Happy 2016!

Happy 2016! I hope all of my readers had a fabulous end to 2015 and so far a great New Year. I finally got back into the writing groove late in 2015. I have an idea of what caused my general funk and hopefully that will never happen again. We shall see. So far things are moving along well and I’ve been inspired to write on multiple fronts.

2016 will bring in three releases for me. The sequel to Born of Stone: Born of Magic, will be out in the summer. Keep your eyes peeled for the cover reveal. My third Archangel book will be out this year as well, but no dated pinned down yet. Also, They Call Me Death is currently undergoing a major make-over. My initial thought was to give it a minor make-over with a basic re-edit. However, my new editor is AMAZING and has my creative wheels spinning like crazy with his initial feedback. So, there may be some major rewrites there after all.
More news: Ellora’s Cave will be putting my Love Beyond Barriers series in print this year. I’m currently trying to think up titles for the two paperbacks. Have an idea? Shoot me an email or comment below. Also, if you own the series and remember seeing a typo, PLEASE let me know. I plan to spend this coming weekend rereading them myself.
On the personal front: I decided not to bother making actual resolutions this year. I’m sick of feeling like a failure in mid-February. So instead I’m going to continue to try making smarter lifestyle choices. I actually started this a couple of months ago. There have been many hiccups so not a lot of visual progress yet, but I’m hopeful. I can say that writing again feels so good, it definitely has me in the right mindset. 
That’s it for now but stay tuned for more news. I’m hoping to set up some signings around my new release dates. Want me to come to your city? Please let me know.

My Ridiculously Emotional Week

Though I’m not currently a pet owner, if someone were to ask I’d probably claim to be more of a cat person. I’ve owned both in the past, but my current attitude of not wanting to bother with much makes me lean toward cats when considering future pets. However, my office is in the business owner’s home at the moment, so we have an office dog: his miniature dachshund named Shrek.

I didn’t realize how close I’ve gotten to this little dog until Wednesday morning when I arrived at work to find him missing. He had somehow gotten out of the gate and was roaming the streets of Houston on a grand adventure. Meanwhile, the humans in his life were freaking the hell out. Work skidded to a halt and sat on the back-burner as we literally walked the streets, knocked on doors, and begged local businesses to post his flyer in their windows. It was a hot, sweaty, emotionally harrowing experience that I never want to repeat.

Amazingly he was returned to us safe and sound Thursday night. I’m sure he thought he was on vacation, much as his owner currently is, who has no clue Shrek was ever missing. Overall, it was a nerve-wracking few days and I’m emotionally wrung-out from the experience. But at least Shrek is now home where he belongs.

I hope your week was nice and uneventful.  

The Fine Art of Politely Saying ‘NO’

Aside from my glamorous life as a multi-published author, I also have a full-time day job. I sell advertising for a local magazine Monday through Friday. So that means I make cold calls on a daily basis and get to talk to people I’ve never met before. Some of these people are friendly, some of them are annoyed, some of them are too busy to take my call every single time. But the one type of person who I absolutely HATE to call is the one who won’t say NO. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean the one who says yes. Unfortunately, that magical three letter word is few and far between most days. But that person is markedly different from the one who absolutely won’t say no the first fifty times I call them.

This anti-NO person is the one who strings me along day after day, week after week, and month after month with a maybe. This person can’t make up his/her mind to save his/her life and just refuses to commit. So I keep calling and emailing in the hopes they may give me that magical three letter word noted above.

Even worse than the maybe person is the one who simply refuses to ever answer the phone and/or return a call or email. They obviously don’t realize that not getting an actual NO means I WILL keep calling and emailing month after month after month. If you don’t want something, just say NO. It’s not hard, really. All you have to do is wait until the salesperson takes a breath and then say “No, thanks.” That’s it. No fuss, no muss. I know not all salespeople are the same, however, in my office NO means NO. If we’re told not to call anymore then we don’t. We don’t want to waste our time any more than the ones who don’t want to buy advertising want to hear our voices every month.

