Author Archive for Cindy Jacks


Confessions of a Google-holic

Sitting in the park yesterday, on a perfectly lovely autumn morning, I did a little writing the old-fashioned way. I’m usually all about the electronica, but when the little one needs some fresh air, I’m perfectly willing to leave the battery-challenged laptop at home and scribble away in a notebook. No, not the cute Apple kind of ‘notebook’ that comes in so many lovely colors. I mean a cheap, three-subject, spiral-bound block of paper I bought at the drugstore. And sometimes my best work comes out this way. Yesterday was not one of those days. Sure, the scene I wrote was inspired, dramatic, and just what was needed to move the plot and characterization along, however, the whole scene went right in the trashcan. Why? Because it was based on something that DOES NOT happen. [Cindy takes a moment to decide whether to laugh or cry]

Here’s what I learned today—When you step on a landmine it does not make a loud click and it will do one of two things 1. Immediately explode or 2. Wait a few seconds and then explode. There’s none of this Hollywood melodrama where the soldier or, better yet, his commanding officer hears the telltale sound of a landmine arming itself and has time to say, “Son, don’t move. Keep your foot right where it is.” Because even if the soldier stayed as still as a marble statue, the thing’s gonna explode. Who knew? Well, apparently weapons experts and military history buffs all over the web know this, but those of us who glean most their munitions knowledge from movies and TV have been seriously misled. Not surprising. The myth began due to some US propaganda during World War II designed to make the German S-mine, the famous ‘Bouncing Betty’, seem like something soldiers could outsmart. Not only is it untrue, but freezing is the worst thing you could with this type of anti-personnel weapon. With a bounding mine, it’s better to hit the deck. It only goes to show, even things you think you know bear double-checking with a Google search. Which brings me to my next point, have I become so dependent on Google that I can’t write without it?

Okay, clearly I CAN write without it, but the question is, should I? I mean, luckily this time I double-checked my facts before my editor—or worse, a fan—pointed out to me that I’m a doofus. Or is it okay to take certain liberties with the truth if the unrealistic situation works best in the novel? Hollywood does it all the time. See, this is why writers are great big balls of neurosis. I suppose it’s up to each author and publisher to decide what’s poetic license and what’s over the top. But for me, in this case, I feel it’s better to rewrite the scene than to rely on bad propaganda turned urban legend. Not to mention, if I’ve seen it enough times to have adopted it as fact, I could probably be more creative. No need to rely on hackneyed story-telling devices. Today, I’m back at the laptop reworking my brilliant scene so that it’s both genius and believable.

So, all you writers out there, how much fact do you weave into your fiction? And how much inaccuracy are you comfortable with? Inquiring minds want to know!

What’s your favorite method of research


HEA…Why Do We Love It So?

The Disney Movie Club shipped me the wrong movie. I’d ordered “Monsters, Inc”, but I received “Enchanted.” My upper lip curled in disdain at the sight of the cover, but my four year-old son was unfazed by the error.

“Let’s watch this movie, Mommy,” he said, finding (as children often do) the simplest solution to the problem.

Now, I’m a huge fan of Pixar, the quality of their storylines and the detail in the animation makes their movies easy to sit through over and over again. And over and over and over…well, you know how kids can wear out a DVD. “Enchanted,” on the other hand, seemed to me a saccharine piece of shlock I didn’t want to watch even once, much less dozens of times in a row should the little one develop a liking for it. But, thanks to McDreamy’s starring role in the movie, I decided to give it a go. If nothing else, I could stand watching Patrick Dempsey as the charming leading man for a couple hours.

By the second musical number in which rats, pigeons, and cockroaches helped our heroine scrub down the hero’s filthy New York apartment, I was laughing aloud at the funny and astute satire of archetypical Disney princess movies. And though I don’t want to spoil the ending for those of you who want to see the movie, but haven’t gotten around to it, I will say this—by the end of the movie I cheered right along with my son when Princess Giselle wound up with her true love. Okay, I’ll admit it, I even got a little misty. My heart rejoiced though my brain huffed, “What a load of crap.”

Given the predilection in romance and sensual erotica genres for a neat, fulfilling happily-ever-after ending, the movie made me wonder—Why do we love HEA so? In reality almost as many marriages fail as succeed and that doesn’t take into account the myriad of people we burned through just trying to find the person we’d be willing to take a chance on. With a real world full of broken hearts, dysfunctional couples, and blasé pairings, how can we willingly suspend our disbelief and seek out fiction that propagates what some would call the myth of true love?

I finished my long list of reasons why we shouldn’t buy into HEA and then the realization struck me—It is for all these reasons and more that we do crave the fantasy in our fiction. HEA endings allow us to experience vicariously the satisfaction that so often eludes us in our day-to-day lives.

