Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Toes Know

On Friday afternoon, I had the most marvelous idea for a story. What sparked it? A random comment on Facebook. My brain was a whirling dervish of ideas, but I had to finish my writing goal for the day. I’m still trying to write the second book in my Olympus, Inc. series and knew if I didn’t reach my goal, I’d feel guilty for starting something else.

I didn’t even start the story until Sunday. I needed to think about it more. I worked on my junk room *shudders* Do you have any idea how horrible that was? It looks worse now than it did when I started. Yeah, that’s something I’ll be working on for a few weeks. But that isn’t the point of the story. Saturday I spent my day working on the house, doing laundry, and letting my mind churn.

As I settled in to watch reruns of Ghost Adventures, I decided it was time for me to plot my story. Now, for those of you who are newish to the blog, you have to understand plotting is not the way my brain works. I’ve tried it with several different stories. I’ve used different methods and still, I wander away from the plot by the time I get to writing. I hoped this time would be different.

There I was with my notebook and ink pen in hand, Zak, Nick, and Aaron scaring the hell out of each other in the background. I wrote out a quick sketch of the characters and started working on the new plot method I learned at the last conference I went to. It was easy enough; just come up with an opening scene, a black moment, and the end. Oh it was so easy! The opening scene poured out of me. I could see it in my brain and my fingers itched to get to a keyboard.

Then I looked at it. And hated it. I needed a break and that’s when I decided to paint my toenails. Maybe it would help me see what the problem was with the story I’d outlined.

As I sat there applying teal polish, I knew what the problem was. Me. I was bogging myself down with too much information as usual. When I started writing yesterday, did I take my notebook with me? Nope. I didn’t even use the same names I’d picked out. Oh, I tried. I gave that opening scene a shot and after about 1200 words, knew I hated it. A quick control+A and delete and it was gone.

I felt…relieved. I frowned at the blank screen for a few minutes and then started writing what I felt, not what I was expected to and the words flowed. 4,000 words later, I was pleased with my efforts. Is it perfect? Oh hells no, it’s far from perfect. I’m sure I’ll look at it again and adjust here, tweak there, delete here, add there, but at least it feels comfortable now.

My toes knew I wasn’t pleased with the story driven plot. I can’t do it. It makes me feel disconnected from my characters, like they just happen to be along for the ride instead of the ones driving the story. Sure, the story has to be good, the plot strong and driving, but for me it’s all about the characters. I want to love them, hurt with them, laugh with them. It’s more about how they react to their situation than what the situation is, if that makes sense.

So there you have it: the story of how my toes know more about me than I do. I never realized how smart they were. I suppose now they expect to be taken to get a pedicure and I guess they deserve it.

What do you do when you have to ponder something you’re working on? If you’ll excuse me, I need to play with my toes and tell them how glad I am to have them. (Why am I suddenly reminded of Shelly Laurenston’s The Mane Squeeze?)

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Fantasy Man Friday

Yay for Friday! I’m not going to get into how much I love Fridays because you should know this by now.

It’s been a relatively good week. I found out the 4th book in The Veil series has been accepted for publication by Siren BookStrand. Yay! That book makes me laugh out loud because the heroine, Izzy, is so flippin’ crazy. Oh, and it also gets me a little flushed because the hero, Grant, is muy caliente. Rar. Izzy’s an Amazon and Grant’s a minotaur shifter.

Y’all wanna see what I picture Grant as looking like? Are you sure you’re ready?

*Disclaimer: The author of this post is not responsible for burned retinas or shorted out computer equipment do to drooling.

Yeah…oh yeah…cause um, he has a problem keeping his clothes on. *stares* He likes to run around without his shirt and with his jeans barely clinging to him *stares harder*. Is it just me or is this model in serious danger of losing his jeans? I swear every time I look they seem to be a little lower. *drool* Do you think if I stare long enough they’ll fall off?

Rar.

Okay, so um, now that I’ve totally destroyed my concentration by that man candy overload…have a happy Friday and a save weekend! Seriously, I just realized that this is one of the shortest posts I’ve ever written…and it’s all *stares* his fault. *goes back to staring*

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Cajun French: Tête Dur

I started to panic this month when I realized I was slowly running out of Cajun French words and phrases to share with y’all. So I sat my sister-in-law and parrain down so I could get some more information.

