Happy Friday!

Hi there. Continuing to tweak the new site. I like the color scheme, I really do. Not surprising, given my favorite color is green. Nicely enough, my new car, a 2016 Honda Pilot, is green!

pilot
No, the above isn’t literally my car, but that’s the color and the model. Purty, aint it?

Still working on my fantasy story, currently called Deyou’s Heart – you can see my word count on the right now. I’m struggling to keep going though. I’ve figured out why the dragons are controlled by the elves, but trying to get the characters moving is a trick in and of itself. Yes, I have a tendency to talk. I think especially in first drafts, the whole thing comes from the fact that I’m thinking it out as I go along. Okay, and sue me. I like when people talk to each other. Still, definitely need to get them off Deyou’s Isle and hunting.

It’s turbulent times at work. For the most part, I’m fairly certain I’m safe (which comment makes me think of Survivor and how the contestant who’s certain they’re safe is actually the one who goes home…..not a good thought and probably inaccurate in my work case), but there’s always the lingering pessimism that I’m one mistake away from being fired.  Still, I’ve been there for coming up on five years (wow…almost as long as the twins have been alive), so I’m comfortable most of the time.

We’re getting a puppy this weekend. Sigh. Hubby and the kids were devastated when we lost Rue last September (she was only about a year old). I was too, particularly since I was THERE at the vet with her, but I found another dog who helped me heal, along with our old reliable other husky. Hubby and Pixie though still have never fully recovered, so this weeked we will be adding Baby Reggie.

20160213_143847

He’ll be coming home tomorrow, assuming the vet gives him his certificate of good health. I’ve got a better picture on my phone that the breeder sent and I’ll probably put lots of pics once we have him.

Hope you have a great weekend. Share your plans with me. 🙂

 

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Move Complete

Well, here we are. As you can see, dramatic change in the layout. I’ll still be tweaking this from time to time, but I finished my move this morning. I may have to fix some links if they broke in the process, but overall I have to say it was easy. I have my issues sometimes with WordPress, but it definitely made the transition easier.

Hopefully people who have subscribed will still get updates. I’m not exactly sure how that works though. I got it connected to Twitter and FB, so there’s something at least.

Let’s see – still working on my fantasy book though I’m stuck at the moment (don’t grumble at me, AS) because to know where my characters are going, I have to know why the Dragon Riders are working for the bad guys in the first place. I mean, c’mon, they ride dragons. Dragons are big and breathe fire. Why can’t they kick the bejeebers out of people. I’ve got a couple of ideas that I’m mulling to explain it. Because depending on why they’re doing it will determine how they’re going to end that fact. Similar quests, to some degree, but … we’ll see.

Anyway, not much of a post today beyond that. I’ll get some reviews up hopefully. I’m sure NetGalley and the publishers will appreciate that. Heh.

Annnnd I Live!

Hey there, all!

Yeah, given I posted a couple of reviews in the past month, you probably figured that out. I’ve been sulking for several months and having massive writing issues. BUT! Last week I finally hit on the cause and abruptly I started writing again. Thank the good lord above for small mercies. It’s like being able to … erm…sorry for the imagery, but able to purge some of the frustration that’s been building up in me.

So, that said, I’d like to introduce you to three of the characters that I hope will keep me occupied for the months (years maybe, if my stories hold out) to come.

Meet Ch’Gral – the Demon of the Sky, the oldest known dragon in the E’Shar’N Empire:

Demon of the Sky

Demon of the Sky

I’ve had this picture of Ch’Gral in my head for longer than I’ve known my husband. That’s how old the stories are that are flitting in my head. I wrote a lot of them out, or at least imagined them (I was using the characters for a story-based online RPG group…and it just helped me to write back then).

Next, meet Lissia:

Lissia

Almost as old and familiar to me as Ch’Gral, she also plays an important role to the stories.

Finally (for this post anyway), meet Kiya:

Kiya

Kiya is the dragon bonded to Lord Vayrun, the High Priest of Deyou, the Dragon God, and leader of the Alastrian people.

Now, if all this is confusing you because, I know, dragons aren’t in the real world (or even my alternate Earth worlds with gargoyles and/or vampires)…you’re right. I’ve FINALLY given up the ghost and gone back to writing fantasy. And OMG, it. Feels. GOOOOOOOOD!

