Monthly Archives: September 2010

Dating Yourself

I don’t mean that you should buy yourself flowers and take yourself out to dinner and a movie, although sometimes that might not be a bad idea. No, I’m talking about dating yourself by revealing something that tells everyone how old you are.

It started off simple enough. I was driving home from work and heard a song. This song to be exact:

When I got home, I was talking with my sister-in-law who’s 2 years younger than me, my brother who’s 6 years younger than me, and my cousin who’s 17 years younger than me (meh, that hurts to say). Anyway, I mentioned this song. The first time I heard it, I was in my very first semester in college riding around in my sister’s Camry with my best friend and one of her friends. We pumped up the bass, rolled down the windows, opened the sunroof and jammed.

We knew all the words to the song and sang them loudly and badly. Especially the line I know what Bo don’t know. In mentioning this to my sister-in-law, we started talking about the amazing Bo Jackson. My cousin…my very young cousin, piped up with: Who’s Bo Jackson?

We were aghast. How could she not know Bo Jackson? I mean…he was BO JACKSON! We rushed to fill in the details explaining that he was the first athlete to become an All-Star football player and baseball player. He was…awesome! Everyone knew Bo Jackson if not from sports, then from the Nike commercials.

It wasn’t until we’d filled her head with all of this information that she looked at us and said, I wasn’t born until 1994…Teenagers are so impossibly snarky.

Shee-yeah, okay…we all shut up because how can you argue with that? Man. It made us all feel old. Oh sure, we know we’re not spring chickens anymore, but still, it didn’t seem that long ago!

On another note, the Hot Stepper song was used in the very fabulous movie Pret-A-Porter (Ready to Wear). I love this movie. Simply love it. It was so…weird and funny. I have to buy it now *sigh*. I suppose this movie might have been a precursor to my infatuation with Project Runway becuase as I’ve mentioned before, I am so not a fashionista. I shop Saks Fifth Avenue for my characters, picking things I’d see them in, but I can only dream of wearing clothes from there.

Now I’m off to shop for my heroine (who is a clothes whore) and pretend I’m not approaching the years when I start saying something like, When I was your age…

Mais, that’s not gonna be pretty!

Have you dated yourself recently?

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True Story, I Swear: The Aunt

I’ve mentioned many times before that my family provides me with endless hours of amusement and fodder for my manuscripts. If you’re a person who loves to laugh at family foibles, then you simply must read this post by one of the fabulous Southern Sizzlers.

My cousin complains frequently that people don’t believe her when she tells stories about the family. I can’t say I blame them because really, some of the things that my family members have done is beyond belief. Today I’m going to discuss my Aunt Chong.

Aunt Chong married my eldest uncle when he was stationed in South Korea. She came to the US six months pregnant and got off the plane in Dallas instead of New Orleans. Mom got a call in the middle of the night that a pregnant Korean woman was crying and had her number. They finally got Aunt Chong here and imagine her surprise when she realized that Americans don’t all live like the actors did on Dallas! Yes, that was the basis of her comparison for life in the United States.

She became a citizen and eventually started her own business. Now, let me give you an idea of what my aunt is like. She’s maybe 5’5″, and a petite little thing, but she’s fierce. And strong. And…crazy.

Her first business venture was selling ball gowns and formal wear. She had a little store somewhere on Plank Road in Baton Rouge and was quite proud of her little boutique. One day, a couple of ladies came into the store and ran out with about $1000 worth of merchandise. They had a car in front of the store ready for them. They jumped into the car and were about to drive off when my aunt barreled out of the store after them. And then jumped on the hood of the car.

Did it end there? Of course not! This is my family! They took off with my aunt latched onto the hood of the car. It apparently went something like this:

Driver: Get off my car you crazy…
Aunt: You give me my clothes back!
Driver: Get off my car!!
Aunt: No! You give me my clothes back right now!

The car took off down Plank Rd., which is actually quite busy. I don’t know if people thought a movie was being filmed, or if they’re so blind they don’t even notice little Korean women acting as hood ornaments. In any case, the car took my aunt, the shoplifters, and their booty through the city into one of the neighborhoods.

The shoplifters were so freaked out (the driver especially because really, how will the cops not notice a woman on the hood of a car??) they stopped on one of the streets. They threw the clothes out of the window, my aunt got off the car, and they took off.

