Cats and Oklahoma Weather

005I’m so happy that (new) cat Jackson and (old) cat Isabel get along so well. It doesn’t always work out that way and is so lovely when it does.

This evening I pick up my boss/colleague Laurie and we’re driving over to Oklahoma City for some meetings tomorrow. Then we’ll drive back tomorrow night and she’ll spend a couple of days here in New Mexico. Should be quite the whirlwind!

Otherwise, I’m over at the Contemporary Romance Cafe tomorrow (May 1), talking about where I write. Which, of course, involves treadmill desks. 🙂 If you’re a regular reader here, it won’t be anything new to you. Except to say that I figured out I’ve walked over 150 miles in April and have logged over 61,000 words. It’s been a busy, productive month for me.

Which is good, because Ursula’s book is being kind of wrenching to write. It’s due June 1, so I anticipate May will be another 60K+ month.

Think No-Tornado Thoughts for me!

Let’s Talk About Goodreads

Bl_PEN8CQAEkHBdI posted this to the feeds yesterday, but had to share here, too. Jackson loves to play in the bathroom with me in the morning while I get ready. It’s all part of his joyful lead-up to breakfast, his equivalent of the Snoopy supper dance. The game evolves daily, usually involving stalker me from behind the shower curtain, bunching up the throw rug and mutilating Q-tips. Sometimes he hides behind the curtain, snags the Q-tips with a sneaky paw, and drags them to their doom.

Their doom being to be soggily swept down the drain when I shower.

Lately he’s figured out that he can jump up on the towel and bring it down on top of him, making an impromptu blanket fort, from which to stalk me and the Q-tips.

I imagine you can detect the theme here.

Yesterday, the towel-jumping morphed into a full leap onto the towel rack. It’s a narrow bar, mind you, but he managed to drape himself there nevertheless. The best part, I think, is that the picture above and to the right of him is a tuxedo cat, too. Okay, it’s an anthropomorphic tuxedo cat, getting off the trolley in New Orleans with a bag of Krauss Donuts. A Streetcat Named Desire is the title.


I may be a bit giddily full of Friday today…

So, Goodreads has been morphing a bit lately. No surprise there with their acquisition by Amazon. Thus far it’s been fairly gentle (since the wholesale removal of some reviewers, that is). Recently Goodreads has started nudging me as an author – mostly via these monthly emailed “author newsletters.” Overall I like the tone and the suggestions seem reasonable. After all, I like Goodreads. I enjoy tracking my books there and seeing what other people are reading. Goodreads readers and reviewers have embraced my books and done a great deal to chat them up. Much more so than on, say, Amazon.

One thing that I hear people like on Goodreads is book giveaways. I’ve even entered them myself – and gotten the books! In fact, I recently discovered (no one told me, alas) that my publisher set up a giveaway for THE MARK OF THE TALA, which goes through April 30. When I looked just now to grab the link, 359 people had signed up! Pretty cool, I think.

And food for thought.

Yesterday I got the cover concept for GOING UNDER, the first book in FALLING UNDER, my new series of full-length erotic romances. And Goodreads, in the March Author Newsletter, had suggested ideas for cover reveals on their site. I spent a bit of time reading up, followed their instructions and set up my Cover Reveal Event.

Then I balked.

Because the next step is to invite people. The newsletter even suggested that I add a bribe (they didn’t call it that – I think they used the word “incentive”) that the first 100 people to add it to their “To Read” shelf will get a special excerpt or some such.

Now, I receive Goodreads invites pretty regularly. Usually from people I don’t know and don’t care about. Sometimes people I’m not even friends with, which I can’t figure out. I delete them all. In fact, I kind of hate getting those invites. And now they want me to send them? Ugh!

I asked this question on Twitter and Facebook, how people feel about getting these invites. The writers say they get a lot and auto-delete – my tribe, clearly – but other folks suggested that maybe readers like it better.

So, I’m torn. What do you all think?

