Friday, April 25, 2008

This makes me happy!

Balding Penguin Gets Wetsuit for Warmth
Posted: 2008-04-25 13:20:54
Filed Under: Science News, Weird News
SAN FRANCISCO (April 25) - What's black and white and warm all over? A penguin in a wetsuit, naturally.

Photo Gallery
Eric Risberg, AP 'He Was Cold;
He Would Shake'1 of 4 Forget the Rogaine -- Pierre the penguin's got a wetsuit. The 25-year-old African bird was going bald, so biologists at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco outfitted him in a specially-designed wetsuit to encourage him back into the water. Here, Pierre models his sleek duds for aquatic biologist Pam Schaller.

Sounds like a joke, but it's quite serious for biologists at the California Academy of Sciences, who had a wetsuit created for an African penguin to help him get back in the swim of things.

Pierre, a venerable 25 years old, was going bald, which left him with an embarrassingly exposed, pale pink behind.

Unlike marine mammals, which have a layer of blubber to keep them warm, penguins rely on their waterproof feathers. Without them, Pierre was unwilling to plunge into the academy's penguin tank and ended up shivering on the sidelines while his 19 peers played in the water.

"He was cold; he would shake," said Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the academy.

Pierre's species of penguin is accustomed to temperate climates, unlike many of their cousins. The birds are nicknamed Jackass penguins because they make sounds similar to braying donkeys, quite startling the first time you hear it in an aquarium.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

RT Recap

Wow, so much happened it eight days that it is hard to even remember what the beginning was like. So I’ll just have to do it a day at a time.

I arrived in Pittsburgh on Sunday after driving six hours with the back of my car filled to the ceiling with promo stuff for the Intergalactic Bar and Grille Party. I met Linnea Sinclair and Stacey Klemstein at the airport and we left for the hotel after having a great laugh when we saw an exit for Moon Beaver PA. From that point on Isobo Kelly’s baby was referred to as Moon Beaver. I shortened it to Moon Beam. I like that better. The four of us had a fabulous dinner at a restaurant called the Palomino and had a great time catching up on things.

Monday I was privileged to have the chance to speak at Bobbi Smith’s advanced writers course. I talked about creating internal conflict and research in two different workshops. I loved seeing the excitement of these writers and especially loved catching up with them during the rest of the week. Good luck to all of you that were in those workshops.

Monday night my friend Chris Winters who was participating in the Mr. Romance pageant arrived and we talked for a long time. I really enjoyed having the hotel to a small group because I knew in twenty four hours all hell was going to break loose. I warned my favorite Bellhop Val what he was in for. I’m not sure he really believed me.

Tuesday taught another class and then got to go out on three photo shoots with Annette Batista of Between Your Sheets. I had walked around downtown Pittsburgh a bit that morning and have to say it is the most beautiful city. My room had a view of the two rivers, the Steelers stadium (I love NFL Football) and the ridge opposite with the most beautiful old church and houses. Wish I would have taken pics but kept forgetting too everyday.

Went on totally enjoyable photo shoot with Chris Winters. I told everyone I was his personal assistant since I was keeping track of all his stuff. It was a blast and I learned a lot. Photography has always been a hobby of mine and it was amazing to watch Annette to her magic. Plus Chris just lights up a camera.

Came back and had lunch with the amazing women of Between Your Sheets. Then got invited to do more shoots. Went out with John Fish of the amazing humongous muscles. We even got him to unbutton his shirt out on the street. Have to say women were tripping. Then went out for photos with the adorable Christopher Howell who is beyond sweet. I hope next year he shares some of his dance moves with us. He teased us a bit at the pageant. I want more more more!

The amazing and totally priceless J.C. Wilder arrived and a group of us went to Max and Irma’s for dinner. Have to say we closed the place down. J.C. decided it was her project to make me yeep. And she succeeded. I also spewed. Needless to say there was much laughter. The hotel was filling up fast and Val the bellhop gave me a ride on his amazing cart. He also made an amazing amount of money in tips. I saw Mark Johnson arrive and he gave me the sweetest hug. He truly is a great guy. So sweet. Also saw the totally vivacious Jade Lee whom I adore. A bunch of us went up to Linnea’s room to pack goodie bags for the Intergalactic Bar and Grille party. Came down to my room and ran into fellow Shadow Booty Clan member Liz Maverick where we proceeded to have the best reunion ever not caught on video tape. At some point we will reenact it for the public. Caught up with the last third of our terrible trio, Marianne. The two of them make up the Rebels of Romance. I just kind of hang around and terrorize them.

By Wednesday I was surviving on no sleep. I was practically staggering. That afternoon we had the Intergalactic Bar and Grille which was an absolute blast. We gave out lots of prizes. By the time it was over I was so desperate for sleep and so tired that I fell flat on my face in a packed elevator. (Luke Walsh has his own version of what happened. Don’t listen to him. It’s all lies.) Luckily for me there was a hero on board and I was rescued by a very gallant Mr. Romance contestant who saw me safely back to my room.

