Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Blog Hop

I absolutely love New Year's. Not the partying of New Year's Eve, but instead the day after, the first of the calendar year, the day that marks the beginning of whatever you want it to be. Anything can happen. The slate is completely clean. Beginnings are like a breath of fresh air.

I don't do resolutions, however. Anything important shouldn't be put off until the first of the year, and frankly, if I'm not committed to trying something in September, for instance, I can be pretty sure I won't be any more committed in January.

But that notion of starting over? Oh yeah. Maybe it's a holdover from when I was a child and do-overs were so popular. It's another reason why I'm so fond of reunion stories. People get a second chance, the opportunity to do it over and fix what went wrong the first time. I've written a fair few of them, and there are more on my horizon.

My most recent release is a reunion story of another type. Set in the San Francisco area over a century in the future, A Soul Remembered is about Adam Silver, a young man who's on the hunt for the love of his life. The thing is, it's not the love of his current life. Adam is looking for the soul of the husband he lost over a hundred years ago, the man he hoped to save by developing a chip technology that preserves all the brain activity of its host. When he manages to find him again, in the burly form of Dr. David Bogart, he has two different obstacles to overcome.

First, there's the fact that Bogart doesn't remember anything, a design of the chip technology Adam planned for. The second is how everybody connected to Bogart ends up dead, so much so that he's earned the nickname of "Dr. Death" with the media. Can he trust the man his love has become?

More importantly, can he survive the curse that seems to follow Bogart around?

You can read an excerpt at Amber Allure.

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How do you feel about reunion stories? Leave a comment, and on January 5, I'll pick two random entries for prizes:

1. A $20 Amazon gift certificate
2. A 4 GB Swarovski USB drive (available for US addresses only)


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Don't forget to keep on clicking through the blog hop! Lots of great authors are involved, with a ton of prizes. Have fun!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Coming Soon

I've taken time off over the holiday, but I'll be back on New Year's Eve for real for the new Happily Ever Afters blog hop. Make sure you stop on by!


Monday, December 22, 2014

New Release - A Soul Remembered

Yesterday, my long novella in the A Cure For What Ails You pax came out, woo hoo! The pax is hospital-themed, and my contribution is a futuristic story about souls being reunited. It's called A Soul Remembered. Here's the blurb:

The Reborn project began out of the desperate need to keep a dying man alive. It turned into a century-long hunt for his soul.

Until everything changes one fateful night in a Bayside alley.

Bleeding out from an unexpected attack, prostitute Adam Silver is convinced he’s going to die again without finding the man he’s been looking for since his very first death over a hundred years ago. He gets lucky. Rescue comes in the form of Dr. David Bogart and his friends who happen to be in the area, but it’s in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that Adam sees the birthmark he created to designate the reincarnation of his long lost love. For the first time in years, he feels hope.

But it turns out, finding Bogart was the easy part. Staying alive as he fights to help the man the media has dubbed “Dr. Death” is a hell of a lot harder...

I will be blogging about it over at the pax blog on Christmas Day, but in the meantime, you can check out an excerpt at the publisher site, or head over to the pax and start commenting on other stories in the pax collection for a chance to win all five stories.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Soul Remembered at the Amber Pax blog today

In anticipation of my newest story coming out this weekend at Amber Allure, there's a blurb and excerpt up over at the Amber Pax blog today. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sale on Menages at Amber Quill

For the next three days, all menages are on sale at Amber Quill for 50% off! There are over 130 titles available in the sale, including some of my solo titles and a number of Jamie Craig books:




Check it out!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Officially teenagers

My son turned thirteen yesterday. I am officially the mother of two teenagers. As proud as I am of the people they're growing into, it makes me sad to lose my babies. And feel a wee bit old, if I'm being completely honest.

It's one reason why I always love this time of year. Growing up, Christmas was more than presents. It was about family. It was the one time of the year I was guaranteed to see all my cousins, aunts and uncles, in one place for more than a couple hours. It's about sitting down and playing games, laughing and chatting with each other, curling up under blankets because my uncle always turned the heat down at night, even getting snow down the back of my neck when the boys would be overzealous with snowball fights.

We don't really get a lot of that here in California so I have to make the most of what I have. I try to put work on the back burner (which is funny this year because I have a story coming out in this weekend's Amber Allure pax release day and my author day is on Christmas) and spend as much time with them as possible.

My son's birthday is a reminder not to waste that time. He won't be a child forever. In a few years, he'll be off to college, and I'll be missing yelling for him three times because he's wearing headphones while he plays videogames.

But in my heart, he'll always be my baby.

Friday, December 12, 2014

EPIC eBook Award Finalist!

Woo hoo! Earlier this week, I found out that my paranormal menage, Enthralled in Silver, is a finalist for Best Erotica for the 2015 EPIC eBook Awards! I'm over the moon, especially because I love this story so much. I really do think it's one of the hottest stories I've written, and I love these characters to pieces.

To see the full list of finalists, in categories ranging from children's to sci-fi romance, check it out at EPIC's website. There are a ton of great writers, so you just might find a new to you author to try!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

More about music

Since I talked about all the musicals I have on CD just a couple days ago, I thought I'd talk about some of my favorite non-musical CDs today. I don't tend to play music in the house. I turn the TV on for noise. These days, most of my music listening happens in the car, and I rotate CDs out consistently. I'm kind of old-fashioned in that I just don't download songs. I don't listen to music on portable devices, so it seems like a waste. Plus, some of my favorite songs of all time were never released as singles. If I hadn't purchased the whole album, I never would've discovered them.

