Friday, September 28, 2012

Harvest Moon on Sunday - September 30th

   The full moon this coming sunday is called the 'Harvest Moon' because it is the full moon that comes on a date that is the closest to the autumnal equinox. Heralding our descent into the darker months of the year, this low-hanging moon often looks bigger and more reddish than fulls moons look during other times of the year. If you live in the northern hemisphere and are out driving early on Sunday evening, you may want to pull over to ogle it from the safety of the roadside!
   While an enormous harvest moon may seem like an ominous sight, it has traditionally been beneficial to farmers and hunters who used the additional light after sunset to bring in their crops and stalk the fields in order to bring in as much bounty as possible to store up before winter's onslaught.
You can read more about the harvest moon on NBC News.

If the idea of full moons, falling leaves, and whispering handsome spirits make you swoon, you may enjoy reading The Gardener. In this novel, the suave Italian spirit, Alphonso--who once tended Victorian gardens in his former, mischievious life--cleans up Georgia's grandmother's garden by the light of the moon. Here is an excerpt:

      He saw her and stopped, leaning against the rim of the lower tier.  “Signora. You startled me! I was just pondering my next task. Have you seen the vegetable garden? I was about to start on the roses…”
     “I...I just wondered if you could use something to drink.”
     “Lovely. A glass of Chianti...Absinthe...or another libation?”
     She laughed. “I was thinking more along the line of a glass of water or a cup of tea.”
     He walked towards her then stood just a foot away. She smelled earth and sweat on him mixed with the scent of the decaying roses on the arbor above. The sweat on his pale skin glistened in contrast against the cavernous blackness of the circular garden behind him. His eyes were a brilliant verdant green even in the dim light. They mesmerized her.
     A moth fluttered in front of her face. As she shooed it away and broke away from his gaze, she suddenly became aware of his closeness. They were alone in the garden in the dark. The lights next door at Annie’s and Fred’s were out, and she felt...well...not really uncomfortable...but a little strange as she realized how little she knew about this man. An exhilarating sensation of danger mixed with lust rippled through her.
     “Really, Ms. McKenna. I am fine. You are much too early. I would prefer that you wait and see my finished work tomorrow morning.”
     “That Ms. or Ma’am business just makes me feel so old.”
     “Old?” he chuckled. “Do you see that rose bush just beyond the arbor?”
      He made a grand gesture toward a sprawling tangle of thorns six feet tall to her left. In the daylight, she would have been able to see its leaves, reddened by frost and the few remaining drooping blossoms that were somewhere between the color of freshly churned butter and day old champagne.
     “It is called Honeydew. It was bred over a century ago and won many awards in its day. If you could see it in the sunshine next to yourself, one would say that you are much younger and no less beautiful than it.”
     Georgia felt a flush of heat come to her cheeks.
     “You are a bambina compared to the cottonwood trees down by the river. Some of them have been here, I’m sure, for two hundred years or more.”
     “How long have you been a gardener, Daniel?”
     He smiled, a flash of white teeth a mile wide. “A very long time...since before I was born, I think.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Release-Birthday Bash

Weekend before last, we hosted a really fun book release and birthday bash. It was a great excuse to decorate early for Halloween and the only party I ever want black balloons at! There was a gravestone outside with hands sticking up from the soil, a zombie on the door with "Warning - Zombie Crossing" tape draped over it, lots of pretty lights, rats, spider webs, mini pumpkins from the garden, and black roses. I was elbow deep in the seven-layer dip and still in frenzied prep mode when the doorbell rang. "What? It's not six o'clock yet!!!" My jaw dropped when my parents (who said they weren't coming) walked in the door. They secretly made the 1,000 mile trip to surprise me. I guess I come from good stock, because it is probably their love of books that turned me into a reader/writer. There were over 30 attendees, including some kids and a couple of mini zombies. The highlight of the evening was the surprise birthday cakes from  my husband. Both were made by Cakes by Karen. The white cake with blood (raspberry) filling had the cover of Eaters on top and was pretty cool, but the chocolate cake with blood (strawberry) filling was TRIPPY! It was modeled after The Walking Dead 'Bicycle Girl', and I must say that a few of us had a little too much fun putting this cake out of its misery with a very large knife. (In case you are wondering---it tasted a LOT better than it looked. It was quite yummy! The 'brain' was made out of Rice Krispy treat mix.) Every guest who was brave enough left the party with a signed copy of Eaters, and I made no promises that it would help them sleep if they read it at bedtime. Thanks to everyone who came to help me celebrate the book and my birthday!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

