Sunday, March 31, 2013

When the characters take over

I usually start my writing projects filled with purpose. I type away at the first chapter, might even get through the second, and then I write an inspired ending. This is where things get a little confusing. I think I know what happens in the middle, but the characters usually don't agree.

Sometimes they just come up with ideas about what happens to them. They know better than I do, so whatever little incidents they want to talk about usually work just fine. Sometimes they argue. Some are really difficult, claiming they loath the person I intended for them to hook up with. That one's tricky, because all of a sudden an intended main character isn't a main character at all.

I've been working on a novella scheduled for release in November. I'm intending for one of the characters to die, but he doesn't want to. I might kill him anyway, to show the imaginary people in my head who is boss, or it might make for a completely different ending than I originally intended. That doesn't have to be a bad thing; might make everything more interesting. We'll see...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I was kidnapped, by Liza O'Connor!

Rescue me, please! Or, at least come over and read Liza's hilarious blog. She has kidnapped both me and Kidnapped. In the most pleasant of ways, I must add.

Leave her a comment. If she gets enough comments she might decide to let me go. The brown paper bag isn't too bad, and the cuffs are padded, but that is one big roll of rope around my legs. ;-)

The blog is funny, it's worth the trouble, I promise. =D

Liza O'Connor - Author: Liza Kidnaps Kidnapped by Maria Hammarblad

Friday, March 29, 2013

Say it with Flowers, post by Larriane Wills

I know very little about flowers. I mean, they're pretty, but definitely outside my realm of competence. Luckily, Larriane Wills knows more, so today I'm leaving the pen, eeeh keyboard, to her. =)

Say it with Flowers! 

Flowers have been used for expression since nearly the dawn of man, dating back to early Chinese dynasties. In print, the name ‘Language of Flowers’ was first used in 1807. The concept of expressing sentiments with flowers sprang into popularity when Queen Victoria became fascinated by the idea, and it hasn’t been forgotten. William, heir to the throne, said his vows to Kate while she held a bouquet containing a sprig of myrtle, a symbol of marriage and love. The myrtle was cut from a plant started from a stem in nosegay given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert. Kate’s bouquet included lily-of-the-valley to signify a return of happiness, sweet William for gallantry, hyacinth to express a constancy of love, and ivy promising a wedded love and friendship, marriage, and fidelity.

With over 650 flower sentiments, I could go on, and on and on. Instead I simply direct you to the internet. Type ‘language of flowers’ in the search box, choose a site, explore the dictionaries, and decide what flowers you’d like in your next bouquet whether it be for a wedding, someone special, or to sit on the table and admire. Iris have always been one of my favorites. Now I have to wonder, who is it that has a message for me.

In The Wait for Red Roses two flowers are mentioned. Actually one, but in the language of flowers the color changes the meaning. A red rose signifies passion in some dictionaries, a simple ‘I love you’ in others. White roses convey innocence. Could have guessed either of those I think. 

Curt gave Cindra a single white rose for a bouquet for their wedding, all he could afford. They waited to share their bodies until they said their vows. Rather old fashion but they were young and so in love he honored her wishes, not that—as she said—they didn’t indulge in some heavy petting. Kurt might well have added a sprig of baby’s breath to enhance the symbolism of her purity of heart as well as her innocence, but never a yellow tulip to warn her of a hopeless love. He promised her red roses by the dozen in their future. You’ll have to read the book to know if the only appropriate flower would have been a marigold for grief and sorrow.

Now for a bit of a contest. So those who know the answer to what I’m going to ask, please sent your responses to larriane rather than answering in the comment box so you don’t give the answer away. Somewhere in the above is an error. You’ll know what it is to tell me by going to either my site Larriane aka Larion or to MuseItUp. Read either the excerpt or blurb for The Wait for Red Roses. I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with a name. I’ll make a random choice from the entries for a download of any book of your choice from my backlist.

Larion aka Larriane Wills
Two names, one author, thousands of stories.
My web page

Find my books here:
All Romance Ebooks and All Romance Ebooks    
MuseItUp Publishing   
Secret Cravings Publishing                          
Sweet Cravings Publishing Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Smashwords 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The wait for red roses

Tomorrow, romance author Larion Wills is coming over to visit and blog about messages sent with flowers. She'll have a contest too, don't miss it! 

