Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I think things all began when I stepped off the plane after Romanticon. My mom was in the hospital and ended up being there for three weeks and had a major surgery. My sister flew in from Florida and family rushed in and out. It was a harrowing time. Went from major health issues to home renovation and then the holidays. I did manage to finish my first attempt at a self-pubbed book (Whiz Bang) and worked with a group of six other authors at promotion and getting launching the entire series into cyberspace. That's something.
But since then, I've had a hard time concentrating. I've tried soothing music and breathing exercises. I've tried getting all zen-like and channeling my inner Yoda. Seems the only time plots unfold and characters come to life is when I'm sleeping. My feet hit the ground in the morning and I just KNOW today will be a good writing day but then I'll get a call or an email or something new goes awry in the universe and once again, my brain is cluttered. I'm beginning to wonder if this is a cyclical thing. I am most productive with my writing after the holidays. January through May seem to be my most creative months of the year. Maybe it's because the holidays are over and the weather is beginning it's launch from ass-freezing cold into spring. I just don't know but the way I have it figured, I only have another month of this whole cluttered-brain thing and then it's off to the races. See? Thinking positively here.
In other news: Today is the last day to pick up all seven stories of the Toys4Us series at the low low price of .99. Beginning tomorrow there will be a slight price jump (and nobody likes a price jump). We are also offering a contest to win a new Kindle Fire. I'm hearing SUCH good things about this device and jonesing to get one of my own. So head over to our website and check out all the easy details and you could win BIG! The contest lasts until the end of December so get ready to play!
Monday, November 28, 2011
Hope ya'll don't mind that I'm filling in for Tess today. She's off doing stuff and asked me to come hang out so HERE I AM!
First off...hope your holiday was happy. I honestly think that one thing most of us have in common on Thanksgiving is that need to gorge on rich food, hang with family and friends and watch a whole lot of football. We weren't much different in that but some years we are tossed a surprise or two. That was US this year. For the first time in forever, we had new people sitting at our Thanksgiving table. My son brought his girlfriend and my daughter brought her boyfriend. Hmmm. This is NEW. I LIKED IT. Suddenly our little family didn't seem so "little" anymore. Throwing new people into the mix injected a more festive air to things. I found myself giving thanks for so many things. This has been another tough one for our family. My mom was hospitalized for three weeks in early fall. We were really scared there for awhile and watching her go through a major surgery was terrifying. She was with us on Thanksgiving Day looking once again like a young Elizabeth Taylor (yes, my mother is quite beautiful) and feeling sooooo good!
So yes, Thanksgiving was full of changes and surprises and has me looking forward to celebrating the Christmas Season. My gifts (except for one) are bought and though I don't have my tree up yet, I'll be tackling that little project soon. Wish me luck!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Two years and a month ago, I left my husband. I won't go into detail, but he took everything from money to the remaining vestiges of my pride and self-worth. I was a broken woman with two broken children. It was with a lot of fear that I packed up my car with my two beautiful daughters, our cat, and the clothes we owned, and began a two day drive to another State where my parents were waiting to take us in. On the way, I stayed at the house of one of my publishers. Her sense of humor and energy brought life back to my children and dried the tears I'd been shedding for the man my husband could have been, but wasn't.
I arrived at my destination the next day, and spent the following year getting my girls back on track with their self-confidence. It took a lot to rebuild their security and to let them know that the three of us would weather on just fine, even when their father began his campaign against me to our former (powerful) community. My kids knew the truth, they'd seen it, and their relationship with him was changed forever.
A year later, I had enough to venture out again. My family wanted me to stay, but I knew better. I'd already been hiding my writing from them for a full year, but it was challenging. With no locks on the doors and me working about seventy hours a week from home, there were constant interruptions and opinions about what I should be doing with my time. And from their view point, I understand. All they knew was I barely paid the bills and worked like a dog doing something obscure online.
November 8th last year, I left a second time and set my sights on Grand Rapids, Michigan. There were a lot of factors involved. But the biggest hurdle was that I had purchased a home here with everything I had after the divorce finalized (no, y'all, I got a fraction of what he stole from me and next to nothing in child support) and the couple in the home refused to move out.
Two friends stepped up to save me when my family deserted me. Again that's another story, but suffice it to say homelessness is not something I chose for myself or my children. For three weeks we lived out of a motel room, wrangling the cheapest price I could and hiding our living situation from the schools. My kids would have been kicked out of school, had they known we weren't in the area.
At one point we lived in a motel that housed a prison penitentiary and the morning commute to school meant squeezing through a throng of over muscled men with fresh cuts and bruises who were a little too interested in us. Through it all Bronwyn Green and Brynn Paulin kept me sane. Bronwyn cooked dinner for us every night without fail. She did our laundry and invited us to her home for hours each day. She was literally my angel. Brynn Paulin, who had just moved, opened her home to me during the day so that I could work. She invited me in to her community of friends (non-writing related), and invited me to gatherings the reminded me what normal was supposed to look like.
