Signed Cover Art

If you'd like to receive a signed cover art postcard, email me at isobael at gmail dot com. Include your name and mailing address and I'll get them in the mail to you.

February 28, 2010

March Newsletter....

March Newsletter is available:

If you'd rather get it directly, send me your email address and I'll add you to the mailing list.

February 27, 2010

Regency novels and movies...

I have been on a big Regency era kick.

Netflix has become my bestest friend lately and I've pretty much DEVOURED the Regency period movies, as in ALL of Jane Austen's novels turned movies, a couple of other movies set in the Regency period.

So far, I have seen:

Pride and Prejudice (I own the Kiera Knightly version but my ALL TIME FAVE is the BBC version with Colin Firth - Mr. Yummy as I call him!)

Mansfield Park

Becoming Jane (with Anne Hathaway - very good film.)

Sense and Sensibility



Northanger Abbey

Wives and Daughters (LOVED this movie...)

Look into these! Especially Becoming Jane and Wives and Daughters. Oh, and if you're like'll want to have some tissue on hand.


February 26, 2010

Joy of car ownership...

As most of you might know, we lost our cars in a huge windstorm. A group of trees came down from the neighbor's yard and totaled all three of our cars. Only one was still salvageable for driving, which Spike needed for getting to school and back.

With the money we could spare, we picked up a Ford Explorer for $2,000 from a private seller. As it turned out, we think the guy lied by omission and didn't tell us about the transmission trouble. We found out when we were driving it home. By then, it was too late.

Recently, we were able to take it into a tranny shop and it turned out to be the transfer case, rather than the transmission. That's a $1,000 difference, although it's all car talk to me.

We recently brought it home and it's not making grinding noises. However, it started making a rattling noise in the engine compartment. Spike took a screwdriver to it to listen. He narrowed it down to the alternator region.

As it turned out, after pulling off the alternator, he realized the tensioner pulley was bad. We replaced it. Noise stopped. Took it in for an oil change and they found a socket knuckle somewhere in the oil pan region of the Beast. We think that might have been the rattling noise in conjunction with the bad pulley..

Rattling stopped, but the soft grinding noise started up again. We decided to take it back to the tranny shop for them to listen. We didn't know if this was normal for a new transfer case, so we wanted some reassurances. On the way, the grinding got louder and then a screeching noise. The battery started to die and we pulled over.

Popping the hood, we saw what was wrong. The serpentine belt was SHREDDED and the idler pulley was hanging at an angle and the metal beneath it (the bearing and some other thing) was stripped and fused.

Two hours in the rain and walking 8 blocks altogether, we found one auto parts place that had the idler pulley and another auto parts place that had a serpentine belt.

We get back to the Beast and Spike puts it all together. The serpentine belt was a bit loose...

Start up the Beast and it's squealing like a stuck pig and kept dieing. Spike realizes the Beast is running off the battery only, bypassing the alternator, so we drive the Beast to the parts place that sold us the belt. Turned out they gave us the wrong one. They gave us the dual overhead cam belt rather than the single overhead cam belt.

So, the belt was removed, exchanged, and the right one was installed. No noises.

Drove it home. No noise, no grinding, no fluctuating power.

By jove, I think we have a running vehicle!

Now, we just need to find out why the turn signal is shorting out and making an awful noise...


February 25, 2010


As you can see, I've been playing with Blogger.

The templates Blogger comes with are too basic, but I don't like any of the other templates I've found.

Blogger's coding system SUCKS for non coding people, like me, and I have a program that is suppose to make it easy for non coding people to make a template but even that is a bit beyond me. It's not very user friendly and I don't like the options it has.

Yes, I'm that picky. =)

So, I've been scouring the interweb to find tutorials on how to tweak Blogger a bit. I'm also still trying to figure out the code to Blogger (I do not do XML!) in order to make such tweaks. So far, I've managed what you see on the page.

I would LOVE to see a program like Frontpage work with XML/XHTML...

In the meantime...

Just sent round two of line edits back to my editor. Slowly, whittling the words down BUT it's tightening the story up quite a bit. I'm down to 71,700 some words now. *wipes brow*

Welcome new followers! I noticed I picked up three. =) 13 more to 50! *Dances*

Other than that, everything's pretty good. Working on "Dead of Night", although it's starting to drag. Need to figure out where I lost it again. "Moonlight and Mist" is stalled, although I know where it went wrong. I'm going to strip that back to the very beginning and start over. While I adore the hero of the story and what he is, there's a sudden influx of dragons in the paranormal romance genre and I won't be contributing to that influx. So, Maresse and I are holding auditions for a Hero. =)

I'm also working on editing and rewriting "Beyond Words". I have a feeling this is going to end up being a series.

