Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays!

The holidays are upon us! Really – if you aren't already celebrating, you will be in a few days. The Christmas Spirit is alive and well in my house – how can it not be with a 15 year old and a 7 year old bouncing off the walls?
Personally, I do like this time of year – everyone is happy, generous, smiling. People say thank you and wish you a happy holiday. Most of my shopping is done, so I haven't had to deal with too many irritated shoppers – I take a day or two off every year in early December to do marathon trips, and this year, I was extremely successful on both trips and knocked just about everyone off my list. Everything else was purchased online.
The tree and Christmas City are set up, the cookies are baked, presents are in the process of being wrapped. Christmas songs, both traditional and modern, are being played most of the time. The Chipmunks are heavy in the rotation – with kids, what do you expect?
I haven't been this organized in several years. It feels weird. I'm used to having to run around for days for the one person who I can't figure out what to get. Scrambling to assemble plates of cookies to give, ship or bring. Making sure the kids have holiday clothes that fit for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We celebrate both days equally – and the festivities begin after church on Christmas Eve.
With my husband's family, we do the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Although, since certain people who were the only ones to eat certain dishes are no longer with us, a few of the fishes have fallen by the wayside – like the octopus cooked in its own ink. I still remember that first Christmas Eve with his family, when DH, who was only my boyfriend at the time, brought me into the kitchen to show me. His grandfather was the only one who ate that. I couldn't even look at it - and I'm a daring eater. I'll try/eat just about anything. Except spinach. And peas. But oddly, I love pea soup. Anyway….
After dinner, we all gather around and open our presents, then go back for dessert and packing up the mountains of toys the kids have accumulated. Get home around midnight, spend a few hours playing Santa and setting up, then fall asleep before we are awakened before dawn to see what Santa left.
After breakfast, we head out to spend the day with my family. My mother, being Irish, has her own take on the Feast. We call it the Feast of the Seven Potatoes. She makes mashed, candied sweets (though that has now become my responsibility), au gratin, and boiled. It's not really seven, but it's become a running joke in our little corner of the world. We could add fries, and maybe has browns, I suppose, but that would be overkill. Or maybe not. I'll have to bring that up and see how it's received. Of course, Mom serves lots of other things too – her Merlot sauce to accompany the filet roast is to die for, and she makes really awesome stuffing (to go with the turkey breast – there's a lot of us).  
When it's all done, and we're crashing back at home, it's hard to believe that for all the weeks of prep, it's over in two short days. You think back, and realize what a blur the month of December has been. The kids' excitement level lowers considerably, and the week between Christmas and New Year's is spent in a fairly calm manner. I especially like the fact my company shuts down every year for that week, so it's easy to recharge the batteries then.

In honor of this giving season, my gift to you is a copy of one of my titles - tell me about your traditions and you could win one of your choice. 
I wish you all a joyous holiday season and I hope you enjoy every moment with lots of love and laughter! And I hope the upcoming New Year brings lots of success and happiness!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Warrior's Vengeance

