Monday Mayhem – Remembrance

No writerly mayhem to report this week. Just want to wish my fellow Americans a blessed Memorial Day, and remind everyone to take a moment to think of all those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

poppy

Peace, my friends.

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Happy New Year!

special-quotes-for-new-year-2015 (800x450) - Copy

The Winner of The Last First Date and Lisa Fox’s fabulous One Kiss is:

Lindsay Cross!

Congratulations, Lindsay and thank you all for stopping by to check out my new blog. I hope to have more fun and giveaways for you all in 2015!

 

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Monday Mayhem – Diving Into December

If you need me, I’ll be over here having a nap…

Kidding. Actually, I had an awesome long weekend. Here’s my recap, complete with pictures!

Thanksgiving brunch was yummy.

toast

My baybeh came over to play

baybeh

I kept cranking away at the NaNoWriMo word count

count

Until I got this:

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Then I spent some time doing this:

book

and this

oneclick

But there were still things to do. I had to finish a read through on Spring Chickens and do first-round edits on Going Deep

revision_006-450w

Then we made our annual contribution to the electric company

house

December will be the month of revision for me. I have 2 mostly complete manuscripts that are pretty darn messy. I have 2 websites I want to overhaul. I also have 2 releases to promote, 2 holiday parties on the same day…Oy. Maybe we can skip right to January?

How about you? Is your December shaping up to be crazy as well, or are you going low-key this holiday season?

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – As high as an elephant’s eye

Well, in truth I’m fairly crashed out. We just had the best dinner and I am stuffed to the gills.

The local grocery has a butcher who makes these fabulous chopped sirloin steaks edged in garlic and coarse pepper. When I was cruising the produce section to pick up Tim’s leaf lettuce (why else would I go there?), I spotted some fresh sweet corn on sale 3 ears for a buck. I had a bag of Yukon gold potatoes in the pantry and an envelope of Lipton onion soup mix in the cabinet.

The steaks were juicy and flavorful, the potatoes crisp, and the corn the sweetest I have tasted in a long time. In other words, it was the perfect storm of a meal.

So in addition to the better-than-George-Clooney-in-a-yellow-raincoat meal, here are four other highlights from a lovely holiday weekend:

  • On July 4th, someone who sounds a lot like me, but has a different name received their first recommended read on the USA Today Happily Ever After blog!
  • The clingy monkey boy wanted his Moogie when the big, mean fireworks scared him. Nothing beats having the little man you love choose you.
  • I had my annual July 4th viewing of The Music Man. Yes, I sang. No, Jewels, I didn’t record it. As for the rest of you, you’re welcome.
  • I wrote over 5k this weekend. And I have a crazy impulse to start an entirely different story tonight. Somebody stop me!

How about you? What were the highlights of your weekend?

 

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Monday Mayhem – Auld Lang Syne edition

Hard to believe that another year has passed, but here we are, two days from 2014. It seems trite to say it flew by, but in my case, a good chunk of it did. I spent a good portion of 2013 in airports and hotels. The new and increasing duties of the day job really cut into my energy and creativity this year, but I’ve come to terms with that. I may not write as much as quickly as I did a couple of years ago, but I like to think my writing has grown and improved.

2013 has been a year of change, growth and evolution in personal and professional lives, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for hanging in there with me. I would never have had the chutzpah to chase this dream without your encouragement, and I wouldn’t have the strength to endure those ups and downs without your continued support.

You are made of awesome.

So here are my final five for 2013. Cheers and have a safe and happy new year!

What I’ve been working on: Mainly, I’ve been just trying to get through the holidays. But just for fun, I started plotting, planning, and brainstorming a new set of books that revolve around a family that owns a small Chicago tavern. Maggie will probably end up stealing it, but what can you do? Saucy wench is stealing all my thunder lately.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: I really need to finish Containment. It’s still there, but December has been kind of an emotional month. Hard to motivate myself to write something so heavy at the moment.

What I’ve accomplished: Um…I finished revisions on a story I plan to submit in 2014. Oh, and Miss Maggie Wells may have a trick or two up her sleeve for this week.

What new goal I’m chasing: I plan to get back in the writing groove in January. Back to the 1k a day goal. That seemed to work for me. 🙂

What I saw: Everything that makes life sweet

sweetness

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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.

IMG_1129

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 – Here we go NaNo!

What I’ve been working on: I’m still working on the marine biologist story. The darn thing just keeps going and I want to see where it ends up without my interference.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: Holy crap November is busy! There’s work and writing and laundry and travel and birthdays. Not to mention Thanksgiving and the DSRA book signing. Sheesh! I think we need to spread this month out a bit. We’re four days in and I’m exhausted.

What I’ve accomplished: I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Because I am crazy. And because it’s my fifth year and I don’t want to break the streak. So far I’m on track. I consider that an accomplishment. Check with me on day 20.

What new goal I’m chasing: 50,000 words in 30 days!

