Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Insanity...plus Books

I just figured out it's Tuesday, not Wednesday. Ho hum. I guess I was hoping the week was closer to being over than it really is. Mini had a terrible day, and because of that, I've had a terrible day. Yesterday he didn't bring home his homework packet, and we found out he threw it away. That didn't go over well with me at all. But hey, that was just the first disaster. I sent him off to school this morning with a note to his teacher that he needed a new homework packet, and when I got a call from the school around noon, I figured that's what the call was about. The homework incident. Mini and I even had a talk last night before bed and discussed that he would probably be in trouble at school for throwing away his worksheets, and we'd accepted that this was part of the consequences for not doing what he was supposed to.

Well, the call from school was to let me know Mini had an accident at school. I needed to bring him a fresh set of clothes to school. They're lucky I hadn't gone on to the post office as planned, or I would have missed the call. I tell you, fate at work, and all that. Anyway, I took his clothes to the school, and helped get changed. That was when I noticed he's running a fever. So, I decide to check him out and take him home. That way I can throw his clothes in the wash, put him in the bath, and I was thinking he could also catch up on his homework. No such luck. His teacher was gone, and had left a sub in charge. She didn't know where his binder was (his teacher had put his homework papers in it), so once again, he's behind on this homework.

As we're leaving the school, we cross the sidewalk, and then cross this patch of grass to reach the parking lot, and for whatever reason, Mini  isn't watching where he's going. He goes down on the pavement hands first. He cut his hand in two places, and is howling like a banshee out in front of school. By then, my nerves are frazzled and I just want to get the fuck out of there. I look at his hand, and tell him I'll fix it when I get to the car. As I'd left the house, I don't know why I did it, but I figured the kid might need a wash cloth for...something. I don't know. I wet a washcloth and took it with me in the car. We ended up using it for his hand. I buckled him in, and we left for home.

I still needed to run to the post office, and the library - to mail bills and take back books. But first, I had to stop by the house and put his clothes in the wash. Too, I had to walk the dog, and take care of a few things before I could go anywhere else. Everything seemed like it was going to iron out for the rest of the day. We made a quick run to town and took care of what I needed to do, and when we got back I put Mini in the bath then dressed him in fresh clothes. His third set of clothes for the day.

Since he missed lunch, I figured he was hungry, and asked him if he wanted lunch. He said he did, so I went to the kitchen to fix him something to eat. It was around 1:30 by then. Mini is a total ball of energy, bouncing around the house. I told him twice to "take it to the living room", but what kid actually listens to that, ya know? I should have known better. Really, I should've. Poor kid knocked over a full bowl of soup with all his floundering. I went to my happy place at that moment, and stared down at the huge puddle of peas, carrots and potatoes in my kitchen floor. I then gave Mini {who was looking fairly guilty} a kiss on the forehead, and said to him, "Honey, I love you. If you don't go sit down somewhere, I'm going to glue the seat of your pants to the couch."

Poor kid. He has had such a tough day. Everything he's touched has turned to poo. My nerves are fried from cleaning up the messes and jumping to pick up the pieces. I told hubby earlier on the phone, I'm tired, and I need a glass of wine. Today has been one of those stressful days from hell.

I have workshop threads to read through, and stories to work on, but I'm just too tired this evening to deal with it right now. At the very least, I need a nap first.

On the upside, I read two Nocturne Bites on my Kindle last night before bed. I also finished the book, Hooked by Les Edgerton. I'm currently reading Dynamic Characters by Nancy Kress. In fact, I'm about to go crash across the couch and read some of it while the house is settled.

Speaking of books, and Kindle...take a look these free reads while they last: (some may be free only for a limited time, so check prices before checkout! ) All links lead to the Amazon.com listing pages.

Lucky in Love, by Carolyn Brown - a contemporary cowboy romance (Sourcebooks)
50 Ways to Hex Your Lover - a paranormal romance by Linda Wisdom (Sourcebooks)
Scent of Passion, (Rutledge Werewolves book 1) -  Elizabeth Lapthorne - erotic rom. (Ellora's Cave)
Highland Mist, (Druid Glen book 1) - Donna Grant - (Ellora's Cave Blush - mainstream romance)

That's all for now. I'm going to cross my fingers that tomorrow goes better than today. In the meantime, I'm going to grab a glass of wine and my books and try to make the most of the rest of the evening. ☯

Monday, January 30, 2012

Questions Answered & Books Recently Read

I spent most of the weekend reading and taking notes. I'm not kidding. I went through four books. Two fiction, two non-fiction. I guess this is what I needed to recharge my batteries, because it kicked me out of my I don't know what to do next writing funk.

I mentioned before I'm struggling to choose between two projects to work on. I think part of it is conference anxiety. I want to go in prepared, armed with the best story, one I think will be best suited to the people I'm pitching to, but that story needs more brainstorming time. I just does. The other story I've been waffling over has a plot outline already, but the true beginning of the story means the heroine doesn't meet up with the hero right away. That can be worked with, I know, but it seems like a more monumental task than coming up with something entirely new. Therein the problem lies.

Instead of hurting my brain over which story to work on, I ended up pushing my keyboard away to let the problem rest. I finished reading Bella Andre's Hot as Sin, then picked out another book from my TBR pile. I read The Doctor's Guardian {Marie Ferrarella} in one sitting, then went back to my keyboard and pecked out a short erotica story for one of my upcoming collections.