As we near the end of another year, I've found that I've made significant progress on wrapping up two manuscripts, starting a third and writing a couple of short stories. Not as bad as I thought when I consider how much valuable writing time was sacrificed over the year. One of the books I finished this year is a medieval-set erotic romance, Warrior's Vengeance. This story was a tricky one to write, and to be honest, at times it left me drained. Involving the kidnapping and forced seduction of the heroine, Marissa Langley, the tale skates along, and sometimes seems to cross, the lines of consent.
To be honest, the hero, Ian McCallum, does not treat Marissa nicely. Yet, to be fair, he harbors one hell of a grudge – she is the daughter of his enemy, a man whose warriors raped and murdered Ian's wife, murdered his small son, and basically decimated his village and clan. Kidnapping Marissa and forcing her to be his slave is justified, in his mind. Marissa, on the other hand, cannot believe her father could do such things. Truth is, back in 1307, that's exactly what men like her father did. They were ruthless, murdering and raping innocents, and generally not caring who got caught in the crossfire of their wars. Kind of similar to how things work in various parts of the world today. Certainly there were honorable men who sought to protect those who could not protect themselves, but even those men were merciless when it came to meting out the justice they felt was deserved. Ian is a man much like Marissa's father. One who employs brutal justice, and seeks revenge. Those goals held powerful sway on the men of that time, just as much as their lust for power and money.
But there is a difference in Ian. He feels guilt, true remorse over some of his ill-treatment of Marissa. Not that his guilt will turn him from his avowed path of vengeance - he will still do what he believes he needs to – but he does have regrets. Marissa, after learning what Ian's suffered, understands what drives him, what compels him to behave as he does toward her. She is, after all, a woman of the time. She happens to have been raised alongside one of her brothers, can handle a sword as well as any man, and knows what drives the men in her life, even if she believes them to be more honorable than is claimed by their enemies.
I've had very mixed reactions to this story from the various places it's been sent. Contests, editors, and some critique partners. There is no middle ground with this story – it's either loved, or reviled. I consider it to be forced seduction, and there were those who agreed. Then there were those who disagreed. Strongly, in some cases. I had an absolutely lovely rejection from an editor who explained exactly why she had issues with the content. One of the nicest rejections I ever received. And I understood her point, and why she felt the way she did.  In the contests I entered, overwhelmingly, the story was received very well. I did have an angry judge harshly reprimand me for the content, but others were salivating for more.  Perhaps because it was historical, and set in that brutal era, they were able to put aside the requirements of today's society for complete, clear-as-day consent. Perhaps it's just a fantasy they like to read about. Either way, they wanted more. With those reactions, I was torn as to what I wanted to do with the book. I could make drastic changes, but I wasn't sure I was up to that. Or I could see if I could find a publisher who wanted edgier, more raw stories. I decided I'd start with the latter option, and go from there.
Well, Warrior's Vengeance has found a home, and a bit quicker than I anticipated. Pink Flamingo Publications has accepted it for release sometime in the spring or summer of 2012. I have no other details at this point, but I'm just thrilled that Ian and Marissa's story will be available for readers who like a good, old-fashioned "bodice ripper."  Stay tuned – as I get more information, I'll share it here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Once again, this year the unusual is more unusual than ever. Last year, we missed the regular "school-parade-and-party-neighborhood-trick-or-treating" because we were in Disney. If you ever have the chance to go during the fall, I strongly recommend you buy tickets for the "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party." Everyone goes in costumes, the characters are all over hosting special events, the parades and fireworks are awesome, and they do have trick-or-treating. I saved the bags they give you, they were one of the best things of the night! To me anyway.

This year, the Northeast got pounded by a very early nor'easter that left power lines and trees down all over the place, worse than during Irene in the late summer. Basically, because the leaves are still on the trees, the wet, heavy snow on top made things worse than they'd usually be. I heard and saw several large tree branches, and in some cases actual trees, snap under the weight. Schools are closed, and all celebrations are, at the moment, cancelled. We will trick-or-treat, but we'll be done way before dusk because it's more dangerous than usual at night this year. Can't see those dratted power lines, never mind the melting snow will ice up over the roads and sidewalks.

Nevertheless, this is a particularly fun time for me anyway. I love all sorts of creatures of the night, and this is their season! The creepier and scarier something is, the more I like it. Not the gory, in-your-face, blood & guts scary, but the sort that leaves everything a bit blurred, letting your imagination take over. Nothing can be more frightening than what you imagine it to be.  Like the creaking of your house, the heat flaring on. Normal sounds, unless you're alone, at night, and you can't quite make out what that shadow is in the corner. A wisp of wind outside suddenly becomes ominous, and you find yourself huddled in a comfy chair, with every damn light in the house blazing!

I remember having Halloween sleepovers with my friends in grade school, and we'd always turn out the lights, tell scary stories, make each other do things like "Bloody Mary" in the darkened bathroom, or playing with a Ouija board, where nothing would happen, but we'd end up scaring ourselves silly despite the fact we'd imagined all of it. Or had we? Needless to say, the reason we didn't sleep all night wasn't because we were chatting.

What are some of your favorite Halloween traditions? Do you carve pumpkins, go to a costume party, sit around telling scary stories? Let me know, and you can win a copy of any one of my books. With vampires and magic, they're perfect kinky reading for the season.  And in the same spirit, here's a couple of my favorite scariest magic folk, in pumpkin form:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Who's Your Favorite Vampire?

