30 April 2007

Just rolled in, and had some good news!

After 24 hours of driving, it is Monday afternoon and I am finally home from RT! I'm staggering with fatigue, but feeling content with my RT 2007 experience. Funny, the drive down didn't seem so bad, but maybe that's because we broke it up by spending a day in the French Quarter of N'Awlins. Plus, we left Ohio at 4 a.m. to drive down, but didn't leave until after 3 p.m. for the drive home.

We told ourselves we would stop if we needed to, but somehow we just kept driving. JC fell asleep after spooking me out providing a running commentary through the swamps of Louisiana and the rolling Alabama countryside - IN THE DARK!! There are few things spookier than crossing Lake Ponchartrain in the moonlight. The moon gleams on the water, yet barely reflects any light. Huge cypress trees curve over the road, as if reaching out to grab you and pull you down into the murk. [shiver]

JC fell asleep, I got a second wind, and sang to my Celtic, folk, and bluegrass CD mixes as I drove all the way to Nashville, TN. (JC, who is a Rob Zombie and Pink fan, had earplugs in. LOL) Then I curled up and slept while she took us the rest of the way to her home in Ohio. Thanks to the nap, I had no trouble making the final 2-hour leg to Toledo. But boy, am I tired! I'm forcing myself to stay up until a reasonable bed time, but every joint in my body is stiff!

I came home to a clean house! My daughter dropped by and tidied up for me before I got home, bless her.

I met dozens of people I've only "seen" online before including the staff at Samhain (though I have seen Crissy before at past RTs). Alexis Fleming, fresh of the plane from Australia, was my Samhain goodie bag-stuffing partner, and she is a hoot. I loved dropping her name to readers, whose eyes would get round, at which point I'd drag Alexis over to meet them. I'm evil that way.

I hate to name too many names, because I know I will forget someone. Bianca D'Arc gets my vote as the most enthusiastic RT newbie. By next year she will be an old hand at this and putting us all to shame with self-promo ideas. I only managed to run into Gia Dawn and Nancy Lingquist briefly - there were so many people there! Every night it seemed like a core group of us found ourselves esconced in a non-smoking corner - JC, Isabo Kelly, Linnea Sinclair, Stacy Klemstein, and others. We laughed till we cried, shared news and industry gossip, and generally created mayhem over butterscotch martinis.

As an example of how many times I've been to RT, I didn't even break out the camera until the last day. I'll post my pics asap.

A huge highlight was getting to meet Barbara Hambly! [assuming I'm-not-worthy pose]

Now for my first-email-opened-after-returning-home news - TwoLipsReviews.com is going to make ABHAINN'S KISS their Book of the Month for May! Woot!! Thanks, Kerin!

I will leave you with some outtakes from RT 2007. Most of these will make no sense to anyone who wasn't there (RT is definitely a "you had to be there" event!), but I wanted to get these down before I forgot:

~ "EEEE-SAH-BOOOOOH!!!!" (coined by Jade Lee, upon seeing Isabo Kelly at any time of the day. We became fond of screaming it from the 11th floor and watching Isabo look around in confusion.)

~ "Peekabo" (Because bookseller Molly Bolden couldn't remember Isabo's first name)

~ "I want my PIE!"

~ "Doesn't she eat peanuts?" (Don't EVEN ask! LOL)

~ "Another round of butterscotch martinis, please!" (Usually spoken in decidedly slurred speech)

~ "Where's JC? Oh, duh, IN THE BAR."

~ "Kum ba ya, my lord, kum ba ya..." (Often heard faintly from within packed elevators)

~ "It's a romance readers and writers convention." (Said to many a startled businessperson who would go to step aboard the elevator, only to find it packed with faery-wing-bedecked women.)

~ "It's a romance readers and writers convention." (Said to many a startled businessperson when confronted with a bar full of vampires.)

~ "It's a romance readers and writers convention." (Said to many a startled businessperson who, after taking a wrong turn, was found perusing the condom lollypops in promo row.)

