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, October 29, 2009

My 'Hood

By A.J. Llewellyn

I blogged today at EM Lynley's Place - a provocative post about the movie production of my upcoming M/M release "Bad Cops" which comes to on November 15. You can read the post here:

In the meantime, I want to post here about my own place, my 'hood, Studio City.

I've lived here for 20 years. I love my condo and often wish it was at the beach. But I have a fantastic, ramshackle house I own with my best friends in Honolulu - also not at the beach - but it struck me as I walked my dog this morning, how awesome it really is and how lucky I am to live here.

Studio City is famous for its TV and movie studios and the main shopping drag Ventura Boulevard has some great coffee shops. My fave restaurant Daichan, serves Japanese Soul Food. They know me well there and they welcome my dog who hangs out at the patio with me. They even bring her water.

Venus and I look at the ritzy window displays at Maxwell Dog, a boutique for dogs, but if I ever tried putting a tutu or one of the store's expensive outfits on her, I can guarantee she'll leave home. And file animal cruelty charges against me.

Many of our favorite places however, are gone. GONE!

My 'hood has been badly affected by the economy. My favorite places to pop in have curled up their tootsies...but we have coyotes!

Oh, yes!

Many a night as Venus and I stroll the section known as "south of the Boulevard" we see these pathetic, starving creatures roaming for cats (please people, put them inside) and anything else they can find. I saw them take a small, furry thing once and the sound it made was devastating.

Neighbors actually chat in my 'hood. Many of us have lived here for years.

There is a skunk that lives near our house and many of us feed it. It almost never sprays but the guy who just bought the place had a meltdown when he first saw it crawling under his house.

Studio City has the awesome, retro car wash (see above) where I take my car every couple of weeks. A lot of my 'hood is a throwback to older, gentler times.

Radford Avenue has a smaller version of Hollywood Boulevard's stars in cement. We also get tourists from all over the world lining up there every afternoon to watch taping of different shows at CBS. Radford is the main gate to the studio there.

My 'hood has cool cafes where I often take my laptop and work. I love the library and lament the closure of almost every bookstore - except Bookstar - but I love that in all the time I've lived here, neighbors come out in the mornings to fetch their newspapers in their pajamas.

Many of them have lived here for years. They know my dog's name. I've watched their children grow up. I've watched the same family throw the same shindig, with the same white tent in their front yard every summer.

Halloween decorations are out and I can't wait for Christmas, a big thing in my 'hood.

I hear Mariachi music from Mexicali and Shakira from somebody's iPod earbuds at the table next to me at Starbucks. The sun is shining, dogs are laughing.

It's a beautiful day in Studio City.

This is my 'hood, my own inspiration and I am thankful for it every day.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Writing Tools & Halloween

You all know how I look around for the latest and greatest writing tools to help us all be better writers...well...I’ve found another one.

The other day on my FF&P loop, one of the people there was talking about a program called Schrivener. The program sounded fantastic because it had a storyboard option with what appeared to be post-its all over it. The cool thing was you could rearrange those post-its any way you wanted. So, I hopped on over only to find that this particular piece of software was for a Mac. Imagine writing software...and it’s for a Mac.

Now don’t get me wrong, Macs are great and if I was a rich and famous author I would probably have one. But I’m not. I live in a PC household and it will probably stay that way for a while. I then went back to my group and commented about this. At that point I was directed to a program called Write It Now. This program is one of the most inexpensive, wonderful writing tools I have ever seen. It can basically help you with all your character charts, storyboards and anything else necessary to plan your novel. It even has a word processor but I’ll stick to Word for now.

Still, the abundance of tools for us seems absolutely fantastic. Another good point is you get it for a free thirty day trial. Once that period is over, you pay $39.95 or just delete it off your machine. Here’s the link so you all can see just how good this software really is:

Saturday is Halloween and this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love all the scary things that they put on TV to get our attention. Syfy has the 31 Days of Halloween where they put some scary movie on every day. History has been abundant in their attention of Vlad Dracul as well as some really scary people in history. Now those are the ones that scare me since they were true!

Even Animal Planet go into the act with a two hour werewolf special. This was a departure from their regular fare and I was quite intrigued as it was presented in almost a movie fashion. I only got to see a few minutes of it as I flipped through the stations as I had it set to record in the middle of the night. I’ll let you all know just how it turned out.

So, if you like those scary, shape shifting, sometimes weird creatures...then this is the time of year for you! I love the fact that a lot of our scariest things are based upon weird and bizarre truths. Dracula, werewolves and yetis are but a few.

So here are the questions of the week: what scary thing do you like best? Is it based on truth?

Here’s mine: My favorite all time scary movie is Alien. I will always remember that last scene where Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is saying to herself, ‘Lucky, lucky, lucky.’ Yeah, right. LOL! And it is my understanding that this creature was based upon a much smaller parasite...the bot fly. Look them up, they are horrible. Now this may or may not be true as I heard it in a sci-fi convention years BUT I can understand if it is.

Your turn......I can’t wait to see your answers.

Last week’s winner of a copy of Shopping Spree is J. Rose Allister...congratulations! Next week you can win a FREE copy of Subtle Invasion, probably the scariest thing I have because it’s about alien abduction. And not the fun kind either.

See you next week! Have a great one!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Me and my fellow eXtasy Halloween Hooligans

Four other authors and I have been parading around the internet this past month chatting about the holiday and our releases. We also asked each other questions about the season like ‘What's the sexiest Halloween costume you've ever worn?,’ ‘What would be the scariest thing in a Haunted House for you?,’ ‘Do you have any Halloween traditions? If so, what?’ and ‘What Halloween creature would you bring on a deserted island?’. Here are my questions with their answers:
1. Do you like/dislike the Halloween season & why?
C.R.: I’ve always liked the Halloween season – the crisp air, the colors, the sense of the macabre and all the horror films that come out. Then there’s the candy… ;) The night of Halloween is subdued. I meditate and reflect on the past year and coming year and honor those who have gone beyond the veil.
Angela: I LOVE Halloween. It is absolutely my favorite holiday. I love everything about it - I like the fun, the chills, the great scary movies, the bags of insanely addictive candy, the costumes, the innocence, the darkness.... I could go on for hours. And being someone of somewhat pagan inclinations, I love the symbolism, traditions and meanings in so much of what modern culture calls "fun". I love embracing the dark, the whimsy, and the inherent fun in poking at our fears. So, yes, I'm very pro Halloween! Will have a bit of a party this year, co-hosted by my sister!
Courtney: I love Halloween. It has always been one of my favorite holidays because it is so much fun to dress up and be someone different, even if it is just for one night.
Jambrea: I'm not fond of the weather getting colder, but I love to see all the kids in their costumes.
Laura: I love it because it’s the one time in the year that spirits, ghosts, saints, goblins, monsters and whatever other fantastic creature, good or evil, actually becomes alive.
2. What is/was your favorite Halloween candy?
C.R.: Love Kit-Kats and Hershey Mini’s and Crunch bars. The mini-Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are awesome too!
Angela: Okay, hands down, my favorite Halloween candy is (no, not all of it!) is the mini-Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! I *LOVE* those things, and I'm sorry, the seasonal ones are better than their normal variety. Maybe they're fresher, I don't know, but give me one of those and I'll kiss your feet. Give me a bag...well, it's pretty shameless. Second - it's a tie - Mary Jane's and Bit-O-Honey's. YUM. Excuse me now. I need to go to the store...
Courtney: I have two, Candy Corn and Reeses peanut butter pumpkins. Yummy!
Jambrea: I don't even know what they are called. They come in the orange and black wrappers. I THINK they might be called Mary Jane's. But I'm not sure. I LOVE those things.
Laura: None, I prefer salty to sweet treats.
3. Do you carve pumpkins?
C.R.: I used to when I was younger but not so much anymore. If I put out a jack-o-lantern, it’s a ceramic one. Less fuss and mess.
Angela: Oh yes! It's been a few years, but yes, I do love carving them. The last time was a few years ago when I hosted a Halloween party. I live in the country and in the US South, so without a real compelling reason to carve one (they tend to mold and begin to rot pretty quick with the heat and humidity), I don't usually indulge. This year, my sister and I will host a small get-together, to I'm already looking for ideas of what I will carve!
Courtney: We do usually carve pumpkins, anymore I don't carve one of my own but help my girls with theirs. I love the smell of pumpkin's being carved and it is so much fun to see them lit up at night. Then we usually roast the seeds.
Jambrea: I didn't, but now that I have a 5 year old, we've been carving them. He loves it.
Laura: Never did before and never will if I stay in Italy because it certainly isn’t among our traditions. In fact, we don’t even celebrate Halloween, but the All Hallows Day, which is the 1st of November, also known as All Saints Day.
Want to learn more about us and see the answers to the questions I mentioned at the beginning of the blog? Please visit the following links:
For Courtney: &
For Jambrea on 10/14:
For Laura (running Oct 26 to November 1):
For Angela (posts throughout the month):