So, it's October. The time of year when all ghosts and ghouls and witches and monsters come out to play. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the fall, the weather turning colder always bums me out. Hey, what can I say? I'm a summer baby, born on the summer solstice, as a matter of fact, so I like my weather warm and my sun endless.
But I digress. This time of year is actually pretty cool, for one big reason. It's vampire season! As you've probably guessed, I'm a fan of all things vampires. Even as a kid, I was drawn to the bloodsuckers. Of course, growing up in the Twentieth Century, when vampires first started to become sexy to the population in general, helps with that. Prior to Bram Stoker's Dracula, vampires were pretty much reviled and feared. No one wanted to be seduced into an immortal life of darkness by one of the creatures. The perceptions of vampires back then were also very different – they were filthy, evil monsters whose only intent was to kill. People went to all sorts of crazy rituals to ensure dead bodies didn't come back to stalk the living. The natural effects of a body's decomposition also lent to the belief in vampires. Modern science has debunked a lot of the cultural beliefs about vampires by explaining this very process. Sort of takes the fun out of it, if you ask me!
Through the years there were several vamps who caught my eye. I do remember watching Dark Shadows with my grandmother, and though I didn't particularly find the Barnabas Collins of the 60's very sexy to my child's perception, I most definitely rooted for him to come out on top.

From there, my next big recollection was seeing the play Dracula on Broadway in the late 70's. I think I was 14. Raul Julia had just taken over for Frank Langella who had originated the role and then gone on to act in the movie. Can I just say, from that moment on, vampires had me hooked, and I was ready to be bitten! When they staked him at the end (my aunt still laughs about this), the entire audience heard me yell, "NO!" But who can blame me? I mean, really! Look at this guy! Is he one of the hottest vamps you’ve ever seen?

As soon as the movie version came out, I was there. And fell in love with The Count all over again:

Again, I ask, how can you resist? Seriously? To this day, I still find Frank Langella incredibly sexy. He’s one of the ones who I think has aged well over the years.
As time went on, and I watched/read lots of vampire tales, I found many really sexy ones, some others who made my skin crawl.

Of the ones I like, and always recall with fondness (and likely some drooling) there was this guy:

Yes, the remake of Dark Shadows, where I fell in love with Barnabas for real this time, and discovered Adrian Paul, yes, the Adrian Paul of Highlander fame and my obsession for most of the 90's and a good part of the early 2000's. And now, still, to be honest!
But Ben Cross made a fantastic Barnabas, right amount of tortured hero/vindictive villain and for all the right reasons! Sexy, yet unconventionally in a lot of ways.
But my true favorite vampire is this one:

Few people remember this show, which cast Geordie Johnson as The Count in a campy little TV series called, what else? Dracula: The Series. It was silly and sexy, at times solidly spooky, but always good fun. I thought the idea of Dracula living as a modern day businessman was a hoot. Then I thought, if he could do it, how many other vampires were there throughout Europe who had made a success of themselves as seemingly ordinary businessmen? Turns out, more than you’d think! At least in my twisted little mind. One of them in particular sprang to life and demanded I write his story - Adrian duLac. He is much older than Drac, nearly 2,000 years old, and though he may physically resemble this early 90's portrayal of The Count in some ways, he is not as much of a parody, and as Katerina Romanov finds out, quite capable of love. Not to mention, the man possesses some serious sexual prowess. After all, what kind of vampire would he be if he couldn’t kiss a woman senseless, among other things?
Anyway, in honor of Halloween and the recent release of The Taste of Magic, I'm giving away a copy. Tell me – are you a fan of vampires and the various desires they supposedly represent? Who is your favorite vampire and why? Comment here, and be eligible to win!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Taste of Magic Release Day

The Taste of Magic is now available again! I'm very excited - it was one of my favorite books to write, and I still take a lot of pride in being an EPIC Ebook Award finalist with it. The best part is that it has that beautiful new cover. Books We Love Publishing has been a pleasure to work with in re-releasing it.

