Tap, Tap, Tap

Shhhh! That tapping you hear is my keyboard. I’m on a deadline. Breathe Me In has to be turned in to my editor tonight. I’m in a rush to finish. No time for anything else. However, I do want to tell you that on Saturday night I won an award. The 2011 Ariana Award from EPIC for the best erotic contemporary romance…COVER. Yes, cover. Neither of my finalists in the book part of the EPIC Awards won. The other cover finalist I had didn’t win. Just this one.

What a winner, eh? I was inspired, I swear. Tess’s book is seriously hot and I actually read it before I did the cover. The inspiration seems to have worked.

Anyway, back to the tapping keyboard of my computer and the manuscript I need to finish. Before I go, here’s my Monday Marcus!

Even his arms are pretty, I swear. LOL You can see how old that photo is by looking at the software behind him. Windows 95? Yikes! Everyone have a great Monday!

Belonging

Over the years, I’ve belonged to different groups on the internet. They always seem to fade away at some point. Not so much because people get bored with what the group does, although I’m sure there’s a portion that do, but because the dynamics of the group change. Back when Rott and I belonged to KNAC.com, the group started splintering because of new people joining and fights and wars that broke out. It wasn’t fun anymore so some people stopped going. That changed the dynamic of the group the extent that it wasn’t fun for other people anymore either and they stopped going.

At the horse racing sim, I’ve seen that happen with different residencies and groups within the game. I still play although I seem to be able to only play for about six or seven months out of the year. I go on hiatus around the holidays and have trouble getting back to the game before the Derby. And I miss the people there when I don’t play. The problem is that the dynamic has changed so much that I’m not the only one who doesn’t go there daily to post or chat. We’ve all gotten sporadic about it. But every time I think of giving my stables to Fabman and TBS, I can’t. Not ready to let go I suppose. I love the game too much despite my lack of time for it.

The same thing happened with the Bar, the serial story where I used to write. It’s happened to Yahoo groups I belonged to. It’s even happened somewhat here in the Blogosphere. Sure, Dave still does what Dave has always done. You can always count on him to post. Karl still does his causes and talks about his angst. Gooster still posts hotties. Hilly still talks about her emotions. Marty still talks about music. Jester does his American Idol updates. I’m still here with my Marcuses. It just seems – with the exception of Dave – that we all do it less than we used to.

Rather than bemoan the fact that things aren’t the same as they used to be – and really who wants to be in stasis anyway? – I’m just glad to know that I belong. And I’ve had great places to belong and friends to belong with. And if they come around here once in awhile and say HI as Trotter from the sim did a week or so ago, well then, that’s something that I cherish. Those friendships, that warmth, that belonging. And it never goes away really, even if the group does. It’s always still there in your heart. You just have to remember to take it out and look at it and hug it once in awhile.

And now, as I always do on Monday, I have a Marcus!

I’m outta here. Lots of work to do at the cemetery. So everyone have a great Monday!

PS: Marty…way to go on the writing! Go, Marty! Go, Marty!

Bitten on the Ass

No, not me. Although, I was going to come here today and rant. Then I was asked a question and I decided the rant probably shouldn’t be aired in the way I had originally intended. I know, I’m being cryptic but I can fix that by telling you a story.

I belong to a number of Yahoo groups. Authors who complain a lot tend to catch my eye. One author in particular who, in the past couple of years, has complained about eBook publishers and stated that self-publishing is the wave of the future, who has  complained about editors wanting to change her work, who has complained about various clauses in contracts, reviews and reviewers, and rejections of her work. I’ve seen her gripe about a lot of things.

Well, the other day an editor asked me what I knew about her. The editor had seen lots of promo by this author and rather thought the author must be big at another publisher. I told the editor what I had seen on the loops. And I was a tad more specific than I am here.  Then the editor said she was curious because she had a submission from the author. My first thought was that if this author was so big at the other publisher why was she subbing to my publisher.

At any rate, this author’s rantings in the past may have come back to bite her on the ass. I’ve posted numerous times in the past (most recently in the PASIC chapter’s newsletter) about how things you say on the internet can come back to bite you on the ass. I’m not 100% positive, but I rather think this author just got chomped.

So my rant for today isn’t really a rant anymore. See, this weekend I spent a lot of time visiting blogs I’ve never been to before.  I wasn’t happy. I wanted to come here and remind people of all those rules for blogging that you see across the internet. Like not having music that auto plays on your blog or website. This one should should be pretty obvious. Not everyone likes the same music. The blog owner may think it’s cool to show people what she’s listening to or give people a sense of who she is by making them listen to the song on her iPod. It’s not cool. It’s not a good idea. It’s kinda childish IMO but don’t take my word for it. Go read all those Do’s and Don’ts lists where they all state: Auto play music on your site – don’t do it!

I was going to rant about all the excerpts I see posted on blogs. Edited excerpts from published books. Excerpts with the use of TWO instances of WAS in the same sentence and SIX instances of WAS in the same paragraph. All those WAS’s equals a story written in the passive voice which is basically a no no, something an experienced professional editor should have caught and asked the author to fix.  I realized there are a lot more publishers out there now whom we can add to the list labeled “Has Shoddy Editing.”

