Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year everybody!

2013 is finally over! I know, you're not supposed to wish your life away, but this year has been hard. Good, but hard.

So to everyone who's still hanging in there, here's hoping 2014 is even better than 2013! We decided to go out tonight and have a little fun. We went to dinner at a place we love in our arts district, then went across the street to the local art center for a reception where several people I know were exhibiting in a new show. It was great fun. Here's a pic that our server at the restaurant took for us.


Yeah, I know it's kinda dark and hard to see, but there we are. We look sort of happy. I guess that's what two huge, custom-made sangrias will do for a woman!

Here's hoping tomorrow is good for you - and that you can remember everything you did tonight!

Monday, December 30, 2013

It's so exciting!

Today I got the finals on the cover for a book that will be coming out pretty soon. You've already seen an excerpt - it's Adventurous Me! So let me give you a brief synopsis.

Trish's husband of almost 30 years announces that he is leaving her because she's boring, tiresome, and predictable. This guy married her, moved her far away from her family, and didn't even want any kids, although they'd talked about it beforehand and he was all for it. So Trish sets out to prove that she's anything but a bore.

She and her friend, Sheila, go to a bar, where Trish proceeds to get tanked. When another bar patron tries to pick her up, she stands, only to stumble sideways and fall into a man who'd been sitting there all night, completely unnoticed by her. He steadies her, runs off her would-be lay for the evening, and sits her down to wait until she's sober enough to go.

As they talk, she divulges the reason for her inebriated state. After questioning her, the handsome older gentleman makes a discovery which he shares with her - that she was not the 50% of the relationship who was boring. He then produces a business card with a single word on it: "Bliss." He writes his name and an address on the card and invites her to visit the next night if she'd like an "adventure." On her way home, she decides to go.

Sheila backs out on her the next evening, but Trish is determined to find an adventure, and sets out for the address. Upon arrival, what she finds at the address is an adventure the likes of which she would've never dreamed she'd find. With her new-found friend as her guide, she dives into the adventure of a lifetime.

A few short weeks later, an event held there changes her life forever. She's determined to embrace the situation and come out victorious . . . if she can just survive it. And even if she does, what kind of tatters will it leave her heart in?

Adventurous Me is the story of a woman's life changed forever. If it were rated like a movie, this would be a solid R+ rating leaning toward X, but it's also sweet, tender, funny, and tearful. I started out with the first dozen lines, not really knowing where it was going, and then Trish's voice took over and the book wrote itself. It's a whole lot of fun wrapped up in a nice package, and I think readers will fall in love with Trish, Dave, Clint, and Eric, and maybe even come to despise Ron (the rat bastard). Cover reveal SOON - keep an eye out for it!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Something to make you wonder

This week has been weird. A holiday right smack-dab in the middle of it, lots of people around who usually aren't, more trips to retail establishments than I'm accustomed to (and I mean after the Big Day, not before), and more eating out than I'd like. I haven't gotten squat done.

But on the bright side, the cover for Adventurous Me is almost done. I'll have a reveal for it before the book is launched, so keep an eye out. I'm getting ready to start work in earnest for the remakes of the Love Under Construction series covers - they're gonna be HOT! And the work on the cover of The Celtic Fan continues. The deadline for the custom art for the cover is tomorrow, and work has begun on the photos. It's getting closer all the time, so I decided I'd give you an excerpt from The Celtic Fan today. It's part excerpt and part teaser. You won't get much information, but you'll get to hear Steve's voice. Enjoy!

_______________________


     The road continued on, and a plan began to come together in my mind. There just couldn’t be another house back here, I reasoned, and the condition of the gravel road surface gave credence to my assumption. It thought it might be best to hike to the end of the road and come up the back side of the hill, as if I were truly out on a recreational jaunt. The end of the road was very near, just a few hundred feet as it turned out, and it was plain to see what it was used for: A dump. There were old washers and dryers, an abandoned truck chassis, and something that looked a great deal like hair dryers from a beauty shop. An old bedspread and some ragged, half-rotted towels were thrown around. Springs sprouted from a decomposing sofa, its long deceased partner chair baking in a sunny spot a few feet away. Fortunately, nothing had been thrown in the creek, which I personally felt would have been a shame. I was sure that somewhere farther downstream, some fish was truly grateful for the clean, clear water.
     After I’d stared at the evidence of man’s progress for a few seconds, I turned my attention to the water. Shallow spots seemed hard to find in this particular creek, but the water was clear enough to alert a wader to any underwater dangers that might exist. Finding no good place to cross, I decided to sit down and take stock for a minute before going on. I dropped my backpack and dug through it until I found a granola bar and one of the bottles of water. The breeze was stiff, and I cooled off slightly as I sat on the grass, my back against a tree trunk, staring at the creek. The rocks were deep enough to be useless for crossing, but big enough to cause the rippling effect on the surface. It was a peaceful place, calm, unlike the features office. No phones ringing, no people asking questions, just a few birds, a noisy squirrel overhead, and some clouds. A man could get used to this, I mused, remembering pictures of log cabins and the sod huts built by sod-busters on the prairies. It almost sounded attractive. Almost.
     When I finished the granola bar, I removed my shoes and socks, packing them in the top of my backpack. I rolled up the legs of my jeans as far as I could, which wasn’t very far due to the fact that I wore them too tight and knew it, and waded in.
     The water was cold, colder than I’d expected at that time of year. In just a matter of moments it was up to my knees, and I quickly realized that my jeans were going to get wet, no way around it. I looked for footing, and found I could maintain a depth of about mid-thigh high by moving from rock to rock below the surface. It took only about three minutes to cross carefully, primarily because the width of the creek had diminished somewhat at that spot. A large rock graced the bank, gray and inviting under a broad-leafed tree, and I dripped my way over to put my socks and shoes back on, but not before trying to squeeze the water out of my jeans. Pretty confident that I was alone, I took off my jeans and wrung the legs out. I found myself wishing I had on some plain cotton boxers, because I’d sure have felt foolish if someone had come along and seen me in the silly cartoon character printed boxers I’d packed for who-knows-what reason. The boulder bit into my backside as I perched on it to put the jeans back on. Their cold, clammy legs made it difficult to get my feet out, and I felt generally uncomfortable. To make matters worse, they made my socks damp. I almost forgot the excitement I’d felt when I’d seen the mailbox.
     Picking up my backpack, I ran my arms through the straps and started up an incline behind me and to my right. That seemed to be the general direction of the driveway. The hill didn’t seem too terribly steep until I was about halfway up. It was one of those gradual inclines, the kind that semi-tractor/trailer rigs struggle with in the mountains, and my legs, encased in the wet jeans, were getting heavier and heavier. To add to the problem, the tree cover was sparse, and the sun was getting hotter with each step. As I passed the halfway mark I stopped to catch my breath.
     That was when I heard it. The music. Some kind of droning, stringed instrument, unidentifiable to me. I continued upward, stopping every few steps to make sure I was still moving in the direction of the music. After a few yards, I listened again and heard something I hadn’t heard before. It was a voice, sweet and pure, not especially high, but definitely a woman’s voice, singing with the strumming of the strings. I squatted down, my hands on the ground, and looked around. About sixty feet to my left, a clump of bushes perched at the top of the rise. I moved like a sidewinder across to them, ever so slowly, and peered through the branches.
     I could see the driveway to my right, coming down the back of the hill, moving directly across my line of vision, and at its end, there was a house. It looked to be an old farmhouse, square and squat, probably built at the turn of the twentieth century. Its clapboards were a little warped, and it very nearly screamed for a coat of paint, its silvery patches gleaming in the sunlight. There was a tiny little screened-in porch on the front, and the low concrete steps sported a little calico cat, licking her paw and rubbing her face. A couple of huge trees framed the house from my vantage point. I could see sunflowers growing just to the left of the scene, and a washtub was turned upside down and leaning against the tree on the left. The music still wafted on the breeze, but the singing had stopped. Its direction was unclear, and my eyes darted back and forth until I found her. Then she began to sing again.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Finally!

Is it over? I think it's over. I can get up from my crouching position and take my head out from between my legs.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow, the day when I can get back to my usual routine and not have to worry about holiday stuff. I'll get up, eat a little something, go to the gym, come home, eat a little more, shower, and put my nose to the grindstone. And life will be good.

The once-agains on the first three books in the Love Under Construction series are almost done and the new covers will be added. The Celtic Fan and Adventurous Me are ready whenever the cover art gets done. The third novel in the Love Under Construction series is ready for proofing and editing, as is the third Harper's Cove novella. Both need covers. Plus the fourth novel in the Love Under Construction series has been started, and I'm looking forward to getting back into the first novel in the Witch of Endor series. That's going to be a fun ride.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for the two independent novels. I'll post here as I get farther along with them. And maybe there'll be an excerpt this coming weekend.