And last and most definitely least of my favorites is the rude SOB who hangs up as soon as I identify myself. I mean, come on. Is it really that hard to just say NO?! It would take literally seconds out of that person’s life to say no AND THEN hang up. That’s it. That’s all. And I promise it doesn’t even hurt.

So yeah, I had a few of these today. Can you tell?

A Child Died Today…

…he wasn’t my child. I’ll bet he didn’t even consider himself a “child”. But I considered him one of the many I interact with on a daily basis. I’m a server in the cafeteria line at a high school and today one of our students was killed. He was stabbed by another student who also stabbed three more. Now everyone wants to know WHY? Does it matter? I want to know HOW? How can this child have so little regard for human life, including his own? How can he reach his teens without learning all life is precious? How can he have not known or cared about the consequences for everyone involved? How can this keep happening in our schools, with our children?

The only thing that kept me sane through the entire ordeal was knowing none of my children were on that campus. They all attend other schools and I was the only one of us there. I was in the kitchen, in the back preparing lunch when it happened as breakfast was ending. Today will be a day I never forget no matter how hard I try. Many parents’ knee-jerk reaction is to want to pull their kids from this school, but where would they go? Where is safe? Past incidents up north have proven even the smallest, quietest, most affluent communities can be attacked by a person intent on killing innocents. It sickens and infuriates me in equal measure.

So I’ll hug my girls more tightly tonight. I’ve already reminded them to always run the other way when they see or sense a confrontation. I’ve warned them not to stop to take photos or videos. Their life isn’t worth a damn twitter pic. There’s no school the rest of the week but we’ll be back to it on Monday and the memories will last my lifetime.

And Yet Another Direction

From time to time I might talk about my personal schedule. The fact is I’m a mother of four, I work part-time, and I write as often as I’m able. Back when I first started writing seriously I was working full-time. I would write only on my one hour lunch breaks, and I was able to complete a few novellas that way. Now my schedule is about to change again. I got a new job.

It’s nothing glamorous but will take up a good chunk of my day. I’ll be working in the morning until early afternoon Monday through Friday. I’m still keeping my part-time job too since that one is only every other weekend. So, what does this mean for my writing? Well, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop. That’s for certain. However, I’m going to have to get creative on when I get to write. I’ll have the weekends I don’t work and I should have late afternoons and evenings. The good thing is my husband works nights. The bad thing is I still have to make dinner for the kids every night.

Overall there shouldn’t be a serious decline in how much novel writing I get done. I just have to rearrange my schedule. However, it might affect my online presence a bit. Evenings are when I’m usually playing on Twitter and Facebook. Though I probably still will while writing, I’ll have to keep it to a minimum to get any real writing done. We shall see. I just wanted to warn y’all that I might seem to disappear for a few days at a time. Especially when I first start next week.

The Blahs

As I’m sitting at my computer fighting the temptation to log onto Facebook, it struck me that I should probably write a blog post. Piece of cake, right? I mean, I’m an author after all. Subjects to wax poetic on should spring into my head at the drop of a hat. Um, not so much.

I’m actually in a blah kind of mood. I feel like writing but don’t know what I feel like writing. It’s kind of like being hungry when nothing sounds appetizing. 
In case you’re wondering, the photos were taken from atop the Ferris Wheel in downtown Houston at the Landry’s Aquarium. That’s where we spent yesterday to celebrate my oldest’s nineteenth birthday. Yeah, that probably is a part of my blah mood too. My own birthday never make me feel old, but my daughters’ definitely do.

Checking In

If you keep up with me on a regular basis you may have noticed I wasn’t as active online the past week as usual. It’s all preteen’s fault. One day as she was lying on my office floor staring up at the six bookshelves around her, she decided they needed to be reorganized. I originally had them ordered by genre. I’ll admit it wasn’t the most organized arrangement. Romance and horror dominate my shelves and had begun to creep onto the literature and fantasy shelves as well. There was also the not so small problem of books that fit into more than one genre. I really don’t know how anyone who works in a bookstore can handle it. So together we decided to redo my entire library alphabetically by the authors’ last names, regardless of genre or anything else about the book. Did I mention I own 1,078 books?