I finally, thanks to the help of my husband, my wonderful and ever-patient CP AS, and Mav, a reviewer I love to talk to, I realized Monday what drove a lot of my depression and inability to write was a twofold problem:

  • I’d gotten so wrapped up in what “the authorities” said about needing to plot, the three-act story, and having internal + external motivations (which, let me be honest, I still don’t get the difference between…I’m not that smart), that I couldn’t focus on what I’ve always been good at – just letting the words flow out. I was trapped in “OMG, I don’t know why she’s doing what she’s doing”, rather than just accepting (okay, re-accepting) that I am a pantser, I learn the characters’ motivations as I write my first draft, and just let it go:

Elsa Transform

  • And second, I was a square peg trying to force myself through a round hole and it wasn’t working for me. At all. And by square peg I mean as a “romance” author. There’s nothing wrong with romance writers, and I enjoy having a romance in my stories. But to me, the ultimately enjoyable part of my books are the stories, the world-building, and all of that. Not the romance. The one thing that was almost never knocked in my books was the world-building – lord knows the romance got bad reviews. And as a romance author, that’s what I was having to do. That’s what I did to Locked in Stone and not only did it bomb commercially, but I didn’t find myself in love with the final version that got published. Sad, but true.

So, I’m going back to fantasy, which is what I loved to write back in the day. Oh, I’ve got ideas for non-fantasy books, maybe redoing my Dream-Walker War series, removing the heavy focus on romance, and a futuristic series I’ve had in mind for some time.

I’m about 11.5k into my book, which doesn’t have a working title, other than “Demon Witch” which really isn’t appropriate considering the main character, from whom the name comes, hasn’t even received the name yet. Still, it’s given me something to work on and I’m grateful for that, even if my husband thinks I need to have an uber-villain for a fantasy novel to work. And he may be right, but right now I’m just following the story that’s in my head and that’s what has worked for me in the past. Just get the first draft out and see where things shake out (and beat the crap out of my inner editor who keeps telling me to go back and fix this or that).

So – share what’s been going on with you! I’d love to hera from you.

 

Review – Shatter Me by Tori St. Claire (@claireashgrove, @entangledpub)

Shatter MeShatter Me by Tori St. Claire
My rating: 4 of 5 gargoyles

I enjoyed this book a lot. I thought it took a different perspective/idea on the whole military guy and the girl back home.

Alex was a fascinating, complicated guy. He had a thing for his best friend’s wife, but never acted on it, never said anything…and then lost said friend in combat, in a fashion that he felt he should have died rather than the friend. So of course that, along with a commitment to make sure said wife and love interest is okay, keeps him from moving on that attraction, even after she’s no longer married.

I’m more conflicted when it comes to Reagan, because I’m not quite sure how/why everyone was so sold on her being nutsoid. I get her dead husband’s family, because who wants to believe a son is a sick, abusive jerk? But the rest of the town? I don’t know….I did like that she was putting her life back together after her husband’s death, and that she was willing to look at Alex as a man she could be with and trust.

These two were put through the wringer when it came to finding their HEA, but I think Ms. St. Claire really pulled it off and I was glad to read this through the very last page.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Review – The Millionaire Daddy Project by Roxanne Snopek (@entangledpub)

The Millionaire Daddy ProjectThe Millionaire Daddy Project by Roxanne Snopek
My rating: 5 of 5 gargoyles

This book was thoroughly enjoyable. I really fell hard for Dane, even if I felt he was a bit ridiculously over-the-top on his food snobbishness. I’m sorry, but the little girl is just that…and he expected her to instantly adore gourmet mac & cheese?! Granted, that was definitely a stumbling block to his growth as a human being, but still it really grated on me and is probably the only thing I didn’t enjoy in this book.

I loved seeing the growing heat and attraction between Dane and Pamela. These two really deserved each other and I was happy to see how Dane grew into the man that Pamela really deserved. He was a good man, just not set up to be a daddy, though that was hardly his fault that the mother of his child never mentioned the child to him.

I also liked the subplot Ms. Snopek included which led to the discovery of the little girl’s grandmother and how the grandmother tied into the continuing growth of Dane’s actual business – in other words, I really felt like Dane came across as a full person, not just a romance hero. He had a business that he’d worked hard to develop and I enjoyed seeing that business grow as the man himself did and as Dane dealt with the consequences of a business decision he makes very early on.

So – definitely check this out. Plenty of giggle-worth (in good ways) moments, and if you’re a food snob/conneissure, you’ll probably enjoy some of the food descriptions. Lord knows I wanted his mac and cheese somethin’ fierce.

