Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I love spending time on the truck with my husband, as most of you already know. I love the chance to see so many different landscapes and cultures. One thing that I have learned in travelling across country is there are a multitude of different landscapes and that what one person thinks is beautiful another may find to be ugly. My husband and I have very different points of view on what beauty is.
He loves the high mountains and pine covered hills. He wants to be somewhere in the middle of a bunch of trees. Now while I think the trees are beautiful to travel through, it is not my idea of the perfect location for a house. To me the trees block me in and I cannot see. I want to be able to look out into the distance from my writing office and see for miles.

My favorite landscape is wide open plains covered in sagebrush and cacti. Of course with that, comes rattlesnakes, bull snakes, spiders and ants, but I am okay with that too. I want a large green yard, with several large weeping willows, lilac bushes, flower gardens, and fruit trees. Surrounding my green yard I would like miles of sagebrush and cactus, minus a large spot designated for a vegetable garden.
In this desert I would also like a river running through my property and a large lake to swim in. Somewhere I can have a frog and turtle pond and a massive koi pond, but that could be in the middle of my flower gardens. I don’t think I am asking too much, just an oasis in the desert.
The only problem with my dream is that my hubby hates sagebrush. He says if I build my office high enough I can look out over the trees, but it is not the same. So what we need is a property that is mountains on one side and desert on the other side.
The other issue I have with the high mountains that he likes is the winters. They are cold and usually come with heavy snow, which if I am rich and famous and don’t have to leave the house in the winter that wouldn’t be so bad. I could curl up with my writing in front of a large fireplace and sip hot cocoa while I write.
Somewhere there has to be a property that will make us both happy. Don’t burst my bubble. I know it is out there.
What kind of landscape do you prefer? What is your ideal location for a home? Tell me about it and I will choose from the best answer and the winner will receive a prize pack filled with goodies.
Stop by and sign up for a free entry into my 100 book giveaway. I am celebrating the publishing of my first novel by giving away 100 copies of my novel The Dark Lady.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rolo's Travels---Taking the World by Storm..or at least the USA

We have a large “zoo” at our home. We have rats, ferrets, rabbits, dogs, cats, turtles (both red eared sliders and a box turtle), fish (about 400 hundred gallons worth), birds, a bearded dragon (named hairball) and a ball python. We are trying to get out into the country so we can have some of the bigger farm animals too.
I love my animals, but as you can imagine they are quite a chore to take care of. It may come as a surprise to some of you, but I cannot bring them all on the semi with me. Ha…imagine that if you will.
I do, although, bring my dachshund, Roland Deschain, (Rolo for short) on the truck with me. Anyone who likes Stephen King I am sure will recognize the name. I am a huge Tower Junkie and proud of it.
Now, having a dog on the truck is a great thing, but it can be a hassle sometimes. He has to go to the bathroom, when he says he has to go. He does not understand “wait”.
He loves to go on the truck and gets excited when it is time to leave. He will bark and jump around as soon as I start putting stuff in a suitcase. He knows.
He loves going all over the country and smelling all the new places. He is really well behaved and does not have to be on a leash, which he prefers. Sometimes I put him on one anyway, if there are other dogs or we have to stop too close to a road to let him out to do his business.
Now one of the biggest hassles to having him on the truck is, on the rare occasion when we need one, finding a hotel that allows pets. They are not easy to find and sometimes charge more for the pet then they do for us.
I do understand this. I have been to some hotels where other dog owners will take their dog out and he does his business and they don’t clean it up. They tear up hotel rooms and make a mess of the yards. It is because of irresponsible pet owners that I cannot take my dog with me to most hotels. I understand why most will not allow dogs, but it is still frustrating.
We were in the shop with the truck broke down for several days and we had to go several miles away before we found a pet friendly hotel. The ones that are out there are usually really good about Rolo, especially when they see how cute he is. Now that is not just my opinion, though I am bias.
We raise dachshunds, so when the two girls are in heat I will probably end up bringing them along on the truck as well, but I am not looking forward to it. Maybe Rolo will just have to stay home….but don’t tell him that, he will freak out.
Rolo is quite lazy when it comes to riding in the truck. He spends most of his days sleeping, until we stop and he can get out and run around.
Please tell me about your favorite pets and any traveling stories you may have with them. Have you had any experiences with hotels, rental cars, or taxis because of your pets? Tell me your favorite story or why your pets are special to you.
Our pets are our family. They makes us happy and give us comfort.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Panties Galore

