Monday of #RWA17-ness

So…I was up before dawn and my plane took off into the rising sun. Yes, I am writing this the night before. 😆

So, I’ll be landing in Orlando about noon today, then I’m headed to the Walt Disney World Resort Dolphin hotel. Hopefully, I can grab an early check in. Keep your fingers crossed for me. If not, I have friends already there who will let me stash luggage and smooze with them. The Romance Writers of America National Conference is a week of amazing reconnecting with friends, learning new things, networking with publishing professionals and parties. Fun–if exhausting times! This year, the “finale” is the Literacy for Life signing.

If any of you are in the Orlando/Florida area, please come! There will be 400+ amazing romance authors and the proceeds of every book sold goes to literacy programs. RWA has already donated a MILLION DOLLARS and we want to big start on our next million on Saturday!

I’ll be checking in on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram but probably not here. I’ll miss y’all and I’ll be back next Monday–hopefull with some amazing tales to tell. Have a great week and come see me if you are in Florida!

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Friday Free For All – Linky-dinkies

After the week I’ve had, I think it’s time to spread a little joy, some smiles, maybe a giggle or two, and some WOW! Have a great weekend. I’ll be at #RWA17 in Orlando next week, though I’m going to try to set up some posts before I go. All depends on time and inspiration. 😆 I’ll be checking in on Twitter and Facebook from the conference so y’all won’t miss me–not that you would.

Okay, on to the fun stuffs! Just click on the highlighted links and go spend some time surfing the ‘net. Trust me, you’ll enjoy yourself. And don’t worry–the links will open in a new window.

This Russian photographer takes FAIRYTALE PHOTOS with real, live animals!

And speaking of photographers, this one is bloody brilliant, imaginative as he uses paper cutouts to set up these QUIRKY SCENES!

These BOOK TITLE MASHUPS from the editors at Audible made me gigglesnort. More than once!

Last but not least, I’m a sucker for these celebrity/character look-alike animals and with GoT starting a new season, these LOOK-ALIKE CATS are perfect!

Stay cool this weekend! And read a good book.

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Thursday Thoughts: Piracy

I’ve been awake since 5:00 a.m. I’m still so angry after yesterday’s events that not even watching the sun come up with a cup of coffee in my hands has alleviated the ache in my gut. Instead of calming down and putting my mind in gear to write, I’m sitting here getting angry all over again.

I write for a living. It is not my hobby. I pay bills, put food on our table, and I pay contractors (editors and cover designers) who work with me. I’m not a best-selling author. I’m barely mid-list so it’s not like I’m rolling in money. I don’t get six figures a month, much less in a year. Some months I’m lucky to get three figures. When self-publishing was just hitting it’s stride, I made a decent living. Then the scammers and pirates hit the scene.

Scammers figured out the algorithms and ways to game the system to rake in the big bucks with mostly drivel. In some cases, there is outright plagiarism and sadly, the burden of proof is on the plagiarized author to prove their original work. Then came the piracy sites who entice the unwary with “free and cheap” reads but are mainly cesspools of computer viruses and phishing for credit card info.

And now? Now the bastards have gone to a whole new level of perfidy. They’s STOLEN my whole book–the cover, I assume the interior because I’m not going to buy my own book to check, and my author name. They uploaded my newest indie book, NIGHT FIRE, to iBooks on iTunes, lock, stock and barrel listing DIVERSITY PRESS as the publisher. I’m sure they put their bank account information into their account so any royalty earned goes to them, not me. I just freaking published this book the first part of June. I published it exclusively to Amazon in their KDP SELECT program. Part of the terms of service is I CAN’T PUBLISH THAT BOOK AT ANY OTHER VENDOR!!!!! These asshats are jeopardizing my contract with Amazon. The bulk of my sales come from Amazon. THEY ARE TAKING FOOD OUT OF MY FAMILY’S MOUTH!!!

Yes, I’m taking steps but the on-line retailers don’t feel any pressure to “get right on this issue.” Yes, I have an attorney involved. Yes, I’m small potatoes compared to some of the authors I know who are caught in this, too. Some have lost THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

THIS IS NOT A VICTIMLESS CRIME.

