Saturday, February 24, 2007

Proof Pages and Tombstones

Aren't these tombstones cute? I just got the "proof pages" for DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY, and this graphic will be used at the start of every chapter! I just love it. The perfect little touch that really fits the book.

What are "proof pages", you may ask? They're the actual, typeset pages of the book, the very last step before the book is printed. I can now see that my first paperback will be 384 pages long (something I've always wondered - the page count of a manuscript is completely different from the page count in an actual paperback). I can see my copyright page, my dedication page, everything... just as it will look on the shelves.

It's mindblowing, actually. :) What's also mindblowing is that this THE FINAL TIME for going through and looking for typos (which I've already found, including one on the very first page), and correcting them with my trusty red pen. Wish me luck, and here's hoping I don't go blind in the process!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

'Til Death Do Us Part Takes On New Meaning

Ok, time for today's "News Of The Weird". In case you haven't heard this story yet, there's a couple in Missouri who plans to have their wedding in a graveyard:

It's not the traditional "till death do us part," but Scott Amsler and Miranda Patterson believe getting hitched in a graveyard is just thinking outside the box.
Come September, the Illinois couple expects to pledge their undying love among the dearly departed in this St. Louis suburb's city cemetery, even though those who approved the request are dead set against seeing it become a trend.
The wedding wouldn't be out of character for Amsler, 27, a computer expert for a financial company by day and rehabber of old hearses by night.
The graveyard, he said, just has a certain tranquility and thriftiness for nuptials the young couple insists will be small, private and traditional - except for the bagpipes, Amsler's refurbished hearse and the throng of eternally silent witnesses.
"People are going to think how they want. I don't actively try to convince people that my interests are normal or logical," Amsler said. "I'm not a freak or Satan worshipper or cult member. It just goes with our theme."
I say "more power to 'em". Quiet, peaceful, a beautiful gazebo and an even more beautiful view, according to the bride.

The fact that the future groom gave the future bride a customized hearse named "Edgar" for a wedding gift far outshines the location of the nuptials for weirdness, if you ask me. :) What do you think? Is it disrespectful to get married in a graveyard, or not?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Am, Therefore They Spam

As much as I hate to do it, I've been forced to enable "Comment Verification" on my blog. In the last couple of weeks, I've noticed a major increase in the amount of "spam comments" being left by morons who want to sell viagra and vitamins, low-interest loans, weight loss supplements and auto insurance. I deleted and ignored, sighing in annoyance but figuring I could deal with it without having to put any readers who'd like to leave comments through an extra step.

Yesterday, however, I got one trying to direct traffic to a "Lolita" sex porn site. I certainly didn't visit it, but the links made it clear that this particular spammer was promoting child porn, or at least, pornography involving women made to look like children.

All together, now - can we say "EWWWWW?"

Until someone, somehow discovers a way to track these spammers down and shut them down permanently, my only option is to block them through comment verification. They seem to be like cockroaches, multiplying exponentially. Does anyone have any other suggestions on how to get rid of these spam vermin?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A New Look!

Ok, so you may have noticed that my blog looks a little different these days. :)

In anticipation of my upcoming releases, DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY and WHERE THE GHOULS ARE, I've given both my website and my blog a "makeover" to go with the cool new covers that Avon will be providing for the books. That little image at the upper right of this page (a woman's leg coming out of a crypt) came straight off the cover of DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY.

Yep, that's Nicki Styx's leg. You can just tell what a bad girl she is, can't you? :)

I have to be honest when I say that dayglo green and dayglo orange never entered my mind as colors that would one day be representative of my "brand" as a writer. But what I've learned is that the universe knows you better than you think it does... not only have I always been a total Halloween fiend, I now get to enjoy the colors and the images all year 'round!

So I decided to embrace my inner orange (and chartreuse), and go with the flow. And you know what? I love it! How about you?

Friday, February 16, 2007

An Eternal Embrace

I find this photo incredibly touching.

These two young lovers died and were buried together an estimated 5000 years ago, during the Neolithic period. They were just recently unearthed by archeologists:

ROME, Italy (AP) -- It could be humanity's oldest story of doomed love.

