Back With More

I’ve taken a little license with that title. I’ve taken the Ratt song Back For More and changed it a little to suit this post. Why Ratt? Well, there’s a few reasons. One of the reasons is an anthology call my editor Kris Jacen at MLR Press put out a couple of days ago. She wants short stories and novellas based on 80’s songs. The anthology will be like one of those mixed tapes we all made during that era. (The current era equivalent would be the i-Tunes playlist says author Kimberly Gardner or the Pandora playlist says my daughter Nikki.)

The reason I bring this up? Yes, I’m going to do a short novella for the antho. I’m not using the Ratt song but rather a Great White song. GW was probably my favorite band in the 80’s and choosing the right song was important to me so I inevitably looked to them. Save Your Love has really awesome lyrics, telling the story of a love that transcends distance and time. My story Save Your Love tells the tale of a young man who finds that love when he discovers his sexual orientation at the age of 18, in the middle of a rock concert. But love is just love and he’s young. He leaves his lover behind and goes on to become a rock star himself. When his brief few years as a mega star begin to fade he leaves the life behind and reconnects with his only love. From there their love story becomes one of compromise and enduring passion taking them through twenty five years from that first sexual encounter at age 18 in 1987 through the present day. Here’s the blurb:

Decades define a young man’s life as he goes from a virgin discovering his sexual orientation to a rock star fending off masses of lovestruck fans to a composer of Broadway musicals while an epic love for his best friend commands his heart, permeates his soul and flows through his music.

Jared Summers lost his virginity and found his true sexual orientation at a rock festival on his eighteenth birthday. He also gave away his heart. Through the years, Jared’s love for his best friend and first lover Matthew Bolton has never died.  The one thing Jared has always known to be true was that he and Matt loved each other. Even when they were apart, Jared always felt Matt’s presence within him and beside him. When fate finally brings them back together, finding a way to blend their lives becomes a labor of love. Through their years together, the love they found at eighteen grows and matures but remains an eternal flame that burns unwavering in both their hearts.

Even though I’ve had a character named Jared before (Jared Abbott in Christmas in Hell, a het Christmas short story at Pink Petal Books) I had to use the name again. In part because Nikki got a couple of calls out of the blue from her hunky ex, whose name is Jared, and because of the awesome hip grinding moves of Jared Rackler at GayRomLit.

Speaking of GRL…I had a good time, but it was exhausting for an asthmatic to head up to those altitudes and try to do stuff from the moment I got there. I had no acclimatization time so I spent the whole four days struggling to breathe. That wasn’t fun at all. It was exhausting. Luckily, I have awesome friends who mother henned me (ZAM, Stephani Hecht and her sister Jackie Nacht along with Amber Kell and VJ Summers, James Buchanan, and Karenna Colcroft.) They all made sure I was okay.

I have photos of reader John’s (the farmer in Texas) awesome GRL tattoos. I was groped (kinda) by the ever amazing Rick R. Reed who also dropped trou to show me his MLR tattoo (I had one too which I had to take my sweater off to show readers. It was a temp one for a scavenger hunt.) I saw with my own two eyes that flirty Damon Suede lift his kilt for a reader to take a photo. I called KC Burn a bitch for leaving me hanging over at the Lords of Aether. (You should have heard her LAUGH!) Got my photo with lots of folks but the one photo on my own phone of me is with Ethan Day (who is just the yummiest man ever!) I met JR Boyd who is the sweetest thing with a Texas twang you could ever meet! I fangurled over AR Moler whose Cam and Mason make my heart thump (yes, probably more than Jared’s dance did.) I met the man with the sweetest smile at the retreat, Barry Brennessel’s partner Dave. I had the best goodbye hug ever from Kimberly Gardner. WOW can that woman HUG! And then there was the incident with the pigeon and the hooker boots in old town Albuquerque…(Oh, that Jackie Nacht!)

I don’t know that any readers fan-stalked me like at RT in 2011, but I hope I got some new readers out of the experience. I know that I had A LOT of readers and authors alike squeeing over me because of my cover art. (I guess I need to make Winterheart Design business cards now if the biznez is gonna have fans.) It was a lot of fun and I was really happy that one of my Hookers, Nikyta, won my rainbow cock sucker at the Bling Your Badge event.

