Blog Archives

Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog AwardMy author friend Jane Isaac nominated me for a Lovely Blog Award earlier this week. Since I need a writing exercise that keeps my keyboard fingers limber, I figure seven facts you (may or may not) know about me should constitute a simple challenge in my brain-dead state. (The rules indicate listing 7 facts and then tagging some fellow bloggers to ask them to do the same, so watch for the baton passing at the end.)

  1. I was born at the Ohio State University hospital, making me a Buckeye… but in name only, since we moved away before I was one year old.
  2. I first learned German when I was learning to speak–after we moved from Columbus to Kiel. I had this idea as a young girl, then, that I could speak German–which made for a rude awakening when we moved to Berlin when I was in 4th grade, and I was placed in a remedial German class.
  3. I made up for having forgotten so much by moving up to an intermediate German class halfway through 4th grade.
  4. I was in the double mother-tongue track by the time I was in 7th grade, meaning half my classes were taught in German–including French.
  5. I’m still fluent in French and German. And I have some rudimentary Russian, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish skills.
  6. Because of my language abilities and international background I never expected to marry an American.
  7. Hubs (who was born and raised in the American heartland) and I celebrated our 17th anniversary Monday with a silly faces contest he documented in a series of selfies and made into a sweet (or goofy, depending on your point of view) movie.

Now for the taggees (if you’ll forgive the coinage): Rebecca Clare Smith (as if she hadn’t already answered enough questions), AK Anderson (because I may have wimped out on the Quest, but think her thoughts are worth soliciting), and Dionne Lister (since I haven’t asked her enough intrusive questions this week).

Blog of the Year 2012 Award

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpegThanks to the fun, lovely author Sabrina Garie, I’ve been nominated for a 2012 Blog of the Year award…

The “Blog of the Year” award is a little different from some other awards, because you accumulate stars.

Here are the ‘rules’ for this award:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…


For more information check the FAQ on The Thought Palette.

My time, over the course of the past year, has slowly whittled down to minimal for the random surfing that used to lead me to new sites and useful information. Now I rely on my writer friends for their perspective and help as I navigate the … interesting … waters of promoting my books, and the much greater fun of exploring new fictional realms. For anyone who’s looking for an intelligent, interesting, engaged set of people who are fun, friendly, and worth reading, here’s my non-comprehensive list:

That wraps up my looking back (thanks, guys, for everything!). Here’s to moving forward with great new worlds in 2013–and enjoying the road we’re walking as we create them.

Happy New Year!


Sunshine Award

Sunshine AwardI’m not sure how I either missed or forgot this, but two months back Kathleen Doyle tagged me for a sunshine award. Likely I just got mind-wiped by my first semester of grad school, but now’s the time to catch up on all my obligations.


I’m supposed link back, answer some questions about myself, and then tag more people.

1. What is your favorite Christmas/festive movie?

It’s a Wonderful Life

2. What is your favorite flower?

One favorite…? hrmmmm… I like Snapdragons and Tigerlillies and Foxgloves… There seems to be a pattern to these names… 😉

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

There’s a blood orange soda from Trader Joe’s that is just sweet and just tart enough to make my taste buds happy.

4. What is your passion?

Reading. I’m not going to be doing much fiction reading over the next few years as I finish my degree, but I’m sure I’ll find ways to sneak a good book in here or there.

5. What is your favorite time of year?

Fall. I love the cool weather and beautiful leaf colors.

6. What is your favorite time of day?

I’m a complete night owl. About the time 10pm rolls around, I’m getting my second wind, and am happy to stay up reading or writing.

7. What is your favorite physical activity?

Walking or hiking. There are some beautiful nature trails nearby, and we all come home rejuvenated after a brisk walk.

8. What is your favorite vacation?

A staycation. I love my home, and I love the gift of time with my husband and dogs. There’s no stress of travel and my bed is comfy and won’t give me nightmares.

And now my victims taggees, lovely ladies I met through the Orangeberry book tours, and featured with me at the “Make Mine an Orangeberry” interview series:

Kriss Morton-Weekly

PG Forte

Pavarti K Tyler

Christi Sloat

Laxmi Hariharan

A.K. Taylor

Shaunda Wenger

Lindsey Parsons

Pandora Poikilos

U Got the Look: Sneak Peek at Encounters

Kyra, looking like a happy wolfFellow author Justin Bog tagged me earlier today in a writing prompt kind of game. As he describes it:

The Look is a writing prompt, a game, another tagging event. This is how U Got “The Look” works: you take your current manuscript, search for the word “look”, and post the surrounding paragraphs. Lastly, you tag 5 blogging authors who you think will be a good choice for the game.

