Sunday, July 31, 2011

When You Reach Me-Review

When You Reach Me

Rebecca Stead

ISBN 9870375850868


Buy it here.

A good friend of mine suggested I would love this book because I love Madeline L'Engle and a Wrinkle in Time.

She was right.

When You Reach Me tells the story of Miranda, who did strangely remind me of Meg from Wrinkle. Both had brown, plain hair. Neither were terribly popular. Both had lost something and were searching for it.

But where Meg searched for her lost father and attacked the world for hurting her... Miranda wasn't sure what she was missing, only that it was gone. Mysterious notes lead her down a path to understanding time and the people around her in a whole new way.

I think that was what captured me (and still holds me, to be honest) about L'Engle's writing. All of the characters had that feeling... that nothing is quite as it seems and what it is, isn't quite as it should be. I have always felt that way... I think everyone can identify with that sense of notrightness.

Time and science fascinate me, so when an author takes them, bends the rules as to what we know and explains why this should be logical, I am in heaven. Stead does this masterfully with her description of 'the veil' and trying to explain the time space continum through the eyes of a child.

Fantastic, fantastic read and for that friend of mine who loaned it... Not only did I treat it gently but I am also very grateful for the loan :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shrek is my Prince Charming

Everyone is afraid of something.

Steven King has actually made what most would consider a fortune by spinning terror into stories.

I am not afraid of boogymen or monsters.

I am generally afraid of people.

I don't think this fear is altogether that unusual. We all fear judgment, ridicule, not fitting in... fill in the blank.

Tomorrow I get my first grade back on my first paper for my college English class. I am putting tons of pressure on myself about this dumb class. I have four books published, two more under contract and quite a few sitting on the burner. I know I can write. It is one of my great loves. But for some reason, this one mans judgment of my work has built itself up in my head to be worse than a rejection letter. Why do we do that to ourselves? Realistically, not passing a college writing class is going to have no long term consequence in my life. But I am honestly all worked up over getting that paper back.

We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.-Eleanor Roosevelt

Love is another one of those things I am terrified of. Which is funnier than the average bean... after all, I write romance. If I am so comfortable creating romance between fictional characters, why on earth would I be afraid of real life love stories?

Because, like just about all my readers over the age of 12, I got burned. I got burned bad. It is easy to write love where the characters say the right thing at the right time. I have yet to find a man willing to let me script his dialogue.

Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.-Lord Byron

And then today I was watching Shrek Forever After. How I have missed this movie for this long is beyond me. Usually if there is a kid movie out there... I have seen it. As a matter of fact, I usually have most of the dialogue memorized from repeated views. Watching it, I realized that I want Shrek in a man.

No, I don't want a green, ogreish, smelly man covered in mud. I have long said that Dan from Roseanne was my perfect man. I now, after careful consideration, want Shrek.


1. Shrek thinks Fiona is hot when she is green and tubby and willing to behave like an ogre.

Most real men want a woman who acts in a way that is contrary to her nature. Shrek (like my old love affair with Dan) loves Fionna for all that she is, flaws and all. Who wants a guy who only finds her thrilling when she has her hair done? I want one that loves me in my pjs and thinks I am lovable when I am sniffling with a cold.

2. Shrek realizes that Fionna has value because she loves him.

Not that he loves her. Shrek finds value that out of everyone out in this big, bad world, Fionna chose him. This goes both ways. If we valued the fact that we
chose to be with the ones we love rather than take it for granted... how cool would that be?

Shrek is happiest when Fionna is being a kick-ass woman willing to save herself.

Often in the Disney Princess influenced world of today, women have to need saved to have value. Again, like Dan and Roseanne, Shrek values that Fionna can rescue herself... and him, if needs be. The fact that she doesn't need him to play the swashbuckling hero is kind of a turn on for Shrek. And who doesn't like a strong female character?

Shrek has his friends; Fionna has hers.

Shrek will never fit into the hills of Far, Far Away. But he doesn't have to fit in to have value. Ditto for the swamp. Fionna may live there, but she was raised in a castle and then kept in a tower. It isn't her world. But Shrek can have Donkey and Puss. It doesn't lessen their relationship... if anything, it strengthens it by having someone around who is there for each of them outside the relationship.

5. Although Fionna spent years being locked up in a tower, her old issues aren't used as an excuse for her to act victimized. She is strong enough to get past it and Shrek is strong enough to love her without treating her like she should be pitied.

Okay, that was a long one but, basically, we all have baggage. There have been craptastic things that happened to me and I am sure pretty much everyone else. But if we are strong enough to get past them, then we shouldn't be treated like a china doll. The past is the past. What we made it through in said past makes us stronger... but isn't a reason to think you have to protect us from the world. Ditto for Dan and Roseanne... Her family is wonky as hell. But Dan doesn't wallow in pitying Roseanne. He appreciates what she went through to get to this point without treating her like she is spun glass because of it. Which in turn makes the traumatized one even stronger.

Basically, I may still be looking for my Shrek/Dan. But as I get older... I have a better idea what I am shopping for. The trick now is not being afraid to take it when it comes along...

