Monthly Archives: July 2009

Studly Men

So, I had to have a little inspiration for my books, right? What does a person do when she needs sexy men to use as muses for her larger-than-life supernatural heroes? She takes to the internet. Now, I’m going to post some pictures of men I think have that rar factor.

Yes, the ‘rar’ factor is very important to me. I don’t necessarily like pretty boys. I much prefer men who look like men: hairy chests, genuine 5 o’clock shadows, biceps to die for…you get the idea.

So, without further ado:

This is the muse for my Cajun incubus, Fallon. Fallon keeps popping up in my head, speaking French, and driving all the other male characters crazy. You can see why:

This is my inspiration for my werewolf, Connor Griffin. He’s the MC in my WIP. Growl.

Finally, this is my muse for Malachi Cromwell. Malachi…is a vampire/demon halfling who spends most of his time making the Veilerian Council insane. He’s not technically ‘bad’ but he isn’t ‘good’ either!

I’m not quite finished finding just the right pictures for my other characters. I still haven’t found the perfect Lucian (one of the MCs of my finished manuscript) and it’s nearly impossible to find the perfect Mortimer! Mais. Okay, so just talking about Fallon has me wanting to bust out with the few words in Cajun French I know.

Enjoy the pictures!

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Writers for New Orleans

So, I’ve decided to attend my very first workshop/conference type thingy (I’m sure you’re all impressed by my impressive vocabulary). I can’t quite remember where I first heard about it, but my interest was really piqued when it was mentioned at my local RWA chapter meeting earlier this month.
I decided to check it out and it sounds like a blast, except for one thing. Curious about what kind of hotel it was being held at, I decided to check it out and what do I find out? The bleeding hotel is HAUNTED. Yes, you heard me. Haunted! Do I believe in ghosts? Hell yeah! What Cajun doesn’t?? I’ve heard my mom’s stories about the haunted apartment building (which used to be a plantation house) she lived in as a kid. I heard my grandmother talking about the coffin that floated through the swamp foretelling of some one’s death. I know the Rougarou isn’t real, but I sure as hell believed in it when I was a kid. Does that mean I’m not going to the conference? Puh-leez! I’m going…and I’m bringing company because there is no way on God’s green earth I’m going to sleep in a haunted hotel by myself. Do I expect to actually see anything? Nah, but just in case, I want someone there to make sure I don’t die of a heart attack.

This is really kind of funny because I love paranormal romance. I just think I could handle werewolves and vampires better than I can ghosts lol. Or it could just be that I’m a big chicken who writes about what they fear.

Anyway, I’m going through my wardrobe in my mind trying to figure out what looks Riverboat lady(ish) for the riverboat cruise on Friday night. Probably won’t go all out in costume for that, I’m just not a very frou-frou female for the most part (I do have my moments of frou-frou-ness though). I’m really looking forward to learning more about the industry, meeting other authors, and having some fun. New Orleans is old hat for me, but I don’t go as much as people would expect. Lots of good memories (those I can remember that is) abound in the French Quarter.

I’ll be bringing my laptop along to blog from the Big Easy and I’m hoping to get lots of pictures to share as well.

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What Makes a Hero

I love men. I’m the kind of woman who is more comfortable with them, than I am with women. Growing up, most of my friends were boys (in middle school through high school) and men in college. I did have female friends, but they weren’t as numerous. That hasn’t changed for me today. In this digital age, I’ve wracked up a lot of online friends, most of whom are male. No, we don’t cyber! Sheesh. We’re friends. We learn from each other about the opposite sex. I help them try to understand women, they help me try to understand men. It’s a nice arrangement.

In this quest to ‘understand the opposite sex’ I was asked by an online friend, what makes a hero. I was completely flummoxed. What does make a hero? Is it his manly chest? His take charge nature? I think it’s different for every woman. When we picture our ‘perfect male’, he doesn’t look like Brad Pitt or Vin Diesel (gr-owl!), or at least, for me he doesn’t.