After that, I went back to reading. This time, I chose books on my Kindle. I read Blockbuster Plots by Martha Alderson first, and afterward went straight into reading No Rules, Just Write by CJ Lyons. Both books are chock full of good writerly advice. I highly recommend both.

I always read craft books with a notebook handy. A good thing, since I ended up jotting down a ton of information...about one of my projects. The one with the awkward beginning. As I read through each book, every time I came to an "Ah-ha!" moment, it always translated to that particular project. So, I feel like that's the right project for me at this moment. The one I need to be working on right now. It may not be the most obvious pitch choice, but the pitch isn't everything. So, time to immerse myself in creating this world, and these characters. We'll see how it goes.

So my weekend "recently read" list: 

  • Hot as Sin - Bella Andre
  • The Doctor's Guardian - Marie Ferrarella
  • Blockbuster Plots, Romance Writers Plot Book - Martha Alderson
  • No Rules, Just Write - CJ Lyons {a Cora certified MUST read}
Before I go forward with anything else... This past weekend was the weekend for messages. I don't think I've ever been asked so many questions in a three day period. ^_^ Instead of emailing a bunch of people and retyping the same thing over and over, I'm answering all the questions here.  

Question #1 {from LinkedIn}: Do you self publish all your books? Not all of my books are self published. Only my free reads are self published, but I do intend to self publish two short story collections later this year. Both contain some of my out of print stories.  

Question #2 {from LinkedIn}: Do you have an agent? No, I don't have an agent. 

Question #3 : {contact form} {also, from LinkedIn} I see you're self published. Did you have to get an agent for that?  I have only self-published free stories for promotional giveaway, and no, I didn't need an agent for that. In fact, I don't have an agent. I have heard of some authors going through their agents to help them "self-publish", but the idea behind self-publishing is that you do the work yourself. You write the book, edit it (or pay to have it edited), you design a cover (or pay to have someone make a cover for you), then you upload it to Amazon, Smashwords, or wherever you want to sell it, and voila! You're self-published. Now go forth and promote your book.

Question #4 {contact form} {Facebook} {also, LinkedIn}: I see you're self published. How do I do that? Can you help me publish? I'm sorry, I cannot help you publish your book. To understand how self publishing works (in a nutshell) read Question #3. Again, I have only self-published a few free promotional short stories, so I am hardly an expert. There are some really good video tutorials on YouTube that cover how to self-publish your book. And there are websites out there devoted to self publishing that are easy to find by doing a simple Google search. One of my favorite self-publishing websites is... http://www.self-publishing-coach.com That website should be able answer all of your self-publishing questions. There is a lot of content on that site, so go in prepared to read, read, read.  

And that's that. I think I've pretty much covered all the questions in their various forms. Now, I have to do some stretches and get my game face on. I registered for an online workshop at Savvy Authors, and it starts today. Going to jump on that now. Once Mini gets home, I'm going to lounge on the couch with him and watch Johnny Test. 

Happy Monday, everyone!
Currently reading: Hooked, by Les Edgerton

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Musings

I'm about to go curl up on the bed to watch a movie - probably the 5th Element. I haven't seen that one in a while. I imagine Mini will want to lounge around in there with me before he falls asleep, which is fine. I'll move him to his room once he zonks out. Hubby is on the couch, snoring the house down. It's been a peaceful and productive Saturday.

My godfather stopped by earlier today to visit for a few minutes, which was nice. I spent a great big chunk of the day reading. I finished Bella Andre's Hot as Sin early, early this morning... around 2 am. What a great book! Around 10, I went over to my TBR bin and plucked one off the top. It was a Harlequin Romantic Suspense: The Doctor's Guardian, by Marie Ferrarella. I read it in one sitting. I haven't had a chance to put those books on my Goodreads yet, but will do so asap.

After dinner, I wrote a 1000 word erotica short story for one of the upcoming anthologies, and put it in my file folder to edit this coming week. I've also been going back and forth between two story ideas. I thought I'd settled this already, but apparently not. I'm not sure which one I want to work on next, and the thing is my time is running out. Conference is only a month away. I like both ideas, but each is challenging in a different way. I'm giving myself until February 1st to settle. If I haven't chosen by then, I'm going to have to pick one out of a hat and get busy.

Tomorrow, I have but one goal: buy print cartridges. I've got to print up some story building sheets and play around with some ideas. Whichever story clicks first, I'll probably pick it up and go with it. Until then, I'm going to stop thinking about both potential projects and just zone out. It's definitely time to give my brain a rest. {Yawn.} :o)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Books & More Books

Whee! It's Friday! It's Hubby's birthday, too. Mini has half a day of school today, and when he gets home, he's going to help me bake an Oreo cake for the man's birthday.

I said a couple of days ago, that I'd update on some of the books I've been reading, so here it is. I finished reading Write Tight by William Brohaugh Thursday afternoon. I feel like this is best used for non-fiction, article writing, and for term papers. There are a few good nuggets in here for fiction writers, such as how to spot and cut redundancies, plus helpful tips on using devices in your writing projects. The book is good for what it is. I'd pick it up and read through it again if I had a term paper to write, but in all honesty, I expected something else out of this book. If I had to recommend a book to help someone write tighter fiction, I'd go with the tried and true Browne and King, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.

