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, July 30, 2009


By A.J. Llewellyn

I have always been fascinated by Amelia Earhart. I didn't know too much about her growing up in Australia, until I attended school here, Her mysterious disappearance remained hot classroom fodder, along with such enduring myths as D.B. Cooper.
In my school, the enduring myth was Australia's Prime Minister Harold Holt, who took off swimming at Cheviot Beach in the state of Victoria one day.
And vanished.
Over the years, enterprising documentarians have compiled both ludicrous and credible versions on the great, late leader's fate.
Like Amelia Earhart, the Japanese were a great source of speculation. Both are said to have been held by them in tortuous captivity.
There was even an outrageous book published that stated - without a shred of proof - that Prime Minister Holt was a spy for the Chinese government.
A few days ago I watched a documentary about Amelia. A young man has a piece of a plane engine that could possibly belong to her. He lives in Hawaii and found it in his late mother's possessions. He's willingly turned it over for further testing.
Now comes the news that Amelia may have crashed on Nikumaroro Island, [formerly Gardner Island] 1,800 miles south of Hawaii.There are no specifics, but evidently something - or some things - possibly belonging to her were found with the remains of a castaway who died there.
I can't wait. I want the speculation to end. I want to know she wasn't abducted and tortured. I want to know the truth.
I used to feel that way about Harold Holt. His mystery haunts me because I went to Cheviot Beach some years ago and encountered other Aussies there who were there for the same reason. We wanted to get a feel for the place he chose to come to for a swim. People saw him in the ocean, the witnesses, all now long dead, claim to have seen him disappear beneath choppy waves.
I want to know why one of the most intriguing leaders of modern Australia disappeared.
History shows he made a disastrous decision in supporting America by sending Australian men to Vietnam, via the draft.
We lost our precious men and boys in a war that had nothing to do with us. We still send soldiers, albeit without the draft now, to support America in all its wars, but Vietnam remains a sore spot in our past.
But I cannot and will not believe our Prime Minister was a spy.
I believe it was a tragic accident, just like Amelia's vanishing.
I just wish God had given them a chance to fulfill their destinies.
Prime Minister Holt was a good and courageous man who fought for the Aboriginal population of Australia to be equals. He abolished the racist White Australia policy.
What would he have accomplished, had he not drowned in the middle of his term?
What would Amelia have done had she survived her round-the-world flight?
These I guess, are the real mysteries.
What about you? Which life mysteries haunt you the most?

Aloha oe,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Exciting Things in Idaho

I am still on vacation this week and I had planned to tell you just how wonderful it is. I have had a wonderful vacation so far. British Columbia was just fantastic and here are a couple of pictures to show you just how wonderful. These are from our trip to Vancouver and I can truly say this is one city I would just love to live in. Are these pictures great?

BUT this isn’t the true wonder of this week. This week I got two beautiful covers. On August 1st, my novella Giselle’s Elf will hit the internet for all of you anxious fans. Here’s the cover:

Isn’t it wonderful? Next week I’ll post an excerpt so you all can see just how wonderful.

Even more exciting than this is my cover for More Than Robotics. This book is just so cool and I’m really excited about it. It has a release date of October 1 and I just can’t wait. And just look at the cover…isn’t that just one of the sexiest things you’ve seen? I just love science fiction erotic romance and can’t wait to write some more.

This week is short and sweet…the storms are rolling in here in Idaho and I still don’t have full time internet access. So I just have to do what I can.

Don’t forget that for each of you who comments on this blog will be entered into my August basket giveaway which will include a brand new iPod.

Now for the question of the day: based on my cover of More Than Robotics, give me your idea of what the story is about?

I can’t wait to see all you answers. Until next week…


Monday, July 27, 2009

Don’t ask why

The other day at work a couple of co-workers and I were talking about the show “So You Think You Can Dance?” Well, they were talking about it and I was listening because I don’t watch it. But the one woman mentioned how she took dance lessons when she was younger and in an alternate life would have pursued a dancing career. I mentioned in an alternate life I’d go the theater/acting route. But then I thought about it and realized, no, I’d probably go into astronomy with my goal set on working at NASA since space has fascinated me for a long time. I’ve been watching some shows about our travels to the moon (it’s the 40 year anniversary of mankind’s first landing) and the work NASA is doing so we can build habitats on the desolate rock. It’s intriguing and makes me wish I had been a tad bit stronger in the math and science disciplines.
In this life I was fine with physics and trigonometry but when it came to the higher levels of math I asked ‘why’ too much. One would have thought I would have known better since my middle school algebra teacher told me that was what my problem was, that I needed to stop asking ‘why’ and just do. So I did stop asking for awhile and did fine in my math courses, but then I went to college and that pesky question came back.
So, in my alternate life, I’d have the capacity to quit asking how one can work with imaginary numbers. (If they’re imaginary, they don’t exist, so how can one use them? Ha, ha.) And the math in my astronomy class wouldn’t have turned my stomach and I’d be working as an astronomer instead of dabbling in it as a hobbyist. I’d be one of those people finding new worlds and possibly new cultures, traveling into the dark recesses of the void beyond our atmosphere, developing new ways to live in space. I’d be on the cutting edge of the future and that would be cool indeed.
But then, a writing life isn’t so bad either. I’m one of those people creating new worlds and cultures. I can travel in my mind to new and exciting places and describe what I see to others. I can develop new techniques for living, languages, you name it, as a writer.
And I can ask ‘why’ all I want because in this life as an author it’s a must.
So, in your alternate life, what would you do?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday, Sunday!