What I saw: The inside of many, many conference rooms. And a sweet pea in a pod.

photo(18)

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Random recipe share

I’m getting in the Halloween mood, so I thought I would share a couple of fun to make treats with you.

First up: Scary Spiders

6oz chocolate chips
6oz butterscotch chips
salted peanuts
chow mein noodles
and candy for the eyes (since they don’t sell the little silver balls nymore, I used Nerds)

Melt the chips over low heat, stir in penuts and noodles and stir until coated. Drop by teaspoon onto wax paper and add candy eyeballs. My hubby likes to add extra chow mein legs because it tickles him. He’s cute, so I let him get away with it. Here are some pics:

spiders!
lots o spiders

And now my claim to fame: Bloody Ladyfingers

Any shortbread cookie recipe will work. I use:
2 sticks butter
1/2c Confectioners sugar
1/4c Corn starch
1 1/2c All purpose flour
Sliced almonds
Red decorator gel

Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until firm but not golden.

Mix dough and roll into finger length ropes. Press a sliced almond into the end of each finger for the nail:
press
fingernails

Use a toothpick to press three slight indentations into the middle of each finger for the knuckles:
knuckles

Bake and remove to rack to cool completely.

On a sheet of wax paper, smear the end of each finger with decorator gel for blood. We like to add little extras, as if she tried to put up a fight…
a phalanx of phalanges
bloody!

What do you think of my lovely assistant? Nice hands, huh? There you have it, a glimpse into the sick and twisted mind of the Bloody Ladyfinger Lady.

Boo! Skeered ya, didn’t I?

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O Canada!

O Canada! La la la la la la…. O Canada!

La la la la la la. La la la la la, la la la la la, la la la la la la la….

We stand on guard for thee!

canadian-flag

So yeah. It’s Canada Day, and as an HonoUrary Canuck, I thought it would be cool to have my Canadian friend and anthology buddy, Evelyn Jules, stop by to entertain you.

You got your party toque on? Excellent! Say good day, eh!

****

Hello there, everyone! Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canucks out there, and Happy Monday to the rest of you! J

I’m a quirky girl. Some might even call me a bit of a clown. I love to juggle, I’ve been on a flying trapeze, and at the very top of my ‘things Evelyn must own’ list is a unicycle. Most of the time I’m loud and proud, but sometimes I’m awfully quiet too. Like a mime. It’s possible I took a four week introduction to physical theatre (aka: miming) course.

Here’s the funny thing. Margaret is kind of (or a lot) afraid of mimes and clowns. She’s also a very close friend of mine. Like an older sister, you might say. And since we’re like sisters we enjoy tormenting each other…which brings me to my reason for being here today. One day I heard that Turquoise Morning Press was putting together a collection of wedding-themed stories. I decided to write a love story about a mime and a clown. Then I laughed at myself because I think I’m pretty funny and stuff. But then I stopped laughing because OMG, this was a brilliant idea! So I found a scrap piece of paper and started jotting down all the bits of plot and dialogue that were floating and bouncing and cartwheeling in my head. And then I pitched my idea, including stick figure art, to the collection editor, and instead of shipping me off to the loony bin, she actually LIKED the idea. She liked it so much she actually gave me a spot in the collection!

Now, back to Margaret. Part of the reason why I wrote the story was to drive Margaret crazy. But you know what? Something amazing happened in the end. She liked it too! That’s when I knew I had to share it with the world. It’s not a dirty story. Shocking, I know. It’s actually a beautiful love story of two circus freaks…Oh, hell, just read the blurb.

All Action, No Talk

Alice Moore is a clown . . . in love with a mime.

Her parents have never approved of her circus-oriented lifestyle and in effort to deter her from wasting her life clowning around, they set her up with family friend, Grant Humphrey. A practical man. A businessman. And the last man on earth she wants to marry, but here she is, marching down the aisle toward him.

Alex Holiday is a mime . . . in love with a clown.

He’s silently followed Alice from venue to venue on the circus circuit, working alongside her, worshiping her in secret. He’s never been able to tell her how he feels . . . until now. When he catches wind of the upcoming wedding, he vows to put a stop to it. But will his objection be too late?
I have cover art too!

WeddingCollection_MD

 

The best part about being in this collection is that I get to share it with Margaret. Her story, Always the Groomsman, kicks things off to a hilarious start! I hope you all get yourselves a copy! And remember, clowns and mimes deserve love too.

Now, tell me, what’s the strangest romantic pairing you’ve ever written or read about it?

The Wedding Day Collection is available at these fine retailers:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Wedding-Day-Collection-ebook/dp/B00DF2IJOE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371389617&sr=8-1&keywords=the+wedding+day+collection+margaret

Turquoise Morning Press Bookstore: http://www.turquoisemorningpressbookstore.com/products/the-wedding-day-collection-anthology

All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theweddingdaycollection-1222660-166.html

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wedding-day-collection-margaret-ethridge/1115674093?ean=2940016477282

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Monday Mayhem – Smoke & Mirrors Edition

That’s right, I’m about to use a little trickery to distract you from the fact that I have nothing prepared. Are you shocked? This is supposed to be mayhem, right?