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Release by an author friend...

Saranna DeWylde

Get your copy here.

"Ambrosia Lane meets Wisteria Lane in this snarky romp. "

What I thought:

Picture Stephanie Plum multiplied by goddess level powers with the addition of familiar characters made unfamiliar due to their snark and sass and you have Saranna DeWylde's newest masterpiece, The Real Housewives of Olympus.

Since it was by Saranna, I expected amazon level dialogue and female characters full of fun and attitude. What I didn't expect was the absolute level of control with which she wrangled some of my favorite characters to do her bidding.

First off, you have Hera, left on the shelf by her cheating skeezeball of a husband for a few millenia. She decides that she is going to try to get into Hades pants, since we all know that Persephone has left him high and dry.

Then you have Hera's bff, Nyx, strong and maternal... and willing to smite if the situation calls for it. Add the new kid to the block, Abstinence, who has caught the eye of the King of the Gods, and all hell is bound to break loose.

But the storyline- in this action-packed, comedic work of genius- that really caught me was the one revolving around Persephone herself. Having grown up on Greek Myths (and loving that Percy Jackson brought those stories to life for my kids) I had some pretty strong feelings when it came to Persephone and Hades. Having life breathed into these characters, those strong feelings multiplied. Add to all that the fact that DeWylde made Hades a simply lush specimen of a man, and I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted to see happen.

And the author managed to surprise me on every turn. Giving me what I wanted before I knew I really wanted it... Badly.

Altogether, one of the funnest reads I have had the pleasure of losing time to, The Real Housewives of Olympus was a feast for the senses. Sex scenes, written with an ambrosia laden pen, swept me away with this story and its cast of intertwining- but clearly independent- characters.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Reunions...

Last night was my fifteen year reunion. At the time that it started, I was in about fifteen feet of pond water, blissfully figuring out how to swim.

Hurling my soggy body onto the dock, I headed off to remove the fish smell and disperse kids so that I could go pretend to be a grown up.

I flatironed my hair. It looks all smexy with the streaks of color when it is straight rather than my natural curling (Heather calls it gypsy hair but I think of it as) mess of hair. I put on makeup for the first time in months. I even stuck earrings in. There. All grown up looking.

(Note: Writers write. That means most of my spare time, when not playing with my kiddos, is spent hiding behind a keyboard. No one can see your hair sticking on end or cares if you are wearing make up when they can't see you. Hence my abhoration of makeup and hair style... other than the purply hot pink. I figure weird hair is a bit of a warning to those who don't know me. So far, it keeps the really normal people away. )

So off we went. I promised my best friend a nice dinner if she went with me. I lied. The food kind of sucked. And the wine had a funky aftertaste. Which was surprising at a winery. I suppose you were supposed to drink enough of it that it sloshed around with the food, altogether giving you a happy feeling... I only had one glass.

Anyway... we were and offing. And the biggest storm that we have seen in about a month hit. Deluge rain. I watched a thingy on the light post explode. (That was cool, btw. Like fireworks but smaller) And we had good parking karma and got really close to the door.

Note I said really close. There still was a little jog required to get to dry land. Off I sprinted! Off came my flip flop. Then I stood, in the rain, and fumbled around with my foot in the puddle trying to find said shoe.

Needless to say, that whole flat iron business was wasted. With soggy mop spiraling into uncontrolled and messy abandon, I found the gazebo in which my reunion was being held.

And immediately felt fantastic about how I looked. Holy crap on toast, everyone had gotten old. I didn't even recognize them.

And then my friend Ryan pointed out that they weren't members of our class at all. Turns out that Class of 76ers had taken shelter in our gazebo from the storm. Okay. I still look old.

But the thing was that it was fun. I saw a few people that I had not seen in a few months. I laughed. I caught up on some gossip and filled in my best friend (who was nice enough to come even though the food was terrible) and got to people watch.

I think in the past that I have put too much stress on myself about reunions in general. It really doesn't matter if I got fat or made different choices than my old high school friends and enemies. What matters is that I am happy. They seem happy. We were united by school which was terrible for all of us in its own way and we survived and went on and look at us now! We have lives and families and are reaching for our goals.

Go Class of 96! It was great seeing you and keep on taking over the world, one person at a time.

Also... I have no clue how I made it this long without realizing the strip was amusing. I also have no clue how I didn't plunk Janie down there at some point or another. Cute little touristy thing... I will go back :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

ARC Giveaway!!!

Just in case you don't know what an ARC is, it's an advanced reader copy. Meaning that you can't buy this book yet. And you want to. But you may not have to...

Awesome author of Possession, which I have blogged about because it blew me away, is holding a giveaway of The Near Witch. I will repost what she had so you can see what I am so excited about :

Today, I give you an ARC of THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab. I loved this book, and I'll be featuring it during Bookanista Thursday very soon. Just believe me when I say you want it. Badly.

