Monday, December 30, 2013

Very Superstitious...

Jacinta Lluch [CC-BY-SA-2.0
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons
...is what the Portuguese are; I've mentioned this before, you may remember. (And if you don't, here's a link.) But there are layers of superstition which manage to surprise me as they continue to unravel, like some stealthy Lusitanian onion, just when I thought I'd heard them all. (I'm a first-generation American of Portuguese descent and, after 43 years on this planet, I coulda sworn I'd learned all the 'guese stuff worth knowing.)

Specifically, I refer to Portuguese superstitions regarding New Year's Eve—though I don't remember my parents, aunts, uncles, or cousins doing anything more on said evening than getting stinking drunk (as is right and proper). But in recent years, my Mom's trotted out a few choice bits of magical thinking. For example, there's the twelve green grapes at midnight business: these must be consumed within the first minute of the new year, so as to ascertain good luck for each of the twelve coming months. Now, I coulda sworn I told her about this, having learned it from my former, Puerto Rican, in-laws, but Mom acts like it's old hat, now. Yeah, whatevs.

That one's pretty tame, and probably not unknown to most of y'all. But the onion unveiled a layer of the surreal the year my Mom gave me a small parcel on a December 30. Doubtingly, I took the thing from her and opened it. I blinked at what lay in the wrapping paper, then at my mother.
"Underwear?" I asked, uncomprehending.

"Red underwear," she replied with a broad, loony smile."Make sure you wear it New Year's Eve."

"Um...why?"

"It's for luck."

My left eyebrow quirked up of its own accord. "What kind of luck?"

Her crazed grin broadened, not unlike the grins of the folks in the video for Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun. "Who knows?" she said. And then she buggered off before I could demand further explanation.

This conversation haunted me, so much so that I had to track my sister, Star, down online and beg her to help me figure this shizz out. I don't remember all the particulars of that long online chat, but I can't forget when stunned realization compelled me to type out the words,

You mean...Mom wants me to get laid?!!??!?!?!?

Or similar.

I think Star and I settled on the fact that, as red symbolizes love, our mother simply wished me to enjoy some happiness in that department. I mean, it's not like she's ever been a romantic (like, not EVER), or thinks men are good for much of anything except making babies (sorry, folks, but it's not what I think, but what she thinks). Mom's, like, super Old Country Catholic and never encouraged us to date or anything even close to it. So the idea of my mother wanting me to get lucky, sort of blew me away. (Which isn't to say I didn't wear the hell out of those underpants that New Year's Eve, for all the good that did me.)

Anyway.

Y'all ever hear about anything even remotely like that? If not that, then what kooky New Year's Eve superstitions did you grow up with? (I'm particularly interested in something that'll help me get lucky, so feel free to share in the comments.) (Please, for the love of all that's holy; Goth Mom Lite's feeling that Urge To Merge!) (Ahem.)

Edited to add: Well, well, well...my Mom is vindicated




Monday, December 23, 2013

Streaming Consciousness: A Post-Birthday Pictorial...

...gentle readers, pray forgive the lateness of this week's post. I traveled for my birthday this past weekend (Dec. 21 was the day; no, it's not too late to buy/send me something fabulous) and got in late last night. The Kid returned from skewl while I was away, so we had a bit of catching up to do, thus, I'd no time to write this week's post till today. I present for your visual pleasure a pictorial of my birthday trip to our nation's capital, Washington D.C...



...I began my day with the local brew,
possibly my new preferred brand,
Zombie Coffee...




...I wasn't able to capture the "Happy birthday Mina!" Google wished me,
though I did snag the doodle...




...I realized I hadn't packed my Kindle power cord, so I stopped by the local bookstore and picked up a Regency romance
(though the gowns on the cover seem more Georgian than Regency, to me),
April Lady, by one of my fave authors, Georgette Heyer...




...when My Dear Friend Sara Leigh joined me, we betook ourselves to a place I've longed wanted to visit, the International Spy Museum. There, I was astonished to learn all of the truly wretched things humans are capable of doing to learn one another's secrets while keeping others from learning theirs...



...for dinner, we adjourned to a lovely place Sara Leigh'd introduced me to some years ago, Co Co. Sala: Chocolate Lounge and Boutique
(the image below is of Sara Leigh's dessert,
as I'm damned if I'll share even just pictures of mine)...




...the following day we headed over to The Phillips Collection (America's First Museum of Modern Art!) to check out, among other things,
Van Gogh's Repetitions...

Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


...as I noted on Facebook recently, my age no longer equals the answer to life, the universe, and everything, alas. 42 saw me reach the high of self-publishing my debut romance novel, That Fatal Kiss, and the low of pining for my own, seemingly impossible, romance. I don't mind telling you that I both marvel at, and fear, what 43 may bring...

But as long as Goth Mom Lite's got her mascara and red lipstick,
she aims to roll with the punches as best she can...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Indie Author SOS ~ Weirdness!

So I was checking out the listing for my book, That Fatal Kiss, on Amazon.com (yeah, I was eyeballing the Amazon Best Sellers Rank, which I've been doing daily since I released it in September) (OK, I look at TFK's ABSR several times a day; gimme a break, this is all new to me and I've got compulsive tendencies) when I noticed something weird. It struck me as so utterly bizarre that I squinted, really hard, at my laptop screen (and I do my damnedest not to squint, 'cause I can't afford the wrinkles). I even asked someone at my day job to take a look at it, as I just really couldn't believe what I was seeing. Here's a piccie of The Weirdness (hint: look closely at the pricing in the rectangular box):




Do you see that Used Paperback price, through Amazon.com Marketplace? Someone's listed for sale a used paperback copy of TFK for almost a thousand dollars.

