Insonmia blog

Writing at 4:30 in the morning because you can’t sleep and you’ve only just gone to bed at midnight can lead to some fairly nonsensical stuff.

Right. I’m not the only one. Writers keep odd hours. I think it must have something to do with the creative process. Either that or we were all dropped on our heads as babies. Hmmm, that is a possibility. Maybe the jolt unlocked something creative inside our minds. As an RN I can’t discount the possibility, at least not entirely.

lol… not enough sleep = silly Kat
(and that is with a good dose of caffeine)

So to Calan and Tessa. I’ve been mulling their story over much more than the others I’ve written. I think I know why too. In my mind the end of this book signals the end of my time off from real world work. Well news flash. Real world work has to happen so it’s time I wrap things up with the book already.

Calan is a warrior of old with strong values. Ever serving others he has close ties to friends/family but has never been with a woman he really wanted to keep. In fact he believes that love is for others but not meant for his kind. In life he is stubborn and determined. And now someone is out to kill him. Or rather they believe they’ve already succeeded. This grants him a bit more autonomy than he would have had otherwise throughout the course of the story.

Tessa also serves others. She chose a job that would allow her to use her talents to change things for the better. But even in a family who loves her she’s always felt different. And with her level of psychic ability how could she not be. When she meets Calan she finds him 100% mouthwateringly sexy… but… he also makes her madder than anyone ever has before. Not to mention she wants nothing at all to do with the preternatural world he informs her of. She’s not happy when she has to accept her place in that world to help save her cousin. Forced to work with Calan she is definately not going to get involved with him, as that sort of thing is strictly against her policy.

The heat between the two is palpable. And I fully intend to use it and torture them both until they break and one of them throws the other down and gets on with things.

Okay… enough procrastinating. Today Calan and Tessa will travel to a small unnamed village in Poland where a group of lycans has been eliminated by MAN. It’s where they begin to realize that something is very wrong and suspect more than they had before that someone in the council is involved. After that things will move fairly quickly to the end of the book. lol still procrastinating…. nope that’s it! I’m going now. Promise. I’ll just post this. Refill coffee. And then be writing. Err… that is until it’s time to get kiddos off to school. 😉

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The closing of Borders

September 12, 2011

I have a confession. One that will likely not come as a surprise. I love to read. I have loved to read since somewhere around third grade.  By fifth grade I’d read through all of the popular childrens books and was on to novels (YA was not the thing yet). From there I kept reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. Much like my taste in music my taste in books is and has always been ecclectic.

One of the things I love best about books aside from the escapism (which I badly needed at times growing up) is that you can travel anywhere in the world via a book yet never actually leave your home. Okay so yes I would rather actually go many of the places I’ve only read about, but reading makes a nice second choice. And it is rather better than not learning about other cultures and places at all.

Avid reader/book lover=bookstore lover

Which at the moment is a BIG PROBLEM. Borders is bankrupt. AND closing tomorrow.

I made the mistake earlier today of going to Borders with my bestest friend because it is/was one of our favorite haunts. A place for us to grab a coffee, check for new releases, browse the sections and catch up whilst doing all of thee above. And now those options are closed to us. Yes, we’ll still have coffee and chat (Starbucks here we come) but it just won’t be the same. We both agree on that. Because for years now we’ve been a book club of two. She buys one series, I buy another. We swap and then we wait. Dying for the other to read the book so we can finally talk about it (we don’t do spoilers). With some of the series it’s almost like we know the characters and as an author I know I shouldn’t be admitting this but we call out character inconsistencies and balk when one of our faves does something he/she wouldn’t do. (No, I don’t write the author and complain. I know they get enough of this from other readers. Hell  and it’s their creation  so they have every right to change things up just as Patti and I have a right to want the character to stay true to themselves.)

So what now? We won’t stop reading (our brains might explode). We both have the Nook. So we can do swaps on that. But while e-readers are fun I still like the feel of a book in my hands. Call me old fashioned. Call me a purist. There is just something real about crisp pages and an unbroken spine (it’s a no no in our book club to break spines). I like being able to look ahead and see how many pages are left of that chapter because even if I’m nodding off I’ll keep going if less than four pages are left. Call me anal I suppose. Or to be able to see how much is left of the book inch wise. It’s just not the same as looking at the number of pages left on the nook.