There we were, sitting on the porch Sunday morning when my parrain reached over, popped my mom in the head with the palm of his hand and said, “tête dur!” I didn’t even need to ask him what it meant, the smack to the head was plenty explanation for me. It means “hard-headed”. And that’s something we’ve all heard from our parents once or five million times. Of course, not all parents throw in the forehead smack, but we do talk with our hands down here.

So here’s what we have tête dur, pronounced “tet” rhyming with “net” and “dur” like the u sound in “puree”My mom didn’t use this word with us. She just called us stubborn or hard-headed, but after my parrain knocked her in the head, she said, “I forgot Mama used to say that to us.” Now by Mama, she means her grandmother who spoke Cajun French and apparently taught all of her grandchildren the swear words without realizing it. (I’ll get to that story another time.)

You can use this phrase in a couple of ways:

Just plain old: tête dur! (Forehead smack optional)
And: “Mais, you’re so tête dur!”

Is this a phrase you think you can use? I have to ask, will you use the forehead smack? It’s okay, you can tell me!

And don’t forget, tonight is Swamp People on the History Channel. If you want to hear some great Cajun accents, give it a look-see!

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What’s Playing Wednesday

Greetings peeps! Winner of yesterday’s giveaway on Haunted Dreams, Dark Destinies is Brinda! Check back for information on my next giveaway.

I’m feeling very…Cajun this week. Maybe it was from spending so much time discussing Cajun French on Sunday, but whatever the reason, I’ve been in the mood for some good Cajun music.

It isn’t very easy finding songs since most of them aren’t posted on Youtube, but I did manage to find one that I love. Now, it’s in English, so you shouldn’t have trouble understanding the words, unlike some of the older Cajun French songs I love so much.

The song is called That Butt Thing by Horace Trahan. (That would be trah-han.) When I hear this song, I always want to do the two-step. It makes me want to dance until my feet are begging for mercy. I hope you enjoy!

I had this song as my ringtone for the longest time. Talk about fun!

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In The Swamp

I’m over at Haunted Dreams, Dark Destinies today talking about anti-heroes. I hope you’ll stop by!

I know I talk about my little corner of the world a lot, but I believe people are fascinated by it. Why? Well, apparently there’s a show about the alligator hunters here in the swamps of south Louisiana (they actually hunt in the swamps no more than 30 miles from where I live). I haven’t watched the show, but all of my relatives do and they assure me it’s worth a peek. The show is called Swamp People.

It plays on the History Channel. Film crews follow several alligator hunters on their regular jaunts through the swamps. It plays on Thursday nights which means I have to give up Bones to catch it, but that’s okay. I’ve been told that they have subtitles at the bottom of the screen because their accents are so thick. Then my sister-in-law was telling me some of the guys’ catch-phrases and had me cracking up so much I now must watch the show.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have alligators roaming the streets here. Okay, that isn’t entirely true. My neighbor had a 9′ gator under her porch and we don’t live very close to the bayou. There have been instances where dogs have disappeared because of a resident alligator in some neighborhoods. So yeah, I suppose they live among us even if I say we’re more civilized than Hollywood would have the world believe.

And to further ruin my point about civilization, I was reminded of an incident I saw with my very own eyes a few years ago. I was driving to town (because you always go “to town”) to get my tires replaced. I took a shortcut road which cuts right behind a subdivision and through the marsh. It was about 7:30 on a Saturday morning so there wasn’t a lot of traffic and I had the road to myself. Well, almost to myself.

I saw an alligator running down the opposite shoulder of the road I was driving on. Not really strange, but it’s what was chasing him that had my jaw dropping open in shock. Yes, you got it. There was a machete-wielding man chasing the alligator down and running behind him was his wife who was carrying a Jim Bowie knife and a huge Tupperware bowl. Know what they were planning? To kill the gator and take its tail. It was so surreal, I shook my head all the way to the mechanic. Because really? You’re running after an alligator with a machete and you already have the bowl for the meat.

Crazy!

Of course, it’s also illegal. You have to have a special hunting license for alligators. You can’t just kill them when you want and take the tail; no matter how damn good alligator meat is. Oh yes, I love fried alligator. It’s…mais, it’s good good! But you sure as hell won’t catch me chasing one down! Talk about eating off the hoof…

So have any of you ever seen Swamp People? Will you watch it just out of morbid curiosity? If you do watch it and find something confusing about their speech, maybe we could turn that into a Cajun French Lesson. Just shoot me an e-mail with your question and we can discuss it.