My ideal male is, of course physically fit, or close to. I like a man with a little upholstery. He’s taller than me (which isn’t too hard, being 5’4″). Eye color and hair color isn’t as much of a deal. I like it all. But though I love to ogle beautiful men (one day I’ll talk about a vendor who came to my office), I like their personalities. I like how some men are take charge, while others are totally go-with-the-flow and laid back. I enjoy how they pick on each other and I’m sorry, but there’s just something about watching a big, strong man giggle helplessly that makes me go ‘aw’. I know several guys who aren’t in the least bit feminine, but when they really laugh, it’s with almost schoolgirl giggles.

If you want to bring a tear to my eye, show me a man who has to deal with an unexpected emotional display and I get teary. Case in point? I watch ‘Deadliest Catch’ faithfully. I’ve been a fan for years. My favorite boat is the Northwestern. A couple of weeks ago, the sister to one of the deckhands died and the captain (Sig) and deckhand Nick, had to break the news. I felt horrible for the deckhand whose sister died, but it was Sig and Nick who made me cry. You could just how uncomfortable they were, but because they’re ‘a family’, they dealt with the emotionally sticky situation as best they could. I adored it and in that moment, I thought Sig was the cutest captain in the fleet. (I revised my opinion after he manipulated a clock, but that’s an entirely different story.) Whether we want to admit it or not, we women are drawn to vulnerability and how men react to it.

Does that mean we want a man who cries? I don’t know. I don’t like to see a man cry, it breaks my heart. Do I want a man who sits down and asks me what I’m feeling? No, not really. To be honest, I don’t know what I’m feeling all the time. I have female friends who want to share their feelings and I feel completely unprepared for it. Must be the tomboy upbringing I had because I get confused talking to some of my female friends.

Our heroes, when we write them, are most likely a hodgepodge of men we’ve met throughout our lives. The brainy boy in high school who was cute with those coke-bottle glasses. The jock who still managed to be nice even though he was the most popular guy in school. The punk (skate rat back in my day) who had a shy smile and beautiful eyes. At least that’s my take on it 🙂

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So, I’m just coming from the FF&P Yahoo! group where a discussion about cats and litter boxes made me think of how I use my pets in writing.

In my finished MS, I have Briggs (an English bulldog with a flatulence problem). Do I have a dog with a problem breaking wind? Um, yes. Mia, my miniature Schnauzer, likes to sit in my lap and let loose. It’s disgusting. Probably the worst part is when she does it and manages to look so innocent while I’m gasping for fresh air. Mia is…needy. She allows me to baby her shamefully. She frequently throws her head on my chest and looks up at me like I’m the only thing keeping her alive. I know she’s manipulating me, but it’s cute! I always made fun of people who talked to their pets like they were people and I became one. She does understand what I’m saying though! Honest. Is she my only inspiration? Not at all.

I’ve always had animals. My very first pet was a stray cat I found and named Daphne (I was a big Scooby-Doo fan at the time). Since then, I’ve had several cats. The two most memorable were Charlotte and Ty. Charlotte was part of a litter my cat, Sasha had. Charlotte was the most awesome, loving cat you could ever meet. She loved everyone so much that when you pet her, she’d drool all over you. She’d press her nose and mouth into the crook of your arm or against your neck and purr and drool and drool and purr. People were like catnip for her. It was awesome in a gross way. After the loving Charlotte, I got Ty.

*big sigh* I picked Ty out. She was such a little fighter as a kitten! Just adorable. I got her when I was in college and I distinctly remember her crawling up my body to sit on my shoulder and nibble on my earlobe while I studied for my Shakespeare class. Then, something happened. My lovable, sweet kitty became the Devil’s Kitten. 11 years later, and she’s got my entire family cowed. She’s generally considered ‘evil’, ‘mean’, ‘bad’, ‘snobbish’, etc. She has more attitude than a classroom full of teenagers and she expects everyone to respect her authority! I love that damn cat. She allowed me to keep Mia. But it wasn’t pretty at first.

Will I have a story that highlights a cat who thinks she’s royalty and humans are merely a wait staff? Yup. I’m sure of it. I frequently wonder what she’s thinking (while at the same time I’m glad I don’t know) and that leads me to decide that a book featuring a cat like my Ty is necessary.

