Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Ah, the Fourth of July. The great American holiday whereupon all indie entrepreneurs try and give away stuff and promote themselves in the name of INDEPENDENCE.



In-dee-pen-dent!

So for my readers who do not hail from the U.S. of A., here's what the day is actually about...

It's generally celebrated with fireworks and family get-togethers (sometimes this is the same thing), in particular picnics and BBQs. My sibs and I take turns trading off with holidays. I usually get Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, and we do indeed celebrate with a family barbecue. This year the menu is hot dogs, hamburgers, leftover lobster tails, cupcakes, watermelon, root beer floats, stuffed baked potatoes, corn on the cob...the food just keeps coming.

There will be swimming and there will often be some kind of -- yes, believe it or not -- sing-a-long. (I bet most of you didn't know that about me!) ;-D  We probably won't be able to see fireworks at the new house, but who knows?

I must be feeling fairly settled because I actually bought a flag this year. One of those big Betsy Ross 13 Colony things. We've never put a flag out before! But our friends at Chase Bank gave us a flag pole when we signed our loan docs, and it seems only fitting to put it to work.

So Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans. And to the rest of you, Happy Weekend!

And in keeping with the latest traditions of the holiday, I am running a brief sale on my short stories over at Smashwords. All short stories are .99 a piece today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday). You need a code -- they're listed below. It's been quite a while since I've run any sales and I'm just feeling kind of generous right now. So enjoy.










A Limited Engagement - YY78R
Baby, it's Cold - KQ26N
In Sunshine or In Shadow - FQ37Y
In a Dark Wood - WC35z
Heart Trouble - HL34S
In Plain Sight - QQ42C
Merry Christmas, Darling - GS79L
Perfect Day - WP86D
The French Have a Word for it - AQ24Q
Until We Meet Once More - ZA32Q
Wedding Favors - LV76P
Wizard's Moon - XL23Y

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Five Things That Inspire Me



New summer header starts on the blog today. This is of a beach in the Ionian sea taken by Tamara83 and licensed through Shutterstock.

One of the questions that pops up a lot in chats and so forth is where do I find inspiration, and photos are a great source of ideas. Not just ideas…because inspiration isn’t just an cerebral thing. Inspiration has to be at least partly...trigger. Drive? Impetus? It’s emotion and urgency and the need to create or put into action.

Seeing that it’s about time for another one of those quarterly FIVE THINGS I LOVE blogs, I thought maybe we could put a different twist on it and offer up five things that inspire you. Er, me. And you.

For me, photographs, old and new. And vintage postcards. I love vintage postcards. Those muted, slightly unnatural colors and depictions of a world lost to time. I have a number of them from Catalina where I hope to set the next Doyle and Spain story one of these days.















Music. I don’t know a more powerful medium for reaching across cultures and politics. This is “Didn’t Know,” a song by Laura Browne-Sorenson (among other things, she did the music for my last two book trailers).

“But you stand out among the faces,

Choir robes and shoe laces”

Gets me every time.




Rain. Rain makes me want to write. I don’t know why that would be, but nothing gets me in the mood to write like rain--especially if a fireplace is involved.

Swimming. Water again? But yes, I get many good ideas for writing while I’m swimming. Or even just floating. A long, quiet swim is both inspirational and centering. Walking is good too. But swimming is better.

Dreams. Yes, I’ve actually got ideas for stories from dreams. More so when I was younger. I don’t have many “story dreams” anymore, though I did spend a lot of last night trying to preserve a basket of new born kittens. Since I’m allergic to cats, there’s no doubt a goldmine of psychic weirdness going on there. I used to have wonderful, scary, elaborate adventurous dreams. Now my dreams are much more confused (though still elaborate) and have to do more with losing paperwork or turning up on the day of a final after missing class all semester.

Bruce Rolff licensed thru Shutterstock

So what about you? What do you find inspirational? And what are you inspired to do?










