Monday, December 31, 2012

2013: On Prime Numbers and Plans

I turn 47 this year. That's a prime number, as is 2013... I like prime numbers (my lucky numbers being 23 and 5) so I am taking this as a good sign. I had a huge year of ups and downs last year. REALLY BIG ups and downs. So I'm actually really glad to kick 2012 in the back side. In future years I will remember it as the year I first published, but I am really just hoping the other stuff fades.

2013 has some big events coming... probably the biggest is my daughter graduates from high school in June. But I also have a second book release and I am determined I will ALSO sell one of my young adult books... But lets get specific here. Goals always work better with some specificity...

Fitness Goals

This piece of my life has gotten out of hand. I need to lose quite a bit of weight. I'd like it to go quickly, but am realistic... though optimistic, too. My GOAL is ten pounds in January, then five a month through the rest of the year... after summer it will be a lot harder—it goes slower when you get closer to goal, but maybe a few of the earlier months will have a few extra pounds lost to make up for it.

I will do this by:
Weight Watchers
Daily walking
4 times a week something more intense for at least 30 minutes
3 times a week working with weights (and that pesky push-up/sit-up/lunge stuff)

Mental Health and Balance

This is more a family goal. Most of you who come around here know I am a nut, but honestly, my claimed insanity is pretty stable. I am calm and my reactions are fairly calm. But my family is going through some stuff, so this is really more a commitment to put some regular attention on them and how things are going. My kids, in particular, deserve to have me break my tunnel vision away from the writing more regularly. And I need to make a better attempt keeping in touch with the family that doesn't spend their lives on facebook (though I love that facebook keeps me in regular touch with a lot of people I used to only rarely talk to)

I also have a memorial to plan for the end of June and I need to make a point of doing this well.

And the Writing...

Always back to the writing, eh? It is the piece I seem able to maintain some illusion of control in...


1) Revise MEDIUM WRONG and polish for ABNA contest (first 3 weeks)
2) Send at least 10 queries for KAHLOTUS DISPOSAL SITE
3) Begin first revision of WHAT ALES ME


1) Continue revisions WHAT ALES ME
2) 10 more queries.
3) Finish typing SHOT IN THE LIGHT


1) First polish WHAT ALES ME. Send to reviewer friends.
2) Evaluate whether KAHLOTUS doing what I want: either plan revisions or query 10 more
3) Make Book release plans for The Begonia Bribe


[keep block open for unexpected revision of SOMETHING or writing of something requested (in my dreams there will be at least a 4th Garden Society book), maybe KAHLOTUS needs something (in fact probably it does).

Also, if getting nowhere, this is the month to learn the self-publishing stuff I need.


1) Revisions for WHAT ALES ME. Send to Ellen
2) Execute BEGONIA BRIBE release


BuNoWriMo: I have several books I want to write this year, but in jump starting my career, I thought my next Cozy Mystery idea was most promising. Unnamed... has retired lady cop who is now running a lingerie store as the sleuth... it was inspired by a real (and fabulous) woman.

[note, this will be challenging, as I think I have 10 days on a road trip this month, but I will try it anyway]

Other books on maybe list: Next Pleides, Undoing (a taking down of a secret society from the inside—probably a series), my young adult Armageddon one, or one from my file of ideas...) Also wrote half a book after my first that I've begun thinking has a lot of potential... would probably need to be totally rewritten and certainly needs an ending.


1) Revisions MEDIUM WRONG based on ABNA feedback


1) Second block for 'fill in here' what has been either requested as changes or do some self-publishing prep work


1) Being revisions for SHOT IN THE LIGHT


1) Continue revisions on SHOT
2) Keep querying


1) NaNoWriMo (see above)
2) SHOT to first readers


1) Revise SHOT per feedback (polishing for ABNA 2014)

So I think I'm learning... those two months in there to be a little flexible... We will see how that goes, but I have my hopes it will help to keep me on track.

What are your goals?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

1000th Post: 2012 in Review

[half day early, even... I decided no one will be reading blogs New Year's Day]

I can't believe I've hit a thousand posts. It's a strange thing. A good thing, I guess. It's been 3.5 years and I've been consistent. I haven't been as good about getting around and trying to build this year, both because my personal life has had a lot of distractions, and because... when you reach a certain size it just becomes an unruly task.

Speaking of personal distractions... They've had an impact on my goals for last year, but I still need to go through the process of reviewing, just so I know how I did... If you are interested in the SPECIFIC goals:

Here is the End of the World Fitness Plan

Here were my Networking Plans 

And here were my Writing Plans

How'd I Do?

I can tell you right off I failed on the fitness all the way around. I started okay, but six days into the year was hubby's first health crisis and I just couldn't seem to make the time to take care of myself when I was picking up the slack for the long list of things he could no longer do.

The social networking, too... I feel like I succeeded on the Facebook piece, but the rest of it... not so much...

So really all there is to talk about is the writing piece.

January, polish Legacy for ABNA. Check.

February, fill holes in Chrysanthemum Campaign. Think this took more than the month, but check.

March: CC to peer readers for the month.
Plan promotional campaign for AZALEA ASSAULT

The first and the last happened. WHAT ALES ME revisions are what fell off because the others took more time.

April: WHAT ALES ME to peers.
Revise CC per feedback. Read out loud. Revise again.
Begin CONFLUENCE revision.