What woman doesn’t want a break from work, motherhood, chores, and the tedious (and often messy) reality of an adult relationship? Somewhere inside of us is a little girl who wants to flounce around the house in a tiara and a tutu. We love to conjure up mental images of a prince who knows how to anticipate our every need, who will catch us each time we fall, and who doesn’t fart, burp, pee on the toilet seat, get cranky or forget to take out the trash.

That we have different tastes as to the form of our princes has given rise to the different icons of masculinity we romance writers use to delight our readers—the dark and brooding vamp who longs for a mate to bring meaning to his soulless existence, the uber-macho warrior who needs the softness of a feminine touch, the rebel without a pause who runs into the one woman that can ease his restlessness, and of course the regal and gentlemanly prince who finds his true, but forbidden love through a chance meeting. Just to name a few.

With our appetite for love and romance sated for a little while by the many incarnations of our princes, we are all the more ready to take on the challenges each day brings. But when the real world gets to be a little more than we can take, we’ll be back at the cinema, the video store, and of course Once Upon a Bookstore hungry for more flights of fancy.


Blog Clog

Okay…I confess. I’ve been a bad girl. Not sure this is much of a surprise since I’ve declared that clearly in my branding, but there are some things an author is responsible for doing that just can’t be shirked. Blogging is one of those things. I admit, I haven’t been terribly regular about blogging lately. Why? Good question, glad you asked. Though I have 3000+ word writing days on a regular basis, many times when it comes to blogging I can’t think of anything to say, lol.

All right, don’t look at me like I’ve sprouted a third head. Yes, I know, I have a reputation for verbosity, but when it comes to blogging, I feel my readers deserve more than “Why I Love Cornflakes” or “Public Enemy #1–Sock Lint.” Perhaps it is this desire to dazzle with each and every entry that’s led to this specific type of writer’s block–blog clog. I open the blogging application, crack my knuckles (yes, I know, bad habit) and *poof* all the funny observations and clever stories I had to tell my readers disappear in a cloud of smoke and I’m left thinking, “Is that an M&M under the dining table? I wonder how long it’s been there.”

I admire authors who keep their blog topics fresh, timely, and witty. I also admire those who can put a new spin on a well-worn topic. Here’s a question for those power-bloggers out there…how do you avoid ‘blog clog?’

Wanna make sure I keep on the straight and narrow? Check out my writer’s blog or join me on Facebook and be sure to superpoke me if more than a week goes by without a fresh entry!


12 Things I Love about Ana

pointofdsitractionfinalcollection333x500With the release of the final installment to the Point of Distraction Series, Ms. Ana Welsh has been on my mind. Mostly, I’ve remembered the fun of creating and ‘watching’ the character blossom. She has some signature moments that always make me smile. Thought I miss writing about Ana, I love to visit her world and reread the collection often. I hope you enjoy her journey as much as I have.

And without further ado, here are 12 things I love about Ana — my favorite moments from each story:

Story 1: On the dance floor with Miguel

Story 2: Granny panties!

Story 3: Mmm…pineapple

Story 4: A Scunci?!

Story 5: Ana runs into Nikhil…literally

Story 6: Chocolate sauce on the dining room sconces

Story 7: Cinnamon apple pancakes

Story 8: Ana the photogenic

Story 9: Honey drizzles

Story 10: Malasadas

Story 11: That damn Peter Frampton song

Story 12: Todd’s post office faux pas…oh yeah, and Ana’s HEA!

Chock full of fun, laughter, tears, friends, adventures, good wine, great food and sexy, sexy men, you can’t go wrong with Point of Distraction. Check out all four books today!


An Interview with Antonia Tiranth

Let’s welcome a fellow Lyrical Press author who has a book releasing today as well. Thank you, Antonia, so much for joining us here at Playground Mystique!

Cindy: Let’s start off with a little bio. Give us a peek in to your life:

Antonia: Hiyas Cindy and everyone! I’m really excited to be here. A peek into my life huh? Well, I’m a thirty year old, born and raised Batli-moron (Baltimore, MD). I work in as a lab technician for Johns Hopkins University and love cats, reading, writing and playing Final Fantasy XI. I’m also a dragon lover, which you’ll when you read my Tales of the Rikashi Series.

C: When did you know you wanted to become a professional author?

A: I think I’ve always wanted to be a professional author. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I went through a period right after college and before I met Del where I wasn’t writing (about 2 years) where I was miserable. So this is a real dream come true for me.

C: What inspired the story of your series, Tales of Rikashi?

A: It kind of evolved in a weird way. I’ve always seen my muse as a dragon shifter and I needed an idea for NaNoWriMo, so I started thinking about what if my muse had a brother? I’m a big Anne McCaffery fan so the idea of dragons has always been in my head.

C: An entire world of dragon-shifters seems like quite an undertaking. How did you go about constructing the culture and mythology?

