Monday, October 31, 2011

Behind the Scenes Release Day!

It's release day!

You can buy it at
Carina Press
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks

and anywhere e-books are sold!

Kennedy Smyth's firm provides security for companies and charities in seriously dangerous countries. She doesn't usually take on "frivolous" jobs, but when an old friend asks her to protect his son's movie shoot, she finds it hard to refuse. Also hard to resist is the film's charismatic star, Rogan St. James. The handsome actor piques her interest, while the strange actions of the terrorist threatening the set raise her suspicions.

Even though he's a successful actor, Rogan wants more—a real woman to love, the type he doesn't think exists...until he meets Kennedy. She intrigues him with her confidence and passion for her work, and frustrates him with her refusal to let him get close.

But Kennedy finds herself in a vulnerable position when she discovers that the terrorist isn't actually out to derail the film. She's the real target—and if he finds out how much Rogan means to her, he could be next...

I'm still answering questions through the end of today at the Goodreads Ask an Author, Win a Book thread.

The Romance Studio's Spookapalooza is still going on! You can vote for your favorite author and register to win prizes. It runs through today.

And I'm blogging today at Isn't it Romance. I don't remember what I said. So come be surprised with me! LOL

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back to the Genius of Borax

Today has turned into quite a different day than I'd planned.

I've spent a lot of time at the Goodreads Q&A, and doing other promotion. There's an intense discussion going on one of my publisher e-mail loops, and I helped a friend with a query.

When I made lunch, I ended up watching two episodes of The Mentalist. (The last one had the police chief from "Dead on the Water" AND Henry Thomas from ET!) Those took longer than normal because the power kept flicking off, then back on. Thank goodness my computer is on a power supply!

Oh, and I posted a lot on Twitter and Facebook.

So even though I got up early and didn't have to spend 160 minutes on soccer, I've only crossed 4 out of 11 things of my to-do list. But I've had a heckuva lot of fun. :)

So let's get on to Supernatural!!!

I so loved "Slash Fiction." I mean, it was awful to spend every minute thinking Sheriff Jody was really a Leviathan. (I'm still not convinced she was Jody, even though I really, really hope she was!) But the way she looked at Bobby, and the way he interacted with her, was delightful.

And I didn't like that Sam found out about Dean's lie about Amy, and that he took off. But I'm strangely less bothered than I should be. I mean, in past years, I HATED the secrets and lies. And this year they've been trying hard not to do that. But Sam's reaction was so appropriate, and Dean's response just as much so, that I couldn't be annoyed. Dean accepted Sam's anger as his due, but not in the crushed, defensive, despairing way, because he believed in what he did.

In fact, I think Dean has a new level of confidence. Not just the "good at my job" confidence and "sugar for every woman's tea" cockiness, but a deeper acceptance of himself. It's partly in the writing, but mostly in Jensen's oh-so-awesome acting.

(I could be full of it, projecting, seeing ridiculous subtext that's not there. I'd love to know if anyone agrees with me. Even if you don't, I get silly-happy imagining Jensen hearing my thoughts and being thrilled that I saw what he was trying to do. LOL)

I loved the way they handled the Leviathans. There's no story breakdown here. No holes or convenient leaps of logic. These beings are natural, powerful, ancient, there's no lore on them because they haven't been part of our world since we started creating lore. But 800-year-old witches are extremely powerful, so we can buy that they have a spell that would paralyze any enemy and lock down its powers. You don't live to be 800 without serious defensive magic, right?

Bobby pointed out, "You can can die." All living creatures can die, and even ones who aren't truly "living" can die, too. It's part of God's creation signature. :) And everything has a weakness, usually one that occurs naturally (not counting holy water). Salt defeats demons and ghosts, silver gets shapeshifters and werewolves, iron harms ghosts and fairies. In real life, there is PLENTY that occurs naturally that poisons humans and animals and even plants. It's part of the circle of life, right?

So I got really excited when Bobby told Dean to use sodium borate. It's naturally occurring (from, according to Wikipedia, the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes), just like salt. But not as common and low-brow as salt, just like the Leviathans are not common and low-brow.

The Big-Mouth Bobby experimented on was awesome. I love that these guys are smart. "Mensa Monsters," Bobby called them. They're smart-mouth, too, but not in the sneering, derisive way demons are, which showcases their insecurities and envy. No, the Leviathans are confident in their ability to take care of any potential threat. Even once that threat stepped up their game and took heads.

How funny was Bobby, slicing that guy's head off? "It's a start."