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Bravery

Greetings, friends! I’d like to take a moment of shameless self-promotion if I may. Tomorrow I’ll be guest blogging at Haunted Dreams, Dark Destinies with a giveaway. I hope to see some of y’all there for a chance to win a mask!

So this weekend was action-packed for the most part. I got my hair done and it looks great. The rest of the weekend was spent with family. A lot more family than I thought I’d see.

You see, my uncles were in town. One of them went to my brother’s father-in-law’s camp for fishing and oyster “hunting”. The other uncle, my parrain, stayed at my house for the weekend. Yesterday he decided he was going to fix the light switches in my bathroom. Um, you see, I’d broken both of them. Not intentionally, but at some point over the last few years, I flipped the switches and snapped them off. *cough* Okay, so I don’t know my own strength *flex*

Anyway, apparently he bought the wrong switches to replace the ones I broke. This meant we had to make an emergency call to my cousin’s husband who’s an electrician. When he came over, he arrived with my cousin and their two sons (ages 4 and 7). It was fun watching the kids go crazy, but it was the youngest who really snagged my attention.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I have a very old, very cranky, mean cat named Ty. She’s going to be 14 this year, so she’s earned her attitude. And everyone in the family knows of her temper…except the 4-year-old. She was sitting on the steps away from everyone because we were irritating her…because you know, we were breathing? George, 4-year-old, decided he wanted to go inside and climbed the steps next to her.

She growled and slashed out at him. Did he scream? Did he run back down the steps? Nope. Not George. George is fearless with animals. He continued until he stood on the top step and turned around with a scowl. He pointed his chubby little finger at her and snapped, “Stop that!”

We were all amazed. Ty has seen six kids in our house and every single one of them has leapt away from her with squeals when she snarled at them. This is the first time a child stood up to her. I don’t think she knew what to do with herself. Her bad ass reputation was now damaged! She crawled down the stairs and off the porch, grumbling all the while.

I suppose my cousin gave George the right name because like St. George, he “slayed” the dragon, but he did it without swinging a sword. I think the story of his actions will become legend throughout the family and when he gets older, we’ll talk about his bravery in taming the beast time and time again.

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Fantasy Man Friday

It’s time for another Fantasy Man Friday! Yay! I’m so glad today’s Friday. I know, I know, I’m always glad when Friday rolls around. I can’t help it. I mean…I get to post smexy men and daydream about the naughty things I’d like to do to them. Isn’t that awesome?

Not only am I excited about today’s Fantasy Man, but I’m also excited to be on Marsha A. Moore’s blog talking about Cajun legends and omens. I’ll be giving away a mask and a set of romance trading cards, so I hope y’all will pop on over there.

So today’s Fantasy Man is wearing more clothes than I’d like, but he looks so good, I don’t care. Yup, he’s another footballer (as in the rugby kind). Really, do rugby players all look so good? Because if they do, I might have to forget about the NFL and start watching Aussie Football.

Of course, it looks like his pants and undies are about to just fall off…I wouldn’t mind, would you? And he even has that “I’m a good boy” look about him! It just makes me want to show him how good being a bad boy can be. Rar!

Happy Friday all, have a safe and fun weekend!

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Cajun French: Gris-Gris

Before I get to the post, the winner of yesterday’s giveaway for my release day is KAK. Drop me an e-mail, KAK at danica(dot)avet(at)gmail(dot)com with your physical address. Thank y’all for the support on such an important day!

I waffled about what today’s post would be about.  I’m not lying! I spent a good 30 minutes flipping through words in my brain on my morning drive when Godsmack’s Voodoo came on the radio. That decided me. Today’s word is gris-gris.

It isn’t a Cajun French word. It’s an amulet used in Voodoo which can either bring the wearer good luck or bad luck. In Cajun French though, a gris-gris can also be a bit like the evil eye. It’s kind of like a spoken word or even a thought you have towards someone. The first time I heard this word used was when one of my childhood friends used it in reference to a girl she didn’t like. “I could put a gris-gris on her!”

Now, I don’t know how much y’all know about Voodoo (and I can’t claim to be an expert), but there are many people, especially in this area, who are terrified of it. I remember a story my mom told me about an older lady she lived next to when she was first married. It seems that the woman had upset someone else and one morning she woke up with a gris-gris on her doorstep. The older lady closed her front door and wouldn’t go out of it. In fact, she wouldn’t touch the amulet, going so far as to have her house moved so she wouldn’t have to cross it. That’s some serious believing.

