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Why is it that you can't discriminate against people with kids when you advertise a house for rent, but you can say "no pets"? Frankly, most small children I've met have been a hell of a lot more destructive than my little dog ever could be.

(BTW, the first place we looked at fell through because the landlord decided he wanted to sell the place instead. And then he realized that was a stupid idea, and tried to get us to rent again, which we went along with until we saw his lease, which was basically so restrictive that we could've gotten evicted for sneezing too loudly. So,
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The Autumn issue of Dark Valentine is now available for your reading pleasure!

This is a ginormous issue with a new story by me ("Hunter's Heart) and tons more twisted tales.

Also, for you Kindle types, the magazine is now available in the Kindle store. (It's not free...but 99¢ is still a pretty good deal for all that you get, and all the proceeds go to paying the contributors.)
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From a review of Elizabeth Hoyt's Wicked Intentions over on Dear Author:

"Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’ve been reading romances for too long. But I feel like sex has completely taken over character development. I mean, I like sex scenes, but if I wanted to read an erotica I would. What the hell happened to conversation? Tension? Building the longing? Where’s the freakin’ longing? This isn’t just a singular problem limited to this book or this author, but one that seems to have invaded every corner of Romancelandia. Character development is hard, but often the differences and similarities between the lovers are revealed in their interactions with each other. While those interactions can be sex, I find that without enough conversation and dialogue to balance that out, I don’t fully believe that they are in love. Does that make sense?"

Glory hallelujah. Someone just said what I've been thinking for years.


Aug. 20th, 2010 06:08 pm
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I can tell there’s a shift going on.

First off, I changed my hair color (which means those author photos I spent all that money on are now out of date, but oh, well). It’s actually still not quite where I want it to be — I have a follow-up hair appointment next week — but still, it’s a change I decided to make and followed through with.

Erik and I have been talking about moving, which for anyone who knows us might sound as if it’s coming out of the blue, since we’ve always said how much we loved this house. Well, we love parts of it, but more and more of it is becoming inconvenient — we’re tired of living on a busy street, and we’d really like a two-car garage, and the floors and yard are a mess and we know our landlady isn’t going to do anything to fix them (we sold our last place before everything went blooey in the SoCal real estate market and decided to rent; smartest thing we ever did, despite having to deal with recalcitrant landlords). So we’re taking the first cautious steps in that direction…looking around and deciding to get rid of a lot of things, getting an idea of what’s available in our price range (a good deal, actually; we think we’re sort of overpaying for this place simply because it’s a “character home”), trying to figure out what we can do to make our lives more efficient.

That could have been part of the problem — just the downward drag of too much stuff and the household entropy that seems to suck the life right out of you. We’ve been here more than seven years now, which is the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I moved out of my parents’ house when I was nineteen. During most of my adult life, circumstances conspired to have me moving about every two to three years, which is a great antidote against collecting too much crap. But after seven years, things have gotten out of hand, and we probably would have had a major purge even if we weren’t planning on moving. The reasons stated above are the primary motivating factor, though. I think it’s going to feel really good to pare down and focus on  things that can make our lives better.

And I’m sort of feeling the same way about writing. I still have my rant about writing to a market vs. writing what you love stored up somewhere, and I suppose I’ll let it out at some point. However, this week I finally got back to writing after too long away, and it’s something silly and fun that’s never going to be “officially” published (we’re planning to serialize it on the Dark Valentine website). But that’s okay, because it’s still writing, still that process of sitting down and staring at that computer screen and making something come out of nothing. And I’m not really sure I would have even gotten as far as I did if I hadn’t had that feeling somewhere inside that changes were coming, and that things were going to get better, and that somehow everything would work out for the best.

Because you know what? It always does.

—Mirrored from


Aug. 6th, 2010 02:37 pm
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It’s been a long time since I posted here.

