Monday, September 29, 2008
A few updates for all of you. Lucy has been excruciatingly busy and says that her blog will be on its way soon. In the meantime I'll continue updating the excerpts and I have a prize to give away just to get back in the swing of things. Also, Lucy is participating in a Pet-a-licious blog update. Every Saturday pictures of authors will be grouped with pictures of their pets. You get to decide who matches with what pet. Here is the link for future Saturdays, stay tuned in for Lucy's.
Here are the winners (notice I picked 3 today!!!) ...
You have won a copy of "And Able" and some other special goodies! If you have won, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Blog Winner (And Able). Also be sure to include your name and mailing address.
Thanks everyone - and have a good one!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It seems that people were having issues viewing the blog yesterday. First, I have to say thank you for making me aware of the issue.
So this is what happened. I posted a blog on Monday that had internal scripts that for some reason did not transfer over in function and instead formatted itself as a jpg image file. Normally this would be ok, however, when blogger decided to re-format this item, it left all the script code in the image HTML, but didn't actually run the code. For some reason this code was viewed by differently between Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. As of now, I deleted Monday's posting and fixed some sizing issues in yesterday's posting. Everything should be fine - but you know how that goes! Let me know if you see anything that looks strange.
Seeing that this problem came up, I had an idea to discuss some browser issues. As some of you may know, I'm addicted to coding and web design. One of the major factors us web designers need to take into consideration is how web pages are viewed. If you play on the internet even just a little bit, you are aware of what people call the "browser wars." If you are unfamiliar, let me give you a quick overview. Every time we go to view the internet, we use an application/program called a browser such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, Google Chrome, and the list goes on. Well, fortunately for us we have some choices in picking a browser. Unfortunately, we have some choices in picking a browser. The main confusion is that the same web page can sometimes look very different when viewed from one browser or another. Good Web designers strive to make pages accessible in every main browser. Yet sometimes this can become a huge challenge because different browsers can interpret the code differently. Luckily, the companies who create these browsers are understanding more and more that they need to make their browsers more compatible with each other. Within the past couple years stricter implications have been placed within the web community for better accessibility.
Recently, there has been a lot of browser competition. Numerous critical upgrades and emerging ideas have begun to change the playing field. For as long as I can remember Internet Explorer (Microsoft) has been the number one browser. IE still is number one but is losing it's viewers to an emerging competitor, Mozilla Firefox. As of right now, these are the two main browsers. I get asked this question a lot. Is one really better than the other? This is where is gets a little ugly - so I must warn you this is my opinion and the general agreement within the web development community. Personally, Firefox is the clear winner. Aside from viewing web pages faster, it also follows the W3C's strict standards better. Firefox is also extremely customizable with plugin's, addons, and viewing options. The browser's code and platform is available for submitting fixes to. So if people are having problems, they are also reporting bugs and fixes to Mozilla, thus making it function better. So why is it that IE is still number one? A couple main reasons. First, most computers (PC's) come with that browser already installed. Most people don't really care about all the extras, they just want to view the internet. Also, people still trust Microsoft (this is another huge debate!). These are the main reasons why people still stick with Internet Explorer. Actually, Lucy uses IE and I've been trying to change her ever since I started (no luck yet! hahaha). So whatever browser you choose to use, no worries. If you get a chance try Mozilla Firefox. It's free, secure, and really easy, you can even import all of your Internet Explorer bookmarks and settings! If you don't like it, just uninstall the program and continue using IE, no biggie!
Well now that all of you are bored out of your minds! - I have prepared another excerpt from And Able! Your comments are greatly appreciated! And if you have any other questions about the blog or my web design, let me know!
"You hungry for lunch?"
"I didn't realize it was that late." She looked down at her watch and realized she'd been in the bedroom for more than an hour. "I guess I could eat something."
"Do you want to order or do you trust me to order for you?"
She shrugged. "I trust you."
Her brow wrinkled in confusion. "Yes."
"I've been going over Arwan's notes."
She noticed that he used the assassin name to refer to Lester in that role as well. It seemed right because from what she could tell, Lester had been two different people....at least he'd lived two very separate lives. "Find anything?"
"I'm not sure about the case yet. I'm going over it as I type it into a database that I will cross reference with Collins' report. But I did find something I thought might interest you."
