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Following the King

Becoming a writer isn’t easy. SURPRISE!!! I know you’re stunned. I was!

Reading is so simple, so wonderful, so engrossing, that I thought writing should be exactly the same. I should be able to lose myself in the world I created just as easily as I do those of my favorite authors. BUT, it doesn’t work that way. Writing isn’t just fun. It’s honest-to-god, back breaking, agonizing, sweat inducing WORK.

Finding the perfect words are hard. Creating the right characters is tough. Building a story is like building a multi-trillion dollar skyscraper–screw up your inner structure, and it’s going to come tumbling down like Jenga blocks.

When it comes to who my writing idols are, I wish I could make it look as easy as they do.

Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Catherine Coulter, Susan Donovan, all these women create stories that read so easily! They’re my favorite books to read, they’re fun, full of love, life and laughter.

But my all-time idol, the man who has inspired me over and over again since I was just a teenager, is the master of horror himself.

Stephen King got me interested in books other than my usual fare. Someone gave my grandmother a big box of books, and she gave them to me one day when I was staying with her for the weekend. There were lots of different genres in there–thrillers, contemporary novels, love stories. But the book that kept sticking out to me was DOLORES CLAIBORNE.

I read the first page countless times. The whole story was narrated! It was in first person! The story was told so deeply from her point of view, because she was telling the story as she remembered it. It was odd. Frightening at first, a little off-putting. But eventually, I got it. I realized how I was supposed to read it. And since that day, I’ve read that book a billion times. I worked my way through some of his other classics. CARRIE, PET SEMATARY, THE GREEN MILE, and MISERY, to name a few. God, I loved MISERY.

 

His book ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT inspired me to write my first mainstream novel (as Gina Lamm). And since then, his advice to write what you love, not what you know, has permeated my books, making them (I hope) much more driven and appealing.

So yeah. Stephen King is my writing idol. He writes 2,000 words a day, every day, no matter what. I need that kind of drive, that kind of persistence. And I know I can do it. He’s my inspiration.

Who’s yours?

Would you survive a zombiepocalypse? Heck yeah!

Zombie Walk Brisbane 2012-192=

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m writing about zombies. Not a typical romantic hero/ine for a romance novel, but hey, love comes in all guises. Warm Bodies was just released  in the theaters across the country. A LOVE story between a zombie and a human. I read it’s a cute love story and not at all ghoulish, but come on, the hero eats the heroine’s boyfriend’s brains?!! Oh, teenage angst. Her boyfriend must have been a jerk! LOL

(Isn’t the pic great. It’s from the Brisbane’s Zombie Walk! Photo by Sheba_Also)

I don’t know much about zombies and haven’t been following the craze. I’m just not into dead lovers that decay and rot…but, hey, love hurts. It’s not to say that I never thought about writing about zombies. At one point, I must have, because I found an old notebook of mine with research notes about zombies.

Here are my scratchy notes on how to create a zombie (Don’t try this at home!):

The bokor (dark sorcerer) saddles his horse and rides backwards. Then he sucks the person’s soul from a slit in the door and traps it in a cork bottle. The person dies and the bokor opens the grave and calls the person’s name while passing the bottle under the nose.

Presto — now the bokor has a  zombie to play with and use for his devious purposes!

Would I survive a zombiepocalypse?

Hell, yeah. I sure would because I researched that too! It’s EASY…just be sure you have a lot of salt on hand. Why? Because a taste of salt and the zombie becomes aware of their fate and returns to their grave!

Happy Reading and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Viki Lyn

I’m participating in the “Swept Away” Blog Hop through the weekend. Lots of giveaways in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Also, Blue Skye and Ryan’s Harbor are 25% off for Valentine’s Day at ARE and BS!

http://www.vikilyn.com/blog
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Viki Lyn: Award winning author of male/male paranormal and contemporary romances. You can find all of Viki’s books at the following sites: Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and GLBT Bookshelf.

Thou shall not kill.

For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.

When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.
As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.  Buy link

Moravian Christmas Cookies

This may surprise some of you, but I am a CHRISTMAS NUT.

Nope, not religious. I’m talking the whole tacky ornament, Santa loving, Grinch adoring, stockings-and-ugly-sweaters kind of Christmas nut.

I ADORE Christmas. I love getting together with my family, giving them the most fabulous presents I can come up with, eating, cooking, laughing, and sneaking around playing Santa.

When I was little, my parents had to make a rule for me. We couldn’t open presents until 5:30am. That didn’t stop me getting up at 1:00, 2:30, 3:25, and 4:59.

Yeah. This is a lifelong condition.

So, it is with a sense of great jubilation that I share with you my single favorite Christmas cookie recipe.

