Oh, the Insanity!

Pic Credit: The Columnist.org

To describe the last few weeks as insane is an understatement. For realz. O.o As you’ve noticed, I’ve been so, so absent from blogging. Funnily enough, I’ve also been quite absent in my writing life as well. With a new job comes new tasks, new systems, and quite frankly, I’m no longer bored at the dayjob, lol. So instead of being bored I’m overwhelmed, and it looks like it’s going to remain this way for several months until I can establish processes that’ll bring things down to a “manageable” level.

But, in the meantime, there’s FANTASTIC news on the horizon. Not only have learned more about myself and my mental processes, but I’ve also learned an amazing plotting device from the ever-awesome and wonderful Charissa Weaks. And because of this I’ve not only been able to create a unique plot for a new book, but that plotting turned into–OMG–a trilogy. With series potential.

Yeah…so when I said insane, I seriously meant way above the idea of crazy, and way the hell across the world from the write-rubber-walled room. *grins*

Please bear with me while I gather what little sanity I have left. Sooner or later the muse will be in overdrive once more and there will be a LOT more posting happening. Especially a few posts on some of the research I have planned on London, witchcraft, and the occasional daemon. 😉

Video Fun Friday #2

I’ve had way too much fun enjoying these videos this week. Between a Sesame Street parody of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, bad NFL lip-reading, and a boat rapping to Eminen, there’s something here today for everyone.

Video #1: A Bad Lip Reading of The NFL

 

Video #2: Eminem Rap Boat **Language Warning**

 

Video #3: Sesame Street’s “The Hungry Games: Catching Fur” <– This is my FAVORITE by far this week 🙂

 

 

Video Fun Friday #1

I watch way too many hilarious You Tube videos throughout the week. So I decided to start sharing at least one with all of you on Fridays. So … welcome to Video Fun Friday!

Video #1: This one’s just too cute to pass up. I really need to post a video or two of my cats since they enjoy playing with water, too. 🙂

 

 

Video #2: Tom Hiddleston impersonating a velociraptor! LOVE this one! And I discovered this jewel this morning, thanks to Tracy Dawn on Twitter. 🙂

 

 

Do you have any fun videos that you’d like to share? If so, please send along! The hubs is already on this task, so I’m sure we’ve got a LOT more fun videos coming our way. 😉

Stay tuned for more videos next week! And happy Friday, everyone!

Special Excerpt from A Touch of Darkness by Yelena Casale & Tina Moss

A Touch of DarknessLast week I reviewed A TOUCH OF DARKNESS by Yelena Casale & Tina Moss. And this week I have a special excerpt from Yelena & Tina. 🙂

Take it away, ladies!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gabe might be the hero of the story and he is quite the sexy-broody-mysterious type, but if Yelena and I are honest…well…we sort of have a soft spot for bad boy, Rafe. He’s the kind of character you want to kill for his arrogance, but you just can’t seem to help but like. The ultimate in suave and sophistication, you’ll rarely catch him without a suit on, unless of course it’s in bed. We hope you like reading him as much as we enjoyed writing him! This special excerpt is the first time we meet the smooth-talking Rafe.

EXCERPT:

Several decades ago, he’d known Rafe… Yet, friends wouldn’t have been the term for their complex relationship, in fact bitter rivals fit far more. Having to come to Rafe now for help ate at Gabe.

“Still as arrogant as ever, I see.” Rafe jumped over the front of the desk in one easy motion. Soundlessly, he landed and leaned back. The mod chandelier spotlighted him. A white collar peeked from under a black designer vest. The middle button of a sleek coat hinted at a tight chest and trim waist. Long tailored slacks marked him as a half-foot above the average height. He’d star in many a woman’s fantasy, and proudly made such fantasies reality. “If you’ve come to see me, you want something, bad.” He grinned. “How much do you want it, Gabe? What’s it worth to you?”

Gabe continued to peer at Rafe without as much as a blink.

“You know, I think you should beg for it.” Rafe motioned to the floor. “That would really get my blood going. You, down on your knees, begging. Perfect.”

“You haven’t changed.” Gabe took a step forward, his face riddled with disdain. “All this time here and you’re the same, if not worse. A perverse mess.”

“Perverse? Interesting choice of words. As I remember, Ariel called it…passionate.” Rafe’s deliberate pause left the room silent before he continued, “This of course when she, how do you put it…mounted…yes that’s it, when she mounted my defense to the council.”

