Friday, December 30, 2011

Tarot Reading For the New Year!



Friend and fellow author Cora Zane will join me today for free tarot readings open to the public at our Midnight Moon cafe bookshop in Second Life. The details are below.

Hope you can attend. It's sure to be interesting and fun!


Date: Friday, December 30, 2011
Time: 3:00pm SLT

EVENT: FREE Tarot Readings For The New Year

Location: MMC Bookshop & Tarot, Witches Island

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/witchfest/47/230/701

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merilee Avatar Now Available!



Ever wanted to be a mermaid? Would you like to enter the fantasy world of Shifting Tides? Now you can! Announcing the release of the Merilee avatar mermaid set! Available only at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Riverchapel/13/60/4

Swim the warm Caribbean waters and explore the underwater world of my bestselling trilogy as depicted in my trade paperback, Shifting Tides! The adventure awaits—if you dare!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Open Season Slated for February Release

I received a very welcome email in my inbox this morning from my publisher. My novella, Open Season (part of the upcoming Dragon Pax from Amber Heat) is slated for a February 2012 release. What a nice birthday present!

The BDSM novella is set in an alternate universe where dragon shape shifters and humans fought a savage war over rights to a colony. Twenty five years later, there is an unsteady truce between the two species.

Here's the blurb:

A submissive-in-training, Season knows the boundaries, but that doesn't stop her from crossing them, or from falling in love with her master and wanting more. When the ban against life-mating between humans and Dragonkind is lifted, she jumps at the chance to enter the ritual hunt and claim her master as mate. Despite the dangers and risks, she knows their love is worth it, even if her masterful dragon doesn't.

Quinn knew accepting the position as General of the Dragon Army came with risks and that his enemies would look for any weakness they could use against him. But he never realized how fast lust could turn to love, or desire to need.

When an old foe from the war notices Quinn’s growing attraction and deeper involvement with Season, Quinn is caught between two difficult choices. Pretend indifference to the woman he’s grown to love, or enter the Solstice Hunt and risk everything to claim his human mate.
Once I have a cover to share, I'll post it on my blog and website. I'm very excited about this story and am so happy it will be part of an Amber Pax anthology! The other authors in the anthology with me are April Reid, Lynn Lorenz, Lyndi Lamont, and Deirdre O'Dare.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birthday Bliss for Sis



Yesterday was my oldest sister's birthday and I took her out for a movie and dinner. She wanted to see The Help, so we checked and that movie is already gone from the major theaters in our area, but found it still playing at Village 8! Yay!

If you haven't seen The Help, it's a wonderful character driven ensemble film about doing the right thing and standing up for what you believe in and know is right.

I would recommend it to anyone who loves a great movie and doesn't need special effects and explosions to enjoy a flick.I also recommend reading the book first, since it's even better. :-)

After the movie, we went to Texas Roadhouse for her birthday dinner. I let her choose and was surprised when she suggested a steakhouse, since she usually picks a Chinese restaurant when given a chance. The food was delicious. I loved my baked potato and salad, and she said her steak was perfection. :-)

I gave her the presents Bear and I had bought for her, a lovely little kitty angel Santa pin with bells and yarn, and a Homedics heated foot massaging cordless machine. She seemed to like the presents. :)

When I got home I found some packages on my doorstep and several holiday cards. I admit I was beyond surprised. Bear placed them all in my lap and I sat in my chair weepy eyed at the generous outpouring of love and kindness from my friends.

I don't like to talk about it much, but if you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have seen glimpses, hints of why my life has been a giant kick in the teeth rollercoaster ride for the last three or four years, starting with my cancer diagnosis back in 2008. Add to that my mother's increasing illness and her death in 2010, and my situation with my home and with Bear (2010 and ongoing) and well—like I said, it's been a tough road and a rough ride.

I have hope and belief that next year will be better. I know my life will undergo major changes and things will be crazy and sad and difficult, but I also know that I am not alone and I have some amazing and incredible friends out there and with the love and caring of my family and my beloved friends and fans, I will get through it all.

With much love,
Cass "C.C."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Decorating

I'm hopeless when it comes to decorating, but I'm fortunate that I have friends who aren't. They were born with wicked skillz and display them in style. I'm luckier still that several of those friends are happy to lend a hand, be it in RL or SL.

I may have to *kidnap* Cora, Linda, and Jan, and have them help me get my house all purdy for visitors. lol.

Speaking of SL, check out the neat winter decorations my friend Jan did for my pal Kimberly Menozzi's booth at the book fayre.

Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, December 9, 2011

No, You Cannot Have My Feedback

I am getting tired of surveys and pollsters and people wanting my feedback. I know it will only take a few minutes out of my day, but I have been feeling ick and the last thing I want to do is be questioned by a machine, grilled about my choices in life. I want face to face interaction if I'm going to divulge my odd shopping habits or my quirky political views.

They tempt us with offers and possibilities to win cash, but then bombard us with spam and the offers always have a catch and the cash...? I've never seen any of it.

