Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I've settled on what to work on next. I have a 40s ex-hitman for the mob story that's been languishing in my WIP folder for years that I adore. The only problem was, it was always too long and I didn't feel like I could cut it. Like...way too long. Written before I really understood what the genre wanted.

But after looking through what I had, and considering my obligations over the next few weeks, I thought, "Why not? Let's give it a shot." So that's what I'm in the process of reworking.

It's not titled yet. I now hate the original title, so I'm going to wait until I've finished my revisions and see if something new jumps out at me. Or if something jumps out while I'm working.

This is from the first chapter...

* * *

Sometimes, really bad days can start with birds singing outside the window.

At first, Deacon Rook thought it was the neighbor’s radio and just buried himself under his pillow, burrowing his cheek against the cool cotton of his sheets in an attempt to drown out the noise.

It took five minutes to remember the idiot neighbor was on vacation.

With a groan, he lifted his head, black curls matted in obscure patterns from sleep, and squinted against the California sunshine that streamed in through his open window. The birds perched in their nest on the top of the telephone pole not six feet away. He scowled.

One of these days, he'd remember to close that fucking window before he went to sleep.

Thinking of it as falling asleep was generous, but at that exact moment in time, the last thing he needed was to consider the greater ramifications of what his passing out for the third night in a row might mean. Better to focus on the pounding behind his eyeballs, or the sandpaper that currently comprised his throat lining, or even the fact that he’d slept in his last pair of clean trousers so now looked like something that had been lost at the bottom of a linen basket for the past century. It didn’t help, of course, that the incessant chirping from outside was sharpening into long, pointed needles, pricking his brain into shock with each shrill note, scraping down his spine until it felt like each vertebrae was raw from the tonality.

The gun from the nightstand was in his hand before he could think, its single shot rupturing the morning calm to shatter the upper pane of the window. As he’d intended, the bullet went low, missing the nest to imbed itself in the telephone pole, but the birds reacted exactly as he’d hoped, flying away in a dither that quickly left the room in silence.

Deacon collapsed back onto the mattress, the gun dangling from his hand over the side of the bed. The noise wouldn't be reported. Another advantage to already living in a high-crime neighborhood.

The harsh jangle of the phone was almost as bad as the damn birds. He shot up, dropping the gun to grab the receiver before a second ring melted his brain. “What?” he barked.

“Rise and shine, sleepyhead!”

It was unnatural for anyone to be that chirpy at this hour of the morning, but the gaiety in his partner Ruby’s voice was enough to smooth the roughest edges of his temper. “How do you know I wasn’t already up? I could’ve been entertaining, or in the shower, or doing naughty, naughty things that would make you blush brighter than your name, Red.”

She laughed. “I was the lucky one stuck on the stinky end of your feet when you passed out last night. Seeing as how you'd sleep through the entire day given half a chance, odds were pretty good that you’d still be in bed at ten a.m.” There was the slightest of hesitations, and he heard the faint doubt creep into her voice. “You…weren’t doing anything bad, right?”

He sighed, rubbing his hand over his face as if that would slough the exhaustion from his brain. “Just using my little chickadee for target practice again.”

“How many times have I told you to leave those poor birds alone? They’re defenseless little creatures, and I think the female is going to be laying eggs soon---.”

“Relax. They’ll live to sing another day. But don’t be surprised if Ma Bell comes a-knocking, demanding I replace that bloody pole.”

“Oh. Well. That’s all right then.”

“There a reason for this little wake-up call? Or do you just take extreme pleasure in making sure I’m as miserable as possible by waking me out of my stupor?”

“We’ve got a new job. I wanted to give you the heads up so that you’re presentable when Henry and I show up on your doorstep. The last time you were that smoked and we came by, you almost blew Henry’s head off.”

She was probably right, but he'd have to take her word for it. The specifics of that particular incident escaped him at the moment. “And this couldn’t wait until tonight?”

“It’s kind of an important one---.”

“They’re all important to the one doing the hiring, pet. Aren’t you the one who keeps nattering on about the client, and the client’s rights, and keeping the client happy? No reason this one can’t wait until I pull myself together---.”

“Deacon, they’re willing to pay us fifty large if we drop everything else we’re doing to take this. Half now. Half when the job is over.”

