Tag Archives: Rayna Vause

Hurricane Sandy Storm Safety

Hurricane SandyWith Hurricane Sandy barreling down on us, I thought I’d keep today’s post short and sweet. No one can say what havoc Sandy is going to bring, but in an effort to ride out this storm as safely and comfortably as possible, here a a few preparedness tips.


  • Have enough water for each person in the house for 3 days. Best estimate is one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Have a three day supply of non-perishable foods.
  • Have enough pet care supplies for three days
  • Have flashlights and batteries for them
  • Have a battery operated radio
  • Have  first aid kit
  • Have emergency blankets

During the storm:

  • Go to an interior room and stay away from windows and doors even if they’re covered
  • Don’t go outside including when the eye of the storm is passing.

For additional hurricane preparedness and safety tips or to prepare for any other type of storm, you can visit the American Red Cross’s Disaster and Safety Library.

Hang in there all. Sandy is going to give us a heck of a bumpy ride.  So stay safe and dry.


A Change Will Do You Good…

Autumn LeavesOr so the Sheryl Crow song  says. As I mentioned in a my post from a few weeks back entitled Taking New Paths, I’ve been making a number of changes in recent days.  This time, though, the changes aren’t as big and difficult as asking for my rights back. This change was easy and made a world of difference.

This time around I changed my writing space. Not just my desk, but my whole location. I’d found that where I’d previously been working wasn’t really lending itself to productivity anymore. I knew I’d needed to change something, especially when falling asleep on my keyboard with very little written was becoming the norm.  Finally, a few weeks ago, I grabbed my laptop  and a little folding table and I transitioned myself into the kitchen. I had every thing I needed, bright lights, ready access to coffee and snacks, and quiet. It worked like a charm. Suddenly, I was making more progress then I had in ages.

A change certainly did me good. You may find that sometimes even little changes can help spark ideas and get you moving forward in ways you never expected. For example, in this age of technology I bet most if not all of us are writing using a computer and a word processing program.  Maybe you’re finding that your story isn’t flowing as well as you’d like. Maybe you’re actually stuck, possibly even creatively blocked.  Perhaps try hand writing your story for a bit. Just long enough to power throw the barricade and get the flow going again. Sometimes a small change like going from electronic to manual can unblock the creative channels.

If you’re find that you’re spinning your wheels and your creativity and productivity are flagging, try mixing things up. You never know what will shake loose and what directions you’ll go in.


Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day!

I hope everyone is having a safe, happy, and relaxing holiday. Here in NJ it’s a rainy dreary day, so I’m sure many are moving their family gatherings indoor. My plan is to curl up and relax with a good book and get some writing done.  So, I’m keeping today’s post short and sweet. I like history and I like knowing how things originated so I thought I’d share a little of the history of Labor Day.

Who actually founded labor day is actually a subject for debate. There is evidence to suggest that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor was the first to introduce the concept. However, many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist and later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, NJ. Matthew Maguire is believed to have proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. It is definite, though, that the  Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic which was held September 5, 1882. Oregon was the first state to recognize Labor Day as a holiday in 1887. It wasn’t until June 28, 1894 that it became a national holiday.

Thus, Labor Day was born. A day to celebrate the labors and accomplishments of the American worker and all they’ve contributed to society.

Now tell me, how do you plan on spending your Labor Day?
Enjoy your holiday!


Taking New Paths

Road SignsI guess it’s my turn to have a brain fart and forget to post on Monday. I blame it on the day job and my crazy schedule as of late. Work insanity aside, I’ve been going through a number of changes with my writing in the last few months.  I reclaimed the rights to one of my stories for a number of reasons. I’ll admit that in doing so a part of me felt like my writing career was taking a step backward.  Logically, I knew it was the right move and that nothing but good could come of it. It took me some time, however, to come around to that same point of view emotionally. I know that may sound strange, but hey most writers have some degree of crazy going on.

As I was settling things with the rights reversion, and feeling a bit like a loser in the process, I kept thinking of that quote that says when a door closes, somewhere a window opens. I had to realize that I hadn’t taken a step backward; I was just doing a redirect and choosing a new path. I talked to my writing buddies and then I went to the RWA conference and little spotlights of opportunity started to shine. By making a few more adjustments to my new vision even more opportunities opened up. In making that one simple yet difficult decision a load of new possibilities opened up.