So yeah, it took nearly the entire week to accomplish. Each day we tackled one shelf. We had to empty each one before adding the right books back onto it. My Stephen King collection took the longest. I own 64 of his books. Then, to make it more interesting, I started visiting author websites to determine the order of my series collections. I now have a ridiculously long to buy list to complete the series. But I have to admit the pain was worth the end result. I own a software program from Collectorz.com to keep track of my library. I hadn’t been using it to its full potential before. Now my software can tell me which shelf the book is on, whether or not I’ve read it, and what rating I gave it. 

So that has been my past week or so. This week I’m working on edits for my archangel book contracted through Entangled publishing. I hope to finish those quickly so I can move on to writing the sequel. 

What is your week looking like?

I’m on a Boat!

Though writing is what I do with as much of my free time as possible, I also have a regularly paying job on most weekends. I pass out a local publication at various trade shows in the Houston area. This past weekend was the Houston Boat Show. 

This was my first time at a boat show, and it was definitely a learning experience. I never knew there were so many different types, shapes, and sizes. I have my future yacht all picked out. Now we just have to see which of my daughters becomes rich and famous enough to buy it for me.

While fantasizing about my leisurely life on the water, I realized a yacht could make a great setting for a romance. Can you imagine being seduced by a hunky hero on one of these babies?
I can!

Who wouldn’t want to relax and let the waves rock them to sleep in this set-up? Now I just have to find the right characters to place here and decide on the situation that gets them here. Hmmm. I love when real life can spark an idea for a new book.

Around My Town: Japanese Festival 2013

I live just north of the fourth largest city in the nation. What that means to me is plenty of opportunities to do a lot of cool stuff. Take last weekend for example. The 20th Japanese Festival occurred downtown in Hermann Park. This is a festival my family has attended nearly every year for about six or seven years. We absolutely love it! The best part? Entry is free. For a family of six, that’s just what we need.

I don’t remember how I first learned of the Japanese Festival. It’s put on every year by The Japan-American Society of Houston. This organization is dedicated to ” encourage mutual knowledge and understanding of Japan by Americans and of America by Japanese, and to encourage communication between the two countries.” (from their website) 

Every year they do a fantastic job of bringing together food, dance, martial arts, art, crafts, and various entertainment from Japan. We stuff ourselves full and buy things that don’t last the year. But that’s okay because we know we’ll just go back next year to buy more. One of my favorite aspects of the festival is the costumes worn by the attendees. If you like cosplay, anime, or anything to do with Japanese fashion (real or in the movies) then you would get an eye-full at the festival.

I was told this bookmark says “Missy”.
I would have had a better picture of my food if I had remembered to take one before chowing down. Sorry. The pork and curry over rice was just too yummy to resist.

One of the most popular items (aka longest lines) at the festival are these drinks with tapioca. Umm, not for me but the teens love them.

This year my girls surprised me by trying something new. A bun filled with sweet bean paste. I wasn’t adventurous enough to give it a taste. 

Fun for the whole family includes two long tents filled with children’s games. This is one the youngest plays every year. Especially since I wouldn’t let her try to win a goldfish again.

I take this photo every year and it never gets old. Hopefully she’ll still let me when she’s in her teens.

This year paper swans were added to the pond. I never got close enough for a better picture, but you get the idea.

Just Because…

I’m sitting in my office and staring out the window as I wait for the rain all the forecasters have promised. As I looked over my blog, site and other online shenanigans I realized I’ve done nothing but promo on my blog for a while now. I know that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, I started this blog to “talk” to people. I’m not going to lie, I want to talk about my books so you’ll know what and where they are. But I also want to just talk about whatever happens to be on my mind at any given time.

In the past I tried doing specific themed posts at least a couple of times a week. Those were great but I ran out of subject matter on each one fairly quickly. Maybe I’ll get back to those. I’m really hoping to do the Model Monday or Shutterbug Sunday posts again because some great eye-candy was to be had there. We’ll see. For now I just wanted to say hello again without any attachments or expectations. This isn’t a “buy my book!” post. Just a little hello from me to you.

So, how have you been?