A year ago today I had Thanksgiving with Brynn's family. I thanked her several times, but I still cried on my way home for the generosity shown me that day. And that evening, the couple finally moved out of my house and I wasted no time getting in.
A lot has happened in a year. There have been trials and challenges through it all. There have been adjustments and relationships working things out whether between my children and their father, or me and which church I attend, but we've never forgotten how it could have been.
Last year changed our lives. I grew up, which is a weird thing for someone with two kids to say. We're starting new traditions and we're keeping some old ones. But most importantly we value the lessons we've learned along the way. There are people who are family because we were born into them. Then there are those that are family because you chose them and they can become more integrated in who you are than those who share your blood.
Family, both types, have hiccups along the way and that doesn't mean they are less important to you. On the contrary those adjustment periods are because they mean so much to you that you shift and sort yourself to make the fit that much better.
We go through phases. Your sister might always argue your ear off. Your mom will never be satisfied with her cranberry sauce made fresh and differently every year. Your brother will never stop being self-centered or rude to his wife. Your dad will never understand what you do for a living and he will never stop grumbling about whatever political party he hates most. Football and parades may always be the Thanksgiving issue and you may think your sister in law should get a clue.
Your friends may be near or far, unhappy or distracted. You may have had recent disagreements or ones that have festered. But your friends are yours by choice. Remember why you have them and what they mean to you. Yes, even if they're in another State. Friends, good ones, are hard to come by. Then imagine those friends around the table with you today. Look at them in your mind's eyes, sitting side by side with your relatives. They are more than the individual but the sum of the whole. And that's just one equation that will never change. These people are your family. Remind them, while you are reminding yourself, how important they are to you.
While you're at it, start a new tradition if the old ones have grown stale. Heck, start one if you yourself have grown stale. This year, we instituted a new one that we've pledged to carry into our gray hairs. All Thanksgivings at home, whether alone or with other invited guests, will be in pajamas. I don't care if you have fancy hair and footies, or long silk robes and undergarments in place. It's all about the comfort. But um, please wear pants.
And while you're at all this reflection and change.... have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I’m a brand new writer. Actually, I’ve been writing forever, so I should say, I’m a brand new PUBLISHED writer. Actually, I’ve been published before as a freelance magazine writer and editor in my “former” life. But the point is, I’m still learning my craft. I’m learning what writing works and what doesn’t; how to improve things and when to leave things alone; what rules to follow, break, ignore or create. And although writing is a solitary process, I’ve gotten help from lots of people along the way. Most of those are people I’ve met online, through various writers’ loops, Facebook and Twitter, but there are also those I’ve met at conferences and chapter meetings. Those people are great to bounce ideas off of and to talk to about the publishing world.
As I’ve gotten to know them, I’ve learned who to listen to and who to ignore. There’s an amazing woman on one of the writer’s loops I belong to who has consistently excellent advice. I read her responses even when I’m not interested in the topic. There are others whose names are beacons of caution. I don’t respond to their questions for fear of being lumped into their group (kind of like guilt by association). Still others who ask great questions about things I had never thought of until they asked.
I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned. Some are obvious, some less so. I’d love to hear what things you’ve learned too!
1) Publishing is a small world; don’t knock anyone (unless you aspire to be a one-hit wonder).
2) Related to #1, when you are on a writers’ loop sponsored by your publisher, don’t complain about your publisher!
3) Thank people. Thank your readers, your editors and your publishers. Thank your mom for buying your books in bulk and spreading the word to all her friends. Without them, you wouldn’t be here.
4) Write what you like to read.
5) Read more than just what you like so that you learn.
6) Develop a thick skin (or at least learn how to fake it).
7) Treat each critique, edit and rejection as a learning experience. Sometimes you need to make the exact changes suggested. Other times you don’t. Learn to know the difference. And be grateful that someone took the time to comment in the first place.
8) Write, write, write. When you run out of words, or hit a writer’s block, write about how frustrating that is. Just don’t stop writing.
9) Reciprocate. If you want people to read and comment on your blog, read and comment on theirs.
10) Choose your words carefully, whether it’s in your story, your blog or you comments to others. Well chosen words will be remembered for their eloquence; badly chosen words will be remembered too, but for different reasons.
I’m still learning, and I’m far from perfect. Writing is a craft that needs practice. But oh the fun we have!
The last thing Valerie needs, after escaping an abusive marriage to an alcoholic and rebuilding her life, is a broody, secretive, standoffish man. But that’s exactly what she gets when she becomes a makeup artist on the set of a hit sitcom and draws the attention of the series’ star.
John Samuels hides a terrible past—a life of abuse and neglect. A successful acting career and the affection and support of cast, crew and friends, does nothing to convince him that he is anything other than an unlovable monster.
