In the Beginning, There was a Merger…

Welcome to Take-Me-Back Thursday!

In light of all that’s going on in my life, I couldn’t help but look back at my debut novel, Merger of the Heart. It’s been an only child since coming into the world in 2014.

MergerOfTheHeart_recover_1600(1)But guess what?! This Monday, June 13th, Driven to Temptation will hit the virtual shelves to keep it company!

DrivenToTemptation_1600So, yeah, I’m pretty happy with life these days! 🙂

What wonderfully fantastic things are going on in your world?

Happy Reading,

Writerly Retreat

One of the beauties of having such generous writerly friends is the chance to visit their wonderful get-aways. Or, in this case, writer-pal Delilah Marvelle‘s GORGEOUS home!

Set on eighty lush forest-y acres, Delilah and Mr. Marvelle are busy renovating the existing house on the property. Aaannd…I’ll have my own room in it! For when I come visit. Which will be often. Thanks, Delilah! 😉

I’m so looking forward to the peace and quiet, to the calming beauty, and the chance for La Muse to crank out some amazing pages.

Aren’t I lucky? I think so! 🙂

Happy travels,

Travel Bug Tuesday: One Night in Vegas~How it Ended

(If you missed last week’s post on the adventures of erotic historical romance author Delilah Marvelle, click here.)

When I found Delilah I knew the evening wasn’t over. After all, we’re talking about Ms. Marvelle!

The two of us crossed the bridge away from the hotel-with-the-bar-that-served-the-evil-absinthe. All the while she gushed about her *awesome* experience. Bartender . . . Other dudes . . . Learned a lot . . . Research . . . Everyone so nice. . ..

Me: Glad you had a good time. Watch your step.
Delilah (looking at the stairs like it was the most brilliant thing she’d ever seen): I want to go for a run. Let’s go for a run! Now!
Me: Not a good idea.
Delilah (pouting): Why not?
Me: It’s the middle of the night, the strip is packed, and we’re not in running gear. We need to wait ‘til morning.
Delilah: We could change.

And that was pretty much the tone of the conversation, which included her hitting me up to go dancing, or to head to another bar. All this wrapped around exclamations of how *amazing* she felt. And giggles. Lots and lots and LOTS of giggles.

Glad one of us felt that way. I just wanted to get her back to the room.

We finally entered the casino doors to our hotel, so I thought we were in the home stretch. Not quite.

Now, it probably wouldn’t have been such a surprise if I’d actually visited the casino at night, but did you know half-nekkid girls dance on these elevated stages on the casino floor? Even in six-inch heels their legs were right about eye level with dudes (and dudettes). How were Blackjack players supposed to concentrate on their cards? No wonder the casino raked it in.

I stared. Couldn’t help it. Unfortunately, neither could Delilah.

Delilah (pointing as she made a beeline away from me): I want to dance with them!
Me (grabbing her hand and practically dragging her): I should let you. Then I could take pictures and post them. But there’s a good chance you’ll get arrested. We need to get you to the room.

That dragging thing? Did it the entire way through the casino. Along with some serious whining about just wanting to have some fun. Seriously.

Once in the elevator, she insisted on pushing the button for our floor. I figured it was harmless.

And then a pleasant, elderly gentleman entered the elevator. You know the kind. Like a grandpa with kind eyes who’d play ball, and make you peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and tell you all about the old days. Got that picture?

Delilah (to same gentleman): What’s your room number?
Gentleman (Pauses. . .. Absorbs her question, then turns me): Gee, they usually ask you what you’re doing tonight, first.
Me (cringing): Yeah. Sorry about that. She’s not well.
Delilah (laughing so hard she’s doubled-over): I’m fine, I’m fine.

Sure. About as fine as propositioning grandpa. Thankfully, our floor was before the other guy’s.

At the end of the night, I finally got her to bed. Took away her phone for a bit so she wouldn’t drunk-post anything. That was a trick and a half. She giggled like a child then finally, finally went off into la-la land looking ever-so-innocent.

So much for her being a grown-assed woman who could take care of herself. . ..*sigh*

Any guesses how many bags of Peanut M&M’s that Jessica Adams, the heroine in my debut book, MERGER OF THE HEART, would’ve consumed? Here are your choices:

Although I gotta admit I’m curious about absinthe, about what Delilah thought was so *amazing* about it. Since I’m headed back to Vegas later this year, I wonder if curiosity will override my good sense? Any bets out there?

Happy eating,

Travel Bug Tuesday: One Night in Vegas~Part III

(If you missed last week’s installment of the true adventures of erotic romance author Delilah Marvelle, click here.)

The bar was freakin’ CLOSED! I couldn’t believe it.

My gal pal had been kidnapped by crazies and I was too late to stop them! Now what the hell was I supposed to do? P1170687

I was halfway out of the shopping mall door when I got a weird text.

Delilah: No, no! I’m good and com I NH back 🙂

(That’s a quote, too!)

