RIP Mr. Spock

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mrspockI cannot say how sad I am about this. It hurts me to the core. I grew up with Spock and Kirk watching re-runs on the UHF channels (anyone remember those?). Then I spent my teen years going to ALL the movies. One of my fondest memories is going with my sisters to see STIV. Leonard Nimoy was a living legend. An icon. A man who would live long and prosper. A man who believed the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. He has now beamed up to his final resting place. May God be with you, Mr. Spock. Wherever you are.

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP

— Leonard Nimoy(@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015

Um…Hi

Wow. Maybe I should blog, eh? It’s been a while! I’m sorry. I have no other excuse except that I’ve been, ya know, busy.

I decided 2015 would be the year of Getting Stuff Done. Here’s what’s happening in my writing life.

After some serious soul-searching for several months at the end of 2014, I made a command decision. I’ve decided to move away from writing full-blown romances to writing in other genres with romantic elements. While I do enjoy reading a good romance novel, I’ve discovered writing the loves scenes are meh… I just don’t want to do it anymore.

I’m moving into writing more fantasy and urban fantasy. I have always loved the genre and have always wanted to write in it. I’m not talking epics here, like Song of Ice and Fire or Lord of the Rings. Nothing that major. I think my head would explode if I attempted to write something like that.

Well, at least not yet. Maybe I have an epic fantasy in me somewhere down the line.

Since the first of the year, I’ve written two short stories. I plan to enter them in a contest. I also entered one of my published books into the Prism but my books never do very well in contests for some reason, so we’ll see. I also have plans to relaunch some of my backlist with brand new covers and a title change or two. It will take me a while to get everything ready, but I’m excited to get stuff back out there.

I have a new newsletter! I’ve moved to Mailchimp which I like a lot better. So if you haven’t signed up, now is your big chance. Click here. I have exclusive content for subscribers only that includes cover reveals, sneak peeks and contests.

Thoughts on the 2015 Oscars

I love movies. I love watching the Oscars about as much as I love the movies. But this year…meh.

First things first. Let’s talk about the red carpet arrivals all those gorgeous gowns!

Winner of Most Awkward Interview: Dakota Johnson and mom, Melanie Griffith. Melanie Griffith looked positively uncomfortable when asked if she’d seen 50 Shades of Grey. “Um, no,” she said and then went on to say she didn’t plan to see it. To which Dakota Johnson, in typical young adult fashion, rolled her eyes. “You could see it, though. It’s not THAT bad.” Like she was having to defend herself in her movie.

I thought she sounded – and looked – like a spoiled brat.

Also, the stars not wanting to be asked what they’re wearing. Um, hello, this is the OSCARS. That is THE POINT. The only reason peeps at home like me watch is because we want to know what they’re wearing. Personally, I could care less what their “cause” is—what is the point of Laura Dern wearing a large turquoise ring by Bulgari to raise awareness of lung cancer? How exactly does that help? Because I’m not seeing it. Patricia Arquette also got in her support of not only equal wage for women (snort – that seems odd coming from an actress who makes a hefty paycheck – I gotta wonder who her demographic is she’s speaking to there. Is she upset because she’s not making as much as the top A-list actor in the industry?) but also ecological sanitation work. Yawn.

Let’s talk gown. StyleList has all the red carpet arrivals here.

My Top 5 Favorite gowns (not that you care but…)
1. Jennifer Lopez – A little too much cleavage but I loved the skirt of her gown
2. Reese Witherspoon – She looked so classy
3. Julianne Moore – Another classy look in white
4. Felicity Jones – I loved her dove gray ball gown with the full skirt
5. Meryl Streep – A woman who dresses in an age-appropriate, yet classy outfit

My Top 5 Worst gowns
1. Scarlett Johansson – The gown would have been fine without the horrendous necklace
2. Marion Cotillard – I didn’t like the holes all over it. It looked weird
3. Solange Knowles – what WAS that? It looked like she just draped red material over her body
4. Chloe Moretz – While pockets are cool, her dress looked awfully frumpy
5. Naomi Watts – Ick

I have to admit that this year’s award show was lackluster at best. I was practically bored to tears. While I appreciated Neil Patrick Harris’s attempt at humor, most of his jokes fell flat. Whenever he’d crack one he thought was particularly funny, he made that face where he had to pretend not to laugh. And I absolutely hated his “magic trick” of Oscar predictions. His constant reminder of his box of predictions locked up tight bored me. By the end of the show, I really didn’t CARE what his predictions were. I just wanted to get to the end.