RT Booklovers Convention! What to Wear

002First off, I posted this to the website, and waxed breathless about it on Twitter and so forth, but I got all wrapped up in posting the NestPitch stuff and never mentioned it on ye old blogge here. My upcoming release, The Mark of the Tala, first in my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy, got the best possible review from RT Book Reviews! You can’t read it online for another two months, unless you’re a subscriber, but this is what it says:

“This magnificent fairy tale will captivate you from the beginning to end with a richly detailed fantasy world full of shapeshifters, magic and an exciting romance! Andi isn’t your ordinary must-have-a-prince-to-save-me type of princess. She begins as the invisible middle sister, not a great beauty like Amelia, nor a warrior like Ursula – instead Andi is content to remain a wallflower, until she meets Rayfe and her entire world is turned upside down. She makes wise choices, all to save her people from the harsh realities of battle, and even when faced with horrible options, her course is one of truth, loyalty and love. Rayfe is dark and intense, keeping his feelings close to the chest, but trusts Andi to make the right decisions. They are a remarkable pair, one who celebrate individuality with a partnership that will last for a lifetime.”

– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars TOP PICK!

4.5 Stars is their top rating, so I’m over the moon. The story threads this reviewer picked out are exactly what I wanted this book to show. The book comes out May 27 (so soon!), but I’ll have copies to sell and give away at the RT Booklovers Convention, which starts May 14. It takes place in fabulous New Orleans this year, so this gathering which is already essentially one big week-long pary will be extra festive. I’m particularly thrilled to be sharing a house in the French Quarter with some writer and book blogger friends.

On one of my author loops last night, someone asked about dress code and how to know what to wear. Seeing as how this is my 5th RT Convention, I offered some advice. Then I thought, I should just post it here, too. Because there is kind of a trick to it, which isn’t always clear to the uninitiated.

Each evening there’s a big party that you can find on the agenda. If you click on the links on the website, you get more details. For example, Thursday night is the Samhain Saints and Sinners party and it says:

Calling all angels and devils! Samhain Publishing invites you to join us Thursday evening for a wicked good time. Sweet and sinful eats. Delightfully dangerous beats. Amazing author treats! Come dance the night away with our Samhain Authors — whether you wear halos or horns, you’ll be sure to find some kindred spirits! 

The translation here is that people will come in costume as angels or devils. You don’t HAVE to – and lots won’t – but that’s your cue. Heather Graham’s party used to be called the Vampire Ball or the Fairy Ball (they’ve kind of morphed over the years) and still says “Calling all vampires, vixens, queens and kings … royal courts of light . . . and darkness!” So that gives you a costume cue, should you choose to accept it. Vampires AND fairies is how I read that one.

For the Harlequin Dance Party, they say “a spectacular dance party and an evening of glamour” which means dress up and be sparkly.

For the rest of the time, it’s generally business casual. A lot of people dress up – it can be a big fashion show – and a lot of people don’t. Many authors dress in ways that reflect their book themes. I tend to stick with my own personal style. I often see the advice to wear comfortable shoes, and for walking around the French Quarter and the Riverwalk, I’d definitely agree. However, this is a great opportunity to show off your fabulous heels too! You know I’ll be wearing mine. 🙂



Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Word Count: 120,000


Virgin rich girl burner and superstar addict find love in NYC. These two lost people, a guy fresh from rehab and the daughter of a 60s music icon, fight to hold onto a searing passion.

If the MC was an Easter egg…

Alan is milk chocolate because he is smooth, seductive, a blend of pleasure and pain.

Excerpt: 300 words

People would have stared at my father even if he had not been famous. He is just that kind of man, but it has taken me until the age of eighteen to understand that. In my younger years, when I hated Jack in fleeting spurts, I thought fame was like a suit, he could take it off for me if he wanted to. Now I know better than to have childish expectations of what my father can or can’t do for me. Life with Jack is what it is. It is enough that he showed tonight, even if he did miss nearly the entire senior class spring recital. 

I carefully conceal myself in the stage curtains as I watch Jack slipping into the auditorium and fading back into his customary seat in the far left corner. I can feel him in the darken theater though I can only make out a hazy detail of shape with my eyes.

Any other parent making that entrance would have had no impact on the audience. It is soundless. But my father is Jackson Parker, an icon of the sixties, forever part of the music and voice of a generation, and the entire chemistry of the room instantly alters.

