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Archive for June, 2007

Shifting Gears

I usually work on two or three things at once when I’m writing. It’s normal for me. I can’t focus on any one book for longer than a few hours, so it’s not unusual for me to go from writing on a contemp to a paranormal to suspense.

But lately I’m having to switch to a different gear altogether. I’m writing a historical set in the colonial period for an anthology releasing next year from Berkley. The anthology is called Private Places and I got to admit, writing a historical is different. I stop in the middle of something totally mundane…the heroine’s horse through her, she’s in pain but she can’t exactly pop a tylenol, can she?

Bathing? She needs a bath, but it’s a tedious process. Showers are a no-can-do. I get in the rhythm of this story, but then I have to change to a different story and I have to switch gears all over again.

Hopefully I’m not in over my head.

On a different note, Hunter’s Salvation releases next Tuesday, although I think it’s popping up here and there already. There’s an excerpt below… hope you enjoy!

* * * * *

The moment she saw him, she froze. Only for a second, though. Her eyes narrowed and she started towards him. There was a shadowed bruise on her jaw line. Didn’t look like she’d even bothered to try and cover it
He looked away from it in time to see her fist flying towards his face. He could have moved. She was quick for a mortal, but not quick enough. Vax didn’t bother though. Her fist clipped him on the side of his face and his head snapped to the side with the impact. If he hadn’t his weight braced, he probably would have toppled off the bike.
“Pretty damn strong for such a skinny thing,” he said, turning his head and spitting a mouthful of blood onto the pavement. With his tongue, he touched the cut on the inside of his mouth.
“Well, I’d feel better if I’d knocked you unconscious, you son of a bitch.”
“I’m sure you would.”
Her chin went up and Vax wouldn’t have been surprised if she decided to slug him again. Instead, she just curled her lip and sneered at him. “Didn’t I tell you to leave me the hell alone?”
“If I’d left you alone to begin with, you’d be dead.” He said it in a flat, cold voice, but if he expected it to slow her down or cool her fury, he was expecting too much. Most people tended to try to backpedal a little if they heard the word dead.
Not her. She just tossed her head and propped her hands on her hips. “So?”
The way she snapped out the short, simple word sent a cold, chilly finger down his spine. “So. You don’t care if you live or die?”
“Yes, I care. I’d prefer death, thank you. I just want one thing before it happens and you interfered tonight. Don’t do it again.” With the last words, she jabbed her finger into his chest with each one. She spun away on her heel.
Hell. Tough little cookie, aren’t you? He couldn’t help smiling a little. “Miz. Warren…it is Miz Warren, right?”
She didn’t even slow down. Jessica Warren came right on walking across the street, her shoulders back, the shiny blonde locks bouncing up and down with each step.
“What happens if they kill you before you do that one thing?”

* * * * *

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This and That

I feel lazy. Probably because I haven’t been writing on a book every day. It’s a good kind of lazy, though. The kind where you look around and see the world in a different way. I feel as though I can focus a little better on my surroundings. There’s something to be said for stopping and smelling the roses.

I’ll draw one name from the comments I get today and mail the winner a The Morgue The Merrier T-shirt.
Good Luck!
Karen Kelley

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Nothing But Red

I wish nonfiction, essays or poetry was my thing. This is a very worth while cause and who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and inspiration will strike.

But posting this is one sure way I can help… soooooo…..

(found via Karen Scott, who found it via Bam) pasted as copied from Bam’s blog.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Hello, Friends. Our guest author for today, Skyla Dawn Cameron, is not here to talk about her work, writing, or personal life (although that stuff’s fun too). She would like to take this opportunity to introduce to us a very special project she is working on that will benefit our disenfranchised and persecuted sisters all over the world. Why is she doing this? Well, let’s give Skyla the floor, so she can tell us all about it. Sisters and Friends, please give a warm welcome to Skyla.

The Inspiration – On April 7th of this year, seventeen-year-old Dua Khalil Aswad, of Northern Iraq, was pulled into a group of men–some of them family members–who tore off her clothes, then beat and stoned her to death. The ordeal took about thirty minutes, and though the police witnessed the event, they didn’t intervene. All this was recorded on camera phones by several members of the “audience” and if you’re really curious, you can find the video on both CNN’s website and YouTube. Her crime? Dua Khalil was of the Yazidi faith, and she was seen in the company of a Muslim man that her family believed she intended to marry. She was brutally murdered to preserve the “honour” of her family.

One month later, popular filmmaker Joss Whedon posted his utter outrage at Dua Khalil’s death–as well as the larger issue of violence against women in general–on a fan-run news blog, Whedonesque. You can find the post in it’s entirety here, but to quote the bit that inspired the title of our project:

Because it’s no longer enough to be a decent person. It’s no longer enough to shake our heads and make concerned grimaces at the news. True enlightened activism is the only thing that can save humanity from itself. I’ve always had a bent towards apocalyptic fiction, and I’m beginning to understand why. I look and I see the earth in flames. Her face was nothing but red.

