books together. But towards the end of book one, Carina and the Nobleman, Carina decided to go in search of one of her sisters. She ends up in Andalusia and meets Char. I want to thank Carina for showing me the way.

Book two, Charlotte and the Gypsy, is set in a Gypsy camp in Andalusia, Spain. I enjoyed researching the Gypsy culture. It was most fascinating, but it was also quite simple yet complex. Like most cultures, Gypsies had their hierarchy within their clan, and they preferred to be left alone. The difference between the Andalusian Gypsies and others throughout Europe depended on location. Many of the Andalusian Gypsies spoke Spanish and wore the clothes of the land. However, Gypsies never lost sight of their own culture, language, clothing, and how they lived. It was unfortunate that Gypsies rarely kept journals.

At the end of book two, Char travels to England to locate the third sister. I am researching Callie and the Knight and hope to start writing the story by July. And not to worry, the mystery surrounding the sisters and their birth will come to light at the end of book three.

Reviews:

Charlotte and the Gypsy draws the reader deep within the gypsy world; familiarizing the reader with gypsy traditions, gypsy life, and gypsy love. With vivid descriptions and attention to detail, this book made it easy to get lost in Andalusia, and difficult to return to reality. --Siren Book Reviews, 4 siren stones

Corti-Petska does it again, with the other sister, Charlotte. I always love the way Corti-Petska sets of the scene, characters, and dialogue. This second book of the trilogy swept me away to another place as did the first book in the series. This is a must read for all of you romance junkies! I found myself going back to read the first book again. A beautiful story of finding out who you are at the cost of harms ways and undeniable love. This author will always remain one of my favorites! --The Pen and Muse, 5 stars


Excerpt:

Rafael has been gone from his Gypsy camp for three years. When he returns, he assumes he'll pick up where he and his betrothed had left off...about to get married. Throughout the story, he discovers that things don't remain the same. And Char fights for women's rights, medieval style. ;-)

Scene set up: Rafael thought he knew all there was to know about Char...until he learns she has two sisters. But more is his frustration over her continual disobedience and her unwillingness to forgive him for what he'd done three years past.

Note: Lennor is Char's father.

Rafael ate up the ground as fast as his legs carried him. He was furious with Char for defying an order. After Lennor had filled him in about Char’s sisters, he’d gone to her tent to inform her of his decision. When he got there, she was gone. Now his blood boiled hotter than burning wood. No woman took his directive lightly.

He found her sitting at the river’s edge, her bare toes tickling the water’s surface. Her arms hugged her legs, and her cheek rested on raised knees. She looked content. He was loathed to disturb her, but he couldn’t let her dictate their relationship. With a woman like Char, she’d trample over his good intentions with her stubborn streak, if he gave her the chance.

Quiet as a bird’s tiny feet on grass, Rafael approached and planted himself at her back. He noticed her arms tighten around her legs and her toes curl. She was aware of his presence.

"I know not what to do to make you understand what is expected of you, Char."

"As do I."

He tilted his head in thought, unsure of what she meant? "If you cease going against the wishes of the men in your life, mayhap you’ll avoid these unpleasant confrontations and threats of punishment."

She twisted her neck to peer up at him. Her eyes were puffy, red. Char seldom shed tears.

"You misunderstood," she corrected. "I know not what to do to make you understand that I’ll not be governed by you or any other man."

Bedamned, she was headstrong. She had him tied into painful knots and his mind befuddled with indecision. "Think you I enjoy reminding you of my rights? Or making threats against you when you gainsay me?"

"I think it is a man’s way to make women submissive."

"I believe it is because women are difficult creatures."

"If a man did not make unreasonable demands, his woman might comply with his wishes," she said matter-of-factly.

He stepped around her and squatted. "What say you?"

"How do you train horses?" she asked.

"With a gentle hand and firm commands."

"Do you whip them if they fail to follow your command?"

"Of course not." His brows drew inward. "You are saying that a man should handle a woman with a gentle hand?"

"Precisely." She let her feet slip into the water.

Studying her profile, he was hard-pressed not to caress the soft edges of her features. She was the epitome of a beautiful woman.

With a heavy sigh, Rafael rose. "Enough about your perception of how a man should treat a woman. I am here to discuss our wedding."

Interested and anxious, she searched his face for a sign of hope. Was she waiting to hear he’d decided against a wedding? Alas, he couldn’t grant her that wish.

"The Rom Baro and I have agreed that you and I will wait until autumnal to be wed."

Her relief was blatant. "Thank you," she said softly, vulnerable and kind, like a child.

Icy fingers scraped down Rafael’s back. "Thank me not. I promised Lennor a stable of horses. After I bring them to camp, it will take until autumnal to train the lot."

"As you have a purpose before we are married, I have one too. Did Father tell you about my sisters?"

"He did." A far away look slipped into her eyes. The wistful sight made his heart stutter in his chest.

"Carina, Callie and I were born as one."