I may post more tomorrow as I remember it. :) For now, I'm off to catch up on some sleep!

27 April 2007

RT: Day 3 and 5 Lips

It is the afternoon of the third day of RT. True to form, I am crashing for a hour or two of downtime in my hotel room! This always happens, no matter how carefully I pace myself. Ah, well, it's part of the whole experience.

Last night's Faery Ball was sooo much fun. The costumes were gorgeous - some people REALLY went all out. The costume contest winner was vision in white, including 5-foot-long white peacock feathers. I'd love to know how she got that costume here intact! Me, I wore a green medieval dress I had in my closet, strapped on some lime green faery wings, clapped a tacky, flashing-light shamrock tiara on my head, and I was good to go. I felt sorry for the waitress who had to serve my dinner leaning over the wings. :) I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, snapping pictures. If I had remembered the USB cable to my camera, I would have uploaded some now!

Today I spent a raucous hour in Club RT, talking with readers. I LOVE doing this - I meet so many just plain nice people. The only danger is that the vendors are in there, too - I dropped a chunk of change, as I always do, at the Frozen Light jewelry booth. I go over there telling myself to buy one piece. ONE. But the proprietress keeps handing me things she seems to instinctively know I'll love, and she's right every time. I left there with a silver and moonstone pendant, matching earrings, another pair of silver earrings, and a Celtic design green amber pendant.

Tonight is the big vampire ball, for which I've brought another costume. After that a bunch of us are going to huddle in our hotel room, watch The Princess Bride, and bond over wine and snacks.

So far this has been one of the nicest RTs I've ever attended. The hotel is great, everything is centrally located, the food is good, the coffee shop is open 24 hours, and the bar service is quick. What more could you ask? :)

I got some very nice news from my IN THE GLOAMING anthology partner, Isabo Kelly, yesterday! Two Lips Reviews gave ABHAINN'S KISS 5 lips and a recommended read designation! Yay! In fact, all three stories in this anthology got 5 lips, except for Isabo's, which got 5-1/2! Wowza. I feel honored to be in such company.

26 April 2007

RT: Day 1 complete!

Hi everybody!

It's after 1 a.m. and I'm draggin' butt, but having an amazing time at RT. It's so much fun to meet everyone I've only "met" via email up to now - Crissy, Jess, Angie, etc.

J.C. Wilder and I did a whirlwind tour of New Orleans and the bayou country of Louisiana on Tuesday. We spent Monday night at the Maison Dupuy in the French Quarter, then had cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde on Jackson Square the next morning. After a carriage ride/tour of the quarter, J.C. showed me around some of the damaged areas of New Orleans. A lot of clean up has been done, but there are still thousands of abandoned houses, many with the search team shorthand still spraypainted on the front.

After that she took me out to some of her favorite spots on the bayou south of Houma. Needless to say we pulled in to Houston VERY late and basically went straight to sleep! Some people called us crazy for taking the side trip to the Crescent City, but it was so worth it, especially with J.C. as my tour guide. Her love for this area is evident.

The internet connection here is iffy, but I'll try to check in when I can.

21 April 2007

Let the madness begin!

Tomorrow afternoon I start the first leg of my journey to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Houston, TX.

Instead of flying this year, my bestest buddy and I will be making a road trip of it, loading everything in her Liberty Sunday night, taking a nap, then heading south at around 3 a.m. Monday morning. We plan to spend the night in New Orleans, have breakfast at Cafe du Monde in Jackson Square, then head for Houston. Crazy? Aye, well. :)

I plan to try to post a blog every day while I'm there, internet connection permitting. And, of course, if I can drag myself away from the bar long enough to type coherently. I'm sure my hands will be shaking from chocolate overload!

A good time will be had, and it will take me weeks to recover! I should be good to go in time for Lori Foster's Readers and Writers Get-Together the weekend of June 1-2 in Cincinnati.

OK, I'm off to finish packing. Now where did I put my faery wings? Hmm...

