Losing has been an ongoing theme for the Panther’s this year. Don’t get me wrong, losing is part of the sport and I’m okay with the Panther’s losing IF they give me a good game to watch. A massacre of pathetic proportions is NOT fun to watch.
So to make me feel better, I wanted to give some football eye candy. Something has to give me re-appreciation of the sport, doesn’t it? LOL.
Hmm, to be Carol in this feature! :) Some women have all the luck when it comes to finding the right alpha male...
I admit it...I was a Star Trek fan! So when I came across this Captain Kirk's Thanksgiving photo, I had to share...
That must be one BIG turkey he's after. I can almost hear the Star Trek music playing in the background as he faces his foe.
Here is what happened afterward. It's in the next Star Trek generation with Capt Picard, however, where they had the Holodeck and could simulate any setting. I really thought it was neat to become anything you wanted to be--a gangster on the Chicago streets in the 1930's, a swashbuckling pirate on the high seas, a werewolf in the Highlands--
And afterward, he could sit down to a nice Thanksgiving dinner...
And I must say that my wolves would NEVER dress up like this. They just wouldn't! :)
I even got my Christmas tree up!!!
One last thing: Furniture with the Kilt Wearer in Mind!!!
Claimed to be a kilt-wearers antique bar stool.
So...what do you think? One size fits all?
And even if you're not into antiques, wouldn't this be a fun conversation piece to have? :)
I'm off to work all weekend...hope the holidays were good for you!
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."
Cameo's List of Things to Be Thankful For (in no particular order)
- Hubby, friends, and family
- Good Health
- Critters of all kinds
- Social Networking
- The Sun, moon, and stars
- Unbridled passion
A huge thanks to all of our readers! We're grateful that you check out our blog several times a week and post your comments!
Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends! I like quotes that make me think and this one definitely did:
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. ~H.U. Westermayer
A laugh is always good, so here's one from a very funny American writer:
What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? ~Erma Bombeck, "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 26 November 1981
From all of us here at Fierce Romance to all of our readers:
Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your love of books with us. We appreciate and love you, and we hope you have a terrific holiday. May yours be a peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving!
I can gaze at it all day long. Alas, it's not cute.
It's not a little house from which Keebler Elves might pop out with fresh-baked cookies.
Thumbelina does not live there. Nor do Hansel and Gretel.
The most I might hope for is that a semi-attractive construction worker will pop in and out. But A) that hasn't happened and B) the knowledge of what they're doing in there would erase any charm from the moment, anyway.
So you're wondering why I'm thankful for this eyesore?
Like most moms, I spend a lot of time telling my kids to always believe the best about other people. Even when I'm mentally muttering to myself that some person is a malevolent witch out to get my kid, I don't tell my kid that.
And, what I've learned over the years, is that most people really do have a good reason for doing what they do. You may not know the reason, you may never find out. But if you do discover what motivated their seemingly bad behavior, more often than not, you'll find they had a reason that was rational and benign from their point of view.
The blue outhouse is a perfect example of something which might have irritated the heck out of me. Except for the pride my neighbor took in telling us he'd insisted they put the potty up by his house, instead of on the street. He didn't want it to be an eyesore that we'd have to look at all the time.
I had to laugh when it arrived and they placed it where it is perfectly framed by my desk window. But, every day, when I look out at it, I'm reminded of the fact that my neighbor tried to be considerate of us. That fact totally takes the sting out of the irritation. It reminds me that people usually are well-intentioned. And if you can believe that even when you don't have the facts, I'm convinced you will be a happier person.
And isn't that something to be grateful for?
On this day before Thanksgiving, I'd like to close with this quote from Plato.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Characters are the heart and soul of a story and I want them to touch you as they do me. Oh, and my characters send their thanks too! :)
Today at The Romance Studio Thanksgiving party I'm sharing a sensual excerpt of Devil in a Kilt. It is paranormal erotic romance. The excerpt might be considered adult rated. So over age 18 only please! The unkilted (that means naked) hero, Gavin, is searching the heroine, Shauna, for weapons. (Not like they do it at the airports either.)