Only the middle one happened here (and didn't actually happen until May) but it was because my agent had wanted KAHLOTUS revisions, so that took precedence and was what I worked on.

May: CC to agent
Finish CONFLUENCE revision.
Revise CC per agent

Yeahno. Per feedback from peers, spend May REVISING Chrysanthemum Campaign. (and some of June)

June:  Turn in CC
BuNoWriMo: One of these pesky Armageddon stories...

See, and now THIS is why I love a WriMo... Yes, yes and yes... Though CC was actually turned in about a week into July because my agent wanted a little more time and they were switching editors, so the new one wanted to read the first two books before this one ANYWAY to familiarize herself... But I wrote the first 60K of SHOT IN THE LIGHT in June and had a successful book release for AZALEA ASSAULT. THIS was the month I became a published author.

July: First Revision MEDIUM WRONG –
no, but this was a solid mind change. I kept writing SHOT IN THE LIGHT as I knew I was only about half done. And then I hit the years second major life obstacle... my dying aunt... And this was when Amy decided she wasn't the best to represent me, so I lost my YA agent... So Medium Wrong at 120K is ALMOST done... but then I got sidetracked for a solid two months (much more because of the dying aunt logistics than the agent piece—I totally respect Amy's decision and that only would have knocked me out for days, not weeks or months).

August: MEDIUM WRONG to peers
Revise WHAT ALES ME, read out loud
Um... no.

September: Final Revisions MEDIUM WRONG

And no. But I DID decide MEDIUM WRONG would be my ABNA book, so I started FIRST revisions on it...

October: Slot for specifically requested revisions for MEDIUM WRONG/WHAT ALES ME
First revision summer Armageddon book

MEDIUM WRONG REVISIONS were all I worked on.

November: NaNoWriMo: Thenother Armageddon? (yeah, I think so... but things change)

DID NaNoWriMo, but changed my mind on WHAT... Ended up writing MEAN and DEMEANED, the first in my Pleides series.

December: Finally polish CONFLUENCE
If time, begin revision ILLUSIONS

And NO and NO. I've spent December actually trying to tie up loose ends... typing the rest of WHAT ALES ME (can't believe I'd forgotten the thing hadn't even been all TYPED yet! Trying to hammer out a synopsis for KAHLOTUS DISPOSAL SITE, prepping for WHAT ALES ME revisions. Readers have MEDIUM WRONG and I want to do THOSE revisions ASAP because it needs to be ready for ABNA.

So... Fails on a couple counts, but honestly, I'm pleased with how much writing I got done. I think it's worth noting that some fails are fails, but MOST are mind changes... an earlier failure or a reason from another direction changes what the current possible/priority is. We have to be FLEXIBLE to change plans, but I still think it helps me be productive to MAKE the PLAN--BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  (Ah... there's the cackle... I bet you'd wondered where it was)

How'd you do on your goals this year?

Tomorrow I will lay out my GOALS for the year...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

EJ Wesley's Witch's Nocturne

Halo, fine friends!!! I hope you all had an amazing holiday and time with friends and family. I believe this will be my only post this week. I am off work and trying to tie up my life of 2012 so I can start the new year focuses on the new stuff. Monday's post next week will be a recap of how the year went AND my 1000th blog post. Then on New Year's Day I will start off with resolutions.

But TODAY I am featuring my friend EJ who has a book release and I hope you'll all lend him your support!  Without further ado, Welcome EJ!!!


After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas. 

Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, paranormal-horror-action novelettes--with a Texas twist--by author E.J. Wesley


My fingers tapped out an excited, tuneless rhythm on the steering wheel as I drove Beauty, my licorice black 4x4 truck, across town. Maybe the sudden change in the weather and the influx of warm, November sunshine brightened the gorgeous day and my spirits in equal measure. Or maybe, God help me, I was happy to be on my way to see Marshal again. Regardless, I couldn’t recall the last time a day held so much hope, like I’d been given a cheat code for infinite possibilities.

“How’s life?” Marshal asked, foisting himself into the cab of the truck.

He placed a brown, leather satchel between his feet on the floorboard. Marshal stared at me over the top of a pair of oversized, mirrored sunglasses. Combined with the plaid shorts, flip flops and pink polo shirt with a crocodile on it, he appeared to be beach ready. Or headed to a photo shoot for a store I wouldn’t be caught dead in.

“Fast.” I grinned and revved the engine.

He gave me a worried look, rushing to buckle his seatbelt. “You can’t afford another ticket.”

“Relax, Mr. Public Safety. I was kidding. Mostly. Where we headed?”

He patted the saddlebag between his legs. “I’ve gone through everything in here fifty times and have more questions than when I started. I wanted to go to the college library, try to learn more about your grandfather's tribe. Find some language books.” 
“So, we go to the library and learn about the tribe and the journal. Shouldn't be too hard. Texas is chock full of Native American history. I imagine there'll be lots of stuff on the Apache at a big university.”

Marshal shook his head, his spiky blond hair staying perfectly still.

“It won’t be that easy. Apache was a catchall term given to several tribes. They were nomads. Historians had a devil of a time trying to keep track of any one group—not to mention they weren't exactly friendly to outsiders. The name Apache was given to most of the warring, wandering tribes in the area.”

“Knew my cuddly personality couldn’t be all my own doing. How’ll we know which specific tribe Gramps belonged to?”

