Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The year in review

In 2008, I published two books. I wrote at least three. I made the Locus bestseller list, and a number of readers have put my books on their "best of 2008" lists. I've made a number of new friends. I've learned from my mistakes.

So here are my resolutions for 2009:

1) Stay positive
2) Worry less
3) Meet all my deadlines
4) Practice random acts of kindness
5) Never forget how lucky I am
6) Continue to give my best
7) Offer understanding to someone who needs it
8) Keep raising wonderful kids
9) Remember I write because it's my great love
10) Share my favorite books with readers

Can I do it? I hope so. What are your resolutions?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Houston? Methinks we have a problem.

It's so much fun to be here with the Wicked girls. Angie and I share an editor, and Ann and I share an agent, so this feels sorta like home. Thanks for hosting me today, ladies!

This is a big day for me. My debut romantic suspense, STOLEN FURY, releases today! I've waited a long time for this moment, but I have to be honest and tell you that release day is not the only thing on my mind right now. You see, I have three kids (my Gremlins, or so I call them). They're 9, 6 and 3 (well, 4 later this month). And thanks to some unseasonably snowy weather (curse those blasted cold fronts!), their two week break has stretched into three.

Wait. Let me say that again in case you didn't catch it…THREE WEEKS. Stuck. In a house. With them.

Yes, I know those of you with gremlins of your own feel my pain. You know what it's like to be locked in a house with rambunctious boys who think Spiderman Underoos, Buzz Lighyear slippers and a Darth Vader cape constitutes a raging outfit. Toss in a preteen daughter who is in love with the phrase, "I'm bored," and I'm sure you can understand why I'm having trouble concentrating on anything…even my release.

However, amidst all the chaos and excitement, I have learned one very valuable lesson:
I have a serious problem on my hands.

You see, my husband has renamed our 3 year-old, Casanova. Not only does the littlest Gremlin strip down to his skivvies whenever the mood strikes (which is all the freakin' time), but he loves girls. Babysitters are his favorite. Cute teenagers he can drag up to his bedroom to play Power Rangers when the DH and I are on our way out for a few hours. I never thought much of it before. Honestly, I thought it was cute and that he was just being "friendly". But now I know the truth.

It sank in the other day while the DH and I were watching Into The Blue. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, it stars Paul Walker and Jessica Alba. They're both treasure hunters in the Bahamas, searching for a Spanish galleon rumored to be carrying a fortune in sunken treasure. Both Paul and Jessica wear swim attire through most of the movie. And, of course, Jessica's bikini is just a wee bit too skimpy. The movie is really very tame until the end when the suspense heats up, but I didn't realize the littlest Gremlin had sneaked into the room and was watching the opening scuba diving scenes with us. When I did, I immediately turned it off and kicked him out of the room. But lo and behold, later in the day, he brought me the movie case (which also has a picture of good ol' Jessica in her bikini on the front) and said, "Mom. I want to watch this."

Shocked, I replied, "Why?"

And he said (shoving it in my face), "Because it's a girl movie."

Well, you can guess my response. I think I sputtered (a lot) when I asked, "Why would you want to watch a girl movie?"

And his answer? "Because she's cute. And she looks good. And I really like her."

Yeah. Major problem. This was said just before he turned, grabbed a plastic sword from the floor and charged his 6 year-old brother while screaming, "Arrghghg!" at the top of his lungs. My DH, as you can well imagine, is thrilled. His boy is both a lover and a fighter. Serious hero material if ever there was one. But to me, he's still my baby.

My Casanova Baby.

One reviewer called the hero in my release, STOLEN FURY, "a modern day Hans Solo-Indiana Jones rogue". As far as comparisons go, I love that one. Rafe is definitely a rogue - a little rough around the edges, a lot sexy, a Casanova who isn't afraid to get down and dirty. My biggest worry now, though? It really has nothing to do with the release of the book, but rather…when the heck did the 3 year-old learn to read? And who on earth told him about my book?!

Anyone else have any other Casanova's in the making? I will admit, the romance author in me finds this quite amusing. The mom? Not so much.

Before I forget…In honor of STOLEN FURY's release, I'm running a FUN, interactive contest on my website. Are you searching for Fortune & Glory? (And who isn't in this economy?) Simply go to to enter and play. Embark on your very own quest, partner up with a sexy treasure hunting guide and enter to win a $100 VISA gift card!

