Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Show & Tell Wednesday: Liliana Hart & A Dirty Shame

Some things are so much fun, they bear repeating two days in a row. Do you like a great mystery, some suspense and to be on the edge of your seat? Cool, because I have a great book for you. This is the second JJ Graves mystery by Liliana Hart and it looks positively delicious. The first, Dirty Little Secrets came out last year and offered up a double whammy of being set in Virginia (yes, I miss the state I lived in for more than a decade), along with all the elements I love in a mystery--a great heroine, gritty details, and a fantastic mystery. You can find out more about Liliana at her website and read on for a great excerpt from A Dirty Shame!


J.J. Graves is back in Bloody Mary, but she's a long way from feeling at home. Between her bodily scars from being the target of a murderer and the emotional scars left by her parents, she doesn't know who she can trust. But death doesn't stop for anyone.

The first murder is grisly. The second even more so. And though things are shaky between them, she and her best friend, Jack, have no choice but to join forces and find the killer. Because the life of someone they love dearly hangs in the balance.

Yummy Sneak Peak

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Release Day: The Lady is a Thief

Are you ready for the thrilling conclusion to the hunt for The Fortunate Buddha?  The Lady is a Thief is now available!

One Thief…
Wealthy, titled, and very privileged, Lady Katherine Hardwicke successfully eluded some of the best thieves in the world in a quest to obtain the Fortunate Buddha. Her time is running out and her enemies are closing in, and one deliciously enigmatic man seems determined to get in her way. Will he save her or end her quest forever?

One Hunt…
Jarod Parker wears many faces and lies for a living, but when the same thief steals the Buddha out from beneath his agents not once but twice, this handler returns to the field. His target? The last woman anyone would suspect of being the thief. But is he really after the Buddha or has this brilliant woman stolen his heart?

One Choice…
Their sensuous game of cat and mouse turns deadly when a third player turns up the heat, but can these two liars come clean with each other or will they lose it all?

Show & Tell Tuesday: Deborah Blake and Witch Ever Way You Can

It's show and tell Tuesday! It's my delight to introduce you to my guest and fellow teacher Deborah Blake. Deborah and I started an ambitious project this year to teach classes on line. Yes, I totally encouraged her after moderating a class for year nearly two years ago called Witchcraft of the Paranormal Author (totally awesome class). In addition to writing books on Wicca, ritual, and more, Deborah's a fantastic fiction author. Be sure to visit Deborah's blog and website to keep up with her.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to Every Witch Way You Can, a fun and delightful read! 

Every Witch Way You Can

A modern Witch accidentally becomes the reluctant guardian for an ancient mystical crystal. With the aid of a handsome actor and a mysterious spiritual guide, she uses magic, ingenuity and determination to fight a deranged billionaire for possession of the Star Stone and its power.

Best-selling author and a practicing witch Deirdre Connelly’s life is suddenly turned upside down when she finds herself with a powerful magical talisman inside her, a deranged billionaire after her, and a gorgeous actor she’d love to have on top of her.

Stewart Tyler makes Deirdre an irresistible offer: in exchange for working a simple bit of magic, she gets dinner with Robert Daniel Addison, the TV actor who’s starred in her daydreams for years. It seems like a harmless request, but the treasure her magic reveals, the otherworldly Star Stone, ends up permanently inside her instead of in the hands of the man who feels entitled to it.

Now she and Rob are unwilling guests at Tyler’s isolated Montana ranch and Deirdre must find a way to return the Stone. Or Tyler will take it back by force—over her dead body, if necessary. She must master the powers of the Star Stone before it masters her, driving her insane or bringing harm to those around her. Even the help of an unexpected spiritual guide, the Anasazi warrior who last carried the Stone, may not give her the answers to the crystal’s long-lost secrets before it’s too late. Deirdre and Rob’s feelings for each other grow despite the magic and mayhem, but it hard to make a move on a guy when you keep setting him on fire. In the end, Deirdre must choose between fighting a battle she may not win and putting her trust in the magical stone that will leave her life forever changed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Once Upon a Time Post Mortem - The Doctor

No, not Doctor Who (although, I admit a traveling Time Lord in Storybrooke would be hysterical…but I digress…). But before I dive into the episode, can I just experience some sympathy for David Anders, he has played many an amputee—from Sark on Alias to the recently deceased John Gilbert on The Vampire Diaries (ouch the fingers), but this time he lost his whole arm—had it ripped right off.  Can I have a small "ow" of sympathy for him? Okay, now onto our episode.

Dead is Dead

Or is it? After being mostly absent for two episodes, Regina's character—and most of all her heart—was front and center in tonight's tale. We knew Rumple tempted her with magic to banish her mother through the Looking Glass, but he also became the master to her apprentice. The lesson with the unicorn heart actually scared my daughter—she sat there, fingers at her mouth chanting "don't hurt the Unicorn, don't do it." 
Way to go with the tension writers!  Because it really did offer us an intriguing sideways look at Regina's character and how driven by her grief she is. Not only did it spur her hatred for Snow, land her in a loveless marriage and encourage her to use magic to banish her mother—it also drove her to learn everything she could to bring back Daniel from the dead.

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem The Rager

Yep, I'm days late with this post mortem and I blame deadlines for it, but here I am after rewatching the episode this morning ready to do my breakdown. Don't worry Once Upon a Time fans, I'm writing up that post mortem next.