So say all that to say what? First, it’s vital to have a good support network. My writing friends were there to lift me up when I was feeling down and help reinforce that I was making the right decision. Sometimes you just need a sounding board and they were there for me and helped me in amazing ways. So, whether it is a critique group, friends you make within a writing group, whatever, find those people who will help you back up when you fall and it will keep you sane in this crazy industry. My second point is to be open to taking new paths in your career. I’ve seen so many writers trudging forward along the down the same road and not seem to gain any ground. Then they do a redirect and things go better than they could have ever imagined. We all have stumbling blocks along the way, but they don’t necessarily have to be bad things. If nothing else we learn from them and move on, but you may also find that something bigger and better comes along by changing your game plan.


Grill Safely This Summer

Fourth of July is past (I hope everyone had a great holiday), but there is still plenty of summer left.  That means plenty of opportunity for backyard  barbecues.  In my house, once it’s even remotely warm enough the stove goes on vacation and grill takes over the cooking. If you’re like me where grilling is a main stay or if you just do the occasional party in the yard, I want share a few tips to make sure you stay safe when using your grill this summer.

    • Read the owner’s manual.
      Always read the owner’s manual before using your grill and follow specific usage, assembly, and safety procedures. Contact the grill manufacturer if you have specific questions. (Be sure to locate your model number and the manufacturer’s consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual.)
    • Grills are for outside, only.
      Barbecue grills are designed for outdoor use, only. Never barbecue in your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide may accumulate and kill you.
    • Use in well-ventilated area.
      Set up your grill in an open area that is away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves, or brush. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas and always barbecue in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of wind-blown sparks.
    • Keep grill stable.
      When using a barbecue grill, be sure that all parts of the unit are firmly in place and that the grill is stable (can’t be tipped over).
    • Use long-handled utensils.
      Use barbecue utensils with long handles (forks, tongs, etc.) to avoid burns and splatters.
    • Wear safe clothing.
      Wear clothing that does not have hanging shirt tails, frills, or apron strings that can catch fire, and use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
    • Keep fire under control.
      To put out flare-ups, either raise the grid that the food is on, spread the coals out evenly, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature. If you must douse the flames with a light spritz of water, first remove the food from the grill.
    • Be ready to extinguish flames.
      Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.
    • Never leave a grill unattended once lit.
    • Keep everyone a safe distance from a hot.
      Don’t allow anyone to conduct activity near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. The grill body remains hot up to an hour after being used.
    • Don’t move a hot grill.
      Never attempt to move a hot grill. It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result.

These tips are courtesy of The Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association

Hop everyone have a great summer. Happy Grilling!

What’s on Your Keeper Shelf?

At the moment, I’m in the middle of going through edits on my latest WIP. In between each draft I like to take a little time to clear my head so I can come back to it fresh. One of the things I like to do is go back to my keeper shelf. All of us reading fans have them. That collection of books you hold onto at all costs because they are autographed or maybe just because.

Recently, I spent sometime with Johanna Lindsey’s backlist. I remembered why I fell in love with Man of My Dreams and why Angel got me hooked on reading romance novels. Let me share a few others that I’ve got on my keeper shelf.

Forever Blue – Suzanne Brockmann
Public Secrets – Nora Roberts
Until You – Judith McNaught
Faith and Fidelty – Tere Michaels
Naked in Death by JD Robb
Conquest & No Fear – SJ Frost

In this day day and age of ebooks it easy to keep all of your books because they really don’t take any space so perhaps instead of asking what’s on your keeper shelf, the better question is what’s on your frequently reread list? I’d love to know because when I get to the end of this round of edits I’m going to read something new(to me, at least) and I’m open to suggestions.


What’s on Your Summer Reading List?

red hot booksSummer is here. It’s the season of backyard barbeques and blockbuster movies. For us bookish types, it’s also a great time to kickback at the beach, lounge by the pool, or curl up in your favorite chair and bask in the air conditioning while we get lost in a story. All of us have TBR piles filled with currently and to be released books. The three of us here at Attacking the Page are very different in our reading preferences. So we thought we’d all share some of the books on our summer reading lists.