We got to meet the leader of the Levs. He was slick and in charge, as you'd expect, but slick and in charge as a human, too, which is not so much as I expected. Which makes me wonder how long he's been out there. I mean, sure, the other Levs gained knowledge and ability with each body they emulated, but I find it a little hard to believe this guy could just slide into the body of a...what? Respected politician? Billionaire businessman (my guess)?...without anyone being suspicious. There'd have to be SOME inconsistencies. So I suspect he may have been out of purgatory for a long time.

By the time a show reaches season 7, clip shows are inevitable. Most sitcoms and dramas do either a non-fiction retrospective, where they separate the episode into themes and include clips to illustrate those themes, or do, like, 5 minutes of new material that's essentially "remember when" intros of the clips. Supernatural is flawlessly integrating clips—teeny, tiny pieces you almost have to work to place, sometimes—into all-new episodes. It marries nostalgia with story progression, and I love it!

Which brings me to the other nostalgia factor in "Slash Fiction." Number One mentioned it first. I'd noticed it, but on a more subconscious level. Consciously, I was just thinking, "Jericho, that's significant because it's prominent on the bank wall, but why is it familiar?" I was thinking of the short-lived TV show, of course. But Number One immediately said "I just flashed to Ron and the laser eyes!" And sure enough, that whole scene was reminiscent of "Nightshifter."

How clever is that? They were in Jericho, where "Pilot" took place, but evoked "Nightshifter" in Milwaukee. Conor's Diner in St. Louis reminded me of the diner in "Mystery Spot," as well as the one in "Mommy Dearest." And once they were arrested in Ankeny, Iowa (I had to get my DVDs to look that one up—"Hookman," for anyone else who couldn't remember), it was eerily similar to "Jus in Bello" while also bringing to mind "The Usual Suspects." Just small, subtle touches that gave the whole episode a comfy feel. :)

I'll finish up with the best part of all: Dean singing "I'm All Out of Love" so passionately! The look on his face when he sang, and when he tried not to let Sam see, and when Sam did see, and the look on Sam's face, so confused and disgusted. We laughed so hard! Man, I love these guys.

Okay, I think I've exhausted my supply of gushiness. Any comments on the episode? What do you think of the season so far?

WTF Weather, Ask an Author, and BORAX, BABY!

SO much to talk about today!

As many of you know, the northeast is experiencing or anticipating a massive snowstorm today. This isn't the earliest I've had one, but the early October three-footer was in upstate (Albany area) New York in 1987. So this is significant.

We got notice last night that Number Two's soccer game was probably going to be canceled. It was a 9:00 game, 40 minutes away, so we had to leave by 7:40 a.m. I got up at 6 to see if they'd officially canceled, and there was no word. So we went.

Number One bundled up in sweats over jeans, three pairs of socks in my waterproof construction boots, a long-sleeved shirt under her sweatshirt under her father's sweatshirt that he's never going to see again. Number Two caved and wore her under-armour-style leggings. We headed out.

And got about 4 miles before we got the phone call. Really? Come on, people!

The battery for our camera is completely dead, and I'm not sure where the charger is, so here are some crappy cell phone pictures of the view through my office window (in the basement):

Taken at 9:28 a.m., just as it started snowing big, fat flakes that you can't see at all.
Taken at 10:08 a.m.

 Taken at 10:52 a.m., already over an inch of fluffy snow on the ground

I do believe we may get that 6–10 inches after all! So much for my scoffing on Tuesday, when it was a 50% chance of happening at all.

I am having a GREAT time today in the Ask an Author, Win a Book Corner at Goodreads today! This lasts October 29–31, so come on over, read the great questions and my hopefully not lame answers, and maybe ask a couple of questions of your own.

Tomorrow I'll be at the Coffee Thoughts blog at Coffee Time Romance, with posts throughout the day. Regular posts, excerpts, blurbs, and books I've recently loved.

I'm dying to talk about last night's Supernatural, but it will be looong, so I'll do a new post. Look for it later today! (Preview: OMG Borax is ingenious!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

And the Blogging Explosion Begins...

First, let me remind people that if you'd like to receive my (very occasional) announcement newsletter, you can sign up here. If my subscription base reaches 150 by 10/31, I'll give away a paperback copy of Brianna's Navy SEAL to one of you. (It's brutal trying to rebuild a subscriber base when you change systems! :( )

Okay, now. The touring stuff. I mean blogging stuff. I mean, the total insanity that comes with having two books released at the same time, and having a publicist who is really good at her job.

Today I start off blogging with the funny, frisky, fabulous Cathy Pegau. Cathy, that's a better 3F, huh? :) (Want to know what I'm talking about? Click the link!)

