Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

Hi all.  It's been a busy time since September, with family medical issues as well as life in general keeping me from Rambling at you as much as I would have liked.  Now, however, it would seem that I have been tagged with the writer's equivalent of a virtual chain letter, so below are my answers to "The Next Big Thing," a Q&A blog that's been going around the Internet for quite some time.  I'm coming in on it at the tail end, so unfortunately I have no one to tag at the end of the questions.  I did ask six people, but of those six, only three answered-- they either said no or had already participated.  The other three didn't bother to respond at all, so maybe they're sitting somewhere poking pins into a doll that represents me for trying to get them involved in it to begin with.  In any case...

Behold my answers!

What is the working title of your next book?
Concrete Savior

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Concrete Savior is the second book in a series called The Dark Redemption Series.  The idea for the entire series was germinated from a Wayne Barlowe painting showing a fallen angel contemplating a snow white angel’s feather.

What genre does your book fall under?
When I wrote it, I thought horror because that’s always been my chosen genre.  When it was bought by Pocket Star, the editor told me it was urban fantasy.  At the time, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as an urban fantasy genre.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Brynna would definitely be played by Keira Knightley, and in my mind, Eran Redmond was played by Hugh Jackman.  Okay, so I’m a huge Hugh Jackman fan, but seriously, in poking around the Internet I ran across a photograph of Jackson wearing very bookish glasses.  It made him fit the role of Redmond perfectly. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A fallen angel returns to Earth seeking redemption and a return to her original angel status.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was represented by the FinePrint Literary Agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About four to five months.  It was a pretty tight deadline.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m really not sure.  HIGHBORN, the first book in the series, was published in 2012, and CONCRETE SAVIOR came out in 2011.  As I said about, I didn’t even know there was an urban fantasy genre, so I haven’t paid much attention to it, and I definitely haven’t read anything in it.  When I wrote HIGHBORN, I was simply writing the story I wanted to tell.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Pretty much covered that in the second question.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
What different about the series is the main character, who goes by the name Brynna Malak.  Reviewers have called her “refreshing,” because there is nothing sappy sweet or “do gooder” about her.  She’s spent millennia in Hell as a demon dedicated to destroying souls, not saving them.  Now, even though she wants redemption, she has to learn to deal with the humans she despised for so long.  But tolerance is not enough-- she has to learn like them before she can make herself help them and, just maybe, re-earn her path to redemption.

Questions?  Dump them in a comment box below and I might have answers.  (Don't bother with that Secret to Life thing though; it's already been covered by someone else.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Live, from California, IT'S... HAUNTED MANSION!"

And the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Maybe that should have been the title of this blog.  You've heard me say before that I'm going to be better about posting here, and every time I say that, I SWEAR it's true.  I just get so caught up in the so-big life that's going on around me, and frankly, there's just not enough me to keep up with work, house, writing, artwork, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and the demands of everyday life.  I try, I try!

So what's been going on since August and my last post?

We celebrated Ghoulie's third birthday.  Ghoulie is our youngest Dane, the blind puppy that was nine months old when we made a 4,000 mile car round trip in less than five days to pick her up on the other side of the United States.  Since then she has terrorized us and the other two Danes, loved all of us, and entertained us to no end with her constant grumbling and growling, the way she flails around like a mixed martial arts fighter, and especially the way she charges up the stairs, spins at the top, then guards them by hopping around like a noisy, snarling jumping bean at the bottom.  She especially loves Wes, and cries like an overjoyed lost baby when he comes back from a business trip, sitting and hooking both front paws over his forearms until he gives her enough kisses.  Yep, she's special.

Goblin (who as you might recall from August just turned nine years old) went with us to the Toro Loco Challenge in Eloy, Arizona on September 15th.   Check my Facebook page for the details on why the poor old guy couldn't finish the race, plus some great photos of the fun we had.  He's such a super sweetie.  I'm hoping for lots more years of lovin' from my gentle giant.