Share image!Enter today!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Headache of Doom

I woke up this morning with a headache and an impending sense of doom. Did you know that 2008 is nearly over? Can anyone tell me how that happened? Where the [bleep!] did this year go?

I feel completely behind on all my projects. I've got reader's proofs in front of me for DEAD IF I DO, which I'm about half way through. Those are due back at the publisher's on January 7th. I've got less than a hundred pages written on its sequel HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD, and that nagging sense that I should be a lot farther along given that that book is due at the beginning of May.


Where did the year go, anyway?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Caught in the act

Anyone who has known me for more than a week knows I'm pretty bad at hiding things. It's good in a way because I don't have to keep any big secrets straight. But it was bad last night.

My husband and I were downstairs, wrapping Santa's gifts for the kids when disaster struck in the form of a four-year-old at the bottom of the stairs. She'd been asleep when we started. Not so much when we had presents strewn all over the downstairs living room. I took her back to bed, where she denied seeing anything. Ya right. I've read enough mystery novels to know what a warm spot at the bottom of the stairs means.

She saw everything. No way we could make those gifts "from us." No way I could possibly return everything and start from scratch today. Once we knew she was back asleep, we holed up in the kitchen to brainstorm The Big Lie.

What could we tell her? We didn't even know how much she saw. Jim had his idea of what to say, I had mine. She found him first this morning and asked about what we were doing. Jim told her she must have dreamed the whole thing. Predictably, our almost-five-year-old was a bit too smart for that. Then she came to me and asked why daddy pretended she was dreaming. I told her that Santa had needed our help wrapping a few things and of course we said yes. But that Santa didn't want her to know, so that's why daddy said what he did. So basically, I lied about Jim's lie to cover up for the fact that there really is no Santa.

Is my nose growing yet?
But I'm a bit relieved because I think she bought it. She now claims she saw Santa downstairs too (another lie for those who are keeping track). In fact, she'd rather we not mention to Santa that she knows he was here early. So I suppose it all worked out. We'll see come Christmas morning...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Yule

I hope you all had a lovely Winter Solstice yesterday: the longest night of the year.

My family and I had been invited to a Yule Vigil on Saturday, but the weather here in Minnesota turned extremely nasty. We had about six inches (or more) of snow fall and then temperatures plummeted into the arctic -11 degrees F. Since my son is only five, I decided it was wisest to stay close to home and light our own Yule fire in the chimenea. Mason, my son, LOVED the idea of tending a fire ALL NIGHT LONG, but we all pooped out close to midnight. I brought in a flame from our outdoor fire and lit a candle that we kept burning all night long (and actually we kept the fire going until this dawn, since Yule was officially on Sunday.)

My parents came up from LaCrosse, Wisconsin to spend the day with us. We opened presents and lit the Yule log. We had homemade wild rice soup and french bread fresh from the oven. A good day, and a cozy way to spend the shortest day of the year.

Hope you're having a good holiday, whichever one you might be celebrating (happy 2nd day of Hanukkah!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ghosts of Christmas Past???

And the winner of last week's contest is Aimdel!! Shoot me an email with your address, and I'll get a copy of THE WITCH'S GRAVE off to you as soon as I receive them!! And btw-I tried a lot of your suggestions-I went out with my girlfriends, cleaned my house, burned candles, read, listened to Christmas music...and made 100 bookmarks (not really Christmas "stuff", but something I needed to get done! 8) ) Yes, the tree is now up and all the decorations are out! (at least all the ones that are coming out this year! 8) ) I feel much, much better!!

Speaking of our Christmas tree-we (actually my oldest daughter and three grandsons. I was in the kitchen cooking!!) decorated the tree last Sunday, so I decided to post a picture. But when I downloaded them, I noticed something peculiar-there are little "fuzzies" in all the pictures. In one of the pictures I've posted, there's one by the clock, one over the cabinet, one over the coffee table, and one over the couch. Reflections of light? A dirty lens? Dust bunnies?...Orbs? I don't know, but whatever they are they're in a different spot in each one of the pictures! (If you click on the picture, you can see them better.) What do you think they are? Post your comment and you'll be entered in the contest to win a copy of THE WITCH'S GRAVE!!

