Imagine the World

fountain pen and paperThe best part of being a writer is that you get to make stuff up. No, really. That’s the best part. When I’m going around doing stuff—driving to work, doing groceries, getting overpriced coffee at Starbucks—I pay attention and make up captions for the world that don’t fit. Like, let’s say there’s a guy at Starbucks hunched intently over a laptop, and there’s a big huge coffee with whipped cream on top. I try out things like “Sugar addict on early release” or “Space alien without a ride”, ‘cause with all that sugar, the guy’s gonna be up all night.

Here on my blog, I thought I’d try the same thing. Today, I’ve taken pictures from Facebook and matched them (sometimes mismatched them) with books lying around my apartment. Here goes…


very very haunted house

The late bus dropped Jared Grace at the bottom of his street. From there it was an uphill climb to the dilapidated old house where his family was staying until his mother found something better or his crazy old aunt wanted it back. The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2: Seeing the Stone by Holly Black



guy not happy


I took a look at this one, and I asked myself…hmmm…he’s just about to say something, but what? Then I got it! Advice for a friend…“No, for some sins, no excuses will do and penance is required. I’d suggest you demand it be done in the bedchamber…” Time and Chance by Sharon Kay Penman



Someone’s night is about to get very, very interesting . . . We have now reached the evening that was to be  known among them as the Night of Nights. Peter Pan by James M. Barrieman on stairs at night

rose and cahin

This just seemed right . . .

The coronation went off with no trouble or complications at all. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King




awesome library

Things aren’t always what they seem…

“Yes, of course.” Very unwillingly the doctor unlocked a door at the back of the office and they filed into a cramped room that—among other things—functioned as the ship’s morgue. The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child



 And…for my friend Em Woods

guy with tattoo


And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change: not a knocker, but Marley’s face. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.




Your turn.

 Go ahead . . . imagine the world


Five Stars at IHOP’c.

Let’s get this started off right with today’s eye candy . . .

Julian blonde

Life is good, yes?

It’s a near perfect day: dark, rainy, grey skies, and brooding clouds. A day made for curling up with a good book.

Here in nearly perfect Dallas, I’m hard at work on my WIP, and it’s made me think about a few things. I started thinking back to why I wanted to be a writer in the first place.  A long time ago (about when dinosaurs roamed the world) there was a little girl who read stories all the time. And she wanted nothing more than to write her own stories. Every time I sit down to write, that little girl comes out to play and it feels really good.

And that’s got me thinking of the debate that plagues writers all the time: story or craft?

manuscriptWhat do we mean when we say ‘craft’? Is it pretty writing like in an old manuscript? Not quite. It’s kind of like cooking. There are short order cooks who cook up those amazing breakfasts at IHOP, and then there are Master Chefs at five-star restaurants I can’t afford. Are they both cooking? Absolutely. Do they both have an equal level of skill (craft)? Ahhhh….that’s the big question.


Itale of two citiesn a writer’s world, the Master Chef would be somebody like Dickens, Tale of Two Cities. The short order cook would be Lee Child, Killing Floor. To some ways of thinking Dickens is a better writer than Child. killing floor


I’m very torn over this question. I love those IHOP breakfasts: bacon, eggs over easy, fluffy pancakes, warm syrup, hash browns. Would it be better if a Master Chef made it? Maybe, but then it wouldn’t be an IHOP breakfast, right?

The IHOP breakfast is, to paraphrase Stephen King, ‘telling a damn good story’. Dinner at a five-star restaurant is a tale well told. What can I say? I like a well told tale, but I love a damn good story. As a writer, what’s important to me is knowing that someone will put down my book and say to themselves, “Wow! That was some ride!”

For my readers, I want to be the five-star IHOP breakfast. If I can do that, I’m good.

What do you like? IHOP or Five-Star Restaurant? 



Ryssa’s Dreamin’

It’s here! The first day of January, 2013.

new year

I think this is the part where I’m supposed to say things like “I’ve got all my goals in line” and “I’m ready to take 2013 by storm”.

Oh my.

I’m old enough now to know better. With my gray hairs have come wisdom.

In 2013, I’m ready to…live the dream of being a writer.

Let’s talk a little bit about being a writer. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s the best hours of my day. And it has been my faithful devoted companion for decades now. This year, it’s all about the writing. And I’m okay with that.

