Monthly Archives: May 2011

Feeling a Little Thorny

Since I went off yesterday about the flooding, I think today I need to take a lighter look at the anticipated floodwaters.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I’m not a real outdoors type of woman. Sure, I love to fish, but that’s about the extent of my outdoorsiness (I know it isn’t a word). When it comes to yard work, you mention the word and I’ve got too many other things to do like laundry, mopping, plucking the hair out of my head one by one. You know, important things.

On Sunday, when I was about to start doing all of those not-so-important things, I started thinking about my pets. I have two cats and a dog. Ty, the 14-year-old cat has been voted off the island (inside) because of her…pottying problem. She stays outside all the time now. Mia, my 9-year-old Mini Schnauzer, only goes outside to potty and spend time with me…and Ty. Cookie the Hut stays inside at all times.

One thing government officials have stated over and over is that with the rising floodwaters, populated areas should be on the lookout for wildlife searching for higher ground. This could be anything from raccoons to black bears to alligators and snakes. Lots and lots of snakes. Do I expect to see bears roaming around my neighborhood? God, I hope not. Alligators? Well, my neighbor has already had a 9′ alligator under her porch and that wasn’t even for a flood. I instantly started thinking of the horrible, nasty beasts who might want to make a meal of my cranky cat and my sweet puppy dog.

This was enough motivation to get me in the yard to do major cleaning up. I spent seven hours cutting tree limbs and bushes, throwing out damaged fencing, anything that could possibly hide predators that might lie in wait for my babies. Armed with a limb cutter, a hatchet, and a saw, I attacked the thick branches of the holly bushes behind my house. Yes, a hatchet. I’m so not a lumberjack, by the way. I’m sore as hell, but that isn’t the point of this blog. No. There’s more.

In the process of doing this major clean-up around my home, I stepped on a nail (went right through my shoe into my foot), had black ants and God only knows what other kinds of bugs fall in my hair, on my neck, and down my shirt. Then I had to rumble with my neighbor’s rose bush…tree thingy.

This rose bush (tree) had nearly 1″ thick limbs that had pushed through her wooden fence to reach into our yard. The limbs were hanging low enough that simply walking would’ve had you caught in them. Since my brother was going to be cutting grass, I decided these rose branches had to go…

Not the actual rose tree...bush thing

Little did I know they weren’t going to leave easily. Oh, no. Those branches and I rumbled. The thorns grabbed my hair, my shirt, my neck, my arms, my work gloves. Every. Single. Time. I’d try a different approach and another branch would attack. It was like fighting an octopus! I look like I went a few rounds with a very pissed off house cat, but I won. Eventually. I have no doubt people heard me cursing and swearing up and down the street.

I’m proud of the work I managed to do and yes, I’m wearing my scratches and gouges like a battle-weary warrior. Yes, I can barely move my arms and please don’t ask me to open any jars because that might do me in. Do I plan to do this again? God, I don’t think so. Next time I think I’ll just rent a bulldozer and destroy everything from the safety of a cab.

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Waiting for Water

On Friday, I briefly mentioned here on my blog about the imminent flooding expected for my part of the world. Last week, people in this area were waiting to see what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would do about the Morganza Spillway. On Friday afternoon, we found out they were planning to open it.

This part of Louisiana is known as the Atchafalaya Basin. This is where the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers drain to the Gulf. The people living here know that, we’ve known that for a hell of a long time. Don’t forget that many of the families who live in this area have been here for generations. Our ancestors were here before New Orleans was fully developed as a city. They were here before levees and locks and spillways and they forged a life here.

Fast-forward to the 20th century and modern man decided the land needed to be developed more for residential areas, for shipping, for production. They created man-built channels through the swamps to move big vessels to the Gulf. They filled in some natural bayous and canals to divert water (and traffic) where they wanted it. They built levees to drain marsh areas to put businesses and houses.

Through all of this, the people here shrugged and adapted. If their homes were flooded, they rebuilt their houses higher, or moved to higher ground. They accepted these things because this is their home. There’s no other place on Earth like this and they aren’t going to leave.

