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Ballroom at Pennington

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Regency Christmas Ball

I'm doing a new thing this Christmas season. Every day my latest main character, Charlotte Pennington will take a virtual sleigh ride to a virtual Regency ball. Each ball will be hosted by a different main character. 

This evening's ball will be hosted at Pennington Hall. Hit the button and you, too can join the merriment for a dance. 

I will add partners to your dance card as I add balls and dances, once per day. 

You may meet Miss Charlotte Pennington and her beau, Mr. Jack Harris here.

As you enter the ballroom at Pennington hall, you look up to behold the gorgeous vaulted ceilings painted a deep cerulean blue. Gold leaf adorns the graceful arches which embrace a quaint sort of walkway, so lush with flowers that it almost seems you are outside. Candles flicker in a host of sconces. Tall windows look out on a breathtaking moonlit night.

The butler comes to take your wraps and you enter on the arm of your escort. An orchestra strikes up and Mr. Harris comes to you, offering his hand with a warm smile. You offer him yours and he kisses it, before tucking it into his.

And you are off in a blaze of black tuxedos, white silks and glittering jewels.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tingle Shoulder and SLIPSTREAM

I'm celebrating the fact that my book, MUDLARKS is going to be born in April. I've been trying to line up a cover featuring a blond girl in a very plain and rather muddy 1830's (think Jane Eyre) dress. I may have to find a better photoshop program than I already have and work on it myself.

I just finished my first editing job and it went swimmingly. I really enjoyed it.

I'm also writing SLIPSTREAM for NANOWRIMO this month. I'm writing anywhere from 1.5K to 3K words a day. It's sci fi YA. I've stopped for the day because my shoulder is giving me fits.

Tonight I'm going to the open house for my friend Christine's new therapy clinic. It's the one I did murals for.

I've also found a new favorite band. I'm hoping it'll embed well. I'm hoping I can sing their song, "Rags and Glory" for Christmas this year. It would work well with a trio. I'll be looking around for a couple more people to fill the bill if they okay it. They are probably going to remaster it with extra verses this year, but not in time for Christmas. Wah. Hopefully they'll still let me sing it.

Welp. Time to go fold clothes until my shoulder freaks.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vampumpkins, Oh My!

Happy Halloween! Just thought I'd share our Halloween with you.

Vampumpkin!   
This is my pumpkin this year. You can't really tell with the pictures, but it's a little vampire pumpkin and he's drained the big pumpkin white. There are pumpkin guts coming out of their mouths like blood.
This is Herr Riley Der Kleine Junge
Riley would come charging out when the trick-or-treaters came, and bark fit to be tied. He was much scarier than anything else we put up.

This is Snorin's Jack Pumpkinhead. He's our other son--the one joined at the lips to J...;o)

This is dinner--severed hands and feet. This is a before picture, in case they turned too dark.

Here are the finished hands and feet. I know--gruesome. But they taste amazing.

This is our friend Maddy and her son. Maddy's marrying Jason, who took off his costume and thus won't be on the blog...rofl

J's Pumpkin

One of Hunt's pumpkins. He did Gab's too because she's out of town but I forgot to get a pic of it.

I was a blind heart surgeon, complete with red-tipped cane. I went around and offered people two for one heart transplants if they contact my secretary. I showed people my heart to transplant. For some strange reason I got no takers at all.

For some odd reason people seemed to think I'd taken out the wrong organ. What do you think?

Well it's my blog. I get extra billing. The family took all the pictures while I was off walking around the trunk-or-treat. Nice. I didn't even get to talk to the German family...sigh. It was in the same parking lot and everything.

So. We always do LOADS of work getting the house ready for Halloween. The front is nice and clean--mainly because we stuffed everything in the back. Unfortunately it usually falls to me to do most if not all of the cleanup, making it a whole lot of work for very few trick-or-treaters.

We expected people from our church to come, but they didn't. Jason and Maddy, our friends from up the street, came to visit and eat body parts and show us Coraline.

Mostly I edited the book I'm working on and ate some pointer finger and watched Coraline on the side. That Tim Burton is a strange guy. Seems like he has black widows in his brain.

Welp. J and S (who were Buttercup and the Dread Pirate Roberts) came home from trick-or-treating in his neighborhood. H (who was some kind of super moose from a cartoon) came home from work and left again to go play with his roommate and watch freaky movies.

Bit (the hamburgler) never left his desk chair. I think someday he'll be rooted into it.

The Hubs (was the Grim Reaper or something using his cloak) sat around and watched movies.

All in all it was a pretty quiet but labor intensive Halloween.



Thursday, October 27, 2016

HAZMAT and Book Babies

I've got an editing job, now, which thrills me no end. Nothing like eating and having electricity (So kidding. My fine husband handles that extremely well). I quite enjoy earning money for doing what I do anyway.

