Tomorrow’s the Big Day!

Yup, tomorrow is the official launch of the Ravenous Romance website.  The launch will include author sites, a book and a story (story by yours truly under the pen name Inara LaVey) and I’m not sure what else, but I’ll definitely be buying the book and checking out the site!

For those of you who enjoy humor, romance and more sex than my mom would like to see, please check out my story!  If it’s not your cup of tea, I will not be offended ’cause, well…after all, my mom won’t be reading it. :-)  The story is called SUCCUBUSTED.

And on December 2nd, please stop by to meet Jean Henry Mead and read about her new mystery A VILLAGE SHATTERED.  I’ll remind you again tomorrow.  :-)  And on December 9th, Marvelous Marvin will be here promoting his book OWEN FIDDLER.

Short post today – I’m off to work on RIPPING THE BODICE, my WIP for Ravenous!  It’s due…well….soon.  VERY soon.

Thanksgiving – This post is for Marvin

Okay, back around Halloween I was tagged by Marvin Wilson at Free Spirit to write a holiday story for Thanksgiving.  I admit to an inward groan – between work, my Ravenous Romance books, fostering kittens and…well…everything else, I don’t have a lot of energy left.  Posting here at the Den, Make Mine Mystery and Fatal Foodies pretty much sucks up any vestige of creativity I have left.   But still…I intended to do my best to write a Thanksgiving story for Marvin and meet the challenge.

Well, I met the challenge, shook its hand and ran in the opposite direction.  Not one spark of inspiration.  Mind you, this past week has been a tough one for my fiction writing.  I literally spent five hours working on my RR book and got one paragraph written.  This is thankfully the exception these days and I figure I’m allowed one really crappy writing day once in a while, but when I tried to work on a Thanksgiving story, that was the rule, not the exception.

Marvin wrote a post several months ago about random acts of kindness that really spoke to me.  Something I do believe in, but don’t do often enough.  I was thinking about this post (which I looked for in his archives, but Marvin is so dang prolific I couldn’t find it, so Marvin, how about posting the link for it when you leave a comment!) this week and decided to act on it. I am the office manager at my job and responsible for ordering kitchen supplies.  One of our managing directors requested Kashi peanut butter/chocolate high protein bars (the chewy ones, not the ones that will break your teeth if you don’t suck on them for hours first) and at first, they were devoured quickly by all and sundry in the office.  So I did a ‘subscription’ order on Amazon to make sure we were always well supplied.  Well, as is the way of things with people’s fickle tastebuds, I ended up with a buttload of these Kashi bars and found 8 cases (about 30 boxes of the things) that had passed their ‘sell by’ date.

I work in the Financial District of San Francisco, which has its share of homeless and transients.  Not people begging because it’s easier than working, but folks living out of shopping baskets, layers of clothes and dirt hiding the people they used to be.  People who have lost touch with whatever life they used to have.  The kind of people who talk to themselves, who you do your best to ignore when you walk by them because you’re afraid of what they might do or say…or maybe because you don’t want to think of them as people who have lost everything. Someone you could possibly become if your life took an unexpected turn for the worst.  Scary thought.  And so much easier to ignore them and turn the brain — and compassion — off.

Well, here I was with all these recently expired sell-by dated Kashi bars, a new order recently arrived and a definite shortage of storage problem.  So I gathered all of the boxes into a little shopping cart and, along with my fellow employee Rita, went for a walk down around the Embarcadero and Ferry Building and dispensed boxes of Kashi bars.  At first we were worried some of the people might go off on us, would want money instead or just start ranting at us.  But every single person we approached (one of us would take a couple of boxes and say, “Excuse me, would you be able to use these?”) took the boxes, then looked at us and broke into big smiles, then thanked us.  I mean, big, genuine smiles, the kind that make you smile back.  It sounds so cliche, but doing this made me aware of the people underneath the layers of grime, that each one has a story behind them.  Not one asked for money, was hostile or abusive, and their smiles made me feel so damn good.

So I’m thankful.  And not just because I’m not living on the street, although I’m definitely counting all my blessings about now.  I’m thankful for every smile received that day and realizing it doesn’t take a lot to help someone down on their luck, even if I’m not exactly rolling in dough.  Maybe I can’t hand out boxes of food every week, but what about baking cookies and giving them out?  Buying a few extra items at the store, a blanket, water, whatever…and helping one person a week?  Not ignoring them, relegating them as part of the background scenery.

