Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fantasy Man Friday

Yay for Friday! It’s a beautiful day today and I can’t wait to get my weekend started. Oh, no, I don’t have anything special planned. Gotta finish cleaning out the junk room and yeah, that isn’t very yay worthy, but at least I’ll be at home. *happy sigh*

It’s been an interesting and tough week for a lot of people. We had Judy Mays’ story hit us in the middle of the week, my CP Daisy Harris had a book release yesterday (and she’ll be by on Monday to talk about her newest release, Mercury Rising), and the horrible damage in the southeast U.S. My heart goes out to those who’ve been affected by the storms that roared through the South this week. My prayers are with you!

Fantasy Man Friday is all about making you feel better for the upcoming weekend. Maybe making you smile as naughty thoughts dance in your head, maybe spew coffee on your monitor when you see the gorgeous men I have, or maybe even drool a bit and shorting out your keyboard. That’s what my Fridays are about and today is no different.

Also, because Daisy’s book features two very hot men *cough* I think I need to give her props for this week’s fantasy man. That Dillon…num, num. Now, this guy isn’t Hispanic, but really? Does it matter? Look at these muscles!

And he’s wet. Wet + Muscles = Happy Danica. See? I do know a little math. Of course it’ll never win me an award or anything and I still need a calculator to figure out everything else (or to hit up one of my brilliant co-workers), but this I can figure out. I had to go back and look at the picture because…that water…those muscles…that intent expression on his face. Le sigh.

Come to mama…

Happy Friday y’all. I hope y’all have a great weekend!

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Cajun French: Bouder

Thank y’all for letting me rant and rave yesterday. My blood pressure was up and the red was coming out in my hair, but I think I got it all off my chest. I think. I’m sure if I see something idiotic, I’ll have another flip-out, but I’ll try not to go off here on the blog.

But yesterday’s rant did give me the perfect opportunity to use today’s Cajun French word. This is one word I use all the time without even realizing it. Bouder, pronounced boo-day (emphasis on the boo), means pout, or sulk. How many times did Mom tell me to stop bouder’in’? Well, I can’t even fathom how many times because I was a very pouty child when I didn’t get my way.

It always started off with something simple. You know, like this:

Mom: No, you can’t go sleep at Renee’s house.
Me: Please, please, please??
Mom: No.
I start with the lower lip sticking out and glared at her.
Mom: Get that bouder off your face. You’re not going.
Me Glaring and pouting harder.
Mom: I mean it! I don’t want to see that Annie bouder!

Annie was my paternal grandmother and as much as my mom loved her, she hated it when I’d give her the look my grandmother had perfected. Yeah, I apparently look a lot like Ma-Maw Annie and when I’d bouder it would really get Mom’s goat. Tee-hee.

So as you can see, the bouder is just like using the word pout.
What are you pouting about?
What are you bouder’in’ about?

Don’t pout!
Don’t bouder!

So what do you think? Do you plan to use this word? And just for fun, here’s a perfect bouder!

 

You just know her mama told her she couldn’t go play! So cute! LOL

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Mini Rant

I don’t make a habit of going off here on my blog, but I feel the need to vent. I hope you’ll tolerate it for a few minutes.

As I’m sure everyone in the romance writing community has heard already, there was a news story (if you can even call it that) by a Pennsylvania television station outing a 10th grade English teacher as an erotic romance author.

To my everlasting horror, I got upset about this story. Why? Because what happened to Judy Mays is the reason why many authors protect themselves with pseudonyms. There are so many stereotypes about romance writers and romance readers already, but to top it off by making it seem like every romance writer is a slut waiting to happen? I thought in this modern-day and age we had moved past this? You know, the whole women are either a saint or a sinner. They’re either a virgin or a slut. But apparently we haven’t.

I suppose the small-minded people who aren’t readers of the genre (in any form) must picture romance writers as women who can’t keep their legs closed because obviously that’s all they think about: sex. Forget for a moment that none of us would be here without sex, it shouldn’t be enjoyable, it shouldn’t be beautiful, and hot, and any other word you want to use to describe it. Because we’re obviously PURITANS who don’t believe in freedom of speech and we all care what everyone’s doing in their private time.  Oh and naturally romance writers look at every single man (no matter how old or young they are) as potential partners we want to do the nasty with. Oh yes, that’s how I see every man.

