Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Stuff

Ah, Monday.  I...don't like Mondays.  But here I am, surviving yet another one, coffee at the ready and with an enormous puppy drooling on my leg in the hopes that I will share my english muffin with him (I am).  So it was a productive weekend.  I continued with the P90X thing, and am a very sore woman today (Yoga X having kicked my butt yesterday, with Legs and Back looking to continue the trend this afternoon).  I feel better to be doing something, though, and am already seeing results, so...that's some motivation.  I really, really want to look good this summer.  I'm also writing away on Jaden and Lyra's story (title still being debated), and am into the proposal for Damien and Ariane's story, which will (hopefully) be Dark Dynasties Book 3.  That's going to be an interesting one, if it comes to fruition the way I envision it.  Still fleshing out the outline.  Gotta love pairing a mouthy vampire assassin with a mysterious and sheltered she-vamp:-)  I do have to ask, though, if anyone has suggestions for visual inspiration for Damien and Ariane?  He's a handsome, sandy-haired aristocrat by birth.  He's also a brat with a killer smile.  Totally amoral on the surface, but there's more buried underneath.  I'll admit it right now, he's a snarky ass and I love him.  Ariane is an ethereal beauty.  Her hair is going to be platinum, but the model needn't have that...hard to find in the real world.  She should have the face of an angel.  Just classically gorgeous.  I'm just starting to dig around, but ideas are welcome.  Anyway, I am going to hobble away from the computer for more coffee now.  Feeling strangely good despite all the ouchies.   Writing is such sedentary business...I really did need to get moving again!  Have a good one.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Yay, Friday!  Best day of the week (apart from maybe Saturday).  Not much to offer today...going to write in a bit, and I have to do some more of this P90X thing I've committed myself to.  Brian's doing it, he looks great, and I can't be the slug in the relationship, is day 2 of soreness.  I'm in a pretty good mood, though, and I know some of it is because of the loathed exercise.  Anyway, here's a groove to head into the weekend with.  Bizarro video (are they wearing antlers and glitter?), but great song.  What's everyone up to for the weekend?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Lovely Lyra

Morning!  It turned out to be a snow day today, which suits me fine.  The kids are playing in the basement (ah, the joys of a finished basement), and since I've already got one cup of coffee in the tank, my head's full of ideas for the work in progress.  Works, I should say...I have a proposal going as well. 

Anyway, I'm looking at my bulletin board as I write.  It's actually covered in useful things, for once.  I have my motivational Jareth picture:
Yes, I work beneath the Goblin King's disapproving glare, but it works.  I also have my new calendar, which I desperately needed because I have an awful habit of losing post-it notes.  The pic I showed you yesterday of Jaden is up there, tagged with his name.  And beside him is my current heroine, Lyra Black.  Figured I would show you all what she looks like today, as I was very proud of myself for finding a character model.  Heroes aren't nearly as hard for me...probably because I like looking at hot men:-)  But it's much more difficult for me to match a woman in my head with a real person.  Maybe it's tougher simply because Hollywood gives us a lot of different ideas of male beauty, but what they consider the ideal of female beauty is a lot more limited.  A LOT.  I do have a soapbox I could get on about that, but I'll spare you for the moment.  What I will say is that I tend not to go for emaciated bobbleheads with blonde hair and bolted on boobs.  What's a writer to do??  Well, in this case, I had a single idea of who might work, because IMO she's one of the most gorgeous actresses working right now.  And lo, I quickly came across a picture of her that was all Lyra, right down to the hair: curly and brown but threaded with blonde streaks. 

And there she is, my tough-yet-feminine werewolf heroine, as played by Kate Beckinsale.  I'm not even far into the book and the sparks are flying!  But then, that's what happens when you put a wolf and a vampire cat together:-)  Have a great one, and if you got any rough weather, hope you have a relaxing inside day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Little Inspiration

Gah, it's raining.  Again.  And it's supposed to turn into sleet/snow/something I won't want to drive in later this afternoon.  On the one hand, it's good writing weather, if I can get my butt in the chair.  On the other hand, I am going to come down with a raging case of Seasonal Affective Disorder if this sort of weather continues.  Yuck!  We can't even have a proper snowstorm down here.  It's just this wet STUFF all the time.

