Friday, December 27, 2013


the lonely hipster by ellis drake cover

Hello everyone! I know things have been rather silent on ye olde blog lately. I've been focusing mainly on non-fiction writing for the last few weeks and didn't really have any updates available.

However! I wanted to let you all know that I'm gearing up to publish The Lonely Hipster, a mystery—or hipstery, as I like to call it—about the only hipster living in a small factory town, in January. I already have the cover put together (thanks to my brother for agreeing to be my model! You can also see him on the cover of Tweet the Police) and just have to work on formatting. Very soon it will be ready to publish!

My plan is to offer The Lonely Hipster for free on during the first week after it's published, then price it at 99 cents for the next three weeks before raising the price to the typical $2.99, where I will keep it indefinitely. This way the first people to purchase the novella will get the best deal on it. So watch this blog for the release date and you'll be able to download the novella for free!

I also recently published two novellas, The Fornarina Affair and The Aspen House, to Smashwords. I'm still waiting on them to be published to B&N and iTunes, but I will update the buy links on my books page once they're available. In the meantime, if you use a reading device other than Kindle or a Kindle app, you can download the EPUB, PDF, and LRF versions of both those novellas at Smashwords.

I want to thank all my loyal readers, friends, family, and fellow authors for their support this year. I honestly would have given up on writing a long time ago if it wasn't for your encouragement and help. I hope you all have a great holiday season and here's to a fabulous year of reading and writing in 2014!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Writing Links Wednesday—Venice and Writing

torcello road
The yellow brick road of Torcello.

Almost forgot about WLW! This week I have several Venice-related links and a few writing opportunities.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Five Favorite Movies Set in Venice

Ah, Venice! Ever since I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as an eight-year-old, Venice has seemed like the most absolutely romantic place on earth. There really is no other city like it: an enclave of music and art, ships of exploration and secret identities, pink lights and rivers for streets.

All of this makes Venice a great setting for movies. A few years ago, I resolved to watch every single movie set in Venice that I could find. I doubt I’ll ever actually complete my goal, but here are my top five so far. What are yours?

casanova movie poster
1. Casanova (2005), starring Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller
To quote Richard Roeper, “This movie is a romp. A romp, I tell you!!!” Venice looks gorgeous, Ledger looks gorgeous, and I am a total sucker for the sort of insanely complicated comedy-of-errors plot that this movie has. Also, I’m a complete Casanova geek. I’ve read his entire autobiography, and once I got lost in Venice because I was too occupied thinking about how awesome Casanova was and listing all his accomplishments to pay attention to where I was going. I also met the man who created the masks for this film, Alberto Sarria. Fun fact: mask making has been the most profitable Venetian business since the 12th century. Which is saying something.

dangerous beauty movie poster
2. Dangerous Beauty (1998), starring Catherine McCormack and Rufus Sewell
Based on the incredible true story of Veronica Franco, a 16th-century Venetian courtesan who saved the city only to be tried by the Inquisition as a witch, Dangerous Beauty is searingly romantic and an incredible portrait of the city of Venice. Because she’s a courtesan, and smart, Veronica has incredible political power in a male-dominated world. Men respect her opinions and she influences foreign policy, all with the awareness that her fortunes rest on her ever-fading beauty. What I love most about this film is the ending: I was preparing myself for Veronica to die, when suddenly the Inquisition was like, “Venice! What can we do?” before packing up their bags and hieing back to Rome. I found the whole thing a little unbelievable until I found out THAT’S ACTUALLY WHAT HAPPENED. Venice 1, Inquisition 0.

the tourist movie poster
3. The Tourist (2010), starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie
If you like classic suspense movies like North by Northwest or Charade, The Tourist is right up your alley. Jolie is gorgeous as a sophisticated ice queen who falls for a “cool” math teacher from Wisconsin. Jolie brings so much to this role and I love Johnny Depp. The only issue I have with The Tourist is that I don’t think Venice was utilized enough as a setting: a majority of the shots are interiors that could be found in any major European city. But it does have Paul Bettany in it, so I’m willing to overlook that.

