Flourishing Through Adversity

Let me start by saying this is not a short post. If you’re looking for short and fun, this ain’t it. I’m on a little bit of a rant but I’m also trying to reassure friends and readers who are finding it difficult to navigate the tidal wave of waters from the current administration of this country. I know I’ve said before that I wouldn’t get all political here, but sometimes I just have to. Especially since this morning the stress got to be too much for hubs and he blew up in such an out of control way, I had to yell at him, which I never do. And of course, it terrified all the babies and one peed on the floor.  I just have no words sometimes. Other times, I have to channel it into an almost rant. So here I go.

For those who wear Trump colored glasses (yes, I made those!) what I have to say today may not seem true nor resonate with you. That’s okay. You all can just pass on by since this post isn’t really for you. If you believe in alternative facts just keep going and don’t bother to read this or comment. I will, without malice, delete any pro-Trump/anti-what I’m saying comments unread. This isn’t the forum for those. There is enough negativity in this world and I’m not going to willingly subject myself to any more of it despite the fact that today’s post is indisputably political in nature which tends to draw out all the people who think differently than I do.

Just be aware that I bear you no ill will for being a Trump supporter. If you are one, that’s fine. Just don’t come to my blog or my Facebook feed and post your alternative facts in my space. I will unfriend you. I will block you. I will delete your Facebook posts and I will delete comments here if I have to. In return, I promise not to come to your space and post any proven facts or tell you that I think the POTUS is an irresponsible bully surrounded by people who will lie to support him (ie Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer) and people who got close to him in order to increase their own power base and agenda (Steve Bannon, Rex Tillerson.) You stay over there and I’ll stay over here, and we can get together when the subject is something we’re not polar opposites on. We’ll get along just fine this way. Respect my space and I’ll respect yours.

That being said, some of us feel as if we are living in a time of great adversity. We feel as if we were cheated during the election because our popular vote meant nothing for the second time that I can recall in my lifetime (Al Gore being the other one.) We believe the president (not going to capitalize it when he can’t even behave like one) is going to ruin our country, that he’s only there for the rich people, that the poor like myself are only going to suffer more under his leadership. We’re horrified by the way he uses social media to attack not only our allies (Australia) but our own federal judges (“so called” judges.) And we’re afraid of his ties to Putin, his closeness with Breitbart’s Bannon, the way he’s provoking Iran, needling the Israelis, banning Muslims and pretty much making the rest of the world community take a step back from us. He’s allowed Bannon to basically tell the world that the media needs to be shut up, restrained. His administration has been caught in numerous lies in the first three weeks and instead of apologizing for it they try to skew minds and reality by calling the lies alternative facts. That right there is where I personally took a step back.

When the government tries to get rid of or muzzle the media, when they spout lies that are proven to be untruths, and when they straight up push those lies on the people of this country, trying to make them believe that the truth is not the truth…that’s not a democracy. That’s Nazi Germany, Orwell’s 1984 and Nixon during Watergate. Which is why so many thousands of people have taken to the streets, something that has given me a spark of hope.

Let’s go to Dictionary.com for a moment and I’ll get back to the protests in a minute.

Fact [fakt]
noun
1.  something that actually exists; reality; truth:

2. something known to exist or to have happened:

3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true:

Yeah. No room for “alternative” facts there.  What the administration is saying may be alternative, but in no way are they facts. In actuality, they’re about as factual as the Bowling Green Massacre that Kellyanne Conway made up. And this is the pap that this administration is feeding us and insisting we eat. It’s no wonder we’re all nauseous.

Anyway, this adversity we live with daily, the fear that the global community will turn their backs on us because our POTUS is a bully and an authoritarian, the fear that he’ll let the apocalyptic Bannon, sitting on the National Security Council, talk him into eradicating radical Islamic terrorism by pushing the nuclear button, these are real fears that people live with daily now in this Trump ruled country. So how do we go about our daily lives now while living with very real fears?

