Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Whether you celebrate religiously, secularly, or not at all, I still want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas. Not because I'm trying to convert you, but just because the holiday brings us beautiful gems like this...


Friday, December 14, 2012

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop


Hey all! When one hop ends, another begins. (Though if you're reading this on Friday the 14th, the Evernight Publishing holiday blog hop is still open, so you should hit my last post and enter that one too!) 




With the business end of things done... hi! And happy holidays!

I was going to do this really informational post about the history and mythology of mistletoe. Then I realized no one really cares about that sort of thing. You know what people DO care about? 

Cookies.
And booze. 

So instead of boring you with what people know of how druids harvested and blessed mistletoe, I'm going to feed your need for the good stuff. Oh, people also like sex, so while you're enjoying your cookies and martini, don't forget to pick up a copy of the holiday anthology, Vanilla-Free Christmas, and get your kink on this holiday season. But first up, cookies!


Nut Butter Cookies (I'll explain the name in a bit) 
The Nutella is the spread out one.
1 c. margarine (my sister uses butter, but mine always turn out softer, so I recommend margarine)
1 c. nut butter (I use this recipe with either peanut butter or Nutella, but I would guess any nut butter would work)
2 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt


Mix the margarine, nut butter, and brown sugar until well blended (it doesn't get smooth, per se, but it should be pretty creamy)

Add the eggs and beat well.

Mix the dry ingredients together then add slowly to the butter mixture. 

If using peanut butter, roll into balls, place on greased baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork. (I recommend chilling the dough for an hour or two as it makes it easier to work with.)

If using Nutella, the dough will NOT hold a shape, so don't bother trying to roll it. Just scoop up about a teaspoon full and spoon it onto the tray.

Bake at 350 (Fahrenheit) for 10-12 minutes, but check them at 8. 

The peanut butter cookies should hold their shape if very lightly touched. (Alternatively, the crosshatches of the fork marks should be a little browner than the rest.) 

The Nutella cookies will spread out, and if left in the oven too long will start to look NOT done in patches. When those start showing, take the cookies out--they're done. (I know it seems counter-intuitive, but it's true.)

You'll have to experiment with other nut butters for both shaping and how to tell when they are done. 

Teaspoon size cookies work out to about 55 calories each. 


And now, some booze-y goodness. I just invented this one for the blog. Don't you all feel special?

Hit the Slopes Martini

4 oz chocolate milk (I Nes-quicked some regular milk)
1 oz vodka
1 oz peppermint schnapps
crushed candy cane to rim your glass

Shake the milk, vodka, schnapps, and ice in a martini shaker. Pour into candy-cane rimmed martini glass and enjoy!



Lastly, there's one more thing! You already know how to enter to win the Kindle Fire, but I'm giving away a prize too! 

These are mine & I know you don't want my
cooties, so you get a different color :P
I know how cold my hands get during the winter, but I need my fingers free for typing or I never get anything done. Enter the wonder of fingerless mittens! And I'm making a pair right now to give away on the hop (this is US only, sorry. However, if you enter to win and are international, we'll work something else out, okay?) This is the pattern I'm using, but they won't be this color (since I don't have anymore of the yarn left). They will be wool, but it's a soft wool (I promise. I can't deal with scratchy stuff, so I don't buy it). So it'll be a bit of a surprise in your mailbox if you win. To make entering easy (and give you opportunities to increase your chance of winning, I give you the Rafflecopterinator. (Sorry, we were listening to the Phineas & Ferb Christmas album today.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 10, 2012

Evernight Holiday Blog Hop

The posting for the next 2 weeks is going to be a bit wonky. Posting today and then another blog hop starts on Friday (which goes through next week), so two posts (and giveaways!) this week and no new post next week. Because that's just the way this Rebel rolls.

Now. Onto the good stuff....




Welcome to the Evernight Holiday Blog Hop!
We love the holidays, we love making our readers happy and we love giving away swag. What better way to do that than to hold a blog hop?

Here's how it works... the more blogs you hop to (shown below) the more chance you have of winning prizes. Each site on the hop is offering a prize and Evernight is offering an iPad 2 as the grand prize! To be in with a chance of winning the site prize simply follow the blog you're visiting and leave a comment which includes your email address. Each entry on each blog is then counted towards the grand prize draw. The more entries you have, the better your chance of winning that iPad 2! You also get extra points for liking the Evernight Facebook page
. Just make sure you let us know in the comments that you've done so.
  
