Monday Mayhem – Gotta Get Away

I’ve been suffering a pretty strong vacation urge for the last couple of years. When one moves 500+ miles from family and friends and marries into a ready-made family, vacation time is usually eaten up with trips back home or activities to entertain the kids.

My husband and I haven’t taken a trip that wasn’t work or family related since our honeymoon in 2001 when we went to Eureka Springs and stayed at the beautiful (and haunted!) Crescent Hotel.

crescent

We had a taste of what it might be like when he flew to south Texas last spring to meet me for a quick weekend. I was working in McAllen for a couple of weeks, and the flight times to and from Little Rock just didn’t make sense for a Friday afternoon to Sunday evening turn around, but the proximity to South Padre Island and frequent flier miles made a couple days at the beach possible.

padre

Boy, did that whet the whistle.

When inclement weather forced us to stay overnight in Cape Girardeau, MO on our way back from Illinois, we discovered that we both enjoy exploring these old Mississippi River port towns. It didn’t hurt that we came out of the riverboat casino $60 ahead for the night.

So yeah, we’ve been itching to get away again, but with job/family/pet/financial obligations, it hasn’t been easy to take the time away. But then I had a flash of genius.

No, I didn’t invent an intermittent windshield wiper, but I did manage to put a couple of random thoughts together and come up with a semi-plan.

You see, I’ve been entertaining thoughts of a story or two with a historic South backdrop. Towns like Vicksburg or Natchez, MS. Both are within few hours of our house, so the man and I have been tossing around the idea of a road trip. The easy proximity from either of those locales to New Orleans, and the fact that my husband has never experienced The Big Easy, and well…it’s safe to say there’s a plot afoot.

road-trip-sign

We like diner food and flea markets. We’re easily lured by roadside stands and local attractions. Photos of plantations turned B&B have spawned more than one fantasy involving sneak-drinking brandy whilst I observe the size and strength of Rhett Butler’s hands….

http://www.anyclip.com/movies/gone-with-the-wind/drunk-rhett/#!quotes/

Ahem. Sorry. I digress.

How about you? Are you a road trip person or do you prefer to make a beeline for your final destination? Anyplace in particular you’re yearning to see?

 

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Monday Mayhem – Nesting edition

Now, before my beloved Jewels goes bonkers picturing me acting like some kind of winged creature, let me state for the record that my kind of nesting looks more like this:

Sierra Exif JPEG

I was quite the homebody this weekend, and though I sacrificed a writing date with the fabulous Katie Kenyhercz for a couple of alarm-free days, I feel it was the right decision. As much as I enjoy being on the go, it was time for this girl to whir and shut down for a bit.

Of course, being the obsessive compulsive I am, you know I managed to be terribly productive whilst on the nest.

The bathrooms have been scrubbed and the laundry is fairly caught up. I cooked pollo guisado patos (because I am turning into a Latina trapped in a body of Irish/German extraction) one night and meatloaf and oven roasted potatoes another. I smooched the grandbaby and spoiled the fur-babies. In my downtime, I did some banner work for my friend Maggie, read a galley proof and added another 6k to a work in progress.

I did leave the Ethridge Estate on occasion. You know, the usual errands – Diet Coke stockpiling, grocery procurement (read: we were out of chips), and the mailing of newly signed publishing contracts.

*waits a beat*

*proceeds to chair dance*

Nope, it never gets old. Of course, the contract was for one of Maggie’s stories, but never fear, boring old Margaret got a little action this week as well. It’s official! Turquoise Morning Press will be releasing a new edition of Spring Chickens! Whoo hoo! New life for Lynne and Bram!

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. How about you? What’s new and exciting in your life?

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Monday Mayhem – Revisited

Lately I’ve been working on rewrites for an old favorite. Remember Spring Chickens? Well, it’s going to have new life! Hopefully one that includes cover art that doesn’t make the author cringe each time she looks at it.

