Saturday, October 30, 2010

Two Days and Twenty Questions

In less than forty-eight hours, NaNoWriMo 2010 begins. I have my file for Blood Kissed #3 ready to go with most (if not all) of the major players with character pages and folders of plot points I want to hit. Thing is I want to have this puppy done by mid-December at the latest and I'm estimating it at 75-80k. So...yeah. That means I need to write a minimum of 2k a day throughout November, preferably 2.5-3k. It's going to be a tough one, but I'm determined to give it my best effort. I want this, and I've been told people want this story.

I just hope they still want it when it's done LOL.

But in the meantime, I'm doing my best not to freak out about the numbers. I'm trying not to think about all the days my kids have off school in November, or the pre-holiday shopping, or the revisions that I know will be hitting my inbox during the month. Nope. I'm just focusing on the story and the new characters I'm dying to write. I still have a little bit of "casting" to do in order to appease the visual side of my nature, and I want to flesh out some sections of the plot more. But I can't wait to tell this story. So that's where my energy is at least for now. There will be time for panic later.

In the meantime, Ellen Keener interviewed me for her blog. Twenty questions, people! Please read the post so I don't think I spent all the time answering them in vain. K? Thanks.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Redneck Zombie

Alas it is the last of our Halloween themed drinks. I may still try some sort of Pixie drink after Halloween (once we have actual pixie sticks in the house again), but officially this is the last. I love Mt. Dew (and I feel for you Canadians whose Mt. Dew is so much less caffeinated than ours), so when I found this one I had to try it even though it calls for rum. Plus, the name just rocks

Redneck Zombie

3 oz. Bacardi (it called for Limon, but we don't drink enough rum to buy a special one for this so we used the gold we had on hand)

1 0z. Blue Curacao

4 oz. Mt. Dew

Mix in a highball glass (I did ours over ice)


Hubs: (Pardon my spelling) Blargh! He didn't even want to taste it since it smelled so heavily of rum.

Me: The color was gorgeous as it ended up kind of a teal green. WAY too much rum though; it was pretty disgusting.

After adding more Dew, we still weren't fans as it just tasted medicinal. If you really like rum, you might like this drink, and maybe it would have been better with the flavored rum, but this was a MAJOR thumbs down from us.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Adventures in...modeling???

While I was in Vegas earlier in the month, I bit the bullet and decided to spend some money on an author media kit. Anyone who knows me is well aware I don't like to have my picture taken, which made the decision to do this a little weird. I had the opportunity to work with Book Matrix Media, though, and I can't say enough good things about my experience.

From the moment I decided to do it, I had help with everything from picking out a wardrobe to calming my nerves. They even managed to talk me into doing a video interview, which scared the shit out of me, but I saw the usefulness of it. And the promises to make me look good helped a lot LOL.

The photo shoot was amazing. I don't do so well in the heat and as luck would have it, we were a couple days before Vegas cooled off for fall. It was a hundred degrees out and I was dressed in black (this is not the fault of BMM, but my own stupidity). But we started off as much in the shade as we could manage for the headshots. I will say, I got a bit more nervous during this portion because I had a very difficult time making my face do the things the photographer wanted (I've never in my life practiced control over my facial muscles. I get smile and frown and whatnot, but subtleties escape me).

Then it was time for an outfit change and I never thought I'd be so happy to slide off my jeans and put on a skirt and heels LOL. This is where the fun really started. We were going for kind of an urban fantasy vibe for these shots and I got to get in character and play. There was still a lot of posing involved, but it was a lot easier. Other than being kind of hungry (and hot), by the time we were done, I didn't want to stop.

And then the photos came.

They didn't manage to make me lose fifty pounds, so I'm not going to pretend that happens, but




I love these pictures! I'm not sharing all of them right away. They'll probably come out piecemeal with interviews and such, but I wanted to start using at least one right away. And since it's almost Halloween, I figured what better choice than the most in character shot we went with.

Also, as some of you know, my steampunk/alt-history novella, Badlands, is coming out in February. I was recently invited to Scathach Publishing's blog to talk steampunk. I'm hoping some of you will join me over there today and see what I have to say about the genre.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Guess What?

So, some of you know I went to Italy last month (for those of you who read this earlier, yes, I had a brain fart about what I wrote where). While I was there I did a bunch of stuff other than actual physical writing, but I did some of that too. On the plane ride home, I finished up the novella, then I revised, sent it to a small group of uber-betas and then did a big polishing session.