Happy hopping!



To reiterate, to enter for the iPad 2, you need to leave a comment here (and on all the blogs you visit) that includes your email address. If you liked the Evernight Facebook page, you get an extra entry, but you have to mention that in your comment here as well so I can pass on the info or else it doesn't count.

But wait!

There's more!

(I've always wanted to say that and mean it.)

In addition to entering to win the iPad 2, I'm giving away a digital copy of Evernight's newest holiday anthology, Vanilla-Free Christmas. That's right, people, it's time for a kinky Christmas (my favorite kind!) To give you a little taste of what you're in for...here's a little taste of "A Few of My Favorite Things"

(NOTE: Excerpt is kinky and not exactly PG-13)


I ran from the cafeteria to Santa’s office. Now, standing outside the intricately carved doors, I leaned against one of the nutcracker sentries, taking a second to collect myself and calm my breathing. He’d expect me here quickly but wouldn’t be happy if I was panting when I entered. A few seconds of deep breathing and my heartbeat slowed to normal.

I rapped gently on the door.

“Enter.” Pulling open the heavy wood, I faced Santa’s broad back as he stared out a window. Next to him a fire roared, soaking the room in heat. He gave a casual wave. “Close the door and wait.”

As soon as the door shut behind me, it vanished as if it had never been. I knew that in the hall the doorway had gone cold, as if Santa were no longer in residence. The first time I’d seen the wood covered in ice, I’d touched it. I’d had frostbite on the fingertip for a week. It wasn’t a lesson an elf had to learn more than once.

Now, I knelt, my tunic tucked under my ass, and rested my hands on my thighs. Staring at the woodgrain on the floor, I waited. It didn’t matter how long. I never counted or tried to figure it out. I simply inhaled and exhaled, never looking, never speaking.

At last Santa stood in front of me. His fingers tipped my chin up, and he trapped me in his steely blue gaze. “The harness is waiting for you. Be ready when I return.”

My heart quickened as I looked at him—I was powerless under his watchful eyes. The stories were true—he saw everything, even the deepest secrets of my heart. When he looked at me this way, I was as good as naked already. “Yes, sir.”

As soon as he disappeared in a puff of snow, I shot to my feet.

Gone were the fireplace and the window. Now the room was all gray stone with a simple wooden post near one wall. To one side, a brazier. To the other, a high table lined with tools. I shivered, but there was no time to peruse the instruments. I had no way of knowing when Santa would return.

I tugged my tunic overhead and folded it, laying it neatly in the corner. The leggings came next. Then my bra, panties, and socks. My boots stood at attention on either side of the pile. Only then did I turn and, while I smoothed my hair down, make my way to the post.


Hanging from a chain attached to the block of wood jutting to the side was a piece of leather I’d come to know as well as I knew my own body. Not a pair of hangman’s nooses. No, the harness would allow me to be suspended in a variety of positions. I wrapped a pair of straps around my ankles, securing them tightly, then slid my wrists into the loops overhead, cinching them as tightly as I could manage. I balanced on my toes, dangling from the harness. Santa likely wanted me hogtied, but I couldn’t manage that on my own, so I waited.

Belatedly, I noted the black metal rod on the floor.

Shit.

As I started to snake my hands free, the scent of chocolate and peppermint suffused the room. There was no time.

In another sprinkling of snow, Santa reappeared, the heat of the room turning the flakes to a faint mist.

No jolly red suit now. Not for me. Not for this.

He kept his black leather boots on. That much hadn’t changed. Beyond those, however, no one would recognize the bare-chested man in the dark gray jeans as the same one their children whispered wishes to at Christmas time. There was no paunch hanging over his belt—he was all big, burly and barrel-chested, his gaze dark and hooded rather than twinkling. No jolly old elf here...

And the crop in his hand was not something he’d ever used on the reindeer. 



Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for the ebook, and don't forget to comment with your email to enter into the iPad 2 giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How Many Billionaires Are There?

A recent tweet from my friend, Andrew Shaffer, got me thinking about this question. You see, if you pay attention to romance novels--pretty much at all--there's been an upswing in the number of "billionaires" in titles, series titles and books in general. He made the point that there are not that many billionaires in the world, and then questioned how many of them were young and horny. I'd also like to question how many of them are single.