Here’s a little taste of the story to refresh your memory:

“Good morning,” she said, lounging against the doorframe. She raised the pot. “Coffee?”

Bram scraped his palms against his jeans. His eyes locked on hers. “Are you an angel?”

Her smile widened. “Maybe.” She gave the storm door a nudge with her foot. “Come on in.”

She didn’t peek to see if he followed. The heavy footfalls of his boots gave him away. She added a smidgen of sway to her hips and a blush heated her cheeks when she heard him pick up the pace. The pot and mugs barely landed on the table before she turned and ran into a solid wall of man.

“Good morning,” he whispered and brushed his lips over hers.

“Mmm.”

She blinked drowsily. Her hands slid to his shoulders. Muscle bunched beneath her fingers. Heat that came from more than early morning sunshine seeped into her fingertips. He pulled her closer, every inch of his long, lean body pressing flush against hers.

“I thought about doing that all night,” he murmured, stealing another soft peck.

Her fingers tangled in the short curls at the nape of his neck. “Hmm. Thought about doing what all night?”

A breathy chuckle rumbled from his chest. “Aw, now, no angel would say a thing like that to a guy.”

She laughed, and he swooped in, swallowing her gasp of surprise. He cradled the back of her head in the palm of his hand. His fingers sank into her hair, loosening the clip.

Oh, cheater.

Sugar and cream sweetened his tongue. He had coffee. So not fair. She lapped him up, knocking his ragged ball cap to the floor. The coffee mugs clanked when she stumbled into the table. He braced her back, his fingers splayed wide and sliding temptingly lower. She flailed, attempting to plant her hand on the tabletop to gain leverage. Instead, her knuckles grazed the steaming glass coffee pot.

“Aghhh,” she yelped.

“What? Did I hurt you?” he panted.

Lifting her hand to her mouth she shook her head as she sucked on her knuckle. “No. I’m okay.” He tried to pull back, but she reached for him again.

“Coffee. Hot. Bad coffee.”

She laced her fingers at the base of his skull, sliding her hips along the edge of the table and pulling him along with her. “You had coffee. Gimme more of yours,” she whispered and yanked his head down again.

He chuckled against her mouth, his lips molding to hers—tasting, testing, tempting. “Like that?”

She squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. “No. Yes. More.”

He stroked the skin of her throat, his breath stirring her hair. “Awfully bossy in the mornin’, Miz Prescott.”

“Haven’t had enough coffee. I’m not awake.”

“Oh. Well, then, maybe I can help.”

He kissed her thoroughly, sharing the dregs of his morning elixir. Her fingers clenched, pulling him closer by fistfuls of woven cotton. His hand slipped under the hem of her shirt, warm fingers grazed the small of her back. Lynne moaned and pulled harder, leaning back on the table.

The mugs skittered across the table. Hot coffee sloshed from the pot, splattering the hand he used to brace his weight. She arched against him, catching his groan and rewarding him with a triumphant laugh when they broke for air.

His lips brushed her cheek. He drew the tender flesh below her ear into his mouth, his warm tongue laving her skin. This time she moaned, and he answered with a chuckle. He ducked his head and nuzzled her neck.

“I am never going get the damn porch done,” he said in a husky whisper.

****

Hope you enjoyed this blast from the past. Happy Monday!

 

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Monday Mayhem – Hopping along

It’s bunny season, so it seems only right that I participate in a blog hop, right?

The fabulous Karen Stivali tagged me for the hop. Be sure to check her answers as well! Here goes:

1) What are you working on? At the moment, I’m writing a battle of the sexes type romance between a college football coach and the women’s basketball coach. At the moment I’m calling it Full Court Press. It’ll probably end up in Maggie’s wheelhouse. Seems like everything does these days. 🙂


2) How does your work differ from others in the genre? I think the biggest difference is that I’m not afraid to feature heroes and heroines who are a little more…seasoned than most. Yes, age does leave your characters at the mercy of gravity, but I think age adds depth to the character’s motivations. And to the steamy scenes as well.


