Friday, October 28, 2011

16 Horror Movie Recommendations! ...and WINNER of TRINA M. LEE's giveaway!

Drummmmmrollllllll....And the winner is DON!!!! I will pass on your email to the awesome Trina Lee!

I was born and raised on horror movies and developed a taste for the macabre, the abnormal, potty humor, and cheese. If it weren't a blog post my list would be miles long. I'm trying to make this list as short as possible here, so I'm gonna break it into categories. There's only one vampire film on here...but that's 'cuz I'm saving vampire movies for their own post.

The categories:

Okay for Kids:

The Addams Family & Addams Family Values
Full of enough spookiness for the holiday, goofiness for the younguns, and inside humor for the parents, these two are classics. Also, Gomez & Morticia have the best marriage I've seen on a screen.

Seriously, it's a marriage one can only dream about.

Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters 2

Never have I seen a better PG mix of horror and comedy...and if you haven't seen these movies already, I will feel compelled to slap you.

...and damn, now I just realized I need to add Ghostbusters 2 and Addams Family Values in my "Good Movie Sequels" list...with Ghostbuster's 2 taking the #1 spot. 


'Cuz Tim Burton's the MAN! There was a cartoon series back in the day that was even better...alas, it's not been released yet. :( 

Damn, now I got the cartoon theme song stuck in my head.


A Christmas and Halloween mashup... that's also an animated musical. Need I say more? Yes! Again, 'cuz Tim Burton's the MAN! I will also recommend this for the Christmas season.

We all learn the same lesson as the protagonist: Halloween kicks Christmas's ass!

Cheesetacular Craptastic:


I will now state the obvious: I have a thing for the 80's...and spooky houses. This film is the epitome of low budget 80's horror. The puns and bad acting only increased the fun. And lipstick was used in the most creative...and disturbing way possible. But, this movie broke the traditions of the time in a big way. Watch it and find out.


I'm a complete Freddy fanatic. My mama raised me that way. :) I could write an extensive thesis on all the nifty stuff about this franchise...but since it's a blog post I'll just point you at the documentary, which is as fun as the movies. And I'll leave you with a some trivia:

1.) A LOT of big stars debuted with Elm Street: JOHNNY DEPP, Patricia Arquette and Lawrence Fishburne. ALICE COOPER also had a cameo in part 6.

One, two, Freddy's coming for you. 


This is the movie that gave zombies their iconic slogan: Braiiiiiiiins! Also, I swear half the cast of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS was in it. It was a film that had me applauding glorious cheese all the way through.

3 words: Zombie split-dogs


Just like any writer, I appreciate sophisticated satire. But sometimes I just gotta have some potty humor. And yes, this is about a poop-monster. The sequel" RETARDEAD, was entertaining as well.

This is the very definition of  "Craptastic."



Yeah, I know, a lot of you are going, "Meh, it's not that scary." This is the only actual "horror" movie that has really scared the crap out of me. I was 8 when I first saw it. It ain't so bad now on the surface. But the concept of your loved ones coming back evil and wanting to kill you still churns my insides. Also... CREEPY LITTLE KIDS!!! I absolutely LOATHE CREEPY little kids...It was probably inspired by this movie...and THE SHINING.
Don't read the book. It'll ruin The Ramones for you for the rest of your life.
You'll never hear banjos the same way again.

Okay... I live in Northern Idaho...and for a lot of you that automatically means I'm a redneck, unless it's just a summer home. But....

A.) I live in Coeur d'Alene, which is among the top desired locations for the rich & famous. Oprah bought 2 condos like 6 blocks away from me and Eddie Money drives by our house once in awhile in his Hummer and waves. We have a great balance of "City" and "Picturesque Outdoors"

B.) Yeah... a lot of "redneck" jokes do apply to me...but if you hunt, fish....or have low income, I'm sure they apply to you as well. :)

C.) I did Census work out in "the boonies" where "real" rednecks are to be found. North Idaho "rednecks" have great, full sets of teeth, do not speak in twangy accents (They and I sound as boring and un-exotic as sitcom stars) and do not play banjo while contemplating terrorist gang-rape.

Anyway, this movie combines many redneck stereotypes and throws in a few new ones in the most horrifying manner possible...with some gang rape.