Will he learn that the life he’s been living has been built on a lie or will he be doomed to repeat the sins of his father?
The square, plastic bottle crashed to the floor, the white cap skittered under a cabinet, and bisque-colored foundation splattered across the tile floor, where it made a Rorschach pattern within the large white squares. With a groan and a roll of her eyes, Valerie searched under the makeup table, found the errant cap, replaced it on the bottle, and returned the foundation to the tray. She grabbed a damp rag and wiped up the mess.
She looked at the shooting schedule and smiled as she ran her fingers down the smooth laminated page. Only three weeks into this job, she loved working as assistant make-up artist on “Oddballs,” a Top-10 weekly TV sitcom. She double-checked her kit for the supplies she’d need that day. So engrossed in her work, she didn’t notice her boss’ purple-spiked head in the door of the make-up trailer, or the ever-present smell of hair gel that hovered around her, until Michelle called her name.
“Hey, Valerie, a bunch of us are going out after work. Wanna come?”
Flashes from her past competed with images from the present at the sudden voice and Valerie stiffened. She shook her head to clear the jumble of images.
“Where are you going?” She wiped the remains of the foundation on the short cotton apron over her turquoise shirt and faded denim jeans. Eyes closed, she inhaled. The thick weave of rough fabric scraped her fingers and anchored her in the present, despite her body’s momentary lapse.
“Tico’s for some drinks. There’s about eight of us going. It’ll be fun and you can meet some of the crew.”
Valerie’s hands shook and knocked into the plastic bottles on the tray. They clinked together as the tubes slid into the scissors and destroyed their recent orderliness. She kept her face down, eyes averted, as her cheeks heated and her palms became sweaty. She had dreaded this moment. If they’d been going anywhere but a bar, she’d have joined them, but she couldn’t bring herself to go there. So, she had to perform a delicate bal-acing act. Somehow, she had to refuse this invitation, but leave open the possibility for others. Despite their different personal styles, she and Michelle had formed an instant bond. The last thing she wanted was to hurt their new friendship.
“I can’t tonight. Thanks for asking though. Maybe another time.” She took a deep breath and pasted on a smile.
“Hot date?” Michelle raised a perfectly plucked black eyebrow and grinned. Valerie grinned back. “Just with my laundry.”
“You’re turning me down for laundry? Come on, you can do that tomorrow.”
Valerie shook her head. “I really can’t tonight, Michelle. Next time.”
Michelle muttered under her breath as she left. Valerie sighed as the door banged shut and left her alone with her memories.
* * * *
That night, after all the scenes had been shot, Valerie waited for everyone to leave. She didn’t want to answer questions or receive pity.
She arranged and rearranged drawers and tools. The trailer contained three stations, each with its own make-up chair. A long table ran down one wall, with plenty of drawers for storage space. Well-lit mirrors hung above the table. Un-able to find anything else to do, and convinced by the silence that everyone had to have left, she took out her keys to lock up. She jumped as a knock sounded at the door, the trailer rattled, and a head peeked in.
“Oh, hi, John.” She expelled a deep breath and willed her heart to slow its frantic beat. “Do you need something?”
“No.” He entered and stood by the door. John Samuels played the lead. At almost six-foot three, he dwarfed the trailer and had to tip his head to fit. He folded his muscular arms across his chest and spread his feet apart. “Michelle told me you were not joining us tonight. I thought I would see if I could change your mind.”
Valerie rolled her eyes. “She is persistent.”
“You noticed.” John’s dark eyes twinkled. His mouth widened with a ghost of a smile. Valerie tried not to gasp.
He reminded her of a rugged cowboy—broad-shouldered, with a prominent brow, dark piercing eyes, high cheekbones, and a cleft chin. When he smiled, even a slight trace of one, his eyes looked like liquid velvet and his dimples twinkled like stars in the night sky. A five-o’clock shadow covered his cheeks. Her fingers itched to brush against their rough texture, to tease his mouth into a full-blown grin.
“So, what can I say to make you join us?”
As he leaned against the wall in well-fitting jeans and a T-shirt that left nothing to the imagination, Valerie’s mind said, “Sleep with me.” Heat crept up her neck, over her cheeks, and continued to the roots of her hair. A thin sheen of sweat dampened the space between her breasts. She felt the sudden urge to fan herself, like a damsel in distress in an old B-movie. Instead, she ignored her traitorous thoughts. Her balled fist pressed into her tight stomach.
“Tonight, not even chocolate will change my mind.”
She didn’t exactly lie. She had no intention of going to the bar, or of sleeping with him, no matter how her thoughts might try to sabotage her good intentions. She’d been fooled by surface finery before, and it had almost killed her. She wouldn’t let it happen again.
“I will remember that,” he promised. “But next time you will not get off so easy.” His eyes bored into hers for a moment, and then he turned on his heel and left.
