Thursday, June 28, 2007

And the theme of the week is...


My fellow Dragon's Den writers know that I have slacked off seriously in the critique department as of late. I'm so busy correcting my own work that I haven't had much time to get to other people's. Still, I try to eke out some time every once in a while to get it done. On another writers' forum I participate in, there have been no fewer than five or six threads started on critiquing.

Some of them complain. Some of them are about writers who can't handle the criticism. Some of them are writers telling other people to stop whining. And yet others display a sense of entitlement that's really quite disturbing. The thing that really gets me? MOST OF THEM DON'T CRITIQUE.

So here's my definitive take on it: if you post work to be critiqued, you must critique in return. It is your responsibility as a critic to respect the other writer's work, while still pointing out problem areas in the plot and technique as a service to him or her. If you get critiqued, suck it up, say thank you, and take a good, hard look at the points the critic brought up.

How hard is that?

Yes, I whine about my edits. That doesn't mean I don't DO them. I'm just horrified that that I still have so many errors. That's natural. But to take it to an extreme? Ridiculous.

What of published authors who receive unfavorable reviews? I've seen several posts this week bitching about reviews Uh, excuse're published. It's kind of stupid to generate bad will with someone who is paid to read and evaluate your work. Are all reviewers infallible?


Of course not, but for god's sake at least you were reviewed!

Moving on again: reading an agent's blog this week, I saw three or four people that were complaining on the blog about rejections they had received. Isn't that just a wee bit stupid? Isn't that a lot likesuing the company you're trying to get to hire you?


The internet has many uses. It is a tool I use and enjoy every day. Unfortunately, one of the greatest uses of the online community as of late is the ability for any asshole to bitch about something. There is a difference between a professional and an amateur author. The biggest difference?

The ability to keep your mouth shut. Get over it and channel that energy into writing--and critiquing--something. Then it will have been spent in a useful fashion.

Celina rant, over and out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I can't concentrate today. I've been too concerned with why the Pepto doesn't work. So, in response to my intestinal agitation, I meandered on over to the Smart Bitches site and took a gander at what they have going on.

Uh oh. More cover snarkiness.


Sad but true, I laughed until I cried. It wasn't so much the covers as the comments they make on them. I can't even really describe it without stomping on some formidable toes...and gods forbid any of MY covers get honked. It did make me wonder, though, how I'd react if one of my covers DID get snarked upon over there.


Probably just about like that. Book covers are supposed to sell books, right? Well, I have to admit I popped on over to the Lady Aibell site and checked out the alien book. I couldn't help myself. I just had to know.

At any rate, the book is listed under a section called Hillbilly Haven--oh dear!--and you can read the blurb for it here. Granted, it's not my cup of tea, but it DID get me to go look. It sounds like something I would write for one of my crit group's Friday Night Writes--on purpose to be a smartass.

Now, a friend of mine did comment that Eros looked like a psycho killer on the cover of my first book Goddess' Revenge--and I agreed with him. He did. But I thought it was funny. *grin* guess where I'm trying to go with this is simply this: no need to get your knickers in a knot if someone snarks your cover. Even a bad cover (particularly a VERY bad cover) might get people to go look at your book and if your blurb is well-written and has a nice hook, they might buy your book regardless.

For example, this recent comment I got on an email from someone who bought Goddess' Revenge:

I don't usually buy stuff from Changeling because I don't like their
covers, but this is definitely one example of 'don't judge a book by its cover' ,because your story was fabulous.

See? So snark away at my demon-eyed stalker covers! I think the shit is funny. *grin* Just don't laugh at my adverbs--then I might have to kill you.

The Reckoning of Asphodel Excerpt

As promised...


My life is divided into two parts: before, and after. My memories of before are almost sacred to me, with all of the poignant wistfulness most people lend only to their dreams or ambitions.

I have driven my memories of after away from my consciousness in some desperate attempt to recapture the untroubled serenity of before. Squarely between the two halves of my life is a single day.

I will never truly understand what happened that day. If I did not weep then, I do now. The gods never grant omniscience to us at these times, and they never grant forgetfulness in the dark days that follow.

