Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Ah, have you noticed that Halloween costumes for women are sexy as hell, but the costumes for men are, well, anything but. It seems as if the guy doesn't have the sexiness to begin with, there's not much help for him.  Too bad.


Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shopping Site!

Okay, I usually don't out-of-the blue tell people to go shopping at any particular store or site. Most stores have very similar items anyway.

Not this time, though.

You have to check out I just ordered a birthday present for someone from here that I know I would probably not be able to find anywhere else. In addition, you can custom order.

Even if you don't order, you'll love simply browsing around the site.

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday! I'm off now to catch up with Sookie (yes, I am very behind in watching, but I am in the 3rd season already) and catch some zzz's. It's been a rough day today. Later!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Icky Monday!

It's Monday again, and I have news for you: Icky Mondays are not reserved for office people! Years back, ages ago, when I was an office worker, our favorite way to begin the week was to bemoan the Monday issues.

That life is nothing compared to my life of today. After the mess of three kids, schoolwork, lesson plans, housework, cooking something edible, edits, wip to complete, a home-bound husband, a dog that digs too much, a cat that wants out too much, and RAIN to force us all indoors...whew. I'd almost take that office Monday any day.

One thing keeps me going through days like today. Every Monday (or any icky day) comes with an evening, a bedtime, and then time for me. Ahhhh. I so look forward to the "me" time. Don't you?

Hope your Monday's happy!   

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Camping I Will Go...

This weekend I am braving the great outdoors with my family to go camping. No, not the RV or pop-up camper type camping, but the fabric tents and sleeping bag type camping. Do I look forward to this? In a way. I love being outdoors and being with my family, so that's not such a bad thing. On the other hand, things like bathrooms will be a joke, and I'm already girding myself for the whiny-kid syndrome which will definitely hit five minutes into the trip.

Do you know what I'll miss the most? My books and my computer. Reading will be a near impossibility so I'm not even going to try. And as for the computer - would you take a laptop into the raw woods? I don't think so. I will, however, carry a trusty spiral notebook and some pens with me. They may not get used as our weekend's packed, but I almost always carry paper around with me as you never know when a good idea will hit or when that sticky plot point will work itself out.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you next week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yummy Treats

The past several days have been a flurry, among other things, of getting ready for Halloween. Personally, I feel kinda "eh" with a shrug, about the holiday. Sure it's fun and can be exciting. I like the rockin' costume parties as much as anyone, but mostly, nowadays, it's all about the kids.

For the past two weeks, every single day I hear, several times, variations on the following. If you have kids, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Them: "Mom, when can we get out the Halloween decorations?"
Me, while I'm making dinner: "Soon."

Them: "Mo-om, how many more days to Halloween?"
Me, while I'm balancing the checkbook: "I don't know. Soon."

Them: "Mommy, you said we'd put up the decorations." This, of course, being said at bedtime. "Let's do it now."
Me, while I'm struggling with getting my 4 year old into pajamas: "Soon. Maybe tomorrow."

And so it goes. There is no way I am going to forget any holiday or event with my constant personal reminders. And they don't even take batteries!

Bu-ut, there is one part of the holiday, or any holiday, I love. The cooking parts. Whether it's the big meals or the once-a-year side dishes or the fantastic desserts, I absolutely love pulling together different ingredients to create something delicious or even amazing.  (The amazing parts don't always work, but I try :)

Today, I want to share two recipes I worked on over the weekend that turned out rather well. Especially if you have little ones and don't mind a temporary sugar overload, give these a try:

Chocolate Covered Bugs:

  • Caramels, unwrapped and worked into flat disc (or other) shapes
  • Red licorice sliced very thin
  • Chocolate chips, melted (I used the ready-to-dip chocolate found in the microwavable dishes)
  • Candies, nuts, other edible decor for decorations

I don't give amounts because you can make as many or as few as you want.

You do want to work on wax or parchment paper.

  • Take one flattened caramel and press the red licorice onto the piece with parts sticking out. This will be the legs.
  • Press the second piece of flattened licorice on top.
  • Pour or drizzle the melted chocolate over the caramel. Make sure the sides are well covered.
  • Press, shake or add your own decorations to make edible bugs.
  • I then place the bugs in the fridge to harden.

*You can shape the caramels any way you want. Make them more oval or more rounded for example. I love recipes like this because your own personal options are endless.

The second recipe is for S'More's Cookies. I found this recipe in the magazine Family Fun. A fantastic mag if you have little kids. These cookies are unbelievably delicious! If you want to see a picture, click on the link below the recipe.


