Monthly Archives: June 2010

I’m A Lumberjack and I’m Okay!

Well, I’m not a lumberjack, but I’ve always had this fascination for them. No, I don’t watch Swamp Loggers (although I’ve been tempted), but from the time I was about 16, I was hooked on cowboys and lumberjacks. I had this big plan to move to Alaska and find me one.

Why do I bring this up? Because my brother and his wife went on an Alaskan cruise for their honeymoon (lucky bastard…escaping HELL aka south Louisiana for the cool climes of Alaska). Before he left, my goofy brother told me he was going to bring me back a lumberjack. I just nodded politely because: A. It’s like he’s desperate to get me hooked up/married off, and B. He doesn’t know my likes and dislikes in men. So I told him to have my sister-in-law pick him out. She gets me.

Well, they got home yesterday and my brother hands me an AlaskaMen magazine and a 2011 Lumberjacks of Alaska calendar. I giggled. My little bro followed through! Sort of. Oh I’m sure I’ll have to post something with a sexy lumberjack soon (keep your eyes peeled), but my question is why are they so…mysteriously attractive?

I’m serious! Is it the whole “me-big-strong-man-you-small-sexy-woman” vibe I picked up from all those romances I read? It has to be. I mean, these are guys who cut down and haul trees around for crying out loud! They have to be strong. And I do love a man with a well-developed torso…*daydreams* Oh I know, I know, they aren’t all walking sex gods, but it’s nice to pretend they are. Sort of like when I see cops in BDUs…*drools* There’s just something about those pants that makes me want to shout “I need to be handcuffed to your bed!” and the sad part is, I don’t even look at their faces.

You probably all think I’m horribly easy, which I’m not…but my id does have a big mouth and it tends to take over where men are concerned. So let’s list what “does it” for Danica, shall we?

1. Men in hard hats (keep me away from construction sites)
2. Men in safety harnesses wearing hard hats (if you haven’t seen a man walking around with those straps around his groin…you’re missing out!)
3. Men in BDUs (I love Mardi Gras for this alone…forget about the beads, where are the cops?!)
4. Men in Cowboy hats/jeans/nothing else (Thanks to Lorelei James I have a whole new appreciation for cowboys)
5. Men who cut down trees otherwise known as lumberjacks (Burly, dirty, able to pick up Southern women with one hand…hubba hubba?)

But who am I kidding? This list could be expanded six times over. I’m a woman who appreciates the male body, sweat, sometimes smell, and strength. Now that I’ve had my say, is there one particular man who flips your Twinkie? You see a man dressed x way and you immediately start daydreaming? Don’t be shy, tell Tante Danica everything!

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No Filter

We have a student worker in our office this summer. She isn’t just some random kid, no she’s the great-granddaughter of the company’s founder. Lately, she’s been helping me sort through some very dusty, boring paperwork which means she sits in my office.

She’s 18…I think, so I shouldn’t feel so bad, but she’s one of those kids who just looks innocent. Me + innocent teenager = corruption. Why? Because I can’t function without my music to get me through the day. My MP3 player will roll through anything from ABBA and Santigold to Jay-Z and Slipknot with a stop in just about every genre in between. This means um, some swearing…in some cases, it means a LOT of swearing.

But that isn’t all. Oh no, I also mumble to myself throughout the day. I know I do it, but I can’t really help it. Maybe it’s a product of having spent too many years griping about people under my breath, but I talk out loud. And naturally, not all of that talk is G-rated. I’ve never hidden the fact that I have a foul mouth. My writing even reflects it, but when I’m around certain people, I do attempt to curb it.

Except I keep forgetting she’s sitting in my office. So when I get an e-mail I’m not happy about, I mumble something along the lines of “oh for f***’s sake!” and anything else I can think of that may (or may not) help me vent some of my stress and irritation.