I'm now reading Hooked, by Les Edgerton, {write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go}. As soon as I'm finished reading that one, I'll post what I think about it. I have to admit, I've thumbed through the book, and it looks really good. It has a section in the back with comments from editors and agents about "beginnings". I've read all of that, already. A sneak peek. ;o) Good stuff. Very interesting. Now to go back and read the rest of the book. {g}

All week, I've been cleaning out my office bit by bit. Early Spring cleaning, I guess you can say. Anyway, I posted about my new bookshelf a couple days ago, but I didn't mention I've also got a huge shelf in here, one that you'd probably put in a garage to store gallons of paint on, or whatever. For years, this shelf has been collecting clutter. I've ignored it, because it's mostly organized into bins, but it's seriously loaded down to capacity with old dollies, books, boxes of craft stuff, baskets...just a bunch of different stuff. You name it, it's probably in there somewhere. That's my puttering shelf, I guess. Mini comes in here and picks through it looking for interesting stuff to tinker with from time to time. If it attracts a six year old, you know it's a lotta junk.

I've been gradually boxing up that stuff. There's only one shelf with anything on it now. I've thrown a lot of stuff away, and donated even more of it, by putting it in the charity bins down the street. There were literally tubs of books on the bottom shelf. Most of the books are titles I've already read. I sorted through them all yesterday. I put aside the "keeper" books, so I can buy them for my Kindle, if they are available. I'll keep the paperbacks that aren't available digitally, but I imagine most are available as e-books, so that will cut down on space. The other books I've read are going into the donation bins down the street.

But that was just one tub - well, I say tub - actually, they're in huge canvas storage bins. In one of the bins, I found all these paperbacks that I bought, and never read. Oh. My. Jeez. There are probably thirty to fifty paperbacks in there. I am making a pledge to read and donate every last one of these books by the end of summer. I'm so bad about buying books I think sound great when I see them on the shelf at the bookstore, then I get them home, and I pretty much toss them on another shelf and forget about them. Makes no sense, right? Especially since I'm always reading something, both fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes I've even got two books I'm reading at the same time. I'll get to a slow point in one, and pick up the other book. So, it's hard to imagine how I managed to amass this many unread books in my TBR stack. Well, I'm gonna take care of that. I want these books out of here. And if I find any along the way worth keeping, I'm going to see if I can buy them through iTunes, or for my Kindle. Through it all, I'll try to remember to post about what I'm reading - to keep things interesting.

That's all I've got for now. I need to rush around the house and tidy up everything before Mini gets home from school. I have about an hour and a half. Yikes! I hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crazy Day :: Writing Inspiration

Mini's new scarf.
"Sonic" blue, as requested.

What a crazy day! I woke up late for starters. It's my own fault, of course. I stayed up late finishing a crochet project. Well, I was kind of killing two birds with one stone. I was crocheting while watching research videos for my new writing project. It's been so cold, Mini desperately needed a scarf for waiting on the bus in the mornings. I finished it around one in the morning - a few minutes before the final video ended. 

By the time I crawled into bed, I was pretty tired. I remember waking up at 6, and hitting the snooze button. The next time I woke up, it was almost time for the bus. With very little time to spare, I rushed to get Mini dressed, gave him money for breakfast, and snack time...and then the bus never showed up. I ended up driving him to school. I thought maybe the bus had simply arrived super early, but when I got to the school, I kinda doubted that was the case. There was hardly anyone on campus when we arrived. I thought about it later and realized I had seen hardly any traffic on the drive over.  I parked  out front and quickly went through Mini's binder to see if there were any notes about class being canceled. There weren't any, and I was trying to figure out what the heck was going on. It was about 7:30 and the campus is usually full and busy by that time. After sitting in the car for about five minutes, I noticed the coaches out front on "drop off" duty, so I went ahead and pulled around to the porte-cochere and hung around until Mini dashed into the building. 

 I got back home and the power went out. That's when I found out that we have these massive storm systems coming through the area. I figured maybe the power outages caused some folks - possibly even the bus driver - not to get up on time. It's the only thing I can come up with. 

Anyway, on to writerly things... I spent last night and most of today researching for my next novel. I'm in the taking notes and collecting ideas stage, so I'm still working my way through character sheets, writing down ideas for scenes, working on a plot, and such. I probably won't start writing the draft until February. I need to know how the story is going to begin, what the main mid-point event is going to be, and how the story is going to end before I start writing. Every time I try to start a story too fast, I end up having to strip one of those three points out of the story to rework them until I'm ready to pull my hair out. It's worth it to do the prewriting. It saves me a lot of headache in the long run. On the positive side, I love to research and brainstorm, so this is me in my element. Let the plotting commence! {g}

Earlier, I noticed that my e-book Heart on Fire is #88 on the Amazon Top 100 free Erotica list. Cool beans! Don't forget to grab a free copy for your e-reader. http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Fire-Cora-Zane-ebook/dp/B006M6A6V4/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2

One more thing before I close today... I found this video on what it takes to be successful, and thought I'd share it. It's short, only about three minutes. It's inspiring stuff - well worth a look.  

