31 December 2010

Are we there yet?

An age-old question, usually heard during long road trips. No, thank heavens, I'm not on such a trip today. But I am on another journey... we all are... from one measured span of time into another. One realm of existence into the next.

Sounds very sci-fi, doesn't it? ;)

We take this journey every December 31st. Most of us gather our friends and loved ones together, as we are so blessed, and party in our own way until the clock strikes midnight. The witching hour. The breath of time that lasts twelve short beats between one year and the next.

But what is a year, really? It's merely one revolution around a star. A measure of time with which we mark our lives. A year here, on planet Earth, is something quite different anywhere else. All in all, there's really nothing magical about it, is there?


I remember, as a very young child, that there seemed to be something magical about the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. It seemed that time stood still -- every so slightly -- as the ball dropped over Time's Square and the world stood by to count down the seconds in unison. Yes, it was already the New Year somewhere else, but my young mind didn't grasp that fact or simply didn't care. In a small, sixty-second moment of time, the world shifted; time altered; and before me opened a whole new realm of possibilities.

Like a cosmic 're-set' button. ;)

So, tonight we'll sing the Scot's traditional goodbye to "Auld Lang Syne"... lift a cup to toast the old year and welcome the next... kiss whoever stands closest... and make lots of noise... just so we can hang up a new calendar.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll plan to make some positive changes: to live more fully; to love more deeply; to help those in need more often; and to never forget to give thanks for our blessings.

It's a whole new realm of time, after all. A new section in the future history books. Surely there must be some magic in it?

And for any of you who beat me to it ... How does 2011 look so far? :)

Happy New Year, everyone!

~~Meg Allison
Indulge your senses...

30 December 2010

13 Things about Fey Cats

Yeah, yeah, this post is totally promotional. I have this new book coming out from Samhain on 2/8/11, see? It's the sequel to my older book, Survival of the Fairest, and it's called One Thousand Kisses. The cover is A-mazing! See?

Anyway, Survival of the Fairest mentioned Fey cats -- cats in the Fey Realm who are "more" than the standard cats in humanspace. It mentioned them but it didn't feature any cats as main characters. Meankitty, my boss, was not pleased by this, so believe me, I was very careful to make sure cats were featured more prominently in One Thousand Kisses. So here are thirteen things about fey cats from my upcoming novel.

1. Cats do not like gnomes. One could argue cats and gnomes are the fairy version of yin and yang. And besides, gnomes eat cats, while gnomes, cats have discovered, don't taste good at all. Not even roasted.

2. Cats in the Fey Realm come and go as they please, despite magical shielding, stone walls and the like.

3. Some Fey cats communicate with fairies. Some don't.

4. Cats can appear all over the Realm without warning, from cities to deserts.

5. They also travel to humanspace, possibly through things Princess Talista from SOTF calls gnome holes and possibly by means of their own devising.

6. When Master Fey--the primary cat in One Thousand Kisses--first appears in the book, it's not when he actually appears in the book. Tricky, huh?

7. Master Fey is, to quote Anisette, "glossy black with tuxedo markings—white chin, chest, belly and paws. He was neither small nor large, longhaired nor short, striking nor drab."

8. Whenever cats appears in a dwelling in the Fey Realm, the inhabitants are considered lucky, blessed by the spirits.

9. As such it is tradition to pamper cats if ever given the opportunity.

10. Cats rarely come to Court, except sometimes to Court sessions, to the dismay of the Elders, who resent the fact they cannot bar the cats from entrance.

11. In conversation, cats are perfectly capable of being concrete. So when they are not, they are choosing not to be.

12. For all their twistiness, cats are not liars.

13. Even Fey cats like to watch birds.


Jody Wallace & Meankitty
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://www.meankitty.com/

25 December 2010

Nollaig chridhiel!

