Last week I had a nice whine over a simple tummy ache. Funny how the small stuff can just feel devastating sometimes. This week I’ve moved from whining to mental eye rolling. You see, I have galleys to read. For you non-authors, galleys are what authors get prior to a book going to print. You have to proof the galleys to ensure there are no mistakes. If there was a mistake in the ebook that didn’t get fixed, this is your time to fix it.

So I had a nice cover flat of Tales of the Darkworld Volume Two and a big fat file of galleys. Volume Two is two novellas, each one just over 40K. So that’s more than 80K of words to check. Yowch! I saw them in my email and knew I needed to get cracking. Did that happen? Oh, no. Instead, I listened to ghost stories as told by Rott who has been encountering a ghost in our new house.

Now, most people would label me a non-believer. Rott pretty much does. But he’s seen the ghost several times now and that has prompted him to tell me. The first time he saw the ghost he was in the laundry room and he turned to go through the door into the kitchen when he saw an apparition rush toward him, then through him and disappear. He said there was a rushing sound like a waterfall, a loud whoosh of sound that dissipated when the ghost did. He also said it was male and very angry. Scared spitless, Rott ran out of the house, got in his SUV and tore out of there. He came back an hour later and all was quiet.

Rott decided to have a conversation with the ghost to let him know we weren’t anything to be afraid of or angry with. He said he told the ghost, we can all live here peacefully…we’ll leave you alone and you leave us alone. The ghost didn’t come back after that. Until this week. Not sure what would have set a ghost off this week but Rott says he’s seen him two or three times. And when he turns out the living room light and tries to kick back on the couch and watch TV, he can feel the presence of someone else in the room and he has to turn the light back on.

Well, this time the ghost is unnerving Rott. Really unnerving him. Like to the point that Rott wants to get rid of the house. The ghost is freaking him out.

I just sat silently through Rott’s story. I’m never sure what to believe when people tell me ghost stories. I’ve never seen a ghost or sensed the presence of one. I have gotten bad vibrations from places before and later found out something awful happened there. But I’ve never seen a ghost. I don’t know that I believe in them. Well, to be honest, I’m not sure I disbelieve in them either. I do believe that Rott believes in them and I believe that he believes he saw one. For that alone, I treat his words fairly seriously.

How does one combat a ghost? Especially when your spouse pretty much wants to pack up and leave it behind and when you yourself do not feel the presence of anything bad. Do we have a seance? Go ghosthunting? Call ghostbusters or myth hunters or whatever those TV dudes are called?

It’s a pretty weird dilemma to have that’s for sure. Anyone have any advice? I’ll be sure to pass it along to Rott if you do. Meanwhile, I need a Marcus.

Look at all that skin. *sigh* If our ghost looked like that, I’d never want him to leave! LOL Hope you all have a happy and haunting free Monday!

I Want My Mommy

I’ve had some pretty painful things happen to me in the past. Broken things, twisted things, torn things. I’ve been on pain meds and rocked myself to sleep while in an incoherent daze from pain. I’ve survived some painful stuff and yet, I find myself in a horrible whiny state this morning, felled by a simple stomachache.

I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to do anything except eat a handful of Tums, drink a ginger ale and go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. I feel like a total six year old moaning about a tummy ache. But the damn thing is awful! It’s not the sharp, throbbing pain of a broken bone. It’s not the tight pounding of a migraine. It’s not the set my bones on fire flare of arthritis. It’s just a slightly nauseous, slightly achy, bad egg burp tasting tummy ache. It’s gross and the nagging quality of the churning ache is annoying and exhausting.

Why such a simple kind of pain would seem worse than the time I severely cracked a couple of metacarpals in my hand is a mystery. A broken bone should be worse than a stomachache, shouldn’t it? Maybe it’s because as children, stomachaches totally felled us. As an adult, when you get a stomachache your brain drags up memories of past stomachaches and makes you feel as if you can’t get over this without your mom’s soothing touch and words of comfort. Maybe you need a mouthful of chalky pepperminty Pepto Bismol, the stuff your mom gave you when you were a kid. It’s like half of the discomfort of the stomachache is the fact that your mom isn’t there to make you feel better.