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Music and writing

I’m sure you’ve heard of people saying how they just love music. What’s not to love? I don’t just love music, I need it like air. At any point during my waking hours, I will have music playing somewhere around me. At work, I either listen to Cd’s or Internet radio. At home (working on my manuscript, reading, editing) I’m listening to satellite radio. In my car, I’m listening to my satellite radio. In fact, when I don’t have music, I start feeling a little freaked out. When I was younger, I used to even sleep with my radio on (but I kept having weird dreams. The songs would filter into my subconscious mind and I’d end up dreaming about whatever song was on. Case in point, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ by Bob Dylan. I had a dream about ‘Napoleon in rags and the language that he used’. Yes, I dreamed that Napoleon was cursing at me. It’s funny now, but I was freaked out as a teenager.)

So, when I’m writing, the thing that matters most to me is what kind of music I’m listening to. For those of you who haven’t checked out my profile, I’m something of a metal head. I love heavy metal music. I find it exhilarating and motivating. However, when I write, the last thing I want to do is listen to speed metal. Searching for just the right song for a particular scene matters!

I remember when I was working on a love scene for my completed manuscript. It just so happened that the station I was listening to prior to that scene, suddenly decided to play Ministry’s ‘Jesus Built my Hotrod’ which is most definitely speed metal. It’s fast, aggressive, loud, and somewhat annoying. So what happened? My poor hero didn’t give a good showing. Tsk. Does that mean that I instantly changed genres and put on some love music? Of course not. My characters wouldn’t stand for Michael Buble crooning about ‘swaying’ even if I consider it a good song. They were okay with REO Speedwagon though.

I’ve looked at other authors’ playlists and I’m afraid that if I were to put one together for my first manuscript, it would read something like this:

‘Oblivion’ by Mastodon
‘Sink into Me’ by Taking Back Sunday
‘Two Weeks’ by All That Remains
‘Wolves at the Door’ by Senses Fail
‘I Get Off’ by Halestorm
‘Baptized by Fire’ by Spinnerette
‘Die, Die, my Darling’ by Misfits
‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ by Sex Pistols
‘Straight Outta Compton’ by N.W.A.

Plus many more. Not exactly songs that make you think of love and romance, are they? Hm. So maybe music doesn’t play as much of a part during my writing as I thought? I suppose I’ll have to get my book to readers before I make that distinction.


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Playing the Name Game

As you may have noticed from my previous post, I like unique names for my characters. What you may not realize, is that most of the names I use for my characters are names that I’m putting out of reach to use as names for any kids I might have. I absolutely LOVE the name Ruby. I have no idea why. I’d love to name a daughter Ruby, but then I think ‘how would she like that?’ and decided the only way to permanently put it off the shelf, was to use it for my character.

So far, I’ve got Ruby, Piper, Pagan (its a nickname really), Malachi, Jackson, and Roman. Not that all of my characters will be named in such a way, but those are the biggies. I also like to peruse for inspirational names, especially when it comes to bad guys.

Secondary characters get more fun names, like Ocean, Saga, Albreda, Rosetta, Isola, Fallon, etc.

Really, what’s in a name? To my way of thinking, Pagan (a secondary character who will eventually get her own book) is a kick ass chick, so I think that picking just the right name means everything when writing. I’m sure that somewhere along the line I will have characters with more ‘normal’ names and trust me, they won’t be bland either (or if they are, they won’t stay that way for long).

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When Characters Rule My World

So I seem to be a person whose muse only strikes when they’re drying their hair. Yes, every time the blow dryer comes on, ideas start popping in my head. In fact, that’s how I came up with a new story I’m working on (when I’m not editing and slaving over my finished book).

Piper and Connor came to me because they thought their story just had to be next. I thought Pagan (a hard-ass vampire chick) was going to push them out of the way because her story has been in my mind for years, but I suspect that Connor (being an Alpha werewolf) had a lot to do with her conceding victory to him and Piper.

