Happy Ho Ho

Amaretto di Saronno in dark chocolate hot chocolate…warm jammies with polka dots…Christmas music (Oh, that Andrea Bocelli singing When a Child is Born)…the scent of ham and cloves wafting from the oven…and the babies fighting and tumbling across the room yowling and hissing and spitting in mock battle with each other. Thank God I have no tree for them to tear apart limb by limb.

At any rate, Christmas in this house isn’t the usual fare. No tree. No presents. No lights. No Motley.  The new year is looking like a hunt for a mobile home to buy. Long story with good points and bad. No idea of the outcome either. Hoping for a HEA (happily ever after) though.

Still, I’m grateful for friends. For all of you who read me in a reader and have been coming here since the beginning. Click on the video on the front of this blog. That video is for YOU. So is this…

Have a good one everyone!

30 Days

Ta da! I’m unveiling a big contest for readers and fans of my books and the books of some dear friends. For the next 30 days, beginning tomorrow and ending on Christmas, I’ll be giving away books. Up for grabs is my entire backlist plus some books by friends. I was going to do it here on Sunlight Sucks but I don’t want to disrupt my regular routine here so this will take place on the Lex Valentine blog.

Every day a random commenter will be chosen at midnight Eastern time for the book of the day. So if you’ve already read that day’s book and don’t want a another copy don’t comment on that day or if you must comment, just mention that you’re not entering that day’s contest. We’ll be starting tomorrow with my newest release from MLR Press, Honorable Silence. The rest of November will be all my books. Then, when we get to December, we’ll shift into high gear by giving away Regina Carlysle’s new print book. You won’t want to miss the 30 Days of Christmas at LexValentine.com!

Authors participating include: Lex Valentine (me!), Regina Carlysle, Jennifer Leeland, Mary Winter, Dee Carney, Z.A. Maxfield, Jan Irving, Karenna Colcroft, Debbie Gould, Selena Illyria, Jaime Samms, Jambrea Jo Jones, Lisa Alexander-Griffin, Patric Michael, Lisa Troy, Aeryn Traxx.

Here’s the lineup currently for the 30 Days of Christmas:

November

26: Honorable Silence – Lex Valentine, Maura Anderson, George Seaton, William Maltese

27:  Shifting Winds, Hot Water – Lex Valentine

28: The Art of Losing – Lisa Troy

29: Weirdly III – Anthology including stories by Lex Valentine, Marty Mankins and more

30: Love Me Dead – Lex Valentine, AM Riley, William Maltese

December

1: Lone Star Beasts – Regina Carlysle

2: Rock My World – Lex Valentine

3: The Pixie Prince – Lex Valentine

4: The Wise Guy – Lex Valentine

5: Polar Heat – Mary Winter

6: Insolence – Lex Valentine

7: Mating, Runaways – Lex Valentine

8: November Rain – Debbie Gould

9: Eternal Love – Karenna Colcroft

10: Heart of Stone – Dee Carney

11: Tartan Mate – Selena Illyria

12: Jesse – Jan Irving

13: Fire Season – Lex Valentine

14: Ride the Lightning – Lex Valentine

15: Common Ground – Lex Valentine

16:  Sunstroked – Lex Valentine

17: The Santa Mug – Patric Michael (The first of the Christmas themed stories)

18: Aeryn Traxx (a Christmas story,  title TBA)

19: Hand of Fate – Lisa Alexander-Griffin (a Christmas story)

20: Goodbye Scrooge – Jaime Samms (a Christmas story)

21: Wishing Star – Jambrea Jo Jones (a Christmas story)

22: The Christmas She Rules – Jennifer Leeland

23: Z.A. Maxfield ( a Christmas story, title TBA)

24: The Phoenix Prophecy – all three books (Deeper Than the Ocean – Dee Carney, Playing Wolf – Mina Carter, Where There’s Smoke – Lex Valentine)

25: The Christmas Cowboys series – Lex Valentine (Christmas Hookup, Christmas in Hell, Christmas Catch, Christmas Wishes)

This could change a little if some of the people I didn’t hear from get back to me in the next few days.  This is a great lineup of books you could win, everything from M/M to dark spooky tales, stories both sweet and erotic, contemporary to paranormal. I think there is something here for everyone!