 {Sorry, video has been deleted!}

I'm almost finished reading WriteTight by William Brohaugh. I'll post more about it once I've had a chance to read the last few chapters. I'll possibly have a short review for it on Friday - which is hubby's birthday, just for the sake of saying so. Hm. Now that I'm thinking about it, I need to bake the man a cake. I wonder what kind he wants...{scribbles down note to self} 

Next up on my (non-fiction) reading list is Hooked by Les Edgerton. Again, I've mentioned this somewhere before, I borrowed both of these from my local library. I've linked to the listings on Amazon. These aren't necessarily the cheapest listings, so be sure to do your own search. I linked them to the pages that had the "look inside" preview option. 

Happy Wednesday! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Bookshelf And A Scarf

For a little while this morning, Heart on Fire was in the Amazon Top 100 Books on the free Erotica list. It's also #877 on the overall free list. It may still be there, I haven't had a chance to check on it. A big thanks to my anonymous friend, who pointed it out to me. (Name withheld by request.)

Heart on Fire is part of the Werekind Series. Just a fun little werewolf romance that is perfect for Valentine's Day. You can get a free copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Fire-Cora-Zane-ebook/dp/B006M6A6V4/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2

I meant to blog last night, but time got away from me. I had to finish laundry and try to clear away some of the boxes in my office. Like a crazy person, I decided to add in a new bookshelf strictly for my writerly craft type books. Also, to hold my notebooks. Putting the shelf together was the easy part. It only took about 15 minutes. The real work started when I moved it to my office. Oh man, yeah, I started moving things around to fit the shelf in, and it soon looked like a bomb had gone off in here. I had literally boxes of books to sort. Lots of binders to flip through. Papers from...I can't even imagine where they came from.

My new bookshelf! You can also see part of
my space heater. And that blue thing
at the very bottom of the pic is the edge of
my jeans. I was sitting cross legged in my
desk chair when I took the pic. :P
When Mini made it home from school we had a grand old time shredded two bags full of papers. These aren't writing papers, they are bills from late last year. I have a storage tote of old bills to shred in the dining room, and that's on my to-do list for today.{whimper}

While digging through my stuff, I found two manuscript boxes from the 1990s. Back when I wasn't publishable. Yep. My old skeletons in the basement of my early writing years. I read through a few pages of a manuscript called Darkness Falls, and it's a miracle I didn't need a drink afterward. It was pretty horrendous. I'm sure you can imagine. But if you look at  the bright side, I stuck with it, and now I have over twenty published stories, in various lengths: short story, novellas, and a novel. I can stand up and testify that writing can be learned, because...whoa mama. These early manuscripts are bad. Bad, bad, embarrassingly bad. Keep writing, people. If you get discouraged, keep writing.

When I get the room to rights again, I'm going to put away the books on top of the shelf and set up some of the boys pictures.

Speaking of the boys, I have to sort through yarn later on this afternoon. Mini needs a scarf. It was bitterly cold this morning when he went out to wait on the bus. And, of course, the bus would choose that day to be late. {g} Anyway, he wants a blue scarf. One the color of Sonic the Hedgehog. I have no idea if I have any blue yarn, so, I'm going to have to check. It's been a while since I've dipped into the yarn bin. All that said, you know where I'll be later on this afternoon - sitting in front of the TV trying to work up a quickie scarf. Glamorous, no?

That's all for now. I have lots to do, and a short time to do it in before the MiniBeast is back home from school. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Library Books Du Jour

No new posts since last Thursday. Sorry about that. I've been catching up on work, and doing little odds and ends that needed taken care of before the conference rush starts. I sent off the erotica short story around 1:30 this morning, so I'm currently caught up with all the projects I needed to complete by the end of this month.

I met up with a fell writer friend this past Friday at the local library. We used to ride to the RWA meetings together, but I haven't seen her in a few months. I helped her with her synopsis. Basically, I showed her how to condense and organize it chapter by chapter so it would be easier to write. Also, she wanted to read the first few pages of one of the stories I have out on submission right now. It was a good visit, and since she's living in town, we talked about getting together again soon, possibly for timed writings and such.

While at the library I checked out several writing books that must be new to the catalog. I've never seen them up there, anyway. I checked out You Can Write a Romance, by Rita Clay Estrada and Rita Gallagher. I read the whole book Friday afternoon. It's only about 120 pages cover to cover. There are some good sections in there, such as the how they define a romance, and how to layer in backstory. I probably wouldn't buy this book for my keeper shelf, though, since I have a lot of this information in other books I already own.

I also checked out Write Tight, Say Exactly What You Mean with Precision and Power, by William Brohaugh. I'm currently reading this one. It's supposed to teach you how to cut down on wordiness, trim the writing "flab" from your projects, and whatnot. It looks like an in depth book on the subject, so I've got this one marked as a possible purchase later on.

The final book I checked out is called Hooked, write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go, by Les Edgerton. I picked this one up because the back of the book claims to help you develop your inciting incident, create a story-worthy problem for your characters, and gives you a run down on scene length and how to manipulate transitions. Transitions are a big pain in the rump, if you ask me. So that one is a plus. I can't wait to read this one, and will post more about it once I've had time to read it cover to cover.