Someone has listed for sale a used paperback copy of TFK for almost a thousand dollars.

Uh...what?

Say what???

Seriously, what the actual fuck? For realz? C'mon, that's gotta be a typo, right? The seller meant, like, 99 cents, probably, right? Right?!

So I e-mailed the good people over at Amazon.com, just asking if that was a legit listing, and was given some canned response about sellers being able to ask any price they want for the items they put up for sale.

Yeah, that's fine, but what the hell did the seller do to that copy to warrant a ticket price of $999.11? Gild the page edges with actual gold, melted down in a vat in his basement? Embed in it some new stripe of artificial intelligence, so that it can do your homework (and/or taxes) for you, on demand? 
Imbue it with such mighty mystical powers that, if carried around as a charm, it'd keep mosquitoes and zits at bay for, like, forever? ('Cause that would be rather impressive, wouldn't it?)

I'm tempted to write the seller and ask her/him to let me know if it sells at that price, just to see if s/he discovers (and owns up to) an error in pricing. 'Cause that's totally a mistake. It's just gotta be. Or a cruel, cruel joke.

Indie (and/or traditionally published) authors of teh Blogosphere: any o' y'all seen some shit like that? If so, did it weird you out? If so, did you do anything about it? Should I be doing something about it??? (Probably not, but this thing's just do weirdly weird that I had to toss in a few more question marks somewhere...)

Monday, December 9, 2013

No, Cupid; It's Not OK

Before I get started, I want you to understand that I ain't no dating guru*. In fact, I've rarely "dated," as such. The men with whom I've been involved were known to me in some capacity, so we weren't just starting to get to know one another from scratch. The idea of meeting up with complete strangers so we can size one another up as potential mating partners rather turns my stomach.

So naturally I decided to sign up with an online dating service.

I dunno what the hell made me do it. OK, it was having coffee with a friend who met her fiancé on OkCupid. That, and OkCupid's free. Well, unless you don't want folks to know you're stalking their profiles, in which case you have to pay. Which is what I'm doing. (No, not the stalking folks bit, the paying bit, so they don't know I'm stalking.) (Looking, not stalking. Jeez, GAH!)

Anyway, I signed up on OkCupid in August but I've yet to go out on a proper date, though it's not for lack of offers. It's just that...some of these dudes are creepy.

Or maybe I just find dating creepy.

In the first week, after getting a bunch of unappealing messages, a dude finally wrote something which engaged my interest. We had some fun exchanges and, though it wigged me out that he was 29 (coming after a 42-year-old Goth Mom!), I reckoned I'd just practice flirting and see what happened.

My stomach turned, is what happened.

I should've known things were gonna get gross when, in a reference to a note in my profile that I write romance novels, he asked me how I like my romance (in, like, his second message to me). (Well, at least he actually read my profile.) I wrote back, "Slow and steady wins the race." To which he admitted a preference for racing around the track.

I shoulda known.

We wound up on the phone one night. He was, by turns, contentious and arrogant, but to his credit, he was being upfront about what he wanted. He talked of enjoying older babes because they were more mature, and not silly, like chicks in their 20s. (For future reference, Lovers-of-Cougars: don't diss half of my sex when you're kissing up to me. I was once in my 20s, ass-hat.) What he really enjoyed was the racing analogy, and he kept going back to my "slow and steady" comment. When he hemmed and hawed at one point, I asked him what was up.

Dude: You seem to want me to be...blunt.
Me: I want you to be straightforward. (Thinking over what I've just said.) Like, gently and respectfully straightforward.

Dude: Well...it's just that I want to establish a baseline of what our expectations are.

Me (torn between amusement and horror): Go on, then.

Dude: Well...I said before I like to race around. I'm an experiencer of things, you know? While you...

Me (amusement drying up in the face of this last bit): While I like to take things slowly. Yes, I can see where we might have different ways of relating...

Dude: I don't wanna scare you off, though. Man, I'm not doing a good job of calming you down...

Me (feeling my free hand curl into an actual fist): I'm not going into hysterics over here, guy. I can appreciate where you're coming from, only it's not where I'm coming from. The thing is, it's been a while since I've...dated.

Dude (sharply): How long's a while?

Me (not seeing the point of being coy): It's been years.

Dude (after a pause): Oh. So the car hasn't even been out of the garage in a while.

At this point, I'm completely done with the conversation and struggling to find a polite way of bringing it to a close. Then the Dude obliged me by saying:

Dude: I just don't want you to write this off, you know? I mean, we've had some fun banter and we find one another attractive, and I just think, you know, if you wanted to get together, we could have a good time. Besides, I'm a fucking excellent mechanic.

At that, I laughed (loudly), congratulated him on his self-confidence, and got the hell off the phone. Haven't heard from him since, which is just fine, as I'm damned if I ever let him get his mitts on my chassis.

I was prepared to write that off as just a weird experience. But subsequent exhanges with other fellas (via message only) haven't exactly been inspiring. And, actually, it amazes me what some men find to be appropriate volleys for that oh-so-critical first serve. I mean, yeah, I get how difficult it is making that first move, but don't send me a message that contains only one line of text which reads:

sexy mama

or

hey there

or (and this one's my fave)

Hi ms lady

...and nothing else!

