Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Writerly Recap



The end is near! I'm so glad to see 2012 scuttle out the door. What a horrid year it's been for us, but I'm not going to let that get to me. 2013 is going to be brilliant, positive, prosperous, and full of opportunity. The possibilities are endless. :o)

I read many, many writing articles daily, and it's difficult to keep track of who wrote what and who said what. In 2012, the one bit of writing information that has stuck with me was said by Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. When you settle in to work, enter your office, or however you kick off your writing workday, 80% of your time should be spent putting words on the page. 15% of your time should be spent promoting, blogging, marketing, learning, submitting, and all the other things we do that isn't writing. 

That is going to be one of my primary writing goals in 2013. 80% of my writerly time will be spent putting words on the page. As for my other primary writing goals, I want to take more risks and step outside my comfort zone. I want to submit more work and generate more sales. I want to submit a contemporary category novel to Harlequin Desire, and when my erotic vampire novel is ready, I want to send that out to one or more of the three publishers I feel it's targeted toward. More about that in my recap list. 
Writing-wise, I grew by leaps and bounds in 2012, but it wasn't easy. I have lots of scars, a couple of rejections, and scraped knees to show for my efforts. Even so, I'm happy with the progress I've made. 

Below is my writerly recap for 2012. I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, but this is still a good assemblage of events. For additional bits and bobs, I have a partial list on my website News & Trailers page under the What's New section.

2012 Writerly Recap
  • Chasing Moonlight - new Werekind story - written, accepted, and published - available ebook
  • Little Deaths - published in the Coming Together, Hungry for Love antho - available print and ebook
  • 4 p.m. No Show - published in the Morning Noon and Night antho - available print and ebook
  • Prince of Thorns - published in the Ultimate Angels antho - available print and ebook
  • What She Doesn't Know - my first erotica collection - self published - available on Smashwords
  • Five themed stories written for a vampire erotica collection - soon to be edited/uploaded
  • BDSM role play micro short story - sent into the wild and has received a "yes"
  • Wrote 5 new (non-targeted theme) erotic short stories - all of them complete and staring at me from the editing stack - the final I.L. story, sexy beach story, salon story, mechanic story, zombie
  • Finished the rough outline and synopsis for a 50k novel I'm targeting to Harlequin Desire 
  • Rewrote page 28 of the GalleyCat Varney the Vampire Literary Remix - available as a free download on Smashwords
  • Wrote tentative first draft for T.V.P. vampire novel - 80k and sitting at...95%. I'd say compete, but then last night I came up with a hot new scene for that book, so subconsciously it's not finished yet. Targeting this book toward EC, Aphrodisia, or Mischief. Should be ready to send out in the spring/early summer.
  • Participated in two (one-stop) blog/book release tours
  • Attended several writing workshops hosted through RWA University and Savvy Authors
  • Received my first ever print author copies via snail mail (So exciting!!!)
  • Completed a 6 week proofing/editing certificate program at LA Tech - more skills for my writerly tool kit
  • Volunteered for and still serving as the contest coordinator for the 2012 Suzannah Contest - NolaStars Chapter of RWA (Shreveport/Bossier area)
This is my last blog post for 2012. Here's to a New Year filled with lots of promise. See you all in 2013! :o)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holly Jolly Days

MiniBeast putting ornaments
on the Disco Tree.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

While tomorrow is technically Christmas Eve, we're going over to my parents' house for dinner. I'm making a potato salad right now (taters, they are a'boiling!), since the house is fairly quiet. In the morning, I'll put Mini in the bath, then we'll all go over the parents' house to eat and open gifts. This year we've tried to make this all as stress free as possible. My kind of Christmas!

Afterward, I imagine we'll come home and lounge around, nap, and watch TV. That sort of thing. I'm totally looking forward to it.

Each year we celebrate with my parents, and then Christmas morning, it's just us - hubby, me, and the kids. Of course, this year, we will only have MiniBear home with us, since Oldest is serving in Bahrain. It was tough missing Oldest at Thanksgiving, so I'm trying to keep Christmas positive. Mini is very aware that his brother isn't here. Poor beast. We all miss the big boy very much. At the start of the month we sent him a care package - his presents. A few small, fun things we were sure would make it through customs. His grandma and grandpa sent a care package too, as did a few of hubby's friends. So hopefully the big guy knows we are all thinking about him.

I have a story to finish and revise this week. It's not long, but the deadline is coming up on me fast. I imagine the end of the week will be focused on getting that one ready to send out. Anyway, I'll save all that bloggity-blog stuff for another day. For now, I'm focusing on fun, family, and food. Speaking of food...at this rate, I'm sure I'll be finding an extra ten pounds for Christmas. Gee, thanks, Santa! ^_^

Until next time, wishing you many happy, winter-y wishes!  
  ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄   ❅ ❄ 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Apples, Dreams, and Deadlines


The plague is finally lifting. Mini went back to school yesterday, and I settled in to get some writing done. I only managed about 1k words before I went to help hubby rearrange the dining room. This was planned, of course, but I had no idea when I started what a job this was going to turn out to be.

Earlier this year we moved a new desk for hubby into the dining room, so now we have no place to put our Christmas tree. To make a place for the tree, we had to shuffle the furniture around. A lot of furniture. Oh boy. My house is a complete mess for now. It was simply too much to take care of in one day. We moved the robin's egg blue, 1940s kitchen hutch into Mini's room to use for shelving. That meant I had to rearrange Mini's room and sort toy boxes to make room for it. It took about three hours just to do that.

Tomorrow we're moving the Cajun style standing pantry to the wall behind the dining table. The tree is going to be sitting where the Cajun pantry is right now.

Before we tackle all that, though, I have to go buy bins, because a lot of the stuff we had in the blue hutch is now homeless and sitting on the dining table. There's no other place for it. Before buying the bins, to try to save a few dollars, I'm going to rearrange my office shelves and see if some of the craft bins will fit in here. One room leads to another, then to another. Le sigh.

Back to writing. I'm working on a deadline piece right now, and it's just not flowing. I've written well over the required amount of words, but none of it "speaks" to me. Boo. I've already cut a lot out of it, and still it reads flat to me. I'm debating tossing the whole thing and starting from scratch.

Since getting sick around Thanksgiving, I've been low energy and not feeling very inspired. I know, lack of inspiration is no excuse for not writing. In the morning I seriously have to snap out of it and get some word count down before I run out of time with this project. The last thing I want is to have worked on a piece for a month then miss the deadline. I'll be stuck with a story I have to sit on until I gather enough similar stories for a collection. I mean, that's not necessarily a terrible thing, but I'm trying to avoid that because in 2013 I'm going to be focusing more on novels. And I'd like to focus on writing more romance.

One more thing before I go! A few days ago, I had this really strange dream. It was so vivid, and I've been meaning to write it down. In the dream I was walking in the yard with hubby. It was late fall, early winter. All the leaves were off the trees. We walked to the far corner of the yard where we have a rosemary bush planted, and a very tall tree had grown there. The tree didn't have a leaf on it, but when I looked up, through all the branches I saw this enormous yellow apple. Seriously, this apple was the size of a bowling ball. Or, as I thought in the dream, it was the size of a human head. Take your pick.