He’d heard of women birthing two or more babes within minutes. Usually, one or more didn’t live. "Know you where in England Callie lives?"

"Gustav said I’d find her near London."

Rafael tensed at the mention of Char’s tutor, a huge man with the strength to match. He rubbed at his jaw unconsciously. They’d fought hand-to-hand over Char’s virtue, and he remembered well the feel of the man’s powerful fist slamming into his face. Gustav protected Char well and would lay down his life for her. After that encounter, Rafael respected his loyalty.

"Then we shall travel to England at winter’s end."

Char flounced to her knees. "I cannot wait that long. If I leave at once—"

"Traveling by horse over unfamiliar land is dangerous, more so for a woman. Think you England is beyond the mountains? It will take months, Char, not just weeks."

"I’ll ask Ker or Petrus to accompany me."

The depth of his being rebelled, and it reflected in the low rumble of his voice. "Ker will not accompany you. And Petrus—"

Petrus’ interest in Char had never been a secret. The man’s lust for the wench had caused many a fight between the two of them. Upon his return to his people, Rafael had inquired about Petrus and learned he’d leave for days and weeks at a time, no one knowing where he’d gone.

"I’ll not allow Petrus to go with you either."

Char rose woodenly, holding his gaze, castrating him for wanting to protect her. "Then I shall travel alone."

"No one will go against me, so hear me well, Char. Our wedding may be two months away, but your father is turning you over to me. You’ll soon be my responsibility. And my woman." He caressed the heat suffused on her cheek, and she slapped his hand away. "Return to your tent."

Her lips compressed to a bloodless line, and she stood her ground. Would she force him to hoist her upon his shoulder and carry her back to camp? Was that the way of it?

"You try my patience, Char. Do as I say or—"

"Never will I concede to you."

He grinned salaciously, and her eyes stretched open wide. "Querida, there will come a time when you cannot help yourself, then you’ll concede to me over and over…"

CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY is available in print and ebook at Moongypsy Press. Don't forget to visit my website.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Bottle of Fine Wine? Really?


I wish I could remember things with the ease that I display in writing. Stories and facts that seem to flow so easily, only come because someone in my head is telling me what to say. In my real life, I have CRS! (Can't remember s**t)

Honestly, I never thought I would see the day that I've put all my pills into little containers marked by day. When you develop a daily routine, it's so hard to recall if you're remembering taking your medications from yesterday or if you actually did walk into the bathroom, open that medicine chest and ingest the pills.

I'm reaching many new "high points" in life.

One day my bladder was fine, the next day it wasn't. If I gave into the feeling I have constantly, I'd move my computer into the bathroom so I could just sit on the commode all day. I guess I really do need the Vesicare the doctor prescribed. I stopped taking it because I didn't believe him. Who's the idiot now?

Yep...I started it again yesterday. I honestly need to stop second guessing my doctor even though everything I've read lately tells me to question him. Let me be the first to tell you that you can't self-diagnose and expect to get good results simply from reading information on the web. I guess that's why Dr. Nachnani has a degree in medicine and I don't. :)

I love Reader's Digest, but then I think you know that because I quote them so often. You might want to pick one up and peruse the section on Emergency Rooms; it was quite interesting, and a little scary, but it imparts some words of wisdom you might want to know.

On the other hand, while trying to be more aware of "health issues" I'm questioning whether or not it's safe to eat in restaurants anymore. The article from "wait people" in last month's issue was disturbing to say the least, along with the call in on the Doctor's show this morning. Did you know that lemons, celery sticks, and other garnishes are kept in containers filled with water, and every person working there has dipped their hand into it all day long? Even after they've handed their tip money, cleaned tables, shuffled dirty utensils to the kitchen? Maybe we need germ exposure to keep safe.

I've eaten out all these years and done fine, except for at a buffet. I've crossed those off my list after riding with my husband in his truck for a few months, and viewing the people lined up in front of me during dinner. Most truck stops offer buffet for convenience. The day I watched the man in front of me blow his nose then pick up the same spoon I was expected to use, turned me off. Plus, as much as I respect truck drivers, the hygiene issue is a little iffy with most of them. My husband is the polar opposite, and I think it's because of all the baby powder he applies frequently. Slap him, and you'll cause a dust storm. *lol*

I've started out of this room at least four times to do something, but before I get to the door, I've forgotten what it was. It will come to be eventually, but what worries me most is that one day in the near future I'm going to leave my grandson standing in front of his school because I'm still home trying to recall what I've forgotten.

Since childhood, I've listened to this quote, "Life is like wine, it grows better with age." I'd like to meet the person who said that and have a deep discussion with them. In looking for the source, I found the true quote...and it makes much more sense:
"Life is like wine, the longer you take to enjoy it the more chance you've got of tasting vinegar."

Unfortunately, I cannot credit the "quotees" because I don't know who they are, but I can tell you that I've reached the VINEGAR STAGE.

Monday, April 19, 2010

YA author, Kim Smith


TADA!! I feel sort of like I am popping out of a giant cake, waving at you all and announcing a new book.

