Monthly Archives: August 2010

Hello It’s Me

*waves* Y’all remember me, right? Danica Avet. Good to see ya!

I’ve been kind of…gone from social networking lately. I’ve kept up with my Tweets and Facebook updates, but I haven’t really had a chance to keep in touch with y’all lately. I’ve also been a horrible critique partner lately. So sorry! All I can say is, the real world grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go.

First there’s work. This is a good thing because it means I’m earning money, but really, there’s only so much whining and tattle-tailing I can take. No, I’m not an elementary school teacher. It would make sense if I were. No, I’m talking about the grown men who point the finger at their co-workers when I pin them down for doing something wrong.

Me: Why, why, why are there paint cans just sitting on the ground out here?

Foreman: I don’t know. They aren’t mine. Those belong to Harry. He left them there. Or, it might’ve been the painters from MC. Yeah, they left that there.

Me: And?

Foreman: I’ve been busy making money for the company!

Me: You’re gonna end up costing the company money if you don’t pick that paint up and put it where it belongs.

Silence.

And that’s just one instance. Le sigh. That’s been going on since I started in this position, but it was worse over the last three days because I was out in the yard with these guys for that long. Complaining, bitching, and moaning. And men say that’s all women do. *snort*

Then the personal life intruded. I’m not gonna go into the very ill-advised drinking I did Saturday night, but suffice it to say that I’m never ever drinking three bottles of Chardonnay by myself again. *shudder* I was too brain dead and hung over to talk with my interweb friends. I couldn’t even hold a simple conversation with my dog this weekend, much less keep up with the witticisms of my peeps.

Hopefully though, hopefully, things will calm down again. I do like being busy, but really, there’s a limit to how much I can take. I haven’t written in several days, just now sent off a critique I was supposed to have looked at this weekend, and still have three chapters to look at for someone else. These are important things for me to do! So yeah, kind of hoping someone doesn’t pop in my office and say, “Hey, can we talk about that comment you made on that audit you did because I’m almost positive it wasn’t my fault?”

Oy vey.

Can’t wait to catch up with y’all again!

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A Rose By Any Other Name…

This weekend was spent attending a Scentsy party for my sister-in-law followed by her housewarming/birthday party, then a whole day of recovering from too much wine. I’m still in pain today, though I can actually move and think as opposed to sitting like a painful bump on a log.

The Scentsy party was given by my 16-year-old cousin. It was her first time and she was justifiably nervous, even though she knew everyone attending. You’re probably asking where I’m going with this. Well, see, my cousin’s name is Angela but she hates her name. She hates it so much that she goes by Lynn, which is her middle name. You think I’m joking? Her mom went to open house last year at school and the teacher went on and on about Lynn. Yes, the child has her teachers calling her Lynn instead of Angela.

I had to think about this because I hated my name, too. As most of you already know, my real name is Stephanie. My mom is quite put out that I’ve decided to go with a pseudonym. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say she’s mildly insulted. But should she be? Probably not. I’ve had issues with my name since I was 5.

There’s one story in the family that goes something like: I came home from school crying. When asked what was wrong, I told my mom that I wish my name was Amy because it only had THREE letters. Stephanie has NINE. Of course, she thought that was so cute. It was just the beginning. I also had a lisp. I couldn’t even say my own name! Oh sure, I bet it was just so adorable. (It was me after all.)

So when I went with the pseudonym, I had to find something that wasn’t too long, was easy to pronounce (not because I have a lisp now, mind you), and looked/sounded professional. I chose Danica because I liked the name, the meaning, and it was easy for me to write. Avet was actually the last name of one of the first boys I had a crush on, but I only realized that after I’d chosen it. Maybe part of me was still in puppy love with him? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter now though. I like it. Danica Avet.

Because of this, I suppose I have no right to torment my cousin about disliking her name, but I am her older cousin, which means that’s what I’m required to do. I’m pretty sure it’s in the contract I signed.

So how about you? Do you like your name? Do you wish you had been named something else?