Like many of my stories, this one was inspired by a character on a TV show, and the "What if" game played a huge part in coming up with the idea. And that game continued through probably almost all of the writing of the book, as well. And of course, since I'm a sucker for super-human men, and this was my first work in the paranormal genre, I really had a hell of a lot of fun writing it. I hope you'll have fun reading it. Kat and Adrian are both very stubborn people, but when it comes to matters of the heart, few can withstand the power! :-)

Here's the blurb:

Adrian du Lac is not your average vampire. Nearly two-thousand years old, he uses immortality to his advantage. Though he lives the life of a successful European businessman, what he really wants is to rule the world.

Originally, he sought Katerina Romanov for her latent powers of witchcraft, but now that she’s come of age, his desires have changed. When Katerina succumbs to Adrian’s charms, some fear the vampire will become invincible. As du Lac’s enemies set out to destroy him once and for all, he and Katerina run the risk of losing each other forever.

You can get your hands on a copy at this link: http://bwlpp.com/rosavin.php   And I'll be giving a couple of copies away - here and on Twitter. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Taste of Magic

I’m very excited to share this news – though many of you may already know. My very first book, published under the name Gina Rosavin, is being re-released. The Taste of Magic will be out in October from Books We Love Publishing (http://bwlpp.com/rosavin.php)  
This book is very dear to my heart, for obvious reasons. It was my first paranormal, a vampire tale, and was one of my favorite books to write. Adrian du Lac is a 2,000 year old vampire with an oversize ego and plans for world domination. Katerina Romanov is a witch who is unaware she has any magical ability. Adrian wants her powers, want to utilize them to his own advantage, but Katerina is just as determined to free her family from his control. Neither of them counted on the fiery attraction, one that quickly escalates into so much more.
The Taste of Magic was a 2007 EPIC E-book Award finalist – they were still called the EPPIES at that time. I didn’t win the category, but knowing that my book stood with some of the best of the year was a thrilling experience. I do have other stories planned in this world, there are secondary characters who have been crying out for their story to be told, and now that Magic is coming back, it’s a good time to get that next book finished up. At the Gina Rosavin website, www.ginarosavin.com, you can find an excerpt of Betrayed.
In the meantime, here’s the new cover and "a bite" of The Taste of Magic. :)  It will be released next month, and I’ll be sure to share when it’s available to purchase.