Archaeologists have unearthed two skeletons from the Neolithic period locked in a tender embrace and buried outside Mantua. The site is just 25 miles south of Verona, the romantic city where Shakespeare set the star-crossed tale of "Romeo and Juliet."

Buried between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, the prehistoric pair are believed to have been a man and a woman and are thought to have died young, as their teeth were found intact, said Elena Menotti, the archaeologist who led the dig.
Further analysis showed that the woman died from an arrow to the chest, while the man died from an arrow to the spine. I can't help but wonder what their story really was - did she die first and he lay down next to her, taking an arrow to the spine? Or was he dying, and she lay down to be with him, dying where she lay? Or did others who loved them both pose them carefully after death?

It's so obvious which was the man and which was the woman. So sad. So incredibly tender.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine, Be Mine

I'm happy to report that my handsome husband, Captain America, will live to see another Valentine's Day! (That's the way he looks at it, not me, though it's kinda nice to be able to inspire that kind of fear in a man. *g*)

Anyway, he greeted me this morning with a sweetly romantic card, and a beautiful Murano glass necklace. The man knows I love cool jewelry. I'm wearing it right now, as a matter of fact.

And what did I get him, you ask? I got him a reading lamp to put by his favorite chair. Not the most romantic gift, I know, but one I knew he would like. (I sent him flowers at work once and was delicately told that most men appreciate TLC more than flowers.)

And hey, Valentine's Day isn't over yet. :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I'm On Amazon!

Omigosh!! DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY is available for pre-order on!

Earlier today, just on impulse, I went to Amazon and 'searched' for myself. And there I was! The cover art isn't up there yet, but will be soon (I saw the cover last week and it is awesome... I can't wait for my editor to give me the go-ahead to use it on my website!)

Do you have any idea how bizarre it is to see my name and my book title up on I mean, my husband and I have bought SO MANY books there through the years, read so many reviews (reviews! ack!), browsed and searched and bought to our heart's content.

And now I'm up there, with other authors. It kinda makes it real.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

What A Guy Wants For Valentine's Day

My husband likes to call Valentine’s Day “Fear of Death Day”. He claims that every February 13th, desperate men like himself can be found in the card section of any drugstore with glazed eyes and panicky expressions, frantically reading through syrupy cards that they wouldn’t touch any other time of the year - each and every one of them petrified with fear at the thought of almost forgetting a Valentine for that special woman in their lives.

We women know better than to wait until the last minute, don’t we? We love looking through those romantic cards, not satisfied until we find the one that expresses our feelings perfectly. Or we go for humor, thinking our men will appreciate that more than flowery sentiments. But who are we really doing it for – them, or us?

The male perspective on Valentine’s Day is, quite obviously, very different from the female perspective. While we want romance, they just want to stay out of trouble – and perhaps, if they’re very lucky, a little bit more on the side (so to speak). They don’t want flowers at the office (too girly); those sexy underwear you bought him last year was only worn once (too uncomfortable); and those boxers with the big hearts on them are still in his drawer (too ridiculous). So what do they want?

Maybe this year we should look at Valentine’s Day a little differently. Not that we shouldn’t expect that special card, or that bouquet of posies, or that perfume we like so much – we do deserve some romance at least one day a year – because romance is what women want. But perhaps we should also consider what he really wants (aside from you greeting him at the door wearing nothing but a smile :).

Is he a sports fan? How about two tickets to the next game and your promise to cheerfully go with him, dressed in something you know he likes? You can stand one game, can’t you? If you can’t bring yourself to go that far, how about a hand-written IOU stating that during the next televised game he watches, you promise no interruptions of any kind and his favorite snacks on a tray beside the couch?

Does he work too hard? How about a Saturday or even just an evening when he can be completely alone – no kids, no yardwork, no dinner dishes, no honey-do list. You take the little darlings to the movies, to your sister’s, to the mall, or anywhere that gets all of you out of the house for a while.