So I’m just gonna whine in my head to myself until the tummy ache goes away. I’ve got no Pepto nor mom to soothe the damned thing. I’ll eat a couple more Tums and grab an ice cold Coke or ginger ale before I leave for work. The icy, fizzy soda will probably do the trick and settle my stomach, but I’ll still feel cranky cause yanno…I have a tummyache and I want my mom! LOL Adults can be such big babies, can’t we?

Hopefully, Marcus helps rid me of the stomachache. Never underestimate the beauty of the Marcus. He can do a lot for an ailing soul.

I feel a bit better now. It might be the Tums or it might be Marcus. Either way, I’d best toddle off to the office. I’m getting back a job I gave up to someone else a few years back now that I have some great help in my part of the department. There is nothing like having competent co-workers to make your workday smoother!

Have an awesome Monday everyone!


Cheating Marcus

This is truly a Marcus Monday since my post is about him. Yesterday, I went to Smashwords to buy the book of a fellow Six Sentence Sunday participant, Jessica E. Subject. It was on sale at half off so I decided to hunt around and pick up another sale book while I was there. I did a search on a number of different terms and began to scroll through the titles and covers. After a few minutes, I was stopped cold in my tracks by a cover that shocked me.

Yep. It was a cover with Marcus on it. You can see it HERE.

There’s a link at the bottom of the book to report it. I tried to report it for copyright infringement because I KNEW there was no way that author had purchased the right to use that image. Images of Marcus Schenkenberg, the first male supermodel, were not on any of the royalty free stock image sites I frequented, although I have seen him on the sites that sell managed rights images. For those of you who don’t know the difference, to put it simply, royalty free images are very inexpensive while managed rights images are very, very expensive.

At any rate, I couldn’t report the book for copyright infringement because I hadn’t purchased it. Seems that Smashwords has a policy of not letting you report someone for doing something wrong unless you line their pockets and that of the author first. Well, shit. That put my panties in a twist. Now, I was not only pissed at the author who has a cover using an image that should have cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to use, a famous image even, but I was pissed at the publisher/distributor for not have a means of reporting the infringement.

Now, you could say I’m infringing as well because I post his image here, but a lot of people post his image around the net because they are fans. Going after your fans is a tough thing. It’s expensive and could be derogatory to one’s career so most celebs don’t pursue that. Besides, I’m not selling anything using his face. This author, on the other hand, is making money on a book that is promoted using his easily recognizable face and body and I would think he’d have pretty good grounds to send the author and Smashwords a DCMA notice and/or a letter threatening to sue.

So I’m pondering whether to contact the author or contact Marcus’s agent. I think I might try an email to the author first out of courtesy. They may have paid someone to make that cover and not realized the artist infringed on Marcus’s rights. As an artist who spends a lot of money on images annually in order to ensure I’m not infringing on someone’s rights, I’m outraged at the lack of professionalism shown here. And I realize this author isn’t the only one who thinks it’s okay to just take whatever images you find on the net and use them as they please. But I can’t let this go. People need to know that this isn’t okay. It’s the same thing as pirates giving your book away.

Well, now I’m getting off my soapbox because it’s time to go to work. Here’s a beautiful Marcus who is here for your pleasure and mine and is NOT selling anything for me.

I hope you have a great Monday!


Some of you may have heard me talk about how one of the babies wouldn’t settle in the new house. He first hid in a recliner, tearing it up from the inside to dig his way to the center of the chair where we couldn’t get to him. He didn’t come out for weeks until he was thin and sick. We got him out and into the biggest carrier. Put him in there with food and water and a pee pad and had the chair hauled away.

He did okay in the carrier for a few days and then Rott let him out. After that he hid under the futon for weeks. We’re pretty sure he came out once in awhile  to run into the bathroom for food, water and the box. Mopping up after him was a chore because he’d pee and puke from not eating or drinking for days then gorging himself in the night.

In the last ten days Tux has gotten much better. He’s starting to come out regularly. He goes into the bathroom from under the futon (which is near the bathroom door in a corner of the bedroom) all the time. He has no problems with the bathroom although the skylight messed with him in the beginning for probably a week.  In the last week, he’s been coming out to crumb bum when I’m eating and last night he was playing with his brothers. And when Rott came in last night he stood his ground and went to Rott for petting. Just like a normal non-freaked out cat. Rott laughed that it’s only been 3 months that he’s been hiding while his brothers were all okay within a week.

