Let's talk about sex. Come on, you can do it.

Sex or no sex? How about it blogger buddies?

Donna Weaver has brought up an interesting question in my last post about favorite romance reading material, and I felt myself compelled to share it with you guys. This does not only apply to romance but fantasy, science fiction, etc.

Should a book contain sex? If so, should it be explicit? Or, do you feel it robs from the story, interferes with the plot? In today's society sex is second nature.

The way I see it there are two extremes in writing.

1. Window steaming sex that has the characters climbing up walls to achieve desired climax...somebody turn on the fan, it's getting hot in here.

2. Subtle kissing, lights go off, leave the keys on the table in the morning while you're walking out the door so that we get the gist of what you did.

Which would you rather read, if any? Does the sex matter if the plot is good?

I have sex...LOL...that is to say that I have incorporated sex into my writing. Some is subtle, some explicit. In the world and with the characaters I've created it works for them.

I have also posed this question to the people I work with. So far Romance readers here are voting for sex, hotter the better. Those who read other genres really don't seem to care as long as the story is good.

Reading Material 4

I love a good Romance.  There are three authors in particular that in my book know how to deliver.  The first is Lisa Kleypas.  I'm going to choose just one of her books.  This one is pard of her seasonal series.

The Devil in Winter (The Wallflowers, Book 3)

Bestseller Kleypas's latest begins with the rake Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, striking a deal with Evangeline Jenner, the stuttering daughter of a sickly club owner whose uncle is plotting to marry her to a cousin, kill her and take her father's money. Evangeline offers up her future inheritance to Sebastian in exchange for the protection of marriage and assistance in seeing her father before he dies. They embark for Scotland, where they have a hasty marriage. Despite their mutual mistrust, they forge a tentative bond, but Sebastian is alarmed by his powerful reaction to the consummation, while Evie tries to defy her feelings for this "muff-chaser." After Evie's father dies, Sebastian takes an interest in the club, and while reforming it, Evie challenges him to a three-month celibacy bet before she'll bed him again. The suspicious newlyweds fight growing passion and frustration while a mysterious villain makes attempts on Evie's life. Kleypas's fans will appreciate the high action and scintillating twists and trysts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

(This is a great read.  Sebastian is too hot.)

My second favorite Romance author is Stephaine Laurens.  I've chosen to list book one of the Cynster series because it's the one that made me fall in love with her books.

Devil's Bride (Cynster Novels)

Governess Honoria Wetherby is determined not to marry; she plans to have adventures among the Egyptian pyramids in lieu of wedding a controlling husband. But even the best-laid plans can run afoul of luck and outrageous fortune, as is fatefully proven one stormy evening when Honoria happens upon a dying young man in the woods. After passing the night in a cottage alone with the corpse and his cousin, the rakish and very much alive Devil Cynster, it's decided--by the handsome rake--that Honoria has been compromised by the unchaperoned evening and the only remedy is to marry. Despite her flat refusal, Devil is determined to have the beautiful and feisty governess; his family is overjoyed that he's finally planning to marry. But Devil definitely has his work cut out for him as he attempts to convince Honoria to wed him and forego her plans for adventure. Luring Honoria to the altar is further complicated when she insists upon aiding him in the search for his cousin's killer. Which will Devil accomplish first: seducing Honoria or unveiling a murderer? Or will Honoria foil the first plan and solve the second before Devil can?
Devil's Bride is the first of several novels by Laurens that feature the members of the noble Cynster family in Regency England. The larger-than-life hero is bold, brave, daring, and determined and meets his perfect match in the heroine, who is plucky, intelligent, practical, and wise. Lush sensuality, deft plotting, and charming secondary characters make this novel a stellar beginning for the Bar Cynster series. --Lois Faye Dyer

(Devil Cynster is to die for.)

My third favorite Romance author is Julia Quinn.  Now, she's not as sexually explicit as the other two writers, but she weaves a lovely tale.  Her stories are loaded with rich plot and enticing characters.  I have been entertained.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgerton Series, Book 4)

Penelope Featherington fell madly, hopelessly in love with Colin Bridgerton two days before her 16th birthday. Unfortunately, Colin has always seen Penelope as the plump, shy best friend of his younger sister. By the time Penelope is 28 and a seasoned member of the English ton, she's accepted that her love for Colin is destined to remain unrequited and she shall be a spinster forever. Fate, however, has other plans. When Lady Whistledown's Society Papers announce that Colin has returned from his nearly nonstop travels, Penelope is blissfully unaware that her life is about to change dramatically. Colin is equally unaware of the turn his life is about to take. He's not surprised that his beloved mother is determined to marry him off, but he's rather astonished to find himself inexplicably drawn to Penelope. Her dry wit and intelligent mind are delightful, and Colin soon finds himself joining forces with her to deflect his matchmaking mama's good intentions. Together, the two will thwart their mothers' iron wills, face the formidable Lady Danbury, confront the gossips of London society, and resolve the lovely dilemma of falling in love. And, oh yes, there is that matter of the true identity of Lady Whistledown. Will the twosome unmask the elusive journalist? Or will their efforts be doomed to failure like so many others' before?
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton continues author Julia Quinn's wildly popular series of Regency historicals featuring the Bridgerton family, The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and An Offer from a Gentleman. True, the novel possesses all that we've come to expect from Quinn, including deft plotting, witty repartee, a faultless Regency setting, and expert characterization. But perhaps the book's most pleasing facet is Quinn's quietly nuanced handling of the hero's and the heroine's internal growth, which is furthered by their blooming relationship. They're two strong individuals made stronger by their bond. Now that's love. --Lois Faye Dyer