Satisfied that she had her gowns back, my aunt began the long walk back to her shop. An old man stopped and gave her a ride back. When we all heard about this, it was with a mixture of outright hilarity, shock, and disbelief. Didn’t she realize she could’ve been killed? Had she really watched too much Miami Vice? (She had a very big crush on Don Johnson at the time.) They could’ve dropped her in a terrible neighborhood where she could have been hurt.

It didn’t matter to Aunt Chong though. Nope. She had her dresses back and from then on, she was the one person no one in the family wanted to mess with. My uncle blames my mother for her change from his “sweet, obedient, Korean wife” to a “crazy American woman”.

She hasn’t jumped on any cars in the last 20 years, thankfully, but we always initiate new members of the family with her antics. They don’t always believe us until they actually meet her and she tells them, quite bluntly, that they aren’t good enough for her nieces/nephews.

Yup, that’s my aunt. Is it any wonder I have such crazy ideas for stories?

How about you? What’s the most outrageous thing someone in your family has done? Do you live in fear of family get-togethers because you’re not sure you want to know what they’ve been up to?

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The WIP Has A Name

Well, the WIP finally has a name. It was a landslide: Tie Him Up, Take Him Home is the new name of my current manuscript. I feel relieved and thankful that those who voted helped me decide.

Tie Him Up is unofficially finished. I actually wrote The End on Saturday night at 75k words, but because I’m anal about these things, I’m going to try to add another 5-10k to get it in the 80k range. Mostly, I’m looking to add a scene here and there to help delve a little further into the world I’ve created. I’m sure when I send it out to my CPs, they’ll want me to go even further, so I’m not stressing over it…much.

I find it…peculiar that this story, which began as a mind cleaning exercise, took off like it did. I can only guess that it was something that had to be written and I’m not complaining, although my Amazon is. She’s feeling very irate with me for leaving her to suffer the last three weeks. I hope she gets over it!

So here’s where I am in writing:

Ruby: Uncut and on the Loose is with an agent
Succubus-in-Waiting is out to seven editors in full and one editor in partial
Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous is languishing in mid-edits until I hear about the other two stories
That Ain’t No Bull is not-so-patiently waiting for me to finish writing it
Tie Him Up, Take Him Home is waiting for the last few thousand words and then ready to be edited.

Thankfully, at this moment, I’m not feeling the unbearable urge to start a brand new project. I hope this means I can finish the two projects I have on my plate at the moment because both of them are equally important and -I think, at least- very good. We’ll see though!

So thank y’all for your help in naming the WIP!

Where are you in your writing?

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The Cookie Monster

No, sorry, I’m not jumping on the Sesame Street bandwagon and talking about Katy Perry today. Instead, I plan to discuss my very own Cookie monster.

A little over a year ago, we rescued a little calico. She was half-starved and it wasn’t until we handled her that we realized she had a massive wound on her stomach. She was ripped open from mid-abdomen to her leg. The wound was disgusting and horribly infected. Several people told me we should have put her down, she wouldn’t make it and it would be too expensive to heal her.

I coerced my mother to help me get the kitten, who was then named Bella, fixed up as much as possible. When I realized that in spite of her grievous wound, she purred and begged to be loved, I knew she was a tough kitty. I named her Cookie after my mom and also because she was a tough cookie. It stuck.

It was a year ago that Cookie had her last stitches taken out and now she’s fat and happy. She’s also a destroyer of furniture. I’ve been looking into getting a new bed, while also thinking about a new sofa set, except I didn’t want Cookie destroying the new pieces. My mother was adamant that something had to be done with her. We either declawed her, or we put her outside.

Since I’ve babied this cat since she first walked into our lives, I couldn’t see her put outside, but neither could I have her declawed. I’ve read articles and seen news footage about declawing and I couldn’t put her through that. She’s too sweet to be put through more pain just to protect our furniture.

So last week, I looked into alternatives to declawing and stumbled across this product called Soft Claws. I spoke about it with Mom. She didn’t know what the declawing process entailed, so after I explained how the cat’s claws were cut to the first knuckle, she shook her head. There was no way she was putting her little Cookie through that! Soft Claws, for those who haven’t heard of it, are vinyl tips that are glued over the cat’s claws. It helps protect against problem scratching in all areas from furniture to people. So the Soft Claws were a viable option for us. If it worked, we were home free.

I ordered a set (pastel pink because she’s such a girl) and it came in on Friday. After some extra loving and coaxing, we managed to get Cookie’s claws clipped and the tips in place. Oh, Gawd…Cookie walked around like she was being tortured. She’d stop, shake her paws one at a time and then walk some more. Finally, after about half an hour, she was like “whatever, where’s my food?”

