Category Archives: Writing

Surfacing

Hoo boy, this has been an insane month so far, and it’s only the 10th. In between A/C failures in both our upstairs and downstairs units (the downstairs unit was a grand to repair, so luckily the upstairs unit was still under warranty and could be fixed for free), trying to get Shifter Woods: Snarl (I typed Snark there which is appropriate — this story has been fighting me like you would not believe) finished and out the door, getting back to work on Behind the Iron Cross, and finishing up a BUTTLOAD of jewelry in a very hot garage, it’s been interesting.

Did I mention that I’m also retaining about ten pounds (seriously) of water weight due to the oncoming Shark Week and look (and feel) like I’m seven months’ pregnant? I am clearly allergic to being female. It’s supposed to start tomorrow and I can already feel the blessed hormonal shift because suddenly I have energy again and want to eat vegetables. I just vacuumed the downstairs and as soon as this rain stops and the rush hour traffic dies down I’m getting the makings for stir fry, as well as egg salad and chicken salad for the rest of the week’s lunches.

And Midol, because damn. Ten pounds, people. I’m astounded my heart is still working.

But back to writing things. I think I worked out the problem with Snarl — basically, I have a packless wolf Alpha shifter/SEAL who’s been hired by his former commanding officer to work at the family ski lodge in Esposito County. He’s also been told to stay away from the officer’s daughter. Problem is, the daughter is Wolfie’s mate, AND she lost her sense of smell so she can’t tell she’s his mate. So Wolfie is dealing with a slew of emotions — honor, duty, a sense of being unworthy due to losing his pack, AND confusion as to how to convince her that they’re meant to be together since she can’t smell it — that’s stopping him from claiming her. Then I realized I had a chance to show how shifters learn to love when they’re not being driven by the mating instinct. In Kate’s case, she’s going to think, “I don’t care what my father says, I’m an adult and I want you, PLUS I’m heir to the pack’s Alpha so Dad can learn to deal” and go after Wolfie, re-igniting his sense of self-worth and leading her to realize that they’re mates. Boom, the block evaporated.

So, yeah, Snarl should be finished this week, God willing and the crick don’t rise. Iron Cross is 75% finished so I’m going to get that done as soon as Snarl is out, with an aim to releasing it in mid August, and then it’s on to Shifter Woods: Scream (Deputy Jane’s story, where she finds out she’s mated to a hot tiger shifter/FBI agent AND a half-elf zookeeper. Because I like complicating things).

Bookstuffers, #IndieResistance, and #GETLOUD

Well! Looks like there’s been a lot of positive reaction to . Everyone who is supporting Suzan Tisdale, Heather C. Leigh, David Gaughran, Ivy Quinn, and the other authors on the front lines of this fight, you rock SO hard.

I’m a latecomer to this fight, BTW. Those people I mentioned above are the true leaders in this struggle. I’m just an indie author who’s trying to make an honest living slinging words. But when I see bookstuffers using loopholes to drain money out of KU, yeah, I’m pissed. And to the sock puppet accounts who are trying to debate real indie authors with some laughable tactics (logical rigor is not their strong suit) and generally stir up trouble — ain’t gonna work, pumpkins. We’re on to your tactics. So are readers. So is the media.

Although if I’m honest, I have to laugh — one sock puppet account called a debut author out for her comments on bookstuffers, saying that she knew nothing about the business. I replied that I’ve been in it for twenty-three years and the debut author was right. I got a snide response of, “Well, a lot of things have changed since 1995.” Actually, yes, they have, which is how we wound up in this current situation. But you know one thing that hasn’t changed since 1995? The drive to tell a good story. That’s what separates the writers from the packagers (if they’re so pissed off about being called bookstuffers). A writer is in this field because they want to tell stories. They want to entertain, enlighten, make people think. Whereas a bookstuffer wants to load as much ghostwritten material into a book as possible and siphon off as much money from readers as possible, often guilting them into being human click farms in the process. See the difference? Anyone who says, “Getting into the Amazon top 100 is expensive, but you can make money if you can do it” — folks, that’s not a writer. That’s an opportunist. It’s all about the money with them. They don’t care about entertaining you. They just want you to make it rain $ on them.

