"...but I'd need to get another extension cord to do it."

Friday, November 27, 2009
And just like that, my husband unwittingly gave me the title for this blog post. Now, I've blogged about my husband's holiday decorations before. This year we've added more wire animals, another couple of blow-ups (including my favorite, the huge chubby penguin), and have swapped out more of the lights for LEDs. One thing that was really neat to find out is that the white LEDs are now coming in a "warm" flavor, meaning they really DO look just like "real" white lights instead of having that bluish tint the "cool" flavor of white lights do. We added a few of those too.

(The picture is from my BlackBerry, because I was too lazy to find the regular digital camera and find batteries for it and...etc. If you click on it, it should give you a larger version.)

We've also added a music sync box which plays, at a neighbor-flinching volume, a wonderful collection of Christmas music, and it flashes the lights in time with the music. (Keep reading.)

When I noted to hubby that the very front row of light-up walker markers down by the street should stay lit all the time and not on the blinker, he said... "I can do that, but I'd need to get another extension cord to do it."

And the humor behind that statement is that already, we have cornered the market in extension cords.

But he's worked damn hard on it, and I'm really proud of him, all ball-busting aside, because it does look great. I keep informing him it's not a competition, but he keeps grinning that he "won" because he's got his outdoor decorations up before anyone else on our street, excluding the guy at the end who puts out his balls every year.

Um, light-up plastic balls. (Get yer minds outta da gutter.)

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a relatively crappy cell phone video that doesn't do the set-up justice. If you turn your volume up, you can barely hear the box. (I turned the volume on the box DOWN to a less ear-splitting volume so we don't have the home owner's association crawling up our asses.) Sorry for the quality of the video, I'll try to get a better one shot...if I find our video camera and figure out how to get the video to my laptop.


Random Humor: Muppets Singing "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Because it's my blog, that's why. And I love the Muppets and I love Queen. And this is one of my favorite songs!



"Safe Harbor" coming Dec. 7th!

Monday, November 23, 2009
I just received word from my publisher today that the official release date for "Safe Harbor" is Monday, Dec. 7th! Woot!! I'm so excited!!! You can pre-order it now so you can download it as soon as it's released. (Save yourself a few minutes. *LOL*)


Blurb:

[Menage Amour: Erotic Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, Contemporary, BDSM, Public Exhibition]

Clarisse seeks refuge from her abusive ex-boyfriend on the Dilly Dally, her uncle's old fishing trawler in Tarpon Springs, Florida. She doesn't expect to find Mac and Sully, the Dilly's sexy new owners, on board making love.

They're at first startled by her appearance, then outraged by the injuries her ex inflicted. They insist she stay with them, and with nowhere else to go, Clarisse agrees.

Both men find themselves falling for Clarisse, but she can't bring herself to completely trust Sully, a former cop, like her ex. She's shocked to discover the men aren't just lovers either, but full-time Master and slave in a BDSM relationship. As she learns more about their history and lifestyle, she uncovers her own hidden desires. When danger from her past returns, can Sully and Mac provide Clarisse a Safe Harbor?

Harlequin Hooey

Friday, November 20, 2009
If you've been under a rock in romland for the past few days, you might not have heard about Harlequin's boneheaded move to add what amounts to little more than a pay-to-get-published vanity press Harlequin Horizons to their line-up. This move not only got them slapped down almost immediately by the RWA, but by other organizations like SFWA and MWA.

Now, I'm not a huge ra-ra cheerleader of the RWA because of their mule-headed stance on legitimate e-publishing houses and their reluctance to embrace that business model. In fact, I let my membership lapse because frankly, I felt they were taking my money, sending me a highly overpriced magazine once a month, and patting me on the head and shooing me to stand the corner to be quiet with all the other red-headed step-kids they didn't want to acknowledge have decent careers with indie houses who embrace e-publishing as a viable career. I also chafe at their less than supportive view of erotica and GLBT writing.

However, that said, I do give the RWA props for standing up to Harlequin on this issue.

Self-publishing and vanity/subsidy publishing are two TOTALLY different animals. And the blatantly misleading PR Harlequin was doing to claim Harlequin Horizons is anything but vanity/subsidy publishing is horse-hockey.

In self-publishing, an author keeps ALL the profit. Period. In vanity/subsidy publishing, you not only pay to get published, you don't keep all the profits. And according to some reports I've read, Harlequin plans to point rejected authors toward Harlequin Horizons, which is not only a conflict of interest, it's an unsavory bait and switch tactic used by unscrupulous businesses in the publishing industry for years. The overall fear expressed by most is that unknowing authors will be snookered into thinking they're "getting published" by Harlequin when the truth is, they won't be, they'll be paying to get published by a vanity house and not marketed as a Harlequin author.