* * * *
True to his word, John arrived the following day pre-pared for battle. With a cursory knock on the door, he dangled a bag of M&Ms inside the trailer, but snatched it back be-fore she could grab them. “We are going out for pizza. I will pick you up in ten minutes.” Before she could answer, he walked out.
Valerie shrugged as she finished her work. The new Val-eerie never allowed other people to make decisions for her, but she’d practically handed John a permission slip. And, he had M&M’s. How could she refuse?
Ten minutes later, he returned, ushered her out the door and down the steps. Although he didn’t touch her, she could imagine the warmth of his hand on the small of her back, and feel the gentle puff of his breath against her hair. The angle of his body steered her toward the others in the parking lot as if he had taken her by the hand and dragged her with him. An invisible electric charge pulled her. Or maybe it was his Dial-soap scent. That scent—soap and man—made her stomach flip flop. Her uncontrollable reaction to him disturbed her, especially since he appeared unaffected.
He remained silent, strode toward their meeting place, and studied his surroundings as if he expected someone to pop out of the shadows and yell, “Boo!”
Then she saw the brown bag of M&Ms sticking out of his white shirt pocket. Before he could stop her, she reached around and grabbed them, opened the bag and popped three in her mouth.
“Hey, those are mine!” He reached for the bag, but not fast enough to retrieve them.
“Not anymore.” As she danced away from him, she stuck another handful in her mouth.
He brought his hand up to his heart, as if she had wounded him deeply, but the twinkle in his eye gave him away. Valerie had all she could do not to burst out laughing.
“You did not have to take them, you know. I was plan-nine to give them to you later.” He pouted and his dark hair fell across his brow, but not before Valerie saw a flash of a smile turn the corners of his mouth up.
“Oh really? When?”
“After dinner, of course. I would not want to spoil your appetite.”
As if that were possible. Valerie laughed again and John grunted, a deep hoarse sound that climbed from the pit of his stomach and thrust its way out his mouth.
“What’s so funny?” Lara, from editing, asked as they joined the group of friends clustered outside the lot. All other conversation stopped as everyone waited for the answer.
John looked at Valerie and his ghost of a smile disappeared. He remained silent and backed up a pace, as if need-in to put distance between them now that there were others around. Lara rolled her eyes and walked on ahead as Valerie bent over and massaged the stitch in her side. She watched his feet walk away from her, listened to the crunch of gravel be-Neath his shoes as the warm, funny man disappeared.
“What, no laundry tonight?” taunted Michelle when Val-eerie looked up. She smirked and headed down the street with the rest of them as she stared at the broad expanse of John’s back up ahead and wondered about John’s sudden coldness. The connection she’d started to feel between them disappeared. He walked a pace or two in front of her, his back stiff, his arms held at his sides. With a shrug, she joined in the conversation around her and put John’s odd behavior out of her mind.
Three blocks later, they approached a dark, noisy pub. Valerie’s stomach clenched as the door opened and the smell of beer floated outside. Spots floated in front of her eyes and for a moment, she thought she would faint. Her throat con-stricter and she paused as she clamped her mouth shut against the bile that rose in her throat. She leaned against the cool brick wall and willed herself to breathe, even as the rough surface dug into her back. Her gaze darted down the crowded street, but before she had the chance to flee, John towered behind her.
“Don’t back out on me now,” he whispered. “I already gave you the M&Ms.” His warm breath blew against her shoulder and she took a jagged breath.
She turned, grateful for the distraction, and stared at his massive chest. Rock-hard muscles confronted her beneath his black T-shirt and for a moment, the clink of glasses on the bar and the grainy smell of beer faded away. All she could see was his immense body; all she could smell was his fresh, soapy scent; all she could feel was his solid chest in her imagination. Imagination wasn’t enough.
She lifted a trembling hand to touch him and he backed up just out of her reach. Blue eyes met gray and held for a moment. She swallowed, the gulp audible, and the spell broke. The sights, sounds, and smells rushed back to her. She ran her tongue across her lips, tasted the waxy flavor of her lipstick, and closed her eyes as she swayed.
John frowned and placed himself between her and the crowd at the bar. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him nod to one or two people who smiled in recognition, but he remained at her side. Together, they walked across the sticky floor and past the loud band up front to their table in the back. He pulled out her chair and sat next to her, and she released a pent-up breath. She felt safe with him close to her. It’s not a bar, she told herself. It’s a restaurant that happens to serve drinks. She’d be fine.
John turned to her and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees. He clasped his large hands together and looked into her eyes. He held her gaze and as she stared into his thunder-head-colored eyes, she relaxed. “So, how do you like things so far, Valerie?”
“Well, I actually meant at work, but here too.”
Valerie blushed as she tried to focus on his words. “Oh, well, I love working on the show. I was a huge fan before I got the job, so it’s amazing to be a part of it now.” I sound like a babbling idiot.
John smiled. “What may I order for you?” He flagged down a big-bosomed, tight-shirted waitress with bright orange fingernails. She walked over, pen and pad ready. Every-one ordered beers. Valerie ordered a diet soda.
