Monthly Archives: May 2011

Plowing Ahead

Yesterday I opened a giveaway for my 500th blog post. I’m leaving the comments open until Wednesday evening and I’ll announce a winner on Thursday. If you haven’t commented yet, stop by to ogle the top 10 nummy men from my Fantasy Men Fridays!

Blog post 501 just doesn’t have the same ring as 500th, does it?

Anyway, I waffled all night and all morning trying to come up with a topic for today. I was going to blog about pain and donating blood, but I’ve settled on a writing topic. Why? Because a few weeks ago I hit a major road block in my writing.

I’m currently working on two WIPs. One is the second book in my Olympus, Inc. series and the other is a Christmas novella I was inspired to write by a random comment on Facebook. Neither of them were going well. It got to the point where I hated the heroine of my novella and I had no idea what my characters were doing in my Olympus book.

Now? I still don’t know what my characters are doing in the Olympus book, but after slashing 14,000 words from my novella, I’ve finally figured out where the story is going. And I like my heroine again. In three days, I wrote 10,000 words to bring the novella back up to the word count it was at before I went all Jack the Ripper on it.

Some authors will say never throw away your words because you never know when you can use them. Normally, I’d agree. I have about twenty different versions of my Olympus book, but with the novella, that wasn’t an  option. It’s hard to write a story when you dislike your heroine. Why did I dislike her so much? She was weak and wimpy. I blame my inability to write these kinds of heroines on Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman. It’s their fault I can’t write helpless heroines. I have no problem making the hero slightly weak (or vulnerable if you rather), but the heroine has to be strong. And cutting that weakness from the story was necessary. It was a risky killing, but it was needed to give the story life again.

Writing for me is like gambling. Sometimes you’re on a hot streak and can’t be stopped, like when I wrote the first Olympus book. 80,000+ words in 28 days. Yeah, I was feeling the fire and it was good. Other times, you can’t win to save your life. You keep borrowing money to play because you know the next scene is going to be better and the next thing you know, your muse has married an Elvis impersonator and left you alone with three very big men who want to twist you like a pretzel (in a bad way).

Then there are times like what I’m facing with this novella. You have to cut your losses while you’re ahead and retreat back to your farm. You ignore the frantic calls from your muse who insists she’s getting a divorce and is never drinking Mind Erasers again. You ignore the temptation of the finish-it-quick plot angle and you plow ahead. This is your book; you can make it do anything it wants and if your characters protest, you slap them in the back of the head and tell them to get with the mf’ing program. You have to be stern with them sometimes.

That’s what I’ve had to do and I don’t really care if my characters keep blushing and stuttering because they’re uncomfortable with what I’m doing to them. It’s for their own good after all. They’re going to  live happily ever after while I have to go and wrangle more stubborn characters. Just as soon as my muse files the restraining order against Elvis and gets out of rehab.

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This Is My 500th Blog Post Party

I was going to post a video, but I have too much other stuff to post and wouldn’t want to kill y’all computers. So 500 posts…what have I learned in 500 blog posts? I’ve learned that I’m a pervert, but luckily, I’m not the only one. Oh yes, there are at least 13,000 other perverts out there who like to look at gorgeous men wearing barely anything.

Last week I asked y’all what I should post today in celebration. I thought Charlie Sheen, but that was shot down. Instead, I’ll be posting the top 10 Fantasy Men of all time. (So far…because there is no way I’m going to stop Fantasy Man Friday.) I’ll also be giving away a specially painted Mardi Gras mask to one lucky person, so I hope y’all are ready for this.

Turn off the lights and put on your favorite make-out songs because you will be kissing your monitor.

*fans herself* Wow. These men…are just…wow. I was surprised a few didn’t make the cut, but that just means I have to make another slide show later on, bwahaha!

So which was your favorite? Do you even have a favorite? I don’t…not really because I want them all!

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win the specialty Mardi Gras mask! Thank you all for being on this crazy journey with me! You’re the best.

I’ll be posting my Memorial Day dedication on Wednesday over at my group blog, Four Foxes One Hound, but I would like to thank all the men and women who have given their lives for this country. You honor us all.

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Fantasy Man Friday

Hello, Friday!! I’ve been waiting all week for you to get here! Not that I have anything terribly fun planned for the weekend, but still…it’s always wonderful to know that when I wake up tomorrow morning, I don’t have to actually get out of…bed. Wait, I do have to get out of bed. I have to get new tires. *groan*

Well, there goes my lazy Saturday morning. No, I don’t get Memorial Day off. That’s just another work day,  or is it? Did y’all know that Monday marks my 500th blog post? I know!! How awesome is that? It seems like yesterday when I started this blog, not sure what I was talking about, embarrassing myself and my family…oh, wait. I still do that. *shrug* Oh, well, there are more people who read it now than there used to be which means a bigger audience to enjoy the embarrassment!

