I did taxes yesterday. I love the online programs for them. Sure I used to have a tax preparer’s license but I love doing them online. They ask you all the questions and you click yes or no or continue. Sometimes you fill out a box or two.  They import your data from last year’s return and it’s just too easy. You can practically do it in your sleep.

When you have a business like I do (author=business) you get to answer a whole slew of different questions. I always like the one where it asks you if all or part of your business is at risk. Uhhh. DUH. YES. Always YES.

See, that seems like a totally stupid question to me. In this economy, all business is at risk. Everything is at risk. Life is a risk.  To me, about the only sure thing on this planet is that if Rott eats beans, he will pass gas.  Of course, it’s also pretty much a sure thing that he will eat Mexican food. It’s his favorite.

At any rate, I thought about all the stuff that is at risk in our lives and all the stuff that could be classified as a sure thing. There’s not a lot of sure things in this world. Nothing related to money is a sure thing except that I’m pretty positive that whatever we have coming in (you, me, and the rest of the world) it’s gonna go out again. Maybe not all of it will go out, but certainly whatever money we make or acquire in some other way will leave our hands again. Even if it’s only $5 for a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

Given that almost nothing is a sure thing, shouldn’t we just enjoy our moments and stress less? Easier said than done, right? I’m gonna try to tell myself this every day to help ease stress. I don’t know if it will work but I’m willing to try for awhile.

I’ve got a Marcus today since it’s Monday and that’s my Monday schtick. I’ve decided Marcus isn’t a sure thing because, like the rest of us, he is getting older. He still looks good now, but who knows? At 50 he might not be so hot. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I love purple. He totally matches my Lex Valentine website, don’t you think?

I’ve got a contest entry to finish up tonight and several cover art requests to finalize so I’m a bizzy person! Not to mention my regular job which has been uber busy lately for me. My company is getting a new website and I’ve been helping the designer. I like him, like his work, and I’m really excited to see my company get a more interactive website.  So I’m off to the office to see what today brings in new developments on that site.

Have a great Monday!

Resurrection of the Dead

Yesterday, I put Socially Dead back up. Motley wants to blog again but she wanted a less teenager-y template than Skully. Although she liked Skully, she was tired of the pale blue and pink.  So Motley’s back (hasn’t posted yet though) with a new template (Cold Stone, same as I use at Lex Valentine) but those of you who used to visit her will recognize Skully at once.

There’s still some updating of info we need to do (I need to fix my CafePress stuff) but it’s all small stuff at this point. The blog has now been resurrected and hopefully it will have more of a life than her past “I have no life” musings. If you get a chance, cruise on by and take a look at Skully’s – and Motley’s – new home.

I’ve decided I don’t have much of a life either. All I do is work. Work at the office, work at home. Of course, there are days writing is sheer fun and other days when it’s just work.  I have a lot of writing ahead of me this year including a resurrection – erm, revision of my five year old Regency manuscript for a contest. Luckily, I only have to fix 30 pages of it for the contest and it doesn’t have to be a completed manuscript. That’s good for me cause the damned thing has no ending. More than 75,000 words and it’s just hanging there waiting for me to finish it. I’m hoping the revision of 30 pages gives me the impetus to finish this sucker.

A bunch of stressful things are going on at home and before you ask…things are fine with Motley and Rott.  We’ve just got external stuff happening that is putting a lot of strain on all of us right now. I’m sleeping even worse than usual, but I’m hoping some things that are up in the air at the moment will be resolved in a  few days one way or the other. No one’s dying as far as I know so I figure I’ll just bite the bullet and try to deal as best I can and hope for the best cause I guess it could all be worse. (How many cliches did I just slap into a single sentence, eh? LOL)

I’ve got a nice Marcus in his undies here in honor of my friend Sally whom I recently found on Facebook after having lost touch with her more than 20 years ago.  She’s a little down in the dumps so I sent her a copy of The Pixie Prince and told her Max the underwear model should make her laugh. Because of Max, I bring you Marcus modeling underwear.

I do love the way he fills out boxer briefs…

On Wicked Wednesday I’ve got a guest blogger talking about vampires so come on back and check it out later this week.  I hope you all have a great Monday!

Backed In a Corner

I think stress has totally rewired me on the inside. This last year and still now, the stress in my life has conspired to change everything for me. How I write, how I deal with my day, how I sleep at night. Pretty much everything. For the foreseeable future, things are not going to change. That means I need to live with this monkey on my back.

In the past, I’ve deal with mega-stress. I’ve suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the onset of sudden massive stress like my parents dying 6 months apart.  I’m beyond that now and I haven’t felt those odd disassociated pangs and horrific nightmares in many years.

The stress I deal with now is insidious and grows exponentially depending upon the moods of those around me, my workload, my deadlines, money, the demands of my kid, how much my body hurts, and how tired I am at any given time. The ebb and flow of high or higher stress is nothing like the 500 pound gorilla suddenly in my face stress I suffered in the past. But it comes with its own set of inherent issues.

Since the way I do virtually everything seems to have changed monumentally in the past year, I think I need to sit down and strategize how to do what I need to do while under the influence of this new type of stress. How I deal with deadlines is a good example. In the past, I would work away at my manuscripts every weekend without fail. Now, every weekend, I nap. A lot. I don’t turn on my IM. I don’t do anything but futz a little, delete my email, and nap. Then I realize I have a deadline and I push myself for a few days at high speed, operating on very little sleep in order to get things done. I back myself in a corner and go on an all nighter for several nights in a row until I’ve forced myself to do what needed to be done.

