Please welcome author Dayana Knight to The Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers Blog.
Dayana juggles a family, a full time job, and another full time career as a writer.
She will answer some questions for us and gives us insight into her writing.
We all want to know about you Dayana.

Interview: Mary Ricksen

How long did it take you to get published and how did it happen?

Hmm… well once I got the nerve up to seriously submit my first novel, it had been about 2 ½ years since I’d finished the draft. I took the manuscript down, dusted it off, and began the submission process at this point and can honestly wallpaper my office with all the rejection letters I collected. It was exactly 3 years when a small epress finally gave my book a chance. I had been editing for the house for a couple of years and they weren’t a romance per se pub house but one day I mentioned my novel to the production editor and she asked to have a look. With great trepidation I sent it to her. After I spent a very nervous week or so she emailed me and asked my why I was hiding this novel. She loved it! Thus, my first contract and one giant step in the writing process. I’d made that transition into actually getting a project out there. You can well imagine what a boost to one’s confidence that can be.
What made you write about shape-shifters, specifically wolves?

I am an animal lover, canines to be specific. We always had dogs when I was growing up and I’ve had two of my own. Wolves are beautiful and very social animals. We, humans, could take some lessons from wolves on socialization. Wolves mate for life, care for the young and old and function as a pack unit. They are wonderful animals.

The supernatural aspect of my writing is just something that I’ve always loved. Paranormal is fun because the sky’s the limit. I can build my own world with my own rules. Sure, research is always a must to keep things as close to believable as I can but I have so much more freedom and I get to use my very vivid imagination, as well.
Are a plotter or do you just let it come?

No, I am not a plotter. I don’t do outlines or goal writing or plotline mapping. I have never been one who could sit down and force the craft. I just write what comes to me. I can spend days writing or spend weeks without writing. When the ideas flow I’m on my way. Usually at some point the characters take over and we’re off and running.

Tell us a bit about what you like to personally read?

I like to read J R Ward, Black Dagger Series, Laurell K. Hamilton, Katie McAllister, Kim Harrison, and Diana Gabaldon. Mostly paranormal. But I do like crime suspense as well. Authors like Linda Howard, and Kathy Reichs, etc.

Do you find yourself using personal experiences in your stories?

Absolutely. There are bits and pieces of me and my life in everything I write. For instance, the idea for Curse of the Marhime came from a real life experience. I had stopped off at a grocery store one night after work and was approached by a woman who claimed to be a ‘seer’ or psychic. She told me she had information I needed to know. Although she freaked me out, I never pursued it thought Pita Sedgwick, my heroine does.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve written in some capacity since the age of eleven, whether it be journals, diaries, poetry, stories. I’ve always written. I had a poem published in my Sixth grade yearbook and even wrote a romance novel in a spiral notebook at a very young age. I’d truly love to see that little story now but have no idea what ever happened to it.

I didn’t begin to take the craft seriously until the year 2000 though when I’d had some tragic loss in my life. It helped me work through my grief.

Tell us a little about the next book in this series?

Book two of the Roma Wolf Tales is still in the works. It will take place between Romania and Montana here in the US and have lots more of the secondary characters stepping forward. Predominantly, Tomas and Pita’s father, Stephan. I won’t divulge more than this right now as I am still in the drafting stage and as we all know things change constantly in the early stages of writing. I have, however, sold a companion story titled Bestial Cravings to the Wild Rose Press that will release June 2009. This introduces the American pack leader and his soulmate/Lupa.

Do you find that promoting swallows up a lot of your time, time you could spend writing?

Absolutely, but it is a necessary interruption. Marketing is very important to an author’s career. I learned first hand from my first novel, Dancing on the Edge. I have since pulled the novel from the publishing house and plan to re-release it with a more romance oriented house. Dancing sold well at first but dropped off to nothing soon after for two reasons. My lack of experience at the promotion/marketing and the fact that the publishing house I’d signed with wasn’t a known romance publisher, nor are they to this day. Lesson well learned is to be discriminative in selecting who you sign with. Don’t sign because you are afraid you’ll not have another offer. Since then I have learned so much. I have grown as a writer and in the marketing venue as well.

If you could give aspiring writers advice what would you say to them?

I would pretty much say what most authors say. Don’t give up. It took me a good five years or more from my first inkling at writing a novel to completion and publication. No one ever said anything you want in life is easy. At least nothing I ever wanted to accomplish was easy. It takes dedication, discipline, and perseverance. If you are a quitter writing is not for you. There are many obstacles but I feel the most rewarding thing for me is the fact that I did accomplish my dream. Now I want to keep it going.

I may never be a Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, or JD Rowling but I did get past the hardest part. I didn’t do this to make lots of money. If that is why anyone decides to write, my suggestion would be to rethink it because the odds of you becoming one of the jet set from publishing one or two books is highly unlikely but to have people read your stories and love them, to me that is what its all about.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. If somehow I turned into a JD Rowling or Stephanie Meyer I would be one happy camper but that is not why I write.

I will close by saying, keep writing, be selective, and by all means never give up. Only you can make your dreams come true.

Thank you so much for having me here today.

Dayana Knight
Paranormal Romance and Erotic Author

Available books: Curse of the Marhime(Available now, The Wild Rose Press) Eternal Obsession (Release December 12, 2008, The Wild Rose Press), Bestial Cravings (Release June 2009, The Wild Rose Press)

I read this and I laughed. Now it's hard to make me laugh. Those of you who are bothered by things that happen on the farm might want to skip this one.
Welcome Marodee Aaron and thanks for the Thanksgiving Day Laugh.

About Melodee Aaron

Melodee Aaron is a writer of erotica romance, most with a science fiction spin. Subgenres range from space opera to paranormal to action/adventure and many stories include a polyamorous element as well.

You can learn more about Melodee's books from a number of web sites including:

Her home page at

Her author pages at Siren Publishing (, BookStrand Publishing (, Amira Press (, or at Amazon (

Additionally, you can visit Melodee's MySpace pages at

Knights of Desire, Flights of Fancy 2

Shane Rawls has been a marine for sixty years. She's seen a lot in that time, but she's never seen real knights and dragons, though, especially the delicious Sir Landis and Sir Clemmons. As she finds herself attracted to the two men, Shane falls into the clutches of the evil king of the dragons. Sir Clemmons and Sir Landis have a war to fight. The lizards are killing people, including Landis' wife, and now they have kidnapped the beautiful woman from the stars who has enchanted them both. Shane, Landis, and Clemmons must deal with their attraction all while trying to stay alive and end a war that has cost the lives of countless men and dragons. Can the three survive the evils of this medieval world? Can they overcome the limits of their feelings and find love in the aftermath?

Melodee's Thanksgiving Laugh

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was always the big "family holiday". We usually went to the farm that my aunt and uncle owned and had a big family dinner with them, but it was always the next couple of days that stuck in my mind.

Don't get me wrong, though...the turkey and ham that Lucile fixed were wonderful. Her sage dressing, made from homemade breads, was the best you could find. And her pies staggered the imagination. She was an amazing cook, and she never used a recipe or measured anything.

