Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo



National Novel Writing Month. Every year I think about doing it. I even joined the website. But I never have got around to participating - until now.

This year I'm going to try it. I am. It'll be interesting to see what happens. Y'see, I write slowly.

Really, really slowly.

I edit as I go. I sit and debate word choice. I rewrite paragraphs repeatedly.

NaNoWriMo is about throwing words on the blank page/screen. You don't stop until the end of the month. And then you go back and edit.

That's outside my comfort zone. What if at the end, all I have is 50,000 words of utter dreck? All my time, blood, sweat, and tears were wasted.

There is a school of thought that says it's never a waste, that you learn from your mistakes. There's also a school of thought that says, stop trying to make lemonade out of lemons - don't buy lemons in the first place, get yourself a nice prime rib or something.

But I'm going to ignore that voice and try to just throw words at the page. Maybe it will be a liberating experience and I'll discover how to write faster and ignore my inner critic.

But mostly it'll be about joining in with my friends YES YES YOU MADE ME DO IT I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY NOW.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Salem Tales



It's Halloween.

And when many people think Halloween, they think Salem, Massachusetts. Because it's basically our Mardi Gras.

Want to know practically everything there is to know about Salem?

From witches to how a Salem boy became a Chinese god, to where the Murder of the Century occurred, and including where to find Salem's ghosts?


BUY HIDDEN HISTORY OF SALEM ON AMAZON

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

PinUp Cats

What drives the internet more than sexy girls and cats?
NOTHING!
So let's put those two things together:
Cats posing like pin-up models!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reminding y'all about Adam Howden (again)


Adam Howden is supposed to be signing at 12pm and he's on the voice acting panel at 3:30pm.

So. Are you at the London Comic Con - MCM Expo?

Share pictures! Stories! Cool encounters! 

Did you see Matt Smith? Adam Howden? Billy Boyd?

Buy anything awesome?

Tell me in the comments section!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hot Men With Black Cats

Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead with a black cat


Adam Howden (voice actor for Anders in Dragon Age 2 and many other voices, like the Ostagar Prisoner, in Dragon Age Origins) is known to have two black cats.

One of whom is Goose:

This is Adam Howden:


There is also:
Yoko, John, and Pepper (Lennon)

Cary Grant and a black cat

Herbert Tobias and a black cat

Morgan Freeman and a black cat

Robert Redford and a black cat

And, although not actually the owner of this cat,
who can forget:
Spock with a black cat 
from the episode Cats Paw 

Why is this post focusing on black cats?
Because today is NATIONAL BLACK CAT DAY in the UK 

Check out Cats Protection to see what you can do to help out!

Norman Reedus and an armful of black kitty

Monday, October 22, 2012

Zaftig Is Sexy Too 2

I think this is a beautiful group, and I wish more jobs were given to plus-size models.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Twenty-Five Acts

Houston, we have a problem. 

Okay. So I'm watching Law & Order SVU, which is one of my favorite shows. I've watched all the episodes.

ALL OF THEM. 


And I'm enjoying the new actors this season. Got nothing against the show.

This week's episode - Twenty-Five Acts - was about the rape of an author of a 50-Shades-of-Grey-style BDSM romance.

Now here's my problem - the show went with the premise that the below are truths:

1) Because the author wrote about certain sexual acts, the jury would think she wanted those acts done to her.

2) Because what you write is your personal fantasy.

3) And she couldn't have just researched it. Those sexual acts had to have been inspired by a real man/relationship.

WTF???


Now, I've written a BDSM romance.

On an alien planet.

I've never done any of the BDSM sexual acts in the story.

Neither have I been to an alien planet.

Nor are either of those things my personal fantasy. I'm really not interested in interstellar travel until we get to the space-cruise-ship level. Until then, there's plenty of places on Earth for me to explore.

And the inspired by a real person thing? Oh sure, I'm quite positive I was inspired by real men - who do not know I exist. 

It's called imagination.

Coupled with research.

As with the fictitious book in the Law & Order episode (based on 50 Shades of Grey - itself originally a fan-fiction Twilight tale), this isn't a kiss-and-tell memoir, it's fiction, for pity's sake!

FICTION.

Other types of fiction don't get treated like this.

Nobody asks Stephen King how many hotel ghosts have driven him insane. Or James Patterson how many people he's murdered. Or Tess Gerritsen if she's secretly a serial killer.

Nobody assumes these three have bloody fantasies. Or that they're asking to be possessed/murdered/crime victims.

And certainly nobody believes they've actually done any of the things they've written.

So why do people take for granted that it's imagination and research when it's violence, and lifestyle when it's sex?

