Monday, December 28, 2009

Goals? I don't need no stinkin' goals!

'Cept, I do.

I know there are plotters and pantsers, list makers, and wing-its. I'm a plotter and a lister. I need my goals clearly stated and listed out or else I forget. Heck, I often say I'd forget my head on the kitchen table if it wasn't securely attached to my torso.

So, without further ado...

Writing goals:

1. Find a home for Wild Ghost Chase - I've had nibbles in the agent and publisher department, so I'm hoping it's just a matter of time...
2. Finish zombie historical - I have such high, high hopes for this piece. So, why I am so afraid to just put my butt in a chair and write? I know the historical aspects and the tight timeline of one of the "real" characters have me a little spooked, but I'm trying to "just write" the first draft...if only I could find the time. Next week, when the kiddos go back to school, it becomes my first priority!
3. Write another Eclipse novella for Phaze
4. Write sequel to The Lady is a Vamp for Total E-bound
5. Write something, anything, for Cobblestone Press
6. Ditto for Lyrical Press
7. Rinse and repeat steps 3-6 until the end of the year.

I write novella-length fiction fairly quickly and have been known to kick one out in a month. What I have to learn to do is to let the story sit and stew. Wild Ghost Chase has ended up being a much better book for sitting until I could emotionally (i.e., ruthlessly) edit it (now, lets just hope a publisher agrees with me!)

It will probably be 2010 by the time I post again, so HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Ericka

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

Well, despite my worries and fears, Santa stopped by our home and dropped off many, many gifts for the kinderboys and Drama Teen. The tree was ransacked by 7:30 am and then breakfast of french toast made with eggnog was consumed (yum). Company arrived at 11 am and my uber-wonderful hubby took all the kids to a faraway park so that I could clean up the first round of Christmas debris and gird my loins for the cookie and pizza frenzy that was to ensue in the afternoon. Have I told you how much I truly love that man?

The kids arrived back at the house not long after I had an emergency run to the store for more pizza fixings (a surprise guest and long-time friend of the family is Jewish and needed veggies instead of the pork that sustains the pizza industry (ham, pepperoni, and sausage). Albertsons was closed but luckily Rite-Aid was open. They must have known I was coming for a few cans of diced tomatoes, sliced pineapple, and mushrooms were kicking back on a dusty shelf in their convenience food aisle. I'm also glad to know that I wasn't the only person with a Christmas emergency...there were lots of folks clogging the beer aisle.

Back at home, cookie decorating was a multicolored sugar delight (I'm sure I'll still find sprinkles in my drawers and on the floor for months to come) and although the pizzas came out of the oven staggered and everyone ate at different times, I think it will always be remembered as the "Pizza Christmas".

My husband joked this morning that he's glad I had my nervous breakdown on Christmas Eve and not Christmas Day. I can finally laugh about it to.

And maybe I wasn't so naughty after all...I got a request for a partial from one of my dream publishers! I'm off to ship them five chapters and then chew my nails into the new year.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, or if you don't celebrate, have a fantabulous weekend!

Ho, ho, ho!

Ericka

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Update

Well, there are three naughty children under this roof tonight and major doubt as to whether there will be gifts under the tree in the morning.

The well-oiled workings of the past week lulled me into a false sense of security. I really thought that, just perhaps, we could pull this holiday off without a hitch. HA!

The fighting and bickering started as soon as Drama Teen got out of bed this morning. She and kinderboy#1 aren't good together under most circumstances, add the stress of Christmas, and it's like lighting an incendiary device and throwing it into the living room. Luckily, I'd gotten the dishes and one load of laundry done before WWIII broke out and the crying ensued. The roast resided in a toasty warm oven and noon (when Mr. Scott was supposed to arrive) came and went. I slapped some lunch together and fed my whining brood. I thought pulling up NORAD tracking Santa would provide a bit of distraction. Nope. Or maybe it did...maybe they all decided just to see how naughty they could be before Santa called it quits.

At 1:10 pm I got a text from Mr. Scott that he was leaving work right then. He was moments too late to save me from melting down. Kinderboy#2, usually the reliable, good-natured, never gets into trouble kid, had stuffed 50-100 kandoo wipes down the toilet and flushed. When it clogged (chorus of DUHs here), he wiggled the handle until the chain got lodged under the flapper, so the water continued to fill the bowl. And fill, and fill, then overflow... Only when the water was several inches deep on the floor did he come to tell me there was trouble in paradise. The ding of Mr. Scott's text only fueled my irritation. By the time he got home, crying boys were ensconced in beds and even Drama Teen was sniffling in the living room. I was seething and instead of taking it out on everyone, I went to bed.

Now, cookies were supposed to have been cooked sometime in the middle of the afternoon. However, no one wanted to disturb furious mother bear from her deep dark pity cave, so when it was determined that the oven was too cool for the cookies to bake, they were cut out and stored. When I finally emerged, still irked and swearing off ever celebrating a major holiday again, to cook supper, I realized the cookies hadn't been cooked and thus, the roast wasn't done, as I'd allowed for that higher oven temperature in the cooking time. Curse words were flung, silently for the most part, and it's been determined that only Mr. Scott deserves to be visited by the jolly old elf tonight.

Well, these winter days may be short in reality, but it's been hours too long for my patience. It's 7:15...we did finally eat dinner and are now trying to convince boys that the quickest way to Christmas morning is to get bathed, pajama'd, and tucked in by 8. Ha! Good thing I napped, for Santa may not be visiting the Scott household until the wee sma' hours.

And yes, dear readers, Santa does deliver coal to those who are naughty. I guess I did my part in making the season a little less bright, for I got a nice big R in my inbox.

Next year...I'm canceling Christmas.

One week almost down...

I'm convinced that no one should ever tell children that they don't have school or that Christmas is coming in X amount of days. Kinderboy#2 (aka enthusiastic morning kid) was up before 6 am almost every day this week (except yesterday). My Christmas wish (2 weeks of sleeping in) won't be granted this year. Gee, thanks Santa.

And do young children really need to know Christmas is tomorrow? Why can't we just spring it on them? All I've heard this morning is "Is Santa Coming tonight or tomorrow?" followed by "What are we doing today?" Well, I had planned a "relaxing" day of laundry, cleaning, cooking, completing a few wrapping projects, and upteen other activities. Isn't it enough that we've "done" stuff all week (i.e., Build A Bear, appointments & the movies???) Luckily, Mr. Scott is getting off around noon today to come home and we'll bake that last set of Christmas cookies to decorate tomorrow. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the roast cooked in time for Christmas Eve dinner...Usually I cook it all day long in the oven (on around 250 degrees), but in the middle of that, I'm gonna have cookies heating up the oven to 350 degrees. So, should I put the roast in later to allow for that or remove it to a crockpot while the cookies bake? But the crockpot will take up precious counter space needed for cooling the cookies. Decisions, decisions.

On a very bright note, I decided to ship my revised ghost story out to a few agents from my wish list who didn't get it the first time around (since you aren't supposed to send them revised manuscripts unless they've requested them, I've been holding a couple of agents in reserve). I've gotten two requests for partials and one request for a full. So, Santa, if you're listening, I know what I'd like in my stocking on Christmas morning!

Well, I'd better get back to dishes, laundry, and finding something to keep the kids busy for an hour or ten.

Merry Christmas!

Ericka

Sunday, December 20, 2009

So starts two weeks of....

I'm writing this Monday post on Sunday evening...okay, not evening, but late at night. I'm trying to stay positive about the next two weeks. It's difficult, but I'm determined not to ruin the Christmas season wondering how I'm going to keep my kids from driving me insane. I've planned out some activities (why does that always equal expenses?).

My mom sent our Christmas money early. So, I'll be using some of it to fund these adventures. The first is tomorrow. We're going to fabricate inanimate bruins (Build-A-Bear). Believe me, it's not as if we don't have enough stuffed animals already, but both boys had asked for Christmas bears on their lists...so we're off to stuff 'em. We'll grab lunch at the mall and pick up a few last minute Christmas items. Drama Teen has been angry with her bio dad for what seems like forever. The moment they manage to hit an even patch, he'll stop calling...then, she thinks he's mad at her and the next thing you know, she won't take his calls. I'm counting the days until she's 18. However, prior to today, she was determined not to buy him a gift, now she's changed her mind. So, this foray out will give her a chance to pick something up for him...assuming she doesn't change her mind between now and tomorrow afternoon. Sigh.

Tuesday is tied up in appointments. We'll be at the dentist first thing in the morning for my daughter to get a couple of cavities filled. Then, in the afternoon, Kinderboy#1 and I have our first counseling session. After reading our questionnaire answers, the psychologist came to the same conclusion we've suspected for a while...Reactive Attachment Disorder. For instance, this evening, we all gathered together on the couch to watch The Grinch who stole Christmas (the 1/2 hour cartoon). Kinderboy#1 would have none of sitting on the couch with us to snuggle. Instead, he stood behind the couch, or beside the couch. It breaks my heart that he won't allow himself to be part of the family, even when it's obvious that he so wants and needs to be included. Now, after The Grinch, when the "pressure" seemed to be off, he did crawl up on the couch and snuggle with Mr. Scott and Kinderboy#2. I'm hoping that he's receptive to the therapy and that we come away with some interventions that work for him.

Wednesday, I think we'll hit the dollar movies and on Thursday, we need to bake another batch of Christmas cookies (a small one this time) for all the kids to decorate on Christmas day. Oh, did I tell you, my brother-in-law and his three kidlets are coming to spend the afternoon. We'll decorate cookies and do a "make your own pizza" for lunch. I'm looking forward to trying out yet another recipe for stuffed pizza a la Garcia's Pizza in a Pan. I found a recipe that looks close... Last year's attempt was tasty but just not quite...so I'll have to let you know if it works this year. If so, I won't miss heading to C-U for the holidays quite so much. Yes, I do only go home for the pizza.