Gabe remained motionless.

“So, Ariel means nothing now, huh? It’s only when I push your pride I get a rise out of you. You haven’t changed either.” Rafe sneered. “All right, then, tell me what was Ariel’s defense for your infinite arrogance?”

Pushing the jibe aside, Gabe said without feeling, “No defense. She’s part of the council now.”

A roar of laughter echoed in the sparse office. “Conniving…ha…brilliant. Then, she was responsible for your fall. Oh, this just gets better and better.”

“I didn’t come here to play games or reminisce!” Gabe’s anger had reached its threshold and spilled forth unchecked. He took another step forward.

“Ah see, it wasn’t so hard. That’s what I’ve been waiting for.” Rafe beamed revealing a layer of perfect white teeth. “Face it, Gabe. You’re here to stay whether you realize it yet or not.”

Furious with himself for giving into Rafe’s taunts so quick, Gabe took a firm step back and said nothing.

Rafe waved a dismissive hand. “No matter. On to business…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yeah … I sort of a soft spot for bad boys, too, ladies. And Rafe is definitely no exception. 😉

About the Authors: Yelena and Tina

Yelena Casale was born in Kiev, Ukraine and came to New York when she was 13, which, gave her a great perspective into two very different cultures. Being very curious and inquisitive, Yelena has always been an avid reader with a wide range of literary interests. Writing has been her passion since she first learned to write, and it only grew over time. Yelena is especially fond of reading and writing urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Yelena can follow Yelena on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Tina Moss is a writer of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5’1″ Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that  fierce things come in small packages. You can follow Tina on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Don’t forget you can still enter Tina & Yelena’s giveaway for a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card + an e-ARC of A TOUCH OF DARKNESS.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!
Melinda

Review: A Touch of Darkness by Yelena Casale & Tina Moss

I’m SO excited to share my review today for Yelena and Tina’s debut novel, A TOUCH OF DARKNESS!

A Touch of DarknessBook Blurb:

Cassie’s working for a tightwad boss at a pretentious NYC diner, dealing with paralyzing pain that doctors can’t diagnose, and trying to hide her hands that glow purple whenever she …well, whenever.

So, when a mysterious stranger walks out of her dreams and into her life to spout some nonsense about her being a mythical creature, she chalks it up to one more crazy thing to add to her it’s-a-crappy-life list. Yet, when the stranger’s predictions start to come true, she discovers a world that could shake up her humdrum existence.

My Review:

Ask any writing friend who knows me and they will tell you that I am picky, picky, picky about my urban fantasies (well, any book in general, but this genre even more so). Paranormal Romances are my thing because of the … well, the romance. So when I switch over to Urban Fantasy, the story, characters, and writing needs to be spot-on in order to keep my attention.

AND THIS BOOK DID JUST THAT! 😀

Wow! Ok, so Cassie has a huge problem–her hands glow purple whenever she becomes emotionally stressed. And to make matters worse, whenever the purple-glow comes about, she also experiences debilitating pain. So when A TOUCH OF DARKNESS opens, we’re immediately drawn into the mystery of why this happens to Cassie.

Then we meet Gabe.

Gabe comes to the city from another realm in search of Cassie … and he can help Cassie find the answers she seeks. But there’s one problem–Gabe isn’t from this world, so he has NO idea how to socialize with women of this world. So you I’m sure you can imagine the delicious tension that happens between these two upon their first meeting. 🙂

Yelena and Tina have given us a new, unique urban fantasy world with vibrant settings, worldbuilding, true-to-life character personalities, and intense conflict and tension. I’m definitely excited to get my hands on the next book in the Key series. 😀

4 Stars

A TOUCH OF DARKNESS released on October 31st–just in time for Halloween! Be sure to add this great entry into the Urban Fantasy genre to your TBR list on Goodreads. 😀

Yelena and TinaAbout the Authors:

Yelena Casale was born in Kiev, Ukraine and came to New York when she was 13, which, gave her a great perspective into two very different cultures. Being very curious and inquisitive, Yelena has always been an avid reader with a wide range of literary interests. Writing has been her passion since she first learned to write, and it only grew over time. Yelena is especially fond of reading and writing urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Yelena can follow Yelena on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Tina Moss is a writer of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5’1″ Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that  fierce things come in small packages. You can follow Tina on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the Giveaway:

Yelena and Tina are giving away a copy of A TOUCH OF DARKNESS and a $10 gift card! So don’t forget to enter for your chance to win!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check back next Thursday! We’re going to have both Yelena and Tina on the blog with an excerpt from this fantastic book. 🙂

Happy Reading and Writing, everyone!
Melinda

Gotta Go Dark…

I had hoped to avoid this, but I guess you can’t fight City Hall, can you? O.o

This is the time of year that’s absolutely insane for me–mostly at the day job where I’m usually stuffing 60 hours worth of work into a 40-hour work week.