So check back!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Whew - it's over

We had our family Yule celebration today. It's bare under the Yule tree except for the few gifts for family members we haven't been able to get together with yet. That'll change tomorrow. And I'm exhausted.

I got the first composites from the cover artist today, and I'm impressed. She sent two and, frankly, I'm going to have trouble choosing between. They're both very good. I'll have to choose one of them, and I'm not sure they even need any changes.

My partner is dealing with a hamstring injury, so the gym has been distant for me the last few days. I need to get back there and soon. I'm hoping that'll be the first of the week. Our son is here and he brought gym clothes with him, so I'm guessing we'll be taking him with us.

I'm looking forward to getting these two books launched. In the meantime, the other series are calling my name. I'll be glad to get back to work in earnest.

So goodnight. Have pleasant dreams of sugarplums and candy canes. Mine have already come true.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I'd really like to work

Ohhhmurgurd. I've missed two days of work. All I've done for the last two days is shop for holiday presents. Gads. So here goes.

What I hate about the holidays:
The crowds at the stores when they're so bad that I can't even buy groceries;
Trying to find gifts for people who really don't need a thing;
Getting decorations out, putting them up, and then putting them away again.

What I love about the holidays:
The food;
Being with family and friends;
The food;
Getting just one thing that I never would've bought for myself;
The food;
Football games;
Did I mention the food?

And I'm trying to imagine what must be going on in my characters' lives right now.

I'm guessing Nikki has Anthony and Ella Jane in the kitchen, teaching them to make peanut butter cookies; Lizzie Kate's in the bedroom off the kitchen, sleeping through the racket like only babies can. When Tony comes in from the facility across the farm, the kids are squealing and chasing each other with marshmallow machine guns. Nikki grabs him, pins him against the wall, and kisses him - hard. Then he tells her how much he loves the grandkids and how glad he'll be when they go home!

Vic is having a ball - it's the first time he's ever had a Christmas tree in his house. He's always gone to Tony's for Christmas, but now he has someone to enjoy Christmas with. And if the dealership doesn't deliver that expensive Christmas present he's ordered for someone special, he's going to have a lot of explaining to do when there's nothing under the tree. Maybe he'd better go to the jewelry store, just in case . . .

For the first time in his life, Steve is having fun buying Christmas presents. His favorite destinations? The lingerie store in the mall! And the jewelry store. And the Mercedes dealership. Someone is going to have a VERY nice Christmas!

Molly's trying to figure out where her kids and their families are going to sleep when they come to visit her, not to mention how she's going to explain who's sharing her bedroom with. And a couple of people are having a really good laugh about that.

It will be a lot of work, but Kelly is determined to get the house in Louisville into shape so they can have a few other couples - well, spouses - over for dinner right after Christmas. She's already got invitations ready for the other three households, plus Doug, Jared, and Wendy, and anyone they'd like to bring.

Laura's been told that she has to invite her parents over on Christmas Eve for dinner. She's still not really crazy about the idea, but she's willing to try.

Peyton's begging his mom to make some Chinese goodies to share with his new family. She's still not too sure she likes his little family, but she is very sure that she likes how happy he is. His dad, on the other hand, thinks it's fantastic, even though he really doesn't understand either.

And Jose's thankful to be alive and to not be alone. He's just trying to get his feet back under him. But he will - they'll walk beside him every step of the way. They've ordered him to just take it easy and rest. He doesn't have to do anything else; they'll do all the work. But he's still determined to buy at least two very special Christmas gifts.

And when Clayton, Brittany, Annabeth, and Katie come in to pick up the kids from shopping, they're all almost in tears when they see what their new mom's done - she's decorated the gigantic Scotch pine that she and Tony picked out with the beautiful ornaments their Nonna Raffaella had used the year before when Nikki wasn't in any shape to do anything. It's the family's first holiday season without her, and it'll be tough, but they'll get through it like they do everything else, with help from each other.

And as for my family? The configurations have changed, but the theme remains the same - love and joy for us. Along with food.

After all, isn't that what the holidays are all about?

Monday, December 16, 2013

I got a susprise today!

I went to the mailbox today and guess what was there? A package.

From Thailand!

My file conversion company, BB eBooks, is in Bangkok. Several weeks ago Paul asked for my mailing address. I assumed I would get a Christmas card. But that's not what I got.

Instead, I got a Christmas card, complete with a photo of the staff, and the card was signed by everyone. They also enclosed a cute little bookmark and a beautiful little purse, metallic tapestry and turquoise. It was the first piece of international mail I've ever gotten, and I was more than thrilled. But even more than the surprise was the fact that they thought of me and sent me something so kind and lovely. They've been great to work with, and I'm looking forward to many more years of enjoyable collaboration with them.

As for work, I finished one of the new stand-alone novels, Adventurous Me, in the last twenty-four hours. I'll be farming the cover out. Frankly, this book took me by surprise. It almost wrote itself. But because of how easy it was, I've given absolutely no thought to what the cover should look like. I'll be contacting a cover designer, giving her the title and a few chapters, and waiting to see what she'll come up with. As soon as we agree on a cover, it'll be up and online for your enjoyment!

So watch for it. I'll share another excerpt sometime in the next week. Until then, keep moving toward the holidays and I'll be rooting for you to come out the other side unscathed!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

An excerpt, if you want one (I know you do!)

I've spent today doing several important things.

I finished all proofing and editing on the third Harper's Cove novella, Donna and Connor at 228 Harper's Cove.

I finished all proofing and editing on The Celtic Fan, the soon-to-be-released lost-for-13-years independent novel.

I finished all proofing and editing on Adventurous Me, a brand-new independent novel.

I worked up prototypes for the new covers for the Love Under Construction series. I decided I had to do it because, believe it or not, they're not suggestive enough. As someone I know said, "Fabio is your friend." (Yeah, that sound you hear is me wretching.) Also, I realized I'd have a hard time replicating the cover art in subsequent photo shoots, so this will be the easiest way to reach uniformity while still retaining the flavor of the original covers.

I think the photos for the cover of The Celtic Fan are going to be shot sometime this week. Then the real work on that will begin. As for Adventurous Me, I have no vision as to what that cover should look like, so I think I'm going to farm it out to a cover artist and just see what she comes up with. I'm very curious about that.

I'm working as fast as I can to bring you something new and different. Would you like an excerpt? I bet you would. So here's one from Adventurous Me.

--------------

    The rest of the evening passes quickly, primarily because I’m in a state of shock. I see things I didn’t think I’d ever see, including a gorgeous guy licking the boots of one of the homeliest women I’ve ever seen while calling her his “supreme mistress.” That is an eye-opener. And I noticed something else very strange – well, strange to me anyway.
    “Dave?”
    “Yeah, little one?”
    “There are lots of guys around here without women. Some of them keep looking at me, but none of them are coming over to talk to me. Are they gay?” I’m used to being hit on at bars, but I’m not extremely attractive, and these guys are. They’re really, really hot.
    “Nope. They’re not gay. Well, a couple of them may be bi.” He stops for a second and my eyebrows shoot up. “But that’s not it. You’re new. They’re watching. They don’t want to offend you by being too forward. I’m sure the oldest ones in the bunch have figured out that you’re not in the lifestyle, and they don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. They’re not staring, are they?”
    “Nope. They’re just sneaking glances.” It’s kind of funny.
    “That’s what I thought. Plus you’re not collared.” Ah. Those funny necklaces with the padlocks. “They’re afraid you’re in here looking for a Dom, and most of them just want to play, not collar a sub.” I assume that collaring is some kind of ownership. That makes sense to me.
    I decide to throw some furtive glances their way. One of the guys is tall and blond, Viking-like in his coloring and build. There are a couple of guys with medium-brown hair and nice tans, but they look like hard workers, not beach bums hanging out just to brown. Maybe construction workers. Or cowboys. And there’s another guy.
    He didn’t stand out at first. When he glances my way I look away. There’s something about his eyes, like they want to devour me. He’s good-looking enough, wavy brown hair and a nice build, not heavy or stocky, just muscular. I’ll be fifty next year; he looks to be maybe forty? But there’s something about his face, his eyes actually, that just draws me in. I turn to Dave.
    “Hey, who’s the guy over there alone? The one with the eyes.”
    Dave looks at me like I’m nuts, then glances over my shoulder. “Oh, that’s Master Clint. He’s had a rough couple of years. I’m trying to get him to look for a sub to collar, but he’s resistant. Has his hands full.”
    “Full of what?” Now I’m curious.
    “You’d have to ask him,” Dave tells me, and I swear I see the corners of his mouth turn up just the tiniest bit. I feel like he’s just issued me a challenge. I’m just trying to decide if I accept. “Think you’ll come back?” he asks, interrupting my reverie.
    “I’d like to. Can I?”
    “Sure! I’ll work out something with the membership fee. And I’ll volunteer to be your trainer if you want.” He’s not smiling, just looking at me like he’s waiting for me to decide.
    Then it hits me. “Does that mean we’ll be having sex at some point?”
    “I don’t know any other way to train a sub so, yes, I’m sure it will.”
    There’s a second or two when I think I’m going to say no and then, to my surprise, I say, “Yeah. Sure. You can be my trainer.” Where the hell did that come from?, my vacationing brain screams.
    “Okay. I’ll work up some kind of schedule for training and give it to you to look over. It’ll probably take me a few days. In the meantime, get yourself tested and bring in the results.” At first I think he means for drugs, and then I realize what he’s talking about.
    “I haven’t been with anyone except my husb . . . ex in upwards of thirty years.”
    “Yeah, but do you know where he’s been that entire time?” I see his point, and I shake my head. “So get tested just to be on the safe side. Then we can proceed. Until then, if it comes up in your training, we’ve got plenty of condoms around here. Shouldn’t be a problem.” He says it so matter-of-factly that you’d think he fucks some new sub trainee every day.
    Well, maybe he does. “Have very many subs you’re training?”
    Dave laughs. He really looks sexy when he does that. “Nope, little one. I haven’t trained a sub in eight years. And I’m not sure I want to train you, but I am sure of one thing: I don’t want you getting hurt or scared. As long as I’m training you, I know you’re safe. So I’m willing to do it. Plus,” he says and winks, “you look like a good fuck.”
    Have to admit, no one’s ever said that to me before, and I kind of like it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Test shots and pot shots and jackpots, oh my!

