Taking a deep breath.
Lots of folks take that for granted, but I’m not one of them. It’s not just my gratefulness for oxygen–though, having had pneumonia twice in the last couple years, that’s probably part of it too–but my simple appreciation of having a moment of peace to enjoy. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m making strides forward. I’m taking off the things that have held me down or pulled me in too many directions and I’m making a new start.
And though it probably just seems cosmetic on the outside, there’s just something to be said for a new look. It makes you smile when you see yourself. Makes you feel good when you get things done. For the coder in me, this site is a complete revamp and reorganization and quite a learning lesson as well! Totally streamlined and compact, it will now make it much easier for me to update you, lol, which I know you all are going to hold me to. For the designer in me, well, I mean, honestly, how does it get better than crisp clean white with a flashy dash of scarlet?
And I’m hoping for you, it’ll mean you can better enjoy the many things that I’ve included here on my site re-design! I hope you’ll all take a look around and have a great time seeing what’s doing this winter. I have more surprises ahead, so I hope you’ll also join my new newsletter because I actually plan to make use of it. 🙂
I know, I know, I sound like a 1st grade September report, but honest, it’s my first time! AND I’ll be in incredible company. 400+ of your and MY favorite authors! (Lord I hope I don’t blush too much when I see my heroes!) So, want details?
2012 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing
Wednesday, July 25, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Anaheim Convention Center, Ballroom (third floor)
Proceeds from book sales go to ProLiteracy Worldwide, Read Orange County, and Literacy Volunteers—Huntington Valley.
No outside books are allowed in the event.
Psst! Here’s a peek at the layout so you can find not only me but other faves: AUTHOR MAP
I’ll be at Table 601 next to Shana Galen, Yasmine Galanorn, Robin Perini, Renee Ryan & Sasha Summers!!
We all find ourselves walking through dark halls, from time to time. Tunnels, winding and seemingly endless. Sometimes, it feels like we’re underwater, or worse, buried alive. Every time there’s another bend in these roads, we hope–sometimes with hope we’d thought long extinguished–that we’ll see a light at the end, telling us the darkness is disappearing. That we’re through it.
Sometimes, our hopes aren’t rewarded. The road stretches on.
And sometimes…they are.
Sometimes, the light isn’t miles away, isn’t a mirage born of hopes held in check too long. Sometimes, you turn the corner and the light is right there. Waiting.
And that’s what’s going on in my life of late. I got a brand new start. One for myself and my husband that changed our lives in ways I’m still not sure I fully understand, but I appreciate more than I can say. Both of us have had professional opportunities come in and other miracles happen all at the same time. It’s been a bit overwhelming, but…it’s a brand new start in our lives, in every way.
Which brings me back here. I loved blogging, sharing thoughts and crazy things and writing with people. I loved watching it grow into something people were interested in reading. A lot of me withered in the last few years, but I’m being given a chance at renewal. That makes this a good time to start over and give it another chance, doesn’t it?
And you wanna know something ironic? I’m starting over and at the same time, my very first book, “Betting Hearts” is getting a restart too. Re-released with a new cover and, can you believe it, they’re giving it away free for the next two weeks. They didn’t just decide that either, it’s been in the works for months, so I guess that just means the Universe has a game plan after all. Or that God just knew the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t as far as I was thinking.
Or maybe He just thought it would make me smile.
Be sure not to miss out on the freebie!
So there I was, innocently making some food for my troupe of kids, and I thought, “Since I suck at cooking and I’m bored watching food cook, where’s my Kindle? I have a Jackie Barbosa novella to read.”
Holy. Shit. People.
Can I just say how much I LOVED “The Lesson Plan”?
Now, I do love my historicals, but I must admit, I don’t actually keep track of all historical errors and such, so any classification errors in this particular review are mine, not Jackie’s. As you can tell from my excitement, Jackie is awesome.
So, where was I, oh yes, telling you why you should go and get this novella.
“The Lesson Plan” is an erotic Regency romance about Winifred “Freddie” Langston, indulged tomboy daughter of a Viscount, who at the nigh on ancient age of 21 is about to face her first season in London. Now, don’t think she’s been mistreated or anything. Freddie has managed to worm her way out of going to London for years, but now that her father has passed, her oldest brother, Nash, has come to the conclusion that the girl needs to grow up and get on with her life like a lady should. Which means not walking around in boy’s clothes with her twin brother and best friend from the neighbor’s house. She shouldn’t be scheming or improper and she sure as hell shouldn’t be heading out to a brothel to find out what all the fuss is about.