Now, if you replace the B with an M, maybe we could talk. Actors, musicians, tech geniuses... I'm sure there are a decent number of sexy, young, available men who have crossed the seven figures mark. But it seems millionaires aren't good enough for fiction anymore for that very reason--they've become "common."

In fairness, this is not the fault of the authors. Not really. Publishers want a certain type of hero because they know that type sells.

I've seen this with some of my own work. I submitted a proposal recently and was given a "maybe, but X as the romantic hero? I'm not sure that's going to work..." Long and short of it? X is not uber-rich. Nor is he the standard for heroes everywhere. He's not a big, muscly guy. He's not grr...argggh...let-me-show-you-my-pecs. Nor is he the most brilliant.

What he is is this: attractive, fit, good at his job, funny, great with his hands, quick-witted, willing to fight for the people he loves, and a perfect match for the heroine. In short, he's a "normal" guy. When I got the "maybe" from my editor, my blood ran cold. I don't want to move this story somewhere else!

But at the same time, I don't want to compromise the story for this... absurd set of hero requirements. I don't mind writing to those requirements sometimes, but not when dealing with an established series. Story comes first.

/personal-mini-rant off

But that's the thing. There is this set of guidelines heroes are supposed to fit and rich is a big one. If they aren't rich, they should be in a position of power. (Military is often used as an example, which I find funny because military men don't make much money at all.) The fact of the matter is, this is the grown-up version of Prince Charming. He's handsome, rich, can dance, ride a horse, blah blah blah.

I think my problem is that my favorite fairy tales don't feature those kind of heroes. Tangled? Flynn Ryder is a thief for crying out loud! Shrek? Hello... ogre. Those are my romantic heroes. The ones who step up to the plate even if everything they know says they should walk or run the other way.

I'm not saying there's no room in the world for the hooking up with the billionaire stories. Hell, I'm not even saying I won't write one (or even a bunch of them). What I am saying is that, as readers, we need to put our money where our mouths are and show that we're open to other kinds of heroes too. We're willing to walk with the single mom as she falls for her son's high school football coach. Or the woman whose boss is a douche, but hey, that guy who delivers lunch everyday is really something special. Let them be successful, sure, but let's stop measuring success by the size of their muscles and bank accounts. There's more to our real life men than that. Can't there be more to our fictional ones too?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to catch up on one of my favorite TV shows. There's a certain pirate captain I hope manages to find a happily-ever-after... as soon as he gets over himself.


Also, I'm participating in a couple blog hops over the next two weeks. Big prizes! Be sure to come back :)


***NOTE: I meant to add a caveat that category romance is kind of its own animal and that certain character tropes are an expected part of those books. This rant was meant more specifically toward non-category romance (and fiction in general).***

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Get Your Holidays With a Little Slap and Tickle

Well, I'm not so sure about the tickle part, but I can tell you for sure there's going to be more than a little of the naughty stuff in my newest release. I'm pleased to announce that the newest short story in my Santa's Naughty Elves series comes out next week. Once again, this year's story is part of Evernight Publishing's holiday anthology and this year's isn't for the faint of heart. 

A Few of My Favorite Things will be in A Vanilla-Free Christmas, and if you can't tell by the title, maybe this will give you a better idea of what it's all about...

This Christmas, the best gifts are waiting for those who have been naughty...

And the toys under the tree are not for children. Sexy Santas, naughty elves, and dominant shifters are ready to spread some very kinky Christmas cheer. It's a good thing the ladies in our stories are looking for anything but vanilla.

Be Warned: menage sex, anal sex, sex toys, BDSM, spanking

Yep, this is the kink anthology I've been so excited about. For those of you who think of me in terms of nice and sweet and other words that don't really apply, I feel it's only fair to tell you that Santa is involved in my story in a very un-Santa-like fashion. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Happy Holidays and may you all find the best kind of toys in your stocking.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Give a Reader a Reader

It's that time of year when everyone starts saying to themselves, "What can I buy for X?" (X of course being the algebraic equivalent of whichever given friend you can never buy for.) This year Decadent Publishing is helping you out with Give a Reader a Reader. AND, you don't only get a Nook to give a friend, you also win 45 books for your friend AND you. How awesome is that?

