Monday, January 30, 2012

What's your story?

Yesterday my mum and I were discussing the latest drama in the extended family and I joked with her that “We lead very boring lives, don’t we?” It was an off the cuff remark but it got me thinking, is my life really boring? Sure, I may never have smoked, took drugs, passed out drunk or spent the night with someone I wish I hadn’t. Nor have I ridden a rollercoaster, bungee jumped or been skydiving. I’ve never been married, I don’t have kids. There’s a lot I haven’t done but I have time... don’t expect to find me passed out drunk with a pack of cigarettes on a strangers bed any time soon though!

Things I have done though? Those are awesome. I went abroad for my first time ever when I was nineteen and I did it alone (Washington DC I still love you). I’ve travelled alone many times since then and enjoyed myself immensely. I’ve become a published author not once but four times... so far. I went to University – first one in my family – and I graduated as a midwife. I’ve brought many new lives into the world and escorted some out. I’ve rejoiced and I’ve grieved. I’m educated, independent and adventurous in ways many people will never be. I’ve lived.
So next time I bitch about being single, being boring. Slap me upside the head. My life is AWESOME.

So tell me, what are you proud of?

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I’m a pack rat. There. I admitted it. Admission is halfway to solving the problem, right? So by admitting it, doesn’t it rightfully follow that my house will unclutter itself? That all the dust bunnies will move out and there will no longer be piles of “stuff” all over the place?
Apparently not. When we moved into this house nearly eighteen years ago, we had more room (and rooms) than we knew what to do with. It’s an old Queen Anne Victorian with a balcony off one bedroom (which we turned into a study), a wrap-around porch (which we use as an outdoor living room in the summer, sans television) and lots and lots of space. At least for us. There are just the four of us and (usually) one cat at a time living in 2500 square feet. We came from a house that had 1600 square feet and it’s amazing what the addition of less than a thousand square feet can do to a place. Of course, we have a full attic and basement in this house and the other didn’t.
Storage space, nonexistent before, suddenly became available. So we stored stuff. And stored more stuff. And then got more stuff to store. The attic as well as the basement managed to collect unwanted toys, books the kids outgrew, memories and of course, Christmas decorations.
Recently, my daughter graduated from college, got a job and moved away. Again, one would think the house would be less full just by default. That the little decluttering fairies would come in the night, or at least to help with the move, and take some of the stuff away.
Again, you would be wrong. Yes, her room is emptier, but the rest of the house? Not so much.
What really did it was the re-thinking of the use of space. My husband has recently taken up painting (check out his paintings...I always knew there was a latent talent there. He just needed a little push). As a result, we are drowning in canvasses, paint tubes, and all the general detritus that goes along with selling prints of one’s paintings (do you have any idea how much room mailing tubes take up?). The study, which we shared, had become me tucked into a corner increasingly losing ground to my husband’s new career.
We also discovered we didn’t work well together. The clacking of my keyboard as I wrote disturbed his mental process. The music he wanted to play while he painted disturbed mine. I need to get up and walk around every once in a while and my steps jiggled his canvas (it’s an old house). Tensions built.
Family meeting time. We presented the problem to the kids and said we needed to find a new way of using the house so my husband could have his own studio. Without hesitation, my son gave up his room and volunteered to move into the tiniest of the bedrooms upstairs. At 9’x 6’ there’s barely enough room for a twin bed and a desk. But he worked out an agreement with my husband that his clothes could stay in the new “studio” and he’d live in what he now deemed his “man cave.”
Sometimes ya just gotta love your kids.
His solution ended up saving all our sanity in several ways. That room had become a catchall for my stuff. Taking a morning to clean it out gave me the opportunity to throw away stuff I’d been holding onto for far too long. His move and subsequent clean out gave my son the same opportunity. By the time the two of us were done with our respective rooms, we had six garbage bags for the Salvation Army and two for the trashman. We also filled two blue recycling bins.
And then my husband cleaned out his side of the study.
More for the Salvation Army, more for the garbageman, more for the recycling center.
I’m making a New Year’s Resolution to be less of a pack rat this year. When I come across something I haven’t used in a year’s time –and won’t use in the upcoming year—I’m tossing it. I’m re-thinking every purchase before I make it. Do I have something already that will do the same job? If I buy that blouse, what blouse am I sending away to make room? Can I get that book as an ebook on my Cruz? My resolution: nothing more comes in unless something of equal size goes out.
So how about you? How do you handle the clutter of living? I’m open to all suggestions! Help a gal out, here, will ya?

PS. Learning Curve has been re-released for the Kindle. If you don’t yet have a copy, be sure to pick up yours today!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Do Reviews Make a Difference?

I've been a writer for a lot of years. I write because I have to. It's part of me, like my blue eyes and freckles. I love sharing what I write with readers. If they enjoy my books, that's a huge plus for me. Sometimes they enjoy one so much, they'll send me a private email (which I love), or write a review at the online store where they purchased my book.