I didn’t care for the political statements in all the acceptance speeches, either. It goes back to that feeling of do we really care what their cause is? I’m thinking NO. All we care about is that you graciously accept the award, don’t ramble, and move on so we can get to the end.

I was pretty disappointed in the Oscars this year. All I can do is hope next year is better.

Looking Back, Looking Foward

I can’t believe it’s 2015. I know we’re several days in already but I still look at the calendar with some awe that it’s another new year.

I had a lot of lessons learned in 2014 as far as my writing life went. As the year wore on and my patience grew thinner and thinner for the career, I realized I needed to make some changes if I was going to continue to call myself a writer. My volunteering for the local RWA chapter was coming to an end. I decided to leave the Plotting Princesses for a while. And I allowed myself to go on hiatus for a couple of months. I read a lot of craft books toward the end of the year and didn’t write.

There was something very liberating about letting go of those commitments and the stress I put on myself to continually write. For the first time in a very long time, I felt so…free.

Another thing I did was sign up for Holly Lisle’s Ugly Baby workshop. Don’t know what that is? Click here. Reading the first month’s goals gave me a lot of food for thought. And so I decided it was time to get back the rights to some books that had expired contracts. I will be doing something with them in 2015!

I also decided to write some short fiction. By short I mean under 10,000 words. I have completed a short story – my first in I don’t know how long. There was something very liberating about writing that short fiction and knowing that it will, eventually but a tie-in to a novel I’m working on.

I guess it’s obvious I got back to writing. :) After doing none for nearly eight weeks, I started back in December. I got the itch to write a new epic fantasy story about a shape-shifting dragon, a lost prince, a false king and a dragon hunter. I hope to have the first draft completed in the coming months.

My wish for 2015 is to be more serious about the writing and treat it for what it is—a business. I’ve set up a new post office box. I’m not going to allow myself to be distracted by the need/want/urge to volunteer to do things I really have no business doing. Because what it boils down to is this: only I can make it happen. No one is going to do it for me. There are no shortcuts. And as much as I would love to be one of those lucky authors who makes thousands in one month, I just don’t see that happening for me.

I know what my reality is and that means I gotta get my butt in the chair and get the words on the page. I’m going to give myself a break and not stress out when I don’t accomplish as much as I want. I’m going to allow myself to just WRITE and sometimes write shit. I’m going to allow myself to make mistakes, to try new things, to see what works and what doesn’t. I’m going to allow myself the time to see if I CAN make this writing thing work as a full-time gig. It may take me two years or ten. But you know what? It’s okay. I’m okay with that. And it took me a long freaking time to get to that point.

So here’s to 2015! A wildly productive 2015. A new year dedicated to doing what I love—writing once again the stories *I* want to write. Reclaiming the joy for the written word and the storytelling. I’m very excited about all the possibilities.

Bring it on, 2015. Bring it on.

First in a Series Free!

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So excited to announce my book, TEMPTING EDEN, is part of the First in a Series Free promotion via iBooks. You can find it in the Paranormal section. Click the banner above to get this book – plus find other great books – free!

Also get book 2, SEDUCING EVE, and book 3, RAVISHING HELENE, for 0.99 cents for a limited time!

Why I have a problem with Mike & Molly

I started watching the Mike & Molly show when it premiered. It was funny. And Melissa McCarthy is hilarious as Molly. When she quit her job as a teacher to “find herself” and figure out what she wanted to do, I felt like it was a familiar storyline – mine. I have often felt like I didn’t belong anywhere and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Even as a writer. It’s taken me over ten years to figure out what my true genre is…but I digress.

This past season, she started writing a book. She met JC Smalls (played by the hilarious Susan Sarandon) and found a twisted mentor. Then Molly got accepted into a “prestigious” writing program.

Okay. This is a sitcom. I’ll buy it.

But in the season premier when she came home from the writing program – 8 weeks later – with a partially written book that “everyone hated” accepted by a publisher who gave her a sizeable advance… well, I had to hit pause.

I looked at my husband. I could see him cringe because he knew the diatribe was about to begin.

“For the record,” I said, “that would NEVER EVER happen in real life!”

And I left it at that. Even though I had so much more to say. He nodded with only the support a husband of a writer could offer.

So I’ll say it here. Aren’t you lucky?