But, you say, the odds are so not in favor of me winning that. So I'm here to sweeten the pot. I'm going to post a freebie holiday short below, and by answering the question in the Rafflecopter correctly (it's an easy question if you read the freebie), you're entered to win a copy of either Of Course I Try (which is one of the books on the Nook--list of awesome books and authors below--so if you win the Nook, don't pick this one :P) or it's sequel The Ghost of Vampire Present. Vampire smexiness! (If you already own both, we'll figure out an alternate prize.)
***Click here for a list of all the blogs participating.***

So, without further ado, I give you a story about one even made Max... Max. Every character has a history, and every once in a while, a special holiday gift is involved.



CHRISTMAS IN CHAINS (A Blood Kissed Story)
Since becoming a vampire, especially since I was brought here, time has little meaning. Christmas, however, always brings a special surprise.
The first year of my imprisonment, hot pokers were driven into my flesh so I would understand what my victims felt if I didn’t glamour them when I fed. The lesson repeated the next year, along with my first bath in holy water—in case the first time didn’t convince me to be kind unless there was cause to be cruel. The next year, I spent Christmas day chained in the garden, just within the shadow of its walls, where the sun could sear my flesh without destroying it so I would remember that no matter how strong I think I am, there’s always something stronger.
It was by those memories I counted the years here. A dozen so far, and judging by the decorations draped luridly about the place, number thirteen was fast approaching. I gave up begging for release after the first five years. Now I alternated between hoping to survive and praying for death.
Today, I leaned toward the former. I wanted to live…just not here. Not anymore.
There were no more lessons I could learn. Even if there were, I didn’t want those answers. I had enough nightmares to last me several centuries.
The stones of the hearth bit into my bare knees as I scrubbed at the marble inside the fireplace.
Silver chains clinked at my wrists and ankles. Resting on my heels, I wiped the back of my hand across my forehead.
“You missed a spot.” Remus’s voice grated on the last of my frayed nerves.
Snapping would do no good though, especially not with Christmas and my annual “gift” right around the corner. So I choked on the retort and clenched my shackled hands into fists, trying to calm myself. “Where?”
“Don’t growl at me, Maxmillian. To your left.”
A faint smudge of soot marred the very edge of the marble. Movements rough, I scrubbed at the spot until it disappeared. “Is that all, Remus?”
“I’m tired of talking to your back. Turn around.”
As always, the order, issued with complete calm, made me bristle. Part of me wanted to defy him, but my back still stung from the last time he’d reminded me who was in charge. So I turned and stared brazenly at him. I’d tried playing the whipped puppy; it didn’t get me anything, so I didn’t bother anymore.
Remus lounged on a red velvet couch, his robe gaping open to reveal flawless pale skin. I knew he thought it made him look irresistible. I resisted anyway. And I never found it all that difficult. He twirled a finger in his hair, looking almost coy for a moment. I must not have responded the way he planned, because he sighed and lay back on the couch. “I’m chilled. Start a fire, would you?” He turned toward me, his gaze even.
I tried to stay calm, but my muscles bunched. And my captor simply smiled at me. Of course he would notice. He always noticed. “You just had me clean the fireplace, Remus.”
He waved a hand lazily. “Yes, and now I want a fire. Build it and you can be free for the evening.”
All I wanted to do was race across the room and sever his head from his shoulders, but I knew better than to try that again. The next time I tried to kill Remus, he couldn’t see it coming or I’d fail. “Right away.”
I built the fire and had it blazing in minutes. Then he had his guards take me below ground and chain me to the ceiling. “Enjoy your Christmas Eve,” one of them growled as he yanked the chains over my head and stalked out, slamming the door and leaving me with only the light of the moon filtering through the barred window.
This was my reward. Not freedom by any standards I used to know, but I was away from Remus for a few blessed hours. Sometimes that was enough. Straining against my bonds, I could just see the moon outside my cell. A connection to the outside world—tenuous though it was—like a cruel lover, disappearing when I needed her touch most.
My muscles taut and trembling with the agony, I muttered prayers as I did every moment I spent alone—for life, for the lives I’d taken, for release, for death, for the death of Remus, and for the ability to kill him myself.
“I cannot help you with the killing, but I can get you out of here.”
The tiny voice in my right ear jerked me from my meditation, my arms screaming as I stood upright. “Who? What?”
The voice by my ear laughed and in a flurry of wings revealed itself as a shadow in the moonlight. “I am Janiqua, and I can spring you from this prison, Vampire, but you will owe me a favor in return.” She fluttered back to land on my arm, barely five inches tall, with brown hair and dragonfly wings that glittered in the pale light.
As much as I wanted to jump at the offer, I had a hard time believing I wasn’t hallucinating from pain and exhaustion. “What sort of favor?”
She shrugged, more a movement of wings than shoulders. “I don’t know. That’s why you’ll have to owe me. Do we have an accord?”
I’d long since given up hope of Christmas miracles, but I nodded. In an instant, the shackles opened and my arms fell heavily by my sides, forcing me to stifle a groan of exquisite pain. She darted under the door, and soon enough it swung wide. 
“Quickly, Vampire. The guards won’t stay asleep for long.” She flitted up the stairs. I raced after her, rubbing my wrists. The guards were indeed asleep at their posts, and I dashed out the front door.
I didn’t question my good fortune until I stood shivering at the gates of the estate. “Janiqua?” I called as she fluttered into the night. “How did you find me? And why the hell did you help me?”
Her pointy teeth flashed in the light of the moon as she darted close to my ear. “I like people being in my debt, Vampire.” She flitted away and called back over her shoulder, “As to who sent me? Consider it a Christmas present from your Fairy Godmother.” Her laughter echoed in the night as she flew away.
After that, I did the only reasonable thing—put as much distance between myself and Remus’s estate as I could before dawn lit the sky, savoring my Christmas miracle and plotting my vengeance with every step.