We’re both in the upcoming anthology from Katarr Kanticles Press, Encounters, and starting to consider what it will take to promote this latest effort. So where he quotes from his story, I’ll quote from mine:

Adam stepped closer to the bed again and pulled back the blanket from her face. The illusion of her death was complete. The gray pallor was not consistent with a living person. He wasn’t sure why it had been necessary to display her naked, like some life-sized trophy, but his concern for her modesty had been overridden in the drive to finally trip up Anson and wrap up his insidious campaign. Thinking of it like that made it sound inappropriately patriotic. There were no redeeming features to this case. The women were all college seniors, nearly finished with science-related degrees at any one of the local colleges offering that education. They were on their way to serious and important work for the betterment of their fellow beings. The profiler they’d brought in after the fourth body speculated the perp had an inferiority complex and was working on a misogynistic plan to eliminate his competition in the fiercely competitive bioscience arena. Which made him well-educated enough to carry out his crimes with cold-blooded efficiency, leaving behind very little in the way of trace evidence.

Even finding out that much had been the work of months. At first, the proximity of the bodies to elements of Adam’s undercover work had led his superiors to believe the perp had had mob ties. The first bodies had been so badly decomposed and dismembered the force hadn’t even known when to peg the beginning of the timeline. As soon as Adam had received word on the similar backgrounds and looks of the victims, he’d reached out to Angelica to warn her. In each succeeding case, the girl had had the same long, brown locks and athletic frame.

Their father may have been a philandering fool who couldn’t keep it in his pants long enough to save himself four bastards and a failed marriage with its own kids as collateral damage, but at least their mothers had banded together in mutual support (probably driven by Angelica’s mother’s New Age inclination toward communal living), so all the kids were well-taken-care-of. And close. Angelica was the one nearest him in age, and even though they were only six months apart, he’d always reveled in taking care of his baby sister. In fact, it’s what had driven him to join the force rather than complete a four-year degree right away—after all, he had two other little sisters to watch out for too.

Angelica had laughed at his concern, but been prudent enough to enroll in a self-defense class. In the end, even that preparation and fore-knowledge hadn’t saved her the indignity first of being stalked, and then of the multiple rapes. Anson had turned out to be more warped than the profiler had anticipated, acting as if he were in a consensual relationship and coming back for more. At least Angelica had brought her brother all the evidence right away, so their files were now bulging with details on what else to look for in the past cases.

This story is way outside my comfort zone, but was inspired by the old news out of Egypt that that country planned to introduce legislation regarding Relations with dead wives… So far the feedback has all been good, so I’m glad for the opportunity to have stretched my writing muscles. Though I’m still writing in the Urban Fantasy genre–which means you get a picture of Kyra, whom too many casual visitors have seen as a WOLF!


As for my taggees… I know of quite a few people who are in the middle of working on their next books/releases. Ladies, here’s your excuse to share some of your words with the people who are holding their breath, waiting for them:

Dionne Lister

Breeana Puttroff

Sarah Cass

Sarah Leggz

Liana Brooks

Enjoy their words! 🙂

UPDATE: Angel Mine is now published as a stand-alone short story.

The Next Big Thing: Blood to Fire

Justin Bog, a good friend from Twitter, is passing out tags these days: This one is to hear about upcoming work to be released… soon. Appropriately, it’s called The Next Big Thing.


According to Justin, his new book Wake Me Up “is a psychological family drama that centers on a crime and the fallout afterwards in Missoula, Montana. It needs one more copyedit and it will be ready to publish.” His blog is worth checking out and following for anyone interested in music, words, and travel.


Here are the rules:

Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)

Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them, and link back to the person who nominated you.


1. What is the working title of your book?

Blood to Fire (Red Slaves #2)


2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

It expands on the scene from the dream that kicked off Dust to Blood.


3. What genre does your book fall under?

It’s back to the paranormal adventure/romance genre for this one.


4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This was a new question for me, so I scrambled through and had some fun imagining actors I enjoy in current shows and movies playing these characters’ roles.

Stana Katic Alexander Skarsgard
For Anne, I think Stana Katic has the serious demeanor and unselfconscious beauty to carry the character through her trials. I love the complexity she brings to Detective Beckett in Castle. For her love interest, Alexander Skarsgård (if he just dyes his hair black!) has already proven he can carry the intense charisma of a supernatural being in HBO’s True Blood.

Willie Garson
Willie Garson’s work in White Collar is what made me think he has the ability to play a member of the Russian intelligentsia as Igor.

Teri Polo Tim Guinee
Teri Polo showed the quirky, smart sense of humor in her role in Meet the Parents that makes her beauty match Olga’s. Tim Guinee has had a number of guest roles, but it was his work as Major Allen in the Iron Man movies that made me think he has the right stuff to play a Russian pilot/soldier who sparks off of Olga.


5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Anne has to learn how to deal with the changes in her life that were brought about by her participation in the research about dragons from the first book in the series.