I want to say that I loved this episode and there was certainly lots to love—but one character storyline in particular made me angry. Really angry. The character in question is Stefan Salvatore. Most of the time I like Stefan, I do. He's not my favorite, but he's not a waste of space either. I used to appreciate his relationship with Elena, but if any episode could confirm that he was the worst choice for her: The Rager did that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You Are Cordially Invited to Readers n Ritas

And the countdown has begun for Readers n Ritas! Can you believe it's almost November? It seems like we were just kicking back to celebrate the New Year and it's time to rock and roll all over again!  I'll be attending Readers n Ritas as a featured author this year. I've got lots of goodies to bring along with me including a raffle basket entitled "Always a Hero" featuring these gorgeous bears:

Readers n Ritas will be held November 9-11 in Allen, Tx. I am hosting a coffee happy hour on Friday, the 9th at 4 p.m. at the conference hotel. It's open to all early arrivals, just asking that you RSVP for me here.

It's going to be an awesome weekend and I can't wait to meet you (or see you again!).

: Eventbrite - 2012 Readers & 'ritas

Monday, October 22, 2012

Once Upon a Time: The Crocodile

Okay, I'll admit it: Hook is hawt and the name Killian just adds to what makes him attractive. Last night's Once Upon a Time focused on Rumple, Belle, and Smee (with some David thrown in) in Storybrooke and the parallel story of Rumple, Mila and Hook in the Enchanted Forest.  No sign of Regina and just the glimpse of Mary Margaret and Emma in a photograph. But like every other hour of Once Upon a Time, I sat on the edge of my seat—eager to find out what happens next.

Belle & Her Beast

You know I said this last February when we first met Belle, but I adore she and Rumple together. Rumple is the Dark One. Love and revenge drive him in equal measures. But Belle's love softens those brittle ends, eases the pinprick of the blade—but make no mistake he is a weapon and if you trip his trigger, well—you get what you deserve.

Belle's love for her beast isn't as unconditional as some might like, but I admire and respect her strength. The episode began with a dream turned nightmare with she and Rumple in the shop. Grumpy comes looking for his hammer and he accuses Gold of owning all these items that don't belong to him. When Rumple slams him up against the wall, Belle begs him to let Grumpy go because he isn't that man anymore—but the green skinned imp flashes her a maniacal laugh and says he's always been that man. She jerks awake, and stares at the empty side of the bed.

I know it's the romantic in me, but I loved seeing that she and Rumple were completely together. Because despite the age difference, those actors have great chemistry in this role. She sneaks down and finds Rumple spinning straw into gold on his loom and then he works on a potion. Belle is furious with him for doing magic and he isn't telling her why or why he brought it back. We know part of it was because he wanted to take down Regina for what she did to Belle, and I knew the other part—he wants out of Storybrooke. Losing Bae all those years ago has driven him nonstop. He wants to get back to his son.

Rumple's First Wife

Our flashback takes back to Rumple's days as the village coward. His wife Mila is not home when he gets back. Bae is there by himself. Rumple takes Bae into the village to fetch his wife—who is partying at the tavern with some pirates. As beautiful as his wife is, I experienced instant dislike for the woman. She may have issues with  Rumple, but she has a son. A fact she seems to be conveniently forgetting while partying it up with Killian (Hook) and his boys.

When Bae shows up behind Rumple, Mila immediately leaves and she and Rumple talk at home. She would rather move to another village where no one knows her husband is a coward. She doesn't like being the coward's wife. But then placates Rumple by saying she will stay and try. Later, a woman knocks on the door franctically to tell Rumple the pirates have taken his wife. He goes to fetch her, but when Killian challenges him to a duel to win his wife back—Rumple can't fight. Killian mocks him and tosses him off the boat—Mila will sail with them to satisfy his men.

Smee & The Beanstalk

Flashforward to Rumple as the Dark One. Smee (for you Eureka fans wasn't it great to see Vincent again?) offers Rumple the magic bean that opens portals to other worlds in exchange for immortality. The Dark One can't make him immortal, but he does offer to keep spinning the clock back as long as Smee brings him the bean. At that moment, Killian and his men enter the bar—the Dark One smiles. He's not going anywhere, he has a score to settle.

Library of Her Dreams

After her fight with Rumple, Belle heads out to explore Storybrooke. She meets Ruby at the diner and Ruby pulls some of Belle's story from her and suggests the library if she needs a job. It's been closed forever. Eager to check it out, Belle goes to find the window's boarded up. But she can peek through one and her eyes light up at all the books. (She really is one of my favorite princesses).  Unfortunately, Smee shows up and kidnaps her at that moment.

Rumple is looking for Belle and he alerted her father that Belle was out there, but no one wants to help Rumple because they all have an axe or two to grind with the imp. Everyone, that is, except David. As acting Sheriff until his daughter returns, David (Prince Charming) agrees to help Rumple find Belle. He remembers Rumple telling him about the woman he loved and when Rumple confirms that is Belle, David pitches in. They canvas the town and Ruby agrees to help sniff her out.

In the meanwhile, Rumple asks David how it worked with he and Mary Margaret (Snow), how did their relationship survive its trials? Honesty. David tells him they always told each other truth, even the truths they might not want to hear. It's how it worked. He tells him there is a difference between literal truth and the honesty of the heart--nothing made that more clear than the curse. 