I turned onto the state highway that would lead us to Lubbock. It'd take us about an hour to get there, assuming there was no traffic. By traffic I meant some old farmer taking up both lanes of the highway with his tractor.

Marshal pulled the journal from the bag and flipped open the front cover. He held the book up, pointing to the inside corner.

“I think it's this.”

The word Navezgane had been branded into the leather.

“Cool. Wonder what it means?”

I started to make a joke about the word hopefully not translating to Squats-in-Woods or something. One glance at Marshal’s troubled face told me I was going to like the real name a lot less. 

“I looked it up online. The word means killer of monsters.

~Witch's Nocturne is available now~

Amazon     Smashwords (ePub & PDF)


~Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1, is also available~

Amazon (Free to borrow for Amazon Prime members.)

(Note: These stories contain some language and content better suited for mature readers.)

~About the Author~

E.J. lives in South Texas. He likes his words and food spicy, and tries to give a little extra 'kick' to the stories he writes. He enjoys reading horror, sci-fi, YA, MG, New Adult--basically anything with words. In true Texas fashion, E.J. is very neighborly, and welcomes you to say 'howdy' at:

Goodreads     Twitter     Facebook     Blog

Friday, December 21, 2012

Losing Hope Review and the End of the World

Everybody still there? Shout if you aren’t okay?

I believe today is the official release, though Johanna Garth’s Losing Hope actually became available earlier in the week.

I had the wonderful privilege of reading an ARC of this, and it seems appropriate that its release would be here at the end of the world… a fitting time to lose hope and all. Knowing Johanna, she thought of that. (Once you read this, you will understand just how diabolically clever she is… in fact I’m a little afraid of how her mind works, but never mind).

Though that is starting to get to review, so I really should just get to it, eh?

Losing Hope

Losing Hope is the second in what I believe will be a trilogy that began with Losing Beauty. The story is a retelling of Hades’ obsession and kidnapping of Persephone, but modernized. By definition, to tell you much about this book, it will lead to ENDING information from the previous book, Losing Beauty, so I am doing it in SECRET!

Highlight the following for a plot summary: Daniel has saved Persey Campbell from the Underworld. She is staying with him, going quietly day to day, until one day out with Daniel, an old woman presses a sharp object into Persey’s palm and says what Persey believes is ‘Amends’. Thinking it means she needs to make amends, but not sure how to do that, she decides to go to her home town and make connections with her roots.

While she is absent Daniel works with Rudy on a website called that is destined to make many people very rich. But somebody has sights on Persey. And… a plan to take them both…

End spoilers

And the review: This was a fun read—well written and intriguing. Erm… and there was some really hot sex, but never mind. If there was a weakness, I think it is that as the middle in a trilogy, it needed to give a fair bit of information from the first book, so it took a little while to really get to the new story, but I love the characters, the ideas, and Johanna’s WICKED brain for how people manipulate others to their own benefit. It definitely left me eager for the third in the series.

And NOW for the End of TIME…

I am going with the Alpacas arriving at noon central time (since the Yucatan is central time). So everybody dance naked in preparation, yeah?

And most important... the world is ending!  Don't you dare meet that end in clothes!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Precious Packaging Perks Presents

So on a lighter note… And since the world ends tomorrow (or at least the lengthening nights) and the ALPACAS are coming!!!! I thought I’d share a little fun.

A couple weeks ago over at Ella’s Edge I won a gift pack. Ellie is FABULOUSLY creative—she’d made these adorable earrings out of used gift cards, and I won some… but when I got my pack, it wasn’t just that—it included a Starbucks gift card and TONS of adorably wrapped little surprises!

This is the collection...

The earrings are adorable. I keep trying to get a pic of them, but my lighting down here is bad… little triangles made from a Starbuck’s gift card, but because of the checker pattern, they seem to sparkle with just a touch of silvery green, so they look very seasonal. But almost as much… Look at that little matchbox they came in. It’s the kind you get wooden matches in, and Ellie has glued a portion of a book page to it, then wrapped twine with a sparkly jingle bell. Simple items, but my GOSH it’s adorable!

And then next to it, just a bundle of tea bags, but wrapped in netting and ribbon… and then another packet of tea with the darling little seed pod piece that looks like a star… And the fortune cookies instead of foam peanuts to keep things from shifting too much… It was like opening a box of treasure!

But it was such a fabulous reminder, though, how a little creative treatment can make relatively ordinary things into special surprises.

So THANK YOU, Ellie! Both for the package and for the wonderful lesson on how to make it special!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mental Health (or Lack Thereof)

We’re a country in crisis. There are more people with mental health issues getting poorer care and they have fewer places to turn and it just makes me SO SAD. Last Friday’s crisis had a fair bit to do with guns, as I mentioned yesterday, but more than that, it had to do with a person who desperately needed help.

First: Mental Illness

Mental illness is an extremely varied thing. By far the most common diagnosis is depression, which in women is more a sad, bluesy thing and in men is more an irritable, crabby thing. SOME depressed people are a danger to THEMSLEVES. Most though, are not that extreme, and they are NOT a danger to others. This is the very most common mental illness.