6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published by Katarr Kanticles Press, a small, indie publisher.


7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

This is the first manuscript I’ve written outside of the NaNoWriMo framework, and I’m finding it a greater challenge than expected to continue producing words without the widget and deadline to spur my progress. So far I’ve been writing it on and off for about 3 weeks (starting in June, when I failed Camp NaNoWriMo).


8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This story has elements of the fish-out-of-water heroine in Doppelgangster, and another book whose title I have blanked out (the series frustrated me) that had the only other dragon-who-had-a-human-form character I’ve read. It follows in the footsteps of Katherine Kurtz’s The Adept and its follow-on series: It’s set in a world we fully recognize for its historical fact (setting, politics, etc.), but includes mystical elements that are wholly drawn from fantasy.


9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I lived in Communist countries from 1978-84, so I dream about those circumstances periodically. I’ve always wondered what would make a population tolerate a totalitarian regime, so my dream mind solved the question with the stories in this series.


10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book continues the alternate history perspective I kicked off with the first book, that speculates that the reason the Communists maintained power for so long was that they were draining the mystical elements of their region and channeling them into something nefarious. In this case, it was dragons trapped in human form, and the journey of the first book was to help them regain their power. The second book is a natural follow-on, pushing them to use their power to fight fire with fire (if you’ll excuse the cliche).


For my five tags… rubs hands together… I’ve already been warned off by one author, so I have an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, debating whether to include her.


We’ll see how far we get before she gets added despite her protest. The author’s name links to their blogs and I’m including links to recent books after them, following Justin’s pattern:

1. Liana BrooksEven Villains Fall in Love and Fey Lights. I met Liana through Twitter, and thoroughly enjoy how she weaves science and logic into her story lines.

2. Kait Nolan: Red and Forsaken by Shadow. Kait is another Twitter buddy, and I have to give her props for creating ROW80, which is the only thing poking me in the back to keep adding words to my own manuscript.

3. Jane Isaac: An Unfamiliar Murder. She’s currently editing her sophomore novel, so I’m looking forward to reading more great stories from her in the future.

4. Dionne Lister: Shadows of the Realm and Dark Spaces. I can’t not include my editor. She’s become such an integral part of my process I look forward to every hour I get to chat with her about progress and process.

5. Jennifer James: Love Kinection and Long Time Coming. I also can’t not include the leader of my crit group. She’s another fun, interesting person, aside from the attention and focus she brings to her writing. I’m glad to have her feedback.

And look at that… I’ve run out of spots. Justin, this was a lot of fun, but now my evening has ended without me adding words to my WIP.


Indie-Pendence Week: Awards, A Different Kind of Community Support

Grave Tells Indie-Pendence WeekThis is my big-push month on publicity for Dust to Blood, so I’ve joined the Gravetells Indie-pendence week blog hop event, which means you get a chance at a free copy of my book. (Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post for ways to earn entries to the drawing.)

I have been awarded these two awards, the One Lovely Blog Award and the Reader Appreciation Award, by my lovely friend Becky Fyfe. Thanks so much, Becky for the awards!

One Lovely Blog Award

Reader Appreciation Award

One of the best tools for indie authors has to have been the establishment of Triberr. Not only does it give you a semi-automated way to promote your blogging work a little more broadly, but it also introduces you to some very interesting people. I was lucky enough to get invited in to a small group of mutually supportive writers and bloggers there last Fall. That’s where I met Becky, and others like Justin and Kriss and Erica and Jane and Cathy and Kelly (you get the idea). Membership has shifted around since then, but pretty much everyone who’s participated has been happy to continue the mutual support pact we established with each other. The interesting thing about being in a group that came together out of random happenstance is that we seem to have gelled a certain kind of friendship. I don’t know if it’s because we’re all working independently toward similar goals, but it’s another of the spurs that helps keep me focused on producing more words. And I get many more of the feel-good moments of recognition as we share these kinds of awards amongst each other.

Just as Becky did, I’ve combined the rules of the two awards, so here are the rules for recipients:

    • Thank the person/people who nominated you and link back to them in your post
    • Share 7 things about yourself
    • Nominate six to ten blogs you admire
    • Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know

And post the lovely badges (as I’ve done, above).

Seven Things About Me:

  1. It’s my birthday in a week, and I’m a typically over-emotional Cancer;
  2. I would rather live with dogs AND allergies rather than live without either;
  3. On a related note: I’m very proud of the fact that my married last name means “keeper of the dogs”;
  4. I’ve realized I’m more of an introvert now than I was in High School–being in a large group mostly just makes me tired these days;
  5. Conversely, I used to be shy as a little girl, but now don’t have an issue with speaking up–so long as I’m interested in the topic or person under discussion;
  6. I still prefer quiet to noise;
  7. I have a very hard time writing or carrying on an intelligent conversation when there’s TV or another conversation going on in the background.