Last week I sent it off, and I can now announce that not only did Decadent pick it up, they already have a fabulous cover for it!

Isn't it beautiful???

And if you notice on the abs of hot guy on the left, it says "A Blood Kissed Story". That's right, this is part of a series, specifically the one that started with Of Course I Try. I know those two covers don't match completely, but OCIT wasn't actually planned as part of a series, so I wasn't thinking that way when I talked to the publisher about cover art. With The Ghost of Vampire Present I wanted to have something we could carry on as the series continued, and this definitely fits the bill.

The Ghost of Vampire Present takes place the Christmas after the events in Of Course I Try and introduces a new character as well as bringing back a couple who only had tiny roles in the first story. For those wondering about the cover, yes, that is our girl Jocelyn front and center. As for the men behind her? You're just going to have to read to find out.

I don't have a release date yet, but I'm under the assumption it will be prior to the holidays. For those of you on facebook and wanting an easy way to stay caught up with any news regarding the series (including that release date), there is a new page for the series, so if you're so inclined, please "like" Blood Kissed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Green Demon

In my attempt to try some new things, I stumbled upon this recipe. I will say the last time I mixed rum and vodka, I turned into a babbling idiot, but hey experimenting with stupidity can be fun :P

Green Demon

1 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Rum

1 oz. Midori Melon Liquer


Mix rum, vodka & Midori in a shaker. Pour over ice. Fill with lemonade & garnish with a cherry.

Review: Hubs said it had a light fruity taste with a kick that hit about a minute later in a very nice way. Made him want to give up his beer for the night. (9/10)

For me I think it had a little too much rum. I'm very sensitive to the flavor of rum and to me it overpowered the rest of the drink, so if I made it again (and I probably will) I'd go 1.5 oz of vodka and 0.5 oz rum (either that or make it bigger and just add more vodka and Midori). It's a gorgeous lime green color though and still quite tasty even with the extra rum. (8/10)

Looks-wise, it would make a fabulous Halloween punch... as long as no one's driving home.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Special Wednesday Post: Max on the Web

Happy Humpday, everyone!

I know I don't normally post on Wednesdays, but I just wanted to let you know that Got Romance Reviews has an interview with our very own Maxmillian Shaw! (That's Max for those of you scratching your heads right now.)

Stop by and say hello, or in some people's cases (*cough* Janelle *cough*) flirt. He'll be there all day :)




In other news, I wanted to help give people a heads up. 1RomanceEBooks is about to become 1PlaceforRomance. Always good to keep tabs and bookmarks current for our online retailers :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Teases: Kelly Yeakle

Today's special guest is author Kelly Yeakle. Kelly's first novel, The Legacy Keeper's Treasure, is available now from Decadent Publishing.


(Blurb from Decadent Publishing's website)

When Alexa took a job in Ireland searching for the lost O'Shea treasure, she had no idea what she signing up for. Between vivid dreams, ghosts, and the old Irish legend that surrounds the castle, she is overwhelmed.

When she finds out the man she's been working so closely with is actually the heir to the O'Shea fortune, she is upset that once again a man has surrounded her with lies. Their relationship is further tested when a friend from the United States comes for a visit and Liam believes she's been telling her own tales.

Will their love prevail? Will Alexa find the missing treasure and discover her heart's desire?


Welcome to Ramblings and Romance, Kelly. Thanks for being here! Reading the blurb for The Legacy Keeper's Treasure, it kind of sounds more contemporary than paranormal. Do the ghosts and the legend have a bigger part to play than it sounds like?

Yes, the legend itself plays a huge role in the story and the dreams Alexa has.  You come to know a lot about the ghost, too.


As most people know, I have mad love for fictional men. Tell me a little more about your hero, Liam. What would make me fall for him?

Liam is that guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.  The guy who would do anything for you.  He’s humble, despite his wealthy background, and falling in love with him is easy!


Let's talk a little about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Are there any things (place, time, etc) that you prefer for writing?

I’m definitely a fly by the seat of my pants girl.  I have tried plotting things out, and I end up going in a million other directions anyway.  So I sit down and write as I go.  I prefer having music in the background, and I can write just about anywhere though I love my comfy, worn out computer chair in my living room while the kids are nestled upstairs in bed.


What about your characters? Do you keep your images just in your head or do you find physical pictures to go with how you see them?

I definitely have an idea in my head of how my characters look.  Then I’m not satisfied until I find a picture of someone who suits.  One of the first cover options I was given had a guy and girl on it, but the girl just wasn’t my Alexa so we eliminated her and the cover that was chosen just had Liam and the castle!