When hurricanes tear up the Gulf Coast, they open their arms to the displaced people in hard-hit areas even while they try to repair their own homes. For example, after Katrina, my town’s population boomed because we weren’t hit as hard as New Orleans was. People moved here to get away from the devastation and they stayed. We accepted that and moved on.

Last week, the Port Commission of New Orleans insisted that the USACE open the Morganza Spillway (which wasn’t intended as a floodgate, mind you). I was a bit stunned. Surely money couldn’t be more important than homes that will be lost when the water from the Morganza comes roaring down? I was wrong. It is more important than the homes of a few. People from Baton Rouge and New Orleans were praying for the same thing. No one seemed to care what the people who live here thought.

It was even said that this is something we should expect since we live in the delta. Why should they feel sorry for us for living here in the first place? You ever seen a pissed off Southern woman? Yeah. That was me. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Logically, I understand that the displacement of a few thousand people is better than the displacement of nearly a million, but did anyone bother to ask us? To show us compassion for what we’re about to go through? No. Not really.

I’m not going to rant. I’d love to, but it doesn’t do any good. Just don’t forget the people whose lives are going to be completely changed by the decision to open the Morganza. Eight parishes…EIGHT parishes are going to be hit compared to two cities. Will everyone in those parishes lose their homes? Probably not, but what about their jobs? How are they going to live when they can’t get to work because of road closures? Has anyone thought about that? What about the wildlife that will search out higher ground? Not all of us are alligator hunters, you know.

Ah well, maybe I’m being too dramatic. I’m not likely to flood after all, but it still grates my nerves how no one in this area was given a choice in the matter. This isn’t exactly a hurricane where it’s going to hit no matter what happens. This was a decision made by people for the “greater good”. I know it wasn’t maliciously intended. I know that, but it still feels wrong.

It just makes me think of another phrase that I’m sure you all know: C’est la vie. Such is life. We’ll survive and we’ll rebuild. It’s what we do. In the meantime, we’re waiting to see where the water will go and how bad it’s going to be.

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Fantasy Man Friday

I’m having a very Napoleon Dynamite moment because I want to say “Yessssss” for Friday. Is it just me, or do the weeks seem to be passing by too slowly, yet way too fast? I don’t even care that today’s Friday the 13th. I’m just glad it’s finally here!

Yesterday, I realized I’m a horrible friend. You see, my best friend and I both adore Kresley Cole’s IAD series. She got me reading them, in fact, so we like to one-up each other in speculations. A few months ago, we had a rather heated discussion over the next book in the series (as heated as best friends for 20+ years could have where name calling and much mocking was to be had). Anyway, she swore up and down that the heroine of the next book would be Nix, whereas I said nope, no way. I pointed out my logic (which was very logical, dammit, I was impressed with myself!) and she said I was wrong.

Well, you guessed it. Yesterday Kresley announced the heroine of her next novel and it wasn’t Nix. What did I do? Did I pat myself on the back? No. I immediately shot off an e-mail to my best friend and opened it with HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Because I’m a bad friend! But man, it felt good. I love being right. I even thanked Kresley Cole on her fanpage for proving me right.

Oh, I signed the contract for my fourth book in the Veil series, Ain’t No Bull this week, so yay! I’ve also hit a mental block on my two WIPs. After I sobbed uncontrollably spoke with my CP, Daisy Harris, I think I know how to fix at least one of them. No, neither of my WIPs are in the Veil world, sorry!

Hm, what else…oh. The flood. Did y’all know the Mississippi River is going buck wild this spring? Yeah, no one’s talking about it because it’s that unimportant. *snort* Anyway, we here in south Louisiana are waiting to see what they’re going to do so we know how to prepare for the flood. It looks like it’ll be shaping up into a very interesting month and don’t worry, I’ll keep y’all updated.

Now for the man. I was thinking I needed another pretty man this week. A pretty man with muscles and a thoughtful expression…barely wearing his underwear. I think I found one, what do you think?

I’m thinking very bad thoughts, I’ll have y’all know. His navel is talking to me. It’s saying “Lick here”. And you know what else? He has a nice nose. I like distinguished noses because mine is boring. He has a nose that says “I have muscles, the endurance of an Iditarod sled dog, and would love nothing more than to let you do naughty things to me in the  name of romance writing research”. Do you see that? Or is it just me?

