Friday, December 25, 2009

Here's a Christmas Gift for you: Ready to win an eReader?

The Samhellion is giving away Sony and Kindle e-readers during the month of December and I'm part of the fourth and final round!

The contest rules are posted at The Samhellion. All you have to do is go to my website,, and try to find the "icon" I've been asked to hide. Once you find it, write down the location and go looking for the next one on the next author listed site. After you've found them all, go back to The Samhellion, and enter the contest for a chance to win!

What a great way to end the year and start a new one - happy hunting and good luck!

Oh, and because you're here, I'll give you a hint of where to find my icon:  Think BOOKS!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Smooches under the mistletoe!

Ever wonder about the tradition of kissing beneath the mistletoe?  I did and yet my mind got stuck on one little, tiny, bit of information:  "The appearance and nature of the fruit's content (viscin) is very similar to or suggestive of human semen and this has strengthened its pagan connections." Wikipedia

I didn't see this anywhere else, but like I said, it stuck in my head and makes me look at the ball of tradition a little differently.  I'm not so keen to stand beneath it, although this lost bit of the tradition brings a little bit of the fun back into seeing it hanging:  "The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases."  Christmas Eve by Washington Irving found quoted on About:Landscaping  Kissing Under the Mistletoe by David Beaulieu

Let the fun times beneath the mistletoe commence.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hump Day Reflections

Santa is taking a little rest before getting busy in a couple of days.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Talk!

Whether its been a job application or social media, travel is always listed as one of my favorite things to do and boy, have I gone on some great trips.  When I make these trips, sometimes there's a story I'm there to research, but then there are those times one builds up while I'm there.  My intention is to put the reader right there, in the chair beside me, in whatever location things may be taking place.

A few places I've been and brought between the covers are:

New York [The Painted Lady, Come Sweet Creature, The Leather Bride]

California [Extreme Speed Total Control, An Invitation to the World: China, Drive-In, OohRah!, And She Scores! - coming in February, Call Me Lucifer - coming in March]

United Kingdrom [Extreme Speed Total Control (Scotland), The Gilded Cage (England), Highland Heat (Scotland), My Angel (England) - coming in May]

France [Taming Marie Antoinette]

India [An Invitation to the World: India]

Happy travels, be it in person or by book!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Naughty thought for Monday...

Baby, it's cold outside, but it some cases, making things hotter may not be the right thing to do.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who is the big guy wearing red?

Seriously, who is that jolly old gent we welcome into our home, and accept gifts from him?

Well, the man called Santa Claus started out in the 4th Century as Saint Nicholas of Myra, a bishop known for giving gifts to the poor. This led me to thinking if this why many charities reach far and wide for help during the holidays. I certainly enjoy giving, to family and friends, and those who need it most.

One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is pulling a name off a gifting tree set up in bookshops. Maybe it's because I like spending time in those places, but reading is something I think everyone, of all ages, should be excited to do. I usually pick out one of the older kids, more of a challenge to give them something they want, like, and touches that place that makes them want to read more.

If you're shy of money, then I have another suggestion: go visit your local senior center or home and spend some time with the folks there. Maybe take a book to read, everyone loves to hear "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement C. Moore. You could make the same offer to your library, it's will put a smile on your face, and those listening as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hump Day Reflections!

Model David Gandy wearing this hat helps make thinking warm thoughts, happen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Book Talk!

I am one of those women who love a variety of sports and so this is an interesting time for me. You see, this is the time of year when some sports are coming into their season and others are ending. Whether championships or games where they players are still finding their rhythm as a team, the games are good fun to watch.

Okay, now you know a secret of mine, you won't be surprised to know sports have shown up in a few of my books. They are:

The Painted Lady - Ice Hockey
Extreme Speed, Total Control - Car Racing
An Invitation to the World: New Zealand - Rugby
Zandia - Speedball [Futuristic and twisted around version of Basketball]
And She Scores! - Football [coming in February]


Monday, December 14, 2009

Naughty Thought for Monday

Ummm, what?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Are you ready for this?