Now that you've been through it once, what are your favorite and least favorite parts of the process of getting a book out there for people to read? Why?

I think I was very lucky in finding a publishing company that allows its authors to be so hands-on.  I enjoyed being able to choose my own cover, and having major input in the editing process.  My least favorite part was editing, to have some of my story chopped away, and knuckling down to write new stuff on a time schedule.  Now that my book is out there, self promotion has been my hardest challenge.


What book have you read recently and loved so much you wished you'd written it?

I haven’t really done too much reading lately.  Currently finishing up Samantha Gail’s Sentinels of Redemption and next on the list to read is Moon Sworn by Keri Arthur.


Name some authors who inspire you.

Nora Roberts, Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Rachel Caine, and Kerrelyn Sparks to name a few of my favorites.




Angels, Demons, or Fairies?


Roses: red, pink or white?

None of the above, give me Calla Lillies any day or if I have to choose a rose, I like orange ones!

Rock, pop, country, or hip-hop?

Yes, Yes, Yes, and oh Yes!

Leather or lace (for you, not your man :P) ?


On the beach or by the fire?

By The Fire


Anything else you'd like to share with my readers?

Never give up on your dreams.  Always follow through when you start something.  And, treat others how you wish to be treated!


Thanks again for joining me today, Kelly!

And readers, if you want to know more about Kelly and her projects, please visit her blog.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

To Be a Writer

Yesterday I came to a realization about this whole "published author" thing. In order to really commit to it (especially digital publishing), you have to be at least a little bit insane.

Right now, I have contracts with two publishers. If everything goes right, it'll be three before the end of the year. I'm working on series for the first two. Let's start by quietly understanding that—I am a brand new author and I'm working on two series for two publishers. They aren't going to care about each other's timelines, and if my stories sell, they are going to care about getting more from me.

This is a mixed blessing. Yay—they want more! Boo—somehow I have to be the one who figures out how to balance everything. If I had years in the business, I might have all the tools at my disposal to accomplish that, as is…I'm winging it.

So far, I'm not doing too badly, but a few weeks ago I looked at the calendar and realized National Novel Writing Month was right around the corner. I sat for a full ten minutes staring at the calendar with one thought in mind: which project do I work on (ie—which publisher is going to get something first)? In the time since then, I've struggled to stay focused on anything because I kept changing my mind.

Last weekend, while working on two very sex-heavy holiday stories, I decided to go with the much less erotic option for NaNo. I sat back and breathed a sigh of relief, convinced my internal stabilizer would get back online finally.

Then the other publisher held out a carrot to its authors. A fairly impressive carrot.

My internal stabilizer went haywire again and options started flying through my head. Buh-bye Focus.

After a few conversations with the publisher in question, the real insanity set in. You see, while I'm pretty sure I'll get my 50k in November (I haven't lost NaNo yet), I'm not certain I'll finish that novel in time for the carrot. I'm definitely going to try, but since I'm not positive and I really want that carrot, I'm also initiating Plan B.

Plan B involves taking a novel that I'd trunked a while ago and shining it up. Before November. You know, those eighteen days when I'm also supposed to be editing and submitting those two holiday stories?

Yeah. I'm pretty sure I've completely lost it. Oddly enough, I feel good about the decision. It's not because I work best under pressure (sometimes I do, but not often enough to claim it). I think in this particular case it's just because I'm not fighting the pull of the madness. (And because I know come December, I'm free and clear to work on the other project, which might not have been long enough for NaNo anyway.)

Stabilizer is momentarily working fine. Now if I could just figure out this navigation thing, I'd be all set.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Red Dragon's Breath

I'm getting in the mood for Halloween, so I'm going to do a couple weeks of creature inspired drinks. First up are the dragons. Now anyone who knows me is well aware of my love for the scaly beasts, here's hoping the drink doesn't destroy the feeling.

Red Dragon's Breath

1 oz. Hot Damn cinnamon schnapps

1 oz. Whiskey

Mix in shot glass and serve.

Review: Okay, so the consensus on this one (between hubs and I both) is it tastes like Hot Damn that's gone funky. Not bad, per se, but funky. *shrug*

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday Teases: Julie Campbell

Today I want to welcome another author friend of mine. Julie Campbell writes urban fantasy different from most of what we see hitting bookshelves. Her love of animals comes through in her it does here. Please welcome, Julie Campbell!

