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13 Facts About Baboons and Frogs

Thursday Thirteen

Recently I’ve been plotting and planning a new series called Middlemarch Capture. One of the fun things about writing is you get to research all sorts of interesting things. This week I’ve been researching baboons and frogs for the first two books in my series.

Thirteen Things About Baboons and Frogs

We’ll start with baboons:

Baboons

1. The muzzle angles very sharply from the braincase and the face is free of hair.

2. The buttock area is naked of fur too.

3. All fingers have fingernails.

4. They hang out in troops of varied ages. If threatened the adults will protect those weaker and there are marked ranks within the troop.

5. They have powerful canines and are fierce fighters. Their main enemy is the leopard.

6. They are omnivores and eat grasses, insects, young gazelles and antelopes and sometimes others within the troop. They have also been known to kill human children.

Frog

7. Frogs are found on every continent apart from Antarctica.

8. A worrying number of frogs are becoming extinct each year.

9. Frogs are amphibians. They hatch as tadpoles and change to frogs. There are some frogs which develop directly and this enables them to live away from water.

10. Scientists call frogs an indicator species since they help to show how an ecology is functioning.

11. Frogs eat insects.

12. Different species of frogs have different shaped and colored eyes. They can be catlike, round or even heart shaped and the colors can be brown, bronze, green and red.

13. Frogs breathe and absorb moisture through their skin. Some frogs secrete a mucous through their skin. Some frogs shed their skin on a daily basis, while others stick to weekly shedding of skin. By all accounts this looks pretty freaky.

I found some very cool facts to twist and fit into my sci-fi romances. A very productive day!

What is the strangest thing you’ve researched?

Tagines and Books

Hubby and I went shopping during the weekend and came home with a tagine. We first came across these when we visited Morocco and thought about buying one, but they were a bit bulky to cart about. When we saw one on sale, it was a sign. As soon as we arrived home, we googled for recipes and came across this one – Pumpkin, Cranberry and Red Onion Tagine. Since we had all the ingredients we tried making it. A success! The tagine was one of the most delicious and tastiest dishes I’ve had in a long time. If you have a tagine in your kitchen cupboard pull it out and try this recipe.

During the next few months I’m focusing on promoting my backlist as well as the new releases I have coming through. Today starts that backlist blitz with my Fancy Free spotlight and book review tour.

FANCY FREE Tour Banner

My first two stops are:

For the Love of Reading

Mimmi’s Musings

Past Regrets, the second book in my Love and Friendship series from Samhain Publishing, is due for release on 10 September. I’ve updated my website with the blurb and excerpt. Past Regrets is now available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Yay!

Do you enjoy trying new recipes or do you prefer making things that are familiar to you?

Adventures in the Coffice

Coffee and Cake - dreamstimefree_216999

During the last few months I’ve been attempting to complete three different manuscripts. When I’m at home it’s easy to become distracted. Too easy! There’s all the housework, the Internet, my email, the puppy wanting to play and the phone, just to mention a few things likely to derail my writing day.

Since I know myself well, whenever I can, I leave the house and work in one of my favorite cafes. I’ve posted about the benefits of a coffice before (coffee shop/office), and for me writing in a cafe really works. For instance, I’ve completed the first draft of a 50K manuscript this month, writing the final words today.

But there is an interesting by-product to working in a cafe. I meet some entertaining people.

Most people are attracted by Rufus, my pink netbook. They stop to chat about the cute pink computer and want to know what it does and where they can get one.

At one particular cafe, a group of retired men and women meet after doing a twice-weekly walk. Usually, I get there before them and gradually become surrounded by their group who range in age from early 60s to 80s. They’ve started chatting to me and discovered I was a writer. I received the normal questions about research, along with a few smirks. I told one man that writers who write about murder don’t go around killing people therefore it wasn’t logical to assume I participated in all the kinky stuff he was smirking about. I heard him repeating my words verbatim to two elderly women about two weeks later. The lecture must have sunk in.

One of the elderly ladies in the group wanted to know if I’d speak at her book club. I asked what sort of books they read. “Oh, we’re very relaxed,” she said, waving an airy hand. “Each month we have a theme. This month our theme is color.”

“That’s a good idea,” I said.

“Yes, I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey,” she said. “The first bit was all right, but I’m not sure about all this bondage stuff and tying people up. How am I going to explain that to my book club?”

Yesterday, I was in my cafe around eight in the morning and was busy tapping out my words.

“Excuse me,” the man beside me said. “I’m sorry to bother you, but could you tell me a word to describe addiction.”

I must have looked a bit blank because he said, “This is my sentence.” And he read a sentence about how his gambling had overtaken him, causing him lots of problems.

“Oh,” I said, and I gave him a suggestion.

Wondering just what he was scribbling about in his notebook, I went back to my writing.

