My charmed life

Here’s an IM conversation with my husband for your enjoyment:

Lizard Sighting
Me: There was a lizard sighting. I’m still shivering!

Andres: Did the cats tromp it?

Me: Don dragged it in and maimed it, but ran off while it was still alive. I thought it was dead. Tossed a bag on it to make sure. But when I came near it with the scooper it ran. And we all screamed like little girls. It ran around and around the living room while we screamed. The cat hissed from a safe distance. We considered letting the dog in to see if she would eat it, but we ultimately vetoed the idea as too gross. Marta eventually saved us. Or I would be, right now, begging you to come home.

Andres: Stupid cat, should finish what he starts. Hee.

Me: We were terrified!

Andres: You’re all so very brave.
*you could spread the irony with a knife*

Me
: Yeah, right. It was bad enough when we thought it was dead. We all stood staring at it for a few minutes and it never moved. Don had chewed off some of its legs and feet. I had the kids get the catbox scooper. I was gonna flick it into a bag. I crept up to it, bent down, and ZOOM! It started running around on its maimed legs! I couldn’t KILL it!!!! Marta did, though. She’s a butch woman. She broke its neck with the scooper. She also looked really amused by us…

Andres: Heh heh.
*this represents my husband dissolved at his desk in helpless laughter*

Me: Could you have killed it?

Andres: At the least, could have picked it up and tossed it. Heh. But yes, I think so, dear.

Me: Then you’re almost as macho as our maid. [grin] I gave your son a chance to prove his manliness. Cos of his bragging in PV about how he isn’t scared of lizards. Turns out he is! Worse than me, he cried. I got close to the thing and would’ve flicked it into the bag if it had been dead.

Andres: Hee hee.
*more helpless laughter*

Me: He wouldn’t even try. So we’re all scared. And scarred.

Andres: You poor things. You should all get ice cream to cope.

Me: And now, Don is complaining because we threw out his lizard. He’s licking his chops at me like, I wasn’t done with that! I only ate the legs!

Andres: Heh. Iz tazts liek chikn.
*he suggests a LOLcat caption for our life*

Me: If the stupid cat pukes up lizard feet I’m giving him to the lab for drug research.
Sent at 1:50 PM on Monday

And there you have it, an excerpt from my charmed life. Enjoy!

The Big Reveal: Jax lovers rejoice.

Remember when I told you to watch this space?

It’s time. Negotiations are finished, and it’s now official.

*drum roll* DANCE MONKEY

DOUBLEBLIND and KILLBOX are a go.

That’s right; Jax three and four (titles subject to change and release dates to be announced) have been contracted by Ace. Dance Monkey says, “Let the dancing begin.”

Business as usual

Well, I’m back from vacation. I had a fantastic time in PV. Later this week, I’ll see about uploading the video from our whale-watching tour. Most fun I’ve ever had in a boat.

I’ll write more about the vacation later. This post is mostly just some announcements. First, check this out:
Preorder now!
Wanderlust is up for preorder!

Next, I’ll announce the winner of the MJM contest.

Katie (#3)!

Email me with your address, and I’ll hook you up.

Finally, I have some super-exciting news to announce.
Watch this space for updates.

Romantic Fantasy

Today I’m pimping an author you may never have heard of. I adore her books, and I think y’all should have a chance to love them too.

So let’s talk about…

Moira J. Moore

The first book in her series is RESENTING THE HERO, then it’s THE HERO STRIKES BACK, and finally, HEROES ADRIFT. I’ll give you a little background.

Don’t let the covers and titles fool you. These are excellent fantasy novels with some sturdy, inventive world-building. The world’s weather is totally unstable, and only the existence of “bonded pairs” make it possible for human beings to survive. Bonded pairs consist of a Source (the one who channels the cataclysmic events and sort of controls the damage they do) and a Shield (who protects the mind of the channeler). They have a symbiotic relationship, and they occupy a special rank in the social hierarchy. They’re not allowed to own things, but they don’t pay for goods and taxes either. They go through years of specialized training before being bonded and going to work for the Triple S.

These books tell the story of Dunleavy (Lee) Mallorough and Lord Shintaro (Taro) Karish. Lee is stolid and emotionless, even for a Shield. Taro is a nobleman, which means he’s rare among the pairs. He’s handsome, charming, and everybody loves him. Except Lee. But she doesn’t know him. She just takes an instant dislike to him because he’s beautiful and popular. She decides he’s shallow and obnoxious, and she is stricken when they attend the bonding ceremony, and he is, of course, her destined Source.