First off I wanted to thank Seleste for having me stop by.  Thanks!!! I’ve only guest blogged once before, so I’m very excited.  I wanted to share a little about what had shaped my writing life, so here it goes:

In my humble (ok it’s not humble) opinion, those are the major things that have shaped my life.  If I didn’t like to read, I wouldn’t write, if I didn’t ride I wouldn’t have the ideas I have today, and if I didn’t write I wouldn’t be who I am today.

I hated to read when I was very young.  I can’t really remember why, but I suspect it was hard for me.  Then one fateful summer my best friend stayed with us instead of going to daycare while her mother worked.  Naturally that was the summer that we decided we hated each other.  In retrospect that was  very important, because that’s the summer she learned to love to read.  She didn’t really have anything else to do because I was being an ass.  Of course once school started we were best friends again.  She shared her newly discovered love of reading with me.  This was the third grade and I started reading voraciously.  I have never stopped.

I’ve been in love with horses since I can remember.  Most of my childhood favorites involved horses: The Black Stallion, The Saddle Club, any fantasy where the characters rode horses, even things like Steinbeck’s The Red Pony.  I don’t remember a lot of that book, but I do remember it really didn’t seem like a kids’ book, but it had a horse so I read it anyway.

I also loved to ride.  Ever since I was tall/old enough to go on pony rides my parents would do their best to get me on horses.  Once I was big enough to take lessons, they scraped together the cash to get me instruction.  The place I rode did lessons by quarters, and I could only afford to ride once a year, but I took lessons as much as I could until I got to high school.  There, I was too busy with track and science Olympiad and my interest in horses waned a little.  I had this vague feeling that if I could ride every week all year I could really get somewhere with my riding, but I knew it wasn’t possible and a slight sense of frustration, combined with school kept me from begging for lessons when my parents wanted me to stop.

Through this whole time I wrote.  Nothing serious, and very intermittently, but I always liked to tell stories.  My friends and I had a play we were writing, something silly and with star wars characters, but that was a lot of fun.  I also loved it at sleepovers when we would tell serial stories, each person picking up where the others ended.  Of course mine usually involved killer Portuguese Men of War.  I have no frigging idea why.

Things started to come together in the sixth grade when one of my reading teachers, Ms. Fox, said those fateful words: “Julie, someday you are going to be a writer.”  I thought she was full of it at the time, and it took six more years, but suddenly the bug bit me, and it hasn’t let go since then.

I moved to Colorado and suddenly there were horses everywhere.  I was dying.  All these horses and I couldn’t ride.  I was a college student, lessons were out of the question.  I know I could have worked more than one job to make it happen but with the amount of homework I had, that wasn’t a good option.   I went silently nuts until one day I said something to the right person and the next set of fateful words were spoken: “Hey, I have a friend…”  And so I met Fran.  I rode with Fran, learning a ton from her, refreshing my rusty skills and gaining new ones.  The horse I have now, who very well could be called my muse if anything could be, lived, unused and untrained at Fran’s barn and one day I started working with her.  I fell in love.  She was perfect.  Still is.  Perfect for me anyway.  With help, I trained her and she has carried me miles and miles down mountain trails, over jumps, around arenas, across open plains and just about everywhere else.    She has also carried my imagination to other worlds on horseback and sparked the idea for the first novel I ever actually finished.  I have written three novels based on that idea now, the two original ones and then the rewrite I recently completed which is the beginning of the series that will eventually be published.

Without Sabaska, my horse, I don’t think I would be where I am now.  She is my sanity when the day job is kicking my ass, or my personal life goes to hell.  She’s the anchor in my life and she refreshes my mind when I’m burnt.  A half hour of riding is more therapeutic than anything else I’ve ever done.  A day spent in the mountains with my horse will keep me going for months after, and my imagination goes wild with ideas when I’m spending time with Sabaska, or any horse really.  Like writing, horses are in my blood.

I write what I like to read, which is fantasy, but though most fantasy has people riding around on horseback, very few actually have horses as main characters.  Mercedes Lackey is one notable exception and I love reading her books.  I believe I have read almost every fantasy involving horses that is out there, certainly everyone I could find.  And there aren’t enough.  I read once that if there is a novel you want to read that hasn’t been written, then write it.  So now I write urban fantasy with horses, and of course I write urban fantasy with vampires too.  Even though the subject is different, those ideas also come to me while I’m riding.  I also have a short story series about Doc the vampire hunting Border Collie and his development is a whole different blog post.  You can read some excerpts and Doc’s stories on my website: .  Feel free to stop by and leave a comment if you like what you see.