He’d been leaning over, scanning the floor for the cigarettes he had a funny feeling he’d knocked off the nightstand when he’d gone for his gun, but as soon as she mentioned the money, he froze. Fifty thousand dollars. That was a lot of dosh. He hadn’t seen money like that since he’d gotten out of the game, and there was no way Red had ever seen it. Henry probably had, but not since they’d hooked up, so it would certainly explain their eagerness to get started on it as soon as possible.

Slowly, Deacon straightened, and did his best to keep his voice as even as possible. “Gimme time to get slicked up. I’m feeling like something the cat coughed up. Be here in an hour?”

“With bells on.”

As he set the phone back onto its cradle, his eyes were pensive as he stared at the peeling wallpaper opposite him. Twenty-five now. Twenty-five later. That would clear a lot of debts. Hell, that would clear all his debts, as well as settle him up with Red and Henry. They deserved more than what they got by working with him, but bugger if he knew why they stuck around like they did. He didn’t want to argue with it, though. The three of them made a good team, and he wasn’t about to muck up the best professional arrangement he’d ever had by letting a bout of self-loathing take control. Wasn’t worth the trouble it would cause.

Fifty thousand dollars.

A man could do a lot of damage with that kind of money.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Monday means winning a free book!

And the winner of Under a Rock by India Harper is...Booklover62!

I've got your email so expect a message from me very soon!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! Finishing out the month of September with a snippet from the last Wranglers book, Judgment. In this one, Sam and Derek have been dating for a number of months, but Sam's parents don't even know he's gay. Until they surprise him with a visit. The following snippet comes from a conversation between Derek and Sam's father.


"...I’m just saying, this is all new to me. I don’t know how it works. Like, which one of you is the girl?”

Derek stared at him, not really surprised the man had actually had the balls to ask that question. “Neither one of us. Otherwise, then we’d be straight, and you and I wouldn’t be having this extremely awkward conversation.”


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I've finished edits and kind of in between projects while I try and figure out what I want to do next. The smart thing would be to tackle one of the many WIPs on my computer, right, lol? If only I was that smart...

Actually, this is one of the few that I'm considering. It's an m/m historical set at the end of WWII called "I Will Sing You Morning." It's one of those that I love but then remember all the research that's involved and wonder if I have time to tackle the way it should be.

This is the very beginning:

*****

Until the man screamed, Josiah Ladley thought the nurses had put a corpse in the bed next to him. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Though the bigwigs were constantly ordering new construction, more wounded came pouring into Fort McHenry from the Western Front every day. Beds were at a premium. Sometimes, there just wasn’t anyplace else to put a body.

This one wasn’t dead, though. In the wee hours of the morning, when the ward held its breath in anticipation of dawn, a choked cry erupted into shouts, loud enough, clear enough, pained enough to yank Josiah from sleep.

He bolted from the bed, immediately alert as the trenches had taught him, and knelt in the darkness, groping blindly for the writhing man. His hands skidded over the shirt glued by perspiration to the man’s chest, the fabric cool, the body hot. Not blood, he reminded himself. Night sweats. Big difference.

“Hey. Buddy.” He finally found his shoulders and shook him carefully. He had no idea where his injuries were, and he didn’t need the nurses scolding him for trying to help. “Wake up.”

Eyelids shot open. Josiah couldn’t see him clearly, but what little light filtered through the small, high windows made his eyes glow as his body went rigid.

“What…where…”

The questions were just puffs of air, barely formed and quickly called back. A hand emerged from beneath the blanket and clamped over Josiah’s wrist. The strength in the grip was enough to loosen his hold, and he sat back onto his heels as the man slowly turned his head to look at him.

“You were dreaming.” Just because he’d been screaming wasn’t reason to think he might actually remember what it was about. It might be better all around if he didn’t, actually. Josiah had a few of those he’d be more than glad to see the back of. “You need me to call a nurse or something?”

The man didn’t let go. His fingers wore calluses like armor. His gaze remained unblinking, and Josiah would have added unseeing if it wasn’t fixed purposefully on him. Whatever had been wounded, it hadn’t been his arm or sight. But there were a legion more places on a man’s body to bear the aegis of war.

“No,” came the quiet answer. “Don’t get no one.”

The accent was broad and flat, but Josiah had talked to enough soldiers overseas to know it came from someplace in the Midwest. He’d bet this one was a farm boy, gone off to defend the beliefs his country stood for, against Krauts and others he’d never heard of before the Great War. For some reason, though he’d known a lot of greenhorns, he regretted this one suffered from nightmares awful enough to make him scream. Even if they all screamed.

