Friday, February 29, 2008

She Fears Gate Nazis

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, doesn't get a lot of "downtime" to just sit and relax with her writing. So last weekend when she had returned from what she kept calling "the deepfreeze" of Colorado from a business trip, she took the latest printout of Book II in the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy and went to lay by the pool here in the condominium community where she lives.

It takes a key to get into the fenced-off pool area. You must be a resident of this community to use the pool. I guess that makes sense because the people who live here don't want random people from without the community coming in to use their pool. I'm not sure why they won't share, but they won't. It seems to me that people would use their own community's pool... (Oh, she just told me this is pretty standard in your society and not to overthink it.)

Anyway, what she found bizarre was the two different mindsets concerning the locking of the gate while the pool was in use. See, when she arrived, there were several senior citizens in the pool already, and the gate was slightly ajar so it remained unlocked and she could pass through without taking out her key to get in. Convenient. She left it that way. No one complained.

When one of the gentlemen left the pool, he closed the gate completely, clicking the lock into place, and the ladies in the pool spoke up, shouting to him to re-open it. They wanted it open and unlocked so they wouldn't have to get out their keys to get out of the pool area.

This seemed logical to Sandy. The ladies were making life easier for themselves.

When the ladies left, they also left the gate slightly ajar. Sandy had the entire pool area to herself and proceeded to fall asleep instead of editing. (I complained but she wouldn't listen.)

Pretty soon, she was awakened by a senior couple coming in, demanding to know if she was expecting someone to join her. She said no. "Well, this gate is open," the man said. "Are you expecting someone?"

"No, the ladies who left a few minutes ago must have left it open. They may be coming back."

The couple looked distressed. "Well, this is supposed to be locked. I'm going to close this." The man was rather adamant. His wife nagged at him, "just close it." "It should be closed," he told her. "Just close it," she snapped at him. When the naggy couple left later, they not only closed the gate behind them, but shook it to make sure it latched.

Sandy was amused, and told me that if she lives to get old, and if I'm still around, I am to run her through with a sword if pool gates become an obsessive reason for her to snap at people she's hanging out with.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

She Made Me Leave

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, felt that I would be less able to control my temper than she (imagine) so she sent me out of the attorney's building (the whole building!) when her soon-to-be-ex-husband appeared at mediation yesterday. She, her attorney and I were floored that he flew down here for this meeting.

But I guess he couldn't miss the chance to misrepresent his reasons for being an ass. (Oh, wait, she's going to censor this now.)

Forgive me, I guess he wanted to comply with at least one of the court's orders. (Oh, wait, she's still complaining about my choice of syntax.)

Forgive me again. I guess he wanted to be by his attorney's side when they asked my author to allow them to screw her over for the remainder of her natural life. (Is that one okay?) I have to be careful because she's not allowed to discuss (or make public) the details of conversations from the mediation. That would nullify the confidentiality of the conversations and possibly make them suddenly admissable in court, which is probably where this case is going. What a shame. She was really looking forward to having the mediation resolve any outstanding thoughts so they could wrap everything up yesterday. That was the point of the meeting.

So three hours of "mind-numbing stupidity" that she can't describe left her fussy. All she'll tell me is that she essentially said "screw it" to negotiations that weren't really negotiations, because she's trying to keep her future manageable, not screw it six ways from Sunday (I don't know what that means but it's some sort of mantra in the living room right now). She went to gorge herself on chocolate and kaysadeyas with a girlfriend, whom she couldn't tell anything to (What? Well how is it spelled? I don't even know what they are.) Sigh. She went to gorge herself on chocolate and chicken quesadillas at a restaurant in town and had to talk about anything in the world EXCEPT the mediation conversations, but it was apparent that The Idiot had been his natural self because, well, the plan was to gorge themselves on chocolate like it was therapy. You don't do that if you're celebrating something great.

I think I have to give the computer back to her now because she's getting fussy. She has work to do. But I wish she would have let me stay in the room/building yesterday. Considering how distracted and ready-to-sue-someone she is right now, I think I would have taken out the sword, run The Idiot through, and ended the whole problem right then and there. If you think about it, how could I be prosecuted in your society? I don't even exist here. She should have let me stay...