And...one more book, this one I bought while in Bossier last week, and it's just for recreational fun reading. I picked up a copy of Hot as Sin by Bella Andre. Good lord, what a sexy cover! I'm looking forward to reading this one. I admit, I've did a sneak read, and read through the first chapter. But alas...the library books. I have to read those first because they've got to go back by the 3rd.

For the next week or so, I'll be researching, reading, brainstorming, and relaxing. It's probably going to be the only real break I get between now and conference time, so I'll take it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Running Up That Hill

It's hard to believe the work week is almost over. Everything has been a blur. We drove to MEPS in Shreveport yesterday and watched Oldest's swearing-in ceremony. Afterward, we had a few minutes to give him hugs and tell him we love him, then we had to leave. I got a call from him around 1:30 this morning. I stayed up late, expecting it. Waiting. He basically called, and reads from a sheet to let us know that he has reached basic training and is okay. Then he hangs up. A bit depressing, but I was relieved to hear his voice. And relieved to hear he'd made it to Illinois okay. It's the furthest away from home he's ever been.

I'm trying to get the house settled after all the packing, shifting, sorting, and moving of stuff that's been going around since Friday of last week. I have to run to the store later today, too, because we're out of basics. Ugh. I hate it when things are out of sort like this. What can I say? I'm a Virgo. I like organization, dammit. I'm aware it's probably going to take all weekend to get everything back in some semblance of order, so I'm trying to be cool about it. I can only do so much at one time.

Today, I'm making a final reading pass over the short erotica story so I can get it sent out tonight. Such a fun, sexy little story. :} Once that's out the door, I'm going to start filling in beat sheets and working on a log line for a new erotic romance. Honestly, I'm ready to start playing around with new ideas.

Anyway, that's all for now. I've got to get a bunch of stuff finished today, because tomorrow I'll be off visiting with a writerly friend in town. We're going to break out the wips and chat about conference and books, girl stuff, and whatnot. Basically, some fun time for relaxing before the weekend gets here. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Changes. Goodbyes. Hugs.

It's after midnight. I didn't intend to stay up this late, but I've been rushing around doing last minute piddly things and tying up loose ends as best as I'm able. Tuesday is Oldest's last day at home with us. His recruiter is coming to pick him up toward the afternoon.

I should have Mini back home just in time to tell his big bubba goodbye. He's been very worried about him going off to basic, and I decided to send Mini on to school so he isn't crying all day, and jumping every time he hears a car drive by.

Yesterday, my parents came over to say their last goodbyes and gave Oldest lots of hugs. It was very emotional. They didn't stay long. Just spent a few minutes telling Oldest they love him, and shed a ton of tears, and then mom approached me in the living room and said they were going to go on home - they didn't want to get Mini started crying. I told Mom I'd call sometime in the afternoon to let her and Dad know when Oldest takes off.

On Wednesday, he'll be leaving meps and flying out to basic training. We're going to drive up to Shreveport to see him get re-sworn in, and give him a few hugs before he's off to the airport. I'm anxious, worried, nervy, sick to my stomach, thrilled for him, happy he's setting out to chase his dreams. There's this endless mix of emotions going on - and pride. I'm so very proud of my baby boy. Boo hoo. I'm going to miss him.

To keep the blues away, I'll probably spend extra time with Mini, and focus on writing. Conference is coming up soon, so I guess I'll have an extra excuse to focus on my getting my pitch projects together. My daily schedule is going to be very different with the big boy off doing his own thing. It's going to mean big changes here at home, and a lot more alone time for me - something I'm not at all used to.

On a lighter note, I finished the short erotica story yesterday. Or was it the day before? It all blends. Anyway, it's finished, and in pretty good shape. I need to read through it, make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, and it will be ready to send off to the editor.

That's all for now. I have to get the clothes folded and go on to bed. I have to be up in a few hours to get Mini ready for school. Happy dreams, everyone!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Is Close To Home

This is Oldest's last weekend with us for a few months, so we're sticking close to home today. I'm also prepping a short story for submission. I have writing to do, boxes to move to the shed, and I still need to take down the Xmas tree and store it. Those are just a few things on a list of many. Tonight, we're going to flop in front of the TV and watch movies.

Next week is going to be super busy, and once Oldest is off to Chicago, I have to start getting my stuff ready for conference. It will be here sooner than I probably realize, and I still need to figure out what the heck I'm doing, and make my hotel reservations. I have a couple of things on hand to pitch, and I've decided to take more than one project to the table. Looking at the roster, I'm guessing my work is probably too dark for anyone scheduled to take appointments, but what the heck. The worst thing any of them can say to me is no thanks.

Under A Midnight Moon finally topped out in the Amazon Top 100, I think. It reached #10 for about an hour or so Thursday night/Friday morning. Something like that. It has since shifted downward a few slots, but it's all good. It was a fun ride while it lasted.

That said, I better get to work. The guys just left to make a run to the store...for more something. I didn't hear what they said on the way out the door. At any rate, I should try to get something done while I have the house to myself. Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Working For The Weekend

I finally feel like I'm getting my stride back after being sick. Too, I have all the guys lined out and well, I think. Mini went back to school today, and I worked on my conference story for a bit. Tonight, I'm going to knock out that erotica shorty. It has to be send-ready no later than Sunday, because next week, the whole family will be taking off a few days to see Oldest's swearing in ceremony, and hugging him goodbye for basic training. I'm so nervous, I can barely stand it. I have to stay busy or I get weepy.