Best wishes from us to you this holiday season!

by John O'Donohue

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.
And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

20 December 2010

Ghost of Christmas Past

After months of waiting, my new release Ghost of Christmas Past goes live today at 7pm EST at Liquid Silver Books. I’m excited to bring you the first PsiCorps novella and my first M/M/M/F ménage-a-more as a special treat this Christmas. Let’s look at the blurb, shall we?


Four years after being gunned down by the city's most infamous crime boss, Empath and PsiCorps agent, Torrin St. James wakes from a coma to find that he's seemingly lost everything. Entered into the WitSecPsi program, as part of his cover Torrin is believed dead by the members of his psychic triad, Resonance Partner Riley Valin and Psi Anchor Sky Roarke-his fiancé. Faced with nothing but the cold comfort of justice in testifying against the crime boss, Torrin convinces his handler Quintus to help him barter his cooperation for a chance to break protocol and see Sky and Riley before the trial.

Two days before Christmas in a secure safehouse hours outside the city, PsiCorps makes arrangements for Torrin to see the two people he loves the most. It's everything Torrin's wanted from the moment he opened his eyes but when time finally comes he's left to face a multitude of truths and a symphony of sorrows. After four years the loves of his life have moved on, his handler Quintus has been keeping secrets, and there's a high level leak in the agency he's given his life to. The entire world has turned upside down and Torrin doesn't know if he has the right to fix it, but he's about to find out. Isolated in a safehouse under the worst storm of the season and no way to turn back, he'll learn if their feelings for each other are still passion incarnate or if he's just a ghost from Christmas past.

I hope the blurb has intrigued you and there’s also an excerpt available at Xakara.com. But now that all of my responsible author promotion is done, let’s get to the real focus of my post, gifts! Taking inspiration from the title of my novella and the Christmas Carol story it originates from, I want to talk about the spirit of the season and those that need us.

No matter which holidays you celebrate this winter season, it’s a time for giving of ourselves to others with less. Operation Santa opens all those dedicated letters to the North Pole each year and allows volunteers to help make Christmas wishes come true for children. This year, children and parents alike, have asked for a few things above all others, basic clothing and food. Children have pulled out there pencils and crayons and carefully formed their letters so that Santa Claus will know that they need socks, shoes, coats, hats, jeans and shirts. They ask not for Christmas dinner, but dinner at all. They want their parents to smile and be like they used to be before every day was a fearful phone call from bill collectors or worse. They ask and Santa would answer if he could, but he’s a little overwhelmed and needs you.

You can call your local post office and see if they are part of Operation Santa or a more local organization that will allow you to pick up a letter and fulfill a Christmas Wish. If you’re in a tight situation yourself this year, you don’t have to do it all your own. You can get your family and friends together to help one household this year for less than $5 each. But what if even $5 is too much or your town doesn’t have any letters?

ABC News has become part of Be the Change: Save a Life. Over the next year they will bring attention to global health initiatives to save lives around the world. You can do your part now. For $50, that’s $5 from you and nine of your friends, you can provide a week of in-patient care for a malnourished infant through Casa Jackon. You can also work with Save the Children Clean Water Fund to build wells, latrines and water pumps to provide sanitation and drinking water for school children around the world. That amount also provides medicine to prevent a mother from passing the HIV virus to her baby through the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Perhaps you only have seven friends to pitch in with your own $5. Save the Children will turn that $40 into a goat for a family in Guatemala, providing protein rich dairy, fertilizer for produce and a valuable source of income. If that’s too much, for just $25, or $2.50 from ten of you, you can provide antibiotics to five children suffering from malaria, TB, or upper respiratory infections through Community Health Africa Trust. Or you can provide a full month-long nutritional treatment for a child through Edesia’s PlumpyNut, a peanut paste packed with calories and nutrients that have brought malnourished children from the brink of death.

That same $25 can treat tuberculosis in India through Operation ASHA. It can send out ten birthing kits with six basic items through Birthing Kit Foundation of Australia, or provide a birthing kit and the training to use it through IMA World Health. Let’s drop down to $20 and you can work with Embrace to bring a low cost infant warmer to a vulnerable newborn in a country where incubators don’t exist because there’s no electricity to run the $20,000 machine if they could afford it.

