It’s Been 8 Years?

I had to go back to the database of posts to figure it out. When an author mentioned on Facebook that my 25 Days of Christmas was a great idea, I said I’d been doing it for years. I couldn’t remember how long so I had to go back and look. And lo and behold, it’s been 8 years. That being said, here’s the announcement…

I’m still lining up the MM authors and as of right now, I haven’t received the information from everyone who committed. So, I guess I’m still taking authors. That’s good for them and for the readers. More work for me, but that’s okay. This is the season of giving. Lots of people have helped me out (and continue to do so) while I’ve been homeless and living in the RV. I need to give something back and money is out of the question because I just don’t have any.

I’ll be honest. It’s hard to put yourself out there day after day and admit to people that you’re in a bad place and need help. It’s been so bad for us, we’ve considered suicide a lot. It seems like every week or so we do. It’s exhausting to try to keep your hopes up when bad stuff continues to happen. Yes, there is a very small community of people who help us, who realize that the RV maybe wasn’t the best idea when the amount raised wasn’t enough to buy something truly viable. I have the fiercest of love for those people. They are determined that my family will survive this. They have more hope than I do. Because of these people, I know that I have to do this giveaway. I have to give something back in some small way.

This may be the last giveaway. I’m about 75% convinced to take this blog down and let the domain go. It’s an annual $14 that I wouldn’t have to spend if I let it go. I rarely come here to blog like I used to. It used to be my go to place to come and say whatever I wanted. When I look back at some of the blog post titles, I laugh. Pee in a Pickle Jar. Speshul. Can Vampires Be Gay? And there’s Gay Day posts that remind me of my friend Ethan Day whom we recently lost. Most of all, this blog is what led to me being published. If I hadn’t been blogging and posting snippets of my writing here, Jennifer MacKenzie would never have found me and encouraged me to submit something to a publisher. I wouldn’t have become Lex Valentine.

It’s with a heavy heart that I kick off this 8th Annual Christmas Giveaway because next year, might not be here and there probably won’t be another giveaway. I live less than a paycheck away from being on the street, from losing everything, my job, my kitties, my life even despite the help we receive. I can’t write much. My graphics business is getting less and less work every week, including no work from publishers any longer. I’m not sure I’ll even be able to survive until this time next week let alone next year. But I’m determined to do this for 2018 even if it might be the last year.

I hope you all will visit this blog in record numbers in December. I hope I see lots of comments of readers trying to win the books the authors have generously donated. Every day, the blog will post a new day of books to be given away. A link to the blog post will go out on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Please share the daily posts to your feeds, your social media, your groups. Let’s make this the best year ever.

Thank you all for your support.

The Numbers

I’m late, I know. I promised New Year’s Eve and it’s New Year’s morning. Still, I do have something for you to show you that my life is not all bloggy goodness. It’s a bunch of numbers. The numbers represent what I did as an author in the last year.

They are an interesting lot these numbers. They are the reason I often don’t blog more than once a week. They are the reason I sometimes have more money in my pocket. They are the reason I’m actually kinda sorta managing to send Motley (Nikki) to art college.

I’m going to post the link to a blog post that talks about the numbers. I’m not going to talk about them in quite the same way here in this post. The link I’m giving you really explains the numbers and talks a little about how much promotion I had to do to sell all the books I’ve sold, gives you an idea of the number of books I’ve sold, and talks a little about how much money I’ve made. It is an interesting post if you want see whether all the time I spent was worth it or if you’re interested in being an author yourself.

So here’s the post: A Year in the Life.

And here’s the numbers:

Submissions: 17

Contracts: 17

Releases: 15

Print books: 3

Rejections: 3

Revise and Resubmits: 2

Anthologies: 3

Short Stories: 8

Novellas: 6

Novels: 2

Bestsellers: 4

Publishers: 8

Radio Interviews: 3

Feature Author Spot: 1

Interviews: 13

Guest Blog Posts: 15

Two things happened after I posted this on the 30th.  On New Year’s Eve, I discovered that Christmas Catch hit All Romance eBooks’ main top ten bestseller list. It was the ninth biggest seller over the past three days.  Making that list is a big thing.  This morning, it’s moved up to number eight. Definitely WOOT worthy.

The other thing that happened hit me in a way that touched on every facet of who I am. Not just Lex Valentine the author but Winter the person.  One of the most respected review sites posted a list for 2009. Now, back in September they posted a list, compiled by recommendations from the readership of the site, of the all time best gay books. Fire Season was on it and I was stoked. The list posted yesterday was the owner’s own top ten best of 2009 list.

