Unhinged

I was writing last night and wrote the line that my hero was so overcome by his passion for the other hero that his brain had come unhinged. I think I have a little of that today. I feel brain dead for sure. I read a novel, did about a dozen covers (some mockups and some finals), did a few website graphics, and wrote a few thousand words this weekend. Oh, and we watched The Big Year. Funny movie. Really cute. Now, it’s Monday and my brain definitely feels unhinged. So I’m just gonna give you a sample of what I did this weekend, hand you off a Marcus and toddle off to my office. Since my boss didn’t call me over the weekend I guess our office pool didn’t win the MegaMillions either.

I love it when authors are easy to work with. Makes my life a whole lot easier and means I can actually do that many covers in a weekend. So kudos to everyone I’ve been working with lately!

Now, time for a retro Marcus (ie one I’ve posted before) who will guarantee that at least something will go right for me today. 😉

Here’s a little tip for some of you who like my M/M books, on April 10 All Romance eBooks will have Breathe Me In as a FREE download in honor of Earth Day. So mark your calendars and go get it for FREE! Have a happy Monday everyone!

Advertisement

Today’s post is a plethora of advertisements for the stuff I’m doing or did. I mean, c’mon, it’s Cyber Monday, which to an old internet hound like myself who’s been out here on the net since the early 90’s, doesn’t really conjure up thoughts of sales but of ahem, sex. Still, Cyber Monday is indeed a day of sales so I have a bunch of ads for you!

First off, my 30 Days of Christmas giveaway event is in full swing. We’ve already given away ebooks and paperback books and today, I have a really special treat for readers. Today is the release day for NightShift, the newest book by Kate Douglas. Kate is a prolific and amazing author. She’s also a really great person and I’m thankful to have her as a friend. Kate’s giving away two signed copies of NightShift on my Lex Valentine blog today so go on over there and leave a comment so you’re entered to win.

Next up is the great holiday story event happening at MLR Press. Forty six books! That’s right, there are forty-six holiday stories that are out or coming out. My story Breath of Heaven is scheduled for December 15. You’ll find the video for this heart-warming holiday story right here on this blog. I’ve already read some of these and they are amazing stories. Mia Watts’s story is touching and funny and incredibly hot! Z.A. Maxfield’s story is heart-warming and sweet. DH Starr’s story is a serious tear-jerker with a belly laugh ending. And Derek Adams’s story will send you up in flames.

We all have the same cover art over at MLR Press but when it goes to the third party distributors some of us will have individual covers in order to distinguish between the stories. Cover art is the first thing a reader sees when they are browsing titles and if all the covers look the same, you might get passed over because the reader thinks they already have that book. So a handful of us did an alternate cover. I did covers for Ethan Day, Z.A. Maxfield and myself. We’re not alone though. I believe there’s other authors doing the same. Here’s the covers I created for the three of us. You can also see these over at Winterheart Design.

I’ve got one other Christmas story coming. This one is Cupid Christmas which is the last of the Christmas Cowboys stories I’ve done for the past few years at Pink Petal Books. I can’t think of another couple so it’s time to end the series of Christmas Eve hookups and HEAs at Forbes Ranch with this one last story.

This week I’m launching a new project called Lords of Aether on December 1. This is a serial story, a really special serial story. It’s by myself and authors KC Burn, Charlie Cochrane, Jason Edding, Stephani Hecht, ZA Maxfield and Jaime Samms. It’s a gay steampunk serial. None of us have any experience with steampunk so we’ve been slowly building our world and characters. I’m the only one with serial story experience and it’s been fun teaching them all about how the dynamics work. I’ve missed The Bar a lot so the Lords of Aether will help me not miss it as much. They aren’t the characters I loved so well at The Bar and they aren’t the same group of writers, but the camaraderie and sense of creating together is the same so it goes a long way to easing that little hole in my heart.  I kick off the story on December 1 with a post about my character Anthony Banning whose former lover, Imperial spy Jack Starr, has looked him up because he needs help finding his missing current lover. As you can imagine, Anthony’s a bit offended.  Here’s a trailer for Lords of Aether. I whipped this up last night so I hope you like it.

