Thursday, May 30, 2013

Extra Cheesy Manicotti Recipe!

1 package manicotti noodles
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 container ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg
1 1/2 jars marinara sauce
garlic powder
black pepper
seasoned salt

Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. While the noodles are boiling, mix 2 cups mozzarella with 1 cup parmesan, the ricotta, butter, and egg. Season with seasoned salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder, oregano and basil to taste.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Pour about 2/3 jar of marinara in the bottom of a large casserole dish.
Stuff noodles with cheese mixture and place carefully in the casserole.
Pour 2/3 jar of marinara over noodles and top with 2 cups mozzarella and 1 cup parmesan.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Live Horror Movie Cheese-Fest with Me And Jess Haines

I first became friends with urban fantasy author Jess Haines through twitter. I'm a writer, she's a writer (of the kick ass H&W Investigations series ), but that's not how we bonded. Instead, our friendship developed through our mutual love of movies, especially cheesy horror films. For nearly two years we've been tweeting movie recommendations back and forth, discussing our faves and blasting each other with movie quotes. It's been a delight. Since I met Jess, my netflix cue has never suffered.

But I've always wanted to watch a movie with her in person. Alas, that has been impossible because we are hundreds, maybe even thousands of miles apart.

Then we got an awesome idea. We could both get the same movie and watch it at the same time and comment live on twitter.

But we can't decide which movie to watch. So we need your help. We've narrowed our selection down to five contenders and need you to vote which craptastic film will be the focus of our cheese-fest. Whichever film garners the most votes on both our blogs, Jess and I shall watch together Saturday, June 8th. We will announce the winning movie next Friday, June 7th.

So please vote, stock up on popcorn, beer, and cheez whiz.

Vampire Effect

Synopsis From Netflix

"Two of Asian pop music's biggest names -- Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung -- prove they're a force to be reckoned with on-screen as well, with this gory action flick about a European vampire who's gone mad and is wreaking havoc by drawing blueblood from his peers. The sole survivor heads for Hong Kong to hide out and soon falls in love with a mortal there. Jackie Chan makes a cameo appearance."

All I can say is, "Jackie Chan AND Vampires? Oh, hell yeah!"


Synopsis from Netflix:

"When his pretty fiancée is literally torn to pieces by a runaway lawnmower, Jeffrey Franken creates a scheme to bring her back to life: reassemble her from the body parts of New York City prostitutes. Has he created a monster?"

I'm still laughing too hard at "torn to pieces by a runaway lawnmower" to do much else but declare it a win. So SPINAL TAP!

One Eyed Monster

Synopsis from Netflix:

"Adult film stars Ron Jeremy and Veronica Hart reunite in this hilarious homage to horror. Stranded by a storm, the cast and crew of a porn flick fall prey to a vicious killer when Ron's (Jeremy) dismembered member is possessed by a bloodthirsty alien. Now they'll have to destroy the slithering monster before it spreads its deadly seed across the world. Amber Benson, Carmen Hart and Charles Napier also star."

"Ron Jeremy's dismembered member?" This movie sounds like a drinking game waiting to happen.

Night of the Demons

Synopsis from Netflix:

"This imaginative tale of horror centers on a group of hormonal teens who turn an abandoned funeral home into party central -- and unwittingly unleash an ancient demon whose drink of choice is very bloody Marys."

I can't decide whether this summary is clever or stupid. Either way, this was one of the films that kindled my love for cheezilicious B-horror. Jess hasn't seen it.

Tokyo Zombie

"While training to fulfill their dreams of being jujitsu champions, Fujio (Tadanobu Asano) and Mitsuo (Shô Aikawa) work in a fire extinguisher factory. But when a mob of zombies suddenly invade Tokyo, they'll have to employ their limited fighting skills to battle the undead. They soon join with other zombie fighters to try to reclaim the city. Directed by Sakichi Sato, this Japanese zombie-movie satire is based on the manga by Yusaku Hanakuma."

There is so much to love about this movie. A martial arts film where the characters are admittedly BAD at martial arts. The unique setting of a fire extinguisher factory. The dude's sick 'fro on the cover, and oh yeah, ZOMBIES!

 Jess has posted the trailers for these gems on her blog.See, I can't even pick a favorite, please vote!

Which Craptastic Film Will We Watch? free polls 
Author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, Jess Haines is a displaced New Yorker who writes about vampires, werewolves, and other bitey creatures of the night from her home in Southern California. She's best known for the H&W Investigations series (starting with HUNTED BY THE OTHERS).

