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Squee! Good News!

Happy Friday everyone!

I’m so excited—I’ve got TWO big news-bits to tell—and I have to share NOW so I can get back to my “happy dancing” so I can settle in for the java and get to work .

First, I just signed the contract for the fourth installment of Persephone Alcmedi’s story! It will be called Arcane Circle. WOO-HOO!

Second, somehow my publisher Simon & Schuster/Pocket/Juno has acted in that vast labyrinth known as Publishing-Things-that-Happen-though-I-Don’t-Understand-How and sold foreign rights of the first three Persephone books to a German publisher. How do you say “Groovy!” in German?

C’mon, Happy Dance with me! And have a FANTASTIC weekend!
Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

COOKIES

I received the most adorable invitation in the mail and it is mega-cool in 3 ways--a feat that your average piece of mail simply cannot compete with.

First, this thing was hand made. HAND MADE. Read that again. HAND MADE. Someone, in this busy world of ours, someone with small children, took the time to MAKE this adorable invitation.

Second, this is well done. Did you notice the little cookies? The detail on the gingerbread man? Maybe you can't see it in this picture, but OMG, is he cute! Being totally artsy myself, this is one of those things I can point to and say, "That is awesome," with a certainty that you should all simply accept. :-) For clarity, I have sons, not daughters, so 'scrapbooking' and this kind of craftiness is...well it's not going to happen in my world. So, when I see this, it's special. It's not just a paper card or invitation. It's a show of talent that speaks of time-taking and care. It's technically still just paper and ink, but somehow it's...warmer.

And third, I've been invited to a cookie exchange. I've never been invited to a cookie exchange. I love to bake. Cookies, brownies, cakes, cookies, and oh, did I mention cookies? (Notice pies are not in that list...) I make oatmeal scotchies with chocolate chips and pecans that my kids swear should be sold in stores. And that is high praise coming from the Oreo fiends I'm raising.

But back to the cookie exchange. This is such a no-brainer idea--whoever you are, wherever you are, get your friends together and do this! (That's an order.) You won't have to get the various supplies to make a bunch of different kinds of cookies, and you won't have to go through and clean the mixer and the beaters a dozen times. Once. Once. And then: you get to have a party and see all those friends before the busy-ness of the season sets in, yet you have your snack stash ready whenever anyone comes calling! (Perhaps freeze a variety of cookies is separate baggies and pull out a baggie to thaw when you know someone's coming!) This is one of the most brilliant things ever and I am delighted to have been invited. (Thank you, S!)

Imagine how YOUR friends would feel if you spear-headed such brilliance as this in your circle and invited them? Even if they're not bakers per se, they can do the cookie dough roll from the store and add little candies to the top or something, right? Cookies can be as easy or as involved as you want them to be. You choose. And since the holidays are about spending time with the people who matter to you, combine them.

There you have it, my nudge towards peace and goodwill in the name of cookies.

Tags:

Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

Working on...


The leaves are raked. Let me say I love my boys, they are typically wonderful helpers. The youngest, we'll call him Future Stunt Man, was up this morning, breakfasted, and ready to rake WAY before I was. But I consented, only half way through my peppermint-choco-java fix . We raked. He's a dandy little fella. 

Other than taking advantage of this fabulous weather to do the outside work today, I've been deciding on a con schedule for next year, and updating the website for a big reveal late next month to celebrate the coming release of Hallowed Circle. Yes, we're almost there! (It's available for pre-order...as is Fatal Circle, the third installment for the Circle Series.) I'm working on book four...we'll keep the title a secret for now... HA HA! And also doing a little work on a side project-mwahahaha! Yeah, I'm chugging that much coffee.

Tags:

Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

My Doctor's Excuse...


Word of the Day: remissness. "Negligence in the performance of work or duty." I, people, have been remiss with my duty to this blog. I can't believe it's been over 3 weeks since I posted something. YIKES. Here's my Official Doctor's excuse:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 








So. Deadlines are met, for now. Book four is being plotted, titles bandied about, and --doctor's orders-- I purchased a new pouch of Millstone or Mills Brothers or whatever coffee Kroger carries. Chocolate Velvet. Mmmm. Ever have a piece of Red Velvet Cake? YUM! My ma makes the BEST. I make 'em quite good myself. But this java, with my usual additions, OMG! Tasty.

Speaking of coffee...I have a funny story to share:

Long ago, when I attended OSU Mansfield, my afternoon classes were in--gasp--English. Specifically creative writing. (Another gasp, huh?) And though I enjoyed the classes, I also enjoyed good java. So I always brought my own cup from home. Now, granted, I'm a mom of four and not your 'traditional' student at this time. Meaning I'm not a twenty-something. One day, as one of these nice young girls held her paper coffee-machine cup in her hand, she asked me, "Why do you bring coffee from home? I mean, there's a coffee machine downstairs in the cafeteria. It's hot and it's cheap. Doesn't that get cold?"

