Cover reveal

Check out the hot new cover of Awakening designed by Karen Windsor-Worrel at KWW Design LLC

Awakening coming in June 2014.

The Cocktail Party

I love people. I love listening to their stories, hearing about their lives, and joining their adventures. However, I’m a party participant fail. I’m great one on one and I love hanging out with a group of people. But, what I haven’t mastered is the cocktail party.
In fact, I have a long history of silencing parties. And by that, I mean the entire room goes silent trying to figure out how to recover from some social gaff I have just committed. So I’m a little wary of these events.
My first major social blunder was actually in the presence of a famous person. At the ripe old age of 22, I somehow got invited to Betty Friedan’s house for a cocktail party with dinner to follow. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I were thrilled to be in such company. We arrived to an intimate group of about ten guests, mostly women. Let me just say that they loved my husband. He charmed them with his stories of life abroad and his work in the new and upcoming environmental movement. (Yes, it was a long time ago).
I was perfectly happy listening to the conversation and thoroughly enjoying the stories he was sharing. However, all good things must come to an end and sure enough some poor soul decided to try to bring me into the fold.
“And what is it that you do?” She asked me.
“I’m getting a master’s degree in education and teaching preschool.” I responded proudly.
The room became perfectly still as thundering silence filled the air. For a long, excruciatingly slow 60 seconds no one said a thing. And then there was a grunting noise from somewhere in the room followed by someone asking my boyfriend another question about his life. I guess it made sense that being a preschool teacher didn’t live up to the aspirations of a room of hardcore feminists, but the reaction was more in line with my having admitted to sleeping around. Now that I think about it, sleeping around might have been better received as it would have shown the strength of my womanhood. Oh well, like they say, know your audience.
After a long line of similarly painful events, I declared myself unfit for large social gatherings most especially the cocktail party. But last year my husband declared that my moratorium needed to come to an end. We quickly found ourselves on several invite lists for parties and events. The first one was an outdoor event with lots of people I didn’t know – a perfect place for me to get my feet wet. It went smashingly well. I even found myself flirting with two men while my husband was occupied with business contacts. Ha, teach him to leave me alone a party!
After that screaming success I thought I was ready for the big leagues, the cocktail party. My husband was a little worried as we approached our first one, after all we knew people there and he didn’t want to offend them. He squeezed my hand as we walked up. “Don’t worry.” I told him. “I got this!”
Did I silence the room? No. Did I somehow offend the people around me by answering some random question incorrectly? Not at all. Will I ever go to a cocktail party again? No. Why you ask – well I’ll tell you. About mid way through the sip and chat portion of the evening, I found myself in the middle of a discussion about the benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar seemed like a pretty safe topic so I joined the conversation and listened to the advice the nice lady was handing out. I learned that apple cider vinegar can cure all kinds of things, stomach problems, toe fungus and vaginal itching.
Excuse me? Did I hear that right? Did that woman just say vaginal itching really loud in the middle of this cocktail party? Yep. She did. Um, is this happening to me? I looked around to see if anyone else was reacting to our bizarre conversation. No one seemed to have noticed. And then I started laughing. I couldn’t help it; this was too much! I can’t answer a question about my teaching career without silencing a room, but this woman can discuss the details about the best douching solutions right here in this room and no one bats an eye?
That’s when I knew. I knew that it wasn’t really the topics of discussion that got me in trouble, it was just me. I barely held it together during that fateful night and had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing out loud hysterically. When I finally extracted myself, I feigned a call from my kids and hid in the bathroom trying to recover.
The good news is that I did not commit social sin and silence the room – progress! The bad news? I don’t think I will ever master the art of the cocktail party. But after the last one, I’m good with that.

You Know it’s Fiction When….

