Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Entry for the Tree of Life Collaboration

Y'all, there's this groovy writing collaboration happening, you may've noticed I been Tweet'n' 'bout it, and whatnot. See, a buncha writers (26) have been building a story for the TREE OF LIFE: BRANCHING OUT Collaborative Story project. (That's a mouthful, huh?) Hosted/organized/tenderly nurtured by the truly, marvelously talented (and I don't say such things lightly) Samantha Redstreake Geary, each writer's given a track of music from audiomachine’s new TREE OF LIFE album to inspire the next segment in the story.

And, guess what?

My entry's scheduled for Tuesday, July 30.

Uh, yeah. Today.

So, like, check it out. And, if you're inclined to comment, please do so on Sam's site. Merci mille fois!

If, like me, you prefer to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start), click here, yo.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tuneage ~ An Expanded Soundtrack for July Fever 2013

If you checked out my post for Sofia Grey's July Fever last week, THANK YOU! July's not quite over and other authors are also offering giveaways, PLUS there are weekly prize bundles, too. So if you like-a the freebies, visit Sofia's site and be sure to comment for a chance to win some sex-ay stuff!

1blog + 31 authors = 31 Days of Hotness

For my post, I presented ten vids of tunes that get my motor running but, actually, there are way more than ten. So I futzed around on YouTube (you know, rather than tie up the loose ends on the book I'm releasing in September, or work on my next book, or some other necessary thing) and created a badass soundtrack for sexing. (OK, badass IMO; diff'rent strokes for different folks, and all...)

(Heh heh...strokes.)

Thus, I present the following playlist* of some 49-ish songs for your listening pleasure. I know; I shoulda gone for 69 songs, right? What can I offer in my own defense apart from reaffirming my inherent laziness? Besides which, I wanted to leave a bit of room for y'all to tell me about the songs that get you in the mood. If they float (the little man in) my boat, I'll add them to the playlist. But I'll have to cap the playlist at 69, 'cause I'm that immature. Anyway, I'm not telling you to watch them all, just click "Play All" and go about your business. Though, if your business suddenly revolves around gettin' busy, well...you can thank me later.

(Please Note: Some videos in this playlist are absolutely not safe for work!)
(Or, in some cases, just about anywhere...)

*I acknowledge that this playlist is pretty damned similar to that from my 2012 The Dark Romance of Music From A to Z playlist, but this one is shorter and will, I'm sure, contain a few surprises...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Let Me Give You the Fever...

Click here to burn from all the sex-ay!
...July Fever, that is...

My post for Sofia Grey's July Fever is now live! Click here to check it out and leave a comment for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

(Be sure to leave your comment on Sofia's site, not here.)

Other authors are also offering giveaways, every day during July, AND there are weekly prize bundles, too. There's nothing to lose and so much smutty fun to gain, so tell a friend and be sure to have plenty of ice handy for...well, I'll leave that to y'all's imaginations.

1blog + 31 authors = 31 Days of Hotness

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sparks ~ Now I Mean BUSINESS...


So, like, in my quest to learn all I can about romance publishing, the better to sell my mythological romance novel, I became a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA). This is a fabulous organization which provides all sorts of resources for folks wanting to go either the traditional publishing or indie route. There are local RWA chapters across the country too, so I connected with the NYC chapter and attended my first meeting a couple of Saturdays ago. I was THRILLED to be in a room full of chicks and dudes who love romance so damned much they write it. (Rock on!)

At the meeting, lots of great author news and info on smaller romance writer conferences was shared, there was a Q & A with a panel of digital publishing professionals, and then breakout sessions. The one in which I participated was a small critique group, which proved to be wonderfully supportive and inspiring. I had a fabulous time and can't wait for next month's meeting!

(Sorry I'm so exclamatory! I'm just so totally stoked about it all!!!)


Anyway, I wanted to exchange contact info with some folks before I left and was chagrined when a couple of them handed me their gorgeous business cards and I had to scribble my e-mail address on a dog-eared slip of paper. Lame. (Please understand, none of the gals made me feel lame—I managed to feel that way all by myself.)

But seriously, I realized that, if I want to be considered a professional writer, I should present myself professionally and whatnot. So...I ordered myself some business cards! Check out the "preview" of the front and back images:

Isn't this just the coolest?????

The funny thing is, when I selected this template, I really liked the sinuous image of the smoke but didn't see anything other than smoke, right? When I sent this pic to my sister, Star, to get her opinion, she wrote back:
i like it--but i want to check to see if this is on purpose because if it's there it should be intentional:  in the smoke on the front of the card i see something that looks like, i dunno, some kind of fantastical creature. if that's what you're going for, success! if not, do you see it? do you wanna?