I’ve been working on stuff, I swear.

Every day I write, edit, redit, and then edit some more. My life is dedicated to eradicating the mysterious words I swear I did not type but show up in my manuscripts anyhow.

I’m about knee deep in Containment and psyching myself up to wade in deeper. This book is already an emotional rollercoaster.

Did the final read though on Always the Groomsman – the short story I’m including in TMP’s Wedding Day Collection due out this summer. Did I tell you about my story? It’s Tom and Maggie’s wedding! Squee!

I’m also compiling the Long Distance Love short stories for release later this year. Remember Jack and Ellie? Well, I’m tweaking the older stories so they flow and working six new stories over until they come up to snuff. Want to see the line up so far?

Concourse Christmas

New Year, New Expectations

I’ve Got You to Talk to Me

Be Mine

Kiss Me, I’m Full of Blarney

Going the Distance

The Feeling is Pari-Mutuel

Declarations of Dependence

Labor of Love

A Voyage of Discovery

Hallowed Eve

Veterans of Domestic Wars

Thanks Be to Grandma

Taking Off

It was so much fun to spend some time with those two crazy kids again. Oh, who am I kidding? It was fun to crawl inside Jack’s…head again. (Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter!). I missed Jack. Oh, I love Ellie too, but there’s something about Jack Rudolph that tugs at me. So…You want a taste?

I figured you might. Just to bring you up to speed…When last we saw our couple (Declarations of Dependence), Ellie’s reticence had poked a few sizable holes in Jack’s ego. This is taken from Labor of Love

Before the whole debacle at her parents Fourth of July cookout, he would have called her. Hell, there would have been at least two or three messages waiting on her phone if she hadn’t called until ten o’clock. But not these days.

These days he only called her when he was calling her back. Despite the new job with the Chicago field office and a schedule was more flexible than hers, he hadn’t come to see her in eight weeks. Eight long weeks. As a matter of fact, he hadn’t even suggested a visit. That was the straw that broke Ellie’s back.

He answered the phone and she said only, “I think we need to talk,” in greeting.

His sharp intake of breath cut the silence that hummed between them. He let it go with a hiss and punctuated the sentiment with a low grunt. “So talk.”

“I’m downstairs, but I can’t find a parking spot.”

“What?”

The shock in his tone triggered a smile. For once, she got one over on her very special agent.  “Surprise.”

“You’re here? In Chicago?”

“Right in front of your building, Rudolph,” she confirmed. “Do you think you can come down and guide my sleigh to a parking spot? I might need your nose to scare off the creepy guy lurking in the alley a couple of blocks over.”

Jack hesitated for a moment. Her stomach dropped to her toes as she heard the rustle of bedclothes. He juggled the phone. “Uh, hang on.”

The echo of a woman’s voice sent shivers down her spine and alarm bells started clanging in her head. Mortification burned hot in her cheeks. It could have been the TV. She hoped with all her heart it was the TV. She was almost one thousand percent certain the voice came from the TV. Still…

“Maybe I should just go to Laurie’s.” The thought of turning up on her sister’s doorstep in a flood of tears wasn’t particularly appealing, but it beat the crap out of coming face to face with the infinitesimal chance that he wasn’t watching TV. Oh God, what if he wasn’t? Why did she ever think it was a good idea to just show up?

Jack’s derisive snort yanked her back. “Are you kidding me?” The exasperation in his tone stoked the dying embers of hope in her heart. “Come down the alley. I’m opening the gate to the lot. My neighbor’s out of town this weekend. You can park in his spot.”

The TV. The voice had to be coming from the TV. Surely Jack wouldn’t be cruel enough to invite her in if he was…entertaining company. Niggling doubt chased her taillights. She held her breath as she made the sharp turn from the narrow alley into the crowded lot.

“Joe’s space is next to mine,” he huffed.

Ellie pulled into the spot and killed the engine as the back door opened. Fluorescent light spilled into the parking lot. He stood silhouetted in the doorway. The gate rolled shut behind her, trapping her there. Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to open the door. She cast a glance over her shoulder as she climbed from the driver’s seat, keeping her hand wrapped around the top of the door. She had questions she needed to ask, and she was hoping the reinforced steel could shield her from any answers she didn’t want to hear.

Pressing the phone tight to her ear, she stared straight at him. “Do you still love me, Jack?”

****

Dun dun dun!

That was fun, wasn’t it? You know what else is fun? Talking about book boyfriends.

Jack is one of mine. I’m also partial to Jamie Fraser, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Roarke from JD Robb’s In Death series, and pretty much every Eversea and Redmond male from Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green series. Oh, and Morelli. I know, I know. Ranger is hot, blah blah blah. I like the guys who are the keepers, and that’s why I’m a Cupcake.

You?

 

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