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 – Watch out world edition

Psst. My buddy, Jennifer Johnson, is here today, and I believe she’s been spending too much time staring into her belly button. Be nice. Nod, smile, back away from the crazy lady, and be sure to leave a comment so she won’t come after you.

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Words.

I have a love hate relationship with words. Words are a lot like the tasty morsel in the Kong toy. Me? I’m the dog who spends fourteen hours trying to manipulate that morsel out of the tortuous plastic device. People who know me well, and even not so well, except for my transparent intolerance for sloppy word use on Facebook realize nothing sets me off more than the taunt with an overused or misused word or phrase.

Some of these may include but are certainly not limited to: literally, uber, nemesis, opaque, or random.

So, I guess word misuse is my torment. My pleasure is the rich hues found in the definition of a word. I like to Google words my eighth grade teacher taught me to see what images I find. This is probably my best friend’s fault because she had this running joke about someone’s picture being in the dictionary next to [place your favorite insulting adjective here]. It only took me a couple of times looking up ‘gullible’ or ‘idiotic’ before I figured out what she was doing.

But I digress.

I’m amazed at the variety the Internet ascribes to any particular word. Take for instance,

Kerfluffle. It’s such a happy word. Somewhat whimsical in its triple *f* composition, and the hint of one definition by its first syllable which is then turned on its ear by the last two syllables. Can anyone be depressed when pronouncing it? Can anyone’s paradigm not be shifted by the orderliness of its disorderly definition?

And yet what a plethora of pictures appear with the search engine.

Such as:

or

Or

That guy made a great Ming, did he not? I wasn’t too enamored with Flash, but this guy rocked in a creepy evil villain sort of way.

And he’s who Google says looks like *kerfluffle*. Ming and pie and some chicks in a bedroom Man, you gotta love the Internet in its ability to search and assign meaning to anything because somebody blogged about it and found a pretty or provocative picture.

And there were many other pictures as well. Kentucky Fried Chicken. Beans. Badger. Paddle, and of course the requisite cute cat picture with the misspelled words. I mean, honestly, haven’t we beaten the dead horse enough with this cheezburger cat nonsense? What is wrong with people?

What does it mean anyway? And that whole texting the dog thing. It’s funny and all, but dogs have paws. They couldn’t possibly manipulate a phone to send texts.

My dog has no sense of anything except his enjoyment in eating, peeing, and sniffing. That’s his life. My kids try to make him look at pictures in books, watch TV, and even listen to me over the telephone when I was gone recently on a business trip. The dog doesn’t enjoy any of these things. He runs away from the children when they walk in the room. Though he’s a pretty good dog as far as dogs go, he has bitten them on more than one occasion because he’s tired of all the crap they put him through. In fact, tonight each kid had part of the dog in their hands pulling him like he was a slinky as they argued over whose bed he was going to sleep in.

It was, I believe, quite a kerfluffle.

****

Jennifer Johnson needs more time to navel gaze. She writes contemporary romance and has written five full length novels with three publishers. She has also had short stories published in four anthologies from Turquoise Morning Press. Her book, Rescuing Riley, the sequel to Rescue Me, will be released in October of this year from Turquoise Morning.

Find out more about her at

Website: http://booksbyjenniferjohnson.com

Blog: http://jennfrancesca.blogspot.com/

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BMJ58I

 

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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 – Guilt Offering

The dog ate my homework!

Okay, maybe not really, but the result is the same: I don’t have a post prepared. What can I say? I’ve, uh, been…busy. I am prpared to offer appeasment, though. No, I don’t have a Central-Eurpopean country to hand over, but I do have one more novel releasing this year. How about a sneak peek from Inamorata? Will that get me off the hook?

Warning: Frank DeLuca was never PG-13 and probably never will be. The potty-mouth…

Anyhoo…Here’s your bribe. Let me know what you think, and have a happy Monday!

Inamorata – Coming June 2012 from Turquoise Morning Press

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.

Excerpt:

He let go, allowing the soul-crushing pain to swamp him, plummeting to earth once more. He couldn’t crash and burn any worse than he had before. Twice before. Once when he was living, and once long after he’d been dead. Frank blinked the glare from his eyes and focused on the blank wall in front of him. The rosebud wallpaper was gone. The sheetrock had been stripped, sanded, and painted blue. A blue that was just a half-shade lighter than the blue that coated the walls in nineteen-eighty-seven.