I’m a primarily a romance fan with a light smattering of mystery mixed in.

I’m a huge fan of m/m romance. Abigail Roux and Madeline Urban write the Cut & Run series. If your looking to try a GLBT romance, this is a great starting point. It’s funny, action packed, and full of two sexy alphas falling in love. I just finished the latest book in the series Armed and Dangerous. The release day for Stars and Stripes can’t get here fast enough. This is definitely book number one on my summer reading list.

I’ve also got the J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series on my summer reading list as well. I admit it, I’m one of the few people on the planet who have not tried this series. I’m really interested, howeverm in reading the next book in this series, but I can’t start in the middle. I need to see how things develop. So, Dark Lover here I come.

Also, as a long time fan of Janet Evanovich, I’ve got Explosive Eighteen on my list. I just love Stephanie Plum and the whole cast of characters in that series. They always keep me laughing. Speaking of which, I fully intent to see One for the Money. I’m keeping my expectations low especially since I think it’s going to be hard for any actor to live up to the visions of Ranger and Morelli that I have in my head.

That’s my list, now it’s Melinda’s turn. She likes her romance with a lot of death and destruction. She also likes to have the snot scared out of her. Don’t ask me why. So, on her summer reading list she has:

The Cold Kiss, a psychological thriller by John Rector
Catch Me, by Lisa Gardner which is the next thriller in the DD Warren series.

Since I jump at every creak the house makes just watching Ghost Hunters, I’ll leave these titles for Melinda to enjoy and she can just hit the highlights for me.

She’s also got Explosive Eighteen on her list as well.

Kathy(KM Fawcett) is still building her summer reading list, but so far she’s added All You Need is Love. This is the debut novel by a friend of ours, Cathy Tully, which release June 28th.

While we’re plugging books don’t forget to check out Melinda’s next release Midnight Exposure coming this August. If you like murder and mayhem mixed with romance you’ll definitely want to check it out.

We’d like to thank Jen at Red Hot Books, Brie at Romance Around the Corner & Michelle at Michelle’s Book Blog for hosting this blog hop. We’d like to thank you for stopping in today. There are a lot of great posts and prizes being giving away so be sure to check out the other blogs that are participating in this hop.

Now for the good part, one lucky commenter will win a copy of Amazon Heat. This is an ebook, so the contest is open to everyone. It’s really simple to enter. Just leave a comment sharing one of the books you’re looking forward to reading this summer. Don’t forget to include an email address. The winner will be selected by Random.org on June 15th.

We hope you have a safe and happy summer. Happy reading.

Attacking the Page on The Popular Romance Project

The Popular Romance Project has a post up featuring the ladies of Attacking Page at the New York Romance Writers of America national conference. The video is a short snippet from our Kick Butt Heroes workshop where we discuss knife fighting. Check it out if you’d like to see Kathy repeatedly stab me with a knife. – Melinda Leigh


The Adventures of an Impulse Buyer

This is very similar to my new bed.

Memorial Day is coming this weekend. I hope everyone has more entertaining plans than mine. My plan for the weekend is to toss a burger on the grill while I wait for my new mattress to be delivered. It will be good to finally get it though,  since I’ve been waiting for it for a  few weeks. That’s because what started as a simple project turned into a massive project.  Let me tell you a bit about this saga.

My mother is a master of the impulse buy and she loves to shop online. I have no idea what whim possessed her to go look at mattress prices, but one day after work a few weeks back I get a call from her, Apparently the mattress that I’ve wanted for a while was going to be on sale.  Rock on. Shopping is awesome, sale shopping is even better. It’s only a one day sale, though,  so we have to go on Saturday. Sure, no problem. So off we go to the mattress store and out we come an hour later with a receipt for a new mattress and bags of new linens.

As we’re driving home, Mom says in her I-feel-a-project-coming-on voice, I think we need to get you a new bed frame. Let me explain something about my Mom, she gets her project inspiration from her purchases and not the other way around. It’s sort of a while we’re at it type of thing.  Suffice it to say that the purchase of a new mattress led to the purchase of a new bed frame, lead to a complete cleaning and rearranging of my bedroom.

That’s where it gets interesting.  The frame arrived last Wednesday. Between Wednesday and Friday, we’d empty all the crap out of the room (The living room currently looks like a Good Will drop off center).  I had plans Saturday, so Sunday was going to be the final clean up and assembly day.