Now, onto the hero, Conrad Pearce, whom—by the way, I may fantasize about for quite a long time because I LOVES me some uptight, secretly highly sexed heroes, if you know what I mean. (And I KNOW you know what I mean). Con has an unholy desire for Freddie, which he hides as far down as possible because a) you don’t think about proper ladies like that and b) there was no way her brother, who was one of his best friends, would ever let him live if he knew that Con was thinking of thinking of her that way. Nevertheless, when Con discovers and relays to Nash what Freddie’s plans are, he can’t believe that instead of locking her in her room, Nash comes up with a completely other idea for stopping Freddie from ruining herself and her family by possibly getting caught in a brothel. Nash wants Con to portray a highwayman and hold Freddie “hostage” for a few hours to teach her that it’s not a safe world out there.
Well, Freddie learns something all right…
I’d tell you more, but I’m not ruining a second of it for you. Get the book. Thank me later. AFTER your cigarette.
Related Book You Can Bet Your Ass I’ll Be Reading Next:
Also, she’s planning two more in the series for Freddie’s twin brother and her best friend, so be watching for those in 2012!
I don’t know about you, but I generally am freezing at Christmas time. It’s the time of year that I get to snuggle in every blanket I own, down gallons of hot tea and just about make love to my ereader–Psst, even when I’m not supposed to!
So I thought, hey, if I’m doing it, surely there are others out there in need of a little Christmas reading, right? And why be a little warmer…when you can be a LOT warmer?
So here they are, my holiday offerings to inspire and amuse you for the cozy season! I hope you enjoy!
His best friend’s wedding just turned into the craziest hangover ever…
Kane Wilkensen’s buddy was about to marry the girl of Kane’s dreams. Which would have been fine—heartbreaking but fine—if Kane hadn’t woken up in a Las Vegas honeymoon suite with her, a giant sack of money and a great big blank spot in both their memories first.
Crusty sheriff Cade Evigan doesn’t date convicts, not even ones as irresistible as Katrina “K.K.” Killian. When the crap hits the fan and the case she’s been working on for two years cracks wide open, Katrina heads for the hills to protect the man she cares about most. But some temptations are impossible to resist and she knows if she stays with Cade for the night, odds are her cover isn’t the only thing getting blown…
Now, many of you didn’t know I was planning to write a self-pub novella, so it came as a great big shock when I put up the cover on Twiter earlier this week. 🙂 There was much excitement, too–though I have to say, I think most of that was generated by the fact that the cover is–unashamedly–quite awesome. See?
But like all things that are great, it didn’t start off that way. In fact, without the much appreciated, sage advice from the lovely–and cover savvy–Maya Banks, this would have been a much different cover. Which is why I send all my covers to her for us to pick over like vultures, lol. She’s the only one I know that looks at covers more myopically than me. She has an intrinsic understanding of that underlying cover-language I’m always going on about. Incidentally, she also pulls no punches, so a hero who could be misconstrued as a serial killer ain’t getting past Maya’s keen eye. Also, there’s much laughter to be had when you have a cover concept and the hero looks like a fetal JFK. (Not that I’ll ever divulge where FJFK came from, lol, just rest easy knowing that he is looooooong gone.)
At any rate, it took me more than a week of searching when I could for possible hot guys to be the cover for “10 Ways To Steal Your Lover”–which stars a blond rancher with a delicious musculature, but not the hugely muscley kind. He’s lean and he’s real. You can lay on him naked and not be afraid that his cut muscles will dent you or slice off anything when friction is applied. I went through hundreds of images and here are a few that caught my eye.
When I did finally find the hero of my dreams, I got right to work and did my very best not to lick the screen. (No, I’m not telling if I succeeded or not, lol)
So, I finished my cover concept for my upcoming self-pub and while I’m 98% happy with it, I’m not releasing it until I can get a hold of Maya–who, you know, has a life and is occasionally not home for me to assault with cover madness. But, 98% happy is good, right? Right? You judge:
I knew something wasn’t quite right and I was brooding over dusting out the veiny skin above the heroes right hip. Cuz let me tell you, it was bugging me. But some chicks find that sexy. (Someone explain that to me, please!)
Then, around 8pm my time, Maya comes online and I–of course–pounce with hot man flesh. So, after checking if this is a pub book or my own (I could practically HEAR her sigh of relief when I said it was mine and we could toy to our hearts content) she says, “No. I hate it. That stripe is not working.”