Excellent book...kinda-sorta boring first. Then you see this freaky-crab-walk action and you're scarred for life. One of my stepdaughters had a tantrum like this years ago...and the nightmares still come.

Seriously, this scene is not right.

This pic is from Killer Klowns From Outer Space, which is supposed to be a funny movie. I ask you, is there anything "funny" about THAT?



Author Trina M. Lee recommended this one to me a year ago. I gotta say: hands down, the BEST werewolf movie ever. I'm not usually into werewolves. (Not a dog person, LOL) but  this film transcended my bias. Rounded, engaging characters, good-times gore, and surprising emotional moments. This one's a keeper.

The most unbelievable thing about this movie was siblings getting along so well.

From Dusk Till Dawn

It's like a math formula: Quentin Tarantino + Robert Rodriguez + vampires = AWESOME. Everything they do together is good times. ::sigh self::: Anyway: the quirky characters, the action, & the profanity makes this one a classic.

Also, it's the only movie where George Clooney is cute.  If I get raging arguments in my comments section from the Clooney-fans, I'll know some women are reading my blog. Mwah hah hah hah hah. 


This one's an ultimate classic. It's like the PRINCESS BRIDE of horror-dom. ALL MUST SEE AND QUOTE IT ON A REGULAR BASIS. And dude, Bruce Campbell's on twitter!

We all want "some sugar" and more of Ash's "Boomstick."


In my opinion, one of the best haunted house movies EVER!!! It's really long, but totally worth it.

And Stephen King has a quick cameo...see if you can spot it.
Anyway, I could list 100s more and I'm always looking for recommendations. Please share your favorites! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Keeping Monsters Monstrous: Guest Post by Trina M. Lee

I’m a firm believer in monsters acting like...well...monsters! Sorry Edward, there is no such thing as a vegetarian vampire in my world. Neutering vampires makes me wonder why one would even bother to have a vampire character at all. Let me clarify here. A tortured vampire like Anne Rice’s Louis or Buffy’s Angel does have its appeal when done right. However, that kind of character gets old fast when it starts to become mainstream.

I think most of us can agree that when we think of the granddaddy of vampires we think Dracula. Dracula enjoyed every part of being a vampire. He loved the seduction of his prey, he didn’t guilt trip over the feed and I certainly didn’t see him pacing his castle halls in fits of remorse. He had a sexual quality that lent an air of romance to him but at the heart of it all, he was a monster and he acted like one.

That is how I see and write my own vampires. Sure they can be sexy. That’s what lures you in. Once they have you, they will devour you and don’t expect them to apologize. As a reader and a writer, I need a little monster in my man. Of course, characters need to be well developed. I don’t expect fictional vampires to be all kill and no thrill unless I’m reading horror. In urban fantasy or paranormal romance, I expect to see a vampire with emotion but I don’t expect that to mean he or she must be put on a leash.

I’ll use Buffy’s Spike as an example as well as the lead vampire in my Huntress series, Arys. Each of these sexy vamps feel genuine love. They stand up for what’s right and protect those in need because of the love they feel. But you will find them involved in shady dealings. They will slip down a dark alley to feast on some innocent, pretty little thing. And they won’t feel bad about it.

Some may argue that certain vampires, Edward and others like him, were written for young adults and therefore making him less of a monster in the traditional sense is ok. When I was 13, I was watching The Lost Boys and loving every gory minute of it. I got my hands on every vampire book I could find, my favorite being Vampire of the Mists by Christie Golden. I don’t believe the current trend of neutered vampires would ever have appealed to me and I’m a little saddened they are so popular right now.

It’s time to take back the night and those who dwell within it. It’s time to remind the world that vampires, werewolves and everything in between has only been what they are because they are creatures of darkness. 

Once you change that, they cease to be what they once were. Are the Edwards of the world really vampires? Not to this girl.

Thanks so much to Brooklyn for asking me to post here. Any commenters will be entered to win an ebook copy of Huntress Book 1, Once Bitten. Happy Halloween!

Blurb for ONCE BITTEN: Alexa O’Brien, a werewolf with a powerful gift, spends her nights hunting fellow supernaturals. Despite how hard she fights it, she’s drawn to Arys, a vampire who awakens her dark side. What they create together is dangerous and it puts her at risk of losing more than her remaining humanity. She risks losing the one person who holds her heart.