Not.

The small-minded people of the world seem to think that writers live and breathe everything they put in their books. If that’s the case, I’m afraid Stephen King needs to be arrested. Throw Dean Koontz in jail, too. Obviously these two men are deeply disturbed and shouldn’t be allowed among the general populous…you know, in case they go crazy and start killing people.

It’s only fair, after all. We wouldn’t want those two men teaching our kids anything. Who knows what they’d do!

I can’t help but wonder if WNEP, the television station that ran the story, had any idea what they were doing when they decided to pursue it. Did they research the romance genre to find out how big a business it was? Did they look at how many authors, published and unpublished, were in the RWA? Did they stop and think, “You know, this is going to really anger those romance writers and readers”? Probably not. But let me just point out that the saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” has nothing on “Hell hath no fury like romance readers and writers united”.

End rant. I’m better now. Honest.

Smart Bitches has posted some really great links to follow if you’re just as outraged as I am. Join the Support Judy Mays group, leave a comment for WNEP on their facebook page. Let’s do something to show our love and support of a genre that’s treated like the dark horse in the literary world.

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What’s Playing Wednesday

Morning folks! It’s time for another What’s Playing Wednesday when I let Danica’s Music Player have at the blog.

First though, let me congratulate Arabella Stokes on winning Ruth Hartman’s Flossophy of Grace! Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll hook you up with Ruth. Thanks to everyone who participated in the blog. Keep your eyes peeled because I’m having another guest author stop by on Monday. That’s right, my very awesome CP, Daisy Harris is letting me pimp her new book, Mercury Rising. It’s a really, really hot m/m romance. Excellent book, so put it on your TBR pile!

Now to the song! Yay. I’ve played a song by this band before, but the song my MP3 player chose is one of this group’s biggest hits. I love the song. I got to see the band, Shiny Toy Guns, play at the House of Blues in New Orleans. The show didn’t disappoint (although the “headliner” left a lot to be desired).

The song is called Le Disko. This is actually the song that my then 14-year-old cousin and I both loved. Her oldest sister was shocked to learn I enjoyed the same music her baby sister did, but I feel no shame. Music keeps you young! Well, depending on what kind of music you listen to, I suppose.

Now, I will say the video is a bit…well, weird. I’d never seen it before since I no longer plant my butt in front of the television to watch MTV (because they no longer play videos. Hello! It’s supposed to be MUSIC television, but I rarely ever see actual music on there.) Okay, getting off my soapbox now.

Here’s Shiny Toy Guns! I hope you enjoy the song.

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At The Boil

Quick reminder that there’s still time to win a free e-book from yesterday’s guest author, Ruth Hartman. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win!

Last Friday was Good Friday, which means most people in my area were scrambling for crabs, crawfish, and shrimp to boil. Boils are a bit part of the social scene here in south Louisiana. It’s a time for good food and excellent conversation. For those of you who don’t have crawfish boils in your part of the world, I’m going to take you through a little of the process.

Before you can even get started with a boil party, you have to get all the fixings. Crawfish, crabs, shrimp, and all the fixings. Fixings are potatoes, corn on the cob, onions, garlic, and anything else you can possibly think of boiling. For us, we like to add mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, and  sausage to the mix. Fixings tend to soak up all of the seasoning that doesn’t make it to the seafood. They’re perfect fillers. Once you have all of the sides and seafood, it’s time to head to the boil.

We had our crawfish boil at my sister’s house. Generally, boiling is kind of like barbecuing: it’s a man thing. In this case, my brother-in-law and brother were the boil masters with my nephews providing manual labor. The first step in the process for a good boil is purging:

In this picture, you have a basket of crawfish sitting in water. We add salt to the water to help purge dirt and impurities from the crawfish before they even reach the pot. As many of you know, crawfish are also called “mudbugs” and they’re called this for a very good reason: they live in the mud. Purging them cleanses them of mud and keeps you from having a dirty taste in your mouth while you’re eating.

