Monday, December 27, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

So we survived the blizzard. Not that there was really any doubt, the only concern was if the wind would knock out power. It didn't. But events like this conspire to keep you from your goals. It's a regular block party on our street, with everyone out shoveling and plowing and snow-blowing. I did get a lot of laundry done, organized and put away the bulk of the Christmas presents and in general got the house together. Which it needed.

The kids enjoyed it - they played for a few hours, had snowball fights and the like, came in for soup and hot cocoa and played with their Christmas toys. Nice life, eh? lol

Overall, we were lucky. There are horror stories of people stranded in their cars, on trains, in the airport, for hours. People literally abandoned their cars, as it became clear it was the only way they'd get home. Haven't heard of any injuries or deaths in our area, thankfully, but part of me has to wonder. Some of these people admitted getting on the road at 6:00pm or later, when the storm was at one of its worst points. I mean, really? Come on, have you not listened to the radio or watched TV in the last few hours? Didn't they tell you to STAY AT HOME?

I will give some people who had no choice the benefit of the doubt. There were those that definitely had to at least try to get to work. But the others, who decided let's go see how bad it really is, or maybe we can get over to cousin Joey's house and spend the storm with them, just boggle my mind. When the state declares a State of Emergency, usually that means the roads and other travelways are impassible. Technically, you're supposed to stay off the roads so the emergency crews can clear and get through as needed. If you venture out in such conditions, you're only going to get stuck, so why not just stay where you are? It's warm, you have food, and if anything dire should happen, emergency services know how to get to you.

But it's all over, save the mountains of snow all over the place which make driving a delight. I really am not a big fan of snow, it annoys me. I'd like a few inches, enough to cause a snow day, then have it all melt completely away by the next day. Oh well, the price you pay for living in NJ, I suppose.

So for now, I'll dream of May, which leads to summer, and beach vacations, and pool parties and barbecues. It'll be here fast enough!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I both love and loathe this time of year. I love it because for the most part, people act human, and it’s such a joy to enjoy all the sights of the season. Plus my kids’ excitement is infectious, so you can’t help smiling or laughing with them. I loathe it because it also brings out the worst in people – rudeness, stupidity and a total lack of all human decency. I spent an entire day on a marathon shopping spree, and for the most part, people were nice and helpful. But there were a few I would have loved to have clocked with my armloads of shopping bags.

The other reason the season grates is that there’s so much to do. Between all the pageants and concerts and plays, I feel like I spend a huge chunk of time in churches and school auditoriums. Not to mention the shopping – though with online shopping it is much easier than it used to be. But then there’s the tree to put up, my Christmas in the City houses that need to be put out, lights to put on the house, cookies to bake, and endless presents to wrap. Another dilemma facing me is hiding the kids’ gifts. My daughter is 14, so she knows who Santa is, but my 6 year old son is still a believer, and had quite a list to present to Santa when we visited this year. And my hiding places are growing more and more limited each year.

But the tree is up (not without some drama from above-mentioned 14 year old), the houses are out (with some heart-stopping moments from the 6 year old who insists on playing with the people!), lights are bright and cheery on the house, and the cookie ingredients are ready (I’ll be bringing some to my critique group holiday gathering, so get ready ladies). So I guess I’m ahead of things this year, which is unusual. Of course, my house looks like a few dozen bombs went off since yesterday, so there’s the downside. There’s always a downside, isn’t there? Overall, though, we had a lot of fun

But the point is, I really am feeling the season this year. Definitely more love than loathe. Last year, I had foot surgery, so everything was rushed and then I was disabled and couldn’t do much of anything, making it a "loathing" year. So I’m really enjoying even the maddening moments this year. The Ipod is loaded up with holiday songs that I’ve been playing every chance I get. And walking the malls was a lot less painful too.

What about everyone else? Are you ready? Close? What fun traditions do you have for the season, that really make it feel like holiday-time? Anyone expecting any lumps of coal this year? ;) Hard to believe that a month-plus worth of prep is all over in a day!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Playing Around

As I travel around the web, I’ve come to the realization that my blog is rather plain. Sure I have a pretty background design, but that’s about it. I see so many really cool blogs with animated graphics, rolling pictures, etc. I’ve tried to add a couple of pictures with links on them, but I screwed that up and still have not been able to figure out. I keep playing around, but nothing seems to be working.

I do some web work at my day job – most of it consists of adding product information to an information repository that auto feeds the data to various pages on our site. The rest of what I do web-related is provide information and articles to the web marketing group, and they do the programming and uploading.

