Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Five Things with A

Because I'm pretty sure I use all my brain cells on my writing and just functioning day-to-day, and can never think of anything clever to blog about, I'm starting a theme to help jump start myself. I like jump starts... it's why I drink coffee in the morning.

And, heck, if any of you want to join me in the silliness, please do -- and leave me a comment so I can come visit.

Here's what I'm going to do. Every week I'm going to post five things about me (who I am, what I like, etc) that begin with a letter of the alphabet. I'll start with "A" and work my way through, although I may skip "X" for obvious reasons.

Want to play? Please? Fun is always MORE fun when you're with friends.

So... kicking it all off:

Five Things about Mysti that begin with the Letter A

1. Attitude - I haz it. Seriously, it's a problem for me on a regular basis. My DH deserves a gold star for putting up with me. I can't be easy to deal with.

2. Apples -- I love them. I eat an apple almost every day, and not just because it keeps the doctor away... that's just an added benefit.

3. Animals -- I'm an animal freak. I love them. All of them. Really! My fave pet is a rat, I handle the garter snakes in my garden, I feed the birds. If I didn't have my DH to keep me under control, I'd have a real menagerie.

4. Alpha Males -- Oh. Yum. I think part of that stems from being a tall person who dreams of having a man pick her up ala all the romance novels out there, carry her upstairs and toss her on the bed (a frothy canopy bed, of course). Ain't going to happen, though my DH is at least taller than me... which isn't always a given considering how close to six feet tall I am... which leads me to:

5. Amazonian -- I resemble that remark. I'm 5'10" and no lightweight. There was a point in time, my skinniest as an adult (and I was nearly skeletal) where I weighed 130 lbs. I look at some of those incredibly tall models who weigh 110 and wonder how they do it. My skeleton probably weighs more than that! I've never felt particularly feminine or attractive. Thankfully, again, my DH is significantly taller than me ... so he can make me feel at least a little like I'm a girl.


C'mon, you know you want to....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fat Tuesday!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Let the good times roll! Yup, that's right, today is Mardi Gras... and I want to be there! Don't we all? As a writer of Erotic Romance I quite frequently deal in the business of excess... at least that's what others think. Personally, I have always believed that we simply revel in the entire relationship, which includes the touches and licks and strokes and the buildup. Ahem... is anyone else warm now? LOL

Mardi Gras is traditionally a time of overindulgence before Lent... at least that's what I was always told. For me it's been a time of traditions and fun and celebration before sacrificing those same things to further your faith. Growing up with half of my heritage in Louisiana, I have always loved this time of year. The buildup of the excitement the entire month before Fat Tuesday. The whole week of parades and floats and parties and balls before the Big Day.

It's an amazing and vivid time based on generations of tradition (yes, I'm saying that word a lot, but it's true) and family and togetherness... and I miss it. I haven't been home in a long time, and I haven't truly celebrated Mardi Gras since I was a teenager. I listen in envy to my friends that get to make the trips (heck my children's Pediatrician is actually a member of one of the Krewes and he makes the trip every year with his family), and my family that still live there... and I wish I could just pick up and join them. I want my own children to experience that wonder, and sit on a box on top of a ladder so they can see the floats better and wave their hands for the "throws" to put in their pillow cases... and I want to marvel at the amazing get-ups and creative costumes again.

I miss the food, and the music and the people all smiling and laughing and saving your spot on the parade route. I miss the music and the dancing and the excuse to dress up again (as the last time was Halloween). I miss the heritage and the pride and... the people. I want to see how NOLA is doing. Is she really doing as well as visitors have said? Like a Grand Dame coming out of the hospital, the bruises fading, the scars healing, New Orleans is emerging again into the world and showing just how beautiful she is and I want to be there!

Don't believe me? Check this site out: Mardi Gras In New Orleans

It shows so many things that are part of Mardi Gras... not just the drinking and excess in the French Quarter.

How about you? Do you and your family celebrate Mardi Gras (Carnival)? Have you ever been? What are your favorite memories? Are you there now? Share share!