Unfortunately, having lived the past year homeless, with fear a constant, daily companion, I’ve learned a thing or two. I can tell you unequivocally that yes, you can do it. No, it’s not optimal, but it’s doable. First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself. Even someone as poor as me finds small ways to take care of myself whether it’s a bottle of special lotion with witch hazel from Mother’s Market for my neuropathy or a small bag of sugar free dark chocolate covered mints, it’s something that makes me feel good. And for those few moments that the lotion or the candy makes me feel good, I rise above adversity. I found out Friday morning that my friend and mentor Steve Duff had died the night before. The only thing that has made me feel good since the moment I found out and right now was those damned chocolates.

To rise above adversity, to flourish even, you have to commit to not giving in to it. Don’t let the fear mongering of our current government take away all the things you enjoy most in life. Don’t stay holed up in your home, watching the news, waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  Or conversely, don’t stay away from the news just because there’s the possibility of more bad stuff happening. With this administration, we can pretty much guess that more bad stuff WILL happen. But don’t let the fear keep you from being informed, don’t let them drive you away from the news or other shows that tell you what’s happening in the world and your local area. I watch the morning news because I want to know if there are protests scheduled locally. I want to know what my community is doing to fight back. I want to know if other cities are protesting. I find hope in the fact that so many people across this great nation (yes, it was always great and doesn’t have to be made great again) are taking to the streets in a show of solidarity against a man and an administration that would turn our democracy into an authoritarian society.

But to flourish, you have to continue to find joy in your life wherever you can. Hug your kids. Pet your furry kids. Cuddle them, cuddle your partner, your spouse. Watch your favorite shows, go to the movies. Eat the foods you love. Read books. Write and write and write. And post the good stuff!

I know I need to do more writing. The first new material I’ve written in more than two years, a military MM novella Extraction, came out Nov 18, my oldest brother’s birthday. I haven’t written a whole lot since but I need to.

And speaking of my brother reminds me that he always rose above adversity when the world was scary. My brother Tom marched with MLK. He belonged to the Democratic Central Committee and should have been at the Ambassador Hotel the night Bobby Kennedy died, but he got the Asiatic flu. He wore a “Legalize Marijuana” button in the late 60’s, something kids today probably can’t even comprehend as having been an issue so long ago. I remember him and my parents chanting “Impeach him!” during Watergate. Today, I see how many ways Trump is like Nixon.

I might have been young during the Nixon administration but I come from a family of individuals who were not afraid to be political, not afraid to tell me what was going on. Cesar Chavez visited my father’s barbershop in Gonzales, CA.  So did Leon Panetta when he ran for congress. Panetta knows my brother who has worked as a California lobbyist.  My brother Tom, at 76 years old, is still a voting member of the Democratic Party.  He’s never given up on democracy despite all the bad stuff he’s seen and lived through and causes and candidates he fought for — Vietnam, Watergate, assassinations, impeachments, protests and the eventual legalization of marijuana at least at the state level.

We shouldn’t give up either. We have options even though we feel as if everyone, everything is against us. Trump’s been put on notice as of last night that the judiciary isn’t going to stand for him making executive orders that are unconstitutional. They aren’t going to stand for him calling out our federal judges like a bully on a playground. And ultimately, more of us voted for Hillary than for him and he’s not untouchable. If Nixon can be impeached so can Trump. So just think about that for a moment, and then remember that we need to rise above adversity.

Join me in rising above, in flourishing during adversity. Let’s write and read and enjoy what we can in this life. If you feel bad just reading for pure enjoyment, go get a copy of All the President’s Men and read about history and the tenacity of two reporters determined to get the truth even if it brought down a presidency. I’ve read it before. It’s an amazing read. I’m going to read Switched by NJ Walker, about a guy who was switched at birth. It sounds like a really emotional, angsty read.

Speaking of angsty reads, I’m about 20K from finishing Out of the Pocket, the sequel or companion really to Scrambling. If you thought Scrambling was angsty, Out of the Pocket blows it out of the water. The first five thousand words of this book won the Rebecca Award a couple years ago. I wrote the rest of the book under the influence of Percocet and ended up having to scrap everything but that first 5K and start over. Now, it’s become a really heartbreaking story of two men torn apart by their jobs in the NFL.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to watch the news and see if there’s anything else good today. And even if there isn’t, I’m going to spend an hour reading and an hour writing before I head off to work on book covers for Louisa Bacio and JM Dabney and begin adding books to Sean Michael’s website. Have a great, flourishing Sunday!