Other ways to make a bad impression upon me include writing me things like:

Hey you seem like a wicked ball of fun, would you be game for something "casual"?

No, I would not.

U look so damn cute!! excuse my language .
would u mind if we get to know each other ? Text me plz (phone number redacted)


If you have to ask me whether I'd mind getting to know you, then yes, I probably would mind.

Hello,
I am a 26 year old (profession redacted) from (city redacted).
I love older more mature women.
Do you enjoy younger men?


Not when they look like my kid. Ugh.

In the interest of full disclosure, there was another chap who seemed more promising: he was friendly, polite, attractive, used good grammar in complete sentences (rawr!), and appeared to be just a generally decent guy (even if he was a bit of a Hipster). I had a feeling he'd ask me out, and he did, BUT, he wanted me to trek all the way to where he lives (which is a 1.5 to 2-hour commute from where I live, though a meet-up in Manhattan after work would've been easy-peasy for us both). So I wrote back suggesting a "let's meet halfway" coffee date, and I never heard from him again.

WTF? Wanker.

::sighs::

I  haven't taken down my profile, though I really don't know why I keep it up.

OK, that's not true. I know why I keep it up, and I also know the full reason for creating it to begin with: to help me forget the fella I've been pining for since April. Perhaps, if something had come of the online dating business, it might've helped. As it was, working on getting my book ready to release took the edge off. But only the edge; the core of want remains.

Alas.

Anyway, things are getting busy with the day job, and I have a mini-anthology I want to put out in January, so I've got stuff to keep me busy. And I reckon that's the only thing I can do. Keep busy, leave the profile up, and just...be.

*I ain't no dating guru, but my pal Mac Perry, a fellow blogger, writer, and online dating vet, is. Check out her advice for the guys, as well as for the dolls.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pimp My Page!™

"Like" me, dang it!
For this first week of the month in which I celebrate my birth*, I present for your joy and edification my Pimp My Page!™ campaign! Or maybe that should read, "...for my joy and your edification..." Or, if I'm being straightforward, "...my Facebook author page needs some lovin', y'all!" I mean, I guess I shoulda just said that to begin with, but that makes me come off less altruistic and more "needy author," so...

Yeah, anyway.

Back in October, I teased y'all with the photo over on the left and a hint of a blog post to come. The place in the pic is the Art Institute of Chicago, which was just a few blocks away from the hotel I stayed at while in The Windy City on business last month. I'd no idea it was so close, and as I strolled about town the evening I arrived, I noticed this gloriously lit up facade, whose 3rd banner to the right proclaimed an exhibit titled, "Of Gods and Glamour." Well, as the gods in question were of the ancient Greek variety, I was damned if I was going to leave Chicago without checking it out. (I'm probably damned regardless, but that's a story for another time.)

The following day I did manage to get over to the museum, but didn't really allow myself as much time as I ought to've done, so I didn't snap as many pics as I'd have liked. (I have a bad habit of not giving myself enough time to do stuff; regular readers might've noticed this disturbing trend o' mine.) But I did get a few good'uns, which, rather than stick in a blog post, I've decided to employ as fan bait. (If such a thing is possible.)

Thus, my Pimp My Page!™ campaign was born! Every day this work-week, I'll post a pic from the exhibit on my Facebook author page at 3pm (EST). I hope you, Dear Readers, will go "Like" my page, if you've not already done so. AND, if you're so inclined, do Pimp My Page!™ to any peeps of your acquaintance who you think would enjoy said pics by "Sharing" them on the Facebook. Heck, you can even Tweet about 'em, or Google-Plus 'em, go crazy! If you're not sure how to get to my author page, just click on the badge below:


Thanks for reading and hope to catch you on Facebook, 3pm, from Monday through Friday of this week!



*In case you're wondering, my birthday's on December 21 and I like Lindt and Guylian Belgian chocolates, Brighton jewelry, and Gerbera daisies. ;-)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Bloggy Thanks...

Composing a post such as this is difficult for me, as I fear hurting the folks I don't mention (especially since I'm so very grateful for ALL of my bloggy-blog pals' support). But as the American Thanksgiving holiday draws near, I want to give thanks to some peeps whose above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty efforts on my behalf have both honored and humbled me this year, as I self-published my first book:

Allyson Lindt,
you so generously shared with me LOADS of publishing info.

Yolanda Renée,
your encouraging words have warmed my heart, again and again.

Melissa Bradley, Samantha Redstreake Geary, Emma Yardis,
you seem tireless in your efforts to promote me and my work.

Sofia Grey, Mina Burrows, Elise Fallson, Rocky Hatley, Trisha Farnan, Damyanti G., Alisa Anderson, Ari Michaels, Christine Rains, Danielle Bertrand, Heather Gardner, Jackie Felger, Jessica Topper, Juliette Smith, Penelope Crowe, Shannon Lawrence, Tina Downey, and Tonja Matney, you, and nearly all the gals listed before you, welcomed my cover reveal to your blogs and helped me get the word out about my book.

And many of the chicks already mentioned have said such kind, thoughtful things about That Fatal Kiss, that I'm almost speechless. So, given that a picture's said to be worth a thousand words...


And virtual white roses. But mostly thanks.

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Seven Deadly Sins...

