Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winner of Blood of the Maple

The winner of the download of Blood of the Maple is:

Julie W!

Just let me know if you want .pdf or .epub, and I'll mail it out to you.

P.S.: Once I know the name of the winner for the Grand Prize I'll update this post.

UPDATE: Congrats to YADIRA for winning the Grand Prize!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop! What's a blog hop? It's an opportunity to win prizes, that's what!

To win a copy of Blood of the Maple, just comment here on my blog.

I'll post the winner, then ask you to contact me at danamariebell AT gmail DOT com with your email address and your choice of either .pdf or .epub. It's that simple.

Each of the participating authors is offering a prize on their website (you'll have to check them out to find out what). And best of all, there's a Grand Prize of a color Nook pre-loaded with over thirty books! The links to the individual give-aways are below. To enter, just hop on over to the author's blog and follow their instructions for entering. For a chance at the Grand Prize, you'll need to click here.

Here are the participating authors, with links to their give-aways:

These are the books that will be loaded onto the Grand Prize:

A Hard Habit to Break - KC Kendricks
Angel in the Middle - Marie Dees
Betting on Hope - Kay Keppler
Blood of the Maple - Dana Marie Bell
Cry Wolf - Angela Campbell
Dearly Departed - Lia Habel
Entanglements - PR Mason
Eris - D. Renee Bagby
Golden - Joely Sue Burkhart
Grey's Lady - Natasha Blackthorne
Her Dark Knight - Sharon Cullen
Hunting Kat - PJ Schnyder
Knight of Runes - Ruth A. Casie
Leading Her To Heaven - Kayleigh Jamison
Love on Cloud Nine - Linda Andrews
Lust on the Rocks - Dianne Venetta
Men of the Sea Anthology - Eliza Knight
Murdering Eve - Kelly Lee
Redaction  - Linda Andrews
Relearning the Ropes - DC Juris
Risking Trust - Adrienne Giordano
Shadows & Dust - Yvonne Nicolas
Sloane Wolf - Margay Leah Justice
Snowy Encounters - Clarissa Yip
Soul Catcher - Vivi Dumas
The Alchemist's Perfect Instrument - AL Davroe
The Demon He Knows - RA Vaughn
The Fallen Queen - Jane Kindred
The Knife's Edge - Stephanie Draven
Underdead - Liz Jasper
What Not To Fear - Robert C. Roman
White Hot Christmas: Santa's Claws - Stephanie Burke

Good luck, and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meat Grinder and Blog Hop

The rough-rough draft of Guardian Angel is done!

Cartoons Myspace Comments

It's still sitting at around 80k, which is a bit more than I thought it would be. We'll have to see what happens when I'm done with the Meat Grinder, which should be next week (I hope). Then it's off to the beta readers, and hopefully to my editor beginning of January. I'm probably going to submit it to Carina Press first. After that, if I don't start on Throne of Oak soon I think my Carina editor is going to hunt me down and tie me to the keyboard. I might get potty breaks.


Oh, and when I'm done with Guardian Angel, I'll be starting work on The Hob.

He's not that kind of elf.
So I'll be taking the last two weeks of December off. My kids will be home and hyper for the holidays, so I usually don't get much done during that time period anyway. I may start the outline on Throne of Oak, but that would be about it. 

It will give me a chance to clear my brain of angels and get it into Robin Goodfellow.

He's not that kind of elf, either.

P.S.: Don't forget, tomorrow launches the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop! I'll be posting bright and early. You could win a copy of Blood of the Maple, or the Grand Prize: a color Nook, pre-loaded with tons of books!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Aw Crap. My Dad Was Right About That...

So, maybe it was the chat about M wanting a toy called Doggie Doo, but I saw this and had to post it: 

Dad was right. NEVER swallow your bubblegum!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kitty Attack

The tree is up and decorated. The presents are (mostly) bought. Guardian Angel is on schedule and almost ready for the beta readers. Best of all, I've almost finished my holiday free read, Just the Way You Are. I'm just waiting to hear back from one more person before I turn it into a .pdf and post it on my website.

My hands. They hurt. But it's an "I accomplished a shit-ton this week" kind of hurt, so I can live with it.

So to spread some holiday cheer (and because I like cats) I'm posting some of my favorite holiday kitty pics. I'll see if I can find some dog ones later, when my hands aren't calling me names in languages I don't even speak.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


When the hell did that happen?

So, I have no holiday shopping done, no plans other than taking time off between the 22nd and Jan. 2nd and getting Guardian Angel ready for my beta readers before the fat man in red drops down my non-existent chimney. So far, the only thing I'm on track with is getting Guardian done before Christmas.

If I don't get cracking on the shopping soon I'd better find a nice hole to hide in.

My newsletter is out (with a sneak peek at the unedited Howl For Me), and WriteWay is working nicely as an editing tool. I'm looking forward to writing a brand new book with it and seeing if it works as well for that. I'm thinking it will, since I plot AND pants my way through a book. I can do spur-of-the-moment thoughts on chapters I haven't even written yet, something I've always used MS Notepad for and then promptly lost.