Which brings me back to Borders. *sigh* I’m sad. And mad that they were stupid enough to go bankrupt. The place was empty. There were maybe 10 bookshelves full of random books and I’m being generous. Fixtures were being moved out, customers asked to step aside. Seeing it like that made me turn to Patti and say, “I wish we hadn’t come.” But we had, because it was our last chance and it’s hard to let go of something that has been part of your life on a weekly basis for the past five or so years. To not go would have been like refusing to say goodbye to a friend who was moving away because realistically you know you’ll never speak to them again.

It wasn’t just the state of the bookstore that was sad. It was the people there. When you shop at the same place you get to know some of the employees. Like one woman who would say hello to us each week. I remember that she shared with us once that she’d already closed up Daltons. When we saw her after the first round of Borders closings we spoke about the liklihood of the store closing. None of us thought it would close. We all hoped that somehow Borders would make it. We believed this because our Borders was one of the most profitable in the territory. And there is a damn good reason for that. There isn’t a whole lot to do here. The mall is a flop so that leaves two movie theatres and the standard chain restuarants.

So to our community Borders was more than a place to purchase books, it was a place to gather. Sometimes the hubs and I would head there on date night after dinner. Browse around, maybe buy a coffee. You know a place where we could just be out as grown ups away from the kids for awhile. And we weren’t the only ones. Looking around it was easy to see that many couples just enjoyed being togther and looking for something new to read without having to hear mom/dad every few minutes. I find myself wondering where we’ll go now. Driving to another city for the evening is the only option.

Now with Borders closing I worry not only for our community and others like us but the whole of the publishing world. What will it mean that there are fewer and fewer store chains to carry print books. As a realist it has to have some effect. Exactly what of course remains to be seen. So for now it’s Patti and I with the dozen or so books we eached purchased throughout the closing of Borders. We are now faced with decisions. Drive to bookstore out of town or continue to purchase the books in series we’ve already started on the Nook. I know I’m pouting but all I can say is it sucks.

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Why you MUST avoid the Savoy in Santa Barbara

Last Saturday I was supposed to see JR Richards in Santa Barbara. I was REALLY looking forward to it. I even had a small notebook packed in case inspiration struck. So… there was a butt load of traffic going into SB. I dunno why. The road was clear. Idiot drivers most likely. And then the wind was blowing. I mean BLOWING. You could see the sand traveling along the beach. And if you were fool enough to sit there and watch the waves like I was then you got nailed by it. Yes, I had sand down my shirt which I later discovered at bed time. Of course I suppose that is better than sand in your shorts. But I’m getting off track.

Dinner was decent mexican food and a alcoholic beverage at Sharkeez after which we strolled the streets a bit and ended up at the beach. I really love the beach, despite the wind. I have a thing for the waves and I love to feel the squishy sand between my toes the waves swirling around my feet. I don’t really even mind that the water is cold. I feel at peace when I’m near the water. But this night there was something off. I knew it almost as soon as I got into town.

I remember SB being a nice community. Now I don’t know if this is a reflection of the economy or what but everywhere I looked there were vagrants. And the place smelled bad (like vagrants and urine). Considering that when I was hotel shopping for the weekend one of the sites claimed that SB was California’s version of the Riviera it was very disappointing. If I’d never been there and had gone expecting the Riviera I would have been mortified and demanded a refund on my hotel stay. I didn’t find a room btw… they wanted $200 a night for a small place near the beach that looked like they might host bedbugs. The nice place near the beach wanted $400. LOL

The concert was at The Savoy Theatre, which is not really a theatre but a retro look lounge. It says it’s a theatre so that’s what I was expecting but don’t be deceived. It’s NOT! And it’s also NOT organized at all. They had playbills posted along the street announcing the nights performance, they read: 7:00 doors open 8:00 performance. Sounds reasonable right? I thought so. We were in front at 6:45 where we noticed a few really dressed up late 40’s/50ish women already waiting. Oookay. So we stood around for awhile. After 7:00 a man came out and said they would be letting us in at 7:30 and to form a line. So we did that. At around 7:40 they opened the doors.

