Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Day of Waiting

Ordinarily, I’d talk about the fun I’ve had guest blogging this month and talking about my recent release, Hex in High Heels. Hm, I guess I just did that!

But today is also the day of my husband’s surgery. A day of waiting to hear if he’ll be okay.

Inside, I feel he will be. And I’ll be in the waiting room with my netbook and reading material.

So do yourselves a favor today and hug the one you love.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Developing Unforgetable Characters

One of my favorite subjects is character development and creation. There's nothing more fun than coming up with new characters in my books and see what they’ll get up to.

My witches are pretty much a slamdunk even if each one has her own distinct personality and special gifts. No one can accuse them of being cookie cutter witches. There are times when they even surprise me.

My characters tend to pop fully grown into my head. I know their names, what they look like, their magickal gifts, and their personalities. From the beginning I knew Jazz would be the snarky one, Stasi the sweet one, and Blair the sassy one. They would be united in the thought that no villain would get away with hurting the innocent, but they’d each have their personal way of handling it. That’s part of the fun for me, because they need to be unique and I work hard to make sure it happens.

As for the creatures in my books, they tend to speak for themselves. Fluff and Puff were created because I always visualized Jazz wearing cute bunny slippers that sported fangs and had their own magick to protect them. Stasi has Bogie, her magickal dog that disappears when things get tense and Horace, a gargoyle whose middle name should be trouble. He was actually the result of my being a fan of the cult-animated show Duckman. Duckman couldn’t be politically correct if his life depended on it and Horace is the same way. Probably why his tail ends up singed so many times. For Blair it was Felix, her vintage Kit-Kat clock, that’s in her shop of retro items. As a kid I was always fascinated by these clocks and it seemed appropriate for Blair to have one. Felix might not be able to climb off the wall, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hear all the gossip and only too happy to share it.

I like to have fun with my characters in hopes my readers will relate to them whether it’s a powerful witch who can’t live without her morning mocha or a shapeshifter Border collie. Someone you can imagine living next door to you or running into at the grocery store. My characters might be supernatural, but they also blend in very well with the human population. I call it making the unbelievable believable.

I want my readers to accept it all as true. Consider that bunny slippers talk and move around on their own. I’m positive mine have done that since I never find them where I leave them. And the dogs seem to give my slippers a wide berth. Hmmmm….

This time around Blair is looking for love in shapeshifter Jake’s direction, even if he’s trying to hold her off. Blair is undeterred even if Jake’s wolf shifter mother tries to sharpen her claws on Blair, his brother tries the same, and some elves, not the cute holiday type, are in town to add ambiance to the winter festival.

As if that’s not bad enough Fluff and Puff have arranged in a very unique way, even for them, to remain in Moonstone Lake. But it’s Jake’s mother and brother who cause the most trouble and up to Blair, with Stasi’s help, to make sure there’s no wolfie mischief apaw. (Sorry couldn’t resist using that instead of afoot)

And that’s why my characters are so much fun for me. You never know what will happen. I hope you’ll agree and let me know what makes characters fun for you.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hex Is A Three Letter Word

Four years ago, a snarky witch named Jazz popped into my head and told me it was time for a new journey. It’s a good thing I love road trips because this one was the beginning of a wild ride that’s still going on.

As with all journeys, there’s been some curved roads, some unexpected side paths and the road that goes straight on. Even a few speed traps along the way.

From Jazz I moved to Stasi, a witch with a gentle nature that covered up a steel spine. After all, she brought down the forest Fae, didn’t she? And now it’s Blair’s turn to strut her stuff and strut she does. Blair takes on Weres, an abusive male, and even shows a cheating man the error of his ways.

Blair is the sassy witch with a gift for revenge spells. You’ll see in Hex in High Heels just what she can come up with. Proof to never get on her bad side!

Hex in High Heels takes up a few months after Wicked By Any Other Name leaves off. This time the town is gearing up for the winter carnival, Blair is less than subtly lusting after sexy carpenter Jake and he’s not making it easy for her. And who knew he was keeping more secrets from her. Ones he isn’t able to keep for long when his Alpha mother and brother show up in town. Blair needs to make sure she’s got all her shots since there’s love lost between the Weres who want to move in and take over the entire mountain and Blair who’s going to make sure that won’t happen. As if that’s not enough there’s a bunch of elves in town that aren’t any you’d see with Santa.