Promo Op ~ Let Us Interview You!

We Wild Women will be interviewing authors on this blog every Monday!

If you're interested in being interviewed on here on our blog, please feel free to
send us an email -- we'll send you a list of questions to answer. We'll schedule you for a date once we receive your responses, and will try to accomodate your needs as much as we can.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Promo Opportunities

If you are an author looking for promotional opportunities, then we here at The Menagerie can help. We have set aside Sundays to play your Book Trailer, if you have one to share.

Let us know if you think you would like us to post your book trailer on our blog as part of your ongoing promotions campaign. Just email us at: and let us know what days would work for you. As sometimes the demand is great for a certain day, please give us more than one day in order of preference and we'll check our schedule.

Hope to hear from you.

~ The Ladies of The Menagerie

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Thoughts: A Couple Things....

First off.... we got Lemonaded, TWICE by my dear friends Helen Hardt and April Vine! Don't worry, it's a good thing, and I adore them both so it's all good. It's the "When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade" Award (the Lemonade Award for short).

It works this way:
1) Link back to the person you received the award from, and
2) Nominate 10 bloggers who are deserving of this award.

Sooooo..... since I got tagged, I get to tag others. And since Mysti said, "Oh, you can do it." That means it's who I like. LOL So, get some lemonade and go blog hopping with me. :-D

1) Romance by Catherine (Catherine Bybee)
2) Cari Quinn, Girl Writer (Cari Quinn)
3) Kaye Manro Romance Author
4) Tricia's Sinful Sundays and What Not (Tricia Leigh Wood)
5) Colorado Vixens
6) Paige Tyler
7) Gail Faulkner
8) Belinda McBride
9) AJ Llewellyn
10) Devon Gray (Yes, I know you already got tagged... I think... you're just double-loved)

I'm trying to avoid giving to those who I know have been given this award. So... if you feel slighted because I didn't say you too.... well, you can consider it yours as well. Muah!

Well, and the other thing was going to be a silly thought, phrase or joke I had, but my brain is quickly shutting down as I write this. Oh, well. I hope y'all enjoy the above blogs as much as I do.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guest Blogger ~ Kimber Chin

Today, the Menagerie is happy to have with us Kimber Chin as our guest blogger. It's been great fun getting to know her, and I'm sure y'all will too. So without further ado, here she is:

Writing With Photos

Every week, I feature a photo of a man in a great fitting suit on . As I write about men in suits (romances set in the business world), I figure my readers will find them interesting.

But that’s not why I take them.

I take these photos (candids, the guys will happily pose for photos as they are, well, guys, but I prefer candids) because they help me with my writing. If I need inspiration describing a man in the heat of contract negotiations, I study one of those photos. If I can’t remember what the hubby looked like while proposing (my jaded salesman vomited right before, he was so nervous), I pull out that photo of a man proposing to his girlfriend in a park. If I’m wondering how a man holds himself after being shot down, I have a photo of that too.

These photos are cheats, short cuts, reminders.

I do the same with other people, places, flowers, desserts (usually chocolate laden desserts). Invisible, my contemporary treasure hunt book, is partially set in Vegas. I have photo after photo of the fountains at Bellagio (one scene in the novel). I made notes of the smell of the water, the mist on my face, the way the wind changed the performance. I didn’t use all this, only bits and pieces, but I had it.

I also use photos as story starters. I’ll capture an interesting scene and use it for inspiration. Every month on , I post one of these photos. I may never use these starters but it helps prevent the dreaded writer’s block.

This is a snippet of the Bellagio scene from Invisible:

“Where are we going, Hagen?” Not that she cared. Or that anyone cared about her.

Certainly not this big man. He didn’t care. She was merely a means to an end.

“I think we both need some fresh air.”

Fresh air. That’s exactly what she needed. Some fresh air to clear out her brain. Had she lost a friend in there? Nikolay had been angry, angry enough to tell her goodbye. Sergei…he didn’t think she was good enough to marry his grandson.