Once inside I could see what they were trying to do. The place as I said is retro with couches arranged in seating patterns conducive to conversations. There are three levels to the place which is odd. The first floor has a bar, seating and the stage with an open area in front. The second level is a bar with more seating (but not much) and a balcony where you can stand and watch the stage. The third level is closed, you can’t see the stage and the music is piped in. It also has a bar and plenty of seating. And unless you want to spend $200 the third level is where you end up. So you’re at a live concert but NOT. They’ve generously (sarcasm much.. who me?!) placed flat screen TV’s around, which I assume are used to telecast the concert.

I was shocked. The tickets didn’t cost much $15 a piece and I assumed that there would be a two drink minimum but I never expected to be asked to spend $200 to be able to actually see and hear the concert. I’m not working right now. $15 with a drink or two is in the budget. $200 is NOT! So after standing outside for more than an hour I wanted to sit somewhere for awhile. It’s after 8pm by this time and that was my second clue that the concert wouldn’t be starting on time. So I’m sitting on the third floor wondering what in the hell I am doing there. The place had a strange vibe to it. I look at the drink prices which are $12 a drink. Okay that’s only double what we just paid at Sharkeez but I’m not shocked. Yet. Then I ask a cocktail waitress when to expect the concert to start (before ordering a drink) and she doesn’t know. Excuse me, seriously?! How can you not know. Wouldn’t they tell the staff before they opened what the schedule was for when customers asked… See… NOT organized. So she leaves for about 10 minutes and comes back to say that they have an opening act that will be on around 9pm and that JR Richards won’t be on until around 1030pm. At this point I’m wondering how we went from 8pm to 1030. I may not be a mathematical genius but I know that doesn’t compute. Even if we had an opener which is always nice (discover new music) THAT should have started at 8pm as promised. Which would mean JR would be on at say 930.

I left. I did. I felt out of place. And undervalued. Having paid the $15 got me nothing but a list of what I couldn’t have. And a delayed concert. Truthfully I wasn’t even sure at that point if there would be a concert with the way things had happened prior. I couldn’t shake the feeling that after ordering your drinks they would come out at a bit past 9pm and apologize for the delays and state that things were cancelled due to something; tech problems, singers voice, traffic, or who knows what. It was sad and disappointing. I LOVE live music. In my opinion, live music is inspirational to the writer. You can get lost in the rhythm of the music and sometimes plots take interesting twists and turns. I was hoping for this truthfully. I need a little help with the fix of Julien and Laurel and was hoping this would be just the thing.

Okay, I’m done pouting now. The moral of this story. Don’t give The Savoy Theatre in Santa Barbara your money. They ain’t worth it. Now I don’t blame JR Richards and given that his voice sounds like a full bodied red wine, I will eventually see him at another venue.

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Faithful much?!

Something that I saw today bothered me. Christine Ashworth and I were being our usual selves at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Which means we were getting caffeinated, writing and chatting. We hadn’t been there long when a man sat near us. He sat with his back to us so all I saw was a man in a dress shirt with dark hair. He was joined by a woman who I know was not his wife. Why. Because they weren’t whispering. I wasn’t trying to listen. First off I’m just not that interested in what you’re saying, unless I know you, then we’ll talk. I’m also not the sort that gets happy by listening to someone elses’ conversation.

Anyway, in this case when I leaned back to regroup my thoughts I heard snippets of what they were saying. And I saw their body language. I mean I really couldn’t miss it. It was rather intimate. As in if she could have crawled into his lap she would have. Now. It’s none of my business. None. But I started to feel bad after I heard him mention his five year old. It’s not just him now that will be effected. If a guy wants to cheat whatever, if a dad wants to cheat I have more of a problem. Icky. Seriously. I can understand being unhappy in a marriage. Honestly who can’t. If you look at our divorce rates we are more likely to be autistic or develop cancer than we are to have a happy marriage. What I can’t understand is affairs. Really people. I’m not dead. I have feelings and urges, whatever, like everyone. But if you don’t love your spouse don’t go and make yourself feel better by cheating I mean it. To me it makes about as much sense as eating several gallons of ice cream to get what you need out of your marriage. None.