I've been working on my zombie historical. It's coming along slowly but surely. In between writing, I've been working on the snowflake plotting software. What I've come to realize is that I've got a fairly strict timeline (my one real historical characters is only in a certain place at a certain time for only so many days)...so as I'm plotting, I'm playing with time. It's driving me a bit nuts, so I'm trying to not worry about the when, just the what. It doesn't help that I have a domestic scene to write. It furthers the plot in both characterization and motivation, but I'm having trouble getting into my hero's head.

Well, it's closing on midnight, so I'll wish you all a Merry Christmas! I received a new phone from Santa and if I can figure out how to work the camera in it, you might even get pictures in my Friday post!


Ericka

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pink Glove Dance

I'm out sick today, so instead of my usual Friday rant about my crazy family life, I'm going to pass along a video that brought a smile to my face today.

The Pink Glove Dance brought to you by the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, OR. to raise the awareness of Breast Cancer prevention.




Enjoy! (and I'll be back on Monday with an update...I looked at the calendar today and realized the kids are off for only 2 weeks, not three as I originally thought. I feel like a prisoner given a reprieve!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Cruds...oh, I mean Cards

The past few days have been full of not much writing and lots of Christmas activities...putting up the tree, baking Christmas cookies (my favorite shape is the Christmas T-Rex, yep, we also have a Blinkie - 3-eyed fish (from the Simpsons), a shark, many Christmas rockets, and even a Christmas heart. We also had some traditional shapes, but those aren't nearly as popular as the others.

Continuing the trend of sharing holiday cheer, today I'm writing the dreaded Christmas letter. I hate those things and didn't want to do one this year. However, seeing as I didn't send out any cards last year (gasp), I had a lot to catch up on.

What about you? Do you do a lengthy letter or just a photo card with a signature? I'm definitely doing one of those next year~

I don't often share pictures of my kids on the blog, but I did this little layout for the Christmas letter and thought I would share. Scott is kinderboy#2, Alex is kinderboy#1 and you shouldn't have any trouble at all identifying Drama Teen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Is Christmas really in 2 WEEKS!?!?

The Christmas season consistently sneaks up on me, but as I was doing the weekend grocery shopping last night, the clerks says "Can you believe Christmas is in just 2 weeks?" Yikes. Thankfully, I'd hit the mall yesterday and finished up the shopping for boxes that needed to be mailed (Secret Santa and far-away family). Two trips to the post office this morning and everything should be on the 'sled' and delivered by Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas...remember the party we all went to last week? It's a kids' Christmas party, cookie decorating, crafts, a visit from the jolly old elf himself. Things went really, really, really well for the afternoon -- Drama teen decorated one cookie, took her about 1/2 an hour but it was simply gorgeous when she was done. Too bad it was meant to be eaten, which she did so before I could hunt down Mr. Scott and the camera. The boys had a great time playing games (ring tosses, beanie bag tosses...yep, they are boys and were happiest when throwing things). I should have seen the melt-down coming...

Every year we stop by the Burger King on Base to top off our holiday indulgence. There was lots of whining as "meals with toys" are banned in our family from Thanksgiving until well after Christmas. It's the rule, but those under the age of 7 thought it was unfair and grizzled about it. Too bad. Everyone put in their food order to me (i.e., servant, maid, and pack horse) except Kinderboy#1. He simply didn't answer, even after being asked three times. This happens quite often, so I'm prepared with the solution. You either don't get anything OR you get whatever I want to give you.

As I'm placing the order and gathering cups, pandemonium reins behind me. Both kinderboys are crawling up on the steel railings. Mr. Scott summons them down. One obeys, one doesn't. Any guess as to which one wouldn't come down? He was finally yelled into submission, but as Mr. Scott turned his back, Kinderboy#1 made as if to climb again. The direst threat possible was made. "If you climb up there, Santa will bring you nothing for Christmas."

Kinderboy#1 climbed the rail.

We're still trying to work on a compromise to carry out the threat. All of his advent calendars (the table mat that dials down the days and his red and green paper chain) have been taken down. He'll get a lump of coal in his stocking. Now, he will get family gifts, because our love is unconditional (too big of a concept for him to grasp now, but maybe one day???).

It's just all those lovely new unwrapped toys that will be under the tree will be Kinderboy#2's (unless, he, too, blows it between now and the big day). Of course, who are we kidding? Kinderboy#1 will end up playing with the toys, simply because his brother is such a generous soul, so much so that Kinderboy#2 turned over his table mat to hid the calendar and hasn't been tearing off his links either...

The whole event rather spoiled the holiday season, but we can't go back on the threat now. The one good thing that has come out of this (and the scary results of the school psychologist's report performed as part of Kinderboy#1's IEP) is that we'll be heading in for counseling for him (and us). We go next Tuesday.

On a bright note, Drama Teen has her voice recital tonight...although she's decided to give up voice lessons and dedicate the time to driving lessons (priorities, people...she is 16!). We'll also be indulging in our own cookie decorating extravaganza this weekend, and finishing up a few odds and ends in the shopping department. Then, I'll be done....

Well, except for those Christmas cards...guess I'd better get writing!

Have a great weekend!

Ericka

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just another Frantic Friday....

Yeah, I know, Monday's are supposed to be manic...for me, Fridays are the roughest day of my week. I'm usually trying to wrap up some sort of writing project so that I can spend a little time with my family. This weekend we'll be attending our town's Electric Light Parade, where we'll sit in front of the hardware store and drink hot chocolate while evil girl scouts and beauty queens fling candy canes at our heads. A good time will be had by all.

On Sunday, we'll be attending a Childrens' Christmas party hosted by one of the EAFB units. There's cookie decorating, craft making, games, and snacks. Me, I'm going for the cookies and the snacks, but the kids will have a great time. Santa flies in for a couple of hours and last year, even my teen sat on his lap to put in her gift requests.

Somehow between now and then, I have to get a few gifts purchased so that Santa has something to pull out of his sack at the party (shhhh)

I'm pounding away, writing like a fiend on my zombie historical. I've also rediscovered AutoCrit, so I've been running chapters through it's magic software and being shamed by my tawdry love affair for repeated words and phrases. Grrr. But, better to clean it up now than later.

The entire week has been uneventful, except for Tucker's trip to the vet. I don't talk much about the dog...he's six years old and has changed from a rambunctious puppy to a floor mat. For the most part, he's the calmest member of the family (except at mealtimes or when someone knocks at the door -- and don't even consider ringing the doorbell, he goes ballistic). Well, the poor guy is due up for his shots. So, last night, Mr. Scott loaded doggie and two antsy children into the car and headed up to the vet's office for the shot clinic.

It's held once a week and the crowd of people and their pets overflows into the parking lot. A parking lot my children decide to tear across in front of a huge line of cars! Poor Mr. Scott had his heart in his throat as one of those said vehicles nearly misses a collision with the kinderboys.

Gathering up the crew, he stands in a line of hissing cats and growling snarling dogs, admonishing the boys not to pet potentially vicious animals. Do the kinderboys listen? Not a chance. Mr. Scott takes solace in the fact that the animals are there to get their rabies shots, so that will save a series of painful injections in case anyone gets bitten.

Finally, his turn comes to fill out the paperwork to get Tucker's business done. Through all this, our dog cum chicken, has been shaking, whining, and looking pitiful. Mr. Scott loses sight of one child, but spots Kinderboy#1 (aka looking for trouble in all the wrong places kid) hanging in the doorway. Warns Kinderboy#1 not to leave the room and go out into the parking lot. Looks up. Kinderboy#1 is gone. With a sigh, Mr. Scott deserts his paperwork, gathers up Kinderboy#2 and goes in search of Kinderboy#1. Tucker prances all the way to the car...relieved that his ordeal is over.

What the poor pooch doesn't know is he and I will be heading back to the clinic this upcoming Thursday in an effort to get the dirty deed accomplished. Sigh.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Ericka

Monday, November 30, 2009

Please don't pass the brains....

I'm soooo excited. I typed The End on Wild Ghost Chase. Earlier, I'd shipped the story off to agents and garnered quite few requests for fulls. Something obviously didn't click. I realized that as the rejection letters piled up. However, it wasn't until I got a rejection from Jessica Faust (I stalk, oh, I mean, love her...she's one of my dream agents...and after this past rejection, IS my #1 agent of choice, but I digress) that I realized what was wrong. The comment she gave me was the key that showed me where I'd headed up the garden path in the wrong direction. WGC is about two competing teams of ghosthunters. I had a nice black moment for one couple and an HEA...but when I re-read it, the HEA for one of the couples was too easy. Way, way, too easy.

So, I plotted, dreamed, and plotted some more until I had a black moment to die for (almost literally, for my heroine & hero). I put a twist in the tale. Literally.

The original epilogue just tied things up in a neat bow. I unraveled that puppy with glee. Now, the epilogue starts out the same...X did this, Y did that, this is what ABC meant. Then, WHAM. I ramp the story up again and keep pushing to the climax. I'm thrilled to bits with it. Now I can only hope that an editor will love it as much as I do. These are the times when I wish I could send the manuscript back to Ms. Faust...but that's a faux pas I'm not willing to risk. But I can guarantee that she's the first agent I'll query with my zombie historical.

Speaking of which...

Zombie historical may be a misnomer. There will be no eating of brains, and definitely no zombie lovin'. However, there is a hefty dose of voodoo (or voudoo, or voudon, I'm still researching how it was spelled in 1849 and which is really correct for the character I'm using), a handful of zombies, and Edgar Allan Poe...but that's all I'm going to say about it right now.

But in the spirit of sharing...here is the blurb for Wild Ghost Chase. Enjoy!

Two reality-show ghost-busting teams versus one haunted house – the first team to successfully exorcise the spirits wins the renewal of their television contract. It sounds like a pretty straight-forward competition, but something or someone at Harrington House has another agenda.