I’ll be over at Literary Nymphs’ Thanksgiving Weekend M/M chat for a bit on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There should be lots of hot excerpts and book talk for fans of the genre.

I hope you all had a magnificent Thanksgiving. Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend and great Black Friday bargains!

Birthday Explosions

I was a dedicated Tweeter a couple of years ago. I lived on Twitter. My Facebook…meh. Not so much. I had far, far more people on my Twitter account than my Facebook. Then two things happened at once. One, some people I knew on Twitter began lessening their Twitter usage. And two, I couldn’t have it on at work anymore. That took my Twitter karma to like zero pretty quickly.

The same thing happened with my Yahoo IM. A few people I talked to almost daily stopped using it or used it very rarely (or had themselves invisible to me cause they didn’t want to talk to me anymore) and again, I couldn’t have it on at work anymore.

In the space of a few weeks, my interactions with people began to change in a really big way. Then I started to have more deadlines and my writing career became more demanding. That meant no Twitter or IM when I got home. It meant promoing my books and writing and writing.

Now, my personal Twitter account isn’t even used except to send out notices from my feeds. I rarely turn on my IM because the people who used to talk to me daily, just don’t anymore. And I’ve found that the flip side of this coin has become Facebook.

Yesterday, my FB exploded. I had almost 100 birthday wishes posted to my wall. Of course, some of the people whom I used to speak to daily on IM or Twitter and who are on my FB didn’t bother to acknowledge me but I think that’s a flag to me that they just don’t give a hoot. I’m taking under consideration the notion of unfriending those people who never comment to me or respond to my comments. Despite the fact that we were once close friends, apparently, they don’t want to know me anymore so what’s the point in being connected on FB in that case? It does make me sad to lose friendships though. Or rather acknowledge the loss of friendships.

At any rate, my birthday caused an explosion of posts on my FB wall and I have to say, it felt good. This wasn’t an easy birthday for me but Rott and Nikki (Motley) helped me through it by making my day peaceful and stress free. I wish everyday could be that soothing. I needed the peace something fierce and today, I feel much better for yesterday’s quiet.

Many thanks and hugs and MUAHs to everyone who stopped by my FB page yesterday or who sent me birthday wishes on the loops and in email.  You all helped make my day perfect and I cannot express in words how very much, and very sincerely, I appreciate that.

It truly was a banner week for me with the notification that I had two books final in the EPIC Awards. I have no expectations of winning and I won’t be attending the conference and award dinner in Williamsburg in March (that’s not so much about not winning as it is a travel, time off and money issue.) Still, just finaling means a lot to me. And it means I need to get more serious about where this career is going.

I have a lot of thinking to do both about my writing and my friends.

Now, I have a Marcus and it’s a new one for me. I just found it today and it has a total vampire look to it that just goes hand in hand with Halloween and sexy paranormal books.

How hot and sexy is that? RAWR. I could just lick him…

Hope that warmed up your first day of November Monday! Have a good one!

Goulash

This is a goulash post today, a little bit of everything.  My brain is a little too fried to actually come up with a topic to discuss or yak about so I figured I’d just let it wander from topic to topic as I ramble on.

Memes

Okay, so I got tagged for this Bald Face Liar game. Originally, when I first saw this meme on a few blogs, I laughed because a couple of the authors who were playing really are bald faced liars so I found it rather ironic. I never did do memes well and I prefer the truth even with regard to games so I doubt I’ll play.  My friend Lisa is playing though, so if you want to see how it works click on her name and check it out.

