Irresistibly Sweet? Me?

Guess what I got from fellow AKRWA chapter buddy and fab author, Morgan O’Reilly? An “Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award!”

Love it! Thank you, Morgan!

Here are The Rules:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.

2. Share seven random facts about yourself.

3. Pass the Award on to ten deserving blog buddies.

4. Contact those buddies and let them know.

Since I always follow the rules… (okay, stop that giggling!), I’m taking a moment to once again thank Morgan O’Reilly. (who has just the coolest name!)  You can find her wonderful site and her even more wonderful collection of novels, here:

Okay, seven random facts about myself:

1.  I used to design costumes for a light opera theater in Fairbanks, Alaska. My specialty was historical eras, and hats.  ::grin::

2. I can dislocate both of my shoulder joints. That would probably come in handy as a party trick. Or not.

3. My favorite genre is horror, for a good reason: I started watching horror films when I was only five years old. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that it hasn’t caused me any long-term problems. Yet.  Okay, except for when I twitch in my sleep.

4.  I absolutely, positively, cannot dance. Probably as a result watching all those horror films when I was five years old. See, I knew it would cause me long-term problems. It would matter if Dancing With The Stars wanted me. Fortunately for them, they don’t.

5.  My favorite snack in the entire world is a bag of Cheetos and a large bottle of Dr. Pepper. Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too??

6.  I once called my husband, Don, at work and told him, in no uncertain (and pretty darn graphic) terms, just what I had planned for his body when he got home from work that night. How was I to know his boss was going to answer the phone on Don’s desk, that day? That’s what he got for not identifying himself as soon as he picked up the phone. I don’t think the poor man ever recovered. Neither did Don. Curse those newlywed hormones!

7. It takes a lot – and I mean, a LOT – to embarrass me. Then again….. (see Number Six, above).

So, now you know my deepest, darkest secrets.  ::Whoops, not so secret after all::

And now, for my ten friends. They don’t know who they are, but they soon will:

1. Donna Steele

2. B.J. Scott

3. Rose Vanden Eynden

4. Jamie Brazil

5. Callie Hutton

6. Deb Sanders

7. Shelly Bell

8. Louisa Bacio

9. Ann Montclair

10. Meggan Connors

  Have a great Sunday, everybody, and the next time you try to romance your significant honey over the phone…make sure they’re really on the other end!


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Villains! Who Needs Them?

Well…

Every story needs them, whether they’re human or animal, alien or supernaturally-conjured. The sweetest, kindest romantic story benefits from some kind of conflict, and that conflict is often cloaked in villainy.

Think of Snidely Whiplash, tying Nell to the train tracks while Dudley Do-Right and his horse (aptly named, ‘Horse’) rides against horrendous odds to save her. Snidely is quite the villain, cackling and twirling his mustache while trying to bleed Nell and her ailing father for their last pennies as he once again raises the rent on their ramshackle house. When he’s defeated, by the perennially steadfast and courageous Dudley (and Horse), the audience cheers.

Ah, those characters we love to hate. How they can mess up a good romance, toss danger into the midst of happiness, ruin marriages, friendships, affect family dynamics. Sometimes they want to do the right thing, but at their core, they’re just too evil. Sometimes they delight in their utter villainy, all through the pages of the story. I love to read villainy. And more and more I’m discovering I like to write it, too.

When I think back on the villains I’ve read over the years, some of the scariest, the creepiest, were all too human.

What people are capable of doing to each other often transcends anything Dracula, the Wolfman or others of their ilk could inflict. The human animal can be inhumanely cruel, vicious, utterly, frigidly cold and unfeeling. You think a great white shark has black, soulless eyes? Try looking into the eyes of someone like Charles Manson. A villain with an empty, yawning pit of a soul and dead eyes will scare me like nothing else.

The best villains aren’t necessarily wild and crazed, slashing with knives or chainsaws, skulking in dark alleys and waiting to pounce. They’re not always associated with a mob or a gang. They might not have ever smoked, gotten a tattoo, drank to excess or taken drugs. But they are lacking in the most basic of human traits. They’re the kids who pull the wings off grasshoppers and stomp on baby frogs. They’re the teenagers who think nothing of terrorizing other teenagers or torturing puppies, and they grow into the adults who present a calm, often charming and urbane face to the world. They graduate from college, come from old money, take on high-powered jobs.