But the bigger news is that MUDLARKS (which is getting a title change into HEART OF FIRE) is going to be published in April! I'm overjoyed and perhaps a little misty-eyed. (Might be the burning midnight oil, might be boiling to death in my own juices from turning the cooler off. I don't know.) It's the whole tossing your book babies out the door and watching to see if they'll crawl into the road and get hit by a car or fly gracefully off to readers everywhere.

In case you're asking, I'd like the second option. There are fewer recriminations from the family who only see in their mind's eyes how often dinner was a stale tater tot I found beneath the fridge and a can of Spam. Also for some reason they baulk at wearing clothes that sat wet in the washer for more than three days. Go figure.

Oh yeah. I'm contemplating being a string quartet or a HAZMAT worker for Halloween. Which should I be?

Anywho, I'll get back to it so the deadline doesn't hit me at three am. Caio for now.

(Actually the food isn't nearly that bad. Last night it was borscht. No need to call that HAZMAT worker to examine the food in the fridge. Seriously. And I'm going to take the laundry out in a couple of minutes. Really.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'm featuring the book Courting the Countess on my blog today. Frankly I can't wait to read it. I've read several other books of Donna's and found them to be a wonderful ride. Donna's research is exhaustive and spot on. You won't find her heroines sporting their knickers, or eating hamburgers. Here's an excerpt of COURTING THE COUNTESS:


Richard approached Lady Elizabeth. Though the settee had room for two, Richard went down on his knees in front of her and placed a hand on either side of her legs, leaning on the edge of the cushion. She tensed.
Lady Elizabeth’s thick hair had been pulled back into a loose knot at the crown of her head, with a few wayward tendrils escaping to frame her face. Her lowered eyes were thickly lashed, fringed by a pair of high, arched brows. Her fair, unblemished skin bore no hint of a freckle. Her lips, though thinner than he would have liked, still had a pleasing shape. Her slightly pointed chin exactly like her father’s led the eye down to a slender, graceful neck.
Perhaps he’d been so focused on Leticia that he’d simply not taken the time to really look at Lady Elizabeth. Furthermore, her younger sister, Lady Joanna, a beauty of stunning proportions, outshone everyone within miles. But now that he gave Lady Elizabeth his full attention, he discovered her own quiet beauty.
At his silence, she glanced at him before her eyes darted away. Then, perhaps because she’d seen something reassuring, or unexpected, she met his gaze. Her clear, gray-green eyes danced back and forth between his as if to divine his thoughts.
The seductress of last night had vanished, and in her place sat a young, innocent, vulnerable girl. His future wife. He’d best begin things well.
Lady Elizabeth,” he said. “I know the circumstances of our betrothal are somewhat unique, but I feel it necessary to ask you; do you agree to marry me?”
Her eyes opened wide and her mouth parted. He realized she’d been pressing her lips together in a tight line. Now that they had relaxed, they were much more shapely. Lovely. Kissable. No wonder Tristan had been tempted. Any man would.
She seemed to take a thorough measure of him, her eyes continuing to dart between his. He waited for her reply. Her vulnerability evoked a protective instinct inside Richard. Her fragrance, a blend of roses and violets and some other fragrance he could not identify curled around his senses in an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality.
The thought took him aback. He shouldn’t be looking at another woman thusly, even a woman he must marry. Surely his heart could not be so inconstant as to forget Leticia so soon.
She moistened her lips, making them even more tempting, and shot a glance at the duke and duchess. “Yes, my lord. I agree to marry you.” The soft tones were flat, unemotional.
Willingly?” he pressed.
She blinked and appeared to choose her words with care. In that moment, his estimation of her rose. Perhaps she would not always be rash. Faint hope glimmered that she’d prove faithful.
She lowered her eyes. “I will not have Martindale’s blood on my hands. Or Tristan’s. I must marry you.”
Stung, he drew back. “Of course.”
He didn’t know what he’d hoped she would say. If she’d gushed about all his fine qualities, he might have suspected her of spinning a tale. But hearing her blatant declaration that she’d only marry him to prevent bloodshed smote his pride.
So be it. Neither of them wanted this marriage, but he would do anything to protect his brother and his family honor. He and his father had worked too hard to repair the scandal to the Barrett name and the Averston title caused by his disloyal mother.


A few questions for our authoress: 

Any advice you'd like to share about writing?
Be humble and teachable. Too many new authors have kind of a chip on their shoulder and are totally closed to constructive criticism. If someone tells you there is an aspect of your story that needs more work, take them at face value; they are almost always right. If they tell you what you should do to fix it, take that with a grain of salt because they are often wrong.

If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?
That’s easy. I’d want to go to Regency England to do my research first hand.

What color would you wear if you had only one choice?
Blue. Every color of blue is beautiful and there are so many shades that I’d never get bored.

