Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blogging Fiend

I am all over the place nowadays.

Friday, I posted some news and stuff at Supernatural Sisters. (Today, Theresa Meyers is a guest blogger there, and you HAVE to see her new book cover. It's DEAN!)

Yesterday I'm posted at The Gab Wagon about keeping out of Number One's college selection process, and how to strike a balance between letting her make her own decision and making sure she does it right.

I don't think I've mentioned that I have joined a new group blog, Everybody Needs a Little Romance. There are some fantastic authors talking about everything under the sun, a slew of book reviews, and now me. :) I blog every other Tuesday, including today, where I discuss how odd it will be not having Number One in the house. Come by and give me your advice. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Finale Season, Part II

The main TV season is officially over, and here are my final thoughts. Brace yourselves...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heartmates by Victoria Allen

Heartmates is Book One in the Stone of Destiny series!

Combine a magic sapphire, a witch and a stubborn hero and you get
double trouble.

As a healer, Selena welcomes all to her home. Then two strangers show
up on her doorstep, one badly injured, but it is the other who draws
her notice. Did her mother's last act of enchanting a beautiful
sapphire bring this handsome man of her desires to her?

Tristan had been against the journey with his godfather, Jacob, but a
promise is a promise. An attack by outlaws sealed his fate. Injured
and on the run, they come upon a secluded cabin and a beautiful woman.
When she displays powers unlike any he's ever seen, he is certain he’s
been bewitched. Yet for some reason, he doesn’t mind as much as he
thought he would.

When treachery uses Selena's compassionate nature against her, can the
two heartmates overcome vast odds to fulfill the future promised to
them by the Stone of Destiny?

Content Warning: Contains graphic scenes of m/f sexuality.

Also check out The Chosen (Book Two in the Stone of Destiny series)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finale Season, Part I

I love May. So much great stuff happens in May. But it's also bittersweet, because all my favorite shows are finishing up. That often means great TV, but it's followed by a month-long desert until the quirky-cool summer shows start.

Here's my reaction to the finales I've seen so far. WARNING: Spoilers abound!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Retreat Day 1: Getting the Excitement Out of the Way Early

What were YOU doing when the fire started?

Kim: I was screwing around on Facebook, but I didn't have time to post anything before I had to go outside!

Fran: I was actually working, and thinking how much better my book is since I started working on it today!

Elizabeth: I was talking with Cindy about my plot, actually.

Vicky: I was reading a book on writing synopses, and taking notes.

Misty: I was listening to Megan talk about her book.

Cindy: Talking to Elizabeth about her plot.

I sense some collaboration going on here. Do we believe all this nobility?

Donna: I was writing! *points emphatically at interviewer* (and having a glass of wine)

Heidi: I was talking.

About what?

Heidi: Shapeshifting multi-partner sex.

Heather: I was listening to Heidi. *shudders*

Elaine: I was writing.

Mandy: I was trying to achieve my retreat goal of painting my nails.

Misty: How far did you get?

Mandy: I got em! *shows off blood red toenails*

Megan: I was discussing writing with Misty.

I won't ask Smith what she was doing, because she and I were outside watching the approaching storm. The alarm went off, and a moment later, writers in comfy pants started coming out, so we ran in to get our laptops. When we got back outside, I saw a couple of purses, several phones, and only, like, two laptops!

Me: What the hell kind of writers are you, anyway?

Half of them went back inside to get their stuff. LOL

Okay, not so funny. Our hall was clear of smoke or any other signs of fire, but a few minutes later, Misty came back to us and said there was a real fire. She'd seen smoke rolling along the hall ceiling from the laundry room.

Luckily, it was only about 9:20 p.m., so no one was asleep or anything. Everyone from both groups present was accounted for and safe outside. The executive on site put out the fire, but after the seven trucks showed up, there was still smoke coming out of the building. We hung out for about half an hour, then they directed us to a building on the other side of the property, so we could sit inside out of the rain.

Well, that didn't last long. The Three Stooges Musketeers (Me, Misty, and Smith) headed back out through the pouring rain to see why we heard more sirens. There were now fifteen trucks, still smoke hanging around despite the rain, and two ladders up to the roof.

We saw the manager driving back to the dining hall, so we ran (yes, RAN) back to beat her here. (Luckily, she stopped to talk to the priests in the other building, first.) They said the fire was out and had been confined to the one room. They were clearing out the building to see how bad the smoke smell was, and we'll have to decide if we're okay with staying. Our hall shouldn't be affected, or at least not badly. I'm now typing this at 10:44. We should know more in half an hour. I wish I had Internet access so I could live blog! :)

We got back into our rooms just before midnight. All is fine! Check out my Facebook page for crappy cell phone photos, including one of our hero!

Now, back to revisions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thor My God

(I wrote this last Friday but just now getting around to posting it! :( )

I got to see Thor last night, in a special pre-screening hosted by Bobby Rahal Acura. Acura is a movie sponsor--all the S.H.I.E.L.D. cars are Acuras. So it was very cool--free tickets, popcorn, and soda, an early show (instead of midnight or weekend crowds), and a goody bag.

The movie was very good. I thought the casting, acting, and characterization were tops. It was quite spectacular, too, in the visual arena. I didn't like the 3D, because the registration seemed to be off a little at times, making it blurry. But the effects and cinematography were fantastic. Not in the "Oh, wow, look at the effects" kind of way, but so that we were so immersed in the world they'd created, everything seemed very real. Only once did I consciously think "Oh, wow."