Here's a bit about it, since you might not know, since it's not out yet: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

To enter:
1. Leave a comment here by 10 PM Mountain time. (1 entry) Yes, it's that easy.*And by here I mean on Elana's blog... not mine. Sorry!
2. Blog about this contest TODAY. (I am not doing twitter or facebook or Google+ or anything else. A blog post. You will get 1 entry for the blog post.)

That's all. I'm not doing a Google form or anything. Winners will be drawn from the comments of this post, and if you blogged about it, say so(!) so I can count you for 2 entries, okay?

Okay. The winner will be announced on Monday.

Exciting, right? So enter today and if any of you read The Near Witch, let me know when you do what you think. I think it looks amazing, based on what I have seen and look forward to getting a copy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unrealistic expec-taaaaahh-shuns!

The actress who plays Sookie is beautiful. I think most women would agree that Erik is loooovely.

But the real Sookie (if you can call a literary character that) had a compact little body because of all the work she did on her farm. This Sookie doesn't seem over worried about working. Other than tending bar at Merlotte's, I actually don't think this character does much muscle building work.

And she sure isn't hanging out at the gym.

Based on this show, I should be one heck of a babe, myself. But real muscles, like the ones on these actors, are built either by working out, for hours daily, at either a gym or in hard labor.

This is yet another case of unrealistic expectations.

I think my woman readers would agree that this facebook post this morning describes a pretty good guy to have around:
I want a guy who calls me beautiful instead of hot, admits when he's wrong, stays awake to watch me sleep & listens for my heartbeat. I want a man who kisses my forehead, shows me off when I'm in sweats, holds hands in front of his friends. I want a man who KNOWS I'm pretty without makeup & constantly reminds me how much he cares & how lucky he is to have me. The ONE who turns to his friends & says,THAT'S HER.

And I think male readers would like this one I came up with for women (nope, neither are all inclusive...):

I want a woman who calls me a dirty, sexy man instead of beautiful, admits when she's wrong, stays awake to bake me pie & listens to me talk (cars, sports, some other testosterone filled activity) while knowing when to shut up and let me think. I want a woman who rubs my back, shows me off when I'm in sweats, holds her tongue around my friends. I want a woman who KNOWS I'm sexy without sticking me in a monkey suit & constantly reminds me how much she cares & how lucky she is to have me while knowing that if she asks me for something or tells me something is bothering her, I am gonna try to fix it. If she just wants to vent, she calls one of her girlfriends, not me, because she understands I will try to fix it if she tells me. Speaking of girlfriends, she lets me have my man time and she has her girl time and knows that helps us both. The ONE who turns to her friends & says,THAT'S Him and smiles that special little smile...
Now, if that is what we are both looking for, why do we so seldom find it?

When I write romance, I like to write a more realistic view. No one lives happily ever after because they got laid and it was awesome. It doesn't magically fix the relationship as it is so often presented to us (as a matter of fact, for an awesome book that has two people who fall in love and into the sack but it doesn't magically wipe away their problems... they are still left to solve them... check out Kristan Higgins, My One and Only which you can find here). I like the characters who are drawn to each other because of sexual tension but who actually have to like each other and get past some stuff to find their happily ever afters.

So, basically, my point was it is often our own unrealistic expectations or what we perceive the other person to be (or what we want them to be) that is the downfall of most of our dream lovers. If we instead took a more valid view... if we knew he was going to leave his socks scattered around like some sick and smelly confetti and that he wasn't going to want to talk about his feelings and conversely if he understood that some days she is just going to be irrationally emotional and when she is, clearing the decks or just giving her a hug is going to be all that he can do until she stops... we would be far more likely to find that happily ever after in reality.

Rant over. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming... or look at Erik. Cuz he is nice to look at. *sigh*

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The books speak to me...

Two of my favorite authors did blogs recently on how stories help us make sense of the world around us. Jackson Pearce did hers, which you can find here, on why adults shouldn't worry so much about what their kids are reading. Nathan Bransford's was on stories being how we make sense in the world (and you can find his here.)

Aside from wanting to give cyber-shout-outs to them for creating such spot-on blogs/vlogs about this topic...

I also wanted to put my two cents in.

Words are food for the soul. Without authors like Robin McKinley, Laurell K. Hamilton, Terry Pratchett... There are whole bits of myself that I never would have found the words to describe. The world is a lonely place full of lots of people and it is really easy to feel like you are the only one who does... (fill in the blank) or feels... (more blank here) and never have the words to even express how you feel if someone should wander along and seem like they might be a person who might agree with you in the first place.

So that was why I wanted to start telling stories. I was thrilled to find a world full of authors, through the internet, and most of them seemed to be on the same hypothetical page as I am. Which is wonderful! How many times do we hear (okay, I probably hear it more than most...) that we are weird? But is it weird if we aren't the only one?


But we all feel awkward at times. We all feel like we don't belong or that everyone else is part of some grand scheme that we are left out of.

I love books. I love the worlds inside them. I love that my kids have learned to love books and I encourage them to read whatever they want as it probably speaks to them in some way I don't understand and most importantly ... don't have to understand to be happy about.

So check out those two amazing blogs and if you have had an author that really moved you, tell me about it in the comments below.