Siblings Monica and Malcolm McFee comprise the team for Happily Ever Afterlife. The show is a mixture of science and supernatural, for although they are twins, they couldn’t be more different. Monica is a skeptic. She grew up normal in a paranormal family, and she’s never met phenomena yet that couldn’t be explained away by cold hard science – even love. Her brother is a medium who can see and speak to the dead. Ambitious and proud, he's the seventh son of a seventh son and determined to sustain his heritage by only dating women who believe in the paranormal. It's led to some interesting matches, but none so exciting as the one he experienced years ago with a ghost. A ghost who seems to have come to life in the persona of Kylie Harrington, the owner of Harrington House.

Their rivals are Enigma Mysterio and Irene Hopkins. Their show is Bump in the Night, where investigative team participants pay thousands of dollars to be scared to death by either the ghosts or the dramatics. Up until two years ago, Enigma just had a funny name. Dying three times after a car accident changed all that. Now he has the ability to see through the veil separating life from the afterlife. It’s a gift he neither wanted nor asked for, but a man has to make a living somehow, and being the stooge for a beautiful woman on a hit television series isn’t so bad. Or so he thought until he meets Monica and loses his heart to the one woman who can’t see past his psychic ability to the man inside. Irene isn’t a psychic; she just plays one on television. Besides being married to the show’s producer, her one true talent is screaming on cue.

The paranormal investigation was Kylie’s idea; however, the competition wasn’t. All she wants to know is where her ancestor, Amos Harrington, hid his ill-gotten gains so that she can get out from under the mountain of debt she’s inherited along with the supposedly haunted house.

Over the course of the weekend, the two teams with their respective technical advisors, a supposedly impartial network executive, and the beautiful owner of Harrington House find it isn’t just the ghosts who are running amok. A killer is on the loose and if they don’t work together, they could all become permanent residents.

If this sounds like a book you'd love to read, I'm taking applications for a couple of beta readers who have experience critiquing manuscripts and who will promise to be brutally honest (well, perhaps they could go a little easy on the brutal, but I definitely need the honest part). If you're interested, drop me a comment.

Until Friday...or sooner, if something grabs me that I simply must post about...

Ericka

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Raffle for Heartline Ministries

I love reading other people's blogs. I'm not sure why, maybe it makes me feel better to know my life isn't the only crazy one.

Some of you may know that we adopted two little boys from Guatemala five years ago. Kinderboy#2 is fully attached. Kinderboy#1, not so much. Attachment Disorders run the spectrum and I often blog hop, looking for insights and new ways to foster his attachment. I found the Waters and have been following their adventures nearly daily.

Currently, Corey is in the process of trying to raise $10,000 for Heartline Ministries. http://heartlineministries.org/default.aspx The goal is to raise enough money to buy an vehicle/ambulance to get pregnant women and at risk women and children, in Haiti, to the hospital.

To help reach this goal, she is having a raffle. I am doing my small part and have donated an e-copy of Crisscross and/or one of my erotic e-books - reader's choice (for those over 18 only).

Right now, there's over 20 prizes (prints, a Target gift card, an IPOD shuffle, kids' clothes, more books, body creams, a purse made in Haiti...well, you get the picture, there's something for everyone and it's a good cause. If you want to know more, hop on over to her blog.

http://watchingthewaters.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/are-you-ready-for-some-raffle/

Ericka

A Frenzied Friday Family Update....

Well, I survived the week...barely. The only thing holding me together is the thought that this was just a dress rehearsal for the Christmas Holidays. THREE full weeks of kids, kids, kids (can you hear me screaming?). I need a game plan and I need one fast. Too bad I'm too busy with laundry, cooking and writing to be able to dedicate brain cells to an event so far in the future.

Thanksgiving Day. It's my favorite holiday...no expectation of gifts, just food, food, and more food. It's also nice that we were able to go to my brother-in-laws where my kidlets played with their kidlets and for the most part didn't destroy anything major (although some limes gave their juice up in the name of fun) and no one got hurt (well, Kinderboy#1 fell off the top of the play car...his "I'm really having fun and not writhing on the ground in pain" laugh didn't sound too authentic, but since he was back up on top of the car within minutes, I figured it wasn't serious). Kinderboy#2, Mr. Picky Eater himself, gorged himself silly on tortilla chips and soda. I didn't put the kibosh on his feeding frenzy as I'd fed him a PB&J sandwich before we came (to get some actual food into him) and he actually ate a huge serving of apple/yam bake and didn't catch on that the orange bits weren't apple! Perhaps there is hope for him yet.

I've also planned a repeat of turkey Day on Sunday, as I absolutely must have leftover turkey. I love my sister-in-law's cooking, just not her turkey. Each year, she experiments with something to dress up the bird. One year it was lemon-pepper & barbecue, this year, it was stewed tomatoes. I enjoy the adventure, but I crave the traditional. That roasted bird may be boring but I totally live for cold turkey sandwiches the week AFTER Thanksgiving. That's one of the bad things about going out for Thanksgiving feast...I don't feel as if I can be a total pig and steal all the leftovers. No, I feel compelled to be polite and not fight over that last piece of pumpkin cheesecake (although I so totally wanted it...and all the stuffing, and...and...and). So, this weekend, we'll be doing the feasting all over again. Yum.

Today was Black Friday. I didn't go shopping. Mr. Scott, in his infinite wisdom, scheduled Drama Teen's follow-up CT scan on a day when no one in the neighborhood was home to babysit the Kinderboys -- they were shopping!. To his credit, he managed to come down with the cold & cough from Hell and had to stay home from work sick. Gleefully, I stuck him with the boys and took Drama Teen to her appointment. As I pulled into the Imaging Center parking lot, I was amazed. There was a total of maybe 20 cars there. I've never seen it so empty! The staff was pleasant, underworked, and smiling. I've decided that next year, I'm scheduling ALL of our appointments on Black Friday (okay, maybe not all of them, but I'm going to try to work at least one in).

Which brings me to my wrap up. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. The Scott family has a ton to be thankful for. Drama Teen's health, the Kinderboys as not only the bestest adopted kids in the world but also the most entertaining. I cannot imagine my life without them. My life would be boring and much less fulfilling if it wasn't for them. However, I'll admit that what I am most Thankful for this week is that soccer ended last week. There is no butt-freezing 8:30 am (who the heck made up the schedule anyway???) game. We can finally go back to my regularly scheduled Saturday sleep-in.

Next week, I hope to be able to report that I've finally tippy-tapped THE END on my revised ghost story. It's coming together, albeit very slowly as the week draws to a close, but I think I've got the climax in my head. I just need to get it on paper.

Oh! Maybe I'm not most thankful for the end of soccer as I realized I'm ecstatically thankful that the kids go back to school next week. I'd like to give whoever invented the concept of sending kids to school for a large chunk of hours a great big smooch! (except, call me an ungrateful *itch, I only wish he'd invented school for 6 days instead of just 5).

Happy Leftovers!

Ericka

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bad Blogger....

Yep, here it is, Wednesday, and I realized I didn't give you a frenzied Friday family update nor my typical writing-related Monday blog. So, here's an atypical Wednesday update instead.

The screaming in my head started on Friday, when the knowledge that the kids would be home 24/7 for NINE days straight, sank in. Now, as day 5 dawns, I realize it hasn't been that bad. The weekend was relatively "normal", the kinderboys had their last soccer game and then spent the rest of the weekend puttering/shopping/doing family stuff. Monday was a tougher proposition as I didn't have anything firm planned to do. The boys got up before 6 am...which meant we all got up over an hour before we had to and everyone was miserable (especially me). By 9 am, I'd had it with attitude and sent Kinderboy#1 back to bed. Peace reigned until noon when I picked up lunch from their favorite fast food joint (bet I don't have to tell you what that is - hint, it starts with an M and serves burgers & fries) then roused him out of bed. He was in a much better mood for the rest of the day (big smile). Amazing what a little sleep will do.

Tuesday, Drama Teen needed some medical lab work performed. By the time she rolled out of bed and we got going, it was nearly noon. So, after an hour of waiting in a stuffy room with hungry and antsy boys, her blood was drawn and then we ate lunch out, and got home after 2 pm. It was a warm afternoon and the entire neighborhood seemed to be outside playing. Drama Teen sat on her favorite rock in the front yard re-reading Twilight and the boys played with their friends. As for me...I snuck off and took a short nap. Again, amazing what a little sleep will do!

Today, I've got my act together. We'll be hanging around the house this morning and already the video game wars are in full force. I laid in a supply of personal-sized pizzas at the grocery store last night for our lunch. This afternoon, we'll be heading off to see Planet 51, not to return until it's almost time for dinner. Thursday is taken care of with cooking and then traveling to my brother-in-law's for Turkey Day dinner and lots of family & fun. Friday, I'll just have to play by ear. Hopefully, it's another nice day and I can just toss the kids out into the yard.

However, I can see that I'm going to have to have a better game plan over the Christmas holidays.

Now that the screaming in my head has abated somewhat, I'll confess that I've managed to do an amazing amount of writing amidst the chaos. Monday, while the kids "hung out" in their jammies playing video games and watching the boob tube, I banged out over 3K on the epilogue of the ghost story I'm revising. I'm doing something different with this part of the book. I'm calling it an epilogue...leading the reader to believe that the story is in the bag at the end of the previous chapter. Then, wham...I'm heating it up again for the REAL climax. I just have to finish this scene and type The End. Then, edit & polish the epilogue, make sure there's no inconsistencies, and do a final spell check, etc. before I submit it. The great thing is that it's now 80K, which opens up a couple more markets for the book (fingers crossed)

Here's wishing you a happy Turkey Day (if you are here in the states and celebrate), if not, have a great rest of the week and weekend!

Ericka

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sick and Tired

Not of anything in particular. Just literally sick with a head cold and tired. I've managed to sneak off for a lie-down every day this week thanks to the kindness of Mr. Scott and Drama Teen. Thank goodness is was a short week, what with Veterans Day plunked right in the middle of it.

