~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Follow me to the party!

Every time I attend a workshop on the Oregon Coast, I have revelations. (Suddenly Florence + the Machine’s “No Light, No Light” is stuck in my head.) Things I need to do, to change, in order to get closer to my goals.

As Gru says in Despicable Me, “Light. Bulb.”

Sometimes they’re life changes, sometimes they’re little things, sometimes they’re things I’ve heard before and thought I understood, but apparently I wasn’t in the right place to internalize and truly get.

For example, splitting out my writing and production schedules. I’m a writer and I’m a publisher, and those things need to be separate. I’m a weird person who likes admin stuff like book design. But the writing has to come first, be the focus, before I can even think about playing with the production of that writing.

And another example, of a small thing: It takes time to post here and to the News section of my website. So why am I still maintaining a blog here?

Helloooo, cosmic two-by-four.

So, this post serves as a fond farewell to Blogspot, which has been a lovely home for many years. I imagine it’s on a ship and I'm standing on the pier, waving my white lace handkerchief at it. Bon voyage!

And I invite you all to sail with me (yes, I’ve totally mixed up that metaphor. Move on.) over to the News area of my website, where henceforth you will find my blog posts. Come on over and let’s party! Virtual champagne for everyone!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Three sales to Fiction River!

I'm utterly delighted to have sold three short stories to Fiction River at the annual Oregon Coast Writers Anthology Workshop!
"The Scent of Amber and Vanilla" will appear Pulse Pounders (thriller), edited by Kevin J. Anderson, in December 2104.
"Ignite the Night" will appear in Sparks (YA), edited by Rebecca Moesta, in August 2015.
"The Imperfect Otter Empire" will appear in Recycled Pulp (variety of genres), edited by John Helfers, in December 2015. John called my story "A kooky little palate cleanser."
These three stories join three others I sold previously to Fiction River:
"Living With the Past," Fantastic Detectives, Fiction River, August 2014
"Leave a Candle Burning," Fantasy Adrift, Fiction River, April 2014
"The Sound of My Own Voice," Hex in the City, Fiction River, 2013—available now!

February Stats and March Goals

February Stats

  • “Umberto Scolari and the Red Clay of Siena,” complete, 3000 words
  • “The Imperfect Otter Empire,” complete, 3200 words
  • “Music, When Soft Voices Die,” in progress, ?? words
  • “The Case of the Robber Bridegroom,” in progress (needs a redraft), 2391 words
  • completed Ebook Design workshop
  • one copyediting job
  • attended weeklong Anthology Workshop after reading ~240 short stories

Wordcount was appallingly bad, but given how much reading I had to do, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. At the end of each day, between the stories and the copyediting, I felt glutted with words, and I wasn’t even reading for pleasure (although many of the stories were fabulous). I’m really happy to be getting back to that. And back to writing. Which brings me to…

March Goals

Overall, I’d like to get to a solid 3K words/day, except on admin days (of which this is one of two this week, because I’m still not home), the two travel days home, and the one “day off” I’m giving myself (a movie plus a concert). On those days, I’d like to shoot for 1K. I need to get my wordcount production up, and it’s time to get that start.

As for projects…


  • Ghosted: finish reading through, do some brainstorm, order the random scenes, and write 10-20K to patch it all together…and then get it out to the beta readers.
  • Possessed, Undressed, and in a Mess—Sophie Mouette: review full manuscript, make any tweaks, and send to copyeditor
  • Luanna’s book (which needs a title, dammit)—the next Sophie Mouette book: brainstorming with Teresa in preparation for writing the book in April.

Short Stories:

  • redraft “The Case of the Robber Bridegroom”
  • finish “Music, When Soft Voices Die”
  • write story for Magical Motorcycles
  • finish Nikki story
  • write new fetish story
  • read The Valdemar Companion in preparation for writing short story


  • continue to scheme two new projects I can’t talk about yet
  • two copyediting jobs
  • Lucky Bat Books work
  • rebrand covers (mostly done) and interiors and then republish all of my SFF stories
  • prep my mother’s book for copyediting
  • learn how to upload to iBooks
  • six-week online workshop on Writing With Depth

Sunday, February 02, 2014

January recap, only a day or so late

Words written: 21,000

I keep wanting to say that’s low, but the fact that I wrote during a two-week trip to take care of family (and had several 2k+ days during that trip) makes it a win, I think.