But this was a working farm, and taking the day off on Thursday meant that we had to work hard on Friday and Saturday to make up for lost time.

We did a lot of butchering when we were at my uncle Mike and aunt Lucile's farm back in Missouri—cattle, hogs, chickens, and even a few goats and sheep, but mostly hogs, followed by cattle.

One year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we decided to butcher a big hog Mike had fattened over the spring, summer, and fall. I have no idea how much the hog weighed, but he was huge. Mike was a big man, well over 6 feet, and the hog made him look like a child, not much bigger than my 9-year-old self.

Killing the hog was normally not a big deal. Mike used his old WWII M-1 rifle. One shot to the head, and it was all over. Normally...

This hog was tough. Sort of like a B-Grade sci-fi horror flick..."The Hog That Wouldn't Die! See the US Army held at bay by the giant killer hog! See rural Missouri in a state of panic! Coming soon to a drive-in theater near you!"

The first shot, from about 6 feet away, BOUNCED OFF the hog's forehead! Being from a rural part of the country and growing up poor, I've done my share of hunting. I personally have hunted deer. With my own hands, I have used a 30-caliber rifle to kill a deer. Yes, I shot Bambi. At 150 yards, one shot dropped a 6-point buck instantly.

The hog just glared at Mike when shot with the same rifle from only 6 feet away.

Oh, and the hog got mad. Really mad. I can't say as I blame him.

The hog proceeded to chase Mike around the pen. Quickly. If you have never been around hogs, they can move very fast. Just to look at them, laying there in the mud and the slop, you might think they are slow, sedentary animals. They're not.

To go with his height, Mike had long legs. And he needed them. He made about three trips around the pen, with Herr Hog in hot pursuit. Mike was moving like, as the song said, his head was on fire and his ass was catching.

To get the full impact of this memory, you need to see the pigpen clearly in your's about 30 feet square. Surrounding it is a fence made of 1x6 boards nailed to hand-split posts. As I recall, there were four boards from top to bottom. There may have been only three. There was one walk-through gate latched with a length of chain. The chain was nailed to a post and another nail in the gate was used to drop one of the links over to hold the gate shut.

Oh...did I mention that the mud and slop in the pen is about a foot deep? And it's not "just mud". The mud in a pigpen is made up of water and dirt. Mostly. Maybe. You feed hogs corn, other grains, and table scraps—any kind of scraps. It doesn't matter. They'll eat it. And hogs aren't too picky about where the toilet is. So, the "mud" is a mixture of water, dirt, animal and vegetable matter in various stages of decay, and what comes from the business end of the hog. It's slick, slimy, and it stinks to high heaven.

So, here's Mike running for his life from the Killer Hog through foot-deep nasty stuff in the pen. He's wearing knee boots to keep the muck off his feet, mostly. He's carrying a LOADED 30-caliber rifle. And the hog is, by now, SERIOUSLY pissed off.

If the visual wasn't enough, the sounds were staggering! The hog was squealing like...well, like he'd been shot. Mike was screaming for help. We were all laughing hysterically. At the time, it seemed like a laughing matter.

I can't really say how long this all went on, but it seemed like a long time. Finally, Mike managed to get over the fence and out of the pen. The hog rammed a post with his head and broke off the 8-inch oak pole flush with the ground. And it started to snow.

Aunt Lucile, hearing the combined screams of terror and delight, came outside to see what the problem was and why we were "foolin' around" instead of working.

Mike, covered from head to toe in specks, globs, and larger bits of "mud" told her the story of the bulletproof hog.

She sighed, yanked the gun from his hands, and fired once. The hog hit the ground, twitched one time, and stopped moving. Lucile shoved the rifle back to Mike and stormed off to the house.

Now, the fun began...

Hogs are covered with a coarse hair. Ever heard of "boar bristle" in hairbrushes? That's what it is. To get the hair off, you scald the hog and then scrap the flesh with a knife. Sounds simple enough, and in the past, it had been.

We used a 55-gallon drum over a wood fire. We would fill the drum with water and get it boiling, and then dunk the hog in using a chain hoist. Pull him out the same way. Then scrap for all you're worth. If any hair remains, repeat as needed.

We got the water to a good, fast roll, and we hoisted the now deceased Killer Hog into the air and lowered him into the boiling water. He barely fit in the drum.

All right, class...what happens when you heat something? Anything! Water, steel, plastics, pretty much everything you can think of. What happens to water when you heat it? That's right, class! It turns to steam, but what else does it do? Does it get smaller, so it will fit in a smaller container? No! That's correct little Debbie! It gets bigger! We say that it expands.

Yeah...water expands when you heat it. So does steel. And copper. And wood. And hogs.

We couldn't get the Killer Hog out of the drum of boiling water because he expanded. Mike said the "SOB done swolled up".

The hog was cooking in there, so we had to get him out.

But that was the least of our problems...

Remember that whole thing about water expanding when it turns to steam? Do you know how a steam engine works? As the water is heated and turns to steam, the expanding steam is used to move a piston in a cylinder. Get a big enough piston and enough pressure from the steam, and you can move a train. Some trains weigh hundreds of tons. Some thousands. The point here is, for the careful reader, that there is a LOT of energy in steam.

As we stood around wondering how to get the Killer Hog out of the 55-gallon drum, we noticed the drum bulging. My dad and Mike exchanged a quick glance, sort of like that look you get just about the time you realize you did something REALLY stupid. Mike yelled for everyone to get away. He grabbed me. My dad grabbed my cousin Darla. We all landed behind the old 1952 Chevy pickup truck sitting nearby.
I had just a moment to reflect on much I liked that old truck. It was the kind with steps on the sides of the bed. Mike had a homemade wooden cattle rack in the bed. We used to ride back there and stand on the rungs of the rack when we went to the river for a swim. It was black. Mostly. There was a lot of rust, too. Just as I was admiring the lettering on the door of the truck with Mike's name and address, the steam reached a critical point in the drum.

The pressure had to go someplace, and there were two options. The first was that the drum could rupture. That could be either a nice, slow splitting, or it could be explosive. That's what worried my dad and uncle.

Instead, the other possibility happened.

The Killer Hog blew out of the drum at a high rate of speed. I can't tell you how fast, though. Something the size of the hog shouldn't be moving that fast. It was really fast. Fast enough that the hog went maybe 50 feet in the air. Not quite straight up, mind you, because the swelling of the drum caused it to lean a little...toward the truck.

The hog went way up in the air. One of the first things that the Wright brothers learned is that what goes up must come down. I guess the hog already knew that.

We managed to get away from the truck before the hog hit it.

The tearing of metal made a screaming sound as the hog gave in to the relentless pull of gravity. The shattering glass flew for many yards in all directions. The snapping of the wood slats making up the stock rack sounded a little like the crack of the M-1 used earlier. The hog itself made a sort of wet, sticky sound. I imagine a bag of wet cement dropped from the Sears Tower would sound about the same when it hits the streets below.

Today, I know how to figure it out. Without getting mathematical on you, let's just say that the hog, if he went 50 feet in the air, hit the roof of the truck at about 33 miles per hour.