Yes!

I was trying to think of something truly spectacular for my 500th blog post, but everyone told me getting Charlie Sheen on the blog would be a bad idea. Now I have no idea what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll post the top five most popular Fantasy Man Friday men? How does that sound? Not the ones I like, but the ones that have received the most views by my readers. Would that be fun? Maybe I can give something away…um, anyone want an overweight cat? How about a specially painted Mardi Gras mask? Not one painted for my books, but a very special mask that kind of bleeds south Louisiana (without the blood). Let me know in the comments if that works for you.

Now for the fantasy man. I’m kind of nervous. This is my 499th blog post and my 78th Fantasy Man Friday. 77 men have appeared on this blog. Some have received more attention than others. Some have been ogled and drooled over enough to leave them pruney. But they’ve all been Fantasy Men, men who make me go “hm, now if I found this bundle of masculinity wandering around naked in my backyard with no memory of how he got there, what would I do?” *cough*

Today’s man is no different. Prepare yourselves for Fantasy Man #78!

As if seeing him once wasn’t enough, you also get to view his other side in the mirror! And…I like. He could totally stand in the mirror all day long and I wouldn’t have a problem with it if I was between him and the mirror. *cough*

So tell me what y’all think about the 500th blog post party!

Happy Friday and have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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Cajun French: Family Gossip

I’ve been having a strange two weeks, but I’ll get over it. I’m finally writing again. I had to imagine that my writer’s block was a mountain and my creative juices a river that had to wear the mountain down until thoughts could leak through. Yeah, it took that long to get them flowing again, but hopefully no boulders will block the little gap I made.

I don’t have an actual Cajun French word or phrase for you this week. Instead, I’m going with a simple saying that you’ll hear from just about everyone down here.

I don’t know about y’all, but sometimes when I go to the store, I run into every distant relative I never knew about. Seriously, I have so many cousin’s on my dad’s side of the family, I have no idea who they are. My mom will say, “You know Uncle Cop’s son’s daughter? I saw her today.” And I’m like…who?

Anyway, the few relatives I see that I do know, all want to chit-chat. Yes, they will block the aisles with their baskets while they grill you about your life, tell you about their life, and give you all of the gossip you weren’t sure you wanted to know. Kind of like “So-and-so finally moved and are living next door to us. And so-and-so is fighting with blahblah because of blah. And blankety-blank is getting married, but I’m not inviting yada-yada…” You get the idea.

It kind of starts like this:

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in forever! How’s your mama and them?”

“How’s your mama and them” is a perfectly legitimate question. It means they want to know how your family is, not just your mama. Of course, when it comes to my dad’s family, they all want to know how Mom’s doing. She hasn’t been married to him for over thirty years, but they still call her aunt and want to know how she is and what she’s up to.

I find it kind of funny it isn’t “How’s your daddy and them” instead. I suppose it just goes to show that here, the woman is the center of the family. Kind of like a big ball of fire that shoots solar flares at you when you piss her off…you know what I mean!

Of course, you’d only use this phrase if you’re familiar with the family. It would be kind of weird for someone who’s never met your mother or family to ask that question unless they’ve known you for a very long time and you’ve told them endless stories about them *cough* So yeah, y’all can totally ask me “how’s your mama and them”, LOL

So is this something you say in your part of the world? If not, what would you say instead?

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Author Interview: Olivia Cunning

Hey y’all! I’m so excited to have a very special guest with us for What’s Playing Wednesday. Usually, I let my MP3 player choose a song to entertain you, but after reading this author’s books, I knew she had to stop by for a visit. I may have stalked her whined at her a bit, but she’s been a great sport and I can’t wait for y’all to meet her.

So please give a warm welcome to Olivia Cunning!

I know one of the most frequently asked questions to an author with a series is “What gave you the idea for the series”? I’m not going to ask that. No, I want to know who was your inspiration for your band members?

I got the original idea for Backstage Pass at an Avenged Sevenfold concert (no, not because I had a backstage pass… bummer…), so it’s only fitting that they were the original inspiration for Sinners. Once I got writing, I deviated from the real life band, especially personality-wise, as the fictional characters became more “real” to me than real-life rock stars, but yes, they were the original inspiration. Especially, Synyster Gates, M. Shadows and Zacky Vengeance. Yum-to-the-um.

Nom, nom...tattoos, piercings, dark clothes, cool hair, AND they rock! *drool*

You have so much detailed information in these books from song composition to performance so I have to ask, are you musically inclined? I’ve tried playing bass guitar and while I can do it…it’s boring trying to play by yourself (and y’all can stop snickering!).