Our October releases…
In the Spirit by C.R. Moss – Release date Oct. 15th
Reincarnated Death Wish by Courtney Breazile – Release date October 15th
Bloody Passion by Laura Tolomei – Release date Oct. 31st
Green Flash by Angela Caperton – Release date Oct. 31st
Unseen Path by Jambrea Jones – Release date Oct. 31st

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cause for Celebration

I am celebrating today. What, you ask? Today is three years now that I have been cancer free. Whoo hoo! It's a milestone as milestones go. It was literally three years (was a Wed then) that I underwent a two hour surgery to remove a tumor and 15 inches of my colon. They put everything back together nice and neat, kept me in the hospital till Sunday and sent me home to recover. Then on Dec 4th, I started chemotherapy. That my friends is an adventure all in its own!

This morning hubby and I went to a breast cancer pancake breakfast. For a $5.00 donation, you could eat all the pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice your little heart desired. It was held at our local On The Border restaurant. They also gave you a scratch off ticket with each donation. We won a free cup of queso dip for our next visit there off the scratch off. Works for me as I love Mexican food. OK, who am I kidding, I love all types of food.

But I am digressing. Which is something else I am very good at (G).
I am truly happy to be alive. For a long time, I didn't know whether I would really get through the chemo. My very first week I was on the 7th day and totally ready to give up the battle. I was exhausted, no appetite, all I could do was lay there in bed and cry. Said very seriously. Chemo is something that for those of you who have never experienced it, or had a friend or loved one go through it, chemo literally takes you to the brink of death in order to kill whatever cells are still alive in your body to get you healthy. Then chemo brings you back from the brink after it kills the little buggers. That's probably the easiest way to describe it.

I wasn't ready for the onslaught to hit so quickly. I knew it would slow me down, poop me out and so on, but figured I had a few weeks to get used to the idea. Nope, I was wrong in a big way. I think I was more than halfway thru my chemo when I was able to get myself back on track, do the things I loved to do, but in a downscaled sort of way. And now, well now I am not 100% and never will be again.

I saw my oncologist this week and we were talking about cancer and chemo and being normal. Her answer "After cancer and chemo, you have to develop a whole new set of what's normal in your life. You can't go back to the old way." She's right, you can't. All you can do is go forward. It's alike like the title of the Marcia Wallace (remember her, she was the secretary Carol on The Bob Newhart Show). Her book is entitled "Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way." Very good reading is anyone is interested.

I'm not looking back. I'm looking forward, moving my life forward, moving my writing career forward, and have a whole new outlook on life. So to all of you cancer survivors out there, keep on pushing forward. We've got a lot of living left to do.

Till next time, Patti

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween Hoolingans are Scared of What?

I asked the Halloween Hooligans "What would be the scariest thing in a Haunted House for you?" and these are their answers and also a little about the treats they are offering up for everyone this Halloween.
Have an Xrated Halloween with eXtasy Books

C.R. Moss: Eerie music, the build up of suspense…nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens, then BOO!

Jambrea Jones: Things jumping out at me. You know that scene from Psycho in the shower? I have a fear of someone ripping open the shower curtain on me. My husband will do that to me and even if I KNOW he is in the room, I jump and my heart stops for a second. lol
Laura Tolomei: Seeing my husband naked.
Courtney Breazile: Clowns. Hate clowns.
Angela Caperton: Hmm...Freaked out clowns. I can handle the chainsaw killers, the ghouls and zombies, but scary I am not a fan of regular clowns, so scary ones I'll pass on!
All our Halloween books will be available to purchase at
Courtney Breazile- Reincarnated Death Wish -Out Now- “To Experience Passion is to Choose Death”
Jambrea Jones- Unseen Path -Oct 31st- “The Road Not Traveled Reveals a Destiny Unfulfilled”
Angela Caperton - Green Flash -Oct 31st- “During the Halloween Bacchanal Fantasy Fest Will Claire Embrace her Own Desires and Learn the True Nature of the Green Flash?”
C.R. Moss - In the Spirit -Out Now- “Can Love Heal Death’s Soul?”
Laura Tolomei - Bloody Passion -Oct. 31st- "The Druid, the Hunter, the Apprentice: Sex, Power, Transformation. What Else?"
Watch our sites for upcoming Xrated Halloween fun and prizes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


By A.J. Llewellyn

There is one aspect to being a foreigner in the US that few immigrants talk about. Yes, I'm Australian and yes I've lived here 25 years but I still have trouble ordering food in restaurants and making myself understood when dealing with even the most basic business transaction.
People tell me my Australian accent is cute, but try asking for butter in a restaurant.
I did yesterday and the waitress acted like I was speaking in Swahili, backward.
"Butter," I said, resorting to a Ricky Ricardo impersonation by picking up my bread roll and knife and miming the act of buttering.
"Oh, budda," she said, giving me a death ray stare. "Why didn't you say so?"
"I did," I bleated, making my friends laugh.
It's a matter of shame to me that I can't make myself understood and it's why I prefer to write. Recently I was trying to negotiate making a late payment on a bill and the automated voice response system kept asking if I wanted to pay the 'past due amount' or the full amount.
"Past due amount" I enunciated into the phone.
On and on the electronic dunce-wizard and I went until I realized it was not identifying the word "past" as in "pah-st."
So I said "past" the American way and the little voice on the other end accepted my arrangements. I really thought I should have gotten a medal or a sticky bun or...something after that effort.
The first week I arrived with my dad, we were, like most Australians, obsessed with the idea of diners. And the famous bottomless cup of coffee. We hit every place we could find. Sadly only a few are left standing but when we went to one, on La Cienega (Australians pronounce ot La Sinayga until they are educated properly) my dad asked if he could have the rest of his coffee in a cup to take away.
The wait staff scratched their heads and acted like they had no idea what we were talking about. My dad is a man of the world but got frustrated fast.
It took ten minutes, by which time we were traumatized and the coffee long cold for them to beat us over the head with "you want it to go."
"That's what I said," my father shrieked.
I still want to "take away" but remember to say I want takeout or to go.
My brother Anthony learned the hard way that scallops in a fish and chip shop are not greasy wonderful slabs of fried potatoes, but seafood.
I learned too. Fast. I learned to pronounce the city of Van Nuys like guys, not niece.
Sepulveda Boulevard, the main north-south artery of Los Angeles is an amusing challenge to all Australians. I can always tell a new Aussie in town by the way they pronounce it.
In Australia there is cheap wine called Sepulveda. It's pronounced Seppel-veeda. That's how we pronounce the street name too: Seppel-veeda. It should be Sep-ahl-veda.
La Jolla. Who knew it's pronounced La Hoya?
Not in Australia we didn't.
Pardon me whilst I butter (pronounced butt-ter) my toast and try to hang on to what is a big part of me. The way I speak. What about you? Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Day In Writer’s Paradise

First let me apologize for getting my blog up so late. To be honest, I had forgotten all about the blog which I have only done one other time since we all started doing getting together weekly.

Now, the reason for this is simple. I wanted a lazy day. It had been a few months since I had had a lazy know the type where you do little or nothing. You take a long bath, watch all those TV shows that you’ve been waiting to catch up on and have been hording on the DVR.

Basically, you do nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Except for me. I have one problem even on a lazy day. My mind goes a mile a minute on every novel I’m working on at the moment. And I’m working on quite a few. But even I surprised myself as I’m watching one of my favorite medical shows, I believe it was House at the time, when I realized I was zeroing in on just two stories this time.