As I’ve said elsewhere, writers know that writing isn’t a way to get rich. It’s a way to do the thing you love, and hopefully make enough money to pay your bills. Sometimes, you get lucky and you make a bundle off your work. But believe me, that’s not common (Lord, I wish it was). Would I love to get rich off my work? Oh, hell yes. But if that ever happens (hey, Hollywood, I have a romcom that would make a GREAT movie), I can take pride in knowing that it happened because *I put in the work.* I busted my ass to become a good writer.

And that’s what every other legitimate indie author is doing right now. Suzan Tisdale is putting in the work. Heather C. Leigh is putting in the work. Ivy Quinn? Working. David Gaughran? Working. Bianca Sommerland, oh, hell yes, she’s working. Indie authors are sweating bullets to tell you a damn good story, all putting in the work. Not one of these folks are packaging up unedited ghostwritten material, slapping a sexy cover on it, and convincing/tricking/begging people to click to the end so that they get unearned page reads. A real indie author knows what it means to be a writer, a teller of tales.

So, to bring this around, bookstuffers know that their cash cow is drying up, and they’re running scared and trying to stir up trouble to hide their tracks. That’s not going to work. Too many people know about their tactics, now. The balance is shifting. But as Bianca said, it’s going to take time to put things back on a level playing field. Hang in there. Tell Amazon to do the right thing. Keep supporting legitimate indie authors. Be excellent to each other. And stay awesome.

The one where I’m on USA Today’s HEA blog

Or as I like to put it, SQUEE!

USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog has me on today with an interview talking about To My Muse, where I get my ideas from (everywhere), what distracts me (five cats), and what I looked like back in the 1980s (there’s a picture. I warn you). So if you want to know what makes me, me, go on over and check it out!

In other writing news, the rights to Storm Season have reverted to me and I’m bringing out a re-edited edition of it next Tuesday, including a spandy new cover! I’m also distributing ARCs for reviews tomorrow, so if you’re a blogger/reviewer and you’re interested, DM me with your preferred ebook format/email or fill out the form here.

And finally, I’m putting the finishing touches on Shifter Woods: Snarl. The plan was to have it out by 6/12 but it got bumped by Storm Season, so you can expect to see it on 7/4. I’m experimenting with the common wisdom that Amazon promotes you more widely if you bring out a title every 30 days, so that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of the year. Right now, the schedule is:

  • June: Storm Season (Olympic Cove 1)
  • July: Shifter Woods: Snarl (Esposito County Shifters 3)
  • August: Behind the Iron Cross (historical MMF)
  • September: Uncertainty Principle (Pacifica Rising 2)
  • October: Shifter Woods: Scream (Esposito County Shifters 4)
  • November: King of Blades (Two Thrones 4)
  • December: Two Thrones holiday novella

It’s not as insane as it sounds — Storm Season is already done, SW:S is a novella and almost done, Behind the Iron Cross is 80% done, and I have the plots for all the other books and novellas already worked out. Let’s see if I can pull this off!

To My Muse 99¢ release SALE

Amazon US

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Smashwords

Ever do something really, really dumb?

When too much tequila and an enabling BFF put Lily Nayar’s romance novel Feast of Lovers into the hands of its inspiration, sexy British actor Tom Morrison, Lily is horrified. Now she’s determined to get her book back, even if that means breaking into Tom’s hotel room to do it.

With the help of a strategic lie and an Oscar-winning knight, Lily’s screwball plan catapults her into the middle of her very own Cinderella story, Hollywood style. But will a vengeful actress ruin Lily’s shot at a real life HEA with Tom?

Some news on TO MY MUSE

It’s done! Yes, I finished it on Friday, and it’s currently simmering while I get pending jewelry projects done and generally play catch-up on things that fell by the wayside during my final push (like the housework, the laundry, paying bills, getting my car’s safety inspection done, making calls to various people to get things sorted with them, you know the drill). I have to say, I’m very happy with how the story turned out, and I’m really hoping that everyone likes my first stab at a contemporary romcom. I think it’s funny as hell, but I would — I wrote it. Also, it has a running Penguins of Madagascar joke in it, because I’m all about the pop culture.