Being that I'm a Goth Mom (Lite), you might imagine me to be full of the swirling darkness that compels a soul to all sorts of depravity. If so, you'd be correct; in my heart, I harbor countless sins, yearning to break free. Dani of Entertaining Interests wants me to confess seven of them. (Well, strictly speaking, this meme seems to demand seven specific sins per each Deadly Sin which, if my mathematical skills—such as they are—serve me, makes for 49 sins. But as you may have already heard, I'm lazy as...well, sin. So you'll get one per category and like it, soldier.)

Pride
I've been told (by two different people) that I'm the possessor of a "smoldering sexuality" and "swagger." So, *W00F* is me.

Envy
I envy the hell outta chicks with preternaturally speedy metabolisms who can consume mass quantities of pizza, beer, and ice cream and never gain an ounce in the wrong place(s). Damn their svelte hides.

Wrath
Oh, where to begin, where to begin?! Lord, if it's not grammatical errors getting my goat, it's folks who saunter three or four-abreast on the sidewalk and don't get the fuck out of my way when I'm running late for work!!!!!!!!!!

*Ahem.* Where was I? Oh, yes; I was being sinful.

Sloth
Ha. Ha ha ha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...

Greed
Right now, my hot little hands want to wrap around the entire Brighton catalog.

Gluttony
I'd consume mass quantities of pizza, beer, and Häagen-Dazs Rocky Road ice cream if I had a preternaturally speedy metabolism. (The problem is, I've consumed these things without one.)

Lust
Well, similar to Greed, parts of me ache to wrap around something, only it's not my hands, nor do they long to go around jewelry. I feel I'd be at it like the proverbial rabbit if I had a partner who was ready, willing, and able to accommodate me. Say, it's gotten a bit hot in here, hasn't it? ::fans self::

And that's about as self-revealing as I'm prepared to be (while sober). (Which I am.) (Alas.)

OK, so I reckon I should tag seven other bloggers, perhaps some new-ish friends I've made, so I can become better acquainted with their dark sides. To that end, I tag (in alpha order, by first name or initials):









OK, folks, your mission is clear: spill it.
After all, confession is good for the soul...

Monday, November 11, 2013

So Much Win!


Hear ye, hear ye!

The Resurrection Blogfest II participants who won the drawing* for $20 Amazon Gift Cards are:

Carrie-Anne's Magick Theatre
Ashley Nixon
Debbie Christiana - Curious Tales of Love, Magic and Mystery

Congratulations, Peeps! Please contact me at aoorooo (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know to which e-mail addresses y'all want y'alls gift cards sent.

*     *     *

But youse ain't the only winners in the house, yo. Since I quit smoking in August, I've saved up quite a bit of coin. That is, I saved only long enough to treat myself, bit by bit, to keep myself on the non-smoking wagon. Here's the loot I've scored with the monies saved by not smoking:

Acer Chromebook


A slew of stuffs from Brighton Collectibles

Andie Soft Shoulderbag


Apollo Key Fob


Intrigue Reversible Necklace


And finally, a new "mini-makeup bag" and "wallet" for my new handbag!

Coin Purse & All in One Crossbody in Canterberry Magenta

Now, before I hear the gnashing of teeth and cries of envy, I need to point out that these came to me after much suffering in the name of being smoke-free. Also, I'd rather be up close and personal with the man of my dreams, but since these are all I can cuddle up to, I shall. Cuddle up to them, that is. Anyway, yay me, for staying strong. Fingers crossed I can maintain my abstinence from cigarettes for the long haul.

*The drawing for the three $20 Amazon Gift Cards was conducted via Random.org.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bringing Back the Dead...

...post, that is.

Hey, y'all, the big day is here! Singing "Happy Bloggiversary" to myself, I celebrate my second year of blogging with my

RESURRECTION
BLOGFEST II!

Not sure what this is all about? Well, click here to learn more! (And if you're reading this before 11:59pm EST on NOV. 7, you can still sign up for it!) (There are, like, PRIZES, and whatnot!)

To sum up, the point of this blog hop is to provide an opportunity for participants to resurrect blog posts from roughly this past year of blogging that they love but didn't get enough attention. Click on the linky-list below to check out all participants' entries.

For my entry, I was torn. Did I want to snark, titillate, or inspire? Well, the snark has already received a good number of views, and the titillating post led to many blushes (I'm guessing), so, since my most recent post was a bit of a downer, I chose to inspire instead. Appearing originally on Thursday, February 28, 2013, I give you...

Writerly Things ~ Making Time

Additional Disclaimer:
Plenty of earthy language follows. Just sayin'.

Dear Reader, I'm ready to bet that at least once in your life you've uttered a sentiment similar to this one: "I'd do {insert super-groovy thing you'd love to do here} if only I had the time." Now, God knows I've experienced phases in which my every day responsibilities to my full-time jobby-job, my son, my parents, even my friends, have overwhelmed me. Everybody wants a piece of me and there's precious little to spare. Yeah, life can suck like that, sometimes.

If, like me, you also battle the demon of depression, then doing that super-groovy thing you love can seem impossible. In part, you feel like when you don't have to do a thing, you just bloody well won't do it, and that's that. You're drained, exhausted. You've got nothing left in you to give, even to yourself. You just can't do it. That is even le suckier, because then you find yourself letting your spare hour/evening/weekend piddle away and guilt floods you, because now  you can do that super-groovy thing, and what the fuck are you doing with this precious gift of time, but a whole lotta nothing???

Well, funk that noise.

First, whether you do or don't suffer from depression, those feelings of guilt are an exaggerated response to that evil little rat-bastard worming his way through your soul and mind and, as such, are pretty useless. Except for making you feel worse about yourself, and who the hell needs that? Pas moi. And pas toi, for that matter. Nobody needs that.