2012 RMFW Convention a Howling Success!

The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Association Colorado Gold Convention ended today, and it was a blast! I haven't been since 2007 when my novel, The Gardener, was a finalist in their writing contest. I'll be sure not to let another 5 years lapse before my next attendance! I went to lots of worskhops on writing and marketing with some of my favorite local paranormal authors including Lynda Hilburn, Jeanne Stein, and Mario Acevedo. One of my favorite speakers was Aaron Michael Ritchey. This charasmatic author was quite witty and shared many of his trials and tribulations with us about his writing journey. However, the author who really had me rolling in the aisles was Jodi Thomas. She is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author and was incredibly entertaining as the keynote speaker. I'm still repeating some of her quips from last night to friends and family (practicing my long-forgotten Texas drawl as I do.) I am also very thankful to Bonnie Ramthun for taking me under her wing as a new member of the group's Published Authors Liason. She was a great help in making me feel welcome. I met a lot of interesting writers, including Kathleen and James-Dean who both love to write and read and boast a collection of 40,000 plus books in their home as well as others who travelled from as far as California or Texas to attend this event. I did seem to be the only horror/zombie apocalypse type writer around. (The cover of my book alone probably scared a few of the little old lady writers in attendance. LOL.) It was also funny to hear more than one person tell me that I don't look like what they'd expect a zombie author to look like. (No spiked hair or facial piercings. Apparently, a couple of tattoos just isn't enough to make you look like a crazed zombie author!) And speaking of zombies, I attended my first official book signing for EATERS at the convention's author signing and book sale, sitting next to author, Lowell F. Volk who writes historical fiction set during the Civil War. (Zombies vs. Civil War. Hmmm...there could be a plot there. Maybe Abraham Lincoln: Zombie Killer ???)

Will I attend the RMFW convention in 2013. Well...after hearing the speaker lineup includes horror writer Ronald Malfi ... odds are looking pretty good.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Midnight in Paris--A Trip Back in Time

One of my good friends, Carolyn Crawford (an AMAZING botanical illustrator) recently gave me a copy of the movie Midnight in Paris. She'd been raving about it for months and begging me to watch it. My husband and I finally saw it last night, and now I understand her insistence! Because we honeymooned in Paris, and I am a writer, we both enjoyed this movie a lot. So much, in fact, we watched it 2 times last night just to catch things that we might have missed first time around. It's possible that they even showed a view of the hotel in Ste. Germain that we stayed in back in 2001. I'm not a big fan of Owen Wilson, but I liked his character in this movie and thought he played it well. Adrien Brody was hilarious as Salvador Dali! (Every time I hear the word 'rhinoceros' now, I'll think of him.)  My interest is also peaked in learning more about Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and other figures from that era. An interesting aside: It was said that my late paternal grandfather looked a lot like Hemmingway in his later years.

So, this movie made me think. If I could go back in time, what eras would I choose to visit?! I don't have any interest in the 1890's or the 1920's (that were featured in the movie). I'd rather spend some time as a lady in the court at Versailles (Marie Antoinette threw some kick ass parties!) before the revolution then literally switch hats and be a spectator at some of the revolutionary meetings. I'd also like to take a trip back to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco during the "Summer of Love" in 1967 and maybe hang out in that era for a few years, so I could attend some concerts of todays classic rock bands like The Doors, Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and early AC/DC. (A litte hedonistic, aren't I?) What era would you go back to visit if you had the chance?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Cover for The Gardener and RMFW Conference

Thank you, Anya Kelleye, for this new cover for The Gardener! If you are a writer and ever need help with a book cover, she's your go-to gal! Even though I really liked my original cover, I think the additional visual of the devious, undead character, Alphonso, is an improvement. One of my top goals this week is to make this e-book also availabe in paperback. I do have some nice cards printed up with the new cover image, and I'm ready to rock at the RMFW conference next weekend. I'm not sure if I'm more excited about all the awesome writer's workshops or the market where I get to sell and autograph paperback copies Eaters. The idea of both gives me goosebumps. If I have learned one thing about writing, it's that you never stop learning how to write better. My only peeve about the conference is that I can't decide between multiple worksops that I want to attend that are going on at the same time. There are way too many good ones, and I hate missing out on knowledge!