This has been a tempestuous year. Lots of travel for conferences and reader cons, lots of doubt about my writing, lots of internal worry and change, lots of hot flashes – oy. I’ve done some editing work for friends, taken a lot of online classes, stood my ground, gave ground, and in general – lived.
Good things have happened, and new connections have been made. GUARDED STAR came out this year with Boroughs Publishing Group, and STAR CROSSED is in final edits and will be making an appearance soon. RISING STAR will, hopefully, make an appearance in early 2016.
Plus I’ll be going to TNEE in Atlanta in April, RWA National Conference in July, and the Emerald Coast conference in October. These will be, most likely, my only “public” appearances this coming year.
The Caine Brothers series, my paranormal romances, have been picked up by Wolfpack Publishing. I’m writing a prequel, the two (and a half) books that have already come out will be published again, and the third book (Justin’s story) will be out as well, all starting in January 2016. I have been told there are at least two more stories in this world, and maybe more, so hopefully I can get them out next year. We will see.
As well, there’s another line of books (contemporary) that I’m going to be working on, so…busy!
I’m writing this on Thanksgiving night. For years, we traveled to my parents’ house and I cooked (or they came up to us and…I cooked); or we traveled to Arizona and Tom’s family…and I cooked, ha. But…a few years ago, I handed the mantle of Thanksgiving Queen to my nephew’s lovely wife (something about – oh, brain surgery comes to mind), and they have been hosting ever since.
I won’t lie – 150+ miles, one way, is a long way to go for a turkey dinner. But a turkey dinner where my brother can sweep me up in a hug? A dinner where I get to sit on a couch for an hour or so, holding my dad’s hand, and talking possible TV series ideas with him? A dinner where I can give my great-niece the book I had promised to give her LAST Thanksgiving, but had neglected to send to her? (Her comment when I handed it to her? “At LAST.” lol…)
In between conversations, we watched two teams sportsing. One team was in some sort of white outfit, while the other team was in electric blue…and they were still sportsing, even after dinner. The electric blue team ended up sportsing better than the white team, and won…. please understand, that out of the ten people at this dinner, only three of us were female. None of my clan is overly sportsy, except for soccer and basketball.
But my favorite memory of the night? Holding my dad’s hand, and feeling the veins there, and knowing that in a few short years, my hand will look much the same.
Life happens, people. We lose our way, and find it again, and if we are very lucky, we have family and friends that stand with us along every step of that meandering path we’re all on.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend, my lovelies.
Everyone Needs a Helping Hand at Times…
There are three friends of mine – well, one is a close friend I’ve had for over twenty years, one is a professional colleague who has become a close friend, and the third is a lovely young woman who has become a new friend. Anyway, as I was saying…
Three friends. Three different needs. The one missing ingredient for all three? Money. Now, the way I see it is, if everyone just donated the price of a cup of their fancy coffee, these folks will be on their way to getting done what needs to get done.
So, let me tell you a few stories…and read all the way to the end. Because I have a deal for you.
Christina and Justin
Meet Christina Munson and her husband, Justin. I met Christina recently through FaceBook, and our common love of the written word. Here’s what Christina has to say.
“When I first met my husband Justin he weighed a healthy 200lbs. Now his teeth are in very bad condition and need to be removed and replaced with dentures. He fights to maintain a a healthy weight. His health has also declined because he cant eat like he should. He is in constant pain, and I fear that if we don’t take care of this soon he won’t live long enough to watch our son grow up.”
They are close to their goal, but they’ve been doing this GoFundMe campaign for six months. Won’t you please consider donating? Even the price of a cup of coffee would help.
Justin and his son…Justin needs dental surgery and full dentures.
Click HERE for Justin and Christina’s GOFUNDME Campaign.
A professional colleague (we are both in Lucky Stars Paranormal Box Set) who has become a close friend, Sascha Illyvich is known as the Bad Boy of Romance. He’s had over 50 short stories, novellas and novels published in the last fifteen years. Here’s what he has to say…
“I’m a published romance author in transition and currently crashing with friends in
Sascha just wants a place to call home.
Tennessee. I have managed to save most of what I need to move back to Atlanta, but the next few months will be difficult.
“I’m legally blind, have a bad heart and because I’ve been floating around the country, access to my medicine and regular health care has been sketchy. Once I move back to Atlanta, I’ll remedy that.
“Work is steady but with money going out to sustain healthy eating and acquire my heart medicine, it’s going to be harder to save that last bit which would give me one full year’s rent in a safe, MARTA friendly neighborhood in the Atlanta area. Your help now will allow me to make that move, not only into a new space, but also a new stage in my career.”
Click HERE for Sascha’s GoFundMe campaign.
Next up is my dear friend of close to 30 years (!!), and an amazing costumer, Jeffrey Schoenberg and AJS Costumes. Here is what he has to say.