Isn't it amazing how fast the days fly by lately? Or maybe it's just me. Either way, I can't believe August is right around the corner. Doesn't seem possible, does it? I am less than a week back from a trip to Washington, DC and the Romance Writers of America conference.

I had a wonderful time, despite the hot weather, the high prices for food and drink, and the bomb scare at the hotel on Saturday. The conference itself was a wealth of knowledge and information. I attended many fascinating workshops and took copious notes.

This was a great time to catch up with both old friends and new friends. I'm someone who will talk to anyone, much to my children's dismay! But if you don't, you may miss out on the perfect opportunity to meet someone who can enrich your world and possibly be a friend for life!

The Literacy Signing was held on Wed p.m. and there were over 500 authors signing their books for a very worthy cause. I was a good girl and only bought two books as the thought of shipping books home was a very sobering one, due to the cost of shipping from the hotel.

The Booksellers Best Award Ceremony for which I am the chair of for the Greater Detroit RWA chapter was held on Wednesday night. I had a wonderful time presenting to the finalists and the winners. There were so many great authors in the room I couldn't possibly name them all. And they brought their editors and agents along to join in the fun.

Editor and agent appointments were Friday and Saturday, and despite my nerves, I did well in both my appointments. For as much as I can run my mouth at chapter meetings, and at BBA, I cannot when placed in front of an editor or agent. I clam up. Scary thought if you know me! (G)

The workshops as I mentioned earlier were very good. They covered everything a beginning author would need to know, right up to a multi-published authors needs. Now it's time to apply everything I learned.

Today is my day to get back in the writing saddle. To finish the ten pages I owe my writing partner, and to work on my own works in progress.
So, to all my old friends I bid you a fond adieu iuntil next year and to my new friends, I hope you will keep in touch until we meet again!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I wonder how much work I would get done if I didn't have any distractions? Even as I write this I am sucked into Phineas and Ferb, one of my favorite cartoons that my girls make me watch. So distracting, anyways, I wish I could be more focused but in a house with two kids and one husband and no place in it to call my very own, distractions abound. If it's not the t.v. then its the internet, damn twitter, facebook and yahoo groups. Then there are the kids needing this or that and a husband who thinks I should jump up and pounce him as soon as he walks in the door from work.

But no more, I officially have my own in hime office and although I can't technically write in it at the moment, by tomorrow I will be able to. In my new tranquil office I hope to be inspired and write twice as much as I do now, will it happen? I don't know, there is still the internet to distract me. I can't turn that off, well I could, but then what would I do when I don't want to get anything done?

So thank you to my wonderful hubby who built the whole thing from scratch and gave me a place to call my own, sort of. Here is a pic of my desk he built, I can't wait until I can fill it with all the crap I need to be productive.
In two weeks I will write this blog from there, I will let you know if I have been more productive.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Steal Everything

By A.J. Llewellyn

People say I should stop talking about Internet theft. But I'm betting those people aren't finding each and every book they have out being stolen left and right. I read message boards that boggle my mind.
Internet thieves who steal music and books admit they are doing wrong. They admit a smidgin of sympathy for the artists and authors involved. Their logic seems to be that our publishers are ripping us off with royalties, so why shouldn't they rip us off too?
It makes me wonder what would they do if they drove down the street and watched a robbery in progress? Would they:
a) drive by and do nothing
b) turn the corner and call the cops and report a crime or
c) zoom into the driveway and help themselves to stuff hey, where's the sofa at?
My friend and co-author Stephani Hecht sent me a Youtube vid last night that says it all much better than I could.
I present to you, a PSA from Kid Rock:

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Home Sweet Canada

This week I’m hailing you from the lovely British Columbia Vancouver area. This must be one of the greatest places on earth. It is green, it is cool and the beauty is spectacular. My DH told me it was a whopping 111 at my house today and it’s been at least 110 every day this week. I swear we’re absolutely certifiable for living in a place like that! LOL! Which is the biggest reason I’m here.

I’m visiting a girlfriend whose mother recently died. I had talked about it for years and always wanted to come up as I’d heard it was fantastic. When her mother passed this spring, I just knew I had to visit her then because it would probably be a while before I had another chance as next time I'll have to bring the DH. And it was the best gamble ever. We’ve been able to catch up on things and talk about many new ones as well.

One of our outings was to where the 2010 Olympics are being held, Whistler, which is north of Vancouver and the Squamish area where she lives. It has some astounding places and sites and this darn gondola I just couldn’t bring myself to get on. Yeah, I’m that afraid of being in a box suspended by wires high above the ground. Planes don’t bother me but this thing would have been devastating and taken a minimum of four rides to even be comfortable. A waste of a good $80 if you asked me. LOL!

After that, we went to lunch and sat at the pub having wonderful food and great company as we watched everything around us. As we sat there we talked about how we both liked to people watch. I told her that I would sit there and wonder how a couple ever got together, especially if they didn’t look like they belonged as well as sometimes taking it a little further and projecting them onto characters in my books. Or I’d see if I could make them characters in a book. LOL!

