Monday, January 31, 2011

Cora's Picks: Slave to the Machine by Aishling Morgan


I'm doing something a little different today. I want to talk about one of the books I've been reading!

I've been so busy with everyday craziness, I haven't been able to take as much time out lately to read solely for pleasure. I downloaded Slave to the Machine by Aishling Morgan from Xcite Books earlier this year, and started reading it right away, but there were so many distractions in my daily life at the time, I decided to put this one down until I could get stuff sorted out. There's nothing worse than picking up a good book and having to put it down to go take care of some willy nilly mess. Know what I mean?

At any rate, I'm glad I waited. Slave to the Machine is one cool, dangerously sexy book!

About Slave to the Machine by Aishling Morgan: 

Waking up from death, Melody J finds her personality has been copied and recreated as a computer game character to satisfy teenage boys. Just like Tomb Raider Lara Croft, Melody J finds herself under the game player’s control, but that’s where the similarities end as she is caught up in games where she must express her sexuality in ways she never could when she was alive.

This is definitely for the adult reader. It reminds me a little of the movie Gamer, with more focus on the cyber/sexual aspect of the storyline. Make no mistake. This book isn't for the faint of heart. It has the word slave in the title for a reason.

I'll be reviewing this book in full over at www.goodreads.com later this week. In the meantime, if this sounds like a book you'd be interested in, you can pick up a copy on Amazon for the Kindle, or you can purchase directly from the publisher here:

http://www.xcitebooks.com/futuristic-scifi/9781906373689.html

Happy Reading!
xxCora

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Paper Avalanche

funny pictures - Okay, but when the Xanax wears off I'm gonna have to hurt you.


My desk is a total mess. It's nearly avalanche proportions, and I had everything all bare and clean on Monday. Wow. So that's the order of business today - sorting through all the notes, papers, stickies, and index cards scattered everywhere with bits of this and snippets of that. I'm always so organized in a not organized way. And just for the record - I wrote that the first time as "organised". I've been reading erotica anthologies with a lot of British authors lately and it shows. Heh. ;o)

I've been practicing building conflicts in my romances by creating character scenarios then writing down as many things that I think could spin off from the inciting incidents. It's nothing more than a critical thinking exercise when I have nothing else going on, and I'm getting better at it, I think. I've come up with some interesting stuff, and I'm figuring out how to pin the story concept down with a solid theme and story goal.

Today I hope to put a few thousand words on my werekind story. I'd like to have at least half of this book finished by mid-February. Toward the evening, I'll have to dog off that story and put in a little brainstorming on the contemporary I have under my hat. I'm wondering if maybe I should put all the notes for the contemporary in a spiral notebook, because I've misplaced some of the original notes I jotted down a few weeks ago. Then again, I could miraculously find them again when I clean up the office today. We will see.

Anyway, that's all for now to get started on the day's tasks. It's a rainy, dreary, and cold Sunday. Perfect weather for writing! ^_^

Friday, January 28, 2011

Brain Under Construction

Wow! I had no idea I've missed so many blogging days. I'm terribly sorry about that! I've been reading heavily so I can catch up on book reviews I have to post later this weekend. I've also been gearing up for conference, and that means a lot of study, writing, and preparation.

Speaking of study...last year, as part of my New Year's Resolution, I decided that I would buckle down and do whatever it takes to learn the aspects of fiction writing that I felt I didn't have a very good grasp on, such as theme, high concept, story structure, and plot. As of December, I've finished more than 12 workshops, I've take a full 1 inch binder full of notes - yes, literally full of notes - and I can't tell you how much I've learned. It never ceases to amaze me how some people truly think all a writer does is sit in a chair, bang out a box full of words, then send it off to be published. If only it were that simple!

As a side note to this grand adventure, over the last week, I've received several emails asking me how to become "an author". I don't usually get fan mail, or bundles of emails about my work, so this was surprising to see so many questions of a similar nature come in at the same time. I answered these questions the best I can over on Facebook in my notes section. The response is called How To Become "An Author".