You know what you do need?

You need to do that super-groovy thing you love.

Why do you need to? Because it's medicinal; doing something you love can make you feel better, and then you may want to do more, and feel better still. Because you feeling better will make the people who love you feel better, and then you want to perpetuate that cycle 'cause, you know, you love them. And feeling better is as much a need as food, water, shelter, and Lindt chocolates. (OK, maybe that last one's not a need, but damn; work with me, people.) And, you know, you don't worry too much about finding time to eat, drink, and seek shelter. You do that shit tout de suite because you know you need to. So forget about trying to find time for that super-groovy thing you love; you're going to make time for it.

For me, that super-groovy thing is sex, but since that's not on the table (or on any other piece of furniture, alas), I write. I adore writing. I love my main characters. When I make time to hang out with them, as I've been managing to do more and more, of late, I'm all giddy and infatuated and, frankly, I'm so engrossed in their stories that I've no sense of time passing. The pleasure I derive from writing is just as hot as sex. There, I said it. No, I'm not high. Writing is as good as sex, for me, and if you're a writer, it may be true for you as well, and who the hell doesn't want to make time for sex???

Right; my train of thought just got a wee bit derailed, there. Pardonnez-moi.

Writers, whatever your situation, you can make time for that super-groovy writing you love. Look at your weekly planner, determine how much time you can devote to your writing, and write that jazz down in pen. (Everything's more serious when you write it in pen, ever notice that?) It doesn't have to be a lot of time, but it should be as close to every day as possible. (Ladies taking The Pill: you take that thing on some kinda regular schedule or else the system fails, amiright???) And when that precious time rolls around, you make sure your space for it is set up and just get down to it. Don't turn on the TV (unless you really, truly get into the writing flow when there's background conversation), don't log in to any social media. Just write. Write by hand, if online-goofery's too tempting to resist otherwise. I crank up my favorite tuneage and get cracking. (Duran Duran's got a way of priming my pump.) (So to speak.)

And don't worry about doing it perfectly. Like sex, the pleasure of writing doesn't spring from some flawless ideal; it comes from the sweaty physical contact, the stumbling engagement with the moment, and the breathtaking twists that come along the way to shake, rattle, and roll you. (I know you know what I'm talking about.) I read this nifty piece from Writers Digest today, and the bit about "nothing is ever wasted" really resonated with me. 'Cause it ain't. It's all beautiful. And it's all good. And anyway, we don't need perfection; what we need is to strive.



Monday, November 4, 2013

Memento mori...

Click here for more on
Resurrection Blogfest II.
A memento is a remembrance, or a reminder, of something. I'm using it in two senses for this post, the first: a reminder to all that my Resurrection Blogfest II is this week, on November 7. Folks who've already signed up, make sure you've got the badge up on your sideboards—if you don't, you're not eligible for the random drawing/an Amazon gift card. For a refresher of the hop's rules, and for those who've not yet signed up, but would like to, click here.

Mori is Latin for "die" or "death." Thus a memento mori is an admonition that death comes for one and all. This is the second reminder, one which hit me, hard, when I went to snap the pic for the badge.

On a day off, I betook myself to a rather largish cemetery in Manhattan. It occupies at least two whole city blocks, with Broadway cutting through the middle. Banners hung in several places, proclaiming it an "active" cemetery, which made me second guess my decision to go in and snap piccies of headstones. Or at least wish I'd brought a machete with me, or somethin'.

Anyway, a tall stone wall surrounds the place, so unless you've been there before, you've no idea what you'll find once within. The neighborhood was absurdly quiet. As I approached the open gate, with maybe 45 minutes to spare before the place closed up shop for the day, I felt my first serious misgivings. It was a beautiful, sunny day. I could see the Hudson River from where I strolled. But I was about to enter a city of the dead and, even though I had a clear purpose, I suddenly questioned what the hell I was doing there.

I went in, nonetheless. Another internal stone wall blocked the view as I made my way up the circular drive. All was silent but for birdsong, and then I turned the corner. Gently rolling hills and leafy trees met my eyes, several railed stairways led to points up and down, and tombstones, statues of mourning angels, and mausoleums dotted the lush green grasses. I paused to turn 'round, take it all in. My omnipresent tinnitus seemed to ring louder in my ears than even at bedtime. Every atom in my body seemed to riot, screaming at me to get the fuck out of there, what was I, crazy???

But I needed a blogfest badge, and I'd trekked all the way the hell over there so, damn it, I wasn't about to leave without some pictures. Almost panting from the heebie-jeebies, I decided to head past some of the mausoleums, which were up a slope, and remember feeling grateful for the blacktop pathway. Didn't want to tread on the grass and inadvertently disrespect another's remains. And then I felt as though I did that anyway, just by virtue of being alive, in this sacred place, on this gorgeous indian summer day. I took breath, I moved my legs and swung my arms, surely that in itself was an affront to those made dust by time. I began to fancy that if a horde of those yet undusty were to arise to expel me from their home, I wouldn't blame them. Sure, I'd screech myself into a stupor, but I wouldn't blame them.