casino royale movie poster
4. Casino Royale (2006), starring Daniel Craig and Eva Green
Casino Royale surprised me with the fact that it was 1. awesomely good; and 2. a romance. Most of the film doesn’t take place in Venice, but I think the connection between the gambling scenes and the Venetian scenes was brilliantly done, seeing as how cards were supposedly invented in Venice and it was home to the first casino, the Ridotto. Even though Bond and Vesper are only in Venice for about the last fifteen minutes of the movie, the Venice scenes are the most memorable in the film. They’re brilliantly shot and perfectly utilized, and the cinematographer deserves major props.

don't look now movie poster
5. Don’t Look Now (1973), starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland
Speaking of that chase scene through the streets of Venice in Casino Royale, you might remember Vesper’s scarlet coat. That’s actually a tribute to Don’t Look Now, a horror flick that shows the grittier side of Venice. I’m not going to say it’s my favorite movie ever, because it’s kind of silly and weird, and there’s a random sex scene with Donald Sutherland and his naked butt (he is my old man crush, but still, TMI). HOWEVER, I like the unique way the cinematographers treated Venice and how the city seemed creepy as heck by the end of the movie. But the real reason you should watch Don’t Look Now is the red coat: it’s a part of pop culture. Aside from Casino Royale, it’s been referenced in Flatliners, In Bruges, the 2005 film The Dark, and many songs including Big Audio Dynamite’s “E=MC2” and the M83 song “America.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

An Interview with Becky from One Literature Nut

the sea queen's daughter blog tour button

It's the final day of The Sea Queen's Daughter blog tour and today I'm answering questions at One Literature Nut. Find out what work of art I based Serena's mask off of, the truth behind the legend of the Sea Queen, and whether or not I'm planning on writing another story set in Venice (one never knows!).

Thank you to all the bloggers and readers who participated in the blog tour this week. Just in case you missed a day, here are all the posts:

It's been a great week, everyone! Now back to writing.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Interview with Colette from A Buckeye Girl Reads

sea queen's daughter blog tour

The Sea Queen's Daughter blog tour continues today at A Buckeye Girl Reads, where I'm answering a few questions. Find out about what topics I researched, what my next release will be, and who my favorite characters are in The Sea Queen's Daughter.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at Penelope's Romance Reviews and stay tuned tomorrow for a guest post at My Cozie Corner.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


venetian glass earrings

The Sea Queen's Daughter blog tour continues today with an awesome giveaway at Penelope's Romance Reviews. Not only is Penny giving away a copy of The Sea Queen's Daughter, she's also sending one lucky winner a pair of unique, handmade Venetian glass earrings from Vickie Joe's Jewels (pictured above). Love them!

To enter, simply comment on Penny's review of The Sea Queen's Daughter. Tomorrow the tour will continue with an interview at A Buckeye Girl Reads.

Monday, September 23, 2013

All the World's a Stage: Venice and Carnevale

sea queen's daughter banner

Welcome to the first day of The Sea Queen's Daughter blog tour! Today I'm at Dina Rae's Write Stuff discussing the strange and wondrous world that was the Venetian Carnevale. Here's an itty bitty excerpt to whet your appetite:

During Carnevale, everyone who appeared in public wore a mask. This wasn't just a gesture: the anonymity the mask afforded was considered sacred, giving everyone from the Doge to street urchins the illusion of equality. One 18th century visitor even reported seeing a masked mother nursing a masked baby!

Read the rest here! And stay tuned tomorrow for an awesome giveaway at Penelope's Romance Reviews.

Friday, September 20, 2013

In the Queue 11

i did it!
Hiro from Heroes, just in case you hadn't realized I am a geek yet.

I did it! I survived deadline hell week! I met all my deadlines, even the ones for pitches that I didn't really *have* to do. Hallefreakinlujah.

All work and no play makes Ellis a dull girl, so I'm looking forward to wrapping this post up and then chillaxing in the sun for a while. Now on to the queue!


With pressing deadlines looming, I didn't get any work done in my novel this past week. I am, however, excited about The Sea Queen Daughter's blog tour, which kicks off on Monday. It's going to be epic! I'll be posting much more about it next week and hope you'll take time to say hi on my perambulations across the bookternet.

Reading: I started Zen Attitude, the second book in the Rei Shamura series by Sujata Massey, last night during an insomnia attack. I need to move somewhere where there's not a big difference in the seasons; changes from summer to fall and spring to summer kill me.


Too much to detail, so in summation: this past week I wrote and edited 2 feature articles, a chapter for an essay collection, 4 short articles, 2 guest blog posts and an interview, plus 2 pitches. I'm not sure my brain is functioning as normal right now...

