This is No Fairy Tale…

Another lilac picture for you, because they’re so beautiful this year, you all need to see them often. So there.

So, I have my official back cover copy for Rogue’s Pawn now! You know what I mean – if you were holding a paper book in your hand and you turn it over to read the back to see what it’s about? Yeah, that.

This is no fairy tale…

Haunted by nightmares of a black dog, sick to death of my mind-numbing career and heart-numbing fiancé, I impulsively walked out of my life—and fell into Faerie. Terrified, fascinated, I discover I possess a power I can’t control: my wishes come true. After an all-too-real attack by the animal from my dreams, I wake to find myself the captive of the seductive and ruthless fae lord Rogue. In return for my rescue, he demands an extravagant price—my firstborn child, which he intends to sire himself…

With no hope of escaping this world, I must learn to harness my magic and build a new life despite the perils—including my own inexplicable and debilitating desire for Rogue. I swear I will never submit to his demands, no matter what erotic torment he subjects me to…

This is kind of a weird moment for most authors, I think – seeing the final condensation of the story. For better or worse, I will now see these three paragraphs ALL THE TIME. Any time someone reviews the book or mentions it, these words will tag along. It’s not a bad thing, just part of the business. I’ve always wondered how bands feel singing their signature songs twenty or thirty years later. I mean, does Stevie Nicks sing Landslide and think “Blah blah blah?” Or does Aerosmith, when they perform “Dream On,” which will have released forty years ago next year, think “When will this song ever die?” Never mind that Steven Tyler can’t hit the notes anymore. Or are they just grateful that they managed not to OD and that people still want to hear their music?

Probably a mix of both.

So, it’s funny to get this copy and be given the green light to spread it around. I’ve seen it a few times now – from what they sent me and then what my editor, the incisive and insightful Deb Nemeth, worked up from it. I suppose I’ll be lucky to be still looking at it forty years from now.

No cover yet – I’m promised it any day now. But I know who’s designing it: There are some amazing covers on the site, so I’m feeling all tingly and hopeful. Think good thoughts!

Choosing Your Billing

How people bill themselves and their products fascinates me.

You know what I mean, right? The “best,” “tallest,” “newest,” “most.” Advertisers have been after this method for years, trying to convince consumers that this particular thing is special, unique, superlative and Must Be Purchased. Of course, there are laws that require Truth in Advertising.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main federal agency that enforces advertising laws and regulations. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act:

  • Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive

  • Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims

  • Advertisements cannot be unfair

However, it’s fairly easy to get around this sort of thing. “Truthful” is a relative thing. My “healthy” granola bars might be low-fat and through the roof on sugar and sodium. Depends on the definition.

Writers, of course, are faced with selling themselves to the world. Yes, yes – I know we’re really selling our stories, but the almighty BRAND is the author herself. Do you want to read a book by Crappy Author or Bestselling Author? Knowing nothing else, you’ll probably pick Bestselling, because at least that means a bunch of other readers liked the author’s work enough to buy it.


See, it’s really great for an author to have a book make it to the New York Times Bestseller list. Or the USA Today Bestseller list. And now the Amazon Bestseller list. The best part is, a writer gets one book on one of those lists – even in the very bottom spot – and ever after you get to pimp yourself as Bestselling Author. Fair enough, really. However, now that there are so many digital presses and online bookstores, there are ever so many more lists to be on. And I see authors glomming onto the “Bestseller” title if they’ve made it on any list anywhere.

For example, when Sapphire came out, it was number one on the Carina bestsellers list for about a week. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t love this. I may have clicked on the link and looked at it approximately every ten minutes. I might have even made little gleeful noises while I looked. Okay, I have screenshots saved. And someone said to me “Now you can call yourself a #1 Bestseller.”


Obviously, I haven’t done that. It just feels wrong. I know a bunch of you will snicker at this, but I’m a fairly modest person. Not that I don’t have a very healthy ego and strong self-confidence. But I really don’t like talking myself up. I run into this at the day job, too. Those people in the company who make sure everyone knows how wonderful they are? I’m not one of them. I’m wary. Wary of jealous gods and obese egos. 

So today I noticed a writer described as “World Renowned Author” and I tripped over it. What the hell does that mean? I recognized the author’s name, even read one of his books, but I would never have described him as world-famous. And then I thought, well, hell – Carien who often comments here, lives in The Netherlands and she likes my books. And @arzai lives in Malaysia and she likes my books. I figure, this makes ME world-renowned, right?

I’m low-fat, all-natural and healthy, too.

Attack of the Zombie Miller Moths!

Yesterday, without warning, they attacked.