I hope no one takes this the wrong way, but nothing is going to make you an author but a lot of hard work. I do truly mean a LOT of hard work. Blood, sweat, and tears - buckets of them. Particularly if you have a thin skin.

The only way to become an author - unless you plan to publish your own book, hire a ghost writer, or you are some celebrity who can bat your sexy eyelashes at someone and have them write a book for you - is to be a writer first.

Well, that's obvious. Yeah, I know that, but... Those are common responses I get when I say that. But, why must I say it? Because it's what no one wants to hear. Because no one ever asks me about the necessary first half of the publishing equation: how do I become a writer?

Fact: writers write. Writers who sell and become published are authors. I'm not being snarky about this. It's not my goal to hurt anyone's feelings. I'm also definitely not asking anyone to agree or disagree with me, even if someone feels so inclined. (They often do.) It simply is what it is.

People who ask how do I become "an author" are looking at the end result, the prize you get when you cross the finish line. And yes, I do mean you get to call yourself an author as a prize. In fact, it is the prize - aside from having your story published, of course. Why?  Because being published doesn't guarantee you fame or riches. Because sometimes after all that hard work - after all those months of doubt, stress, rewriting, rejections, and hard work - being able to call yourself "an author" is the only prize you get. And let me tell you another little secret. Sometimes even after you get published, even when your tax man says you are published, other authors may not see you as published. It often depends on what side of the publishing fence you sit on - digital, or print. It hurts. It sucks. But once again, it is what it is.

But I digress... So, end of side note. Back to all the workshop and such. I have read literally dozens of articles on writing. I have a new stack of writing books I didn't intend to buy. After all, I thought I had all the writing books I needed! Apparently not.

I got through half those workshops last year, and was told one of my submissions lacked sustainable conflict. Hm... I had to ask myself, what is sustainable conflict?  Honestly, I didn't know. I understood the idea of what it must be, but how to make my own? No clue. So, I set out on a quests to discover this sustainable conflict stuff and learn to build it for myself.

I am just now coming out of the learning tunnel, and we are fast approaching February. My skull is packed with new info that I'm still trying to process. Basically, over the past 13 months, I have put myself through non-accredited writers' college at home.

It has been frustrating, humbling, frightening, nightmare inducing (literally), and absolutely 100% undoubtedly worth every minute of it. Last night, I sat down with my current Werekind manuscript, which is not completed, and went through it element by element. I have no doubt, my new skill set is going to make this my best Werekind book yet. I truly hope my readers like this one. It has definitely been a labor of love. But, I keep very close in mind that I am still learning. Still figuring out how to put these pieces together as I go. Rome - and apparently Silver, Colorado - wasn't built in a day.

After doing all this learning, reading, and research, I wanted to share my favorite writing books so far. The ones I have learned the most from, and that I would repurchase for my writing shelf if I lost them. Here goes:


Also, recently, I was asked about purchasing the yearly Writer's Market Guide. In the early 1990s, I invested in a Writer's Market Guide. Back then, I'd get a new one every three or four years or so because they're expensive, usually about $30 US, unless you are part of a book club where you can buy a certain amount of books and get the yearly Writer's Market for free. 

This was, of course, before the internet was what it is today. You didn't have the kind of network for writers back then that we have now. Nowadays, you can and should be on twitter, following as many editors and agents as you hope to submit to. They are there, and while they may not follow you back, they tweet information that Writer's Market can't give you. For one thing, some publishers and agents do not stay open to submissions year round. They close to submissions while they catch up on their inbox, or because they have a full client roster. 

In short, Writer's Market, as expensive as it is, is not an up to date tool. There isn't much in Writer's Market that you can't glean from Google and Twitter for free. I hope no one from Writer's Market makes a voodoo doll in my image for writing that, but there it is. Get on twitter, follow a bunch of agents to find out who's taking queries, then hit Google and see if they are interested in the kind of books you write. 