With the political machine gearing up for another garbage fest of spoon-feeding the public, I know next year will be worse and my senses will be assaulted with pollsters trying to determine if I swing left or right or if I hang down the middle. ::shakes head at the mess our society fell into::

My wish for the new year would be that the crazy ride would stop for a few minutes and let off the passengers (we the people) because I know I'm not alone in thinking the chaos needs to stop and the idiots in charge of our lives need to leave us alone.

Like that'll ever happen. Haha.

In the meanwhile, I am tooning out. Yep, I said it. Tooning. Tom and Jerry are more appealing. :p

Until next time,
Cass

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Welcome Guest Author Kimberly Menozzi


When I say "Italy", what pops into your mind?

Handsome men? Beautiful women? Amazing food? Rome? Venice? Florence?

All of the above?

When I think of Italy, of course, I think "Home". Italy is where I've lived for the last eight years, where I married my husband, and where I wrote (and set) my novel, Ask Me if I'm Happy. It is a place I've come to know quite well, to love and to hate at the same time. It's a place I can't wait to leave every summer, and a place I can't stand to be away from once I'm gone.

I never planned on living here, though. Italy never even registered on my "radar" when I plotted and planned out my life. I thought at best I'd end up in England, but instead I overshot and landed here in northern Italy, all because of chance.

I loved England so much, and after my first visit (in 2002) I started writing a novel set there. I soon was introduced to the music of the Britpop band called Pulp, and their music influenced that novel quite heavily. By chance I found a web forum dedicated to Pulp, and I shared some of that novel with the people I met there. In May of 2003 – and who would've thought it could happen? – one of those people was so moved by what he read that he felt he had to contact me and tell me how he felt.

Even though he lived in Italy and I was living in Tennessee, we fell in love sight unseen (save for a few photos we exchanged) via our forum messages, e-mails and phone calls. The first time I saw him in person was in August of 2003 at the Knoxville airport, and that was the moment I knew I'd marry him.

When he asked me to come to Italy for Christmas it was impossible to say 'No'. I took a flight from Atlanta and arrived in Bologna on December 23rd. Just over two months later, in February of 2004, we got married in the city hall of his Italian hometown, which has now become my hometown, too.

And there my love-hate relationship with Italy really began. The joys and frustrations of living here could fill not just novels, but encyclopedias. Volumes and volumes of the written word couldn't contain them all.

A few years after I arrived here, I started writing what I planned to be a short story. In it, a woman named Emily was stranded in Bologna – the capitol of the region (Emilia-Romagna) where I live – by a transportation strike. When a kind stranger named Davide offered her some help, she connected with him more deeply than she ever imagined possible. But the short story kept growing and growing, refusing to be curtailed by the restrictions I tried to enforce. I gave in and that short story grew into the novel it is today.

Now, Ask Me if I'm Happy is many different things: a love story celebrating the connections we make slightly later in life; a tale set in a city seldom explored in other stories; a virtual love letter to Bologna; a heartfelt paean to a place which has come to mean so much to me in spite of all its flaws and frustrations which sometimes hide its charms.

I immersed myself in the world of these characters as I wrote. I considered the meals they ate, where they lived, how they dressed. I knew their political opinions, their personal prejudices, their dreams and aspirations. I understood why they were the way they were, why they'd chosen their friends and how they'd made their enemies (for lack of a better word).

They were always with me, sharing their experiences and their stories, my constant companions for two years. I saw them everywhere – in the piazzas, in the restaurants and shops, even the school where I teach English. I heard their voices in the street, or in the crowds. I dreamed about them, thought about them as though they were real people. Frequently, I wished they were. They were people I'd love to know in real life, if only I could.

Then the book was finished. I polished and shaped the story, still thinking of Emily and Davide, still living in their world right up to the moment when all the work was done, and the book was sent to my (then) publisher to be brought out into the world.

I missed them so desperately I wondered how I would cope. A new story beckoned, with new characters, set in a world completely different from the one I'd inhabited in my head for so long. I fretted that I'd never be able to bring these newcomers to life – not like I'd been able to do for Emily and Davide – and that I'd never be able to go into their world as deeply as I had before.

In time, I no longer heard Emily's voice. Davide wasn't hovering at his own desk behind mine anymore. I was alone, and it hurt. I focused on other things, started researching my new story, started writing new blogs for promotion and kept worrying I wouldn't connect with these new companions as I had the others.

And then, one day, it happened. I heard a voice whispering in another room. I sat and waited for it to become clearer: an accent I couldn't pin down, unfamiliar as it was, telling a story. I listened closely, went to the door and tried the doorknob. It turned, not easily, but I was able to open the door and peer inside.

Federico and Abby stood there, whispering to one another. His voice was louder than hers at first; he was more confident, more determined to be heard. Soon enough, she began to speak up, too, and the story began to flow.

That was a little over two years ago. Their story has been plagued with stops-and-starts and my real-life personal tragedies and losses have threatened to overwhelm them more than once. Still, they've held on through everything. Now they are my constant companions, speaking their piece and demanding to have their stories told. It's going to be very hard to let them go when the time comes.

But Emily and Davide are lurking around the corner with new tales to tell.