So November was busy, and December is looking to be the same. I've got the outline done for The Hob, and will start work on that as soon as the holidays are over. I'm hoping to have it completed by the end of March, at which time I'll start work on Throne of Oak. I've got a lot done this week, and it's not over yet!

Wait. Tomorrow is Friday?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Artistic Vision is Available Now!

By: Dana Marie Bell
Type: eBook
Genre: Paranormal, Shape-shifters
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: 11-22-2011
Length: Category
ISBN: 978-1-60928-553-1
Series: The Gray Court 

Desire is the raw material. Lust is the spark…and love will sculpt their destiny.

Akane Russo, one of the Hob’s top Blades, can’t wait for her current assignment to end. She’s been tasked with protecting Sidhe hybrid Shane Dunne from the Malmayne clan’s scheme to kidnap him once again. But no one—not even her Seer half—warned her she’d have to protect herself from his heated gaze. Or that her dragon half would find him an irresistible puzzle.

Shane knew his destined bride would never come to him willingly, but she’s stuck with him and he plans to use her predicament to his advantage. It’s only a matter of time before she succumbs to what they both want. Their Claiming will be beautiful beyond even his wildest imaginings—and his wild, free dragoness will finally see herself as he sees her.

Then his unique, hybrid-borne visions reveal a new danger. The prophecy of the Child of Dunne can only be fulfilled down a path he must travel alone. To a place so dark and dangerous that not even his truebond’s flame may be bright enough to lead him home.

Product Warning: Contains explicit sex, graphic language, a pissed-off dragon assassin and a smart-mouthed Nebraskan farm boy. Bet you can figure out who wins that fight! (Hint: It’s not the dragon…)

Akane allowed the rhythm of the music to flow through her. She kept her movements sensual, tempting the man across from her in the way only a dragoness could. From the amount of drool on his chin her target was buying into it. Akane allowed some of her inner fire to seep into her expression, smiling slightly when the target almost dropped his drink in his lap.

If Robin’s facts were correct, this man would lead her to information the Malmaynes would kill to keep quiet. She ran her hands through her hair, fluffing the curls around her face with a coquettish look. She licked her lips and allowed her gaze to roam over her target. When she was sure she’d set him to a nice simmer, she crooked her finger at him. All she had to do was seduce him enough that he was distracted. Her temporary Sidhe partner would then read the target’s mind and extract the information they needed. But if the target sensed for even one moment that his mind had been invaded, the entire operation would have to be scrapped and the back-up plan put into action.

Akane did not want to go to plan B. Plan B involved Robin’s direct involvement, something she was striving to avoid at all costs. If Robin showed up, things would get…messy.

Akane allowed the target to slide his hands around her waist. The Malmayne looked like most of them did, with golden, gleaming hair and pale eyes. On any other occasion she might have found him semi-attractive. Tonight, he was nothing more than a mark.

She danced with…what was his name again? Tristan? She danced with Tristan Malmayne, wondering when her temporary partner would give her the signal that they’d gotten what they needed. It would be a simple matter to slip away at that point, something she’d perfected over the years. More than one man had been left in her dust after she’d gotten what she wanted.

The target wasn’t a bad dancer. If he hadn’t been on the devil’s side she might have even enjoyed herself. She ran her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck, scraping the skin with her nails. A shiver ran through him. His pupils dilated. His erection brushed against her as he pulled her closer.

She turned in his arms, allowing him to move against her ass, hoping her partner was done. His hands roamed over her bare legs, trying to slip beneath the hem of her miniskirt. If his fingers moved two inches higher he’d find a four inch stiletto pinning his foot to the floor. She wanted gone from here before she found herself thrown over Tristan’s shoulder and carted out of the bar. She’d hate to have to explain to Robin that she’d been forced to break the target into tiny little pieces for being too grabby. Again.

Akane looked up, trying to locate her partner, and damn near shrieked in surprise.Right in front of her was one of the handsomest men she’d ever had the misfortune to meet. His sapphire eyes were blazing with anger. Dark blue silk stretched across massive shoulders. Tight, dark jeans were molded to his legs like a second skin. Those scarred hands took hold of the Tristan’s and twisted, sending the Sidhe reeling back in shock and pain.


“Sorry.” She turned to find Tristan’s eyes narrowed. He studied Shane, way too closely for Akane’s comfort. “Don’t I know you?”

Shane grinned. “Nope.” He took hold of Akane’s arm and pulled her to the middle of the dance floor. “You are in deep shit, Miz Akane.”

It took everything in her to keep from twisting his fat head off his neck like a bottle cap. “I’m working.”

“That’s one word for it.”

She gasped in outrage. If he said that again he was going to be known as the Cockless Wonder. She allowed herself to be pulled into his arms just so she could hiss in his ear. “Do you know what you have done?”

“Nope. Don’t care either.”