"Arwan didn't take every job. In fact, he was very particular about the jobs he did take. He refused to kill unless the danger to national security or the security of others could be proven to his satisfaction."
"What about the private jobs?" she couldn't help asking.
"There weren't that many, but the reasons for the contracts being taken out were ones that Arwan believed justified his involvement."
"Like what?" She desperately wanted to understand.
"Like a man who beat his wife to death and was doing a damn fine job on his children until their grandfather hired Arwan to take him out. There weren't as many laws in place to protect domestic abuse victims back in the fifties as there are now. That grandfather saw no other way to protect his family and Arwan agreed."
She shouldn't feel relief, but she did. The idea of vigilante justice wasn't acceptable and yet, how could she condemn a grandfather for wanting to protect his grandchildren from their violent father? A man who had already killed his wife...the man's daughter.
Her eyes filled with tears and she averted her face so Brett wouldn't see them. "You're right. Knowing that helps a lot. Thank you."
"If it helps so much, why won't you look at me?"
She shrugged and surreptitiously wiped at her eyes. "No reason. I'm just watching the show."
"And that's more important that what I told you about Lester?" he asked.
"Arwan, you mean."
"They were the same man."
So much for her theory. "Well, yes, but..."
Brett sat down beside her and tugged on her chin until she was looking at him. "Why are you crying?"
"I'm relieved and I shouldn't be, but I am."
He shook his head. "I'm never going to understand you, am I?"
She shrugged. "Probably not. I don't think our brains are wired the same way."
"Does that bother you?" he asked with a probing intensity she didn't understand.
"Not really. Josette informs me that it's a man-woman thing."
"And you think that's all it is?"
"Yes." She didn't get the underlying significance of his question, but she could sense that he wanted something from her. Some kind of assurance, but she didn't know about what. And since she didn't know what it was, she didn't know how to give it either. "What is it, Brett? What do you need?"
His eyes went smoky, just that fast. "I always need you."
As his mouth took possession of hers, she was sure that needy passion wasn't what his odd looks had been about, but she didn't hesitate to respond to him. He made her burn and she was only too happy to go up in flames.
Afterward, they ordered lunch and took a shower while they were waiting for it. He kept dropping the soap and then going searching for it, his mouth and his hands managing to caress every square inch of her in the process. She was leaning against the wall, panting, after a shattering orgasm when room service knocked on the suite's door.
Brett did a quick dry off and then wrapped the towel around his waist to saunter into the main living area. The man had no shame, but he sure was fun.
She finished her shower, threw on a tank top she usually wore under other things and a pair of shorts she never wore in public.
His wolf whistle of appreciation when she went into the living room made her grin and get all shivery at the same time. He was still wearing the towel while he set the food out and she did a little whistling of her own. That elicited retaliation in the nicest possible way and she thought later it was a good thing her food had been cold already, because they sure didn't get to it immediately.
After lunch, she called the professor that wore the same cologne as the guy who had attacked her. Once she knew its name, Brett insisted on running downtown and getting a bottle so he could smell it too. He wanted to be on the alert.
After sniffing it and pronouncing it way too girlie of a scent for a real man, he recapped the fragrance bottle and tossed it in the bag.
When they got back to the hotel, she did the comparison of her list with Collins' report while Brett finished entering the names from Arwan's kill book in the database.
The phone rang a little later and Brett answered it while she saved Collins' report with her additions in it. There had only been two and she figured they were both useless, one being a doctor who had worked with Lester since he first became a resident of Belmont Manor and the other a small group of politicians who had visited the Manor a few weeks before. They hadn't been there during her shift, but Queenie had told her about the visit. It had upset her. While they had not been Lester's visitors per se, they had seen him.
She smiled as Brett hung up the phone. "Who was that?"
"Ethan. He identified the men in black at the funeral. They work for a director with a lot of clout in
"Who is he?"
"Raymond Arthur. Ethan ran a background check on him. He's a former military hard-ass with some questionable mission directives in his past."
"What do you mean?"
"He isn't known for showing scruples when it comes to getting the job done. I wouldn't be surprised if a good portion of Arwan's later hits were ordered by him."
"Do you think he would have had Lester killed to keep the government's secrets?"