Oh well.  I decorated my bulletin board yesterday with a new calendar I bought (slim pickings at this point, but I found a pretty one), along with printed out pics of my new hero and heroine.  I am aware that not everyone loves the Moody Emo Vampire look, but still, this isn't such a bad thing to look at every day:
That's Jaden, in my world.  My editor had asked for a character pic the other day, and seemed to really like this, though she did tell me that the art department would probably NOT put guyliner on the cover hunk.  I suppose I understand, though really, everything is better with guyliner:-)  Here's hoping they match him as well as they did Ty on the cover of Dark Awakening...which, by the way, I googled out of curiosity yesterday, and is starting to turn up on lists of books people are interested in buying because they love the cover!  I want to get it blown up for my office wall.  Hmm, maybe for my birthday! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dark Dynasties: The Cait Sith

Well, I'm home!  So today is the final installment of my little Meet the Dark Dynasties series.  Last, but most certainly not least, I'd like to introduce you to the bloodline of Dark Awakening's hero, Tynan MacGillivray.  He is of the Cait Sith, pronounced "cat-SHEE", and he hasn't had an easy time of it.  None of his kind ever have.
The Cait Sith are considered lowbloods, despite their singular mark.  Celtic in origin, and supposedly tainted eternally by the blood of the Fae, these cat-shifting vampires are known for being ruthless and efficient hunters.  For centuries, they have essentially belonged to the Ptolemy, kept as slaves, highly valued for their abilities but treated as pets at best, and as disposable playthings or weapons at worst.  They are rarely found in any numbers outside of Ptolemy-controlled territories, and are forced to live in relative poverty if they have somehow managed to stay outside of Arsinöe’s purview.  No other dynasty will touch them, fearing Arsinöe’s wrath, and the Ptolemy themselves make great sport of hunting the small bands of Cait Sith trying to live eternal life on their own terms.  The promising hunters and fighters are taken and forced into service, while the rest are often killed.  At court, treatment of the cat-shifters by the queen herself has varied from cruelty to a sort of mild affection.  Though she has sometimes taken favorites and elevated them above the rest, it’s doubtful Arsinöe will ever see even her most prized hunters as much more than belongings.    

And then Ty is sent to find a Seer, and everything changes:-)  Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Coming Soon

So I brilliantly forgot that the final bit for my Dark Dynasty intros is on my home computer, and I'm traveling back I, erm, won't have it up until tomorrow.  BUT, I do have something else cool to share!  There are a few movies I'm really psyched to see in the coming year, and Red Riding Hood is one of them.  It's one of those films that could very easily suck (I'm STILL bummed about Van Helsing, The Brothers Grimm, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc. since they looked amazing in their trailers and I loved the concepts), but this trailer is irresistible to me.  Check it out and tell me what you think!

What are YOU all looking forward to seeing this year?  I'll be in later this afternoon to chat:-)  Have a great one!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dark Dynasties: The Grigori

Happy Friday, everyone!  This is the second-to-last installment of my little series on the Dark Dynasties, and I'll save the last one for Monday.  Won't be posting this weekend, as I'm heading out to visit my family (we haven't been to see them since the end of last summer) and plan on chilling before I really ramp things up with the writing again.  Lots to do!  So a tiny break before another whirlwind:-)  However, I'll check in later today to say hello...just know I'm not ignoring you all, I'm in the car.  For hours.  Ugh.  Anyway, without further adieu, here's the scoop on the Grigori.
Little is known about the Grigori, including whether they are a true dynasty or something else altogether.  Regardless, no one would dare ban them from the Vampiric Council, the loosely-knit governing body of the nobility.  As far as anyone can tell, they are ruled by a vampire named Sariel, though he may only be a figurehead.  The deserts of the West belong to them, a place few vampires venture for fear that the Grigori, unusually tall vampires whose beauty is both exquisite and cold, would not take kindly to the intrusion.  Still, the Grigori stay out of the unending squabbles between the other dynasties, preferring to observe from a distance with their unnerving calm and reserve.  There are rumors about what the particular gift of the Grigori is, spurred on by the wing-shaped mark they wear, but like so much about this ancient dynasty, nothing is known for certain.
I'm quite anxious to explore this dynasty, actually...and that will begin in the third book!  Have a great one, everybody!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Dark Dynasties: Meet the Empusae

Wow, is it Thursday already?  This is shaping up to be one of those weeks that time forgot.  I was up last night designing a bookmark for Dark Awakening...I really like the way it turned out!  Just needs a little tweaking this morning.  I guess I'm going to be adding"Making my own bookmarks with Photoshop" to my list of "Skills I had no idea I would need to be a writer but had to learn anyway".  I hope they look as nice when they come from the print place as they do on my screen.  Anyway, here's another installment of Meet the Dark Dynasties...this is the description of the Empusae, the only all-female dynasty.  I think one of the lovely things about romance today is the thread of female empowerment that comes through in so many of them.  What better way to celebrate that than by creating a vampiric sisterhood?
The only dynasty that is entirely female, the Empusae are the smallest of the dynasties that have chosen to base their power in America.  Greek in origin, and possessed of vast libraries of ancient tomes dealing with the creatures of the night, the line that counts the goddess Hecate as its founder are deeply respected, if no longer dominant.  Empusa, their leader, has made sure that the women of the Empusae reveal little of the knowledge they guard, and the bonds of the dynasty’s sisterhood are strong.  There is an ancient magic about the Empusae, leading many to believe that there is far more to what they are capable of besides their traditional ability to vanish into smoke.  However, with the reclusive Empusa’s tight grip on her kind, it seems almost certain that eventually, the Empusae will dwindle until they vanish completely, taking all their secrets with them.