Because it’s no longer enough to be a decent person. It’s no longer enough to shake our heads and make concerned grimaces at the news. True enlightened activism is the only thing that can save humanity from itself. I’ve always had a bent towards apocalyptic fiction, and I’m beginning to understand why. I look and I see the earth in flames. Her face was nothing but red.
As you see, among his words was a call to action. I was inspired to organize a response from some of us.

What We’re Doing – We’re putting together an anthology of short stories, essays, poems, and art work, called “Nothing But Red.” The book will be produced as both a trade paperback and an eBook through Lulu.com with the proceeds going to Equality Now. The book will be released on April 7, 2008 (the one-year anniversary of Dua Khalil’s death). We are pleased to announce, officially, that the first essay in the book will be Joss Whedon’s original post, “Let’s Watch a Girl Get Beat to Death.” Our website is currently located at nothingbutred.wordpress.com.

What We’re Looking For – People to both contribute work, as well as offer assistance as volunteers.

Contributions: Submissions will open August 1, 2007 and close November 1, 2007. Although inspired by Dua Khalil’s death, submissions need not be about her specifically; we’re looking for responses to the issues Whedon raised, such as violence against women and the inherent misogyny in all cultures. This could be a short story about a woman standing up to domestic abuse. It could be an essay on the continual need for feminism. It could be a poem exploring the brutality of honor killings.

What we aren’t looking for are ten thousand word rants attacking religion, politics, or men in general. We all have strong opinions about things, but let’s try to be grownups about this, m’kay folks?

For further submission guidelines, please visit the “Submissions” page on our website.

Organizers: We have about a dozen people right now organizing things behind the scenes. Although it’s a fantastic, dedicated group, when submissions start rolling in, we’ll probably need more help. If you have any specialized skills, such as editorial experience, PR/marketing experience, website design etc, and you’d like to volunteer your services, we’d greatly appreciate it. We’re also open to anyone who just feels like helping out by brainstorming ideas, proofreading, etc. Please, if this has inspired you to act, email me and I’ll invite you to our discussion group. Even if you don’t know what you can do to help, I’m sure you have something of value to contribute–even if it’s just acting as a cheerleader.

Who “We” Are – I’ve been using the collective “we” here a whole lot, and before you think that I’m a crazy person referring to her cats, let me assure you that there are several people other than me involved in this. There are a dozen organizers so far from across the world, all brought together by a shared desire to do something positive to promote equality. We range from multi-published writers to university students, people with experience in book design to professionals in various fields. I (Skyla Dawn Cameron) am the head organizer, and I have a background in similar ventures: I’m heavily involved in my local writers’ organization and I’m currently chairing Public Relations for their first conference. We’re all serious about this project and dedicated to seeing it through.

How You Can Help – You can volunteer to help organize NBR by sending me an email at SkylaDawnCameron@yahoo.ca. That would be, like, really awesome. You can also help by simply spreading the word. Attending any writer or artist events? Going to any activist meeting? Please visit the page on our website called “Spread the Word” for some beautiful flyers that can be downloaded and printed. We also have a Cafepress storefront set up (we don’t make any money from the designs) where you can purchase a T-shirt, tote bag, mug, etc.

Another way to spread the word is to blog about it, and if you do it this week, you can win a prize…

Post something on your blog or website, a message forum, or wherever else you can think of, then post a link to it in a comment here. As thanks for your help, next Tuesday afternoon (June 26), I’ll randomly draw a name, and the winner will receive a free eBook of RIVER (my award winning debut novel) in their choice of one of the supported formats and a $15 Amazon GC from Dionne.

Huge thanks to Dionne for letting me plug this project here!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Note from Shi….not sure if the contest deal is still going at Bam’s, but hey… we don’t need prizes to do a good thing, right? So spread the word.

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Scamps and Vamps having fun!

At Rodeo
Go Billi Jo, Go LuAnn!

Book cover quilt
Yippeeeeeeee LuAnn!!!!
Joni the winner!
Basket Raffle

Limo ride!


So this is what the inside of a limo looks like!
The Reader Writer Get-Together 2007 is officially over. Lori and I turned over the check to the YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter last Monday and this year was bigger and better than ever in more ways than one.

We raised over $4200 for the shelter, over two-hundred for the animal shelter and we’re still getting numbers from the sale of the Write Ingredients for the troop donations. As I’ve said so many times before and will continue to do so… Thank You to all the volunteers who made this event possible. Thank You to all who came.

Every year the event gets bigger and we hope better. Love the Eighties Trivia Quiz with Erin McCarthy, Ride a Cowboy Save a Horse by the Vamps and Scamps and LuAnn McLane and Billy Jo teaching line dancing. That the Rodeo sent a limo to pick everyone up to go line dancing on Saturday night was an added treat. Thanks LuAnn for getting that together.