“You can let me go anytime,” he joked, jiggling his arm a little. He waited until the broad fingers uncurled then fell limply back to the bed, before sticking out his hand. “I’m Josiah.”

“Bill.”

Though Bill hadn’t returned his greeting, it was good enough to know his name. “You sure you don’t need me to get you anything? It’s not a bother. Maybe a glass of water or something.”

“No, no.” These denials were firmer. “I just want to go back to sleep.”

“The nurses can give you—”

“The nurses can’t do nothing for me. Neither can you. Leave me alone.”

The last thing Josiah wanted to do was to leave Bill alone so he could return to the nightmares that would wake up the whole ward next time. He didn’t really have much choice, though. A man who didn’t want help would fight it every step of the way. Josiah was too tired to be the one to try and fight back.

He stood and nodded, though Bill wouldn’t be able to see it in the dark. “You need anything, I’m right here.” His leg hit the cold bedframe as he edged back. “Have a good night, Bill.”

Slipping back beneath his blankets, he couldn’t even hear the other man’s breathing. Maybe he was a dead man, after all.

With night sweats.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prop 8 videos to be public

Yesterday, U.S. district chief judge James Ware rules that videos taken during the Prop 8 trial could be made public, though he did put a time stamp on it of September 30 to allow appeals to be made. While I'm glad that the truth is one step closer to coming out to the general public, I have to admit I'm disillusioned with how this entire debacle has come about in the first place.

I was one of the voters who stayed up until the wee hours of the morning tracking results when Prop 8 was first on the ballot. As a general rule, I don't get involved in politics, and I definitely don't bother debating or discussing most issues as most of the time, it's a complete waste of time. However, the blatant misinformation that Prop 8 supporters kept throwing around infuriated me. I had to listen to radio spots that outright lied about what the proposition was set to do, and I drove home more than once through supporters standing on street corners, proclaiming how without the proposition, schools would be forced to teach about homosexuality.

A load of rubbish, of course. Just like so many of the other ridiculous claims supporters made about why the gay marriage laws had to be removed from California legislation.

Supporters don't want the tapes publicized. They don't want people to see their own expert witness testify that gay marriage does nothing to infringe upon straight marriage. They don't want anybody to know just how weak their claims actually were, that their assertions were based on fear and religion rather than logic or facts. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that any appeal made fails, because this entire farce has gone on too long.

Partnerships are based on love, not gender. Relationships that withstand the test of time deserve to be recognized. Nobody has the right to tell two people who are ready to commit their lives to each other that it's wrong or that they don't deserve to have the same legal rights as another couple that happens to fit an outdated, narrow-minded definition of what a marriage should be.

With so much awfulness in the world already, why would anyone want to make it even more miserable by hurting people who only want to have their love be recognized as valid and lawful?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Giveaway - Under a Rock by India Harper

Half the reason I decided to try publishing in the first place is because of my very good friend, Philippa Grey-Gerou. Now, she writes a lot of stories collaboratively with Emery Sanborne, and one of their new releases just came out yesterday. So I'm excited about giving away a copy of it for this week's giveaway.


When his father crossed a powerful Mexican drug cartel, Keith Lewis lost everything—his identity, his way of life, and the freedom to live in the open. With a new name, Keith is now in witness protection, and his handler has brought him to the last place on Earth anyone would ever look for him: a cattle ranch in Montana. What Keith didn’t expect to find there was a handsome, tempting former Navy SEAL.

Tanner Bruenig retired to the Montana countryside to try his hand at ranching and savor the peace of hard work and few neighbors. When you’re former military and your cousin’s in the Marshals Service, however, it’s easy enough to get roped into providing a safe haven once in a while. Keith isn’t the first witness to shelter in Tanner’s house or to join him in his bed. But he may be the first one Tanner wants to keep there...

You can read an excerpt at Amber Allure.

All you have to do to enter is comment to this post. That's it. Next Monday at 9am PST, I'll choose a comment at random to win.

You don't need an account to leave a comment, but if you don't have one, please consider leaving an email address you can be contacted at. That guarantees I can get a hold of you in case you win.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

I've had an insane week, but at least I got my SSS up! Continuing with my Wranglers series, the third novella, The Defense Rests, finds Derek and Sam assigned to the same side of a case for the very first time, a move that creates more than a little friction between them.