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

She's Free, Still, Almost

Today is mediation day. Wish her luck.

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, gets to sit in her attorney's office for at least two hours this afternoon, paying him his hourly fee and a mediator his hourly fee because her idiot soon-to-be-ex-husband can't get his act together. This surprises no one, but it still makes her fussy because she really doesn't have the money to make a luxury car payment every month to keep her attorney on top of his attorney to get this divorce finalized. As she puts it, she could have bought a new car by now. It's been almost a year since she filed...

Anyway, she's rather fussy this morning, which I think does not bode well for her staying out of jail this afternoon. Never fear! I will make sure she takes no weapons with her to the meeting. The chances of her soon-to-be-ex-husband showing up for this meeting (despite the fact that he's required to show up for it) are slim to none, so she doesn't really have to take a weapon. No castration will be necessary. (Her words, not mine.) But she still likes the idea of something sharp in her possession... Sigh.

In good news, the girls are taking her out afterward to eat something loaded with chocolate. That sounds like a grand plan to me. As long as they get her back here to watch Beowulf (which she was prevented from doing last night for silly reasons that she doesn't want to deal with here) so I can use her inspired moments to write for me. Writing always takes her mind off the stupid crap in her life...

And isn't that one of the joys of being a writer? Getting away from the annoyances barking at the door?

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

She's Ready for Beowulf

When Beowulf was released to the theatres, the person she was dating was on a drinking binge and she couldn't get him to go with her to see it. The usual girlfriends she would call on to go to the movies had a variety of excuses for not wanting to go out: one was very busy with work, one had just moved out of state, one was on a drinking binge from stress in her life, one was too depressed to get out of her apartment and be seen in public, one had no interest in Old English and couldn't be persuaded to go...

Now. This post tells me two things. First, my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, needs "movie-going" friends apart from the other friends. Second, she needs to live in a town that shows movies for more than a week. But she's stuck in this retirement village for the time being and, today, will buy the Beowulf DVD that's being released (if she can find a store in this town selling it) and watch it.

On one hand, I'm distressed because while she's watching the DVD, I can't get her to work on the Choices Meant for Gods prequel. On the other hand, I'm okay with her choice of this evening's activities because Beowulf (the epic poem) is one of her sources of inspiration, and I've no doubt she'll be up all night typing away and listening to me whisper ideas for scenes in her head. It'll be great!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

She's Free


I'm supposed to share my fantasy author's life "stuff" here. So, let me just say, Sandy Lender is almost free of a burden I've been watching her carry for far too long. Two burdens, actually. Strangely enough, I know what Oprah is, and I think Sandy's a candidate for the show. Oprah would rip her a new one for the past few months of craziness.

But I'd stick up for her because I love my author. Sandy's doing things I've asked her to do in the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy. And that makes me very happy. Oh, and look...she's bringing me cake. Isn't she great?

Anyway, I'll be sharing more on Burden #1 Wednesday evening or Thursday morning after her meeting with her attorney. Even though the idiot she's divorcing hasn't complied (STILL!) with the things the court has been requesting of him since she filed for divorce 11 months ago and he fled the state 9 months ago, there is a mediation scheduled for Wednesday. We'll see how that goes and I'll report back here.

Burden #2 is in flux because she's trying to get an alcoholic out of her life. It's actually more difficult than it sounds. I'm quite surprised. But she has support in the form of friends all around her, which makes me quite proud of her friends. for the financial burdens of the house and whatnot, that's all still up in the air so I have nothing to report on that end of a writer's life. Sorry about that. Seems some things just have to drag on. But she's got some new posts up over at to help writers with the craft, even if we can't do much with the life today. Enjoy.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

She Says No More WTTV

She had to explain the WT to me. It stands for "white trash," you see, and she's sick and tired of what she calls white-trash-TV.

See, she's been dating someone who likes to watch COPS and Jackass and various other programs that she considers mindless crap. So when this person would arrive and park his posterior on the couch to watch the television, I would get Sandy's attention at the computer. It's a great arrangement as far as I'm concerned, but she can hear the WTTV in the other room and it drives her nuts.