Why is writing about consensual sex between two adults shameful and writing about body horror and physical atrocities perfectly acceptable?

I don't know the answer. So I'm asking you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cyber Launch Party!

For today only, over at Author Island's party page:

"WIN - leave Susanne a question today at her Cyber Launch Party and your name goes in the hat for a copy of her new book WICKED BELOVED in your choice of either ebook or audio! Please leave your email address so we can contact you if you are today's winner!"

So pop on over and comment:
http://cyberlaunchparty.blogspot.com/2012/10/celebrating-kinky-new-sci-fi-from.html

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Listener Reviews for WICKED BELOVED





Sample and purchase at:



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Interview with ADAM HOWDEN




Welcome to The Chatty Cat Cafe!

Those of you who've followed me for a while know I used to post pet-centered interviews under the Cafe title, back on my old blog.

A few of those interviews were saved and appear on my website.


But I haven't done any more....UNTIL NOW.   **trumpet fanfare**


Have you been listening to the audio version of Wicked Beloved and wondered, who is the exceedingly talented and sexy fella reading this? Wonder no longer!

Yes, today the Chatty Cat is privileged to present.... oh, who am I kidding.... Today the Chatty Cat is squeeeeeing like a teenaged fangirl on a half-crazed sugar high because our guest is the one and only:



ADAM HOWDEN

If you play video games at all, you'll be familiar with his work. He's all over:

Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
Fable III
Star Wars: The Old Republic
as well as starring in:
Lost Horizon (Fenton Paddock)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Shulk) (English version)
and
The Adventures of Tintin: The Game (Tintin)

And he has acquired his own Estrogen Brigade from playing Anders in Dragon Age II.


On stage he starred as Malevole/Altofront in The Malcontent, plus he has guested in several television programs, like New Tricks.

Adam in The Malcontent

And, as I said, now he has narrated the audiobook version of Wicked Beloved. (Squee! Such a sexy voice!)

So, yes, right there my gaming and writing worlds collide. 

Luckily I am a professional.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Ahem.

Okay. Not that much of a professional. (major Twitter crush)

Amazingly, because he is an extra-special, patient, and very, very nice person, he agreed to be interviewed by drooling fangirl me.

So here we go:

Welcome to The Chatty Cat Cafe! First off, tea or coffee? How do you like it served?

Tea, well brewed, milk, half teaspoon of sugar.

The focus here is generally on pets and you’re famous for being a Kind Hearted Cat Lover. Please introduce us to your cats.

I have two black cats. They are called Frankie & Goose. Frankie is very pretty (he's a bit of a girl). He wears a collar & has white armpit hair. He's also a bit chubby. Goose is a bit more rough around the edges, but still very handsome.

How did you come up with the names Frankie and Goose?

I actually didn't have the honour of naming Frankie & Goose. They were from a rescue centre. I think they'd already had several owners before me & presumably one of them named them. They are from the same litter though, brothers, so they've always had each other.  

What are their favorite treats?

Goose likes treats. His favourites are these smelly biscuits called Dreamies, but he's also partial to a bit of smoked salmon. Frankie won't eat treats. Don't know why. He'd rather eat more than his fair share of his normal dried food.

Favorite places for napping?


Goose likes to either sleep on my bed (especially when I've just changed the sheets), or on rough surfaces like wicker baskets. Frankie likes to sleep in enclosed spaces. Under duvets or in his little cat hut, which is like a very small tent. They're both fond of the sofa too.

Which of your characters/performances would you say best represents the ethos of each of your cats and why?

Goose is like a character I played in a play called MARY STUART called "The Earl of Leicester", who was Queen Elizabeth I’s favourite at court. He behaves all smooth & cavalier & is a bit of a user but really he's a bit insecure & needs love & reassurance.
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Historical Hottie.

Frankie is more like my character "Anders" who I voiced in the video game DRAGON AGE 2. He's pretty loyal, loving & very determined (especially when he wants to get into a room when the door is closed or under my duvet in the middle of the night) He appears to be a softy but he sometimes goes absolutely crazy like he's possessed (like Anders). He's given me some nasty bites & scratches before.
Anders in Dragon Age 2
Do you get nerves before performances? How do you relax?

I do get nervous before any performance whether it's stage, screen or voice over. I just have to say to myself "you'll love it when you're doing it so get on with it". You just have to dive in & at some point the nerves subside & you start to enjoy the performance.

How do you warm up before performing?

To warm up I do vocal & physical exercise. The vocal involves lots of scales & I will sometimes sing songs. Also I do tongue twisters like repeating "Red Leather, Yellow Leather" & "I'm not pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son. And I'm only plucking pheasants till the pheasant plucker comes." The latter one can sound quite interesting if you mess it up.
I do loads of stretching for physical warm ups.