In addition, the OTHER things that can be wrong vary hugely. Depression and bi-polar disorder are MOOD. Schizophrenia is a PSYCHOSIS, which means hallucinations (either aural or visual—more often the former). There are disorders that disturb picking up on social cues. There are disorders related to conscience (or lack thereof). Some disorders can only occur when there is something wrong with the brain, others are more a response to external stressors, the most extreme of which is dissociative identity disorder which results from long-term abuse (usually sexual).

With so many faces, caring for people is complicated and expensive. Even just getting a diagnosis is a big job. Then you add to that teens and young adults, for whom choosing medication is a moving target. Their bodies are changing, so even finding the right thing NOW, may not be the thing that will continue to work.

Talking About It

Part of the problem is most people are pretty poorly informed. Oh, sure, we’ve heard of ‘disorder of the day’—which will go drastically overdiagnosed because it’s ‘popular’. But the real experience? It’s not talked about much. It’s stigmatized so people don’t feel comfortable sharing. And because it’s varied, when somebody shares a story that doesn’t fit somebody elses view on the matter, it can get really sensitive.

There were two great articles, one of which I will just describe, as the author is getting a lot of backlash for ‘outing her son’ as having a dangerous disorder—she was amazing to read—really experiencing a son with a snap temper that causes violent outbursts. The trouble is she didn’t think about his privacy in sharing—she used a false name for him, but not herself, so anyone who KNOWS THEM now knows.

But we CRAVE hearing that voice. It shows just how hard it is to navigate caring for somebody with that extreme an illness.

The other article I am happy to share (there is some swearing—you’ve been warned) about the REACTIONS and how difficult it is to have public discourse because everybody is so freaking sensitive.

Wonkette: Not Allowed to Talk About It

I ALSO strongly recommend Carrie Fisher's books. She has bi-polar disorder and a GIFT for humor when talking about her mental illness. Wishful Drinking is the one that comes to mind, but she has several.

Why So Much of It?

It seems like there is a lot more mental illness than there used to be, doesn’t it? I think there IS more, but in addition, I think we HEAR ABOUT MORE for three reasons: 1) more people actually seeing doctors that have SOME CLUE and get somebody to a system for diagnosis—plus people no longer just shut their ill family in an attic and hide them from the world, 2) over diagnosis (a false positive of those flavor of the week diagnoses) and 3) loss of ‘community’. People used to live near family—a collection of people who could help keep an eye, assist, and otherwise channel that ‘special’ family member. But families don’t tend to be proximal anymore, so there are a lot more incidents of someone getting ‘out there’ and causing all sorts of problems.

But in addition, life has more stressors (poverty, crime) and people experience more trauma. Both of these prime our brains to maladapt. Lack of near social resources. In addition, new medications, food alterations and environmental pollutants of things that NOBODY REALLY KNOWS the long term effects of probably are altering our brain chemistry. Look at the increase in allergies from when we were kids. Doesn’t it seem like if something can make kids allergic to stuff, it might be messing with their processing a little?

And then there is the bigger tools thing… Guns, like I mentioned yesterday. Bomb-making information as handy as the internet.

Filmed at Damasch--Oregon's old mental hospital
A History of Care

I mentioned shutting the nutty relative up in the attic. I’m glad we don’t do this anymore. There also used to be mental health institutions, lovingly referred to as Insane Asylums… These places were fraught with mistreatment, but they DID keep society safe, yeah? In addition, some people had nowhere else to go. The vast majority of publicly owned mental health facilities closed in the 70s. “Isn’t it better to have people at home?” Well, sure. If that’s an option. But some people don’t have help. And some help isn’t equipped for the HUGE undertaking.

Down the street a woman died last year who was seriously mentally ill. Her mother had taken care of her for decades (while the mentally ill daughter beat on her, no less) but the mother died maybe 8 years ago… The daughter had bouts of institutionalization, getting out and doing okay on medication for a while, but then falling back into a pattern that caused me to make my kids walk on the other side of the street. When she died, nobody knew for MONTHS. Alone. Shut in. I can’t help but think if we had facilities now that we might make a better attempt at keeping them safe, pleasant places. Though I know nursing homes often have abuses, too, so maybe I’m delusional.

The Solution?

You think I have a solution?


I do have some ideas though. I think the new health plan will help because more people will be eligible for coverage. I think wherever we can, increasing our sense of community helps. I know with HWMNBMOTI’s health trouble, neighbors and friends have been invaluable. I can’t imagine that wouldn’t be the case with mental health stuff.

But there needs to be an investment, too. And I think it starts in schools. Teachers are amazing and fabulous, but they need the backup. When I was a kid, ALL the schools had counselors. My kids’ elementary shared a counselor with 2 other schools. We’ve cut resources when we need to be ‘adding them’—well child type ‘visit and get to know’ meetings with ALL the kids once or twice a year, so there was no longer the ‘Oh, so and so had to go to the counselor’ ring to it.

PARENT RESOURCES—ohmygawd are parents already overstressed. Any system that would increase how easily they could find WHO they need and HELP they need would be good. Even respite help—taking care of somebody day in and day out is exhausting.

Extreme Measures?  Should there be institutions again? Yeah, probably. And I also would advocate, for a few rare diagnoses and with multiple doctors agreeing, that there are cases forced medication is wise--the two diagnoses I'm familiar with where people are fine medicated and can be dangerous (at least to themselves, but sometimes to others) off of meds are schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder (more so with the former)

I ALSO, and this may be controversial, believe there needs to be SOME SYSTEM whereby people can be flagged as potentially dangerous—spot the neighbor kid blowing up squirrels or something? That HAS to be reported. Animal cruelty is a high risk marker for sociopaths and psychopaths.