Another way to research agents is to do searches at www.agentquery.com . The information there is priceless, and it's free. You can search for agents by name, the genres they represent, and even look at past/present client lists on some of them. 

Anyway, this is already a long post, so I'm going to dog it off before it goes too long to be readable. I hope at least it has made up for my absentee-ism. ;0) That said, I shall take a moment to do the happy dance, because it's Friday:

Whee!
Have a happy weekend, everyone! ^_~

Whee! Blog Awards - Pay it Forward

Oh, cool beans!  I've been given a blog award. How very sweet, and what a great pick me up after the terrible day I had yesterday! Thanks so much! :D 



Thanks so much to Yolanda Sfetsos for the honor. :)

These are the rules for accepting this award:

* Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award. (done that above)
* Share 7 things about yourself. (done that below)
* Award up to 10 great bloggers and contact these bloggers and tell them about the award. (done that below my 7 things) 

Seven things about me:

1. I'm quite shy in person unless I know you, then you'll have trouble getting me to shut up. :P
2. While growing up, my favorite color was green. Now that I'm older, rather than trying to pick out a single favorite color, I've finally come to accept I'm not so attracted to green per say, but the way colors work in groups, specifically greens and blues, or blues and pinks.
3. I'm very much a Virgo. Don't even get me started on that horoscope shift thing. 
4. I rarely ever watch TV. 
5. I'm indecisive, and will often ask a friend or loved one their opinion only to inadvertently do the opposite. This drives my husband cRaZy! :P
6. My taste in things runs to extreme opposite ends of the spectrum in most things. For example: Marilyn Manson and Hello Kitty. I hope this doesn't indicate a psychiatric disorder, but there you go. 
7. I believe in karma, and try to keep mine as clear as possible. 

These are the 6 awesome bloggers I'd like to award:

Cassandra Curtis
Two Voices - Bernadette Gardner/Jennifer Colgan
Marley Delarose
Sommer Marsden

Danielle Santiago
Seaqueen's *Ask My Cards*

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Weekend in the Trenches

YAY! We're back on the internets! I'm an internet addict, and I won't even lie. We had an outage over the weekend, and apparently it killed our router, modem...something. Anyway, after a day of wrangling with AT&T tech support, who knew nothing about the type of set up I had, even though they had provided it for me, I told them I was sick of the chase. The kids were hungry, I was hungry, we had done nothing but play the phone transfer game all day. I managed to get us back up temporarily using an ethernet cable, but I wanted my doggone wireless back. I called AT&T for about the tenth time, told them if they wanted to know my situation, check the call logs. The only thing I wanted to hear from anyone was what time they could set up an appointment for a tech guy to come out to my house and set up the wireless.

They apologized for the crappy service, and then scheduled an appointment for Monday morning, 8am-12pm. Cool beans. Although I figured, he would actually get here about 2pm. Oh no. This guy was ON it. I tell ya. I got a call at 8am from the guy. He was five minutes from my house. He came in, tinkered with the settings a few minutes, then said our router was dead. He went out to his van, brought in a new one, and in less than 30 minutes, we had our net back. And there was much rejoicing!

While being internetless over the weekend, I reorganized my office, finished reading (and making notes from) Deb Dixon's GMC. If you don't have that book, and you plan to write, I highly, highly recommend it. Her charts will absolutely strengthen your fiction.

Moving along in my TBR stack, I'm currently reading AZTEC GOLD by various authors for review. I've been looking forward to this one! There are five stories in this book, and I'll be talking about them individually over at Goodreads once I've finished reading.

Today I'm bundling things together to mail off for the Midnight Moon Cafe. I'm also going by the bank to cash my first royalty check from EC. After that, I have to run by the store and pick up a few things. Top priority: I need a new surge protector. Desperately. Then it's back home and back to work.