One is the novel I have due at the end of the month. This is a good thing as it’s a historical and I’ve never really done historical before. Now, this doesn’t scare me, but it does make me very anal about getting it all right. I’ve checked and rechecked to see if my facts are straight and for those who aren’t, I’ve made sure I’ve explained why they aren’t. Sometimes the explanation is harder than the actual fact itself. LOL!

The second book is the one that I’m working on with my critique group. It’s the first time I have really had a group who demands so much. Sure, I’ve always had to produce but usually by the time I actually got to the critique session itself, I’ve already got much of the book done and can work on it at a leisurely pace. With this story, I need to produce a chapter a week or I feel like I’m letting them down. And more so, they let me know I’m letting myself down by not producing like I’m used to no matter if I have too many irons in the fire.

And this is good, very good. I want all readers out there to be able to enjoy my writing. If I don’t produce it, you can’t see it and won’t know I can write a good story. If I don’t produce my writer friends and critiquers will know something is wrong and try to help me figure out just what is eating at me which they have.

Now, this week, it’s all me. I wanted to be lazy and while it might have been precipitated by a change in weather, sometimes it is good to lay the blame all on my shoulders. It’s good to own when you do things wrong or not at all, the latter being my case.

But I like everyone else, needs to recharge, to restart my engine in the face overwhelming laziness. And know that next week, I won’t be as lazy nor will I be as slow in getting this blog up.

Now we come to the time I know you’ve all been waiting for...the FREE giveaway! Last week’s winner has won a copy of the first book in my Orchid series, Fluke...Phyllis C...come on down to get your free prize. Just email me a and send it right to you. Next week, I’ll be giving away a copy of my short, Shopping don’t forget to comment on this week’s blog and let me know what you do to recharge.

See you next week!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fifteen Minutes

It amazes me what people will do for their 15 minutes of fame. We've had a couple big things in entertainment news. The Gosselin's and Balloon Boy.

Let's see, Jon was all happy with his show, the kids are good, then he finds out he is basically out of the show. What happens next? He goes where ever he can saying he wants the show stopped and it's bad for the kids. Um..okay, where was this sentiment when the show started. Does he think the American public is that stupid? Coincidence, I think not. He is doing whatever he can to keep his name in the news and what has it given him? A lawsuit. *sigh*

Balloon Boy. I guess we can be thankful his parents didn't think it would make a better show with the kid IN the balloon. *sigh* What is it teaching your children when you tell them to lie to the public. And what would have happened if a real emergency had taken place during this elabrate scheme? What has this given the family? Not a reality show (yet...they'll put anything on now a days) Probably a lawsuit. lol

I love getting my name out there and hearing what people think of what I write, but I have no plans on going to some extreme.

What a crazy world we live in.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A new release! The follow-up to Holiday Spirits is…

In the Spirit ~ Now available at

Can love heal Death's soul?
Tresa Grauenvoll had the perfect life. Beautiful, intelligent, engaged to Jurgen Elman, lord of a vast estate, she couldn’t have wished for more. Then two weeks before her wedding, Tresa is accused of the ultimate betrayal—treason. Sentenced to die by the love of her life, she’s hanged for crimes she did not commit. As her life ebbs away, supernatural intervention transforms her from country gentry to Grim Reaper, exiles her to a foreign land and forces her to harvest souls. For centuries she has waited for the man who condemned her to cross paths with her once again so she can exact her revenge.
Immortal Ned Odognagap and his girlfriend, Katie, are witnesses for Artim and Jenna’s Halloween wedding and conversion ceremony that will change Jenna from human to immortal. It’s the perfect time of year for the events since the veil between worlds is the thinnest and those who have passed can join the festivities.Ned has one problem, though. Tresa, the woman he knew and loved when he was called Jurgen, has returned with a vengeance. Can Ned withstand Tresa’s torment long enough, without driving Katie insane in the process, to find out and explain what happened that fateful day and tell Tresa he loves her still? Or will he and Katie succumb to death’s ire?
~ excerpt ~
Tresa followed the scent to its conclusion, landing next to a grand oak tree on the property of a Protestant church. Two women, dwarfed by rounded Doric columns and massive doors and windows, stood on the front steps of the white building. Up the long sloped sidewalk from them and next to the attached ancillary building, two men, both tall and with lean muscular physique, chatted in the parking lot, their backs to her. She scanned the people and the section of graveyard visible behind the church then looked to her scythe. No blue symbols or other signs for an upcoming job presented themselves. Confused, she cocked her head and zoned in on the conversations, hoping they’d reveal the reason why she was led to the place and them.
“All I know is that Jenna’s a bit put off by your attitude the past couple of nights. She thinks you’re acting weird.” The dark-haired man turned, his Romanesque features softened by a smile, and waved at the women. They waved back. The one with brown hair and an athletic build blew a kiss. Her petite companion tilted a head with black hair and blonde spiked tips and clasped her hands together in front of her chest. A sappy look adorned her face.
“Me? Acting weird?” The second man threw his head back and laughed.
The blonde’s good-natured mirth caught Tresa off guard, reminding her of another’s laughter. The scenery’s intensity wavered. Colors dimmed for a few seconds then returned to their original brilliance. The green grass of the graveyard, the black of the pavement, and white church contrasted against the blue sky. She searched her mind for a face to put with the remembered joy but the recollection faded before she could retrieve it.
“Yes, you, Ned. You’ve seemed skittish and preoccupied. What’s up?”
“I don’t know, Artim.” Ned shook his head and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “This time I’m stumped. Maybe it’s the fall air and countryside stirring memories in me I’d rather keep buried. Maybe it’s that I have this need to hone in on someone and judge them, but I’m blocked. I try to access people’s thoughts and can’t. It’s strange not being able to do my job, something that’s come second nature to me for centuries.” He chuckled. “Maybe it’s all due to that awesome apple cider we had to drink at the mill the other night. I can’t get it out of my mind.”
“Can’t get what out of your mind, babe?” The dainty black-haired woman in a pair of high-heeled shoes and too short, hot-pink, form-fitting dress clicked up to him.
“Those apples and the cider.” Ned turned and hugged her, staring in the direction of the tree over her shoulder.
Tresa gasped. Can the human see me?

Check out other eXtasy Halloween Hooligans here:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Taking Stock

Good afternoon everyone! Well, this week I decided it was time to take annual stock of my life. I have a tendency to do this every year right after my birthday. A year older, not sure if that means I'm a year wiser, but who knows. What it does mean is that 365 more days have passed and what have I accomplished?

I know that in the past 365 days I have kept myself as healthy as I can, baring a few unexpected surgeries, a few more missing body parts, a few more added pounds (why is it never less pounds), and a few more book contracts.

Literally a year ago August I told myself I would be New York published by the time September rolled around this year. That didn't happen. I could probably come up with a million reasons why, but the truth is it didn't. What did happen is I signed a 12 books contract for a series of contemporary novellas with eXtasy Books called The Zodiac Club. The first two are now out, Midnight Seductions and Candid Seductions just released this past Thursday, Oct 15th. I did sign a contract with eXtasy Books for a new series of paranormal novellas to be written with Stephani Hecht. The first will be out October 31st entitled Salem's Seduction. And I sold an erotic short story Coffee, Tea or Mimi to Noble Romance which was out in May 09. And I finished a two year stint as President of the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. I have been on our local board 11 years of out 14 years.

That being said, I think it is definitely time for Patti to focus on Patti. Don't you agree? Am I discouraged that I didn't sell to New York? Of course I am, but it won't stop me from trying again. Am I discouraged that I didn't sign more contracts this past year? Heck no, I am very grateful for the ones I did sign. And add to this taking care of myself, my hubby, my kids, my four-legged kids and running my household. It's a full-time job, on top of a full-time writing career. Can I ask for more? Sure, but then I would sound greedy (G)

Till next time, I hope you are all taking stock of your lives and enjoying every minute of every day, doing what you love. I know I am.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Remodeling Nightmare

I’m taking a much-needed break from talking about my family to sharing my latest remodeling experience with you. There’s something to be said about pulling concrete chips out of my hair while explaining to a tool rental associate what tool I need.

