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!


Monday Holiday

Holidays on Mondays screw me all up and I forget to post. Anyway, Happy New Year to you all! I have a Marcus for you and two free books. You can take your pick which book is more your style. Then go ahead, download that puppy to your new Christmas ereader! My little gift to you!



You can get the het version HERE and the gay rom version HERE. It’s just a short story so it won’t even take up much of your time but it will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling.

And now, here’s yet another retro Marcus to start off the year.

That is a double YUM for this holiday Monday! WOOT! Have a good one!

Do You See What I See?

Every Christmas season I tend to stock up on books. In part because there’s a lot of free stuff and coupons going around so I head over to the ebook stores and start picking up stuff. The next thing I know, I’ve spent a bunch of money and have a huge batch of books to read. This year isn’t any different than any other and I’ve been wading through the books I got little at a time.

At 3 am this morning, I started having issues with my asthma so I sat up in bed, propped pillows behind me and started to read a book on my phone. It happened to be one of several books I’d bought that had like 300+ pages. I read one of the long suckers yesterday and it kept me entertained until the end. Pretty much all of the scenes advanced the story and the bantering between main characters was great. The book I picked up at 3 am has been touted as a great book by a wunderkind author. Now, I managed to pick up a couple of books with that rep over the weekend so I expected an amazing read out of both of them. I haven’t read the second one yet and I’m not quite finished with the first one. But…as I was reading I thought, do you see what I see?

See, when people make a lot of noise over a book and author, I expect to be held in thrall. I expect to fall in love. I expect to not fall asleep while reading it. And while this was a great book and one I’d read again, I just didn’t find it to be what others said it was. It has a lot of perfect elements and it’s absolutely one of my favorite kinds of books, but I had one problem with it. It didn’t need to be 300+ pages. It had a number of scenes that didn’t really advance the story. Without the gratuitous scenes (and no they were not sex scenes) the book probably would have been around 200 pages and wouldn’t have put me to sleep (during one of those scenes that wouldn’t actually be missed had it been left out.)

I’m not saying the author wasn’t good, but I wouldn’t categorize someone as a wunderkind when they have that many scenes that just aren’t necessary to tell the story. This is a newer author and I wonder if that’s why the story wasn’t tighter, but it doesn’t matter really because this is how the publisher put the book out. The editor obviously didn’t think the scenes were gratuitous as I did. At any rate, I was a little disappointed. But, overall I like the book a lot. I just felt like the Christmas song – Do You See What I See? Obviously, other people didn’t so I guess I’m in the minority there.

It’s not like authors don’t do this all the time, have scenes that aren’t necessary to the advancement of the story. We all do it. It’s just that some people do it more than others. Now, lately, the authors I see doing that are ones who are the NYT bestseller list and who apparently have gotten a little complacent. This author isn’t that high up the food chain yet and I feel like it’s more a newbie mistake rather than ego. But people are all different and not everyone sees things the same way. I’ll buy this author again. I just don’t see them as the out of this world writer others did.

Here’s another retro Marcus for this Christmas week Monday.

He’s so yummy! And a nice warm beach scene is perfect for Christmas week. Don’t forget to head over to my author blog this week for some really special authors giving away books. I have Desiree Holt today, Shoshanna Evers, Alix Rickloff, Lisa Fox, Selena Illyria, Jennifer Leeland and Z.A. Maxfield all coming up this week. Great authors, great books! Have a great Monday!




Today’s post is a plethora of advertisements for the stuff I’m doing or did. I mean, c’mon, it’s Cyber Monday, which to an old internet hound like myself who’s been out here on the net since the early 90’s, doesn’t really conjure up thoughts of sales but of ahem, sex. Still, Cyber Monday is indeed a day of sales so I have a bunch of ads for you!

First off, my 30 Days of Christmas giveaway event is in full swing. We’ve already given away ebooks and paperback books and today, I have a really special treat for readers. Today is the release day for NightShift, the newest book by Kate Douglas. Kate is a prolific and amazing author. She’s also a really great person and I’m thankful to have her as a friend. Kate’s giving away two signed copies of NightShift on my Lex Valentine blog today so go on over there and leave a comment so you’re entered to win.

Next up is the great holiday story event happening at MLR Press. Forty six books! That’s right, there are forty-six holiday stories that are out or coming out. My story Breath of Heaven is scheduled for December 15. You’ll find the video for this heart-warming holiday story right here on this blog. I’ve already read some of these and they are amazing stories. Mia Watts’s story is touching and funny and incredibly hot! Z.A. Maxfield’s story is heart-warming and sweet. DH Starr’s story is a serious tear-jerker with a belly laugh ending. And Derek Adams’s story will send you up in flames.

We all have the same cover art over at MLR Press but when it goes to the third party distributors some of us will have individual covers in order to distinguish between the stories. Cover art is the first thing a reader sees when they are browsing titles and if all the covers look the same, you might get passed over because the reader thinks they already have that book. So a handful of us did an alternate cover. I did covers for Ethan Day, Z.A. Maxfield and myself. We’re not alone though. I believe there’s other authors doing the same. Here’s the covers I created for the three of us. You can also see these over at Winterheart Design.