I’m not ashamed…per se. More like I’m thinking, ‘Please don’t tell your great-grandfather’…he’s 94 and still tours the yards and he’s an utter sweetheart…who once trained to be a priest. Yeah…a priest. You see? Corruption is just a word away.

Oh, I suppose I should mention that yes, my manuscripts contain a lot of salty language. It’s well, second-nature to have my characters speak like I do. If I get published, it’ll probably offend some people (I’ve read a few complaints from well-know authors who don’t believe romance heroines should talk like sailors), but it’s language I’m actually comfortable with. Does this mean I can’t have a completely non-offensive, intelligent conversation? Naw, I can hold my own. I even know some pretty good words when I want to use them.

I’m just a Southern girl who swears like a sailor, listens to music other people find offensive, and I’m fine with that. It’s who I am.

So now the question is…who out there will I need to use a filter for if I meet up with them at Nationals?

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I’m Not Insane, I’m Not Insane

I’m really not. I’m a writer. I go off to La-La land quite frequently, even when it’s least convenient.

Case in point? Yesterday afternoon I was talking with my boss about a problem we were trying to find a solution to. I had a very valid point I wanted to make, but just like that *snaps* it was gone and I was thinking “I really need to cut that scene from my WIP, it sucks. I mean, why would an Amazon be afraid of cows? Seriously girl, you need to re-read the story and find out where you went wrong,” all while staring at my boss. He looked back at me with an encouraging expression.

“I had a thought right here,” I told him, pointing to my forehead. “But it’s gone and I don’t think it’s coming back.”

He just laughed and kept talking. Lucky! Of course, I didn’t remember what I needed to speak with him about for at least an hour, but when I did we were cool. I’m sure he thinks I’m crazy because I can only imagine the blank look on my face while I was lost in thought. Oh sure, it’s happened many times before, but never so bad or obvious before. Does this mean I’m becoming more…writerly? Eh, I don’t know. It could just have been a brain fart, cause really, everyone has those, but I think it’s just me being in the zone.

Sometimes I fear that I’ll get so lost in my thoughts I might start sounding like a crazy person.

Someone sane (at work): “…don’t you think?”

Me: “Do you think a six foot four woman can lift a three hundred pound man?”

“Um?”

“Okay, maybe not that, but what about a bull? Do you think she could lift him and throw him across a pasture? Is that too out there, or what? I mean, she’s an Amazon; she’s super strong. Stronger than Wonder Woman. Why do you suppose Wonder Woman had an invisible jet anyway? Did Amazons have jets? Should they? Should I include that in my story?”

It’s a worry I live with, especially since not a single one of my co-workers know I write. I don’t think it would bother me too much though since they already think I’m weird with my ever-changing hair color, piercing, tattoos, metal music, and things I wear. It’s all good though…I think. Hell, now I’m staring to feel paranoid. *looks around*

So, tell me people: are you insane?

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Book Review: Beast Behaving Badly

I almost couldn’t wait to write this…okay, I’ll confess…I wrote it on Friday. I could’ve released it then, but I didn’t want to mess with my one post per day…thingy.

Anyway, here’s the deal: I started Beast Behaving Badly on Thursday afternoon and could not put it down. Seriously. I wish I was joking, but I’m not. I tried to go to bed at the end of one chapter, but after an hour and a half of tossing and turning, I went back to it. I finished this book a little after midnight and never was I so disappointed to see a book end.