Now let me ask you ladies. Could you ever really love a man who promised to love and honor another woman and then wanted to boink you. To what make himself feel manly again. Get the attention he doesn’t get anymore now that his wife is working full time outside and inside the home taking care of their 2 kids so she is too tired to doll up in a sexy nighty and have marathon sex to stroke your male ego. Naw. We (I have to speak for all self respecting women) wouldn’t. First off in our delusional fantasies the men in our dreams pick their soul mate the first time out. But barring that. Men are human so if our dream man is divorced then he is divorced. Not hanging onto a bad marriage and boffing everyone he can to get his jollies while his wife cleans up the mess. Cause make no mistake there will be a mess. A big one I would imagine. Bad marriage is messy. Sex is messy. Hell even life is messy. Of course the woman is not to blame. Women who ‘do’ married men. Talk about betraying the sisterhood. That’s all I’m gonna say on that.

Why did these two unknown people bother me? Because they shook my faith. Made my idealistic version of true love fall off of the pedestal where I’d carefully placed it. Make no mistake about that. I know I built probably more of an altar to be honest wherein the possibility of true love and soul mates live. Today’s ’couple’ showed me that more often than not we are just lucky to find someone who will keep their promise. Or at least some of them.

That’s one of the things I am enjoying about being a writer. Too much reality is a bad thing. Fantasy is much better. The man is faithful, the woman is faithful. Not because they have to be out of some sense of honor but because they want to be. When they dream they dream of each other. No one is perfect but they love and they work together and they endure. That’s the dream, that’s the fantasy. Naïve much? Yup. Totally. And truthfully I like it that way.

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A book review… Demon Soul

My review of Demon Soul by Christine Ashworth

I LOVE paranormal and I’ve read just about everything paranormal, except demon books. Why? Well, when I think demon, I think traditional Hollywood stereotypes. Hellfire, brimstone, hulking blackened creatures lacking souls or any other redeeming qualities. And truthfully how could the smell of rotting eggs ever be considered sexy. So I’ve avoided them. Until now.

What’s so different about Demon Soul that I would dare venture into a demon tale? Actually, it’s right there in the title. Christine Ashworth’s demons have souls. Interesting. Reading the blurb further assures me that I wouldn’t be dealing with a stereotypical demon. And believe me, these demons are NOT and I repeat NOT gross smelly demons. While the author may have had a big bad image in her mind when she wrote about these dudes in their full demon forms (when they kick ass) that’s only a part of who they are.

So, who are they? The Caine family are tri-breds. A crafty combo of demon and fae mixed with the best of humanity (which makes them multi-racial). We have; Gabriel, Justin, Kellan (cousin) and at the very end Gregor (book 2, out soon). The Caine’s are all very different personalities but you never doubt that they are family on a very basic level. Demon Soul is the story of Gabriel Caine, the youngest of the three brothers.

Gabriel is a complicated man who has amassed an enormous amount of guilt in his life. It’s shaped him in both positive and negative ways. When we meet him, he’s spent time away from his family and has lost most of his soul to a mean bitchy soul stealing vampire. He is in touch with his demon side and this bothers him. He doesn’t like what he is capable of when he ‘goes demon’.

Enter Rose Walters. At first I couldn’t figure out what her deal was but don’t ask me because I won’t tell you and ruin the surprise. Just know that it’s a concept that I’ve not read before, so you probably haven’t either. Something fresh in paranormal. That makes it worth buying the book right there. Okay, so about Rose. She’s ‘back’ to help Gabriel reclaim his soul. Along the way she has to battle her own personal ‘demons’. This isn’t easy as she’s also fighting an intense attraction to do more for/with Gabriel than just save his soul. Rose wisely enlists the help of Maggie, a hereditary witch who has some sweet powers (we’ll see Maggie again in the next book).

