Planning

I’ve got a new project brewing. An online one not a book. This project should garner the interest of some very different readers for me while still satisfying most of my readers. Best of all, it doesn’t cost the readers anything, introduces them to authors they may not know, and can get me (and the other authors) new readers! We’re in the planning stage and still looking for the authors we’d like to offer this opportunity to. There are five of us currently and we’re looking to start with six to eight. Finding the right authors to fill up the roster is tough because most of us are beyond busy as it is. However, I’m looking forward to this as an opportunity to do something fresh and new, experiment and let the creative juices just go crazy. And I’m hoping it rejuvenates my writing muse.

I’ve been working so much and stressing on things at home that it’s hard to get myself in the mood to write. It’s hard to finish manuscripts. It’s hard to do anything except lay on the couch, stare at the TV and let my brain be mush. I know I need a break from work because I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends, but right now, I don’t have the new people trained enough for me to be able to be gone a couple of days. I am taking my birthday off on Halloween though. It does give me the time to teach them to do a couple of critical daily tasks though.


Anyway, the new project is a gay steampunk serial titled Lords of Aether. I have four characters, two couples, and they are a bit outrageous. We’re just starting work on our overall plot and will be working together to ensure we have an action packed, emotional and suitably steampunky story and mystery for readers. You’ll be able to find the story installments on our website Lords of Aether as soon as we introduce ourselves and launch the story. That will happen before the end of the year. The authors who have already signed up for this project are all multi-published in GLBT and have their own fans so it will be interesting to see how this project and its audience grows. If it does well, maybe we can launch a het companion story with different authors.

Now, I need a Marcus before I head off to the office.

He’s so yummeh I don’t mind the girl in the photo at all! LOL Have a great Monday!

Bushed

I’m bushed. My body aches. I walked forever yesterday in West Hollywood with authors Z.A. Maxfield and James Buchanan. We went to the West Hollywood Book Fair to look around, attend a panel and meet fellow MLR Press author Haley Walsh who also writes as Jeri Westerson. The panel was on the second floor of the West Hollywood Library and the plate glass windows behind Jeri offered a view of the Pacific Design Center and the gorgeous LA day. (See photo below.) We saw Meredith Baxter Birney, Florence Henderson, Kevin Sorbo, Julie Newmar and some actors whose names we couldn’t remember. I recognized D.P. Lyle, a local physician who is a writer and a consultant on many TV shows. He’d been to a meeting of the OC Romance Writers of America and talked to us about plotting the perfect murder. I bought a copy of his book Forensics for Writers.

The most interesting person we met was Christopher Rice. I spent my late teens and early twenties devouring his mother’s books. My sister gave me a copy of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire on my 17th birthday and I was hooked. Christopher is a New York Times best-selling author in his own right, in a genre different than his mother’s. He was charming, funny, intelligent and not ego bound at all. In fact, he didn’t even talk about his books until someone asked. He moderated a panel on marketing GLBT mystery books and he let the authors on the panel talk about their books and answer the questions about marketing. He let them shine and only got into his own work when asked. He’s a very good looking man who is extremely charismatic. It pretty much made my day to meet him.

But, to be honest, it was a lot for me, my arthritis and my asthma to deal with. I had a couple of moments where I thought I’d never be able to take another breath or another step. James and ZAM looked after me though and let me stop for a breather and plied me with water and Coke so I could re-hydrate and pop meds. It’s great to have good friends. They rode elevators UP with me and made sure I was okay to walk DOWN stairs. It was a great day. Only now, I’m a tad sunburnt and sore and utterly bushed.

The sunburn’s just a smidge of red on my chest below my collarbone. Early on I found a parasol with skulls on it and bought to keep the sun off. It’s a very cool wooden parasol. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I could have taken my Ellora’s Cave “Bad Girls of Romance” umbrella with me and garnered a little attention for myself. LOL

I did do an unusually not me thing though. I brought attention to myself by speaking up. Man, I have a tough time doing that in public but I did it. When Christopher Rice asked if anyone in the audience did book trailers, my hand shot right up and I said I wrote as Lex Valentine for MLR Press and I did videos from my design site winterheart.com. That was bold of me. I’m not sure what came over me. It’s more my style to just sit there dumbly and not say anything.

One other noteworthy thing: I left my car at home and let Rott drop me off to meet ZAM who drove to James’s house. (James drove into WeHo.) That means ZAM is now the only one of my author and online friends to have met the elusive Rott. At least she can attest that I really do have a handsome man in my life and that he’s not just something I made up so it doesn’t look like I’m an old spinster lady. LOL

All in all, a great day for me that I’ll be paying for today with fistfuls of Tylenols. But it was worth it.

Now, some yummeh Marcus for a Monday and I’m off to work!

Oh, baby! Sexy stuff! That’s a gorgeous photo of Marcus. Have yourselves a great Monday!

Repeat?

The Ariana finalists came out yesterday and I have two this year. As a winner last year, I wonder if this year will see me repeat. Possibly not. It’s always a stiff competition. There are more than a few talented cover artists out there. I’m not up against Anne Cain who is the best cover artist on the planet in my opinion, but Reese Dante is definitely very, very stiff competition.

Most artists work for one or two houses and some only do freelance stuff, preferring not to be tied to a house. And many of them work for a publisher and do a lot of covers for people who are self-publishing. I’ve a feeling that my cover for Debra Holland’s Sower of Dreams will be a fantasy entry for me in next year’s Ariana awards. It’s a lush cover that took more than half a dozen images to create and it doesn’t have a single person on it!