Reading: I have one chapter left in Take a Closer Look and I'm bound and determined to finish it SOON. Today, if possible.

That's all for this week. See you next week for The Sea Queen's Daughter blog tour!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writing Links Wednesday: DOCTOR WHO Edition

writing doctor who
Yes, Doctor.

Sorry there were no posts last week; I'm in the middle of deadline hell right now and writing as fast as my fingers can type! I'm not out of the weeds yet, but I thought it necessary to take a break and share some awesome Doctor Who links with you all that I discovered in the course of my research (for an article I should be writing right now... anyway):

Hopefully I'll have everything finished in time to post the queue on Friday. If not, I'll see you for The Sea Queen's Daughter blog tour, starting next week!

Friday, September 6, 2013

In the Queue 10

Please be in queue ...........Great white pelican (♥♥Explored♥♥)
Just swimming along...

What a weird, stressful week. I decided over the weekend that I wasn't going to write for a certain company anymore; unfortunately, they were my major source of income, so I'm a bit worried and stressed about finding another gig to replace them. I haven't been sleeping, my reading time keeps getting interrupted, and one of the dogs got really sick on Wednesday night. She kept panicking and flailing around and would only calm down if someone was holding her. I need some major happy, distracting and/or inspiring entertainment, stat.

In the meantime, on to the queue...


Planning/Editing/Writing: Not much news to report this week. I only managed to write a few pages in Bank Robber's Special (still working on the title) over the week, probably one of the reasons I'm in a MOOD. Writing isn't therapy but sometimes it has the same effect. The blog tour for The Sea Queen's Daughter is filled so now I just need to focus on guest posts.

Reading: This week I finished Death Without Company by Craig Johnson. It was much better than the first book in the series, The Cold Dish—shorter and with more things happening. Currently I'm reading Animal Farm by George Orwell for an essay I'm writing. If Boxer dies I am going to be VERY upset, you guys. Oh, and I'm re-listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on audiobook.


Planning: An article on Doctor Who and how it's become a touchstone for feminist and colonial issues because of its popularity and worldwide audience. Just heard today that the new season won't start until fall 2014, incidentally.

Editing: More artist profiles.

Writing: Today is more of editing day for me. If I get time to write I want to focus on my fiction stuff and write up a review of Death Without Company.

Reading: Since I haven't had a lot of time to read, I haven't made much of dent in Take a Closer Look, the book about art interpretation I started last week.

What have you been up to this week?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Writing Links Wednesday

writers what I actually do

I decided to start a new feature on here for writing and book links I've found interesting or useful during the week. Let me know what you think!

  • "99c books are the foundation for the tragically forgotten book pile." Many self-pub'd authors, including myself, are at a loss when it comes to figuring out how to price their books. Most of the advice I've read basically runs along the lines of, "Try out a price and if you're not selling books, change it." So far, this article at Dear Author is the only essay I've encountered with a solid break down of price points and how they relate to buying habits. What's the Right Price of a Book for You?
  • "I said she dumped me, but really, I dumped her (body)." I remember when I started thinking about a story where a murder was solved online—what eventually became the plot of Tweet the Police—the idea seemed quirky but incredible. An editor actually told me there was no way that would happen in the RL. Now there are whole Reddit threads dedicated to solving crimes like the Boston Marathon Bombings. This mystery about a map and murder confession sent to Post Secret (an "art project" where people anonymously mail their secrets via postcards so they can be posted on a website) in particular is begging for both an official investigation, and for a writer to turn it into a novel. Did Post Secret Pass Around a Murder Confession?
  • "It's the kind of word that you can, actually, build a book around." Do you have a favorite word? Neil Gaiman shares his.

Friday, August 30, 2013

In the Queue 9

1. Coucou !
What's the haps.

Hello, everyone! Do you recognize the park in this picture? It's the Val-de-Marne in Paris. I have Paris on the brain lately. This morning I've been playing "J'ai Deux Amours" on a loop on my iTunes. I have two loves: my country and Paris. Maybe someday I'll move to Paris, you never know.

Can you believe summer's almost over? I hate fall. My birthday's coming up and I'm already wishing I could go into a coma and wake up when it's over, uhg. But that's still a few weeks off, so on to the queue!


