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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Knowledge is Power

By-Stephani Hecht

At my last RWA meeting, we were blessed to have five guests, new faces that were potentially new members. Once stuck out to me and I am sad to say it wasn’t for a good reason. At one point during the meeting she raised her hand and asked, “I have a book finished, but I’m not sure what genre it is. How do I figure that out?”

Stunned silence met that question. How can someone pen a whole book and not know what they’re writing? That got me thinking about how prevalent situations like this are in the writing world. By that I mean, authors not taking the time to inform themselves of their craft and the industry.

Knowledge is power. That commercial jingle really did get it right when they touted that slogan around. It fits for everything in life and it most certainly fits into writing. You could have the best MS in the world, but you’re going to get anywhere if you are submitting to the wrong agents and editors. If I present my paranormal erotic book to an agent that only takes Inspirational all I’m going to do is waste my time and end up frustrating both of us. Not only that I’m going to get the reputation as someone who is not passionate about my career and no serious writer wants that.

So my advice to all writers is—do your homework. Not just on style, grammar and craft, but also on the industry itself. Don’t just rely on the words of others either. Take the time to search the web. Visit the websites of the various publishers and agents and see what they want and what kind of books they put out. Read industry magazines and publications. Make yourself an expert on all things writing and what makes this business tick.

Before I made my editor and agent appointments for National this year, I researched who I was going to pitch to. I looked at what authors they represented to make sure my work was a good fit. This is going to be one of the few times I ever get some face-to-face time with these individuals and I am not about to waste this opportunity. I can’t allow to, not if I want to make it.

Writing is a very competitive business and there is no learning curve. Those who don’t take the time to learn this will fall by the wayside. It may sound harsh, it may sound judgmental, but sadly it’s the truth. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Bakawali

By A.J. Llewellyn

There has never in my life been anyone like my cousin Michael. Twenty five years ago today, God took him after a long and very painful battle with cancer. He was nineteen years old. I called his mum, my Thea (Auntie) Annie. She was surprised I remembered since she is in Australia and I am here in California, but her daughter Soph, who is also my cousin, is my godmother and we are very close.
She told me she’d just come back from taking him his favorite flowers to the cemetery. He loved white daisies and corn flowers. She told me she also took flowers to my mother’s grave, one section over.
“I took her violets, because she loved violets.”
It was my Thea Annie who took my mother yogurt when she was dying in the old War Memorial Hospital in Sydney. She talked to Thea Annie of her fears about leaving me and my brothers without a mother.
In the next breath, she would rally and say the yogurt would help her grow strong. She could never eat more than a couple of spoonfuls…
Thea Annie was the only adult in my life who ever talked to me about my mother, who remembered tiny nuggets my father has long forgotten. She loved her too. As I loved my cousin Michael.
I still call Thea Annie for birthdays and Christmas – I vow now to call her more – but I said, “I want to tell you what I remember about Michael, because I still miss him so much.”
“Go on,” she said and I could hear her voice rising a little.
“I can honestly say have never met and will never meet anyone with such a capacity for love. He loved everybody, didn’t he? Whether we were at a party or at a bus stop, Michael talked to everybody.”
“That’s exactly right,” she told me. “Wow…I can’t believe I am having this conversation with you. My daughters just left and I fed my cat and I just sat here feeling so…sad. I felt…I felt I couldn’t call anyone and talk about Michael because they’ll all think I am crazy.”
She is not crazy. Michael was the most loving person…a light being…an Indigo child before such things were fashionable. He had the ability to make people happy. He had time for everybody.
When I see his face - even when he was very ill, his face swollen from chemo - Michael is always laughing.
I have old family snapshots and he is smiling, the center of everything, without trying to be.
“When I was seven,” I said, “You and Michael were there for me when my mum died. He used to come to my school to walk home with me and my brothers. He used to talk to us. He used to come home with us because dad was working. I remember the first time he had a date, Alex [my brother] and I ran to your house and we hid in the back of Uncle Pete’s Holden—“
She cackled then. “I remember that!”
“And he picked up his date and we were hiding on the floor and he heard us giggling. He could have gotten mad but he laughed.
“He took us to the drive in with them. He bought us Fantales [an Australian candy] and sodas.” I paused. “How is Cathy?”
“I still talk to her. You know she never married? She never found anyone…too picky. And I would love to see her settled down.”
“He would have an impossible act to follow,” I said, not really surprised that Cathy never found somebody else to love. Her grief at the one-year ceremony, a beautiful custom in the Greek Orthodox Church, was still raw.
Thea Annie described Michael as a bud, who never got to bloom. In some ways this is true. He had a passion for medicine and wanted to be a pediatrician but colon cancer claimed him, the same way it claimed my mother. There were no cures at that time and his journey was as excruciating as hers.
To me, Michael was a flower that bloomed all right…he was a rare bakawali, a flower that blooms only once in its lifetime in the middle of the night. Talking about him, writing about him, remembering his dignity and uncommon grace keeps him in bloom every day. Not just this day, the anniversary of the day we had to say goodbye.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An Amazing Product for Writers

This week I have been buried with deadlines and writing, so I looked for products I could use to make what I do more efficient so I could free up my time for other endeavors like sleeping. LOL! I found some amazing and interesting products out there for writers.

Normally, I won’t plug programs for writers but recently I ran across an amazing product for us called Auto Crit and fell in love immediately. But the thing that intrigued me the most is that is almost exactly like something an editor of mine threw our way on our writers loop. It’s so close it’s scary. The cool thing about it is that it’s all in one neat package. LOL!

This program goes on the basis of there are certain words which should be kept out of a manuscript. Things like passive verbage, -ly words, conjunctions and –ing words to name a few. It also looks at redundancies and slow pacing. These things make your writing weak. Also, overused words like thing and that, two of my favorites in first draft mode to say the least, all of which make readers put down your book again and again.

I did some samples, you can do 800 words a day free, just to see what would come up in my latest WIP. There were things I expected and things I would have missed. Now I have critique partners who do a very fine job when going over my manuscript but this software picked up things that none of us would have even with a fine tooth comb. And all of us have time constraints which make it unfair to rely so heavily on them.

Now that doesn’t mean I agree with everything they came up with but at least now I am totally aware that I’m doing these errors and watching more so I won’t. In today’s world where people have less and less time to do the tedious portions of writing, why not get a program who can do it in one run without all the fuss of coordinating timelines or using more than one macro? In reality, this program combines at least five steps that I normally do myself or with my critique partners. Imagine how happy my crit partners will be when I give them a much cleaner manuscript to look at…then they can concentrate on the things I’m really worried about…like a bad plot or a plot which doesn’t fit together like it should.

If you’re a writer, you need to check this out. Like I said, even just having it do the 800 word sample every once in a while will give you the idea of what you’re doing wrong. I just know that is one of the many things I will be looking into getting when I can afford to do so. You can find it at and I hope you go check it out!

Have a great week writing! See you next week!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fan Fiction (NSW)

I now have a new respect for Fan Fiction. I really didn't know much about it to tell you the truth. Haven't really read any either. What changed that? Queer as Folk. I watched part of this show and caught the ending episode. It felt incomplete to me so I tried my had at writing an ending that I liked better. So here is my attempt at Fan Fiction.

There will be some language and m/m sex included in this story. Another warning, if you don't want a slight clue as to how the series ended, you might not want to read on. :) Now...I hope you enjoy.

This is my first attempt at Fan Fiction and please remember that I’ve only watched the first season, two episodes of season two and the series finally. This scene takes place a couple months after Justin leaves for NY.

“Since when does Brian Kinny chase after a man?” Michael asked.

“I’m not chasing after anyone.”

“Oh no?” Michael picked up the ticket on Brian’s counter. “What do you call this?”

“A plane ticket to New York.”

“Oh, I don’t know anyone who lives in New York, do you Teddy?” Em piped in.

“Shut the fuck up. All of you. What are you doing here anyway?”

“I wanted to say it’s about damn time. You’ve been moody for months.” Michael responded.
Brian flipped him off.

“We heard you were leaving and wanted to say good bye.” Michael shrugged.

“I’m just going to New York for the weekend.” Brain said with a distracted wave as he continued to pack.

Out of the corner of his eye, Brian could see Michael look at the ticket.

Big fucking deal. So what if it’s open ended. It’s none of their damn business.

“Well I for one think it’s about time you did the chasing.” Em declared.

Brian ignored them and put his bags by the door. He knew Em was right, but that didn’t mean he had to acknowledge it. He’d spent the last week getting everything in order to move his company to New York. His house would go on the market with one call, as long as things went well when he got there. He was terrified, but he couldn’t admit that to anyone with the exception of Justin. He’d never been good at expressing his feeling, unless it was fucking. He never had a problem expressing himself through sex.