The apple was beautiful. It had one tiny bruise on it, but it was perfect in my eyes and I wanted to pick it. I asked hubby to come closer and try to pick the apple, which was pretty high up. Hubby looked at it and said we'd have to do it later, because we had to go. I knew he was right, so I linked arms with him, and we crossed the yard, walking along the road.

About halfway across the yard, we came upon more trees that had sprung up along this short path. I looked up at the branches and was awestruck because this tree had dozens and dozens of enormous apples it. They were so big and richly colored that they looked like heavy paper lanterns hanging in the bare branches. The fruit was beautiful and perfectly ripe, and in every color you could think of. Red, yellow, green, and that peachy yellow-to-red color some of the blushy type apples have sometimes when you buy them from the store.

I was very excited by just getting to see the this spectacular tree, and that joy and sense of wonder was on my mind when I woke up. It was a very nice dream. And so colorful. I don't usually have dreams that colorful. I'm even thinking about making a project out of it. I have a fresh pad of watercolor paper, and I may end up painting the apple laden tree. I already have a space picked out for it in my office, if I go through with it. All I have to do is find the time! :o)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thinking Positive Thoughts


Eek! Only eight days left until the start of the holidays. For us, at least. Mini gets out next week for winter break, so I'm trying to wrap up as many writing projects as possible before then. So far, so good. Last night I wrapped up a huge freelance project, and just this evening I finished outlining a brand new story for EC. First things first, though, before I start any new projects, I have a (promised) short to write and submit by the end of this month.

Speaking of Ellora's Cave, you have to check out their brand spanking new website. It's absolutely gorgeous. I love it, but not only for aesthetic reasons. It's so easy to navigate. Easy to navigate wins me over every time, hands down. Check it out! www.ellorascave.com

Currently on my desk, I have two stories left to revise and edit. Once those stories are taken care of, I want to take a little time off for Christmas. At least a couple of days. While Mini's home, I'm going to bake and decorate until I drop!

Oh, and sometime during all those reckless days of baking, painting, and decorating, I'm going to start building a writerly game plan for 2013. I'm also to compile a list of writerly goals I accomplished this year, and I'll be sharing that list here on the blog. 2012 has been a super tough year for me and my family, and with the New Year fast upon us, it's time to reflect and adjust.

One last thing before I go... Yesterday I learned Morning, Noon, and Night (Alison Tyler, editor) is one of About.com's Top Pick Sex Books for Everyday Holiday Giving for 2012. Awesomesauce! My story 4 P.M. No Show is included in that book.

That's it for now. It's after midnight, and I still need to put Mini's uniforms in the dryer.
Until next time, happy writing! :o)

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Desire Combo With A Side Order Of Writerly Things


I'm finally starting to kick this plague we've had going around our house for about three weeks now. The coughing is the most brutal part of it. At times, I've coughed so hard I've given myself a headache. Sounds like fun, right? I'll be glad when this mess has run its course.

I missed my local RWA chapter Christmas party this morning, but I couldn't go over there in good conscience knowing I could give everyone my sick germs. So, I stayed home, and I guess it's a good thing because around noon I completely ran out of energy. One minute I was running strong, working on a freelance beta piece, and the next minute, my eyes were slamming shut. I had to get up and stagger my way to the den and crash on the couch with SassiePup and JakeDog. I slept for three hours. Arg! All that time lost, when I could've been doing something productive.

Anyway, what's going on with me in a writerly sense...let's see. I've finished a rough outline/synopsis for a contemporary category book targeted to Harlequin Desire. And I have a two freelance projects to mark up and send out by the end of the month. Also, The Butterfly Prince is coming along nicely. I'm gradually getting it ready to compile with the other short stories in my fairy book. I have a short story out in the wild right now with a tentative yes on it, but I don't know the status of the project, so I'm thinking that one will be a surprise yay or nay a few months down the road.

Over NaNo, I completed one of two planned vampire novels (single title) I've been working on, and I completed several short stories for a new vampire erotica collection. All of those projects are on my revising/editing stack. There's plenty to keep me busy through the Christmas holidays, and well into the New Year.

New sticker for December 2012
3 for $9.99 - Interesting.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about the store taking all but a few Harlequin Desire's off the shelves. They brought them back last month after my write in campaign, and I bought all but one of the November releases.

November 2012. Standard
sticker.
When the December books made it to the shelf, I was too sick to go to the store to pick through them, so I sent hubby. Good guy that he is, he brought back three books. I was jazzed with the books he picked, and intrigued by the new sticker on the cover.

I guess they are doing more to market the books to my area now that they are back on the shelves. (And flying off the shelves, too, apparently. Hubby said the Desires were very picked over when he got to them. They were very picked over in November as well. I think they were almost completely gone by the end of the month. One or two books left.)

Instead of the standard price sticker, there's a pink 3 for $9.99  sticker on the cover now. The savings, before taxes is $1.23. That's good, I guess, but it doesn't really matter that much to me. I'm curious, though. Is this going on at your store too?   Or maybe this is just a regional thing? If you've seen the pink sticker in your area, the combo buyer's price, please take a minute to leave a comment and let me know.

That's all for now. I'm going to make a cup of tea and settle in for some writing this evening. Until next time, happy weekend!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Rainy Tuesday and Author Copies

It's December already, can you believe it? Hubby and I need to pick out a day to go Christmas shopping, but the whole house has been sick since the Thanksgiving holidays. We haven't even put up our Christmas tree yet. We gotta fix that this weekend.

I'm feeling a little better now, and to celebrate, I spent the day processing the finalists' entries for the Suzannah contest. Now that they've all been sent off to the final round judges, I'm free until the end of January to tend to all my back burner projects and  tie up loose ends. There is so much to catch up on. I'll probably need to make a list to check stuff off as I go.

I'd planned to run to the store this afternoon, but I got caught up in a freelance project I'm supposed to turn in tomorrow. Too, it's been thundering and raining all day, and I don't really want to go out in all that mess. I'm not over this cough yet, and I worry about JakeDog (who is roughly 6 months old). He's terrified of the thunder. I'm reluctant to leave him home alone because we've had a hard time getting him to go outside to do his doggy business as it is. To leave him home alone while it's thundering? Yeah, that's asking for disaster.

Speaking of "doggy business" training...

Earlier today I found a "puddle" in the hallway, and assumed that Jake had an accident. I mopped it up, and went about tidying the house. About thirty minutes later, I went into the bathroom to put up fresh towels and saw a wet ring around the bottom of the hot water heater. The puddle in the hallway didn't have anything to do with Jake Dog. Le sigh. The hot water heater had leaked into the hallway. And it's still leaking. It looks like Santa may have to bring us a new hot water heater for Christmas this year. Hubby and I have to go price them tomorrow.

That's pretty much all the new news. Oh, there is a bright side to all this chatter. I received the author copies for Morning, Noon, and Night yesterday. Pretty, pretty. I keep flipping through them and reading a few paragraphs here and there. That's enough to make me a happy girl. For now, anyway. ;o)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fallen Angels and Book Club Selections

It's finally here! Ultimate Angels: Tales of Winged Warriors is now available for the Kindle. The trade paperback version will be available soon through Amazon if you prefer paper print. This book contains my short story Prince of Thorns, which has fallen angels, blood spells, and swords. I hope you'll check it out.