I had the partner help with some test shots tonight for the cover of The Celtic Fan. I'm still not getting exactly the angle I have in mind, but I'm confident that it will come together. I've got a good photographer who will be helping me, and it'll get done.

Now I've got the holidays hanging over my head. Spectacular. Just when I thought I couldn't get any busier.

Of note: Today I noticed that one of the writers whose work I read regularly has decided to suspend sales on Smashwords. She was one of the writers who did not make it through The Great Purge of 2013 unscathed; in fact, she's still struggling with some of her descriptions, content, and cover art to try to stay in the game with Amazon, B&N, and Kobo. I'm wondering what the deal is with Smashwords, and the only thing I can come up with is that they're now allowing the publishing of so much questionable material that perhaps it draws attention to erotic romance and erotica writers unnecessarily. And when I say questionable, know that I'm so anti-censorship that it ain't funny, but even I have a problem with daddy/daughter and brother/sister sex. (Sweet mother of god, I hope I'm not the only one who has a problem with these.) Anyway, maybe Amazon, B&N, and Kobo assume that if you're publishing on Smashwords, your books must be "smut." I don't know. I'd like to ask, but I get the impression from what I've seen that asking would just start a firestorm.

But for any of you readers out there who might be interested, I think I'm going to be doing some blog tours and things of that nature after the first of the year. You know what that means . . . CONTESTS! That'll be fun. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Still working on it

Did a prototype of the new cover design for the Love Under Construction series. Ran it by someone whose opinion I value - two people, in fact - and both liked it. Now to do the actual work which I hate . . .

And I'm exhausted. Had to get up at the crack of dawn and go to pick up You-Know-Who. But I'm glad.

I'm doing the final proofing on The Celtic Fan and it's soooooo good. Sometimes I read it and I think, Did I really write this? I mean, I know I did, but it still seems unreal, probably because I thought I'd never see it again. Who knew?

So tomorrow is more proofing and then more proofing and some writing and then . . . more proofing. Editing and proofing. And proofing.

Man, I'm tired of proofing! It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

Nitey-nite!

Monday, December 9, 2013

What a weird, weird day

This morning started off with my first glimpse of a snow plow. I was over an hour behind getting to gym because that's how long it took me to get the ice off my windshield! I went straight from there to the store that shall not be named because I was out of everything, especially produce. No apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes, and just one lonely little banana. Of course, he had to have some friends.

By the time it was all said and done, I made my "Eight-Can Taco Soup" for which I was given a recipe, got some laundry started, cleaned up the kitchen, and then it was almost time for bed. Got some good news; got some bad news. Picked through erotic photos for cover art all evening. And now I'm just about done.

And I never got my adult beverage. Hmmmm . . . what happened there? I guess if I didn't have it I didn't need it anyway.

Got NO writing done today. Got NO editing done today. Tomorrow can't be like that. So we'll see, huh?

Off to bed!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I'm tired

I finished TWO BOOKS today. Yes, you read right, two books. I'm exhausted. I now have four books in edit. I have two more I'd like to be working on, but I've also got cover redesigns to do for five books, so there's that. And, oddly enough, I'd like to sleep sometime. Don't know when, but sometime.

Won't be long and there'll be yet another Harper's Cove book out, Donna and Connor at 228 Harper's Cove. Yum! As always, this one is very different from the first two, but that's the beauty of this series. It's one of the books in edit.

Another of the books in edit is Renovating a Heart, the third novel in the Love Under Construction series. It's not due out until spring, so I'm not feeling quite so rushed on that one.

One of the books I finished today that's going into first edit is an independent erotic romance called Adventurous Me. It's a fun book, quirky and sweet, and I love the way it turned out. It's a great read.

Last but not least, in its final run-through edit is The Celtic Fan, my baby. This book will blow you away; I'm not kidding. Seeing it go live will be one of the great joys of my life. I think Diana, Steve, Bill, and Claire will capture your hearts just like they did mine.

I'm going to bed. This cold, nasty weather is about to get on my last nerve. Buona notte, amici miei.

The release of Becca and Greg at 314 Harper's Cove is today!

The newest novella in the Harper's Cove series, Becca and Greg at 314 Harper's Cove, came out today! This book was a fun write, and sweet, too.

These books have several things going for them:
- They're inexpensive, just $0.99;
- They're fast, naughty, steamy reads;
- Each one is written from the first-person perspective of two of the residents of the cove. Because of that, one voice in each book is different, and the reader gets the feeling that they're actually meeting a new neighbor in each book. The other voice, Gloria, becomes someone the reader knows well (and wishes they didn't!);
- Did I mention they're just $0.99? Yeah, they're only $0.99!

So get yourself on over there and see what's going on at 314 Harper's Cove. They're the kinkiest neighbors in the neighborhood . . .

or are they?

Friday, December 6, 2013

I promised you a cover reveal - TADA!!!!

Tomorrow, Sunday, December 8, 2013, is the release date for the newest of the Harper's Cove novellas, Becca and Greg at 314 Harper's Cove. And so, for your viewing pleasure, here's the cover.


Pretty, huh? I think you'll like this one. Unlike the first one, written in Karen's voice, this one is rather sweet as Becca tells it. It was fun to write because of the difference in the voice.

Look for the novella tomorrow morning (barring any unforeseen problem, like Amazon). It's only $.99 and it's available in every format known to man from your favorite retailer. Just search for my name and you'll find it and all of my other titles too.

Happy reading!

This is the part I hate

Of winter, that is. I hate the messy stuff, how cold it gets, not being able to get out because they've practically told us they'll jail us if we're out driving around. I hate all of that. But I don't have anywhere I have to be for the next three days, so I guess it's not a big deal.

That means I'll get a lot of writing done! I've almost got the entire third novella in the Harper's Cove series done. I've also gotten quite a bit of the independent novel Adventurous Me done, and it's really good. I'll probably finish it and Donna and Connor at 228 Harper's Cove over the weekend. I've got plenty of proofing and editing work to be done, so I don't have a shortage of things to work on. In the 13-year-old work that turned up on Halloween night I've got three more novels besides The Celtic Fan that will eventually be completed, not to mention The Witch of Endor series.

Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. Maybe I need a few more days of icy isolation. You might get a lot more to read a lot faster that way!

Speaking of which, tomorrow will be the cover reveal for Becca and Greg at 314 Harper's Cove, and it's being released on Sunday. Now there's something to do when you're trapped inside!

Toodles!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What? Nobody wanted an excerpt?

Well, except for those of you who came over to read it? I'm a little surprised. Perhaps I didn't give you enough notice, or you're so busy going out to get bread and milk that you didn't have time.

I'm over halfway done with the third Harper's Cove book. I'm not wasting any time here, people.

Something odd happened today, though. Up until now, I haven't sold enough on B&N to be there, and I was thinking of killing off that setup and going KDP Select. Lo and behold, I checked my Nook account today and I'd sold more there than on Kindle! I don't know what's up with that, but I LIKE IT.

So no KDP Select for right now. I'll see if that trend continues and, if it does, I'll just hang in there. You just never know.