Meanwhile, Belle's father tries to reason with her because he wants her to repudiate the Dark One, but she won't leave the beast. So, her father has Smee take her to the mines, he plans to send her across the town line where she will forget everyone and everything.  Thankfully, Rumple, Ruby and David save her with Rumple using magic to pull Belle's mine cart back. He also snaps her cuffs off.

She's grateful, but she's still angry with him and her father. She tells them both they don't care about her because they aren't listening to her and she stalks off.

The Captain's Pirate Queen

In the Enchanted Forest, Rumple connives an encounter with the Captain. The Captain refers to him as crocodile thanks to his green and scaly imp skin. Rumple demands to know where his wife is and the Captain lies that she's dead. When Rumple challenges him to a duel, the Captain has to accept. His men abandon him because they are afraid of the Dark One.  The next morning, he and the Captain duel—but when Killian is down and disarmed, he is ready to kill him—but who should show up? Mila.

She wasn't dead, she ran away with Killian. She tries to bargain for their lives by saying she has the bean he negotiated with Smee over. I loved it when Rumple kept saying "Tick, Tock." She swears she never stopped thinking about Bae, but she didn't love Rumple. She never loved him. She fell in love with Killian. Furious, Rumple takes her heart out and kills her.

Me personally? I cheered at this scene. Sorry, I don't care who she loved—she abandoned her son. Die you faithless wench, die.

Killian is furious and upset because the woman he loved died in his arms. He tells Rumple to finish it, kill him, but Rumple wants him to live with a broken heart, just as he did. When the Captain holds the bean hostage, Rumple slices off his hand.  Killian attacks him with a hook, but he can't kill the Dark One and Rumple vanishes in a poof of smoke.

Unfortunately, the Captain still has the bean and Rumple just has the severed hand—and still no way to get to Bae.  Later the Captain tosses the bean into the water and sails his ship to Neverland. Chills!


Unfortunately for Storybrooke Smee, Rumple found his hat in the mine and he holds Smee hostage and demands to know where his Captain is, but Smee says the Captain didn't get pulled through with the curse and he doesn't know why. But Rumple isn't done with him yet, after all, he messed with Belle.

Ruby gives Belle the key to the library, it was delivered for her. She goes over and immediately lets herself in, delighting at all the books. Rumple comes to tell her the truth, he says why he is there and why he is doing magic. Because even after all these years, he's still trapped and can't get to his son. Magic, he admits, is his crutch. His words move Belle and she asks him if he'd like to get a hamburger with her sometime and Rumple smiles. He would like that very much.

I really want it to work out for these two. I admire her spunk in standing up to him and his swallowing of pride to be honest with her. He will continue to look after his Belle and woe betide anyone that goes after her.

Captain Hook…and Cora?

In the Damaged Forest, Hook stands on desolate beach staring at an island in the distance (I think it was where Snow's Castle was but I could be wrong) and Cora appears. She has the dust of the wardrobe and tells Hook they are getting closer. They will soon be able to follow the others to Storybrooke. She can get Regina—and he can get Rumple.

Yeah, nothing good is going to come of that partnership…

But the biggest boon of the night for me was the preview for next week's episode. It looks like a big Regina episode and focuses on whether or not someone is bringing Daniel back from the dead and I saw flashes of Doctor Whale---as Doctor Frankenstein. One of the two I speculated he might be! Can I have a whoo whoo! 

Did you like last night's episode? Do you want Belle and her beast to work it out? 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem Memorial

With "Memorial," The Vampire Diaries is back and firing on all cylinders. I'll be the first to admit as thrilled as I was with the return of the show, episode one was a transition episode in more ways than one. We capped off some open storylines from the end of last season and launched new ones. Frankly, I think "Memorial" earned a high spot on the top ten episodes of the series of all time. How?

Well, let's talk about that.

Not All Blood is Equal

From beginning to end, Elena's transition provided a counterpoint to the new danger in Mystic Falls. We see her hunting with Stefan and the argument between Damon and Stefan over Stefan's insistence that Elena has to drink animal blood. Stefan lives on an island of denial, he wants to deny that Elena is a vampire with hunger, impulses, and a hunter's need. He wants to help her avoid ever killing someone and living with that angst—but you know, denial didn't really work out for him and when he goes off the wagon he kills a lot of people. Damon, as usual, is right. It's better for Elena to learn to control it by embracing her nature rather than run from it.

Unfortunately, a hot and heavy make out scene between Elena and Stefan is interrupted when she flees to throw up the animal blood. She can't keep it down.  Damon offers her his blood in one of the sexiest scenes ever at the Grill and despite how much they both enjoyed it—she can't keep that down either. Damon brings her bagged blood and no dice.

The young vamp needs human blood from the vein or off the hoof as Lynsay Sands' would say and nothing anyone does will be able to help her—except Matt. In a scene that paid off the taut tension in the church, Matt offers to let Elena drink from him while he 'hugs her' comfortingly. It was beautifully filmed from the other vampires' reactions to keeping her safe from the hunter overhead.

And that's just the beginning of what made this such a great episode…

Someone Blew Up the Town Council and Damon Didn't Get a T-Shirt

Sitting in the Grill, Damon is keeping the chair next to him free of other people—because he's saving it for Rick. He's drinking alone and missing his buddy when Liz shows up to ask him if he killed the council. Damon, in true brilliant fashion, snarks, "I own up to who I kill, wasn't me."  Cue the arrival of the new guy Connor. He's very pushy with offering his gloved hand for a handshake to Liz and then the two excuse themselves to talk.