Adrian responded to the buzz of the intercom. “What is it now?” “Katerina Romanov is here to see you. She doesn’t have an appointment.” Adrian tossed the file onto the desk. “Send her in.” He smiled. Just the distraction he needed from the morning’s work. He glanced down at his tie and straightened it. Just because he had no reflection didn’t mean he would settle for his appearance as less than perfect.
The double doors of his office opened. She stepped into the room. Amazed at how easily she could leave him speechless, he rose. Her sheer beauty was like nothing he had ever seen before, even dressed in the severe gray suit which hid her charms. Her dark eyes hinted at a limitless fire. He wanted to taste those full lips. At that moment, he knew the longing he’d felt the other night was more than a fleeting notion, and he had to have her.
Not as a vampire, but as a man. He wanted her in his bed.
“Katerina, what a pleasant surprise.”
She tore her gaze from his for a moment, a heartbeat, but enough to reveal her nervousness. “We have some business to discuss.”
Adrian shrugged. “We do? I was not aware…”
“I owe you for my education. And I intend to see the money returned, with interest.”
Adrian waved toward a chair. “Please, I thought we’d settled this.” Once she had taken her seat, he sat.
She shook her head. He wished her hair was unbound, as it had been the other night. What had gotten into him? He was not comfortable with the way these strange thoughts came upon him so suddenly, and at any time.
The lack of control was unfamiliar. And unwelcome.
“We settled nothing, du Lac. I will not have my family used by you any longer.”
He shrugged. Anticipating what was coming, he played along. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”
“I know what you are.”
That knowledge would make her seduction more difficult, but he was up for the extra challenge. “Really? And what would that be, Kat?”
He felt a twinge of satisfaction at the way she flinched. She leaned forward. “No one calls me Kat. My name is Katerina.”
He decided then and there he wouldn’t call her anything else. “You were saying…Kat?” A sense of triumph swept over him when she didn’t respond to the deliberate taunt. Her eyes flashed with annoyance before she once again composed herself. Subduing her fiery nature was clearly a struggle. Perhaps here was a way to get to her. He forced himself to focus on her words. “Mr. du Lac, I’m determined to see every penny you spent on me is repaid. Then you will release my father from your service. Though he receives a substantial salary from du Lac Enterprises, I know his actual duties are not managing your Financial Advisory department.”
“You believe so? Your father has contributed to much of du Lac Enterprises’ profits in the last fifteen years. His particular…skills are greatly needed, and appreciated, by the company.”
“Skills? Don’t you mean his magic, his ability to cast good fortune your way?” “Your father is a valuable asset. I assure you, should he choose to…depart his position, I would not oppose him.” He knew Dimitri would never retire, would always remain loyal, despite whatever arrangements Adrian might make with Katerina.
She arched an eyebrow, her lips pursed in annoyance. “Really? Then you deny you use him for…unethical dealings.”
He smiled, but let no emotion show. She was smart. He wouldn’t be able to outwit her as easily as he’d anticipated, not without taking her blood. How much did she know about her father’s responsibilities? “Kat, I am shocked you would accuse me of such things. Your father chooses to work for me. If you object, I’m afraid you’re talking to the wrong man. You should speak with him.”
“I already have.” She opened her briefcase and took out a large envelope. Disappointed, he realized he’d halfhoped she would pull out a stake or a bottle of holy water. Such a confrontation would have been exhilarating. Instead, she placed the envelope in front of him.
“Since you wouldn’t accept my check the other night, consider this a down payment on my father’s freedom.”
He opened the envelope and peered inside. Three folders. He removed them and glanced at the names of several major international corporations before tossing them to the desk.
“Really, Kat, what am I supposed to do with these?”
She stiffened at his continued use of the nickname, but again did not protest. “I scrimped and saved any extra money not used on living expenses the past few years. What I saved, I invested. And made some wise choices, as you’ll see. I’d say it’s enough to cover boarding school through the high school years.”
He arched an eyebrow and nodded. “I’m impressed. But really, you should share this with your family.”
“No, it’s for you. You’ll have the rest by the end of the year. You can suggest to my father he take an early retirement. Then, I want your word you’ll leave my family alone.”
He stood and walked around the desk, stopping beside her chair. He leaned over her. “You are very brave to make such demands. Now, I have a demand of my own.”
Katerina stared at him, hoping she still maintained her outward bravado. Truth be told, she was terrified. She had no magic like her parents to protect her. He could destroy her in an instant for her boldness, but it was a risk she had to take.
At the same time, the man was devilishly handsome, and she couldn’t deny his sensual appeal. Even long ago, when she’d barely been past her twelfth birthday, she’d noticed. The memories were clear, etched in her mind as if it had happened yesterday. He’d come to her parents’ home, and soon afterward, she’d been sent off to school.
Now, after years of adolescent recollections and imaginings about what it would be like to face him, she was in his office, and he leaned over her, his mouth beside her ear. The spice in his cologne intoxicated her. How could she act like a coldhearted businesswoman when he was so near? No man
had ever affected her like this before. But he was no ordinary man. What was he going to ask of her?
“You will have dinner with me tonight.”
No, she couldn’t! Even as she shook her head, her mind screamed to accept. His fingers slid along her jaw and turned her to face him. His touch was cool, but ignited sparks of fire within her. She met his crystal blue gaze, willing her heart to stop pounding so hard.
“Yes, Kat. We will dine together at my castle.”
She couldn’t resist. His hypnotic voice echoed in her mind, his words laced with a hint of some strange accent, and an almost medieval manner of speaking. How old was he, anyway? Even as the thought fluttered through, she found herself nodding in response. All rational thought had fled. The only thing she wanted was to hear him speak again in his silky voice, which caused delightful vibrations in her belly.
“I’ll send a car for you. Be ready at seven.”
She nodded again and stood, her gaze still locked with his. “I’ll be ready.” He turned away, and she felt as though she’d been suddenly released from some sort of restraint. With his hand at the small of her back, he guided her to the door. Her legs felt strangely unsteady. She prayed she wouldn’t trip in front of him as they made their way to the door. She paused and turned back to him, her mind jumbled with confusion. What had just happened?
He placed a finger on her lips. The touch made her knees weaken. “I’ll see you tonight. We’ll discuss my other terms then.” Then she stood outside his office, aware his assistant watched her with curiosity. She cleared her throat and strode to the elevator, conscious of the fact she had not gotten him to agree to anything.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