As an aside, there are very few F adjectives that are not negative. I don't like that. F is a cool letter. :(

Today I'm also featured at Read All Over Reviews as part of the 31 Days of Halloween. (Should be up about 10:00 a.m. EDT)

Tomorrow you can find me in Katie Reus's Monster Mash-Up.

This weekend brings The Romance Studio's 2nd Annual Spookapalooza. I'll post stuff there through the weekend, as will tons of other great authors.

And finally (for now), I'm the featured author at Coffee Thoughts, the Coffee Time Romance blog, on Sunday, October 30.

Monday, Behind the Scenes releases, and then the REAL fun begins!

I need a nap.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When Your Car is 13 Years Old... can expect things like this to happen.

On the way to work this morning, all of a sudden, when I stepped on the gas after slowing down, my car started shuddering. It was sluggish and vibrating until it hit third gear, and then the transmission smoothed out. I was going to try to make it to work, but then the check engine light started flashing. Greaaaat.

Called work. Called dealership. Called AAA. Thought, "Hey, I wanted more reading time. This will give it to me." That cheered me up a bit. (FYI, I was reading Something to Talk About by MJ Fredrick, a wonderful contemporary romance I didn't expect to make me want to play hooky!)

Then I had to go to the bathroom. I was parked in a residential area, no gas stations or fast food restaurants nearby. So I walked up to the elementary school half a block away and played on their sympathies. Luckily, they let me in. While I was in the bathroom, AAA called to say the tow truck would be 20-30 minutes.

When I left, it was raining. THAT made me madder than the car did, because my hair looked great this morning. For about half an hour. Then it frizzed and went limp. Yes, both at the same time.

So I get back to the car and start tweeting about it breaking down. I barely get three words typed out when the tow truck driver calls, looking for me. He's right there! After only 10 minutes! So no reading time. :(

Amazingly, I got to work only an hour late, and the problem was gummed-up spark plugs and failing spark plug wires. I can't get my car back until tomorrow, but at least I don't need a whole new transmission or something.

In the meantime, looky what I got!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm at ParaYourNormal Today!

ParaYourNormal - Where Para is our Normal!: Interview with Natalie Damschroder

Come read about my inspiration, when I knew I was a writer, and some details about my upcoming books...including a question no interviewer has ever asked me before!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jensen Made Me Cry

Carina Press is at Comic-Con in NYC this weekend, and to celebrate, you can get 40% off until tomorrow, 10/16! You can pre-order Behind the Scenes! Good idea, go do it! :)

Amber Quill Press, which publishes a great deal of my backlist, is the featured publisher at All Romance eBooks this month. Read about the company, and get discounts on some of the books (click the banner ad at the top of the page)!

I'm feeling a little bit lighter today. I have a major client project completed, and submitted Heavy Metal to my editor, two weeks ahead of deadline (I'm so proud). So now I have to dive into promotion for my upcoming releases, and there is always more client work, but I'm taking the rest of the day "off." After grocery shopping and buying ink and toner for my double-dead printers, I'll watch Thor with Number One, and maybe Supernatural again, too, since she missed it last night.

I loved last night's episode. Not necessarily the "hunt" part of it, though I loved Sam trying to be lawyerly (really, Sam? "That's not fair!"? Is that really a good reason for objection in a court ruled by a capricious god?). Jensen Ackles...oh, my god, the talent. He consistently breaks my friggin' heart, and when Dean and Jo confronted each other in the hotel room, and she was being forced to kill him similarly to how she died, it wasn't heartbreak, it was heartsqueezedbymonsterclaws.

I also loved the quick bursts of montage, all the bits of Jo's past episodes (no "Born Under a Bad Sign," though, I was disappointed) and the people whose deaths Dean feels responsible for.

Is it me, or does this season have more weight than past seasons? It's hard to explain, because they've dealt with really bad Big Bads, and had the apocalypse with the fate of the entire world on their shoulders, and that's pretty heavy. But it's more about tone than content, I think. I'm liking it.

I also like that Sam's apparently been purged by the fires of hell, without the angsty guilt that's driven him his whole life. That's a nice new side of Sammy that might be fun to watch. I have a feeling Dean's going to continue in the other direction. Sam's getting impatient with Dean's drinking, and the "third witness" issue won't be going away. That's one thing I'm NOT looking forward to, is the rift when Sam finds out.

Other shows I'm digging right now? Not many, I'm afraid, but mostly because I'm so far behind. Working every night, no TV, DVR is filling up. But I have kept up with Nikita, and I swoon over the Nikki/Mikey/Birkhoff (Birky?) alliance every week.