Winter seems to be right around the corner (finally) here in the high desert. We've been having a gorgeous Indian Summer, but I'm in the mood for some winter comfort in the form of lasagna, roasts, beef stew, etc. Hopefully, this upcoming weekend I can shove an angry pot roast (cross rib roast) into the oven and cook it all day long. I may even fire up the bread machine for some lovely crusty rolls, and if my cold allows, may even attempt to make a Yorkshire pudding. When I was a child, nothing on earth could have induced me to even try a bite of one of my mom's specialty "puddings" - which to me meant chocolate and vanilla sweet creamy stuff, not a puffy bowl of pastry. Now, I think I could survive on Yorkshire pudding...given enough gravy to eat it with.

I'm sure none of the Scott children will even take a nibble of the Yorkshire pudding. Well, take that back, Kinderboy#1 might. He's our adventuresome eater. The other two, Drama Teen especially, are picky eaters.
Kinderboy#2 will eat chicken nuggets, sausages, meatballs, yogurt, and the requisite peanut butter and jelly. That's about it. Oh, and french fries....mustn't forget those.

Drama Teen is our expensive protein eater. She isn't fond of pork, chicken, or beef. Dish up crab legs, shrimp, lobster, salmon, and most fish and she'll dig right in. She's become more open to trying new foods since she's gotten bitten by the cooking bug. If I can drag myself off my deathbed to get to the grocery store today, we'll be having Indian curry tonight, compliments of Drama Teen. She watches Gordon Ramsey's F word and Kitchen Nightmares faithfully and asked for one of his cookbooks for Christmas. I'm hoping she'll throw in a side of curried scallops along with our Chicken Tikka Masala and Shrimp Korma, tonight. Can I say how much I love this child's cooking?

Lest you think this post is only about food, I'll drag in that we have our last two soccer games upcoming. It's going to miserable out there now that the weather has turned cold. Most of our games have been at either 8:30 am (misery) or 9:15 am (slight less unpleasant). My preference was the 10:30 games, but I didn't make the schedule (sigh). Tomorrow's game is at 9:15, so we'll be out there freezing butt. Someone who'll also be out there in the cold is Drama Teen, who has a fund-raising car wash tomorrow. She has to be to the High School at 8:30 am to squirt cold water at cars. Can we all say "Brrrrr"

Next week is a full week of school and then the school district has "generously" given the kids a WHOLE week off for Thanksgiving (can you hearing me screaming????)-- sigh. So, I'd best be off and write while the house is quiet.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Ericka

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dipping my toe in the unknown....

(Insert big sigh here)

I've always prided myself on trying out books by new-to-me authors, I've had especially good luck with finding audio books and e-books by new authors that I've particularly enjoyed (The Rule of Four, The Baker Street Letters (looking forward to the sequel), Anyone Out There?, and Dead of Winter, Haunts of the Heart and Redemption. However, the last three books by new-to-me authors that I've purchased at my local big-box bookstore have been bombshells. They sounded like what my dad would have called "humdingers" on the back. Great, compelling back cover blurbs about topics that interested me.

The Poe Shadow -- I love Poe...not so much his writing, but just the romance of his character and the mystery of his death. This book promised soooo much and delivered soooo little. I slogged through to the end, disappointed, dismayed, and disgusted that I'd wasted the money on the book. It was a New York Times Bestseller, but I wonder how many other people who purchased the book were sucked in by the advertising?

Another literary figure book that I picked up from the cover and the back blurb was The Dracula Dossier. It combined TWO characters that are sure-fire sellers for me. Bram Stoker and Jack the Ripper. I opened the books with barely suppressed excitement on Saturday night as I had several hours of quiet time to read. The opening letter reminded me of some of the "newly discovered" Holmes stories, and I prepared to sit back and enjoy. It started out with such promise...a bloody knife. Cooey! I think my first indication that I'd been deceived was when the footnotes began appearing fast and furious at the bottom of every page. I've made it through 99 pages and will probably skim bits and pieces to see if it picks up -- there's some sort of secret society, a lunatic asylum, and a weird guy to follow, but I still feel as if I was terribly deceived by that back cover copy. Again, THIS is a NY Times Bestseller????

The last one was a horror novel I picked up as it involved a haunted house (rather an apartment complex) and I had high expectations. Audrey's Door. The title wasn't all that compelling but I guessed that it was using the premise of that "door to the other side" that drives a lot of horror/paranormal plots. I settled down to read. First off, I will say I loved the interspersion of old newspaper articles with the current story. For me, it lends some credibility to the fiction. Then, there's the spooky residents, ghosts, and the odd building who is a character itself. I really, really, REALLY wanted to enjoy this book. I made it to page 255 before I realized that I was no longer interested in finishing the book. I can't summon up any sympathy or empathy for the main character, Audrey. I think she is perhaps too flawed and too unlikable, in your face, stinking unlikable and, in my opinion, she never redeems herself. Then, there is her boyfriend who is infinitely more likable than the main character and should have kicked her to the curb a long time ago and never looked back. He deserves sooooo much more than what he gets in the end (Yeah, I skimmed to the disappointing ending, closed the cover, and was glad I didn't have to open it up again).

Now, these aren't proper reviews by any stretch of the imagination. I wish the authors great success, but, I won't be paying money for anything else they write (sorry guys!). The next book I'll be reading will be something by one of my tried and trues...Jeffrey Deaver, Dean Koontz, Patricia Cornwell, CS Harris....or....just to name a few.

Have a great reading week!

Ericka Scott

P.S.

What have you read that's been a disappointment or an unexpectedly rousing success?

Friday, November 6, 2009

I need more hours....

This week has been hectic, to say the least. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes there were a few more than 24 hours in a day so that they could get everything done. Foremost among those is Mr. Scott... Every November, he's involved with an intercollegiate programming contest. This year, they had to move the contest up a week. 7 full days that he and the other judges could have used. Needless to say, my husband's been a little sleepless for the last couple of days. I'm just looking forward to Monday when life will go back to normal...or at least what passes for normal here in the Scott household.

Drama Teen had her heart broken by her first love six or so months ago. As the flame lives in our neighborhood, it's hard not to acknowledge that he's got a new girlfriend. I noticed Drama Teen looking a bit pensive the other day and leaped to the conclusion that she was feeling a bit blue about the situation. Au contraire, she was quick to tell me, that she wasn't the least bit sad about "that", she had just heard through the grapevine that Mr. Heartbreaker and his new young love were going to be parents. Parents! While I'm thinking "Better her than you", I asked Drama Teen how she felt about that. Her reply was more mature than I'd imagined. "Doesn't she know, Mom, that having a baby at sixteen isn't a good thing? There's diapers, sleepless nights, and she's not going to be able to hang out with her friends. Babies are no way to fix or keep a relationship." My heart hurts for Drama Teen, she talks a good game, but I know it has to hurt. I gave her a big hug and then we bonded over laundry.

The school invited us to an IEP meeting for kinderboy #1 today. We'd dutifully filled out the surveys they sent us and were interested to find out if the school psychologist had any insight as to what makes our little guy tick. The best guess is a pretty severe cognitive learning disability. Mr. Scott, who thinks like a computer programmer because he is one, explained it as an input/output problem. The information is going in just fine. Kinderboy#2 is just having retrieval problems. I'm hoping the interventions will aid in unlocking the info. Now, if they could only figure out something to cure his stubbornness! LOL.

Kinderboy#2 had his first playdate with a friend on Tuesday. He and his buddy walked home to the other boy's house and spent the afternoon goofing off, watching movies, eating popcorn, and playing video games. Kinderboy#1 was heartbroken that he didn't get to go too. Luckily, kinderboy#1 and our neighbor's other boy are friends. So, we're going to do a kid swap for the afternoon. I'll host one of mine and one of hers and she'll have one each as well. The only downside is that our new friends have to move during Thanksgiving week to a faraway town. So, I may have a whole 'nother set of broken hearts at the Scott household.

As for what's up with me...I got a sort-of rejection. A "we liked this piece, needs more work before you submit it again." So, I put zombie historical on hold so that I can polish up my haunted house story. On re-reading it, I have spotted some areas to improve and may end up adding a couple of thousand words. If'n I do (which I hope I do), I can then submit it to a couple of other markets that take a minimum wordcount of 70K. So, all is well in my world.

I'll be blogging over at Romerotica Authors tomorrow about my love affair with haunted house stories and my upcoming trip to the Mission Inn in Riverside. Is it haunted? I've stayed there several times and never had anything odd happen, but one never knows!

Have a great weekend!

Ericka

Monday, November 2, 2009

The maids are coming! The maids are coming!

Can you tell I'm mega excited?

Then, on the other hand, I feel a bit as if I've failed some strange test of being a stay-at-home mom. I quit work to take care of the kids and the house. Yet...the house is neglected, to say the least. And it's not that I can't clean house. I can. I just don't want to. There are things that I don't mind doing and things that I hate. And honestly, there just isn't any job satisfaction in cleaning.

I've finally come to the decision that I could devote every hour of every day to the house, laundry, kids, etc. But what fun is that? I want to write and I want to make a success out of writing. To do that, I need the time.

Thus, we've hired a housecleaning service. Did I tell you they come tomorrow? I can't wait....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Frightful Friday

Overheard at the boys school Halloween carnival today: "Could you hold my eyeball?"

I volunteered to help at the school today. As a result, I kept my eye on three little guys as they played games and acquired candy (lots of it, as though trick-or-treating tomorrow night won't be enough). The boys seemed to have fun and the school had the whole event well-organized.

This week has gone by in a bit of a blur. Monday, I interviewed the last housekeeping candidate. Tuesday, I made my decision and hopefully by the end of this upcoming Tuesday, my house will be clean and sparkling.

Tuesday, Drama Teen and I went to the dentist. I'd like to say fun was had by all, but honestly, there were a lot of cavities between us. Needless to say, I've become the toothbrush Nazi this week.