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Fantasy Man Friday

Ah, the end of another week. Yay, hoorah, and all that mess. I’m tired, people. T-I-R-E-D.

I think I need a new mattress because I have aches in my neck, shoulders, and hips. Either that, or someone’s having fun with me while I’m sleeping. *ponders* That would be interesting if he were a Fantasy Man. No non-Fantasy Men need apply.

Seriously though, sleep is such an important part of our lives (or my life at least). I think I proved that sleep was more important than partying at Nationals. Who was the wet blanket who went to bed at midnight or earlier every night? *raises her hand* I can’t help it. I’m an early riser because of work. 5 a.m. every morning, I’m awake and guzzling coffee. Even on the weekends I can’t sleep any later than 6:30. This is…unnatural. But as soon as the sun sets, my brain is already calculating just how long I have until I can get back in bed.

Of course, now it’s time for the Fantasy Man. Drum roll please!

I bet you thought I was going with a guy in bed. Ha! Fooled you. Of course…I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating powdered jelly doughnuts. There’s a lot you can do with jelly in bed. I mean, you can play tic-tac-toe on the sheets! Dirty minded people. Bwahaha. Gotta love a man who can er pull off printed underwear. And I’d definitely love to pull those off. *cue Eartha Kitt growl*

Happy weekend all. Hope you all get a lot of rest for next week!

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Torture Part Deux

Found out yesterday that Mom’s surgery has been rescheduled for September 9th. Oh Lord…

This time around, I know what to expect for the drive there and home. See, I’m the driver. I’m okay with that because I do love being behind the wheel of a car. I like the power and being in control of things. If I could fly a plane, I’d fly myself rather than take commercial flights.

See, I’ll have my mom (of course) and my sister with me. It’s about a 2 hour trip from home to Baton Rouge, though I usually make it in an hour and 15 minutes or so depending on traffic. The drive isn’t my worry. It’s my passengers. Oh yes. I’ll hear an hour and some odd minutes of this:

Mom: So which way are you taking? If you go through College Drive, we’ll avoid traffic.

Me: I can’t remember where College Drive is.

Mom: It’s where Bubba used to live, remember?

Me: I was thirteen the last time they lived there. I can’t remember that far back.

Mom: God! Just take it.

Sister: If she doesn’t want to take it, she doesn’t have to. I mean, I don’t want to get lost in Baton Rouge at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Mom: Gah! Just do what I tell you, okay? Get on the exit, get in the far right lane immediately. Immediately!

-later after I’ve followed her directions into a bad part of town, I start to wonder if she’s trying to get rid of me and my sister to collect some money we don’t know about-

Mom: Okay, now this is a bad part of town (DUH! I can see the bullet holes in the buildings!) Are your doors locked? Oh God, watch out for that taxi!

Sister laughing like a loon.

We’ll get to the hospital and do the surgery thing and then on the drive home it’ll start all over again.

Mom: Which way are you going? If you go this way we’ll avoid all the traffic.

Sister:  I want to take I-10.

Mom: What, are you crazy? We’ll be stuck in traffic! Take Hwy 1 all the way home.

Sister: I don’t want to ride down Hwy 1 for hours. It’s a long road!

Mom: Just do what I say!

And we will because I have to live with her. I’m okay with going either way. It’s like exploring which suits my personality, but my sister will start to tense in the passenger seat. Know why? Because we have to cross a bridge. Did I mention she doesn’t like bridges? They scare her. Which really sucks because the only way to get in and out of our area is via bridge. This is why she doesn’t leave her house. She even admitted it to me.

So we’ll get on this bridge and because the turn is at the foot of the other side of the bridge, I’ll have no choice but to get in the right-hand land which puts her side of the car against the guard rail.

Sister: I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

Me: Who me? It isn’t my fault.

Sister: No, it’s Mom’s fault. I’m genetically unable to cross bridges.

Mom: Haha, I don’t know why she’s such a scaredy-cat. I remember when we were driving on the Huey P. Long (Hello, it has to be one of the scariest bridges in Louisiana!) and she was in the backseat. Your dad was driving and he turned to look at me to say something. She grabbed the sides of his head and forced him to look at the road. Hahaha.