3) Why do you write what you write? I guess this is where I fall back on the old ‘write what you know’ bit. Living inside the head of a nubile, young virgin would be a bit of a stretch for me at this point in my life.


4) How does your writing process work? Ha! I don’t really have much of a process. I am a pantser by nature, but have learned to use a loose sort of outline to keep my works on track. Other than that, all I require would be some background music and the occasional box of Cheez-Its.

Now I’m tagging Linda Rettstat, Bobbye Terry, and Evelyn Jules. Watch their blogs for their take on the same questions!

Happy Monday, my friends!

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Monday Mayhem – Snapshot

This week I am celebrating the release of my short story, Snapshot, in the premier issue of Fictionvale e-zine. Here are the first five lines:

I never told anyone I was the girl in the picture. There wasn’t any point. The kiss didn’t mean anything at all. He was just a fella cast adrift in the big city at a time when everyone wanted to hold their loved ones close. I was just the girl who was close at hand.

Snapshot was inspired by Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic “V-J Day in Times Square” photograph.

timessquare

Want to read more? Buy a copy of Fictionvale episode 1: Enter Fictionvale here or at Amazon!

Happy Monday everyone!

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Monday Mayhem – Throwback Edition

What I’ve been working on: I finished the first draft on Going Deep! Yay! Finally.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: It was a crazy busy week with work and travel and family and catching up with old friends. The front of my mind is too tired to deal with the back of my mind.

What I’ve accomplished: I’m on track (ish) for NaNo. I typed my two favorite words on the last page of Going Deep.

What new goal I’m chasing: I’m diving back into Containment in hopes of finding new inspiration. Wish me luck!

What I saw: Friends too fabulous to be called ‘old’ no matter how many years have passed.

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Special bonus! Here are the LAST five lines from the first draft of Going Deep:

Brooke drew back, ready to give him hell, but the sweet smile he wore grabbed her by the heart and squeezed. The indignation she should have felt was drowned in a hot rush of love. Brilliant or not, he was undoubtedly the dumbest man she knew when it came to women. A fact that made him all the more appealing in a twisted sort of way. Damn, she was in too deep.

Last, but certainly not least:

honor-guards-stand-on-duty-at-the-tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier-in-sept-2012-in-arlington-county-va

It’s Veteran’s Day here in the states. I’d like to say a special thank you to all the men and women who have served. We greatly appreciate you and the sacrifices you have made for our country. God bless.

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Monday Mayhem

What I’ve been working on: Honestly, I’m working on eating this entire loaf of sourdough bread. Other than that, it’s been edits and revisions on Jump Into Love.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: Jamie Fraser. In truth, Jamie is never completely out of mind. It’s just that I bought the audiobook versions of Outlander, Dragonfly In Amber, and Voyager. My Jamie love is once again reaching fever pitch.

What I’ve accomplished: Uh, I did some homework for an upcoming seminar I’m attending for work. Um, revisions. Oh! And baby kissing. Does that count?

What new goal I’m chasing: Finish the damn story. Wait. That’s not exactly new, is it? Well, it’s still a goal and I’m still chasing it.

What I saw: Love about to take flight at Midway Airport

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Monday Mayhem – Long Distance Edition

Hey, y’all! I’m out of town for a family wedding (fill you in next week), but I didn’t want you to think I forgot you. Since I’m phoning this one in long distance, I thought I’d share a bit of Long Distance Love.

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A fast five:

Standing tough was so much easier when she was three hundred miles away, damn it. Ellie showing up at his place unannounced was definitely not part of the whole ‘play it cool’ game plan. How the hell was he supposed to keep his paws to himself when she was standing right there burrowing into his chest like some kind of helpless little woodland creature? Why did he ever want to? His arms tightened around her.

Long Distance Love is available now!

