Friday, February 28, 2014

Giveaway winner

Congratulations to Carla Krae for winning the sterling silver necklace! Be on the lookout for an email from me very soon.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Last day for giveaway

Today is the last day to comment on any post made since February 14 for a chance to win the sterling silver necklace I'm giving away to celebrate the release of Enthralled in Silver. It's really pretty, so don't lose out!

Also, I just had to share this brief NPR article about one of my favorite cartoonists ever. Bill Watterson of Calvin & Hobbes fame created a movie poster for a documentary about comic strips called Stripped. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Voice

I promise not to talk about musical reality programs all the time, but with The Voice starting up again, I couldn't resist just one more post. Because there's so much I love about this one:

  1. The judges. These guys are the reason AI changed its format this year. The camaraderie, the joking, the support...they are a joy to watch.
  2. Adam Levine. He makes me laugh so much. Plus pretty.
  3. Usher. I'll admit, I didn't have much of an opinion about Usher before he judged the first time, but he completely won me over then. He is not afraid of the tough love and tells his singers what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
  4. The performances tend to be a lot more polished than what AI has been putting out the past few years. Already, there have been some real standouts.
Why on earth is everybody having so many problems staying in their seats this season? Adam and Shakira keep standing up in the middle of performances.

My favorite performance so far:


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday tidbits

Just a quick drive-by because I'm buried in deadlines right now:

1. People are idiots. This morning, two different cars passed a stopped school bus in front of me (stopped with both the sign and red lights flashing), while kids were getting on. Yes, high school kids, but that's no reason to ignore the bus.

2. Speaking of stupid drivers, I had right away at a four-way yesterday, but the car next to me didn't agree and then flipped me off when I kept on going rather than yield to his asshattery. I don't understand that kind of impatience.

3. My kids will not stop listening to the Frozen soundtrack. It's starting to drive me crazy.

4. Speaking of Frozen, I learned Josh Gad improvised a lot of his lines which only makes me love him more.

5. ...and that the composers also did Book of Mormon, which makes me love them more, too.

6. And because I'm still in a funk over all the deaths recently, I'm posting a picture of just one more reason why I'm so excited about the upcoming Outlander on Starz:


Monday, February 24, 2014

What if there were no tomorrow...

The news about Harold Ramis dying has left me grieving for one of America's comedy giants.

Tonight, I'll be watching Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, silently thanking him for sharing his talent with the world.

My favorite scene from Groundhog Day seems more than a little poignant right now:


Thank you, Mr. Ramis, for everything you gave us.

Friday, February 21, 2014

American Idol, top 13

Well, they've been decided. And I have to say, unless someone comes out and really wows me, I probably won't blog too much about the American Idol contestants this year. I like a lot of the people who made it to the top 13, but there's nobody who really gets me all excited like in previous years.

If I had to rank them today, I'd probably do it like this:

  1. Alex Preston
  2. Dexter Roberts
  3. MK Nobilette
  4. Majesty Rose
  5. Jena Irene
  6. Malaya Watson 
  7. Caleb Johnson
  8. Jessica Meuse
  9. Emily Piriz
  10. Sam Woolf
  11. C.J. Harris
  12. Ben Briley 
  13. Kristen O'Connor

I don't think for a second this will stick, though, because I'm kind of surprised that Alex is my favorite.

Who do you like best?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

American Idol, top 10 boys

Thank god the boys were better than the girls. I would've given up on the show this year, otherwise. I still don't have anyone I'm "ohmigod they have to win!" about, but at least I enjoyed the boys' performances more.