Great news: She got the nuisance out of her life today so there'll be no more white-trash-TV to distract her when I'm trying to feed her important editing information.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

She Can't Live Anywhere Else Now

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, traveled to Denver for a business trip this week. She was only away for three days, but you'd think she'd been asked to abandon her country for half a lifetime. You should have heard her complaining to me about it. "The air is so dry. It's so cold. I can't believe how cold it is. This is insane. I moved away from cold like this for a reason." Etcetera. (She admits now that it wasn't as cold as she typically endured when living in Kansas City, but it was a shock to a system used to 80 degrees...)

Anyway, when she stepped out of the airport here at home last night (at 11:30), the warm, humid air of Southwest Florida hit her lungs and she literally sighed in relief. "This is why I live in Florida."

So she's very happy to be home.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

She's Featured at Author Island Friday

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, has an announcement she wants me to shout about. Her epic fantasy novel, Choices Meant for Gods, will be the featured Book of the Day this Friday, Feb. 22, at To enter the contest to win an autographed, hard-cover, first edition of CMFG from the site that day, you must know that Chariss (my lovely bride) ended up at my estate because she was running from Jamieson Drake (the evil creep sorcerer who needs to die by my sword, by the way).

You can get more information to enter and win the contest by visiting her publisher's site and reading the free chapters at Or you can download the eBook there, too, and read the whole story.

See you at Author Island Friday.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

She Hasn't Repressed This One, Careless Memory #6

A Glimpse Into a Writer's Life
We're continuing this series from back in August! Looks like I let it fall to the wayside, but Sandy suggested I pick it back up because her dwindling box of Godiva chocolates from Valentine's Day triggered a memory she wanted me to share with all of you. And this is a bizarre one.

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, once worked with a horrible person (I'm only allowed to give the initials: A.F.) who used to be way too obsessed with food. This individual would stand behind/over the graphic artists at the workplace and, while barking orders about the advertisements and catalogs they were creating on the computer screens before them, eat crackers, cookies, chips or whatever else she had stockpiled in her office, and let the crumbs fall into their hair and onto their shoulders, etc. It was, as Sandy puts it, obnoxious.

The thing that brought this to mind today was Sandy's box of chocolates because A.F. enjoyed the occasional box of chocolates, as well. On more than one occasion (Sandy worked in that destructive environment for six years), a box would be in the common area in the office. A.F., disliking the overly-chewy caramel-centered chocolates as much as anyone else, didn't want to get stuck picking one of those out of the box. So A.F. would pick up the square candy, poke her thumb far enough into the bottom of it to determine what kind of candy it was, and return it to the box if she didn't like what she discovered. (Apparently there were several kinds she didn't like.) So the next person to come along and pick up a candy either had to check the base of the thing or get a not-so-great surprise when they bit in--thumb indent.

That is obnoxious. She tells me that most of what that employee did was obnoxious. But what makes the thumb-indent-situation gross is the employee's sexual habits. Okay! I'm done with this post. (It's not funny. You can stop laughing at my expense at any point now... )

Naughty woman. I swear, I work hard at promotion for her and she thinks it's humorous to make me uncomfortable.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

She Wants to Know if You Read at the Computer

Here's the deal. Statistics show that 1 percent of readers purchase and read electronic books.

That's not a lot.

So my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, wants to know if that statistic is growing or not. She says it's been bandied about for a couple of years and seems to stay the same no matter who's bandying it about. Steve Jobs seems to think no one's going to be reading at all in a few years so creating devices for people to read electronic books more easily is a waste of research and development dollars. She says, "Way to jump in there and do something about the declining interest, there, Stevo." (Boy, you sure are cynical lately.) Oh, she says people in the public eye should either step up to the plate or get out of the public eye. Nice.

Anyway, Sandy's epic fantasy novel, Choices Meant for Gods, is available for ordering from her publisher's Web site in the traditional hard-cover format, but it's also available as an eBook. Now, you can order it in traditional print just about,, your local Borders or Hastings, etc., but if you want the electronic version (for only $3.99, she reminds me), you have to visit to download it as a pdf and save it to your computer. Therein lies the reason for her question.

How many people are going to download an epic fantasy novel and sit there reading it on a computer screen?

She truly wants to know.