19 April 2007

Thirteen Clues You Might Be An RT Veteran

  1. You have one suitcase for promo, one suitcase for costumes, and no room for regular clothes.

  2. Your carry-on bag is stuffed with healthy snacks, because from past experience you know after three days of all-chocolate-all-the-time, you'll be desperate for a piece of fresh fruit.

  3. You're sweating bullets waiting for your Vistaprint order to arrive in time, because you realized at the last possible minute you're out of business cards.

  4. Bookthongs seemed like such a cute idea at the time, but after making 500 of them you're pretty much over it.

  5. You cause a scene in the grocery store when you find post-Easter bags of Hershey Kisses on sale for a dollar a bag.

  6. You burn calories by working up a sweat trying on every piece of clothing you own, praying something other than your bathrobe will fit.

  7. Your life is divided into two parts: Before RT, and after RT. ("I have this great idea, but let's wait until after RT to talk about it because my brain is fried.")

  8. For every item you check off on your RT to-do list, two more items mysteriously appear.

  9. No matter how well and how far in advance you plan, the last three days before departure are Hell. Pure and simple.

  10. The color cartridge on your printer will run out of blue ink at precisely the moment you need it most. You will not have a spare handy, and it will be 5 minutes after OfficeMax closes.

  11. The OfficeMax staff knows you by your first name. They don't bat an eye when you show up in your ratty sweats and house slippers and ask them to print out a copy of your book cover in poster-size. You know, the one with the nekkid man-butt on the cover.

  12. You step up your facial exercises so your cheeks won't hurt so much from wearing your best "Yes, I know I write dark and bloody paranormal romance, but I'm really a nice person and I won't bite" smile for 12 hours straight.

  13. You have just a few square inches of space left in your suitcase. You must decide between packing toothpaste, or your rum flask. You choose the rum.

Add yours below!! :D

(Photo of me and Rosemary Laurey after a long day in St. Louis. In the bar, of course.)

17 April 2007

Crud, cash, and crystals - oh MySpace!

I'd like to say there's light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm afraid to say it out loud. The Universe has a way of taking a swipe at me if I dare express satisfaction with how my life is going.

After 3 weeks, I'm emerging from about my 5th upper respiratory infection since October. This one was bad - had to bow out of singing in a big concert, and even had to forego a long-planned, 10-day vacation in the Four Corners area of the Southwest. I stayed home while my husband and son left without me. I just couldn't contemplate getting on a plane, sick as I was. My nursing-student daughter dropped in on me occasionally to make sure I was getting my daily requirement of screwdrivers - er, orange juice - and chicken soup. And the dogs kept me warm.

I'm beginning to feel human again, and looking forward to spending next week in Houston at the mayhem better known as the annual Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. My paycheck arrived in the mail today, so I will be able to afford my bar tab. Small blessings.

The harsh reality is, the vast majority of writers have to put up with a Day Job in order to afford to pursue their dreams. I'm no exception. I do technical and web content writing on a contract basis, which pays well but the work can be sporadic. This year, I'm fortunate (whispering again so the Universe doesn't hear me) to have found a job that I can do part time from home, leaving me rested and free to write more. There's nothing like an hour-long commute to kill any creative urge you might have! Now my commute is from my bed, to the coffee maker, to the laptop. Shower is optional.

Staying home last week recovering was probably another blessing - it gave me extra time to get my stuff together for RT. Now this week I can relax - mostly - knowing that all I need to do is throw a few more things in the suitcase and I'll be good to go. The last time I was in Houston for an RT, we had tornadoes, which we observed - of course - from the bar. Through huge plate-glass windows. We figured if things got really bad, we could hide behind the bar, where at least we could pour ourselves a last drink before we died. It didn't come to that, fortunately.

This year I'm entering into the spirit of RT and bringing costumes. One for the Vampire Ball, and one for the Faery Ball.

Yes, friends, I'm now the owner of a pair of lime-green faery wings and a tiara. You may now point and laugh. Go ahead, I'll wait.

I'm going as the Housework Faery, and I plan to flit about the party, using a cauldron and a feather duster to sprinkle clean-house dust on the heads of anyone who wishes to come home to a clean house after the convention. Hey, we can all dream.