Can you hear the sleeves rolling up? Cause they did. Now, she had valid concerns. I had checked with my other friend, Fatin (@Mad4RomBks) and she thought the stripe made the hero look like he had a malfunctioning tanner and the poor guy had a white stripe on him but an opaque stripe under the text meant hiding the incredibly hot guy under a slab of paint. So, I went for more opaque, but Maya said, how about you try…this:
She felt it looked more professional–it does–but cutting off half the hot guy still wasn’t working for me. We needed another opinion. Maya turns to her hubby and asks him which is better. He agreed with her, the solid white looked better. So, I turn to my hubby and ask him what he thinks. He thinks there’s a way we can both be happy and says, Try…THIS:
Yeah…we were both happy saying no. Something about it just didn’t work. Maya hated that his pants just disappear—it’s ok, I giggled at that being a complaint too–but we both agreed that the pink body outline just wasn’t appealing. Still, Maya liked the splash of pink and thought it was a good idea to try something with it. Like maybe, this:
Meh. Pink and Red are only friends in Christmas candy. But then Maya says, turn the red to pink. Like…HOT pink. And isn’t this cover screaming for a lipstick kiss? And actually, I chose the color fonts to look a bit like they were written in scripty lipstick, so we were totally on the same page and like an explosion of happy, we combined all our ideas into…this:
Finally, we were happy! You know, for like ten minutes. As you can see on this page, the cover kind of blends into the white on the outside. And the stark white against the hot guy is just…well, stark. Since we already had the lines, when she suggested it, I was already on it and we got to this:
Better, no blending, but the thickness was wrong. And the number and my name looked cut off. Not good. So, some final tweaks and…Voila! A final cover to drool over!
So what have we learned to day?
A) Maya Banks is a cover goddess
B) Dee will do just about anything for a quality cover.
C) If you go to http://www.istockphoto.com , you can create your own mantastic gift-wrap for your very bestists friends.
D) Yes, sometimes it does take a village to raise a cover.
E) All of the above
LOL! What do you think?
In classic Hollywood, they wanted to tell wondrous stories of distant lands or exotic, dangerous characters. Of course, in classic Hollywood, the closest thing to an ethnic actor was an ethnic hairdresser or janitor helping out on the set. Thus, most ethnic characters were played by blue eyed, painted actors who had more shine than the Packards they drove home.
In case you were wondering, yes, that really sucked.
So it was really amazing when not only did an ethnic actor show up in mainstream–the awesome Jay Silverheels–but he was actually the correct ethnicity! I’m not exaggerating when I say Tonto ROCKED. Not only did everyone know he was hotter and smarter than The Lone Ranger, he was on the 1st television hit of all time. (Much the same can be said of Kato from the Green Hornet, but I digress due to hotness) There would still be decades before the viewing public came to expect more ethnics to play themselves on TV, much less play them realistically, but there’s a slight expectation now that to have at least a touch of reality in your ethnic characters.
Now, you’re probably wondering where this is going. And I’ll tell you. It’s going to Thursday night’s Grey’s Anatomy episode. And it’s not about race, it’s about common sense.
See, thursday’s episode starred a writer. Not just any writer, either. Oh no, she’s a ROMANCE writer. Cue the brain tumor.
To be fair, she had multiple aneurysms, but you get my point.
Sure it was a new episode, but you’ve seen it before on other shows. Dying melodramatic romance author races against time to finish a book about true love at the possible cost of her own life. Someone must help the beleaguered woman finish her book before she dies! Cry, people, CRY at the writer’s dedication to her readers! She LOVES you! She has no life or family or interest in anything but getting you another chapter in her never-ending love triangle and that’s why YOU love HER.
Spoiler: She lives. And she’s figured out a way to stretch the series a few more books. AWESOMESAUCE.
(If you can’t hear the sarcasm there, feel free to apply liberally until it’s dripping like a good rib-sauce.)
I’ve never much understood why writers of tv shows write episodes about other writers and make them so… well, ridiculous.
If I have a brain aneurysm, I hate to break it to y’all, but I’m going to talk to my editors and get an extension on the book while I, I don’t know, fight for my life. No offense, that’s just the way I roll.
In reality, while writers will hole up for hours with our laptops, notebooks and whatever necessary snacks and music to avoid interruption while we write, most of us have families. We interact. We require friends and contacts and shoulders to lean on. (And occasionally for inspiration for our characters and the choices they make.)
Don’t get me wrong, we love our readers. I’d do a lot for all of you. But like any other sane person, I’d be in need of medical intervention if I put work ahead of live saving surgery.
The closest rendition of a writer that ever made sense to me was in the movie “Stranger Then Fiction”, and even then, her home was beyond antiseptic and I can’t imagine a writer living there. (We like cozy places to read and shockingly, we usually enjoy the occasional color)
I guess I would just like something at least slightly closer to reality, especially since these characters are being created by, you know, writers.
Dying attached to your laptop with no one in your life isn’t dedication. It’s sad. If you’re going to depict a writer that way, how about you do me a favor and don’t make it a romance writer. Go for a literary writer, they like dying at the end. Us Romance writers? That’s not how we roll.
Usually, I have no idea how it happens that months go by without me being really aware of it. How does that happen?
But honestly, I know what happened this time. Some crazy, crazy developments! Allow me to fill you in:
I’ve been writing!