  1. Caleb - There's a reason Caleb went first. They needed someone with that kind of energy to kick things off and give people hope that the show was going to be better than the girls' snoozefest. And it worked, for the most part. Caleb's not original, and there is no way he will ever win this competition, but he's not what they're looking for at all and I'll bet anything he's fully aware he's better off not winning anyway and doing this for the exposure and extra step into the business. This guy belongs in a band. He'll be fun to watch, and he's more polished and professional than some of the others so he should stick around for a while.
  2. CJ - I liked CJ before last night, but as soon as the spotlight turned on him and I saw he had the guitar after he was basically told not to use it, I knew he was in trouble. I really think Adam and Chris have been giving the contestants some excellent advice, and when they choose not to listen to it, it's to the contestant's detriment. Compared to the girls, it was pretty good, but it was far from his best performance. Which is a shame because I really, really like him and what he could do.
  3. Emmanuel - I'll just come out and say it. I fully believe this guy has only made it this far because the judges really enjoy his personality in person. Most of the time when he opens his mouth to sing, I cringe. Last night was no different. It was all over the place, and the fact that he kept running out of breath because he couldn't manage the physical side of the performance didn't help at all. I'll admit I got annoyed with JLo for giving him another chance to sing a snippet afterward to show why she loves him so much, because she didn't let any of the others do it. He had a chance to win us over. He shouldn't get another one.
  4. Sam - He picked a great song, perfectly suited for his style and voice. As a vocal performance, it was well done, but as nice as Sam is, I find him a tad forgettable. I think that's a part of what Harry was referencing in hoping he gets more confidence. I remember the singing. I just don't remember him until he comes back on stage again.
  5. George - I don't remember George at all before last night, and his performance of "Grenade" didn't help to get positive attention from me. I kept thinking of that line from Amadeus, "Too many notes." It felt shrieky and all over the place.
  6. Dexter - Of the three country boys who sang together during group week, Dexter is and always has been my favorite. I'm not a country fan, but I could listen to him all day. He's got enough texture to his voice to be interesting without being too much. I want him to go through badly, but really, I think if he formed a country trio with Ben and Casey like they had during group week, he'd do a lot, lot better in the industry as a whole. They were great together, and there's not a glut of them on the market.
  7. Alex - Ah, Alex. I really like this guy. A lot. He reminds me of Philip Phillips in some ways, just doing what he does because he knows who he is and not really caring about conforming to some unknown ideal. He lacks Philip's charm and ease, but I'm seriously hoping that he learns how to get more comfortable on camera because I want him to do well. He will never be a stadium performer - that's not who he is - but he deserves a long, solid career.
  8. Malcolm - Another guy I don't really remember, and after this performance, wonder why he got picked over some of the others. He wasn't comfortable, the singing was all over the place, and even JLo told him he fell short.
  9. Ben - There was no way they weren't going to put Ben in the top 10 after America voted for him. As a performance, it was fairly solid and more than welcome to see someone in better control than the guy before him. Ben's problem is that he's competing against Dexter and CJ for votes, pretty much. Of the three, he's my least favorite, and I'm not sure he's going to make it through.
  10. Spencer - The camera loves this kid. It really does. When he picks the right material, like when he accompanied himself on the piano to "Say Something" during Hollywood week, he's gold. Last night? Not gold. I think he's still a sure thing for the top 10, though. He's pretty, he *can* sing for the most part, and the girls love him. People have built careers on less.

My top 5, based on tonight's performances:
1. Dexter
2. Alex
3. Caleb
4. Sam
5. Spencer

I wouldn't mind seeing Ben or CJ take one of those spots, but George, Emmanuel and Malcolm just didn't cut it for me.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

American Idol, top 10 girls

I have one word for most of the girls who performed last night.

Snore.

Plus having the girls sing after sitting on nerves waiting to find out if they've been picked? Bad idea. Most of them couldn't handle it and broke down when it came to singing. Not one girl last night had an ohmigod performance for me, and only one really made me feel like she was genuine and deserved to be there. I'll pick my top five, but honestly, only because I feel like I have to.