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Tory’s Rumbling Ramblings (6/10/15, #ffxiv, #heavensward)

Happy, erm, Wednesday! So it’s Hump Day, yaaaay!

Since We Last Met

So yeah, it’s been a while. As memory served, the last time I checked in with y’all, we were heading to a Rays game. We came, we saw, the Rays lost. Kids had fun though, surprisingly, even the girls. The girls conked out afterward before we were even out of the parking lot. Here’s a pic I took because, well, they’re adorable. It’s one of the best twin pics I have:

They were having fun at Tropicana Field

They were having fun at Tropicana Field

Saw Avengers the following Thursday and while it wasn’t quite as good as the first (in my opinion), it was definitely fun to watch, especially when the various Avengers try to pick up Thor’s hammer and a few other places.

Let’s see. I have a very boring life so not much has been going on. Oh, wait…Shrimp finished his Bear badge for Cub Scouts. Lots of awards given, lots of food eaten. Here’s him getting his stuff for the year:

Shrimp with his den leader

Shrimp with his den leader

 

Girls got to attend a birthday party this past weekend at an indoor play park. They had lots of fun:

Blondie and Pixie partying on

Blondie and Pixie partying on

 

And finally, Shrimp had his last soccer match. He lost, but he scored his side’s only goal and put in a fantastic effort that I wish he’d done EVERY week, not just the final game. Here’s him with his participation trophy:

Shrimp with i9 trophy

Shrimp with i9 trophy

On Writing

It’s not going well. I’ve FINALLY started working in dribs and drabs again, but it’s not much. I like what’s happened to Rory though. She’s undergone an interesting transformation in how her life was before Sealed starts. Not one I thought about before, but I can see it playing out. I also had a brain flash of the transition scene (aka epilogue) for Lucas’s story leading into Reny’s story (Book 3 going into Carved in Stone), as in how they finally realize where and who Reny is. Got a contemporary romance that I’m supposed to be writing, but that’s not very good at the moment.

On Gaming

I play Final Fantasy XIV. Y’all know this. FFXIV is going into it’s first full-blown expansion in two weeks (YAAAAAAY!). Hubby has said he wants to try out the new classes, particularly the machinist (think guns). To do that though, his character has to have made it all the way through the original story plus the various story patches. Sadly, his highest level and easiest to dungeon with is a tank (fighter). Guess who’s ended up getting him through the story (he’d stalled out at level 33 out of 50 – which only gets you through the original story, then there’s a crap-ton of additional story after that)? Yup, yours truly. I run the dungeons and some of the side quests that lead to dungeons he’ll want to go in later, and he does the various running around talking to people missions. However, I was the primary mover and shaker to get him to where he is (only 2 dungeons left to get him to the end of the story). I was in a dungeon last night and mentioned I knew the place because I had another character and was just leveling hubby for the expansion. One of the other player’s commented: Wife of the Year. Hehe. My free company (think a guild of players) thinks I’m awesome for doing it too.

Downside of this is I don’t get to finish the weapon I was working on and now I’m kinda into playing a paladin. At least I won’t be afraid of being a tank any more (I traditionally have either been an archer/bard or a healer when I did the uber-high level dungeons).

You should definitely check this game out:

Most Awesome RPG Series Ever!

Most Awesome RPG Series Ever!

Seriously, if you check out the game and choose to play on the Goblin server, look me up. I’m Rory Masterson (yes, I have no imagination for names).

In Conclusion

So, that’s pretty much it. Not much going on in the life, but hey, my kids are (mostly) happy and healthy, so I’m grateful for what I have. Got any plans for this week(end)?

Tory’s Rumbling Ramblings (5/1/15) @raysbaseball

OMG, it’s the FIRST OF MAY! Where the heck is this year going? Oh, wait, I have children I’m trying to keep up with, so that’s probably most of it right there. And man, oh man, Pixie is a handful to keep up with. Add in Rue, Blondie, Shrimp, and the other assorted animals and people, and my slate is full.

Avengers

Awesome Movie Alert

Awesome Movie Alert

Okay, if even HALF of what I’ve been seeing/reading is true, this is going to be a freakin’ awesome movie. I can’t wait to go see it. Except I have to. Because I have to work and I’m not going anywhere near a theatre for a movie like this on opening night. My husband, on the other hand, the lucky bastard, is not only going to see it, he’s going during the work day. With co-workers. As a “team building exercise”. In 3-D. IMAX! IMAX, people, eye-popping superhero awesomeness! (No, I’m not envious at all, am I?)