Next up is Elena and Damon makes her get out of Rick's seat and talk to him on the other side. She confesses she can't keep blood down and needs his help. He offers to pull someone out of the Grill for her, but she doesn't want to hurt anyone. So he takes her in the bathroom and bites his own hand and offers it. She's confused, but Damon says she needs it so try, just don't tell Stefan. Blood sharing is too personal and Stefan won't like it (and nope, he really didn't). 

As hot as that scene was, it was also very true to Damon—who always takes care of Elena and tries to give her what she needs as opposed to what she asks for.  Later, when she throws up blood all over the church bathroom, she calls Damon for a change of clothes and help. And Damon comes face to face with Connor—the hunter right outside the door to the bathroom. He holds out his hand for a shake but already aware of Connor's earlier encounter with Tyler (more on that later), he demurs with a "Damon Salvatore, germaphobe."

Elena changes, cleans up and Damon gets her away from the hunter. He gives her the bagged blood and she again spits it up and Damon covers for her. When she goes inside, Stefan arrives—furious that Damon did that, but as Damon points out—Elena asked him to help. Him. Not Stefan. She can't keep the blood down—not even Damon's (ouch for Stefan) and they all enter the church.

Stefan's furious, but Elena's starving and when Connor sets a trap by stabbing newcomer April Young (the Pastor's daughter from the previous episode and the little girl Elena used to babysit), it looks like Elena may lose it then and there. But Stefan gets her back to sit with he and Damon. Damon murmurs that "no one react. It's a trap." Because all the vamps can smell the blood. When Elena starts to freak, Damon tells Stefan he has ten seconds to come up with a plan and then Damon is going after the guy.

Stefan tells him to go, and that's when Matt offers his blood. Even Damon ripples to the reaction and they buy more time.

Taking It for the Team

Tyler and Caroline remain two steadfast favorites of mine. They have come so far from their narcissistic petty ways in season one that I am THRILLED they remain together from their sexy romp at the beginning of the episode that Caroline interrupts because so many people have died, should they be having sex? And Tyler points out if they didn't have sex every time someone died in that town they'd never have it again.

Meanwhile, newcomer Connor pushes his way into Carol's house and asks a lot of questions about the council deaths and presses her for answers. Tyler comes down because he hears the strain in mom's voice. But when Tyler shakes Connor's hand, he reacts to the vervain soaked gloves as they burn him. Connor shoots him three times at close range and Tyler lurches up and out the glass window.  Yes, Connor is definitely a vampire hunter with a lot of secrets. (And yes, lovelies, I have theories!)

Caroline and Tyler go to Stefan who pulls out the bullets. They burn Stefan's fingers and have weird markings on them. He tells Tyler if he hadn't been a hybrid, he'd be dead. Stefan takes the bullets to Bonnie, but she doesn't recognize them. Bonnie is locked in pain over what happened to Grams and the spirits are blocking her magic—when she tries to do it, she sees what happened to Grams all over again.

At the funeral, Stefan wants to know why Tyler's there with a hunter already knowing what he is, but Tyler refuses to hide when people are mourning. This is their home. Caroline quips "and I'll kick his ass." When Connor's blood trap nearly turns Elena inside out, Tyler walks up to interrupt the singing and tell a story that Pastor Young got him engaged in sports and made a real difference in his life. He learned that sometimes you have to work together as a team and that means making sacrifices for the team—and that's what Tyler does—he takes the stake to the chest from Connor's high powered rifle.  Screams erupt and everyone flees the church, Caroline pulls the stake out of Tyler and Carol calls an ambulance. They will play it up that Tyler was shot, but survived.

Damon faces off against Connor in the parking lot, but the hunter shoots him several times and nearly stakes him before getting away. Stefan shows up and offers a hand to his brother and then sucker punches him (and Stefan goes on my shit list) because he's jealous of Elena turning to Damon.

The Core Triangle

This episode clearly defined the triangle from a fresh perspective that relied heavily on what we've learned about all three of these characters in the last three years. It is not just her love that pulls her to each brother, but their opposing philosophies. Elena still feels the need to protect Stefan—even from herself—and when she needs help, it's Damon she calls. Damon she trusts. Because Damon won't turn away from the uglier side of her—something she fears in Stefan. It's also worth mentioning that Stefan's obsession with her drinking animal blood is also because he fears Elena's compassion. 

She feels so deeply that her pain will be so profound—he doesn't want her to turn off her humanity and when he confronts her about her dalliance with Damon, she starts to come apart before his eyes and Stefan's fears about Elena being exactly like Damon prove true. I said it last week, and I've said it for years, Damon and Elena are very much alike. They are both older siblings, they both feel everything deeply, they both bottle it and keep it away from those they love to 'protect" and they are both deeply lonely souls.