February 22, 2010

State of Isobael...

Had the hubby home since Friday. He starts his LPN classes on Wednesday and his last final was on Wednesday or Thursday for his pre-reqs, so he's had time home.

Hubby home is not writing conducive. He's distracting. LOL.

I've been working with my Kestrel as well. She's a good, old bird. stubborn and set in her ways, definitely a challenge for me. Still, I think we're doing well. My sponsor says we're coming along fine. I need to get her on starlings but they're hard to get a hold of here.

"Dead of Night" is coming along. I'm in chapter seven right now. I don't like how the word count isn't there though. I'm only at 33,683 words.

Still only 24 followers. When I reach 50 here, I'll hold my first contest.

I saw that I can add extra pages onto my blog. I've added a couple new pages. If you have a blog and want a link here, let me know. =)

Ok, dinner and then I'm plugging in the headphones and getting to writing.

February 21, 2010

My Query Letter

This was through email, so there's no letterhead.

Real Name
Phone number
Email address

Dear (Publisher),

I am submitting "Moonlight and Magick" to you. It's a completed novel at 75,000 words. I've written it with the idea of it being Paranormal Romance. Currently, you are the first and only publishing company it's being offered to at this time, so there are no multiple submissions for this title.

Lilian Quinn has started a new life in the remote town of Hawk's Point, in Washington state. No one knows about her strange abilities, or her having escaped from a secret organization, which used people and their abilities to create their own genetically enhanced army. All she wants is to live a quiet life, as normal as possible, even if it means living a lie.

Matthias Romulus is the Alpha of the Romulus Clan, a pack of werewolves that can trace their heritage back to the beginning of Rome. From the very moment he bumped into her, and getting drenched in ice water and iced tea in the process, he knew Lilian was for him. There's just something about her that calls to him.

If Custodes Secreti agents weren't enough, Lilian's ex-boyfriend, Stephan, a sadistic, cruel man, wants her back and has tracked her down. He'll kill anyone who gets in his way. Add in the strange dreams she's been having about a Huntsman, a White Stag, and the strange symbol that appeared on her palm, well, she has one heck of a problem.

While this is my first novel, I have had a few of my poems published in a few anthologies. (I listed a few credits here, which no longer really apply anymore so I won't list them here.)

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes,

Real Name

Isobael Liu

February 17, 2010

10 Things I Learned Through Line Edits...

I just finished my first round of line edits, yesterday.

All I have to say about it..."WOW."

Wow, as in, I have the utmost respect for editors and line editors now, especially after they go through MY manuscript.

There are some things I learned through this phase:

1. I am wordy. Oh, yes...very wordy. Those sneaky extra words. Devilish little imps. My editors vanquished them with the mighty pen (ok, digital pen...mouse, trackball, and the delete button). There are quite a few of those pesky words I never realized were unnecessary. Which brings me to #2...

2. I write the way I talk. Well, not really. I tend to write out the contractions rather than use them, but I speak more in contractions...UNLESS I'm being formal, in which case I will speak out the full words and not use contractions. Still, when writing, I write how I think, so a lot of those pesky words sneak in when they aren't necessary.

3. FELT is not a good way to describe what a character feels. It's not descriptive. LOL. One thing I was doing was going through the manuscript and telling what the characters were experiencing. When this was pointed out, I changed it to be more character specific and used the word 'felt'. Apparently, this is a "not good" thing to do.

Example: Not good: She felt the blow strike her face. Good: Pain exploded as the blow connected. (Still could be improved, I'm sure...but it's not using "felt"!)

4. It might have made sense to me when I wrote it, but going back through it during edits, I realized there were a few "What the hell?!?" moments. When the editor comments, "Umm...what was is this suppose to mean?" and I read it and come up blank, this is an indication that I definitely need to change it.

5. Regional slang doesn't make sense to people from other parts of the country. An example of this is "Make bank", (i.e. "Josh works as a local DJ." "Wow, bet he makes bank!") Heck, I grew up with this phrase here. I know what it means. Alas, people from other states might not. Apparently, this can be jolting and knock people from the story, even if you're writing about characters from the region and in the region the story is set in. A lesson for me in this was to limit the use of these regional slangs to more recognizable ones.