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Christmas rant

I haven't done of these in a long time, so I figure I'll blow off some steam about an issue that really bugs me. I belong to various author loops, and on those loops, I sometimes see people complaining about their agents.

Now first of all, no matter what it claims, a loop is NOT private. That's not the place to air your grievances. It's stupid and it's unprofessional. If you have a problem with your agent, maybe you should put on your big girl panties and write her an email. I did that with my first agent, and it didn't solve anything, but at least I tried. We wound up parting company and I landed with my current fabulous agent, so it was best for all concerned. If you must talk the situation over with someone, use email to a close friend, or IM, or the telephone. Don't tell 1200 strangers why you're pissed off.

Now I move to the second part of my rant. When I see these posts, bitching about this or that (sometimes agent or editor related) I cannot help but think, wow, this person doesn't like being published very much, does she? Do you really think this stuff doesn't get back to the person you're talking about? That's naive. If you have no more care than that for your career, maybe you shouldn't be calling yourself a professional author. Then other people chime in and say stuff like, "Oh, you need to remind your agent who (s)he works for."

No. Big giant resounding no. Your agent doesn't work for you. Unless you pay her a weekly wage, cover 401K and offer benefits, you are not the employer. You are not the boss. Your agent works with you, not for you. It's more of a business partnership. You don't fire your agent if you part ways. You just give thirty days notification of terminating your agreement and move on. Authors have a lamentable tendency to get very full of themselves after they publish a few books.

Please, for the love of god, don't let this happen to you. Only you can prevent douchebaggery. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We interrupt Angie's Facebook session to bring you this blog

I have a real problem and it's getting worse. Soon (hopefully soon) there will be treatment centers opening up across the country. But for now, I'm forced to deal with my Facebook addiction with 188 of my closest friends.

How did it happen? Only a few months ago, I was checking Facebook every few days or so. No biggie. But then I found more friends, and darn it if they're not entertaining. And surprising. Take a look at what Lauren, an old college friend, posted the other day. Talk about a blast from the past, not to mention mall hair. (I'm the one in the second row, doing the bunny ears behind the girl in the plaid hat.)

Maybe that's what's so addicting about Facebook - re-capturing moments of our lives that we forgot about. Or seeing things how other people remember them. Or is it catching up with people via updates? Are you addicted to Facebook? If so, what's your favorite part?

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's on Your List?

My family celebrates both the pagan/Wiccan Yule/Solstice and Christmas. On Yule, we traditionally give each other gifts that are sentimental in value, rather than commercial. It's the time for handmade gifts or coupons that say, "Good for one day to sleep in until 10 am!"

This year, the present I'm MOST hoping for for Yule is a new journal. I'm one of those writers who LOVES all the accouterments that go along with being a writer... I love pens with smooth action, notebooks without lines (so I can sketch and doodle), and anything like that. I would probably be happiest if all I got for Yule/Christmas was six or seven different kinds of pens and notebooks and journals and colored pencils. (I'm also pretty fond of crayons, too, but I currently have a lot in the house thanks to having a five year old at home.)

So what about you? What present are you most hoping for this season (and, yes, feel free to say more books by your favorite author!!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Interactive Adventure! Starring Ethel the Space Pirate

Happy Friday! Today, I'd like to introduce Jess Granger, my critique partner, good friend and an all around awesome writer. She has her first book coming out from Berkley this August. It's called Beyond the Rain and of course I was honored to get the first peek. But while we're waiting for the rest of the world to see Jess's debut, she's been entertaining herself (and everyone else) with a super fun online story called The Many Adventures of Ethel The Space Pirate. It's a choose-your-own-adventure. Here's Jess to tell you more:

Hi everyone, Thank you for inviting me. It's funny how a writer's process changes over the course of trying to get and then stay published. When I started writing, I considered myself a "pantser". For those who aren't familiar with the term, it refers to writing by the seat of your pants. I didn't know where I was going, or what I was doing really, and I kinda didn't care much. The story just came out.

As I gradually learned more about writing, I found I thought ahead much more than I used to. I still considered myself a pantser. For the most part, Beyond the Rain was written off the cuff, then I met my critique partner, the fabulous Angie, and well all that changed. As in, I had to go back and change almost everything. (I love you, Angie, really.)

I officially had to turn in my pantser card just recently as I started work on the sequel to Beyond the Rain. I had not one outline, oh no. I had four.