Now, onto more important stuff — the release date is scheduled to be 5/15, and I’ll be putting together a Facebook launch party with giveaways and all kinds of fun and frivolity. I also need to set up  advertising, put together ARCs and get those off to bloggers/reviewers, plan out the print version, and generally run around like a headless chicken for the next two weeks (hence my spending THIS weekend doing cleaning and laundry).

Although I did take a break this evening to watch Westworld. I think I may know where they’re heading with Glory and why it’s so important to Dolores and William/MiB (let me just ask you this — what would rich people who already have all the money and power in the world really, really want? And how could a place like Westworld deliver that to them? And how does Robert keep speaking through all those hosts, anyway? GREAT cameo by Giancarlo Esposito, by the way — I’m really hoping he turns out to be someone they bring back in later episodes/seasons).

But that’s the lovely thing about Westworld. There are layers within layers within layers, characters who are literally played by different actors, games with time, location, and consciousness, and it all spins like this beautifully intricate Victorian clockwork piece. It’s a freaking joy to watch, and SO much fun to tease out what I think are the narrative threads. Even if I’m wrong, hey, who cares — I got a book series out of it!

When you have to work anyway

Mrrgh. The clavicle of Texas is currently enjoying a barometric pressure change at the moment with the promise of thunderstorms tomorrow. I’m not sure if the fact that I currently feel like hammered poo is related to this, or to the possibility that I may be sick (feeling feverish and I ache all over, but grass pollen is super high at the moment and I feel like that during a bad allergy attack as well).

Mind you, I still got 1100 words written on To My Muse and whomped up a draft cover for something, but to be honest I just kinda want to crawl back into bed and watch jewelry making videos. I’d show you the draft cover, but it really is just a draft. Better to wait until it’s all neat and pretty.

So I have the flu

Or at least I assume I have the flu, judging from the symptoms — stuffy nose, muscle aches, lack of energy, low fever, and every bad thing or decision in my life coming back to haunt me in 4K HD. Whee. So Ramón will be heading off to the shops in a bit to pick up basics so that we can eat today, and I’m drinking lots of water, eating healthy stuff when I can muster an appetite, and trying to add at least a K a day to To My Muse because I’m insane like that. Don’t worry — I’m taking breaks as and when appropriate. Also, ignore the number on the graphic at left — I’m currently up to 23,289 words and I’m hoping to crack 25K by tonight.

The cats are also making it their mission to drive me completely nuts. You know how you get those heartwarming stories of moggies who can tell when their owners are ill and will curl up next to them, providing body warmth and quiet support? Yeah, I have one like that (Jessie, my silver girl). The rest are either yelling at me for food (JJ), running through the house like their tail is on fire and acting like a complete idiot (Jeremy), crawling in between me and my food for pettins’ (Jasmine), or climbing on me because I’m their favorite perch (Jemma). I keep having to go upstairs and hide in my room because Jasmine won’t go up there, Jeremy and JJ will go straight for the space heater and sprawl there, and Jemma prefers to snooze under the bed, don’t ask me why. Only Jessie will come in, check on me, then settle down next to me within petting range (if I’m in the mood, but only then) and take a catnap.

It doesn’t help that the temperature is dropping quickly and we’ll be below freezing by tonight. We just had a plumber come out yesterday to fix one of the outside faucets that had developed a fatal failure during our recent freeze (when you turned it on water started coming out from BEHIND the brick fascia of the house). Luckily it wasn’t too horribly expensive, but I did throw on enough clothes so that I could stagger out and make sure that, yeah, he’d disconnected the hose (which apparently caused the problem). I may go back out in a bit and wrap the damn thing with a towel for insulation. And we still don’t know if the pool pump took any damage from the freeze. I know, first world problems, but that’s still a $600+ expense I’d like to avoid if at all possible.

In other news, I got my hair cut. And since it’s wavy it means that once I’d washed the salon product out of it (shown at right — my hair is never that straight unless a stylist has blown-dry it using one of those big round brushes) and let it dry naturally it bounced above my shoulders. Since it was down to the middle of my back before this is something of a change. Ramón keeps saying I look like I did when we lived in Montreal back in 1994, and it’s nice not to have to keep it in a pony tail all the time.

Welcome to 2018!

