Thank you!

On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
The authors thank you for your readership and hope you will come visit them at their personal sites via the links to the left.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

But for the Grace

By A.J. Llewellyn

One of my neighbors was in a very bad car accident on Sunday. She and another neighbor were driving down the street when they saw – and could do nothing about – a young girl on the other side of the road, barreling out of her driveway, cell phone illegally plastered to her ear, music blaring, smashing into a car passing the opposite way. The driver of the second vehicle was speeding. He was driving so fast his vehicle spun around three times and swerved across three lanes of traffic hitting my neighbors in their vehicle. It was a bad crash and all three cars were totaled. The only person really injured was my neighbor whose legs blew up like balloons.
The girl has marginal insurance, the man who actually hit them was an unlicensed, undocumented illegal immigrant who spoke no English, but since the girl was at fault, her insurance is responsible. Try telling that to the company involved. They’ve given my neighbor the proverbial runaround and yesterday, I noticed her hobbling out of her front door to bring me and a couple of other neighbors her first batch of grapefruits from the tree outside her townhouse.
I was appalled to see her like this. She was almost in tears telling me that she is in severe pain but could not get to her appointment at St. John’s Hospital and her ride had just canceled. I immediately offered to take her. She kept saying, ”You’re busy. You’re always working.”
Yeah, but a couple of years ago I was hit under similar circumstances. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness, the disorientation, the pain of injuring my arm but worst of all, my poor dog being badly injured. I was lucky. I really was, and I know it, because a young woman in another vehicle also hit by the same lunatic was killed.
In the initial confusion, I had no idea she was dead. I still see it in my mind, that moment when I was aware of her lying in the middle of the road, her USC scarf flapping in the wind. There is still a shrine to her on the corner where the accident occurred and sometimes I visit it when I am walking my dog, just to remind myself my problems really, are not that huge.
I sometimes take her flowers and find others have been there too. One of the boys who was in the car with her that day recently left her a note: “You took the sunshine with you.” I’ve talked to him, neither of us able to this day to make sense of why we lived and she didn’t. My car was completely crushed on the right side, the side my dog was sitting in. That she survived it remains my greatest gift.
The people who own the shop at the corner have been very patient with us, the living. They leave the shrine there. The notes, the flowers. They’ve seen tons of accidents there but they too, remain affected by this one. They told me recently that great flocks of birds come to that corner, as if keeping vigil.
So you see, offering a ride to my neighbor seemed like no big deal to me. She was so worried about keeping me waiting as she waited inside the hospital for attention. I took my work with me, enjoyed the sun, sent my boyfriend a text message and even napped a little.
My neighbor is a sweet old thing and I do enjoy her. Sometimes she picks inopportune moments to engage me in long conversations, especially when I am in a hurry, but when I think she might be dead, I will be sure to make extra time for her in future. Why is it that we’ve become so used to rude and atrocious behavior that somebody extending the hand of friendship seems like a gift to good to be true?
She offered me cash, she offered me cookies. She offered to walk my dog. No, no, no. I wasn’t doing it to get anything back. I hope if I’m ever in her situation, somebody offers help to me. I thought about this a lot last night when she called me in tears – twice - thanking me for not being mean to her when her appointment took longer than she expected.
I don’t know what kind of friends she is used to dealing with, but this made me so sad. I thought about the young girl killed in the accident I was in. I’ve heard nothing but good things about her. She was a med student destined for big and beautiful things. Yes, her death haunts me still. Maybe it’s my upbringing…yeah, I think it is. But I will always help when I can, if I can, wherever I can, because that’s what neighbors do. And because there but for the grace of God go I.

Aloha oe,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Do you ever have those weeks where it seems that no matter how much you get done, you’re not moving forward?

That’s been my life for the past week. Since last Wednesday I have produced an amazing 29,000 plus words but nothing, and I repeat, nothing is done yet. As I sit here tonight staring at the screen and writing this blog, I wonder just how can that be.

Well, maybe it’s the fact that I have 5, again repeat, 5 works in progess that I am writing on. They range from contemporary to paranormal to science fiction. I love not being boxed in by one genre nor one book. This way, if I get bored with something I can move on to the next. Note that bored can mean truly bored, don’t know where the plot is going, just don’t want to write that damn scene, or I’m stuck and don’t know how to get out of the plot box I seem to be in. However, it can lead to high word counts with absolutely nothing being completed because I’m working a little bit on all of them. Duh.

What is strange about this whole thing is I’m going exactly as planned. I’m maintaining my minimum daily writing word count of 3500 with many days exceeding the count. I’ve even had my family days off as well as the one allergy day where I felt like crap and all I wanted to do was sleep. But over all I feel great about the progress I’m making just not how long it seems to be taking me.

A while ago, I had written about the fact that it seems as we get older time flies. Why doesn’t it fly here? Why doesn’t the word count pile up even more and things get completed? Why, why, why, why, why. Sigh.

I guess, I’m just having one of those days where it feels as if I’m a hamster on a wheel. It seems as if I’m going around and around and around, doing what I’m supposed to be doing and going nowhere. One step forward, two steps back. Sounds like that song which has the line ‘we’re on the road to nowhere’ and it makes me laugh in a weird, cynical kinda way.

Add to that I’m hyperfocusing on my big writer’s butt plus my lack of weight loss and you can see what type of week it’s been. Not bad, not good…just different and sort of depressing…the kind you don’t know if you’re supposed to laugh or cry.

I’m sure you’ve all been there in one way or another. Whether it be in your writing or in something from your personal life. Share with me just how you got out of your funky mood and I’ll put you in my May drawing for a copy of my next release.

Till next week…


Monday, April 27, 2009

Great Radio Show Tonight!

I've been getting hooked up with some incredible musicians in an effort to market creatively. Well it's all thanks to my buddy John Campbell over at Independents Uncovered. John has a weekly radio show on on Monday Nights 7:30pm-10:00pm Eastern time. Well TONIGHT April 27th, John will be having The Strike Nineteens on as his guests. So you get two awesome experiences in one.

Below are all the details for checking out their show right from your own computer. I hope you'll come on by and have a listen. I for one, can't wait to "meet" the boys from the band that wrote the song "Forever in Darkness". These hotties from Scotland wrote it for my vampire series. Pretty cool stuff.

1. Show Broadcasts at 730 PM Eastern Time - 10 PM, TONIGHT.

To listen, type in: then click Listen Live3.

Additional Information:Official Myspace Page: Blog: Book of Independents Uncovered:

The Amoveo Legacy Official Foto of John Campbell: On the cover of The Amoveo Legacy....clearly John wrote this part LOL!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oh My God! I Weigh How Much?

A very unfortunate thing happened the other day. I stepped on the scales. My shrieks of horror were so loud, that NASA called and asked me to please keep it down because I was waking up their space crews. The past months of living at my laptop, so I could make my deadlines, have finally caught up to me and I have what can only be described as “Writer’s Butt.”

I panicked. I freaked. I spent an hour looking at my rolls in the mirror. Then I cried.

“I look like Jabba the Hutt,” I moaned to my BFF, Patti. “All that’s missing is Princess Leia, in a metal bikini, sitting at my feet.”