A Christmas Eve snowstorm leaves newly single Ellie Nichols trapped in an airport terminal with only hunky FBI Agent Jack Rudolph for company.

Lucky Ellie.

For Jack, the passing of a long winter’s night turns into a New Year filled with possibility. State lines and hundreds of miles separate them, but the spark that flares each time they meet cannot be denied.

Can two ambitious, career-driven people find a way to make a long distance relationship work when matters of the heart bring them up-close and personal?

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Monday Mayhem – Knee Deep

I’m knee deep in a new work in progress. Not sure if this one will end up with Margaret or Maggie, but I’m having a blast writing it.  So here are five lines from Going Deep – a story about an ex-nerd turned hunky marine biologist and the brainy, ambitious reporter who once swiped a coveted science fair ribbon out from under his nose.

They’re all grown up now, and in this scene Brooke Hastings and her friend Laney marvel over Brian Dalton’s transformation from zero to hero.

****

Laney clutched her imaginary pearls, but the humor in her blue eyes shone through clear as day. “Shelbrooke Hastings, are you trying to tell me that you have absolutely no interest in spawning with Aquaman over there?”

“I prefer Batman. Maybe Superman. Hell, I’d even take Captain America, even though I’m pretty sure he’s a prig in bed.”

****

Here are a few pics from last week’s retreat. I swiped these from my pals Nena Clements and Sandra Jones. 🙂

The house on Lake Hamilton
The house on Lake Hamilton
The view at sunset
The view at sunset
The fabulous Brinda Berry and me hard at it.
The fabulous Brinda Berry and me hard at it.

That’s what I’ve been up to. How about you?

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Monday Mayhem – The 4%

Been doing a lot of writerly soul searching lately. I haven’t discovered much other than the fact that my thoughts are about as shallow as a mud puddle in July. You see, a couple of years ago I made a plan for my writing career…. If you know anything at all about life, you know that it likes to scoff at plans. This time it was no different. Oh, I did all the things a person is supposed to do: targeted goals, set deadlines, mapped my expectations. I rolled through some major changes to my day job and navigated the shifting sands of the home life as best I could. In the end, I made 96% of those goals (actual percentage for the stats nerds like me) a reality.

Not bad, huh?

Yeah…That 4% is driving me crazy.

You see, that tiny percentage represents a major portion of what I thought I would accomplish. But try as I might, it’s not happening. I’ve been beating myself up over that 4% for the past 6 months. You see, that 4% represents Containment.

I’ve circled, poked, and prodded this novel, but I can’t make it take shape. The story is all in my head, but my usual panster ways weren’t working, so I turned to plotting device after plotting device in hopes of finding the key to unlock the story. I’ve tried The Hero(in)es Journey method. I tried to Snowflake and Beat Sheet the darn thing but let’s face it, my stories aren’t that hip. I’ve even attempted to go all Dom/sub on it, but it just laughed when I pulled out the flogger. I’ve even written a synopsis for it. If you know me at all, you know I despise writing synopses. But I did this one voluntarily. Desperation does funny things to people.

A few people have asked when it can be expected. The answer is simply, I don’t know. All I know is that for the sake of my sanity, I’m going to have to set it aside for a while. I’ve hardly written anything this year, and I’m afraid that if I don’t find a horse that’ll run, I’ll forget how to ride.

Those who know me personally know it kills me to say this. I hate not being able to follow through. There’s nothing worse than feeling like I’ve let people down. But I’m not abandoning it. I still intend to write Shel and Josh’s story. I just can’t seem to do it right now.

Bear with me, okay?

So, how about a little good news?

Long Distance Love is done and coming soon! The week of August 26th soon. Yay! I just did the final galley read-through and I have to say, I still love Jack and Ellie. I hope you will too!

That’s all I have for now. I’ll be back next week. Oh! And keep your fingers crossed for Commitment – the GDRWA Booksellers Best Award recipients will be announced later this week. 🙂

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