I was surprised to see she did much the same as I did when she watched people and the world go by. Now my final observation was people were basically the same the world over. She’s a little bit older than me and has traveled the world a lot more. She told me it used to be people were different but now they just all seem to blend together. While it’s great that everyone can blend so well together, I am a little dismayed there aren’t a lot of cultural differences any more. I mean what would we do without a sexy Scotsman? Or an endearing Indian? Sigh. I would not have any fun, that’s what would happen in my world.

Now, that brings me to this week’s question and thoughts. How do you as a reader like to see those cultural differences? Do you see the main characters as people who come together in spite of or because of those differences?

And authors, just how do you deal with those differences? Do they even matter to you as a writer?

I know I’ll never live without a Scotsman in my life! I can’t wait to see all your answers!

Keep cool until next week…


Monday, July 20, 2009

Love squared

A cute story has hit the news waves about a couple who are getting married and who share the same name. Well, at first, it’s like ‘big deal’ couples share same names all the time, case in point my husband and I use the same nickname. [I could get a tat of his name and never have to worry about changing it. ;) ] What makes this instance different though is that they have the same first and last name. Guess she won’t have to worry about changing her ID’s, SSN card, credit cards and such, nor wonder if she should keep her own, hyphenate or go with his last name.
Here’s the story:
(Though where the reporter got the idea they were similar to the actors mentioned I have no clue. I don’t see it.)
What are your thoughts?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A short and interesting Introduction

Hi Everyone!

I’m so excited about joining you here at The Many Shades of Life and Love. Oh jeez, where are my manners? My name is Annie Alvarez, and I have two books published with Extasy Books, For The Love Of Blood, and Cheating Death, and yes, both are F/F vampire erotica's, and I’m currently working on the third book of the Hightower Series, Dying to Live.

For my first time here, I wanted to tell you a little about myself. I’m a first generation Cuban, born in New Orleans, and then moved to Florida at the ripe age of 5. Yup! I didn’t have much to say in that decision-making process, but I enjoyed the beaches all the same and got a great looking tan!

At 18, I moved to Fort Lauderdale, or as some of you may know it, Fort Liqourdale. Hey, I was young and na├»ve – that’s all I have in my defense, but I learned quickly. Trust me when I say that the sun and alcohol don’t mix well. I consider myself lucky. I made a lot of good friends and only a couple of enemies. I think an ex throwing a brown paper bag full of sex toys at me, in the middle of a crowded Denny’s parking lot qualifies as an enemy, no? Well, that’s a story for another day or maybe, I’ll just keep those details to myself.

I met my partner in the parking lot of a bar I used to work at, hum…starting to see a pattern emerging with parking lots, but I digress, needless to say, I followed my partner to Texas. Where I heard that everything is bigger. What people forgot to tell me was that I would cook in the summer, which is 80% of the time and the remainder 20%, I would spend frozen. Yeah, welcome to Texas, if you don’t like the weather, wait, it’ll change. In Dallas, just the other day, temperatures reached 103 no, that’s not a typo and what in heaven’s name do you think happened? It hailed, and not little pea size hail either, these were frozen golf balls falling from the sky. Go figure!

I have to say that after 12 years of living here, I’m finally starting to understand the language. Flowadia, pronounced exactly as it’s spelled, is Florida. It took me a while to figure that out. Fur is fire, lesbian is a foreigner, not a homosexual - that would be gay, fixin to, is getting ready to do something and reckon means one is currently assuming. Language, gotta love it. Again, welcome to Texas.

Oh yeah, the most important thing about me is, I speak my mind and it’s typically something people don’t want to hear. I’ll say sorry about that now because I’m known to rattle a few cages. Don’t take it personally. It’s my charming personality. Now that you’ve gotten to know me a little better, I encourage everyone to drop me a line, or two, and don’t worry. I don’t bite. Well, not hard.

See you next month!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

By A.J. Llewellyn

Yesterday I made a shocking discovery when I ran a Google check on my name. A major pirate site is back and doing business under a new name. I found many of my books there, as requested and provided by thieves who think it is okay to steal from me and thousands of other struggling authors.
It is not okay to steal from me.
It is not okay to infringe on my copyright as author. Or my publisher.
It is not okay to think it is fun and groovy to upload stolen merchandise.
My biggest shock was when I joined the site and followed the links for my books – included my most recent releases.
You can bet it hurts to see my books uploaded in the hundreds when I struggle to pay my bills and rely on my income from selling books.
This site has gone a step further than the other internet thieves. They downloaded my books – and others – in a coded format on at outside site. However if I type my name in the exterior site, it comes up blank.
Nice, huh?
Cap that off with the fact all these illegal, stolen books are now happily packed with Twitter, MySpace and Facebook codes so the whole world can violate you.
This morning, after numerous legal threats and complicated “takedown” forms filled out, my books are still listed but the pirates are moaning because the links are dead.
I need to watch vigilantly because they will return.
I found a thread labeled:

[link removed]

And was shocked by what I read:

Check it out:

15 Jul 2009, 15:35

Recently we received some serious threats from some copyright individual owners and organizations.Due to this fact we had to refer to a Dutch lawyer to give a clear legal repulse.But I`m sure it was not the last case.Since I`m not able to pay the lawyer myself I found a media company who agreed to take all the juridical legal expenses but in turn there may appear few text links. We are still negotiating what kind it will be.Upon our agreement they should not prevent from easy site browsing so you can be sure that the site will stay 100% surfer friendly, don`t worry.As soon as we don`t like it I will work to find a better alternative.Have a good time staying on xxxx.
Rating 2 Comments 5

tobyb121 15 Jul 2009, 16:08 #
Thanks GD, I don't think anyone can complain about subtle advertising in return for the prosperity of this site.tobyb

Bibliophile 15 Jul 2009, 16:18 #
Agreed :)Also, if you ever created a "donate" button, I'm sure that many of us would chip in.