I could have just made myself work an hour a day on the damn writing, but oh, no I had I procrastinate and feel the stress and do nothing until I hit panic mode while sitting in that corner I backed myself into. And I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself. I astound me. In my head, I know better. A lot better. But do I listen to myself? Do I make myself do what needs to be done?

NO.  I nap.

Now that I’ve decided that stress has rewired me, I have to figure out to wire myself to hit deadlines and other things better. Some people will say it’s a lack of discipline that is causing this. In some ways, they might be right. For the most part, they are not.

For decades I’ve suffered from insomnia. Now, I seem to have the need to catch up on all those hours of sleep I lost over the years. Hence my weekends spent sleeping I think. I’m just damned tired and when I try to do the right thing, I fall asleep at my desk trying to do it. I often feel like my insomnia has morphed into narcolepsy.

Acknowledging that my life is beyond different and I can’t do things the way I used to even a year ago is a big step. I’m hoping I can come to some sort of agreement with myself that leads me out of this corner I’ve backed myself into. Baby steps I tell myself. Just ease into it. Cold turkey might be way too much…although it worked with cigarettes when I got pregnant with Nikki. At any rate, this easing myself out of the corner may mean I’ll drop a post into this blog a bit more often than just Mondays. I did it this week. We’ll see how it goes rolling forward.

Now, it’s time for a lovely Marcus. I missed him last week!

Here he is with some hot companionship for those of you who like women. 🙂

Wishing you a stress fee Monday!

Blink Blink

I was left blinking in a bit of shock at the annual company Christmas party on Saturday night. No, it’s not about who showed up with whom, although there was a bit of that kinda shock rippling through the room.  I got into a little discussion with my friend Liz (the one I jokingly call the “Evil” HR Manager after Catbert) and one of the VPs. A female VP. Who is reading Tales of the Darkworld Volume One.

I’ll admit to having a little case of the jitters over her reading my book. After all, the vampires own a cemetery! She’s one of my bosses. I kinda worried whether I’d said or done something that she might not like. So when she said, “You know, I’ve been reading your book…” I kinda felt like a deer in headlights. But her question to me was, “Are any of the characters based on real people? Because that hero sounds pretty hot.”

Whew! Felt like I dodged a bullet there. And I did say that some characters in the series share characteristics or names with people I know. But not Declan Antaeus. So I thought today in honor of her question I would show everyone who I envisioned in my head when I was writing my heroes. I know it’s a Marcus Monday but a plethora of hotness to replace him should be okay for one measly Monday, right? Okay, here goes.

(The images are clickable so you can drool over the full size image if you want.)

Shifting Winds

hero: Declan Antaeus, actor Victor Webster


Hot Water

hero: Colin Granville, model Will Chalker

will c

Fire Season

hero: Holden Antaeus, model Andre Coelho


Fire Season

hero: Garret Renquist, model Rafael Lazzini


Ride the Lightning

hero: Vahid Delrey, actor Antonio Cupo


Other male characters (some of whom have appeared in the series thus far) who haven’t had their own book yet:

Book Five – Common Ground

hero: Marius Granville, actor Daniel Craig


Book Six – Sunstroked

hero: Corey Green, actor Forbes March


Book Six – Sunstroked

hero: Seth Dylan, model Marco Dapper


Book Eight – Thunder and Myth

hero: Ruan MacCallan, actor Paul Walker


Book Ten – Force Majeur

hero: Sean Antaeus, actor/model Julian Fantechi


Some characters aren’t really visualized in my head yet as far as appearance. The enigmatic Alfred Stone for one. Al is special so I’ve been giving him a lot of thought. Eventually, I will hit on his “look” and find a face to match it.

So that’s it from me this Monday. I’m all recovered from the Christmas party, the rain seems to have stopped here, and I’m looking forward to sending out holiday cards and a few gifts this week. Just waiting for the Fedex guy to bring me a box today. Sorry for a lack of Marcus, but I think I’ll try to post the female characters tomorrow with my video Holiday Card in place of a Tuesday Tune.

Have a great Monday!


Take Away

Last week I talked about how you can’t really make up time. I should know. I never have enough time. And since I never have enough time for things I enjoy, I’ve decided that some things have to go.

The structure of my life changed when Rott came home. I’d gotten used to the structure of life without his daily presence. Now, I have to get used to what it’s like for us to be three again. The adjustment has had – and still has – moments that are good and moments that are bad. I’ve grown to hate the feeling of fear. I don’t like the unknown and I like it even less when it scares me.

But in order to bring about a better adjustment to my new life that is sorta like my old life, but not exactly, I decided I needed to take away some of the many things I do to fill my time. So I quit my submissions editor job. By the end of this month, no more reading subs. I hate to let down the publisher, but this structure change in my life isn’t very smooth and a lack of time is why.

Next up is realigning all the websites and forums, consolidating them all at the same hosting company, but splitting off the forums that I shouldn’t be the sole-caretaker of. I’ve already shifted RottNRoll back to Rott and moved my graphics work to winterheart.com. It’s actually nice to have a true purpose for winterheart.com since it’s my oldest domain.

Once all the changes are in place – something I hope to have done by December – I should be able to hand off duties better. Then I can start scheduling my time so that I’m not pressed 24/7 by things. Now, if only I could stop joining in on writing projects that sound really cool… I’d have a lot more time on my hands!

I’m going to need to go on a search for new Marcus photos. I haven’t done that for awhile and I need some fresh stuff.  Anyway, here’s one from my stash. I have to admit, looking at him first thing Monday morning does do my soul good. *sigh*


Hope you have a great Monday!