“Excuse me,” he said. “Could you spell…” He proceeded to ask me how to spell about half a dozen different words.  “Thank you,” he said politely once I’d finished.

I went back to my words.

“Excuse me,” he said.

I was starting to get the drift of what he was writing, and I was a bit nervous about what was coming next.

“I need a closing paragraph to read out to the judge. I’ve been very stupid,” he said. “I’ve done some bad things, and if this letter doesn’t work, I’ll have to go to jail.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay, how about something like this? Your honor, I am truly sorry for my actions and have learned the error of my ways. I want to be a role model for my children. I’ve worked hard, gone to rehab and done everything required of me to turn my life around.”

He nodded, scribbled my suggestion down, adding a few words of his own. After a few minutes, he said, “Excuse me.”

I smiled politely and wondered what was coming next.

“Thank you for your help. I’m going home to shower and change now.”

“Okay, good luck,” I said.

He nodded and left. I watched him get in his car and drive away before going back to my words.

Life is never boring at the coffice!

Sale!

I’m thrilled to announce I’ve sold another books to Samhain Publishing. Lone Wolf is a m/m werewolf story set in Yellowstone National Park.

Have you entered the Night Owl Reviews Autumn Harvest scavenger hunt? If not you still have until midnight PST on 30 November to get your entry completed and sent. Full details are available here at Night Owl Reviews.

I’m blogging at Access Romance today. I’m talking about shopping and presents. I’m also celebrating my upcoming birthday and giving away a download from my EC backlist. Here’s the link to The Season of Giving

Writing News and Interview

I spent the weekend doing edits for A Discreet Affair, and today I got a glimpse of the cover. It’s absolutely beautiful. Watch this space!

Meantime, here’s the blurb:

Summer, 1940. Britain is at war, and her brave fighter pilots attempt to keep the enemy at bay.

The last thing Pamela Allison wants is another man, especially one like her brutal, now deceased husband. Her managing mother wants her to live with her in London, but Pamela accepts a job from her aunt, working in the family store in the village near Biggin Hill.

Enter Michael Stedman, a Spitfire pilot based at the Biggin Hill airbase. Depressed and a little drunk after the death of his friend, he doesn’t expect to meet a beautiful woman during a night out at the local pub. He’s not looking for anything permanent since a pilot’s life is fraught with danger. All he wants is a little feminine company to take his mind off the war.

London is under siege by the enemy. Bombs drop every night and the danger increases for everyone. Michael and Pamela’s relationship changes and they become lovers. They are happy with their secret liaison until gossip and the past intrude and threaten to destroy everything, including her good reputation.

Today, I’ve been busy working on my current WIP. It’s a contemporary menage a trois and a followup to Fancy Free. I’ve also received some great news from one of my editors. It’s a little early to make an announcement – I like to tease. :grin:

I did an interview and totally forgot to mention it here on my blog. Here’s the link to the interview with Rhonda Print.

Tomorrow I’m starting an online course on writing alternative histories/steampunk with Savvy Authors. I can’t recommend this group enough. They have lots of excellent online classes and that’s just the start of their resources. You can join as a basic member to get a taste of what’s on offer or pay to become a premium member. Full details here.

How was your weekend? If you’re a writer, what are you working on at present?

In The Writing Zone

It’s hard to get back to writing after five weeks when I didn’t do a thing. This week has been a bit like pushing through sand. I thought Lorie O’Clare’s writer tip about keeping a journal of words written each day, promo undertaken and that sort of thing was a great idea. Seeing my progress written down in black and white seems to make me more efficient. On the days where I goof around and don’t get much done, it’s all there for me to see. I don’t like seeing the lack of progress, and it works like a swift kick in the ass.

Normally I try to write 2000 words per day. That’s a good pace for me, but I haven’t done anywhere near that this week. Next week will be better.

What methods do you use to cope with procrastination and wasted time? How do you keep on track with the things you have to do?

Contest – How Many Books?

For all those who entered my contest, I read 30 books while I was on holiday. The two closest people guessed 29. I put the two names in a hat, and Mr. Munro picked one name for me.

And the winner is: Carol L

Congratulations. I’ve emailed you about your book voucher prize.