Okay, so that all said, let's start the wrap-up!

Jackie Kessler has a GREAT summation post that should be your first stop on the issue.

The original RWA letter can be viewed on Ann Aguirre's blog here.

The SWFA's response to the issue.


Pub Rants has a great series of posts, including the latest update that now Harlequin is backpedaling at light speed. Read them First, Second, and Third.

The Writer Beware blog covers the furor here, here, and here.

Wendy the Super Librarian weighed in here and here.

Here's a different take on it from the Behler Blog.

I think the fact that Harlequin is now backpedaling at light speed means they not only didn't think this thing through all the way (never a good sign when a business does that) but they overestimated the desperation of romwriters to get published when there ARE other (much cheaper) legitimate alternatives out there.

For example, you can use a company like Lulu.com and if you can supply your own decent cover, and if your book is well-edited, you can basically publish your book in their distribution stream (meaning it will make it to Amazon.com and other outlets like that) for the price of the ISBN package. (I want to say $99, but I could be wrong on that.) You can literally publish for FREE if you simply want to publish it as an ebook or make the paperback available directly for sale immediately without an ISBN.

That's only ONE example. (I've used Lulu.com for software tutorials before, I do my own covers, and I love the quality of their product.) There are other companies out there like CreateSpace and others that are much cheaper than the "options" offered by Harlequin. AND with those other options, YOU keep 100% of the profit.

So...newbie writers...DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don't be so desperate to get published that you shell out lots of money without knowing what you will receive in return.

There are plenty of great indie publishers out there you can submit to, legitimate publishers who have mastered e-publishing and their print lines and you can actually earn royalties without shelling out a dime.

Legitimate publishers do NOT ask you to pay to get published. Legitimate publishers do not send you a reject letter with a suggestion or referral that you try "this other company" for editing/publishing whatever. Period. Full stop. The money flows TO the author, not away from them.

Writer beware.

Book of the Week, EPIC finalist, "Triple Trouble" in Print, and More!

Thursday, November 19, 2009
*Happy Dancing!*

Okay, first of all, thank you to all who voted for "Love Slave for Two: Beginnings" as book of the week, because...IT WON!!! *Snoopy Dancing!*

Second big news, and yes, I'm waaaay behind updating my websites and blog... I had a total of three books make it to the annual EPIC contest, "Out of the Darkness" and "Cross Country Chaos" (as Lesli Richardson) and "The Reluctant Dom" (as Tymber Dalton). Woot!!! I won't find out until their annual conference in March if any of them win or not. (*my nail biting commences...now*)

Third... The first volume of the Triple Trouble series is NOW IN PRINT!!! Okay, but be advised!!! This is books one and two in the series on one volume: "Trouble Comes in Threes" and "Storm Warning." So You will be getting TWO books in one by buying it. It just came up, as of today the cover isn't even showing up yet.


Okay... Fourth... "Safe Harbor" is now available for pre-purchase on the Siren-BookStrand website! I don't have a final release date yet, I imagine it will be in the next few weeks, so when you buy it you won't be able to download it until the release date.


If you enjoyed "The Reluctant Dom," you will LOVE "Safe Harbor." (Without giving anything away, I can tell you less tissues will be required for reading. *LOL*)

And on a related note, Ray and Oot, who made their first appearance in "Love Slave for Two: Beginnings," also make a brief appearance in "Safe Harbor."

If you haven't picked up LSFT: Beginnings, you can get it here:


If you have a Kindle, you SHOULD be able to get one of the other formats (I don't remember which one it is) and convert it and upload it to your Kindle. I don't have a Kindle, I have a Sony and use .pdf for most things, but I know there's a way to do it. So Kindle users, you won't have to wait to read how Tyler and Thomas met. LOL

So while you're waiting for your next installment of the Lyall brothers' story, don't forget you can read my shape-shifters over at Amira Press ("Doggy Walk" and "Doggy Style") writing as Lesli Richardson, as well as my Brimstone vampires.


And if you still need more, you can get the first two installments of my scorching hot "Good Will Ghost Hunting" series from Lyrical Press (also writing as Lesli Richardson):


Thanks!!

Writing How-To: (Bad Pun Alert) Easy Writer.

Monday, November 9, 2009
I want to let you in on a little secret about writing. (It's not a secret for my fellow pubbed authors, because they already know this, so quit that snickering there in the peanut gallery.)

Writing is the EASY part of your job.

Yep.

You know, all those gallons of sweat and all those buckets of tears you put into your manuscript, along with a few pints of blood to season the mix?

Child's play.

See, once you get your "baby" accepted and published and then you get your first round of edits back from your editor...let's just say make sure you've got a glass of something stronger than soda water ready to steady your nerves.