A couple days ago I shared the first chapter of Kilted Lover in three parts. Contemporary erotic romance. Adult rated. Over 18 only please.
If you click here you can see all my posts at The Romance Studio party, including holiday recipes and Scotland photos. I'm giving away a Hershey's Recipe book. Other authors are giving away books, etc. The grand prize of the party is a Nook! Every comment is an entry.
Thanks! And have a Happy Thanksgiving! :)
PS At my newsletter group, I'll be giving away a perpetual Scotland calendar at the end of Nov. It has some beautiful and amazing photos of Scotland. (I got while I was there in Oct.) All you have to do to enter is become a member.
Okay, first, after being interrupted several times during my lunch break yesterday at work, I ended up going back to work without putting my laptop away, and when I finally had a moment to do so, I forgot my mouse! So I'm home without a mouse and I HATE trying to write or do anything without it. How do you copy and paste something on a laptop?
I haven't a clue.
So despite being off from work today and NO WAY do I want to drive into work, I've got to. I can't be mouseless all weekend.
Onward and upward! Have you ever heard of bundling? I wrote about this in A Ghost of a Chance at Love. In the good old days, men and women were not supposed to get too frisky before they were married. But hormones being what they are, couples will find a way. Although, sometimes parental consent was given to allow a man and woman to see if they were even sexually compatible as long as the sexual acts excluded penetrative sex. Since divorce was just not done, it was a way to see if the couple could find intimacy with one another before marriage.
Let's take another instance--often there were not enough guestrooms in a house for everyone so when a gentleman who was betrothed to a lady stayed with her family, they might share the same bed--to keep the chill out. They would be clothed in myriads of clothing to keep them from going too far.
Now, if the two couldn't resist temptation and they went too far and she got pregnant, the wedding date was moved up. :)
Isn't that fascinating? Who would have ever have thought!
But bundling can mean something else today. Bundling up in warm clothes for the weather. Sure.
But something even newer! Ebooks bundled together at one price! And some of MY wolf books are going to be bundled in a special deal!! Always something new and exciting going on in the publishing world!
Since I'm mouseless and feel totally handicapped, I'm going to say--have a terrific Saturday!!! I'm having my Thanksgiving feast with my daughter and her boyfriend today, and will be bringing the German chocolate cake. Yumm!!!
Oh, and what do you think of bundling?? Sound like fun to you?
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."
Just a quick note to say I'll be participating in the Thanksgiving party at The Romance Studio for the next 4 days. (The party ends on 11/23.) Lots of prizes are being given away such as books. I'm giving away a Hershey's recipe book for your holiday dessert ideas. TRS is giving away a NOOK! Be sure to comment lots for lots of chances to win! Click this link to join the party:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
That’s right. The J.K. Rowling series is a personal weakness of mine. I started reading the series when I was laid up in the hospital the last week of my pregnancy. I will admit to having a hard time with the first two books because they were targeted for middle school children, but it was still cute--cute enough for me to go on to the third book. When I started Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, the adult in me was grabbed by the darker edge. After that I was sold. I gobbled up Goblets of Fire and Order of the Phoenix. (And yes, I have re-read all 800 of pages of The Order at least 8 times. Until the Deathly Hallows came out, Order was my favorite of the series). Once I finished Order, I had to wait. Don’t you hate that? You get introduced into a series, devour through the books then have to wait for the next installment.
The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows both came out around my birthday and I told my then husband all I wanted for my birthday was the book and time. And I got it. I held my book close to my chest and flew to my room, and didn’t return until I was finished. I’m one of those readers that can’t put a book down. I know this, so I had to plan accordingly, which meant the hubs took a day off to watch the kids and I started reading first thing in the morning. It took me 15 hours to read Half-Blood. By the time I got to the end, the hubs was in bed, the kids asleep. I remember waking him up, crying my eyeballs out because “Spoiler Alert for anyone who has actually never seen the movie or read the book* Dumbledore was dead.