Also, if you feel like seeing what I had to say today, I'm over at Julie's blog talking about Supernatural.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Picking Teams

Team Peeta or Team Gale? Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Love triangles are more common than ever in YA literature, and devotees of the genre are die-hard about their love for one choice over the other. I can't think of a single YA title with even the hint of a triangle that doesn't have people rooting online for their side to get the girl.

It's the type of thing a lot of authors dream about. After all, it means people are invested in our stories.

Just this week, I had the pleasure of sending out my newest story to my little group of beta readers. I've heard back from three of them already, and I couldn't be happier.

One of them is Team Max all the way. She adores him. So much so, she's even devoted an entire list on Twitter just to Max. I think if she could bottle him and take him home with her, she would.

Another issued me a challenge. She said sex with a Chad could never be hot. I received this tweet from her today: "@SelestedeLaney Oh! I forgot to tell met and exceeded the #smexyChadchallenge! *high five*"

The third informed me that she really liked Max, but thought she preferred Chad. But "mostly I'm team Jocelyn."

My heart skipped a beat when I read that. I know it isn't YA, but the idea that even among my beta readers they are choosing teams is crazy exciting for me.  It means that maybe, just maybe, I'm doing something right.

Because I still doubt myself.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Bend Me Over

So, other than my green apple martini from the first Thirsty Thursday, this is the first one I've actually made and tested :P

Bend Me Over

1 oz. whiskey (we used Southern Comfort)

1/2 oz. amaretto (we used DiSaronno)

1 oz. sour mix

splash of Sierra Mist/Sprite/7-Up

Mix all ingredients in a shaker half-filled with ice. Shake well and strain into shot glasses.

My opinion: You can really smell the whiskey. If that's not to your taste, the scent might be a problem. It tastes pretty good, though if I were to make it again, I'd probably up the amaretto content to try to balance things out a little more.

Hubs opinion: Not bad, a little syrupy

I'm not overly fond of mixed shots, they just seem like a waste of effort to tell the truth, so odds are I wouldn't make this again (I'd rather have a drink that's going to last a while). But it was fairly tasty, like a whiskey sour with a twist. Grade: B-

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday Teases: Babbling About Books

Hi! Seleste isn't here right now. She's over at Babbling About Books talking about what makes a hero and then men of Lost. Apologies for the re-direction, but I hope you're willing to hop over there and say hello :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Inspiration Point: Italy

I spent a week in Italy recently, and let me just say it was amazing. We took about 500 pictures, many of which are on my facebook page, but some of them might be a little odd to some people.

While I wandered and saw sights, I also spent time on the lookout for images and places that inspired.

[caption id="attachment_289" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="I took this shot at night, but the way the lighting hit, it lit up the building and gave it a bit of a haunted look. Personally I like the creepiness of how that worked more than anything specific about the building."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_291" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This is actually an image of the Virgin Mary set into a frame on the outside wall of a building, but when I saw it, all I could think of was the soul of someone trapped in this frame in the wall for eternity and everyone keeps just walking by, oblivious to the curse."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_292" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="When I looked at this, all I could think was how the "wires" looked like restraints that had been broken, as if someone had been bound there and tore their way free. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_293" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This gate had a real Beauty and the Beast feel to it. Not sure what I'll do with it, but I had to have the picture. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_294" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="There was this amazing piece of art on the street in Turin. I took several pictures of it. Behind it is a big open courtyard, but there doesn't seem to be a gate into it. It kind of made me think of a magical gateway to a steampunky alternate universe. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_295" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Then I found these amazing cyberpunk Carnival masks in Venice and had the image of a bunch of half-humans essentially crashing Carnival from the future for some reason I haven't figured out yet. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_296" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I found these dragon sconces on a hotel in Rome and thought they had a very YA Fantasy feel to them, like at night they would just detach from the building and fly off. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_297" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="I took a few shots like this of the streets of Rome at night all blurry. I love the gritty feel of it, it got me thinking urban fantasy again, and I'm really tempted to try one set in Italy now. "][/caption]

Needless to say, inspiration was everywhere. None of these were tourist spots, they were just images I saw on the street. You don't have to go overseas to find things like this, they are all around you. You just have to open your eyes and look at your surroundings differently. Stop rushing about trying to get from point A to point B and let yourself be inspired.

It's a lesson I'd forgotten, and I'm really glad for the reminder.