Stuff I Learned the Hard Way—I’m a Wimp

WHAT’S PLAYING: Salt-n-Pepa feat. En VogueWhatta Man

The other day, I learned the hard way that—despite the black belts I’ve earned and the tough-girl image I try so hard to project to the world—when it comes to the creepy and downright bizarre, all my kick-assery flies out the window leaving nothing but a 6’2” crybaby.

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This epiphany occurred while I was watching Cowboys and Aliens with some friends. I was fine until the alien’s body opened up to unleash a second set of hidden, gooey, three-fingered hands. My friends laughed.

Me? I went apeshit.

I scrambled as far away from the television as I could, squeezed my eyes shut, and alternated between grabbing at my friends and slapping their hands away, all the while shrieking, “No! No! No!”

Not my finest moment.

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My friends weathered the storm as best they could—letting me know when the “scary” part was over, and then scattering to the far ends of the room whenever the gooey alien hands showed up.

Now, besides, yet another irrational fear to add to my long, long lists of phobias, I’ve decided to add another weapon to my arsenal.

chainsaw katana

I just have to figure out what to say to the bank when “chainsaw-katana” shows up on my credit card bill.

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Author Tag: The Next Big Thing

WHAT’S PLAYING: Alicia Keys feat. Nicki Minaj “Girl on Fire”

Talk about an embarrassment of riches. The lovely and talented Kelly Johnson and Joy Johnson have both tagged me in the Next Big Thing Game. Make sure you check out their blogs!

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1. What is the working title of your book?

Wildling

2. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A couple of years ago, I learned that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) lists my native languageChoctaw—as vulnerable to extinction, joining the list of the estimated 300 languages spoken in North America before the arrival of Christopher Columbus that are endangered or extinct.

This knowledge left me feeling sad, lonely, and more than a little angry. But it also left me with a curious question: What would I do, sacrifice, to save my race from extinction?

And Wildling was born. The story itself has changed a lot since I started playing around with the idea, but I like to think that part of the original inspiration is still present.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Adult Fantasy

4. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A member of a nearly extinct magical race strives to protect a human child from various factions, including one led by another of her kind who is determined to kill the boy before he can be used to destroy the world.

5. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Jessica SzohrMia Twinblades

When Mia stumbles upon a murder and kidnapping in progress, she finds herself caught up in a conspiracy of slavery and political intrigue. She must choose between the man she could come dangerously close to loving and the child that has captured her heart before her indecision destroys them all.

jessica szohr

Noah Gray-Cabey Connor

Intelligent and curious, Connor’s talent for boosting magic makes him a prize worth killing for.  

noah gray-cabey

Sir Michael Gambon Lachlan Dilwyn

An ex-priest born with the gift of healing, Lachlan lost his magical abilities when he chose wine over his religion.  

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Henry SimmonsLuc Excer

A telepathic prince banished from his kingdom, Luc is determined to rescue his younger brother from Vadim and Irina at all costs, even if it means betraying his friends.

henry-simmons

Gilles MariniVadim Aranka

Old and immensely powerful, Vadim is torn between his feelings for Mia and doing what he knows to be right. Connor’s very existence puts the kingdom in jeopardy. But will Mia forgive him for doing what needs to be done?

"The Grey" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

Blake Lively Irina Aranka

As Vadim’s ward, Irina has been in love with him since she was a child. Now, with the ultimate tool within her grasp, she’s bent on having him for her own. And nothing, not even his growing feelings for Mia Twinblades, is going to stop her.

blake lively

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I intend to seek representation and traditional publishing.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Two to three months. The revision process is taking much, much longer.

8. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

An excerpt, maybe?

Cheval lunged forward and drove his sword into the old woman’s back. Blood splattered the boy’s horrified face. The grey haired woman crumpled to the ground.

Taking advantage of the distraction, Mia dove between Grimm’s legs, barely avoiding his claws. She rolled to her feet, spun around, and vaulted onto his shoulders. Putting one hand on top of his head and the other beneath his jaw, she twisted with all of her strength. The sound of Grimm’s neck snapping reverberated through the alley. He collapsed beneath her, already reverting to his human form.  

Strangely disappointed now that the fight was over, she climbed to her feet and looked up just in time to see Cheval fire a crossbow. The arrow struck her in the chest, the force of it knocking her into the wall. She felt a brief sensation of rotten planks crumbling under her weight, and then she fell backward into the building. She lay there—unable to breathe, let alone scream—and stared up at the sky through the holes in the ceiling. The moon hadn’t even risen yet, but it was already shaping up to be a shitty night.  

Then the roof came down on top of her.

9. Now comes the part where I’m supposed to tag other authors.

I’m not going to do that this time because I’m lazy. So, any of you out there working on new projects and would like to share, consider yourselves tagged!  🙂

The Ever-faithful Lily Wanda

WHAT’S PLAYING: Duffy “Syrup and Honey”

Once upon a time, the Choctaw held a Green Corn Festival to show love and gratitude to the Great Spirit who had given them so much. The Queen of the festival was Lily Wanda, the most beautiful maiden in the village.

When time came for the Chief to speak, he stepped forward and the people fell silent.

“My people,” he said, “The Great Spirit has been good to us. Green Corn Goddess has watched over our corn. Rain God watered it and Father Sun warmed it. We give them thanks. I have long wondered where Father Sun sleeps. Someone must journey to find the answer. This traveler will face great danger and hardships. He may never return. But, if he can find the place, he will be great among men.”

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After the Chief had spoken, the silence was unbroken but for the wind that sighed through the trees.

