Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TMI Tuesday

These questions are cracking me up today. *snicker* It's called TMI Tuesday for a reason, just saying.

1. Have you ever had angry sex? Yes, I think I was probably a bit more angry than he was. It's just like make-up sex... only you haven't made up yet. LOL

2. Pity sex? Ummm... yeah... but I might have been the pitiee not the pitier. Just kidding, I don't know that I ever really thought about it that way. He was a nice guy, so I wouldn't say "pity"...

3. "Oh well, I might as well" sex? Umm... yeah, and I'm pretty sure he knew it too. He got his way, he didn't care how. :-D

4. One-of-you-knew-it-was-goodbye-and-the-other-didn't sex? Yup, I'm not explaining that one.

5. Don't-remember-having-it sex? Not that I can remember. :-D

6. Regret-it-afterward sex? Yes, you're lying if you answer no to that question. There's always at least one experience you regret.

7. Can't-remember-his/her-name sex? Yes, much to my shame, but obviously it wasn't all that great. Otherwise, I would have been screaming his name. Think about it.

8. Never-knew-his/her-name sex? No, I always at least got a name. See above for if I remembered it.

Bonus: What was the worst single sexual experience of your life? Losing my virginity... think much bigger than expected... and rug burns on my ass... all around a not-fun experience.

Okay, those are my answers. Y'all now know way more about me than you probably wanted to. :-D

Monday, April 27, 2009

Author Interview ~ Jane Kent

It's Monday, and it's time for another author interview. Today on the couch we have Whispers Publishing author Jane Kent. Pull up a cushion on the leopard print couch and get comfortable.

Welcome, Jane! It's so great to have you here today. Why don't you tell us your latest news?

The latest and most exciting news in my life all has to do with writing. My novella, Getting It Right, was published by Whispers Publishing at the end of February and my work-in-progress romantic suspense novel, Don’t Stop Running, won first place in the romantic suspense category (first 30 pages) in the Toronto Romance Writers Original Golden Opportunity Contest, as well as an honorable mention overall. The synopsis for Don’t Stop Running also won third place in the Maine Romance Writers Synopsis Contest.

And I got to take the dream vacation of a lifetime—Greece, Egypt and one day in Rome—all because I wrote a letter!

It’s a long story so sit back with that cup of tea or coffee and get comfy and I’ll tell you the short version—which isn’t all that short—of how it all happened. In 2005 I was involved in an internet scam while trying to buy a computer on ebay (my own fault—my very first transaction on ebay and I did everything wrong that could be done wrong! I could give lessons now on what not to do!). The money went to Athens, Greece (and, no, I wasn’t buying a computer from Greece, I thought it was in Ohio) and I ended up losing the money and never receiving the computer that never existed in the first place! I was so furious, mostly at myself, for getting caught in the scam, I reported this guy to everybody I could think of—including RCMP and FBI cyber crimes units and I wrote a letter to the Athens Police—then chalked it up to experience (and stupidity) and forgot about it. Last July a bench warrant arrived from the Court of Athens—by way of the Greek Consulate in Toronto who, thankfully, did an English translation—summoning me to appear in court as a witness in a criminal case against the jerk who ripped me off (hereafter referred to as JWRMO) in Athens, Greece on Dec. 2/08…and they would reimburse return air fare, two days per diem, two days in an hotel and days missed from work (yeah, well, we’ll get back to that part)! Yes, the squeaky wheel does get Greece! A free trip to Greece, I thought, I am so there…and not for any two days!

A friend, K, decided to go with me and we planned this fabulous trip including a 12 hour layover in Rome to do the hop on, hop off one day sightseeing double decker bus tour of Rome, the last 1 week cruise of the season out of Athens that went to Santorini, Rhodes, 2 days in Turkey & 2 days in Egypt and a week in Athens during which time I’d go to court. Yeah, well, the best laid plans and all that…about 3 weeks before we were due to leave, the cruise company cancelled the cruise, so we were left scrambling with our new best friend—super travel agent S—to fill that first week, and finally found a package tour of Egypt that included Cairo, the pyramids and a 4 day cruise on the Nile (wow, that still sounds so exotic to me!)

The trip was incredible and the things I crossed off my bucket list! I saw things I’ve dreamed of seeing since the first time I saw pictures of them in Grade 4 history and geography—the Acropolis, the Coliseum, the pyramids, the Nile, the valleys of the kings and queens, temples full of hieroglyphs and ancient Greek, Greek theatres and the Sistine Chapel!

And court in Greece? Well, it’s nothing like court in North America! Well, okay, to be fair, I can only assume that, since my only point of reference is movies and TV—hmmm, now that I say that, maybe there is some similarity to Judge Judy! And then it turned into a French farce! I was supposed to be there for 9am so, of course, not wanting to be late and thinking that the lawyer for the prosecution might want to speak to me, I arrived at 8am. Nope, nobody wanted to see me, there was no one there who spoke English except the court clerk/security guard and all anyone would say when I showed them my summons was “here”. At 9, five judges came out (all women in this case) and lawyers started sitting inside the gate on the right and left. Then the cases started but it was more like small claims court than criminal court with one case after another being called. Neither K nor I could figure out which side was the prosecution and which was the defense; lawyers kept switching sides with each case and, of course it was all Greek to us. (Ah, come on! I heard that groan but, really, how could I resist? How many times does a person get to say that and it really is Greek?). And the noise level was incredible—lawyers and others coming and going, the door to the hall wide open and people whispering and talking despite being shushed. And, apparently, nothing in the Greek court system is computerized or even in government forms in triplicate—everything is written on a little scratch pad and stapled to the existing bundle of paper!