The anger still appeared to be riding him hard. She was surprised his magic hadn’t escaped his control, filling the air around them with sparks or painting the whorls of a leprechaun on his skin. Only Shane’s eyes glittered with an almost inhuman rage. His attention wasn’t focused on her, though. His eyes were tracking Tristan Malmayne as the man made his way back to his seat.

“Robin will be here shortly.”

That got his attention. “Shit. You meant you were working, didn’t you?”

She gritted her teeth. “How attached are you to your balls?”

He had the audacity to laugh down at her. “Pretty damn attached.”

She pulled his head closer. “That was Tristan Malmayne. He might have given me an in with the Malmaynes if you hadn’t fucked it up.”

“They know who you are and who you work for, remember? Didn’t you damn near hand out business cards the day Duncan explained to his ex-clanmates why Charles Malmayne had been executed, and by whom?”

She grimaced. True, she’d told the Malmaynes in the room who she was and backed up Duncan’s declaration that Charles’s execution had been legal and fully justified. That didn’t mean she still couldn’t work the case the way Robin had asked her to. Besides, Tristan hadn’t been in that room, may not have gotten a good enough look at her through the satellite feed Duncan had set up. She could have pulled it off, especially the way Tristan’s hands had been inching up her skirt.

Shane lifted his head and pulled her so close she could practically feel his heartbeat. “Your mom called. She said hi.”

Akane bit him through his shirt. The son of a bitch had been talking to her mother?

He pulled her head closer with a happy sigh. “She also said happy birthday.”

Akane attempted to lift her head. It was like trying to lift a Chevy Tahoe with her pinky. Damn, the man was strong. She usually snapped people like twigs when they annoyed her, but Shane was made of sterner stuff. He was the only person she’d ever met, other than Robin Goodfellow, who could physically haul her places she didn’t want to go. She’d kicked him once, and instead of the satisfying sound of bones breaking, he’d barely grunted. “You’re dead. You know that, right?”

She felt the rumble of his chuckle under her cheek. “Dance with me, sweetheart.”

She rolled her eyes. He was not going to wiggle out of his imminent demise that easily. “Sweetheart? Since when?”

“Since the moment I saw you.” He allowed her to lift her head, and she was under no illusions about that. He allowed it. “No matter your form, no matter what Robin asks of you, remember one thing: you belong to me.”

Monday, November 21, 2011


The winner of Artistic Vision is:


Congratulations, Lindsey! I've emailed you your copy. Enjoy your book!

P.S.: Don't forget, I'm giving away another copy at The Romance Studio!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TRS Giveaway!

I'm taking part in the TRS Thanksgiving Giveaway! The grand prizes are a Nook and a $100 gift certificate to Amazon. For rules on how to enter (and to check out my awesome cookie recipe) click here!

Cookies and books. You can't go wrong.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WriteWay vs Scrivener

I've been playing with some new toys recently, ones that are supposed to help me with my writing. A lot of authors on the RWA loops have been talking about two in specific: Scrivener, which just came out for Windows, and WriteWay, which was, apparently, always for Windows.

The first one I tried was Scrivener. My friend, PJ Schnyder, is working with it and loves it. She says it's really helped her keep track of her notes, her research, and keeps everything she needs in one place. I was intrigued.

Then I opened the program, and apparently I'm stupid, because I could not figure it out after two hours.

It starts by having you open a tutorial on how to work with it. Unfortunately, I found the tutorial to be utterly confusing after an hour of working with it. Scrivener was originally written for the Mac, and maybe that was my problem. I'm far more familiar and comfortable with programs written with the Microsoft Suite in mind. While the look of Scrivener, with its Corkboard, was really nice, I found the binders to be confusing. Worse, the program ate eight pages of The Hob, turning it into the tutorial's document! The good news is, the original Word document still exists, so I didn't lose my work from a few years ago, but still. I wasn't thrilled with Scrivener.

So I decided that while I liked the concept, Scrivener was not for me. What else was out there? That's when I saw WriteWay.

It was easy to work with immediately. I needed to hit the Help button once in the five hours I worked with it over the weekend (and I rarely write on weekends). I've got Angel in My Arms loaded, chapters and scenes set, research links added, all within two days. It's got a Synopsis page for when I'm ready, opens my Excel spreadsheet that I use for series work (as a separate doc), and has spots below where I'm writing for chapter and scene plot points and notes. When I'm ready to write, I click on the chapter scene I'm ready to write/edit and get straight to work. No confusion, no muss, and no eating of my document! It even keeps track of my word count in an obvious, top-of-page place. No hunting for it, no confusion. In short, it's perfect for me. Bonus? WriteWay is working on a version for Mac users.

The third program I heard of but didn't try was WriteMonkey, but the website was done in simple text, with no pics of the program. It is, however, free, which might explain the no-frills website. Some authors swear by it, but I'm happy with my purchase of WriteWay, so I won't be checking it out.

