Monthly Archives: June 2011

Seven Things (Cajun Style)

So last week I was tagged by Stacy McKitrick with the Irresistably Sweet Blog Award, and yesterday, Ciara Knight tagged me on her blog as well for a Seven Things About Me thingy. I love getting awards because it’s proof people actually read my stuff here. I don’t always get to participate in the tags and all because I have a pretty strict blogging schedule (I’m a secret dictator of all things blogging and it has to be my way *slams fist on desk*)

This time is really no different, but I thought I could incorporate both awards with my regularly scheduled Cajun French lesson thingy. (I’m so eloquent, aren’t I? There are thingies all over this blog!)

I’m not tagging anyone, so you’re all safe!

So here we go, Seven Things About Me (Cajun Style):

1. I can’t eat crawfish. I’m allergic. It kills me. Not literally, but I love crawfish and it isn’t fair that I can’t eat it *sniff*

2. Although my last name is French, I’m not a certified Cajun. My family came to Louisiana straight from France. Like the Coneheads, “We are from France”, not Canada.

3. I do not own a pair of Cajun Reeboks. I’d love some though because you just never know when you’ll need them.

4. I have been in a pirogue (that’ll be next week’s word) and I hated it. The Pirogue Incident will go down in the family storybook under my name along with the Bead Up The Nose Incident and the Do You Want To See How Dogs Pee Incident otherwise known as How To Embarrass Your Mother in the Mall Incident.

5. I do not speak Cajun French but for a few words I’ve picked up through the years and the Cajun English phrases I grew up with. I have mistaken a full-blooded Cajun man for someone from Trinidad because I couldn’t understand him, so y’all aren’t alone in having problems with the accent.

6. I’ve never had, or cooked, blackened fish or chicken. We call that “burnt” where I’m from.

7. There was a point in my life when shoes were my enemy and the soles of my feet were thick enough to enable me to walk the length of a gravel road with no problem. Now, I cry if I step on concrete barefoot (slight exaggeration).

So those are my seven things (Cajun style). Do you have seven things you’d like to share with the class? It doesn’t have to be Cajun style 🙂

P.S. I had an amazing review for the third book in my Veil series, Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous. I’ve mentioned in another blog that reviews are like hugs from readers and this one is a very big hug. Thanks to Renee Rearden for the fantastic review!

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Remaking The Commodores

I apologize for not having a blog post yesterday. The internet was down the majority of the day and by the time it came back on, I’d lost all of my ideas for blogging. I’ll try to make up for that next week.

This time around for the Summer Remake series, we’re going a little further back than the 80’s. There were so many great bands from the 70’s who gave us music so great, they deserved to be remade. Today’s song is one of them.

There are some bands that have music so fresh, it lasts for decades. I think The Commodores is one of those bands. I mean, c’mon. Great lyrics, great rhythm…they were awesome! So is it any wonder another band came along to remake one of their songs? Probably not.

What might surprise you though, is to discover that one of the bands who covered The Commodores was a band known for their very unique style. Faith No More. I can’t remember where I first heard this particular cover, but I do recall that the minute I heard it I loved it. Hard. I mean, really. It’s that awesome. Honestly.

This is one of the songs that I can take either version and be completely happy about it. It could just be because I like the song and what it means, or I could be weird. I’ll go with the first option though.

Here’s the original:

And here’s Faith No More’s version:

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Making Friends at Nationals

Well here we are, two weeks out from Nationals and I’m glad to say I haven’t been obsessing over it as much as I did last year. Of course, once again, I’m lucky enough to be able to skip the pitching sessions. For those of you who are anxiously biting your nails, pulling out your hair, and waking up in the middle of the night screaming, “But I still have to tell you about the HEA!”, you have my deepest sympathies.

