Thursday, November 27, 2014

I'm Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving.

The turkey is cooked and cooling down before slicing. The sides are made. The pies look amazing. And despite all the hardships this year has brought I'm thankful.

I'm thankful that I have a friend like Carolyn who would move heaven or the other place to help out those she loves.

I'm thankful to Lea who always says yes and laughs and dares me.

I'm thankful to the friends we made through blogging: especially AZ and Willa.

I'm thankful to the authors who have enthralled me, pissed me off, engaged me and enraged me.

I'm thankful to our community.

I'm thankful to Dear Author as a reader who has met new books and as a writer who got her first professional review.

I'm thankful to a community of strangers for reading, writing and sharing themselves.

I'm thankful for another year with nmy daughter and the promise of more to come.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving (Almost)

Today's the day before Thanksgiving and it's Mollie and my first holiday with family in um... about nine years. And she's thirteen years old.

We're going to my SIL's best friend's house but we're bring the bulk of the food (and the bulk of the people). Besides my bro, his wife, me and my kid we also have my nephew Kyle (26 y/o, funny and damned good looking). Then there's our hostess Cindy and her BF, and another friend of theirs and her grown daughter.

My SIL Myrna is a mini-Martha (Stewart, that is) and so this holiday is a big deal for her. She's brining two turkeys and we'll be chopping and slicing and julienning most of today.

I've been slowly adjusting to being the beta female of the house and letting Myrna be alpha. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't have a beta personality but there's no way that two alpha women can share a home. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's proving to be very hard.

But I'm really excited about the upcoming holidays. I'm thrilled beyond thrilled that we're going to have people to share this with. We have a second Thanksgiving planned for Friday so it can be family only, including Myrna's mother who has functioning dementia (she can't stop talking about the Catholic church and crazy shiz).

I told my brother he's become a half-assed Mormon with his sister-wives... he did it wrong by having a sister and a wife. **snort**

But we're all slowly adjusting. And this holiday season looks to be wonderful because we can finally celebrate with more people we love and make it more special.

And I started writing a fan fic. Something small and fun to start to enjoy the process more. Go me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Refinding The Joy

So nanowrimo done did me in. Again. But it opened a door for me that I'm cautiously peering through and wondering about. I realized that I don't generally like writing anymore.

So I decided to quit. But that's the cautious part because I don't know what that means.

I do know that writing for publication is done right now. It doesn't mean forever but I think (I know) that I'm taking a year off from writing for publication. Maybe forever. I don't know.

Writing because I love to write... now that's another story.

I've always written. Well, at least, since 7th grade, age 13. So 43 years I've written. (Yup, not joking about this old fart stuff.) It used to be poetry, short stories. Then poetry only. Occasionally an attempt at a novel that died 70 pages in. Then fan fiction (love those Divo boys!). And then publication.

On my birthday I released a novella, Surviving America's Sweetheart which got reviewed at Dear Author. A good review and truly one of the best moments of my life. It was great and I saw my little story sell about 60 copies altogether and that was the end of that and I began to wonder if that was the best it got?

And I'm still wondering that.

Then today Carolyn and I had one of those conversations talking about an old story and we started to what if, our way of plotting something out. And we laughed and came up with crazy ideas and it was so much fun and so much of what we used to do.

I realized that having fun with writing got replaced with writing to please an audience. I used to write to please me and Carolyn.

So for the next year I'm writing to please me and Carolyn. After that.... we'll see.

The blog is staying right here and we both intend to keep talking about romance and other stuff. We might even start talking more about writing.

We'll see.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Imperfections of Age

I've been in a real reading slump. Nothing new is appealing to me. So I've been re-reading some oldies but goodies ... at least I thought they were.

It was the Born In trilogy by Nora Roberts.

Please do not mistake this for a review. This is me lamenting the fact that these books did not affect me as they did when I first read them.

This sucks.

I didn't like any of the heroines this time round. Born in Fire Maggy was a bitch,  Icy Brianna was a doormat and Shameful Shannon was almost deliberately obtuse. I did learn something about blowing glass (Maggie), but recipes were not included in the perfect house(not a)wife's book. And how convenient two of the sisters are talented enough artistically to have international showings (Shannon didn't have to suffer for her art at all; her brother-in-law set everything up.)

I loved two of the heroes, Rogan and especially Gray. Gray was a pure delight in book three and it wasn't even his book, lol.

I don't think I'm happy with Nora anymore; her characters (especially the females) are pattern cards for each other and the plots always sound too familiar. Her writing quirks now irritate me and yet, I still buy her. Because, hell, I might miss something!

Okay, maybe I should taper off slowly. I won't buy the mystical trilogies anymore, since they irritate me the most ... and yet I bought the third book of her latest (Blood Magick) and I don't even have the second one! I ended up skimming most of it. Didn't like that heroine either.  *sigh*

Oh, I'm so weak.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bill (the Swill) Cosby

Of course he did it. He has a long history of sexual abuse. He has a long history of cheating on his wife. He has an illegitimate daughter. Why is this suddenly coming as a surprise to people or something to fight about?