Wednesday, Kinderboy #2 went to the dentist. Cavities again abounded. Plus, the poor guy had two adult teeth pushing in behind his baby teeth. The dentist "wiggled" them out (Ouch). As a result, Kinderboy #2 got to miss an entire day of school so that the "sleeping juice" applied to his teeth and jaw wore off. He now thinks that going to the dentist wasn't so bad after all. In addition, he earned a visit from the tooth fairy. All is well in his world.

Kinderboy#1 had a better week. Of course, he was working toward two goals. The first was to participate in the carnival. The second was to get ice cream from the truck on Friday. He's still having some academic difficulties, so the school psychologist ran a few "tests". We haven't gotten the final results back, but from the preliminary stuff, it looks like he has a fairly significant cognitive learning disability. In a way, it explains why he can spell his name one day and not the next. Of course, I still think there is a liberal dose of contrariness in his system that aids and abets in his "forgetfulness"...but if pulling him out for some special instruction during the week helps, I'm all for it.

Mr. Scott traveled to Las Vegas for a couple of days at the end of the week. I'm sure it was a welcome break for him. Lots of work for me...but that and this entire week has validated my decision to hand in my editing towel. I'm finishing the last couple of books assigned to me and hope to have everything done, done, done by 1 December. Hopefully then I'll be able to really buckle down and WRITE. I miss my zombies. Of course, with tomorrow being Halloween, I'm sure I'll have more than a few of them knocking on my door.

We watched The Midnight Meat Train tonight, to help "get us in the mood" for the year's scariest day. Interesting premise and twist... When we got to the extras and Mahogany (played by Vinnie Jones) was narrating, I was exceptionally glad that he only had one line in the movie. His voice is like dark chocolate, rich and sinful... Although I thought the movie was all about the gore...he created an incredibly deep character just with his presence. Brava.

Tomorrow night, after all the ghouls and ghosties have retired for the evening, we'll be queuing up The Unborn.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Ericka

My Bloody Vampire...

The family Friday update will be delayed until later this evening in order to make this announcement!



http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=12446

Welcome one and all to day 29 & 30 of our month long bash of bloody goodness.

Today’s contest is easy and fun. The winner will be announced later this week. There are 48 prizes for today! Spread the word!

What I'm donating:

Author Ericka Scott
http://www.erickascott.com/
$10 Amazon Gift Card. Open to readers worldwide.

Friday, October 23, 2009

TGIF...I think...

It's been an odd week. Monday was just busy, then, all hell broke loose on Tuesday. I started off for my walk and realized my IPOD was dead. Since the day was cold and blustery, I opted out of my walk. Good thing. I got back to the house to a phone message. Mr. Scott had wrecked the van! Thank goodness he wasn't hurt, but my poor, poor van was in bad shape. We spent the rest of the morning coordinating insurance, towing, and car rental.

Wednesday the kids were home all day from school...need I say more.

I headed off to my critique group that evening with 12 pages of a new prologue to my zombie historical grasped in my hot nervous hands. I'd thought the previous prologue that I'd passed out last month was lame. Imagine my surprise when my six critique partners thought it was THE BEST writing I'd ever done. I handed out the new prologue...but came home and immediately stuck the old one back into the file (note to self, never delete sections...cut and paste them to an odd document you can discard only after the darn thing is published). Then, they have convinced me that third person POV is better than first...not such an easy fix.

Thursday, I interviewed cleaning services. I'm sooooo excited. Sometime in the next week, I will have my house spik and span AND have someone coming out at least once a month to keep the writing cave in order.

There's been very little drama out of the kids this week. Drama Teen has been singularly drama-less, Kinderboy #1 has had some breakdowns, but nothing out of the ordinary. Kinderboy#2 is getting his pictures retaken today (although I don't hold out much hope that the second set will be much better than the first. Sigh)

We have an early morning soccer game tomorrow. Thankfully, I'm not snack mom this week.

Now, I have to get back to changing the first three chapters from first person POV to third...so that I can get back to writing forward next week (between dental appointments, but I'm sure that will be another story for next Friday.)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Ericka

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lesson learned and a close encounter...

This week in review...

Monday started off with one sick Drama t=Teen (not sure she was really sick, although she looked and acted as if she didn't feel well) and then kinderboy #2 asked to come home from school. He, however, didn't look or act sick. I brought him home, warning him that there would be no television, no video games, no computer. He would wear pjs and go back to bed...as that's what sick people did. After a few hours of chasing him back to bed, offering him "sips" of water, because that's all that sick people could stand to drink, he'd had ENOUGH. Crying and moaning because his tummy was rumbling, he finally admitted that he'd only pretended to be sick as kinderboy#1 insisted that it was fun to stay home sick and kinderboy#2 had to try it out for himself. A deal was struck...kinderboy#2 could put his clothes back on, eat lunch, and head back to school for the last 1.5 hours. He did, and swore he'll never pretend to be sick again. Well, we'll see...

The rest of the week passed fairly uneventfully. Wednesday was a teacher-conference day so there was no school (we have another one this week, what the heck is that about????). We went to see G-Force, which was actually quite entertaining.

Thursday, Drama Teen had a close encounter with a fetal pig in Physical Science. It was already dissected, they just had to identify, draw, and learn the parts. The smell of formaldehyde (or whatever they preserve in these days) got to her, but to her credit, she stuck out the rest of the day. However, she's now a semi-confirmed vegetarian. While shopping at the store, I picked up veggie bacon and texturized vegetable ground "meat". Honestly, the bacon really isn't bad. Expensive but tasty. We'll be using the meat for spaghetti later this week. I did note that "vegetarian" didn't deter her from picking out scallops to eat for dinner tonight. Although I'll agree that seafood looks nothing like pig.

Kinderboy #1 had a decent week until Saturday at the Edwards AFB air show. If you were there and saw a family pretty much dragging a kicking and screaming child out through the gates, that was us. He's six, but like a two-year-old, no was his favorite word yesterday and nothing, nothing, nothing would do. He didn't want to go to the air show, didn't want what anyone else had for snack, and most of all, didn't want the same souvenir as everyone else got. Well, sorry. We had six kids with our group. They all got the same thing. Period. Either that or we knew it would be fights and fits all the way home. I bought him a souvenir, but he didn't want it and tried to throw it away. I fished it out while he wasn't looking and tucked it in my purse. Then, when all the planes had flown over and it was time to pack up and leave, he didn't want to go. Sigh. As soon as we got home, another fit ensued because everyone was playing with their toy airplanes and he didn't have one. When I pulled out his...he didn't even say thanks. Grrr. Contrary little cuss.

All in all, it was a pretty good week and I'm looking forward to next (with the exception of that silly conference day on Wednesday...sigh). Hope you all have a good one, too!

Ericka

Friday, October 16, 2009

The sound of a shy writer....

I'm on talk radio tonight... http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Total-E-Talk

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crisscross Promotional Book Trailer

I'm absolutely thrilled to find out that I'm one of the winners of The Long and Short of It review site video showcase. But that only meant that I needed to get my butt in gear and create a video for Crisscross. I'm really, really pleased with the way this one turned out.

Hope you enjoy!

video

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Family Friday -- or much ado about food

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know. Set a goal, break a goal. But, to be honest, this week has been rather calm and uneventful. Amazingly so. Everyone went to school, came home, did their homework, and I didn't have to referee too many squabbles.

So, what's up with that?

As for me...I'm exhausted. The school district, in their questionable wisdom, gave the kids 1/2 day off on Wednesday. Not sure why. Teacher angst, perhaps? Then, they gave the kids two full Wednesdays off in the following week, on the 14th and the 21st. So, we'll have two Mondays for every week (and two Fridays, but still...). I'll survive. One of the days will most certainly be a movie day. We'll pick something at the $1.50 theater and spend a few blissful hours staring at some ludicrous cartoon. Good thing they serve popcorn at the theaters.

Speaking of eating, I've realized that I have a problem with food. Actually, the problem is lack of sleep. I'm up at 5:30 most mornings and on the go until 11 pm at night, most nights. At nine o'clock in the morning, I want to crawl back into bed. But I can't...I need to write, do laundry, pick up the house, etc. So, I eat to stay awake. Right after lunch, I'm again, deathly tired, but if I lay down then, I risk not waking up in time to pick the boys up from the bus. And if I set an alarm, I simply wake up every five to ten minutes anticipating that it's about to go off. So, I find myself snacking on bits of stuff...cashews, granola bars, cookies.

Here I know people will chime in that if we didn't buy it, I wouldn't eat it. True. But that's when I find I can get very inventive. did you know that mixing brown sugar and butter together tastes great (you can even mix in cinnamon...it's like a roll without the bread. Or, butter a piece of bread and sprinkle sugar on it...tastes wonderful.)

Once the boys have been picked up, sleep is out of the question. Their incessant squabbling and neediness ensure that I have a raging headache (from being so darned tired) and am irritable and, yes, I'll say it, BITCHY all afternoon. So, by now, I'm once again scrounging in the cupboards looking for a sugary pick me up to get me through the afternoon until dinner.

After dinner, my husband usually takes the boys and I collapse in a chair. I can't sleep...they all make too much noise for that, besides, if I got to sleep now, I won't sleep tonight.

By 11, I fall into bed nearly crying with exhaustion. Only to close my eyes briefly before the alarm goes off, harkening in another day of exhaustion and eating.

On the weekends, I always have hopes of breaking the cycle. However, hubby snuck off to the bedroom for a 3-hour nap, leaving me, yet again, exhausted and eating...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Just another frantic Friday!

For those of you who didn't know, my first full-length novel, Crisscross, released yesterday. I'm blogging about it over at The Romance Studio Blog. You can purchase your copy for the sale price of 5.50 at the Write Words, Inc. Website. It's also available at OmniLit, The bookstore on the corner of your digital neighborhood, and should be available at Fictionwise in the next few weeks. I'll post the link when I get notification that it's available.

This week has been a breath of fresh, cooler, air here in the high desert of California. Now that the mornings are cold, it sure is tough to get out of bed unless you are under the age of 6. Kinderboy#1, at the ripe "old" age of six is just beginning to discover the joys of sleeping in. Not so much Kinderboy#2, as he is up with the sun most mornings.