For All the Loves We've Lost

To help Elena, Stefan calls everyone together (minus Tyler who was likely at the hospital) and they have a private memorial. Remembering everyone they lost:

  • Uncle Zach (died first season after Stefan locked Damon up and Damon had to escape)
  • Lexie (killed by Damon to cover the vampire tracks in first season)
  • Alaric (final death last season after Elena's car accident cut his unlife short)
  • Bill Forbes (Caroline's father who died after refusing transition)
  • Tyler's father (Caroline mentions his dad who died at the end of season one when Gilbert device made the others think he was a vampire)
  • Grams (Bonnie's grandmother died in season one after opening the tomb)
  • Vicki (died season one after being turned by Damon and later staked by Stefan)
  • Grayson and Miranda Gilbert (Jeremy and Elena both remember their parents died before season one began)
  • Jenna Sommers (Elena and Jeremy remember their aunt, died during the sacrifice after Klaus turned her to kill her)

But when it's Damon's turn, he tells them no. And he walks away. He is not sharing his pain with them.

Noticeably NOT mentioned: John Gilbert who died for Elena at the end of season two's sacrifice to keep Elena from waking a vampire.

I Miss You Too, Buddy

The final scene of the episode took place in the graveyard with Damon drinking at Alaric's grave. He vents about being left to look after all the children and that he should be gone, because he didn't get the girl (he and Stefan agreed whoever lost Elena would leave Mystic Falls), but he can't leave because they need him. She needs him. And in the most heart wrenching turn, we see Alaric's ghost listening to him, sitting next to him and he misses Damon, too.



Alaric really was Damon's best friend and the scene in last year's finale when Alaric collapsed in his arms and a crushed Damon whispered "You can't be gone." Reminded us that he lost Alaric and Elena in the same moment.

My only quibble with the whole episode is that CSI Mystic Falls should be fired for leaving their evidence markers and evidence in Pastor Young's house—and the explosion should have left more damage. Why they didn't find the letter to April—the ominous one warning of the darkness coming—I have no idea, but I'll forgive them for that. Because in every way, this is the return I hoped for last week and they delivered in spades this week.

As for Connor? Jeremy admired his ink at the Grill, but Matt didn't see it and Connor freaked a little that Jeremy did. I'm betting Connor was a turned vampire who was brought back from the other side rather than transitioned – ala what Bonnie tried to do for Elena and the ink is the black magic holding him together.  (Almost the Mystic Falls version of Blade the Daywalker)

But hey, that's just my theory.

Also worth mentioning, no Originals were seen in this episode and the lack of Klaus was FANTASTIC. I didn't miss Rebekah either. 

What did you think of this week's episode?

Six days and counting to episode three!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

10 Reasons Why Writing is Like Exercise

Whenever I get asked about the best advice to give an aspiring author or pre-published writer, I always say "write, write, write" and when you're tired, "write some more."  Recently, I had a discussion with some teachers about mentoring younger writers, particularly those seeking to turn their writing into a career as a published author and I was again asked, "what is the best advice I can give them?"


Yes, it really is that simple. Most authors will not turn into J.K. Rowling or Stephen King overnight. Hell, they didn't become a success overnight either. But they both possessed perseverance and commitment to their goals. What did they do? They wrote.

Writing is a Muscle

The more you write, the stronger your muscle becomes. So here are my ten reasons why writing is like exercise (and why the principles of one serve the other!)

  1. You start small and build on success. Writers who are just starting out will experience an accomplishment at 250 words a day, over time, you build your stamina and can write 2500 a day, etc.
  2. Writing every day at the same time helps you stay focused, and builds on the success of the previous day.
  3. Also, each success builds a new success, but once you reach a comfortable plateau--you need to find ways to push yourself.
  4. When something isn't working, shake it up. For example, taking writing classes like fitness classes can force you to use different muscle groups.
  5. Writing partners like fitness partners can help you stay motivated.
  6. Both require a system of checks, balances, and rewards. When you meet your goals, reward them.
  7. Shifting genres is a lot like switching up your routine, like trading the elliptical for a Zumba class.
  8. You absolutely need down days, but no more than one or two, so you don't lose your momentum.
  9. When you stop for a length of time (14 days or more) it can feel like you're starting over at the beginning.
  10. Not every style works for every writer, you have to find the one that's a good fit for you.
Fitness classes can shake up your workout routine and so can writing classes. Personal trainers in fitness keep you on target and we all have people in our lives who can provide us with that sharp kick in the ass when we need it.

Writing is exactly like exercise--and I am Iron(wo)man.

Are you?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Hump Day, Classes and More

I can hardly believe that Halloween/Samhain is right around the corner, or that I actually had a conversation with the Mini about pulling down the Christmas decorations and our holiday plans. Of course, Starbuck's is selling the pumpkin spice latte, it's actually not sweltering in Texas and new fall programming is airing in and around the near gladiatorial countdown to election day here in the states, so what does that mean?

NaNoWriMo of course!

We're 14 days away from the kick off of National Novel Writing Month. This annual event draws writers together published and unpublished in hard driving push to write that novel. I have participated for more than a decade and this year will be no exception. In the spirit of that, I'm offering my pre-writing class next week to help you organize your thoughts, pull together your data and have everything you need to get your book done.These are all the things that I do before I write a book and I've written over 25 since July 1, 2011.

Registration closes soon, so don't miss out. For those of you who want help with the editing when NaNo is over, I have an editing class kicking off in December right after NaNo is over. You can register for one or both classes here

Rituals and Samhain

Over on our Witchcraft and Writing loop, we're offering the last class of the year on Ritual Basics and Celebrating Samhain with the fabulous Deborah Blake. That class registration closes soon as well. So get your registrations in today, we would love to see you there.