To me, the scariest part of a conference is that pitching session. I had two of them at my very first conference and I don’t think I slept very well for a week. I mumbled my pitch over and over in my head—probably in my sleep—until the people who were with me could’ve pitched my book for me. When it was time for the big session, I paced. I muttered to myself like a crazy woman. I attempted to meditate to no avail. But once in the room, as nervous as I was, I realized the editors I was pitching to were…well, people. I know, shocking, huh? Editors and agents are people, too and I’m sure some of them are rather shy and uncomfortable with the sessions as well, so go easy on them.

My first Nationals conference, I was scared to death I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to. *laughs hysterically* I mean, I may seem like a perfectly social person online, but in person, I’m the person who likes to fade into the background and observe. However, there’s a different feeling in the air at a Nationals conference. The people are you are writers as well and yes, they’re probably more comfortable hiding in the corner as well.

However, when you start to actually mingle with your fellow writers, you can run into some very surprising people. I’d already been chatting with many of the ladies with GCCRWA, so I figured I would be glued to their sides the entire time. After a few misses, I was finally able to hook up with Sayde Grace and Jillian Chantal. Through them, I met Rebecca Zanetti, Cynthia Eden, Leah Fields, and Brandi Hall. They were a great group to hang around with, but there were times when we had to go our separate ways.

I didn’t cry much because I discovered the smokers. Yes, I smoke. I know, I know, I don’t need to be reminded of the evils of the cancer sticks, but if it hadn’t been for those cancer sticks, I wouldn’t have met the amazing team that makes up Sable Grace. Or my Orlando Click, Silvia Arada. I wouldn’t have had an interesting conversation about football with Beverly Jenkins (who is just full of awesome). Or Elizabeth Sinclair, or dozens of other romance writers. Every single one of them was gracious, let me tell them my agent sob story and gave me advice.

You can’t put a price on that. Oh, and did I mention the people you meet in line getting food? I met a lovely young adult author from Houston and we ended up having lunch together. I’m horrible because I can’t remember her name right now, but that’s what Nationals is all about: making new friends, meeting old ones, and learning from those who have been in the business for a while.

For those of you who are attending Nationals for the first time and you’re nervous about not having anyone to talk to, don’t worry. There are so many people who are feeling the same way that you’re not really alone. And if you’re still worried, come find me. I will so talk your ear off!

Tomorrow I’ll talk about clothing and next week, I’ll get to the scheduling

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Fantasy Man Friday

Today started out well. I had real coffee as opposed to the fake stuff I had yesterday morning. That put me on the right track. I never really thought about it, but my morning cup of coffee is imperative if I have any hope of having a good day. Yay.

Then I’m checking my e-mail and a wonderful lady from Goodreads posted a review of my third Veil book, Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous. A five star rating and a great review before 6 a.m.? It was like a jolt of caffeine straight to my brain. I was awake, alert, and raring to go. Sort of.

And that’s when I realized that today is Friday. My favoritest day of the week. I heart Fridays so hard, it should be illegal. No, you won’t see me on the addiction show making love to a calendar with every Friday marked with hearts. Promise. However, I can’t say you won’t find me fogging up my monitor and drooling over my keyboard. Cause you know what today is. That’s right, class! It’s Fantasy Man Friday! Woot-woot!

Of course now I’m thinking about the song that’s been stuck in my head since Tuesday…pardon me while I sing a bit…

Them baggy sweat pants,
And the Reeboks with the strap,
She turned around and gave that big booty a slap,
She hit the floor,
Next thing you know,
Shorty got low, low, low, low…

Someone save me from the madness. Gah!

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled program. It’s about the menz with bulging biceps and lickable abs and thick, muscular thighs. Rar. What do you think of this guy?

I’m not sure what’s up with that costume, but it totally works for me. He actually puts me in mind of Daisy Harris’ Mercury of Mercury Rising. I can see this guy as the messenger god. And it’s such a shame because he’s not interested in women. I wonder if I could change his mind? Because wow…those thighs. Do you get the impression I have a thigh fetish? I swear I don’t. I like every part of a man’s body, but when I see muscular thighs, I just want to bite ’em. Gr-owl!