This would be a good time for me to tell my loyal fans (and you newbies out there) what I have planned for this year.

two pens

I’ll be doing my first ever collaboration on a m/m series with a friend. That’s going to be a fun mix of a little romance, a little paranormal, and a little fantasy.


I have three solo projects planned this year.storms eye

Storm’s Eye is a romance between Ray, a man who can see pretty deeply into things, and  Charlie, the deputy of the small town in Montana where they both grew up. Ray uses remote seeing to do things that most citizens don’t want to know about. When Charlie is inadvertently dragged into Ray’s secret life, what is he going to do? Deny the love he’s always felt? Or…

julians beast

Barbarian King and the Fire Jewel is my entry into the fantasy genre this year. Jezrel is a shadow warrior who’s never fallen in love. When he finally ascends to the throne of Bizantyon, he chooses Sciontes for his consort. He knows the consort is never a love match. But Jezrel learns that love doesn’t need a reason, it just needs two hearts.


The third project is a little weird. I saw this picture on Facebook and it’s haunting me. He has a story to tell. The angel with a gunname of his story is “Angel With a Gun”. I can’t wait to find out more! I have a feeling he’ll be the most exciting project this year. He makes my heart beat.

So what do I have to do to live this dream? The same thing we all have to do to live our dreams: listen to my heart.

I’ll be listening.

I’ll be writing.

I’ll be on the journey of a lifetime this year, and I hope you’re with me.


Ryssa’s Inventions

Happy Three-Days-Before-Christmas!

Here’s some Christmas eye candy for grown ups…

You’re welcome!

Let’s cozy up to the fireplace for a chat.

I was thinking today as I went through my To Do list how America is a country that loves our lists. I mean we have lists for our lists, don’t we? There’s the grocery list, the New York Times Bestseller list, the top ten holiday meals list, the top gifts for that hard to get person list, the top ten shows for people who hate TV list. It goes on and on, and it’s inspired me to come up with my own list: Top Five Inventions That Haven’t Been Invented Yet. Ready?

5.       A car that drives in traffic for you That’s right. No more sitting in rush hour traffic. The car goes through rush hour traffic, then beams you to the parking lot at work. Of course, work could beam you directly to the office, but that would be an executive perk.

4.       The Ooops Eraser (Also known as “What Was I Thinkin’!”) You know those moments in life where you go, “Ooops…wish I hadn’t done that”. This eraser would make it so those moments just never happened. I’m first in line for this one!

3.  The Now Book System (NBS) This is for those people who love to read, but don’t have enough time. It would work like this. You buy a chip, press it to your forehead, and just like that, you’ve read War and Peace in ten seconds!

2.       The Right Now Write System (RNWS)  This is for writers who just don’t have time to wait around for that great idea to blossom into a fully edited, bestseller-guaranteed manuscript. It would work like this. You open the Right Now Write System on your computer, you think of an idea, and—Voila! You open your eyes, and there’s your manuscript. For an added cost of $15,000 you could upgrade to RNWS Advantage Plus, which would also write your query letter, create a synopsis, and find an agent.

1.        The Aladdin Smart Phone This phone would come with a genie. Your wish would be its command. Standard models would come with an Unlimited Wish Plan. No rubbing required.

What’s in your top five?

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful Christmas, full of good friends, warm cheer, and happy memories…


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Ryssa’s Back!

It’s been a while since I posted here so I’m trying to catch up on the all exciting things that have been going on with me. Just finished my first book of 2012. Whew!  That took a long time. Right now the manuscript is sitting in a virtual drawer, waiting for me to take it. It’s a m/f romance with vampires, and it’s got good guys and bad guys and a couple undecided ones.

I’m hoping the new book will be out by April, 2013.

Right now, I’m working on a novella, Storm’s Eye. That one’s m/m and it doesn’t have vampires.

Other than that, I’ve been reading around, checking out some really good historical fiction, some guy fiction and some really good reads.

Here are the books I read this year that I loved best:

Wolf Hall: If you like historical fiction, check out Hilary Mantel. Her style’s a little hard to pick up on, but I listened to the Audible version and read along. Worth it!



Of course after Wolf Hall, I was hooked, so I picked up Bring up the Bodies, and unlike most sequels it was even better than Wolf Hall. Thomas Cromwell was one dangerous dude!




