Monday, February 1, 2016

A little sunshine is a wonderful thing

I live in a gorgeous part of the world. It's lush and green and the ocean is never more than a few minutes away. The problem with living in paradise? (Apart from the fact it's one of the most expensive places to live in all of Canada?) 

The rain. 

From late October until the end of February the sun is often shrouded by dark clouds and the rain can be a constant thing. By Canadian standards the weather is downright balmy, but the damp seeps into your bones and the grey days start to take a toll on your psyche. There were days in December and January so dark I started joking that no one could tell if the sun had actually come up at all. 

After a few months it starts to wear on the soul.

Today, the sun is shining and I can hear the birds singing outside my office window.  The world looks bright and new again. It's amazing how quickly the soul lightens when the sun comes out after so many days of dreary darkness. Will it last? No. It's too early for Spring to arrive just yet, but it serves as a joyful reminder that the grey days of winter are coming to a close. 

I laugh more when the sun is shining. I sing in the shower and dance when no one is watching. The light renews me and makes it easier to wake in the morning and face the day. 

Tomorrow the rain will likely be back again, but the sun has already worked its magic. I'm recharged, ready and smiling. All thanks to a little sunshine and birdsong. 

Whatever the weather or season is where you are, I hope there's a sunbeam to lighten your day. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

You're never too old to play dress up

I've always loved Halloween and costumes. Any excuse to transform into someone or something else. It's fun, it's silly, and it appeals to the same part of my nature who decided that blue hair was a good way to go. (Sorry Mum.)

When I attended Authors after Dark last year, I got to up my game a little. I went as a demoness to their Bump in the Night ball and had a great time looking at some of the other attendees incredible costumes. 

lesson learned during wearing of this outfit - spirit gum is evil and never comes off.

This year I'm attending TNEE in Atlanta in April, and I've been plotting my costume for months. The theme of the ball this year is Villians. It took me a while to decide who/what I was going to do, but now the costume pieces are starting to arrive and I have to say, I'm excited. My bosses are amused too, since I've had the bits and bobs all shipped to my work address for simplicity. They've been watching it all come together. 

What am I going as? I'm not ready to tell you yet, but I will give you all a hint - these little guys are part of my outfit. Random's amazing what you can find on ebay!

RTC has not one dress up event, but two! There's an 80's prom night theme and a cowboy theme this year. As a child of the 80's, I'm pretty sure I can recreate the look I proudly sported back then, all it takes is hairspray, mesh, neon colors and more hairspray! (and possibly a crimping iron...) 

If you are coming to any of the conventions I'm attending this year, make sure you're signed up with my Facebook Reader's group.  Anyone who's part of the group will be getting a special gift from me if they find me at either TNEE in Atlanta or RTC in Ottawa. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

One of those weeks...

The fault, dear reader, is not in the stars, 
but in Mercury, that we are in chaos. 

The last few days have been a neverending series of odd phone calls, misfortunes, and strange coincidences sprinkled with random dustings of flat out pandemonium. At first I thought it was just me, but conversations around the office led me to realize that I wasn't the only one suffering through some strange times and bad luck. The more people I talked to, the more tales of woe and weirdness I heard. And then someone mentioned that Mercury was in retrograde and it all started to make sense. My bad week was the fault of a planet hanging out in a bad neighbourhood, causing havoc. 

Things got so bad this morning that my poor cat became a victim of the weirdness. Every morning she hops up on my bathroom counter to observe (and occasionally critique) as I do my hair and makeup in preparation for going to work. This morning, she and I managed to miss a beat in our little "shift and make room" dance and as a result, she, my hairspray, and a number of other items went flying off the counter. My poor Daisy-mae went crashing to the floor, got herself up and fled before I could do more than yelp in startled fright. As it turned out, her pride was the only thing truly injured, but it took us both a few minutes to calm our frazzled nerves. (Apparently kitty cookies help in such cases, she was much better after having a few treats.) 

If this day gets any weirder, I'm going to be following my cat's advice and going for the cookies. ALL of the cookies. If nothing else, cookies are a fine bait for summoning my muse. She has been playing hooky the last few days and I need the fickle creature to come back. The words come so much easier when she's whispering in my ear. 

Have any of you been feeling the affects of Mercury? Has your chaos level gone up?  

Well, hell. While I was writing this, my dentist phoned. Having already survived a temporary crown fitting and two fillings this week, they wanted to know if I was interested in having the other two fillings done before my cleaning tomorrow. Two freezings in one week? How could I say no.  *headdesk*

Is this week over yet? 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ending the year with a bang...and a crash

I confess, I was up past my bedtime last night. It was 11:40 at night, and I'd been happily reading until 11:30 or so. I was just drifting off when I heard it. A distant rumble like a big truck speeding down the road outside. Only it went on too long. A few seconds passed, the sound got louder and my condo started to shake a little. Truck or earthquake? I was still trying to decide when the noise grew to a serious rumble and the whole condo building shimmied and dropped with a hefty boom-bang.  The next thought to cross my mind was "crap, I hope this isn't the big one."