So while I have some current favorites - A Great Big World, John Newman, Lorde - they haven't been around nearly long enough to entrench themselves as all-time favorites. So when I pick my top three, they're all older.

1. Nothing Like the Sun by Sting: I LOVE Sting. I have loved Sting since I was in junior high and I was a huge Police fan. "Dream of the Blue Turtles" was the second album I bought with my own money when I was in high school. It's not on this list because his second album was just so much better. The pop songs are still there - "Englishman in New York" is impossible not to bop along to - but then there's sheer beauty like his cover of "Little Wing" and the moody "Sister Moon." I've seen him live more than any other artist, and he never fails to move me.

2. Bigger, Better, Faster, More! by 4 Non Blondes: I'm going to bet a lot of people have never heard of 4 Non Blondes unless they're a fan of Linda Perry. They were a girl rock band in the early 90s and only did a single album before Perry left the group. But I have probably listened to that album more than any other non-musical album I own. There's a bluesy, rock sound to most of their songs that just crawls under your skin. Add in Perry's raw voice, and oh god, it's a drug. The songs are poetry with an edge. "What's Up" was the only song to hit the charts, and it's great, don't get me wrong, but "Dear Mr. President" is some powerful stuff, and "Spaceman" is amazing. I followed Perry's career closely after that, and for those who don't think they know her, she's achieved most of her fame songwriting. She did Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" for instance. And in recent years, she married Sara Gilbert. And yet, I will always remember her for this gorgeous album.

3. The Cost by The Frames: I discovered The Frames after the movie Once, which made me fall in love with Glen Hansard. I own a ton of his music because of that movie, whether it's his band from before the movie or The Swell Season, which was his duo with Marketa Irglova. I got to see him and Marketa perform at a club in Salt Lake City a few years ago, and it was absolutely amazing. But this Frames album is probably my favorite of his outside of the Once soundtrack. I'm cheating slightly because it has "Falling Slowly" on it, which is probably in my top 10 songs of all time, but it has so much more. This one is more stripped down than a lot of their other work, which might be one reason why I love it so much. Glen and his guitar seem to be enough for me most of the time. His tone is both haunting and uplifting, displaying such vulnerability at times that it makes me ache. This whole album is like a quiet storm that just sneaks up on you. Spellbinding.

I think if I have a common theme on my music tastes...it's storytelling. I fall in love with songs that tell stories. In hindsight, that's not very surprising, now is it?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Special sale at Amber Allure

Today only at Amber Allure, all nostalgic contemporaries are on sale for 50% off! That includes a number of Jamie Craig titles as well as one of mine.

Check out these and more!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas and musicals

This past weekend, we got our Christmas decorations up, which generated a lot of talk about what our holiday is going to entail this year. See, my family is scattered throughout the US. Getting together at holidays doesn't happen. My husband's family is in the UK. His parents came to spend Christmas with us every year after we moved to CA in 2004, but when my mother-in-law passed away in 2012, things changed a bit. This year, my father-in-law is staying home, which means it's just the four of us to celebrate the day. For the first time ever, we're considering going to see a movie on Christmas Day. What could compel us to do that? Into the Woods.

It's not just me. My kids know the music back to front. I've taken them to see it live. I'm proud of the fact that I've passed along my love of musical theater to them.

Of course, it helps that I have a ton of soundtracks, some from more than one production. The one nearest to my heart is Les Miserables. It was the very first professional musical I saw live. It was spring break of 1988. I was a freshman in college, and I spent ten days in New York City. In that time period, I saw John Malkovich and Joan Allen in Burn This, Kiri Te Kenawa in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Met, and Les Miserables on Broadway. All three were once in a lifetime experiences, but it was Les Miz that tore me apart. We had cheap student seats. For less than $20, we had a seat in the last two rows in the very top and back of the theater, but from that vantage, I got to see the full effect of the choreography. The voices carried all the way to us without fail, and as someone who didn't know the story (I read the book afterward), it was heart wrenching. What young girl hasn't felt like Eponine at some point in her lives? I was ready to join in the revolution myself. It was just the first time for me. I've seen it in four major American cities, in London, and it is the one show I own in the most incarnations. I have the original London cast, the original Broadway cast, the complete symphonic, and the 10th anniversary all on CD. I also own the 25th anniversary on DVD. So...yeah. That one's my favorite.

There is no way I can list all the individual shows I own. I probably own most of Stephen Sondheim's work. As much as I love Les Miz, the original Broadway cast performing the first act of Sunday in the Park of George might be as close to perfect theater as I have ever seen/heard. I mean, come on. Mandy Patinkin in one of his greatest roles. A heartbreaking Bernadette Peters. An incredible supporting cast that includes Charles Kimbrough, Dana Ivey, Brent Spiner, and Robert Westenberg. Its commentary on the creative process as well as how brilliantly it mirrored pointillism in the score is masterful to say the least.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed about Into the Woods. I ended up being disappointed by the screen adaptation of Les Miz, so I was holding out on getting excited. Then the trailers started popping up, and it looks and sounds great.

I just have to work out my issue with spending Christmas afternoon sitting in a theater.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Cover - Against a Wounded Landscape

That was fast! I already have the cover art for January release, "Against a Wounded Landscape."

That's Sir Tanash, the knight in my fantasy story. He sets off to rescue the kidnapped son of his king in an attempt to help bring prosperity back to the kingdom and discovers a lot more than he expected.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Remember this week

Some weeks, you just want to turn your back on and forget. I won't be able to do it with this week, if only because part of what I wish I could block from memory were headlines that both sadden and infuriate me - the news about Eric Garner and the religious freedom act in Michigan making it out of the House and on its way to the State Senate. The only way to make change happen so that everyone is treated equally in a public place is to remember the steps that took us backward and fight against them.