Lunch

I had lunch on Saturday with an author! A real live totally awesome author! Z.A. Maxfield and I held down a corner booth at Claim Jumper for three hours and talked about everything.  I can’t believe how much fun it was. I can’t believe I hadn’t come out of my dark cave sooner to meet her. But now that I have, we have plans. First, we plan on doing this monthly. Second, we plan on descending on the Orange County chapter of the Romance Writer’s of America to see how two authors of M/M romantic fiction can stir things up.

RWA

Speaking of RWA, since Pink Petal Books is now allowed in, I’m going to join RWA and submit my PAN application since I do happen to fit the criteria of the elite group who made a thousand bucks in royalties in a year (I think I did it in about 6 months which is amazing from a little pub) on a single title. Fire Season is the book that did it so I might as well show off the fact that it’s a bestseller. I’ll probably join the Rainbow (GLBT) and Passionate Ink (erotic) chapters too. I need to check out the OC chapter before I join. It seemed kind boring but ya never know. ZAM and I will give them a look over and see if it’s worth belonging to.

Knitting

I’m knitting together all the scenes for Common Ground. I’m very close to finishing this. I just have a bare handful of scenes to complete with a little weaving and it will done. Won’t be as long as Ride the Lightning or Fire Season, which were both closer to 60K. This one will be under 50K. But it’s the introduction to the werewolves so the dragons have very little face time. However, it lays the ground work for two other stories in the series. One is Sunstroked which is the book that follows this one and is about Colin’s very happy assistant Corey. (Who isn’t very happy in the beginning of the book.) The second is Thunder and Myth which is the story of how Diandra Antaeus left her family for Ruan McCallan and what happens years later when Ruan manages to push even Di away. Look for Common Ground in July and Sunstroked in the fall.

The Bar

It’s buh bye to something very dear to my heart. By the end of this week the Bar will be gone. With big gaping holes in the story from posts deleted by writers who left, it wasn’t worth keeping up. A couple of the other writers are copying their posts to save and once they are done this week, I’m taking the site down and deleting the domain. It’s like the end of an era and it’s a little heartbreaking for me.

Scare

Rott and I had a scare over the weekend. His mom had a bout of severe confusion so his step-dad took her to the hospital where they kept her overnight and did an MRI and some other tests. They let her go home the next day and I guess we’ll eventually find out what the tests have to say. It really shook Rott up though.

STP

Yes, Stone Temple Pilots have a new CD that is out tomorrow! Rott and I are stoked. We’ve already ordered a copy. We’ve debated going to see them when they come around and I don’t mind watching Weiland bounce around the stage totally high off his ass but for some reason Rott seems to have some reservations about that. Neither of us have looked up dates yet so there’s a good chance we may not even have the opportunity to see them. The other CD we’re early awaiting is the new Nevermore which is out in June.

Toes

I got a pedicure on Friday and I could have cried. It felt soooo good! I’ve neglected to do this for myself for a year and now I’m so sorry that I did. It was relaxing and my feet feel great. I need to give myself that pampering every two weeks and stop being such a pissant about it taking away my writing time. I can use the time to read on my Nookie and reading always rejuvenates a writer so I just don’t have any excuses except that I’m a lazy so and so.

Marcus

The Bar may be gone but I will never give up my Marcus!

Asthma

I’m having a bad patch with my asthma. It happens once in awhile. The least little exertion has me gasping for air. It sucks eggs in a major way. Unfortunately, it’s one of those times where my meds just don’t do jack. It always seems to occur a couple of times a year…getting so bad that nothing works and all I can do is stay indoors as much as possible and not have to walk more than a few feet at a time and not carry or lift anything heavier than my purse. It will ease up. It always does. I’m just miserable until it does though.

Memorial Day

I have to work. We always work on Memorial Day because there’s a big event at the cemetery. Actually, I’ll be inside doing the deposit for my friend Liz who normally does them. She’s on golf cart duty this year ferrying the handicapped visitors to the event. Since it’s month end and we can’t afford a lost day, I get to stay out of the sun and count money. It’s really quiet inside the building on Memorial Day. Even quieter than it is on a weekend. But usually, that means I’ll get done quicker. 🙂 And we sometimes get lunch too. Chicken or hot dogs. Nothing special but free food is always nice.

