Wandering Minds

This morning I have a bit of a wandering mind. I can’t really focus but then again, it’s not even 6 am yet. 😉 Excuses aside, I suppose the wandering is in part because there’s lots of stuff going on in my world and not because Zombies Ate My Brains. (I love that t-shirt! Go buy one from Dave2! It’s perfect for Halloween.)

I don’t know what it is about the end of the year that sends me into a frenzy when it comes to writing. Perhaps it’s because I got my first contract in October, on the 30th, the day before my birthday. I have so many projects I’m working on with deadlines looming (some with real deadlines and some with self-imposed ones) that it’s a wonder my mind hasn’t wandered away before this!

I have Rock My World and Honorable Silence coming in November. I have Christmas Wishes and Unbreak Me coming in December. Right now, I need to finish my dark tale of the Five Realms for Patric Michael’s Wishing on a Blue Star anthology. Deadline: Nov 1. Next I need to do edits for Unbreak Me which has some world building issues (yes, even I have world building issues sometimes!) Then I need to tap out 10K for Christmas Wishes. After that I have a Quickie sequel to Rock My World to do and I need to get rolling on my Guardians series and then there’s the sequel to Unbreak Me…

You get the picture. Nonstop work. Which is good for me.

Last night I sat down and wrote out the story of how my parents died and how grief had affected me. I had not ever done that before. It was cathartic in some ways.  Mostly, I looked at it and went, “Wow. How the hell did I survive?” And the biggest AH HA moment came when I wrote down that grief had affected me to the extent that I hadn’t been able to write fiction for ten years. I still built the worlds and characters in my head, I just could not commit them to paper. I figure I must be okay now cause I can write up a storm these days!

Writing is very personal for me despite it being a business, but on a more personal note, my wandering mind is flitting to the jam packed week ahead. It’s my birthday week. And this is the big bad birthday. The horrid birthday. The one that has the AARP sending me mail. *sigh* Can I just say I’m kind of not looking forward to it? I mean, my birthday hasn’t really meant anything to anyone since my parents died. I realized that last night too as I wrote my grief story. Yeah, that makes me a little pathetic, but what and ever. It’s just how my life is. I don’t know what I’d do if someone made a fuss. Seriously.

Aside from my birthday there’s Halloween and a bunch of promo things I have happening like blog posts and interviews. And I have stuff going on at work that is going to keep me hopping. I have a conference call today for a couple of hours about new cemetery software and how it would affect our current customizations… blah blah stuff to the rest of you.

I have a new group blog I’ll be writing at every other Tuesday until the end of the year. Castles and Guns is a dark fantasy blog and right now I’ve only got the two fantasy stories (Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Hellhound in Weirdly III and my urban fantasy/paranormal Where There’s Smoke) but Unbreak Me is more urban fantasy than paranormal and In the Light (for Wishing on a Blue Star) is definitely a dark tale with a fantasy feel even though Weylyn Randall is in it. And how I managed to write anything about Weylyn and not have a sex scene is amazing.

Lots of stuff happening in my world right now. I made two new covers for Pink Petal Books and have a third in the works. You can see those over at Winterheart Design. Rott spent some significant time working on my new computer yesterday and I’m thinking the end is in sight soon which means switching over to the Tribal machine and giving the Green Machine to him.  I think there’s other stuff going on too but hell if I can remember this early in the morning. Just all kinds of things for my mind to wander back and forth through.

It’s raining again here in SoCal, remnants of a typhoon according to my Weather Channel desktop icon. So I think another wet Marcus is in order. I know it’s a repeat from more than a year ago but it sure is worth repeating.

I’ll be doing my first blogging at Castles and Guns on the 2nd so make sure you check it out and see what I have to say on my first day there. If you’re in one of the rainy areas today, try to stay dry. I’ll see you back here on Thursday for some Jimmy Thomas!

Have a great Monday!

