Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Etc.

060This is the full moon rising over Buffalo, Wyoming – seen from our hotel room. Not fabulous resolution, but decent for taken through the window with my phone.

Since it’s release week for Platinum, I’m in a few places today. There’s a post up at Harlequin on my Top Ten Reasons to Love a Dom Hero. I’m also at the Carina blog, talking about the fun research I did for this book.

If you don’t feel like you already know everything you could possibly want to know about me already, stop on by!

Also, just to be a little braggity, I have to show you all this. Yesterday, Platinum was #1 on Carina and Sapphire was #5. There’s MY 15 minutes!!

Platinum #1


On the Fragility of Flesh

Platinum_finalOkay, so….

PLATINUM is out in the world!!!

I know, I know – you know already. But, just THINK – this post means I won’t talk about it anymore!

(Well, pretty much. You know how I am. I might have to refer back to it. And what if there’s an AWARD or something?? Still, for now, this pretty much wraps up this particular book’s debut. She has her dress and her escort. I fully expect her to stay out partying for a LONG time.)

I mentioned last week that we were traveling up to northern Wyoming to visit family. Yes, it’s cold here, with snow and blizzards and so forth. I’ve lost all my Wyoming tough and I don’t miss it. But it’s been a good visit and we’re glad we came. Seeing my father-in-law struggle with his health and fighting the pain meds to string a few thoughts together really brings home how dependent we are on these fragile bodies.

All these things we want to do – books that we want to write or read, places to visit, even bathroom remodeling fantasies – they all depend on the flesh holding out. It makes feeling like I don’t have enough time to write seem pretty silly. We always go through this, the “remember the small blessings” bit, but it’s easy to forget, in the hubub and tumble of all the juggling.

Being thankful here.

Juggling Tasks – and Keeping in Mind What’s Important

2_21_13Jackson loves to do everything I do – including laundry. If only I could train him to do it by himself…

I did the laundry yesterday because today we’re hitting the road to visit a sick family member. These things take precedence, of course, but it throws my careful schedule all to hell. With Platinum coming out on Monday, I have all sorts of extra promo tasks on top of my usual writing/day job/keeping the household going in a reasonable fashion tasks.

I’m not the first person to liken this kind of balance to juggling. The point is to keep all the balls in the air. Dropping a ball is a failure.

I’ve realized recently that most of my ideas about juggling are informed by a book I read as a teen, Robert Silverberg’s Lord Valentine’s Castle. I think I’m spoilering nothing when I say that the core of the story is about the rightful heir to the kingdom traveling in disguise with a troupe of carnival performers. He has no useful skills, so they teach him to juggle. The philosophy of juggling infuses the story – and eventually informs his character as a ruler. It’s lovely stuff, about being peaceful and having focus.

And not dropping the balls.

But I think I can get more focused on not dropping balls than the true fun of juggling, which is the interplay of the balls in the air. After all, I’m doing this to create the best life that I can – to serve all the most important things to me – not to be preoccupied with meeting some standard of not-failure.

What this means is, I’m learning to be okay with dropping balls.

I just pick the ones that can be dropped. The dishes? Can wait. The vacuuming? Doesn’t REALLY have to happen today. Getting word count in? Keep that ball in the air and watch it soar, all shining and lovely.

Maybe this approach will inform my character, too. Peaceful and focused sounds like a good place to be.

Why Star Ratings Really Mean Nothing in the End

Here’s Jackson figuring out how to walk on the treadmill. Such a smart kitty. This was last week and today he was jumping on and walking beside me as I typed this.

This cat invented monkey-see, monkey-do.

I’ve been thinking about reviews lately. Now that the release date for Platinum is drawing nigh, the number of reviews and Goodreads rankings is going up. I’ve really had to stop reading all of them, because I’ve found that I’m aware of all these readers’ eyes as I’m writing, and not in a good way. I write more slowly than I want to and find myself second-guessing whether someone will pick on this or that. Or if this thing will be a dealbreaker for that reader who hated this other thing. It’s kind of like trying to write in a coffee shop full of people talking loudly about your other books. Even the good chatter is distracting.

Occasionally I’ll read one, so I can retweet it or send it to my website people to post. But I only do that if I know the person gave it 4 or 5 stars.

I know. I’m the pansy my stepfather always exhorted me to not be.

The thing is, the 3-star and and lower reviews stick with you, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. The meanness that can be behind those sentiments (not always, sometimes it’s just a fair “not for me”) works like a poison. Here’s an example of how that works.

I get a lot of spam comments on this blog – like upwards of 30/day. It’s not too bad, because they all go to the spam filter, which is amazingly efficient. I just have to empty it every once in a while. Kind of like purging the septic tank. I used to read through, in case real comments went to spam, but that’s only happened once. (I’m looking at you La Tessa – what HAVE you been up to, girl??) Mostly it’s not worth it. Sometimes I look through a few, just for grins.

