You Just Never Know…

NAAncestry

This meme is being used solely for the purpose of showing why “Judging By Appearance” is totally off-base. Not intended to offend anyone.

I went to the salon last night and got my hair done – FINALLY! It was so over due. Nothing feels better than walking out of the salon after spending an hour or so getting put back together again. I didn’t even do anything different or wild, just a trim and re-color (you know to cover all the damage from having teenagers), but man do I feel 100% better.

I refuse to go anywhere else than my normal beautician – I think we can all agree, when you find “The One” – you will travel miles to get to them! Yes, I’m still talking about my stylist. 😛 Which just happens to be in the same town my mom and sister live in, so I had to stop by and show off the do.

My sister and I have the same problem. We can’t just get our hair dyed on a whim. We have to make sure the dye isn’t red based. We have natural red highlights that our hair will amplify to the millionth degree and it isn’t pretty or flattering. That became the topic of our conversation when she asked exactly which color brown I had gotten (warm chocolate) which my hair still gives an appropriate amount of red tint to.

“Thank you Grandma Doris!” We both exclaimed. Grandma was a natural born redhead and even though that gene skipped our dad, we’ve been struggling with the mild side-affects for years!

I know how odd our family’s appearances are based on the dominant ethnic groups we descend from. I’m not sure what people think when they see me, or if they give any thought to it all. We’re all Heinz 57’s. But I had someone who ‘just knew’ I was of Hispanic descent, because of my dark hair/eyes and slightly tan (olive?) complexion. My sister has the same dark coloring, but she is fair skinned. I wasn’t offended, but we’re not of Hispanic or Latin descent, so I corrected them… kinda.

“It’s Native American.”

This isn’t a lie, nor the most honest explanation, it’s just the easiest without going into a long, drawn-out genealogical report. People have no qualms accepting my Native American heritage, because of my appearance. But, I didn’t get my coloring from my father, who is the one that carries the Native American bloodline.

My dad has dirty-blonde hair and blue eyes, even though he tans darker than me in the summer. His dad also had blue eyes, but before that:

 

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My dad’s grandfather (L) and great uncle (R)

See, my dad’s mom was the naturally born redhead, Grandma Doris. But she’s not the Irish bloodline, she’s from a strong English descent. I know, English redheads are just as common, so that’s not really odd. Try explaining your Native American dad having blond hair and blue eyes because of his English mother, though… see how this is becoming complicated?

Then where the heck does all of this dark hair and eyes come from? My mom. Who is 90% Irish and 10% English. Her father was from a long line of ‘Black Irish’ (dark hair/eyed Irish) from Tynagh, County Galway. Though her mother was also half Irish, she had blond hair and blue eyes. My mother, on the other hand, only took after her father and his entire family with dark brown hair, pure brown eyes and fair complexion. My grandpa’s family has very strong genes!

In essence, even though people wholeheartedly accept my Native American heritage based off how I look, the only thing I really have to show for it, is my slightly tanner than normal complexion. Otherwise, my sister and I both have dark hair, and dark eyes – all thanks to our very Irish mother.

So, when you see that doe-eyed brunette out on St. Paddy’s day wearing the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirt, don’t look at her like she’s crazy – she is: Black Irish crazy. Best to just give her a smooch than push your luck! 🍀 😉

Oh, and I guess the moral of this story is don’t judge a book by it’s fabulous, multi-heritage cover, because you just never know…

🍀 This blog post is approved as appropriate for March, if nothing else. 🍀

 

 

 

 

#ReadWithMe ♥ Finding My Genre

readwithme3In celebration of National Reading Month, Ms. Felicia is hosting this amazing blog hop for all readers to spread the love and joy of this favorite pastime with the world. If you’d like to join in the fun, please click on the banner above to add your post to the linky list!

The Novel Brick Road

Every reader develops differently, but it seems that we eventually come to a specific genre that calls to us more than any other. Even if we take brief detours, we come back to the one genre that always puts a smile on our face.

My path to Erotic Romance is paved like a game of hopscotch, jumping genres back and forth and crossing wide gaps in random patterns. I’m not counting all the books I read as a kid or had to read for school. I’m talking about when I started taking control of my own reading choices.