Planning: The blog tour for The Sea Queen's Daughter is coming together nicely and I'm super excited about it!

Writing: Still working on the noir story. I'm wondering what to call it; the title when I initially abandoned it was Beefcake Special, because I had some vague idea of making the hero take his shirt off constantly for no reason. Which I can still do, of course, but it doesn't sound very noir-ish. Now I'm thinking maybe The Old Five and Dime? Stay tuned.

Reading: I FINALLY finished The Cold Dish this week and was like, "Yay, I can move on with my life!" After which I immediately picked up the next book in the series, Death Without Company. What can I say, I was feeling lonely without my guys. I'm also re-listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on audiobook. By pure coincidence, this weekend marks the 15th anniversary of its release.


Planning: I was contracted to write an essay about George Orwell. I'll admit right now that I have very little knowledge of Orwell and have never read any of his books. So that's going to take some research.

Editing: A press release about an artist. I enjoy writing these things, strangely.

Writing: Meh.

Reading: An art book called Take a Closer Look. It's set up to read like fake letters or conversations, so it has a socratic feel. Terribly clever.

That's all for this week! Do any of you have plans for the weekend?

Friday, August 23, 2013

In the Queue and Tim Gunn Should Be Batman

who's batman?

This week has been okay. Everything has felt a little blah lately, honestly. I might be getting bored. That's never good; when I get bored I start making unwise decisions.

As you may know, I've been watching Project Runway again this season, and I was sooo happy Tim Gunn saved Justin last night. Yay Tim Gunn Save! I was sobbing all over the place when he was eliminated and my mom was like, "You are NOT crying right now." But then Tim said he could stay in the competition! HUGS ALL AROUND YOU GUYS.

In other news, I'm finding it hard to imagine Ben Affleck (Batfleck!) as Batman. But then I probably won't see the movie either way, so my opinion's not worth much.

And now on to the queue...


Planning: A book tour for The Sea Queen's Daughter. I'm scheduling guest posts or author interviews for the week of September 23rd. If you have a blog and are interested in participating, please feel free to e-mail me or DM me on Twitter.

Writing: I'm still working on the bank heist noir. I have no idea what to call this book. It's very different from my other stories: for one, it's told in the third person present, which is not a typical tense for me at all, but the story just felt like it wanted to be told that way. Secondly, the tone is much darker than my usual light mystery fare. I hope people like it!

Reading: I've been slogging through A (The?) Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. It's not that bad of a book, it's just that it's the first in the series, so there's a lot of exposition about things I already know thanks to the Longmire TV show. I also started reading it when I was really busy, and as a result I now feel like I will NEVER EVER FINISH THIS STUPID BOOK. Seriously, I've been reading it for over a week and I'm barely halfway through. And it's 300 pages. I'd skim the rest but it's not really the type of book you can skim. UHG. I just want to move on with my life.


Planning: That post on the roots of the phrase "What's your poison." I think I've mentioned that before in the queue.

Editing: I just finished editing three short book reviews, and I need to finish an article on Albrecht Dürer today.

Writing: This!

Reading: This week I finished a really fun reprint of a 1930 cocktail book called Shake 'Em Up. The appetizer recipes are so bizarre I just HAVE to try them. This book might be a must-buy for me; I definitely recommend you hunt down a copy.

That's all for this week! What's have you been up to?

Friday, August 16, 2013

In the Queue 7

Queue - Kenzan GPO
I am so hungry right now, you guys.

I almost forgot to write my queue post today! I'm pet-sitting this week, which means I have two sets of demanding dogs to take care of, and less time to read and get things done. Except for watching Game of Thrones, of course. I'm almost finished with the second season. Have you noticed NO ONE on that show wears underwear?

Anyway, I still managed to have a few productive days this week. Not this day, though, so let's move on the queue...


Writing: I just started writing a story about a man who is unwittingly involved in a bank robbery. I have a feeling this one is going to be pretty short, and I'm planning on making it grittier than any of my other mysteries. You can read the first few paragraphs here.

Reading: I started The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. It's the first book in his Longmire mystery series; Longmore is is a Wyoming sheriff. I don't really want to read the series in order but my mom's making me, haha (she is, though). I'm also still reading The Seven Sleuths' Club. I'm so into it I go days without reading it.