And of course, I cried the entire second half of Deathly Hallows because all the characters I’d come to love throughout the series were being killed.
I’ve watched every movie, though been deeply disappointed with most of them. I still can’t fathom how they took the longest book of the series and made it into the best movie, yet massacred Half-Blood.
I do have high hopes for Deathly Hallows though. I’m very happy they made the book into two movies and rumor mill has it the director followed the book closely. I have some favorite scenes I can’t wait to see come to life on the big screen. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of them will be in this movie. So July 2011 can’t get here soon enough.
Anyone else a huge Potter fan? If not, what is a series you’d like to see go to the big screen?
Everyone has heard how important the family meal is every evening. Most of us have holiday traditions in which a big, multi-course meal is the centerpiece of the event. Instinctively, we all understand that good times with family and friends are enhanced with food and drink. But I think the appeal of group dining goes beyond the mere consumption of roasts and pies.
What I have started to notice recently is that even when it’s not a holiday, if you make the meal a little bit special, people will sit around the table long after the food has been consumed. Here are some ways to keep good times at your table after your guests have taken their last bite:
Invite friends – I don’t mean just a formal invitation, though that’s fine too. But take advantage of every opportunity that comes to your way to ask someone to stay for a meal. A new face will add to the atmosphere and provide new conversation. (Plus no one will bring up unpleasant subjects.)
- Make one special dish – This is important even if you’re not a great cook. You don’t need to produce a five-course gourmet meal. (I have never produced a five-course gourmet meal. Perish the thought.)
But anyone you are serving will appreciate the thought and effort if you make one of their favorites dishes. If you aren't a big fan of cooking, look for simple recipes that can become special for your family. At my house, for example, we do a make-your-own-pizza night which is always popular. You can top brownies with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge for a super-easy dessert. (We're talking good times here, not calories.)
- Eat in the dining room – I will admit my dining room often serves as a storage room. I keep the pads on the table permanently, since that large expanse is a too-enticing repository for shin guards, extra jackets and shopping bags. But I’ve started serving dinner there on random nights. Yes, it is more work. A cloth tablecloth and napkins must be laundered, it’s an extra floor to clean, etc. But it is well worth it, because, in the dining room, everyone lingers.
- Resist the urge to clean up – Yes, you must do it eventually. You can clear the table after the main course if you are serving dessert. But when all the food has been served, any attempt to clear the table will result in the end of your meal. (I think it’s because those who do not intend to help must escape the area.)
The opening quote is from Epicurus, a Greek philosopher whose name is now synonymous with fine dining and luxurious living. But his real philosophy is summed up in the quote. Enjoy your friends, live simply (not lavishly) and happiness can be yours.
I can’t guarantee all that. But I will say if you try some of these things, you will have people enjoying your table long after the meal is consumed. And that’s an indulgence to me.
In early October, I visited Weymouth, a beautiful beach resort town in the south of England, in Dorset, where I indulged in sunshine, beautiful scenery, a fossil hunt, and great food. Weymouth is a popular tourist attraction and tourism is their main industry. Fortunately, in October it wasn’t crowded at all. But Weymouth and the surrounding area will be crowded in 2012 because it is the official venue for the Olympic sailing events.
Weymouth is part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site, where thousands of fossils have been unearthed. I was determined to find a fossil on the rocky, pebbled beach… and I did. The first one I found was a tiny shell fossil. Really cute and amazing. Then I discovered a couple of others which are more difficult to identify but I’m sure they are fossils of some sort. I spent a large portion of that beautiful day walking on the beach and relaxing, taking pictures and watching dogs play. It was just what I needed after a long flight and a good night’s sleep.