Still too much?

For $15 you can provide a month of life-saving food supplements to a family in Paquip, Guatemala through Wuqu’ Kawaq. $14 can provide 2,000 chlorine tablets to treat dirty water in the developing world through UNICEF. $11 buys three birthing kits through the United Nations Population Fund. Even one dollar from everyone you know would put the Charity: Water fund closer to its goal of $40,400 to provide a community of 250 with clean drinking water. Those same dollars to CARE given before December 31st will be matched, up to a million dollars, to help the world’s poorest women and their families.

Look at what you were going to spend this season and see whether or not you can spend just a little less and make a world of difference to someone around the globe. If you find yourself like me, living through a double-layoff and breathing a sigh of relief now that the Unemployment Benefits have been extended, perhaps you can pull out those coupons and switch to that store brand and eek out that extra dollar or five for clean drinking water elsewhere around the globe. And if, by all misfortune, you find yourself needing that extra help this season, may you bask in the charity and goodwill of others that you may be able to pay it forward when you can down the line.

A Spirited Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Blessed Kwaanza to All.


18 December 2010

Yes, Virginia, There Is Another Holiday Post--With Pictures

'Tis the season to be stressing, fa la la la la la la la,
Baking with my head is messing, fa la la la la la la la...

That's what I brought home from Costco in anticipation of my annual baking marathon. It's 1:30 a.m., and I have miles of brownies to bake before I sleep. (Yes, I use a mix. Don't judge me.) That doesn't count the cleaning and the decorating (done, at last) or the cards (don't remind me) or the book signing (more later) or the out-of-town guests (whee!)
Which brings me to the point of today's blog. Holidays are hard. They come with a load of emotional freight and outsized expectations that can all too easily overwhelm you. That's why, in the middle of giving to others, you need to give a little to yourself, too.

With everything else on the agenda, I'd be the last person to tell anyone to decorate anything. But if you're like me and have this overwhelming urge to turn the house, apartment, barn or loft upside down once a year, pull out the stuff that gives you joy. For me, it's a mass of wax angels, reindeer and a Bavarian music box bought in Germany when I was very small. When I was eleven, I thought the richly gowned figures were the most beautiful things in the whole world. I still do.

Get together with the people you love. As the season's short days remind us, we're no more than candles in the greater dark--quick burning and all too easily extinguished.
If the stars line up for a splurge, take advantage of it. An unexpected chance to take high tea at the Willard Hotel sent Ellen Byerrum, the ever stylish author of the Crimes of Fashion mysteries (shown here lifting a glass to the holidays), and I scurrying into Washington, D.C. on the coldest day of the year. It was well worth the chill, taking the edge off deadlines and pre-release jitters (Shot Through Velvet, her latest Crime of Fashion novel, debuts in February 2011) and jumpstarting our holiday spirit. (With tea! With tea! That glass was just for show. Honest!)
But the occasion doesn't have to be extravagant. I've already made a date with the spouse for our annual in-home viewing of the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol (sometimes called Scrooge), simply the best version of the story--possibly the best version of any Dickens story--ever. And we can watch it wearing fuzzy slippers. (Or we could if we owned any--there are some crimes of fashion I just won't commit.)

It wouldn't hurt to take a page from our pets either. Indulge your inner feline with a nap in a favorite spot, sleep late or spend a few minutes hidden away with a book. Put on the dog with a big goofy smile, lolling tongue optional.
In short, be kind to yourself and follow your bliss whenever and wherever you're able.

And if your bliss happens to be books and you're in the neighborhood of the Borders in Bowie, MD, from 7-9 p.m. tonight, I'll be signing with five wonderful authors:

- Rising romantic suspense star Jeanne Adams,

- Bestselling science fiction and fantasy writer Catherine Asaro,

- Break-out historical romance author Grace Burrowes,

- Award-winning children's author Deborah Da Costa, and

- Three time Nebula Award nominee and veteran SF short story writer Bud Sparhawk.