Rock N Mock

Before I show you a Jimmy on this lovely Thursday before a four day weekend for me…I have news! I have a release date for my Ellora’s Cave book Rock My World. If you like, you can click the linky and go see it’s page. It feels pretty freaking odd to see my pen name up on that site. And if you can’t tell…I’m decidedly nervous about my debut there. I’m worried about doing well. I’m having…performance anxiety!

Well, before I chew my nails to nubs, let me get you a glorious Jimmy. This cover is a mockup. See the watermarks? I haven’t had time to make the full sized one to send to my publisher yet. I’ve been busy writing and and doing other covers. But I can’t wait until this one is done. It promises to be a really gorgeous cover. Jimmy looks perfect for werewolf Ruan McCallan who leaves his home in the Scottish highlands to chase after his runaway dragon wife Diandra who has gone home to California and her family.

For another does of me and to find out how I got an elbow to the eye check out my Flirty Author Bitches post today. Hope you enjoyed this week’s cover even if it does have watermarks! Have a simply wonderful Thursday!

Cowgirls Need Jimmy Too

Yes, moron that I am, I forgot to post last week on Thursday. Blame it on my deadline. But my editor LOVES the heroes of Afterburner so I think I may have redeemed myself.

This week I have a brand new Jimmy Thomas cover for you. It’s for my next Christmas Cowboys short story. Those of you who know my work know that this series started with Elle and Riley in Christmas Hookup who meet in a parking lot at a holiday class reunion.  It’s not Elle’s class, she’s a couple years older, but she’d been dragged there by her childhood friend Anne-Marie who had heard that her high school boyfriend was single again.

The series all takes place in the fictional town of Heil, California which is based loosely on my hometown of Salinas, California. Supermodel Riley Forbes owns Forbes Ranch where the next two stories take place.  In Christmas Catch, Riley’s cousin Grayson (the ranch manager) hooks up with the bodyguard assigned to Riley, a former pilot who still has nightmares.  Mitch and Gray heat up the pages for a little M/M Christmas action.

For Christmas in Hell, I went a little bit sweeter and paired Elle’s assistant Devon with one of the full-time ranch hands, former rodeo star Jared.  In this story, Devon mentions her brother Bradley as a party animal who takes off for Vegas with his buddies at Christmas to get drunk and get laid.

This year, in Christmas Wishes, Bradley doesn’t go to Vegas. He goes to Devon and Jared’s house at Forbes Ranch. Turns out the reason Brad’s been such a party animal is because he’s been pining for an older woman, Elle’s pal Anne-Marie. Anne-Marie did manage to hook up with her high school sweetheart at the reunion where Elle met Riley and they got married. Unfortunately, less than two years later, Anne-Marie’s husband becomes a victim of a suicide bomber in Afghanistan leaving her a grieving widow. Brad’s not the type to hit on a woman in such a fragile emotional state, so he spent his time hanging with his buddies, trying to forget her.

Christmas Wishes is the tale of a woman who’s returned to her roots while trying to lay her past to rest. Picking up the pieces of her life at her family’s ranch, Anne-Marie runs into Brad who makes it clear he has one wish this Christmas and she’s it.  City boy Brad is a little lost on a ranch, but Anne-Marie decides to show him the ropes and eventually this Cowgirl Cougar Christmas story has a very happy ending.

I’ve a couple of half-finished projects to complete this month and then I’ll be writing Christmas Wishes and handing it off to my editor for your reading pleasure this holiday season.

And now, I’ll unveil my holiday cover featuring Jimmy Thomas!

Don’t you wish Jimmy would look at you like that? I know I do! 😉 Oh, and for those of you who might be wondering – yes, that is the font Dar Albert used on my Rock My World cover. She was kind enough to tell me the name of it and it was luckily a free font! Woot!

Have a simply wonderful Thursday!

Now What?

Over the weekend I wrote a total of 5500 words. My WIP Afterburner is now at 14,300 words. Less than 6K to finish. Due date is 9/30. I’m thinking I can pull that off… I probably would be done already but I keep finding myself doing research. Yesterday, it was on ejection seats for the F-35. Somehow I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into when I created this plot! LOL

I also made a couple of covers for Pink Petal Books. One for Jaime Samms and one for the Tales series. I did the cover for the first book in Jaime’s Ageless series and this is the sequel.