My case was called at 2 pm and there I was, just me—no JWRMO, no defense attorney, no prosecution! Then we had to wait half an hour while they found a translator, who showed up with her coat on, told my story to the judges, told me they had ruled in my favor (JWRMO would get eight months in jail…if they ever caught him! What!? They’d paid to bring me all the way to Greece and they didn’t have the guy?!) and then the translator disappeared! But, but…what about being reimbursed??!!! The court clerk told me the judge on the far right had to sign my summons but she wanted nothing to do with me and sent me off to another building with the clerk (there were at least 16 different court buildings in the compound), where they sent me off to another building to see a very crabby man (probably on his way home too) who spoke no English – eventually, with the clerk translating, he told me I had to get a letter from the Canadian Embassy about why I’d left Canada, why I was in Greece (hello, he had the summons in his hand!), that I had a job waiting.

So, the next morning off we went to the Embassy, which, I might add, was more difficult to get into than any of the countries I was in! The woman who helped me finally called the crabby man (who’d written his name on a scratch pad sheet for me!) and told me that I didn’t need anything from the Embassy!!! Grrr #@%^&! Back to the court compound and two more buildings to get my summons signed by…yup, you guessed it, the judge who’d sat on the right in court the day—she couldn’t have done that the previous day?! And then off to the accountant who wanted my banking information—which I would take 6000 miles from home with me, why? End result? I may see the money in six months, after all the paperwork has been approved by the Greek Justice Ministry! Oh, well, at least the Visa people will be happy! I don’t know if I’ll ever see the money but I almost don’t care—the trip was worth every penny!

And that’s what happened from one little letter of complaint!

WOW, that is quite the story! It will be interesting to see how much of your experiences make it into future books. As we all know, our life is fodder for our art! That being said, how much of your new book is realistic?

Why, all of it, of course! Well, except for the characters and the plot! Actually, if I’ve done my job right, both, hopefully, are realistic…they’re just not real! Except to me, which brings me to the next question.

*snicker* Isn't that how we all look at it? My characters are certainly real to me! What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

My characters talk to me! My sister once told me I was too weird for normal people and too normal for truly weird people—guess that proves it!

Before I started writing seriously, I did a lot of research about the craft and one of the things that almost all writers talked about was how, if they knew their characters well, the characters talked to them, let them know if the writer was making them do or say things that were wrong for that character.

I thought, yeah, right, the characters talk. Hah!

But I wasn’t very far into the planning stage of Getting It Right and suddenly PJ was telling me she wouldn’t say something I’d just written or Bastian was telling me he’d never do anything as “girlie” as I’d just made him do! It was spooky at first but, once I started to listen, it became a big help. I tend to write from what author Suz Brockmann calls deep POV; that is, from way inside a character’s head. And I am a “pantster” as opposed to a plotter—I write by the seat of my pants! I have only the bare bones of the plot in my head when I start a story so it’s very important for me to have characters that I know well and who let me know when I’m completely off track with them!

LOL, that's a bit of a wake up call... and see... we're not as crazy as people think we are. Wait, maybe we are. That being said, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure. The characters are talking! Two of the secondary characters from Getting It Right, Skye and Rome, started nagging for their story to be told before I’d even finished Getting It Right! So I’m working on their story right now. It doesn’t have a title yet because I’m terrible at finding the right title; my brilliant editor came up with Getting It Right. Hopefully, for Skye and Rome, I’ll “get it right” and come up with my own title!

Here’s a little excerpt from Skye and Rome’s story: (warning – adult language)

Skye had had enough of his crap. Her skin was starting to shrivel up from the water and she just wanted him gone. And she didn’t mean just from the bathroom. At the moment though, that was the best she could hope for. He was deliberately messing with her—right, like that was anything new—and, as usual, she was giving him exactly the response he wanted. Well, screw that, she was calling his bluff.

She shot up out of the tub, water and bubbles sluicing off her body and sloshing everywhere. Grabbing the nearest towel, she wrapped it around herself as she glared at him. “Happy? Is that what you wanted?” she demanded, taking immense pleasure in the shock on his face. “Now you can leave!”

It only took a second for him to regain his composure and he gave her an approving smile. “Well played, Skye.” Then he spoiled her small victory by drawling, “But I think this skirmish was a draw.” To emphasize his point, he gave her “the look”, that practiced, assessing head to toe, hot once-over men always gave her, the one that didn’t even register her face, the one she hated, his gaze lingering on the split where the tiny towel didn’t quite meet before he turned and beat a hasty retreat. Oh, okay, fine, before he lazily swaggered away. The hasty retreat was just wishful thinking.

Ohhhh... that looks like... well, heck, it looks like fun to me! I'm looking forward to reading it. Speaking of which, what book are you reading now?

I just finished reading the books of my co-winners of the Resolutions Contest at Whispers Publishing, The Last Stallion by Christine DePetrillo, Meldown by Pepper Goodrich and Miss Taken by Kerri Nelson. All are fabulous and I’m amazed how we all took the same starting idea and came up with such different stories!

I am a voracious reader and, luckily, a very fast reader. I read from 2 to 9 books a week, both print and ebook, depending on my schedule.

I just started Tempted All Night by Liz Carlyle, which I know I’m going to love because she’s one of my favorite authors, and I have all three of Deborah Cooke’s books from her “Kiss” series waiting in the wings.

And my TBR (to be read) pile? Well, let’s not talk about that—but I might need a bigger house soon!

Oh, believe me, I know all about HUGE TBR piles. Mine is in danger of toppling over and crushing innocent passersby. Good thing I read fast too! Okay, now for our "Absolutely Nothing To Do With Writing" questions: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

Okay, so I don’t think my cats have learned to read yet but just in case, I’d better say cats. I have two; one is a Maine Coon whose personality is distinctly dog-like. He greets me at the door and has to be in whatever room in the house I’m in. In fact, Atticus in Getting It Right is loosely based on him. The other one is definitely a cat. Never mind greeting me at the door, I’m lucky if she even noticed I was gone!

I would love to have a dog but the schedule in my “real” job (real being a nebulous term here since I build costumes for film and theatre!) is pretty erratic and dogs need more than food, a litter box and a little love now and then!