So everyone loves their Kindle, or Nook. I get that. I've never had one. People might think that odd, eh, since I write primarily e-books, but it's just that I am loyal. I am a huge fan of my Sony E-Reader. There are a few reasons for that, and my friends know why, and it probably won’t be too hard for anyone else to figure out why. J  It’s a fact, and it won’t change. I love my little pink Pocket Reader, it’s worked phenomenally for over two years, and I can’t imagine ever being without it.
Since it is a couple years old, I’ve been thinking about replacing it. The newer models are fantastic, with great features, but the price/timing hasn’t been right. Until now! Sony is coming out with a brand new Reader WiFi, the lightest ever, coming in at under 6 ounces, with a 6” touchscreen. It has the finger swiping, to mimic turning a page in a paper book, WiFi (of course!) and the capability to notate with a stylus or your finger. The best part? It’s going to be priced somewhere around $150.
The model’s not going to be available until October. The release is coinciding with the launch of Pottermore, the new Harry Potter site that Sony is partnering in. To commemorate that, they are going to have a special limited edition Harry Potter version, which I simply must have. The thinking was to pass my older unit down to my daughter, since she wants one so desperately, but at that price, I think I’ll have to buy two. She’s almost as much of an HP fan as I am, though she prefers those ginger Weasley twins, while I am a Malfoy girl through and through, which makes her absolutely want to tear her hair out! I should expect that though – she is a teenager and I am her mother. Something would be wrong otherwise! lol
Anyway, here's a link with some more details: http://www.blogger.com/rearrange?blogID=8885981816719876906   Now if October would just hurry up and get here already!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting Close Now - RWA11

Another crazy week gone by, but this one is filled with excitement! Next week, RWA is holding its National Conference in New York City. I've been to National a couple of times – whenever it's in New York. Going any other time has been difficult to justify, due to the high costs involved, conference fee, airfare, hotel. Not to mention, the conference usually takes place the week of my annual family vacation (that warrants its own separate post).  So logistically, I can rarely make it work. This year helps as well because it's early this year. However, that had a glitch of its own – we hold an annual July 4th bash, usually the weekend of. But that is being cancelled for the first time in 19 years because I'm going to National!
This is my first time as a published author. The last time I went, in 2003, I was shopping my vampire book, The Taste of Magic. It had done well on the contest circuit, finaling in contests several times, and I pitched it to Dorchester. Sadly, that book didn't go anywhere at the time, it took another three years before I finally contracted it in 2006.  But I remember having a great time at the conference, seeing friends I hadn't seen in a while, some I'd only ever met online. I networked, I partied, I learned.
Now, I'm going to experience it from the other side. I'm looking forward to my "First Sale" ribbon on my badge, I'm looking forward to participating in the literacy autographing, and I am very excited to see and meet old and new friends. There are a few parties I'll be attending, which I love, because they serve a dual purpose. You can have fun and network at the same time. I find it much easier to chat without the constraints of a set time-limited pitch. I'm less nervous, and I get to drink at the parties! lol And there are some really great workshops I'm eagerly anticipating. I volunteered to moderate one, and they assigned me to the Time Management one. Perfect for me! I'm looking forward to learning from some of my colleagues and authors who I am a fan of. And yes, I can guarantee, the fangirly moments will occur. I can't help myself. One of my all time favorite fangirl encounters was when Carly Phillips and I stalked Catherine Coulter in NYC in 1993 (or 1994 – somewhere back in the early 90's). There'll be more moments like that this year, I am sure.
I've even signed up for editor and agent pitches. I'm not sure I really need or want an agent at this point, but there were a couple who interested me with their views and experience in the publishing world, so I thought I'd take a chance and take advantage of all my options. As for an editor appointment, I'll admit part of that was because I am looking forward to meeting the editor I signed up with, but the book I'll be pitching is a tricky one. The set-up for the story is a bit unconventional and while I certainly am free to submit at anytime without a prior pitch, I wanted the opportunity to actually discuss the possibilities with said editor. I do much better talking about my books than I do trying to condense it into a 2-page or less synopsis. Any one of my critique partners can tell you I suck at writing synopses, and like many, many authors I know, I despise having to do them.
So who else will be there? If you're going to be there, I'd love to say hi face-to-face, so let me know.
See you there!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

