Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Box Talk: Gardening

I'm over at the lovely Nice Girls Writing Naughty blog today with a recipe for Mint Syrup.  It's the last day of our contest, so please stop by and enter to win several awesome prizes, including a book from yours truly AND a gift certificate for $50 USD.

Apropos of that, I thought I'd chat about gardening a bit for today's Sunday Box Talk.

I saw a button once that said, "Gardeners plant gardens to relax and then spend all their time working in them."  There's a lot of wisdom in this saying.  The "in the moment-ness" of gardening, or any hobby, is what provides its sense of peace and "now-ness."  By tending to the garden, we tend to ourselves and allow our bodies to experience grounding in a literal sense as we play in the dirt.

Do you garden? Even a potted plant can be magical if approached with the right mindset.  It's a lot cheaper to by a pathos plan than it is to pour a drink, and the plant won't pack on the pounds or make your mind fuzzy.

If you garden, what's your favorite plant? If you don't, yet, what would you like to have growing in your daily round?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sizzling Summer Nights

Welcome to the Just Romance.Me summer blog hop!  In celebration of the upcoming release of Book II of the Persis Chronicles, EMERALD KEEP, here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite.  Enjoy!

Teeka spied a skein of silvery grey yarn. An image of a woven headscarf for Quill danced through his head. He leaned over the basket, rooting for another find. His necklace with the carved sandcat dangled from around his neck.

A small dirty hand darted into his view. Teeka gasped when the sharp tug around his neck registered. His necklace!

Teeka dropped the yarn and gave chase. No cave rat was stealing Quill’s gift! Teeka dodged and wove around the vender carts, straining to keep the dark, tangled head in sight.

He rounded a corner and caught sight of ragged silks turning another corner in front of him. Gasping, he tried to increase his speed. His lungs burned along with his feet.

Quill shouted behind him, but Teeka concentrated on the boy instead. Almost!

They careened down another alley. The boy whirled when he reached a dead end. Teeka slowed, not wanting to scare him. He stopped in front of the youth, trapping him in the alley. He wheezed and leaned over, trying to catch his breath. His feet throbbed in time to his heart beat.

Teeka panted. “Give me back my necklace.”

The boy scowled. “What are you jabbering about?”

Teeka snorted. “You know. You also know better to steal from a Keeper.”

A rustling sound behind him caught Teeka’s attention. Teeka glanced over his shoulder, expecting to see an irate Quill. Instead, several bigger youths stalked forward.

One with missing tooth grinned at him. “A Keeper should know not to get caught alone in an alley.”

Teeka eyed him. He waited for fear to race through him but only calmness settled. After Ezek’s crazed raving, this boy didn’t frighten him. There was no way they would kill him. Rob and roll him, yes. They might even throw in a beating because of jealously over his Keep upbringing. But could that hurt more than being burned alive on the Great Valley’s heated sands?

Teeka moved to put a wall at his back. “I want my necklace back. It was a gift.”

Several more boys appeared. A few dangled from the back staircases of the buildings that hedged them in. Teeka ignored them and only stared at the leader.

The boy blinked, then narrowed his eyes. He tried to cover his discomfort with a cocky expression. A smirk curved his lips and he held up his hands in front of him. Tiny streaks of lighting leaped from his fingers.

Teeka tilted his head. “A baby Shiner. You have no idea what you’ve stumbled into.”

The boy flushed and clenched his fists. His anger made him lose control of his energy and it faded. He scowled. “What do you mean by that?”

Teeka grinned and pointed past him. “I mean that he’s my lover.”

The boys whipped around.

Quill strode down the narrow alley. Even Teeka swallowed a bit at his Intended’s appearance. A gold glow danced over Quill’s skin and silks. Anger tightened the Hunter’s face, making his features stark. His grey robes whipped around him, though no breeze stirred in the cavern. A faint crackling sound echoed from him.

He shined.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

**New** SEALED BY FIRE is available from LooseId LLC. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Book 2 TIGER TIGER, available from Samhain Publishing. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Persis Chronicles:
**Coming Soon** EMERALD KEEP, from Torquere Books.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.
Check out "Seeking Hearts", available from Torquere Books.

Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER , available from Barnes and Noble.
Check out "Taking a Chance", available from Torquere Books! An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora 
Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Taurus and Taurus (NSFW) | Website | Facebook
The Writer Zen Garden:  The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Meetup

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rain, How Do I Love Thee?

Join me today over at Romance for the Rest of Us, Torquere Press's blog.  I am sharing a few thoughts on summer, rain, and gardening.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Open the Seal Blog Book Tour - Day Two - Bestseller!

Wow.  Thank you, Dear Readers, for making SEALED BY FIRE a bestseller on All Romance eBooks its fourth day out!  We're grateful to you all for your support and plan to continue writing the best stories that we can.

On today's second day of our blog tour, I wanted to share a funny story with you about the writing of this book. See, it goes like this:

Rachel: "Um, Noony? You have Nash's eyes this color in Chapter Two."

Me:  "Yeah..."

Rachel: "But they're not."

Me.  ~blink~  "But..."

Rachel:  "They're a specific color, you know."

Me. "Yes, dear, I know that."

Rachel:  "Then how come in Chapter Seven they're this other color?"

Me:  ~blink again~  "Because magic?" ~big grin~

Rachel: "And Jordan drives a Bronco."

Me:  "Oh."  ~thinks~  "Maybe we need a list."

Rachel:  "Yes!"

