Monday Mayhem – Bunny Cage Edition

Been crazy busy lately. That’s no excuse for neglecting you, but it’s the only reason I have. I would have asked my mom to write me a note, but then she would want to be privy to the secrets I plan to expose. I guess I’ll just have to forge one. Not that I ever did that… Or mastered her signature….

Ahem. Sorry. Here we go…

Please excuse Margaret’s absence from her blog she has been:

1) Taking up three spaces on the TMP Bestseller list for 8/5/12! Okay, so you may only see two titles with my name on them.

*cough* Don’t tell my mother. *cough*

You’ll have to use your super-detective skills to figure out the third one. For those of you who know my naughty alter-ego…shh!

2) Her inner vixen has busted loose and taken over the works! Almost all of the stories I’ve written so far will be published under that other name, but there are a few Margaret works in the pipeline. I have two of six new Jack and Ellie stories completed for 2013’s Long Distance Love collection written, and the plot bunnies for Containment—the third piece in the Contentment/Commitment trilogy—are running rampant in my head. NaNoWriMo is coming up in a couple of months, so I’m trying to get other things out of the way so I can focus my thirty days and nights of literary abandon on Containment.

3) But with her Evil Twin in control, some big things have been happening. Wow things. Check it out!
› Her story, Portrait of Passion, was chosen to be a part of TMPs Passionate Exhibitions anthology coming in October 2012!
› She has a new series of steaming hot novellas coming soon. Very soon! Turquoise Morning Press will begin releasing the Hot Nights in St. Blaise series in late 2012-2013. These sexy stories all center on the men and women of St. Blaise, Missouri, a blip-on-the-map town where the release of the hospital’s new fundraising calendar sets the nights aflame.
› There may be a sexy fireman short story under submission for a Cleis Press anthology.
› And last, but certainly a big squee, a contract is coming from another publisher for SIX short stories to be included in the Love Letters Anthologies! This is a project she has been working on with fellow erotic romance authors Ginny Glass, Emily Cale, and Christina Thacher.
Whew. Have you figured out who she is yet? Want a hint? Her name may or may not be pretty derivative of my own. Take a look at the TMP Top 15 again. I’ll wait here.

4) Okay, enough about me… or her… us. Whatever. Let’s talk about other things. Did you see that my friend, Evelyn Jules’ first short story released? Blind Faith is now available all over the place. If you want a quick shot of smuff (fluffy smut, for those who aren’t in the know) do not miss this sexy read!

5) Oh! And I’m going to be a grandma. Yes, you are right. I am too young and hot to be a grandma, but what are you going to do? These kids… Squeeeeee!

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to line the bunny cage. How about you? Any big things, wow things going on in your life? Little things that just make you smile are just as good. It’s your turn to share!

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Monday Mayhem – Jet plane edition

I’m off to Dallas on business today. Just a quick trip there and back in one day. I’ll be traveling more for my day job in the coming months, so I’m trying to adjust to the idea. People may not know this about me, but I’m actually a bit of a hermit. I like being home. I love my bed. I spend hours of quality time in my chair each night. I’m also a little fond of that guy who lives here with me.

It’s not that I hate travel. I used to love it. I still would if airline travel wasn’t such a ginormous pain anymore. I’m just too restless to deal with the hurry-up-and-wait aspect of it all. That, and I find that as security measures tighten, people tend to play fast and loose with the old manners.

My problem is, I’m not one who enjoys the journey. As I’ve mentioned before, I am terribly goal oriented. I want to be where I’m going and then when I’m done there, I want to be home right away. Oh, and I don’t have a whole lot of patience with flight times over 3 hours, either. Being a mid-westerner, that means I’m screwed if I want to go beyond U.S. borders.

I know that short of developing Genie skills or the sudden availability of transporters, I am going to have to learn to suck it up and learn to kill some time. It isn’t that I don’t have toys to play with. Tomorrow, I will be hauling a laptop, a Kindle Fire, and an iPod Touch with me. And I will still be tapping my foot and checking the clock.