The bonded pair relationship isn’t supposed to be a romantic one, but we can tell right away that there are forbidden sparks between Taro and Lee. He isn’t used to anyone treating him as Lee does. She isn’t taken in by the empty smiles he tosses out, preventing anyone from ever getting to know the real Taro.

Their relationship flowers in soft, delicate little steps. Ms. Moore’s writing is lovely and engaging. I would say these books are definitely character-driven, but there’s some nice adventure in there as well. Which is funny because Lee is so anti-adventure. She just wants to do her job and have a nice, quiet life. Being partnered with Taro means she’ll be pushed outside her comfort zone (which is really narrow!) time and again.

I adore Taro and Lee. For all his beauty, he needs someone who knows him and -still- loves him. Acceptance and belonging is what he craves above all else. Taro is one of my favorite fantasy heroes of all time. By turns charming, petulant, passionate and tender, he delights me. With her wry and sometimes wrongheaded stubbornness, Lee makes a fabulous foil for him.

If you haven’t read this series, you really should. It’s such a treat; you’ll want to read all the books in one go. Well, now I’m giving you a chance to do that. I’ll send this series to you via Amazon, so toss your name in the hat in comments, and I’ll announce the winner next Friday. I’ll be on vacation until then. Good luck!

I’m home!

Well, I survived my first con. Luckily, it was a small one, where I could get my feet wet. I think I’m ready for RT now.

I enjoyed meeting readers. A few were kind enough to buy Grimspace (more than a few, in fact — we sold out before I had my official signing on Sunday). I loved talking with the booksellers from Booksamillion. They were fantastic and knowledgeable.

I loved seeing everyone so excited to be there. One couple told me that the panel Pantsing vs Plotting alone made the con worth the price of admission. Happily, I was a part of that, along with Gary Babb, M. Keaton, and Anthony Taylor, who’s writing a kick-ass Noir graphic novel, which I can’t wait to check out. It was very high energy, and it was a tremendous pleasure to talk with aspiring writers about my method (or is that madness?)

Overall, my panels were well-attended, and I’m pleased. I gave out a bunch of pens, met some cool people (*waves to Flo*) and a number of folks recognized me from my website, which was unexpected. I signed a lot of books. Readers seemed to find me very approachable, and that was cool. They’d come up to the table and ask about Grimspace. I started leading with, “Well, readers tell me it reminds them of Firefly…” About halfway through the conversation, they’d go, “Oh, are you the author?”

Which I’m going to take as a compliment, because Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of the warmest people I ever met. I signed with her on Sunday, even though I was out of books and I really admired how sweet she was to each reader. She remembered many of their names, the names of their kids… it was impressive and heartwarming. I actually signed a book for her, if you can imagine! That was pretty exciting. (She signed one for me too — eat your hearts out!)

The con had problems, but there’s no point in complaining about stuff that can’t be changed. Hopefully they will have ironed out the kinks by next year.

Here’s something random but interesting. You know how I used to share the funny searches that led to my blog? Now the top 10 results come from people who were actually looking for me. My name with various spellings and Grimspace comprise the top 10 searches. How about that!

Come up and see me sometime

Today I’m packing and finalizing all my travel plans for tomorrow. My blogging will be spotty until after I get back on Monday. I promise I’ll take pictures for those of you who can’t be there.

If you can, come see me at OmegaCon in Birmingham, March 14-16. If you live in / near Atlanta and would like to take me to dinner on March 13th, email me ASAP. *grin*

Here’s my schedule for the con: crest

Friday, March 14th
At 1:30 pm, I’ll be doing a meet and greet in Ballroom V. This runs for an hour. You can come chat with me, ask questions about Grimspace or future projects, possibly take our picture together if my hair isn’t doing anything too crazy that day.

At 4:30 pm, I’m on a panel called Romance in Science Fiction; I’m doing it with Sherrilyn Kenyon and some other cool people. You’ll need to check on site to see where the panels are held.

Saturday, March 15th

At 9:00 am, I’m on a panel called Writing Unforgettable Characters.

At 10:30 am, I’m taking part in Why write under a pseudonym? Here, I’m with Ms. Kenyon again.