Now, Wave is well known in the reviewing community and in the GLBT writing world. It’s almost as if you’re golden if Wave likes your book. When Wave reviewed Fire Season earlier in the year, you could tell she really liked it. But then she posted her list yesterday and I discovered she REALLY LOVED Fire Season. My book was number nine on her list.

I got really excited seeing that. Then I looked at the list of her honorable mentions and this huge sense of awe came over me. Some of the best and biggest names in GLBT romance fiction were on that list of honorable mentions. And she liked Fire Season more.  I can’t remember when I’ve been more awestruck.  My little dragon book beat out Victor J. Banis,  Z.A. Maxfield,  James Buchanan, and my publisher Laura Baumbach? I could barely believe it.

As an author, my chest puffed out. Egads, what an accomplishment to close out the year! As a person, it brought tears to my eyes.  Recognition is important to all humans. I’ve not really received much recognition for anything in my life. After ten and a half years at my company I got the Employee of the Quarter award in December. One of my co-workers was amazed that I’ve never won this award before. In fact, she was shocked I’ve never won the Employee of the Year. Her shock actually meant a lot more to me than actually winning an award. It meant that someone recognized how much I do there. Then to make this top ten list… What a way to close out 2009.

Being recognized for what I do means a lot to me. It makes those numbers truly mean something. It acknowledges the sacrifices I’ve made.  It helps gives me a sense of worth. And even though I’m broke and in debt this New Year’s Day, I still feel a bit bright and sparkly from the recognition with my achievements sitting out there for the world to see and some of my longest held personal goals finally met.

It’s a new year and because of the recognition I’ve received, my outlook is more positive than it’s been in years. Instead of wondering how I’ll ever be able to match or top what I did in 2009, my thoughts flow along a positive line that hums with energy. How big can I dream? How much can I accomplish this year? And where the hell is my coffee? I need to get started!

Wishing you and yours a happy, productive, and prosperous New Year.

Himself Didn’t Work

Remember when people were retweeting Neil Gaiman’s call for people to help me find homes for the kittehs? Remember how so many people emailed and said they would take them? Do you know how many of those people actually did what they said they would do? None of them. Well, one person who said she would take one, ended up not being able to, but yanno… she found someone else who would. An author from Lyrical Press came and adopted the only female.

So all of that frenzy was pretty much for naught and makes me wonder if those people just said those things thinking the great Neilhimself would notice them. I’m still left with my life falling apart and pain in indescribable places and the babies still need homes. Oh, they are fixed and have had shots now though.

Nicki’s cat Neko will not be coming home from the foster care home because the vet discovered she has a heart condition that will require expensive medication and treatment. I can’t afford that. I don’t even have a car that works at the moment and I have DH who is looking for a way to not live with or be with me anymore.

I have an ad on Craigslist in the hope that the smallest of the babies will all find homes. I’m afraid to give them all up because then the DH will still leave and I will have nothing. Having nothing to look forward to is a very desolate feeling. I’m pathetic enough to wish to work things out with him. When he says he cannot live like this and he’s going to leave because of it, I just want to throw up and pains begin in various parts of my body. I’ve swallowed some Tylenols so hopefully the physical pains will dull soon.

As for my heart… I think it’s done. Three times I let a man have it and two times it’s been tossed back. Third time doesn’t look like it’s a charm. I really think he’s just gonna stomp all over it and walk away as if the last ten years was ten minutes. When people stop talking to you and tell you they don’t want to talk about it, that’s a pretty significant thing.

So aside from being an emotional zombie who doesn’t know how to do anything except sit and let the hot tears wash down her face, I still need homes for some of the babies. Last time the mobilization got me all jacked up on hope and got one kitten a home. Can it be done again? This time to save my sanity or my life (since my blood pressure is about as high as strokesville.) You tell me.

Am I wasting my breath again? Maybe I should just open the door and push them all out… cats, the DH, the lazy kid. Or maybe I should just quietly get the car fixed, toss some stuff in the trunk, pick up my netbook and walk away from all of them. That seems really irresponsible of me. I’m not usually the type you can’t rely on to see things through, but I’m tired of the lip service from everyone starting with my daughter, the man I’ve been with for ten years, and all those people on here who promised to help me but couldn’t be bothered to return an email. Am I the only person out here with ethics and a heart? Is that why everyone stomps on me? Is that why I feel so miserable that I’m gonna have to run to the sink and yak as soon as I post this?