So, what can you as a reader do? PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE check the information before you buy. If there are TWO (or more) listings for the same book, with a difference in price, LOOK at the publisher name. Make sure you are buying the legitimate copy! If only one books is listed, check for author, publisher, and seller. As for me, I work with two publishers–my early books are still published by Wild Rose Press. My contemporary romances are all published by Harlequin. My indie books will have ME listed as publisher and in some cases, a seller (either Smashwords or Draft2Digital) will be listed. These are legitimate. Any other publisher? NO!

Conscientious authors want to create the best product we can. Yes, a book is a product and you readers are consumers. While we love what we do, we can’t afford to do this for free. Some of us have to put a “loss-leader” book out there for free or at a reduced price in order to attract new readers. I won’t give you a lesson in writing economics except to say this: Yes, funds are tight. I want my readers to be able to afford my books but in order to offer my books at a lower price, I have to sell a certain number of books to make up the loss. That’s been really tough the past year and pirates stealing royalty by stealing my book exacerbates the problem. You can help by reporting any suspicious listings to the author so we can check to see if we’re getting ripped off. Again.

I started out really angry. I still am but by laying this out in a semi-logical way, I’ve calmed enough to maybe fix the book I’m currently writing. I’d just figured out where I went wrong with the time/plot line yesterday when this whole mess blew up. I don’t have a staff. I don’t have a PA. When this shitstuff happens, I have to stop and deal with it. Most of my day was lost yesterday. If I don’t write, I don’t publish. If I don’t publish, I don’t get paid. Funny how it works that way.

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Wednesday Words: Surrender

I give up! Especially since it is time for a snippet based on the #1lineWed theme of **SURRENDER**. Sadly, I didn’t have that word or words pertaining to it that I could find doing a search of my current WIP. So, being all creative because…gosh, I’m a writer, doncha know!?!…I wrote a snippet that very nicely finished out the scene I was working on yesterday, and also played very nicely with the next scene to come in the storyline. 😉 You’ll have to wait until Tucker’s book comes out next year to find out who surrendered first. *bwahaha*

In this scene, Tucker has taken Zoe out to dinner at The Rutledge, a fancy restaurant located in a historic home. I hope you enjoy…
***
They sat in a little nook with windows overlooking the back gardens and Zoe imagined what it might have been like when this was a house—with a family, and her as the…what? Matriarch? That word put her too much in mind of Etta Smithee and she shivered. Leave it to Tucker to notice.

“Are you cold?” Before she could respond, he had his sport coat off and draped over her shoulders. The material carried both his body heat and his scent—a cologne that reminded her sea spray and sand and blue skies.

Dinner…happened. All of it a blur. The jacket fell away at some point but she was still surrounded by all things Tucker and she simply surrendered to the magnetic pull he exuded. Emotions she’d stuffed deep inside roiled to the surface and Zoe had to press her lips together to keep from blurting out her feelings. She wanted him. She wanted to be with him. Skin to skin. Heart to heart. If she were a poet, she’d write about their souls soaring into the heavens, joined by a love so eternal that one would not exist without the other.
Then she burst out laughing. She was such a romantic fool. Tucker wasn’t her soul mate. He was just a guy who was mostly nice to a girl down on her luck. He didn’t feel her feelings, didn’t look at her like she was his only hope of breathing. Except sometimes he did, when no one was looking, when shadows danced over his face. She’d glance up, usually with Nash in her arms, and she’d catch him watching them both, his expression a mix of hunger, longing, tenderness, and sorrow—like she and the baby were something he wanted but was convinced he’d never have.

Without thinking, she reached out and touched his cheek. “What are we doin’, Tucker?”

“I don’t have a flipping clue, angel, but I’m willing to find out. Are you?”

The truth was there on his face. He wanted her in his bed. He didn’t have to say it out loud. She’d told herself over and over that hooking up with another man was a bad idea but she couldn’t help herself. Didn’t want to, in fact, when it came to this man.

Zoe surrendered to her own yearning. “Yeah,” she murmured. “I do believe I am.”
***
Are you ready to surrender your words? Share them with us or just share what you’re currently reading/writing. Inquiring minds want to know!

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Tuesday Treats: Graham Cracker Eclair Cake

I’m running a little behind this morning. Okay, I’m a lot behind. Because…reasons. Anyway, it’s hot outside and sometimes you need something cool, light and chocolaty. Today, I picked this Graham Cracker Eclair Cake from Kraft Recipes!