Why did it matter to her? When had they crossed the line between source and friend? This was business.

She was running those thoughts through her mind, having herself a good ol’ fashioned pity party as they stood outside the Bellagio watching the fountains dance in time to the music. The coolness of the night air combined with the wet spray made her skin pucker into goose bumps.

Hagen, without asking, hung his jacket on her shoulders, swamping her. It was warm and smelled like him. He slid his hands around her waist, drawing her close.

If she closed her eyes, she could pretend that he cared, that she wasn’t all alone. That Birger hadn’t died and Sergei thought of her as a worthy friend and Nikolay hadn’t told her goodbye.

But it was a lie. They were all lies. “Hagen.”

$ * $ * $
Kimber Chin uses photos to give her contemporary romances set in the world of business life. She isn’t the best photographer in the world (not even close) but great photos aren’t needed. Every week, she features a photo of a man in a suit on her site

Breach Of Trust
by Kimber Chin

When a business secret is shared, can love survive?

by Kimber Chin

The first person she made disappear was herself.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Do You Valentine?

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Valentine's Day is coming up -- and, as a reader and writer of romance, I feel oddly bound to defend it. But, the simple fact is this: my husband and I don't celebrate the holiday. Our reason? Why choose one day to show how much you love someone?

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

We don't do cards... or flowers... or candy. The simple fact is this: we take care of each other every day, all year long.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

His friends think he's so lucky because he doesn't "HAVE" to buy me a diamond necklace, or take me out to a fancy dinner. And I wonder what kind of relationship his friends have with their significant others if the "HAVE" to buy expensive gifts or end up in the dog house.

What about you? Do you force your SO to buy you something on V-Day? Do you celebrate it? Do you feel like you have to top yourself every year? How do you feel about Valentine's Day? Do tell!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why Am I Embarassed?

"OH, guess what she does NOW... she writes Erotic Romance!" Yup, my cousin let the cat out of the bag with that drunken pronouncement.

Recently, while out on the town with my cousin and some college friends visiting Vegas I was faced with this dilemma: Do I own up to what I do when it might change the way someone looks at me? Can I live with myself if I lie about it, because I love what I write?

"No, way!" One of the guys with us was boggle-eyed and obviously not a believer. "YOU? The girl who doesn't drink alcohol? Who only drinks soda all night long? No WAY!" Then he tilted his head, "Nevermind, I can totally see it." I guess he was remembering the fact that I don't need alcohol to dance on the bar/tabletop with the other goyles... or maybe he was remembering thirty minutes before when I switched out my super-heavy sweater for my cousin's much lighter one all while sitting at our table in the club (in my defense it was sweltering and she wasn't using hers... and no skin showed.. okay my arm and shoulder did). Nevertheless he demanded proof of my "OTHER" job.

Unfortunately... or fortunately depending on your outlook... my cousin pulled out her iPhone and punched in the Long And Short website where my three short stories currently reside. If it was possible (and believe me it was) his eyes bugged out even more, "I'll have to read this later... when you're not around. HERE, program it into MY iPhone!"

Now, while I DID program it for him, I didn't call him later to ask if he had indeed read them after I was no longer around. A very large part of me was glad he showed an interest (along with all the other people in our group)... but I wasn't all that surprised. He is after all a guy and if it has sex in it they're all for it. The other part of me was a bit embarassed though, and that made me a bit angry. WHY was I embarassed about something I love doing, I enjoy reading, and that has quite a large number of fans?

Honestly? Because, I didn't really want to change that Status Quo we had come to rely on. I didn't want to have to explain why I chose this genre... or if I'd actually done the things I write about. Because, while I adore them... there are just some things that they don't need to know about me. If my hubby had been with us I know that he would have smiled and said he loved the research aspect of it (like someone else has said HER hubby likes to say... ahem... Nina), but looking my friends in the face I smiled and changed the subject. Don't worry, they brought it back up again later, and I had made my peace with them knowing, so it was all good.