In the meanwhile, I have to get back to writing. Oh and yes, I will totally be tuning in for episode 2 of the CW's Arrow tonight--how's that for a nonsequitor?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Show & Tell Tuesday: Barb Han & Seducing Avery

Okay, the fact that I can write seducing anything in a title of a blog makes me grin. Welcome to show and tell Tuesday! I have a treat for you today. I met the following author over a year ago now, but she is probably one of the sweetest people I've ever had the pleasure to hang out with. She's funny, kind, thoughtful and always has a smile. She's also quick with a joke and actually likes mine! (Yes, I know, not everyone can be perfect!)

So without rattling the bag too much, here is the lovely Barb Han. Be sure to show her some love!

About Barb Han

Barb Han lives in North Texas with her husband, has three beautiful children, a spunky Golden Retriever/Standard Poodle mix, and too many books to count. Her debut novel, SEDUCING AVERY, is available now for Kindle, and all other formats January 16th. When Barb’s not writing, researching, or otherwise getting lost in a story, she volunteers at her children’s school, is in the kitchen ‘creating’ dinner, or can be found on or around a basketball court. Writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense has been a dream come true for Barb—something she’s wanted to do for as long as she can remember.  She loves to travel and many of the places she visits end up in her books. Barb is a graduate of The University of North Texas, and holds a bachelor degree in journalism.

Barb loves connecting with readers. Find her at:

Seducing Avery
Seducing Avery 

Avery McAdams believes in order to truly be herself she needs to keep her head down, her guard up and her focus on her career. Until she’s hired by sexy, charismatic Ryker Li to pull off the event of the century, and he shows up personally to convince her to handle his next party. When she meets him face-to-face, she realizes a piece of her wants him to see her as attractive, which goes against everything she’s convinced herself she believes.

Rich, powerful Ryker has made an art form of getting what he wants, when he wants it, and then moving on. But something about Avery makes him want to stick around. When he finds everything he never dreamed to look for in a woman, can the billionaire playboy commit to the biggest deal of all?

Or will a lifetime of mistrust and suspicion turn them forever into rivals?


Avery figured one word from Ryker was all it usually took to get heads nodding and feet scrambling. And yet, there she stood, watching him as though he were about to make off with her family’s silver.
His lips curled into that arrogant but devastating trademark smile. “Let me know when you’re ready to play anything besides this cat and mouse game. You can start by telling me who you really are.”

“My family name? Well that's none of your business. Or anyone else’s for that matter.” She heard her own voice rise and quiver toward the end of her sentence defensively. She took a lot of pride in her accomplishments, especially because she hadn't used her family name to get them.

She’d worked for them. Hard. And no one had the right to dig into her past or question her history.

“Covering tracks are you?” he asked. “The hallmark of a good thief.”

She froze as his gaze landed hard on hers. He was trying to rattle her. Fine. She’d be damned if she’d bite. Instead, she leaned back and folded her arms. “You had me investigated. Why don’t you tell me who I am?”

Cold, calculating anger scored his brown eyes. “As a general rule I like to know who I’m doing business with beforehand. The only reason for the investigation.” Ryker’s gaze narrowed to slits. “What I’d like to know is why you’re so determined to refuse my job.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

Once Upon a Time Post Mortem: Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake title of last night's Once Upon a Time was a little misleading—or was it? The theme for the episode tightly focused on the love between a parent and a child and wow did they show a wide variety of this type of love:

  • ·         Grandpa James(Charming) & Henry
  • ·         Regina & Henry
  • ·         Snow & Emma
  • ·         Emma & Henry
  • ·         Jefferson & Grace
  • ·         Cora & Regina
  • ·         James & His Mother
  • ·         George & James

The episode also managed to make me feel sympathy for Regina—call me heartless, but even when we learned the back story of what happened to her first love Daniel, I felt bad for her, but I didn't feel sympathy. When Henry used her feelings and need to connect with him to lure her out of her office so he could steal her keys—yep, that did it. It also demonstrated that Henry is just as much Regina's son as he is Emma's. He played on the Wicked Queen's vulnerabilities, something she excels at and he got his way.
While we saw only that one brief scene with Regina in the episode, we later learned she figured out what Henry was up to and rather than confront him, she called Charming and sent him after his grandson. Could it be that Regina really does have a chance now that the curse is broken to make a good attempt at real love for her son?  With Cora's shenanigans in the Damaged (formerly Enchanted, but not so much anymore) Forest, I have a feeling it will only last so long.

Three Layers of Storytelling
We had flashbacks to Snow and Charming rallying their troops to fight King George and George's obsession with destroying "James" because he refused to be his son. Seriously, that King is more than a little petty. His child died, we understand that, but punishing his twin brother because he didn't want to be the King's heir much less marry a woman he didn't love and who didn't love him—wow.  It seems Lancelot is now a mercenary after having to leave Arthur's court over a woman, the troops call him Leviathan, but he manages to snag Snow and turn her over to King George. George then curses Snow the way his wife was cursed—so she can never give James a child.

This is pretty devastating and really displeases Lancelot because it's a cowardly thing to do. Lancelot ends up helping Snow and they rush to James's cabin where he's taken out several of George's men, but his mother has been shot with a poison arrow. They take her to the lake where James got the water to free Kathryn's true love, but only a drop remains. Out of love for her son, James's mother only pretends to drink the water, then she and Lancelot arrange for Snow to drink it to remove the curse. Lancelot also marries Snow and James and his mother dies. It's a poignant moment, but also telling. Because James' mother was willing to die to protect her son and ensure his happiness.

