Tuesday, December 27, 2011

X-M@$ Is Fun, Really

Since the in-laws arrived for their holiday visit today, I'm a little behind and crazed. So, in lieu of a blog post, please enjoy this lovely video. (It seemed appropriate :P)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Am Not a Muppet

First and foremost, the winner Stockings and Suspenders
from the blog hop is Judith Hulley! Congrats, Judith!

Now, onto the rest of today's post. On Sunday, I made my husband a very happy camper when I said we could go see The Muppets. He's been waiting patiently for me to decide it had been out long enough that it wouldn't be filled with screaming kids (and we still ended up with a lot of talkers in our theater...). We took our kids and went, and... he loved it. The Boy loved it. Mini-Me liked it a lot. And I... didn't hate it. The continual singing and muppetry that followed the movie, however, had me ready to run the car into a tree.

When Mini-Me asked, "If you could be a Muppet, which one would you be?" I couldn't answer. I don't want to be a Muppet, at all. They're just too freaking happy for me. Don't get me wrong, happy is good, but that level of happiness doesn't fit in my reality (or any of my alternate realities).

The people who read my work regularly know that most of what I write doesn't fall easily into romance. There's always romance in what I write, but a large chunk of my work is "strong romantic elements" instead (this is especially true of YA me). One of the reasons for that (or for steampunk romance, sci-fi romance, paranormal romance) is that I like action and suspense. Always have, always will.

I'm a written-word danger junkie.

And I cuss like a sailor if I don't keep close tabs on myself.

Those things and the Muppets just don't gel together. I mean, I'm the girl whose favorite holiday movie is Die Hard. But getting back to romance...

The project I wrote for NaNo (and am still writing) is a contemporary romance. Not a romantic suspense, mind you, straight contemporary. I have a love-hate relationship with this manuscript. I love the characters and I think their story is one that needs to be told, but... I want to blow something up. I had to take a break from the manuscript and write a piece of flash fiction just so I could kill someone.

Which means I am neither a manly Muppet nor a Muppet of a man.

And while it may make my little family sad, at the end of the day, I'm okay with it. After all, I never much wanted to have strings someone could pull anyway.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

Every once in a while, I get really excited about a project and impose a timeline on myself that is... less than realistic. (Okay, I do it all the time). This time though, I figured I was on a roll. I finished my 50k for NaNoWriMo on November 23--a week early! So, it seemed perfectly logical that if I continued writing at that speed, I could have the first draft done sometime between Dec. 5-10.

It was a no brainer. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming...

Except, there's one thing people don't tell you about NaNo (and especially about what happens if you finish the day before Thanksgiving). As an author, 1667 words a day is not a lot. On a good day, I can do that in an hour. On an average day, it takes 1 1/2-2 hours, but you get the point. As long as I'm rolling, that is totally attainable. But, anyone who has done NaNo a few times can tell you--the world doesn't always cooperate with your schedule. That means you try to get ahead, because you don't know when you're going to get sick, have sick kids, have guests, have another project that people are paying you for so it has to take precedence...

So I was cruising along at at average of about 2250 words a day through the 23rd. Again, not an extreme amount--a couple hours of solid work a day. But doing it day in and day out takes a toll. Not because it's a large amount but because there's a deadline, and you're in a race, and whatever else causes you to panic. So when you "win," all this weight falls off your shoulders and you can breathe.

And you let yourself have a day off (and in this case, it was Thanksgiving...hello...). But when you're dealing with a holiday weekend, and/or a manuscript that is something you aren't used to or is giving you problems, a day off easily turns into two. Or three. Or hell, at that point why not take the whole four-day weekend like everyone else is? You deserve time off for good behavior too!

The thing is for me as a writer, time off makes it harder to get back in the swing. Words don't come easy, if at all. Characters I loved annoy me with their stupid decisions. I start to want to inhabit a different world--any other world. So, my long weekend "off" turned into a week and a half where my writing was off. I think I'm back on my game now, but I've trimmed my expectations back from the 2-2.5k a day to the 1667 of NaNo. Yes, my calendar still has goals in 2k increments, but that's just easier for me to keep track of.

