Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Making the Leap: Books to the Big Screen

Since I finally finished my revisions on TIES OF VALOR and got them turned in, I’m taking a little writing time-out to refill my well. In a nutshell that means I’m going to delve into my TBR stack like a mad woman and call dibs on the TV to watch hours upon hours of movies. Though the SAG awards interfered with prime viewing time, I did start to delve into my to-be-watched list. Which led me to a question—is it just me or have you also noticed how many movies started out as books?

For instance, I popped in EARTHSEA (originally aired as a mini-series on the Sci-Fi Channel) and discovered it was based on a series of books. Monday also saw the kick-off Lifetime’s airing of four made-for-TV movies based on Nora Roberts’ best-sellers. Also originally in print were CHILDREN OF MEN, ERAGON, HARRY POTTER as well as the newly opened BLOOD & CHOCOLATE.

I remember the days when WIZARD magazine started a column documenting which actors/actresses should play the Who’s Who of the comic industry. Though I don’t think Kelsey Grammar was their pick to play the X-men’s Beast, nor do I think Nick Cage had the rough-guy image to top the list for Ghost Rider. But I guess Hollywood saw it differently. (Maybe it has to do with the dollar signs floating before their eyes.)

I’ve heard tell of writers who have their Hollywood heartthrob taped to their wall beside their computer, or even put up computer wallpaper with them strutting their stuff. I myself have Drew Barrymore—my favorite actress—smiling sheepishly during a scene in Music & Lyrics. I know she isn’t right for my currently finished manuscript, nor my upcoming novel. But the question of who would be perfect prompted my brain to storm. (Which is a good sign it hasn’t turned to Jell-O like I believed.)

Here’s the short list of main characters I came up with for TIES OF VALOR (in order of appearance):

Zara Dior—Mila Jovovich (For her role in Fifth Element & Resident Evil)

CHIRI—Rachel Weiss (The spitfire voice-over for Saphira in ERAGON—A+)

Awyn Shandar—Eric Bana (How could I not pick him after Troy?)

Rolan Ebar—Sean Connery (I had to fit him in somewhere! All hail Quartermain!)

Oron Shandar—Dougray Scott (Could definitely pull off bookish & hot at the same time)

Rumius—Jeremy Irons (The man is brilliant with a Golden Globe & SAG this year!)

Talis Shandar—James Franco (Only because of his role in TRISTAN & ISOLDE)

Anida Shandar—Melanie Lynskey (Loved her as Drew’s sister in EVER AFTER)

Weyde Shandar—Harrison Ford (Who else could play a cooler dad after FIREWALL?)

Commander Geist—Rip Torn (He played a similar role well in X-Men 3)

Queen Sircie—Julia Ormond (All I have to say is Guinevere from FIRST KNIGHT)

Lieutenant Ellis—Cary Elwes (Loved his good guy/bad guy play in PRINCESS BRIDE.)

Fiona Dior—Felicity Huffman (She’s dramatic, funny & evil plus she looks like a Mom)

I can tell you for sure I don’t have enough 0’s in my bank account to hire this star power, but it costs nothing to imagine. Care to tell us who you daydreamed about to play your hero, heroine or your cast of characters in a movie?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Where No Man Has Gone Before

I've missed blogging for a while due to a family emergency, but I had to jump in on last week's topic, New Worlds. Just the look of the words on the page gives me a thrilling shiver as I think about all the tales of adventure I devoured when I was a kid. My favourites were Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan, and the John Carter of Mars series. Discovering new worlds and civilisations seemed like the only logical thing to do when you grew up.

As I got older and realised that everything had already been discovered (or even worse, there was a package tour available to even the most inaccessible locations on Earth, so not much chance of danger there!) reality hit home. There weren't going to be any exciting adventures of discovery in my life. It Had All Been Done. Those seeking to make break now ground nowadays are trying to do be the fastest, circumnavigating the world in 4 days or some such. The thrilling uncertainty of the voyages of Captain Cook (Australia), Christopher Columbus (America) or the mutinous crew of the Bounty (who ended up in Pitcairn Island in the middle of the South Pacific) aren't likely to happen today, when satellite signal can trace you even if your boat has capsized in the middle of the ocean. A 'copter ride later and you're at home sipping Cup-A-Soup. OK I'm exaggerating slightly, but you get the picture.

Being a writer, however, means you get to explore all the strange new worlds you want, and sometimes its better than the real thing. Your imagination as the last, vast unchartered territory. Here I get to be a pirate, a scout, a mercenary, an envoy, and have any number of adventures limited only by what I dare to dream.

In my last published story, the futuristic romance called 'A Touch of Magic', my heroine was the colonization scout for a new planet, Samhain. The guidelines for the submission said the story had to be about 'Samhain' - whatever that meant to you. My mind immediately conjured up a planet, dark and mysterious, and steeped in magic. I knew nothing else about it. It was my heroine's job to explore. And find true love, of course!

