Archive for April, 2009

I debated whether or not to write a review for the book, but in the end, as I read the first three in a two-week period, I decided to review the series even though I haven’t finished it. Terrible, I know.

In order: Moon Called mooncalled75
Blood Boundbloodbound75
Iron Kissedironkissed751

No spoilers. : )

Mercy is a mechanic who can change into a coyote. She’s also half Native American. Well, that intrigued me right there. Add vampires, werewolves, witches and a believable eastern Washington, which I know fairly well, and I was hooked.

The books are written in first person. I’m not a big fan of first person. It brings me in so close to the main character that I have to really like him or her. So if I’m going to read first person, the author has to nail it. Briggs did.

I started reading the first book because someone suggested the fourth book in the series and it sounded good. I ordered the first one off Amazon, started reading the day it came in the mail and couldn’t put it down. The day I finished it, I ordered the other two and cursed myself for not adding them the day before.

Briggs has an engaging writing style. Mercy is the kick-ass, wise cracking woman that we’ve come to love in the genre, but she manages to stay free of stereotype. She has her tender moments and she’s believable. As I said before, in first person, I have to love the main character and I didn’t mind seeing the world through Mercy’s eyes.

The plots in all three books work well alone. In fact, I read the third book before I read the second with no problem but together they coalesce into something that is greater than its parts.

That said, I did find things to nitpick. I don’t like when everyone falls in love with the, not beautiful, but spunky independent heroine. Briggs flirts with that big time in the second book. In the third book: Um… werewolves on leashes? I’m sorry. I don’t want to think anyone could mistake one for a giant dog especially after Briggs explained their front legs were jointed more like a bear than a dog. I think that stretches the bounds of credulity a bit.

None of that was enough to take away the enjoyment of reading. I love the world Briggs creates. Wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s a wonderful place to visit. I still have the fourth book to look forward to but the first book in her Alpha and Omega Novel’s just came in. Starting on that first.

Check our more of Patricia Briggs’s books here

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Congratulations to Paul Mitton who was brave enough to describe the tattoo. As promised, Paul, you can either have a copy of Perfect Circle or a future copy of The Devil You Know. So, are you a betting man? Also as promised, below is my description of the tattoo.


A dark tattoo twisted down the right side of his body, curving like flames across his chest and over his shoulder. Wide sinuous lines spiraled into an image like the sun across his abdomen before disappearing beneath the waist of his leggings. She’d seen tattoos before, but never one so feral, as though it represented nature itself.

Comments welcome : )

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Every once in a while you see a trailer for a book you just can’t wait to read. Silver Phoenix, by Cindy Pon is one of these. Even better, she has a contest where you just might be able to win the book. Seriously, check it out

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Guest blogging today, my daughter, D1.

V – vicadin, it takes the pain away. images5

W – water. You can’t live without it.


X – x rated TV. It’s sometimes hilariously funny and really what else goes with X?


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Weekend Gardener.

I didn’t do much in the garden this weekend, though it was the perfect weather. I picked all the oranges I could reach, trimmed a few branches hanging over the fence, thinned the apricots (this is hard, it feels like wasting fruit but I’ve learned from experience thinning is good–broken branches are not.) Transferred some lettuce and pulled a few weeds. I spent most of my gardening time on a ladder, which isn’t my favorite thing to do–call me klutz. When I write it all out, it sounds like a lot, but really, when I look at these pictures, all I see is things I need to do. : ) The hot spell brought the roses out fast and the callas went into overdrive. Both need trimming.  The blank spot in the picture below is where I removed the lavender, it didn’t like it there in the winter. I still haven’t found something to replace it. And yes, one day I’ll replace that fence. Either that or grow more vines. : )


I like how it’s progressing. In the picture below, you can see the avocado leaves agaisnt the brick. They are everywhere, as well as their little flowers that like to clog up my pond and filter. I really need to cut this bed back. You can’t see the beautiful dark purple Caesar’s Iris hidden by calla leaves. By the way, this is the first bed that I planted using a color theme. I tend to like how nature mixes colors.  Orange and purple, no problem, if you’re a flower. : )  This bed is purple, pink and white…. except for a dark red ivy geranium that you can’t see.


I haven’t written about them in a long time, but my coffee plant is doing very well. Amazing how much improved a plant can be when the three year old isn’t ‘picking’ it once a week? Just transferred the pineapple into a real pot. We’ll see how that goes, my banana plant still isn’t here. I think plant companies forget parts of Cali have an accelerated growth pattern. As in I need spring plants by March and summer blooming things by April. : )

You can’t see the pond, but I had to clean it again ( the heat wave ) My mom also brought over tadpoles. Yippee. Frogs! Next best thing to chickens. Of course my chickens, when I had them, didn’t seem to eat bugs and certainly didn’t eat the snails… where is my turtle?