To get in the right flowery mood, I'd like to introduce her new book: The Wait for Red Roses. It's brand new, published March 26.

Imposter Curt would convince Cindra he was her husband long enough to turn the tables on the man paying him to fool her and gain even more.

Cindra knew the instant she saw Curt she still wanted him no matter what he’d done. Follow Cindra’s struggles to salvage the life she’d made for herself, not let him back into her life or heart, not to trust or succumb to the charms of a man changed too much, and to stay alive while she learns why Curt left her, and why he disappeared.

Larion aka Larriane Wills
Two names, one author, thousands of stories.
Larion's web page

Find her books here:

All Romance Ebooks and All Romance Ebooks    
MuseItUp Publishing   
Secret Cravings Publishing                          
Sweet Cravings Publishing Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Smashwords 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why did I pick Russia?

When my novel Undercover was released last summer, people asked why I wanted to write about a Russian spy. To those very young today, the threat of Russia seems distant and unbelievable. It probably is, today. To people my age who grew up in my part of the world, the shadow of big brother in the east will always linger.

I haven't been to Russia, at least not yet. When I grew up, the cold war raged and Sweden rested in the shade of the Soviet Union, with Finland as a small buffer between us. News on TV showed women wrapped in layers of dark clothing, queuing for hours for a loaf of bread. There were surely other sides of life in the Soviet Union as well, but these were the only images that reached me.

In 1981, we had a Soviet submarine allegedly making a navigation error. It was a navigation error alright; they went too close to the shore and were stuck. We were overwhelmed. The nation stared at images of a gigantic foreign object - nuclear sub - that spent time sneaking around spying on us.

I was nine, and my imagination ran rampant. Who were the people on the sub? Did they like their lives? Were they happy?

A few years later, when I was 13, the innovation of cable TV reached my city. All of a sudden, our TV set filled with images from other countries. There was one channel from the Soviet Union, in Russian, and everything on it seemed brown.

It wasn't black and white, and it wasn't quite color; it was brown and white, like seeing through a sepia filter. I watched for hours, without understanding even one word. There were a lot of people marching in long lines, and movies showing people frolicking in the grass, smiling just a bit too much.

As you can imagine, I grew up with a fascination bordering on fear. I wanted to write stories about Russia and Russian spies when I was a teenager, but mom said no. She claimed it was too dangerous. It probably wasn't, but her imagination was as wild as mine, and in her mind the threat was real.

By the time I finally got around to writing my spy story, the world had changed. The Soviet Union is no more, and even if the country isn't exactly the west, it's nothing like in the 1970's. I'm still super curious, and I still haven't been there.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


At this time a year - usually starting some time in February and leading up to Easter - Swedish people eat semlor. (One semla, many semlor.) It's traditionally a Tuesday thing. If it's Tuesday, you're supposed to have a semla.

We put heart and soul into the tradition, and there are contests in both eating and baking semlor.

So, what is it? It's a wheat bun (some modern semlor have saffron in the buns) filled with marzipan or almond paste and whipped cream. It's supposed to have some confectionary sugar dusted on the "hat."

Traditionally it's eaten soaked in warm milk, but nowadays most people just grab it and munch down.

As you might guess, I have a semmel-craving. Unfortunately, one can't just buy them here in the US, and just finding the ingredients can be a challenge. I'm pretty bad at baking them too. My travels around the Internet brought me to a new recipe, and if I get the time this week, I just might try it. It's even in American measurements! Check out this link

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bikes and fire breathing dragons

My Princess Bonnie likes people - as long as they're on foot. If she meets a pedestrian it's happy joy joy with wagging tail and an urge to jump up on them and shower them in doggie kisses. If the same person comes on a bike, the human-bike combination is a cyborg posing the same threat as a monster or possibly a fire breathing dragon.

The mail truck is another monster. Not to mention motorcycles.

I know she's just trying to protect everyone, but it's still tempting to yell when she bounces up at the window, growls, and barks at the kids riding bikes along the sidewalk.

Today I hollered, "Bonnie, for the love of dog stop that infernal noise."