He also weighed about half as much as the truck.

As I remember, Mike got $75 from the wrecking yard for the remains of the truck. He bought a 1963 Chevy truck for $100. Overall, that wasn't too bad.

After picking the now badly damaged Killer Hog from the wreckage of the truck, we finished butchering with no more drama or near disasters.

Even today, every time I have bacon or sausage, I check the sky overhead.

The Dog Ringbearer

Posted by Mary Marvella | 3:01 PM | , , | 5 comments »

As a mom, I asked my daughter several times if Rob was "the one". They had been dating a while. Danielle assured me they hadn't had any official marriage talks, though I figured they must have been talking about "one day in the future". She promised to tell me FIRST if he proposed. I made threats of what I'd do to her if her friends learned before I did. I out-weight her by enough to squash her.

These are the details she gave me.

One fall evening she had worked and was late getting to Rob's condo. When she unlocked the door and walked into unexpected quiet, she saw him sprawled on his couch. As she neared him, she saw a tiny black bundle wearing a big red bow on his chest. The bundle and Rob awoke at the same time and both moved. OMIGOD, a puppy! He had brought home a puppy.

She babbled and cried as she took the puppy from his shoulder and hugged the squirming critter.

"Look at the note," Rob said. By now he was wide awake and she was too excited to pay attention to anything but the dog she had always wanted.

"Honey, there's a note," he said, pointing.

She managed to stop hugging long enough to see the envelope tied to the red bow around the little, furry neck. When she opened it she read "Will you marry us?"

She still cried and hugged the dog and nodded. (She thinks she nodded.)

"Look inside," he said.

She finally found a ring. (It's a boulder sized diamond.) She said a few more OMIGODs and kept crying.

"Well, will you?" he asked. He's patient but there are limits.

She said she finally said yes, but the details get sketchy there.

He had arranged for them to meet all their friends for supper at a restaurant so no one would hear the news first or last. She DID call her mama before they left, though.

Of course, the rest is history.

She didn't share many more details, but the three of them are married and are now four.

A year later "The Dog Ringbearer" got his own puppy, Reagan. My daughter got one of Gibbs' brothers from a later litter of their parents for Rob. Gibbs and Reagan, know better.

Shirley Fronsee shared this story with me.

Several years ago I came home and my cat Klinger kept bumping me in the leg with his head, walking over to the basement stairs. He'd turn and look at me.

After several times I said, "ok, show me what you want to show me." I knew he wouldn't stop pestering me until I did.

He kept turning and checking to make sure I was following him. He walked over to the laundry area, sat down and kept looking under the stairs, then at me. Something in his manner said he thought I was being less than bright and his patience was wearing thin. Maybe he had found a mouse or a lizard for me to see.

I looked, shocked to see a man's shoulder sticking out. (Guess he thought he was in far enough that no one would see him.)

At a moment like this I was glad I wasn't a screamer. Klinger seemed to be waiting for me to find the intruder so his job would be done. I said, loudly enough to let the man know I wouldn't confront him, "everything is alright, let's go upstairs and have a treat."

He liked that idea so he followed me back to get his reward.

I called for help and when we checked the man had exited out the basement window.

And they contend cats don't know what's going on.

Mother Mary wonders if she would've screamed!

She was only a couple of weeks old, a strayed kitten abandoned in the parking lot of the fast food Wendy. My daughter is allergic to cats but has a soft heart. She named the kitten Wendy and brought her to us with a good speech and imploring eyes.
Our kids being in college, the big house was an empty nest. We raised Wendy and taught her English and French. She had excellent manners and never jumped on a chair or table but watched TV on our laps. She knew that “eat-eat” meant food in her dish. “Nighty-nighty” and a long caress on her head had her drag herself to her sleeping basket.

Wendy stayed with us nine years and was the pampered youngest kid in the house. But when Arlene came back home, Wendy was exiled to protect our daughter from an asthma crisis.

Eventually, Arlene got engaged. We joyfully prepared the wedding and ordered the wedding dress. Three weeks before the wedding, we received the lovely dress.

Unfortunately, the dress was too long and the store claimed they didn’t have enough time to shorten it. My mother who had been a fashion designer and seamstress declared we would do it–or I would do it under her orders. I spread the dress on the dining room table and worked for hours to adjust the hem while my mother gave me instructions.

For a whole week, I kept Wendy out of the house and she did her best to sneak in. By Friday, I finished my job and left the dress on the table with the skirt still lying inside out. We finally allowed Wendy in to watch TV on my lap in the family room. When I said nighty-night, she obeyed and left for her basket, and I went to rest in my bedroom while waiting for my husband who worked late.

When he came back home, my husband asked about Wendy. Apparently, she was not in her basket, not in the kitchen or the family room or... My stomach squeezed with a bad feeling, I went to the dining room. Curled like a little golden ball, Wendy slept on my daughter’s wedding dress. My heart sank in my toes.

My husband put his finger on his lips asking me to be quiet. He came close to me and whispered: “Hold her paws, I am going to remove her.” We acted swiftly. I covered her paws and he lifted her. Thank God, she didn’t scratch the dress and slowly opened dazed eyes. My husband patted her and put her to bed while I turned the lights on and examined the dress with a prayer on my lips.
Golden hair covered the skirt but no damage attracted my attention. I carried the wedding dress to my daughter’s room and blew the cat hair with a hair dryer, then I spread the dress on a chair and opened the windows to let the cold air aerate the room.
Every day I would flutter the dress. The last thing we needed was for my daughter to sneeze and cough the minute she wore the dress. A week later, Arlene came home for her bridal shower and tried the dress. She didn’t cough or sneeze. I finally relaxed and told her the story. We had a beautiful wedding with a lovely bride and a proud mother-of-the-bride.

Cat Tales

Posted by Beth Trissel | 4:04 PM | , , | 6 comments »

From fellow blog writer Beth Trissel:
I’ve always had cats, an integral part of my world and our farm. Two reside indoors now; Minnie Mae, a funny little cat, and Percy, a manly tabby and our most recent acquisition. Percy is the ultimate lapcat who lives for cuddles. How can you not appreciate that sort of affection?

We fondly remember Gabby, a lavender Oriental Shorthair, related to the Siamese and just as vocal, and her chestnut-colored son, Pookah, named for the invisible creature that steals things. We used to call him “the paw” because of the way he opened drawers or cabinets and pilfered whatever he liked, usually hair thingies. He and Gabby were mad over scrunchies, and colorful bands that hold hair in pony tails.

Pookah was a gorgeous cat and an excellent thief, but he sucked his tail. Not very manly. A kind woman living in Florida sent us Gabby years ago to comfort the children after the tragic death of their young cousin Matthew. Gabby came to us on a plane, an odd infant highly unlike the barn cats we were accustomed to.

At first we didn’t know what to think of this little gray monkey forever disappearing into the highest cabinets or crouching on the tops of doors and wardrobes. Nor did we understand her peculiar cry, but once we learned to know her, we were hooked. That’s how we came by Pookah, the big-eared kitten we kept from a litter of three after we had Gabby bred to a fancy Siamese, Cappuccino. He wasn’t manly either.

