27 January 2011

13 Articles about Writers and Cats

So I've got this book releasing in a few weeks called One Thousand Kisses, from Samhain, that Meankitty made me write about her. Well, there's a romance between some two-letters as well, but the important part is the cat. Why do I do what the cat says?

Cats and writers. Writers and cats. It's no secret the two go together like dogs and bones. And it's not just my opinion, either! Here's 13 fun, relatively brief, enjoyable articles and blog posts about the relationship between cats and their writers, with a few nods to the fact some writers even like dogs.

1. http://dereksvandalblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-know-why-real-writers-have-cats.html  -- The most recent post in the list wherein the author compares dogs to cats and points out cats are better (but picks a dog anyway)

2. http://www.fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue10/themecatsandwriters.htm  -- Written by a cat as to why writers are the best breed of humans to own

3. http://magicalmusings.com/2007/10/05/why-cats-like-writers-by-mean-kitty/  -- One of the top search links is by Meankitty! Naturally.

4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2008/nov/12/writers-and-cats  -- An essay about the inevitable cats that appear in so many author bios.

5. http://janekennedysutton.blogspot.com/2010/06/writers-and-cats.html  -- Some authors from history with cats as well as library cat preferences

6. http://lmmay.com/2010/11/21/writers-and-cats-and-dogs-too/  -- How cats (and dogs) contribute to a writer's livelihood

7. http://sadkins.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/cats-and-writers/  -- Photo and quote series

8. http://www.laferle.com/tag/cats-and-writers/  -- Cats as part of a writer's ritual

9. http://www.passagestothepast.com/2010/01/guest-post-by-julianne-lee-author-of.html  -- Do cats read with their butts?

10. http://www.cheriepriest.com/2005/08/11/cats-and-writers/  -- Wherein we learn about poo-netting genie pants

11. http://www.anyabast.com/2007/01/10/cats-and-writers/  -- She loves cats so much she named herself Bast.

12. http://jrobertking.com/2009/10/why-cats-love-writers/  -- Why cats love writers (they're sedentary and warm!)

13. http://www.feelingfictional.com/2011/01/authors-animal-antics-cat-clarke.html  -- Posted in 2011 as part of a series called "Authors Animal Antics"


Jody W.
So many cats in cyberspace, so little time!
http://www.jodywallace.com/  / http://www.meankitty.com/

18 January 2011


January has been a really exciting month for me. :) My very first audiobook released January 11. LOVE AT FIRST SHOT is a paranormal comedy romance published by The Wild Rose Press.

When I wrote LAFS, I was experimenting with a character I've had in my vault forever. TJ is one of those irrepressible heros that annoy you until you fall in love with them. And he's a strong voice. Basically, it was time to give him a story if I wanted to move on to something else.

So, LOVE AT FIRST SHOT was born with a scene in the morgue...and I filed it away until I figured out a heroine who just might be worthy
of him.

Emma started with shy whispers and bungled good intentions. At first, I didn't think they'd be a good match, but the more character scenes I wrote for her, the more TJ popped into my mind.

One day, I pulled open his file and started writing. No outline, no thoughts to where the story might go, just wanted to see if the two of them could hit it off. And man, did the fireworks spark!

When The Wild Rose Press approached me about putting the story in audiobook, I was thrilled. And after I heard Paige Holt bring my words to life, I cried. CLICK HERE FOR AUDIOBOOK LINK. This is a great moment for me and I'd love to share it with all of you.

There is a $25 Amazon gift card to be had, just for commenting this week on this blog. The winner will be announced on Friday on my website. CLICK HERE.

To make the month even more exciting, BLOOD AND DESTINY made its paperback debut on January 4th. Destiny holds a very special place in my heart and being able to hold her in my hands and gaze upon that snazzy Natalie Winters cover was just an awesome experience. For those of you who haven't had the joy of meeting Destiny, let me tell you something about her.

Destiny St. George is a private investigator and shapeshifter - a lioness - without a pride. She was raised in the St. George's Home for Abandoned Children with a host of other preternatural foundlings. Her best friend, the werewolf Yasmine, is about to find the happily-ever-after dream by marrying into the most powerful werewolf family around. It's a pretty big blow for Destiny to lose her sister to marriage and pack life, but more than that - it reminds her that she's totally incapable of commitment.

