Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I suck. Let me tell you why.

First and foremost, I suck because I keep forgetting to mention important things like release dates. Mostly, because life is crazy and I'm just trying to keep my head above water. But this is what I've been up to lately.

But anyhow, I've have a couple of new releases lately. The first is a short story called Maiden's Grail. It's part of the awesome anthology, called Seducing the Myth, edited by the amazing Lucy Felthouse. Seriously - I adore this woman. And bonus! The book is filled with scads of other fabulous stories!

Here's a bit about the antho:

Seducing the Myth: Myths and Legends with an Erotic Twist is a collection of 24 tantalising tales that lead you on a decadent journey through mythologies the world over. As well as stories from the popular Greek and Roman periods, this anthology will also delight you with Arabian, Arthurian, Hindu, Jewish, Norse, Slavic, Sumerian and Welsh myths and legends. Add in a delicious sprinkling of fairies, mermaids and ancient fertility rituals and you have a recipe for a wickedly erotic read!

And today, I have another short story out. It's a retelling of the Persephone/Hades myth - one of my faves! It's called Does Your Mother Know? and it's available at Resplendence Publishing.

Here's the blurb:

Lured from the overprotective, controlling grasp of her mother, Persephone journeys to the Underworld to meet Hades—the sinister man who’s invaded her dreams. Dark and dangerous, he brings to life desires she didn’t know existed. But in satisfying the cravings of her flesh will she lose her soul?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Day I Ruined Bill’s Life

Do you ever feel like you should come with a warning label?

I do. A lot.

This is one of those times.

When I’m doing research, I’d rather talk to people in the field as opposed to reading about it. I always end up with some oddball question that can’t be answered by a book or website. I also like hands on research. This is how I ended up taking a ten week citizens’ police academy course. Yes. It was just as hilariously awkward as you’d think it would be. But, it was totally worth it in terms of research material as well as meeting people I genuinely like and respect.

My other favorite research method is cold calling. This is when I try to repress the fact that I’m actually very shy, suck it up and start making phone calls to people in the field that I’m writing about. I usually end up having to explain myself to at least one or two of the office staff before being allowed to leave a vaguely awkward sounding voicemail message where I hope against hope that my subject calls me back.

I’d like to tell you about Bill. He called me back. He’s probably regretting it with every fiber of his being at the moment, but more on that later.

Many of you know that I set my werebear shifter story in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Why, you might wonder? Well, I wanted someplace that black bears would be relatively common. I wanted an area I knew well-ish. And hey, honestly? I just really like that area.

So anyway, I called the Baraga DNR (Department of Natural Resources) office since that was the town in which I’d decided to set my story. The very nice secretary passed me along to Bill’s voicemail and a while later he called me back. I explained that I was an author and that I’d like some information about bears. He kindly obliged, told me some awesome stories about bears, Michigan’s bat population and how DNR officers jump out of helicopters to tag moose.

He asked a little more about me and my books, and I explained the erotic romance genre and the popularity of ménage as well as shape shifter stories. He was clearly baffled, but a good sport about it. I asked him if I could cite him on the acknowledgment page, and he kindly agreed. Now, when I cite a source, I always do a full citation. So if it’s one of my cop buddies, I spell out their name, rank and department. I did the same thing with Bill.

Just Right released with the rest of the books in the Not Quite Wicked series and went on to do quite well. I wrote the next book in the series and went off that summer to vacation in the Upper Peninsula. While I was there, I got to meet Bill. He’s just as awesome in person as he is on the phone. He’s funny, knowledgeable and tells great stories. He took me, the hubby, our kids, one of my brothers and 2 of my nephews into an iron mine. We did the tour and then he got permission to take us off the tour track farther back into the mine where it was dark, wet, muddy, rife with debris and giant holes in the ground. More importantly, there were bats.

It’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis that I love bats. Well, so does Bill. In fact, the locals call him Batman.

He is, understandably, not amused by this.

But he is a bat specialist. He showed us where a few young males were hanging out the inside of the rock walls and fluttering around. He gave us all kinds of great info. I loved it and so did the rest of the fam. We went out to lunch, then Bill took us to the Millie Mine Bat Viewing station. Of course, it was daytime and the bats were snoozing, but I was still pleased to see they had a safe place to sleep. All in all it was a great day, and I was so glad to get a chance to thank Bill in person for helping me with my research.