The good thing about buying the download/electronic copy is you can then print it out if you wanted to curl up with it on the sofa or in your favorite window seat. That's a lot of trees to kill, she says, but a ream of paper in a laser printer is still less expensive than paying full price at Amazon, even if they are still offering free shipping (which they are).

So what are your thoughts about purchasing eBooks versus the print version?

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

She Picked a Valentine's Day Winner

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, put the names in the Duran Duran tour cap and the lucky winner is Ann Thayer-Cohen! Congratulations to Ann on winning the Win a Fantasy for Valentine's Day!

Ann is a visitor at Author Island who made comments on my guest posts at Sandy's main blog, She gets an autographed, first-edition, hard-cover copy of the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods (and one of the cloth bookbags Sandy had made to help market the book and keep people from using plastic know what a good little treehugger she is... )

There are more contests to come, and Sandy will be announcing those with Author Island at and over the next few days. Choices Meant for Gods will also be the featured Book of the Day at the Island with a special free prize on the big day in the near future, so stay tuned to learn when to log in to win.

Sandy has informed me that if you don't like your odds of winning the hard-cover edition of the fantasy novel, you can check out her publisher's Web site at to get the eBook version for $3.99. I think that's a grand idea to get you introduced to my lovely bride, Amanda Chariss.

So! Congratulations to Ann, thank you to everyone who gave me such good wishes during the contest (I've passed all of your lovely comments along to Sandy, you know, so I truly thank you for the ones that supported the romance between Amanda and me), and best of luck to those who enter the upcoming contests through Author Island.

All my best,
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She's Having a You-Will-Not-Believe-This Moment

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, was offended that some chick felt the need to preach at single people about the Valentine's Day holiday. It appears that people in this society feel obligated to intrude upon other's lives and offer advice, even when it's ridiculous, generalized and impersonal – not unlike a horoscope.

But the concept of preaching about what to do with yourself while other couples go spend copious amounts of money on fattening food and dying flowers wasn't as irritating as the insidious (and short) list the person posted. It was a mere four items of vague stuff that a 7-year-old could have come up with. Well, the 7-year-old might not have come up with all the champagne and wine, which seemed to be the focus of the list…

Anyway, someone in one of the groups that she belongs to online posted (without provocation, as far as she can tell) a list of "things to do alone on Valentine's Day". We'll just explore the final point from the list to keep you from upchucking on your computer keyboard (and to keep us from plagiarizing).

The fourth point was, essentially, this:
Sit down with a glass of wine and write a list of your goals and dreams, envisioning your life as you want it to be until you discover your wonderful, loving partner. (Nigel's Note: Sandy says that because the best way to set goals for yourself is while in an alcoholic stupor this is obviously the best advice from the column.)

Sandy suggests there should have been a fifth tip involving self-love, but I don't understand why it involved buying stock in Duracell or Energizer. I don't know what those things are, or why they're important. Or why she's laughing about it while I type.

Now, Sandy is one of the most cynical women I know, but when she saw this yesterday, she just about came unglued by its idiocy. It's not just laughable, she said. It's stupid. She thinks it was just some chick's attempt at getting the word Valentine out on the blogosphere to up her status on the search engines or something ridiculous like that. If she had time to sit around drinking wine and reading romance novels (other ideas on the list), she'd do it on a day when she didn't have to then go out to dinner with single friends (also on the list). Her single friends are as cynical as she is, by the way. They whisper things like "Run!" and "Oh, you'll be sorry," to movie screens when the man is proposing to the woman.

What I find intriguing about this is Sandy has a date for Valentine's Day, so I'm not sure why she's still so cynical…other than the whole "men just suck" attitude she's adopted for life. I find it endearing in an odd sort of way. I prefer her uninterested in the opposite sex because it gives more time to my writing demands. And I can be fairly demanding. I think the lady who wrote the "what to do alone on Valentine's Day" list should have a demanding muse visit her and keep her from doing any more vague services for society.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you...
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

She Explained the Concept of Valentine's Day

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, did her best to maintain a non-cynical tone to describe Valentine's Day to me. And I'm stunned that I didn't know about this holiday before.