“That’s a nice visual,” Patti replied.

“Stow it unless you want me to sic Boba Fett on you.” I shot back as I poked my ever-growing belly.

Then Patti did what all friends do. She let me whine and moan for an hour, and then gave me a sympathetic pat on the back. I swear I would be lost without her. Only a true pal would stand by you while you’re throwing yourself a one man pity party. My daughter wasn’t as helpful.

“You need to eat more oranges. I eat them all the time and I’m skinny. You don’t and you’re fat.” She then poked a finger in my gut like I was the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Except I wasn’t anywhere near feeling happy enough to let out a giggle.

My son at least tried.

“Mom, if you think you’re fat you should see some people at the supermarket. They’re HUGE!”

“So what you’re tying to say is I’m fat, but not so fat that I can’t get around with a Rascal?” I deadpanned. “Why doesn’t that make me feel better?”

“I’m just letting you know it could get worse,” he pointed out.

“Or you’re just letting me know what the future has in store for me.”

That was it. I decided it was time to lose the “junk in my trunk”. The problem is I didn’t know where to start. There are some really great diet programs out there, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig just to name two. But, there is no way I could afford either one of those, I’m an author for gosh sakes. Then my husband came in to save the day.

“I’ll be your personal chief,” he offered. Now, this may seem strange to some people, but he’s an excellent cook and he loves a challenge.

So I took him up on his offer and now I am living through the joy of a low-fat diet. So far, I have to admit, the food had been pretty darn good. But alas, we are running out of recipes and snack ideas. So if any of you have any yummy recipes, I would love to see them.

-Stephani Hecht

Is this week over yet?

This has been one of those weeks where nothing has gone right for me. Ever have one of those? Yup, this be mine!

It actually started out well. Tuesday was our Greater Detroit RWA meeting and our speaker Suzanne McMinn was excellent. She had a great handout on how to write a 100 word or less blurb for your book that you can use for promotion, hand in to editors or agents, or even just for your use. Oh yeah and learning about fainting goats was pretty cool too. If you want to know about farm life, check out her website at .

Wednesday wasn’t bad except I had to run to the hospital for pre-surgical blood work. Now anyone that knows me, knows that I am intensely, immensely panicky anytime a needle comes in sight. This time the gal was so fast I didn’t even know she had done the two tubes.

Thursday, ah lovely Thursday, the day of surgery. It has been an ongoing battle with my gall bladder for years but turned ugly last fall. Every test the doctors and specialists put me through came back negative. Until this past March 09, an oh so fun ERCP. It’s a big word, but you can google it if you feel the need to see the lovely description. Thank goodness they knock you on your butt before sticking the tube down your throat for a look-see. But it did find 3 gallstones lodged in the bile duct. Now I have a stent in place till June which can then be removed. But I digress. Thursday a.m. bright and early I got to the hospital to have the dreaded gall bladder removed. I was primed for action, the needles never even phased me this time (hmm, wonder why). The surgeon came in, we were ready to roll and that’s all I remember. And that’s a very good thing. (G)

But as usual, nothing with me goes textbook for very long. I had some internal bleeding, procedure took longer than planned, I didn’t want to wake up in the recovery room, then barfed in the parking lot (in the cute pink banana split bowl as I call them) when getting in the car to go home. Once home the bed was calling my name and I was heeding the call. Right up till 1:28 a.m. Friday morning when the ‘shoulder pain’ kicked in. Now I had been warned about it. What they forget to tell you is it feels like someone is cutting off your right shoulder with a dull hedge trimmer. Thank god for Vicodin!!!! Friday a blur mostly.

Saturday, the appetite returns. Yup, when I get hungry, it’s best to get me food. And during all this we are under a severe thunderstorm warning, trees are whipping, cars are pulled over to the side of the highway and my storage bin lids are blowing across the street to the neighbors. Do I care, nope! I want Chinese. My loving child (remember her – evil thing that came from my womb) comes over just before the storm starts, and then we wait till it passes so she doesn’t have to get wet to get my food. She brings the food back; I eat about 10 forkfuls and decide I’m full. Best not to tell you the look on her face at that point. (G) And I go back to bed.

Today, Sunday, I’m upright, not really hungry but very thirsty. And of course the weather looks so pretty out there and it’s all I can do to get down the steps (we live in a quad level) so I doubt I’m sitting outside anytime soon. I figure I’ll stay upright all day and then sleep better tonight. Nice theory if nothing else.

And truth be told, I have not written a word this weekend except for my blog. I have been reading trash magazines, watching TV, and sleeping. I think I’ve earned it. Especially if you count the 5 incisions I’ve got instead of the normal 3 for gall bladder surgery. Rumor has it in 5 - 7 days I'll feel right as rain (hmm, wonder what that means). So in closing, I hope you all have a great day whatever you have planned. Me, I’m off to read some more.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bride Sues Wedding Guest

By A.J. Llewellyn

Have you caught up with the NY Post's big story about a woman, Sandrina Purdum suing a wedding guest for wrecking her wedding?
In case you haven't, this kinda thing tickles my funny bone. Sorry Sandra, but it does.
Seems that her wedding to hubby Harold Purdum last September was disrupted by his boss - believe it or not - Jennifer Angevine, who leaped to her feet during the ceremony and shouted out that Sandrina was messing up Harold's life.
She then announced she'd been having an affair with him!
"Me and Harry were good together. You had to ruin everything by marrying him. You fucked everything up!" Sandrina Purdum quotes Angevine as saying.
Harold denies any hanky-panky (any smart man would. It's in our genetic code: deny, deny, deny) but I am really not here to analyze whether or not he engaged in a bit of the ol' glass ceiling.
My issue is this. Who invited this nutbag?
I mean, if Harold was doing what she alleges, did he really think this was a good idea inviting her to the most sacred day of his life?
If he's innocent, then how much booze was involved.
According to the Post, Angevine threw a drink at a guest and seventy other guests were ejected after a fight broke out.
If it isn't true, I personally think Sandrina should have beaten the crap out of her, had her escorted from the premises (a wedding hall in Queens) and proceeded to get the best revenge: a long and happy married life.
But no. The unhappy couple didn't even spend their wedding night together, a lawsuit is involved and Harold manfully quit his job but is now unemployed.
Sandrina blames the wedding guest from hell for her dream day being ruined.
I have been to enough Greek weddings (and alas, been a groomsman at enough of them to have experienced some major dramas) to know this was not the ideal situation but according to the Post, Sandrina says she wants a family but can't even think about having a baby because she no longer trusts her husband.
I find this very sad. Even if he did bang the boss, Sandrina got her man. My feeling is she should move on and get busy procreating.
And when they have a renewal of vows, my suggestion is no alcohol should be involved.
What about you? If this was your wedding, what would you do?

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding The Science in Science Fiction

This week, I’m going to pull out something I had written a few years ago. I just love science and science fiction and here are some of my thoughts which I’ve written down over the years.