You might wonder what had poor Tux so freaked out. Well, meet his nemesis.

Yep. The ceiling fan. He was completely freaked by it. His brothers all looked at him like he was insane and I’m pretty sure he was for those three weeks. I’m still not convinced he’s a bit on the crazy side. I mean, c’mon. He hid inside a recliner for a month and wouldn’t come out. He’s lucky he isn’t dead.

But he’s out now and doing much better so hopefully, he gets his manners back or relearns them because he’s conveniently forgotten how to use the box every time he needs to go. I know he uses it sometimes but I’m not sure why he doesn’t use it ALL the time. He’s grossing me out and making me angry so his manners need some serious work at the moment. But, as Rott says, at least he didn’t die in that chair.

It’s a busy Monday ahead for me so now that I’ve told you about Tux’s acclimatization, it’s time for a Marcus.

I know he may not spin everyone’s wheels but he sure spins mine. Yum. Yum.

Hey, if you’re local to me, check out the OC Register for an ad from my work about a photo contest we’re having. You could win a $250 Amex card. That’s a lotta moolah! Hope you all have a great Monday!

Go Shopping

I spent Sunday redoing my Cafepress store. I haven’t done anything about the template, but I have added products including a whole Lex Valentine section. This was one of the main thrusts of the store for me. I have people ask me about my cover art all the time. Now, they can go buy themselves a poster of my latest covers. Well, the covers I created anyway. Eventually, I think it would be cool to sell posters of all the covers I’ve done even the ones for other authors. I like the idea of cross promotion in this manner.

The store still has the Socially Dead stuff and a couple of the original Sunlight Sucks shirts and best of all the Sex Toy and Queen of Snark shirts are back!  I love the Queen of Snark graphic. One of my all time favorite creations. And just so you know, I don’t mark up my items like other people do. The biggest markup is a whopping $1.01. Others are fifty one cents and some don’t even have a mark up! *gasp*

I’m not out to make a bunch of money. Just want to keep the shop up and running so that my dream of cross promotion can come to fruition. Like Amazon, I need to spend time slapping tags on things, but as usual, time is my enemy. It’s elusive. I never have enough of it. Eventually, I’ll get it done though because I do want this store to swim not sink. So do me a favor…go shopping! The new store is called Winterheart Design.

The other thing I did this weekend besides spend time with Nikki on Saturday, is finalize the cover for my next print book, Tales of the Darkworld Volume Two. The last two Tales books were just a little short of the word count needed to go to print. So my publisher will combine the two novellas into one print book just as she did with the first two Tales books.

Volume Two features Sunstroked and Breathe Me In. Trying to create a cover for it at first was tough. I wanted a lodge to represent Gargoyle Lodge but every image I found of a lodge that looked like it could be Gargoyle had snow in it. Since Gargoyle Lodge is in California, in the spring, summer and fall there’s no snow. So the photos didn’t work. I ended up with part of the Breathe Me In cover including a very hot photo of cover model Brooks Johnson. The photo is similar to the one in Breathe Me In but not the same. Then I used the Eiffel Tower image. To represent Sunstroked, I found a different image of the man on that cover, but instead of using the tribal wolf I used a wolf photo with piercing eyes. I think the cover is really striking while still representing the original covers of those two books.

Now it’s Monday and it’s back to work. I love my job but man, it’s been demanding lately. Actually, it’s demands seem to have been growing. My phone never stops ringing. When it does, there’s someone at my desk or important email. There’s deadlines every week, meetings, and stuff that comes up out of the blue. I juggle a lot of oranges there. Actually, I juggle apples and oranges and so much of it requires immediate attention. I multi-task well but now everyone knows that so they keep throwing things at me all day long and expect me to just deal. There are days I’m just spread too thin to deal unfortunately even when I work OT.  It’s a good thing I’ve learned to apologize.

So before I head off to the office, here’s my Marcus for this Monday. I need this bit of beauty and sexiness to keep my motor revved when I’m so tired from work. 😉

Geez, he’s gorgeous. On that note, don’t forget to check out the Winterheart Design Cafepress store and don’t forget that I’m at Castles and Guns this coming Sunday. I’ll also have another Six Sentence Sunday on the Lex Valentine blog on Sunday. I’m giving readers another bite of Breath of Heaven one of my Christmas stories for this year.

Have a fantastic Monday!