RIP Clarence "Big Man" Clemons

So about 12 hours after hearing the news, I can finally start to articulate the profound sense of loss I feel at the passing of Clarence "Big Man" Clemons. As anyone who knows me can tell you, from the time I was about 13, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are my all-time, one true love, musically. And Bruce was the man I'd one day insisted "I" was going to marry, just like countless other Jersey Girls. 

Part of why I loved Bruce was the magic he created with music and lyrics. And the one thing that really made it such a unique and compelling sound was the Big Man's sax.  How many hours I would sit and listen to Born to Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town and just wait for the sax solos. They transported you into the world of Bruce's lyrics like nothing else ever could or ever will.  And the love and affection Bruce and Clarence shared for each other was so obvious. I always had a big smile on my face watching them interact. You couldn't help it, they complimented each other with a deep friendship that not all of us are lucky to experience for ourselves in our lifetimes.

I've seen Bruce and Co. (even during the time when he had broken up the E Street Band) countless times - at least once, often times more, on every tour. And what always had me mesmerized, no matter how close or how far I sat from the stage, was the way Bruce and Clarence played off each other, fed off each other. And don't forget Miami Steve (I don't care what he does, he'll ALWAYS be Miami Steve to me). Those three created an incredible musical magic, that when they unleashed it onstage, everyone was caught in the spell.  It always amazed me how quiet and enthralled everyone in a 70,000+ filled arena would get when the Big Man took the spotlight.There is no high like a Bruce Springsteen concert – but it was the Big Man who pulled it altogether and gave it such power, an ability to grab your soul and never let it go.

I don't even think I can accurately describe the emotions it draws from you when you listen to him play. Maybe because, though I'm starting to accept that his death is a reality, I haven't begun to fully register the loss, consider all of the implications and the little things that will be affected, the stuff you don't even recognize at first. As many people know, on Friday nights, I get a little silly while playing music, and I tweet Bruce's lyrics. A lot! One entire playlist on my ipod is exclusively Bruce and it's got all several hundreds of songs. And listening the other night, DH and I discussed Clarence's stroke, and the implications, and as the songs played, each one having some special meaning, we took even more note of the sax, and it was sad to think of that being silenced. Of course, we insisted that could never happen. But it did.

RIP Big Man. You will be missed more than anyone can put into words.  The only consolation I take in this is that when I finally cross over, the music to greet me will be incredible!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Music and Mayhem (sort of)