Justin was his port in any storm; it had just taken him too long to let him know that. Plus he missed that little bastard. It just wasn’t the same without him, like the colors left when Justin did.

Okay, enough of that shit.

“Out, now. I’ve got to get to the airport.”

“We’ll take you.” Michael said.

“Whatever. Let’s just get going.”

The four friends left and Brian looked back at his loft for the last time.

* * *

Brian wiped the palms of his hands on his blue jeans. He’d never been this nervous before.

“Fuck this” he whispered and knocked on the door.

It opened and he had to stop himself from smiling. There he was, Justin. Not much had changed. Of course it’d only been a couple months. He had paint on his clothes. Brian reached out and brushed his fingers over the paint smudged on Justin’s chin.

Justin’s face lit up, “Brian, what are you doing here?”

Brian couldn’t help himself. He pulled Justin to him and kissed him. God he’d missed this. The taste of Justin was like none other. He pushed Justin away before things got out of control.

“We need to talk.” Brian stated.

Justin moved back into the apartment, “Sure, come in.”

Brian looked around, “Nice place you got here.”

“It’s nothing like your place, but I call it home.” Justin gestured toward the couch. “So, what’s up?” Justin sat down next to Brian.

It had been too long. He need more of Justin and pulled him onto his lap and nuzzled his face into Justin’s neck.

It was time he manned up and said something first.

“God I missed you. Missed this.” He whispered.

“What’s going on Brian?”

He took a deep breath and went for it.

“I want to move here, to New York, to be with you. I’ve found a building on line for my offices. I just have to sign the paper work. The loft is ready to go up for sale at any time. What do you say? You got room here for me?”

Justin turned on his lap to straddle him, “What took you so fucking long?”

Brian shut him up by kissing him. They reached for each other shirts, tearing at their clothes. They couldn’t get them off fast enough.

“Condoms?” Brian asked.

“Shit. I don’t have any? You?”

Brian rummaged in his pants looking for his wallet. The box he had was in his bag and he wasn’t about to quite to go find them.

“Thank God.” Brian said when found one.

Justin stood up and reached for Brian, leading him to the bedroom.

No more words were needed.

Brian kissed Justin. He wrapped all his love into the kiss. He never wanted to be without this again. The two stood by the bed and finished undressing. Brian ran his hands over Justin’s body, relearning every curve of his body. The tumbled into the bed. Justin on all fours in front of him was more then he could take. He wet his fingers to loosen his lover’s hole. Justin groaned when Brian hit his sweet spot. He kept going until he was three fingers deep.

“Now Brian. Fuck me now.” Justin panted.

Brian gloved his cock and slowly entered his lover’s body. Justin placed his forehead on the bed and groaned.

“Yess….” Brian hissed. This was what he needed. What he craved.

Brian reached around and grabbed Justin’s dick. Stroking it in time with his thrust. He wanted to feel him come on his cock.

Faster and faster he thrust until he had Justin’s come coating his fingers. That was all it took for him to spend his load. Brian rested on Justin’s back for a second before the fell together. He pulled Justin to him and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips.

They laid there for a second, catching their breath before Justin spoke.

“Are you sure Brian?”

“I’m sure Justin. I want it all. I love you. I ached without. Fuck this is hard for me.”

“I know Brain. I know.” Justin whispered against his lips.

The two drifted to sleep with their future ready for the taking. Together. How it always should have been.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A surprising supporter

Saw this a few weeks ago and figured I would share since I found it interesting. I found it interesting on different levels but I won’t go into the whole lengthy background here—dealing with a religious upbringing, the hypocrisy, people’s lack of open-mindedness, etc. Seeing this was a refreshing change.
Marie Osmond has come out in favor of gay rights.
In an interview with Los Angeles radio station KOST 103.5, the Flamingo headliner said it was "not a sensitive issue" for her.
She said she supports gay couples having civil rights.
"I think it's important to look at the commandment love thy neighbor as thyself," said Osmond, who has eight children. Her oldest daughter, Jessica, 21, has been in a gay relationship for three years, according to reports.
"One thing I did not appreciate growing up, everybody quoted me and told me what to say; you gotta do this, do that," she said. "I'm not doing that to my daughter. I'm not going to answer questions on her behalf."
She added: "You know, I think each of us has the right to choose who makes that medical decision for us. I think everybody should have the right to share homes and finances with somebody that they care about. You know on those types of things I'm very supportive.
"When it comes to marriage ... I think that civil rights need to be for all. When you start mixing religion into that and beliefs, you know, I do believe in the Bible. My daughter understands my beliefs. And, and, uh, you know, God said to be married and be productive with your children and, and, you know, replenish the earth or whatever.
"She understands those things. My daughter is sharp. And we have a great relationship, and I think she would tell you that."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Writing is serious business

** Disclaimer – this is not for the faint of heart. We are not picking on anyone with this blog, we are merely stating our opinion. And as such, it is just that, our opinion. **

Hey Stephani, here we are again sitting down to do our Up Close and Personal Chats. How are you doing this beautiful day?

I'm doing great. The whole family is out camping and they didn't make me go with them.

Better yet! I'm home alone as well. Just me, the dog, cat and oh yeah, the 24 yr old son waiting on his sister to come pick him up for their joint tattoo session. Ah yes, moments a mother can be proud of!

You should record the moment so you can look back on it for years to come.

Right to show both their grandchildren how silly their parents were. If I ever get grandkids out of them (G) Not that I’m wishing for it anytime soon, mind you.
So this week at our local RWA meeting we had Susan Mallery. She was an awesome speaker and gave a talk on Writing More, Writing Faster.

Yes, she was and she even put up with the two of us for the whole day. That should earn her a medal of valor.

Hey, we're wild and crazy dudettes. What's not to love about us?

Did you just say something? I was distracted. Trying to get Ugly Cat to yodel.

That is sad.

I know, she won't do it. She just gives me a filthy look and wobbles away.
The two guys on the YouTube Video made it look so easy.

Stephani, you really need to get a life. Ok, back to Susan. She presented a way to write 4 full length novels per year, and have a ton of free time as well.
Unless you want us to talk about something else.

No, I think this is a great topic. Way more interesting than yodeling cats. Susan was also telling us you need to know your craft, know where your book fits when you submit. Don’t be vague to the editor or agent and say “Wherever you think it would work best is good.”

Isn’t that amazing. Why can’t people take the time they need to prepare. I was so surprised to hear how many authors never follow through after their appointments at RWA National conference or any conferences really with an agent or editor. Why go to all the trouble if you aren't going to submit? Or at any conference, it doesn't have to be National. Sort of like, a kid who does the homework but leaves it in his locker instead of turning it in.

I found that interesting too. I hate it that some authors just wasted everyone's time.

Part of me wonders if they really have anything at all on paper ready to go, like the three chapters and a synopsis when they pitch, or are they just thinking 'Hey, this would be fun." Sad part is, it's taking up an appointment that an author who is ready to submit really wants and can't get.

What I don't get is that these ‘wannabe’ authors don't realize how important this really is and that it could alter someone’s life and career.

And they will be remembered by the editor or agent. Especially if this is a consistent thing they are doing. You and I both know there are people out there doing it, and we can name names as to who they are, but we won't (for fear of being stoned). Don't forget there are also those out there that snap up every appointment whether they write for a specific genre or not just to say they got an appointment. I wish there was a way the conference coordinators could do something about it. But I bet it's overwhelming.

This has to be very frustrating to the editors and agents too.

Especially if they heard a great pitch and then nothing ever comes in.

Or if they have someone come pitch something to them that will never fit in what they are looking for. Like say someone pitches a sweet romance to an erotica publisher

Exactly. Take the time to pay attention to what the editor or agent is looking for. They all have websites, they all participate in blog interviews, the information is out there. Just Google it. And you can spare yourself being told no thanks at the table with just a little effort on your own part. You know in the end, it's not the amount of appointments you get, it's what you do with them when you are face to face at the table and then the follow-through.

I agree with you, Patti. It's the quality not the quantity. You can talk all day, but if it's to the wrong people it won't do you any good.

No one ever gets bought at the appointment table. They get bought when they send it in, and it fits the requirements of the specific house.
Now, that being said, of course there are always exceptions to the rule.

Such as?

Crap, I knew you'd ask me that. Ok, they love the pitch, you send it immediately and you are bought up within a month. But, you and I both know that doesn't happen. Hardly ever do you hear someone got bought off a partial. Unless they were already a published author. Because again, it all goes back to follow through. I have heard some authors say they have their partial printed out, prepackaged up and ready to go before they leave for a conference. Then when the appt goes well, they call home and ask hubby to drop it in the mail to the editor. They are so sure of it, they are ready to roll. And that's a good thing.