Memory is a chancy thing, and I must rely upon mine to tell me what came to pass in my father’s orchard. Ultimately, the remembrance brings me nothing but the thought of death and the taste of fear. It hangs like a painting in the hall of my dreams: frothy pink blossoms tumbling against the black and green clouds as a brutal wind shreds them from the trees, the whispering touch of the snow pelting against my bare skin, and the profound malodor of ruin and devastation and death. The smell returns to me most vividly, still hovering in my nostrils, more than the pain or the grief or the fury. I will carry the stench with me to my tomb. Snow was once a joy to me, child of the northern forests that I am, but now it bears me into the abyss of horror that forever dwells for me in the winter clouds.

The sun rose upon a lovely early spring day. Its rays streamed through my windows and awakened me with the promise of another day in the meadows. I lay in my bed, watching the new light brush beauty along the trees. My family’s orchards were renowned, and this spring they were particularly lovely.

I was a girl just coming into herself: twelve years old, skinny knees, unruly hair and all. Where my mother had the fair beauty of the oceans, and my father the earthiness of the orchards, I was a different matter. My hair was deep black, and my eyes were so light a blue some people called them silver.

I jumped out of bed that morning before my nurse came to wake me, scrambling into my clothes and pulling my hair roughly from my face. The day called to me so I snatched a chunk of warm bread from the kitchen and ran outdoors. I darted into the orchard for my favorite pastime­--annoying the workers. I was happy as I slipped through the new grass that was just tall enough to brush the sides of my feet after the long winter’s reign.

I don’t remember how long I remained in my contented reverie that day, or what finally jarred me from it. I was perched about ten feet up in one of the cherry trees when an abrupt shift of wind caught my attention. I looked up.

The sky was lurid, a swirling greenish-purple, suspended from the heavens with a chain of wind. Then, the wind blew cold and my dangling feet became instantly chilled. Mindful of all of the repeated admonitions against cold-catching that I received from my nurse, I carefully climbed down the tree. A sudden electric charge whirred past my head, making the hair rise from my scalp, and I turned to look at the terrace.

My mother stood in the center of the courtyard, the basket she used for her weekly rounds of the laborers’ cottage spilled at her feet. Six men confronted her. Five wore the plain garb of soldiers and the sixth unrecognizable in a long, dark cloak. As if something warned me to stay hidden I slid behind the broad, gnarled trunk of the tree, crouched close to the ground and watched.

The cloaked man spoke to my mother. I couldn’t hear what he said; the wind snatched his voice away and spun it into the swirling clouds. A sudden shout rose from my right and I saw my father run toward the tangle of men on the terrace.

The stranger turned and gestured. His dark cloak billowed and a flash of lightning suddenly streaked down from the clouds. My horrified eyes saw a jagged bolt of blue-white fire strike--oh, so slowly--and cleave Prosper de Asphodel’s sturdy frame. He stiffened in the split second before the searing flash sundered his body, and he fell without a sound, rolling into a blackening heap on the grass.

My mother swayed strongly, her eyes widening and her mouth opening in a silent cry of anguish. My hands tightened on the bark of the old tree, and sparks flew before my eyes. My first impulse was to run to my mother, but even as I thought it Solange de Asphodel’s jaws snapped shut and she jerked herself straight. Her face suddenly fell into a blank, shuttered expression and her lips pressed tightly into a thin line.

The man laughed and I saw him clearly for the first time. He was tall and slender, with blond hair the same chameleon shade as my mother’s that whipped around his arrogant, strongly-cut face. He grasped her throat in one hand and drove her to her knees. The capricious wind died down for a moment and I heard what he said. “You will not live beyond this day. Your small powers cannot harm me, as you know. I will grant you an easy death if you give me the child.”

“I have no child,” she said, her voice roughened by the pressure against his throat.

“You lie,” he replied as her hands curved around his wrist.

“You will have to kill me, brother!”

“Brother!” he spat. “I am no brother to a half-Elven bastard! Your death is a certainty, Solange. If you give me the brat, I will make it an easy one.”

“I will not,” she said simply.

He struck her then and she crumpled to the flagstones of the terrace, stunned. She put her hands, those long, elegant hands that soothed me to sleep every night, to her bruised throat and looked up at him.