And when commitment comes to mind, the one man with his hand on her pulse - quite literally - can't be ignored. Marcus Smythe is a vampire king with his sights set firmly on her. She walked away when his commitment issues proved to be more ... pressing ... than hers. His method of paying for his meals goes against her desire for a monogamous relationship.

When a client comes to her with a missing person case, Destiny is driven to seek him out in hopes he can help her find the woman before it's too late. But can they put their personal differences aside to do the job and forge a new relationship or will the lion Yasmine invited to town for the wedding prove to be too much for them to handle?

Check out BLOOD AND DESTINY to see!

17 January 2011

Eleven for '11

You’ve recovered from the hangover and looking a little askance at your resolutions. Work looks like work again (dagnabbit) and the cold weather just won’t quit. Time to lose yourself in a good book. Not to fear, we can recommend eleven to start the year off right, and they’re all written by us:


Ghost of Christmas Past, Liquid Silver Books, December 20, 2010.
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 fiancĂ©. When Torrin convinces his handler to break protocol and let him see Sky and Riley, he discovers nothing is the way he remembers it—with his loved ones or the corps. Isolated in a safe house during the worst storm of the season, he’ll have to learn if passion, trust and love can be saved or if he’s just a ghost of Christmas past.

Christine Norris

The Mirror of Yu-Huang, Zumaya Publishing, December 20, 2010.
Megan’s dreams of a fun and relaxing Christmas holiday turn into a nightmare when the headmistress of her school strong-arms her father into hosting a huge New Year’s ball for the Chinese ambassador. Soon her secret charge, the Library of Athena, the Library is invaded, and only Megan can stop the invader from threatening the world.

Bianca D’Arc

Cat’s Cradle, Samhain Publishing, print release January 4.
As bad days go, this one qualifies as one for the books. Elaine knew being late for her jiu jitsu class could earn her a reprimand from her sensei. But the sensei’s not there. And suddenly, neither is her car. Walking home she discovers things most definitely dp go bump in the night—like Cade, an alpha Panther Noir on a mission transporting his queen to safety. Thrust into a world where the supernatural is commonplace, Elaine finds her considerable martial arts skill tested to the limit—and her ability to resist Cade crumbling by the second. But when nothing is as it seems, the last things she can trust are her own instincts.

Kaye Chambers

Blood and Destiny, Samhain Publishing, print release January 4.
For Destiny St. George, shapeshifting lioness and private investigator, her best friend’s imminent wedding is little more than a reminder of her failed relationship with vampire king Marcus Smythe. Tired of being only one of many mistresses—and dinner entrees—she’s stayed away from the vampire scene altogether. Until a missing-person case forces her to seek his help. When the case proves to be an elaborate trap to avenge a millennia-old grudge, she finds herself caught between love and instinct—while the clock ticks down on an innocent victim’s life.

Love at First Shot, AudioLark, audiobook release January 11th.
Emma Feltman of the Supernatural Clean-up Crew is a master mage in training with one minor problem: sexual frustration has twisted her ordinarily powerful magic into an unpredictable force of chaos. Sent to retrieve the body of a dead werewolf, she runs into another complication: T.J. Jackson, a coroner she’d just (ahem) die to play doctor with. Make that two problems. T.J. is immune to magic, which means there’s no way to make him forget what he wasn’t supposed to see. Stashing him away in a remote cabin, Megan opts for a more personal solution. But can a relationship born of extreme conditions survive?

D. McEntire

Purrs & Lace, Turquoise Morning Press, January 30, 2011
Angelina knows the meaning of a hardship. Desperate for a place to belong, she got sucked into a life of prostitution and addiction. But a deadly accident on an icy mountain road offers her an unlikely second chance in the form of her rescuer, snow leopard shifter Jonah Stark. The injured human female stirs something within Jonah, making it impossible to let her go. But, how far will he go when her past returns to claim her?