Damaged Forest
Locked up in the dungeon beneath their embattled isle, Emma meets Cora—but the moment Snow awakes, she tells Emma to stay away from her and don't say anything. She doesn't trust Cora, and she warns "As bad as you think Regina is, Cora is worse." 

Lancelot, it seems, is the leader of the survivors. He serves them grilled chimera. I give Emma props for going ahead to eat it, she thinks it sounds a lot like Turducken. Snow also has a plan to get home, she convinces Lancelot to let her go to her old castle and he sends Mulan along as a bodyguard (which is good because Aurora's still got her nose in a twist about Phillip and tries to murder Snow. Unfortunately, Snow is no shrinking lily). 

They face off against an ogre after Emma fires her gun and the blind critters find her—what an awesome scene as Emma comes face to face with that nightmare. The dragon did not prepare her for this, but Snow bellows for it to get away from her daughter and drops the beast with an arrow through the eye.
Emma meet Snow White—the badass.

They travel across the broken land to the castle and it lays in ruins. Inside the devastated nursery is the wardrobe constructed by Gepetto. The magic is gone because it sent Emma through—but maybe they can activate it again. Lancelot shows up and offers to help them bring it back, he's being cagey and Snow realizes it's not him—it's Cora.

Cora's magic is still very alive and well and rather than give her a key to get to Storybrooke where she might hurt Henry, Emma burns the wardrobe.  Cora escapes, but Snow and Emma have a profound bonding moment—because no one's ever put Emma first before, and because she just gave up a chance to go to Henry in order to protect him—she has a better idea of why Snow made the choices she did. Their hug was very emotional—but the scene that broke my heart was when Snow looked back at the nursery and saw all the promise and love and hope it once contained and grieved for the life she lost with her daughter.
In the meanwhile, Mulan nominates Snow to lead them now that Cora's duplicity has been revealed.

In Storybrooke

Henry is upset that Grandpa isn't letting him help look for a way to get Emma and Mary Margaret back. Determined (and stubborn like all his relatives), Henry tracks down Jefferson and implores him to reach out to Grace. Because the worst thing for a child is to not know why their parent didn't come back and to be separated. Together they can overcome everything. Jefferson also tells Henry about the Queen's vault.
Jefferson takes Henry's advice to heart and he is finally reunited with Grace. *tear*

And of course, as I kicked off this post mortem, Henry gets into the Queen's vault and he studies the floor scrapes to realize how to get downstairs. Smart kid. Of course, the box he opens is the one with Genie's nasty snakes in it *shudder*.  James shows up and closes the box and chastises Henry, but he tells him he won't keep him out of it anymore.

It seems Henry doesn't think it's fair that he's not over there with Emma and Snow, learning to ride and to sword fight (because it's all an adventure), but also because he wants them back. James agrees to teach him to sword fight and produces two wooden swords to begin Henry's training—meanwhile across the street and watching with an ugly look on his face is George.

Seems he still has it in for James…

Whew.  Very little Regina and Ruby in this episode and no Rumple or Belle at all and yet so much was going on – love Once Upon a Time.  Next week?

Captain Hook and baby, he's HAWT.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Growing Pains

It's almost hard to believe it's finally back, but season four debuted with a bang last night and we're going to talk about some of the twists, the turns, and the WTF moments. Producers revealed the cold open a couple of weeks ago, offering us a glimpse of the all the changes in Mystic Falls and setting the tone for the episode with Elena's, "I'm human or at least I was…" The next couple of minutes were also previewed. The white noise, the intensification of sound and Elena's sudden wake with a gasp...

Stefan and Damon sat in her room waiting for her to wake—apparently she has been slipping in and out of consciousness. Stefan tried to soften it, and told Elena that Bonnie was working on a spell to try and undo what happened (because lately Bonnie is the plot device to save all things)—but Damon provided the more realistic view: "You feed or you die. There is no door number 3."

Elena wants to exhaust all hope so that's what Stefan will do because apparently whipped boy is her lapdog. Yes, here comes some of my irritation with this whole triangle. Elena chose Stefan because she can control him—she will never have that level of control over Damon when it comes to her safety. Damon will always choose Elena—Stefan will choose what Elena tells him, too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Show & Tell: Wendi Zwaduk & One More Night

Do you remember those days in school when you got to take something special in and share it with the whole class? My teacher used to have us put it in a brown paper bag. We would tell the class all about the item, what it meant to us, why we liked it and then we would pull it out of the paper bag like a Magician saying VOILA! Oohs and aahs would follow and I always got so excited.  Today, I'm launching a new feature here on my blog, it's show and tell, author style. I don't really have a brown paper bag, but what I do have is something almost as good--a great book by a great author.  

She's funny, she's sassy, and she's a fellow Decadent author.  Please give Wendi Zwaduk a warm welcome, she volunteered to be my first brown paper bag:

About Wendi Zwaduk

I always dreamed of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I tend to write books with titles taken from songs because music is one of my many muses.

I earned a BA in education  and as well as a Masters in Education. I've tried my hand at teaching, waitressing, and retail sales, but writing holds my heart.

