Thursday, November 15, 2007

Soon it will be Christmas in July!

Every year it seems like the Christmas holiday marketing push gets started just a little earlier than the one before. But never has it seemed as bad as this year!

I was shocked when two weeks before Halloween, 10/31, I saw Christmas decorating materials at Walmart. Two full Weeks before Halloween! Heck, nothing is supposed to happen until the day after Thanksgiving, right?

Finding the stuff at Walmart was shock enough, but then it got worse. I went Arby's on 11/12 and they were playing Christmas MUSIC! Two weeks before Thanksgiving! Walmart had already driven things up a notch, adding more decorations for purchase, Christmas cards, tableware, and more. but Christmas music? Already?

What are these people thinking?

My husband couldn't be more pleased. He has a soft spot for Christmas music and can't get enough of the stuff. But to me, it just feels wrong. Christmas time has always been the time between Thanksgiving and New Years. Now it looks to be getting longer and longer while starting earlier and earlier.

I'm not trying to be a Grinch here, but enough is enough!

I realize merchants want to make money, but at what point are they taking things too far? They're already there in my opinion. I like Christmas as much as the next person, but too much of any one thing and it loses its meaning, its effect, its enjoyment. (Unless you're obsessed and even then there are limits...)

If they have their way, merchants will soon start getting things revved up for Christmas as early as July.

Bah humbug!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dark Lullaby - Guest Blog Entry - Mayra Calvani

At a trendy Turkish tavern one Friday night, astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz meets a mysterious young woman. Captivated by her beauty as well as her views on good and evil, he spends the next several days with her. Soon, however, he begins to notice a strangeness in her--her skin's abnormally high temperature, her obsession with milk products, her child-like and bizarre behavior as she seems to take pleasure in toying with his conscience. The young woman, Kamilah, invites him to Rize, Turkey, where she claims her family owns a cottage in the woods. In spite of his heavy workload and the disturbing visions and nightmares about his sister's baby that is due to be born soon, Gabriel agrees to go with her.
But nothing, not even the stunning splendour of the Black Sea, can disguise the horror of her nature. In a place where death dwells and illusion and reality seem as one, Gabriel must now come to terms with his own demons in order to save his sister's unborn child, and ultimately, his own soul…

"Who's that woman?" Gabriel demanded.
"I don't know."
"Don't tell me you don't know. I saw the way she looked at you--the way you looked at her."
"She's just an old woman, a silly superstitious old woman."
Gabriel was sure Kamilah lied. He grasped her by the shoulders and turned her to him. "Why was she afraid of you?"
Kamilah laughed, her cheeks flushed. "Listen to what you're saying. Why would she be afraid of me?"
"I don't know. But it's a fact that she gasped when she saw you, that she was afraid."
She shrugged. "She must have mistaken me for somebody else."
"But why did you look at her like that? I saw your face."

She scowled. "I don't know what you're talking about. Obviously you misread my face." She wrestled away from his grip. "I want to go home."