You did wonder where I got my sick sense of humor from, right?

Now, the only thing that would put the return trip down in the books as the Road Trip from Hell would be for my mother to be looped up on drugs. She’ll mutter about not being treated with respect by the hospital staff: “They were kicking me out of the hospital, weren’t they? Those bastards.” She’ll whine that she’s thirsty: “I won’t make it if I don’t have something.”

I wonder if I started taking Prozac now if I’d have enough time for it to be in my system before this excursion?

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Guilty Conscience, or Paranoia?

Yesterday morning, I logged onto Facebook and saw I had twenty-two notifications. My first thought (before opening them) was, “Holy cow, people love me!” Then when I opened the notifications, I saw that 21 of these people had “commented on a video of you”. My heart stopped. What? When did I make a video? What had I done? ZOMG!

I winced and clicked on the link. Please, don’t let someone have discovered my secret identity as an exotic dancer (exotic because I have moves that’d make anyone look twice…from disbelief that I’d actually dance in public).

The video came up. I held my breath. I swear I’ll never ever pretend I’m driving on the Autobahn again. *peeks through her eyes* Phew. I was tagged in a video (book trailer for Tonya Kappes’ novel) which was excellent, by the way. Can’t wait to interview you for the blog! But the fear that someone had a video of me and posted it on the interwebz stuck. And because I like to ponder, I have to wonder if I have a guilty conscience, or if I’m just paranoid.

Let’s look at the facts: I don’t party anymore, but there have been a couple of times when I got a little tipsy and danced. No, I didn’t take off my clothes or anything, but I really, really don’t want someone to have a video of me doing my version of dancing. I mean, I know I can’t dance worth a damn, which is why I generally wait to do it when I’ve had a few drinks in me. Regardless of my claims to the contrary, the only people who will want to watch me dance are those who want to piss themselves laughing. Paranoia, check.

Fact: I am a goober. Yes, yes, when I was in college I didn’t party for the first few years. I was a band nerd. After practice, I was too tired to go dancing. So what did my friends and I do for fun? We’d head to the 24-hour grocery store, browse the aisle and act like asses. Case in point, the day we decided to have a heel-clicking contest. I lost. Okay, I can’t click my heels. Happy now? My feet got tangled up together and I fell in the cookie display. I’m sure there’s a security tape out there somewhere with this mishap playing in slow-mo. Paranoia, plain and simple.

Okay, so the more I think about this, the more I realize that I’m just paranoid. I can’t think of anything I’ve done that I’d have to be guilty about…unless someone got a video of me ogling men, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of…is it?

My other thought, was that someone (because this was under my pseudonym) got a video of me doing something stupid at Nationals. What comes to mind? Me running into a glass wall at the hotel. I didn’t like…run smack into it. It was part of the revolving doors and I thought we’d reached the lobby when I started to step forward only to meet the wall. Sayde Grace had a good laugh at that, but that’s not too bad, right? Or maybe someone had a camera on during the man-eating deer workshop and they panned on my face when I realized Bambi is a killer. Still not too bad.

Phew, I’m so glad I got this off my chest. I’m paranoid, y’all. How about you?

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It’s KC Day!

Yay!! Is everyone ready? Do you have your fangs and pointy ears on? No? What the hell…

You do know that today is Kresley Cole Day, right? As in today is the release of Demon from the Dark, right? It’s a big deal. Well, it is for me. I haven’t had a new Kresley Cole book to read in forever (like February)! That’s too long between books. I’ve been a good girl in preparation for Kresley Cole Day. I haven’t read any of the excerpts because I want to be surprised when I turn my Kindle on with that lovely, much-wanted story waiting for me. I want to open it up and hear a choir of angels singing.

Do I anticipate disappointment? Never. I’ve been reading Kresley Cole’s books since A Hunger Like No Other (hello, re-read it this weekend!) and I have yet to put one of her books down with the thought that it wasn’t as good as I expected. If anything, her books get better and better. It’s the Ascension, you know, it makes everyone crazy and I’m no exception to the rule.