Also, on an anecdotal story kind of note, when I was a kid, I snagged a copy of Mort by Terry Pratchett. My mom confiscated it because Death was a main character and she was pretty sure that me reading something so morbid would throw me deep into the bowels of teenage depression. I finally got the book back somewhere in my 20s when she finally believed me about it being a comedy. Death speaks in capital letters, y'know...

And the picture? One I drew based on an inspirational picture in one of Jordan's fairy books. Didn't come out half bad, if I do say so myself. Which I just did. Hmm...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nobody puts baby in the corner...

I get that nicknames are important. I even did a blog on how you should incorporate them into your writing...

You can view my words on that here.

However there are some nicknames that should be shoved deep into the bowels of non-use and left there to rot and fester as they make me throw up a little when you use them... especially when you are full of enough raging hormones to make that usage public...

On the list:


If he isn't actually a sweet, little, squashy newborn with wrinkled feet and downy hair- STOP IT. He is not a baby. If he is indeed an adult acting like a baby, fine. If you think it is in any way, shape or form cute that your man acts so juvenile that the term 'baby' fits him, don't let me hear it. I will deride you. And possibly smite you. There are enough men acting like children out there; you don't need to encourage him or make him think it is acceptable.

Viable exception- If you are more than 15 years apart in age. Because then you could have given birth to/fathered your significant other. So for the 'sugar daddies' and 'cougars' out there... Feel free. I won't smite or deride. Promise. Understand, my parents are 21 years apart in age. I am not judging you. I am judging your use of endearment.

Sweet cheeks

Are they really? If I take a bite out of his ass, will it taste like pop rocks? My thoughts are that his behind is hairy and possibly has a zit or two. I see nothing sweet in that. If you do, fine. Keep it in the boudoir. Because saying that while I am eating will make me spray you with somewhat masticated mashed potatoes. You have been warned.

Viable exception-None. No one should ever be called sweet cheeks. It just sounds derogatory.


This one is fine for older women to call me. It is almost endearing. But if you are a strange man that I don't know and you call me 'honey' all I can think is that you were paying far too much attention to my cleavage to catch my name. So you are substituting a generic 'honey' because all women are 'honey's' to you. I am not your honey.

Viable exception-The aforementioned older women. Older men just sound slightly lecherous when they use it and they aren't members of your family.


I have used this one in the past to irritate people who weren't bright enough to pick up on it. Some caught it. Others... not so much. Again, like honey and hun, fine within your couple. If used generically within society, I lean toward the cleavage/name thing. And within your couple, perhaps not during sex in the beginning of the relationship. Does he remember who is below him or is he just using the name to be safe? If you can't tell, don't allow it.

Viable exception-The pig. You know, Babe? Because it was a damn good name for a pig.


This one has become socially acceptable so I won't smite your or choke on my food. I may jump, though. I am still of the 'ghosts say boo' generation. So I may think you are trying to scare me. Which you did. Because you managed to work that word seamlessly into conversation which terrifies me a little.

Viable exception-None. I am still going to startle and look around for the spirit haunting us.


So your boyfriend is a lump of fried or soup saturated dough? You really want to tell the world that you find him 'doughy?' One would think that this would have a negative effect on his performance after awhile. But it's up to you. *shrug*

Viable exception- When discussing how to make soup.


So, she is good enough to eat? Do you want your friends to know that? Are you willing to share? And what is with all the food names... wait. Nevermind. I get it. *ahem* Still... In public? You exhibitionist, you!

Viable exception-When you want to give me a cupcake. I am not one to turn down a free dessert.

Stud Muffin

Okay, this one paints the most amusing mental picture, if you think about it. A sweet, squashy little breakfast food that is a mean machine in the sack. I will point at him and giggle, you know. Sorry. You called him it. I just saw the humor.

Viable exception-If you have a cupcake that you are offering for stud services. It could happen. We live in a strange world.

What cuddly wuddly names drive your pulse pounding and what ones cause you to find your gag reflex? You can find a list of 101 Fun Romantic Pet names here. Or so the article claims...

And remember... Nobody puts baby in a corner. In a bassinet, sure. But not a corner. She is a good baby. No time outs for her.

In which zombies and overgrown toenails are not discussed...

Having kids means that you gain this strange desire to protect them from everything. I don't mean the desire to wrap them in bubble wrap and styrofoam before they go outside to play, although I have felt that craving especially when one of my boys dangles far above my head seemingly by the grip of one overgrown toenail...

What I am referring to is protecting them from the world around them. Again, no, not zombie attacks but it is always good to have a plan (ours includes step 4, never catch a zombie on fire. The only thing worse than a lumbering undead devoted to munching on your brain is a flaming lumbering undead devoted to munching on your brain...). What I am talking about is the little things people do that hurt your kids emotionally.

From bullies to family members who don't realize what a dynamic role they play in a childs world to their friends who do little things that are shattering to your kid...

As a parent you want to smooth that stuff over. You want to put some kind of mental bandaid on the hurt and render them magically better somehow.