Thanks to Ginger for having me on her blog. It has been some time since I posted on Dishin It Out, and I have missed it.

So... I am now a YA author as well as a mystery and romance author. My newest endeavor, A Mirror in Time was released in March at Moongypsy Press (click here) and it was a total joy to write.

Something about being involved in a project that is going to be in the hands of young people makes you feel young and makes you look at the world differently.

Blurb:
About A MIRROR IN TIME

When Carly Jean Simms, also called CJ, and the hunky Josh Jamison get lead roles in the school play at Broken Branch High School, they never dream where it will land them. But Mrs. Mac, the drama teacher, warned them about playing with her "special" mirror. Now it's sent them back to the time of their play and they have to use all their drama training to survive the travails of the Civil War!

Excerpt:
From A MIRROR IN TIME

"There's something about that mirror that just fascinates me. You know there was an old superstition about it."

CJ crossed her arms. "What superstition? That mirror freaks me out."

The teacher laughed. "You'll really freak when I tell you the superstition. According to the man who sold it to me at a little antique shop in Birmingham, it's a theatrical mirror. On opening night, certain persons who look into it are found worthy by the magic and given the gift of true acting. They perform their part like it has never been performed before. Standing ovations, awards, fame and fortune abound."

"I told you," Josh murmured to CJ. "But, magic? Come on, Mrs. Mac."

She nodded, insisting. "Scout's honor. The actors will be able to portray their parts as never has been played before." Then she sighed. "I'm still waiting for my gift. Maybe you have to kiss yourself in it or something."

CJ and Josh exchanged glances.

Mrs. Mac caught their gazes and raised an eyebrow. "Don't even think about it Jamison."

If you like good YA time travel, I hope you will make A Mirror in Time a place on your shelf.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, My Son


Today I face reality. As much as I would love to continue to believe that I'm forty, the mirror and the fact that my oldest son turns forty-three today belies the truth.

I regret that I live so very far from him, and it's been way too long since I've been able to spend time in his company. He always makes me laugh, feel appreciated, and keeps things from me when he knows I'll worry. But, the truth. I will worry about him until the day I die. He's my firstborn, my blood, my life.

Imagine that on his birthday, I would get a greeting. My son is very fortunate to have the ideal friend in Paul, and this is what he sent me today.

"It's your son's birthday, I'm sure it will be swell, but when you get right down to it....YOU did all the work and made him who he is. As I sent him in a text message a few moments ago, meeting and becoming friends with Skid is easily the greatest thing that ever happened to me. You did a fine job raising a fine boy and I love you both!!"

Receiving this message touched my heart, so much that I had to share it. It may be my son's birthday, but it's special for me because it's rich in memories and filled with love. Happy Birthday, Scott. I hope you know how much your mother loves you... and thank you, Paul for such a heartfelt tribute. Every one should have a friend like you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Awesome Article

I'm sharing the link below because I read the article and it really struck a note with me. I was married in the 60s and the rules that applied then were so much less tolerant than those that govern relationships today, and truly represented by the author of this fine piece. Women never "played house." Marriage or nothing, and if you gave into emotions and got yourself into trouble, you might as well have been wearing a Scarlet Letter. People always speculated at weddings, making side bets on whether the bride was pregnant or not. God help you if you had a baby that wasn't born at least 10 months after your walked down the aisle. You had shamed yourself and your entire family.
Now I find the second set of rules to be equally as true. We all are reaching for the unobtainable star...at least it seems a million miles out of my grasp. This made me stop and think about why I started writing in the first place. I think I have my perspective back, and I thank my good friend (she knows who she is) for sharing this with me. By the way...Jenny Cruisie wrote this article in 2002, so evidently things in the writing world haven't changed as much as I thought.

http://www.jennycrusie.com/for-writers/essays/a-writer-without-a-publisher-is-like-a-fish-without-a-bicycle-writers-liberation-and-you/




Note: The Scarlet Letter is the classic tale of a lover's triangle. It was written in the 1860s by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but is set in the mid 1600s. Hester Prynne is forced to wear the scarlet A, in retribution for her sin of adultery.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Welcome Rhobin L. Courtright

Champagne Books released my first story in a contemporary setting, Stone House Farm, this month. 

Used to writing scifi/fantasy settings, I thought writing in a contemporary setting would be a breeze.  Ha! More of a whirlwind! As long as you make a make your scifi/fantasy world believable, your reader accepts the story. I soon discovered contemporary settings aren't easy--just a different type of difficulty. We believe we know how police, justice and other government agencies work, how corporations and businesses work, even how our electricity and furnace fuel operates in our homes. However, a writer needs to get it right, especially in specific geographical locations, or earn the reader's displeasure!