There’s one brand that’s really nasty. The intent is clearly to garner attention by standing out. Now that I want to find one, there weren’t any. But they go along the lines of “Clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe if you were less sloppy, lazy and stupid, I would have come back to this blog.” What will be funny is that it will be on a post saying, oh, that I signed with my agent or something. I *know* that it has nothing to do with what I wrote, or with anything at all, and it WILL STILL BOTHER ME ANYWAY.

Never ceases to amaze me. So works the human psyche, I suppose.

At any rate, this is the other thing I’m trying to remember – a lower star rating doesn’t mean someone didn’t like the book.

No, really. Because I did this recently. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. (Actually I listened to it on Audible, for what it’s worth.) There were some things that bothered me here and there – I thought some of the plot was over-contrived, some of the prose struck me as trying too hard. And I really hated the ending. If you’ve read it, I’ll discuss privately, but I won’t spoiler it. When I went to rank it on Goodreads, I nearly gave it 3 stars, but the ending bothered me so much. (For the record, it was not because I wanted a Happy-Ever-After.) But then I thought about how the story had captured me and how truly original and interesting the premise is, so I reluctantly bumped it up to 4 stars.

I’ll tell you what: I’ve recommended that book to more people in the last several months than any book in recent years.

See? My star rating, 3 or 4 or whatever, seems to have nothing to do with my personal word of mouth. Because, even if I think you might not like how it ends, I think you’ll still love reading it.

Chalk one up to experience.

Gorgeous Cover for Ruby!

Ruby_finalLook what I have!

Carina Press sent me a lovely Valentine’s present yesterday – the cover for Ruby. That’s book 3 in Facets of Passion, so very fun timing with book 2, Platinum coming out in ten days. Isn’t it gorgeous? I think I might need to find gloves like that. Maybe to wear to the RT Convention, since Ruby releases a few days after that (May 13, I’m pretty sure).

I may have to also distribute Good Sex magic wands, given some of the feedback from Friday’s post.

In fact, I’m adding that to my To Do list right now.

So, this is a long weekend for me, made longer because I took a vacation day today. Of course, that all pertains to the day job. I’m taking the time to crunch on this story I want to submit to an anthology. The due date is 3/1. Once I got my Phantom serial past the midway point (yay!), I sent it to the CPs for crazy check and am seeing if I can get this story done.

Phantom is due 3/31 and that’s a contractual deadline, doncha know. Thus, I can’t really screw with it. But I really want to write Oro. (See if you can guess what series that falls in line with.) So, I made a deal with myself. I have to switch back to Phantom by 2/19. That gives me four days to finish this story. I can do it if I make 4,550 words each day.

Can I do this?

I think so.

I shall certainly find out!

So, if you will, light your candles for me, say your prayers, think good thoughts.

Or just send chocolate.

The Fairy Godmother of Good Sex

Jeffe Fairy CropOne of the questions I get on interviews, or at panels sometimes, is what has surprised me about being an author. I don’t always have a good answer, largely because I’ve been a published author for over fifteen years now. In many ways, I have the gig down.

But I didn’t expect this one.

I have become the Fairy Godmother of Good Sex.

And no – I did not give myself that title. (Not that I’m above that sort of thing.) One of my readers did. Sure, readers have contacted me over the years, to talk about something I’d written that touched them. Frankly, that’s one of the very best parts of being an author – when the circle of communication closes and readers reach out with their ideas.

Since I’ve been publishing sexy stories, however, I get different feedback. Especially from readers of SAPPHIRE and now from those reading PLATINUM, which comes out two weeks from yesterday.

~brief intermission to throw beads and Valentine candy~

I think because these are contemporary romances with relatively mild BDSM, they raise questions in my readers’ minds. Ideas about what they could add to their own sex lives. My heroines are pretty regular gals, too. Ambitious, career-oriented, strong in their hearts and minds – but also adventurous and willing to stretch their horizons. Turns out many readers are the same way (likely why they pick up these books).

And then they ask me about it.

Yeah, those of you who have known me for a long time are laughing and shaking your heads. But hey! It’s not THAT much of a stretch.

I’m pretty happy with this new job. Especially since it comes with a tiara and a magic wand. And wings! In all seriousness, I do believe that everyone should get to enjoy great sex in whatever way they want to go about it – with the ENORMOUS CAVEAT that it’s not destructive to someone else, physically, mentally or emotionally. That caveat aside, sex is one of the great gifts of our mortal lives, in my not-so humble opinion. It brings us both comfort and allows us to grow.

So go forth and enjoy yourselves sexy people!

~waves magic wand~