Wednesday night was the EC Hollywood Glam party. Since I didn’t pack a ballgown I wore my jeans and sneakers and had a blast dancing and making new friends. Finally got some sleep that night. Thursday morning I participated in a writing sci-fi panel and then my RT responsibilities were done. From then on I could just hang out and catch up and talk to people. Thursday night was the fairy ball which I love dressing up for and Lifetime TV interviewed me in my fairy costume. After that we went to Christine Feehan’s speakeasy. I adore Christine, she is truly amazing. Her entire family is wonderful.

Friday I went to club RT and talked to lots of fans of my Colby Hodge books. Caught up with my old friend Bill Freda and John DeSalvo who graced the cover of Stargazer. Then went to a workshop with my new friend Natalie Stenzel. Friday night was more dancing and talking with my wonderful editor Chris Keeslar and the rest of the Dorchester gang, Diane Stacey, Erin Galloway and Renee Yewdaev. Saturday was the wonderful book fair where I signed in between Cheryl Holt and Sandra Hill. Wow was I in good company. I also got to meet Roberta Gellis, who wrote the first romance novel I ever read, Alinor.

Then the Mr. Romance pageant where Jade Lee and I made a spectacle or ourselves on stage and my friend Chris Winters, who played the part of Zander from Star Shadows in the pageant won. Then there was an awesome bookseller mixer put on by the amazing Dorchester Staff and I met Christina Tanuadji and Veronika Kahrmadji from Australia and Sara Loftus from Huntington WV, which is where a lot of my Wind books take place. Then there was nothing left but the totally awesome Dorchester party where the Impalers, who were sponsored by my good friend Kathy Love and Erin McCarthy totally rocked the house.

I made so many new friends this week. Jennifer St. Giles and the gang at Between The Sheets. There there was Rose, Anthony and Lisa from Crossing Realms. The incredibly sweet and gallant cover guys, Brian, Steve, my boy Luke Walsh, Ryan, Jimi, and of course Fred and Christopher along with my dear friend Mr. Romance Chris Winters. It was great getting to know J.C. Wilder, and Isobo Kelly better and chowing down in J.C.’s room when the restaurants couldn’t serve us and laughing at stories. I adore my new friends, Leanna, Morgan and Stacey, the most amazing bookseller from Grand Central in NYC and I am coming up to NYC for a visit soon. Also have to mention Sue from Troy and yes Sue I am coming for a visit and bringing Luke with me. So many people it’s impossible to remember them all.

All in all it was the most awesome, busy and mind blowing week of my life. I can’t wait until next year.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sensible observations

Something to think upon until I recover from RT

1) When I die, I want to die like my grandfather--who died suddenly in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car."
--Author Unknown

2) Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle:
"Take two aspirin" and "Keep away from children."
--Author Unknown

3) "Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that!
It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar."
--Drew Carey

4) "The problem with the designated driver program, it's not a desirable job, but if you ever get sucked into doing it, have fun with it. At the end of the night,
drop them off at the wrong house."
--Jeff Foxworthy

5) "If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the
infant's life without even considering if there's a man on base."
--Dave Barry

6) "Relationships are hard. It's like a full time job, and we should treat it like one. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to leave you, they should give you two weeks notice.
There should be severance pay, and the day before they leave they should have to find you a temp."
--Bob Ettinger

7) "My Mom said she learned how to swim when someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. I said,
'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim!'"
--Paula Poundstone

8) "A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men.
I just want to say to the
authors of that study: "Duh."
--Conan O'Brien

9) "Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant?? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my God....
I could be eating a slow learner."
--Lynda Montgomery

10) "I think that's how Chicago got started. Bunch of people in New York said,
'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough.
Let's go west.'"
--Richard Jeni

11) "If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."
--Johnny Carson

12) "Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography."
--Paul Rodriguez

13) "My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law."
--Jerry Seinfeld

14) "Remember in elementary school, you were told that in case of fire you have to line up quietly in single file from smallest to tallest. What is the logic in that?
What, do tall people burn slower?"
--Warren Hutcherson

15) "Bigamy is having one wife/husband too many.
Monogamy is the same."
--Oscar Wilde

16) "Suppose you were an idiot.
And suppose you were a
member of Congress
... but I repeat myself."
--Mark Twain

17) "Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student.
At least they can find Afghanistan ."
--A. Whitney Brown

18) "You can say any foolish thing to a dog,
and the dog will give you a look that says,
'My God, you're right!
I never would've thought of that!'"
--Dave Barry

19) Do you know why they call it "PMS"?
Because "Mad Cow Disease" was taken.
--Unknown, presumed deceased

20) "Everybody's got to believe in something.
I believe I'll have another beer."
- W. C. Fields

And lastly: Why in Hell should I have to Press 1 for English?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Want to see how a cover is made for a romance novel? Go here You'll also get a peek at the Dorchester offices and see my Star Shadows cover in the background.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Characters Cpme To Life

A lot of times we are asked who we would cast if our books ever became movies. I think for most of us writers it usually goes beyond that. A lot of us have someone in mind when we first create our characters. Since I'm a visual type person I enjoy having that image fully formed in my mind when I sit down to write.