Hope y’all have a fantastic Friday and a great weekend. Next week I’ll start the countdown to Nationals, so if it’s your first trip, stay tuned! Now, excuse me while I drool some more.

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Cajun Culture: Coffee Milk

I found out something interesting. It seems that Coffee Milk is the official beverage of Rhode Island, but that isn’t the kind of coffee milk I’m talking about today.

You can ask almost any person raised in south Louisiana and they know what coffee milk is. Coffee is a pretty big deal down here. Not in the Starbucks, Seattle kind of way either. Oh, sure there are some people here who will only drink gourmet coffee, but most households here only carry (and recognize) one brand of coffee: Community Coffee Dark Roast.

Community Coffee is a Louisiana brand coffee that serves 11 states in the south. They opened in 1919 and from there, they’ve become one of the biggest family owned coffee company in the U.S. Probably from their Louisiana customers alone.

I’m telling you…Nearly every business you go into, every home, every restaurant, has Community Coffee. It’s that big.

It’s so big, that parents get their kids started early developing an addiction to it. Yes, you heard me right: Parents give this to their children. Well, they did when I was little. You sort of went from formula to milk to coffee milk to coffee…it was great.

Coffee drinking is a favorite pastime for most people. You put the pot on, sit around the kitchen table and b.s. for hours. Naturally, if there are children in the vicinity, they want to be part of the adult conversation. The easiest way to get rid of them is to give them a cup of milk and a dash of coffee. Coffee milk.

When I was young, my dad used to stop at his mom’s house every morning on the way to work for a cup of coffee. Not because my mom didn’t have coffee at home, but because it was a tradition for them. He’d bring me along since he used to bring me to daycare and I’d sit at the table with my grandparents and dad drinking my coffee milk, saying “c’est bon” with every slurp of my drink.

I’m sure there are some people out there shuddering at the thought of a bunch of kids hyped up on coffee being let loose in the school yards, but I’m telling you…it was a great thing. Drinking coffee milk while your parents and relatives drank their regular coffee was like a sense of well…community. You belonged.  You were drinking coffee! Sort of. But it always had to be Community Coffee. And I didn’t realize how much I rely on this stuff until this morning. We’d run out of coffee and horror of horrors, the only thing we had was some decaf someone had given us. *shudder* What’s the point of decaf coffee anyway? It isn’t like it tastes just like regular coffee and it serves no purpose! *sigh*

I’m thinking about smuggling some in my bags when I go to New York. That stuff in the hotel last year in Orlando was okay, but it wasn’t as good as my Community Coffee, which I dearly missed when I was gone. So, anyone who wants a cup of good south Louisiana coffee, y’all head on to my room, okay?

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Remaking Wham

You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Yeah, this is one remake I had to post. Why? Because when I was a kid this was one of my favorite Wham songs. I thought George Michaels was so cute! I didn’t care about his short shorts and pink shirts. I thought it was cool. Of course I was like eight, but in 1984…well, let’s just leave it at that. The 80’s are sacred.

So imagine my surprise when I’m driving in my car a couple of  years ago and I hear a familiar guitar riff that isn’t…acoustic, but there’s no pretending I didn’t know it. I frowned at the road, feeling my foot press down on the accelerator because there are some songs I don’t want remade. I was angry and my eight-year-old self was insulted that someone would have the nerve to remake this song!

Then I listened to it and I realized that though the song is a lot harder than the original, it’s still on point with the acoustic, sweeter version George Michaels did back in 1984. Seether did a great job on this remake, giving it a more raw and painful edge that I appreciate as a 34-year-old who’s lived life.

What do you think?

The original:

The remake:

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Filed under What's Playing Wednesdays

Our Bundle of Trouble

I haven’t mentioned anything until now because I wanted to know for certain what we were expecting. You’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about, huh?