Would any of this have helped Friday? Maybe—I suspect that mom who made such poor choices wouldn’t have, had she had better resources to understand the risk her son posed. But maybe not. A school counselor might have flagged him. I have no idea. But I know there are a lot of people who could potentially be dangerous and we are very poorly equipped to cope with that right now.

[hey guys, be sure to read my friend Patti's comments, too. I have psychology education, but she is actually a clinical practitioner, so more informed than I am]

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Truth About Guns

 This might be too soon. The wound too fresh. Then again, if it isn’t fresh in memory, people fall back on old attitudes, where when we are raw and aching, maybe we are open to new information. I am thinking this is the first of two important posts whereby I prove I should be ruling the world. Or not.

I am not anti-gun.

Okay, I AM, but for ME, not for people broadly. Exactly. I grew up in Idaho and come from a long hunting tradition. In 7th grade PE we had gun safety because it was the belief (backed by statistics) that many YOUNG people who died in gun accidents weren’t the children of gun owners, but the curious friends who came over and didn’t know how dangerous the things could be.

We learned RESPECT. SAFETY.  And to load and unload, and SHOOT a rifle. I was good, actually. It just required a steady hand and the patience to line up the site. I have decent special skills. I didn’t just get a bulls-eye; I pierced the X at the very center of the bulls-eye, and ALL my bullets hit the target.

I’ve also shot tin cans off fences at my friend Tammy’s house, and then there were my b-b experience with cousins, but that was pre-gun safety. THAT I was bad at (having never been taught). My dad had guns and hunted. My step-dad had guns and still hunts.

My point? I grew up IMMERSED in gun culture. MANY of my friends are die-hard advocates.

But what I do, when I am not being naked and silly and ridiculous or writing (or all of the above), is statistics. That’s it. My day job is to run numbers and find truth in them. Not graphic, single-incident anecdote, but collective FACT.  THAT is what I am here to talk to you about right now.

First… A Lesson:  Philosophy versus Science

People use philosophy to guide what they believe. And that is normal and rational. But when a philosophy is DISPROVED by science, it can no longer be held by reasonable people. Take the flat world view of the middle ages. A lot of OTHER beliefs centered around the WORLD being the center of the universe.  Decisions and conclusions factored this in. When SCIENCE proved the SUN was actually the center, it undid ALL the stuff that posited the earth at the center.

I apologize here as I step into a sensitive topic, but it runs so perfectly parallel. Creationism and evolution: the former being philosophy, the latter being science… if someone sees creationism happening THROUGH evolution, they are good. If they see creationism as allegory (which was the intent of the authors, by the way—that is HISTORY, or rather anthropology of how lessons were taught—Biblical literalism only arriving about the 11th century at the word of the Pope), they are good, but if they believe creationism means evolution is wrong?  Then THEY are wrong. Philosophy CANNOT EVER trump science. Science is testable. We see ACTIVE evolution in near lakes here and now. It HAPPENS. Faith in a particular philosophy is FINE, so long as it isn’t scientifically disprovable. But if it is, science trumps.

So now, while I’ve already offended some subset of my audience, though presumably the portion who was chased off long ago by my nakedness…

Applying Philosophy and Science to GUNS.

You know what makes science?  NUMBERS. Statistics. Tests, though honestly, in real life, randomization is hard… though there are a lot of ‘prisoner experiments’ and they aren’t very promising. (for an entertaining, yet still enlightening version of this, there is a Veronica Mars episode, season 3…) 

Most people evaluate on GUT. Something rings true, and they believe. And this is normal. But it gives too much power to the case study. Because of my background, I am far more inclined to look at collective data. YES, the individual examples are moving. But what should guide POLICY is the collective. The COLLECTIVE shows us what is most likely.

Let me delineate these for you, as they apply to gun themes.

If someone is determined, they can still get a gun. 

TRUTH:  Yes and no. They can, but it will be harder. And so a person set on SPECIFICALLY guns who has a long-retained determination can get them. But anti-gun laws mean they have to go through criminal routes (something not all people are willing to do—even murderers), and more importantly, this instills a ‘cool down’ time… so if a person is being IMPULSIVE, this will be an effective deterrent. Some portion will still get them, but another portion WON'T, so the events won't be eliminated, but lives will still be saved.

Sidenote:  THREE women from my high school have been shot by partners. In TWO of these cases, I believe the partner regretted it the minute he did it. Still abusive assholes, yes, but not having a gun present would have prevented the deaths.

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.:  I suppose this is true. But a person with an automatic or semi-automatic weapon or even just a handgun can be much more deadly in far less time than a determined person with another weapon. Take the Chinese episode the SAME DAY as the US one:  man with knife in elementary school… attacks… wounds 23, 22 of them children, but not a single one is dead.

So a gun without a person can’t kill. Right on. Gotcha.  But a person with a gun instead of another weapon is FAR more deadly. That is just the truth of it.