Believing she can help clear his name, Alexa’s former lover and Alpha pack member draws her into a deadly situation. Alexa is forced to face long buried secrets about her past when the hunt for a serial killer reveals the painful truth that not everyone is who you think they are.
You can get the series HERE.
Thanks so much, Trina for coning here today! I LOVE the HUNTRESS Series! I'm on book 3 and totally hooked!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Subplots are Tricky: Guest Post by Kinley Baker

Thank you, Brooklyn Ann, for inviting me to Supernatural Smut!

I’m excited to be here and talk about one of my favorite things: subplots. I like to construct stories with a lot of subplots mainly because I like to write in multiple POVs (point-of-views). Like in Ruined, I wrote from the perspective of not just the hero and heroine, but also the villain, the mentor, the seductress and the Book Two hero. Since this was my first novel, I learned a lot about subplots during the editing process. The number one thing I learned is that the subplots must relate to the overall story.

The reason why subplots are tricky is because it’s hard to find a good balance. I personally like when a lot is going on in a novel as long as I can follow along. But my favorite scenes in books are always going to be between the hero and heroine. I love the scenes where the hero and heroine fight, where they make up, where they have those soft moments right before something throws them for a loop. So while I like a lot going on in the story, I always want the focus to be on the couple. This is a little different for fantasy compared to paranormal romance. I think you might find more context and characters beyond the world of the hero and heroine in fantasy novels. But since I’m a fan of both, I try to trend more toward the paranormal romance philosophy where everything should relate back to the couple.

Since Ruined is my debut, I’m still learning how to juggle subplots. I think each book I write makes it easier to discern which storylines belong and which should be taken out. I’m especially excited about Book Two in the Ruined trilogy because I love how one of the side stories ends up impacting the major plot.

I automatically associate subplots with POVs. If I reveal a character in a story, that character should have a compelling reason for being there. I constantly have to remind myself of this. It’s also good to understand the goal, motivation and conflict for the characters involved in subplots, whether or not you show their view point.

Questions I learned to ask during the editing process:

Why is this subplot included?

How does this storyline relate to the overarching theme?

What makes this character view point important to the story?

What would be different about this story if this character and their experiences weren’t in it?

If I took this subplot out, will the main story be impacted? (On this one, if the answer is no, it can be taken out.)

Here are a few Pros and Cons of Subplots:

PROs of Subplots

Incorporating storylines for minor characters can encourage an author to make the smaller characters more interesting. It gives an opportunity for the author to ask, what makes this character tick? What does this character want from this story? It can take a villain who we may see as “bad” and give him motivation so we can understand why he’s bad.

Multiple storylines can help in series. Sometimes including storylines for smaller characters can leave the reader wondering . . . whatever happened to (insert name). . . which means they want to know more about the world you built in Book One.

CONs of Subplots

They can be confusing for readers to follow. If there’s too many things going on, readers may find themselves asking why they should care. This also depends on the reader. Some readers have zero tolerance for subplots. Some really like them.

Readers may wonder about the relation between the minor side stories and the main love story. If they can’t figure it out, they may skip past the sections that don’t involve the hero and heroine.

This is what I’ve learned so far. I think this is a constantly changing thing and heavily depends on the individual story. Fantasy usually involves more subplots. I recently finished a futuristic novella where I just show the hero and heroine, which was very challenging for me. I think it’s a good exercise to step out of our comfort zones and do the things that make us nervous.

Subplots can pull readers into the fictional world or they can distract readers. As long as we’re consciously analyzing which subplot is moving the story forward and which are holding it back, I think we’re on the right track.

What’s your reader preference? Lots of subplots, the fewer the better or somewhere in-between?

Thank you so much, Brooklyn Ann! I enjoyed hanging out today.


Kinley Baker read her first romance novel at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She is the author of the fantasy romance, Ruined, recently released from Crescent Moon Press. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. You can find Kinley at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Treats & WINNER of FATED!

....and the winner is DESI!!! I'll be emailing you soon. :)

Since my stepdaughter's birthday is the week before Halloween, we have a Halloween-themed party for her. I'm so jealous!!! least I get to make the gory treats. 