What's your favorite song to sing?

Songs I might sing to warm my voice up are "Shimmer" by a band called FUEL, "Folding Stars" by BIFFY CLYRO & "Friday I'm In Love" by THE CURE.

If life were a musical, what would be your theme song?

If life were a musical, my theme song would be "Hasa Diga Eebowai" from THE BOOK OF MORMON. It's so funny & outrageous. I love it.

You can act and you can sing - are you a triple threat? Can you dance?

I am possibly one of the worst dancers mankind has ever known, so unfortunately I'm not that kind of "Triple Threat", no. I probably have some comedy value though.

If you had complete artistic control and money was no object, what play/movie/game/book/whatever would you choose to star in and why?

If money was no object & I had full artistic control I would want to write, star & direct a movie about my mother's side of the family living in East Africa in the 1960's. I would play my grandfather. I've been told so many amazing stories of their time there & having visited there myself I want others to see what a beautiful place it is. It's all in my head, I just need to write the bugger ;)

I know you write comedy sketches—are you working on anything currently? Is comedy your favorite genre to write?

I'm hoping to film some more comedy sketches soon. It's hard because you're often depending on other people's availability & there's no budget. But I do it because it's fun. I like writing & performing comedy because I am very childish.

How was recording an audiobook different from recording for games and adverts?

Recording an audiobook takes a lot more time than games or adverts. So it takes a lot of patience on both my part & the sound engineer. You know you're going to be sat at a mic for hours reading aloud, which is not something we tend to do much of in the 21st century, so it's important to try to be as relaxed as possible. Don't get angry at yourself when you cock-up & try to be as prepared as possible.

And lastly, getting back to the pet theme I wandered away from, do you have any advice for someone thinking of getting a cat?

My advice to anyone thinking of getting a cat is to get one from a rescue centre. The chances are it'll be much more fun & intelligent than some inbred pedigree breed & you won't have to worry that people are going to steal it. Also, the rescue centre will have had it health checked, neutered & micro-chipped. There is no need to spend hundreds of pounds for a cat. You can get yourself a wonderful bundle of fluff for the cost of a small donation to the rescue centre.

Thank you so much for doing this!! 





Y'all can follow Adam on Twitter to keep up with his exploits. 

And you can buy his reading of Wicked Beloved on Audible or iTunes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NEW BOOK RELEASE - WICKED BELOVED


Though warned of the Tellurian slave’s uncooperative nature, Guild Assassin Dzer-Jin Vonn is intrigued when the alluring redhead promises to obey him and be the best slave ever. Her prior owner misused her but did not quench her spirit; her tongue cuts with amusing precision.

Abducted from Earth by aliens, ripped from life as she knows it, she gives her new master only the label “slave” to call her by.  She’s landed in a culture where violence is foreplay. Yet her sexy master stands apart from his peers; he shows compassion.

When Dzer-Jin is challenged to slice her skin for public titillation, she agrees to the display with no bonds but trust. He earns status for her obedience but she frets he’ll tire of his “pet” if she doesn’t service his sexual appetites. The passion seething between them terrifies her. Is her desire to escape to Earth stronger than her need to serve Dzer-Jin’s lust—or her own?

Available on Amazon: 



Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things...

Jason Spisak
property of EniJoi on dA

























I already posted this epiphany on tumblr. But why not here too, right?

I just noticed that many of the drawings of Tom Hiddleston's Loki that I like best, such as the one above, bear a striking resemblance to Jason Spisak, the voice and inspiration for the face of Vulpes Inculta in Fallout: New Vegas -- who is another character I really like.

I think I have just identified my “type.”

Me = Shallow but Consistent 



So. Do you readers have a "type" you prefer?  It's not always easy to recognize in yourself. My sister used to say she loved brunettes, but every single fan-girl crush she had was on a blonde fellow.

Share, my pretties! ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

eBook Prices

How do you put a value on a digital book? It doesn't seem like this should be the conundrum it is.

Paper books are priced to cover the amount it cost to produce them plus a markup for both the publisher's and the bookseller's profit.

Ebooks should be priced the same way, right? The problem is, we assume the production cost will be significantly cheaper because there is no paper and no binding--forgetting that paper is cheap and binding is not especially costly either.

All the costly things--cover art, editing, etc.--must happen in the production of a digital book, just like a paper one. So logically the price isn't going to differ dramatically.

And yet, it doesn't seem right.

Maybe because so many eBooks are "free." It seems like the average price thus should be lower.