After the purging, the crawfish are dropped in a boiling pot filled with seasonings. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how to add the seasonings since every boil master has their own secret ingredients. All I know, is that the propane tanks are loud, which means you have to shout to be heard.

While you’re waiting on that batch of seafood to boil, it’s time to set another batch of crawfish to purge…and entertain the dog.

This isn’t the best picture, but what you have here is my sister’s miniature dachshund, Minnie, taking on a crawfish contender. Minnie won and tried to eat the crawfish alive. We had to snatch it away from her before she could show the crawfish the inside of a puppy dog.

While crawfish is boiling and purging, it’s time for everyone to visit. This means breaking out the drinks (beer, wine, water) and throwing yourself down in a chair because it’s such hard work standing around building up your appetite. My brother-in-law took the time to share his man cave with my brother and a friend of his. Yes, all the men disappeared into the shed leaving all of the women to sit down and soak up the sun.

But they couldn’t be gone for long! Oh no, not when there’s crawfish boiling!

In this picture, my brother is lifting a boiled basket of crawfish out of the pot. My brother-in-law (genius that he is) has a system where they’ll place two planks on top of the pot to help drain the water before the crawfish is carried to the tables. Normally everyone runs out of the way when the basket comes out of the pot because that water is hot! Don’t you just love his shirt? He looked like he was ready for a crawfish boil…with his glow in the dark legs and everything!

The minute the first pot is finished, everyone stampedes to the tables to eat. I can’t eat crawfish because I’m allergic to something in it, but my brother-in-law and sister were sweet enough to make sure I had crabs to eat instead. They were so, so good!

The finished product:

So have you ever been to a boil?

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Guest Author: Ruth Hartman

Happy Monday! I’d like to introduce y’all to my special guest, Ruth Hartman, author of Flossophy of Grace. Please give a warm welcome to our guest! Take it away Ruth!

Hygienists in Love

Being a dental hygienist sure has its interesting moments. For starters, most people don’t like going to the dentist. Hard to imagine, huh? I’ve even had patients tell me not to take it personally but they just don’t want to be there. I never do. I just smile and say, “Sure I understand. I hate having a mammogram.” That usually gets some strange stares. Some are terrified of being there, some are annoyed, and a few strange ducks actually like having their teeth cleaned. Ducks have teeth, right? I find all of their responses fascinating. Not only for just everyday chuckles, but it’s all great information for my books.

“Flossophy of Grace” is a sweet romance about Grace, a hygienist, who falls in love with Bruce, her patient. They have to keep their relationship a secret because Grace’s boss has made it clear he’ll fire her if he finds out she’s still seeing Bruce. I’ve used several patients as examples in the book, but I never mention names, and most of the characters are conglomerations of several patients I’ve had.

It can be distracting, though. There I am, scraping goo off of someone’s incisors and I have another writing epiphany. I never tell the patient I’m having one, of course. That might not go over so well. It would worry some and frighten others. Especially if they don’t know what an epiphany is. They might think it’s contagious. And I can’t really ask them to just sit there, mouth open like the Grand Canyon, while I take off my gloves and jot down the fantastic idea I’ve just had. Nope. Gotta just file it away until after work, when I can hopefully remember it all and jot it down.

This book was the first romance novel I wrote. Because of using several different publishers, it was released after two others. When I got the idea to write it, I never dreamed I’d end up with several dental-related books. I sort of fell into my writing niche. Head first. And I’ve come to find that romances about dental hygienists, dentists, and tooth fairies aren’t all that common. Who knew? It’s that whole write what you know stuff we learned in high school. Well, I sure do know a lot about dentistry, that’s for sure.

And cats. No, not cats who go to the dentist. Although I supposed they could, if they could find someone to drive them there. It’s just that I know a lot about them. And all of my characters have two or more. I think that helps the reader connect to them as human people, not just dental professionals.

So if you love sweet, funny romances, and would like to see what happens in the exciting world of a dental hygienist, give “Flossophy of Grace” a try!

