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
Share

Monday Mayhem – I’ve been memorabling you all day

Sorry, couldn’t resist a little Gilmore-ism with the title. What can I say, I can still quote that show in my sleep…

Just a short post today because it is a holiday, and I am trying to live up to my new mantra: I am allowed to relax. Unfortunately, just typing it reminds me of all the things I need to do and how little time I have at my disposal. No. Stop. I am allowed to relax, and relax I shall!

It’s a crazy-busy week for me this week. I’ll be traveling most of it—including a jaunt to Ohio for the Reader & Author Get Together 2012. I’ll recap all the fun and excitement for you when I get back, I promise.

In the meantime, I would just like to say a very heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of the brave men and women who fight to protect and preserve our freedom. The sacrifices you and your families have made for our country are deeply and truly appreciated.

I hope we all take a little time away from the cook-outs and pool parties to remember those who gave their lives for their country, and all veterans, young and old. Their accomplishments were and are the epitome of a work in progress.

Wishing my fellow Americans a mindful and happy Memorial Day.

Share

Monday Mayhem – Run away! Run away!

I retreated this weekend. Grabbed my coconuts and took off as fast as I could. But, instead of running from the plot bunnies that had been chasing me, I took them with me to the Diamond State Romance Authors writing retreat.

I planned to take a lot of pictures, but, being me, I left my camera on the coffee table at home. Luckily, Brinda Berry – hostess with the mostest and retreat planner extraordinaire – posted some on her blog. Check this place out! Yes, it was every bit as fabulous as it looks.

I also thought I’d write a blog post about the experience, but my fellow loft dweller, Megan Mitcham, posted this write up on the DSRA blog this morning.

Whew! My work here is done!

What’s that? You want to know more? Okay, fine, I’ll do the work… Here’s how this went down:

On my way through Conway, I picked up my road trip buddy, Voirey Linger, and we took off for the hills. I didn’t scream (much) as we twisted and turned our way up into the Ozarks, and my feisty little car handled like a champ. We arrived in beautiful Ponca, Arkansas in time to horn in on the first of seven two-hour writing blocks scheduled.

I set up camp in an Adirondack chair on this fabulous second-story screened porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it grew too chilly and dark on the porch, I shared these comfy couches in the loft seating area with Brinda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday, I managed to clock a total of 3,809 words. By Saturday, we were well into the swing of things. I finished one short story and started another, hitting 7,263 words by the end of the final writing block. Woot! I was stoked. Been a long time since I was able to put up big numbers. It felt good.

Between blocks, we stretched our stiff joints by strolling along the deck or creek, and our stomachs by trolling the snacks in the kitchen. We counted helpless giggles as out weekend abs workout, and adopted a few select euphemisms as the key words of the weekend. I’d share them but…yeah. Look at this group of degenerates – do you really want to know?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, it was a fabulous experience in a gorgeous setting. What could be more exhilarating for a writer than setting the plot bunnies free in the woods?

It’s your turn to share now. How was your weekend?

Share

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.”

Share

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!

Share

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?

Share

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!

Share

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…

Share

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!

Share

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!

Share