A: I tried to pull bits and pieces from real mythologies and cultures and made a mish-mash to create the Rikashi cultures. They are a matriarchal society with a very pagan-like religion. I picked all the pieces of religions and cultures that I think are interesting and mixed them up to get what you see in my world.

C: The first book, The Quickening, has such a charming, engaging plot, especially the character Aer. Could you give us a little insight into this sexy shifter?

A: I love Aer, he’s so funny. He’s got a really quick temper but he’s just as easily diffused. Don’t tell him I told you this, but he’s really just a big teddy bear. He acts grumpy to cover that up.

C: The Gathering is a continuation of the Tales of Rikashi. Did the series come to you all at once or did the story reveal itself in stages as you wrote?

A: I got the idea for The Gathering after I finished The Quickening but the other books in the series have come to me while working on The Gathering.

C: All right, shameless self-promotion time. Let’s see the gorgeous cover and read an excerpt from The Gathering.

A: LOL of course :

thegathering333x500The sleek black limo rolled to a stop in front of the giant granite steps, and I opened the car door, not waiting to be assisted. I left my bags, knowing they would be brought in, likely to my old rooms. Once a room was claimed, it remained yours to use whenever you wished.
I hurried up the steps and into the manor house. With little conscious effort I walked the path to Calidan’s rooms. The hallway approaching his bed chambers was lined with sobbing Rikashi of all three remaining clans. Whatever troubles were brewing, sorrow was quelling it for the moment, at least here.
I paused at the closed double doors that led to his bedroom, needing a moment to make certain I was in control of myself. Before I could knock, the door swung inward on silent hinges. A golden-haired female stood on the other side.
“You must be Shirak,” she said with a sad smile. At my nod, she stepped aside. “He’s been asking for you. He hasn’t much time left.”
“There is nothing you can do for him?” I asked, assuming she was a Surion.
She shook her head. “All my powers cannot rescue a body ravaged by time, youngling. Go see him now.”
I nodded again and stepped into the bed chamber. It smelled of cinnamon, Earl Grey tea, and death. I did not think I would ever be able to drink Earl Grey again.
My feet made no sound on the thick carpet as I moved forward. Calidan’s son, Severick, rose from a chair in the corner, glaring at me as he left the room. I shook my head; that one had never liked me.
Calidan lay on an impressive gilded four-poster bed, his eyes closed, and for a moment I feared I was too late. But then I saw the slow rise and fall of his chest, and I could hear his labored breathing as I moved closer.
“Calidan?” I called, keeping my voice low.
His eyes fluttered open, and a smile touched his lips. He lifted a hand and waved me forward. I knelt at the edge of the bed, taking that hand carefully in mine. “Lazing about in bed when there is work to be done, sir?”
A rolling exhalation of breath was all the chuckle he could manage. The old Rikashi’s mouth worked up and down, but his voice would not work.
“Do not try to talk. You need to rest so you can get well. You said when I left I was not finished with my training.”
He shook his head. Whatever he needed to tell me was important enough for him to make an attempt while on his death bed. I reached for his mind and found it as feeble as his body looked. I could only pluck a few words from his fading thoughts—tariel, jewel, protect.
Another frown pulled the corners of my mouth. “I do not understand, Calidan.”
He sucked in a rasping breath, letting it out with the words he tried to speak. “Jewel…duty…protect.” His hand went to his throat, tugging at a chain there. “Yours now.” He placed something warm in my hand and with a sigh, closed his eyes again.
I looked at the amulet nestled on my palm. It was a beautiful star shaped gem. A myriad of colors sparkled within its depths. It seemed to pulse with a light of its own.
“Calidan, I cannot accept this.”
“Yours to protect.” The words rang in my mind, and the amulet flashed. A wave of dizziness took me briefly. A tone, sharp but not unpleasant, sounded in my ears. Faces flashed in my mind, twelve of them. Five were male. Five were female. The final two faces were blurred and difficult to make out. To my surprise, Aerandir’s face was one of the visible ones. My own face flashed last in my mind, the image lingering before fading. It was over as quickly as it had begun.
“What in the hell was that?” I murmured, staring at the amulet.
No answer came from my mentor. I put a hand on his shoulder, and I knew. Calidan was dead.

C: There’s a third book in the series, Black Velvet. I know from your blog that BV is in line edits. Could you give us a sneak peek ‘unedited’ excerpt from the book, just to tease us?

A: Sure thing. Keep in mind, this is still in editing stages and is not the final copy.