I also tried my hand at jewelry making, putting together a matching set of earrings and a necklace made with blood-red Swarovski crystals. I'm all thumbs when it comes to fine motor work but they didn't turn out half bad.

My new MySpace page didn't turn out half bad, either! It was pretty aggravating putting it together, but I'm a bit OCD when it comes to solving puzzles. Check it out, and I'd love it if you'd friend me!

14 April 2007

13 April 2007

Blogging today on FaE!

I'm the featured blogger today at the Samhain authors' Fantasy and Enchantment (FaE) blog today! Come on over and visit.

06 April 2007

Thursday 13 - You know you're Scottish when...

You Know You're Scottish When:

1. You can pronounce McConnochie, Ecclefechan, Milngavie, Sauchiehall St, St Enoch, Auchtermuchty and Aufurfuksake.

2. You actually like deep fried battered pizza from the chip shop.

3. Your used to four seasons in one day.

4. You can fall about drunk without spilling your drink.

5. You can see people wearing shell suits with burberry accessories and think its smart.

6. You measure distance in minutes.

7. You can understand Rab C Nesbit and know characters like him in your family.

8. You can make whole sentences by just using swear words.

9. You know what haggis is made from yet you still eat it.

10. Somebody you know used the football schedule to plan their wedding date.

11. You ve been at a wedding and the football scores are announced in the church/chapel.

12. You know Iron Bru is a hangover cure.

13. You learned to swear before you learned to do sums.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

05 April 2007

It's Tartan Day!

If you just clicked in here and think the bagpipes are a little louder and the kilts a-swinging a little more vigorously than usual, there's a reason for that! It's Tartan Day!

For anyone with a drop of Scottish blood in their veins, this is the day to wear your clan colors with pride! Even if you just wish you were Scottish, most Scots don't care if you wear a clan color, as long as you wear it with pride.

"Americans of Scottish descent have played a vibrant and influential role in the development of the United States. From the framers of the Declaration of Independence to the first man on the moon, Scottish-Americans have contributed mightily to the fields of the arts, science, politics, law, and more. Today, over eleven million Americans claim Scottish and Scotch-Irish roots -- making them the eighth largest ethnic group in the United States. These are the people and accomplishments that are honored on National Tartan Day, April 6th."
--Source: www.tartanday.org

Through my mother's side of the family, I can claim connection to not one but two Highland clans - the MacPhersons and the MacNaughtens. A few years ago, I even had the pleasure of visiting the MacPherson clan museum in my ancestral "home town" of Newtonmore. Although my husband and I pulled into the parking lot right at closing time, the docent on duty delayed his dinner to walk us personally around the museum for almost an hour. All I remember thinking was that he looked remarkably like my grandfather, right down to the shape of his nose! The area of North Carolina I come from is well-known as an area that a lot of Highlanders came to settle in order to escape British rule.

If you'd like a peek at our trip to Scotland, visit my web site, click on "Fun Stuff", then go to the photo gallery.

Below is a fun, easy and decadent traditional Scottish recipe for Drunken Crumble. Enjoy!


1½ pounds raw rhubarb
3 fluid ounces of whisky (about 6 tablespoons)
Grated lemon and orange rind to taste
4 ounces light brown sugar
1 teaspoon allspice

2 cups flour
Half a stick of butter
about a half cup sugar
Grated rind of one lemon
One teaspoon ground coriander
One teaspoon allspice

Clean and chop the rhubarb into pieces and put in a 2-pint pie dish. Add the other ingredients for the filling and stir well.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter - the mixture will eventually look like small breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, grated lemon rind, coriander and spices and mix well. Sprinkle the topping over the rhubarb.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for thirty minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with ice cream.


MacPherson Tartan

MacNaughten Tartan

So what is it about Scotland that you find so compelling? Why can we not resist a fine-looking man in a kilt? Leave a comment and you could win a hand-beaded bookthong. Thanks for visiting!