"Yes, home. To the forest. To the cottage." She stomped her foot and kept going, leaving him behind.
Craning his neck, Gabriel looked back toward the scarf stand but the old woman was gone. "Damn!" he muttered. He trotted after Kamilah.
Kamilah started running, her shrill, childish laugh defying him. Never stopping, she ran all the way to the mountain trail. With the heavy backpack and his sore leg muscles, Gabriel had a hard time keeping up with her. People turned to stare at them. Desperate to catch up with Kamilah, Gabriel clashed into a man as he crossed the street.
Gabriel muttered a curse. He felt like strangling Kamilah. Her erratic behavior was wearing thin.
"Wait!" he shouted when he saw her going up the trail.
She glanced back over her shoulder and flashed him a feral grin, her flushed cheeks contrasting deeply with her brilliant eyes. "You cannot catch me, you cannot catch me!" She sang loudly in monotone, between gasps. "You cannot catch me, you cannot catch me!"
As Gabriel ran after her the dull pain on the right side of his ribcage came back. He halted, panting. He leaned forward with his hands on his slightly bent knees and his eyes shut to concentrate on the ache. Massaging the painful area, he made an effort to regain his breath. When he looked again to the trail Kamilah had vanished into the woods. The hell with her. If she thought he would run after her and play her little hunting games, she was mistaken. He would very calmly find his own way back to the cottage. He reached into his backpack for the bottle of water and took a big gulp. After resting for several minutes the pain lessened and he felt better. In the deep chambers of his brain an alarm went off--for the first time the pain in his torso began to seriously worry him. He didn't think it had anything to do with indigestion or any exotic virus or bacteria. Words like tumor and cancer flashed through his mind but he tried to shove them away. He couldn't think about this now. Once back in Baltimore he would go to a doctor and have a complete examination.
He'd been hiking for about an hour when a sound came from deep within the woods. Gabriel stopped, his head turning to the source. The sound was familiar… the distant shrill murmur of children playing. As suddenly as the sound had appeared, it vanished. Goose bumps rose on his arms. Had he imagined it? He massaged the sides of his head while drops of sweat trickled down his back. The burning sun and the humidity didn't help clear his mind. After taking a few deep breaths, he continued his way up the trail.
About a quarter of an hour later he heard the sound again. This time it appeared closer. Gabriel stopped and peered into the woods. He closed his eyes and concentrated on identifying the sound. Yes… the shrill murmur of small children playing. Ridiculous but true. Gabriel decided to investigate. Once under the canopy of the trees, moist coolness and shadows enveloped him. He welcomed the feeling and continued deeper into the woods, the ground soft and mushy under his boots. After a few minutes it struck him the sound wasn't getting closer or farther. Even though it was distant, it seemed to be everywhere, all around him. Tilting back his head, he stared at the dense canopy of trees. Soft beams of light filtered down. He turned around slowly, light-headed and somewhat dizzy. For an instant he felt himself floating as the distant murmur of children caressed his mind.
"Kamilah!" he shouted. "Kamilah!" He stopped turning and stood immobile, listening to his own heavy breathing, to his thudding heart. "Kamilah, I know you're here somewhere! Stop playing games!" He scanned the surroundings. Something about the tree trunks caught his eye. Their surface wasn't smooth as normal tree trunks. Lines marred the surface, natural lines which seemed to come from within the bark itself.
The lines, as if carved by a human hand, appeared to be forming something. As realization dawned on Gabriel he gasped and stumbled back, nearly falling on the ground. He looked around him, terrified. Each tree trunk portrayed a different face… a baby face, crying, the mouth wide open in anguished misery. The shrill murmur of children became louder than ever. And then Gabriel understood it, heard it clearly. This wasn't the murmur of children playing. This was the sorrowful crying of infants. He ran back toward the trail as fast as his legs would allow him.
For more on Dark Lullaby, readers may go to my website, My blog is

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Thursday, November 08, 2007


In many ways 2007 has been an incredibly odd year. It's been ripe with a lot of torture, but also a lot of unexpected opportunities. I got to experience one such opportunity this past Sunday. (As an author I could NOT pass this up.)

Through work, due to a new client we're dealing with, I, along with several fellow workers, and our significant others, got to spend a close up and personal day at the Texas Motor Speedway.

The Texas Motor Speedway is a huge race track facility where two of the thirty eight races run each year are held. The facility can hold 150,000 people. Traffic in the area becomes a veritable nightmare during certain times of the day for four days. And some people show up there and hold a continuous four day party till its time to drag themselves home Sunday night, and some on Monday morning.

The first thing that hit me (aside from the size of the place) was how on the outside of the long structure we had a veritable mini State Fair going on. Huge vendor displays, tricked out cars, virtual reality simulations, corn dogs, turkey legs, inflatable seat vendors, a veritable zoo of people and this was only 9:30 am! The race wouldn't start till 2:30PM.

Of course we ended up parking by Gate 1, so ended up having to walk all the way across as it turned out the Sprint/Nextel stage we were to use as a meeting point was all the way to Gate 7, so I got to take a good look at a lot of vendors. We met up with some of our fellows and then were met by our host from the Nascar Members Club. He was able to get a golf cart (which saved us miles of walking) and got us set up with a purple Cold Pass for the day. Once everyone was set, we were off.

Got a look at the helicopter landing field for drivers, the sea of RV's of weekend race fans, special tent areas for other. There's even a building with condos that overlook the racetrack.

A road and small tunnel later
and we were within the racetrack proper. Making use of the interior space, there were more RV zones, a small restaurant, pit zones, and our destination - The Garage.