Stories completed: 4.5

  • “Umberto Scolari and the Arno Diversion,” complete, 4400 words
  • “The Scent of Amber and Vanilla,” complete, 5000 words
  • “Ignite the Night,” complete, 6000 words
  • “Photographic Evidence,” complete, 4600 words
  • “Music, When Soft Voices Die,” in progress, 2724 words so far


  • 3 short stories submitted (not including the 4 listed above)
  • 1 copyediting job completed
  • 3 Lucky Bat clients corresponded with
  • half of online Ebook Design workshop completed
  • 4 covers designed (as part of the above-mentioned workshop)
  • 2 Styx concerts (had to sell my tix to 2 others to pay for a cavity and cat füd)

I’m a little disappointed about not getting “Music, When Soft Voices Die” done in time for the anthology deadline, but I’m okay about it. Although I did put it off until the last minute, it ended up wanting to be more complex and longer than I expected, and I simply ran out of time. Last night I realized I could’ve hammered out a couple thousand more words and submitted it, but it wouldn’t have been the story I wanted to write, the story it had the potential to be. So I’ll finish it in February and submit it elsewhere.

I also realized that it’s more tiring writing short stories than the same number of words on a novel. With a novel, you’re working with many of the same characters each day, some of the same settings, etc. You already have some idea of the overall feel of the novel—conflicts, etc.

With short stories, you’re starting fresh each time (except in the case of my ongoing Renaissance mystery series with the same character, Umberto Scolari—but the settings change, as do the secondary characters and conflict). New characters, new setting (even if it’s a setting you’ve used before, you’re showing it through a new character’s POV and opinion), new plot, new conflict. New question of “What is this story about?”

There’s a level of fun about that, don’t get me wrong. A sense of adventure as you dive into the new. But there’s a small part of me that’s starting to get tired, that’s thinking “Oh no, another one?”

So I think once I finish the story that’s due Sunday (I have notes, but haven’t started it—it’s another Umberto mystery), the one that’s due next Sunday (which starts with the main character watching the otters at the SB Zoo, and she’s either lost her job or her partner or both, and after that I have no idea what’s going to happen*), and “Music, When Soft Voices Die,” I’m going to dive into one of the novellas I want to write. Two are started: The Master of Wildwood (a prequel to my popular gothic erotic short story “Return to Wildwood”) and On Her Lips (the second of three linked erotic romance novellas, following In Her Hands.).

So, with that in mind, February goals:

  • 3 novellas (2 already in progress)
  • 8 short stories (some already in progress)
  • 1 copyediting job
  • 1 weeklong workshop in Oregon, which includes 2 days driving each way
  • 1 short visit to my sister and family in Pebble Beach to see my niece starring in a play (yay!)

There will also be Lucky Bat work and publishing stuff (once I finish the workshop, I’m-a gonna be busy!), but I don’t know how to quantify it right now.

*Or, crap, maybe it’s in Scotland with shapeshifting otter faeries. Dammit!

Monday, January 27, 2014

New novel release: Out of the Frying Pan!

I have been remiss in announcing my latest novel, in collaboration with the divine Teresa Noelle Roberts!

May I present…spicy romantic comedy Out of the Frying Pan:

Take one chef displaced in the wacky world of Hollywood,
Add one hunky pool boy who isn't what he seems,
Mix with a heavy dash of spicy sex.

Then fold in a self-absorbed starlet who’s on a different diet every night,
Blend with her action-hero boyfriend (secret ingredient: closet cross-dresser).

Finally, garnish with a passel of crazy relatives, one lovestruck Welsh corgi, and two peacocks who just want to be left alone.

Serve with a nice fruity Merlot.

Out of the Frying Pan blends hot sex with the spirit of classic romantic comedy—the result is mouthwatering!

Order from Amazon
Order from Bank of Books
Order from Powell's (forthcoming)
Order from Barnes & Noble (forthcoming)

Also available in ebook format:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

"Sophie Mouette… It's pronounced 'Mmm…wet!'"