Don't worry, I won't tell them you might have said something else. They sound like quite the characters! My mother always had a cat growing up, but I have a dog. They each have their own distinct pros and cons, but I love animals. Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting you “I”s with a heart (or anything like that)?

Sigh. Okay, you caught me—I put little circles over my “I”s. I think I thought it was cute when I started but now I’d just like to stop; however, it’s not that easy. It takes concentration and I’m usually in too big a hurry to pay attention. Thankfully, the computer doesn’t pick up those habits!

LOL, well, we each have to have our own quirks, it's a universal law... be glad your quirk is relatively mild. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

Where do I start? I cry over cartoons! And re-runs of Little House on the Prairie? Forget it! If Pa cries, I cry!

But movies? There are too many to name! I happy cry and I sad cry…and sometimes I sob. Whoever invented VHS and DVD has my undying gratitude; now I can watch at home and it doesn’t matter it I end up with mascara raccoon eyes!

LOL, and the fantastic thing about DVDs is that you can pause it to go get more kleenex! Are you a morning person or a night person?

Oh, most definitely a night person! It takes me a good hour and two cups of coffee to function in the morning!

Boy, that sounds familiar. I don't drink coffee, but I'm rather nasty in the morning. My kids tend to steer clear of me for at least an hour. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

Coke tastes sweeter to me than Pepsi and Pepsi has a bit more bite. Okay, I know this is a fence-sitting answer, but I like both—it just depends on whether I want the bite or the sweet.

Ha, you can be a fence sitter if you want. It's your damned taste buds! What stereotype would you label yourself as?

Laurie Schenbly has a book called Believable Characters, Creating with Enneagrams that is a fabulous resource for writers when creating characters. She breaks it down into 9 types with each type’s strengths and fatal flaw and then she adds sub-types, wings and connections. It’s a great way to get to know everything about the characters you’re creating (and real people!).

The nine types are: Perfectionist, Nurturer, Achiever, Romantic, Observer, Skeptic, Adventurer, Leader and Peacemaker.

I think I’d probably classify myself as a Type Five: An Observer with wings in Romantic and Skeptic and sub-types of Adventurer and Peacemaker.

Hmmm, guess my sister is right…I am too weird for normal people!

LOL, well, you don't have to worry about that here. We're not normal by any stretch of the imagination! Thanks so much Jane for being here with us, and allowing me to torture you... ahem, I mean interview you today. It was great fun getting to know you better!

Getting It Right by Jane Kent

PJ James’ New Year's resolution is to make no resolutions, especially of the romantic kind. She's always failed at her resolutions in the past, and this year she's going to save herself from the pressure to succeed and the guilt of failure. But as the New Year approaches, she begins to wonder if she's completely jinxed herself by bucking tradition when she meets the perfect man...and he turns out to be gay. Or is he? And just exactly what else is he hiding from her?

St. John is beginning to question his failure to listen to his instincts. He should have told PJ his real reason for hanging around her small town, but his dedication to her brother along with a promise of confidentiality kept him silent. The only problem was his undercover assignment wasn’t turning out exactly as he intended.

First, the idea of being a bouncer in a gay club would have worked out well had PJ James not been so damned sexy. And second, the closer he got to her, the more he wanted to tell her the truth…that her life was in danger, and it was his job to protect her. And damn duty, ethics, and promises. He wanted her, and he usually got what he wanted.

***edited to add*** Jane Kent has been telling stories most of her life; when she isn't writing them, she's moonlighting at her day job in professional theatre and film. "Getting It Right" is her first published work.

She lives near Toronto, Canada and is allowed to share a home - as long as she caters to every whim - with two very spoiled cats. Jane would love to hear from readers at and promises to respond to each and every one...though not necessarily speedily!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The End?

So... a couple weeks ago, I submitted a short story "Love Your Enemy" to a small press. I submitted it because I thought it was ready. But in the days since, I've been obsessing about it, certain I could make it better, stronger, faster than before...


Maybe just better.

I keep thinking about places I could ramp up the tension or make the sex even hotter. Places where the characters could be stronger, the descriptions deeper, the story more interesting.

It's driving me crazy.

And part of me hopes the editor will reject it so I CAN do those things (though, I suppose it's possible she'll let me do them even if she does contract it). It's frustrating, because I read through every word of that story dozens of times to make sure I was really ready to send it off and now I'm second-guessing myself.

When IS a story finished? Or, maybe it would be more appropriate to ask, IS a story ever finished?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TMI Tuesday

Umm... I'm running late, and I just have no idea what to write about. So I cheated and did TMI Tuesday today. :-D

1. Marriage and children aside, what has been your greatest accomplishment in life? Hmm... That's a tough one when you take away marriage and children. I would have to say having the courage to follow my dreams throughout my life is my greatest accomplishment.

2. Aside from healthy and happy children, what is your greatest ambition for the future? I want to be published! I'm working toward it, and trying not to let insane circumstances stop me. Soon and very soon I'll be there.

3. If we were to enter your real name in a search engine, what would we find? Ahem... nothing illegal that I know of. Not even any really interesting pictures either... again, that I know of.

4. Who is the most famous person you ever met (not just in the same room as, but actually spoke with)? Well, I went to high school with Rutina Wesley (the girl who plays Tara in True Blood) and Donovan Patton (Joe on Blue's Clues). Do they count? Plus, I worked with Siegfried and Roy a looooooong time ago. :-D

5. Parents aside, who is your biggest hero? Susan Boyle - she gives me chills. Okay, umm... really... my uncles: One serves in the military (I'm a proud member of a military family) and the other went against tradition and what others told him he should do, gave up his position as a minister and came out to his family. Both are incredibly courageous men if you ask me.

6. Someone once worked out the sexual version of Six Degrees of Separation - Celebrity A slept with B, who slept with C, who slept with D, making as sort of connection between A and D. Are you connected to anyone famous through six or fewer bonks? Umm... gosh I don't think so! I don't know if I really WANT to know that one...