Wow, talk about having your puppies in a pile. But then I guess the sooner you get it out the better. That way you can show the editor how serious you really are.

Yes, but what if the editor or agent says "Send the full" and you've only got a partial or they say email me with it. Then you aren't ready. Of course we all know the minute they get home from conference the editors and agents desks get piled up with submissions because of just such a thing.
And being professional at the table doesn't hurt either. Don't show up in shorts, a t-shirt or heaven forbid your swim suit and a cover-up cause the appt conflicted with pool time. Show them you mean it. Turn off the cell phone, lose the gum and above all, remember this is the real deal. This is not a practice session. Your practice session is with your critique group, not the editor or agent. They are the real deal.

Treat it like it's the most important job interview of your life because it could very well be. That is if you are serious about making writing a career and not a hobby.

Exactly, cause you only get about 7 minutes to make that impression, pitch that book and answer questions.

First impressions means everything when you have such a short time like that too.

Definitely. I believe it was Nora Roberts who tells writers if they can come up with a dozen reasons why they can't write, then maybe they shouldn't be writing. She's correct. If you want it bad enough, make the sacrifice. If you don't get out of line. If that sounds harsh, then maybe you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your desire to write.
You do have to give up things to write, you can't always be out there having lunch with friends, shopping, doing everything else and not writing. It just doesn't work that way. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

It may sound harsh, but it's true. If you want to be successful you have to work on it everyday all day or else it won't happen. I know that if I take one day off I have to work extra hard for two days to make up for it. I do it though because I want this to be a career for me.

Yes, and as we all know careers are hard to come by nowadays, especially in this economy. Susan Mallery's system starts you off writing 3 pages a day, 5 days a week with weekends off, nights off and holidays off. You work up to 8.5 pages a day over time and that way you can do 4 90,000 books a year consistently and still have time off for emergencies, vacation, edits, revisions and proposals. But you have to work at it.

What I liked best was how she said sometimes you can't wait for your muse to show up. That is so true. There are some days when I just don't feel like writing and I have to force myself to do it.

And it goes back to don't show up at the appt table with an idea in your head. Show up with a book written. Then you don't look foolish when a year goes by before you submit it. I feel you should submit within a month of pitching. Otherwise, you have wasted your time and theirs and someone who really did want a shot at it and was ready to give them what they wanted. Yes, you have to write with or without your muse. Whether you feel like crap or feel good. Whether Star Trek just came out and you want to be the first person in line to see it, or the 221st person. You have to prioritize.

Sometimes I have to track my muse down and drag her back by the hair.

Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard. Otherwise it can't be done.
Now I know we'll catch flak about this because we spoke our true feelings. But Stephani and I are both published. We didn't get this way by playing Spider Solitaire (my vice) or going to see Ryan Reynolds movies (Stephani's vice) as soon as they come out. We got this way by sheer determination and hard work.

Or watching Penguins of Madagascar.LOL
My newest vice.

Or House Hunters dreaming of the house I am going to buy with my 7 digit royalty check. Dreaming is a good thing, so are vices if they are used in the right way.
Motivation is a wonderful thing if it gets you closer to your goal.

Patti is right though. To make it in this industry it will take hard work and it will take a lot of sacrifice

And alot of it is having the best book possible at the right time. Ok, time for us to get off our soap box sand get back to writing (G) We hope you all have a wonderful and safe Happy Memorial Day weekend. Oh yeah, and may your cats yodel better than Stephani can get Peep too!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


A reader of romance novels can become quite obsessed about their books and spend a large amount of time with them. Sometimes to the consternation of their significant others. I must say I quite often fall into this catagory, along with many of my girlfriends.
So what do the significant others think of this?
I think all are delusional about it in one way or another. Some tell themselves that their wife is thinking of them as they read about the strong and viril hero. Delusional! Some think that they are wishing for someone like in the story to come to them so they can run off with them. Delusional! Some worry that their wife thinks of the fictional male when their together. Delusional!
Why can't it just be a story? Why can't they believe that when we read about a beautiful heroine and her amazingly perfectlybeautiful hero we are seeing them not ourselves, and definitly not our husbands.
Like I tell my husband when he starts to get jealous about my reading habits- unless a vampire, a werewolf, or an immortal highland warrior comes knocking on my door, or Johnny Depp, he is safe.
What do your significant others think of your reading habits? Do they think your imagining them or wishing they were something different? Is reading a dangerous habit that breeds discontentment? Or just a fun way to get a break from our own lives for a while?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

American Idol?

By A.J. Llewellyn

I've watched American Idol week after week, mesmerized and inspired by the true artistry and warm charisma of Adam Lambert. That he should lose the title he so richly deserved to a merely good singer was profoundly shocking to me last night.
Once again, the nine year old girls got it wrong, picking cute and cuddly over true brilliance. Kris is cute (my boyfriend is nuts about him) but the homophobic comments I've been hearing ever since the show finished last night confirm for me, at least, that there is still a sickness in our society, a sickness of intolerance.
Some of the comments said, allegedly in jest were cruel.
They make the dirt in my garden seem so clean.
I listed to the radio reports this morning. Frankly I was stunned at how vicious many critics have been of Adam. The truth is he doesn't need a show like AI. Kris probably does.
Let's hope he doesn't squander his surprise gift like many others who have also won the title of American Idol. Have Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, David Cook and Jordan Sparxx blown your socks into the next room since they became winners?
Not me.
The year that Chris Daughtry lost, he emerged a true winner. I think Clay Aiken has proven himself to be a solid, worthy performer as have many others 'losers.'
It just saddened me this morning as I listened to the jokes and jabs about Adam's theatricality, his makeup and his high-octave range, that this is the same week a high school student in San Diego was not allowed to present her school project to her class.
Why? her chosen subject - a PowerPoint presentation on a powerful political speaker - was Harvey Milk and school officials were worried some parents would object because he was gay.
It's outrageous!
The ACLU stepped in and she presented her project - at lunchtime, with half the class missing.
Adam Lambert will not disappear and neither will the gay population of the world. In spite of the sniping, the lack of tolerance, the jokes and the bad vibes, talent, true talent, like a flower in dirt, grows and thrives.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Being in the Story

Oops! It’s blog day and I just almost forgot. And I never forget since I have a calendar that reminds me of everything. But this week, I’ve been so much into my story, More Than Robotics, I’ve actually been on a computer which has no internet access.

Why you may ask? Well, because I am like every person on the planet who can read right now. The internet is fun and distracting. I can start reading the news and read more and more and more until I realize that I’ve been reading for well over three hours.

So just recently, I decided to get an Aspire. You know…one of those little tiny machines…which has a hard drive, internet access and very little else. I decided the moment I opened the box that I loved this thing. It is small and can fit in my purse. But the most amazing aspect it that other than the software activation of my Word and Excel, it’s never been online. And I plan for it to remain that way as all it will ever be used for is writing and getting things to my editor.

Now, I already have two other computers…a huge graphics oriented desktop…and this graphics oriented laptop that I’m working on right now. Why in the heck did I need another computer? I didn’t in reality. But I do need convenience and the ability to stay away from the internet when necessary. This same machine I can just pick up and walk to another room or go outside in the early morning, have coffee and start typing away.

Which leads me to the crux of this blog today. This week I have checked my email less than ever, I’ve looked at the news only once and that was yesterday. Most of my time has been spent with my head stuck in a story. And for a writer, that’s exactly where it should be most of the time.

Now, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t come up for air. Every writer should but what it does mean that for the first time in a very long time I have been exclusively focused on my chosen profession. I have been so focused that I’ve been writing an average of 5000 words a day. And while that may not seem much to some people, that’s a book a week if the book is small. Basically, it means that I am almost writing to my potential which in itself is a miracle.

Not many writers live up to their potential because life or the internet can get in their way. Some spend years plotting or editing a story because they just want to get it perfect. So perfect in fact that they never get around to finishing it or ever having it ready to submit to an editor.

So this week, I’ve been a good little author and had my head where it should be in my own books. Which is wonderful when you think about it but I have allowed myself some lead way and actually read some books this week as well. My TBR pile had grown enormous over the years and I decided to start at the top. I was amazed at how many books I’ve discarded after the first chapter. It made me wonder why I picked them up at all because I found myself not liking the writing, the story or just generally going yuck and moving on.

But my real passion came back to me as I’m ready more and more sci-fiction based books than ever. I can highly recommend Close Encounters by Katherine Allred. It’s an amazing story about a women sent to another planet to save the people living there. Another one I just recently finished was Linnea Sinclair’s Games of Command. Yeah, it had been on the shelf that long. All I’ve got to say is OMG and wonder why I never picked it up before. Now those are the type of books I want to write. Sigh. I’m working on it.