I innocently stepped into the backyard yesterday afternoon. The sun was lowering with soft golden light, the lilacs glowed, redolent and sweet. And a cloud of miller moths lifted from the lilac blossoms. 

Thousands of them. Everywhere.

Now I’ve lived in the Rocky Mountain West most of my life and we who live here know of the annual spring miller moth infestations. Some years are worse than others, following some arcane cycle of moisture and warmth. There are tales of people filling vacuum cleaner bags full of the things without making a dent.

I’ve never seen anything like this.

I’m just relieved I put the screens on last weekend. Last night, hoards of the moths flung themselves against the screens, mindlessly groaning to come in. (Okay, maybe they weren’t groaning.) You can see that the guard cat was ready to take action, should they come crashing through.

This morning, there is no sign of them, except a stray fluttering here and there. It’s like the dawn after the horror movie’s endless night. The birds sing sweetly. We feel relieved and happy.

But tonight… tonight the shadows will lengthen, the sun will set.

Run away!


Our lilacs have burst into full and riotous bloom. I wish I could make this image scratch’n’sniff. You walk into the secret garden and the scent of lilacs just drenches you. Not every year is a perfect lilac year, but this one is.

I’m heading out on vacation on Saturday, so this week is all about winding things up. David’s sister and brother-in-law are house-sitting for us while we’re gone, hoping to enjoy the spring they’re not yet getting up in Wyoming. Cathy is a painter, too, so she ought to really enjoy the galleries here and the opportunities to paint. David and I spent the weekend getting things fixed up for them. We cleaned up the yard, fixed a window that hadn’t been wanting to open, rebooted an outlet. Funny how you get used to living with certain things not working right until you think about explaining to someone else how it doesn’t work.

David finished finals on Friday, too, so he’s unwinding from that stress and exhaustion. Only one semester to go and he’ll be done with school, which is good, since he’s already so done, if you know what I mean. Vacation in the Caribbean will be good for him.

And me – I’ve decided not to take the laptop with me.

I know. It makes me feel a little uneasy. But I’m planning to finish the new story this week and send it to the Fabulous CPs before I leave. (The new story is Blood Siren, a follow-up to Feeding the Vampire – same world, different characters. Hope you like it!) I’m going to wind up and hand over day job projects, too. I’ll take the cell phone, but will turn the network connections off.

It will be good for me to unplug, I think.

When I get back, I’ll dive into drafting the sequel to Rogue’s Pawn, tentatively titled Rogue’s Passion. So I might noodle it while snorkeling and lolling in the sun. But no writing for the week – guilt free. Which means no blogging either. Sorry! The plus side is, because I won’t have the laptop to carry, I think I’ll take my full camera bag and lenses for optimal photography blitzing.

I promise lots of pics when I return!

Remember, Always – no, wait! Never…

I’m over at Word Whores today, talking about the Best and Worst Writing Advice I’ve ever received (or given). Today will also have the final installment of my seven-part series on Novel Spot, about my path as a writer.

Thus shall endeth the all-writing-talk, all-the-time week. Perhaps next week I shall blather on entirely about Cats and New Mexico Weather.

The Unexpected Sale

Another photo from the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour. That was just an amazing tour – one of the best I’ve taken, anywhere, ever. Many thanks to Lacey Savage/Hunter Raines and Fiona Jayde for inviting me along!

I’m over at Novel Spot again today, for the fifth installment on making the writer thing happen.Today’s is all about perseverance, shopping the novel and selling in unexpected places.

The Great Nest Relocation Venture

Oh look! A nest with eggs! How wonderful, yes?


Not so much.

Observe location of said nest:

Don’t see it? Let me show you a better picture:

See that twiggy stuff in the shadows of the upper opening in the tire? Yes, our nest.

This happened last year, too. Only we didn’t notice the nest until we’d been driving the the Jeep around and it was way too late. This time, David saw momma bird fly out of the tire yesterday afternoon. We figure she must have laid the eggs yesterday morning or the night before. A little research told us that the eggs should take two weeks to hatch and then two more weeks for the birdies to leave the nest.


So, I am attempting relocation. The same research said house finches like to build nests in hanging plants, too. I dug out one of my dead hanging plants from last summer and hung it next to the tire. (You can see it in the big Jeep picture – I don’t normally hang dead plant baskets on the Jeep.) Hopefully momma bird got used to seeing it there. This morning, I put on latex gloves and then washed them, to try to remove as much human scent as I could. Then I relocated the nest to the basket.

I hung the basket on the tire and added an exotic cover for shade and protection.

Hopefully momma bird will find it and continue to sit on the eggs. Then I’ll gradually move the whole thing to the nearby grape arbor.

Think good thoughts!

Also, Day 3 of my Novel Spot history of Me as a Writer is up today. Let me know what you think!