I won't argue about it here. I'll just say that legalizing openly discriminatory acts - which if you refuse public service to someone absolutely is - is narrow-minded, and nobody will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Perhaps I assume the worst in people in believing legislation like this would totally be abused, or that those same people who demand to treat people with hate would show outrage if the same behavior came from an opposing religious belief, but I've seen both firsthand. It only takes one or two extremists to sully an entire group. 

So I won't forget about this week. I'll just do my best to teach my children to treat everyone with the same respect and grace. Intolerance is a learned behavior. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

New Contract - Against a Wounded Landscape

I just signed a new contract for a fantasy novella at Amber Allure! It's called Against a Wounded Landscape, and it's part of the knights pax that will come out in January. Here's the blurb:

Sir Tanash, the greatest knight Tasora has ever known, has one quest—to rescue his king’s only son. Fifteen years ago, Princy Liseny was kidnapped, and in the time since, Tasora has crumbled. By bringing the prince home, Tanash hopes to return the kingdom to its former glory.

As captive in a rival land, Liseny has spent most of his life locked away from the world, brought out as the ultimate prize while his real home is slowly destroyed. Escape is a godsend. So is Tanash, but neither is as simple as Liseny hopes. He has to learn to adjust in more ways than one. Though Tanash refuses to act on their mutual attraction, he does agree to help Liseny seek out an alliance to take back to Tasora.

What he doesn’t expect is to fall for the young prince along the way…

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The rose of Sons of Anarchy

I've been a fan of Sons of Anarchy almost from the beginning, coaxing friends to watch then later begging them not to because it'd wreck them. For the first few seasons, I mainlined it. I let all the shows stack up on the DVR so I could watch them while the kids were in school the last week before Christmas break. I couldn't watch it while they were home, after all. They were too young to be exposed to just how violent the show is.

That changed in season 5. I got spoiled for a major character death on Twitter, by the actor himself, so from midway through, all the way through last night's episode, I've watched it as it aired.

I'm going to talk about last night's episode now. If you haven't watched it and don't want to be spoiled, turn back now.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

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Holy. Crap.

I knew Gemma would have to pay for her lies sooner or later. But I've been firmly in the Nero camp in the hopes that Jax wouldn't take that step. Nero's line to Unser, "It's about saving Jax," killed me, one of numerous moments that make last night's episode so fantastic. At this point, I'm waiting in dread for the series finale next week, because I'm so terrified it's all going to end so horribly tragic for Jax. It's going to totally break my heart.

But man, so many amazing moments. My top 3:

1. Unser's death. Unser was the one person I'd thought would walk away from all this intact, as a kind of irony that the guy with terminal cancer outlives them all. Shooting Unser was my biggest gasp of the night, even more so than Gemma, since I always knew Gemma's death was a distinct possibility.
2. After months (maybe years) of hating Gemma, the scene between her and her father at the home made me cry. Hal Holbrook was just one of many scene stealers of the night.
3. The dignity in Juice's last moments. Juice has been living on borrowed time for a couple of seasons now, but his devotion to the club to the end was heartwrenching.

The questions for next week are still huge. What's the deal with Jax's limp? Is that part of a scheme for the club to think there's a reason if he ends up driving J.T.'s bike to his death? Will Nero somehow save him? What the hell was Nero's big deal about looking in the garage if not to find a way to save Jax? What was the deal Jax made with the presidents (I think it's about being all-inclusive after he's gone)?

This is going to be one very long week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The science in your fiction

Last night, I was reading up on NASA's upcoming spacecraft launch for the Orion, and while the article was interesting, what was more intriguing were the comments. It devolved into how science fiction really screwed up the space program because of layman expectations.

Now, I'll be the first to admit science is not one of my favorite subjects. I did well in it in school, but it's not something I pursued in my own free time. But I live in a house of scientists. My husband designs computer software and worked for Marconi before coming to the US in 1997. My fourteen-year-old daughter has been planning in going into some form of robotics since she was nine. My twelve-year-son has been all about how things work since he could put blocks together. And don't get me started on how this household appreciates what Neil deGrasse Tyson has done to try and inspire people with science. These are people who take their science very seriously. They are all invested in seeing organizations like NASA thrive, and yet, few in my regular circle were even aware that the Orion project was still alive. One friend even thought NASA had been closed down. That's how bad the current PR for them really is.

But is there some merit to the argument that science fiction has distorted what we expect in our space exploration? A little bit, yeah. There are legitimate problems that get overlooked when writing about space flight. It's worked the other way, of course. Gene Roddenberry and the world of Star Trek is an excellent example. Where do we draw the line in the sand? How creative can we actually be when we're telling our stories? Supposedly, genre fiction is all about the escape. Mundane details need not apply.

Or should they? If you're reading sci-fi romance, it has to be for a legitimate reason. Isn't science a part of that? Realism gives genre the verisimilitude it needs. Where's the balance?

Monday, December 1, 2014

A brand new month

I am emerging from my Thanksgiving cave, though not without stress. Too much stuff to do that's not holiday related, but at least I have time to myself again to tackle it all and a house that's been recovered from all our company.