And in that vein, here’s a bit of my next story in the Orchid Series. The series started with Fluke which was about a woman who couldn’t quite remember her past. It’s a story where she finds the strength to do the near impossible while planning for the future. In it I introduce two new concepts, and yeah, they are copyrighted, clonedroids and mindswiped both of which I use in this new story. Here’s a little bit of this new story, More Than Robotics, set for release October 1 from eXtasy books.

Remember, these are the unedited versions. And thanks for giving this story a look!

More Than Robotics

BLURB: (This is unedited.)

There were only three things in life that Commander BekkaTaylor wanted in life: 1) Command of a Warrior Class Star Marauder, 2) To grow old gracefully and 3) A lover who understood her fiery nature. She was accomplishing two out of her three objectives very nicely when an internal IUA conflict begins to encompasses the whole world as she knows it. Then Lieutenant Javed Malik comes aboard, clearly younger than she, with dreamy eyes and a secret meant only for her. But letting him in means getting rid of years of frustration, anguish and maybe her career as old secrets come to the surface. Can she survive another war or the smoldering looks from her junior officer sent to protect her 24/7?

TEASER EXCERPT: (This is unedited.)

“That’s all for now and it’s most of what I know. But we all share the same concerns as I’m sure you have. Javed has the specifics on our next contact. And please don’t get mad at me for the unconventional way I have instructed him to give those orders to you. It was necessary.”

I turned from the vidscreen to look at him suspiciously. “What is she talking about?”

In less than the blink of an eye, he was again by my side, pulling me up from my chair, his hands taking my face to gaze in my eyes. “Don’t struggle,” he whispered close to my ear. “I think we have prying eyes.” His lips came down fiercely on mine, his tongue snaking in to dominate me and I wanted to do the very thing he asked that I not do. Instead I tried to let myself enjoy the moment as it had been quite some time since I had had this type of human contact.

My hands gripped his waist and pulled him even closer to me. I could feel his legs press harder into me as his arms went completely around me. Within moments, I could feel the hard bulge of his body and mine responded in kind. There was nothing more I wanted to do except rip his clothes off that luscious male form.

He pulled away from me and shuddered, resting his forehead against mine. “We should really stop right now.” His brown eyes looked deep into mine and I nearly passed out as his next words flashed across my consciousness. You are an amazing woman and rest assured, we will finish this.

The last bit had exploded across my brain and I raised a shaky hand to rub my forehead. It was as if he were right inside me, whispering his thoughts.

Don’t fight it. Let it happen. The clonedroids helped us to perfect one of their technologies for our use. This is the major way they communicate between each other. You are now the proud owner of some audiobotic nanotechnology. They attach to your nerves for hearing and other pertainent areas of your brain associated with the function. From now on, we’ll be able to communication this way as we are attuned only to each other. No one else is on this frequency.

I glanced quickly toward the camera I knew Trevor had poised on us. You realize that Trevor was the only one spying on us, don’t you?

A slow lazy smile crossed his face and he gently caressed my cheek. That’s what you think. The other ability that we’ve been given is you will actually sense when someone is a clonedroid. It’s an ability they have as well as they can immediately tell who is clonedroid or who is human. Fallon 2 has been so helpful in our development of these abilities.

I swallowed hard. It would be hard but I knew what I had to do. “Just what do you think you were doing?”

A brief look of surprise crossed his face. Bravo! Well done. Fallon said that you’d be quick to adapt. And because you adapted so quickly, I know you haven’t been brainwashed. Those who have been have some difficulty when trying to access certain aspects of their brain which are necessary when using this technology.

Thanks again…and see you next week!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Let the music move you

Before I go into my blog for the day I wanted to thank everyone who commented on my ‘Happy Anny & Contest’ blog over the past two weeks. I decided for this contest that everyone is a winner with the grand prize winner being Amy S! Congrats to all!
Let the music move you…
Sunday morning before I went to work I knew I needed to get some uplifting music into my car to listen to on my drive to work. Now for me the music that perks me up and gets me into a good mood is anything by Rush. Those who know me know that’s my favorite music group. So I grabbed Rush in Rio (a recording of a concert) since it has a good mix of songs from their 30+ years of making music, I popped it in my stereo system and off to work I went. This group has seen me through a number of boyfriends and heartbreaks, finding the love of my life, road trips and moves throughout the country, smoke-fests, & European travel. When I hear the group play, it puts me in a good place & it helps me to make it through the day. I arrived to work earlier than I expected to so I sat in my car and grooved to my tunes. The song, The Pass, came on and I realized it still moves me now as it did when I first heard it years and years ago. ( Then the song Time Stand Still is the one that moved me when I listened to it in Germany. ( Then of course Freewill is always good ( But this is not to say that only Rush brings back good memories. When I hear songs by Journey off the Escape album it reminds me of reading Black Beauty as a child because I listened to the tape as I read. Then songs from U2’s Joshua Tree album reminds me of reading Clive Barker’s Weaveworld, meeting him at a book signing and having him sign my book and a magazine article. Every Breath You Take by the Police reminds me of high school and a crush I had. Actually any ‘hair bands’ (aka Glam metal) remind me of high school. Geez, remember that hot dude in Winger? Some Alanis Morissette songs remind me of working at the liquor store and living in Texas.I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea. ;)So what music moves you? What do you remember when you listen to certain songs?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Four legged friends

I spent part of today at the Michigan Animal Rescue League walkathon. My daughter and her fiancĂ©e were walking their two dogs along with countless other people and their pooches to raise money. I should not go to those places because they always have something adorable up for adoption and I can’t resist.

Amazingly enough today, I saw nothing that caught my eye. Does that mean I have either grown up and the ‘oh I want that’ phase is over? No, more like “OMG, I have to get up at 2:00 a.m. to take it out in the freezing cold to piddle.” And honestly, most of the dogs there were BIG dogs. Now I have nothing against big dogs. I have one, a Shepard-golden Cassie who is about to turn 14 and weighs around 70 pounds.

It’s a great event they put on. There were passing out free wreaths for your door, with little fake dog biscuits on them and a dog’s head at the top of the wreath. Mine is a bright purple color trim. And they had pizza, breadsticks, pop, water, hot dogs, chips and all for free as well.
My daughter was excited as she raised $216.00 for the walk. Her dogs Maizie and Bentley, my grand doggies were there and of course lost all inclination to mind her when I walked up. They were more concerned with seeing me. Works for me (G). Her one dog Bentley, is a King Charles Cavalier spaniel and Beagle mix (looks more like a beagle) and is very smart. But would go home with the first person who offered him a biscuit. Maizie on the other hand is a Border collie mix, smart as a whip and only likes those who she already knows. She’s scared of anyone she doesn’t know.

So I walked them around for a bit, found them dog biscuits to eat, and made the appropriate noises about the adoptable dogs. (G) And then came home empty-handed. Ok, not quite. I stopped at Culvers and got a Pepsi float, then came home.

I don’t know how it is in your state, but here in Michigan dogs and cats, and other animals are being dropped off at the shelters on a daily basis due to families being unable to afford to keep them. In the past two days, MARL (Michigan Animal Rescue League) has had 18 dogs dropped off at their door. It’s a horrible thing, but it is reality. Times are tough, people are struggling, and unfortunately animals are not at the top of the list. I feel for the animals in this case. They are the unwilling losers in this game of chance. They have no other means of taking care of themselves and depending on their age, may not be lucky enough to get adopted again. I saw Abby, a mixed breed Lhaso today who is 9 years old. Along with her was a tiny black puppy. Guess what, everyone was oohing and aahing over the puppy and barely giving Abby a second glance. I feel for her but I can’t save them all either.

Right now my dog is battling cancer. Cassie is too old to be operated on and the tumor is in a basically inoperable site. While she is not in pain, I worry everyday about the decision I will soon have to make. It’s inevitable. I know it, the vet knows it, and possibly Cassie knows it. The one thing I am trying to avoid is having to do it while my son is home for 10 days from the Army starting next Wednesday. She is his baby. He would do anything for her and does. He eats a sandwich, she gets half. He spoils her more than I do. So I pray she doesn’t take a turn for the worse until he is gone. Then I will face the decision I dread. That is the one part of having an animal that I hate the most. Losing them. Loving them is easy, losing them is hard.

So, hug your four legged babies, play with them and always remember the unconditional love they bring to you and your family. Have a wonderful Sunday.

When The Whole World Dances

-Stephani Hecht

I love dance. I love to watch it, I love to do it, and I love to discover new forms of it. Dance has always been a part of my life. I grew up in the dance studio. Some of my best memories were waiting backstage for the show to start, nervous butterflies dancing though my stomach, as I peeked around the curtain to see how full the audience was. The glow of the spotlight always glared in my eyes as the smell of rosin and dust tickled my nose. Some of my most embarrassing moments were from dance too. I still cringe as I remember the time my top flipped up in front of an audience of hundreds as I did a handstand. It was a crowd of older men too and all I had underneath was a strapless bra. But I can tell you I was the most popular gal there.