  1. Majesty - I've liked her since her audition (though it always freaks me out when I find out she's older than I think, lol), and while this was an okay performance from her, it ends up standing out more because so many others didn't.
  2. Kristen - First off, she shouldn't have sung Adele. She can't do it. Second, she bores me to to tears.
  3. Briana - She's a local girl, so we're rooting for her on that behalf, but while she can sing, she's not really a performer, is she?
  4. Jena - I like the idea of Jena more than the reality. She had some good moments with "Paint It Black," but when Harry called her on what the song meant, it really highlighted a problem with most of the female contestants this time around. They have no idea what they're singing about and so it comes across as very artificial.
  5. Bria Anai - She may look like a pop star, but she doesn't sound like one. I cringed through most of this performance.
  6. Marrialle - Another one who looked like a pop star, but she's had voice issues since Hollywood. 
  7. Jessica - I like Jessica's voice and her confidence, but I have to admit, I don't like her. She's rubbed me the wrong way since Hollywood, and I'm finding it difficult to shake, even though I preferred her performance over others last night.
  8. Emily - One of the stronger vocals of the night, but another one where she doesn't know who she is and what she's really singing. 
  9. MK - This was my favorite performance of the night. Her vocal wasn't perfect by a longshot, but there was an authenticity to her that everybody else lacked. 
  10. Malaya - She's another of my favorites from auditions, and while this wasn't great - too over the top and uncontrolled for the song, I felt - I still like her. She's quirky and fun, and she's got mad potential.

My top 5, based on tonight's performances:
1. MK
2. Majesty
3. Jena
4. Jessica
5. Malaya

I wouldn't mind seeing Emily or Brianna make it through because they've got the vocal chops, but Bria, Marrialle, and Kristen have got to go.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An excerpt from Enthralled in Silver

Want to read more about my m/m/f, Enthralled in Silver? Here's an excerpt, where Claire meets Seth, one of the two men who will change her life:


His features were finely carved, almost delicate—a sharp blade of a nose, a shallow dimple beneath the high arch of his left cheekbone. Though his skin was dark, his eyes were the palest of amber, haunting and piercing at the same time. They were framed by the thickest lashes she’d ever seen on a man. He regarded her in silent inquiry as she tried not to stare.

At least she wasn’t openly checking out his trim body. Courtesy of her graphic fantasies, she already knew what it looked like under his crisp white shirt and tailored black pants. She knew how many ridges she’d be able to count on his abdomen, that his bellybutton was an innie, that his cock was uncut.

Though they’d been intense, she’d assumed her dreams had been simple erotic releases. Everybody had them, so it made sense to believe hers were the product of a fertile imagination and fierce hormones. The living, breathing, gorgeous proof they were more than that now stood in front of her, prompting questions about how it could be possible for the Pavaro magic to manifest in her when she’d always been taught it followed the male lineage alone.

“Can I help you?” he said.

Her brain stuttered. His voice was more molten in real life than it had been on the phone. Heat crawled its way down her neck, along her spine, seeping out along her limbs to melt them into near-uselessness.

“Claire Pavaro,” she blurted. “I have an appointment with Ms. Rieke.”

For a split second his pupils dilated and his nostrils flared. Just as quickly, it disappeared, his smile warming to the point where she wondered if she’d imagined it. “Ah that’s right. We spoke on the phone.” He held out his hand. “Seth Lancour. I’m Celeste’s personal assistant.”

The naughty voice in the back of her head had more than one idea about what duties she’d demand from Seth if he were her personal assistant, but she managed to slap a muzzle on it before it got her into real trouble. “I know I’m early.” She slipped her hand into his. “It’s a chronic condition.”

A twinkle appeared in his pale eyes. “I hear they have treatments for that these days.”

She laughed, in spite of her discomfort with her attraction to him. “I’d probably be too early for that too.”

*_*_*_*

Don't forget that any comment left on the blog from now until 2/28 will be eligible to win my sterling silver necklace giveaway!



Monday, February 17, 2014

Giveaway!

In conjunction with my new release from Ellora's Cave, I'm giving away a sterling silver handcrafted necklace with a Celtic triquetra design very similar to what Seth and Simon are branded with in Enthralled in Silver.