And now, since I can’t remember what else I’m supposed to be advertising (I was doing a 2 for 1 book trailer sale for this past weekend at Winterheart Design, but no one took me up on it!) I suppose it’s time to post a Marcus and head on out to work. Since I’ve been doing retro Marcus’s (ie photos I’ve posted before) I thought today I’d post my favorite Marcus photo ever.

Oh yum. I love that photo! If any of you know Nikki aka Motley aka my kid, stop on over at her Facebook page. She’s got a bit of a political protest going on on her wall.

And that’s it for my big ole advertisement post this Monday. Have yourselves a wonderful Monday and don’t forget to keep checking my Lex Valentine blog every day through Christmas Eve. Posting a comment enters you for a chance to win that day’s books. Happy Holiday Season Monday!

 

Shiny Stuff

I’ll admit to being distracted this weekend by shiny stuff. To be honest, they were photos. I was looking for one kind of photo to do a cover and found something else that would work on a different cover. And so on, and so on. Every time I’d look for something, I’d end up with something for a different project. They all had to be done, but they didn’t have to be done in the order in which I did them.

Probably one good reason I got distracted so easily is this darn cold. It’s on the way out, but the lingering cough makes me feel like I’ve gone a few rounds with the heavyweight champion of the world and taken every blow to the ribs and gut. The problem is the way women’s muscles work when they cough. What tightens and spasms are the ones over the ribs and lower abdomen, the ones on the sides of the waist and the groin muscles. Apparently, or so my doc says, men use different muscles when they cough, muscles they use a lot anyway so they don’t get the same muscle aches as women when they have a bad cough. Anyway, every time I cough, it leaves me gasping for air and with muscles spasms sort of like the heaves. I lose track of what I’ve been doing and end up off on tangents. If the work I did this weekend wasn’t so darned pretty, I’d be growling “Eff you, Cold!” for more reasons that the obvious ones of discomfort.

So here’s what I ended up with at the end of the weekend. A total count of three banners, a Twitter background page, an avatar, and four covers. None of which were for me. The stuff that hasn’t been approved yet, I won’t post, but the stuff that’s already been finalized is below.

So pretty! So sexy! Which leads me to something – or rather someone – who is also pretty and oh, so sexy! It’s time for a Marcus!

I want to pillow fight with him! Of course, I don’t look that good in my underwear…Leastways, not any more! *Winces at the thought of my upcoming birthday* That does remind me of something though. This year my birthday is on a Monday so I think I’ll give away some books. Make sure you come back on Halloween for a chance to win.

Okay, that about wraps it up for me and my sore ribs. Have yourselves a great Monday!

Repeat?

The Ariana finalists came out yesterday and I have two this year. As a winner last year, I wonder if this year will see me repeat. Possibly not. It’s always a stiff competition. There are more than a few talented cover artists out there. I’m not up against Anne Cain who is the best cover artist on the planet in my opinion, but Reese Dante is definitely very, very stiff competition.

Most artists work for one or two houses and some only do freelance stuff, preferring not to be tied to a house. And many of them work for a publisher and do a lot of covers for people who are self-publishing. I’ve a feeling that my cover for Debra Holland’s Sower of Dreams will be a fantasy entry for me in next year’s Ariana awards. It’s a lush cover that took more than half a dozen images to create and it doesn’t have a single person on it!

Aside from doing covers for authors who self-publish, I occasionally do covers for Pink Petal Books, Passion in Print and MLR Press. Last year’s win for me was a Pink Petal Books cover. This year the two finalists for Winterheart Design are Black Heart Down by SJ Frost, an MLR Press cover and Blown Away by DL Jackson, a Passion in Print cover. I love pretty much anything Shannon and Dawn write so I’m doubly pleased to be able to provide both authors with a little cross-promotion.

Now, the question is whether I can repeat and win an Ariana again this year. I have to admit I would be so very stoked to win again. I’m not being hopeful because as I said above, the competition is quite stiff, but I would really like to win a second year in a row. It gives me a little bit of cache to be able to say I have two Arianas. But we’ll see what happens in March. And if I lose, there’s always next year and Sower of Dreams. Besides, I’ve done a lot more covers in other genres this year. I’ve got several historical covers under my belt now and of course Debra’s fantasy trilogy. Having covers in more categories is a good thing.