So. Not. Fun.

But I love my job and it keeps me on my toes. The only problem is that something always has to give around this time of year. Unfortunately, it’s consistently blogging that has to fall to the wayside since my writing takes precedence over anything else.

Don’t worry though! Things should calm down in about 2 weeks, which is perfect because I have a special treat on its way to the blog …

Tina Moss and Yelena Casale’s debut novel, A Touch of Darkness, is releasing on the 15th!

AND, AND, AND!

I’m going to review their book on the 17th!

AND, AND, AND!

Then Tina and Yelena are going to pay us a visit here on the blog on the 24th with a special excerpt–and if we’re really nice, they may do a giveaway. 😀

AND, AND, AND!

On Halloween, I’m going to host my own little giveaway!

Be sure to check back later this month! In the meantime, here’s to welcoming the internet darkness for two weeks! 😉

Happy Writing, everyone!
Melinda

It’s Liebster Blog Award Time! Eleven Facts About Me

HUGE thank you to Tina Moss for this Liebster Award! 😀

liebster-award

The Liebster Award gives bloggers the opportunity to share a glimpse of themselves by sharing eleven random facts, and by answering eleven questions from the nominator.

Eleven Fun Facts About Me:

  1. I’m 6’1″ and I love wearing 3-4″ heels.
  2. The hubs is 6’10”–hence the reason I wear heels in the first place. 😉
  3. I enjoy tying my characters to a corner and forcing them into spilling their guts.
  4. My favorite band of all time are The Beatles.
  5. I loathe hand-washing dishes. Blech!
  6. I’m a music junkie and know how to play the flute, the sax, and the piano.
  7. I’m also a movie junkie. Name a movie and I can guarantee I’ve seen it. My all time favorite? The Breakfast Club.
  8. I once worked as a debt collector. Not the worst job I’ve ever had, by the way.
  9. I collect dolphins and Disney snowglobes. I even have a dolphin-shaped slinky. 🙂
  10. I have an insane love of avocados. Yummers…. *runs to fix homemade guac*
  11. I’m a deep-fried southern gal at heart. Only those closest to me get a true taste of the sassy twang that can fly from my lips at a moment’s notice.

Eleven Questions:

  1. Who is the author you admire the most? Jane Austen
  2. Why to you write (in five words or less)? Writing keeps me sane.
  3. What if your favorite genre to read? Paranormal Romance–gotta love those Alpha males. 😉
  4. Who is your biggest inspiration? My husband and just about every fantastic writing and author I’ve come to know and love via the online writing community. They’re all so wonderful and they push me every single day to be better and do better.
  5. What advice would you give to new writers? Patience, young Padawan. Patience.
  6. What is your favorite hobby? Besides writing? And reading? Cooking. 😉
  7. Are you a cat or a dog person? Both, but right now we have two cats. When the backyard’s complete and a fence is put up, we’ll have an Irish Wolfhound.
  8. Where is your ideal vacation spot? Trinidad & Tobago.
  9. What is a place you want to visit, but haven’t yet? London.
  10. What is the meaning of life in one word (or number)? Hmm … Purpose.
  11. If you’re on a desert island, what are three things you must have? My Nook with many books loaded (and an endless battery supply, of course), laptop or notebook w/ pen, and a camera.

And now, in the spirit of the Liebster Blog Award, I’m supposed to select/tag eleven fellow bloggers. However, I’d like to open this award to everyone and hope that you’ll snag this opportunity to share some fun facts with all us–and, of course, answer these eleven questions:

  1. Where were you born?
  2. What’s your favorite book?
  3. What’s your favorite author?
  4. What scares you the most in life?
  5. Describe your “happy” place in three words or less.
  6. What’s your favorite movie?
  7. Favorite TV show?
  8. If you were in The Walking Dead right now, what would be your weapon of choice: shotgun, machete, bow & arrow?
  9. Speaking of noms–oh, brains!–what’s your favorite candy?
  10. Are you a coffee drinker? Or do you prefer tea?
  11. If you could have dinner with one person, famous or not, living or dead, who would it be?