How about you? What would your answers be?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Author Interview ~ Patricia Snodgrass

Yay, it's another Monday, and we have another brave soul for the leopard print couch. Our guest today is Patricia Snodgrass, Whispers author of Marilyn as well as Destiny's Mark. She's also published at Samhain.

Welcome to The Menagerie, Patricia! Let's get started: Where are you from?

I was born in inner city Dallas. Oak Cliff to be precise. Once upon a time there was a thriving Cherokee community there. But my family and I moved back to Cherokee Nation when I was little. When I was in the second grade we moved back to Dallas, and in 1969 we moved to rural northeast Texas where I currently reside with my husband and son.

Wow, lots of moving around when you were younger. Tell us your latest news?

Mundania Press has accepted my Southern Gothic novel, entitled “Glorious.” It’ll be out next summer. I’m very excited about it. I hope it becomes one of my “signature pieces.”

Oh, congratulations! You'll have to let us know when it releases so we can celebrate with you! So, when did you first consider yourself a writer?

Well I was a storyteller before I became a writer. I fell in love with stories when I was very young and still living in a tiny town called Foyil, Ok. My ability and desire to tell stories came from my father. When the neighbors came to visit my father would build a bonfire out in the yard, and the men would sit together and talk while the women were inside in the living room talking. I would go out and sit and listen to my father as he stood in front of the fire, telling wonderful stories from when he was a kid or he’d tell war stories. They always seemed more interesting and exciting than what the ladies were talking about.

Isn't that how it usually is. One group always has the better stories, lol. Then are your character experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Perhaps a little bit of both. Although my characters aren’t based on any one person, there are elements of various people I’ve encountered, plus things from my own life tossed in for good measure. I have to admit I had Carlos Mencia in mind for Bobby Chandler when I wrote “Marilyn”, but he’s not Carlos. Not Hispanic and no where near as funny. And Vincent Cleburne from my novel “Destiny’s Mark” is a composite of two writers and an actor I knew a long time ago.

I love it when people I know sneak into my brain and won't go away. At least we have the option of changing things to suit our imagination. :-D What books do you think have most influenced your life?

I’ve probably read thousands of books in my 45 odd years of literacy. There are two books that are great loves in my life. One is "To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. It started out as a summer reading assignment in high school. You can imagine what I at sixteen must have thought about that. So the week before school started, I picked up the book and found out that I couldn’t put it down. It’s now a tradition with me, that every summer I pick up my old hardback of TKAM and sit outside in the afternoons and read it. The other book that I love so well is “Hearts in Atlantis,” by Stephen King. “The Stand” comes a close third, but “Hearts” is one of his best novels in my opinion. It’s another summer reading tradition.

What a wonderful tradition! I may have to start doing that more often. Okay, if you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Oh that’s easy, because back in the 1980’s I had the great fortune to meet one of the greatest Science fiction writers of all time. That would be L. Sprague de Camp and his wife Catherine. The younger set probably wouldn’t have heard of him but he was one of the most influential science fiction writers of his age. He was also a very darling man. He and his wife Catherine gave me tremendous encouragement. Another hero would have been the artist Kelly Freas and his wife Polly. They were often guests of honor at science fiction conventions my friends and I held during the early to mid eighties. Good times.

Wow, you must have been doing quite the happy dance there! It's amazing how encouragement from the right person can have you walking on clouds for a long time. Do you see writing as a career?

Writing is my career. I don’t play when it comes to my writing.

That's a great attitude to have about it. Even when it's fun, it's what you do for a living. How long does it take you to write a book?

About three months providing I don’t get sidetracked. I’m really bad about that. I have the attention span of a ferret sometimes. I’m currently writing about four books at once.

LOL, I get sidetracked, I think we all do. Especially when something is just a little bit shinier. :-D To churn 'em out like that what is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Like Michael Crichton, it’s an 8-4 job.

Wow, I'll bet more of us wish we had that kind of dedication. Okay, :::rubbing hands together::: now for our "absolutely nothing about writing" questions. Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

Yes, I hate how I look in pictures, I’m not at all photogenic. Like the old joke: I have a face for radio. I’ve made local television appearances in the past and I never ever look at the broadcast.

Aw, hon, I'm sure it's more a case of we see ourselves differently than others see us. How about: You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

There are a number, but probably one of the worst was a blind date I went on. The guy was handsome, charming, and I was head over heels as soon as I met him. He took me to dinner at a ritzy restaurant, took me dancing at the Elks lodge, and then afterwards he took me to the mall. The problem with that was the mall was still under construction. He wanted me to, ahem, pay for the date. Now this was way back in 1977, when coke still came in heavy glass bottles. When I refused his advances he made the mistake of hitting me. I retaliated by smashing the bottle upside his head. I got out of the car and ran into one of the darkened loading docks and hid underneath a ramp until daylight. When I knew he was gone at last I hiked up the street to a gas station and called my brother to come get me. I found out later, the guy was at the ER getting his face stitched back on.

My brothers got hold of him a week later and ruined what was left of his good looks. Needless to say I never saw him again.

Thank GOD for big brothers! But, sounds like you handled the situation just fine on your own. Still, what a scary way to find out a guy is a dirtbag. Okay how about this one: When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

Jesus, I need a haircut.

Hey, that was MY first thought this morning... not that YOU needed one but that I did. LOL What were you doing at midnight last night?

Watching the silent film, Nosferatu. Talk about classic! The filmography was great for the time, even though it was faded in places and the film jerked a bit, but that added to the atmosphere of the movie, I think. The use of green and purple filters for lighting up the landscape was quite innovative and it also added to the spooky atmosphere. The vampire wasn’t one of those sexy hunky vamps with lots of emotional baggage, a la Anne Rice. This thing looked scary. It looked like it’d have no compunction whatsoever in draining out every ounce of your blood. It looked like something that came up out of the grave and refused to go back. And believe me, you wanted it to.

And there was no vampire angst with this character, no. He knew fully what he was and enjoyed every minute of it. If you haven’t seen this movie, I encourage you to do so. It’s really good, even if it is a silent film.