I've recently told you how to make that special mug of sweetness, a yummy treat usually consumed during the holidays in England, and last week I gave you a bunch of British flicks to watch. Well, ttoday, I'm feeling more contemporary, so here are a few films to put you in Jolly Ol' without having to pack a suitcase:

My Beautiful Laundrette
Love Actually
Full Monty
Rock n Rolla
Death at a Funeral

Fun times!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Have a holiday party to go to and no time to make anything?

In my case it's a lack of skill and attention that led me to learn how to make Mince Pies.  They are very simple to make and don't take long either.  So here you go, something for workmates, neighbors, relatives, or yourself - a little something to put you in the holiday frame of mind.

Here we go, Mince Pies:

You need flour, sugar, milk, rolling pin, two different sized glasses, teaspoon, anti-stick method [I use Pam, but anything will do], muffin tray for mini muffins [bite size :-)], pastry for pies [I use Pillsbury, yup, told you it was easy], and Mincemeat. 

This comes in basic mincemeat and the other is with Brandy and Rum.  I've used both, but the latter is my favorite - can't taste it, but it does add a little unique flavor to the mix. 

Now, like there are recipes for the pastry, there is help around the next for making your own mincemeat.  Good on you for going there, but I get the Crosse & Blackwell.  You'll find it in your local supermarket in the "baking aisle" or in the "holiday aisle".  There are other brands, but after ten years of making these, C&B is my preferred brand.

Throw a bit of flour on your counter, roll out the pastry, not too much, but some.  Now take the larger glass and cut out your bases.  After making sure your tin is sticky proofed, gently push the pastry disk down into the muffin holes.  Gently.  Don't press the pastry to the sides and don't leave anything poking up, should be flush.

Next, use your teaspoon, put a dollop of mincemeat into the pastry cup, making sure you don't overfill.  When all the holes are filled, use your smaller glass, cut out the tops, and lay them on top.  You may have to put scraps together in a ball and roll it out again, but that's fine.

The last thing you do before cooking them is have a small bit of milk in a dish, dip two fingers into it, and gently [again with the gently] paint the top.  Now you're ready to cook them.

Cook at 425, middle of the oven, for about 15 minutes.

When you pull them out, they will be seriously hot - especially the mix - give them a couple minutes [no more] to cool down.  Using a knife tip, release the mince pie from the cup and place them on a cooling rack.  When you have them all there, add a pinch of sugar to each top, and there you go:  Mince Pies.

They taste great whilst still warm and with brandy butter on them, but they are good any way you can get them.  You'll often find Hard Sauce by C&B being sold beside the Mincemeat, as well as Plum Pudding, which the hard sauce can also be used on - well, after you've lit it up that is - but that's another thing.


Friday, December 11, 2009

A bit of random ridiculousness...


A woman was in a coma. She had been in it for months.

Nurses were in her room giving her a bed bath. One of them was washing her private area and noticed that there was a slight response on the monitor whenever she touched her there. They tried it again and sure enough, there was definite movement.

They went to her husband and explained what happened, telling him, 'As crazy as this sounds, maybe a little 'Oral sex' will do the trick & bring her out of the coma'.

The husband was sceptical, but they assured him that they would close the curtains for privacy. The husband finally agreed and went into his wife's room.

After a few minutes the woman's monitor flat lined, no pulse, no heart rate. The nurses run back into the room. 'What happened!?' they cried.

The husband said, 'I'm not sure; maybe she choked.'


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Art Day

The Frenchman Hippolyte Delaroche, also known as Paul Delaroche, painted 'The Execution of Lady Jane Grey' in 1833 and it now hangs in the National Gallery, London.

During my first trip abroad, I went to to the National Gallery, and remember sitting in front of this painting, entranced. It was her satin gown that held my attention. The texture was so real, so incredibly executed, I wanted to reach out and touch it, still do.