I can't wait to see them again.


___

Links:

Website: http://www.kmenozzi.com
Author page on Amazon.com: http://tiny.cc/xirxo
Blog: http://www.kmenozzi.com/blog.html
Smashwords page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kmenozzi

Ask Me… excerpt Chapter One (in full): http://www.kmenozzi.com/excerpt-ask-me-if-im-happy.html

Ask Me… excerpt Chapter Two: http://www.kmenozzi.com/ask-me-if-im-happy-excerpt-2.html

Ask Me… excerpt Chapter Four (sensual): http://www.kmenozzi.com/excerpt-ask-me-if-im-happy---chapter-sixteen.html

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Up Close With A Story Villain

Presenting the Deepening Character Workshop for SL NanoWriMo this past month got me thinking about new ways to approach developing and interviewing my villains. They’re not really bad. To paraphrase Jessica Rabbit, they’re just made that way. For instance, lets look at the basic character development I did for the villain in my novella Naughty Little Secrets, Eddie Murchison, Jr.


Eddie was a decent enough guy back in high school, but he always seemed to land in the principal’s office and the job of cleaning up Eddie’s screw-ups fell to his slightly older cousin and friend, Tyler (who happens to be the hero in my story). Eddie always felt he got a raw deal in life, because his dad was the poorer of the brothers Murchison. Although the family was tight and always helped each other when they could, Eddie didn’t like depending on the good will of his dad’s brothers in order to make it in life. 

For one thing, they always treated him like a half-witted little kid, even after he became an adult. His older cousins usually got all the girls and in a town small as Rusdale, Tennessee that’s one tiny pond for a tiny fish. He became even more reckless as he got older, determined to do things his way, and of course, this eventually landed him in jail. Instead of taking responsibility for his actions and learning from his mistakes, he shifted the blame onto others for all his troubles and ignored cause and effect, or should I say, consequences.

When he learns his cousin Tyler is back in town and bought an already successful business, an auto repair shop, he’s a little miffed and envious. Tyler has so much and Eddie doesn’t have much more than the clothes on his back. In his mind, he has a right to other people’s property, namely, Tyler’s. He also is jealous that his cousin’s only been back in town for a few months and has one of the hottest girls in town, yet no woman will give him the time of day.

Keep in mind Eddie doesn’t hate Tyler. He actually likes his older cousin, but feels for Ty to have so much and him not, is unfair and it should be given to him since he paid his dues (jail time). That covetous mindset is common among most if not all criminals. It’s also the mindset of the typical bully. 

Of course, Eddie doesn’t think what he’s doing is wrong, and once he crosses his own personal line and rationalizes it to justify his actions, well—there is no going back.

The novella Naughty Little Secrets is Stacie and Tyler’s story, not Eddie’s, but I felt that short scenes in Eddie’s POV not only helped move the story along, but also helped flesh out his character enough so that what he does in the story would be believable to readers. 

By using his POV in limited amounts, I was able to allow readers to see into Eddie’s mind, lay bare his weaknesses, and all his rationalizing. At the end of the story, my hope is you’ll despise Eddie, but a tiny part of you will also feel a touch of pity for a man lost in his own illusions, with nothing and no where to go.

The challenge of writing contemporary romance always throws out curve balls—at least to me. I finished writing the first draft in June last year, then let it simmer for a while as I played with Open Season (a 16K BDSM with Dragons). When I came back to NSL (Naughty Little Secrets) I realized it needed several revisions and changes to the story to correct a plot hole I’d missed. My original plan called for the story to be released mid-August, but nothing ever goes as planned and it helps I try to stay flexible, because a ton of things happened that couldn’t be avoided, or as my Kentucky daddy used to say, “The shit hit the fan and the wall.”

Which is why I’ve been struggling to finish edits and revisions on a fifth draft of this story. Every time I write a contemporary this happens to me. I seem to attract crap and hit brick walls the minute I outline a story without any paranormal elements. lol. Or that could be paranoia talking. But whatever the case, my latest goal is to release this monster (not a reference to size, but sheer frustration, lol) before this year is out, so help me blank! (Pick a deity of your choosing).

That said, I’d like to introduce Eddie, my villain of the month. :p



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Farewell to Anne McCaffrey


In 1978, I happened by a bookstore and spotted a book cover that captured my imagination. I stood there in the shop and read the first few pages. I was hooked and even though it was a hardback by an author I'd never read before, I bought it. As I recall, I read the book in a single weekend. The book was The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey. I soon bought all her backlist and every subsequent book she released.

I was lucky enough to meet Ms. McCaffrey in person at a conference back in the 80's and got her to sign my copy of The White Dragon. There was a line behind me and I didn't want to monopolize her time (not to mention piss off the people standing behind me, some of which had pointy things in their hands—Ouch!), but I remember saying all the gushing fan girl stuff she probably heard ad nauseum during these types of events. I think I even told her how I would love to write a story one day and maybe get it published. When she finished signing the book and pushed it toward me, a million things ran through my mind that I wanted to say to her. Instead, the words, "Blessed be," popped out of my mouth, as I stepped away. That's when she truly looked at me. She smiled and said, "Thank you, and blessings to you."