She’d gotten a distant glimpse of his chest by the pool, but not like this. Not with the unexpected intimacy of him undressing making the already great view even hotter. Sure, her brain knew it was a matter of necessity, but her hormones were getting ready to strip off his jeans along with the shirt, and then get to work on anything he might be wearing underneath.

Either he was taking that tank top off a little more slowly than was strictly necessary or she was so turned on she was altering time. She was registering details a little bit at a time as they were revealed, a glorious tease.

Tight abs, not overly defined, but defined enough to show he took good care of himself. Strong-looking but lean, not cut and bulked up like Ray, and she definitely liked lean better. (Ray looked like an attractive alien—humans just weren’t built like that). He had a light dusting of reddish-brown fuzz, enough to look very male without being furry. Just the right degree of tan, too—not the office pallor she was still used to from growing up in the Northeast, but not baked.

In short, Brand had one of the best bodies she’d ever seen not on a movie screen. A body she could imagine wrapping herself around all too vividly. She could taste the salt of his skin, feel his muscles moving under her exploring hands…

And as she stood there trying desperately not to drool onto the scallops, he finished pulling the shirt off, tossed it aside with a flourish, and winked at her.

Be still my beating heart.

“I thought…the apron…” she said weakly.

He grinned and tied on an apron emblazoned with a bunch of grapes. It said “Pinch Me, Squeeze Me, Make Me Wine.”

Over a shirt, it would have looked adorable. Over bare skin, it was devastating. Pure sex.

“Gotta go!”

“Thanks so much, Brand!” she called as he fled towards his post.

She wasn’t sure if she were more sorry or relieved to see him go. On one hand, his cheerful company had probably saved her sanity.

On the other hand, having him around the kitchen dressed (or undressed) like that would rob her of the sanity he’d saved. Tackling him on the floor would be a poor idea.

Which might not have stopped her if she’d actually had time.

The next she saw of him (when she did a pass through a herd of gorgeously dressed guests to see what might need replenishing—she was gratified to see the clam cakes could use a refill) he’d found a bow tie, which looked extraordinarily rakish against bare skin, and he was being flirted with by three women who, if they hadn’t been in Playboy yet, would be soon.

And she couldn’t blame them one bit. If she had time, she’d be body-checking her way to the front of the line.
Unfortunately, (a) she couldn’t compete with the Playboy types, and (b) she had to make more clam cakes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Looking ahead…

(aka a very overdue blog post I started last year)

Samhain is my spiritual New Year, but I celebrate the common New Year as well. Because, well, it’s my life and I’m-a gonna do what makes me happy. (See, e.g., not being Christian but celebrating Christmas as a time of joy and family and lights…wait, the pagan me celebrates light at this time, too! How convenient!)

At Samhain, the ritual among our loose local group is to write on a piece of paper something we want to give up, and then we burn that piece of paper. We also got together for a Solstice ritual this year, and we wrote something on a piece of paper that we wanted to bring into our lives, and burned that paper.

Also, a friend of mine annually chooses a word that’s her focus for the new year. Last year, I couldn’t decide between two, so I chose both (because I’m-a gonna do what makes me happy): Focus and Joy. I re-found my joy in writing this past year—the first story I simply had fun writing and giggled my way through was “The Sound of My Own Voice,” which just appeared in the Fiction River anthology Hex in the City.

I’d already been pondering a word for 2014: Present (or, really, the phrase Being Present). As in, being present in the world, in the moment. Not constantly falling down the rabbit hole of the Internet, not constantly trying to multitask. To stop and smell the roses, appreciate the view outside my window, to taste what I’m eating. To appreciate the right now.

For example, I usually spend the holidays, even though I’m enjoying them, complaining that I miss snow, and it doesn’t feel like the holidays without snow. I still feel that way, but this year I was with family and we had a bonfire on the beach while we watched a glorious sunset on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day I walked in the surf on a stunning, bright day, and I flat-out appreciated those moments. The beauty of the world, the time with loved ones, the squishy feel of wet sand, the smell of smoke still caught in my Styx hoodie, the joyous wet dogs chasing balls, sitting on a rock cuddled with my love watching reds and golds streak the western horizon and Venus shining out of the darkening sky.