GraveDigger 15 Jul 2009, 16:28 #
Bibliophile said:Agreed :)Also, if you ever created a "donate" button, I'm sure that many of us would chip in.I keep this option in mind too thank you

Rizzano 15 Jul 2009, 22:51 #
We are with you and Asti 100% GD. And also, I am in a agreement with Bibliophile on the donate button.

adbit 16 Jul 2009, 04:48 #
I too agree with you 'GD','toby','Bib' and 'Riz'.We will face such situation together.

.Okay, so get this.
These people want to donate to a fund for the right to steal legally copyrighted works but don’t want to spring for the $3 or $4 to actually buy a book?
What gives them the right to think it’s okay to steal?
Music and Movies were the beginning. Hard working authors are being robbed left and right.
Attention must be paid.
Aloha oe,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Own Private Idaho

Greetings from Idaho! Yeah, I know you’re all wondering just what I am doing here in this normally god-forsaken place but the truth of the matter is that my elderly father lives here. And believe it or not, I kinda like it here because the pace is less hectic than it seems to be at my own home. The picture is of the Snake River that runs through the middle of town...I love it because there's water...and it's green. LOL!

Here I can be lazy if I want. Write all day if I want. Read all day if I want. The best part being my Dad does pester me at all for any reason. At home, it could be anyone who jerks me out of my writing but more than likely it’s the seventeen year old who needs my attention. And while it really doesn’t bother me, being here does tell me exactly what a life of quiet would bring.

Now, that quiet is too much for my father who has aged tremendously in the past six months. But at 75 I guess I would have some new aches and pains. At least the man knows his limitations and lives within those as much as he can. Still, it won’t be long until he’ll need someone with him full time because he’s fallen a couple of times this past six months. Which is why I am determined to help as much as I can.

On to more fun things and away from the mundane things of life.

One of the things I mentioned above is I’ve been reading a lot. And I mean devouring books to the tune of about one a day. That is in between my writing spurts where I’m putting out about 8K a day as well. It all goes back to the quite factor. But yes, I’m a fast writer and reader. Sometimes that can be the bane of my existence because it means I also get bored quicker than most and want to move on to whatever is next on the agenda.

Now this also can be good and bad. For me, it means my writing is always fresh because I have multiple projects going. But it also means that when I’m reading a book, I don’t want the story to end. Sometimes the story doesn’t end but seems to just stop with more questions than it answered.

Such was the case with the books I just recently completed. I love Linnea Sinclair but had never, I know bad me, picked up all of her books. I had Games of Command in my TBR pile forever and finally picked it up last month and devoured it in a day. Wow. I needed more. So I went to pick up her RITA winner, Gabriel’s Ghost, and her current book, Hope’s Folly, to add to my shelves. Good god, the woman had me hot and bothered in no time at all.

So this week, since I’m on vacation, I decided to get the rest of her books, Shades of Dark, An Accidental Goddess and Down Home Zombie Blues. And when Shades of Dark was over I promptly wanted to throw it against the wall and have a tantrum.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the book was excellent BUT it left me hanging. What happens to Chaz and Sully? I mean really happens to them…not just where the book decided to end…but there is no way that it was all over just like that. No, she didn’t rush the climax and if I tell you, I’m sure to be shot, but it brings me to the real point of this week’s blog. Everything was the perfect ending to the story except one thing…I just felt it wasn’t the end of their story…I just knew there had to be more.

How many times have you said to yourself as a reader that the story didn’t or shouldn’t end when it did? How many times have you wanted more of those characters because you just knew there had to be more? How many times have you wanted to know what happened after the final page was crafted?

I know that for me, the answers to those questions can fill pages upon pages of rhetoric for certain stories. So, what I’d like to hear from you all this week is to tell me about a story you thought didn’t end on the last page. It will be interesting to see how many of you feel the same as I do about certain stories.

Hope to hear from you all…see you next week!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Great Year

I would say that this year has been pretty good. I've shared a lot of good news over the past couple months and I have yet more!

A few weeks ago Total E-Bound had a deadline for an anthology. I was cutting it close and emailed the editor. I had a book already to go, but it needed a LOT of work. I was lucky that the editor gave me a couple days.

The story I was subbing was the first story I wrote with the intent of getting published. I pitched it Lori's last year. They requested a full. I sent it in and was rejected. With good cause. It was BAD. lol Of course at the time I didn't know how bad. I found out when I went back through to clean it up.

Well...I cleaned and polished it, cutting TONS of words and subbed it. I signed the contract! Woohoo! I will be in the Over the Moon Anthology, due out in November!

So...the year is more then half over and I'm floating high! :D

Tattoos ~ for or against?