A few month ago I was riveted by the show Superstars of Dance. Dancers from all over the world competed against one another. They had everything from Irish Clogging to Russian Ballet. I was wowed by the Chinese Monks and the American Hip-Hop dancers the most. It is a very special treat to see so many different types of dance. To taste so many new flavors if you will. When I get to see a great routine, it’s like finding a treasure. I couldn’t help but wonder how much better the world would be if we decided all of our differences by way of “dance off”.

“I’m sorry County A, but County B has served you because your jets went into their no-fly zone.”

Seriously though, unless someone is a dancer, they have no idea how much hard work goes into it. All the blood, sweat and tears, which go into making a routine look effortless. My daughter is on a competition dance team. She practices three days a week and her rehearsals start in June and run all through the year. Now before you all think that’s not that much, let me tell you she’s only eight. The older students practice six days a week. It all pays off in the end when they go on stage and give flawless performances.

My daughter has a marked speech delay and most people struggle to understand her. That all changes when she dances. She can shuffle, turn, flip, and point her toes with the best of them and she knows it. As soon as she puts on the jacket, that has the name of her studio on the back, she holds her head higher and walks with a strut. When she’s dancing there are no barriers and she feels special.

“When I dance, Mama, I’m a princess.”

She is too.

Dance is a universal language. We all can enjoy its beauty, be we a prima ballerina from Russia or a street-dancer from America. If you’re feeling sad, dance. If you’re mad, dance. If you’re stressed, dance. I promise, it will make you feel better.

Now, a shameless plug for my favorite group from the Superstars of Dance. I am at awe with these kids!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Craigslist vs Sex Workers

By A.J. Llewellyn

The sex worker industry is in turmoil today now that Craigslist has clamped down on Erotic Services.
The way I see it, as long as there are horny men out there and there are men and women eager to service them for a fee, prostitution will exist. Personally, I am all for legalizing the industry to make it safer for everyone. In this economy, you can bet it would continue to be the business that drives our dollar further.
Last night, I had dinner with some friends who brought along their friend...let's call her Alice...who is a brothel madam.
She lives in their building and is actually a very pretty girl of 22. I admit I was stunned by her tale. Long and the short of it is this: she is an aspiring actress from Atlanta. She rents a fancy Beverly Hills apartment she couldn't afford in her wildest dreams and makes her rent - and more - by sub-letting every single room in her apartment to sex workers.
Even her living room has a bed in it. Alice mans the phones (six lines, land and cell) and wields the computer messages.
I asked her a lot of questions and she answered them all. I found it all tawdry and sick but this woman has so many sex workers eager for a safe working environment she is now renting two hotel rooms in Culver City each day with her two most trusted girls lined up to handle more outgoing calls.
She has single mothers who work while the kids are at school. She has aspiring actresses who want to work to pay for 'head shots' (photos) but end up liking the easy money and find it hard to walk away. She has a few girls who just hate men and enjoy making them pay for 'it.'
This was what Alice told me.
It is interesting to me that her most trusted, reliable and most successful worker is a hermaphrodite dom. It sort of makes sense. To mete out discipline, I guess you need to have a bit of discipline yourself.
The clients are mostly clean cut business guys who want massages with happy endings. Some want more. And they pay for it.
A few guys have developed crushes on Alice and she loves money - her words, not mine - so she has caved in and had sex with a couple of guys, for triple the usual rate.
She's covered for sick girls, lazy girls, stoned girls, absconded girls...the stories were endless.
Alice has learned very fast that her sex workers will try and pull a fast one and fuck the client and try and keep the extra money. Those girls and those clients don't last long in her er...establishment.
The only time Alice's apartment is unavailable is Sunday. Her boyfriend is home then and that is their sacred day. He had no idea what she was doing for a living until recently when a client came back and tried to rob her...
Alice, BTW, takes 50% of her girls' income. For this fee, she provides the johns. She provides clean sheets and towels, a modicum of safety since she won't take a client without a call-back number - which she checks - and she also places the ads with the girls' photos. She also counsels them, provides lunch and/or dinner.
She insists on safe sex for her workers and encourages hand jobs as opposed to full sex and charges extra for that. She watches the girls like a hawk and by her own admission, her home is like a revolving door.
I couldn't live like that and I am saddened so many people do. She has only ever had one guy come back and try and rob her, only to find her boyfriend was home and he was not amused. Nor was he gentle in his handling of the home invader.
How much time Alice has for her auditions etc. I do not know. I do know that she will not stop what she is doing since she is making personally, about a thousand dollars a day - that she admits to.
I'm betting it's a lot more. And I'm also betting she doesn't pay taxes.
Believe me, she is not the only one.
She learned this business from another friend who also runs her own 'house'. Over dinner, Alice drove me nuts with cell phones going like crazy. Her girls check in with her each time a john arrives and when he leaves. She keeps track of it all with a crisp professionalism that was frankly, eerie.
She told me her cell phone companies frequently shut her down when they figure out what she's doing with their phones. She just signs up under other fake names and buys a new batch of numbers. She rents girls out for parties and now her boyfriend is their driver and bodyguard.
She told me somebody has already registered the domain name and the horny, hopeless johns will start going there to find cheap sex.
Craigslist is not the villain in this picture. It is a website that has done much worse than list sexual services. I have more of a problem with the ads that target unsuspecting homeowners who find strangers coming to their door to take the allegedly free furniture they own.
And what about the woman who has become the vicious target of a guy who keeps posting her address and inviting strangers over for sex?
Craigslist plans on regulating the sex ads on their site and charging fees. I hope this is a sincere effort to offer protection to people who engage in anonymous sex. I hope it weeds out the nasties. I don't think it will...but thank God it's not my problem, it's not my life.
I just write about this stuff.

Aloha oe,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Going Through The Files

When I was going through the files today, trying to find something I could write about, I was surprised at what I found because there were a lot of things I thought I had discarded long ago. Now many writers have this problem because we want to keep everything because you never know when you might need it. Here’s the first item I found:

Wanted: A woman proficient with handcuffs and the ability to pick locks. Weaponry is a must. Martial arts training is preferred, but not required. Must be able to conduct physical labor, such as bending, carrying, running, and scaling walls. If you meet these criteria, please email Syd or Christy today.

The possibilities are endless here. You could have a group of thieves or maybe a group of spies. You could have people looking for a crew for their space ship or to guard someone. I am definitely putting this one toward the top as I know I can write something clever for this little tidbit.

Another item I found very interesting in my idea file was this ad from eBay regarding a pair of leather pants for sale. I even went as far as to write the seller to get their permission to use this ad because it is so damn good. I plan to dedicate the story to them if they so desire. And the story I’m planning around this one I’m hoping will see the light of day sometime next year.

You are bidding on a mistake.

We all make mistakes. We date the wrong people for too long. We chew gum with our mouths open. We say inappropriate things in front of grandma.

And we buy leather pants.

I can explain these pants and why they are in my possession. I bought them many, many years ago under the spell of a woman whom I believed to have taste. She suggested I try them on. I did. She said they looked good. I wanted to have a relationship of sorts with her. I’m stupid and prone to impulsive decisions. I bought the pants.

The relationship, probably for better, never materialized. The girl, whose name I can’t even recall, is a distant memory. I think she was short.

Ultimately the pants were placed in the closet where they have remained, unworn, for nearly a decade. I would like to emphasize that: Aside from trying these pants on, they have never, ever been worn. In public or private.

I have not worn these leather pants for the following reasons:

I am not a member of Queen.
I do not like motorcycles.
I am not Rod Stewart.I am not French.
I do not cruise for transvestites in an expensive sports car.

These were not cheap leather pants. They are Donna Karan leather pants. They’re for men. Brave men, I would think. Perhaps tattooed, pierced men. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say you either have to be very tough, very gay, or very famous to wear these pants and get away with it.

Again, they’re men’s pants, but they’d probably look great on the right lady. Ladies can get away with leather pants much more often than men can. It’s a sad fact that men who own leather pants will have to come to terms with.

They are size 34x34. I am no longer size 34x34, so even were I to suddenly decide I was a famous gay biker I would not be able to wear these pants. These pants are destined for someone else. For reasons unknown - perhaps to keep my options open, in case I wanted to become a pirate - I have shuffled these unworn pants from house to house, closet to closet. Alas, it is now time to part ways so that I may use the extra room for any rhinestone-studded jeans I may purchase in the future.

These pants are in excellent condition. They were never taken on pirate expeditions. They weren’t worn onstage. They didn’t straddle a Harley, or a guy named Harley. They just hung there, sad and ignored, for a few presidencies.

