Thursday, November 30, 2006

OOTB book tour: INFERNO


The Out of the Blogosphere book tour is back again.... (My own NIGHT RISING should be making its appearance on a paranormal blog near you in February, when it's released!) Here's a different type of story; looks wild!


INFERNO by Vivi Anna
(Kensington, December 2006)

Vivi Anna's gorgeous, leather-clad heroine, Kat, is back in another wildly erotic adventure set in a future world where passion has no rules — and no limits ...

Kat needs to find a scientist rumored to have created an antidote to a deadly virus, but he's hiding out in the violent underground city of Inferno. Her one-time lover Hades will take Kat where she needs to go, but only if she promises to be his, body and soul.

Excerpt:
http://www.vivianna.net/inferno.php#excerpt

Cover:
http://www.vivianna.net/inferno150x225.gif


ABOUT VIVI ANNA
A BAD GIRL at heart, Vivi Anna likes to burn up the pages with her original unique brand of fantasy fiction. Whether it's in ancient Egypt, or in an apocalyptic future, Vivi always writes fast paced action-adventure with strong independent women that can kick some butt, and dark delicious heroes to kill for.

Once shot at while repossessing a car, Vivi decided that maybe her life needed a change. The first time she picked up a pen and put words to paper, she knew she had found her heart. Within two paragraphs, she realized she could write about getting into all sorts of trouble without suffering the consequences.

When Vivi isn't writing, you can find her causing a ruckus at downtown bistros, flea markets, or playgrounds.


REVIEWS
Combine two star-crossed lovers, a deadly virus, a passel of Dark Dwellers, and an underground nemesis bent on destruction and you get one heck of an adventure. This follow-up to Hell Kat will have you cheering for the good guys all over again — and laughing out loud while you do it! A fun, sexy romp that leaves you crying out for more. – 4 stars, Romantic Times

Website: http://www.vivianna.net

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

HEROES flashback

So last night was the flashback show. Doesn't it seem like every program needs to have one of those now because LOST has done it so well?

But I suppose when you have a hero who can mess with time and space, you gotta go flashback. Speaking of our fun, wonderful, time-bending Hiro, I was really surprised that he couldn't save Charlie. And you know what? I love it! I mean, I don't love that Charlie is and always would've been a goner, but I love that this is a program that'll carry out a bad situation to its end: hopefully this shows that the writers won't be pulling punches. (Yes, I'm talking about you, ALIAS. As much as I adored the show, how many times did they bring someone back from the dead? Pretty soon, a viewer stops caring about the twists and turns because they know that there won't be any consequences. Having said that--dammit, I miss Syd and the gang!)

Back to HEROES. It was interesting to see how Sylar evolved, and I think his clock-psyche is fascinating. Tick tick tick, the dude is a time bomb. He's also able to suck the powers from those he kills, and that's scary.

Hate to say it, but Matt the cop is boring the tar out of me.

However, I'm more intrigued by Niki/Jessica after finding out who Jessica really was. I quite enjoy the concept of a hero whose repressed superpowers only come out in a buried personality (unless we discover that Jessica is some kind of spirit who has possessed Niki--that would be taking the Hulk thing in a cool direction).

I'm eager to get back to the present, though, to see the aftermath of "Homecoming." What's going to happen with Sylar and Horn Rimmed Glasses now? And which of our heroes are going to come together and stay together?

Most importantly, what is this twist that the promos are shouting about???
Eeee.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I've been ultimately bitten

It's done. Phew! I finished the rough draft for THE ULTIMATE BITE yesterday. I've told you before that this will be the first vampire-themed Blaze, placed in the Extreme flash line. (Basically, Extreme presents Blazes that you wouldn't necessarily be expecting, but even though their premises are "extreme"--vampires, superheroines who have lost their powers, assassins, some aliens!--they still have that hot stuff you always get from this line.)

When I first presented the idea to my Blaze editor, Brenda Chin, she said, "Yes!!! Cool idea. Let's do it!" A vampire who has bitten so many women that he accidentally bites the same one again is a solid "hot" premise, especially since said victim turned into a steamy siren after that bite. Her sexuality was stoked, and she hasn't found anything that even remotely lives up to the bite since it happened: the men she dates don't have a chance, and it's only when vampire Stephen shows up again that her libido gets what it wants. But this is also a love story, so there's more to their attraction. It grows into something neither of them expect, and that's where the emotion gets heavy.