She gave me a hurt glance of, "Mooom, I'm just scaring them off to be sure you're safe."

I said, "Bonnie, they're just kids. Kids on bikes."

She moseyed off with her head slumping, and I could almost hear her mutter, "Kids on bikes, blah, blah, blah, it's a fire breathing monster I tell you. Kids on bikes. Pffft. Humans don't understand nothing."

I said, "Bonnie, I'm sorry."

If she had been human, she would have lifted an eyebrow or stuck her tongue out at me. Luckily, she is a dog and won't sulk for long. As soon as the next comes by on a bike, we'll start all over.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Casting the characters: Alex from Embarkment 2577

Blake Lively
Many authors make a dream cast of their characters. I'm pretty bad at it, but it's still fun to look at photos and try to figure out what the imaginary people really look like. 

I stumbled over this image of Blake Lively and thought, "Hey, she looks just like Alex in my head." The next thought was, "This girl looks familiar."

I just wished for her as Jenny in Undercover. Having the same actress for two characters might be overdoing it...

Julianne Moore

Next try, I ended up with Julianne Moore, but I can't imagine her as terrified and out of place as Alex is most of the time. If she was lost in space and time she'd probably be lost in a dignified way.

Emma Stone
Take three: Emma Stone. I might change my mind again - or veer back to Blake Lively after a few days when I forget about the Undercover post, LOL, but for now, it's Emma Stone.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Flashback, coming soon!

Well, soon is a relative term. Flashback is scheduled for release June 21, so I still have to wait for a couple of months, but compared to how long I've worked on the book, it feels like soon.

I wrote the first words on it in 2009, and from that point it has alternated between a frenzy of writing and waiting dormant in the computer.

The story is set just before the US entered Afghanistan, and the main character is a former prisoner of war. He is back safely in America, but can't quite shake the Middle East and everything that happened to him. He suffers horrifying flashbacks of torture and violence, and isolates himself from the world. He'll meet a girl, of course, but the way back to life certainly won't be easy.

My editor and I just finished the first round of edits, and I'm eager to get her new edits back. She's fantastic, and helps me give the manuscript just the right pacing in a way I never would have managed on my own.

I'm excited! I'll get back to you with some excerpts when the release date comes really close. =)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I entered a contest. Wanna lend a hand?

With the confidence of a bulldozer I decided my home-made video for Undercover was fabulous and entered it in a video contest. Now I need your help to keep this self confidence up; it might wither into ashes, and that would be a shame, right? (lol)

If you have a moment over and want to lend a hand, please visit and check out the videos. Mine is number 12 and could sure use some votes.

What? What I can win? Besides fame and glory, free advertising. I need free advertising. :-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gravity is not my friend

I guess it comes with growing older. Older, what a horrible word! Inside, I think I'm still 26. The mirror claims otherwise. Body parts that used to be perky sag, pulled downwards by the relentless grip of the planet.

It's clearly the planet's fault. Has nothing to do with me and my sedentary life style where I go - in a car - from my writer's desk at home to a desk at work, and from the desk at work to a desk at school, back to the writer's desk at home and to bed. Do loop.

Any exercise I get comes in the form of walking the dogs. Not too shabby, but deeming from the shape of my body, it definitely wants more. Not having time to cook and drinking gallons of coffee to stay awake every day doesn't exactly help give the body and skin the luster they once held.

Seeing things from the bright side, I will be done with school in just over a month. Done, done, done! Well, I say that now. I've sworn never to return before, and still enrolled in a four year program to get a degree I'll probably never use. As soon as I walk out the doors for the last time, I know a little part of me will insist, "You know, you could go back and take just a class or so each semester, and work on that English degree you want..."

That will be a problem for the future, though. I hope I won't be stupid enough to enroll in school full time while having a daytime job and working as a writer. Then again, one never knows. Common sense clearly isn't my strong side.

I don't think my face sags all that much when I see it in a mirror, but on photos, oh my goodness. The fiendish invention that is a camera screams my skin is mercilessly pulled towards the center of the Earth. To remedy the saggy bulldog look, I have now invested in a barrage of little bottles with skin creams and eye tightening products. Will it help? Probably not, but making a half-hearted attempt makes me feel better.