Created by Monique, the owner of the Etsy shop LifeofSilver, it's on a sterling silver 18-inch rope chain, and the pendant is sterling silver as well.

All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment on any post made in my blog from now through the end of the month. On March 1, I'll select a winner at random from everybody who's commented.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Release day!

It's finally here!

Enthralled in Silver is now out at Ellora's Cave!

I love this story. It's hot, it's got two guys who just want the freedom to be together, and a woman who discovers the passion she's been missing in her life. Don't believe me? Check out the blurb:
For over half a century, lovers Seth and Simon have been trapped in service to one of the most dangerous vampires on the West Coast—who abuses them severely when she’s displeased. When they discover there’s a way to break the spell that binds them, getting free becomes their only desire.
Until they meet Claire, the granddaughter of the mage who enslaved them. Suddenly, seducing her seems like a much more pleasurable alternative. If they can convince her to use the magic she inherited, everybody wins.
All they have to do is survive long enough to make it happen.
There's a hot excerpt at Ellora's Cave, too. Check it out!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tips across the spectrum

Lifehacker had an excellent article yesterday on how to start exercising when you're already overweight. It has the added benefit of having a lot of really useful comments as well as being an insightful article. I'd recommend it to anyone who is struggling with losing weight or getting motivated to move.

But reading over the highlights of the tips, and really, they can be applied to almost anything. Like writing. I mean, look at them:

1. Cut yourself some slack. I have friends who never finish anything they start. That's because they spend all their time trying to polish what they've already written and ignoring commentary that a first draft is almost never, ever the final draft. Expect that it's not going to be perfect the first time through, and it's a lot easier to get the words out.
2. It's a skill you improve at, not a thing you just "do." Nobody knows all the rules when they start. This goes hand in hand with cutting yourself some slack. Expect to learn along the way.
3. Find something you enjoy and start from there. Frankly, I don't really understand why people write for the market and not for themselves, and yet I know writers who do. If you don't love what you're writing, that's going to come through, and really, why waste the time and effort? Life's too short.
4. Focus on what you can do right now, not the finish line. This reminds me of performing in college. One of the hardest things I ever had to get a grip on when I was acting was perform for the moment you're in, not for the ones coming up. If you're always looking forward, you don't see where you are. Plus, you end up judging yourself by other people when we're all so different. Just because Joe can write three thousand words in a day doesn't mean you can. Don't place other people's standards on yourself.
5. Don't do it alone. Getting feedback on your work prior to publication can give you necessary distance to see problems or questions. It can bolster you when you're feeling down. It can celebrate with you when you succeed.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Legos and books

I saw this link over at Dear Author and just have to share, because it combines one of the things that has been all over my life this last week with my daughter's birthday, with my favorite thing in the world: Legos and books!

With the release of the Lego movie, the staff at Waterstones created famous scenes from books with Legos to put on display. Some of these are just so much fun, especially Pride and Prejudice. Go check it out!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas

One of the first books I finished this year as part of my annual reading challenge was a memoir from 2006 called A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas. The title and blurb are misleading. It's not really about dogs, nor is it truly about her husband and the tragic, random accident that left him with severe brain trauma. This is about Abby, a woman with children and grandchildren, settled in her ways, learning how to live and cope with the reality of being married to a man she both recognizes and doesn't, how to cope with loss and change, without losing herself in the process.

It was stunning.

The prose is simple and clean, very fast and easy to read in that respect, and yet there are observations scattered throughout the book that made me both love and hate her ease with words. She writes in present tense, using a non-linear method that in many ways is indicative of the way her husband's brain works. His injuries have taken away his past, as well as made his behavior erratic, so without being able to remember anything for more than five minutes (seemingly, some incidents are startlingly  insightful and a little eerie), he lives in the now. The author recreates that in her voice, her anecdotes jumping around from then to now to when she got the second dog, the first.