You see, Piper is a half-succubus, half-weretiger on the verge of her full transition into succubus-hood. She doesn’t want it though her mother (Persephone, that succubus to end all succubae) is pressuring Piper to take matters ‘in hand’ and lose her virginity…finally. I mean, I can understand Persephone’s point of view. Piper is a seventy-four year old virgin and to a succubus, that just won’t do. Unfortunately for Persephone, Piper just wants to be like any other woman. You know, fall in love with ONE man and live with him for the rest of her long life.

So how can Persephone get Piper’s nature to take its course? Why she does what any mother would do: she forms an elaborate scheme to get a sexy Alpha werewolf to come into her daughter’s life and wreak havoc. It doesn’t hurt Persephone’s plans that Connor hates succubae so much that he calls them ‘soul suckers’. If he doesn’t like her species, then there’s no risk of him falling in love with her daughter and no risk of her daughter falling in love with him! Well, that was the plan anyway.

Connor wasn’t too happy about being paired up with a succubus when I mentioned it to him. He thought I was crazy! He kept pushing for me to hook him up with Marie (another werewolf) but really, where’s the fun in that? Connor just didn’t know that Piper was perfect for him, although I think he’s beginning to see the light. She’s a sweetheart and he’s a sucker for curves which she has in abundance. He keeps trying to tell me and himself that he’s only hanging around with Piper because she might have an idea of where his troublesome nephew is, but we both know that he’s really digging her.

I believe that once they get to know each other better, they’ll both realize that their futures are safe in my hands.

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To Prologue or Not to Prologue

Over the last week of revising and proofing my completed manuscript, I’ve started wondering if the prologue is necessary or not. I wrote it because I wanted to explain, just a little, about the world I created. Now, I’m wondering if its really needed. It doesn’t give background information on any of my characters, just a background of the world they live in.

There’s one scene with a main character, but again I’m wondering if its necessary. Is it better to just jump in the action and let the cards fall where they may? I don’t usually care if a book has a prologue or not unless its a flashback or something. This isn’t. Oy. I feel confused.

I wish I could get some feedback on this problem. I feel a little lost trying to figure out if it embellishes my story, or bogs it down.

Other than that, I just finished the synopsis for my second book and I need to polish up the first several pages for a contest. Then its on to the big story to hammer out that synopsis and beginning for another contest that starts next week. Why did I do this to myself again?

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Friends and contests

So last week, I found out that my best friend (and proofreader/think tank) is planning her own book. I was so excited. She sent me a little preview of what she’s written so far and maybe its because our humor is so much alike (even though I’m a lot more doom and gloomy than she is), but I was barely able to keep from laughing out loud. It feels good to know that we’re both writing and maybe one day, will be published. Do I see the two of us on book tours together? Hells yeah! It’d be so much fun!

She and I have been bouncing ideas back and forth for books for…well, I’m not even sure how long. Maybe ten years? This was way before I decided to actually sit down and write. She’s been a great writing partner for me. I tend to look at the big picture, but she sees the details and lord knows that she has more fashion sense than I do, so I need her around to make sure I don’t dress my heroines up as dorks (unless its intentional). How awful would THAT be??

So, encouraging her to write is like a boost to myself. I read something funny she comes up with and it makes me want to do just as well. Not in a competitive way, but in a I-want-to-make-people-laugh-out-loud too kind of way.

In other news: I’ve been working on two separate stories that I’m prepping for contests. One of the stories is the newly completed book that’s going to two contests, the other story is a new one (not so new cause I came up with the idea two years ago) that’s going into a contest this weekend. Have I mentioned that I hate writing a synopsis? It just seems wrong for some reason.

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When I write, I don’t stop to think about grammar or anything (unless it’s something REALLY bad like more better or something like that) so unless I’m constantly checking it, I miss a lot of things. I write like I talk, I guess, but I had no idea that I used so much passive language!

I put the first chapter of my completed story up to a critique group and two reviews have already shown that I have a passive voice when I write. This annoys me. I don’t even realize I’m doing it, so I doubt I’ll catch it in the future. As it is, I’ll probably be afraid ever to use ‘was’ again! lol

In other news, I am still revising and fixing my passive voice. I’m taking a vacation day from my full-time job on Monday so I can work on a new story that I’d like to beef up for a contest.

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