There are numerous reasons for this, the main one being that I’ve just had more important things to do. It’s probably no secret that most writers (except the biggies and the ones with a decent backlist) have to work a “real” job to pay the rent. I had several big projects to handle this summer, as well as getting an ongoing freelance editing gig that pretty much takes up half my day. In a lot of ways, I’m very lucky — I have an understanding husband who’s fine with me only working part-time, so now that I have the ongoing gig, I don’t have to bother with taking on any more side projects. But for awhile there I was doing 50-hour weeks and not liking it very much.

So I thought once I had the second big project handled and off my desk, I’d have time to get back to writing. It’s more than a little depressing to realize I haven’t written a single word since mid-June. I’ve been doing a little editing, since I just found a new crit partner, but I don’t count that as real writing…not the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes hair-pullingly frustrating act of producing brand-new material.

However, I had a new release coming out this week, so that meant hours spent updating my website, emailing various people at various websites to work out promotional opportunities, Tweeting, posting on Facebook, filling out forms at said websites so that they had the information they needed to let people know about the book, etc., etc.

Jesus, I get tired just looking at that.

I ended up having a long discussion with my husband last night about the whole process, and how much I hate it. There, I said it.

I frigging hate promo.

There may be some who enjoy it, or at least don’t regard it with the same enthusiasm most people reserve for root canals or unexpected visits from the IRS. I understand that you need to let people know you exist, but I’ve seen certain writers hitting blog after blog and loop after loop, world without end, amen. I don’t know about you, but I tend to get turned off by that sort of thing. And even if you do jump through all those hoops, there’s no guarantee you’ll get readers. People read what they want to read; I know I’m pretty keyed into the sort of books I’m looking for, and I can read a blurb to determine that for myself. I don’t need an author with pom-poms hitting me upside the head to go read their latest opus.

So I’m putting down the pom-poms. Oh, I know there’s a minimum I’ll have to do any time I have a new book coming out, but I’m going to do my darnedest to make sure it doesn’t take up more than one or two hours of my time. Anything more than that, and I know I’ll begin to stress out to the point that actually writing anything is going to be impossible.

Which brings me to the second epiphany.

I think one of the issues I was having with this blog is that I kept telling myself that each post had to be Meaningful (capitalization completely intentional), and had to offer some pithy, illuminating bit of writing advice, and that I had to be completely correct at all times. In other words, it felt a bit like the online equivalent of a job interview that just went on and on and on.

Well, sod that.

This is my blog, and I’m going to say what I want. Now, I can almost guarantee that I’ll never bring up religion or politics (because I’m not that stupid), but if I want to grouse about how much I hate promo or complain about how my crit partner just isn’t getting it, or even wax lyrical about how cute my dog is, well, then, I’m going to go ahead and do it. Sure, I’ll talk about writing, because that’s the whole reason this blog and the website it’s associated with exist in the first place. Otherwise, though, it’s the wild, wild west, kids.

I also have something of a rant about writing what you think will sell versus what you bloody well want to write, but I’m already spouted off enough for one day.

Don’t worry…I’ll be back.

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Okay, so we're off to Comic Con tomorrow, and in preparation for having the dog walkers come over to take care of the Beaster, I needed to go get a new front door key. No big deal, right? I figured I'd just hop over to the Ace Hardware, which is only about half a mile away.

Well, I'm headed south on Glendora Avenue when two of Glendora's finest (and I use the term loosely, as you'll see in a moment) came zooming out of a side street and hung a left so they were also headed south on Glendora. Like a good citizen, I pulled over and waited until they'd cleared the area before I started back down Glendora Avenue. The Ace is in a shopping center on the northwest corner of Glendora and Route 66 (yes, I live right near Route 66), but traffic was backed up at the red light, so I decided I'd better use the east entrance off Glendora, even though the Ace is all the way across the shopping center. I pulled into the shopping center and had just started to make my way down the lane that fronts the Albertson's there when all of a sudden the two cop cars came screaming down the aisle just ahead of me and whipped around almost right in front of me -- I stomped on my brakes and looked over my left shoulder, only to see this scruffy-looking guy holding his hands up. The funny part (hence my crack about "Glendora's finest") is that the first cop car stopped so suddenly that his buddy rear-ended him! Not badly, but I definitely heard a crunch and saw little bits of plastic falling to the ground. Someone's going to have some extra paperwork to fill out.