Planning: After struggling to write two food-related articles last month, this month I have TONS of ideas I'm planning to write about.

Editing: An article about painting styles and three artist profiles.

Writing: An article about photographs that impacted the world in some way.

Reading: Nothing, but I have some cocktail books at the library I'm looking forward to digging into.

What's in your queue this week?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wrong Place, Right Tie

ACPD surround bank robbery suspect

Waves of heat roll off the blacktop. Diego adjusts his tie, his cheap suit clinging to the skin of his back, and sits on the edge of a dried-up planter, dropping his briefcase between his feet.

He runs a hand through his hair and checks the clock on the bank sign. Thirty minutes late. Across the plaza, a small park beckons with the lure of shade.

In the distance, there’s a screech of tires and the wail of sirens. A white sedan shoots around the corner, nearly tilting onto two wheels. Diego jumps up as it speeds past him, staring at the license plate.

A second later he’s surrounded by cop cars, lights flashing. “Down on the ground! Down on the ground!” someone orders.

Before Diego has the chance to think about what he’s doing, he’s running, the briefcase clutched to his chest like a shield. He can hear shouts and the slap of combat boots on pavement behind him.

The roar of a shot fills the plaza. Diego doesn’t feel a thing: one moment he’s running, the next his cheek is pressing into hot concrete. With what seems agonizing slowness, he pushes himself up and sees blood. A boot kicks into his back, forcing him down.

Diego looks into the barrel of a shotgun, then the lined face of the old man holding it.

With a rush, his hearing comes back. The cops are shouting in the distance. Diego locks eyes with the old man, grabs the barrel hovering in front of his face, and tugs. When the man stumbles forward, Diego pushes back, smacking the old man's cheekbone with the butt of the rifle.

The guy who fancies himself a Clint Eastwood character lands on his ass on the sidewalk and Diego struggles to his feet, pulling the rifle out of the other man’s hands. A quick survey of the blindingly bright square reveals a 1985 Buick running, unoccupied, at the curb. Definitely and an old man car.

Keeping one hand pressed to his side, Diego limps to the Buick, tossing the rifle and briefcase into the passenger seat before sliding behind the wheel. He peels off just as the blue-clad arm of a police officer darts into the open window and grabs hold of his tie. The polyester slips from between the cop’s fingers as Diego stomps on the accelerator and pulls away in a burn of rubber.

Friday, August 9, 2013

In the Queue 6

Tutuki Splash long queue
This looks like a fun place to be...

Hello, readers! How has the week been treating you? I've been pretty depressed this whole week, honestly. I think I just really need a holiday; I find myself fantasizing about taking a WHOLE DAY OFF. What luxury! I even was tempted to apply for a grant to do research in Moscow, that's how bad it is. Moscow, the land of bad night clubs and vodka, the only alcohol I absolutely can't stand. Still, I might apply, why not?

Speaking of Russia, last night on Project Runway the hot-blooded Sergio left the show (or was kicked off? hard to say) because he wasn't being appreciated. *tiniest violin in the world* That means all the other horrible designers got to stay. Sometimes I wish they'd just cull the designers who are obviously not going to win, which at this point would be half of them. Oh, and Tim Gunn is starting to sound like Yoda: "Sad it may be; necessary it IS." Make it work, Luke!

And now on to the queue...


Editing: My main project this week has been editing The Real McGill. I'm almost done. It's going to need more editing after this first pass, for sure.

Planning: Once The Real McGill is done I plan to start thinking about publishing The Lonely Hipster.

Writing: Nothing, at the moment. I'm torn between starting the third and final book in the Hipstery series, editing another short story I want to polish up, or writing something completely different. I'll have to see where next week takes me.

Reading: This week I finished The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé. If I had to describe it in one sentence, it would be The Addams Family meets Amélie (and personally I love The Addams Family, so). For the most part it was a really fun read, even though the story lost focus near the end and the conclusion didn't fit in with the theme of the book AT ALL.


Planning: To write a tribute to Barbara Mertz (also know as Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels), who died on Thursday. I'll probably sob all over it.

Editing: Nada.

Writing: I'm in the middle of an article about early 20th-century novels with more fully-realized/independent female characters than most 21st-century books. That's going pretty slowly.

Reading: Nothing, again. It's all I can do to read an hour's worth of novels these days. Sad.

What's on your plate this week?