“I have a prophecy for you, my brother,” she said and the words sounded in my ears as if I were right next to her. “You will kill me, on the order of the usurper, but you will not find my child. She will find you. You will lead this kingdom into war, and your name will be Death. You will fear many things; treachery, revelation, and betrayal. Nevertheless, in the end it will be your name that you fear the most, for it will mean all three.”

He stared down at her, a frown stretching his cold, handsome face.

She drew her knees up to her chest, dropped her head, and closed her eyes. I saw a small, hidden smile creep across her face. “You don’t know what your actions have created this day, my brother,” she finished and I detected a thrill of triumph in her voice. “Your doom watches you even now.”

He turned his back on her and peered into the orchards and fields around the house. I did not move, knowing if I did he would see me. Once again he turned back to my mother, who huddled in that defensive and submissive position with an obscurely exultant smile on her concealed face.

“So be it, my sister,” he replied, gesturing behind him. “My doom may be watching me, but yours is already here.”

Two more men approached from the stable yard. Without looking at them, he said, “Kill the people. Burn the house but leave the orchards. I will deal with them.”

My mother didn’t move but her eyelids flickered just once. The man’s back was to me so I edged closer to the orchard wall. The hard winter had tumbled some of the stones from it and in my mind I felt the urgent order to get out of the orchard and beyond the wall. Cautiously, I slid through the early spring debris of fallen branches and exposed roots and sped toward the breach.

I tumbled through the gap, panting with fear for my mother. Rolling to my knees, I turned back to the scene on the terrace. As my desperation grew so did the wind, as if it somehow fed upon my emotions and it sliced through the thrashing trees. A squad of heavily armed soldiers ran into the castle, drawing their swords as they did so.

“Solange de Asphodel, I convict you as a traitor and a renegade sorceress. Your half-spawned brat will pay the ultimate cost of your treachery.” The man smiled as he drew his long sword from the sheath at his side.

“Fine treachery, Gabril. You convict me for the blood I bear.”

She looked beautiful in that moment as she knelt before his naked sword without a tremor, her back straight and her eyes unwaveringly fixed upon his face.

He stared at her for a long moment, apparently searching for something in her eyes. “Just so,” he said mildly and without another word or extraneous gesture ran the blade through her throat.

The blood fell onto her simple blue gown, splashed onto the long, pale rope of her hair, and then cascaded down to burst upon the stones of the terrace. She fell with a terrible gurgling rasp into the rapidly widening pool of her blood. He wiped his blade clean on her skirt. Her breath bubbled in her throat as she drowned in her own blood. An evil gleam of light glanced off the blade as he brought it up and sliced off the long braid that coiled around her in the blood.

The wind howled and without knowing why I turned my tear-streaked face to the sky. It swirled faster now, green-black and boiling with fury over the castle. Smoke gyrated over the orchard like a twisted, gnarled finger. I screamed out my anguish at the heavens and a sudden chill slashed through my body.

The murderer in the courtyard whipped around, his cloak snarled around his upper body. He scanned the orchards and his face burned into my memory. I felt hatred, hot and vengeful, fill my mouth like blood.

The blood of Solange and Prosper de Asphodel.

The clouds screamed. Snow howled from the skies, obliterating the terrace from my sight in seconds and screening me from the evil that was my uncle and the destruction of my home. The cherry blossoms, delicate and frothy against the black spindles of the trees, writhed as if in pain. They looked blood-red as they were torn away by the wall of punishing snow.

I clambered to my feet, ran into the forest and never saw the men leave. I never knew when the house finally succumbed to the torches set to its wooden parts, collapsing in upon itself and my world. Instead, I ran, barefoot and mindless, through the thickening trees while the snow began to mound on the ground. It seemed like endless, numbed hours, with slender branches slapping across my face and roots tripping my purple feet as I headed deep into the woods.
I must have fallen. Gentle hands lifted me from the ground, wrapping me in a heavy cloak. Some unknown person cradled me next to a warm, solid body and carried me away.

The last image of this memory is the snow, crisply sparkling as it drove through the orchards under that evil, angry sky. The smells of roasted flesh and fresh blood, the sulfuric reek of the lightning and the sharp tang of the snow, the taste of fear and hatred all mingled with the clean scent of the flowering orchards and blended irrevocably in my mind.