Yesterday, nearly my entire family showed up and I had to show off Cookie’s cute little toes to them. They adored them (well, the women did, the guys were like I can’t believe you colored your cat’s toes *eye roll* Men.). Cookie both hated and loved all the attention. Of course, she should get used to it because I’ve had my camera at the ready since Friday night to get a good picture of her. Which I finally have!

If you look closely, you can see her pink little nails. I think I have to get Christmas colors when November rolls around. Isn’t she adorable? My little Cookie monster 🙂

Have you ever heard of Soft Claws before? Have you used them? Will you think about using them now if you’ve just learned about them?

P.S. The Title that WIP poll will close at the end of day today, so get your votes in!

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Singalong Saturday

I clicked on two websites this morning that made me think…”What am I singing along to while I write?” Well because of  Jus Accardo and Heather Howland, you’re going to find out. *big cheesy grin*

This song always gets me in the mood to write. Always.

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Fantasy Man Friday & Author Interview: Allison Pang

Yes! I have a treat for you today. It’s Friday, but it’s also time for an author interview. I managed to track down and tag ask Allison Pang a few questions and she was even good enough to provide me a banquet of man candy to choose today’s Fantasy Man from. So, without further ado, I give you, Allison Pang  *applause*

A marine biologist in a former life, Allison Pang turned to a life of crime to finance her wild spending habits and need to collect Faberge eggs. A cat thief of notable repute, she spends her days sleeping and nights scaling walls and wooing dancing boys….Well, at least the marine biology part is true. But she was taloned by a hawk once.  She also loves Hello Kitty, sparkly shoes, and gorgeous violinists.

She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids and cats, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.

What made you decide to become a writer? Do you consider yourself a romance writer, or an urban fiction writer?
I don’t think I really “decided” to become a writer. I’d always written as a kid, but I completely stopped after college and didn’t attempt to write anything for nearly 15 years after that. I was very disillusioned with writing after taking a number of literary English classes. I don’t think I fit into with the literary writing mold and I honestly had no idea how one went about getting published at that time, anyway. I just assumed it was something “other people” did.

Authors today are so very lucky with the information that the internet provides – workshops, writing groups, agent blogs, publisher sites – everything is just out there 24 hours a day.  When I finally began writing again, (via online PbP gaming and a co-writing project), it was fairly simple to start researching the mechanisms of how to get published. Assimilating all that information is an entirely different story!  

I don’t really consider myself a UF vs PR author. I’m a whatever-the-story-needs-to-be-at-the-time author. 😉 

What the hell is UF, and will there be a test on this later?
UF is Urban Fantasy. It’s very similar to Paranormal Romance in that you have a lot of fantastical elements involved (often placed in an urban setting). However, the main difference is that although UF often has romance or romantic elements as part of the story, it is not the focus of the story. In theory, if you can remove the romance and still have a story, it’s UF, not PR. 

What’s your writing routine like? Let me clarify, are you an evil overachiever who sets a goal of 5k words a day and reaches them every day? *growl* 
Well, I work full time and I have young kids, so the majority of my time does have to go to that. These days I do the work thing, come home and do kid duty (often falls to me since my husband works most nights and weekends).  I honestly don’t really try to seriously write anything until after they are in bed. My writing window is usually about 10 PM to 1 AM , depending on how quickly I can get the words on the page. If I’m really good and I manage to finish with some extra time, sometimes I sneak in a little WoW or Dragon Age, but that’s pretty rare these days. 

Daily word count during the work week is at least 1000 words a day. Weekends, I do try for more – and right now I’m under deadline, so I just do as much as I reasonably can without burning out. It doesn’t do much good to grind out 5000 words if I’m just going to have to take out 3000 later because they’re crap.

Is A Brush of Darkness the first in a series? Did you plan a series when you started writing it and do you have an idea when the next will be released? 

It is the first of at least three books, so far. At one point I had visions of writing seven, but at this point it’s really up to the publisher. The main story arc will take us through these three, but then I may have a few spin-offs with some of the secondary characters. (*cough* Assuming the publisher wants more. LOL)

How does it feel to know that in just a few months, Allison Pang’s A Brush of Darkness will be gracing bookshelves? Are you ready to ruuummble I mean, are you ready for book signings?

Pretty damn cool, actually. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet and the concept of doing a signing makes me freak out a little. (In a good way!) Guess I need to start perfecting my signature.