Life, though, doesn't always cooperate. No matter what you do, there are some hurts you can't fix. There are people you can't change. There are actual heartbreaks to your kids that nothing you can do will ever fix, even if you try your damndest and do everything but use the offenders as speedbumps or go slap happy on someones dumb ass.

But that is okay. Yes, I said that is okay.

Maybe someone hurts your kid with amazing regularity and blissful ignorance of the damage they are doing. Maybe it is someone you can't just eliminate from the kids memory by dumping their body in a swamp and using one of those cool light wands from Men in Black to erase them from your kids memory, once and for all. Maybe you can't play superhero and destroy all the villains in your kiddos world...

Maybe it will make them stronger. Maybe they will be more secure in the fact that you love them and always will because other people aren't willing to be there. Maybe they will learn to be a better judge of character because of todays pain...

Maybe you aren't supposed to protect them from the hurt. Maybe, just maybe, your job as a parent is just to be there, say, "I love you," and hold their hand as they go on.

I don't know if this is the end all answer to the question of pain. But it seems to be true when it comes to my kids. I am truly lucky to know such strong and clever kids as my own. And I am no longer going to make an effort to reach out to the people in their lives who don't realize how amazing they are. I am not going to sit by and watch the bus of other peoples selfishness roll over them. If they hurt, they hurt. They will get past it. I can't make it better but I can't keep pretending it isn't what it is.

That is the magic of my David. He lets me know he is strong enough to move on.

I am so super proud of that kid.

Anyway, don't be afraid to let your kids hurt was the point of this particular rant. Sometimes they need the hurt so that they can get past the issue. So that they can be strong enough to say, "Enough!"

And although I mentioned them, I didn't discuss zombies or overgrown toenails. I mentioned them. There is a difference. Truth in advertising is always a good thing...

Don't be afraid to build a dream today or live in castles in the air. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to write a book

Since Jackson was nice enough to put it all so clearly, I just figured I would share her blog...

Thoughts on this? What she said about starting where ever you have the idea for the story is one hundred percent accurate. My first published full length novel, Odd Stuff, was written entirely in reverse. I knew scenes from the last three chapters. So I wrote the last three chapters. Which then led me to the chapters before that... and on until I wrote the first chapter last. Odd Stuff later became an ARe Bestseller and created the series.

Had I waited until I had that first chapter, the story would never have been written.

Which made it really hard for my beta readers to follow because way back when... they read the ending first. And then the middle. And then finally the beginning. To say that they were frustrated with me and my backwards ass writing process on that story is a bit of an understatement. But that was how the story came to me and that is okay... Just write how the story wants to be told.

Even if it is backwards.

Have a great day everyone, and... you know... write something.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Harry Potter shouldn't end...

Aside from the fact that my kids have grown up in the Harry Potter empire and were literally in tears at the death of Dobby...

Aside from the fact that our summers have been punctuated by movie releases and winters book ones...

Aside from the fact that they were really good childrens literature...

There are a few really logical arguments I have over the end of the Potter years.

We learned from Batman that if a hero arises, nature will supply a villain that will arise to battle him. Nature is all about equality. Magic, if you will, must have its equal. So when Voldemort rose up through the ranks of magic, his equal had to be created to balance him. Hence the birth and the fate of Harry himself.

So the thought that Harry just was able to grow old, have children, live a 'normal' life with Ginny... it seems a stretch. No other wizards felt the need to challenge the great Potter?

And what about the Deatheaters? They all gave up when their leader fell? Not one quietly evil person who lost someone they loved in that last great battle and has been stewing and plotting, just waiting to make Potter pay?

It seems almost more unbelievable to me than the chocolate frogs.

Aside from all that, lets look at Harry, Hermione and Ron's psyches for a second. They grew up chasing adventure. They learned about questing and battle... You are telling me that they quietly were happy that things were at peace and never had any issues? No PTSD? No need to find other great things or make huge changes? They just... lived quietly from the end of their teen years into adulthood?

Okay, that one is really unbelievable.

Do I think any of this logic is going to sway J. K. Rowling into finishing what she started? No. But do I think that the 'all the strings are tied, great end of a series' jargon is viable in this case. No. I still have tons of unanswered questions...

And I can hope.

As to the premiere last night at midnight- EXCELLENT. There were bits left out that disappointed me. For instance, the house elves didn't play the role that they should have in the final battle. But things like Longbottom's role in the final battle were so amazing that I had a hard time minding.

I would attach the Harry Potter music here if I could... I will leave you to imagine it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

National Nude Day

I am not sure how I have missed this holiday in the past but it is one that should be applauded.

From at least a few feet away... don't get all up in my personal space.

Yes, it is National Nude Day! To celebrate, I figured I would write a list of ways not to get arrested while taking part in the festivities.

1. Let your contribution be that you eat nude food.

What is nude food? Food without its expected companions. Instead of mac and cheese, just eat mac. Without its expected friend cheese, mac is very nude.

2. The sign says no shirt, no shoes, no service-it doesn't say anything about pants.

(This one may get you arrested but I say you can fight it!! You were merely following the clearly presented directions...)