Brett's expression was grim. "It's possible. This guy sounds like the type that would have thrived during the secrecy surrounding our efforts in The Cold War."
"What are we going to do about it?"
"We're going to call on him while we are on the East Coast and we are going to force a meeting with his two agents. One of them has gray eyes and a medium build."
"Like the man who tried to smother me with a pillow?"
"Yes. If they are responsible, there will be hell to pay from here to the next election." The soldier who went into battle and knew how to do whatever it took to win gazed out from Brett's glacier cold blue gaze.
She could almost feel sorry for the government agents in question.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
As always, enjoy the excerpt!
"Nothing." Then he just stood there, silent and taking up more space than even his over six foot frame should occupy.
His hands rested against her neck, one thumb now brushing back and forth across her rapidly beating pulse. She began to wonder if her assessment of him as lion at rest was accurate. She realized he was coiled to spring at any moment and like truly mesmerized prey, she didn't think she could lift a finger to stop him.
The heat of the locket warmed by his hand burned against her bare skin. "Thank you," she blurted out.
One brow rose. "For the compliment?"
She shook her head and then realized that might have been a mistake when his blue eyes narrowed.
"For finding my locket and returning it to me. I know it’s just a necklace, but it means a lot to me." It was her talisman, serving to remind her she did not have to follow in her mother’s footsteps, that she had women in her lineage she could be proud of.
"Josie said it was your grandmother’s."
"Yes and her grandmother's before that."
"You must have loved her a lot."
"I did. She died when I was eight and I'll never forget her. She was a formidable woman." Unlike the daughter she'd given birth to.
"Who is Norene?"
"She was my mom."
"Thank you." She didn’t like talking about that part of her life. There was too much pain wrapped up in the memories and pain meant a vulnerability she'd long ago rejected. "Josette said you finished installing the security system in the house."
She tried to step back, away from him, but he moved with her, his hands continuing to caress her throat with subtle movements. It was all she could do to keep focused on their conversation. "I don’t understand why she wants one now that she’s not going to be living there."
"You live there and a woman alone needs a good security system."
If he knew some of the places she’d lived in her life, he would realize the safety of a locked door in a decent neighborhood was a luxury she didn’t take for granted. "Josette lived alone before I moved in."
"She was a merc."
"I’m not exactly helpless."
"Honey, if those terrorists we took down have friends, you’d be worse than helpless around them."
"What’s worse than helpless?"
"Oh." She tried taking a deep breath to calm down, but all she inhaled was his scent and she had to bite back a moan of pleasure at the unexpected intimacy of it. What was it about this guy? He was just so darn male, even the way he smelled excited her previously happily dormant feminine sexual instincts. "There’s no reason to believe anyone connected with them would have a grudge against me."
"Josie was part of the team that brought the bad guys to justice. People like that do not forgive and forget."
"But I’m not Josette."
"It’s not like she took an ad out saying she was getting married and taking off on a month long honeymoon. You are the one living in her house."
She thought the worry was far fetched but didn't say so. She knew Josette had to agree because she would not have allowed Claire to continue living in the house if she believed doing so would put her at risk. The security system had been Nitro and Hotwire's idea, although Josette had gone alone with it easily enough.
Claire didn't mention that to Hotwire either. "I’m sure any security system you devised is more than adequate."
"No security system is fail-safe, even ones as complicated as what Wolf and Nitro have installed around their homes." He went on to describe the measures he and Wolf had implemented. "Oh, and I bought you a can of mace for every room of the house."
"For every room of the house?"
"I like to be thorough...in every way."
The message that went through her had nothing to do with his intentional meaning she was sure. But she could imagine him being thorough as all get out and her fantasies were not about alarm systems. So long as they stayed fantasies, it was okay.
"A self-defense weapon won’t do you any good if it’s in the bedroom while you’re accosted in the kitchen."
The only person she felt in danger of being accosted by right now was him and if that happened, the last thing she’d want to do was fight. Which was a really dumb attitude she couldn't seem to shake.
Sex was not worth getting all shook up over, so why did hanging around this man make her feel like an Elvis Presley song?
"Yes. Since you won’t use a gun."
"You make that sound like a crime."
"It’s just..." He paused as if searching for a word. "Different."
"I guess a mercenary would see things that way."