Below is the Rafflecopter for the big giveaway.
Your question for entry here is: What is the name of the character keeping Max captive?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 19, 2012

Come Back Tomorrow...

No, seriously. I signed up for a tour thingy and accidentally signed up for Wednesday instead of Tuesday. Oops.



Anyway, here's the link to the list of all the tour dates as well as info on how you can win a Nook for a friend and a bunch of ebooks for both of you! Commenting on each of the stops enters you in the grand prize drawing (as long as you enter the rafflecopter thing), AND I'm giving away something here as well, so make sure you stop back tomorrow!






Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meet Ella Grey and Taste Some Irish Kisses


Most of you know about the Cupid's Conquests series that started with GunShy. Well, our first international installment comes out Friday! Today, we have author, Ella Grey here along with a little taste of her book, Irish Kisses. I hope you enjoy the excerpt and pick up the book on Friday!



Cupid has been a very naughty boy. The Cupid’s Conquest series is a multi-author series started with
Gunshy by Seleste Delaney and the latest offering is Irish Kisses by Ella Grey.

Irish Kisses

The thing with love is it’s all about finding that happy ending. Sometimes it isn’t that simple. People
have a habit of making it complicated.

Eros can’t be everywhere at once so for this particular match-up he’s got some old fashion help.
Serendipity is the muse of happy endings and her brand of help raises questions that fate might be
planning in the hand of the blossoming relationship between Abigail Smith and Seth O’Connor.

Abigail Smith is having a particularly bad week.

Abby’s best friend and fellow lawyer Dawn Philips has been murdered and while Abby wants to bring
down the man behind her death. Her bosses decide that she’s too personally connected. She’s told
to take some time off and let someone else handle the case. The thing is, the case is falling apart and
Abby just can’t let it go. A mysterious private eye pays her a visit and suddenly Abby finds herself on
a plane to Ireland.

There she meets Seth O’Conner.

Seth is on holiday, travelling to Ireland to see the place where he grew up. He expected to drink
too much Guinness and have some much needed fun. He didn’t expect Abigail Smith, the beautiful
redhead and the blistering hot encounter they share in the aeroplane bathroom. She’s got secrets and it
takes a brutal attack for Seth to learn them.

Now he has no intention of leaving her side.

Biography

Ella Grey is a full-time writer, with a little monster, a big monster and a cat who might actually be
Satan.

The first instalment of the Molly O’Brien novella series was released in 2010. It was quickly followed
by the Rachel Valentine eshort series, aimed at young adults. The Red Dress, her first attempt at adult
fiction was released by Evernight Publishing as part of their Just Vamps anthology.

She thrives on new challenges and can’t wait to sink her teeth into a new story or a new genre. She
can usually be found in front of her netbook with her earplugs in. Bother her at your own peril.
You’ve been warned.