But those eBooks are free because either they are classics, antiques, if you will, long ago falling into the public domain, so libraries or volunteers can legally digitize them, or they're new books whose publisher wants to boost word-of-mouth on a particular title or author and is willing to take a financial hit to do it.

Those eBooks still cost time and money to produce, but your tax dollars, the goodness of others, or a marketing plan paid for them.

So, again, digital books should cost about the same as paper.

What about resale value? Maybe we feel digital books should be cheaper because we can't resell them as we can paper books?

That isn't within the publisher's purview. Paper books are not priced with any thought to the used market because neither publishers nor authors get any money from those venues. Why should eBooks be any different?

We aren't automatically entitled to resell things in our possession. Many items you buy cannot be resold, and we accept that. The video games industry may be going toward a used-games-are-unplayable model. That there is no used market for digital books may simply become the standard of the future.

So again, digital books' and paper books' prices shouldn't be that far apart.

But then why, when I am faced with a $12.99 eBook, do I wince?

I've paid $9.99 for eBooks. I'd pay $12.99 for a paperback. And yet I stall at $12.99 for an eBook.

$12.99 is what - the price of dinner for one? Lunch for two? Food you'll never get back (unless it gives you food poisoning and then it will be returned to the world in a state far different from when you last viewed it) whereas an eBook lasts forever. You can even lend it to others and, trust me, no one wants you to lend them your food or other perishables.

$12.99 is a few hours of work at minimum wage to pay for something that took the author months of agony to produce. If the eBook is nonfiction, it might have taken years. And yet we won't shell out our coffee money for it.

Why is that?

I really should buy that $12.99 eBook. I just... argh. Do any of you have this problem?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Identify The Tanks

One of my best friends can name every tank in this picture.

Can you?

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm With The Band

I'm With the Band: Confessions of a GroupieI'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having recently had occasion to use the phrase I'm with the band in actual conversation, I thought I should read this book next. The cover image captures the sexy yet innocent vibe of the 1960s perfectly. I mean, the rock stars called her "MISS Pamela". There's an endearing formality amongst all the wild sex.

It really was a different time. You could phone-up the backstage at arenas. Miss Pamela hitch-hiked *everywhere* and only once did the driver who picked her up try to kill her.

Also-- Not sure why people have called her a slut. She didn't lose her virginity until 19 years old, she made Jimmy Page really work for it before she slept with him, and she turned down Mick Jagger because she was being faithful to Jimmy Page (who was not faithful to her). It wasn't until later, on the rebound, that she went from one relationship to another, but they were relationships, not one-night-stands. (And yes, she did end up with Mick Jagger for a while, don't worry.)

I thought she was fairly self-aware. The horrors visited by hard drugs and alcohol are plainly depicted. "Intimate diseases" are present as well.

Oh, for what it's worth, Timothy Hutton is not in this book, so that other reviewer is thinking of another story.

I found this book to be a very entertaining read, a glimpse behind the curtain at the 1960s-1970s rock scene as experienced by a woman of the times.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let's Spend the Night Together

Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and SupergroupiesLet's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies by Pamela Des Barres
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found this an interesting and mostly fun read. Each chapter of the book is devoted to a SuperGroupie - a gal who knew what she wanted, went after it, and succeeded. And in the process inspired her rock heroes to write songs about her.

These particular women interviewed consider themselves freewheeling feminists who were neither victimized nor exploited, but flashes of girls who did experience degradation at the hands of cruel bastards drunk on fame can be seen hovering at the edges of some of their recollections. And violence even found one of the SuperGroupies. (The rape scene in Showgirls seems to be based on what happened to one of the women interviewed.)

Full of advice for anyone wanting to become a SuperGroupie, though it also warns of the dangers and heartbreak that accompany the role, this book is a fun read for those interested in the 1960s-1970s rock scene. It gets somewhat repetitive when it gets to the 1980s stories.

And if Elvis is on your radar at all, you should read the first chapter at least.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chris Avellone's Help for Writer's Block

From Reddit

I thought these tips were pretty ingenious. How about you? What are your suggestions for combating Writer's Block?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vulpes and Arcade Plushies

Look what The Last Kiss Of Damaris made for me!!! Are these not the cutest Fallout: New Vegas plushies ever? Arcade's expression is just so him. And I wanted an uncharacteristically-happy Vulpes Inculta, and there we are.

Excuse me while I go Kermit-flail.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Shaved Kitty

No, that's not code for anything. My girl kitty literally has been shaved.
I love how she has tiger-striped skin as well as fur.

We chose to do this for two reasons:

1) We don't have central air conditioning and her thick Maine Coon fur coat makes her hot and uncomfortable in the summer.