My husband had been considering getting a tat for years. His apprehension about it was getting one that meant something, not one that followed the latest trends/fads ~ like the barbwire tribal bands. So years pass and the thought of a tat came and went, came again. In 2005 he participated in the SilverMan triathlon. He finished in 12 hours and figured out what he wanted his mark to be ~ the SilverMan logo ( It’s now on the back of his calf. Originally the logo was black and white so now he wants to add silver to the tat. He’s also thinking about his next one. (I hear they can be addicting.) It’ll be a runner’s shoe with wings to start then after he qualifies and completes the Boston Marathon he’ll add to the winged foot to show that accomplishment.
I on the other hand hadn’t contemplated getting inked until we moved to Vegas. Due to my other job, I can’t wear bracelets or rings so I’ve thought about ring tattoos. My left ring finger would get a Knotwork Claddagh or maybe something like this
and my right, this: but in black. I haven’t committed to those yet because 1 – I’d like to lose weight first & 2 – Getting inked is a huge commitment and permanent condition. I don’t know if I’m ready for those terms.
Then the other day I saw a woman we know from the running club and she told me how she and some other ladies from the club went out together and got tats. She told me who got what. Hers, an aborigine symbol, means something to her. The others, not so much. This got me thinking again ~ if I were to get inked with something other than rings, what would I get that would mean something to me? Then it hit me – a tat in relation to my first NY published book/series. (Yes, I’m developing a series to submit to a NY house.) I imagined the tat, a colorful phoenix surrounded by Chinese symbols for Wu Xing (the five phases). Of course my next thought was ~ Hey, I’m already published and in print so why not develop an image in regards to that series? But what? So I let my mind chew over that concept. (I have a lot of time to contemplate all sorts of matters while I work at my other job.) This is what I came up with

If I get my ‘book’ tats, they’ll be on my ankles. But, again, I’m not sure if I can make that kind of commitment.
Maybe I should test run the idea of a tat in henna first…
What’s your opinion of tattoos ~ for, against or indifferent & should they mean something to the wearer or not?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

No Good Reason

This week in Canton Township, Michigan 5 lives were lost due to bad judgment. The 5 young people ranged in age from 14 to 21. All were killed when the car they were riding in was struck by an oncoming Amtrak train. The cause - the 19 year old driver with a suspended license as well as a number of other violations on his driving record chose to bypass the cars stopped at the railroad crossing, and drove around the flashing lights on the lowered gate barrier and was instantly hit broadside by the train. No one knows why he would do this and now no one will ever find out.

A video from a nearby business has been shown on television and I have to admit it turns my stomach every time I see it. You see the black car coming up the road, it swerves to the left of the stopped cars to bypass them in line at the gate crossing and as it goes over the tracks is instantly hit by the oncoming train. The car never once slowed as it approached the crossing. The car was pushed roughly a mile from one railroad crossing down to the next before the train was able to come to a stop.

All I kept thinking of seeing this was how do we tell our kids to stop doing stupid things. To not take a chance regardless of the circumstances. A director for the National Transportation Safety Board was quoted in the newspaper as saying "younger drivers are more likely to do foolish things when other young people are in the car." So what do we do? Forbid our teenagers to ever drive again? Tell them they must drive alone in the car? Take away their license? What?

My kids are grown, with vehicles of their own. Does this mean I don't worry? Of course not. Every time I hear of an accident I watch to make sure it isn't their car on the tv screen. Every time I pass an accident near my home, again I look to make sure it's not their car. My children are not perfect. They are far from it. They make mistakes and I hope they learn from them.

Unfortunately, these 5 will never have the chance to learn from their mistakes. Now, the family and friends left behind will mourn them, miss them and wonder why something so senseless had to happen. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family members.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spam- Annoying but Lucrative

Why are there so many people out there sending emails to posts on craigslist that are nothing but scams? Or posting things on craigslist that are bogus? I mean seriously, how lucrative could that be? Not to mention the emails, emails upon emails from people trying to sell you something or get your information.

I guess i just don't see how someone can look at these obvious scams and think hey its my lucky day then send out a bunch of personal information to these people without blinking an eye. But they must be working otherwise there wouldn't be so many of them. It is beyond frustrating when you get an email about something you are advertising for sale and two seconds after you respond you get a return email telling you how you can refinance or whatever. Its really starting to piss me off, so many emails every day about male enhancement and Canadian pharmacies.

So i really want to know the percentage of people who believe and respond to these emails that are fishing for information. Because there have to be many people that do, desperate people or people who are too trusting. Either way its sad and its annoying and i just wish i could spam all those spammers.

Its not just email either, its on all those social sites. I get nasty ones on twitter. The other day it was a full on picture of a woman's nether regions, not what i wanted to see thank you no matter how cute she was. The really mind boggling thing about those ones is the huge number of followers they have, a lot of people see that and are all over what they are offering. Another annoying but lucrative business i suppose.
I have to wonder how much time i would save if i didn't have to deal with any spam. If there weren't all those extra emails to delete and all those posts to try and decode. Like I need help wasting my time on the Internet :)
Ok venting over, have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Woman Marries Dog