For more information about latest releases or a glimpse into the mind of a writer with a full plate, Ella
can be found here.

http://www.ellagrey.wordpress.com

Excerpt

“Are you okay?”

She looked up and into the green eyes of the guy who’d checked her out earlier. He actually looked
concerned, and it left her wondering what she must look like. “No,” she said bluntly. “If God wanted
us to fly he’d have given us a pair of nifty wings.”

He laughed as he sat down next to her. “Then why did you choose to fly?”

“Maybe it’s because I’m lacking anything close to common sense.” She closed her eyes and rested
her head on the chair in front of her. She heard a stewardess asking if she was alright, and the guy
mumbled something to her.

“It’s okay. I’ll keep an eye on her.” Abby heard something that sounded like a wallet opening. “I’m a
cop, so she’ll be okay with me.” A slight pressure on her lower back caused her to look up. “Do you
want a drink?”

She nodded. “Anything alcoholic would be great, thanks.” Alcohol would help numb her senses a
little.

As the stewardess left, she realised the cop was still rubbing her back. It felt nice. If she focused on
those small round movements, it took her focus away from the motion sickness. “I’m Abby.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, since you’re touching me I thought we should at least exchange names.” She smiled to show
she was kidding. He removed his hand and Abby felt a swell of panic as the sickness came back
suddenly. “Please, don’t stop. It is actually helping.”

He put his hand back and Abby looked down at the ground again.

“I’m Seth.”

“So you’re really a cop?”

He chuckled and it was the most dangerous sound Abby had ever heard, it made her heart pick up its
steady pace and the dark place between her legs wet. “That’s want the badge usually means.”

She smiled, even knowing he couldn’t see it. She heard the stewardess come back with their drinks,
and she slowly got up. Seth handed her one of the bottle of beer. “I’m sorry I don’t think they have
anything else, unless you want water?”

“No this is perfect, thanks.” She brought the bottle to her lips and took a slow drag from it. “I’m sorry
for ruining your flight.”

“Not at all, I came over here to talk to you anyway.”

His bluntness took her breath away, “Really, why?”

He took a quick drink and Abby watched as his tongue flicked out to catch a bead of liquid at the top
of the bottle. “Just curious, are you visiting family?” He asked, quickly changing the subject.

She shook her head. “I’m visiting for work.”

“What do you do?”

“I’m a lawyer, but I’m doing a little freelance work at the moment.” While it wasn’t a complete lie,
she didn’t want to go into any gory details. She didn’t want him to get that look of sympathy that
everyone at her office seemed permanently fixed on their faces. “I’m going to Dublin. I’m looking for
someone.”

Abby took another pull from the bottle. It felt good to be able to talk to somebody. For one it took
her mind off her travel sickness, and since she found it hard to drag her eyes away from him, it was
an added bonus. Now if she could just stop thinking how it felt to have his hand on her, it would be
perfect.

You can find Irish Kisses and the other awesome stories in this series at
http://www.evernightpublishing.com/cupids-conquests/

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo... Batman! Er...

It's NaNoWriMo day 6! That means by the end of the day today, I should have at least 10,000 words written on Kiss of Life.

My plan had been to have more like 25,000-30,000 done by today, but that's not happening. You see, life and frantic plotting have gotten a bit in the way. (AKA--I was sick, we had company, and I didn't get the book totally plotted in advance.)

Why was my plan so... vast in scope? Because I thought I could do it. I really want to get this book done and sent to my editor and I'm all excited about it. Plus, I've done that kind of word count recently, so I figured magic could just strike again.

I'm here to tell you that life doesn't always work that way. Hell, even if I'd had everything lined up perfectly for the ideal amount of writing time and no interruptions and a magical teapot that provided me spicy rooibos at sipping temperature... it still likely wouldn't have happened. My brain wasn't ready for that level of commitment with this book because I still had far too much discovery to do about the story.

Some books are easy to write fast. The story is nice and compact. Minimal number of characters. "Simple" plot. Etc, etc. Others are formed so fully in an author's mind that they just spill onto the page (I had that happen once, it was awesome.)

With Blood Kissed though, I've got a big cast of characters and a plot that requires some twisting and turning. (The people who read this series won't be too happy with me if I make it all nice and predictable. And Remy would kill me in my sleep.) So, I had to let it simmer. Then I had to let it stew. Then I had to let it age in a damn barrel as epiphany after epiphany hit.