This is the origin of the dreams that haunt me. Everything that I am, or became, spawned from that spring day. My childhood was over, relegated to the memories of before. My real purpose started with the death of my parents and my world. The gods sealed my destiny, locked in the undying embrace of hatred, fear, and revenge.

When I sleep, I dream.

When I dream, I kill.

My name is Tamsen Ka’antira de Asphodel.
all rights reserved--Celina Summers 2007

Bad night

oooooooooooooh.......stomach flu. After posting a blog last night late and in a fairly good mood, I am now shall we say somewhat less than well. I have managed to get to 22k on Requiem. Hopefully by tonight I can hit 40k.

Someone hand me the pepto, please.

It never fails either. Anytime I'm awake in the middle of the night because I don't feel well the cats decide it's time for a little exercise. Gargggggh. Lying in bed, queasy, shooting cats with a water gun as they gallop up the stairs is NOT a good way to spend the night.

Anyway, here'a little treat for you. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It just keeps getting better and better

Ah yes, the joys of summertime.

Shame I don't get to share them.

I've been writing non-stop for a few days now. Finding myself in over my head (what else is new?) I've been scramblingto get all of my various projects up to date. The good news is that I'm now 18k into Requiem!


The bad news is that I might have to have 80k done in ten days.


A word of advice: if you ever enter a best first line contest, make sure you have more than 500 of those lines written. I'm so stupid. If you want to check out the progress of the contest, go to this link . Mine would be the one that mentions Mozart.


In other news, Asphodel is progressing swimmingly. Edits are speeding by, the release date is getting nearer, and I have a brand spanking new book trailer out. You can check it out at the bottom of this page. As for the post-apocalyptic vampire novel....well.....

I think the vampires blew up when the asteroid hit. I have hopes of resurrecting them just as soon as I can spell my own name.

Oh and thanks for all of the suggestions for music for my wake. I particularly enjoyed the one where "Losing my Religion" plays as I rise from the coffin and yell at the priest my predominately Catholic family brings to bless my sinner's carcass. Very nice. Although I must admit that "Sex on Wheels" by My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult might actually be a lot more fun.

Necrophilia, anyone?

At any rate, this is just a driveby with updates. I really need to try and get 5k more written tonight. I'll be back by tomorrow. I think it's time for an Asphodel excerpt.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The World's Most Obnoxious Wake--or Rock Lobsters to Night Music, a Dissertation on the Weirdness of Death

One of the benefits (okay, the only one) to tending bar for fun and profit is drunk people who think they're clever. I had a girl (use the term loosely) come into the bar last night and try to impress me with her intelligence.

Yeah, like that worked.

At any rate, she told us a story about how her dad had played a Nazareth song at his own wake. After I pointed out that this was probably impossible (since guitars rarely fit into coffins) I was overwhelmed with the desire to create the plans for the world's most obnoxious wake--mine.


So here we go. Consider these the orders for my final disposition (yes, I entertained scores of semi-functional alcoholics for hours with this, which included 'research' on the jukebox and the invention of a new shot called Celina's Wake) and remember accordingly. And DON'T get peeved about this post--this is entirely smartass and not meant to be taken seriously. I can't believe I have to put in a disclaimer for this.

The first song that will be played as my wake begins is "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead." I will be in an open casket (hell yeah!) and had better be laid out (regardless of age or condition) in a black evening gown and ruby slippers. Think of it as vampire meets Dorothy.

Under no circumstances am I to be laid to rest in Kansas.

The first part of the wake will be reserved for people who hate my guts. We assume that will be the lengthiest portion of the affair. Music: "Rock Lobster" by the B52s and "Albequerque" by Weird Al Yankovic in endless repetition. *grin* Oh just think of it! "Rock Lobster! screechscreechscreechscreechscreechscreech" Mwahahahaha. Won't the funeral director be pissed?

In lieu of flowers, please take a cat. No, we don't want donations, just please.....take a cat. And there will be NO food. They didn't like me; it's safe to say that I didn't like them either. Nyah.