Stone House Farm is about land with views of Lake Michigan surrounding an old stone farmhouse; land valuable to developers. So what is the process to obtain land if an owner doesn't want to sell? Does the local sheriff work and act like a TV detective? Probably not, especially while working during a snowstorm. I know the electric and phone lines can quit in this area. I know there are occasional problems with cell phone signals.  I mentioned the snowstorm -- anyone who has been through one of the recent storms in the Mid-Atlantic States knows how snow measured in feet screws up life. While Michigan is prepared for such storms, very severe ones can still knock everyone off base.

I hope readers will think I not only met the challenge, but also wove a good story through all the setting turmoil.

So what happens? After the divorce court gave her ex part of her farm's acreage, Amanda is cash poor but land rich. Sure, she could sell her farm, but the stone farmhouse has housed her family for generations. She won't sell it to Wade Preston's development company. Arriving home just before a storm, Amanda discovers her mare has escaped the barn. While she searches for the mare, her dog finds a wounded and near frozen Wade Preston in her orchard. Here is a short excerpt:

Buck wasn't trapped by his collar. An unusual long mound of snow lay under one of the apple trees. The dog barked and dug around the shape. Approaching with caution, Amanda swept her flashlight's beam over the mound and caught a flash of khaki and fingers. The mound was human.

She hurried her steps. Kneeling down she rolled the camouflage-jacketed form over. His face was pale and drawn, his black hair ice-coated, dark, wet strands plastered his forehead. Wade Preston!

"What are you doing out here? Visualizing where to put your condominiums and golf course?" She asked the unconscious face. He had to have walked here. She noticed shallow snow foot print impressions in the snow. Why come now, during a snowstorm?

"This makes as much sense as anything has lately," she complained to Buck.

Buck whined, his tail striking her back as he stuck his head under her arm and snuffled the coat of the prone man. She pushed Buck away. "Good-boy, yes, you found him, down."

She pulled off her glove and felt his face. Wade was cold, too cold, his lips blue, his skin deathly pale. "Please, God, don't let him be dead," she whispered, feeling his throat for a pulse.
*********************************************************************

Storm bound with her wounded enemy is not something Amanda planned, and certainly she would have to be delusional to fall in love... Yet those are just the beginnings of her problems.
 
Hope I've interested you in the story! Stone House Farm is available now from Champagne Books.

For more information, you can visit Rhobin on her website and her blog.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Visit by Julie A. D’Arcy-The Cross Of Tarlis

Firstly I would like to say thank you to Ginger for giving me this opportunity today to tell you a little about my new novel coming out at the end of April. I am an Australian author, living in Victoria with her 2 cats, who has been published for 12 years, and writing for 13. My first published book WON the RIO Award, and placed in the PEARL, SAPHIRE, and the Australian RUBY Award of that same year.

The Cross of Tarlis has been ten years in the writing, as I have not wanted to let go of my baby ;-) It is a fast paced Heroic Fantasy. With lots of action, excitement, magic and romance, to suit both male and female readers. It is a long book but a very fast read, as it is pacy, so please do not be put off by its length. I promise you will find it rewarding!

THE CROSS OF TARLIS

Five hundred years has passed since the great Mage War. Sernon of Asomos is defeated and his bones lay at the bottom of a glacial lake. His spirit roams forever in the void. Tarlis is at peace. Or is it?

Deep within the waters of Lake Dalen-Gae, evil stirs...

A Princess of the Wolfhead is kidnapped by the High Priest of the Urakians and used in a dark ritual to raise Sernon of Asomos, a sadistic necromancer bent on enslaving the people of Tarlis.

There is an Urakian uprising and enemy warriors swarm the land.

One woman is named in an ancient Elisian prophecy. She is Tannith, Princess of Ellenroh, descendant of Dragonbane, King of the old code. Only by her hand can the pieces of the legendary Cross of Tarlis be assembled, and with its use in raising their God Magus can freedom be restored to their realm.

But someone else also desires the famed talisman.

In a perilous land, facing an uncertain future, Tannith pins her hopes on two men: Kaden of the Wolfhead, bastard son of a cursed king, haunted by his failure to save his family, and stop his older brother from being transformed to an Ice Tiger; and Etanandril Jarrisendel, Captain of the Elisian Elite, Tannith’s childhood friend, and the man who loves her.

One will become a king. The other will face his fears and become a hero.
Both will become legends.

A mixture of Heroic Fantasy, myth, magic, adventure and passion.

READ AN EXCERPT
She had heard what Etan had said about her, and heard Tannith come to her defense. He would rue the day he was unkind to her.

Her fists clenched in the tiger’s fur, and she heard the animal growl softly, and smiled. She knew instinctively he wouldn’t hurt her. Not consciously anyway.

She had taken to riding the tiger of late, rather than on the horse with Etan. “That ungrateful son of a Panpheon Ape—”

“He is a fool, little one, if he cannot see what is before his eyes,” rumbled a deep voice inside her head. Skylah spun—and stilled.

“Who said that?”

“Do not be afraid, 'tis I, the beast upon which you ride.”