“You have all lost your minds. I. Am. Not. Going. To. Texas.” I stood in the center of the living room of Less’s London townhouse, gazing around at nine pairs of eyes, one set staring from a computer screen, all looking back expectantly. If they thought I was going to go after Jett, they were sadly mistaken.
I turned my back on them, folding my arms. I was acting like a child. I knew it, but I was not going. I couldn’t. Daddy had barely allowed the trip to London, going to the United States was out of the question.
“Amara, you are the only one of us with any hope to bring him back.” Shirak’s voice, calm and soothing, washed over me.
I glared at his face on the computer screen, putting my hands on my hips, fighting against the Gwindor calming power, coming at me from all directions. “Why? Why me?”
Shirak cocked an eyebrow at me, while the others hid their smiles behind their hands. I knew why they wanted me to go. I knew and I wished I could forget it, but I couldn’t. When I let my mind wander, I was drawn back to it. That day. That kiss.
Jett had come to the house with the others, bearing the body of the Great Dragon, Lancelot. His dark, wavy hair brushed his shoulders, black wings folded to his back, his muscular chest was bare and black jeans hugged his strong thighs. After seeing the body stored, he’d come back to the main hall and his eyes had met and held mine. Those dark eyes, there was such hunger in them. It had sent a shiver up my spine. Everyone else had faded until it was just the two of us.
I had tried to pay attention to Aerandir relating all the details about the fight and the sudden appearance of the wings now sprouting from Josephine’s back, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t take my eyes off Jett as he stalked toward me. His hand had shot out, cupping the back of my neck, pulling me to him with gentle but undeniable force and…
I shook my head, looking at Arafin. “What?”
“You got goo-goo eyes again, lass.”
I frowned at him, heat creeping into my cheeks. “I do not. I never get goo-goo eyes, and even if I did they most certainly would not be for him.”
I could feel their humor through our bond, and it only made me angrier. How could I have “goo-goo eyes” for such a callous, conceited, cocky male like him? For Bahamut’s sake he wasn’t even a full Rikashi, had no family to speak of. Daddy would kill me for so much as looking at him. But, the warmth, strength and tightly coiled restraint of him still tormented my dreams.
“So it is decided then?”
“No, it is not,” I snapped at Shirak. “I am not going after him. You do it. You’re our leader, right?”
He looked at me with a grin tugging the corners of his mouth as he pulled his fiancé to his side, into view of the web cam. She waved. “Gem and I are trying to get back into the Library at Alexandria. I believe that Leviathan can help us enter undetected.”
“My high and mighty big brother reduced to breaking and entering?” Aerandir chuckled.
I turned my gaze on the blue-haired male. “You do it then. You’re Shir’s brother, that makes you second in command.”
Like his elder brother, Aer shook his head. “Sorry, Amara, I’m not leaving Phi, and she’s not flying right now. Not with—” He cut off, glancing at the pale yellow wings rising behind his wife then down to her beginning to round stomach. Jo just rolled her eyes and waved him off.
I started to turn on each of the others but Shirak interrupted. “Amara, we would not ask this of you if anyone else could do it.”
“We don’t need him,” I protested feebly. “If he wanted to help, he would have stayed. He would answer us.”

C: What next can we expect from Antonia Tiranth?

A: Right now, book four is rolling around in my brain, nothing on paper yet. I’m writing a series based on the Tarot Kings as well. King of Swords has been accepted at Red Rose Publishing and I’m about a third of the way through King of Cups.

Thank you again, Antonia, for being our guest today. Rush out and buy The Gathering today! And if you haven’t purchased the first book, do that, too 😉 Chat with Antonia all week on the Playground Mystique Yahoo group. And find out more about this exciting new voice at the following locations:

Other links:



Happy Monday everyone. As y’all know I’m working to get my writing groove back. Thanks for so many wonderful suggestions. Some folks mentioned smaller writing goals and fun writing projects as a way of whipping myself back into fighting shape. I’m happy to report these techniques worked! I finished 4K words on my WIP titled, “Married or Gay.” Woo hoo!

One of the writing projects I worked on to loosen up and have a little fun is a collection of poems I add to from time to time called Neurotica. Below is my latest offering. Hope y’all enjoy it. And since I’m feeling brave, I posted the entire Neurotica collection on my website. Check it out! 🙂

01-29-06_1210-771230Over Him

Two dresses

White satin

Red silk

Tags dangle, never removed

Invisible stains

Regret and shame

Snatch them—hangers rattle

Push them down

White plastic stretches

A garbage bag full

Garments no longer loved.

But I still love the dresses.

Bind up the bag

Cast it away

A rusting yellow box reads, “Donations.”

But I still love the dresses.

Silent forgiveness

He is weak.


How Should Cindy Get Her Groove Back?

Okay, so May was not my most productive month for writing. First, my son came down with the flu…then, I did. The illnesses were followed by his birthday, houseguests, and his preschool graduation. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. But since I wrote all of 2000 words last month, it’s time for me to get back on the proverbial horse this morning, but I’m having a hard time doing it. I know I’ll get back to my usual 1000 words a day; it’ll just take some time. So, here’s my question to all you writers out there: When you’ve had an extended break from writing, how do you get your groove back?

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