Rest In Peace, Anne.
You inspired me to take hold of my dreams and make them happen.



Anne Inez McCaffrey
April 1, 1926 – November 21, 2011
The Dragon Queen flies free!


There was a memorial for Anne McCaffrey held in Second Life the other day and although I've been offline the past couple of days with internet issues, my good friend and fellow McCaffrey fan, Jan attended and was nice enough to send me the following snapshots from the memorial.



She said that everyone who was there were given actual 'keening' gestures and they all cried out in unison. A harper and a singer also performed at the memorial according to her, and then afterward everyone was invited to a dragon dance in celebration of her life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Banter and Witty Repartee

I've always admired writers with a talent for writing great dialogue, especially sexy and witty banter between the hero and heroine. The chemistry literally zings between the characters and you can almost smell the phermones coming off the page.

But how do you write sexy banter? There has to be a smooth rhythm, right? I mean, this is verbal sex.

So, to the readers out there: Do you like sexy banter in a book? Do you have a favorite book that uses witty dialogue to reveal aspects of the main character?


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pics from my NaNoWriMo workshop

I really had fun at the workshop last Thursday and hope all the attendees enjoyed the workshop as well and took away some good info from the presentation.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNoWriMo Workshop Updates!

Deepening Characterization Workshop update!!!! If you planned to go to my NaNoWriMo workshop in SL tonight, the time had to be changed due to circumstances. The workshop will now start at 10AM SLT today! (aka 1 pm EST); same location.

Cora's workshop on Kicking Your Stalled Story also has changed, both time and day, and will now start on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 8am SLT (11AM EST).

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Nov. 17, 10:00AM SLT: Workshop by author Cassandra Curtis
Author of the Midnight Effect and Shifting Tides trilogy.

In this mini-workshop, Ms. Curtis shows how a writer can deepen the characterization of an existing protagonist, antagonist, or develop a secondary character by using a few simple diagrams, an interview sheet, character check list, traits, and even an exercise she invented called the Writer’s Duel, which creates multi-player participation in a game setting. Developing your character look in SL will be briefly discussed as well.


Nov. 20, 8:00AM SLT: Workshop by author Cora Zane

Are you struggling with your NaNoWriMo story? Erotic romance author Cora Zane will be covering ways to kickstart a story that has stalled, and get you back on track to reaching your 50k NaNoWriMo project goal.

Both workshops will be held here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/211/196/22

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Christmas Tarot

What better way to enjoy a Victorian Christmas than with this lovely deck created by Corrine Kenner? The imagery evokes all the warm memories of a Christmas past, holiday cards from my relatives overseas, presents stacked under the Yule Tree. I can almost smell the delicious aroma of the gingerbread cookies my late aunt used to bake...

The Christmas Tarot will soon be a full-fledged, 78-card tarot deck — and it should be available for a Christmas, 2011 release!

The expanded and renamed Victorian Christmas Tarot deck will be published by U.S. Games Systems, Incorporated.

If you were lucky enough to get the original Majors-only deck, keep it: it’s now out of print, which makes your copy a collectible.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mix Tape Sunday

Plotting one of my future stories and creating a mix tape of sounds and songs to play when I start writing the first scene. Since I rely on music to help set the tone and mood of my writing, I'm making notes as I listen to Pandora.com

Just another tool I use in my writer's bag o'tricks to circumvent the wall. :-)

Give a listen to some of the tunes I've chosen so far:

Crazy by Leaves
http://www.last.fm/music/Leaves/_/Crazy


Ordinary Girl by Earshot
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/letting-go/id299801716

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 Numerology and Superstition


Only once in an entire century will this auspicious date and time occur. According to folklore, it's said to be a time of magical possibilities, and wishing upon a star at 11:11 p.m. on 11/11/11 it's said that any wish will come true. I know my mum used to say that any time you have so many ones aligned, you are birthing something new, filled with incredible potential. Be it a project, a desire, a relationship, or an actual birth, all things began today will get off to a good start.

In numerology, the number one represents individuality, aspirations, births, the heart, ambition, achievement, willpower, and the divine. The number one also encompasses all of humanity, together as one. The sun is also associated with the number one, and if you happen to be (like me) an Aquarius, today's vibrations will balance out the sun sign's seemingly aloof and/or stubborn tendencies.

If you're a writer, start writing your next book today. If you're a gambler, it wouldn't hurt to place a small wager on the #1 horse in the first race, the #1 on a roulette table or big wheel, or place a "Yo" bet on a craps table.

No matter what you do today, have fun with it!

Until next time...

~Cass

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Year In Passing

Today marks the first anniversary of my beloved mum passing away. In some ways, it seems as though just yesterday we talked on the phone, I can hear her voice, feel the love spread over me like a warm blanket when I'm cold and alone.

Whenever I thought about what I'd do to commemorate the day, I always imagined driving up to the little country cemetery where both of my parents and also my dad's parents and great-grandparents are buried. I could see myself and my sister laying roses on their graves, a ritual of love and remembrance...