Thanksgiving itself went great. We had some real winners when it came to recipes this year. I made a slow cooker pumpkin cake for Wednesday night that turned out so good, and the pumpkin pecan cinnamon rolls I made for Thursday breakfast were divine with a couple tweaks (I do not understand this need to melt the butter that so many more modern cinnamon roll recipes use. The butter melts in the oven anyway, and when it's melted beforehand, it makes a real mess. Plus, the cream cheese icing on this was way too sweet so I cut back on the sugar and added more cream cheese to get it to our preferences.) One of our guests made a Bananas Foster bread pudding that I died over. I basically ignored all other desserts just to have that, lol.

But now it's back to the grind. I've got a new long novella coming out this month, a new contract on its way, and more stories to tell. Lots to accomplish before the next holiday is upon us!

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Cover Art - A Soul Remembered

I got the cover art for my December release over the weekend:

This is my story for the General Hospital pax at Amber Allure, a story set in a futuristic Bay Area about lovers reuniting. Reunions have been a big theme for me lately, with more still to come. I haven't quite figured out why.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mockingjay, Part 1

I went and saw the premiere of Mockingjay, Part 1 last night. If you want to remain unspoiled, don't read on.

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Ready?

When it comes to the books, Mockingjay is my least favorite of the trilogy. It's got nothing to do with the fact that it's bleakest - I love that it's not afraid to go to dark places - but that it's structurally the weakest of the three. It always felt like two different stories, and don't even get me started on how rushed the ending was (I love the author to death for her characterizations, but man, does she suck at endings).

So when they announced the book was getting split into two movies, I was thrilled. I didn't care that it was likely happening because of greed - Twilight and Harry Potter started the whole thing by making money this way - because it meant that if they were smart, they'd split the book up the way I thought it should've been in the first place.

Thank god I was right.

This movie is all about the construction of the mockingjay. Katniss is ever the reluctant hero, never more so than in the first half of Mockingjay. She's been broken by the second games, betrayed by the people she trusted the most, and thrust into the center of attention she loathes. That's where Jennifer Lawrence shines. This was probably the most emotionally resonant her character has been since the series started. It's only the prospect of saving Peeta that gets her to even consider agreeing to their plans for her, and thus the driving thrust of this movie is begun.

It's all about saving Peeta for her. Sure, there's the getting roused to anger by the reality of what Snow is doing to the districts, but ultimately, she is driven by her need to save Peeta. She failed to do that in the games and it haunts her, because she has always believed he deserved it more than anyone.

So while it's got its actiony moments, this is a much more somber, dramatic film than its predecessors. It succeeds in inciting the audience during the bombing of District 8 scenes - and the line I always felt was clunky in the book about if they burn, Snow burns, too is delivered with such conviction and pain by Lawrence that I was ready to follow her, too - but it also proves to resonate during the quiet moments, like the haunting Hanging Tree montage when she goes back to film in District 12.

One of the biggest changes from the book lies in Effie. She doesn't appear in the third book at all, but here, she's a political refugee brought in to be Katniss's stylist/escort while filming her propos. She provides confirmation of what happened to Cinna that we have to infer in the book, but more appropriately, she's a little bit of humorous light amidst the darkness (not to lose fact that she's also wonderful at the tragic bits).

Is it perfect? Definitely not. I always felt District 13 was a lot more claustrophobic than how it's portrayed in the film, and the tragedy of a broken Finnick is almost completely erased by keeping him in only a few scenes and jumping ahead past his problems. (He's still doing all his knots, though, which only served to remind me constantly of the missed opportunity there.) 

But it worked for me, and I think it's going to work for a lot of fans of the books (the audience erupted in applause when it was over). Just don't expect closure. The games aren't over yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

This is me today

Mockingjay, Part 1 opens tonight, so this is me today:


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Special Sale - Jamie Craig titles 50% off at Amber Quill

Through November 25, all Jamie Craig titles at Amber Quill are on a special sale - 50% off! That includes both m/m and het, as well as all the lengths.

So if you've ever wanted to check something out, now's the time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Past into the Future

The very first book I wrote, a 400-page western romance about a young girl who'd been rescued by William Bonney, was written on a machine that looked like this:

It was 1981. I was 12 years old, there wasn't an Internet for me to research Billy the Kid so most of what I picked up was basic information and I made up the rest, and the typewriter was a heavy, metal beast that my great-grandmother had used in college in the 1910s. The red and black ribbon was ancient and a little ragged, and the letter p tended to cut through the paper, but I loved it with all my heart. I got really good on it. By the time I took typing my freshman year of high school, I was typing 75 words a minute. I was faster than the teacher. That might've been one of my easiest As ever.

When computers came along, however, I was thrilled. No more ink on my fingers! No more white-out! No more wasted paper because I'd spent half a day writing a page that would now get cut! I can't say my productivity actually went up, but my efficiency sure did.

In the past fifteen years, however, I've started longing for a typewriter again. I love the way they look, and I love the way the keys feel under my fingertips. I'm so in love that I have been known to get a little shiver when I hear a bunch of them going all at once. It's my own little Mad Men porn.

You know what's funny? They're making a comeback. Some people never left them behind, but with all the security hacks in recent years, they're seen as unhackable. That's not actually true, but it's a matter of perspective. With digital publishing, it's not quite as viable as a way of streamlining work, but you know what? I'd get one. In a heartbeat. Maybe not this model, and maybe not for everything I produced, but I'd do it.

I still have that first novel, by the way. It's in a folder I've taped together twice over the years, tucked into the bottom of a box of keepsakes I can't bring myself to get rid of. It'll be one of those items my kids pull out after I die and wonder why I kept it. Then maybe they'll read it. Well, my daughter might. My son would reach the first kiss and walk out of the room. And I hope it makes her smile.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Call the Midwife

Netflix suggested Call the Midwife to me last weekend, so I caved and watched the first episode. I then stopped and ran to my husband to tell him, "You have to watch this show. You are going to love it."