If that weren't enough to make your Saturday, Catherine will be singing, as well as signing, with keyboardist Don Wolcott providing back up. Hope to see you there. After all, 'tis the season for commerce, too.

Wherever you are and whatever you do between now and January 1, I hope the days find you happy in the company of those you love. May 2011 be healthy, joyful and prosperous, and bless us, everyone.

17 December 2010

Sweet News and Treats!

It's been a crazy holiday season here in Florida. The weather is jumping from 30 degrees to 70 degrees on any given day and it really did not feel a lot like Christmas. Then the presents began to appear under the tree, exciting the kids and making it a little easier to feel the cheer. And I received my own little bit of news - LOVE AT FIRST SHOT, my spicy paranormal comedy novella, has an audiobook release date! January 11th, 2011, it will be available through AudioLark Audio Books and your favorite audiobook retailer. Talk about doing a little dance around the tree!

If you're not familiar with the story, here's a quick blurb: What do a dead werewolf, a kidnapped coroner, and an inept witch have in common? LOVE AT FIRST SHOT. Emma Feltman is a master mage in training with one minor problem: sexual frustration has twisted her ordinarily powerful magic into an unpredictable force of chaos. Her current job assignment is the Supernatural Clean-up Crew. When a werewolf is unlucky enough to get hit by a car, Emma's crew is sent in to retrieve the body. Dr. "T.J." Jackson happens to be the coroner on duty. When it's discovered his mind is immune to magic so they can't erase the incident from his memory, they do the next best thing. They take him with them. Stashed in a cabin miles from anywhere, Emma and T.J. start things off with a bang. But can a relationship built under extreme conditions really work?

To read an excerpt, click HERE.

And to celebrate all the Christmas cheer, I have a free read scheduled to go live (for a limited time) on Monday, December 20th, available exclusively from my website! CHRISTMAS GRACE is a St. George story introducing a new heroine, Grace St. George.

What's a thief to do when there's no paying jobs at Christmas? Stay home and sulk? Not Grace St. George. She decides to take a holiday to London and crash a party. Not just any party, but modern-day Viking and security expert Jacob Forsyth's exclusive gala. Can she get in, find the secret that makes his vaults impervious to her attempts to burgle, and get out again without mishap?

Find out Monday by downloading your own free copy of CHRISTMAS GRACE.

A special thank-you goes out to the lovely and talented Natalie Winters for this gorgeous cover.

I hope everyone has a delightful holiday season with lots of joy, love, and laughter. Merry Christmas.

15 December 2010

Book Birthday!

Well, actually, the book 'officially' came out on Monday, I think. There were things that happened beyond the control of either the publisher or myself that held up the original release date, but yanno, stuff happens, so it's all good.

THE MIRROR OF YU-HUANG, (Library of Athena, Book 3) is AVAILABLE!!! I think that, last time I posted, I had seen the artwork, but it wasn't ready yet. I GUESS I can show you now...wait, have you all been good this year? Not TOO good, I hope ;). Okay, then.

It really looks better in person; and I know since I just got a box of books delivered by UPS yesterday! Squee!!! 

This little book has had quite a journey. I was thinking about it yesterday, and I think I started researching for this book in 2006. I remember sitting in one of the beach houses my aunt had rented for a brief vacation, poring over books of Chinese fairy tales and mythology, wondering HOW in the world I was going to make this work based on the rules I had set up in the two previous books. Much of Chinese mythology is made up of morality stories, whereas I had used 'hero' myths before. It took some digging, but I found a few suitable stories and after a few re-writes, magic happened.

This story is unlike the first two LoA books in other ways than just the mythology. This one has a different publisher, for starters. Zumaya has done a fabulous job, and I can't be more pleased with the results. And the story is set up a little differently (but it's JUST as exciting) But it's LIKE the first two in many ways also - there is mystery, and intrigue, and monsters (not just the mythological kind), and friendship. 