So in a way, it is freeing to move back to my panster roots and write a serial interactive adventure story on my blog. The Many Adventures of Ethel the Space Pirate is a complete whim. Even the name was a whim. It was the first thing that came into my head when I tried to think of a fun name for a female space pirate. It completely doesn't fit, and so it fits perfectly.

You can join the dashing and sexy Ethel as she searches the galaxy for a hidden treasure and finds herself navigating the tricky waters between two sexy and dashing men. Either one could be the hero of this story. It is up to you to decide. At the end of each episode, you can vote to choose what Ethel does next. The story is in your hands, and completely out of mine. I have no idea where it is going, or what is going to happen.

It's a very freeing way to write. I hope you'll stop by and share the adventure. Who knows, you might just find yourself in the story.

Jess Granger

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ho, ho, ho????

Happy Thursday everyone!! Is anyone else feeling the Christmas jitters?? You know the ones-don't have the tree up, haven't gone Christmas shopping, and Christmas cards??? Forget about it!! I'm trying to deal with them...I really am...but it's like there's a clock ticking away inside my head. Christmas is only TWO weeks away! Throw in that THE WITCH'S GRAVE's release is two weeks and five days away (but who's counting!), and I'm feeling just a tad bit on the stressed side! (so what else is new, right??)

Okay, here's my question, other than being terribly organized, anyone care to share how they deal with this hectic time of year? What do you do to get away from the hustle and bustle? A good soak in a hot tub? A glass of wine? I'm open to any and all suggestions! 8) Any post will put your name in the hat for a signed copy of THE WITCH'S GRAVE!

Oh, two more things before I close. Stop back next week and I'll be giving away more copies. Second thing...I'm having a great time this week blogging on Amber Katze's book blog! Her bloggers are asking terrific questions and I appreciate their interest. (We're giving away copies of THE WITCH'S GRAVE on that site, too!!) So if you're so inclined stop by and check it out!

Got to run-everyone have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We have a winner!

Thanks again to Cynthia Eden for stopping by. We have a winner for an autographed copy of Midnight Sins - Zita H! Drop me an email, Zita, and I'll put you in touch with Cynthia.


I'm percolating a short story for an anthology. I'm catching up on TV, but the power has been fluctuating wildly here. We had a transformer blow and the grid was down for almost twenty-four hours, which kind of sucked.

I'm gearing up for several contests. I'll start the Lauren Dane extravaganza when I have the graphic from Frauke to promote UNDERCOVER, which has been nominated for an RT award and has put her on the bestseller lists. Go, Lauren! I'm also putting together a fun week of authors and prizes for my second annual Early Christmas extravaganza.

Look for that next week. I'll be featuring authors Annie Solomon, Colby Hodge, Gwyneth Bolton, Meljean Brook and Carrie Vaughn. (Can you believe they all agreed to post something on my blog? Yay!)

funny pictures of cats with captions

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why can't life be like a romance novel? ...Just once?

I was writing the third Accidental Demon Slayer book yesterday when I received a gift every writer loves - a "given" scene. It was one of those times where it unfolded perfectly in my head - everything fit together. It was like I was transcribing instead of writing and it was, to put it mildly, a lot of fun. Some writers have even had "given" books. That hasn't happened to me yet, and frankly, I'm quite happy with days like yesterday.

But that kind of ideal morning comes with a catch. It's followed by real life. Now that scene was between Lizzie and Dimitri, the heroine and hero of my book. Sure they have their issues, but all was forgotten yesterday. He knew what she wanted. She knew what to say. He even took her flying (and, yes, I know that doesn't happen in real life - unless people really do date griffins).

I was telling my husband about it when we were relaxing last night. We'll usually spend an hour or so talking before we go to sleep. So as I'm telling him about this perfect interaction, he steals the covers. Dimitri would never do that. Then my husband answers a phone call. Who calls at 10:00 p.m.? A colleague. Dimitri's werewolf buddies haven't done that yet. And I'm pretty sure Dimitri does his own laundry. And he doesn't wear jeans for two hours in the evening and then throw them in the dirty laundry basket.

Which started me wondering - does romance spoil us for real life? Can we really expect our men to act like a guy in a "given" scene on a given day? And if I do say yes to that, will my husband expect me to look as good as Lizzie in a mini skirt?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Book on Amazon!!