"Right...now, you are a security specialist."
"Among other things."
She wanted to ask what other things, but suddenly, talking just wasn’t an option.
The lion inside him was looking at her through his darkening blue eyes and the expression was one of a lethal predator deciding how best to devour his prey. "I know you tried to forget it, but you besmirched my honor and you need to do something to make up for it."
How’d his face get so close? "Wh..." She had to clear her throat. "What do you mean?"
"I think a kiss would do it."
"What?" Kissing was the best part of sex she supposed, but that wasn't saying a lot. So why did the prospect of locking lips with Hotwire sound so darn exciting?
"A kiss, Claire. You know what a kiss is, when a man and woman—"
She covered his mouth to stop the tantalizing words. "I know what it is, smarty pants, but why would you want one from me?" That was her fantasy.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Also, Lucy is in Michigan at the moment getting ready for her book signing. Here are the details if you are interested in meeting Lucy and getting a book signed.
As always, I have a brand new excerpt from And Able. Enjoy!
Hotwire drove while his mind churned with the ramifications of Claire's reaction to seeing the kill book.
The reality of Lester's past as Arwan had devastated her. She didn't understand why he had become an assassin or how he could have lived his life doing one job after another.
Would she be any more capable of dealing with Hotwire's past? It was far from pristine. He'd gone solo like Lester had done and although Hotwire had never once killed for money, he had been forced to kill in self-defense and the defense of others in his years as a mercenary.
Would Claire be able to understand and accept that?
He'd never been ashamed of his life as a soldier, both for his government and as a private operator. He'd believed in his job in the Rangers and he'd taken that core set of beliefs with him into his life as a mercenary. He had used his skills to protect, to save and to defeat the enemy.
Some would look at his past and see shades of brutality when in reality, he'd only done what had to be done at the time.
It wasn't a carbon copy of Lester's path, but it was close enough. He remembered the discussions he and Claire had had about violence as a solution to a crisis. She said she wasn't a pacifist, but if she wasn't, she was damn close.
For the first time, he wondered if her refusal to marry him had something to do with her inability to accept his past. It made sense, but it also worried the hell out of him.
He'd been pretty confident of overcoming her emotional misgivings, but how could he convince her that his past did not make him a monster?
The prospect that he would have to bothered him. A lot. He'd spent his whole adult life excusing and explaining his career choices to his family and he'd always felt a barrier between himself and the rest of them because of it.
He didn't want to feel the same separation from Claire.
She'd never made friends easily...at least not since her dad's death. She had a hard time trusting people and letting them close required a level of risk that she'd always shied away from. She knew better than most people how easy it was to lose the people in your life who were supposed to be constant.
She'd let Queenie and Lester into her heart and then Josette, whom she'd shared more with than anyone else...besides Brett. She hadn't realized how lonely she'd been until she'd become friends with Josette, though. Her time with Queenie and Lester had always been limited to her work hours, but Josette's friendship had permeated every aspect of Claire's solitary existence. She didn't want to be alone anymore.
She wanted more than Brett's body, she wanted his friendship on a level that scared her spitless because it made her vulnerable to losing him. If he walked away, it would hurt. So much. No matter what label she wanted to put on the feelings she had for him. She wished she could turn her emotions off like she'd done the final years of taking care of her mom, but she didn't know how.
Brett let them into the suite with his key card and a few seconds later, while she was still busy stretching the kinks from the nearly two hour car ride, he swore.
She spun to face him. "What's the matter?"
"The suite was searched while we were gone." He was glaring down at something beside his computer.
"Did they take anything?"
"It doesn't look like it and unless they were better at computer security than I am, they weren't able to log onto either of our systems."
"Good." She hated this feeling of violation and for whatever reason the thought of a faceless person poking around in her computer files was even worse.
Brett powered up his system. "Unless the civ took a crash course in subtle searching methods, I think we're looking at the men in black as culprits."
"When you find out who they are, I want to tell them a thing or two."
"Me too, sugar. Me too." The dark menace in his voice made her shiver.
"Are you still convinced they weren't responsible for my attack?"
"I have a hard time seeing one of our government agents trying to smother you with a pillow."
"You can say that after seeing Arwan's kill book?"
Brett's face closed up. "Yes."