I was on a self-imposed writing hiatus for the last week in an effort to let my brain cool down after the last two and a half months of frantic writing, and it was absolutely lovely, thank you! I cooked, cleaned, got stuck into a BUNCH of craft projects that had been lying fallow for some time, watched TV, watched movies, baked pies, and generally had a rather pleasant week.

Among some of the nifty neato-keen craft projects are the socks shown above. They’ve been in my purse for well over a year, and I finally got cracking on them only to find that I’d run out of the self-striping yarn halfway through the second sock. Whomp-whomp! Luckily I had yarn of the same weight and makeup left over from other projects, so one sock will have a large light and dark pink foot on it. Hell, they’re striped anyway, and it’s not like anyone is going to see when I have shoes on, right?

Another LONG overdue project is the queen-sized Dia de los Muertos quilt for my friend. E. I’ve had this fabric for, God, at least three years now, but I just didn’t have the time or the inspiration to put some many vividly patterned fabrics together in an attractive whole. But last week inspiration did indeed strike, and after a few false starts I started putting the central medallion together. With luck I can get it quilted and off to E by the end of the month.

BUT! Most important of all, I’ve started the first book of 2018. And it’s going to be…

…wait until you hear this…

…a contemporary romcom! I know, I know — what the hell do I know about writing contemporary romance OR romcoms? Quite a lot, as it turns out, and I already have the entire plot worked out and can get it finished by the end of January if I get a move on. So look for To My Muse on Amazon sometime in late February!

And here’s hoping that 2018 turns out to be a much, MUCH better year for everyone than 2017.

Red Robin and the Huntsman is LIVE!

Phoo! Sorry about the radio silence for the last few weeks but I have been nailed to my chair getting Red Robin and the Huntsman ready for release! It’s a second chances holiday novella set in the Two Thrones universe and follows the adventures of Ypresian army captain Duncan Bardahlson (eldest son of Lord Commander Ferdal Bardahlson) and his bickering brothers Ewan and Hamish as they’re dispatched to the tiny province of Wellen right before the winter holiday of Frostfair to apprehend a legendary bandit known as the Redbird. One little problem: Wellen is governed by widowed countess Lady Roberta Busse, who also happens to be Duncan’s long-lost love. Oops.

There’s snark, wine, an overbearing tax collector, an impish priest, a rather large pig, an extremely smart eight-year-old, a LOT of porridge, and a love story that is guaranteed to have you cheering by the last chapter if I do say so myself. Plus it’s available on Kindle Unlimited so you can even read it for free if you have a KU membership!

And now, I clean and put up the Christmas tree — whee!

SO much cleaning to do…

One of the side effects of NaNoWriMo is that housekeeping in the Cameron manse usually falls by the wayside while I try to make word count. This year, however, I’m 1) well ahead of schedule (more on that below), and 2) still have to do the cleaning that fell by the wayside while I was editing Lady of Thorns. So I’ve instituted a plan of writing for a half hour, then cleaning for a half hour, then writing, then cleaning. Or in the last couple of days’ case, writing/raking. Sweet mother of Cthulhu, but we have a lot of leaves in the front yard. I’ve already raked up 8 bags’ worth and there will be at least another eight bags to go.

But it’s got to be done because otherwise they blow all over the street and I feel like a slacker (plus it’s not good for the lawn to be covered with leaves). That being said, after the last two days of raking I kinda feel like I’ve been beaten by Mob enforcers so I may well take today off from raking (the leaves aren’t going anywhere, after all) and focus on vacuuming the downstairs. Because 5 cats + 2 humans = one hell of a lot of hair/fur/dander. Thank Zoroaster for Dyson vacuums, that’s all I have to say.

In other news, my NaNoWriMo projects are a skosh over 30,000 words, one of them will be out on December 5th as a holiday novella (Red Robin and the Huntsman, set in the Two Thrones universe), and I just found a memory on Facebook from 2011 stating that I’d be happy if I could write a book a year, plus assorted short stories. Ha. Ha. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, I was a sweet summer child back i 2011, wasn’t I?

Oh, finally, if you’ve read Lady of Thorns could I ask you to leave a review on your preferred site? Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, it’s all good. I just need more reviews. Thanks!