Do I care? Some days. Most days I shrug and accept reality. I am, after all, the eccentric who has been known to shuffle to work in sandals and soft shorts, telling colleagues, "So? I'm a writer, you can't expect me to be normal." =)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Here we go again, lol

Oden with his ravens Hugin and Munin
I know some subjects/discussions push my buttons and I should just sit down and shut up. You can see that happening, right? *cough*

I take a class in diversity this semester, and it has been pretty good. Today, though, we blundered into a subject that would be better left alone: why is Heimdal the only black character in the movie Thor. 

Here's the deal: Thor isn't a superhero. He's a part of the Scandinavian pantheon of Gods. I'm sorry guys, but Stan Lee did not make him up. He took a part of someone else's religion and formed it into something he thought was "cool" and Marvel could make money of.

I enjoy the Avenger movies and the Thor movie, but turning someone's God into a superhero is still blasphemy.

I realize most Americans won't understand this point of view, but it is exactly the same thing as if someone turned Jesus into a cartoon superhero. Claiming he should be black is the same thing as claiming Jesus should be an Eskimo. Nothing wrong with Eskimos, it's just the people furthest away from the Middle East I can think of, and the least likely to have been in the area around Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

The smart thing to do would be to sit still and keep my mouth shut. I didn't. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was along the lines of "Thor shouldn't be a superhero in the first place, and it's weird enough that Heimdal is black in the movie. We're talking about Scandinavia where there certainly weren't many black people a thousand years ago - there are barely any there now."

Teacher said something like, "See, you think that because the movie doesn't conform with your point of view."

Really? My point of view when we're talking about history and a religion written down over 1,200 years ago? My point of view? She could just as well have flipped a switch in my head. "No. Thor is a part of the Scandinavian pantheon of Gods, and it has nothing to do with point of view."

It's not okay to make fun of another religion, even if it's small or foreign.

As the discussion proceeded, I thought, "This is as stupid as if someone made a movie about the Hindu Gods and demanded there'd be a percentage of white people playing them to be fair, or made a movie about African Gods and claimed at least half should be white."

Captain America, Batman, Green Lantern, Iron Man, Superman, whoever-man are all made up as superheroes and they can be green, blue, or purple for all I care. Thor is different; he's stolen from another culture, and a part of my cultural heritage.

It all ended with me exclaiming, "No, you just think it's okay because we're not talking about an American religion. We don't turn Jesus into a cartoon character now, do we?"

From now on, we're explicitly forbidden to discuss religion in this class. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Casting the characters; Jenny from Undercover

Blake Lively would
make a great Jenny
Since the main characters - Jenny and Alexei - only exist in my mind, it's hard to say what they look like. I mean, I know exactly what they look like up in my head. Accurately explaining or showing is impossible.

After intense Googling, I came up with Blake Lively for Jenny. Jenny in my head has curlier hair, but they look pretty much alike.

What do you think? Good choice?

Friday, March 15, 2013

A new edition of SFR Brigade Presents

Time passes so quickly, I've missed the SFR Brigade presents the last couple of weeks. I mean, it's Monday, and then it's Monday again. I don't know what happens to the days in between... ;-)

So, what is this again? I'll post a snippet from one of my scifi romances below, and you can click here to check out excerpts from more science fiction romance authors!

The below comes from High Gravity, one of my self published scifi romance novellas in the Embarkment 2577 series. If you choose to read it, know that I giggled through writing most of the first novella - Brand New World - and it might be best read tongue in cheek. I had settled down somewhat when I got to the rest, so they're more... normal. ;-)

Here goes:
Our visitor cleared his throat. “When we heard you’d be late due to a problem with the Tokamak field, quite frankly, no one believed it.”

“The big ugly thing in the basement? It’s giving me nightmares.”

To my surprise, he sounded sympathetic. “I can see that. As I was saying, no one believed it, but your Captain was courteous enough to show me the temporary repairs. I guess you weren’t just stalling for time.”

Blake leaned forward over his desk. “Why would we be stalling for time?”

Kevin leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs. “It has been suggested to me this sudden pairing ceremony is a sham. For whatever reason, someone on this ship doesn’t want her to leave, and that someone is grasping at straws to keep her here. Fame? Glory? What better way to keep her here than arrange a marriage to a machine?”