The Garage is the area where the drivers and their teams set up the long rigs with their cars. Bays are also located there where they can work on the autos and also get them inspected. The whole zone is gated and has security cameras and guards. Only people with special passes are allowed in there. We got in.

Our guide pointed out the different trailers and how they'd been placed in order of ranking. All of them were plastered with the sponsor names and logos, many with plastic boxes with promo material on the drivers. Many drivers were there incognito, so if you were not someone in the know, they could walk right by you and never be noticed. We were all gawking despite our lack of Nascar knowledge, looking for drivers and other celebrities that tend to congregate at the Garage. We did see the Nascar president and several older drivers as well as many who would be in that days race.

We got to tour the pits, and even the track itself. They had a concert with a cool band sporting a mean banjo player. I was bopping all over the place! As special guests, we got to be on the physical track and but a small barrier away from the entertainment. Later the Major of Fort Worth spoke to everyone, they had some fan contest winners, Nick Nowatski (sp?) from the Dallas Mavericks, and Vince Vaughn. Then they held driver introductions. By this time our guide had moved our small group off to one side, as he knew which way the drivers would exit the place. I was 5 feet of less from them as they went past snapping away with my camera.

The whole thing was like a giant circus show~! And hour by hour you could see the stands filling up.

After inspection, the cars got pushed out to their positions by the pit crews, and the special pass people herded off the track.

We stood by the M&M pit and watched the race start. After 3 pace laps, they let them loose! The most amazing thing was the noise. While all the cars were still together, you would hear the wave of sound as it went around the track and then nothing, as they made the last bend, then wham as it came right toward you.

It was amazing! A totally awesome day. And I have tons of pictures!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Willing Sacrifice - YA Fantasy - Now Available!

Well, after a long wait and battling the Curse of the Cover - Willing Sacrifice is finally out!!!

Willing Sacrifice
To save the world she must die! Or does she?

For as long as she can remember, La'tiera has known her purpose, her destiny. As the Bearer of the Eye, she will wait until the appointed time then sacrifice herself to the demons so the lands will be safe.
Yet as the time approaches, she is snatched from her home by strangers and is told it is for her protection. These strangers tell her she is not to be a sacrifice, but must fight to live in order for the world to be saved.
La'tiera will not be swayed, however, her duty clear. Despite their clever lies, she will follow through on her destiny and do what is required. Her every effort will be put to freeing herself from her kidnappers and meeting her fate as planned.

La’tiera was left alone with the two men who’d kidnapped her. She rose to her feet, feeling tense, and stood near the wall. So she was quite startled when Rostocha dropped to one knee before her and bowed. Dal followed suit.
“Bearer, please allow me introduce myself. I am Rostocha of the fifth tier of Watchers, son of Lalu and Nathan.” He lifted his head, his eyes seeking her surprised ones. “I earnestly apologize for our methods, but they were necessary. We needed to make sure we could take you safely from your prison and could privately explain ourselves to you.”
He appeared earnest, but La’tiera didn’t believe him. “I don’t care to hear your explanations. I only want you to take me back where I belong.” She tried to make her expression hard, though in truth she quivered inside.
Rostocha looked away. “I’m sorry, but that is not possible. Our world is in peril and you are the key to our salvation. It is our duty to educate you, to keep you safe, until the time comes. Then after the danger is past, if you still wish to return, we will do as you ask.”
“What lies!” La’tiera felt a flash of anger bring heat to her face. “If you honestly wanted the world to be saved, you wouldn’t be making these promises to me.”
“La’tiera, what are you talking about?” Dal asked her.
She pierced him with a hard stare. “I could hardly choose to go back home once I was dead, could I?”
This brought Dal to his feet. “Dead? Why would you be dead?”
“Because it is required!”
Rostocha followed suit, a look of comprehension dawning on his face. “You believe you have to be a sacrifice.”
Dal spun to stare first at him then at her. “What? That’s insane!”
His utter shock at the fact confused her.
“You were expecting to die? You were going to allow yourself to be killed?”
She possessed no idea what to make of the horrified expression on his face. “Of course. I will do what is necessary, what I was chosen to do.”
“The Eye is not a mark of Death!”

ISBN : 978-1-934135-27-3
Sample Chapters
Available at - Trade Paperback
and - e-book format

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