The first...and easiest one is: THE BARFING PUMPKIN:

As you can see, the process is simple: Carve a pumpkin to look queasy, and have it "barf" out dip for crackers and chips.

Next are CREEPY EYEBALLS: I've used carrots, but halved cherry tomatoes work as well. Simply top with ranch and a sliced olive:

Or you can do deviled eggs and top those with olive. I think that's what I'll do this year.

As for beverages, you can do an ICE HAND in a bowl of blood red punch. Simply wash out an un-powdered latex glove, fill it with water, freeze, and remove the latex.

This one isn't mine. I couldn't find the pic.

Then, there's the GRAVEYARD CAKE. I used Halloween stuff in the cake-decorating section and then decorated Milan cookies to look like tombstones.

What are your Halloween plans and traditions?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sex Talk With Rebecca Zanetti

When I asked Rebecca to make another appearance on my blog, again she asked me to come up with a topic. We-ell, I kept remembering the time she spoke at an Idaho Writer’s League meeting. Naturally it came up that she writes some steamy stuff. All the romance writers wanted her to elaborate on certain subjects and pitfalls…but alas, the stodgier members kept steering the topic back to the PG-zone. ::sigh:: But now’s my chance. I even gave her an out. I said, “We can talk about sex…or structuring a novella.”

She replied, “Sex? Go for it.”

So, here I go...and since purple's my favorite color, I totally call dibs. 

 Rebecca, you write for Kensington’s BRAVA imprint, which I understand is a bit naughtier than the ZEBRA line. (About a third of my romance collection is Zebra books…and they can get pretty steamy.) Can you tell us more about what a reader can expect from a BRAVA book?

First, a big thank you to Brooklyn Ann for having me over at Supernatural Smut today!  Great question, by the way.  At Kensington, the Zebra line is supposed to be somewhat sweet, the Brava line is sensual, and the Aphrodesia line is erotic.  In Brava, the hero and heroine need to be very sexually aware of each other from the first meet, but they don’t have to actually have sex until it works for the plot.  In fact, sometimes it’s better to wait and just keep the tension going. Love that tension! too, and you do such a good job with that in FATED! 

To get serious for a moment, we all know that romance authors, especially of the steamy variety, get all sorts of judgments and stereotypes lobbed at them. Most recently I’m thinking of the episode with Judy Mays.   Have you gotten any crap from people because of your writing, and how did you handle it?

My short answer here is…no.  The people in my life are supportive…or they’re not in my life.  I have gotten some rolled eyes and dramatic expressions from acquaintances, but screw them.  Sorry to be crass, but life is WAY too short to worry about the opinions of stick-in-the-muds.   You know what’s been interesting, though?  People don’t look at me differently.  They look at my husband differently.  It’s hilarious.  J  (And for the record, my books aren’t THAT steamy.  Okay, they’re steamy.  But they’re not erotic.  And frankly, I have no problem with erotic romances—I just don’t write them.  Yet).

Okay, back to the fun stuff…though this one’s a little related. During your talk at the IWL meeting, you mentioned that one of your dad’s friends called him up to discuss some of the racy stuff in FATED. How did that go? And do you have any more fun stories about reactions from friends and family? (The thought of my father reading my smut makes me cringe…but not enough to make me stop writing it. J)

Oh yeah, I forgot I shared this story.  You have a great memory!  Well, a very conservative friend of my dad’s came up to him and said he read my book.  And my dad was surprised, and repeated, “you read Becky’s book?”  And his conservative friend said, “Sure.  I love vampire books.  Can’t wait until the next one comes out.”  My dad couldn’t wait to call me.  Who knew?  Also, I’m on a nonprofit Board with a couple of nuns, who read the book.  They both just loved the world building.  J

Nuns? Really? That's gonna have me giggling all day.

I read something funny on your blog awhile back. You said, “Those who complained that there was too much sex in book one have already pre-ordered book two.” After I recovered from my laughter, I wondered: Is this sort of hypocrisy common? And what other reactions have you gotten from readers?

You know, I wouldn’t call it hypocrisy.  It’s just human nature.  What happened was an acquaintance (not even a close friend) of my mom bought and read FATED.  When she saw my mom, she said how much she enjoyed the writing, but the sex was way too much for her.  Then she asked my mom if she’d read CLAIMED, and my mom said ‘yes’ because she usually reads a printed off copy from my computer right after I finish the book.  Well, the lady then asked if she could borrow the printed off copy.  J  It gave me a good giggle. 