Let me start at the beginning – I have vast maintenance experienced, in my working days, I was a Maintenance Manager for several large apartment complexes and when my partner suggested that we rip out our carpet and replace it with laminate floors, I was confident in my abilities to perform such a task. So, we ripped out the carpet in our entryway and extremely long hallway. Now, let me say this – we have always kept our carpets clean, vacuuming regularly and steam cleaning at least 3 times a year. We even bought one of those portable steam machines and go after the carpets regularly. Why? Because we have pets and they don’t care about wiping their paws.

We found an inch of dirt happily living under the carpet and pad we had just pulled up. Yes, really. After all the money, we spent on cleaning our carpets, dirt and a lot of dirt was still residing under it all. Nasty. Now, with new motivation, we are determined to pull up every bit of carpet left in the house but that story is for another day, today, I’ll focus on the hallway.

See, here’s the thing – we had a curved brick step leading from our living room up onto our hallway. I found out the hard way that you can’t put laminates on a curved step. It just won’t work- trust me. After a couple of hours of slowly and painstakingly chiseling the brick away, I hammered my hand. That’s when everything turned into a bad Hollywood sitcom. Ice pack on hand to control the swelling, I went to our local Home Depot Rental Store, love those guys. Several minutes later, I walked out carrying a red case with a Hilti Mini Jack Hammer ready to tackle the stupid brick again. I got home, plugged it in and took it for a test drive. My dogs, who up to this point have been curiously watching me, scrambled. Our 120-pound Great Dane crawled under our little coffee table for cover while our Lab, bless his soul, hid under the kitchen table. I should have realized that they were telling me something.

The Hilti did its job well, too well. The brick was finally gone along with my hearing and it took two days for my arms to stop vibrating. All I had to do now is build a frame for the step and lay my laminates. I was almost done, or so I thought. Having to anchor the frame to the concrete, I went back to Home Depot to buy special anchors and to rent yet another tool to drill into concrete. Five special drill bits later, two of which are still embedded into the concrete because they broke and I couldn’t pull them out and my frame is done.

We put down the floors and I can tell you that when they recommend that you lay them from left to right, they’re serious. It’s not just something they fabricated. All in all, I’m bruised from head to toe, my dogs are now a little skittish about anything red coming into the house but the floors look wonderful. Would I do it again? You bet! I loved saving everything penny of the two thousand dollar bid we got.

Now for some selfish self-promoting. My new book, Dying to live, book 3 of the Hightower Vampire Series has a Halloween release date. I’m so stoked! It couldn’t come on a better date, so check it out and don’t forget to visit my website for contest information:
See you next month!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The High Price of Internet Book Theft

By A.J. Llewellyn

Author Shiloh Walker recently posted an impassioned and honest blog about what rampant ebook theft has done to her. This morning I view with dismay that 18 books of mine have managed to be uploaded illegally on theft sites, I find it ironic that this was the day I wanted to tell you a few home truths.
With significant input from my editor, Jay Austin and the permission of the author involved, I'm going to tell you what theft does.
Want to know what happens when a best-selling author's work gets pirated within days of a new release?
How about not a single sale!
No, it has nothing to do with the publisher and nothing to do with the author and nothing to do with the book and nothing to do with the economy.
It has to do with the fact someone gave the book to multiple pirate/thief sites the day after it was released.
How would you feel if you spent hours upon hours, days, weeks, sometimes even months, writing a story readers asked you for, endured the endless agony of edits, watched the artist create a cover—and those are not cheap and artists do not work for free either—watched the formatting process, watched the placement of an ISBN, and watched the release of your book to the world only to turn around have someone give it to a bunch of thieves the next day?
Not a single soul outside of the publisher asked the author for permission to sell or giveaway one copy of the eBook, let alone give it to the world. The author received 1 sale for the month of September, yet everyone is telling the author how much they enjoyed the book.
It's incidents like this that make an author wonder if writing is worth it because it hurts to know someone would take your hard work and throw it into cyberspace ocean for the sharks, leaving you to earn not even a single penny for the time you spent writing.
Should I mention that the cover artist, editor and company lost their rightful share as well? Hey, truth is, if it keeps going, there won’t be any authors, editors, artists, or publishers because no one wants to work for free and businesses can’t operate on no profit. Authors work to write a story to make a few bucks, not to have it distributed to pirate/thief sites. Okay, so it was one book. Yeah, right. While it may not seem like such a loss because it was only one book, it’s been happening to one particular author’s books for a while now. In other words, it’s happening with all this author’s books. It’s making this author wonder what they are writing for and what they are get out of the hard work.
Think it’s easy? Try it—with a publisher, not a vanity press, not a self-publish site, but a legitimate, legal, contract-bound publisher. Fact is, any copy made or given beyond the first copy purchased is called stolen goods. The point is, without is a contract, authorizing, facilitating or transferring any file not called SHAREWARE is considered stolen goods. Some of these sites charge to allow the downloads, meaning they’re getting paid for facilitating the transfer of stolen files someone uploaded to them because anything beyond the first copy purchased is stolen goods. Those companies need reported to the Better Business Bureau of the state they reside in and they need reported to the Federal Trade Commission for the sale of stolen property.
Such reports will help the FTC, BBB and FBI to track down who is making the file available to the pirate/thief site because that person is going to suffer the biggest penalty. Yeah, the site will get slammed for facilitating piracy, but the true thief is the one who put the file on the host site because that person is who made the file available and will suffer the biggest penalty for pirating stolen goods. Authors don't make millions and pirating means authors make nothing.
In order to understand what pirating does, look at Sweden. Sweden has almost no bands left to make their music because the pirating thieves have stolen so much from the Swedish musicians that they can't make a living making music. Uploading eBooks to pirating sites, even just a link, makes you the pirate/thief that will receive the hardest penalty. Don’t be a pirate, don’t be a thief…when you give someone your eBook or a link to your eBook, you’re doing just that, pirating, stealing, distributing stolen goods.
It boils down to one thing, paying the authors zero for their hard work and that means that ultimately the reader, as much as the author suffers when the author quits providing books to be stolen by greedy thieves.

Aloha oe,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How Far We’ve Come – NOT!

Most of the time I don’t try to take this blog anywhere near the political arena but this week I fear I must. After A.J.’s portrait last week of the incompetent police in her area and then seeing Michael Moore’s SICKO, I really knew I had to say something.

Health care is not just the privilege of the wealthy but seeing the state of health care in the US would make one think so. The American Medical Association, the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies have such as strangle hold on we the people, it’s horrible. Just how horrible can be seen by a look at the news recently and you’ll know.

In this country today, there are people divorcing each other because one has a debilitating illness and the only way they can get health care insurance is to be apart. There are families right now deciding whether to put food on their tables or pay a health care insurance premium because they have a sick child. There are credit agencies who are suing people out of house, home and everything they own because of an illness that put them so far under, there is no other way to pay the bills except to lose everything. I guess the message here is you just can’t afford to get sick.

And folks, that is sick in itself. It’s a sick way to live and it’s morally wrong for every person in this country to be under this dark cloud. Good health care is a right that every American is entitled to no matter what. People need to be encouraged to go into the health care professions because they truly love people and want to help them. No other reason. But in today’s climate, people feel they can make money and lots of it by preying on the ills of others quite literally.

I mean, I knew it was bad but just how bad I didn’t understand until I watched SICKO. Michael Moore talks with people all around the world about their health care and he brought out some pretty astounding statistics when it came right down to it. If you haven’t seen this film, I truly believe it is the one film of his you definitely need to see.

In it, he talks to Canadians, English and ex-pats in France to hear about their opinions on the health care systems there. He goes to the health care system in Cuba to try and get some really well deserving people the health care they needed.

It amazed me just how warm people were about the medical systems in England, Canada and France. Now I can really understand the lure of a system where you walk in to see your doctor, have your visit with nothing going out of your pocket. What amazed me even more was that there are Americans sneaking over the border, going to Canada to get in on the system there. Some are going as far as marriage to a Canuck just so they can be cared for during big illnesses. Michael himself has relatives in Canada who said right on camera that they felt sorry for us.