It won't be everybody's cup of tea. The key is most likely that you have to like and identify with Abby just a little bit in order to appreciate it best. She is funny and sad and insightful and very, very human, which means she is also a little bit selfish and harshly honest about her own fallibility. It also doesn't ever really resolve much of anything, because let's face it, life doesn't do that most of the time.

But I didn't care. I loved it.        

Monday, February 10, 2014

The ultimate product placement movie

So my family and I went to see the Lego movie over the weekend, much like a lot of other people in the US if the sales figures are accurate. It was my daughter's birthday weekend, and she's been clamoring to see it ever since we saw the first trailer. When that was what she wanted more than anything else, I could hardly say no to all of us going.

And...I liked it. True to form, a lot of the really funny bits are in the trailers, but I laughed out loud in quite a few places, and I walked out of the theater with a smile on my face. A big part of that is because of the last fifteen minutes, which were both quite clever and obvious after the fact. It's frenetic and loud and bright, but that's half the point, and for essentially being a feature-long commercial for Legos, manages to do so without being too annoying.

Except for that damn "Everything Is Awesome" song. It was cute the first time. But my family is still singing it a day later and it's driving me crazy.

I'm not so sure it's as smart as everybody keeps saying. I've seen smarter satire, but for a kids' movie, it works well. The absolute best part of the movie is that there are a ton of teeny surprises in it that made me squeal in delight. Details that don't really have much to do with the story but play up to the kid who grew up with Legos in all of us.

Did you see it? What did you think?

Friday, February 7, 2014

One week to my release!

Only one week until Enthralled in Silver comes out! I'm getting excited about it to say the least. I'm going to be doing a giveaway when it happens, a beautiful sterling silver Celtic triquetra necklace that's much like the silver emblem my boys need to wear:

Isn't it pretty? But more on that when the story comes out, though.

In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My new Fitbit

I caved to what all my friends are doing. I bought myself a Fitbit.


Spending so much time on the computer means I have to force myself to move sometimes, and I'm hoping this is going to help. After talking to everyone and getting their insight, I ended up getting the basic zip one. I don't need a device to tell me how I'm sleeping. I know that all too well.

I'm on day one, so it's too early for me to have much of an opinion except that the hardest part so far was putting the thing together. I ended up passing over all five pieces to my husband (the holder, the device, the battery, a black thing that ended up being to open the back of the device, and the clear plastic piece that it came in), and making him put it together. I'm curious about your experiences, though. Who's had success with a Fitbit? Who's had frustrations? Share!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Almost Human

So who out there is watching Almost Human? I've been getting caught up on it and really enjoying it so far. It's got a ton of things going for it, like:

  • Karl Urban. I would watch this man in anything. I love his wry tone and he's hot as hell.
  • Lili Taylor. I know she's worked steadily in TV for the past fifteen years, but never in something that I actually watched, but I have loved, loved, loved her since Mystic Pizza and Say Anything came out. She was One of Us, not the prom queen who got all the boys but the funny or the smart one--and often both--who made you cheer right along with her. Her Captain Maldonado is nuanced and intriguing. I love what they're doing with her so far.
  • Michael Ealy. I saw him in Last Vegas playing Morgan Freeman's son right before Almost Human aired, and spent the whole movie trying to figure out why the man looked so familiar. Oops. His acting is capable enough, but right now, I'm watching him for the pretty. Because look at him!
  • The banter. The chemistry between Ealy and Urban, as well as their banter (especially when they're stuck in the car together), is fun and off the charts. I've laughed a lot with this show, which is always a good sign.
  • Mackenzie Crook. His character might be a stereotype, but I love the chance to see him doing something smart.
Are you watching? What do you think?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Release Date!!!


I got the release date for my m/m/f menage, Enthralled in Silver, over the weekend. And it is...

FEBRUARY 14!

How is that for perfect? Valentine's Day for my hot, romantic menage. I couldn't have picked a better date myself.

To read the blurb and an early excerpt, head over to Ellora's Cave and check it out!