The fan emails are wonderful and I love getting them.  One nice lady said she is home most of the week with two special needs kids, and while she loves her life, she still needs to escape once in a while in books.  She said she read FATED three times one week to just get lost.  Nearly made me cry.

Awww!!! That's so sweet!

Now for the technical stuff: Do your love scenes just come to you, or do you have to focus or be in a certain mindset to write them?

Wow, that’s a tough question.  I think for the most part they just come to me.  Sometimes I’m under a deadline and I have to really work at it, but usually I’m just in the mood to write a certain scene.

So…let’s ask a question today.  Are some books just too racy for you?  Brooklyn Ann will randomly draw a name of a commenter for a signed copy of FATED.  Thanks for reading today!

Rebecca Zanetti is a college professor by day and romance author by night.  Currently she’s busy writing the sexy Dark Protector Series from Kensington Brava, which has received excellent reviews.  To find Rebecca on the web, drop by her website: 

Book one of the Dark Protectors, FATED, is available NOW from Kensington Publishing at all major book retailers.
Book 2, CLAIMED, will be available on October 25, 2011 at all major book retailers and is available for pre-order now!

While geneticist Emma Paulsen appreciates vampire king Dage Kayrs rescuing her from the evil, pasty, creepy Kurjan leader who wanted to mate with her, she wouldn’t have needed rescuing had the vampires not gone to war.  And while she’s willing to spend one night fulfilling her fantasies with Dage, no way does she plan to stick around for good.  Whether the king happened to brand her flesh or not.

That is until her pregnant sister, Cara, contracts a Kurjan virus that will not only destroy the baby but strip Cara’s chromosomal pairs until she’s possibly less than human.  A virus that turns shifters into werewolves.  A bug that requires science, magic and physics to be quashed.  Emma will have to suspend her every belief in science and to trust the vampires in order to save her sister.

Dage Kayrs has waited three centuries to find his mate.  As King of the Realm, he’s accustomed to diplomacy and design, although he’d rather rip his enemy’s head off than negotiate.  He’s tired of hiding his true nature.  He’s tired of being alone.  But the greatest challenge of his long life will be in learning to compromise enough to keep Emma, his learning to bend during a time of war when his oldest friends might become his greatest enemies. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Different Friends, Different Gifts

When you make friends with someone, at first a lot of the bond goes to the "Me too!" moments. But as the friendship deepens, you get to know their differences. Some are surprising, some are fascinating. Many, you can learn a lot from.

I have such a friendship with fellow authors, Bonnie R. Paulson and Shelley Martin. We are all romance writers, mothers, and wives. But we are of different faiths, listen to different music, and have different interests. Bonnie's passion is dirt biking, Shelley's is Japanimation/ Manga, and mine is heavy metal & horror movies.

We also have different strengths with our writing.

Shelley's is definitely VOICE! One of the most difficult aspects of the craft to master, Shelley lends voice to her characters like a natural.

Bonnie's skill with visceral descriptions and heart-wrenching emotion is just as inspiring as it makes one seethe with envy.

As for me, I *think* my strength lies with creating unique & memorable characters. I don't think I've ever had a "normal" protagonist in my work.

As for weaknesses, I think I'll leave that for our critique sessions, editors, and book reviewers.

Anyway, what inspired this post are two things:

1.) One can learn a lot from the strengths of her friends in real life.

2.) In fiction, the best stories are where the characters learn and grow from each other's unique gifts. Stephen King's IT is a wonderful example. I'm going to miss an opportunity to plug my favorite novel. :)

What about you? What strengths do your friends have? What gifts of yours enhance the lives of others? If you're a writer, how do your characters' differences enhance your story? If you're a reader, what novels have done best with variety in characters?

Friday, October 14, 2011

8 Good Movie Sequels

Jim Morrison + half naked Indian = Win.

I've had sequels on the brain lately. One thing that's always bothered me is: Why are so many book sequels awesome but movie sequels suck most of the time? Seriously, I do not have an answer for this. If you have a theory, please share it in the comments.