You all know that I can't just write a simple vampire: Stephen had to have a background that made me want to be with him day after day. He had to interest me beyond just being a creature of the night (though that's pretty cool in and of itself). He has a gang--a ragtag vampire "family." I can't go into their history--that's for you to read--but it was totally entertaining to create. My critique partner, Sheri Whitefeather, said their lair reminded her of THE LOST BOYS and, indeed, that was an inspiration, although that's not what I'm writing. Let's just say these vampires collected a lot during their long, long lives--and there's a good reason for what they collected.

The heroine, Kim, was lots of fun. Again, Sheri said, "She reminds me of a softer Bombshell." LOL. That is to say, Kim is a vampire hunter of sorts, but not a major action/adventure heroine. Nope, she hunts via the Internet with her own gang. They're more "geeks" with a passion than hardcore vamp hunters, and they have a Web site devoted to their pursuits, plus a pirate radio show. They call themselves The Van Helsing League, and like Mulder, they truly believe "the truth is out there." But they hardly have the same resources.

So...when the vampire and the hunter get together, they get hot in the city: Las Vegas. It's the perfect place for vampires because vacationing victims have a "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" mentality, getting themselves into situations more dangerous than they'd probably tolerate in their normal lives.

And there you go. I had fun writing the sex-then-love scenes and even though it's a "different type of Blaze" I think it's what I'd like to read within the subgenre, myself.

Write what you like, yes?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving--a day late

Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are in the world!

This is a day later--sorry--but I was with my family and I found I didn't have time to do any blogging. Now that I'm recovering from all that food and football, I'd like to offer what yesterday's blog should've shown. A recipe! It's going around my parents' neighborhood, and I haven't even tried it yet, but it's on my Christmas things-to-bake list. It sounds awesome.

Pumpkin Gingerbrad Trifle

2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) package cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps - optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cinnamon into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a larg, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle off the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

Yum! Have fun with it. :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

HEROES watch

I guess I allowed all the Internet hype to pump me up about last night's show. What a mistake, because I feel somehow underwhelmed.

Crazy, huh? Because so much happened--however, it didn't seem to happen until the last half. I kept hoping they'd just stick with Peter and Claire and the whole "homecoming" storyline. Every time they flashed to Highly Dysfunctional Hero Family, I got a little restless.

Still--great payoffs near the end! At first, Sylar seemed to resemble Peter Petrelli, but that was just a trick of light, I'm sure. And Sylar going after Claire was pretty damn exciting. But I wonder when we're going to find out how saving "the cheerleader" will result in saving the world. Also, I thought Homecoming might be the night when Peter received that scar Hiro referred to.

Obviously, there's a lot left to come. I only wish we'd get more of the heroes together because the show flies when that happens.

In the meantime, I'm off to edit THE ULTIMATE BITE. Three more chapters left, friends. I'm getting end-of-the-book restless here. Next up for me? Enjoying the holidays, working on a couple of proposals and a short vampire story for Amazon Shorts, and dealing with PR for the February release of NIGHT RISING....

Monday, November 20, 2006

Writer's Dock

I'll be back tomorrow for a HEROES post, but today I wanted to let you know that I'll be at www.writersdock.co.uk all week, answering writing questions, etc. If you'd like to stop by and chat about craft and business, I'd love to see you!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

BOND, JAMES BOND

This will be short and sweet because I'm off to see Ms. Bond, Stephanie Bond, at a local RWA meeting. But to be succinct: the new James Bond movie, CASINO ROYALE, is pretty awesome.

This is the first Bond movie in ages to have a character arc for the hero, and it's so refreshing to see that: I hope it's a trend that continues. And Daniel Craig is great; he brings so many new angles to a character that's been used until it's become a paper cutout of anything interesting. Craig's Bond is rugged, and he can wear a tux while still kicking ass. I haven't ever seen an action sequence in one of these movies like the first extended one in CASINO ROYALE. I mean--Bond is brutal. In fact, the movie doesn't feature any of the gadgets you'd expect: this Bond is all brains and brawl. I love it. But don't worry that this new Bond leaves out the quips and the charm. Hell no--it's still there in spades. His sense of humor is dry, just like a martini, but there's a subtle wink in Craig's eye as he delivers his lines. The perfect example of this mix can be found in one of the best torture scenes ever put on film. That sounds wrong--"the best torture scene"--but when you see it, you'll probably agree from a storytelling standpoint. It's funny and cringe-worthy all at the same time, and Bond handles it with...well, I'll leave you to see that, but it had the audience clapping.

