Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Verifiable Intelligence Is Back

Though I'm always telling people that I write more than just erotic romance novels, there really isn't that much in the way of published evidence to support that claim. So--as you might imagine--I am totally thrilled that my Romantic Suspense novel, Verifiable Intelligence, is going to be re-released with my friends at Etopia Press on August 10.

Truth be told, I LOVE this book. It was so much fun to write. There's so much action I think it could even keep an ADD sufferer busy enough to be happy. Really, I know you might think I'm just saying that, but the action is a non-stop ride from page one all the way until the ending.

It's not one of my longer novels. I think it sits at just under 50K words. But it totally lacks fluff. From the first moment you are sucked into the world of an assassin for hire named Dayne Castille. Definitely not your typical girl. She carries a really nice Sig Sauer P226 .357 in her holster and she's not afraid to blow stuff up when the situation calls for it.

In the past, I've had a lot of readers ask me if I do any kind of research when it comes to the weapons I use in my books. The answer is yes. I do. And actually, there isn't a handgun or rifle picked up by a character in this book that I don't have first hand experience with.

Dayne's sidearm is the same model I target shoot with. And while I've never participated in a car chase (Admit it- haven't you secretly wanted to try?) the truck that Dayne drives is the model that used to sit in my driveway. And Jace's Ducati? Go check out my Facebook page and you'll find me sitting on the yellow Monster.

See, I like to know firsthand what I'm talking about. Not that I'm going to get in a shootout during rush hour traffic on a motorcycle. But when I tell you that he accelerated so fast that his butt almost came off the seat and the wind made his eyes water, I want to describe the real thing.

Of course, the exception to this desire for reality might be the Dragunov. A lot of people refer to this as the Dragon Sniper. And yeah, through some really odd circumstances, I own one. I must confess to a case of the chickens though. The recoil on a weapon like that is like a mule kick to the shoulder. But I'm getting there. So you watch this nifty book trailer, and I'll try to scrape together the courage to target shoot with my rifle. (As a sidenote-when using firearms please make certain you're in a safe place with someone who knows what they're doing. I'm fortunate enough to have an ex-Military gun aficionado in my household. If you don't- please contact your local shooting range and find one. Safety first!)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Favorite Commercial Ever

This has got to be the greatest commercial that I've seen in a long time. The horrible thing is what makes it great though. If you haven't seen it, if I haven't done the link properly (totally possible) or if you'd rather I just explain the irony-

It's a Toyota Venza ad. I could care less about the vehicle. I suppose if you like the cargo space the thing would be great. I'm more of a full size truck girl myself, but I digress.

The ad features a woman in her twenties talking about an article she saw online that said older people are becoming anti-social. She goes on to say how she's disappointed in her parents because while they've joined Facebook they only have 19 friends.

This entire monologue is punctuated by shots of her parents mountain biking through some rough terrain with a group of other people their age. Perhaps the most disturbing part is when the daughter starts muttering about puppies and talking about how she has six hundred plus FB friends and how "THIS is living." Whew! Anyone else feel just a little nervous that there are TOO many people out there who share her world view?

How frightening is it that the younger the person the less active they are? Now, I'm a rabid equestrian. I spend enough time at the barn that I could call it a non-paying part time job. I love it. I love the outdoors, I love grooming my horse, saddling up, and going for a ride. I like loading her up in the trailer (this is why I cannot own a Toyota Venza) and driving to a National Park and then taking a nice long trail ride with friends. Or, I like to load up and go to the horse show and compete against other lunatics who share my passionate drive to aim my 1280lb horse at obstacles and ask her to jump them. (This is a rush-if you have NEVER done it, you cannot possibly imagine)

Instead of being active and excited, and in constant MOTION, which is what used to make Americans such go getters, we camp out on the couch and send each other links. We have virtual friends we never communicate with in person. We don't have real personal relationships. We have online ones. We allow the time delay to take all of the discomfort from our interactions with other people. How easy is it to never get mad at someone when you can easily avoid any topic you want and never ever have to listen to or say something you think they might not like?

So, laugh at that commercial because its funny. It is. But don't BECOME it. In fact, put down the laptop and go outside. I know its probably a million degrees out, but go look at the sky, see the sun, absorb some natural vitamins, just go BE!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mr Nobody-The Bastard Did it All!

Anyone recognize the weirdos in this picture from their childrens' books? These are the Mr. Men. You know who you don't see there? Mr. Nobody. Why? Because he's a more recent addition to the crew. Having no concrete evidence for why this is (the series started in the UK in 1971) I would like to speculate on why Mr. Nobody didn't exist back in 1971.