Tomorrow, I have to buy storage bins for Oldest's closet. We're packing away some of his things while he's gone. That way we'll be able to repaint and get a new bed in there for him before he's back home again. That's going to be Hubby's personal project.

This Saturday, my local RWA chapter - the Nola Stars - will be gathering for our monthly meeting at the Bossier Parish History Center. I'm really psyched about this one and hope I can make it. Author Melanie Atkins is the January guest speaker, and she's giving a workshop on pacing. If at all possible, I'm going to be there. First things first, though. I've got to get this story wrangled into something worth reading or I'll be stuck in my desk chair all weekend.

I noticed earlier today that Under a Midnight Moon moved into the #13 spot on Amazon's Top 100 Free for Erotica list. Very cool. If you like werewolf stories, I hope you'll grab a free copy for your e-reader.

Because I've been asked... It's true that Betsey, the heroine of Under a Midnight Moon, and her mate also have minor roles in Dominant Territory. And yes - Betsey's best friend, Adriana, has her own story - it's called Feral Instinct, which is a part of the Rekindled Fire anthology. (You can read most of Feral Instinct for free if you use Google Books and "preview" the anthology. Just sayin'.)

That's all the news I have at the moment. It's already after ten, so I better break out the wip and get  writing. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reworking, Rewriting, Rereading

Let's try this again, shall we?  Late last night, I stripped the beginning off my short story and reworked it. Then I took that beginning off, and rewrote it entirely. I'm rereading through it again this morning, and anticipating more changes. The sexy bits are good, but it needs a hook. Something to make the story gel.

I hope I'm able to get to it today, but right now, I'm so tired I can barely think straight.

In an hour or so, I have an appointment to get my yearly thyroid workup. I'm sick with a cold on top of that, so the doctor should be thrilled to see me. I have to take Mini with me, since he woke up feeling yucky this morning. At first I thought he was attempting to play 'possum with me, but when he got up close I could smell that sick, viral smell on him, and thought, Dang. 

Until this morning, he was the only one of us who hadn't caught it yet. I'm guessing it just took longer to germinate with him. Of course, I'm all out of children's medicines. I've got to grab something for him while I'm at the pharmacy getting my pills filled. Anyway, I called the school a little while ago to report Mini as absent - we're required to do so - and the woman in the office was startlingly bitchy on the phone. Wow. That was unpleasant!

This afternoon, I have to go over a synopsis for a friend, then I'm probably going to call it a day. Or at least take a nap. I wasn't anticipating getting up at five a.m., or I'd have gone to bed a little earlier. Sometimes it just can't be avoided, though. I have a lot to do, and time is running short, so I better get started. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Inspiration & Amazon's Top 100 List

I've been sick most of the weekend, so I didn't get much accomplished writerly wise. Boo. Instead of trying to fight it, I edited a few paragraphs on the erotica short I recently finished, then put it away for when I've got my brains firing on all cylinders. Try as I might, I just couldn't seem to get a grip on it through the TheraFlu haze - a sure sign I need to hold off doing anything drastic. Monday, when the house is settled, I'm gonna try to wrap it up. At the very least, I'm going after it with a highlighter. It's not bad, it just needs a thorough polishing.

Late Sunday morning, while washing my hair - I have no idea why so many good ideas come to me when I'm washing my hair, but anyway - I had a writing epiphany. There's a story idea I've been playing around with since last year, but I couldn't seem to get it off the ground. I never gave up hope on it, and I'm so glad I didn't. I not only figured out how to get it off the ground, I figured out how to turn it into a series. Exciting stuff!

The answer to the story problems popped into my head, and I had to hurry and rinse my hair and wrap it in a towel so I could make a mad dash to my office to jot down notes. Which is kind of funny, because hubby always thinks I've gone mad when I run dripping through the house to grab and pen and paper. It also made me think of this video author J.K. Coi posted on her twitter feed the recently. It's Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert talking about fear, our writing geniuses dying, and where writing inspiration comes from. It's very inspiring and funny - a truly awesome video about creativity - be sure to check it out. You'll be glad you did!

I also have a very cool thing to share! Over the weekend, the lovely Suzanne Rock told me she spotted one of my freebie Werekind werewolf stories on Amazon. It sat at #23 earlier this evening, but Under A Midnight Moon just hit #21 on the Kindle Top 100 free erotica list. It's also #367 overall on the free list. Very cool! And a first for me. A special thanks to everyone who has downloaded my story. I appreciate you!

Under A Midnight Moon at #21
Cool beans!
That's all for now. I'm going to wrap this up on a high note. :*) Too, it's after midnight and I need to get the laundry in the dryer before I can go on to bed. I hope your Monday is magical.

By the way, if you do end up watching the Elizabeth Gilbert video, come back here and let me know what you thought of it. Are you going to name your personal genius - your personal Dobby the house elf? Hehe! Inquiring minds want to know! ;*)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Writing, Plans, and Writing Plans

Ooh. That was close. I had just enough ink left to print up a copy of the short erotica story I've been working on for the past few days. I finished writing it late last night, when I was between cold medicine doses and couldn't breathe well enough to sleep. 