But if you'll come back, I'll give you an excerpt from something on Friday. If I have Internet. Which I may not if the ice storm gets me. We'll see, huh? And don't forget, the next Harper's Cove book comes out Sunday - cover reveal on Saturday!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I know you'd like an excerpt. Am I right?

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, you think things are going pretty good, and then, in one split second, it all falls apart? I had one of those days today. I won't burden you with the details until I know more, but suffice it to say tomorrow will be a nerve-wracking day.

On a brighter note, I think I'm about to get the artwork for the cover of The Celtic Fan sewn up.

And remember, there will be a cover reveal on Saturday and another Harper's Cove novella out on Sunday. Want an excerpt? Here's one from Becca and Greg at 314 Harper's Cove.

-----------------------

   Work has been brutal. I’m exhausted all the time, and I only work three days a week. If I worked full-time for them, I’d probably be dead by now.
   As soon as I get in the house, I draw all the blinds. Then I go to the bedroom and take off everything. Next I put on my thin leather collar – I feel naked without it – and go into the den.
It’s the room that’s off-limits to anyone who happens to come to the house. My cage is in there. So are our St. Andrew’s cross, bondage furniture, and Greg’s tools. No one would understand, so they can just stay out. He had that St. Andrew’s made especially for me.
   Today I’m just so damned tired that I look at the cage with longing. I know I need to go in the kitchen and go through the refrigerator, but I just can’t. I could take a short nap though . . .
   I crawl into my cage. The mattress Greg had made for it is really comfy, and there are a couple of blankets in it and my pillow. Once I’m in the cage, everything starts to slow down and I start to calm. It’s amazing, really. I check – yeah, my robe is right by the door in case someone rings the bell. It would probably be that damn Gloria.
   Suddenly, I hear the front door. I look at the clock across the room – I’ve been asleep for two hours! I know this won’t be pretty. It’s too late – I rush out to see Greg in the doorway, looking around for me. I’m supposed to be in position beside the door when he comes in, unless I’m doing something that keeps me from hearing the car alarm, but I’m sure it’s obvious by looking at me that I’ve been asleep. Skittering across the room, I drop to my knees, then lean forward until my breasts are on the floor, my torso straight and flat as I can make it, arms straight out. And I wait.
   I hear him moving around but, unless I crane my neck uncomfortably, I can’t see him. He comes back to me and kneels in front of me. “And you were where when I came through the door, slave?” He calls me My Love, but in front of others, he calls me Angel. I love both names. I’m hoping he’ll call me one of them, but he’s disappointed in me, so I just get slave.
   “In my cage, My Master. I’m sorry, My Master. I was so tired.” A look passes over his face and I see him head for the kitchen. My world is about to be turned upside-down. When I hear the refrigerator door open, I feel sick.
   “What is this?” He’s frowning and I feel his disapproval like a stone on my head. “It’s been in here since last week. Slave, I don’t ask too much of you . . .”
   “No, sir, you do not.”
   “Do not interrupt me! Today was the day, and this was not done. You know how I feel about old food.” I cringe and wonder what he’ll do to me. “On your feet. Follow me.” It takes me a bit to rise – I’m not eighteen anymore – and follow him to the den. “Climb on up facing outward,” he instructs me, pointing at the St. Andrew’s. I wonder what’s about to happen.
   He straps me in. This cross was made especially for me so that the junction of the cross falls right behind my waist. Sometimes he binds only my wrists, sometimes wrists and ankles. Today he binds my wrists and ankles, then pulls the straps up from the center and binds my waist to the cross. But I shudder when he brings out a ball gag and fastens it in place, then draws the binding up from the main support and around my neck. When it’s fastened, I’ll be completely immobilized and unable to speak. Once he’s got all of the bindings fastened, he turns to the chest and rummages around. When he pulls out his choice, I nearly faint.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Working, working, working

My car has not left the driveway since Friday when I came home from the gym. And the amount of work I've gotten done is staggering.

I launched the first Harper's Cove book and the second one will come out this coming weekend. I finished the third book in the Love Under Construction series and have been editing it here and there. I've started work on the third Harper's Cove book. I've worked on one of the independent novels I'm writing (it's called Adventurous Me). I've done some character studies for some of the characters in upcoming books. I've been contemplating designs for new covers. Did some updating on the blog and my website.

To quote a character from the popular trilogy written by a British author, "Holy crap!" I've been busy.

And I'm tired. But they're coming along nicely. I don't really want to stop, but I have to sleep sometime. Or do I? Okay, now I'm just getting slappy (you know, slap + happy = slappy). So it's off to bed for me, then I'll get up tomorrow and start all over again.

Yay!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hmmmmm . . .

It has been a very long day. I'm not sure why it's seemed to tedious. Maybe it's because the books I've finished are either launched or ready to be launched and I'm not under a deadline. I don't know. But I've got five more I'm working on, and more behind them. I need a vacation.

But if I took one, I'd just drag my laptop with me and work while I was there. So there's no point, right? Might as well just stay here and work.

Tomorrow is another day. And I'll probably proof and edit somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 words tomorrow. You know what they say:

A journalist may work from sun to sun,
But an author's work is never done.

It's true.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's live!

The first volume of the Harper's Cove series is live and available for sale. Thanks to everyone who made this possible (you know who you are). Next week, Becca and Greg at 314 Harper's Cove!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cover reveal - Karen and Brett at 326 Harper's Cove!

I promised, and I'm delivering - right now!



Karen and Brett at 326 Harper's Cove is the first of the Harper's Cove series. The novellas in this series are fun, short, erotic romps with the neighbors of Harper's Cove. They're $.99 each and sure to not only tickle your funny bone, but heat up your . . . well, you get the idea.

Gloria is the self-appointed gatekeeper and policing arm of the neighborhood. And she's just dying to find out what all of the neighbors are up to. She's especially curious about Karen and Brett Reynolds at 326 Harper's Cove, just down the street. They have some sort of party every Saturday night, and she's all but invited herself, but Karen has told her they're all close friends and she's sure Gloria would just feel out of place. And boy, would she ever!

Karen has done everything she can to keep Gloria away and keep her from knowing what they do with their "friends" every Saturday night. It's bad enough that Gloria obviously watches for her to come home from work so she can quiz her, but Karen's pretty sure Gloria's been spying on them. She knows if Gloria ever finds out what their parties really are, she'll tell everyone in the neighborhood, and they'll have to move. Their lifestyle might be popular within their group, but the neighbors would surely disapprove.

And anytime Gloria thinks she's discovered something, she runs right straight to her poor husband, Russell, and dumps it all on him. Problem is, she stays so drunk that Russell doesn't believe a thing she says. He's even told her to leave the neighbors alone or he'll send her back to rehab. But Gloria's having none of that, no sir. In her mind, apparently no one else cares that the neighborhood might be going to hell in a hand basket, and it's her job to find out what's going on and expose it.

When it comes to Gloria, Karen and Brett have their work cut out for them. Will they be able to continue on without letting Gloria find out? How far will she go to find out exactly what's going on every Saturday night? It's a good thing she can't see into their laundry room - ten sets of sheets to wash every Sunday morning would be hard to explain!

This book will be live on Sunday. The second Harper's Cove novella, Becca and Greg at 314 Harper's Cove, is being released next Sunday; visit here next Saturday for its cover reveal. You're gonna love this series!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow!

And that's because tomorrow there will be a cover reveal! Yes, dear readers, you'll get to see the cover for the first Harper's Cove book! And that's because . . .

Dat-da-DAAAAAHHHH!!! The first Harper's Cove book will be out Sunday! I'm excited. They're so much fun, and I know everyone will enjoy them. Karen and Brett at 326 Harper's Cove will be a fun little romp that I know you'll love. I'll be launching it on all platforms simultaneously, so it doesn't matter what reader you use, it'll be available for you.

And tomorrow the costuming is supposed to be delivered for the cover of The Celtic Fan. That'll be fun.

Then next week, there'll be another Harper's Cove coming out! Yes, I've been busy over here. Still am. Will continue to be. All to bring you great reading. So show me how much you appreciate it by buying my books and recommending them to friends and such, please? I'll love you for it!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I don't get it

I'm watching the books I've got listed on Amazon. They're selling. Matter of fact, by the looks of things, people are reading the prequel, then buying the first book and reading it, then going back and buying the second. However, I don't understand - they're not reviewing them. They obviously like them or they wouldn't buy the second one. I don't understand why they won't take that one tiny little minute to do a review. Are they afraid for anyone to know they're reading erotic romances? Are they afraid they'll sound stupid?

Can somebody help me out here? Because, just like the title of this post says, I just don't get it. Those reviews would help me get bloggers and reviewers to look at them, but nothing - zip, zilch, nada.