(I usually focus on the hero, but in this case Penelope takes the show.)

Stay tuned tomorrow.


Visual Blog


Attention fellow bloggers. Since I'm forcing you all to endure my reading material this week, I thought it would be fun to take a moment and post my version of a visual blog. Besides, I wouldn't be me if I didn't try to entertain you at least once. I practice photography as a hobby, and I so wish I would have taken this picture.
Who says nature doesn't have a sense of humor?
Ay, get off my rock!!!

I'm sure you all have experienced these visual blogs. Every artist draws emotion from pondering a picture.
Man: He decided to scale a mountain so he could say he performed a spectacular feat. Little did he know he'd happen upon the seagull's nest. The red helmet he wore to be spotted from the ground did nothing to help him blend in. He has peed his pants and a little extra for good measures. Shaking out his leg isn't doing the trick. He is currently cursing out the birds. How do we help this guy break free? What would you do in his place?
Seagulls: For years they've lived on the meager rations of man. The occasional bread crumb or potato chip has long since failed to hit the spot. Now, in a secluded spot provided by nature they can finally feed on human elixir.
"Pull harder, or we'll have to move the nest."
So tell me what you're feeling. Fear? Tender cozy appreciation for birds?
This would make a great ride at a water park?
Someone toss the little peckers a piece of bread and be done with it?

Reading Material 3

When I first picked up a copy of Silver Wolf, I thought it was an enchanting tale.   Not only is it loaded with historical facts, the author throws werewolves and ghosts into the equation.  When Regeane finally meets Maeniel, the grey wolf, sparks fly.  I have to say that their affection and loyalty toward each other touched my heart, so I had to buy the next two books of the series.  Silver Wolf is still by far the best. 

The Silver Wolf (Legends of the Wolves, Book 1)

Regeane is a fatherless royal relation who happens to be a werewolf. Her guardian, Gundabald, and his venal son Hugo plan to recoup their fortunes by marrying Regeane to a wealthy bridegroom, even though she might inadvertently make him into a bedtime snack. Gundabald forces her into apparent compliance by threatening to reveal her secret to the Church, which would burn her at the stake. As the bridegroom, Maeniel, journeys to Rome to claim her, Regeane discovers allies in her quest to defeat Gundabald's machinations, including some very strong, funny, and levelheaded women. Unfortunately for Regeane, she also has more powerful enemies than Gundabald.
Alice Borchardt brings 8th-century Rome vividly to life. Her language is earthy and sensuously descriptive: "The wolf visited Regeane's eyes and ears. The girl staggered slightly with the shock. The light in the square became intense. Smells an overwhelming experience: wet stone, damp air, musty clothing, perspirations shading from ancient sticky filth to fresh acrid adrenal alarm."
Borchardt is Anne Rice's sister, but she writes a very different sort of tale. Ghosts, the dead, and supernatural forces are here, but so is laugh-out-loud humor and a happy ending. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Night of the Wolf (Legends of the Wolves, Book 2)

Night of the Wolf interweaves a tale of the Roman Empire with magic, romance, and--lycanthropy. It follows The Silver Wolf, Alice Borchardt's absorbing story of the coming of age of a young woman who must learn to control and enjoy her wild side within the exotic setting of decadent Rome. This sequel begins by focusing on a mysterious figure from The Silver Wolf, Maeniel, a wolf who must contend with being a part-time human. Some of the other characters are magical in their own ways, such as Dryas, a warrior queen and priestess of the Caledoni. Others are resolutely human, such as Lucius, a Roman noble who finds himself at the mercy of Caesar and Cleopatra. Maeniel gradually begins to understand the quirks of human nature and in time finds that all roads lead to Rome, where Caesar's life is in the hands of Maeniel and his allies. With an adventurous plot, an unusual historical background, and a large helping of steamy sex scenes, this series should be much to the taste of fans of Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon or Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. --Blaise Selby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title

The Wolf King (Legends of the Wolves, Book 3)