“Fuck it up, and it’s going to make Rudy think twice the next time something comes along the pipeline. Don’t tell me I’m wrong.”

Derek looked even unhappier than he’d seemed at the office. “I didn’t ask for you to help me.”

“No, I did that all on my lonesome. Because in spite of what my mouth ran off with before, you’re important to me, whether you want to be or not.”


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giveaway Winner

It's Monday, which means it's time for me to announce a winner for last week's giveaway!

Well, even though it's got a gorgeous cover and sounds amazing, I only got two entries. So I've decided to give a copy to both people who entered.

Congratulations, John and Cate!

Expect an email from me very soon. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Hello, everyone! For the month of September, I'm featuring snippets from my gay lawyer series, Wranglers. Last week, you met Derek and Sam in the first story, Discovery. This week in Voir Dire, they've been sort-of dating for a while.

“That’s mine,” he said, then started when he realized he said it out loud. His eyes shot open to lock with Derek’s. The sheer lust in them proved his undoing, his balls tightening, his cock pulsing as he shot over his stomach.

In a flash, Derek was off the chair, across the room, climbing onto the bed to cover Sam’s hand with his own. Before Sam’s orgasm had even begun to subside, their mouths fused together in a tangle of tongues and teeth, and Derek sucked away his breath as they both stroked Sam’s cock. Sam vibrated from head to toe, his fingers sticky, his shaft stickier, but none of it was nearly as good as the taste of Derek’s lips, the expert way he pulled Sam in and made him forget the world even existed outside the heat of their bodies.


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New cover art

I got my cover art this week for my October m/m werewolf story. It's moody. I like. :)

Thomas Durling escaped his small-town upbringing for over ten years, until a single phone call drew him back. Told his mother has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, he returns to the small northern Michigan town he once called home to find a mute stranger taking care of her in his stead. On the surface, Andre seems harmless enough, but Thomas has enough problems trying to deal with his mother’s illness. He doesn’t need a gorgeous young man to distract him, especially in a town that drove him away once already with its homophobia.

But Andre has nowhere else to go. A wolf without a pack, he’s been on the run since witnessing his father’s murder, always looking over his shoulder, never looking ahead. Taking care of Thomas’s mother has given him a welcome sanctuary, as well as a place he can call home for a couple months. He wants to stay, but more importantly, he wants to help, even if Thomas isn’t ready to accept that they could actually be friends…

I'll keep you updated on this as the release date approaches.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall television

The first of my shows premiered this week - Sons of Anarchy, FTW! - which made me finally sit down with my Entertainment Weekly and figure out what I have to program into the DVR. I always feel like such a couch potato after I do this, lol.

Monday - Terra Nova (for the kids), House
Tuesday - Glee, Last Man Standing (for the hubby), New Girl, Ringer, Sons of Anarchy
Wednesday - Up All Night, Modern Family, X-Factor, CSI
Thursday - Bones
Friday - Fringe, CSI NY

I know some of those won't last. I'm only trying Ringer because I was a Buffy fan, and I don't have high hopes for a couple of the sitcoms. But I won't know until I try, right?

I do have a couple pouty faces regarding some missed opportunities, though.

For instance, I adore David Krumholtz to death, but why did he have to be on The Playboy Club?

As much as I love James Spader, I've never been able to enjoy The Office. I loved the UK version too much when it aired, and couldn't stop comparing it when it first started. Subsequent attempts to watch and enjoy have failed just as spectacularly.

Homeland should be on that list, because hello Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin! However, we don't get Showtime and in all honesty, I find it soooooooooo difficult to watch or read anything related to Afghanistan.

Of everything that's coming, I'm actually most excited about returning series. Bones and the baby? Sons of Anarchy and Jax's dream of getting out of the club? The fallout from Fringe's finale last year?

What's got you excited?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I'm in the middle of finishing my Christmas short for MLR, but since it's so short, I'd rather not pull anything from it. Instead, I'm going to post from All the Devils Here again, the sequel to Two Lives in Waltz Time. This is the first time Quin meets Colette, though they're both dreaming so neither realizes it's actually happening.