How about you? Do you like to fly the barely civil skies? How far would you stray? What’s your favorite part of being away? The best bit about coming home?

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Monday Mayhem – New release, fabulous weekend, & my bed

Soooooo much going on today. Are you ready for this?

Inamorata is now available in all ebook formats! Run, run read!

As I was scurrying about the interwebs this morning (posting links, updating this site, etc…) it suddenly struck me. Inamorata is my fifth…FIFTH…full-length novel released in just eighteen months. The third in 2012. No wonder I’m so damn tired all the time. It’s a sickness, I tell you.

Of course, you know what this means, don’t you? I need to stop screwing around on the interwebs and get to writing. More to come in 2013!

All this release day excitement on the heels of an incredible weekend at the Annual Reader & Author Get Together in Cincinnati. I had such a good time catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and in typical Margaret fashion, making a fool of myself to score a laugh or two.

And THIS! Check out this fabulous blog post on the kindness of strangers – it features one of my best friends AND one of MY BOOKS!

And last night, I crawled into my very own bed with my warm and snuggly man. Could life get any better? I think not.

Whew! How’s your Monday going?

Here are a few pics from the weekend:

TMP Authors
Slept with my editor, the fabulous Lola del Sol, in order to earn extra commas.
Bribed Kim Jacobs, Publisher, with a ginormous Diet Coke from Sonic.
Mugged for the camera with Renee Vincent
Spent time with some of the best friends any woman could ever have.
Fangirled Jill Shalvis
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Monday Mayhem – Let’s Play Catch-up

It’s bullet point day! I know you’re all as excited as I am, so let’s get to it. Here are the pertinent facts in the order generated by my highly disordered brain:

1) I just realized that Inamorata releases in two weeks! Woooot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Went to a beginner yoga class on Saturday and it almost killed me. Seriously, my abs haven’t hurt this bad since I tried to follow Denise Austin’s Pilates tape (Yes, I said tape. I’m old.) I remember the night I was afraid I’d never pull myself out of the bathtub like it was yesterday. I saw myself dying there, shivering and shriveled, and still without a six pack. Oh, wait. That was yesterday…

3) Still running. Still hate the process and love the results.

4) Got the nicest email from a reader about Spring Chickens. Want to make an author’s day? (Any author – not just me) Drop a line, write a review, Tweet, FB, Pin, or smoke signal them and tell them that you appreciate their work. We are delicate little flowers. We need sunshine and love and a constant sprinkling of reassurance. Seriously, something as simple as ‘I loved it’ makes us want to dance. Sometimes I even jitterbug.

5) I’m moved into my new daytime digs and feeling my way through the new job. I’m on the opposite end of the building from where I spent the last 7 years. My parking routine is completely out of whack.

6) Monday. *sigh* I miss Castle.

7) Leo Sayer is playing on my iPod. Don’t judge.

8 ) I may or may not (that’s my oh-so-subtle way of playing it coy) be planning to write a little short story involving Maggie McCann and the Sullivan clan for an anthology. They’ve all been chattering in my head, making plans, vying for dialogue…the usual.

9) I’m heading to the Annual Reader and Author Get Together in Cincinnati June 1-2 at the Marriott north. I’ll be signing books Friday, June 1from 7-9PM. If you’re in the area, please come by and say hi! Here’s the 4-1-1!

10) Long weekend coming up! I plan to sleep, eat, and write. What are your plans?

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Monday Mayhem – Simple Pleasures

This weekend, I experienced a number of life’s simple pleasures. Even better, I took the time to appreciate each and every one of them. Here are the top five:
1) The crispy, seared edges of a perfectly grilled Steakburger.
2) The sweet smell of a baby’s soft, downy head.
3) Helpless laughter. The kind that spawns tears. (Thank you, Mom.)
4) Friendships as comfortable as the perfect pair of slippers.
5) Welcome home hugs and kisses from the hottie waiting at the airport.
How about you? What simple pleasures have you experienced lately?