I just finished Nelson DeMille’s Gold Coast. It’s a really good story about a Mafia don who buys a mansion in a really, really rich neighborhood. John Sutter, the character telling the story, has a cutting sense of humor that’s hard to resist.



Dennis Lehane didn’t let me down with Live By Night. It’s a good story about life in the Prohibition era. The plot kept me turning pages.




Sutton is the story of bank robber from the 1930’s or so told in the style of a fictional memoir. I liked it right up until the end, which was a little weak for me, but overall, it was a good read. I liked getting to know Willie, even though he was a little scary.



My most fun read this year has been Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison. It’s true stories from the life of an African Safari guide. This book is laugh out loud funny!



How about you?

What were your favorite reads of 2012?



The Rain

I discovered a new assassin I really like!  John Rain lives in Japan, and he’s  . . . dangerous. Here’s my review of my very first John Rain book, Rain Fall. It’s the first in the series.

Rain Fall (John Rain, #1)I bought this book for Kindle.

John Rain is an assassin.

John Rain is not a nice guy.

John Rain is a very tortured man.

Can a freelance assasin, a former soldier who’s done things he’s pretty much not okay with, have a heart? A code of honor?

Mr. Eisler shows that, in the hands of a skilled writer, the answer to these questions is “yes”.

When John Rain is asked to kill the daughter of a target he’s recently killed, he declines the job. He doesn’t do women.

But then, he’s kind of bothered that she’s in danger. She’s a jazz musician. He goes to see her play, and one thing leads to another, and he ends up protecting her (from half of Japan, it seems like).

I really liked how this story developed. I went into the John Rain world pretty neutral. I tried this book based on a recommendation from GoodReads.

John Rain is a problematic character if you believe that there is unequivocal “good” and “evil” in the world. If you follow the story, and come to understand what John Rain does and why he does it, there’s a good chance that you’d be willing to give him a fair chance.

I really liked John Rain’s relationship with Harry. And I absolutely loved how John Rain way, way underestimated Harry. Probably my favorite line in the whole book is when Harry asks John Rain (for the second time), “Fair enough?”.

I also liked the relationship between John and Titsu. Both men are doing what they believe. They’re both loyal to a cause. They’re both willing to die doing what they do. They’re strangely opposite, and paradoxically in harmony with each other; very Zen. That really worked for me.

Mr. Eisler did a very good job creating a man who is deadly, but not invincible. The fights were very convincing to me, as an outsider, and someone who isn’t knowledgeable about those things.

The pacing of the story is dead on. It doesn’t sag in the middle. It doesn’t race to an ending. And the beginning eases the reader into a complex world with an entirely different culture (if you’re from the West) in a smooth, relatively painless way.

I liked the way Japan becomes a kind of supporting character in the book. I don’t know very much about Japan, so to me that was very convincing.

I gave this book five stars because of the writer’s ability to draw me into John Rain’s mind and convince me that he sees himself as a man doing what he does best, which happens to be bringing about the deaths of other. I appreciated that Eisler was able to bring that off with a degree of subtlety that’s rare in commercial fiction. And on top of that, his prose is spare and lean.

Overall, if you enjoy Jack Reacher adventures or Lawrence Block’s Keller, you’ll enjoy following the adventures of John Rain.

Do you have a favorite hero who’s maybe a  little on the dark side? Tell us all about it.


The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

I got this book from the library for my Kindle.

This is the first original vampire tale that I’ve read in a long time.

 In short, a vampire virus rampages its way through post 9/11 NYC, and the frontline is the CDC.

The opening with the airplane was brilliant. I loved that.

I liked the vampires (who are definitely not sparkly or romantic).

I liked the NYC setting. I liked the way the scenes were set up.   It was a little formulaic, but considering that the genre is over a century old, I kind of expected that. There were many things I didn’t expect, like the rat exterminator character. He was a good addition to the ensemble cast.  

I think this tale is probably the truest to Stoker’s idea of vampire as something “other” and frightening. The writing isn’t stellar. It’s commercial fiction, so I wasn’t looking for fantastic writing. The two writers strike a good balance with each other’s style.   There are some very gory scenes, but they are appropriate to the story line. I didn’t feel like I was reading gratuitous violence that was there just to be window dressing.  

I’m heading off to read The Fall, part two of the trilogy.  

Overall, if you’re looking for an original Stokeresque vampire tale, The Strain will fit the bill.

What’s your favorite vampire tale?