I’m in awe of some of the sites I’ve visited and follow. I want to jazz my page up a bit, but I’m not sure where to start. I’d love any input or guidance anyone might have, and I might even be willing to pay for some design services, though, being the penny-pinching bargain hunter I am, I’d prefer to keep the costs down as much as possible.

I’m sure I’ve got some internet tech-savvy friends out there – can anyone enlighten the clueless? Because after that, I'd love to learn how to make trailers, banners and other types of graphic promo materials. Then again, maybe I've got pipe dreams

Monday, November 29, 2010

To Menage or Not To Menage

I’ve been a terrible blogger lately, I know. November has been a killer month. Losing most of the first week for Disney, my son’s birthday, which involved two parties, my daughter getting sick, budget time at the day job and Thanksgiving really sucked up tons of time. Add to that my official participation in NaNoWriMo, and the month literally slipped through my hands at lightning speed.

It wasn’t a bad month, just busy, and I did finish the story for NaNoWriMo. Right now, the first draft comes in at about 52K words, and it is complete. It’s the shortest book I have ever written, though it will likely end up a little longer than that by the time the revision process is complete. But the plot changed a little bit from my first vision for this story.

During all the madness of the month, I managed to find myself some snippets of time in which to read. Trusty Sony Reader in hand, I took advantage of smoke breaks at work (and home), sitting in the car waiting to pick up kids, or in the doctor’s waiting room, etc. In typical fashion, I focused on a certain genre, glutting myself on it. It started a couple of months back, when I read Kari Gregg’s “Lovely Wicked” and HC Brown’s “My Purr-Fect Alphas.” Both of them featured ménage plotlines, and the emotional depth of both just blew me away. And they got me to thinking.

Now, I’ve read just about everything you can think of, and there is very little that bothers me, and a whole lot that just sucks me in and gets my mind going. For some time, I’d been toying with the idea of a ménage storyline, but haven’t really given it a go, because I honestly don’t feel I can do it justice. And there are variations, though I’ve mostly read m/f/m books. But it complicated how I wanted to go with it. Sometimes the men have a sexual relationship with each other, sometimes they don’t. I don’t have a preference as far as what I want to read, but again, don’t really think I have what it takes to write the m/m relationship the way it deserves.

But, inspired by the superb books I recently devoured, I did finally take the plunge and added some ménage scenes to the story I just completed. In this case, the third partner is actually the hero’s brother, and he’s invited to participate by the hero, who doesn’t have the best intentions. In fact, his intentions are pretty rotten. But the men do not have any sort of sexual contact, because incest is one of my personal squicks. The bottom line though, there was never any plan to have the three of them permanently together, and I wonder if I made the right choice including that part of the plot. Specifically, the way it came about – it will likely be viewed by some as occurring in a truly un-heroic way, to the point where the consent is dubious. Though, as my critique partners can attest, I like my heroes to be villainous in some ways.

I’d love to hear some opinions on this from those who read and write m/m or ménage books. I haven't really looked at any stats, what's popular? I realize there's no right or wrong, but what seems to be the most common variations? I've noticed that everything I've read involves BDSM as well, and I wonder why that is? Is there such a thing as a vanilla ménage? I haven't come across any yet, but would love to check some out.

And of course, I'll take any and all reading recommendations! ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adventures in Cooking

Every year, on my son’s birthday, I make a very special meal. It started several years back, when my in-laws were discussing their favorite sauce, called Genovese. Now, if you’re Italian (which I am not, my husband is, and this is my MIL’s recipe. She’s about as Italian as you can get) and your family comes from the Naples area of Italy, you may have heard of it. For some reason, this sauce recipe is pretty much exclusive to the Naples area. I’ve never been, but from what I understand, if you ask for it anywhere in Italy outside Naples, most Italians haven’t even heard of it. It’s actually a rather simple sauce, it consists if browning an eye round and then removing it from the (huge) pot so you can sauté diced prosciutto in the juices. Once that’s done, you add about 15-20 lbs of sliced Spanish onions, so the pot is full. The only other ingredient is water, which you fill to the brim of the pot. The sauce then literally cooks for about two days, until the onions caramelize and break down, making a delicious, rich brown sauce. About two hours before completion, the eye round is added back in to finish cooking before serving over pasta.

Here's a visual to give an idea of how the process goes:

Because of the time involved, this is a sauce that’s usually made once a year, and usually in the colder months, because the house gets really hot when you’re cooking giant pots of sauce. As you can see, I use a giant roasting pan on two burners, plus another very large sauce pot, or Dutch oven, on a third. Since I usually end up feeding 25-30 people, I need to make a lot.