Last night was my daughter's Spring Concert at the High School. She's actually in the Junior High School, but the music program merged the singing groups and various bands with the Senior High School's musical program, since the 8th grade is the only "Junior High" class.
Anyway (there I go, rambling again!), the concert was last night and showcased some really talented students. There was a fantastic jazz band, they just blew me away. The drummer was incredible, I really hope some of those kids have a successful future in music. They certainly have the talent. If I had only been listening outside, and not known the band was comprised of students, I would have thought they were pros.
There was also a wind ensemble performance. They were also very good, though not as good as the jazz band. A lot of the kids played in both, as well as the 95 member school concert band. The school really does have a lot of opportunities for musicians.
The chamber singers were good, though to be honest, I'm not much of a fan of chamber music. It's an audition only group, and the kids were great singers. I wonder if we'll see any of them on AI in the future.
But the newly formed a capella group, calling themselves Fermata Nowhere (the music teacher is very clever), was phenomenal. They performed Adele's Rolling in the Deep and the girl who sang lead, while not as talented as Adele, still did a great job. Then they did Stacy's Mom. Several of the parents and probably all of the grandparents in attendance were not familiar with the song. The kid who sang lead was really good, I've seen him perform before in other things, and he is quite talented. He's one of the ones I hope gets to make a career with music. He had stage presence, and really had a great time up there, he had that "spark." Anyway, the lyrics drew quite a few laughs, but some were also offended. One older woman near me, when she realized what the song was about, said,. "That's disgusting." She was promptly shushed quite loudly!
My daughter's choir was also good. I wasn't familiar with some of the songs, but they did a medley from Les Mis that left me crying. The soloists were incredible, the emotion in their voices touched everyone in the auditorium. And from there, they went into Bohemian Rhapsody. They cut chunks of it, since it's such a long song. I'm not a big fan of that song myself, to be honest, but they did a good job with it, After that, we had yet another set by the concert band. The whole thing lasted about 3 hours! By the time I picked up my little guy from his friend's house, it was after 10:00pm.
There was a brief intermission, and two idiot dads almost came to blows over someone coming in late. I mean, really, why do you have to be an ass and ruin what's supposed to be a great night for your kids? Morons. Thankfully, someone stepped in between them, or it would have turned into a fistfight. Similar thing happened at my daughter's dance recital a few years ago and they had to call the cops to break it up and keep it from becoming a free-for-all. I don't understand why people have to be such jackasses.
In any case, the concert was a nice way to wrap up the music program for the year, and the kids worked really really hard. The talent and discipline they showed impressed me so much, I could use some of that discipline, to be honest! Lol
On another note, Kathryn at The Romance Review gave 4 Stars to Healing the Mage. You can read the entire review here: http://erotic.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=2170  This review was especially sweet, since she really liked the characters. As my critique partners know, the editing process was difficult with Healing the Mage. My hero had some serious flaws, as pointed out by my editor at Noble. Flaws I didn't see until she brought them to my attention. Lily had some problems too, but not as bad as Aidan. I took every one of my editor's suggestions and made significant changes. If I hadn't, I seriously doubt this book would have gotten such good reviews. So a big thanks goes to Jill Noble for not only her comments, but her patience in working with me as I made the changes. I appreciated (and apparently needed to hear) her honest opinion, and it made all the difference, as evidenced by the latest review.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Genre is This Anyway?

As I've probably mentioned before, my current WIP is a sci-fi themed story. However, in the last couple of weeks, I'm thinking maybe it's not necessarily sci-fi, but fantasy.  Here's the thing, I'm not a big fan of sci-fi in general - my knowledge of the genre is sorely lacking. I had several male cousins who were, so I always sort of knew a bit about it, just from listening to them, - Michael in particular, was a huge Trekkie, still is, and can go on and on until your eyes glaze over. I know, it's happened to me many times! LOL But I did love the Star Wars movies, which I always thought of as episodes 1 through 3, but are now really episodes 4 through 6. But that was about the extent of it. I've really not read the genre, romance or other fiction, and certainly didn't watch any of the TV shows or movies that so many of my friends did. As for the shows, I understand there are some really good ones, but I'm afraid I may find another obsession that I simply don't have the time to indulge. So I'm not daring to get involved there. My time is limited enough now as it is.
Anyway, as I was saying before I started rambling, I'm not necessarily sure that Prince of the Universe is true sci-fi. The hero comes from another planet, and inter-galaxy travel is common to him, though not to my Earthling heroine. But here's what's got me wondering – just because it does involve other planets and space travel, does that make it sci-fi? Eventually, Vega will take Merry back to his home planet of Aldarra, but the civilization, while certainly technologically advanced in many ways, also involves magic, and the manipulation of energy and minerals to increase one's power. Plus, Aldarra has a very different climate from ours, and the culture and customs could, in some ways, be described as medieval.
I've heard it said that if your scientific facts are wrong, it's generally not acceptable to those who know and love the sci-fi genre. Is that true? I'm not much with technical or engineering knowledge (as my recent disasters with computers will attest to), so anything as far as warp speed and wormholes and the like will most definitely be "wrong." How far can I push the envelope without someone crying foul? I've got spaceships, and high tech weapons, and races similar to and different from humans, but also magic and other paranormal elements. As I'm world-building, I'm wondering if I'm doing too much. I'm likely to piss off readers of both genres by doing things I'm not supposed to.
So, sci-fi fans, what am I not supposed to do, and what do I have to do to fit the genre? Or can I get away with twisting it all up?