I read the following books:
1. Cougar by Beverley Rae – paranormal
2. Heart & Soul by Evangeline Anderson – m/m
3. Shifter’s Captive by Bonnie Dee – paranormal
4. Songbird by Maya Banks – contemporary
5. Duty & Devotion by Tere Michaels – m/m
6. An Improper Holiday by KA Mitchell – m/m
7. Scandal by Carolyn Jewel – historical
8. The Elegant Corpse by AM Riley – m/m
9. Driven To The Limit by Alice Gaines – paranormal
10. Out of the Blue by Josh Lanyon – m/m
11. Biker Babe in Black by Debra Kayn – contemporary
12. No Souvenirs by KA Mitchell – m/m
13. Redemption by Remmy Duchene – m/m
14. Hunter by SL Partington – sci-fi
15. Immortality is the Suck by AM Riley – m/m
16. Cat’s Cradle by Bianca D’Arc – paranormal
17. In Hot Pursuit by Kate McMurray – m/m
18. Rogue’s Diamond by Sahara Kelly – historical
19. Wither by Yolanda Sfetsos – sci-fi
20. High Country by Michael Barnette – m/m
21. Nate by Beth Williamson – historical
22. Dead, Undead or Somewhere In Between by JA Saare – paranormal
23. Mountain’s Captive by Michelle Pillow – contemporary
24. Law of Averages by Wylie Kinson – contemporary
25. Lifting the Veil by RG Alexander – paranormal
26. Threat of Darkness by Lauren Dane – paranormal
27. Written in the Ruby by Raven Wilde – paranormal
28. Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James – contemporary
29. Hard & Fast by Erin McCarthy – contemporary
30. Trial By Fire by Jo Davis – contemporary

When I was in Honolulu, I visited Barnes & Noble and spent the $50 of book vouchers I’ve had for a while. I also spent $50 of my own. I think hubby was pleased when I consented to leave the store. My daypack weighed a ton on the journey home. I held my breath when we checked in, but luckily none of the airline staff picked on me and wanted to weigh my cabin baggage. I have some great reading in my future. Once I get back into the writing groove, I’ll use my new purchases as rewards for a good day’s work.

New Sale: Tiger By The Tail

I’ve just sold book number nine in my Middlemarch Mates series. That’s right. Another story about the black leopards who live in Middlemarch, but as the title suggests, this particular book is about tigers. Tiger By The Tail is Ambar’s story and it’s a menage a trois with two men and one woman.

Here’s an unofficial blurb:

One plus one equals three.

Tiger shifter Hari Daya takes one look at Ambar Patel’s photo and is smitten. Further research heightens his fascination. An arranged marriage would work, except the lady isn’t buying and tells him to take a hike.

Ambar is already involved with human Jake Quinn. Casual pleasure and lovin’ works best for her since she dreams of traveling the world and delving into new experiences. The frisson of heat and desire she feels for Hari is unacceptable. There will be no tiger mate for her.

Jake Quinn has no idea either his lover or his new friend are shifters, but there sure as hell is something weird going on in his head. As much as he enjoys sex with Ambar, he’s thinking about Hari too. Suddenly there’s kissing and togetherness way past his comfort zone. The slide into sinful pleasure with both Hari and Ambar is easy—it’s the relationship dynamics that give them headaches and make them wonder if they’re making a huge mistake.

I don’t have a release date as yet, but it should be out in the next few months.

Sale to Samhain Publishing

I signed a contract today for a new sale to Samhain publishing. This one is a contemporary and features a group of five friends. The Bottom Line deals with two of the friends, and I hope to write new books about the other three friends. It’s my version of the TV show Friends. The Bottom Line is due out in March 2010.

One of my interests is travel. I bet you’ve guessed that already, right?

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, England

This is Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, England. We visited this moated castle a few years ago during a jaunt to Britain.

Recently I’ve been thinking about other interests. I’ve decided I need to extend my horizons, so my question for you today is: Apart from reading and writing what other interests and hobbies do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you still manage to pursue some of your interests with children around?

The Egg-Timer Method

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’m terrible at procrastinating and my usual “Just Do It” attitude hides at the bottom of the garden. It can be writing procrastination or housework related or perhaps the ironing pile. When I find things are out of control, and I’m not getting anything done, I turn to my trusty egg-timer. (Actually, it’s the oven timer but either works)

So here’s my hint for people who are having trouble fitting writing into a busy day or aren’t getting certain hated household chores done. Set your timer for half an hour and write this entire time or iron or whatever chore you’ve put off. It might be difficult at first, but do keep it up because gradually you’ll get past the procrastination. Half an hour passes quickly, and you’ll be surpised how much you’ll get done if you’re focused and concentrating. You can also apply this to children – perhaps they can tidy their rooms for half an hour while you’re writing. No? Okay, I’m good but not a miracle worker!

What strategies do you use to counteract procrastination?

Hiding in the Writing Cave

I’m busy with edits at the moment and have worked all weekend on writing. It’s keeping me out of trouble, that’s for sure! I have edits on two manuscripts. One down, and I’m thirty pages into the second.

Tomorrow I have a special guest. JK Coi is visiting and talking about her latest release. I hope you’ll pop by to visit.

Despite being busy I still have a book on the go. I’ve just finished Only Pleasure by Lora Leigh. This one wasn’t one of my favorites of hers, and I actually found myself skimming. Next off the pile is Body Language by Suzanne Brockmann.

If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, enjoy the rest of your weekend. Southern hemisphere – welcome to Monday!

What are you reading at the moment?