I read a lot and a few months ago I ran across a rash of books where the heroine surprises her boyfriend by waxing. This got me curious. See, I’ve waxed my legs before so I’m familiar with the concept: the painting of hot wax on your legs, the pressing of cloth on said leg and then the ripping of said cloth off your leg along with all your hair. It hurts. And that was just my leg.
But still I wondered, could you really get your hoohah waxed at two in the afternoon and then unveil it to your new boyfriend at nine that night? I remember my legs being pretty pissed off by the experience and I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea that my nether regions would not react the same.
I decided that I needed to check this out. The first thing I did was start asking around. My friends are pretty used to me asking some pretty strange and random questions, but this was a little…. out there.
“So, um hey, I got a question for you. Do you wax your JJ?”
I’ll admit it took me awhile to find the right person to spring that on. But I did and much to my surprise she said of course and then implied that I was out of date for not already doing it. (Humph…. So I’m a little slow with the current trends.) She did say that it was a little painful in the beginning, but after a few times it was no big deal.
Now I just needed to find the right place to try it. I saw a new salon pop up in a mall just outside of town advertising “Brazilian Waxing” so I stopped in and made an appointment. I had to work really hard to keep a straight face when I told the receptionist the type of service I wanted, but she just wrote it all down and took my name and number. No big deal.
The day my appointment came I was nervous so I cleared my morning schedule, took a nice long shower and wore loose pants. (I did do a little internet research, I’m not totally behind the times.) Arriving nice and early, I sat in the reception area and waited to be called.
Imagine my shock when an acquaintance of mine showed up and reintroduced herself to me. At first I thought maybe she was just there for services, but it soon became clear that she was, in fact, the esthetician. Alrighty then!
With my head held high and my shoulders back, I followed her to the back making small talk while desperately trying not to panic. Luckily she was super cool about the whole thing and soon I was relaxed and joking about what a small world we all live in.
And then she asked me to remove my clothes.
“So, how’s your husband?” She causally asked while I settled on the table.
“Good. You know, busy with work and the kids. He’s been traveling a lot.” I answered staring at the ceiling.
She stopping stirring her concoctions on the side table and adjusted my legs in a triangle with my feet touching.
“Okay just leave them just like that and try not to move.” She instructed. “Now this isn’t going hurt. I can tell you’re nervous. Don’t be.”
I gave her a tight smile. Then she took a popsicle stick and spread hot gooey wax just over my pubic bone. Wow! It was a lot hotter than I thought it would be. I took a deep breath in and held it. Then she took a cloth pressing down over the hot wax and I knew what was coming.
“So, how are the kids?” She asked.
“Oh the kids are greattttt!” Holy mother of God. She just ripped that right off my skin!
“Yeah. Up here is going hurt a little bit. But not bad, right?” She asked me reaching for more of the hot goo.
“No.” I said, my voice a little higher than normal. “No. Not too bad.” My skin was stinging like crazy.
She then repeated the process along the sides, each rip causing more sweat to break out and my heart rate to skyrocket. And this is how it went: she would spread hot wax, press that damn cloth on me and then rip it off, all while asking me inane questions about my family, last year’s summer vacation, work and school. And I would answer them in between screaming obscenities.
At this point I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could take so I almost asked her to just do the bikini line. But here’s the thing, that’s not how I roll. It’s go big or go home – all in.
She switched from purple wax to green wax. This stuff was even hotter than the purple wax. And it felt heavier, gooier, way more serious. What I learned was that when it dries it forms a hard outer layer that you can just rip off along with all your hair—no cloth needed. But remember, she is now painting the inside lips of my hoohah.
“Well congratulations.” I told her and she looked at me confused. “You have now touched me in places no man ever gone before.” She started laughing. She was nice like that.
So now I’m lying on the table, my legs in that triangle shape, my feet touching, with green goo hardening along my beaver. Side note please – I’m not a shy person; I’ve had babies and got over that years ago. But this? This was kinda awkward, even for me. She starts telling me a long story about her boyfriend. The story goes on and on and every once in a while she tugs on the wax and then goes back to her story. The longer we wait the harder it gets down there. It’s starting to feel like those mud masks we all did in the eighties. Ya know the ones where as the mud dries it shrinks, tightening the skin underneath it. That’s what my cooter was doing, shrinking underneath a thick layer of wax.
Finally she checks the wax one more time, tugging pretty hard.
“Holy Crap!” I scream, my hips coming up off the table. “Oh. My. God.” This is going hurt. Everything she told me was a lie. This is going hurt like a motherfucker. I’m out. I’m done. Experiment over.
She looks at me a little concerned, “Well sweetie, we got get this off of you. Here hold on to this.” She says handing me a towel. I yank the towel from her hand bringing it to my mouth and bite down.
I can do this! I’ve had two kids, three surgeries, and countless injuries I got this.
“One, two, three.” And she rips.
Now, I must pause here and formally apologize to all the poor people at the salon that day. I screamed so loud and used so many obscenities I think I even scared my self. Even with the towel in my mouth I’m sure they heard every word that came barreling out of me.
And then she ripped off the other side.
So, back to my original question, Can a heroine get a wax at two and surprise her boyfriend at nine? Not on your fucking life.
I came home and sat on an ice pack for two hours. My pootang looked like it had some horrible rash disease for three days and I wouldn’t let my husband touch me for a week. It was that bad!
So just remember it’s fiction! But hey, that’s why we love it.

Blog Hop Tour

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Today is Blog Tour Day. This blog tour is where writers talk about their writing process. My friend Cassandra Shaw posted her Blog Hop last week on her new Twysted Blog. You can check out her writing process here:

What am I working on?