Alice Borchardt writes at least as well as her sister does--and her sister is Anne Rice. The Wolf King is the third in her series of alternate history novels with shape-shifting protagonists, following The Silver Wolf and Night of the Wolf. Reading the first two adds to the reader's understanding of the characters, though it's not required.
Borchardt mixes fantasy, horror, romance, suspense, action-adventure, political intrigue, and realistic evocation of Italy in the late eighth century. She uses lyrical descriptive passages to set scenes and immerse the reader in her characters' experiences. When a runaway Saxon slave rescues Regeane, the silver wolf, from a deadly blizzard, "the wind was howling around him and the world was sinking into a cold, gray blueness as the sun set somewhere beyond the clouds." He wraps her in his flea-harboring bearskin, reflecting that "this girl didn't have nearly the healthy temperature he did; maybe the little bastards would die. At any rate, the extermination of his vermin companions was the only benefit he was likely to derive from this particular adventure." He's wrong about that.
Regeane is Maeniel's mate (he's the long-lived werewolf leader of the pack, whose earlier life was featured in Night of the Wolf). Once thawed, Regeane confronts a demented abbot and a gang of (literal) cutthroats to save him. The werewolves and the Saxon head for Geneva to pledge allegiance to Charlemagne, who's about to cross the Alps to challenge King Desederius of the Lombards for control of northern and central Italy.
Soon Maeniel is in Desederius's territory and in danger. Regeane follows, despite his prohibition. They're fated to reencounter Regeane's sniveling cousin Hugo, who seeks revenge. He has become host to a powerful bear spirit who wants the wolves for his own purposes. The new Hugo has a lot in common with the Steve Martin/Lily Tomlin character in All of Me; he provides comic leavening to the sometimes grim action. Other returning characters include Pope Hadrian's tough, practical, but vulnerable mistress Lucilla; her protégé, the singer Dulcinia; and the ageless werewolf earth-mother Matrona.
The Wolf King's almost-too-rich plot lines, characters, and mixed Teutonic, Roman, and Christian mythic elements may overwhelm those new to Borchardt's alternate Dark Ages. The story also ends abruptly--leaving plenty of room for sequels. --Nona Vero --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Stay tuned tomorrow.


Reading Material 2

Last time I went on an airplane I took three books with  me.  I've probably read them tons of times before, but they continue to entertain me.  These are easy reads for those who can't resist a little Paranormal Romance.

Product Details

Two hundred years after the Raintree clan defeated them, the Anzara wizards are rising again to take on bitterest foes.  As king, it's up to Dante Raintree to protect his clan, but his heart--and maybe his loyalties--may be fatally divided when Lorna Clay walks into his life.  Suddenly fire, always his to control, defeats him, taking with it his livelihood.  Unsure whether Lorna is to blame yet unable to walk away from her, Dante faces the fight of his lifetime, a fight even his strength and that of the Raintree clan may  not be enought to win.

(Lorna also has special powers.  Dante is a bit hardheaded to begin with, but he comes around.)

Product Details

Their name is Raintree. It's more than a last name; more than a notation on a family tree. It's a mark of destiny. Each family member has a special gift, an otherworldly talent. Gideon Raintree, a homicide detective, can harness electricity and talk to ghosts. He will need to wield gifts he's kept hidden to solve his newest case -- a relentless serial killer unleashed by the dark Ansara wizards. But first he must deal with his reaction to Hope Malory, his alluring new partner. He'd never planned on love in the midst of battle. With evil lurking at every turn, Gideon and Hope are in a race against time to save their love, their family...and their newly conceived child.

"A love story, a mystery, an adventure -- Haunted has it all, and the plot moves at a lightning pace. Linda Winstead Jones has a magic touch with paranormal, and, yes, the pun is intended" --New York Times bestselling author, Linda Howard

(I liked Gideon.  He's softer than his brother.  As for Hope, although she's a gutsy detective, she's got no powers.  The ghost girl, Gideon's daughter, was a nice touch.)

Product Details

War with their archrival, the evil Ansara clan, is unavoidable. For Mercy Raintree, a war means she must assume her position as guardian of the Sanctuary—the sacred Raintree home place deep in the Smoky Mountains. But doing so threatens to disclose her most prized secret—one Mercy has kept to herself for six years.

As the solstice looms and the battle heats up, Dranir Judah Ansara gathers his forces, intending to wipe every Raintree from the face of the land. Including Mercy, whom he's claimed as his to kill. Then he comes face-to-face with her—and with her daughter, Eve. Will Mercy's closely guarded secret change not only the outcome of the battle—but also Judah's own bitter heart?

(This was my favorite of the three.  Judah is hot. He's like a beast.  Mercy is his complete opposite, although more powerful than her brothers.  Their daughter is adorable.  It really has a beautiful ending.)

Have a great day!