Prep Time: 15min.
Total Time: 3hr. 15min.
Servings: 9 servings
Delight the whole crowd with our delectably airy Graham Cracker Eclair Cake. Graham cracker layers become cake-like and soft alongside the pudding.

What You Need
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1-1/2 cups cold milk
15 graham crackers, broken crosswise in half (30 squares), divided
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
1 cup BAKER’S ONE BOWL Chocolate Frosting

Make It
Beat pudding mix and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Let stand 5 min.

Meanwhile, cover bottom of 8-inch square pan with graham squares, overlapping as needed to form even layer.

Stir COOL WHIP into pudding; spread half over graham squares in pan. Cover with 10 of the remaining graham squares. Repeat layers of pudding mixture and graham squares.

Refrigerate 3 hours. Spread with BAKER’S ONE BOWL Chocolate Frosting.

Click for more info and a VIDEO FROM KRAFT to see how it’s done.

I’m pretty sure Jo Mayweather the Djinn heroine of B.E. Sanderson’s Once Upon a Djinn series would enjoy this dessert. She might even make it…or not. 😉 There’s a giveaway for the 3rd book in series on Goodreads. CLICK HERE to sign up for a chance to win, and be sure to check out the other books in the series.

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Monday of the Oh Noes!

So…this time next week I’ll be in the air winging my way toward Orlando and the Romance Writers of American National Conference. Yes, my plane leaves at the butt crack of dawn. For some reason, Southwest like to start and end their flights here. I guess the flight crews like the hotels in OKC. Or something. Anyway.

Here’s a quick update on the status of my life as I’m living it. The picture? Yeah…too close to reality for my tastes. I have a book due. I have fewer words to write than I did this time last week. That’s the good news. The bad news is that not only do I need to finish and polish this puppy but I need to prepare for the trip. I’m looking at early mornings and late nights. Joy. Why yes, that was a bit of sarcasm you detected. 😆

So…TV. GAME OF THRONES began its next to last season last night. I DVR’d it. I haven’t caught up on LAST season yet. I’m so totally behind! I figure if I take a one hour break each day to watch it, I’ll be mostly caught up by the time Episode 2 airs next Sunday night. Any leftovers can be watched while I’m packing on Sunday. Other than that, the only TV show I’m watching with any regularity is LIVE PD on A&E. Lawyer Guy and I are considering a drinking game, while the two in-studio hosts tease about the LIVE PD bingo game. Either one works.

Special Public Service Announcement! Our own B.E. Sanderson is running a Goodreads giveaway for UP WISH CREEK, which is one of my favorite books. If you’re on Goodreads and don’t have the paperback, go over there and enter! Here’s the link to the book’s GOODREAD’S PAGE. Scroll down to the giveaway info and click on the ENTER button. Do it. Right now. You know you want to! Then come back and finish reading this… 😉

Reading…or listening in my case. I re-listened to the first two books in the Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series. I don’t have the others in audio so I stopped there. Then I settled on A PROMISE OF FIRE, the first in a fantasy trilogy that released last year. It’s been on my Kindle/Audible app for like six months. I caught a $1.99 sale on Amazon and since there was so much buzz about it at the time, I snagged it and promptly moved it down the list. Just call me an idiot! Fantastic story, even if it is written in 1st present POV (a “voice” I dislike greatly!) though the narrator is talented enough to keep me tuned in. The last book releases in January so I’m hoping the 2nd book goes on sale during pre-release. I’ll snag it then. In the meantime, there’s always the library. I gave it 5 stars, FYI. Currently, I’m listening to Thea Harrison’s MOONSHADOW, the first book in her new Elder Races spin-off series. The second book releases tomorrow and I’ve got it on pre-order so it will just magically appear. I’m hoping to snag the audio version before heading to Orlando. I should be writing but given the flights, I’ll likely read or listen.

Sports? Yeah…just say no. *sniff*

And that’s my update. I have at least 2500 words to write before my author day is done and I’d prefer to double that word count. Who had fun this weekend? And what’s on tap for your week?

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Friday Sinema: Night Cats

I only have one cat. I have two dogs–very LARGE dogs. I could see Boone and Cooper conspiring with Adidas to do this sh-stuff through the night, except all of them want me to wake up to watch them. 🙄 For those of you who have critters, do you relate?

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