The second part of the wake will be reserved for people that buy my books. We anticipate this to be the shortest portion of my funeral, musically accompanied by "Hello, I Love You" but the cover by the Cure, not the original by the Doors. Refreshments will be served--but alas! Only PB on Ritz crackers. If there were MORE of you guys maybe my estate could spring for bologna.

The third part of the wake is the barfly portion of the entertainment. Margaritas will be served. A friend of mine has agreed to set up a cocktail bar in front of my coffin, so that I can criticize from whatever afterlife I'm involved in. Music: "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" by David Allen Coe, "Girlfriend" by the Pussycat Dolls, at least one Journey song TBA, and darnstupidstinkingGodIhatethatsong "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffet. This is my postmortem attempt at revenge upon the drunks who ALWAYS feel obligated to play these songs at 1 a.m.

The final part of the funeral is for everyone else. This is the part where everyone plays Twister, euchre, and drinks lot of wine from my private stash. The music you ask?


Show music. Think "Phantom of the Opera" with some "Assassins" thrown in for fun.

Feel bad for my family. They qualify for all four sections of the wake. "Rock Lobster" to "Music of the Night." sigh...................only in Celinaland.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Asphodel Contest

Hey everyone--details to the right on my Asphodel release contest! Enter today!

Writing what you read, and reading what you write

What to think, what to think...

I sat down over the last couple of days and read the Asphodel series from beginning to end. It started when I went over my line edits for book one with a fine-toothed comb. Once I'd done that, I thought, "Hmm....I wonder how the rest of the story reads now that I've been away from it so long?

(A little background--although I'm well into book seven, I've taken about a year and half away from the whole project so I could concentrate on other things)

At any rate, so I read. And not wishing to toot my own horn, but I enjoyed it. Sure, there were boo-boos that really drove me nuts (my favorite at the moment is trying to "clam a horse". I'm not sure that's possible...) but for the most part I was able to put aside my writer's eye and view it from a reader's eye.

I was pleased. J.K. Rowling it ain't, but it worked for me.

I then started to think seriously about that. Why is it that I could read my own work and enjoy it? I should be horrified every time I pick up one of my stories. Other authors are. And, granted, nothing I write is ever *good enough*. Even in my published stuff, I'll run across phrases and cringe or get into a storyline and think to myself, "Where in the hell did that come from?" This was different. I actually was pulled in by the story. Lately, reading my own work has been a chore because of all of the little editing comments in the margins.

But that's work. That's polishing and refining in order to make the story better. Just reading for the fun of it should be different, right? Right?

Maybe it all boils down to this: I write what I like to read. The type of story I craft is instinctively the sort of story that, if I read the blurb on a book jacket in the bookstore, I would buy. Yes, so I'm sort of plebian in my tastes but what difference does that make? If the story is good, the cliches of the genre don't bother me. When you get right down to it, I actually embrace the cliches. After all, I was raised on Greek mythology--and that's where the cliches originated. I'm not out to impress the reader (and by proxy, myself) with my brilliance and my intellectual standards, although I daresay if I wanted to I could. I'm out to tell a story, a story that I find entertaining and hope that other people are entertained by as well. I'm not saying this is some sort of writing epiphany, but it does sort of box in my opinions about it.

Perhaps we should consider that the Celina Words Of Wisdom Du Jour.

And in other news, rereading Asphodel has reinspired me. Yesterday, I wrote 11k on Book 7. Another 30k should finish it, and then it's on to Book 8 for the grand finale.

And yes. nothing is as it seems.

Friday, June 15, 2007

And Then....There's This

I've been dealing with a lot of duality lately--not on purpose. It just happens that way. After the whole pissing off an atheist excursion, I received a lovely email from a reader in the UK who just read my first erotica book "Goddess' Revenge."

In the 18 months I've been buying ebooks, this is the first intelligent erotica I've read. The vast majority have too much sex and too little character development and plot, and while I enjoy reading a good sex scene, if it's not connected to the story then I get bored very quickly. In Goddess' Revenge, the love scenes are exquisite and very hot, each one different and each one building seamlessly into the plot.