I was supposed to go see it with Shrimp on Sunday, buuuut instead we’re doing a family outing (more on that below). So here I am, mega superhero/Avengers fan….and I’m not seeing one of this year’s two most anticipated movies (the other one of course being Star Wars VII – have you seen the trailer?!).

Baseball

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays

So, onto what I’m doing INSTEAD of going to see Age of Ultron. Because of the dumb-asses in Baltimore who decided to burn, loot, and generally riot their own town before any official reports were released as to someone’s death (I get the reason they’re angry, I just think they’re morons and I wish the cops would use the videos to arrest every single idiot who decided to take advantage and steal things), the Orioles/Rays series got moved from Camden Yards down to Tropicana Field. And the prices absolutely couldn’t be beat – $15/person for General Admission (pick your own seat, first come first serve) on Friday and Sunday, $18 for Saturday. On top of that, for the Sunday game, if your car has 4+ people, you can park for free! So…$75 later, the entire family is off to Tampa (okay, technically St. Pete) for a baseball game.

To top that (because yes, it needed to be topped simply because I’m taking 2 4 y/o girls to a baseball game – wth am I thinking?!), my BFF in the entire freakin’ world saw I was coming to Tampa this weekend for the game and so she got a ticket to the game and we’re gonna get to see each other! I haven’t gotten to see her in a year or two now, so…WAHOOO!!!!!

To recap: sulking over lack of Ultron-awesomeness, throwing a party because get to see bestie! The rioters are still idiots.

On Children

God above, what am I doing with these children? The twins are slowly becoming unmanageable and I don’t know how to fix the behavior. We’ve already taken everything out of their rooms so that when we put them in time out, they can’t pick the locks and escape (because yes, both of them do it). Pixie absolutely refuses to go to bed at bedtime which results in 30-90 minutes of battle. Every. Single. Night. We tried just closing up the rest of the house and retreating into our bedroom so she doesn’t have the noise to distract her, but instead, she just keeps coming around the corner to peek until Daddy stands up and threatens her, then she scoots back to her bedroom, giggling.

I made rum cake a week or two ago (good cake, btw). Heard some rustling in the kitchen, called out, “Pixie, what are you doing?”

Pixie: Nuffin

Me: Come here, Pixie.

She comes ’round the corner and hubby and I bust out laughing.

Me: Pixie, what were you into?

Pixie: Nuffin.

This would be the “nuffin” face:

No, I haven't been into that cake batter, Mommy.

No, I haven’t been into that cake batter, Mommy.

Soooo, yeah. We don’t believe her when she says “Nuffin”.

Blondie…she’s such a ham and loves to wear cool stuff. This was taken the day the girls had their four-year check-up (and shots…yeeks, 4 each):

Too cool for...daycare?

Too cool for…daycare?

And then there’s my sweet boy (hint – there’s a bit of sarcasm there). He’s playing soccer this season – it’s instructional, so very little actual competition or anything, buuuut he seems to enjoy it:

Ready for action!

Ready for action!

At least I can’t lose him on the field, I guess. Those socks/pants are even brighter in person than they look in the picture.

Conclusion

So – that’s it for the week. Got any plans of your own? Share your thought if you go see Ultron! Please please please!

Tory’s Rumbling Ramblings (4/8/15)

Hey there everyone! I know, it’s been a while (a month or so) since I posted an actual chatty post rather than just reviews, and was quiet for a while. Sorry ’bout that. I’ve just been brooding. Still am, but oh well.

Easter

Easter was this past Sunday and for the first time we actually did an egg hunt at home. We’ve been going to church and/or community ones the last few years. It was a first for the girls. It was awesome – I hid the eggs inside and out. And then, in theory, to stop them from getting up and going egg-hunting without an adult present, I slept on the couch. Well, let’s just say that didn’t stop them. By midnight, and without even coming out of her room, Pixie found the two hidden in her room and ate the contents, going right back to sleep. Blondie went to the bathroom around 3:30 and found the egg in the glass there, and one that was on the dishwasher on her way back to bed. Shrimp tried getting up at 3:30 to watch cartoons…yeah, that didn’t work. Then finally everyone (save Daddy) got up around six and the hunt was on.

I told them that the Easter Bunny had texted me that there were more eggs hidden outside, but they had to wait for the sun to come up. Meanwhile there was much candy eating. And waiting. Not patiently either.

And then of course, once Daddy was up, we loosed the hounds, er, kids.