What is it about her books that I love so much? Well, Nix plays a big part in it. From the beginning, I felt an instant kinship with the ancient Valkyrie. Um, no, I can’t tell you the future (but I did know the Saints would go to the Superbowl and WIN…eventually). Add to the antics of Nix and Regin and the witches, Kresley Cole has some of the hottest immortal men ever. *waggles her fingers at Cadeon with his Sith African accent* Hubba hubba!

I had the chance to meet her, you know, Kresley Cole, not Nix although that would’ve been awesome! My heart pounded and the ladies in line behind me had a host of questions they wanted to ask her about the series. Maybe I’m weird. I want to know who’s getting a story, but I don’t want to know the details. I want to discover them for myself when I read the book. It makes it so exciting for me!

Anyway, there she was! Kresley C-O-L-E! I think I babbled something about being from south Louisiana and her books inspiring me and some other crap like that. She smiled because she’s a nice lady.

I looked behind me and saw the two ladies I’d been talking to making these “go on and ask motions”. I blanked out.

Me: You can’t ask me to remember questions when I’m talking to Kresley Cole!

They laughed and did the asking themselves. Thank God. I was too starry-eyed to do much other than suggest Kresley Cole could butt heads with me if she wanted. Yeah, I did it. But she is one of my heroes. I have a whole list of them, so it’s probably a good thing she didn’t take me up on my head-butting offer, I might’ve forgot someone.

So in honor of Kresley Cole’s latest release, Demon from the Dark (did you know that Lush has a soap called Demon in the Dark? It’s minty and leaves er…sensitive parts of your body tingling), I’m naming today Kresley Cole Day!

What’s your favorite Kresley Cole book? Who’s your favorite IAD character? And if you can remember one phrase from any of the IAD books off the top of your head, what is it?

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Make Yourself at Home

To do a quick recap of the hospital fiasco and the weekend craziness…my mom didn’t have surgery. After a five hour wait, we were told they wanted to run more tests on her. About five hours after that announcement, we left the hospital. No, no one was happy about the wasted time, though we’re all relieved mom wasn’t in a drugged stupor on the drive home (although that might’ve helped ease the griping between her and my sister).

Saturday morning, I checked my work e-mail and lo and behold…I had a request from an agent for a full. Of my first manuscript. Wha-Wha-What?! I only ever had one request for a full for that manuscript and someone (not saying who, but they’re on my agent A-list) wants it? Cue the panic. I spent the rest of the weekend frantically editing with the help of my CP Daisy Harris. I still have some work left to do before I can send it on its merry way, but I feel a little better after having someone else look at it.

So on to the topic of today’s post. My brother moved out a couple of months ago, after he got married. He didn’t go far. No, he lives next door now. Not a big deal really. It isn’t like he’s bringing his laundry to the house or anything, but I have a suspicion he’ll sneak in at midnight for a snack. See, he’s a midnight grazer. You know, the person who wakes up in the middle of the night, goes to the fridge and stares into it as though the mysteries of the universe are waiting to be discovered on the shelves.

When he lived with us, it was a routine for him: go to bed early, wake up about midnight, drink some milk, snack on something, then go back to bed. Now the things he snacked on weren’t “normal” snack foods. No, he likes food food. You know, leftovers. He’ll eat fried chicken, fries, cold Chinese food, whatever is at hand and that’s his snack. Yesterday, my mom made fried shrimp and gumbo. We invited my brother (he wasn’t going to stay away even if we had a restraining order) and his wife to join us for lunch.

About five hours later, I was sitting outside taking a break from editing when I saw my brother trying to covertly sneak over. His aim? You got it! He was after some more shrimp. It wasn’t midnight, but I told him I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up in the middle of the night with him at the kitchen table chowing down. He just laughed because he was thinking it!

Everyone treats our house like their own. My brother, obviously, because he lived at home for so long. It’s second nature for him to come in, go to the fridge and help himself. But he isn’t the only one. My cousin, Jenny, used to raid our fridge every chance she got. If we had homemade soup, she fixed herself a bowl. It’s normal for her to scrounge around our leftovers. My aunt (her mother)? Same thing. They instantly peek in the fridge to see what my mom cooked.