2) She was born feral and lived feral for like the first 8 months of her life. Often such cats don't care much about cleaning themselves. Hey, it's just gonna get dirty again. Why bother? Concentrate on survival. She won't let us groom her, either. So her beautiful thick coat becomes a matted mess.

This way she is cool and clean. She likes it, too. She's actually invested some time in cleaning herself, now that she doesn't have to fight with fur.

Of course, as luck would have it, the first two nights after her shearing were record cold for the time of year, and she definitely felt it. I got out a flannel pillow case and tucked it over her so she had her own blanket. This was apparently the correct solution because she curled up under it and stayed put.

So if you have a cat who might be a good candidate for shearing (actually known as the Lion Cut for cats - although we modified it to have the neck ruff shorn, too), remember to have something for them to warm up with if the temperature turns cold.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Captain Devlin Video Cameo Appearance

This is a photo of the Saturday Book Fair at one of the RT BookLovers Conventions.
At this one they played book trailers/videos on large screens. 
See where the arrow is pointing?
As it happens THAT IS MY VIDEO they were playing when the photo was taken!!
It's this one below:
 
That just tickles me pink. 

Click for more info on Captain Devlin's Captive

Monday, May 7, 2012

PAX East 2012 Overview

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is a cool place. It has animal art installations. Like this horse.

And some really big animal art installations. Like this giraffe.














And this year it hosted a really big games installation called PAX East.
This is PAX East.

Well, actually, it's the showroom floor, where all types and sizes of games are on display, from indie to blockbuster studio productions -- most of them future releases yet to be touched by the unwashed masses.

But touch them you can! You can play demos on the showroom floor. You can go over to the LAN and play computer games with top of the line NVIDIA tech.

Do I know what that tech does? No. Did Battlefield 3: Close Quarters look and play awesome? Yes! I got more kills than I usually do playing BF3 Team Deathmatch.

Prefer tabletop gaming? PAX has you covered.

They've got the tables and the games. Bring your crew or meet up with people there.

If it's a type of game, it's at PAX.

But say you're tired of gaming, and bored with all the chances for obtaining swag from the various companies. Say you want to craft something. And you don't want to pay for it.

Well, here are some tables where you can paint something and take it for free.
I don't know what they were - I saw the table from one of the ceiling cross-walks and I never got back to it on the floor. But I liked the concept.

Some of the upcoming games had giant displays. This one let you climb inside and experience getting attacked by Alien's alien. It didn't move or anything. But it looked pretty convincing.

Speaking of moving and convincing:
This Big Daddy's drill arm actually worked! He and his Little Sister were impressive.

In fact, all the costumes in Irrational Games' contest were impressive, as were the cosplayers walking around the convention. Fans put a lot of time, effort and love into their costumes, and it showed.

You don't have to wear a costume to PAX, of course, but if you do attend in one, expect admiration and frequent photo requests.

Where were we? Oh yes.

Other game displays showed only a mysterious front. You had to wait in line for the chance to see inside.

Umm...yeah. Should probably mention that a lot of your time is spent waiting in lines at PAX. It's not surprising. Each game station, each panel room, only contains a finite amount of space and there are a millionbillion people who want to occupy it. Maybe not that many. But you get the idea.

For a chance at the games, you have to wait. For a chance at attending a panel, you have to wait. And for popular panels, you have to get there ahead of time--possibly hours ahead--to make sure you're in the part of the line that fits in.

Had I mentioned that there are panels? Yes, you can not only play games, you can attend panels on games and learn about all sorts of aspects of the game industry.

One intrepid soul actually filmed the Plot vs. Play panel, which was one of the best panels ever (in my fan-girl opinion), and put it up on YouTube. (I already posted it on my blog.)

My favorite panel room was the (nyan) Cat Theatre. 

(This still makes me smile. I am easily amused.)

Here we watched the original Fallout: Nuka Break fan film plus the entire first season of its web series.

They have a Kickstarter running to fund a second season, if you'd like to help out.

A Q&A panel followed, with the cast, creators, and Chris Avellone (who has been intimately involved with Fallout through several apocalypses and whose Obsidian Entertainment created Fallout: New Vegas).

I include this shot (from before the panel started) because you can see Chris Avellone is wearing a PIP-Boy!

It's a totally cool prop and was made especially for him.

Are you all properly jealous yet? ;)

One final observation: You remember the unwashed masses I referred to at the beginning? Attending PAX can mean you run the risk of catching PAX Plague. There always seems to be some type of super-flu which someone inadvertently brings along with them. And it has a very good time. I believe everyone I knew came down with some form of it. Including me. But it was a small price to pay for one of the most fun-filled weekends I've ever had.