Your characterisation is fantastic. Aphrodite comes off as a bitter old shrew, Eros is a lot more mature than Apuleius' version (this is a good thing, I thought he was a brat in Apuleius), and Psyche's naivety is very sweet. I loved the conversation between Eros and Pan, particularly when Eros threatens to make Pan fall in love with a slug or a sea urchin!

This story really does have it all. Great writing (you have a wonderful, eminently readable style), hot sex, an understanding of the myth and context, humour, and above all, it's intelligent. You don't talk down to your readers and this is something that I really appreciate. I appreciate it all the more with a mythological story because I used to teach Ancient History and Classical Studies at university. I'm sure my students would have preferred your version of the Eros and Psyche myth!

I saw on your website that you've had Bible-bashing hate mail from some idiots. Your replies gave me a good laugh (especially reply #1). In light of such ridiculous negative comments, I wanted to let you know that you have a very happy reader in the UK who appreciates what you've done with this classic tale and the way you did it.

Goddess' Revenge is an excellent story - this is the way I wish all erotic novellas were written.

Thanks for writing it. I'll definitely be buying the sequel.

Wow! What am I supposed to say to that? Gee golly gosh jeepers, after the whole atheist thing to get a lovely commendation like that? Wow, I'm in a good mood!

Offending an Atheist

Oh yippee.

How in the hell do I manage to get myself into these situations? Seriously.

I was posting on a writer's board yesterday, following a thread where a new writer is trying to figure out if his magic system works. I was genuinely trying to be helpful. See what you think:

The trick to writing magic is to make it believable...and I'm talking about YOU have to believe it. It's a pain in the wazoo to come up with every conceivable point and counterpoint about a magical system. Trust me; I feel your pain. Although you've proposed your system here and ther people say that it works for
them, if it completely worked for you, you wouldn't have posted the original
post. So........that being said.....For me, any time I've developed a magical
system I started off with a religious/mythological system. I (as the writer)
needed to know who the gods were, what they did, what they required, what their worship was blah blah blah. Your magical system may not have anything to do with the religious setup of your world. however, mages are considered *mystics* and that has religious conotations, as do the concepts of good and evil.

As you can see, I related what worked FOR ME. Thinking, in my ignorance, that this tidbit of personal experience might set off the eureka bells. Well, surprise, surprise. Someone else interjected the following as a response to my post:

As for the other point, as an atheist, I find the implication that good and evil only exist within a religious context quite insulting.

Uh, what? Did I just read that correctly? Did someone whom I have never interacted before actually just say that my worldbuilding techniques offend him? I don't mind the disagreement part; that's healthy and his point is valid. But the insult? Trust me, if I want to insult somebody I don't have a problem with that at all. I'm just usually MUCH more overt about it.

Hmmm. Interesting. If techniques I use for myself offend him, just imagine how offended he'll be by my response. This one might go on the Wall of Shame, actually.

It's a sad day when atheists are as touchy as fundamentalists. Since when did I have to be politically correct around an ATHEIST? Jesus Christ! Oh, excuse me...I mentioned a deity. Sorry about that. Don't want to offend.


Okay. I know you want to see it. I know you guys live for my explosions of temper.

Fair enough. However, if we're talking in a traditional epic fantasy context, then we're talking about worlds with gods and religions and other various hocus pocus. I'm an atheist as well, but that doesn't dilute my sense of what works. In your world, perhaps, the scientific method is the basis for your magical system. That's all fine and good and appropriate for you. However, in the worlds of Tolkien, Eddings, Carey, Lewis, Springer, McKillip, et cetera and so forth, that isn't the case. By the way, *name removed*, perhaps this will help from
Quote: Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source mys·tic /ˈmɪstɪk/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mis-tik] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –adjective 1.involving or characterized by esoteric, otherworldly, or symbolic practices or content, as certain religious ceremonies and art; spiritually significant; ethereal. 2.of the nature of or pertaining to mysteries known only to the initiated: mystic rites. 3.of occult character, power, or significance: a mystic formula. 4.of obscure or mysterious character or significance. 5.of or pertaining to mystics or mysticism. –noun 6.a person who claims to attain, or believes in the possibility of attaining, insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge, as by direct communication with the divine or immediate intuition in a state of spiritual ecstasy. 7.a person initiated into religious mysteries. [Origin: 1275–1325; ME mystik <>

Seeing as my original quote was "mages are considered *mystics*" perhaps you wouldn't have been quite so insulted if you'd taken my post in context. I was, after all, discussing what works for ME when developing a magical system. I don't think that my personal experiences with world-building should be a basis for your sense of affront.