That symbol is IHS,
a Greek abbreviation of Jesus.
I got some pics of the mausoleums, told myself that the air I sucked in through my nose did not smell strange at all, why should it? Then I backtracked till I was closer to the entrance. I checked my phone compulsively for the time, wondering if groundskeepers typically cruised through the joint to check for (living) folks before closing up the main gate. I finally ran into someone, a handsome young security guard, who told me I should've signed in when I first arrived. I checked my phone, saw it was 20 minutes till closing, and was about to argue the point but then shrugged and followed him down a hill and into an office building. It occurred to me that this was exactly how a horror movie might begin, with an unsuspecting idiot following any old dude in a uniform into the "office," only to get dunked into a tub of embalming fluid. I signed the guest book, allowed him to lead me back out, and finally decided to get the hell out of dodge, as my poor beleaguered nerves really could take no more.

I hiked up a long-ass flight of steps and then scurried along the winding drive, the security guard not far behind me, until I exited via the main gate. Within moments, I heard it clang shut behind me as the young man locked up for the day. My heart racing, I made for the nearest bus stop and waited, wishing desperately that I'd chosen some other point in my life to have quit smoking.

That visit yielded me an acceptable image for my blogfest badge, but left me in a rather shell-shocked state. I boarded the M5 and cruised down the Upper West Side, music blaring in my headphones and thoughts racing through my mind. One thought beat out all the rest and settled deeply into my being, and it was this: ultimately, we don't really know what there is at the end. All we can know, and all we can truly ever have, however fleeting, is a spark of love. Given to us, perhaps, by some divine being, we shelter its easily doused light for a brief time, then pass it on to another. You give it to a lover, your flesh and blood, or to a stranger who gets in your way but you let by, rather than knocking past him with an elbow to his kidney. All we can ever truly have is that love, and we don't have it for long. It seems the only thing we can do, really, is be warmed by it and then warm others with it, while we can.






Monday, October 28, 2013

"Conjured" for Spooktoberfest!

Right, so; here's my entry for fellow blogging buddies/writers Dani and Jackie's boogety-boo blog hop...
Spooktoberfest!

Participants were challenged to compose flash fiction between 300-500 words which:
  1. had to be set in the location depicted in one of the four pictures provided; and
  2. had to use three out of six words listed (the three I used are in purple).
To see all the pics, possible word choices, and check out links to other participants' entries, click here or there.

This is the pic.
October was a busy month of work travel for me and though I'd decided on the pic, no story emerged in my mind. Then just this past weekend, as I settled in for the night at the B&B I stayed at while visiting my Kid for Family Weekend at his college, one of the other images demanded my attention. A weird and, frankly, rather disturbing story unfolded in rhyme, much darker than is my wont...I think. It turned out to be the sequel to my first Spooktoberfest entry, though it's told from a different point of view and it's nowhere near as lighthearted. Anyway, er...hope you enjoy?





Conjured by Mina Lobo
(300 words)

I'm the wretch that lurks at the bottom of the stairs
with the long, sharp beak and the coarse dark hairs,
whom you summoned to your home in the middle of the night,
whom you called when quite alone; now I have you in my sights.

You thought yourself so lonely and you felt yourself to ache
for some pleasures yet unknown, thus this action you did take:
you dug out that old spellbook that you'd hidden long ago,
when your last attempt went sour; yes, you stashed it down below

In the basement of your duplex, just behind your ancient dryer.
(You'd have been better off if you'd tossed it in the fire.)
Skimming quickly through its pages, soon you saw the thing you craved,
little knowing it was you who would find herself enslaved.

As others' children left to go begging for some sweets,
you sought to entertain yourself with one especial treat.
You went into your room and bubbled up a potion,
then mixed it with some cream to concoct this haunting lotion.

The scent so arousing, the sentiment inspired,
by all your burning hopes, and your dreams, and desires.
And with the aid of beings you believed safe to enlist,
you crafted what a thing like me can't possibly resist.

It called me from the deep, and up your dirty steps,
I wake you from your sleep, your eyes go wide and next,
your throat prepares a scream; I keep it from this task
by covering your lips and sliding off my mask.

You moan as though it's tragic that what appeared is me,
well knowing that your magic is what caused this beast to be.
I lean into your body and whisper what I'll do,
then on your moonlit bedding, I lay right into you.


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Two-fer: A Writerly Type Blog Hop & A Review

One of my good bloggy friends, Allyson Lindt, tagged me in a hop AND I've just finished reading her most recent contemporary romance, so for today's post I'm offering a two-fer-the-price-of-one. (Not that I'm charging y'all to read this, or anything, but you know what I mean...) So first, let's go to—

The Hop!

For this writerly-type hop, authors who've been tagged answer a buncha questions, then tag 3 of their fellow writers to do the same. (There's always a catch.) The questions are as follows:

What are you working on right now?
'Cause I'm pressed for time (and lazy), I'm gonna rip off the answer I gave in an interview I did earlier this month, with one of the gals I'm tagging for this Hop:
A mini-anthology of three short stories, as I want to show my more “modern voice.” In terms of fiction, my readers will have come to know the “Homer meets Jane Austen” voice I used in That Fatal Kiss, so I want folks to know I’m not a one-trick pony. Two of the shorts are paranormal/supernatural stories set in the present, and the third tale will follow Hades and Persephone as they settle into married life (with all the horrors that entails).
How does it differ from other works in its genre?
Well, I claim to be an author of "dark and whimsical romance." While there's plenty of paranormal stuff out there, even funny paranormal (MaryJanice Davidson & Katie MacAlister are two of my fave writers), my particular brand of whimsy has an especially sophisticated edge to it. I like to think so, anyway. (Be a lamb and don't shatter my delusions, if you disagree.) (Better still, don't disagree; it's not nice to contradict a Goth Mom.)