Reading Material

Good morning all.  I'm a little late in posting today.  It's called sleeping in.  A weekend of non-stop activity tends to have that effect on me...specially when I take a Monday off.  Hurray!!

This week I thought it would be a little fun to share with all of you my favorite reads.  I couldn't possibly go on vacation and not take a book along.  That's just plain wrong.

When I first started writing, I purchased several books in different genres just to see where I fit the best.  Saturday, I grabbed one off  the shelf so I could sit and read it on the bus amid 35 or so people.  I'd never read this book before, but I cringe if I find something on my shelf that's unread.

Seductions: Tales of Erotic Persuasion, Lonnie Barbach, Paperback

Seductions: Tales of Erotic Persuasion.

See, at one time I thought the sex scenes in my books were so hot they belonged on the erotica shelf.  I have nothing against erotica, but it's not what I'd like to write.  I've smoothed things out a lot since then, and althought I've only  made it through half the book, I have to say it's rather tasteful.  Like all erotica it is definitely meant for one purpose, to get people hot and bothered.  That's okay, and I can most certainly find humor of reading it in a bus full of strangers.  In honor of naughty erotica, I couldn't resist sharing a story.

Funny Story Ahead:

That's right.  It's a hand.

This is actually a cute story, but I laughed for a good ten minutes.  Be it far from me to ignore a good opportunity for laughter.

To make time pass on a bus trip we play games.  Each person eventually wins a prize.  I'm friends with the guy who sets up the trips, and he couldn't resist running to the front of the bus and sharing this story with me and my hubby.

See, we played a game of fill in the blanks with baseball trivia, which I failed miserably.  He carried a large box filled with prizes around the bus.  Everyone picked something out.  When he made it to the back of the bus to an elderly couple, the sweet old lady dug into the box and pulled out the above plastic hand.  It was a keychain. 

After thoroughly inspecting it, she puts it back in the box and says, "No, I don't want it."

"Are you sure?" my friend asked.

Her husband nodded curtly and said, "I already have one of those handjob things at home."

....^-^.....  Sometimes you just gotta love people.

See ya all tomorrow.


Rambling on Progress.

I had an awesome time at the College World Series on Wednesday, which is weird because I don't care much for sports. I guess it makes all the difference in the world if you go see them live. The weather was perfect. We had great seats off home plate, ate pizza, funnel cake, waffle cone, and I had to fend off hubby as he tried to hold me down and keep me from doing the wave. This post is not about sports, honestly. Although, I will be going on a bus trip this weekend. The fact is that non-writing spouses are asked to give a lot for us. This is my way of paying him back, accompanying him on sports functions. So, here's where I'm getting at.

A few days ago we had a terrible storm here. The sirens went off. Sirens...when I moved here from Florida and those things went off I thought I was in a concentration camp. Ohh, tornado alert. Anyway, they went off, so I hurried up and let the dogs out. While they're out there doing their doodie, I'm gazing at the sky. It was strangely calm, no wind, no darkness. I never understood the term "the quiet before the storm" like I did that day. Birds started flying in a frenzy. I could almost hear them saying, "get inside, stupid humans." Naturally, they were speaking to the neighbors who were outside taking pictures, never mind the fact that I was recording the scene on my phone at the time. Then a huge cloud approached, came out of nowhere. The weather people always refer to them as ominous, bringing apparent doom. The wind immediately followed. By then I was harassing the dogs so they'd climb up the stairs. Little fingers were trickling down from all around the cloud. There was twirling in the middle. It reminded me of the mixing of a cauldron, a wicked brew. Hubby explained about the formation of tornadoes and asked what I would do. I told him we'd both be running down to the basement screaming like a couple of girls. This is not about the weather either, really.

While I was standing there with a tinge of fear in my heart, humbled by the awesome monstrosity, I thought about setting. Yes, me, the writer, thought about setting. What a spectacular setting. That got me to thinking that I needed to tweak some of the setting in my WIP. I've written the word setting one too many times. I went back in the office/dog room and played with world building. I want that when I introduce my readers to my world, they'll step onto the land and feel the velvet of the grass, and beneath that the magic that connects my characters to their planets.

This post is actually about my WIP but I seem to be rambling today. It's been a while since I posted an update.
I've read in countless blogs lately that we need to keep our characters real so that readers can relate. If a character is too fictitious, readers won't want to read. A way to keep them real is to place them in real life situations. I've just written the word real one too many times. This is what happens when I don't get enough sleep. 150 pages into the book, after using villain to emotionally drag Craven through the mud, I wanted him to play. I let him tinker with an everyday experience. I treated him to a nice breakfast with his parents. It was a fun chapter in which mom would be mom. I focused on the food, his interaction with his parents, parental advice. Craven is a king, a warrior. He has certain powers, and a little something extra. He's passionate, brave, at times faulty, but I wanted to show him in a different light. It was a great opportunity to reach into his heart and present his more tender side. I wanted to my readers to see him as I see him, to connect.