Have a great weekend, y’all!

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Cajun French: Comme Ce, Comme Ca

I was going to write a very long, ranty post about the perception some people have about south Louisianans who live below sea level, but I’d rather not paint everyone with the same brush. I suppose I’m stressing a bit from the impending flood because I’m feeling sensitive about comments made by ignorant people.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, I can get to today’s lesson. I’m not sure if this is spelled correctly, but today’s phrase is Comme ce, comme sa. I heard this phrase my entire life and always took it to mean so-so. Why? Because every time someone would say it, they’d give that hand wobble most people do when they indicate things are neither good, nor bad.

It wasn’t until later that I realized the literal translation for this phrase is “like this, like that”. It’s pronounced come see, come sa and you have to add the hand motion. We speak with our hands too, you know.

So if you’re not having the best day and someone says…

Comment ca va? (How are you? or How is it going?) This is pronounced “Come’a sa va” (sort of, LOL)

You can answer Comme ce, comme ça.

If you’re having a good day, you can say Ca va bien. Which means “It goes well”.

When my brother married his wife, our oldest nephew was his best man and he’s a character. My sister-in-law’s cousin took an immediate liking to our nephew and nicknamed him comme ça. So yes, most of my sister-in-law’s family calls Patrick comme ça and don’t know him by any other name. It’s pretty funny, especially when they ask us “Which one’s comme ça?” *grin*

So it looks like y’all got several lessons in one day! I hope you’re able to use these in your writing or just for fun.

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What’s Playing Wednesday

I’m beginning to think I should’ve given a theme to this month’s What’s Playing Wednesdays. It seems like I want to lean more towards heavy metal than anything else, and my MP3 player agrees with me.

And just to show you how into it I am, I’m having a very special guest author on May 25 for What’s Playing Wednesday. I discovered her books through Goodreads and wasn’t disappointed! As far as I’m concerned, any time you couple heavy metal with erotic romance, I’m so there. Her name is Olivia Cunning and she has a series out right now called Sinners on Tour. It’s about a hard rock band, called Sinners, and it’s fantabulicious.

And just like any good blogger, I stalked um, e-mailed Olivia and asked if she’d stop by for a short interview and a song. She agreed because I sort of twisted her arm and threatened to throw myself in front of the Sinners’ tour bus she’s a truly awesome lady. I hope y’all will stop by to learn more about her and the hot, beyond smexy guys in the band. *fans herself* Oh yes…I’m in looooove with the Sinners.

*cough*

Now…where was I? Oh. Talking about music. I really should’ve named this month May Metal Madness or something. In fact, I’m going to give next month a theme, but I’ll get to that later.

Today’s band is called Black Label Society. Zakk Wylde, the lead singer, was Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist. Their music is hard and…well, catchy. I really like Zakk’s singing style. It isn’t the best vocalization you’ll ever hear, but it’s good stuff. And he looks like a Viking, which is pretty awesome.

This song is one of my favorites by them, but by no means the only one. The song is called Stillborn. I hope you rock out today! And be sure to stop by on May 25th for Olivia Cunning’s interview and song pick.

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Kids Are Evil

I didn’t spend much time around the interwebz at all this weekend. From Friday morning until now, I was dealing with broken down cars, birthday parties, aimless roaming, and family. I’m back now though, so it’s all better.

Yes, the car broke down on Friday morning and had to be towed to the dealership. *sniff* I hate being dependent on other people for transportation, but my loving godson was nice enough to drive his nanny around town after his college finals. Yay. I got to spend time with him. He’s not evil. Most of the time.

No, the evil kids were 9-year-olds. My cousin’s daughter’s birthday was on Saturday at a putt-putt golf course. It started out well. The birthday girl actually hugged me in front of her friends and was chatting with me about everything. She even showed me her “devil horns” because she apparently likes Gene Simmons…and tie-dyed shirts…and peace signs. She’s 9.

After the singing (which was awful), the cake (which was too tempting for me to ignore), the entire clan headed to the course. Eight kids and twelve adults. I thought for sure I’d be heckled by my cousins and their husbands, even my mother. But no…I was brought low by a 9-year-old girl named Danica. Ironic, isn’t it?