Here is the blurb from the cover (which is different than the blurb on the publisher's website and Amazon listing):

Confucius never said anything about this.

Megan Montgomery, spending her second Christmas in England, was expecting peace and quiet over the holidays. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. 

First, the headmistress of St. Agatha's College for Girls, Megan's school, has strong-armed her father into hosting a huge New Year's ball at their home. Next, she winds up playing hostess to a Chinese ambassador, his family, and his staff. While the guests seem very pleasant, Megan is still uncomfortable. She's been unlucky with houseguests in the past - like the one who died.

Of course, he had also tried to steal one of the precious magical artifacts hidden in the Library of Athena, a cavernous room hidden beneath her home, so it wasn't totally her fault. Now hundreds of people will be crawling all over the manor. 

Megan tries to relax and enjoy the holidays despite her home being turned into Grand Central, but her worst fears are realized when she receives a mysterious Christmas gift, one that links her to the Library of Athena. Now she's on her guard, hoping to identify the culprit and learn just how much he or she knows about the Library, before someone gets hurt, or worse, she winds up inside another enchanted book. 

The book is available at the Zumaya Thresholds site,  Amazon (though for some reason it says ships in 1-4 weeks; I hope that changes soon) in both print and for Kindle, B&N in the NookStore, and of course can be ordered at any brick and mortar store. It will be on Fictionwise in a couple of weeks too!

Have a great holiday and happy reading!!!

13 December 2010

2nd Annual One Loving Thing Day

(Photo by Diego Hernandez)

December 21st is just around the corner.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet Earth (like I do), December 21st is Winter Solstice--our shortest, darkest, day of the year. On top of that, we will be treated with a total lunar eclipse.

I can't think of a better day to celebrate One Loving Thing Day. Can you?

We've all had tough times this year. But on this dark, cold, short day I have hope. Every moment after December 21st (the occasional storm excluded) will be brighter and warmer. From here on out the darkness will be behind us and up ahead are sunnier days.

I challenge you to bring sunshine to others by going out and doing one loving thing on December 21st. Just one. It doesn't need to be world-changing, or earth’s-axial tilting. Give a gift from your heart, do a good deed, help a stranger. Make a conscious effort to be kind. That's all.

I’ll post about my good deed after I do it. It would be really great if you could post about yours. Or maybe someone will do a loving thing for you that you can share. Your comments might inspire others and who knows? This might snowball into a giant lovingthingerama.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the best darkest day ever.

Oh, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere please participate on your Summer Solstice too. There's plenty of love to make this world go around.

Thank you!

Kimberley Troutte
Author Page at Samhain Publishing

11 December 2010

Where the heck is my stuff?

Experts say that moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Anybody who’s ever moved will probably agree with them. My husband and I moved just at a week ago, and I’m certainly stressed out. For one thing, I had no idea we had so much…um…stuff. We only moved about three miles, which you’d think wouldn’t be that bad, but moving is moving, and it was pretty dang stressful.

For some reason, which I’m still not clear about, I was “volunteered” to drive the U-Haul. I think I did pretty well, except for the whole backing over the mailbox thing. But I did manage to get the thing close enough to the porch that it could be unloaded. So there we were, surrounded by boxes, our carefully thought out, organized moving plan gone to hell in a U-Haul.

The next day, I went to a writers group meeting—actually a party for our one year anniversary. Ten minutes before I left, I found my hairbrush—for which my fellow writers are quite grateful. We had a great time, and I went back to my new storage space, I mean home.

At one week, we’re slowly digging out of our box maze. And it does feel like home already. So now my muse—she’s a dragon, by the way—has decided I need to get back to my writing. Now. I tried to argue, saying that I still have a lot of unpacking to do, plus being extremely busy with that whole life thing. She doesn’t care. She started by giving me dreams that were obviously plot or character intensive. A sure sign she means business. I ignored her, and last night I actually dreamed a character, plot, research I should do (and who I should ask for help), and even the opening words of the story. Peachy. Like I don’t have three manuscripts in the works (at different stages) and need to get them done. Why can’t I dream about one of them!