Fast forward to the end of this school year. Per Bill’s request, I sent him a signed copy of the Not Quite Wicked anthology. Apparently, said copy of the book got passed around the office, Bill was mocked mercilessly because he’d been involved with a “sex book”. And that’s when it got a little ugly. He was ridiculed endlessly because I’d been too thorough when listing out the location in the acknowledgments.

I was terrified that this absolutely wonderful guy was going to lose his job because I was doing my job and documenting. He’d gone out of his way to help me out with info, not to mention, spending his day off with my family, and I had jeopardized his position. In short, I felt like utter shit.

I offered to call/write and apologize to everyone in the office if need be. He didn’t think it would be necessary, but he told me he’d let me know if it came to that. Well, the school year ended, and I didn’t hear anything. Summer wore on…nothing. Finally, it was vacation time. I thought about calling to see how things were going, but time got away from me. Also I totally chickened out. While vacationing in the UP, I even drove past the Baraga DNR office on my way to Copper Harbor, and I thought about stopping. I even talked to Brynn about it from the road. I think she dared me to stop in and say hi, but that seemed like a terri-bad idea, so I kept driving.

Well, I got a phone call today. It was Bill.

My stomach immediately sank when I saw the area code. I was terrified that he was going to tell me he’d lost his job and it was all my fault.

I’m pleased to report that this wasn’t the case. Although, there’s other…stuff.

Apparently, last night was the DNR Wildlife Division Annual In-service where they hand out awards. I’m imagining it to be like the Academy Awards with more fur and claws and far fewer sequins and borrowed jewelry. I could be wrong though. Maybe the DNR peeps like bling as much as Hollywood.

Anyway, in addition to the other awards, the fine folk at the DNR give out the Bone (formerly Boner) Award every year. From my understanding, it’s given to someone who’s done something especially boneheaded—an epically stupid blunder. And I think we all know who this year’s recipient was.

Oh, yes.

And who’s responsible for him getting this award?

Why, yes. That would be me. This is where the warning label comes in.

Bill ended up receiving the award (a bone mounted to a piece of wood) with a big ole poster of the cover of Just Right, with his face photoshopped in there somewhere, while someone read passages of the story. Aloud. Evidently, there was a bit of trouble finding non-dirty bits to read. Oops.

Oh yeah…and? They retired the award last night. Apparently, they don’t think it can get any worse than this. I feel certain I could disabuse them of that notion quickly enough. After all, I’m not considered a cautionary tale for nothing.

According to Bill, had he known he was going to receive this honor, he would have called me up and made me go to the ceremony with him. (Not cool, Bill.) Luckily, for me, he didn’t.

However, he thinks that sales may spike this week because many of the attendees were googling me on their smart phones. (Yay…I think…) He also said that if he’d had a stack of the books, he could have sold them all last night.

And apparently, as punishment, when I’m on vacation next summer, I have to stop at the DNR office and get my picture taken with Bill and the Boner Award. I can only imagine how truly, truly horrible and awkward this will be. But after what poor Bill has gone through, it’s the least I can do. I also plan to take him out to lunch. There will likely be a blog about it. Unless I die of embarrassment before I can post.

Hope springs eternal.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Woe. Let Me Tell You Of It.

Okay, so after 23 years our fridge decided to slowly commit suicide. We came home from vacation a few weeks ago to find it leaking on the floor. It only got good and cold in certain areas and the light flickered menacingly whenever the door was opened as if to say, "Do you dare to put your hand inside? Do you? Are you sure?" I don't think that was just the leftovers talking. I think the fridge wanted to be left alone to die in peace.

Reluctantly, we decided that it was probably time for a new one. Now, you have to understand that unless we're talking books, fabrics or ren faires, I LOATHE shopping. I hate it with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. Seriously, I hate the hell out of it. I especially hate shopping with my husband.

Now you all know, I love this guy to bits, but nine times out of ten, I'd rather chew broken glass wrapped in tin foil than go shopping with him. When I shop, I look, I point, I buy, I leave. When Matt shops, he must go to every store in the area that carries whatever it is that we're interested in. Then there must be elaborate notes taken on models, delivery cost, etc at each store. Then the lists must be cross referenced. And all I can think is, I'd be done already, home and working on the next scene in my book.

So we made the rounds - fewer this time because thankyoubabyjesusinamanger - he shopped online first and made lists before leaving the house. So we went, we shopped, we bought. We even got a pretty good deal.

