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On Social Oddities, Boxing & New Books…

*cautiously looks around, keeping a close eye on the shadows*

My last few Mondays haven’t been exactly stellar, so I’m approaching this one with a healthy dose of caution and skepticism (much like a normal Tuesday). But my weekend was good – very productive, and I’ve got my schedule and workload(s) back under control, which should help me deal effectively with anything that comes up (or goes down, which actually happens more often in my world, sadly).

In any case, something odd that I noticed about last Monday was the high percentage of red shirts being worn. We’re talking several of my co-workers, my husband, and more than a few people I saw randomly walking on the streets. Why did I even notice? Because I’d nearly reached for a red shirt myself (a color I rarely wear), and then decided against it because red is an aggressive, active color, and I didn’t want that sort of “vibe” around me for a Monday. I wore blue (calming, trustworthy), but I think I ended up dealing with the fallout of “red” by default, given how many other people in my immediate circle were wearing it that day.

It does make me wonder what was in the air, so to speak, to make everyone reach for a red shirt that morning (including myself)… *cue alien invasion music*

This weekend, of course, the big “thing” was a boxing match on Saturday night. I’m not a boxing fan…it makes me physically ill to watch two people beating each other to a pulp for nothing other than…money? Fame? Whatever. And yes, I’ve been informed that there wasn’t much actual boxing during Saturday’s match, which is a bit ironic, I think.

I can normally at least appreciate the intricacies of pretty much anything if I understand the underlying logic to it, even if it involves physical violence/danger, and even if I don’t necessarily enjoy whatever “it” happens to be. An old-fashioned duel for honor, for instance…still seems like overkill to me depending on the circumstances, but I get the underlying motivation, so I’m okay with it. Most serial killers, I get (I probably shouldn’t admit that). But I admit to being completely perplexed by boxing. I want to understand, and I do understand how a lot of people get into it, I just don’t get why people keep doing it, considering how high the percentage of giving or receiving a life-altering injury is. It…makes no logical sense. And yes, I know that makes me sound like Spock.

I always was partial to Spock, even as a little kid. Which is no surprise to anyone who knows me, I’m sure.

What else? Oh right! BeauTEAful Summer, the collected edition of three romantic suspense shorts I wrote last year is finally available (sort of a buy two/get the third free deal), and one of my alter-egos has a new book out today as well. My other alter-ego has a new audiobook out, so something for everyone – I’ll be setting up contests for free copies here and there this week…

And now, to bed (it’s 12:30am as I write this). I skimped on sleep every night last week, and paid dearly for it. Not going to make the same mistake twice (at least not two weeks in a row)!


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On Contests, Sight, & Almond Milk…

Before I forget (because I have a tendency to do so), I have a few sale & contest announcements for this month (it won’t take long, I promise):

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– The digital version of Flame & Stone is just .99 for the month of March (woohoo!)
– There’s a contest to win free copies running now on LibraryThing
– There’s another contest to win free copies running now on BookLikes
– The print version should be done by the end of the week, and then there will be a contest for signed print copies on Goodreads, as well as LibraryThing & BookLikes.
– Giveaways for the audio version should be up on LibraryThing & BookLikes before the end of the month.

So…lots of chances to win free copies, or you can buy a copy cheap for this month only.

Fun Fact: As of this blog post, the audiobook has outsold the ebook by a wide margin. Odd, but hey, I’m all about variety here, and I’m just as happy with people listening as reading. Thank you! And I’m sure our excellent narrator, Kevin Clay, would extend his thanks as well.

 

Now, on to other things…

I finally went to the eye doc last week, and found out why my eyes have been watering pretty much non-stop all winter, making it difficult both to write and work, as I stare at a screen all day & most nights. Apparently I have a “genetic corneal degeneration” – an inherited disease of the cornea that causes not only the excessive watering, but also the extreme sensitivity to light that I have off and on and other uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, my doc didn’t say which kind I have, and a quick internet search reveals that there are quite a few (though many are very rare, or only appear in children, so I can pretty much rule those out, I think).  In any case, while it will probably cycle through good/bad times, unless it’s one specific type, it’s pretty much assured to just keep getting worse as I age. There’s a good chance I’ll need corneal transplants when I’m older. Joke’s on me for being so blase (I have no idea how to put the accent over the “e” there) about turning 40, eh?