Ah...the main thing is, I have internet again. And there's coffee to go with it. After two days with no computer, it finally feels like home again. ^_~

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feeling Foxy...and Conflict Minefields

Foxy by China Glaze - my new fave!
I spent most of yesterday researching conflicts. I found a very good article called Making a Minefield by Ellen Hartman over at eHarlequin.com and it really shed some light on conflict for me.

Ms. Hartman explains conflict in simple, easy to understand terms so I highly recommend checking that out if you're wondering how to beef up your conflicts. The link above goes directly to the article on the eHarlequin site, so be sure to take a peek if you're looking to read something craft related.

I have a ton of reading to catch up on. I have two books to review for Xcite, and I'm still trying to pull things together for conference in March. I'm also plowing my way through Deb Dixon's GMC, one section at a time. I'm making notes in my writing journal as I go, points to remember. My writing journal is a full sized, hard cover journal with lined pages. Whenever I hear interesting writing advice, etc, I write it in there so all my best notes are in one spot. I'll have to do a post about my writing journal all by itself.

I got the idea for a writing journal from author Judy Christie, who visited my local RWA chapter and brought hers. I thought it was a brilliant way of staying organized, and went right out and got a journal for myself. I like the hard cover journals instead of a spiral notebook because you can then put it on a book shelf and keep the spine nice and neat. Also, there are none of those little paper flecks from tearing pages out of it. (Which is also a personal pet peeve! ^_^)

Today's photo is a picture of my hand. Yay!  Okay, I do have an explanation for that weirdness. I've been oogling the China Glaze Vintage Vixen line of nail polishes since I first saw them in Sally's. I had a few dollars left on the Amazon gift card I got for Christmas and decided to pick up Foxy. It's just like the color sounds, a coppery, fox fur shade of dark, burnished orange. Make no doubt, folks, this polish is gorgeous.

I do believe this is my new favorite nail polish, and that is truly saying something! There are only two other nail colors I have been loyal to over the years, and that is Ruby Pumps, by China Glaze, and Revlon Street Wear in Stain. I bought my first bottle of Revlon Street Wear in the 1990s. The black label version is discontinued in the US, but you can find it on eBay from time to time in the white label, UK version. Anyway, I think Foxy may well take the place of Stain. It's certainly easier to find.

Daylight's burning, and I better get to work. I have much writing and reading to do, and limited time to do it in. Some one start the count down to Friday, okay?  That's as good a motivator as any. ^_^

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Conflict with Conflicts

I'm in the middle of a romance writing revolution. Yes. It's true. I am studying what makes a sustainable conflict, so I can (hopefully) build a better story. I didn't realize there were so many articles out there until I printed up about twelve of them for the craft binder I keep beside my desk.

So far, I've learned that there's a difference between conflict and crisis, and that it's best to unravel the external conflict before you unravel the internal conflict. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot of articles to sort through. The thing is, every writing book, sight, article, etc. advises to make your conflict BIG, but by definition, what is big?

If your character is a spy, a politician, or lawyer, I can see how that would be easier to define. But what if your character is an average Joe seeking love and home?  What if the greatest loss for their particular situation isn't life or death, a ruined political career, or seeing an innocent man to go jail?  What if being alone is their greatest fear? What if they fear they will never meet Mr. Right?  That kind of conflict isn't going to have the same big type of conflict as a thriller, and this is exactly what I'm trying to sort out.

I'm currently reading Debra Dixon's GMC, and trying to sort out all my questions I have about the subject. I mean, I recognize a conflict when I see it, but how do you build it to fit your story?  That is my current quest. To take the conflict out of building a conflict. I sense this isn't going to be easy, so I guess it's a good thing I'm determined.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Double Trouble and The Vampire Tarot

Up to no good and it shows! ~_^
Here we are - Monday again! I dreaded seeing the Monday train coming because the weekend was such a blast.

On Saturday, I took Oldest with me and met up with writer friend Marley Delarose in Alexandria. She brought her laptop and  we went over to Hastings to get coffee and powwow over books, writing, tarot, guidelines, and just everything writerly under the sun. After that, we dropped Oldest off at the mall and went rounds at the bookstores, lunch at the deli, and Hobby Lobby.