Blair also learns that the Weres can be creative when it comes to battling the witch, but that’s okay. She has more than her spells up her sleeve too and the assistance of Horace, Stasi’s gargoyle and even Fluff and Puff, bunny slippers turned … well, that’s something I don’t want to give away!

The fun part is giving each witch a distinct personality and different gifts to add to their powers. To make them unique. You’ll meet future witches in Hex in High Heels. Kick ass Maggie and romance novelist Thea. Remember what I said in the beginning? It’s a journey. I can promise you that each witch will have her journey, actually more a roller coaster ride, a meeting with her mate, and the typical trials and tribulations that makes a witch’s life interesting. I’ve always said I don’t make it easy for my witches. Or maybe it’s that they don’t make it easy for themselves. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be fun, because my characters and the creatures that are their sidekicks tend to make it fun. Fluff and Puff started the insanity and there’s more to come.

My magickal journey is still going on and with luck it won’t end any time soon.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hex In High Heels Is Here!

I know when I started writing these books I hoped they’d continue on and I was so glad to see them warmly welcomed by readers and now readers are even counting down to release dates. How wonderful is that?

The witch for this book was easy. It seemed only natural that Blair’s story would follow Stasi’s.

Last we read Jake revealed he was the Border collie that hung around the witches and thanks to his Were nature, he saved Blair, Stasi and Jazz from being burned at the stake.

But Jake has a lot more on his plate courtesy of his Were mom and brother showing up and trust me, no warm and fuzzies there, unless you count the fur flying. After all, witches and Weres don’t mix, according to the Alpha furry mom. Not that it will hold Blair back as she resists throwing a mange spell on the female.

As if Weres making trouble wasn’t enough, the mayor’s wife hired elves to add atmosphere to the town’s winter carnival. Except these aren’t the cute Santa type elves. Except them to have creepy crawlies coming out of their ears, drink beer, and scratch their privates. The thing is, will they stay that way or will Blair have to jump in and save the festival? Can she handle arrogant Werewolves and crazy elves along with a fledgling romance at the same time?

Oh, wait a minute! She’s a witch! She knows how to multi-task. Battle the Weres, make sure the elves don’t tear the town apart, and find some alone time with Jake. Easy peasy.

Romance isn’t easy for a witch and my witches tend to have an even more difficult time. But I find that’s half the fun in writing the books. Life is always full of ups and downs and incorporating it into my books is more than half the fun.

With a series you need to amp it up with every book and I hope that you see that in Hex in High Heels.
Don't forget to check out http://www.nightowlromance.com/ for my Name the Character contest!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Trick or Treat, Smell Our Slippers!

“It’s not fair!” Fluff made huffing noises as he bounced as best he could on Jazz’s snazzy black and white comforter. “We should be able to go too!”

“You’re not,” she informed him, as she wiggled her way into a black silk and lace bustier that gave her all the lift she wanted then a black gown that fit her like a glove. By the time she finished her face was flushed from her exertions.

“We could have easily gone with you if you’d used our idea for a costume,” Puff chimed in, studying one of the red throw pillows on the bed. “And you could have just worn your pjs and us. How easy is that?”

“You put even one fang in that pillow and you’ll be back in that cage so fast your little head will spin,” Jazz warned, catching his intentions in the mirror as she tiptoed over to double check her make up. She picked up a blood red lipstick called Scarlet Hussy and used a lip brush to stroke it on. Her long nails matched her lips.

“Then why can’t we go as ourselves?” Puff whined, rolling back and forth.

“Yeah!” Fluff provided his buddy with a united front.

“Because you weren’t invited.”

“Like that’s ever stopped us before,” Fluff snarled, fully prepared to head into a major bunny slipper hissy fit. If there was one thing Fluff hated, it was missing out on a good party and he knew this party was going to be a total supernatural blowout. “Besides, who wouldn’t love having us attend their party? We’re fun! We can dance.” He reared up on and did a little shimmy before falling forward on his face.

While some supernaturals preferred celebrating the 31st of October as Samhain, there were others who enjoyed partying Halloween wild with costumes and anything else that struck their fancy. Jazz was attending the latter tonight and wasted no time in informing the slippers they weren’t attending. Since then, they’d done their best to make her life miserable, but she refused to give in. And since she had cast extra strong wards on anything she prized, as in everything in her suite, they weren’t able to inflict any damage in retaliation. So they bided their time on that.

“Do you really want me to pull out the list starting with the boardwalk and ending with most of the clubs that never want to see you again?” she reminded them. “You two can sit in the window and watch the trick or treaters.”