So Friday night, he sat down with me to try it out. One episode became three. Saturday night, we watched four. Yesterday, we watched another two. We only stopped because he had to pack for the business trip he's on today and tomorrow.

We're both in love.

I know we're late, since there are three seasons already, but better late than never, right? My husband tends to be a sucker for period BBC drama (he LOVES Downton Abbey), especially when they have such real characters in them. We are both in love with Chummy, and he keeps complaining he needs more Sister Monica Joan. The detail is stunning, too. I've had to have my  husband explain a couple terms to me (for those who don't know, he's English), so that helps fill in a couple of the gaps, but otherwise, I'm utterly enthralled by the drama of these people.

Anyone else watch it?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Fun Sales at Amber Quill


Today and tomorrow, Amber Quill is putting all mystery titles on sale for 50% off, whether they're Amber Allure, Amber Heat, or Amber Quill ! That includes a number of my solo titles as well as Jamie Craig stories, including:






Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Today's Words of Wisdom

This is how I'm getting through my days recently:


Monday, November 10, 2014

$.99 Books at Amber Quill


Amber Quill has a new section for all you readers out there looking for a deal. Recently, they've started putting select backlist titles on sale for $.99. They change them out every few weeks, so if you don't see something now that catches your eye, make sure to check back every so often.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The New Into the Woods Trailer

Because the film version of Les Miserables disappointed me, I've been pretty jaded about the same thing happening to Into the Woods. I knew Meryl sings, but I kind of hated her in Mamma Mia, and I wasn't completely sold on some of the casting. And then this extended trailer came out yesterday. And now we're all pretty sure we're going to go see it on Christmas Day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

DNF Books

Like a lot of readers, my TBR pile is insane, and it seems to only get bigger as I get older. I used to be able to whip through a book a day, but with kids, that doesn't happen anymore. No more curling up in a corner for hours. Now, it's constant interruptions - "Mom, braid my hair!" or "Mom, can I get on the computer?" - not to mention all the added responsibilities that suck away my free time.

Another thing that's changed? I'm a lot less tolerant on pushing my way through books that aren't working for me. It used to be I'd read it no matter what. Someone invested time in the book, so I owed it to them to see it through. I don't think that anymore. My time is too limited to waste it on books that I can see early on are going to annoy/bore/trigger me. I usually give a book a couple chapters to really hook me, and if I'm on the fence, I'll push through.

But my DNF pile has more books in it than it ever did before. And I seem to have a hit a slew of them recently.

The most recent one was a title called "The Yummy Mummy." It got great reviews, it's British humorous women's fiction, and it uses new motherhood as a platform. It seemed like a perfect fit.

It wasn't. I gave up after four chapters. I hated the narrator. That's not an exaggeration. Where other readers seemed to either find her funny or could identify with her, I found her self-centeredness attitude toward her child and the way she treated her partner absolutely appalling. I'm all for unlikable narrators - hell, I've written a few - but then the story needs to compensate in other ways. This one didn't.

I give up on books for other reasons, too. For instance, too many mistakes drives me absolutely bonkers. If I find more than a couple in the first chapter, forget it. It shows a lack of care for detail which I don't think is excusable.

So I'm curious. What makes you put a book down?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Last Chance for 50% off All My AQP Titles

Today is the last day to get all my titles at Amber Quill Press at 50% off, so if there's anything you wanted to try or that you missed, now's the time to run over there and pick it up!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Not Doing Nano

A lot of my friends are flying out the gate with their Nano projects. I'm cheering them on, but they don't have to worry about me. I don't do Nano. It's a rare month I don't get 50k written, so using that as a goal doesn't incentivize me.

Sticking to schedules incentivizes me.

I thrive on lists and consistency. The more consistent things are, the better I feel. Though I don't pay attention to a lot of reading books, there is one I always come back to. Stephen King's On Writing. And you know what one of his rules is?

Write every day.

So even though my life is chaotic with my kids, that's what I do. I work it in around their schedules, taking my laptop with me while I wait for them on school runs or at softball practices, making sure I take advantage of the hours they're out of the house for peace and quiet to get things done. Even on days where I seemingly have no free time or I'm exhausted, I sneak onto my computer and eke out a few hundred words.

Some words are better than no words. And it's amazing how those pile up.

So this month is like every other month for me, in all honesty. I'll add the words up and then start panicking about time management the closer we get to Thanksgiving. This month, I'm finishing up a cat shifter novel and a novella for a future pax collection, as well as working on stuff that's just for me. Am I going to hit that 50k? Oh yeah. That's my job, you see. Writing is what I do. If I didn't get the words out, they'd probably pile up inside of me until I exploded.

That wouldn't be pretty. Trust me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Special Sale - 50% off at Amber Quill

Through November 4, all of my ebooks at Amber Quill are on a special sale - 50% off! That includes both m/m and het, as well as all the lengths and recent releases.

So if you've ever wanted to check something out, now's the time!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Broken Fitz

While I started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last year with high hopes, I'm one of those that pretty much lost interest by halfway through the season. Most of the characters bored me, as did most of the storytelling. It was so bad, I still could never remember which one was Fitz and which one was Simmons by the time the season ended. Because my husband still watched it religiously, though, I caught occasional episodes of the second half of season one, and it meant I was watching when he saw the season two premiere.

I've watched it religiously every week since.

I still don't care for a lot of the characters. Sky bores me to tears, and I don't really care about Coulson's troubles. May is hit or miss, and Ward was infinitely more interesting as a bad guy.