And sometimes they *don't* like my book and write a not-so-good review.

I'm not saying no one should ever write a bad review. Everyone is entitled to her/his opinion. A book my friend loves may get tossed across the room to splat against the wall from me, or vice versa.

I think a person has to feel strongly about a book to write a review in the first place. But does that one bad review among several good ones make a difference to you as a reader? Will you believe the "this book was so bad" review or the "I loved everything about this book" review? Will you not buy the book, even though you'd planned to, because of a bad review?

I'm a writer, but I'm a reader too. I want to know the author's writing voice before I buy a book. I love the sample feature on the online sites. One click and I get a nice sample of the book on my Kindle in a few seconds. That's especially nice because not all authors post excerpts on their websites. I post the complete first chapter and an excerpt of all my books on my website. If you want a taste of my writing style, it's easy to find.

Readers want to spend their money on a book that will give them a few hours of reading pleasure. Will you take a chance on a new author if the excerpt/sample sounds good, even though someone put up a one-star review at your favorite online store? Do you only pay attention to books with four- and five-star reviews? How important are good reviews to you?


Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 ~ A Big Year For The SIZZLING SCRIBES!

Ah, yes. It’s going to be a huge year for my writing group, the Sizzling Scribes. I’m so thrilled to be with this group of talented women. We number seven: Tielle St. Clare, Tara Nina, Lynn LaFleur, Cait Miller, Arianna Hart, Diana Hunter and myself. I wanted to let you know here on this blog exactly what we all having coming up to make 2012 a great year of reading!

First off we’ve all collaborated on a series called the Sweet Spot Series that we, as a group will release throughout the coming year. All these stories will be intertwined and takes place in our town called Port Clef, CT and will be self-published. So watch for the banner on our covers and you’ll know that you’re in for some hot and sexy tales of love and romance!

Tielle St. Clare will be first up in February with Three’s The Charm. Also, she’s currently working on a sequel to Let Sleeping Wolves Lie which was a self pubbed book released this past November. And she’s working on the first of a three-book series for Ellora’s Cave. Not quite ready to share the details yet, but these will be m/f/m and very sexy. No release dates yet. Also Tielle will be included in Ellora’s Cave’s Something Wicked Comes This Way anthology.

Tara Nina is currently working on the fourth book in the Cursed MacKinnons series, the second Night Prey book, and her upcoming release, Portal to Passion, which will be published with Ellora’s Cave. Sometime this year she will also have a short story in the Something Wicked This Way Comes Volume 3 anthology from Ellora’s Cave titled Sinful Seduction. Also, Tara has a great story as one of the seven in the Sizzling Scribes Sweet Spot Series!

Lynn LaFleur has contracted another book with Ellora’s Cave, the fourth in her Coopers’ Companions series featuring Breanna Talmage and the hunky detective Evan Stone. Look for Armed and Delicious in the spring. Next up for Lynn after she finishes Armed and Delicious is Candlelight Wish, her contribution to the Sizzling Scribes’ Sweet Spot series.

Cait Miller has set herself up for a great year, too! She’s had THREE new stories accepted for publication by Ellora’s Cave. She is going into 2012 with a bang with her second m/m story, Unconventional Romance, which will be part of Volume 4 of the Something Wicked This Way Comes anthology.

Arianna Hart is back! Family medical problems have kept her busy over the past few years but things are great for her and her family and she’s looking forward to the writing life once more. Ari has contracted with Samhain Publishing and her story is called Waking Up. Be sure to watch for it. Also, don’t forget her Sweet Spot Series story due out in March!

Diana Hunter has been busy! First off she took a short break to write a quick erotic short story that she’s published under the name Mystic Shade—for the shadier sides of our desires. You can find links to Yours to Command on Mystic’s site. At first tempted to publish this short story under her more familiar name, Diana decided to separate the more erotic stories from her erotic romances using a different name. That way readers know exactly what to expect. So if you want historical fiction, look for CF Duprey. If you want erotica, look for Mystic Shade. And, if you want erotic romance, look for Diana Hunter.

Me? Man, I hope I can keep up! This is what I have going! Dragcon: Kiss of Fire (sequel to Dragcon’s Snare) is almost done and will be another self pubbed book. Mating Ritual will be one of five stories included in Ellora’s Cave’s anthology Something Wicked This Way Comes Volume 4. Precious Gems, a three-story anthology my books Perfecting Pearl, Sapphire’s Seduction and Essence of Emerald is coming out this spring in print!

So that’s the Sizzling Scribe 2012 story and we’re stickin’ to it! And I’m willing to bet that we’ll have a few surprises, too!

Have a healthy and happy start to 2012. May we all prosper and make our dreams come true!