JT in the Morning

Yes, a little Jimmy Thomas in the morning to make your day go much smoother. I’m posting the cover for Hand of Fate, a holiday story coming from Passion in Print Press by my friend Lisa Alexander-Griffin, who loves having Jimmy on her covers. The cover artist is Winterheart Design (aka me.)

I’ll be back next Thursday with another Jimmy cover or photo. Until then, enjoy!

Like the Wind

I’ve been writing like the wind. I’m at 7500 words of a 20K story due September 30. (And my editor may be looking at this with greedy eyes. Yes, Kris. It’s getting closer to completion!) I’ve got another deadline right behind that one. Both of these stories have been on the back burner for my editors for awhile now. I love it that I can finally get them done. Then it’s on to other things that have been back burnered! LOL

I do have new stuff cooking too. My brain is always percolating ideas. I’m eager to get into my edits for Rock My World because I know that immersing myself in that world means I will be ready to start the sequels. It’s a good thing that the gals from Z.A. Maxfield’s group and I have been doing Word Wars. All of us have deadlines ‘cept our one un-pubbed author who we’re encouraging to complete her first manuscript.

The discipline behind Word Wars makes you accountable for your word count.  I feel bad when I only do 300 words in 30 minutes. I feel guilty. Of course, this is how Dee Carney and L. Shannon trained me to be when they taught me how to Word War. I’m like Pavlov’s dog except when the buzzer goes off if I don’t have at least 500 words I feel like I deserve to be whipped…instead of salivating as the dog did. LOL

I almost panicked today when my mouse died and I couldn’t find batteries. Then I found them and panicked again cause it was the last two! I’d forgotten to get more! OMG! What if I run out later?

Writers have the weirdest neurosis or hadn’t  you noticed? LOL

One good thing about writing like the wind is that you see a lot of progress and suddenly the deadlines don’t feel so stressful. I have these two I’m working on now to finish. I’m waiting on two sets of edits for two different publishers. I have a Christmas short to do (sequel to last year’s Christmas in Hell) and a sequel to Rock My World and then a short off shoot of my November release… the list goes on and on. It’s endless. Or will be until my ideas dry up which I doubt will happen.

I’m actually pretty happy about writing so much. I stalled so much over the past 8 months that my releases have trickled out this year as opposed to last year’s flood. Of course, my home life had more ups and downs than an elevator which contributed to my lackluster writing speed. Knock on wood that things continue as smoothly as they have been in the last couple of months.

I’m hopeful that this writing spate means I have lots to show for my time soon. And I’m hoping it helps keep me a happy camper cause I could use a break from the stress. 🙂 I know I’ve been structuring my time better and that helps a lot too. But writing like the wind helps the most. And in the end gives my readers a lot more of me. 😉

Today’s Marcus is draped in metal. He’s a good platform for showcasing jewelry. All those hard, sleek muscles… Yum.

I’ve got a post for you on Thursday with an announcement, so come on back in a few days to see what I have in store for you! Have a great Marcus Monday!

Who Dares

I suppose I don’t talk about my emotions enough here. I just sort of skate along the surface of things. Mostly, I don’t feel that there’s all that much happening in my emotional life that I could fill a blog post. My life doesn’t vary all that much. Work, struggle, struggle, work. And write. Occasionally fight with Rott or Nikki. If I had to dig deep and pull out a bunch of emotions I suppose I could, but I just don’t feel the need to. I spend too much time putting them away so I can get stuff done.

When I do take them out and think about them, nothing changes so I just don’t do that a lot anymore.  It’s not living in limbo. It’s survival and I spend (and have spent) a lot of my life just trying to survive. Now that I’m actually writing books, a dream I’ve had for most of my life, I expend a lot of my emotion there. I give mine to my characters. It’s an easy way to express them and deal with them. And then I don’t have to come here and put so much of me out there for you to read. I mean, I say enough stuff that ya’all are always feeling sorry for me. Don’t need more. I feel guilty enough as it is for saying some of the things I do say!

At any rate, I got an email yesterday that made me think about love. Now, I think about love on a regular basis since I’m a romance author. But, sometimes I don’t think about it in more personal terms. Here’s what happened yesterday: I got an email (it’s a newesletter type blast not a personal email) from a popular cover model. He said he hadn’t posted any photos in awhile because he was suffering from a major broken heart and just hadn’t had the motivation to do anything.

Talking with a couple of other authors our first thought was who the hell would break this man’s heart? Yeah, he is hotness personified, but on top of that he’s NICE. Like really NICE. C’mon, nice guys who are hot do not grow on frickin’ trees! I mean really, who would dare to dump or hurt such an awesome guy? Obviously, a woman who doesn’t see what we see.

And there is the nutshell.