Here’s the blurb:

Ten years after Blayne Thorpe first encountered Bo Novikov, she still can’t get the smooth-talking shifter out of her head. Now he’s shadowing her in New York-all seven-plus feet of him-determined to protect her from stalkers who want to use her in shifter dogfights. Even if he has to drag her off to an isolated Maine town where the only neighbors are other bears almost as crazy as he is…

Let sleeping dogs lie. Bo knows it’s good advice, but he can’t leave Blayne be. Blame it on her sweet sexiness — or his hunch that there’s more to this little wolfdog than meets the eye. Blayne has depths he hasn’t yet begun to fathom — much as he’d like to. She may insist Bo’s nothing but a pain in her delectable behind, but polar bears have patience in spades. Soon she’ll realize how good they can be together. And when she does, animal instinct tells him it’ll be worth the wait…

For the first chapter, I was trying to remember who Blayne was. I’ve read a lot of books between this one and The Mane Squeeze, but after one particular sentence, it all clicked. Blayne is the crazy happy wolfdog who’s Gwen’s best friend. I thought she was kooky in The Mane Squeeze, but now I heart her so much I’d marry her if I were a guy.

So Bo (or Bold…seriously? I love that name!) and Blayne met ten years ago, although “met” is a bit of a stretch. She thought he was a serial killer and still does when she sees him again. How many of us have had that reaction to an intense man? *waves her hand* Bo, on the other hand, is just focused and quiet (except when he’s on the ice because he’s a true beast then).

I’m not going into details, but let me just say that what I love so much about Laurenston’s books (Aikens’ books as well) is she has the best character interactions. I don’t know if it’s sad for me to admit it, but I could see myself acting in ways her characters do. They’re the best characters I’ve read in a while. Oh and don’t even get me started on the sibling interaction. LOVE IT. This would be for the whole series, by the way. She just has a way of making her characters seem so real and lifelike that I just know I’d want to be one of their hangers-on. Truly.

Okay, back to the book. Um, what was I about to say? See how excited I am about this series? Wait, there’s a thought coming to me…oh right. So the story is wonderful. It’s fast-paced, interesting, and did I mention hilarious? I seriously had to put my book down a few times because I was laughing too hard to read (squinty eyes you know). Other parts had me chuckling and shaking my head. Her humor just kills me. It kills me. (I use that phrase a lot, but I am a writer, and am prone to exaggeration.)

I loved Bo. Very regimented, very intense, and very, very hot…in spite of the tusks, I mean fangs, which just make him special. Blayne? Blayne is my BFF now. I loved her silliness, her generosity, her kindness, and her kick-ass skillz (Yes, I used a “z”). It was also great to see so many of the characters from the rest of the Pride Stories make cameo appearances. Of course, that meant my loyalty was torn between Mitch and Bo and Lock…but not from Blayne. She’s easily my favorite Laurenston heroine.

All in all, I’m giving Beast Behaving Badly two pucks up and a hip-check because it was that bad-ass. Really.

If you’re looking for some fresh shapeshifter humorous romance, give her Pride Series and Magnus Pack series a try:

Pack Challenge Magnus Pack #1 (Zach & Sara)
Go Fetch! Magnus Pack #2 (Conall & Miki)
Here Kitty, Kitty Magnus Pack #3 (Nikolai & Angelina)

The Mane Event 
Pride Story #1
     Christmas Pride (Brendan & Dez)
Pride Story #2
     Shaw’s Tail (Mace & Ronnie Lee)    
The Beast in Him Pride Story #3 (Bobby Ray & Jessica)
The Mane Attraction Pride Story #4 (Mitch & Sissy Mae)
The Mane Squeeze Pride Story #5 (Lock & Gwen)
Beast Behaving Badly Pride Story #6 (Bo & Blayne)

I hope you give them a try. They really are the one of the best shapeshifter books I’ve read.

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Fantasy Man Friday

It’s the end of what felt like an endless week. So much has happened this week that I want nothing more than to just get away from it all. Since that isn’t happening until July (when I go to Nationals), I just have to stick it out.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Shelly Laurenston? Probably not since I only just discovered her not long ago. But I love her books. Monday I’m going to post a review of Beast Behaving Badly since I haven’t done that in a while and well, it was a great book. I’m not going to go into detail, but needless to say she cost me a lot of sleep last night. I was up until midnight finishing the book even though I had to be up for 5 this morning. Sleep? Who needs that when you have a good book in your hands? Not I!