“Not ready to let loose yet, huh, Valerie?” asked Miguel, one of the crew, with a soft chuckle. Valerie smiled, but her cheeks felt as if they would crack and she looked away. John caught her eye and smiled at her. His unexpected warmth re-assured her almost as much as an arm around her shoulders.
She sat back and listened to the conversation at the table. All around her were people from work—Harry, the first AD; Ken, from production; Lara, and Tony, from wardrobe. Tina and Jeremy, John’s costars, had joined them as well. She crossed her fingers and joined in.
The waitress returned with their drinks and took their orders. Her ballpoint pen scratched across her pad as each person ordered a personal pizza, but changed the sauce, type of crust, and combination of toppings.
When the waitress turned to her, Valerie ordered a mushroom pie and a house salad.
The waitress paused, expectantly. As the silence continued, she raised an overly tweezed eyebrow.
“Is that it?”
“Yes,” Valerie answered.
“Are you sure?”
Valerie furrowed her brow. “Of course.” With a shake of her head, the waitress turned to John. She asked for his autograph and after he scrawled his name across a napkin, gave her his order, also simple but large—two personal pepperoni pizzas. During the course of the evening, John kept an eye on Valerie, made sure her drink never ran out, and that she par-tic pated in the conversation. When talk turned to something unfamiliar, he filled her in.
When they finally left, the muggy night air wrapped around Valerie like a cocoon and muffled the smells and sounds from inside. She stretched her spine and threw her shoulders back as she inhaled deeply for the first time all evening. John fell into step next to her and offered to walk her back to her car.
“Are you sure you don’t mind?” she asked, as they crossed the street.
“No one should walk by themselves at night.”
“Thanks, that’s really nice of you.” Although they walked next to each other, John left plenty of space between them. In spite of that, his size made her feel smaller than her five foot six frame. He didn’t intimidate her, and she peered sideways at him as she considered her lack of fear. Maybe because of the physical distance he maintained around her—he couldn’t hurt her if he were far away—or maybe his manners and the careful way he spoke put her at ease. Whatever the reason, she felt as comfortable walking with him as she would have with Michelle.
“Here’s my car.” She pointed to a blue Honda Civic parked under a lamp. “Thanks again for walking me out.”
“See you tomorrow.” He waited, hands deep in his pockets, feet spread apart, while she started the engine. He watched her wave and pull away. Something about her intrigued him—more than just her mysterious nerves or her simple pizza order, although those things contributed to it. She didn’t behave like the typical LA actor crowd who usually surrounded him. Her vulnerability aroused his protective nature. Not that she’d asked for his protection. She’d never ask him to take care of her, no one would. But still...
When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).
One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary) and five years later, I’ve gotten two book contracts from Whiskey Creek Press. A Heart of Little Faith came out in June; Skin Deep is coming out in November.
In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board, train the dog we adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.
When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I’d do things differently.
I can be reached at http://www.jenniferwilck.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wilck/201342863240160. My blog (Fried Oreos) is http://www.jenniferwilck.wordpress.com/ and I contribute to Heroines With Hearts at http://www.heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com/. My books can be purchased through Whiskey Creek Press http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/ or via Amazon and Barnes Nobel.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Quick update: I had a book come out yesterday. It's m/f (Katie Blu) and HERE. I have a book coming out next week. It's m/m (Mia Watts) and will be HERE. You can read about it HERE. I have another two books coming out in December. It's been a productive couple of months!
And on to the blog post:
I feel like I'm branching into new territory. Sure there was the recent introduction of Katie back into the publishing world and linking my two pen names together, but there's more. I'm getting back to my roots a little with some Regency stuff. I threw in shape-shifters, true, but it's been fun to spread my wings a little. I'd like to be done with menage books. They take a lot out of me and I'm not comfortable writing them. Mostly because they're HARD! And I don't mean that in a "Wow, look at the raging cocks," kind of way.
I've been asked to consider sci-fi. I might do it. But I'm not a sci-fi junkie. I have very tip-of-the-toe interest in the possibilities of sci-fi, added to a plot. Can there be a book like that? Like the sci-fi is background to the same issues we deal with today? Where space travel and aliens aren't the forerunner of the plot, but setting placers?
Regency can be Regency set (following the rules but not swamped with historical data). In the fairy books I wrote, the siblings are half fairy but that's not the story. They have abilities that get fucked up at the worst possible moments, but it adds to their character and growth. It's not the end all be all of who they are. Can sci-fi be like that? Like "time to hop into my air-runner so I'm not late for school. Better grab a Meal-mint on the way because I haz teh hunger." and then Jr lurves Unrelated-Jr.ette from Chem class, but she's too into the teacher? (except I'm not a Young Adult writer, so that couldn't be my plot idea.)
I think I'm going to try.