He shook his head to clear it. Finally, his gaze tracked to the right where he spotted a bookshelf loaded with books, games, and stuffed animals. At the very top, a collection of trophies like the one he once kept in this very room was proudly displayed. Tiny gold men holding bats glistened in the soft amber glow of evening. He gaped at them perched atop their faux marble and fake brass pedestals.

He could see it so perfectly in his mind’s eye. A spotless trophy, gleaming bright gold in the light cast from the cheesy 70s directional sconce mounted on the wall. His mother running her fingertip over the engraved plate bearing his name.

“Francis DeLuca.”

The name rolled off his lips even though he hadn’t spoken it aloud in nearly two decades. Not since the night he introduced himself to the little girl who moved into his room. Not since he fell in love with Cam.

His eyes locked on the gilt batter glued to the top of the tallest trophy. He couldn’t look away. Obviously they didn’t belong to the little guy snuggled into the race-car shaped bed. But something told him they belonged here, just like him.

He stared hard at that trophy, seeing his mother’s wind-up, flinching just as he flinched when she hurled it across the room, smashing the bulb in the brass-colored wall sconce to bits, stealing the last wisps of breath from his lungs, and sentencing him to an eternity as the middleman.

On August nineteenth, nineteen-eighty-seven, he died. That was the day he broke his mother’s heart. That was the day his fate was sealed.

Shaking his head, Frank glared at the woman perched on the side of the bed. She was tall and slim, her hair so blonde it was almost white, her skin as pale as milk. Long, graceful fingers fussed with the edge of a Thomas the Tank Engine quilt, but the backs of her hands were veined and dotted with sunspots. It was her face that called to him. Stoic. Silent. Stone-faced.

“Fuck. Here we go again.”

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Monday Mayhem – Randomosity

I have nothing prepared for today’s post, so I’m just going to throw a handful of randomosity at you and hope that something sticks. You ready? Here we go!

1) My husband and I just had a ten minute discussion about geometric theorems which concluded with heartfelt declarations of our utter relief that we don’t have to take Geometry class ever again.

2) I participated in a 5k race on Saturday. I managed to run about 2 1/2 of the 3.1 miles and finished in 37:45. I was happy. 🙂

3) As I type, I am wearing a rather fetching pair of University of Arkansas at Monticello Boll Weevil socks. Fear the weevil!

4) I ate birthday cake today. And chocolate ice cream. Je ne regrette rien.

5) Spring Chickens is now available…everywhere! Tell your friends and be sure to check out this fabulous GoodReads giveaway that starts tomorrow!

The winner of the $20 gift card from last week’s post was Carol. Thanks for your comments and continued support! My readers are the best!

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Monday Mayhem – Picking Favorites

The gift card winner is: Carol! Thanks for your comments!

It’s release week for Spring Chickens and I am doing a happy dance. If you haven’t heard my crowing already, here’s the 4-1-1: Trade Paperback can be ordered NOW! Digital versions and all outlets other than the Wild Rose Press Bookstore will release Friday, April 27th!

Whew!

An author once told me she gets ‘the jitters’ each time she has a new release hit the shelves, despite having over a dozen titles out there. She’s not the only one.

This never gets old. Each release is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Like a first date without the pointless rambling and the possibility of spilling food down the front of my shirt. (Which I will do anyway, but you won’t see it so it won’t count against me.)

I can’t help but wonder if you’ll like my writing. Will you fall for Lynne and Bram the way I did? Will there be a second read? What if I never hear from you again?

Oh, the hand wringing!

Just like dating, all I can do is put myself out there and hope we connect on some level.

Spring Chickens is a different sort of story for me. My hero and heroine are a little older, a bit wiser, and a whole lot warier than they were when they were young, but in a way it’s much more optimistic than anything I’ve written before. I know authors (and mothers) are not supposed to have favorites, but…Shh. Don’t tell the others.

Desert island time! If you had to pick only one book (no cheating and naming a series!) by your favorite author, which would be your favorite and why?

One lucky commenter will win a $20 gift card to the online bookstore of their choice! Winner will be drawn on Sunday, April 29th at 6PM US-Central time. Please tell your friends!

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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: 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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