Rene drops her chin on my shoulder as she stares out at the audience. “So, Jack did come,” she says. She frees my fingers from the shabby velvet and tosses a harsh glare at the curtains, their ages beaten elegance a thing she finds preposterous since the private Catholic boarding school we reside at cost a small fortune in tuition each year. The shabbiness of the facility she is certain is nothing more than deliberate proletarian punishment for children of non-proletarian families. “He said he would come and actually showed. Chalk one up for team Jack.



Category/Genre: NA/ Romantic Ghost Story

Word Count: 104,000


Free spirited twenty-three year old single parent nurse meets sexy thirty-two year old history professor.  Professor rents his spacious Victorian house to her.  Unfortunately, it is still occupied by the spirit of his deceased mother.

If the MC was an Easter egg…

Jemma would be green-apple flavored, though sweet like an apple she will kick if provoked!

Excerpt: 300 words. 

As the sun slid beneath the horizon turning the page on another day, Jemma Hollister nudged her rust-speckled Volvo into its usual parking space at Dreamhaven Nursing Home. Holding her breath, she reached down and shut off the ignition. The cantankerous old car sputtered and shook, but the engine kept on running.

“Come on bitch! Die already!” Jemma hissed, slamming her fist into the dash.

The car emitted a long unhealthy sounding wheeze then finally gave up the fight.

“Damn girl! Remind me to stay out of your way tonight!” Remarked a familiar voice outside her window.

Jemma looked up to see a tall, gangly, black man smiling down at her.

“Hey Martin!” She hailed, grinning up at him sheepishly. “Wanna buy a car?”

Martin took a step back pretending to assess the vehicle in question. What used to be pearly white was now a sickly shade of yellow and the driver side mirror was secured with a bumpy wad of duct tape. All four tires were maypops (may pop at any time), and the once luxurious upholstery was stained and threadbare.

“Just kidding,” Jemma smirked. “I wouldn’t do that to you.” Then after hauling herself and her overstuffed nursing bag out of the car, she attempted to shut the door. At first, it closed like any other car door, then with a tiny squeak of protest it fell ajar.

“Damn it Agnes!” Jemma cursed. “I don’t need any more shit from you tonight!” Lifting one leg, she forcefully kicked the door back into place. When she turned back around, Martin was holding his hands up and inching away. “Sorry,” she sighed. “I didn’t get any sleep again today.”

“Understandable,” he replied lowering his hands. “So who’s this Agnes chick anyway?”

“Oh,” that’s just what Kenzie calls it,” Jemma explained, gesturing to the car.



Category/Genre: NA Paranormal Romance

Word Count: 50,000


Rachel’s got a smart mouth, an insane mother, and a hereditary demon waiting inside of her. When The Fergus She takes over Rachel’s body, Rachel has to get control back before her life is destroyed.

If the MC was an Easter egg…

If Rachel were an Easter egg, she’d be a double-yolker, because where Rachel goes, The Fergus She follows.

Excerpt: 300 words. 

It was just another Friday night at the Albion—boring and dull with limited chances that I’d find one real man in the Pub-of-my-life. I wrapped my lips around the amber “o” of the beer bottle and tipped a dribble of warm brew down my throat. Not that I wanted a man. I was off the opposite sex for a while; sick of being duped. For all my bravado, my strength and what I hoped was a little intelligence, I still couldn’t figure out how to find a nice man. I was perpetually drawn to the losers who skidded along the alleyways of dead end streets.

A cockroach scuttled across the burgundy swirls on the grimy carpet, followed by a pair of pristine white sneakers. I dragged my eyes up the acid-washed jeans to the black belt that neatly clutched a white t-shirt in its grasp.

“Wanna go a round?” The voice belonging to the legs said.

“A round of what?” My scathing glance slid up to a clean-shaven face.

“Darts?” The word held a confused shrug.

The man-boy showed me a handful of sharp instruments sporting multi-coloured feathers. He gripped them anxiously in his thin fingers, as if hoping the darts could replace his lack of plumage and win a mate.

“Not likely.”