Now I knew she was really in trouble – there was a pretty good chance she was handcuffed to the headboard of some creepazoid’s bed. He’d grabbed her phone and was texting for her. The dude couldn’t even spell. . ..

Desperation prompted me to call her. Yep, for lack of any other option I called her, conveniently forgetting she hadn’t picked up when I’d tried a few minutes before. Was I ever relieved when she freakin’ picked up.

Me: Where are you? You’ve scared the crap out of me. What the hell was I supposed to tell your husband and kids if you’d disappeared on me?
Delilah *giggles like a naughty kid*: I’m fine. I had the best time. I had two. TWO!

At this point, it could’ve been two of anything, and I really didn’t want to know what.

Me (using as firm a tone as I could manage – kinda hard when I was shaking from relief!): Stop. Where are you? Look around and tell me what you see. And for the love of God don’t move.

With the phone pressed to my ear I quickly re-traced my steps to where my gal pal sat ever so innocently on a bench just inside the mall entrance from the hotel. She jumped up and ran towards me, laughing like she’d had two shots of absinthe-the-evil-drink. Gee, come to think of it, that’s exactly what she’d had. *Sigh*

Jessica Adams, the heroine of my debut book, MERGER OF THE HEART, would’ve thrown her uneaten bag of peanut M & M’s at Delilah. I, on the other hand, knew the night wasn’t over. I still had to get her back to the room and into her bed where, hopefully, she’d stay for the rest of the night.

You’d think that’d be easy, right? Remember, this is Ms. Marvelle we’re talking about!

Drop on by next Tuesday to see how the evening ended. . ..


Travel Bug Tuesday: One Night in Vegas ~ Part II

(If you missed last week’s post on the true adventures of erotic historical romance author Ms. Delilah Marvelle, click here.)

Vegas in June translates to oppressive heat during the day, even though my hair seemed to love it. That night I went searching for my research-seeking roommate, Delilah Marvelle, half the population of Vegas must’ve been walking The Strip, the collective body heat reminding us we were in the desert, no matter how pretty the lights looked.

But I digress.

As I emerged from the hotel into the thick crowd to cross the street, I dialed up Delilah’s phone. No answer.

The writing muse who lives in my head perked up. (She would be the same one who doesn’t come around when I’m desperate for inspiration. *Biotch*)

What if, at that very moment, some nasty dude was hitting on Delilah?

Thank you, La Muse. Not.

I called Delilah again. Nothing.

What if she’d been kidnapped by big, nasty, mustached dudes who were going to use her as a sex slave?

Holy crap. What if? I mean, we were in Vegas, after all. Anything was possible. Well, there was only one thing to do. I figured if I hurried, I’d catch the bastards in the act, kick them in the balls, grab Delilah, and make a run for it.

Yep, that’s what gal pals did for each other, right?

I sent a text: “I’m coming to get you.”
Just in case the goons had her phone.

Impatiently, I dodged around gawking tourists until finally, finally I reached the bar she’d mentioned. P1170601The one that served the evil absinthe. The one that had caused me to wander into the night looking for my friend. The one that was also . . . closed.

Closed. As in, no Delilah anywhere.

If I were Jessica Adams, the heroine in my debut book, MERGER OF THE HEART, what started out as a one bag of Peanut M&M night, quickly escalated to three bags.

Good thing she wasn’t the one searching for Delilah.

I’ll see you back here next Tuesday, because the evening wasn’t quite over. . ..


Travel Bug Tuesday: One Night in Vegas

It all started with a plan.

Not my plan, mind you, but that of my super-talented Vegas conference roommate, Delilah Marvelle . . . who always seems to find ways to smack into adventure (read: trouble). Delilah writes erotic historical romance, and craves any bit of knowledge she can get about how her characters might have lived. So I’m never surprised when she goes after research material. Hence this particular evening.

Her text message: “There is a place that does absinthe. I have to go. Will you go with me?”

Absinthe? Uh. . . no. Wasn’t that drink illegal? (By the way, Delilah does plan to post the history of absinthe, so check her blog!)

20140624_211650I’d planned to go to a really rousing game of bingo with other Entangled Publishing authors in our publisher’s suite.

So. Delilah, being who she is, went without me. Without anyone, actually. (What can I say? We opted for bingo.)

But I first made sure to note where she was headed, the time she’d be back, her promise not to talk to strangers or weirdos – at which point she reminded me we were in Vegas, which meant her agreement would equal a boring evening so why bother to go? *Sigh* I hate when she makes a good point. . ..

Through most of bingo I’d get some sort of an update – she even sent me a picture.  2014062495220234Still not sure what this is so you’ll have to read her post to find out.

Anyway, all was well until this exchange at 10:31 PM –

Delilah: “On second one. OmG, awesome.”
Me: “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

Then nothing. Nada. Lights out. Not a peep.

I wasn’t concerned. After all, she was a grown-ass woman who was capable of taking care of herself. Right?

Then again, this was Vegas.