The slippers made gagging sounds.

“We could hand out candy,” Puff suggested, trying any way he could to look on the bright side, but it wasn’t easy.

“Yeah, like that would happen. You’d have it all eaten before it barely hit the bowl.” Jazz twisted her hair up into intricate swirls then dusted black and gold glitter over it. She used some of the glitter on her cheekbones and dusted the deep cleavage her dress afforded her. “I’ll put out all the Halloween movies for you, how’s that?”

Their dark expressions on their fuzzy faces told her that wasn’t nearly enough. “And popcorn balls.”

Puff retreated to the bed pillows and began bouncing up and down. “Chocolate.”

“Krebs said you can watch the movies on the big screen TV downstairs only if you didn’t have chocolate in there. You’re just lucky I could spell it out of the couch and chairs.” She arranged a black glittery bat clip in her elaborate updo. “What do you think?” She turned around and held her arms out while smiling broadly to reveal white fangs.

“Wow, girly vampire.” Fluff rolled his eyes.

Puff just yawned. “So original. Female fangster. Big woo.”

“And you wonder why you don’t go anywhere.” She slipped her lipstick in a hidden pocket in her gown. The black silk shimmered like a dark rainbow with its deep v neckline and long sleeves that ended in points. Jazz had used a pale foundation highlighted with the glitter and black eye shadow and liner. Instead of her fashionable witchy self, she looked like the perfect damsel of the dark. She lifted her long skirt and stepped into a pair of black stilettos.

“It’s attitudes like that that also keep you home,” she warned them, picking up a black velvet cape with red silk lining at the same time the doorbell rang. “There’s Nick and I don’t want to see any tantrums.

“We don’t have tantrums,” Fluff groused, as the slippers followed her downstairs, staying back as she opened the door to Nick dressed in purple silk robes trimmed in gold braid and a pair of old-fashioned spectacles perched on his nose. “A wizard? Sheesh, we could have done better than that.”

“You become something you aren’t.” She kissed Nick then allowed him to help her slip her cape on.

“Popcorn balls are in the family room with the DVDs. And if you get really bored you can visit Irma. She’s having a Gunsmoke marathon tonight.” She blew them a kiss and left.

The slippers moved to the windows on each side of the front door and nosed the sheers aside to watch Nick assist Jazz into his SUV.

“Does she really think we’re staying here for popcorn balls and movies?” Fluff said.“No way.” Puff’s attention was momentarily diverted by a group of trick or treaters making their way down the street.

“Whaddya think?”Fluff grinned.

“You got it.”

Since they knew Jazz didn’t trust them, although for the life of them they couldn’t understand why, they slipped out a window off the kitchen that wouldn’t raise any witchy alarms and they headed straight for the street.

“Hey, it’s Fluff and Puff!” one little girl squealed, jumping up and down in her pink tulle ballerina costume. “Are you going to go trick or treating with us?” she asked them.

While human adults couldn’t understand bunny slipper language, children had a language that was universal with the slippers. A quick nod of their heads and they were soon perched in her trick or treat bag.

“Does Jazz know you two are out?” The little girl’s mom asked, not really believing their bobbing heads of assent, but not wanting to disappoint her daughter with the slippers’ company.

For the rest of the evening, Fluff and Puff made the rounds of the neighborhood, got more than their share of candy and somehow managed not to frighten any cats, since they were their favorite forms of entertainment.

“I can’t make it up that window,” Puff groaned, flopping down on the grass with a tummy so bloated he looked pregnant.

“Don’t expect any help from me.” Fluff looked up at the window and realized it wasn’t going to be easy for him either.

Thanks to bunny slipper magick they just barely made it inside the house and managed to stumble their way into the family room where they collapsed on the couch.They heard the front door open and close hours later.

“I can’t believe they’re still up,” Jazz said walking into the family room with Nick behind her. “You have got to be kidding me!” She stopped short at the sight before her.

Fluff and Puff lay on their backs, their bellies bloated and their faces an unbecoming shade of purple along with smears of chocolate and caramel all over them. Their eyes were glazed over from sugar overload.

“Oh good,” Fluff moaned, unable to even roll over onto his side. “Do we have any Alka-Seltzer?”

Friday, October 16, 2009

Emerald City

No wizard. No ruby red slippers. No yellow brick road. No Wicked Witch of the West. Well, there could have been the latter.

Except this Emerald City was Bellevue, Washington and an annual writer’s conference that was put on last weekend.