To me, this is the beauty of science fiction and futuristics - you take our modern-day perspective and transplant it to a new world. It is one of the (many) ways it differs from fantasy, where the characters are living in a world already familiar to them though strange to us. In science fiction we're making discoveries all the time - new worlds, new civilizations, new perspectives, new science. And what could be cooler than that?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sad Day

After 8 months, the owners and doctors for the beautiful Barbero decided to euthanize him today.

I don't know how many of you remember this fantastic race horse, the winner of last year's Kentucky Derby or how many of you saw him race. Being a Kentucky girl, I make it a point to watch the Derby every year. I've seen good races and so-so races and though I'm no great judge of speed, I can honestly say that every thoroughbred I've seen is beyond gorgeous. But there was something different about Barbero.

Oh, he was beautiful just as all the other horses were. But when he ran the Derby so effortlessly, when he took the lead as if all the others had decided to pull up, a thrill raced over my skin. Even then, he brought to mind images of Secretariat, Man of War, Kelso...and every fictional horse I'd ever read about. It nearly broke my heart to hear he'd broken his leg during the Preakness and I was glad to hear that his owners were making every effort to save his life.

But there comes a time when the rough decisions must be made and when I saw the news today, I could tell they were all heartbroken to lose this great horse. So are all of us who love animals and horses in particular.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Worlds of Heartstone

While not quite an epic adventure, Heartstone takes place on several different planets, including Earth. I'll assume we're all somewhat familiar with our planet :D though unless you live in Michigan, you might not be familiar with the area where fictional Roseberg is located. Just trust me when I say it's lovely country.

She didn't have any idea where she was but she wasn't on Earth. That was obvious from the large, pink-orange sun and its small yellow companion. Even without that, the sight of the delicate winged-lizards leaping from branch to branch would have convinced her. If she hadn't been attacked by a mutant and kidnapped by an alien, she would have been gawking like a Tokyo tourist.

The trees grew in an odd triad formation, three boles rooted companionably together. The color of burnt cork, they were festooned with long, narrow leaves that glistened with a silvery aqua color and rustled in the light breeze. The central bole of each tree cluster hosted branches laden with tiny green berries.
As she trudged onward, she realized the small lizard-birds favored those berries both on the branches and where they had fallen on the forest floor. Keriam thought the little creatures resembled nothing less than wildly colored blossoms. And while they fluttered like busy little bees, they didn't appear to nest or roost in the trees. She watched, curious in spite of herself, as one ruby-colored creature waddled to a slightly raised patch of earth then flipped head over heels into its burrow.

The berry-laden triad trees weren't alone. Others stood, tall and majestic, with showy blue-green crowns that rippled in the sky. Still more were squat, troll-like trees with curling branches and finger-sized, pea soup-colored leaves. Lichen and moss and toadstools the size of her hand grew near the bases and around fallen branches. Under the leafy canopy, the light shone emerald and gold, dappled with diamond patches of light. Scattered among the shadows and brilliantly lighted patches were flowers shaded from not-quite-red to metallic indigo.

Neraldi orbits a binary star system which makes for interesting ecological and sociological differences from our own world. While Keriam doesn't get a chance to investigate all those differences, she does wonder about such things as telling time using the sun(s) positions in the sky.

Later, she and Eric meet some of the natives in their city of Jeardi. Here are her perceptions.

Keriam wasn't sure what she had expected of Jeardi. Something more exotic, more otherworldly perhaps. Instead, the outskirts of Jeardi were similar to Keriam's small hometown with isolated farms and homesteads. Of course, Roseberg didn't have crops being harvested by small robotic machines or herds of a peculiar herbivore that resembled tumbleweeds with legs. And it certainly didn't have sky-scraper-tall towers looming overhead.

The town buildings were squat, single-story structures that appeared almost organic, as if they'd been grown rather than built. The air, redolent with the reek of salt and fish, seemed to thicken with moisture and around her she heard the bubbling, gurgling language native to the Mer as mothers called to their children and vendors tempted passersby with their wares. She hoped they could stay awhile in the city. She wanted to see more, learn more, while she had the opportunity. Keriam gaped, twisting her head from side to side, as they followed the winding reed-covered roadway toward the glowing Portal spires.

Once they manage to get to Antiari, Eric's homeworld, Keriam finds herself in a very civilized, very sophistcated setting. And that provides a huge contrast to Purlea, which is where she was born. Purlea was a lovely planet when it was under the control of her family but after the Gawan took over the terraformed world began reverting to its natural state.