Then there’s Minnie Mae, the tabby kitten-cat my daughter Elise and I raised from early infancy after her stray, airhead mother inadvertently left her in our care. She was so tiny she barely spanned my palm and is still small for a grown cat. Minnie Mae is a whimsical creature with a series of purrs. Elise calls the chirrupy purr when she scampers across the room, her 'bouncing purr.' Then there’s her inquiring purr, when she has a question, which is fairly often being a thoughtful, observant cat. Her excited purr hums forth when she greets us after a long absence, say overnight. She sleeps outside hubby and my bedroom door and eagerly awaits the dawn.

When I was a child I listened repeatedly to a favorite record that I still have about the adventures of Dick Whittington and his cat. Dick would exclaim: “Here comes Ripple Dee Dee! Oh, cat, I love you very much.” And I do. All of them.

Beth Trissel

Today starts our week of pet stories. Some stories will be from our regular bloggers. Some will be from friends and writing colleagues. We're keeping it light and funny, so please share your favorite pet story. As the week goes on, there'll be gifts and surprises for the backbloggers, so join in the fun.

I'm starting with Panama, pictured below eating a fresh peach.

Bird Ownership Disclaimer: Owning an Amazon Parrot is a lot like adopting a child. They are very smartt, inquisitive, noisy, and messy. But, they’re also funny, entertaining, and beautiful. It’s their intelligence that gets them (and an unprepared owner) into trouble. They can get easily bored and find new and creative ways to entertain themselves that the owner might not like, like chewing all the wood off the window frame, or throw all the food from the bowl to the floor in a pique of anger.

Never ever buy an Amazon as an impulse buy. And most importantly, buy from a reputable breeder. The way smugglers get baby parrots from the wild from their parents is many times to kill the parents to steal the babies. Parrot smuggling still goes on due to the bird popularity. Buy safe.

He loves fresh fruit and vegetables.

That's peach on his peck. Notice how sharp the beak is. It can do some real damage to the finger of an unsuspecting victim.

Now, about the heathen that rules my house...24 years ago, I married into a parrot-head family. No, not a bunch of Jimmy Buffet lovers, although we do like the music. I married into a family that owned Amazon parrots, two to be exact. My husband, Phil, has Panama and his brother and sister-in-law have Bo. Panama is a Amazona ochrocephala panamensis or Panama Parrot. (Phil lacked imagination when it came to naming his bird, didn’t he?)

Bo is Amazona ochrocephala auropalliata, better known as a Yellow-Nape Parrot. Both of these birds came from breeders and have been part of my husband’s family for their entire lives.

Panama was 6 months old when Phil brought him home. (We call Panama a “him” but we don’t really know. The males and females look alike and it takes a blood test for sexing. Since we aren’t breeders, we didn’t bother.)

When I met Phil, Panama was six years old. He viewed me with scads of skepticism. Who was I and why was I taking up so much of Phil’s time when Phil should be playing with him? Phil tried to make friends of Panama and me, but honestly, I was the interloper and Panama never lets me forget it to this day.

When we were dating, Phil would take Panama from his cage and set the bird in my lap or on my stretched out legs. Then, he would encourage me to pet the bird. Yeah, right. The d*mn bird latched onto my finger and WOULD NOT let go. I slung my finger and Panama just hung on for the ride. Now, he flies at my boobs and tries hang on. No, thank you. (By the way, never let a parrot sit on your shoulder. Their beaks are very strong and they can do some real damage to your face. And yes, we all learned the hard way.

Story – Bo was sitting on Phil’s sister’s shoulder and the doorbell rang. She answered the door and the bird did not like the looks of the person standing there. He grabbed hold of her upper lip and swung to her other shoulder, like he would a vine in the rain forest. She has a nice upper lip scar.)

Panama has learned quite a few words, phrases, and sounds. Luckily (for me), cuss words are not part of his vocabulary. He barks like a dog (faking me out on more than occasion.) In February, we were in Florida at an RV park. The lady in the motorhome next to ours complained to Phil about our two dogs barking so much. It was apparently disturbing her karma, or something. He told her it was our bird, not the dogs. She didn’t believe him until she saw for herself.

Not only can he bark, but apparently, Phil and I had a tendency to tell the dogs to “shut up.” When we lived in Memphis, we scheduled a chimney sweep to come to our house. He came about twenty minutes later than our appointment. He was a tad irritated at us. Seems he came to the house early for the appointment and we wouldn’t answer the door. The conversation went something like this:

“I was here earlier today and neither you nor your wife would answer the door.”

Husband with a frown says, “We weren’t home at that time.”

“Yes, you were,” the chimney sweep insists. “I know you were.”

“No, I’m sorry. But we weren’t.”

“Yes, you were. Every time I knocked on the door, I could hear the dogs start barking and your wife would yell, ‘Shut up. Shut up.’”

Husband. “Come in and meet our bird.”

Yep, Panama was scolding the dogs for barking at the door.

Bo, our “nephew bird”, had to go to the vet to have blood drawn and his nails clipped. Out in the lobby, the other clients were quite upset with all the noise. Seems every time the vet would lean toward Bo without touching him, Bo would yell, “Help! Don’t do that! Ouch! Help!” The folks in the waiting room thought there was a child back there.

Panama is on a special food called Zoopreem. It’s a nutritionally balanced food for parrots. The little nuggets are sort of daisy shaped. Each bag is made up a different colored nuggets, such as purple, red, yellow, orange, brown. When we first started him on it, we noticed that he threw all the purple and orange ones out on the floor. Concerned that they had a vitamin or nutrient that he needed, Phil called the plant. Seems all these nuggets taste exactly the same. No difference. All come from the same machine, just dyed different colors. Seems Panama doesn’t like the color purple (not the movie, people, although who knows. He might have an opinion). Sometimes he likes the oranges and will toss the reds or vise versa.

And his toys! He has scads. We rotate them in and out of his cage to keep him entertained. He loves to sit outside in the sun (in his travel cage – yes, he has more than one cage) and yell as other birds, squirrels or people. We do worry about cats (although we don’t have any around here), but Bo (the nephew bird) lives with a couple of cats. They are scared to death of him. He’ll chase them and try to bite them.

Even though I threaten to make a parrot pie at least once a month, in our household, we ALL know who the boss is (and hint, it isn’t me!)

So anyone else have a cool talking bird story?

Until Next Time


2008 Moonlight and Magnolias

Posted by Mary Marvella | 11:36 PM | 3 comments »

Moonlight and Magnolias generated a lot of energy this year. The dancing afterwards took a lot of the left over energy. Some of us were dancing while others were resting. Lovely outfits, dressy shoes, and tired feet.

Some very important folks attended M&M this year. An editor for TOR books, a Maggie winner, a runner up, and some very tired women who danced anyway.

Moonlight and Magnolias 2008 Conference

Posted by Mary Marvella | 11:07 PM | 0 comments »

And then we partied. After you check out these photos, head for Facebook to see more.