At 7:30 pm, I’m on a panel discussing Pantsing vs Plotting.

Sunday, March 16th
At noon, I’ll be signing books for an hour in Ballroom I, along with Sherrilyn Kenyon and David Kopaska-Merkel.

I have no idea what I’ll be doing during the down time, but if you live in the South, this looks like it will be a fun weekend. I look forward to meeting y’all!

In praise of the idiot

You read that right.

I wrote a post over on It’s Not Chick porn, wherein I confessed to finding Frye’s love for Leela deeply moving. Sure, he’s an idiot and never does anything right, but he’s loyal and devoted and sometimes…yes, even… heroic.

There, I said it. Like that episode where Bender falls in love with the AI that runs the Planet Express ship (voiced by Sigourney Weaver) and they end up having to disable the crazed AI manually because the ship has turned off their oxygen. Leela is busily saving the day while Frye tries to warn her that her tank is empty. But she won’t listen. Why? Because he’s an idiot. So he quietly connects her hose to his and …yes, nearly dies for her. You’d have to watch the show to understand why his devotion is so moving, but if you’ve never watched Futurama, I’ll say this much: she rejects him constantly, and yet he still loves her. That, too, probably makes him an idiot, but such a sweet one.

So I had that post percolating in the back of my mind this weekend when I took up one of the Loretta Chase books I bought at Romance World when I was in San Diego hanging out with the lovely Laura Bradford, my agent. It was called LORD PERFECT. I read the first few pages and marveled at the wonderful writing. Then two lines jumped out at me:

“Even Rupert draws better than that, and Rupert is an idiot.”

Rupert laughed.


I have to tell you, every nerve tingled to life. An idiot, you say? I was immediately intrigued. I quickly surmised that LORD PERFECT wasn’t Rupert’s book. He was already calling a woman named Daphne ‘my love’, which made me think he had a book. What’s this? An author who shares my penchant for the lovely lunkhead?

Nothing would do but for me to track down Rupert’s book. I quickly discovered I needed to read MISS WONDERFUL first, and then MR. IMPOSSIBLE. That meant buying the ebooks and getting them on my PDA, which I did post-haste. I tore through the first book and I enjoyed it, but I knew somehow that the real treat was yet to come.

I cannot express how deeply I fell in love with Rupert Carsington, a big dumb lout — so unmanageable his father sent him off to Egypt to be rid of him. And yet…I do not think I have ever been so singularly charmed by a hero. He was…perfect, not impossible.

He provoked the heroine, so she wouldn’t be afraid. He acted dumber than he actually was, so she would gain confidence by solving their problems. She was an incredibly learned and brainy woman, who was socially unsure. Backward. He had no angst, not much in the way of deep thought (which rung so true, as he was a creature of highly developed instincts), but dear Heaven, he was stupendous. For instance:

“But it isn’t simply your looks,” he went on, his gaze elsewhere, reflective. “It’s the enthusiasm. The love of what you do. You make it interesting because you love it. You may talk of the driest stuff, yet I feel like Whatshisname, listening to Scheherazade.”

All he thought about was the heroine, basically, from the time he met her. In simple and varying ways. There was an utterly breathtaking moment where he tells Daphne:

“When I don’t understand what you’re talking about, I pretend I’m in a picture gallery and you are all the pictures.”

There is a wrenching sweetness in the simplicity of his character. In reading MR. IMPOSSIBLE I ache to be Daphne, to have this wonderful, maddening man focused on me. It doesn’t matter if he’s a bit dim sometimes, though not so much as he pretends. He is loyal, strong, and true. And the best part? He has absolutely no guile.

At the end, when her brother says to him, “My God, you are in love with Daphne,” Rupert turns his face upward and says, “Huh, so that’s what it is.” And then he gently chides Daphne for not telling him. “I can’t believe you let me find out from your brother.”

It’s just impossibly, stupidly sweet and I want to cry just thinking about it.

As luck would have it, i received two boxes of books from Amazon today. One of them contained a new-to-me author named Tamara Lejeune. I’ve never heard of her, but I proceeded to devour her book, SIMPLY SCANDALOUS. You know why?

