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?