Makes me sad.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Done, done, and done!

As of right now, this very second, both of the first two Harper's Cove novellas, Karen and Brett at 326 Harper's Cove and Becca and Greg at 314 Harper's Cove, and the new novel, The Celtic Fan, are done. The cover art for the novellas is done as well. I'm waiting on artwork and a photo shoot to work up the cover for the novel. I ordered the costuming for the photos today and it'll be good. I'm looking to have the first of the novellas launched by this weekend, and the second one the following weekend. Fun!

In the meantime, I'm exhausted! I'm hoping to catch a couple of ballgames on turkey day, maybe do a little reading, and then back to the grindstone.

Tomorrow, it's that time of year - time to get my mamms grammed! Do it for yourself and for everyone who loves you and everyone you love (which are not always the same, know what I mean?). It takes less than thirty minutes, isn't that uncomfortable, and then you don't have to do it again for a good while. And it's worth it for the peace of mind.

Love you all. And if you need a pick-me-up, just go back to that post a week or so ago and check out my visitor's pic again. If his beautiful face doesn't give you a jolt right where it counts, well, I don't know what the hell will!

Working, working, working

I'm almost through with the last edit and proofing of The Celtic Fan. This book is one of those pieces that I think about most of the time. It has a haunting quality that just won't go away.

I'm hoping the cover will be the same way. If it comes out anything like the concept, not only will it be beautiful and eye-catching, but it will be haunting in its own right. I'm excited, and a little afraid, to think about it. I know in my mind exactly what it's supposed to look like, and I'm so afraid we'll never get it to look that way. But if we can, it'll be beautiful.

I'm going to bed. I've read until my eyes are crossing. But I'm hoping that by Thursday, it will be ready for me to add the front matter and all we'll be waiting for is to get the photos shot and the cover made up. And then I'll release it.

But I'll do a cover reveal first. Never doubt that. And you'll want to see that - trust me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I've made my decision

I've officially decided that I'm hiring a cover artist to do/redo the covers for the first series. I'm tired of trying to do them myself, and I could use some help. They'll need to be somewhat uniform, and they won't be able to do that with the three I've already done, so I'll just have them do all five. If I like them, I'll have them do the Witch of Endor series.

I'll still do the Harper's Cove covers, and I have definite ideas for The Celtic Fan. The other two independent novels, maybe; maybe not. I'll decide that as I go along.

But know this: The first two novellas in the Harper's Cove series will be out in just a couple of weeks. I know, right? It's exciting! Maybe I'll give you some excerpts in the next couple of weeks. But I don't know . . . they're so steamy, I'm not sure I'd want to post any of that on the blog. We'll see.

Wish me luck. So far my attempts to hire people have been less than successful, but I think that's going to change. So here I go!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Excerpt from the next novel!!!

I promised you an excerpt, and I'm determined to deliver. This is from The Celtic Fan, which I expect to release within the next two months (gotta get the cover art done). This excerpt will give you a taste for what the guys are up to. Enjoy!

*****

“Okay, okay,” Russ retreated, stroking his hand both slowly and vainly across his shiny head. “So I’m a client of ‘Hair Club,’” he chuckled. “Let’s get down to business. I've got a great idea for this year’s trip.”

“Fantastic!” Jim fairly stuttered, his cheeks rosy with excitement. “What is it, where are we going?”

“Well, that’s part of the problem,” he smirked. “I’m not really sure just yet. I've got some of my people working on it.” His people, right. He’s an artist in a graphics shop, for heaven’s sake. What people? “I know a guy who knows a guy, and he’s . . .”

“Oh, cut the crap, Russ,” Michael interrupted, the effects of the mixed drink kicking in. “What the hell is it? Where are we going?” He seemed a bit irritated, like a kid opening a gift on which Mom had used way too much really sticky tape.

“That’s just it,” he replied. “Did you read the book, Steve? Like I asked you to? Did you guys read it too? What did you think of it?”

By now I was getting a little testy myself. “Yes, Russ. I read the book.”

“And what did you think of it?” he repeated, looking out at me from under his brows with a goofy smile pulling up one corner of his mouth. Confusion clouded Michael and Jim’s faces.

“Well, honestly,” I hesitated, “I liked it. I didn’t think I would, but I did. I was, well, maybe, enthralled? I just couldn’t put it down. I don’t know how to describe it,” I admitted, stumbling and stammering for words to explain, to express how I’d felt. It was a little embarrassing, sounding like a 36-year-old housewife describing one of those paperback romance novels.

“What about you guys? Jim, what did you think?” he asked innocently.

“I loved it,” Jim gushed, wringing his hands. “I’d love that Claire, just like that Bill guy did. But I’d never leave her,” he added, looking as if he were about to cry, remembering the story.

“What about you, Michael?” Russ turned his attention to Michael, who was becoming visibly frustrated.

“What the hell difference does it make, Russ?” he exploded. “Let’s talk about the damn trip, okay? That’s what we came here for, isn't it?”

Russ laughed out loud, teasing the three of us with his eyes. “How would you like to be the first people to meet Nick Roberts, the author of the book?”

“Nobody knows who he is,” Jim offered loudly. “Nobody. No one’s ever met him. They don’t know anything about him.”

“What if I told you that we could find him?” Russ asked softly, leaning over the table like an international spy planning an act of espionage.

“Oh, hell, Russ, what have you got up your sleeve?” I blurted out, tired of the cloak-and-dagger bull. “What’s this all about?”

“Well, it seems my brother is working for the publishing house that produced The Celtic Fan,” he answered quietly. He cast a few anxious glances around to see if anyone at one of the other tables was listening. “He can find out where Nick Roberts lives. Then we could go out and find him. Think about it, Steve. What a great feature for your paper. A great piece, don’t you think? And you guys,” he said, pointing at Michael and Jim, “could say you’d met him, get his autograph and stuff. Have your picture made with him. Wouldn't that be something?”

Tempting. Very tempting. There had to be a catch.

“So, what’s the catch?” I quizzed, afraid I was about to be sold a chunk of the Berlin wall again. Probably had something to do with paying the brother off somehow or, worse yet, taking him along.

"No catch,” he insisted, trying to maintain a look of dignity and honesty. That was hard work for Russ. “My brother’s working on finding the information on the location, and the rest is up to us. Are you guys in?”

“Well, I guess so,” Jim responded, halting between words. “Maybe he can introduce us to the woman he modeled Claire’s character after.” Good old Jim, thinking about his annual conquest. Or at least an attempt.

“What about you, Michael?” he asked as he turned and stared into Michael’s tipsy face. “Are you in?”

“Sure, sure,” Michael sputtered, his speech somewhat slurred by the liquor. “Sounds good to me.”

“Steve? You with us?” It was hard for me to answer, my tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth, my head buzzing. Meet Nick Roberts, the guy who’d written with such passion and imagination, the one who’d described the relationship between Bill and Claire with such power, such intensity, that I found myself longing to be with them, to be part of the love and energy they’d experienced. A writer whose work had affected me like no one else’s before, at least not in a long, long time.

“Um, you bet. You bet,” was all I could manage. I couldn’t wait to pack my suitcase, hop in a cab, and roll right up to his front door. This would be great. “Count me in,” I almost whispered.

“Okay! Good! I’ll tell Dave to proceed, and maybe we’ll have enough information by the end of next week to move forward with our plans.” He seemed pleased with himself. Unlike most times, he also looked sure, as though he knew this would be a do-able thing. “I’ll let you know as soon as I get something concrete.”

“I propose a toast,” Jim nearly shouted. In total synchronization, the three of us threw our fingers up to our lips, shushing him. “I propose a toast,” he began again, quieter, lifting his soft drink glass above the center of the table. “To Nick Roberts. May he be as surprised as we will be when we find him.”

Well, I hope to shout, I thought to myself as our glasses and bottles clinked together. I took a deep drag on the longneck. If we could pull this off, we’d be famous. And I’d have a great feature.

We were going to find Nick Roberts. We would succeed. We would meet him, and I would understand his talent. Maybe some of it would rub off on me. No matter what happened, I’d never be the same, of that I was sure.

I couldn’t possibly have known how correct that assumption would prove to be.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Another piece of the puzzle falls into place

I went out looking for a prop for The Celtic Fan today. I'd been looking on eBay and Amazon and couldn't find anything. I was looking for a hand mirror and I needed a fairly large one, and it needed to be decorative.

So I went to The Shed; it used to be The Peddlers Mall. I wandered from booth to booth, wondering if I'd find anything. There have been tons of things that I've needed and I've managed to find them there or at the big antique mall in Gilbertsville. (That's where I found Winston's frame. Rounded a corner and there it was. Measured it and it was perfect. And he looks perfect in it. You'll get to meet Winston in the near future, I hope.)