* * *


Sunlight dappled the sidewalk through the trees, scattering onto the grass to merge with the shadows. A flock of birds suddenly took off, their wings battering the air, but they were the only living things Quin could see, no matter which direction he turned. That wasn’t right, not for Central Park in the middle of the afternoon. The theater where they did the Shakespeare was around the bend, he realized, and he jogged the few feet necessary to reach the back entrance.

Empty seats, just like the rest of the park. But there, at center stage, sat the sultry young woman who’d been in his room with Maddy.

She sat with her legs stretched out in front of her, her head and torso angled back as she leaned on her hands. The sun turned her hair to golden honey, the curly ends trailing almost to the stage. She was oblivious to Quin’s approach, lost in her own world it would seem, but that simply meant he had freedom to watch her without either of them being self-conscious.

Her accent didn’t do her any favors, though neither did the nose stud. She looked like she should be running wild on the Highlands centuries earlier, with the wind whipping a long skirt around her legs and curvy hips, somehow out of time in an entirely different way than most of the women he’d grown up knowing. Not a shrinking violet, though, not with the flash of intelligence he’d seen in her brown eyes. This one would stand up for what she wanted, what she believed in, with her hands firmly on her hips, and her gaze locked with her opponent’s.

He realized he was semi-erect by the time he reached the edge of the stage.

“Hello,” he said, and knew immediately it was a dream. He’d spoken aloud. He hadn’t done that since Dubai.

She turned her head and immediately smiled. Like she’d been expecting him. “Yep. I knew it. The accent is to die for.”

“You mean you don’t know me?” That was a shame. He would have preferred some measure of familiarity in his own dream. Of course, considering how long it had been since he’d found any woman physically attractive enough to dream about, perhaps he should just be grateful she was there at all.

She rose and wiped her palms on the back of her black jeans, drawing his attention yet again to the swell of her hips. “Well, we haven’t been formally introduced.” She thrust her hand out to him, advancing a few steps closer. “Colette Weir. And you’re Quin, right?”

Though her grip was firm, his hand almost entirely engulfed hers, making him long for a moment to find out what else he could cover completely on her soft body. He let her go, but she caught his wrist and turned his palm upward, tracing over its hard calluses.

His pulse leapt. Such a simple contact shouldn’t have turned him on so much, but the contrast of the delicacy of her touch with the surety of each stroke was a tantalizing combination. “What were you doing in my hospital room?” he asked.

“I found you.”

“But why did you stick around?”

She looked up then, finally dropping his hand to stick hers in her back pockets. “Because you didn’t have anybody else.”

The innocent observation choked off the response he would have made. He turned out toward the empty seats, imagining what they would look like filled with a hungry audience, all eyes eagerly glued to the stage as the actors played out the story. His gaze drifted toward the section Cash had been in. Did he understand the irony of the play he’d chosen for their date? Probably not. But then, he didn’t seem to understand why Quin was there in the first place.

“Here.” Her small hand curled back around his, tugging him downward. He had little choice but to sit as she had been, with her legs stretched out beside him. “This is the best view in the house.”

Glancing at her perky profile, Quin wasn’t so sure about that. But in that moment, in this dream, he wouldn’t correct her. He wouldn’t tell her how grateful he was for her company, or how he liked the way her hair gleamed in the warm sunshine. He would take the comfort she offered and hold it close.

For all his mistakes, he refused to let his life signify nothing. And if he could find strength in a dream version of what was likely his guardian angel, then so be it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Blog Hop winner

First of all, thank you to everyone for making this blog hop so much fun! I got some great ideas for our next BBQ, and more than a few new recipes to try. Makes me glad I'm in California so we'll be grilling for a couple more months yet. :)

As a thank you for visiting, I'm awarding a free e-book to two of the commenters from my Labor Day post.

And the randomly selected winners are...Jacki C. and wendydbooks!

Wendy, I have your email so I'll be contacting you shortly.

Jacki, if you could email me at vivien_dean at yahoo.com, we'll get your prize sorted out!

Thanks again to everyone who commented!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Giveaway - Iron Dominance by Cari Silverwood

One of the genres that fascinates me is steampunk, so picking the book for this week's giveaway was a breeze. A long steampunk erotic romance with BDSM elements? Yes, please! Plus, the cover is gorgeous.

Raised from childhood as an assassin, Claire finds her world knocked off kilter when Theo Kevonis, a rich, ex-Air Corp nobleman, rescues her from an airship crash. Being a soldier of a hostile nation she cannot reveal her identity, but Theo sinks his steely Dom fingers into her heart and soul, showing her the pleasures to be found in surrendering to his touch. Captivated, Claire cannot help but bind herself in lie after lie rather than risk losing the one man who’s ever loved her.