Day 25: 30 Days of Christmas 2012

Wow! What a lot of books were given away on Christmas Eve! The winner of the dozen books was Judi P! Merry Christmas!

Today, I have many more books to give away. I’ve got two MM Christmas books from me, one of which was just released last night. I’ve also got books from my very good friends ZA Maxfield, Lynn Lorenz, JP Bowie, NJ Nielsen and Sloan Parker. There’s a lot here because yanno, who am I to say no when ZAM tells me, “Oh, how about the whole set of my Christmas books?” or when Sloan Parker says, “Can I give away another one?”or Lynn Lorenz tells me, “I have a new release! Can I add that too?”

As you check out the books in this giveaway, you’ll notice some trailer links. Those are trailers I made and some of the covers for these are my work as well (A Picture Perfect Holiday, Broken Bonds, Cupid Christmas.) It’s a plethora of awesome MM and MM holiday goodness to heat up your Christmas Day courtesy of some of the bestest friends an author can have.

Z.A. Maxfield – Secret Light, I Heard Him Exclaim, What Child Is This?, A Picture Perfect Holiday

BUY LINK, TRAILER

Rafe Colman’s likes his life. He has a nice home, a good job, and a wonderful dog. But he’s exhausted by living a lie. When his home is vandalized because of his perceived German ancestry, he can’t even share the irony with friends.

Officer Ben Morgan falls for Rafe’s dog first, but it isn’t long before he’s giving her owner the eye. He thinks they have more in common than the search for Rafe’s vandals, and he’s willing to take a chance and find out.

If life in 1955 is tough on a cop in the closet, it’s even tougher on a refugee who’s desperate to hide his roots and fit in. Rafe knows from tragic experience how vicious prejudice can be. Every second with Ben is stolen, every kiss fraught with danger.

When Ben’s partner threatens to ruin everything, Rafe and Ben have to fight to protect what they have, in Secret Light

BUY LINK

Who Likes a Skinny Santa?

Steve Adams’s heart hasn’t been in the Christmas spirit ever since doctors put a stent in it and ordered him to clean up his act. No longer filling out his Santa suit or allowed to make merry, he’s forgoing the holidays this year and heading to Vegas to indulge in the few vices left to him: gambling and anonymous sex.

His road trip takes a detour when he encounters Chandler Tracey, who’s just inherited guardianship of his five-year-old niece. Overwhelmed, Chandler’s on his way to deliver Poppy to his parents. But fate has other plans and, after car trouble, Chandler and Poppy accept a ride home with Steve. Though the heat between the two men is obvious, they put it on simmer while they band together to make Poppy’s Christmas as perfect as possible.

Steve soon comes to believe that while Chandler is the right person to look after Poppy, someone needs to look after Chandler. Fortunately, Steve knows just the man for the job.

BUY LINK

Michael and Tristan are finally taking that much needed weekend away for Christmas. They’ve been working so hard at their respective careers there hasn’t been time for a breather, much less a chance to reconnect and see if they’ve been working toward what they both want.

Like always, Michael’s well-laid plan is derailed by a phone call from Apple House. Three of their charges have gone missing and while Michael is worried, it’s not unusual for the young adults who stay at the shelter for homeless LGBT teens to come and go.

But when one of them calls Michael and asks if – hypothetically speaking – it’s considered kidnapping to keep a baby who’s been abandoned, Michael and Tristan head home with all speed to sort things out.

Two couples need answers in a heartwarming holiday tale of taking stock, reaffirming commitments, and catching the perfect wave in What Child Is This? A Crossing Borders Christmas

BUY LINK, TRAILER

Photography club president Caleb loves football standout Christian Muñez. He knows it’s an old high school chestnut, but if being a cliché is wrong, he doesn’t want to be right. They’ve been in school together since the fifth grade but having brothers on the same soccer team provides Caleb with a great opportunity to get to know Christian better. What he finds out – about Christian’s home life and his future plans – could end his hopes forever. Or they might be the beginning of something wonderful.

Caleb throws caution to the wind in A Picture Perfect Holiday.