In my novel, The Dark Lady, there is an intimate scene where he runs his hand up her dress and comes into contact with her…well, her warm folds, if you will. My last publisher was thrown off by this. She thought perhaps I had forgotten to add them, or that perhaps Van had purposefully left them off in preparation for their lovemaking. I got to thinking that perhaps my readers might be thrown off as well by this and thought I would give a short history of the panty.
Today panties come in many shapes, colors and styles, but they have not been around as long as some people may think. Panties, as we know them today, did not show up until the 1920’s and before that they had a long journey and a lot of change by the time they finally arrived at the modern day delicates that we take for granted.
Before the 12th century women went, as one would say, commando. They wore no coverings on their legs, bottoms or privates. Between the 12th and 14th centuries women wore full length leggings, from ankle to waist, and these garments were tied at the waist but left the crotch exposed.
In the mid 1500’s that changed and the change came, at no surprise, from a woman. Sidesaddle was an issue for some women. Long flowing dresses tangled the rider when trying to throw one leg over the horse’s neck and fighting to keep all your unmentionables, well…unmentioned, was a task in itself. Catherine de Medici, the queen of France, while accused of many horrible things, made a revolutionary invention. To keep herself modest, as a queen should be, while riding sidesaddle she invented the first style of women’s underwear, pantalettes. Basically, taking the two leggings and stitching them together. With the invention of elastic still years away, they still had to be tied, but the new design was still functional.
In the second half of the 16th century cotton gins and spinning machines made it possible for factories to mass produce underwear, no longer making it necessary for women to make their own or to hire out private seamstresses. They became more affordable and well known. They were produced in two styles. One piece, pantalettes, and as two separate garments that still tied together at the waist, the original leggings. The open crotch style was still produced for those who thought it was better hygiene. Now the open crotch is for a much more excitable reason.
In the mid 1800’s , Elizabeth Miller, an advocate of the women’s right movement and an advocate of the Victorian Dress Reform, fashioned and wore pantaloons, a shorter version of the Queen’s design. While the shorted legs were more scandalous, they allowed women to wear shorter skirts. Now, I don’t want to shock anyone, but they nearly showed the knees, if you can imagine that. These undergarments were known as Bloomers, due to Amelia Bloomer, in The Lily, who popularized them. These “Bloomers” were worn by leaders of the women’s rights movement as an act of rebellion.
After the 1920’s while the women’s rights movements and the right to vote flourished underwear became shorter and shorter to accommodate the shorter skirts. In the 60’s with the women wearing denim jeans and pencil skirts, the panties had to adapt. Soon came silk, rayon, and nylons.
The panty has become much more than just a covering. It is a way of expression, a feeling of sensuality and sexuality. They are as varied in style and charm as the people who were them. So no matter what your style, you can appreciate the women who came before us, who brought us from the dark ages and into the era of the light colored bikinis and thongs.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Publisher -- Black Opal Books

I am excited to have been offered a contract from a great publisher. Though the contract is not signed yet, I could not contain my excitement and had to share.
Black Opal Books
“Since we're authors as well as businesspeople, we know how much hard work goes into writing a book—endless hours spent staring at a page while searching for words, struggling to finish the first draft, revising, editing, more revising, and still more revising.” Black Opal Books

I am very happy to be included in their wonderful business and am looking forward to our journeys together.

The Dark Lady

Historical Romance, currently under contract with Black Opal Books.

You can read the entire first, second and third chapters of The Dark Lady at

The Dark Lady, while not my first novel, is the first one that I had completely edited and ready for publication. It was under contract with a publisher that I had some time constraint issues with and they graciously returned my rights. It is now being considered by another publisher, who I am hoping to hear from soon, today would be nice. 
The Dark Lady was a joy for me to write. I fell in love with the characters immediately and knew I had to tell their story.
The struggles that Van has to go through to become a whole person touched me deeply and I found myself cheering for her as I wrote.
In essence, this book is about the struggles to break though the bonds of society and prove that one is more than the stereotypes portray them to be.
I hope that my readers will fall in love with my characters as much as I have.