Why do you write what you do?
Oh, why the hell not? J/K. In her answer to this question, Allyson said she writes about what she wants to read: characters "living" in her world. I write about the world in which I'd like to live: one filled with magic. Also, I'm getting a little tired of the preponderance of nubile virgin chicks in the 21st century of romance fiction. C'mon, folks—in the 21st century??!?!!?! I want to read about middle-aged gals, like me, who've been around the block a few times, stalled, and eventually got their motors running again. (I'm hoping that last bit comes to pass for me sooner, rather than later.)

How does your writing process work?
When it's working, with lots of coffee. Formerly, with cigarettes, too, but I've been off them for a little over two months now. (Yay, me!) Uh...I like to write at night, possibly because when The Kid was little, that's the only time I had to write. I usually write a first draft long-hand, then typing it out becomes the second draft, though I've also written first drafts on my laptop (which I find both exhilarating and terrifying).

Writerly-friends, I tag YOU:

And now...

THE REVIEW!

TOEING THE LINE is #2 in Allyson's Bits & Bytes series (though actually, a prequel makes this the 3rd book, technically). Here's the gist of it:
Zane’s time in the Air Force doing electronic surveillance has taught him a thing or two about keeping secrets. But when his best friend, Riley, finds out what he’s kept from her, their “friends with benefits” relationship won’t be what threatens their growing feelings for each other.

Riley tends to fall hard and fast for the guys she dates, and it never ends with the wedding bells she expects. Tired of the heartbreak and unsure if she even knows what love is, she swears off unreliable things like dating and trying to find that elusive happily-ever-after spark. Focusing on her art seems like the perfect distraction, except she’s missing the physical side of being half a couple. Fortunately, her best friend, Zane, is happy to model for her drawings and tie her up in the bedroom, with no expectations. Just fun.

Zane’s granddad raised him with the belief that people who bring joy to the world should be protected at all costs. For Zane, his best friend Riley is one of those people, and he definitely doesn’t mind when making her happy involves helping her pursue her creative dream and some sport sex with a hint of kink. They can have fun, and he can keep her from falling for the next idiot who comes along while she searches for her Prince Charming.

Regardless of her resolution, as things heat up between them Riley finds herself falling again. She needs to decide if she’s in love with the idea of being in love, or if—despite Zane’s insistence that she deserves someone better—what she feels for him is the real thing. If she can’t learn to trust her heart and convince Zane he’s exactly what she needs, it will obliterate a lifelong friendship.
The idea of "no-strings-sex" seems a recurring theme in this series. Interestingly, apart from book 1, the couples involved already know each other, they've already got a history. With history, there are, naturally enough, feelings, which tend to make "no-strings-sex" tricky to pull off. On the other hand, when the sex is as hot as Zane and Riley's, I can understand being reluctant to leave off having it. The book starts off hard and fast with some spicy remote-sex, and develops into lightly-kinky real-life sex not too far down the storyline.

In this work of fiction, Allyson explores a truth that always amazes me: how people so intimately involved with one another physically can be completely clueless about one another's emotions (and sometimes, about their own). I can truly empathize with Riley's confusion as to whether what she feels for a man is actually love, or if she's just so lonely that she projects feelings which aren't real. (I really, truly can.) Toward the end of the tale, Riley does seem to have come to a resolution on this matter, which isn't altogether clear to me—I'd have liked to have seen what brought her to the point of action which broke through the impasse her relationship with Zane'd hit. But her choice didn't surprise, as every thought of hers (and Zane's—love the name, BTW) led up to this very moment.

TOEING THE LINE is a fun, quick, steamy read set in a modern world that fans of shows like The Big Bang Theory may really get into. I look forward to more of Allyson Lindt's hip love stories...and as it happens, her newest contemporary romance novella, Unconventional Fling, is available TODAY!

Click here to read Chapter 1 for FREE!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Excuses, excuses...

Y'all, I had great plans for this week's blog post, but they've thus far come to naught. I won't bore you with a litany of excuses as to why ('cause I hate that shizz when other folks do it). The week got away from me and that's that. Forgive.

I'm currently in Chicago for a day-job thing. Part 1's been sorted, Part Deux takes place tonight, and then I'm off to Saint Paul, MN on Tuesday. Flying exhausts me, and the Xanax I take so as to NOT flip out on the plane exhausts me more, despite the copious quantities of caffeine I consume when I'm back on terra firma. I'd thought I might be able to compose the blog post in my hotel room Sunday night, but alas, no. It's just too much for me right now.

I go off to bed, wrapped up in self-loathing for my failure to produce*, and leave you with some pics of one of the towers in Millennium Park's Crown Fountain (as well as a teaser for an upcoming blog post).









And the teaser...





*I'm mostly kidding about the self-loathing. Mostly.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Resurrection Blogfest II

Guess whose second anniversary of blogging is coming up.

C'mon, now—GUESS!

Didja guess me?  'Cause if you did, YOU'D BE RIGHT!!!

(Cue ominous rumble of thunder.)

Y'all, I hereby announce...

Sometimes, dead posts come back!
RESURRECTION
BLOGFEST
II!


For last year's Resurrection Blogfest, participants resurrected a blog post from the first year of blogging that they felt didn't get enough love the first time around. For Resurrection Blogfest II, I invite folks to resurrect a blog post published between November 8, 2012 and November 6, 2013 (or, since my first Resurrection Blogfest, whether you participated or not) that you think ought to see the light of day one more time before it shuffles off this mortal coil.