Now, I need to show you a luscious Marcus for this Monday to be complete. I just cannot face a Monday without him any longer. This is what I get for having posted him for so many years of Mondays. I can’t handle Monday without him.

Working in his underwear. It doesn’t get any better than that for me! Well, unless he was nekkid. LOL

October is just around the corner now and I’ve got an October release the first week of the month and deadlines for two Christmas stories, both gay rom. I’m about 3K words from finishing the first one so I’m thinking I just might be right on time to my editor with it. The second one has hardly any words written but since it’s a short story of 8-10K words I hope to be able to write it fairly quickly. Then it’s back to a novella I’ve had a lot of trouble with. I’m determined to complete it before Christmas though so wish me luck!

Happy Monday!

Go Shopping

I spent Sunday redoing my Cafepress store. I haven’t done anything about the template, but I have added products including a whole Lex Valentine section. This was one of the main thrusts of the store for me. I have people ask me about my cover art all the time. Now, they can go buy themselves a poster of my latest covers. Well, the covers I created anyway. Eventually, I think it would be cool to sell posters of all the covers I’ve done even the ones for other authors. I like the idea of cross promotion in this manner.

The store still has the Socially Dead stuff and a couple of the original Sunlight Sucks shirts and best of all the Sex Toy and Queen of Snark shirts are back!  I love the Queen of Snark graphic. One of my all time favorite creations. And just so you know, I don’t mark up my items like other people do. The biggest markup is a whopping $1.01. Others are fifty one cents and some don’t even have a mark up! *gasp*

I’m not out to make a bunch of money. Just want to keep the shop up and running so that my dream of cross promotion can come to fruition. Like Amazon, I need to spend time slapping tags on things, but as usual, time is my enemy. It’s elusive. I never have enough of it. Eventually, I’ll get it done though because I do want this store to swim not sink. So do me a favor…go shopping! The new store is called Winterheart Design.

The other thing I did this weekend besides spend time with Nikki on Saturday, is finalize the cover for my next print book, Tales of the Darkworld Volume Two. The last two Tales books were just a little short of the word count needed to go to print. So my publisher will combine the two novellas into one print book just as she did with the first two Tales books.

Volume Two features Sunstroked and Breathe Me In. Trying to create a cover for it at first was tough. I wanted a lodge to represent Gargoyle Lodge but every image I found of a lodge that looked like it could be Gargoyle had snow in it. Since Gargoyle Lodge is in California, in the spring, summer and fall there’s no snow. So the photos didn’t work. I ended up with part of the Breathe Me In cover including a very hot photo of cover model Brooks Johnson. The photo is similar to the one in Breathe Me In but not the same. Then I used the Eiffel Tower image. To represent Sunstroked, I found a different image of the man on that cover, but instead of using the tribal wolf I used a wolf photo with piercing eyes. I think the cover is really striking while still representing the original covers of those two books.

Now it’s Monday and it’s back to work. I love my job but man, it’s been demanding lately. Actually, it’s demands seem to have been growing. My phone never stops ringing. When it does, there’s someone at my desk or important email. There’s deadlines every week, meetings, and stuff that comes up out of the blue. I juggle a lot of oranges there. Actually, I juggle apples and oranges and so much of it requires immediate attention. I multi-task well but now everyone knows that so they keep throwing things at me all day long and expect me to just deal. There are days I’m just spread too thin to deal unfortunately even when I work OT.  It’s a good thing I’ve learned to apologize.

So before I head off to the office, here’s my Marcus for this Monday. I need this bit of beauty and sexiness to keep my motor revved when I’m so tired from work. 😉

Geez, he’s gorgeous. On that note, don’t forget to check out the Winterheart Design Cafepress store and don’t forget that I’m at Castles and Guns this coming Sunday. I’ll also have another Six Sentence Sunday on the Lex Valentine blog on Sunday. I’m giving readers another bite of Breath of Heaven one of my Christmas stories for this year.

Have a fantastic Monday!