Wow...this topic would be a nice thought for a science fiction book...but the truth of the matter is that we are due for some natural things to start happening to the earth. Being a Geologist, I've had to study the earth's past. And believe it or not, the earth is a violent place. There are things that haven't happened since man started recording time and when looking on the geologic record, it would appear that these things are pretty frequent. Because our lifespan is so small, we can’t really begin to see the big picture.

Basically, we are due for more earthquakes, more volcanic eruptions and those are just for starters. If those things happen, it does change the weather. Part of the reason the weather is changing right now is global warming and ocean currents. No matter what they say. We are a connected system. You can't have something happen somewhere else in the world without it impacting you. It's kinda like your body...if something happens to your toe...your brain knows it. The earth is just like our body, a closed system but we do have outside influences. We all know that there are things we can't help. The weather affects your skin...mine tends to be dry because I live in a dry climate...but put me in Ohio and my skin changes.

Some of the outside influences we earthlings have to look at are meteors, meteor showers, sun flares, going through solar storms and the like. Those are definitely things we can't do anything about. All the meteor movies had a grain of truth in them. There is currently a project that has mapped a fair portion of the sky looking for near earth objects. My problem with that is, so what if we find something heading for us. We might decide on a plan to try and destroy it if we can get every nation to agree on the way we would destroy it. At this point, no one has the authority to do anything to protect this earth. Weird, huh? But the bottom line is we're still stuck here on this rock and we've preserved nothing except what the explorers, should there be any, might find in a distant future should something fall out of the sky on us.

And don’t get even get me started on global warming. Yes, there are a lot of us. Yes, we’re doing damage to this planet with consequences that we can’t even begin to imagine. BUT the undeniable fact is that global warming has happened again and again in the past and is very well documented in the geologic record. At best, all we’ve done is to accelerate something that has happened before and will happen again. We aren’t even a necessary part of the equation for it to happen.

Two of my biggest pet peeves. Global warming and our lack of space travel. We want to preserve humankind, right? So why in the world are we stuck on this rock? We need to explore space. We need to get out there and go other places. Make those alliances of planets that movies like Stargate and StarTrek imply. While it might take its toll, the net worth to the species would be invaluable. And we need to do things to prevent our effect on the planet to become the death knell for mankind.

One of the things that I've been looking at recently is the decline in birth rates and the fertility problems that a lot of humans have. I'm beginning to wonder if that's not going to cause us to die out sometime in a distant future. I have lots of friends who have these problems and some have one child and many have no children. If we aren't replacing ourselves, then the population is declining.

There is just so much bad happening in the world without adding the natural things into the mix. But some days, I just start looking at the big picture and wonder. It’s my geologic nature I guess. There were only two things my professors ever said I did well. One was that I had this unnerving ability to see the big picture which in itself has it's drawbacks. The other was that I could do something most women found hard and that was to spatially see what a deformed crystal looked like when it was whole. Again, two things I found very weird.

Just by writing this, I can still see my love of science and all its permutations coming through. Geez...I should get back to writing science fiction...maybe someday.

I’m happy to report that I am again writing about science and science fiction. After all, it’s the one thing I am truly good at…LOL!

Until next week…


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


You never know when it will hit, but you can just bout bet the ideas will start flowing BEFORE you finish something you’re working on. It happens to me EVERY time! lol As an example, I’m working away on my story called Semper Fi: Magnus. I’m at 45,411 and I need to work it until it is 80k. I know I’ve talked about it before because I’ve been deep into working on it. Last week I got the new Pink CD, Funhouse. This CD ROCKS and I found ONE song that I just love! It’s called Crystal Ball and wouldn’t you know, it sparked an idea. *head-desk* lol I wrote a beginning part to the story so I have some notes. Plus, I’ll have the song to listen to when I’m ready to start. You would think that would be good enough for my inspiration, but no. *sigh* That night I went to bed and had a strange dream. I just knew it would make a cool story. I can still see snippets of it so I wrote more notes on this story. But wait…that’s not all. Lol I have another story I’ve been working on. I finished it for a contest and wasn’t completely happy with it because I felt it needed more story, but I entered it anyway. I lost, but was told if I fixed a couple things and made it longer I would get a contract, so of course I have ideas running all over the place on this one!

Now what will happen is I’ll finish Magnus and get started on the one I have a contract pending on and I’ll get yet more ideas! Lol Don’t get me wrong, I love that the ideas are there and ready for me to work with I just think I need more time in the day.

How about you? What inspires you? Do you have the same problem I do?

Monday, April 20, 2009


Before I get into today’s blog ~ Congrats to Afshan for winning a free book by commenting on my birthday blog!

Okay, I’m gobsmacked. But before we get into why perhaps you’re wondering what the term means…From
Brit, Austral & NZ slang:
astonished and astounded
Adj. 1. gobsmacked - utterly astounded
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
Britain, Great Britain, U.K., UK, United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - a monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most of the British Isles; divided into England and Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland; `Great Britain' is often used loosely to refer to the United Kingdom
surprised - taken unawares or suddenly and feeling wonder or astonishment; "surprised by her student's ingenuity"; "surprised that he remembered my name"; "a surprised expression"
(Side note: I love British slang. Stick around me long enough and you’ll hear me use it in everyday speech. Lol!)
So why am I utterly astounded? Have you heard of Susan Boyle? I’m sure by now you have. She’s the television and internet singing sensation from Britain’s Got Talent. What a great story. Her dream ~ to be a professional singer & at 47 years of age she finally got her wish to sing in front of a large audience. If you haven’t had the chance to hear her sing in the famous episode, go to this youtube link and check it out:! Right? What a voice! In my internet travels I also came across another song she did for a charity album ~

Absolutely beautiful. & those who know me know I don’t gush over things normally but this woman deserves credit and deserves to have her dreams of a singing career come true.
And what’s the lesson to be gained from this? ~ Keep dreaming, dream big & work to make your dreams come true. It’s never too late. As Susan stated in an article (, "I expected people to be a wee bit cynical," she says. "But I decided to win them round. That is what you do. They didn't know what to expect. Before Britain's Got Talent, I had never had a proper chance. It's as simple as that. You just have to keep going and take one step at a time and one day you will make it. You just don't give up."
I’m gobsmacked.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You Want My Keys?

It’s amazing how fast time passes. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding my son’s hand as I walked him into his first day of kindergarten. He had been so cute, with a face that was dominated by big brown eyes and an innocent smile, I had thought things would stay that way forever.

Gosh, what a fool I was.

This Friday I took him to the Secretary of State so he could get his driver’s permit. No longer the tiny youth who had clung to me, now he’s a good couple of inches taller than me and has a whole lot of cocky teenage confidence. He does have those same brown eyes though, so at least I have that.

I pulled into the parking lot and we both groaned when we saw all the cars. Grabbing books, we made our way inside. As he stepped inside, he literally walked into a girl about his age. Giggling nervously and flushing, she told him she couldn’t wait any longer and offered him her number. He smiled back at her and took it. While I was dismayed to see that my baby could now use his charm to get favors, I got over it quickly when I saw his number was 82. Since the people behind us pulled number 105, I said a silent prayer of thanks to teenage flirtation.