Blurb:
 
What happens when a dental hygienist falls in love with her patient? That’s what Grace Hart discovers when she meets Bruce Gardener. The problem? Grace’s boss has a strict policy against relationships with patients. Can Grace and Bruce find a way to be together without her employer finding out? 
 
 

Hey y’all! It’s Danica again! Now it’s time for the giveaway. Yup, y’all have a chance to win a digital copy of Flossophy of Grace. You just have to leave a comment for Ruth telling her whether or not you like to go to the dentist. The contest will be open until Wednesday, so be sure to comment!

Bio: 
Ruth J. Hartman is a published romance author as well as a licensed dental hygienist. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband of 29 years and their two extremely spoiled cats. To learn more about her books and writing, visit www.ruthjhartman.blogspot.com

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Fantasy Man Friday

By the time most of you read this, I’ll be sitting in my sister’s backyard sipping something alcoholic and eating boiled crabs. Today is Good Friday, probably one of the most anticipated holidays of the Spring. Not because of the alcohol, but because of the seafood.

Good Friday just so happens to fall right in the middle of crawfish season. People will be lined up at the crawfish houses to get what they can before it runs out. And yes, they are expecting the crawfish to run out this year. It wasn’t a good season. Because I’m allergic to crawfish, I begged and whined for my brother-in-law to boil me some crabs instead. That way I still get to enjoy the boil. Otherwise, I would’ve stayed in my house and sniffled into my pillow.

Ah, my friends. I do look forward to sitting in the sun and relaxing for a whole day. I feel like I need it. *fans herself* I’m not going alone either. I need someone to hand me a towel when my hands get dirty. I think I’m taking him along…

Well? What do you think? Do you think he’d mind me using his um, towel? *cough* Bwahaha! *thinks lots of naughty thoughts*

Since I’m actually able to participate in the festivities this year, I’ll take lots and lots of pictures so to show y’all what our seafood boils are like. Monday I have guest author, Ruth Hartman, stopping by to share her thoughts about her newest release Flossophy of Grace. Tuesday, I’ll have pictures from the boil up to share with you. Bring your appetite!

Happy Friday, y’all and have a safe and Happy Easter!

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Cajun French: Pauvre Bête

Time for another Cajun French lesson. Again, I have to thank my sister-in-law and one of my college friends for helping me out this week.

On Sunday, my sister-in-law popped up with another “good phrase” for my Cajun French lessons. You see, these lessons are a group effort, especially now that I’m running out of the most common phrases to share with y’all.

Today’s phrase is pauvre bête which means “poor thing”. Pauvre is pronounced “pauv” (pau like in Paul and an almost F sound on the end) which means poor. Bête is pronounced “bedt” (with a very soft T) which means…well, it’s almost like saying silly thing. When you put them together, the words kind of run together so it sounds like “pauf-bedt” almost like one word.

This phrase can be used in two ways: sympathetically or sarcastically.

Someone catches a flat tire in the rain when they’re on their way to a job interview? Oh, pauvre bête!

Someone complains about how they have so much time on their hands because they won the lottery?
Pauvre bête! (Insert eye roll)

You can also add to this by using the infamous petite, or t’, as we shorten it down here.

Pauvre t-bête!  Poor little thing!

Do you think you’ll be using this phrase? And what about that little puppy! Doesn’t he just make you want to say pauvre t-bête?

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What’s Playing Wednesday

Hey y’all, it’s time for another What’s Playing Wednesday. This is the day of the week I let Danica’s Magical Music Player choose the topic for discussion.

I’m a music fiend, as you may have guessed. I like a little bit of everything and my MP3 player has lots to pick through. There are some songs that get me fired up. These are songs I love to listen to in my car, or while I’m writing. It’s like a rush of adrenaline and I’ll either drive faster (don’t tell the police), or I’ll write faster.

Today’s pick is one of those songs that make me feel…all wild and free. I want to sing it at the top of my lungs (and I do…in my car because I am the American Idol in my car).