The drive was long and the view out the windows of James’ truck was barren…but beautiful. It was also inspirational. A little something for the Darkworld will come of it and I’m also going to write a GRL2012 story for the characters from Kissing Joan Collins. If you recall, the main hero Logan Moore writes “Dick Lit.” He needs a trip to Albuquerque I think…

I enjoyed every moment of hanging with my pals ZAM, Tara Lain, Louisa Bacio (and her cute hubs!), Lynn Lorenz, and Belinda McBride. I think we all ate breakfast pretty much every morning with Treva and Christie from Loose Id. I was so happy to meet people I talk to online, Cherie Noel, NJ Nielsen and her daughter Em, Taylor Donovan, Amy from Mantastic Fiction, all the MLR authors, and many more! And dinner with James, Kimberly Gardner, Deana Jamroz and Laura Baumbach was fun! (With me drinking Amaretto Sours, something I got from Stephani at RT 2011.)

Had a good time but OMG was I glad to get home to my Rott, Nikki and the babies. I think Louie’s afraid I’ll leave again. He’s been sleeping with me since I got back. He hasn’t done that since he was a kitten.

So now that I am home and back to my regular grind I am back to working on trailers and covers and writing. One thing I’ve decided to do is start posting snippets again. Here and on my Facebook page (not the personal account.) So if you want to see what’s coming up soon and get never before seen bits of characters in previous books, you need to keep an eye on this blog and my Facebook fan page.

For you Lords of Aether fans, the first ebook with the first 50 posts is coming soon! We’re only 4 posts away from 50!

For ZAM fans, I put up a GOT ZAM shop at CafePress with the graphics I’ve done for her. If you’re a St. Nacho’s fan, you need to check this out!

No snippet on here today. This post has just gone on too long for that but you may want to hop over to my Facebook fan page

No photo for inspiration. I think you’ve had enough photos from me today! LOL Have yourselves an awesome Monday!

 

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!

 

 

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!

The Power of the Tweet

I’ve been on Twitter a long time. You wouldn’t know it to look at either of my usernames and how many tweets there are attached to them or by checking my Tweet-Karma, but I really have been on Twitter since early 2008.  In the last couple of years, I’d gotten away from it because writing really consumed me and I just didn’t have time for Twitter and Yahoo IM. I rarely turned on either of those things. They were a distraction most of the time. So the number of tweets I have is rather low for someone who’s been on it as long as me.

However, one of the things I re-discovered while at RT was the joy of a tweet or two or ten. I found myself constantly turning on the Seesmic app on my Android phone. If I was waiting for someone, I turned it on and checked it. If I couldn’t sleep, I checked it. Standing in the elevator, I checked it. The RT tweets were a hoot which helped reestablish the whole thing for me. Some very funny stuff happened at that convention.

Used in conjunction with Facebook (my tweets post to my FB account) I managed to gently tease author Desiree Holt. I posted that I was sitting behind her in the lobby court of the hotel, buying her 100th book. And I was. Grinning with every click of the touch pad on my netbook as I made my purchase.  When Desiree saw what I’d posted, she got up and turned around and came over to hug me. The look on her face was priceless. I got such a kick out of using social media in such a way.

The power of the tweet came into play again when I got home from the convention on Sunday. I was sitting in my recliner, glad to be home, and I decided to look at Seesmic. What I found was a tweet from Jane of Dear Author about losing her Kindle and color Nook at RT. By coincidence, the “gang” (aka Z.A. Maxfield, Lynn Lorenz, Belinda McBride, Tara Lain, Stephani Hecht and Cherise Sinclair) and I found a Kindle in a green cover and a color Nook in a gray cover at the table where we sat down in the lobby court. When we turned on the Kindle it said the owner’s name was Jane.  A name like Jane could be anybody and neither ereader gave up any other information to us. Plus, I think we felt kind of bad poking around in them for information on the owner(s). So we called the lobby court manager over and turned in the Kindle and Nook to her.

Seeing Jane’s lamenting tweets about her lost ereaders reminded me that we’d found two and that one had said it belonged to Jane. Seemed like way too much of a coincidence to me, so I tweeted to Jane about our find and where we’d turned in the two ereaders. I was happy to see them find their way back to their owner. Especially since I now know what it’s like to be ereaderless. (I gave Nikki my Nook 3G to use with etextbooks and bought a color Nook, but when we had the chance to buy a mobile home a week later, I returned the color one in order to put the money to better use. Now, I’m without an ereader and I’m so lost!)