But the question still remains... WHY am I embarassed when the subject comes up (except with certain members of my family, my cousin to name one)? Am I the only one who struggles with telling someone I've known "before" the writing? Believe me, it's not something I'm going to be telling my Mother-In-Law that I do, and other more judgemental members of my family don't need to know either as they already make some family gatherings... interesting, but I LOVE what I do and I'm not ashamed, but I am embarassed to explain. So... anyone else have these issues? I'm just wondering.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Have a Story UP!

Whipped Cream Reviews has accepted another of my short stories! I'm excited and hope you enjoy reading some of my work. It's entitled, "Perchance to Dream".

Actually, they're looking for more stories, so I'm hard at work on trying to figure out how to cram a romance with nookie into 1000 words. It's kind of a neat challenge, though I do admit to spending more time than I should on the short stuff and not finishing my longer story (my poor heroine has been tied to the bed for WEEKS... hmm... I don't think she's complaining, lol).

Anyway, in case you were interested, here's the words they've put out on the loops (they want erotic and non-erotic both):

The Long and the Short of It is a paying market for flash fiction, romance stories with a HEA. For short shorts (maximum 1,000 words), we offer $5 (payable on acceptance and via Pay Pal only) and a free book cover or banner ad (a $10 value). The author will also receive a link on the site to their webpage and/or blog.
For more submission details, please go to

Hope to see some of you there.

And, do let me know if you liked my story -- it's posted here:


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Where Does The Time Go?

Okay, I know... BAD Kealie :::slapping hand::: I forgot the hottie on Saturday. My only explanation is that we had a huge emtional upset in our family and as the oldest it was kind of on me to sort of figure out how to deal with it. That's done, and I'm back and life goes on. But, where does the time go?

I am especially thinking on this today as I look through some discs. About two years ago our desktop PC crashed and we lost TONS of information, photos and videos of our kids. I lost research I had done on Ireland and the Gaelic language (LOTS OF RESEARCH!) and was devastated. At the time, we had (and still have) a friend who fixes computers in his "spare" time, and he's pretty good. He took the harddrive and later told us that there was no saving it. So we bought a new computer (and my laptop) and moved on.

Yesterday, he gave my husband THREE discs of information he'd managed to salvage off of our harddrive. He said that he knew how upset I was at losing all that information and had been working in his spare time going through each part of the drive that he could. The result was three discs of info. I didn't want to get my hopes up and didn't know what to expect but last night I popped in the first disc and am STILL going through all that he managed to pull. I still have two more discs to look through.

There is video of my third son's birth and his first Christmas. There is video of my husband's Grandparents with the boys (and while they are still alive and in their 90s, some of these videos were precious and thought to be lost forever), and some of the breakthroughs we had with our oldest child and his disorder are on here as well. I'm so excited and was so happy that I sat down last night and just cried!

But, as I sit here and look through these videos I wonder... where did the time go? There are pictures of my oldest when he was a "little boy". I know, he's only 9 now, but he seems so big and so grown up and these pictures and videos are of him as the oldest of my babies. Pictures of my second child with his curly blond hair before he got old enough to realize that if he had me keep it short it didn't get so curly (dangit). There are pictures and video of my third baby as a baby before he could talk back and charm the heck out of anyone with just a smile and a flash of those dimples. I got my babies back!

There are reams of research that I vaguely remembered and wondered if I made up but couldn't find and now I see that I didn't make it up. There are scenes and thoughts on characters that I had constantly running through my head and once I finally wrote them down they disappeared from my memory and I see them here again. It's like running into an old friend you weren't sure you'd ever seen again and the joy you find at getting to know them again. I'm so excited and grateful for all of it!

So, I ask you: Do you ever stop and wonder where the time went? Do you ever stop and just revel in the fact that your kids are growing and if we blink we'll miss it? Do you ever find something that you've written (for those of you who are authors) after thinking it's gone and find an old friend in the process?