Okay, back to the boxes. Later maybe I can work on one of the manuscripts. Not the new one. Nope. Even if it is haunting me. The heroine is a fascinating person. And the beginning seems quite interesting. I have other things I need to work on. Really. Plus all those boxes.

Excuse me, my muse is calling—and there seems to be smoke coming out of her mouth. Oh boy.

Have a great weekend!


08 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Or happy whatever-you-celebrate. I happen to be Catholic so I celebrate Christmas. I loved this video and thought it so appropriate for this time of year. No matter what you celebrate, remember to spread joy and cheer.

07 December 2010

Shameless Self-Promotion: New Interview Posted

Not an interview with me (hey, I heard that sigh of relief!) but the latest in my six-part series of interviews with vampire authors at Buzzy Multimedia. Today's victim--er, subject is Jeri Smith-Ready, author of the WVMP series about vampire DJs and lots more. You'll like it. Jeri's as much fun as her books.

02 December 2010

Twitter Vs Blogging: 13 Comparisons

Since I started Tweeting over 2 years ago, I have found that I'm less and less inclined to blog. I don't know if this represents and essential laziness on my part or an adjustment to the wiles of the Internet or some combination of both. Certainly Twitter isn't really designed to allow deeper thoughts or leisurely discussions or anything beyond the edges of my ideas. While this might be good for worldbuilding (See the Turkey City Lexicon for the reference), is it equally good for critical thinking, career building, networking, promotion, joke telling (of jokes that are longer than knock knock jokes), essay sharing and so on and so forth?

So I thought I might do a quick comparison between Twitting and Blogging for the Writer, and I invite you all to add your thoughts in the comments, since this is a blog and not Twitter and you can do that instead of having to hang around Twitter all the time checking your @ replies to see if anybody said anything.

1) Both of them have dumb names. Twitter. Blogs. They're just dorky words. They can't help themselves, I guess.
2) Blogging takes more thought but not necessarily more time, because some people (not naming names!) are on Twitter constantly.
3) I have a lot more Twitter followers than Blog readers, but does anyone really pay attention? I'd say the Blog readers are more likely to, but Twitter...not so much.
4) Blogs create a repository of your cleverness with fewer injokes, retweets, comments about your dinner (ie painful mundanity that is reviled by some), and half-viewed discussions that people who check out your archives aren't going to "get".
5) Twitter is easier to do from mobile devices or when you're in a hurry. Multitaskiness!
6) You can illustrate blogs without requiring your audience to link over to another website, because we've all heard things about how you shouldn't follow links in Twitter (if you haven't heard things, now you have!).
7) Blogs are all about YEW, while Twitter is all about who just said the funniest thing and got it retweeted. And that is rarely YEW.
8) Both blogging and Twitter can be frustrating if you're yakking away and nobody's listening. BUT you're more likely to get the thrill of "being noticed" on Twitter or get the chance to chat with people you admire than the chances of them dropping by your blog about, I dunno, Twitter vs Blogging.
9) Twitter helps you exercise your brevity muscles. What are brevity muscles? Well, when your evil editor tells you to cut 20K from your novel, you will use these muscles a lot.
10) Blogging exercises your writing muscles in a way that ensures your brevity muscle doesn't become the only working muscle in your arsenal. But then again, so does WRITING :).
11) Your mom probably likes your blog more than Twitter, unless she's on Facebook, but we're not here to talk about Facebook.
12) When you happen to be in need of a wee bit of social interaction, which those of us who spend most of our time alone with our computers can be, Twitter provides it much better than blogging.
13) The problem is, if you do both wholeheartedly, that's half again as much time away from your writing. This isn't really a comparison so much as a complaint. BOO. Why isn't there more time in the world?

So what are your thoughts? Which one do you like better and why?

Jody W.
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://www.meankitty.com/