And I don't give a rat's ass how many times you went through that puppy before you submitted it, how clean you thought it was. Once it's sat in a darkened corner for a while and you get your eyes on it after an editor has been through it...

Owch.

I don't mean to sound cold and callous or discouraging to newbie writers, but frankly, if you think getting your words on the page was the hardest part of the process and the rest is all downhill from there, Sunshine, have I got a cold, hard wake-up for you that you're not going to like.

Let me say it again for those who missed it the first time around: Writing your book is the EASY part of the entire insane process.

And that's taking the submission part right out of the queue and jumping to the assumption that your manuscript is placed with a publisher.

Why do I harp on this? Because I'm seeing more newbie writers out there who apparently haven't done any research on how publishing works. They think they can write, submit, and sit back and get paid.

Now, I'm NOT trying to discourage them from writing. Quite the contrary. I think they should be prepared for the process ahead of them so they can survive it without having to be admitted to a mental hospital in the process.

And then, let's not forget self-promotion. You cannot sit back and assume someone will do it all for you. If you already have an evil day job that isn't "novelist," you must find a way to make time in there, along with family obligations, sleep, eating, and car pooling, to self-promote. If you do not self-promote, you will not sell books. Or you will not sell many books.

Now, all that said, you might ask why the hell anyone in their right (write *LOL*) mind would want this gig?

If you are a writer, you already know the answer to that question.

So newbie writers, don't despair. No matter how hard it might feel getting that book pulled out of your brain and onto the page, once it's finished, you'll appreciate it for what it is:

The easy part.

Now gird your loins and go forth and kick butt and know that you're not alone in your post-writing misery. We feel your pain.

Gidget's world domination continues.

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Gidget was a pirate for Howl-oween.

Obviously, her plan for world domination includes cuteness to take everyone by surprise.

Call off the search dogs, I'm back.

Sorry for the delay, I'm stuck in home improvement hell. *LOL*

First of all, the winner of my contest was lisaguertin, so please drop me an email with your email and I'll...um...email you your copy of Cross Country Chaos. *LOL*

Home improvement hell. Well, I'm stuck slap dab in the middle of it right now. I still have one room to finish laying down the allure flooring, I just finished painting our bedroom (well, almost finished, still have to finish the trim work, ugh, dark chocolate brown over white trim, not fun), I have to paint the hallway (long) and great room/kitchen. I also have to replace the window treatments in those rooms (except for our bedroom, which is already done).

Admittedly, our bedroom, with the new flooring, new blinds, and new paint, looks really neat. I need to go through and declutter it and tidy it up, but it's like having a whole new room. Especially since we reversed the layout, moving the bed and TV 180 degrees from where they were.

Can you tell I received a quarterly royalty check? *LOL* I also paid our property taxes, which came in the day before my check. I asked my husband if we could frame the receipt since it was the first time EVER we didn't wait until the absolute very last day in March to pay them. He sort of laughed but I think he thought I was kidding. (I wasn't. *LOL*)

Yeah, who says the Universe doesn't have a sense of humor? Literally the day before my royalty check hits my bank, I get my property tax statement and my flood insurance renewal notice. *hanging and shaking head* At least I got hubby's car fixed ($600+ later), which I'd been promising him we'd do after I got paid. Nearly a grand dropped at Home Depot. Oooh, and another exciting expenditure...I set up our mortgage to pay automatically, had to pay a month in advance for the overlap on that.

Oooh. Yeah, I know, the glamorous life of a writer, right? *LOL*

So what sort of "fun" stuff did I buy? I did get a new wireless keyboard. Does that count? *LOL*

I know. I'm so friggin' boring. Hey, I'm just happy to be getting my house painted, seriously. In the almost thirteen years we've lived here, the only rooms that have ever been painted are my son's room, and both bathrooms. That's it. It's a slow and ongoing process now to get everything done. I want to upgrade our decrepit A/C system, but that needs to wait until next quarter. I also want to get our roof done, but I need to get estimates on that and find out how much it will be and then make sure I have that done when it's not rainy season. *LOL*

Meanwhile, I'm in the middle of edits for "Safe Harbor," which will be my next Siren-BookStrand release. I've decided I just don't have time to do Nano this year. *sigh* Ironically, I'm too busy writing (among other things) to do it. I've got four projects I need to get turned in that were special invites (one's almost done) and there just isn't enough time in the day for it all. Not that I'm complaining, believe me.

And hubby is already ramping up for his Christmas light extravaganza.

No, I'm not exaggerating. He really does go all out. We're upgrading our exterior lights to the LEDs, so hopefully my light bill won't be so horrendous this year. Ugh.