I stared at the would-be suitor, until he sighed in defeat and retreated. The four other eligible men in the room had watched the exchange and were now very aware that I was not up for the taking. I lifted my head and ran my haughty glance over each face. One by one, they looked away from my thunderous expression; my ice-queen posture.

That’s right boys, leave me alone or I’ll eat you alive.



Category/Genre: NA Historical Fantasy

Word Count: 60,000


Kathryn is a killer, a king’s assassin. Only the king and the guild know her secret.  She must face an unlikely enemy who wants to control the kingdom or die at the hands of the manipulative would-be tyrant.

If the MC was an Easter egg…

Lady Kathryn would be a smooth chocolate and caramel swirled filled egg.

Excerpt: 300 words

The stiff bodice squeezed my rib cage and the petticoats hung heavy on my hips. I tugged at the clothing trying to breathe a little better.

“Stop fussing, Kathryn,” mother said sternly watching from the wing backed chair across the room.

“I shall stop fussing once I can breathe.” I winced as the housemaid pulled the strings tighter. I grabbed the table in front of me to steady myself so as not to fall over with each tug.

“The dress is not meant to make breathing easy. It is meant to give you a smaller waist and a higher bosom.”

“Yes, that is just what I want,” I replied tugging at the skirts.

“How else do you expect to attract a respectable husband?”

I rolled my eyes and sighed heavily. If only you knew what I really had to do. “Mother, I am eighteen-years-old. I am not thinking about marriage at the moment. I have plenty of time.”

“You should. I was married and…”

I cut her off before she could finish. “And pregnant with me by time you were eighteen. Yes. You have reminded me daily since I returned.” I am an assassin! I kill people, mother! Husbands and children will not be my life. Get used to it. I thought bitterly to myself.

“Yes. Well you should be engaged by now at least. Everyone else’s daughters of marriageable age are engaged or married. Imagine how your father must feel when he goes to court. Why do you think we sent you to France for so long?” she asked shaking her head.

“Honestly mother, I find it hard to believe everyone in King Aldrich ’s court whispers about the Duke of Suffolk’s unwed daughter.”

“You are one of the most eligible women in all of England. Do you honestly thing people do not speak of it?”



Category/Genre: NA Science-Fiction

Word Count: 90,000

Pitch: Winning. Nothing else matters to 18-year-old Kali. But when the gaming league whitewashes her teammate’s death for ratings, she fights to expose the mind-warping corruption behind virtual sports before it’s game over for her too.

If the MC was an Easter egg…

Whiskey because straight shots can be rough and coffee makes me milder — sort of.

Excerpt: 300 words.

This wasn’t the first time I’d died. Sure as hell wouldn’t be the last either. But while most eighteen-year-old girls studied, gossiped, and swooned over boys, there was no other way I’d rather spend my Saturday night.

Crouched high on the tower’s parapet, I overlooked a sea of wheat fields. The scent of lavender and the taste wheatgrass wove together in the air, drifting alongside the breeze that swept through my hair. I took a deep breath and smiled at the irony, as thick as the mountain air filling my lungs. Lavender. Wheat fields. Tranquility.

Peace, in a place anything but peaceful.

Movement in the fields caught my eye, down and right. A zigzag carved its way through the ten-foot tall stocks, heading straight for the tower. My smile pulled wider. Maybe this sucker had the balls to take on Kali Ling.

The warrior.

I stilled inside. Even breaths. No fear. At the field’s edge, the stocks trembled violently. The air filled with the rainstick rustling of brush and dry grass. Yes. Someone would emerge. I gripped the sword sheathed across my back and waited, muscles tight, mouth watering. Come on. Give me something. A brute. Six — no — seven feet tall, wielding a mace. Or an axe.

Give me anything.

A rabbit scurried out from the field. Nothing followed. The grass fluttered in the breeze. Birds chirped, nestled in the nearby sycamore trees. It was the rabbit, and only the rabbit.

For now.

I punched the parapet’s brick wall, but instead of frustration, irony reverberated through me again. In 2054, most my age hid behind a barricade — of textbooks. Engineering. Art history. Pffft. Meanwhile, I strapped on battle gear, sword and all, and headed into these fields.

Fields I now frowned at, which had stilled just to spit on my excitement.