I took a breath and passed this little contretemps, and figured that was the end of it. Not really. I pulled up to the Ace, and there were three more cop cars in front of the store, with cops surrounding a guy who looked like someone ordered a gangbanger out of Central Casting. I waited in the car for a minute to see the lay of the land, and it looked as if they were still letting people in and out of the store, so I figured the hell with it and went in. All was quiet inside. I asked the guy at the key counter if it was a robbery, and he said it was just a shoplifting. I made a crack about typical Glendora P.D. overreaction (seriously, five cop cars for someone trying to steal lawn edging?), and the key counter guy just sort of grinned at me.

With that taken care of, I decided I didn't want to go back up Glendora Avenue since traffic was bad and making a left out of the parking lot without a light can be a real bitch. Besides, I remembered that I wanted to get some fresh eye drops, as my right eye has been giving me grief lately (allergy issues). So I headed over to Walgreen's, which was just down Route 66. No problem, except just as I pulled into a parking space I looked out across Grand Avenue and saw that there had been a horrendous car crash right across the street -- completely smashed Nissan Z and something that might once have been a Honda, and then two or three more cop cars, plus your requisite fire truck and ambulance. 

I got my eye drops and then beat feet for home. With whatever weird vibes are floating around this town this afternoon, I wanted me and my car safely back home.

I don't know if Comic Con will be half so exciting.


Jul. 12th, 2010 05:22 pm
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It's when you supremely, royally fuck up a sewing project that you thank Jesus for being a compulsive fabric hoarder so that at least you have other shiny stuff to fall back on.

I'll be so glad when all this is over!

I knew it!

Jul. 11th, 2010 10:55 am
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Although I like Romana I better than Romana II.

Take Which Doctor Who companion are you? (girls) today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
You're Romana!

Silly Doctor. It's adorable, really, how hard he tries. And he is pretty brilliant, you'll give him that. But he always seems to overlook the obvious--including the fact that he's not the only Gallifreyan onboard, thank you very much. You are always calm and collected, and more often than not wonderfully witty, in the face of adversity. The Doctor knows he can count on you, even when you infuriate him!
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...and want a good laugh, I highly recommend the Regency Romance in 2 Minutes.

I think the original blog is in Swedish, but the post is in English, so no translation worries there.

The funny thing is, I haven't even read any recent Regency romances, but I've read enough reviews of current ones to guess this is all pretty spot on. Oh, dear. :-P
christinex1001: (Default) going on with the new home page? Has LJ gone mad?

I'm cranky because technology has been making me its bitch all afternoon. [grumble]
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I've been so buried in other stuff that I completely forgot to mention this here, but my publisher is running a wedding-related promo this month that features a bunch of free stories (including one by moi) and a chance to win prizes and vote on your favorites. Here's the skinny:

"All the free stories belonging to our 'Just Married' promotion have been released and are ready for you to download. You can find links to them all here:

Once you've read them, please follow the link on that page to vote for your favorite. You can also vote for your favorite cover, and we'll be doing something special with the winning cover. (The winning author from the first vote will get something nice, too.)

We'll be offering random prizes to the voters, so please make sure you check out our free stories and vote for your favorite. Voting will be open through the end of June.