I got to thinking that as far as stress levels went, for the Peanut M&M-eating heroine in my book, MERGER OF THE HEART, this whole adventure would’ve started out as a one bag crisis (eaten because she couldn’t decide which lounge outfit should be worn to the bingo game), then quickly escalated to two bags with the last of Delilah’s texts.

But it only got worse.

Join me at the next Travel Bug Tuesday as the adventure continues. . ..



Roses at Play

I’m so lucky to be part of an awesome RWA chapter, the Rose City Romance Writers. Not only are these gals (and guys!) some of the most supportive, creative, talented group of writers, they also know how to have fun. 🙂

As the Christmas season comes to a close, here are a few pics from our holiday get-together.

Our buffet table - NOM!
Our buffet table – NOM!
Love that smile, Susan Lute!
Love that smile, Susan Lute!
Delilah Marvelle proudly displays her tummy tuck!
Delilah Marvelle proudly displays her tummy tuck!
Jessa Slade autographs her book as a gift to one of my day job peeps.
Jessa Slade autographs her book as a gift to one of my day job peeps.
Collette Cameron, Jessa, and Delilah - one of several poses that day. :-)
Collette Cameron, Jessa, and Delilah – one of several poses that day.
The lovely Anna Brentwood with her debut book, The Songbird with Sapphire Eyes.
The lovely Anna Brentwood with her debut book, The Songbird with Sapphire Eyes.
The wonderfully talented Betty Booher and me. We finally did some catching up!
The wonderfully talented Betty Booher and me. We finally did some catching up!

Sometimes, things get so intense that we forget that writing, like life, should be fun, and the creative process a discovery of self as much as storytelling. On this particular day, taking the time to talk shop, family, challenges, and just being together did wonders for re-filling the creative well. Love when that happens!

So this year, one of my personal challenges will be to take some time out to hang with my fellow roses!

Enjoy life,

It Lives!

At the beginning of 2012, my goal was to sell three books to a publisher.  It was something I’d wanted soooo badly, that a 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. daily writing schedule (and practically every waking moment on weekends) was worth it.  To obtain that goal, I’d listed five different objectives, and to obtain those objectives, I’d listed three action plans.

So where am I now?  Have I reached my goal?


So how does a writer keep the dream alive?  How does a writer keep writing, keep slogging through the 4 a.m. wake-ups and the inevitable “when will your book be published” questions from well-meaning friends and family?

I’d be lying if I said it was like a piece of uber-rich, non-Paleo double fudge cake that I could eat without a second thought and without having to work out.  It isn’t that easy – ask any author wannabee.  But it’s doable.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There are days when it’d be way easier to return to the normal world, a place where people don’t live in isolation – by choice – for extended periods of time.  Sometimes without a shower.  Oftentimes, with dregs from the pantry thrown together with the hopes of passing it off to the family as dinner.  (Anyone out there have creative ways of disguising canned tuna?)

So here are my strategies for continuing the writing journey.

1.  Must.  Have.  Chocolate.  It’s the perfect food to celebrate with as well as to commiserate with.  It’s perfect with coffee as well as a glass of Cab Sauv — not too many foods fit that category!  🙂

2.  Remember to focus on the joy.  Savor every moment when someone honestly praises your work.  After all, you’ve done something well.  (Yes, Hubmeister, I know you think I’m talented, you also think a microwaved cup of old coffee is a brilliant move on my part.)  At a recent RCRW meeting, author friend Delilah Marvelle reminded me of this.  I guess even a well-published author sometimes needs this reminder on occasion.

3.  Surround yourself with a posse.  Okay, maybe not the gun-toting kind.  (Sorry, Jacquie Rogers!)  But the writer-kind.  You know, the ones who remind you, gently or otherwise, that you’re a writer.

4.  Give back a little.  As in, help fellow writers whenever possible.  Help with plotting a book, critique some pages, or just be there to bounce an idea off of.  In this crazy business, we learn from each other when we do things for each other.  At least, I do.

5.  Exercise.  It’s no secret that physical movement helps stimulate brain activity.  Okay, okay, I made that up – but doesn’t it sound right?  For me, after sitting for long periods of time, my body tells me it has to move.  And once I do, returning to the keyboard is easier, and sometimes whatever story issue I’ve had is also easier to resolve.

Sometimes when I gaze out into the world where normal people live and am tempted to join them, I always come to one conclusion: If I gave up writing and became “one of them” I’d ultimately regret giving up.  Not doing that.

I’m a writer.  Writers write.  Writing keeps my world sane, even as I continue to learn craft and fine-tune my process.  And, yes, even when I’m working with a story that has to be gutted with a chainsaw instead of a surgeon’s scalpel.  In those cases, it’s a love-hate thing by the time the manuscript is completed, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

On the bright side, the end of 2012 found me further along on the path to publication than I’ve ever been – editors have shown greater interest in my manuscripts.  Perhaps there will be something really cool to share one day soon.  Perhaps.

Until then, I gotta keep moving, gotta keep punching keys and remember that I’m a writer and that writers write.  It’s my job.