I’ve got one other Christmas story coming. This one is Cupid Christmas which is the last of the Christmas Cowboys stories I’ve done for the past few years at Pink Petal Books. I can’t think of another couple so it’s time to end the series of Christmas Eve hookups and HEAs at Forbes Ranch with this one last story.

This week I’m launching a new project called Lords of Aether on December 1. This is a serial story, a really special serial story. It’s by myself and authors KC Burn, Charlie Cochrane, Jason Edding, Stephani Hecht, ZA Maxfield and Jaime Samms. It’s a gay steampunk serial. None of us have any experience with steampunk so we’ve been slowly building our world and characters. I’m the only one with serial story experience and it’s been fun teaching them all about how the dynamics work. I’ve missed The Bar a lot so the Lords of Aether will help me not miss it as much. They aren’t the characters I loved so well at The Bar and they aren’t the same group of writers, but the camaraderie and sense of creating together is the same so it goes a long way to easing that little hole in my heart.  I kick off the story on December 1 with a post about my character Anthony Banning whose former lover, Imperial spy Jack Starr, has looked him up because he needs help finding his missing current lover. As you can imagine, Anthony’s a bit offended.  Here’s a trailer for Lords of Aether. I whipped this up last night so I hope you like it.

And now, since I can’t remember what else I’m supposed to be advertising (I was doing a 2 for 1 book trailer sale for this past weekend at Winterheart Design, but no one took me up on it!) I suppose it’s time to post a Marcus and head on out to work. Since I’ve been doing retro Marcus’s (ie photos I’ve posted before) I thought today I’d post my favorite Marcus photo ever.

Oh yum. I love that photo! If any of you know Nikki aka Motley aka my kid, stop on over at her Facebook page. She’s got a bit of a political protest going on on her wall.

And that’s it for my big ole advertisement post this Monday. Have yourselves a wonderful Monday and don’t forget to keep checking my Lex Valentine blog every day through Christmas Eve. Posting a comment enters you for a chance to win that day’s books. Happy Holiday Season Monday!


Whole Lotta Workin’

I’ve got a whole lotta working going on. This week is shaping up to be a very busy one and that doesn’t even take into account the holiday. I’ve got a cover to do for a fellow OCC RWA member, some book trailers to knock out, and I need to finish my Christmas story Cupid Christmas. Add to that the fact that the Lords of Aether is shifting into a higher gear as we close in on our mid-December launch. I went to lunch with ZAM yesterday and we brainstormed and the upshot is that she’s joining the Lords of Aether with a character I’m really excited about. He’s a hooker. Sort of. LOL You’ll have to check out the site as we near launch and you’ll see his bio.

At the office, we had a bit of a server migration over the weekend. We virtualized one of the servers. I had nothing to do with that work but I need to check stuff out this morning. It’s a payroll commission processing week so I have to be on the ball with contracts and cash receipts. Luckily, my ladies in AR are really turning out to be great workers and I’m more happy than I can say to have them. I have no doubt that with their help we are gonna rock the commission processing!

I made the mistake of watching Food Network yesterday and now I’m dying for turkey. With my sink still kinda out of commission, I can’t cook, but I can buy a ready made dinner from the local grocer and I can warm it up in the oven and microwave. Besides, I have lots of work to do so it will be better if I’m not spending quality time with my hand up the turkey’s butt.

The day after Thanksgiving kicks off my 30 Days of Christmas giveaways. I have a lot of books lined up from a plethora of authors. There is something for everyone. I’ve one solid week of gay rom that features authors like Rick Reed, Ethan Stone, Kimberley Gardner, Barry Brennessel, and more. I’ve got new releases from Kate Douglas, Desiree Holt, Tara Lain and me!  I’ve got paperback books from KC Burn, Adelle Laudan, and Jasmine Aherne. There’s a romantic suspense day with books from Lisa Alexander-Griffin, Debbie Gould, Emily Wade-Reid and Jackie Diamond. And there are Christmas stories galore! I’ll wind up the giveaway on Christmas Eve with my newest Christmas story Cupid Christmas and a holiday story from my pal Z.A. Maxfield.

The 30 days kicks off on Black Friday with my paranormal The Wise Guy and Gambit from Kim Knox. I’m a HUGE Kim Knox fan and Gambit is a great read so the winner on Black Friday won’t be disappointed. And wait until you see the line up for the day I give away Fire Season…me, Neil Plakcy and Willa Okati! WOOT! I’m telling you, you will not want to miss a single day of this year’s 30 Days of Christmas giveaway.

Ah, now for my Marcus to warm up this cool Monday. Here’s another of my “retro” Marcus’s, one I posted several years ago.

Now, I suppose I should take myself off to work. There’s lots of frost out there Rott says so he’s worried about there being ice on the road. I kind of doubt there will be because so many people travel the road before I get out there, but I know how to be careful driving in the bad weather.  I’ll be back on Thursday to wish you all happy turkey day and remind you of my Christmas giveaway.

Everyone take care and have a great start to your Thanksgiving week!