It really bothers me they called the book “porn” (I’m assuming this is a romance novel in the same vein as 50 Shades of Gray though the show never really says what genre it is). Yet another stigma the romance genre has to overcome to be “serious” fiction. ROMANCE IS SERIOUS FICTION. It IS a real book. IT IS A REAL STORY that authors put their blood, sweat, tears, agony, frustration, PASSION into. Calling it “porn” is insulting to the genre AND the authors who make a living writing it.

As a writer who has been struggling with her craft for years, trying to make a living, trying to make it work, I’m offended by the premise that an unpublished writer who has a PARTIAL manuscript made a sale and got a HUGE advance. How in the hell did she manage that WHILE on a writer’s retreat? Where is her learning curve? That is so not reality, people.

Okay, I get that the show would be über boring if she were still learning her craft, sending submissions and getting rejections, but I would have hoped they would show it in a more realistic light. Why not show Molly sending her first submission? Getting her first rejection?

The reality is it takes weeks, sometimes months, to hear back from a submission. And while you’re waiting, you’re supposed to be working on your next book.

The reality is if you’re lucky, you’ll get published after you’ve written your third or fourth novel when you’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t (and WHY) writing fiction. You may even land an agent if you decide to go that route.

The reality is publishers don’t offer HUGE advances – especially to unpublished writers who have yet to finish a manuscript. Read the submission guidelines to ANY agent or publisher and you’ll see they simply do not consider novels that are unfinished. And why should they? It’s not finished. Who’s to say it will ever be finished?

The reality is if you DO get an advance, it’s because your agent has worked hard to get you one, to get you the deal and it’s because you deserve it. It’s because you’ve learned your craft, you’ve risen above the slush pile and you’ve found your voice as a writer and know your genre and your audience.

All this show really did was make it seem like “anyone can write a book.” Writing a book is HARD. It takes years of hard work, dedication, perseverance, drive and determination and the ability to push yourself to learn to do something you can’t get “on the job” training for. I’m so aggravated with this presumption that writing is easy. And it bugs me the show casts authors in the light that anyone can land a deal and start rolling in the dough.

Writers work their ass off to create their careers and maintain it. Let’s see a little of THAT, Mike & Molly.

Update on Freebies

Dear Readers:

It’s been brought to my attention that the Kindle version of HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE LATTE is not free. My apologies for that! I’ve asked Amazon to lower the price to FREE since you can get it on all other platforms, including over at Smashwords, for free. Here are the other buy links:

iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

You can report the free price to Amazon, too. Just scroll down to below the product details and click the “Tell us about a lower price” link to let them know.

FREEBIES!

Hi everyone! Just wanted to make you aware of some new pricing on a couple of my books.

Now on perma-free is the first novella in the Guardians of Atlantis series, Tempting Eden. Available in all formats!

Tempting Eden

iBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboAll Romance eBooks | Smashwords

And for the holidays, get Have Yourself A Merry Little Latte for FREE! This is part of the Coffee House Chronicles series.

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Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | KoboAll Romance eBooks | Smashwords

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving (here in the US)!

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An Update From Beyond (with Giveaway!)

Hello, readers! I’m sure I’m talking to crickets but I wanted to post something this week to say HI! I’m still alive and breathing! And spending most of my time on Facebook. *grins*

Have I been writing? No, not exactly. I’ve been spending a lot of time reading craft books. So far I’ve read Wired for Story by Lisa Cron, Goal Motivation Conflict by Deb Dixon and The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maas. Both are excellent reads for writers. Now I’m reading The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.

I’ve wanted to sit down and read these books for the longest time but with contract deadlines and only so many hours in the day, it makes it hard to get everything done. However, I have been mulling over a couple of different projects as I’ve been reading these books. I’m moving more toward fantasy with romantic elements than full-blown romance. I’m also still working on that urban fantasy.

What have I learned from my reading?

The key to great fiction is CHARACTER. A great character will make readers never want to stop reading. A good story is not really about the plot – it’s about what happens to the character. If you think about all the books you love, what is the one recurring element in those? A great character? You were invested in them and their journey and you had to see how it turned out, right?

I’m curious. Tell me two of your favorite books – any genre – and why. In a couple of days, depending on the number of comments I get, I’ll pick a winner who will receive their choice of anything on my backlist.

I’ll start. Two of my favorite books:

The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter because Strider was my favorite Lord of the Underworld (possessed by Defeat) and he and Kaia really made the pages sizzle!

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning because Mac is such a terrific character with so many flaws. Plus it’s a kickass series if you haven’t read it.

Now, your turn.