These stories have been around since the 80s. There's nothing new here folks. In fact, Cosby settled a claim  out of court with a victim. Why would he pay a woman he didn't rape? What's that? He wouldn't. Duh.

This isn't racism. This isn't false accusations. Nobody is trying to destroy his career. He already did that himself.

And the reason all these stories are coming out now is because the world is changed enough that women telling the truth don't end their careers or have to prove their innocence. In this world we live in, we accept that women rarely make false rape claims and no one with two brain cells to rub together would think there was some sort of positive cache in being a victim.

Yeah, right.

Because with all these women telling similar stories, women who aren't trying to do anything but tell their stories and support one another, there's always someone who will try and victimize the victim.

Way to go American men.

**  I want to add a comment about George Will saying being raped is a coveted status for women on college campuses. Some men out there might think he knows what he's talking about and I want to speak out as a sexual assault survivor.

Anyone who reads anything I write knows that my daughter is the light of my life. I love her with all my heart, I love her beyond how I've ever loved anyone. So I've asked myself if I could have a life without having been sexually assaulted and therefore possibly never becoming this child's mother, would I want that life?

Fuck yes.

George Will, you're a disgusting human being. I pray no one you ever love goes through the delight of a rape status change, you pathetic piece of shit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Some Random Shit

We have a gang of wild turkeys roaming the neighborhood. Have actually been woken up by them underneath my bedroom window, gobbling. And they walk down the road like they own it.

Other day I was driving and I saw them on the front lawn of a neighbor's house, all hanging out but one all puffed up with feathers open and on display.

Ah, romance.

My Kindle Fire died. Pain. Suffering. Heartache.

Actually, I blame the Millie Criswell books. They downloaded on my sweet Lucifer and then his fire went out.

I fucking hate you, Millie Criswell.

Other news: the DC Universe is alive and well on television and Mollie and I are loving it. Arrow, Flash and Gotham. And there's a Teen Titan live action in the works. Can you say squee?

And still on point with nano. Lea finished already (the bitch) but I plan on crossing that finish line. And my nephew, the graphic designer, is being put to work making a book cover. I expect some ripped bodices or I ain't using it.

Speaking of the nephew, he wanted me to read him a sex scene I wrote so I got out The Bodice Rippers and did. I believe he may be gay now...

His kisses transported her to the glorious days of her youth when she always felt free and excitable. Days she would ride her horse Jeremiah for hours on end, reveling in the feeling of her crotch rocking hard on the saddle. Nobody understood her obsession with that horse but the saddleboy was often seen sniffing the saddles so maybe he understood after all.

And don't forget...

"Please don't," Hermoine gasped looking at the hair that curled darkly on his chest, his shoulders, his upper arms and down to the knuckles of all his fingers including the extra one, "please don't kiss me until I can't speak, please don't manhandle my love mounds and then throw me on the bed ravaging me until I squeak with pleasure and climax for a full six minutes, my love tunnel tight and taut and moist against your raging manhood."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Proof that arrogance and stupidity are not limited to romancelandia ...

Texas Suit

Millie Criswell

So yesterday I had a bunch of Harlequin books download on my Fire, five of them chick lit by Millie Criswell. (I vaguely remember pre-ordering them, all for $0.).

God, they're bad.

I like chick-lit and will put up with a lot but oh my gawd, these are bad. I mean, in the first page there's so much info-dump that you think, 'aha, I now know everything'. Except somehow she manages to info-dump on every single page.

Every conversation is an info-dump.

No actions are considered. They just happen with an info dump to explain them.

And the conversations!!  Okay, I'm a conversation snob. Characters need to sound the way people actually talk. Nobody talks the way these characters do. Which by the way, always contains more info-dumping.

Did I mention that everything she writes is an info-dump? Yeah? I didn't think so.

Ha! I'm going to delete them all off my sweet little Fire (named Lucifer) (cause I roll that way). And if I ever see another Millie Criswell book, I'll run the other way. I promise.

Otherwise I might get dumped on.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Singing Frogs

Today I was driving from my home in Honoka'a to Waimea, about a fifteen minute drive. Waimea has the big grocery stores and I was doing some shopping. Along the way I saw a cowboy, on a horse, rounding cattle into a pen.

I saw goats eating grass along a hillside.

Lots more cows and horses in pastures. And I thought I should write about this. After all I'm a city girl who's now living in the country. But wat would I write about forst? And the answer was immediate: the singing frogs.

We have these small frogs who are apparently new to the island (they try and try to keep control but sometimes you can't plan...  We have them everywhere here. I'll try to get a picture later but they're only about two inches long and just little frogs. But when the sun comes down they sing. And I don't mean they croak, I mean they sing. Their sound is almost birdsong, it's like a trilling whistle. And they're loud.

Our very first night here, we arrived at the house and I immediately asked, "What kind of bird is that?" Never heard of a bird singing in the dark. But it was my first hearing of the frogs.

Despite living in the "country", it's rarely quiet here. We have a lot of dogs always barking (and one that bays constantly). There's someone's radio down the street and occasional traffic. But later in the evening, there are times when everything goes still and I can lie in bed and listen to the frogs.