Finally, a brave young man named Oklawana stepped forward. “My Chief,” he said, “I will go and find where Father Sun sleeps.”

Lily Wanda cried out in distress. “No, no, do not go, Oklawana!” she said, pushing through the crowd to stand before her lover. “You will never return!”

Oklawana turned to Lily Wanda. “I must go. Our chief wishes it. I will return with great honor and claim you for my bride.” He took her hand. “I leave my wampum belt with you. It tells the story of our people’s councils. Guard it well until I return.” Then he made four bundles of sticks for the four seasons of the year. “Count these for me as the seasons pass.”

Unable to speak, Lily Wanda nodded and took the belt and sticks. The next sunrise, she watched her sweetheart start his long journey.

Young-Native-American-Girl

Every day, Lily Wanda prayed to the Great Spirit to send Oklawana back. She counted the bundle of sticks as the seasons passed. In the evenings, she sat in her doorway watching for his return. In time, she went up on the mountain and built signal smokes to guide her lover home.

Seasons passed and Lily Wanda grew old. She still counted the sticks and guarded the belt. She watched and prayed. One day as she prayed at the mound of Nanih Waiya, a stranger came to her.

“I saw the signal smoke and came to you,” he said. “Lily Wanda, do you remember me? I am Oklawana who went in search of the sleeping place of Father Sun. I have come back to you.”

“That is not true,” she replied. “Oklawana has been dead for many years. You are some other.”

“Is this the belt he gave you?” he asked, pointing to her waist.

“Yes, I have kept it for him but he does not return.”

“I gave you the belt. Don’t you remember me?”

“No, you are Halvah, the story-teller. Let me be.” With these words, Lily Wanda died of a broken heart.

Oklawana caught her as she fell. He carried her body to the village and found that no one knew him.

nanihWaiya

“I followed Father Sun day after day, season after season,” Oklawana said wearily. “Finally, I saw him sink into a great blue lake, and I could not follow him. I have wandered many years trying to find my people, but you do not know me. My Lily Wanda did not know me. Now she is dead.”

Then he sank to the earth in despair and died of grief.

The people buried him and his faithful Lily Wanda together.

Book Review – Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer

WHAT’S PLAYING: Bo Durham “High School Party” (Yep, it’s that kind of book.)

This week’s book is Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer a.k.a. Fanny Merkin.

fifty shames

Young, arrogant tycoon Earl Grey seduces the naïve coed Anna Steal with his overpowering good looks and staggering amounts of money, but will she be able to get past his fifty shames, including shopping at Walmart on Saturdays, bondage with handcuffs, and his love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick)? Or will his dark secrets and constant smirking drive her over the edge?

Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is a parody of E.L. James’s series, Fifty Shades of Grey. For those of you unfamiliar with FSOG, James’s book started off as Twilight fan fiction and morphed into a story about a captain of industry (Christian Grey) who lures an unsuspecting college co-ed named Anastasia Steele into the world of BDSM.

The good news is that you don’t need to read Fifty Shades of Grey to enjoy Fifty Shames of Earl Grey.

I seriously could not stop laughing at the barrage of one-liners, irreverent jokes, and hilarious Twilight references throughout the book. Shaffer’s writing is fast-paced, fresh, and entertaining. His ability to comment on the clichés of erotic and romantic literature without seeming pretentious is nothing short of brilliant. He creates a hysterical mood that shatters the illusion of romance by overusing clichéd words. The word “gaze” appears to be one of his favorites.

From his man crush on Tom Cruise to his propensity for wearing a silver thong with pink crocs, Earl’s antics are hilarious and entertaining, and Anna Steele is the perfect straight woman.

Let me be clear, this is not an erotic novel. The magick themed sex scene in which Earl Grey pulls multi-colored hankies and a dove out of Anna’s lady parts will have you giggling nonstop.

Shaffer hits all the right notes in this parody. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

Favorite Line: “Ew,” I say. “Was that supposed to be sexy?”

“It was supposed to be. My dirty talk doesn’t turn you on?”

I shake my head. “Sometimes. But comparing a woman’s vagina to a fish is unacceptable.”

“What if I said ‘goldfish’? Goldfish are colorful and uniquely beautiful. Like you, my dearest Anna.”

I shake my head again. “Just stop. No fish.”

“Okay, then what did you have in mind?”

“Drop the double entendres and let’s move on to another F-word.”

“Oh, Anna,” he says. “I thought you’d never ask. Food it is, then! Let’s go eat in the dining hall.”

It wasn’t the F-word I had in mind, of course (it was actually two F-words: friending and Facebook), but it works. I’m hungry. Plus, I don’t even have a Facebook account.

Bottom Line: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is relentless and shameless, in a good way.

Coming up next: The Innkeeper’s Song by Peter S. Beagle

Stories from My Grandfather—Origin of the Ants

WHAT’S PLAYING: Timbaland feat. Justin TimberlakeCarry Out

Long ago, when the world began, Hashtali—The Great Spirit—fashioned people and grasshoppers from the same yellow clay.

They woke in a deep underground cavern and walked to the surface through a long tunnel, emerging from the passage together. But the people were so much bigger than the grasshoppers, that they could not see the insects in the dark and trampled many of them, including the Great Mother Grasshopper.

briout-when-aegina-is-depopulated-by-a-plague-king-aescus-asks-zeus-to-turn-the-ants-into-people

Fearing they would be wiped out, the grasshoppers called out to Hashtali for help. The Great Spirit—who hears the cries of all living things—took pity on the little ones. He made the tunnel smaller and turned the remaining people into ants so that they could no longer trample the grasshoppers.

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The ants you see today are the descendants of those people. Don’t step on them!