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.

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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 – 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 – 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.

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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?

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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 – 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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