I'm going to pick up this book as soon as I am able at any of these places. I hope you will too:
or 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Smackeral of EVERLOST

Just a smackeral of EVERLOST to curl up with on this misty moisty afternoon:


Issana Windwalker died for the ninth time at the hands of an ogre named Chubb.
Bits of her spattered the trees and rocks in a tacky, wide swathe.
Her death cry tore from her, sounding much more like frustration than demise. At least to her own, make that Senara's ears.
It really ticked her off that she spawned into the forest and Chubb always seemed to be camping on the exact spot, waiting for her, every time. Fat tub of smelly lard. “Go find someone else to PK, you son of a fatherless goat,” she yelled, banging the keyboard with her fist. Then she hit the talk button and yelled it again so Chubb could actually hear it while he scampered around picking up the magical items she'd dropped.
“It's what you get when you sign up to be Guardian of Kofur, Issy Baby. If you wanna dump the Seal of Kofur and do something less violent, it can be arranged. Then we can hang out and make cute little half ogre babies,” said the piece of yak stool who'd targeted her.
Lard Butt can actually talk,” muttered Senara. She pressed talk. “Oh please. The stench of your unwashed body would kill me for reals. I'd no sooner hang with you than eat my own foot, let alone bear you babies. I'm going to end you, you bucket of—“ she eased off the talk button to continue the rant in private since her thirty seconds of grace period was almost up. And since her southern mother would pop a vein if she heard such trash going out over the airwaves. Not that she would, since Mom was thousands of miles away, now.
Senara took a few sanity moments to break away from the game and fetch a can of soda from the fridge. The sound of the lid popping broke the silence left by the ending of her Celtic podcast music. She dragged the frosty can across her cheeks and forehead and plunked herself back in her desk chair.
She had a whole lot of other things she wanted to say to Chubb the Grub but couldn't while she was a ghost. She would have to re-spawn and, armor-less, kick Chubb clear to Offenheim if she was ever going to get any of her stuff back. She jammed her thumb on the talk button. “With pleasure, you boot-licking toadstool,” she ground out. “Let the bloodbath begin.” She wiped her hands against her My Little Ponies pajama pants, cracked her knuckles, and hit the button that would start the carnage.
Issana Windwalker was normally a vision to behold. Massive power packed into a well-muscled, very buxom, gorgeous blond elf, wearing silver armor etched with Celtic knot work, a silver, egret-plumed helm, and tall, silver-embossed boots. For “at home,” she wore flowing blue, purple and indigo harem pants, an indigo top, and no shoes. She could still trash people and take names if she was attacked in her woodland fastness. It happened.
Senara took great pains to make sure Issana's description and that of her hold, Cloudcroft, was something visually stunning and commanding respect. Dudes took a girl seriously if she looked the part and could show some imagination. At least that's what she always told herself.
Gamer eejits were clueless about two things: One, Issana Windwalker might look like a harem girl but she was actually a 102nd -level elf paladin mage who could kick a demi-god's butt with one foot nailed to the floor and no healing potions. And two, she was, in real life, a twenty-one year old brown-haired bookstore clerk named Senara O'Brian, who had trouble killing ants. That last fact she told no one on the game. Who knows, anyway? Maybe half of those buff knights were actually pencil-thin, all-elbows cross dressers or sitting in prison for peeping, she thought as she ran through the Everlost landscape.
Now, after spawning, and dressed only in a light shift, she avoided traps and bad situations like a pro. She had a date with a certain shopkeeper to get the prized Player Killer sword of in-cluing better known as PK Swansong. There wouldn't be time to run to the Morningstar Mountains to fight for her normal enchanted armor.
She passed two hills, a large lake, a couple of villages and a small castle before she got to Berkilflot, the village where Fomor Bob had his store. She had a great rapport with Bob old boy. He saved all his good stuff for her in return for taking out the trash. It made her chuckle every time she took out a noob who was making himself a nuisance. She'd walk in just like an NPC or non-player character and do “boot-to-the-butt” and the kid would find himself sprawling on the ground outside the store. She'd laugh insanely when he ID'd her and found out what level she was.
“What can I get you?” the good Bob asked.
Issana batted her eyelashes and asked for Swansong. “Got some Chubb clubbing to do.”
Bob grinned. “That dude's got it coming. I'm guessing you want a health potion or two.”
Issana glowered at him. “Um, no. Don't need it. But I do need to know if Chubb's got some kind of a donation buff that lets him kill far above his level.”
“I'll look.” Bob disappeared into the “back” while Issana cooled her heals checking out the merchandise. She had just enough money to buy back the Crystal Gauntlets and pay for Amalice the Seamstress to imbue them with special pounding powers.
Bob brought out the sword and tested the edge with a grin. “Swansong with a special edge. I think you'll like her. And Chubb does have a donation item. He payed twenty five Euros for an amulet of PK-ing. He wears it on his breech clout.”
“Real money? Brother. The little weasel! I knew he had something good. It's how he killed me nine times in a row. He must be selling my armor at the Ba'along Bazaar. Those losers will take anything, lost, stolen, or hocked.” She examined the sword and deemed it sweet. “Thanks Bob.” She tossed him a bag of coins and ran off to the Seamstress' shop. Hopefully it would take Chubb enough time to sell her stuff, that she'd get where she needed to be and fully prepared.
Just as the Seamstress had finished with the Imbuing and Issana was paying for her services, the Seal called her back. Chubb, of course. She was already under attack when she wielded the Crystal Gauntlets. Her health had dropped to next to nothing as the pounding began.
“What the—?” Chubb yelled as she smashed him a couple of inches into the solid rock.
Issana grinned. “Taste the rainbow.” Bam! Bam! Crash!
He tried to hit her again and missed, due to losing several centimeters of aching height. An arm went flying across the meadow and it wasn't hers.
Issana said, “Run away if you want to live.” It would be her only suggestion. Most guys wouldn't bolt, and found themselves flitting back to their spawn point as wispy ghosts. Chubb was no different. He dropped a smelly breech clout, a large club and three copper coins, and fluttered away, yelling about cheaters.
Gross, Senara thought as she fingered the buttons to dispose of the breech clout so Chubb couldn't immediately come back and arm himself in it. The fly-ridden thing probably had magical powers since he wore nothing else but that freaking amulet. Just the thought of that nasty ogre running around naked makes me want to hurl.
Issana pocketed the coppers, tossed the club into a nearby pond, and went to meditate for a couple of minutes in her Cloudcroft hideout. That was the only thing she'd forked over real money for. It really paid off to have somewhere to relax in and store her plunder. Too bad she didn't have closets full of the Silver-chased Armor suits, like Batman and his uniforms. Those she had to win in battle.
She was just about to the middle of her meditation, and thus half healthy, when the Seal pulled her back. “Unbelievable!” Senara screamed, pounding the keyboard. Crumbs bounded up and resettled in the cracks between the keys. One of them must have lodged beneath the “hit” button she'd macro'ed, because she pressed and pressed and couldn't engage.
Just as her health neared red-line and she was going to actually wield her fancy sword, something big plowed into the hapless ogre. Almost instantly Chubb found himself with no remaining limbs of any sort. “Why for you kill Chubb?” he whined at the massive, shining knight standing over him.
Muscle Man ignored him, favoring Issana with a grin after taking off his helm. The guy was mountain-sized and his helmet hadn't even mussed up his glorious golden hair. You could probably see the gleam of his flashing white teeth in the depths of the Gorfingel Gold Mines. He swept into a deep bow. “Are you well, my lady?”
“Um...quite.” Issana polished the blood off her gauntlets as the last of Chubb's health fled, leaving him a wraith. “Chubb was just dying.”
The knight shook out his golden hair. “Sir Reginald of the White Oaks at your service, my lady.”
Senara grinned. Never seen this guy on the game. He apparently plays at a different time, since he's buff enough to have made knight. Ah. Level sixteen. Not bad. Maybe he's someone's secondary character—someone who already knows about all the quests and helpful hints. It might be fun to be friends with an admin or something. “Issana Windwalker.” She batted her eyelashes at him. The “flirt” macro had been fun to put together. It often got her fun fight companions and discounts at stores.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Back from ANWACon16