Today, I'm very happy to introduce the most talented gentleman whose self-portrait (above) also graces my article, Vampires: Our Love-Hate Relationship...Ivan Leone. Ivan is originally from Italy, now living in London.

Welcome to our blogsite, Ivan, make yourself at home and tell us a little about yourself.
Il benvenuto al nostro blogsite, Ivan, si fa nel paese e ci dice un piccolo circa lei. Begin at the beginning.

Hi everybody! I am really proud to be part of your blog as an artist, that's actually what I feel like I am after my 8 hours daily work.
I was born in 1982 in the Southern Italian region called Lucania (from Latin "Lucus" - land of woods and wolves). I grew up in a little village called Oppido Lucano, an old village where Ancient Greeks and Romans used to live. You still can find buildings and houses of that period. I have got two fantastic brothers who moved with me to Milan, hundreds of miles from my lovely lands. They're called Antonio and Davide, a few years older. I got a Diploma in Accountancy at "Leonardo Da Vinci" Accountancy School in Acerenza, a village close to mine that could have something to do with the Holy Grail, just legends.... but... who knows... you know? At school, every year I used to Student President and I was always in trouble with teachers! But I still love them. Why move to England?! I'd answer: "Why leave Italy?". Well, the main reason is just to improve my English, three or six years, maybe one year, and put it on my Italian Curriculum Vitae. But actually I don't know. Different things happen in your life, you can drive them away or not, and sometimes you stop and say "There must be something wrong...", then you decide to start again or to change completely your life. And I went for the second option. I just wanted a change. It's hard to have your parents far away, your friends, your lands, but that's what I chose. "Chi piglia la strada nov, sap che lassa, non sap che trov" as Lucani say. You know, Italy has a lot of dialects really different from each other, and that's mine. Why London!? Actually I wanted to move to Miami, where I know a person who could help me in the beginning, but lots of people just suggested me to go to London first: Miami would have meant such a strong decision, England is only 2 hours by plane from Italy. That's it. So, welcome to London!

In your e-mail to me, you apologized for your English but I must say it's better than some people around here speak. I'm not one who thinks the entire world should speak my own language so I'd like to compliment you. Where did you learn?

...whereas I think English is already the official language of the entire World and that is cool, now every country should teach English to people since childhood. I've always liked English: at school I always got good marks even if I didn't study at home, but in class I concentrated (when I wanted to...) So I learnt some English at school, then, last year I started to study seriously at home by myself. Last July I attended a course of a month with some Mother Tongue Teachers to get used to the accent, and to get ready for moving. It's not that easy! Especially the British Accent: they speak so awfully!

As for your coming to America,I know a bevy of lady writers who'd be eager to meet you! Bet we could have a ball at the Romance Writers' Conventions around the country! I'm sure they'd be signing you up for cover photos right and left!

Let's not talk about Romance, please! I'm looking forward to meeting and kissing each hand of any charming lady writers!

As you might deduce, a good many of our readers (and writers) are authors of romance novels. I've written a few myself, although I lean more toward sf/fantasy/horror. Do you like to read, and if so, what types of book do you like?

Well, actually I've always loved music, I was always playing or listening to the music but sometimes I like to read books about science, nature or history.

On myspace, you've said that you like "raitre". Is that the Italian government broadcasting system? What shows do you particularly like?

Yes, it's the 3rd one. Then there is the Silvio Berlusconi Broadcasting. I love Raitre because of his political and economic investigations about my Country. I think they just tell the truth as much as they can. Then Raitre often shows documentaries about Nature, strange and amazing places of the world. And great movies as well.
The program I like more is "Report" that is the one which investigates about Italian and world Policy. Yes, I do love it.

I see you also like Al Pacino, a man who makes too few movies in my opinion. Any particular favorite of his films?

Few movies but..... have you ever seen "The Godfather"? Is that really like the Italian Mafia in the States? Cruel.

In some of your pictures, you're playing a guitar and the drums. You certainly seem to have varied taste in music. Is there any particular type you like over all your favorites? Is this a type you play? Are you in a band?

Right. I moved to Milan just to study music at one of the best Italian Music Schools, the CPM. It was my dream since I was 15. And I did it. But after 2 years I had to stop because of a problem with my arms, tendinitis: Working and studying at the same time isn't that easy. It's been really hard to accept that, but "C'est la vie" as the French say. Now I can play drums, my favorite instrument, but not studying them, too stressful for the arms.
There was something missing in my life. That's why I bought a camera.. I needed to make, to create, to do something artistic. I'm not good in drawing, so I went for a camera, a little one. Then I found out that I like that so much, I bought a professional one. But music is my favorite hobby. I actually don't feel that I'm a photographer, but a musician, and maybe not even a musician... The music I love is Jazz and all the Black music coming from Southern US: Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Billy Chobam, John Mc Laughlin, Weather Report. what I usually play is funky-rock-soul-blues. When I moved to London I auditioned with an Australian singer, she was about to choose me, but she went for another drummer. Then I found another band, called "Sinner in the Mirror" (, two guys from England, one from NY. I'm enjoying playing with them so much even if our speaking is not that much, I still have difficulties about my "understanding", but music is an international language, isn't it!? After a couple of weeks, Sangeeta Lee, the Australian singer contacted me again asking if I was still available to play with her. And I answered: "How can I say NO to such a wonderful lady like you?!

And along with that--you're playing your first London gig with the Comedy Pub in London. Any of you readers who will be in the area, go the Red Room...and be entertained!

Is "Leone" a very common name in Italy? There are several others I can think of, among them Sergio Leone, the director. Is he a relation?

Yes, it's a very common name, especially in the South. There's also an ancient pope called Leone. But I'm not related to anyone.

Do you have a camera with you at all times (as I do) in case you see a subject you'd like to photograph or do you go out on "photo-jaunts" with the specific idea of looking for things to capture on film?

Photography is just a hobby: I don't have skills to do it professionally, but I'd like to, maybe working with some professional photographers as an assistant... we'll see...
It depends, sometimes I bring it with me for several days, sometimes I don't either touch it for weeks. But I've got my mobile phone! Not the same, but...

I see where you're listed as an amateur photographer in and fotografia in italia. Have you ever had an exhibition or put on a show of your works anywhere? Are you doing anything to change your amateur standing to a professional one? Do you want to? Or are you content to be a "talented amateur?"

I don't feel to be talented, if I was I'd definitely work as a photographer. I just enjoy taking pictures that I really like, sometimes I go out for photo jaunts and look for what I've got in my mind, as a drawer, but I need to find a real place, or a real person, that is different. But I'd like to do it professionally, as I was saying, maybe as an assistant.

As an artist, I'm intrigued by the variety of subjects in your photos--so many of them are very emotionally charged, such as the scene of the moon shining on the empty street with a red tint to everything...the town built upon the hillside with the mountains in the background...your shadow thrown against the back of a futon...that dark blue lake in the mountains...the boat chugging through the water...those mini-portraits of your hands and feet.... Other than the photograph I used for my blog, I think the ones which impressed most are the other self-portraits...the one with the wide-brimmed hat, your face highlighted in reds and ambers...and that beautiful nude--the folds of the blanket backdrop draping down to following the curves of the body, the stripes in the pattern of the cloth directing the eye back again and again toward it, the smooth, unobstructed lines of a body compacted into the small space of the camera's lens....