My answer: "Yeah, but honey the coffee machine downstairs doesn't add a splash of Kahlua." I take a drink and 'ahhh' appropriately.

That's me being a Rock & Roll Bad Influence. In my own little way.

Tags:

Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

I'm Bad. Again.

I should be posting more. I know. I should finish up th Tarot thing I started. I know. But I have really good excuses. Not only did  I have to recoup from Dragon Con, I was hit with an allergy attack, and I have a major deadline. But this past weekend rocked, got over 6,000 words written and am ready to wrap up book three, FATAL CIRCLE and have time to tidy it up nicely so the wonderful editor won't knock me over the head for using certain words too many times. :-)

I'll be back to the Tarot as a Story Prompt thing soon!
Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

Things I Heard at Dragon Con...


Finally recouping from the event, I am able to blog about it and I must say...I had an absolute BLAST (no Star Wars/Star Trek pun intended) at my first ever Dragon Con. As the picture below may show, my grin couldn't be stopped. That's my writing-group pal Laura Bickle in the white wig--her fabulous book EMBERS will be out next spring. Conan the Barbarian didn't know how close to doom he truly was with a giddy writer on each arm.















This is a list of phrases I randomly heard in wandering amid the 20,000+ folks at Dragon Con:


"Respect the Codpiece." (Okay, so this one wasn't actually random. Gary of the Ambiguously Gay Duo --SNL-- said this to me.)

"You sooo wouldn't look gay in that shirt."

"I love seeing celebrities. It makes me feel like I'm somewhere important."

"I found Jesus. Twice! And he's a mean drunk."

"Was it good for you, or not?"

"F**k Delta Airlines."

"If you cut the zombie penguins, I quit."

"These panels always make me feel dumb and inobservant."

"I haven't been dumpster diving since college."

"Let me exterminate you with my love."

"No matter what it looks like, it's not a hangover. It's con fatigue."

**Mumbled by man taking photo of man in Alien costume: "I bet his nuts are sweatier than mine."



This was Dracula, a dream come true meeting (please just ignore the mood-killing restroom sign over our heads). Allow me to clarify, that is not camera shake creating that blurriness. There was something mystical and dreamy about the experience. I felt blurry in Vlad's presence and it had nothing to do with the margarita.






 

And here is the Holy Grail of Pirates...Captain Hook.

 

And last but not least, Davy Jones, who--as fate would have it, shares his name with one of the Monkees. He is, if you recall the movie, a musician as well. Not recognizing my groupie attitude, he politely reminded me that he could move each of his tentacles individually, as if I didn't know he's wicked awesome on the pipe organ. (That was not intended as a smutty reference but as I type it, yeah, I find myself venturing there...).

Tags:

Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

Context and Dragon Con

Just a reminder, I'll be at Context in Columbus Ohio (2 panels, signing, reading) this weekend. Next weekend I'll be at Dragon Con in Atlanta. Non-guest panelists are not named in the brochure, but they confirmed me to sit in on the Tarot panel, so COOL! I'm SOOO looking forward to meeting a bunch of FFF authors there and many readers!

Cheers!
Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

TAROT as Story Prompts, part 4


 Today, in this sporadic little blog series, (apologies...tis the season of Backtoschool, and during Backtoschool, there volcano Kidsindenial always erupts) I'm going to take the cards so far and develop a storyline. A decidedly NOT urban fantasy one but I think you'll see how it can work. And, today's card is the 4 of cups.
 


Recap:

 
6 of Cups : past dreams tested
TOWER : breakdown of structure
10 of Swords : difficulty at an end
3 of Wands/FOOL : new journey with potential and a risk
4 of Cups : dissatisfaction
 
Ooooo. Dissatisfaction. Sing with me, the old Rolling Stone's...Can't get no...dissatisfaction.
Yeah, silly. I know. But in a story, there has to be some bumps. If it's all happy-happy its probably a false--I mean embellished--autobiography. Conflict is interesting and character building because we see how the character deals with it. Stir things up!
 
Let's build this thing. (Build yours any way you want. Mine below are examples. Use your imagination!!!) First, I say I have a female protagonist. We'll call her Jane. 
 
6 of Cups: Past dreams tested...let's give her a past that's decidedly NOT happy happy, but could have been. HER PAST: Jane was a dancer. She had great dreams, but she fell and badly broke her leg missing her Big Opportunity, and in the recovery months, she let it go due to depression, false friends, and parents who wanted her to be a nurse. She met a guy, Adam, we'll say a man with a high-stress job and a penchant for drinking too much. He's abusive.
 