Does he have any hobbies? A magazine subscription to Car & Driver, Runners World, Muscle & Fitness, Field & Stream or Sports Illustrated shows you’re paying attention to his interests, even if you don’t share them.

Does he cook? A new saucepan or a sharp set of knives isn’t out of line for the man who fancies himself a gourmet. If his skills are limited to the grill, a new set of outdoor grilling tools is probably well overdue.

A deep thinker? Can’t go wrong with a gift certificate to your neighborhood bookstore, and the promise of an uninterrupted few hours browsing to his heart’s content.

Is he Dad of the Year? A special photograph of the kids – either taken by you or professionally done – nicely framed in a masculine style (vs. cutesy), gives him something to display on his desk.

Does he like sweets? Who doesn’t? How about a freshly baked batch of chocolate chip cookies, or even just a bag of Hershey’s kisses to keep in his desk drawer?

Of course, if all else fails – never underestimate the old saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. His favorite meal, served by candlelight (perhaps a little Sade or Sinatra on the stereo) is sure to be appreciated. And after dinner, who knows? Just how special and romantic was that card he gave you?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Toppled Tombstone Pins Vandal

Ok, here's a weird news story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution that I just had to pass along. It creeped me out a little, but also made me laugh. I'll summarize:

A man was found last week in a Lilburn, GA graveyard, pinned beneath a headstone.

Police arrested Ezekiel Dejesus-Rodriguez, 24, early Saturday morning shortly after pulling him out from under a granite gravestone.Lilburn police found him about 2:40 a.m. after answering a call about moaning and shouting in the area. They found him screaming "No!" in the graveyard, according to a police report.
(Apparently, this disrespectful jerk had gone to the cemetery in the middle of the night, and knocked over NINE headstones. The ninth grave marker (or whoever was under it *cue spooky music*) decided not to let him get away with it. The guy ended up with a broken leg.)

Now here's the rest of the story: according to the cemetery caretaker, by the following Wednesday, eight of the tombstones (except the one who pinned the jerk) were standing again, and he didn't know how they got that way!
All the other stones had been returned to their proper place Wednesday, he said."We have talked to a few people who have put their own stones up. But we can't find anyone who claims to have put someone else's stones up," he said."We don't know how they all got put up. And no one has touched that one."

So whaddya think? Did the spirits of that cemetery get revenge on the guy who desecrated their graves?

An accident? Gravity? Bad luck? All I know for sure is that I would hate to be lying in the dark, leg broken, pinned by the weight of a marble headstone, while the dead lay all around me. The dead I hadn't shown any respect for.

Gives me the shivers.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Few Feathers, Some Broken Eggshells

Well, it's official - my nest is empty.

My youngest son has moved into an apartment with three of his friends, and the house already seems so... well, empty.

I went into his room yesterday after he left and sat on the bed. Much of his stuff is still there, of course - the posters are still on the wall, the sports trophies are still on the shelf, the prized collection of glass animals that he's been gathering since he was a little boy (he's an animal lover and a Biology major) are in their case. I think those made me the saddest of all; young men don't play with little glass animal figurines, now do they? His priorities have shifted to bigger things (as well they should), like his friends and his grades and his social life and his future.

I helped him load a few boxes into his car yesterday, washed and folded his new sheets, bought him new pillows and a lamp, and generally kept a cheerful, upbeat attitude about the whole thing. But the whole time I was thinking, "It's the end of his childhood. I'll go to bed at night without knowing he's safe in his room, and when I wake up in the morning he won't be there. He won't be there ever again, not in the way it was before." And so, yes, I shed a few tears, alone there in his room, and I'll probably shed a few more.

I know it'll be okay. I know it's part of the pattern of life: we give birth to our children, but we don't own them. We spend the next eighteen years or so trying to give them wings to fly, but oh, how it hurts when the winds of change start blowing. Despite my feelings of sadness, I hope an updraft catches him and bears him aloft to where he can see the world laid out before him like a treasure trove. And I hope he chooses his treasures wisely, and handles them with care, just like he did those little glass animals.

They, along with his father and I, will still be here whenever he wants to visit.