P.S.: If anyone has used Scrivener (or WriteMonkey) and loves it, please comment! While I didn't like the program for me, it looked really neat to work with. Maybe Mac users would find it more intuitive?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Meat Grinding and Names

I'm going through Angel in my Arms, just like I'd planned. Unfortunately, Robin (aka the Hob) has different ideas. He's been sneaking scenes into my head, and whispering, "Write it. You know you want to."

He's evil. But right. I do want to write him, but I'm stubborn. I've got a file of notes on the scenes he's given me, but I'm determined to finish Angel before I start Robin's story. I just need a working title for it, since I'm not sure I want to call it The Hob forever.

Don't worry, I'm not setting you aside, Mr. Angel

I want something with a little pizzazz; after all, we're talking about Oberon's personal Blade here. The man who scares the piss out of the Dark Queen's strongest warriors. The man High King Oberon walks warily around.

Chuck Norris might be slightly more bad-ass.

So I'm leaning towards something along the line of The Hob's Heart or Puck's Match, but I need to ponder it a little bit longer. Dusty came up with Wicked Games, but I'm worried it sounds a little too BDSM for what I'm writing (plus I already have Mating Games). Maybe Hob's Game

I know. You're wondering why I don't just start writing it and come up with the name later. I'm one of those writers who likes to have a good working title in mind, one that likely won't change when I'm done the book. I'm weird that way. If I don't have it figured out by mid-November, maybe I'll put it to a vote.

P.S.: Don't forget about the Artistic Vision contest! There's plenty of Hobby goodness, as Akane is a Blade.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Contest Time!

Told you I'd be starting the contest to win a copy of Artistic Vision at the beginning of the month!

For details on how to win a download of the third Gray Court novel, go to my website! The winner will be announced on November 21, the day before the book releases.

P.S.: When you enter, don't forget to send me your preferred format!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

P.S.: Here's your treat: I'm sending Cynful to Samhain by the end of the day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Name Chosen and an Angel Takes Flight

The poll has closed, and the majority has spoken: Cynful will remain the title of Book 2 of the Halle Shifters. Two hundred and twenty-five of you voted. A hundred and forty-five of you loved the original title. I've gotten feedback from two of my beta readers, and so far the criticisms have been minor. (Dusty cackled during his first read through, which is always a good sign.)

No matter what, Cynful will be out to my editor on October 31.

I was going through what books to work on next with Dusty, when he mentioned something to me about the Nephilim series I've been talking about since, oh, 2009. I have this whole nine-book, full-length series about these descendants of angels and fallen angels. Two factions with mystical powers battle it out, one believing that they are the protectors of humanity, the other that they should be its rulers. The first to receive his HEA I named Seth, and his lady is named Abby. I've got it completely outlined. In fact, I started it quite some time ago (around, say, 2009), but I wasn't happy with the direction it was taking and set it aside. Dusty asked, "Are you ever going to finish it?"

Yes. Yes, I am.

He TOTALLY wants me to write him. Like, now.

So I started re-writes on what I'd already done to Angel In My Arms, and so far I'm happy with the new direction it's taken. Robin of The Gray Court is stomping his foot at being put on the back burner, but I've promised him that his book will be the longest Gray Court book so far, so he's calming down a bit. I'm not putting a word meter up yet for Angel, though, because it would be confusing as hell right now. I'm adding, I'm subtracting, I'm decimating and rebuilding, and the word count is fluttering  like a circle skirt over a subway grate.

Kind of looks like angel wings, doesn't it?

Once that skirt settles down (or I step off the subway grate, whichever comes first), I'll start the traditional word count meter. Until then, patience, and know that I'm writing!

EDIT: I did put the word meter up after all. It occurred to me that I like to know where I stand even when doing re-writes, so get ready for the roller coaster.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

After You Type The End...

... what comes next? A friend of my Aunt Jeanne (who rocks, btw) wrote to me today and asked for me to give her some pointers on publishing. She's working on her first novel and is loving the writing, but is unsure about what comes next. I thought it would make an interesting blog post, so here goes:

