Judge Not

I spent Saturday judging some writing contest entries. It was fun, but I have to say, the first few I read were disappointing. I guess I expected them to be better stories. I don’t know why I had that expectation but I did.  The writing was okay, the mechanics not bad, but I felt nothing when I read them. They weren’t exactly boring, but they just weren’t interesting enough to capture my interest.

Of course, I could tell with a few of them that they just needed a better vocabulary, better word choices, to pump up the story and give it more oomph. Others, well, let’s just say that the plots needed some work.  I will say that there were two real standouts of the ten I read and that’s a pretty decent percentage.

I talked to Nikki (Motley) about how to present yourself when you try to get a job. I told her to stand up straight and not slouch. People might perceive you as lazy and schlumpy if you don’t stand up straight. Now, in Nikki’s case, standing up straight means her gigantic boobs are really, really on display. There’s not much we can do about that.  I mean, Mother Nature saw fit to endow her with the kind of chest strippers pay plastic surgeons to get.  I try to get her to dress so that her chest isn’t so much on display when she’s job hunting. After all, despite it not being right for people to judge each other, they just do especially when they need to size up job applicants.

Used to be, Nikki had the attitude that since people shouldn’t judge each other she could suit herself. She was in her teens then and feeling all angsty and rebellious. Now, she gets it that while we shouldn’t judge others there are times you have to and most people are gonna do it anyway.  I don’t think it’s how humans are biologically, I think it’s how our culture is. And luckily, at 21, Nikki now gets this too. Now, if only she could just get people to stop staring at her boobs and give her a customer service type job…

Today’s Marcus is low key and pretty. I was playing around with gradients in Photoshop and used my favorite Marcus photo.  I love purple.

Oh! Before I go I invite you to check out Fonts For Peas. Amanda made a font out of my handwriting! It’s called peaLex Valentine. 🙂 I should probably use it on this site. Whadda ya think?

Wishing you all a non-judgmental Monday!

Gah! Earworms!

Sometimes I don’t mind earworms. I usually have one when I’m working on a manuscript (the current manuscript, Sunstroked, has a Godsmack earworm, Love-Hate-Sex-Pain) and I often get them at work when I’m concentrating. I also wake up with them. I’m not sure how that works. My unconscious just produces a song and leaves it stuck in my head. The ones I wake up with are the hardest to get rid of.

When I was in the spotlight at Whipped Cream’s blog last week, I talked about the soundtrack to the books I wrote. The fact of the matter is, those songs were earworms.  They drove me nuts the whole time I was writing. On the other hand, they also helped me over the rough spots when I struggled to find the words.

One of the commenters at Whipped Cream said I should put that soundtrack on my website. Me being me, I thought that a great idea! So I went hunting for a way to put the soundtrack on the Lex Valentine site. Since the demise of Imeem, I’d sort of been at a loss. Blip.fm confuzzles me. Last.fm is missing a lot of the odd stuff I listen to. I ended up at Playlist.com. And yanno, it worked! Well, mostly anyway. LOL Two songs are missing from the list but I put them on there individually using Rhapsody.

If you look at the soundtrack, it’s a pretty diverse list. And I bet if you look at the list, you’ll wince when you think of some of those songs as an earworm. And your wincing would be right. It was horribly painful to have the Backstreet Boys stuck in my head for weeks. Although, I have to admit, Helpless When She Smiles doesn’t sound like the old Backstreet Boys stuff. Sounds a lot more mature. For you rockers, you’ll see some fresh new stuff too like the Godsmack song and Breaking Benjamin. Both are worthy earworms.

So how do I finally get a new earworm without having to switch manuscripts? Usually, I play something else. Something just as earworm-worthy. It works until I wake up with yet another song stuck in my head. Oy.

This Monday I need to see something a little fanciful for my Marcus offering.

This suits the sci fi mood I’ve been in lately. 🙂  Don’t be surprised if I turn out a sci fi story in the next six months. LOL Have a great Monday!

I Would Like to Thank…

It’s official. I am now an award winning author! Ride the Lightning placed 3rd in the erotica category of the 2010 Lories Contest put on by the From the Heart Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writer’s of America. This is a really thrilling milestone in my career and I’m so excited that it happened with this story. I thought for sure it would have been the oh so popular Fire Season, but nope. My poor little red dragon with her abused past brought this one home. And I couldn’t be more proud of her!  I don’t have my badge for my website yet. That’s forthcoming but I was told I could announce this today.

I do have people to thank for helping me reach this milestone and I figure they all know who they are. My readers and friends here on the blog are a big part of this. My publisher and editor Mary K. Wilson. Nikki and Rott and the babies. My supportive co-workers who never once said, “Ew. You write what?” but have always said, “Wow! That is so cool!” All the friends I’ve made on the loops, authors and readers and fans alike. All the Bar ladies who always believed in me.  This is just the coolest thing to start the week with. I have a huge smile despite my back hurting like hell.

One more thing before I give you a Marcus… My friend and fellow author Lisa Alexander-Griffin has a new book coming out with a new press in August. Passion in Print is an imprint of MLR Press which is one of my publishers. Lisa requested that Winterheart Design make her cover so since it’s official on the cover art, I thought I’d show you what I made her.

Okay, here’s a Marcus and then I’m off to the office.

That winning posture suits my mood today. Plus,  he has great arms. Rawr.

Wishing you all an award winning 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!

Favoritism

We all have things we’re partial to.  Restaurants and food. Authors and books. Clothes and colors. The list can go on and on. Last night I asked my Yahoo group to tell me which of the sex scenes (or love scenes if you prefer) that I’ve written were the hottest and why.  Just a little informal poll. I want to see what they say and I have a reason for doing so.

This week I started dismantling The Bar. The writers are all busy with other things in their lives and a couple of them went in and removed their posts because they have copyright concerns. When it became obvious that rather than leave a disjointed story up there, the whole thing would need to come down, I emailed the other authors and removed all the readers from the board so no one could access it but the writers. Then I began the process of taking it all down.

As I was copying my posts to a Word doc to save, I realized that some of the scenes I’d written really stuck out in my mind. They were favorites for whatever reason.  Then it hit me that even in my published works, I had scenes and characters who were my favorites.

Unlike some authors who spit out their work and never look back, I use my prior work to fuel whatever the current manuscript is. I use it to evoke a specific headspace and mindset that I need to produce a scene.  Sure, there are some books I have that are old and well-loved and I use those too sometimes. In my own writing, I know just where to go to dig up the emotions needed to complete a specific scene. For instance, if I need to write a scene filled with despair and pain, I’ll go read Rousing Caine, the part where Jason’s in the hospital, Chris is dying and Jason finally gets all the lessons Caine tried to teach him.  I cried when I wrote it. I cry when I read it and it has fueled other scenes.

I suppose that makes those scenes my favorites. And I’m curious to see if the people in my group have the same feelings as I do about some of those scenes.  I think that if they are feeling what I feel, then I am absolutely doing what I am supposed to do when it comes to writing. So I can’t wait to see these responses. If you would like to play along, feel free to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite scene or character that I’ve written. Show me your favorites!

Today’s Marcus is a beauty. I always feel that Monday cannot go wrong if his naked chest is on my blog.

I posted over at Flirty Author Bitches last week about how my brain isn’t maturing at the same rate as my body. I’m still looking at hotties younger than me and my kid just turned 21 yesterday. If you get a chance, stop by Motley’s Facebook or Socially Dead and wish her a happy 21st.

Hope you have a great Monday!