3. Convince others to take of their clothes.

Especially hot people. If you got it, flaunt it. And if I like it, stand still so I can facebook it.

4. Sunbathe someplace private... while airing out your privates.

Okay, a burn on sensitive regions might hurt a bit, but think of the sting you are putting on proprieties. Well worth the aloe a la crack.

5. Take the coat off the damn dog.

It is like 90 degrees out, you sick bastard. Why are you dressing up that poor animal in a tutu when you yourself are wearing a bikini? Animal cruelty disguised as cute, I tell ya. *waves cane at wippersnappers in red faced fury*

6. Strip off the paint...

You know, the make up and Spackle you have greased your face in with some delusional thoughts that blue eyeshadow was going to distract from the fact your chin is saggy or your nose too big. You can do it. And yes, I am talking to you, Larry.

7. Moon shine-

If your butt is as pale as mine is, blinding would be a nice way to describe the reaction to its pearly white glow.

8. Only get naked from the waist down before you go out driving.

This one doesn't work so good if you drive a small car... or if there are any semis around. Or does work... depending on your objective...*ponders*

9. Go barefoot.

Okay, you sissy. If you are too chicken to show any more skin than that... fine. Whatever. You are a wimp and not showing holiday spirit at all.

And finally...

10. Put up a Nude Day Tree.

You can find decorations anywhere pornographic items are sold. And really... hairy ones are far more festive than that OTHER holidays sparkly ones, don't you think?

And if none of that suits your mood, try out my short story, Clothing Optional. Because really... Even though your mom told you otherwise, clothing is optional. And you can find the story here.


Have a safe and happy holiday and ... stay away from naked sparklers. Nothing good can come of that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Awfully Terrific Horrifying Post

If I said I was anxious about a test, you wouldn't blink. You would understand my meaning.
If I said I was anxious for my trip to Maine, you would know I was looking forward to it.

If I said I had this terrific new job...
You would assume the job was great!

If I said I was horrified by my new boss, the meaning is clearly that he is scary.

I could say I was both awfully glad to see you and awfully sore from riding a horse.
I could even go so far as to say I had an awful headache. But I could never say it was awful to win the lottery without you getting a negative connotation from that sentence.

When did these words come to mean something different than their roots suggest? Why did terrific move so far into charming territory that it wasn't scary?

I tried to look up the etymology and all that I could find was that the change took place somewhere between 1812 and 1888...
Anyone have a clue?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dreamers and dying

The other day, I was sitting in class and had one of those stupidly panicked moments when something awful feels eminent.

Being sick and having my chest burn has not lessened this fear any, to be honest.

The thing that terrified me enough in class that I very nearly walked out before taking my final was the thought that I was going to die. I am familiar with death. It's finality haunts me and -blended with the memory of those that I have lost- make me even more terrified of it.

But I had one of those moments in which I realized all of this had a finite ending. When you get into that kind of mindset, what does the meaningless monotony of life mean? Why am I not climbing Mount Everest while I still can or staying home with my kids altogether?

And what is it to die? On my facebook, I said, "You know that moment when you wake up and the dream seems more real than the reality and for a second you believe that you were awake before but are dreaming your actual surroundings... What if dying is like that? What if it is like waking up from a really weird and realistic dream?" What if that is it? What if you wake up and realize that life was just a really long and drawn out weird dream and all the people that were in it are no more real or substantial than any other characters from slumberville?

And how am I going to die? I can almost hear my dying self thinking something to the effect of, "No, not like this. Not now." You rarely plan to die. Most deaths kind of spring up on you. Like my stroke. I could have died thinking, "Man, this headache sucks." I don't want that to be my last thought. Or even worse, the shocking deaths... like losing control of your car. You don't think it is the end. But it is.

How awful is all of that?

I think my fascination and abject horror at the idea of death stems from the people I have lost mixed in with my many near death experiences. Any moment could be the moment. What moment would be the one I would be okay with being the last? Could I ever be okay with dying?

Heaven is a wonderful place and I sure would like to see it. But my faith in everlasting peace is riddled with holes because I am not sure I would be okay with the end happening so I could get there. I don't want to leave my family, even if I have the promise that they will join me in some blissful state of reward. I don't want to stop living my life, even when it sucks.

Anyway, the dream thought was bothering me tonight. Because each time I close my eyes, a new world opens up and upon waking only bits of it remain. If that is dying, it is scary stuff. What if... and instant terror.

What are you afraid of?

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Romance makes your brain dirty

Stupid people have been around since the dawn of time. The internet has allowed them a place to speak.

That said, a few of you may have seen the recent article blaming Mills and Boon for sexual deviance in our culture. If you haven't, go here and get an eye full. (and thanks to my pals at Coffee Time Romance for sharing it with me!)