Friday, August 2, 2013

In the Queue 5

Day 295
What's the haps for the week of August 2nd.

Bonjour, mes amis. Some big news this week: The Sea Queen's Daughter is now available on Amazon and has its own Goodreads page! If Venice, Carnevale, magic, and romance at all pique your interest... well. You should def check it out. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Okay, so what did you all think of Timothy's elimination from Project Runway last night? I mean, the guy was definitely the weakest designer of the bunch, but at least he was a genuinely good person, unlike SOME people. The drama was just so high school and awful *not overidentifying at all*.

Now on to the queue!


Planning: I'm thinking about revisiting a book that I plotted out but then decided wasn't working. It was meant to be a light-hearted caper romance, but maybe it will work better as a noir novel. I'll have to look over my notes and see.

Editing: I'm finally ready to start on initial edits for The Real McGill. These things can't be rushed, you know (well, they can be, but why?).

Writing: Still plotting out the final volume in my "hipstery" series. This one is taking more planning than the others because there are a lot more suspects.

Reading: I finished The Cuckoo's Calling by "Robert Galbraith," aka JK Rowling, yesterday. I have many FEELS about it. Basically, the beginning was great, but the middle dragged and the mystery was ridonkulous. But I think if you like JK Rowling it's worth reading. I also started a book called Lick by Kylie Scott. So far it's hot rock star goodness.


Planning: A lot of articles right now. I'd like to write about why we read books, the historical roots of the phrase "What's your poison," Manet's illustrations for The Raven, etc. Whether or not I'll get to all these articles by the end of next week is the question.

Editing: Entries for a gallery catalog I'm contributing to.

Writing: A PR release for an artist.

Reading: Zippo. I'm just not in the mood to read non-fiction right now, even foodie books. But if you've across a good cocktail book, let me know.

What's happening in your life this week?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


the sea queen's daughter cover

We are getting perilously close to the release of my next novella, The Sea Queen's Daughter. It's an adaptation of the fairy tale The Little Mermaid, set in 18th-century Venice.

Here is a short excerpt from the beginning of the book, where our hero and heroine meet on a tòpo, a Venetian-style barge:

Marco pulled the mysterious woman into the dance, her slim form seeming to fit against his like water to the shore. The complicated patterns of the Hunt dance required them to part, but Marco couldn't bear to release her. Instead, he wrapped his arm around her waist and spun them away from the other dancers, to a corner of the ship relatively shadowed.

"I'm not sure what we're doing is dancing," the woman said. He looked deep into the clear glass of the eyes of the mask but saw only the faint movement of what might have been her eyelashes.

"It will be. Just trust me," he assured her.

He mapped out the steps to the dance and she copied him, their torsos brushing against one another until Marco pulled back, afraid of embarrassing himself. The impenetrable mask she wore tilted, but she said nothing and kept the distance between them.

Eventually he pulled her back and she settled against him, the press of her mask cool against his heated cheek. He set his gloved hand against the side of her head. When she didn't pull away, he ran the back of his fingers down her neck and over her collar bone.

She stirred then. "I must go," she said, pulling away.

Friday, July 26, 2013

In the Queue 4

July 4 on Square 20110704 037
What's happened, what's happening and what's about to happen for July 26th.

The last In the Queue post for July! Where did the month go? Time usually feels like it's crawling to me, but not this month. We got a new puppy, so that has given me a lot to do, and I've resolved to devote at least half my day to fiction writing, or fiction writing related activities like this post.

Is anyone still watching Project Runway? I was hesitant after last season, which was insaaaaanely boring, but so far this season has been better. That Timothy guy is ridic annoying.

Anyway, on to the queue!


Planning: I should dig into editing The Real McGill, which I finally finished this week. But I haven't yet. I'm scared.

Editing: *eloquent shrug*

Writing: I started writing the summary of the third and final volume in my "hipstery" series (hipsters + mystery, haha). I write summaries instead of outlines, because outlines are too linear for me. This one is going to be a twist on a classic mansion murder mystery. I'm pretty stoked.

Reading: I finished The Salaryman's Wife. Even though the mystery was super-easy to figure out and a lot of the plot twists were telegraphed, I really loved Sujata Massey's voice. I'll definitely be continuing with this series.

Last night I started The Cuckoo's Calling by "Robert Galbraith," but I'm only 2 pages in so no verdict yet.