For years I’ve been responsible for others. I’m still responsible for them, sacrificing for them. And I don’t feel appreciated in the least. Now, I’ve strangers treating me the same way with their empty promises of assistance. Am I wrong to want someone to be straight up with me and just help me without asking for or expecting anything in return or reneging? And those people I would like something from – my kid, my DH – why is it that they care only for their own feelings and nothing for mine? Am I just something they use like a utensil or a car? I’m convenient and acquiescent I guess. Perfect for giving lip service to.

If you know someone who could help find the kittehs homes, please repost and retweet the Craigslist link. I really do need homes for them before they end up in the street. I have a feeling that is where I am headed here soon because I just do not see a HEA up ahead.


You Are the Sunlight

The sun sometimes does shine out of people’s asses. Or their green eyes. How do you put away nearly 11 years of your life in a neat little box as if it were just a stack of photos and mementos? I need to learn this in case what appears to be inevitable occurs. I can’t armor myself either. There is nothing that can withstand a nuclear blast. And I’m no cockroach.

I thought about posting Comfortably Numb but I’m not comfortable. Not sure how long it will be before I am once more. But I like this song. It’s very me right now if you just take the S off of she.

She Is The Sunlight – Trading Yesterday


My Cherry’s Popped!

Actually, my publishing cherry will be popped tomorrow on Sunday. That’s the day The Wise Guy is released by Noble Romance Publishing. This book is the most recent contract I received, but the book is being released just before the first two books of the Tales of the Darkworld.


If you want to read more about the book and all the people who did things to actually help me make this happen you can run over to the Lex Valentine blog and read the post about Release Day. Here, I want to talk about this book and the whole getting published thing in a different way. You see, these books are seeing the light of day at a cost I never realized I would have to pay. Yes, this has been a lifelong dream, a dream I NEVER thought I would achieve. The fact that it’s happening strikes at something inside me that I can’t even find words to describe. It probably feels akin to how Obama felt when he took the oath of office. But getting here hasn’t been just hard, it’s been costly.

In order to make my dream come true, I had to give up something I loved. It hurts fiercely and I wear my guilt daily. I had to give up daily reading and commenting on all your blogs. I still play catch up in my feed reader here and there and when I see links on Twitter. However, I really don’t like missing out on your lives and feeling close to all of you. It bothers me very, very badly to the point where I wonder daily if this is all worth it because I feel disconnected from your lives and that makes me unhappy.

Here’s a case in point, (I’m baring my soul and my neuroses here so bear with me) I had this idea for a little graphic, a funny little thing I could use here on this blog when I have a book coming out. I wanted to email Dave and ask him if he would make it for me, but I felt too guilty to do so. The idea was a small round graphic with Lil Dave and Bad Monkey that says “Guaranteed NO TVC”. For those of you who don’t remember the joke, Dave coined the term “Throbbing Vampire Cock” to describe some of my writing. It was hilarious and endearing and so very Dave. But I don’t feel right asking for something when I can’t even find the time to read him every day let alone comment especially when he was so incredibly helpful when I wanted to use his Hawaii images in author AJ Llewellyn’s book trailer. (AJ is now a Blogography fan because of Dave’s Ann Coulter posts!)

Despite the fact that I’m a BAD friend because of chasing this dream, I know that people like Hilly, Marty, Britt, Becky, Susan, Jen, and a host of others including my Bar Bitches and everyone of you who are reading this, all are rooting for me and continue to support me. I can’t tell you how much I love you people. And Gooster… you are the bestest Twitter hug giver of anyone in the world! (I was so close to sobbing on Friday and his Twitter hug saved me.) Eventually, I have to figure out time better or the fucking guilt is just gonna kill me and I’m not even Jewish. (See? I know Mr. Shiny is just gonna laugh at that and not come over here and kick my ass for it. Heh.)

So to celebrate the release of my first book EVAH, Jester offered to have me on his show on Wednesday the 25th at 7 pm Pacific time. I’m really looking forward to that because for one, I’m going to give away a copy of the book to someone who either calls in with a question or comment or who is in the chatroom. I’m also going to give away a book to one lucky commenter on my blog from today until the end of February.

If anyone wants to actually spend their money on the book, it will be available tomorrow morning at Noble Romance Publishing. Clicking that link will take you right to The Wise Guy’s page. If you’re not up on your kinky sex you might want to skip the sex in the kitchen scene. Um yeah, squick alert there…

I’m out of Kleenex so I need to go, but just so you know, The Wise Guy is guaranteed not to have any throbbing vampire cock.