Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Lost Prince back cover summary

Woot! The back cover copy and inner flap of THE LOST PRINCE was revealed today.

Feast your eyes on the back:

And even more exciting, le summary:

As usual, tell me your thoughts.  What do you think Ethan is going to face?  Who do you hope to see again?  (Note the "talking cats" reference in the summary. Yes, "he" will probably pop up somewhere in the story.  There's no keeping him out of it.)


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to Train Your Chicken

Things I do when I'm bored.

So, you all know my background as a dog trainer, right?  Well, if you didn't, I was a professional dog trainer for several years before I became a published author.  My Australian Shepherd, Dodger, was my partner, and probably knows all the tricks in the book.  These days, he's taking his retirement seriously.

So today I was feeding treats to my chickies, watching them jump up and snatch it from my fingers, and got to thinking, "I wonder if chickens are trainable?"

Then I thought, "I wonder if I can train a chicken?"

And so, here we are with The Great Chicken Experiment.

What I am going to attempt (and you may point and laugh if you want) is to teach one of my chickens to jump through a hoop.  I don't know how long it will take, or if it is even possible, but I plan to document our progress or lack thereof, and eventually, if I do accomplish such a feat, I will film it and put it up for everyone to see.

So, let's meet the subject of this experiment.

After interacting with the flock and discerning personalities, I think this girl here has the most potential. She's not the friendliest of the five (that honor goes to the chicken who constantly wants to be on my shoulder), but she is the second most friendly and also one of the more active.  She's the smallest of the flock, but she loves food and treats, which is essential to this experiment.  (Also, the really friendly chicken seems to be the laziest of the group. When I put a treat on a stump, everyone but her leaped up to grab it. She'd rather I just hand her the food in person.)

The motivation.

Yes, those are dead mealworms.  And the chickens LOVE them.  Like, they go crazy for them.  So yes, I will be holding a handful of dried worms while doing a training session.  You didn't think the chickens would go for Pupperoni, did you?  (Actually, they probably would) 

The secret weapon.

I do all my training with clickers, which is just a small noisemaker that produces a sharp, distinct click when pressed.  The basic idea is that when the animal hears the sound, they know they've done something right, and they will be rewarded for the action they were doing at the time of the click.  I've trained hundreds of dogs, a parrot, and even a cat using the clicker.  Now we'll see if it can successfully train a chicken, too.   

It begins.  Wish me luck. (And try not to laugh TOO hard.) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Contest: A song for a vampire

So, Michelle over at Novels On The Run is holding an awesome contest.

Do you love music?  Playlists?  Can you fit the perfect song to any character or situation?

Michelle asked me, in her interview, if I could list the songs that could describe the characters in THE IMMORTAL RULES.  Allie, Kanin, Zeke, Jackal, Sarren, Allie and Zeke's friendship, Allie and Kanin's friendship, and a few others.  So, if you're curious as to what those songs are, head on over to her blog and you can listen to them all, as she was kind enough to put them up. 

However, she did manage to stump me with one question.  Allie and Kanin. 

Allison and Kanin’s Friendship:

Julie: I honestly could not find a good song for Allie and Kanin, though I know there is probably a perfect one out there somewhere. They have such a complex relationship, not really father-daughter, although Kanin is her sire and teaches her everything she needs to know about being a vampire. Possibly their relationship could be classified as mentor-student, but if anyone has the perfect song, I'd love to hear it.

Soooooo, that's where the contest comes in. 

Michelle: Now because I stumped Julie on this Q, I thought why not have a giveaway and ask the people. Julie has wonderfully accepted the role of judge and will choose 2 winners for this question. What song best represents Allison and Kanin’s friendship? Keep reading this interview then enter and Julie may choose you? I think she is rather keen to hear what you all think?

I am!  If you could find the perfect song for Kanin/Allie, I would love to hear it.  Like it says above, I'll be picking two winners for this contest.  Since this is on an Aussie blog tour, Michele's contest is for Australian and international followers only, BUT I will add my own contest here and make it for U.S. and Canada residents. 

So, if you are an Aussie or an international follower, head on over to Novels On The Run, listen to the songs, and enter the contest for a paperback copy of THE IMMORTAL RULES.

If you are a U.S./Canada resident, leave your answer in the comments below.  The prize will be a signed hardback of THE IMMORTAL RULES.  Remember, the contest question is:

"What is the perfect song for the relationship between Allie and Kanin in The Immortal Rules?"

Contest will run until June 7th.  Good luck!