My new release which doesn't officially come out until May of 2009 is available for pre-order from I know what you're thinking: Hooray, just in time for Solstice! Exactly! Now go out and buy a million copies for all of your friends, you know they want one (or two... or three.)

But, wait, there's more: if you want to read an excerpt of the first chapter, I've put it up on my website, just for you!

Also, in case you've forgotten. Here's the back cover blurb:

I’ve finally found Mr. Right. Sure, he might not have a pulse, but coming from a girl who’s sharing a body with a short tempered goddess, I’m not one to judge. Sebastian is the vampire of my dreams and I’m dying to walk down the aisle. Everything couldn’t be more perfect.

Well, except for the fact that the awesome band I hired for the reception has been replaced by some guy with an accordion and lederhosen. And the bridesmaids’ dresses somehow got switched to salmon pink taffeta with butt-bows. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that Sebastian’s ex-lover, the zombie-slash-vampire-slash-witch who just happens to be the mother of his undead son, wants the both of us six feet under. Now I know why some girls turn into Bridezilla…

Friday, December 5, 2008

Being Bad…

Happy Friday! Today we're welcoming Cynthia Eden, the uber talented author of Midnight Sins. And wouldn't you know it? She's giving away a copy right here. Today. You can think of it as an early Christmas present. So without further ado, here's Cynthia.

Hi, everyone! It’s great to be back here with the wicked authors. Angie—thank you very much for the invite.

I love the tagline for this blog…Something Wicked…

You see, lately, I’ve started to really enjoy wicked characters. Heroes who aren’t 100% heroic. Those guys who’ve got more than a touch of the bad. I like those guys. Call them anti-heroes, call them bad boys. I just like the men who dance a bit with the dark side.

And you know what? I like for my heroines to dance with the darkness, too. I like a woman who isn’t perfect. A woman who has a past, who has her own inner demons (or, um, is a demon). And I like for her to be strong.

After all, a wilting flower couldn’t really put up with the bad boys of today’s romance novels.
I’ve got a heroine with a dark side in bookstores right now. Cara Maloan, the heroine of my very recently released MIDNIGHT SINS, isn’t your average girl-next door. She’s a succubus—one with a very shady history. You know that thin line between good and evil? Well, she has jumped that line once or twice.

But Cara’s character wants more than just darkness. She also wants light—and a chance at love. Funny thing about love…in the fairy tales, you never hear about the handsome prince running off with the wicked step-mother. The wicked witch never gets her happily ever after. And I wonder—why not? Villains (and certainly villainesses) need love, too.

But what about you? How do you feel about “bad” characters? Do you like your heroes and heroines to be a bit wicked? Or do you prefer for your characters to have never tangled with the dark?

Leave me a comment and you could win an autographed copy of MIDNIGHT SINS. And thanks for checking out my post!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Winners Are!!!

And the winners from last week's contest are...(drum role please!)...


Shoot me an email ( with your name and address and I'll get signed copies of WITCH WAY TO MURDER, CHARMED TO DEATH, and THE TROUBLE WITH WITCHES off to you!

Thanks to everyone for posting, and not to worry, with THE WITCH'S GRAVE's release coming up December 30th, I'm planning on doing more contests to celebrate, so please stop back!

And speaking of stopping by, if you're so inclined this weekend, cruise by Starting December 7th through December 14th, Amber is graciously posting an interview that we did. She had great questions for me, and I hope you all enjoy reading my answers!! (P.S. prizes are involved for those who stop by!!) Also, I'll be visiting her blog that week and I'll try and answer any additional questions that anyone might have.

That's it for now-everyone have a terrific weekend and I'll see you next week!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In which I wallow in my geekery because it's chic-ery.

Gamers, unite! The following is a slightly cleaned up chat about FALLOUT 3, which was my most recent obsession. If you don't like games, you won't want to read this. Names have been changed where necessary to protect the guilty. In reading this, it's kind of a cool interview and a glimpse at what I talk about when I can't sleep at midnight and I find somebody willing to put up with my ramblings.

Warning, warning! Fallout spoilers ahoy!

Ok, so here's the story... I played Fallout obsessively for several days on my PC. Until I got mouse-hand. Ever had mouse-hand? It hurts.