BUT.

Then there's Fitz.
I have to admit, I didn't pay that much attention to the way season one ended. I knew he'd told Simmons he loved her, but nothing much beyond that. So when this season started, and he was so *broken*, my heart broke with him. I've been watching this season because of him pretty much, because Iain De Caestecker is doing an amazing job. I even broke one of my own rules about spoilers to watch a tiny snippet of a scene with him and Simmons from tonight's episode, because I was so desperate to get anything on him.

To say I'm shipping Fitz and Simmons now is an understatement. I have no idea what they're going to do with it, but man, I am definitely on this ride for the time being.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Still Time!

There is still time to donate for breast cancer research and receive the Shades of Pink II anthology as our thank you! Here's a taste of my story, "Pure Rose."

*_*_*

“So are we on for Friday?”

“I am.”

“Me, too.”

“I thought your office had that party on Friday night.”

Rose grimaced as Devilmaycare’s question distracted her from the fight on the screen, her thumbs flying over the controller to keep from dropping the gold she’d just won as the two-headed troll pulled a scythe out of nowhere and began hacking at her arms. “I told you, I’m not going.”

“Duck!”

“If I wasted that forget spell just to have you drop the gold—”

“You didn’t waste it!” Rose snapped. “I’ve got this!” Or she would, anyway, if everyone would just stop chirping in her ear so she could concentrate. These days, she only got two nights a week to get online and beat the crap out of things. It was supposed to be escapist and fun, not another bitch session for pointing out everything that was inadequate with Rose Meszaros. She would’ve been done with this battle already if it wasn’t for Devilmaycare distracting her. For that matter, why were they already discussing their next game date when the fight wasn’t even over yet?

At least they had the good sense to stay quiet while she switched out her pata for a battle axe. The ornamental sword was prettier and more precise, but right now she was more interested in as much immediate carnage as possible.

Cheers went up through the connection when one of the troll’s heads went flying. The second was off before the idiotic monster even had the chance to notice the first was gone.

“That’s how you do it,” Devilmaycare commented, noticeable admiration in his tone.

“Took her long enough,” Raygunnz sniped.

“I saved your damn gold, didn’t I?” Rose collapsed back onto her couch, the adrenaline seeping from her muscles now that the worst threat was gone. “Who let that troll through, anyway?”

“I think it was hiding in the armory,” LeanGen said. “So about Friday—”

“Why aren’t you going to the party?”

Rose sighed. This was the last thing she wanted to talk about, but Devilmaycare wouldn’t let it go until she gave him a reason to. “It’s Grease-themed.”

“So?”

“So? Costumes are required.”

“Dude, I’d love to go to a party like that,” LeanGen said. “Sandy was hot.”

Raygunnz snorted. “Rizzo was the hot one, idiot.”

“Rizzo was the easy one.”

“That doesn’t mean she wasn’t the hot one, too.”

“Just because Rizzo wasn’t afraid of taking what she wanted doesn’t mean she was easy,” Devilmaycare chimed in.

“It was in the fifties.”

“Why are we analyzing Grease characters instead of talking about Friday?” Rose said.

“Because you haven’t said what’s so bad about going to the party yet,” came Devilmaycare’s smooth response. “You love cosplay.”

“In the right environment.”

“What’s wrong about work?”

Before she could reply, distant shouts came through the online connection. “Hey, I gotta go,” LeanGen said. “My roommates are home. Someone send me a message about Friday, will you?”

He disappeared, as did his elf avatar on her TV screen.

“Looks like game over.” The cleric that Raygunnz played slipped his orb into his robe pocket. “Don’t forget to put the gold in the vault.”

With that, he was gone, too, leaving Rose alone with Devilmaycare.

Monday, October 20, 2014

New release - Placeless

Yesterday, the next story in the Bay Wolves Series came out. Placeless is the story of Keaton McGrath, one of the wolves that were rescued in Boundless, and how he struggles to find a home in San Francisco. It's part of the California Dreamin' pax, so if you head over to the Amber Pax blog this week, you can read how more about all five stories in the pax and have chances to win the collection for free!

Keaton McGrath had been a werewolf for only a few weeks when he was kidnapped and put into service for anyone willing to pay for his company. Now, a year later and rescued from that life, he’s trying to figure out how to be both human and wolf in a world that doesn’t want him. His only escapes are nightly runs, a chance to let loose the energy of the animal within, but when one of those runs ends with him finding a hurt girl in the park, he can’t control his wolf’s fury when he smells her attacker nearby.

Barely keeping himself from killing the man, Keaton calls 911, then leaves before he can get linked to the crime scene. His hopes to remain anonymous are dashed when Scotty Trumbauer, a local blogger and independent wolf activist, finds him out. Though Keaton’s warned that Scotty is bad news, the chemistry between them is too powerful to ignore, especially when Scotty leaps to defend him.

Keaton just wants to do the right thing without putting the people he cares about in danger. He has to learn, however, that a wolf is stronger when he’s not alone...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why I'm Missing GRL

A lot of my friends are going to be in Illinois this week for GRL. Though I had a blast when I went in 2012, it wasn't in the cards for me this year. I couldn't justify a major trip this week because I'm traveling next week instead.

My husband and I are renewing our wedding vows.

We've been married for 15 years, together for 17. When he proposed, we did the research about what we would have to do since he's British and was working in the US on a visa. The hurdles we had to jump for getting married in the US were astounding compared to what it would take to do the same thing in the UK. It was the difference of months and thousands of dollars. Ultimately, we chose to get married in the UK, which meant spending one day in New York City as we went to the embassy in the morning and applied for a fiancee visa ($500), then came back in the afternoon to pick it up. One day. And I had to move to the UK for us to be married within six months of issuing of the visa. Such a hardship.