Anyway, I meandered up and down aisles, looking for one, and eventually, about halfway through, I found it! It's one of the old face-shaped hand mirrors - wider at the top than the bottom - and it has a beautiful, ruby-red back and a beveled face. And it was $5.00! Can't beat that.

On the way out, I noticed some phone cases. I love my Lifeproof case, but I needed a brightly-colored one (mine is white). Sure enough, they had a bright pink one - for $29.99! I paid over $60.00 for the one I have so, of course, I snapped that baby up. I did the underwater test and it held up fine. Now I can find my phone when I lay it down in the house!

I got a prop that I needed. Now to get the outfit picked out for The Witch of Endor. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just wear . . .

Uh-uh-uh. I'm not going to say. You'll just have to stay tuned! Oh, I'm so wicked . . .

And speaking of wicked, I think I'll give you an excerpt tomorrow from one of the Harper's Cove novellas. Would you like that? Yeah, just what I thought!

Friday, November 22, 2013

And for the witch in all of us . . .

The Witch of Endor is coming down the pike. One of the books has already been started, and they'll be a reality by early spring, I'm hoping. So I need costuming for them. The same photo will show up on each book with some differences, but they'll be dark, so I need something that will show up. And I'm thinking steampunk. See what you think.





They're all steampunk, which I think is fitting. The bottom one also comes in brown and a dusty red - both very pretty. I can get skirts to go with them. So whaddya think? Anybody got an opinion? These will be very rough-and-tumble paranormal romances and I think they'll need something with an edge. I have a personal favorite - let's see if anyone else likes mine!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's costuming time!

We're working on the artwork for the cover of The Celtic Fan. There will be photos taken - oh, yes, there will. So here's what I'm coming up with.

I have this vision for how this photo will look. It'll be taken from above, either over the shoulder or from the front, with only the hair falling around the cleavage and the inside left forearm showing above a wedding ring quilt with the book lying beside the model on the quilt. And the photo will be in only tones of dusty mint green and sepia. So here are the costuming ideas.







All of the skirts also come in white. And I was thinking that if the khaki and beige were used, the little short Lolita skirt (fifth photo from the top) over a longer skirt might be good. The model's skirt will probably show a bit. So, I'm thinking . . .

any opinions out there? I'd really like to hear what you think. And who knows? You might even get a costuming credit in the book!

Maybe tomorrow I'll share with you the costuming ideas for the covers of The Witch of Endor series. That'll be fun!

DA-dada-DA-da-da-DAHHHHHH! They're almost here

Yesterday I finished the second of the new Harper's Cove series! And today, I finished the covers for both. They look really good. I've got probably another week's worth of work on both of the books and they'll be ready to go to the conversion company.

I'm so excited to be able to offer these to my readers. In case you didn't see an earlier post, these are just short, sweet little novellas that are almost pure erotica. They're right at 20,000 words each, and they'll sell for $.99, so anyone can afford them. The first one is about . . . nope, I'm not going to do it. You'll just have to read them to find out. But they're fun.

I'm also working on the costuming for two photo shoots, one for The Celtic Fan, the 13-year-old found novel. It's finished and it's pretty incredible. I can't wait to get it out and into the world. It's been hidden for a long time, and I think it's time.

The other photo shoot will be for my upcoming series, The Witch of Endor. That will be a fun series, and I can't wait to get started on it.

In between the novels, I'll continue to plug Harper's Cove novellas in to give you something new to read. Be sure to come back tomorrow - I'm planning to put some photos of the costuming in the post so maybe somebody can help me decide. So much to choose from!

This is too much fun! Come on back and have fun with me. No telling what I'll do next!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The adventures of cover design

I tried to hire a cover artist. The last time I heard from her was Oct. 22. I don't think I'm going to hear from her again, and I don't know why.

I hear it over and over - if you need help, just ask for it. Oh yeah? Well, I asked for a beta reader - she took my book and I've never heard another word from her. I have money to pay a cover artist - I sent her my current covers and told her I had several more that needed to be done, and I've never heard anything else from her.

I don't get it. I keep hearing how it's hard to get work and no one has enough money. I'm happy to pay people, and I can't get them to work. What the heck is that about?

So I'm going it alone. Well, not completely alone. I've got an artist working on a piece of artwork for a cover, and I've got a photographer friend lined up. I'm counting on these two, because I sure haven't been able to count on any of the others. I've always been the one who, when the chips were down, can't seem to get anyone to do the things I ask, even for money. I'm pretty easy to work with, so I don't understand it. Maybe that's my problem; maybe I should be more demanding. I don't know what the secret is.

Today I've worked on covers for three of the Harper's Cove novellas and started writing the second one. The third one is already past concept and well on its way to being a reality. I know it'll all eventually get done, but right now it feels like too much.

But if I'm not busy enough for it to feel that way, I'm not busy enough!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Coming right along

I'm so happy to say that the 13-year-old novel is done! I finished the 17 mini-chapters today and cried through the last three of them. Not because they were bad, but because they were sad. It's funny, the book itself ends happily, and the background novel ends sadly. Weird, huh?

I also have an artist working on a pivotal piece of artwork for the book. I'll be going down this week to Creatures of Habit, our local professional costuming business, to see what I can find in the way of costuming for this book and another series that's coming up. A friend who's a professional photographer has signed on to help me with the photography. I'm getting really excited!

So stay tuned. There are going to be lots of new things coming out of the writing mill over here!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy and sad

So I'm pretty happy with what I did today. I wrote over 10,000 words and finished the third book in the Love Under Construction series with 101,302 words (pre-edit, of course!). I'm rolling right along. I set up a log and it looks like I have 23 books to work on. Yikes! I don't know how I'm going to do that. Wait, I do - one word at a time!

I'm sad, though, because my little man is sick. He hasn't felt good all week, but today he's been really down, and he hasn't eaten much of anything in 48 hours. So tomorrow it's off to the vet's office for him. Hope I can get him in (pretty sure I can). Here's my little Mickey Joe with dirt on his nose after he's been digging in the yard. Precious, huh?



As for new work, the novel I wrote 13 years ago that I just found recently has been surveyed by yours truly. Looks like it needs 17 "mini chapters" to get it ready to go, plus some custom artwork for the cover, and then the photography for same cover. And I won't even bore you with the other stuff - it's massive.

So wish me luck tomorrow. I'm missing a meeting I really wanted to go to in Nashville, but if he's sick, he's my first priority.

Heck, if I need a pick-me-up, all I have to do is look at yesterday's blog post. That'll make me smile. (Thanks, Vic - you're a doll, sweetie!)

Uh-huh!

I looked up from my work and guess who had come to visit? (Talk about yummy . . .)

See? I told you I had something to show you! I assume you know who this is? If you don't, you should go back and read the prequel and both novels again, because you either don't understand English or you have no imagination. But if you only understand Italian, well, le mie scuse!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Working, working, working!

I wrote another 6,300+ words today on the third novel in the first series. It was an amazing experience. I cried through a good part of it. Good stuff.

I also did something else amazing. I drew out the chapter synopses for The Celtic Fan and I'll be working on the parallel novel next while I continue to work on Renovating a Heart. I've discovered that the parallel work probably won't be as difficult as I originally thought. So hang in there. In the next couple of weeks, I'm going to try to start posting excerpts from it. The other challenge will be the cover art. It's very specific, and I don't know how I'm going to work it out, but I'll figure out something. I will, however, be the model - that I already know. And I don't really want to have to go and have a . . . no, I can't say. You'll just have to wait and see.

And tomorrow I have something to show you, or rather someone. Come back and see! (You'll love it, I promise!)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

An announcement you won't want to miss!

First of all, let me update by saying I wrote 9,014 words today on the new novel, the third in the Love Under Construction series. I checked and, by my calculations, I'm putting out about 82 words per minute. And that's while doing some rudimentary editing on the fly. Just sayin'. Be happy for me, haters!

Now for the announcement I promised.

I think some of you know this already, but on Halloween I had the surprising fortune of finding a crapton of writing projects from years back. I'd thought they were gone, and somehow, some way, they showed up on my brand-new external hard drive. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

There were lots of things in there, but the most significant was a novel that I wrote years ago, The Celtic Fan. I did a little math and consulted with someone who was experiencing an event at the same time I was writing it, and I determined that it was written in 2000. It's an unusual piece, written from first person POV, and is a novel within a novel. But I'll share the basic premise with you.

There is a novel written that's taken the nation by storm, and the writer, Nick Roberts, is a mystery. No one has ever seen him, talked to him, interviewed him, nothing. There are even fan websites set up offering rewards to anyone who can find him.