I think I have it all now. The pieces are laid out in front of me, and I can more or less see the picture they make. So... 10,000 words by today, but it's the last day of taking it easy. Now, it's time to bust ass and write.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo: T-minus 48 Hours and Counting

If you weren't aware, I'm a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) addict. I did it for the first time in 2007, and I've done and won every year including and since. The funny part is, I don't need to do it anymore. I write 50,000 words in a month on a fairly regular basis. (If you recall my crazy output last year, I wrote ~350,000 new words in 2011, not including revisions and edits.) But I'm still doing it this year.

You see, I love the energy of NaNo. Literally hundreds of thousands of people doing the same thing I am in the month of November. They're sitting their butts in their chairs and putting their hands on their keyboards and making magic. Some will be or become publishable magic--most of mine have (after much, much revision--never skip that step)--but that isn't even the point of NaNo. It's all about the words, and that has power in itself.

Writing is a solitary gig. We chat on twitter and some people have live writing groups they meet with every so often, but most of us do this shit mainly solo. But in November, that feeling of aloneness disappears and we become part of something bigger.

It's an awesome feeling.

Now, I know, NaNo is not for everyone. Some people can't turn off their internal editor (or if they leave her on, can't make the word count anyway), others hate the pressure and the deadline, still others have issues with the 50,000 word thing (because outside of small YA books and those for a younger audience, that isn't a whole novel, you know?). And all of that is fine. NaNo doesn't do anything for some people.

But if you're a writer or a wanna-be-writer, it's worth giving it a try at least once. See how much you can accomplish on that next bit of magic in thirty days. And if you hate it... it's only thirty days. Most workout plans expect you to try longer than that. At the very least, the month will get you in the habit of BICHOK (butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard) on a daily basis, which is a good thing for a writer.

As for me, the first words of Kiss of Life will hit my laptop in 48 hours. On the plus side, it's a world I already know, so I don't have to stress too much about prep-work. On the downside, I've been crazy-busy tying up other projects the past few weeks in preparation for NaNo, so I have nothing done on actual book prep-work. It should be a trip.

Either way, I get to see Remy again, and that just makes me happy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Sale and Why It Matters So Much

I don't think I announced it here yet, but *toots my own horn* my short story "A Few of My Favorite Things" will be part of Evernight Publishing's holiday anthology this year. First off, I'm excited because I love the opportunity to visit with my naughty elves. Second, the theme of the antho this year is kink. WOOT! And thirdly, I really enjoy doing these anthologies as it's an opportunity to stretch a specific set of writing muscles I don't touch through the rest of the year.

Another reason it's important?

I've only had two releases this year.

Now, this doesn't seem like a big deal since I've sold other pieces, and 2013 is already shaping up to be nice an busy and prolific and all that. However, digital publishing isn't like publishing 5-10-20 years ago. Hell, it's not even like publishing now in NY where you can still build your career by starting with one release a year. In digital publishing, backlist and consistent releases are the name of the game. Pretty much, you produce or you die.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm working all the damn time, but that doesn't mean that I'm selling all the time or that those sales will come out in an expected timeframe. A book I subbed in January didn't get picked up until May and isn't coming out until NEXT May. A book I subbed in March(?) got picked up in April, but it isn't coming out until NEXT March. Another I wrote didn't quite fit what the publisher wanted for the series, so I have an entire manuscript that goes with my series that is hanging out on my hard drive, waiting to be re-written. Another that the publisher wants me to make full-length (again, waiting).

So, I'm producing, but due to the fact that I'm currently working with four different publishers, my brain and writing haven't quite lined up with their timelines yet. Which meant that without this holiday antho, I had two releases this year... and they were back-to-back (less than four weeks apart). So, needless to say, I need to work with my publishers and get some timelines nailed down so I can avoid another year like that.

Good news is right now it's looking like I have March, May, and July releases next year (assuming everything gets done when it should be), which is pretty awesome. I'm really hoping to add a January one to that as well as a September (and possibly others). This makes me happy. Like bright and shiny happy.

I don't know if I'll ever be one of those authors who has ten to twelve releases every year, but I'd really like to consistently do at least half of that. Five to six sounds perfect. Hell, four works if they are spread out well. But no more years where I'm looking at my releases and saying "Oh shit. It's been X months since my last one and it's Y months until the next one." That means it's time for me to buckle down and make things happen.