But in life, things don't always go as planned. My sister is at a doctor's appt. (her son drove her since I couldn't) and I am home sick with some weird flu germ. Just typing this blog post is about wearing me out. To say I feel useless is an understatement. I hate not keeping promises.

Near the bottom of their gravestone, reads the inscription: Gone But Not Forgotten.

I may not be there in person to lay roses at their graves today, but I think they know we won't forget them, no matter what else happens in our lives.

Blessings to those we've all loved and lost, may they rest in peace.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo Fun!

Nov. 17, 7:00PM: Workshop by author Cassandra Curtis
Author of the Midnight Effect and Shifting Tides trilogy.

In this mini-workshop, Ms. Curtis shows how a writer can deepen the characterization of an existing protagonist, antagonist, or develop a secondary character by using a few simple diagrams, an interview sheet, character check list, traits, and even an exercise she invented called the Writer’s Duel, which creates multi-player participation in a game setting. Developing your character look in SL will be briefly discussed as well.


Nov. 17, 7:30PM: Workshop by author Cora Zane

Are you struggling with your NaNoWriMo story? Erotic romance author Cora Zane will be covering ways to kickstart a story that has stalled, and get you back on track to reaching your 50k NaNoWriMo project goal.

Both workshops will be held here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/211/196/22

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest Author Dee Carney's Intimate Whispers

Please welcome guest author Dee Carney!


Creepy Romance. But in a good way.


Do you remember that whoa movie, The Entity, from waaaayyy back? (Okay, so it wasn’t that way back. It was 1982, but still…) For those of you who weren’t born yet (Dude. Do you know what I was doing in 1982 and you weren’t even born yet? That’s just wrong), or simply don’t remember, it’s a story about a woman who is continually raped by a ghost. Not only that, it’s based on a true story. Freaky, huh? Apparently that story left quite the impression on me. Back to this point in a sec.

I’ve been fascinated for as long as I can remember about stories with incubi and succubi. An incubus is a male (evil) spirit which has sex with a sleeping woman; a succubus is a female (evil) spirit which has sex with sleeping men. I put the word “evil” in parentheses because in the versions in my head, the spirit isn’t necessarily evil. It’s all about the sex. Bow chicka bow bow.

Third point. I write romance.

So what happens when you combine a story about a woman being raped by a ghost, a writer who thinks sex with a spirit is, well, sexy and top it off with a writer who writes romance? You get INTIMATE WHISPERS, my latest release from Ellora’s Cave. Take a look at the blurb:


Intimate Whispers
Dee Carney


Whispers from the dead are everywhere because their greatest desire is to be heard.

Sabrina Turner has found only one way to stop the curse she was born with—allowing an incubus to worship her body in exchange for halting the voices drowning her sanity. Every time she succumbs, it’s still an act of desperation. Yet she’s not sure if she wants to be rid of the bittersweet release.

All Jason Raines wants in this world is to communicate one last time with his deceased brother. When he discovers his seductive neighbor speaks to the dead, it’s another reason to get close to her. Visions and cryptic dreams Sabrina experiences are messages for him, he’s sure of it. Whatever her price, he’ll pay it. When a reluctant Sabrina opens the doorway to the other side, though, he discovers the cost may be higher than he first thought.

Her urgent search for freedom. His crucial need for absolution. A burning love between them offers their only hope in salvation from intimate whispers.



Every person who’s given me feedback on this story has used the same word to describe it: “creepy”. I do believe even my editor called it that. Lol. It’s the perfect Halloween read. With Ellora’s Cave’s new lower prices, pick up your copy today and let me know if you’re now intrigued by the possibility of sexy sex with a spirit. Ouija, anyone?

Happy (creepy) reading,
Dee



About the author:

Dee Carney is a best-selling, award-winning author of both contemporary and paranormal erotica and romance. She promises not all of her stories are designed to keep you peering into dark corners, security blanket firmly pulled up to your chin. Visit her on the web to find out more, www.deecarney.com.


READ EXCERPTS OF THIS BOOK:

www.deecarney.com/bookshelf/intimate-whispers

www.jasminejade.com/p-9629-intimate-whispers.aspx


Intimate Whispers is one of the creepiest, scariest, and hottest books you'll read this year! —Cassandra Curtis, author of The Midnight Effect and Shifting Tides.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Movies Contest Winner

Time to pick a winner from my oogly boogly witch's hat for the Halloween Movies Contest! The winner will get a pizza gift card from Papa John's. What could be better than watching a wicked awesome scary movie and eating free pizza? :-)

Well, I guess if you had a handsome hunk there to cuddle with during the scary parts of the movie. But that you'll have to provide yourself. *wg*

And the winner is... *drum roll please*



Regina May Ross!

Congratulations, Regina!

Please contact me at cass {at} cassandra curtis. com (no spaces), with your mailing address so I can send your prize. You have 10 days to contact me. If I don't hear back from you, then the prize is up for grabs to be awarded in a second chance drawing, or included as a prize in a brand new contest, so please get back with me soon as you can!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fun With Workshops

My family's motto is "As we learn, we grow." So of course I love to take workshops. I also like to give them.