Jody Wallace

One Thousand Kisses, Samhain Publishing, February 8.
Embor Fiertag, Primary of the Fey Court, has faced some major challenges, but none as tough as the three facing him right now: getting reelected, capturing the rogue agents who tried to murder him, and improving his love life. The third one should be easy—except he hasn’t exactly told Court trainee Anisette Serendipity she’s his foretold bondmate. Ani doesn’t even like him, and she’s dating Torval, his chief rival. But none of that matters when Torval tries to force himself on her. Forced to flee together to humanspace with a manipulative magical cat, Embor and Ani must find the courage to reveal—and heal—their vulnerabilities before the fabric between the Fey Realm and humanspace is ripped to shreds.

SJ Willing

Dante I, Samhain Publishing, print release March 1.
Two years on the Separatist-controlled planet of Dante I, and undercover PIACT agent Tomas Valcino is no closer to contacting the underground rebellion. As if imminent mission failure isn’t bad enough, he can’t shake his lust for the prefect’s beautiful daughter, Yumi Rebyj. An assassination attempt drives Tomas and Yumi into hiding. In close quarters, all is stripped away. Secrets. Lies. And clothes. But when they uncover a new technology, they ignite new Separatist repression. Can Tomas's and Yumi's connection save the planet, or will it be too little, too late?

Sharon Cullen

Wherever You Are, Samhain Publishing, April 5.
For the one woman he’s never forgotten and a love that defies the centuries, Morgan must conquer his fears and battle his deadly enemy to keep Juliana at his side.

Jean Marie Ward

“Personal Demons” in Hellebore & Rue, Drollerie Press, spring 2011.
Rescuing children from demonic possession is a risky business, especially when the demon decides to get personal.

D. McEntire

The Watchers: Midnight Unseen, Samhain Publishing, print release May 2011
Dreams clash with reality when a Watcher mission leads Tank into a musty, rat-infested basement where blind piano virtuoso Sonya lies broken and bleeding from the attack of a Rogue vampire—and suffering the beginnings of the Change. Keeping Sonya safe from the Rogue determined to claim her is only half of Tank’s battle. Sonya must accept her new life, or his dream will become only a memory.

Jean Marie

12 January 2011

My Secret Life as a Geek; or Why can't America keep it's filthy hands off my British TV?

Okay, so maybe it's not such a well-kept secret. But here it goes - I am sort of a geek. I like Science and Math, and write about dragons (no dungeons. Well, not usually) and other sorts of monsters and mayhem. I have a matched set of Bachelor's degrees - Science and Arts. I've written papers on why Ophelia killed herself  AND done research about human movement. All of that well rounded education is probably why I am so in love with being a librarian, which ties it all together with pretty Master's degree (next year, if all goes well).

Yes, all right, fine. My geek flag flies at full staff. Happy?

And I love the Whoniverse.

I can't say that it's completely my fault. I never really had a chance to avoid it, actually. My love affair with all things Who began when I was growing up, in a house where my mother, who was an English teacher (and my father studied to be a Physics teacher, so I come by geekdom with complete honesty) was besotted with Tom Baker. Yes, curly-haired, big-nosed, overbitten, long-coated and completely adorable Tom Baker, ridiculous scarf and all. She watched every last episode they showed on PBS here in the states (in the days LONG before cable telly and BBC America). Tom was MY doctor. I watched Peter Davison, who arguably was better in the looks department, but I never really loved him like I did Tom.

I lost touch with the Doctor for a long time, until I was able to watch new episodes all in a row, and we picked up right where we left off, like old friends. I have a bunch of the old episodes in the Netflix queue, but they are irrevocably tied to memories of my mother, and I'm not sure I'm quite ready to watch them yet. Twenty-five years is a long time to miss someone, but some wounds never do quite heal. Someday, perhaps.

Why do I love the Doctor? Back then, it was the idea of wild adventure, far away from my ordinary life, wherein I could  help save the day. I loved Sarah Jane and K-9, so yes, I went completely fangirl-nuclear when they appeared in an episode of the new Season 1. I was a kid who thought touring the stars with a dashing and brilliant-yet-clueless Time Lord was the best. thing.ever. I don't even remember all the plots, except that the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space, thank you very much), was always broken, so there was never any control over where the Doctor and his entourage landed. Every time the first Doctor Who movie I remember - The Five Doctors - was on, I watched it as if it were the last program on earth. That show is probably one of the reasons I am so drawn to fantasy writing. (and Time Travel, and history, but that's an issue for another day).