What I liked: The story moved. Christine is good at developing her characters and their relationships to each other through dialogue. She used real life issues to give the characters depth. The hero, Gabriel is likable. He’s flawed, he knows it and he works to overcome that. Who can resist an imperfect strong man who can love, not me.

So-so: I think it took Rose awhile to find her balls (yup I’m Ms. Blunt). Maggie seems to already have a set so we don’t need to worry about her. I also think if Gabriel were a real man the thing with him and Rose would have played a bit differently, but this is fiction people, clearly. It’s meant to be read and enjoyed, so head on over to Amazon and download your copy now. If you’re a Nookie like me then B&N will have it soon.

To find Christine online (she blogs too):

http://christine-ashworth.com/

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To Bree or not… well you get it

This week I have been dabbling in the realm of young adult and today reading some of it back to my daughter I’m not so sure about it. First off my concept has changed since I started writing it again this week. I had two chapters from a few months ago and I threw out the first. Because it was boring. It was about the heroine, Bree, interacting with her friends at school and planning for their summers. A summer that she won’t get because her Granda is ill and her family is off to Ireland.

So now it starts on the plane ride. I left it that way because I want to establish that going in she has a good relationship with her parents. In the second chapter she stumbles across a fairy ring in a copse of trees and meets two pixies. While I was writing it I found it witty but re-reading it there is something missing. It is going to need some re-writing. Again I think that is because the concept shifted.

Bree is a seventeen year old girl who has always “known” things something that she’s kept hidden from her parents. She has born with an affinity for all living things, ladybugs and butterflies are drawn to her and she can’t bring herself to kill spiders. She was born in Ireland but raised in the US. When Bree finds herself in the land of her birth she discovers that she is of the Tuatha de danaan and that she alone can bring balance to an Earth that is in danger of destroying itself. Of course she’s not completely alone, she enlists the help of two funny pixies, Shaylee (her Fae sister)and Shaylee’s friend, Rhoslyn. And then there is Torren O’Keefe the handsome neighbor who has the voice of an angel. Bree is drawn to Torren in a very basic way. For Torren, Bree couldn’t be any further off limits, as a half blood it is not his place to get involved with a Fae princess. He will do what it takes to protect her while resisting the urge to kiss her. Unable to offer her what he knows she wants of him, Torren offers her the best part of himself, his music.

Okay, so when I originally thought of this it was so Brenna would have something to read. Because at the most they will kiss, maybe and I’m thinking not. So being almost nine she would read that and go, eeew gross and move on. But when I made Bree seventeen I realized that her needs and Brenna’s needs (for mom to write a book she can read) are not going to coincide. For one, my original neighbor was a fun, cute in a red headed Irish sort of way “boy” who might have a crush on Bree but she wouldn’t return the feelings. I knew that she would have to have a love interest but I figured he would come in later when they were in the thick of battle and she wouldn’t know if he was truly on her side or not.

So I don’t know what happened but instead of a red headed “boy” I wrote of a dark haired half breed man who could sing. I was surprised but I went with it. Here’s an excerpt.

The singing stopped but she received no greeting in return. Strange. Easing herself off Amulet she started around the corner and ran right into a wall of solid muscle.

“Hmmph” Strong hands grasped her arms steadying her. No, he hadn’t quite knocked the wind out of her, yet. The reins fell from her hand as she looked up into the clearest blue eyes she’d ever seen on a man. They were striking in a face framed black hair. Bree forgot to breathe. Amulet moved away dragging the reins behind him. It was enough to startle Bree aware.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I called out, it must have been you who was singing.”

“Heard that did you? What were you thinking about it then?”

The man wanted to know if she thought he could sing. Okay. Well at least she could answer honestly without insulting him.

“I thought you were good.”

“Did you now?” The way he was watching her made her feel warm all over. She wanted to squirm away from his grasp and at the same time she wanted to move closer. Never in her life had she been so effected by a man. Of course she’d never been this close to a man this attractive before either. Boys, yes, but he was no boy.

I’m not sure where this is going but after a few re-writes I may ride it out… hehe horse farm humor here.

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Lucky Dawg

We have a new puppy, Bandit. He is a cute black and white mutt that was adopted from a small local rescue group. His story starts out as a sad one with a happy ending.