Our trips to the doctor continue, this time with Kinderboy#2's cough. Diagnosis, sinus infection. Treatment, amoxicillin. Yummy, exclaims the ailing youngster. Now, I know there's a fine line between making medicine taste good so that children don't run and hide, but that powdery pink stuff tastes a bit too good in my opinion. But if it helps his cough, I'm all for it. I just need to remember to put it at the back of the top shelf of the fridge as I don't want to tempt fate or little boys...

This weekend, I'll be taking the kids to the movies so that Mr. Scott can get some work done on the programming contest. When I mentioned Zombieland, my husband gave me an odd look, so I guess we're stuck going to see either the Toy Story in 3D double-feature or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I'm also trying my hand at smuggling in candy instead of buying the expensive stuff at the snack counter. I feel sorta guilty about it, except that we're going to the "expensive" theater and I'm still going to buy popcorn (lots of it).

So hope you have a fantastic Friday and a great weekend. Think about me on Saturday, I'll be the one sitting in the dark feeling guilty and wishing I was a couple of theaters down the hall watching dead people rise and walk...hey, it IS research, you know! (...wonders if the IRS would let me write off movie tickets as a business expense...)

Ericka

Friday, September 25, 2009

What a week...

This week started out innocuously enough on Monday, but by Tuesday, all heck had broken loose.

Kinderboy #2 fell while riding his bike on Monday night. I thought he'd just bent his nail back...ends up he jammed the digit and by the time he woke up on Tuesday, the base of his thumb was swollen and bruised. A trip to Urgent Care and 4 hours later determined that it really was just a jammed thumb. He was splinted and set free. We were supposed to come back this morning for a follow up...however his thumb is fine and I caught him taking the splint off in order to play his DS. I don't want to waste my time or the Dr's.

Sometime during the morning at Urgent Care I got a call from our "other" daughter. When my best friend died a few years ago, I stepped in as surrogate mother. We've tried to provide emotional and reasonable financial support when needed. Her call, informing us that her father had died unexpectedly, had us stepping up to the plate again. Clothing appropriate to a funeral had to be purchased and transportation to get her and her older sister to Arkansas for the funeral had to be arranged. I only wish I could be there to help out more, but I know she'll get things taken care of for the estate and her younger sister.

To top off our trip to Urgent Care, I came home to a house full of foul-smelling smoke. Mr. Scott had boiled water for his coffee and then wandered off to work, leaving the water to burn. Melted the tea pot. Most concerning is that none of the fire alarms were shrieking! Batteries were changed and tested and we now have another weekend project...the family fire drill.

Wednesday, I needed to take Drama Teen to the doctor to get all of her prescriptions refilled. We also needed to buy a dress and a gift for her friend's quincinera on Saturday. So, after the appointment, we had a little "girl" time. On Thursday, we got another surprise. The school has been using some new software to inform us of activities at the school. Well, they also give a weekly update on the student. I had tears in my eyes when the computer voice said "Pleasure to have in class" "Comes prepared to class" "Always pleasant and helpful". Wow. As Drama Teen gets older, I'm really discovering that I like the glimpses of the woman she is to become that I see in her.

Kinderboy #1 has had a decent week. Lots of smiley faces from his school status report. Looks like he's been saving his stubborn streak for us at home. I'm used to his selective hearing, arguments, and passive aggressive behavior and would much rather him be attentive and cooperative at school, so I can't complain. And for all of his lacking fine motor skills, this is one little speed demon on his bike! He looks so cute flying up and down the street following all the 'big' kids on their cycles.

As for me, I've just been reacting to all of the things thrown my way (and seemingly at my head). A work-related decision that I'd been struggling with for a while now was made easier by one of those events. Once it's all official, I'll let you in on the changes in my life.

No soccer this weekend, as our little town has their annual Armed Forces Parade. I'll be sitting in front of the gas station waving a flag.

Hope you have a great Friday and upcoming weekend!

Ericka

Monday, September 21, 2009

Coming Soon...

My exciting news...I just handed in the galley corrections for my upcoming release, Crisscross coming on October 1st from Write Words, Inc.

The simply GORGEOUS cover was designed by one of my favorite cover artists, Emma Peterson.

Crisscross (noun): A web of deceit entangling a bestselling author and her small son, two ex-lovers, and a killer with a knack for cruciverbalism and a thirst for revenge.

A psychic, and skeptic, and serial killer…

Lia Morgan has seen portents and signs since she was a teenager; however, few people believed her, including her own family. Although estranged, Lia travels across country to aid in the search for her missing sister, Sylvie. What seems to be a simple case gets complicated fast when Lia discovers her sister had a plethora of secrets, including a small son. Is her sister running from an impending paternity case like the police assume, or is her disappearance the work of a serial killer as her friends suspect?

An anthropologist and crossword puzzle fanatic, Jared Trimble is a packrat with a PhD. His world is grounded in the here and now, with no room for paranormal mumbo-jumbo. When Jared's asked to work as a consultant on a missing person's case involving a series of crossword puzzle clues, he's conflicted. One part's thrilled. The other part is suspicious; worried he fits the description of suspect more than investigator.

All that is forgotten when he realizes his ex-lover, Lia Morgan, is the missing woman’s sister. While Lia follows signs and portents, Jared uses his wits and experience. When the two collide, nearly forgotten passions flare. As the final clue is revealed, the solution brings them both into the bull’s-eye of the serial killer's target.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Family Friday

Writers are such solitary creatures that we often forget they have friends and family...heck, I often forget I have friends and family. So, I thought that I would start sharing some of the happenings around the Scott household on Fridays.

Drama Teen has had a good week. Her progress report was impressive...all A's & B's except in Geometry where she landed a resounding thunk of an F. Yep, genetics tell, math is not my strong point and I still count on my fingers when we play cribbage.

Kinderboy #1 was sent home with a stack of papers earlier this week. Each one had his indecipherable scrawl at the top with the teacher's comment to please make sure he can write his name. I'm looking at the words and a sudden pattern of the same letters, n-a-m-e in various configurations meme, amne, etc. emerges. Turns out that instead of writing HIS name at the top of the paper, he was copying the word in front of the line (name). Argh! We all had a good laugh at it...

I received a call from the school today about Kinderboy #2. My first thought..."oh, no, he's sick" disintegrated with the secretary's words. He'd tattled on a child doing something they shouldn't have been doing and that child got sent to the office. In a paroxysm of misplaced guilt, he was now crying and feeling guilty. Yep...that's my boy. The woman assured me that the child was, indeed, doing something wrong and Kindrboy#2 was right to tattle, but he still felt cruddy. Now, if he'd only feel that bad after he tells tall tales about his brother!

Mr. Scott is busy with "the other woman"... he's a judge/director of a intercollegiate programming contest and for about 3 months of the year is "distracted" by programming problems, programming solutions, website updates, etc. We're expecting the delivery of Mary Kate and Ashley (hard drives) and Vanessa, the server, lives in our garage.

The nursing home where my father lives, confined by the Alzheimer's Disease that has stolen his family and friends from him, has a whole wing quarantine with this horrible H1N1 flu. Luckily, he hasn't succumbed to it yet. My mother still spends most of every day with him. It reminds me of those couples that when one dies, the other one simply gives up living to be with them...I'm hoping that's not the case with my parents as Mom is still in good health and as vibrant as ever.

Well, that's it for us until next Friday. On Monday, I'll have some great book news and a new cover to share...

Until then,

Ericka

Friday, September 11, 2009

My new affair...

Yep, I've got a whole new love in my life. Audiobooks. Wow!

Since the boys went back to school at the beginning of August, I determined to take back some of "my" time, which included exercise and reading. I used to take a book the gym with me...but it's difficult reading and cycling or reading and elliptical training. All that bouncing around made me a little sick and I ended up feeding my brain with useless news shows or worse yet, daytime dramas, playing on the gym televisions.

My husband listens to podcasts (yawn), but I got to thinking about books. Audiobooks. The first one I tried out was the lastest Diana Motts Davidson, Fatally Flakey. Cute book...it got me through a long car drive to San Francisco and loads of laundry. So...could it survive a walk?

Oh, yeah...it was even better than I expected. This week, I finished up The Rule of Four, by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. I love a literary mystery and this one kept me pounding the pavement and was interesting and thought provoking enough that I actually looked forward to my walks!

And whoever said that nothing can be learned from genre fiction needs to have their head examined. There was a fantastic image at the end of the book. That the present is a reflection of the future. Like looking in a mirror, the things to be stretch out behind you. There's a great temptation to turn away from that mirror in order to face the future. However, that only serves to take a person OUT of the picture....

What a fantastic concept. And it's so true in so many ways. As a writer, I find myself concentrating a lot on my future (when I get that book deal, when I get an agent) without enjoying the process of achieving success. I still get a stab of disappointment with every rejection and I keep wishing I could "make it"...but if I had "made it" with the first query to an agent back almost 2 years ago, I wouldn't be the writer I am today. I've learned sooo much in those ensuing days, months, and years, knowledge that will serve me well when I finally get "there". So, I'm determined to start enjoying the journey more...I'll get to my destination when I'm ready.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Digital Drama

Lots of shake ups in the digital publishing world today. I'm saddened that Quartet Press didn't even open their doors. I was very interested to see if their business model would succeed.

Just found out that there's going to be some changes at another one of my publishers. The news hasn't gone public yet, so I can't say much. I'm not sure how it's going to affect me, as of yet. I, too, have struggled with major decisions about where to place manuscripts, how much time to devote to activities outside my writing career, etc. Right now, I seem to have hit a good balance, but that could all change in a matter of weeks or months. (Yes, I keep hoping that I'll get an agent and a traditional book publishing contract, which I'm sure will take up all my time!)

On another note, although I still haven't found my notes from my zombie historical, I've managed to re-research and replot. In doing so, I think the entire story has turned out better and deeper. So, perhaps it was all for the best.