I'm glad you like them. The self portraits are just practice about taking pictures indoors of a human body: you know, models cost too much, so I just said: "Why not of yourself? You're cheaper!"

When you posted that particular photograph, did you have any doubts about doing so, or were you confident that anyone seeing it would view and appreciate it as the work of art that the human body actually is?

I actually don't care if it's appreciated or not. I'm not in a competition. Napoleon used to say: talk good or bad about me, but talk. Anyway, the same thing can be appreciated by one person andnot by another. For example, for a Photography Teacher, that one would not be that good. We don't have the same tastes...

I've noticed that many publishers use photographs from fotolia, etc., for their covers--and I remember recognizing certain pictures which have ended up on covers--have you ever thought of doing photographs with the specific intention of their being used as book covers? Frankly, I'm surprised the one I chose hasn't been snapped up by The Wild Rose Press, Lyrical Press, or one of the other romance publishers.

Well, my aim is not to make money with photography. Not all pictures are Art. And the ones you sell, often aren't that, they're just commercial... But why not if someone ask to me to take "just that picture" for his book cover? Between art and business.

I suppose I should draw this to a close. I find myself wishing this was a teleconference so we could have a live Q&A session, but the budget doesn't cover that--yet. Before we go, is that anything you'd like to add?

I wish we'll have a live Q&A session as soon as possible. I just wanna add a big hug to you, Toni! And everybody who are reading these words. Thank you very much. I hope to come to US one day and meet you all.

God bless America!


In closing, let me thank you for taking time out to give this interview. As they say in my part of the country, "Don't be a stranger, now!" No' la t è uno sconosciuto, ora. Feel free to visit us from time to time and if you feel like sharing a photo or a comment, or would like me to make an announcement for you on any of these blogs, please don't hesitate to ask.

Grazie ancora,

(The photographs in the video accompanying this article were taken by Ivan. His work can also be seen on and on his blogsite at www.myspace/ Tonight, Ivan is making his London debut at the Red Room at the Comedy Pub, with Australian singer, Sangeeta Lee.)

Joanne Deal of the Day

Posted by Josie | 9:03 AM | 4 comments » is having their yearly voting. You vote on products, and if you are selected via email, you may purchase the product at a greatly reduced price. This year's products include a TV, computer, camera, etc.

Have fun and vote!

"I can't afford to save any more money."


Posted by Toni V.S. | 4:20 PM | 6 comments »

Due to my usual ineptness where finding the proper Chat Room is concerned, the following blog (scheduled for TWRP's Halloween Ball) didn't reach its destination in its entirety. Learning this, the gentleheroes of "Love, Vampire Style" and "Demon in Blue Jeans" complained loudly. Therefore, to give the boys their chance to speak out, I promised them I'd repost the blog. So...without further's Valerius Andresciu and Zellascrastides Amschönstenundeinliebendius. Wow, that's a mouthful!

ZEL: (waves one hand permissively) Don't sweat it-- Even my wife can't pronounce it. That's why I took her last name. Kind of a reverse feminist thing. Just call me Zel Carter.

VAL: (snorts derisively) You wouldn't catch me changing my last name. Dude, you should have kept it! Even if it is a tongue-twister and a half!

ZEL: Valerius... Hmm. (thoughtfully) Sounds like someone who should be chasing after Julius Caesar on the Ides of March.

VAL: (smooths back a jet-black curl hanging over one eye) As a matter of fact, my family was fairly prominent in Rome...

ZEL: ...but my family can trace its roots back further than the Roman Empire...

TVS: Gentlemen...Let's not argue over whose heritage is the oldest...although Zel does have you beat, Val, by a few thousand millennia.

ZEL: (graciously) But we won't even mention that.

VAL: So good of you not to. (stares at TVS with a deep, bottomless gaze) Thank you for inviting me. May I say that--for a woman of a certain age--you're the most enchanting female I've seen in a century...or two...

TVS: (a little nervously) Thank you...I think.

ZEL: (looks around with interest) So this is the Internet. Wow! And I thought the Great Satan was exaggerating when he said he'd found a new and faster way to tempt humans!

TVS: (hastily) Back on course, Zel. Your esoteric beginnings aside, I believe you two have much in common...

VAL: What do you mean by that? (dark eyes flare crimson) I don't think there's anything that an aristocratic--and handsome--young vampire like myself would have in common with a mere Hell-spawned incubus. (to Zel) What does she mean by that?

ZEL: (Shakes his long blond locks) Search me! I'm still trying to figure out what esoteric means!

TVS: Let me rephrase that. You're both supernatural creatures...

VAL: You get no argument there.

TVS: You both have wings...

ZEL: Just don't ask us to show you...(leans forward, whispering) Have to be naked to release our wings, y'know...

VAL: (leers) Unless you absolutely wish to see...

TVS: (Hastily)...and you've both gotten into a bit of trouble because of the ladies.

ZEL: (shrugs) Let's face it, Valerius. She's got us there. But, hey--I'm an incubus. Seducing women is in my job description. As for Val--what vampire worth his--if you'll excuse the expression--salt, isn't going to go after a slender, pale throat?

TVS: Val, wasn't that the reason you had to leave Transylvania?

VAL: Don't blame me for that! My older brother Marius was the one who got himself exiled because he couldn't keep his fangs off necks the Prince had marked as his own. I just came along for the ride.

TVS: Uh-huh...and have been mooching off Big Brother ever since.

VAL: (defensively) I'm a younger son. I'm not expected to amount to much...(looks at Zel defiantly) That's my job description!

ZEL: And you were doing your darndest to carry out those expectations, weren't you? Living la vida American, partying until dawn, etc? How is Noo Orleens these days?

TVS: Mustn't be so uppity, Zel. Didn't I hear that you were a definite underachiever back in the Inferno?

Zel: Yes...well...I come from a large family--there were 200 of us... so I figured...why exhaust myself if I can just get by and no one notices?

VAL: (snarkily) Unfortunately, someone did notice, didn't they--wasn't it...Satan? Hmmm? The Big Boss himself?

ZEL: Don't look so superior. (as Val does just that) I understand your older brother gave you an ultimatum--get married or else...something like that?

VAL: All right--so we're both slackers. Still, I thought we handled our individual little crises pretty well, wouldn't you say?

ZEL: I don't know that I'd call being kicked out of Hell by the Great Satan himself handling anything well. I was lucky I got off with some burned wingtips and a bit of sulphur in my hair! But, I did get Katy out of the deal....

VAL: and I got Anike...

ZEL: (admiringly) I'll have to admit you took a pretty big chance...

VAL: Yeah, if Anike had turned out to be would've been all over...stakes and sunrise...

ZEL: You almost made an ash of yourself. (laughs at his pun)

TVS: I guess you could say you both got HEAs out of this.