Yeah, never thought you’d hear that again, did you? I have though, and I have a lot planned for the coming months.
A completely new novella that I’m self-publishing and will be out in Late November called “10 Ways To Steal Your Lover”, about a couple that wake up married in Vegas. Nothing terribly strange about that except that the guy this bride married isn’t the groom she expected!
Next, I’ve returned to the world of Rancho del Cielo to introduce a new family to the collection of slightly nuts folks in the country suburb. In this new chapter, you’ll meet Amanda Jackman and her band of merry brothers, none of whom will let the poor gal have a date. So when she gets the okay to go out with one of her brothers’ best friends, she knows something is up, she just can’t believe what it is!
And I have one more project up my sleeve I can’t quite talk about yet, but it’s very exciting and I can’t wait to tell you about it.
And yes, there’s MORE to tell you about. Starting next week on Harlequin.com, we’re starting our NaNoWriMo event–take part, honest, it’s fun, non-violent, whining welcome and there will be authors to play with!–, not to mention Harlequin will also be starting “So You Think You Can Write” again and well, seriously, you don’t want to miss that. Editors everywhere giving you every possible chance and tip you can use to get your foot in the door. Don’t miss it!
Then, next month, we’re having our 10th Annual Open House over at Harlequin.com. Over 100 authors sharing holiday cheer and a darn good time! I’m still booking authors for MIRA, HQN & LUNA, Harlequin Medical and Romance, Superromance & Nocturne! So if you’re a Harlequin author and you’re interested in taking part in our biggest event of the year, email me at laideebug at gmail dot com. I’d love to send you the details. 🙂
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Didn’t mean to neglect things here. I rather miss writing blogs about what I’m thinking and doing. Twitter does reduce my ability to make complete sentences, but I love it too. At any rate, expect to see more of me, at least on a weekly basis. 🙂
Hugs all, and here’s hoping November is a great month for everyone!
Or as I like to call it, “OMG, WTF are you DOING??”
So, before I begin, let me tell you that I have no pictures of the aforementioned torture…er, procedure. The reason being, I can’t think of a good reason to take close ups of girl fur. It’s icky and I’m not doing it. Esp since you have to let it grow a bit to get an effective yank on said girl fur.
Also, I am not–nor shall I ever–do a bikini wax. EVER. I did my legs to the knee and my underarms, several times.
Okay, all that said, here’s what I have learned about home waxing.
Holy shit, that hurts. And also, meh, It’s not so bad.
There are a few important aspects to consider if you want to wax at home:
1) How do you plan to keep the wax hot and how hot can you handle wax?
You need to have the wax hot in order for it to really work. The hotter the wax, the better the grip. So, if you are a wuss and can only take cool showers, waxing is not for you. That’s not a dare. I’m not saying scald the crap out of yourself. The wax should be just below stinging. Like a good hot tub. 🙂
The microwave kind I got, well, you’ll have to heat it up at least twice per leg. And you have to do a deep stick with the spatula to get the warmest part of the goo. The upper wax…almost guaranteed not to be warm enough.
2) What do you plan on waxing?
Now, this is where the girls get separated from the kamikazis. Underarms are intensely wooded areas that grow deep and sometimes you get multiple follicles in one hole. These a vicious to rip out. Oh yes, there WILL be blood. Worst part is, you might not even get the little bugger out.
I never did get the trick of doing underarms. It’s virtually impossible to hold the skin taut for the pull with one hand. You can TRY to use the arm you’re raising, but it’s not very effective. You look funny, you hurt your neck and you get to know your underarm WAY too well. Especially when you rip the strip away and see that you basically tormented your skin and left most of the hair exactly where it was. Only now, it’s mad.
I’m going the shop after I heal up from this last ordeal. Just not worth the pain.
Next, I waxed my legs. Now this, this I can handle.
The hair actually comes out! The pain is not that bad at all. And, yes, it’s been 40 minutes and my skin is still slightly stinging, but that’s ok.
It’s somewhat akin to the difference for a diabetic between pricking your finger or your forearm. It’s just not as bad.
Also, as the wax cools a little, unlike your underarms, you can effectively warm it up a little bit by rubbing the backing of the strip like a girl scout trying to start a fire. When it’s burning, you can rip. And if you’re quick, you can reuse the strip and get those fine hairs that might have been left behind.
Caveat–Waxing’s most effective tip is to keep track of the grain of the growth. Wax down in the same direction the hair grows. Pull the skin with one hand at the bottom of the strip area and rip back the opposite direction.
So, overall lessons. If you can get your underarms smooth for longer than a day or two, it’s totally worth it. If you can bear to rip your skin off to achieve that end, waxing may be made for you.
One thing is sure, I’ll never wonder if I’m a masochist again. 🙂