I've always loved that movie, but I think they SHOULD have made him handsome, somehow that would seem even more evil to me, yanno? Hmm... let's see... What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I’m very particular about my food, although when I was pregnant I craved raw steak. Vitamin supplements killed the craving though.

Steak Tartar huh? I craved Banana Cream pies. What is your favorite animal?

I love all animals, but horses, dogs, cats and ferrets are my faves.

Those are all wonderful animals! But, ferrets make me laugh, in a good way. What is your heritage?

I am Cherokee, Kiowa and Anglo-Celt. But I consider myself Cherokee because that was the culture I was raised in at a very young age.

And that is where your heart is. At least you know your heritage, so many people these days have no idea where they come from or what their traditions are. What stereotype would you label yourself as?

I used to joke about being of mixed heritage. My typical joke was that if you ticked me off I’d scalp you and put a bomb in your car. Because of the post 9-11 era I don’t say that any more. I’m afraid the FBI will come knocking, lol.

*snicker* I'd vouch for ya. But that is a funny comeback. Do you like thunderstorms?

I love a good thunderstorm.

Do you sleep with the light on? Why or why not?

I’m a chronic insomniac. So the room has to be nice and dark, and very quiet and preferably a little cool. I don’t use sleep aids, I meditate until I fall asleep.

It's no fun when your body is ready but your brain won't shut up. I'm glad to hear you've got a routine worked out that works for you. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

I don’t drink sodas any more. Not after I found out that one of the chemicals found in both beverages is also used as a wood preservative. No kidding. Why would I want to drink something that can be used to bleach out wood? I drink water, decaf tea and pure fruit juice. And Mexican hot chocolate if I can get it.

LOL, I didn't know that... wonder if that's the chemical that makes it addictive.... Okay, last question: If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

Bigger royalty checks, of course. :D

OH, HA! Don't we all! Well, thank you so much for being here with us today at The Menagerie. Be sure to come back and visit us! It was great fun getting to know you better.

Thanks for stopping by and getting to know Patricia with us. See ya next week!

Destiny's Mark by Patricia Snodgrass

Vincent’s obsession with one woman leads him into the dark recesses of Nepal where danger lurks around every corner, and things aren’t always what they appear to be.

Believing he is following his own destiny, Vincent is willing to do whatever Yolanda would have him do, even risking his own life. What he doesn’t realize is that obsession isn’t love and that destiny can leave a lasting mark.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Book Trailer ~ Destiny's Mark by Patricia Snodgrass

Destiny's Mark by Patricia Snodgrass

Vincent’s obsession with one woman leads him into the dark recesses of Nepal where danger lurks around every corner, and things aren’t always what they appear to be.

Believing he is following his own destiny, Vincent is willing to do whatever Yolanda would have him do, even risking his own life. What he doesn’t realize is that obsession isn’t love and that destiny can leave a lasting mark.


Want to see your book trailer here? Go here to find out how!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Creativity out the Wazoo

I had an insanely busy day yesterday, and you can read all about it at my MySpace blog if you'd like. It's long and I didn't want to take up so much space here. That's more my personal blog where I talk about... stuff.... that's not always associated with writing.

Today, I wanted to ask you other authors out there how you do it? How do you deal with your creativity if it's coming out the wazoo? I know that I have an excess of creative energy that doesn't feel book like. Does that make sense? I love writing, but sometimes I need to put my creativity toward other things. I play around with altering photos so I can use them as MySpace comments or to be part of a digital scrapbook. I make cards because I love the fact I can make a better card than the ones sold in the stores and because I made it, the person receiving it loves it even more. I used to do scrapbooks, but I don't have the time right now. I need something that I can focus on and get done in about an hour or less. Lately I have been making book thongs. Thanks to my sweetie author friend, KyAnn Waters, I won one from her some time ago and I have been making them myself. It's kind of addictive the whole bead collecting and threading and it's just a lot of fun. I might even start using them as part of contests and promotions for The Menagerie authors and stuff. But those things still aren't enough. I still feel like I want to do other creative stuff away from my writing.

My hubby says it's because I have an addictive personality... and? He wants the sex addiction to kick in. I said, "Honey... I write erotic romance, you help with the research... you want me to be even more addicted than I already am?" Guess so.

So, does anyone else have this problem of an overabundance of creativity, or: Creativity Out the Wazoo? What sorts of crafts/creative things do you do? Can I learn it? LOL

Monday, April 13, 2009

Author Interview ~ Christine DePetrillo

Here on this lovely Monday, we have another author who has volunteered for the third degree on our leopard print couch.

Welcome, Christine, it's very nice to meet you. So, where are you from?

I’m from Rhode Island, the lovely Ocean State, where I enjoy sailing in the summer, gardening in the spring, the harvest foliage and pumpkin pie in the fall, and snow—lots of it this year—in the winter.

Ugghh.. snow :::shudder::: Sorry. Ahem, why don't you tell us your latest news!

My latest news is the release of my very first ebook! THE LAST STALLION, a short romance, was the Grand Prize Winner in Whispers Publishing’s “Resolutions” Contest. It was published this February.

Oh, YAY! Congratulations, hon on your first eBook release! How exciting. Okay, well what book (if any) are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading THE COURTIER’S SECRET by Donna Russo Morin. I just finished A VEILED DECEPTION and NEVER BEEN WITCHED, both by Annette Blair. I’m in a writing group with both of these talented authors. I’m also a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton and her Anita Blake series.

I love Laurell K. Hamilton. I'll have to look into the other authors. So, do you see writing as a career?

Teaching is my career. It is what I have a Master’s degree in and how I spend my days. It is how I pay my bills. I enjoy spending time with my students and watching them grow.

Writing, however, is my passion. It is what I think about while I’m doing everything else. It consumes me. I don’t think of it as a career right now because I only spend nights and the summer writing. Perhaps in the future, I’ll think differently, but currently, writing is something I do because it makes me ridiculously happy.