Next month, I'll be teaching a writers micro workshop on characterization as part of the NanoWriMo workshops held in Second Life. The workshop will be held on November 17, 2011, starting at 7pmSLT at the grassy area near the Bookstacks Book Faire in Awen/SL.

The mini-workshop will include handouts and the key ingredients on bringing a character to life on the page. The workshop is free to the public, and all you need is a Second Life account and an avatar to attend.

My writing and critique partner in crime, Cora Zane will also teach a mini-workshop that day. For more info on Cora's workshop, check out: http://corazane.blogspot.com/2011/10/upcoming-workshops.html

We hope you can make it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tis The Season: Top 10 Fright Movies To Watch Contest!

I love scary movies, even if I do watch them through my fingers, lol. So I thought I'd gather up a list of my ten top movies I love to watch during the month of October. See if you agree. What are some of your top ten fright flicks?

1. The Shining
2. 30 Days of Night
3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
4. The Howling
5. The Thing
6. The Exorcist
7. Bram Stoker's Dracula
8. Halloween
9. Night of The Living Dead
10. Psycho



Leave a comment and you could win a $10 gift card good for Papa Johns Pizza!



Contest open to U.S. residents only. Void where prohibited. Must be 18+ to enter. Contest ends Tuesday, October 25, 2011. Odds of winning are determinate upon number of entries received. Entrants are responsible for checking the blog to see if they've won. Must have valid email address for contact, so I can get your snail mail and send your prize. Good Luck.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

eBook Sale Alert!


http://www.allromanceebooks.com/

Who loves a bargain? I know I do.
Right now ARe and AQP are working together to bring you savings
on some of your favorite authors. *wink wink nod nod*
So pop over to ARe today!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Halloween Preparedness

Cassandra *Sharktooth* sitting near her newly decorated booth
at the Book Fayre on Awen, Bookstacks Island.



The other day I popped into SL (Second Life) to decorate our home away from home, the virtual version of The Midnight Moon Cafe. It's much easier to decorate in SL, and costs less money. Plus I don't have to worry about the plastic spiders coming to life on our fireplace mantel.

Tomorrow, I'll be back in SL doing tarot readings at the Café with my writing critique partner and bestest friend evah, Cora Zane. The last time it was standing room only, and since it is first come first served, you may want to pop into SL a little ahead of time so you're first in line.

The event starts at 10am SLT (which is 10am Pacific Time, 1pm Eastern, or Noon Central time) and will last for about 2 hours. I say about, because I tend to expand on the readings in case there is any confusion and I want, or the visitor wants clarification on the reading/interpretation. :-)

The event is open to the public,
to anyone with a Second Life acct.
We hope to see you there!


Saturday, October 1, 2011
10am - noon SLT
The Midnight Moon Cafe, Awen Bookstacks SIM
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/196/225/22

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yes, It's True, I was a Ginger

This was pretty much me growing up. The picture has faded a little over the course of decades, but trust me, that was honest to God ginger hair. It wasn't until I was in grade school that I learned being a ginger was supposed to be a bad thing. I know it made me the object of some seriously mean pranks. But I got over it and grew up somewhat normal. Okay, partially normal.

Earlier today, a friend posted a topic thread on a writers forum about "what's weird about you" and I realized reading through the thread that I may be more normal than I realized, since everyone has at least one weird thing they say, or do, or think.

Here are my four things:

1) When I was a little girl, people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told them a manatee. lol

2) I talk to plants and trees. Just waiting for them to answer back. :-)

3) I love scary movies, even though I watch 80% of them with my hands and fingers laced over my eyes. lol

4.) I can't drink a margarita like a normal person. I have to lick all the salt off the rim first. On the upside, I used to get a lot of dates that way. rofl


What are your four things that you think are weird about yourself?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Where Are the Furry-chested Male Models?

There is a trend I can't stand and it's been going on too damn long! I'm talking about the de-nuded chests of the male romance cover models. OMG! Please, please stop shaving their chests!

I and other women want to run our fingers through sexy chest haired imaginary heroes. Having a little chest hair doesn't make a guy a Neanderthal. I want to see publishers and stock photo companies bring out the man fur. Oh and while you're at it, please stop injecting these poor guys with plasticine. I swear, the last few books I read, the cover model's faces looked like they'd had more plastic surgery and botox than Jocelyn Wildenstein!

Can't men just be men for a while? Please?

Even some of my own book covers sport guys with hairless chests, and while I stand by my stories, I wish the male models used on my covers matched the hairy-chested heroes in my books. Notice the slide flash at the top of my right sidebar and you'll see the lusty, hairy chest of my hero Javier Lopez from my book The Midnight Effect. Now, tell me he's not sexy!

Ooh, yes indeedy, that is what I'm talkin' about! *wink*

So, New York, with book sales dwindling, will you please give this a try? Give us alpha heroes with hair on their chests as well as hair on their heads. Thank you.

