Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: October 2005

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ghosts...Do You Believe??

Ghosts…Do You Believe??

Oh, yeah, I sure do. In fact, I live in a haunted house…just ask my kids.
They won’t stay here by themselves. When they come to cat-sit when we’re away, they three girls come together, keep all the lights on and hang garlic on the front door.

I’d say they were just over reacting but way too often I “hear” stuff like cabinets closing, doors slamming (angry ghost) books falling for no good reason. When I’m sleeping here by myself I keep all the lights on too.

My daughter went to art school in Savannah, the most haunted city in the USA, and stayed in a really old apartment building. One day she could not find her drafting pencil, looked everywhere and finally found it in the bottom of an old art box she hadn’t opened for months. From then on her pencil always went missing and she always found it in that very place. She hand an artsy-fartsy ghost.

Ask anyone who lives in Savannah and they have a ghost story to share. When we stay at this B&B the ghosts love to play with our cell phone and alarm clock.

I’m getting ready to start a trilogy and I’m setting it in Savannah. I see a reforming vampire and a ghostly pirate in my future. Hope the ghosts in my house don’t want to give me too much advice. J

Soooo, does anyone have ghosts in their house? Stories to share?

Have a great Halloween!
Hugs, Dianne

Friday, October 28, 2005

What's in a name?

I've been trying to come up with names for characters in a new book and man is is hard. Names are important aren't they? I agonized over naming my children... never been particularly fond of my own name and I do think that my kids like their names well enough although I named my first son Ryan Michael (love that name) and I thought it was fairly uncommon and sheesh it turned out to be a mega popular name that year and I never did figure out why.

Tim is my second son's name...very traditional and yet I don't hear it much. It fits him...Timothy Patrick and he loves his Irish heritage so he likes his name, too. David Jay is my sixteen year old's name.... he was supposed to be called DJ but he didn't like that so he became Dave...not Davey and he doesn't like being called David. Very strong name...traditional and yet not too common so I'm happy with my choice although I told him once that I had thought about naming him Murphy after an uncle that passed away while just before he was born and he told me Murphy was soooo cool and was miffed that I hadn't name him that.

When I finally had a daughter I realy had a hard time. I knew with three brothers she would likely be rough and tumble and they boys were all athletes so I knew something too girly wouldn't fit and yet I finally had my girl so I didn't want a name that wasn't really feminine and since all the boys had Irish names I wanted to follow that theme. Cara really suits her (Irish for friend and my mom and I are such good friends that I so hope that Cara and I will have the same relationship) so the name was perfect. She seems to like it which is nice, too. The only downfall is everyone wants to spell it with a K.

So how do y'all feel about your name? Would you change your name if you could?

Do the names of characters in a book draw you into the story... make you have a better impression of who the characters are? Make you like them less or more?

Give me your thoughts!


Monday, October 24, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays

And who says I'm not creative??? Okay - so I stole the title from The Carpenters. But the truth is... that's the state of the world here in northeast Tennessee today. When the alarm went off, I asked my hubby why it was so dark outside???

My deep, burning question for today is - "Rainy Days... Good or Bad?" I've debated this topic many times over the years, and I have concluded that it depends on a lot of variables. If you're at the beach - no question - bad! If you're a teacher with a class of rambunctious kids who want to go out to play, rainy days are the pits. Parade Day - bad. Outdoor wedding - bad. Feeling depressed or mopey - bad. Shall I go on....??

But are there "good" rainy days? I venture to say yes... Imagine a warm summer evening... sitting on the porch swing and watching a violent thunder and lightning storm. Sheets of rain blowing across the sky... the unmistakable smell of wet earth and growing things. Nice...

Or how about cuddling under an umbrella with that special guy and walking the streets of a fascinating city... Seattle, London, New York, or even your own home town.

Who can resist curling up with a long-awaited book and diving in while the rain pours down outside your window...

Ans of course, weather can play a huge part in setting the mood for romance. A noisy, scary storm for a passionate love scene. A quiet rainy afternoon for slow, sweet lovin'.

As I sit here writing this, it's gray and drizzly outside my window. No deluge, just kind of gloomy. I wish I could say I'm going to curl up with a book, but my "to do" list involves several errands out in the real world... which means I'll have to bundle up (it's 38 degrees here), brave the elements, and be a grown-up. Darn it!