The only bad thing is that I sat down and wrote 900 words then realized that it isn't where the book starts. I may be able to recycle the scene...but if not, I can recycle the pixels! LOL.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A letter to my muse

Dear Ms. Muse -

I haven't complained (much) about your flighty attitude, the way you pitch ideas to me in the shower when I have no paper to write them down, or how you tend to throw not one story premise at me, but sometimes three at a time. But you've gone too far this time, Missy.

You pitched two story ideas at me and then dashed off to a tropical island, which was bad enough. But stealing my research? Why? Oh, don't look at me that way. You know why! You knew when I started working on my heroine's back story that I would realize she isn't the same woman as the urban fantasy protagonist you'd been urging me to write about. You knew that when I cornered her for her story that I would realize it wasn't "back story", that it was more interesting than the infuriating drivel you'd urged me to plot back in July.

You tricked me! You promised me you'd only give me contemporary, paranormal, perhaps even futuristic plots. So, when I questioned Mary Reynolds...what did I find out? You knew full-well she was born in the early 1800's and that she had a most incredible story to tell that would solve a great literary mystery.

So, now that you know I know, you can come back. Just fling those useless pages of research into the shredder as you slink back into my psyche. But just answer me this one question.

Is it really "historical" if it has zombie's in it? And do not tell me to ask Jane Austen (hurrumph!)

Your servant,

Ericka Scott

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

I've finally put the finishing touches on a paranormal romantic suspense and have it making the rounds to several literary agents. I've gotten several requests for partials and fulls, but I'm trying to be realistic and not get my hopes up. Yep, the book has a catchy title and a great premise... but I'm not holding my breath.

Instead, I signed a contract for Crisscross, my first full-length paranormal thriller/suspense/romance. I'm waiting on edits, but hope to have more firm news about release date, etc. soon. I'm uber excited, as this book has the potential to go to paperback (fingers crossed). I love e-books, but there's nothing like the feeling of holding your own book in your hot little hands.

My muse has been very conflicted over the next project she wants me to tackle. She's thrown out several ideas, two urban fantasies and a romantic suspense. Unfortunately, before she let me know which one to write, she dashed off to a Caribbean island somewhere and is oogling hunks and drinking frou-frou drinks with tiny umbrellas. *itch. It's left me in quandry, as the story I most want to write has a prologue (and perhaps some journal entries) set in the 1840's. What was she thinking??? Me, write historical? I distinctly remember asking her to drum up a Science Fiction plot. Did she listen? Obviously not. As for me, I hope she forgot her sunscreen and burns her knockers!

Other than that, I'm having a terrific Tuesday and hope you are too!

XOXO

Ericka

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The erstwhile THAT...

That - a pronoun and adjective, the plural of those, and both an adverb and conjunction.

Unfortunately, that word of all parts of speech has fallen out of favor. I've been going through my WIP, purging all the erstwhile thats. Not all of them, mind you...just the ones not needed.

I was tempted to put them all here in my post...however, it would be too long! LOL.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Praise from an e-book virgin...

Wow, I just got a listing from Manic Readers of their reviews posted this week. I have three, count them, three great reviews from IvyD! Thanks Ivy!

The first is for my most recent release, Shattered. Now, warning, Shattered is not erotic and is not a typical romance (read -- NO HEA here!).

"Even with knowing where Shattered was going the getting there was still tense and interesting. It was a quick read, just the right size for a break. I really do enjoy Ms. Scotts’ short stories." IvyD

The second was for another recent release, Double Jeopardy. Warning, my mystery roots are showing strongly in both Shattered and Double Jeopardy. This is not your typical menage...and it's erotica not romance (having a HFN ending).

"Talk about being condensed down to its essence, that’s Double Jeopardy. There’s not a word that can be considered superfluous. Everything is extremely tight and fast paced. Ericka Scott packs an incredibly awesome punch into 24 pages. The ending hit me out of the blue. I truly never saw it coming, maybe I should have but I didn’t. Ericka Scott is a master of the short story." IvyD

And then, for Forget Me Not, a paranormal romance with only the typical adult disclaimers (i.e., graphic sex)

"Forget Me Not is another excellent short story with a twist. Ericka Scott has a knack for that and is now my new “go to” author for shorts that pack a wallop. I have no reservations recommending her to short story lovers." IvyD

To top it all off - I got a fantastic review from Kris Bradley for Shattered!

"It is a quick read, so I don't want to give too many details away. The story has a great twist which actually managed to surprise me....This was my first really enjoyable dip into reading online stories. I'd say if they are all as enjoyable as Shattered, I'll be back for more!" Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom

Glad to know an e-book virgin got to cut her teeth on my little tale...and liked it well enough to want more!

You can read the full review http://silvermoonwitch.blogspot.com/2009/08/mrsb-reads-online.html

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Howlin' Good Time

An article I wrote about one of my favorite subjects -- WEREWOLVES-- is being featured today over at Star Crossed Romance. Stop in and leave a comment for a chance to win a signed print copy of The Werewolf Whisperer (with the bonus story, Unleashed).

Hope to see you there!

Ericka

Thursday, July 23, 2009

One of 13 Featured Authors Today!

I'm a featured author on Nina Pierce's blog

http://www.ninapierce.com/romanceblog/


Stop by...say hi...leave a comment and I'll be giving away a free copy of The Werewolf Whisperer (just out in print from Phaze)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

W is for Waiting...for ranting just a little...and for writing

I read a post on an agent's blog recently about "waiters"...those people who put a submission in the mail and then wait for it to be accepted or rejected instead of turning their attention to more important things, like writing the next book. I agree with that, it's important to move on and up.

I also encountered some agent's guidelines firmly stating: if you don't hear from us, assume it's a rejection.

For me, that advice was a bit harder to swallow.

Yeah, yeah, I get the "they're just not into you" mentality -- if the story is great, the agents and publishers will be beating down your door to get hold of it. If you don't get an answer, they're just not that into your writing. I also get that they are all really busy and inundated with submissions: good, bad and indifferent. They have to invest their time in the good, not the bad. I REALLY do get it. However, without any feedback (positive or negative), it's like writing and submitting to a black hole.

I once quit writing because of that yawning bottomless pit. Yeah, prolific me just up and quit. I had over a dozen short stories out at the time and had heard nothing back on any of them for months upon months. No rejections even. One day, as I prepared to lick the submission envelope for yet another story, an unfamiliar feeling washed over me. Why bother? I realized I'd lost hope of ever having anything accepted (or even actively rejected) for publication again. And so I didn't bother. I still have that envelope somewhere.

Eventually the characters I carry around in my head clamored long and loud enough for me to think about writing again. Sadly, I still find myself waiting impatiently for answers from publishers and agents while I keep busy writing my next book.

Part of me just can't shut off that anxious wondering. As authors, it can take years for us to write a book. I, personally, have no idea how long it takes an agent or publisher to work their way to one lowly manuscript lurking in that towering slush pile. Days? Months? Years?

For those agents/publishers who don't want to send rejections to the seething masses, how hard would it be to simply put a statement on the bottom of the submissions page of a website or in that lovely auto response e-mail -- "If you don't hear from us within (insert appropriate time frame), feel free to assume it is a rejection."

I'd appreciate that honesty.

Now, I'll let you get back to your W is for Wednesday as I prepare to type THE END on my W is for work in progress.

Have a good one!

Ericka

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The end of summer...

...well, of summer camp, anyway. My boys were signed up for 3 weeks of day-camp. I did some spectacular writing (and some equally spectacular goofing off and am now twittering and playing eggbreaker on Facebook) for those three weeks. Now, I'm back to my summer schedule, but with a twist.

My hubby went back East to take care of his father while his mom is hospitalized. I have to say he is my hero...he took two of the kids and left me with the quiet 5 yo boy. It's been a great few days and is the first long-term one-on-one time I've spent with him in quite a while. Probably LONG overdue! We've been hanging out, heading off to a short soccer camp (with hot British guys!) and then swimming lessons. We're eating whatever we want, when we want to, and just being goofs. Amazingly, I've also been able to get in my daily writing stint (500 words or more) in the morning before he gets up and then after he goes to bed at night.

But believe me, I'm still counting down the days until August 10th when school starts again, and the true "end of summer" begins.

Hope you have a fantabulous day!

Ericka

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Storyteller's Creed

I stumbled across this today on another writer's blog and had to re-post it. It gave me the inspiration I needed today.

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge~
that myth is more potent than history~
that dreams are more powerful than facts~
that hope always triumphs over experience~
that laughter is the only cure for grief~

And I believe that love is stronger than death.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Random Thoughts

I'm supposed to be writing, but I'm goofing off. Since the boys are gone all day, I figure I can get my 1000 words in after lunch. So, I've been surfing the net, researching markets, reading blogs, and decided to bore you with some of my most recent activities.

It's hump day, the first of July, and I've been on my Atkins diet for a full week now (has it only been a week????). I've lost 7 pounds according to the scale today, now, the odd part of that is that the scale indicated that I'd lost a sum total of NOTHING yesterday. What gives with that? My hubby used the scale to weigh our suitcases for all of our recent trips and it was right on the money. So, why is it that I can weigh myself three times a day and each time the scale reads a different weight. No wonder losing weight is so depressing.

On the upside, the all protein and vegetable diet has resulted in a significant decrease in the heartburn I'd been suffering from the last six months or so. I'm almost convinced that I'm allergic to carbs...two weeks ago, even a piece of toast and a glass of water in the morning would set my tummy on fire. This week, my breakfasts have been three pieces of bacon -- no heartburn; two sausages and some veggies -- no heartburn; two hardboiled eggs and some fried onions - no heartburn. Yep, I'm doing the happy dance! I know that Atkins isn't sustainable for the long-term (been here, done this before), so, starting in August/September, I'll be switching the entire family to something more resembling the SouthBeach Diet (lots of yummy food, lots of cooking, too.). Since all the kids will be in school at least 1/2 day (two kindergartners and a high schooler), I'll have some time to devote to menu planning and cooking.