Friday, June 5, 2015

Confessions of a Home Owner

Well, the first confession is that I'm not by any means a first time homeowner. But it's different this time. This time it feels like true love. ;-)


If you've been following the blog--although that would not be easy, given the fact I've missed posting how many weeks?--you know that the SO and I have been in the process of buying a house since December. Wait. Not the same house, though the process did feel that lengthy at times. First we fell in love with a house on New Year's Eve. That fell through, but then we found another house. A really glorious house. And we've been moving in for a couple of weeks.


Yes, we are still moving in.


It's a lengthy process because for two weeks I was finishing up Winter Kill and then we finally seriously got to shifting stuff...though not the big stuff, not the real furniture because...the SO keeps having panic attacks at the thought of boxing up his office (and if you could see his office, you'd have a panic attack too--I know I do when I open That Door).


So I am horrendously, embarrassingly behind on email and social media. From the moment the loan went through everything came to a screeching halt. I had a book release and I haven't even bothered to check my sales. What does that tell you? I am now focusing on catching up, but it's taking a bit of time because we're still painting and hanging curtains and blowing up the pool pump (almost--disaster was narrowly averted) and hunting for missing steak knives and so forth.


We're at the stage where no matter which house we're in, what we need is always at the other house.


But we are happy. We love this house. The kitchen is big enough for two people to cook and talk and drink wine and eat cheese. The pool is small as pools go, but plenty big enough for us. And the garden smells like jasmine and gardenia -- the chimes are always tinkling on the breeze. The tile in the bath is Catalina blue. The light is...amazing. So many windows. I keep walking into rooms thinking I left a lamp on only to find it's sunlight streaming through.


So I thought I'd share a few select photos since you've shared this journey with me for months now. After this, I'll shut up about the house and we'll get back to talking books and writing and publishing.


You have to understand that the place is still a work in progress....


My office







Dining room







Legendary swimming pool






World famous wet bar





Family room





Kitchen (don't judge!)






So that's the grand tour. Hope you enjoyed it. Don't forget to collect all your belongings before exiting the bus!





Friday, May 29, 2015

NEW RELEASE - Winter Kill

We said the official launch day was June 1st coz we're sneaky that way. Winter Kill actually released May 31st.

Yes, it's out! And to think they all laughed when I sat down to play the piano!


BLURB:



Clever and ambitious, Special Agent Adam Darling (yeah, he’s heard all the jokes before) was on the fast track to promotion and success until his mishandling of a high profile operation left one person dead and Adam “On the Beach.” Now he’s got a new partner, a new case, and a new chance to resurrect his career, hunting a cruel and cunning serial killer in a remote mountain resort in Oregon.

Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell may seem laid-back, but he’s a tough and efficient cop, and he’s none too thrilled to see feebs on his turf—even when one of the agents is smart, handsome, and probably gay. But a butchered body in a Native American museum is out of his small town department’s league. For that matter, icy, uptight Adam Darling is out of Rob’s league, but that doesn’t mean Rob won’t take his best shot.


EXCERPT:



They were silent as they reached a spill of rocks.
“You think Tiffany had a crush on Bill, and maybe Bill didn’t know about it?” Rob was watching Bill. As though feeling the weight of Rob’s gaze, Bill glanced over at them. Rob nodded at him in greeting.
Self-consciously, Bill nodded back.
“He may or may not have known about it,” Adam said. “I don’t think he gave her that photograph. You have a scenario where she wants a photo of him—assuming it wasn’t the Watterson kid she was interested in—but doesn’t have access through the normal channels.”
“Access through the normal channels,” Rob said wonderingly. “Is that FBI-speak? Whatever happened to simple English? You mean she couldn’t ask him so she snagged it from somewhere else?”
“Correct.”
“Possibly the target of her emotional interest was not equally engaged and experiencing reciprocity?” Rob suggested.
“Oh, shut up,” Adam said.
Rob laughed. He patted Adam on the back and dropped behind to speak to a couple of volunteers who were starting to lag.
Bill was looking his way again. Adam nodded politely. He didn’t blame Constantine for feeling uncomfortable. Even innocent people started acting paranoid when they came under the scrutiny of law enforcement.
“Do you think we’ll find her?” Bill called.
“We’ll do the best we can,” Adam replied. Equivocation was a big part of the job description. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. That was one of the lessons they didn’t teach you at the Academy. You learned it facing the bereaved families of the victims you failed to save.
“We’ll find her,” Buck Constantine said grimly.
His son didn’t look reassured.
“Let’s try and keep this line together,” Rob directed. “We want to be sure that we’ve covered every inch of ground in our sector.”
Everyone assented. They were losing volunteers from their eight-member team. The terrain was too rough, and people were starting to say aloud what Adam privately thought: that there was no way Tiffany had come this far. Not at night. Not in the pitch dark.
Regretfully, apologetically, some of the older and less fit searchers were turning back. Rob’s radio crackled into life and he stopped to answer it.
He whistled sharply. Adam glanced back and Rob waved to him.
Adam turned to start back down the slope. The combination of snow on pine needles didn’t provide much purchase for the soles of his hiking boots. His right foot slipped, the rocks under his left foot crumbled away, and the next thing he knew, he was crashing face first down a ravine.
Somewhere in the distance he could hear Rob yelling. It happened so fast Adam didn’t have time for much more than a gasp—mostly of disbelief.
“Shit!” His landing knocked the wind out of his lungs and cut short his protest. Brush and snow softened the collision, but he saw stars. His ears and nose seemed stuffed with snow, and for a few dazed seconds he feared he was going to smother.
“Adam? Adam!” Rob’s voice floated down to him. He sounded as short of breath as Adam.
Adam rolled onto his side, heaving in a mighty lungful of oxygen. Pain flashed along his ribs, and his gloved hand hurt where he had smacked it hard on a rock.
He wiped snow off his face. A few glittering flakes stuck to his eyelashes. “I’m okay,” he croaked.
“Are you okay?” Rob yelled.
“Great!” Adam yelled with more force. Fucking fantastic. Why do you ask?
He looked up. The ravine was not nearly as deep as it had felt like when he’d fallen down it. Maybe twelve feet. At most. Rob was kneeling at the edge, gazing down at him, eyes wide in his alarmed face.
“Don’t try to move. I’m coming down.”
Someone ought to tell Rob how great he looked in that vaguely western style sheriff’s deputy hat. Then again, he probably knew.
“No. I’m okay. Stay there,” Adam called. In fact, he felt okay enough to be mostly incensed with the whole situation. What the hell was it that people loved so much about the great outdoors? It was just one fatal accident after another waiting to happen.
Other heads were popping up alongside Rob as the rest of their search team arrived. He began to receive unsolicited advice on how to climb out even as Rob cautioned everyone to stay clear of the edge.
Adam sat up, and the brush and snow he had mistaken for the floor of the ravine gave way. He dropped another foot, landing on his tailbone in a pile of rocks and rubble.
That hurt and he swore loudly.
“Adam?”
“Still here,” Adam yelled.
And he wasn’t the only one.
He sucked in a sharp breath. Not rocks and rubble. Or not only rocks and rubble. He had landed on the rotting remnants of an old backpack.
“Haskell, you better get down here,” he called. He got to his knees and crawled forward.
The outcrop of boulders and tree roots and brush made a nice dry, sheltered recess, and in that recess was another pile of rags. Rags and scattered bones. A skeleton.
Heart thumping, he sat back on his heels. Hollow, empty eye sockets met his own.
 
Now available through Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and All Romance Ebooks.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Not much to say this morning beyond THE HOUSE IS OURS!


Thanks to the diligence of our loan officer we signed after-hours on Tuesday evening, the loan funded on Wednesday, and the title was recorded yesterday. Last night we started moving in.


And we are very, very happy.


It even rained yesterday evening. Our first rain in our new home. A good omen if there ever was one.