On rare occasions, rainy days can put me in the mood for housework... okay - make that "very" rare. :) Today ain't one of them!!!!

Instead of losing myself in writing the next 20 pages of my current novel, I'm off to shop for a new laptop. I'll let you know how it goes.

So - my dear vamps and scamps - if it's wet and depressing outside your window today, I wish you sweet dreams of hot sunny beaches and hot, sexy men. And if the sun is shining on your head today, smile... do something productive... and spare a sympathetic thought for those of us lost in the fog...

Janice Maynard

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The language of love...

Has anyone here read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman?  It's a fabulous book and I highly recommend it, but it's not what this blog post is about.  My subject header just reminded me of the book.  Really, you should read it.
But let's get back on topic.   What topic, you may ask?  The language of love...physical love that is.
Yesterday was a really hectic day for me...I forgot I had copyedits due until I'm blithely chatting with my mom on the way to take her to the doctor and something I say triggers memory...stress...and a whole bunch of other stuff.  We make a quick stop by my house so I can pick up the manuscript (thank goodness I've only got 130 pages left to go) and off we go to the doctor's office.  I won't get into how difficult it is to hold your mom's hand while she's in excruciating agony while the doctor performs a pelvic exam, but I will say I now know how my hubby felt when I was popping out our children.
Anyway, regarding these copyedits...for the most part they are fine, but the editor questioned every time I used a more "clinical" term for male or female genitalia.  The book she was copy editing was my April '06 historical, Tempt Me.  So, here's what I want to know after having told her to leave all mentions of "penis" etc. in the manuscript.  Do you, as a reader feel the need for more flowery language in a historical when it comes to describing sex?
Obviously...I don't. LOL

Thursday, October 20, 2005

cartoon heroes....????

Am I the only one who has ever seen a cartoon hero and gone.... hmmmmm....

Like the artist in The Iron Giant. Yeah, he's a little skinny, but still, if that was a real guy~artistic, loves kids, sense of humor You get the picture.

I was watching Brother Bear last night with my kids. Now I do have to admit, I am partial to this movie anyway. It's set in prehistoric Alaska~my husband is a native Alaskan, and bears a pretty good resemblance to one of the brothers... Denahi. That's him on the left. And by the way, the picture is copywrighted to Disney, naturally. I just liked it and wanted to use it.

But Sitka and Denahi~now for cartoon guys, they are pretty darn good looking. Am I the only one who has done this... please say no Granted, I do have to watch cartoons. ALOT. With a four year old and a six year old, there's little way around it.

The movie, The Last Unicorn, can't remember his name, but the king's son. He was good looking. The young guy in Lilo and Stitch, the one interested in Nani, Lilo's older sister. Can't remember his name either, but he looked pretty cute in the little red skirt like thing he wore to that fake Hawaiin Luau.

Yeesh... my brain runs along the weirdest tracks.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Top Ten Scary Places in America

Okay~most people who know me know that I'm into haunted stuff. I just think it's fascinating reading about ghost stories that are supposedly real.

One of my favorite things to do around Halloween is go to the haunted houses~you know the fake ones... pay $10 and get scared out of your wits.

I love them.

But I also love reading about the REAL ones...and I'm going to try to visit some of these places someday. These were listed on MSN.COM today.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery - Los Angeles, Calif.
The Driskill - Austin, TX
Alcatraz Island - San Francisco, Calif.
Boston Common - Boston, Mass.
Biograph Theatre - Chicago, Ill.
The Spaghetti Warehouse - Houston, TX
Grand Ole Opry - Nashville, Tenn.
The Dakota - New York, N.Y.
Heathman Hotel- Portland, Ore.
Fitzgerald Theater - St. Paul, Minn.

Now, I've never actually heard of some of these. The Driskill? Nope, haven't heard of it. Boston Common~heard of that one. And the Grand Ole Opry, although I didn't know it was supposedly haunted.

Here's some places around where I live that are reputed to be haunted... and some of these... I've been too. Never have seen a ghost, but I have felt some very ODD things at a few of these places.