Sloan Parker – Take Me Home

BUY LINK

Aspiring television writer Evan Walker has been in love with his best friend since high school, but Kyle doesn’t do boyfriends. Never has. Never will. Evan knows it’s a bad idea to give in to desire when he wants more than a friend with benefits. He has a new dream job. Now all he needs is the dream partner.

Kyle Bennett is a mystery novelist with a severe case of writer’s block. He needs a change. He has three days on their cross-country train trip home for the holidays to figure out how to tell Evan he’s staying there for good. He also has to write the overdue pages for his editor. Only, he’s a little too distracted by the close quarters in their sleeper compartment—and Evan’s ass—to get much done.

The sparks that fly between them are hotter than ever. Good thing they have a real-life mystery to focus on: why people all around them, including Evan’s new boss, want to get their hands on a journal that once belonged to Kyle’s grandfather.

When a blizzard traps them in the mountains, Kyle and Evan steam up the train’s windows and must finally face their true desires.

 

Lynn Lorenz – His Duke’s Gift, Bayou Loup

BUY LINK

On each night of the holiday Duke Logan bestows gifts on his most loyal and beloved vassals. Drake and Logan couldn’t be happier. So why has Logan locked Drake out of his bedroom and who is the mysterious stranger?

 

BUY LINK

After spending a hot, no-holds-barred sex-filled weekend at a hotel with a man he only knows as Mark, werewolf Bobby Cotteau isn’t sure but he thinks he’s found a new mate. Problem is he never got his lover’s real name. Or his phone number, or even where he lives. But that’s not Bobby’s only problem.
At the Rougaroux Social Club’s yearly Rugarou Festival, which Bobby is in charge of, everything is falling apart. The forecast is for storms, the Virgin Mary has appeared a tree on the festival grounds at the church, pilgrims are swarming, and beer is being sold… and his new mate is about to expose Bobby’s pack to the world.

JP Bowie – Christmas Wishes

BUY LINK

Christmas 1922

Christopher Fielding has no choice but to spend Christmas with his family in York, away from William MacPherson, the biology professor with whom he has fallen in love. Finding his sister Nan in some distress over her pregnancy, Christopher makes a wish that all will be well with her and the baby, and another that William, traveling by train to his family in Scotland will be safe from the blizzard raging over the countryside.

As Christmas Eve approaches, William’s train is stranded in snow drifts and Nan’s baby is about to arrive prematurely. Cut off by the weather from a doctor’s help, the family is in despair, and Christopher feels that his wishes may not be enough. Perhaps what they now need is nothing short of a miracle.

NJ Nielsen – A Moon-Runner Christmas, Christmastime at Papa Lee’s

BUY LINK

Two lives – One destiny.

When fate decides two people belong together, nothing can stand in its way. Liam Kantry and Carlo Bruenelli find themselves caught up in the madness of Christmas as they discover the meaning of being true heart-mates.

Liam Kantry wants to be with the man he has loved his whole life, yet incessant rumours and innuendos have labelled him the pack whore – a point he has never disputed.

Carlo Bruenelli is waiting for his heart-mate; he is one of those who believe that such a thing really does exist. In his heart he wants it to be his best friend, only Liam doesn’t believe in heart-mates. What will it take to change Liam’s mind?

Christmas is drawing near, and between snowball fights and the contract ceremony, Liam and Carlo find themselves caught up in the excitement and obsessing over what their future holds.

Are they true heart-mates? Will they forge a successful future or destroy two families?

BUY LINK

RSVP by Dec 20: You are cordially invited to attend a Christmas celebration at Papa Lee’s.

Casey Chambers isn’t used to kindness; being tossed out onto the street does that to a person. His life takes a turn for the better when he lands a job at Papa Lee’s. Not only does the Lee family give Casey a place to work, they give him a place to call home… And the opportunity to find love with one of their own.  But Casey’s burgeoning relationship with Marty Lee is threatened when Marty withdraws after a vicious attack.  It’ll take a miracle for Casey to convince Marty they’re meant to be.

Good thing it’s the season for miracles.