On the classics front, I put Treasure Island aside for a bit because it kept putting me to sleep. No joke. Nevertheless, I'm determined to finish it, eventually. The other book I started is called The Seven Sleuths' Club by Carol Norton. It's kind of a precursor to The Babysitters Club. And by precursor I mean I would be bloody shocked if Ann M. Martin hadn't read The Seven Sleuths' Club at some point in her life.


Planning: To write a review of The Salaryman's Wife and a press release for a gallery in NYC.

Editing: Two articles for Food Riot. Last minute McGee, that's me!

Writing: Just this at the moment.

Reading: I am sadly behind on my non-fiction reading. And even my fiction reading, for that matter. It's kind of stressing me out. Right now I'm lucky if I can get an hour of reading in during the day.

That's all for this week! Anything of note happening your life?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hot Guys and Guitars: Rock Star Heroes

adam levine
Photo by Schmeegan via Flickr

I once heard an editor for a major romance publisher say that women don't find rock stars attractive. Ummmm, what? Do we need to take a trip on the way way back machine (called YouTube) to see Bobby Soxers go crazy for ol' Blue Eyes, girls pass out from excitement listening to the Beatles, or people chant BRUUUUUUUCE at a Bruce Springsteen concert? I mean, yeah, Springsteen's kinda old and crusty nowadays, but it wasn't for nothing that Annie Leibovitz photographed his butt for the cover of Born in the USA. Girl knew what she was doing there. And (some) people still find Axl Rose attractive, although why is something of a mystery.

The point is, anyone with sense can see that rock stars are attractive. Unless you actually know them, in which case you're probably like, "I know you're on the road, but could you at least TRY to shower once in awhile?" But these are books we're talking about! Personal hygiene can simply be assumed.

Even if you know some real-life musicians and are aware of the less-than-glamorous aspects of their lives, rock stars are still romantic figures in the popular imagination. Like cowboys and knights in black denim, they're heroes of the working man, living by their wits and talent. They have a freedom us schmucks with 9-5 jobs can only dream about, and all the highs and lows of a job without a safety net.

So yeah, I think rock stars are actually perfect figures for a romantic hero. Yet finding rock stars in fiction is pretty rare. Why? I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that rock n' roll isn't as popular as it once was. I've heard some people say it's dead, but I prefer to think we're living in the 21st century version of the disco era. Either way, there aren't a lot of super-successful rock bands out there anymore, and those that are don't have hot leading men. 

With one notable exception: Adam Levine. ZOMG, Levine is soooooo hot. I feel the need to compulsively tweet about his insane attractiveness multiple times whenever I'm watching The Voice, that's how hot he is. And he's super duper nice and funny and owns more sweaters than I have ever seen any other American male wear and I DON'T KNOW WHY but for some reason I find this INCREDIBLY ADORABLE. Just thinking about him makes me get all capslocksia with excitement. 

But it's not just physical attraction! Come on, I'm not THAT shallow (actually that's debatable, but let's say I'm not for the sake of argument). Levine's also talented and the lyrics to his songs reveal a romantic, sensitive soul. "It's not right, not okay/To say the words that you say/Maybe we're better off this way…" Who hasn't felt like that during a break-up??? It's like he's speaking to my sooooouuuuuuuullllllll.

So if you're wondering who Michael de Bracy in The Aspen House is based off of… keep wondering. Ha! I kid.

Is there a rock star who makes your heart flutter?

Friday, July 19, 2013

In the Queue 3

What's happened, what's happening and what's about to happen for July 19th.

Wow, three weeks in a row! I think that's a record for me when it comes to blog features. Today the last thing I want to do is sit at the computer because I have cramps (TMI, I know, but I do really hurt). But I have to because I have things I need to get done—like this post!

Before I get to the queue, don't forget to check out my guest post today at A Buckeye Girl Reads about amateur sleuths and my research into whether or not they're just fiction.


Planning, Editing, Writing: Grouping these together because there has been no change whatsoever on the fiction front. I didn't work on my novels at all this week. What DID I do with my week, anyway? I don't even know.

Reading: Finally finished The Lady Vanishes by Ethel White and it was okay, but the movie is much better. Right now I'm reading The Salaryman's Wife by Sujata Massey and Treasure Island (you probably know who that's by). Gave up on Secret of the Night because the audiobook narrator and I just weren't getting along.