I’m going to stop rambling now and toddle off to work. You all have a great Monday!

Now Comes the Night

This past week has been a rough one. Friends are having trouble with all sorts of bad things. I have my share of stuff too and stress over them is really bogging me down. Despite where I work and what I write, mortality isn’t something I think about every day. At least not in a conscious, personal way. Yet, a few things have happened that reminded me that I don’t live in the Darkworld where the immortals die mostly when they feel like retiring, giving up their bodies, and moving on to the Afterlife.

Two of the nicest people I know have had tragedies befall them. Both things happened rather suddenly. One friend had a spouse diagnosed with cancer. The other lost his partner. The devastation they feel is an emotion I’ve felt before and I have great empathy for them both. I’ve shed tears for them both. I hate that anyone has to go through this kind of pain. Yet, from it we tend to rise like phoenixes from the flames, the steel of our blades – our spirits – tempered and made stronger by the fire.  Cliche, I know, yet so very, very true.

In the case of my friend, author Jason Edding, I was reminded yet again of what may be a landmark case for gays. Greene vs Sonoma County is a story that put the GLBT writer and reader community in an uproar. Blogger Teddypig of the Naughty Bits decided to do something about it and All Romance eBooks took a leaf from the pages of his blog. I’ve tossed in my support by giving 25% of my net proceeds from my GLBT book Fire Season and Christmas Catch for copies purchased from ARe through the month of May.  My publisher has matched that. And then what happened to Jason brought the reality of this case into a startling focus.

When Jason’s partner died, he faced not only the loss of his loved one, but the loss of his home and belongings, his way of life. You see, they never made provision for Floyd’s passing. Now, in Clay Greene’s case they might have had that paperwork  in place, I forget, but either way, the county ignored his rights.  This could have happened to Jason too. I’m sure it was in the backs of the minds of all of us at MLR Press as we banded together to help Jason. No way was my friend going to be the next Clay Greene.

It does remind all of us that we should plan for the future in every conceivable way.  Gays especially need to protect themselves and their partners by pre-planning which is something that isn’t just about funerals but about all the things connected to a serious illness or death.  If something happens to YOU, where does that leave your significant other? Can they pay the mortgage? The rent? And even het couples, if they are unmarried, partners have no rights no matter how long they have lived together.

You might think this is a depressing topic for a Monday, but it’s not. It’s a timely topic considering all the stuff that’s gone on with people I know in the past weeks. Even Motley, who’s been driving back and forth from Corona to go to school…I reminded her that her boyfriend is not her next of kin and that she needs something in her wallet telling authorities who to call in an emergency.  The thought of something happening to her scares me. When she reassured me that she had something in her wallet I felt better. I can’t stop bad things from happening, but I feel better that we’ve made an attempt to put plans into place should that occur.

So I sent Jason an audio book of Notturno so that the silence in his home wouldn’t be so overwhelming.  I remember that silence well and I knew his need for a distraction from it. We’ve all been talking to him in Google Talk trying to keep his spirits up so he can deal with the new changes in his life as well as his grief. If you’re so inclined, feel free to stop by the post I put up on his site and leave him a message. The kindness of others, even strangers, has meant a lot to him. Showing him that he’s not alone helps immensely.

Before I get to Marcus I’m going to share the video I posted on Jason’s site. Just a little Rob Thomas this Monday morning. 🙂

Oh, it’s my favorite part of Monday now! I need a Marcus to sustain me! It’s going to be a looooong day I know. (I got up at 5 am. UGH.) *sigh* How pretty is that body, eh?

Before I go I’d like to invite you all over to my Lex Valentine blog on Wednesday when guest blogger, author Karenna Colcroft, talks about trust…and anal sex! *wink*

Have a great Monday!