I’m working on a few projects right now. The big ones are writing a three-part series titledEscape and launching Awakening this May. This is really exciting and I have been busy creating a web site, designing covers and working hard on prelaunch activities.
Escape is a three-part series coming out later this summer. I have had a lot of fun writing these books. While all my books are adult romances with an erotic flair, this series has an element of mystery to it. Rowan Baker is a woman on the run with more secrets than the Vatican. Shane Adams, Private Investigator, has solved every case ever handed to him. Will he be able to solve the mystery of the woman who has captured his heart?
Awakening is a sexual tale of Nora Young and Ryan Cole. Nora decides she needs more passion and adventure in her life just as she meets the alluring yet brooding lawyer Ryan Cole. Ryan takes her on a journey that awakens her soul but is it too much? Will Nora really be able to handle all Ryan has to offer?

Awakening BLOG Cover

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

While you wouldn’t guess if we ran into each other at Starbuck’s, my mind is constantly running through scenarios and creating back stories for the people I come across in day-to-day life. While some folks are thinking about their job, or to do list, I am watching the couple at the other table and wondering how they met, what their passions are, and what they are thinking as they make eye contact, or for that matter avoid it.

Why do I write what I do?

I write because if I don’t I can’t breathe. When I thought I was too busy to write, my characters would wake me up in the middle of the night demanding to get out of my head. I write because it’s fun. I write because it gets my blood pumping. Before I started writing romance, I wrote in other genres, but nothing kept my interest and sparked my soul the way romance does. There is nothing more exciting than reading about two people falling in love and getting lost in each other.

How does your writing process work?

I plot first and then I write. My plot line is very basic with only a few key scenes and then I start writing. That’s where the magic begins. The characters come alive at the keyboard and often surprise me with what they do and what they say or how they react to each other. I write and write and then start the revisions. This is the longest part of the process and the most important. The truth is writing a book takes a lot of hard work and dedication to craft. This job is not for the faint of heart, it’s more for the phones off, internet disconnected, butt in chair, computer on type of person.

Please join my fellow writers next week as they talk about their writing process in their blogs.

 Isabella Norse scored major “cool mom” points by playing the same video games as her sons and their friends. In these virtual worlds she slayed demons and destroyed machines bent on galactic extermination while simultaneously wooing cocky assassins and sexy aliens. She fell in love with the make-believe worlds and rich characters that inhabited them and now writes her own sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal tales of love, romance and adventure. Find her blog here:

Cathleen Dunn

writes urban fantasy in her real life while holding down a full-time job to pay bills. She lives in Seattle with her husband, rescuing greyhounds, attending the Opera and Symphony, and doing random volunteering. She’s been onstage with the opera several times, has been known to paint faux finishes and murals inside homes for her friends, and occasionally goes hunting and fishing with her husband.

Cathleen is the author of The Witches Trilogy series of full-length novelsShe published the first installment, Chimera, in November of 2013 and is currently writing the second novel, Blue/Black, set for release in 2014. The final installment in The Witches Trilogy series is tentatively titled Step and is set for publication in 2015. She sets her stories in Seattle, where the dark and rain create the witches’ stories in her head. She just writes them down.

Cathleen is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, established in 1956. Her Facebook page is Cathleen Dunn Author FB and you can find her blog here:


The Benefits of Deadlines

Something happened last week, something both frightening and exciting, something utterly amazing. I set a deadline. Yep, that’s all it took – a simple deadline. Awakening will be released in May 2014, less than 60 days. Wow!
What did that mean? It meant that I had to get my butt in gear that’s what. It meant I needed to start working on my website and Facebook page. I needed to start tweeting and pinning. It meant that I needed to get serious about this whole Indie Author thing.
Thank God for deadlines. I am loving this part of the job. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, that’s why I’m a writer. But this? I love this part. I’m having such a good time on Twitter and Facebook. And then there’s Pinterest! Who knew that my real job could be scrolling through pages of really, really good-looking men?
Meanwhile, Awakening is in its final editing and proofing stage. That feels great knowing how close I am to launching this book. I’m working on a cover that will knock your socks off! And I will not be afraid of the formatting process. (I hope.)
This week I went from one twitter follower to over 30. I had four likes on my Facebook page and now I have 20. Not that those are huge numbers, but it’s a significant jump from where I started. I owe my motivation to this deadline! Knowing that this was happening, I had to get over my fear and dive in. And when I did, I discovered that I love this part as much as I love writing! (Okay, that’s probably not completely true, but you get my point.)
Awakening is a great book and I’m so excited to finally get it out there. In my last post I uploaded a sneak peek. Check out the awesome scene with Nora Young in a dance club. It’s part of chapter three and I absolutely love this scene. It really sets Nora on her path for the rest of the book. Maybe this deadline has set me on my path for the rest of my Indie Author career!
Next week I am doing a Blog Hop! See you then. And set a deadline; it’s magic!

Coming Soon

Shoot The Moon
Paradise Awaits
Midnight's Breath
Red Skies At Night