Well, my baby brother and his wife are expecting their first child. I know. I’m going to be an aunt again! My mom is over the moon. My sister is ecstatic. I’m kind of wary. Why? Because baby brother’s baby might end up a total bad ass. Not because of my sister-in-law or my brother, but because he’s our first nephew/grandchild in 20 years. 20 years! I see nothing but spoiling in this child’s future.

When we found out they were expecting, the speculation ran rampant. My brother weighed in at 11 lbs, 15 oz when he was born. He had a full head of hair and the hospital had to raid their toddlers clothes to find him something to wear. My sister-in-law says she wasn’t a very big baby, so she’s hoping their first child won’t turn into babyzilla. Not that we would mind either way. My brother was a sturdy not-so-little thing.

I actually can’t wait for my brother’s reaction to holding the baby for the first time. He’s a big guy (as you can probably tell from his birth weight), so when a newborn’s in the vicinity, he’s almost running the other way. It started with our oldest nephew; he held him because he was made to hold him, but the look on his face was all “ZOMG, I’m going to break it!” Now he has no choice but to hold his child…I’m going to have a camera ready.

Then of course we all wondered what they would have. Would it be a little girl my mom could dress in bows and ruffles ? Or would it be a little boy who I’d have fun buying cool jeans and funny T-shirts for? Well, we found out yesterday they’re having a boy. Aunt Danica is very pleased with the news.

Not that I have anything against girls. The few we have in the family aren’t girly and delicate. No, Ma-Meg (cousin’s 9-year-old) is a horror movie loving, kickboxing Amazon who is nearly as tall as I am. But I worried that a little girl would end up being treated like a little princess. *shuffles her feet* Okay, so I would’ve spoiled her rotten and bought her pink dresses and hair bows and zombie movies, just like I did with Ma-Meg.

A boy though, I can teach about car appreciation. “You see that car? That’s a nice car. 400hp stock. You need to buy your Aunt Danica one of those when you’re rich, okay?” A little boy I can be rough and tumble with and maybe take him skating so he can go all kamikaze on me and try to take me out like a speed-skating demon.

So there you have it. We’re expecting a little boy, which is going to be so much fun since my nephews are too old to be cool anymore. *mumbles* They were okay until they graduated from high school. Now, I wouldn’t mind strangling them. Lucky for them my brother stepped up to the plate and is giving us another little boy to come up with cool nicknames for and make up songs about him.

Congrats to baby brother and sister-in-law. I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble this baby turns out to be!

 

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A Pleasant Pain

As most of y’all know, RWA Nationals is right around the corner. It seems like it took forever to get here and now that it is, I’m slightly panicked by the thought. Oh, not in a “Oh-my-God-I-have-editor/agent-appointments-and-think-I’m-gonna-hurl” kind of way. I’ve been lucky that last year it was too late to set one up and this year that I have a fantabulicious agent I get to meet for a chat. No pitching sessions for me. Yay.

No, I panic because of clothes. Last year I wore flip-flops and sandals most of the time which sounds like a great thing, right? Oh no, my second toe went numb by the second day and I didn’t get feeling in it again for at least two months. This year I’ve resolved to avoid those types of shoes. Actually, it isn’t the shoe thing that worries me. Like I said, it’s all about the clothes.

This is New York we’re talking about. Bryant Park. Tim Gunn…God forbid I wore something bad and he saw me. He’d think I was a disaster area in need of help from FEMA. So saying, I went shopping this weekend. Last year I went with just my sister and we stayed around town to pick up a few odds and ends. It was okay. This time though, we recruited the mother lode, loaded up the car, and hit the outlet mall.

I tried on so many things that I never ever would have picked for myself. I had to put my foot down on some items because…I am so not a ruffles type of woman. *shudder* I haven’t worn ruffles since I was five and those were the only kind of undies my grandmother would buy me. Thank God those days are over. I can firmly say “Hell no” to ruffles. I tried it on to appease my sister, but thank the lord she didn’t say it looked good.