Today I think I’ll don some gloves and tackle the mint you can’t see hiding under everything else. If you have any questions on any of these plants, let me know. I’m not an expert by any standard but I tend to research the plants I do have. : )

Have a wonderful weekend.

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What’s your sign?

Recently, I was writing a scene in which a man tries to pick up my MC in a bar. I wanted him to be smooth and arrogant to point of cocky, but it’s been a long time since anyone has tried to pick me up in a bar (the last time was at a football game and he actually said, ‘Do I know you from somewhere?’ He didn’t)

So I was a bit bereft of pick-up lines. I turned to, where else?, the Internet. I typed up ‘good pick up lines’ in Google and… oh boy.

Below is an example of what I found:

“You look a lot like my third wife (this next really deserves a “Vaudevillian” style rimshot) …of course, I’ve only been married twice!”


“I think you’re the light at the end of my tunnel.”


“I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?”


Are you a kleptomaniac-or did you steal my heart on purpose?


Your eyes are as dark as a castle moat by midnight. Lower your drawbridge and let me cross.


If you were a tear in my eye, I wouldn’t cry for fear of losing you.


Can you give me directions to your heart? I’ve seemed to have lost myself in your eyes



You look almost perfect…the only thing I can see that’s wrong is your lips…they’re not touching mine.



Is Your Dad A terrorist? Because you’re the “BOMB!”



(Take a look at the tag on the girls shirt, jacket, etc.) She would say,”What are doing” respond,”Oh, just checking to see if you were made in Heaven.”



I hope you know CPR. Because you take my breath away!



“Girl, after looking at you I could gouge my eyes out. (Girl Is Somewhat Shocked) “because at least then I could die knowing that the last thing I saw is the most beautiful thing on this earth.”


” So how was heaven when you left?”

 ________________________________________ ________________________________________

(Pick up a flower and walk over to girl.) “I was just showing this flower how beautiful you are.”



If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together.



(Guy looks at the tag on the girls shirts and says…) Yep Made in heaven.



Are You from Tennessee? Because You’re the only ten-I-See.



If I follow you home will you keep me?



“Do you have a quarter I can borrow?” (No.) “Oh, I needed to call God and tell him one of his angels is missing.”



“I’m having a really bad day and it always makes me fell better when I see a pretty girl smile so would you smile for me?”



(Walk up behind girl and point fingers shaped like gun into her back) “You’re under arrest!” (For what?) “For stealing my heart.”


you: How are you feeling today? her: Fine. you: I asked how you were feeling, not how you looked.


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Jessica Faust at Bookends has a wonderful blog today on queries. If you’re a writer and don’t follow Bookends, you should and I don’t say that lightly. Jessica gives common sense, friendly and knowledgeable advice about the writing industry and the quest for publication and readers

In this blog, she suggests you find a few friends (50 or so) who haven’t read your MS to proofread your query before you send it to agents.  She also says if you aren’t getting at least one request for every 20-25 or so queries you send, you really need to stop and evaluate your query and then gives two reasons why it’s failing.

I love her ‘no excuses’ policy. Blaming others, the industry or the market doesn’t help your book hit the shelves any faster.

For the record let me say I hate writing queries. I don’t know many writers who like the damn things. But it is a craft we must learn.

So if any of you are interested in reading my query before I send it to agents, let me know. I’ll do the same for you. 

Now folks, I’m going to get some more coffee. Was up late finished Patricia’s Briggs’s Iron-Kissed… yes, it was that good, review to come. ; )

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Last week, Nathan Bransford  of Curtis Brown offered readers of his blog a chance to play agent. He posted 50 queries and hidden in the mix were queries from three published authors. The challenge was to find those queries. 300 people participated.

Well, from my brief stint as agent, this is what I learned: I’d make a terrible agent. After awhile, the words started blurring together, the concepts sounded dull, the writing stilted. In other words, I grew inpatient. First let me say that I didn’t play long. I read the first ten or so and realized I didn’t have time for it and stopped. I mean I have a job… and then it struck me, okay, so do agents. They read queries much as I edit other writer’s manuscripts. I have to carve out time for it; it’s not part of my ‘job’.

That thought was quickly followed by realization that I couldn’t read past ten and agents read up to 100 a day.