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Monday Mayhem – A Hail of Bullets

This week’s stream of consciousness babble:

  1. Ran two miles – a few times. Also attended my second yoga class on Saturday. I’ve decided I like having an hour of quiet movement here and there.
  2. A new great-nephew due to arrive any moment. Will be smooching the sugar off babies this weekend.
  3. My awesome friend and invaluable critique partner, Julie Doner, signed her first publishing contract with Turquoise Morning Press!
  4. Less than 3 weeks until Spring Chickens is released! Bookmark this page!
  5. I’m addicted to almonds. I buy a pound of natural then roast them in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. I only allow myself 15 at a time for fear I’ll end up eating the whole bag.
  6. Speaking of food—72 hours until I get my Steak ‘n Shake. Not that I’m counting…
  7. The girl who works at the Khiel’s counter (*cough* my daughter *cough*) told me Kim Kardashian uses the stuff she sold me. I’ve been using it for two weeks and I’m still not a rich reality TV star. My skin is really soft, though.
  8. Tim Bunny has finally succumbed to my charms. It’s only taken six years, but I can now hold and cuddle my recalcitrant rabbit at will.  
  9. I’ve been dreaming about Chicago a lot lately. I blame all the Twitter chatter about the Romantic Times Convention, the untamed plot bunnies in my head, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. In that order.
  10. And last but certainly not least…I have cover art for Inamorata (June 2012)! Check this out:

 

You like? Here’s the blurb:

After twenty-five years of cooling his jets in a wall sconce, Frank DeLuca figured the afterlife owed him a break. Hadn’t he been a model ghost? He didn’t possess little kids, screw up the television reception, or throw random objects across the room just to get attention. Hell, he never even made creepy noises in the dead of night.

All he asked was a peaceful existence where someone would turn him on every once in a while. The light, that is. He needed just a little bit of light in his afterlife.

Instead, he got a sullen, silent little boy who cried for his mommy every night. The kid came with a set of hyper-tense grandparents whose marriage was crumbling under the weight of old insecurities and words left unspoken. As if that weren’t enough to drive a guy to hide out in his light fixture, providence tossed in a little a spitfire of a girl who flipped his switch in every way.

Gina Ferro turned out to be the kid’s mother. She also happened to be a ghost.

Thrown together by Fate and bound by history, Frank and Gina must learn to trust each other with the keys to their pasts in order to unlock their eternity.

Heh. Never gets old.

That’s all I have for this week. Now hit me with your best shot!

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Monday Mayhem – Challenges

One year ago today, I smoked my last cigarette. At least, it was my last until I turn 70—after that, all bets are off. Once I hit 70, I’m going to live fast and hard, do whatever the hell I want, and go out in a blaze of glory.

That’s my plan.

I know this isn’t politically correct or even smart, but I really loved smoking. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t miss it. I do. I loved the ritual of it. I am a creature of habit, so breaking that particular habit was a big step for me.

Still, I’m not going to say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, because I’m not entirely certain that’s true. I’ve had to face some obstacles I thought I’d never get over, past, or around. They were shorter in duration, maybe, but that didn’t make them any easier.

Vigilance is the key.

As of tomorrow, I will be 365 days smoke free, and a few things have changed. I don’t have to tell myself that my heart will go ‘splodey if I attempt to smoke while wearing a patch, like I did that first week. I don’t have to physically restrain myself from lunging at my old friends hanging out in the smoke shack at work and wrestling a smoke from my victim. My pants may fit a little tighter, but I can run a mile fairly easily (on most days). Couldn’t do that when I was sucking on the Marlboros. So yeah…tradeoffs.  

Quitting smoking was a challenge, but it was not so tough in the long run. Most days, I don’t even think about it. It’s nothing compared to the challenges many people face every day. It’s good to remember that.

Smoking was just something I did, and every once in a while I have to remind myself every once in a while that I don’t do that anymore.

At least, not for another 27 years.