Gamer-friend: i hate mouse-hand

me: It's all crampy.

i get it constantly

me: So I laid off it. And I was close to solving it. I'm in the whatchallit bunker. Trying to go see the president asshat. (also known as Eden)

Gamer-friend: heh. damn, you're super close to finishing it. like, 30 mins away

me: And they have decided instead of VIP, I'm now a KoS. My dog is gone. And I lost Charon. Sonsabitches Which pissed me off.

Gamer-friend: are you playing as eeeeevil?

me: Nope. I'm white hat all the way. I bought Charon's contract like a good girl. (Then he killed the dude and I stole all my stuff back)

heh, nice

me: I opened his safe :D But I had bad mouse-hand. (And questionable person hygiene)

oh lord

me: So I decided I had better go be a normal person.

Gamer-friend: = )

me: And I stopped playing.

Gamer-friend: well, you are super-de-close to the end. BTW, i'd love to hear your take on the main plot once you're done

Meanwhile, Andres got the game for 360. See, that's the problem. I was stuck somewhere shortly before. So I looked it up. And I wound up reading the end. In the walkthrough. So I know what happens.


me: that kind of killed my motivation to go forward.

Gamer-friend: i'm the same way. if i know what's coming, it's no fun

me: Coz my choice is to die or sacrifice Lyons? or w/e?
I'm like, blerg.
That sucks.

Gamer-friend: honestly, the ending and the plotting sucks

me: I have to admit I had loved the game and a HALF up til that point.
But just from what I read in the spoiler (not on purpose) I'm not too keen on getting to the ending.
So instead of going headfirst to the suckage... I started over on 360.
And I'm trying to be evil enough to get Jericho, but I keep getting karma for random shit. I'm running around stealing everything that isn't nailed down.

Gamer-friend: heh
just build up some levels and then kill everyone in sight

me: But I kind of got bored playing klepto.
And I just can't play a toon who will just murder random people for no reason.
Hi, nice to see you, BLAM in TEH FACE! I always end up a lightside jedi too.

i usually don't either but i must say that it was rather pleasant to go back to megaton and let Moriarty have it

me: I've never successfully played darkside.
i tried once.
But I just couldn't say the cheesy darkside dialog.
The whole, will you please help me, NO, I will crush you like a bug! angle doesn't work for me.
I need more of a reason.

Gamer-friend: yeah, it's usually pretty over-the-top

me: So while I haven't played through the Fallout endgame, I'm dreading it.

Gamer-friend: well i think the peripheral stories are way better than the main one, for sure

Because I had been so totally enamored, so dizzy in love, that I didn't want to fall face first in the crapping end. I was pretty flippin' pissed off when they killed Liam Neeson. I was like, ffs, I been chasin' this bastard for 18 levels!
Or w.e.
Now we had five mins together and he's iced?
I want him to call me sweetheart again.

Gamer-friend: yeah, seriously. that was misplayed

me: (in my world he is NOT my dad.)

Gamer-friend: heh
in my game, it was super retarded... i had Fawkes (the good mutant) who can withstand radiation, and i was like "why don't YOU go in there???"

me: :D

Gamer-friend: my ending made NO sense
and he is my dad in my world. so i'm gonna let that lie

me: I helped him and made a deal for the GECK
Or whatever
Fawkes that is.
I understand he will join me later on if I want him to.
after I escape from something or other.

Gamer-friend: yeah, he kicks all sorts of crazy ass with his chaingun

me: But then I just got majorly bummed at the idea that somebody's gotta die to end the game.
But I was kind of bummed over losing Charon too.
I build up imaginary relationships with my NPCs to entertain myself.
Like, I'm such a tool that I RELOAD if the flippin' dog dies.
Whoop, Dogmeat bit it. Gotta reload.

Gamer-friend: well, you can play through a chunk of it and just wait for the new DLC coming soon, just to avoid the end
keeping the dog alive is like, mission impossible

me: And it's not that I can't fight without him. He's my dog, k?
I can't kill him.
I've done it.

Gamer-friend: you gotta drop him off at home, and then lock him up

me: he was alive and well with me when they kidnapped me.
I didn't.
He went with me all the way.

Gamer-friend: serious?!?

me: Yeps.
If he bit it, I reloaded.

Gamer-friend: whoa, that's pretty hardcore... he gets killed in like, two shots

me: But for me it wasn't a huge issue coz I went heavy sniper . sneak.

