Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sims3: Growing Up

Well, Meghan's birthday finally rolled around. To celebrate her passing from teenagehood to young adult, there was a party.

With games

And pizza

And cake

Meghan making a wish...

And after the transformation. (I know, she doesn't look very different, but the changes are subtle. Like she's taller. :D )

The boys had a quieter celebration the next day, passing from teen hood to adults with their family.

Rowan grown up.

Sage grown up.

Ash (and Meghan) grown up. Still crazy for each other.

And, finally, we have Puck, who had to celebrate his birthday alone, poor guy. Despite being at Meghan's party, he's still not on the greatest terms with either Meghan or Ash. Hopefully that will change, because who wants to spend their birthday alone?

Puck all grown up.

Now that everyone is grown, new changes and challenges lie ahead. Like getting a job, buying a house, raising a family. What will they decide to do? Stay tuned to find out.

To be continued...

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Iron Queen excerpt

Crossposted from Harlequin's blog.

Hey everyone! After the release of The Iron Daughter a few weeks ago, one of the questions I’ve been asked most frequently revolves around Meghan and her ability to fight back. I now give you a short excerpt from the upcoming The Iron Queen, the third book in the Iron Fey series, which I hope will help to answer that question:

Ash strode to a nearby rock, swooped down, and tossed me a long, slightly curved stick. When I caught it, I saw that it was actually a leather sheath with a gilded brass hilt poking from the top. A sword. Ash was giving me a sword … why?

Oh, yeah. Because I wanted to learn to fight. Because I’d asked him to teach me.

Ash, watching me with that weary, knowing look on his face, shook his head. “You forgot, did you?”

“Nooooo,” I said quickly. “I just … didn’t think it would be this soon.”

“This is the perfect place.” Ash turned slightly to gaze around the clearing. “Quiet, hidden. We can catch our breath here. It’s a good place to learn while you’re waiting for your father to come out of it. When we’re done here, I have a feeling things will get much more chaotic.” He gestured to the sword in my hand. “Your first lesson begins now. Draw your sword.”

I did. Unsheathing it sent a raspy shiver across the glen, and I gazed at the weapon in fascination. The blade was thin and slightly curved, an elegant looking weapon, razor sharp and deadly. A warning tickled the back of my mind. There was something about the blade that was … different. Blinking, I ran my fingers along the cool, gleaming edge, and a chill shot through my stomach.

The blade was made of steel. Not faery steel. Not a fey sword covered in glamour. Real, ordinary iron. The kind that would burn faery flesh and sear away glamour. The kind that left wounds impossible to heal.

I gaped at it, then at Ash, who looked remarkably calm to be facing his greatest weakness. “This is steel,” I told him, sure that Leanansidhe had made a mistake.

He nodded. “An eighteenth-century Spanish saber. Leanansidhe nearly had a fit when I told her what I wanted, but she was able to track one down in exchange for a favor.” He paused then, wincing slightly. “A very large favor.”

Alarmed, I stared at him. “What did you promise her?”

“It doesn’t matter. Nothing that endangers us in any way.” He hurried on before I could argue. “I wanted a light, slashing weapon for you, one with a good amount of reach, to keep opponents farther away.” He gestured to the saber with his own weapon, a blindingly quick stab of blue. “You’ll be moving around a lot, using speed instead of brute force against your enemies. That blade won’t block heavier weapons, and you don’t have the strength to swing a longsword effectively, so we’re going to have to teach you how to dodge. This was the best choice.”

“But this is steel,” I repeated, listening to him in amazement. He could teach a class with his knowledge of weapons and fighting. “Why a real sword? I could seriously hurt someone.”

“Meghan.” Ash gave me a patient look. “That’s exactly why I chose it. You have an advantage with that weapon that none of us can touch. Even the most violent redcap will think twice about facing a real, mortal blade. It won’t scare the Iron fey, of course, but that’s where training will come in.”

“But … but what if I hit you?”

A snort. “You’re not going to hit me.”

