Thursday, June 30, 2016

HEYYYY! Moving right along!

I had two hits of bad news yesterday and retreated to my room to read (Amanda Quick's latest, 'Til Death Do Us Part). So not much writing or anything done yesterday.

Today, I got up, ready to write!

I also pitched an agency on Twitter and one of the agents 'liked' it to ask for the query and partial.

I entered two contests, one for unpublished manuscripts and one for digitally published books.

I bought three books. Hey, that Class Action settlement money is good for something, right?

And today, I'm focused on the one judge in that contest who gave me a great score and loved my work. And I'm still trying to figure out exactly what the judge who disliked it thought was wrong so I can fix it. (Mostly pacing.) Maybe I should focus on the middle-of-the-road judge? I certainly can't keep all that advice in my head at once. Especially the contradictory advice.

So anyway, I'm trying to become a better writer and yet have to believe that I'm not that bad already.

Some days, it's all uphill.

Some days, I write.

(and ALL days, I want people to buy my books:
Honorable Officer (book 2)
Indispensable Wife (book 1)

Friday, June 24, 2016

COVER REVEAL The Chevalier

Click here to add The Chevalier to your Goodreads To-Read list. 
The Chevalier (Châteaux and Shadows, #3)
And HERE to follow my Amazon author page.


It's my prettiest cover yet! I'm not typically a huge fan of brown, but this is so bronze and picks up the bronze patina in the statues and the bronze leaves in the hedges and captures the misty wonder of the Versailles gardens.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.


The Affair of the Poisons just got personal.

Emmanuel, Chevalier de Cantière, youngest son of a baron, is happiest raising horses far from his complicated family. When news comes his mother is deathly ill, he races to her side only to find she has recovered and moved on, leaving behind her companion.

Catherine de Fouet blends into the background, saving up so she'll never have to wait on waspish, scheming old ladies like the baronesse again. She has no interest in a resentful gentleman, estranged from his mother, no matter how broad his shoulders or intriguing the wounded soul behind his handsome face. She just needs someone to escort her back to Versailles.

But Catherine is suspected of poisoning the baronesse. She rebuffs a pushy courtier who tries to use blackmail and bad poetry to make her his mistress. Her reputation hangs by a thread.

The Chevalier wants more than anything to protect this woman whose prickly exterior hides sweetness and passion. They need his family to help them through court intrigues--almost as much as they need each other.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Eating Disorders

Just a quick disclaimer: I've never had an eating disorder. That's not completely accurate, because I've gone through many periods of eating my feelings and pushing into Overeaters Anonymous territory. I have been overweight. I have been on diets, though generally they have been eating what I want for part of the day and eating salad for the rest of it. Calorie restriction is not a great plan, but I was way bigger than I ever should be. I try to walk several times a week, because if I don't push myself, I get inactive and weak. I've mentioned before in this blog how I have a better body image now than I used to, without having a great body by most societal standards.


I have some friends who have dealt with eating disorders, mainly anorexia, though one used to have anorexia athletica, the overuse of exercise to control weight to an unhealthy point. You never really recover from thinking you're overweight, even if you've never been underweight. You might always be watching your intake, lamenting your waistline, being anxious about every bite.

And all this is a rambling lead-in to the research I was doing the other day into anorexia. 

See, in the first book of my new Greatest Hits series (completed and edited, ready for more edits when I get a chance to focus on it again), we meet Drew, a gay young man who is dieting even though he is already thin. (There is a scary number of gay men with body image issues, anorexia, and other types of body dysmorphia) He's had a lot of negative in his life and no one stood beside him after a bad breakup. Mattie and Abby sort of latch onto him because he's funny, can sing, and is good at math. Like so many of my characters, he's fragile but sarcastic. Mattie's also come from a hard place and something about him ropes her in and turns her fiercely protective.

And then he hooks up with a hottie named Tom, but I don't want to get too spoilery.

Anyway, he knows he's got a problem, even when he's proud of himself for losing his "excess fat." After some bad stuff happens, he hits bottom of his depression and tells his friends, who get him in touch with a therapist and start taking care of him.

And now in the second book I'm currently writing, he's trying to recover, but his insurance won't pay for a stint in a treatment center and he certainly can't afford it. It's summertime and he's staying on campus to work so he can buy his books. Luckily, a few of his friends have stayed, too, but they're busy. He's not eating as much as he should and missing his boyfriend makes him more anxious and it's harder for him to eat. He's just started working out with his friends and is trying to get buff, but he's not supposed to be exercising until he reaches his optimal weight. Otherwise, he's replacing calorie restriction with calorie burning and it's no good.

One of the web pages I came across as I Googled my way to a bare minimum of knowledge is about the science behind recovery. Your Eatopia is interesting reading. I've barely skimmed the surface and have no idea if its the best possible source, but it seems to be a place to start.

So even though this book isn't as focused on Drew as the first book was (and he's a secondary character in both, though he gets a point of view), he's important to my other characters' happiness as well.

Body image for men has always been problematic. I mean, they used to sell chest-exercises to 98 pound weaklings so they wouldn't get sand kicked in their faces at the beach, right? 

Nowadays, with women more open about ogling, there's a lot of objectification going on of muscles. I've blogged before about my discomfort with objectification. Not that I don't like seeing a good, healthy young man, but they're young and so rare and so unrealistic. No, I've never seen Magic Mike. No thanks. I'm uncomfortable enough with bare chests on romance novel covers, especially when the face is obscured and all we get is the chest, no hint of the human heart that beats inside and the brain that is running the whole deal.