Oh, and I remember the Daleks. Clearly.

So much and yet so little has changed. Now the Doctor has gone mainstream, available to the world on demand and becoming a hip piece of pop culture. He's still dashing, but in a much more 'now' kind of way, and I wonder if Tom Baker would even have stood a chance in today's visually-judgmental world. He's still clueless-genius-lovable (and don't ASK me to choose whether I like Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant better, because I just cannot. Haven't yet watched Matt Smith, so I have no opinion.) but now with just a dash of anger and the ability to really f-up your day if you piss him off. Which, now, for my adult self, is HOT. In a completely platonic sort of way, because the Doctor has always been kind of asexual to me, despite the deep and abiding affection I (and his companions) have for him.

I've grown up with the Doctor, but I am no longer a child, watching merely for the adventure. There is SUCH rich storytelling in those scripts, so much that it sometimes makes me want to weep. American telly seems shallow, frivolous, and ridiculous by comparison, with few exceptions. Like Fringe. And NCIS. Wait, no, I just have a thing for Mark Harmon's character. Which will make sense in a minute. I appreciate the Doctor now for all the things he IS, and not just the things he DOES. He revels in not knowing something and finding new things, and acts like a total child, but is ancient as the universe. He saves planets daily, but needs looking after often. He's like a playmate, someone you could just hang out with and have the best time. And he is alone, despite having a constant-yet-changing companion. He is fun and yet so tragic.

And I have a thing for tragic.

Really. It's like a disease, I think, that I fall hard for tragic men. (yeah, Leroy Jethro Gibbs falls directly into this category too, then.) They are broken, damaged, and I have this compelling and uncontrollable need to help them. To save them.

It's pretty amazing my husband is NOT such a man, though he does have his moments, but by and large he's pretty all together. Definitely not tragic, and absolutely NOT a geek. Don't ask him anything technical. But hey, he does laundry and runs the vacuum. He cooks AND does dishes, even though he hates it. And he puts up with all of my nonsense.You have no idea how much someone loves you until you are incapacitated. He's washed my hair. Real love is when you say, "hey, let's have a Renaissance-theme wedding!" and he doesn't even blink. No, you cannot have him, he is mine.

Being a true Whovian, of course I adore the Who spin-off, Torchwood. It is completely an adult show, not the least of all for its nudity and language. Grown up in all the right ways, dark and exploratory of human nature at its best and worst as only the smartest stories can be. Brave and wonderful and scary all at once.

And in the main role is another tortured, damaged, broken soul that is so hot he's smoking. Yes, I am completely and totally in love with Captain Jack Harkness, and in a decidedly NOT platonic way. It's not just because he exudes sexual energy (those dimples! those eyes! I am SUCH an eye girl; the smolder gets me every damn time), or that he's the manly man that saves the day AND kisses the teaboy. No, it's deeper. He's got issues, but never burdens anyone with them, possibly because he doesn't feel anyone will understand. Such is the life of a man who seemingly cannot die. He is...wounded. My kind of guy.

I will admit that I have naughty thoughts about my darling Captain Sexy Jack (oh, SUCH naughty NAUGHTY thoughts...*blush*. Hey, he's older than me, so I refuse to apologize), but it's the tragedy of him that makes me really love him. Even after CHILDREN OF EARTH,  when others told me they stopped liking Captain Jack because of the devastating and icky choices he had to make.If you don't like icky choices, or really, really bad things happening to good people, don't ever read THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy. For me, it's BECAUSE of those things that I want to wrap him up and hold him close (preferably with as little clothing as possible) and tell him it'll be all right. Yeah, I am SO weird. Meh, I own it.

Even though I am no longer a child, would I still jump at the chance to travel in time and space with the Doctor and the Captain? Hell, yeah. With both feet. Time travel being what it is, I could be gone for years and the arrive back on the same day I left :).