Fast forward two weeks and I've got delivery guys calling me.

Delivery Guys: Are you home? We've been pounding on your door for ten minutes.

Me: No, you've been pounding on the door of a house up the block.

Delivery Guys: Oh. Well that explains why no one is answering it.

Me: That would indeed be why.

So the guys (who are very cute) show up and take out our dying fridge out and bring the new one in. Only...guess what? It doesn't fit. The space that Matt measured will not hold our lovely new water dispensing, ice making, side-by-side fridge.

Of course, my natural response was to tweet about it.

Delivery Guy: Are you...tweeting?

Me: Yup.

Delivery Guy: About this?

Me: There's a fridge in the middle of my hobbit-sized kitchen. This is absolutely tweet worthy.

Delivery Guy: Did you tell people we're good looking?

Me: Nope - I said you were hot!

Corwin: Mother!

Delivery Guy: Right on!

I called Matt to figure out what we wanted to do - keep the fridge and figure out a way to make it fit or have them haul the dying one back in and GO SHOPPING AGAIN. Wanna guess which one we went with?

Yeah, there's a fridge in the middle of my kitchen making it nearly impossible to cook, clean or otherwise function. It's been there since Wednesday and it'll be there until Saturday when hopefully Matt can get the appropriate tools back from whomever borrowed them to whittle away even more of my pathetic amount of counter space.

I keep telling myself that it'll be worth it in the end. In the meanwhile, I'm trying not to scream obscenities.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

AAD Post Game Wrap-Up

The Authors After Dark conference in Philly was absolutely amazing! I had so much fun with the usual crew - Brynn Paulin, Jen Armintrout, Mia Watts, Simone Anderson, Carol Lynne and the lovely Jill Welch. We all caravaned to Philadelphia from Michigan. It was a looonnnnnngggg drive - 13 hours one way, but we had fun listening to books on tape. But more on that, later.

I finally got to meet my friends Jess Jarman and Gwendolyn Cease! We've been internet and phone buds for years, but this was the first time I got to meet them in person and it was fantastic - as was Gwen's delightful sister, Jude.

Stella Price was jaw-droppingly amazing as always. I have no idea how this woman does what she does as stays sane. I adore her. I can't imagine not attending this conference. It's, by far, my fave!

So Brynn, Jen, Mia, Jess, Gwen and I decided to host a party and give away an iPad 2 along with 12 e-books to one lucky reader. It turned out to be a hilarious karaoke party. It was total madness that turned into a sing-a-long with a guest dancer/party crasher from an MBA conference - we were clearly having more fun at our con than he was at his.

We sang. Our guests sang. Carol Lynne requested that the hostesses sing Kung-Fu Fighting. (Because she's pure evil.) It isn't everyday you can make an ass out of yourself in front of a room full of readers, fellow authors and your bosses. But yeah. We did it. I didn't think I'd say this, but I'd totally do it again. As long as Jen MCs - she was nothing short of brilliant.

The panels were fun. I was a little nervous about answering questions, but I think I did okay. I hope so, anyway.

One of my favorite parts was meeting authors I've been chatting with like Eliza Gayle and Elise Hepner. And also new to me authors like Ethan Day, Kris Cook, Crymsyn Hart and Melissa Schroeder.

I also got to see lots of awesome blogger and readers which is always a blast. There's something magical about being around other people who love books as much as you do.

I didn't get to see as much of the city as I would have liked, but I loved what I saw.

One of the best things happened on the way home. Brynn bought some audio books to listen to. I won't name names, but one of them couldn't decide if it wanted to be a sweet romance, an erotic romance or a nursing home book. The writing was horrid, not to mention cliche. But we had a riot laughing at the story and acting out passages. It was several hours well spent!

All in all, it was a fabulous conference and I can't wait until next year!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Texts from Cait - Part Five

Whoa...three blog posts in a week from me? That's kind of a miracle these days, but I had this text convo with Cait that I kinda have to share.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Misread of the Day - Yes...again

So I ran into Hobby Lobby today, to get some last minute supplies for AAD and there was this display of calendars by the front door and I had an awesome misread that made me laugh out loud. Of course, I was all by myself, so this just made me look slightly crazier than I already did muttering about willow leaves and panne velvet fabric.

Here's what the calendar actually said: He Restores My Soul

Here's what I read: Restrooms of My Soul

Now that's a calendar I would have bought.