What a wonderful way to put it. I have to agree on your viewpoint. It never leaves, it's our passion. Okay, did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

If you can say something in less words, do so. It really does sharpen the story.

Good advice if you ask me. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is a four-part process in my mind. It starts with Inspiration—when your Muse whispers a great idea to you. Dedication is next. No excuses. Sit down and write. Make the time. Regulation is where you comb through your manuscript and apply all the writing rules, sharpening the way you’ve told the story. Publication is the final step. If you’ve made it through the first three steps, you’ve done the work of a writer. Slap a cover on that baby and call her done!

Sounds like a great plan of action. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I first realized I wanted to be a writer when I discovered crayons could write on walls. All that space, all those colors, so many stories to be told.

Seriously, when I was in high school, a friend and I started a story about a nun who fell in love with the hunky convent groundskeeper. One of us would write a scene, then pass it to the other to continue. We wrote this story for years, and that’s when I had my first taste of actual story composition. I was hooked. This same friend and I used to swap Sandra Brown books as well, and so began our love of romance novels.

Oohh... a round robin! And that is a great way to realize that you want to do this. Now for our "Absolutely Nothing Related to Writing" Questions:
What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

Cats are THE writer’s pet. I open up my laptop to settle in for a writing session, and my cats curl up nearby to keep watch. When I hit a rough patch, a couple of kitty kisses always do the trick. There’s nothing like the sound of a deep purr to relieve the stress sometimes caused by a blank page. I put a cat in all my stories to honor the two I call my own.

Hmm... I like cats, but my dh doesn't. Not really gonna push that one. When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

I need a haircut followed by I wish I were still in bed.

Don't we all think that way in the morning? LOL What were you doing at midnight last night?

Dreaming of summer. Seriously. I was wearing a dress and sandals in the dream and basking in the warm sunshine. It has apparently been a looong winter in Rhode Island.

I'm pining for Summer too. What do you want to know about the future?

Nothing. I like a good surprise. Besides, every decision I make changes the course of events. What may be true of my future today might not be tomorrow. I like seeing where each day takes me.

That seems like a grand philosophy to have. What is one thing scientists should invent?

A transporter device like in Star Trek. I’m so waiting for this one. If I could beam to Hawaii for the weekend, that would ROCK! Please tell me someone is working on this!

How awesome would that be! Are you a morning person or a night person?

I’m a high noon person. Mornings are near fatal, but I don’t like to stay up all night either. By noon, I’m at my peak. It’s an army crawl on my belly to noon, followed by several hours of me being on my game, ending in a stop, drop, and roll to bedtime.

LOL, love that description! Do you like thunderstorms?

I love a thunderstorm especially on a hot summer’s night. It’s nature’s fireworks. The best thunderstorm I ever witnessed was in Niagara Falls. Bolts of lightning crackled down from the heavens and disappeared down the rushing water. It was pure art.

Isn't that the truth. Do you sleep with the light on? Why or why not?

Lights off. The darker, the better. I think I need a dark canvas on which to dream. The light on would only make me feel like someone was watching me sleep. That’s kind of creepy, don’t you think?

I have the opposite reaction, I swear someone is watching me if all the lights are off. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

I hate all soda. I’m a fruit juice gal. White grape pomegranate juice is my favorite. Full of antioxidants and so tasty. Guzzle some of this and I’m fueled to write, write, write.

Well, it was so much fun doing this interview and getting to know you better, Christine. I hope you stay a friend of The Menagerie.

Short Bio: Christine DePetrillo spends her days teaching children to love reading and writing and her nights writing everything from adult romance, young adult romance, science fiction, and poetry. She fell in love with writing the first time she held a crayon in her hand and realized the blank wall in her bedroom was full of possibilities. Since then, she have been mystified by the magic of words and enjoys playing with them every chance she gets.

You can reach her, and keep up with her books at her blog.

The Last Stallion by Christine DePetrillo
Large animal veterinarian, Cassie Stone, is done with cowboys. It’s her New Year’s resolution after she catches her current rodeo clown in bed with another woman. On her sister’s invite, Cassie heads to New York City where the chance of corralling another cowboy is slim. Or so she thinks.

Blake Mareson is traveling from Louisiana with his four horses. He stops briefly in New York City to make some money, and soon his plans to hide in the quiet woods of Vermont change when he meets Cassie. Her long red hair and sharp green eyes reel him in immediately, but he’s not looking for love. In fact, he’s trying to avoid it in order to protect his secret—a secret he’s sure would send any woman running.

Though Cassie initially sticks to her New Year’s resolution and dismisses Blake, she can’t totally erase the blue of his eyes from her memory. When she sees him again, the pull toward him is too strong to resist. Will Cassie regret ignoring her no cowboy pledge or find the stallion she’s been looking for?

Perhaps she’ll find so much more.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Book Trailer ~ The Last Stallion by Christine DePetrillo

The Last Stallion by Christine DePetrillo
Large animal veterinarian, Cassie Stone, is done with cowboys. It’s her New Year’s resolution after she catches her current rodeo clown in bed with another woman. On her sister’s invite, Cassie heads to New York City where the chance of corralling another cowboy is slim. Or so she thinks.

Blake Mareson is traveling from Louisiana with his four horses. He stops briefly in New York City to make some money, and soon his plans to hide in the quiet woods of Vermont change when he meets Cassie. Her long red hair and sharp green eyes reel him in immediately, but he’s not looking for love. In fact, he’s trying to avoid it in order to protect his secret—a secret he’s sure would send any woman running.

Though Cassie initially sticks to her New Year’s resolution and dismisses Blake, she can’t totally erase the blue of his eyes from her memory. When she sees him again, the pull toward him is too strong to resist. Will Cassie regret ignoring her no cowboy pledge or find the stallion she’s been looking for?

Perhaps she’ll find so much more.


Want to see your book trailer here? Go here to find out how!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Funny Friday!