Lori and I are already working Get-together 2008 and with great suggestions from you all. We’ll add more author rotations, and listing pen names for authors who write under more than one name.

But even with all that goes on at the event my favorite part is simply talking with readers and authors face to face. Most of the time I’m behind this computer writing a book or emails or blogs etc and don’t get all that much chance to see you one on one. And even if I do run into authors at RT it’s so busy there’s no kick-back time to talk about your family, job, books you like.

But the event is different, least I hope so. Just sitting and chatting is the very best part for me. I remember when Lori first suggested we do this, she said how many do you think we can get to come. We decided that 35 was a good number. We’d have fun, talk, eat, Lori and I would put together a few baskets and that would be it. And now look! J

So, my question to you all is… What is your favorite part of the event? And if you didn’t get a chance to come, why would you want to? Or not?

I have a few totes left from the event and will give two away from postings to this blog. If you already have one you can give it to a friend.

Hope to see you next year. In 2008 the event will be the first weekend in June, the 1-2. Mark your calendars.

Hugs, Dianne
DianneCastell.com

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I promised a bit of an England blog, so here goes! We had an absolutely awesome trip. Left Atlanta on May 18th and returned late in the day on the 29th. When we flew out, we connected at Gatwick with a flight to Manchester. Our adventure began in the north with the lovely Lake District. We did some fun walks and hikes and the flowers were unbelievable… rhododendron that were like trees, not bushes! Saw lots of Wordworth sites.

Hadrian’s wall impressed all of us…

Next it was on to Edinburgh. We had fabulous weather and even got sunburned. The Edinburgh Castle was so impressive, and we even hiked to a vantage point outside of town where we could see the entire city and the Firth of Forth. Beautiful yellow flowers I had always read about but never seen… gorse.
As we headed south again, we skirted along the east coast of England… miles of rugged, unpopulated coastline. Visited the Holy Island of Lindisfarne which is only accessible by car at low tide… otherwise, the road is underwater.

As we made our way throughout England, we saw famous cathedrals at Durham and Lincoln and saw several Cotswald villages. One of our favorite spots was Stratford Upon Avon. We toured Shakespeare’s birthplace, and even rowed on the river.

Loved the Roman baths in Bath (where else!). And it was cool to see the huge double stone circle at Avebury.

In Oxford we ate lunch at the pub (Eagle and Child) where C.S. Lewis used to hang out. Then we did a three hour walking tour that was absolutely fascinating. The university is made up of 39 individual colleges. The most prestigious of all of them is Christ Church College… twelve prime ministers have graduated from there. The student dining hall is where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. Inside each little cluster of buildings were beautifully manicured grassy courtyards.

We ended our trip in London. We’d had lovely weather up until then, but on Memorial Day (their Bank Holiday) it actually spit snow on us. (After drenching rain the night before and more rain that afternoon after temps rose.) One of the London tabloids ran a headline the next day that said “Don’t Put Those Coats Away! Bank Holiday Colder Than Alaska!”

Emma Keatley (whom many of you know from the Scamps loop) actually managed to find me in the crowds at Buckingham Palace. We had time to chat and take photos, and Emma brought me a bagful of fun gifts.

This is a vastly edited version, but if I told you everything, we’d be here for days!!
I’d better get back to work on the book that’s due at the end of July. Hope everyone has a great week.

Janice

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Beach!

We got back from vacation late Saturday night. Sunday we had a birthday dinner for the baby bratlet…she dove into the cake. I literally mean dove. She did a belly flop onto it. The girl does like her sweets.

I’ve got some updates on websites, some paperwork crap that I hate and some writing to get done, but I wanted to share a picture with you all.

This is from Gulf Shores, Alabama and man, their beaches are amazing.

I didn’t get as much reading done as I’d like, although I did read some of Eve Vaughn’s Reinventing Chastity from Samhain. Got a lot of good research material and a lot of sun. All in all, it was a great vacation.

But now it’s back to work…anybody else going anywhere fun this year?

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excerpt

Enjoy!

DOUBLE DATING WITH THE DEAD Karen Kelley
Release Date: September 2007 ISBN-10# 0-7582-1765-X ISBN-13 978-0-7582-1765-3

Trent Sanders drove up the circular driveway and stopped in front of the old weatherworn hotel. Oh, God, it was worse than he could’ve ever imagined. He sat in his dark green sedan for a few seconds, just staring at the place, willing it to go away.

It didn’t.

This was where he’d be living for the next two weeks.

The two-story monstrosity sat on a quarter of the block. The paint had peeled long ago. A sign in front hung from one hook, some of the letters faded. Trees and overgrown shrubs gave the place plenty of privacy…along with a spooky feeling.