We were walking to the course when she looked up at me with her cute little face and asked how old I was. It’s my fault that she told me the truth…or at least what a 9-year-old girl scout fascist believes is the truth: she said I looked 40 (I still have several years until that auspicious day). My sister, who is 42, thought that was hilarious which of course, encouraged the torment. Next thing I know, the other 9-year-old demons started throwing out ages. 60…70…120. Yeah, I was thinking about using my putter for something other than golfing.

We let the kids play ahead of us and things went well. Sure, there were moments when I expected someone to throw a relative in the water hazard. And yes, my cousins tormented each other by kicking each other’s balls into the water, but no one fell in. It was fun, no one went to the hospital, and no one snapped. Well, sort of.

The kids were two holes ahead of us and it just so happened that the hole we were on was right next to the demons. I was lining up for my awesome shot when one of the demons said, “You’re still on that hole?” I may have pointed my putter at her and declared, “No talking across the course!” Being scared to death as she was, she rolled her eyes and shrugged before heading back to the other demons.

The moral of this story? I’m glad my cats and dog can’t talk. Was I really angry? Nope, not at all. It was an experience and it just further proved my belief that not having children was best for my mental health.

How was your weekend?

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Who I Became

In spite of my romance novel-reading ways, I was never an honor student. I didn’t sit on the stage for my high school graduation and there was serious doubt that I’d ever graduate from college. How many times did I sit on my swing at home with a 40oz beer and a Milky Way crying my eyes out because I couldn’t pass Math 101? Heh too many to count. Yes, I was that person in college who was in school long enough to get a Masters.

In all those years I was in college, real life seemed so far away. At first, I was trying to find my feet and learning to juggle a 18-credit semester with work and band. Yes, I was a band geek in college. Once I got the hang of things, I discovered the fine art of partying. *cough* Yes, my friends and I knew every bar in a twenty-five mile radius and which ones had $1 beer night on which day of the week.

Needless to say, I didn’t spend an awful lot of time on my books and studying. I didn’t completely slack; I just didn’t hit them as hard as I should have. I had a friend who always finished his papers a month before they were due, while I and two other friends would write them the night before. Cramming? It was a way of life for us. Yes, I wrote a 35 page independent study paper the morning it was due. *cough* And the professor loved it.

That was normal for me. I crammed, I procrastinated, and I graduated.

Twelve years later, I’m shocked to discover my nephew—who is about to start his second year in college—was finishing up a research paper the day before it was due. Why am I so shocked? I know what college life was like. I lived it and loved it until it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. I suppose I’m so shocked because my nephew, unlike me, is a good student.

He has the GPA I never had and he’s more driven that I ever was. When he told me his paper was due so soon and he was just about to start typing it up…I had the nerve to ask, “Waited kind of late, huh?” *face slap*

It’s funny though. Now that I’ve had years to look back at my college days, I shake my head and think “I was a stupid kid”. Yet, I can’t deny that those were some of the best days I ever had. Sure, sure, my friend who wrote his papers a month in advance takes vacations to Italy and I’m lucky if I can go to Biloxi for a weekend, but I’m strangely okay with that.

So I will not fuss my nephew for not being an overachiever. Nope. I will not become that person who always says, “When I was your age…” because honestly? I was a lot worse than he will ever be, LOL

How about you? Do you find yourself warning those younger than you about something you’ve done in the hopes they’ll avoid the same mistakes? Do you ever want to slap yourself because you know it won’t do any good anyway?

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Fantasy Man Friday

Happy Friday everyone!

I’ve had a decent week, how about you? Oh, sure I have a dead battery in my car, but that’s okay. I wrote a lot yesterday! Really, a good word count is almost as good as…chocolate. Almost, but not really. Okay, they’re nothing alike, but I have to compare it to something.

So this weekend is Mother’s Day. Y’all know I love my mom. It’s pretty self-evident,  huh? Well, I’m giving myself a Mother’s Day present. “But Danica,” I hear you say, “you don’t have any children.” Au contraire! I have three, no five children, two of which are part-timers (nephews) and the full-timers (pets).