She fumbled with the latches, then stopped as Eric's large hands ripped them loose. He hauled her to her feet and pushed her toward the already descending ramp. Seizing the packs, he threw them outside and herded her down the ramp. She grabbed her pack, pushing her arms through the straps, and stumbled away from the ship as the ramp slid up. The engines changed their pitch. A blast of hot, fetid air pushed at her and only Eric's grip kept her from falling. Shielding her eyes from blowing grit, she looked back in time to see Gavin's ship leap into the sky. Then it was gone.

They were alone, three humans and one linlie.

The landscape was just as barren, bleak and desolate as it had looked on the holo-image. The wind moaned across the rocky plains like a tortured demon. Keriam pulled her cap down and her collar up to protect her face from the blowing dust and grit. The only signs of life were low, sulky bushes and a sooty yellow grass that hugged the ground stubbornly. Keriam thought it would be better off if it let go and flew into space. Eric resettled the pack on his shoulders after Froggie took wing. "Let's go."

With his long-legged stride, he set a brisk pace aiming for the red splotch on the horizon that had to be the singular mountain she'd seen in the holo-image.
In single file, with Keriam in the middle and Eric in the lead, they set off toward the rising sun. Froggie quickly resumed his perch on Eric's shoulder, tucking his head under a leathery wing. The plains weren't flat, she discovered. The land actually dipped and swelled like a vast, frozen sea. Small, bloated plants with waving filaments broke the surface like fishermen in solitary clumps. Whatever those filaments meant to attract, Keriam hoped not to see.

Here and there, when the wind died, puffs of bilious yellow gas burst out of the ground like tiny stinking farts. Obviously, Purlea would never draw tourists in its present condition.

The marvelous thing about writing science fiction/fantasy action-romance is the ability to go to different worlds and meet different people, different animals. To be able to answer 'What If?'

I hope all of you have enjoyed your 'field trips' to the various worlds created by the authors of Star-Crossed as much as I have.

Talek, A Lovers Paradise

Round, thatched huts dotted the area between the edge of the beach and the beginning of the jungle tree line. At one end of the beach a group of women and children played in the crystal blue surf. At the other end, where a tumble of jagged black rocks rose from the water like teeth, another group of people, mostly older women and a few older men, skimmed through tidal pools collecting objects in woven baskets that hung from their hips. In the center of the village a collection of long canoe-like boats stood on end in a circle, leaning against each other. Nets and other implements lay in piles around the boats, and nearby two men sat on small benches weaving thick cord into more nets and tying what looked like dried gourds onto the cords here and there as floats.

Galatia dominated the eastern sky, its rings visible as a brown band slanting to the heavens. Beyond the lavender globe of the gas giant, the sky shaded to cobalt blue. Faint, wispy clouds streaked the horizon just above the sea. Sienna had never seen a more beautiful place, even in her dreams.

This is a description of Talek, the moon colony where my characters Sienna McCade and Jordan Dane crash land in Flight of the Valkyrie.

Talek is a place I’d love to visit, though not quite in the same way Sienna and Jordan end up there. The place is like a resort, full of people who have given up lives dependent on technology and vowed to return to simpler ways. They work hard, play whenever they can, and look forward to the day when their colony will become completely independent and self-sufficient.

To get around on Talek, you’ll need to know a few things. For instance, Galatia is the gas giant around which Talek orbits. The mother planet is uninhabited, as are most of its larger moons. The village men do most of the hunting and their main prey is giant sloth. Don’t be fooled, though, they sloth aren’t as dangerous as they seem. The woman often spend their days shelling matsi, a tart, acidic fruit that’s used to make soap and floats for fishing nets. Other groups of villagers harvest moonfish from the shallow tidal pools to serve with sweet purple fruits called balmalon.

When you hear the villagers shout ‘Hai! Hai!’ get ready to work hard. This means an algae bloom has sent thousands of berry-sized pods to shore. The indigo pods turn the sand blue and everyone in the village is consumed with gathering them for days. The algae will provide them with medicine and even glue for the thatched roofs of their huts.

After the algae harvest, the villagers celebrate with a moonlight dinner on the beach. The children dress in feathered costumes that mimic the vetna, a jungle creature whose skin hardens into a shell as it matures. Barrels of wine are lit on fire and children and adults alike make wishes by tossing small white pebbles into the ocean waves.

Don’t pass up a chance to visit Talek and live the simple life for a while. You may just end up falling in love.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Future Worlds and Space Travels

My future and sci-worlds are varied.

I know that sounds like a funny way to start this blog, but I don't know if it's a conscious descision on my part, or if I just do it naturally. Unless I get really into a created world, I don't read more than one or two books in a series. Pern really grabbed me, as did the land of Deverry. Valdmar also sticks out as a pinnacle I've wanted to reach in my own writing. Oddly enough, my elaborate and painstakingly crafted worlds have found no success with either publishers or agents. The books I've felt I've rushed through and have kind of thrown the worlds together, or let them evolve as I've written the stories. Does that mean that the more organic of the worlds are the ones that resonant with editors? I'm beginning to believe it.