Bandit’s mom and dad were abandoned on the side of a hill in Los Angeles. A kind woman saw the dogs existing there with no food or water and took it upon herself to help. She supplied them with bags of dog food until she one day she discovered they’d had puppies. Immediately she contacted a rescue group who trapped the puppies along with mom and dad.

Bandit was one of the three puppies. His brother and sister were gregarious playful puppies. Bandit was not. It was easy for the rescue to find his siblings homes. Bandit was “too quiet” or “not playful enough”. To us, a household with kids, one of whom has autism he sounded like a dream.

The first two weeks he was here I wondered if I had somehow gotten the dog version of baby alive. Put something in the front end and it will come out the back side, but other than that you have to be the one to invent the play. I mean it. The dog didn’t move. He had to be carried from his crate to the backyard to potty. He ate and drank and tolerated us fussing over him. He half heartedly chewed on some of the many toys we’d showered him with and that was it.

What was I expecting… a tail wag, a lick or two, some indication that the dog would rather be here than living abdanoned on the side of a hill. I waited, the kids waited and we waited some more. I spoke with the woman from the rescue, Tami, who was great  about it. Yes, she’d known the dog was mellow. She’d told us that. But there’s mellow and then there was this dog. I admitted to her that he was acting like a stuffed animal except for the eating/pooping part. She was willing to make a trade. They have puppies all the time and will be trapping some of his cousins soon she told me. She wanted us happy and I wanted us happy too, but I also wanted the dog happy and it was obvious he wasn’t. The behaviorist that works with my autistic son made a comment that the dog seemed depressed. He was acting like a sad old man, not a puppy. I had to agree. He seemed depressed. Tami wanted to know when I wanted to return him. It was that easy.

Return him. Like he was defective or we were, or any combination therein. She assured me that her fellow rescuer would keep him. He would probably be happy with a bunch of dogs coming in and out of the house. I couldn’t do it. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t. Even though I knew he’d be okay, that he wasn’t going to a shelter so there was no risk of him being put down, I hesitated. To return him seemed wrong, but to keep him and have him be depressed seem even more wrong. I really didn’t know what to do.

That was three weeks ago. Bandit prances now. Yes, you read that correctly. He prances across the yard to us. He also retrieves a thrown ball twice before he just wants you to pet him. He walks like a dream on a leash. He loves playing with our friends’ beagle. He lives for the moment in the afternoon when the kids return from school. His tail moves faster than a windshield wiper when he sees them.

But that’s not the end of Bandit’s story. Not by a long shot. His life is just beginning. Eventually he won’t remember anything but the easy life he leads. He’s one of the lucky ones. The majority of strays aren’t this lucky. It breaks my heart. And it’s not necessary. We have at our disposal the means to give each animal it’s best chance for life, for happiness.

But we don’t. We put off spaying and neutering, we allow “accidents” to happen and then feel no remorse when we dump mom and puppies to be euthanized at the local shelter. We allow high kill shelters to exist. We patronize backyard breeders and puppy mills.

I guess I have a little latent activist in me because even before I adopted Bandit I had written Laurel’s story. Laurel feels an affinity for animals, as a child she demands that her local animal shelter be a no kill refuge. After she becomes a vet she donates her surgical skills to help animals. She recognizes that there is a problem and does what she can to fix the problem.

There are lots of real life Laurel’s out there and I admire them for what they do. That they care enough to get involved, dedicate their time and money to help the helpless. It’s got to be the hardest thing for them to know that they only make a small difference. There are just too many unwanted pets, they can’t save them all.

And neither can I. If I had a bigger yard there’s no doubt I’d end up with a menagerie, but I don’t. I have to settle for a small troupe. Bandit’s not our first rescue, he’s our third. We have two cats who think we’ve lost our minds to let a dog invade their space. 

For me, Bandit was a no brainer. I’ve always wanted a dog. They love you unconditionally. They provide fun and companionship. They’ll snuggle up with you while you watch tv or read. It astounds me how people can abuse such trust. But that’s another blog entirely. For now what I know is that Bandit is one lucky dawg and today that’s enough.

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