For Stargazer I had Tom Welling in mind for the role of Shaun. He plays a young Clark Kent on Smallville and I think he's much better when he's bad. Plus I would love to see him in a more grown up type role. John DeSalvo go the cover. In my mind he was a bit too mature in the face to be Shaun and I'm not a fan of all the skin but the cover sold a lot of books. I saw Tom Selleck as the Soverign Alexander and George Clooney as Michael. The women usually are not as distinct. Usually because I'm playing out my own foolish fantasies through them. But occasionally one comes to me.

In Shooting Star my inspiration for Tess was Evangeline Lilly from Lost. David Beckham was Ruben. I saw a picture of him on the cover of GC and he just clicked in my mind. Star Shadows had Ian Summerholder as Boone. Although Adam Levine from Maroon Five showed up occasionally after I watched the Makes Me Wonder video about a thousand times. In Twist Paul Walker became the Avatar for Shane after the guy on the cover came out with blonde hair. What can I say, I like dark hair on my heroes but I was more than happy to go with Paul. And it worked.

But now I actually get to see one of my heroes come to life. At the upcoming Romantic Times conference in Pittsburgh the Mr. Romance pageant is featuring my book, Star Shadows and Chris Winters, is playing the role of Zander. Chris is also a most awesome actor so he's reading the book to learn the dark side of Zander who is one of my most tortured heroes. To learn more about Chris go here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

More on the craft of writing

I am currently working on a historical called Fallen and waaaay behind in my writing. As each author has a different process and has to find what works for them I'd thought I'd do some craft stuff and those of you interested can figure out what works for you and what doesn't. Oh and just for fun, I have an avatar of John. It's really Simon Baker but hey, works for me

At the moment I'm more worried about getting the pages done that the quality of them. I figure I can go back and fix them later. (I've got six weeks to write 300 plus pages. Yeah, no pressure. I usually need six months) So last night I realized that I was telling instead of showing when it really should be the other way around.

This is my first draft. The time is 1774, Aberdeen Scotland and the hero, Captain John Murray of His Majesty's Army has just gotten a letter informing him of his mother's pending death and the death of her third fiance.

John could not help but shake his head at his sister’s unbelievable run of bad luck where marriage was concerned. Lord Fansler had been her last hope at making a decent marriage as she was now known about London as the Virgin Widow. The gossip would only be worse now and all the eligible men would avoid her like the plague. Beyond her apparent beauty, she had nothing to offer. There was no dowry and Carrie was more likely to knock over a tea service than serve it. Still she was a pleasant companion and had a wonderful sense of humor along with a peaceful mien that made her pleasant company. Any man would be lucky to have her for a wife, lack of dowry notwithstanding. Perhaps he should introduce her to some of his comrades, such as Rory.
Rory’s father would likely not allow it. As would any of his friends parents who were of the peerage. Marriages were made to garner wealth and position which was something Carrie did not have. She was past the age of becoming a governess also.
John sighed as he realized that he would likely have to provide for his sister for the rest of her life. But thinking on that was better than thinking on the real reason for the letter.
Their mother was dying. Their father was in the colonies. If Carrie had sent father a letter at the same time she sent John’s then it was weeks away from delivery, and that was if father was at a post. The last he’d heard his father was on the Western Frontier, in a place called Pennsylvania, along a river called Ohio, fighting the savages. It could be months before Carrie’s letter found him and then more months before he could get home. What were the chances that Mother would still be alive if father got to come home?
John hated to ask for leave now since he had only recently come to Aberdeen. It would have to wait. Wait until mother was sicker and closer to death. There was nothing he could do for her or Carrie. Being there wouldn’t change anything. At least his visit would be something they could look forward too.

Boring right. John is sitting in his room just thinking. A friend and I call it rock sitting. Long story but same principle.

This is my final without edits. In this rewrite I added John's room-mate Rory to the mix.

