Round Robin Story!

Sharon Ashwood
July 21, 2009  •  No Comments

I was invited by Romance in the Back Seat to participate in a round robin short story called “White Wedding Nightmares.” My segment just went up today. Some of the other participants are: Angie Fox, Jacquelyn Frank, Michelle Rowan … just a huge list of really talented and fun writers! It’s essentially a story about a slayer who gives it all up to get married, but then all the paranormal hotties in her life show up to protest and the adventure begins.


What if?

Sharon Ashwood
July 20, 2009  •  No Comments

Here’s our platitude for the day: Life is a series of “what if” propositions. What if I had done A instead of B? Made this choice instead of that one? “What if” isn’t just a plotting device; it’s the stuff our lives are made of. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s not a terribly useful line of thought.

Despite smacking my metaphorical self upside the head, I’ve been in the land of “what if” fairly regularly of late. Self-indulgent, because I don’t really have a lot to complain about. Short of having a fat trust fund or a sugar daddy, I’m in a pretty good situation for an author–a steady day job, a quiet space at home to write, and good organizational skills. You’d think juggling demands would be a snap. As advertised during my school years, there is no reason the modern superwoman can’t have whatever and as much as she wants.


The Demon Lord of Kitty Badness helps me study

Sharon Ashwood
July 16, 2009  •  2 Comments

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Blog changes

Sharon Ashwood
  •  No Comments

This blog is mirrored in a few places – over to LiveJournal, MySpace, and then fed through to Facebook. Up until now, I’ve been handling this mostly through a cut and paste process that took some time due to logging in, logging out, toggling between pages, blah blah. As a consequence, I’ve often skipped posting because I didn’t have the time to go through the whole process.

I’ve now had Digital Dragon, mage queen of technostuff, outfit this patch of cyberspace with feeds to everywhere. I blog once, and I’m done. So nice. I think this will make it easier to put something up more often because it’s not going to be such a big deal.

The one hiccup is MySpace. It doesn’t accept a full mirror of WordPress right to the blog page, so there is now a widget on the main page with the feed. It’s a nifty, pretty little thing.


test post

Sharon Ashwood
July 14, 2009  •  No Comments

Just seeing if the feeds work


Naming Characters

Sharon Ashwood
July 12, 2009  •  No Comments

My characters tend to show up full-grown. They walk into my head, sit down, and start trying to boss me around. Usually they come with their names, as well as annoying habits, a fashion statement (or lack thereof), and attitude.

Occasionally, though, you get the one-name guy. Historical writers will be familiar with this phenomenon—they’ll be “Buckingham” or “Fitzcarruthers” and evidently popped into the universe with no first name and, if they’re aristocracy, only a title. It takes me months of prodding before they finally confess to being “Steve” or “Bob”. Captain Reynard (you’ll meet him in SCORCHED) didn’t have a first name until I slapped one his forehead and said “live with it.” He’s still pouting even though I’ve explained REPEATEDLY that a hero with his own book has to make SOME sacrifices. Yeesh. I’m still writing book three, so he’d better mind his manners or I’ll have my revenge.

However, it’s not safe to assume a werecougar or a hellhound or even a witch will have the same naming traditions as a human. Witches take their surnames from their mothers, not their fathers. This had me really confused until I figured out that the blood relationships between my various characters would only work if the society was matrilineal. Suddenly a complex family tree problem was solved. Yup, the author is sometimes the last to know.

Hellhounds, as far as I can figure, only have one name. Lore is just Lore, although there’s no “just” about him. What do you say about a guy who risks death daily to save just one more of his people?

Another upcoming character is Errata Jones, an announcer/journalist/werecougar and a good friend of Perry Baker’s (the werewolf professor in RAVENOUS). An errata is a list of corrections, so she’s obviously playing a joke. I wonder about her real name but, y’know, cats have secrets. She hasn’t given me hers yet.

There are a lot of complexities in naming characters, and I’ve always found that it never pays to force it. If I sit down with a book of names and try to choose one, it won’t stick. It kind of makes me wonder about our parents picking baby names before we’re even born. How many of us feel like we truly fit the name we got?