TOWER: breakdown of structure Here, she sees an opportunity. The dance studio in town is hiring, or is for sale, or the owner sees her and, remembering how she used to dance, offers to let Jane take over teaching a few classes, with the promise of selling the studio to her as this owner is looking to retire... Jane tells Adam. He laughs at her. Tells her she's stupid for even thinking she'd know how to teach anyone to dance. (Maybe she still walks with a limp and a cane...) She hates him, but he is her only means of support because she never finished nursing school. She sees that she's stuck and prays for way out. A week later, he gets drunk and beats her up, bad. He says terrible things to her, demeaning things. He goes to get more liquor and wraps his car around a tree.
 
10 of Swords: difficulty at an end Abusive Adam is dead. But she grieves him. And there was no insurance, no savings, no means to pay the mortgage. And now no car. She has to ride a bike everywhere or get rides or ride the bus or something. She considers the dance thing again. In the past week, the dance studio owner has suffered a heart attack. Is hospitalized, and not expected to recover. The studio is closed. Jane wants to re-open it, start her own cash-flow, but now there's no one to teach her the ropes and gradually let her take over. She wants to take action, to do something, but the evidence of Adam's abuse rises in her self-doubts as her own thoughts take on his voice "You're too stupid to make it work." etc.
 
3 of Wands/FOOL : new journey with potential and a risk  Jane sees the means to make her future work in this dance studio. But she has no business sense, hasn't danced in years, and uses a cane now...how to instruct when she can't display the moves herself? She goes to the bank and works out the details of a loan to re-open the dance studio and use the house as collateral. The bank's loan officer takes the paperwork submitted and says they'll consider the loan, etc. She could lose her house if they accept and the studio doesn't work out.
 
4 of Cups : dissatisfaction Now, as this card is about emotional dissatisfaction, let's give her alot. Mwahahhahahahaaha! The dance studio owner dies, another funeral to attend. There, she overhears people talking about another local person with serious clout, who has revealed his desire to acquire the dance studio space for his own, and he intends to make it a bar, or a strip club, or some other kind of establishment that is anti-kid, or un kid-friendly. This gives Jane another reason to fight, for the benefit of the kids at the studio, but this guy's clout makes him seem an obvious better choice by the bank. AND, let's say the bank's loan officer is an old flame of hers, who she is not interested in. He's married, has kids--daughters who used to be students atthe dance hall--and during the time filling out papers, he was making advances on her. She needs him to say yes to her loan...whatever will she do?
 
Heh heh heh heh. Ain't this fun?
 

Tags:

Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

TAROT as Story Prompts, part 3


Okay, so I didn't call it Tarot as Story Prompts before, but dang it, I didn't plan this. It's just kinda happening so I'm rollin' with it. Hope it triggers some creativity in somebody out there!

So, if you haven't read the previous posts, go back and read them.Yes, in honor of back-to-school season, this is your homework. Go on. I'll be here when you get done. I'll play a game of 4 card Spider Solitare while I wait....

Oh, you're back. Good. You know the character you've started has had a rough patch. So what's next? Here's what we have today.


 
 
Three of wands.


 
 
and the Fool.
 
Why two? Because that's what I wanted. I drew one, then to clarify, drew another and combined them. When using the Tarot as prompts, as often in life, you do what works.
 
 
Let's say the 3 of Wands tells us that there is hard work ahead, that the foundation for this work is already complete, and some early success indicates this project has real potential. YAY! Happy things for this character. Then add in he Fool, which represents a new phase of life(works with the 3 of Wands), but the clarifying element here is this: this new phase of life is one that comes with a risk. It means your character has to jump into the journey whole-heartedly...yet this character can see how she (your character may be a he, but I'll use she pronouns here) is either going to land wonderfully, or trip over her own feet and look foolish.
 
The point is this: Regardless of the landing, she's jumped. The journey has begun.
 
Easy enough, right? Character has bad things happen, she deserves an upturn. But it's not all cake. Here's an opportunity to reinforce that character, to define her...after disclosing the pain of that falling Tower card, the character's risk here should hearken back to that time and bear a resemblance to it. Even better is if this moment can call her to prove that the lesson was learned, or show that it wasn't.
 
C'mon now, the creative wheels are turning. Get out your paper or a new document and start writing down some notes. Go back to the other posts and start building a character and her story. You might be surprised what you get.
 
I'm going to use an example in my next post, so stay tuned.
Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.

Ten of Swords + STORY PROMPT



The Ten of Swords is the card that indicated the end of some difficult situation is at an its ending point. The pain suffered through that ending is acknowledge here, but implies that the road before you--if you've learned what you were supposed to learn--can be travelled with less conflict.
 
Think about the previous post's card...the Tower. Did it inspire some character for you? What happens when that positive turn toward the goal is the painful falling of the Tower? Now...what happens when the smoke clears? What goal is left for that character? Get them started forward. And make us wonder if they've learned that lesson...
Look for VICIOUS CIRCLE July 2009 from Juno / Pocket Books (www.juno-books.com) HALLOWED CIRCLE to be released in January 2010.