Someone, somewhere, will look great in these pants. I’m hoping that someone is you, or that you can be suckered into buying them by a girl you’re trying to bed.

Please buy these leather pants.

I find this one highly entertaining and have a thousand thoughts whirling through my head from the moment I first read it.

How about you? Do you as a writer find yourself with bits and pieces which seem to have no relevance to anything? Or are you more organized than I am, placing each one in a folder describing the very nature of the tidbit?

Drop me a line and let me know as I am really interested in learning how other authors deal with their idea files and little bits of information which may or may not be used in their stories.

Till next week…


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Much is Too Much

When you’re writing a story and you have to work in a kidnapping with a mad man, how much violence is too much?

I have to ask myself this as I finish up my romance with a Marine hero and an NCIS Agent heroine. I do a pretty big build up to the scene and I want it to be believable. But is it possible to go too far? Would it turn you off to read the realistic nature of a kidnapping and beating, maybe some sexual undertones?
I write some of the scene in the bad guys POV and I really do think it works, but I’ve had two people who usually read my stuff tell me it was a little much. So, how do I tone it down without losing the feel I want for that part of the story?

I’m not finished yet, so for now I’m leaving the scene as it is. Once I’m done I’ll let my CP take a look and see if she thinks it’s too much as well. Then I’ll do some self edits and see where I’m at.
So…your thoughts? Would it turn you off too much to read more or try other works of mine? Would you be afraid other books would have the same tone?

Before answering, yes, my story is a romance, but it is also about an investigation into a sex ring. It involves a man who isn’t playing with a full deck and becomes obsessed with the heroine. When he see the hero and heroine together his behavior becomes worse.

Also, this does let the hero come in and save the day. Which I love.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Friday is The Big Day!

Happy Monday everyone! Well, my first book is being released this Friday and I am pumped! So I hope you don't mind a little shameless self-promotion on the blog today. This book is the first in my shifter series and I'm hoping you'll enjoy it...and then of course want to get the rest of the series.

One more thing, my new website is up and running. Come on by and have a look.

Paranormal Romance of a Different Breed!
The Amoveo Series: The Amoveo Legacy
Author: Sara Taney Humphreys
Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Release Date May 15, 2009


What if everything you knew turned out to be a lie? You find out that you aren’t even human—at least not entirely. What if, one day, you realize your world will never be the same again? These are the questions that Samantha Logan must face in “The Amoveo Legacy”. A dream on her thirtieth birthday compels her to leave her artists loft in New York City and move back to the beach with her Grandmother, Nonie.

However, the instant Samantha steps foot on the salty shores of her childhood home, she realizes the landscape has changed. The moment she encounters the mysterious, arrogant neighbor Malcolm Drew, her life is never the same. Through a seductive courtship, he introduces her to the magical mystical world of the Amoveo. The dream walking, telepathic, shape shifters that he claims are her true heritage. However, Malcolm holds back a secret that could destroy them both. Will he be able to protect Samantha and convince her of the secret legacy buried deep inside of her?


They rode back to the house in a heavy silence. He could feel her confusion vibrate around them both. His eyes had instinctively shifted to their animal form, a symptom of his desire. He’d been so caught up in his passion for her, so terrified by the thought of losing her that he completely forgot to keep his eyes from shifting. She broke the silence as they pulled up the gravel driveway of her home.

“Malcolm, who was that man you were talking to on the balcony this afternoon,” She asked quietly.

“You mean Davis,” He said, hoping that may satisfy her curiosity but knowing it wouldn’t.

“No. You know exactly who I mean,” she said with steady resolve. “The tall guy, with long dark hair. I saw you speaking with him today on your deck..”

The car came to a halt at the top of the driveway. She looked at him daring him to deny it. He saw the determination in her face and looked away before answering her.
“I’m sorry. The only person at the house today was Davis,” He said getting out of the car.

Sam was starting to get pissed. She knew he was lying about the man on the deck. She couldn’t explain how the guy disappeared, but he did. The more she ran it over in her mind, the more certain she was that it happened. Tonight, his eyes were the eyes of the eagle. She wasn’t seeing things. It wasn’t a trick of the light. His eyes had changed into the same eyes she’d seen in her dream, in the bird on her window sill and in the portrait in her studio. This eagle nonsense only started after she’d moved back home, next door to him.

Malcolm opened the door and offered to help her from the car. Hesitantly, she took his hand. He pulled her effortlessly from the car. He felt her breasts gently brush up against him. That feather light touch held a promise of pleasure to come. Their breath mingled in the cool, late summer evening. Their bodies hummed in unison with anticipation.

“I want you to trust me Samantha. I need you to trust me,” He said in a low voice that vibrated through her. He brought her hand to his mouth and gently brushed his lips back and forth across her knuckles. He slowly ran his other hand up her back and gently began to massage the nape of her neck. Her breath quickened with each passing moment.

“Please, give me a chance to win your trust,” He whispered against her trembling hand. He feathered small kisses along her palm.

Samantha was on fire, desire building up inside of her, beyond her control. Her head told her to run, while every other fiber of her being begged for his touch. Her resolve was slipping away inch by inch. She knew this man was dangerous. He hid secrets from her that she may never learn or comprehend. Yet she was still drawn to him beyond all reason.

He leaned in and this time kissed her gently, slowly seducing her lips with his. He took her face delicately in his hands, as though she might break. She opened to him and swept her tongue along his. Samantha felt the slow burn of desire crackling between them. She deepened the kiss and wrapped her arms around him. His large frame dwarfed her as she fit easily in his embrace. It was as though they’d been made for one another. She’d never in her life felt anything like this. Her desire for him clawed at her from the inside out.

Trust me, she heard him say in the corners of her mind. Her eyes flew open and she pulled back from him. She held him there at arm’s length for a moment, her breath coming quickly, not quite able to register what she just heard.

He held his desire in check and kept his eyes from shifting. He allowed her time to process what had just happened. Looking into her frightened eyes he reached out and whispered gently along the edges of her mind, Trust me. Sam’s eyes widened further. She shook her head and backed away from him in disbelief. Blindly she ran into the house leaving Malcolm alone. One glimmer of hope remained. He’d been looking into the ice blue eyes of a wolf.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Let's Go Red Wings!!!!!

I think it’s high time you all found out the truth about me. I’m a Wing Nut. Now that doesn’t mean you could find me in a hardware store, what I mean is I am totally and completely in love with the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. I have always been a fan, even back in the old days where they were so bad they had to pass out free car every game, just to fill the seats of the Joe Louis Arena.

How devoted was I you ask? When I was in my high school parenting class and we had to carry an egg around, while pretending it was a baby, I named it Stevie Yzerman. I know, I know, I’m a dork, but have you ever seen Stevie? He is so hot it was a wonder he didn’t melt the ice when he played.

Stevie has since retired, but that hasn’t diminished my love for the Wings. My kids each had baby pictures of them in Wings jerseys, I can tell you twenty different reasons why McCarty and Chelios should be deemed gods, and if you even breath the word “Avalanche” around me, I get my hackles up.

This is the most exciting time of year around my house. Playoffs! Lucky for us, the NHL has a very, very long playoff season, so we get to savor and truly enjoy the time. Michigan truly is Hockey Town too so we can share in our excitement with almost everybody.

The Red Wings were one of the original teams that formed the NHL, so Detroit has a history that is rich and fascinating. Take the octopuses that are thrown on the ice during games. Now why in the heck would a fan be willing to smuggle in one of those stinky things, just to toss it on the ice?
There are many conflicting stories about how the tradition got started, but the one that is most accepted is that it started during the 1952 playoffs. Two brothers tossed the first octopus because it had eight arms, which was exactly the amount games it took at that time to win the Stanley Cup. The act took off like wildfire and continues to this day. There are even web postings on the proper way to boil you octopus, so you get better bang for you buck when tossing. There are suggestions on how best to smuggle you fishy contraband into the arena, too.

You see it’s a big no-no to toss anything during a game.

Not that the fans have allowed that to stop them. Go watch any Red Wings playoff game and you will see how right I am. I can almost guarantee you will get a taste of Octopus Tossing.

Until next week, GO WINGS!!!!!!!

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there. And even if you aren’t a mother, I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Some of you know my past, but for those of you that don’t, I don’t have a mother I can say Happy Mother’s Day too. My mother gave me up when I was 3 months of age. She was just a child herself and widowed at the age of 18. My father was 19 when the car he was driving hit the edge of a ditch and flipped. He never came out of the coma. So between the time of the accident and the time when I went to live permanently with my great grandparents, I was passed around through the family. My mother didn’t know how to raise a child and truthfully I don’t think even if she did she really was up to the task. She soon found herself another man, pregnant with another child and I was in the way. I was a burden, an inconvenience to her new hubby. Another mouth to feed that wasn’t his, a crying baby when he wanted to sleep, and an expense he didn’t look kindly on.