All this means that the manuscript will not be done this week. Maybe next week. Hopefully for sure by Christmas. Definitely by New Years. But yeah... not this week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop--Day 5

Welcome to DAY FIVE and my part of the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

We're talking about Evernight Publishing's Holiday anthology, Stockings & Suspenders, a set of steamy stories, including one form me! Each of the contributing authors are talking about their stories leading up to release day on Friday, Decmber 9.

My predecessors:

If you haven't already, please visit their blogs for more blurbs, more excerpts, and more chances to win (see the end of the blog for prize info!).

I get to tear stocking number five off our cover. Look at those biceps! Rawr! I do so love a man with great arms, don't you? Well, enough about the hotness on the cover. Let's take a peek at what you'll find inside Stockings & Suspenders:
As the temperature drops, the women in this collection of stories find naughty and delicious ways to warm up for the holidays.

A boss with a proposal to make her sweat, a promise from an Italian assistant, a cabin in the middle of nowhere with two men waiting to cater to her every desire, a special surprise for a lonely solider...

All of these encounters and more from ten talented authors. Get ready for some holiday loving...Evernight style.
My story is number five in the collection, and it's called "Making the Naughty List" (Something some of us strive for every year, I'm sure.)

Daisy gave up on her wish to find the elf who rocked her world with a kiss so long ago. This year, all she wants for Christmas is time with her best friend, but he keeps leaving theNorth Pole to be with his girlfriend. Still, when Santa gives her a special assignment—get Gage Thomas off the naughty list—Daisy doesn’t exactly jump. Then again, once the old man makes a decision while you’re under his employ, you don’t get much say.

She figures meeting Gage will fill in all the blanks Santa didn’t bother with. Too bad the guy with the steely blue eyes and brilliant smile seems anything but naughty. At least until the two of them end up in her hotel room alone. Then it isn’t so much a question of whether or not Daisy can get Gage off but at what point she’ll cross the line and make the naughty list herself