It started off innocent enough. The reading bug coming to nestle in my brain, demanding that I find something to entertain it. My mom had a wide variety of books to choose from. She was a fan of Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Ann Rule and V.C. Andrews – I didn’t understand these were all different genres. They were just books! I read Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always and wanted to live in his brain, but it was really V.C. Andrews I became addicted to for quite some time. Luckily, my mom had plenty of her books to feed my obsession.

I went through a phase following this that I call the researching years. I wanted to know things, so my dad and I started going to the library on a regular basis. I love ancient Egypt. I have books and then I have BOOKS, as in large Coffee Table hardcovers spanning every dynasty of Ancient Egypt. I was going to become the next Howard Carter. I was 14. I was also going to be a supermodel, fashion designer and a Marine Biologist. Not necessarily in that order.

Around the same time, I got my first taste of the paranormal from the (now famous) author L.J. Smith and her Night World series, which includes the well known Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle. This was the first author I ever purchased from a book store with my own money. It was a big accomplishment in my life as an avid reader. I had never heard of L.J. Smith before, but I suddenly had options. Lots and lots of options!

It led to more research. With the help of Francis Ford Coppola, I became extremely interested in reading everything I could get my hands on about the truth behind the myth of Dracula and the real life Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. It eventually led to me learning about the medical condition of Porphyria, which disenchanted my research, so I returned to my fiction. I read Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. My dad never would’ve let me check it out from the library if he’d known what it entailed. A fanfiction sequel of sorts to Bram Stoker’s masterpiece with all of the dirty details a Victorian era Englishman would never dare to write.

On the hunt for new material, I found Anne Rice and never looked back. As much as I loved L.J. Smith, I couldn’t return to what I suddenly realized was very YA in comparison. More than that, Anne opened my mind up to the world at large, sating my inner traveler and historian simultaneously.

I became obsessed again, and only wanted to read Anne Rice… until I couldn’t find anymore of her books and needed another loan – mind you, this was before the wonderful invention of eBook retailers. Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey was placed in my hand with a “You have to read this,” and so I fell headlong into the mind-blowing world of epic fantasy. Now, I remembered, vaguely, The Hobbit from when I was younger and my favorite movie The Last Unicorn. It was a bit nostalgic diving back into this kind of world – only better, because it was at an adult level without losing any of the wonder of magic.

My first book idea was born on the cusp of my 18th birthday, but not yet hatched… more on this later.

Over my young adult years I read a wide variety, even some non-fiction, but mostly it was keeping up with authors I already knew, like Rice and Lackey. Then I ended up with a Nora Roberts book (honestly can’t recall how) and found myself obsessed yet again. I wasn’t alone this time, though. My friends got on the same kick and we had a grand time swapping books, buying new ones to share, putting them on our birthday and Christmas wish lists and discussing them like crazy. I think between just 3 of us we might own almost 75% of the books she’s ever written… okay, maybe 50%. Nora was my first true Romance author and not what I’d been expecting. I had never even glanced at the ‘obvious’ romance books on the shelves with the bare-chested buccaneers and Scarlett O’Hara wannabe’s.

Having children gave me the perfect excuse to return to YA with Harry Potter, Narnia and Eragon… yes, the books, not the movies (though, I love those, too). My oldest also has some of the Immortal Instruments novels, which I’m very tempted to read since watching City of Bones.

Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb unwittingly led me to my first erotica series, though it falls further under the Crime/Detective genre, the sex scenes are explicitly detailed, whereas Nora Roberts’ usually aren’t. I think she sneaks it in every once in awhile.

I went through a stint where I felt left out from a pop-culture standpoint, because I’d never read any of the ‘literary classics’. So, I attempted the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and found it far too dry and boring (don’t hurt me), so I moved onto The Catcher in the Rye, which was entertaining, yet 100% pointless (again no hitting). Of Mice and Men left me emotionally damaged and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a prophetic masterpiece that’s already coming true, therefore should be reclassified as non-fiction horror.

My first BDSM novel was Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Again, by ignorance. I thought it was just a fantasy. I was deliciously wrong. Later, I found out that Anne Rice also had other pseudonyms… and why. Exit to Eden followed by the Sleeping Beauty Chronicles added to my Erotic-BDSM shelf, Belinda borders on taboo and I haven’t finished reading it, but I think it might be along the lines of Nabokov’s Lolita – don’t quote me on that.

