Monthly Archives: December 2010

Fantasy Man Friday

It’s the last Fantasy Man Friday of 2010. My, oh my…where has the year gone?

I’ve had a lot of fun reminiscing about 2010. It was a crazy year with plenty of laughs, tears, frustration, and joy. 2011 is shaping up to be even better for me and I hope it’s turning out the same for you.

I know Fantasy Man Friday is why most people stop by my blog. I see the site stats and trust me, there are more search words for “sexy man”, “sexy men”, “sexy man in bed”, and “Daniel Conn” to shake a stick at. It makes me happy to know I’ve found a way to bring readers here and hopefully, some of you have stayed because you think I’m insane and want to know what I’ll talk about next. If not, I hope you enjoy the men I’ll bring you in 2011!

So in honor of the interest in Fantasy Man Friday, I thought about doing a 2010 Fantasy Man Review, but then realized some of you may be working and it wouldn’t be fair to y’all to have you drooling all over your monitors. No, I decided against the review. Instead, I’ll just keep the tradition of a single, gorgeous man for you to ogle.

And then, because it’s New Year’s Eve, I have to go a little further. Do I think I can eclipse some of the men I’ve had by? Hm, it’s hard to do that without full frontal nudity, which I manage to avoid…I might flirt with the edge of truly naughty, but I try not to fall over it.

Here’s the gorgeous man I have for you to ring in the New Year:

You see, while everyone else is out partying and ringing in the New Year, I have plans to wake this sleeping hunk up and finish his feeble attempts to undress himself. It’s with the best intentions, I swear! He can’t be comfortable sleeping like that! Hm…okay, I should’ve known I couldn’t pull off the innocent miss act. You’re right, I plan to debauch this sexy man quite thoroughly to bring in the New Year.

Can you think of a better way to bring 2010 to an end? I sure as hell can’t! ūüėČ

Happy New Year, my friends. I hope you’re safe and that 2011 brings you everything you wish for. To my regular readers, I hope to have wonderful things to share with you in the upcoming year, and for you Fantasy Man Friday fiends, there are still more sexy men to discover!

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The Big Picture

Before I put words on paper, I was narrow-minded as a writer. I just wanted to write and I had a vague idea that it would be cool to be published. But I didn’t really think it through, you know?

When I began writing, my only thought was, “I need to get these characters out of my head and on paper before they really drive me crazy.” Once the writing process¬†was underway though, my thoughts change. I wondered if anyone would like what I’m writing. I wanted to know if an agent or editor would take a chance on it. The small window I looked through when I started writing expanded and expanded until I could finally see the whole picture.

In the beginning, I was shy about my writing. I didn’t want anyone to read it, which is just silly because what’s the point of writing a book if you don’t share it? It was like pulling teeth for me to send it to critique loops. My only problem with critique loops though is that you can’t please everyone on it. You may get two critiques, or twenty and trying to keep up with everyone’s preferences is nearly impossible. Narrowing that field to a select few helped relieve my stress and¬†I could finally concentrate on cleaning the manuscripts.

Then…you send them out into the wild with a wish and a prayer. “Go, be free! Be published!”, you cry to your manuscript as it goes winging to an agent or editor’s inbox. But then, if you’re me, you start thinking…”Holy hell, what was I thinking?!”

I’ll even admit that even now, especially now, I’m nervous about people reading my work. It’s a bit late for that though, isn’t it? Book 1 of my Veil series comes out in March. Part of me is excited, while the other part is hiding under the covers on my bed. Why? Because it’s…well, it’s an extension of me. I want it to do well. I want it to please, if not everyone, then some people.

We write and write our little hearts out, pouring our time and blood into our manuscripts, but in the end…we’re sending it out for slaughter. I wonder if it would be easier not to name our manuscripts? Kind of like you don’t name a cow you’re going to butcher kind of thing. Would it? We’re writing for readers and we want them to be happy with what we put into words. We want them to want more and more, we want them to demand more books, and possibly join our not-quite-formed cults.

I’m kidding about the cult. Not really. Okay, I am, seriously. What would they be called anyway? Danicanites? Avetnites? Danicaicians? Meh.