My nephews take it a little further. Their scrounging isn’t limited to the fridge. No, they hit the freezer and all the cabinets looking for food. We don’t begrudge a single one of them food. It’s…well, it’s just normal for us. Even my friends when I was in college would peek in the fridge and then be ashamed of themselves because you just don’t do that in someone else’s house. Unless it’s ours.

Why am I telling y’all this? Well, if you find yourself poking around south Louisiana and happen to be in the neighborhood, you know you’re welcome to make yourself at home. We have leftovers!

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Fantasy Man Friday

Bet y’all thought I forgot all about Fantasy Man Friday. I didn’t. I just passed out for about 15 hour straight.

It was a rough week between mom’s unplanned hospital visit, to work-related stuff, then the surgery that never was. We left home yesterday for the surgery at about 3:30 a.m. waited 4 hours for her to be taken to pre-op, then the doctors decided not to do the surgery. Oy vey. They wanted to do an MRI instead, which meant we stayed at the hospital another 4 hours. Happy family. Definitely not.

Not going into the whole hospital saga today because I am too damned tired.

So feast your eyes on this lovely beast and have a great weekend.

Did I mention there was a lot of eye candy at the hospital? One radiologist had my sister and I both saying, “hellooooooo nurse!”. He didn’t look like this guy though. If he had, we might’ve had a catfight in the lobby to follow him to his “x-ray room”. *Snorts*

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Author Interview: Nikki Duncan

Morning, folks! Today we have a very special guest! Yes, we have a guest! *happy dance* I’ll admit, I sort of put the thumbscrews on this nice lady because I just had to have a guest author. So without further ado, here she is, Nikki Duncan!

Bio:

Heart stopping puppy chases, childhood melodrama and the aborted hangings of innocent toys are all in a day’s work for Nikki Duncan. This athletic equestrian turned reluctant homemaker turned daring author, is drawn to the siren song of a fresh storyline.

Nikki plots murder and mayhem over breakfast, scandalous exposes at lunch and the sensual turn of phrase after dinner. Nevertheless, it is the pleasurable excitement and anticipation of unraveling her character’s motivation that drives her to write long past the witching hour.

The only anxiety and apprehension haunting this author comes from pondering the mysterious outcome of her latest twist.

What made you decide to become a romance writer? Did a soothesayer say this was the path you’d be taking, or was it something more realistic, like you’re a multi-millionaire with time to spare so you do this to keep yourself busy?

 Well of course I’m a multi-millionaire who spends her days lounging with books and bon-bons. *sigh* Did I not convey that well enough in Orlando?

 LOL, seriously, I’m not sure what made me decide to start writing. I love romance books. I’ve always been word happy. Some classmates in high school used to tell me I should write books. Somewhere along the way it all converged and turned into a story. Of course, then I had to realize it wasn’t a good story and I would need to work on my craft, but that’s another story. lol

 Tell us about your writing journey. How did you go from novice writer, to a published author with two books out (pimp your books!)?

 Ah, see, the other story.

 I wrote that first book, and of course thought it was brilliant. Well, the rejection letters began pouring in and I got the hint. Not so brilliant. L So, I began searching for online classes and stumbled on RWA. Finally, I could learn about my craft in a way that worked for me. WooHoo!!

 So, I studied and practiced and revised and wrote new stuff and got rejected and studied and practiced and revised and wrote new stuff and got rejected and studied and practiced and revised and wrote new stuff and got rejected and studied and practiced and revised and wrote new stuff and got rejected (that’s 4 times/books I did that routine).

 Finally, I was sitting in a hotel room one night with some awesome women and one woman mentioned a story idea she wanted, but no one would write it for her. A friend of mine volunteered me to write the story. Long story short, SOUNDS TO DIE BY came to life. That woman? Crissy Brashear, owner of Samhain Publishing. My Ian became the blind hero she’d been wanting. I was lucky to find an editor within Samhain who loved the story. The rest… Well, it’s not quite history yet, but it was a fun beginning.