My great grand parents took me in. They were 59 and 61 at the time. Can you imagine taking in a 3 month old baby at that age? I can’t. I’m only 48 and I can’t even imagine having grandchildren just yet. I had a wonderful life. I was afforded opportunities that many children don’t get. My great grandfather worked for General Motors back in the day when the concept cars were just coming out, under the leadership of Harley Earl. Papa traveled to England, to Paris, all over the globe and I got to go along on many of those trips. I met celebrities, kings, princes, dignitaries, you name it. But I also learned to be seen and not heard at an early age. I learned how to use the correct silverware at fancy dinner parties, to say yes please, no thank you, keep my clothes clean, and sit like a lady. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. It was a very different world than the one we live in today.
My mother was around during the years I was growing up, but not around enough to make a difference in my life. I remember when she was once again remarried to a different husband, they sat me down and told me how much they wanted to bring me home, how much they wanted to raise me but they couldn’t take me from my grandparents. It was too late. Okay, then why tell a ten year old child any of this if it isn’t going to be. It only confused me more.

I don’t call my mother “Mother.” I still don’t. I call her by her given name. I don’t know any differently. My mother died in 2003. She was actually my great grandmother, but she was the only woman I will ever call “Mother” and the only woman I consider to be my true mother. I am currently writing a women’s fiction novel based loosely on the life I led and also dating back to the life my birth mother led. I know it is going to be a hard sell as it deals with a lot of things people would prefer to have buried under the rug.

So, to all of you who have mothers and will be spending the day with them tomorrow, I envy you. Enjoy your day as time is a precious gift and you never truly know how long you will be around, or even how long your mother will be around.
Till next time, Happy Mother’s Day all. I hope you all have a fabulous day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My first time-On my mind

Hello Blog Readers- I am new at this blog thing so i will just start with introducing myself. I am Courtney Breazile, author, reader, and mother extrodinaire. I will be blogging here on the second and fourth saturdays of the month so I hope I can get you thinking with my tidbits of opinion.

I like this blog, it seems to be just whatever is on the bloggers mind that day and so it keeps it interesting and different all the time.

So what is on my mind lately? Aside from total world domination of course- raising my family right in spite of all the things working against us. Technology makes it easier for us to ignore eachother and gives kids another way to get in trouble. The horrible stories about cyber bullying and text bullying, not to mention sexting, its sickening to hear about what these kids are doing to eachother and driving others to kill themselves over it. But without completely taking away your child's privacy how do you know that its going on, how do you know they are not the bully or the one being bullied? I try and emphasize with my children that even the smallest bit of teasing can have detrimental affects on the person. It is never ok to even joke tease out of earshot of the person. If you are involved then you are part of the problem.

Not that as a parent I am claiming to be anywhere near perfect, believe me I am not, but as my children grow and start taking on their own personalities I am becoming more aware of how the little things that I do, that I think are harmless, are affecting them and their attitudes.

Modeling appropriate behavior at home is so important, and not as easy as it sounds. Any little thing you say or do or laugh about makes kids think that way. So is it the parent's fault that these kids are bullies, perhaps, the cycle had to have started somewhere. Of course we could always go with the age old, blame society, thing. That way no one has to take responsiblity.

In the end I think all you can do is hope. Hope that you set a good example and hope that they will do the right thing in the moment. Because you can't be there to make sure that they do what they should and no matter how carefully you sheild them they will still see or hear it somewhere.

I don't know, what do you think?

Thursday, May 7, 2009


By A.J. Llewellyn

I was faced with an interesting dilemma a few nights ago. A kid on a skateboard zoomed up to me in a parking lot with some CDs. He's a struggling young artist. He wanted me to listen to his music - he handed it to me, than asked for a donation of $15.
"Can I hear it first?" I asked, balking at the idea of shelling out that much money without hearing a sample. He had no portable boom box and I became suspicious when his iPod (the ear phones were dangling from his neck) didn't have his own music on it.
What kind of salesmanship is this?
I wished him luck but declined to buy his CD.
"I have a MySpace page," he said. I checked when I got home. He did not.
When I first moved to this country in 1984, I was shocked by the plethora of panhandlers swirling the streets. I'd never seen anything like it...solicitors on the edges of freeways, street corners, outside supermarkets, banks, parking lots...I felt choked by the sheer numbers of people wanting to part me from my money.
I was new to the city and was taking the bus. I was a student juggling two part time jobs and often found people begging me as I got on and off the bus - sometimes, even while I was on it!
I got taken by an interesting woman my first week here. She approached me, briefcase in hand, her smart pink business suit all shiny and clean. She pointed to her car and showed me her keys stuck in the ignition.
"I locked myself out," she said. "Can you possibly give me $10 and I will call AAA?" I really didn't want to give her ten bucks but she was on the verge of hysteria about missing a meeting and I gave it to her. I didn't have AAA yet since I hadn't even bought a car. I really, really didn't want to give up $10, I was starving student but I felt bad for her. She even took my address down and promised to send me a check.
Of course, she never did.
I learned a few months later she was famously homeless in our neighborhood and lived out of her car. This was her schtick. She worked the Miracle Mile district like a whore, except she smartly peddled her tears, not her ass.
I was stunned when a few years later she turned up in a documentary called "The Hidden Homeless" and there she was. She cleaned herself daily at a restaurant restroom, held a job, kept her car in good shape, but she was homeless.
I have never forgotten her and often wonder what happened to her, but I am frankly sick to the gills not being able to shop without being accosted. Sometimes I give, sometimes I don't. I am a sucker for people who panhandle with kids and starving dogs but I usually offer to buy them food. Mostly, they say no.
The other night I was approached by a guy wanting 27 cents to get his drink on - his words, not mine. he hand a palmful of change and he stunk like mad.
He said, "I just need to sleep."
I gave him a buck and he thanked me and stumbled off to buy his sleeping aid. He was obviously homeless but more than that, HONEST.
I hate people who lie! Since the chick in the pink suit I have become perhaps a little nasty to the endless parade of people at gas stations who give me tales of woe about needing just one more buck to make bus fare to Boise. Or what about people who beg for gas money?
They approach you as you pump.They give you a story about running out of gas. I've given 'em a buck or two only to see 'em drive off. To do what? Score drugs?
What about these phony charities that solicit for donations outside supermarkets? I've checked a few out of curiosity. Some exist, some don't.
I don't know...where does it end? I am suffering from Donor Fatigue, Bullshit Fatigue, My Own Bloody Problems Fatigue...
I actually donate my physical time and some money to three different charitable organizations: my local library, a feline rescue service, and a homeless shelter. I feel I am doing a lot...
But still...
My brother is a musician and taught me early to always give musicians money. There is a talented young clarinet player outside my local market and I always give him money. At least he is willing to work for it - unlike the people who come up with stupid lies for the sake of liberating a buck or two from me.
The kid with the, I wish he'd been legit!
But how about you? How do you feel about panhandlers? Do you give? Or do you feel the weight of fatigue as well?

Aloha oe,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Paparazzi, Fame and Me

Another week, another blog. LOL!

Bet you’re wondering what I mean about the title…huh?

Well, while I know that I will never achieve the fame of Nora Roberts, I still harbor some insecurity about being in the limelight sometimes. And it doesn’t help that the media always gets something negative and shakes it till it cracks open, just like a dog with a bone. It doesn’t matter if what they say is true, it doesn’t matter if you want a break, when you least expect it they are in your face.

After this week’s onslaught of tabloid propaganda, which included Jon & Kate + 8, Miss California in a new scandal, Jessica Simpson poses for yet another magazine and Paula Abdul talking yet again about rehab and Idol, it makes me wonder if any of these media or entertainment people have a life. And here’s my take on it all: leave them alone, don’t care about the blonde bimbo, really don’t care about the blonde bimbo and Paula for goodness sake, please grow up. And you know it's really bad when I start calling blondes bimbos because I am a blonde. Sigh. Still, I know that if the public didn’t want it, the media wouldn’t be in everyone’s face.

Do any of you ever get tired of the crap that comes out of the media, particularly the entertainment field where authors are firmly entrenched? I sure do and it makes me wonder about what I really feel about my chosen profession. A lot. Sigh.

And don’t get me wrong. I do like attention at writer meetings, conferences and book signing. But most of the time, I can shrug it off and know it’s not my life. Not really. Sure, it’s a part of my life and writing is a lot of who I am BUT it isn’t everything. I don’t know about you, but I do other things besides writing and all it encompasses.

