Half Full

Normally, I’m not so much a glass half full person. Especially, when something bad has happened recently. Last week, the publishing world lost a true talent. And I (along with a lot of other people) lost a dear friend. William Neale, a fellow MLR Press author, died last week of a heart attack. I won’t dress it up in pretty words – it was a huge, painful shock. I’d spoken to him only days before. We’d planned for me to do the cover and book trailer for his next release. We hadn’t gone into details other than Bill telling me again that I don’t charge enough for the work I do. Now, I wish we had gone into some details so I’d know where to start when that book does come out, posthumously.

At any rate, last week wasn’t such a good week. And then I got edits for Runaways. Well, most authors like to say that they are in “edit hell” when they are working on edits. I’m not one of them. I look at edits as a glass half full, in direct opposition to how I usually see things. Edits are an opportunity to make my work better. I have three really amazing editors who take very good care of me and help me polish my work to the perfection that you see (at least grammatically) when you buy one of my books. Kris Jacen at MLR Press, Jillian Bell at Ellora’s Cave and Mary Wilson at Pink Petal Books are my heroes. And when they send me edits I can barely contain myself.

When I see edits in my email, it’s like Christmas morning for me. I can barely wait to open them. I usually force myself to finish whatever it is I’m doing before opening the edits but I squirm in my seat the whole time I’m finishing those tasks. I always finish my edits early, mostly because I can’t stop working on them once I have them. I LOVE edits! I love seeing how the finished product will come out. And I love hearing what my editors have to say about my work.

So despite the fact that I couldn’t focus on my edits for a couple of days after Bill died, I did get my second round edits for Runaways back to Jilly this weekend. The lure of the edits called to me even in my grief. And I imagine Bill was chuckling at me the whole time. Glass half full indeed.

Now, how about a Marcus to bring some cheer to this cold spring morning?

Oh, so handsome there in formal wear. Certainly cheers my morning right up! Have a great Monday everyone!

News of the Day

Today’s post is a just a hodge podge of information. I have some stuff to share and no other ideas about what to write because, as usual, Daylight Savings Time just fucks me up.

First of all, I have a new cover! Ellora’s Cave’s artist Syneca did this great cover for Runaways. Originally, Runaways was a short story at Freya’s Bower. There was more to the story but I just wrote one piece of it and submitted it. Now, I’ve got my rights back so I expanded the story as it was meant to be. A nice little M/M/F menage. Very hot stuff. It should be out later this month.

Next stop is my story for the M/M Goodreads group. It’s almost finished but it’s not exactly in my normal voice. It’s a little different and much heavier on the sexual tension than the actual sex. So not my usual way of writing a short story or novella. At any rate, I got myself some beta readers because it’s been awhile since I wrote from a prompt and this isn’t coming out in my normal voice so I need to ensure it all sounds good. I should be done way in advance of the deadline thank God.

And speaking of deadlines, I intend to have Runaways’ sequel, Mating, expanded and to my editor at EC by the end of March. This one stays M/F but it’s getting more to the story and a hefty dose of added sex as well. No cover art as yet. At least, if it goes novella length, it will get a new cover otherwise it gets a Quickie cover which I already have.

I’ve got Kissing Joan Collins and Magic Lessons out right now as well as stand alone versions of Afterburner and Rousing Caine. With Runaways and Mating on the horizon, I’ll be doing some cover ads to help promo the books. I’ve got space on an ad for RWR magazine coming out in April. The Rainbow Romance Writers have a full page ad and I’m one of 9 books in the ad. Kissing Joan Collins is on the same row as A.C. Katt’s Shattered Glass which is a cover I did. So I feel like I get double exposure!

Speaking of covers again, I signed a contract to do covers for MuseItUp Publishing and I’ve got some feelers out with other publishers as well. Hopefully, you’ll all be seeing more of my work in the coming months in new places.

I am signed up to go to the GayRomLit reader’s retreat in Albuquerque, NM in October as an author. It should be a fun time and I’m really looking forward to the break from work and home. I’ll be taking some swag and signing books and I’m definitely going to have some kind of Lords of Aether swag to give out. We want to get ourselves more readers from that retreat.

I’m signed up to judge the Rainbow Awards and will be reading a few books for that over the next few months. I’m also going to do first round judging for OCC’s Orange Rose contest as well. Not sure if I’ll be entering any contests myself this year. I keep thinking about it, but thus far haven’t done it. Maybe the contest the Passionate Plume chapter puts on. I finished really well there last year.