Also, totally related, but I'm not gonna share way it is, because it's soooo a plot in a book I'm writing: Never ever lose sight of your audience. Insulting the bad acting of a sci-fi movie personality is sometimes discovered by the actor. *blush*
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
So yes this is late, but as usual I have a great excuse filled with lots of adjectives and brillant words. However I'll save the fun stuff for a dull day. Reality is I'm up to my cute nostrils in NaNoWriMo and sinking fast. I love writing 50K in a month, but it honestly leaves no room for anything else. Since I'm such an amazing, wonderful, thoughtful and modest kinda gal I'm inserting some pics to keep you entertained this week :)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Admittedly, this holiday is my very favorite of the whole year but it kinda sneaked up on me this year. Maybe it was the whole I'm-going-to-be-crazy-and-remodel thing I had going on. That whole business, fortunately, is winding down a bit. The new bathroom is finished and absolutely beautiful. Yesterday, I went out and bought new, fluffy white towels and some small decorative things and it's DONE, DONE, DONE. Today an army of painters will arrive to hang cabinets and install drawers in the new kitchen. Granted the kitchen isn't totally there yet because I still need to install new granite countertops but that will have to wait until the holidays are over. My teeny brain just can't handle much more.
So I'll spend the rest of the week getting things back in order and making my Thanksgiving grocery list. I've been cooking this meal, the very same one, for my family for years and years now so I've become an 'old hand' at this. Some of the recipes have been passed down through generations and they are favorites on Thanksgiving Day. On Sunday, I went out and picked up the turkeys. Yes, turkeys! As in more than one.Mr. Regina smokes three huge turkey breasts every Thanksgiving and I do the rest. I'll start this coming weekend by fixing cornbread for my dressing/stuffing. I always do this in advance, add celery and onion and bag it all up and keep in the fridge until ready to assemble on Thanksgiving morning. I'll spend Tuesday and Wednesday baking pies, cakes and putting together other dishes that can be prepared in advance. My daughter and son are coming in with their boyfriend/girlfriend and I expect the kitchen to be rockin' and rollin' because everyone likes to help. Sounds like I need to crank up some tunes for the event and break out the wine. Bring it on! I'm ready!
Do you have any particular dishes you ALWAYS without fail prepare for this holiday? Any family traditions?
Friday, November 11, 2011
I'm late posting this week and I missed last week entirely. My brain's turned to mush lately and I haven't had much to talk about that doesn't revolve around writing, deadlines, new books, word counts, NaNo...yeah, you get the point. The perennial light at the end of the tunnel isn't shining yet as I just received edits on one book today and have a deadline on another I need to finish within a week. Oh, and I just finished a novella this week and had a new release last week.
So here are my random Friday thoughts, without any rhyme or reason. Hopefully by next week I'll be a little more coherent.
1) I think I have a Starbucks addiction. Seriously, the amount I spend there is staggering. With rare exceptions, food doesn't excite me that much. But give me a Pumpkin Spice latte and...PURRR. This morning I had an Eggnog latte. I think I'm kinda burned out on eggnog but it was still pretty good.
2) Christmas music this early in the season...love it or hate it? I'll admit I've already got my radio tuned to the Christmas channel. It makes me happy and feels festive and fun. And though I know a lot of people don't like the longer Christmas season, I think it's too short to begin with. If I'm going to decorate and enjoy myself, why not stretch it out? Plus my birthday's a couple weeks before Christmas and I think I'm doubly lucky to celebrate during such a great time of year. (And yep, I also begin decorating for Halloween in August.)
3) This morning I received a note from a new editor who said she was blown away by my writing. After breakfast I received a review that basically disliked every aspect of another one of my books. So goes the writing life.
4) It's Friday. Woohoo!
5) Oh yeah, Hot Text released last week from Ellora's Cave. It's a m/f contemporary about two people who instantly hit it off under sort of strange circumstances. It's sexy and short and involves naked painting. Need I say more? Here's the link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-
That's it for me this week. What are you up to? Do you like Christmas music this early - or at all? What's your favorite flavor latte? Did something good happen to you this week?
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Yes, it's me again but this time I'm popping in for Mia who is currently in 'blogger hell'. Something is up today and, after tearing her hair out a bit this morning, she wrote to say she's having 'issues". Hopefully Mia will hunt down those nasty gremlins and take 'em DOWN.
Anyway, look for her back here next week everyone!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
You ever get the feeling there's a small storm cloud trailing after you? That's pretty much what it feels like for me this past month. Nothing in my writing life that I can power through no matter what. Nope what has me cringing every time the phone or doorbell rings is...well pretty much everything else. I changed phone, Internet & TV companies after researching it for DAYS. I thought I got the best deal out there. The TV goes out within 30 minutes of the service guy leaving, the Internet is hit or miss for two weeks & the phone doesn't reach half the distance it used to. The bill comes in and BAM I got screwed over without even getting dinner first. OUCH! Don't ask the memory is still painful. Moving on...to yesterday. New alarm system is installed again with vast amounts of research. Today the damn thing won't stop beeping, screaming, & driving me to the brink of what's left of my sanity. Yes, I know what a short trip it is. I took a screwdriver to the mainbox & silenced the bastard! And WON the battle of the battery.