“Tiger? How did you do that?” She swallowed to moisten her suddenly dry throat. “Usually I can only communicate with birds, it has never happened with such a large creature before.

“That I cannot answer, yet 'tis enough that it be so. Do you not think?”

“Perhaps,” said Skylah still a little disconcerted. She sat for several heartbeats contemplating the matter. “So, what do you see tiger, when you look at me, other than a Fayrie and a tasty morsel?”

“I would never see you in that vein, little one. And call me Erik, for that is my name”

“Then you may call me Skylah for that is my true name. Now tell me what you see.”

Erik gave the Fayrie's question some thought. “When I look upon you I see before me a woman with luscious red-gold hair, laughing green eyes and a body a goddess would yearn for. You are most lovely.”

Skylah flushed. “You are very gallant, my furry friend. Though you also see small, do you not? And that is all Etan will ever see. My size. Yet how can he not? For that is who I am. A tiny Fayrie to be brushed aside at whim.” She sighed. “If only I were tall, with fair hair, and beautiful like Tannith. Then he would take notice. I would make him.”

I would do more than notice, thought Erik. “The trouble with men of his kind,” he said, “is that they only see with their eyes, not with their hearts. If you see with your heart, anything can be possible. After all, we live in a realm of myth, magic and legend. Who is to know what can happen in the future? I have heard tales of men being transformed to wild beasts. Surely it would not be so hard to change one small Fayrie into a full-sized woman?”

“Is that what happened, Erik? Were you transformed?” She smiled. “If so, tell me who you are? A vagabond, a poet, a mercenary, a King? You can tell me Erik. I can keep your secret. I have one of my own, you know?”

Erik tensed and withdrew into silence for several paces. When he spoke, his words were chosen with care. “I’m sorry little one, I cannot do that. Just know, sometimes things are not what they seem.”


If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email at julie-darcy@bigpond.com

This book will be available at the end of April at www.moongypsypress.com

in ebook, Kindle Reader and Print. My book can also be purchased at Amazon, and All Romance ebooks.

Read another excerpt from THE CROSS OF TARLIS

Thank you for taking the time to read my work and visit with me today

Monday, April 12, 2010

Welcome, Cindy Jacks






Just Do It

There I am staring at what looks to me as a couple tons of twisted steel. My son is tugging at my hand begging me please to try the ride with him. My stomach and I are not so sure we agree, but against my better judgment, I acquiesce. After all, I had a light breakfast.

We wait in line for our turn and finally, when it comes, the operator harnesses us into the death trap aka the Ring of Fire roller coaster. I think, I've spent most of my life trying to avoid situations in which I will put my butt over my head, yet here I am volunteering to do so. Crap, I'm scared. My son, on the other hand, is vibrating with excitement. Literally. He can't sit still.

While I watch his anticipation, the part of my brain that deals with courage kicks in--you know, the part that flips off the common sense and says, "Oh come on. Just do it!" Besides, I have no choice now. I'm strapped in and the coaster cars have started to move.

The agonizing climb up the first hill begins. My son kicks his feet and gives me a hundred-watt smile. I return a less than sincere grin. We stop for a second at the hill's crest...and then plunge down at break-neck speed.

And I love it.

My little boy and I are laughing and howling now. The rest of the ride is a blur of dips, turns, loops, and dives. It's terrifying and fantastic all at the same time. Kinda like writing a book.

Granted the chances I take when producing a novel are more emotional than physical, but the rush from the successful completion is no less palpable. Though most days I'm attached to my laptop, not a roller coaster, I believe I'm addicted to the thrill of, as Hemingway would put it, "staring down the bull." And I don't think it's an addiction I'll be getting over any time soon. Every time I sit down at my computer, my courage kicks in and I think like a Nike commercial--Just do it!

****
Cindy's up coming release, All the Good Men, can be found in May from Moongypsy Press. Don't forget to check out Cindy's other releases on her website.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This Week's Been A Doozy and It Isn't Even Over!


As if writing, promoting and keeping up with what's what and who's who on all the loops isn't enough, often times things crop up that annoy the living hell of you. This week has revealed a couple of those "croppers."

First: The contracts for books I wrote in 2003, 4, 5, lapsed and the rights reverted back to me. I reworked those books, queried, re-edited and contracted with a new publisher. New cover, a much more well-written book minus the head hopping and passive voice I knew nothing about back then--plus some other issues I've since learned to avoid.

So I notice that my old books, although no longer available, are showing on Amazon. I write them a nice letter, tell them that that version is no longer available and ask them to remove the old editions. What do I get back?A polite refusal. Seems they can't remove anything because that would make it impossible for sellers to offer "used" copies of that book via their marketplace.

What does that mean for me? People are still selling my old book. Amazon is making profits off of something no longer available or contracted, and so are the people who decide to find a sucker to spend twice the original price. Of course, I get no share of the pie, but I'm supposed to understand all that. Hey, what do I know...I only wrote the dang books why shouldn't every one continue to profit but me?