I have another appt. next week to see if the steroid/antibiotic eyedrops the doc prescribed are working (feels like they are – no more watering, and no more soreness/pressure – yay!), and probably to get a new lens prescription because eyes that aren’t inflamed see differently, of course.

You know how life tends to force you to confront your worst fears at some point in time, whether you want to or not? Well, aside from general anesthesia, the thing that scares me most in life is losing my eyesight. I love to read. I enjoy my coding/web job. I love watching squirrels chase each other around our roof, and flowers in the garden, and big trees and beautiful houses. I love art – paintings and sculptures. I love a sunny spring day, fall leaves, and blankets of snow. Love those first roses of summer…

Technology these days is such that a blind or very low-vision person can get along far better than they used to, and I’m quite sure I could adapt, if necessary. But I don’t want to. Hopefully, I won’t have to, but of course my mind always jumps to the worse possible outcome. Luckily, rather than getting too mopey or depressed, I start planning for what might happen, in hopes that it won’t. Thwarting the universe, so to speak. Unfortunately, that’s distracted me a lot for the past week, but it’ll calm down, especially when I have more information on what the exact disease I have is, and can gather more information about what happens next.

And just like that, another book idea is born…

Last but not least…almond milk. Clearly I’ve been watching far too many vegan cooking shows on our local PBS Create channel, because while doing my grocery shopping for the week, I picked up a half-gallon of Almond Milk to try. Unsweetened.

It sucks.

Sugar, anyone?


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Talkin’ Books: February 11, 2015

Books Finished:
None

Kindle Books In Progress:
The Indie Author Power Pack 

Print Books in Progress:
White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Comic Books:
None

Not much to report…again. *sigh* I have been working on White Fire quite a bit – it’s just one of those books that you pick up and think, “I’ll read one chapter before bed.” And then you look up again after the sixth chapter that night, realize you do actually have to get up in the morning, and reluctantly dog-ear the page before forcing yourself to put it down and turn out the light.

So…good book, in other words. And getting better by the page…

I’m also still working on Write, Publish, Repeat from the The Indie Author Power Pack, and gaining a few nuggets of wisdom here and there.

What I’d most wanted to get to this week, and ended up having to forgo due to extra writing time needed and an impromptu aquarium swap, was my Harley Quinn comics. There are special Valentine’s Day Harley’s out this week, and I’m headed to the local comic shop on Saturday because they’re having a super-awesome sale, so I was hoping to get all caught up by then. Alas, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. But Valentine’s Day is a great day for reading anti-heroes, right? (Just nod & smile, nod & smile…)

Maybe if I get caught up with the writing, I can spend part of President’s Day (next Monday, and a federal holiday, so I’m off work) hunkered down with my comic book stack.

Now I think I’ll get this scheduled, and then head to bed for more White Fire goodness…


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Talkin’ Books: January 28, 2015

Books Finished:
Best Man For Hire by Tawna Fenske
Invasive Species by Joseph Wallace

Kindle Books In Progress:
The Indie Author Power Pack 

Print Books in Progress:
White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Comic Books:
None

Another quick update as I’m knee-deep in revisions and formatting to get the latest book out by Friday and still get some new words written for drafts in progress as well…

Look at that – I finished two books this week! Good stuff, I tell you what.

Invasive Species is one of those books where you just keep thinking that the situation *has* to get better, and it just keeps getting worse instead. It’s both fascinating and horrifying, but ends on a hopeful note as well, though a different one than you might think. If you like suspense, it’s definitely worth the time & money, in my opinion.

Best Man For Hire was good, but as I mentioned last week, I just really haven’t been in much of a romance-reading mood lately. I go through cycles, and apparently I need something else for awhile. This book definitely has it’s moments, and it’s hilarious in spots (all Tawna’s books are), so I’d certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a rollicking good time.

I also made some progress with Write, Publish, Repeat from the Indie Author Power Pack. I found a few more nuggets of wisdom regarding blurbs that I think might help quite a bit, and a couple interesting tidbits on titles as well. I’m skimming a lot of the pricing/distribution parts, because I’m content with the way I handle those already, so we’ll see what comes up next…

And I also started White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child in paperback this week. I haven’t gotten too far into it, but I already know it’s going to be good…partly because they always are, and partly because my husband loved it. Good enough for me!