OMNOMNOMNOM

OMNOMNOMNOM

 

Warning: These cookies taste like you just jammed a sleigh-full of delicious and spice into your mouth. Also, one batch makes about a trillion cookies. But, good news. The batter can stay refrigerated for up to two MONTHS. (not a typo.) Yay for liquor-laced cookie dough!!!

And, without further ado…

 

MORAVIAN CHRISTMAS COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups Shortening

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed Dark Brown Sugar

A five pound bag of flour (you won’t use all this in the dough, but you will need the vast majority by the time you’re done. Think of the rolling out. These cookies are a commitment, but it’s like marrying an ancient billionaire. Pain in the hoo-ha for the short term, but CRAZY AWESOME later!!)

4 cups of Molasses

3/4 cup Brandy

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 tablespoons Milk

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

2 tablespoons Cinnamon

2 tablespoons Nutmeg

2 tablespoons Cloves

1 tablespoon Ginger

 

Directions, in case you’re not scared enough now. IT’S WORTH IT!!

 

In a big bowl, mix together shortening, brown sugar, and 3 cups flour. Add molasses and brandy. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in milk and mix in vinegar. Add to molasses batter with all the assorted spices. Now here’s where it becomes a workout. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Your arms will be exhausted, and you may give up too soon. That is okay. Refrigerate at least overnight, but up to two months! Liquorrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 🙂

When you’re ready to bake, let a chunk of the dough come up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. If your oven runs hot, you may want to knock it down to 260. You know your oven. I don’t. Moving on!

On a floured board roll out dough to 1/8 of an inch thick. If too sticky, add more flour. If too dry, add more dough. Cut 3 inch cookies. I recommend using parchment paper on your baking sheets, also, btw. Bake them for ten minutes total, the first five on the bottom rack, and the last five on the top rack. Remove and cool.

 

These cookies will turn you into a bakery, but they make your house smell of nutmeg and cinnamon and ginger and cloves. AMAZEBALLS. And the taste? They’re much better the next day. The spices ping your tongue. Yeah, so they’re a lot of work. Yeah, so they have about seventeen ingredients. THEY ARE SO WORTH IT.

 

Christmas is a commitment, people. Your December 25th can be just like every other day of your life, or it can be special. MINE WILL BE SPECIAL, DAMMIT!!

 

*omnomnomnomnomnom*

 

 

 

 

Palpatine and Palpitations

I know we’re supposed to blog about villains this week, but damn, is my head in a whole ‘nother world.
I spent the most glorious four days in Canton, Ohio, at Romanticon last weekend. Can you tell I had fun?!?

This was POSED. For a mock romance novel book cover. I didn’t pick the pose!! (But I’m not going to tell you I didn’t enjoy it!)

But life must go on, the blog must go on, and oddly enough, so do the villains.

When I put my brain on the mission to discover the villain I loved to hate the most, I was stumped for a while. The villains aren’t the characters that I think about in my favorite books and movies. I’m way to interested in the hero and heroine, and getting them together in hopefully naughty positions. I’m a little sick like that. 😉

But then it came to me. The creepiest-looking, most evil, power hungry guy I could think of. I have always despised him, and he creeps me out to this day.

Emperor Palpatine from the GOOD Star Wars movies.

There are three things that strike me about him, and they’re what I think makes a great villain that I love to hate.

1. His appearance. Have you SEEN wrinkle-bag? Holy shit, he’s terrifying. Saggy McRedEyes gives me nightmares when he smiles. Add to that the creepy cult-like robes and cackling evil laugh, and you’ve got a recipe for terror before he does a damn thing.
2. His power. His command of the force is brutal, so much so that the hero, Luke, can’t overcome Palpatine’s strength without help from Vader. This guy is in charge for a reason. He can kick EVERYONE’s ass. And without a villain who’s stronger than the hero, you don’t have much of a story.
3. His insidiousness. He knows Luke’s weaknesses, and doesn’t hesitate to attack them. He threatens Luke’s friends, offers him power and their lives, all to add Luke to his arsenal. He’s driven, he has no limits, and he’ll stop at nothing to extend his control over the universe. (Hello, Death Star anyone?)

A story is only as good as its villain. Would Star Wars be the same without Palpatine? No way. Because even though Vader is the one you immediately think of when you picture Star Wars (I don’t count those three abominations that have come out so recently. *shudders*) Vader wouldn’t be Vader without Palpatine. Think about it. This guy freaking CREATED DARTH FUCKING VADER.

How much scarier than you get?

What do you think of Palpatine? Do you love to hate him too?
(Just don’t mention those prequels to me. They make me slightly sick. I’m a purist, what can I say.)

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