Somehow we managed to find a couple of seats together, despite the fact the place was wall-to-wall people. Every one of them had the same bored, put upon expression. I wonder if in the entire history of the Secretary of State has there ever been an instance where someone didn’t have to wait?

“Sweeeeeeeeeeeet…..” my son drawled under his breath.

“Oh, dear God,” I sighed. “I don’t want to know what you’re talking about, do I?”

“Look to your left, next row up.” He snickered.

There was a girl around his age and her pants were hanging so far down in the back, she was smiling at us. I was caught like a deer in the headlights, unable to look away as I thought, Now, why doesn’t she pull her pants up? There is no way she can’t feel the breeze.

“They’re almost to my number!” my son exclaimed, suddenly. “Here hold my book.”

“Why?” I asked. “It’s not like they’re going to make you do a handstand before they give you the permit.”

“I have to do my vision test.” He rolled his eyes at me. How had I ever thought they could have been innocent and sweet at one time.

“You’re not going to have to sign the letters. So I don’t see why I have to hold your book.” By now several bystanders were laughing at our banter. Nice to know we can provide all these suffering souls with entertainment.

Lucky for us our number was called next. After a short time, son had his permit proudly in one hand and the other one outstretched. I took a step back, defensive, because I knew what he wanted. Oh dear God, the horror. Boy wanted my keys.

Swallowing my fear, I handed them over. As I walked out, several people gave me sympathetic looks. I think one or two may have uttered a prayer for me. Son didn’t notice, too excited to get out to the car and finally become Master of the Highway.

“Just think, Mom.” He grinned. “We have at least fifty hours of drive time together before I can get my license. I’m going to be driving all the time now.”

Oh, yippee! I just hope I survive those hours. Pray for me.


Spring is sprung!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Outside my window it looks like Spring has finally come to Michigan. And with it the robins, the starlings, the rabbits and the skunks. Yup, every year we get the rabbits setting up shop under the deck, and the occasional skunk who would like to rid them of their home. Oh yeah and the coyote came strolling through last weekend as well. Seems he/she has set up a home behind my neighbors pond. My vote is for the rabbits.

Hard to believe it’s almost May. Where has the time gone? For me, it’s been spent writing, writing and more writing. And I am loving every minute of it. But I did meander through the local bookstore last week and spent a little money helping our economy. It is so hard to go into the bookstore and not find a half a dozen or so titles I want to bring home. But I was a good girl this time. I only bought one book.

Lately I have found my reading to be so diversified. I’ve been reading every Silhouette Desire I can get my hands on, as well as books on astrological signs for my upcoming novella series that debuts August 15th. And my friend Stephani loaned me a copy of Stolen Innocence, growing up in a polygamous sect, becoming a teenage bride, and breaking free of Warren Jeffs. And got a copy of Michael J Fox's Always Looking Up from the library as well. So I’m all over the place with my reading. And sad to say but I am also looking forward to reading Brett Michaels autobiography. Oh yeah and the next Jude Deveraux release as well.

What about you? What’s on your to be read list? Hopefully my books. (G) But if not, that’s okay too. There are so many excellent authors out there to choose from. You can go broke just trying.

I’m looking forward to breaking out the lawn chairs, and sitting on the deck while the sun shines (it will do that in Michigan eventually) and reading. That’s my favorite thing to do next to having a ton of friends over for a bbq. Then we all sit around and discuss what we’re reading, writing and doing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Buying Sex Appeal

By A.J. Llewellyn

Most of us have heard about pheromones...those intangible things that give you the irresistible urge to jump in some more man's - or woman's - lap and lick their faces. We'd all love to have it...some of us think we have it.

Who has it?
* My man Herve
*David Beckham
*I'm stopping before I get in trouble with Herve...but you get the idea.

Who doesn't have it?
*Mel Gibson. Sorry Mel, if you think that cute Russian singer really, truly fancies your saggy-faced ass, think again. She's after your $$$.
*George Bush

So anyway, some doctor has been working overtime in his science lab perfecting pheromones so you can, as he puts it, 'bend the laws of attraction.'
Since pheromones have something to do with the hairs in your nose and invisible membranes, you've got to admire his efforts, but I've seen enough episodes of Bewitched to know how badly things can go when you try to control nature.
Dr. Virgil Amend (does that sound like a porn star name or what?) has cooked up what he calls the Pheromone Advantage and for $39.95 you can buy a two month supply.
Firstly, I want to know how he can judge how much sex appeal you want to buy for two months?
what if you have an unnatural desire to 'bend the laws of attraction' a lot?
There's a store on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood called Panpipes where for years, the previous owner George kindly mixed a blend of oils he called "George's Special" for the hookers on Hollywood Boulevard.
George was a lovely guy and said the johns loved the scent he created.
The hookers loved it reaped.
Panpipes stills sells it...I have no idea how much it goes for these days, but it does the same job for a lot less money than the bendy-law thing.
In my single days, I just had to buy some "George's Special" and trotted in there, overlooking the strange penis candles and hexing kits in search of this tiny, miracle bottle.
I met a couple of swell hookers in there who dotted the oil between their massive titties and hoiked them into my face. They do this when cars rolled by, they explained and blimey!
I almost turned straight! I was rubbing my face like a big horny dog in those big mamas!
But I digress.
I was a useless pick-up for the hookers and I failed to attract much attention from hot guys, even though I plastered myself daily with "George's Special." I still have half a bottle in my medicine cabinet. Why, I don't know. But I do know this. I attracted a lot of bees.
I'd rather take my chances with nature, which has somehow managed to work for me. What if I bought the bendy-law thing and like every other bloody man-made thing in this world, it suddenly became obsolete?
Nope...I'll just take my chances just being me...
Aloha oe,


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Quickness of Time

Have you ever noticed just how fast time seems to fly when you’re busy?

I woke up this morning thinking I had time to write my next lesson in the sizzle workshop and realized it was already Wednesday. I had been so busy writing that I had lost all track of the days.

Now, I knew what time of day it was and I know I worked yesterday, so it had to be a Tuesday or a Thursday. Those are the only days I work at anything other than writing, so it had to be one of those…right? LOL!

Now, I’m going to write something here that I have found to be true and I’m wondering if anybody else has noticed the same. When I was young, I just couldn’t wait for time to pass. I wanted to get older, I wanted to be able to make my own decisions and I wanted to know what those older people seemed to know. Time just moved so slowly and it seemed as if I would never get there.

As I’ve grown older, all I want to happen is for time to slow down. I want time to smell the roses, take the trip of a lifetime, and write a book in a week! And it seems to be speeding up the older I get which to me seems very, very odd.

I mean, I schedule my time to the minute some days. Others I couldn’t even tell you what day it is or what time of day. I can tell you I’ve had my head in one of my worlds and I have no contact with my real one. So I know that on days I’m writing, I lose track of it all and sometimes have to ask more than once if I have the right day or time.

My father once told me that when he reached 65 that things just started to blur together. He remembers the things from when he was younger better than what had happened a week ago. Birthdays were just another day and holidays, well, those just didn’t seem to matter much anymore. He’s 75 this year and told me if I wanted time to slow down, I needed to enjoy it more.