  1. Make sure at least two other people read over your novel, people whose opinions you respect. Listen to them, but if what they suggest goes against your instincts, feel free to discard any or all of their advice. It's your novel, no one can write it for you. But if all of them say the same thing, I'd pay attention!
  2. If for some reason, the first novel isn't working for you, don't be afraid to scrap it a different one. Believe me, it's scary to say that it isn't working, but better to set it aside than to try and force something that doesn't feel right. 
  3. However, if you find yourself doing this with every book you start, then you need to decide where you're going wrong. My suggestion: read! I was trying to write traditional, Harelquin-esque romances and it didn't work for me. Then I read a Mary-Janice Davidson novel and something clicked for me. I started writing like I wanted to, and I haven't looked back since.
  4. Never start querying publishers/agents until after the novel is finished. This can be a red flag to them that you aren't serious. Wait until it's completed before sending it out. (You'll see this on a lot of agent's advice sites, so I'd pay attention to it.)
  5. Once your novel is completed and you feel it's been polished within an inch of it's papery life, DON'T sit on it! Get it out there. Have a plan. Do you want to go the traditional publishing route, i.e., get an agent, go to the Big Six publishers, and cross your fingers? Do you want to go electronic publishing, with some of the smaller presses like Carina or Samhain, and cross your fingers? Or somewhere in between, like with Harlequin, who will accept unagented submissions but IS a big print publisher (and has imprints that will only accept agented submissions)? Once you know where you'd like to head, you'll feel a lot more comfortable about the journey. You'll have a direction, a goal, and that's a good thing.
  6. Once you've decided, read the guidelines of the agent/publisher. If they say they don't accept romance, don't send it to them. If they say they do, check their "heat levels". I write on the mild side of erotic, so I can't send it to a strictly "sweet" publisher or agent. Also check and see if what you've written fits in with any of their imprints and, if so, who you'd send your query to. (The query step will be taken care of by your agent if one agrees to work with you.)
  7. Do your homework. Don't be afraid to write to authors who write for that agent/publisher to ask their opinion. Not all will answer, but enough will to give you an idea if the fit will be right for you.
  8. When writing the query letter, mention you've completed the novel and are working on a second. This lets the agent/publisher know you're serious about your writing.
  9. Don't think your job is finished after you type the end. It's just beginning. This is your business as well as your passion, and you have to treat it as such. There's website design, blogging, social media (if it scares you, I'd suggest Facebook to start rather than Twitter), advertising and promotions, editing, monthly newsletters... LOTS of work goes into being a published author. I spend half my day writing, and the other half working on all that other stuff. How much time you put into it will be up to you, but at a minimum you'll need a website if you're accepted for publication. The readers need to know where to find you. 
  10. You have to make sure your website is easily navigated. There's nothing worse than a reader who has to ask, "Where's the books?" when you're an author. Check other author websites to see how they're doing it, and with what. Several use Wordpress; others use programs like Yahoo!SiteBuilder. Still others will pay someone to create and maintain the website. It's all up to you and what you can afford.

Scared yet? Don't be. It's the most satisfying career I've ever had, and I'll give it up when I'm five years dead and buried. Maybe not even then.

P.S.: I'm mailing Cynful to my betas first thing in the morning! WOOT!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Devil is in The Details

It may look as if progress is moving slowly on Cynful this week, but really it isn't. We're in what I call the Meat Grinder stage.

Picture Julian and Cyn going in here and coming out fabulous.

It can look like things are going really slowly, but in reality this is the part where things go quickly. What I'm doing is fixing grammatical errors, finding mistakes in continuity, and adding any scenes that should have been added from the beginning. Since I won't be able to work tomorrow due to family issues, I'll be finishing up this portion on Sunday. Then it's off to the beta readers, who will let me know whether the Meat Grinder worked or not. I'll take a look at the suggestions they send me and make the appropriate changes.

After that is the scary part. Once all of the meat grinding is done, it's time to write the synopsis and a rough blurb and send it to my editor. So far I'm on schedule. It looks like Cynful will be out the door at the end of the month, or at the latest the beginning of November.

At that point, it's just wait and see whether or not my editor wants to pick it up. Cross your fingers!

And your toes!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Contest Winner

The winner of the signed copy of Noble Blood is...

Evelyn Chung!

Congratulations, Evelyn!

P.S.: I'll be starting a contest for a download of Artistic Vision the beginning of November.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RIP Gremlin Bell

 Gremlin had an enlarged heart, something we found out was a birth defect. He had an undetectable heart murmur that only becomes apparent when the cat has a heart attack, which Gremlin did on Saturday. When he came home from the hospital yesterday the cardiologist told us his prognosis was good, and that he could live at least another two years without problems.

He passed away this morning. I'm going to miss my dapper little man.

Friday, September 30, 2011

An Evil Attack Kitty Has Taken Over My Life

Yup. That right there is pure evil.

I know, it's been about a week since I posted. I've been hard at work on Cynful, the next in the Halle Shifters series. It's also been the first full month of school,with all the attendant learning curves and aggravation that me, Dusty and the kids have to go through every year. And in case you hadn't noticed through my tweets and my Facebook, we got a new kitten.

Gremlin wants to know what the hell we were thinking.

It's not an ordinary kitten either. It's an Attack Kitten, master of the stealthy noms. I'll be sitting at my computer, writing, either with my fingers or Dragon NaturallySpeaking, when I will feel a sudden sharp pain in my toes or my leg or my knee.  Really, he doesn't care what part of me he's noming. Any old port in a storm, right?

When he reached my chest I learned I make a pretty good kitten catapult. (Disclaimer: no Attack Kittens were harmed by the subconscious kitten catapult. My boobs, on the other hand, may never be the same.)

So now my hands look like shredded wheat, and my poor Julian plushie will be singing soprano from here on out. I'm pretty sure he lost his, um, manliness soon after Thumper discovered him.