I did have family fly over to the UK for the ceremony, so that was good. Not that it was hard to convince them to come to England when half of them were Anglophiles. But we'd always talked about doing something on American soil some point down the line, so on our Florida vacation last year, out of the blue, we both mentioned it at the same time.

Fast forward a year later, and it's happening.

Next week, we're flying to Las Vegas with our two kids, while my mom and my niece are flying in from North Carolina to join us. Our closest friends are trying to join us as well, but that's still unsure as of today. Then, on Saturday afternoon, on the stage of the Penn & Teller theater, Penn Jillette will officiate as we renew our wedding vows. To say I'm excited is an understatement. We wanted memories and a story to share for years to come, and I think that's exactly what we're getting. It's going to be insanely simple, because the theater is union and we didn't want to infringe or make any demands that would complicate using it, but it'll also be one of a kind.

That's worth missing GRL for this year, don't you think?

Monday, October 13, 2014

New contract - A Soul Remembered

I have a new contract, woo hoo! Recently, I finished the first story in a new sci-fi/futuristic series. The story is called A Soul Remembered and will come out in December as part of the General Hospital pax at Amber Allure. Here's the blurb:

The Reborn project began out of the desperate need to keep a dying man alive. It turned into a century-long hunt for his soul.

Until everything changed a single fateful night in a Bayside alley.

Bleeding out from an unexpected attack, prostitute Adam Silver is convinced he’s going to die again without finding the man he’s been looking for since his very first death over a hundred years ago. He gets lucky. Rescue comes in the form of Dr. David Bogart and his friends who happen to be in the area, but it’s in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that Adam sees the birthmark he created to designate the reincarnation of his long lost love. For the first time in years, he feels hope. 

But it turns out, finding Bogart was the easy part. Staying alive as he fights to help the man the media has dubbed “Dr. Death” is a hell of a lot harder…

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cosplay and Shades of Pink

Just in case you didn't see it over at Kallysten's last week, I'm reposting my blog about cosplay here. I'll also be doing another giveaway. This is part of my efforts to bring attention to Shades of Pink, Vol. Two, the charity anthology I contributed to in an attempt to raise money for breast cancer research. If you haven't done so already, please consider donating. There is no dollar amount (though $5 is suggested). Just whatever you're comfortable with. The anthology is our thank you gift to you for helping to fight this insidious disease.

* * *

I grew up thinking Halloween was the best holiday ever. It was more than the candy. It was the costumes. My uncle always put them together for me and my siblings, and I have to tell you, we were the hit of our rural community. One year, I went as a nun, which amongst my primarily Polish Catholic neighbors, was fantastic. Another year, my ten-year-old brother dressed up as Mama from the show Mama’s Family. I don’t even remember what we were that year. Nobody saw us. They were too busy paying attention to how fabulous my brother looked.
When I moved away to college, however, I discovered something terrible. I had not inherited my uncle’s wonderful creativity when it came to costumes. I grew to dislike anywhere I had to dress up because I had no idea what to be or how to put together the pieces of anything that looked remotely good. I stopped wearing costumes of any sort, though I secretly coveted every single wonderful get-up I saw on other people.

Having kids of my own forced me back into the costume game. It was easy when they were tiny. There are a million adorable costumes for small children. But then a miraculous thing happened.

I realized my daughter had inherited my uncle’s gift.

She loves cosplay. She could put together the most random items and come up with an insanely creative idea. It started to come together in a more cohesive way three years ago when she turned eleven. She was in love with Dr. Who and decided she wanted a themed costume that year. I thought she’d pick Ten. She’d been in love with David Tennant from the moment she saw him.

Nope. She went for the more challenging costume. She built a TARDIS. Not a clothing version. A five-foot box that she painted and rigged out with lights and sound effects.
This year, she’s trying something new. She wants to be Dancing Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. Complete with music and flowerpot. We’ve been out shopping for the various material she’ll need for the upper half, but we’re still in design stage for the pot and music. She tackles each costume like an engineering project, which turns me into a proud mom every single time.

So to say that I have a soft spot for brilliant, scientifically-inclined girls who like cosplay is an understatement. I am not embarrassed at all that I took inspiration from my daughter when it came to my heroine in "Pure Rose". Rose is a computer software engineer who works for a digital audio company, games online in her free time, and has a closet full of costumes she built from scratch. Her costume as Frenchie from Grease might not be the technical challenge others might be, but she sure as hell went for realism as much as possible.

Because when it comes to cosplay, it’s the attention to detail that always wins. People notice. And sometimes, like for Rose, it can mean gaining something you never would’ve anticipated as a reward.

* * *

Now I want to hear what some of your favorite costumes were! Everyone who leaves a comment will go into a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift certificate. On Monday, I’ll draw a name at random to win!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Return of Twin Peaks

Get used to the use of caps in this post. I'm a tad excited.

I was a HUGE fan of Twin Peaks when it first aired. HUGE. If there had been an online community and I'd known what fandoms were back then, I would've been all over it, writing fic, shipping characters, the works.


This show introduced me to what storytelling could be like. It helped shows like Northern Exposure to make quirky more mainstream. You'd be hard-pressed to find modern shows that weren't either influenced by it or owe it a debt for opening up the awareness of what television could actually do. 