Second: Then today...the icing on the cake. I'm perusing books released by one of my publishers on Amazon, looking for something new and unusual to review on my Examiner.com site. I scroll down on one to check the length and discover that the publisher is shown as Createsource. Well, I know that can't be right. CS is a self-publishing site. I check more books and find the same listing... but, only on print books. So, I send an email to the loop and ask what's going on. I'm kindly told to take my concerns off loop. Clearly, the CEO doesn't want to discuss this, but her assistant was most helpful and assured me that the topic is "under discussion." Shouldn't this have been discussed with those who signed the contract? Why the big secret if there's nothing wrong, and why not discuss this on the author's loop? Isn't that a place for official business?

No offense to other people self-pubbed, I didn't come this far, work this hard, and jump through hoops, loops and suffer editing to have my book shown as self-pubbed on Amazon. Maybe I'm missing an important point, but that's because I was left out of the loop. The least I was owed was the option to decide, but I wasn't even given that courtesy. I'm chewing nails and waiting to see what's next. What happened to being upfront and honest? I'm very quickly becoming disillusioned with some aspects of this business.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kayden McLeod; The Foxworth Coven Series

Dear Reader,
Some of you already may have met the Cornwalls, the Vancouver Coven of vampires. But they are not the only ones in the area. There are others, like the Surrey Coven; the Foxworths.
The series begins with Book One; Death of Innocence, a first person POV “diary” of the two lead characters, Gregory and Canya Foxworth. The Council, the government ruling over the vampires have taken note of these vampires, and how they've grown in so much power, they can compete with those who rule them. Something the establishment fears, and demands to know more about.
A full report is to be given, of exactly what happened a century ago.
In 1904, the Leader of the Surrey Coven, Canya Foxworth was an almost human girl with vampire-blood in her lineage, bringing her gifts she had to hide, as her parents demanded of her. She hated her life, and would go to drastic measures to leave it behind her.
And it would damn near kill her.
Gregory Foxworth recalls his side of the story, how he found a dying woman who'd been tricked, and cast aside like garbage. Despite common practices when it came to a vampire healing a human, he’d done it without thought.
It begins a journey for them, and the Foxworth ruling family will ever forget it.
Death Of Innocence
Paranormal Romance (MF, Vampires, Ghosts, Deities)
Length: Apx 98K
Tag-Line:
Even unconditional love cannot always banish an eternal nightmare
Summary:

The Foxworth family has blazed a trail through human and vampire history alike, changing the ways of both races in Canada for all time. The Council has demanded a full report for the long and twisted tale of how the Surrey Coven had come to be the most powerful and feared; an assemblage that anyone would question before coming up against.

The Leader of the Surrey Coven, Canya recalls how her family came to be. A story filled with pain and heartache, until she meets Gregory Foxworth; a debonair CEO to the family shipping company. He takes her away from a life that shocks him, hoping to shelter and love her. But little does he know all he has done, was make her a target for a sadistically warped man. One who will have her and his own personal brand of vengeance. Sometimes, a grudge is forever.