6. What I learned in grammar school doesn't necessarily mean it's right or used by the publishing house. LOL. Each publishing house has their own set of rules in regards to how things are done. Even if it irks you, causes you to cringe and want to beat your head into the desk, do it their way. There's a reason for it.

7. Spelling - same thing. Publishing houses have a set guideline for how things are spelled, i.e. grey vs gray or blond vs blonde, etc.

8. If I had to be an editor, I'd be bald. Really. I'd have pulled my hair out halfway through editing.

9. Sometimes, you need a little back story to explain why a character feels/does/says a certain thing. Key phrase there was "A LITTLE".

10. I absolutely adore my editors. They could have just ripped the story apart in editing but they were great in explaining WHY they'd marked what they did and even gave little bits of advice to make it better. I was able to understand why I was making these changes as I applied the changes.

Before, I was afraid to go through editing. I'd heard horror stories from other writers, but going through them myself, I have to say I absolutely love the editing process. It's hard work - writing a full length novel was easier - and even as I wanted to pull my hair out, burst into tears, or throttle someone, I loved it.

Am I insane?

More than likely since I'm a writer. LOL.

February 14, 2010

Go, check these out!

I was put into a couple of blogs today. It was really cool to have something I wrote on another website. =) - I'm the second entry in the blog post. Be sure to comment with the movie you choose and be entered to win a Holiday Chocolate Gift from Romance in the Backseat!

The second blog I was in is at - I wrote about Chinese New Year superstitions.

Check out both sites and leave a comment!

February 13, 2010

Gong Ci Gong Ci! Chinese New Year...

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Lunar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nien. Nien would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nien ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. When the people saw the Nien was frightened by a little child wearing red, the villagers understood that the Nien was afraid of the colour red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would decorate their homes and village by hanging red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nien, starting the use of firecrackers at New Years, as well as other celebrations. The Nien was eventually captured by Hong Jun Lao Zu (Lao Zu means teacher), an ancient Taoist monk. The Nien became the monk’s mount.

While I grew up in America, we didn’t do the whole traditional Chinese New Year celebration, but my Mom tried to keep some of the traditions alive. We had a nice dinner, with hand rolled, home made spring rolls, fried rice, and stir fried noodles.

We were given a red envelope with a little money in it and always an even amount (Odd numbers are associated with funerals and death). The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), The number six is also very lucky due to the reason, in Chinese six or liu (Look familiar?!?) can mean smooth, as in having a smooth year. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets. By the way, odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit, rather than the last. Thirty and fifty, for example, are odd numbers, and are funeral amounts, not New Year amounts.

February 12, 2010


So, I'm shopping for a new hair style. If you know anything about me, it's I can't stick with one hairstyle for very long BUT I always return to my fave hair style after a while. LOL.

Here, see what I mean?

So, I'm looking for a new style. Hell, been looking for a couple of months. I think I have it narrowed down though.

This is one option:

I like the short length of the style on the right BUT with the fringy bangs framing the face like in Jen's pic.

Option two is:

I LOVE the hairstyle on the left. My face shape is more like the center, but I like the length on the right.
What do you think?

February 9, 2010

Those insidious imps...

I really should stop reading book blurbs from other authors.

It's one thing to know I'm going to be published, but now I've received my release date, know my line edits will be sent soon and once those are done, it's DONE...everything goes into the final stretch and a 26 year dream of mine becomes reality...

That sinking feeling, the gut churning, abject terror of being published is hitting me.

Those pesky imps called the "What if's" are invading my brain. Even my internal editor cowers in fear.

What if no one likes the novel? What if I bomb as an author? What if the reviews come back as horrible? What if...

And I read the blurbs of other books coming out in my genre and I'm thinking, " one's going to want my book compared to this..."

Then, I look up and see the awesome cover art Renee Rocco did for my novel and I'm reminded that if I did suck as a writer, Lyrical Press wouldn't have accepted my submission. I would have, if I was lucky, received a polite email stating they were passing on my submission. If I was lucky, they would have given a reason why. To be honest, I fully expected THAT email and not the one I did get...

Each time I remind myself that my story was accepted because it was liked, it's being published because someone saw potential in it, and in me...I remind myself with every piece of feedback from readers who read my other work stating they love my work, that I should be published, they're surprised that I'm NOT already published, one of those insidious "What If" imps are vanquished.


Does it get any better? I don't know.

February 8, 2010

Postcards and business/contact cards...

So, Sonya asked if I could put a little something up about creating my postcards and ordering them. No problem!