Lex Valentine – Cupid Christmas, Broken Bonds

BUY LINK, TRAILER

It’s another Christmas at Forbes Ranch and this year the family is playing Cupid with Grayson and Jared’s best friend Steve Yarrow. Years before, Steve’s heart was broken by the love of his life Dalton Emory who left him to further his career by marrying a woman with a rich daddy. Now, divorced, outed and publicly humiliated, Dalton is trying to build a business and keep a low profile. He doesn’t believe he deserves a second chance with Steve after the way he hurt him. However, Dalton didn’t reckon with his former lover’s interfering friends, the depth of Steve’s love nor the forgiveness the spirit of Christmas can offer. Can one lonely, broken cowboy forgive himself and accept the love that has always belonged to him? And will the Forbes tradition of Christmas Eve Happily Ever Afters give Steve and Dalton the future they never thought they’d have?

BUY LINK

The one thing Haven Noel wants for his Christmas birthday is for his master, Kellen, to love him. But the wonderful Christmas Eve Haven plans for his master goes awry and instead of receiving his master’s love, Haven ends up on the street without his collar. Heartbroken, Haven heads to the club where he and Kellen originally met, only to find it closed.

With a blizzard descending and nowhere to go, Haven curls up on the club doorstep, courting death. Hopeless and shattered, on the verge of losing consciousness, he makes a wish for Kellen to find happiness some day. Two angels with a vested interest in Haven and Kellen’s happiness hear his wish and conspire with Kellen’s family to save Haven’s life, bring love back to Kellen’s heart and give them both the best kinky Christmas ever.

And there you have it, another dozen books to give away this Christmas Day. For a chance to win all of them, leave a comment on this post by midnight Pacific time.

Merry Christmas to you all!

 

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!

 

Shed Some Light

Rott had some store credit at Home Depot so yesterday he got me a new desk lamp. It’s a cute thing with a tulip shaped shade made of plastic so if the babies knock it off, it’s not gonna shatter. When I turned it on, I was shocked at how dusty my desk was. All that dirt hidden by a lack of light. Ew. Time for Motley to do some Swiffering and cleaning with antibacterial wipes.

Love the lamp though. I was working on a book trailer video for author Melissa Mayhue and the light just made all the difference when working late at night. My eyes weren’t straining and I wasn’t getting tired as quickly. That Rott can sometimes be a very smart man. I’m just really glad he got me the lamp.

In the last week, I’ve become a lot more hopeful about life in general. I will be the first to admit that I can be pretty cynical about people and the world we live in, but sometimes things happen that change your view. So last week someone did something incredibly nice for me. Like unbelievably nice. The kind of nice that I have not seen in many, many years. You know who you are. You know what you did and I owe you the hugest hug ever if we ever meet.

Having my faith somewhat restored in humanity helped make a lot of things a lot less of a chore and I felt very productive this weekend. Did some cover art and romance trading cards for clients. Finished Melissa’s trailer. Did some more work on my trailers for GayRomLit. And I had some nice fan mail. Not just about my work in general, but specifically about Scrambling and Ride the Lightning. I love fan mail. It’s one of the reasons I keep writing.

In other news, I’ll be guest blogging in support of Scrambling at KT Grant’s on Thursday. On Saturday, I’ll be at the OCC RWA chapter’s birthday bash. It’s a really nice meeting and luncheon at the Embassy Suites. On Sunday, I’ll be blogging for the chapter on cover art at the Slice of Orange blog. The following week I will be off to New Mexico with James Buchanan for GayRomLit but I’ll still have some guest blog posts going up – Louisa Bacio’s on the 16th and HC Brown’s on the 18th. And we welcomed some new authors over at Flirty Author Bitches so make sure you check them out soon.

Anyway, I’m rushing to try to make some money so I can get my promo materials for GayRomLit. So far, not many bites. I may have to go to NM with very little in the way of “swag.” I had a lot of ideas for inexpensive stuff, but life kinda put the kabosh on it all. I have to print my scrapbook pages (on purple paper) and dig out what little leftover swag I have from last year and pray that maybe I’ll get a couple of commissions so I can order my romance trading cards for my Air Force pilots and NFL players. Cross your fingers for me!

Now, how about some inspiration for this Monday morning?

That’s the newest cover from Winterheart Design for MLR Press author Jambrea Jo Jones. Jambi loves it so all is right in my artistic world! Have a great Monday!

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!