Welp. I'm back from ANWA conference. It was a blast seeing my friends again and meeting new ones. And my costume was sort of sensational to most but the camera person, apparently. I went as Eowyn from Lord of the Rings. I had a really sweet roommate in Didi Lawson and lovely dinners with several wonderful friends. I had a lovely time and learned many great things, including mistakes I've made in my books and in the marketing thereof.

I had some great classes on dialogue, marketing, pacing, editing and revision, deep POV and narrative voice, storytelling through action instead of exposition, and read-on prompts.

I was hopeful that my book SLIPSTREAM would win something in the B.O.B. Contest (beginning of book), but it didn't. I'm going to have to rip through it and make a more likable MC, apparently. Among other things.

However, I took EVERLOST to the writing workshop and it was quite well received--enough so that one of the other authors wanted her pages to read later.

Also I pitched MUDLARKS to Kathryn Gordon of Covenant, who asked for the full manuscript after I tweaked it. She was really excited about it. So I'll go through it a few more times and put it out to Betas and send it off. I'm not sure that's the book for them, though. I'm thinking MARIN AT THE WELL is the one I should have pitched to her.

Unfortunately she didn't want to look at JOHNNY'S RUTABAGA, my children's book, at all. I'm thinking I'm going to have to self publish it because hardly any companies are doing picture books anymore because they are so costly to put out. They wouldn't have to pay an illustrator, though, since I've already done all the work.