Motley’s coming home to stay soon. Her roomie is graduating so baby’s coming home to mama. 😉 The babies will love it. They miss her horribly especially Rambo. And a welcome home to my friend Hilly who’s back in California after an extended stay in Idaho.

Uhhh. There’s probably more news I could think up, but I’m drawing a blank for the moment so maybe it’s time to stop. Heh. At least, that means it’s now time for a Marcus!

Oh, that is so nice for a Monday morning. A definite pick me up! Now, off you all go and have a great Monday!

 

 

And Then It Got Ugly

Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago I posted about the art of winning arguments on the net? Uh huh. Some people did not read that post. Some people got in a big brouhaha over the weekend. Did I speak up? Yes, a little. Did I get in any arguments? Um, not really. Was I offended? HELL YES. And worst part of it all is that I tried really hard to follow my own advice and stay cool and professional and not instigate or reply to inflammatory statements and remarks.  I tried not to take anything personally cause nothing was directed at me with my name on it. And still I was offended.

BY BOTH SIDES

Yep. Everyone freaking offended me at some point or another. See, one group I’m on made a remark that offended the people on another group. That group in turn used the same remark to say something offensive about the first group. Sound a little 5th grade-ish? It was. And I’m probably going to burn in the hell of their loop when all the shark-mouthed typists get wind of this…both loops. Double crucifixion. I guess it means I get to come back twice from the dead on a Sunday. But only if they crucify a couple of thieves as well. And now, I’ll get raped over a barrel by a rhino for using the bible and Easter as an analogy of sorts. I just know I’m gonna get reamed. If I don’t…if they choose to ignore my inflammatory words…HUZZAH! THANK GOD! Because yanno, nothing inflammatory over the weekend was ignored. Every little nuance and syllable was scrutinized in case someone was picking on someone else.

Now, it’s true that the above words are a tad tongue in cheek. You see, I’m trying to find some bit of humor in all of this in order to restore my psyche to some sort of equilibrium. ‘Cause it really is true that both sides offended me. And the saddest thing is that last year I left one of the groups because a member offended me and a friend and was allowed to do so unchecked. I came back this weekend in a show of support because of an issue of discrimination. I’m not even there 2 full days and someone there offended me. Again!

You’d think I’d learn my lesson and just not join that group again. But I’m in for a penny (well $12.50 to be honest) so I might as well take a leaf from my own post of January 23 and let it go. So I am. And I’m not leaving this time. I want to see what happens. If I email the head of this group, she’ll probably tell me that the offenders didn’t mean to offend me. That’s probably true but it doesn’t take the sting away. Guess I’ll have to pull up my big girl panties and deal.

What did I come away from the weekend with? One, a heck of a lot of respect for a woman who started an RWA chapter under a lot of gunfire. Two, a healthy appreciation for two authors whose words and cool heads I have always admired. Three, my sense of humor…intact.

Everyone and their mother and brother and cousins five times removed are blogging about this brouhaha. People who aren’t in the organization are blogging about it. It’s ugly. I feel dirty from the fallout. And very, very sad.

Should I be blogging the political trail like the other authors? Maybe. But seriously, I think they have enough people spouting fire and brimstone. They don’t need me to jump on the blog-bandwagon. I’d rather do a Rodney King. Use my humor to make little cryptic remarks on my blog that not many people will understand and pretty much no one will understand 100% unless they ask me in an email. Which I will reply to. Right after work. 😉

I will do several things in support of what I feel is right though. One, I’m not leaving RWA, RRW or PAN. If things need changing, it ain’t gonna happen if all the movers and shakers take their toys and wallets and go home. Two, not gonna let any of em offend me to the point that I start considering leaving those three groups despite #1. Three, I’ll send whatever emails and letters I need to in order to assist in the call for RWA to make some policy changes so another brouhaha like this doesn’t happen. Four, gonna ignore the blogs by readers who are spouting fire and brimstone over something that is kinda, sorta not their bizness cause they aren’t RWA members or even authors trying to enter the contest in question. Five, not gonna take this stuff personally. I have a family to support therefore I need to sleep at night. Six, not dwell on this stuff. Which means it’s time for me to stop blogging about it in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

It’s Marcus Monday and have I got a yummeh one for you today!