I've recently sold a short story to Samhain that I'm pretty damn excited about. This was one of those stories that grew out organically from a simple sentence. A 'what-if' sentence, but a sentence none-the-less. Now, this world is very different from most of my others. It's sci-fi to be sure, but features a heroine who can hear the energy of organic and some none organic matter as sound waves...or rather notes on the musical register. In a way it's a sci-fi with some psychic overtones. Not mystic though. Even though the hero calls her a mystic, she is first and foremost a soldier and a scientist. Kara Zaire is part of an advance team, inspecting the surface of Solarion to ensure it's compatible to human life. Cimirion - the planet the away is from - has had 20 years of climatic changes that have turned the planet to one of four season to that of one. Winter. Ice and blizzards are now the nor, paralyzing the planet and zapping it's resources. Thus the trip to the duel-sun planet of Solarion. But for some reason Solarion has no music. The energy makes no sounds, and Kara is determined to discover why.

I loved this story. I wrote it in less than a week and was very happy with the results. It was truly one of those projects where the idea and characters manifest themselves in ways you know just come together like a gift of the Gods. If felt more like a stenographer than a writer as I took down Kara and Cash's (the hero) story.

I think I'm going to really like revisiting that planet in the future. I hope Samhain will allow me to.

I have other sci-fi worlds I'm working on. In that huge TBW (to be written) pile that has accumulated on my zip drive. That's what this half of the year is for.

In July, the release of my novella FALLING STARS will hit the shelves in Secrets Volume 19: Timeless Passions. Go to my website at to read a blurb. That was another story that kind of wrote itself for me. I think it's probably one of my most inventive as far as the technology goes, but not beyond belief.

I love losing myself in sci-fi stories, whether reading them, or creating them.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Strange New Worlds

This week's theme here at Star-Crossed is one I'm rather excited about. Being that we all write futuristics, fantasies, or SF, we've decided to talk about the delightful and strange worlds we've created for our characters to play in.

I debated long and hard about which worlds to pick for this. My current WIP takes place in a galaxy and time where Earth is no longer even a distant memory, and Earth cultures would be as odd and backwater as caveman cultures are today. The universe I used for my story in "A Witch In Time" is a little closer to home, taking place several hundred years in Earth's future. Mankind has moved to, if not the stars, then at least Earth's neighboring celestial bodies. Colonies exist on the Moon, Mars, the Martian moons of Phobos and Deimos, and in seven massive ring-cities in low-Earth orbit, called the LEOs.

In order to survive in the artificial habitats outside Earth, mankind has been forced to adapt in many different ways. Because of the long-term effects of artificial gravity and recycled air and water, not to mention the side-effects of genetic modifications, irradiation, and preservatives required to keep the inhabitants of Earth's colonies fed, humans have had to maintain their health through science. For most people, that means a pretty aggressive course of medications, chemical treatments, and other pharmaceuticals to keep their systems in healthy condition. For those who can't afford the pharma, can't take the drugs, or who have a reason to avoid official places like clinics, there's the much shadier and much more experimental animal DNA therapy that produces "Gen-hanced" humans--Canids and Felids the most common, and Rodentia the cheapest--whose enhanced physiology allows them to stay healthy in space. There are a lucky few, born healthier, born hardier, who can survive without the pharma or the DNA therapy, called Purebreeds. The price they pay for being able to thrive outside Earth's atmosphere is their need for more resources--more food, more sleep, more sex.

Many of the inhabitants of the Inner Solar system found their way there because they no longer had a place on Earth. Cultural iconoclasts, outcasts, and wanderers all found their way in the black of space. They never realized that the outcasts of humanity brought some not-quite-human outcasts into space with them...

Monday, January 22, 2007


Imagine crash landing your Xion on a planet that isn’t included in any celestial database. Wouldn’t you wonder what the score was before making contact? See below for what my heroine, Zara Dior, would’ve liked to know before she came face-to-face with my hero, Awyn Shandar.

Alamea: A machine Awyn’s brother Oron invented that heals Aquilarians (but doesn’t have a seating for Sartinians like Zara).

Anglais: One of the two languages spoken on Daireben, atleast in Aquilar. (This one Zara luckily knows!)

Aquilar: The walled city on Daireben which the Queen Sercie Shandar rules after the death of her husband.

Aure: Devices designed by Oron that can levitate objects and be lead via sensors.

Carrin: Blue vegetables.

Daireben: (was Beryl, which my editor thought sounded too much like a person’s name)
Prince Awyn’s planet which is full of vegetation and wonders waiting to be discovered like glittering mountains and miniature cyclones. (Zara later discovers it is part of the Nenturian Galaxy.)