As happy as we are, I still have a book due, so we'll be working around my writing schedule next week. But for the next two days it is all house all the time. :-)  Today we're measuring for drapes (I don't like blinds in a bedroom) and checking out paint colors (the house has red accent walls and I'm thinking a warm ivory will be more harmonic) and I'll be setting up my office.


The last book I will write in our current house is Winter Kill. And the first book I write in the new house will be Jefferson Blythe, Esquire.


Is it strange that part of how I remember places I've lived is by remembering what books I wrote there?


Part of the purchase price of a new home is the fact that it closes the door on certain avenues. But it also opens a new chapter in your life, and this is something I've been longing for since the start of the year. CHANGE. New directions. So as the extra-wide door swings open on this house, it also swings open on new possibilities.


I am nervous and I am thrilled.


And I am having trouble getting photos of my phone. So I will leave you right here as I go to fill boxes of books and office supplies. So MANY books. :-)


Have a wonderful weekend! And look to your own doorstep.









Friday, May 1, 2015

It's Official

Just signed a contract with Carina Press for two new projects for 2016.


Fair Chance. Third and final book in the All's Fair series.


You know what's coming. Right? ;-D I don't need to tell you anything more about this one?


And a traditional mystery standalone called Murder Takes the High Road.


A vacationing librarian must solve the murder of fellow tourists when someone begins picking off members of a gay bus tour traveling through the scenic highlands and islands of Scotland.

I believe I mentioned elsewhere that LB Gregg and I plan to take Scotland by storm in October. Well, I don't travel anywhere that it doesn't inevitably turn into a book. Though happily so far I have not been involved in any real murder investigations.

And I would like to keep it that way!

Friday, April 24, 2015

I picked a bad month to quit smoking...

Okay, no. I don't smoke. I never have. I don't even drink to excess anymore. Very often. But it's a wonder that I am not currently drinking like a fish and smoking like a chimney.


Remind me never to buy a house when I have a book due. Okay, granted, I always have a book due, but even so I should have arranged this better.


I am like a mad scientist's experiment on the effect of stress on rats. Or the small, pale, anxious-looking mammal of your choice.


I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.


But I have to keep taking it and working while I take it, and because this isn't a funny enough story for future retellings, we here in the high desert are also experiencing windstorms so I have had a headache for about two weeks. Crazy-with-stress and headachy. Even the SO has been complaining of headaches for the last week, so it's not just me. Or maybe I am the common denominator. It's been known to happen.


This is the long way of admitting that this a placeholder post. I can't just drop off the face of the map because then the VA starts to get emails asking if I've died. I WISH.


Kidding. I'm a kidder.


A kidder with a headache. Which is the worst kind.


So everything is pretty much fine. The book is coming along, believe it or not. We're looking at somewhere between 60 - 70K (regardless of what Amazon says) and it's a lot of mystery and not so much romance because I basically want to kill someone.




We were supposed to close Monday, but every *&^^%%$$###@!ING time I think we're moving forward the bank comes back with yet another request for paperwork. Lately it's the same paperwork only formatted differently. Which is why I want to kill someone.





Anyway, while I have thought of many topics for posts, I find that I just do not have the energy. I barely have the focus for a normal conversation, yet alone the ability to think philosophically about such things as why people you have never met--and never will meet--think it is appropriate to share such personal, private information with an email address OR ask the person at the end of that email address for personal and private information.





Yeesh.






But a lot of us live online now, and we forget that we are still the minority. Most people are not living their lives in cyber space.





It does raise an interesting question though. If you were to unplug today, how much would it affect your life? In what ways would it change your life? Do you think you would be forced to forge better and more meaningful connections with people around you if you couldn't hop onto the intertubes to socialize? Does the internet enhance or distract from your ability to connect with people?





Are we engaging online to the detriment of our real life engagement?





Inquiring minds want to know.





I've read a few articles about "addiction to the internet." What do you think about that? If you were addicted to the internet, would you know?