Weymouth has a wonderful little section full of shops of all kinds. I enjoyed shopping here and my trek down to the Harbour to take pictures of boats. An awesome restaurant here is Vaughn’s where we had fresh fish and stuffed mushrooms to die for.
The Jubilee Clock is an important landmark for the town and it was right outside our window. It was erected in 1887 to mark the 50th year of Queen Victoria's reign
Another is the King George III Statue, erected in 1810. King George made his first visit to Weymouth in 1789 to recover from an illness. He used a “bathing machine,” a sort of changing room on wheels which allowed people to be pulled out in the water so they could take a private dip. King George made Weymouth a popular and fashionable vacation spot.
The drive through the English countryside was beautiful. We saw several Neolithic burial mounds in sheep pastures (above), a medieval church, and other interesting sights.
Here you can take a virtual tour of several sites in Weymouth.
Recently my significant other and I spent several unforgettable weekends admiring the handicrafts offered by artisans and laughing at pie-eating contests where adorable children ended up wearing more apples than they’d consumed. These were also days when diets were dismissed, and we were drawn to delicacies such as savory breads, frosted turnovers and petite pasties filled with baked apples and dusted with powered sugar. A local winery teased and pleased our palates with some of its prize-winning and newly-introduced vintages. We posed beside field surgeons, operated switchboards, and attended various lectures on a host of topics by veterans of The Battle of the Bulge, D Day and The Invasion of Okinawa. Some of my favorite photos include those where my boyfriend brandished an M1 carbine while wearing a helmet and mile-wide smile. We chatted at length with a paratrooper who later kindly forwarded us a tape of one his commemorative presentations. This is a memento we will always cherish along with the honor of being in his esteemed company that sun-filled fall day.
But although the festivals and historical programs gifted us with many fond memories, perhaps the thing we ended up most celebrating was the fact we were alive, well-nourished and proud to be Americans thanks to those who served our country and farmed the crops of our fabulous nation.
Wishing you all the best for the fall season and beyond,
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN – Ellora’s Cave
TORMENTED (Recommended Read) – Ellora’s Cave
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
Whenever I think of: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, I think of Clint Eastwood's western searching for buried gold movie. Ever see it?
But there's a terrific site that goes by that name that reviews books. The first time I saw that a reviewer had reviewed one of my books on the site, I was afraid to click on the link and check it out. What if the reviewer thought my wolf tales were Bad....or worse, Ugly???
:) With any Google Alert letting me know a review has been posted, I always have some trepidation. As writers, we want everyone to enjoy our stories, and I have to say I was thrilled to see Sandy M's review of Seduced by the Wolf as she gave it an A+!!!
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
"Somehow I missed reading this Terry Spear book back in August or even September. Shame on me, because it’s a terrific read. Ms. Spear has definitely come into her own with this werewolf series of hers. She pulls you in immediately, pounds you with emotion and action until the very end, gives you characters to love, and a story to bite into (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!). If you haven’t read of her werewolf books, pick one up soon. You’ll be chomping at the bit for the next one as soon as you’ve finished reading it. Oops, sorry, wrong animal there. ... The sixth book in the series is out this month and I am not waiting to get started on it!"
~~ Sandy M, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Reviews
I'm currently in promo mode for Wolf Fever, but also just received final edits for Heart of the Highland Wolf. Final line edits will be after that to ensure that everything is correct, no missing periods and the like. And I need to get my word count done on The Wolf and the SEAL, although the story will be done way before deadline, I still like to finish them early so I can get started on the next story (The Highland Wolf in Paradise) and propose a couple of more.
Anyone you feel needs their own story? Tom does, most definitely!
I'm excited that a Portland examiner reporter will be doing an interview of me coming up and Monmouth University plans a feature in their February magazine issue, thanks to Michael Maiden.