 

Now, I’ve got to go to work.  You all try to have a good Monday and dodge the ugly, okay? 😉

Comfort Zone

I finished Kissing Joan Collins early Sunday morning and turned it in to my editor. It’s a short novella for Valentine’s Day and will be out at MLR Press. The story has a little more snarky humor than I usually inject into a story and it vaguely reminds me of chick lit stories. I dedicated the book to a fellow author because of something he said once that stuck in my head and became fuel for this story.

Usually, when I dedicate a book to someone it’s because they’ve done something that somehow influenced the story. It might be that they just encouraged me when I needed a boost to finished. Or they could have said something that spawned an idea. The smallest influence could be the reason I dedicate a book to someone.

In this instance, the other author said something about authors needing to step out of their comfort zone sometimes. I don’t think it was one of those profound things you say where everyone goes “WOAH.” You know what I mean – the “I coulda had a V-8” moment. I think it was just something he said in conversation (I forget if it was on a loop, in a chat or in email) and probably didn’t intend for me to take away as inspiring. But I did.

You see this story is about how two men (it is a gay rom story) step out of their comfort zones one Valentine’s Day and discover a bright future together. The backstory is that the two guys meet in college and are instantly attracted to one another. They both react really dorky and are embarrassed by their actions so they each hide their attraction. They go on to spend their college years as roommates and best friends. As adults, their friendship continues. Then, one of the men leaves the area for a year for work. While he’s gone, the one left behind realizes he still has deeper feelings for his friend. The one who’s away realizes he loves and misses his friend so much that one, he needs to move back home and two, he needs to tell the other guy he wants to be with him.

The hero who moved away enlists the help of his friend’s siblings, who of course know their brother loves this guy. They set s scene that forces both men out of their comfort zone and confessions ensue. Of course, a hot night together also ensues. Followed by a morning with doubts and fears exposed. But they work it out because I don’t write anything but happy endings. LOL

The catalyst, the thing that forces the men out of their comfort zones…a dress. One man dresses as Joan Collins playing Alexis Carrington in Dynasty in order to get the attention of the other man. The sight of his friend in a dress has the other hero leaping the barriers of his comfort zone to try to get with him. So it’s almost as if the Joan Collins outfit is a character all its own in this book.

At any rate, it’s a charming little fun story about a guy in drag trying to nail his best friend. 😉 It will have the standard Valentine’s Day cover for sales at MLR Press and I made it a fun cover for third party distribution sites.

I’ve got other projects I need to get to next but I’ll probably take the next day or two and figure out which one should be next. Meanwhile, let’s round up this post with a lovely Marcus on this Monday morning.

Oh yum. Marcus and a fast machine. What a great combo! Everyone have a great Monday!

 

She Walks in Beauty

She Walks in Beauty

by: George Gordon (Lord) Byron (1788-1824)

HE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
 
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
 
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

By all accounts Lord Byron wasn’t all that respected by his peers but he certainly cut a dash in his world. And in the modern world we read his poetry and other works. His lover, Lady Caroline Lamb, famously described him as “mad, bad and dangerous to know” and we pay homage to him by using that phrase even today. The thing about Byron is that – love him or hate him – he definitely wasn’t someone you could ignore or forget.

I wonder at the things we find unforgettable. A woman such as the one Byron describes in She Walks in Beauty wouldn’t likely be forgotten by anyone and might even be immortalized in print, on canvas or film or through awards won. For myself, I don’t expect to be immortalized in any way. However, there are people in my life who, although they’ve no idea of it and no one would likely be able to tell with any real certainty, have been immortalized within my body of work. They may not have made an impression on the world at large but they made an impression on me and that led to them – or some small part of them – being used in one of my books.

I’m no Byron. My work isn’t likely to be read centuries from now as his is. But I still like to think that I’ve given a taste of immortality to those whom I’ve put into a book. And I thank them for whatever it was about them that captured my imagination enough to lead me to put them in a book because it was never an idea I came up with on my own but rather something they said or did that captivated me. So I thank you all for the inspiration you’ve given me, continue to give me and will give me in the future. Who needs a muse when they have friends!

So now that I’m done being weird today, I have a Marcus for you and then I’m off to tame my Monday.

Hope you all have a great day!