Waverly Hills TB Sanitorium~ Louisville, Ky. The guy who bought this property recently has spent a lot of time fixing it up... AND he runs a haunted house type of thing around Halloween. Now THAT is cool... a haunted house IN a haunted place. I've been here, and this is definitely one of the SPOOKY places, where you aren't quite sure you really want to be there or not. The picture above is one I found on his website...and the place feels every bit as spooky as the picture looks.

Culbertson Mansion ~ New Albany Indiana. Another old place, reputed to be haunted, and they have a haunted halloween thing in the carriage house. Another cool one, although this place is no where near as spooky as Waverly.

Seelbach Hotel ~ Louisville Ky I haven't ever stayed here, although a few friends have. One said she couldn't sleep all night. There are reports of TVs coming on in the middle of the night, the sound of footsteps on hardwood floors~yet the hotel has carpet down. Just over all spooky feelings. The website actually mentions one of the ghosts that are supposedly seen there.

White Hall Mansion ~ Richmond Ky. I haven't been here... but it sounds cool. The information on the Shadowlands site over more than the official site. People have supposedly seen a woman and a young boy, as well as a baby laughing.

Ten Penny Bridge- Charlestown In. This one is new to me...I haven't heard this and now I'm curious... might have to talk the DH into a field trip.

There's bunches more. Of course, I don't have the time or patience to list them all. I have done some serious mental note taking... i'm gonna go there...and there...and there...

Here's my main destination though

Salem... I love history. And this is one of the most bizarre things in American history. Not to mention all the cool old places in this town.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Is paranormal the new normal?

I have to say that I've always been interested in all things paranormal. One of my faovrite shows is Medium and I had my cards read for the first time this past year and it gave me chills. I did a past life regression that I still get emotional when I talk about it and I'm not at all unconvinced that I was indeed tapping into my past life.

Am I crazy? If I am then it seems that I have plenty of company because paranormal seems to be the new normal.

How about you guys? Do you believe in ghosts, reincarnation, or that a medium can actually talk to the dead? Have any of you had an experience that you would like to share? Something spooky, something eerie or just simply weird or can't explained? Spill... come on you know that you want to.......

Thank you Jamie!!!

See the cool new vamps and scamps logo? My friend Jamie did that for me. She did the other one as well, but then she sent me this one a few days ago.

It looks so cooollll...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I love quizzes... what kind of novel should i write?

I took it a few days ago and got a different answer~of course, I can't remember how I answered...but that one told me I should write romance.

This one... eh... :O? literature... hmmmm... but so much of that BORES me...

However, a quiz is a quiz is a quiz...

LITERATURE! - You have a story...oh yes, you do!
You are not quite sure what it is, but it
burns! It burns to be poured onto the page!
Write! Write I say! And thrill us with your
unique view of the world. YOU are your own

What Kind of Novel Should I Write?
brought to you by

Monday, October 10, 2005

Vacation anyone???

Part of my recent ten day road trip was a mini-vacation. Hubby and I headed over to Isle of Palms near Charleston and did nothing for four days... it was wonderful! We are both of the "fry to a crisp in 20 minutes" variety of homo sapiens, so we always carry a beach umbrella...

We were also laden with books, books, and more books... it's bad enough to have one book-aholic in the family, but when there are two... well, you can only imagine. We sat for several hours each day reading, people watching, and listening to the sound of the surf. In the early morning and the late evening, we walked the beach for a couple of miles each time. This activity was not only for fun, but to walk off the pounds of seafood we consumed. We snacked for breakfast and lunch in the room and went out once a day for a "real" meal. I'm a shrimp and scallop lover... dh goes for crab cakes.

So you get the picture... this was a very low key vacation... but that is not really our usual m.o. Over the years we have been all kinds of places with our kids and without. Do you remember the show "Full House"? One time the guys took the little girls and went to Hawaii. When they got there Danny (the dad) laid out a very ambitious sight-seeing schedule. He got razzed about his "clipboad of fun". That became a standing joke in our family... and we still talk about the clipboard when we are planning something.

In the summer of '94 we spent 5 and a half weeks in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. My hubby was doing 2 books on the waterfalls of each park. I did a lot of the photography. For our girls (and us) that was a magical summer, and it has this "golden" aura in our collective family memory. We had saved up money to do this, and we also consciously went into debt that took us a couple of years to get rid of. I was a school teacher, and hubby worked in the non-profit world, so we were not "loaded". But it was absolutely the most wonderful trip we ever took.