Also, I found out last night Morning, Noon, and Night is a romance book club selection. It's available in an exclusive hard cover edition offered through Rhapsody Book Club. I'm totally jazzed to see the book listed over there. Awesomeness!

Going by Mini's school calendar (which has a huge impact on my daily life), I have three weeks left to get Butterfly and the rest of my top priority projects wrapped up if I hope to have them uploaded and/or sent off before the Christmas holidays. No pressure, right?

With Butterfly, I have seven sections left to go over before it's ready for the next stage of editing. So, I better get busy. It's not the only project on my rush to-do list, either. Quick, someone take up the whip. I'm probably going to need it!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

NaNo Overflow

Happy weekend! A few minutes ago, I was focused on reading through a story I'm cleaning up when there was a knock at the door. A neighbor had dropped by to give me a piece of mail that got put in their box by mistake. Very nice of her! Unfortunately, I look like something the cat dragged in and barfed on the rug. So now, I haz a shame. {blush}

Anyway, I'm back sitting at my desk sipping peppermint tea while going over notes. I've been a busy bee over the Thanksgiving holidays, and now my editing stack is overflowing with new short stories, and a full novel thanks to NaNo. I wish I'd kept better track of my NaNo word count this year, but I couldn't seem to get myself over to the website like I was supposed to. But whatever. The end result is the same. I have enough wordage on my hands to keep me busy revising and editing until January.

Right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on the erotic fairy tale collection, and I'm writing the final story for the vampire/dark erotica collection. Both of these will be available on Smashwords soon. The novel is still very raw. It's definitely going to need another draft, and that could take months.

Also, I've collected dozens of notes (and hastily written sketch scenes) for a new erotic romance novella based on a rough draft I wrote a few years ago. At the time I initially came up with the idea, I couldn't get the story to work. I liked the characters and the overall idea, but I knew something was off when I tried to put it on paper. Honestly, I didn't know enough about plot and structure to work out the problems. So, it's try, try again with that one.

At its core, the story is really not that bad, but it does need quite a bit of clean up work to get it to a point where it's readable, and ultimately salable. I'm going to keep adding notes to the file until I have something solid to work with. Then I'll polish it, send it off for outside editing, and probably set it up as a Grrl X title.

But, for now, that one is still a "folder story". I'm not ready to pick it up yet. Sketching scenes for it has been an exercise in I have fifteen minutes to kill, so now what? writing. If I had a few minutes to spare, I jotted down a scene and tossed it in the hat. No revisions, no looking back. In the months ahead, we'll see what comes of it.

Lots of rewriting. That's pretty much all that's going on here at the moment. Oh, and reading. I'm pairing down my reading list before moving into 2013. Speaking of holidays, the coming new year, and such...We had a very nice, calm, stress-free Thanksgiving. (My favorite kind!) And I'm looking forward to a similar laid-back, stress-free Christmas experience. ;o)

Until next time...happy writing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Cluttered Mind :: A Restless Heart

Last night I dreamed I was sitting in an alleyway in Lafayette with PeBu. It was nighttime, and the alleyway (which was gated on both ends, a narrow thruway that was typically blocked off during the day) had occasional foot traffic passing by from both directions.

The alley itself was whitewashed brick but the paint was peeling, and people had posted flyers all over the walls for bands, rentals, pets for sale - that sort of thing.

We were sitting on a built-in bench and resting our feet, when two, cute Asian men came into the alley and began flirting with PeBu. In a daze, I took down a flyer and began reading it, and that's when one of the men leaned down to look at me. Right as I made eye contact with him, my friend jumped up from the bench and took off running toward the street. I panicked. Then jumped up and followed her.

By the time I reached the street, she was too far ahead of me. I couldn't figure out where she'd gone once she exited the gates. So, I'm standing on the sidewalk looking for her, and I start walking toward these clothing shops and looking for her dad. He was the reason we were in town at this hour. He'd brought us out here to hang out with the other young adults (yeah, yeah, I'm no spring chicken) while he was at the fais do-do a couple of blocks away. (Fais do-do: a street festival with drinking, live Cajun music and dancing, etc.)

Instead of finding her dad, I found Jay, and I told him we had to find PeBu because she'd cut her leg on part of the gate when she'd run from the alley. In my mind, she was no longer an adult, but a young girl. Maybe seven or eight years old, at most. I was worried about her, and had this fearful image in my mind of her in pain and bleeding profusely. That's when it dawned on me where she had gone.

Jay and I walked a few doors down to an antique store that's actually a real place, but in Monroe rather than Lafayette. The front door was glass with chain link type grating over the front of it. Through the glass, we saw it would be nearly impossible to get inside. The store had antique tables blocking the entrance, and they were piled high with lamps and baubles. So much so, that a red dining table that was right up against the glass, had begun to tilt. The table top bolts had become loose from the weight, and it looked like all the stuff would come crashing to the floor before anyone could transfer all the stuff to a different table.

We managed to squeeze in through the door, but we had to clear a path to get to the back of the shop. We started with the red table. There were blow mold lamps from the fifties or sixties everywhere, and we moved them aside. Strangely enough, one of the lamps was shaped like Huckleberry Hound. Anyway, we cleared off the table, and realized the table top (unbolted, remember?) had tipped backward, and knocked a standing bookcase into a second bookcase. We had to clear that out as well. Instead of books, however; the first bookcase was filled with old dolls. I looked at each one, and tried to identify them before moving them to the table, but I wasn't able to identify any of them. Finally, after much shuffling around, we had a path cleared out, and went toward the back of the store.

We passed through a broad, cased opening into the mid-section of the shop where the glass showcases were set up as a clerk's register area. Here, the lightning was very yellowy. Almost a neon yellow. We looked around and high up on one of the glass shelves behind the counter, there was PeBu - only she was now a little girl of about three or four...and she had been turned into a ceramic statue. She was crouched down, her bleeding leg kicked out to one side. There were towels lining the shelves because even in this form she was truly bleeding. What was most remarkable about the cut is that it matches the real life scar I have on the inside of my right calf. I realized then that the "little girl" I'd been worried about and looking for wasn't PeBu - it was me.

I was still puzzling over this when a heavy-set blonde woman came through this cased opening leading to the back of the store, which was very dark. She had come out of the back with a strip of band-aids so she could put a butterfly over the cut on the ceramic statue's leg. My leg. Which is what the grown ups did when I cut my leg in real life. No stitches, which is what it really needed. Just a couple of band-aids.

As if Jay and I wasn't supposed to be in there, the woman stopped in her tracks when she saw us. I told her that we had moved the stuff off the tables blocking the doors in order to get into the shop. While she didn't say anything against doing that, I thought she seemed disappointed. Or, maybe I was the one disappointed. It was hard to tell. At any rate, I stepped back and let her get past me so she could bandage the bleeding statue, and that's when I woke up.