Vanessa Fordella should have grown up in luxury and ease with a father that doted on her and loved her. Instead her mother stole her away and forced her into the life of a boy. Becoming Van instead of Vanessa was so easy for her she was sent to page training at Grayweist Castle. Large for a girl and uneven of temper it didn't take her long to make herself well-known. She rose through the ranks quickly and was sent into battle. She risks her life to save Peter Lawston and in return for her courage and honor King Henry II bestows her with knighthood making her The Dark Knight. For years she enjoyed being a dangerous and deadly knight until one day a message tore her beloved world apart. At her mother's dying request she agrees to marry.
Peter Lawston goes home from the war with ideas of a simple and peaceful life. Peter has always had an ordered and controlled life and he wants to keep it that way. Pain and betrayal from when he was a child dictates the kind of man he is and the kind of wife he will allow himself to have. When his father grows ill Peter reluctantly agrees to marry a woman he has never met. As the carriage pulls up to the castle, Peter is hoping for a shy and controllable wife. What arrives instead is Van, a six foot tall Amazon of a woman with pent up rage and aggression who doesn't know the first thing about being docile or obedient.
Peter and Van fight and struggle for power and control of the relationship. They fall in love quickly but her secret past is always a strain between them. Peter doesn't want to give up his idea of a perfect wife and struggles to turn her into what he wants. Van has always been the one in control and is used to getting things her way. She doesn't know how to let go of the knight that she has always been and struggles to become the woman and wife that she is expected to be. Both must give up their difficult past if they hope to have any kind of a future.

Excerpt from Chapter One of The Dark Lady

Peter closed his eyes and his breathing became shallow. Numbness was beginning to overtake his mind. His thoughts were getting slower, he could feel it. He tried to concentrate on the boy’s voice above him, but his mind felt heavy and sluggish.
The voice that had been gravely and deep at first had changed; softened, like a gentle breeze across his heart. He was confused at his thoughts. His mind was hazy. Delirium was obviously setting in. A groan slipped from beneath his numb lips.
The sweet concerned voice caressed him, washing over him like a warm breeze. “Are you with me, can you focus on my face? Come on, talk to me. Open your eyes. I need to know you are going to be alright.” The gentle voice was like a melody to his war ravaged ears, a loving voice that brought forth images of that life his father had spoken of. Of children to hold and to love, not just some faceless heir to be his future, but a child to be his life.
He opened his eyes to the young boy’s blurry face. The light from the fire pierced into him, cutting through him like a dagger. He shut his eyes again with a moan.
“Come on focus, you are going to be alright.” There was fear in that soft voice that told him he was cared for. That he was needed. “Look me in the eye.” The worry that he heard enveloped him in warmth in a way no fire ever could. He could almost picture the mother of those children who would hold him at night when he was cold, as he was now. She would be beautiful, dark and exotic.
When he opened his eyes once again the boy was gone and in his place was the beautiful yet blurry face of a girl. “Are you alright?” she asked sweetly as she leaned close to him.
“I am here with you.” Concern filled him as he spotted the large gash on her check, oddly in the same spot as the lad’s injury. He shook his head to clear it. Confusion swirled through his weary mind. Peter lifted his hand and ran his fingers along the uninjured cheekbone as blood dripped onto his injured shoulder. “Your face. You are hurt. You must have it looked at.”
The face swirled in and out of focus and the boy was there once again. Peter closed his eyes tightly and shook his head. “I will. You first, I can wait.” The soft voice told him. When he opened his eyes once again she was smiling down at him. Her face was still slightly blurred, but he knew it was her from her melodious voice.
“You have such dark eyes, almost black. One could get lost in them.” Peter continued to stroke the smooth cheek above him, sliding trembling fingers down the warm and inviting skin gently cupping the soft and shapely chin before starting again. Peter squinted in an effort to keep the world focused as he looked deeply into those black eyes and thought of his future. “You are so beautiful.”
Full lips parted in a sweet tinkling laugh, like water rippling over stones. “I will forgive you that since you have lost so much blood, your thoughts must be scrambled and your vision faulty.” A wide beautiful smile took the sting from the words.
A deep trembling breath caused the world to shimmer before him and the image of the boy was once again before him.
Peter pulled his hand away in confusion as he looked at the boy. “Quite. I have lost a great amount.” His arm dropped as darkness swallowed him.

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Look for interviews with the characters coming soon.