In other news, I’ve decided to start requerying agents today. I’m not going to let my story become dead in the water. Nope, not gonna happen. So that’s on deck for sometime this morning/afternoon: stalking agents. Why am I suddenly hearing Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” in my head? Bwahahaha. After that? Who knows. Maybe I’ll get a chance to work on my WIP which has been sadly neglected all week.

Which brings us to today. It’s hot. Have I mentioned that as well? No? Well, let me just say that it’s hot enough out there that I would willingly wear a bathing suit and swim. If I had a pool and a ten foot privacy fence and lots of sunscreen. Oh yes, it’s hot. So, to cool us all off, I suggest we strip down to our underwear. Like this guy:

He looks comfy, doesn’t he? In spite of the fact that the backs of his thighs are probably sticking to that leather sofa. Of course, if he’s stuck to the sofa, he can’t go anywhere, right? Which means I have devious thoughts in my head of having a helpless man in his boxer-brief thingies at my mercy. Oh yes. I mean, sure, he isn’t sweating (like I usually love) and he looks almost surprised instead of het up, but who cares? Give me two minutes and I could have him glistening and shiny *grabs a bottle of massage oil*. Oooh yes, come to mama…

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Learning More About Yourself

I learned something about myself this past weekend at the wedding. It used to be you couldn’t drag me on the dance floor. I feel awkward and like everyone’s staring (because I’m so awesome, of course, everyone wants to watch me like a hawk *roll*). When I was in college, I’d dance like a fool…after I had a few drinks in me (like a lot).

These days, I’m sort of like “who cares?” You got it. I danced and danced and danced until the music stopped. Sure, I was drinking, but I wasn’t drunk like I used to have to be. I was just enjoying myself. So much so that I didn’t even blink when my cousin suggested we dance on the stage. Yeah, I was on the stage dancing to “No Parking On The Dance Floor”.

My family is the same way, well most of them. We all love to dance and we’re all horrible at it. Most of us (like me) realize how bad we are, but there are a few who think they’re God’s gift to the dance floor. When I point out “You dance like a white girl” I get offended looks. Hey, I’m just being honest. You look like Butthead doing his dance thing, that’s all. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but it isn’t going to get you far if you tried out for So You Think You Can Dance.

Probably the only real problem I foresee for myself on the dance floor would be my age. Yeah, there were a couple of times when I was “gettin’ low” when I was like “Oh crap, I might not be able to get back up!” I did and hopefully no one noticed my wince as my hips told me how stupid I was. Oh and there’s this song…I don’t know what it is, but the guy tells you to jump right, jump left and cha-cha…I hate that song. Mostly because I hate being told what to do. I mean, c’mon! Don’t give me dancing instructions, it irritates me mostly because I have problems with authority. The kids loved it though, so I guess that was fine.

So what have you learned about yourself lately? Are you a closet dancer too? What have you noticed about yourself that astonishes you? Share all with your Tante Danica!

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That’s No Speedbump…

It’s a speed mountain!

Now that all the wedding stuff and feel good stuff is over, I can get back to my normal programming. Of course, this means that I’m going to bitch whine discuss writing and it’s pitfalls.

Last month, as some of you may know, I submitted my manuscript Succubus-in-Waiting to several agents. Within three hours of submitting, one of the agents contacted me and wanted the full. I sent it to her three days later and four days after that she wanted to represent me. I was over. The. Moon. Some little adjustments, a few more submissions to her, and we had a verbal agreement. I e-mailed all the other agents I’d queried and told them I was accepting representation elsewhere. Which, from what I understand, is the correct and polite thing to do so they don’t waste time on my stuff.

She sent queries out to ten editors. Six wanted the full and she was waiting to hear from the others. Hello? I wasn’t over the moon anymore, I was in the next galaxy. A month rolled by and I started freaking out. What if she hated it? What if she changed her mind? What if she didn’t know how to tell me no one wanted it? I e-mailed her twice with changes, but didn’t hear back from her. I prayed.