ZEL: HEA? What's that? Hell's Everywhere Always? Here's Eventual Apathy? How E--

VAL: It means Happily Ever After--and I'll drink to that! Speaking of drinking... When we're through here-- Zel, want to go down to that little pub on the corner and raise a few?

Zel: (primly) I'm sorry. I don't drink alcohol.

VAL: (brows rising in astonishment) And you call yourself a demon? I thought you guys could drink anyone under the table! Anyway, I was talking about good ol' plasma!

ZEL: Actually, blood gives me indigestion, and alcohol makes me does caffeine...and chocolate...

VAL: You are definitely missing out on some of the finer things in life.'s about we just have a couple of Sprites, then? (stands up)

ZEL: I think I can handle that. (stands up also) Say, why don't I call Katy and you get your wife and we meet there? I'd really like to meet Anike...

Val: (suspicious) And what does that mean? I don't know that I want to introduce my woman to an incubus--

ZEL: Relax, Pal. I admit I'm always going to have an eye for the ladies, but Katy's got my heart and saying hello to another woman and shaking her hand is as far as it ever goes nowadays.

TVS: Guys...about the interview---

VAL: (ignoring her feeble attempts to steer the conversation back to the subject) In that you like Cajun food? There's this little diner near my digs in New Orleans...serves the best hot ribs in town...and I mean Hell-fire hot!

ZEL: Sounds like my kind of place....

(they walk toward the door, still talking)

TVS: Guys? The interview?

VAL: (looks back) Tell your readers to see the trailers or download the novelettes if they want to know more about us!

(they disappear through the door leading to the street and disappear into the twilight).

(The above photos of Zel (first) and Valerius (second) are courtesy of, and can also be seen in my trailers of "Love, Vampire Style" and "Demon in Blue Jeans.")

Joanne--Deal of the Day

Posted by Josie | 9:05 AM | 3 comments »

I may have posted about before, but they are having a 3 day sale. Go to the website and type in your zip code. Restaurants in your area will come up. Select the restaurants you might like to try. When you check out, apply the code SURPRISE for an 80% off savings. You will pay $2.00 for a $25.00 off of $35.00 certificate.

These certificates print out on your computer. If you go through, you will earn an additional 6 points per dollar spent.

Happy eating!

"I can't afford to save any more money."

I know, I'm behind, but I recently saw THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (on Netflix) with my 11 yr old niece, a close friend, and my 19 yr old daughter, and we all LOVED it!
Considering the last review I did was of Jack Black lip balm--I'm addicted to chapstick and lip balm--I've gone all out and written up a short post for this film.

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a wonderfully imaginative, delightful YA movie with appeal to all ages, except for very young children. Technically it's an urban fantasy but has classic fantasy elements. All the actors do an excellent job, but I particularly enjoyed the exceptionally talented Freddie Highmore. The brother/sister team of twin brothers Jared and Simon (both play by Highmore) and older sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger) is engaging and touching as they battle the evil creatures bent on reclaiming the all important book, The Spiderwick Chronicles. The magic circle placed around the mysterious old house by their long-lost Great Great Uncle Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn) is in danger of being breached by the cunning lord of evil, the shape-shifting ogre, Mulgarath (Nick Nolte). Not to mention, a host of goblins. Unlikely allies come to the childrens assistance, a comic Brownie, Thimbletack, (Martin Short) who must be fed honey to sweeten his temper and a gregarious Hoggoblin, Hogsqueal (Seth Rogen) who helps them better 'see' this fantastic realm.
Do magical creatures truly dwell among us? Arthur Spiderwick thought so, and after seeing this movie, I agree.

Beth Trissel
www. bethtrissel. com

Valentina flattened two fingers against each eye and forced them closed. How shameless, using her sister to force her cooperation.

The bastard.

They could not escape until she complied.

Reluctantly, she opened her eyes and dropped her hands. He examined her expression and what he saw must have amused him, because he smiled. Indifferent to his amusement, she leaned back. She focused on the ceiling to distance herself from his stare.

“I have waited several months for you.” He dragged up a chair and sat across from her. His muscular legs brushed against hers. “I ask for a truce between us.”

He reached out his hands to her across the table.
Valentina had gotten used to the gadjes’ unfamiliar smells and filthy palms. All strangers. She breathed the nearness of him—a manly scent of earth and leather.

His palms were clean.

“And if I refuse?” she asked.
His masculine fingers stroked her hands. “Then we will continue with this come the morrow, and the day after the morrow—as long as it takes.”

His touch felt possessive—strong and controlling.

Fatal Fortune, my historical romance, continued from last month:

His silver eyes impaled her. “Do you want to see your sister again? From what I understand, she is a sweet girl, shy and dependent on your strength.”

Valentina shuddered. Already he had sensed that Yolanda relied on her.

The earl picked the dagger off the floor. Relaxed, he wiped the blood from the blade on his torn shirt and set it atop the wooden mantel. His deliberate stance in front of the fireplace blocked her from reaching the dagger.

“Come here.” His command resonated silky, yet smooth. He turned toward a slim ornate table in the corner of the room.

She eyed the mantle. If the earl moved another foot, she might be able to retrieve the dagger.

He sighed heavily. “Do I need to drag you?”

She stood motionless and debated whether to defy him, thinking of Yolanda. “Nay. I can move on my own.” With a haughty lift of her head, Valentina purposely walked ahead of him. She insulted him by doing so, although he was not aware of it. In the Romany culture, a woman never walked in front of a man, as she would contaminate him. He would be unclean. The secret affront gave her a little pleasure and she smiled.
Then she realized that a commoner also did not walk in front of a noble, and this might be an insult he would recognize. She held her breath and waited.

He pulled out a heavy wooden chair and beckoned her to sit with a courteous sweep of his hand. “My interest in speaking with you is a simple one. I want you to read my fortune.” His eyes flicked to steel ashes. “And then you may see your sister.”

“You think our ways are mere superstitions,” she countered. “Most Romany don’t read fortunes.”

He shrugged and smiled. “What I believe and disbelieve is of no concern to you. But you possess an astonishing ability to foresee the future, and I admit I am intrigued. Your superstitions have more than an element of truth.”


Posted by Josie | 9:04 AM | 5 comments »

Hi Ladies,
Great, easy recipe today featuring five ingredients. I saw it in a recipe/type women's magazine. I hope it is OK to post.

1 cup artichokes (chopped)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 16 oz container ricotta
1 8 oz container of garlic-herb cheese spread
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Mix ricotta, eggs and cheese spread. Wring out the excess water in the spinach and add to mixture along with artichokes. Pour into 9 inch pie pan and bake at 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.


Linda Nightingale is joined today by Tristan McLaghlin and Lord Morgan D'Arcy, both musicians and both vampires.

