Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Christmas in September

You know, I’ve been pretty darn lucky lately. I’ve read some damn fine paranormals, two of which are from one of my all-time favorite authors, Christina Dodd. I’m hooked on her Darkness Chosen series.

I just finished the first two in the series, Scent of Darkness and Touch of Darkness, and can’t wait for the final two to hit the shelves, which will be in July and August 2008. (Dang it. Write faster, Christina. ;-) Tee-hee.)

What I love about her writing, and this thrilling, shape-shifter series in particular, is the detailed mythology she creates that carries through the entire series. What is it, you ask? A 1000 years ago, a warrior ancestor of the Wilder family made a pact with the Devil...and now the Wilders need to break that pact. But the problem? The more the Wilder men shape-shift into a wolf or a hawk...or whatever else Christina has planned for her sexy, Alpha heros...the closer they come to turning pure evil and the closer they come to acting as savage and ruthless as their Ukrainian relations. So, they must use their power wisely.

You know, I’ve been reading Christina’s historical romances for years and years (a big shout out for The Runaway Princess—woo!) and what sucks me into her paranormals is the mix of historical elements, the contemporary storyline, the mythology, the suspense, the chemistry and emotion between the characters, and, of course, the paranormal premise. This series has it all and she does it well.

Another favorite author who can hook me and reel me in with her paranormals is Maureen Child. I know. I read these books several months ago, but she also knows how to add just the right mix of elements and swirl them together perfectly--as evidenced by her Nocturnes, Eternally (11/06) and Nevermore (2/07). And she wrote historical romance as well! (And made me cry several times with this one. On Christmas Eve. Thanks a lot, Maureen. ;-))

And guess what? It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! And I didn’t have to tackle the mailman yesterday and say, “Where the hell is my box from Amazon, buddy?”

Okay, I wouldn’t really do that. I think he carries pepper spray or mace, or something. Besides, he knows where I live.

But J.R. Ward’s Lover Unbound has arrived and there’s much rejoicing. Well, at least by me. Who’s with me? Huh? Huh?

Vishous! Sigh.

But first, I must write. I have my own paranormal to finish. :-)

Happy writing and reading everyone!


P.S. To see an interview with Christina Dodd on Romance B(u)y the Book, click here:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where Stories Are Born and Other Miracles

So while I was writing on my laptop, my husband turned away from the Angels game and suggested we plan another trip to England and Scotland. Possibly next summer.

ME: Yippee! Jane Austen's House!
HIM: Uh, no.
ME: But...But...Jane Austen's House.
HIM: No. Been there. Done that.
ME: But Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy merchandise.
HIM: Definitely. Not.
ME: (a moment later) Where did the Bronte sisters live?
HIM: Why don't we go to Spain instead?
ME: Oooh! (fingers flying over the keyboard)
HIM: What are you doing?
ME: I'm Googling Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Don Quixote, baby!

Yeah, the poor guy can't win. :-)

The following was posted after our first trip to England...

The Miracle of Jane Austen’s House (and gift shop)

Originally posted on The Writer’s Vibe, August 2006

Yes, my friends, it was indeed a miracle! Three miracles, in fact. The first one being that we walked around without a map until we finally stumbled upon the tiny, picturesque village of Chawton where Jane Austen had lived. (We knew we were close when the houses started to sport thatched roofs).

Yeah, yeah. I know what my friends are thinking: Michele didn’t have a map of the entire area in her trusty file folder? Nope, no Google Earth either. Not this time, folks. We’d set out of London that morning, knowing an adventure waited for us near Alton…Somewhere.

Then suddenly, the miles we had endured in our pilgrimage and the soreness in our tired legs and aching feet was all worth it because finally on the right hand side of the narrow road was Jane Austen’s house and gift shop. And they took credit cards! Did I mention all the merchandise—photos, bookmarks, ect.,--with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy? Okay, I didn’t actually purchase said merchandise, as my husband was with me on this journey. Awkward!

Anyway, this was the 17th century house she’d lived in when she wrote and revised her novels. I stood next to the writing table she'd used, hoping to soak in some of the creative aura around it. Hmm…Can inanimate objects have an aura? Well, whatever it was, it worked because I bounded out of that house eager to write and I’ve been on a tear ever since that day. Miracle Number Two. Can I get an Amen?

The third miracle came about when my family and I realized we still had enough stamina to walk another seven miles around London that day, which we did. Thus, we knew it truly to be The Miracle of Jane Austen’s House (and gift shop).

I had a similar experience a few years back when I visited Louisa May Alcott’s house in Concord, Massachusetts. Well, not the walking part, as we had a car on that trip, but the thrill of being in a place where one of my favorite stories had been created. (I seem to recall hovering near her writing desk as well). That excitement kept me going until I finished my first novel. But I didn't stopped there, as several more stories are on their way!

So what about you? Who wrote your favorite novels? Have you visited the places where those stories were born?


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Believe I Can Fly

This summer, I realized I can fly. Do you ever have one of those moments when you think, You know what? I can do this. That happened to me.

With the help of some awesome OCC friends, I plotted out one of my paranormals and now know exactly where I'm going with that one (I'm so excited about this story and hope to be finished by the end of the year!!). And I have outlines for the next two in the trilogy, which I'll write as proposals.

I also have two more stories that need a bit of revising and polishing, and then they're ready to go. And three more ideas completely outlined and ready to be written as proposals.

If I set my goals, focus, and work my butt off to reach those goals...Then I'm going to experience lift-off, my friends. I'm ready!

I'm so fortunate to be able to surround myself with people who set goals and reach them, as it's such a motivator as well. Those friends truly, truly inspire me (not to mention give me a swift kick in the arse when I need it!). I'd be lost without them and feel I owe them so much for their generosity and guidance.

And as difficult as it is for a writer to become a published author, it's reassuring to look around and see so many friends who are published. Of course, if you want to be successful and fly, you have to work hard, you have to have the talent, the perseverance, and plain ole good luck to help you along.

Oh, and speaking of flying, talent, perseverance, and hard work, we went to the U.S. Women's Soccer (gold jerseys) match against Finland (blue jerseys). It was the last game in the U.S. before they left for China to contend for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. This team is ranked #1 in the world, and some of the players are wives and mothers...a few are as old as I am! (gasp). These women inspire me.

Watching this video makes me think I should probably join a gym or at least get off this chair and go out for a walk, or something. ;-)

USA VS. FINLAND from ericcwiertny and Vimeo.

The video was shot with our older point and shoot Sony Cybershot DSC-T33 and the still photos were shot by our Nikon D70.

Music: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes covering "I Believe I Can Fly"

So what do you believe you can do?


P.S. 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup opener, USA vs North Korea, begins September 11th. Go USA! :-)