So forgive me for a small, cranky post. I'm short on sleep, patience and liquor. Instead I ask you to help me say goodbye to my Club Botticelli ladies! Yes, Romancing Recee is out and she's the final chapter in the crazy series that brought me thoughts of laughs and great memories!!! Thank you, everyone, who helped make this series such a wonderful success!
Book five in the Club Botticelli Series
Love is never easy between two people determined to avoid heartbreak.
Experience has taught Recee Williams that love causes nothing but pain. Her past has proven her right time and again. She’s content to live her life alone with no one but her friends. They may be close to the legal line of insanity, but they’re her true family.
Garen’s interest in the most lethal and unstable member of Club B’s owners is nothing but foolish. Knowing that doesn't stop him from rushing to her 'rescue' when an ex threatens Recee’s life. But Recee is more than capable of taking care of herself.
After one night together Garen knows he’ll never be able to let this prickly woman go, but he'll need more than charm and great talent between the sheets.
Somehow Garen needs to find the perfect way to start Romancing Recee.
Reader Advisory: This book contains heavy doses of sarcasm, hot sex against walls, on floors and a dual kidnapping that leads to explosive results.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Have no clue what demon possessed me! Yes, I started a major remodel right before Thanksgiving and I deserve to be SHOT. Yes, SHOT! Now before you say...awww, no, Reg, it's okay. You are totally sane...let me admit here and now that I've done this before. A few years ago we had that icky popcorn junk scraped from our ceilings. Oh yeah...a mess. I told the painters then that I fully expected they would be here for Thanksgiving Dinner and they laughed at me. Of course, I was serious! In the end, all was done on time and the painters ended up having dinner with their own families. I swore to myself then, that I'd never do this again.
Fast forward to now! GAHHHHH. Every bit of kitchen junk is currently occupying space in the dining room and living room (and some stuff is on the floor). We've had sandwiches for the past few nights and figure I'll be running out for fast food (which is almost always fattening as hell and unhealthy to boot) tonight. My daughter's bathroom is also in a state of disrepair but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with this tedious job. Finally! This explains why I'm late, late, late in blogging today. So far this morning, electricians and painters have arrived and tomorrow the wallpaper lady and again...the painters. Friday is the plumber. While those folks are hanging out at my place, I'm running back and forth to Lowe's where I'm making friends with the sales staff. They love me there!
Yes, I know, in the end, everything will be beautiful so I'll quit bitching now. Eventually everything will be shining and sparkly and new. Think I can take a nap after that? I WISH. Nope, I'm looking the holiday season dead in the eye. Pass the whiskey and say a little prayer for me.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Let’s start with MUSINGS.
You know how news articles on the Internet have comment sections, right? Right. Well, I like to read those comments because I guess I just like getting pissed off. Keeps the brain firing on all cylinders. LOL
So this morning I was reading the article about the former Penn State assistant coach who has been charged with child sex abuse. It seems that someone allegedly saw an incident between this former assistant coach and a boy about ten years old in a locker room facility at the college.
Now the guy was no longer working there, he’d retired, but had access to the buildings or something like that. So the person who saw this supposedly reported it to the head coach. And this is what I’m wondering about. The head coach then turned it over to the athletic director. Now I know all about chain of command and damage control, etc. Penn State is a big place and has a reputation to protect.
But now the athletic director and another guy have had to step down from their positions because they have been charged with perjury to a grand jury. Uh huh….so why didn’t the head coach report the situation to the police? Did his responsibility as a citizen of the world end when he reported it to the athletic director? Evidently, if these allegations are indeed true, nothing was done other than to ban the former assistant coach from bringing young boys on campus.
Like I said, I understand chain of command and damage control. I even understand the need to simply NOT want to get involved. But at some point in time you gotta have a freaking backbone, too!
I’ve been offline a few days due to family illness. So I missed the big hoopla with regard to the m/m writer who is really a woman but telling everyone she’s a gay man. What’s your take on all that? Do you care? Everyone knows there are male writers out there writing with female pen names. Some of us even know who a few of them are. So why is it such a big deal with this author?
Is it because this is something happening in the m/m writing community? Is it the community of gay men writing as gay men who are up in the air? Or is it the fans? Does it go deeper?
Online relationships are tricky things for sure. You never know who you are talking to. And this is a bright, shining example of just that. Did the author go too far by letting someone pose for her at a book signing? Did the author go too far by developing a complete gay male persona and using it online as a way to cultivate relationships with readers? What say YOU?
Backbone, people. Let’s all get some.