Dimaci: Cumbersome carts made for hauling by Aquilar’s scientists.

Feulys: A dangerous flower whose fresh scent entices viewers to touch it, causing barbs to spring out and kill if they are amassed densely. (Picture a deadly red/orange tiger lily here.)

Frean: The native language spoken on Daireben, atleast inside Aquilar.

Holotoque Galerie: A hall where Aquilarians come to unwind, though Awyn uses to train for combat and to fly a prototype spacecraft. (Think Star Trek Holo Deck with the power to zap on contact.)

Lucimenna: Translated in Frean it means “blue moon stone”.

Misck: Savory meat usually served with Carrin.

Periode Nuits: An occurrence that happens every year where the moon rules for six days due to an eclipse.

Plaisir Fete: (Originally called the Festival of Celebration) This is the time of the year to celebrate all the Aquilarians have achieved during the year which coincides with the Periode Nuits. (In Zara’s assumption think of it as a planned vacation.)

Pouli: A pasta dish with green gelatin glaze. (Zara terms this as green slop and refuses to eat it.)

Prean: Tart fruit juice that comprises part of Zara’s first meal in Aquilar.

Skena: A body hugging suit that is capable of changing color with voice commands. (A highly tradable commodity as far as Zara is concerned.)

Tropi: A sweet, light pink drink. (Compare this to Strawberry Kiwi from Crystal Light.)

Vahezheno: Translated the name means “the strong people who walk alone.” They are the direct enemies of Aquilar and threaten to destroy anything not of Daireben (including Zara!). Led by Rumius, a defector from Aquilar who assassinated King Shandar.

Valaxenos: A term that applies to visitors who enter Aquilar before they are tried by the Queen to determine their place in Aquilarian society. (This is Zara’s rank within the city.)

Zalin: A material made in Aquilar. (Zara likens it to dark moondust that feels like velvet.)

Zetas: Pastry cocoons filled with veggies or meat. (Think of these as Hot Pockets!)

Zizan: A government protected flower that makes its own light and only grows in Aquilar.

TIES OF VALOR also includes plenty to explore from Zara’s adventures like the Canisapiens of Tearnean Five (originally called the Dogmen which my editor said leaned toward male bashing) and the Ha’bean, a band of immortal warriors.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I've got blog block

I've been sitting here for a while trying to come up with a good topic to blog about, and everything I start to write seems to fizzle.

I think my brain may be a bit fried from the effort. I tried to write about the value of 'talking shop' with other authors, the plot versus character-driven story, the fine art of procrastination...and while I think all those topics are interesting, none of them is sparking any particularly coherent thoughts.

Do you have days like that? Every paragraph I've written today started out strong and ended unimpressively. I've been mixing metaphors and dangling participles for half an hour and nothing makes king much sense, so on that note, I think I will give up for the day and find a pleasantly mindless game to occupy my overworked mind for a while. Maybe some Solitaire or Free Cell...anything that doesn't require me to make much of a point, because it's just isn't in me today.

I promise I'll be better next week when we talk about the worlds we've created in our stories. I have some good material for that. Today, I got nuthin'.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Writing plans all gone

I was going to be organized this year. Totally organized. I had all my characters worked out, what I was going to do, how to do it. I even have my next book sorted out - as far as the two characters, but that's all LOL. No idea for their actual story yet.

But now I find I'm under pressure. As usual. I need to get some short stories done, and two books. By June. And promo. And work full time.

Am I mad? Why do I let this happen to me? Why why why?

It's because I want to do so much, accomplish so much, try to get more books out to different publishers, striving for the ultimate goal of writing for a living...and in the world of writing, that means - WRITE and PROMO!

All my little plans of being organized went right out the window when I sat down and stared at everything I had promised myself and others I would do. Bummer.

Now if I lived in a sci-fi world, I would be whisking off to save the universe, nab me a hunk, and polish my space ship all in one week.

I can't even wash my car.

I'm panicking because I need to write short stroies of about 6000 words. I thought my throat was cut when I wrote a 15,000 word short story, and then decided that wasn't too bad. I could do that. But 6000 words? How can I write a good story in just 6000 words? How can I build strong characters and a believable story in just SIX THOUSAND WORDS, I ASK YOU?


And if only I didn't keep procrastinating about it. I cleaned up every file on my computer the other day, went through all my discs. Did my computer housekeeping. But now there's nothing to make me procrastinate about anymore...

oh wait. I need to brush the cats...


Monday, January 15, 2007

Pre-Spring Cleaning

If anyone read my resolutions for writing this year...I think I posted that on my account, they would notice that one of my main goals is to clean off my "desk" and submit all the stories that are now sitting on disks half-written. I'm happy to report that I've finished two. I don't know how well those count since I only started them in December, but for the sake of feeling accomplished, I'll count them anyhow.