So my "98 pound weakling" Drew wants to buff up like his boyfriend and like his female friends' boyfriends. He's still far below his ideal weight and struggling to make himself eat. I know recovery from anorexia is not as simple as "just eat something" and it can also be a lifetime of watching what you eat and not falling into the same old pit. And I adore Drew. He has a long way to go.

Oh, I also read an article recently on about Muscle Dysmorphia, where a guy who was addicted to body building talked about how no matter how big his muscles were, they were never enough. He eventually had to stop working out because he lost his job and everything else because he didn't have time to do anything but lift. No matter how much he worked out, he never thought of himself as big enough.

Body image is such a mess for all of us. I suppose there are people who are completely happy with their bodies, but I don't know many of them and they probably haven't always been that way. It's like the people with curly hair who straighten it and the straight haired people who curl it. It's never just right.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Henri et Marcel are GO!

I got my contract a few days ago for "Henri et Marcel", book 3.5 in my 17th century French romance novel series, Châteaux and Shadows

Book 3, The Chevalier will be out in early September (still waiting for official word on that).

And then a few months later, "Henri et Marcel" will wrap up the love lives of the de Cantière this generation. Yes, I have a few more books in me, one of which is related only tangentially and another two (so far one and a half) are the next generation. And I'm turning over ideas fr more. Maybe another novella.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I was going to

I was going to make an announcement today, having just settled in at my parents' house (we were here in the wee hours of yesterday, but most of yesterday was a bit foggy in my brain from travel, lack of sleep, and general fog).

And now we have 50 dead, 50+ wounded in a terrorist attack.

And heartless people (who are barely human) so happy that gay people are dead and it's all a Muslim's fault.

And yet they don't want to limit the right of terrorists to buy assault weapons or make anyone have to submit to a background check to be sure they're not a terrorist or tagged as dangerous.

My announcement can wait. It's a good announcement about a book with gay people in it.

Love, affection, caring, standing up to bullying, standing up for each other and for your family and friends.

Let's be sure love wins, not hate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Graduation day

This morning as I walked my daughter in to her class for the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL (WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!), there were balloons up, which reminded me that this was graduation day for the eighth graders and I got a little teary. I cried buckets as I watched my oldest son graduate from eighth grade two years ago. I always cry at least some at any pride/sad/mixed up occasion.

But when I went back to get my daughter at the end of the day (HALF DAY! They had pancakes, sausage, and eggs. Very academic.), there was our school's traditional poster up with pictures of all the eighth graders (graduation was already over) and I paused to look.

I remember most of those kids (there were about 30) from my second son's Kindergarten through fifth grade, before the school neglected to help him deal. I cried a little. All those beautiful young people, grown up so, so very, very much, heading off to high school. All those gorgeous kids.

And my son not with them.

I don't know if I was crying from regrets of not getting him back in there, but with the support he needs.

Maybe I was crying because those kids are gorgeous and their lives are about to be a lot different than a small, supportive school with people they've known forever--as my son's life is going to be changed in going from homeschool to public high school.

Or I was crying because my son wasn't right for the school and the school not right for the child.

And my son will never fit in there and now the opportunity to try is gone.

And they're growing up so fast.

AND on the way out, I hugged my daughter's second grade teacher (who was my oldest son's first grade teacher a long time ago), who is transferring to another school. And we both got wobbly. DANG IT.

But this afternoon, I took the kids to the community pool where we met my sons' old friends (who also used to go to that school, but who went elsewhere in middle elementary) and I got to sit and talk to my friend (their mom) for a couple of hours. I definitely needed that!

Even after swim time was over, we had snacks and the boys played tag (giant, galumphing teens), while my daughter sat on the play structure eating a ton of snacks. She didn't have lunch because of those pancakes in school, so by 4 and having spent 2.5 hours in a pool, she was starving.

String cheese, Goldfish, grapes, and Gatorade make a full meal, right?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Website! I have a new website!

It's all pretty and shinyyyyyyyy!

Go and see it! What's out now (2 French books), Coming soon (1 other French book--with cover reveal coming up), What else I'm doing (Writing contemporary), and my ghost story (Little standalone novella that I'm hoping to re-edit and get up this fall).

AND it's all so pretty!

(Yes, it's the same address, it's what it looks like that's new!)

Friday, June 3, 2016

More good problems to have

On the Very. Last. Edits. of Book 3, The Chevalier.

I haven't heard the fate of Henri and Marcel's novella. I'm wondering if they're hesitating because it's M/M, even though there's no sex written in it. I mean, they publish M/M romance and even M/M historical romance (and erotica), but not so much in the historical line. Or something?

I want to spend time this summer editing Book 4 and 5. I also want to finish Book 6.

I started writing book 2 of my contemporary New Adult series (though I need to spend some time editing Book 1 and getting a blurb I can live with to send to my critique partners who will tell me everything that's wrong with it).

I've redesigned my website and will launch it when I'm ready to announce the gorgeous cover of Chevalier. And it's a pretty, pretty cover! And a pretty, pretty website!

And we leave next week for two weeks in Ohio. Then a couple weeks after we get back, I'm off to RWA national conference in San Diego.

Basically, I am overbooked (See what I did there?)

If anyone knows a of a part time job for me starting in late July, let me know. Because there's not enough on my plate.