 And SCENT OF PERSUASION, my second book is now available from Samhain.

What’s your writing routine like? Do you wait for Mars to align with Venus, or do you have a schedule you follow? Do you set daily word goals?

 Dude, if I waited for stars and planets to align I wouldn’t have finished chapter one of book one. My life is crazy busy, so it’s a matter of planting my tush in the chair and writing. I’ve explained to my family why writing is important to me, and they support me, which makes it a little easier. In the end it’s a matter of making writing a priority.

 If I’m not actually working on a story, I am studying craft or working on plot ideas or putting promo stuff together or reading – which is in a way studying. J When I’m ready to start on a new project – and I’m starting one this week, I tend to sit down and hammer out the first draft in a couple weeks.

 Are you a plotter, pantster, or plantster?

 Plotter primarily, especially on my suspense books. With those, I have more threads I have to keep track of, so plotting helps a lot.

In Sounds to Die By, your hero was blinded as a child. Do you feel that physically – or emotionally – flawed heroes resonate better with audiences?

 First off, check out my inspiration for Ian and tell me what it is about my hero that resonates with you?

Hmm, I think it depends on the reader. What I think does resonate widely is giving characters emotional depth. Sometimes that depth comes from flaws or wounds because those make them human. So I guess in a way yes.

Wow, was that a rambling round about answer or what?

Who are some of your role models? I ask because my list keeps growing and growing. Dammit.

Author role models? Wow, that’s a long list and I know I’ll forget someone, which always makes me feel bad, but here goes (people who’ve personally influenced me as a writer): Shelley Bradley/Shayla Black, Candace Havens, Kris Cook, Jax Cassidy, Sylvia Day, Karin Tabke, Jaci Burton, Cathryn Fox, Mackenzie McKade, Melissa Schroeder, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Shirley Jump/AJ Whitten, Jules Bennett

What’s the best part about writing for you? 

Beginning a new project ranks right up there with getting a contract. It’s the excitement of the new path and possibilities.

How did you come up with your Sensory Ops series? How many books will be in the series? Do you have a character named Danica? You should. Danica is a very nice name. 😉

After contracting SOUNDS TO DIE BY I was talking with my editor and she mentioned the possibility of more books. Specifically she mentioned the possibility of doing one for each sense, so there will be 6 books in the Sensory Ops series.

Each book will stand alone and can be read independently and out of order. Only Ian will have a physical disability. SCENT OF PERSUASION is book two in the series and I’ve turned in book 3 to my editor. The third book deals with empaths and I LOVED every minute of writing that book.

Now, as for Danica as a heroine’s name…She doesn’t exist in the Sensory Ops series, but that project I mentioned I would be starting this week? The heroine is Danica Kent. Heather Long helped me come up with that name. It’s a great name and fits my character perfectly. 😉

What’s up next for Nikki Duncan?

Well, I talked a little about this. Danica’s book is a straight contemporary romance. It’s a reunion/homecoming story placed in small town America. She wants stability. He wants adventure. They’ll have to find a balance between the two if they hope to stay together. This one is also going to be HOT HOT HOT!

What’s some advice you can give to pre-published authors?

Keep writing. Allow yourself to set a project aside and start a new one. You can actually slow yourself down if you don’t allow yourself to move on to book 2 and 3 and 4.

And for the really important questions:

What’s your favorite color?

Depends on my mood, but I’m going to go with red/burgundy.

Do you have any hobbies that help you decompress from writing? You know, like skydiving, or base jumping…you know, safe things.

Watching TV with hubby, though I would love to do some of those safe things like bungee jumping or sky diving or learning to shoot a gun.

Favorite hunky movie star (and hopefully you don’t say Gerard Butler because he is MINE!).

You can have Gerard. I would struggle to choose between Gabriel Macht

and Channing Tatum.
 

 What’s your favorite movie?