Planning: I agreed to do a large-ish project of 20 articles for a client to be completed in the next two weeks, so I'm planning on devoting most of my time to that in the future. I also need to write another foodie post.

Editing: Just finished editing an article, so nothing in the queue at this moment.

Writing: Nothing right at this moment, although I SHOULD be working on those 20 articles.

Reading: Kind of annoyed because I have to return The Drunken Botanist to the library before I've even had a chance to crack it open. Such is life, as my grandma would say.

What's in your queue this week?

Friday, July 12, 2013

In the Queue 2

What's happened, what's happening and what's about to happen.

It seemed as if this past week went by really quickly! I think because of the holiday; it threw my sense of timing off. In any event, I'm looking forward to The Daily Show and Colbert Report coming back on air next week.

Last night my mom and I watched The Bridge on FX (instead of Snarknado), and it was actually pretty entertaining! I think it's definitely a show we're going to put on our DVR queue. I recommend checking it out if you're a fan of mystery dramas. I believe it's based on a Norwegian series, but the American version is set on the Juarez/El Paso border.

Now on to the queue...


Planning: to visit the blogs for The Aspen House blog tour, which is being hosted by ABG Reads Book Tours and will start on Monday, July 15th. There will be reviews, excerpts, and guest posts by moi. To check out the schedule, visit ABG Reads Book Tours. I'd love to have you drop by!

Editing: nada. I didn't even get around to TSQD this week.

Writing: I'm so close to finishing The Real McGill I can taste it.

Reading: The Wheel Spins, aka The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White; and The Secret of the Night by Gaston Leroux.


Planning: articles on classics that pass the Bechdel Test and maybe an ode to Underberg? Idk, I need to write a foodie post, though, before I get kicked out of the club house (i.e. Food Riot). Or maybe a piece on how women are targeted for being drinkers? Hmm.

Editing: I started editing that paper on rock art and realize it was going to be a MUCH larger job than I had anticipated. So... yeah. Still working on that.

Writing: Right now? Just this.

Reading: No non-fiction reading for me at the moment. I'm struggling just to keep up with fiction!

What's in your queue for the week?

Friday, July 5, 2013

In the Queue 1

541927_Al Capone's Soup Kitchen, Chicago IL
What's happened, what's happening and what's about to happen.

The blog has been pretty quiet lately, so I thought it would be fun to start a new feature where I share what I'm currently working on. I'm dividing it into fiction and non-fiction categories, since I write both and tend to go into periods where I focus on one or the other. Right now I'm in a fiction writing craze (although I'm still working on non-fiction stuff because that's a steadier income).

Anyway! Here's what's in the queue this week:


Planning: to publish The Sea Queen's Daughter as soon as I do a final read-through and format the manuscript for publication.

Editing: nothing, actually, aside from final edits for TSQD.

Writing: my second "hipstery," the sequel to The Lonely Hipster (not yet published), called The Real McGill. I took a long break in the middle of this one, but I'm very close to completing the first draft.

Reading: I also read stuff! Right now I'm reading A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn and The Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard.


Planning: an article about Edouard Manet's illustrations for "The Raven," which I want to submit to the Edgar Allan Poe magazine, Poe Forevermore.

Editing: I *should* be editing a paper on rock art for publication, but I'm currently ignoring it.

Writing: Struggling over an article where I compare/contrast The Sheik and Fifty Shades of Grey. I think this an article that needs to be written, I'm just not sure how best to approach it yet.

Reading: I started The Riddle of the Labyrinth a few days ago, but it hasn't really captured my attention.

What you working on this week?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Sneak Peek...

the sea queen's daughter by ellis drake

A twist on the fairy tale The Little Mermaid set in 18th-century Venice...

On a barge anchored in the middle of the Adriatic, Marco Lorendan meets a mysterious and beautiful woman. His fascination for her is sealed when she saves him from drowning and then disappears into the sea. Is she dead, or simply lost? Marco is determined to find out.

Living beneath the waters of the lagoon, Serena can change into whatever form she chooses, but cannot change her fate: to die in an ancient ritual that goes back to the founding of Venice. Serena wants to live in the human world with Marco, but how can she save herself if it means the destruction of Venice?

A tale of star-crossed lovers and the magic that created one of the most beautiful cities on earth.