I had my snarky remarks all ready to go for those blogs on a tour with comments on moderation and no one in sight to release the comments. I had even snarkier remarks for Live Journal blogs that show you a COMMERCIAL when you try to comment. Oh, unless you pay for Live Journal. Rumor has it that the pay customers over there don’t subject their commenters to the commercial. Maybe I should show those people all the pretty WordPress blogs I know. If I’m gonna pay for a blog, I think I’d rather pay domain and hosting and have my own blog like this one here where I can change the template and plugins and where commenting isn’t hard to figure out.

Seriously, I don’t get the Live Journal thing.  Commercials on comments. Sheesh.

I’m not really ranting. I’m not snarking. I was going to. But that editor asking me about the author reminded me that stuff you say can come back to haunt you. So I’ll  just flush my snark. It’s not worth it. For one, because everything I wanted to rant about won’t change. There will always be bloggers who don’t understand the music thing or the commenting thing. And I don’t think Live Journal’s commercials are going away any time soon. Neither do I think that publishers with shoddy editing will all go away and authors who think those publishers are amazing will remain as well. More than just love is blind in this world, don’t ya think?

Tossing the snark into the dumpster and just heaving a sigh and shaking my head is what I’m reduced to because I need to follow my own rules about what not to say on the net.  Luckily, you don’t even need to comment on this because I know my demographic and I know that most of you (more the bloggers than the authors but some authors get this) feel the same as me on these issues.  We’ll just have to heave a collective sigh.

And now, my Monday Marcus to ease my disappointment at not ranting.

So beautiful. I love a man with the top button of his jeans undone…

Have a great Monday everyone!

It’s My Party

I freaking hate that song “It’s My Party.” It’s a whiny song. But unfortunately, I’m a tad whiny today. It’s a holiday. I’m home. I’m upset. I didn’t really sleep last night either. I’m not in the mood to blog. I’m not really in the mood to do anything except maybe cry some more which is stupid cause that’s what I did all night. It didn’t even ease my stress which is pissing me off. My Next Day Flyer order is all jacked up and when I try to call them the call keeps getting cut off. Grrr. I may have to go get a pedicure…

Anyway, even though I’m not in the mood to blog, I try to not miss my Mondays here and I guess I really need Marcus today. I don’t like to disappoint those who stop by just to ogle him.

He’s so pretty. *sigh* I’m off to have a private pity party now and try to write more of Breathe Me In. Maybe I can channel my angst. I hope so anyway. I have a deadline.

Hope your Monday is miles better than mine!

Autographed Copy

Today being Valentine’s Day meant that I needed to do something special as an author for the readers out there. It would look pretty stupid if an author named Valentine who writes romances didn’t do squat on Valentine’s Day, right? I’ve been pondering what to do for a week. And then I got these nifty little gold stickers in the mail. I bought them for the book signing part of the Romantic Times convention. They say “Autographed Copy.” So what I’m going to do is post over at my Lex Valentine blog and devise a contest of some sort that will include people needing to comment or answer a question in comments. Then, I’ll drop names in a hat and let Rott or the babies pull out a name and the winner will get an autographed copy of one of my print books. This way, I can try out those nifty gold stickers!

I’m a bit amazed at the planning that is required to go to one of these conventions. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff I need to do before I go.  I need to have my promo materials created and purchased and all put together before I arrive. I need to check on whether I can connect my netbook to my phone and get internet that way or if I’m going to have to pay for it one way or the other. I need a haircut. I need a pedicure. I need…stuff. And I have to look at the agenda and decide on some sort of schedule for myself of events and workshops.  This is going to take weeks to pull off!

Because of the convention looming and books I need to write not getting written and my life just being exhausting right now, I’m not much in a Valentine’s mood. Not even interested in chocolate. I did buy myself some Creme Brulee though. I really doubt Rott and I will do anything. I can’t even remember the last time we did.  He doesn’t get romantic very often. When he does I cherish the moment. I have a pink Valentine’s card from a couple of years ago that was sweet and mushy and made me cry. I can remember him bringing me flowers once from one of those freeway off ramp vendors. I didn’t care where got them. It truly was the thought that mattered to me. Lately, we’re not romantic with each other any more and in some respects it makes me sad. The flip side of the coin is that I totally understand why we aren’t. Stress. Big stress that we both have trouble letting go of so that we can have a sweet day together. And anyway, it’s a work day so it’s not like we can spend it together.

Losing Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad. At least I won’t have a stomachache from too much chocolate or too much rich food.  I’ll order a pizza and we’ll watch a concert on Palladia. That sounds relaxing to me.  Might not be romantic but at the end of a long work day, I’ll take relaxing and quiet over romantic.

I looked for an appropriate Marcus for Valentine’s Day and couldn’t make up my mind. He’s so hot any of his photos are appropriate!

YUM! He’s all dressed up and ready for a romantic night. No Monday, Valentine’s Day or not, is complete without Marcus!

Before I go, don’t forget to head over to the Lex Valentine blog for a chance to win an “Autographed Copy” of one of my print books. I promise to throw in some promo goodies too. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your sweetheart!

PS:  Happy Birthday to Paul Diaz…wherever he may be now.