 My favorite movie changes, but currently I’m on a romantic comedy kick. That’s where I discovered Gabriel and fell in love with him. Specifically, it was the movie he did called BECAUSE I SAID SO with Diane Keaton, Stephen Collins (I think that’s his last name), Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham, and Piper Perabo.

 Of course, I also love RENT, STEP UP, GI JOE, TRANSPORTER, 27 DRESSES and the list goes on and on and on.

I want to know what smexy stars I’m missing out on though! So come on ladies, out with it. Who’s your fave?

Thank you, Nikki! I loved Sounds to Die By and Scent of Persuasion. If you’re looking for hot, sexy romantic suspense, be sure to put these on your to read list!

Nikki’s book SOUNDS TO DIE BY is now available in print. Read more about it at www.NikkiDuncan.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Wanna See Dead People

Right. So I was a bit obsessed with the body farm speaker during the Conference last month. I was so intrigued by it, that I mentioned it to my co-workers (who have no idea I write). I talked about the actual body farms, the deer eating dead people thing, and other little tidbits I learned from that workshop. I didn’t realize it would be such a great conversation starter!

One of my co-workers told a story about how when he worked at another shipyard, they lost a welder. The guy was having marital problems and everyone figured he’d just taken off one day.  About three days later, it was discovered that he didn’t run away. They called in divers to look for him in the water. See, the man had fallen between the hull and the dock, knocking himself out on the way to the water. He drowned and was sucked beneath the dock where he wasn’t discovered until one of the divers found him.

This led to a second story from my co-worker who said yet another time, maybe a year or two after the first incident, he was walking to one of the vessels when he saw something strange out the corner of his eye. Yup, you guessed it: another dead body. This one was a guy who’d worked further up the canal and been battered down the waterway until he landed on the job site.

Now, this got me thinking. My job duties include collecting water samples. At least once a month, I haul out my sample pole, my cooler, and head to the ditches and canals at the yard. When I’m not taking water samples, I have to do audits which means I grab a camera and head to those same places (plus other more remote locations on the yards). Most of the time when I’m doing my audits or collecting samples, my main concern is snakes. Indiana Jones and I have a lot in common: we’re both adventurous and we hate snakes. I also keep an eye out for alligators, but I never, ever, ever thought I’d have to look out for dead bodies.

This wasn’t something they ever brought up during the job description discussions we had. You know:

You’ll have to track VOC emissions and air monitoring reports, collect water samples and send them to the labs, organize and set up hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste removal, conduct environmental audits, DEQ inspections, and watch out for dead bodies.

I’m pretty sure I would’ve remembered that part of the discussion. I told the co-worker with the gruesome stories that if I did come across a dead body, they’d have to send out body bags for two bodies instead of one because I’d have a heart attack. Okay, so I might be exaggerating, but it is a scary thought.

I’m not a cop, or a paramedic, or even someone who may occasionally come across a dead body, like a bounty hunter (Stephanie Plum style), or a vampire hunter (Anita Blake style). I’m an environmental assistant. I don’t think body finding is in my contract…you know, the one in my head that I signed but no one else knows about, kind of like the “best friends forever” contract I signed with Kresley Cole and Shelly Laurenston. Uh, probably shouldn’t have mentioned that, huh?

Anyway, this is something I’m keeping in mind from now on. When I enter the inspection scene or the water sample designated area, there are several things to look for:

A. Are there snakes?
B. Are there alligators?
C. Does it meet the environmental compliance regulations?
D. Is there enough water to take a sample?
E. Oh, are there any dead people here?

So what job hazards do you face on a day-to-day basis? If you’re Alice (Resident Evil), I don’t want to hear it, okay? I don’t want to hear you world-saving zombie killers moaning about evil corporations and flesh-eating monsters with viruses. I’m sick of it already. Everyone else though, do you have a dead person at work story you want to share?

Oh! and a special treat! Tomorrow I’m having a guest author. Yes, guest author, Nikki Duncan, will be answering all of those questions you’ve always wanted to ask a published writer. Er…should I apologize for introducing her during a post about dead people? She does write romantic suspense. She probably sees dead people all the time!

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