David Garrett. You realize I had no idea who he was before we met up on the interwebz. Have you always been a fan and just how many of his shows have you been to?

I just learned about him a year or so ago, (and since he’s been performing live since he was ten or so, no, obviously I haven’t always been a fan. LOL). I’ve been to two shows in the last year, and I’m going to a third in February. (And yes, I sucked it up and bought Meet & Greet tickets…so I can be all fangirly in person.)

Who are some of your role models? I ask because every time I turn around, I’m coming across yet another amazing author I want to be like when I grow up.

Too many to mention, honestly. I was a pretty hard core fantasy reader growing up, and that’s where I tend to gravitate as far as reading in my spare time goes – Jacqueline Carey, George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Lynn Flewelling and Charles de Lint, among many others.

What do you do in your spare time, when you’re not ogling David Garrett, playing with your Hello Kitty mouse, or eating bacon?

I have no spare time. But if I did, I would hang with my family more. Otherwise, it’s all about WoW or cross-stitching. And sometimes making lousy 3D Poser art.

Who’s your favorite hunky movie star? And you should already know who has my heart, *waves at Gerard Butler* so don’t even think about it, missy! 😉

Hmmm. Don’t think I have one right now. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I went to the movies for fun and not have it be either animated or involve a chipmunk. That being said, I’ve got a passing fondness for Ewan McGregor.

What’s up next for Allison Pang?

Finishing up the next book in the series (due in November) and then revisions. And then starting all over again with the third book.  I’m also hoping to try to finish up a few additional side projects and sell them, but obviously the paid work comes first.

Thank you, Allison! You’re full of awesomesauce with a cherry on top. Now, here’s the blurb and cover for Allison’s debut novel, A Brush of Darkness, out January 25, 2011. Look for it!

I had a naked incubus in my bedroom. With a frying pan of half-cooked bacon and a hard-on. And a unicorn bite on his ass. Christ, this was turning out to be a weird morning.

Six months ago, Abby Sinclair was struggling to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Now, she has an enchanted iPod, a miniature unicorn living in her underwear drawer, and a magical marketplace to manage. But despite her growing knowledge of the OtherWorld, Abby isn’t at all prepared for Brystion, the dark, mysterious, and as sexy as sin incubus who shows up searching for his sister—and is convinced Abby has the key to the succubus’s whereabouts.. Abby has enough problems without having this seductive shape-shifter literally invading her dreams to get information. But when her Faery boss and some of her friends vanish as well, Abby and Brystion must form an uneasy alliance. As Abby is sucked deeper and deeper into this perilous world of faeries, angels, and daemons, she realizes her life is in as much danger as her heart—and there’s no one she can trust to save her.

And now…for today’s Fantasy Man…I’ll admit that Allison’s blurb inspired me. Ahem. Or it might’ve been the many, many pictures of man candy she sent me (I didn’t write much that night!), but I am prepared to drool. Are you? 

I know, this isn’t the first time I’ve used this picture, but what can I say? He has thighs I want to sink my teeth into! Gr-owl!!

Happy Friday everyone!

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When Commercials Are Good

I don’t watch much television anymore, but when I do, sometimes I watch it just for the commercials. There are some very funny commercials out there, you know the ones I’m talking about. The NFL Sunday Ticket commercials are great (OMG, loove them, especially the Saints one):

I think all Saints fans love this commercial because yeah, a dirty bird can’t fly with a broken wing. (Sorry Falcons fans!) I could watch this commercial over and over again and still giggle.

Then there’s the one commercial I watched…well, years ago and I loved it so much I actually remember the whole thing. It was by Levis and I managed to find it on YouTube:

The best part of the commercial? The surgical nurse on top of the gurney singing. I crack up every time.

I’m not the only one who has this fascination for them, I’m sure. My sister will tell me, “Did you see the new etrade commercial?” or “You have to see the new Manning commercial!” because you know, she’s a Manning maniac. And the thing is, I do enjoy them. When we used to sit on the bleachers during soccer season, freezing our butts off, we’d discuss our favorites and tell each other which ones we needed to watch for. Sad, huh?

Of course, if these commercials weren’t popular, then they wouldn’t keep making them, would they? So do you have a favorite commercial? I’d post more, but I’d be here all day and the post would run on endlessly. I will leave you with one final commercial though:

Oh! And be sure to stop by tomorrow for a very special Fantasy Man Friday and Author Interview!

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