I even managed to fit in a pair of capris two sizes smaller than I wore last year. Yay for dieting! I still have a long way to go, but I was happy that I could see some progress. When it was all said and done I spent more money on clothes than I ever have in my entire life, including what I bought last year, most of which I have to get rid of now since they’re too big.

So what am I complaining about? Well…I suppose I should be glad that the day was pleasant, but I hate shopping. I don’t know if it’s the trying on clothes that I hate, or the exchanging of money. Put me in a book store, or at a perfume counter and I’ll go buck wild (yes, I also bought new perfume and smell sweet today because you know I have an issue with smelling bad). Clothing stores, shoe stores, and okay, anything not related to books or perfume and I freak. It just seems like a waste to me when I have perfectly worn clothes at home. Yes, I still have some T-shirts I had in high school and college which was…a while ago *cough*

It was nice though. I now have clothes that may not shame me at the conference and that will be comfortable to wear. I’m still wincing over the total cost, but it’s worth it, right? I mean, I have to look presentable, right? I can’t just walk around in my jeans and band T-shirts all the time…right?

Oh, and to top off the weekend of torture…I bathed old cat yesterday. It was a two person effort and we were positive she’d slash our throats, but she was surprisingly good. I was in charge of the washing while Mom held her immobile (or tried to). I think I’ll be seeing Ty’s big green eyes glaring at me for several weeks to come. She didn’t attack us at all, just kind of had all her claws out waiting for us to get close to her. Later, after I dried her well and let her clean herself, she jumped in my lap and let me brush her. And no, she didn’t go for my femoral artery either.  Poor kitty.

So that was my weekend. How was yours? If you’re going to Nationals, have you done your shopping yet?

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Fantasy Man Friday

It’s been one of those weeks. You know, the kind when you wish you could crawl under your bed and hide from it? I’m not saying it was all bad. There was a lot of great stuff that happened this week.

Monday I had my 500th blog post and celebrated with a slide show of the top 10 Fantasy Men from my Fantasy Man Fridays. I really, really enjoyed putting that show together, let me tell ya. Oh, and I gave away a prize. In fact, since I wasn’t feeling well enough to pull a name yesterday, I did that today and the winner of the specialty Mardi Gras mask is…Rachel Firasek! Rachel, drop me an e-mail with your physical address and I’ll get it out to you as soon as possible.

Then, on top of the Mardi Gras mask giveaway, Tuesday marked the end of my Goodreads giveaway. Did I mention I’m giving away an autographed copy of my books this summer? Probably not, since I kind of did it at the last minute. Well, we had a winner for that too, but if you missed out, don’t worry. Here’s what’s going on:

During the month of June, you can go over to Goodreads to enter to win the 2nd book in my Veil series. In July, I’ll have a giveaway for the 3rd book. Both will be autographed and come with a set of Romance Trading Cards.

Then, if you’re feeling really lucky, I’m over at Romance Reviews with a feature interview. The prize is all three Veil books out now, autographed by moi along with a set of Romance Trading Cards.

I’m still not sure what I’ll be giving away for the blog hop, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something good. I hope.

In the spirit of giving (doesn’t it feel a little like Christmas? Probably because I’ve been working on this Christmas novella for two months), I’m giving y’all a fantabulicious Fantasy Man this week. Really. Trust me on this; I’m a professional.

Is anyone else feeling hot Um, besides him, that is. Ai, yi, yi! I’d love to have that in my bed, sweat and all. *growls*

Happy Friday my friends. Have a safe weekend!

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At The Hop

I know I usually reserve Thursdays for Cajun French lessons, but today I’m announcing the winner of the Mardi Gras mask from Monday’s blog post and announcing that I’m taking part in Coffee & Romance’s Spring Into Summer Blog Hop! This is my first and I hope I do things right *bites her nails*

That means there are lots of goodies up for grabs, so be sure to check it out!

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