This year will be a little different though. My daughter has requested I make the Genovese for her birthday, which is in January. So we are merely postponing it, but now I’ve had to come up with another idea to feed 30 people next week. And it’s not easy planning such a meal – my family has issues with what they’ll eat or not eat, and while just about everyone else doesn’t have such issues, the two or three people who do make it complicated. But I think I’ve come up with just the right recipe, which should make everyone happy.

Chicken Cacciatore

What could be easier? Chicken stew, Italian style, basically. The worst part is probably the chopping that’s involved. And to make it easier for everyone, I will be making the chicken off the bone. Easier for me to prepare and cook, easier for my guests to eat. I will probably also make a pan of sausage and peppers, since that’s always popular. And of course, 10 pounds of pasta! But the trick now is what to serve for appetizers. Other than cookies, appys happen to be my specialty, I usually bring one to every function I go to, they’re fun to eat, and my favorite parties have always been the ones where I made nothing but appys. Normally, with the Genovese sauce, I put out a traditional antipasto platter, with sausages, cheeses, olives, roasted peppers and the like. But I think I need to do something different with the Cacciatore. I am going through lists and trying to select a few faves that always go over well. But so many of my favorites, while technically easy to make, are time consuming to prepare. So I’ve that dilemma to solve – I have a week before I must shop, so that helps. A little.

Anybody have any easy faves that are crowd-pleasers? I enjoy the cooking, but my time is limited, since I like to put out at least three or four dishes for my guests to nosh on. Of course, the real benefit to making so much food is the leftovers we’ll enjoy for a few more days. :D

Friday, October 29, 2010

Men In Uniform

Today I am in between trips to Orlando. I got back Wednesday from a business trip for my day job - it was a tradeshow for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It was actually a really cool show - there were all kinds of things related to law enforcement, like guns, body armor, police cars with flashing lights (which got REAL annoying after a few days), SWAT vehicles and helicopters. Not to mention all the men in various uniforms - not only police officers, but military as well. and FBI and DEA agencies. It was quite enjoyable, all those men (and many women too) walking around, looking official and damn sexy! I do love men in uniform, not to mention a good many of them were carrying handcuffs! ;) LOL!

One highlight was an exhibitor's booth for a company that makes a license plate recognition system for things like remote ticketing. It so happens that we've been trying to sell our cameras into this company for some time, as we market the component cameras for many other companies with similar systems. This company though had a celebrity on hand to promote their products:

Anybody remember him? Yep, it's Erik Estrada, the star of CHiPs, from the 1970's. I think he looks pretty good, doesn't he? I look like hell, long days on the floor and being a little nervous will do that to you. It was a delight to meet him, sadly, he ran out of pictures to autograph, so I grabbed the first thing I could find in my bag - the pad I had made with the cover of In The Devil's Arms! He was quite interested in that, so we talked about it for a few minutes before I got my hug and picture. He really was quite charming. And I also left him with a page from the pad and urged him to buy the book! LOL! Definitely the highlight of the trip.

But now I am frantic, as I am heading back to Orlando, this time for a well-deserved Disney vacation. Traveling alone is much easier, I have one checked bag, my carry-on and my purse. This will be an interesting test of my organization skills. I think we're in good shape, though I could use another day or so to prepare. The only other issue is I am losing the first three days of NaNoWritMo, so I'll have to work extra hard next weekend to catch up.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

(Too Many) Characters Welcome

So as I plan for NaNoWriMo, I’ve been tossing around a few ideas. I really wanted to work on my sci-fi themed story, but technically, I’m not supposed to as I have already started it. I only have 8K words so far, but I wouldn’t count them in my totals written for the month, if I went with this story.

One in particular keeps coming to the forefront as I jot down brief notes for characters I may want to write about (their names, their appearance and the like). These characters are part of my medieval family I created when I wrote The Heart of The Panther. My critique partners may remember Gillian and Royce, and Gillian’s brother Simon and his “from-another-time-but-really-from-his-time” woman, Caroline. I know, that was confusing. But years ago, I started a story involving Gillian and Royce’s daughter, Marisa. I got about seven chapters into that one and it kind of withered and died on the vine. The plot was illogical, as were some of Marisa’s actions. But I’ve got a new slant on her now, and her nemesis Iain, the Scottish warrior who wants vengeance against Marisa’s father. So I’m leaning toward writing that this month – I have an opening already in mind, and I think I can reasonably tie in a bunch of kink to really spice the story up. It should work well, considering that opening scene does place her in a captive role.