I'm also contemplating sending out my Christmas cards. I was so busy at the end of 2008 that I simply couldn't squeeze in another activity. Things have slowed down a bit since I mentally scheduled time off this summer, so this might be a good time to get those sent out. To date, I have 18 novellas available at various publishers. Two came out in June, and I have one more releasing in August from Lyrical Press. After that, I have nothing.

Now, that's not to say I don't have irons in the fire. I have one full-length book out for consideration to traditional publishers, so even if accepted, it might not be published until late next year to early 2011 (yikes). I still may end up submitting it to e-publishers and perhaps get it published in early 2010, but I'm hoping not to have to go that route. We'll see, though.

In the meantime, I meant to finish a few novellas before I jumped into another full-length novel, but the muse wasn't having any of that. I opened a story file that I'd put down almost two years ago. Loved the characters...and honestly, I thought it was "almost" finished. I started revising the first chapter and then read through to find out that although I thought it was "almost done", in reality, there was so much more to explore, more character arc to add, and the spooky factor to be stretched out enormously. So, I chopped off the last three chapters, revised the front, and am busy writing to the end. I'm loving the story, although I still have one character's arc to figure out. But she and I are "talking" and I think we'll have it figured out by the time the black moment arises. If not, we'll hash it out in the second draft.

Aging parents have also been a considerable worry the past month. My father suffers from Altzheimer's Disease and lives in a nursing home. My mom, though still in relatively good health, had a scare with her knees early in June and I had to rush home to care for her. I'd no sooner settled in back here at home when my husband got a call that his mother was in the hospital with a very scary case of endocarditis! She's out of the hospital proper now, but still confined to a convelescent home in order to have the skilled nursing she needs to recover. My father-in-law, who is not in the greatest of shape, is being cared for by various relatives, but my hubby and his siblings (thank goodness he isn't an only child like I am) are working out a schedule to go home to take care of him for the six weeks or so that my mother-in-law needs to recover.

Well, enough about me, what's new with you? Any random thoughts to share? Good news? I'd love to hear it!

Ericka

Friday, June 26, 2009

Twilight's Embrace - now available at Cobblestone Press

Can she trust him with her undead heart?

Maxine Twilight runs the hottest fetish club in the Midwest, a place where the rich and famous come to play with vampires. When her employees begin turning to ash, Maxine calls in a ‘consultant’, slayer Zachary Fox.

Zachary Fox slays rogue vampires not other slayers. But when his dead ex-wife, Tessa, calls in a favor to stop a slayer, he agrees to help. However, he didn’t count on losing his heart to Maxine. So when it appears as if she is the intended target of the next wooden stake, he’s forced to put his life, and love, on the line.

Excerpt:

Maxine heard a stifled scream and turned toward the sound. At the front desk, a couple stood staring at the spot where Victoria had been just moments ago. Then the man looked up, took a deep breath, and screamed like a girl.

What a nightmare.

In her mind, Maxine had prepared for this eventuality. She’d envisioned herself closing and locking the doors, calmly instructing the staff to conduct a swift and quiet search for the slayer, then she, personally, would dispose of the slayer, and the party would continue, so to speak.

Well, things didn’t exactly go as planned.

First off, Mitch’s caterwauling at the sight of the pile of ashes attracted everyone’s attention. Then, more people began screaming as they realized what had occurred. Vampires fled into the dark recesses of Temperance, and living patrons fled for the street. Thank the gods no one had been trampled in the pandemonium. Unfortunately, it looked like the slayer, whoever he or she was, had escaped.
Sorrow welled up inside her when she thought about Victoria, but she bit her bottom lip and carried on.

“I’ve called the police.” Jimmy, her brother, walked up behind her.

“And?” Maxine asked, although she knew full well what the answer would be.

“They pretty much said ‘good riddance’,” Jimmy replied.

“You’re surprised?”

“No, I guess not.” Jimmy shrugged and picked up a rag. “I had just hoped that since
Temperance was a Chicago landmark that someone would be concerned.”

“The undead have no rights, Jimmy. But believe me, if one of the living patrons had been murdered here tonight, the place would be crawling with cops.”

“Maxine?” A tall, thin brunette woman interrupted.

Maxine looked up. It was Tessa, one of her newly hired employees. “Everything is under control, Tessa. No need to be worried.”

Tessa shot her an impatient look. “Could I speak to you…alone?”

“Sure.” Maxine gave her brother an apologetic look, but he just smiled and sauntered away in the direction of his apartment in the back. She turned her attention to Tessa and silently prayed the pretty vampire wasn’t going to turn in her resignation.

“I’m so sorry, we’ve never had a slayer invade Temperance, and I can assure you—”

Tessa held up a hand to interrupt her. “I’m the one who needs to tell you I’m sorry. I made a call tonight after Vickie’s death.”

Maxine stayed silent, waiting for the other wooden stake to fall.

“I called my, well, ex-husband.”

Maxine was running out of patience while Tessa babbled on. Would the woman just come to the point?

“Zachary Fox. I phoned him this evening and called in a favor he owes me. He’ll be arriving sometime tomorrow.”

“Zachary Fox, the slayer?” Maxine shuddered. Was Tessa insane? Did she not think they had enough trouble with a rogue slayer in the club tonight? What was the woman thinking, inviting a professional killer into their midst? If the others found out, the club would be empty of vampires by nightfall, and Temperance would be closed for the first time in over 100 years.

“It’s not what you think. I know slayers, good ones and bad ones., Hell, you probably didn’t know it, but I was one once. There was something off about the hit tonight. I have a really bad feeling. I think someone was sending you a message.”

“Tessa, I get hate mail and threats on a daily basis. If it isn’t the public shouting for me to close down, it’s the mob trying to hone in on the business. I don’t think Victoria’s destruction was anything more than a rogue slayer trying to make a name for himself.”

“Maybe,” Tessa said, but her voice sounded anything but convinced. “But I think we need a professional to investigate. Especially since the police have pretty much washed their hands of all of us. Damn them anyway.”

Maxine looked around her at the gleaming oak tables, colorful Tiffany lamps, and the huge bar her great-grandfather had carved by hand. Temperance was her life. If it were to fail, stand empty, it would be a reinforcement of the existence that had been forced on her. No, she had to make this a success.

Her mother had inherited it after her grandfather’s death ten years ago. It should have come to Maxine. However, she’d lost it all when she died. Thank goodness, Jimmy had no interest in running the bar. After a brief period of ‘remodeling’, she had reopened it as a fetish club and struck it rich. She couldn’t bear to lose it. If the living patrons didn’t come, the vampires would have no other way to support their blood habit but by…

No, she wasn’t going to let that happen.

“We’ll just have to be more careful tomorrow night when we reopen.”

“Careful? How? A metal detector isn’t going to do jack shit against a wooden stake,” Tessa argued. “Or are you going to have everyone frisked at the front door?” She looked around. “Whoever killed Vickie was no amateur slayer, and if we don’t stop them, he or she will kill again.”

“And a professional slayer will do what? Help him kill us all?” Maxine shook her head. “No, we’ll handle the situation ourselves.”

Before Tessa could argue further, Maxine strode off. Her entire body felt numb with dread. Was Tessa right? Could someone be targeting her and her club?

It had to be the mob. When she’d first opened, they’d sent a few muscle-bound ‘gentlemen’ around to talk to her. Threatened her that if she didn’t pay protection money, ‘bad’ things were bound to happen.

She had sent the goons back to their boss with a few broken bones for their trouble. The mob had left her alone to some extent. She still got the occasional visit and letter from Mr. Poulos himself. But nothing like this.

After checking to make sure all her employees were reassured, she headed downstairs. She picked up one last crumpled napkin off the floor and then paused in the foyer. For the first time in six years, she locked the doors to Temperance before dawn. The clatter of the deadbolt left her with the uneasy feeling that she would never open the doors again.

No, she’d been killed, had fought the city for a liquor license, and had been threatened by the toughest man in Chicago. One measly murder was not going to force her to turn tail and run.

Striding down the hall on her way to her office, she passed a small cluster of employees. They looked up at her, and she stopped to talk, hoping to allay their fears. Even as she reassured them, she could see their doubts clearly in their eyes and expressions. If she didn’t do something and do it fast, they would leave. When they did, they would be easy game for anyone with a wooden stake and a Buffy-the-vampire-slayer complex. Here at Temperance, they were safe, they could earn a living, and with luck and Congressional lobbying, perhaps they could finally earn status as citizens again.

“So, what are we going to do, Miss Maxine?” a petite blonde vampire asked, her lips trembling.

“Did you call the police?” Vincent Price, their headliner who’s name really was Vincent, put his hand on her shoulder.

Maxine could almost smell his fear, and she hoped her outwardly calm demeanor would give him some comfort. It was hard enough to have died once and been forced to give up friends and family, many of whom recoiled from vampires in terror and loathing. To die again, soulless, was a terrifying possibility. One that she had every intention of preventing.

Maxine chewed on her lip. She could lie, but they deserved to know the truth. “Yes, the police were called, but they refused to help us.”

“So what are we going to do? I don’t have anywhere else to go. Temperance is my home.” Vincent’s friend and sometimes lover, Marcus, known to his fans as Van Helsing, had tears in his eyes.

“We’re not going to panic, for one. And I’m not going to close the club. But we are going to take some precautions.” Maxine looked around at their worried faces and grasped at the only straw she had. “I’ve called in an, um, consultant. He’ll be here tomorrow to investigate.”

The relief in her employees’ faces was clear. Marcus even smiled.

Damn it all, a consultant? The man was nothing but a cold-blooded killer, a slayer. Instead of relief, Maxine felt a surge of fear. Hopefully she hadn’t invited the wolf right into the fold.

Hope you enjoyed a small taste of Twilight's Embrace. You can purchase your own copy at www.cobblestone-press.com

Have a great weekend!