By A.J. Llewellyn

Some years ago, I was languishing in a three-story Victorian terrace house in London. I was home alone in sub-zero temperatures, my three flatmates all out on dates. I was so poor I didn't even have 10p for the gas meter, so I sat huddled in blankets listening to Michael Franks.
There was a line in one of his songs I have never forgotten. You could say it's become my motto, the theme of all my books:
Loneliness makes you strong. Love makes you free.
I never will forget how I felt during that year in London, the lessons I learned, the strength I developed, the friendships that continue.
So when I read the story yesterday about Emily Mabu, the 29 year old woman who married her dog, I felt, unlike many who mocked her, deep anguish that her loneliness is so acute, she has no trust in humans.
Emily, who lives in Aburi, Ghana, married her 18 month old pug in a ceremony boycotted by her family. Her brother David described it as "a stupid step to combat her loneliness."
Maybe, maybe not.
I have no idea what the wedding night was like and I really, truly don't want to know. I am betting however that this new husband won't be getting on the Internet anytime soon to download porn or chat up hookers.
On the downside, he won't take out the garbage, or cook much of a meal...but I know very few human men who do this either.
He won't do much but give her unconditional love.
If she were a member of my family, I would have attended the service, then quietly worked out ways to keep her busy and social. I would also find her a good therapist.
I am an animal lover and I've seem how much pressure other friends of mine put on their pets. Their loneliness is so strong, it created undue pressure on them
Emily is an extreme case. How sad it is that she is so dependent on a small dog.
We have become a species of increasingly isolated, fearful people who seek solace in those who won't hurt us. I feel for Emily because she is fumbling in the darkness toward freedom...yes, she's taken a wrong turn but in the dark, most of us can't see.
The beauty of being married to her dog is that if a divorce ensues, she can keep him and they can still be friends...more than friends.
He probably won't go after her money or her best friend...unless a meaty bone is involved.
I hope he teaches her that it's okay to love, that her loneliness has made her strong and his love can set her free.
Aloha oe,


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Sexy or Not So Sexy Cover Art

The other day while I was on another loop, a topic came up that caught my eye. The subject was regarding cover art and the part of the conversation where I joined the statement had been made that cover art sometimes was just too darn sexy.

Huh? I must admit, I’m a cover art slut. I will pick up any book that shows a little skin and when I send in my cover art requests for my own books, there is almost always a picture attached where I’m showing my publisher exactly what I like. See, while I like a lot of skin, I don’t like a lot of other parts showing in my cover art. I want to leave a lot to the imagination for my reader. I want the characters on the cover to match as closely to the book’s characters as possible. And I want my readers drooling.

Yeah, you heard me correct...drooling. I want them craving for more, I want them to know my characters intimately and I want them to know that for the first time when they pick up the book. And the only way they are going to have a great first impression is to have a sexy piece of cover art to stimulate their minds.

So, with that in mind, I want to do a poll. I’ve put together twelve pictures of what I consider sexy. I’d like to know your opinion. Remember for every comment you make, you’ll be entered into my August get away. Just ask Debby who won an iPod last month.

For this poll, tell me why you like a certain picture and if I chose your explanation, you’ll get a free copy of any of my books and I mean any of them. Please realize that these can be used as background or the main picture. I usually like my pictures layered so for me, there’ will be more than one picture used. No, these pictures just spoke to me and I thought each of them sexy in their own way.

Now for the pictures (note that each have a number under them for your use when commenting):

Weren’t those great? Remember to give me your opinion on them before next week to win a free copy of any book you choose from me.

I’ll be traveling today and won’t see you all till Thursday but keep those comments coming!

See you then!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Five Tips for the Natural Traveler

It’s that time of year ~ time to travel with the family. The following is an article I found in some items from my other line of work & like I tell my clients, please check with your physician to make sure it’s all right to use the alternative remedies.

Planning a vacation or business trip? Consider packing a small kit of natural remedies before you go. Unfamiliar surroundings, unusual foods, and jet lag can make you vulnerable to viruses, stress, and gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Colorado Naturopathic Physician Michael Sutton suggests the following items:
1. Grapefruit Seed Extract ~ This extract fights and prevents viruses and helps reduce symptoms of diarrhea and GI upset. It can even be used to decontaminate water (4-5 drops extract per quart of water). A few days before you leave, mix 4-5 drops with juice or water and drink it before bedtime, and continue for the duration of your trip. If you do catch a cold or flu, you can drink as much as 8-10 drops, 3-4 times a day.
2. Airborne ~ Available in natural products stores, Airborne is an effervescent tablet containing herbs, antioxidants, vitamin C, and amino acids. It helps prevent and fight colds, as well as motion sickness, when traveling.
3. Melatonin ~ To ease jet lag, Sutton suggests leaving your watch set for the time zone from which you're departing. When your watch shows your normal bedtime, take 3-6mg of melatonin, then go to sleep to regulate yourself quickly and easily to the new time zone.
4. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy ~ To calm nerves and reduce anxiety, place a few drops of this remedy under your tongue when you're feeling anxious, or add 5-6 drops to your water bottle and drink throughout the day.
5. Water ~ H2O is essential to healthy travel. Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol, as dehydration is a major cause of travel-related illness.
By packing a few natural remedies and paying attention to your body's needs, you'll be able to fully enjoy your trip.
(article courtesy of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals)

On a personal note concerning #1 & #5 ~ #1 – It’s best to drink the extract in water but be warned the stuff is bitter. Also, if you are on any medications please check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure the extract won’t interfere with your prescriptions/medical conditions. #5 – Water: Did you know that if a person is feeling thirsty, fatigued, headachy, hungry, or is cramping, they are most likely dehydrated? Did you know that your body produces about one cup of water a day in the process of converting food to energy but loses about ten cups through respiration, excretion, and sweating and combined with drinking sugary and/or caffeinated beverages and not enough plain water most people are dehydrated and don’t even know it? Did you know that athletes, physically active people and those living in hot, dry climates are even more susceptible to dehydration? A good rule of thumb when it comes to drinking water: drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day. So if you’re 150 lbs then you should be drinking at least 75 oz of water a day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Nine Days and Counting!