None of the nice guys I know deserve to have their hearts broken whether they are cover model hot or not. It’s just that we all assume that the hot nice guy has a lot more opportunities to find a perfect woman. Yet, while he may think she is perfect for him, he may not be perfect to her. She doesn’t see what we see.  Beauty, and niceness, is in the eye of the beholder always. Sure, there’s like thousands of us who think this man is amazing, but all it took was the one who didn’t to hurt him.

*sigh* Love sucks. We all know it. It’s why I make money at writing love stories. Because no one is immune from being burned. There is always someone out there who dares to break our heart. Lucky people never connect with that person. Some of us meet more than one. We salve our hurts and bolster our hopes by reading the Happily Ever Afters that romance authors offer.

I guess that makes it okay that I don’t come here and bleed out all over this blog. I do my bleeding in private and use it to fuel the stories that help other people who are bleeding out. I like that I’m giving people enjoyment. I like that I’m giving something back. And I like that my emotions and my struggles and my pain can be channeled into those stories that make others happier.

In Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mister Bridgerton, one of my all time favorite books, Colin is hugely jealous because the woman he loves has something to show for her life. Penelope has a body of work (writing a snarky column) that people talk about and that she will be remembered for. And he’s jealous that she has that when he has nothing. The jealousy makes him more possessive of her.  Which kinda turns on the reader and makes her adore Colin all the more. But the thing is, there’s that whole notion of pouring your emotions into something that gives to others.

So instead of me giving you the blow by blow of my deepest emotions here, I give you books filled with hope that even if your heart gets broken, it will mend. And not every person you meet will be one who dares to hurt you.  I strongly believe that everyone has someone, and sometimes more than one someone, who will make your life richer and make your heart soar. If I didn’t believe that, I would never write it into a book.

I know that you’re all expecting a Marcus today since it’s Monday, but in honor of an amazing man who didn’t deserve a broken heart, I give you Jimmy Thomas instead. He’s just as hot if not hotter than Marcus so feel free to drool.

Quick bit of news then I’m outtie. First, if you check the Lex Valentine blog, you’ll see my new hot cover from Ellora’s Cave. The book, Rock My World, is about to go into edits so I’m hopeful that you may see this book before the year is out. Also, Sunstroked, the next Tales book has gone to my editor so I believe it will be out in October. I’ve got a Veteran’s Day project in the works that is something from last year that was tabled and my Spellbound Treasure book should coming in the next couple of months too.

Wishing you all a wonderful heartbreak free Labor Day! MUAH!

PCH

On Friday when I got home from work, Rott wasn’t home. I figured he’d gone to see his mom so I didn’t think anything of it. He called me after I’d already changed into house clothes and had begun to work my way through the day’s email. He’d been to see his mom and was upset about something. He’d attempted to tell her what was bothering him, but she didn’t get it so it just sorta made him feel worse.

At any rate, he didn’t want to come home, wanted to do something out of the house which was the reason for his call.  Now, Rott’s not much to want to go out. I have a purse full of movie tickets I’ve won at work that attests to this fact.  So if Rott wants to go out, who am I to say no?

Still, I had stuff to do and he wanted to rinse off in the shower. By the time he got home I’d finished deleting email. While he rinsed off in the shower I ordered groceries for a Saturday delivery.  I got dressed and we went out.

The first thing we did was cruise straight down the 55 to PCH in his SUV. And Rott talked. And talked. And talked. It was good. Usually, the man doesn’t talk. It was kinda nice to hear his voice and his thoughts instead of the half dozen sentences that get him through the week, repeated as needed.

Driving through Balboa Peninsula we decided to head over to PCH. Windows down, sunroof open, the sun setting…it was a gorgeous drive in the truck which is a really cushy truck. I guess we talked about where to eat dinner for a good forty minutes just cruising from Balboa down PCH to Goldenwest, then up through the park to Warner…all places we used to drive when we lived in that part of the county. We both admitted to missing living over there.

When we saw Don Ramon’s in Huntington Beach we decided we wanted Mexican food and a pitcher of margys. But a pitcher of margys between us when you’re 20 miles and two freeways from home is a bad idea. So we stopped at BevMo cause as Rott’s talking about needing to go to the liquor store, we were passing the store that outdoes all liquor stores. And wow! Both of us had a BevMo card on us! WOOT!

After the BevMo stop we headed for home and the El Torito near our house. We had a nice dinner – ordered the same thing LOL – with the fresh guacamole appetizer and our pitcher of margys. We laughed about the bad karaoke in the bar. When we left a band was playing on the patio at Zito’s and I sang Walk Like An Egyptian with them as I walked to the truck.

We got home and sat in front of the TV talking. I didn’t go and turn on the computer until I was almost ready to hit the sheets. And for all that I didn’t get any work done…it felt like a really productive night. One of the things that both of us acknowledged is that it felt good to burn that half a tank of gas and cruise PCH. It felt good to talk. It felt good to share a pitcher of margys. It just felt good to be together.  It was a perfect night.

Feels kinda blasphemous to post a Marcus after that but I am who I am and I love to look at Marcus.