There will be PRIZES!!!

Here be the rules:
  1. Sign up by entering your blog's name and URL on the linky-list, below. The linky-list will close after 11:59pm EST* on Thursday, November 7, 2013.
  2. Upload the blogfest badge in this post to the sidebar of your blog and link it back to this announcement post, to help spread the word. (It's not a "button" and there isn't a code for it; you'll have to download the image, upload to your blog's sidebar, and manually link it back to this post.)
  3. Follow me on the Twitter (@GothMomLite) and re-tweet anything with this tag: #ResurrectionBlogfestII. (Folks without Twitter accounts are welcome to participate, but must promote the blogfest on some other social media platform.)
  4. On November 7, your blog post must feature the blogfest badge as well as your resurrected blog post. Be sure to include the date on which it was originally posted and link back to that original post.
  5. I'll review all entries to make sure they fit the above criteria. Failure to have the badge on your sidebar, in your post, the resurrected post, and/or the date and link to the original post will disqualify you from the drawing.
  6. Three winners will be selected at random to win $20 Amazon gift cards!
  7. Winners should be announced on or around Monday, November 11. (God willing.)
Participants should know that:
  • *All days/times are based on EST
  • Subject matter is up to participants but whatever the topic, the post must have originally appeared on your blog on/since November 8, 2012 up to/including November 6, 2013.
  • It's OK to sign up if you've only just started blogging and only have a few posts in your bloggy repertoire.
  • It's also OK for participants to enter more than one blog, however, in the spirit of Highlander—THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE prize per participant.
  • Participants whose Resurrection Blogfest II posts are not up by 11:59pm EST on Nov. 7 will be removed from the linky-list.
  • Topics/blogs with adult themes should have the appropriate preliminary warning before any participants or readers see your blog/post. Any participants' links that take the clicker to adult subject matter without warning will be removed at my discretion. And don't give me any crap about not knowing what I mean by "adult themes," 'cause you totally do.
  • Participants are expected to read and comment on other participants' entries beginning November 7 and on through that weekend (based on last year's sign-ups, this should not be an unmanageable number of blog posts to read through/comment on over the course of four days).
  • The three $20 Amazon Gift Cards are to be sent to the respective winners via e-mail.

Peeps, this has to be one of the easiest blogfests going, seeing as I'm not making you come up with any new content for it. Sign up and Tweet the hell out of this blogfest already, sheesh.

(Whether you choose to participate or not, please help me get the word out by sharing this post on the social media platform of your choice. You can do this easily by clicking one of the icons just above this post's tag: "Posted by Mina Lobo at 12:00 AM." THANKS!)

The image used for the Resurrection Blogfest II badge was taken from a pic snapped by me.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Winners & Tuneage

My fantasy romance novel is
available for purchase at:
Print version: Coming soon!
Winners
And the three winners of the random* drawing for free e-book copies of my debut fantasy romance novel, That Fatal Kiss, are:

T. Drecker
Gill Fraser Lee
Jackie

Congratulations! Please e-mail me to let me know the preferred format for your free e-copy. (If you're not in possession of an e-reader, I can provide a PDF instead; just let me know.)

Tuneage
As I worked on That Fatal Kiss, I noticed that the styles of music to which I seat-boogied depended upon whose point of view concerned me at the moment. When I wrote from Persephone's point of view, I felt like a laughter-loving gal who tears up a dance floor whenever the opportunity presents itself. So for the goddess, it was all about the New Wave and Post-Punk. But when I wrote from Hades' point of view, I found myself feeling dark and broody, like I imagine the Lord of the Underworld felt until he'd secured Persephone for his bride. Invariably, this meant I tuned into Goth-type Rock. In both cases, there were tunes which came to mind that fit certain bits of the story. And in Persephone's playlist, particularly, there were some songs I listened to repeatedly as I wrote, so now I always think of the book (and the actor I envisioned in the role of Hades in the as-yet-not-optioned-for-film movie) when I think of those tunes. Anyway, I hied myself over to Grooveshark and made up a playlist for each Immortal, which I share with you here:

Persephone's Dance & Laughter-Lovin' Playlist



Hades' Dark & Broody Goth Rock Playlist




*The drawing was conducted via random.org.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

That Fatal Kiss is HERE!

OK, well, not right here, but, you know,
available for sale on the following sites:

E-Books




Print Version Coming Soon!


For a chance to win a free e-copy, simply enter a comment, below*.
Three winners will be chosen at random.

*Edited to add: comments left up to/including Sunday, September 29, will be entered in the drawing. Winners will be announced the following week.

And just in case you need a reminder of what the story's all about:

Feared by mortals for his inexorable power, and loathed by his fellow Greek gods for the same, Hades rules the Underworld alone.  A stark eternity looms before him until he discovers Persephone. Struck by the youthful goddess’ beauty, kindness, and spirit, he must have her. But Hades believes Persephone could never love him, and so he conspires with his powerful brother, Zeus, to take her by force.

Persephone too seeks a mate but her possessive mother, the goddess Demeter, frustrates her husband hunting. Then Hades abducts Persephone, tearing her away from the Upperworld she loves to reign with him in the dank depths below. Though outraged, Persephone cannot deny the desire ignited within her by the dark lord’s touch. And even as she hopes that Demeter will unearth her, Persephone aches to surrender to the heat in Hades’ immortal soul.

And don't forget to visit all the stops along my blog tour this week!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

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