I suppose the point of this post is, in 2010, I wasn’t thinking about that big picture. It slowly expanded, but I was still thinking in terms of “I want to be a writer! Whee! This is fun!”. It’s still fun, but looking ahead to 2011, I have to think about the business end of things. Will my stuff be marketable? Will it fit with the publishing trends? Will my sister-in-law’s mother (who has vowed to read my books) have a heart attack at the love scenes (and am I held¬†liable for that)? Will my house get egged by angry readers who hate that Book 1 has a farting Bulldog? These are things I think about now.

But I can’t let it stop me. Writing has become my therapy. I can pour all of my darker thoughts into a book right along side my goofy, sometimes coarse humor. It’s the place where I can make anything happen because my imagination has the power and I love it.

There was a point to this post, I’m almost positive of it, but I seem to have lost track of it. Hm, right. It looks as though I’m saying, enjoy your writing, enjoy being creative, but also remember writing is a business, as I’m about to find out in the next few weeks, once the book is written, the real work starts. But what a crazy, addictive job!

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What’s Playing Wednesday

We’re that much closer to the end of 2010 and life suddenly seems full of possibilities. I believe it’s normal to look ahead and wonder what’s going to happen next. Sure, we all make plans and some of us even make resolutions, but we never know what life will bring us to throw all of those plans out the window. I don’t make resolutions, by the way, because I don’t believe in them. If I want to do something, I’ll do it regardless if it’s a new year or not. Besides, if I make and then break a resolution, I don’t have the guilt of knowing I failed myself.

2010 has been a rollercoaster for me. I finished up and polished three full length novels. Two in my Veil series and one in my Olympus, Inc. series with the help up my marvelous critique partners. I got and lost an agent within a month. I attended Nationals and met some wonderful people who I hope to meet up with next year. I also cheered on two of my critique partners (and several friends) as they signed contracts for their books. Then it was my turn. Was it just this month? It seems insane, but yes, it was just earlier this month that the first three books in my Veil series were accepted by Siren. See? A rollercoaster.

In a way, I want the year to get here now. I really want to know what’s going to unfold in the weird tangle of my life, but on the other hand, I’m worried. What if I can’t handle what’s coming next? What if it’s too much for me? What if it changes me in a bad way?

I could spend all day pondering what if’s, but that’s what life is, isn’t it? It’s all about rolling with the punches and hoping you’re not KO’d. My mom, in her infinite wisdom, always told me God will never give you more than you can handle. And I trust in that. So whatever comes, I’ll deal with it. I just have to be patient and remain determined in my goals. Goals are important. They drag me out of bed each day. They keep me writing and learning as much as I can about writing. I just have to remember to be persistent and yes, patient. Again with the patience! Writing and hell, even life, are not about instant gratification. At least, not always.

So in keeping with that theme of patience and persistence, I’ve tuned up my Magical Music Player and hit upon a song that is about patience and fight for my goals. The band is called Fugazi. I’ll admit I don’t know an awful lot about them. I like their music though. It’s kind of…soothing? Or should I say relaxing? It’s hard to explain. The particular song my Music Player chose today is called Waiting Room. Hence the subject of patience and persistence.

Without further ado…here’s Fugazi!

What do you think? Is it relaxing? Or uplifting? Or just weird? And are¬†you looking forward to 2011? What’s your major goal for the new year?

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The People We Meet

In continuing with my year-end review, I can’t go another day without mentioning the people. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the romance writer’s community seethes with wonderful people. If you’re lucky, you “click” with several of them.

This happened to me this year. 2009 saw me going through the writing process alone. Sure, I’d started emerging from my shell (because Danica pushed me out), but I still hadn’t developed friendships. I think it started with my first critique partner. To be quite honest, I’d forgotten I signed up to the Romance Writer’s Community (a place to help critique partners find each other).

Then one day, this lady named Daisy Harris sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like to partner up. I was scared because up until then, I hadn’t really had anyone other than agents read my stuff. It felt…weird. Then I got my first critique. This woman made me crack up laughing at her comments. I wish I could lie and say she found no problems with my manuscripts, but she did. And she made me laugh at my goofiness. Yeah, there were a lot of “you know there’s a line between troubled and crazy…” kind of comments throughout that particular manuscript and I had to agree with her.

Daisy is one of those people who’ll make you laugh and then tear into your manuscript with¬†a vengeance. She points out things you don’t see and doesn’t make you feel dumb for missing them in the first place. I adore Daisy because she’s managed to make me a better writer and helped me see that humor can be a part of the critiquing process.