A few historical movies I've watched that will put you in that English frame of mind are:

Lady Jane
A Room With a View
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Duchess
Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Pride and Prejudice, BBC version

Yup, a few weeks ago I was in a beach frame of mind, well, now I'm in an English frame of mind. No sand, sun, or surf, but scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam from Bettys Cafe, pints of Black Sheep with a chip butty and scraps, and a bag or two of Walkers Smoky Bacon or Worcester Sauce crisps all sound great as well.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hump Day Reflections!

Photo by Kemuel Valdes and found on OHLALA Magazine

Sand is looking pretty good here!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Book Talk!

I'm working on 'Double Punch', which will be followed up by 'Cyra's Cyclopes' [you met them in 'Hephaestus Lays Down the Law'], and I suddenly realized that the Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses have shown up in my writing before, and I don't mean any other book in the Mythological Messes Redux series.

They show up in 'The Painted Lady', part of the Winter Wishes Anthology.

The heroine, Saffron Hoyt, is a model doing a private commission as her last photoshoot. She's retiring because she doesn't want to watch her weight anymore. The gig involves having her body painted so she blends into a variety of paintings/sculpture such as Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus, Peter Paul Ruben's Leda and the Swan, and the Venus de Milo.

There is also an important appearance by Janus in 'New Beginnings: Carpe Diem'.

You haven't heard of him? Well, he isn't Greek, he's Roman, but he fit so perfectly, I had to go with him. You see, the escapees need are searching for a name to suit their new piece of paradise and the heroine, Maris, who was a librarian, suggests Janus. Amongst other things, he was the god of civilization, beginnings and endings, and blessed with a benevolent personality. Perfect.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Stuff from a writer...


What is that?
It's a necessity and something a writer does to better understand a particular thing. One of your goals is to write a story that puts the reader right there alongside your hero and heroine. To do that, you need to know about whatever it is you're writing about from all angles.

How long does it take?
Don't be stingy, take as long as is necessary.

Where do I go, the library?
Absolutely! You can go to your local library and troll through the shelves, or go with a list of specific books. You can also do research online, by asking questions or conducting interviews of people who would know, or experience it for yourself.

I'm writing fiction, doesn't that mean it's all made up?
Hmmm, to a certain extent, yes, you are making the plot and characters up. However, if there is anything or anyplace that is real, say like New York City, then it must be handled correctly. If you don't and it slips by your editor as well, then you can be sure a reader will call you out on it. And they should, because you pulled them out of the story by not doing your research.

Let me give you an example of using research from a variety of sources. A friend of mine recommended I visit a particular cafe while in Paris. I found it detailed in my travel guide and checked out the map to see if there was anything around it I might want to see. All this was in preparation for a trip, not a research session.

Okay, there's the back story, and in reality, it led to Taming Marie Antoinette. One of the scenes that pulled it all together was when the heroine goes to a cafe to do some work and eat a late lunch:

Liana entered the historic sweet shop Ladurée and sighed, feeling lighter in spirit already. She loved this place with a passion, its marble black and white checkerboard floor, with dark wood and glass cases full of sugared treats. This was a place she could see herself living in if given the choice. Off to the right, behind a screen and a few tall plants was an ornate and intimate dining room full of mirrors, gilding and cherubs on the ceiling. When her turn came, she requested a seat for one and told the woman she’d be eating lunch as well.

Settling into one of the bench seats backed up against the wall, she set the menu down and looked around the room. There was a wonderful mix of people. Lovers, friends, business meetings and even a few tourists, almost filled the space. The seat across the table from her was empty, which suited her. She pulled out her notebook and a couple of colored pencils from her coat pocket.

A few moments later the waitress, wearing a white apron, came up and took her order.

Bonjour. Bonjour. Etes-vous prêt?

Oui, s'il vous plaît, une omelette sans les champignons ou les tomates, une cruche d'eau et un pot de chocolat chaud.” She always ordered a pot of hot chocolate whenever she was here but rarely an omelet. Although they were good, there was no way she’d eat anything with a mushroom and tomato within sniffing distance but today she wanted the fluffy egg item so asked for one without the offending items.