Right now, this very second, The Husband and I are at the Haunted Mansion Writers Retreat in Marin County, California.  This is our second time around and things are actually quite a bit scarier this time around.  The house and surrounding heavy woods are lovely, the weather is spectacular.  See that second floor bank of windows above the door in the photo?  That's our bedroom, a nice big room, carpeted and bright, with a fireplace that even though it no longer works just sets the tone for the whole experience.  We're having a blast and having fun and laughing a lot.  But there's also a darkside to this place, a REAL darkside.  There's no sense in me rehashing everything here when you can read the firsthand stories right on the Haunted Mansion Blog.

All kidding aside, this is also a scary-ass place, folks.  The ghosts are real, the fright is real.  Read that blog up there, and know that the humor you encounter every now and then is sometimes the thing that keeps up sane.  This is the last night here, and historically the most active.  That concept is pretty damned terrifying when you consider what happened last night to one of our friends.  Again, read the blog to find out the details.

Stayed tuned.  And keep your fingers crossed for us.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Goblin's 9th Birthday

"I am an Animal Rescuer. I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand. I have hugged someone vicious and afraid. I have fallen in love a thousand times. My work is never done, my home is never quiet, my wallet is always empty, my heart is always full."

"Rescuing one dog may not change the world, but for that one dog, the world will be changed forever."

Today is my Big Boy, Goblin's, 9th birthday. He spent the first 16 months of his life thrown in a backyard, underfed and starved for attention. When we got him, he was completely untrained. Well, except that the numbskull I got him from had taught him to jump and put his paws on her shoulders-- nothing else. He was terrified of The Husband and most men and showed it with fear aggression. The night I brought him home he crawled onto the couch, then curled his lip at me because of what he thought I might do; I wiped the snarl off his muzzle with my fingertips and it never came back. He was afraid to eat and would just stand over 3 out of 5 meals, staring at us in fear.

Now he's just a Big Grizzled Smush Bug who waits for me to come out and tell him to finish his food ("You'd better get that piece, or I'll get it!"). He's not completely without fear, but he's probably as good as he will ever get. He snores and makes other bodily sounds that are not so attractive, but we love him anyway.

In short, he is an Awesome Rescued Great Dane. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

No Better Time Than Now...

... to save a bit of moolah on some great dark fantasy and horror titles!  Think Christmas shopping.  No, really-- it's only five months away and there are some AWESOME bargains to be found here.  Speaking of an awesome bargain, The Husband's incredible short story collection, Multiplex Fandango (25% off!), is one of them.  So check out the goods and splurge splurge splurge!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Kill Me Now, Buttwad!

I must have a sign across the front windshield of whichever car I happen to be driving on any particular day.  (Friends, take note and be cautious about lending me your vehicles.  Unless, of course, you are feeling particularly adventurous or are counting on your insurance company to provide you with an entirely new ride.)  This is a sign that I can't personally see, but there are Buttwads out there galore who can and who seem to take immense pleasure in follow its directions literally. 

Take, for instance, the woman driving the little gold four-door job on the day I had my hip pre-op appointment slightly less than seven weeks ago.  Miracles can happen in the space of a single second, and it is truly a miracle that I made that appointment.  See, I was on the bypass, in the left turn land by the East Gate of Fort Huachuca.  The light turned red, and we in the turning land got our green arrow.  I wasn't even the first to turn.  Nope, not first, or even second.  I was THIRD.  So as I'm trundling up to turn left, here comes Little Miss Gold Car, who blows the red light at a fast and furious sixty-plus miles per hour.  She never even hit the brakes.

One second.

Yep.  One second more would have put me right in front of her, and she (and her passenger) would have solidly embedded themselves and their gold car into the passenger side of my Charger.  The Charger is a no-kidding heavy ride wearing a beautiful coat of metal-flake red, but at that speed... can you say "rollover?"

And then there's today.  Coming off Post again, this time driving the Montero, I had the green light.  I was in the correct lane, the one to go straight.  I headed into the intersection at about 20 mph or so (not having to stop because the light was green and stayed green, and not going very fast because this part is coming out of a 15 mph gate exit).  And when the red Nissan SUV accelerated and TURNED LEFT DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME, I had to slam on the brakes so hard that the passenger back seat lock released and it slammed into the back of the front passenger seat before bouncing back again.  (Thank God there was no passenger in it!)  And you know what?  The young male Buttwad driving the Nissan looked me straight in the eye, SMILED, and never broke eye contact during his entire turn.  Yep, he turned in front of me and kept smiling at me the entire time he was trying to kill me!