The Liebster Rules:

  1. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers.
  2. Each blogger should post 11 facts about himself/herself.
  3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions that are asked by the nominating blogger.
  4. Choose 11 new blogger to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post.
  5. Create 11 new questions for your nominees.
  6. Go back to their page and tell them they’ve been nominated.
  7. No tag backs.

I’d love to hear from you! Would you like to participate in the Leibster Blog Award? If so, just snag the questions, copy the rules and share away!

Are You a Pen Addict?

Hi, my name is Melinda. I’m an author and a pen addict. *waves*

My obsession started when I was in high school. At first, it was fun making notes in so many colors. History was purple. Math was green. Journalism was blue. Chemistry was red.
Then I went to college, and the same thing happened.

Next thing I knew, when I was out of college and back home, I had a drawer overflowing with pens. I’m talking 20 different orange pens, 15 different purples, 10 different pinks, etc..

To rectify my pen addict ways, I cleared out my pen stash and took two large Ziploc bags full of pens with me to work and gave them to a co-worker. Figured her daughter might want to start her own stash. 😉

So here I am, seven years later, and I’ve apparently relapsed. I haven’t accumulated as much as I had back then, but I’m *ahem* well on my way.

Oh! And I’m not just a pen addict, I’m a pen thief! If you let me borrow a pen and it’s a smooth talker? Keep an eye on it ’cause it might end up my purse. If I’m in the doctor’s office and I find a drug pen I like, it’s mine (I totally swiped one with Viagra written on it one time 🙂 ). Don’t worry about your kids, I really don’t want them. I just wanna abduct your pens! 😀

Just to illustrate my addiction, here’s the stash at my office:

Stash #1 at Le Office

Stash #1 at Le Office

Stash #2 at Le Office

Stash #2 at Le Office

Petite Stash at Le Office

Petite Stash at Le Office

Here’s the stash in my back pack that I carry with me every day:

Stash in Le Backpack

Stash in Le Backpack

Here’s my stash at home:

Stash #1 at Maison (French for home)

Stash #1 at Ma Maison
Feeling Frenchy Today 🙂

Stash #2 at Ma Maison

Stash #2 at Ma Maison

Hmmm … that’s actually not as bad as what I’ve been told. Or maybe I’m in denial?

Your turn! Are you a pen addict? How many pens are lying around in front of you right now? What about hiding in your drawers? Your bag? Your purse? Do we need to start a Pen Addicts Anonymous group? 😉

More Gits and Shiggles

Dear Wednesday,

You puzzle me. You signify the middle of the week, yet also remind us there are still two more days before the weekend.

But don’t worry, Wednesday. You will not beat me. For I have funnies to put a smile on my face and keep me laughing until then.

So … nice try? Maybe next time? Pooey on you? Which would you prefer I say to you this week?

Sincerely Yours,
Still Smiling 🙂

Here’s some laughs to keep you going ’til Friday! Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Supernatural Season 7 Outtakes and Funny Stuff
 
Who doesn’t love to laugh at Jensen and Jared?
 
 
 
Feed Me from Simon’s Cat
 
Simon’s Cat never fails to make you smile. 🙂
 
 
 
Jeff Dunham and Peanut as Batnut
 
“You’re Batnut’s butler. The Nutler!
 
 

The Highlighter-Infused Crazy List Maker

 


My lists went from plain and boring to
fun and rainbow-colored.
I bet you were wondering who I might’ve been referring to by that title. *raises hand* Yup, that’s me. And I’m willing bet this is some of you as well. Though you might lean more towards the “list” part of that title and not the “highlighter-infused crazy”, am I right? 😉

I’m as guilty as ever for being so far OCD that I not only make To Do Lists for everything, but I color-code said lists. And I make no apologies. Why? Because these To Do Lists keep me and my life straight. Without them, I’d get nothing done and would end up so disorganized and discombobulated that Writer Husband would have to check me into a mental facility (though I think he’s starting to find other reasons to get me checked in).