What?!? Sorry for an American? Well, they have it right because what we’re not getting is that the cost it would take to give everyone universal health care is what we’re paying anyway every year. Yeah, the uninsured costs us that much per year. Yet all those mentioned above, the American Medical Association, the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies all want you to think that isn’t so. Oh, what a selfish group they are. But back to where I was.

Michael talked to all manner of people in Canada, rich, poor and even an American sneaking across the border and all of them said, the world was a better place when everyone had health care. Do you think they know something we don’t?

In England, he didn’t talk to patients as much as he talked to the medical staff. He followed one young general physician throughout the day, talked to his patients as well as visited his home. His last stop in England was to a pharmacy. Of the patients he asked each of them when they expected to see a bill. Most were confused but when they finally got it most flat out said that he must be an American because they knew in America nothing is free. Ouch. Most of them said they wouldn’t be caught dead in our country because it would cost them so very much to get any treatment or put in a casket to be sent home. The last part was my interpretation of what had been said not anything Michael had said.

Now the English doctor was absolutely lovely, had a great family and makes about $200-250K a year which is comparable to what an American doctor makes in the general field. He also said he felt sorry for Americans as our medical professions worshiped the almighty dollar not helping people. Sad perception of our medicine.

The story on France was wonderful as it followed a group of ex-pats who talked about how privileged and cared for they felt in that country as there were things like paid maternity leave, paid child sick days, preventive health maintenance days and on and on concerning the positive aspects of their system. The really sad part was where all of them said that they will probably remain in France because it seems as if the country really cares for them there whereas in America people are being thrown to the wolves every day.

The last story was so poignant that I cried through the whole thing. I was a little angry at first that the man made us relive the 911 tragedy but that was only the beginning. Michael explained just who these people he was talking to and it became clear right away that these people were those who deserved health care as they were 911 rescue workers. He talked to more but it’s these three I want to zoom in on for the moment.

One of the issues he brought out was the fact there was only one place on US soil where the medical care was one hundred percent free. And that was at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It seems that the prisoners there get better treatment than the ones who worked for days in crappy air just trying to find pieces parts. And that does include some military bases as there are now minimal charges even there.

So he did the only thing he felt reasonable and tried to take these people to the base at Guantanamo. They eventually gave up as they were afraid they would get shot at so they tried a different tact. They decided to walk right into the closest Cuban city and ask where the nearest hospital was. Then he did go off on a little tirade about how the perception of Cuba wasn’t anything like what the people were like but quickly he was brought back to reality the moment they hit the door for the hospital. Only three little bits of information was needed before they could treat the 911 people, their first and last name and their date of birth.

All of them were then whisk away for a battery of tests and some of the most caring doctors I have even seen in my life. And these people supposedly hate us. Still, after a few days of tests each and every one of these American citizens left a communist country in much better medical shape than when they went in. Do you all see something wrong with this picture?

The other thing I found amazing in all three stories was the cost of drugs. In Cuba, even the most expensive drugs only cost around $2. In England, the cost for any amount was six pounds, twenty-five pence or roughly about $12 per prescription. So it was good to stock up and many Americans really did.

What hurt me the most was that almost every other civilized country in the world has better medical care than we do in the US. What the heck is wrong with us? Why are we so gullible that we allow these entities to run over us like Mac trucks? These people work for us, all of them in the medical profession as well as those in the government, and they should hear the will of the people and it’s FREE health care no matter what.

Every American deserves to have health care at no cost to themselves. It seems the rest of the world understands that we are all connected but there is no we in the American health care system, just a series of I’s that only care for themselves and how much they can earn.

When will we say enough is enough and quit denying basic things to those who don’t have it? When will we realize it is costing us a fortune every year anyway? With a little restructuring, the cost will be minimal to what we’re paying now. At what point do we say that every human life is worth it, who cares what it costs?

I am very adamant about health care reform. It is desperately needed in this country. Just walk through a county hospital and you will see them turning people away because they can’t pay...and they’re the ones getting government money to treat these same people. Look at the hospitals like the ones in the Kaiser group which just dumps the patients out on the street when they feel that their treatment is too costly or their benefit has run out. How much longer will the human suffering in American go on because it costs too much? When will we just open our arms and realize every American is worth it?

I guess the really sad thing for me is in a lot of cases, we treat animals better than we do human beings. And in my opinion, in may ways we are still in the Dark Ages in regards to health care. Then, they may not have had the most knowledge but they truly cared for each other.

I’d be interested in seeing what you all think about the broken health care system here in America. Tell me what side of the fence you’re on and you’ll be entered for a free eBook. Last week’s winner is SiNn and orelukjp0!

Thanks and hope to see you next week!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Waiting Game

I learned a lot about hurry up and waiting when I was in the Air Force. You would think that training would help me now that I'm an author, but....*sigh* it doesn't. lol I tell people that I used to be a patient person before I started writing and submitting stories. heehee

Waiting....let me count the ways.

1.) You sub the story. Now the wait begins to see if the publishing house will pick it up.

2.) You get a yes and do the happy dance! Now you have to wait for edits.

3.)'ve waited through the edits and the back and forth now you wait for the cover.

4.) You jump up and down because you LOVE your cover. Now you wait for the release date.

5.) You get your release date and more happy dancing commences. Now you have to wait for the actual release.

6.) You are screaming so loud they can hear you all over the country because your release day is here! have to wait to hear from the readers and reviewers to see if they like your story.

After all starts all over again! lol Good thing authors love to write. heehee And I'm happy to have great friends that make the wait not seem that long. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

A free read… part 4 (R rated)

Here’s the continuation of Holiday Spirits. Enjoy the free read!
Don had my notes. As a colleague, he had offered to review them for accuracy and double check my research, and when I’d handed them over, I hadn’t thought twice about it. But now I didn’t trust him worth a damn. The retrieval of my notes would be the first item on my agenda when I returned home. I didn’t want that ass to have any part of my life, colleague or not.
A cheer rang out from the crowd who had gathered on a street corner. Their calls of encouragement lifted my emotions and stopped my negative line of thinking. I waved to them and received a round of applause.
I finally understood how and why people became hooked on racing. There was the adrenaline rush, the inspiration and support from the volunteers and the crowds, and the pride from accomplishing such a lofty goal. I felt a smile brighten my face, but the moment I came upon the next aid booth the excitement drained from me like someone had pulled the plug on a tub full of water.
Mile seventeen? I’m only at mile seventeen?
I snatched a pack of goo from my race belt and consumed the warm, sticky content. I couldn’t be hitting The Wall, not yet. It was too soon to burn out. Two of my training runs had taken me over twenty miles, so why was I hit with fatigue and unsteadiness at this mile? I took a deep breath and realized I had let myself worry about a situation that wasn’t in my control. Damn. Why did I let thoughts about Don take over? I needed to relax.
If only my friend, or Artim, were here to take my mind off the miles and my psychological hitch.
Artim. He was someone I could definitely relax with in more ways than one, even though being near him conjured up the craziest sensual images I’ve ever had. And why not hook up with him? He’d be an early Christmas present to me, from me.
Artim joined me a few paces after mile eighteen.
“Are you faring well?”
His wonderfully sexy voice was like a soothing balm on my tired muscles. A supply of energy welled within me.
“I am now.” Hearing the flirtatious twinge in my voice, I cringed. Still I was happy Santa had heard my wish and granted me an early gift.
“I am glad to hear it.” He matched my slower stride with ease.
“You didn’t have to wait for me you know. I’m sure you have your own goal you want to meet. How’s Ned by the way?” I glanced in his direction. The man looked fresh and vibrant. I made a mental note to ask him what his secret was after the race when I wouldn’t be so focused on putting one foot in front of the other.
“Sì, I have a goal, but not to worry. Ned is fine. I keep you company for now.”
“Thanks.” I grazed his arm with the palm of my hand in a friendly, playful way and another image from the past flashed on my mind’s screen.
It was still market day. He and I had snuck away from the confines of the town’s center, the eyes of the marketers and patrons, and had walked out toward the hills and his uncle’s vineyard. We sat on a grassy slope before the edge of the road in front of the yard. The young man put his arm around me and brought me close, drawing me into the folds of his arms. I laid my head upon his chest, listened to the strong, slow thumps of his heart and breathed in the scent of his leather and musk.
“I love you, Quintus.”
“And I, you, Vespasia.”
My soul warmed in joy as I sat in his embrace and, when he cupped my chin and tilted my face up toward his, warmth spread and blanketed my body. His spirit seemed to envelope my own. He lowered his head and touched his lips to mine. A tremor rippled through me.
My senses became heightened by his slow, thoughtful kiss and the light breeze drifting by brought on another brief shiver. His kiss became more persuasive and, although I felt what we were doing should stop before our loving went further, I couldn’t draw away. I met his command and parted my mouth, letting him taste me more fully. His teeth nicked my lips, his tongue caressed mine. When his hand moved from my chin to cup my head and his other arm stayed wrapped around me, I was grateful for the support. I felt like a stream of free flowing liquid as he brought my desires and passion out.
Light, mobile, loose. That’s how good I felt running beside Artim during the last stretch of the race. It seemed we connected on a metaphysical plane and he fed his exuberant amount of energy to me. The last few miles went by in a blur and, when I saw the finish line and realized I had broken my goal of five hours by twenty minutes, I wanted to do cartwheels.
Close to the end, I grabbed his hand and we ran hand in hand through the gate. Volunteers placed finishers’ medals around our necks and took the timing chips from our shoes. Once we were far enough down the chute to be out of peoples’ ways, I threw my arms around him and gave him a huge kiss, square on his sexy lips.
A fling with Artim to get over Don was exactly the holiday gift I needed.