And then, about 45 minutes later, there was yet another Buttwad who decided that a yellow light on Coronado does not mean slow down.  Nuh-uh.  It means Speed The Hell Up And Run Through The Intersection On The Red Light So That The Vehicle Turning Left Has to Slam On Its Brakes.  This guy could even be called a Buttwad Squared -- B2 -- because he was driving a (white) BMW.  And did I mention that not long after they built this intersection (where Walmart and Lowe's are across from each other), there was a vehicle accident so horrible that people had to be airlifted to Tucson for  treatment despite us having a hospital only five minutes away?

So I warn you all:


And you might have someone else check your windshield and make sure you don't have a sign like mine.  (Which, by the way, I borrowed from -- thanks!)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We Can Rebuild Her!

If you're wondering why I haven't been posting for the last six weeks, it would seem that the hip bone is connected to the brain bone which powers the writing bones which trigger the finger bones to type.

I'm sure you're wondering precisely how this can be.  It's not such a stretch, when you factor in a 9 inch incision, a big hunk of metal and plastic (as in a Zimmer Kinectic Total Hip), and a full set of stairs that laugh in the face of new body parts.  Lindsey Wagner/Jaime Sommers may have been all new and bionc-y when she woke from her transformation, but I, alas, was not.  The hip part wasn't really too bad, except for about a week of when the pain meds just seemed to stop working, in totality.  We had about six really unpleasant nights (we being me and The Husband), but he stuck it out.  Unfortunately sometimes really awesome career opportunities poke their heads up at really bad times, and I made him go on a trip to NYC to meet with his editors, etc.  That left me alone for about four days with paid help to feed the Danes (and, bless her, sometimes she fed me, too).  The entire hip thing wouldn't have been so bad had it not been for the bout of severe anemia.  Let me tell ya-- I'd replace the other hip before I'd go through that again.  It wiped me out, kept me in bed, and made me literally spiral into exhaustion just for trying to rearrange the pillows behind my back.  To be blunt, it SUCKED.  Between the hospital stay (and an emergency room x-ray to check the hip since the pain was so bad) and two weeks later, they pumped four units of blood into me and insisted I take an enormous iron pill (hey, hey -- 278% of your daily recommended allowance of iron!) every day for 30 days.  Today, by the way, is the last one, and I thank everything possible for that because these things will really twist up your digestive system.

So that's my sad and sorry story.  Am feeling better finally (yay!), although each physical therapy session (twice per week) wipes me out.  This worries me as Monday sees me back at work with PT on my lunch hour twice per week.  Okay, I admit I don't want to go back to work, but I really have no excuse.   I mean, brain power isn't governed by leg and hip exercises, right?  Bleh.

I'd still rather stay home and eat bon bons all day.  Okay, and maybe write some cool stories and stuff.  And yeah, maybe paint some cool stuff.  After all, I do have this awesome and fully furnished art studio in the next room that's just crying out for me to create a something-- a painting, a drawing, ANYTHING.  It has a few more things that need to be organized and put away, but oooooh, the temptation.  The want.

But still, there's this thing I have to work out and get out this week for sure, no excuses, that might hopefully work its way into something much, much better.

So much to do, and so little me.  How am I ever going to fit a full time job back into that??!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who Wants Nookie?

Whoa-- what happened to the last three months??!

Remember when you were a kid and it seemed like summer vacation, or spring break, or above all, Christmas would just NEVER get here?  Then, of course, you'd be on summer vacation for a few weeks and you'd run out of sh--, er, stuff to do, and then you felt like school was just NEVER going to start again.


And now... oooh, now.  "What do you mean, Christmas is almost here already?  What the hell happened to the last year, anyway?!"

The older we get-- let's hear it from the choir-- the faster times flies.

Sounds silly, but it's true.  An incredible amount of stuff has happened since my last post.  Alex has been in and come back out of the Navy, and shortly after that, she and her sweetheart got married.  And, if I may preen just a bit here, she wore my wedding dress.