Aside from the fact that few romances these days offer up stories to the blistering criticism of their readers that have characters with no flaws or issues, there is also the suggestion that people who read are apparently easily led into whatever crap the author wants them to believe. Now readers (for those of you who aren't readers but for some reason are cruising author blogs) are intelligent folk as a general rule. I would like to suggest that people who spend their leisure time cracking open books to escape even temporarily to the worlds within are not choosing, say, to watch tv. They are also not choosing to sit and drool. They are making a decided effort to work out their brains and imagination to instead wander in a world of words.

Another good point that the article failed to see was that sexual deviance is not created when reading a book. It is another one of those decisions that you have to make. Sexual promiscuity is also not something you can get from a book. I have never gotten laid by a book. And believe me, there are tons of books in my house. You have to put the book down, find someone to shag and then you can be sexually whatever floats your boat. I think few people, in the throes of actual sexual bliss, are thinking to themselves... "Okay, now we gotta try that thing I read in chapter three. How am I gonna get my leg that high, I wonder?"

According to Quilliam in British Medical Journal, "The heroine being rescued from danger by the hero, and then abandoning herself joyfully to a life of intercourse-driven multiple orgasms and endless trouble-free pregnancies in order to cement their marital devotion (are) totally counter to those we try to promote."

Um. I have never read a book that offered 'trouble-free pregnancy." If I had, I wouldn't have believed it, even before I had kids. They call it labor for a reason. Even MTV's 16 and Pregnant, a show I am appalled as a parent by, does not offer the suggestion that pregnancy is 'trouble-free.'

And although I would love to 'abandon(ing) my(her)self joyfully to a life of intercourse-driven multiple orgasms,' I get that in real life these aren't the usual sexual encounters. They are fantasy. They are fun. It is FICTION.

If you can find a romance novel, I am pretty sure you can read the big sign somewhere around them or blatantly on the cover advising you that it is a work of FICTION and therefore understand that the story isn't true.

But let us for a moment travel down the road that has such easily manipulated readers on it. Let us give them a copy of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Will they suddenly feel the need to carry a towel where ever they go? Or perhaps let us give them a copy of a classic... how about Wuthering Heights? Do you think our intrepid reader is going to become as amazingly stupid as Catherine?

Or perhaps they should instead read Gone With The Wind. Because Scarlett is just what I want my daughter to grow up to be.

Literature has been plagued with unreality since it's inception. Talking animals, flying people, bloodsucking vampires and dashing heroes that have no other desire than to bring their ladies to sexual fulfillment while saving puppies and dangling from trees while showing their biceps. To suggest that readers are taking the information from fluffy romance novels and building up unrealistic expectations that lead to their ultimate demise or deflowering is beyond lame.

What really isn't realistic in our culture is our idea of what it is to be beautiful. We live in a place where women will literally starve themselves to death to be considered sexually desirable while surrounded by a land of plenty to the point of excess, which is ridiculous. In a world where people are so oblivious to their world that they are wondering why there aren't jobs when somewhere in the range of 90% of all our manufacturing happens outside our country, it is appalling to me that someone, somewhere is blaming the downfalls of a few on the literature they read.

I make my kids read 20 minutes a day, year round. I don't care what they read. Comic books, Steven King, Babysitters Club, I don't care. I am just happy they are reading. Which should be true of adults. You should be able to read what you want and not face censure because of it.

If you think romance makes dirty people, you should go out... just once and see what people are doing to people. Then pick up a book and be damned happy that there is an escape between the pages from the horrors of modern life.

Just sayin. *rant over*

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lets talk about sexy...

So Jackson Pearce had a blog (Here) about clubs that put forth the question of what is there to like about getting to know someone in a place that you can't hear them and are usually too slobbering drunk to know who you are trying to get to know in the first place...

Which got me to thinking...

What pick up lines could men really use that would actually work?

The first I came up with was as a comment on said blog, "Why don’t men ever ask women, “Hey, ya wanna go to this great new gourmet cupcake place I found?” Women would be all over that guy. He would never have a night home and lonely."

But I got more...

"So I was thinking... You know what I would like to do? Your dishes. Let me come over tonight and you can relax while I give that magic eraser a workout."

Sexy, right?

"What I really love to do is laundry. The folding... it is cathartic. You have twelve kids? Oooh... that means lots of socks. Can we get together at a laundrymat?"


"Vacuuming makes me hot. You say you have wall to wall carpeting at your house?"

Okay. That one actually sounds a little dirty, come to think of it.

"My hobbies are making cappuccinos, cleaning and cooking. Would you like to get together and I will make you a nice dinner while you soak your feet?"

"I think a woman with a muffin top is hot. Makes me want to buy her a cake. Hey baby, how about I buy you a cake?"

Okay, that one sounds borderline insulting but I am hungry and wouldn't mind some cake.

Do you have any pick up lines that would work better than the ones that are currently badly used?

Why my marriage didn't work...

I had always wondered why my marriage didn't work. I was always the girl who believed in happily ever afters and that marriage was supposed to last for the rest of my life or at least until one of us was ceremonially stuffed into a box. One or the other...

But in my recent sociology class, they offered an answer. According to the class, the increasing state of anomie in our society causes our 52% divorce rate in this country. We expect our significant other to fulfill us and make us whole when the things we buy don't fill up that hole.