Yesterday I heard back from her, but it wasn’t news I was glad to get. She was no longer with the agency. She apologized, gave me a name of another agent with the same organization if I wanted to stay with them. She gave me a list of the editors she’d sent queries and manuscripts out to and wished me luck. I was stunned. I think I stared at the computer screen reading the e-mail three or four times. How could this be? What do I do now? I was in flat out shock.

I remained in shock the rest of the day, my stomach churning and nausea rising. I just couldn’t believe it. I’d stupidly pinned all my hopes on this verbal agreement and had nothing to show for it. I’d missed out on setting up agent/editor appointments at Nationals and working on a pitch because…I had an agent already. Duh. Now I’m in limbo.

When I went home and broke the news to my mother, she was livid. Naturally, her first instinct is to protect me (cause I’m sweet and adorable). Her upset actually helped me think things through. Is there anything better than someone you love defending you to the bitter end, even if they’re spouting conspiracy theories? No, not really. But she made me realize that this isn’t the end. My work is with six editors. SIX editors with big publishing houses. This is a good thing. It would be even better if someone wanted it. I keep a constant prayer in my head rotating hourly and sometimes more frequently than that.

I’m in wait and see mode right now. I need to see if the new agent is going to pick me up or not and if she isn’t, I have to start the whole querying process again. This is fine. I’m not crying my eyes out over this mess, not thinking it’s the end of the world because it isn’t. Sure, it isn’t quite a speed bump, but maybe this was meant to happen so I could truly appreciate my agent when I get him/her. Maybe this is a lesson for me to learn so I can understand that writing is a gift, not a right.

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After the Wedding

So I was off the grid for 4 days. Between getting the hall ready for the wedding, the wedding itself, picking up the bride and groom in New Orleans, and contracting some weird bug from the ringbearer…I was seriously away from the computer.

The wedding went off without a hitch. It was hot as hell, but we made it through without anyone passing out (at least from the heat) and no fighting. It was a beautiful ceremony and as far as I know, only my mom and oldest nephew got teary-eyed. I didn’t cry! No, I was too happy to cry. My baby brother is a married man and he looks so happy. That’s all I can ask for.

I have a lot to catch up on, so I’m keeping this post short, but I do want to say that I may bitch and moan complain and grouch about marriage, but I can only hope my brother and sister-in-law have a long and happy life together. If I get some nieces and nephews out of the deal, even better.

Mr. and Mrs. My Little Brother during the money dance. They left for their honeymoon this morning. Seven days in Alaska! I can only hope the turd comes home. He’s been jonesing to move to Alaska ever since we watched North to Alaska when we were little.

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Fantasy Man Friday

Happy Friday all!!

Well, last night was the rehearsal and I’m not ashamed to say we (the groomspersons) spent most of the pseudo-ceremony looking confused. It’s been quite some time since any of us attended a church wedding with a full mass, so we spent most of the time looking down the pew at the last groomsman because he’s a very regular church goer. It was a good rehearsal and my brother didn’t cry once although he did spend the entire 45 minute drive shaking his leg nervously. It was bad enough that I had to tell him several times to stop rocking my car otherwise I’d puke.

We had SO much food as well. The kids were happy playing…whatever they were playing while everyone else gorged themselves on jambalaya, chili, chicken, and sandwiches. Then it was time for the wedding party presents by the bride and groom. The bride gave her bridesmaids pink flip-flops (to wear during the reception because no one wants to dance in heels) and jewelry for their dresses. The groomspersons *snickers* got pilsner glasses. Oh yes. Pilsner glasses! Initialed at that.