Yes, it sounds like one of those trumped-up days that the card-providers came up with to force men who would otherwise never think of doing something romantic or dear for the people they love in their lives to get off their collective behinds and spend money on trinkets that probably get thrown away within a week of their last-minute 'oh-my-goodness-I-forgot-that-today-is-Valentine's-Day' purchase, but, still, it's an interesting holiday. I'm using it as an excuse to do something romantic and dear for Amanda Chariss (the heroine in the fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, in case you haven't been following along at home) because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of seeing her purse up her lips and give me one of those "you're being silly" looks whenever I do something romantic. It's quite endearing. Amanda's far too practical for words. I'm healing her of that.

Sandy, on the other hand, is a lost cause. After being married to an idiot for 14 years, I think she'll never send another "real" Valentine's Day card in her lifetime. But she has some fantastic ones that she sends to her girlfriends and boyfriends back home that are terribly funny. I can't believe the card-providers make these things up if Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love and romance and beautiful sunsets and hearts and candy and... (wait...she's doing something odd...what are you doing? You're going to gag if you keep sticking your finger down your throat like that...)

Great. It appears I'm making her sick just like I do... (what? which scenes?) I don't think I'm allowed to give away scenes out of the second book in the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy. But I could probably let you all know that it's going to the publisher, ArcheBooks, which makes me very very happy. She's done a good job of listening to me and taking my advice. I'm quite proud. I think I'll get her one of these Valentine's Day cards.

In honor of Valentine's Day, you know she's holding a "Win a Fantasy for Valentine's Day" contest over at The contest is being run in conjunction with, which is run by the lovely DeNita Tuttle, who is a marketing genius. To enter the contest, which ends tonight at midnight, you have to find one of my guest posts at The Dragon and leave me a comment there (preferably one that encourages the idea that Amanda Chariss and I belong together forever, of course, because Sandy will be reading the comments). Sandy will draw a name tomorrow for the winner of a first-edition, hard-cover, personalized copy of the fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, where you'll be introduced to my amazing Amanda.

Also in honor of Valentine's Day, Sandy has interviewed our good friend Jamieson Wolf about his debut romance novella Valentine. It turns out this story is available from Cobblestone Press as an eBook for only $3.99. I think that's the perfect way to build an audience, and told Sandy so. The smart little lady reminded me that Choices Meant for Gods is also available as an eBook on her publisher's site at for $3.99. So you can actually get a copy of a 400+ page fantasy novel for under $5 if you just download it from the publisher's site. I was stunned (again) today. So if you don't mind reading something on the computer, you can learn of my bride and her story that way for a lot less than what Amazon wants to charge you.

All my best to you all,
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Monday, February 11, 2008

She's Trying My Patience

And I'm usually a very patient man.

Yesterday, she actually took a day off from work. (Yes, it was Sunday.) But she wasted it doing non-book things!

You see, my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, has been working on her new magazine nonstop for weeks now. Every single day she does something for that magazine, whether it's traveling, writing, editing, putting in a full day, putting in a partial day on a weekend, or some combination thereof. When she finishes with her "work", she'll work on editing someone else's book or reading someone else's book for their marketing purposes, etc. It's starting to really get annoying because I have ideas that need to get into the third book in the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy. There's important stuff here! And I'm being ignored!

The thing that tried my patience yesterday was this sudden sojourn to the car delearship to test drive a car. Can you believe it?!? Now, I knew the spider situation in the current car (which happens to have 172,000 miles on it) was really working on her nerves, but I didn't realize she was seriously going to act on it. So she drove around a couple of cars that had something to do with horses and came back home to bemoan the fact that she has no money and doesn't want to have a car payment. She's worried that the bankruptcy looming in the near future will just take the car anyway, so why not just let the court have the one infested with baby spiders. She'd like to have her Camaro that The Idiot took when he left last summer.

Oh, that's another thing she's spending time and money on. Apparently, The Idiot she's trying desperately to divorce is still dragging his concrete-laden feet. She's told me time and again that I'm a "good man", but she's not so sure that all the other men in the world aren't "complete morons." She figures the attorney fees make a reasonable car payment every month so until The Idiot comes through and provides everything the court has been requiring of him for the past seven to eight months, she can't really tack on another car payment amount. So, once again, being married to an idiot has its downsides. What a shame. I hope this doesn't affect the way she writes the ending of Book III...

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