That was fun. The funner part was they kept finding more after I’d thought they’d found everything. There was much sugar-induced psychoness. And then we had a very nice dinner that evening. We even used a table cloth! Proof:

We actually DO have a table cloth!

We actually DO have a table cloth!

On Writing

Wow…not much to say on this matter. Sealed has stalled out, though I know why and I keep telling myself to write crap – I can fix crap, I can’t fix a blank page, or however the phrase goes. But something’s just locked up inside me.

I’m actually trying to plot out a contemporary romance, eyeing the Bliss line. Completely out of character for me, Ms.Paranormal or Bust, but we shall see.

On Failures

I think it’s pretty clear Locked is a total bust, which is probably why I’ve been dragging my heels on Sealed. Part of me just wants to give up altogether because that’s four books out, and four miserable failures. On the other hand, I got a book published with Entangled, an incredible publisher, directly competing (and in some cases beating) Harlequin’s lines in certain sales arenas and categories. Not bad for a baby (age-wise, given they only opened their doors in 2011) publisher.

Basically, I’m feeling like a total failure in pretty much everything these days. Work – oh yeah, they supposedly love me and depend on me, but I screw up a lot. I try so hard and I always mess up. I never see the little details. Which is probably why, as of last night, I flunked out of editing school. Sigh. Yes, I hadn’t really shared much about that, but I was going through an editing class in hopes of becoming an editor (figured if I couldn’t write, I could help others), and that too is a bust. Yet another screw-up.

Hobbies

So, when all else fails (aka my writing’s a bust and I’m feeling sorry for myself…or just because I need to kill things), I dive back into video games and books. I’m still playing Final Fantasy XIV (there’s a huge expansion coming out in a couple of months). Trying to actually get some high-end gear and all that – making progress there with my bard, which I enjoy doing because it doesn’t require a lot of thinking, just point and shoot so to speak (bards use bows). If you happen to play FFXIV and are on the Goblin server, feel free to look for me (Rory Masterson – yeah, yeah, I have no imagination for names)

Of course, I’m also a rabid reader. I went through a glut of Bliss books and wow…there’s some major good books that take place in the small-town type of setting by Entangled authors.

What sort of hobbies do you have?

In Conclusion

So, that’s pretty much it for this posting. Hope to hear from some of you about how things are going, or how you deal with life when it seems like nothing’s going well.

Later!

Tory’s Rumbling Ramblings (3/2/15)

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m trying out a new name for my gossipy post, and planning on trying it as the name for my newsletter (if people will sign up for it – you can on the right side) – Tory’s Rumbling Ramblings. What do you think?

Locked in Stone

Well, exciting exciting exciting – I actually got reviewed at Dear Author! Not the highest grade, but the sheer fact that I got reviewed there blows my mind. I’ve wanted that since I stumbled across them years ago and it happened! Yay!

Sales – not spectacular, but in a month’s time (including pre-sale period), as of yesterday afternoon, I’ve gotten more reviews and ratings than Blood Rage ever did, which was previously my most read book. So, I’m happy about it. It’s all good.

Sealed in Stone

I’ve actually gotten a lot of the story mapped out in my head, what with the utter reversal of a particular character’s frame of mind and started writing. Unfortunately, despite loving the character voices in the original Sealed, it’s just not going to work. Not with the space I have to work with and what I’m learning is desperately needed, per reviews (more romance and more character development). I’ll keep Rory largely the way she is because, honestly, she’s awesome fun to write, but Gabe, yeah. Gabe has abruptly decided he needs to be an alpha and I’m gonna go with it. I like alphas better than betas, and let’s face it, Cal was probably a beta male.

And here’s my current inspiration for Gabe physically:

Gabe

Gabe Lennox / Colin O’Donoghue

Sigh. Isn’t he pretty? So very, very pretty.

Blue and Gold Banquet

Had that for my boy over the weekend – it’s the celebration of the founding of the Cub Scouts, or something along those lines. The banquet was wonderful and I soooooo ate carby food. Back on Atkins today, but it was good. It was a lot of fun – they brought in the same magician/comedian they had last year, but definitely wasn’t a rehash of the same material. Shrimp got to participate in one of the magic tricks, which I enjoyed, and he actually won one of the door prizes, so yay him!

Here’s my lousy selfie with him.

2015-02-28 19.55.19I swear, he’s going to swallow a bug one of these days. He loves having his mouth open in pictures. Drives me crazy.

Here’s a brief video from the thing too (hope it loads):

Conclusion

So – that’s it. I had a decent weekend. Hopefully you did to. Share what you did with me. I get lonely!