The catch? I have a really great (IMO) idea for Helene and Devlin’s daughter as well. Since the Marchand men are happily and proudly Dominants, I wondered what a Marchand woman would be like. I tend to prefer to write my stories with a male Dom and a female sub, though I do enjoy reading a good ménage where there are both female and male subs in the relationship. But I cannot get into the mindset of a female Domme, or a male sub to be able to do a story like that justice. I guess I’m wired to prefer a male Dom and female sub. But being that Regine Marchand is a headstrong, independent woman, it should follow, that as a Marchand, she would be natural in the Dominant role. But I couldn’t help thinking what if she was truly a submissive, and didn’t recognize the fact?  And I have just the guy to show her how to face the reality she isn’t a Domme. The setting for this book worked out pretty well, as I used my love of horses and riding and the equestrian world in general to make her a professional three-day eventer who gets caught up in a scandal. Who suspends her from competition? None other than the man who showed her what it means to accept submission at the hands of a strong yet loving Dom. And you know those equestrians, they have all sorts of gear that lends itself to a BDSM relationship.

Then I decide I’d like to travel back in time again and want to write Marisa and Iain. As usual, I can’t make up my mind – it’s like trying to decide between the Brownie Sundae cake and the Italian pastries for dessert. Can’t I have them all?

So the debate continues – I may just have to flip a coin. I’d love your opinions. What do you think? Which would you rather read?

Monday, October 18, 2010


I've seen the talk increasing over the last few weeks, and think I might actually sign up for NaNoWriMo this year. I never "officially" join in, but the last two years, I did participate on my own. Last year, I wrote almost the entire story of Lily and Aidan (Healing the Mage), even if I did end up cutting a good third of it. The year before was a huge chunk of In The Devil's Arms (won't even mention how much of that got cut!).  I've been toying with which ideas to focus on this time around.

This year, I think I'm going to focus on my sci-fi-ish ms, Prince of the Universe ( a little Highlander influence showing up there!). I'm about 25 pages in with it, and the characters there are really calling to me. Since I'm losing a nice chunk of November this year (family Disney trip, little guy's b-day, Thanksgiving, though I don't host, thank God!, and very busy at work), I've decided that I will, for the first time ever, see if I can write something less than 100K words. Actually, I may shoot for half that with this story. I'm hopeful, even if my last "short story" ended up at 113K words! I figure the lack of available days may help in that goal.

So we'll see how it goes with this, for the first time, I have a basic, relatively simple plot, though we'll see how long that lasts. And, the hero in this story also has a brother, but he's been patiently waiting for me to get to him. Good thing. He's got plenty of time to hang out, as long as he doesn't make a mess of the place, or get too demanding. Because otherwise, I'll have to banish him to the dark corners of the basement until I'm ready to deal with him.

Authors, are you planning to participate this year? If so, what are your plans for the month?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trail Me Teasers Blog Hop

Another blog hop - though I haven't quite got the hang of getting all the good stuff in here (like the really cool logo!). I'm working on it! See below for the details:

Join us for Trail Us Teasers.

Readers - do you want to meet some authors you've never read before? Hop onto the blog hop, stop at each blog and leave comment.

Authors - If you write paranormal, historical, romance, join our blog hop and meet new friends!

Bloggers - Do you review paranormal, romance, historical, whatever? Add your link.

Here's how it works:
•Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from blog to blog. The idea is to find some new to you authors and new reading material. Leave us a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We'd love to hear with you!


•Follow the Trail Us Teasers host Brita Addams along with the wonderfully talented authors and bloggers on the list. Enter your name and blog/website url into the Linky tool.

•Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don't create a post for the hop, your readers won't have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. You have 150 characters. Put the name of your blog, a sentence from one of your books, etc. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!

•Please share the Linky list in a post on your blog! Follow the link and grab the code.

A Brief Excerpt - Caution: NC-17

I've been working on writing the last little bits of my current WIP, Healing the Mage. I have maybe another page or two worth to write, then it's time to begin the dreaded revisions. My hard copy has so many notes, it looks like it's bleeding! But the progress has been worth it. But I have to say I haven't been too pleased with how the love scenes are working out.

Usually writing the sex is the easy part for me, making all the rest come together coherently often poses a challenge as I tend to over-complicate things. but as I've been working through some earlier scenes, I haven't been satisfied with how they've come out. Last night, I did some tweaking to the first love scene in Healing the Mage. I think it works better, then again, maybe not. So because I like to share my agony, I thought I'd post a snippet here. If you think it works, let me know, and if you think it doesn't, I'd like to know that too, and why. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a bubble and not hitting the high notes as I should.

Anyway, here are Lily and Aidan, shortly after Lily has stumbled over a very ill Aidan and brought him home in an effort to help him. Things don't turn out quite as Lily planned, but then again, if they did, there wouldn't be any story to tell would there?