“Look, Daisy, we can just hang out or call it a night if you want.”
Damn. Damn. Damn. I can build an XBox360 from a box of scraps but screw up what has to be the world’s easiest seduction. “No, I don’t want you to go. I just…”
He closed the distance between us and, shaking his head, tipped my chin up. “Breathe. I’ll stay.”
I exhaled, not realizing I’d held my breath when I stopped talking. With his hands on me, I couldn’t think though. I needed space. No. What I needed was for Santa to send a fucking sign of how to play this. I slipped from under his touch and moved to the bedroom. “I’ll be right back…”
As soon as I had the door between us, I could focus. I suck at interrogation. But the seduction thing isn’t off the table, right? I just need to woman up and try not to lose myself in the sex. Then I turned around. Goddamn mother-fucking son-of-a-bitch. Santa sure as hell didn’t believe in subtle signs. I yanked the leather corset, boots and whip off the bed and threw them in the closet.
With the dominatrix outfit off the table—or the bed—I felt better, like the pressure was gone. Just talk to him. Let one thing lead to another. Get him to spill everything he’s doing wrong so I can fix it.
In the other room, he stood by the window, his reflection showing worry lines still. I eased up next to him and laid my head on his shoulder. “Sorry about my freak out.”
He turned, his steely gaze meeting mine as he brushed my hair back. I forced myself not to flinch when his fingers brushed against the tip of my ear. “We just met. I get it. But it is nice to know that you’re as attracted to me as I am to you.”
“I am. I most definitely am.” The same stupid heat and electricity I felt every time I was too close to him flowed through me again. Damn it. I didn’t want to seduce him for information. I kind of just wanted to seduce him. Were Santa’s wants really more important than mine?
Then he turned and wrapped his arms around me. “Then why don’t we just see where the night takes us and not try to push it there?”
Before I had time to think about a response, I stood on tiptoe and brushed my lips against his. I froze an inch from him. My lips felt alive; every kiss until that moment faded as if they’d never existed.
Then he moved in and pressed his mouth against mine. The old kisses had faded before, but this… this made the world disappear. Gage and I were the only things that existed. His hands tangled in my hair, and I opened to him. Lips, tongue, fingers, skin… all I knew was his touch, and what I knew was incredible.
Oh yeah, that was the moment when I thought the one thing guaranteed to get my name on the naughty list right next to Gage’s. Fuck what Santa wants.
Letting that go freed me in a way I never expected. The next thing I knew, we were against the wall again, my hands clawing at his t-shirt until I could get my palms underneath. His skin was so hot, like he’d been lying out in the sun all day. It melted the sliver of North Pole chill I still carried, warming me to my straight to my core and then some. I wanted his heat, yearned for it. His shirt was off and tossed to some corner of the room or other. I pressed the length of my body against his, savoring the sensation along with the feel of his growing erection.
“You’re so warm,” I murmured against his neck as I trailed kisses against that gloriously fiery skin. I teased his nipple with my tongue, the light salty taste of sunshine and sweat did nothing but make me want more.
“And you are making it nearly impossible to behave myself. All I want to do is take your clothes off, throw you down on the bed and take you.”
“Not happening.” My hands slid along his back while his stopped inches from anywhere interesting.
He gave a throaty moan when my hips ground against his. “Why not? You’re sure as hell acting like you want it as much as I do.”
“Because you missed a step.” I nipped at his chest. Whatever it was about this man, it drove away all those silly concerns about what I did or didn’t know how to do. All that remained was the heat, the electricity, and the want. “If the rest of your clothes stay on, all your other plans are pointless.”
A low growl rumbled through his chest as he fisted my hair and tugged my head back until I met his eyes. “Any other complaints about my plan?”
“Only how long it’s taking you to get to it.”
The muscles in his arms bunched, and he picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. My instinct from years growing up on the streets was to kick and yell, but I’d asked for this. Fuck. I wanted this. He kicked open the door to the bedroom and flopped me onto the king-sized bed.
The chill hit me an instant before the panic. Without his heat around me, everything I was doing roared back—disobeying Santa, having sex with a man I barely knew… A really wonderful, sweet, incredibly sexy man who made me forget about everything else.
Then he was on the bed next to me, teasing open the buttons of my blouse as he kissed me. When I tried to take over, to get closer, he pinned my hands over my head. “Oh no. I let you lead out there. My turn. I figure it’s the only way to be sure I control how fast things go.”
He let me go and in my attempts to do what he asked, my fingers brushed against something, making metal clank against metal. Gage lifted his head from my neck and I wanted to scream. Then with a beautifully evil smile, he reached up near the head of the bed and lifted a pair of handcuffs. My breath caught. “I… I… I…”
“And you said I was naughty.” He dipped his head and gave me a phoenix kiss—all feather-light and on fire. “Thanks for giving me a way to be sure you don’t try anything funny.”
Before I could put up more than the tiniest protest, that I wasn’t sure I really felt in the first place, Gage had shifted me up the bed, and the cuffs snapped around my wrists.
All those years on the street and my first time in handcuffs was in a posh hotel in Florida. If this was the naughty list, I never wanted off.
Please leave a comment (with your email address) for a chance to win prizes from the drawing on December 10 (the twelfth day of Christmas!), including a copy of Stockings & Suspenders and a $15 Evernight Publishing gift certificate (for more details, visit the Evernight blog). I'd also love it if you felt so inclined to join my blog with Google Friend Connect in the sidebar.
Tomorrow is DAY 6. I really hope you'll visit Carolyn Rosewood to read more about her story, "A Very Naughty Christmas." (See? We all want to be naughty.) Plus, you'll get another peek at that yummy cover model.