Viva the new Bond!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

DVD time: NORTH COUNTRY

I know--the title NORTH COUNTRY doesn't exactly inspire a viewer to sit right down and invest two hours in watching it. That's how I felt when I got this movie from Netflix. It would be worthwhile; I was assured of that because it's an ACADEMY AWARD TYPE movie. So...quality, right? But I didn't expect a lot except for great acting and a "message."

I was really, really wrong.

I loved this film. Loved it so much that the time seemed to go by in a blink. Everything about it got to me: the sterile snowy landscapes of Minnesota, the bleak mine where the heroine goes to work, the blue-collar vibe of people just trying to make a living and then going back home to a cheaply wood-paneled family room. And the acting was absolutely great: Charlize Theron and her supporting cast deserve all the kudos piled on them. There was no overrated frenzy in compliments here.

But what really struck me about NORTH COUNTRY was the message. It hit deep, especially after having to go through that simunitions training I wrote about a few blogs ago (You know--the activity where I had the hood on my head?). I thought a lot about cowardice and just how much of it might be inside of me. But this movie made me consider cowardice in another form. NORTH COUNTRY isn't about a blazing high-stress situation that burns itself out in under a couple of minutes. It's not about life-or-death decisions. It's about the quiet choice we all have to make at some point in our lives. Sometimes those decisions pass us by without us ever dealing with them, even though we know we should have. They disappear from the moment in shameful silence but still tear us apart, haunting us with the knowledge that we should have spoken up when the time was right.

The heroine chose to speak up, and it was her coworkers who had to face their own cowardice. NORTH COUNTRY is a powerful representation of what it's like to be THAT person who decides to let the big moments go by, even if they know it's wrong to do so. Very highly recommended.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

HEROES day!

Karm wants to talk about HEROES, so here we go!

Thar be SPOILERS ahead....

Last night's episode validated my enthusiasm for this series. Not that this doesn't happen each week, but every time a commercial break cut into the action I was like, "Damn! Hurry back!" and also "This is soooo good!" The pacing is spot on, giving us answers while laying out groundwork and clues for future twists and turns. For instance, what's with Mohinder's dead sister? (And does that have something to do with an emerging power for him--or would that be Soccer Boy?) Also, there was a mention of how Horn Rimmerd Glasses Man came to adopt Claire; a result of a nasty death? Then there's Pixie (as Television Without Pity calls her). Does this chick have powers in her whispers? Also, what was she when Horn Rimmed Glasses Man first found her?

I liked how Horn Rimmed Glasses Man got lots of screen time: he's a fun enigma. Is he genuinely a good guy or just a good liar? It seems like he really does love Claire, but he's so shady. I don't know but, friends, this is a very decent villain. That's how you make 'em interesting.

My favorite parts of the episode, however, showcased Hiro. I loved how he hit it off with Memory Waitress Girl. But then--yiiiiiiiikes!!!!! Holy crumb, did you see when her head got bleched? Well done, writers and director--very, very well done.

Then...that creepy-ass cliffhanger: the picture with Hiro and the waitress. I got shivers looking at that thing. Poor Ando, worrying about his time-bending friend. What adventures did Hiro find with the waitress, and how much will they have affected him once he returns?

Next up: Homecoming. I'm a little afraid for Claire, you all.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

SMALLVILLE 5

All right, you all, this is where I'm going to get fanwanky with SMALLVILLE. Up until this point, I've generally been enjoying it and only occasionally noticing that I wasn't too gung-ho about a few character traits or mythology developments. But season 5 was the boiling point for all the tiny niggles that were tugging at me. Now, this isn't to say that I haven't liked a lot of what this program offers, so I'll start with what I'm enjoying about this series first.

BTW, if you haven't seen the series to this point and you have no idea what happens, you won't want to read any farther. Major SPOILERS ahead....