And I've got to get 3 guest blog posts done this weekend before the onslaught of interview questions start coming. I have 11 of those to look forward to. Lots and lots of guest blogs and lots of free giveaways!
Wolf Fever is coming, and truly you don't need your flu shots to read the book, even if you get a little feverish. It's the good kind...not the bad or ugly!
Okay, a note to ponder. I noticed on Google that they are honoring Robert Lewis Stevenson for his birthday today, 160 years ago. First, I thought birthdays were celebrated because you'd LIVED another year. But I will say he was a writer from Scotland and wrote remarkable books that I loved, Kidnapped (which I read a romanticized version recently and thoroughly enjoyed), The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Treasure Island.
|Born||Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson|
He was only 44 when he died, or I'm sure we would have had many more wonderful tales to cherish. He was born in Edinburgh.
In honor of him, I wanted to share some more Scotland pictures!
I took these at the Hilton Hotel in Edinburgh. Lovely fall colors and flowers too. Remember, I had barely any sleep for 2 days when I arrived that morning at 7:30 after an all night flight. :)
But I was giddy to take pictures of everything, so I wouldn't forget any detail when I returned home.
This was one of my traveling companions as we were getting the car packed to begin the first leg of our journey.
Loved seeing the beautiful flowers and the fall colors at the same time!
This was at one of the castles, and we almost didn't notice it.
And here's inside the garden. I could envision making a home right in the midst of all this!
Okay, enough goofing off. Got to get back to edits on Heart of the Highland Wolf!
Are you relaxing or have a busy weekend planned?
Have a terrific weekend!!!
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."
So, unfortunately, this post is going to be short and sweet. I gotta get back to it, while the mind is fresh and hot. But let me leave you with a little bit of what's inspiring me. Remember, I told you my hero is a fireman...
Have a great weekend!
Now onto a bit of a weather rant. The last year of weather has been completely jacked up. I live in the south. We rarely see snow and though the summers are hot it’s usually bearable. Last winter started the craziest weather we’ve had in years. Temperatures plummeted into the 30’s in October and pretty much stayed that way until March. Now I know you Northerners are rolling you eyes at this, but we Southerners are not used to this kind of thing. We’re not equipped. For us, lower 50’s is freezing. Anything below and you might as well just send us to the Arctic. We had more snow and ice in those five months than I had seen since I was a kid. Then we moved on to summer (yeah, we didn’t have a spring at all). Oh. My. God. Was this summer HOT. Miserable. Humidity was out the roof and we hovered around 100 for months, even making into the triple digits on more than one occasion.
So now we are back to November. Temperatures went from lower 90’s during the day and 60’s at night to 50’s during the day and 20’s at night. Just like that. Snap of the finger.
I don’t like it.
Because of our weather (and lack of rain) our normally beautiful fall foliage has been complete crap. They went from green to dull yellow and brown in the span of a week. Where are my oranges and reds? Where is my roads lined with multi-colored trees?
I feel doomed for this winter again. Being someone who went almost seven years without seeing a flake of snow, I’d be perfectly content if it went back to that. Though, for my kid’s sake, I wouldn’t mind one small snow. One that would get them out of school for ONE day and the snow is GONE the next.
So how are you feeling about your seasons right now?
Eilean Donan is said to be the most photographed castle in Scotland, and I’m guessing it's the most popular. Part of that love of it has to come from its stunning setting, on a tiny island where three sea lochs meet with the mountains in the background. I can't imagine a more romantic and breathtaking place for a castle. It's an iconic image that simply says Scotland. I took the above photo in the afternoon just before we toured the castle.
On our recent trip, we were fortunate to be able to stay about a mile away from Eilean Donan Castle for two nights. In fact, out our bedroom window, I could see the castle in the distance, across the loch and over the hill. We toured the castle one day and then every time we passed by it, I had to stop and take more pictures. Why? Because every view of it was so different and beautiful. When the tide comes into the sea lochs twice a day, the water rises and flows under the bridge creating beautiful reflections. Sunset provided the most stunning backdrop for the castle. (Above) I couldn't get enough pictures of it.