Because of the endless cycle of vet visits, grocery stops for food, feeding schedules, bathing, and quality time with each of them…I deserve something special for Mother’s Day. I need…this:

He’s…pretty. Pretty young, pretty built, wearing pretty tight jeans. Rar.

*a minute later*

Heh…zoned out for a bit. It’s that crease in his skin right above his hip. It’s mesmerizing…nom, nom, nom.

I hope y’all have a Happy Mother’s Day weekend. Be safe, enjoy yourselves, and remember…it’s okay to look.

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Cajun French: T’es Nu

This week’s Cajun French phrase is another gift from my sister-in-law. About three months ago, I played a Cajun French version of “The Streak“. When my sister-in-law heard it, she picked up phrases she remembered hearing her dad say and told me I had to use this phrase.

Are you ready? Because those of you who are romance writers…well, you might be able to actually use this phrase in your books. You know, if you wanted to and you could totally share the royalties with me when you hit the NYT Bestsellers list ;)

The phrase is t’es nu, which means…you’re naked. Bwahaha! Okay, I’m not going to be a juvenile about it. Really. Naked! Bwahaha! *cough*

T’es is pronounced “teh” and nu is pronounced almost like “new” except there’s a little…more emphasis on the “u” sound. It almost sounds like “tu-nu” with the N having a more nasally sound and the emphasis on the “nu” part of the phrase. Does that make sense? I swear, one day I’m going to record people so you can hear what it sounds like.

Anyway, my sister-in-law said she remembers hearing her dad say this to her niece. You know how toddlers think clothes are optional? Yeah. Grandbaby comes running out of the bathroom wearing nothing and he exclaims, “Aubrey, t’es nu!” or “Aubrey, you’re naked!”

Now when I give my dog a bath, I tell her, Mia, t’es nu!” and she always looks guilty because she doesn’t have her shirt on. Of course, I accuse the cat of being naked too, so it’s probably just her reacting to my tone instead of the words…but how cool would it be if the dog understood Cajun French? Except…I don’t really speak Cajun French, which means this entire time we’ve been misunderstanding each other. *sigh*

Anyway, do you think you can use this phrase?

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What’s Playing Wednesday

***The winner of Daisy Harris’ giveaway is Maureen Betita! Maureen, drop me an e-mail at danica(dot)avet(at)gmail(dot)com and we’ll get you connected with Daisy. Thanks for commenting everyone!***

Greetings y’all! It’s a beautiful day here in south Louisiana and I’m hyped up, ready to hit the WIP. I have so many ideas swirling around my head I can barely contain myself. I’m trying though because I’m just not a perky person.

On the drive this morning, I was seriously rocking out to everything from The Used to Radiohead to Avenged Sevenfold (I really do love those guys). So when I let the MP3 player choose today’s song, I was very pleased to have it pick another hard rockin’ song.

I’ve talked about this band before; I think I may have even played one of their other songs, but this one is right up there with one of my favorite songs ever. I have to listen to it as loudly as I can whenever it comes on. The band is called Apocalyptica. If you don’t remember me talking about them, they’re heavy metal cellists from Finland.

I know what you’re thinking…cellists? Playing heavy metal? Oh yeah…and they look damn good doing it too. Rar. *cough* They have a lot of instrumental stuff which rocks, but they also add songs with featured guests. They’ve had everyone from Adam Gontier with Three Days Grace (Three Days Grace placed that song in concert and I went insane) to Gavin Rossdale from Bush.

Today’s song features Corey Taylor of Slipknot. I looooove Slipknot. They’re easily in my top 10 favorite metal bands. I never had the chance to see them live, but I’m ever hopeful…even if I am 40 something years old when it happens. I’d tried to see Apocalyptica live, but they cancelled their show in New Orleans. Le sigh. I need to go to a concert soon (Just so you know).

Anyway, this song is called I’m Not Jesus and it’s wicked. I don’t know if it’s because you can see Corey Taylor’s face, or if it’s the tattooed, muscled arms of the cellists, but…yeah, rar.

Hope you enjoy the song and it gets your muses shuffling along, if not moshing! Have a great day, y’all!

By the way, I’m over at my group blog Four Foxes One Hound today talking about my mom. Stop by!

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