I'm not saying you should vote for mine or anything, but... [shifty eyes]

The survey is open until June 30, so you still have some time to check it out. And did I mention all the stories are FREE? ;-)
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I haven't been doing a very good job of saving Ferris, unfortunately, but since I had about 20 hours of my life sucked away this week because of website/Wordpress hell (on top of all the other time commitments I have w/my freelance work), doing LJ posts sort of fell by the wayside. So here's a condensed version of posts I would have made if I'd had the time:
  • I've spent too much of my life at Case in point: looking at a particularly heinous image and knowing even before I jumped to the cut that their response was going to be "oh, honey, no."
  • People who take 14 hours to respond to support requests shouldn't act so surprised when their crappy-ass hosting company selves are kicked to the curb.
  • It's a sad shame that the A-Team isn't doing better at the box office, because it is totally awesome, and now I'm in lust with Liam Neeson all over again.
  • Erik and I have set up an online calendar so we can keep track of everything that's going on, and we just realized that from now until mid-August we don't have one week where there isn't some event we're attending.
  • People who bag on the iPad obviously haven't gotten to play with one. Erik has one that he can bring home from work (they're sort of timesharing it in his department), and it's awesomesauce with chocolate on top. We're still probably going to hold out for a second-gen one just because, but in the meantime it's nice to have the loaner.

OK, I think I'm caught up now. :-P
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...because I don't want to be a slacker.

My major insight for the day is that for Joy, html is to algebra as Wordpress is to geometry.

I sucked at geometry. 'Nuf said.
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After months of planning and sorting through story and art submissions, the staff at Dark Valentine is happy to announce that the inaugural issue is now available to download! In the summer issue you'll find horror, fantasy, SF, noir, and all sorts of stories that fall somewhere in between. My story, "The King of Elfland," is in there, along with all sorts of other mind-bending tales and blackly beautiful art.

Also, submissions for our Autumn issue are open until August 6, so if you have something you'd like to send in, fire away!
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Yes, Jake Gyllenhaal was great in Prince of Persia, and it's just a fun movie (with some absolutely gorgeous art direction), but I thought the Hassansin leader was hot, hot, hot:

Imagine that in a turban and scars on one side of his face. Yum. ;-)
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First Lost, and now 24. Sigh. I have nothing left in episodic TV that I want to watch, which I guess bodes well for my free time. I don't know -- there's something special about looking forward to that new show every week. And we've kind of fallen behind on Doctor Who -- not sure why, except as a geezer-in-training I'm not all that thrilled about having such a wet-behind-the-ears kid playing The Doctor.

I was actually a little sadder to say good-bye to 24 than I was to Lost; I'd watched 24 from the beginning and never missed an episode (okay, had to tape some and watch some on Hulu, but you know what I mean). I did love the sweet little scene between Jack and Chloe at the end, though.

Still, as I told Erik earlier, I have that same sad/empty feeling I did when I walked out of Return of the Jedi lo those many years ago, thinking it was all over and there would be no more Star Wars films (good thing I didn't know what George would later inflict on us in the prequels). True, there's a 24 movie in the works. Here's hoping they don't Jar-Jar it.
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She reiterates some things I was already thinking and expands on other topics I had barely begun to explore.

Also, truer words were never spoken:

"Anything that involves dogs always makes me cry."  :-(
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...what with that "see you on the other side!" comment in my previous post and all...

Although now I totally want the "Ben and Hurley jungle adventure show."
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Okay, we're gearing up for this 4-1/2-hour Lost megafest that's due to start in T-minus 75 minutes. In honor of Oceanic Flight 815, we're going to drink a bottle of McGuigan Special Reserve Shiraz. Salut!

There's no such thing as a creepy shot of Benjamin Linus!

Well...never mind.

See you on the other side!
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Over at DV we have a semi-regular feature called "Through a Lens Darkly" where we post a (hopefully) evocative photo and then ask people to write a short piece (1,000 words or less) inspired by it. Our publisher Katherine chooses which story gets posted. The new one is up now, so if you'd like a little writing exercise, bop over and take a look.

The photo we're using is this:

I just love Flickr and that ol' Creative Commons license!. You should take a look at the photographer's website; he's based in northwest Wales and has some absolutely gorgeous stuff.


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September 2010

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