It was definitely an eyesore. But haunted? Not likely. Just old and tired. He could certainly see where it got the reputation, though. Hell, even he’d heard of the legend of Garvey County.

A legend was all it was, though and in the next two weeks, he’d prove it. Selena James would not make a fool out of him.

Every county had some kind of nonsense perpetuated by teenagers and handed down through the ages to scare the kids who were climbing up the hallowed ranks from preadolescence to the sacred teens. The story would grow over the years until it was so blown out of proportion it verged on the ridiculous.

Now kids, he could understand. Older kids always loved taunting younger ones. It was a given fact. Hell, he’d pulled his share of pranks on his brother Tye. But when adults jumped in and tried to make a dollar off people’s fears, well, he had a real problem with that.

Especially when it cut into his schedule.

And cut it did. Staying here for two damn weeks with a so-called psychic nutcase just to prove there were no such things as ghosts really irritated him.

He climbed out of his vehicle and grabbed his suitcases from the back.

Miss James was going to regret ever challenging him to stay in this dump. His agent had come up with the perfect publicity stunt—debunk Selena for the fraud that she was by writing a book that would expose her to the world. Not only would he prove there were no ghosts, but he’d have enough information on Selena James to fill a book. It was the perfect revenge.

He strode up the creaky wooden steps. The realtor had given him a key to the hotel. It was beyond him why anyone would want to lock this place. It might be a blessing if someone broke in and accidentally burned it to the ground.

After setting down his suitcases, he unlocked the door and pushed it open. Muted light came through the grimy panes and landed on the equally grimy sheet-covered furniture.

The hotel was even worse on the inside.

Leaving his suitcases where they were, he walked farther inside the spacious foyer, his footsteps leaving tracks in the dust.

How the hell were they going to be able to stay here for two weeks? It would take that long just to make the downstairs livable.

He looked around the room, noting the registration desk with cobwebbed cubbyholes where there had once been room keys. His gaze moved past the desk, landing on the staircase. Even though it was covered with a film of dust, he could tell the workmanship was magnificent.

He stepped closer, running his hands over the smooth surface, then dusting them off. In its heyday the hotel had probably been pretty grand. Now she was just a tired old woman in a faded, tattered gown that was sorely outdated.

“Boo,” a woman said in a very dry, sultry voice from behind him.

He whirled around. For a split second he thought the place might actually be haunted. But if he was seeing a ghost, he hoped she didn’t vanish anytime soon. She looked pretty damned sweet as she stood in the open doorway.

No, not sweet. Nothing about her looked sweet. She was earth, wind and fire all rolled up into one magnificent woman. The combination was sexy as hell.

Slowly his gaze traveled over her, past long black hair that draped over one shoulder to kiss a breast. She was like nothing he’d ever seen with her loose white shirt, bangles at her wrists and a multicolored full skirt.

Selena James looked even better in color than she had in the grainy black-and-white photo above her weekly psychic column in the newspaper.

He wondered if she knew that with the sunlight streaming in behind her, the skirt she wore was practically transparent. He didn’t think he wanted to tell her. He rather enjoyed the view. Payback for the very public challenge she’d issued in the paper just because he’d said she was delusional—on television.

A twinge of guilt flickered over him. He quickly dismissed it. The woman was delusional. There were no such things as ghosts or people who talked to ghosts.

“Did I scare you?” she asked in a mocking voice, one eyebrow lifting sardonically. She swept into the room, and shadows blocked the view of her legs.

A shame because he could’ve looked at Selena James’s legs a lot longer.

“I don’t scare so easily.” He casually leaned against the balustrade and crossed his arms in front of him.

“But then you’ve never stayed in a haunted hotel,” she said.

“I can’t stay in a place that’s haunted since there are no such things as ghosts.”

As she stepped closer, he could see her eyes were a deep, haunting violet, her features pure, patrician, and she was tall. Maybe five-eight. For some reason he’d pictured her much shorter.

When she breezed past him, he caught the scent of her perfume. It wrapped around him, begging him to follow wherever she might lead. She was definitely a temptation, but one he’d resist. After all, she was the enemy.

She faced him, and his heart skipped a beat. Knowing she was the enemy didn’t make her any less alluring and sexy. Probably the reason she had so many followers who faithfully read her column. She was like a spider, weaving her web for the unsuspecting fly. But he knew her game and wouldn’t be drawn in. No, Miss James had finally met her match.

Definitely tempting, though.

Man, he’d been spending way too many hours closeted away in front of his computer while he finished his last deadline, then been consumed with promotion for his current release, Ghosts and Other Guff. Dating hadn’t been a top priority.

Two weeks alone with Selena might not be so bad. She was hot, definitely hot. He wondered how hard it would be to entice her into his bed. At least then his stay here wouldn’t be such a waste. It was an option worth considering.

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