That’s it for this week…hopefully next week I can get back into my comic book stack. Harley’s getting lonely!


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Excerpt Day & Audio Release: Jasmine Betrayal

JB_Audio_300Today I’m pleased to announce that Jasmine Betrayal, the third story in the BeauTEAful Summer series is now available in audiobook format! You can pick up your copy either on Amazon, Audible or iTunes, and it’s narrated by David C. Fisher, who narrated Deadly Chai as well. Today’s excerpt is from Jasmine Betrayal, of course…enjoy!

Also, don’t forget to sign up for Variety News – the new serial story starts Monday, exclusively for newsletter subscribers!


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Excerpt: Jasmine Betrayal

Resigned for the moment, Genevieve followed Max back out and past most of the doors at ground level until they reached the last, closest to where he’d parked the truck. They went inside and he locked the double-keyed deadbolt, pocketing the room key. Genevieve looked around.

There are probably bed bugs in that mattress,” she remarked, headed toward a door she assumed led to a bathroom. Poking her head in, she moved back just as quickly, wrinkling her nose. “I’m pretty sure the maid quit a long time ago too. Are you sure we can’t just get our money back and go somewhere the inanimate objects won’t try to kill us?”

Max sat down on the edge of the bed and swung his legs up, laying his head on a pillow and closing his eyes. “You really want to get our hostess out of bed again? Be my guest. And we won’t be here long. I’m pretty sure you’ll survive, which is the whole point. Come lay down and get some rest.” He patted the space beside him, and it finally dawned on her.

There’s only one bed.”

He cracked one eye open, regarding her with a look that said he thought she might have a screw loose.

You’re smart. This room was closest to the truck, and cheap. Get over it.” He closed his eyes again, letting a breath out long and slow as he relaxed into the comforter.

Just the sight of it made her itch.

The only other furniture in the room was a small square television stand with an equally square TV, and a pair of square wooden chairs with tan leather-look backs and seats that looked only slightly more comfortable than those in the office had. She glanced at the bed, and then at the chairs again, finally pulling one chair to face the other, and stretching out as well as she could between them.

You’re gonna have a kinked neck,” Max warned. “Not to mention serious back pain.”

She shot him a dirty look, but he hadn’t even opened his eyes. Bastard.

We’re not going to be here that long – your words.” She crossed her arms over her chest and scooted around to find a semi-comfortable spot as his breathing slowed, evening out.

She wasn’t sure how long she’d dozed, but at some point she twitched, jerking her head up and barely suppressing a cry of pain when the predicted kink in her neck materialized. Rubbing it with one hand, she looked over at Max, who had shifted onto his side.

The keys to the room and the truck – her truck – were lying on the bed beside him, apparently having worked their way out of his pocket.

She chewed her lower lip. Contrary to what both Max and the goons chasing her probably thought, she hadn’t been staying in her father’s old trailer. She couldn’t, not while she was sorting through his things, trying to make sense of his life. Instead, she’d subletted an apartment in Little Rock, and that’s where she’d been working on all the accounting and legal paperwork.

The deed was there too. It would be hard for anyone to track her down there, since the lease wasn’t actually in her name. If she could just get there, she could lay low, talk to a lawyer and figure out some way to get Jenkins off her back.

It would depend a lot on how sound Max was sleeping, and whether the stabbing pain in the center of her lower back was going to be a big issue or not.

Deciding a test was in order, she carefully pushed the chair her feet were resting on away a few inches, making a slight scraping sound on the low, industrial carpet. Standing up, she winced at the pain as her body protested. Hands on her hips, she leaned back, then forward, trying to stretch out the knot, but even though it loosened slightly, she knew it was going to be a long drive back to town.

If she could figure out which way that was.

Max still appeared to be sleeping and she studied his face for a moment. The hard, square jaw, thick black eyebrows and small, slightly crooked nose reminded her of a quintessential mobster. A pinstripe suit and fedora, and he could easily step back into the New York twenties without even attracting attention. His lips were full and oh-so-kissable, and for the second or third time since they’d met, she wondered what they would feel like against hers.

Doing her best to move naturally, she leaned over and grabbed the keys, one at a time so they didn’t jingle together. Two steps got her from the bed to the door, and she spent way too much time trying to quietly fit the key into the sticky deadbolt, and yet more precious seconds trying to coax the key to turn. Whoever had installed these locks sure wasn’t worried about safety, but since she wouldn’t be back, she saw no point in complaining.