First and foremost, I knew that a lot of authors, print and e-pub, had what's called book swag. These included postcards, bookmarks, of their books, or books' cover art. It's a great promotional tool. I still have a few from one author I knew.

I shopped around for pricing. Some places wanted WAY too much for just a few cards made. If you're an established author and have that much cash to spend for promotional items, or can use it as a write off, YAY! Me? Not so much. I have to do this on a tight budget.

The best pricing, I found, for the quantity and quality, was through You can create your own postcards or use their graphics. I downloaded their Photoshop templates to use, followed the easy directions on the templates, and created my own. Basically, cover art on the front, and blurb with my name and contact info on the back. at the time of ordering, I didn't have a release date or ISBN number, so I left those off. I also made sure I left enough white space on the card to sign because I won't have a physical copy of my book to sign.

Business cards I used their graphics and designed my own.

Both are standard sized, 4x6 for the post card and sx3 for the business card. The postcard is glossy on the front and normal on the back, to make it easier to sign.

My order total came to $48.94 for 250 postcards and 250 business cards.

This is a picture of my contact card.

One thing I do like about VistaPrint is the fact that if you want to create matching sets, such as cards, letterheads, etc, they can do that.

Also, your cover art can be made into mugs, totebags, spiral bound journal notebooks, key know, promotional swag. =) I spent three days on that website before I finally convinced myself to order just the postcards and the contact cards. LOL.

I loved the fact that I could play with the graphics designer to create items.

My next step is to order bookmarks. LOL

Hey, all. Sonya is a debut author with a book due to be released in August. Go check out Sonya's blog at and she's got a website at

Mmm, tea and ponderings...

I'm enjoying my first cup of Darjeeling tea, from SpecialTeas. It's called Margaret's Hope. This is from their website:

Once again, Margaret's Hope has produced an outstanding second flush with sought-after muscatel flavor. The wonderfully tippy leaves infuse to a medium- bodied cup with a ripe fruity aroma reflected in the rich flavor. A great example of a classic second flush with a pronounced muscatel finish.

Hehe, not sure what it all means, but it IS delicious with a bit of milk and sugar. I think it's a tea that would work very well with slightly sweet accompaniments, like shortbread cookies (The real Scottish ones, not the American made Pecan Sandies sort).

My next tea will be an Assam.

I think, when I actually reach 50 followers on my Blogger blog, I'll hold a contest. Not sure what the contest will be just yet, but I already have the prize. =) I have plenty of time to decide though as I only have  21 followers.

I'm halfway through chapter four on my new WIP and going through "Dead of Night" to reacquaint myself with it before I start writing on it again. I may end up deleting a good portion of it to take it back to a point where I still liked writing it. Somehow, I reached a point where I'm fighting myself on it and I put it away, disgusted.

I finished an interview with Lux Zakari via email. I'll report when I hear it's been posted to their site. =)

Other than that, I have an interview with Sandra Sookoo in May.

I want to redo my Blogger but I don't know how to do their templates. Bleh. That's one thing I don't like about Blogger, and before everyone sends me links to online Blogger template generators, won't work for me. They confuse the hell out of me. I like creating my own via FrontPage. I even have a program called Artisteer that does Blogger, but I can't even stand using that. Too confusing and too limited. Course, I'm still learning to play with it as well, so we'll see.

I love my Twitter profile page. I want to use that for my Blogger and my website, but can't figure out how.

I've reposted my novellas on Literotica. Still in unedited form, so it's pretty rough. Eventually, I'll get around to editing those. LOL.

Ok, back to tea and writing. =)

Post cards...

I received my post cards and my contact cards today! *Dances*  They are so pretty...

If you'd like one, email me at isobael at gmail dot com and I'll try to mail them out to you.

These have no release date or ISBN number on the cards. The next batch will have that info.

February 7, 2010

I HAZ Release Date!

Someone pointed out there was a date attached to my cover art on my profile page at Lyrical Press. I went to look and BEHOLD! I have a release date!

You can check out the page. I'm still dancing around. =) 

It even has a shiny new digital ISBN number! AWWWW...

February 6, 2010

State of Isobael...

I'm sitting in my chair, in front of my laptop, typing away on my work in progress. It's chilly in here, so I grabbed my shawl and wrapped it around me.

My thoughts are distracted with a new story idea I have and the shawl isn't helping. Why? Because I know the character in the story idea would have wrapped a shawl around her to warm her. Not only would it have been a cultural thing, it would have been the right time frame.

Right time frame?

Oh, yes. Because I am going to write a story set in the past.

