Gearing Up for Con Season 2012

Well kids, it’s that time of year again.  Time for my daily posts leading up to MystiCon 2012 in Roanoke, VA.  I’m so excited this year, as I’ve learned so much and grown so much as an author.  I’ll be seeing old friends and making new ones.  This Con is also close to my heart because my family is from the area and it’s a chance to reconnect with some of my best childhood memories.  If I disappear during the day (as most of my panels are at night this time), I can probably be seen going to some old stomping grounds and snapping photos.

Last year this time, I was so nervous at the prospect of doing my first panel. Would I say the right thing? Would people wonder what the hell I was doing there?  I mean, at that point I had only published one eBook.  Who was I to speak about writing?  And then, apparently by Divine Intervention, the first person I met was Bethany Halle.  I had agreed to be a guest on her podcast and I was so damn nervous.  But she immediately put me at ease and after a few minutes, it was like I’d been doing this forever.  I realized that I wasn’t going to make an absolute fool of myself.  I’ve never forgotten Bethany’s generosity that night.  Since then we’ve attended other Cons together and become fast friends.

This year I’m not so much nervous as excited.  And it’s a great feeling!  There are many

The Real Me... exciting isn't it...

things I’m looking forward to:  my first adventure in moderating (considering I never do anything in moderation…), meeting Sherrilyn Kenyon (I’m such a fan!), dancing my curvaceous Southern ass off at the Bella Morte show, the road trip up (PLAYLIST!)– but most of all, seeing friends I rarely get to be with.

And of course, assaulting new ones….

New Year, New Life

Let me begin by saying that this blog post has absolutely nothing to do with writing and publishing except to say that it’s my first, last and most enduring love.  My writing career is something that I don’t want to change except that I’d like to do it better.  I’d like to be better at promotion, more productive and more successful.  And of course we all want to be better writers.  But that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about me changing my life for the better in 2012.

Don’t misunderstand– I am NOT going to make a list of resolutions.  New Year’s Resolutions are stupid.  No one ever sticks to them and they’re likely to be thrown out the proverbial window by 12:30am on January 1st.  But I’ve decided that there are things in my life that I’m not satisfied with and my GOAL for 2012 is to change those things.  After all, we only get one life.  Why waste it being dissatisfied?

First and foremost, I think it’s time for me to do and be what I want to do and be.  We all make the mistake of doing what we think everyone expects of us and in turn end up being resentful.  And I refuse to waste any time being resentful or pushing those I love away because I have deep-seated anger against them.  Therefore, I’ve decided to pursue some interests and see if they pan out.  In the words of Kelly Clarkson (and I hate this song), “Take a risk, take a chance, make a change and break away.”  It may shake some things up.  I may regret it later, but I have to try.

My mother was 66 years old when she died.   I have become VERY AWARE of this fact in the last couple of years.  Why is it important?  Because that means, at my age, my mom was more than halfway through her life.  Will I die at 66?  God,  I hope not.  But do you think if she’d known that, that she would have been content to work at a stressful job that she hated?  That she wouldn’t have pursued her dreams of being a writer or a teacher or an artist?  Don’t get me wrong, my mother loved her life.  She did fulfill her dreams of having a happy, close-knit family.  My sisters and I and our father were her whole life and she would tell you that she didn’t have any regrets.  But do I think there were things she wished she could have accomplished that she didn’t have the chance to.

So this is my proposal. My GOALS (not resolutions) are to:  pursue some new interests, get healthier with exercise and diet, be a better wife and friend, be the best writer I can be, and get rid of unnecessary stress.  Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?  We’ll see…

Six Sentence Sunday: Bloodflower

Ah, Sunday… that day of the week when we get to tick down a list of fabulous writers, reading their best and brightest in six sentence bursts.  Its one of the only things that make Sundays bearable for me.  I’ve never liked Sundays– they’ve always been boring and melancholy for me.  And this Sunday, I think we all have reason for a little melancholy.  Today is, of course, the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.  I’m sure we all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that fateful morning.  I was teaching math to a bunch of third graders.  And I still remember that overwhelming sense of fear and sadness as clearly as if it were yesterday.

I think about my life and how different it is now, and it’s still a bit spooky.  The whole world has changed since that day and we’ve all had to change with it.  My point is— change IS living and going on is all we can do.  It’s the American spirit and that’s what’s gotten us through the last ten years.  BUT… why dwell on past tragedies?  I think we owe it to our heroes to have a little fun today.  To show the world that we’re Americans and can’t be kept down!  So without further ado, a little taste of Bloodflower, my current WIP and amazingly, its a vampire piece!

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“We’ve only just met, friend.”  He reached down and grabbed Toboggan Man by the throat, lifting him high off the ground.  “It wouldn’t be polite not to have you for dinner.”  Before he could scream, the vampire bashed him twice against the bricks behind him, shattering his skull and leaving fragments of gray matter and bone behind.  As the man fell limp in his grasp, the vampire stole another look at the girl and saw that she was dazed with the
shock.  He tossed the man aside, leaving him to ooze his blood slowly onto the pavement beneath him.

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I love a badass vampire….

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the SSS crew at:  http://sixsunday.com/  .  And of course if you like what you see, you can find all my current releases at http://www.sugarnspicepress.com and http://www.allromanceebooks.com/ .

Childhood Memories and Coconut Rum

When I think back on my childhood, there are lots of things I remember clearly.  Like, getting a Glow Worm for Christmas when I was 3 or4.  Or swimming in the pool at an old mom and pop hotel in Charleston, SC with my mom.  Even the horrible day that we came home to a fire truck in our driveway and watched as our house burned to the ground.  Those are the things that are burned into your memory forever.  Even when I’m 85 I’ll still remember the feel of the cool water in that pool and how it smelled of chlorine and Sundown Sunscreen (with PABA!).

Luckily for me though, I get to relive some of my childhood memories each year when my entire family takes off to North Myrtle Beach, SC for an entire week.  It all started when, after my mother’s first heart attack, she decided that we all needed to get away for a week each year.   And thus the Family Vacation to the Beach began!  My parents, both sisters, my sister’s best friend and a fluctuating cast of characters that changed from year to year.   Most of the wonderful memories of my youth are in some way associated with that trip.

For anyone that has been on a trip like that, the vacation doesn’t begin when you arrive at the beach house– the trip begins back in January when you begin looking for that perfect vacation home.  Mom would get that little book from White Realty in Myrtle Beach every year about the middle of January.  And the race was on!  Some houses are too small, others too expensive; this one’s ocean front, that one is a fifty mile walk to the ocean.  So and so didn’t want to share a room this year with such and such.  We would wheedle and go back and forth and argue about the house for a good 4 months before finally deciding on the same one we went to the year before.  Since my mother’s passing, we’ve continued this tradition– even down to the wheedling over the house.

Its interesting how people get into routines and before you know it– its a tradition.  We find ourselves going to the same places each year and we actually feel like something is missing if we don’t.  I can’t take a trip to Myrtle Beach without spending an afternoon wandering around Barefoot Landing, shopping for teeshirts and the perfect ice cream cone.  You have to smear down with sunscreen and go out to the beach from 11am to 1pm every day and then come in for lunch.  Night time has to be a steady diet of home cooked meals followed by a tour of every ice cream parlor on the Grand Strand and finally when you’re so stuffed you can’t stand it– you stay up til 2am playing cards and drinking fruity concoctions laden with coconut rum.

Some people wonder why I have such an affection for summertime.  I mean, I live in South Carolina which in high summer is roughly akin to the gates of Hell. But in summertime, we get to be a kid again.  You can’t go home again, but you can go to The Beach.