So I’ve renewed my acquaintance with Twitter a little and I’m glad that my doing so led to a good deed.  Hopefully, I won’t go back to being a stranger because I’ve got a bunch of new followers and even *gasp* Yasmine Galenorn is following me! (Hi, Yazza!) And I do miss the tweets of my friends Marty, Dave, Karl and Hilly. I need to turn on my original Twitter account and not just the Lex Valentine one.

Not to change the subject, although I am, the house situation is nearing a close literally. The house is being inspected on Tuesday and we expect to close escrow possibly the following day.  So very soon I’ll be changing my address and will no longer have a landlord. Rott and I are both looking forward to that despite how much money (and a Nook!) it has cost us.

Now, it’s time for my Monday Marcus. I can’t believe I’ve been posting this beautiful man for years now. Ah, well. It’s a good thing he’s so good looking or I’d tire of him, wouldn’t I? LOL

Before I go, if you don’t follow me on Twitter, I invite you to in the hopes that you’ll all encourage me to use it more than I have in the past two years. My author Twitter name is lexvalentine and my original account is winterheart. See you there!

Have a great Monday!

Conference Moments

As you all know, I went to the Romantic Times Book Lovers convention this past week. It was my first convention and also my first as a published author. I had a great time mostly because I had very cool people to hang out with. The workshops turned out to not be my thing but a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was on sensory overload and I wouldn’t have remembered a damn thing from a workshop. I went to the lunches and balls and cocktail parties and mixers. And I hung out in the Lobby Court with a lot of very cool authors.

I didn’t have to fly to the conference because it was in L.A. at the Bonaventure Hotel. Rott drove me there and picked me up and I roomed with Cat Grant. Here’s some conference moments that were the highlights for me.

Kate Douglas taking me under her wing

Faye Hughes’ stories of southern ladies over margaritas.

Jesse who manned the goody bag room remembering my name (amongst all those attendees), coming up to me in the Lobby Court and showing me a photo of himself shirtless in the snow.

Z.A. Maxfield and her wardrobe malfunction.

Belinda McBride talking about hot sex and the fire alarm going off.

Cherise Sinclair and her thing for mashed potatoes.

Lynn Lorenz teaching her son to lie.

Stephani Hecht and her ugly, bald pussy(cat.)

The Olvera Street Adventure.

Realizing C.J. Hollenbach’s hair was just as long as Rott’s.

Hugging Jimmy Thomas who really is a big man and seeing Brooks Johnson who isn’t nearly as big as I imagined.

Reassuring Pepper Espinoza that she wasn’t a sloppy drunk at the MLR Press cocktail party.

Sitting with stinky cheese and Tales fan Carol Brown at the ARe cocktail party.

Getting hot coffee tipped down my shirt at the Kensington morning mixer.

Discovering on Twitter that the Kindle and Nook we’d found in the lobby court belonged to Jane of Dear Author.

Amaretto Sours and Creme Brulee Cheesecake with the girls.

Finding more corn than there is in Iowa at the Mr. Romance competition.

Having my boobs poked by wings at the Faery Ball.

Being hugged by Desiree Holt at the EC party.

Finally meeting Dee Carney and her sniffles.

Getting teeth from James Buchanan.

Carnival barker self-published authors.

Taking photos of Jessica Trapp with handsome men.

Finding myself directly across from Kerrilyn Sparks at the book fair signing.

Tessa Dare telling me that she used me and ZAM to pimp out the OCC chapter.

Finding half the restaurants and stores in the hotel closed when we wanted something.

Laura Baumbach’s son the marketing genius.

Learning so much about the industry, the publishers, agents, and being an author from sitting around talking to everyone.

There’s more. Oh so much more but I’m still on overload so you’ll have to forgive me for not listing about a thousand other memories of this conference.

I have a Marcus for you and then I’m off to the office.

Oh,  hello! Aren’t  you lovely? HEH.

Many thanks to all of you who commented on my snapshots from the convention over on Facebook. I’ll try to turn on Twitter a bit more often now to keep all my new followers entertained. Hopefully, I’ll recover quickly from the con and not end up with conference crud either.

Have a great Monday!