Can’t wait to read more? Buy the book today!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Things That go Bump in the Night

Good afternoon everyone! It's a lovely (not) fall day here in Michigan and I'm wishing I were back in Cape Cod where we spent 10 glorious days two weeks ago with temps no lower than 70! We stayed in an oceanfront cottage my friend's mom owns and it was absolutely an amazing vacation. For many reasons, and one of which is my blog for today.

Our second night there we (hubby, myself, daughter and son-in-law to be) were all sitting in the living room watching tv. I happened to glance up and saw an old man standing the bedroom doorway. He was not translucent, he was solid. I didn't freak out, didn't scream, faint or swoon as this type of stuff has happened to me too many times in my life to even make me blink an eye nowadays.

I stared at him and noticed he was scowling at me. He had white-gray hair and was wearing a dark blue, almost black suit with the hint of a white dress shirt at the neckline. For about 15 seconds we continued to watch one another, then as fast as he was there, he vanished.

I didn't say anything to the family right away cause I know my daughter would pass kittens! (Yes, she's my drama queen) So about 10 minutes later, I said "I don't want to freak anyone out, but there was a man standing in the bedroom doorway a few minutes ago." Yes, you guessed it, she freaked!!! (Remember, this is the same child who yelled at me when I fell on the ice last winter)

My family was a bit concerned about our visitor but seeing as I wasn't upset, they chose not to be. Except Amanda. She kept staring at the doorway all evening long. I will admit though when I went to bed later than night I was apprehensive he might reappear and startle me in the dark, but nope, nothing happened.

The next day we went into Sandwich to tour the glass museum. While there, I happened upon a photograph of a man in uniform. The uniform looked alot like what the man at the cottage had been wearing. Could it be????

I checked with the homeowner and she said no one including herself had ever seen anything. But the cottage had been housing for military families back during World War 2. Which was way before they ever owned it. And to date she had never heard that anyone died there.

So who knows. Was he a soldier back from the dead visiting? Or maybe someone entirely different. His age would be correct if he had died in later years. My grandfather was in WW2 and he is 90 now. I'm not sure who he was, and part of me wishes I could see him again and ask him. But it's highly unlikely I will get the chance.

During my life I have had many visits from deceased family members, and also two not so wonderful out-of-body experiences when I was going through chemotherapy. Those I hope to never repeat. They were more frightening than seeing a ghost.

But with Halloween right around the corner, it's the perfect time to sidle up to a spirit and ask what questions come to mind. You never know, it might make for a great next novel.

Happy haunting all!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Zombie Hamster

For children having a pet serves two main purposes. The first is teaching that child to care for and about another living creature and its needs. It teaches children to think about others and be aware of the needs of others. The second purpose is to teach about death. A child learns that everything dies and that this is sad and permanent.

My children have had a lot of experience with this, we have a pet cemetery in our back yard full of beloved cats, hamsters, and even a hedgehog. They know that they must take care of their pets or they will die, they also know that no matter what they do these pets will die eventually, as will everything else. It is sad but they are aware of how precious life is, a good thing.

So yesterday when we came down stairs and saw that one of the hamster's balls was open on the floor, and the cat was down there, we figured death had come again to our happy little friends. We found the hamster, it wasn't moving, its eyes were closed as it laid on its side in front of the stalking cat. It was the hamster of my littlest and she started to cry and her big sister hugged her and went to get some paper towels to wrap it up in.

I stared at it, sad for my baby girl more than the animal itself, and saw it move, just the very slightest breathing. I almost didn't say anything to the girls, i was sure it was well on its way to dead so there was no reason to give them hope that it wouldn't be dead any minute. But i picked it up and it opened its little eyes. I told the girls it was alive, barely and would probably not make it much longer.

I let my little ones say goodbye to the thing and put it in its cage to die, i thought. An hour later the thing is up and around, eating and drinking and burrowing into its bedding! So I am very thankful i hadn't tossed it anyway, figuring death was too close to save and no reason to prolong the sadness of the children by letting it die twice. But it was so close to dead i have to wonder...

Is this a Zombie Hamster? I will watch it very carefully to see if it seems to grow extra fangs and a thirst for brains.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Missing Mitrece

By A.J. Llewellyn

On September 16, Mitrece Richardson, a 24 year old college grad went to dinner at Geoffrey's restaurant in Malibu. By all accounts, she seemed...high on drugs, perhaps even drunk. She inserted herself into a couple of conversations and made inappropriate remarks, but for the most part people just thought she was kooky.
The restaurant manager thought she was a little more than that when she couldn't pay her hefty $89 tab. Mitrice asked him to call her grandma who swiftly offered to pay her bill but the restaurant refused to take the card over the phone without a signature. The elderly lady had no fax machine to send them her signature and called her daughter, Mitrece's mom...but by then, Mitrece was in jail.
She was released in the middle of the night - 12.25 a.m. - a long, long way from home, at the desolate Lost Hills Sheriff's station. I drove to the station last night in preparation of this blog and let me tell you, it's dark and frightening. There are few street lights and very few places to go for help. Lost Hills is aptly named. It is mountain country...scary critter country...perhaps even, scary people country.
Apart from a brief sighting outside somebody's home, Mitrece has not been since since September 16.
This story has haunted me, not just because of the grim events, which spiraled out of control into one gruesome mess, but because frankly of the lack of coverage.
I am a secret Nancy Grace junkie. Nancy loves missing women but she has not addressed thie disappearance of Mitrece Richardson. A few local LA newspapers and TV stations kept up coverage up to about a week ago.
The last thing I read was on September 30, when Mitrece's heart-broken dad offered an astonishing reward, his 1966 Chevy Impala, worth $20,000 to whomever can find and deliver him his missing daughter.
The LA County Board of Supervisors has also approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to Mitrece's recovery...but could all of this been avoided?
There's no question she should have paid her bill.
There has been information coming in parts and pieces that Mitrece is bipolar and exhibited signs of mental instability by telling the valet driver at Geoffrey's that she was from Mars.
I don't understand how the police released an attractive young woman in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere with no money, no keys, no car, no phone and no transportation, and I am trying not to think her poor handling by the sheriff's station is because she is black.
I do think the lack of news coverage has everything to do with her skin color. Sorry, but I do. If she were a pretty blonde, Nancy Grace would be all over this story.
Where is Mitrece?
I was ready to point fingers at the cops until a friend's daughter recently went to the police here in North Hollywood after her boyfriend beat her up. She filed a report and an officer offered to drive her home. Home! To her abuser!
She declined the ride and called her mom, telling her she was going to walk home. None of this made sense to me when her mom called me in hysterics.I intervened. I called the police and they seemed surprised when I jumped all over them.
"We offered to take her home and she refused," the officer told me on the phone.
Why in the world do cops, who arguably, aren't mental health professionals, but geez Louise, why listen to somebody who is clearly in no shape to make rational decisions?
I asked how on earth they could allow her to leave on her own to face a man who'd just attacked her. He told me they offered to take her home, that they would walk her to the door. If the boyfriend, for whom they'd been searching, was there, they'd make sure things were okay.
Well, she went home with the cops and the boyfriend was contrite...yeah, until he slugs her the next time.
I think about all this and think the cops showed poor judgment in releasing Mitrece to the wilderness. She hadn't been in their custody long (about two hours) and although they claim she seemed fine, she clearly and very obviously was not.
There is a chain of faulty links here, starting with Geoffreys, which should have accepted the credit card payment and called the cops to see this troubled young woman home safely, not to the poky and an uncertain fate.
My hope and prayer is that Mitrece is okay. I hope that eight days of media silence won't stretch into weeks and months of...nothing.
If YOU have information on Mitrece Richardson, please call
LAPD's Missing Persons Unit at 213-485-5381.