I crossed my arms over my chest. “I’ve heard enough. Can I go now?”

The scientist turned to me. “Alex, I’ve been stationed in the Biisind system for three years. I have no personal interest in what you do or don’t do, but I urge you to come with me to Earth.”

Pfft. Talk’s cheap. I glanced over towards Blake, but he seemed to be biding his time.

“Joshen Martinez is an old friend of mine, a mentor, he wouldn’t hurt you. He just wants to connect you to a machine that will tap out your memories. Your knowledge is valuable, and everyone would be able to see what you know. Sort of... like watching a movie.”

Having people watch all my memories? Intrusion of privacy, much?

I got to my feet. “I’ve heard enough of this. I have other things to do.”

Kevin stood up too. “Yes you do. Go pack your bags. This joke is over and you’re coming with me to the Kentucky.”

Going to the zoo...

I mean that literally - it was my birthday last week and I made hubby take me to the zoo. He was a bit reluctant at first, but once we got there I think he too had a good time. 

We did miss a few activities - like feeding the giraffes, I would love to feed a giraffe - so we just might have to go back...

Okay, today I won't babble so much. I'll share some of my photos instead. =)

 Seeing an alligator in the zoo is cool, but I wouldn't want to meet this dude in the wild, LOL.

I forgot what kind of bird this is. It's pretty, anyway. :-)

There were plenty of places where you could go into the bird habitats and even feed them.

Man's closest relative, the Chimpanzee.

I so want to rub that belly. And baby-talk. I bet you can tell from the look on her face I was babytalking; she looks like, "What the hell is wrong with you, are you stupid?" LOL!

Biggest dragonfly I saw in my life. So pretty!

They had aquatic life forms too, and a Manatee hospital. Those photos didn't turn out too well, but I like this one. =)

A regal eagle! All the eagles they had were hurt in the wild to the point where they can no longer fly. Now they can enjoy a retirement with free food for the easy task of entertaining tourists.

"I see land, Capt'n"

"Maybe we can make a heart"

"I don't always play with beer kegs, but when I do, they'd better be sturdy."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Undercover, excerpt four

When Mark and Alex went to get their coats, Jenny watched their backs for a second with a longing she couldn't define. She must have been alone for too long. She shook herself out of it and went towards her office, but her feet stopped just before crossing the threshold. At the other end of the corridor, Alex looked back over his shoulder and winked at her. Her heart skipped a beat, and in the next moment Nori was there, pulling her into the room.

Trying to whisper wasn't Nori's strong side, and Jenny was happy the men already left the building when her friend asked, "What was that? What just happened? Are you crazy? He's probably from the Russian mafia or something, and you're going to get yourself raped and killed."

Jenny sighed and made a dismissive gesture, but her friend knew her much too well for something like that to work. As hard as she tried not to confess anything, Nori was relentless, and she finally sat down. "Oh hell yes, he's gorgeous. I feel... I don't know... It was electric."

Her friend giggled. "So, when will you see him again?"

Nori had always been the pushier one, and Jenny took a lot of pleasure in delivering the news. "Soon. Mark invited me for lunch. They'll come pick me up."

No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't stop grinning. Lunch was just a little over an hour away.

Nori's eyes were just as dark as her hair, and now they went wide with cheerful surprise. "Ooooh, that's great. I'm so proud of you."

Looking innocent was almost impossible, but Jenny managed, at least for a few seconds. "Don't be. He sort of asked. I didn't do a thing."

"Who did? Mark?"

Jenny winked and replied as if it was the most normal thing in the world. "No, silly, Alex did."
Her friend squealed, loud enough to carry into the surrounding rooms, "Oooh, that's great, this is so exciting."

Jenny smirked. It hadn't taken Nori many seconds to forget all about the Russian mafia and the possibilities of her being raped, murdered, and possibly cut up into little pieces to be conveniently fed to any predator nearby. 

If you like it this far, see the book on Amazon.

The Universe - or is it Fate - is fickle.

If someone had told me yesterday that an asteroid would collide with Earth, that we'd have a flood of Biblical proportions, or that a so...