“A letter from home?” Rory asked as he came into the room. He quickly removed his coat and hung it next to John’s, loosened his stock and stretched out on his bunk with his hands crossed behind his head. He appeared quite content and John knew, without asking, that his friend had recently been with a woman. “Bad news?” Rory asked.
“Yes,” John replied. “Full of it.”
“Give me the least of it first,” Rory said.
“Carrie’s latest fiancĂ© has passed.”
“How many is that now?” Rory asked. “Three?”
John nodded. “This one expired of old age.”
“Tell me John, how can this be considered bad news. Beyond the obvious lack of income for your sister.”
“She has no dowry and now no prospects. Lord Fansler was a last resort on our mother’s part. He had no heirs and no property, but he did have some money and a nice little house in London. It would have been enough to keep Carrie comfortable.”
“I supposed now it will all go to some distant relative,” Rory concluded.
“Yes,” John sighed. He dropped the letter on the desk the two men shared and stretched out on his own cot. “They call her the Virgin Widow you know.”
“Yes,” Rory said. “I’ve heard.”
“It’s too bad really,” John said. “She would make someone a wonderful wife. She’s pretty and intelligent and a most pleasant companion.”
“Indeed,” Rory agreed.
John looked hopefully at his room-mate. “She has a wonderful sense of humor also.”
“I know what you are thinking John and my father would sooner disown me than allow me to marry a woman with no wealth or title no matter how well he thinks of you. When and if I marry it will be to enhance the family coffers with coin, land and titles.” Rory looked over at John with a wry look on her face. “Although it might be worth the disownment to watch Carrie pour tea in his lap as she did when I visited with your mother when we were last in London.”
John had to grin at the memory. What Carrie possessed in beauty she lost in clumsiness. She had a dreadful penchant for tripping over her dress hem and knocking over tables and such.
“How is your lovely mother by the way,” Rory asked.
John sighed. “Not well. Not well at all.” He pointed at the letter. “Feel free to read it. I’m not sure I can stand to say it aloud at the moment.”
Rory quickly read the letter and sat down on his cot to look at John. “I am so sorry old friend,” he said. “What do you plan to do? Ask for leave?”
“I don’t feel as if I can at the moment,” John said as he too, sat up and faced Rory. “Even though I know the General will allow it because of his friendship with my father. I don’t want anyone thinking I am taking advantage of that friendship and asking for special privileges, especially since we have only recently come to this post.”
“I’m sure no one would think that, given the circumstances.”
“Oh but someone will,” John said. “It would come out, sooner than later. It would be on my permanent record and follow me wherever I go. There is some time. I think it would be better to wait until…later…”
“It would give her something to look forward too,” Rory added.
“What about your father,” Rory asked. “Do you think he knows?”
“It depends. I think now, at the present time, he does not know.” John rubbed
his hands over his face as the seriousness of the situation settled upon him. “If Carrie sent Father a letter at the same time she sent mine then it is weeks away from delivery, and that is only if Father is at his post. The last I heard from him he was on the Western Frontier, in a place called Pennsylvania, along a river called Ohio, fighting the savages.” John continued. “It could be months before Carrie’s letter finds him and then more months before he can get home. What are the chances that Mother will still be alive if and when he gets here?”
Rory reached out and laid a comforting hand on John’s shoulder. “There is only so much you can do from here, and nothing you can do about the things you can not control. Write Carrie and tell her you will ask for leave this fall and that your prayers are with her and your mother. Then write your mother and tell her you look forward to seeing her soon and make no mention of her illness. I have found in my own experience that mother’s like to think they are in charge and can make things fine just by wishing them so.”
“It is the same with mine,” John said.
“Then she will appreciate your subterfuge,” Rory said. “I will leave you in peace for a bit to write your letters.” With that he stood and stretched his arms over his head as if waking from a nap. “I suddenly find that I am starving and will have to go raid the mess lest I expire before meal time is upon us.”

I was able to cover all the information I wanted the reader to see, plus show a bit of Rory's personality. Rory is not a central character to the story, other than the fact that he will be senselessly killed and John's reaction to that death is important in his relationship with Izzy, the heroine. By doing this however, I developed Rory's character a bit more, showed how close their friendship is and hopefully in the long run have the reader be saddened by his death.

Its much more interesting this way, or so I hope.


well it seems like my links are not working below. So if you want to vote for my books, just go to and follow the links. And thanks for doing it!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A little help from my friends

This is a great honor so if you like my books, and I have a feeling you wouldn't be reading my blog if you didn't, you can help me out. On Monday April 7 All About Romance will be polling forFavorite Books by Favorite Authors feature for twelve authors, including me. I'm in some pretty fantastic company as you can tell by the list.

The Favorite Books by Favorite Authors section serves as a valuable resource for AAR visitors, helping to introduce them to new-to-them authors. They are particularly interested in introducing some of my books to a new set of readers.

The balloting for this round will end on Sunday evening, April 20, at midnight, so please go and vote for your favorite Cindy Holby/Colby Hodge title.

To vote, the you can go to On the first page there will be a link to the voting.

Thank you for your help!