Fortunately, it wasn't. The shaking stopped, the rumble faded away, and I was left listening to the sound of my wind chimes ringing out on my deck while the standard set of post-quake thoughts chased through my head. 

  • Was that a pre-shock, or the main event? 
  • Where was my emergency kit? Hall closet? closet? Shit, it's around here somewhere.  
  • Why do I live on an island on top of multiple fault lines and why haven't I moved, yet?
  • If that was a preshock, I really ought to put on some pajamas...naked and homeless in December would suck.
I bounced out of bed (no, I did not take cover, it was over too fast for my middle-aged reflexes to react,) and did what any modern day person would do. I grabbed my phone and checked Google. Emails arrived from my friend who lives less than a kilometer away asking if I'd felt the quake, and I answered her while surfing for info. Then I hit Facebook and laughed as I saw a great many of my local friends grumbling and posting "what the hell was that?" comments. Ah, the wonders of the modern age.

What put it all in perspective for me was my cat, Daisy-Mae. She came wandering out a few minutes after the quake ended, looked at me with mild interest and then went straight to her cat post where she meow-howled (She's Siamese and I swear, that's a real sound they make,) until I gave her pats...and cookies. Because of course she wanted treats, the human servant was awake and therefore she should be fed, earthquake be damned. She had a point. Nothing I could do about it. So why worry?

I tracked down my emergency kit, double-checked the contents and tossed in an extra pair of socks and some fresh cans of cat food for her fuzzy Highness. After that, I went back to bed. Not that I slept well. No, it wasn't bad dreams or nerves. It was my muse. She was busy throwing out all sorts of ideas about earthquakes, emergencies, and love among the ruins. Apparently being shaken awake was exactly what she needed to go on an inspiration streak that didn't end until somewhere around 3 am when I finally conked out.

And so now I sit here with my third cappuccino of the day (and it's only 11"30) writing this blog and pondering the end of 2015. It was an amazing year, full of travel, conventions & signings, old friends and new ones, new books, and so many great memories. All in all, there were more good days than bad and more laughter than tears. I experienced so many firsts. My first fried green tomatoes. My first taste of gumbo and New Orleans cuisine. My first root canal. (ouch). My first convention and book signings. It's been a hell of a year, and somehow it seems right that it goes out with a bit of a bang. 

Here's wishing you all a fantastic, fun, and joyful 2016. Hold tight to the ones you love, find the joy and the beauty in every day, and above all else, be good to yourselves and each other. 

Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Crazy Canuck Blog Hop

Oh, Canada. Land of hockey, snow, and incredibly polite people who say "eh" a great deal. At least, that's the stereotype. Those of us who live in the "Great white north" know we're more than the sum of our sterotypical parts. 

I am truly lucky to be able to travel as part of my job as a writer, and there are two things I've discovered. One, there are still people outside of Canada who believe there's a four-foot snow drift that starts on the Canada/US border (Which is guarded by Mounties in their red serge uniforms, of course.) The other is that there are a surprising number of Canadian writers out there, and I keep finding more with every convention I attend.

I write in the romance genre, and I have a theory that the high volume of steamy romance writers in Canada has to do with our long, cold,winter nights. We have to stay warm somehow, and writing hot romances certainly works for me. (Fuzzy socks also work. I'ts also possible I have a fuzzy sock addiction...please don't judge me too harshly.) 

I'm writing this on the eve of the longest night of the year. This meant that while there was techinically a sunrise, in reality today started out dark, damp, and dismal, lightened slightly to "greyish twilight," and then faded back to dark, dank, and dismal again. To escape the darkness I lose myself in stories. Sometimes for only a moment or two, sometimes for hours. There are books in every room of my home, along with two e-readers and an app on my phone. Books are my gateway to other places, both real and imagined and I don't go very far without one (or more.)

Of course, when I'm not reading I'm writing stories of my own. From contemporary suspense to science fiction and fantasy, I've always got a book in progress and a half-dozen characters chatting away inside my head. 

If you want to know more about this crazy Canuck author, please wander around the website, check out my books, or even sign up for my newsletter.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!