If I can manage to wrap my brain around the words, I'm going to start polishing this thing today. I work much slower when I'm sick. It's completely frustrating. But the story isn't very long, and it's not a complicated piece, so I hope to get on it, and have it ready to send no later than Wednesday.

Once the erotica shorty has been sent off, I'll be taking off from doing any serious writing for about a week and a half to spend time with Oldest. Next weekend, we're having a going away party for him. He's leaving for basic training on the 17th. Next week we're going to sort through his room, pack up the stuff he doesn't use much, and put it in storage. While he's away, hubby's planning to remodel his room for him, which is cool. But it's still hard to believe my baby boy is gonna be gone for two whole months. <sniff, sniff>

My local RWA conference is only a few months away, so I've got to start planning for that. I still need to make hotel reservations, and pull together a pitch package. I think I've pretty much decided on my pitch story for conference. It's a straight up paranormal romance. I'm just not confident enough in the September Experiment at this point to push that particular book. I can think of a few key elements I want to change about it before I show it to anyone. That's going to take time. There's another story on the back burner, and I'm thinking it's time to pull that one out and give it a go. 

The September Experiment is on my high priority list this year, but I'm thinking once it's polished and pretty, that book will probably go to one of my existing publishers. I'm still undecided, but that seems the most likely scenario at this point. Or rather, my most likely means of selling this book. I have a few places in mind outside my usual circle of submissions that I'd like to try, but we'll have to wait and see what develops. I could completely change my mind about the book between now and March. It's just one of those things. But for the time being, and with all things considered, I'm shelving it until after conference. 

That's pretty much all I've got going on at the moment. Writing, plans, and writing plans. I realize I'm going to have to be more conservative with my time this year, because I have a lot of stuff on my plate. Before the month is out, I'm going to have to sit down and work up a schedule so I can hit my writing targets this year. I'm not so much worried about publishers as I am about writing the stories of my heart. There are a few I've had rolling around in my head for a year or more and I haven't touched. It's time to put them on paper and let them go. If I were to have a writing resolution for 2012 that would be it. It's time to write these stories and set them free.  

Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday Inspiration

Hurray for Friday! It couldn't have come at a better time. Hubby is home, snoozing on the couch. He has been sick for the past week, and it's finally caught up with Oldest and me. Oldest came to me yesterday afternoon and informed me he's not feeling well. Then last night, I woke up with the worst sore throat I've had in probably two years. Mini is the only one of us who hasn't come down sick, and I'm hoping it stays that way.

I made a doctor appointment this morning, but can't get in to see anyone until Tuesday. I'm going to work on polishing the erotica story that's due this month, and leave everything else until I'm feeling better. I can tell already I'll probably spend most the weekend curled up on the couch with a book or sleeping. It's just one of those things.

Since I'm not feeling very writerly at the moment, I thought I'd share some of the stuff inspiring me right now. I like the dirty, sweaty, glittery-glam look of Marilyn Minter's work. Although I believe she currently lives in NYC, Ms. Minter is from Shreveport, so that makes me love her as an artist even more. If I could have anyone's work decorate my office, it would be hers.

I like the colors, the glitter, the freckles, and the wetness of each of these photos. I believe the picture below the sparkly one with the fuchsia eye shadow is from a MAC makeup campaign, but I could be wrong about that. I found out too late that she did a collection for them, and sadly missed out on buying any pigments based on her work. Boohoo.

Just for the sake of saying so... How awesome would it be to have one of these delicious pictures for an erotica book cover? The pearls as a cover would be to die for!

I'm also currently inspired by 80s epic women's fiction with romantic elements such as Lace. I watched the television series with my mother back in the day, and I also read the book by Shirley Conran. It's one of those grandeur epics that scream dream big or go home. I kind of feel like that's an appropriate mantra for 2012. I don't know why it feels that way, but it does.

Hm...what else? Oh, yes. I'm also inspired lately by Tanith Lee's Hunting the Shadows. Lots of dreamy, dark prose in that one. Her work is so different from everyone else's. Truly wonderful stuff.

So that's it for now. I'm about to settle in and drink a cup of peppermint tea. In about an hour, I have to go pick up Mini from school, so I'm putting off taking more cold meds. I need to be alert. I hate driving when I feel like this, but I'm cool with it. We're going into the weekend, after all. And besides, it's not really about me. Poor Mini. Who the heck likes to ride the bus, yanno?
✥ Happy Friday, everyone! 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Writing Thoughts: Wednesday

It's hard to believe the week is already half over. I keep feeling like I'm missing something, a day, or maybe something important I needed to do, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what it is.

I'm in the middle of working on the short erotica story due at the end of the month. It's all plotted out and arranged. I have a rough sketch written, and last night, after much debate, I finally came up with a title that fits. All I have to do is get the rest of the story down on paper, um, computer screen. So far, so good.

Conference is coming up fast, and I really need to start looking at what I'm going to pitch. I've considered the September Experiment, but I'm seriously thinking about subbing that around on my own, and on my own time.  I already have a list of publishers where I'd like to see that particular book go, and none of those publishers require an agent. I also think at least three of my current editors would have an interest in the book. Even if I'm wrong about that, if I subbed the book and no one ended up taking it, I could always publish it on my own.