I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. I books under contract with Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books, and the Wild Rose Press. But then again, I've got more stories percolating than my brain can handle. I can't wait to share them with you!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Once Upon a Time Post Mortem: We Are Both

After an action packed season premiere, We Are Both, episode 2x02 sought to answer some questions, but kept a tight focus on our Storybrooke characters rather than the Enchanted Forest. So if you were looking for Emma and Snow, we didn't get to see them until the very end when Mulan and Aurora lead them (bound) into the rundown village.

The Wicked Queen

Regina never wanted to be evil or powerful or queen for that matter. During the first season we met her exceptionally wicked mother Cora played by Barbara Hershey. Perverted by magic, Cora wanted Regina to make a powerful marriage--so much so that she killed Daniel, the stable boy that Regina loved and wanted to run away with for her happily ever after.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: A Look Inside my Current WIP

This is from the current WIP I'm working on. Just a little tidbit to whet the appetite:

"It's okay, I told Heidi I wouldn't do the runaway game again, so Stan can tag along—you have your guards. I have mine." Playfulness erased the disappointment on her face.  They were halfway across the lobby when she glanced up at him. "Wait—if your blood called mine and I answered—dude, am I a vampire too?"
No way to soften this answer. "Yes."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Micah & Mrs Miller Release Day! It's Here! It's Here!

I want to tell you a secret. A little under a year ago, I released Marshal of Hel Dorado. It was an ambitious little project and a labor of love for me. You see, when I started writing it, I absolutely intended for it to be a novella, but then I met the Kane family and Scarlett's brothers and something kind of magical happened...this whole world opened up.  

Marshal of Hel Dorado released in October 2011, over Christmas that year, I wrote Cody's story. Brave Are the Lonely added new dimensions to this world and filling it in with all these wonderful nuances. But both of these books featured at least one of the Fevered in the lead role, so when it came time to write Micah and Mrs Miller, I worried. Just a little. You see, I knew my main couple weren't Fevered, but I also knew that Micah's story was absolutely next. 

So as my year progressed and it came time to write Micah's book, I stopped hesitating and dove in. I trusted those instincts that introduced me to this world and trust me when I say--this book was far more than even I imagined when I began writing it. It took me on a wild ride and three reveals occurred  two major ones I never saw coming until the words hit the page. 

My muse and I would like to cordially invite you to return to Dorado, don't worry if you're a newcomer, we like strangers in this part of Texas. Join the Kanes and the Morning Stars in a wild, wild west that I can only imagine...

Micah & Mrs Miller

When the spirit fever struck a town, a village or an outpost, it left few if any survivors. The white man blamed the Indian saying they used their mojo on them. The Indians blamed the white man for angering the spirits. The survivors knew it didn’t matter. The Fevered were forever changed.

A job that needs to be done…

With his older brother Sam preoccupied by the upcoming birth of his child and younger brother Kid recovering from his injuries, Micah Kane has never been so busy—too busy to go to San Antonio and escort home the new schoolteacher—but what his father wants, his father gets. Busy or not, one look at the exotic beauty with her rich European accent and he can’t think of anything else.

A woman on the run…

Josephine Miller entered an arranged marriage on good faith. One year of misery later, she discovered a horrifying secret about her husband and fled west. Becoming a schoolteacher in a small Texas town seemed like the perfect way to disappear but Micah’s touch awakens a desperate desire that she finds herself helpless to resist.

Darkness, danger and death lurking on the horizon…

An outbreak of the spirit fever, dangerous strangers in town and wild accidents at the Flying K threatening everything they care about, Micah must convince Jo that she doesn’t have to run—together they can stand against any storm.

His code. Her secret. Their war.

Available now from Amazon, All Romance eBooks and soon Barnes and Noble.

Learn more about the Fevered Hearts!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Workshops for NaNoWriMo Participants and Writers

Happy Monday! It's October 1st and we're officially heading into the Harvest, Halloween, Samhain season!  It also means NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. I've participated in NaNoWriMo for over twelve years, well before I became published and it was a month that helped me get my writing back on track. Let me help you this year with two great workshops designed to help you launch your writing and take advantage of the NaNoWriMo season.

Pre-Writing - Registration Closed - This class will be offered again in February stay tuned for details.

Class Cost: $20
Length: 5 Days
Dates: 10/22 to 10/26
Where: Via Yahoo Loop 

This five day class is all pre-writing work and warm-ups. You will do your research, you will answer Heather's top ten questions of what you need to know before you start writing that book. You will get some time management techniques for creating writing windows in your writing schedule and you will warm up your words per hour with sprints. You will develop your plot, your characterization and your storytelling – and you will learn everything you need to know in five days to write your book. Eliminate obstacles, develop your toolbox, and write that novel you can see and hear in your mind.  Before NaNoWriMo begins put together everything you need to know about your novel in a five day workshop

Post-Writing Self-Editing Workshop - Registration Closed

Class Cost: $20
Length: 5 Days
Dates: 12/3-12/7
Where: Via Yahoo Loop 

NaNoWriMo is over, but let's get that manuscript whipped into shape. You should have spent all of November focused on completing your manuscript, now lets polish it. This workshop will provide you with key tips on editing out passive writing, identifying flaws, finding overuse of words or phrases – and filling in any blanks that you may have left due to research.

Sign up below.  Workshops provide you with essential tips and tools to make your writing faster and smoother. An author of over twenty-five books, Heather uses these methods religiously to develop tighter, more focused manuscripts from start to finish. These workshops also provide you with an excellent networking resource and a support group.