I did a quick tarot reading for her at the deli then we went around to pick up Oldest. It was a fun, full day of girl talk, lunch, and shopping. At the very end of it all, I snapped this picture of us in the car. I had to get in kind of an odd angle, but it was worth it - I love this picture! We look so happy. ^_^

While shopping at Books a Million, I picked up The Vampire Tarot deck. I have hemmed and hawed over getting this deck for several years now. Well, I finally bit the bullet and brought it home...and I'm so glad I did! I wasn't sure if I would like the artwork. I've studied this deck before, like I said, and I initially liked the art on only a few cards, but the more I see the cards, the more they grow on me. I also really like the feel of this deck. It's atmospheric, but at the same time still Rider-Waite based, which I heavily prefer.
Cards offering me insight into querying agents this year.
I did a reading for Cassie in Second Life last night, and the reading went very well. Overall these are very usable, stylish vampire themed tarot cards. I can see myself getting a lot of use out of these. I'm very impressed! If you're interested in picking up The Vampire Tarot for yourself, you can get one here: http://www.usgamesinc.com/product.php?productid=658&cat=0&page=1

Oh! On the way home from hanging out with Marley, Oldest and I stopped by Fred's so I could see if they had this specific 6 drawer cart in stock. I've been using a conversation table by my desk to hold my papers, manuscripts, and other stuff, and it was all in heap that only I could navigate. Har har. Anyway, I saw this cute lil thing in a circular going the rounds in my area, and I had to have it.


Of course it came unassembled and in a box. I knew it would be nightmarish to put it together, so being the smart mom that I am, once we were back home, I asked Oldest if he'd like to make some money. He's said "Sure!" and then I set him to work putting my cart together. As you can see, he did a great job. And I was surprised to see that the cart is made from real wood, not particle board. Coolness. I put my computer paper in it, and all my bits and pieces of loose manuscripts. The stack of stuff on top of the cart?  Well, it's not there today, but for what it's worth, those are my writing binders for holding printed articles and such. And the yellow paddy envelopes are packages being sent off for the Midnight Moon Cafe.

That's all for now. It's already one pm. I need to get my act going on. All day yesterday I worked on my project for Harlequin American's Johanna Raisanen. I'll be pitching to her at the 2011 Written in the Stars conference in March. Today, I need to focus on getting a few scenes finished for the new werekind book. Later everyone!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Writing Sprints and the MMC in Awen

Seaside booth at the Book Faire in Awen. (Second Life)

It's about 9:30 a.m., and I'm gearing up for a timed writing with Cassie in Skype. It's been a struggle to get anything accomplished lately, but I'm tossing caution to the wind and making it a goal to have Blaze and Shelby's Werekind story finished by the end of February. I'm still ironing out areas of the plot, but you can count on a very hot book chock full of werewolf lovin'.

Yesterday my brand spanking new copy of GMC: Goal, Motivation, & Conflict by Debra Dixon arrived. If you've ever hesitated to buy from the Gryphon Books website, I can honestly say they are wonderful sellers. There was problem with my first order, and they contacted me right away, and we fixed it. A few days later, my book arrived. Top notch service, no kidding. I  stayed up a little later than I planned to last night, but I was reading through the new book, and then bumped into Cassie in Second Life. 
We have been adding our book excerpts as a library of sorts to the virtual Midnight Moon Cafe at Awen in Second Life. We have worked very hard to build a presence there to reach new readers. Below is a picture of Cassie in her mermaid outfit, and me sitting at the fortune telling table. 

Beneath that picture, is a shot of the Midnight Moon Cafe and our lounge areas.  If you click on the pictures, they should go quite big. I think the sim owners are planning to move us to our own little island, but I'm not 100% sure. I suppose we'll find out when they revamp the island. ^_^



Midnight Moon Cafe in Awen (Bookstacks) - Second Life
So anyway, Hubby drove his Jeep home last night, and he said it's now shifting better than when he first bought it. Yay! That is one less worry off my mind. Now if I can just coast in this comfort zone for a little while...even if only long enough to get a few things done, I'll be super happy.

