Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Owies, Bear Naked and Gaming

Okay. It's been, what, two weeks since I posted?


Sorry about that. I thought, once the reno was done, things would settle down. And they did... right on my spine. I know better than to move boxes and unpack, but I did it anyway. No matter how much better I feel, there are still things I can't do, and moving stuff is one of them.
Ow. Worse, when I do this kind of stupid stuff, the inflammation causes my immune system to overreact, which makes me as tired as if I was fighting off the flu. So I've been doing nothing but writing and sleeping, sleeping and writing.

At least Bear Naked has hit 77%, right?

By the way, did you see the name change? My editor over at Samhain noticed that I was using the title Stripped Bear. She realized Samhain already has a Stripped BARE, and requested I change it rather than have any confusion when someone wound up with Bear shifters instead of strip poker. I like the new title, so I hope you do, too.
Fuzzy wuzzie is frickin' terrifying.

Anyway, that's what's going on with the writing and the owies. Now on to the fun stuff, at least for me:

I completed Lara Croft: Survivor.

(Warning: Gamer girl fan squeeing about to commence. Continue at your own peril.)

M'kay. Mama Bell is a HUGE fan of the franchise, but as time went on, I found myself playing Lara less and less, until I can't even remember what the last installment was. The puzzles became ridiculously difficult to complete, and I wound up not playing them all the way through. But still, I'd get a tingle whenever I'd hear of a new Tomb Raider game, since I'd been in love with it since the beginning, when the gaming world was all agog at a female protagonist. ("Holy crap! She's got... booooooobs.")
So I bought the reboot of the Lara myth hoping I would be as happy with it as I was with the first Tomb Raider I ever played.

Surprisingly, I was.

Now, don't get me wrong. There were things I didn't like (the button mash... she did the BUUU-TTON MASH) but the frequency of the auto-save feature meant I wasn't mashing my way through a whole insta-death scene. Nope, once I got past that spike in my brain, it was on to the NEXT spike in my brain.

Sigh. Lots of spikes. It's a spikey game.

But the story, the most important part of any RPG to me, was excellent. Lara gets the hell beat out of her. She grunts in pain, cries at her losses and in the end, is suffering from some serious issues. In a couple of days her whole life changes. She's forced to murder a man to save herself and her friends, and promptly gets sick. She mutters to herself, "I can do this," when faced with a seemingly impossible task. And the story flowed well and made sense to me.

As for the puzzles Lara Croft is famous for, they weren't nearly as hard as some of the previous Tomb Raider iterations, and for that I'm grateful. There was one Tomb Raider where I couldn't even get past climbing down a pipe filled with whirring blades, no matter how many times I tried. I actually had to give up on the game entirely because I just couldn't do it. And this was pre-arthritis, when my hands didn't hurt at all and I thought nothing of gaming from dawn till dusk.

And the game is pretty. Seriously pretty. It looked, and sounded, like she was on a deserted island, complete with religious nut-balls and their pet wolves. And the mystical parts of Lara Croft were well represented, with Lara being skeptical at first, just like her shipmates, but slowly realizing something... other really is going on.

All in all, I enjoyed it immensely. It was a great way to spend a few days, and I'll more than likely play it again.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cons and Renovations, Pt. 3

On work-related news, I WILL be at Lori Foster's Reader/Author Get-Together (hastag #RAGT on Twitter). There was a day when I thought I wouldn't get to go, as I hadn't received my confirmation email. I got it the day after sobbing on my friend's virtual shoulder that I was going to miss seeing everyone who makes RAGT great.

So my con sechedule is set for the year. You can click the button my blog's sidebar marked Convention Schedule, or you can go to to see where I'll be in 2013.

As for the kitchen renovation, the only thing left to do is put the new fridge (which doesn't work and is being repaired today) in the new niche (which looks great). Everything else is done.

Wanna see?

There's still a lot of unpacking to do to put everything back together, but it's looking really good. Dusty and I LOVE the floors. They're bamboo, and the color is even better in person.

It's exactly what I pictured, but with boxes. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Contest and Renovations Part 2

First, we have the contest for an ARC of Hecate's Own, my April 9th release from Samhain Publishing:

Heart's Desire Book 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Full
ISBN: 978-1-61921-096-7

When a wolf is hot for a witch, the sparks can be downright dangerous.

Zachary Beckett has finally done something right. He saved his brother’s life, and his reward is a ticket to Cleveland to train as a witch. Except every spell he casts wreaks havoc—until he’s banished to the children’s classroom.

At least his teacher is easy on the eyes. It isn’t long before the heat is rising, and it has nothing to do with a bubbling cauldron.

Jo has never met a walking Karma bomb  like Zachary. His blue eyes haunt her, his body is made for sin, and his magic? The less said about that the better. But Jo is determined to help him, even if she has to fight their mutual attraction, tooth and nail.

When Zach discovers he’s been operating under a hex, he and Jo come together in a blazing hot ritual to break it’s hold and reveal Zach’s destiny to fight evil. But the old enemy who cast the spell won’t give up until every Beckett male is stripped of his mate. Which could leave Zach to howl in agony forever—and doom Jo to a  fate worse than death.

Warning:  This novel contains explicit sex, graphic language, a sexy, awkward, blue-eyed wolf-witch and a woman who can make his dreams come true.

To enter, go to my Write to Dana page and send me your name (or nickname, if you don't want your name on the web), your email address, and your preferred electronic format.

The contest ends April 8! Good luck!

NOTE: Only one entry per person. Any entry missing one of the three pieces of information (name/nickname, email address, format) will be deleted without being entered. However, if you hit SEND and realize you forgot something, send it to me again, and you'll be entered.

Second, my hands are still recovering from my marathon writing session this week, and I still have two sets of edits to do. So this post is going to be pic-heavy and word-light. Sorry about that.

But... here's the progress on the renovations that have driven me and my fur-babies up into my bedroom to work:

From the living room into the dining room.

From the kitchen into the family room.

From the kitchen into the family room again.

Front door into the kitchen. The railings will be painted either white, dark gray or both. We haven't decided.

A view of the kitchen from the sliding glass doors. That niche will hold the fridge, and the cabinet next to it is one of our pull-out pantries.

The kitchen, with the wood floor completely covered. Counter tops go in Wednesday.

The living room, with a good view of the floor.

The living room from the dining room.

Until the renovation is complete I won't be posting more pictures of it. It should be done some time in the next week or two, and that's when I'll post more pics.

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