And here I thought I was having the time of my life! LOL! Yes, I am enjoying my writing career and the other things in my life like my children and husband. I’m not necessarily enjoying getting older but nothing I can do to stop that one unless I build a time machine. Mmm…maybe a future project…LOL!

Still, I wonder how each of you feel about time and how it affects your life.

Till next week…


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Covers and such...

I know most everyone on this blog is an author. And at some point they’ve all had to deal with a cover and a cover artist. Some get lucky with a fantastic cover artist, some not so lucky and end up with something that doesn’t pertain to the story or is really just ugly. So what do you put on your cover request? What do you want to convey? What is your vision of the cover? These are the real questions you need to ask yourself so you can get that message to the person who’s designing your cover.

So just to show the progression of a cover, here’s a ‘for example’ of a typical cover assignment.
Viv recently tasked me for a new cover. Her request was this:

Vision for the cover- Back of a naked woman or naked from waist up, who has long blonde hair. Her hair blowing to the side. Bright sunshine rays. She could be looking at a hot guy in the distance or not. The hair blowing thing would cover the wind.

OK… So my first interpretation was this:

This was OK, but the fonts are all funky… And Viv didn’t really like the girl…

So, the next version was this one after I had Viv hunt for pictures she thought would fit the story better:

Then we found out that the lovely beach scene photo was $15! Uh, no thanks.
After several attempts at different fonts, and photo filters, we had these:

Completly different beach scene as another option and it was OK, but just not working for Viv.

Then back to the original couple and a new beach scene, but with different fonts:

And finally, after more font tweaking (I hate fonts), this is the end result:

So, all you authors out there - or even aspiring cover artists, remember that what you might start off with isn’t necessarily what you end up with…

It is a lot of fun to work on covers, it really is. Even with these pesky nitpicky authors. :D

Monday, April 13, 2009

Musical Marketing

Soundtracks for movies and television shows are standard. In fact, a really great movie or show is often instantly associated with kick ass music. Last week, thanks to my old college buddy and DJ John Campbell...I found the soundtrack for Book 2 in my shifter series. Well....soundtrack isn't the right word...more like ...theme song.

Actually, I had been in a major writing rut. Completely blocked. Book 2, The Amoveo Heart was not coming to me as easily as the first book did. At any rate, John wants to interview me on his weekly radio show and had gotten some musicians who were willing to let me use their music as an intro for the interview. He sent me the links and the second song I listened to stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn't believe it. It was as though this song was written just for the heroine in Book 2. Amazing! The combination of the lyrics and her hauntingly beautiful voice were absolute perfection. I immediately contacted the artist and asked if I could use her song for The Amoveo Heart's book trailer. Gratefully both she and her record label said yes!

Then I had an idea to take it a step further. Luckily, she is located not far from me and as a new musician is looking for new opportunities for exposure. Why not have her play at my book launch/signing? As an author of an ebook, book signings in a bookstore are not feasible without a print version. What to do? What to do?

1. I'll be burning CD's of my book (after it's released of course). It'll be packaged in a DVD case with the front and back of the book cover printed and placed in the case sleeve. I figured a DVD case represents a book better than a CD case. It's the closest thing to a "print" book that I'm least for now.

2. Fogarty's, an outstanding pub/restaurant here in NY has agreed to host the signing event and let me use their place for no charge...on a Friday or Saturday night of our choice.

3. My musical muse, Amy Petty, has agreed to come and play at my signing.

The song that sparked my creative juices and woke up my muse is called "Honey on the Skin". You can find Amy Petty and her spectacular music on her website

Birthdays, Goals & a free book

I know this isn't my regular Monday to post but I wanted to share... =)

In a few days it’ll be my birthday! So far I haven’t freaked out too much… Well, there was this one little episode when I thought about how close this b-day brings me to the big 4-0. I don’t feel my age, nor do I think I really look it (tho the grays in my hair may say otherwise), so how can I be so close to this milestone? Where did the time go? In years past during my b-day I’ve thought about my goals and what I did and didn’t achieve. I’m happy that this year I can check off one of the things I wanted to accomplish before I turned forty and that was get published. Another goal I’ve set for myself that I need to reach before the big 4-0 is to lose the weight I gained when I quit smoking six and a half years ago. That’s been such a battle for me. I figured I need a way to be more accountable when it comes to this particular goal so I set up a blog called Casey’s Challenge. I plan to start blogging and beginning my weight loss journey this week. Feel free to follow me and my progress: Now that forty is around the corner I’ve been thinking of new goals… maybe start competing with hubby (the idea of doing the Cozumel Ironman crossed our minds) but since I’m not much of a runner I don’t know if that’s such a great goal… expand the number of houses I’m published at… write a story to pitch to a traditional/NY publisher… get published by a traditional/NY house… But for the moment I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished and the fact that I have two releases out this month ~ one with eXtasy Books (04/01) and another with Devine Destinies (04/15).
In celebration of my special day and having reached my goal of being published I’m holding a drawing for a free book! Comment to this blog between now and Sunday April 19 at 8 PM PST and your name will be entered into the drawing. Sunday night I will put all the names into a hat, one will be drawn and the lucky winner will be announced on my blog on Monday. The winner will receive a list of titles to choose a book from. Good Luck!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thank you Mr. Ilitch

You’d have to be under a rock not to hear about the financial woes of Detroit and the Big Three Automakers, so you can only imagine how prevalent the issue is for us Michiganders. Every day we open our newspapers only to find more dismal stories about how our state is falling deeper and deeper into economic turmoil. It’s very sad times for everyone. My dad, who has worked at GM for almost thirty years, said he’s witnessed men reduced to tears because they have found out they no longer have a job. Dad just took a buyout because he knew he had no future with the company since his plant is slated to be closed.

Then something happened that could give us all hope again. It came way of a fountain. Yes, you heard me right. A fountain. The centerfield fountain at The Tiger’s Comerica Park to be exact.

The fountain stands behind the centerfield wall and shoots up water every time there is a homerun. Before now General Motors has always paid to have their name on the fountain, but with the hardships the automaker was facing there was no way they could continue to pay for that privilege. So they contacted the owner of the Tigers, Mike Ilitch and told him they would have to pull out.

What did Mr. Ilitch do? Did he try to find another bidder for the space? No. He told General Motors that they would continue to have their name on the fountain. At no cost. Not only that, but the names of the two other automakers, Ford and Chrysler would be placed on either side of them. Underneath it says, “The Detroit Tigers support our automakers.”

“It’s a community decision, not a business decision,” the team’s Vice President of Communications Ron Colangelo said of Ilitch’s benevolence. “He cares about the city of Detroit. This is something he wanted to do. It’s for the Big Three.”

Wow, just when you think that people and big money don’t care about the little guy someone like Mr. Ilitch comes along and shows that there are still good apples out there. I think I’m going to have to go watch a ballgame this summer and when I see that fountain, I’ll smile and think about how one person can make a difference.