I'm telling you: eeeeeviiiiil.

However, despite numerous distractions and a crap load of Kitten induced pain, Cynful has hit the 60K mark! The rough draft is almost complete. I have one or two more scenes to add before I send it through the Meat Grinder. I should have it out to my betas within a week or two, and then it's off to the publisher!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Computers and Contests

I finally have my website program and all my website files on my new work computer. In case you hadn't been reading my tweets a couple of weeks ago, my old work computer's video card/drivers became totally messed up, and I wound up spending far more time than I would have liked trying to revive it.

Okay, Dusty spent far more time. I know video games, not video cards.

Long story short, it would do a hard freeze after half an hour of Dragon Age. When updating my website, it would freeze, then then bring up the dreaded Blue Screen of Death.

Attack of the Fifty Foot BSoD

Pretty soon all it was doing was freezing and blue screening. After about a week of this we tried updating the video drivers, which didn't work. If anything, it made things worse. We tried all sorts of solutions to stop the deep freeze treatment, but to no avail.

Frustrated, I wound up ordering a new computer.
No aliens have leaped out of my screen...yet.

My old gaming computer has become my work computer, and I've gotten a newer, shinier video game computer that has Mr. Bell all Kermit-colored with envy. I'll be paying it off for a bit, but at least I can once again update my website and play video games without fear.

You don't want to see what happens when I go through video game withdrawal. Not even chocolate can save you if that happens.

So my website is up to date, including the pre-order button at Amazon for Artistic Visionand the contest I was hoping to start over a week ago is finally posted. I'm giving away a signed copy of Noble Blood, Book 2 of The Gray Court, which will be out in print October 4. Details on how to enter are below the excerpt.

Nobility has its privileges…and its price. Sometimes it just sucks. 
The Gray Court, Book 2 
For Lord Duncan Malmayne, it was love at first sight with his true bond, the lovely half-Sidhe, half-leprechaun Moira Dunne. Yet something is missing from his relationship with the fiery redhead, something that prevents him from completing the Claiming and making Moira his forever. 
As problems multiply in what should be a magical, idyllic time, the depression weighing on Moira’s Sidhe heart signals a potentially devastating condition. Mate sickness. Her instinct tells her what’s missing: Jaden Blackthorn, Gray Court vampire, Duncan’s bond brother and closest friend—who tactfully withdrew from their lives after Duncan declared his love. 
Jaden is both heartbroken and elated that the two people he loves most in the world are together. It’s best he cut off all contact to give them space to complete the Claiming. But trouble is brewing in the Malmayne clan, and when Jaden’s forced back into their lives by the Hob, their extremely rare tribond clicks with a reaction that’s swift, sensual and all-consuming. 
But not everyone looks upon it as a blessing. In fact, the price of their love could be a potentially fatal shift of power…  
Warning: This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, and M/M/F love scenes between a Sidhe lord, a vampire and a leprechaun. And no, that’s not the start of a dirty joke no matter what my Beta readers said. 