I guess I should get ready for that writing dash. I have about thirty minutes to pull all my notes together and get Mini settled. They're having some kind of teacher workshop day at the school, so the kids are out. Honestly, I think they needed a time out because those teachers certainly haven't had use of snow days this year. Poor folks. Ah well, I can assure them Mini isn't heartbroken in the least to have to stay home with his old mother. In fact, he's in the den right now watching Despicable Me. LOL!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Word Haul

Let's kill zombies!
Another day, another paragraph... I woke up thinking it's Wednesday, but oh well. Today is writing bonanza day, regardless. I have nabbed the portable heater from Mini's room, and I'm settling in for a word haul. Saturday I'm going to meet up with a writing buddy, so I need to have something on paper to take over there with me.

I went into Second Life yesterday to listen to Cassie read from her book Cup of Fate. There were about 18 people there overall, Cassie and me included, which is pretty darn good. Afterward I went over to the Midnight Moon Cafe in Awen to check on things.

Once I logged out, I sorted through some pictures I'd taken in-world over the past few months, and found this one. I didn't realize my avatar's boob was half hanging out of that shirt until last night, but oh well. I like the pic anyway so I'm posting it. That's Cora Waverider holding a board with about 50 nails hammered into the end of it. That was taken Halloween night 2010, and I had just come from killing zombies in the Dunwich. Great fun!

Speaking of SL, Cassie arranged for us to do readings during Horrorfest at Bookstacks...I think in late March?  I'll post more about it as the time gets closer. I'll probably do a reading from Weirdly, or one of my vampire books. We will see. Right now, I'm focused on getting things ready for conference - won't be much longer now.

That's it for now. Off to get some writing accomplished!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

lipstick on my hard drive

My laptop has been overheating lately. When it reaches that critical point, it just shuts off. Power out. Black screen. To help preserve the machine, I bought a Belkin Cooling Laptop Pad.

I thought it might be too short to be stable, but it was the only kind of laptop cooling pad that had a fan in it at our local store. I brought it home, set it up under my laptop and plugged it into the USB port. Voila! It works just like it's supposed to, but when you reach up on the laptop to type, there is a slight whining sound because of the plastic covering the fan vibrates against the plastic underside of the computer. It's tolerable though, and I'd much rather have a cool, if somewhat whiny laptop, than one that's burnt out with all my info on it. Speaking of info and computers, I picked up a cheap external hard drive while I was at the store looking for the cooling pad. Just in case. In 2012, if the world is still  hovering in space and the human species hasn't gone extinct, I'll probably have to spring for a new laptop.

Right after I made my last blog post, the one with the Verve lipstick by MAC, Fleshpot (MAC, satin finish) arrived. In the tube, it's a nude with a pink undertone, and looks a bit like concealer when put on the lips full strength. You can Google Fleshpot to see about five billion pictures of it on the lips and swatched, so I won't drive myself nuts trying to get a shot with good lighting. It's nearly impossible in this dark office anyway.

I love Fleshpot. I love, love, love it. When you blot it on white tissue, it's a pink-peachy tone. Very nice. It's a bit dry feeling on the lips, but that's easy enough to fix. Fleshpot is highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way. I pat it on the lips then add a sheer gloss over the top of it to give it moisture and shine. I'm current addicted to Hard Candy Fortune Gloss in Fate, which looks very purple in the tube, but is actually an extremely sheer lavender. It has a faint blackberry smell and flavor, and I love the way it looks great over Fleshpot. I'm going to meet with a fellow writer this weekend, and I'm thinking about wearing Fleshpot/Fate with peach toned smoky eyeshadow.

On to other things, tomorrow I'm going to get up early and spend the day writing. I'd hoped to be further along with this book by now. Tonight I'm going to work on the synopsis for it and get that much out of the way. Tomorrow morning, I'll probably fire up my Write or Die program to try and get over this story hump. Wish me luck!