Just before the Solstice, I read an article about the Danish concept of hygge, and it truly resonated with me, tying right into what I was thinking and feeling about Being Present.

I just looked back at last year’s end-of-the-year/looking-into-the-new-year posts, pondering them with fresh eyes and another year of life behind me. I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to. I accomplished some things I never expected to. I backslid, I fought some depression again, and I’m coming out the other side (yes, dammit, I am, she said stubbornly).

Of course, now I’m posting this nearly at the end of January, but that’s okay. It wasn’t a priority.  ;-)

So what else am I forwardly looking to? Well, I’m taking a workshop next month for which I have to write six short stories, and I looked at my production schedule at the other stories I’m either contracted to write or see nifty guidelines for or just want to write, and I decided that January and February were going to be all about short stories and novellas. Twelve short stories and three novellas, to be exact. Some were already in progress before I made the list, but most weren’t. So far, I’ve got three stories done (despite nearly two weeks of travel/taking care of family), two in progress, and others tumbling around half-formed in my brain, jostling for position.

March will be finishing up a nearly finished novel or two, and then in April, Teresa and I (as Sophie Mouette) are going to dive into our next novel, a sequel to Out of the Frying Pan (currently referred to as “Luanna’s Book” because we’re clueless about a title).

So I'm both being present and looking ahead. And it's glorious.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

To do be do be do be

A bunch of stuff rolled over onto today's to-do list from yesterday's, and a few new things got added in.

So it's probably a good thing I couldn't get back to sleep at 8:30 am after a several-times interrupted sleep that started at 3 am. I suspect an afternoon nap may be in my agenda today, but until then, time to work!

  • Write 2K on anthology story (due Sunday)
  • Write other story
  • Make requested tweaks to erotica story and return to editor
  • Start copyediting job
  • Email. Holy moly, the email.
  • Finish watching the videos for online workshop
  • Finish designing cover for online workshop if needed
  • OOTFP promo
  • Make important phone call
  • Mail story to BBE2015

  • Call doctor and chiropractor
  • Go to gym
  • Make quinoa salad for lunch
  • Prep slow cooker chicken curry for tomorrow
  • Make mac and cheese to freeze
  • Enter last two week’s receipts into Quicken
  • Pay bills
  • Unpack all the things

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Plans for Today

I’ve been out of town for two weeks—mostly family stuff, but I capped it off with a stellar Styx concert in Las Vegas, which helped me let go of the stress of the rest of the trip.

I did get some work done on the trip, which was essential, because I have a bunch of deadlines, both outside ones (anthologies, etc.) as well as my own. I think I wrote up a blog post about that, but haven’t had the chance to post it. I have a slew of half-finished blog posts, really.

But, the first few days home are always extra-stuffed full of Things to Do (do all the things!), so instead of finishing up those blog posts, which are not under deadline, I’m going to post today’s To Do list.

Which probably means you’ll all get bored and never read my blog again. But come back soon! because I swear there will be more content about things like the comp copies that just hit my desk, and my plans for the year, and all the random tweets I wrote down when I had no Internet access.

  • Write 2K or more on anthology story (due Sunday) Eked out only a few words, but did some research and notes, so I'll fire on it tomorrow
  • Write on other story Ack, no
  • Copyeding: short story job
  • Copyediting: start new novel job tomorrow
  • Email. Holy moly, the email Did the crucial first half
  • Watch videos for online workshop Watched the first half
  • Start designing cover for online workshop Ended up designing three covers in a series, hah!

  • Make creamy chicken pesto pasta for supper
  • Make mac and cheese to freeze
  • Prep slow cooker chicken curry for tomorrow (if needed)
  • Make brown rice (I make a double batch and eat it throughout the week)
  • Enter last two week’s receipts into Quicken
  • Pay bills
  • Unpack all the things

Already Done
  • Walked to pharmacy and grocery with Ken
  • Talked to my sister
  • Made breakfast and lunch
  • Made To Do list
Okay, so not my greatest showing, but not bad, either. Tomorrow is another day!