Las Vegas, Two Weeks Before Christmas… 
Jaden danced across the floor, wondering what the fuck was wrong with him. He was starving, and not just for blood. But none of the many hot, available bodies called to him. Hell, at this point he’d be willing to pay for a body that appealed, but none of them did. Not one, damn it. Not even the blond with the blue eyes whose build so reminded him of… 
Okay, not going there. 
Jaden loved a big, strong man, and dayum if that guy didn’t have big and strong down to an art form. Not even the stupid Santa hat detracted from his looks. 
Then the guy had to go and ruin it by lifting some little twink up in the air and almost dropping him. 
He laughed and rolled his eyes. Or not. 
He hit the edge of the dance floor and made his way through the crowd, pausing only long enough to check his watch. Almost two thirty, and he still hadn’t fed or gotten laid like he’d originally planned. As a vampire he couldn’t even get good and drunk without a little veinicular help. 
Heh. Veinicular. 
Jaden sighed and propped up a wall. It was pretty fucking bad when the best part of the evening was a lame vampire joke. He hadn’t been laid in more months than he could count, and sucking without fucking was, well, chocolate without peanut butter. Coke without rum. 
Turner without Hooch. 
Jaden rubbed his chest. The ache that kept him from following that blond’s tight end right to nirvana had been growing by the night. He knew exactly who to blame for it, too. 
Damn it, he missed them. He missed them both so much it hurt. 
“You okay?” 
He grimaced and stared down at the small Asian woman in front of him. “Yeah, I’m good.” 
She shook her head, her glossy black hair shimmering under the lights. “If you’re hungry I could feed you.” Her startling eyes looked up at him with a mild expression, almost as if she was offering to order him something off the dollar menu at Taco Bell. 
Akane Russo had the weirdest eyes of anyone he’d ever met. One eye was dark brown with a startling light hazel star in the center. The other eye was a pure light hazel. Black brows were a straight slash above them, giving her a stern expression. 
Those eyes freaked him the fuck out every time he saw the woman. Considering how many times they’d worked together over the years, he’d found himself freaked out quite a lot. He’d long ago become used to the sensation and counted her as one of his few real friends. “Nah. I’m good.” 
One brow rose in disbelief. It was almost Spockish in its elegance. “You sure? You look really hungry, Jade.” 
He grinned and tried to make it look like he meant it. “I’ll be fine.” 
She shrugged. “All right then. But eat soon, okay? I’d hate to have to hunt your ass if you go feral.” She started to walk away, ignoring his shiver, but before she got very far she turned back. That golden star in the center of one of her eyes widened. “There’s something different about you.” 
Oh boy. He had no idea what she was seeing, but there was a curiosity in her expression he could live without. He had no desire to be dragged off to her lair and dissected. “My shirt is new. It’s Marc Jacobs.” He spun, making sure to leer at her over his shoulder. “You like?” 
Her eyes rolled, the star shrinking to its normal proportions. “Please. I’m probably the only piece of ass in this bar not interested.” 
He wiggled his butt, confident she would turn him down. “You sure?” 
She laughed, the sound remarkably sweet from a woman he’d once seen rip the head off a Black Court vampire. “I’m sure. I don’t poach, remember?” 
He frowned and wondered what the hell she was talking about. Before he could ask she waved good-bye and headed back to the dance floor. 
“Freaky ass dragon bitch.” 
She glared over her shoulder at him. “I heard that.” 
That startled a laugh out of him. How she did that he’d never know, but it sounded like she was standing next to him in a nice, quiet room. He shook his head and turned back to the dancers. He had no idea if he was going to be able to fine a real meal tonight, but he was sure as hell going to try. 
The sight of the blond man bent over the red-headed twink brought home that no, he wasn’t. Damn it. 
He headed toward the door, his hunger effectively demolished by the thought of Duncan and Moira. It still amazed him that she’d let him in after his role in kidnapping her sister-in-law Ruby. The human had been a trooper when faced with the Deranged Darling. 
Just thinking about Kaitlynn was enough to have him clenching his teeth in rage. So he brought forth the memory of how he’d made her pay oh so dearly for everything she’d done, including the murder of her own father. She’d been bitter going down his throat, but at least he had the satisfaction of knowing she’d never hurt anyone else ever again. 
Duncan was now head of the Malmayne clan and newly mated to Jaden’s dream woman. Too bad Jaden couldn’t be there with him to celebrate. The way Moira had defended her new sister-in-law had earned Jaden’s undying respect. He’d left a piece of his heart in her soft hands. Hell, he’d left fully half of it there, since that’s all he’d had left to give. Duncan owned the other half, and had for a century. 
He couldn’t even muster up any enthusiasm when his favorite song came on. It had been a while since he’d heard Seal’s Kiss from a Rose. He always smiled when he heard the line, “I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray.” Everyone thought that the line was “rose on the grave”, but they were wrong. He’d looked it up one night, wondering why that line haunted him. 
A rose on the gray. Damn it. Visions of Duncan’s gray eyes and Moira’s fiery hair danced before him. 
Aw hell. Now he was getting all mushy and stuff. Next thing he knew he’d be sending little Hallmark moments to the both of them over Facebook or something. If he didn’t get himself under control soon he was going to wind up destroying all of them. Duncan, ah, beautiful Duncan and his sweet little leprechaun deserved better than that. 
This was Jaden’s burden to bear, and bear it he would. No matter the cost. 

Just head to my "Write to Dana" page and send me your email address (I'll contact the winner for a mailing address, so no need to send that) and what name or handle you'd like me to use when I announce the winner. (Think "Puppydog Eyes 775" or "Kitty in Poughkeepsie" if you don't want me to use your real name.) I'll post the name or handle of the winner here and on my website on October 7!

Also, I'll be starting a contest for a download of Artistic Vision the beginning of November. Artistic Vision comes out November 22 in E-Book; no print date is available yet.

P.S.: for those of you asking about a release date for Howl For Me, I don't have one yet. I'm hoping to get one soon, and I'll put it up on my website and here once I have it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sick Days and Kittens

Why do I always get sick this time of year? Everyone in my family seems to have some bug or other. My mother was complaining of a sore throat, I've got the sniffles and a fever and worst of all, my BIL actually went to the doctor. Voluntarily! (Prepare for the Apocalypse. The end times, they are a'comin.)

Yesterday, I got the kids off to school and told Dusty I wasn't feeling well. I took what I thought would be a nap. At two p.m. I woke up, still feeling like I could sleep some more. Needless to say, writing did not happen. I'm feeling a little more awake today so I'm hoping to get something done before I lay down, but this week will be slow going for those of you watching my word count meters. 

I've had a couple of email inquiries about a release date for Howl for Me. No word from my publisher yet, but I promise I'll post it once I know. I've also had people ask if I'm planning on doing more M/M. Howl for Me is M/M, but until I see whether or not you all want more M/M I'm putting it on the back burner. Besides, the next four books I've got in my brain (Julian and Cyn, the Hob and Mikayla, Stern and Rabi, and Dragos and Mina) are all M/F. Perhaps when I'm done I'll set up a poll. If I get enough votes for a M/M story I'll add one.