The crazies and mad men can still get the guns:  (I know this sounds like the first, but I have another argument).  Yes.  They can. But if a crazy steps into a crowd with a gun, and someone ELSE pulls a gun, he will shoot MORE. After the Colorado Theater shooting one of my friends… spouse of a cop… said when a gunman appears the WORST thing to do is to ADD MORE GUNS. The body count amplifies VERY fast. The BEST thing would be to get the gun OUT of the situation (jump and disarm him).

“I feel safer with a gun.”  Feel away my friend. But that is an emotion that is actually contradicted by facts. Gun owners, FACTUALLY are far more likely to die by gun than non-gun owners.

Several years ago, there was a well-done blog post by BarryEisler--and here is a more recent update--that contrasted countries without guns with the US, acknowledging how the US probably COULD NOT give up our gun addiction, and so in the presence, it is reasonable to have certain attitudes, but people in countries where nobody has them are absolutely safer.

There was also a terrific article yesterday by NicholasKristof of the New York Times.  He proposed a number of ideas that put guns in a similar place as cars legally.  People can HAVE THEM, but there need to be rules about it.

I’ve heard some promising ideas. Re-enacting the automatic weapon ban that expired in 2004 for one. The most innovative is requiring gun owners to hold insurance for the damage the firearm might do—cost dependent on storage, who has access, how it’s normally used, and damage potential it has (so faster firing and larger magazine potential means more expensive.)

I really get that some people feel philosophically that they should be able to have guns. I just really wanted to make sure you all knew that IN REALITY, guns in our presence makes us LESS safe. I promise.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quinn’s Cookie Exchange

You know… I think today is the first day of Christmas… I guess it depends how you count, but I debated doing the countdown, but I think life is just too busy to blog twelve days in a row at this stage in the game.

So Angela Felsted SAVED ME! I have a fun event I’ve agreed to do… Though of course I COULD SAY…

On the first Day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

A fabulous cookie recipe!!!

But FIRST, I will do a little WHY. Angela has just released Chaste, about a Mormon teen and the struggles he has between following the teachings of his faith and the yearnings of a normal teenage boy who is in the sights of a very determined girl.  

Here is the Amazon blurb:
When he steps into his physics class on the first day of senior year, Quinn Walker is too exhausted from staying up all night with his three-month-old nephew to deal with moral dilemmas. As a devout Mormon who has vowed to wait until marriage for sex, the last thing he needs is a very hot and very sexy Katarina Jackson as his physics partner. Regrettably, he has no choice.

Kat feels invisible in her mansion of a home six months after losing her older brother in a fatal car crash and will do anything to get her parents’ attention. Since her pastor father has no love for Quinn’s ‘fake’ religion and her ex-boyfriend refuses to leave her alone, she makes an impulsive bet with her friends to seduce her holier-than-thou lab partner by Christmas.

Bio: Angela Felsted is a Northern Virginia native who is overly fond of Olive Garden and Red Lobster. She grew up in a faithful Mormon home with three brothers and one sister where she learned to stand up for herself by tickling her attackers until they broke out into laughing fits. Her work has appeared in issue fifteen of Drown in Your Own Fears, Chanterelle's Notebook and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Her chapbook, Cleave, was published by finishing line press in 2012.

Angela wanted to do something FUN for her book promo, so she asked several of us to share a cookie recipe in honor of Quinn. I have to say… my cookie choice is terribly appropriate. Temptation being the connecting theme…

Peanut Butter Temptations

• About 40 (13-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures or 12 (0.8 oz. each) REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups, quartered
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine , softened
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. 1 Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from candies. Line small muffin cups (1-3/4 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.
2. 2 Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy in large bowl. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place one in each prepared muffin cup. Do not flatten.
3. 3 Bake 10 to 12 minutes until puffed and lightly browned; remove from oven. Immediately press peanut butter cup or piece onto each cookie. Cool completely in muffin pan. About 3-1/2 dozen cookies.
4. And then my OWN contribution to make them Christmassy, when the peanut butter cups are a little melty, sprinkle Christmas sprinkles (mine are tiny trees) onto the top.

So enjoy the cookies, Get around to others with recipes (listed at the bottom of this post), and go order Angela's book!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Compass Master Review + More News

So as promised... I finished The Compass Master yesterday. It ended just as fabulously as the story all the way through.  Here is my review:

Layla Daltry is a rare documents expert and antiquities hunter with a sense of justice that sometimes puts her just the other side of the law. When her mentor dies and has her house ransacked and documents stolen, Layla takes on the quest to finish what her mentor had started, righting a long-time and dangerously-secured wrong. This treasure hunt where the hunter is also being hunted by those who would hide the truth is set against the expertly researched background of the early Christian Church and shines a light on the agenda of those who would keep lost documents hidden.
The flavor of this book is similar to The DiVinci Code, but with all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed—the background taken from real historical fact. The characters are likable and the relationships realistic. Even the physical facts are accurate as the author took the care to learn to pick clocks, scale walls and learn some of the martial arts skills Layla uses. I also loved the careful balance the author used in both revering and respecting people of faith, while highlighting dangerous zealots and those who’d use the system to their own ends.