Here’s the method to my madness:   
  • Dayjob To-Do List:
    • Title: “To Do: Week of X/X”
      • I list all items that are due to be done during the week. Then I follow-up the items with the day they’re due (usually in parenthesis). I normally start the next week’s list on Friday afternoons, and keep adding to it as more things come up during the week.
      • Then I highlight each item a color based on its due date:
        • Monday – Pink
        • Tuesday – Orange
        • Wednesday – Yellow
        • Thursday – Green
        • Friday – Blue
    • Why I run it like this:
      • On a white sheet of paper with only blue or black ink, it started to get annoying to have to actually read through every item in order to find the ones I needed to do that day. While I could’ve made a chart with a box for each day to help keep the daily due dates straight, that also took too long (and wasn’t as much fun). So by color-coding the due dates, it made it easier to seek out the pink highlights on Monday, the orange on Tuesday, and so on and so forth. (I also keep a daily day planner, but that’s slowly fallen by the wayside in favor of this To Do List)
    • Comments I’ve received on this list form coworkers (using initials to protect identities):
      • “You’re so organized!” -M <- Notice she didn't call me crazy. :)
      • “That’s actually not a bad idea. I need to start doing that.” -C <- I immediately handed this person a pack of highlighters to get 'em started.
      • “Ooo, pretty!” -V <- Why yes, definitely pretty. The list makes me smile every time I look at it.
      • “Ummm … you know you possibly might be certifiable, right?” -D <- Um, this doesn't compute.
 
Now, I also have two other To-Do Lists that I visit daily: Home Life and Writing Life. The Home Life is nowhere near as detailed as the dayjob, and neither is the Writing Life. But my Writing Life To-Do List can be just as complicated.
 

Writing Life To-Do List:
  • Title: “Get ‘Er Done!” 
    • I have 3 sub-lists for this one: Long Term Goals, Monthly Goals, and Weekly Goals. So I basically keep track of my career goals while breaking it down into a smaller, more detail-oriented goal listing. And I keep each list separate on three different worksheet tabs in Excel.
    • Why I Run it Like This:
      • Looking at your Long Term Goals daily can be overwhelming. For me, I’d never get anything done because I’d end up paralyzing myself staring at a goal such as Get published within the next X years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s my goal and something I’m gonna make happen, but …
      • The Writing Life is all about taking things one step at a time. And most steps are small in the grander scheme of things, such as drafting and/or revising. Seeing larger goals in the To-Do List when I’m trying to focus on the here and now, the smaller goals, overwhelms me. So I prefer to separate these lists/goals so I can concentrate on eating my elephant one small bite at a time.
    • Comments:
      • Nada! This list is just for my eyes. So there’s really no one to hold me accountable. Though let’s be honest, if you don’t get it done you’re only letting yourself down, and that’s the worst possible person to disappoint, right?
    • My Favorite of these Lists:
      • The Weekly Goals List. Each item is a small step in the bigger picture and just seeing everything crossed off on a particular week makes me feel so, so good.
      • I even have a column entitled, “Why did you not get this done, nimrod?”
        • If I’m having a horrible week and just couldn’t seem to get anything done on my list, having this column is how I hold myself accountable. Maybe I need to adjust my schedule? Adjust the To-Do List itself, not put as many items on there? Or maybe I need to stop slacking off? Whatever the reason, it’s a good rule of thumb to learn from the mistake and move forward.

  
Tips for Making & Keeping To-Do Lists

  • Every item on your list should be SMART:
    • S = Specific: Make your goal clear and well-defined
    • M = Measurable: Can you track the success of this goal?
    • A = Attainable/Actionable: Is the goal a challenge? Something you can achieve?
    • R = Realistic: Is it within your reach? Something you can achieve?
    • T = Time: Does the goal have a deadline? Is the deadline workable/achievable?
  • Hang/Post your To-Do List somewhere you’ll see on a daily and/or hourly basis. The constant reminder of what you need to get done will be a great motivator.
  • Don’t kick yourself too hard if an item doesn’t get checked off (unless you’re contracted). I tend to be very hard on myself, but I’ve learned to get a little lax when it comes to missing an item on my list. That just means there’s more to do the next day. 🙂

Additional Resources on the Interwebz:

 


Your turn: Do you use To-Do Lists? Are you as neurotic diligent as I am? Or more lax? What tricks have you come across that have helped you knock the items off your list?