That's all for now. I'm going to hop into Second Life and listen to Cassie do readings from her book Cup of Fate. If you are in SL, she is set up over at Elementals, Meleda and will be reading tonight from from 8-9pm CST. :*) Night, night, everyone!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

put on a little lipstick and everything will be fine

It's a cold dreary weekend. I love it. Perfect writing weather. I'm working on a couple of things, one of which I'm trying to rush through to meet a submissions deadline. We'll see.

It's been pretty uneventful here. I got my royalty check a few days ago, which means we'll be able to get a new transmission for mustard Jeep. After relying on the company work van for a few months because his own ride is out of commission, Hubby is thrilled about that. I can't say I blame him! Anyway, I get the leftovers, so I bought makeup. Good investment, you know? I bought two MAC lipsticks - Fleshpot and Verve. Fleshpot hasn't arrived yet, so it isn't pictured. I also picked up a jar of MAC Lip Erase balm in Pale.

I've heard mixed reviews of Lip Erase, but this guy did a video of it on Youtube, and once I saw that, I knew I had to try it myself. That said, I like this product a lot. I dab just a little on my finger then pat it on my lips and it works great to blot out my lip color. The downside is there are only two colors for Lip Erase, Pale and Dim.

I wish MAC had a shade lighter than the Pale, it would match my skin tone better, but for all effective purposes, it does the job. It feels smooth and balmy on the lips, and a little goes a long way. I tried it with a several shades of lipstick, and the only kind of lipstick I wouldn't use with Lip Erase is a thick, or dry lipstick, like some of the .99 cent drugstore brands tend to be. I wore it with Maybelline Colorsensational shade 205 "Nearly There", which is a moist, super sheer natural tone pink-nude with a faint shimmer. As light as the 205 is (sorry, my lighting is terrible in here or I'd swatch it), the Lip Erase didn't bleed into it. Great stuff - both the Maybelline 205 and the Lip Erase. I highly recommend both.  

I also picked up a MAC lipstick in the shade Verve, which is a highly pigmented plum-brown in a satin finish. It's kind of a raisin color in my opinion. I thought from the computer swatch it would be lighter, but it's actually quite dark. I worried it would be too dark for me, but it's actually nice if you pat it on the lips instead of going for the full effect. It takes on sort of a rosy brown tone when it's not applied heavily. Since I wear a lot of plums and browns, I can tell already I'll be getting a lot of use out of Verve.

Those are the top picks of my weekend makeup mini haul. I also bought a Revlon lipstick in 065 Rosy Nude, which is a really pretty warm, pinkish brown tone, and L'Oreal Studio Secrets eyeshadow quad #536, Lavender Smokes. It has a pretty plum brown in it, a light camel color, a muted rosy brown, and a nice light golden champagne shade. All the colors have a nice shimmer.

Changing the subject, I've committed myself to timed writings two days a week. I've written four thousand words in the past two days, and I'm hoping this boost will help get me back on track. My #1 writing goal this year is to wrap up Blaze's story in the Werekind series, and I'm hoping that will be finished by March.

I met my crit partner and BFF Cass Curtis online in Second Life the other night, and we sat up in my skybox brainstorming and working through plot problems.

I don't think I have plot problems exactly, I just couldn't decide on which beginning I liked best. When I first sat down with the story, I sketched out three opening scenarios and went on with the book. I'd start examining one, and then I'd think I liked a different one better. Then another. After a while, it all seemed kind of muddled in my brain. Which one works best?  The minute I sat down to go over the options with Cass, I think it settled in which story opening suited the characters, but it wasn't until last night when we talked about stories again that I finally feel settled enough with my choice to move forward with what I have. Wish me luck!