Aloha oe,
A search of the Malibu Canyon's hidden hills has revealed nothing. She has vanished. The longer she is gone, the worse it looks. In reading all I have about Mitrece, my heart breaks for her and her family. She is a thoughtful, well-educated young lady who's clearly in trouble.
Somebody, somewhere must know something.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Middle Place

We all have a middle place, a time in our lives where we start looking at things differently, start realizing our own mortality and what we’re going to leave behind.

That was not the case when I opened the article below whose link had arrived from a friend in my email box. No, those things were the furthest from my mind. I had opened this article because she said it was cool and because it talked about author promotion. Take a moment and read the article and you’ll see what I mean.

Okay, I think, just what is so special about this person. She had this great story idea, she does some readings and bang, she gets a lot of media time. Geez, what does she have that I don’t? So, I decide to go one more step and go to her website. Take a look.

Yeah, the website is great and I just love the layout and if I were a jealous kind of person I would be jealous. But I’m not because I’m still intrigued by what is making her so popular. Why are these myopic look at one’s life so great? Geez, I’m only 51 and I am blessed to not ever really having a devastating disease and it is my one hope that I never get Alzheimer’s which is what my mother died of.

So, I’m not getting it and then I see the YouTube link, realizing that it all started here. Sigh. Now go look at it and come back to read the rest of this blog.

I get it. I so, so get it as I sit here trying to type through the haze of tears. Maybe it’s just because I am still reeling from the news that a 40 yo brother of a friend died so unexpectedly. Maybe it’s because I’ve been suddenly missing my mother and God only knows why. Maybe it's because my dog, who had been kissed by the fairies with his one blue eye and one brown eye, had also unexpected died at the beginning of this month. Or maybe it’s because I feel stymied by my own fears and wants and desires that I seem not to be moving forward in my own writing career and this brought it all to the forefront.

Maybe I just needed a good cry. So thank you Kelly Corrigan for bringing it all into focus once again. You don’t know me and probably never will but with just those three things you have enriched my life in ways I didn’t know it needed to be enriched. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is just the kick I need.

And like a good little consumer girl, the next time I am out, I will be trying to find your book so I can purchase. So don’t be offended if the first place I look is Costco followed by Wal-Mart as I have a very cheap, very Scottish husband who is always admonishing me for spending more on books than I must.

Good luck in everything you do, Kelly, you deserve to be the ‘it’ girl as you have a way with words.

Here are the other websites mentioned in article http:/ and

And no, no big promo push this week because even I need to rest. But here’s the winner of this week’s drawing: Tierney O'Malley.

See you all next week.


Monday, October 5, 2009

A free read… part 3 (R rated)

Here’s the continuation of Holiday Spirits. Enjoy the free read!
Even though I lost my view, the first seven miles were entertainment in themselves. Crowds, braving the early morning cold, lined the street and cheered the runners. The sun rose casting a golden hue on the casinos and created the illusion that the neon signs had dimmed in their colorful intensity, reducing the awe of the eye candy. The runners were enjoyable, too. A handful dressed as Santa, sans the extra padding. Others dressed in wedding garb for the run-through ceremony to be performed later, and several Elvis runners, all dressed in the famous white suit, ran scattered throughout the crowd.
Before it seemed any time had passed, I had discarded the sweatshirt and sweatpants. The throw away clothes, discarded by runners when they became hot from running, would be picked up by the race volunteers and donated to local goodwill agencies. My racing shirt and shorts were the only items of clothing left on my body to protect me from the elements. I had passed all the sights of The Strip and downtown and was just over an hour in to the race when, at the mile seven aid station, I grabbed a cup of sports drink from a volunteer. I downed the liquid and tossed the cup as I kept moving. A little farther ahead, I spied
Artim and Ned, waiting for me. I caught up to them, and they fell into pace beside me.
“It is said the next few miles are in a bad section of town.”
I nodded as Artim’s tenor voice slipped over me in a tender blanket of sound, making me want to cuddle up next to him.
“I will protect you.”
I will protect you. His words resounded in my mind in a pleasing ripple of déjà vu, awakening a strange memory of a stroll down a gray cobblestone street in a different time.
The memory was of a market day. Young versions of me and Artim, respectively clad in the off-white Roman apparels of a peplos and toga, strolled along with the rest of the crowd, stopping occasionally to examine the goods and produce of the vendors. I paused at one cart displaying various shades and textures of white cloth. My fingers grazed a soft length of delicately woven material. I turned to my companion, presenting the cloth over my outstretched hand. “I shall have mother buy me this, craft a robe and dress me in it for our wedding.”
“Whatever your heart desires, Vespasia, my love, will be yours.”
He brought my other hand, which he had been holding during our walk, up to his lips and kissed the backs of my fingers. The thick silver band on my ring finger glinted in the afternoon sun. A delighted smile twitched my lips. The public consent to our marriage to make our union official had been shown quite adequately, since not only had my love held my hand as he walked me along the street, he had kissed it as well.
“My heart desires you and only you my dear, Quintus. June will not come fast enough.”
Sic, my love, I agree, but once it does and you are mine, I will protect you always and keep you forever close to my heart.”
“Promise?” I continued to gaze at the eyes of my love. My core filled with a fierce longing for him.
“Promise.” He stroked the backs of my fingers with his thumb.
Hand in hand we continued our promenade through the center of town, our leather sandals quietly padding the dirt and stones beneath our feet. We passed by several small sand-colored buildings where plebes and freedmen lived and worked, then stopped outside a grand building with a white marble façade, steps and tall columns. It was the place where the Senate regularly met. I squeezed his hand. We were a good match he, a Senator’s son, and I, another Senator’s daughter. If only he weren’t involved with that religious cult.
The snap of fingers cracked beside my ear.
I abruptly turned toward the noise, then stumbled. Artim grabbed my arm in gentle strength to keep me from crashing to the ground. His graceful fingers lightly grasped my arm as I righted myself and continued moving. The touch of his hand, though delicate, seared me, heating my desire to a low boil. Every nerve in my body sizzled. I wanted this classically handsome man with an intensity I had never known before. The instantaneous attraction to him alarmed me. One part of me as a scholar, who looked at the world with an analytical mind, realized the sudden appeal to him was merely physical, a chemical transference of sight and smell. My other side, as a woman and a romantic, finally understood what the Greeks meant by theia mania—madness from the gods. Falling in love at first sight, being hit with Cupid’s arrow, was nuts. And I was mad, crazy to be out here running for several hours and crushing on a man who I knew nothing about.
“I’m all right.” I sidestepped to put some distance between us and to move away from his alluring touch. “I got into my…um…zone and…um…lost in thought.” I sensed he didn’t believe me and wanted to question me further so I held up my hand. “I’m fine, really.”
“If you say so. Would you mind if I went ahead to catch up with Ned? I believe he’s feeling a little out of sorts.”
The concern in his voice for me and his friend twanged at my heart strings. Artim was such a nice man, a good soul. “No, I don’t mind.” The words came out clipped, breathless. “I need to adjust my speed anyway. I’ve been running a little fast for my taste.”
Artim nodded and sprinted away as if he hadn’t been running for over an hour and a half.
A mile later I realized I missed having the company while I pounded the pavement. Being with someone, whether you talked or not, made the miles and time roll by faster. I couldn’t dwell on being alone though. I had to keep the end in mind, the goal of finishing set firmly in front of me. I had to prove to myself that, just because a guy I’d dated on and off for over ten years didn’t want me anymore, didn’t mean I was a washed up old hag. I had a great body, finely-toned and tuned from training for the marathon. My sun-touched, lightly tanned skin was firmer, more radiant due to my better eating habits. My long chocolate and caramel colored hair was fuller, shinier and silkier. Granted, the color and the shiny silky part could be contributed to my favorite hairstylist and her talent with dyes, highlights and conditioners, but still, my locks received great compliments. What did those twits, those grad students, who he kept hooking up with and who lived on sodas and processed foods, have over me?
My sneakers slapped the road as I envisioned stepping on Don’s head with each movement of my legs. The scenery whizzed by me. The houses and subdivisions looked different with each block. One moment I ran past beautiful homes behind concrete walls and in the next I passed what appeared to be homes built before Las Vegas became a hot spot. Then the next turn revealed not-so-well kept apartments. Talk about a melting pot. If I wasn’t so heavily involved in the ancient Greece and Rome projects for my classes, I’d check out the history of this interesting town. But I had enough on my plate as it was with my committees, the classes I taught and the book I had to finish to make tenure.
The book. Damn it to all hell.