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 (1.55-ounce) chocolate bars {I used one really large bar and broke into a bazillion pieces}
1 (7-ounce) jar of marshmallow creme {be prepared, this stuff is extremely sticky!}

Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. .
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  • Add the crushed graham crackers, flour, salt, and baking powder and beat until well mixed, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Spoon half the dough into the pan and spread evenly with your fingertips {Use a rubber spatula if you can instead. The batter is not very doughy}.
  • Break the chocolate into pieces and arrange over the dough.
  • Spread a layer of marshmallow creme over the chocolate {Fun but sticky. Take your time putting dollops and then spreading them out}.
  • Flatten the remaining dough into pancakes and lay them over the marshmallow. {Okay, my batter did not turn out where I could do this. I simply scoped the remaining dough over the cream and spread out with the rubber spatula.}
  • Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let the bars cool before serving. {Slightly warm bars are better, in my opinion. The cookies are, as you can guess, rich, so cut them small. I must have been able to get 25 or 30 little bars from my pan. To serve, I put the individual bars into paper cupcake liners as they are sticky.}

I hope you enjoy! Let me know how you like them!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Change of Reading Pace

My bookshelves and computer files and ereader is filled with stories of various heroes and/or heroines and the love that evolves between them. I also keep a dusting of various thriller, horror, mystery and general fiction. Why? Every once in awhile, I like to pull out something non-romance in nature, to remind myself that there is something else out there and to keep me in touch with a variety of genres and writers.  

For the past two days I've been reading an older fantasy novel, Elminster, by Ed Greenwood. My husband's been reading this series and in his telling me bits and parts, it intrigued me enough to say, "let me read when you're done."  

As a teen-ager, I mixed my reading between the mass market historical romance and the Dragon Lance and the like fantasy novels (quite a mix, huh?), so reading fantasy is nothing new to me. Still, it's been a long while.

I like the Elminster story, but early on I noticed that reading this book is providing me with excellent reader-exercise. I don't know about you, but most of the time when I read, I tend to "rush read." I get a feel for what's going on and the characters and etc., and even though I will read word-for-word, I seem to digest the story more in whole pictures than through the entire written word.  

I cannot read this current story in this fashion. Part of it is Greenwood's style, but if I try to whole picture the page, for example, I'll miss important or cleverly written little phrases, words or even twists of temperaments. I have to focus in a different way to absorb this story. I'm sure if I read fantasy novels as much as I read romance I'd be able to "rush read" there as well, but since I don't, I like that I am having to make myself adjust my reading habits in order to grasp every nuance.  

Of course, with every book I read, I try to figure out how what I've read effects my writing. Did the writer's dialogue or narrative attract me and how can I make my own dialogue better? Are the descriptions memorable and how can I make my own scenes more memorable? Does the author write in ways that are jarring and do I write jarring passages as well? How can I fix, adjust or make better my stories?

I haven't quite figured out how Greenwood's stories have or will effect my take on my stories, but I'm sure it will. In the meantime, I'm back off to magic and sorcery...   

Friday, October 8, 2010

Since when is a Female Orgasm a bad thing?

I sat down a few minutes ago, browsing through the news on my home page, and caught an interesting article regarding a Dr. Leonore Tiefer, a sexologist at NYU, who is disagreeing with the pharmaceutical companies making/marketing a type of female Viagra.  I personally do not know enough about this issue to comment one way or the other. 

However, after I read this brief article, I went to an attached link which sent me to a place where Dr. Tiefer wrote another article regarding female orgasms.  Here, she makes a claim that female orgasms are (in my own paraphrase) unnatural.  Yes, the female body may be capable of having an orgasm, but an orgasm does not and should not be a goal or even something to look remotely forward to. 

Excuse me?

I had to take a few minutes to process this. 

From when I was a young girl, ever since I first learned what sex even was, I always heard/read/was told that a female orgasm is attainable, but do not depend upon it.  I accepted this train this thought as normal (yuck!).  And if we were to really think upon it, male-dominated cultural influences have only enforced this thought.  The belief that once a man orgasms the sex is over is unwarranted, unfair and plain old bullshit.  Too bad way too many men and women believe this.  Too bad this is the acceptable norm for almost all sexual relationships. 

Relationships can go up and down, and individuals do have real hang-ups regarding sex and orgasms.  Maybe its medical conditions, maybe psychological.  Maybe it's just the wrong partner or the wrong hand. 

Yes, I do know there are real issues regarding a womans' inability or difficulty in achieving that final peak.  But to say that more women go without than with?  This I have a hard time believing.  Is it just me? 

As an erotic romance author, I understand the importance of female orgasms in our stories.  Do our heroines always come?  No.  Sometimes we write it as the fault of a poor lover or because of an event in her past that is hampering her ability to peak.  This then becomes part of the storyline.  There are times, very rare, when we might write our heroine not attaining her end.  There is a reason why.  Depends on the occasion, but there are times when the simple intimacy of being with a lover overcomes the have-to-have-an-orgasm.  And we can be okay with this because this can happen to us in real life.  But to write our heroines as women who can never orgasm, well, our industry would bomb and we'd be blamed for the degradation of women as weak.  

By the same token, one can ask, do we unnecessarily set women up to fail when we write about explosive orgasms every time she makes love?  I don't think so.  People need to remember we write fiction.  That's fiction people.  Do we blame Stephen King for all the nightmares in the world?  Of course not.  We write about love.  Sexual love.  Any time our heroine comes, it is wrapped up with whom she comes, how she comes and why she comes (my, that's a lot of "come"). 