Finally getting the door open, she left the room key hanging in the lock and carefully pulled it shut. Then she jogged around the corner to the truck, got behind the wheel and moved the seat forward.

Fired up the engine. Shifted into drive. Put her foot on the gas.

The passenger door opened and Max hopped in, his door closing forcefully as she pulled away from the building.

So,” he said, as if she hadn’t just tried to ditch him cold. “Where are we going?”


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Talkin’ Books: January 14, 2015

Books Finished:
None

Kindle Books In Progress:
The Indie Author Power Pack
Best Man For Hire by Tawna Fenske

Print Books in Progress:
Invasive Species by Joseph Wallace

Comic Books:
None

I had last week’s post mostly written, and then never got time to post it (or rather, forgot when I did finally get time). Getting back in the swing of things is taking me a little while, but I’ll get it figured out.

Yes, I’m still working on Invasive Species, but I dare say it’ll go faster if my plan to get to bed earlier works well. I’m trying to get to sleep around midnight when possible, which means getting to bed around 11:30pm so I have time to read for half an hour or so before sleeping. Last week didn’t work so well for that, but this week’s been going better. Thank goodness for that, because the print TBR pile by my bed is getting a bit deep. I still have a Pendergast novel hanging out there (Preston & Child), and now I have a new Rollins book too (Tucker & Kane). I really need to kick up the pace! So much yummy fiction…

As for the Kindle, I’ve got the latest Tawna Fenske novel, Best Man For Hire going for lunch hours, and as usual, it’s hilarious and sexy. Good stuff…I skipped the last “for hire” book because it was centered on babies/childcare (I’m sure she still managed to make that hilarious, but just not my boat), but I’d recommend any of her books to anyone looking for a seriously good fictional time. She’ll make you laugh, no doubt about it! She’ll also make you late getting back for lunch if you don’t keep a careful eye on the clock…

The Indie Author Power Pack is a collection of three self-publishing/marketing guides that I’m forcing myself to work through because I really need to pay more attention to the promotional part of publishing. It’s not available as a collection any longer, but the individual books are available and listed on the Amazon page linked above. I’m currently reading the first book, “Write, Publish, Repeat”, and I think you can really just skip everything in the first couple chapters before you finally get to the “meat” of the book (stuff that actually might be useful). The main narrator is pretty long-winded, but he’s amusing at times. He works with two other authors that are mentioned frequently, and I’m fairly certain that were I in a room with all three, Dave (I can’t remember his last name just now) would be my favorite. He seems like the practical one.

Some of it’s pretty common sense stuff, other parts I’ve heard before, but the narrator’s long-winded nature occasionally comes in handy for adding clarity. I’ll be working on this one for awhile – it’s my workout book, so it gets 20 minutes of my time in the evenings…when there’s nothing good on TV, anyway.

So…not much, but plenty, for sure. I have a stack of comic books to catch up on, and since I have a long weekend coming up, I hope to do that then. There have also been some nice freebies out there lately that I snapped up, so no shortage of reading material around here…which is just as it should be.


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Talkin’ Books: December 10, 2014

Books Finished:
No Promises Required by Cari Quinn

Kindle Books In Progress:
Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon

Print Books in Progress:
Invasive Species by Joseph Wallace
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: Director’s Cut

Comic Books:
None 🙁

This will be super-short this week…mostly because I’ve done very little reading. *sigh* It’s sad, really, though I did get a few chapters deeper in Invasive Species, but that’s about it. Lunch hours have been hectic, and so have my late nights, unfortunately. Don’t even get me started on the weekend, Christmas decorating and the dishwasher debacle…

No Promises Required was good…though I’d expect nothing less from Cari. Light BDSM references, but nothing that should make the casual reader cringe *too* much, I don’t think. Definitely worth the read, IMO.

Here’s hoping I can find more time this week, eh? A reader who doesn’t read is…well…a very sad reader. And I have comic books waiting! Sheesh.

What are you reading? Anything interesting?


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Talkin’ Books: December 3, 2014

Books Finished:
One in a Million by Jill Shalvis

Kindle Books In Progress:
No Promises Required by Cari Quinn

Print Books in Progress:
Invasive Species by Joseph Wallace
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: Director’s Cut

Comic Books:
None 🙁

Not much to report last week, so I skipped, and this week…well, the same, really. I feel like I need a good few days free for a reading binge, but I don’t see that happening soon. Bummer.