Wish me luck.

And words. Words are always good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Back to School...

I know, I know, the kids have been back for over a month now, but I went back yesterday. You see, a friend of mine ranted and raved about this "Fast Draft" writing class she took, and I've been waiting for it to come around again. It's here! And I'm terrified.

You see, we're supposed to write 20 pages a day, every day, for two weeks. That's roughly 5,000 words a day, people. I don't know when the last time I had a 5k day was, but it's been a while. Still, I'm on board with this thing since my writing has been slowing down a lot and I really don't have time for that sort of nonsense. Not when I've got people asking about the next books in my series and the new story I've teased about here and there. And certainly not with NaNoWriMo starting in two and a half weeks.

So, I'm buckling down and doing this thing, however it turns out.

Interesting factoid about me...

I was basically a straight A student through high school. (I really don't count my elementary school grades in handwriting, especially since girls and boys were graded differently.) Hell, I even had a couple straight A semesters in college. Which is a decent sign as to how I feel about failing--I don't like it. At all. Which means I'm going to be fairly scarce the next few weeks. But hey, by the time it's all said and done, that new story should be done and off to beta, and I should have another piece with a serious chunk out of it. Pretty much just don't expect to see me until I collapse in December. That's safest.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Evernight Publishing's Birthday Blog Hop!


Welcome to the Evernight Publishing birthday blog hop!
Evernight Publishing opened its doors two years ago. In those two years we’ve signed over one hundred and sixty authors and published over three hundred books. From paranormal to contemporary, we’ve had more best sellers than we can count and made thousands of people smile, sigh and gasp. So, as a thank you to all our readers and everyone who has supported us, we’re holding this blog hop and we have a whole lot of prizes to offer you.
Here's how it works... the more blogs you hop to (shown below) the more chance you have of winning prizes. Each author on the hop is offering a prize and Evernight is offering the following grand prizes, a Kindle, a $100 Amazon gift certificate, two Evernight swag bags (which includes a tote, a tee, vouchers, a mug and other coolness) and a personalized Facebook banner. To be in with a chance of winning the author prize simply follow the blog you're visiting and leave a comment which includes your email address. Each entry on each blog is then counted towards the grand prize draw. The more entries you have, the better your chance of winning a grand prize! You also get extra points for liking the Evernight Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/evernightpublishing. Just make sure you let us know in the comments that you've done so.
Good luck and happy hopping!


For my part, I'm giving away the winner's choice of either of my Cupid's Conquests books (GunShy or Love & Other Indoor Sports). If the winner already owns both of those books, we'll work something out ;-)

(ALSO, GunShy is still 99 cents on Amazon right now, so you might want to grab that one ASAP!)

So, follow my blog and make a comment (with your email address, please), and I'll get you entered. Entering at each blog also gives you another entry for the grand prizes! So get hopping :) 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

99 Cents! What?

As part of Evernight Publishing's birthday celebration, they have put a book from each of their lines on sale on Amazon for only 99 cents each! Get thee to Amazon and fill your Kindle!


Links for 99 cent books

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Evernight!


Quick blog post this week. (But there will be another this weekend with a nice surprise in it!)

So, it's Evernight Publishing's second birthday today, and they're giving their readers all sorts of presents! Starting today is the Evernight Scavenger Hunt that starts at SmexyBooks and continues on from there. That runs until Friday, just five days, people.

Then there's the weekend surprise, so make sure you come back to visit.  I lied! This isn't holding out to the weekend (so no extra blog, sorry...). Evernight has taken a best-seller from each of their categories and put them on sale at Amazon for only 99 cents! You can get the full list of sale books here. Or you can just go buy GunShy right now at this link. Happy Birthday indeed!

And next week is the Evernight Birthday Blog Hop. There are a LOT of authors participating and each one is giving away something on their blog, and each entry puts you in for grand prizes including a Kindle among other awesome stuff. So make sure you stop back here and hit all the blogs on the tour so you can enter as many times as possible!

(Once all the birthday goodness has ended, I'll be talking about NaNo prep for a couple weeks and then probably only doing mini-blogs through the month of November. It's not that I don't write like a crazy person all the time, but... it's NaNoWriMo and that ups the crazy factor all on its own :P)