I have too many projects floating around that are not going to do me any good unless they are finished and find a home. Thing is...I think at least one of them is really very good in scope and detail. (Lynda might remember this one from a crit group we're on) It' titled The Ward and is set in a technologically advanced world that still stubbornly holds onto the mystical practice of psychic matter manipulations. Though the civilizations on my planet has intersellar travel, the story takes place primarily in a subterranen continent. The indigenous people of the continent - a species I call Glor - are descended from a species of mammalian dragon. I've had so much fun writing this world, but at the same time I got stuck on a scene where the hero and heroine are in a bar about to have their first real confrontation. I stopped to write 2 other novels after getting about 90 pages into this book....I don't know why.

I do that sometimes. There are other novels and novellas I've started that are just as much fun, just as hot. But for some reason I get a new idea and become totally infatuated with it and just HAVE to write it, not finishing my other stories in the process.

Bad writer. Bad, bad writer.

I've noticed that most of my unfinished projects are futuristics and sci-fi's. I don't know why I find the need to neglect those genres when I feel some of my best work has been in that area. I'm obviously not having any luck with my fantasy novels. (Check out my personal blogs for the rant on that score - oh and my contemporary isn't having much luck either.) So, hopefully in a few months there will be a few new novellas submitted by Kathleen Scott and few novels by MK Mancos at some lucky publisher...( attempt at levity.)

Wish me luck. I think my characters are going to be pretty pissed at me when I get back to them after such a long absence. They've been in holding patterns for some cases years.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wanting What You've Got

It is no secret in my general vicinity at home, at work or among family and friends what I really wanted for Christmas. Eventhough it wouldn’t have been the most original time of year to receive “the most romantic present of the season”, finally getting it would’ve been better than not. The gift I wanted above all others was…an engagement ring.

My vivid imagination had conjured some great ideas of how the proposal would go. I thought it would be so thoughtful if my bf would give me a ring in NJ when I was a finalist in the NJ Put Your Heart in A Book. Then after I sold, I thought—man, wouldn’t it be perfect if he and I snuck in lunch between sessions at Nationals. Then he’d get down on one knee and asked me to marry him in a cute cafĂ©. (Yeah, I was dreaming. Remember how I said, he’s not too romantic?) But alas, none of the above came to pass.

We’ve been together seven years. Yep, you read right. The sheer number surprises a lot of people. Now even his mother is saying, “When are you going to get her a ring?” One of his co-workers even reminds him what a great girl he has and what he should rush right to do. Quite a few of them already call me his wife and sometimes we even catch ourselves thinking in man/wife terms.

So that brings us back to the ring. I’ve always wanted something different that no one else has, just like the lady in the Jarod’s commercial. So imagine my interest when I saw a header on MSN that said “Black Diamonds Come From Outer Space”.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Hooked by the first sentence— “If you’re looking for a space-age way to propose marriage, a black-diamond ring might be the way to go”—I kept reading. Supposedly black diamonds aren’t traditional diamonds at all. Real diamonds form in the Earth and are spouted up until they reach the surface where they can be mined. Carbonado diamonds are theorized to be parts of meteorites that reined down on Earth millions of years ago. Supposedly they were redeposited during the reformation of the continents to what is now Brazil and the Central African Republic. By analyzing the hydrogen contained inside, researchers determined that “the mineral” formed in a supernova explosion.

Which means no one would have bling like that! Then again, who could really afford a chip of the stone? Certainly not my guy who earns a working-man’s salary. Which leads me to wanting what I’ve got. A man who makes me laugh, who works hard for what he has, who is a whiz at fixing my computer problems, who laughs at my silliness (which gets way out there after a day of writing), and who’s learned exactly how to push my buttons both good and bad.

And there’s no way I can overlook one of the Christmas gifts he gave me. After a hint he tracked down Paperback Hero, one of the movies RWA clipped up for the Atlanta Awards Banquet montage where Hugh Jackman is a closet romance writer. But what makes this achievement even more special is that it wasn’t released in the US, so he had to go the extra mile. Who wouldn’t want a man like that?

So be happy with that you’ve got, no matter if it’s a finished manuscript, news of a contest final, a new book deal or even a brand-spanking new release. And don’t be jealous of what others have, eventually you’ll have what they have if you just believe.
In TIES OF VALOR Zara gets her very own special ring set with lucimenna, a blue stone inspired by the moonstone ring that once belonged to my father, which my brother has safely tucked away.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Feline Help?

You've all seen my purr-baby, Wookie. (If not, check the Christmas pictures we posted). I'm sure I've mentioned my kitchen remodel (which, Thank You God, is now finished). This remodel has traumatized my baby.