That image sorta goes with my PCH drive I think. 😉 Wishing you all a really great Monday!

Goulash

This is a goulash post today, a little bit of everything.  My brain is a little too fried to actually come up with a topic to discuss or yak about so I figured I’d just let it wander from topic to topic as I ramble on.

Memes

Okay, so I got tagged for this Bald Face Liar game. Originally, when I first saw this meme on a few blogs, I laughed because a couple of the authors who were playing really are bald faced liars so I found it rather ironic. I never did do memes well and I prefer the truth even with regard to games so I doubt I’ll play.  My friend Lisa is playing though, so if you want to see how it works click on her name and check it out.

Lunch

I had lunch on Saturday with an author! A real live totally awesome author! Z.A. Maxfield and I held down a corner booth at Claim Jumper for three hours and talked about everything.  I can’t believe how much fun it was. I can’t believe I hadn’t come out of my dark cave sooner to meet her. But now that I have, we have plans. First, we plan on doing this monthly. Second, we plan on descending on the Orange County chapter of the Romance Writer’s of America to see how two authors of M/M romantic fiction can stir things up.

RWA

Speaking of RWA, since Pink Petal Books is now allowed in, I’m going to join RWA and submit my PAN application since I do happen to fit the criteria of the elite group who made a thousand bucks in royalties in a year (I think I did it in about 6 months which is amazing from a little pub) on a single title. Fire Season is the book that did it so I might as well show off the fact that it’s a bestseller. I’ll probably join the Rainbow (GLBT) and Passionate Ink (erotic) chapters too. I need to check out the OC chapter before I join. It seemed kind boring but ya never know. ZAM and I will give them a look over and see if it’s worth belonging to.

Knitting

I’m knitting together all the scenes for Common Ground. I’m very close to finishing this. I just have a bare handful of scenes to complete with a little weaving and it will done. Won’t be as long as Ride the Lightning or Fire Season, which were both closer to 60K. This one will be under 50K. But it’s the introduction to the werewolves so the dragons have very little face time. However, it lays the ground work for two other stories in the series. One is Sunstroked which is the book that follows this one and is about Colin’s very happy assistant Corey. (Who isn’t very happy in the beginning of the book.) The second is Thunder and Myth which is the story of how Diandra Antaeus left her family for Ruan McCallan and what happens years later when Ruan manages to push even Di away. Look for Common Ground in July and Sunstroked in the fall.

The Bar

It’s buh bye to something very dear to my heart. By the end of this week the Bar will be gone. With big gaping holes in the story from posts deleted by writers who left, it wasn’t worth keeping up. A couple of the other writers are copying their posts to save and once they are done this week, I’m taking the site down and deleting the domain. It’s like the end of an era and it’s a little heartbreaking for me.

Scare

Rott and I had a scare over the weekend. His mom had a bout of severe confusion so his step-dad took her to the hospital where they kept her overnight and did an MRI and some other tests. They let her go home the next day and I guess we’ll eventually find out what the tests have to say. It really shook Rott up though.

STP

Yes, Stone Temple Pilots have a new CD that is out tomorrow! Rott and I are stoked. We’ve already ordered a copy. We’ve debated going to see them when they come around and I don’t mind watching Weiland bounce around the stage totally high off his ass but for some reason Rott seems to have some reservations about that. Neither of us have looked up dates yet so there’s a good chance we may not even have the opportunity to see them. The other CD we’re early awaiting is the new Nevermore which is out in June.

Toes

I got a pedicure on Friday and I could have cried. It felt soooo good! I’ve neglected to do this for myself for a year and now I’m so sorry that I did. It was relaxing and my feet feel great. I need to give myself that pampering every two weeks and stop being such a pissant about it taking away my writing time. I can use the time to read on my Nookie and reading always rejuvenates a writer so I just don’t have any excuses except that I’m a lazy so and so.

Marcus

The Bar may be gone but I will never give up my Marcus!

Asthma

I’m having a bad patch with my asthma. It happens once in awhile. The least little exertion has me gasping for air. It sucks eggs in a major way. Unfortunately, it’s one of those times where my meds just don’t do jack. It always seems to occur a couple of times a year…getting so bad that nothing works and all I can do is stay indoors as much as possible and not have to walk more than a few feet at a time and not carry or lift anything heavier than my purse. It will ease up. It always does. I’m just miserable until it does though.

Memorial Day

I have to work. We always work on Memorial Day because there’s a big event at the cemetery. Actually, I’ll be inside doing the deposit for my friend Liz who normally does them. She’s on golf cart duty this year ferrying the handicapped visitors to the event. Since it’s month end and we can’t afford a lost day, I get to stay out of the sun and count money. It’s really quiet inside the building on Memorial Day. Even quieter than it is on a weekend. But usually, that means I’ll get done quicker. 🙂 And we sometimes get lunch too. Chicken or hot dogs. Nothing special but free food is always nice.

I’m going to stop rambling now and toddle off to work. You all have a great Monday!