A month or two after I met Daisy, I met Avril Ashton. Avril is sassy and stylish (she gave me inspiration to move my characters out of leathers and into high fashion) and she loves a strong heroine. I love a strong heroine as well, but up until we started working together, I think my leading ladies were wishy-washy. By critiquing her, I saw what a heroine could be and applied the theory to my own work.

Where Daisy points out the ridiculous and makes me laugh, Avril will point out that though the hero and heroine had sex, they hadn’t even kissed yet. Horror of horrors! She’ll also tell me flat out if she likes my heroine, if my dark moment is gripping enough and not melodramatic. She’s been a rock for me.

But it doesn’t end there. Oh, no. The critique partners aside, I’ve met so many wonderful people online and in real life. At Nationals, I finally got a chance to meet two of my favorite online personalities, Jillian Chantal and Sayde Grace. Southern ladies with sass, they made me feel like one of their own. I love these ladies and can’t wait to meet up with them again.

Then there were my “clicks”. Nora Roberts mentioned that sometimes you meet someone you click with and end up friends forever and ever and ever. I made a click at the conference. A spunky lady named Silvia Arada. She and I spent a lot of time together going to workshops, hanging out at the book signings, and huddling with the Smoker’s Club. We decided at the conference that when we’re both published, we’re going to sit near each other at the literacy signing. It will happen. We know these things.

There are so many people I’ve become close to in 2010. I’ve made so many new friends I wish I could mention them all, but that would take a much longer post. As much as I love to ramble on, I wouldn’t want to bore anyone into drooling all over their keyboard, so I’ll stop here.

The people we meet through our writing journey are people we’ll work with. They’ll become colleagues, they’ll become staunch supporters, and rivals on the NYT Bestseller’s List (We hope!), but most of all, they’ll become friends. They’re people you go to for advice, for moral and emotional support. They’re the people who flat out tell you your characters sound crazy and unbalanced and that is not attractive in a heroine. They’re people who will tell you that you have to take a leap of faith and not to let past problems burden you. They’re the people you’ll want with you for a very long time and if you’re lucky, you’ll have them forever.

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I’m Not Sybil

How strange to think this is the last week of 2010. I swear it feels like I’ve been here before…not the 2010 part, but the end of the year “where-did-the-time-go” part.

I think bloggers almost have an obligation to give a year-end review, or maybe that’s just the way I see it. I suppose it’s natural to muse over the past year and marvel at what you’ve learned, how you’ve grown, and try to find ways to make the next year even better.

So in the spirit of 2010 coming to a close, I’m going to blog this week about what I’ve learned about myself as a writer, as a person, and what I hope to see next year.

Hence the title. As most of¬†you know, Danica Avet is my pseudonym. I had to hear it from family members about how disappointed they were that I’m not using my real name. From my dad it was more like “you should be proud of your last name”. From others, it was “there is no way I’m going to remember your pseudonym”. And that’s fine. I chose this name because I liked the way it sounded and I can actually, you know, write it somewhat legibly.

But I never expected Danica to take over, which she has. The real me isn’t outgoing and bawdy. She’s more introspective and shy. She blushes at the drop of a hat and really hates having to talk to people she doesn’t know. Danica, on the other hand, is a social beast. She loves chatting with people about books and sexy men. She will walk up to a stranger and chat about food or whatever.

My critique partner, Daisy Harris, blogged about the power of the pen name¬†and I have to agree with her. I’ve given Danica free rein¬†with my writing. It actually feels good because as opposed to the real me, Danica is cautiously optimistic. She doesn’t have a fear of rejection because she’s doing exactly what she wants to do. She doesn’t look at all the unfinished WIPs¬†in our external hard drive¬†and think, “Mais, I’m never going to finish those stories.” She thinks instead, “I can’t wait to get back to that story and drive those characters crazy!” When we’re faced with rejection or some especially bad news, she’s the one who gives me the strength not to sit down and cry my eyes out.

She does have her moments though, when she feels low. Last year, she had a bad month. We received rejection after rejection for our first story. I’d never seen her in such a dark moment before, but I was the one to bring her out of it. How? Well, I decided to make a preemptive strike against the people rejecting us by writing our own rejection letter. It worked wonders to restore her good cheer and determination to forge ahead.