She's always been stranger-shy, hiding whenever anyone comes into the house, flying up to our attic bedroom if someone knocks on the door. And she's always been afraid of the ceiling fan in our dining area. But now, after two months of upheaval, she won't even come downstairs. Instead, she lays at the top of the landing and stares down at us occasionally emitting a tiny meow of loneliness. She wants me to come up and keep her company in my office.

The poor baby used to come down to drink water from Zuzu's big water dish. Now I make sure she has water in the little cat water dish I keep in my office for her. She used to come down and snooze under the sofa. Not any more. She'll play with her toys. Upstairs. She'll race back and forth in the hallway. Upstairs.

But she won't come down and sit with us.

I'm at my wit's end. I've carried her down, taken her into the kitchen (and I've the scars to prove it). As soon as I let her go, she races back upstairs. I've brought her down and held her on my lap, petting her and talking to her to soothe her fears. The minute I let her go, she's--you guessed it--back upstairs. I've no idea what I can do to help her overcome her fear.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd sure appreciate it. I'd love to have my little purr-baby settled again and unafraid to explore her entire house.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Release!

I just wanted to announce my newest paranormal release is available TODAY from New Concepts Publishing.

The Concubine's Tale
by Jennifer Colgan

An ancient papyrus scroll tells the sensual and tragic tale of Nayari, concubine to a power-hungry magistrate bent on usurping the Egyptian throne. The chronicles of her forbidden love for Khanu, the stoic warrior sent to transport her from her master's home to the temple of Min, enflame the passions of modern day art collector Grant Pierson for sexy gallery curator Cait Lang. As Cait relates Nayari's erotic adventure she stirs more than just Grant's curiosity in the priceless artifact and they find themselves caught up in a love story three thousand years in the making.

Rating: Contains some violence and sexual situations.

For more information on The Concubine's Tale, visit New Concepts Publishing today!

* * *

Though it's a standalone story, The Concubine's Tale ties in with events in The Soul Jar my previous New Concepts release/June 2006.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Resolutions Smersherlutions

Yes. I made them.
I make them every year.
Every year I break them.
This year. I'm only going to agree to live better.

To that end, I'm going to:

For Home Life-

1. Pay more attention to my husband.
2. Do things I haven't done before.
3. Make new friends. (No, I'm not getting rid of the old ones.)
4. Connect with friends I've lost touch with.
5. Be more generous with my time and self.
6. Try to glean joy from very simple things.

For Writing-

1. Finish all the open projects I have on my desk before I start new ones.
2. Seriously shop for an agent.
3. Read more non-fiction.
4. Be more organized in the pre-writing process
5. Submit more work. (See item one as to why this will be possible.)
6. Promote. Promote. Promote.

I think most of these things will be very easy to do and not break. I haven't put a time limit on any of them, or even an amount. I'll consider it a success if I manage to do these things a little better this year than I did last year. I think that's the key to making resolutions. You have to make realistic ones.

* Note I didn't make one about weight, because I'm going to do that anyways. But that's a separate issue. : )

May all your resolutions be a success!!! Here's to 2007.


Friday, January 05, 2007

New Years resolutions

New Years resolutions. The beginning of a new year, and new ideas, and new promises to oneself.

What are mine? To promote myself more effectively. To write more books. To lose another 10 - 15 kgs. (I managed to lose 15 kgs last year). To be a little more patient with others and look on the bright side more often. To not get so caught up in the bad news on the TV, radio and in the papers, that I allow my mood to go down - I need to focus on all the good that is around us.

Yes, I think that's one of the most important things to focus on. All year we get hammered with the atrocities commited to each other that we end up feeling like the world is a dangerous place to be. We forget the people who do help others, who love and care, who hold the doors open for others and offer their seats to the elderly/pregnant/sick on the buses and trains.

There is a lot more good in our world than bad. Some may not believe it, and in some coutnries, it is horrendous. But there are good places and good people, and we need to be reminded of that.
Count every blessing and feel no guilt in being blessed. But share your happiness, be kind to others, that's the trick. Be grateful for what you have and spread some sunshine. We need to make our own happiness and take happiness in the beauty and little miracles around us.

That's what I hope to do this year most of all.

Angela *looking to a brighter future*

Thursday, January 04, 2007

This Year, Definitely...Yeah, Right.

This week at Star-Crossed, we're doing "New Year's Resolutions." Every year, I, like a bazillion other people, set out to make this year The Year It Sticks.

Yes, I currently have a rather pedestrian list of resolutions I'm intending to (really!) make happen this year. Losing fifteen pounds, getting more writing done, keeping my house neater. Blah, blah, blah. But you know what? It's part of New Year's Magic.