Grand Prize Giveaway: 

Digital copies of a book from each participating author including:

Altering Authority by Ashley Dooley
Dead and Kicking by Lisa Emme
Something in the Air by Marie Landry
Magic Resistant by Veronica DelRosa
The Naughty List by Cori Vidae
Firefly: Ice Born by P.M. Pevato
Thirteen by Shannon Peel
Enemy Within by Marysol James
Questing for a Dream by P.D. Workman
Vice by Rosanna Leo
Lakeshore Secrets by Shannyn Leah
Guarding Midnight by Kacey Hammell
3013:Renegade by Susan Hayes
The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros
Alien Next Door: Complete Series by Jessica E. Subject
Slow Ride Home by Leah Braemel
One Gold Heart by Sadie Haller
Unconditional Devotion by Kayleigh Malcolm
Festive Persuasion by Charlene Roberts
Two $10 gift cards for Chapters-Indigo

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dear Santa ~ Part Two

Hi Santa!

It's been two years since I last wrote to you. You're a magical creature of infinite memory and a perfect sense of direction, so I know you'll recall the letter I sent. I asked you to  deliver a guy gift-wrapped with a strategically placed bow help me find a boyfriend since I wasn't managing to bag 'n tag one on my own. Judging by the distinct lack of non-fictional male companionship in my life, I'm going to hazard a guess that you and the elves couldn't pull off my wish at the time.

You couldn't be responsible for the fellows who crossed my path since that letter. At least, I hope you weren't because if that was you, then you sent me the human equivalent of a cheap Taiwanese knockoff. You know what I mean. A "Transmorpher" instead of a "Transformer." "Lejo" instead of "Lego." A soulless shell of a human being that appeared normal until I took a closer look and discovered a few deal-breaking flaws. There was the guy who insisted we only meet when and where he chose, and always set up at the last minute. When trying to arrange a simple coffee date turns into an episode of Mission Impossible, I start questioning what he's trying to hide. Is he a spy? Married? Convinced that aliens are watching him at all times? None of these are what I'm looking for in a relationship. 

I'm hoping the trifecta of exes that attempted to "reconnect" lately weren't your doing, either. There was a reason we broke up the first time around. Sending me ex-boyfriends (especially freshly divorced ones) is a lot like regifting me a fruitcake with a couple of bites missing from the corners. I understand the concept of recycling, but I'm really not ready to apply that to my dating life. There's no way that's going to end well for anyone.

I'll wrap this up now, I know you're a very busy elf at this time of year. If your mandate has changed and you're in the boyfriend delivery business these days, please put me down for one (or two) of whatever model you think would suit me best and put him under the tree. I promise to take good care of him. If you or your associates are the ones who have been sending me the dubious assortment of potential candidates, then I can only assume that it's because I'm on your naughty list and this is the single adult female's version of being left a lump of coal. 

I'm counting on you, Santa. Come through for me this year and I'll be sure to bury you in cookies and treats for the reindeer next year. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fudge fiascos, updates, and announcements

Happy pre-holiday insanity everyone!

I spent this past weekend making candy, doing a bit of holiday baking, and generally doing my best to destroy my kitchen. I learned a valuable lesson about "fail-proof" fudge. If you undercook fudge, it doesn't set and you get a crumbly, grainy (yet still delicious) fudge-like substance. No problem, said the internet, just pop it back into the microwave and cook it again.

Do you know what happens when you overcook fantasy fudge? I You get chocolate toffee!  Instead of creamy chocolately goodness, I have a tray of chewy, sticky chocolately stuff that sticks to everything it touches with superglue levels of adhesion. I'm hoping to find a way to cut it, then coat it in chocolate or crushed nuts or...yeah, this is still a work in progress. Tonight I'll try a fresh batch of fudge and make sure to offer up a prayer to the candy gods before I start. (and I won't wander off and leave the damned thing cooking too long, either.)

At least the peppermint bark 
worked out. And as a plus, I learned that if you toss candycane bits in the blender, you get peppermint dust!  I intend to pulverize the rest of the box of candy canes now, because that dust is delicious. mmmm.


In other news, I've worked out my writing schedule for 2016. There will be a few surprises, as well as two 3013 books, the first book in my new sci-fi series, (more info on that early next year!) and Jared's story, which will be the final installment in the Wilde Brothers series.

Speaking of the Wilde Brothers, I'm pleased and proud to announce that the Wilde Brothers Series won Evernight's Reader's Choice Best Series of 2015!  Thank you to everyone who voted for my boys. 

I've already started getting organized for my convention appearances next year. You can find me in Atlanta at TNEE (The Novel Experience Event) in April.  In May I'll be in Ottawa for Romancing the Capital, and in October I will be in Las Vegas as one of the hosts of The Midnight Gala. I hope to get to meet more of my readers in 2016. You're all the reason I get to do this for a living. 

May the holidays be filled with light, laughter and love for all of you, and may you find plenty of new books to read in 2016.