Yep, The Husband and I have suddenly become in-laws.  Wait... we were just dating only a couple of months ago, right?

Somewhere along the way, the right hip that's been bugging me off and on since I was (literally) a kid suddenly decided to REALLY make itself known.  As in it ran out of cartilage, completely and totally.  The end result is that I get a brand new complete hip joint replacement at the end of this month.  My view?  They could do it tomorrow and it wouldn't be too soon.  Rather than whine about something that whining does nothing to make better, I will instead offer you a little nookie:

Come on-- you know you want it.  After years and years of being out of print, a quirky novel I wrote called DeadTimes is finally available again.  Do you have a Nook?  Then you can pick it up at Barnes & Noble here:  

 For those of you who don't need nookie (hee hee), run on over to Crossroad Press and pick it up in some other format.  The Husband, author Weston Ochse, being a man of many and multi-talents, designed the bookcover for me.  Tell me what you think:

I might be a bit biased, but I think he did a pretty awesome job!

DeadTimes is about a woman who doesn't want to die.  She makes a deal with you-know-who and she gets the short end of the supernatural stick.  Sounds pretty common, right?  But hey-- when have I ever stuck with common?  Nope.  Trust me, there are loads of surprises in here, twists, turns, monsters, magic, you name it.  Yeah, I know I wrote it but it's beautiful, it's dark, it's tragic, it's brutal, it's violent... all wrapped up in a nicely packaged ebook.  "Try it-- you'll like it!"  (Hey, Mikey!)

So I'm hobbling around and as always trying to catch up.  Swearing every day that I'm going to do better by this blog and by the great folks who take the time to read it.  So say hi, drop an opinion, fuss about something-- whatever.  Make yourselves at home.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Six Days and Counting...

Yes, it's true.  In only six days, my beautiful stepdaughter, Alex, goes into the Navy.  I am just a little freaked out about this.  She signed up in April of last year, and like summer vacation or Christmas to a ten-year-old, the actual reporting date for her Navy boot camp seemed forever away, a day that was mystical and would never actually GET here.

Now it's next Tuesday.  I'm happy for her.  I'm sad to see her go but I'm thrilled that she's starting a fantastic new life and possible career.  I want to see her turn 21, but I can't because she'll be at Great Lakes.  I want her to be safe.  I want her go on many great adventures. 

I want, I want, I want...


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Viva La Television Interview on NPR!

Check it out -- The Husband, Weston Ochse, and I are interviewed by Mark McLemore on NPR's Arizona Public Media Show.  We are so awesome-- neither of us got tangled in the mic wires or even fell out of our chair!  It's not long (5:30 minutes), but it is pretty cool.  We're talking about Tucson Festival of Books, which takes place this coming weekend in Tucson, Arizona.  If you're in the area, come and look up our panels, say hi, pick up a book.  Seriously: Books Are Love.  And if you're not in the Tucson area?

It's worth the drive.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Evil Dogs and Smothering Boxes!

OMG, I have FINALLY escaped.  Because you're wondering (you know you are) where the heck I've been, I can only say that right after the Thanksgiving holiday, which we celebrated at the in-laws' house, I was taken prisoner by several nefarious entities.  These entities-- monsters, if you will-- masqueraded as boxes, packing tape, grumbling Great Danes, and black Magic Markers.  They forced me into a wardrobe-sized U-Haul box, taped it shut (there might have even been duct tape involved), and then parked outside of it and growled at me every time I moved.  To make sure I would behave, they tried to drive me insane by scribbling on the outside of the box with Magic Markers, over and over and over again.

I swear it's all true.

It was only recently that the plastic shipping tape weakened and I was able to shrink myself down to the size of a Chihuahua and slip quietly out a hole in the back left corner.  Months had passed.  Seriously.  Not only that, but Christmas had come and gone, the tree had been put up and taken down, and-- you'll love this-- we moved into a brand new house!  I mean, did anyone ASK me?  I couldn't find ANYTHING.  The box monsters had procreated (ew, don't ask) and their offspring were everywhere-- upstairs, downstairs, in the garage.  And they left the old place a mess, demanding that I go and clean it (a task still not finished).  So while I have finally escaped, the unfairness of it all remains.

Oh woe.

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