Bizarre dream, right? One worthy of the dream journal since all the symbolism comes straight from my past. Oh, and "clearing the tables"... That's a new one for me, although I think I can see what my subconscious is trying to tell me. I'm pretty sure the dream means it's time to clear the tables of past obligations and unfinished business, wrap things up, set things right, and stop worrying over old wounds, physical and emotional. With it being so close to the holidays, and the New Year, I'm definitely down with putting the past to rest...so I'll be open for new beginnings, and new opportunities, in 2013.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blog Tour Stop :: New Orleans

Welcome to my stop along the Morning, Noon, and Night blog tour! 

When the lovely Alison Tyler asked me to blog about the idea behind the story I'd contributed for the Morning, Noon, and Night anthology, I happily agreed to share the origins of my inspiration.

My story, 4 P.M. No Show, is about a couple who owns an esoteric/occult shop in New Orleans. When one of their regular clients fails to show up for a tarot appointment, they take advantage of the downtime by sneaking into the back room for a sexy, afternoon rendezvous.

I have a soft spot for New Orleans. Hubby and I spent our second wedding anniversary there - essentially, our postponed honeymoon vacation. Of course, it rained on us the entire time we were in the city, but we didn't let that stop us from having a great time. 

On that same trip, we visited an occult shop located in a small, shabby, brick building a few blocks away from Jackson Square, in the French Quarter. The shop had no sign hanging out front advertising its name or what they sold there, but you could peer in the front window and see incense, tarot decks, green man figures, and a rainbow selection of folded altar cloths. Looking back, I think the business was probably just a few months shy of closing its doors forever when we dropped by that evening. Indeed, the business is gone now.

The building itself still exists, but on our last trip to New Orleans (in August of this year), it was vacant. Still vacant, I should probably say. Every time we've gone back to New Orleans, we've walked past there, and it's always closed. Always empty. Perhaps the building is not habitable anymore. After Hurricane Katrina, that's certainly a possibility, but I have no way of knowing for sure. 

Even so, that occult shop is still alive in my imagination. I've written at least three short stories with that specific building in mind, although I tend to move its location around the French Quarter to suit my needs. 

That said, I'm pleased to be able to share my Morning, Noon, and Night story with you. To this day, there is something about that little shop that keeps drawing me back. I like to think it's magick.




Morning, Noon, and Night  Buy Links: 



Barnes & Noble - Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/morning-noon-and-night-alison-tyler/1110913449?ean=9781573448215 (paperback version is available on the same page)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Writerly Randomness :: Believe in Your Dreams


Is it Turkey Day, yet? I'm ready to hang out with the family, eat too much good food, then find a cozy space to read until I pass out. That, friends, is my ideal Thanksgiving day. Add some Charlie Brown on TV during all that, and I'll be in heaven.

I've been sick for the past week, so this year I'm especially thankful I'm feeling better. It seems like every year I get sick around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it's always one of those lingering cases of ick that carries over to the New Year. Bah humbug on that. I'm resisting this year. I've got too many cool projects tucked under my Santa hat to be sick, so be gone foul germs.

Currently, I'm working on a sexy mechanic story and trying to meet the base word count. This is a deadline piece, and I do much better with that whole lump of word clay to deal with during the rewriting phase. So that's that. I'm giving myself until Wednesday to have that one ready to set aside for revising.

Last night, I made another pass over The Butterfly Prince. It's gradually shaping up. I don't know why this story has been such a bear, but I haven't had fits quite like this since I was writing Wicked Temptation. At any rate, I'll be making yet another pass over TBP tonight, and looking for anything that I can snip out of there to pare down the word count. The story seems to grow and grow every time I open the file. Gak. This is supposed to be a short story. That said, it will be ready to go to the freelance editor soon. Hurray for that. I'm more than ready to release this one out into the wild.

I have some freelance things to wrap up this evening, so I better hop to it. Oh! One last thing before I go... Tomorrow, here on the blog, I'll be hosting a stop in the Morning, Noon, and Night blog tour. I'll be talking about where I recount my tales of traveling to New Orleans, and where I came up with the inspiration/story idea for 4 P.M. No Show. I hope you'll drop by and say hello. :o)

Friday, November 16, 2012

NaNo Update :: Tempest in a Teapot


Hurray for Friday! I have a huge writerly weekend planned. Now, let's see if I can manage to stave off sickness long enough to make it through. That said, how's everyone's NaNo project going?

Yesterday, I hit the conflict wall with my characters. I knew it would come to this sooner or later. My manuscript is sitting at the 25k mark, and I'm at that first bend or break point. Someone, either the hero or heroine, is going to have to make an uncomfortable concession in the name of love.

I call this the first adjustment phase of the relationship. It's sort of a peace making moment. The couple is attracted to each other, they admit they need each other to reach their goals, now they are getting to know each other a little better. As soon as they strip away that surface layer of their personality, and they begin to learn more about what makes the other person tick, it causes friction.

The heroine is making the first concession in this particular story. She has to since she's in no situation to bargain with the hero. But, once she makes that concession, and effectively puts her life in his hands, that knocks the ball into the hero's court. They'll run with this for a while, then the hero will have to make the next concession. It will go back and forth like this until the last 25% of the book, when one of them will have to make "the big sacrifice".

I didn't plot this particular romance the same way as I have with my previous stories. I decided to give the characters the reigns and more or less let them dictate where they want to go. Doing so has been more...I don't know, organic? for the characters. But it looks like I may have to take a day or two and map out the back and forth between the hero and heroine little more. Maybe make a flow chart to make sure I don't miss any potential twists that could benefit the story.

These characters have a whole lotta junk to work through, and it's going to take patience, trust, and sacrifice on everyone's part to get them to a happily ever after. Honestly, at first glance, you look at the hero and heroine and have to wonder how the heck their relationship is ever going to work out. But it does. And in the long run, I think telling their tale will be worth the headache. These characters have been brewing in the back of my mind for a few years now. I'm ready to release them. They've both had rough lives, and they deserve to find happiness.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Morning, Noon, and Night Blog Tour


My internet connection has been really wonky for the past few days. I get booted off the net with no warning, and I haven't been able to troubleshoot the issue. While the disruption of service hasn't been very conductive to my online browsing, it's done wonders for my writing and productivity. {g}

Speaking of writerly things, and books, today is the first day of the Morning, Noon, and Night blog tour.

The tour kicks off over at Alison Tyler's blog, and below is a schedule of the tour dates and links. On November 20th, if you return here, to my blog, I'll be posting about the story behind my anthology story - 4 p.m. No Show.

If you're looking to buy a copy of this very sexy anthology, you can find it online. It's available in Kindle and Nook formats, and there's a trade paperback edition, too.

Morning, Noon, and Night is published by Cleis Press. 


The Morning, Noon, and Night Blog Tour 
Dates and Links

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Morning, Noon, and Night :: now available in trade paperback

Click to Enlarge
Morning, Noon, and Night is available for purchase on Amazon in paperback a few days early. Hurray! I've read this book cover to cover, and every story is totally drool worthy. If you're a fan of couples erotica, you won't want to miss this one!