Linda: What does it feel like to be a vampire?
Morgan: Linda, if one more person asks me that question, I shall bite them, quite literally. Why not ask what it feels like to be a concert pianist?
Linda: Morgan, put a cork in it.
Tristan: Shall we call you Mum as your pen gave us entry into this life?
Linda: Perhaps, then Tristan, you would like to answer.
Tristan: At the certainty of sounding condescending, what it feels like to be a vampire is beyond mortal comprehension. You've heard it all, heightened senses, physical and metaphysical abilities and, of course, sensuality.
Linda: I think that being a vampire would be—
Morgan: Everything that you have led these people to believe. And more.
Linda: I did give you the ability to read thoughts but I don't appreciate it when they are mine.
Whisper of movement and Tristan has taken her hand.
Tristan: You were broadcasting loud enough for any of us to hear your thoughts. There are ways to block the transmission. I could teach you.
Linda: Both of you had better mind your manners. I have an eraser in my hand.

Both men sit back, eyes unfocused, listening not to their creator but to the sound of footsteps in the hall.

An attractive woman, long hair swinging at her waist, enters the room. She gives Morgan a smile, winks at Linda and sits beside Tristan, linking her arm with his.

Carol: Go play your cello Tristan and your piano Morgan. Leave us girls alone for a few. Sorry, Mum, to rob you of the eye candy.

Girls now that the fellows are not underfoot, from the trailer, you'll see that Black Swans are rather special people and treated to intense, addictive pleasures. If you care to join our select society, I can probably arrange it, but you can't have Tristan. A girl can get spoiled to the best. Our story releases 2/25/09 from The Wild Rose Press. Please join me in falling in both the L-words.

Linda: Nuff said. Join us at the kickoff party for Black Swan released 2/25/09. There'll be prizes! Check my web site:, and give the serialized vampire story a look see.

Pets Rule!

Posted by Mary Marvella | 7:47 PM | 3 comments »

Get your pet stories ready! November 23-26 we'll be sharing pet stories. We want stories and tons of comments. We'll take photos, too.

If you will be in the Richmond, Virginia area tomorrow evening, Friday, November 14th, please stop by the Chesterfield Towne Center Barnes and Noble Sammie Jo Moresca will be signing SMOLDER and MORE, MORE, MORE! alongside her chaptermates from the Virginia Romance Writers: Mary Burton, Pamela Kinney and Donna Dalton!

Kevin MacLeod is a composer par excellence. From a Dr. Who documentary (A Matter of Time) to TV series (six episodes of On the Bench) to horror films (In Case of a Zombie Attack, Once upon a Midnight Dreary II, and infomercials--"Dr. Abergel"), his music lends atmosphere and emotion to the story. For those among us who might not be acquainted with his work, I'll start off by saying that it can be found (and listened to) at, which also features little insights into how each piece was composed and the instruments utilized.

First of all, Kevin, let me say how much I appreciate your agreeing to this interview. It was such a wild idea I wasn't sure whether you'd want to or not, so thank you very much! I'm sure our readers (and writers) are going to enjoy it...and now, I'll let Kevin speak for himself:

Have you always had a leaning toward music or was it something that came to you after you'd decided on another occupation?

I started young. You pretty much need to start young. I actually don't remember that far back. Oh, I was a computer programmer before I did composition full-time.

What's your educational background? Did you study music as a child? Where, if any place, have you studied as an adult?

I went to University of Wisconsin for music education... but I got a job programming before I was certified to do anything.

Is composing your fulltime occupation or do you have a "day job," now?

Just music.

--which, I suppose is enough, isn't it? It's always great to be doing what you enjoy. What type instrument do you use to play your music? I envision you standing before a full orchestra but I'm sure that isn't so.

Yeah, orchestras are incredibly expensive. I have a video over on YouTube that shows one of my set-ups. It is just a little MIDI controller, and a laptop. I'm glad there is a good illusion of an orchestra, though!

I've enjoyed reading the little anecdotes you've included with your music. Which do you like best: writing a soundtrack for a movie, writing something for a video game, a score for a musical, or for something like a podcast or radio drama?

Musicals are the most difficult, but I really like them. Audio dramas are probably the ones I like best. You only need to control mood and pacing with sound there. There isn't a need to work around visual cues.

Do you have a favorite piece among all of them? How did you come to write it?

Gah! I can't answer that! I will say that my more favorite ones, I marked with a star on my site. Usually the last thing I did is the one I like best, and then my like of it fades over time, but a few stay alive. Gagool is a good example. It was written for an audio dramatization of King Soloman's Mines, and the point where the witch lady gives an extensive monologue.

I see that your Archives only go back to 2006. Is that when your website went online? When did you get the idea to have a website?

1995. Remember that programming job? Yeah. That was then. I switched to a blog format in 2006.

Have you ever come across any of the trailers on YouTube which have used your music? If so, do you remember which ones and what did you think of them? Do you still get a thrill out of seeing your name credited or is that "old hat" by now?

Yeah. All the time, actually. One day 7 of the top 20 videos had my music in them. I'll be walking past my friends who are watching videos, and go "Oh! That's me!" Credits are not really a thrilling thing. They are a marketing thing. I do like the IMDB credits page. It actually motivates me to take more work. Now if only I'd get more listings on that. I've done projects that are listed there... but I never took the time to figure out how to edit the entries. No worries.

As I mentioned to you recently, I was channel surfing the other night and heard some familiar music and realized it was Laid Back Guitars and Tango de Manzana being used as background for an infomercial. It gave me a little thrill to realize that I not only recognized the music but kind of knew the person who'd composed them! I suppose most people don't look at the credits in movies, etc., (I do!) so for those folks, are there any recognizable titles you've written for which they might recognize?

I do the DVD Extras on Doctor Who, and a pretty cool film in the UK that was called "Simon and Emily" when I had it. Also just did a short for Michel Gondry, but I don't know the title or release on that one. I've done TV programming for BBC, CBC, NBC, and a lot of other stations in... nearly everywhere; China, Poland, Netherlands. I really- honestly - do not know the industry that I'm a part of. I don't know who is big, or what is popular. So if you're super famous - you'll have to let me know. I don't have a TV, and rarely go to see movies.

I watch Dr. Who on DVD, as well as a lot of other BB shows, so I'm going to look at those credits extra-closely from now on! I think thus far, my favorite piece is "Pilot Error." Do you remember how you came to write it?

That's just a straight-up rock piece. I don't remember exactly what that was for, but it sounds like background music coming from a radio or TV. It may have been in the background of some movie or another.

Falling back on the stereotypical interview form, I'll close this in the usual way: Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for anyone who might be thinking of going into some form of music--playing, composition, etc.--as a career?

For composers, I have several!
Number one: Write a lot of music, and get fast doing it.
Number two: Figure out a way to get your music in front of as many
ears as possible. I think that's foolproof, actually. Even if you start out not very
good - you'll get good quickly because it is all you do! For a musician? I don't know. You'll probably need to ask a musician.

Thank you, Kevin, for giving us some insight into your life as a composer.


And let's give a big cheer for Kevin MacLeod--Hip, Hip, Hooray!--for all the beautiful music he's created and allowed so many of us--myself included--to use...for free. I, for one, have a little roster with the names of people whom I have to pay back when my tenuous finances settle down, and Kevin's is high on that list.

(The trailer below is a montage of scenes from some of my trailers, set to four of Kevin MacLeod's pieces--Achilles, Beach Bum, Bright Wish,and Tango de Manzana.)