We, as women, do know (no doubt from our own experiences) that a female orgasm can be elusive.  We write about worlds, about lovers, about life where we can be in more control.  Where it is okay to have an orgasm every time we have sex and that it is absolutely plausible to have simultaneous orgasms with our lover(s).  

Can this be true?  Absolutely!  Does it happen every time?  Absolutely not ... but it could.  Think about it.  Empowering, isn't it.  Still sound like fantasy?  Maybe a smidgen.  But remember, in every lie there lies a little truth.  In every fantasy there lies a possibility of fact.  

Sex and orgasms are a human event, not a clinical one.  I feel sorry for the women who believe the way Leonore Tiefer do, that the female orgasm is something to be belittled.  We need to remember these women and pray that one day their lives can be rocked to the moon and back.    

Reality Check

Sometimes when you become hum-drum about life, something comes along that can snap you out of it, and often in a surprising way.

My mother, a real go-getter in her 70's (but still with more than her fair share of health issues), has complained the past couple of days about her side hurting. Earlier today I convinced her to see the doctor, just to get it checked out.  She did like I would do.  She hummed and hoed and said we'll see.  I badgered her about it (as she'd do me in a reverse situation) until she went. Then a simple day turned upside down. 

Turns out she had appendicitis, a rarity in someone her age according to the doctors.  She went from the ER to a CT scan to confirm then straight to OR!  Luckily, the surgery went fine and her appendix was removed before rupturing (which probably would have happened within the next day or two if it'd gone unchecked).  She's recovering and will probably be back home soon.

Stories like this make me realize how much we, as women, take ourselves for granted.  I know I do, and I've seen over and over how my mother does as well.  We feel a twinge of pain or discomfort, and we put it aside.  Hell, we have kids to raise, animals to care for, a husband around the corner to check on, not to mention the cooking and cleaning and bills and well -- everything else that needs to be done!  We cannot (we let ourselves believe) pause our lives to go see the doctor who will only pat us on the heads and send us back home.  Our ache is probably nothing, anyway.

Way too often I've heard stories (and yes, it's happened to me as well), where we let ourselves go unchecked only to have whatever issue is wrong with our body grow worse to the point where we have no choice but to go to the doctor - usually the ER, where now we're fighting a bigger battle.

I strongly believe culture, over the years, has given credence to this behavior.  For too many years in the past, doctors would pat a woman on the head because she just had the "vapors," or a bit of a "headache."  I don't know about you, but aside from believing the world will erupt if we're not there to take care of it, I cannot stand to go to the doctor and be belittled for something that I know is wrong with my body.  I don't know exactly what, that's why I go to the doctor to begin with.  But then to have him scribble an innocuous script and send me on my way...

Okay, got a little upset there, but I'm cool now.  All this is to say that I'm thankful my mother is fine and to remind myself that if I do not feel quite right, I need to make myself be seen by a doctor sooner rather than later.  Even if I have to force him or her to listen.  I hope you do the same. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

When your Muse works against you

Yes, having a muse can be a fantastic experience.  You garner terrific ideas and amazing plot lines and unforgettable characters.  You really cannot belittle this mysterious benefit.

There are those times, however, where as amazing as your muse may be, you want nothing but to shut it out, turn it off and throw it out the closed window.

For example, say I'm working on a story set in Atlanta, Georgia in the sweltering summertime between a sexy woman named Lolita and a burning hot man named Joe.  I have everything mentally in place to begin work.  I sit down before the evil necessity called a computer and tippty-tap away to my heart's content. 

Tap, tap, tap.  Tippty-tap.  Story, story, story.  Yadda, yadda, yo.  I'm going good, here.  Time passes unnoticed while I'm lost inside the places and the minds of what I've created.   

Then I need a break.  Maybe a run to the bathroom or a refill on the coffee.  Doesn't matter.  I return to the keyboard and my fingers poise excitedly over the letters and ... stall!

Did I forget my story?  Did the color of my heroine's hair color elude me?  Ha.  I wish.  No, my freakin' muse snuck in while I had a breather, and it chooses now to clear its throat politely before telling me a story between Sara and Jeff set in Alaska during an ever-long winter, chasing a forgotten buried treasure, is THE story I need to tell. 

Decisions.  My muse hasn't often failed me, and this new thought might have some merit.  I don't want to lose the story I'm in, but I like the new idea.  I quickly open a file and jot down notes to go through when I finish my current wip. 

Whew.  Got that out of the way.  Now back to the Atlanta story.


What the heck does the mighty muse want now?!

Oh, just to let me know that no, no.  Sara and Jeff and Alaska wouldn't work.  I really need to set a story about Olivia and Connor and, and, let's sweeten the pot here:  Buck (where does my muse come up with these names - ha!).  The trio have met on some cruise and ... the muse goes on from here.  Once again, my mind gets caught up in this idea so I open another file to jot more notes.

And so my writing day goes on.

In truth, is it really my muse?  Nah, we all know this.  But will you catch me blaming a stalled out story on myself?  Never!

The Muse is Always to Blame!