And I had this Scooby Doo sorta, "Roh?" moment. Really? A fantastical creature and I missed it? I mean, how's that even possible?

So I called over a co-worker ('cause, you know, you're totally supposed to be doing this kinda shit at your day job) and she's like, "Is that supposed to be an x-ray of a leg and hip socket?" I had to LOL, but I could see what she meant.

After she left, I kept staring at the smoke and then the magic happened: I saw two figures, the one on the right taller than the other and smiling somewhat wickedly, while the figure on the left seemed to be holding a bouquet in her arm, which made me think of the hero and heroine of my upcoming debut novel, when Hades first encounters Persephone (and snatches her up).

Well, naturally, this appealed to me, but I wondered what other eyes might see. I hollered at another co-worker, who saw all of the above, plus a fetus. Surreal!

Hermann Rorschach was hawt.
By Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Though it's not intentional on my part, I rather heart the whimsy of it—that the smoke appears as different things to different folks. It's like my own kooky Rorschach test! Dig it!!! (And ordered it!) (Well, them. 250 cards, to be precise, from Vistaprint.com.)

So what do you see
in the smoke?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Snarks ~ Pronouns Gone Rogue

NB: I write this blog post by hand as I sit in JFK airport's Terminal 1, awaiting my Kid's return flight from his big Russian adventure. I'm totally freaked out by flying and, therefore, anxiously praying for my son's safe arrival. The criminal grammatical offense against which I'm preparing to rail makes me very cranky. Anxious + Cranky = Bitchfest of Biblical Proportions. If you happen to be guilty of this gross malfeasance, do not take my condemnation personally—simply repent and resolve to sin no more. And maybe offer a prayer/sacrifice to your deity of choice in thanks for that fact that I'm not PMS-ing as well.

The heinous crime against grammar: using plural pronouns to refer back to singular nouns or noun phrases.

First, a bit of review:

A pronoun takes the place of a noun, or a noun phrase, yeah? (Yeah.)

Cat (singular noun) -> he/she/it (singular pronouns)
A black cat (singular noun phrase) -> he/she/it (singular pronouns)
Cats (plural noun & long-running musical) -> they/them (plural pronouns)
Those black cats (plural noun phrase) -> they/them (plural pronouns)

If you wish to use the above nouns/pronouns correctly, your pronouns must agree with your nouns or noun phrases. Which is to say, you must use a singular pronoun with a singular noun, and a plural pronoun with a plural noun.

Correct singular noun phrase sentence:
If a black cat crosses a road at night, it might get run over.

Correct plural noun phrase sentence:
If those black cats cross a road at night, they might get run over.

With this in mind, can you identify what's wrong with the following sentence?
If a black cat crosses the road at night, they might get run over.

What's wrong is that the plural pronoun (they) doesn't agree with the singular noun phrase (a black cat). Also, the cat's owner is clearly irresponsible and should take pains to secure it for the evening.

That one was easy, right? Sure it was. Now that your confidence has been bolstered by one successful exercise, let's try another.

What's wrong with this sentence?
1. If a guy buys you something expensive, they must've done something wrong.

Well, apart from the rather cynical viewpoint, the plural pronoun (they) disagrees with the singular noun phrase (a guy).

What's wrong with this one?
2. When a woman goes shoe shopping, you won't hear from them for hours.

Besides being a sexist stereotype, the sentence once again features a plural pronoun (them) that doesn't agree with the singular noun phrase (a woman).

Can you see what's wrong with this one?
3. Sometimes, a person needs to hear that they are loved.

The problem isn't that the person in question is overly clingy from lack of attention when in the cradle, but that the damned plural pronoun (they) is pissed off at the bloody singular noun (a person).

Not to put too fine a point on it, but plural pronouns do not fucking get along with singular nouns/noun phrases. They just don't. Think of them as being locked in a blood feud, OK? Think of plural pronouns as the goddamn Montagues and singular nouns/noun phrases as the motherfucking Capulets if it helps—the bottom line is that they don't go together like rama lama lama, ka-ding-a-da ding-de-dong.

In the first two sentences, the following pronouns should have been used:
1. If a guy buys you something expensive, he must have done something wrong.

2. When a woman goes shoe shopping, you won't hear from her for hours.

Sure, they're still cynical and sexist, but at least they're grammatically correct, for fuck's sake.