Torchwood is moving to America. I'm holding my breath, because very often when British shows get remade in the states, they get all mucked up and become unwatchable. The Office is an exception. Years ago they tried moving Doctor Who to the US, and it was an unequivocal disaster. Torchwood is gripping and smart and oh, so very brilliant, and I am biting my nails until I see the final product. Captain Jack is staying, which is a plus. And Starz, at least, is doing the show, so they won't have to tone down all the stuff that we Americans find offensive in our network programming. The original writers are working on the scripts, so that's a good sign too. I realize that this may be the only chance for the show to survive, but I'll tell you one thing, right now.

If they mess with my Captain, heads will roll.

10 January 2011

I'm in Love...with my manuscript

I'm writing a new book. No surprise there, I'm always writing a book. What's thrilling is that I find myself head-over-heels in love with it.

Okay, I know that sounds, well, weird.

But here's the thing, writing a book is hard. Pretty much everyone agrees with me on that point. It's logging endless butt hours at the computer, researching, plotting, planning, organizing, cutting, scouring baby books for that perfect sounding hero name, looking up words that mean the same thing as "look" without saying "look" a million times, thinking hard, burning a few meals, not answering the phone, not shaving your legs, cutting the papertowels into teensy squares so that the kids have napkins in their lunches because oh my gosh who has time to go to the store for napkins, dreaming dialogue, pulling hair out, whining, whining, whining...

And then...a miracle happens.

The scenes come together, nearly effortlessly, as if I'm not writing them at all but simply documenting the events as they happen. Bits and pieces of research pop onto the scene at the exact right moment adding flavor, smells, dialect, sounds, shadows, and colors.

All good, right? There's more.

The super-miracle is when my characters do something so extraordinary, so endearing, so lovingly pure that it takes my breath away. I'm not bragging here. I'm admitting that my characters do stuff that I couldn't possibly have planned for them. Not in a million years. I'm simply not that good of a plotter. But it happens. Thank God.

This, my friends, is where I fall in love. My story takes on a life of its own. It no longer is scene A, B, C with two-dimensional characters from Kimberley's head. No. It's real. It's alive.

Ahhh, happy sigh.

Here's to many miracles in 2011. May you find love in all the right places.

Kimberley Troutte

08 January 2011

Fear and Manipulation

There’s nothing wrong with a good scare. In fact, some people have told me they got a scare or two from my work. Go me! A scare when you know you’re actually safe can be cathartic. As a side note, personally, I like a good laugh soon thereafter. Seems to add to the experience. But maybe that’s just me.

On the other hand, there are the real scares: serial killers, home foreclosures, microorganisms. Microorganisms?

The true scare involving biological material is terrorism, for example the sending of anthrax through the mail. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m thinking more in terms of the fear of bird flu on the doorknobs, or chicken juice on our kitchen counters. And the sponges we use? Germ nurseries, it seems. To hear the commercials currently running in the US, we’re surrounded by invisible invaders who are at war with us. Nothing but strong, antibacterial cleaners can keep us safe from this disease-causing onslaught.

The problem with the onslaught of these ads is that the goal is not to protect the public, but to put money in the pockets of those involved in the manufacture and selling of the products. To my knowledge, there is no evidence that antibacterial products do a better job of cleaning. In fact, all these products may be detrimental to humans. For one thing, the products are introducing more chemicals into our already chemically overwhelmed lives. Another, more complex, reason is the effect the antibacterial products are having on the microorganisms in our world.

Our world is teeming with organisms that most people will never see. In spite of what the ads want us to believe, microorganisms, including bacteria, are not horrible creatures out to destroy us. In actuality, the ecosystem of our world is completely dependent on the smallest of organisms. By changing the types and numbers of microbes in our environment, we risk harming the ecosystems of our homes, and perhaps even of the world at large. We could seriously damage our world—and ourselves.

The most immediate concern is that using antibacterial products could promote the growth of resistant organisms, much as the overuse of antibiotics has created antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This happens because it’s next to impossible to kill all the bacteria—or other microorganisms—in an area. The organisms that survive are more likely to be resistant to whatever was used to kill their buddies. These resistant bacteria then multiply exponentially and soon are the dominant species. Killing these babies becomes very, very hard.