The ability to read an eBook helped open up the Erotic Romance genre for me even further when I became a reviewer for a friend’s reviewing site. It wasn’t long, though, before a new bug burrowed into my brain demanding to be fed – and I started writing…

But, I will save that for the next post. 😉

Are you still reading the same genre you first fell in love with, or perhaps the second? How many genres span your most cherished collection?

Book Tag: My Life In Books

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I found this on Felicia’s page, who found it on Didi’s, but it appears to be an ongoing blog tag, and too fun to pass up. Make sure to visit the other sites to see their answers!

Find a book for each of your initials. I’ve chosen these books from my ‘Read’ list on Goodreads.

CoverMOTO M – Moto by M. Never
coverenslavemesweetly E – Enslave Me Sweetly by Gena Showalter
coverlasher L – Lasher (Lives of the Mayfair Witches #2) by Anne Rice
covermicemen O – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
coverdyingforaliving D – Dying For a Living by Kory M. Shrum

 

Y – I am now challenged to add a book beginning with Y to my ‘Read’ list!

Count your age along your bookshelf: What book is it?

The 39th book on my shelf is The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles #6). It’s funny one of her books would come up in a post about my life in books, since I first discovered Anne Rice in a stack of old books when I was about 17. It was a dark green paperback with a small window showing a rundown Colonial mansion in NOLA. That was about 2 years before Interview With the Vampire hit the silver screen and by then, I was already fully invested in anything Anne Rice penned.

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Pick a book set in your city/country.

The closest major city to me is Seattle. Home to Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft and 2 absurdly popular book series I will not be naming. Therefore, I choose Possession by Ann Rule. Referred to by many as the ‘foremost true crime writer in America’, Ann Rule is a former Seattle policewoman and based this fiction novel on a real event/crime that she later wrote about in her True Crime (non-fiction) series. I was quite young and naïve when I stole this off my mom’s bookshelf and was completely unprepared for the explicit, graphic details. If you like crime-thrillers that leave you questioning the human psyche, though, you might like this.

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Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to.

Since Middle Earth, Narnia and Hogwarts probably don’t count, I chose The Right Path by Nora Roberts. Although, I would love to travel to many places, Greece and the Greek Isles are at the very top of my list, especially Santorini. Nora goes into beautiful scene setting with this novel, plus it’s full of suspense, action and one dangerously sexy Greek Tycoon, Nicholas Gregoras. Yum.

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Pick a book that’s your favorite color.

No matter how girly my mom tried to make me growing up, blue has always been my favorite color. To keep with the theme of ‘Shameless Self Promotion’ my predecessors have established, I chose my own book The Zen Lounge for this one. TZL is the first full-length, standalone (no cliffhangers) novel in the Matron City Trilogy. It’s a Futuristic Erotic Romance with heavy Crime/Detective influence. You can read the first chapter for free right here: Chapter One of The Zen Lounge

The Zen Lounge.Final.niina

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Dawn by V.C. Andrews. I read it when I was about 12 or 13 and it was my first real taste of a ‘grownup’ book, not to be confused with ‘adult novel’. It was my first non-YA fiction and I can still remember almost every detail – actually, of all the V.C. Andrews books I’ve ever read. She was another remarkable author that inspired me from a young age, especially in regards to character depth and development.

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Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

The Day of the Dolphin by Robert Merle, because it had little to no punctuation marks – anywhere. It was like one long, run-on sentence. Maybe it happened when it was translated from French? It took me forever to read because of this, but I don’t often stop reading a book once I’ve started. Curiosity vs. Cat= I don’t have many lives left.

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Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, because I know it’s going to put me through the ringer on every level. Literary classics tend to do that to me, which is why there are so many still on my TBR list. I actually started studying the Russian language, because I was hoping to read the original, rather than a translation, but I’m not that ambitious anymore. Yet, 407 pages of emotional upheavals, dark satire and mind-altering perspectives will undoubtedly feel like a major accomplishment once I’m through… I just hope I survive the aftermath.

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If you enjoyed reading this consider yourself tagged 🙂

Life and Other Upcoming Events

calendarDo you ever feel like your entire life gets put on hold while you’re cramming away in your writing cave, trying to meet deadlines? Bwahaha–just kidding–we LOVE being in our writing caves! But, I am looking forward to having more free time so I can get back to blogging and socializing with all my blogosphere peeps and Indies. Until then, I have some upcoming events that I’m really excited to share with everyone, so break out your calendars and get ready…

March 1st-5th:

During the first week of March, I will be sending out an exclusive First Peak Cover Reveal newsletter to all my subscribers for Avarice Unleashed, the 3rd and final novella to the Avarice Trilogy in my Hell on Earth series. It will also include the chance to win something (more details to come).