My contribution to this anthology is 4 P.M. No Show, which is about a rainy day tryst set in a New Orleans occult shop.

On November 20th, I'll be cross posting with Alison Tyler's blog, Trollop With A Laptop, and talking about the idea behind the story. There's an interesting history behind 4 P.M. No Show. I hope you'll mark the date on your calendar and drop in for a look at my story behind the story. :o)


BUY LINK: Amazon trade paperback edition
[Kindle/Nook editions : available for pre-order]

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Writing :: Desires :: Morning, Noon, and Night


Let chaos reign. This week came with a lot of detours, but I'm slowly navigating my way through the twists and turns. I'm determined not to panic due to all the unexpected obstacles, because mostly, it's all been out of my hands. In the end, what will be, will be. I will do my best, and at the end of the day, that's all I can do.

On a brighter note, I went grocery shopping on Monday, and it appears my write in campaign has worked.  The person in charge of ordering books brought back my Harlequin Desires. Hurray!

I immediately bought two books - Maureen Child's An Outrageous Proposal, and the other is a Heidi Betts. Hmm. What did I do with the book? How does my office get so messy? Okay. Here it is. I bought Secrets, Lies, and Lullabies by Heidi Betts. It's a Billionaires and Babies book. I have couple of these, B&B books. My favorite one is a Janice Maynard book - The Billionaire's Borrowed Baby. I really liked that one. It's from September 2011. Since that book, Janice Maynard is an auto-buy author for me. I like her writing style a lot.

Over the weekend, I'm going to buy two more Desires. I'll write about those books when I get them. So, I guess the moral of the story is...if you can't find the books you're looking for, definitely write to your store. If they can get them, they'll listen. I'm relieved about that, because my next option was to drive to Bossier once a month to buy them. That's kind of an expensive book trip. Anyway, I noticed our local store also brought back the Love Inspired Suspense books. A few ladies from my NolaStars RWA chapter write for that line, so I look for those on the shelf. I'm glad to see the books back in the store.

Speaking of books, I have a new release out today. Morning, Noon, and Night - edited by the awesomely awesome Alison Tyler is available for purchase in trade paperback on Amazon. I have a story in that book titled 4 p.m. No Show. It looks as if the anthology is available a few days early, which is a-okay with me. The release date was set for the 14th. So, pretty close to the arranged date. Cool beans. I'm not sure if the early release is just for the paperback edition, or if the Kindle and Nook editions are up also. The digital editions may still only be up for pre-order. If that's the case, hang in there. All the versions will be released by next Wednesday. That said, I'm super excited about this release. Morning, Noon, and Night is a hot, sexy little book. If you pick up a copy, drop me a line, and let me know what you think.

That's all the news I have for now. Tomorrow I have to catch up on my NaNo project. I got side tracked working on business-y things. Stuff I couldn't put off til later. So, I'm not going to fret. The book is coming along nicely, and the day off from working on it actually helped me figure out how to rework an area in the story that was kinda clunky. See, it all works out in the end. ;o)

Happy wishes, everyone.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Story Behind The Story : Little Deaths

Today I'm guest blogging over at Sommer Marsden's Unapologetic Fiction. 

It's a "story behind the story" look at my zombie erotica tale Little Deaths, which is available in the Coming Together: Hungry for Love anthology


So please drop by an
d take a peek inside my twisted mind. (Okay, my mind is probably just lost and wandering, but that doesn't sound quite as dramatic.) 
J

http://sommermarsden.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-story-behind-story-cora-zane.html?zx=a2284d627848183d

Saturday, November 03, 2012

NaNoWriMo and Winged Warriors

Wow. It's already November. Where has the year gone? I feel like I've slept through most of 2012. What a shame. 

Tonight, I'm spending a quiet Saturday evening catching up on writing projects. I have one more guest blog to write before I go to bed, and I'm also trying to wrap up a short story for a new erotica collection I hope to have on Smashwords by the end of the month.  

On Halloween, I signed up for NaNoWriMo 2012, and so far I have roughly 4200 words on that story. This is what - day three? Something like that? I'm satisfied with the progress on that piece, although I'm not sure that particular story will stretch into 50k. We'll see. Either way, I'll take what I can get. I'm not too worried about the length of it, since the story will have to be rewritten anyway. 

My website has been updated with the latest news, including information on all my current releases, and a list of events I'm participating in over the next few weeks. 

Ultimate Angels: Tales of Winged Warriors (an anthology published by Knightwatch Press) should go live any day now. I realize there's been a very long wait for this book, and I appreciate everyone's patience. I'll post an update when that title becomes available on Amazon. My short story Prince of Thorns is in that book. 

One last thing...don't forget to set your clocks back tonight. Feel free to read that as Cora, note to self...set the darn clocks. I always forget. Anyway, that's all I've got for now, so I'll bid you goodnight. Happy dreams. ;o) 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012


Tonight I'm taking the Mini Beast to my parents' house so he can go to their church social. They're having a Halloween festival with costumes, games, food, and candy - all that jazz. It's safer than going door to door, so I'm all for it.

Later, I'm going to do tarot readings for a few friends using the Halloween Tarot deck (by Kipling West), then I'm going to probably set the laundry going, have some wine, and work on Twilight's Edge. My goal is to have that book out as soon as possible. I hope to have it out this year, but I've only just found an editor to take it on. Once I send it there, I'm going to hire a friend to do the formatting for me. My primary concern with it right now is focus on the rewrites.

Tomorrow is the start of NaNoWriMo, and I'm still on the fence about whether I want to commit myself to that right now. I'll probably go ahead and bash out 2k. But it will be interesting to see how far I get with a NaNo project, since I have other commitments I'm facing.

That's all for now. Whatever your plans for tonight, I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Release Available Today : Hungry for Love

Hungry for Love is available today! 

Coming Together: Hungry for Love is a collection of zombie-themed erotic fiction edited by the fabulous Sommer Marsden. Sales proceeds benefit the American Diabetes Association.

Adult-content warning: This book is intended for readers over the age of 18. Contains content that may offend sensitive readers.


  • Little Deaths (Cora Zane) 
  • My Name is Brighton (Alana Noel Voth) 
  • Dead in the Water (Lynn Townsend)
  • Head Full of Zombie (Alison Tyler)
  •  Zombie Apocalypse: First Responder (Kissa Starling) 
  • You Look Better Dead (Jeffrey L. Shipley) 
  • Zombie Goddess (Sadey Quinn) 
  • Dark Hunger ( Erzabet Bishop)
  • Love Never Dies (t'Sade)
  • Meat (Bobby Diabolus)
  • Annie Morgan (Armand Rosamilia)
  • Queer Zombie Disco (Kirsty Logan)
  • The Tenderest Meat (Elise Hepner) 
  • Last Man on Earth (Blacksilk) 
  • Zombie Factory (Kiki Howell) 
  • Screen Siren (Annabeth Leong) 
  • You Make a Dead Man Come ( Sommer Marsden) 

BUY LINKS: 
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/249587

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Together-Hungry-Love-ebook/dp/B009YA7XYS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1351558992&sr=8-2&keywords=Sommer+Marsden+Hungry+for+Love

Amazon (Paperback Edition): http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Together-Hungry-Sommer-Marsden/dp/1479125571/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351558992&sr=8-1&keywords=Sommer+Marsden+Hungry+for+Love

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jake the Dog, and Current Projects

Jake the brindle pup.
We were watching John
Carpenter's The Thing.
  