While this is a very logical argument, it suggests that there is no thing as Mr. Right (or Ms. depending on the reader.) It says that to be happily ever after, the two parties have to be whole already and not need someone else to complete them.

As a romance writer, I have some serious qualms with this theory. Having studied relationships around me, I find that each party in a successful marriage compliments the other in some way. One isn't great with money; the other does their budgeting. One likes to travel; the other to plan. One loves to cook; the other to eat. When they have at least this going for them, it seems to last longer.

Are these people in successful marriages so very different from the rest of society? Are they somehow more whole and not looking for bits that complete them in a partner? If you were so wonderfully whole and replete with very thee that you didn't need anyone to make you happy, why on earth bother adding someone else to the mix?

To this I offer that people love people. People love to have someone there. If there is sex involved, well that is gravy on the happy platter. I don't think that everyone in our society is so numb and alienated that they cannot find happiness within themselves. Maybe a few, but the ones who are looking for love and think someone else is going to provide the happy are pretty darn obvious.

Haven't we all said that whoever can't stand to be alone and that is why they bounce from relationship to relationship? But the fact that we can recognize that suggests that more people are 'awake' and not looking for that in the love market than our 52% divorce rate suggests.

So why all the divorce? I think it is that stupid line, 'A diamond in the rough.' How many of us have gotten into relationships thinking that the other has so much 'potential?' Thinking that piece of paper is magically going to give them the room they need to transform into who they could be rather than who they are?

If we looked at people and took off the dewy pink lensed glasses of love and really saw their flaws and determined we were okay with them--or conversely, very not okay with them-- and therefore stopped in our tracks before we tripped down the aisle, could we avoid becoming another casualty to the Hallmark idea of love?

As a romance writer, I invent relationships on paper that are realistic. They have to have flaws and passion wrapped into one believable bundle or no one would read them.

But I am not sure I believe in the happily ever after love in reality. I am not a cynic. I understand lots of people do believe strongly in it. But I still write romance. Why?

Because I believe in the theory. Kind of like I believe that government should care about all of its people. I believe that it would be a warmer and fuzzier world with love in it and that the adventure and pulse racing madness of falling in love is one of the few magics left in our metal and electronic age.

Anyway, the title of this was why did my marriage not work. I told you what sociology taught me that they believe. What I believe is that I had the rosy blinders on. I saw potential and figured that was the direction life was going to take. How many of you have believed that someone you loved was going to magically transform into all that they could be? How many of you now are on the same page as me? How many are loving who they are when they are with that person?

And in closing... 'You complete me.' -Jerry McGuire.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Release by an author friend...

A time travel romance by R. Ann Siracusa


She appeared out of nowhere, blown into Red Gulch, a decaying mining town in the Mojave desert, on the crest of a desert breeze like the ever-present tumbleweeds that filled the empty streets in the blink of an eye. Except everyone knew where tumbleweeds came from.

Brandon O’Donnell never figured out where Melody came from, but she captured his heart with her flaming red hair, hypnotic light-grey eyes, and intense but distant way of speaking. As though, Brandon had thought for years, she knew a lot more than she let on.

Now, Brandon is about to find out how much more that really is.

R. Ann Siracusa

TRAVEL TO FOREIGN LANDS FOR ROMANCE AND INTRIGUE with a humorous romantic suspense novel by Author R. Ann Siracusa

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

International Kissing Day

The photo to the left is of a sailor returning home and kissing a woman. Although the identities of the people in this iconic shot have been debated, no one ever said for sure who it was but it captured the nations attention due to its identifying with the feeling in the US at the time.

For International kissing day, I scoured the net (well, I clicked on a couple links. Gimme a break, here...) and found some interesting kissing facts.

"A man is far more likely to prefer sloppy tongue kisses than a woman. The added testosterone from his saliva may serve to enhance her libido over time." - The Science of Kissing

I am not sure about that one. I like me a sloppy kiss as much as the next guy.

The science of kissing is called philematology. - The Art of Kissing. 2nd ed

The term “French kiss” came into the English language around 1923 as a slur on the French culture which was thought to be overly concerned with sex. In France, it’s called a tongue kiss or soul kiss because if done right, it feels as if two souls are merging. In fact, several ancient cultures thought that mouth-to-mouth kissing mingled two lovers’ souls. - Kissing Christians: Ritual and Community in the Late Ancient Church

Okay, I like that one.

It is possible for a woman to reach an orgasm through kissing. -The Art of Kissing. 2nd ed


The mouth is full of bacteria. When two people kiss, they exchange between 10 million and 1 billion bacteria. - On Kissing: From the Metaphysical to the Erotic

I think I just threw up a little...

Our brains have special neurons that help us find each others lips in the dark.

So there you have it... A bunch of random kissing facts.

I like the act better myself than talking about it...

"Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves." Albert Einstein

"I want a kiss to be so believable it give the reader shivers. "Laurell K. Hamilton

And then his tongue touched mine and my soul came up my throat, and his was on his tongue, and they touched." - Virginia Nelson, Odd Stuff