It's because there was no need for Mr Nobody back in 1971. People took freakin' responsibility for the crap they did. They did not, for instance, use all of the plastic wrap in the house for some kind of weird project, throw away the container, not add it the grocery list, and then stare at their mother and say, "I don't know who did that. Nobody, I guess."

See! This is where we meet Mr. Nobody! This guy's life has to be crap! He not only takes the fall for all the bad stuff in our house, he is the ultimate scapegoat in politics, economics and religion.

Anyway, back to 1971. Or at least back to a time when average people did stupid stuff, took a step back, sighed, and said, "Yeah, that was me. I blew it. I'm sorry. It won't happen again because I've learned my lesson."

Am I delusional? Did we ever own up to our mistakes like that? I probably am. I just simply want to know, what's SO bad about making a boo boo? We all do it. Wouldn't it be awesome if we'd all just put on our big girl panties (or briefs I suppose) and just OWN it? Say yes to making mistakes because that's how we learn. And for crap's sake, when someone is trying to teach you a better way to do something, or making a suggestion, or simply offering constructive criticism, don't say- I know. Because if you DID know, you wouldn't need to learn! You'd already be doing it and we wouldn't be having this darn conversation.

In the Utopian society I wished we could live in, people would blow it all the time and instead of Mr. Nobody up there taking the fall, they'd admit they made a mistake. Then, instead of the boss, or supervisor, or co-worker, or even parent, getting mad- they'd just say, "Okay, so you won't do that again will you?" I often wonder if more people would own their mistakes if the wronged party wouldn't freak out about it. Perhaps it is the anticipation of freak out that creates the desire to blame our invisible friend. in which case this is an evil cycle and I'm out here speculating for no purpose.

Think of all the moments of cultural significant when what I like to call the Nobody Clause has been invoked. In the US we're getting closer to election time so we're hearing a lot of it. "Nobody has taken responsibility for the state of our environment." (please don't anyone get their panties in a twist over this one) "There weren't weapons of mass destruction?? Nobody told me that!"

So please, please, think before you try to deny that you've done something wrong and made a mistake. Taking responsibility requires a certain amount of courage. So if someone is trying to do the right thing and avoid invoking the nobody clause, don't chew their head off for it. Let's play nice in the sandbox and maybe, just maybe, we can make it a nicer sandbox for all involved.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Rant About This Thing We Call Writing

Let me start by saying- Writing is a disease. Seriously. It is. It's like a terminal illness. Honestly, when people with regular jobs devote this much time and effort we call them workaholics. We talk about how much they need to take a break and relax. Maybe they need a vacation. Right? So do writers take vacations?

How can I take a vacation when my characters will not SHUT UP? I take them with me everywhere. They are the voices inside my head. They are the snarky commentators who make me laugh at inappropriate times in inappropriate places. I see them in the people I meet at the store. I see them in magazines, on television, and most definitely in my extended family members.

THIS is why writing is a terminal illness. It's inside you. It's a state of mind, a way of being, a world view that cannot and will not be changed no matter how much you try. There is a reason people say that creative types are eccentric- we can't NOT be eccentric. We're trying to function every single day with a thousand voices chattering inside our brains. We constantly channel personalities that are not our own. We react to things in ways we would not because at that moment we are thinking that's what our heroine would probably do. And we cannot in a million years stop asking WHY.

That said- I sure as hell wouldn't want to change the way I think. I wouldn't want to be a mundane normal person who never looks at a situation and wonders why it just went down the way it did. I don't want to stop reading too far into what people say. And I certainly don't want to give up my voices. I'd miss them. How lonely would it be inside my head without the Boston Avant Garde crew throwing their party in my psyche?

See, here's the real secret. Writing makes you strong. It's an outlet, a coping mechanism, and a way to combat just about any mental malady. The same way that some people can sink into a good book as a form of escape, I can create entire worlds to escape from everyday boredom or stress. I am never alone. I never lack for opinions on the way I should proceed in an emergency. When some drastic event happens in my life, my inner child retreats behind my inner badass and lets her step forward to take charge.

So the next time you see a studious looking mouse hunched over a keyboard inside the local coffeeshop, don't you dare pity that POOR person sitting all ALONE.

A. That person is probably perfectly happy to sit there and observe the hyperactive extroverts around the room.
B. That person isn't alone. You simply can't see his or her posse. Just don't get them stirred up, there's no telling how they'll manifest on that particular day...