Gamer-friend: ah

me: I'd kill em in a headshot.
blam blam blam.
He seldom got to tank.
he was there for company and to find me shit.
Go get me ammo, boy! good dog!

did he ever not come back?

me: Nope.
I wonder if positive reinforcement matter.
I was always telling him, "good dog!"
I never told him bad dog.

Gamer-friend: i was all stoked to get him and then he kept running off and getting wasted. i had to pull a loner on him and move on

me: Ahhh.
Poor Dogmeat.
I had no trouble with him, but my spec path was geared to protect him.

Gamer-friend: i felt bad, but there was only so much i could do.

me: I went small guns, sneak, sniper, lockpick, science, medicine.
Those were my highest ones.
Speech was good too.

Gamer-friend: i was small guns, repair, medicine, lockpick, speech

But I couldn't use anything else, weapons wise.
Useless with the big stuff.
And lasers.
But a headshot with an AR would explode almost anything.
Toward the end, I could one-shot a master.
Which was totally freaking awesome.
And I took high critical feats / perks as well.
(I did this to protect a fictional dog. There's something wrong with me.)

yeah, popping around a corner with a shotgun worked pretty well for me... i think i found one sniper rifle the whole game
nah, that's props-worthy
i'm gonna have to ask you about that for the games piece

me: Which was why I was SOOOO pissed off when they just stole his ass from me.
I was like, TEH FUCK, mate.
I devoted countless hours to saving that damn dog.
You stole my dog!!!

Gamer-friend: that's gotta burn

Oh, the anguish.
Of losing my crazy-eyed dog.
he was heterochromatic.
Did you notice?

no, he didn't live long enough

me: So that's kinda why I lost interest. To be perfectly honest. (Coz I lost my dog.)
I also had mouse-hand.
And questionable hygiene.
But a true gamer wouldn't have quit without a serious reason that close to the end.
The dog was just the last straw.
I said, This, this cannot stand.
And I turned it off.

i can respect that. that's pretty 'core.

me: And you know, maybe if I had some faith I would get my dog back, it would be worth fighting on.
But I don't think they're gonna give him back to me.

Gamer-friend: nah, it ain't gonna happen.

me: And I'm, like, retardedly sad about that.
Coz I really worked like a mf'er to keep that dog with me.
I speced around a dog!

And thus ends The Ballad of Dogmeat (or the secret reason I still haven't solved FALLOUT 3.)

The End.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany. Those are the Christmas lights.

I can't tell you how excited I am that the holiday season is here - I love the lights, the decorations and especially putting up the tree (taking it down is another matter). And so begins the annual Fox family debate - what kind of tree to get.

My husband grew up in an "artificial tree" family. He believes in economy - grab that puppy from the basement, have it up in under a half hour, maybe spray some pine-scent and start decorating.

If only it could be so simple.

For, you see, I tend to channel the spirit of Clark Griswold during the holiday season. And worse, I come from a real tree family. And not just a "tree lot" tree family - my dad had us out early the weekend after Thanksgiving, hoofing it across massive Christmas tree forests, looking for the perfect one. We'd spent all morning walking - and goofing around - but all in search of the not-too-tall, not-too-short, no-bald-spots, does-it-have-the-right-kind-of-needles, long-enough-trunk, my-brother-did-NOT-see-it-first masterpiece of a tree. We'd take turns chopping it down and then my dad would haul it back out of the woods.

The first year we were married, I tried to re-create this tradition with my husband, the spray-on pine scent guy. He was cautiously optimistic. I picked the wrong tree farm. It was literally a long field flanked by other people's backyards. He laughed. And finally, I did too. It was fun. The tree was pretty. And we vowed ... next year would be spectacular.

Then we had one kiddo, and two. My husband began to point out ads for artificial trees - on sale! (Yeah, I'm a sucker for a sale.) But, no. While I'm not going to channel Clark Griswold to the point of dashing out to the woods with two small children and a hack saw, I still need a real tree.

So we head to the lot up at church. My husband talks with the guys, we all pick out a tree and it's just as pretty as the ones we dragged home years ago. But day...I'm going to get these people back out into the woods.

Now what about you? Are you an "artificial tree" person or a "real tree" person? And do you know any good tree farms?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary (to Me!)

Today is the day my partner and I celebrate TWENTY-TWO years together.

Yeah, that's what I call a romance.