I know, I know... I've missed a lot of blogging days. There's been so much going on, I had to make some concessions. I let the blogging schedule go while adjusting to hubby working out of state, and Mini being out of school for fall break.

Also, there's a new puppy in the house, a mixed brindle pup. Mini named him Jake after the dog on Adventure Time, which somehow seems to fit the puppy's bubbly personality. Jake's definitely a handful - basically he's a furry toddler who likes to chew on furniture and pee in doorways.

He requires a lot of extra attention, and keep in mind, he's not the only pet in the house. There's SassiePup and KippityCat, and I'm trying to give each animal a daily dose of individual attention so they don't feel threatened by Jake's sudden appearance in the household.

Doggy sitting won't be so time consuming once Jake is out of the puppy phase. Until then, this is a learning process for all of us.

For now, Jake's gradually adjusting to the household schedule, and I'm grateful he's a good pup who is already sleeping through the night. That saves me from walking the puppy at two in the morning. Because if you take one doggy outside, you have to take both, which means I'd have to put SassiePup on the leash and haul her outside, too.

Anyway, on to writing, I'm working on a second draft of one story, and I'm brainstorming for a paranormal novel. I'm still on the fence about whether or not to join NaNo this year. The past two months have been crazy busy, and I'm not sure I want to put that kind of pressure on myself right now. I've already got two stories I have to polish and submit by the end of the year, and I'm determined to kick Twilight's Edge out the door as soon as possible. So, I'm pretty much booked on writing projects through January. As always, I'll be sharing news about the progress of my projects as I work on them.

Next week, the Hungry for Love anthology is being released. Zombies for Halloween? Yes, please! I'll have more about that very soon. Until then, I hope you have a great week. Happy reading! :o)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Just Breathe

It's been a stressful week, and my household is all out of sorts right now. Even so, I'm trying my best to cope with the changes while still making time to write. 

Mini is home for fall break until Monday, and early this morning hubby took off for Arkansas. He's starting a job today that is supposed to last for five weeks. As you can probably imagine, any pretense at a normal household schedule is completely out the window at this point.

Add to that, two days ago, a puppy showed up on our doorstep and moved in with us. He's spindly-legged and loves to chew on everything, and it's safe to say KippyCat and SassiePup are not even remotely impressed by his tiger-striped cuteness. Poor beasts. Sass is in total fussy hussy mode, and I've had to scold her more than once about being weird and snippy. Well, okay. She was weird and snippy before the new baby dog arrived. Now she is simply more so than usual. The thing is, with the house in total chaos, the attitude is most unwelcome. Yeah, yeah, I know. It's going to take time for everyone to adjust to a two dog/one cat household. This is especially true for the pets. I'm hanging in there.

Anyway, like I said, through all this I'm trying to write. Chasing Moonlight was recently released, and I have two short stories coming out in anthologies between Halloween and mid-November. Work wise, I've got a couple of erotic stories to finish by the end of this month, and I'm finally back to work on Twilight's Edge.  I'll be really glad to get that effing book off my desk - sooner rather than later. That's been the thorn in my side lately - that one fairy tale collection. There's one story in the volume that just keeps growing and growing and growing without a resolution, so I've got that one in mind to take care of first. 

So there you have it. The insanity that is my current state of being. {g} Much writing to do, much responsibility, and very little time. That's all for now. Happy Thursday, everyone!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chasing Moonlight :: Release Day

It's release day for Chasing Moonlight.

About Chasing Moonlight -
Blaze Logan can't figure out why Shelby keeps avoiding him, especially since he's sure the raven-haired beauty is his mate. When she breaks one date too many, he goes to her cabin to call her out, only to find her in the throes of a painful transformation. 

Shelby's secret is out. Unable to control her inner wolf, she is at the mercy of the moon. Determined to help her gain control no matter what it takes, Blaze is going to have to act fast in order to help her. She’s chasing moonlight, and the full moon is only days away.


BUY LINK - http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/chasingmoonlight.htm#

EXCERPT - {Adult Content Warning :: Chasing Moonlight contains adult content, including graphic sexual situations and language. This work of fiction is intended for readers over the age of 18.}

Chapter One


The hot August night smelled of wolf, burn barrels, and lust. Across the ruined, century-old homestead, motorcycles revved, the rumbling engines opening to a full throttle roar that blanketed the riot of catcalls and rock music. Blaze Logan pushed through the crowd, looking for Shelby, the one woman who held his heart in her hands.

He spotted a slender woman with long, straight black hair walking along the rows of motorcycles, and his heart leapt. Was it her?

Tense and hopeful, he followed behind her a few minutes, but then the woman turned her head, and he glimpsed her angular profile—definitely not Shelby. His heart sank. Frowning, he stopped near one of the burn barrels and scanned the crowd.

The full moon was still a couple of days away, and Miller’s Landing was packed for a Thursday night. That alone might’ve driven her off. She was painfully shy and mostly stayed to herself, so it was likely a large gathering wouldn’t be her thing. Hell, it had taken some careful maneuvering on his part to get her to speak more than a few words to him. Still, he wanted to give Shelby the benefit of the doubt, even if it wasn’t the first time she’d stood him up.

He made his way back over to the row of motorcycles closest to where he’d parked. So much for that. He continued to scan the crowd, but Shelby was nowhere to be seen, and he was right back to where he started. Again. This made what? His third complete walk around the landing?

Cursing under his breath, he turned to head back to his bike when his older brother’s best friend, Chase, came walking up, his arm around his pretty, blonde mate, Betsey.

“Hey, man, what are you doing out on a school night?” Chase grabbed him in a bear hug, hard hands patting leather.

He shrugged. “Just out wandering around.” He kept an eye on the crowd, afraid that if he stopped looking for Shelby, he might miss her.
“On the prowl?” Betsey teased.

“Chasing tail is more like it.” Chase kissed his mate upside the head.

Blaze snorted. The only tail he was interested in chasing seemed to have a talent for avoiding him. “When did you guys get here?”

“About thirty minutes ago,” Chase said.

“Did you catch Drake and Libby? They’re around here somewhere.”

“Yeah, we talked to them for a minute,” Chase said. “They went for a run.”

A muscle ticked in his cheek. He tamped down the sudden stab of jealousy that came unbidden. It was tough being the last guy left unmated within his close circle of friends, but he didn’t begrudge his brother having a mate. Drake loved Libby. He’d be lost without her.

“Hey, Blaze!”

He turned toward the feminine voice, hoping to find Shelby, but it was the flirty redhead from the post office. Dread curled through him. What was her name? Amanda? Miranda? Madeline? Tonight, instead of her too-tight uniform, she wore a tiny pair of cut-off jean shorts that showed off a pair of mile-long legs and the cheeks of her ass. Dark eyes glittering with mischief, she bit her lower lip and did a slow, sexy dance in the bed of her pickup truck. A blatant attempt to lure him over.