Hubby bribed our girls to keep daily journals, and they still get them out even now and read them. The stories we tell and retell are part of the glue that holds family together.

This past weekend we had both girls, hubbies, and "almost 2" Anastasia visiting with us. It is rare that we can all seven get together, so we treasure the times we can do it.

Looking back at family vacations, I think we tend to forget the fighting, bickering, dirty rest stops, and other low moments... what we remember is the feeling that the open road lay ahead of us full of endless possibilities.

The only thing in my life that I would be willing to spend lots of money on is travel. In fact, I hope I live long enough to see all the places I want to visit before I die! The world is such a vast and mysterious and wonderful treasure... and I truly believe that travel informs us, educates us, and makes us better people.

Right after we graduated from college, dh and I went with a group on a mission trip to Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. We saw incredible beauty and unimaginable poverty. As young newlyweds, we often worried about having less than twenty dollars in the checkbook, and we surely didn't have a credit card. But even when we perceived ourselves to be scraping bottom, we had only to think back to Haiti and realize that we were blessed beyond measure. We had the privilege of an education, we had health care, we had parents who could have helped out in a real crisis. We had options.

Over the years our income has fluctuated with jobs, kids, and other factors. My dad died at 42, leaving my mom with me in college and three other kids still at home. He and my mom had always dreamed of traveling "someday" when he retired. At that moment, Charlie and I decided not to wait until someday. When possible we were going to travel and enjoy the world that lay beyond our small corner of Tennessee.

Our vacations have taken many forms over the years, some more exciting than others, but any time we step beyond our own front yard we find the opportunity to cement family relationships, learn about ourselves, and refresh our perspective on life.

Well, sheesh, I didn't set about to write a dissertation, but what can I say????
I'm in a "wordy" mood. :)

I want to hear about how "your" family vacations. Beach? Mountains? Disney? Outdoor adventure? Tents? Four star hotels? Relatives? Spill the details, people...

I'll be waiting!!

Janice M.
(who is babysitting today, because the daycare is closed for Columbus Day!)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

What is your squirm factor?

Okay, I've been expecting one of these letters since publishing my first book in the fall of 2003. What kind of letter you may ask? The kind that takes me to task for being too explicit in my love scenes. Why have I been expecting one? Because I know other authors get them and well, I know that I write stories that are blatantly honest and yes...detailed about my characters' sexuality.

Funny thing is, I had never actually received one until yesterday. At which point a reader felt the need to point out that "explicit detail [in regards to sex] is never necessary for good writing."

Plainly, I disagree. In my mind and in my heart...from where all my stories come...some call for very explicit detail while others do not. Her complaint was specifically related to my book READY, but the truth is...she could have been talking about pretty much any of my Bravas. In point of fact though, I am sure there are readers who feel my other single titles and my Harlequin Presents are too steamy as well. I like to be as graphic and detailed about lovemaking in my stories as I am about any other element. Because to me, the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine is as important as their ability to express their love verbally or through other actions. More so sometimes, to be honest.

Frankly, the letter didn't worry me because I firmly believe that not every reader is going to love every story, but her comment got me thinking. You see...while I might disagree with her, I have my own "squirm factor".

For me, that factor is all wrapped up in how intricately entwined with the emotion the sex is. I know other readers and authors have a different measuring stick that makes the sensuality in a story work for them, or not work for them as the case may be. I thought it might be kind of fun to talk about what causes your squirm factor to go into the red zone and conversely, what draws you to a story when it comes to sensuality.

Now, don't laugh...but I'm going to remind you all that this is a public forum with no limitation for viewing that I know of. So, keep that in mind when you are posting your own graphic detail. ;-) My books not withstanding, there are lots of ways to say things without being so blatant my fellow authors decide to toss me off the blog for bringing the topic up.

Hugs and looking forward to your comments!

Lucy Monroe :)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Contemporary Romance... what do you like?

I've got the start of a contemporary on my laptop. I know basically how it's going to start. How it's going to end.

They Meet.
They Fall In Love.
The End.