As a writer, I’m all for personalized rejections; as an agent, there is no way. Spending even two or three minutes each on, say, 90 rejection letters,…you do realize we’re talking hours out of my day. I’d much rather read the next query. And keep in mind, that next query might be yours.

One of the ten I ‘rejected’ turned out to be from a published author. Query # 9

31% of the ‘agents’ rejected it, while 60% of real agents requested more. I read the query several times… I still don’t see it.

But this is the one that got me, that made me sit down and say, huh? Query #39 

I didn’t get this far so I had the benefit of reading the query knowing it went on to reach #33 on the NY Times best seller list. I still can’t see what agents saw. She starts with “I’ve been writing seriously for nearly two years.” Was it a joke before then? ONLY two years? I suppose its better than, “I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon” but… I’ve read this kind of opening critiqued by agents. I’ve heard other published writers say never start out this way…

The entire first paragraph is her bio…. How man times have I read in the ‘how to write queries’ blogs, books and posts that you should put this info at the end? What’s important is the story, start with it. Countless. More… she starts describing the book with a rhetorical question! Now I’ve heard agents come down hard on this as one of their big pet peeves. And because of this, I’ve eradicated them from my queries.

I was not alone. Only 15% of the ‘agents’ requested to see more of the story based on the query, but that’s not my point. New York Times Best Seller. Ouch.

Which proves, to me at least, that agents must know what they are doing and maybe I don’t, as far as agenting anyway.

So what did I come away with?

1.     I’m not cut out to be an agent.

2.     Never judge anyone’s job until you’ve tried it.

3.     I respect agents much more than I did before

4.     While there are guidelines and personal preferences, there are no hard and fast rules, no approved format, for queries. It will be your voice, your writing style, and the story that hooks an agent, not the lack of a rhetorical question or the placement of the bio.

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ABC’s of Happiness

I’m going to try really hard to come up with these but honestly every letter today says, ‘my grandma is getting better… ‘


S – Sand. At the beach. Nuff said.



T – Turkey sandwiches. I don’t know when I started eating turkey sandwiches, but I could survive on them. Turkey with dried cranberries, turkey and swiss, turkey with olives, swiss, lettuce and tomato… well you get the general idea. Lucky for me, D4 loves them too. I have to admit, some weekends, we eat them for lunch and dinner only varying the toppings.




U – Undivided attention. This is hard for me. I’m a multi-tasker probably born but certainly bred. As a child I used to play a game: How many chores can I do at the same time? If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you already know what a dweeb I am was growing up. I still do it. Having five children makes it a necessity. However, sometimes I have to break out of my ‘accomplish’ mode and simply pay attention to one child. I admit, sometimes I do this during ‘homework’ time or ‘you and I are going to clean your room’, but it’s also ‘lets go and throw a ball’ or play a game or even cuddle on the couch to watch a cartoon. Whenever I do it, I realize what special people my children are. Better yet, I’ve made them happy and having your kids happy, well, that’s priceless.



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Stream of consciousness

The hall echoes with my own footprints. Anger. Frustration. Pain. I will rail against this, I will deny, I will. I will. I will walk and I will remember.

I’ve been here before.

The hall is different. Gone are the threadbare carpets, replaced by decorative laminate floors. I feel a peculiar mix of sorrow and relief to discover the pointillism is gone. Bare walls of white embossed paper, blank as blank; as blank as I seem to be.

I visualize the hospital scene drifting like paper to the floor. I cut out the pointillism too; the scene I so recently posted. Is it irony or my brain’s penchant to grasp the surreal and avoid the reality?

With something like muscle memory, I open the door. The air is thick. The waiting room has not escaped the decorators touch and it is with dream-like steps I enter a place so familiar yet muted, changed.

I don’t want to be here; there is no where else I want to be.

Gone are the stained chairs, gone too are the scarred tables. The new print is nice, almost cheerful, but I am suddenly angry. They have changed the surface yet the walls are infused with suffering and pain. They throb, bleed, ache with it.

I have gone back in time. The child I carried in my womb now clutches my hand but the faces are the same. There is desperate hope here, hope only because not to hope means defeat. And, here, defeat means a chasm you will never escape.

My spine stiffens, the smile grows on my face and even I can almost believe it’s genuine. I will not let her see me scared.

But I am.

She is everything, she is my childhood, she is my stability, she is and because she is, I am.

I know she can not live forever. But I don’t ask for forever. I ask for one more day and yes, tomorrow I will ask the same. Just one more day.

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