And for my nominees… Well. Becky already nominated Kriss, Erica, and Justin, so I’m going to spread this out a little to some other lovely bloggers (and recognize a few others who are also in our Tribe):

It’s definitely worth finding some sort of coalition of writers as an indie; I feel blessed to have found these people.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another Award? Napping Blogger Award

This one came to me via Sara, and her Leggy’s Many Sides blog.

Napping Blogger Award(Who can resist a doggie-smoosh-face like that one??)

The rules for the Napping Blogger Award are easy:
  1. Link back to the ones who gave you the award.
  2. Tell us what you do to take time for YOU! That might be a hobby, a musical break, a favorite movie or show, sitting outside enjoying nature, or even taking a nap!
  3. Nominate five other bloggers – especially folks you think deserve a break from their routine.

For me, reading is my me-time. I start getting twitchy if I don’t get a chance to retreat into some fictional space on a regular basis. Ironically, now that I’ve started writing (and especially, started giving myself firm deadlines!), the amount of time I have to read has declined dramatically. I feel like I have to sneak a book late at night. Oh, wait… that’s not really a change.


And, for the five bloggers who need a bit of a break and will enjoy the kissable doggie porn of this badge, here they are:

  1. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – OK, I know that’s a group, but they produce too much for me to keep up with, so they obviously need a bit of a break. 😉
  2. Julia Barrett– she just got her cast off, so she still needs the rest.
  3. Emmie Mears – another daily blogger; she has a Husky too, and I know how exhausting they can be! (And she’s doing Camp Nano… more successfully than I. O_o)
  4. Elizabeth Spann Craig – who took her breather pre-emptively. 😉
  5. The Passive Guy – so much useful, interesting information – I’m on overload… He must be too. 😉

Thanks, again, Sara! See you on Twitter. 🙂

Beautiful Blogger? My Second Award

Every so often when I see a fellow blogger earning recognition, I hit that melancholy patch that reminds me of the childhood sting of being the little girl nobody wanted to play with. Thursday afternoon, my online friend and talented author Jane Isaac made my week by nominating ME for an award, assuring me that my words do have value in some quarters.


Beautiful Blogger AwardLook at how shiny it is!

In accepting, I have to tell you 7 things about myself:

  1. I’ve lived on four different continents, and until this latest move hadn’t lived longer than 6 years in any one city or house.
  2. My college adviser laughed when I showed him how I had planned out my four years when I was a freshman and assured me I’d change my mind before I graduated; I didn’t, and managed a triple major in three and a half years, allowing me to take a semester off and still graduate with my class.
  3. I dedicated Shel Silverstein’s “Hug o’ War” to my first “boyfriend” in fifth grade, so the poem still tickles a special place in my heart.
  4. I would rather live with dogs and allergies than without either.
  5. Growing up, I teased my dad about not liking desserts; as an adult, I’ve discovered I have sensitive teeth that react painfully to sugar. So I’m not big on sweet stuff either. Except for fruit.
  6. I’m lucky enough to have maintained the same size/shape since High School–I can still wear “the classics” my mom made for me way back when.
  7. I’m also lucky enough to have married my best friend almost 15 years ago, now.

And, I need to pass on the love to 7 other bloggers (but since Jane chose 8, I will too):

  1. Gayla Drummond – The first author I met on Twitter about 3 years ago now. She’s taught me most of what I know about responsible indie publishing.
  2. Liana Brooks – The most recent author I’ve met on Twitter. I love her writing style and sense of humor.
  3. Sarah Cass – Another author who also juggles some pretty steep motherhood issues – with a good sense of humor.
  4. Jennifer James – A multi-published romance author who is supportive and friendly toward those who are also working at writing.
  5. Sabrina Garie – A fantasy/scifi author who geeks out about strong female characters the way I do.
  6. Jodie Smith – Another romance author who’s super-supportive of the community of authors she’s connected to.
  7. Fiona Druce – A fun romance author who has the salty background of a stint in the Army to make her laugh-out-loud hilarious.
  8. Ellie Heller – A paranormal romance author who is also thoughtful and funny and supportive.

The things I’ve learned from all these women have helped my own writing and kept me focused in my own development as an author–and share the absolutely necessary characteristic of that sense of humor that allows them to laugh at themselves as much as the strange things that happen in the world around us.

I keep thinking of other people who’ve supported me (like @zencherry and @AKMamma and @safireblade and @evilmynx and @moonduster – you get the picture! – as well as most of the nominees Jane already mentioned), so I’ll count this as a happy shout-out to everyone else my tired brain can’t conjure at the moment – let’s all dance a beautiful, virtual dance together in celebration of great words on a regular basis.


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