March 15th:

The amazing ladies at Saints and Sinners Books will be hosting the official Avarice Unleashed Cover Reveal. If you’d like to sign up for this event, please use the link below to fill out the form – and Thank You to all who do! 😀

https://goo.gl/forms/bDMYPHgfFnr9uPnL2

April 1st-5th:

This is the time frame I’ve tentatively penciled in to have Avarice Unleashed available for Pre-Orders on Amazon. It will be free for all Kindle Unlimited members, just like my other Indie books.

May Day Eve, aka Beltane (April 30th):

Saints and Sinners Books will once again be hosting, the official Release Day for Avarice Unleashed! I will get the link sent out and posted as soon as I’ve booked the promotion, which will be at the end of this month – and yes, ARCs will be available!

That’s all for now, lovelies. I must return to my bat…er…writing cave. If you’re ever curious about what I’m working on at any given time, just check out the “Currently Working On” corkboard on my side bar. 😉

Hope you’re all having a wonderful 3 day weekend!

 

#ThrowbackThursday

So many good shows get cancelled too soon. Hart of Dixie wasn’t one of them, but I still miss spending an hour in Bluebell, Alabama where the pace is slower, people are friendlier and the charm of yesteryear blends seamlessly with modern day tech and woes. Mostly, I miss all of the sub-characters.

I’ve noticed that a lot of shows lately, tend to get me more hooked on the sub-characters than the main ones. Am I alone in that? My all time favorites from Hart of Dixie were Annabeth, Lemon and Mayor Hayes. For this week’s #ThrowbackThursday, here’s a post I did while the show was still running.

It’s funny, for one and for two, I’m still impatiently patiently waiting for my Lavon Hayes key chain….

If You…

Originally published 11.26.2013

If you liked me, maybe you would get me one of those singing greeting cards that I could open at the most inappropriate times in the most inappropriate places.

If you adored me, maybe you’d do one better and send a singing telegram to serenade about my wholesome awesomeness at 3 a.m., just to piss off my neighbors.

If we were Besties, you’d install 2 fog horns in my car either to use on the idiot in front of me, or the pervert behind me trying to climb up my tailpipe.

But if you REALLY, REALLY loved me, you’d invent me a Lavon Hayes key chain!

((Psst… for my birthday, I’ll take a Staples button for my desk that says “That was stupid”))  🙂

LMAO man, that gets me every time! And you know how handy that audio clip would be on a daily basis, just press a button on your key chain and aim it at the offender. 😉

Feel Good Friday

I was recently discussing a homework assignment with one of my best friends for her English class. The topic was something along the lines of a meaningful memory. Of course, she’s like Spotify without the commercials–everything is a song–so it was no surprise she chose ♫♪ Music ♪♫ for her essay.

While we were hashing old times where certain songs became significant in our lives, I found myself getting lost down memory lane. There are SO many songs! So many moments in our lives that have a particular background melody that, even when we hear it today, can trigger heartwarming fondness, wistful what-if’s, or rolling laughter.

I’m completely over my head cold-finally-and feel really great, and I want to share some of that Feel Good energy with all my lovely blogging friends. This was the first song I used to plug into the jukebox every night after closing down the bar (as a bartender, not a lush!) to help energize me for the cleaning tasks ahead. I loved that 2-3 a.m. hour when I had the music all to myself and room enough to shake my ass while vacuuming up popcorn and peanut shells! 😀

Enjoy!

I do not own any rights to this song or the video. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents.

HAPPY FRIDAY ALL! Hope you have a great weekend!

Whaddaya Mean I’m Not Superwoman?

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It’s painful to admit that I think I’ve reached the end of my multitasking capabilities. Everyone’s lives are busy and we all juggle overflowing plates–but to those who can be mom/dad, work full time, keep house, be rushed through back-to-back edits while battling a nasty head cold bent on destroying our planet and still find time to tweet every five minutes, I bow before you, and in the wise words of Wayne & Garth declare:

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The good news is that I am recovering from the head cold at long last and hopefully will be getting back into my blogging routine, at least. I have a lot to catch up on, so bear with me…

Here’s to a better week for all!