Heat. It broke through her foggy slumber, flooding her with warmth. She inched closer. A soft moan near her ear tore through the veil of hazy dreams that had left her restless, seeking the promises carried on intense swells of feverish intensity.

The warmth of a solid chest, strong, alive, seared into her awareness. Powerful arms folded around her. One large hand rested on her belly. Her eyes snapped open. Aidan.

He’d buried his face against her neck, his warm breath tingling and tickling her skin. A shot of excitement slithered along her spine. She stared at the hand on her stomach, the long, strong fingers. The thought of them running over her body drew a little shiver of excitement. She raised her hand, gently touching his large one, meandering over his fingers, sliding to the wrist. His warm skin was sprinkled with a light dusting of gold hair, soft under her touch. His lean forearm rested on her waist, burning her through her dress as she continued her exploration, finding his upper arm muscled and solid under the black t-shirt. She shifted slightly, and he gave a soft snore. She froze, cautiously turning her head to look at him. He still slept. Her fingers resumed tracing a vein on his arm and she let out the breath she’d been holding.

It felt nice having him wrapped around her like this. Zut! It was a whole hell of a lot better than nice. There was no pain this morning, there was just his warmth, his presence surrounding her, calming and invigorating her at the same time.

She wanted to laugh. Last night she’d sworn off men. And here she was with one on her bed. Granted it wasn’t exactly how a woman wanted to get a man in her bed, and she was sure he wouldn’t be here any other way, but it was still completely at odds with her promise to herself.
Her hand drifted again, lingering on his bicep, tracing down past his elbow. She imagined him leaning above her and… What was she doing? She needed to get him out of her bed. At that moment, the fingers on her stomach flexed, ever so slightly. She gasped, her nipples hardening as the fingers moved again, the caress growing more insistent and seeking. Her hand tightened on his arm.

She held her breath as he moved slowly, massaging with a light touch that unsettled her in more ways than she cared to admit. The power scorched through her, settling in her core, making her pussy throb. What was happening between them?

“Aidan, wake up,” she said, hoping he would stop, at the same time, hoping he wouldn’t.

“I am awake.”

His sleep-roughened voice only sparked more fire in her veins. How could he do this so easily? She hesitated, then turned to face him. His silvery-blue eyes were wide open and watching her, and a hint of a smile played on his lips.

“Like what you see?”

“How long have you been awake?” she asked.

“The whole time.”

She closed her eyes and swallowed. Her heart threatened to explode, both from embarrassment and the knowledge that she had indeed, liked what she’d found. There was no graceful exit from this one.

If only she hadn’t felt his pain last night, heard his moans of agony. She sighed and looked away, knowing she needed to get free of him, even as she wanted to stay wrapped in the cocoon of desire he slowly built.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have ….” His seeking touch moved more insistently, sliding up toward her breast. She held her breath, knowing she should stop him, yet wanting to feel his caress. She closed her eyes against a half-hearted denial, fighting the need to press even closer, to touch him as he touched her.

“I’m glad you did.” His slow progress was maddening, even as he passed his lips along her ear, his words a vibrant whisper that left her gasping.

“I didn’t mean… oh, it’s too much.” His fingers slid still higher and ignited her yearning, more intense than she’d ever known before.

“It is, isn’t it, Lily? Too much and not enough.” His low voice was a caress of its own. “Even in pain, I recognized the attraction and had to have more. You felt it too.”

“I… no, I didn’t.”

His chuckle sounded like thunder in her ear. “Don’t delude yourself, little Healer. Your touch did more to me than ease my pain.”

With that, he cupped her breast and she couldn’t stop from arching into him. At the same time, his lips moved along her neck, and she was suddenly on fire, aching and desperate for more of his touch. She bit her lip to keep the moan from escaping, but his hand squeezing and caressing her breast had her head swimming. With a start, she realized he was under the blankets with her, pressed against her ass. Even clothed, she could feel his erection, hard and insistent. Another bolt of lightning sizzled along her skin, his lips now on the curve of her shoulder, easing the strap of her tank dress away.

She quickly gave up the effort to remain motionless. Instead, she pushed into him, turning and allowing him the freedom to touch her, to bare her skin as he did. Finally, he eased up on one arm and she found herself completely underneath him, his crotch pressed into hers. She let the moan escape then, her pussy throbbing in sudden need. This shouldn’t be. He was a stranger, really, a pureblood Zyndevine Mage just coming into his powers. She was a former Enchantress who’d turned her back on magic and all of its trappings. But the desire would not be denied and she reached for him, sliding her arms around his neck and pulling him near for a kiss.