Example #3 can be tricky for some, in this modern, politically correct era, 'cause folks crap their pants at the thought of favoring one sex over the other. Funk that noise. if you know that the person in #3 is a man, it's perfectly acceptable to use "he," and if it's a woman, use "she." But if you don't know the sex of the person in question, the following options work within the bounds of all that is right and proper in Grammar Land, and all convey the same basic concept:
Sometimes, a person needs to hear that he or she is loved.
Sometimes, you need to hear that you are loved.
Sometimes, people need to hear that they are loved.

Whew! All that ranting exhausted me. Yet there's one more scenario which desperately needs addressing. Take a look at this last example, and mind where you tread, for the terrain is deceptive:

Everybody likes to solve a problem for themselves.

First, there are plenty of lazy people in the world (of which I am one), who don't want to do a damned thing, if it can be avoided. Second, the words everybody and themselves are pronouns. In this sentence, themselves refers back to everybody BUT themselves is plural and everybody is singular. No, I'm not high. (If only!) I know the "every" part can throw people off, but it's still just one singular "body." Not one singular person, but a singular body of people.

I know. It's like you just swallowed the red pill, isn't it? You'll be OK. Take a moment to recover.

Other pronouns which seem plural but are actually singular include:
  • Anybody, Anyone
  • Everyone
  • Nobody
  • Somebody, Someone

More indefinite pronouns like these exist, but you're probably a bit dizzy right now, so rather than enumerate them, I'll give you some options for expressing that last example correctly:
One likes to solve a problem for oneself.
You like to solve a problem for yourself.
People like to solve problems for themselves.

If you don't buy what I'm selling, you're welcome to check the following links to see if these cats back me up. (They totally do.)

Well, peeps, the eagle has landed, and I'm now trembling with rage, so I'd better bugger off. Thank you for flying Groovy Grammar Airlines. Please accept my best wishes for a pleasurable stay.

Friday, July 12, 2013

July Fever Continues!

Click here to burn from all the sex-ay!

Sofia Grey is hosting July Fever, with giveaways every day during July, AND weekly prize bundles, too.

Look who’s featured for the next 6 days:

13-Jul NICOLA CLAIRE First 2 books in Sweet Seduction series
14-Jul KRISTA AMES 1 copy each - Take Me Home, Cowboy AND All Bets Are On anthology& a goodie bag
15-Jul EVA LEFOY 1 copies of Sweet Cravings (ebook)
16-Jul TRISH McCALLAN giveaway TBC
17-Jul JJ DeBENEDETTO ebook copies of all four books in the Dream Series
18-Jul PARKER KINCADE ecopy of Spring Training

Everyone who comments goes into a draw for the giveaway that day, AND also a draw for the 6-day gift bundle:

Remember, the more you visit, the more you might win :-) 
Check out this video for all the participating authors.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Writerly Things ~ Revediting

*Expletives were not deleted from this post.*

A marked-up-for-editing snippet from my book, That Fatal Kiss, coming this September!
Lord willing and the police permitting, as my Portuguese forebears would say.

I've been on "stay-cation" since Tuesday, June 18. I had a bunch of revisions/editing to do (hence, "revediting"), based on the notes of the super gal* I employed to copy-edit That Fatal Kiss (TFK). Spent the first couple weeks mostly catching up with Facebook and the Twitter, futzing with my blog's font and text color (as you may already know), and watching lotsa Bones re-runs on the tee-vee. So, you know, I was super productive.

Knowing full well that I needed to get my ass in gear if I wanted to release my book on time, I pushed myself as hard as I could to get through my revediting during my last week off. Nearly every waking hour, for the past 7 days, were spent working on my manuscript.

Please understand that I'm in love with my main characters, Hades and Persephone. I adore them. I lust after them in a quasi-incestuous way. (OK, I lust after Hades, but I think Persephone's a super cool chick.) I've enjoyed tagging along on their courtship journey, immensely.

But I swear, if I have to:

  • do one more damned "Find and Replace" because, somehow, I missed getting rid of a word the first hundred times I edited this book;
  • pore through this manuscript, looking for quotation marks that are in a font different from the text (how the fuck did that happen???);
  • "...delete one more goddamn adverb!" she typed vexedly;

just one more motherfucking time
, I may have to cut my own throat.

I am so heartily tired of working on this bitch. SO. TIRED. I'm more than ready to hire someone to do a final post-revediting proofread, format this shit for e-readers, and make this fucker available for purchase online. TFK, I am DONE with you! DONE, DONE, DONE!!!!!