Needless to day, I had a great time writing it. The bad weather was quickly forgotten.

Everyone have a wonderful weekend!


Figuring Genre

I was taking my usual tour of the blogs yesterday when I stopped over at Scott Eagan's blog. I bug him from time to time because he's usually real informative, tells it like it is according to him, and doesn't have a problem with answering questions. He was blogging about mixing genres. This got me into thinking. When I first started writing it was purely a love connection. I didn't consider my target audience. All I knew without a doubt was that I liked what I was writing. The story pleased me. The characters were unique. If I enjoyed it then someone else would also. Then I happened upon a book signing. The authors were spouting information about genre this and genre that. Wait, I was supposed to worry about that?

Genre: A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.  

The dictionary was not real helpful. Needless to say I have mistargeted my share of agents in the past. Scott once offered a nifty piece of advice. He said to go to libraries or book stores and spend some time reading books in the various genres to see where we fit the best. This was helpful, except there are so many books.

I've also heard it said that the setting for fantasy is usually in the past or in an imaginary world. They speak of knights and castles, dragons and demons, but there is really so much more to fantasy. My stories are set in another world altogether. I've always felt that I walked a fine line between fantasy and science fiction because they complement each other, but the fact is that there is no way that what I write is real or possibly explained by any branch of science.

Someone else mentioned that in order to choose a genre you need to hone in on what your conflict is in the story. Again, I was walking that thin line.

Then one day while I was tugging at my hair like a mad woman trying to find where exactly I fit in, I happened upon this way cool site.

Check out below.

When you visit this site, it lists the many genres. If you click on one, it will offer a brief description and show you books that fit into it. This was a Godsend. So I thought I'd share for anyone out there suffering from a common affliction with first time writers. Go ahead and play with it. It's fun.

Have a great day!

What in the World????


My Thoughts For Today.

I work in an environment that allows me contact with a vast amount of individuals. Now, I love people, but during the years I've noticed that there are a few things that seem to bug me, so I thought it would be kind of fun if I pointed these out to see if anyone else suffered from a similar dilemma.
Laila's Pet Peeves:
1. People who walk by me and pretend I'm not here. This usually falls under the category of young lawyers. Seriously? (A wise lady..aka my mother...once used a phrase that now comes to mind clearly. She said, "sometimes people will fart higher than their asses.") It's one of the funniest statements I have ever heard used to describe snobs. This is common curtesy. If you've walked by me, and it is the first time you have seen me today, there is a good chance we're not sleeping together. (My husband would tell me otherwise.) You should really say hi. A simple waive will do.
2. Nose Pickers. This should be self-explanatory. I once had a conversation with a gentleman who could not resist the urge to insert his dominant digit into his nasal cavity. He did this for half an hour. I finally couldn't take it any longer and said, "Must you pick your nose in front of me?" Do you know what he said? It was priceless. He pulls his finger out and says, "I have something in there." Well, no shit. I'm sure it's not your brain. (I did not say this, only thought it.) If you're standing there talking to me, please resist temptation. I know to some it's irresistible but really, visit the inside of your nose in private. If you absolutely must poke your fingers in there, use a tissue, if not, abort.
3. Clicks. These are usually funded by highschool nitwits and backstabbers that never grew up. These individuals hang around in groups and scoff at the way you look, act, express yourself. There is a root need that urges them to act the way they do, something deeply embedded inside themselves that they dislike so much they feel the compulsion to take it out on you. When presented with such a person, I first attempt to apply my rule of giving someone a second chance. First impressions are not always the best. If they fail second chance, the best course of action is to wipe your feet and move on. These people will hurt you and infringe upon your character.

4. Holier than thou people. We've all met them. They live by a nifty religious code. As soon as you say or do something that jolts them out of their safe zone, they point fingers, label you, judge you, and dare to call it righteous. I have one thing to say about this. "Get over it." We are all different, wonderful, unique, and times have been changing for a while.
5. Finally, the prudes. Woe to you if you mention sex. They will squirm. Their lips will twist into something simbolizing the aftermath of a shot of tequilla with too much lime. They will then proceed to label you a pervert. And each time you open your mouth they will remind you that they've labeled you a pervert and share that information with others. Here's a bit of trivia. Our parents did not make us by whispering into each other's ears.
Why am I posting pet peeves? Well, maybe I just felt like doing a bit of rambling, or I thought I could brighten someone's day. In a nutshell: There's no reason to be rude to anyone. There's plenty of room for sympathy, kindness, and appreciation of each other. So if you fit into any of the above descriptions, be kind, rewind, and show us the best in you.



I've been reading Writer's Market, and after Nancy's post on Stats I'm considering the concept of building a platform and social networking. That's something we're expected to do as writers to promote ourselves because things are so different now. It sounds like a lot of hard work. Now, I'm not squawking and definitely up for it, but I do have a few questions.

