Catching Up

Here we go again – if you follow this blog, by now, you know I’m probably one of the worst bloggers ever. The last several months have been incredibly busy, and what time I’ve had to devote toward writing (anything), has gone toward the projects I’ve been bouncing between for months, rather than this blog. One project is now complete, the other is thisclose to being done. Family issues have taken a chunk of time as well, and unfortunately, the blog was the sacrifice while I worked through it all. I still haven’t figured out how I managed when I was working full time. While I now have more time available, I find it fills up much more quickly. And no matter how carefully I plan out my days and weeks, something pops up nearly every single day to trash that. However, I take great satisfaction in knowing several of my house projects are also done, though that list seems to grow way faster than I can keep up with.
I’ve decided to try some new things here – I’ll be hosting some author interviews and the like, and I thought I would also do some brief reviews of some of my recent reading material. I’ve managed to read a few books while at the gym (thank you Kindle App!), it’s a great way to make that 45 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical go much faster.
But before I get to all that, I figured I should share a little about the projects I’ve been working on. As I may have mentioned before, I am a HUGE fan of History Channel’s original show, Vikings. I have long planned to write a series about Vikings, and the show inspired me to push that plan to the top of my ever-growing list of books I plan to write. I recently finished the first in what is currently a trilogy, though I may want to add to that. I had a lot of fun writing it, even through the dark moments of the story.  I’ll share more info on the release of that book as I get it. In the meantime, I can’t wait to get on to the next books. I already know that book 2 will be a deeply emotional book. The heroine is introduced in book 1, and at that point, she’s not very likeable, so I have a tough road ahead of me to redeem her. But her story is a bit dark, she’s suffered tremendously, and that’s part of what drove her behavior in book 1. I’m looking forward to revisiting the gritty and bloody world of 9th century Scandinavia.
The other project is the third in my Medieval Warriors series. I’m also enjoying this – these characters have been kicking around in my head for a very long time, though their story has changed drastically from its first incarnation. It’s also a bit longer than the first two books in the series, and I am calling it a prequel, since it tells the story of Gillian and Royce, the parents of Marissa and Rowan from the first two books. I also have a fourth book planned in that series – and it’s got a cool paranormal twist!
And lo and behold, just this last week I think I solved the huge plot dilemma I had for a shelved project. This one is a vampire tale, and incorporates several BDSM elements. I’ve combined both of my favorite genres with this one! This story also has some very dark moments, which I love to write. So that story is now back in the queue for finishing/polishing.
Last but not least, summer is finally here. I love summer – it is my absolute favorite season. That may have something to do with the fact I was born the day before the summer solstice. I have found over the years that people tend to prefer the season they were born in most of all. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally, most of the people I’ve discussed this theory with have agreed. So if you’re a summer baby like me, enjoy! For those who prefer the colder climates, don’t worry – they’ll be here again before we know it.

NJRWA Put Your Heart in a Book Conference

Many of you know I usually attend the NJRWA conference every year, and this year was another good one. From the workshops to the awards to the parties to hanging out with friends, the bookfair and meeting new readers, everything was wonderful as always.
I was a little disappointed with the hotel service this year – they seemed a little unorganized, which I thought was unusual. Usually the Renaissance Marriott is in top form, from the preparedness of the hotel to the professionalism of the staff. There were a lot of other things going on this year as well which contributed to the moments of chaos – a couple of airline meetings (airline pilots, in uniform. I was enjoying the view! lol), a 50th birthday party and a wedding, which actually took place somewhere else, but they all stayed in the hotel. Made for some interesting sights. But we had a blast watching it all and partying together!
It was fun reconnecting with friends I don’t see often, and making new ones. And the highlight was when my local RWA Chapter’s very own Wendy S. Marcus took the Golden Leaf for Best Contemporary Series for Secrets of a Shy Socialite. Congratulations Wendy! You rock and it was fun sharing the win with you. Our other member finalist, Kat Attalla was robbed! lol I jest, of course, but China Blue is one of her best. I can imagine how hard it must be to judge the finalists since they are all among the best books of 2012-2013.
All in all, things went very well, and as always, my motivation and inspiration are at their highest levels when I return. I’ve been very productive the last few days, despite my little guy breaking his wrist and having to take him for x-rays and doctor appointments and the like. We have another today, and he may get a new cast – one his friends can sign. At least that’s what he’s hoping for. I never saw any kid so excited to be wearing a cast. I suspect it won’t last much longer.
In the meantime, I am prepping a dark and kinky vampire tale that has been languishing for an agent to take a look at. I’m also working on finishing up Warrior’s Possession. I should know better than to work on two books at a time, yet somehow that always seems to be just what happens. I figure I’ll ride the conference high as long as I can and get as much done as possible.
Also, for anyone who is interested, I kicked off a blog tour this week for the Bayou Magiste Chronicles. Watch my announcements on Twitter and Facebook to see where I am on any given day and come on by to check out some sexy excerpts and enter the contest. I’ll be giving away books, swag and other goodies!