OK, I know I'm not done with you. I know we still have some matters to sort out before I can unleash you upon an unsuspecting world. And you know I heart you, baby, right? Right??? I just need a little breakie-woo. And then I'm-a polish you off, dress you up real purty-like, and put you up on them virtual bookshelves so others can fall in love with you too. XOXOX

*The super gal I hired to edit TFK is Jena O'Connor. Jena has a B.S. and M.A. in English, teaches English at the high school level and has taught writing at the college level, and has released her own romance novel, Mixing Up a Memory. She's friendly, prompt, highly skilled, and has extensive knowledge of the romance genre. Also, her rates are amazingly affordable and she does great work. If you need an editor, I highly recommend you check out her Web site, Practical Proofing.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Yolanda Renée has MURDER on her mind!

My dear friend Yolanda Renée, of Defending the Pen, has some books coming out & I am totally stoked to tell you about 'em! Yolanda's encouraged & supported many fellow writers in the past,
myself included, so I couldn't wait to return the love.

Murder, Madness & Love and Memories of Murder are the first two books of a trilogy set in the states of Alaska and Washington, and Paris, France.

Murder, Madness & Love
August 5, 2013

After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, slander and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.

A killer plays cat and mouse with a young widow against the snowy backdrop of an Alaskan winter. Branded a black widow after the suspicious death of her millionaire husband, Sarah Palmer flees Seattle for Anchorage. But the peace and quiet she hoped to enjoy in her hometown is soon shattered. The killer is murdering Sarah look-alikes on the 14th of each month, taunting Sarah with a valentine of evidence.

After her experiences in Seattle, Sarah is slow to go to the police. When she finally does, she finds Detective Steven Quaid. Called on to protect the beautiful widow from a stalker intent on her destruction, Steven is convinced he can solve Michael Palmer's murder and arrest the stalker. However, crime is never simple, and before long Sarah has Steven wound up tighter than barbed wire. Is Sarah a victim or a very skilled manipulator? With a killer on the loose and a climbing body count, Steven cannot afford to hedge his bets-or his life.

Memories of Murder
September 5, 2013

A man of pure evil, a dedicated detective, and a talented artist meet in a fight that defines good and evil, love and obsession, betrayal and forgiveness.

After transferring to Seattle to repair his professional reputation, Detective Steven Quaid is unexpectedly demoted to the cold case squad. While helping a fellow officer he stumbles upon an unusual case–and an even more extraordinary foe. Unraveling the mystery gives him the case he is sure will right his stalled career, and brings him face to face with Luke Williams, aka Lucifer. An insidious man who delivers Quaid the ultimate choice: save his fiancée from an assassin’s bullet or stop the sacrifice of a young girl. Suddenly the effort to salvage his reputation pales in comparison to the loss of a future with the girl of his dreams.

About Renée
Although a native Pennsylvanian, Yolanda Renée chose to follow her adventurous spirit, which led her to Alaska where the Detective Quaid Series is set. Renée loves books, reading them, writing them, owning them – they are 'her precious'! She is all about mystery, murder, and romance . . . writing it! She is adventurous, shy, and creative. She is a wife, a mother, and a dreamer with an unquenchable desire for knowledge and an idealistic belief in good - yet she writes evil - but that's only because she loves defeating it!

A former controller who still loves numbers and now works hard to tell her stories in as few words as possible. Winning Flash Fiction challenges is her hobby and publishing her Detective Quaid mystery series her quest! She currently resides in Central Pennsylvania, with her husband, two sons, and the boss, Patches, her Boston terrier.

You can learn more about Renée at:

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Bit of Bloggy Tweakage...

Y'all notice anything different on this here bloggy-blog? I done tweaked the page text font. Here's how it appeared before:
What's the diff? The specific font and its color. I changed from the PT Sans font to Lucida Sans Unicode, and the color from a super-light purple to a gray-ish hue. I felt like the previous color vibrated a bit too much for my eyes' comfort and the last thing I want to do is make my blog hard to read. (The content alone already achieves that effect.)

Here's that snippet again, with the PT Sans font/Languid Lavender color:

Here's that same text block in Lucida Sans Unicode font/Silver color (I didn't change the font size, Lucida Sans Unicode just happens to be a bigger font):

Whatcha think?

(It's OK if you don't notice a big difference. What I really want to know is if this new font/color is easier on your eyes or nay.)

(I do happen to enjoy the new look, as it feels just a wee bit more Goth to me than the PT Sans/Languid Lavender. OTOH, "Languid" so perfectly captures my personality.)
(Such as it is.)

Edited to add: Since some folks expressed a preference for the Languid Lavender, I thought I'd present an example of the Lucida Sans Unicode font with that color. Here 'tis:
Folks, at some point I plan on a posting some very basic information for you on what it is to be Goth, the origins of Goth, and how the modern Goth gets on in the 21st century, etc.
Hmmm, I dunno. Pretty color, but my eyes bug out, a wee bit, reading it against a dark background...