When I expressed an interest in this band, the only person in my family who listened to it was my then 15-year-old cousin. This made my other relatives, who are closer in age to me, say, “I find it funny you have music in common with my younger sister.” Yeah, it made me feel like I was trying to be young, but really, who cares? If music is good,  you listen to it. At least I do. Does that mean I like Justin…what’s his face? Bieber? Beiber? Whatever, no. I hated boy bands when they were popular and I was never a fan of the latest teen idol craze. *snort*

Anyway, the band is called My Chemical Romance. I know, not really a teen band, are they? I mean, are they? Seriously. Their music is complex and deep. *shrug* Whatever. I can’t help it if the cousins I have that are 6 years younger than me act like they’re older than me, LOL

The song is called Famous Last Words. Hm. There are lots of famous last words I can think of, the most common being “I’ll never do that”…yeah. Okay. So I can’t get too philosophical this morning. I have a migraine. Again. But I hope you enjoy the song and that it fires you up!

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On The Words

Did I mention that Deadliest Catch is one of my favorite shows ever? Well, if I haven’t…it is. I’m so glad the new season started last week, I can barely contain myself! But what the hell does Deadliest Catch have to do with words?

Yesterday I talked about how smart my toes are. They knew that I can’t plot to save my life. Not that I can’t physically plot, but that the method doesn’t work for me at all. I’ve tried. I’ve mentioned that before. For my third Veil book, I plotted with a new method and yes, I wrote the book, but it took me longer because I wasn’t as enthusiastic about it since I knew everything that was going to happen.

At one point last summer, I decided to start writing book 4 of the Veil series and had 75k in the story when the spark went out. I found that I made my heroine too melodramatic and I so hate drama. I had to put the story on the side because it was irritating me. I fiddled around with all kinds of story ideas between July and September when I decided I was going to plot my first Olympus, Inc. book.

*dramatic music*

I plotted. I started writing. I hated it. Do you sense a theme here? I deleted it and thought about the characters I was writing about and that’s when I realized I didn’t want to write about them. Someone else needed their story written instead. Roxana and Mason were born. For those of you who keep up with the blog, you may remember that I wrote Olympus, Inc. in 28 days. Yes, 28 days. How? Like the fishermen on Deadliest Catch who are “on the crab” when they’re catching well, I was on the words.

Yes! On the words. All I had to do was sit in front of the computer and let my brain go. I couldn’t stop. Did I have any idea where the story was going? No, not really. Oh, I knew it was headed towards a HEA, but I didn’t know how they were going to get there. Mason and Roxana led that book with sheer strength of character. For the first time in awhile, I was lost in the pure bliss of creativity.

I was clocking anywhere from 4k to 8k words a day and that just doesn’t happen to me often. When it does though, I can’t resist the pull of the story. That’s when I know it’s something…well, good I think. Once it was written, I did my first round of edits and sent it to my CPs to take a look at. They liked it as well and that book ended up being the one to land me an agent.

What’s the point of this post? When you’re “on the words”, you throw out all of the rules and restrictions you put on yourself because nothing matters more than putting what’s in your brain and soul onto paper. I wasn’t thinking about “Is this okay for a character to say?” No. I was barely thinking at all! My characters were raw and rude and brash and I’ve never loved a story more.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to recapture that passion. There’s more pressure now to do just as well as the first book which blocks that creative streak that helped me write it. It’s not fun. I’ve restarted the second book at least a dozen times, changed this, changed that, and I’m still not satisfied with it. What originally took me 28 days to write, has taken me nearly 4 months and counting to do again. That’s not good.

But the strangest thing happened when I had the idea for the new story I’m not plotting. It’s turning me into a relentless machine again. I churned out 8k in two days. Not my best, but not too shabby either. I have a feeling this story might clear my slate and give me the clarity I need for the Olympus book. I’ve been so focused on writing the Veil series and now the Olympus series that I need a break from the worlds. When it’s finished, I can go back to my second Olympus book and let Meg and Daire lead the way to The End. At least that’s what I hope happens.

So how about you? What do you do when you’re “on the words” but it isn’t the story you should be writing? Do you let it flow anyway, or do you push it to the side and concentrate on the story you’re supposed to be working on?

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