Four guys go on a "Hangover"-type trip each year together. Some have been good, some pretty crappy. One of them gets the idea to use their trip to try to find Nick Roberts, and he has connections to the publishing house Roberts' book came through, which renders a P.O. box number in a tiny North Carolina town. The male protagonist in the book, Steve, another one of the four, is a journalist with the Knoxville newspaper. Once he reads the book, at the insistence of one of his buddies, he jumps on the bandwagon and decides that he will be the one of the four to find Roberts, and that maybe, just maybe, he'll continue to keep the secret.

But what Steve finds when he goes out in search of Roberts is nothing he would've ever expected. And when he finds out who Nick Roberts is, keeping Roberts' identity a secret is an even bigger priority than before.

This book is a sweet, simple sensual romance (not erotic) written from a man's point of view. At the end of each chapter is an excerpt from Nick Roberts' novel, The Celtic Fan, that runs parallel with the novel itself. I know, but it's not really as confusing as it sounds. You'll understand when you read it.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce that it will probably be released in the next two to three months. It needs surprisingly little work and is by far one of the nicest pieces of work I've ever done. It's about 78,000 words and will retail for $2.99, a sweet price for a sweet story. After thirteen years, I still cried as I read it.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know more as I go along. And if you know someone who draws quite well, I'm looking for an artist to do a particularly simple piece of artwork that will be part of the cover, so just shoot me a PM and give me contact information.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Something new on the horizon!

I checked my word county for today - 2,622 words. I don't think that's bad, considering I wasn't home most of the day.

What time I was home, I worked on cleaning up my desk a little. I put together a file tub full of hanging folders with a manilla folder in each one. They're just waiting for labels when I need them.

Tomorrow, in addition to my writing, I'll make up some forms for workflow and fill them out. I may fill out a few character profiles. I may take a nap. I'm tired.

But in the next few days, I've got an announcement to make, and I'm very, very happy about it. And I think you'll like it too. So stay tuned.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What's that crazy noise?

10,171. That's my word count for today.

I know that there are people out there who think I'm lying about this. I'm not. My eyes tell me I'm not - they're bloodshot. My fingers tell me I'm not - they're sore. My butt tells me I'm not - it's numb from sitting. And yet I keep going. Dunno. I just do.

And at some point today I made a big pot of pasta e fagioli and - DA-dada-da-da-da-DAAAAA - naan! Yes, I made naan right here in my kitchen! And yes, I set the smoke detectors off! Shut up. It's not funny. Well, yeah, it kinda is.

But even though the sun was shining today, it's been a gloomy day for writing. While I got the joy of writing about the wedding of one of my favorite characters, I experienced the distinct agony of saying goodbye to another as they were laid to rest. Believe it or not, it was super, super hard to do. Even harder, another character who seems to have no feelings at all is overwhelmed by the loss and stands at the funeral to tell everyone what that person had meant to him in his life. I couldn't help it - I cried. I'm sitting here thinking about it and I'm starting to cry again. Silly, right?

Not really. You see, I truly care about my characters. I spend a lot of time developing them. They grow into their own, and it's like being the proud parent of an accomplished kid. I know their middle names, their eye color, their birthdates, what kind of cars they drive, their favorite dessert, favorite color, favorite drink, favorite music. They share all of that with me, and I feel privileged to know them.

Now I know you're thinking, She's delusional. These aren't real people. What the hell is wrong with this woman? But you have to understand: I've lived with them in my head for years. I know them very well because, just like a god, I know what's going on inside them. I hear their internal dialogue when they're too scared to speak. I feel their greatest fears and their most stupendous joys. They're a part of me, so when one of them dies, a little piece of me dies too. I hate it - I hate losing any of them. But people die. Others are born. Life goes on.

So here's the bottom line: You read my work, you're going to fall in love with my characters. Guaranteed. Before I'm finished, you'll love them as much as I do. And you ask yourself, Why does she go to all this trouble?

Because if I don't give a damn about my characters, why should you? Relating to lovable, believable characters - isn't that why people read?

I did it!

Originally posted on November 9, 2013

I made NaNoWriNo today. I checked my word count.

13,315 today for a total of 58,009 words in this book so far since November 1.

That's insane. But I'm getting close to the wedding in the third book, and I'm excited. Plus this afternoon I wrote one of the steamiest sex scenes I've ever written. I mean, steam rolling. Who knew mild-mannered Doug Benton was such a stud? Well, he is. Major stud. Um-hmm.

So I've kicked NaNoWriMo's ass. I've overkicked its ass. And I'm going to continue on kicking its ass until this book is done which, at this rate, will be before the end of the month, possibly before the end of next week. Then I can set it aside for a future edit and move on to a couple of other projects that I want to get crackin' on. They're going to be good, and I can't wait to get them done. One is the novel that I wrote thirteen years ago and found on Halloween. It's sweet.

So for anyone who thinks NaNoWriMo is an unreachable goal, I say . . .

pshawwwww. It's so doable it's not even funny.

And I'm exhausted. Think I'll go have another glass of harvest sangria and call myself done for the day.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why I write the way I do

So you've heard me babble on and on about NaNoWriMo. For anyone who doesn't know, here's the deal:

You sign on and you track your writing. And the goal here is to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.

I signed on November 1. Some people signed up two months ago, some more. Then they waited. And they started out on November 1. I think I actually got to start on November 2, but I'd have to look. Anyway, the idea is to write 1,667 words per day.

Yesterday, I wrote over 11,000. Today I wrote over 3,000. I only have 5,205 words to go to hit the 50,000 mark. And that won't finish my novel. Why, you ask?

Mark Coker of Smashwords says that if you can't come up with 40,000 words to put in a book, you should go and do something else. What I've found is that if you have a minimum of three people in a book, you might be able to get by with 60,000 words. And that's if you only introduce your characters and don't really develop them. But I don't do that. I want my readers to really get to know the characters, to feel what they feel, understand what they think and why they do what they do, and, most importantly, to relate to them. I want them to think to themselves while they're reading my book, "Hey, that woman reminds me of my cousin Claudia!" That's relating. That's what I want.

I've had several people tell me, "You have the best, most well-developed characters I've ever seen. I love them. I feel like I really know them. I'm invested in their stories." That's what I'm working toward.

You see, something horrible happened to me one time. I read a book by a famous author (if I've told you this story before, forgive me) and, at the end of the book, I still didn't give a damn about the female protagonist. That's a shame.

Do you care about what you read? Have you ever read a book and, when you finished, you thought, Well, that was a huge waste of my time? I have. And it sucks.

So if you wonder why I would write over 11,000 words in one day, I can explain it this way: I write them because as I write, I get caught up in their stories. I get invested in their lives. I don't want to stop, because I want to see what they do next. Sometimes they surprise me. Those are the times I love best. When Laura's parents walk into Tony and Nikki's house on Memorial Day and she starts a slow burn. When Tony falls apart because he knows he has to do something that will destroy Vic. When Little T climbs up into the judge's lap. When Raffaella corners poor Nikki in the restroom. When their whole world goes to hell in a handbasket, and when it all spins around and comes up sunny again. When the one person who can help you pull your life together is bleeding to death underneath your hands. When those things start happening . . .

I just keep writing. I don't know what most writers would do, but I can't tear myself away from it. And my goal is that my readers feel the exact same way.

So if at times I don't make sense, I sound crazy, or drugged, or incoherent, know that it's because I just wrote 11,000+ words. And I'm exhausted.

And tomorrow, I'll get up, sit down, and do it all again. Because with all the crap out there on the shelves, you deserve at least one good story. And I intend to deliver.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I did it myself and I still don't believe it

I got an email this morning. Actually, it was sent yesterday morning, but I didn't get it until this morning. And I'm pretty bummed. This email was from Huffington Post Live, and they wanted me to do a live interview with them today. They had found the comments I made on the The Daily Reader regarding censorship and The Great Purge of 2013. Here's the article and my comments: http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2013/10/13/amazon-bn-whsmith-now/#.Unx5Xvl18ud. Problem is, they're in New York and an hour ahead of us. And I didn't get the email until 9:50 this morning, which was right at 11:00 their time. So, basically . . .

I missed the boat.

National coverage. And thanks, Comcast, for that efficient delivery of my mail. Nice job - as always.

But here's the good part:  I was bummed. Really bummed. Still am. And what did I do about being bummed?

I sat down and wrote. I wrote all afternoon and most of the evening. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo, and I'm supposed to write 50,000 words by the end of November.

As of today, I have 41,466. Of those, I wrote 11,271 of them TODAY. Yes, you read that right. Today. In response to being bummed about missing out on a nationally-televised interview. Who would've guessed?

No, the 11,271 words does not make up for the missed interview. It doesn't even make me feel better. But it does make me laugh. According to my stats, at the rate I'm going I should be done with my 50,000 words by . . .