I roll out of bed at 10am, and Mom is in the computer room making plans for a trip to Disney. The way we do Disney extensive pre-planning is involved so that took some time. Then a very long session of Jewel Quest playing was needed, because it’s Sunday and we should relax some right? Around 6 that night I’ve assumed that we’re just not going to get this bed set up this weekend. But sure enough, 6:30 rolls around and, according to Mom,  it’s time to get this cleaning party started. Are you kidding me?!

This isn’t the first time Mom has done this, but for some reason I never cease to be surprised by it. So here we are 7:00 at night we’re vacuuming, moving furniture around, hauling the old bed frame out of the house. Then we start in on dust mopping, wet mopping, and waxing the floor. Because space is limited however, we have to do this in section and naturally, it’s necessary to play a game or two of Jewel Quest while each section dries. So here it is 11:30, I’m fading fast, and Mom says well we still have one section left of mopping do you want to try and put the bed frame together tonight? It should probably take about an hour. Love you, Mom, but seriously? Heck no, I’m going to bed.

I dropped the mattress on the newly cleaned floor grabbed a blanket and crashed. On Monday night we tackled the final section of the floor and then began the bed assembly. Four hours later, I had a bed (so much for a 1 hr set up). Oh, as an aside, I put the old mattress and box spring on the new frame, and when I climbed on I felt like the princess and the pea. I needed ladder to get in that thing and don’t sit up in bed you’ll get beheaded by the ceiling fan. Needless to say we removed the box spring.  Anyway, you’d think the story would end there, but guess what folks, it doesn’t. Also on her to-do list for the room is paint, change out the sockets, replace the ceiling fan and I’m sure the list will keep going from there. When Mom is on a roll, watch out.

There is no doubt that my Mom is a character. It’s quirky traits, like her tendency of turning a one time purchase into a weeks long project, that we can add to characters that we create in our books to make them real and endearing to our readers. Look around your world, I’m sure you’ve got a few friends and family members that can offer some interesting and unique character inspiration.

In the meantime, wish me luck this weekend and have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Ten Fun Facts About Wonder Woman

Wonder WomanSummer is almost here. Blockbuster movies about comic book characters are going to start filling the theaters. With that in mind, along with  a deep seated need to finally see The Avengers, I thought I’d share a few fun fact about Wonder Woman. I know, I know she’s from DC Comics not Marvel, but you get the connection.  As we may have already mentioned, Wonder Woman was the inspiration behind the Amazon series that, Melinda and I  write together. With the draft of my current WIP almost done, we’re are making plans to finally finish up the sequel to Amazon Heat.  So, what better inspiration then to share a few fun fact about an awesome super hero who kicks butt in an awesome pair of boots.

  1. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston (the inventor of the polygraph).
  2. Wonder Woman’s alter ego is Diana Prince/Princess Diana of Themyscira.
  3. Wonder Woman made her first appearance in December 1941 in All-Star Comics #8.
  4. In creating her William Marston wanted to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.
  5. Initially, Wonder Woman was an Amazon champion who wins the right to return Steve Trevor — a United States intelligence officer whose plane had crashed on the Amazons’ isolated island homeland — to “Man’s World” and to fight crime and the evil of the Nazis. Her origin story was later revamped to increase her Hellenic and mythological roots. She received the blessing of each deity in her crib, Diana is destined to become “beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Mercury.” Her origin was changed yet again in 2011 making her a demigod, the natural-born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus.
  6. Wonder Woman had arsenal of powerful god-forged weapons at her disposal, but her signature weapons are her indestructible bracelets and the Lasso of Truth.
  7. In the television show the bullet proof material the braclets were formed of was called ‘Feminum’. In the comic books, it was called ‘Amazonium’.
  8. Wonder Woman spinning into costume was also solely a television fixture. She would spin her lasso around herself in the comic books to transform.
  9. She depict her as a masterful athlete, acrobat, fighter and strategist, trained and experienced in many ancient and modern forms of armed and unarmed combat, including exclusively Amazonian martial arts.
  10. In May 2011, Wonder Woman placed fifth on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time.

So now I ask, who is your favorite superhero and why?