Michigan Author Event

Tonight I'm attending a meeting/event for Michigan Women Business People that is focused on local female authors. I'm excited to attend--hope to meet some great people. Huge thanks to my friend, fellow author and Wolverine Brewery owner Liz Crowe for including me. They even made me a page!:


Thanks to Cherie Reich for the heads up. Friday and Saturday a bunch of our YA Author friends are offering their books for Free and a three-hour event will occur. Cherie has full details here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Super Alex Ninja Captain Song Dedication

So some of yibus might have noticed we are throwing out a big THANKS to Alex this week for all his fabulosity in making this blogosphere for writers feel more like family and less like work. He has made a huge contribution to the friendliness, enthusiasm, and community. So I thought I’d write him a song.

[Note: I've discovered this also serves as evidence that I don't follow directions well, but there you have it]

He’s a music enthusiast, right? But see, I can’t write music. In fact if my daughter is to be believed I can't even sing. But I can BORROW music and write new words, yeah? I thought about a Rush song, but I am not nearly familiar enough with the cadence to get it right, but I decided you really can’t go wrong with Aerosmith… so here we have it…

We've never seen Alex because he's a ninja....
Blog This Way (to the tune of Walk This Way)

Keystroke lover always writin' in the closet
Till you talked to your editor, he say
He said "you can't sell nothin' till you're into socializin
in the media--be a-changin' your ways"
You met some new friends, with advice that never ends
Oh, the times you were oh so close
'Cause the best things of bloggin' spillin something from your noggin
Only started with a little post
The most!

If we COULD see him, he'd look like this.
Fingers tappin' with the A to Z crowd
And Kate Beckinsale up on the wall
Singin' "hey diddle diddle"
Ninja kitty in the middle of the swing
Like you didn't care
So you took a big test in this giant blogfest
With two hundred folks ready to play
Wasn't them you was foolin'
'Cause you knew what you were doin'
And your blog love was here to stay
When you told us to

Blog this way
Just gimme a post
The most!

Captain ninja with a classy kinda sassy
Air guitar that we just can’t see
There were three new releases coming out next week
When you noticed they was lookin' at you
You were a brand new blogger, never shared a new author
Till your friends told you somethin' you missed
Then my blogroll neighbor with two books had a favor
So you gave her just a little post
The most!

Fingers tappin' with the A to Z crowd
And Kate beckinsale up on the wall
Singin' "hey diddle diddle"
Ninja kitty in the middle of the swing
Like you didn't care
So you took a big test in this giant blogfest
With two hundred folks ready to play
Wasn't them you was foolin'
'Cause you knew what you were doin'
And your blog love was here to stay
When you told us to

When you told us how to blog this way, you told us to

[Repeat x8]
Blog this way

Just gimme a post!

[My apologies to Steven Tyler. Call me. I’ll make it up to you.]

Teehee---Alex, you rock!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Big Newses and Small Newses!

Best of 2012

Not sure why saving this on the Mac made it green...
First, because I can hardly contain myself… (and my apologies to those already inundated with this via Facebook)  last week a friend of mine, Mark Sadler, who is one of the staff writers for Suspense Magazine  informed me that The Azalea Assault was chosen one of the best cozy mysteries of 2012!!! I’m so excited! If you go to the magazine and click on it, it will download and I am on page 40!

Medium Wrong Edits DONE

For now, anyway… I’ve sent it off to two of my FABULOUS, reliable beta readers for the ‘big feedback’ and will get back to editing it over Christmas break. In the meantime, I need to find my latest version of What Ales Me and work on THAT. The ANNOYING piece of this is I have to do version magic to get it from my old hard drive where it is in Open Office into Word when none of the computers I have at the moment likes to talk to each other that way. The one that will read the old hard drive has too OLD a version of word to convert… So I need to send it all over, convert from work… all that irritating stuff…

Best Book of the Year

I downloaded this a few months back, but only managed to get to it recently and OHMYGAWD… I will do a full review when I finish, but I am humbled and amazed to know someone who wrote such a fabulous book. So if you are looking for a read… or have someone on your Christmas list who loved The DiVinci Code (but are maybe more of a stickler for real facts to back up the story)… Helena Soister’s The Compass Master is your book.

And Lastly… Tree is up… first set of cookies baked (have an exchange at work today, so I had to do that—will tell you what and share pics FRIDAY as part of Angela Felsted’s Book release cookie exchange!)… I even got a significant dent made in my shopping…

And now I need another weekend.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Galactic Holiday Release!!!

Today I'm very excited to host my good friend Stacy and her anthology sisters, Anna Hackett and Sasha Summers for the release of A Galactic Holiday. The anthology includes three sci-fi romantic holiday novellas and you'll want to hurry and order.

I will let these three, though, tell you about their project and stories. So without further ado, WELCOME GODDESSES!


Woo!  Release Week-Streak for A GALACTIC HOLIDAY!
You know it’s Naked Thursday, right?  Why not get into the spirit of things, take off those irritating clothes and let’s go streaking to celebrate the release week of A GALACTIC HOLIDAY!  (Streaking was the best possible way we could thank the Naked Tart for allowing us to bounce onto her blog today. :D) 

Who are “we”, you ask?  Why, we’re the sci-fi antho sisters, Anna Hackett, Sasha Summers and Stacy Gail, and we’re delighted to tell you how we got ourselves into this amazing anthology.  And really, how could this concept not be amazing?  Think about it—spaceships and mistletoe. Laser guns and Christmas trees. Captain Kirk and Santa Claus. Science fiction and the holidays—not two things you see together very often.

So how did 3 romance authors come to mix science fiction and the holidays?   It all started when Carina Press Executive Editor, Angela James put out a call for sci-fi holiday novellas. It was a challenge too good to resist!