Actually, I have bit more than that sketched out. But I don't read many straight contemporaries any more. Suspense? Oh, yeah. Paranormal, uh-huh. Fantasy or sci fi? I'm as happy as can be. But not as many contemporaries hold my attention.

There's a million story lines there. I've written a couple. Her Best Friend's Lover. Girl in love with her best friend, pining away... and finally, he falls in love with. Similiar story line in Her Wildest Dreams.

Secret Baby? Well, that SORT of played into Her Best Friend's Lover. Sort of. But secret babies don't hold much appeal for me. My opinion? A man is a dad, he really should know. If he's a decent guy, he will want to know. So I'm not much interested in that.

Prince/Princess falling in love with the pauper? You know, rich person falls in love with poor person. etc etc etc...hummm... nope, this doesn't appeal to me either.

Okay, maybe I'm asking is what do you like to see... what don't you like to see... what are some good straight contemporaries you've read lately?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Seven Things

Just cuz it looked like fun... saw the link on Jaci's blog. and I swiped it.


You all play too.

7 things to do before I die:

1. Take my family to Scotland and see if we can find Nessie.
2. Take my kids to Disney World.
3. Make peace with a certain relative of mine.
4. Write a horror book that has been in my head since I was like 22.
5. Go on a romantic vacation *ALONE* with the DH without us having an argument while we're gone.
6. Watch the sun set in the Rockies with my family.
7. Raise my kids to grow up to be decent, tolerant people with a internal code of morals and honor.

7 things I can do:

1. Make my kids laugh.
2. Make my husband laugh.
3. Make my husband MAD....
4. Take pretty decent pictures.
5. Break three boards with a side kick.
6. Believe in something even though I can't see it.
7. Make an unhappy child smile.

7 things I can’t do:

1. Let go of a grudge.
2. Play the piano, the violin... or anything else that makes music, unless it's a radio.
3. Draw.
4. Sew
5. Fix anything under the hood of a car.
6. Understand hatred.
7. follow directions worth a damn.

7 things that attract me to a man:

1. a love for kids~all kids, not just his own.
2. a great smile.
3. a great ass.
4. a great sense of humor.
5. faith
6. honor
7. tolerating me... and that's pretty damned difficult.

7 things I say most often:

1. bite me.
3. would you let the dog in/out?
4. No, the lady of the house isn't home and no you can't call back at a better time.
5. I love you.
6. uh... no? ~when you aren't sure what the question is... this often works...~
7. uh... yes? ~see above~

7 celebrity crushes

yeesh... i don't watch enough tv to answer this one....

so I won't. you can. instead I'll add in MY twist. this isn't a crush, but if I could come back as anybody~it would be Liv Tyler. She's so damned beautiful, she got to wear all those pretty clothes as Arwen.. and she got to kiss Aragorn. ;o)

Now it's YOUR turn...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Dianne the desperate housewife and other stuff

Okay, I think I’m taking this desperate housewives thing a little too far...I’m redecorating, running up and down the subdivision in my bathrobe and calling my husband Carlos...least I haven’t locked him in the basement.

Just kidding except for the redecorating part and that Dave isn’t chained up next to the hot water heater.

But Bree would be please, I finally ditched my old blue/orange/gray sofa that got ballies. People take less time buying a house then we did picking out this sofa. Dave and I sat in everything with a cushion at Lazy-Boy, then called in our four kids and had them do the same. Took two days and four salesmen. We finally settled on a putty-colored microfiber because the gals on the vampsandscamps loop said that stuff was the best! Thanks, ladies!

I also finished up my part of the anthology, Texas Bad Boys, with Rosemary Laurey and Karen Kelly. You all are going to really like this one! Lots of steam and all the stories are linked together with a mystery and united sisters and three really hot guys.

Some editors are looking for World War II stories. Do you think this is the next thing out there like vampires and paranormal are now?
If you don’t think it is WWII stories, what do you think is the next thing coming?

I’m doing a book signing in Lexington on Saturday with Shi and LuAnn and Toni and about fifteen other authors. It would be great to see some of you at the B&N in Hamburg Pavilion.

Everyone have a good week! Let me know if you’ve become a dh like me?

Hugs, Dianne Castell