Chase lifted a black brow. “I hope you were looking for trouble.”

“Not tonight.” And definitely not with her.

Betsey chuckled. “If nothing else, you’ve got options.”

A frown creased his forehead. Not a chance. “Look, I’ll catch you guys later.” He gave Chase a fist bump.

“Sure thing, dog. See you at work tomorrow.”

Blaze headed toward his bike before the redhead could get any new ideas. The last thing he wanted was to hurt her feelings, but his mood was officially shot to shit. It sucked, but he had no one to blame but himself. Shelby hadn’t exactly promised to show up. She’d told him she might, so it wasn’t technically a date. What made it worse; she’d pulled this same dodge on him when he’d asked her to meet him for coffee. Next time, he’d make double damn sure to get her phone number.

Snarling in frustration, he stepped through the break in the trees where he’d parked his Harley and shed his leather jacket, tossing it over seat. His shirt was the next to go, then his boots, which he dropped on the ground beside his bike before he stripped out of his jeans.

The moonlight kissed his naked skin. He closed his eyes a moment and willed it to give him peace, despite the instinct that told him only his mate could ease his soul. He raked his hands through his hair then rolled his tense shoulders. Ready to run, he shifted into a large gray wolf and loped into the woods.

The trails were familiar to him, and he navigated them easily, a specific destination in his mind. The night winds rustled his thick fur, and he stopped a moment to lift his nose and sniff for signs that someone else might have walked along this particular deer trail. Wood smells pervaded, filling his nose with the pungent tang of pinesap, rocky soil, and prey. The only predator, man or wolf, he scented was himself. A good thing, because he’d become territorial about this patch of land and the woman who lived nearby.
Shelby.

Ahead, the trees thinned away, revealing a flat rock outcropping along a grassy ledge overlooking curvy, Lodge Pine Road. The wolf stood near the drop point and looked down the hillside, which sloped away in a carpet of meadow grass and wild flowers to a tiny cabin nestled securely in a pocket of fir trees on the opposite side of the valley.

Hunger burned in him, a knot of anxious fire that gnawed at him no matter what form he took. He had called to her many nights, and still she hadn’t come to him.

Wolf shifted back into man, and Blaze stood naked on the ledge. His beast wrested inside, and he narrowed his eyes, searching the homestead below for signs of his woman.

Her ghost white ’67 Mustang sat in the driveway. The cabin lights were out, even the single porch light that sometimes burned well into the day. No telling flicker of color from the TV through the gauze drapes covering her living room window, but she was there. No doubt about that. Her very nearness called to him, urged him to go to her, present himself as her mate and claim her.

Gruff laughter rumbled in his chest. What would she say if he did just that? She’d probably call him crazy and run like a frightened rabbit. No. He couldn’t risk scaring her away. She avoided him well enough already.

He rolled his neck to ease the taut muscles there. Never had he wanted a woman so much. Desire for her skirted a fine edge between torment and arousal, but his interest in her covered far more than just sex. He wanted to hear her voice and breathe in her scent. He wanted to know her secrets, her dreams.

He needed to be close to her. Hell, he needed her. She was on his mind every waking moment. He fantasized about running with her, kissing her, making love to her in the moonlight while her soft black hair spilled through his fingers like so much silk. Just imaging her looking at him with love shining in her eyes was enough to make his inner wolf struggle for dominance.

“Shelby.” Her name was a whispered prayer.

Usually women flocked to him, even the human females aware of who and what he was. But Shelby was different. She stayed to herself. If she had any close friends, he didn’t know who they were. He had tried repeatedly to draw her out, to clue her in that he wanted to spend time with her and get to know her better, but still she withdrew from him.

Blaze clutched his hands in his hair and bit back the urge to shift. He’d tried his best to keep a reasonable distance, but being away from her for days at a time was becoming unbearable. How much longer could he take this separation? Frustration built inside him until finally, he lifted his chin to the moon and let out a long, sorrowful howl, a desperate plea for mercy. The silver notes shivered on the air, beckoning Shelby to come to him, to save him, to ease his body and salve his heart.

* * * * *

For the full first chapter excerpt of Chasing Moonlight, visit the book page at Cobblestone Press! http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/chasingmoonlight.htm#

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Reader's Frustration :: Where are the books?

Most of these books were
released earlier this year.
Normally by the second week of every month, I've read at least two Harlequin romances. Right now, I'm not a very happy reader. I managed to grab one September release Desire last month, it was a Maureen Child title, but I wasn't able to grab any of the others before they were gone.

Aside from that one book, I haven't been able to read any Harlequins over the past two months because they have suddenly become unavailable in stores in my area. This is so frustrating I could chew nails.

Where are all the books? 

Back to my reading habits... When it comes to romances, I read more Desire books than any other line, with Nocturne a distant second. The Nocturnes are almost impossible to find for some reason. It didn't used to be that way when the line first started. But, I'm not the only one noticing this problem. My friend in Kentucky, who is a Nocturne reader, has confirmed this in her area as well, so it's not just a Louisiana distribution thing.

At first, I simply had to run to the store within a few days of the books arriving on the shelf to pick out the ones I wanted. However, our local store now usually carries only one of the two Nocturne books released every month, and they don't carry many copies - no more than three or four - so the Nocturnes sell out almost as soon as they hit the shelves.

The Desire books used to be easier to pick up. That's what got me started reading them. I think Harlequin releases six Desire titles a month, so I had a much better chance of getting a book I wanted. Of six Desire books a month, I'd typically buy and read four books throughout the month. That's been my habit for the past year and a half? Something like that.

Let me just say, since about May, I've been struggling to find Desires and Nocturnes on the shelves. Our local Walmart has gone from having all the Desire books on the shelves per month, to four of the books per month, and now there are none being put out. The Nocturnes are nearly gone as well. I spotted one Karen Whiddon Nocturne in a store thirty miles away just a few days ago. I am absolutely frustrated with trying to buy these books.

I've been to three locations in the past two weeks, in my town and surrounding areas, and the only Desire line book on the shelves right now is one of the thicker novel type Desires by one of Harlequin's top tier authors. (Which means, their books are given the special treatment - they're longer and more expensive. They're different.) That is not what I'm looking for.

So, unless I want to order these books online, I can't purchase them in the store. Right now, with my husband out of work, I'm cutting costs at every corner. It's currently cheaper to buy these books at a retailer, than it is to buy them online. The digital books are more expensive that the print, but the print books have a shipping cost attached if I buy them from the eHarlequin shop or any other online bookseller.

Yes, I can buy the paperbacks used cheaply, but even if I spent a penny on a used book from Amazon, with the 3.99 shipping added, it still costs more to buy the book used, than if I'd purchased a brand new Harlequin off the shelf. Pretend a moment I were to buy a full month's collection of books used. If the books didn't come from the same seller, it would then cost me an additional 3.99 in shipping per book.

It's gotten to the point with searching for these books, that I have friends and family scouting stores further out for me. I can't afford to drive two hours, waste a tank of gasoline, and then the books not be on the shelf when I get there.