Prelude

The sky was overcast, grey and temperamental, much like my mood. The ocean was a bluish-grey, reflecting the clouds above, while the waves lapped at the long expanse of glittering sandy beach.
I loved my house in White Rock, a nice city in British Columbia within the Fraser Valley. It was our main residence, but we owned a lot of property all over the territory that we were charged with to tend.
I sat outside on my patio with expensive white paper and a pen, but I wasn’t sure where to begin. When a story went on for decades, where does one start?
I thought of my family to give me strength.
The Foxworth’s had grown and changed so much in the last century. They too were asked to tell their parts of the tale, but they’d decided that it was when I discovered the new world remaining even now in shadows, that this story should begin.
It was almost a century to the day, when we finally ended what plagued my family for so long. Was a hundred years too long to hold on to hope that your loved ones will eventually survive and thrive, even if some have to die to see it happen?
The Council, our governing body, paid me a personal visit yesterday. Though it had been an official visit, I didn’t have a great track record with those. I was respected, but all in my Coven were also feared for their individual reasons, their individual pasts.
Over the years our Coven had been allied with some of the most powerful entities this world knows. We have the forces of nature on our side, the power of dreams and the most feared monsters that make humans run and hide under their beds to avoid.
The Council only ‘requested’ this document, because it was as unbelievable as it sounds. I believed they wanted to watch us fail to give the facts; to prove what we said was real, beyond doubt.
We have proof of all of our accomplishments, but I still suspect they don’t believe some of what my children and friends claim. Even to us, who are vampires and know of all sorts of real magic, our story is very far-fetched. Our experiences rip apart our own beliefs, not just the human view-point, stitching them back together again, to know the real truth of what lays just out of even our sight.
For a race with our real origins, you would think that they’d believe our tale.
I wouldn’t have ever chosen to put this to paper, but when the Council decrees something, you refuse or disobey at your own risk.
Some think we were lucky for what we are now. Others consider it a curse on top of the Curse that all vampires already share. We’re the damned that had at one point been blessed. We were the ultimate oxymoron, the personification, if you will.
Our kind had seen both sides of the balance, and now we were precariously hanging by our fingertips, trying to protect mankind from ourselves. We moved steadily forward, but Rogues kept trying to throw us back into the dark ages.
We would always stand between the evil in us, and the good in everyone else. Though we cannot protect humankind from their own forms of evil, we could do our part to keep the harmony on our end.
That was the Foxworth Coven’s mission statement. We lived with humans, not just among them. We tried not to abuse our power, and assimilate into humanity the best we could. We raise our children with those beliefs, in hopes that one day we’d have real freedom and understanding. It was only one small step in the face of many.
Possibly this record of our family would convince at least a few vampires, that just because we are at the top of the food chain, manned with more power then any being had a right to, didn’t mean they got to abuse it.
Maybe it will show that no matter how bad life appears at the time, hope is always at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it will just take a little time to get there.
In the end, I knew just how lucky I was. As a child I’d known real love existed, but my parents had never been examples of that. They almost hated each other, and liked me even less. It was a match for necessity and nothing more.
My cousin had once told me years ago, I’d been born to be a servant. Since the time I had been old enough to clean and mind the cattle, it was my life. Being taught to cook simple meals before I was ten, it was expected to serve them nightly.
Under my mother’s watchful eye, I grew up alone and afraid. My father had been a big, burly man who was far too gruff to ever have children. I believe he had me only because it had been expected of him. After me, they’d never tried for a boy. Something that enraged my Father, something I had to suffer for continuously.
But it isn’t my childhood hell that begun my long journey, nor my terrifying family legacy. For generations my family held within their grasp, magical gifts, but we were required to keep them quiet, for our own survival. The differences between those who are gifted and those who did not understand them, were vast in the early twentieth century, anymore than they had in the nineteenth.
As a teenager I’d been starved for love and affection, something that all of my friends had, received and gave so easily. I had searched far and wide for it, a way to leave my past behind me. To finally get out from under my parent’s thumb; or I would surely go mad.
They didn’t want me to go; they made no move to marry me off. I still believe that if the occurring events hadn’t have taken place, they would’ve found a way to keep me tied to them forever.
At almost twenty years of age, I was practically an old maid when meeting Thomas. For months we had met secretly, and I thought nothing of it, since I didn’t want my parents to know until it was too late to stop me.
I went to Thomas willingly, time after time, needing to feel human and liked. So much abuse from my parents made me desperate to jump into something far too quickly, before my normally intelligent mind had time to warn me of the impending dangers in direct relation to the hard-pressed decisions.
I had mistaken lust for love, and that really had been my downfall, and breakthrough for survival.
If I had not met Thomas, I doubted I would’ve met my true love.
Every cloud has a silver lining, even the darkest and most deadly ones.
***
Deep Water Legends; Paranormal Science Fiction, Moongypsy Press, is an introduction into this series, and Foxworth Coven. You meet Arcadia and Ceanna Foxworth, in the present day as Council Hunters who have grown tired of the leashes put on them by the Council.
Throughout the Foxworth Coven Series, Arcadia and Ceanna grow up from mere children, showing what it took to impose such rigid meddle in the twins, what made them the vampires that make almost every other cower in fear of them.
To Buy Deep Water Legends:
Website
Kayden’s Blog
Kayden’s World Of Paranormal Blog
Thank you Ginger for having me today, it was a blast!
Cheers,
Kayden

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When my muse messes with me

Trent KinseyThank you, Ginger, for letting me play at your house today! It's always fun to meet my friend's friends. Hopefully we can all play together nicely.


Those who know me also know that at times I'll complain about my muse abandoning me for vacations in Mexico. Those who don't know me look at me when I say this and either laugh or give me that look...you know? The look you'd give if you found a monkey working in a nuclear power plant. But the fact remains that there is many times when I'm in the middle of a project (or many for that matter) that my muse decides it's time for her to take a siesta. "Go ahead, Trent, you got this! I'll be back to see how you're doing in...well, I'll be back at some point!" Poof! She leaves and I'm stuck trying to figure out where my plot is going or wondering why my story just doesn't seem "likeable." So today, instead of just promoting the works my muse has blessed me with, I decided to talk about things I've done to pull her butt out of Mexico and back at my side.

Ghosts of the Storm by Trent Kinsey1. Reading
When I was on active duty, we used to say you couldn't be a leader if you weren't at one point a follower. The same goes for writing. How can you write if you don't read? We all have great ideas, but those ideas do nothing if you don't know if it's been done before, or how plots are developed, characters created. So reading is important.

When I feel my muse has left me for longer than I like, I pick up a book. Sometimes it's in the genre I love to write and sometimes I play in other author's back yards. I actually found that when I read outside my genre, my muse gets upset and comes in and kicks me in the butt. As I stated in a previous blog, I wrote Ghosts of the Storm primarily because my muse came in and introduced me to my character as I sat in the hot tub reading an anthology.