Well, in nine days I will be hitting the road for Washington DC and the RWA National Conference. I can't wait! In all my years of being a member I have only missed three conferences. Not this year though. This year I'll be there with bells on.

I literally just got home from the store. After assessing my closet I determined there were a few things I needed to get to make sure I look professional enough for mixing, mingling, and pitching. In my humble opinion, you are there to sell yourself, to promote your work, showcase your talents, and show editors and agents alike that you can and are up to the task of writing and selling a great book. And that is something I am going to do.

A few days ago I sat down with the RWA Conference schedule and highlighted everything that I wanted or needed to attend. I know that I have an agent and editor appointment already scheduled. One is on Friday, the other on Saturday. With that in mind, next up is my pitch.

My pitch, ah yes, oh so fun. How to shrink a 90,000 word book down to three sentences. Piece of cake, right? Um, sure! So that's what I've been doing. Out of my four books that I want to pitch, two are condensed down into a three sentence synopsis. The other two are still in progress. Why is it you find so much more you want to say when you know you can't? Doesn't it always work that way? I will get them condensed, it is just a matter of time.

I have also marked all the workshops I want to attend, all the book signings to get free books at, and also all the outside events I have been invited to. This year I will be attending the Golden Network Dessert Reception as I judged for them this past year.

And of course I will be presenting the Booksellers Best Award to ten lucky winners on Wednesday, July 14th at the Greater Detroit RWA BBA Ceremony. To me, there is nothing better than giving authors the kudos they truly deserve. And I believe the BBA Award does just that.

So if you happen to be around in about ten days, give me a holler. I'll be wandering around the conference with starts in my eyes, muttering to myself and having a fabulous time.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

How r u? Let's Start Talking Again

First off, some shameless promoting, lol. My brand new title was released at eXtasy books the other day. The Greek Tycoon is part of a series and features a wealthy playboy who enjoys his bachelorhood too much to settle down with a wife...until he meets his new English assistant. At first, he actually has the nerve to pay her to be his make-believe girlfriend in the hopes of deterring his parents' matchmaking efforts. Set in his private island in the azure waters of the Aegean, this romance is hot and sensual in many ways. You can check it out here: .

I've got a spot reserved every first Saturday of the month here at The Many Shades and normally I come up with a topic to discuss several days in advance. This time, however, be it the effect of a tiring week of work or simply a lack of ideas, I sat before my laptop and couldn't think of anything worthwhile. So, I got up and walked away, watched some TV, munched on something, answered a few cell phone messages, sent a few new ones off to friends I haven't seen in ages, and then it hit me. The topic to blog about. I'm a victim of modern technology. As old-fashioned or corny as that may sound, I admit it. What I've been making fun of and even 'tsking' others about--I'm guilty of doing as well. And, in a bigger way than I ever imagined. When I think about this, it scares me. There are people dear to me whom I haven't actually seen in the longest time--just talked to over the phone, or through phone messaging and emails. And trust me, I'm pretty social. But I've allowed myself to get sucked up into this vacuum of the tech world (which I really don't like as I'm not the tech-savviest person on Earth). And, the way I see it, although this form of communication is advanced, and enables us to contact people on the other side of the world, it also breaks down relationships--makes us antisocial, in fact.

In the past, I would call friends to arrange to meet. To talk, to see how they are doing and just enjoy eachother's company. Now, I find myself texting to see how they are. What's funny is that I'm probably one of those last people who started using this phone feature. And hardly anyone of us uses nice long sentences--no it's more like: "Hi how r u doing?" And I'm angry at myself because this really isn't like me, and I suspect it's not really like my friends either. And I suppose one could argue that we're all busier now. That we don't have the time to meet and chat. But is that the reality--or is it an excuse to justify our robotic behavior? Sure, I'm busy as hell at times, but not always.

God, I don't want to get started about msn live chats. Think about it. If you're chatting live with a buddy for a couple of hours or so on that thing, wouldn't it be more enjoyable to meet them in a nice restaurant or something? I'm guilty of this, too. Even had a glass of wine accompany my chat. That's fine and dandy when you're miles apart from the person you're talking to, but when they live fifteen minutes away...*sigh*...awful isn't it? I knew things were bad when I started texting my 72 year old father the other day to ask him if he wanted me to bring something on the way over, lol.