Everyone who is anyone is on Facebook, except me.

I've been encouraged, coaxed and begged, but the whole privacy issue holds me back. Once you post something on facebook, regardless of how well you block it, it can still be hacked. I do not kid you. I work with fraudulent cases. If they can't hack into your stuff they will leap onto your friend's facebook and explore your privacy there. Be careful what you post.

I'm a writer.

Once my books get published, people might want to know about me, so that tosses privacy out the window.
What about Twitter? I have a Twitter account I never use because I'm concerned that it's going to take too much time away from everything else.

Also, I'm not quite sure how to use it.

My questions are for those of you out there who have Facebook or Twitter. Do you like it? Do you use it often? What do you use it for?

I basically say what I have to say for the day on my blog because when wound up properly I can ramble on and on. Granted, only writers visit the blog, whereas something life Facebook could attract a myriad of individuals. I blog at work so that it doens't affect my writing or family life. I can read comments on my phone. It's great.

So...any words of advice from those more learned than I?


Sweets for the Sweet.


Good morning everyone.

I had a post all ready for today, but I couldn't possibly ignore this wonderful award given to me by fellow blogger extraordinaire Bryce Daniels at the The Bryce Daniels Preservation Society  who continues to wow me with his prose and tickle me with his humor.  One day I might even discover his real name.  Thanks

I hope there are no rules that dictate that I have to complete this the same day it was received because I decided to have a little fun with it.  Let me start by saying that not only am I a visual person but I love angels.  Having said that, I'm going to attempt to put a face to a name.

For all of those who have never seen his face, this is Bryce.  
It was either this or...
                                              I decided the angel was much more cute.


1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.  (See above.)
2. Include seven random tidbits about yourself.  (See below.)
3. Pass award on to 5 others and link to their blogs. (See further down.)
4. Let the people know you've given them the award. (Okay.)

Seven Tidbits About Me:  My goodness, what can I say about myself that I haven't already blabbed about on my blog?  Ahem, I'll try to keep this brief.

This is me...for today.

1. I was born in a communist country, which means I had to stand in line for food, clothing, and anything else I wanted.  It also means that I appreciate what it means to be an American.  I'm fluent in two languages, can understand what I'm reading in four, and can curse in all of them...not that I ever do that.

2. I'm a big fan of the Pink Panther and have the theme tune as my cellphone ringer.  For a short time I was addicted to episodes of Xena the Warrior Princess.  She still rocks.

3. I love dogs, cats, ferrets....all animals actually.  I once almost had a zoo inside a one-bedroom apartment.  That didn't bode well with  the landlord...specially since there were no pets allows.  Now I just have dogs.  (Caution: I have been known to run a fence line.)  I've also been swimming with dolphins.  It is quite the experience.

4. I'm a wine connoisseur.  (That just means I'll drink anything red, but I know that for show I need to sniff it first.)  Hubby bought me a wine shirt with a picture of a spitoon.  It says, Do you spit or swallow.  (I'm not allowed to wear it in public.)  I also like coffee ice cream and brown cake with brown frosting.

5. I'm an obsessive hummer.  (I don't ever realize I'm doing it.)  It started when I was little.  It means I create my own background noise regardless of whether I'm sad of happy.

6. When I'm not working on my current WIP, I write poetry or sketch faces.  I've sketched several picture of the male protagonist in my novel.  I also have a thing for art and science museums and am a certified trekkie. (Live long and prosper.)  Sorry, had to throw that in there.

7. I've been living in Nebraska for ten years after meeting hubby on line and coercing him into marrying me.  Nah, he realized he couldn't live without it...at least that's what I tell him every day.  I think he believes me now.


I'm passing on the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award to: 

Let me start by saying that I am proud to share this space with all my fellow bloggers.  Bryce and Nancy were my first buds in the Blogosphere.  I think I picked them up from Rachelle Gardner's blog.  And I'm so happy I did.

So, allow me to present the next five.

1. Desert Rocks at  The Desert Rocks.  

Desert Rocks was one of my first followers.  I have no clue what she looks like or what her name is, but, like me, she wouldn't mind kissing Clark Gable.  She believes in angels and has a cute wiener doggie.  She strikes me as a lady of distinction.  Her posts make me think of basic human kindness, good home cooking, and a warm hug.  Her writing clearly flows from the heart.  I thought the fairy angel suited her well.

2. Mike Koch at  Protect The Risen.    

Okay, I know what he really looks like, but I couldn't help myself.   I'm also sure he'll appreciate the picture.  I've been following Mike in silence for a while, and vice versa.  He has a way of weaving words together on a post that makes me think of art.  I'd be thrilled to read one of his novels.  I've recently discovered that he is open-minded, has a great sense of humor, a vivid imagination, and isn't afraid to play with words.