Until next time...
~Cass out

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Search For The Chipmunk Girl and AGT

My ears may never be the same, and it's all Cora's fault. Her very innocent (yeah, right) question on Facebook has driven me round the bend and forced me to listen to the worst ca-ca-poo-poo music on the planet. Maybe in the universe. Ohmigawd! I cannot sleep, peoples! I am doing exhaustive searches on the internet and wading through the worst freakin' music videos in existence, trying to find one simple thing...
Cora Zane: Okay, I'm trying to remember the name and artist of a song. I remember the video had a young woman no older than 22 with dark hair sitting on a carousel - it could have been at a county fair or maybe Coney Island at night. The song was either 90s, early 2000's pop/dance song and appeared on a compilation album that was advertised on TV. The singer had a ridiculously babyish voice. Anyone know who this is?
Gaaa! I cannot rest now until I know the answer and it's driving me bonkers. For criminey's sake, I have had to listen to high pitched, squeaky voiced baby-girl voiced neo-pop wannabes in the hopes of finding the proverbial needle in the haystack of ca-ca singers. ::bangs head and not in a good way::
If I have to watch another NOW THIS IS WHAT I CALL MUSIC TV ad on You Tube, I may spontaneously combust! Stop, you say? How? How can I stop the churning in my brain as I mentally run through every single breathless, high pitched female singer since 1997?

And it's not Nelly Furtado, Leigh Nash, or anyone else with a modicum of talent and a few hits under their belt. Oh no, it's a one hit wonder type of singer, and the one hit wasn't that big of a chart topper. ::pulls hair out::

I can't let this rest and cannot leave it go. Just not in my nature, so until I find the carousel baby girl warbler, I will slowly go insane a la Monk. Wahhhh!

In the meanwhile, my favorite talent show came to a close last night, and what a finale it was! AGT's season ender was perhaps the best I've ever watched. For me, the height of the show was watching one of my personal fav all time bands, Def Leopard, rock and wail on stage, showing after all these years, they haven't forgotten how to bring the house down and rawk out.

Also seeing Leann Rhymes with Silhouettes, and PopLyfe with Stevie Wonder was incredible. I actually missed the first fifteen minutes because my sister called, so I didn't get to see Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. with Patti LaBelle, but I'm sure there is a video somewhere floating around, so I can see a replay. I'd never heard of Cobra Starship (?) but I did think their music fit the Team iLuminate dance routine quite well.

The voting was a nail biter and I admit I was conflicted on who to vote for. From the very beginning I picked PopLyfe to make it to the final four, but I really thought they'd come in second, however, after their rendition of Queen's We Are The Champions on Tuesday night, I was less sure. You could tell Kalani really wanted it so bad, but no matter how good they were, how professional-seeming, you have to remember they are just kids and they are only learning how to be professionals. I cringed for them inside when she missed several notes and went off key. I really wish they'd picked a different band to take on instead of Queen. There was only one person in this world who could successfully sing a Queen song, and that was Freddie Mercury. I've never heard anyone else (except possibly David Bowie) do a passably good job.

When Kalani told the judges their finale would be "epic" I looked over at hubby and said, "Oh god, I sure hope they don't overreach and go for something like Bohemian Rhapsody."

But it was worse, because they did Queen's cheerleader game song (my least fav song of Queen's) We Are The Champions. Ugh. #MassiveOverreachingFail#

In contrast, the winner, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. sang the real epic song and performance with Ol' Blue eyes biggest hit, My Way. I felt goosebumps and chills and was so very happy for him. He nailed it and deserved to win.

So what happened to what we kept hearing from the judges all season about it being the year of the dance? Both of the top dance acts finished two and three. I loved them both and was happy to see them make the final four, but I knew in the end it would come down to a singer or singers. It always does. America loves variety, but we cherish our voices.

In my opinion, all of the top ten acts will make great deals from their appearance on AGT and get awesome paying gigs. So really they're all winners.

Congrats to Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., Silhouettes, Team iLuminate, and PopLyfe. You've done your home states and America proud!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Computer Farts and Other Oddities


Today has been a lesson is patience. I woke up this a.m. with a single goal in mind, and my day spiraled out of control from that point on. It all started when I was enjoying my morning routine of coffee and blood. No, I'm not a vampire or into the red stuff, but I am diabetic, so I test every morning fasting.

But, instead of my test strip going into my cute little biohazard bin after I did my glucose test, it flipped into my coffee. No problem, I'll just dump it out. Except that was the last cup left in the pot, so I had to make more. While the happy little coffeemaker did it's thing, I decided to read my emails. I even managed to get through about 67 of them (23 of which were about my saggy boobs needing a genie bra—how did they know? lol) when a pop up alert flashed onto my screen, saying I needed to upgrade my browser.

Seems simple enough. I clicked yes and installed the update. Then I got a pop-up telling me my java script was too old. Fine. I'll update it too. When I came back with my coffee in hand (new cup sans blood strip) I saw another notification on the screen, telling me that my OS should also be updated. Man, is my computer feeling its age. Everything on it is out of date, I thought. So sure, it's free, why not update it. So I clicked OK.