She meant to keep it slow and gentle, but Aidan consumed her with his mouth, his lips and tongue wreaking havoc on her senses as he dove deep into her mouth, teasing her, making her quiver wildly. She let the last of her doubts go as she met his tongue with hers, her body curling around him.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blog Hop

I was invited to join a blog hop by my fellow Noble author, Brita Addams. It seems like a really cool idea, and a good way for readers to meet new authors, and vice versa. And as a reader too, it gives me more options to find new books and authors to read myself. I've decided to participate, and can only hope I got this all right. My somewhat decent technical agility has abandoned me when it comes to this blog!

Anyway, leave a comment, and then take a look at the list below and see who else you might like to meet/visit. And perhaps find some great new books to read as well!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Good Old Days

So, tonight at my parents' house for dinner, where I go each Sunday with the kids, we got to talking about home remedies. It started because while I was in San Diego, my team and I sat around talking about what their parents would give them - for everything. One guy had cod liver oil, another had something else, to be honest, a lot of beer had been drunk that night, so I don't remember it all. But I do remember the horrified looks when I told them about one of my grandmother's remedies - one she gave to my mother and my aunts. For a sore throat, a spoonful of Vaseline with sugar on it was the norm.

I mentioned this to my mother, and she started telling me about other things, which then brought up the point that most drugs that are illegal today, weren't until the 1930's or thereabouts. She dug this up to point out some other things either she, her friends, or my grandmother had been given. Probably my great-grandmother, but we have no way of knowing - she left her husband and daughter (my Grammy) to run away with another man when my grandmother was a baby.

Anyway, I'm sure this isn't the first time this is out there, and I wish I knew who to credit it to, but I got such a chuckle, I thought I'd share. Of course, this is also one way of stalling with the scene I'm writing, as it's not going as smoothly as I'd hoped. And oddly enough, I have a story idea for some of this, but I doubt anything will come of it. One of those "sounded like a good idea at the time" sort of things.

Why Our Great-Grandparents Have Such Fond Memories Of Their Youth...I'm surprised that they could remember anything!!

A bottle of Bayer's 'Heroin'

Between 1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children suffering with a strong cough.

Coca Wine, anyone?

Metcalf's Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment.

Mariani Wine

Mariani wine (1875) was the most famous Coca wine of it's time. Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal.


Produced by the Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York .
It was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after every meal. Children should only take half a glass.

A paper weight

A paper weight promoting C.F. Boehringer & Soehne Mannheim , Germany. They were proud of being the biggest producers in the world of products containing Quinine and Cocaine.

Opium for Asthma

At 40% alcohol plus 3 grams of opium per tablet, it didn't cure you, but you didn't care...

Cocaine Tablets (1900)

All stage actors, singers, teachers and preachers had to have them for a maximum performance. Great to 'smooth' the voice.

Cocaine drops for toothache

Very popular for children in 1885. Not only did they relieve the pain, they made the children very happy!

Opium for new-borns

I'm sure this would make them sleep well (not only the Opium, but also 46% alcohol)!

It's no wonder they were called, 'The Good Old Days'!! From cradle to grave ... Everyone Was Stoned!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I had meant to post this last night, but when I got home from critique group, the little guy was still awake, and the next thing I knew, I wasn’t! LOL!

In any case - Congratulations to Brita Addams and Alina290 – you’ve each won a copy of In The Devil’s Arms!

I’ll need your email addresses – still figuring this blog thing out, is there a way to direct message me? I know that’s a feature with LiveJournal, Twitter and Facebook, but am still a little clueless with this. I also haven’t figured out how to follow blogs – I thought I was following several people but apparently I’m not. *sigh*

Somehow, I’ll figure it out – but I’m open to any info anyone can share! :) I think I’ve got way too many places to keep up with!

Congratulations to the winners!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's Release Day!

This day has finally arrived! I’m so excited to finally see In The Devil’s Arms released. Many many months of blood, sweat, and yes, quite a few tears, have paid off. This book is very near and dear to me for a lot of reasons, especially the people who inspired it, and encouraged me to keep going, even when I was ready to give it all up. And I quite literally was ready to give up the dream of seeing myself published again. Not only that, but this book inspired my current WIP, and spurred plans for another book or two in the Magiste community in New Orleans. The Magiste, which is the term encompassing various types of magical people, are everywhere, as I am finding out through some new characters who’ve recently introduced themselves to me. :)

Back to In The Devil’s Arms – I can’t stop staring at the cover. It is simply gorgeous, when I first saw it, it left me breathless. I’m getting silly about it, too, I think. I’ve printed a few copies to place around my various work areas, and even downloaded it to my phone. Fiona Jayde is an amazingly talented artist. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:

And the blurb:

"Helene Gaudet is finally free of her past – a rageful ex-husband whose curse has left her unable to have children. Helene shares those past agonies with no one - certainly not with a Marchand.