I am absolutely fascinated with Lionel Luther now. Yes, I've always quite adored his cheeky portrayal of Lex's farther, but now my adoration has turned into full-blown fangirl lurve. His most recent interactions with Clark and especially Martha Kent hold all the poignancy and tension that Clark and Lana were supposed to have, I suppose. And Lionel and Martha? Lurve. I haven't really started season 6 yet, but as much as the forbidden/growing affection between these two makes me ship for them, I hope the writers can refrain from giving them a full-blown romance. First, as awesome as it is, it's just wrong. Squick. And Martha hasn't had nearly enough time to recover from Jonathan's death. Still...lurve!

I thought the writers nailed Jonathan Kent's death, especially in its aftermath. Superman's adopted daddy had to die--it's a huge turning point in the mythology and in Clark's character growth. I've found myself developing a big old lump in my throat several times now that Jonathan has made the odd visit or two to a still-grieving Clark. Bravo.

Chloe Sullivan has turned into a majorly rockin' character. She used to bug during the first couple of seasons, but I am so the president of her fan club now. And that kiss she planted on Clark as Zod tried to take over the world? You go, girl! Personally, Clark has been quite the dweeb (see later notes), so I kind of wouldn't mind seeing Chloe in Lana's place at the Luthor mansion, snuggling and snarking with Lex.

What have I found to be better than expected? Lex and Lana getting together. I know. I've never understood the appeal of Lana and why she gets so much screen time for a character who's proven herself irrelevant time and again, but having her and Lex together has been surprisingly painless. Sure, I've wondered why a multi-millionaire would have any interest whatsoever in a judgmental Lolita--yeah, he likes her "goodness" (barf)--but his moral decay is imminent anyway. That's how it's supposed to go with Lex Luthor. Hence, I'm okay with him making this sort of very bad decision.

That said, I hope that Lex isn't going to grow to hate Clark/Superman because of this thing with Lana. I'd love to see a bunch of issues piling up to build the Lex we know and despise, and I'd love the cherry on top of the evil sundae to be Lex's resentment of how Clark is more of a son to Lionel than Lex could ever be: Clark is the super-child Lex has always strived to become, and for Clark to win Lionel over would be a blow that Lex would never recover from. That would make beautiful sense.

Now we come to the one point that has put me into battle mode with this series, though I could turn back into lovergirl at any moment. To put it simply, Clark has devolved into such a selfish whiny turd that I cannot imagine him as the boy who becomes Superman--the icon who represents all that is good about the struggle to be human. I understand the need for conflict in his life, and I do love a good brooding hero (Hi, Batman!), but this is not the Superman I fan for. And, frankly, Clark has overspent his "but he's going to be Superman one day" credit. Seriously, when he basically traded Lana's death for Jonathan's...? I felt ill. Jor-El told Clark that another life would be taken if he decided to trade in Lana's for that second option, and he did it anyway. For Lana.

I know that I'm being a bitter fanwanker, but disappointment does that. However, my love for everything else about this series is going to keep me loyal. I can see a glimmer of Clark's final road to becoming Superman right around the bend, even though I might be traveling a few steps behind him, warily watching every step....

Friday, November 10, 2006

Pictures!

Want to see some pictures of the gun seminar? (You'll see me being coached by an Olympic markswoman as I deal with a shotgun and you'll see me and Karmela Johnson hamming it up, demonstrating HOW NEVER TO HOLD A HANDGUN. You'll get to take a gander at a few other attending authors.) I'm hoping to get more pix as we go along, but for now, here's the link:

http://www.karmelajohnson.com/photos/index.php?/photos/category/47/6


Karm's blog is really fun, too, with frequent quizzes and writing talk.

Also, I want to let you know that Carol Woodruff won last month's web site contest. Bath and Body Works stuff and books are on their way. Congrats, Carol!

Hope you all have an excellent weekend. I'm going to write and hope my Chargers don't blow it. :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The seminar

I'm baaa-ack!

All I can say is "wow." Two and a half days of seminar-ific information and experiences. Our hosts made sure that our time was well spent on learning about gun safety, technical gun issues (A bullet is not the same thing as a cartridge. And it's called a "magazine"--never a clip.), and basic issues about carrying, concealment, and comfort levels. I met some incredibly interesting authors and had the pleasure of seeing old friends, too. (Karm, hope you got back home safely!) Of course, since I'm picture challenged, I forgot to bring my camera, but I'm hoping to pass on a few photos of my experiences soon, after fellow authors have shared their pix.