Who’s coming to my 70th birthday party? I’m telling you, it’s going to be legendary…

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Monday Mayhem: Springing Eternal

Today is the day the Romance Writers of America announce the RITA/Golden Heart contest finalists. For those of you who don’t know, the RITAs are for published authors, and Golden Heart entries are unpublished. There are many prestigious and esteemed awards in the romance community, but these two would be the equivalent of the Oscar/Emmy/Tony awards.

Last fall, the staff at Turquoise Morning Press voted to put two of their 2011 titles up for consideration for RITA awards and they chose Grace Greene’s Beach Rental (Best Inspirational Romance & Best First Book categories) and my Contentment (Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category) as TMP’s official submissions.

I couldn’t believe they picked one of my books from all of the titles they published in 2011. I might have had a total Sally Field moment. Maybe. There’s no video, so there’s no proof. As you can imagine, RITA and GH submissions are huge. The chances of being chosen as a finalist are super-slim – particularly for a small press author. But even as I filled out the entry form, I will admit that I was picturing myself as that camel passing through the eye of a needle. Without the hump. And the overbite. And the spitting thing…

I’m realistic enough to know my phone will probably not ring this morning. I’m not just saying that to be self-deprecating. Those of me who know me well know I have a ginormous ego. Huge. At times, monstrous. But I will say it’s also pretty well grounded in reality.

I love my baby, but I’m not so blind that I can’t see its flaws. But still…Maybe….

And there it goes again – springing eternal and all that jazz. I can’t help myself. I came equipped with this tiny little flame, flickering and sputtering deep inside of me. Standard equipment on this model, I guess. It won’t ever be extinguished, not even after the name of the last of the 2012 RITA finalists is posted on the RWA website.

Being an author is all about having hope.

We hope the story idea rattling around in our head is as good as we think it might be.

We hope we’ve chosen the right words to paint a picture, tell the tale, and spin a web so sticky you’ll never want to put the book down.

We hope it touches someone somehow.

Hope is the key ingredient that makes each and every romance (real or fictional) a possibility. It spurs us to press ‘send’ on that agent or editor pitch. Hope keeps us clicking the refresh button multiple times a day. Each time I open a new document, I’m filled with hope, expectation, and the tiny trickle of trepidation that accompanies any risk worth taking.

And if that phone call never comes, that’s okay. There’s always next year, right?

Spoken like a true Cubs fan.

Happy Monday, my friends. What are your hopes for the day, week, month, or year?

ETA: Just wanted to thank you all for your support. Contentment wasn’t chosen as a finalist, but I will have three (!) 2012 releases to choose from when it comes time to submit again. Thanks so much. You all are the best!

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Monday Mayhem – It’s me again, Margaret

I’m back! Did you miss me last week? Aren’t The Karens a hoot? Love those girls!

So… Hi! I didn’t really have a topic picked out for today, so I thought I’d play catch up with some bullet points.

1)         Just a little over one month until Spring Chickens is released! I love Lynne. I love Bram. I really love Bram. Ahem. Sorry… Anyway, I can’t wait for you to meet him, uh, them. Need a refresher? Here’s the blurb:

You don’t have to be a spring chicken to fall in love.

The residents of Heartsfield, Arkansas think Lynne Prescott has it all. The wealthy suburban divorcee captures everyone’s attention when she blows into town to dispose of the family farm. But her nosy new neighbors don’t know she ran away from home.

Bram Hatchett’s interest in buying the land adjoining his farm is yesterday’s news, but the handsome widower’s inability to contain his attraction to the land’s beautiful owner quickly becomes fodder for the local gossip mill.

A rickety old porch and a disturbing decrease in the poultry population bring them together—but with wagging tongues and grown children against them, Lynne’s inclination toward flight comes smack against Bram’s aversion to fight. Can they whittle away the secrets of the past in order to scratch out a future together?

Mark your calendars for the week of April 23rd!