Cool, huh?  Have a great Thursday, everyone! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dark Dynasties: Meet the Dracul

Okay, a little more alive today, so here's another of the Dark Dynasties...the very famous, and much-maligned, Dracul.  Not exactly Count Dracula, but it was fun to take that legend and put some twists on it!
The Dracul are the youngest of the dynasties, led by a man whose strength and charisma have made him a legend in the mortal world and a feared adversary in his own.  Though he is little like the stories that are told of him, Vlad Dracul only gained legitimacy for his bloodline though his incredible tenacity, a dogged determination to grasp his way to the top of vampire society, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals.  Though the ability to change into an animal is frowned upon by most highbloods, considered too much like the loathed werewolves banned from their cities, the Dracul are able to assume the form of the bat, allowing them a degree of stealth that even the disdainful envy.  Still, despite the grudging respect they have earned among many, the Dracul are well aware that their position is always precarious…and that the Ptolemy will never stop looking for a way to remove them from the halls of power.

I think someday Vlad may need to have his own book...he's hot, and not at all how you'd expect.  I don't know...would you read yet another character based on Dracula?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Party Break!

Okay, you all party.  I'll just do the zombie shufffle.  Um, of joy.  Basically pulled an all-nighter to clean up all that was left to tweak (and am now remembering why I always swear NEVER to do this to myself again...every time), but I am happy to report that the manuscript currently known as Under a Wicked Moon (very subject to change) has been sent off my to my editor at Nocturne!  And there was much rejoicing:-)  It's a fun book, full of werewolf-y goodness, and will probably be out sometime in 2012.  I think this is it for the Nocturnes for a while, since this completes my current contract with them.  Stacking deadlines upon deadlines has been rough these last few months.  Not for the faint of heart!

Anyway, the latest book is off the desk, another one has to go right on, but I'm taking today off to recuperate.  Finishing my sixth contracted book is pretty cool.  Or it will be, once my brain starts functioning again!  Party on, dudes.  *shuffles offf*  Braaaaaiiiiiiinnnnss...  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Introducing: The Ptolemy

Aaaand another week is off to a start!  Not a quick start, since the kids are off of school and I intend to stay in my PJs awhile yet, but a start nonetheless.  Oh, and before I forget, my site is beautful and has gone LIVE...hope everyone enjoys the changes!  I love it.  Today I'll start introducing the bloodlines that are major players in my upcoming series.  The info will be available on my website, but I figured this is a fun place to actually chat about each dynasty.  So, without further adieu, meet the largest and, in some ways, most difficult dynasty, the Ptolemy.  Don't mistake them for traditional bad guys...but I certainly wouldn't call them "good" either...
The Ptolemy are the oldest and most powerful bloodline in the world, begun when the goddess Sekhmet bestowed the dark gift on a dying Arsinöe IV of Egypt, sister of Cleopatra.  Their gifts are preternatural grace and speed that go far beyond what even the most talented vampires are capable of, rendering them difficult to catch and nearly impossible to fight.  Arsinöe is a clever, capable ruler, and has made her dynasty the dominant force in the world of night.  Some say that ages of entitlement and relative isolation at court have twisted her, and  the Ptolemy are well known for their disdain for any bloodline besides their own.  But Arsinöe and her kind are a force to be reckoned with, and only a fool would think to get between the vampire queen and what she wants.

Oh yes, ancient Egyptian vampires...mwah hah hah...this is what happens when I watch The History Channel.  Vampires.  Takes all kinds, though, right?:-) 

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Okay, I know I said I'd start talking about the Dark Dynasties today, but I'm pre-empting that.  Best to start Monday anyway, I think.  Sunday calls for a fluffy post, and I have just the thing!  Late last night, I got an email from the breeder we've selected to get Chewie a baby sister from.  She's wonderful...been breeding and showing for about thirty years, and breeds Landseers, which is what we're hoping for.  She'll be selecting the puppy (or a couple of puppies to choose from) based on personality.  ANYWAY, wanted to share one of the pics she sent.  These babies will be two weeks old tomorrow, and there are THIRTEEN of them.  I don't think they're all in the picture.  Mama had to have a c-section because there were so many.  See!  See baby puppies!
Ten girls, three boys.  Cheryl thinks they look like little guinea pigs.  I think I'd have to concur:-)

Have a happy Sunday, everyone!  I'm off to keep working...*cries*

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Meet the Dark Dynasties

Happy Saturday, everyone!  I thought that over the next week I'd give everyone a primer on my upcoming series with Grand Central, the Dark Dynasties.  All of this info will be located on its own page on my website once it's all done, but over the coming week I'll piece it out to you as well.  It's fun to talk about, and it's on my mind a lot (hmm, wonder why?), so I thought I'd share.  To start, here's the series concept.  My editor loved it, despite her initial skepticism about yet another vampire proposal, because she said it felt familiar and yet different.  What do you think?  Oh, and this is the mark of the Cait Sith (pronounced cat-SHEE) bloodline, and the mark my first hero wears.  The artist I hired did an amazing job!