I love!

Yes, I know. Remarkably restrained for me. Still, I'm kind of peeved. I've managed to offend lots of different kinds of people throughout my life. Some of them I offended on purpose and really enjoyed doing it. Others I've offended by being to liberal. The march on the capitol protesting sodomy laws comes to mind. Hell, I've even offended through honesty before...okay MANY times before. But this? Am I missing a cog here? Is there any reason to find offense in my original post????

Well, the sun will soon stop shining. The tides will stop churning in. Up is now down, in is now out, and reality has fled to new universes. I am too politically incorrect to prevent myself from offending atheists. What's next, I ask you? Am I going to offend the SPCA for saving animals? No, wait! I know! I'll offend a fromagier because I have a thing of Velveeta in my fridge. No wait! I have a better one! I'll offend the entire state of Ohio because I said from the beginning that the Cavs would lose the finals badly. (okay so that one's true.)

Fact of the matter is, in this day and age pretty much anything you say is going to offend someone. All of you who know me are well aware of my thoughts on organized religion of the Judeo-Christian variety. To be set up as a defender of the faith is so ludicrous that I can't help but scratch my head.

Grow some skin, people, and make sure it's tough. For a long time, I always held those ideologies on the fringe in a great deal of esteem because they DIDN'T TELL ME HOW TO THINK OR ACT OR PORTRAY MYSELF. Apparently, those days are over.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Bitch IS Back

I feel like an Elton John song. Not one of the oh-so-cheesy ones. One of the older ones. The good ones.

*hums to self*

I'm a bitch,
I'm a bitch,
Oh the bitch is back
Stone cold sober as a matter of fact...

Yep. Feeling just a little pleased. Not only are my WIPs cranking along nicely thank you (I can hit a completion today if I keep up at this pace) BUT I got another five heart review for the Shequanti from Love Romances and More (that's THREE for the three book series....excuse me while I call a doctor. I threw my spine out patting myself on the back) AND I entered the best first line contest at Samhainand made it to the second round. Not bad for a line that reads as follows: The only thing that could have brought her back to Vienna from her self-imposed exile was Mozart's death.

Yes, that's the first line of Requiem.

In other news, I am once again caught up on my edits for Asphodel, am lacking only two stories to get the Dragon's Den anthology to the editor for much-needed criticism, managed to send a slew of short stories out to be rejected, and went back to *gasp!* Darkshifters. At the moment, I thought I'd take a second to blog while eating popcorn and watching the Cavaliers play in the NBA Finals before getting back to the grind.

Oh, but how I love the grind!

Sometimes, life is good. I must admit, despite all of the potshots I take at my Muse, every once in a while she comes through for me. Now, if she can come through for me to the tune of about 10k more, I can get Apocalypse done and get cranking on something that interests me more. If I'm REALLY lucky, maybe I can take a day off and go to the lake...?


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Speculative Trends

Okay. I succumbed. I created a social network on Ning. It could be interesting, if nothing else, just to see what happens with it. Besides, I seriously doubt my daughter knows about it so maybe I won't be trapped in a Myspace war. *grin*

So I'm in the process of building the network, but it's functional. You can check it out at

Don't be shy! Go ahead and join! I'm sure there won't be any arguments on it at all.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Asphodel Update and Character Notes

All righty then! As per some questioning emails I have received, I'm going to toss out some background information. Let's get down to brass tacks here.

The Asphodel series (both of them--snort!) has a very strong basis in Greco-Roman mythology, with some additional roots in Celtic, Egyptian, Summerian, and Phoenician lore. Whew! Now that I've established my academic bona fides, let's REALLY talk about it.

Asphodel is epic fantasy, pure and simple. I use many of the fantastical archetypes (see Joseph Campbell's work for examples and I promise that's the last brainy thing I'll say) but....and you knew there was a but....I, er, change them.