2)         Been getting some really awesome reviews on Commitment! Yay! If you do not review the books you read on a site like Amazon, GoodReads, or Barnes & Noble, I’m asking that you please consider doing so. Not just my books, but any book. Your thoughts and opinions matter a great deal to authors and readers alike. More and more, I’m seeing more and more places that require a minimum number of public reviews before an author can even pay to advertise on the site. You don’t have to write an essay. Just simply say what you liked or didn’t like about the book. That’s right; you can say you didn’t like it. Honest reviews are always appreciated. Please just remember to be gentle. Authors are like small woodland creatures…

3)         Hey, are you following my photo a day challenge on my Facebook page? It’s been a lot of fun. Stop by, click the ‘like’ button, and check them out! 

4)        Been writing lately, but it’s been more for my close, personal friend, Maggie Wells than for myself. Seems she got a little ambitious with the series planning. Silly Maggie.

4)         Silly Margaret: I decided it was time to shake off the cobwebs and start working out a little harder, so I signed up for a 5K that’s being held at the end of April.  I ran almost two miles yesterday. It was the first time we’ve run the riverfront since last fall. I’d forgotten how different road running can be from the treadmill. I’m hoping I can build enough endurance in the next six weeks to run the whole course.

5)         For anyone in the greater Cincinnati area: I’ll be signing books at the 8th Annual Reader and Author Get Together June 1-2! Details here!

I have a big anniversary coming up in a couple of weeks, but I’ll save that for another post. Yes, I know. I’m such a tease…

So, what about you? What’s fun and exciting in your world? Read anything good lately? Seen any good movies? I require constant entertainment, so please share!

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Monday Mayhem – Kissy-Kissy Edition

Last week you got my tragic blind date story. Didja like that? Yeah…good story.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I have a little love story for you. It’s much nicer than the blind-dates-are-hazardous-to-your-health story, I swear. It even comes equipped with a happily ever whatever.

Ready?

In the spring of 1999, Margaret, a spinster from Illinois, went on a business trip to California. Not much of a hook, I know, but get this… She wasn’t supposed to go to that meeting that year. One of her co-workers was scheduled for the trip, but had to bow out. That’s when fate stepped in.

Dun-dun-dun!

Margaret’s business card was pulled from a hat, and she was awarded a trip to yet another conference. Oh, yippee skippee. In the fall of 1999, our heroine boarded a plane bound for Washington, D.C. Over six hundred miles away, a dark eyed man from Little Rock, Arkansas took off in the same direction, and…

Their gazes met across a stuffy conference room in rural Virginia…

They flirted….

There may have been adult beverages consumed…

And a game of Pictionary… (Uh, yeah, that’s what the kids call it these days.)

Some attendees claimed they spotted a couple kissing on the roof…

(Wait. What? You thought Pictionary was code for kissing? No, it’s charades with paper. Kissing is kissing. Sheesh. Have I taught you nothing? Read more smutty books!)

And our heroine said, “Oh, shit.”

True story.

By the end of the week, Margaret knew she had met THE ONE, but she wasn’t exactly ecstatic about it.  

Falling hard and fast for a stranger seven hundred miles away from home was not part of her plan. It was supposed to be a harmless flirtation. Some laughs, a few stolen kisses, a little excitement to break up the monotony of eight hours of seminars each day over the course of five long days.

But, he was so sweet. How could any spinster resist those big, bittersweet chocolate eyes? And the drawl! Not the twangy, annoying kind, but the soft, slow slurring of syllables that was just enough to make a northern girl melt into a puddle of goo….

Margaret knew right away she was in trouble. She also knew that resistance was futile.

On their wedding day, her hairdresser stood her up, but her groom didn’t.

And they lived happily ever after – so long as he continues to provide Route 44 Diet Cokes, crack her up daily, and say sweet things in that slow, southern drawl.

The End

Now it’s your turn to tell me a love story. It can be your love for Nutella or the nut job you married. Either works. Ready? Go!

Oh! And Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope it’s a sweet one!

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