Blood is Power.  Desire is Destiny.

Welcome to the world of night, where an entire civilization lives and breathes just out of sight of our own.  For thousands of years, the great vampire dynasties have ruled the lesser bloodlines with an iron fist, taking what they want, when they want it, and feuding amongst themselves over petty intrigues and imagined slights.  In the roving vampire courts of the powerful, your mark, a physical manifestation of the bloodline you were sired into, is your destiny.  Lowblood or highblood, nothing can change a vampire’s place in this arcane society.  But change is coming to those who have dominion over the dark….and as new dynasties rise and ancient powers fall, only one thing is certain: nothing will ever be the same again.

Hope you enjoyed the teaser...tomorrow I'll talk about the largest of the dynasties, the Ptolemy.  I can't wait to share this series with you!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Odds and Ends

Morning!  Ahh, Friday.  The day when I can look forward to a weekend of repairing the stuff I just figured out was wrong with the plot of the book I'm turning in on Tuesday.  I'm no longer surprised when this happens.  Inevitably, right before deadline, I will have an epiphany about a plot point that just wasn't working.  This is fabulous, in some ways.  It would be way more fabulous if it happened, say, a month earlier.

Anyway, little this and that today.  The basic design for my new website is done, and I loooove it.  It's all sexy and spooky, and yes, it has a hot shirtless man on it.  This is why I really got into writing romance.  I wanted to have plenty of decisions to make that revolved around hot men in various states of undress.  Any writers here looking for a place to go, check out Rae Monet, Inc.  She and her team are great...and fast!

So that'll be up and running, I'd guess, within a week or so.  This blog's appearance will change to match. 

In other news, I've turned in my copyedits for Dark Awakening, so that's the last time I'll see my beautiful baby until it hits shelves June 28th!  Very exciting.  When the new website goes live, I'll have an entire page dedicated to the Dark Dynasties, and I hope you'll check it out.  I'll be adding to it as the series progresses, but there'll be a lot of basic info there about the major players to start. 

In other OTHER news, my Newf puppy, Chewie, ate a dollar bill yesterday.  Well, most of a dollar bill.  We found remnants.  I'm hoping he outgrows this phase, because the dog is a four-legged vacuum cleaner.  I've pulled all kinds of things out of his mouth...legos, paper, crayons, wrappers, sticks and name it.  I'm also fairly sure he's eating pieces off of my trees outside.  He's lucky he's cute!  And huge, at this point.  Gotta love having that much dog to love on.  His new baby sister, who will be named Stella, was born almost two weeks ago up in the Finger Lakes of NY.  The breeder will choose a puppy for us, but as it was a litter of thirteen, ten of which were girls and six of which were Landseer girls, I'm thinking we'll likely get our preference of a Landseer.  That's a black and white Newf, for those of you who have never researched enormous, drooling furballs. 

I'll leave you today with a pic of me and the drool monster.  He looks possessed because of the light in his eyes.  Sometimes I wonder anyway:-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Starting Fresh

Well, it's been quite a while since I blogged anywhere near consistently...or at all, as a matter of fact! The last year was so full of ups, downs, deadlines, sick kids, trips, and general insanity that paying attention to a blog dropped to near the bottom of my list of things to do. It wasn't at all a bad year, just busy. But since I'm starting a new series this summer, one which I hope will capture readers' imaginations the way it has mine, I figured it was time to give my online life a makeover.

So here I am, back on Blogger after a yearlong affair with Wordpress (interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying). My website rebuild has begun and should be up and running before the month's end, thanks to the fabulous Rae Monet...I can't wait to see what she and her team come up with for me! I'm about to turn in my copyedits for Dark Awakening, which will hit shelves June 28th, after which I'll jump all the way into writing the second book in the series (as well as working up a proposal for the third). I'll turn in my second Harlequin Nocturne on Tuesday, which will be available sometime in early 2012. And of course, I'm eagerly awaiting to hear who wins the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards, since Renegade Angel is one of five finalists for Best Nocturne of 2010. I don't expect to win, but hey, you never know!

Busy, busy, right? But I'm hoping for all good things in 2011. Keep a look out for all of the changes I've got coming, if you're interested (yes, eventually there will be goodies up for grabs on my Extras page, too), and I hope to see everyone around here!