The result of my sarcastic letter? The book that was rejected over and over again is being published in March. Danica never gave up. She should’ve been on the cast of Galaxy Quest because her motto is: Never give in, never surrender.

I’ve learned a lot from Danica and truthfully, I don’t think I’d be where I am today without her. As strange as it may sound, she’s my rock and I couldn’t imagine trying to do any of this without her pushing me. She won’t let me stop writing. She won’t let me forget about publication. And she won’t let me hide in quiet corners at conferences. Thank you, Danica, for being there for me this entire year.

Does this sound crazy to you? It does to me! Do you use a pseudonym that’s taken over your life? Should I see a doctor about this in case I turn into Johnny Depp in The Secret Window? I don’t have a strange need to eat tons of corn on the cob, so I think I’m okay.

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Fantasy Man Friday

It’s Christmas Eve and Friday! Two of the most marvelous days of the year blended into one spectacular day! Le sigh of rapture!

I’m off today. Yay. However, that doesn’t mean I get to laze¬†about wearing my pjs and eating bon bons while devouring yet another romance novel. Of course, I’m not completely ruling out two of those things happening at all today.

No, today I have to hit the grocery store. This does not please me. First of all, I’ll be surrounded by people also intent on getting their Christmas food stuffs and fists may fly. I don’t know. I actually did go to the grocery store last Christmas Eve and though it was daunting, I survived. I hope the same goes for this year.

See, I’m cooking the big meal this year. No, not a turkey. I did that last year and forgot to take the gizzards out. Oops. I don’t feel so bad though because my sister did the exact same thing for Thanksgiving this year. Nothing worse than having¬† your mother pull a bag of stuff out of the turkey and give you that look. You know the one I’m talking about…the one that clearly says, “Where did I go wrong? I thought I taught you better than this?”

This year, I’m making a lasagna. It’s my signature dish. It’s one of the few items I cook with enough confidence that I’ll feed it to my nephews’ girlfriends. I know already that the instant my oldest nephew shows up at the house, he’ll say, “Where’s the food? What do you mean it isn’t ready yet? I’m starving!” So I’m going to prevent a mauling (me mauling him, mind you although it could go either way) by cooking my sauce today. This pleases me. I really do enjoy babying my lasagna sauce, making sure to put just the right amount of spices to make you crave more.

But my day doesn’t end there. Oh no. I have to clean my house. Meh. My dog will be pleased because she’ll be able to chase the vacuum¬†cleaner all over, but I’ll have to put up with her high-pitched yelps¬†and yips¬†as she tries to herd¬†the vacuum¬†to a place of her choosing. Then, when all of that’s done, I’ll be throwing presents in gift bags. Have¬†I mentioned I’m a terrible wrapper? (I’m a bad rapper too.) Gift bags are a Godsend.

Whew, I’m tired just thinking about everything I have to do! I need something to motivate me. It’s Christmas Eve…that means Santa will be stopping by my house and if he looks anything like this, I’ll be waiting for him wearing nothing but a smile…and maybe some whipped cream.

Mm, yes. Why am I suddenly singing, Santa Baby in my head? *fans herself* I can say so many naughty things about candy canes and sacks of toys and, well you get the idea.

This is my Christmas present to every one of my readers. You’re lovely, wonderful people who deserve only the sexiest of Santas. Have a safe and Merry Christmas!

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Cajun Poem

In honor of Christmas, I did some hunting and came across this adaptation of Twas the Night Before Christmas. You had to know Cajuns wouldn’t leave it alone, right?

I’ve read and heard the original, but it isn’t nearly as much fun as when I listened to my aunt or grandfather reading the Cajun Night Before Christmas. This was the first book I ever read, which probably isn’t the best thing come to think of it. You see, it um…well, it’s written with our accent in mind, so some people – okay, most people north of I-10 won’t understand the vocalized version…or the written version…probably.

The book was written by J.B. Kling,¬†Jr.¬†otherwise known as Trosclair. Now I searched and searched for the perfect version of this poem. I couldn’t find one that I thought was the best representative of the story, but this is close. The book can be purchased on-line, if you’re interested in reading it for yourself.

I can try to interpret some words for you if you hear something you don’t understand at all, LOL.

I hope you enjoy the story.

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