Anna: I was fascinated with the thought of how future generations spread across the galaxy would celebrate the holidays. I knew I wanted to explore a different version of the holidays and when I read about Scandinavian Yule, I instantly envisioned an ice world. Harsh, beautiful, with rich geothermal energy. I imagined the people tough enough to settle an ice world would be strong with an exceptional sense of community.
Of course my hero, Savan comes from a world the complete opposite of Perma. A high-tech, energy-dependent world covered by a megacity. On Rendar, families and holidays no longer exist and the pinnacle of Rendarian life is personal success. It was fun throwing Perman Brinn and Rendarian Savan together—then I snowed them in and set an assassin on their trail. Let’s just say, these two generate a lot of heat…in more ways than one.

Stacy: Reina Vedette and Edison Wicke have been bugging me to tell their story for a couple of years now. Their basic background and a general plot involving androids have been in my brain just looking for the right time to get launched. Then, when Carina Press’s call for submissions went out, Reina and Edison INSISTED their launch time was now (they’re so pushy). 
This novella flowed out of me in a mere eighteen days—not that surprising, considering it’s been written and expanded upon in my head for so long.  The technology-dependent society in HOW THE GLITCH SAVED CHRISTMAS has lost touch with the simpler, more meaningful things in life, and it was a blast to reintroduce the timeless theme of home, family and love in such a setting.  Not to mention it was nice to shut Reina and Edison up, if only for a little while.

Sasha: I was completely intrigued by the call for a SciFi Holiday novella. I started mulling over the concept and Riley just sort of popped up. It was the first scene, her hanging upside down working on her ship and arguing into her earpiece. She was a very different heroine for me, I don’t normally write overtly strong, self-reliant heroines. But Riley has to be all of those things. She was born in the black, lives on her ship – alone – and likes it that way. Or rather, that’s what she thinks she likes. She doesn’t ‘know’ any other life. So I stranded her to see what would happen.
And the world I envisioned her being stranded on? Well, it was brutal – similar to Hoth – almost uninhabitable. Ice, snow, and man-eating monsters/aliens. At this point the odds were stacked against Riley…
Enter Leo, our mysterious hero. He scoops her – rather – drags her to the safety of Galileo’s Station.  A seriously dreamy space cowboy (Han Solo meets Malcolm Reynolds), Leo takes his work very seriously, keeping his mission priority one. But finding Riley on the ice muddies things up a little and warms things up a bit. Okay, a lot.
Something about these two independent and stubborn characters coming together drove me to write their story.

See?  Spaceships and mistletoe do go together. Happy Holidays!

Blurbs for the 3 novellas found in A GALACTIC HOLIDAY:
WINTER FUSION, by Anna Hackett:
Ex-space marine Savan Bardan survived the Galactic Wars to become the most ruthless trade negotiator in the galaxy. His planet needs energy to survive, and he'll do anything to close the deal for the Perman fusion crystals that can provide it—even if it means seducing his beautiful, infuriating opponent, a rival icier than her planet.
Perma's top negotiator, Brinn Fjord, lost her father when Savan delayed her planet's Trade Guild membership years ago. She hates the handsome Rendarian and the planet he represents. She's determined to finish the deal and get rid of him as quickly as possible, so she can celebrate the holidays.
But soon the rival negotiators are in a fight for their lives. Besieged by mysterious accidents and unforgiving weather, Brinn and Savan have no one to depend on but each other. As they put the past aside, they uncover a desire hot enough to melt ice, and Brinn discovers a secret that may keep them apart.
28,000 words

GALILEO’S HOLIDAY, By Sasha Summers:
Ice miner Riley works alone in the depths of space, and that's the way she likes it. She's proud of her independence, and when her ship gets destroyed by raiders on the icy surface of Galileo, she's not sure she wants to rely on rakish trader Leo and the kindness of a band of settlers to survive.
Despite her attempts to keep her distance, it's not long before Riley warms to the family atmosphere of the settlers' station. As Galileo's Holiday approaches and she develops feelings for the handsome, charming Leo, she questions whether she really wants to remain alone.
But Leo is hiding cargo the raiders want, and when they come back for it, everyone on the small station is in danger. Riley will risk anything to protect her new friends—because if the raiders succeed, the choice between Leo and a life alone won't be Riley's to make.
23,000 words

Reina Vedette chose principle over position when the Chicago police department ordered her to accept performance-enhancing body modifications or lose her rank. Demoted to a level one detective, Reina's stuck chasing a bizarre, Grinch-in-reverse break-in case with fiery bod-mod enthusiast and level five top detective Edison Wicke.
Wicke has had his eye on Reina for ages, and as the two of them hunt down the benevolent burglar, they take turns warming each other with body heat in the subzero Chicago winter. Despite professional friction and their opposing views on bod-modding, Reina soon has to admit that she and Wicke are perfect for each other.
But when they track down their philanthropic quarry on Christmas Day, an unexpected glitch in a homemade android brings out Reina's emotional side, and she and Wicke must decide whether love between a Neo-Luddite and a "walking toaster" is a gift that either of them can give.
34,000 words

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A GALACTIC HOLIDAY – Carina Press | Amazon | B&N | All Romance
Anna HackettWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Stacy GailWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Sasha SummersWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads