Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Inopportune Opportunity!

An Inopportune Opportunity

            I am a mom to eight children, and as an avid reader, it was wonderful when my oldest two took to reading early. My daughter, who is now 27 years old, read Great Expectations when she was 11 years old and loved it.  Better yet, she understood it!  That was years ago.
            Now we have only the six boys left at home. Though I did read to them quite a bit when they were younger, they have all flourished in mathematics, science or in Julius’s case, lunch, gym and recess.
            Therefore, when my high school freshman came home from school with a project in his Language Arts class, it was no shocker that he came straight to me.  He says, “Mom, we read the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and now she wants us to write a children’s story.” I said. “Wow that was a wonderful story. What do you have in mind?”  It went silent for a few moments and then he said. “Ummm….I don’t have nothing.”  I shook my head.  “Dejon you don’t have anything.”  With a look of annoyance on his face he says, “That’s what I just said, so do you think you can write me a kid’s book with the same message, as Harper Lee’s book?” I gave it a bit of thought and said “When do you have to have this project turned in?” Ensuing silence and then he croaks out. “Tomorrow.” 
            Within 30 minutes, I whipped up a good story, but with no illustration skills to boast about, I decide to slap some clipart on each page and finish it off with a clear project folder. About a week later, he comes and says, “Hey Mom. My teacher says I could be an author.” I *snort* and he laughs. A few weeks later I decided to submit it to a publishing company, you know just for “chicks and giggles”. Not sure if I can cuss in post on here! ;) 
            Four days later, I was offered a contract from Mountain Springs House Publishing, and my first book of The Adventures of Happy Valley Glen series, The Raccoon Family Moves In was released on July 15, 2013.  My next one, Juicy’s Family Tree will be releasing in November 2013!  My children's genre has taken off, and from a source that I never saw coming.
            I will say it is not always a good parenting move to do your child’s homework, but I did manage to give him a shout out in the book, where I mention that the book would never have come to fruition if he had just done his own homework.
            So from now on, my motto is to leave no opportunity behind, because you never know where it will take you. – Angela Rose



Sunday, July 28, 2013

So busy NOT spending money...

My daughter has been on summer break.  She goes to school year round but she has 2 weeks off in the summer and 2 weeks for winter.  We spoiled her last year by doing something fun and special with her every day of her break.  We bought annual passes to Caldwell Zoo, took her to the movies, spent a day at an indoor WaterPark, explored Discovery Science Place, watched imax movies at the planetarium, played at the , ate a Chuck E. Cheese and painted bowls and statues at Piddlin' Pottery.  All of these are a great option for parents in Tyler, TX but they are not cheap.

This year was a little different.  I am still healing from major surgery that our finances may never recover from.  My mother-in-law put a little house on our property for retirement years but we had to pay for the septic, electric, and water system.  All this stuff just had to be done - budget be damned.  Our credit cards are maxed out and we've been eating a lot of pasta.  We have had to do more free or low cost things this year.  She goes back to school tomorrow and we made it without her realizing that we are poorer than before.  We introduced her to the library - they have reading time, books to check out, and even movies.  We did crafts at home using things we already had, let her play at a variety of parks including a sprayground, cooked and decorated cakepops, and had tea parties.

I had such big plans to write several books while I was off from work on unpaid medical leave.  Abdominal surgery is no joke.  I was laid out for 5 of my 6 weeks, doped up for 4 of them.  I just didn't have the brain power to create.  That last week I got some good writing done.  I finished the first draft of Wretched Blood (Second in the Carrier Trilogy).  Other than that, I got nothing accomplished.  I watched some netflix with the hubs.  I read a lot of books from both indie authors and a couple from my favorite authors.  Here are some of them:

by Anya Bast

by Yasmine Galenhorn

by Nalini Singh


 by Jennifer Blackstream

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Untameable Heat" Launch Party and Tour

 We're hosting "Untameable Heat" today! "Untameable Heat" is two separate novellas written by two authors. The unifying theme is "Untameable Heat," so you can expect an ample amount of ...well...heat.   so you get notifications about tour sites and parties, then  to join the Romance Troupe "Untameable Heat" party now and make sure you don't miss tonight's bash from 8PM - 9PM EST.

We're giving away all sorts of goodies at the parties including books, swag, even sexy jewelry, and there's a Rafflecopter giveaway connected with the tour in addition to the Facebook parties! I posted the schedule below so you can visit the host blogs and rack up giveaway entry points.
Here's a bit about the "Untameable Heat" books and the schedule is below...

**Kaden’s Reprieve Blurb**
She needs a safe haven, he wants his freedom. Add a supernatural matchmaker and an unexpected mentor, and their lives will never be the same.
Tanya has been running for her life for two years, but when Ms. Lillian, owner of the exclusive “Heaven’s Touch” match making service, graciously gives her a week’s stay at her private bed and breakfast in St. Augustine, FL, she seizes the opportunity to escape to a possible hideaway.

Kaden is of a rare and precious race prized for extraordinary abilities. He is also half-demon, remanded to Kushiel’s custody centuries ago. Allowed to leave Hell twice a year, three days each time – Beltane, and Samhain, his life thus far has been filled with slavery, torture, and despair, and he is nearly convinced that his soul is beyond redemption. Still, he longs for freedom. Can Tanya redeem him? Can Kaden dare hope for a reprieve? 

In the dark alleys of the St Louis riverfront sits a club known only to those evil enough to enter.   The club is called The Master’s Lair.  It is frequented by the evil underbelly of the supernatural world.  Lilith is a beautiful succubus entertaining nightly in the Lair.
Lilith has grown bored with her life.  She is ready for more.   The Master has promised her release from her succubus bonds is possible, except the price may be higher than she can afford.

Alex is hell bent on revenge.  An angel that watched his sister die in the clutches of a goblin drug ring, his main mission is to end their reign of death.   Going undercover as a fallen angel he throws himself into danger going inside The Master’s Lair. 

Meeting the beautiful Lilith wasn’t part of his revenge plan.  Yet, something in him wants to be her redemption.  Alex wonders if he can be the one to help Lilith attain the freedom she seeks or will he endanger them both?

July 11 - Mommasez - http://ccclubbs.com
July 12 - Kelly P's Blog - http://kellyatx.blogspot.com/
July 13 - A.R. Von DreamZ of Dragons - http://www.dreamzofdragons.blogspot.com
July 14 - 
July 15 - J.M. Griffin -  / Katy's interview - From Mia's Desk - www.miadarien.com
July 16 -
July 17 - Buffy's Ramblings - kennedy.blogspot.com
July 18 - Kaden's interview - From Mia's Desk - www.miadarien.com
July 19 - Sapphire Kande Contest- www.sapphirekande.blogspot.com
July 20 - Sadrina -  Books and Their Worldly Realm
July 21 - Butterflies, Books & Dreams - http://butterlfiesbooksanddreams.blogspot.com/
July 22 - Chantel Rhondeau - www.chantelrhondeau.com
July 24 - Krystal Shannan - 
July 25 - Ravenz Reviews Contest http://www.ravenzreviews.blogspot.com/
July 26 - Danita Minnis - 
July 27 - The Romance Troupe Contest- http://www theromancetroupe.blogspot.com
July 28 -
July 29 - Jill Prand - http://jillprand.blogspot.com/
July 30 -
July 31 - Becca Edwards Contest

Friday, July 26, 2013

Homeschool Mom By Day, Erotic Romance Author By Night

When I tell people that I've homeschooled my son for nine years AND that I write erotic romance, often their faces twist into a painful expression which tells me they can't see how these two things exist side-by-side in one person. (It gets even more confusing for them when I add that I teach college students full time during the day also.)

For me, all of these things complement one another. It's all about ideas for me. I wake up every day of the school year with my brain popping with ideas about what my son and I are going to do in class that day, what I'm going to lecture about in my college classes that day, and what I'm going to be writing about that night.

There's a lot going on under this blonde's hair. :)

My son is going to be a senior in high school this upcoming year, so it's going to be a bittersweet time for me. I've taught him every subject, except math, science, and music, since third grade. I've seen him from ancient history through to modern history three full times. I've traveled with him through The Illiad, The Odyssey, Dante's Inferno, Machievelli's The Prince, The Federalist Papers, poets I hated that he loved (calling Emily Dickinson, who he loved and I hate, and William Blake, who I love and he hated), and hundreds of books we pored over and talked and talked about.

This year is also going to be a different time for me in my college teaching. Events at my university have caused me to change my entire courses, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens.

And if that wasn't enough change, I've recently begun writing under another pseudonym, K.M. Scott, for my contemporary romances. My first book under the K.M. Scott name, Crash Into Me, will be released on August 28, and I'm so excited to be going in this new direction in my writing career.

An interesting life is all about change, and this year certainly has a lot of change waiting for me. I'm looking forward to this new chapter in my life, so stay tuned. Change is right around the corner!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Not So Secret Obsession

I am a reality television addict.  I have seen many intelligent people knock this television trend.  I know how much everyone hates it.  I just don’t care. 

It’s my love.  If not everyone gets it, that’s okay.  I don’t fuss about all the scripted programming I hate.  Two And A Half Men was more of a docudrama about Sheen, watching it was painful.  Without him, the show dynamics changed Allen’s character so much it went from slightly tolerable to horrible.  I still won’t bash you for loving it. 

 I love the trashy, gritty reality television.  I adore Celebrity Apprentice, Survivor, Honey Boo Boo, and even more recently Pretty Wicked Moms.  There is one show though that dominates my summer.  I watch it three times a week.  I always break down and buy the live feeds to watch it when nothing else is on, I’m bored, or I should be writing.   That’s Big Brother.  For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a social experiment based reality television game show.  It puts strangers in a house, locks them up, and says live with each other.

Then it throws twists into the game all summer long.  Like you can’t eat this week you’re a have not on slop (some protein based mix).  As a have not you also take cold showers.  They change the have not beds every summer.  This year they are sleeping in airplane style chairs.  Each week someone will win the coveted head of household and nominate two house guests for eviction.  Each week someone will be evicted.  

So my summer productivity is hampered some.  Sometimes it pushes me to stay up and work on writing so I can treat myself to a quick feed check in.  Believe it or not, I’m not a constant feed watcher.  They can get pretty boring.  I just like to have them for the flashback features of the fights they don’t always air on television and watching the endurance competitions.  

As everyone whines and groans about my constant obsession with Big Brother or reality television in general, I’ve forced myself through out the past ten years to look at what I like about it.   Most writers will say they watch people, and reality television gives us a chance to watch people being put in situations out of their element.  Even Honey Boo Boo who is in her element is being put outside of the families comfort zone when they gained such popularity on television.  So will it change them?  Has it affected them? 

Why does someone hoard so much stuff they can’t use their bathrooms?  Or lose track of how many animals actually live in their home?   What makes someone stay loyal to an alliance of strangers or break that alliance?  I don’t just watch reality television I try to dissect it.  I try to learn from it.   I try to figure out what the underlying motivations are.  How that person really is.  In scripted reality television it’s a little different but I think this is why I buy feeds so I see what goes on in the Big Brother house before they edit it.  Before they choose how they will portray a particular house guest.

I take these observations and file them in the back of my mind.  When I sit down to write an interesting character or side character I do the same thing.  I ask the same questions about their motivations.  Except so far I haven’t had to encounter how they found twenty dead cats in their closet.  I try to figure out what makes a character tick.  What kind of person are they?  I try to examine their flaws with their perfections.  As a reader, I want to read about these fleshed out normal characters.  Not the perfect super hero.   Not the perfect beauty queen.  I want the imperfect.  I want the struggles.  I want the growth that comes when they grow from the experiences I throw them in. 

In short, yes I’m a reality television addict.  I will always love the uncensored things people say in the heat of a moment.  I will always love watching how people form bonds.  I will always love watching the fighting and drama.  Then I will take all the things I love from reality television, all the things I observe, all the things I learn, and wrap them all up into constantly striving to build the best characters I can in my writing.  

Shhh... off to sneak in a little feed time and try to figure out why people can't wait for Mama June's cookbook.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Who is Harlie Williams?

Who is Harlie Williams?  Boy that is a loaded question, don't you think?  I would say that I'm a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, mother, wife but that sounds a bit boring doesn't it?  Or I could lie and say that I'm a former Broadway dancer now living out her days in a small East Texas town wishing that she could still dance.  :)

Seriously, though.  I am all of the above except for the Broadway dancer part.  I grew up wanting to be a Broadway dancer but I was deemed too short for the chorus line.  I didn't make the cut for the Kilgore Rangerettes because of my height.  I was an inch too short.  :(  But I digress...

Here's the skinny on me:  I'm 46 years old, married for almost 9 years, 8 year old son and lives in Lindale, Texas.  I was born in the great state of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner) and raised in Dallas, Texas.  I'm a major sports junkie.  Baseball is my lover and hockey is my mistress.  Sports teams that I'm loyal to are the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Houston Texans, Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Aggies, Dallas Stars and no one messes with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  They will have to answer to me.  :)  I live for Saturdays in the fall for college football.  Oh and I used to work for the Dallas Stars, too.  I saw them win the Stanley Cup and then lose it, too.  I will say this about New Jersey Devils fans, they were a blast and I have never been more proud to be a Stars fan when we lost the Cup on our ice.  The Stars fans were nice, bought Devils fans drinks and there were no hard feelings.  Maybe in another post I'll share stories of those years working for them.  *sigh*

I worked in corporate Dallas for 25 years with IBM, JC Penney women's buying office, and finally with a bank where I meet my husband.  I don't work outside the home anymore.  Don't miss the office politics and shenanigans but do miss the people and my friends that I made.  I do miss the extra income, just not time away from our son.  I missed so much in his life because of me working and I will not do it again. 

So that is a short bio on Harlie Williams.  I don't live that much of an exciting life.  I love my family, sports and have an addiction to all things related to Star Wars.  But that's for another time.  :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Sneak Peek Into My Sweetheart’s Mind (with translation)

First things first, he’s never gonna read this, so don’t worry. LOL. So (rubs hands together) let us begin. He doesn’t say much, but when he does, it’s obvious he’s forgotten he’s talking to a writer. Nearly everything he says or does will eventually show up in one of my books or…how ‘bout an entire article ALL ABOUT HIM. 

Today I’ll take you on a quick, forbidden stroll through his rather complex mind and share some of his “words of wisdom.” His Birthday was yesterday so he greatly deserves this honor. Most are self explanatory, but I’ll translate them anyway just because it’s so much darn fun.

Number 1 – “Never eat or drink with anyone you don’t know or trust” – I enjoy eating out a lot. He’s just a tad paranoid, would be thrilled if I ate out less, and he’s a chef with numerous food allergies. Need I say more?

Number 2 – “Never offer your opinion unless someone asks for it” –  You can probably guess where this one came from since I must admit I’m full of unsolicited opinions where he’s concerned. He found my suggestion that he get rid of his ugly plaid flannel shirts particularly distateful; however, I’m sure you’ll side with me when I remind you that we live on the Gulf Coast, the temperature seldom drops below 40°, and well, despite his words of wisdom, the shirts are gone now – all of them. Purrr

Number 3 – “Never explain your actions unless you’re talking to your Mother” – I know. Deep, right? I asked the dreaded question “why?” one too many times and this is the response I got when he couldn’t think of an acceptable explanation. On a serious note, his mother passed last year so guess who he feels compelled to explain himself to now, whether I ask or not…

Number 4 – “Keep your blinds and curtains closed all the time” – “Because,” he went on to say, “someone is ALWAYS watching.” – That’s just creepy. Was he trying to protect me? Or just freak me out?

Number 5 - "Umph! Why'd you cut the man's head off?" - This in reaction to the cover of my newest release, "Untameable Heat: Kaden's Reprieve." My response: "He didn't have one." - The look he gave me was priceless! 

Number 6 - “Work with what you’ve got” – Okay, this could mean so many things, but he’s managed to  squeeze an entire thesis into five words. He spouted off this particular gem one day when I was complaining about how much easier men lose weight. In other words, don’t waste time complaining about something that will never change. Set realistic goals and make the most of your assets. 

On a final note, and yet another clue as to why he's my Sweetheart - On the heels of his brilliant philosophy (number 6 above), he promptly developed a weight training program just for me, taking my health problems into consideration. He also takes it upon himself to monitor my progress. Sweetie still hasn't agreed to be a cover model for me yet, but I'm working on him (so I can cut his head off, too :-)

There are so many more priceless statements where these came from, and I’m sure you have material of your own. 

Please do share some of the complexities of your Sweetheart’s mental processes. I’d love to hear them so we can all laugh together - D

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Writers Pet Peeve

As some of you may know I have been writing Newsletters for my local Union for the past year and a half.  When I began I was told I would write, edit  and have final draft submitted for printing and then distributed.  The administration at the time was crumbling and to be quite honest they were basically always trying to please management as opposed to standing up for and conveying the truth to their very own Union members.  I would write the Newsletters and the President at the time would have me omit a lot of pertinent information and then have the Newsletter printed in black & white, which not only made it lose it's appeal but basically made me look bad. The writer...

A few months ago we elected new officers and the promise of bringing upon change was evident.  I was asked to continue the Newsletter and was elected Chairperson of the Committee.  This you may think is all good, which in part it is, but once you mess with my integrity as a writer I tend to take that extremely personal.  As writers you all can understand the importance of getting every grammatical error you can, how one must revise and worse omit some stuff you thought fit but actually didn't.  That hurts every time, but what got me to write this is the blatant disrespect I received after pointing out that the incorrect version was printed. It took me five hours to perfect the first Newsletter released under the new administration and they go ahead and print the rough draft, which mind you was full of errors.

First, and foremost this is my work being distributed to hundreds of members.  You put my name behind it and gave me credit for a job well done to only print and distribute the freaking rough draft but I shouldn't take offense.  I started out excited and extremely proud of the final piece to only have them screw up my work again.  At this point I am totally disappointed and seriously considering dropping out, but my loyalty and devotion to things I truly care about prevents me from doing so and I honestly enjoyed the rush.  Being given a deadline and meeting it was great.  I have the final copy on file and luckily sent it to the rest of the team prior to the erroneous one being printed so they very well know the error didn't lie with me.  One thing is certain though the next will not be taken so lightly.   

Copyright (c) 2013 Susan B. Anna

Thursday, July 11, 2013

NEW ADULT. A fast-growing romance category.

by Susan Arden
New Adult (NA) is a genre within fiction, and NA now exists within romance as a subgenre, meaning another category within the world of love stories. Sometimes referred to as NEW ADULT COLLEGE.

Think transition when thinking about new adult. A character at the crossroads in his or her life. Age range is generally that found as the “just graduated high school” set where the protagonist is an adult. So, NA starts at 18 and goes until about age 26. The protagonist can be in college but doesn’t have to be. The characters may be thrust deep into a military deployment or living on their own without parent oversight. No rules here except birds in flight so to speak. The general point of agreement in new adult is the protagonist is on a quest to find herself (or himself).

Unlike YA (Young Adult), the themes are definitely mature. Issues explored include such concepts as sexuality, decision making (or the lack thereof), career planning, or seeking financial independence.

New Adult is more than simply Young Adult with sexier issues. The books strive to encompass the point in the heroine or hero’s life when he/she is psychologically defined as an emerging adult. [i]The one predominant feature is change and the formation of the adult personality or identity. Because of this, the period is marked by exploration, and literature dives into such issues as gender, race/ethnicity, marriage, and may include (but not always) the influence of such concerns as drinking, sex, drugs. Boundaries are pushed representing those typically tested during this period in a person’s existence in which he or she is laying the foundation for their future adult life.

 Interested in learning more? A good place to delve into New Adult literature (in all the varied forms) can be found on Goodreads within the New Adult Book Club. Suggestions for reading are provided each month and there's a lively forum for discussion.  
What is one of my favorite New Adult reads that influenced my perception on this new genre? That’s easy.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Maguire. A romance that takes place at a college. It was a fast read. And a great place to jump considering what I’d been immersed in at the time. For many reasons, the author’s voice and vista felt fresh. Definitely, it was a different genre and I enjoyed returning to the college scene, and seeing it through the eyes of a woman on the brink of self-discovery.

There’s a type of bubbly energy along with an infusion of pop culture, and humor that is laced within the New Adult books that is edgy, expanding what is traditionally found in many romance horizons, and a window into the culture of this psychological time period.
Susan Arden writes romance under the subgenres of Western, paranormal, mermaid fantasy, contemporary, erotica, and new adult with her latest release,  The first installment in the Rule Breaker series: Sex, Love, & Lies in Music City.

Catch Susan here:
Susan Arden: Goodreads

Latest release, Rock Into Me

Barnes& Noble

[i] Becoming Adult” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/becoming-adult/201003/who-is-adult

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Where in the World is Liberty Ann Ireland and Where Does My Time Go?

Remember Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?  Since I last wrote here, we could have played that game except instead of Carmen, it would have been me. ;)  Yes life this summer has been FULL of surprises. 

With three girls to keep busy, I made sure I had a plan for them as well as myself once school got out.  I planned regular trips to the library with a Summer Reading Program, crafts at our local Michael's store, visits to the pool, and even a few Field Trip Fridays to check out some of our local fun spots.  We'd have chores and activities in the mornings, leaving the afternoons and evenings for me to blog, read, and write.  Oh silly me.

In short order, my best laid plans didn't exactly go belly up but they sure started listing.  Badly.  I ended up with three business trips in June, thus the Where in the World is Liberty Ann Ireland game.  I had fun going to Orlando and seeing Shamu, Cincinnati and having Graeter's Blackberry Chocolate Chip ice cream (mmmm nummy!), and New York City just absorbing the wonder that is NYC.  By the time I got home from that last one though, I was exhausted!  To top it off, I came home to not one but two water main breaks in our town leaving us first with no water and then with dirty water.  We even had FEMA in town handing out water to folks in need.  Crazy.  Right on the tails of this, we lost our internet service for a few days...not good when the internet is tied to your occupation.  Yes, good times. ;)

In between all of this, we tried to carry on with our Summer plans as best we could and have managed to have some fun.  We have pretended we are fish at the pool, learned about mammals and reptiles at the library and crafted our gizzards out.  My writing is on hiatus until September 1st but my Muse is still giving me all kinds of tantalizing information which I am squirreling away until then.  I am still reading like a fiend and have LOVED some of the books I have read.  A few of my recent favorites have been Finding Trust by Natalie Gayle, Surrender to Me by Ella Jade, Predator's Kiss (Gemini Island Shifters, #1) by Rosanna Leo, Til Death Do Us Part (Lily Drake #2) by T. Michelle Nelson, A Healing Love by Tara Chevrestt,  Opposing Forces (Private Protectors, #6) by Adrienne Giordanno and Courageous Dare by Lacie Nation.  *grin* Told ya I read like a fiend.  Blogging too goes on.  Now if I could just learn to us the word 'No'... *grin*

As you can see, life is never a dull moment in my neck of the woods which always manages to feed my Muse so all in all, it is a good thing. At the moment, I do not have any more business trips planned and we are getting back into a routine, including a Friday Field Trip this week.  We are off to Paris (Texas, that is ;) )  and I don't know about you but I cannot wait to see what adventures we have in store!

What are you up to this Summer?  Anything Fun and Creative?  Let me know....I would love to hear from you!

Come on by and see me at any time!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Celebrate #INDIEpendence on July 8th with Natalie Gibson and Blue Harvest Creative

Why Horror? 

Horrors legacy is as old as humanity. We can trace the telling of monster and ghost stories back to ancient times. Almost every culture has their own tales of vampires, shape shifters and even zombies starting before the written word. From pre-history to the Grimm fairytales to Paranormal Activity 3, horror has always been a part of the human experience. What is it about horror that we find so fascinating? There are many opinions on this. Is it possible that partaking of a little horror in life is good for us? I say yes, this vast and varied genre can be beneficial.

In my house, we are all about Hallowe'en. We have more scary decorations than we do red and green ones. So when my daughter began to show her love of all things spooky, it seemed natural. Other people thought we were crazy to make our own styrofoam gravestones for display. “It's so morbid,” the neighbors said. When Gwendolyn came out dressed for school in March in her favorite skeleton tee-shirt, I didn't say a word. She likes Goosebumps, Ruby Gloom, Mona the Vampire, and Kendra Kandlestar (more fantasy than horror but she likes it because of the creatures). Her first real drawing was of a Frankenstein monster who was covered in green stitches. Monsters are her favorite, while I am partial to vampires and my husband prefers zombies.

I think all of this is very healthy. There are life lessons to be learned from horror. My daughter knows that to kill a zombie you cut off the head and that vampires drink blood. Useless information for the real world, yes, but not everything learned from horror is. Examples: You never invite a stranger into your home. Going to a secluded area isn't always the best plan. Not telling your parents where you're going when you're staying out late can be dangerous.

Horror stories allow us to explore fear and death from a slightly separated space. We will die; all are doomed. When we read or watch a fictional depiction of that, we face our greatest fear. We are free to explore feeling without consequence. It's a safe way to experience being scared. People have a need for stimulation and excitement, but we don't want it at the risk of actual personal peril. We know that when we are done, we won't be missing any limbs or have a stake through the heart. It's reassuring because it's fiction. Monsters are in the books, not real life. Once we are finished reading or watching, we can simply put up that entertainment and, subsequently, the fear too.

After I answer the inevitable, “why horror?”, the next is always, “but you're a woman!” I think Bela Lugosi said it best. “It is women who bear the race in bloody agony. Suffering is a kind of horror. Blood is a kind of horror. Women are born with horror in their very bloodstream. It is a biological thing.”

~Author Natalie Gibson

What influenced you to write Hateful Burden?

Everything I've ever read has had an influence on my writing. Steven King says, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that,” and I tend to agree. Authors like Lilith Saintcrow, Christine Feehan, and Anya Bast most influenced my Sinnis Series. Orson Scott Card, John Steakley, Tim Powers, Terry Pratchett, Robert J. Sawyer and Steven Brust are amazing authors and anyone who reads these works takes a bit of that magic into themselves. I'd like to talk today about the books and authors that most influenced and inspired Hateful Burden. None of these are new books so I'll assume you've read them. I won't worry about spoilers so look out for them if you are a few decades behind on your reading.

I am Legend by Richard Matheson - In the end, the main character realizes he's the boogie man in a world of monsters, a world that used to belong to his kind. He's the monster in their room, the one they tell their children about. He creeps into their bedrooms while they sleep and kills them. They fear him much more than he fears them. This is powerful stuff. It's about relative right and wrong. It's not absolute black and white but shades of gray determined by the majority.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - This classic falls under the same category as I am Legend. It's about the evil we all have inside of us and the things we are capable of with the smallest of inhibitions removed. The danger comes from within.
"Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs—grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant."
~Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene III

Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles - I read these books a LONG time ago. They changed the face of vampire from the creepy and grotesque to the seductive and dangerous. Though they are not vampires in Hateful Burden, Julian is a version of Lestat, charming and powerful with nothing to fear and nothing to lose. He uses Ramillia to quicken him once more just as Lestat uses Louis.

Dracula by Bram Stoker and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley were both written in the 19th century and their influence as gothic horror can be easily seen.

A Nice Place To Live by Robert C Sloane - Clearly what we see around us at first glance can be deceiving. What we want home to be and what it is are two different things.

Door to December by Dean Koontz - Such evil and violence and fear from a tiny girl. It is similar to Hateful Burden in that respect. The reader doesn't know what is going on until very far into the book. It's a paranormal, horror, mystery, thriller that delights in all areas.

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King - Stephen King's talent and proliferation can not be argued against. This one inspired me because it is so different than his usual genre. He wasn't afraid to step out of his comfort zone and the result is a very enjoyable fantasy book. I am glad I followed his lead and stepped out of my own comfort zone. I think the result is actually my best work yet.

Blue Harvest Creative took my writing and made it a book, beautiful inside and out.  They also designed my fantastic website.  You have them to thank for this big event.  See the details below and Good Luck!

~Author Natalie Gibson

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Welcome to our Celebrate #INDIEpendence With Everyone At BHC event, hosted by .
All month long we’ll be celebrating some of the best and brightest of the indie author world, offering awesome prizes, as well as fascinating insights into why it rocks to be an indie author. It’s an exciting time to be a self-published author.
Five weeks, 14 genres, 18 authors. Live author chats, prizes, trivia, and more!
There is something for everyone. We’ve broken the event into five mini events. Each week will focus on a different genre, highlighting some of the best authors who write it and giving back to the community of readers, We’ll have weekly contests to win free eBooks, autographed print books, author swag, gift cards and more, all from outstanding authors with outstanding books!
We’ll also be sharing blogs from our authors—from inspirational blogs to learning about them and their genres to tips from Blue Harvest Creative—you’ll find lots of interesting stuff to read.
If you enjoy playing games and trivia, join us and win prizes.  Everyone who joins Natalie Gibson will be entered to win an eBook of Hateful Burden (Book 1 of the Carrier Trilogy) and a set of *BHC trading cards
PLUS one GRAND PRIZE drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card, an exclusive set of BHC author trading cards, and one print book from EACH AUTHOR at the event. See our blog for official rules and details.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Importance of a Mind-Boggling, Toe-Curling, Knee-Knocking Kiss

On our blog hop this week, each of the romance troupe authors put up some snippets from their books. My concern was that since I did not write erotica I might not fit in. Thank you Shannon for setting me straight on that.

Romance comes in all forms. It can be hot, hot, hot, or sweet and tender. It can make you turn red and look around the room to make sure no one can actually see what you're reading. Or, it can make you smile warmly and say "awwww".

Yes, romance is a many splendored thing and truthfully, it is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone is different. We all love different kinds of romance and there are many. Contemporary, historical, western, paranormal, and erotica. And inside each of these are countless subgenres. But no matter what kind of romance you enjoy reading or that an author enjoys writing, there is one very important ingredient to any type of romance:

The mind-boggling, toe-curling, knee-knocking kiss.

The first kiss should be special. It should make your heart pound, your hands tremble, your knees knock, and turn your mind a muddled mess of goo. So should all the kisses after that. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but those are the kinds of kisses that I like to write about. And experience.

The blog hop made me think of those types of kisses and how I met my husband.

After my divorce in 2002, I signed up for one of those on-line dating services. Match.com to be more exact. Yes, that is how I met my husband.

I can still remember most of the profile I had written. The perfect man for me must have a sense of humor, be a romantic at heart, and he must understand the importance of mind-boggling, toe-curling, knee-buckling kisses. Yep, I did. I put that in there.

I swear that I could write a book titled "50 Worst Dates". I went on a lot of first dates, very few second dates, and even more rare was the third date.  Then in 2004 I met the most perfect man for me.

Our third date was the best date I had ever experienced in my life. We went to a blues festival along the riverfront. Can’t tell you what the band played because we talked all night long. I’m giggling right now as I think back to that warm summer night. We laughed, talked, and laughed some more. He has a wicked sense of humor and I like that.

Once it was time for the date to end, he took me back to my car. The kiss good night, and yes, that is all we did was kiss, lasted an hour and forty-five minutes.  When it was time for me to really leave and go home, he smiled, winked at me and said, “Was that the mind-boggling, toe-curling, knee-knocking kiss you were talking about?” I think I fell in love with him right then and there. Yep, it was a knee knocker! We were married eight months later. He still gives me those kinds of kisses, even after all these years.

So no matter what romance genre you like to read or write, it is my humble opinion that the story should have at the very least one of those kinds of kisses in it. Yes, frenzied moments of fiery passion where clothes are tossed hither and yon are fun too! We’re all adults. We know how to insert tab a into slot b. But without that kiss, that knee-knocking kiss, I think the story loses some of its appeal. At least for me it does.

So what about you? Do you enjoy reading (or experiencing) those kinds of kisses? A

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