I liked the first episode of Pan Am, which I wasn't going to try until I heard it compared to Alias. It was sleek and well done, but had a patina of artificiality and a few too many cliches, so we'll see if it holds me.

Person of Interest (saw one episode) didn't separate itself from the pack of crime procedurals. Prime Suspect (one ep) did, but not in a good way. It was pretty jarring to have this huge sexist layer that none of the other CPs have. In comedies, I like New Girl okay, and I'll keep watching, but won't miss it if it goes away. Can't stand Happy Endings anymore, so I quit it, and didn't like Two Broke Girls at all.

I kind of want to try Suburgatory because it has Alan Tudyk. Anyone watching it? It just got a full season pickup.

What's floating your boat this TV season?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

A whole long week ago, the very cool Stacy McKitrick of Stacy's Rantings and Whatnot gave me this award.

Thank you, Stacy!

I thing "versatile" is a nice way of saying "unfocused and disorganized," but hey, that's what I'm going for, so yay me! :)

Here are the provisions of the award:

Thank and link to the person who nominates you.
Thanks again, Stacy! I was excited to discover her funny and interesting blog. Go check it out! Note: She's much better at brevity than I am.

Share seven random facts about you.

Hmmmm. That's always so hard! I'm sure I'll end up repeating stuff.

1. When I was around 6 or 7 years old, my best friend David Pleau and I used to pretend to be Steve Austin and Jamie Summers (Somers?). You know, the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman? We made my little brother Andy be Oscar Goldman. You know the phrase "scarred for life"? Yeah, that's just about the epitome. Thirty-seven years old and he's still not over it.

Speaking of my brother...

2. He and his wife just had a new baby girl! Yeah-huh, that is too about me. I'm an aunt again, for the...thirteenth time. My mother would get a kick out of that number. :)

3. My first boyfriend was in sixth grade. He gave me candy or gum at school every day, and a tarnished necklace that he sent a friend to ask for back when he decided he didn't want to go out with me anymore. I told the friend to tell him to come ask for it himself. Pretty brave of me, considering he probably broke up with me 'cuz I could hardly look at him, I was so shy. We had one "date" at a roller rink.

4. I've owned one new car in my life. My first one. After Number Two was born, husband traded my car in for his company car, and I got his year-old Toyota Corolla, which is now 13 and counting. Because of the company cars, he's on his fourth new one. Number One is going to inherit the Corolla next year, and hopefully I'll finally get a second new car that *I* get to pick out *myself*.

5. I've never lived completely on my own. For a woman as fiercely independent as I am, that kind of galls. I wouldn't trade any of my choices for anything, but it's weird when I think about it. I had roommates in college, of course, and housemates at one summer job. I rented a basement room from a woman during my National Geographic Society internship, then moved straight in with my fiancé when that was over. Ideally, I never will live on my own, but it definitely conjures some "what if" scenarios from time to time.

6. I'm a bit compulsive about my e-mail inbox. I keep things in there if they need my attention, or if I read them on my laptop and they need to be saved on the desktop. As soon as something is addressed, it's gone. So I get intense satisfaction out of that 0 on my e-mail counter. It never lasts, alas, and often I end up putting off important tasks because I just can't take having anything in my inbox anymore.

7. I'm addicted to football podcasts. Specifically, ESPN's Football Today and the podcasts put out by the New England Patriots, mainly PFW in Progress.

(I think I just accidentally typed ALT+P or something, and this published early! Dammit!)

The writers of Patriots Football Weekly are raunchy and juvenile, they fight a lot and go on and on about the stupidest things. But I love them. I get all my New England Patriots news from them, and when I catch up to the podcasts and have nothing to listen to, I pout. Never mind the 1728 songs in my music library. Gimme my talk Internet radio!

Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!
Oy. I've been soooooo busy* I haven't even had time to read the blogs I discovered years ago, never mind found new ones. But Stacy has a really long, great-looking blog roll, so head over there and click on a few of those.

Since I can't predict which ones y'all will click on, I can't notify anyone of the award. But I task anyone who is interested with passing it along (or appropriating it!) on my behalf. Consider it a "found blog topic." :)

Happy reading!

*In case anyone was sad that they hadn't heard me whining in a while... I'm near deadline on Heavy Metal, facing the imminent release of TWO books (Behind the Scenes on October 31, Under the Moon on November 1) and all the attendant promotional obligation, working on work for two clients currently, with three more preparing to bury in an avalanche (not complaining, really!) and dealing with all the usual day job and family obligations that never seem to get lighter even when they really should. I'm grateful it's all relatively good stuff, and I'm maintaining the balance so far. But some things I love are this blog, and keeping up with my far-away friends. :( I miss you!