With Tales number 6 set for release on October 7, I figured I’d best do the cover for Tales number 7. This book is a direct sequel to Fire Season and it continues Holden and Garret’s story while bringing in a secondary het love story for Ashworth Stone, who is actually dead. Now you’re wondering how I can have a love story for a dead woman, but trust me, I’m gonna pull it off!

The other thing that happened over the weekend is that one of the Romance Writers of America chapters that I belong to had a pitch day on their private blog for members only. We had the chance to pitch to editor Megan Records of Kensington. Out of curiosity, I went to take a look. Hell. The pitches were just mini-synopsis. Like a fool, I thought, “I can do that.” So I did.

OMG. I am such a moron. I pitched a book that isn’t done. It’s based on a short story I did for an RWA chapter’s writing contest a couple of years ago. My pal Dee Carney won the contest. I took that story and used it as the springboard for a very gritty and violent urban fantasy book that should be about 75K. Except, it’s not finished.

The point to my tale is that I was asked for a partial. Which I have. But that’s about ALL I have. On the one hand, I’m jumping for joy. Kensington is a big publisher. A PRINT house from NYC. On the other hand, I’m thinking, “What the hell have I done?” I pitched a book that isn’t finished. That is seriously gonna put a crimp in my scheduling.

Well, the deed is done now. Despite sitting here thinking “Now what?” about how to produce a book that’s still in my head, I guess I am pleased. As soon as I finish Afterburner this week, I’ll polish my partial, expand on my synopsis so it fits submission guidelines and email it off. Her turn around time is three months so in that time, I need to put in some work on my violent little tale.

It’s time for me to toddle off to work, but before I go, I must leave you with my Marcus for this last Monday of September.

That’s a repeat Marcus from a couple of years ago but it’s a gorgeous pic and it makes me think of cool water, something needed in this end of September heat wave the OC is having.

Wishing you a cool, crisp Fall Monday!

Judge Not

I spent Saturday judging some writing contest entries. It was fun, but I have to say, the first few I read were disappointing. I guess I expected them to be better stories. I don’t know why I had that expectation but I did.  The writing was okay, the mechanics not bad, but I felt nothing when I read them. They weren’t exactly boring, but they just weren’t interesting enough to capture my interest.

Of course, I could tell with a few of them that they just needed a better vocabulary, better word choices, to pump up the story and give it more oomph. Others, well, let’s just say that the plots needed some work.  I will say that there were two real standouts of the ten I read and that’s a pretty decent percentage.

I talked to Nikki (Motley) about how to present yourself when you try to get a job. I told her to stand up straight and not slouch. People might perceive you as lazy and schlumpy if you don’t stand up straight. Now, in Nikki’s case, standing up straight means her gigantic boobs are really, really on display. There’s not much we can do about that.  I mean, Mother Nature saw fit to endow her with the kind of chest strippers pay plastic surgeons to get.  I try to get her to dress so that her chest isn’t so much on display when she’s job hunting. After all, despite it not being right for people to judge each other, they just do especially when they need to size up job applicants.

Used to be, Nikki had the attitude that since people shouldn’t judge each other she could suit herself. She was in her teens then and feeling all angsty and rebellious. Now, she gets it that while we shouldn’t judge others there are times you have to and most people are gonna do it anyway.  I don’t think it’s how humans are biologically, I think it’s how our culture is. And luckily, at 21, Nikki now gets this too. Now, if only she could just get people to stop staring at her boobs and give her a customer service type job…

Today’s Marcus is low key and pretty. I was playing around with gradients in Photoshop and used my favorite Marcus photo.  I love purple.

Oh! Before I go I invite you to check out Fonts For Peas. Amanda made a font out of my handwriting! It’s called peaLex Valentine. 🙂 I should probably use it on this site. Whadda ya think?

Wishing you all a non-judgmental Monday!