However, once in awhile a movie sequel shines. Sometimes, they're better than the original.

Here's a few:


The original was a blast, and the sequel did it justice. The only beef I had with it was that Cassandra was unbelievably flaky, and Christopher Walken wasn't funny or quirky like he is in most of his films. However,
the YMCA bit, and the appearances of Jim Morrison, Rip Taylor, and the "weird naked Indian" were EPIC!


This is the prime example of an unheard of case. T2 was better than T1. The effects were awesome, Sarah Conner had gone from a timid waitress to a complete badass. The plot was more complex and dynamic. It was flat out excellent.


SUBSPECIES is one of my favorite vampire franchises. Done by the indie company: Full Moon Entertainment, most of the budget is dedicated to filming on site in Romania. The villain, Radu Vladislas is one of the most compelling ever and it is in this film where he grows more complex.


Wes Craven had nothing to do with part 2 so his solution for Part 3 was to pretend the former hadn't existed. It worked out awesome, brought back the heroine from part 1 and gave many now famous actors their start.


Disney's animated sequels usually fail miserably. But this one was a success. Not only did Mulan's warrior buddies each find true love (as a romance author this excites me to no end) but there was a pleasing realistic element with Mulan's struggle between her roles as wife and warrior.


Taking off right where HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE left off, the adventure continues with even more epically hilarious twists, and you won't believe what happens to Neil Patrick Harris!


Not enough to touch the low budget, cheesy glory of the original, but this one deserves a spot just for the good characterization. The nun with the ruler is my favorite.


Okay, this one almost doesn't count since it's more of a continuation than a sequel. But since Vol. 1 had so many delicious teasers, I'm putting it here because it not only delivered the promises, it surpassed them. And there is no more badass Kung-Fu master than Pai Mei and his stylish beard.

Anyone have any more good sequels?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Sh*t Just Got Real.

Dio always knows the right thing to say. These are indeed words to live by...even though they're a little blurry.

Okay, so I finally got a book deal. Now that the ecstatic joy has gone down to a sane level, (okay, as sane as I can be) I need to begin focusing on what this means for me. The obvious being, no longer can I be considered by anyone (or myself on a bad day) a hobby writer.

Because, the sh*t is real now.

My editor said we have a lot of work to do: namely edits and working on my career path. As it says on their website: Sourcebooks publishes authors, not books.

Career...I haven't heard that word applied to me since I got my degree in automotive. A degree I can no longer use. However, I've been treating my writing as a career for the last two years. I've made self-imposed deadlines, gone through line edits with friends, built up a humble platform, and discovered the value of social networking (other than winning free books.)

But now it's a REAL career. The deadlines will be real, the edits will be through trained professionals who are not going to take it easy on me. My platform and social networking could impact my sales.

I know the work my editor referred to is going to be a lot more than revising BITE ME, YOUR GRACE. Speaking of, when I said that to my husband, he said, "But, I thought you edited it already." The house practically shook with my hysterical laughter.

Anyway, besides polishing that work, there's going to be a multitude of preparations before I make my debut. Namely, what project will be the next focus? No longer can I willy-nilly hop around sub-genres. Not right now, anyway. At first that sounds restrictive...until I remember the anxiety that came from: "What project should I work on next? I have one idea here, and another there!" Now, I will have guidance and help in shaping my personal brand. And that comes as such a relief.

What am I doing now, so early on my journey?

As you can see, I've deleted the progress bars for my other projects from my site until I figure out what I'm working on next. Also, I've finally figured out how to add pages to this blog. Aren't the tabs cute? Those pages are pretty bare for now, except for the one where I list my upcoming guest posts. Check it out. I got some good ones lined up already. The "books" tab is for now a source of happy daydreams of what's to come. As for the "About Me," I'm going to do my best to seem awesome. :)

Because my career is REAL now. Hey, do you think if I say that to the kids, they'll behave and let me work when they're around?

No? ::sigh:: That's what I thought.

Thanks to all who are here for me and been supportive of my journey so far. I'll pop back in and say "Hi" later. Now I gotta go to my Idaho Writer's League meeting, where Shelley Martin and I are interviewing everyone as their characters. To keep the Halloween spirit, we're also bringing some spooky goodies. I carved a pumpkin to "barf" up smoked salmon spread and made deviled eggs to look like eyeballs. Shelley's got pumpkin bread, lady fingers...and a chocolate fountain. It bears repeating: A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Crazy Tale Of My 3-Book Deal!!!