Oh! On a happier note, we got a kitten! No name for him yet (I'm leaning towards Wheeler, because the squeaky wheel gets the grease and damn this cat does nothing but). He goes to his first vet's appointment today. Wanna see?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Felt the Earth Move Under My Feet…

So an earthquake wasn't enough for you, was it? How about this?

And according to the Weather Channel, the sky's going to come tumbling down. An earthquake and a hurricane in the same week? Someone seriously ticked off the karma gods. Dusty's Florida relatives are sending us ideas on how to ride out a hurricane, and we're looking at evacuation if Irene is a Category 2 when it hits us. Tonight we'll probably pack up essentials like our birth certificates, passports, homeowners insurance papers and the latest vet records for our pets. By Friday, we'll know whether or not we're going to try and stick it out or run for the hills (I'm looking at you, Ohio).

This is the first time either one of us has been an earthquake. I'm not certain either one of us is ready for it to be the first time we ride out a hurricane. We have to remember things like the children's medication and making sure each one of us has some form of identification on us. I read somewhere that you should have dogtags made up that state your name, place of residence, allergies emergency responders need to be aware of, and any medication that you're on. I'm thinking of having that done today.

Now I have to admit, I'm hoping none of this is necessary. I'm hoping at worst we'll get high winds and heavy rain. We've dealt with 65 mile an hour winds before, and we will again. But if we're told to evacuate, we are so out of here.

Why did the chicken-shit cross the road? To get away from the god-damn hurricane!

Monday, August 22, 2011

On Soul Mates

Note the word "especially"...

It's been a while since I caught up on Dear Abby (I don't watch soap operas, but I'll read advice columnists; go figure). Someone in one of the articles mentioned having met her "soul mate", but that soul mate wasn't her spouse. What to do?

Abby handed down the usual "don't break up your marriage" advice, along with the definition of a soul mate. Neither definition she posted mentioned love, sex, or anything like it.

Merriam Webster defines a soul mate as:
1: a person who is perfectly suited to another in temperament
2: a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs has a similar definition:
a person with whom one has a strong affinity.
The Cambridge Online Dictionary does mention romantic partners:
someone, usually your romantic or sexual partner, who you have a special relationship with, and who you know and love very much

Note the key word here: usually. A soul mate doesn't necessarily mean that person will be in your bed and sharing your day-to-day life. For instance, I happen to know someone with two soul mates, one of them his spouse, the other...not.

Dusty approves

Picture this: a man goes to college and meets someone. That someone becomes his best friend, his comrade, the one who completes his sentences and gets his jokes when no one else does. He follows this person a thousand miles to a new city, a new life. They get jobs together, play together, live together. There are very few people on earth he'd rather spend time with, and the other person feels exactly the same way.

Sounds like soul mates, right? Keep reading.

The man meets a woman, and that woman has many of the same characteristics as his soul mate. He marries her, has children with her, builds a happy life with her. The soul mate also meets someone with many of the same characteristics as the man, marries her, has children with her, etc. Their children are taught that they are family in all respects but one: blood.

Our children call Dusty's other soul mate Uncle Bob.

In other words, they're brothers in every way but biological, soul mates even though they were never meant to be together romantically. A lot of people forget that a soul mate isn't always someone you have sex with, and roll their eyes when they hear the words. But for me, a soul mate isn't just some romance trope; it's more than that. It's a connection between two people that can't be denied, sisters and brothers of our hearts, and not always the person we go to sleep next to each night. I'll bet you've met people who are soul mates and just didn't describe them that way because we always tend to think in terms of our soul mates being our romantic partners.

Trust me. Neither Dusty nor Bob want to see the other naked. 

Well. Now that I've got that off my chest I should get back to my day job, hmm?

Favorite Quotes

"I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability." Ron White

"So let me get this straight. You want me to kill the little guys, kill the big guys, crowd control those I can't, buff the team, debuff the boss, keep myself alive, AND keep you alive, all while waving a stick and dressed in a towel?" - Anonymous Role Playing Gamer

"I think that statue over there is a statement on modern life. The statement is, "Well, shit." - Varric, Dragon Age II

"Why is it all claws and guns? Can't we piss off a fuzzy planet? Still dangerous, but hey. Bunnies." - Joker, Mass Effect

"Last night, I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?" - Dilbert

"Aim at the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you'll hit the bull's-eye of success." - Annie Oakley

"It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." - Flemeth, aka The Witch of the Wilds, Dragon Age 2

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.'” - George Carlin

"I hear there's a wild bridge tournament down the street. And you know Bridge. It's a lot like sex. If you don't have a great partner, you'd better have a good hand." Barry Weiss, Storage Wars

"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

"I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

“If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.” - Henry Ford