Saturday.

Good god. That's just ridiculous.

But let me tell you a little something about my writing today. I'm actually using NaNoWriMo to get a jump on the third novel, Renovating a Heart. I was so pissed off that I thought, You know, I probably shouldn't try to write when I'm so pissed off. But I did it anyway.

I picked up where I left off yesterday and started writing this afternoon. Two hours later, I was writing one of the most heartbreaking scenes I've ever written and crying. Really crying. Then I got to see them somewhat resolve the problems they were having, and I was happy for them. It was so sweet.

So the moral of the story is this, convoluted as it may be: Just frickin' write. It doesn't matter if you're pissed off, on top of the world, or feeling like somebody just kicked you in the gonads. Just write. Just sit down and do it.

And if you think your work is crap, just remember what Annie Dillard said: "If I actually believed that the progress of human understanding depended on our crop of contemporary novelists, I would shoot myself." Annie, I couldn't agree more.

So yeah, I'm glad I wrote 11,271 words today. And no, I'm still pissed about the interview. But when I make my first million, I'll get over it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My NaNoWriMo journey continues

I'm still in a state of shock.

I started writing today at about 4:30 p.m. That was after I'd gone for my nail fill (thank you, Tonjua, the best nail tech in the whole darn world!). I came home, did a little reading (Fire Birds, written by my friend Shane Gregory), and then started writing. My partner cooked dinner (he's a keeper) and I stopped long enough to eat. It's now 10:43 p.m. and I just got my word count verification for today.

Between 4:30 p.m. and 10:43 p.m., I wrote 9,734 words. I'm still in a state of shock. I mean, I know I've told said author-person mentioned above that my writing is somewhere between prolific and ridiculous, but really? Don't ask me how I do it; I really don't know. It still amazes me. And my partner came in here, asking where I was in the story, so I read him some of it. It's damn good.

That means that NaNoWriMo is going to help me finish the third novel of the Love Under Construction series, Renovating a Heart. At this rate, it should be done well before the end of the month, and I'll have time to work on one of the others I'm writing. Don't ask which one. There are many.

In the meantime, hang in there with me. If you'd like for me to post a contest, let me know. That might be fun. I could give a really good prize - a pretty, 14K gold prize. But I have to know you want it. Do you? It's in your hands.

And the writing continues!

I've mentioned several times that I'm doing NaNoWriMo. The WPD (that's words per day in NaNoSpeak) is about 1,667. Today, in three hours, I did 3,868. I think that's pretty good.

I must also say that it must be pretty good. I read one of the scenes to my partner and we both were cracking up - Vic and Tony are so funny! It had to do with the dog that Clayton rescued. The one Nikki brought home to Tony. The one that's decided she's his dog and won't let him out of her sight. The one Vic described as "a shag rug gone wrong."


I personally think she's cute. Yeah, Franklin is a girl. Thank Ella Jane for that.

And since he made such fun of her, I'm wondering: If Vic got a dog, what kind of dog would it be? I'm thinking it would probably be some pansy-ass dog that he'd wind up taking copious amounts of shit over. Would serve him right.

So I'm continuing along. The first Harper's Cove novella is almost ready for publication. Won't be long now and you can have some very, very naughty fun with one couple in the neighborhood.

Come back often. You never know what you'll find. Seriously. Could be anything.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Working, working, working

I'm up to my neck in manuscripts over here. I have so many going that I don't know what to work on next. I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I put in a manuscript, then changed my mind and put in another one, then went back and put the first one back in. Now I'm thinking I made a mistake and should've put the third Love Under Construction novel, Renovating a Heart, as my NaNoWriMo project. Is it possible to have too many good ideas? I never thought so before, but now I'm beginning to wonder.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Of poltergeists and files that come back from the dead

I spent most of yesterday morning crying over something only other authors would understand. And before you whisper in fear, "Oh, no, her computer crashed and she lost (insert irreplaceable work here)," that's not it. This is a happy story. So if you're looking for gloom, doom, and failure, get lost.

You see, I've been writing for a long, long time. Long time. Lots of material. Lots.

But since I started writing, technology has changed. When I first started, we didn't have computers. The daisy wheel IBM Selectric was a new thing (crap - I probably shouldn't have told you that). My first computer had no hard drive, and every time you started it you had to insert a 5" floppy (or whatever size those things were - it's been so long that I've forgotten). From there, I graduated to a computer that actually had a hard drive. I also had Internet service and, for $19.99 per month, I got 20 hours of Internet time per week. And who would ever use all of that up? Right?

By 2000, I had a computer that had about a gig of hard drive, 256K RAM, and a internal modem. I was high-tech, baby. I was saving things on 3.5" floppies like you wouldn't believe. Had cartons of the things; all colors too. Then along came the ZIP drive. I had to have one of those bad boys because I was doing so much graphics work that I couldn't store some of the files on a 3.5". Stuff got put on those disks which, for the record, were insanely expensive.

So in 2000, while my daughter was in Europe briefly, I wrote a novel. It poured out so fast that I almost choked on it. I spent four days and three nights with no sleep, trying to get it out while it was still in my head, not to mention that I knew life would come crashing down on me when she walked back through the door. I thought the novel was pretty good. It still needed some work but, hey, what novel doesn't? Then something tragic happened.

Life got in the way. I was busy all the time. I didn't get back to the novel. Oddly enough, I wrote other things, really good things, and didn't think a lot about the novel. I even started writing another novel. It was pretty good too; same thing, needed a lot of work.

In the meantime, the 3.5" floppy became a thing of the past. I moved work from 5-inchers to 3.5-inchers and from 3.5-inchers to ZIPs. I bought an external hard drive to back up everything; it was 140M, which everyone knows should be more than enough space forever, right? Gig? Terra? Nah. No one would need anything that large.

Fast forward to last week. My partner and I were talking about my writing - I was getting ready to launch my second novel, the third book in that series. I was telling him about these novels that I had written some time ago. I had looked and looked for them and they were nowhere to be found. In the shuffling-around of technology, they were lost forever. I told him that I wished I could remember enough of them to recreate them, but I didn't think I could. Sad.

I launched the second novel in my series on 30 October to be up and live on 31 October. That's not how it worked. At nine o'clock on Halloween night, we were still waiting for the novel to go live on the biggest retailer's site. Finally, a little after ten, it was there. I could rest . . . and stop biting my acrylics.

I performed my usual rituals at bedtime, the washing of the face, the brushing of the teeth, the taking of the medicines. And I hooked up my brand-new external hard drive (1.8 terrabytes - now who will ever use all of THAT space?) and started backing up  my files. When it was done, which is a forever three minutes, I did something I hadn't done before: I checked to see if all of the files had transferred. I went in through My Computer and physically checked the hard drive. To my dismay, my updated files weren't there - anywhere. I started to panic. Sure, I had them on my desktop, but I wanted them backed up. So I went back into the external hard drive again and entered the word "writing" in the search bar.

When it all came up, there were some weird files I couldn't identify. Out of curiosity, I clicked on one of them. And the universe cracked open.

There they were - ALL of them. Huge files. Both novels. Probably seventy-five short stories. More poetry than I could even believe. Things that were complete. Things that were barely started. Things that weren't, for which I only had files with outlines and sketches, scenes, parts of paragraphs, things that I'd intended to go back to. I could see them listed, but were they there?

It was late and I was exhausted. I decided that the next morning I'd check them out. I went to bed and slept the sleep of the dead.

And so yesterday morning, after I'd checked all of my email accounts and all of that daily crap, I went back in to look. Most of them were in WordPerfect documents (see, I told you they were old). I went to the first chapter of that long-lost novel, changed the name to a .DOC extension, and opened it.

Unless you are a writer, you can't imagine how I felt in that moment. Words truly are inadequate. The opening paragraph struck me right in the face, its words cutting straight into my heart. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't speak. All I could do was weep. It was there, all of it, right in front of me. I'd found it - on a drive that hadn't had anything on it two months ago, hooked to a laptop that I've only owned for a little over a year.

Where did it all come from? Where had it been? I have no idea. I don't know how it found its way back to me. I don't know who decided I needed a break. But whoever you are out there in the great big wonderful Universe, I thank you. You have no idea what this means to me. Or maybe you do.

So I spent last night poking through the manuscript, and it appears that I could have it ready to publish in as little as six weeks if life stays out of my way. But it won't. And I have other projects to work on. Even so, I've already printed out the pages from it that I will help me figure out what's missing and how to finish it. It won't take long. And I'm more than excited. I'm stoked.

Over the last few weeks, I've wanted to quit. Now I can't. In the immortal words of Nikki Walters, Tony's wife, in my newest novel, Tearing Down Walls, "Fuck you. No way."

Thanks, Nikki. That's my sentiment exactly.