See, Rachel is the list-maker of the two of us.  I'm the right-brained, non-sequential of us.  This makes us a really strong team because our skills complement each other.  But occasionally I'm reminded why lists are useful.  Like, say, with eye color or our characters' cars.

What skills are you glad your best friend has, so that it keeps you on track?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Release Day - Launching the Open the Seal Blog Book Tour!

I am so excited!  Today is the release day for Sealed by Fire, our first novel with LooseId LLC.  The cover art is phenomenal, as you can see, and we're stoked to be part of the LooseId author community.  Some of the biggest names in romantic fiction work with them and we're thrilled to count ourselves among that number.

Here are five things to be excited about for today's release day:

  1. The book is out!  (You HAD to see that one comin', I mean, come on.)
  2. The book is... Just kidding.  But the fact that we see our names on the cover and that it's available on the LooseId website still gives me chills.  So aside from the fact it's available for purchase, just the simple fact that it's there is shiver-worthy - "we wrote that!"
  3. Every book is a team effort.  Our editor Jana, the cover artist Valerie Tibbs, and the whole team at LooseId made this a reality - thank you!
  4. We streamlined the character list from the original manuscript, which makes this book a lot tighter AND gives us more characters for whom to write sequels.  (Yes, that is a blatant plug - grin.)
  5. The book is out!  Check it out on the LooseId website and enjoy!
What exciting news do you have this month?  I'd love to know; please share with me in the comments.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The SFR Brigade Annual Blog Hop!

I'm so tickled to have been invited to participate with the annual SFR Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop! There are some amazing authors that participate; I know you'll enjoy yourself during the hop.

In keeping with the theme, here's a little snippet from the Noon and Wilder release with Torquere Press, Emerald Fire. Also, in celebration of Pride month this month, Torquere is offering 20% off everything in the store - just enter the code PRIDE at checkout!

* * *

Quill looked up and pointed. "See?"

Teeka followed his gaze and stared, lips parted. More stars than he'd seen anywhere, save in bookvids, blanketed the darkening sky. He couldn't see individual constellations yet, not with the starglow from Minah, but it wouldn't be long. He found the Boar's Tail and tried to follow it to the body but couldn't find the shoulder.

Sudden warmth on his hand startled him and he looked down to find Quill's fingers, holding him from spilling his plate all over the rugs.

He flushed. "I'm sorry."

Quill pulled the plate out of his hands. "Lie back."

Teeka nestled his head against a pillow, and stared up at the sky. Quill moved around, tidying, and Teeka knew he should help but couldn't tear his attention away. The Hunter stilled after several more minutes of straightening up and stretched out next to him, shoulders touching.

"There's the Boar's Tail, but I can't find his shoulder," Teeka said, pointing.

Quill's long finger directed his eyes to the left. "There. So, so, and so."

"And the Maiden?"

"There. And beyond it, do you see the Sandcat?"

"What about Great Hunter?"

"He isn't risen yet."

Teeka smirked at the double entendre and Quill flashed him a quizzical look. They both burst out laughing as color flamed into Quill's cheeks.

They stayed there for the better part of an hour, pointing out the constellations as they grew in luminance. Once, a star shot across the sky, traveling fast. Teeka waited for more but no others appeared.

"I have dessert," he roused himself to say. "I hardly want to leave."

Quill rolled up on his elbow to look down at him. "Come. We have a fortnight to watch the starshow."

Teeka gazed up at him, Minah's setting glow silvering his cheek and making his gray eyes seem luminous. He reached up with a trembling hand and brushed the scars on Quill's face. Quill gasped and caught his hand, and kissed his fingers.

* * *

Enter to win the Grand Prize via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A To Z Challenge: Reflections and Tue Cent Twosday

It's May. How did April go by so fast? And yet, it didn't: it went by fully.  It wasn't so much the velocity as the content. Here's what I mean; my ten things list of what I learned from the April 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge:

  1. Challenges stretch you. They push you to do better.
  2. I adore participating with others. As much as writing is a solitary activity, I'm a group-oriented thinker and this suited my approach to writing, and life, perfectly.
  3. Daily discipline leads to changed habits.
  4. Sustainable growth is preferable to sudden expansion, because the latter is followed by the inevitable contraction.
  5. There are some damned fine bloggers out there.
  6. Optimism takes work.
  7. You've got to give to get.  Social media is less about the media and more about the social.
  8. One blogger complained that it was too much work, she didn't really gain new friends, and that her sales didn't improve. I think this misses the point. To me, the Challenge is about the collective outpouring of effort focused around a common, shared, goal - to see if we can write 26 posts in a row and witness each other's birthing pains. It's not about "gimme," it's about "let's." Together, we are stronger: but together begins with me, reaching out of myself and visiting other places, other blogs, even other countries.
  9. Cultural sensitivity is key when blogging.  I've met folks from India, New Zealand, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East...  The world is a big place, but the internet builds bridges.
  10. I am so grateful to the unsung heroes that did the early work of the internet, from 1969 and its beginnings as ARPANET/DARPANET, to the development of the Network Information Centers at places like Stanford Research Institute, to CERN and the World Wide Web. We stand on the shoulders of giants, my friends, and we are the better for it. When I feel down about the state of the economy or world peace, the internet quite literally reminds me that life will find a way. We humans are communicative creatures and the internet brings me hope that we will stumble on a way to find peace with each other, a common understanding and respect. Yes, even with lolcats.
What did you learn from participating in the Challenge, either as a reader or also as a participating blogger?