I've come to this realization that the turn of the year has a special rejuvenating magic that permeates the atmosphere no matter what. My religious new year is in August, and damned if I don't get that same "New Year's Resolution" feeling then, too. Contrary to my Christmas Grinchiness, I am totally okay with New Year's Resolutions.

Did you know that it takes 28 days to create a good habit? You can lose one in four, but it takes 21-28 days to condition your body and mind to accept a habit. This little secret can be very useful--you don't have to complete your resolutions all year...all you have to do is complete them for 28 days and they'll become habits! So for the next 28 days, I'm going to up the ante on my WIP and double my daily wordcount. And I'm going to exercise. And drink more water and less coffee. And go to bed earlier. And be a nicer person in traffic. And...

The Broken Curse

Sounds like the title of a great book, huh? Unfortunately, it’s related to my life. In October, I was laying on the physical therapist’s table lamenting how my bad luck always seems to come in threes. I had injured my shoulder in a car accident that wasn’t my fault and having to foot the bill (it’s a long story!), and then I managed to injure my wrist in a fall at work. He jokingly said that he’d steer clear of me, incase it rubbed off. I laughed. I knew what I had wasn’t catching. And I know it’s weird to look for dissimilar things that make patterns (atleast that’s what I picked up from Numb3rs while I was sidelined), but I’m pretty certain the news about Ties of Valor was the big #3.

However, I’ve lived with greater loss…and far more sadness. That’s why I am afraid to be too overjoyed this New Year, because I’m scared the count will start over with lives in the balance. In January 31, 2000 my stepfather passed away after a weeklong coma during one of the only blizzards our town has seen in my lifetime. He’d been with my mom since I was 3. On December 21, 2002 my father passed away after a long bout with emphysema, pneumonia and lung cancer. I’d visited him every day for a month, but that Christmas I had to say goodbye. Then on Mother’s Day in 2004, my grandfather passed away after my nightlong vigil where I cried on the inside because I couldn’t do more for him as he suffered.

When 2006 came, I often sucked in my breath, waiting for another strike to continue the cycle. Would my uncle, my cousin, or even my boyfriend be next? There were close calls, like the instance where my boyfriend stepped out in front of an SUV in Atlanta during Nationals. (Needless to say he got a tongue lashing!) And the close call my brother-in-law had at work with a power lift in the mechanic’s shop. But when I heard news that my youngest cousin, a rookie Wildlife Officer, was being stationed in a district that had gone unmanned since the previous officer’s death on duty, I had cause for serious worry. When he didn’t come home for Thanksgiving because of his job, it seemed fate’s time was ripe. Thankfully that day and Christmas came and went without trouble. Then, I found myself wishing I wouldn’t get a call on the 31st.

I didn’t…but that doesn’t mean I falter in saying a special, little prayer for him at night. I know it’s silly to worry over something that might not, or hasn’t, happened, but it makes me feel better. Hopefully the small gesture of faith will make 2007 a better year for my family.

May all your endeavors (writing and otherwise) be fruitful and all your loved ones safe during `007!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I don't make resolutions...

But if I would be to write faster. And better. And promote my books more.

Unfortunately, I hurt the tendons in my thumb a few years back so typing fast isn't an option. Write better? Well, I hope for that all the time. Promote my books more? That's a good one :D but as soon as I get pressed for time, it'll probably fall by the wayside. Sigh.

I used to resolve to lose weight, become more physically fit, more educated. Well, I continue to learn, hence become more educated even if it's not a regular course of study. The lose weight/fit resolution never lasted much farther than January 1. Now I resolve to eat in moderation (have to since I'm diabetic) and exercise in moderation (the old bones just won't tolerate jogging and jumping up and down. I let them have their way on this :D )

Nope, resolutions just aren't my cup of tea. I don't break them therefore I don't feel the disappointment of failure. My self esteem is higher. My worldview is more gentle especially since I don't have to envy those steadfast folk who manage to fulfill their resolutions (and congrats to them!) Without resolutions, I am more at peace. And really isn't that a goal in itself?

Happy New Year to all of you. May 2007 bring you good health, good luck and much prosperity!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Resolution Week!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope 2007 is a healthy, prosperous year for all of you!

This week at Star-Crossed is our resolution week. Does that word strike fear in your heart? It used to with me. I hated to make resolutions because I always broke them by January 15th. The old 'I'm going to diet and exercise' thing never, ever worked for me and it just made me depressed to see how quickly I could shoot all my shiny new resolutions in the foot.

So a few years ago, I resolved to un-resolve. I blogged about my tradition of un-Resolutions at Two Voices a few days ago. It was one of the best decisions I made because I haven't yet broken an un-Resolution.

Whether you resolve or un-resolve, drop by and tell us what your plans are for 2007 and here's hoping it's a great year!