Antibacterial products, like antibiotics, have their place. The problem lies in overuse. We’ve already seen that overuse of antibiotics cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The overuse of antibacterial products will likely result in the same type of problem. We’ll grow bacteria—or viruses, or mold, or yeast, etc.—that will be much more dangerous to humans than the mundane bacteria the products are designed to kill.

Humans have co-existed with microorganisms from the dawn of time. We not only have developed resistance to much of the harmful organisms, we also depend on them to help in digestion, to break down waste, in manufacturing, and even to eat (for example, mushrooms). We have learned, I hope, that messing up our ecosystem is bad for everybody. That extends to the micro world. We know many of the implications of using antibacterial products widely and indiscriminately, but there are likely problems that we won’t be aware of for several years.

For more info, you can check out this Centers for Disease Control site: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no3_supp/levy.htm

Have a great weekend!



05 January 2011

Sharon's 2010 Books In Review

Some of my friends (non-writing and reading friends) make fun of me because I keep a spreadsheet year to year of what books I've read. I like doing it because I read so many that I lose track of what authors I like and what series I want to keep track of.
2010's reading wasn't as productive as 2009's and I have to wonder why because my writing output wasnt as productive either. Do the two go hand in hand? You'd think the less writing I did the more reading I'd do, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Hmmmm. I have to wonder.
So anyway, my book selection for last year. I read 53 books, down 9 books to the year before. And believe it or not, last year was not a good year for romance reading for me. Most of the books I read were non-romance.

My favorite new-to-me author: Harlan Coben. I read 8 of his books and loved every one of them. His Myron Bolitar series is laugh out loud funny and his mysteries keep me guessing until the end. I highly recommend Coben.

Favorite series: the Stieg Larsson series. Very interesting, although weirdly written.

Favorite book overall: Ah, that's a tough one, but I think its going to be Linda Howard's Death Angel, closely followed by Ken Follett's Fall of Giants. (p.s. - Ms. Howard will you please get your own website???? I mean, this is the 21st century, every author has their own website. It's very frustrating and I'm sure I'm not the only one who likes to look up their favorite authors and see what's coming.)

Worst book overall: Not sure if this is the worst of just most disappointing but Sharon Sala's Blown Away. Sala has been my favorite author for years and when I started writing, I wanted to write stories like hers--suspense with a lot of emotion. So I was extremely excited when I saw she had a new series out and extremely disappointed when I couldn't finish the book. It just wasn't well written, IMO.

Series I'll be following into the new year:
Monica McCarty's Highland Guards
Joanna Bourne's Spymaster Series
Linda Howard's Blood Born Series

Here's to a good year of reading (and writing for those of us who write). Cheers!

03 January 2011

New Year, New Attitude

Every year I start out with the best of intentions. Every year I realize around April 1st that intentions are about all I have. Not because of lack of trying, simply due to the fact that time slips away faster than I want it to. As a matter of fact, I think the world has slipped into some kind of parallel universe where time is accelerated. A second no longer lasts exactly a second- so a minute is shorter than before - which means a hour isn't as long...you see the cumulative effect it has. Like a snowball rolling down hill toward an avalanche. Before you know it, it's the middle of October and none of the writing or personal goals have been met and I left looking around like, "What happened?"

To this end, I'm come up with a solution.

I no longer make resolutions on the New Year. I just simply reset my goals and clear my mind to prepare for hard work and pushing on through with whatever I have to do that day. I know, semantics, but hey sometimes changing terminology helps.

No, it doesn't help that I stayed up until 5:43 this morning reading a book I couldn't seem to put down. (Ugh...that was like the last thing I wanted to do! - I have so much work on my plate.)

I really don't want to be looking at the calender and seeing the days speeding toward June and I don't have a thing to show for the year. So, far that hasn't been a problem in years past, though I'll admit to not producing as much as I'd like, or as fast as I want. But I'm not too shabby on output either.

What it all boils down to is doing what I've always done, just doing it better and more efficently. That doesn't seem like such a hard goal to keep.

So, it is with a lighter heart and much enthusiasm that I come into 2011. It's three days down and already it's looking very promising.

What are you doing in the New Year?