Aside from doing covers for authors who self-publish, I occasionally do covers for Pink Petal Books, Passion in Print and MLR Press. Last year’s win for me was a Pink Petal Books cover. This year the two finalists for Winterheart Design are Black Heart Down by SJ Frost, an MLR Press cover and Blown Away by DL Jackson, a Passion in Print cover. I love pretty much anything Shannon and Dawn write so I’m doubly pleased to be able to provide both authors with a little cross-promotion.

Now, the question is whether I can repeat and win an Ariana again this year. I have to admit I would be so very stoked to win again. I’m not being hopeful because as I said above, the competition is quite stiff, but I would really like to win a second year in a row. It gives me a little bit of cache to be able to say I have two Arianas. But we’ll see what happens in March. And if I lose, there’s always next year and Sower of Dreams. Besides, I’ve done a lot more covers in other genres this year. I’ve got several historical covers under my belt now and of course Debra’s fantasy trilogy. Having covers in more categories is a good thing.

Now, I need to show you a luscious Marcus for this Monday to be complete. I just cannot face a Monday without him any longer. This is what I get for having posted him for so many years of Mondays. I can’t handle Monday without him.

Working in his underwear. It doesn’t get any better than that for me! Well, unless he was nekkid. LOL

October is just around the corner now and I’ve got an October release the first week of the month and deadlines for two Christmas stories, both gay rom. I’m about 3K words from finishing the first one so I’m thinking I just might be right on time to my editor with it. The second one has hardly any words written but since it’s a short story of 8-10K words I hope to be able to write it fairly quickly. Then it’s back to a novella I’ve had a lot of trouble with. I’m determined to complete it before Christmas though so wish me luck!

Happy Monday!

Commute

When I think of commuting I am reminded of the time I used to drive from Huntington Beach to West LA and from Huntington Beach down to La Brea Tar Pits. Well, across the street from the tar pits actually. Those were gnarly drives. But I was younger then and didn’t think too much of the drives for quite awhile until it really started to get to be a drag because I was losing a really good chunk of my day sitting on the freeway. More recently, at least in the last 12 years that I’ve worked at the cemetery, I’ve had commutes into Santa Ana-Orange from Huntington Beach and Westminster, neither of which are much of a commute when placed beside the commute I used to have.

The thing about commutes is that I usually think of them as total freeway time. And in the past, for me anyway, they always have been mostly freeway time. The new commute has very little freeway time. Most of the time is spent on surface streets and a stint down my own road, Carbon Canyon. The canyon road reminds me of the highway between Salinas and Monterey, the one that winds past Laguna Seca. I’ve driven that road more times than I could ever count. After all it’s home turf for me and I lived there 29 years. I made a lot of trips down that road in nearly 30 years. Every time I go down Carbon Canyon Road I think of home as in where I grew up. But honestly, this canyon is becoming home to me now in a very short space of time. I like it so much in the canyon that I don’t mind the drive. As commutes go, it ain’t much of a commute and hardly any of it is spend with my foot on the brake inching my way up the freeway.

Sure, the Chino Hills residents use my road as a commuter short cut to their homes just over the county line into San Bernardino County. And yeah, that means that sometimes I do spend some time with my foot on the brake inching along. But it’s not on the freeway. It’s on the canyon road itself which is loaded with stuff to look at. Personally, I’m a little fascinated by the trees that were burned in the 2008 fire. I stare at them and stare at them as I inch along. Most of the canyon has grown back it’s vegetation so it’s not very burned out looking but I try to imagine what it must have looked like and it creeps me out a little. It’s still not much of a commute despite the crawling that sometimes occurs on Carbon Canyon Road. And I’m home in about 30-40 minutes.

Home’s the key word here. I love coming home. I love the canyon and the wildlife. The longer I’m here, the less that the word “home” means Monterey County. I guess I’ve found my place here in Southern California. I never would have thought it would be out at the edge of a once burned out canyon but there ya have it.

Since it’s Monday, it’s time for a Marcus.

That would make a nice avatar. He’s got great arms! Hope you all have a great Monday!

What Can I Say?

Honestly, what can I say about yesterday that hasn’t already been said? I can’t think of a thing. I wanted to do what I’d done ten years ago and tie a flag to my car’s antenna. Unfortunately, my Honda doesn’t HAVE an antenna. Ten years ago I was driving a 280ZX and I left the power antenna partially extended so we could attach a flag to it. I flew it proudly too. Somehow, I thought I’d see more cars with flags and other signs of patriotism. I saw very few.  And then I saw something weird. I took Nikki home and there’s a fire station just outside the gates of the complex she lives in. I rolled out of the gate, looked at the fire station and saw that their flag was not at half mast.

I have to admit that bugged me. The flag where I work has been at half mast since Friday. And here’s a very nice, shiny and newish fire station in Costa Mesa, in a nice neighborhood, showing no recognition of an important day in our country’s recent history. No show of respect for those who died. I wasn’t exactly offended, but I was saddened by the fact that they hadn’t put that flag at half mast. The station looked like it was just any other day rather than the 10th anniversary of the worst attack against this country on our own soil.

I don’t understand people who go to the extreme of ignoring the anniversary of such a historic event nor do I understand those who take it to the other extreme of remembrance, those who are so overcome by the event and the day that they cannot function. We should remember this. It profoundly affects us all in some way and those who say that day had no impact on their lives are lying. At the very least, it affected our economy so it affected them. Even if you personally don’t want to acknowledge it, it affected everyone.

Anyway, I wonder who in that fire station put the flag out yesterday.

Since it’s Monday, it’s time for another Marcus and then it’s back to the grind for me, not that the grind ever really stops because I work at home at my other jobs. A Marcus always makes Monday go a little easier for me though.

I would play ball with him any day. *le sigh* Hope you all had a good weekend and are now facing your Monday relaxed and destressed! Happy Monday!