View from Dornie
Getting my office back, however, has taken a little more time. The walls had to be drywalled and painted. I had to clean out all the junk that had accumlated during our remodeling. Then my husband finally hung back up all my framed covers this past week. I love it! And I have two more covers to add once I buy more frames.
Now as I sit at my computer to write, this is the view I have. On days when the writing isn't going well, the covers are inspiration, reminding me that other stories have had rough spots too. I remember that I had to push through each time, keep writing even when it was painful, until suddenly, it's not painful any more, but flowing and joyful. And I look forward to adding even more frames to my wall.
How about you? Do you put out pictures or something else in your office or other room which inspires you?
Your journey is through, unlike the journey ahead of Eve Morneau.
A journey dependent upon her trusting a stranger who beguiles and puzzles her.
The following is an excerpt from my historical erotica romance, TORMENTED.
Charles pulled the straight-backed chair beside the rice bed. “Once you’ve removed your stocking, dangle your leg over my lap.”
A gasp half escaped her pretty mouth before she caught the tail end and swallowed it. “Very well.”
In anticipation of his request, she’d already rolled the leg covering to her knee.
He checked a smile. The stocking whispered as she slipped it from her leg.
Dignity and fine materials became her.
But so would bareness and the emergence of her seductive side.
He sat down and held out his hands. She laid the stocking aside and brought her lower leg within reach.
“I promise I won’t pinch you.” He winked and cupped her heel.
A smile flirted with her full lips. “Never said you would.”
And he never said he wouldn’t be tempted to pull her off that rice bed and kiss her until she couldn’t see straight. But where did that pencil near his right foot come from?
Only Adelaide wrote letters to her family on occasion and she always used quill and ink.
He glided his finger over Eve’s swollen flesh. The afflicted area measured approximately the size of a silver dollar. A pinprick demarcated the center of the wound where the beetle had bitten her. Similar to the gauge of a sewing needle.
Poison tented the reddened skin. He positioned his thumb and forefinger on either side of the bite and squeezed gently. Some of the poison swam near the surface but the rest had sought her bloodstream for transport throughout her body.
She cleared her throat. “What? Can you lance my leg and draw out the poison?”
Another rub of his finger made her wince. “It’s too late for that. But what I will do is make a tiny incision, an “x” if you will, in the middle. That will allow any surface poison to drain when you next bathe. And also ease the pressure building at the wound.”
“Do whatever is necessary.” Teeth gritted and head held high, she set her sights on the door.
His fangs would puncture her flesh with greater precision but she wasn’t quite ready to learn that secret. He could sneak a nip during her bath. If he pinched the area around the wound in the proper way she would barely feel the fleeting piercing.
From his vest he secured a small pocketknife and made two cuts—one vertically and one horizontally. A bead of blood shivered on the surface. His own skin stretched tighter over the bones and muscles. Eve removed a hankie from her bodice and dabbed away the droplet.
He let her go and stood. “I’ll swab a bit of medicine on there. Then I’ll reveal your surprise.”
Wishing you many happy reading moments,
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED (Recommended Read) – Ellora’s Cave
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave Exotika
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave Exotika
Here are Finn and Meara, resting after a bad situation in The Wolf and the SEAL. I know neither look like a SEAL, but one is. :)
A co-worker, friend and fan of mine brought back brochures for two wolf reserves in New Mexico, the state where she and her husband had just vacationed! So we're going next year sometime on a girl's road trip!!! We had gone to the one that's local and I'd gathered pictures and stories, but many were wolf dogs. Have to save up the vacation time and money, but she's got the GPS, and I'm driving, so we're ready to go! Have to check when would be the best time to go out there next year weatherwise. :)
I had so much fun with Nicole and her girlfriend in Scotland, this is the way of the future!!!