I wanted to be a rock star when I was a teenager. I picked up the guitar, learned to play Stairway to Heaven and realized my fingers are too short and stubby to ever be any good at it. I was the top ranked flutist in my junior high band (we had 40 flutes, talk about a band heavy on upper registers) and also played piccolo. Maybe I should have followed in Jethro Tull’s footsteps. The detail in the books comes from being a life-long fan of rock music. I’ve followed it since I was a child. If you write what you’re passionate about, I’ve hit the mother lode.

Who’s your favorite band? Who have you seen in concert more than twice?

Well, that depends. Do you want to know my current favorite band, or my favorite band of all time or my favorite band based on my record collection? Currently, I’m loving Bullet for My Valentine. Can’t get enough of Avenged Sevenfold and have more of their songs on my iPod than any other band. I’d say my favorite band of all time is Guns ‘n’ Roses. Though I had massive love for dozens of bands in the 80s, they’re the ones who have stuck with me the most over time. I’ve seen sever bands in concert more than twice. Avenged Sevenfold takes the prize with 6 times. Papa Roach 4 times. Disturbed 3 times. The other thirty or so bands I’ve only seen once or twice.

The Sinners are hot…very hot. Who’s your favorite band member? I have to pick Jace because I’ve always had this thing for bass players…gr-owl. But Brian, Trey, Sed, and Eric are very, very close seconds. Okay, that isn’t entirely true…they’re all so hot, I couldn’t pick if I had a choice. Maybe one for Monday, one for Tuesday, etc.

I honestly love them all. I don’t have a favorite.

Are you planning a book for each band member? What about side characters like the luscious Dare and Max?

I’m currently working on the rest of the Sinners books and I would love to do a spin-off of Exodus End (with Dare, Max, Logan and Steve) when I finish the Sinners on Tour series. You can never have too many hot rock stars.

You’re given the opportunity to put together a dream band filled with your favorite musicians, living or dead. Who do you choose and why?

I’m dedicating each novel in the Sinners on Tour series to a different rock musician that has died before his time. I’m not sure what they would sound like all together, but I’ll go with them. Guitarists: Dimebag Darrell Abbot (Pantera) and Randy Rhodes (Ozzy Osbourne); Vocalist: Kurt Cobain (Nirvana); Bassist: Cliff Burton (Metallica); and Drummer: James “The Rev” Sullivan (Avenged Sevenfold)

And just because I’m nosy…what was your road to publication like?

I’ve been writing fiction for about 20 years. I started with contemporary category romance and have also written fantasy, science fiction, paranormal romance, scientific thrillers, and I’m sure there are other things I’m forgetting. I queried all of them and have the requisite rejection letters to prove it. Backstage Pass was my first erotic romance novel. The second publisher I queried bought it and the entire series. I was stunned.

Now to appease my What’s Playing Wednesday schedule, what song has a similar flavor to the Sinners’ music? 

Avenged Sevenfold – Unholy Confessions

Just have to say…kick ass! This is one band I have to see in concert!

Olivia, thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I hope to have you by again when your next book comes out…I know, I’m such a fangirl 😉

I’d love to visit again. Thanks for having me!

Author Bio:

Combining her love for romantic fiction and rock ‘n roll, Olivia Cunning writes erotic romance centered around rock musicians.

Raised on hard rock music from the cradle, she attended her first Styx concert at age six and fell instantly in love with live music. She’s been known to travel over a thousand miles just to see a favorite band in concert. As a teen, she discovered her second love, romantic fiction — first, voraciously reading steamy romance novels and then penning her own.

Y’all simply have to check out this series!

For him, life is all music and no play…

When Brian Sinclair, lead songwriter and guitarist of the hottest metal band on the scene, loses his creative spark, it will take nights of downright sinful passion to release his pent-up genius…

She’s the one to call the tune…

When sexy psychologist Myrna Evans goes on tour with the Sinners, every boy in the band tries to seduce her. But Brian is the only one she wants to get her hands on…

Then the two lovers’ wildly shocking behavior sparks the whole band to new heights of glory…and sin…

Trapped together on the Sinners tour bus for the summer, Sed and Jessica will rediscover the millions of steamy reasons they never should have called it quits in the first place…          

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Good Brains

Don’t forget, tomorrow I’ve got Olivia Cunning stopping by to talk about the hot men in her fictional band, Sinners. And they’re very hot.

Yesterday I got a text message from one of my cousins. It was a picture of her 9-year-old daughter with an armful of trophies. The caption read: M scored mastery and advance in all parts of iLEAP! It’s a test given to 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th graders to determine if they’re ready to advance to the next grade or not.

My brother, M’s godfather, and I were talking about it last night. We were very happy for her and proud. Which is when we pulled the same trick our grandfather pulled on  us.

“She has Toups brains for sure,” I said to my brother.

He gave me an eye roll. “Well, yeah, of course she does.”