Putting the evil eye on someone, the gris-gris, is almost like a spell in itself. Every time I’ve talked with someone who said this word, their hands will come up and perform some complicated gestures. It’s never the same between people, but the intent is understood. Of course, Cajuns talk with their hands. Seriously, y’all. I don’t know if I could have a good conversation with someone if my hands were tied. So maybe it isn’t an actual curse you’re placing on someone, but the emotion behind it that makes us wave our hands around.

Now for the pronunciation. It looks pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? But if you want to get the full experience of the gris-gris, you have to put some effort into the saying of it. It isn’t just a gr sound like groan or grain. It’s more like a guttural gr with a little rolling of the r. I wish I could figure out a way to explain it, but imagine if you’re trying to clear your throat and you might get it. It sounds more powerful with this pronunciation than saying it phonetically.

And since I’m on this topic, tomorrow I’ll be over at Marsha A. Moore’s blog talking about legends and death omens of this area. I won’t go into it in-depth, but I will glance over a couple of supernatural things in this area. I’ll be giving away prizes, so I hope to see you there!

So what did you think of today’s lesson?

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Release Day Music

Hey y’all! I can barely hear you over the loud music roaring in my ears. It’s Release Day over here in Danica Land and I let the heroine of my third Veil book, Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous have at the music player.

I’ll be discussing Noelani Fayard, aka Shade, aka Lani, in greater depth on my group blog, Four Foxes One Hound. Stop by to learn more about her. I will tell you this much, Lani’s story is darker than the other two books in the Veil Series. I suppose it was bound to happen considering she’s an assassin and her hero is none other than former Eturian general, Malachi Cromwell.

The music on my playlist for this book was darker, edgier than the other books. I mean…Lani would’ve probably killed me if I broke out the ABBA to write her story! Instead, I had to depend on my heavy metal to get me through, which is what she’s making me play for y’all today.

The band is called The Used and the song, appropriately enough for an assassin, is called Blood On My Hands. The video is a bit gruesome, but the song kicks ass, especially for Lani and Malachi’s story.

Oh and she won’t let me forget this part. In honor of her release day, we’d like to give away a mask painted especially for Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous as well as a set of romance trading cards (www.romancetradingcards.come) for the entire series. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

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Pick A Card

I have to say I adore being in the RWA. Sure, there are tons of awesome workshops and stuff to do, but the people are the ones that make this organization the very best. Case in point, I met my fabulous critique partners through the RWA and they’re beyond awesome.

As many of you know, Daisy Harris (she of the Ocean Shifters series and hot, naughty stories fame) is one of my critique partners. Not only is she great at helping me see beyond my creative stubbornness, but she’s also a great marketer. A few weeks ago, she showed me this site called www.romancetradingcards.com and suggested I give it a try.

I was scared. I’m not a technical person. I don’t know how to do all those photoshop thingies and okay, I also don’t have the patience for it. However, I saw the benefit in romance trading cards. So I pulled up my big girl panties and decided to give it a shot. If they came out horribly, I could always keep them to myself as a sign of my failure and I could weep copious amounts of tears as I munched on a Snickers and drown my sorrows with a 40oz beer. I’ve done that before.

Anyway, I followed the very in-depth how-to steps on the site and with the help of my mom (who loves that technical stuff), figured out how to do it. I made two cards for each of the books in my Veil series and I’m quite proud of them. As a writer with a limited budget for marketing, these cards are great. I’m not going to RT this year, but Daisy is and she was sweet enough to take some of my cards with her to hand out.

So these are the cards I made. They’re not as nice as the ones I’ve seen, but as a complete noob in the world of photoshop and stuff, I think they came out well. If you’re looking for something to give out to readers as a way to entice them to read your books, I don’t think you could go wrong with a few of these.

  

  

  

Okay, so I had a lot of fun making these things, more than I thought I would, that’s for sure. Once I figured out how to make them, it didn’t take long to make and the cost, while more than I’d like to spend on anything (can you say cheap?), wasn’t terrible.

For those of you banging your heads on the wall trying to think of some cool little favors to hand out for giveaways, you might want to look into these. For anyone who has won in the past, if you’d like a set, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send a set to you.

Happy Tuesday y’all. Tomorrow’s release day, so expect craziness on the blog (and a giveaway)!

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