Crazy as deep-throating a whole cake...with lit candles.

You guys have NO idea how hard it was to act like everything's been normal the last 2 weeks. Whew!

What am I talking about?

For those of you who missed my announcement on Twitter and Facebook this weekend: I ACCEPTED A THREE-BOOK OFFER FROM SOURCEBOOKS!!!!

How did I get it? Mostly by accident, with a lot of craziness....and a ton of hard work to write the manuscript and get it in its best possible shape.

Oh, and did I mention that I kinda-sorta wrote that book on accident?

I'd lost my career and my mother (that part was the worst) in five month's time and my attempts to query an earlier novel failed miserably. Half mad from grief, I took a gamble with my small inheritance to take a year off, research the industry better, perfect my craft, and write a better, more marketable manuscript.

I replaced my dinosaur computer with a laptop and got the internet. Wow, I learned a ton. The first thing: A writer NEEDS the internet. :) But I had little idea as to what to write.

I tried a brief stint as a financial adviser and though I learned a ton about finance, I was a complete failure at making a career out of it. But... I got THE idea.

My coworkers asked me what I wrote and I explained what paranormal romance was. Then I heard, "Oh, like TWILIGHT?" for the 100th freakin' time. As one who'd cut her teeth on vintage Anne Rice, Maggie Shayne, The Lost Boys, and the Subspecies movies, it kinda irritates me when people think TWILIGHT is the first vampire craze ever. I knew about Bram Stoker, but I was pretty sure the history went further back.

That's totally what Louis would think. :)

I took out my "Encyclopedia of the Undead" that my aunt got me in my goth days and found out that the first vampire story in English was written in the REGENCY period by none other than Lord Byron's physician, Dr. John Polidori. In fact, the story evolved from a ghost writing competition with Byron, Percy Shelly, and Mary-freakin'-Shelley. Frankenstein was another story birthed from that fateful night.

Polidori's tale spawned a vampire-craze all over western Europe long before Dracula, The Vampire Chronicles, Twilight, etc.

And he was CUTE too!

I adore regency romances! I've read Judith McNaught and Johanna Lindsay like an addict. Virginia Henley and Eloisa James are my heroes. I love rebellious heroines with unconventional dreams. I got to thinking....why was this vampire craze never mentioned in regency novels? Or Mary Shelley's work, for that matter?

I did a little more digging. How far had feminist literature progressed by then? In Georgian times, a famous work was: A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN, by Mary Wollstonecraft. She was none other than MARY SHELLEY'S MOTHER!!! It was too delicious for words.

Imagine a regency heroine idolizing those women and wanting to write horror novels of her own. Then I got to thinking again about vampires. Wouldn't Polidori's story piss them off? Especially one trying to pose as a member of London Society?

As Stephen King would say: POW!!! And it all started with me trying to prove a point to people who probably didn't care.

Stephen King's my hero, too.

In a state of giddy delight, I finished the rough draft in less than three months. It was the most FUN I've ever had writing. Even better was that my beta readers had fun reading it.

I polished it up and wrote the query. I got a ton of requests right away, most complimenting the title....which was ALSO an accident. While writing the novel, I had no clue what to call it, so I gave it a joke title. My vampire was a duke, so I called it "BITE ME, YOUR GRACE."

But when I threw it out on Twitter, people loved it so much, even going so far as to say they'd buy it due to the title. So it stuck.

After having fulls with 8 agents, I signed with one. The others passed because the manuscript wasn't awesome enough...which proves I yet again queried too soon. Because the agent I signed with turned out to... Not really be much of one.  (I ask that you click on that link so you get that story without me having to make this post longer than it is.)

After that relationship ended, I took another gamble and inquired on the status of my submission with a few publishers and queried a few more. I didn't expect to get far with the inquiries, but figured I'd find a home for BITE ME, YOUR GRACE with a small respectable house. Still, both inquiries led to full requests and the editor of Sourcebooks even emailed me personally when she received it to say she loved the title. Then a smaller house requested the full...and offered a contract within two days.