Her lonely life is upended when she encounters who she believes is her perfect Dom in an internet chat room. To her shock, her Dom is none other than Devlin Marchand, the very person who handed her over to a dark sorcerer to be killed.

Yet, Devlin proves himself to be a loving Master, and lust and love grow with each tormenting, releasing, encounter. But guilt over his past betrayal is multiplied when he learns the curse that has dogged his lover for years comes from the trove of magic created by his very own family. Devlin fears all he has built with Helene will be destroyed.

Can they overcome the past to have a future together?"

As my critique partners and friends all know, I love playing in alternate worlds, or realities, or planets. Magic is one of my favorite alternates, because I love how it can be used in so many ways. I’m also partial to vampires, and am trying to figure a way to blend the two again, as I did in The Taste of Magic. There are some ideas brewing, but I am trying to keep it to just notes until I finish Healing The Mage (for my critique partners, that’s Lily & Aidan). Harry Potter and Charmed are two of my favorite obsessions, as well as Highlander, which is an alternate reality as well. And a longtime favorite that is inspiring another set of characters is Dragon Ball Z, one of the most popular Japanese anime series from the 1980's & 90’s. The recent remastering for the 25th anniversary has revved up my love for this show, especially those nasty Saiyan warriors, Vegeta and Raditz. Yes, I freely admit, I am partial to the bad boys and villains! I’m also starting to dip my toes into the True Blood pool, I’m sure it won’t be long before that takes up a permanent space in my favorite things list. Like I need another obsession to take up my time.

So in celebration of the release, I am giving away copies of In The Devil’s Arms randomly to two commenters to this post. So comment here and share your favorite magical stories, or recommendations. Or simply say hello!

In the meantime, pop over to Noble Romance and take a look at some of their other titles as well. Every one I’ve read is hot, hot, HOT! Here's the link:

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Very Productive Evening

I settled in last night with some wine and the laptop and got to work on finishing up my pre-edits of In The Devil’s Arms. I made excellent progress, about twenty pages left to go. On my personal PC, I use Microsoft Word 2010. I got the full MS Office package through a program at work, since we use their applications. Cost me $10 for the entire 2010 suite. The only problem now is my work laptop, which I use a lot at home too, doesn’t have the 2010 software. That did create one issue.

I know a lot of people don’t like the newer MS operating systems and software, but I really like it now that I’m used to it. One of the features I found very helpful was the new search function. It creates a list in a sidebar, and one of the new functions is a preview showing the instances of your search topic, along with the surrounding words. So I did a search for “was.” Too many to preview. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the total count. Normally the preview lets me look over several sections of text where the word appears, and I can formulate how to rework it and see how close the next instance was.

Anyway, on to the main point. I really need to work on my tendency to ramble. :) Last night, I used the work laptop – my daughter had commandeered mine for her homework, and since I keep everything on removable media, I can work anywhere as long as I have a computer. After I put the little guy to bed, I perched in my kitchen with aforementioned wine and dug in. Nearly three hours later, when I had to stop because my eyes were starting to tear, I had only twenty or so pages left. I did a quick search for my targeted word again and was pleasantly surprised. Knocked out about 400 of them! Most of what I left in occurred in dialogue, or the scene just called for a particular phrase. And I will likely lose a bunch of those too when I go through it one last time. I don’t think I could ever be done finding a way to lose another one. Even to this day, when I look at The Taste of Magic, there are things I would change if I wrote it now.

One other thing I found - even with the focus on that one word, I made a lot of other changes as well. So many times the following sentences then seemed out of place and also needed reworking. Passive voice has been a big problem for me with this manuscript, more so than with any others, but I think I managed to take care of most of it, if not all. No doubt a few eluded me, after a while, I stop noticing those flaws so easily.

And since it's Friday, tonight should be another productive night - I can stay up later! And, I still have some wine left.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Misused and Misspelled Words

I got an email today from the editor at Noble, with an updated “Pre-Edits worksheet.” While a bunch of it is the same, there are quite a few more things I need to look at again. I did chuckle through some of it, as I read about things that bug me as well when I come across them. And of course, it means a bit more work for me as I go back over things, but I found it a really helpful guide. I also realized my comma usage is what could be considered by some to be "old-fashioned." But what I really liked a lot were the lists at the end.