This one came from my sister, and every time I read it I laugh so hard I have tears running down my face. Just try reading it out loud... you'll laugh too.

Thought you might get a laugh at this humor......

Remember it takes a college degree to fly a plane, but only a high school diploma to fix one. Reassurance for those of us who fly routinely!

After every flight, UPS pilots fill out a form, called a "gripe sheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by UPS' pilots--marked with a "P"--and the solutions recorded by the service/maintenance engineers--marked with an "S".

By the way, UPS is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.


P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit
Something tightened in cockpit

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces 200-foot/min descent.
Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
Aircraft warned to: straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
Installed cat.

And the best one for last......

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
Took hammer away from midget.

See, I told you. Don't tell me you didn't just giggle your head off. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - The Mysti Version

Some people read one book at a time. Some people have a number of them on the go at any given time, perhaps a reading in bed book, a breakfast table book, a bathroom book, and so on, which leads me to…

Are you currently reading more than one book?

Absolutely... I'm all about multi-tasking.

If so, how many books are you currently reading?

Three, and two magazines. Two fiction books, one non-fiction, Reader's Digest and Natural Pet.

Is this normal for you?

Yep. I think I have attention span problems... oooh... shiny...

Where do you keep your current reads?

The magazines are on my nightstand. The non-fiction book is on my breakfast bar. The fiction novels travel with me where ever I go.

What about you?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Random Acts...

She walked slowly between the cars holding up her cardboard sign, "Homeless. Struggling to get by. Need help." She looked ashamed, wouldn't meet anyone's gaze as she wandered down the aisle made by the idling cars at the stoplight. This isn't going to be a happy bouncy post. It's one that is hitting very close to home right now.

You know as "humans" we tend to avoid their gaze, think, "Oh, they should just go to the shelter and get out of my line of sight." Because, that's what it is, no one wants to look because then they might be reminded... "That could be me."

As she walked past our van window, desperately trying to avoid eye contact with us, my husband made the comment. "God, babe, she's younger than you!" I know. And the light changed and we drove on toward home. We had four tired kids in the car and hubs had to work early in the morning. But, my stomach roiled and clenched all the way.

We got halfway home from where we had seen this young woman when my hubby turned to me and said, "Are you alright?" At first I thought he was referring to the dry raspy cough I'd been fighting all weekend.

"I just don't feel well." But I knew he didn't believe me.

"You're thinking about her." And I was. Something about her just called me back to her. The further we got from her, the more nausea I felt.

"We have to go back and see what we can do for her." It didn't matter to me, I had to find out what happened, if she needed help, if there was anything I could do. She was so young! If it hadn't been for the love and support of my family I could have been in the same position... except with a baby. My hubby, knowing about my past, and knowing the kind of person I am flipped a u-turn immediately and we went back.

She was still at the intersection, and seemed a bit leary coming over to where we were parked to talk to us. Can't say as I blame her, she had no idea who we were. But I had a strong urging that we NEEDED to do something. Talking with her we found out that she was staying in an alley behind an ice cream parlor and the two other homeless people who lived there as well did their best to take care of her, but she was still alone.

We took her to the Neighborhood WalMart across the street from where she was panhandling. I went in with her and wanted to cry when she only asked for a couple Cup A Soups and a bottle of water. I convinced her that she could get more than that so I loaded a box of 12 Cup A Soups (she said it was easier, as the ice cream parlor let her use their microwave), then a pack of water and some lemonade. I knew it still wouldn't be enough, but I didn't want to harm her pride. I convinced her that she could get granola bars and cereal bars as well. When I told her to toss a hairbrush in she asked if she could get some deodorant and some face wash cloths. I wasn't worried about the money, our kids can go without McDonald's and such for a couple of weeks, but it was worth it.

She talked with me while we were in the store and I learned her story was so sad, and yet how many people have family that won't help in these kinds of circumstances saying they're teaching you a lesson in survival. Makes no bloody sense to me.

Anyway, I took some cash out of our account along with the groceries and transferred her groceries to her "spot". We stood outside the van asking her if she was okay, if there was anything else we could do. She told us that she'd been burned before and if we were serious about being in her life and helping, then she would take our phone numbers and call us once she could.

The hardest part about it is that she wants to find a job, but she has no address for reference, no phone number to reach her, and her appearance isn't the best due to living on the streets for so long. It's a lose-lose situation.

As we dropped her off, she told us, "You know, I was despairing tonight. No one was stopping no one was looking at me and I thought: I need a miracle, or else I don't know when I'll get to eat again!

I don't know that we were her miracle or if we were just following the promptings of that still small voice. Either way, she is still on my mind tonight and I hope she calls. While we didnt feel great leaving her in her circumstance, there wasn't much choice. But I hope that our Random Act of Kindness can get her through the next few days at least, maybe longer considering we gave her some cash as well.

Please, don't call me sappy for hoping she can get her life together. Don't tell me she'll just using it to get alcohol or drugs. I trust my instincts and I am in no danger from her and she is rather adament about drug an alcohol use.

Do you think we should keep our eyes out for Random Acts we can do? I'm a pretty strong believer in that. Just thought I would share with y'all since it's been weighing heavily on me today. Ahem...that's wha I wanted to talk about.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Author Interview ~ Alisha Rai

Today, our next guest to be tortured by Kealie on the leopard print couch is Alisha Rai!

Welcome, Alisha! It's very nice to meet you. Where are you from?

All over the east coast. My family moved around a ton while I was growing up, and it fed my wandering spirit. I’ve been in South Florida for the past five years, which is probably the longest time I’ve ever spent in one place. Honestly, I’m starting to feel itchy.

LOL, being an Air Force Brat I have the opposite feeling: I hate to move! About your new book. How much of the book is realistic?

The family of sisters introduced in Glutton for Pleasure are first generation Americans of Indian parents. So am I. That’s about it for mirroring reality through my fiction.

Well, at least you know what you're writing about! What book are you reading now?