Those smiles will stay with me for a long time.  And I’m very thankful for that.

Some people don’t take me seriously…

…when I tell them my brains have been sucked out by kittens.  These people obviously have never been in the room with two five week old kittens who’ve only recently discovered the power of swift (if clumsy) locomotion. Little furry jumping spiders, skittering, hopping and hobby-horsing around the room, up and over low lying obstacles (we have a tall cat tree turned on its side, providing hours of fun tearing around carpeted tunnels), then running over to check out any available human.  Evidently we smell REALLY interesting.

I can literally watch them for hours.  I don’t, of course, because I am a: not home to do so and b: when I am home, have my writing quota, plus our permanent horde of felines needing attention.  But it’s amazing how much time can pass when hypnotized by staring kitten button eyes.

That’s all I got tonight, folks.  I feel the pull of the kittens.

Can’t. Resist!

My First Story for Ravenous Romance

I just got word that my first story for Ravenous Romance will be published on December 1st, the day the site officially launches.  Needless to say (oh, okay, I DO need to say it!), I’m totally chuffed that my story Succubusted has been chosen to be part of the big day. I’m publishing under the pen name Inara LaVey (the first name is for all you Firefly fans and the second because it appeals to my inner Goth) – ‘Dana Fredsti’ doesn’t work for either romance or erotica.  Or erotic romance, for that matter.  At least I don’t think it does.

I have been learning a lot about the distinctions between romance, erotica and erotic romance from readers and writers of the various genres, some of whom have been kind enough to give their recommendations and also guide me to sites like Romance Wiki, specifically the sub-genre page. I’ve definitely learned that readers of romance, regardless of genre, have very definite expectations from these genres (how many times can I use the word ‘genre’ in one paragraph, you ask?).  If it’s labeled romance, be it paranormal, contemporary or erotic, it had better have a satisfactory emotional story arc between the two main characters.  Fair enough.  I’m going to be very careful when it comes to describing my various books so readers will know what they’re getting.  Trust me – you don’t wanna get romance readers or writers mad at you.  They can be scary.  :-)

I’ve downloaded a couple of books from Ellora’s Cave, specifically Dragon’s Warrior and The Hunters: Declan and Tori, by Shiloh Walker. The little I’ve had time to read of Walker’s work tells me I’m gonna enjoy both books.  Her writing style (in these two books) is terse, action packed and sexy, and she manages to create vivid and believable characters very quickly.  These are short books – one is 137 pages, the other 165 – so her ability to draw a reader into her worlds so quickly is definitely a plus.

The most frustrating thing is knowing I have limited time to read because of my writing deadlines and I do love to read…  So I’m not downloading anything else until I finish these two books, as well as the last few chapters of Jean Henry Mead’s Senior Sleuth mystery, A Village Shattered, which is so far a cracking good mystery!  Jean will be my guest December 2nd on the second stop of her upcoming blog tour and I’m delighted to host her.  And not just because her lead character’s name is Dana. :-)

How Long Would YOU Survive in a Horror Movie?

Okay, I was planning on writing an insightful and brilliant post (yes, I’m on my delusional meds today…) about romance and the various subgenres within, but after being sent this link to my current favorite online quiz, I had to post this and my results instead.  And if the link above doesn’t work, go here:  http://www.okcupid.com/tests/how-long-would-you-survive-in-a-horror-film

My result for How Long Would you Survive in a Horror Film? by Monday_Mourning …  THE KILLER!!!   68% Chance of Survival!!!

You would think the hero/heroine would out survive the villain, but that’s rarely the reality in a horror film. Sure, when they tossed your body through that meat grinder and cooked your severed head in battery acid it looked like you were done for good, but the chances of the killer staying dead forever are extremely slim. Ok, so you’ll probably be stabbed, shot, burned, run over and even exorcised at some point but as the star of the movie, you’ll always find a way to come back.

  

Congratulations! This is the highest score you could have gotten!