The first was about 6 pages of commonly misspelled and misused words. Thankfully, as I read through that, those weren’t an issue for me. Spelling and word usage is one of those things that has always come easy to me, in fact, whenever anyone in the office needs to spell something, they ask me. I can think of one time in the last 14 years where I’ve been wrong, though I’m sure there were a couple of others, that instance is the only that sticks out in my head. Sadly, I’ve seen many of the words on the list misused in published works.

But the list I really liked was the one comprised of compound words. One in particular that caught my eye was “all right.” I know it’s common today to use “alright” and it is in the dictionary, although indicated as Non-Standard, but that has always been one of my particular peeves. I never ever ever use “alright.” It goes back to the days when Sister Maureen was my English teacher in freshman year, and she was absolutely adamant that “alright” was not a word. Along with “alot.” I see that often and it makes me cringe. It is two words – a lot. MS Word even auto-corrects it. I laughed at some of the phrases specific to erotic romance – this is not a list I’m going to share with my daughter when she’s doing her homework, that’s for sure!

The list didn’t include home/hone in. I have always thought the expression was “hone in,” but I see and hear “home in” all the time. Or this one - I was always raised with the expression “buck naked.” Not “butt naked.” Technically, I suppose both are correct, but which is “right?”

Any other words or phrases that bug you or that you’ve heard used one way, and learned they were meant to be used another? Language is constantly evolving, but I wonder if some of the changes dilute or alter the meaning. Certainly some of the phrases in use today that originated generations or even centuries ago, would not have the same meaning as when they were first used.

And lastly, a Happy New Year to all my friends celebrating today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Start of the School Year

School is starting! YAY! Although this year, we are starting late – September 13, to be exact. Why so late? Because our district observes the Jewish Holidays, just like many districts around here, though there are several that do not. And since this year, those holidays are the week of Labor Day, our traditional school opening week, it made more sense to remain closed the extra week. Either way, I am so glad to have the kids going back to school.

This year, my little guy is starting kindergarten, and my daughter is entering 8th grade. Last year before high school. When the hell did that happen? But it’s going to be an interesting year, since now both kids will have a heavy schedule. Between sports, dance lessons, CCD, National Honor Society and Girl Scouts, community service hours, not to mention homework, I’m going to be spending a lot of time on the road. Add in my own personal commitments, full time job, writers’ meetings and critique groups, and hopefully other writing-related events to increase in the coming months, and I’m going to be ready for a rubber room by November. No wait, can’t do that, taking the family to Disney in November. December then. No, then it’s the holidays. January is daughter’s b-day. Okay then, reserve the rubber room for February.

But as crazy as that all sounds, having the school year start actually does make life a tiny bit easier. No worries about who has to go where, do I have a babysitter while I’m working, etc. Plus, the kids are so damn tired after their crazy days, that they are all tucked in and usually close to or already asleep by 10:00pm. Then my time kicks in.

It’s going to be nice not to have to chase anyone off my computer (or stand in the kitchen with my work laptop) so I can write. I’ve even outlined a schedule for myself. I have two almost completed WIPs that I want to get wrapped up in the next couple of months. I have another one that I started recently, that stands at about 5K words right now. Big goals with not a lot of time to fit them all in. But if I keep myself organized (ha!) and focused, I should be able to do it. Of course, it would be so much easier if I didn’t have two business trips looming – one at the end of September, one the end of October (and don’t forget Disney in November!). They’re going to be huge time sucks, both during the day while I’m working, and even at home while I prep the household for my absence.

I’ve resigned myself to learning to function on less than 5 hours of sleep a night – for the next stretch, it looks like that’s all I’ll be able to fit in. And then that rubber room is going to look very welcoming.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Welcome to my blog. It's rather bland for the moment, I will spend some time sprucing the place up soon. Check back to see what craziness I decide to include here.

This will be the place where you can learn about me, my current and future works and various other tidbits I may feel like sharing. My new book, In the Devil's Arms, is a paranormal BDSM themed novel set in the Magiste community in New Orleans. While the Magiste people are magical, it is unlikely you'll find much based in real practices of witchcraft and Wicca. I tend to make my own rules for my world. In the Devil's Arms will be released soon by Noble Romance Publishing.

Currently, I am 3/4 finished with the sequel to In the Devil's Arms, and I have at least two other books planned for that world. In addition, I also have a WIP that has a sci-fi theme to it, and have a plan for a second book in that series, as well. We'll see if I'm inspired to do any more in that universe.

Finding the time to get these all written is a challenge, with a full time day job and two children, I tend to suffer from a lack of sleep trying to squeeze everything into every spare minute, but it's so easy to get lost in my unique worlds, that I don't mind.

From time to time, I'll share parts of my work as I progress - particularly difficult scenes always tempt me to share my agony. Doesn't that just sound like fun?