And now it’s time for OVERHEARD.
I’m standing in line at a grocery store and there is a group of young dudes ahead of me. I’d say they were in their early to mid-twenties. Nice looking guys. I was admiring their butts when I heard one dude say:
“So what are you up to tonight, man?”
The other dude replied: “I don’t know. Only here for the weekend.”
Dude One: “Hey you should meet us and we’ll go raise some hell!”
Dude Two: “Shit. Go to some bar and get wasted while I’m trying to get some slut wasted so she’ll fuck me? No thanks. Much easier to just get a hooker and lay up for the weekend. No games. I like that.”
Dude One: “I hear ya.”
UH? UH? UH? HUH?
What the hell do you say to that? LOL
Backbone. I needed one at that moment. But what good would it have done me? I'm not sure how I feel about what he said. It just felt odd. Maybe true...but odd. LOL
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The truth is reviews aren't as honest as they should be or could be, the good and the bad. Should I be spilling these secrets...eh probably not.
Most of you, at least those not cozy under a rock somewhere, know there's a new series out there called Toys-4-Us. Here's the good stuff you didn't know. We debated endlessly if we should ask you, our readers & friends, to post reviews. My answer was...ummmm no? Before you start throwing the royal treasury and wondering why I've been allowed to live here's why.
There are secret & not so secret author loops out there. Published writers like to talk to one another because hey who else understands the voices in your head? A big discussion on one of the private loops was all about reader reviews. Now I don't generally pay attention to things like this. Opinions are like...well ya know & everyone's got one. It's the same way with reviews. Everyone has their own slant on a book which is how it should be. But what most of these writers were complaining about were the 'fake' reviews left by so called readers. Now I don't know if these were real readers (is there a test or something), but apparently a few authors were bribing for 5 star reviews. Offering free books, signed trading cards or other fun promo stuff. Huh, you people can be bribed with this stuff? You mean I've been giving it away for nothing, but sheer adulation and worship? Huh, oh well at least we have fun :)
We all know I'm not above a good bribe now and then especially if it involves my guards :) Whew, got to love well-build men with talented-um never mind! So as I was saying bribes are not necessarily bad things, but when used to mislead others yeah not so good.
Reviews I've had good ones and I've had others asking me why I keep killing poor trees to print my muddled crap. You blow one off & make sure not to allow the other to explode your ego. Many a good writer has fallen into their own hype & never to be seen from again. I, however, will never have that problem as I have the Royal House of Bitches! As the name implies these fascinating and slightly unhinged women keep me on my toes, my fingers typing and my ego way way in check. I'm never in danger of falling into my own hype. Drowning in chocolate wine-yes, but nothing else.
Again you're asking yourself WTF is she rambling on now? There is a point, my loyal frog killers, the point is reviews do not make or break a writer or at least they shouldn't. Writers write simply because they must. Throwing a paycheck in is simply a big bonus & keeps a few less crazy talking to themselves people off the street. Never let one person's opinion define or break you.
If a book makes you feel emotion strongly shoot an e-mail to the author. Or if you really loved a certain book and want to share your love with the world then by all means hit Amazon & do the review thing. But please never let one person's viewpoint change your mind about a book. Remember the old adage...Never judge a book by it's cover. So I'm changing that one up to say...Never judge a book by it's one review!
So happy hump day, everyone! Go forth & read! Until next week...
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Well, I have to say it has been a helluva journey but the Toys4Us series is available today. It all began with a real sex toys party, a couple dozen bottles of chocolate wine and a group of crazy, fun friends and now, today, we're looking at the results of that one insane weekend and a friendship that seems to grow stronger with each day that passes. Our ages, backgrounds, etc don't matter a bit because, yes, we simply adore each other. The Sassy Seven, as we've come to call ourselves, are already tossing around ideas for another joint venture...will let you know details soon.
But for now, we're just basking in the moment as our seven books hit the cyber shelves today. As of now, you can find all the stories at Smashwords, Kindle and All Romance E-Books. If you check out the Toys 4 Us blog, we've provided some purchase links so I hope everyone will head over and pick these up!
In addition to hitting the shelves today we are doing a Book A Day Giveaway at The Romance Studio. What could be better than winning a copy of one of these stories?
Also, you might want to check out our gorgeous website. I have to say that Nicole Austin goes some kickass stuff and she not only did all the ultra hot covers but built the website and blog, too. YAY, Nic!
Here is the link to our website, where you can learn more about the Sassy Seven and the Toys 4 Us series. We are having a contest, too, where we'll give away a Kindle Fire. While over at the site, please check that out and get entered!
In other news: We've bought a lake house! Mr. Reg headed out this morning to spend a few days and I'll be joining him tomorrow. GAH. The place is pretty much empty at the moment but I've been on a 'furniture buying' spree lately. I suspect that while we are there enjoying this beautiful new place, I'll be making list after list of things we need. Will post pics when things start coming together.