I’m powering through Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. I’m honestly not sure what rock I was hiding under that I didn’t catch these books before. I was like, hot tortured heroes in Budapest that I’m not aware of? What?

I had the same reaction, I love Gena Showalter and couldn't believe I hadn't seen those books yet! As a published author do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes. FINISH YOUR BOOK. No matter what story I’m writing, about three chapters in, I used to throw up my hands and think, this sucks, it’s not going anywhere, I should just scrap it. I could never finish a complete manuscript. Then about two years ago, I discovered the secret. Come closer, children: keep writing. You can always come back and change things around. Just try your hardest to get a first draft out.

Very good advice, and it's actually advice I CAN take! So, what would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

This is more of an embarrassing writing quirk. Since I fear my friends may use it to blackmail me, I might as well get it out in public. Way back when, there was a show called Making the Band on network TV (this was before it was on MTV). For some bizarre reason, my sister and I LOVED this show, to the point where it became a weekly date for us. Thus, a band named “O-Town” was formed. They released a song called “All or Nothing” and faded into obscurity.

This is the odd part: this song really helps me think. I don’t know why, or how, but when I was taking classes, I would play it when I was stuck on a paper, and it would clear my brain up. I use it sparingly now, but it is definitely hidden on my mp3 player along with Material Girl (also a thinking song).

NO WAY! Wow, that IS an interesting writing quirk. And family and friends are so like that to hold some silly "obsession" against us! Don't ask my hubby about me and Joey MacEntire...

Now for the fun questions. :::rubbing hands together::: Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

Heck, yes. I think most people dislike something about their own pictures. I think it’s the same thing as hearing yourself on the answering machine, one of those, I sound/look like that? For me, it’s my smile. I like it much more when I’m by myself in the bathroom mirror.

LOL, don't we all? I always wonder what wind blew by and made my hair do that and how did I not realize it! What were you doing at midnight last night?

I was getting ready for bed, since I planned to do the nine a.m. tour of Alcatraz (currently visiting San Francisco, which I just love. Particularly this thing you west coast natives refer to as “In-and-Out Burger”).

OOOHHHH, In 'N' Out! Yum, I love their milkshakes. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

I cry during movies all the time. I also cry while reading something particularly touching. Heck, I got a bit choked up over some factoid during the aforementioned trip to Alcatraz. I am so not picky about shedding tears. Some movies I have cried during include Lion King, Ghost, The Green Mile, Finding Nemo…I’m a sap.

Well, you're in good company I too am a complete sappy goober. What is one thing scientists should invent?

I have been waiting for a hoverboard since Back to the Future came out. Not that I think kids need an excuse to be lazier, but how cool would that be?

OH, hey, me too! But I think my kids would just kill themselves and I already have enough ER visits with four boys. Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night. Definitely. I don’t think my brain wakes up until around two p.m. Unfortunately, most employers don’t take that as an excuse.

I too am a night owl. Not much I can do to change it... so I write and I blog hop. :-D Doesn't stop the kids from bugging me early in the morning. If y'all would like to keep up with Alisha you can do so at her website or at her Samhain page.

Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai
Samhain Publishing

They’re craving something sweet. She likes it spicy.

Devi Malik knows how to heat things up. She does it every night as head chef in her family’s Indian restaurant. Her love life, though, is stuck in the subzero freezer. Now, with a chance to fulfill a secret fantasy with her long-time crush and his brother, it’s time to put her desire on the front two burners.

For Marcus Callahan, a love-’em-and-leave-’em attitude isn’t only a necessary evil of their kink. It’s a protective device. Lately, though, his brother Jace has been making noises about craving something more.

Jace’s dissatisfaction with their lifestyle grows with every glimpse of sweet little Devi. Yet Marcus is too haunted by the pain of their shared past to give love a chance.

Despite their reputation for vanishing with the dawn, they discover one night with Devi isn’t nearly enough. And Devi finds herself falling in love with two very different men.

It’ll take more than explosive sex to light up the shadows surrounding the Callahan brothers’ secrets. But Devi’s never been afraid of the dark…

Product Warnings
This title contains two sizzling men for the price of one, ménage a trois, oral sex, anal sex, fun toys, great food, and creative uses for syrup and dressing rooms.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Book Trailer Promo Opp

We Wild Women will be posting book trailers on this blog every Sunday!

If you’re 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.

If you would like us to post your book trailer 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 try to accommodate your needs as much as we can.

Hope to hear from you.

~ The Ladies of The Menagerie

Friday, April 3, 2009

Funny Fridays!

Alright everyone, we are doing another little bit of a change-up here at The Menagerie in regards to posting schedule. Fridays will now be Funny Fridays, and Mysti or I will post a funny joke, comic strip or video that we have found in our travels across the World Wide Web. :-D

Today's Funny Friday is a video that my ex-Trooper Father-In-Law sent me. One because he knows how in love I am with Mustangs, and two because he's a former trooper. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What's In A Name?

Whilst I wait on pins and needles for the editor to read and (hopefully) contract my submission, I've started on something new. But I've gotten hung up on a couple things: Names and a working title.

Names are important things and I think they tell a lot about a person. Of course, sometimes you want to go for the opposite for either shock or comedy value, like naming a hunk "Egbert" or a 90-lb weakling "Brick". I have to admit to disliking names that are TOO unusual, but OTOH, I don't want the same name as every other character out there. It's agonizing.

Thankfully, the internet has tons of help. I use these sites to find names and meanings:

Dictionary of Baby Names, Meanings and Origins -- To choose a series of possible names.

Kabalarian - to narrow down my choices by meaning.

Then the title...

I know, I know -- I shouldn't get so hung up on a title, but for me, it helps me to focus. And, I need to be able to refer to it somehow. I can't call it "Ann's Story" or "The Story Where Ann Finds Hope when she Meets George" or whatever. I also know it will be a working title, as the scope and the meaning of the story may change as I write it. Still, I need something to cling to (and, heck, a way to save it to my computer).

What about you? How do you choose your character names? And, do you need a title or does it really just not matter to you?