The interest rates were sheer hell

Sharon Ashwood
July 9, 2009  •  No Comments

Apparently, in Latvia—the EU nation worst hit by economic crisis—there’s no need to provide more than a first name to get a bank loan. No knuckle-draggers will show up at three a.m. to collect the debt, either. The catch? All you need to do is to put up your soul as collateral.

The article reads: Such a deal is being offered by the Kontora loan company, whose public face is Viktor Mirosiichenko, 34. Clients have to sign a contract, with the words “Agreement” in bold letters at the top. The client agrees to the collateral, “that is, my immortal soul.”

It’s enough to make me eyeball my Visa bill with suspicion. Sure, we’ve become a society that likes to play fast and loose with our credit rating, but what’s with the Brothers Grimm lending terms? Maybe we crave the certainty of a time when our word was our bond and breaking it was unthinkable? Or perhaps we’re blasé enough to scoff at dealing with the devil?

What I do find interesting is the number of people willing to sign on the dotted line. He’s got roughly 200 takers in the last two months.


So Still the Night

Sharon Ashwood
July 8, 2009  •  1 Comment

sostillthenight

Just wanted to share this great read by Kim Lenox, one of my fellow Silk and Shadows crew.

I read it and loved it. Lots of atmosphere, great characters, great worldbuilding. Late Victorian England with immortals and seriously nasty supernatural killers. Some fun archeological bits. Here’s the back copy:

Marcus Helios was a member of the Shadow Guard until one reckless act changed it all, bringing him to the edge of madness. His hope for salvation lies in a cryptic message contained within two cryptic scrolls he believes to be in the possession of an enigmatic beauty named Mina. And Mina is not about to hand over the scrolls’ secrets to a total stranger.

But someone else has designs on the mysterious relics, and on Mark: Jack the Ripper’s jilted bride. Her malevolent embrace will trap everyone within reach, and her dark plans will challenge the powers of all she is destined to destroy.


Finally, an explanation

Sharon Ashwood
June 24, 2009  •  2 Comments

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/06/23/edmonton-research-day-night.html

Scientists at the University of Alberta have arrived at the amazing conclusion that the brains of early risers are different than those of night owls. Ya think? I’ve always suspected that early birds are actually a different species. Now we know.

What’s interesting is this:

“Using magnetic resonance imaging-guided brain stimulation, neuroscientists tested muscle torque and the excitability of pathways through the spinal cord and brain.

“We found that the brains of morning people are more excitable in the morning and evening people are completely opposite,” neurophysiology researcher David Collins said Tuesday.”

So, the spine and brain of night people are in synch, and the spine and brain of morning people are not. In other words, we of the slow start persuasion are more efficient once we finally get moving. Our body and mind are in harmony.

Nice that science has finally vindicated my slowpoke morning performances. Now, if Mr. Collins would just tell my boss ….


Burping cows?

Sharon Ashwood
June 23, 2009  •  No Comments

http://www.infowars.com/paul-mccartney-calls-for-meat-free-day-to-cut-cow-gas/

This article begins:

“Paul McCartney, the former Beatle and vegetarian pop star, asked fans to go meatless on Mondays to help slow global warming by reducing the amount of gaseous emissions from farm animals.”

Yes, according to Paul, belching cows are contributing to the destruction of the environment. Not that I’m against meatless Mondays, since I’m largely vegetarian anyway, but I find it hard to believe that domestic livestock are such a problem. Didn’t North America used to be covered with bison herds? Didn’t they burp? Why are our current herds so much more gassy? Is commercial feed the problem?

Okay, okay, I’m not a scientist and I really don’t know what I’m talking about. I think it’s cool that the feed people are finding a diet that’s more digestible for the cows. If I were a cow, I’d be grateful.

However, the part of me that likes a good conspiracy theory is wondering if this is some media spin sleight-of-hand. I’ve smelled farms and I’ve smelled refineries. If we’re talking global destruction of the environment by pure and simple stinky test, my money is still on big oil, not Bossy the Cow.