Ever take a girl's road trip???
Have a happy Saturday! I'm off to work. *sigh*
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."
What do you think? Isn't is great?
When I told graphic artist Tuesday Dube from Purple Ink Graphics and Design that I was thinking of creating a logo, she asked me what it was that I wanted to convey. I thought about it, and my answer was simple. "I want to portray alpha hot sweet sexiness." She just laughed and gave me a "Yeah, right."
As she designed this, though, through all the different incarnations, different fonts, shading, fades, etc., the design started to morph little by little into what you see now. When we were both satisfied, she said, "You know, I think we found what you were looking for." I completely agree! THIS is my alpha hot sweet sexy Kristin Daniels logo! I can't wait to start using it!
In the meantime, I've been plugging away at a couple new WIP's. One is talking to me more than the other right now, which is not surprising. I've tentatively titled it Burned and Broken. Being my typical pantser self, the idea is coming to me slowly, but I can tell you it's about a fireman -- a fire jumper to be exact -- who has a lot in his past he needs to set right.
And what have I been using for inspiration? When I sit down to write, I listen to this song -- several times! Works like a charm. Ready? Here we go...
Thank you for having me here again at Fierce Romance! I’m so happy to be celebrating the release of my third book, my new novella Building Magic from Red Sage Publishing. I’ve asked a lot of author friends if the amazing feeling you get when you see your cover up on the website (or bookshelf) and I am delighted to report that they all say no!
I’ve been thinking a lot about covers. Recently I interviewed several cover artists and art directors to prepare a workshop for my local RWA chapter – the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. Entitled Picture This – What Every Author Should Know About Cover Design, I asked all sorts of questions about the procedure for cover design, and whether the process is commercialism or art, and how the artists feel about it. As I sit here gazing at my latest beautiful cover, I’d like to share a few comments from those interviews with you.
“I think it's a combination of elements combined with pleasurable composition make a marketable cover. Sometimes one element stands out more than another, but what that might be is hard to say until you actually design the cover and what might be important to selling the book, whether it's the models, or an effect.” – Rae Monet – Cover designer
“Most times, as soon as I read the title and genre, I start to percolate ideas. The more I get to know the author’s online persona, the more solidified the sketches become. An example of my process: I’ll receive the cover form. That’s when I go get a coffee (lots of milk and sugar!) and start exploring the form and its links, if any. This gives me a black and white mental image, a sort of blueprint. Then I visit the author’s site, blog, twitter (I sound extraordinarily like a stalker...!) to get a sense of tastes. Has the author decided on a dark background for her site? Big, bold text? Subtle feminine touches? Knowing this fills in details in my mental image of the book. Then I start the actual file.” – Kanaxa – Cover Designer
I am a voracious reader and designing cover art has given me the opportunity to help bring an author’s words to life visually. I’m always searching for ways to improve my work and keep it fresh and different. I absolutely love my job! – Angela Waters, Cover Designer.
And I absolutely love the cover of Building Magic. It really caught the heat between the heroine, a woman who never fit in on Earth but who finds herself a new home in the arms of a living legend, a dragon shapeshifter, and the hero, a man searching for a way to save his people.
To read more about Lilly check out her website at www.lillycain.com. Or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LillyCain
To purchase a copy of her book Building Magic or find out about other fantastic authors, check out www.eRedSage.com .
Dancing comes in as many forms as there are cultures on the planet. But, in every form, dancing expresses emotion. Whether it's the joy of warriors after a successful hunt, the dramatic beauty of ballet, or the sexual display of couples attracted to each other, dance covers a wide range.
But I want to focus on dance as one of the best ways to flirt. It's romantic, intimate and fun.