As of today, I'm writing to my local stores to lodge a complaint about the availability of the books. Right now, there are only Presents, a scant few Intrigues, and Blazes at my local store. I'm shocked really, given the area, that they no longer carry Love Inspired. Those were always a big seller here. Now, poof. They're gone.

I don't know where the knot in the distribution chain is happening. If people are buying the books - and there I was buying four to six books a month, and I could tell I wasn't the only person buying them by looking at the dents in the stock - then, I don't understand why they have stopped carrying these lines in my area.

This is so frustrating for a reader. Someone has seriously dropped the ball with this one.

All that said, please understand, I'm not upset with the authors at all. I realize the distribution is out of the author's hands, but I've stopped looking at the releases online, because it's cruel temptation. I know I can't order them online right now, and it's nearly impossible to find the books in the stores. I hope by complaining to my local stores, I'm able to at least get a few of these books back on the shelves.

Should something come of all this, I'll write an update post when I hear something back.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Recurring Dreams :: Road Construction

On Tuesday, hubby and I had to run errands, which took us one town over from where we live. On the way there, we ran into some road construction. Hubby was driving, so I glanced out the window at the guys working to build a short bridge over a swampy area right before you hit the town. Suddenly it clicked...all those dreams about road construction I've had over the past thirty years. Just like that, I understood what they meant.

I've been having recurring dreams about road construction since I was about three years old. My family moved around quite a bit when I was very young, because my dad worked as an industrial electrician. "Chasing jobs" as my parents called it. There was a lot of traveling back and forth between Louisiana and Texas during the late 70s - early 80s, because we had mom's family on one side of the state line, and dad's on the other. Too, dad had a lot of connections in the industry that kept him working from project to project. We were constantly on the go.

Anyway, when I was younger, road construction zones filled me with anxiety. I don't really know why, or what incident triggered that anxiety in me. I'm not afraid of construction zones in waking life, but when I was a child, I often would dream about waking up in the back seat of my parent's Oldsmobile Cutlass to find myself alone in the car, no one behind the wheel, and most of the time, the car would be speeding out of control through a construction zone. That dream in particular is one of the earliest dream memories that I can recall. I was about three or four when I had that dream the first time.

Over the years, the dream has become more complicated. Some of the construction zone dreams place me in a roller coaster cart, a mine cart, or in an unfamiliar car speeding down an unfamiliar stretch of interstate, or along a series of really curvy roads or tracks that are unfinished. Sometimes I know where I'm going in the dream. Other times, I'm completely lost. Sometimes I'm in control. Sometimes I can only sit there and see where the car takes me. There are many variations on the dream, but the theme and feeling is always the same.

A few years ago, I had this very vivid dream of driving in the car with either Mini or Oldest in the passenger seat. I was on this stretch of unfamiliar interstate, and I was following the road signs, trying to find my exit, when suddenly the traffic got very heavy. In the blink of an eye, the interstate was a tangled mess of construction. There were lots of loops and service roads. Most were torn up, rerouted, and such. There were a lot of road closed signs, and detour signs. That sort of thing.

I finally saw our exit number, and I merged into the exit lane on the right. The minute I was on the exit ramp, I realized I was in trouble. The road ended abruptly up ahead. It was a sudden change that went from heavy-concrete-paved-road to nothing but red dirt, construction cones, and rebar within just a few feet. I stopped the car right before I got to this patch of rebar sticking up out of the dirt, and this guy in a white construction hat looked at me from further down the road and began flagging me away.

Beside me, Mini or Oldest, whoever was with me, began crying because they were terrified. I looked out the car window on their side, and saw we were on a very narrow, sky high bridge with no barricades. Below was a rocky, forested area leading further down to calm water, like a slow moving river or something. Anyway, the construction team had cranes out there because they were preparing to put up the cement risers, the barricades meant to keep you from driving off the sides of the bridge. That's why all the rebar was there.

I was a nervous wreck in the dream. I had to either back up onto this off ramp somehow, or turn around in a really tight spot - with no safety barrier of any kind, with a huge drop beneath the bridge, and to make it all worse - my kid is in the car with me. So it's not just me in danger, it's my kid, too. I was terrified. My heart was pounding in the dream. The last part I remember, I was looking over my shoulder where the road was still part of the completed ramp, and trying to back my car onto it. There was a two foot gap between the road and the dirt, and there was more rebar sticking out. I woke up in a cold sweat.

That is one of many similar road terror dreams I've had over the years, but for some reason, that one in particular has really stuck with me. It's especially vivid in my mind. Probably because it was one of those rare dreams where someone was in the car with me.

But anyway...back to waking life...

As hubby and I were driving into Win-mill-land on Tuesday, I glanced out the Jeep window at the construction team. They were talking and laughing, while over in the swampy area to the right, a machine was pounding in the "foot supports" for the bridge. I saw all this, and a thought occurred to me out of the blue: there's really nothing scary about road construction. It's just a road being built for you that isn't finished yet. 

As simple as that thought was, it triggered a major epiphany for me. It was like suddenly solving a thirty year old mystery. That's what it felt like.

So, road construction is made up of roads that aren't finished yet. They're paths that are going to be available for us in the future if and when they're completed, but they aren't available to us right now.

Think about that on a subconscious level. As a child, it was probably both a symbol of being confused by rules I didn't fully understand (road signs) and the future feeling out of control. Fear of the unknown. That sort of thing. I never truly knew what was on the path ahead of me. I never knew where we would be moving to one day to the next. Who would my classmates be at a new school?  Would I fit in? Would I be left with a relative while my parents set up house in another state? Things like that understandably cause anxiety in a child.

As an adult, I believe it's still about fear of the unknown - at least in part. I also feel like it means I'm still building pathways to where I want to be in my waking life. In addition to knowing that the path isn't ready for me yet, the dreams I've had most of the time, indicate I'm alone in my journey (the empty car symbol). But in the dream where I have Mini or Oldest in the car, that's a subconscious indicator that I'm aware the result of whatever choices I make on my own, in one way or another, affects my family. (Crying kidlet in the car.)

In our waking life, we work toward goals daily. Big and small ones. Even with the small goals, we're basically building pathways to take us from a concept or an idea, to the start of a goal, and onward to that unknown place where we fulfill our goal in the future. The road construction dream is almost a perfect map of that process. In the dream, the road is where I want to be subconsciously, but I'm not ready to take that path yet. The road hasn't been completed. The road isn't ready for me.

Thinking about the dream that way makes so much sense to me. It's says I'm trying to go too far too fast, before my road is built. I still have work to do before the road ahead of me is finished. My subconscious is telling me to slow down, take it easy, and don't try to speed through life. I'll be able to drive on that new road in the future, but I have to lay the foundation first. I have to put up the safety risers before I can go there. In other words, I'll reach my goals eventually, because I'm actively building toward them. And if I keep building, I'll end up where I'm supposed to be in due time.

This post probably sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo to some people, but I'm glad I understand what the dreams mean now. In the future, should I dream of road construction again, I'll know it's my subconscious trying to tell me to slow down, and either wait for those pathways to open up for me, or I need to roll up my sleeves and work on building a road to get me to that place where I want to be.