I have a goal of 1k words today, and I hope to do a little reading toward the late afternoon, so I guess that's all for now. The guys are all quiet and watching a movie, so it's a perfect time for me to add a few words on my WIP. ;0)

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Make It So

dog


Yesterday I took Oldest over to my parent's house so he could drive my dad's truck up around a cow pasture to learn how to drive. Oldest is 19, and has never showed the slightest interested in driving. The thing is, his recruiter is telling him he's not going to send him off to be liability to the Coast Guard. I tell you, the more I hear out of that man's mouth, the less I like him. It would have been nice to know this would be a problem months ago. He certainly knew about the issue then. He also played around with getting Oldest sworn in, so now he has to retake the ASVAB because his scores are going to expire before he makes it back to Arkansas.

So anyway, about the driving...I took Oldest over there for that, and even though dad says Oldest did fine, he's nervous about getting behind the wheel again. So, I'm going to have to take him in my car, I think. It's small and easy to drive. On Sundays, around 1 in the morning, town is abandoned, so I'm going to teach him how to use the lights and make him drive the loop. If he gets nervous, he can pull over and park. It will also put him in front of a few traffic lights. Oh, gosh, the thought alone is nerve wracking. Wish us luck!

I finished a scene on Blaze's Werekind story about thirty minutes ago. I swear, I have had all kinds of strange offers to go places or things to do lately, and finally I've had to put my foot down and say no. That's, like, #3 on my New Year's resolution list. Learning to say no. So I said no this morning, and it's the first time in several days I've managed to sit down and write a whole scene. I feel accomplished and empowered. :8)

Mini will be home in a few minutes, so I'm going to turn off my computer - another New Year's resolution - and go through the evening routine with him. And maybe watch Resident Evil Afterlife if I can get him to cover his eyes when something freaky happens. I bought the DVD days ago, and haven't had a chance to watch it yet. Once Mini's in bed for the night - around 8pm - I'll come back to write another scene.

I guess I should go put the clothes in the washer now. I don't want anything bugging me when I sit down to watch z-o-m-b-i-e-s...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Making Changes


I'm starting off January 2011 in a positive frame of mind, ready to embrace change. Part of that change is to spend less time on the internet, and focus more on writing and family. I'll still be blogging here like always, but I'll be cutting way down on social networking and blogging elsewhere. To help free up time, Cassie and I will be restructuring the Midnight Moon Cafe. So, big changes are coming in that direction as we cut back and look at new ways to promote ourselves and our books. 

Back in December, I opened three polls in the Cora Zane newsletter group . Thank you to everyone who dropped by to vote. The polls closed on December 31st, and the results are live in the group if you care to see them. By far, my readers want to see more of the Werekind Series. Rest assured, I hear you, and I'm working on it. 

All that said, I hope this year will mean more books read and written. I spent all year 2010 working on craft; hopefully this year I'll be able to put what I've learned to the test. 


Monday, January 03, 2011

A New Day


Mini Bear is back to school today, so I'm officially back to work. I'm so glad 2010 is officially behind me, and I truly feel like this year will be a fresh start. My #1 New Year's Resolution is to stress less, and just like last year's resolution, you can bet your boots I'll be taking it seriously.

Speaking of last year's resolution, I would declare that one a raging success. I had a goal to target my writing weaknesses, and go to workshops so I could get help in those areas. It was an intense. I went to a lot of workshops last year, but I feel like that was a smart investment. I learned so much, and feel like I've come away a more intuitive writer. Now it's time to roll up my shirt sleeves and get back to writing.

There's nothing new or ground shaking going on at the moment, and I like that just fine. To start the year off, The Midnight Moon Cafe in Awen (Second Life) has been completely redesigned. A new look for the New Year. :*) To celebrate, the real world Midnight Moon Cafe is giving away a witchy tarot deck. Tonight, Cassandra Curtis and I will be hosting a book discussion and tarot chat event in the Midnight Moon Cafe Chat room here: http://www.midnightmooncafe.com/chat  The chat starts at 8:30 CST.

That's all for now. I'm off to get some writing done. Hope your Monday is a happy one!