Thursday, April 9, 2009


By A.J. Llewellyn

When I was kid growing up in Australia, my youngest brother was injured in a game of touch footy - no that's not something kinky, it's a rough version of Aussie Rules football - and was kicked by accident right in the jaw.
He wound up in the emergency room and that's where his problems started. The emergency room staff told him he was being a wuss for crying. For weeks he endured pain when he ate and my dad took him to our family dentist, who told him he was being a big baby.
The pain worsened and the dentist - who has since died, which saves me the trouble of beating his sorry ass to death - took xrays and said there was nothing wrong.
We've since found out he inexplicably missed a very long fracture which worsened over the years.
The dentist, who became a controversial quack in my country, hurt a lot of people and no dentist in our hometown would touch my brother because they feared being involved in litigation.
They all allowed my brother to suffer so much and so needlessly. He was petrified to go back to the dentist - any dentist.
When he finally got the correct help he needed in New York City last year, he required painful bone grafts and horrible things to reconstruct his entire lower jaw.
He also required extensive rehabilitation. He spent some of that time here at my place and I hated seeing him in so much agony. Both of my brothers and I have had chronic dental phobias as a result of this whole, horrible ordeal.
I required dental surgery this week to remove a broken tooth and I drove everybody I know - and some I don't - with my mounting fear and panic.
My very close friend Tracy was going to drive me to his dentist yesterday so that I could take a Valium (prescribed by the dentist) an hour before the procedure.
I had a productive day in spite of my mounting terror as 4pm approached and then it was time to take my pill.
Don't ask me how, but I dropped the bloody thing right down the toilet bowl. I might be desperate, but I am not that desperate. I left it in there and dashed next door to my neighbor, the TV star. Miraculously, he was home.
"You're a celebrity. You get all the chicks, I bet you also get drugs," I said. "Can you hook me up?"
"What do you need? I have Valium."
"Valium. Great."
He rifled through a plastic bag and held up a blue pill. "Oh no," he said. "That's Viagra."
"I don't have problems in that department," I huffed.
He gave me a Tylenol with codeine.
Then came the bad news. Tracy couldn't drive me after all. He'd allowed his husband to book their vacation to Hawaii and their flight was leaving six hours earlier than he thought. I think he was more upset than I was.
My best mate Tony called me and cheerily wished me good luck and then said, "If you die, can I get your record collection?"
He always teases me. He's a good man though and advised I should not take the Tylenol until after the procedure.
I would not let Tracy change his family's travel plans and I sucked it up and went to the dentist.
All by my lonesome.
I am a Buddhist and we chant through all our challenges and suddenly I thought about my brother's real dental emergency and my friend Jon in Detroit who is battling with debilitating chemo. I had to keep my fears in check.
The dentist turned out to be a very nice man who knew I was petrified. We chit chatted, he handled me with respect and a lot of patience. He put a topical Novocaine in my mouth that tasted like bananas.
I didn't feel the needle - much - but when it was time to start, he told me, "Turn on your iPod. Close your eyes. This will be over very quickly."
And he was right, it was. I feel so grateful to finally have found a great dentist and I am pleased to be rid of my debilitating phobia.
I have much better use for this crazy, fertile imagination of mine.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A New Day

This week I had really wanted to continue with my sizzle workshop but time crept up on me and suddenly it was Wednesday. Most of the time I am aware of the days but this week I am still recovering from being ill and my mind is like a sieve in all areas but one.

I have one bit of exciting news to impart on everyone. A science fiction erotic romance series, which I had mislabeled as an urban fantasy for Nocturne Bites, has found a home with Loose Id. I signed the five book contract this week and sent all the paperwork back to them. One of the items I had promised was lots of promotion so I might as well start here.

This series called the Protectors of the Earth is about a group of people who were brought to this planet specifically to protect us from coming events. These people are elementals but the reason they are elemental is new and different. When I pitched the idea I said it was like X-men meets Stargate Atlantis. Actually, I said Underworld meets Stargate Atlantis but that’s when I thought it was Urban Fantasy. In reality, I think it is more like Battlestar Galactica meets X-men meets Stargate Atlantis as there are similar elements throughout. This series is dark and edgy with lots of action and elements that are out of this world.

Regardless of what I think it is, at the time when I was trying to define its nature, C.R. and I started a search on Urban Fantasy versus Science Fiction and everything in between. My characters are elemental, which is Urban Fantasy or even paranormal, but not because they have any special powers but because they were engineered that way to protect Earth. Just how they were engineered is revealed in the first part of book 1, Of Earth and Fire. And as we all know, anything engineered is strictly sci-fi, hence no Urban Fantasy. Sigh. I really thought I had something there. LOL!

Originally this was a series of seven books which were repackaged into just five. The first two books, Avenging Aingeal and Playing With Fyre, were combined into one book called Of Earth and Fire as were six out of the seven. I’m still working on the transitions because my original idea was to have a parallel story which takes place in the universe from where they come as the transition story. A much wiser person than me told me no as it needed to be in the final book as that one would be filled with stories about how they actually got here and why.

If you think this sounds confusing to you, imagine how it was to first put together. This, like all my big series, had a lot of time and effort put into it just for the planning. So far, I’ve spent 2 months planning and another 5 months writing off and on the stories in order. This is another first for me. I usually do what the characters dictate but this time, the plot is dictating a lot of what I’m doing. Everything has to be smooth and keep you as the reader on the edge of your seat. Which means I have to write them in order as they come no matter what.

I hope you all will be interested in reading these stores. Sci-fi and fantasy are my first loves and most of my writer friends will say this is where I excel. The moment I have the contracts in my hands, I will be start to follow my progress on the blog, and you should all go to check it out now. It has some cool graphics on it by Vexiphne who I found accidentally on Renderosity. Grab the button if you want and put it where others can see. The blog design is by Vanessa from Paperback Designs and she incorporated everything I needed and wanted.

For now, I hope that you will read the character sketches and interviews as well as excerpts from the coming series.

Until next week…


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I shouted that all over the place on Sunday when I learned my excerpt made the top two in the Manic Readers contest! I didn't win the Reader's Choice, but they haven't announced the Editor's Choice yet, so I'm still holding out hope. The NAL now has all ten excerpts and if she likes any of them she could ask to see more. That is exciting too!

I thought that today I would share my excerpt. I hope you enjoy it!

“Echo, pull back.”


“Get your ass back here now.”

Mag watched as she slowly inched her way to his side.

“I’m ready for this. Why are you pulling me back?” she whispered.

“Because I outrank you and you will listen to me. Have you learned nothing this past month, princess?”

She looked like she was about to say something, but stopped herself.

Stop looking at her fucking mouth and pay attention.

“Charlie, did they spot us?”

“No, it looks like they’re on patrol but they’re carrying.”

“Stand down unless they become hostile. Once they’re clear we’ll head back to camp. Maintain radio silence until they are gone and then report.”

He looked over at Patterson to gauge her fear level. She looked calm, but he noticed her breathing had picked up. He reached out and placed his palm on her back. She looked over, her eyes wide. He brought a finger to his lips, trying to force her to relax and focus on him. He felt the slow rise and fall of her body as she calmed under his touch. He jerked his hand away and looked out toward the field.