Who’s Your Favorite Vampire?

So, it’s October. The time of year when all ghosts and ghouls and witches and monsters come out to play. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the fall, the weather turning colder always bums me out. Hey, what can I say? I’m a summer baby, born on the summer solstice, as a matter of fact, so I like my weather warm and my sun endless.
But I digress. This time of year is actually pretty cool, for one big reason. It’s vampire season! As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a fan of all things vampires. Even as a kid, I was drawn to the bloodsuckers. Of course, growing up in the Twentieth Century, when vampires first started to become sexy to the population in general, helps with that. Prior to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, vampires were pretty much reviled and feared. No one wanted to be seduced into an immortal life of darkness by one of the creatures. The perceptions of vampires back then were also very different – they were filthy, evil monsters whose only intent was to kill. People went to all sorts of crazy rituals to ensure dead bodies didn’t come back to stalk the living. The natural effects of a body’s decomposition also lent to the belief in vampires. Modern science has debunked a lot of the cultural beliefs about vampires by explaining this very process. Sort of takes the fun out of it, if you ask me!
Through the years there were several vamps who caught my eye. I do remember watching Dark Shadows with my grandmother, and though I didn’t particularly find the Barnabas Collins of the 60’s very sexy to my child’s perception, I most definitely rooted for him to come out on top.
From there, my next big recollection was seeing the play Dracula on Broadway in the late 70’s. I think I was 14. Raul Julia had just taken over for Frank Langella who had originated the role and then gone on to act in the movie. Can I just say, from that moment on, vampires had me hooked, and I was ready to be bitten! When they staked him at the end (my aunt still laughs about this), the entire audience heard me yell, “NO!” But who can blame me? I mean, really! Look at this guy! Is he one of the hottest vamps you’ve ever seen?
As soon as the movie version came out, I was there. And fell in love with The Count all over again:
Again, I ask, how can you resist? Seriously? To this day, I still find Frank Langella incredibly sexy. He’s one of the ones who I think has aged well over the years.
As time went on, and I watched/read lots of vampire tales, I found many really sexy ones, some others who made my skin crawl.
Of the ones I like, and always recall with fondness (and likely some drooling) there was this guy:
Yes, the remake of Dark Shadows, where I fell in love with Barnabas for real this time, and discovered Adrian Paul, yes, the Adrian Paul of Highlander fame and my obsession for most of the 90’s and a good part of the early 2000’s. And now, still, to be honest!
But Ben Cross made a fantastic Barnabas, right amount of tortured hero/vindictive villain and for all the right reasons! Sexy, yet unconventionally in a lot of ways.
But my true favorite vampire is this one:
Few people remember this show, which cast Geordie Johnson as The Count in a campy little TV series called, what else? Dracula: The Series. It was silly and sexy, at times solidly spooky, but always good fun. I thought the idea of Dracula living as a modern day businessman was a hoot. Then I thought, if he could do it, how many other vampires were there throughout Europe who had made a success of themselves as seemingly ordinary businessmen? Turns out, more than you’d think! At least in my twisted little mind. One of them in particular sprang to life and demanded I write his story – Adrian duLac. He is much older than Drac, nearly 2,000 years old, and though he may physically resemble this early 90’s portrayal of The Count in some ways, he is not as much of a parody, and as Katerina Romanov finds out, quite capable of love. Not to mention, the man possesses some serious sexual prowess. After all, what kind of vampire would he be if he couldn’t kiss a woman senseless, among other things?
Anyway, in honor of Halloween and the recent release of The Taste of Magic, I’m giving away a copy. Tell me – are you a fan of vampires and the various desires they supposedly represent? Who is your favorite vampire and why? Comment here, and be eligible to win!