They’re most often sociopaths in the truest sense of the word. They think what they do is completely acceptable, and you can’t teach them right from wrong because whatever comprises human decency was never included in their DNA.

I’m working on a new manuscript, and I find myself in need of a villain. Luckily for me, I’m fascinated by this charming, intelligent, cultured monster with the fab clothes and the winning smile. He preys on the weak, the naïve, the helpless. He will make an ideal villain because in his mind he’s superior to everyone else, and that self-declared superiority of his means that he can do anything he likes to those who are beneath him. He can use them, degrade them, hurt them, kill them. And act calm and sane while he’s doing it.

I hate him, therefore he’s perfect. I can hardly wait to start writing him. I’m still not sure what he’ll unleash on my unsuspecting hero and heroine. When I finally plot it all out, you can be sure I won’t be holding the evilness back. I’m going to let my villain run amok. I figure he’ll get to have his fun.

Or, she’ll have the fun.

Ah, you didn’t think of that, did you? Maybe the villain will be a woman.

So many choices, so many ways to go.

It’s good to be a writer.

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A Hundred Books in a Year?

 

Sure, why not?

(That would be reading a hundred books, NOT writing that many!)

I can do this; I love to read. What writer doesn’t? If you’re on Goodreads, you can join in the fun, too. Read a hundred books, review them on Goodreads (where all the smart folks go!), and just have fun with it. I may even read more than a hundred. What a rebel I am. 🙂

When it comes to reading, I jump all over the place. I go for horror, sci-fi, vampire and werewolf stories, romance, erotica, paranormal, and I’ve just started reading steampunk. I’ll read Young Adult if the spirit moves me. Reading multiple genres can only help you if you’re a writer. Reading what you don’t write is astonishingly beneficial, too.

So, whip out those Kindles and Nooks. Set up your E-Readers and go for it. That’s what I’m going to do.

Happy reading, my friends!

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A New Year and a New Blog!

Well, so far I’ve input the title of this post. That was ten minutes ago. I sit and look at the screen, wondering what to type next.

It’s not that 2011 was a dull year for me, because it wasn’t. Far from it, in fact. In the past twelve months, I attended my first RWA National conference, got my first novel published and became a first-time grandmother. I really do have a lot to talk about. I’m still in a bit of shock over the book and the grandmother status, for both seemed like such long-shots.

My daughter Sue Ann and hubby John had been trying for years  to have a baby, and just when they’d resigned themselves to not having their dream realized, Sue Ann found out she was pregnant. Seven months and a three-week-early delivery later, here comes Faith Charlene Denny, in all her preciousness, born on October 6.

Pretty adorable, huh? We like her.  ::understatement::

While awaiting Faith’s birth, I realized another dream: getting published. My debut novel, Promises to Keep, was contracted by Soul Mate Publishing, and was released on November 16. This was the very first novel I ever wrote, the one I worked on and agonized over for years.

I still pinch myself, sometimes. ::another understatement::

Funny how you can meander for years, going about your business, living your life. Out to your job, back home; children, pets, dinner, laundry. Working on goals, a lot of wishing, hard work to make those wishes come true. When you least expect it, when you’ve done the resignation thing… IT happens.

And IT changes everything. A blessing, a realization, Divine Intervention, dumb luck. Whatever the mode, the goal and the dream you gain makes you believe again, where you might have been slipping a little. Small goals, larger dreams, it doesn’t matter. They’re all miracles, once they find their way to you.

2011 was like that for me. Now I’m wondering what 2012 will bring. It’s a big question mark, isn’t it? I can’t predict it; I can only plan for it. And plans so often go completely awry. Yet plan, I will. Because you never know what any given year will bring.

What did 2011 bring to you? I hope it was wonderful.

Gee, guess I found enough to type, after all.   🙂

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