3.  Jessica Nelson at  Jessica Nelson.

Jessica just sold her first book.  It's due to be published in 2012.  Although she only posts on Wednesdays, everyone can benefit from this great writer's insight into the publishing world.  She also has nothing but goodness in her heart, always a kind word, and is as sweet as molasses.  I gave her the fairest angel.

4. T. B. McKenzie at  Magickless

Did you notice how the angel guys are hotter than the women.  What's up with that?  Good job!

Travis is an awesome fantasy writer who is in the process of getting published.  He is doing a terrific job of writing in detail everything he's had to do to ready his manuscript for publication.  He's a teacher, an artist, and a great writer.  I doubt he'll have any time to play, but I've given him this award to show others someone who has begun to live the dream, and what we're all eventually in store for.

 Pam loves beaded necklaces, making lists, remodelling her house.  She has a warm heart, is really family oriented and is one of the most caring individuals on this Earth.  (No wonder she writes romance.)  She was also my third follower, and I haven't heard from her in a while.  I'm sending her this award so she can share a little bit more about herself.

                                     There now.  The cards have been placed on the table.

                                                 I hope everyone has enjoyed this post as
                                                 much as I enjoyed writing it.


Something Different for a Friday.

For anyone who's read Heaven is for Real, I've posted the art gallery belonging to the little girl (child prodigy) who painted these amazing prints.  She and the boy who wrote the book swear up and down that her picture of Jesus is what he actually looks like.  I don't know how true it is, but her paintings are lovely.  (what can I say.  I'm a closet artist.)

Also, for any of you who have been following the flood, I've posted some pictures.  An ocean in Omaha?

            This is the Ameristar Casino in Iowa.  I can see this from my building at work.

This is the inside of the building.


Parking Lot

Pretty Impressive.

At one time Nebraska had an ocean running through it.
There are even sharks in the museum.

I'm glad I live in Bellevue.

Have a great weekend.


It's Good to Dream

I was making progress on my WIP last night, but 25 more pages into it I had to stop. My head was killing me, and the ideas were not flowing. The blinds were banging. Kids were screaming outside. The TV was going. The dogs were barking just because they've mastered the art. I need it quiet when I write. I finally stopped what I was doing, stuck in a pair of earplugs, and went to bed.

Here's where it got good.

I had a dream. It was an awesome dream in which I was writing. Normally if I were to dream about work, I'd demand that someone pay me overtime, except that I don't consider writing work. If anything it's my way of unwinding after I get home from a long day of sifting through paperwork, solving problems and occasionaly thinking in a different language.

In my dream I wasn't only writing my current WIP, I was in it.

Surely, every writer out there has wanted to play a key role in their own novel, be the protagonist, the lover, the villain, etc.

Haven't you?

We all love to pretend.

"If they ever make a movie, that'll be me," I joke to myself. Dreams are what keep the ideas soaring.
I've fallen asleep at night and prayed, "let me be in my book tonight, oh pretty please. It would be so much fun."

Last night it happened.

I was on Pantheas. That's where Craven lives. He wasn't always called Craven. I've known him since I was 10. Our relationship has evolved drastically during the years. Characters tend to change as we grow older. Anyway, he was showing me around his home, making me privy to all of their projects, pointing me out to his people. I sat on the council with all the world leaders, stared into their eyes. There was a sense of belonging. My characters were so vivid, so real, as only a dream can make them.

When I'm in the process of writing, I imagine these people, the way they look and act, how they reason. I know everything about them, what moves them, how to make them forgive or kill, laugh or love. (Wouldn't it be wonderful to know so much about our fellow human beings?) Craven looks fabulous wearing nothing but a string of emeralds...just a warm up game we play. His best friend Damon is the most flirtatious and crass character I've ever created, yet somehow they function perfectly together.

I've asked my co-workers countless times what their version of heaven is, specially when the whole rapture thing came around. Some say it's fishing or golfing. Others speak of eating and drinking. More still bring up men, women, sex.

My heaven is on Pantheas. It always has been. It's the one place in the entire universe where I will never be judged.

Maybe that's why I write the most, to share my heaven with others.

What's your version of heaven?


My Point of View

I've been discovered.

I was riding in the car with my husband when he made a curious observation.

"Are you happy?" he asked.

"Sure. I'm ok," I said.

"No, not okay. You don't have a middle ground."

I was tickled to my toes that he'd noticed.

It's true, I have no middle ground. When I'm happy, I'm deliriously thrilled. On those rare occasions when I'm angry, I'm pissed to all hell. Why? I adore the extremes. It's those unusual moments that spur the creativity of a writer. A drama should make me weep. A romance should make me want to fall in love all over again. A comedy should be so funny it makes me run to the bathroom. Here are a few noteworthy funny stories I have enjoyed the honor of experiencing.