She didn’t have to wait long after ordering. The jug of water and pot of chocolate came before the omelet. She poured a small glass of water and took a sip, before moving on to the good stuff. She enjoyed watching the thick molten chocolate silently slip into her delicate cup. Picking up the hot pink and gold china, her eyes automatically shut as she inhaled the delicious aroma. Moving the rim to rest on her lower lip, Liana tilted the cup and poured a small amount of warm decadence to hold in her mouth before swallowing.


“Excuse me, mademoiselle.”

“Oh! I’m so sorry.”

Est-ce que ça vous ennuierait partageant votre table avec un autre?

Startled, she’d been so lost in the chocolate she hadn’t noticed the young woman standing close to the side of her table asking if she’d be comfortable with having another person share her table.

Oui, oui, of course.”

It was common to have to share a table in the small space. Coming after the lunch crowd was because she preferred not to, but would never think to put the staff out by saying no. Moving her notebook and pencils to the bench beside her, she shifted her beverage paraphernalia closer, making sure there was space available for the other person.

Out of her peripheral vision, she saw a large presence in a dark suit sit in the chair opposite, but didn’t look up. She hadn’t come here for idle repartee.

“Thank you for making room for me.”

The familiar deep, sexy growl brought gooseflesh racing up her arms. Immediately her eyes flicked up to meet sharp green orbs with soft brown flecks. Were they the same ones she’d seen surrounded by a black half mask? Quickly she took in his hair, general physique, and gasped in surprise.

Oui, we meet again, Liana.”

Her heart started racing. She was sharing her table with one of the twins from the Depravity Dance.
Copyright © 2007, 2008 Tilly Greene

Did all that happen during my visit to the cafe? Nope, but I imagine you can pick out what did. The decor, the food [and yes the hot chocolate was divine], the type of people who were there, and then poetic license took over. So, my advice in regards to doing research is simple:

Do the research, do it well and in depth. Take notes and pictures to refer back to. Then, when it comes to writing, the details will flow along with the words.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A bit of random ridiculousness...

Little Known Baseball Fact

The first testicular guard (Cup) was used in baseball in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1934.

It took 60 years for men to realize that the brain is also important.

Thank you, WooWoo, this was a hoot!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I equally enjoy...

blockbuster, not so blockbuster, and foreign language to me films. They're all entertaining.

Normally, if there is a "blockbuster" I want to see, I go to the theater when it's released to watch it, and then I'm done with it. Because of where I live, the not so big flicks are harder to find in a theater, and so I rent them up from Hollywood Video. Unfortunately, the foreign language to me films are harder still to find and are the ones I tend to buy to watch over and over again.

Some I have seen over the years and remember for one reason or another are in no particular order:

Babbette's Feast [Babettes gæstebud]
May Fools [Milou en mai]
The Triplets of Belleville [Les triplettes de Belleville]
The Story of Qui Ju [Qiu Ju da guan si]
Pan's Labyrinth [El laberinto del fauno]
Queen Margot [La reine Margot]

I've been watching foreign films from an early age and I think they not only opened my eyes to countries other than my own, but they also gave me the desire to explore them, their culture and people. I'm lucky enough to do this in person, but strongly believe it can also be done through books/ebooks as well.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Book Talk!

The small beach town I visited for Thanksgiving has two independent bookshops and both have their top ten bestseller lists for the week of November 22 in the local paper. Here are the two lists:

1. Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin

2. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

3. The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

4. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

5. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

6. August Heat by Andrea Camilleri

7. Fool by Christopher Moore

8. In the President's Secret Service by Ronald Kessler

9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

10. Open by Andrew Agassi

1. Hollywood Monster: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of Your Dream by Robert Englund

2. Making Music: Unique Ways Songs Become Hits by John Gregory

3. Roll Call by Glenn Langohr

4. Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders by Josh Clark

5. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

6. Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin

7. My Life in France by Julia Child

8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

9. Push by Sapphire

10. Art Damanged by Nora Novak

Less than a mile separates these two shops but they appeal to different readers and both happily order anything they don't have in the shop. Even better!