As educational as day one in the classroom was, yesterday was what really gave me food for thought. We visited a local gun range, where we had the opportunity to fire everything from a sub-machine gun to shotguns to handguns to a "sniper rifle"--a .50 cal. Barrett. You guys, this rifle was HUGE and can reach a target located a mile and a half away. We were asked to hit a small bottle about 500 yards in the distance. I came close, but no cigar. What was amazing is that I got used to the loud BANG as well as the force of the fired round: just standing near the rifle when it's fired sends a push of pressure against a body.

Then came something called "simmunitions training." Oh. My. God. First, let me mention that a private tactical training outfit was there to lead us writers through our educational journey: these men and women belong in Bombshell and highly-trained operator novels. They are well-spoken, thoughtful, and impressive. They train military and law enforcement. You getting the picture?

So..."simmunitions." Basically, this is an extreme exercise designed to test an individual under majorly stressful situations. I'm talking almost unbearable adrenaline, you all. As they prepped us for the scenario, I actually wanted to throw up, among other things. Our instructors made good use of the psychology of terror to amp us up, but that was only the beginning. A group of us were taken behind a shed so we couldn't see what was happening with each chosen participant after they were taken away. You know that had an effect. Previously, they'd told us that we would find out things about ourselves in this situation that might not be pretty--I think that scared me most of all. Who wants to face the fact that you, perhaps, freeze under pressure? Who wants to find out that you're a coward?

Then our names were called and we were brought to the holding area, where we were given what amounts to a handgun/paint gun. We were suited up in body armor, a protective mask, and...a hood. Yes, I said A HOOD. From there, there was disorientation, then a nightmare situation that included a hostage, a man who was holding a "knife" to that hostage's throat, and a home that was supposed to be my very own. To make this short and sweet, let's just say that I hope none of us have to go through this no-win situation. It was excellent thriller training that I will never find on the internet or in a book.

I wish all research were this effective.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Off to do research

First, I want to assure you all that my main site will be updated very soon, so please come back to it after the newsletter is sent out!

Second, I just wanted to tell you about an interesting opportunity I'm taking advantage of for the next few days. Not too long ago, Karmela Johnson informed me of the Fiction and Script Writers Seminar that's held in Las Vegas. Here, gun enthusiasts are kind enough to share their experience with those of us who might write about it. Since some of my characters occasionally pack heat, I thought this would yield some great research, so I jumped at the chance to attend. We'll be hearing from the experts and actually doing some shooting and simulations on a gun range.

As far as writing goes, whenever I can get firsthand experience, I take it. I think it makes a huge difference in presenting details and the "vibe" or a character or setting. Aside from getting to see Karm and meet other writers, I'm really looking forward to absorbing all this new information and using it.

Ah, the life of a writer, eh?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

SMALLVILLE 4

I'm finally done with the fourth season DVDs for SMALLVILLE. Truthfully, I'm well into season five now because when I watched the season finale for four, I couldn't stop. So far, I'm absolutely riveted by season five, with the emphasis on Clark's growth into Superman--everything has accelerated and taken on great urgency.

But, back to season four. (Tune out now because there will be copius SPOILERS.) I thought everything started off with a real bang when we got to see Clark actually fly. (Yes!) And then the finale??? Sweet. Dorky me didn't realize that the elemental stones were going to result in the creation of the Fortress of Solitude. Now that was cool. I love Chloe's evolution, too--she's become more than just a biting faux-Lois Lane (or will she somehow turn out to be the real thing...?). As a matter of fact, everytime Chloe and Clark are on screen together, I'm very happy. When they're allowed to banter and work off of each other during "missions," the show spins into orbit. I also like the introduction of Lois Lane. Erica Durance has that flint and spark you'd expect of the character, and I hope the writers develop her accordingly.

While the payoff for the elemental stones ended with a bang (and the Fortress of Solitude), I can't say I loved everything else we had to go through with those darn stones--especially the whole Lana-possessed-by-a-witch thing. God. The only positive development in that storyline was the introduction of Jason and Genevieve Teague, the most lethal mother-son con team since THE GRIFTERS. Jason was just the guy to give Clark a run for his money with Lana, and Jenson Ackles brought some much-needed romantic chemistry to the program (though I'd guess that he would have chemistry with everything from the front door to a hamburger. He oozes chemistry.).

Unfortunately, I know that something MAJOR happens during season five--the death of a big character. I'm bummed that I've been spoiled, but it's not taking away my enjoyment of what's happening so far....