AJS Costume Shop – Jeffrey’s company is at risk.
“After more than 20 years as a free-lance costume designer, I established AJS Costumes in 2002. In 2006, I purchased Renaissance Dancewear and moved both businesses into our present location in Burbank. AJS Costumes has been proud to be a part of the Los Angeles theater community, offering creative resources, extensive stock, and diversity in design.
Today I find myself, my livelihood, and the future of my company impacted and at serious risk. That is why I am reaching out to friends, supporters, and clients of AJS Costumes for help with this GoFundMe campaign.”
Click HERE for Jeffrey’s GoFundMe campaign.
So, Here’s the Deal…
There are people all over the world who need help. Financial help, physical help, emotional help. These are three people who are dear to me, and who I have given to. If you can give, that would be fantastic, I’m not going to lie. If you can’t give, however, and not everyone can, would you please pass this message on? You just never know…you might allow a father to see his son grow up. Allow a writer to finally have a place to call home. And allow a business to thrive.
If you do donate, come back and let me know which one you donated to, and you will be put into a drawing to win a $25 gift card to Amazon. And yeah, I’m going on the honor system here. I’ll do the drawing on September 30th, 2015 so be sure to check back. Oh, and leave your email address, too, so I can notify you if you win.
UPDATE: Okay – some of you haven’t been able to leave a comment, and I’m not sure why. If you leave a message on this post on my Facebook Page, you will also be counted in for the drawing. Or maybe I’ll do two separate drawings. Not sure yet. But thank you – and keep sharing.
This was originally supposed to post on March 23, 2015…
As you may or may not know, I had the privilege of being a part of the Lucky Stars Box Set with some amazing authors – namely Louisa Bacio, Kim Carmichael, Solera Winters, Erzabet Bishop, Fred T. Kerns, and Sascha Illyvich. That box set came out in March.
If you haven’t picked it up yet, it’s 500 pages of yummy, spicy and sweet stories – only $0.99.
Then, of course, we started rehearsals for CASSANDRA CRIES, a play I wrote, which will get 4 performances in Hollywood at the last weekend in April, and the first weekend in May. A play. As in, actors on a stage bringing to life a world I have created. My words in their mouths.
This is a different – thing – for me. I am the creator of the
Tom Ashworth & Jocelyn Hall, 1st Rehearsal, March 22, 2015
play. Everyone else is there because of me. And while it is similar to being an author, in the theater world it has more of an impact on me. It’s intense. It can also be intensely boring (OMG I hate this scene -who wrote this shit? Um…*headdesk*).
It is a different medium, and having people take the characters I created and breathe life into them is somewhat astounding. And addicting. Sigh. But this isn’t the end of the craziness that is my life, my friends. Not a bit of it. Why?
Because tomorrow, GUARDED STAR comes out – book 2 in the StarTide Agency series. And right on the heels of that release is the California Dreamin’ Writer’s Conference in Brea, where I’ll be rooming with 3 other people, hugging all my friends old and new, participating in a Lady Jane’s Salon reading of my book, coming right after the fabulous Susan Squires and a couple of people before Christie Craig…plus seeing friends such as Brenda Chin and Michelle Klayman (also my publisher), and the weekend all culminates in a booksigning on Sunday, March 29, from 2 – 4pm. I’ll be signing that brand new book. Exciting doesn’t begin to describe…
…and underlying it all is a sense of dread. Because too many good things tend to need a balance to them, don’t they? So I worry about my dad, being so far away from me. I have to trust people my gut doesn’t want to trust, and I have to let my dad run his own life as he sees fit. He’s sharp as a tack and not one to bend easily (I get my stubbornness equally from him and my mother).
But it’s the fear of losing my hearing that has my heart in my throat and a glass of wine in my hand most nights. I know I need to call the doctor and get checked out…it might be nothing. It might be a lot. Just knowing that I might one day become totally deaf…not my worst nightmare, but hell. Makes me wish I’d actually followed through on learning AMESLAN which, according to that link, is an outdated term – and how interesting that American Sign Language and Chinese have a lot in common. Head. Desk. I mean, I know I want to keep learning and keep growing and…sigh. Damn it. I dealt with losing the hearing in one ear. back in 2010. Really don’t want to have a matching pair of ears that don’t work…even though the hearing loss in ear #2 won’t be for the same reason as the loss in ear #1. I hope.
So, yeah. There’s excitement and dreams coming true and getting to see and hug friends and putting my work up on stage in Hollywood and relationships changing and growing and pedicures to get and … fear.
…and the beat goes on…
Scott and Christine, San Diego 1982 Photo by Chet Cunningham
UPDATE: I don’t know why this didn’t get posted the first time around…anyway, hearing loss is minor to moderate in the good ear. Am waiting to get the referral to see the specialist that helped with my acoustic neuroma surgery…to see what can be done to preserve the hearing I do have.