Then there's the music. I have owned the Angelo Badalementi score for over twenty years. The Julee Cruise-voiced "Falling" remains the haunting echo that permeates the show. It's absolutely stunning and if you haven't heard it, I highly recommend it.

And who didn't fall in love with Dale Cooper? Or have a crush on Audrey Horne? 

And the musical theater lover in me still chortles with glee when she's reminded it had both Russ Tamblyn and Richard Beymer in it.

Is it 2016 yet?!?

Monday, October 6, 2014

4.5 Hearts for A Flight in Ice

There's something exhilarating to starting off a busy work week with a good review!

Lisa over at MM Good Book Reviews took the time to read and review my Winter Games pax story, A Flight in Ice. She gave it 4.5 hearts and called it "refreshing and very tempting."

Check it out!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Talking about cosplay at Kallysten's blog

Today, I'm over at Kallysten's blog, talking about cosplay and my story in the Shades of Pink, Vol. 2 charity anthology.

Everyone who leaves a comment is eligible for a $20 Amazon gift certificate, so head on over and check it out!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Breast Cancer Charity Anthology now available!

As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year, the first Shades of Pink event raised over $10.000 through more than 1300 donations.

For our second year, 22 authors have allied for 1 cause: fundraising for research. Their gift to everyone who makes a donation? A romance anthology (ebook) titled Shades of Pink (volume 2), totaling almost 150.000 words / about 400 pages as a PDF.

The suggested donation is $5. Funds are raised via Stayclassy.org and all proceeds go directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Readers can also donate to the charity organization of their choice (with a focus on breast cancer) and email their receipt to receive their copy of the anthology in either PDF, ePub or mobi (kindle).

Who: Catherine Bowman, Mitzi Calderone, Vivien Dean, JJ and TA Ellis, Sabrina Garie, Nina Day Gerard, T. Hammond, Susan Harris, Laura Hunsaker, Kallysten, Amara Lebel, Alicia J. Love, Deelylah Mullin, C. Deanne Rowe, Cynthia Sax, DJ Shaw, Alice Stark, Ashley Suzanne, Gill Taber, Natasza Waters, Zoe York, Angela Yseult

When: Now through November 15th.

What: 22 short stories, including…
·    4 paranormal, 1 sci-fi, 11 contemporary, 1 historical, 2 military, 3 BDSM, 2 YA (some stories have more than one genre)
·    3 spicy (ménage or kink), 7 sexy (explicit sex scenes), 12 sweet (no sex)
·    A couple of vampires, about three dozen humans including soldiers, geeks, teachers, librarians, writers, survivors, bosses, rock stars, teens, mages, wives, husbands and fiancés, 1 succubus, 1 genie, a few aliens, some werewolves and other shifters.
·    Pink, pink and more pink, including tattoos, plenty of flowers, precious stones, jewelry, a bookmark, a drawing, ropes, lingerie, a car, a bag, a vase, various clothes, an anteater and a squirrel.


Here you’ll find links to teasers for the stories, interviews of the authors and blog posts during all of October, a FAQ, and of course the link where you can donate and help this worthy cause.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Anniversary Sale!

Today marks the twelve-year anniversary of Amber Quill's launch, and to celebrate, they're having sales!

To start it all off, through October 3rd, all Amber Kisses, Novellas, and Novels (both "Regular" and "Extended" length) are 50% off. That's all imprints, all genres, all authors, so there is definitely something for everyone.

But wait, that's not all.

Throughout October, AQP will also be drawing at random the names of three newsletter subscribers each Sunday and giving each of them an AQP Gift Certificate worth $25.00 on our website. That's a total of twelve winners in October. Make sure you check the "New Releases" newsletter every Sunday throughout the month to see if your email address has been selected to win. If you're not already subscribed, just check out the right sidebar on the AQP site for details on how to get it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cover Reveal - Placeless

In October, Placeless, the second of the Bay Wolves series comes out. It's the story of Keaton McGrath, one of the wolves rescued in Boundless, and how he's adjusting to life in San Francisco. As of this weekend, I officially have a cover!
That smiley fella you see is not the troubled Keaton, but instead wolf activist Scotty who ends up helping to teach Keaton that a wolf is stronger when he's not alone. I love how Scotty's hopeful, optimistic nature counters Keaton's more melancholy ways. I'm really looking forward to sharing their story when it comes out!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Last chance to win

Today's the last chance to win the entire Silver Foxes collection from Amber Allure over at the Amber Pax blog. All you have to do is leave a comment on any of the posts made this week. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

Check it out!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fan Adventures in Buffy

In my post over at the Amber Pax blog, I shared pictures of men who were the same age as Jett and Trev in Flesh and Kisses. One of them was the scrumptious Alexis Denisof, who turns forty-eight this year. For those who don't know who he is, he played Wesley on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and then on Angel. He's gone on to do Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, and he's currently in the TV series Finding Carter.

But finding that picture of Denisof put me in a Buffy mood, so color me tickled pink when I found this video yesterday:

It's a fan-made introduction created for an imaginary animated series for Buffy. Fans will recognize so many of the Easter eggs scattered throughout, but seriously, I smiled and laughed so hard. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Another chance to win Flesh and Kisses

Want another chance to win my silver foxes story, Flesh and Kisses?

Head on over to Hearts on Fire Reviews and leave a comment. On Saturday, they'll pick a winner. What have you got to lose?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Over at the Amber Pax blog

I am over at the Amber Pax blog today, talking about sexy forty-eight year-old men and offering another excerpt from my release yesterday, Flesh and Kisses.

Everyone who comments on posts over there this week gets a chance to win all five stories in the Silver Foxes collection, so head on over and check it out!