I was up there to hook up with friends such as the awesome Yasmine Galenorn and Maura Andersen and meet other writers. I also gave a workshop titled ‘My Bunny Slippers Ate My Homework – How To Create Memorable Creatures’. What can I say? Fluff and Puff insisted I do it.

I sat in on fun workshops, connected with old friends, made new ones and drank lots of coffee. Tullys Coffee in the hotel lobby could do peppermint mochas, so I was there as often as an overly caffeinated person could be.

And a fun bookfair open to the public. They had three of my books and I had a lot of people asking for 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover. I enjoy talking to readers, because I tend to pick up new authors to read from them and it’s fun to hear what they like about my books and if there’s something they don’t like, I find that informational.

Did I sleep much? Not really. Too much too do and I was out in the evenings, but that was okay. These weekends don’t happen very much.

This is me at the bookfair and the view outside my hotel room.

I would highly recommend this conference to anyone and I know I’ll be back next year!


Also, I'll be signing my Hex series this Sunday, Oct. 18, at 2pm at Mysterious Galaxy,

7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.Suite #302San Diego, CA 92111

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's the Great Haunted Pumpkin, Fluff and Puff!

"We have to find just the right pumpkin," Fluff insisted to his partner in bunny slipper crime. The slippers had silently moved through the house, heading for the front door that opened as if by magick.
They immediately slid down the walkway to the sidewalk. Since it was heading toward midnight, the only ones out were those who preferred darkness for their deeds. Since fear wasn't in the slippers' vocabulary, they moved along.
"I know we can find it at the pumpkin patch by the boardwalk," Puff replied, heading left.
"But it's this way!" Fluff shifted right. Since the slippers didn't have feet they had to do their own version of Rock, Paper, Scissors and Puff won.
Magick gave them the stealth and speed to head down the street and over to the avenue that boasted shops appealing to tourists and the entrance to the ever-famous boardwalk with its midway and rides. Fluff and Puff managed to avoid the Weres' sharp eyes, since the slippers weren't all that popular there. Fall in the cotton candy vat JUST ONCE and sheesh! No one there has a sense of humor. Their destination was at the end of the street where an empty field still boasted a large selection of pumpkins to be fashioned into jack-o-lanterns and the contents turned into tasty pies.
The slippers easily passed by the barriers and wandered the small field.
"Here's one," Fluff announced heading toward one end. Puff shook his head. "We need a special one in just the right shape for our purposes. We need a haunted pumpkin," he reminded his best bud. "You look over there and I'll look over here."
One by one, the slippers carefully inspected each pumpkin, searching for just the right one. Until…
"I found it!" Fluff's squeak of excitement carried in the air. Puff scooted to the spot where just Fluff faced a pumpkin that wasn't too big or too small or too round or too oval.
It was just the right shape. Just the right color and a faint glow emanated from the squash fruit.
"Yes!" The slippers performed their own version of a high-five and each took one side, racing around the pumpkin, setting up their own magickal net to get the pumpkin back to the house.
Once the net was in place, they uttered the spell needed and left the pumpkin patch with their prize sliding along behind them. Just as when they left the house, the front door silently opened for them and allowed them to enter.
They wasted no time going back to the kitchen and spelling the pumpkin onto the table. After they scooted up the chairs to the table, they stared at their find with broad grins on their faces, their razor-sharp teeth gleaming in the darkness.
"This will be the best jack-o-lantern yet," Fluff pronounced.
"And a big surprise for Jazz," Puff agreed.

For the next hour, the kitchen's interior lit up with orange, purple and green lights as the slippers performed their own special magick.

Once they finished, they made their way up to the bedroom and returned to their cozy space on Jazz's bed. They may be slippers, but no way they were sleeping on the floor!
The slippers were sound asleep when Jazz headed downstairs in search of her first cup of coffee for the day, but they REALLY woke up when they heard Krebs' greeting her.
"Is this pumpkin your doing?" Krebs could be heard asking and there was more horror in his voice than admiration.
"No," her sleepy voice replied. "And talk about incredible work. The carved face looks just like Hugh Jackman. It's so lifelike that…Wait a minute…is that…Fluff! Puff! What have you done?!"
And a merry Hallows Eve to you all.
PS -- For anyone in the San Diego area, I'll be signing my Hex series at the Barnes and Noble in Oceanside. And Fluff and Puff will be there!
And I'm interviewed at www.savvywitandverse.com Please stop by!