Keep living, people. Keep living, and loving, and marching to the beat of your own drum.
I have had an amazing summer. Finished edits on book 3 of the StarTide series, Star Crossed – I don’t know when that’s coming out but hopefully will learn the schedule soon.
I also turned in Rising Star. Again, don’t know what’s happening, but hopefully soon!
Went to RWA National Conference in New York City, and then hopped to Long Island for the Book Obsessed Chicks Beach BBQ Bash, where I signed books and made new friends (Christopher Rice! Damon Suede!).
Then this month, there was Authors After Dark – a reader con that was a ton of fun, in Atlanta last week. Met a lot of great readers.
I’m currently working on a short story for Boroughs Publishing Group’s Lunchbox Romance line, in time for Halloween. Another for Christmas, hopefully, and then a sweet Valentine’s Day story.
Plus there’s more coming down the pike.
As soon as I get this glitch in the website fixed, I’ll be posting more often. I promise.
See you soon…
Things were happening. Like, unable to update here things. Insidious things. But hopefully those things are done with, and we can move on.
In case you weren’t sure, this is a test. This is only a test…
Edited to add: WOO! It looks like whatever bug prevented me from updating has been vanquished, and updates can be done once again!
Be prepared, my friends, for more wine reviews (under $10) and more book news. And more of me, in general.
Sending much love and hugs…
I usually do this post on New Year’s Eve, but life sort of got away from me, as it does now and then. However, here’s a look back at 2014.
Well, I did finish the Guitar Book, and came up with a series idea based on the talent agency…had a great time pitching that at Desert Dreams, finaled in their contest with that book, and…let’s see…oh YEAH. Boroughs Publishing Group wanted the series, and I signed a contract with them in August for a short story and the three novels. Woo! (StarTide series!) Isn’t the StarTide logo cool???
I pitched the Ballet Book, finally finished it, and sent it off to Lovely Agent who wants to see it after I make some revisions because she really liked it but it didn’t quite have enough oomph in the non-ballet sections. So there’s that.
Went to San Antonio for RWA’s National Conference, where I was a lucky girl and got to spend time with the Boroughs peeps. Went to their open house, and was invited to their author dinner even though I wasn’t technically one of theirs yet. Spent some lovely time talking to Chris Keeslar, which is where I got the idea for the Christmas short story. I also drunk-pitched said Ballet Book to a Lovely Editor at St. Martin’s, who said she loved the idea and (being friends with Lovely Agent), when the book is complete she’d like to see it.
Once home, I commenced writing like a fiend. Wrote, finished, and turned in the short story. Christmas Star (only .99!) published in October, 2014! Yay…after almost two years of not publishing, it was nice getting back into the water. In December, I finished book 2 of the StarTide series, and turned that one in. Began Book 3.
Also in December, rewrote another short story I had, after being asked to submit one for a paranormal/sci fi box set for Irksome Rebel Press. As soon as my readers get that back to me, I’ll be turning it in.
So the count for 2014: finished 3 novels; wrote 2 short stories; had one short story published, went to two conferences. Oh, and I wrapped up my second year as President of Los Angeles Romance Authors, chapter of RWA. Whew!
(2015 can be your year, too! There’s room for everyone!)
Here’s what my 2015 is going to look like, that I am aware of currently:
Writing wise: Finish Book 3, Rising Star. Write Caine Brothers Book 3, Demon’s Rage (Justin and Maggie). Rewrite the Ballet Book; send to Lovely Agent (and hopefully Lovely Editor). Brainstorm 2 – 3 novels/novellas for the StarTide series; discuss with Boroughs and write at least the first one.
Guarded Star, to publish in February. Star-Crossed, to publish in April. And Rising Star, publishing in June.
Hopefully my short story will be accepted, and in the Lucky Stars Box Set that will come out on March 17th.
End of March, I will be speaking at the California Dreamin’ Writer’s Conference, where I’ll get to see lots of old friends and make new ones.
End of May, I’ll be at the Pay It Forward Writer’s Retreat, put on by the incomparable duo of Kendall Grey and Danielle Allen.
End of July, I’ll be in New York City for the RWA National Conference!!!
Demon Soul, Demon Hunt and Demon’s Rage will hopefully all be out in August or maybe September, with nifty new covers and finally an end to the story!
A StarTide holiday novella out in October/November, hopefully.
So, that’s my year. Of course, life happens and things change. My fondest hope is that whatever changes happen are for the better, and that more gets out than less…
Whatever your dreams are, go for them. Be bold, in whatever manner fits you. And don’t let anyone tell you your dreams are too big. They are YOUR dreams, and so they are the perfect size.
Sending love and hugs out to you, and may 2015 be the continuation of All the Good Things!
All pictures (except Christmas Star and the StarTide logo) borrowed from Leonie Dawson.