What the fuck are you thinking, jackass. You wouldn’t be touching one of the guys that way. But she isn’t one of the guys, is she? Focus.

He looked back at her.

Not on her, you idiot.

Mag’s com crackled in his ear.

“All clear, Alpha.”

“Back to base, double-time.”

The soldiers hustled back to camp and Mag sighed with relief when they didn’t run into anymore of the local faction. He needed to get Patterson back to her rack unscratched.


He stopped and Patterson ran into his back.

Ten feet and I could have been in my office. God damn it.

He didn’t turn around.

“What seems to be the problem, Patterson?”

“I need to talk to you, sir.”

“Then talk.”

“Um…could we go to your office?”

He nodded, continued to his office and didn’t stop until he was behind his desk and she stood at attention in front of it.

“At ease, Lieutenant and talk.”

She stood at parade rest, but didn’t look relaxed.

“I thought today was a real mission sir.”

“Are you questioning me, Lieutenant Patterson?”

“No, sir.”

“Let me ask you a question, princess.”

She started to say something, but he could tell she thought better of it when she pinched her lips together and stood up straighter. He had to fight his grin.


“Why are you here? Why aren’t you at home spending daddy’s money? Why the Marines?”

“Permission to speak freely?”

He waved her on.

“Because Daddy said I couldn’t do it,” she said with malice in her voice. “I’m here to prove him and everyone else wrong. I can do this.”

“Is that why you’re on the quick program? Daddy trying to make it easy for you?”

“I’m not on the quick program sir. I did my time on Parris Island.”

“I’ve been over your records, Patterson. The General showed them to me before he put you on my team. I know you’re a solid marine, for a girl, but you shouldn’t be here. My team is on the front line. You’re a distraction we don’t need.”

He looked to see if she would respond, but she said nothing, so he continued.

“What happens when you miss the target and go down? My men would be worried about protecting you, not fighting the enemy. I can’t have that. Our lives depend on trusting each other in a fight. Just last month you shot Stewart in a mock exercise. Today your ass was so far in the air I’m surprised the patrol didn’t spot it. You aren’t ready.”

Patterson stepped forward and put her hands on his desk placing her face to face with him. He cocked a brow at her and wondered if she realized she’d broken protocol. She leaned in and spoke in a low soft voice. Mag had to lean forward to hear what she said.

“I’m ready, sir. Put me on the line. I’ll do my job.”

His body reacted in an unexpected way. His cock rose to attention.

God damn it. This wouldn't be happening if she was a man. Fuck! Down, boy, nothin' to see here.

Mag stood and pushed his chair back bringing his face so close to hers they were almost nose to nose. He spoke just as softly. “You are not ready. You will never be ready. Go home now before you fucking kill someone or end up dead.”

He watched her shiver a little and his cock responded by throbbing in answer. It took all his military control not to kiss her. It was worse when her pink tongue eased out of her mouth to lick her lips. He almost groaned, but caught himself.

No fucking way is this happening.

She never dropped her gaze and he respected her just a little more for that. Most men couldn’t hold his glare. It was then he realized she wasn’t afraid of him.

Well Fuck.

“What was that, sir?”

He must have spoken out loud. He needed to get her off kilter. Mag leaned in closer so their noses touched, his lips pressed almost on hers. Her breath mingled with his.

“Get the fuck out of my office. You’re dismissed. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll go home.”

Then she did the unthinkable. Patterson’s tongue touched his mouth as she moistened her dry lips. He couldn’t help it. He tried, but before he could think, his tongue met hers for a brief second before they both pulled back. Patterson stood at attention, saluted him, spun around and raced out of his office as if the devil himself was on her heels.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Concealed Affairs!

What you ask? How can it be a book’s birthday when it was just released a few days ago? Well, this release was eleven years in the making. Yes you read that right ~ 11 years. I first started this project in the beginning of 1998 ~ seems like such a long time ago now. As I developed the story, originally titled The Spice of Life, I hooked up with my wonderful mentor Terri Valentine (NY published author of Sweet Paradise, Paradise Promised & other titles). Through her help and wisdom I honed my skills and got the proverbial whip, also known affectionately as the Red Pen, when it came to POV, dangling modifiers, repetitious words and getting rid of naughty words like ‘thing.’ On and off through the years I worked on the book, sent it to Terri for review, then reworked the story some more. The project was put off to the side constantly as life got in the way with job changes, moves, illness, burnt hard drives and my two year stint when I stopped writing all together. I had quit smoking. Reading and writing were HUGE triggers. If I picked up a book I wanted a smoke. If I picked up a pencil and pad to work on a story I wanted a smoke. As much as it pained me to give up the two activities it was for the best until I beat the addiction. Between 2004 and 2006 I slowly got back into writing and reading and then in 2007 got real serious about my writing career. By the end of 2007 I had finished the first draft of Postponing Eternity (due for release via Devine Destinies 07/01/09) and finally finished The Spice of Life. Truthfully, I never really liked the ‘Spice’ title. By the time the novel was done it didn’t fit anymore. So after some thinking I renamed it Secrets. By this time I was working on a series for eXtasy Books so I pitched Secrets to them too and it was accepted. Yea! My first story found a home but it had to be renamed since Secrets is so popular. After a bit more thought I came up with Concealed Affairs. This story started off as a sensual romantic suspense and morphed into an erotic romantic suspense with lots of intrigue and hot sex.
So what’s the moral here? ‘Keep on truckin’’… “Don’t give up on your dreams”… etc.
Happy birthday CA! Available now at
For information on the story please visit:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Phantom Phone Calls

Phantom Phone Calls – Good or Bad?

The other night I received a phone call about 10 p.m. Now I don’t know about you but when the phone rings that late, I fear something bad has happened to someone on the other end of the line. My heart starts to pound, my palms get sweaty and I actually dread picking up the receiver.

I looked at the caller id to find it was my 23 year old son. I had already spoken to him earlier in the evening so I wasn’t really sure why he was calling back. He’s in the Army getting ready to deploy from Fort Polk, Louisiana. Picking up the phone, I say my usual hello. No response. I hear voices talking in the background, garbled, loud at times, but no one saying hello back to me. I say it again, louder. Still nothing. Ok, now my mother’s mind starts to wander and I think “Oh my god, is he in a fight and he can’t answer the phone, has something happened and he’s trying to call me and want me to get help.” You know the drill; any mother knows exactly what I am referring to.

I start saying Hello louder each time, calling his name. I get nothing but still hear guy’s voices talking. So I sit back on the edge of the bed and start to listen as close as I can. Maybe the phone is in his pocket; maybe he phantom called me by accident and doesn’t realize it.

At this point, I hear another voice say “Oh yeah, well you don’t know what is like to sleep on the ground in 106 degree f***ing weather. Man, it’s a bi**h out there when it’s like that.” Ok, this is getting interesting. Now I’m beginning to think beers are involved and guys sitting around trying to out do one another. So I keep listening. I hear a few snacks of the conversation, then I hear my son (lovely perfect child that he is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) say “Yah, well when I was 18, maybe 19 you know what this girl and I did?” Then the words get garbled. It’s at this point I’m thinking maybe it’s a good thing I can’t here what he and the girl did cause I probably really don’t want to know (G).