One in a Million was awesome, as are all the Lucky Harbor books, of course. I can’t remember if I have one left, or if this was the last one, but I’ll figure it out next payday. 😉

Invasive Species is pretty darn freaky. And I’m glad I didn’t read it this summer. Though I did vacuum up a bunch of wasp corpses this past weekend, which kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies in light of the book, which I’m about half-through with. Ugh. *shiver*

No Promises Required is good so far…but I always like Cari’s books. If you like a little light kink with your romance, she’s one of the best go-to writers, and I believe she has a new book out just recently as well.

And I need a nice day to open the Harley Quinn Annual comic. Because it’s poly-sealed. And supposedly stinky. The comic shop guy mentioned pot. I bought too copies, naturally. 😉

One to save sealed, of course. Sheesh. *shakes head*

And that’s pretty much it, I’m sorry to say. But who knows? Maybe this will be my lucky week, television going to the reruns again and all…


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Talkin’ Books: June 18, 2014

SuperAmazingSpidey

Books Finished:
Blank Canvas by Mari Carr

Kindle Books In Progress:
Dare to Love by Carly Phillips
Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon

Print Books in Progress:
The Eye of God by James Rollins

Comic Books:
The Superior Spider-Man #31
The Amazing Spider-Man #1

Last week sort of got away from me..sorry about that. But while the reading’s been steady, there hasn’t been nearly as much as I’d like of it. The good news is, things are settling down a bit more again, and with any luck, I’ll be able to catch up on most of my comic book series and hopefully make a good dent in the Rollins book too.

Blank Canvas was…well, hot. Hotter than I expected, in a good way. I may write up more of a review for it on Trinity’s blog next week, but suffice it to say if you like your erotic romance a bit kinky, you should pick up a copy of this book. Good stuff.

I got Dare to Love on a .99 cent special awhile back, and am just now getting around to it. So far, fairly formulaic, but I don’t mind that at all, and there’s a kissing scene in the very first few pages that is…well…incredible, really. The family dynamics are intriguing and rather unique, and I’m only up to chapter 4. We’ll see how it goes, but so far, definitely off to a good start.

I put The Eye of God down for awhile, went back, and couldn’t for the life of me reorient myself between the prologue and chapter 1. So I had to go back and re-read, but I think I’ve got it now. The characters are just so different between those two parts it’s a little hard to remember if you have to set it aside for any length of time. So my advice would be – don’t. I’m pretty hooked now – maybe a marathon all-nighter next weekend? It certainly holds some appeal…

And finally – finally! I got to read the last Superior Spider-Man issue. And it was…good. I hated to see it end, what with Doc Ock being so intriguing, but it was well handled and now that Peter Parker’s back, he has to deal with all this stuff Ock left behind. Which should be interesting, and hopefully turn Peter into more of a man. That’s why I really didn’t get into the Spider-Man comics or movies, I think. Peter’s always just been this scrawny little dude who’s too nice, too naive and not nearly “heroic” enough (not to mention not muscular enough…which you’d definitely be after swinging on webs all the time). So I’m hoping he’ll get a bit more manly in the new Amazing series.

I also went ahead and read The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (both these issues were huge, thick books…took me almost an hour to work through both of them because I’m slow with all the artwork to take in). And so far, I like what I see. Muscles on Spidey (wiry, but that makes sense), and a whole lot of confusion, apologies and complaining going on. I would have kept going through issues #1.1 and #2, but I just didn’t quite have time. I’m dying to know what he’s going to do about Anna Maria though, and his two best girls just basically up and left because they couldn’t handle it anymore (well, one’s recovering from being a Goblin, so there’s that).

But! In Amazing #1, in the very first pages, it looks like a *girl* got bit by the radioactive spider the same day Peter did! Who is she? Where’s she been all this time? Is she a villain? Hero? Regular Jane who spends all her time trying to figure out why she’s weird?

I seriously can’t read fast enough for this. Thank goodness Spidey is a monthly comic. I’m way, way behind on my Batman Eternal series…

That’s it for me this week – what about you? Reading anything good lately? Anything I should stay away from?

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