Then it said, I must restart for all my changes to take effect. Sure, go for it. And boy did I! OhMiGawd. I knew I shouldn't have trusted those happy little prompt windows! They lied, because when my computer came back on and I tried to launch my browser, all hell broke loose. The little progress icon I coined, 'the spinning beach ball of death' popped onto my screen and stayed there for about thirty minutes. I would get up, do laundry, come back and check the screen, nope. So then I did dishes and mopped the floor. Surely by now the bloody thing should be finished doing whatever it is that little spinning beach balls do.

Riight. So then I vacuumed and dusted and balanced my checkbook (very scary moment there, btw), and came back to see a COMPLETELY BLACK SCREEN! Yep, and it wasn't a time out. The beach ball had left the building, so to speak. I had ten minutes of panic and then unplugged, replugged and restarted the machine. After what sounded (I swear) like a ginormous farting sound, it came back on and I quickly tried to launch my browser. I went to the main site and reinstalled the old browser I used to use and restarted.
This time it worked.

I thought all was right with my little space in the computer world, but then had to try three times to leave a comment on bff Cora Zane's blog. So I may have to get a fart extinguisher before all is said and done. Eeps!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Edits, Pork Rinds, AGT, Zombies, and Tarot

These days, it seems all I do are edits. But it makes sense in a way.

I'm in edits on two different projects: Naughty Little Secrets and Mr. Hawtness. Both are contemporaries and I think that's why the edits are kicking my ass. Before now, my only contemporary story was Compulsion, and I recall that story kicked my ass as well. My brain flows best when I'm knee deep in the woo-woo, I guess. lol. I'm hard-wired for paranormal.

Which is fine, except some ideas come to me full-blown in virtual color without a drop of the para in them. Knowing in advance my struggle with contemporaries, I usually shove the ideas in a binder and let them simmer until I can no longer ignore them. lol.

As a treat between rounds of edits, I'm writing a few scenes here and there on the sequel to my novella Shimmer, entitled Heart of Dixie. The other night while I'm flipping channels, I see an ad for a new show this fall, called Hart of Dixie, and I can only hope no shapeshifting aliens are involved. lol.

I'm on day three of my Countdown to Conference diet and having snack attacks. Usually the bad thing about snacking on a diet is I can't snack or I blow the diet and have to start from scratch again. But thanks to my critique partner and friend, author Cora Zane, on this diet, I can snack and be a good girl even while feeling like I'm cheating. My whole life I lived with the assumption that pork rinds were terribly bad for you and you were going off your diet in a big way if you ate them. So imagine my surprise when I learned that pork rinds are on the Atkin's diet and are a big fat O carbs! Wooyah!

Another happy discovery is that my favorite yummy spice mix tastes great sprinkled on them and I went through almost half a bag of pork rinds last night free of guilt. Now that is a great feeling! If you like chipotle, this stuff is amazing: http://chipotledryrub.weikelfoods.com/

My favorite TV variety show was on last night—America's Got Talent. I was really excited to see my top four all made it into the next round. If I have to pick it from this point on, I'd have to say it's going to come down to PopLyfe and Silhouettes. When I listen to PopLyfe, it's like they are already recording artists and are on the show promoting their next album, not competing for a spot in the finals—which they won. And Silhouettes never fail to fill me with this incredible surge of emotions. How often can you say that about a dance troupe? But that's just it. They're more than dance, they are also storytellers. It's going to be tough for me to choose which one to vote for as I love both acts. But it could come down to Team iLuminate and Silhouettes and that would be a difficult vote as well, because I also love the energy they bring to the stage.

The only one of my favorites that I don't see making it to the finals is Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., and that's only because I think more of the audience of voters are young people who will cast their votes for PopLyfe over Landau. Personally, I think Landau is already worthy of a Vegas show and could start his own new version of The Rat Pack. I know I'd pay to see him in Vegas.

Actually, each of the final four acts in this season's AGT are Vegas ready acts I'd pay to see. Who will win the ultimate prize? I don't know, but like millions, I'll be tuning in to see who is chosen the winner. Good luck to all four remaining contestants!

Speaking of favorite television shows, I'm excited about the new season of The Walking Dead. The promo trailer shown at Comic-Con looked amazing! I can't wait to see what happens next! Hoping Sophia makes it okay. Whew. That show is tense! The season premiere is October 16th on AMC channel.

Last but not least, I wanted to give everyone a *heads-up* alert that Cora and I will be in Second Life this Saturday, Sept. 10th for two separate sessions of free to the public tarot readings! I sure hope you can join us!

Free readings by the ladies of the Midnight Moon Cafe

Join RL authors Cassandra Curtis and Cora Zane for a fun, free tarot reading! Ask the cards a question, reveal past lives, gain insights on present issues, or take a glimpse at your future! * Event is in voice and/or private chat as per querant's discretion. Hope to see you there!
*For entertainment purposes only.

Date: Saturday, September 10, 2011

Time: 11am- 1pm SLT
Location: The Midnight Moon Cafe, Awen
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/196/225/22


Time: 9:00-10:00pm SLT
Location: The Midnight Moon Cafe, Witches Island
http://slurl.com/secondlife/witchfest/47/230/701