When I was much younger (around 6 or so), my grandfather would give me “Toups brains” everyday before school. How? Well, I’d have to stand still while he pressed his forehead to mine. Then he’d make a grinding sound as he “cranked” his hand next to our heads. This was a ritual. This was passing the “good brains” to me so I’d do well in school. It didn’t really work, considering I was an average student, but it’s something everyone in the family does to the kids.

My uncles did this to me, my sister, brother, and cousins. I’ve done it to my nephews and the younger ones. It’s tradition. I have no doubt my brother is going to do this to his child. Did I mention he and his wife are expecting in October? Yes, we’re going to have a mini-mini-meatloaf (according to the nickname KAK has given my little brother).

Tradition is important. The passing of brains onto the younger generation…gnawing on the younguns’ foreheads…okay, that’s one tradition I could do without. You’re probably thinking we’re cannibals, but no. My grandfather (again) is responsible for that little painful initiation into the family. He used to grab us and bite our foreheads. Not hard, but enough to make you think he was trying to take the brains he’d just given you back. My uncles aren’t as good at the practice. My parrain drew blood from me once. He has no technique.

Back to Little M. It’s obvious now that the years of preserving the “good brains” has worked. She’s a smart little punk. She’s also 9 going on 40, but we tend to overlook that. Yes, I do believe my grandfather had it right to pass the good brains down the line. It took a couple of generations to stick, but it did.

What weird traditions does your family have? It’s okay, you can share. I told you about the forehead biting ritual.

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Make Mama Proud

Before I get to today’s post, I’d like to announce the winner of the giveaway hosted by the fantabulicious Daisy Harris last week. Ciara Knight, you’ve won a copy of Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous! Drop me an e-mail!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program. You remember how Ralphie’s dad on A Christmas Story had a hate-hate relationship with the furnace? Well, that’s the same kind of relationship my brother has with our generator. Granted, we’ve had the thing for nearly 20 years and it’s a little outdated, but it still works. When it wants to.

First let me explain about my brother. You know how most dads spend time teaching their sons how to fix things? Engines, change tires…use a drill, things like that? My stepdad had no patience to teach anyone anything. He was going to teach me how to drive a stick shift and spent the whole time fussing me about grinding his gears. Needless to say, I have never driven a stick shift and now have a complex about it.

My brother’s upbringing was pretty much the same. Of course, he helped by being deliberately obtuse. When he was being taught something, he would purposely mess up so he could be excused and return to his computer games. I never said he was stupid.

Anyway, since my stepdad’s death nearly 10 years ago, my brother has had to step in and be the man of the house. This means fixing things. He’s learned a little at a time. He’s helped replace a hot water heater, replace a bathtub and toilets. He’s had to learn how to build things. But that generator has defeated him every single time.

With hurricane season approaching, it became necessary to drag the beast out to see if it works. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t. He could have gone to our neighbor and asked him to fix it, but that would mean paying him…probably in beer, but still. My brother slapped on his man hat and decided to fix it himself. For two weeks, he tinkered with it. He called our uncles. I made my godson come over to look at it. He replaced everything on the engine, but it still wouldn’t work.

On Saturday, he pulled the beast out of the shed and decided this would be the day he fixed it for good. My godson came over to visit and the two of them bonded over the sputtering, not-quite-fixed engine for two hours. I have no experience with engines, but something about the way it sounded seemed familiar to me. I looked over at my godson’s girlfriend.

“It sounds like the idler, like the engine can’t get up to speed. I wonder if they’ve checked that.”

Just then the nephew came back and sat down. I told him my theory, but was shot down because he said, “There’s no idler or throttle on that thing.”

Well, there went my theory; one I was very proud of, mind you. Then the mother lode steps out of the house with the lost instruction manuel for the generator. She flips through it for about five minutes and says, “Have you checked the idler?”

My brother, with a big sigh, called our brother-in-law and spoke with him instead of listening to his mother and sister. And guess what? Yeah, you know it. There is an idler on the bloody machine. With one flick of whatever tool he was using, the engine sputtered to life and roared to full power.

We stared at each other in stunned disbelief. Mom started clapping and cheering for him and ran inside to get her camera because she just had to get a picture of her baby with his repaired project. What did my brother do? No, he didn’t run, or say shucks or anything. No, he posed with the generator. Big cheesy smile, his arm draped over it and thumb in the air.

I was proud of him, but if he would’ve listened to me…ah well, I’m just his sister after all. So yes, my brother did indeed make his mama proud. His sister too.

Of course now he’ll be in demand by the other females in the family. My aunt, his godmother, has already asked him to look at her generator because it won’t start. I wonder if this was the reason he avoided fixing things in the first place? I wonder if I could use this same method to make it seem like I don’t know how to wash dishes? Hm.

P.S. Wednesday I’ll have the awesome Olivia Cunning, author of the smexy Sinners on Tour (that’s a fictional heavy metal band, by the way), stopping by for a quick interview. I hope you’ll check it out!

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