So, I'm not sure what to do about pitching now. If I don't go with S.E., I'm back hunting through my files for a different book to pitch - and I really don't have a lot of time to think about it.

I'm playing it loose at the moment, but I'm probably going to have to have a sit down with a few close of friends, pitch to them and see what they think. In the end, I'll probably go with what project seems the most likely to sell. I guess we'll have to wait and see what develops.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Teasing You - Tuesday is like Monday

Coming in April 2012
I'm so lost today. It feels like Monday, but I look at the calendar and see it's actually Tuesday. My eyes know it. My brain knows it, but for some reason my subconscious is in utter denial.

I've been working on an erotica short story today. It's the one due at the end of the month. I should be able to wrap this one up tonight. Tomorrow at the very latest. It's flowing really well. 

Yesterday I talked a little bit about new works I have coming out this year. I forgot to mention that the Ultimate Angels anthology should be coming out in February. I've heard nothing to tell me otherwise about that date. My fallen angel short story Prince of Thorns is in that one. 

And in April, I have a delicious collection of erotica short stories coming out. The book is in the editing phases now. A few of the stories have appeared in various places around the internet. The title story What She Doesn't Know, originally appeared on the H is for Harlot blog, which I believe is now defunct. The Matador is a shorty short story, and it originally appeared as a blog flash fiction piece. It has appeared as both Viva El Toro, and Viva Ze Bull elsewhere. I absolutely love that little story! On the flip side, the collection also contains several brand spanking new stories that have never been published anywhere, and they will be exclusive to this book. So mark your calendars for April. There is some sexy, sexy stuff going on in this book. You won't want to miss it. 

All this week, I'll be finishing up writing projects and sending them out the door. This is the mad rush before conference season, and I need to clear off my plate as much as possible. Of course, I'll be blogging as often as I'm able. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Right? ;o)

Monday, January 02, 2012

GrrlX Publishing and Upcoming Titles

Coming soon at my new micro
press site - GrrlX Publishing
Last year, I began working on a self-publishing venture I've lovingly named GrrlX Publishing. (pronounced Girl X) I had hoped to have it up and running in the fall of 2011, but everyone who knows me personally, or reads this blog on a fairly regular basis knows last summer and into the fall, we were dealing with some pretty tough issues here at home. Family comes first, and when my father in law passed away in August, GrrlX stopped being a priority, as did the short stories and novellas I intended to self-publish.

Life is still a bit crazy here at home, but I've finally picked up where I left off on all these "old" projects. GrrlX Publishing, for one. The site isn't up just yet. The site is built and published, and I've just transferred the domain name and changed all the A Records. It's telling me I need to wait 48 hours, so we'll see. I hope the new site will appear soon. I'm not very tech savvy, so I may have some more tinkering to do before the actually website shows up. But for all respective purposes, my self-publishing game is on.

My first release for GrrlX is currently in production. Shown above is the temporary cover for At the Edge of Twilight: A Collection of Erotic Faerie Tales. The title story originally appeared in the In The Gloaming: A Faerie Anthology, through Freya's Bower. I got my rights back on it a couple of years ago, and I've expanded it for this collection. Other stories in this collection include The Butterfly Prince, and a third story I haven't gotten around to naming yet. I anticipate this book being finished sometime toward the summer. I intend to have it  professionally edited and formatted, and along with the mountain of other projects I have going on, this takes time. Once it's ready, the book will be available in both electronic and print formats. 

I also have a contemporary erotica collection in the works for this year. It, too, will be published through GrrlX. I'll be re-releasing a few stories I've previously published online, with a few brand new ones to sweeten the deal. I'll post more about the collection when I have the publishing package ready to go. 

Right now, I'm working on a deadline piece due at the end of the month. Once I've got that out the door to the editor, I have to start focusing on the September Experiment so I can shape it up for conference. It's going to be my main pitch piece, so we'll see how that goes!

That's all for now. Tomorrow the holidays are officially over for us here at Chez Cora. <boohoo> Back to the grind. I better get to bed early since I have to be up bright and early to put the MiniBeast on the school bus in the morning. Until then...happy dreams!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

First Blog Post of 2012

Happy New Year! Goodness, my first blog post of 2012! I love a fresh start. Yesterday, I finished revising The Devil's Cup, and earlier today, I submitted it to my editor. Now I wait! But I won't be able to rest on my laurels. Oh, no. I have way too much to do this month. Mini heads back to school on Tuesday, and I have a deadline story to pull together for an upcoming erotica anthology. It has to be turned in no later than February 1st.

Oldest, aka Navy boy, is leaving for basic training this month as well, so we're all getting together to wish him farewell. Oh gosh, my big baby is all grown up! <cry, cry> And at the end of this month, we'll be celebrating Hubby's birthday, and I hope we can make it something special. I'd love to take him to a really nice dinner, and have a small family party for him over at Mom and Dad's house. We'll see.

In the morning, I have to figure up the bills and go grocery shopping. Once that's out of the way, I'm going to spend the playing board games and coloring with Mini since it will be the last day of his vacation. Bless his heart, but I wrote through most of mine. Maybe we'll bake some cookies and watch movies, too. I'm more than ready for a little downtime!