So as I write this, I promise myself that I will curb the use of my cell phone, laptop and other technical comforts, and make it a point to hang out with people the way I used to. To actually talk to them in a good, old-fashioned way. If you find yourself lost in the tech vacuum, this is a good reminder to chuck the gadgets in favor of a great get-together with friends or family. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Celia Jade

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Unreliable Narrators

By A.J. Llewellyn

I am a voracious reader and writer and when I find a new author I love, I consume all their books with an obsession that keeps me awake nights until I've read each and every last tale. Right now, my love affair is with Agatha Christie. I remember reading a couple of her 'cosy mysteries' as a teen but never went beyond that. At the library where I volunteer, we all know each others' tastes and we keep an eye out for the books our co-workers might like. About a month ago, one of my dear old ladies gave me a copy of And Then There were None, by the great dame herself.
"Agatha Christie?" I queried my co-worker.
"It's set on an island and it's one of her best," she said. "I know you're an island guy."
I dutifully read it, touched that my co-worker thought to grab this book for me out of weekly donations given to us for our monthly book sale.
I devoured the book, the denouement of which came as a big shock to me. I honestly did not guess that ending. I googled And Then There were None and was not surprised to learn it is indeed considered one of Christie's best works.
It even survived the controversy attached to its first printing, entitled Ten Little Niggers, based on a British nursery rhyme.
There is debate over whether Christie had any clue she was doing anything offensive, but she quickly agreed to change the title for U.S. release to Ten Little Indians. It was re-released as And Then There were None but there are film versions of both of these titles.
I finally nabbed almost all of Christie's works from our last book sale for about $6 which thrilled me. Everybody who was there said I should read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which is considered to be her best book.
I started it that afternoon and could not stop reading it, even as I walked the dog.
What a story!
I don't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment of it should they wish to read the book themselves, so I will say only this: I have never read such a clever piece of crime fiction.
It is the first time I've read a mystery from the POV of an Unreliable Narrator.
I am now hooked.
Once again I turned to Google and found that Christie's use of an Unreliable Narrator was at the time (1920s) unique and was both lauded and criticized.
Still, it sold her millions of books (we should all be so lucky) and she used this plot device again for the book Endless Night, which is an incredible examination of an evil mind.
Endless Night is especially shocking to me because it is a love story as well as a murder mystery.
Christie understood human beings in a profound way.
I've become obsessed with Unreliable Narrators and am contemplating creating one of my own.
She created the syndrome, I'd like to pay homage to it.
But what about you? Do you like the idea or is it cheating the reader?
I'd really like to know your thoughts...

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Interesting Author Tools

I'm on my new machine and don't have any pictures except cover art...and isn't it a wonderful cover? Yeah, I'm on the elf track again. I'll talk more about this is July...

This week when trying to decide what I would write, I ran across some interesting things for writers. Some of these you all may know and some you might not.

The first is a place called Tiny Url. The website for this is and it does something miraculous. It takes a large url, like the purchase link for one of your books, and makes it small. So basically, you go from this

to this

with very little effort. The page is self explanatory and these tiny urls can be book specific. This looks more polished and professional in my opinion. I use these in all my promo now and it does look much better.

Last week I had talked about promotion and given you a yahoogroup to join, so you would get pinged every day about promoting. This week, I'm going to give you a list of links where promotion is welcome. On these lists, you can promote anything. You should check them out.

An Alternative Read

Cupids Library Reviews

ebook Chatters

Hot Romance Readers

Infinite Possibilities

Moonlight Fantasy

Don't forget to check to see if they have any posting rules. Most groups have but they are easy to follow. These are but a few on my list which ranges between 80-300 groups. Do I belong to them all? No, I don't but I go regularly to check them out and see if they are offering author days. It never hurts to just join then change the email to special notices only. That way you're there and will only have to make a minor change to become a regular again. And there are always giveaways on these groups. Nothing wrong with some free books for any of us.

Another thing you all may have run across are book trailers. I have been asked many times whether you need one or not. I'm not sure if an author does but I can tell you it does generate interest. Take a look at one of my trailers and see what you think.

Now what is amazing about this video is two things. One is that it has been viewed 2,136 times. To this day, I get people emailing me and asking about this video. It's a little long but nicely put together even if there is an error in it that no one caught. LOL! Oh, well, it didn't distract anyone at all since no one pointed it out.

The reason the error was never changed is that making a video is time intensive and I had moved on by the time I noticed it. Still, videos are a great way to get the word out about your books.

That's all on the promo front this week. I wish you all luck in getting the word out about your books. Drop me a line and let me know.

More on epublishing and RWA: the epublishing dilemma has been heating up over at RWAchange. The group is renaming itself in order to not violate any RWA edict on use of the name as well as to better define what they are about. The new name will be Romance Writers for Change with a completely new website and yahoogroups. There is still a lot of misinformation floating around out there, so I suggest that all of you read everything carefully before you decide which side of the fence you'll end up on.

One of the best articles I've read this week really hits the nail on the head, so to speak and I think you'll see the truth of this blog. The link is and the author, Theresa Myers, is a long time RWA member. Very interesting to see another's perspective. And look under June 25th if the blog doesn't come up correctly as the software is new and while it's the same, there are some new features which I'm not sure I quite have down yet. LOL!

Next week I'll be gone to Idaho but plan to have something up. I'm not sure if it will be pictures or a travel log but it will be something. Then I'm off to visit a friend in Canada. She lives north of Vancouver and I can't wait to go. I'll keep you all posted.

One final thing...the winner of my summer pack is...drumroll please: Debby Creager ( Debby, I will be emailing you this weekend for your snail mail addy. And I want to thank all of you for participating. I'll be having another contest in late August for the release of my next elf book, Giselle's Elf, coming out August 1.

Until next time...hope you have a great week!

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