I was totally stoked. The publisher loved the book, their terms were appealing, their authors were great (in fact, a few were former clients of my ex agent) and I admired their cover art. However, Sourcebooks was still considering the manuscript. Following protocol, I informed the editor of the offer and asked for two weeks for a response. I fully expected her to pass, being so busy. To my surprise, she didn't.

For the next week and a half, my inner voice vacillated between "Hurry up and reject me already!" and "Could they REALLY be considering it?" I doubted it, the reasons outlined in my "no longer have an agent" post. (See, I told you to click that link.)

But after a bunch of crazy emails and exciting phone conversations, Sourcebooks counter-offered with a three book deal. "I just couldn't let that book go," said the almighty DEB WERKSMAN.

It was like that microphone had been replaced
As much as I liked the other publisher, it was in my best interest to take Deb's offer.

And as a gangster-skater hybrid from the 90's would say, "Shit just got real, Yo."

With hard work, a multitude of happy and unhappy accidents, and untold support from friends and family, my dreams have begun to come true.

That's my crazy story. The next post will be on said shit getting real, "yo." :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stand-Alones With Series Potential

I've been thinking a lot about my regency paranormal romance, BITE ME, YOUR GRACE. While I had an agent, I did my best to pretend it didn't exist while it was supposedly being shopped. Instead I focused on the first two in my BRIDES OF PROPHECY series and getting them ready for a professional eye. That, I still believe is a good thing since one of the golden rules of being on submission is to concentrate on other work.

But now it's time to think about that regency. It is, by far the most fun book I have and the most fun to write. Also, it is in the best shape of my projects and has been read by more people than the others.

Almost all who have read it have asked: "Is there a series?" Or "Why don't you have any more historicals?"

Hmmmm....why don't I? Besides my former agent never bringing it up and my attachment to my "pet" projects, I have no excuse.

It's true that BITE ME, YOUR GRACE likely can't have a direct sequel as all loose ends were tied up....but....

Is Ian, my vampire duke, the only immortal blood drinker hiding in the ton? There could totally be more. Who was Ian's second in command? Whoever he is, he'd have to be quite alpha and studly. And what happens when Ian and his bride leave London for an extended honeymoon? Silas McNaught is his temporary replacement...and though my beta readers know what his story is centuries down the road, we don't know how his first stint as a Lord vampire went. How did London's vampires tolerate having a new master? And a Scot at that?

And let's leave London for a minute. Who are the Lords of Britain's other regions? I bet the Lord of Cornwall lives in a spooky castle. 

Oh, the ideas are spinning! Happy Friday, all!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recipe: Grouse (or chicken) noodle casserole.

Mmmm...mountain chicken

Since it's hunting season and my husband is bringing home grouse, I got to make this last night and decided to share the recipe. A grouse is pretty much a wild chicken so the recipe works just as well with the domestic variety.


1 lb diced grouse or chicken breast
1 Tbs. white wine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can golden mushroom soup
White Pepper
Seasoning salt
Onion powder
Garlic Powder
1/2 package of egg noodles
French Fried onions
Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Fry meat in skillet with wine, herbs, & seasonings and turn to low when no longer pink
Cook pasta until tender

In a casserole dish, mix the mushroom soups, meat and pasta.

Grate cheese over top then sprinkle w' French fried onions and parsley.

Bake for twenty minutes.

Fun facts about grouse and hunting:

Wild game (if handled correctly) is healthier than anything you'll get in a store. There are more nutrients and no preservatives. It is among the few truly "organic" meats.

Grouse are not very bright and thus easy to hunt. Anyone read HATCHET? Those are the "delicious fool birds" the character was talking about.

Have you ever been in the woods in the spring and heard a low thumping sound which seems to shake the ground? That's the grouse's mating call.

Do not hunt grouse, or any other game animal without a license, out of season, or out of designated regions. Don't hunt on private land without permission.
Wear the goofy orange vest.
Always read your state's regulation book and follow the guidelines for that year.

These rules are in place to protect the animal from over-hunting, and you from getting shot or sued.

And remember: Poachers are low-life douche bags. Don't be one, and report them if you see one of those jerks. can go to the grocery store and pick up some chicken meat. :) Either way, the casserole rocks.