 

Some villains you should look to for inspiration: Pinhead from the Hellraiser series; Pennywise, IT; The Firefly Family, House of 1000 Corpses; Krug, Junior, Weasel and Sadie, Last House on the Left; and Angela Baker, Sleepaway Camp

What do I take aways frm this?  All those years of watching horror movies have not been in vain and yes, I AM capable of learning!  And my friends and family probably should worry a little bit about now…

Marvin, I fully expect you to take this test and post the results.  :-) 

I raised this cat…

Ned picking out the wineYou can tell ’cause he’s picking out the wine.

This is Ned, the cat formerly known as Wookie.  He is Haggis’s and Taz’s brother.  If you go on my website and look at the picture under ‘drop me a line,’ you’ll see Ned with Taz and Angel (now called River after the cute but crazy gal on FIREFLY) helping me edit my book. Ned went to live with our friend Matt, proud father of Mitch, another plumpalicious black feline.  The two of them became best buddies (or domestic partners, as Matt calls them) and it’s now difficult to tell them apart.

This is the upside of fostering.

The downside is when you lose them.  The kittens and Mom Cat we’re fostering now came to us with upper respiratory problems and eye infections, compromised immune systems.  We lost little Gabriel a couple weeks ago to pneumonia…and last night we lost Gorilla, the little tortie, to the same thing.  Matt sent me pictures of Ned to cheer me up, reminding me that a lot of the times the fostering story has a happy ending.  He’s right.  This is why we keep doing it despite the heartache.

But I am officially ready for Bastet to stop repossessing her children before their time.

And the Winner of the Trick’or’Treat contest is…

Cathy Hall!  Congrats, Cath, and thank you for visiting Zhadi’s Den!

Other news, Dave and I had a very weird experience yesterday while doing our morning beach walk.  There was a dead body near the tide line and police were just starting to cordon off the area with the ubiquitous yellow crime scene tape when we reached that spot on Ocean Beach (in between Noriega and Lawton, for those familiar with the beach and the Outer Sunset).  Men in white short sleeve dress shirts and kits were there.  If I watched more shows like CSI I would probably know if they were forensics or detectives, but either way, it was just very weird and disturbing.  The body was an older male and lay on his back as if he’d fallen asleep, arms crossed on his chest.  Sort of curled up like a kitten.  He didn’t look as though he’d drowned…didn’t look as though he’d seen something horrible before dying. But he was definitely dead.

We walked on, talked about something totally unrelated in the next 10 minutes…then when we walked back, they were zipping him into a body bag.   I felt sad and odd.  I mean, here we were going about our normal routine and here was someone else who was done with his routine, whatever it might have been.    I’ve only seen one other dead body before; my much loved father-in-law, and this was after he’d been prepared for the viewing at the funeral home.  I grieved for him in an uncomplicated way; this was someone I’d known and loved and would miss.  The guy on the beach? I didn’t know him, he had nothing to do with my life.  But on the other hand, he was another human being and it was over for him.  I still don’t really have the right words to describe how I feel about this.

Coming up in December…

…the Den is going to be hosting a couple of authors on their blog book tours!  I’m pleased toannounce on December 2nd, Jean Henry Mead will be interviewed about her newest mystery,A VILLAGE SHATTERED, due for release early December.  I’ve been informed by impeccable sources (okay, by Jean) that her protagonist’s name is Dana, which is a fine name for a heroine.  Jean will be here at Zhadi’s Den on December 2nd, and I’m extremely chuffed to add this will be the kick-off of her blog book tour!  Check out Jean’s website (link above) for more information on her previous books and work as a journalist.  Jean is also a fellow blogger on Make Mine Mystery and wrote a fascinating post on physic mysteries.My other guest is going to be author Marvin Wilson, promoting his book OWEN FIDDLER.Marvin will be visiting the Den on December 9th.  I will be posting a short review of the book, along with a humorous piece written by Marvin with a preface written by Owen Fiddler, the ‘world owes me a living’ protagonist of the book.  In Marvin’s own words, he is ‘a spiritualist Christian, an author, who has the audacity to write novels.’  He’s also a total nut who refers to me as ‘monkey butt.’  :-)  He is also another Make Mine Mystery team member!I will be sharing more facts about both these authors as the time draws closer for their tour stops.  No sense in spilling the beans all at once, eh?And remember, if you leave a comment before Nov. 8th, you are automatically entered in a drawing to win a copy of MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon.  That’s my book, doncha know…  :-)