The flirting starts before you're even on the dance floor. If you're the brave sort, you can always ask the guy to dance (just don't forget how much they like the chase). But if you want him to approach, you can't just sit there daydreaming. You need to establish eye contact (3-5 seconds; no staring) and give him a smile. Studies have shown that most men only approach women who've already initiated contact through subtle invitations like this. Even though the guys don't realize that's why they've decided to approach you. Yes, it's odd, I know. They think they are the brave ones.
Okay, you're dancing. I hope you have some sense of rhythm, even if he doesn't. Start your moves, keeping in mind the most important move you have is self-confidence.
And here's a key element in cementing your partner's interest. Be sure you make periodic eye contact with the guy whose attention you're seeking. Don't let your eyes dart all over the room as if the place is on fire and you need the exit. If you look like you're scoping out some more appealing target, he may decide to do the same. You don't have to be brazen, but don't be shy, either. Let this guy know that these moves are for him.
Second, even though most dancing today is non-contact dancing, you can still use your dance moves to sneak in some flirtatious touching. Rest your hand lightly on his forearm to get his attention when you want to speak or point something out to him. Accidentally brush his elbow or shoulder when the opportunity arises. (No grabbing; no groping.) Touching him is flirting, even if it appears to be done accidentally. He will get the subliminal message. People touch people they like.
Now of course if you have the opportunity for some "slow" dancing, touching is taken to a new level. Now you get to experience that sublime sensation of his arms around you. (Those prim Europeans who banned the waltz knew what they were doing.)
You get to decide how intimate your touching will be, and you can send all the messages you want. Obviously, the closer you allow your bodies to get, the greater the interest you are showing. But if you want to flirt, don't plaster yourself all over him. Give him a chance to smell your perfume, to feel your hand in his. Give him the thrill of the chase by not letting him pull you quite as close as he wants to. Engage his brain by making him strategize how he can succeed with you.
Most of all, have fun!!!
On my first driving experience in Scotland, we set the GPS to guide us to Crathes Castle in the east of Scotland. But did it take us there? No, it took us (in our rented Mercedes) along a narrow muddy road filled with cow poop to a barn. Why me?! Do the GPS gods hate me?
We drove around what seemed like circles on those one-lane Aberdeenshire roads until we found a sign for Crathes Castle. Whew! Finally! And it was well worth all the trouble.
I was excited to visit Crathes because it’s a 16th century tower house, much like the ones I often set my stories in. Crathes Castle was started in 1553 and completed in 1596 by the Burnett of Leys family. Another wing was added in the 1700s. The land was given to the Burnett of Leys family by Robert the Bruce in 1323 and was occupied by the same family for over 350 years. It is now owned by the National Trust of Scotland. Crathes is said to be one of the best preserved castles in Scotland. I did get a genuine historic feeling as if I’d stepped back in time several hundred years.
We were not allowed to take photos inside of the rooms but they were beautifully furnished in historic pieces. We saw the Horn of Leys, a jeweled ivory horn, given to Alexander Burnett by Robert the Bruce in 1323. It is on display in the great hall. Some of the original Jacobean (or Scottish Renaissance) painting remains on the ceilings and upper parts of the walls in such rooms as the Chamber of the Muses, the Chamber of Nine Worthies and the Green Lady’s Room. These are fascinating, old paintings of historical figures including their names and written passages of scriptures. This was one of my favorite parts of the castle.
Above is a picture I found of the painted oak ceiling of the Chamber of the Muses. Apparently it was covered up for years and was rediscovered in 1877.
The views from the upper floor windows were stunning especially with the fall colors in the gardens and grounds.
A view out the windows of the roofs below and the gardens beyond.
The autumn colors in the gardens were spectacular.
The estate contains 530 acres and apparently the barn we’d gone to at first was the back part of the estate.
The estate also contains almost 4 acres of beautiful walled garden divided into 8 themed areas. I loved walking along the pathways among the flowers and shrubs. Being a gardener I saw many plants I recognized and would love to grow myself. The yew hedges date from around 1702.
The formal gardens were truly beautiful and amazing.