Her 5th novel in the series, FORSAKEN BY THE OTHERS releases July 2nd!

Monday, May 20, 2013

My First Month With a Book Out

I'd wanted to post this way sooner, but my illness held me back.

I figured I'd recap my first month of having a book out in the wild.

Thank goodness my debut week was Spring Break. There's no way I would have been able to focus on schoolwork.

My release day was exciting but kinda anticlimactic because my local store didn't get the books in in time so I didn't get to see it on the shelf. There was even a bit of worry that they wouldn't arrive before my signing. Thankfully, they did.

Here it is now:

I went home and watched the reviews pour in while I prepared for my signing. Many liked it, some even LOVED it, and a few hated it. Just like it was a real book or something. Wait, it IS a real book! I'm still absorbing that fact.

I watched my Amazon ranking climbing and I briefly made the top 100 bestsellers in Regency Romance. W000T!

My very first virtual book tour kicked off. Holy wow, it was so exciting getting to know new readers!

Then I had my first-ever book signing. It was scary and wonderful. I forgot to bring a pen. The recap of that fun day is here.  After the signing, my friends at my local pub threw me an after party. I got flowers and balloons and they even toasted me with champagne.

Spring break ended and I ended up juggling the tour with homework and studying. I do not recommend it. I tried to check in and comment in every post, but it was hard, especially when research for 2 English papers killed my internet usage and slowed down my computer.

In between connecting with readers on my virtual tour and obsessing over my Bookscan data and sales ranking, I worked on revisions for book 2, ONE BITE PER NIGHT.

I also got the cover for ONE BITE PER NIGHT and will reveal it soon. Then I got the title for book 3. BITE AT FIRST SIGHT should be released September of 2014.

Reviews for BITE ME, YOUR GRACE kept pouring in as well as messages from readers telling me they enjoyed the book.

I also got my first fan-letter...which made me cry happy tears.

All in all April was the most exciting and busy month of my life. I'm surprised I didn't have a heart attack.

I want to thank everyone who's been there with me on this crazy journey. I couldn't have done it without you and I hope to keep writing books that you'll enjoy. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


We writers often spend more time in imaginary worlds than the real one. Often this is a good thing since the real world can be a drag. However, it is not something to be neglected. I learned this the hard way.

Since I was frantically preparing for college finals, working on a deadline for book 2, finishing the rough draft of Book 3, and promoting book 1, I decided to put off a toothache until after my exams.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

The Saturday before last I woke up in agony with my face swollen. Terrified, I drove straight to the Urgent Care clinic. They gave me a shot in the ass, some antibiotics & pain meds, and sent me on my way. "Whew," I thought, "That was scary. I better get that tooth taken care of on Monday. The swelling should go down soon."

The swelling didn't go down. It got worse. I went to the ER. You get really fast service when you look like this:

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.
They put me on IV antibiotics and morphine and gave me, surprise, more antibiotics. I also had to go back the next night for more.

"You can't have any alcohol for 10 days with this medicine," they told me.

Do you have any idea how hard that is for a writer? 

I laid on the couch that night, strung out on morphine and imagining bacteria eating my brain and eyeball.

Sunday I was so swollen my eye was shut and my cheek almost touched my ear. My own son was scared of me. Once he got over the shock he said, "You're still beautiful, mommy."

I would have cried if I wasn't so sick and weak.

The antibiotics made me dizzy and queasy. The swelling started to go down on Monday but the Dr. was still freaked out and ordered a cat-scan and another IV treatment. By then it was at last established that I wasn't going to die. 

I went through finals week floating confused over my body too sick to eat or think straight. The antibiotics made me too nauseated to eat or take pain medication. The cure was almost as bad as the sickness. One of the main side effects was confusion. I stuttered myself blue trying to say the right word for things.

I was enraged and in agony. I wanted my body back.

When the swelling was gone I got to a dentist. Of course it was a front tooth that was the culprit and it will have to be pulled. 

If I hadn't put off the toothache and taken better care of myself, the tooth may have been saved and I wouldn't face looking like an extra from DELIVERANCE. I would have gotten more writing done. I and my friends and family wouldn't have faced the terror of my possible death.

After all that I am so happy to be alive. I would not wish the suffering I endured on my worst enemy.

So please, writers... and everyone else, take care of yourselves!!!