Now, to be fair, I tried to hang up the phone about three times. And the stupid thing would not disconnect. So finally after about the fifth try, it did. I immediately picked up the phone and called him back. He answers very nonchalantly “Hey Mom” obviously not knowing what has just transpired over the past ten minutes.

His loving mother says “Brian, would you do me a favor and tell you buddy I’m so sorry he has to sleep on the ground in 106 degree f***ing weather. That must be horrible.” Big dead air pause on the other end, then he says very slowly Mom, how do you know that?” “Brian, please tell you buddy that for me, would you?” He calls out to the other guy my exact words and now I get a whole room of dead quiet. And then “How does your mom know what I just said?”

So I then say “And you know as much as I love having a conversation with you and learning what is going on, I really didn’t need to know what you and that girl did when you were 18 or 19.” Now, of course I am not letting on that I really didn’t hear the garbled part of the conversation. But he doesn’t know this. His response “OMG, I am turning beet red right now. How do you know these things Mom? This is not good.”

I politely reply, “Take your phone out of your pocket and put it somewhere safe so you aren’t phantom calling me.” “Crap,” is his response. He turns to the guys and says “My mom heard the whole conversation. I phantom called her.” To which now a group of guys are freaking out “You’re kidding right”, “Damn, she heard everything?”

Sigh, yes these are the calls a mother treasures. NOT! But I must admit it makes for good fodder for a blog.

Now on a more serious note, last summer a was listening to the radio and heard a replay of a phone message a son who was already deployed and in a war zone made to his parents. his first call was to check in, say hi, let them know how he was doing. His parents weren't at home, so this was all left on the answering machine. Apparently a few minutes later, he accidentally hit the redial button on his phone and left a totally different message. This one came while his unit was under heavy fire. His parents listened to a message filled with soldiers yelling, gunfire, a unit under attack and in desperate need of more ammo. His father related saying: All I could think of when they were yelling for more ammo, was please get them more ammo." The message went on for quite a few minutes. They tried to reach their son with no luck until much later. They learned he was okay, his unit was fine and they did get more mortar.

But can you imagine being on the receiving end of such a phone call? It would kill me. I can't even begin to understand how his parents must have felt. But I am so incredibly glad everything turned out well in the end.

So remember if you phantom call me, you might just end up in a blog post. You never know.
Till next time everyone! Happy Spring.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Blogging Class

By A.J. Llewellyn

My friend Ruth, who has an online art gallery is a marketing whizz and she reads my blogs. Recently she suggested I should learn more about how to make money out of my blogs, as in, how to drive traffic to my blogs and earn money without really trying.
Well, all's fair in love and blogging so last night I was eager to join the free marketing class she took me to. About ten people showed up at Jinky's in Sherman Oaks, where a lovely blog expert, Olivia talked to the assembled group about maximizing their blogs' potential.
Now I contribute to six blogs a week and I guest blog on more, but many of those present are still new to blogging and were curious about it.
What I found last night was an entertaining, energetic bunch of people who were all doing one thing by day, another thing by night.
Poor Olivia.
Our shared experiences, swapping information, our excitement at meeting other positive, multi-tasking, high-functioning folk kind of ran over her presentation.
But here is the thing.
The Internet has introduced to me not just a bunch of readers I would not otherwise have found, but my boyfriend and a wonderful new world of friends.
The network pool keeps getting richer and deeper.
Last night, one of the guys talked about how he's on Facebook but not Twitter.
Another woman agreed. "I don't twitter...tweet...twit? Twat? Twaddle? Whatever you do on Twitter..."
It was hysterical. I loved these people!
Olivia gave us a link to a pistachio manufacturer who doubled his income via Twitter, This I must read.
I was sitting next to a woman who is a hypnotherapist. I might need to get her help on my cupcake problem...but I digress.
I personally adored singer Michelle Andria and her boyfriend Jessie. I think we three are already maximizing our potential and our questions were different to some of the others. Michelle, like my amazing friend Lizzie "The Countess" Black gets free stuff sent to her - a different kind of income from her blog.
I must be doing something wrong. I mention cupcakes on a daily basis and I don't see any of the bakeries in my 'hood sending me freebies. I must write a fan letter to Betty Crocker. Immediately.
So, while I didn't actually figure out how to get money from my blog, I learned a lot about some wonderful new people. And I learned it's very easy to stress out a waitress when blogging comes to the real world.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Time To Write Again

I decided to take a break today from the sizzle workshop to close the door on one phase of my life. Soon, I will no longer be president of the online writing group EPIC and wanted to just reflect on that for a moment.

I have always believed that people need to give back to groups who have helped you along your chosen path and at the point I decided to run, I knew in many ways that I indeed had been made a better writer by my association with this group. Still, the year was hard as I only had two pieces published and there were many times I wondered if I should have done things the way I did.

There were some horrendous other things that happened within my family (youngest son diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and elderly father should say it all) and even now I sit here writing feeling horrible because I’m ill and didn’t plan ahead for today. But as I watch what is happening in other parts of the world, I realize it is what it is. There are things in life people just can’t anticipate.

No matter how hard one plans, things almost never go like the plan. Not completely. But if you can follow your plan 90% of the time, you’ve done a good job. The world is full of procrastinators, people who only do half a job or no job, and then again there are those who let their dream languish because they don’t have direction. As writers, it is sometimes very hard to figure out just what your direction needs to be. Mine is to just write and become comfortable to do so every day again like I had been prior to holding office.

Even with all that is good and bad which has happened I know I am on the right path. I know that I am supposed to be a writer. Already this year I’ve had a small story published, Subtle Invasion, through Devine Destines. This was a story that I thought would never see the light of day. It was the first one I had ever completed and edited the heck out of so it would be better. I was surprised when I got the email it needed to be edited fast because it was being called to duty. Although the email’s timing was really bad, it brought up my spirits as again I had joined the realm of being published.

This does not mean I won’t be giving back to the writing communities that I belong to currently. Quite the opposite. I will participate where ever I can but the main difference is that I won’t be in charge. Being in charge brings its own headaches that I would rather like to avoid for a long, long time. However, I am proud of the time I was president of EPIC as there were things which were accomplished and one can always be happy about those.

And I’m also going to start speaking publically more on writing, ebooks and epublishing. My first gig will be on a panel of authors at a local conference called Xanadu. The other authors are people well known to this blog, Erin Sinclair and AP Miller, both who are wonderful authors and friends.

Now that I can step back from the political arena, I have plenty of time to write. Once I get over being ill…LOL! I plan to write a lot the rest of this year. I will be completing books on my Santa’s Elves series, finishing all my Tarot books, writing more on two other series and finishing another heavily sci-fi series called Protectors of the Earth. Yeah, it’s gonna be dark and cool in the vein of X-Men and Battlestar Galatica.

And I can’t wait to get started! Just think, this blog is the first new thing I’ve written this day and it will only get better.

What have you written today?
Sponsored by the search engine optimization services internet guide.