I’ve already had one fan creep me out years ago. This woman came up to me at a convention all gushy and told me she was my biggest fan. I’m thinking, honey, you’re my only fan as this was five years ago and I only had one book out. She oohed and ahed over everything I had on the table which I took in stride. I signed everything for her, gave her my business card and smiled a lot. When she walked away, I figured it was all good and went on my merry way.

Later in that same conference, she’d come up and start talking as if she knew me. Occasionally, she’d follow me into the bathroom and other places. After a while, it genuinely made me feel all weird as all I wanted to do was get away from this person who thought they knew me intimately. I had never had that type of attention…not even when I was an editor…and I’m not kidding there.

Between the weird fans and the in-your-face photographers and reporters, it makes me wonder sometimes what I was ever thinking. I feel like starting a petition asking for support in making a law against the ones who get right in your face forcing them to back off.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my fans for a variety of reasons. One being 99% of them realize that I’m a normal person with a normal life even though I do live in a strange little town in the southwest. Matter of fact, I would say I am downright lucky as my only negative fan experience has been the one I’ve described. I would say that one in 5 years is fantastic as I know a lot of my friends who have at least one a year. I have a fair share of exposure and have had genuinely good experiences.

This week, I just went on media overload and it makes me look at the big picture. It doesn’t matter if I’m a little fish in a big sea, when you see others getting bombarded day after day, there’s something that makes you want to shrink back into yourself.

Now, I know you’re wondering what brought this up really. Since I wrote last week’s blog, I’ve had a few things happen. Some good, some not so good. I’m definitely getting back on the promotion trail which is good. Things are finally falling into place with my writing and with deadlines in place, I am finally getting into my stride. The not so good thing was that a reporter friend, at least I thought he was until this week, finally got around to reading some of my stuff. Big mistake as he decided to get into my face to tell me why I was writing pornography and how wrong it was. I keep my cool and said that everyone was entitled to his opinion and that I respected his. But when he told me it was his right to get into my face to let me know he didn’t approve, I almost lost it. Bad.

His right? His right to get into my personal space and tell me I was a bad person? To try and force me to do things his way? I wanted to beat the man about his head and shoulders repeatedly with a bat. It didn’t matter what my rights were at all, all that counted were his. It really didn’t matter that the book in question came out last year. It didn’t matter if I wrote erotic romance because if I wrote about sex, it had to be bad.

I let him have his tirade as this happened in a semi-public place and watched him leave with an evil glare. The moment he was out of my sight, I called his boss whom I went to school with and asked him what was going on. He was as shocked as I was and vowed to keep this reporter away from me forever. I will never send a press release to this small Nevada paper again. Matter of fact, I’m not sure I will ever pick up a copy again.

What are your experiences regarding fans? Do you feel that the paparazzi sand reporters should be reigned in? Let me know as I would be interested if any of you have had similar experiences and feel the same. Thanks!

Till next time…


Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Anny & Contest!

Amazing how time flies! I’ve been published now for a year. Wow. Since that time I’ve had several stories released at eXtasy Books and Devine Destinies. My first book which was released on May 1, 2008 was Deliverance. It was the first book in the Si’Ludo Sisters series and received some really great reviews. Feel free to check out the reviews here: Then on April 1st the first novel I had started to write years ago and finally finished ~ Concealed Affairs ~ was released at eXtasy Books. And just the other day I found out it made the top ten list! Yea! Check out details on that story here: So to celebrate my publishing anniversary, & the fact that my story Concealed Affairs made the top 10, I’m holding a contest for a lucky winner to receive a free book of mine. All you have to do is comment to this blog between now and Sunday May 17 at 5 PM PST and your name will be entered into a 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 May 18. The winner will receive a list of titles to choose a book from. Good Luck!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Sunday!

Happy Sunday everyone! Today is one of those days where nothing I do seems to go right. Ever have one of those?? I swear they never seem to end. Like the movie Groundhog Day. Over and over again.

It started off semi fine. I got up, went to let the dog out, then saw the little brown ants marching happily on the kitchen counter. Ok, there were only 3 ants, but that’s 3 too many! I hate ants. But not as much as I hate spiders, that’s a different story though. Killed the little suckers, cleaned off the counter and then started breakfast for hubby. So far so good. At the same time, I decided a nice pot roast with carrots and potatoes would be good for dinner. Out came the crock pot. In went the ingredients and off came the knob in my hand when I turned it on. Not good.

I studied the crock pot for a moment, studied the knob in my hand, and then attempted to put it back on. It went begrudgingly. And four hours later, it seems to be working fine, except the right side of the crock is definitely warmer than the left. Ok, so I’ll stir a lot while it’s cooking to evenly distribute everything.

Then after a quick run to the bank I came home to find the cat left me two lovely, disgusting hairball presents on the family room floor. Why is it animals cannot vomit on linoleum? It’s a must they find the carpet and do their dirty work there. Out came the carpet cleaner and the rags. Once that was done, I had to spot clean various areas of the bedroom carpet where the dog’s not so pretty tumor has been oozing from her chest on to my carpet. Ok, that’s done as well. And those of you who know me, know I had surgery a little over a week ago. So crawling around on the carpet is not the easiest thing for me to do right now.

Now, I’m in my office trying to figure out if there is anything left to salvage of today. So far, it’s not looking good. I have a half finished AIF sitting in front of me for my next novella, a stack of envelopes all addressed and awaiting entry forms for the Greater Detroit RWA Booksellers Best Award for next year, and a pile of papers I would rather drop in the trash can than deal with right now.
This is my last year on the board and running the contest. It’s been a nice long run. A combined 11 years on the board and 7 years running the contest, so I think it’s time I get to sit back in the crowd, drink my pop and heckle the new board. Hey, it’s what they do to us, the current board (G). And I’m rethinking my goals for the year. We’re coming up on the halfway point and I haven’t made nearly as much progress as I would have liked to. I excelled in some areas and am lagging behind in others. So a little readjustment on my part is necessary.

So whatever you are doing today, good or bad, fun or frenzied, I wish you a Happy Sunday. Till next week.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Summer Explosion by Celia Jade

There's the long hibernation of winter in most Canadian cities, mine being one of them. Then before you know it, spring and summer are upon you. Most of us were still walking around in a silly daze the other day when it hit 29 C in Montreal, like we didn't know what to do with ourselves, lol. Along with these seasons comes the almost continuous trail of social obligations and I've got a few I must meet.

First off are a handful of showers--baby showers and bridal showers. They're generally fun, unless you have a hard time finding the right gift, although in many cases money is acceptable. There's always the issue of what to wear and I find myself staring into my closet with a frown thinking: I've worn this before and this one come I don't have anything to wear? So now I have to find a nice new outfit--or maybe two so that I'm not caught wearing the same thing to different occasions.

Besides this, the responsibility of hosting my sister's bridal shower landed on my lap unexpectedly. It's her second marriage and we weren't planning on having a shower for her since she's got everything for a new home, but her mother-in-law wanted to have one. As the sister of the bride, I have to take care of most of the planning. So in between attending other showers and family events, I'm now retrieving mailing addresses, writing up the invitations, making arrangements with the catering hall, the decorations, favors and so on. You'd think it's simple--I mean, it's just a party for fifty--but surprisingly, there's a lot involved. And of course, much of this in consultation with both mother in law and my mother.

The wedding's in September and I'm already anxious about getting a formal dress. Don't you hate forced shopping? I find the best purchases happen when they are unplanned. And I'm thinking--praying--please let this be her last wedding. Please, God, make it last for her. These are lovely occasions of course, but they are emotionally demanding. Meeting the new family, hoping your folks will get along, hoping the wedding plans go smoothly. I'll add about two more weddings before summer's end to that list. And they're pricey average of about $100-150 per person in an envelope. Tradition in our family is money, not physical gifts. And that number climbs the closer the relation. Oh, and weddings of the past often mean christenings are on the that I think of it, there's a handful of friends who've recently had they'll be christening them some time next year--hopefully before summer!

There are birthdays too--friends, acquaintances, family members...and many of these are formally celebrated now, like in some restaurant or something. I used to have quiet get togethers in my late twenties and thirties...and the older I get the more 'quiet' I like them, lol.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining. This is light-hearted venting. :-)

It's just that this season seems to burst with sudden life like a thrilling and crazy whirlwind for a short duration. I kinda wish there were more winter weddings to break the dull routine the rest of the year...never been to one of those. So right now, I've got this really long list of things to do stuck on my wall in front of my computer so I can see it. Of the twenty things, three have been ticked off as done. Hmn, I owe two stories to my publishers--one especially because it's part of a series--hope I don't forget to write those, lol. Maybe I should add them to the list.

What else? I'm excited about my upcoming series: Greek Playboys. It debuts with The Greek Bachelor on May 1st. Now this is a nice escape, lol.

Cheers to all and enjoy your social events!

Sponsored by the search engine optimization services internet guide.