“How do you know?” I bristled at his amused tone. “I could hit you. Even master swordsmen make mistakes. I could get a lucky shot, or you might not see me coming. I don’t want to hurt you.”

He favored me with another patient look. “And how much experience do you have with swords and weapons in general?”

“Um.” I glanced down at the saber in my hand. “Thirty seconds?”

He smiled, that calm, irritatingly confident smirk. “You’re not going to hit me.”


Meghan’s story, and the war with the Iron Fey, continues in The Iron Queen, coming February 2011, from Harlequin TEEN.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sims3: On the Edge of Adulthood

Continuing the lives of the Sims. Puck is back from his vacation to China.

He seems to be in good spirits.

Picking up new skills.

And keeping himself busy, without Meghan or Ash.

Meghan and Ash are still seeing each other. Here they are on another date...

...their last one as teenagers.

(Yes, that cake really is on fire)

It's their last date as teens, because tomorrow, Meghan turns into a young adult. So they decide to spend it hanging out under the stars.

Talking about the future,

and just being kids.

Finally, they say goodnight. Tomorrow Meghan and company start a new chapter in their lives, but what will their future hold in the next episode of the Sims?

To be continued.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Aliens and the Red Ring of Death

Anyone who has owned an Xbox or and Xbox 360 for awhile knows what the above picture means. The dreaded Red Ring of Death, which tells you your Xbox has gone to the big game store in the sky. I'd heard about the Red Ring, of course, but our Xbox 360, one out of the very first line, no less, had miraculously avoided the Red Ring of Death for years and years.

Until yesterday.

Well, it had to happen eventually. But of course, the Red Ring decided to strike when I had a new game I was looking forward to playing. :(

Fortunately, my husband is the greatest man in the world. We went to Wal-Mart that very night and got a new Xbox 360. So, RIP old Xbox. You did good, lasting all this time, but its time to move on to a new box.

Anyway, this is the game I've been playing ever since.

Its called Mass Effect 2, and its a sci-fi/shooter/rpg. As you can tell from the title, this is the second in a series, and I absolutely LOVED the first one. The story, the characters, the voice acting, the game play, all fabulous in my book. Mass Effect 2 continues its near perfect legacy, introducing new characters to fall in love with, while meeting up with a few old ones as well. You're Commander Shepherd once again, commander of the Normandy, with a crew of extremely colorful aliens and humans at your side. The world is vast, complex, and gritty, and your actions once again have the potential for dire consequences depending on what path you choose.

As in the first Mass Effect, the different races are what make this game really stand out from any other sci-fi shooter. Each race is fully fleshed out, with their own legends, religion, history, and character.

From the brutal, war-like Krogans to the brilliant, fast talking Salarians, to the militaristic Turians. But unlike many aliens, the races of Mass Effect don't always fall into stereotype. Yes, most Krogan are violent and mercenary, but the one aboard your ship is surprisingly intelligent and self-aware, even as he acknowledges his bloodthirsty side. The bad-ass Turian warrior--who you'd expect to be noble and honorable--IS very noble and honorable, but he also has a dry sense of humor doesn't take himself too seriously at all. They don't act like aliens, they act like real people with real personalities. And perhaps, that is Mass Effect's greatest achievement.

Definitely worth the Red Ring of Death.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Are you paraskavedekatriaphobic? (Or, Happy Friday the 13th)

Happy Friday the 13th!

An estimated 28 million Americans are staying home today, avoiding roads, shopping malls, the great outdoors, ect. All because of two little numbers that happen to fall on a Friday. As an extremely non-suspicious person myself, I was curious as to why Friday the 13th is considered so unlucky. In researching the 13th, I found some interesting facts, and some very old suspicions.


Do you have a phobia with the number 13? Surprisingly, its so common they gave these phobias names.

Friggatriskaidekaphobics is a phobia where a person worries that bad things could befall them each time the thirteenth day of the month lands on a Friday, as it does today and up to three times each year.

Those who fear the number 13 are said to have triskaidekaphobia.

And of course, we have paraskavedekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13h itself.