When her loathsome commander returns from the dead, her deceit is uncovered. Somehow, Claire must find a way to win back Theo's trust and destroy the man who threatens them both.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and elements, violence.

You can read an excerpt at Loose Id.

All you have to do to enter is comment to this post. That's it. Next Monday at 9am PST, I'll choose a comment at random to win.

You don't need an account to leave a comment, but if you don't have one, please consider leaving an email address you can be contacted at. That guarantees I can get a hold of you in case you win.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Hello, everyone! For the month of September, I'm going to feature snippets from my gay lawyer series, Wranglers. Four stories, four Sundays...yeah, that works out well. :)

The first is called Discovery.

As soon as he realized he was responding to the kiss, Derek grabbed Sam’s shoulders and shoved him away. His lips felt blistered, and he could still taste Sam even after he dragged the back of his hand across his mouth.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he snarled.

The thumb Sam drew across the corner of his lips, wiping away a slight line of spit, shook. Derek was too attuned to everything about the other man to miss it, though.

“Down in Texas, we call it cutting past the crap...”


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labor Day Blog Hop

Welcome! It's Labor Day Weekend here in the US, which has come to mean one last long weekend to blow out the summer in style. For my family, that's beach time, boat time, and BBQ time.

Except I'm a fair-skinned Scandinavian who turns beet red in the sun in five minutes flat and prefers mountains to water. So my husband and kids get the boat and beach time, while I get blessed alone time.

The BBQ, however, that's very much my domain. The husband might take care of the actual grill, but I go nuts on what we're having and getting it ready. Our favorite ribs are these Hawaiian style ribs, the moistest, most delicious ribs I've ever had. They're pretty much the only ribs I'll eat anymore, because I'm so incredibly picky.

Today, I'm sharing one of my family's go-to BBQ recipes. My husband isn't a big fan of creamy stuff, so that pretty much rules out most potato salads the rest of us will eat, and I'm not a huge fan of macaroni salads. Other pastas, however...yum. This tortellini salad is versatile and so packed with flavor. Even my picky nine-year-old gobbles this down, complete with olives and spinach I can't get him to touch in other dishes.

Tortellini Salad


INGREDIENTS
1 9-oz package cheese tortellini
1 10-oz package fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup chopped salami
2 tbsp ranch vinaigrette (or Italian dressing)

DIRECTIONS
1. Cook pasta until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the vinaigrette.
3. Once thoroughly mixed, add dressing to coat.

NOTES: Serves 4. You don't have to worry about the spinach. The oil from the vinaigrette wilts it just enough.

If couscous is more your style, try this Mexican-inspired Black Bean and Couscous Salad. It's just as amazing.

So what are your favorite BBQ dishes? Leave a comment on this post and get a chance to win an e-book from my backlist. On Tuesday morning, I'm going to pick two winners. Plus, I've added a print copy of my Samhain time travel,Two Lives in Waltz Time, into the grand prize basket. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the tour!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Project Runway

I haven't laughed so much at an episode of Project Runway in a long time. Seriously. And probably not in a good way, because the challenge was executed so atrociously, the judging eye-roll-worthy, and the winner outrageous.

I loved the idea of the challenge, but I'm not surprised it fell flat. First of all, how condescending was Victor about having to work with a kid? Or Bert saying he liked his partner because he didn't talk? Though I laughed so hard at Laura's being so much more level-headed than her. It's sad commentary when the kids are the mature ones in the challenge.

I also don't understand why any of the designers thought it was a good thing when a teenager (or tween in some cases) said they'd go into a store and buy the dress right now. Um, did you miss the memo where it was supposed to be avant garde? Ready to wear is not what you're shooting for here.

None of the ones I liked were in the top/bottom six. In fact, I think Anya's was the best by far:



It was pretty, visually interesting, and doesn't look off the rack. The difference between this and Anthony's was execution and daringness. Anthony's might have been a pretty gown if he'd been able to make it not look like a craft table exploded in a static shower, but I just don't think it's avant garde. And the others...meh.

I'm not really looking forward to next week's. Another team challenge? Really? The show is milking the friction between everybody, which is really annoying. I just want to see pretty clothes, damn it!