Can’t wait to read more? Buy the book today!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Hey everyone, well it's been a week since I've been back from a wonderful vacation on Cape Cod and wanted to share with you something that happened while the family and I were there. We stayed in a cottage my friend's mom owns right on the ocean on the Atlantic. The ocean is right over the sand dune off the deck. It's the closest you can get to paradise in my opinion.

We arrived late on Thursday night and went straight to bed. Friday evening we (meaning hubby, daughter Amanda and her fiance James) were sitting in the living room watching tv when I happened to glance up at the bedroom door (the room hubby and I shared). There was an old man standing in the doorway. He had whitish color hair, very grizzled looking and had a scowl on his face. He wore what I thought was a dark blue or black suit and I could see a white shirt collar at the top.

I stared at him for about 15 seconds then he was gone. He disappeared as fast as he came. I didn't say anything for a few minutes, just digested what I had seen. Now this sort of thing is not uncommon for me. It doesn't freak me out or send me screaming for cover. I've had this happen to me too many times over the past years to count. What it did do was make me wonder who he was and why pop in now.

I waited about 10 minutes and calmly said to my daughter - "Don't freak out but..." well she leaped out of her chair thinking I was talking about a spider. The cottage had a few of those and Amanda is deathly afraid of them. But no, I finished with "There was a man in the bedroom door just a few minutes ago." My hubby and James looked at me oddly, as Amanda stared at the bedroom door. She kept asking me why I was so calm, why wasn't I having a fit. Because it didn't scare me. A couple hours later, I went to bed and all was quiet.

Two days later, we are at the breakfast table and hubby announces, "Weirdest thing happened last night." Amanda is on full freak out alert again. "I was getting into bed, and a few seconds later, I swear I felt something tug at the bottom of the bedsheets at the foot of the bed by my feet. Twice," hubby says.

Now Amanda wants me to call Mrs. G and ask about the cottage. Did anyone die there? Any ghost stories? Who lived there before. I refused. That's the last thing someone wants to hear. Plus people who don't believe are sometimes very sceptical of those who do.

We spent the day at the Sandwich Glass museum and as I was wandering through the exhibits I cam across a portrait of a soldier. His uniform caught my eye immediately. It was almost exactly what the apparition in the cottage was wearing. Dark blue, almost black with the hint of a white shirt collar at the top. Could it be my ghost was in the military?

A few days later we learned that the cottage was over 50 years old, but had burned down in 1998 due to an electrical fire. No one was hurt and it was rebuilt as it is today. Originally the cottages were built as housing for the military back in World War 2. Then sold off after the war ended.

I wish I could say I had something really exciting to relate that a whole family of ghosts inhabit the place, but that's not the case. But was the man I saw a soldier in the war back then? I don't know and I doubt I will ever know.

If nothing else, it gives me an idea for a new book and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I do love my paranormals and you might just see this one on the shelves sometime.

Until next week, enjoy the fall weather. Here in Michigan it's been raining for a week. Take care, Patti

Saturday, October 3, 2009

They're Ageing, But Let's Not Forget...

I've recounted an interesting video advertisement I received in my email. It's one of those things that make us stop and think for a good moment, and set us straight.

An elderly man and a young man are sitting on a bench in a backyard. It's a lovely, warm day. The young man is reading a book while the older man is attracted to a sound of a bird chirping nearby. He sees it hopping around on the branches of a tree.

Pointing to it, he asks, "What is that?"

The young man looks up from his book. "A sparrow."

A few moments later, the elderly man says, "What's that?" as he points once again to the bird.

The young man looks up again. "Dad, it's a sparrow, like I said."

The bird flies to a bush. The old man points to it. "What is that?"

With a frustrated sigh, his son lowers the book and stares at his father. "Dad, how many times do I have to tell you it's a sparrow?"

When the bird flies over to the grass near their feet, the father asks the same question.

"Why do you do this?" shouts his son. "Why do you keep asking the same thing? It's a sparrow for God's sake!"

Quietly, his father gets up and goes into the house. A few moments later, he emerges holding an old diary. He sits next to his son and opens it. He flips the pages slowly until he finds the one he wants. He runs his finger down the page and stops. He reads: "I spent the afternoon with my three-year-old son in the garden. Nature fascinated him. He kept pointing to a little bird, asking what it was. I told him it was a sparrow. He kept asking the same question, and I kept answering. He asked me twenty one times. I answered him every time, and hugged him in my arms."

Hearing this, the son breaks down and pulls his father close. "I'm sorry, Dad," he cries.


Seeing the video made me cry. Dad made a good point. We owe at least this much to our parents.

Celia Jade

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Love, Loss & Giraffes

By A.J. Llewellyn

I once went to see a great medium, Tom Sexton, truly one of the most gifted people I have ever met.
He no longer works since extended illness overtook him but before my meeting with him, his wife told me to write down five questions on a piece of paper. When I finally got to meet Tom, he took the folded up page, but never looked at it. He simply held it in his hands and kind of mumbled. In fact, I heard a ton of gibberish as he started rocking back and forth and scribbled over two pages.
His eyes seemed to turn inward. He was staring away from the page, but his hand flew across it.
He handed me the first one and it contained my birth date, my city of birth and he said, "If this is wrong, we can't continue."
My palms became sweaty as I said, "No, it's correct."
I will never forget what he wrote down next on a second piece of white legal paper.
"I am still with you and always love you. I will be back as your unborn daughter in the year 2oo2. Love, your mother, Maria."
It was a stunning thing to see and I still have the page. I showed it to my dad shortly after the reading and we both cried.
I know in his heart he wished it to be true. My dad cautioned me that Tom was a medium, not a psychic. "He knows your deepest wish and that is to know your mother again, but please don't be upset if this doesn't come true."
Well, I never did have that baby girl come into my life and it most likely will never come to pass but the idea struck me way back then.
Can the people we love really die and come back - as other people?
I'm not the first person to think about this but it's always struck me that having a parent or sibling pass on and being reborn as an infant child is a safe kind of love.
What if your wife died and came a man?
My friend Leigh once told me she loves her wife so much she would love her even if she were a man, a woman or a giraffe. Leigh had been straight at the time she met Jan.
Leigh, a divorced mother of three children was actively looking for a man when she met her...giraffe.
I personally thought this was amazingly open of her and I've seen a huge, happy change in her. I've since quizzed tons of people since this idea took root in my brain for my new book, Tall, Mean and Darkly which published today at www.eXtasy
For me, the idea that I could love a person no matter their sex is lovely and noble but it's not me. I like men. Period.
The fictional me, Gavin Jago, is presented with the same question and a major dilemma when a hot hunk of a guy shows up at his door claiming to be his recently dead wife.
I took this idea to my frequent co-author Stephani Hecht and we had some sexy fun with poor Gavin's problem.
Stephani however is happily married to a wonderful guy and I am in a relationship with my own wonderful guy but I am quite sure her kids wouldn't want a giraffe for a dad.
But what about you? Could you love somebody no matter what sex they were?

Aloha oe,
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