The story...I don't want to call it weak, but it wasn't the strongest part of the film. The core conflict was classic family-centered betrayal/redemption, done well enough not to be too tedious or predictable. It was just very focused, and most of it took place on Asgard and the Frost Giants' planet, which made Earth feel like an afterthought. The romance was far too light, and could have been better built to support the sacrifice more strongly.

Still, the movie is well worth seeing for Chris Hemsworth. He broke my heart as George Kirk in Star Trek, but I had a hard time picturing him as Thor because the roles are so different. But man, was he made for Thor.

And I'm not just talking about my "hottest ever" comments on Twitter and Facebook. :) That's a true statement (hint hint, People magazine Sexiest Man Alive editor), but it's not just about muscles and height and low-slung jeans and a bare torso... ... ... Um, where was I? Oh, yeah. Hemsworth carries his body very naturally, so that he projects power. Sometimes his size seemed enhanced in comparison to those around him, but there was no trickery in his grace and strength. Add the hair and those brilliant eyes, and, well, I have a new favorite. :)

Oh, yeah, and his acting was good, too. The best scene was when he thought he'd lost everything. I love an actor who can put that much emotion in his eyes and the lines of his face.

I love the S.H.I.E.L.D. guy, but I felt there was a little too much setup for The Avengers. They could have cut back on the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff a little and built the romance and Thor's perspective shift, instead. It was cool to have J***** R***** as H****** in an uncredited cameo, though.

Real fans will also recognize Stan Lee in his cameo, catch the reference to Stark, and know to stay through the end of the credits for an additional teaser. This one was pretty good—it made me say "Oh, crap!" and was related to the movie's storyline as well as the Avengers in general.

So, all in all, worth the price of admission. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Refreshing Fundraising

I got an e-mail from Misha Collins today.

Now, Misha is the kind of guy who connects with people (I've met him a couple of times), and who really believes in his cause, so it's possible he actually wrote the e-mail himself. It's enough that I can tell myself he did, anyway, and that makes me smile.

But that's not why the e-mail made me happy.

A while ago, I donated to Random Acts, his charitable organization. Way back last fall, actually, when he ran something like 80 miles nonstop. I got my confirmation and thank you for my donation.

And that was it.

In December, I got a gift for someone, a donation in their name through another organization. Within a day, I had another solicitation from them. Since then, I've gotten mailings every couple of weeks, as well as e-mails (until I unsubscribed). This is what usually happens when you give money somewhere, no matter how legitimate and worthy the organization. They incessantly beg you for more money, in logical and emotional language designed to make you feel guilty. And it drives. me. insane. It makes me want to never give money through them again.

In contrast, you know what Misha's letter said? Thank you. It described the organization's efforts in Haiti and Japan, and their plans for a trip down to physically get involved, and hopes for future endeavors.

And that's it. It's so refreshing, it makes me want to immediately give more money. It makes me want to boost Jason Manns' Crowdrise account and for a few brief moments I think, "Hey, I could join them on the trip!" And then I come to my senses. But in the meantime, it worked.

It's just really refreshing to be appreciated instead of guilt-tripped.

Speaking of fundraising, don't forget about the Brenda Novak auction for a Cure for Diabetes! That link takes you to two of the items I've donated, a one-chapter critique and a partial proofread. Bidding is low, so you could get them for a STEAL. You can also skim the Carina Press category for other stuff (Kindle and Nook loaded with books, and lunch with Carina authors!). And, of course, spend some time looking at all the other fantastic stuff.

The great thing about an auction is that:

1) You're not just being asked to donate money with hints about how awful you are if you don't. You get something out of it!

2) You can help things out by driving up bidding on really popular items. You don't have to spend money then, but you're still participating! :)

3) There may be tax benefits, if you pay more than the value of the item you win. (Consult your tax advisor.)

Have fun!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Novak Auction

Before I talk about the Really Important stuff, I have to share some serious squee. Joyfully Reviewed just notified me that Fight or Flight is Joyfully Recommended for May! You can find the full review (where Miranda says "Fight or Flight is a phenomenal action-packed story you would expect to find on the silver screen and I loved it!") at the first link.

If you just snapped your fingers and went, "Oh, yeah, I've been meaning to buy that!" then you can find it at Carina Press, via Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and wherever e-books are sold (I link to many popular e-book stores here.

Okay, enough about me! Let's talk about:

Brenda Novak has raised tons of money (=over $1,000,000!) for diabetes research over the last several years, and her efforts draw some amazing items. In addition to the things you can bid on, she has prizes and easy ways to donate without having to spend oodles on expensive items.

This year, I'm doing more than just bidding. I've donated several items, myself.

The first is a proofread and polish of your partial manuscript. Do you have a handle on your story and all the elements of craft, but can't find a typo to save your career? Are there certain grammar mental blocks that you just can't seem to overcome? Let me fix them for you! As of right now, no one has bid on this, so you have a good chance of getting it for a steal.

I've also joined up with many of the Carina Authors for a whole bunch of stuff. Go to the Carina page and browse the list of one-chapter critiques. And check out the BIG items: a Nook and a Kindle fully loaded with Carina books and novellas, and breakfast with the Carina authors attending RWA National, and a mentoring package from Julie Rowe.

None of that tickles your fancy? I guarantee something else will! They have stuff for authors, and stuff for readers, and stuff for everyone! They also have a really amazing prize for the person who makes the most bids, even if they don't win a single thing. Well worth the time it would take to enter all those bids. :)

The auction runs through May 31, but some items expire before that, and some are offered for one day only. There are also a few "buy now" items you can get without enduring the bidding process. Go check it out!