But, Isobael, you write paranormals.

Why, yes. Yes, I do. *Grin*

It's in the works. The ideas are percolating. I have character names and a setting already.

Sorry, Connie, no vampires. =)

No news on "Moonlight and Magick" yet. I do know it's been set to the line editor, so I'm just waiting to hear what's going on from there. I should be getting my postcards and contact cards on Tuesday. I am so excited to see them!

Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter...

If you'd rather get it directly in email, shoot me off an email so I have your email address, or comment and leave me your addy.

February 4, 2010

Gmail signature files...

Since Gmail doesn’t allow hyperlinks in signature files, there’s a way around it. We all know promoting ourselves is hard enough without having a signature file clunky with web addresses, so hyperlinks makes things so much prettier…

If you use Firefox, you can download an add on that will make your life easier.


Do whatever Firefox wants you to do to install the add on.

When Firefox restarts, you should see a stamp icon on the bottom right of your browser screen, above the taskbar. (On my screen, it’s above my clock.)

Click on it.

Click on Edit signature.

Fill it all out however you want.

Click ok

Then open your Gmail account. Your signature file should be inserted automatically.

You can also right click in your compose window and click on insert signature. =)

What’s great about this little program is that not only can you do hyperlinks, it allows you to embed other account links, like Twitter, Blogger, etc etc etc. All your readers have to do it click on the Twitter icon and it takes them to your profile page. Neat, huh? No more fifteen line signatures with all your links!

February 3, 2010


Created a Newsgroup for getting my newsletter out. It's an announcement only group so you'll only get an email once a month to announce the newsletter. You can go to and sign up. What happens is you'll get an email saying the newsletter is ready. You go the group site and open it. It's in PDF.

If you'd rather get the newsletter directly, message me your email and I'll add you to my group list via Gmail. Secondly, don't forget to check out my group's page on Facebook. although I've been told that I should have stayed with the Fan page and not a group. Either way, I have both. LOL.

Oh! I have March's newsletter pretty much done. I have one page blank which I intend to fill with announcements. If you are an author or about to be a published author, shoot me off a message and I'll include your news in the newsletter. Free publicity!



February 2, 2010


I'm writing the second story to "Moonlight and Magick". One of the characters in the first book wants needs her story told.

So I'm typing away when everything comes to a screeching halt. She's rebelling. She can't stand the hero. She can't stand the path I've set for her. He's packed his things and left. I'm left with a spoiled brat of a character and no story.

Ok, fine. I give her the reins and tell her to giddy up. All of a sudden, she has a new set of abilities (thank goodness I never mentioned any of it in the first book!), a new hero to torture make romance with (he's TOTALLY different than the first hero I had), and a new story idea.

Maresse is now as happy as a lark. Of course, SHE would be, she doesn't have to write the damn thing. I'm left with having to start over, and the hero is sitting back, giving both of us odd looks. He doesn't know what to do with her at this point. She's not what he expected and little clues keep popping up as to WHAT she is, let alone WHO she is.

Of course, he's also wary since it was her idea to have someone trying to kill him. (Her idea to write the plot...not her idea as she hired someone to do it.)

That's a good idea!

*wrestles KB back from Maresse* Stop it! No, you can't hire someone to kill your romantic interest. It wouldn't be a romance!

At least I'm into chapter three and 9,500 words.

February 1, 2010

Just a little something I wrote a few years ago.

Innocence Lost: Transposition

My eyes were closed, and yet I was still blinded by the intensity of you. I could feel your presence, your hands touching my bruises, smearing the blood from my open wounds. I could smell your scent when I inhaled sharp breaths of agony. Even with my eyes closed, I could see YOU. Your whole being was encompassing, consuming, drawing me in, drawing you in, consuming you.

You entered me. I felt you moving through me like a disease, creating havoc, creating pain, creating pleasure. Your darkness was my darkness. My darkness was yours. You cried out in pleasure, I screamed in agonizing torture.

I rolled over onto hands and knees, vomiting blood and blackness, purging myself of you, giving birth to you.

Your hate covered me, painted my world black with brilliant strokes of crimson. You embraced me, my memory, my shadow. You tore at the walls of my trust, of my illusions, and rebuilt them with deception. You tore at my self preservation, rebuilt it with submission.

You bound me to you, blinded me with your darkness.

You transposed yourself over me. I see me in your face. I see you in my face.

I am not who I was.

Innocence Lost: Transposition
(202 Words)
©2004 Isobael Liu (SLM)