Sometimes I whistle back and if there's one by the window, my whistle will make it go silent for a moment. I've done it a few times, tried to answer it's song with my own.

It's really something. Singing frogs. I know they annoy a lot of people but I think they're wonderful. And I love the music they share.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews, Part Two

Carolyn loved it and I've discovered recently how good Ilona Andrews is... and this book is phenomenal!

Carolyn said she's hero-centric and Mad Rogan is her kind of hero. Well I'm heroine-centric and Nevada is my cup of tea. Easily motivated by her need to protect her family, a woman capable of killing because it needs to be done and feeling remorse later... dang, she's good.


I was won over by the hero of this book. He's obviously damaged and although Nevada calls him a psychopath, I don't think he is. He has a complicated history with his family (the world has magic and powerful magical families 'Houses' create progeny over a need to develop the magical line further) and of course, he's a killer. His magic is huge and completely destructive.

Mad Rogan kills and suffers no remorse. But he isn't without feeling. And his attraction to Nevada is much more than just the desire to slake that Nevada thinks it is.

I did have one problem with the story and that was in the sex-y stuff. The H/h don't have sex and there's only three kisses in the book (I believe). But Mad's power is so strong that he can telekinesis-touch a woman sexually and he does it to Nevada without her permission. I disliked that. It wasn't rape but it was wrong. Bringing a woman to orgasm the second time you kiss her just to prove you the man was sleazy. It made me uncomfortable.

But that was my only issue. I loved the story telling, the world building and I adored the characters.

Is Book Two here yet?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Requires Hate? No, It's Plentiful


The above link is fascinating reading. Apparently a woman who we knew as Requires Hate left a bloody path on the interwebs in calling people out as racist, privileged and bad writers. She was/is a nasty piece of business. She swung through the romance community briefly and did a bit of damage (not as much as she did elsewhere, thankfully).

I was aware of her because she sent people to this blog at one point after Carolyn had commented on a First Page on Dear Author. Ms. Hate took umbrage at Carolyn's comment and called her out on her blog with a link to our blog. It increased traffic and I saw it in the stats but it made no difference since nobody who came found anything to get enraged about.

It fascinated me to read the blog post because the kind of random hatred Ms. Hate spewed isn't all that unusual anymore.

This Story Is A Lie

This story is making the rounds about a KFC in England banning alcohol wipes for their customers because it offends Islamists. Now, the truth is that one customer asked for wipes and one store employee said they don't carry them (in fact, the store does carry them as all KFC stores do) and it became this viral lie that sweeping the interwebs.

The comments I read basically had so much venomous commentary that I felt sick. So much hate for people of a different culture that most of the commenters would kill all people who are Islamic, no matter what. The absolute rage of the people was terrifying.

I'm not on Twitter but I am on Facebook and my feed is getting smaller and smaller as I block more people. The amount of hate is beginning to wear me down. The hate for anyone who is 'other', whether the president of the United States or someone who dares to not be Christian.

Requires Hate is a perfect example of what the internet is becoming. And for those of us who don't require hate to get through our lives, it's becoming a scarier landscape every day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews


#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire . . .

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

This is a new series for the Andrews and it's going to be a good one, IMO.

The controversial characterization of the hero I would imagine will be slowly sorted throughout the three books, because it certainly isn't resolved in the book. I'm talking, of course, about the emotional journey the two protagonists are forced to take; the misconceptions the heroine has about the hero and how she will change him. There are no other cliffhangers in this book, and there is evidence in the climatic final scene that Nevada is definitely having an effect on Rogan.

The writing, of course, is wonderful; I've yet to read an Andrews novel that is poorly written. I love the the humor and the action. But what they do best is characterization. Their characters have depth and slowly grow and change over the course of the book(s). This is how it is with the Kate Daniels series and I expect it will be no different with this trilogy. I'm looking forward to Rogan becoming the man he was meant to be.

There's a lot of broohaha about the name Mad Rogan, which I don't understand. Nobody made a big broohaha over Meljean Brook's character Mad Machen in Here There Be Monsters. I think of Mad Rogan as a personality compressed into an inner sanctum, which he's fortified with layers of steely indifference . He's never been loved and only his power is wanted by others, never the man. He prefers to be called Mad. It's a protection, a bulwark against the terrible things he's had to do and the feelings he has about his past.

I'm a confessed hero-centric reader and Mad Rogan is my cup of tea. Can't wait for the next book.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's Nano Time Again

November, the month of leaves falling, turkeys cooking and writers obsessing with word counts. National Novel Writing Month, aka, nanowrimo (nano for short).

Now Lea, our dear friends, nano's every November and wins. She writes more than the allotted word count and is damned brilliant and I hate her.

The first nano I did, I wrote the rough draft of Sugar B's back In Town. that was a good nano. I haven't completed one since. But every year I start with plans and hopes and a heart full of bitter despair. ha!

I've never finished one since the very first.

But I'm doing it again. I'm rewriting a novel I've started a million times called Three Pines. It's magic realism, romance, cooking and gardening. It's all the things I love and I've yet to complete a full draft.

I'm starting anew and it's again a completely different story from any of the other drafts. This year I'm determined to finish.

Send chocolate. I'm going back in.