2. Talking to myself
It's not as creepy as you might believe! Sometimes, when I'm in a deep, dry rut of not writing, I pick up a notebook and pen and just start writing anything. Gibberish, notes, thoughts, jokes, doesn't matter what goes on the page, just as long as something goes on the page.

Sometimes, I begin to ask myself questions on paper. Why is this character like this? How will he meet the girl? Why does she not like him? What's the big deal? Sometimes my questions are more detailed, more precise. I do it so I can start trying to think of the things needed to make a story realistic. Not all the time does this work, but every now and then, it sparks my imagination and from there, more of my story comes to life.

Inside the Devil's Oak 3. Putting down the pen
Oh my God, Trent! Did you just tell someone to put the pen down?

Yes. Unfortunately, we are all in the rat race. We are all trying to get our name out there and put our stories in front of as many readers as we can. But sometimes forcing a scene, character, plot, story, does nothing more than damage it. Well that's my opinion anyways. I find that if I write in a troublesome work in progress just to write, just to put down as many words as I can to meet some personal deadline, it sucks when I go back to read it later. A lot of the time, I scrap the entire portion because I couldn't believe what I had done. For me—and most writers will tell you that each of us has or own ways and what works for some doesn't always work for all—if I put the pen down every now and then and start playing with my friends online or participating in blogs, my muse comes home and asks me what the hell do I think I'm doing? That and I find it's always fun to keep my friends around me so a break every now and then helps me to remember they're there as well. So there you have it folks! Will it work for you? I can't guarantee that it will. We all have different minds that work in various ways. I hope these small things of mine can help you. Truth be told, you must find what works for you.





http://www.trentkinsey.com/

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Twenty Things That Annoy Me

Feel free to chime in if I haven't listed your pet peeves.  It's time we all came clean and clue in those that continue with their annoying habits.  But you know what?  I'll bet most who are annoying know it already and don't really care. *smile*

1.  People who text and drive:  Actually people on cell phones, period.  Hang up the damn thing or pull over! And if you're in a public place, keep your voice down.  I don't want to hear about your private life.

2. People who blast their music with speakers that boom.  If I wanted to hear their music, I'd buy the CD or listen to that station.  You're not cool, you're just annoying.



3. Men who smoke cigars and assume everyone loves the rancid smell:  Guess what...you stink.  Also, inconsiderate smokers.  Tennessee is filled with them.


4. People who type an entire email to inquire about a web address they "lost:"  How about using Google like the rest of us.  I have better things to do than search for what YOU need, although I usually do because I'm just nice...or stupid.


5.  Businesses that relocate or close up shop but leave their signs posted:  There should be a law they have to remove them.  How many times have you seen a billboard or indication that gasoline is ahead, your gauge is almost on empty, and guess what????

6.  People in motorized carts that take up the entire aisle and act like they are the only ones shopping.  And why are most of these people obese?  They seem to walk into the store just fine.



7.  Shoppers who decide they don't want something and toss it wherever they are:  C'mon, donuts in the pet aisle.  Really?  Don't want it, put it back where you got it.


8.  People with children who cry throughout the entire visit to the store:  Either buy the kid the toy or take them outside or, better yet, home.



9.  Wrong numbers:  I expect them once in a while, but when you are calling a doctor's office and someone answers with "hello," don't follow up with "I'm calling to schedule my surgery."  How many physician's receptionists answer with just "hello?"  Next time, I'm gonna schedule your surgery.

10. Entire families that shop in an impenetrable, horizontal line: Hey folks, guess what.  Not everyone wants to follow you while you stroll.  Some of us want to pass and move along.


11. Eye drops:  I've never been able to keep my eye open and put in eye drops.  They should be called cheek drops, because that's where they end up.


12. Rainstorms that come right after I've washed my car:  I think this is self-explanatory, and I think I could probably solve a drought problem.




13. Barking dogs:  Don't the owners hear them?





14. People in "public service" jobs who act like you're annoying them:  If you don't want to serve the public, when why are you in that job?


15. People who make appointments and don't show u:  If you reserve a spot with someone, say a hairstylist, and you don't show up, you're costing them money they could have made by booking someone more reliable. 


16. People who don't return phone calls:  If I take time to leave a message, it must be important to me, so when you ignore me, it sends a negative message...like "I don't give a crap."



17.  People who don't pick up their dog's poop:  If you're going to adopt this policy, then let them crap in your own yard.



18.  5000 different ATM machines:  Why can't we have some consistency so we don't have to keep learning how to use them?



19.  Chatty cashiers or those who don't take the next person in line when they open their register:  Okay this probably sounds petty, because I like friendly people, but there is a time and place.  When I'm waiting in line, I don't want to hear you and the person in front of me talking about everything from the weather to kids.  And if I've been standing in line for fifteen minutes, don't open a register and take the person who just walked up...retrieve someone who has actually invested time.

20. Women who wear things that make your mouth gape.







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