This morning we’re off to the reception hall to set up tables and decorate. I’m tired, but it’ll be fine. If we get home early enough I can take care of all the household chores before we’re swarmed by family tomorrow. Ah, it’ll be an interesting weekend!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed the countdown to my brother’s wedding. I love the little snot and his fiancée is very lucky to have him, even though I had to make mention during my speech very wise advice we all learned from our Korean aunt. I told her “Marsha, I love Phillip and I’m very happy that you’re marry him, but being as we all worked for Aunt Chong at one time or another, I’d just like to tell you…No refunds, no exchanges! He’s yours, you can’t bring him back!”

So now, in honor of the wedding, here’s a fantasy man sure to have you thinking of a romantic wedding night…or maybe just a very sweaty one…where clothes are forgotten:

Oh there are so many things I can say…like, who wants to play doctor when you can play mechanic with this guy?? Or…with him, you don’t really need to worry about bringing your own rubber. Sorry!! I couldn’t help it. So anyway, with this…lovely man, I keep remembering that Express Yourself video by Madonna. You know, when the dirty worker is making love to her on those white satin sheets. *shivers* He looks like he wouldn’t care about a little grease on his sheets. In fact, it might be a requirement. *coughs*

I’m really leaving now!! I apologize if today’s post was more…risque than usual. I can only blame it on lack of sleep. It IS 5:30 in the a.m.

Have a great weekend all!

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Countdown to a Wedding – Traditions

As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t going to be a completely traditional wedding. Mostly because there will be two women serving as groomsmen. My cousin and I have matching dresses and all that, but we’ll stand out. That’s fine. The second part is that my brother and his fiancée are getting married on her parent’s 38th anniversary and they’ll be renewing their wedding vows. This is especially important to my soon-to-be sister-in-law.

As I might’ve also mentioned, this wedding will be the first “real” wedding in over 20 years when my sister was married. Since thing, two of my cousins have married, but they had small intimate ceremonies. This is a wedding of about 300 people at a church. I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in a Catholic church and my family is no better.

After the ceremony though, it proves to be more traditional. Well, for Cajuns that is. See, we have this lovely little thing called a money dance. I’m not sure if it’s something done anywhere else, but people I’ve talked to don’t know about so I’m guessing it’s just a Louisiana thing. However, my mother and nephew didn’t even know what the money dance was so I had to explain it to them.

Think of it as a sort of bride and groom lapdance…with clothes…and it’s to help the couple on their honeymoon. When the money dance is called, everyone reaches into their wallets/purses and starts pulling out fives, tens, twenties, and sometimes more. The ladies line up to dance with the groom, while the men line up to dance with the bride. You take your cash, grab a pin and wait. When it’s your turn, you pin your money to the clothing of the groom (or the veil of the bride) and you get to dance with them for about thirty seconds until it’s the next person’s turn.

I’ve heard some people pass the hat, but to me, the money dance is the best part of the entire wedding reception. Oh sure, it’s fun to watch the groom take the bride’s garter off (the bride has sworn she isn’t going to sit on my nephew’s knee because she’ll crush it, but he’s a big, strong boy, he can handle it). It’s also fun to watch the single ladies nearly kill each other for the bouquet. But the money dance beats all. It’s also a very lucrative way for the couple to make a good chunk of cash to help them get started in their new life together.

Now there are even more strange wedding traditions that abound down here, but luckily I’ve never seen them. There’s the charivari (sha-ree-va-rée). When the bride or groom has been married before or widowed, the family will gather around their house in the middle of the night banging pots and pans until they’re invited inside for food and drink. My mom always told me of a tradition where the bride was kidnapped away from the groom on the wedding night and hidden while the groom had to go and find her.

Then, there’s the tradition I sincerely hope NOT to see at this wedding. In some communities, if the bride or groom has an unmarried older sibling they’ll be given a broom or a mop to dance barefoot with as a way to poke fun at them for still being single. I’ve threatened my brother, his fiancée, and my mother with dire consequences if this happens.

So that’s the wedding traditions in our little part of the world. Do you have some unique to your community?

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