Funny Story 1: Last year, for my birthday, my hubby took me horseback riding because I've been bugging him about it for years. I hadn't ridden a horse since I was three, at which time I peed on the unsuspecting animal. So he took me. I rode on a black horse named Storm. He, being such a tall man, was matched up to a caramel-colored horse named Snickers. Snickers was a feisty animal. If anything spooked him, the horse would flip himself around 90 degrees, but surely a man could keep him in line, or so they thought. The ride was going good. We're having fun. Something scared Snickers, so he flips himself around, assumes a hunched up position, and decides to defecate. The last thing I remember seeing through my hysterical laughter was the large form of my hubby sitting on a pooping horse.

Funny Story 2: I had a friend once. She was a New Yorker. I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but she had a mouth on her that could make a sailor blush and a biker gape (I know, I'm stereotyping). She had also recovered from a brain tumor that had damaged the left side of her body. She would fall all the time. It was normal, even expected. We'd be walking and plop, there she went. Well, we were at McDonald's one day. She ordered a double cheeseburger, fries and a drink, and insisted on carrying her own tray. Any offer to help was seen as an acknowledgement of her malfunction. So I let her carry her stuff. Well, next thing you know, she falls, and it was quite dramatic. She spun a full circle. The tray went flying, fries smacked someone in the head, pop spilled on the ground. She slipped on it, one leg went forward, the other backwards, and she wound up on a floor. It was a pirouette. And so I laughed.
After searing me with a glance, she says, "You mother*bleep*asshole, quit laughing at me."
We were friends for years, so at this point I was accustomed to her colorful retorts. "I'm not laughing at you," I said. "I enjoyed the sight of your fall. You don't understand. It was grandiose." She was able to appreciate my point of view after that.

Funny Story 3: Never take me ice skating. I was one of those deprived kids who never learned physical activity of any type, so when I turned 18, a friend of mine suggested we go ice skating. Half hour into it she was sitting on a bench engaging in a frenzied cackling. I had succeeded in falling for the umpteenth time, taking six other people down with me, and was being reprimanded by the portly woman I had landed on while kids skated around me pointing. I didn't blame my friend for laughing. To onlookers I must have been hilarious. I would have done the same in her place. Needless to say, I never went ice skating again.

Why am I posting these comical ventures? I have a mantra, one of many. "If you're going to do something, do it all the way, go for the gusto. Half-ass doesn't cut it. That goes for writing too."

Have a great day, and I hope I made you laugh at least once.


Rambling on the Paranormal.

I climbed up 30 flights of stairs today. I do that sometimes when I need to shake things up and add a little cardio to my workouts. I've been doing it for a while. People say exercise gets easier. And I laugh whenever I hear that phrase. Each time I do the stairs it still feels like hell. As a matter of fact, it makes me think of death.

I am a fantasy writer. As far as genres go, that's my first love. The words flow easily. However, I started out writing paranormal romance, and still do. Although it takes me a bit longer to complete a story in this genre, I'm ever fascinated by it. It's no secret that I derive from a long line of people who wholly accept the existence of the supernatural. It's in my upbringing.

I like to play and be goofy, but there is also a more serious side to my personality. Heck, I wouldn't be at my current job otherwise. This blog is meant to be basically about those things that move me. Plenty of that is the art of writing because it's in that form that my soul speaks the loudest. And it's about this multidimensional entity that I intend to focus on today.
Near Death Experiences:
There's been a lot of talk about near death experiences since the book Heaven is for Real came out, but I've been reading books on the subject for years. Embraced by the Light, Life After Life, and Dying with God, to name a few.

Why the fascination?

Aside from my clairvoyance as a child and my recent ghost video, my father suffered a heart attack a few years back. He died, came back, and told me everything.

Now, I don't toot a horn for any religion. They all have their pros and cons. To me religion serves a purpose: a tool by which to experience God. I won't deny his existence. His presence for me is too raw, and I boast about our great relationship. Still, the things my father told me left me with a tinge of envy.

First he left his body through his head and climbed up to the ceiling. From there he was able to see his doctors. He traveled to other rooms in the hospital by just thinking about the people he wanted to be with. He saw my brothers arguing. This was verified. Then he walked through a tunnel and watched his life be replayed before his eyes on a movie screen. He saw animals, tons of them, and small children. There was a kaleidoscope of rich colors.

An angel-like creature held his hand while he walked to the end of his journey.

(Now, isn't all that great? Animals go to heaven and angels are real.)

I'm not ready to go yet. In truth, I love being physically present. Still, wouldn't it be wonderful just to experience it without any permanent consequences? Just one more peculiarity to add to my list.

Have a great Tuesday!
An unusual experience taking place on the brink of death and recounted by a person after recovery, typically an out-of-body experience or a vision of a tunnel of light.  (I always wanted to have one. The thing is that you have to die.)