Her hero was an idiot. A good-natured, ugly, well-intentioned, hot-headed idiot. I don’t think I’ve had so much fun with historical romances in years. This book didn’t have the adventure of MR. IMPOSSIBLE, rather it was more a Heyer style comedy of manners with the ensemble cast of hilarious characters, but it was updated for today.

I thought Julie and Ginger were simply brilliant. He’s a redhead, you see, and she nick-names him Ginger to incense him. Eventually he comes to get used to it. I’ve never seen a couple fall in love in such a way. It’s hilarious and delightful, the way they torment each other. Shaven heads, dead rats, newts, wheels of cheese, carriage accidents… it’s… wonderful. And the hero is… make no mistake, an idiot. He has no idea how to go on, is clueless about women, and is so homely he’s never slept with a woman he didn’t pay. Half the time, the heroine is making sport of him, and he will simply do whatever asinine thing she says because he doesn’t know any better. And it’s …charming. He wins her heart because he’s a big, clumsy oafish puppy, and she wants to pet him forever.

I realize I’m probably quite perverse, but this is my latest thing. You can keep your devilish rogues, your wounded soldiers and your brooding angsty heroes with a Past. I’m off in search of more endearing dunces, for I can’t seem to get enough of them.

PS – If you can think of anymore books where the hero fits the bill, please tell me in comments. I’m off to the States on Thursday and I’ll pick up whatever is recommended in this vein.

Meet my new imaginary boyfriend

Yet more Viggo He played Lucifer in The Prophecy movies, and he rocked. He embodied Aragorn in the Tolkien-inspired blockbusters. Viggo

But he didn’t win my devotion until last night when I saw him in Alatriste, speaking excellent Castilian. Today he sealed the deal in Eastern Promises. Be still my heart; he was freakin’ awesome. Oh, and the movie was good too.
More Viggo

So let me introduce you to my new imaginary boyfriend.

be still my heart, Viggo

The scary Viggo Those cheekbones, those eyes, that fierce mouth… he’s just amazingly versatile and he fairly radiates passion, leashed intensity, and raw charisma, and did I already say passion? Fetch my hartshorn, I’m fixin’ to succumb to the vapors!

Viggo,

if you’re interested in starring as March, I could throw out all my preconceived notions about what he looks like. We could talk about it over dinner…

*CALL ME.

*So not gonna happen. “Shattered dreams! Need clean up in Aisle 1.”

Ah, the glorious intertubes

During my research for HELL FIRE (Corine Solomon, book 2), I ran across this site:

Buy a Hex

This discovery dovetails nicely with my world-building, wherein I posit that the arcane actually exists hand-in-glove with the modern world. It’s just found other ways of doing business. hex

So here’s my question to you, dear readers:

Let’s say this works. Is there anyone you’d pay $10 to see step in dog doo on a regular basis? Sit in the chair with chewing gum on it? You can post anonymously and/or don’t name the target. Just tell us who and why. (This is your excuse to vent about the person who currently annoys you most.)

And you never know… there might be a prize involved.

EDIT:

Ann M., you won! Email me.

Not for the first time…

…a TV show made me go WTF.

After writing 4500 words, I kicked back with my husband and watched Bones. Some David Boreanaz as a reward for my hard work — what could be better, right?

Well… the episode was called Death in the Saddle. Read about it if you dare.
Horse & Rider

Pony Play? Really?

God help me, I Googled it. Apparently this is an actual fetish. I haven’t been this shocked since I found out some people like to wear diapers and forget their toilet training for the weekend. Since I don’t keep up on such things, I’m sure I’m the last to find out, but here are some facts you may not have known:

  • British musician Alison Goldfrapp and her back-up dancers have worn ponyplay related outfits during several of her tours.
  • Madonna and her back-up dancers simulated ponyplay during her performances on tour in 2006.

Apparently it’s almost a mainstream thing, what with winding up in TV shows and concerts, but I reckon it hasn’t been pushed to the limit. So here’s what I’m thinking (and feel free to use this, those of you with such inclinations). Why stop with pony play? Why not combine the shifter craze with this specialized fetish? Let’s get paranormal.

I present to you… were-ponies. You can dress up the core idea however you like, including assless chaps, whips, harnesses, carts, halters, bits… and let’s not forget BDSM, m/m, menage… the elements are almost endless. It’s a veritable cornucopia of untapped raw erotic potential. Why, this stuff almost writes itself.

But I still find myself saying, “Pony play? Really?”