So, is "Black Friday" as evil and unlucky as some people fear? Well, consider this:

It is considered extremely unlucky to sit 13 people at a dinner table. Suspicion states that the first person to rise from such a table will die within a year. This old rumor is thought to have originated from Biblical times with The Last Supper, as Judas the traitor was the first to rise, and the first to die.

Many buildings don't have a "13th floor." You'll see their elevator numbers skip from 12 to 14.

In a traditional hangman's noose there are 13 twists of the rope and 13 steps to the gallows. Also, a guillotine blade falls from a height of 13 feet.

Charles Manson, Saddam Hussein, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Theodore Bundy, and Jack The Ripper each have 13 letters in their names.

The term 'baker's dozen' came into existence as a baker generally adds a 13th loaf to a dozen. This 13th loaf is offered to the devil in the hopes that it will keep him from ruining the rest of the basket.

According to legend, in the 18th century, the British Navy commissioned a ship called the H.M.S. Friday in order to quell the superstition. The navy selected the crew on a Friday, launched the ship on a Friday and even selected a man named James Friday as the ship's captain. Then, one Friday morning, the ship set off on its maiden voyage -- and disappeared forever.

Getting chills yet? Well, try not to worry. If you go looking for bad luck, bad luck is sure to find you. However, if you are the suspicious type, here are some things to avoid today.

(Spiderman fans will get this)

And of course, this guy.

But lets not let Friday the 13th get to us. I leave you with this video, hoping that you'll take today with a grain of salt, and if something unlucky DOES happen to you today, well, you can just blame Hollywood.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sims3: Things are Getting Heated

With Puck on vacation for a bit, Meghan and Ash continue to spend time with each other as much as possible. Here they are at a favorite hangout spot, the Red Rendezvous.

Afterward, they go back to Meghan's house just to hang out. Here's Ash showing off a little.

They play a few games.

Then they get tired of playing games.

And, with Meghan's parents gone, it soon progresses to something else.

Until her mom comes home, that is. Whoops!

Ash tries playing it cool.

But Melissa isn't amused.

Ah, teenagehood. Now Meghan is grounded and Ash is forbidden to come to the house unless someone is home. What will happen next for our two lovebirds?

To be continued.

Winter's Passage Contest winners


Apologies for neglecting my blog, but for the past month I've been in Super Crazy Deadline Crunch Mode, and everything has been neglected because of it. I'm SO behind on everything, but now I can start to claw my way out of the hole. *Looks at daunting inbox and shivers.*

ANYWAY, I'd like to announce the winners of The Winter's Passage Trailer Contest. As you saw earlier, there were some gorgeous entries and it was sooooo difficult deciding on a winner. But, someone had to win, so without further ado:

In Second Place:

Katie! Your trailer has won you a signed Iron Daughter and a doodled bookplate. I'll be emailing you for your info on where to send it. Congratulations!

And, the Grand Prize goes to:

Congratulations, Caitlin! You are the Grand Prize winner of a signed Iron Daughter and a handpainted wolf rock. I'll be emailing you shortly. Thanks again!

And a huge Thank You to everyone who participated! I'm in awe of your talent. Because I know my attempt would look something like this:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sims3: Puck's Vacation

Puck has been feeling a little down in the dumps lately.

After Meghan rejected him, and his fight with Ash, he thinks perhaps he needs some space.

So he decides to take a vacation

To China.

Puck's Travel Log.

Checking into the hotel.

Learning the ancient art of Sim Fu.

Fast learner.

Sampling the local cuisine.

Meeting a local.

The city at night.

Biking everywhere.

Visiting an ancient temple.

Visiting another ancient temple.

And yet another ancient temple.

Checking out a cool fountain.

Fishing in the river.

Fishing in a koi pond.

Awesome view from the top of the Temple of Heaven

Vacations are fun, but they do come to an end. What will Puck find when he returns home? Will he be able to move on, repair his friendship with Meghan and Ash, or will he continue to sabotage their relationship? He's not quite sure, himself, but at least the vacation was nice.

To be continued...