In a nutshell, here's the series premise: what would happen IF you took the prissiest race in standard fantasy (Elves), warped their patriarchal society to suit your feminist needs, gave them a Greco-Roman pantheon at war and many mythological critters to fight (as well as making up some pretty cool new ones if I do say so myself), give them a magic system that's elemental (and kills them eventually) and then force them to refight the Trojan War? Oh but wait--here's the good part! The protagonist is a female...half-breed...very smartass sort of gal who single-handedly manages to revamp the political systems of both the Elven and human kingdoms, learns to lead men to war, and manages to be a dominant personality while surrounded by alpha males?

*bigger grin*

There are lots of fights, I must admit. Hence the title of this blog. After working on this project for five years, my elf-killing is, of necessity, becoming very, very creative. Still fun though.

Tamsen Ka'antira de Asphodel, my MC, is a life's work. My biggest problem with her is that I know her so well sometimes I forget that you guys don't. Hence this note from my editor:

This might be an area to share with the reader the limits of her
abilities...since she can make fire which isn't weather related (strictly) why
can't she make something else would run through a reader's mind.

Well, duh. You don't remember the two-sentence explanation of that in Chapter Two? *grumble, grumble*

Tamsen was designed to be complex. She's neither a stereotypical wringing-her-hands-and-waiting-to-be-rescued sort of fantasy heroine or a Xena wannabe. She's a fairly normal person save for the extraordinary power she's inherited, and she hasn't got a clue what she should do with that power. That's the crux of her character conflict. For the most part, Asphodel is Tamsen's story, and that story is full of duality. For every point there is a counterpoint, a different path, a completely new destiny with all of the ramifications of that.

She does have a sword...eventually. It's not a *magic* sword though, it's just a very pretty sword. She does have a lot of magical ability, a cross between human and Elven magic, but she can't control it and at times it seems to control her. She has an epic quest that she must follow, but that quest is more along the nature of Heracles and his labors than taking the ring to Mount Doom. The duality of her nature, determined by her two heritages, dictates the paths she must follow on her journey. She is essentially human, which infuriates the Elves around her, but as she evolves she must either accept or amend the strictures of the Elven society.

She's also a smartass who can take care of herself--except those occasions when she needs a little help.

I spent a lot of time developing the political and military situations. I will admit right here to swiping some of Caesar's maneuvers in both areas. The mythology and religion was fairly easy for me (thank you National Junior Classical League for appealing enough to my competitive nature to make me retain all of that information!) and after blending my classical knowledge with the rest of my world, the realms of Ansienne, Leselle, and Spesialle are fully developed and have histories of their own.

Go to my website Shoot The Muse! and check out the excerpt from the prologue. Let me know what you think.

More tomorrow.

Friday, June 01, 2007

So I had to shave the cat

For any cat fanciers out there, I'm sure you can feel my pain. I have a 23 pound long haired black cat named Dante. Dante is a sweetheart. He's affectionate without being pushy, which is difficult in this house, and he treats the little cats well. He's one of the two cats I bought. He was a kitten on sale because he was sick :( so we bought him and made him all better.

Hold on. Let me reiterate my main thought. TWENTY THREE POUNDS. LONG HAIR.

Get the picture?

At any rate, Dante's only drawback is that he isn't the cleanest cat in the world. I mean heck! That's a lot of hair to groom. So, every once in a while, for his health and my sanity (not to mention the preservation of my carpets) I have to shave the cat. Dante HATES being shaved. Hell, I hate shaving him. Thank god he's declawed. So today, after he leaves me a little present right in front of the cat box (thank you, you bastard) I took it upon myself to restrain the squirming, completely frantic feline and shave him down.

To the skin.

He has his ruff and a pouf on his tail (after all, it is summer and there are flies) and looks absolutely retarded. For those of you who don't know, a black cat does not have black skin. He looks like an Andy Warhol silkscreen. Then I had to bathe him. Imagine if you will popping a completely traumatized half-bald cat into a tub of soapy water (with skin agents, natch) and scrubbing him down. If nothing else, he does feel better now--at the moment he's running around with a toy mouse in his mouth.

I, on the other hand, am exhausted.

Oh, and the total word count last night? *grin* 9,430 words. Looks like the bitch is back.